The Wisdom of God Manifested in the Works of the Creation.
Psalm. CIV. 24.
How manifold are thy works, O Lord! In Wisdom hast thou made them all.
In these Words are two Clauses, in the first whereof the Psalmist admires the Multitude of Gods Works, How manifold are thy Works, O Lord! In the second he celebrates his Wisdom in the Creation of them; In Wisdom hast thou made them all.
Of the first of these I shall say little, only briefly run over the Works of this visible World, and give some guess at the Number of them; whence it will appear, that upon this account they will deserve Admiration, the Number of them being uninvestigable by us, and; so affording us a demonstrative Proof of the unlimited Extent of the Creators Skill, and the Foecundity of his Wisdom and Power. That the number of corporeal Creatures is unmeasurably great, and known only to the Creator himself; may thus probably be collected: First of all, the Numbers of fixd Stars is on all hands acknowledgd to be next to infinite: Secondly, Every fixd Star, in the now-receivd Hypothesis, is a Sun or Sun-like Body, and in like manner incircled with a Chorus of Planets moving about it; for the fixd Stars are not all placed in one and the same concave Spherical Superficies, and equidistant from us, as they seem to be, but are variously and disorderly situate, some nearer, some further off, just like Trees in a Wood or Forest; as Gassendus exemplifies them. And as in a Wood, tho the Trees grow never so irregularly, yet the Eye of the Spectator, wherever placd, or whithersoever removd, describes still a circle of Trees: So would it in like manner wherever it were in the Forest of Stars, decribe a Spherical Superficies about it. Thirdly, each of these Planets is in all likelihood furnished with as great Variety of corporeal Creatures, animate and inanimate, as the earth is, and all as different in Nature as they are in Place firom the Terrestrial, and from each other. Whence it will follow, that these must be much more infinite than the Stars: I do not mean absolutely according to Philosophick Exactness infinite, but only infinite or innumerable as to us, or their Number prodigiously great.
That the fixd Stars are innumerable, may thus be made out: Those visible to the naked Eye are by the least Account acknowledgd to be above a Thousand, excluding those towards the south Pole, which are not visible in our Horizon: Besides these, there have been incomparably more detected and brought to light by the Telescope; the Milky-way being found out to be; (as was formerly conjectrd) nothing but great Companies or Swarms of Minute Stars singly invisible, but by reason of their Proximity mingling and confounding their Lights, and appearing like lucid Clouds. And its likely that, had we more perfect Telescopes many Thousands more might be discovered; and yet after all, an incredible Multitude remain, by reason of their immense Distance beyond all Ken by the best Telescopes that could possibly be invented or polishd by the Wit and Hand of an Angel: For if the World be (as Des Cartes would have it) indefinitely extended; that is, so far as no human Intellect can fansie any Bounds of it; then what we see, or can come to see, must be the least Part of what is undicoverable by us, the whole Universe extending a thousand times further beyond the utmost Stars we can possibly descry, than those be distant from the Earth we live upon. This Hypothesis of the fixd stars being so many Suns, etc. seems more agreeable to the Divine Greatness and Magnificence. But that which induces me much to doubt of the Magnitude of the Universe, and immense Distance of the fxd Stars, is the stupendous Phoenomena of Comets, their sudden Accension or Appearance in full Magnitude, the Length of their Tails and Swiftness of their Motion, and gradual Diminution of Bulk and Motion, till at last they disappear. That the Universe is indefinitely extended, Des Cartes, upon a false ground, [that the formal Ratio of a Body was nothing but Extension into Length, Breadth and Proximity, or having partes extra partes, and that Body and Space were synonymous Terms] asserted; it may as well be limited this Way, as in the old Hypothesis, which places the fixd Stars in the same spherical Superficies; according to which (old Hypothesis) they may also be demonstrated by the same Mediums to be innumerable, only instead of their Distance substituting their Smallness for the Reason of their Invisilbility.
But leaving the Celestial Bodies, I come now to the Terrestrial; which are either inanimate or animate. The inanimate are the Elements, Meteors and Fossils, of all Sorts, at the Number of which last I cannot give any probable Guess: But if the Rule which some considerate Philosophers deliver, holds good, viz. how much more imperfect any Genus or Order of Beings is, so much more numerous are the Species containd under it: As for Example Birds being a more perfect Kind of Animal than Fishes, there are more of these than of those; and for the like Reason more Birds than Quadrupeds, and more Insects than of any of the rest, and So more Plants than Animals, Nature being more sparing in her more excellent Productions. If this Rule, I say, hold good, then should there be more Species of Fossils, or generally of inanimate Bodies, than of Vegetables, of which there is some Reason to doubt, unless we will admit all Sorts of formed Stones to be distinct Species.
Animate Bodies are divided into four great Genera or Orders, Beasts, Birds, Fishes and Insects.
The Species of Beasts, including also Serpents, are not very numerous: Of such as are certainly known and describd, I dare say not above 150; and yet I believe not many, that are of any considerable Bigness, in the known Regions of the World, have escapd the Cognizance of the Curious. [I reckon all dogs to be of one Species, they mingling together in Generation, and the Breed of such Mixtures being prolifick.
The Number of Birds known and describd may be near 500; and the Number of Fishes, secluding Shell-Fish, as many: But if the Shell-Fish be taken in, more than six times the Number. How many of each Genus remain yet undiscoverd, one cannot certainly nor very nearly conjecture; but we may suppose the whole Sum of Beasts and Birds to exceed by a third part, and Fishes by one Half; those known.
The Insects, if we take in the Exanguious both Terrestrial and Aquatick, may, in Derogation to the precedent Rule, for Number, vie even with Plants themselves: For the Exanguious alone, by what that Learned and Critical Naturalist, my honourd Friend, Dr. Martin Lister, hath already observd and delineated, I conjecture, cannot be fewer than 3000 Species, perhaps many more.
The Butterflies and Beetles are such numerous Tribes, that I believe in our own native Country alone the Species of each Kind may amount to 150 or more. And if we should make the Catterpillers and Hexapods, from whence these come, to be distinct Species, as most Naturalists have done, the Number will be doubled, and these two Genera will afford us 600 Species: But if those be admitted for distiinct Species, I see no Reason but their Aureliae also may pretend to a specifick Difference from the Caterpillers and Butterflies, and so we shall have 300 Species more; therefore we exclude both these from the Degree of Species, making them to be the same Insect under a different Larva or Habit.
The Fly-kind, if under that Name we comprehend all other flying Insects, as well such as have four, as such as have but two Wings, of both which Kinds there are many subordinate Genera, will be found in Multitude of Species, to equal, if not exceed, both the forementiond Kinds.
The creeping Insects that never come to be wingd, tho for Number they may fall Short of the flying or winged, yet are they also very numerous; as by running over the several Kinds I could easily demonstrate. Supposing then there be a Thousand several Sorts of Insects in this Island and the Sea near it, if the same Proportion holds betnveen the Insects native of England, and those of the rest of the World, as doth between Plants domestick and exotick, (that is, as I guess, near a Decuple) the Species of Insects in the whole Earth (Land and Water) - will amount to 10000, and I do believe they rather exceed than fall short of that Sum.
Since the Writing hereof, having this summer, Ann. I691. with some diiligence prosecuted the History of our English Insects, and making Collections of the Several Species of each Tribe, but particularly and especially of the Butterflies, both nocturnal and diurnal, I find the Number of such of these alone as breed in our Neighbourhood [about Braintree and Notely in Essex] to exceed the Sum I last Year assignd to all England, having myself observd and describd about 200 Kinds great and small, many yet remaining, as I have good Reason to believe, by me undiscoverd. This I have, since the writing hereof found true in Experience, having every Year observd not a few new Kinds: Nor do I think that, if I should live 20 Years longer, I should by my utmost Diligence and Industry in searching them out, come to an End of them. If then within the small Compass of a Mile or two there are so many Species to be found, surely the most modest Conjecsture cannot estimate the Number of all the Kinds of Papilios native of this Island to fall short of 300, which is twice so many as I last Summer guessd them to be; wherefore, using the same Argumentations, the Number of all the British Insects will amount to 2000 and the total Sum of those of the whole Earth will be 20000.
The Number of Plants containd in C. Bauhins Penax is about 6000, which are all that had been describd by the Authors that wrote before him, or observd by himself; in which Work, besides Mistakes and Repetitions incident to the most wary and knowing Men in such a Work as that, there are a great many, I might say some Hundreds, put down for different Species, the which in my Opinion are but accidental Varieties: Which I do not say to detract from the excellent Pains and Performance of that Learned, Judicious and Laborious Herbarist, or to defraud him of his deservd Honour, but only to shew that he was too much swayd by the Opinions then generally current among Herbarists, that different Colour or multiplicity of leaves in the flower and the like Accidents, were sufficient to constitute a specifick difference. But supposing there had been 6000 then known and describd, I cannot think but that there are in the World more than triple that Number; there being in the vast Continent of America as great a Variety of Species as with us, and yet but few common to Europe, or perhaps Africk and Asia. And if on the other Side the Equator, there be much Land still remaining undiscoverd, as probably there may, we must suppose the Number of plants to be far greater.
What can we infer from all this? If the Number of Creatures be so exceeding great, how great nay, immense must needs be the Power and Wisdom of him who formd them all! For (that I may borrow the Words of a noble and excellent Author) as it argues and manifests more Skill by far in an Artiticer, to be able to frame both Clockr and Watches, and Pumps, and Mills and Granadoes, and Rockets, than he could display in making but one of those sorts of Engines; so the Almighty discovers more of his Wisdom in forming such a vast Multitude of different Sorts of Creatures, and all with admirable and irreprovable Art, than if he had created but a few; for this declares the Greatness and unbounded Capacity of his Understanding. Again, the same Superiority of Knowledge would be displayd, by contriving Engines of the same Kind, or for the same Purposes, after different Fashions, as the moving of Clocks or other Engines by Springs instead of Weights: So the infinitely Wise Creator hath shewn many Instances, that he is not confind to one only instrument for the working one Effect, but can perform the same thing by divers means. So, though feathers seem necessary for flying, yet hath he enabled several creatures to fly without them, as two Sorts of Fishes, one Sort of Lizard, and the Bat, not to mention the numerous Tribes of flying Insects. In like manner, though the Air bladder in Fishes seems necessary for swimming, yet some are so formd as to swim without it; viz. First, the Cartilagineous Kind, which by what Artifice they poise themselves, ascend and descend at pleasure, and continue in what Depth of Water they list, is as yet unknown to us. Secondly, the Cetaceous Kind, or Sea-Beasts, differing in nothing almost from Quadrupeds but the want of Feet. The Air which in Respiration these receive into their Lungs, may Serve to render their Bodies equiponderant to the Water; and the Constriction or Dilatation of it, by the help of the Diaphragm and Muscles of Respiration, may probably assist them to ascend or descend in the Water, by a light Impulse thereof with their Fins.
Again, though the Water being a cold Element, the most Wise God hath so attemperd the blood and Bodies of Fishes in general, that a small degree of heat is sufficient to preserve their due Consistency and Motion, and to maintain Life; yet to shew that he can preserve a Creature in the Sea, and in the coldest Part of the Sea too, that may have as great a degree of heat as Quadrupeds themselves, he hath Created great variety of these Cetaceous fishes, which converse chiefly in the Northern Seas, whose whole Body being encompassed round with a copious Fat or Blubber (which by reflecting and redoubling the internal heat, and keeping off the external Cold, doth the same Thing to them that Clothes do to us) is enabled to abide the greatest Cold of the Sea-Water. The reason why these fishes delight to frequent chiefly the Northern Seas, is, I conceive, not only for the Quiet which they enioy there, but because the Northern Air which they breathe being more fully chargd with those particles supposd nitrous, which are the Aliment of Fire, is fittest to maintain the vital Heat in that Activity which is sufficient to move such an unwieldy bulk, as their bodies are, with due Celerity, and to bear up against and repel the ambient Cold; and may likewise enable them to continue longer under Water than a warmer and thinner Air could.
Another instance to prove that God can, and doth by different Means produce the same Effect, is the various Ways of extracting the nutritious Juice out of the Aliment, in several Kinds of Creatures.
I. In Man and viviparous quadrupeds the Food moistend with the Spittle [saliva] is first chewd and prepard in the Mouth, then swallowd into the Stomach, where being mingled with some dissolvent Juices, it is by the Heat hereof concocted, macerated, and reducd into a Chyle or Cremor, and so evacuated into the Intestines, where being mixd with the Choler and Pancreatick Juice, it is further subtilizd and renderd so fluid and penetrant, that the thinner and finer Part of it easily finds its Way in at the streight Orifices of the lacteous Veins. 1. In Birds there is no Mastication or Comminution of the Meat in the Mouth; but in such as are not Carnivorous, it is immediately swallowd into the Crop or Craw, or at least into a Kind of Antestomach (which I have observd in many, especially Piscivorous Birds) where it is moistned and mollified by some proper Juice from the Glandules distilling in there, and thence transferrd into the Gizzard or Musculous Stomach, where by the working of the Muscles compounding the Sides of that Ventricle, and by the Assistance of small Pebbles (which the Creature swallows for that Purpose) it is, as it were, by Mill-stones ground small, and so transmitted to the Guts, to be further attenuated and subtilizd by the forementiond Choler and Pancreatick Juice.
3. In oviparous Quadrupeds, as Chamaelions, Lizards, Frogs, as also in all Sorts of Serpents, there is no Mastication or Comminution of the Meat, either in Mouth or Stomachs; but as they swallow Insects or other animals whole, so they avoid their Skins unbroken, having a Heat, or Spirits, powerful enough to extract the Juice they have Need of, without breaking that which contains it; as the Parisian Academist tells us. I myself cannot warrant the Truth of the Observation in all. Here, by the by, we take Notice of the wonderful Dilatability or extendableness of the Throats and Gullets of Serpents: I myself have taken two entire adult Mice out of the Stomach of an Adder, whose Neck was not bigger than my little Finger. These Creatures, I say, draw out the juice of what they swallow without any comminution, or so much as breaking the Skin; even as it is seen that the juice of grapes is drawn as well from the Rape (Whole grapes pluckd from the Cluster, and Wine poured upon them in a Vessel), where they remain whole, as from a Vat, where they are bruisd; to borrow the Parisian Philosophers Similitude.
4. Fishes, which neither chew their Meat their Mouths nor grind it in their Stomachs, do by the Help of a dissolvent Liquor, therey Nature provided, corrode and reduce it, Skin, Bones and all, into a Chylus or Cremor; and yet (which may seem wonderful) this Liquor manifests nothing of Acidity to the Tast: But not withstanding, how mild and gentle soever it seems to be, it corrodes Flesh very strrangely and gradually, as Aqua fortis or the like corrosive Waters do Metals, as appears to the Eye; for I have observd Fish in the Stomachs of others thus partially corroded, first the superficial Part of the Flesh, and then deeper and deeper by degrees to the Bones.
I come now to the second part of the words; In Wisdom hast thou made them all. In discoursing whereof I shall endeavour to make out in particulars what the Psalmist here asserts in general concerning the Works of God, that they are all very wisely contrivd and adapted to Ends both particular and general.
But before I enter upon this Task, I shall, by way of Preface or Introduction, say something concerning those Systems which undertake to give an Account of the Formation of the Universe by Mechanical Hypotheses of Matter, movd either uncertainly, or, according to some Catholick Laws, without the intervention and assistance of any superior immaterial Agent.
There is no greater; at least no more palpable and convincing Argument of the Existence of a Deity, than the admirable Art and Wisdom that discovers itself in the Make and Constitution, the Order and Disposition, the Ends and Uses of all the Parts and Members of this stately Fabrick of Heaven and Earth: For if in the Works of Art, as for Example, a curious Edifice or Machine, Counsel, Design, and Direction to an End appearing in the whole Frame, and in all the several pieces of it, do necessarily infer the Being and Operation of some intelligent Architect or Engineer, why shall not also in the Works of Nature, that (grandeur and Magnificence, that excellent Contrivance for Beauty, Order, Use, &c. which is observable in them, wherein they do as much transcend the Effects of humane Art as infinite Power and Wiidom exceeds finite, infer the Existence and Efficiency of an Omnipotent and All-Wise Creator ?
To evade the force of this Argument, and to give some Account of the Original of the World, Atheistical Persons have set up two Hypotheses.
The first is that of Aristotle, that the World was from Eternity in the same Condition that now it is, having run through the Successions of infinite Generations; to which they add, Self-existent and unproduced: For Aristotle doth not deny God to be the efficient Cause of the World; but only asserts, that he created it from Eternity, making him a necessary Cause thereof; it proceeding from him by way of Emanation, as Light from the Sun.
Doctrine they ought to do, being (as we said) all perfectly solid and imporous, and the vacuum not resisting their Motion, they would never the one overtake the other, but like the Drops of a Shower would always keep the same Distances, and so there could be no Concourse or Cohaesion of them, and consequently nothing created; partly to avoid this destructive Consequence, and partly to give some Account of the Freedom of Will (which they did assert contrary to the Democratick Fate) they did absurdly feign a Declination of some of these principles, without any shadow or pretence of Reason. The former of these motives you have set down by Lucretius,
And again; <> Quod nisi declinare solerent, omnia deorsum Imbris uti guttae caderent per inane profundum, Nec foret offensus natus, nec plaga creata Principiis, ita nil umquam natura creâsset. Now Seeds in downward Motion must decline, Tho vary little from the exactest Line; For did they still move strait, they needs must fall Like Drops of Rain, dissolvd and scatterd all, For ever tumbling thro the mighty Space, And never join to make one single Mass.
The Second Motive they had to introduce this gratuitous Declination of Atoms, the same Poet gives us in these Verses, Lib. 2.
Si semper motus connectitur omnis, Et vetere exoritur semper novus ordine certo, Nec declinando faciunt primordia motûs Principium quoddam quod fati foedera rumpat, Ex iinito ne caufazn caufa fequatur; Libera per terras unde haec animantibus extat, Unde haec est, inquam, fatis avolsa voluntas ?
Besides, did all things move in direct Line, And still one Motion to another join In certain Order, and no Seeds decline, And make a Motion fit to dissipate The well-wrought Chain of Causes and strong Fate; Whence comes that Freedom living Creatures find ? Whence comes the Will so free, so unconfind, Above the Power of the Fate?
The Folly and Unreasonableness of this ridiculous and ungrounded Figment, I cannot better
*34 display and reprove than in the Words of Cicero, in the Beginning of his first Book de finibus Bonorum et Malorum. This Declination (saith he) is altogether childishly feignd, and yet neither doth it at all solve the Difficulty, or effect what they desire: For First they say the Atoms decline, and yet assign no Reason why. Now nothing is more shameful and unworthy a Natural Philosopher (turpis Physico) than to assert any thing to be done without a Cause, or to give no Reason of it. Besides, this is contradictory to their own Hypothesis taken from sense, that all Weights do naturally move perpendicularly downward.
Secondly, again supposing this were true, and that there were such a Declination of Atoms, yet will it not effect what they intend. For either they do all decline, and so there will be no more Concourse than if they did perpendicularly descend; or some decline, and some fall plum down, which is ridiculously to assign distinct Offices and Tasks to the Atoms which are all of the same Nature and Solidity. Again, in his book de Fato he smartly derides this fond Conceit thus; What Cause is there in nature which turns the Atoms aside? Or do they cast Lots among themselves which shall decline, which not? Or why do they decline the least Interval that may be, and not a greater? Why not two or three minima as well as one; Optare hoc quidem est non disputare, For neither is the Atom by any extrinsical Impulse diverted from its natural Course; neither can there be any Cause imagind in the Vacuity through
*35 which it is carried, why it should not move directly; neither is there any Change made in the Atom itself, that it should not retain the Motion natural to it, by Force of its Weight or Gravity.
As for the whole Atomical Hypothesis, either Epicurean or Democritick, I shall not, nor need I, spend time to confute it; this having been already solidly and sufficiently done by many learned Men, but especially Dr. Cudworth, in his Intellectual System of the Universe, and the late Bishop of Worcester, Dr. Stillingfleet, in his Origines Sacrae. Only I cannot omit the Ciceronian confutation thereof, which I find in the place first quoted, and in his first and second Books de Natura Deorum, because it may serve as a general Introduction to the following Particulars.
Such a turbulent Concourse of Atom could never, (saith he) hunc mundi ornatum efficere, compose so well-orderd and beautiful a Structure as the World is; which therefore both in Greek and Latin hath from thence [ ab ornatu et munditie ] obtaind its Name. And again most fully and appositely in his second De Nat Deorum: If the works of Nature are better, more exact and perfect than the Works of Art, and Art effects nothing without Reason, neither can the Works of Nature be thought to be effected without Reason. For is it not absurd and incongruous that when thou beholdest a Statue or curious Picture, thou shouldest acknowledge that Art was usd to the making of it; or when thou seest the course of a Ship upon the Waters, thou
*36 shouldst not doubt but the Motion of it is regulated and directed by Reason and Art; or when thou considerest a Sun-Dial or Clock, thou shouldst understand presently, that the Hours are shewn by Art, and not by Chance; and yet imagine or believe, that the World, which comprehends all these Arts and Artificers, was made without Counsel or Reason. If one should carry into Scythia or Britain such a Sphere as our Friend Posidonius lately made, each of whose Conversions did the same Thing in the Sun and Moon and other five Planets, which we see affected every Night and Day in the Heavens, who among those Barbarians would doubt that that Sphere was composd by Reason and Art? A Wonder then it must needs be, that there should be any Man found so stupid and forsaken of Reason, as to persuade himself; that this most beautiful and adornd World was or could be producd by the fortuitous concourse of Atoms. He that can prevail with himself to believe this, I do not see why he may not as well admit, that if there were made innumerable Figures of the one and twenty Letters, in Gold, suppose, or any other Metal, and there well shaken and mixt together, and thrown down from some high Place to the Ground, they when they lightted upon the Earth would be so disposd and yankd that a Man might see and read in them Enniuss Annals; whereas it were a great Chance if he should find one Verse thereof among them all. For if this concourse of Atoms could make a whole World, why may it not sometimes make,
*37 and why hath it not somewhere or other in the Earth made, a Temple, or a Gallery, or a Portico, or a House, or a City? Which yet is so far from doing, and every Man so far from believing, that should anyone of us be cast, suppose, upon a desolate island, and find there a magnificent Palace, artificially contrivd according to the exact Rules of Architecture, and curiously adornd and furnishd, it would never once enter into his Head, that this was done by an Earthquake, or the fortuitous Shuffling together of its component Materials; or that it had stood there ever since the Construction of the World, or first Cohaesion of Atoms; but would presently conclude that there had been some intelligent Architect there, the Effect of whose Art and Skill it was. Or should he find there but upon one single Sheet of Parchment or Paper, an Epistle or Ora tion written, full of profound Sense, expressed in proper and significant Words, illusrated and adornd with elegant Phrase; it were beyond the Possibility of the Wit of Man to persuade him that this was done by the temerarious Dashes of an unguided Pen, or by the rude Scattering of Ink upon the Paper, or by the lucky Projection of so many Letters at all Adventures; but he would be convincd by the Evidence of the Thing at first Sight, that there had been not only some Man, but some Scholar there.
The Cartesian hypothesis considerd and censurd
Having rejected this Atheistick Hypothesis of
*38 Epicurus and Democritus, I should now proceed to give particular Instances of the Art and Wisdom clearly appearing in the several Parts and Members of the Universe; from which we may justly infer this general Conclusion of the Psalmist, In Wisdom hast thou made them all: But that there is a Sort of professed Theists, I mean, Mons. Des Cartes and his Followers, who endeavour to disarm us of this decretory Weapon, to evacuate and exterminate this Argument, which hath been so successful in all Ages to demonstrate the Existence, and enforce the Belief of a Deity, and to convince and silence all Atheistick Gainsayers. And this they do,
First, By excluding and banishing all Consideration of final Causes from Natural Philosophy, upon Pretence, that they are all and every one in particular undiscoverable by us; and that it is Rashness and Arrogance in us to think we can find out Gods Ends, and be Partakers of his Counsels.
Atque ob hanc unicam rationem totum illud causarum genus quod àe fine peti folet, in rebus Physicis nullum usum habere existimo; non enim absq; temeritate me puto investigare posse fines Dei. Meditat. Metaph.
And for this only Reason, I think, all that Kind of Causes which is wont to be taken from the End, to have no use in Physicks or natural Matters; for I cannot without rashness think myself able to find out the Ends of God.
And again in his Principles of Philosophy; Nullas unquam rationes circa res Naturales à fine quem Deus aut Natura in iis faciendis fibi proposuit admittiimus, quia non tantum nobis
*39 debemus arrogare ut ejus Conciliorum participes esse possimus.
We can by no Means admit any Reasons about natural Things, taken from the End which God or Nature proposd to themselves in making of them; because we ought not to arrogate so much to ourselves, as to think we may be Partakers of his Counsels.
And more expressly in his fourth Answer, viz. to Gassenduss Objections;
Nec fingi potest, aliquos Dei fines magis quàm alios in propatulo esse: omnes enim in imperscrutabili ejus Sapientiae abysse sunt eodem modo reconditi:
That is, Neither can nor ought we to feign or imagine that some of Gods Ends are more manifest than others; for all lie in like Manner or equally hidden in the unsearchable abyss of his Wisdom.
This confident Assertion of Des Cartes is fully examined and reprovd by that honourable and excellent Person, Mr. Boyl, in his Disiquisition about the final Causes of Natural Things, Sect. 1 from Page 10 to the end; and therefore I shall not need say much to it, only in brief this, that it seems to me false and of evil Consequence, as being derogatory from the Glory of God, and destructive of the Acknowledgment and Belief of a Deity:
For first, Seeing (for Instance) that the Eye is employd by Man and all Animals for the Use of Vision, which, as they are framd, is necessary for them, that they could not live without it; and God Almighty knew that would be so; and seeing it is so admirably fitted and adapted to this Use, that all the Wit and
*40 Art of Men and Angels could not have contrivd it better, if so well, it must needs be highly absurd and unreasonable to affirm, either that it was not Designd at all for this Use, or that it is imposible for Man to know whether it was or not.
Secondly, How can Man give Thanks and Praise to God for the Use of his Limbs and Senses, and those his good Creatures which serve for his Sustenance, when he cannot be sure they were made in any respect for him; nay, when tis as likely they were not, and that he doth but abuse them to serve Ends for which they were never intended.
Thirdly, This Opinion, as I hinted before, supercedes and cassates the best Medium we have to demonstrate the Being of a Deity, leaving us no other demonstrative Proof but that taken from the innate Idea; which, if it be a Demonstration, is but an obscure one, not satisfying many of the Learned themselves, and being too subtle and metaphysical to be apprehended by vulgar Capacities, and consequently of no Force to persuade and convince them.
Secondly, They endeavour to evacuate and disannul our great Argument, by pretending to solve all the Phenomena of Nature, and to give an Account of the Production and Efformation of the Universe, and all the corporeal Beings therein, both celestial and terrestrial, as well animate as inanimate, not excluding Animals themselves, by a slight Hypothesis of Matter so and so divided and movd. The Hypothesis you
*41 have in Des Cartess Principles of Philosophy, Part 2.
All the Matter of this visible World is by him supposd to have been at first divided by God into Parts nearly equal to each other, of a mean Size viz. about the Bigness of those whereof the Heavenly Bodies are now compounded; all together having as much Motion as is now found in the World and these to have been equally movd sevrally every one by itself about its own Centre, and among one another, so as to compose a fluid Body and also many of them jointly, or in Company about several other Points so far distant from one another, and in the same Manner disposd as the Centres of the fixd Stars now are.
So that God has no more to do than to create the Matter, divide it into Parts, and put it into Motion, according to some few Laws, and that would of itself produce the World and all Creatures therein.
For a Confutation of this Hypothesis, I might refer the Reader to Dr. Cudworths System p.603, 604. but for his ease I will transcribe the words:
"God in the mean Time standing by as an idle Spectator of this Lusus Atomorum, this sportfull Dance of Atoms, and of the various Results thereof. Nay, these mechanick Theists have here quite outstrippd and outdone the Atomick Atheists themselves, they being much more extravagant than ever those were; for the professed Atheists durst never venture to affirm, that this regular system of Things resulted from the fortuitous Motions of Atoms at the very First, before they had for a long Time together produced many other inept Combinations, or aggregate
*42 Forms of particular Things and nonsensical Systems of the whole; and they supposd also, that the Regularity of Things here in this World would not always continue such neither, but that some time or other, Confusion and Disorder will break in again. Moreover, that besides this World of ours, there are at this very instant innumerable other Worlds irregular, and that there is but one of a thousand or ten thousand among the infinite Worlds that have such Regularity in them, the Reason of all which is, Because it was generally taken for granted, and lookd upon as a common Notion, that twn apo tuKEs kai tou automatou ouden aei houtw ginetai, as Aristotle expresseth it; none of those Things which are from Fortune or Chance come to pass always alike. But our mechanick Theists will have their Atoms never so much as once to have fumbled in these their Motions, nor to have producd any inept System, or incongruous forms at all, but from the very first all along to have taken up their Places, and ranged themselves so orderly, methodically and directly; as that they could not possibly have done it better had they been directed by the most perfect Wisdom. Wherefore these Atomick Theists utterly evacuate that grand Argument for a God taken from the Phaenomenon of the Artificial frame of things, which hath been so much insisted upon in all Ages, and which commonly makes the strongest impression of any other upon the minds of Men &c the Atheists in the mean Time laughing in their sleeves, and not a little triumphing to see the cause
of Theism thus betrayd by its professd Friends and Assertors, and the grand Argument for the same totally slurred by them, and so their work done, as it were, to their Hands.
Now as this argues the greatest Insensibility of Mind, or Sottishness and Stupidity in pretended Theists, not to take the least notice of the regular and artificial Frame of things, or of the Signature of the Divine Art and Wisdom in them, nor to look upon the Wcrlds and Things of Nature with any other Eyes than Oxen and Horses do; So there are there many Phaenomena in Nature, which being partly above the force of these mechanick powers, and partly contrary to the same, can therefore never be salvd by them, nor without final Causes and some vital Principle: As for Example, that of Gravity or the Tendency of Bodie downward, the Motion of the Diaphragm in Respiration, the Systole and Diastole of the Heart, which is nothing but a Muscular Costriction and Relaxation, and therefore not mechanical but vital. We might also add, among many others, the Intersection of the Plains of Equator and Ecliptick, or the Earths diurnal Motion upon an Axis not parallel to that of the Ecliptick, nor perpendicular to the Plain thereof. For tho Des Cartes would needs imagine this Earth of ours once to have been a Sun, and so itself the Centre of a lesser Vortex, whose Axis was then directed after this Manner, and which therefore still kept the same Site or Posture, by Reason of the striate Particles finding no fit Pores or Traces for their Passages through
*44 it, but only in this Direcrtion; yet does he himself confess, that because these two Motions of the Earth, the Annual and Diurnal, would be much more conveniently made upon parallel Axes, therefore, according to the Laws of Mechanism, they should be perpetually brought nearer and nearer together, till at length the Equator and Ecliptick come to have their axes parallel, which, as it hath not yet come to pass, so neither hath there been for these last Two Thousand Years (according to the best Observations and Judgments of Astronomers) any nearer approach made of them one to another. Wherefore the continuation of these two motions of the Earth, the Annual and Diurnal, upon Axes not parallel is resolvable into nothing but a final and mental Cause, or the <> to Beltizon, because it was best it should be so, the Variety of the Seasons of the Year depending thereupon. But the greatest of all the particular Phaenomena is the Formation and Organization of the Bodies of Animals, consisting of such Variety and Curioisity; that these mechanick Philosophers being no Way able to give an Account thereof from the necessarv motion of Matter, unguided by Mind for Ends, prudently therefore break off their System there when they should come to Animals, and so leave it altogether untouchd. We acknowledg indeed there is a Posthumous piece extant, imputed to Cartes, and entitled, De la formation du Foetus, wherein there is some pretence made to salve all this fortuitous Mechanism. But as the Theory thereof is built wholly upon a false supposition,
*45 sufficiently confuted by our Harvey his Book of Generation, that the Seed doth materially enter into the composition of the Egg: So is it all along precarious and exceptionable; nor doth it extend at all to the diffierences that are in several Animals, nor offer the least Reason why an Animal of one Species might not be formed out of the Seed of another. Thus far the Doctor, with whom for the main I do consent.
I shall only add, that Natural Philosophers, when they endeavour to give an Account of any the Works of Nature by preconceivd Principles of their own, are for the most Part grossly mistaken and confuted by Experience; as [example of such error in simple matter of anatomy] obvious to Sense, and infinitely more easie to find out the Cause of, than to give an Account of the Formation of the World; that is, the Pulle the Heart, which he attributes to an Ebullition and sudden Expansion of the Blood in the Ventricles, after the Manner of Milk, which being heated to such a Degree, doth suddenly and as it were all at once, flush up and run over the Vessel. Whether this Ebullition be causd by a Nitro-Sulphureous ferment lodged especially in the left Ventricle of the Heart, which mingling with the Blood excites such an Ebullition, as we see made by the Mixture of some Chymical Liquors, viz . Oil of Vitriol, and deliquated Salt of Tartar; or by vital flame warming and boiling the Blood.
But this Conceit of his is contrary both to Reason and Experience: For, first, it is altogether
*46 unreasonable to imagine and affirm that the cool venal Blood should be heated to so high a Degree in so short a Time as the Interval of two Pulses which is less than the sixth part of a Minute. Secondly, in cold Animals, as for Example, Eels, the Heart will beat for many Hours after it is taken out of the Body, yea tho the Ventricle be opened and all the Blood squeezd out. Thirdly, the process of the Fibres which compound the Sides of the Ventricles running in Spiral Lines from the Tip to the Base of the Heart, some one Way, and some the contrary, do clearly shew that the Systole of the Heart is nothing but a Muscular constriction, as a Purse is shut by drawing the Strings contrary ways: Which is also confirmd by Experience; for if the Vertex of the Heart be cut off, and a Finger thrust up into one of the Ventricles, in every Systole the Finger will be sensibly and manifestly pinchd by the Sides of the Ventricle. But for a full Confutation of this Fancy, I refer the Reader to Dr. Lowers Treatise de Corde Chap. 2 and Des Cartess rules concerning the transferring of Motion from one Body in Motion to another in Motion or in Rest, are the most of them by Experience found to be false; as they affirm who have made Trial of them.
This Pulse of the Heart Dr. Cudworth would have to be no Mechanical but a Vital Motion, which to me seems probable, because it is not under the Command of the Will; nor are we conscious of any Power to cause or to restrain it, but it is carried on and continued without our
*47 knowledge or notice; neither can it be caused by the Impulse of any external Movent, unless it be Heat. But how can the Spirits agitated by Heat, unguided by a vital Principle, produce such a regular reciprocal motion? If that Site which the heart and its Fibres have in the Diastole be most na tural to them, (as it seems to be) why doth it again contract itself, and not rest in that posture? If it be once contracted in a Systole by the Influx of the Spirits, why, the Spirits continually flowing in without let, doth it not always remain so? [for the Systole seems to resemble the forcible Bending of a Spring, and the Diastole its flying out again to its natural Site.] What is the Spring and principal Efficient of this Reciprocation? What directs and moderates the Motions of the Spirits? They being but stupid and senseless Matter, cannot of themselves continue any regular and constant Motion, without the Guidance and Regulation of some intelligen Being. You will say, what Agent is it which you would have to effect this? The Sensitive Soul it cannot be, because, that is indivisible, but the Heart, when separated wholly from the Body in some Animals, continues still to pulse for a considerable Time; nay, when it hath quite ceased, it may be brought to beat anew by the Application of warm Spittle, or by pricking it gently with a Pin or Needle. I answer, it may be in these Instances, the scattering Spirits remaining in the Heart, may for a Time, being agitated by Heat, cause these faint Pulsations though I should rather attribute them to a plastic Nature
*48 Nature or vital Principle, as the Vegetation of Plants must also be.
But, to proceed, neither can I wholly acquiesce in the Hypothesis of that Honourable and deservedly famous Author I formerly had occasion to mention; which I find in his Free Enquiry into the Vulgar Notion cf Nature, p. 77, 78. delivered in these Words.
"I think it probable that the great and Wise Author of Things did, when he first formed the Universal and Undistinguished Matter into the World, put its parts into various Motions, whereby they were neccesarily divided into numberless Portions of differing Bulks, Figures and Situations in respect of each other: And that by his infinite Wisdom and Power he did so guide and over-rule the Motions of these Parts, at the beginning of things, as that (whether in a shorter or a longer time Reason cannot determine) they were finally disposed into that beautiful and orderly Frame that we call the World; among whose Parts some were so curiously contrivd, as to be fit to become the Seeds or seminal Principles of Plants and Animals. And I further conceive, that he settled such Laws or Rules of local Motion among the Parts of the universal matter, that by his ordinary and preserving Concourse, the several Parts of the Universe thus once completed should be able to maintain the great Construction or System and Oeconomy of the mundane Bodies, and propagate the Species of living creatures. The same Hypothesis he
*49 repeats again pag. 124, 125 of the same Treatise.
This Hypothesis, I say, I cannot fully acquiesce in, because an intelligent Being seems me requisite to execute the Laws of Motion. For first, Motion being a fluent Thing, and one part of its Duration being absolutely independent upon another, it doth not follow that because any thing moves this Moment, it must necessarily continue to do so the next; unless it were actually possessed of its future Motion, which is a Contradiction; but it stands in as much Need of an Efficient to preserve and continue its Motion as it did at first to produce it. Secondly, Let Matter be divided into the subtilest Parts imaginable, and these be movd as swiftly as you will, it is but a senseless and stupid Being still, and makes no nearer Approac to Sense, Perception or vital Energy, than it had before; and do but only stop the internal Motion of its Parts, and reduce them to Rest, the finest and most subtile Body that is, may become as gross, and heavy, and stiff as Steel or Stone.
And as for any external Laws or established Rules of Motion, the stupid Matter is not capable of observing or taking any Notice of them, but would be as sullen as the Mountain was that Mahomet commanded to come down to him; neither can those Laws execute themselves. Therefore there must, besides Matter and Law, be some Efficient, and that either a Quality or Power inherent in the Matter itself, which is hard to conceive, or some
*50 external intelligent Agent, either God himself immediately, or some Plastick Nature.
Happening lately to read The Christian Virtuoso, written by the same Author of the Enquiry into the vulgar notions of Nature, (the illustrious Mr. Boyle) I find therein these Words: "Nor will the Force of all that has been said for Gods special Providence be eluded, by saying with some Deists, That afiter the first Formation of the Universe all Things were brought to pass by the settled Laws of Nature. For though this be confidently, and not without Colour, pretended, yet I confess it doth not satisfie me: For I look upon a Law as a Moral, not Physical Cause, as being indeed but a notional Thing, according to which an intelligent and free Agent is bound to regulate its Actions. But inanimate Bodies are utterly uncapable of Understanding; what it is, or what it enjoins, or when they act conformably or unconformably to it: therefore the Actions of inanimate Bodies, which cannot incite or moderate their own Actions, are produced by real Power, not by Law."
All this being consonant to wat I have here written, against what I took to be this Honourable Persons Hypothesis, I must needs, to do him Right, acknowledge myself mistaken; perceiving, now, that his Opinion was, that God Almiglaty did not only establish Laws and Rules of local motion among the Parts of the Universal Matter, but did, and does also himself, execute them, or move the Parts of Matter, according
*51 to them: So that we are in the main agreed, differing chiefly about the Agent that executes those Laws, which he holds to be God himself immediately, we a Plastick Nature; for the Reasons alledgd by Dr. Cudworth, in his System, pag. 149. which are,;
First, Because the former, according to vulgar apprehension, would render the Divine Providence operose, solicitous and distractious; and thereby make the Belief of it entertaind with greater Difficulty, and give Advantage to Atheists.
Secondly, it is not so decorous in Respect of God, that he should <>autourgein hapanta, set his own Hand as it were to every work, and immediately do all the meanest and triflingst things himself drudgingly, without making use of any inferiour or subordinate Ministers. These two Reasons are plausible, but not cogent; the two following are of greater Force.
Thirdly, the slow and gradual Process that is in the Generation of Things, which would seem to be a vain and idle Pomp or trifling formality, if the Agent were omnipotent.
Fourt ly, those <>hamartEmata, as Aristotle calls them, those Errors and Bungles which are committed when the Matter is inept or contumacious, as in Monsters, &c. which argue the Agent not to be irresistible; and that Nature is such a Thing as is not altogether uncapable, as well as human Art, of being sometimes frustrated and disappointed by the Indisposition of the Matter; Whereas an omnipotent agent would always do its Work infallibly and irresistibly, no Ineptitude or Stubbornness of the Matter being ever
*52 able to hinder such an one, or make him bungle or fumble in any thing. So far the Doctor.
For my Part, I should make no Scruple to attribute the Formation of Plants, their Growth and Nutrition, to the vegetative Soul in them; and likewise the Formation of Animals to the vegetative Power of their Souls; but that the Segments and Cuttings of some Plants, nay, the very Chips and smallest Fragments of their Body, Branches or Roots, will grow and become perfect plants themselves, and so the vegetative Soul, if that were the Architect, would be divisible and consequently no spiritual or intelligent Being; which the plastick Principle must be, as we have shewn: For that must preside over the whole Oeconomy of the Plant, and be one single agent, which takes Care of the Bulk and Figure of the whole, and the Situation, Figure, Texture of all the Parts, Root, Stalk, Branches, Leaves, Flowers, Fruit, and all their Vessels and juices. I therefore incline to Dr. Cudworths Opinion, that God uses for these Effects the subordinate Ministry of some inferiour Plastick Nature; as in his Works of Providence he doth of Angels. For the Description whereof I refer the Reader to his System.
Secondly, in particular I am difficult to believe, that the bodies of Animala can be formd by matter divided and movd by what Laws you will or can imagine, without the immediate Presidency, Direction and Regulation of some intelligent Being. In the Generation or first Formation of, suppose, the Human Body out of
*53 (thoough not an Homogeneous Liquor, yet) a fluid Substance, the only material Agent or Mover is a moderate Heat. Now, how this, by producing an intestine Motion in the Particles of the Matter, which can be conceivd to differ in nothing else but Figure, Magnitude and Gravity, should by Vertue thereof, not only separate the Heterogeneous Parts, but assemble the Homogeneous into Masses or Systems, and that not each Kind into one Mass, but into many and disjoind ones, as it were so many Troops; and that in each Troop the particular Particles should take their Places, and cast themselves into such a Figure; as for Example, the Bones being about 300, are formd of various sizes and shapes, so situate and connected, as to be subservient to many hundred Intentions and Uses, and many of them conspire to one and the same Action, and all this contrarily to the Laws of Specifick Gravity, in whatever Posture the body be formed; for the Bones, whose component Parts are the heavier, will be above some parts of the Flesh which are the lighter; how much more then, seeing it is formd with the Head, (which for its Bigness is the heaviest of all the Parts) uppermost. This, I say, I cannot by any Means conceive. I might instance in all the Homogenous Parts of the Body, either Sites and Figures, and ask by what imaginable Laws of Motion their Bulk, Figure, Situation and Connection can be made out ? What account can be given of the Valves, of the Veins and Arteries of the Heart, and of the Veins
*54 elsewhere, and of their Situation; of the Figure and Consistency of all the Humours and Membranes of the Eye, all conspiring and exactly fitted to the use of Seeing; but I have touched upon that already, and shall discourse on it largely afterward. You will ask me, who or what is the Operator in the Formation of the Bodies of Man and other Animals? I answer, The sensitive Soul itself, if it be a spiritual and immaterial Subfiance, as I am inclinable to believe: But if it be material, and consequently the whole Animal but a mere Machine or Automaton, as I can hardly admit, then must we have Recourse to a Plastick Nature.
That the Soul of Brutes is material, and the whole Animal, Soul and Body, but a mere Machine, is the Opinion, publickly ownd and declard, of DeS Cartes, Gassendus, Dr. Willis, and others. The same is also necessarily consequent upon the Doctrine of the Peripateticks, viz. that the sensitive soul is educed out of the power of the Matter, for nothing can be educed out of the Matter, but what was there before, which must be either Matter or some Modification of it. And therefore they cannot grant it to be a spiritual Substance, unless they will assert it to be educed out of nothing. This Opinion, I say, I can hardly digest. I should rather think Animals to be endued with a lower Degree of Reason, than that they are mere Machines. I could instance in many Actions of Brutes that are hardly to be accounted for without Reason and Argumentation; as that commonly
*55 noted of Dogs, that running before their Masters, they will stop at a Divarication of the way, till they see which Hand their Masters will take; and that when they have gotten a Prey, which they fear their Masters will take from them, they will run away and hide it, and afterwards turn to it. What account can be given why a Dog, being to leap upon a Table which he sees to be too high for him to reach at once, if a Stool Chair happens to stand near it, doth first mount up that, and from thence the Table? If he were a Machine or Piece of Clockwork, and this Motion caused by the striking of a Spring, there is no Reason imaginable why the Spring being set on Work, should not carry the machine in a right Line toward the Object that put it in Motion, as well when the Table is high as when it is low: Whereas I have often observd the first Leap the Creature hath taken up the Stool, not to be directly toward the Table, but in a Line oblique and much declining from the Object that movd it, or that part of the Table on which it Stood.
Many the like Actions there are, which I shall not spend Time to relate. Should this true, that Beasts were Automata or Machines, they could have no Sense or Perception of Pleasure or Pain, and consequently no Cruelty could be exercisd towards them; which is contrary to the doleful Significations they make when beaten or tormented, and contrary to the common Sense of Mankind, all Men naturally pitying them, as apprehending them to have such
*56 Sense and Feeling of Pain and Misery as themselves have; whereas no Man is troubled to see a Plant torn, or cut, or stampt, or mangled how you please; and at last seemingly contrary to the Scripture too: For it is said, Proverbs 12 10 A righteous Man regardeth the life of his Beast; but the tender Mercies of the Wicked are cruel. The former Clause is usually Englishd , A good Man is merciful to his Beast; which is the true Exposition of it; as appears by the opposite Clause, that the Wicked are cruel, What less then can be inferrd from this Place, than that Cruelty may be exercisd towards Beasts, which, were they meer Machines, it could not be? To which I do not see what can be answerd, but that the Scripture accommodates itself to the common, tho false, Opinion of Mankind, who take these Animals to be endued with Sense of Pain, and think that Cruelty may be exercisd towards them; tho in Reality there is no such thing. Besides, having the same members and Organs of Sense as we have, it is very probable they have the same Sensations and Perceptions with us.
To this Des Cartes answers, or indeed saith, he hath nothing to Answer; but that if they think as well as we, they have an immortal Soul as well as we: Which is not at all likely, because there is no Reason to believe it of some Animals without believing it of all, whereas there are many too imperfect to belleve it of them, such as are Oysters and Sponges, and the like. To which I answer, That there is no Necessity that they should be immortal,
*57 because it is possible they may be destroyed or annihilated. But I shall not wade further into this Controversie, because it is beside my Scope, and there hath been as much written of it already as I have to say, by Dr. Moore, Dr. Cudworth, Des Cartes, Dr. Willis and others Pro and Con.
Of the visible works of God, and their Division.
I come now to take aView of the Works of the Creation, and to observe something of the Wisdom of Ciocl discernible in the Formation of them, in their Order and Harmony, and in their Ends and Uses: And first I shall run them over slightly, remarking chiefly what is obvious and exposd to the Eyes and Notice of the more careless and incurious Observer. Secondly, I shall select one or two particular Pieces, and take a more exact Survey of them; though even in these, more will escape our Notice tha can be discoverd by the most diligent Scrutiny: for our Eyes and Senses, however armed or assisted, are too grosss to discern the curiosity of the workmanship of Nature, or those minute Parts by which it acts, and of which Bodies are composd; and our Understanding too dark and infirm to discover and comprehend all the Ends and Uses to which the infinitely wise Creator did design them.
But before I proceed, being put in Mind thereof by the Mention of the Assistance of our Eyes, I cannot omit one general Observation concerning the Curiosity of the Works of Nature
*58 in Comparison of the Works of Art which I shall propose in the late Bishop of Chesters Words, (Treatise of Natural Religion, Lib. I. C. 6.) "The Observations which have been made in these latter Times by the Help of the Microscope, since we had the Use and Improvement of it, discover a vast difference between Natural and Artificial Things. Whatever is natural, beheld thro that, appears exquisitely formd, and adornd with all imaginable Elegancy and Beauty. There are such inimitable Glidings in the smallest Seeds of Plants, but especially in the Parts of Animals in the Head or Eye of a small Fly; such Accuracy, Order and Symmetry in the Frame of the most minute Creatures, a Louse, for example, or a Mite, as no Man were able to conceive without seeing of them.
Whereas the most curious Works of Art, the sharpest and finest Needle, doth appear as a blunt rough Bar of Iron, coming from the Furnace or the Forge: The most accurate Engravings or Embellishments seem such rude, bungling and deformd Work, as if they had been done with a Mattock or Trowel; so vast a Difference is there betwixt the Skill of Nature, and the Rudeness and Imperfection of Art. I might add, that the Works of Nature, the better Lights and Glasses you use, the more clearer and exactly formd they appear; whereas the Effects of Human Art, the more curiously they are viewd and examind, the more of Deformity they discover.
*59 This being premised, for our more clear and distinct Proceeding in our cursory View of the Creation, I shall rank the Parts of this material and visible World under several Heads. Bodies are either inanimate or animate. Inanimate Bodies are either celestial or terrestrial. Celestial as the Sun, Moon and Stars: Terrestrial are either simple, as the four Elements, Fire, Water, Earth and Air; or mixt, either imperfectly, as the Meteors, or more perfectly, as Stones, Metals, Minerals, and the like. Animate Bodies are either such as are endued with a Vegetable Soul as Plants; or a Sensitive Soul, as the Bodies of Animals, Birds, Beasts, Fishes, and Insects; or a Rational Soul, as the Body of Man and the Vehicles of Angels, if any such there be.
I make use of this division to comply with the common and receivd Opinion, and for easier Comprehension and Memory; tho I do not think it agreeable to Philosophick Verity and Accuracy, but do rather incline to the Atomick Hypothesis. For these Bodies we call elements are not only the only Ingredients of mixd Bodies; neither are they absolutely simple themselves, as they do exist in the World, the Sea-water containing a copious Salt manifest to Sense; and both Sea and Fresh-water sufficing to nourish many Species of Fish, and consequently containing the various Parts of which their Bodies are compounded. And I believe there are many Species of Bodies which the Peripateticks call mixd, which are as simple as the Elements themselves, as Metals, Salts and some sorts of
*60 stones. I should therefore, with Dr. Grew and others, rather attribute the various Species of inanimate Bodies to the divers Figures of the minute Particles of which they are made up: And the Reason why there is a set and constant Number of them in the World, none destroyd nor any new ones producd, I take to be, Because the Sum of the Figures of those minute Bodies into which Matter was at first divided, is determinate and fixd.
2. Because those minute Parts are indivisible, not absolutely, but by any natural Force; so that there neither is nor can be more or fewer of them: For were they divisible into small and diversly figurd parts by Fire or any other natural Agent, the Species of Nature must be confounded, some might be lost and destroyed, but new ones would certainly be producd; unless we could suppose these new diminutive Particles should again assemble and marshal themselves into Corpuscles of such Figures as they compounded before; which I see no Possibility for them to do, without some theos apo mEKanEs to direct them: Not that I think these inanimate Bodies to consist wholly of one Sort of Atoms, but that their Bulk consists mainly or chiefly of one Sort. But whereas it may be objected that Metals ( which of all others seem to be most simple ) may be transmitted one into another, and so the Species doth not depend upon the being compounded of Atoms of one Figure; I Answer, I am not fully satisfied of the Matter of Fact: But if any such Transmutation be, possibly all Metals may be of one
*61 Species, and the Diversity may proceed from the Admixture of different Bodies with the Principle of the Metal. If it be askd, why may not atoms of different Species concur to the Composition of Bodies? and so, tho there be but a few Sorts of original Principles, may there not be produced infinite Species of compound Bodies, as by the various Dispositions and Combinations of Twenty-four Letters innumerabl Words may be made up? I answer, because the Heterogeneous Atoms or Principles are not naturally apt to cohere and stick together when they are mingled in the same Liquor, as the Homooeneous readily do.
I do not believe that the Species of Principles or indivisible Particles are exceeding numerous but possibly the immediate component Particles of the Bodies of Plants and Animals may be themselves compounded.
Of the Heavenly Bodies.
Before I come to treat of the Heavenly Bodies in particular, I shall premise in general, that the whole Universe is divided into two Sorts of Bodies, the one very thin and fluid, the other more dense, solid and consistent. The thin and fluid is the Ether, comprehending the Air or Atmosphere encompassing the particular Stars and Planets. Now, for the Stability and Perpetuity of the whole Universe, Divine Wisdom and Providence hath given the solid and stable Parts a two-fold Power, one
*62 of Gravity, and the other of Circular Motion. By the first they are preservd from Dissolution and Dissipation, which the Second would otherwise infer: For it being by the Consent of Philosophers, an innate Property of every Body moved circularly about any Centre to recede or endeavour to recede from that Centre of its Motion, and the more strongly the swifter it is movd, the Stars and Planets being whirled about with great Velocity, wouid suddenly, did nothing inhibit it, at least in a short Time be shatterd in Pieces, and Scatterd every Way through the Ether. But now their Gravity unites and binds them up fast, hindring the Dispersion of their Parts, I will not dispute what Gravity is; only I will add, that, for ought I have heard or read, the Mechanical Philosophers have not as yet given a clear and satisfactory Account of it.
The Second Thing is a Circular Motion upon their own Axes, and in some of them also, its probable, about other Points, if we admit the Hypothesis of every fixd Stars being a Sun or Sun-like Body, and having a Choire of Planets, in like manner moving about him. These Revolutions, we have Reason to believe, are as exactly equal and uniform as the Earths are; which could not be, were there any Place for chance, and did not a Providence continually over-see and secure them from all Alteration or Immunition, which either internal Changes in their own Parts, or external Accidents and Occurrences, would at one time or other necessarily
*63 induce. Without this circular motion of the Earth, here could be no living: One Hemisphere would be condemnd to perpetual Cold and Darkness, the other continually roasted and parchd by the Sun-beams. And it is reasonable to think, that this circular Motion is as necessary to most other Planetary Bodies, as it is to the Earth. As for the fixd Stars, if they be Sun-like Bodies, it is is probable also each of them moves circularly upon its own Axis as the Sun doth: But what Necessity there is of such a Motion, for Want of understanding the Nature of those Bodies, I must confess myself not yet to comprehend; tho that it is very great I doubt not, both for themselves, and for Bodies about them.
First, for the Celestial or Heavenly Bodies, the Equability and Constancy of their Motions, the Certainty of their Periods and Revolutions, the Conveniency of their Order and Situations, argue then to be ordaind and governd by Wisdom and Understanding; yea, so much Wisdom as Man cannot easily fathom or comprehend: For we see, by how much the hypotheses of Astronomers are more simple and conformable to reason, by so much do they give a better Account of the Heavenly Motions. It is reported of Alphonsus King of Aragon, (I know not whether truly) that when he saw and considerd the many Eccentricks, Epicycles, Epicycles upon Epicycles, Librations, and Contrariety of Motions, which were requisite in th old Hypothesis to give an Account of the Celestial
*64 Phaenomena, he should prefume blasphemously to say, that the Universe was a bungling Piece; and that if he had been of Gods Counsel, he could have directed him to have made it better. A Speech as rash and ignorant, as daring and prophane.
For it was nothing but Ignorance of the true Process of Nature that induced the Contrivers of that Hypothesis to invent such absurd Suppositions, and him to accept them for true, and attribute them to the great Author of the Heavenly Motions: For in the New Hypothesis of the modern Astronomers, we see most of those Absurdities and Irregularities rectified and removd, and I doubt not but they would all vanish, could we certainly discover the true Method and Process of Nature in those Revolutions: for Seeing in those Works of Nature which we converse with, we constantly find those Axioms true, <>Natura non facit circuitus, Nature doth not fetch a Compass when it may proceed in a streight Line; and <>Natura nec abundat in superfluis, nec deficit in necessariis, Nature abounds not in what is superfluous, neither is deficient in what is necessary. We may also rationally conclude concerning the Heavenly Bodies, seeing there is so much Exactness observd in the Time of their Motions, that they punctually come about in the same Periods to the Hundredth Part of a Minute, as may beyond Exception be demonstrated by comparing their Revolutions, surely there is also used the most simple, facile, and convenient Way for
*65 the Performance of them.
Among these Heavenly Bodies;
First, the Sun, a vast Globe of Fire, esteeemed by the ancienter and most modest Computation above 160 times bigger than the Earth, the very Life of this inferiour World, without whose salutary and vivifick Beams all Motion both Animal, Vital and Natural would speedily cease, and nothing be left here below but Darkness and Death. All Plants and Animals must needs in a very short Time be not only mortified, but, together with the Surface of Land and Water, frozen as hard as a Flint or Adamant: So that of all the Creatures of the World the ancient Heathen had most Reason to worship him as a God, tho no true Reason; because he was but a Creature, and not God: And we Christians do think that the Service of the Animals that live upon the Earth, and principally Man, was one End of his Creation; seeing without him there could no such Things have been. This Sun, I say, according to the old Hypothesis, whirld round about the Earth daily with incredible Celerity, making Night and Day by his rising and setting; Winter and Summer by his Access to the Several Tropicks, creating such a grateful variety of Seasons, enlightning all Parts of the Earth by his Beams, and cherishing them by his Heat, situate and movd so in Respect of this sublunary World (and its likely also in Respect of all the Planets about him) that Art and Counsel could not have Designd either to have placed him better,
*66 or movd him more conveniently for the Service thereof, as I could easily make appear by the Inconveniences that would follow upon the Supposition of any other Situation and Motion, shews forth the great Wisdom of him who so disposd and movd him.
Secondly, The Moon, a Body in all Probability somewhat like the Earth we live upon, by its constant and regular Motion, helps us to divide our Time, reflects the Sun-beams to us, and so by illuminating the Air, takes away in some Measure the disconsolate darkness of our winter Nights; procures or at least regulates the Fluxes and Refluxes of the Sea, whereby the Water is kept in constant Motion, and preservd from Putrefaction, and so renderd more salutary for the Maintenance of its Breed, and useful and serviceable for Mans Convenience of Fishing and Navigation; not to mention the great Influence it is supposd to have upon all moist Bodies, and the Growth and Increase of Vegetables and Animals: Men generally observing the Age of the Moon in the planting of all Kinds of Trees, sowing of Grain, grafting and inoculating, and pruning of Fruit-Trees, gathering of Fruit, bcutting of Corn or Grass; and thence also making Prognosticks of Weather, Because such Observations seems to me uncertain. Did this Luminary serve to no other Ends and Uses, as I am Persuaded it doth many, especially to maintain the Creatures which in all likelyhood breed and inhabit there, for which I refer you to the ingenious Treatises written by Bishop Wilkins and
*67 Monsieur Fontenelle on that Subject, yet these were enough to evince it to be the Effect and Product of Divine Wisdom and Power.
Thirdly, As for the rest of the Planets besides their particular Uses, which are to Us unknown, or meerly conjectural, their Courses and Revolutions, their Stations and Retrogradations, observd constantly so many Ages together in most certain and determinate Periods of Time, do sufficiently demonstrate that their Motions are instituted and governd by Counsel, Wisdom and Understanding.
Fourthly, The like may be said of the fixd Stars, whose Motions are regular, equal and constant: So that we see nothing in the Heavens which argues Chance, Vanity of Error; but, on the contrary, Rule, Order, and Constancy; the Effects and Arguments of Wisdom: Wherefore, as Cicero excellently concludes, <>Coelestem ergo admirabilem ordinem incredibilemque constantium, ex qua conservatio et salus omnium omnis oritur, qui vacare mente putat, noe ipse mentis expers habendus est. : Wherfore whoever thinketh that the admirable Order and incredible Constancy of the Heavenly Bodies and their Motions, whereupon the Preservation and Welfare of all Things doth depend, is not governed by Mind and Understanding, he himself is to be accounted void thereof.
And again, "shall we (saith he) when we see an Artificial Engine, as a Sphere or Dyal, or the like, at first Sight acknowledge, that it is a Work of Reason and Art? <>Cum autem impetum
*68 coeli, admirabili cum celeritate moveri vertique videamus, constantissime conscientem vicissitudines anniversarias, cum summa Salute et conservatione rerum omnium, dubitare quin ea non solum ratione fiant, sed excellenti quadam Divinaque ratione: " And can we, when we see the Force of the Heavens movd and whirld about with admirable Celerity, most constantly finishing its anniversary Vicissitudes, to the eminent Welfare and Preser vation of all Things, doubt at all that these Things are performd not only by Reason, but by a certain excellent and divine Reason?
To these Things I shall add an Observation which I must confess myself to have borrowed of the honourable Person more than once mentiond already, that even the Eclipses of the Sun and Moon, though they be frightful Things to the superstitious Vulgar, and of ill Influence on Mankind, if we may believe the no less superstitious astrologers, yet to knowing Men, that can skilfully apply them, they are of great Use, and such as common Heads could never have imagind: Since not only they may on divers Occasions help to settle Chronology, and rectifie the Mistakes of Historians that writ many Ages ago; but which is, though a less Wonder, yet of greater Utility, they are (as Things yet Stand) necessary to define with competent certainty, the Longitude of Places or Points on the Terraqueous Globe, which is a Thing of very great Moment not only to Geography, but to the most useful and important
*69 Art of Navigation. To which may be added, which I shall hereafter mention, that they serve to demonstrate the spherical Roundness of the Earth: So that I may well conclude with the Psalmist, Psalm 19.1. The Heavens declare the Glory of God, and the Firmament sheweth his handy Work.
Of Terrestrial and Inanimate Simple Bodies
I come now to consider the Terrestrial Bodies; I shall say nothing of the whole Body of the Earth in general, Because I reserve that as one of the Particulars I shall more carefully and curiously examine.
Terrestrial Bodies, according to our Method before propounded, are either inanimate or animate, and the inanimate either simple or mixt. Simple, as the four Elements, leire, Waters EartaJ and Sir: I call these Eleznents in Compliance (as I said before) with the vulgarly-receivd Opinion; not that I think them to be: the Principles or component Ingredients of all other sublunary Bodies: I might call them the four great Aggregates of Bodies of the same Species, or four Sorts of Bodies, of which there are great Aggregates. These, notwithstanding that they are endued with contrary Qualities, and are continually encroaching one upon another, yet they are so balancd, and kept in such an Equilibrium, that neither prevaileth over other, but what one gets in one Place it loseth in another.
First, Fire cherisheth and reviveth by its Heat, without which all Things would be torpid
*70 and without Motion, nay, without Fire no Life, it being the vital Flame residing in the Blood that keeps the bodily Machine in Motion, and renders it a fit Organ for the Soul to work by. The Uses of Fire (I do not here speak of the Peripateticks Elementary Fire in the Concave of the Moon, which is but a meer figment, but our ordinary Culinary) are in a manner infinite for dressing and preparing of Victuals, bakd, boild and rost; for melting and refining of Metals and Minerals; for the fusion of Glass, [a Material whose Uses are so many, that it is not easie to enumerate them, it serving us to make Windows for our Houses, Drinking-Vessels, Vessels to contain and preserve all Sorts of fermented Liquors, distilld Waters, Spirits, Oils, Extracts, and other Chymical Preparations, as also Vessels to distil and prepare them in; for Looking-Glasses, Spectacles, Microscopes and Telescopes, whereby our Sight is not only relievd, but wonderfully assisted to make rare Discoveries] for making all Sorts of Instruments for Husbandry, mechanick Arts and Trade, all Sorts of Arms or Weapons of War defensive and offensive; for fulminating Engines; for burning of Lime, baking of Bricks, Tiles, and all Sorts of Potters Vessels or Earthen Ware, for casting and forging Metaline Vessels and Utensils; for Distillations, and all Chymical Operations hinted before in the Use of Glass; for affording us Lights for any Work or Exercise in Winter Nights; for digging in Mines and dark Caverns; and, finally, by its comfortable Warmth
*7l securing us from the Injuries of Cold, or relieving us when we have been bitten and benumd with it. A Subject or Utensil of so various and inexplicable Use, who could have invented and formed, but an infinitely wise and powerful Efficient ?
Secondly, The Air serves us and all Animals to breath in, containing the Fewel of tha vital Flame we speak of, without which it would speedily languish and go out; so necessary it is for us and other Land-Animals that without the Use of it we could live but very few Minutes: Nay, Fishes and other Water-Animals cannot abide without the Use of it; for if you put Fish into a Vessel of a narrow Mouth full of Water, they will live and swim there, not only Days and Months, but even Years; but if with your Hand or any other Cover you stop the Vessel so as wholly to exclude the Air, or interrupt its Communication with the Water, they will suddenly be suffocated; as Rondeletius affirms he often experimented.
If you fill not the Vessel up to the Top, but leave some Space empty for the Air to take up, and then clap your Hand upon the Mouth of the Vessel, the Fishes will presently contend which shall get uppermost in the Water, that so they may enjoy the open Air; which I have also observd them to do in a Pool of Water that hath been almost dry in the Summer-Time, because the Air that insinuated itself into the Water did not suffice them for Respiration. Neither is it less
*72 necessary for Insects than it is for other Animals, but rather more, these having more Air-Vessels for their Bulk by far than they, there being many Orifices on each Side their Bodies for the Admission of Air, which if you stop with Oil or Honey, the Insect presently dies, and revives no more. This was an Observation of the Ancients, though the Reason of it they did not understand; (<>Oleo illito Insecta omnia ex animantur.<> Pliny.) which was nothing but the intercluding of the Air; for tho you put Oil upon them, if you put it not upon or obstruct those Orifices therewith, whereby they draw the Air, they suffer nothing: If you obstruct only some, and not others, the Parts which are near and supplied with Air, from thence are by and by convulsed and shortly relaxed and deprived of Motion, the rest that were untouched still retaining it. Nay, more than all this, Plants themselves have a Kind of Respiration, being furnishd with plenty of Vessels for the Derivation of Air to all their Parts; as hath been observd, nay, first discoverd, by that great and curious Naturalist <>Malpighius<>.
Another Use of the Air is to sustain the Flight of Birds and Insects. Moreover, by its gravity it raises the Water in Pumps, Siphons and other Engines, and performs all those Feats which former Philosophers through Ignorance of the Efficient Cause attributed to a Final, namely, Natures abhorrence of a Vacuity or empty space. The elastic or expansive Faculty of the Air, whereby it dilates itself, when compressed,
*73 (indeed this lower Region of it, by Reason of the Weight of the Superincumbent, is always in a compressed State) hath been made Use in the common Weather-glasses, in Wind-guns, and in several ingenious Water-Works, and doubtless hath a great Interest in many natural Effects and Operations.
Against what we have said of the Necesssity of the Air for the Maintenance of the Vital Flame it may be objected, That the Foetus in the Womb lives, its Heart pulses, and its Blood circulates; and yet it draws in no Air, neither hath the Air any Access to it. To which I answer; That it doth receive Air, so much as sufficient for it in its present State, from the maternal Blood by the <>Placenta uterina<> or the Cotyledons. This Opinion generally propounded, viz. That the Respiration of the Dam dl serve the Foetus also, or supply sufficient Air to it, I have met with in Books; but the explicit Notion of it I owe to my Learned and Worthy Friend Dr.
*74 Arteries to convey the Blood thither ? It would (one might rationally think) be more likely, that as in the Abdomen of every Animal, so here, there should have been some lacteal Veins formd, beginning from the Placenta or Cotyledons, which concurring in one common Ductus, should at last empty themselves into the <>Vena cava.
Secondly, I have observed in a Calf, the Umbilical Vessels to terminate in certain Bodies divided into a Multitude of carneous Papillae, (as I may so call them) which are receivd into so many Sockets of the Cotyledons growing on the Womb; which carneous Papillae may without Force or Laceration be drawn out of those Sockets. Now these Papillae do well resemble the Aristoe or Radii of a Fishs Gills, and very probably have the same Use to take in the Air; so that the maternal Blood which flows to the Cotyledons, and encircles these Papillae, communicates by them to the Blood of the Foetus, the Air wherewith itself is impregnate; as the Water flowing about the carneous Radii of the Fishs Gills doth the Air that is lodgd therein to them.
Thirdly, That the maternal Blood flows most copiously to the Placenta uterina in Women, is manifest from the great Hemorrhagy that succeeds the Separation thereof at the Birth.
Fourthly, After the Stomach and Intestines are formd, the Foetus seems to take in its whole Nourishment by the Mouth; there being always found in the Stomach of a Calf plenty of the Liquor containd in the Amnios wherein he swims, and Faeces in his Intestines) and
*75 Abundance of Urine in the <>Allantoides; so that the Foetus in the Womb doth live as it were the Life of a Fish.
Lastly, Why else should there be such an instant Necesity of Respiration so soon as ever the Foetus is fallen off from the Womb.
I know that if the Foetus be taken out of the Womb inclosd in the Secundines, it will continue to live, and the Blood to circulate for a considerable Time, as Dr. Harvey observes. The reason whereof I conceive to be, because the Blood still circulates through the Cotyledons or Placenta, which are now exposd to the open Air, and so from thence receives sufficient Supplies thereof, to continue its gentle Motion and feed the vital Flame. But when, upon exclusion of the Young, the Umbilical Vessels are broken, and no more Air is receivd that Way, the Plastick Nature, to preserve the Life of the Animal, speedily raises the Lungs, and draws into them Air in great Abundance, which causes a sudden and mighty Accension in the Blood; to the Maintenance whereof a far greater Quantity of Air is requisite, than would serve to feed the mild and languid Flame before.
This Way we may give a facile and very probable Account of it, to wit, because receiving no more Communications of Air from its Dam or Mother, it must needs have a speedy Supply from without, or else extinguish and die for Want of it; being not able to live longer
*76 without Air at its first Birth, than it can do afterward.
Upon this Occasion, give me leave to discourse a little concerning the Airs insinuating itself into the Water. I say therefore, That the Air, at least that Part of it which is the Aliment of Fire, and Fewel of the vital Flame in Animals, easily penetrates the Body of Water exposd to it, and diffuseth itself through every Part of it. Hence it is that we find Fish in subterraneous Rivers, and some Fish in the Earth itself; which can no more live without Air there than in the open Waters: Hence the Miners, when they come once at water, are out of all Danger of Damps. Youll say, How gets the Air into the Water in Subterraneous Rivers, and into the Earth to the fossil Fishes; I Answer, The same Way that the Water doth: Which I suppose to be by its upper Superficies; the Water descending by Pores and Passages that there it finds into Chinks and Veins, and by Confluence of many of them by Degrees swelling into a Stream, the Air accompanies and follows it by a conltant Succession.
As for fossil Fishes, some make their Way into the Earth up the Veins of Water opening into the Banks of Rivers, where they lie till they grow so great that they cannot return: In which Veins they find Air enough to serve their Turn, needing not much by Reason that they lie still, and move but little. Others in Times of Floods are left in the Meadows and with the Water sink into the Earth
*77 at some Holes and Pores that the Water finds or makes, by which also they are supplied with Air. The Reason why the Miners are out of Danger of Damps when they come to Water, I conceive is, becausc then presently the Air that stagnated in the Shaft sinks into the Water, and fresh Air descends and succeeds, and so there is a Circulation; in the same Manner as by the sinking of an Air-Shaft the Air hath Liberty tc circulate, and carry out the Steams both of the Miners Breath and the Damps, which would otherwise stagnate there. Indeed, though there were no Damps, yet the nitrous Part of the Air being spent and consumd by the breathing of the Miners, the remaining Part would be renderd altogether unfit for Respiration, unless new and fresh Air could succeed.
And here methinks appears a Necessity of bringing in the Agency of some Super-intendent intelligent Being, be it a Plastick Nature, or what you will: For what else should put the Diaphragm, and all the Muscles Serving to Respiration, in Motion all of a sudden so soon as ever the Foetus is brought forth ? Why could they not have rested as well as they did in the Womb ? What aileth them that they must needs bestir themselves to get in Air to maintain the Creatures Life ? Why could they not patiently suffer it to die ? That the Air of itself could not rush in, is clear; for that, on the contrary there is requird some Force to remove the incumbent Air, and make Room for the External to enter. You will say, the Spirits do at this
*78 Time flow to the Organs of Respiration, the Diaphragm and other Muscles which concur to that Action, and move them. But what rouses the Spirits, which were quiescent during the Continuance of the Foetus in the Womb ? Here is no appearing Impellent but the external Air, the Body suffering no Change but of Place, out of its close and warm Prison into the open and cool Air: But how or why that Should have such an Influence upon the Spirits, as to drive them into those Muscles electively, I am not subtil enough to discern. As for the Respiration of the Chick in the Egg, I suppose the Air not only to be included in the White, but also to be supplyd through the Shell and Membranes.
Thirdly, Water is one Part, and that not the least of our Sustenance, and that affords the greatest Share of Matter in all Productions, being not (as it exists in the World) a simple and unmixd Body, but containing in it the Principles or minute component Particles of all Bodies: To speak nothing of those inferiour Uses of Washing and Bathing, dressing and preparing victuals. But if we shall consider the great Concepticula and Congregations of Water, and the Distribution of it all over the dry Land in Springs and Rivers, there will occur abundant Arguments of Wisdom and Understanding. The Sea, what infinite Variety of Fishes doth it nourish ! Psalm 104. 25. In the Verse next to my Text; The Earth is full of thy Riches: So is this great and wide Sea, wherein are Things
*79 creeping innumerable, both small and great Beasts, &c. How doth it exactly compose itself to Level or equal Superficies, and with the Earth make up one Spherical Roundness? How doth it constantly observe its Ebbs and Flows, its Spring and Nepe-tides, and still retain its Saltness, so convenient for the Maintenance of its Inhabitants, serving also the Uses of Man for Navigation, and the Convenience of Carriage ? That it should be defined by Shores and Strands and Limits, I mean at first, when it was natural to it to overflow and stand above the Earth. All these Particulars declare Abundance of Wisdom in their primitive Constitution. This last the Psalmist takes Notice of in the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th Verses of this Psalm: Speaking of the Earth at the first Creation, he saith, Thou coveredst it with the Deep as with a Garment, the waters stood above the Mountains: At thy rebuke they fled, at the Voice of thy Thunder they hasted away (the Mountains ascend, the Valleys descend) unto the Place thou hast prepared for them. Thou hast set a Bound that they may not pass over: That they turn not again to cover the Earth. But what Need was there (may some say) that the Sea should be made so large, the its Superficies should equal if not exceed that of the dry Land ? Where is the Wisdom of the Creator in making so much useless Sea, and so little dry Land, which would have been far more beneficial and serviceable to Mankind ? Might not at least half the Sea have been spard and added to the Land, for the Entertainment
*80 and Maintenance of Men, who by their continual Striving and Fighting to enlarge their Bounds, and encroaching upon one another, seems to be straitened for Want of Room.
To this Objection against the Wisdom of God in thus dividing Sea and Land, Mr. Keil, in his Examination of Dr. Burnets Theory of the Earth, p.92, 93. thus answers: This, as most other of the Atheists Arguments, proceeds froon a deep ignorance of Natural Philosophy; for if there were but half the Sea that now is, there would be also but half the Quantity of Vapours, and consequently we could have but half so many Rivers as now there are to supply all the dry Land we have at present, and half as much more; for the Quantity of Vapours which are raisd, bears a Proportion to the Surface whence they are raisd, as well as to the Heat which raisd them. The wise Creator therefore did so prudently order it that the Sea should be large enough to supply Vapours sufficient for all the Land, which it would not do if it were less than now it is.
But against this it may be objected, Why should not all the Vapours which are raisd out of the Sea fall down again into it by Rain ? Is there not as much Reason that the Vapours which are exhaled out of the Earth should be carried down to the Sea, as that those raised out of the Sea be brought up upon the dry Land ? If some by Winds be driven from the Sea up Land, others by the same Cause will be blown down from Land to Sea, and so balancing one another, they will in Sum fall
*81 equally upon Sea and Land; and consequently the Sea contribute nothing to the Watering the Earth, or the Maintenance of Rivers.
To which I answer, That as to the Watering of the Earth these needs no Supply from the Sea, there being suffiicient Water exhaled out of itself to do that; there is no more returnd upon it by Rain so as to Rest upon it, than an equivalent quantity to what was raisd of of it.
But the Rivers must be supplied otherways. Our Opinion is, That they have their Supply from Rain and Vapours. The Queftion is, Whence these Vapours are brought? We answer, From the Sea. But what brings them up from the Sea? I answer, The Winds: And so I am arrivd at the main Difficulty. Why should not the Winds carry them that are exhaled out of the Eartb down to the Sea, as well as bring them up upon the Earth, which are raisd from the Sea. Or which is all one, why should not the Winds blow indifferently from Sea and Land ? To which I answer, That I must needs acknowledge myself not to comprehend the Reason hereof. God is truly said, Psalm 135.7. To bring the Wind out of his Treapures. But the Matter of Fact is most certain, viz. That the Winds do bring abundantly more Vapour up from the Sea than they carry down thither.
First, because otherwise there can no Account be given of Floods. It is clear, That Floods with us proceed from Rain; and it is often a vast Quantity of Water they carry down
*82 to the Sea. Whence come those Vapours which supply all this Water ? I hope those who bring up Springs and Rivers from the great Abyss, will not bring those Vapours, which unite into Drops, and descend in Rain from thence too. Should they rise from the dry Land only, they would soon render it dry indeed; more parchd than the Desarts of Libya. We should quickly come to an End of Floods, and of Rain too, if nothing were returnd from the Sea again, not to mention, that the Sea must needs in such a Case overflow its Shores, and enlarge its bounds.
But this Way there is an easy Account to be given. It is clear, that the Sun doth exhale Vapours both from Sea and Land; and that the Superficies of Sea and Land is sufficient to yield Vapours for Rain, Rivers and Floods, when heated to such a Degree as the Sun heats it : So that there wants only Wind to bring up so great a Proportion of Vapours from the Sea as may afford Water for the Floods ; that is, so much as is returnd back again to the Sea.
Some may perchance demand, To what Purpose serve the Floods ? What use is there of them ? I answer, To return back tothe Sea the Surplusage of Water after the Earth is sated with Rain. It may be further askd, What need more Rain be poured upon the Earth than is sufficient to water it ? I reply, That the Rain brings down from the Mountains and higher grounds a great Quantity of Earth, and in Times of Floods spreads it upon the Meadows and Levels, rendering them thereby so fruitful as to
*83 stand in Need of no Culture or Manuring. So we see the Land of Egypt owes its great Fertility to the Annual Overflowing of the River Nilus : And its likely the Countries bordering upon the River of Ganges may receive the like benefit by the Overflowing thereof. Moreover, all Rain-water contains in it a copious Sediment of Terrestrial Matter, which by standing it precipitates, and is not a simple Elementary Water. This Terrestrial Matter serves for the Nourishment of Plants, and not the Water itself, which is but a Vehicle to derive this Nutriment to all the Parts of the Plants : And therefore the more Rain, the more of this Nutricious Matter may be precipitated upon the Earth, and so the Earth renderd more fruitful. Besides all this, its not unlikely, that the Rain-water may be endud with some vegetating or prolifick Virtue, derivd from some Saline or Oleose Particles it contains : For we see, that Aquatick Plants, which grow in the very Water, do not thrive and flourish in dry Summers, when they are not also waterd with the Dew of Heaven.
Secondly, Another Argument to prove, That the Winds bring up more Vapours from the Sea than they carry down thither, is, Because the Winds do more frequently blow from the Sea than to the Sea. This appears from the Trees which grow on and near the Sea-shores all along the Western Coast of England, whose Heads and Boughs I have observd to run out far to Landward, but toward the Sea to be so snubd by the
*84 Winds, as if their Boughs and Leaves had been pard or shaven off on that Side.
It is also observd, that the Western Wind, which is the most violent and boisterous of all with us in England, which comes from off the great Atlantick Ocean, is of longest Continuance. Julius Caesar, in his 5th Book of Commentaries de Bello Gallico, saith of it, Magnam partem omnis temporis in his locis fluere consuevit; it is wont to blow in these Quarters a great Part of the whole Year : Which Observation holds true at this Day, the Wind lying in that Corner at least three Quarters of the Year.
Since this Motion of the Winds is constant, there is doubtless a constant and settled Cause of it, which deserves to be enquird into, and searchd out by the Study and Endeavours of the most sagacious Naturalists. But however the Wind be raisd, it may more easily blow from Sea to Land, than from Land to Sea, because the Superficies of the Sea being even or level, there is nothing to stop its Course; but on the Land there are not only Woods, but Mountains to hinder and divert it.
Having myself seen so much of the Bottom of the Sea round about the Coasts of England and a great Part of the Low Countries, of Italy and Sicily, I must needs adhere to what I deliverd, That where the Bottom of the Sea is not Rocky, but Earth, Owze or Sand, and that is incomparably the greatest Part of it, it is by the Motion of the Waters, so far as the Reciprocation of the Sea extends to the Bottom, brought
to a Level; and if it should be now unequal, would in Time be leveld again. By Level I do not mean so as to have no Declivity (for the Reciprocation preserves that, the Flood hindering the constant carrying down of the Bottom) but only to have an equal and uniform Descent from the Shores to the Deeps. Now all those Relations of Urinators belong only to those Places where they have dived, which are always Rocky for there is no Reason why they should dive wbere the Bottom is level and sandy. That the Motion of the Water deccends to a good Depth, I prove from those Plants that grow deepest in the Sea, because they all generally grow flat, in Manner of a Fan, and not with Branches on all Sides like Trees; which is so contrivd by the Providence of Nature, for that the Edges of them do in that Posture with most ease cut the Water flowing to and fro; and should the flat Side be objeeted to the Stream, it would soon be turnd Edge-Wise by the Force of it, because in that Site it doth least resist the Motion of the Water : Whereas did the Branches of these Plants grow round, they would be thrown backward and forward every Tide. Nay, not only the Herbaceous and Woody Submarine Plants, but also the
Again, The great Use and Convenience, the Beauty and Variety of so many Springs and Fountains, so many Brooks and Rivers, so many Lakes and Standing Pools of Water, and these so scatterd and diepersd all the Earth over; that no great Part of it is destitute of them, without which it must, without a Supply otherways, be desolate and void of Inhabitants; afford abundant Arguments of Wisdom and Counsel : That Springs should break forth on the sides of Mountains most remote from the Sea: That there should Way be made for Rivers thro Straits and Rocks, and subterraneous Vaults, so that one would think that Nature had cut a Way on Purpose to derive the Water, which else
would overflow and drown whole Countries : That the Water passing thro the Veins of Earth, should be rendred fresh and potable, which it cannot be by any Percolations we can make, but the saline Particles will pass throug a tenfold Filtre : That in some Places there should spring forth Metallick and Mineral Waters, and hot Baths, and these so constant and permanent for many Ages; so convenient for divers Medicinal Intentions and Uses, the Causes of which Things, or the Means and Methods which they are performd, have not been as certainly discoverd; only in general, Plinys Remark may be true,
Lastly, The Earth, which is the Basis and Support of all Animals and Plants, and affords them the hard and solid Part of their Bodies, yielding us Food and Sustenance, and partly also Cloathing; for I do not think that Water supplies Man and other Animals, or even Plants themselves, with their Nourishment, but serves chiefly for a Vehicle to the alimentary Particles, to convey and distribute them to the severl Parts of the Body. Water, as it exists in the World, is not a simple unmixd Body, but contains the Terrestrial component Parts of the Bodies of Animals and Plants : Simple Elementary Water nourishes not at all. How variously is the Surface of this Earth distinguishd into
Hills, and Valleys, and Plains, and high Mountains, affording pleasant Prospects ? How Curiously cloathd and adornd with the grateful verdure of Herbs and stately Trees, either dispersd and scatterd singly, or as it were assembled in Woods and Groves, and all these beautified and illustrated with Elegant Flowers and Fruits,
But now, if we pass from Simple to Mixd Bodies, we shall still find more Matter of Admiration, and argument of Wisdom. Of these we shall first consider those they call imperfectly Mixd, or Meteors.
As first of all, Rain, which is nothing else but Water, by the Heat of the Sun divided into very small invisible Parts, ascending in the Air, till encountring the Cold, it be by Degrees condensd into Clouds, and descends in Drops; this, though it be exhaled from the Salt Sea, yet by this Natural Distillation is renderd fresh and potable, which our Artificial Distillations have hitherto been hardly able to effiect; notwithstanding the Erninent Use it would be of to Navigators, and the Rewards promisd to those that
should resolve that Problem of distilling fresh Water out of Salt. That the Clouds should be so carried about by the Winds, as to be almost equally diepersd and distributed, no Part of the Earth wanting convenient Showers, unless when it Pleaseth God, for the Punishment of a Nation, to with-hold Rain by a special Interposition of his Providence, or, if any Land wants Rain, they have a Supply some other Way; as the Land of Egypt, though there seldom falls any Rain there, yet hath abundant recompence made it by the annual Overflowing of the River. This Distribution of the Clouds and Rain is to me (I say) a great Argument of Providence and Divine Disposition; for else I do not see but why there might be in some Lands continual successive Droughts for many Years, till they were quite depopulated; in others as lasting Rains till they were overflown and drownd; and these, if the Clouds movd casually, often happening; whereas since the ancientest Records of History we do not read or hear of any such Droughts or Inundations, unless perhaps that of
Again, If we consider the Manner of the Rains Descent, distilling down gradually, and by Drops, which is most convenient for the watering of the Earth ; whereas, if it should fall down
in a continual Stream like a River, it would gall the Ground, wash away Plants by the Roots, overthrow Houses, and greatly incommode, if not suffocate Animals: If, I say, we consider these Things, and many more that might be added, we might in this respecrt also cry out with the Apostle,
Secondly, Another Meteor is the Wind; Which how many Uses it doth serve to, is not easie to enumerate, but many it doth, qviz. to ventilate and break the Air, and dissipate noisom and contagious Vapours, which otherwise stagnating, might occasion many Diseases in Animals; and therefore it is an Observation concerning our Native Country,
and that they should so seldom transgress or fall short of those Bounds, is a Subject worthy of the Thoughts of the greatest Philosophers. To this may be added the driving about of Windmills for grinding of Corn, making of Oil, draining of Pools, raising of Water, sawing of Wood, fulling of Cloth, &c. That it should seldom or never be so violent and boisterous, as to overturn Houses; yea, whole Cities; to tear up Trees by the Roots, and prostrate Woods; to drive the Sea over the lower Countries; as were it the Effeet of Chance, or mere natural Causes not moderated by a superiour Power, it would in all likelihood often do. Hurricanes, Spouts, and Inundations would be more frequent than they are. All these Things declare the wisdom and Goodness of Him
Of Inanimate Mixd Bodies.
I proceed now to such inanimate Bodies are called Perfecte Mixta, perfectly mixt, improperly enough, they being many of them (for ought I know) as simple as those they call Elements. These are Stones, Metals, Minerals and Salts.
In Stones, which one would think were a neglected Genus, what Variety? What Beauty and Elegancy ? What Constancy in their Temper and Consistency in their Figures and Colours ? I shall speak of first some notable Qualities wherewith some of them are endued. Secondly, the
*92 remarkable Uses they are of to us. The Qualities I shall instance in are, First, Colour, which in some of them is most lively, sparkling, and beautiful; the Carbuncle or Rubine shining with red, the Sapphire with blue, the Emerald with green, the Topaz, or Chrysolyte of the Ancients, with a yellow or Gold-colour, the Amethyst as it were tinctured with Wine, the Opal varying its Colours like changeable Taffata, as it is diverisy exposd to the Light. Secondly, Hardness, wherein some Stones exceed all other Bodies, and among them the Adamant all other Stones, being exalted to that Degree thereof, that Art in vain endeavours to counterfeit it, the factitious Stones of Chymists in Imitation being easily detected by an ordinary Lapidist. Thirdly, Figure, Many of them shoot into regular Figures, as Crystal and bastard Diamonds into hexagonal; others into those that are more elegant and compounded, as those formd in Imitation of the Shells of Testaceous Fishes of all Sorts, Sharks Teeth and Vertebres, &c. If these be originally Stones, or primary Productions of Nature in Imitation of Shells and Fishes Bones, and not the Shells and Bones themselves petrified, as we have sometimes thought. Some have a Kind of Vegetation and Resemblance of Plants, as Corals, Pori, and Fungites, which grow upon the Rocks like Shrubs: To which I might add our ordinary Star-stones and Trochites, which I look upon as a Sort of Rock-Plants.
Secondly, For the Uses; some serve for Building and many sorts of Vessels and Utensils; for Pillars and Statues and other carved works in relieve, for the Temples, Ornaments of Palaces, Porticos, Piazzas, Conduits, &c. as Freestone and Marble; some to burn into Lime, as Chalk and Limestone; some, with the Mixture of Beriglia or Kelp, to make Glass, as that the Venetians call Cuogolo, and common Flints, which serve also to strike Fire; some to cover Houses, as Slates, some for marking, as Morochthus, and the fore-mentioned Chalk, which is a
My honoured friend Dr Tancred Robinson in his Manuscript Itinerary of Italy, relates the many various Figures he observd naturally delineated and drawn on several Sorts of Stones digged up in the Quarries, Caves and Rocks, about Florence, and other parts of Italy, not only representing Cities, Mountains, Ruins, Clouds, Oriental Characters, Rivers, Woods, Animals, but also some
*94 Plants (as Ivy, Mosses, Maiden-hair, Ferns, and such Vegetables as grow in those Places) so exactly designd and impressd upen several Kinds of Stones, as though some skilful Painters or Sculpters had been working upon them. The Doctor observes also the wonderful Diversity of Shapes and Colours that Oars and other fossils shoot into, resembling almost every Thing in Nature, for which it seems very difficult to him to assign any Cause or Principle. In the Pyrites alone he believes he himself may have seen at home and abroad above a hundred Vareties, and yet he confesses he has been but a rude Observer of them.
In the Diaphanous Fossils (as Ambers, Crystals, Agates, &c. ) preservd in the Cabinets of the great Duke of Tuscany, Cardinal Chigi, Settali, Moscardi, and other Repositories or Musaeums of that Curious Country, he takes Notice of the admiral Diversity of Bodies included, and naturally imprifond within them, as Flies, Spiders, Frogs, Locusts, Bees, Pismires, Gnats, Grashoppers, Drops of Liquor, Hair, Leaves, Rushes, Moss, Seeds, and other Herbage; which seem to prove them to have been once in a State of Fluidity. The Bononia Stone diggd up in the Appenines is remarkable for its shlning Quality. The Amianthus for its Incombustibility. The Oculus Mundi for its Motion and Change of Colour. The Lapis Nephriticus, Calaminaris, Ostiocolla, Aetites, &c. for their Medicinal Uses."
*95 I might spend much Time in the discoursing of the most strange and unaccountable Nature and Powers of the Loadstone, a Subject which hath exercisd the Wits and Pens of the most acute and ingenious Philosophers; and yet the Hypotheses which they have invented to give an Account of its admirable phaenomena seems tc me lame and unsatisfactory. What can we say of the subtlety, activity, and penetrancy of its Effluvia, which no Obstacle can stop or repel, but they will make their Way through all sorts of Bodies, firm and fluid, dense and rare, heavy and light, pellucid and opake ? Nay, they will pass through a Vacuity or empty Space, at least devoid of Air and any other sensible Body. Its attractive Power of Iron was known to the Ancients: its Verticity and Direction to the Poles of the Earth is of later Invention; which, of how infinite Advantage it hath been to these two or three last Ages, the great Improvement of Navigation, and Advancement of Trade and Commerce, by rendring the remotest Countries easily accessible; the noble Discovery of a vast Continent or new World, besides a Multitude of unknown Kingdoms and Islands; the Resolving experimentally those ancient Problems of the Spherical Roundness of the Earth; of the Being of Antipodes, or the Habitableness of the Torrid Zone, and the Rendring the whole Terraqueous Globe circumnavigable; do abundantly demonstrate: whereas formerly they were wont to coast it, and creep along the Shores, scarce daring to venture out of the Ken of Land,
*96 when they did, having no other Guide but the Cynosura or Pole-Star, and those near it, and in cloudy Weather none at all.
As for Metals, they are so many ways useful to Mankind, and those Uses so well known to all, that it would be lost Labour to say any Thing of them: Without the Use of these we could have nothing of Culture or Civility; no Tillage or Agriculture; no Reaping or Mowing; no Plowing or Digging, no Pruning or Lopping, Grafting or Incision; no mechanical Arts or Trades; no Vessels or Utensils of Household-stuff; no convenient Houses or Edifices, no Shipping or Navigation. What a Kind of barbarous and sordid life we must necessarily have lived, the Indians in the Northern Part of America are a clear Demonstration. Only it is remarkable, that those which are of most frequent and necessary Use, as Iron, Brass and Lead, are the most common and plentiful: Others that are more rare, may better be spard, yet are they thereby qualifiied to be made the common Measure and Standard of the Value of all other Commodities, and so serve for Coin or Money, to which Use they have been employd by all civil Nations in all Ages.
Now, of what mighty Importance the use of Money is to Mankind, the Learned and Ingenious Dr. Cockburn shews us, in the Second Part of his Essays concerning the Nature of Christian Faith, p. 88.
Whenever; saith he, the Use of Money began, it was an admirable Contrivance br rewarding and encouraging Industry,
*97 for carrying on Trade and Commerce certainly, easily, and speedily, for obliging all to imploy their various Parts and several Capacities for the common Good, and engaging every one to communicate the Benefit of his particular Labour without any Prejudice to himself. Covetousness indeed, or an inordinate Love of Money, is vicious, and the Root of much Evil, and ought to be remedied; but the Use of Money is necessary, and attended with manifold Advantages. Where Money has not yet taken Place, where the Use of it hath not yet been introducd, Arts and Sciences are not cultivated, nor any of those Exercises plyd, which polite Mens Spirits, and which abate the Uneasinss of Life. Men there are brutish and savage, none mind any thing but Eating and Drinking, and the other Acts of brutal Nature; their Thoughts aspire no higher than merely to maintain their Life and Breath: Like the Beasts they walk abroad all the Day long, and range about from Place to Place, only to seek their Food. Whatever may be supposd to follow if all were acted with great Generosity and true Charity, yet according to the present Temper of Mankind it is absolutely necesary that there be some Method and Means of Commutation, as that of Money, for rendring all and every one mutually useful and serviceable.
Now Gold and Silver by their Rarity at wonderfully fitted and accommodated for this Use of Permutation for all Sorts of Commodities or making Money of: Whereas were they
*98 as common and easie to come by as Straw or Stubble, Sand or Stones, they would be of no more Use for Bartering and Commerce than these.
And here he goes on to shew the Wonderful Providence of God, in keeping up the Value of Gold and Silver, notwithstanding the vast Quantities which have been diggd out of the Earth in all Ages, and so continuing them a fit Material to make Money of. For which I refer to the Book.
Of these, Gold is remarkable for its admirable Ductility and Ponderosity, wherein it excels all other Bodies hitherto known. I shall only add concerning Metals, that they do pertinaciously resist all Transmutation; and tho one would sometimes think they were turnd into a different Substance, yet do they but as it were lurk under a Larva or Vizzard, and may be reducd again into their natural Form and Complexions, in Dispite of all the Tortures of Vulcan or corrosive Waters. Note, That this was written above Thirty Years since, when I thought I had Reason to distrust whatever had then been reported or written to affirm the Transmutation of Metals one into another.
I shall omit the Consideration of other Minerals, and of Salts and Earths, because I have nothing to say of their Uses, but only such as refer to Man, which I cannot affirm to have been the sole or primary End of the Formation of them. Indeed, to speak in general of these Terrestrial Inanimate Bodies, they having no such Organization of Parts as the Bodies of Animals,
*99 nor any so intricate variety of Texture, but that their production may plausibly be accounted for by an Hypothesis of Matter divided in minute Particles or Atoms naturally indivisible, of various but a determinate number of Figures, and perhaps also differing in Magnitude and these movd, and continually kept in Motion according to certain establishd Laws or Rules; we cannot so clearly discover the Uses for which they were created, but may probably conclude, that among other Ends they were made for those for which they serve us and other Animals; as I shall more fully make out hereafter. It is here to be noted, That, according to our Hypothesis, the Number of the Atoms of each several Kind that is of the same Figure and Magnitude is not nearly equal, but there be infinitely more of some Species than of others, as of those that compound those vast Aggregates of Air, Water, and Earth, more abundantly than of such as make up Metals and Minerals: The Reason whereof may probably be, because those are necessary to the Life and Being of Man and all other Animals, and therefore must be always at Hand; these only useful to Man, and serving rather his Convenience than Necessities. The Reason why I affirm the minute component Particles of Bodies to be naturally indivisible by any Agent we can imploy (even Fire itself ) which is the only Catholick Dissolvent, other Menstruums being rather Instrumcnts than Efficients in all Solutions, apt by Reason of the Figure and Smalness of their
*100 Parts to cut and divide other Bodies (as Wedges cleave Wood) when actuated by Fire or its Heat, which else would have no Efficacy at all (as wedges have not, unless driven by a Beetle:) the reason, I say, I have already given; I shall now instance in a Body whose minute Parts appear to be indissoluble by the Force of Fire and that is common Water, which distil, boil, circulate, work upon how you will by Fire, you can only dissolve it into Vapour, which when the Motion ceases, easily returns into Water again; Vapour being nothing else but the minute Parts thereof, by Heat agitated and separated one from another. For another Instance, some of the most learnd and experiencd Chymists do affirm Quicksilver to be intransmutable, and therefore call it Liquoor aeternus. And I am of Opinion, that the same holds of all simple Bodies, that their component Particles are indissoluble, by any natural Agent.
We may here note the Order and Method that Metals and Mincrals observe in their Growth, how regularly they shoot, ferment, and as it were vegetate and regenerate; Salts in their proper and constant Figures; as our ingenious Countryman Dr. Jordan observes at large in his Discourse of Barhs and Mineral Waters.
Of Vegetables or Plants.
I have now done with inanimate bodies both simple and mixd. The Animate are,
First, Such as are endued only with a Vegetative
Soul, and therefore commonly called Vegetables or Plants; of which if we consider either their Stature and Shape, or their Age and Duration, we shall find it wonderful; for why should some Plants rise up to a great Height, others creep upon the Ground, which perhaps may have equal seeds, nay the lesser P1ant many Times the greater Seed. Why should each Particular so observe its Kind, as constantly to produce the same Leaf for Consistency, Figure, Division, and Edging, and bring forth the same Kind of Flower, and Fruit, and Seed ? and that tho you translate it into a Soil which naturally puts forth no such Kind of Plant, so that it is some
There is a
*103 close-plaited, and straitly folded up and thrust together within the Membranes of the Seed that it would puzzle a Man to imitate it, and yet none of the Folds sticking or growing together; so that they may easily be taken out of their Cafes, and spread and extended even with ones Fingers.
Secondly, if we consider each particular Part of a Plant, we shall find it not without its End or Use; the Roots, for its stability and drawing Nourishment from the Earth, the Fibre to contain and convey the Sap; besides which there is a large Sort of Vessels to contain the proper and specifick Juice of the Plant, and others to carry Air for such a Kind of Repiration as it needeth; of which we have already spoken. The outer and inner Bark in Trees serve to defend the Trunk and Boughs from the Excesses of Heat and Cold and Drought and to convey the Sap for the annual Augmentation of the Tree; for, in Truth, every Tree may in some Sense be said to be an annual Plant, both Leaf, Flower and Fruit, proceeding from the Coat that was superinduced over the Wood the last Year, which Coat also never beareth any more, but together with the old Wood serves as a Form or Block to sustain the succeeding annual Coat.
The Leaves before the Gemma or Bud be explicated to embrace, and defend the Flower and Fruit, which is even then perfectly formd; afterwards to preserve the Branches, Flowers and Fruit from the Injuries of the Summer Sun, which would
too much parch and dry them, if they lay open and exposd to its Beams without any Shelter: The Leaves, I say, qualifie and contemper the Heat, and serve also to hinder the too hasty Evaporation of the Moisture about the Root: <1717> But the principal Use of the Leaves (as we learn of Seignior
*105 But whether there be such a constant Circulation of the Sap in Plants as there is of the Blood in Animals, as they would from hence infer, there is some Reason to doubt.1717>
I might add hereto the pleasant and delectable cooling and refreshing Shade they afford in the Summer-Time; which was very much esteemd by the Inhabitants of hot Countries, who always took great Delight and Pleasure to sit in the open Air, under shady Trees; Hence that Expression so often repeated in Scripture, of every Mans
and Beauty is but a mere Conceit, and that all things are alike handsome to some Men who have as good Eyes as others; and that this appears by the Variation of Fashions, which doth so alter Mens Fancies, that what eer-while seemd very handsome and comely, when it is once worn out of Fashion appears very absurd, uncouth and ridiculous. To this I Answer, That Custom and Use doth much in those Things where little of Proportion and Symmetry shew themselves, or which are alike comely and beautitul, to disparage the one, and commend the other: But there are Degrees of Things; for ( that I may use Dr. Mores words )
Accuracy, that we take Notice of it with much Content and Pleasure, and greedily gather and treasure it up. As if it be but exactly round, as those spherical Stones found in Cuba, and some also in our own Land, or have but its Sides parallel, as those rhomboideal Selenites found near St. Ives in Huntingtonshire, and many other Places in England. Whereas ordinary Stones of rude and uncertain Figures we pass by and take no Notice of at all. But tho the Figure of these Bodies be Pleasing and agreeable to our Minds, yet (as we have already observd) those of the Leaves, Flowers and Fruits of Trees, more. And it is remarkable, that in the Circumscription and Complication of many Leaves, Flowers, Fruits, and Seeds, Nature affects a regular Figure. Of a Pentagonal or Quincuncial Disposition,
The Flowers serve to cherish and defend the first and tender Rudiments of the Fruit: I might also add the masculine or prolifick Seed contained in the Chives or Apices of the Stamina. These beside the Elegancy of their Figures, are many of them endued with splendid and lovely Colours, and likewise most grateful and fragrant Odours. Indeed such is the Beauty and Lustre of some Flowers, that our Saviour saith of the Lilies of the Field (which some, not without Reason, suppose to have been Tulips ) that
And it is observd by
As for the Seeds of Plants, Dr. More
Now the Seed being so necessary for the Maintenance and Increase of the Several Species, it is worthy the Observation, what Care is taken to secure and preserve it, being in some doubly and trebly defended. As for Instance, in the Walnut, Almond, and Plumbs of all Sorts, we have first a thick pulpy Covering, then a hard Shell, within which is the Seed enclosd in a double Membrane. In the Nutmeg another Tegument is added besides all these, viz. the Mace <1717>between the green Pericarpium and the hard Shell, immediately enclosing the Kernel.1717> Neither yet doth the exteriour Pulp of the Fruit or Pericarpium serve only for the Defence and Security
Security of the Seed, whilst it hangs upon the Plant; but after it is mature and fallen upon the Earth, for the Stercoration of the Soil, and Promotion of the Growth, though not the first Germination of the Seminal Plant.
Another Thing worthy the noting in Seeds, and argumentative of Providence and Design) is that pappose Plumage growing upon the Tops of some of them, whereby they are capable of being wafted with the Wind, and by that Means scatterd and disseminated far and wide.
Furthermore, most Seeds having in them a Seminal Plant perfectly formd, as the Young is in the Womb of Animals, the elegant Complication thereof in some Species is a very pleasant and admirable Spectacle; so that no Man that hath a Soul in him can imagine or believe it was so formd and folded up without Wisdom and Providence. But of this I have spoken already.
Lastly, The immense Smalness of some Seeds, not to be seen by the naked Eye, so that the number of Seeds produced at once in some one Plant; as for Example, Reedmace [
And it is remarkable that such Mosses as grow upon Walls, the Roofs of Houses and other high Places, have Seeds so excessively small, that when shaken out of their Vessels they appear like Vapour or Smoke, so that they may either ascend of themselves, or by an easie impulse of the Wind be raisd Up to the Tops of Houses, Walls or Rocks: And we need not wonder how the Mosses got thither, or imagine they sprung up spontaneously there.
I might also take Notice of many other Particulars concerning Vegetables, as First, That Because they are designd for the Food of Animals, therefore Nature hath taken more extraordinaly Care, and made more abundant Provision for their Propagation and Encrease, so that they are multiplied and propagated not only by the Seed, but rnany also by the Root, producing Off-sets or creeping under Ground, many by Strings or Wires running above Ground as Strawberry, and the like, some by Slips of Cuttings, and some by several of these Ways. <1717>And for the Security of such Species as are producd only by Seed, it hath endued all Seed with a lasting Vitality, that if by Reason of
*111 excessive Cold, or Drought, or any other Accident, it happen not to Germinate the First Year it will continue its Foecundity, I do not say two or three, nor six or seven, but even twenty or thirty Years; and when the Impediment is removd, the Earth in fit Case and the Season proper, spring up, bear Fruit, and contlnue its Species. Hence it is that Plants are sometimes lost for a while in Places where they formerly abounded; and again, after some Years, appear new: Lost either because the Springs were not proper for their Germination, or because the Land was fallowd, or because Plenty of Weeds or other Herbs prevented their coming up, and the like, and appearing again when these Impediments are removd.1717>
Secondly, That some Sorts of Plants, as Vines, all sorts of Pulse, Hops, Briony, all Pomiferous Herbs, Pumpions, Melons, Gourds, Cucumbers, and divers other Species, that are weak and unable to raise or support themselves, are either endued with a faculty of twining about others that are near, or else fuirnishd with Claspers and Tendrils, whereby, as it were with Hands, they catch Hold of them, and so ramping upon Trees, Shrubs, Hedges or Poles, they mount up to a great Height, and secure themselves and their fruit.
Thirdly, That others are armed with Prickles and Thorns, to secure them from the Browsing of Beasts, as also to shelter others that grow under them. Moreover they are hereby renderd very useful to Man, as if designd by Nature to make both Quick and Dead Hedges
and Fences. The great Naturalist
<1717>It is worthy the noting, That Wheat, which is the best Sort of Grain, of which the purest, most savory and wholesome Bread is made, is patient of both Extreams, Heat and Cold, growing and bringing its Seed to Maturity, not only in temperate Countries, but also on one Hand in the Cold and Northern, viz. Scotland, Denmark &c. on the other, in the hottest and most Southerly, as Egypt, Barbary, Mauritania, the East lndics, Guinea, Madagascar, &c. scarce refusing any Climate.
Nor is it less observable, and not to be commemorated without Acknowledgement of the Divine Benignity to us, that ( as
*113 eius ex uno grano (vix credibile dictu ) 400 paucis minus germina: Misit et Neroni similiter 360 stipulas ex uno grano.
"Which Fertility Nature ( he should have said, the Author of Nature) hath conferd upon it, because it feeds Man chiefly with it. One Bushel, if sown in a fit and proper Soil, such as is Byzacium, a Field of Africa, yielding 150 of annual Encrease; Augustuss Procurator sent him from that Place 400 within a few Blades springing from the same Grain: And to Nero were sent thence 360."
*114 upon good Grounds, rejected them; and finding no Reason, as yet, to alter my Opinion, I shall not further insist on them:
<1717>Howbeit, I will not deny, but that the noxious and malignant Plants do many of them discover something of their Nature by the sad and melancholick Visage of their Leaves, Flowers and Fruit. And that I may not leave that Head wholly untouchd, one Observation I shall add relating to the Virtues of Plants, in which I think there is something of Truth, that is, that there are, by the wise Disposition of Providence, such Species of Plants producd in every Country as are most proper and convenient for the Meat and Medicine of the Men and Animals that are bred and inhabit there: Insomuch that
Of Bodies endued with a sensitive Soul, or Animals.
I proceed now to the Consideration of Animate Bodies endud with a Sensitive Soul, calld Animals. Of these I shall only make some general Observations, not curiously consider the Parts of each particular species, save only as they serve for Instances or Examples.
First of all, because it is the great Design of
Providence to maintain and continue every Species, I shall take Notice of the great Care at abundant Provision that is made for the securing this End.
<1717>To all this I might add, as a great Proof and Instance of the Care that is taken, and Provision made for the preservation and Continuance of the Species, the lasting Foecundity of the Animal Seed or Egg in the Females of Man, Beasts and Birds. I say, the Animal Seed because it is to me highly probable, that the Females, as well of Beasts as Birds, have in them from their first Formation the Seeds of all the Young they will afterwards bring forth, which when they are all spent. and exhausted by what Means soever, the Animal becomes barren and effete. These Seeds in some Species of Animals continue fruitful, and apt to take Life by the Admixture of the Male-Seed fifty Years or more, and in some Birds fourscore or an hundred.1717>
Here I cannot omit one very remarkable Observation I find in
That flying Creatures of the greater Sort, that is Birds, should all lay Eggs, and none bring forth live Young, is a manifest Argument of Divine Providence, designing thereby their Preservation and Security, that there might be the more Plenty of them; and that neither the Birds of Prey, the Serpent, nor the Fowler, should straiten their Generations too much. For if they had been viviparous, the Burden of their Womb, if they had brought forth any competent Number at a Time, had been so great and heavy, that their Wings would have filld them, and they become an easie Prey to their Enemies: Or, if they had brought but one or two at a Time, they would have been troubled all the Year long with feeding their Young, or bearing them in their Womb. Dr. More Antid. Atheism, l.2. c.9.
This Mention of feeding their Young puts
*117 me in mind of two or three considerable Observations referring thereto.
First, Seeing it would be for many reasons inconvenient for Birds to give Suck, and yet no less inconvenient, if not destructive, to the Chicken upon exclusion, all of a sudden to make so great a change in its Diet, as to pass from liquid to hard Food, before the Stomach be gradually consolidated, and by use strengthend and habituated to grind and concoct it, and its tender and pappy Flesh fitted to be nourishd by such strong and solid Diet; and before the bird be by little and little accustomd to use its Bill and gather it up, which at first it doth but very slowly and imperfectly; therefore Nature hath provided a large Yolk in every Egg, a great part whereof remaineth after the Chicken is hatchd, and is taken up and enclosd in its Belly, and by a Channel made on purpose receivd by degrees into the Guts, and serves instead of Milk to nourish the Chick for a considerable time; which nevertheless mean while feeds it self by the Mouth a little at a time and gradually more and more, as it gets a perfecter Ability and Habit of gathering up its Meat, and its Stomach is strengthened to macerate and concoct it, and its Flesh
Secondly, That Birds which feed their Young in the Nest, tho in all likelihood they have no ability of counting the number of them should yet (tho they bring but one morsel of Meat at a time, and have not fewer (it may be)
*118 then seven or eight Young in the Nest together, which at the return of their Dams, do all at once with equal Greediness, hold up their Heads and gape) not omit or forget one of them, but feed them all; which, unless they did carefully observe and retain in Memory which they had fed, which not, were impossible to be done: this, I say, seems to me most strange and admirable, and beyond the Possibility of mere Machine to perform.
<1717>Another Experiment I shall add, to prove, that tho Birds have not an exact Power of numbring, yet have they of distinguishing many from few, and knowing when they come near to a certain Number: And that is, that when they have laid such a Number of Eggs, as they can conveniently cover and hatch, they give over and begin to sit; not because they are necessarily determind to such a Number; for that they are not, as is clear, because they are an Ability to go on and lay more at their Pleasure. Hens, for example, if you let their Eggs alone, when they have laid fourteen or fifteen, will give over and begin to sit, whereas, if you daily withdraw their Eggs, they will go on to lay five times that Number: [ Yet some of them are so cunning, that if you leave them but one Egg, they will not lay to it, but forsake their Nest.] This holds not only in domestick and mansuete Birds, for then it rnight be thought the Effect of Cicuration or Institution, but also in the wild; for my honourd friend Dr. Martin Lister informd me, that of
his own Knowledge one and the same Swallow, by the subtracting daily of her Eggs, proceeded to lay nineteen successively, and then gave over; as I have elsewhere noted.
Now that I am upon this Subject of the Number of Eggs, give me Leave to add a remarkable Observation referring thereto, viz. That Birds, and such oviparous Creatures, as are long-livd, have Eggs enough at first conceivd in them to serve them for naany Years laying, probably for as many as they are to live, allowing such a Proportion for every Year, as will serve for one or two Incubations; whereas Insects, which are to breed but once, lay all their Eggs at once, have they never so many. Now, had these Things been governd by Chance, I see no Reason why it should constantly fall out so.1717>
Thirdly, The marvellous speedy Growth of Birds that are hatchd in Nests, and fed by the Old ones there, till they be fledgd, and come almost to their full Bigness, at which Perfection they arrive within the short Term of about one Fortnight, seems to me an Argument of Providence, designing thereby their Preservation, that they might not lie long in a Condition exposd to the Ravine of any Vermine that may find them, being utterly unable to escape or shift for themselves.
Another and no less effectual Argument may be taken from the Care and Providence usd for the Hatching and Rearing their Young: And first, they search out a secret and quiet Place
*120 where they may be secure and undisturbd in their incubation; then they make themselves Nests every one after his kind, that so their Eggs and Young may lie soft and warm, and their exclusion and growth be promoted. These Nests some of them so elegant and artificial, that it is hard for Man to imitate them and make the like. I have seen Nests of an Indian Bird so artificially composd of the Fibres, I think, of some Roots, so curiously interwoven and platted together, as is admirable to behold: Which Nests they hang on the end of the Twigs of Trees over the Water, to secure their Eggs and Young from the ravage of Apes and Monkeys, and other Beasts that might else prey upon them. After they have laid their Eggs, how silently and patiently do they fit upon them till they be hatchd, scarce affording themselves time to go off to get them Meat ? Nay, with such an ardent and impetuous desire of sitting are they inspird, that if you take away all their eggs, they will sit upon an empty Nest: And yet one would think that sitting were none of the most pleasant Works.
After their Young are hatchd, for sometimes they do almost constantly brood them under their Wings, lest the Cold and sometimes perhaps the Heat should harm them. All this while also they labour hard to get them Food, sparing it out of their own Bellies, and pining themselves almost to death rather than they should want. Moreover it is admirable to observe, with what courage they are at that time inspird, that they will
*121 even venture their own Lives in defence of them. The most timorious, as Hens and Geese become then so couragious, as to dare to fly in the Face of a Man that shall molest or disquiet their Yotmg, which would never do so much in their own defence. These things being contrary to any motions of Sense, or instinct of self-preservation, and so eminent pieces of self-denial, must needs be the Works of Providence, for the continuation of the Species and upholding of the World:
Especially if we consider that all these pains is bestowd upon a thing which takes no notice of it, will render them no thanks for it, nor make them any requital or amends; and also, that after the Young is come to some growth, and able to shift for it self, the old one retains no such zorgE to it, takes no further care of it, but will fall upon it, and beat it indifferently with others.
To these I shall add three Observations more relating to this Head.
The first borrowd of Dr. Cudworth, System, pag. 69. One thing necessary to the Conservation of the Species of Animals; that is, the keeping up constantly in the World a due numerical Proportion between the Sexes of Male and Female, doth necessarily infer a superintending Providence. For did this depend only upon Mechanism, it cannot well be conceived, but that in some Ages or other there should happen to be all Males or all Females, and so the Species fail. Nay, it cannot well be thought otherwise, but that there is in this a Providence, superior to that
*122 of the Plastick or Spermatick Nature, which hath not so much of Knowledge and Discretion allowd to it, as whereby to be able <1691 text="alone"> to govern this Affair.
<1717>The Second of Mr. Boyle, in his Treatise of the high Veneration Mans Intellect owes to God, p. 32. that is, the Conveniency of the Season ( or Time of Year ) of the Production of Animals, when there is proper Food and Entertainment ready for them.
So we see, that, according to the usual Course of Nature, Lambs, Kids, and many other living Creatures, are brought into the World at the Spring of the Year; when tender Grass and other Nutritive Plants, are provided for their Food. And the like may be observd in the Production of Silk-worms, (yea, all other Erucas, and many Insects more) whose Eggs, according to Natures Institution, are hatchd when Mulberry-Trees begin to bud, and put forth those Leaves, whereon those precious Insects are to feed: The Aliments being tender, whilst the Worms themselves are so, and growing more strong and substantial, as the Insects encrease in Vigour and Bulk.
To these I shall add another Instance, that is of the Wasp, whose Breeding is deterrd till after the Summer-Solstice, few of them appearing before July: Whereas one would be apt to think the Vigorous and
*123 in some hollow Tree or other Latibulum; ] because then, and not till then, Pears, Plumbs and other Fruit, designd principally for their Food, begin to ripen.
The Third is mine own, That all Infects which do not themselves feed their Young nor treasure up Provision in Store for their Sustenance, lay their Eggs in such Places as are most convenient for their Exclusion, and where when hatchd, their proper Food is ready for them: So, for example, we see two sorts of white Butterflies fastening their Eggs to.Cabbage Leaves, because they are a fit Aliment for the Catterpillers that come of them; where should they affix them to the Leaves of a Plant improper for their Food, such Caterpillers must needs be lost, they chusing rather to die that to taste of such Plants: For that Kind of Insect (I mean Catterpillers) hath a nice and delicate Palate, some of them feeding only upon one particular Species of Plant, others on divers indeed, but those of the same Nature and Quality; utterly refusing them of a contrary.
Like Instances might be produced in the other Tribes of Insects; it being perpetual in all, if not hinderd or imprifond, electively to lay their Eggs in Places where they are seldom lost or miscarry, and where they have a Supply of Nourishment for their Young so soon as they are hatchd, and need it. Whereas should they scatter them carelesly and indifferently in any Place, the greatest Part of the Young would all in Likelihood perish soon after their Exclusion
*124 for want of Food, and so their Numbers continually decreasing, the whole Species in a few Years in danger to be lost: Whereas no such thing, I dare say, hath happened since the first Creation.
It is here very remarkable, that those Insects, for whose Young Nature hath not made provision of sufficient Sustenance, do themselves gather and lay up in store for them. So for example: The Bee, the proper Food of whose Eulae
To these I shall now add an Observation of Mr. Lewenhoecks, concerning the sudden growth of some sorts of Insects, and the Reason of it.
It is (saith he) a wonderful thing, and worthy the Observation in Flesh-Flies, that a Fly-Maggot, in five days space after it is hatchd arrives at its full growth and perfect magnitude. For if to the perfeccting of it there were requird, suppose a Months time or more, (as in some other Maggots is needful) it is impossible that about the Summer-Solstice any such Flies should be producd; because the Fly-Maggots have no ability to search out any other Food than that wherein they are placed by their Dams. Now this Food, suppose it be Flesh, Fish, or the Entrails of Beasts lying
*125 in the fields, exposd to the hot Sun-beams, can last but a tew Days in case and condition to be a fit Aliment for these Creatures, but will soon be quite parchd and dryd up. And therefore the most Wise Creator hath given such a Nature and Temperament to them, that within a very few days they attain to their full growth and magnitude. Whereas on the contrary, other Maggots, who are in no such danger of being straitned sor Food, continue a whole Month or more before they give over to eat, and cease to grow. He proceeds further to tell us, that some of these Fly-Maggots which he fed daily with fresh Meat, he brought to perfection in four days time; so that he conceives that in the heat of Summer the Eggs of a Fly, or the Maggots containd in them, may in less than a Months space run thro all their changes, and come to perfect Flies, which may themselves lay Eggs again.1717>
Secondly, I shall take notice of the various strange Instincts of Animals; which will necessarily demonstrate, that they are directed to Ends unknown to them, by a wise Superintendant.
As, 1. That all Creatures shoul know how to defend themselves, and offend their Enemies; where their natural Weapons are situate, and how to make use of them. A Calf will so manage his Head as tho he would push with his Horns even before they shoot. A Boar knows the use of his Tushes; a Dog his Teeth; a Horse of his Hoofs; a Cock of his Spurs; a Bce of her Sting; a Ram will butt
*126 with his Head, yea tho he be brought up tame, and never saw that manner of Fighting. Now, why another Animal which hath no Homs should not make a Shew of pushing, or no Spurs, of striking with his Legs, and the like, I know not, but that every Kind is providentially directed to the Use of its proper and natural Weapons.
2. That those Anitnals that are weak, and have neither Weapons nor Courage to fight, are for the most Part created swift of Foot or Wing, and so being naturally timorous, are both willing and able to save themselves by Flight.
3. That Poultry, Partridge, and other Birds, should at the first Sight know Birds of Prey, and make Sign of it by a peculiar Note of their Voice to their Young, who presently thereupon hide themselves: That the Lamb should acknowledge the Wolf its Enemy, tho it had never seen one before, as is taken for granted by most Naturalists, and may, for ought I know, be true, argues the Providence of Nature, or more truly the God of Nature, who, for their Preservation hath put such an Instinct into them.
4. That young Animals, so soon as they are brought forth, should know their Food: As for Example; such as are nourishd with Milk presently find their Way to the Paps, and suck at them, whereas none of those that are not destind for that Nourishment ever offer to suck or seek out any such Food.
Again, 5. That such Creatures as are whole-footed, or Fin-toed viz. some Birds, and Quadrupeds, are naturally directed to go into the Water, and swim there,
as we see Ducklings, tho hatchd and led by a Hen, if she brings them to the Brink of a River or Pond of Water, they presently leave her, and in they go, tho they never saw any such Thing done before; and tho the
Hen clucks and calls, and doth what she can to keep them out: <1717>This
So that we see every Part in Animals is fitted to its Use, and the Knowledge of this Use put into them: For neither do any Sort of web-footed Fowls live constantly upon the Land, or fear to enter the Water, nor any Land-Fowl so much as attempt to swim there.
6. Birds of the same Kind make their Nests of the same Materials, laid in the same Order, and exactly of the same Figure; so that by the Sight of the Nest one may certainly know what Bird it belongs to. And this they do, tho living in distant Countries, and tho they never saw, nor could see any Nest made, that is, tho taken out of the Nest and brought up by Hand; neither were any of the same Kind ever observd to make a different Nest. either for Matter or Fashion. This, together with the curious and artificial Contexture of such Nests, and their Fitness and Convenience for the Reception, Hatching, and Cherishing the
Eggs and Young of their respecrive Builders, (which we have before taken notice of) is a great Argument of a Superior Author of their and other Natures, who hath endud em with these Instincts, whereby they are as it were acted and driven to bring about Ends which themselves aim not at, (so far as we can discern) but are directed to; for (as
<1717>The migration of Birds from an hotter to a colder Country, or a colder to an hotter, according to the Seasons of the Year, as their Nature is, I know not how to give an account of, it is so strange and admirable. What moves them to shift their Quarters? You will say, the disagreeableness of the temper of the Air to the connstitution of their Bodies, or want of Food.
*129 But how come they to be directed to the same Place yearly, though sometimes but a little Island, as the Soland Goose to the Basse of Edinburgh Frith, which they could not possibly see, and so it could have no Influence upon them that way? The Cold or the Heat might possibly drive them in a right Line from either, but that they should impel Land-Birds to venture over a wide Ocean, of which they can see no End, is strange and unaccountable: One would think that the sight of so much Water and present fear of drowning should overcome the Sense of Hunger, or disagreebleness of the Temper of the Air. Besides, how come they to steer their Course aright to their several Quarters, which before the Compass was invented was hard for a Man himself to do, they being not able, as I noted before, to see them at that Distance? Think we that the Quails for Instance, could see quite cross the Mediterrownean Sea? And yet, its clear, they fly out of Italy into Africk, lighting many times on Ships in the Midst of the Sea, to rest themselves when tird and spent with flying. That they should thus shift Places, is very convenient for them, and accordingly we see they do it; which seems to be impossible they should, unless themselves were endud with Reason, or directed and acted by a superior intelligent Cause.
The like may be said of the migration of divers Sorts of Fishes. As for Example; The Salmon, which from the Sea yearly ascends up
*130 a River sometimes 400 or 500 Miles, only to cast their Spawn, and Secure it in Banks of Sand, for the preservation of it till the Young be hatchd or excluded, and then return to Sea again. How these Creatures when they have been wandring a long time in the wide Ocean, should again find out and repair to the Mouths of the same Rivers, seems to me very strange, and hardly accountable, without recourse to Instinct, and the Direction of a Superior Cause.
That Birds, seeing they have no Teeth for the Mastication and preparation of their Food, should for the more convenient comminution of it in their Stomachs or Gizzards, swallow down little Pebble-stones, or other hard Bodies, and because all are not fit or proper for that use, should first try them in their Bills, to feel whether they be rough or angular, for their turns; which if they find them not to be, they reject them. When these by the working of the Stomach are worn smooth, or too small for their use, they avoid them by siege, and pick up others. That these are of great use to them for the grinding of their Meat, there is no doubt. And I have observd in Birds, that have been kept up in Houses, where they could get no Pebbles, the very Yolks of their Eggs have changed colour, and become a great deal paler, than theirs who have had their liberty to go abroad.
Besides, I have observed in many Birds, the Gullet, before its entrance into the Gizzard, to be much dilated, and thick set, or as it
*131 were granulated, with a Multitude of Glandules each whereof was provided with its excretory Vessel, out of which, by an easie pressure, you might squeeze a Juice or Pap, which serve, for the same Use which the Saliva doth in Quadrupeds; that is, for the macerating and dissolution of the Meat into a Chyle. For that the Saliva, notwithstanding its insipidness, has a notable Virtue of macerating and dissolving Bodies, appears by the effects it hath in killing of Quicksilver, fermenting of Dough like Leaven or Yeast, taking away Warts, and curing other cutaneous Distempers; sometime exulcerating the Jaws, and rotting the Teeth.
Give me leave to add one particular more concerning Birds, which some may perchance think too homely and indecent to be mentioned in such a Discourse as this; yet because it is not below the Providence of Nature, and designed for Cleanliness, and some great Men have thought it worth the observing, I need not be ashamd to take notice of it; that is, that in young Birds that are fed in the Nest, the Excrement that is avoided at one time is so viscid, that it hangs together in a great lump as if it were inclosed in a Film, so that it may easily be taken up, and carried away by the old Bird in her Bill. Besides, by a strange instinct, the young Bird elevates her hinder parts so high, for the most part, that she seldom fails to cast what comes from her clear over the side of the Nest. So we see here is a double provision made to keep the
*132 Nest clean, which, if it were defiled with Ordure, the Young Ones must necessarily be utterly marred and ruined.1717>
7. The Bee, a Creature of the lowest forms of Animals, so that no Man can suspect it to have any considerable Measure of Understanding, or to have Knowledge of, much less to aim at any End, yet makes her Combs and Cells with that Geometrical Accuracy, that she must needs be Acted by an Instinct implanted in her by the wise Author of Nature. For First, she plants them in a perpendicular Posture, and so close together as with conveniency they may, beginning at the Top, and working downwards, that so no room may be lost in the Hive, and that she may have easie Access to all the Combs and Cells. Besides, the Combs being wrought Double, that is, with Cells on each Side, a common Bottom or Partition-wall, could not in any other Site have so conveniently, if at all, received or contained the Honey. Then she makes the particular Cells most Geometrically and Artificially, as the famous Mathematician
*133 and most convenient for the Bee to creep into, yet did he not make choice of that, because then there must have been triangular Spaces left void. Now there are only three rectilineous and ordinate Figures which can serve to this Purpose; and inordinate, or unlike ones, must have been not only less elegant and beau tiful, but unequal. [Ordinate Figures are such as have all their Sides, and all their Angles equal.] The three ordinate Figures are, Triangles, Squares and Hexagons. For the space about any Point may be filled up either by six equilateral Triangles or four Squares, or three Hexagons; whereas three Pentagons are too little, and three Heptagons too much. Of these three the Bee makes use of the Hexagon, both because it is more capacious than either of the other, provides they be of equal compass, and so equal matter spent in the Consruction of each: And Secondly, because it is most commodious for the Bee to creep into: And Lastly, because in the other Figures, more Angles and Sides must have met together at the same point, and so the Work could not have been so firm and strong. Moreover, the Combs being double, the Cells on each Side the Partition are so orderd, that the Angles on one Side, insist upon the Centers of the bottoms of the Cells on the other Side, aml not Angle upon, or against Angle; which also must needs contribute to the Strength and Firmness of the Work.
<1717>These Cells she fills with Honey for her Winter Provision and curiously closes them up with Covers of
*134 Wax, that keep the included Liquor from spilling, and from external Injuries, as Mr. Boyle truly observes, Treatise of Final Causes, p.1691717>
Another sort of Bee, I have observed, may be called the Tree-Bee, whose Industry is admirable in making provition for her young. First, she digs round Vaults or Burrows [Cuniculosl in a rotten or decayed Tree, of a great length, in them she builds or forms her cylindrical Nest or Cases resembling Cartrages, or a very narrow Thimble, only in proportion longer, of pieces of Rose or other Leaves, which she shares off with her Mouth, and plats and joins close together by some glutinous Substance. These Cases she fills with a red Pap, of a thinner consistence than an Electuary, of no pleasant taste, which where she gathers, I know not:
<1717>And which is most remarkable, she forms these Cases, and stores them with this Provision, before she hath any young one hatchd, or so much as an Egg laid.1717>
For on the top of the Pap she lays one Egg, and then closes up the Vessel with a cover of Leaves. The enclosd Egg soon becomes an Eula, or Maggot, which feeding upon the Pap till it comes to its full growth, changes to a Nympha, and after comes out a Bee.
Another Insect noted for her seeming Prudence, in making provision for the Winter, proposed by Solomon to the Sluggard for his imitation, is the Ant, which (as all Naturalists agree) hoards up Grains of Corn against the Winter for her Sustenance:
And is reported by some
Yet there is a Quadruped taken notice of even by the Vulgar for laying up in Store Provision for the Winter, that is, the squirrel, whose Hoards of Nuts are frequently found, and pillaged by them.
The Beaver is by credible Persons, Eye-witnesses, affirmd to build him Houses for shelter, and security in Winter-time: See Mr
Besides these I have mentiond, an hundred others may be found in Books relating especially to Physick, as, that Dogs when they are sick, should vomit themselves by eating Grass: That Swine should refuse Meat so soon as they feel themselves ill, and so recover by Abstinence: That the Bird Ibis should teach Men the Way of administering Clysters,
Thirdly, I shall remark the Care that is taken for the Preservation of the Weak and such as
*136 are exposed to injuries, and preventing the encrease of such as are noisome and hurtful: for as it is a Demonstration of the Divine Power and Magnificence to create such Variety of Animals, not only great but small, not only strong and couragious, but also weak and timorous; so is it no less Argument of his Wisdom to give to these Means, and the Power and Skill of using them, to preserve themselves from the Violence and Injuries of those. That of the weak some should dig Vaults and Holes in the Earth, as Rabbets, to secure themselves and their young; others should be armd with hard Shells; others with Prickles, the rest that have no such Armature, should be endued with great Swiftness or Pernicity: And not only so, but some also have their Eyes stand so prominent, as the Hare, that they can see as well behind as before them, that so they may have their Enemy always in their Eye; and long, hollow, moveable ears, to receive and convey the least Sound, or that which comes from far, that they be not suddenly surprised or taken (as they say) Napping.
<1717>Moreover, it is remarkable, that in this Animal, and in the Rabbet, the Muscles of the Loyns and Hind-legs are extraordinarily large in Proportion to the rest of the Body, or those of other Animals, as if made on Purpose for swiftness, that they may be ablc to escape the Teeth of so many Enemies as continually pursue and chase them. Add hereto the Length of their Hind-legs, which is no
small Advantage to them, as is noted by Dame
I might here add much concerning the Wiles and Ruses, which these timid creatures make use of to save themselves, and escape their Persecutors but that I am somewhat diffident of the Truth of those Stories and Relations, I shall only aver what myself have sometimes observd of a Duck, when closely pursued by a Water-dog; she not only dives to save herself (which yet she never does but when driven to an exigent, and just ready to be caught because it is Painful and Difficult to her) bu when she comes up again, brings not her whole Body above Water but only her Bill, and Part of her Head, holding the Rest underneath, that so the Dog, who the mean Time turns round and looks about him, may not espy her, till she have recoverd Breath.1717>
*138 As for Sheep, which have no natural Weapons or Means to defend or secure themselves, neither Heels to run, nor Claws to dig; they are deliverd into the Hand, and committed to the Care and Tuition of Man, and Serving him for divers Uses, are nourished and protected by him; and so enjoying their Beings for a Time, by this Means propagate and continue their Species: So that there are none destitute of some Means to preserve themselves, and their Kind; and these Means so effectual that notwithstanding all the Endeavours and Contrivances of Man and Beast to destroy them, there is not to this Day one Species lost of such as are mentiond in Histories, and consequently and undoubtedly neither of such as were at first created.
Then for Birds of Prey, and rapacious Animals, it is remarkable what
<1717>But for the Security of these rapacious Birds, it is worthy the noting that because
*139 a Prey is not always ready, but perhaps they may fail of one some Days; Nature hath made them patient of a long inedia, and besides, when they light upon one, they gorge themselves so therewith, as to suffice for their Nourishment for a considerable Time.
Fourthly, I shall note the exact fitness of the Parts of the Bodies of Animals to every ones Nature and Manner of Living. A notable Instance of which we have in the Swine, a Creature well known, and therefore what I shall observe of it is obvious to every Man. His proper and natural Food being chiefly the Roots of Plants, he is provided with a long and strong Snout; long, that he might thrust it to a sufficient Depth into the Ground, without offence to his Eyes; strong and conveniently formed for the rooting and turning up the Ground. And besides, he is endued with a notable Sagacity of Scent, for the finding out such Roots as are fit for his Food. Hence in Italy, the usual Method for finding and gathering of Trufles, or subterraneous Mushromes (called by the Italians Tartusali, and in Latin Tubera terrae) is by tying a Cord to the Hind-leg of Pig, and driving him before them into such Pastures as usually produce that Kind of Mushrome, and observing where he stops and begins to root, and there digging, they are sure to find a Trufle; which when they have taken up, the drive away the Pig to search for more. So I have myself observed, that in Pastures where there are Earth-nuts to be found up and down
*140 in several Patches, tho the Roots lie deep in the Ground, and the stalks be dead long before and quite gone, the Swine will by their Scent easily find them out, and root only in those Places where they grow.
This rooting of the Hog in the Earth, calls to mind another Instance of like Nature, that is the Porpesse, which as his English Name Porpesse, i.e. Porc pesce,
Furthermore, That very Action for which the Swine is abominated, and looked upon as an unclean and impure Creature, namely wallowing in the Mire, is Designd by Nature for a very good End and Use, viz. not only to cool his Body, for the fair Water would have done that as well, nay, better, for commonly the Mud and Mire in Summer-time is warm; but also to suffocate and destroy Lice, Fleas, and other noisom and importunate Insects, that are troublesome and noxious to him. For the same Reason do all the Poultry-kind, and divers other Birds bask themselves in the Dust in Summer
*141 time and hot Weather, as is obvious to every one to observe.
2. A Second and no less remarkable Instance, I shall produce, out of Dr. Mores Antidote against Atheism, lib. 2. cap. 10. in a poor and contemptible quadruped, the Mole.
First of all (saith he) her Dwelling being under Ground, where nothing is to be seen, Nature hath so obscurely fitted her with Eyes that Naturalists can scarcely agree, whether she hath any Sight at all or no. [In our Observation, Moles have perfect Eyes, and Holes for them through the Skin, so that they are outwardly to be seen by any that shall diligently search for them; tho indeed they are exceeding small, not much bigger than a great Pins-head. But for amends, what she is capable of for her Defence and warning of Danger, she has very eminently conferrd upon her; for she is very quick of hearing [doubtless her subterraneous Vaults are like Trunks to convey any Sound a great Way.] And then her short Tail and short Legs, but broad Fore-feet armed with sharp Claws, we see by the Event to what purpose they are, she so swiftly working herself under Ground, and making her Way so fast in the Earth, as they that behold it cannot but admire it. Her Legs therefore are short, that she need dig no more than will serve the meer thickness of her Body: And her Fore-feet are broad, that she may scoup away much Earth at a Time: And she has little or no Tail, because she courses it not on the Ground like a Rat or Mouse, but lives under the Earth,
*142 and is fain to dig herself a Dwelling there; and she making her way through so thick an Element; which will not easily yield as the Water and Air do; it had been dangerous to draw so long a Train behind her; for her Enemy might fall upon her Rear, and fetch her out before she had perfected and got full Possession of her Works: Which being so, what more palpable Argument of Providence than she?
Another Instance in Quadrupeds might be the Tamandua, or Ant-Bear, described by
*143 requiring no Comminution by the Teeth, as appears also in the Chamaeleon, which is another Quadruped that imitates the Tamandua in this Property of darting out the Tongue to a great Length, with wonderful Celerity; and for the same Purpose too of catching of Insects.
Besides these Quadrupeds, there are a whole Genus of Birds, called Pici Martii, or Woodpeckers, that in like Manner have a Tongue which they can shoot forth to a very great Length, ending in a sharp stiff bony Rib, dented on each Side; and at Pleaeure thrust it into the Holes, Clefts, and Crannies of Trees to stab and draw out Cossi, or any other Insects lurking there, as also into Ant-hills, to strike and fetch out the ants and their Eggs. More over, they have short, but very strong Legs and their Toes stand two forwards, two backwards, which Disposition (as
As for the Chamaelion, he imitates the Woodspite, not only in the Make, Motion, and Use of his Tongue for striking Ants, Flies, and other Insects; but also in the Site of his Toes, whereby he is wonderfully qualified to run upon Trees, which he
doth with that swiftness, that one would think he flew, whereas upon the Ground he walks very clumsily and ridiculously. A full Description of the outward and inward Parts of this Animal, may be seen at the End of
<1717>I shall add two Instances more in Birds, and those are,
1. The Swallow; whose proper Food is small Beetles, and other Insects flying about in the Air; as we have found by dissecting the Stomachs both of Old Ones and Nestlings: Which is wonderfully fitted for the catching of these Animalcules; for she hath long Wings, and a forked Tail, and small Feet, whereby she is as it were made for swift Flight, and enabled to continue long upon the Wing, and to turn nimbly in the Air. And she hath also an extraordinary wide Mouth, so that it is very hard for any Insect that comes in her Way to escape her. It is thought to be a Sign of Rain, when this Bird flies low near to the Ground; in which there may be some Truth; because the Insects which she hunts may at such Times, when the superior Air is charged with Vapours, have a Sense of it, and descend near the Earth. Hence, when there are no more Insects in the Air; as in Winter-time, those Birds do either abscond, or betake themselves into hot Countries.
*145 2. The Colymbi, or Douchers, or Loons, whose bodies are admirably fitted and conformed for diving tnder Water: Being covered with a very thick Plumage; and the Superficies of their Feathers lo smooth and slippery, that the Water cannot penetrate or moisten them: Whereby their Bodies are defended from the Cold, the Water being kept at a distance; and so poised that by a light Impulse they may easily ascend in it. Then their Feet are situate in the hindmost part of their Body, whereby they are enabled, shooting their Feet backwards, and striking the Water upwards, to plunge themselves down into it with great Facility, and likewise to move forwards therein. Then their Legs are made flat and broad, and their Feet cloven into Toes with appendant Membranes on each side; by which Configuration they easily cut the Water, and are drawn forward, and so take their Stroke backwards; and besides, I conceive, that by means of this Figure, their Feet being movd to the Right and Left-hand, serve them as a Rudder to enable them to turn under Water: For some conceive, that they swim easier under Water than they do above it. How they raise themselves up again, whether their Bodies emerge of themselves by their Lightness, or whether by Striking against the Bottom, in manner of a leap, or by some peculiar motion of their Legs, I cannot determine: That they dive to the Bottom is clear, for that in the Stomachs both of the greater and lesser Kinds we found Grass and other Weeds; and in the lesser
*146 kind nothing else; though both prey upon Fish. Their Bills also are made streight and Sharp for the easier cutting of the Water, and Striking their Prey. Could we see the Motions of their Legs and Feet in the Water, then we should better comprehend how they accend, descend, and move to and fro; and discern, how wisely and artificially their Members are formed and adapted to those Uses.1717>
II. In Birds, all the Members are most exactly fitted for the use of flying. First, The Muscles which serve to move the Wings are the greatest and strongest, because much Force is required to the Agitation of them; the underside of them is also made Concave, and the upper Convex, that they may be easily lifeed up, and more strongly beat the Air, which by this means doth more resist the descent of their Body downward. Then the Trunk of their Body doth somewhat resemble the Hull of a Ship; the Head, the Prow, which is for the most part small, that it may the more easily cut the Air, and make way for their Bodies; the Train serves to steer, govern, and direct their Flight; and however it may be held erect in their standing or walking, yet is directed to lie almost in the same plain with their Backs, or rather a little inclining, when they fly. That the Train serves to steer and direct their Flight; and turn their Bodies like the Rudder of a Ship is evident in the Kite, who by a light running of his Train moves his Body which way
And its notable that as
<1717>To this I shall add further, That the Bodies of Birds are small in comparison of Quadrupeds, that they may more easily be supported in the Air during their Flight; which is a great Argument of Wisdom and Design: Else why should not we see Species of Pegasi, or Flying Horses, of Griffins, of Harpies, and an hundred more, which might make a shift to live well enough, notwithstanding they could make no use of their Wings. Besides, their Bodies are not only small, but of a broad Figure, that
*148 the Air may more resist their Descents, they are also hollow and light ; nay, their very Bones are light: For though those of the Legs and Wings are solid and firm, yet have they ample Cavities, by which means they become more rigid and stiff; it being demonstrable that a hollow Body is more stiff and inflexible than a solid one of equal Substance and Matter. Then the Feathers also are very light, yet their Shafts hard and stiff, as being either empty or filled with a light and spungy Substance; and their Webs are not made of continued Membranes, for then had a Rupture by any Accident been made in them, it could not have heen consolidated, but of two Series of numerous Plumulae, or contiguous Filaments, furnished all along with Hooks on each side, whereby catching hold on one another, they stick fast together; So that when they are ruffled or discomposed, the Bird with her Bill can easily preen them, and reduce them to their due Position again. And for their firmer Cohaesion, the wise and bountiful Author of Nature hath provided and placed on the Rump two Glandules, having their excretory Vessels, round wich. grow Feathers in form of a Pencil, to which the Bird turning her Head, catches hold upon them with her Bill, and a little compressing the Glandules, squeezes out and brings away therewith an oily Pap or Liniment, most fit and proper for the Inunction of the Feathers, and causing their little Filaments more strongly to cohere. And is not this strange and admirable, and
*149 argumentative of Providence, that there should be such an Unguent or Pap prepared, such an open Vessel to excern it into, to receive and retain it; that the Bird should know where it is situate, and how, and to what Purposes to use it? And because the Bird is to live many Years and the Feathers in time would, and must necessarily be worn and shattered, Nature hath made Provision for the casting and renewing them Yearly.
Moreover, those large Bladders or Membranes, extending to the Bottoms of the bellies of Birds, into which the Breath is received, conduce much to the alleviating of the Body, and facilitating the Flight. For the Air received into these Bladders, is by the Heat of the Body extended into twice or thrice the Dimensions of the external, and so must needs add a Lightness to the Body. And the Bird when she would descend, may either compress this Air by the Muscles of the Abdomen, or expire as much of it as may enable her to descend swifter, or slower, as she pleases. I might add the Use of the Feathers in cherishing are keeping of the Body warm; which, the Creature being of small bulk, must needs stand in great stead against the Rigor of the Cold.
And for this Reason we see, that Water-Fowls, which were to swim, and sit long upon the cold Water, have their Feathers very thick set upon their Breast and Bellies, and besides a plentiful Down there growing, to fence against the Cold of the Water, and to keep off its immediate Contact.
*150 That the Tails of all Birds in general do not conduce to their turning to the Right and Left, according to the common Opinion, but rather for their Ascent and Descent, some modern Philosophers have observed and proved by Experiment for that it you pluck off, for instance, a Pigeons tail, she will nevertheless with equal facility turn to and fro: Which upon second Thoughts, and further Consideration, I grant to be true, in Birds whose Tails are pointed, and end in a right Line: But in those that have forked Tails, Autopsy convinceth us, that it hath this use; and therefore they pronounce too boldly of all in general. For it is manifest to sight, that the forkd-taild Kite, by turning her Train sideways, elevating one Horn, and depressing the other, turns her whole Body. And doubtless the Tail hath the same use in Swallows, who make the most sudden Turns in the Air of any Birds, and have all of them forked Tails.1717>
III. As for Fishes, their Bodies are long and slender, or else thin for the most part, for their more easie swimming and dividing the Water. The Wind-bladder, wherewith most of them are furnished, serves to poise their Bodies, and keep them equiponderant to the Water, which else would sink to the bottom, and lie groveling there, as hath by breaking the Bladder been experimentally found. By the Contraction and Dilatation of this Bladder, they are able to raise or sink themselves at pleasure, and continue in what depth of Water they will. The Fins made of gristly Spokes or Rays connected
*151 by Membranes, so that they may be contracted or extended like Womens Fans, and furnished xwith Muscles for Motion, serve partly for Progression, but chiefly to hold the Body upright; which appears in that when they are cut off, it wavers to and fro, and so soon as the Fish dies, the belly turns upwards.
The great strength by which Fishes dart themselves forward with incredible Celerity, like an Arrow out of a Bow, lies in their Tails, their Fins mean time, least they should retard their motion, being held close to their Bodies. And therefore almost the whole Musculous Flesh of the Body is bestowd upon the Tail and Back, and serves for the Vibration of the Tail, the Heaviness and Corpulency of the Water, requiring a great Force to divide It.
<1717>In Cetaceous Fishes; or as the Latins call them, Sea-Beasts,
*152 that as Birds do, by the Motion of one of their Fins, while the other is quiescent. It is no less remarkable in them, that their whole Body is incompassed round with a copious Fat, which our Fishermen call the Blubber, of a great Thickness; which serves partly to poize their Bodies, and render them equiponderant to the Water; partly to keep off the Water at some Distance from the Blood, the immediate Contact whereof would be apt to chill it, and partly also for the same Use that Cloaths serve us, to keep the Fish warm, by reflecting the hot Steams of the Body, and so redoubling the Heat, as we have before noted. For we see, by Experience, that fat Bodies are nothing near so sensible of the Impretsions of Cold as lean. And I have observed fat Hogs to have lain abroad in the open Air, upon the cold Ground in Winter Nights, whereas the lean ones have been glad to creep into their Cotes, and lie upon Heaps to keep themselves warm.1717>
I might here take Notice of those Amphibious Creatures, which we may call Aquatic Quadrupeds ( though one of them there is that hath but two Feet, viz. the Manati, or Sea-Cow ) the Beaver, the Otter, the Phoca or Sea-Calf, the Water-Rat, and the Frog, the toes of whose Feet are joined by Membranees, as in Water-fowls for swimming; and who have very small Ears, and Ear-holes, as the Cetaceous Fishes have for hearing in the Water.
To this head belongs the adapting of the Parts that minister to Generation in the Sexes
*153 one to another; and in Creatures that nourish their Young with Milk, the Nipples of the Breast to the Mouth and Organs of Suction; which he must needs be wilfully blind and void of Sense, that either discerns not, or denies to be intended and made one for the other. That the Nipples should be made spungy, and with such Perforations, as to admit passage to the Milk when drawn, otherwise to retain it; and the Teeth of the Young either not sprung, or so soft and tender, as not to hurt the Nipples of the Dam, are Effects and Arguments of Providence and Design.
<1717>A more full Description of the Breasts and Nipples I meet with, in a Book of that ingenious Anatomist and Physician,
*154 contrived and designed purposely to retain the Milk, that it should not flow out of its self, but easily be drawn out by pressure and function; or to affirm that this fell out accidentally than which there could not have been a more ingenious Contrivance for the Use to which it is imployd, invented by the Wit of Man ?1717>
To this Head of the Fitness of the Parts of the Body to the Creatures nature and manner of living, belongs that Observation of Aristotle,
To the fitness of all the Parts and Members of Animals to their respective Uses, may also be referred another Observation of the same Aristotle,
*155 suppose with three Feet, yet nothing so conveniently or steddily to walk, or run, or indeed to stand. So that we see, Nature hath made choice of what is most fit, proper, and useful. They have also not only an even number of Feet, answering by Pairs one to another, which is as well decent as convenient; but those too of an equal length, I mean the several Pairs; whereas were those on one side longer than they on the other, it would have caused an inconvenient halting or limping in their going.
I shall mention but one more Observation of Aristotle, that is,
*156 and rejected and exploded by all Men: those Birds being well known to have Legs and Feet as well as others, and those not short, small, nor feeble ones, but sufficiently great and strong, and armd with crooked Talons, as being the Members of Birds of Prey.
<1717>It is also very remarkable, That all flying Insects should be covered with shelly Scales, lile Armour, partly to secure them from external Violence, from Injuries by Blows and Pressures: partly to defend their tender Muscles from the Heat of the Sun-beams, which would be apt to parch and dry them up, being of small Bulk; partly also to restrain the Spirits, and to prevent their Evaporation.
I shall now add another Instance of the Wisdom of Nature, or rather the God of Nature, in adapting the Parts of the same Animal one to another, and that is the proportioning the length of the Neck to that of the I.egs. For, seeing Terrestrial Animals, as well Birds as Quadrupeds, are endued with Legs, upon which they Stand, and wherewith they transfer them selves from Place to Place, to gather their Food and for other conveniences of Life, and so the Trunk of their Body must needs be elevated above the Superficies of the Earth, so that they could not conveniently either gather their Food or Drink, if they wanted a Neck, therefore Nature hath not only furnished them therewith, but with such an one as is commensurable to their Legs, except here the Elephant, which hath indeed a short Neck; for the excessive
*157 weight of his Head and Teeth, which to a long Neck would have been unsupportable, but is provided with a Trunk, wherewith, as with a Hand, he takes up his Food and Drink, and brings it to his Mouth.
I say, the Necks of Birds and Quadrupeds are commensurate to their
Legs, so that they which have long Legs have long Necks, and they that have short Legs, short ones, as is seen in the Crocodile, and all Lizards;
and those that have no Legs, as they do not want Necks, so neither have they any, as Fishes. This equality between the Length of the Legs and Neck, is especially seen in Beasts that feed constantly upon Grass, whose Necks and Legs are always very near equal; very near, I say, because the Neck must necessarily have some Advantage, in that it cannot hang perpendicularly down, but must incline a little: Moreover, because this Sort of Creatures must needs hold their Heads down in an inclining Posture, for a considerable time together, which would be very laborious and painful for the Muscles; therefore on each side the Ridge of the Vertebres of the Neck, Nature hath placed an
*158 Or Pack-wax, or Whit-leather. It is also very observable in Fowls that wade in the Water, which having long Legs, have also Necks answerably long: Only in these too there is an Exception, exceeding worthy to be noted; for some Water Fowl, which are Pamipeds, or whole-footed, have very long Necks, and yet but short Legs, as Swans and Geese, and some Indian Birds; wherein we may observe the admirable Providence of Nature. For such Birds as were to search and gather their Food, whether Herbs or Insects, in the bottom of Pools and deep Waters, have long Necks for that purpose, though their Legs, as is most convenient for Swimming, be but short.
Whereas there are no Land-Fowl to be seen with short Legs and long Necks, but all have their Necks in Length commensurate to their Legs. This instance is the more considerable, because the Atheists usual Flam will not here help them out. For (say they) there were many Animals of disproportionate Parts, and of absurd and uncouth Shapes produced at first in the Infancy of the World; but because they could not gather their Food, or perform other Functions necessary to maintain Life, they soon perished, and were lost again. For these Birds, we see, can gather their Food upon Land conveniently enough, notwithstanding the length of their Necks. For example, Geese graze upon Commons, and can feed themselves fat upon Land: Yet is there not one Land Bird, which hath its neck thus disproportionate to its Legs; nor one
*159 Water one neither, but such as are destined by Nature in such manner as we have mentioned to search and gather their Food. For Nature makes not a long Neck to no purpose.
Lastly, Another Argument of Providence and Counsel relating to Animals, is the various kinds of Voices the same Animal uses on divers occasions, and to different Purposes. Hen-Birds, for Example, have a peculiar sort of Voice when they would call the Male; which is so eminent in Quails, that it is taken Notice of by Men, who by counterfeiting this Voice with a Quailpipe, easily drew the Cocks into their Snares. The common Hen, all the while she is broody, sits, and leads her Chickens, uses a Voice which we call Clocking. Another she employs when she calls her Chickens to partake of any Food she hath found for then; upon hearing whereof they speedily run to her. Another when upon sight of a Bird of Prey, or apprehension of any danger, she would scare them, bidding them, as it were, to shift for themselves whereupon they speedily run away, and seek Shelter among Bushes, or in the thick Grass, or elsewhere dispersing them selves far and wide. These Actions do indeed necessarily infer Knowledge and Intention of, and Direction to the Ends and Uses to which they serve, not in the Birds themselves, but in a superiour Agent, who hath put an Instinct in them of using such a Voice upon such an occasion; and in the Young of doing that upon hearing of it, which by Providence was intencled. Other Voices she hath
*160 when angry, when she hath laid an Egg, when in Pain, or great Fear, all significant, which may more easily be accounted for, as being Effects of the several Passions of Anger, Grief, Fear, Joy: Which yet are all argumentative of Providence, intending their several Significations and Uses.
I might also Instance in Quadrupeds; some of which have as great a Diversity of Voices as Hens themselves: And all of them significant, for Example, That common domestick Animal the Cat, as is obvious to every one to observe and therefore I shall not spend Time to mention Particulars.1717>
But against the Uses of several Bodies I have Instanced in, that refer to Man, it may be objected, That these Uses were not designed by Nature in the Formation of the Things; but that the Things were by the Wit of Man accommodated to those Uses.
To which I answer, with Dr.More, in the Appendix to his Antidote against Atheism, That the Several useful Dependencies of this Kind (viz of Stones, Timber, and Metals, for building of Houses or Ships, the Magnet, for Navigation, &c. Fire for melting of Metals, and forging of Instruments for the Purposes mentioned) we only find, not make them. For •whether we think of it or no, it is, for Example, manifest, that Fuel is good to continue Fire, and Fire to melt Metals, and Metals to make Instruments to build Ships and Houses, and so on. wherefore it being true, that there is
*161 such a subordinate usefulness in the Things themselves that are made to our hand, it is but Reason in us to impute it to such a Cause, as was aware of the usefullness and serviceableness of its own Works. To which I shall add, that since we find Materials so fit to serve all the Necessities and Conveniencies, and to exercise and employ the Wit and Industry of an intelligent and active Being, and since there is such an one created that is endued with Skill and Ability to use them, and which by their help is enabled to rule over and subdue all inferior Creatures, but without them had been left necessitous, helpless, and obnoxious to Injuries above any other; and since the Omniscient Creator could not but know all the Uses, to which they might and would be employed by Man, to them that acknowledge the Being of a Deity, it is little less than a Demonstration, that they were created intentionally I do not say only, for those Uses.
Methinks, by all this Provision for the Use and Service of Man, the Almighty interpretatively speaks to him in this manner: I have now placed thee in a spacious and well-furnished World, I have endued thee with an ability of Understanding what is beautiful and proportionable, and have made that which is so, agreeable and delightful to thee; I have provided thee with Materials whereon to exercise and employ thy Art and Strength: I have given thee an excellent Instrument, the Hand, accomodated to make use of them all; I have
*162 distinguished the Earth into Hills and Valleys and Plains, and Meadows, and Woods; all these Parts capable of Culture and Improvement by thy Industry; I have committed to thee for thy assistance in thy Labours of Ploughing, and Carrying, and Drawing, and Travel, the laborious Ox, the patient Ass, and the strong and serviceable Horse:
I have created a Multitude of Seeds for thee to make choice out of them, of what is most pleasant to thy Taste, and of most wholsome and plentiful Nourishment; I have also made great Variety of Trees, bearing Fruit both for Food and Physick, those too capable of being meliorated and improved by Transplantation, Stercoration, Insition, Pruning, Watering and other Arts and Devices. Till and Manure thy Fields, sow them with thy Seeds, extirpate noxious and unprofstable Herbs, guard them from the invasions and spoil of Beasts, clear and fence in thy Meadows and Pastures; dress and prune thy Vines, and so rank and dispose them as is most suitable to the Climate; Plant thee Orchards, with all Sorts of Fruit-Trees, in such order as may be most beautiful to the Eye, and most comprehensive of Plants; Gardens for culinary Herbs, and all Kinds of Salletting; for delectable Flowers, to gratifie the Eye with their agreeable Colours and Figures, and thy Scent with their fragrant Odors; for Odoriferous and Ever-green Shrubs and Suffrutices; for Exotick and Medicinal Plants of all sorts and dispose of them in that comely Order, as may be both pleasant to behold, and commodious for access.
I have furnished thee with all Materials for Building, as Stone, and Timber, and Slate, and Lime, and Clay, and Earth, whereof to make Bricks and Tiles, deck and bespangle the Country with Houses and Villages convenient for thy Habitation, provided with Out-houses and Stables for the harbouring and Shelter of thy Cattle with Barns and Granaries for the reception, and custody, and storing up thy Corn and Fruits. I have made thee a sociable Creature,
I have implanted in thy Nature a desire of seeing strange and foreign, and finding out unknown Countries, for the improvement and advance of thy Knowledge in Geography, by observing the Bays, and Creeks, and Havens, and Promontories, the Outlets of Rivers, the Situation of the Maritime Towns and Cities, the Longitude and Latitude, &c of those Places: In Politicks, by noting their Government, their Manners, Laws, and Customs, their Diet and Medicine, their Trades
*l64 and Manufactures, their Houses and Buildings, their Exercises and Sports, &c. In Physiologv, or Natural History, by searching out their Natural Rarities, the Productions both of Land and Water, what Species of Animals, Plants, and Minerals, of Fruits and Drugs are to be found there, what Commodities for Bartering and Permutation, whereby thou mayst be enabled to make large Additions to Natural History, to advance those other Sciences, and to benefit and enrich thy Country by increase of its Trade and Merchandize: I have given thee Timber and Iron to build the Hulls of Ships, tall Trees for Masts, Flax and Hemp for Sails, Cables and Cordage for Rigging. I have armed thee with Courage and Hardness to attempt the Seas, and traverse the spacious Plains of that liquid Element; I have assisted thee with a Compass, to direct thy Course when thou shalt be out of all Ken of Land, and have nothing in view but Sky and Water. Go thither for the Purposes before-mentioned, and bring home what may be useful and beneficial to thy Country in general, or thy self in particular.
I perswade my self, that the bountiful and gracious Author of Mans Being and Faculties, and all things else, delights in the Beauty of his Creation, and is well Pleased with the Industry of Man, in adorning the Earth with beautiful Cities and Castles, with pleasant villages and Country-Houses, with regular Gardens and Orchards, and Plantations of all sorts
*165 of Shrubs, and Herbs, and Fruits, for Meat, Medicine, or moderate Delight, with shady Woods and Groves, and Walks set with Rows of elegant Trees; with Pastures cloathed with Flocks, and Valleys covered over with Corn, and meadows burthened with Grass, and whatever else differenceth a civil and well cultivated Region, from a barren and desolate Wilderness.
If a Country thus planted and adornd, thus polished and civilized, thus improved to the height by all manner of Culture for the Support and Sustenance, and convenient Entertainment of innumerable multitudes of People, be not to be preferred before a barbarous and inhospstable Scythia, without Houses, without Plantations, without Corn-fields or Vineyards, where the roving Hords of the savage and truculent Inhabitants, transfer themselves from place to place in Waggons, as they can find Pasture and Forrage for their Cattle, and live upon Milk, and Flesh roasted in the Sun, at the Pomels of their Saddles; or a rude and unpolished America, peopled with slothful and naked Indians, instead of well-built Houses, living in pitifu1 Huts and Cabbins, made of Poles set end-ways; then surely the brute Beasts Condition, and manner of Living, to which, what we have mentiond doth nearly approach, is to be esteemd better than Mans, and Wit and Reason was in vain bestowed on him.
*166 Larly, I might draw an Argument of the admirable Art and Skill of the Creator and Composer of them, from the incredible Smalness of some of those natural and enlevined Machines, the Body of Animals.
Any Work of Art of extraordinary Fineness and Subtlety, be it but a small Engine or Movement, or a Curious carved or turned Work of Ivory or Metals, such as those Cups turned of Ivory by Oswaldus Nerlinger of Suevia, mentiond by Joannes Faber in his Expositions of Recchus his Mexican Animals, which all had the perfect form of Cups, and were gilt with a Golden Border about the Brim, of that wonderful smalness, that Faber himself put a thousand of them into an excavated Pepper corn; and when he was weary of the Work, and yet had not filled the Vessel, his Friend, John Carlus Schad, that shewed them him, put in four hundred more. Any such Work, I say, is beheld with admiration, and purchased at a great Rate, and treasured up as a singular Rarity in the Musaeums and Cabinets of the Curious, and as such is one of the first things shewd to Travellers and Strangers. But what are these for their fineness and parvity (for which alone, and their Figure, they are considerable) to those Minute Machines endued with life and motion, I mean, the Bodies of those Animalcula, not long since discovered in Pepper-water, by Mr Leuenhoek of Delft in Holland, (whose Observations were confirmed and improved by our learned and Worthy
*167 Country-man Dr Robert Hook) who tells us, That some of his Friends (whose Testimonials he desired) did affirm, That they had seen l0000, others 30000, others 45000 little living Creatures, in a Quantity of Water no bigger than a Grain of Millet; and yet he made it his Request to them, that they would only justify (that they might be within compass) half the number that they believed each of them saw in the Water. From the greatest of these Numbers he infers, that there will be 8280000 of these living Creatures seen in one drop of Water; which number (saith he) I can with Truth affirm, I have discerned. This (proceeds he) doth exceed belief: But I do affirm, if a larger Grain of Sand were broken into 8000000, of equal Parts, one of these would not exceed the bigness of one of those Creatures.
Dr. Hook tells us, That after he had discovered vast multitudes of those exceeding small Creatures which Mr. Leuenhoek had described, upon
making use of other Lights and Glasses, he not only magnified those he had discovered to a very great bigness, but discovered many other
sorts very much smaller than them he first saw, and some of them so exceeding small, that Millions of Millions might be containd in one
drop of Water. If Pliny, considering such Insects as were known to him, and those were none but what were visible to the naked Eye, was moved to cry out, That the Artifice of Nature was no where more conspicuous than in these. And again,
nullis quae ratio, quanta vis, quam inextricabilis perfectio? And again,
Again, if considering the Body of a Gnat, (which by his own Confession is none of the least of Insects) he could make so many admiring Queries, Where hath Nature disposed so many Senses in a Gnat ?
*169 Creatures be so exceeding small, what must we think of their Muscles and other Parts ? Certain it is, that the Mechanism by which Nature performs the Muscular Motion, is exceeding small and curious, and to the performance of every Muscular Motion, in greater Animals at least, there are not fewer distinct parts concerned than many Millions of Millions, and these visible through a Microscope.
Use. Let us then consider the Works of God, and observe the Operations of his Hands: Let us take notice of, and admire his infinite Wisdom and Goodness in the Formation of them: No Creature in this sublunary World is capable of so doing, beside Man, and yet we are deficient herein: We content ourselves with the Knowledge of the Tongues, on a little Skill in Philology, or History perhaps, and Antiquity, <**123> and neglect that which to me seems more material, I mean, Natural History, and the Works of the Creation: I do not discommend, or derogate from those other Studies: I should betray mine own Ignorance and Weakness should I do so; I only wish they might not altogether jostle out, and exclude this. I wish that this might be brought in fashion among us; I wish Men would be equal and civil, as not to disparage, deride, and vilifie those Studies which themselves skill not of, or are not conversant in; no Knowledge can be more pleasant than this, none that doth so satisfie and feed the Soul; in comparison
*170 whereto that of Words and Phrases seems to me insipid and jejeune That Learning (saith a wise and observant Prelate) which consists only in the Form and Pedagogy of Arts or the critical Notions upon Words and Phrases, hath in it this intrinsical imperfection that it is only so far to be esteemed, as it conduceth to the Knowledge of Things, being in itelf but a kind of Pedantry, apt to insect a Man with such odd Humours of Pride and Affectation, and Curiosity, as will render him unfit for any great Employment. Words being but the Images of Matter, to be wholly given up to the study of these, what is it but Pygmalions Frenzy, to fall in Love with a Picture or Image? As for Oratory, which is the best skill about Words, that hath by some wise Men been esteemd, but a voluntary Art like to Cookery, which spoils wholesome Meats, and helps unwholesome, by the variety of Sauces, serving more to the Pleasure of Taste, than the Health of the Body.
It may be (for ought I know, and as some Divines have thought) part of our Business and Employment in Eternity, to contemplate the Works of God, and give him the Glory of his Wisdom Power, and Goodness, manifested in the Creation of them. I am sure it is part of the Business of a Sabbath-day, and the Sabbath is a Type of that Eternal Rest; for the Sabbath seems to have been first instituted for a Commemoration of the Works of
*171 the Creation, from which God is said to have rested upon the Seventh-Day.
<1717>It is not likely that Eternal Life shall be a torpid and unactive state, or that it shall consist only in an uninterrupted and endless Act of Love; the other Faculties shall employed as well as the Will, in Actions suitable to, and perfective of their Natures; especially the Understanding, the Supreme Faculty of the Soul, which chiefly differenceth us from brute Beasts, and makes us capable of Virtue and Vice, of Rewards and Punishments, shall be busied and employed in contemplating the Works of God, and observing the Divine Art and Wisdom manifested in the Structure and Composition of them; and reflecting upon their Great Architect the Praise and Glory due to him. Then shall we clearly see to our great satisfaction and admiration, the Ends and Uses of these Things which here were either too subtle for us penetrate and discover, or too remote and unaccessible for us to come to any distinct view of, viz the Planets, and fixd Stars; those illustrious Bodies, whose Contents and Inhabitants, whose Stores and Furniture we have here so longing a desire to know, as also their mutual subserviency to each other. Now the Mind of Man being not capable at once to advert to more than one thing, a particular View and Examination of such an innumerable number Qf vast Bodies, and the great
*172 multitude of Species, both of animate and inanimate Beings, which each of them contains, will afford Matter enough to exercise and employ our Minds, I do not say, to all eternity, but to many Ages, should we do nothing else. 1717>
Let it not suffice us to be Book-learned, to read what others have written, and to take upon Trust more Falsehood than Truth: But let us ourselves examine things as we have opportunity, and converse with Nature as well as Books. Let us endeavour to promote and encrease this Knowledge, and make new Discoveries, not so much distrusting our own Parts, or despairing of our own Abilities, as to think that our Industry can add no thing to the Invention of our Ancestors, or correct any of their Mistakes. Let us not think that the bounds of Science are fixed like Herculess Pillars, and inscribed with a
The Treasurers of Nature are inexhaustible. Here Is Employment enough, for the vastest Parts, the most indefatigable Industries, the happiest Opportunities, the most prolix and undisturbd Vacancies.
are reserved for Ages then to come, when we shall be quite forgotten, no Memory of us remaining. The World would be a pitiful samll Thing, indeed, if it did not contain enough for the Erlquiries of the whole World. Yet, and again, Epistle 64.
Much might be done, would we but endeavour, and nothing is insuperable to Pains and Patience. I know that a new Study at first seems very vast, intricate, and difficult; but after a little resolution and progress, after a Man becomes a little acquainted, as I may so say, with it, his Understanding is wonderfully cleared up and enlarged, the Difficulties vanish and the thing grows easie and familiar. And for our encouragement in this Study, observe what the Psalmist saith, Psalm 111 :2 "The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein." Which though it be principally spoken of the Works of Providence, yet may as well be verified of the Works of Creation. I am sorry to see so little count made of real Experimental Philosophy in this University; and that those ingenious Sciences of the Mathematicks are so much neglected by us: And therefore do earnestly
*174 exhort those that are young, especially Gentlemen, to set upon these Studies, and take some pains in them. They may possibly invent something of eminent Use and Advantage to the World; and one such Discovery would abundantly compensate the Expence and Travel of one Mans whole Life. However, it is enough to maintain and continue what is already invented: Neither do I see what more ingenious and manly Employment they can pursue, tending more to the Satisfaction of their own Minds, and the Illustration of the Glory of God. For he is wonderful in all his Works.
But I would not have any Man cross his natural Genius or Inclinations, or undertake such Methods of Study, as his Parts are not fitted to, or not serve those Ends to which his Friends upon mature Deliberation have designed him; but those who do abound with Leisure, or who have a natural Propension and Genius inclining them thereto, or those who by Reason of the Strength and Greatness of their Parts, are able to compass and comprehend the whole Latitude of Learning.
Neither yet need those who .are designed to Divinity itself, fear to look into these Studies, or think they will engross their whole Time, and that no considerable Progress can be made therein, unless Men lay aside and neglect their ordinary Callings, and necessary Employments. No such matter. Our Life is long enough,
and we might find Time enough, did we husband it well:
But to leave that, it is a generally received Opinion, that all this visible World was created for Man; that Man is the end of the Creation, as if there were no other end of any Creature, but some way or other to be serviceable to Man. This Opinion is as old as Tully; for, saith he, in his Second Book De Nat. Deorum.
*176 they are not at all made for themselves. But he that pronounceth this, is ignorant of the Nature of Man and the Knowledge of Things. For if a good Man be merciful to his Beast, then surely a good God is bountiful and benign, and takes Pleasure that all his Creatures enjoy themselves, that have Life and Sense, and are capable of Enjoyment.
<1717>Those Philosophers indeed, who hold Man to be the only Creature in this sublunary World, endued with Sense and Perception, and that all other Animals are meer Machines or Puppets, have some Reason to think, that all things here below were made for Man. But this Opinion seems to me too mean, and unworthy the Majesty, Wisdom and Power of God; nor can it well consist with his Veracity, instead of a Multitude of Noble Creatures, endued with Life and Sense, and spontaneous Motion, as all Mankind till of late Years believed, and none ever doubted of (so that it seems we are naturally made to think so) to have stocked the Earth with divers Sets of Automata, without all Sense and Perception, being wholly acted from without, by the Impulse of external Objects.
But be this so, there are infinite other Creatures without this Earth, which no considerate Man can think, were made only for Man, and have no other use. For my part I cannot believe, that all the Things in the World were so made for Man, that they have no other use. 1717>
*177 <1691>For it is1691><1717>For it seems to me1717> highly absurd and unreasonable, to think that Bodies of such vast Magnitude as the fixd Stars were only made to twinkle to us; nay, a multitude of them there are, that do not so much as twinkle, being either by Reason of their Distance or of their Smalness, altogether Invisible to the naked Eye, and only discoverable by a Telescope; and it is likely, perfecter Telescopes than we yet have, may bring to light many more; and who knows, how many lie out of the Ken of the best Telescope that can possibly be made?
And I believe there are many Species in Nature, even in this sublunary World, which were never yet taken Notice of by Man, and consequently of no Use to him, which yet we are not to think were created in vain; but may be found out by, and of Use to those who shall live after us in future Ages. But though in this Sense it be not true, that all Things were made for Man; yet thus far it is, that all the Creatures in the World may be some way or other Useful to us, at least to exercise our Wits and Understandings, in considering and contemplating of them, and So afford us Subject of admiring and glorifying their and our Maker.
Seeing then, we do believe, and assert, that all Things were in some Sence made for us, we are thereby obligd to make Use of them for those Purposes for which they serve us, else we frustrate this End of their Creation. Now some of them serve only to exercise our Minds: Many others there
*178 be, which might probably serve us to good Purpose, whose Uses are not discovered, nor are they ever like to be, without Pains and Industry. True it is, many of the greatest Inventions <**130> have been accidentally stumbled upon, but not by Men, Supine and Careless, but busie and inquisitive. Some Reproach methinks it is to Learned Men, that there should be so many Animals in the World, whose outward shape is not yet taken Notice of; or describd, much less their Way of Generation, Food, Manners, Uses, observed.
<1717>The Scripture, Psalm 148 calls upon "The Sun, Moon, and Stars; Fire and Hail, Snow and Vapour; stormy Winds and Tempests, Mountains and all Hills; fruitful Trees, and all Cedars; Beasts and all Cattle; creeping Things and flying Fowl, etc. to praise the Lord. How can that be? Can senseless and inanimate Things praise God? Such as are the Sun, and Moon, and Stars. And although Beasts be advanced higher to some Degree of Sense and Perception; yet being void of Reason and Understanding, they know nothing of the Causes of Things, or of the Author and Maker of themselves, and other Creatures. All that they are capable of doing, in reference to the praising of God, is (as I said before) by affording Matter or Subject of praising him, to rational and intelligent Beings. So the Psalmist, Psalm 19.1. "The Heavens declare the Glory of God, and the Firmament sheweth his handywork. And therefore the Psalmist, when he calls upon
*179 Sun, and Moon, and Stars, to praise God, doth in effect call upon Men and Angels, and other rational Beings, to consider those great Effects of the Divine Power and Wisdom, their vast Dimensions, their regular Motions and Periods, their admirable Disposition and Order, their eminent Ends and Uses in illuminating and enlivening the Planets, and other Bodies about them, and their Inhabitants, by their comfortable and cherishing Light, Heat, and Influences, and to give God the Glory of his Power, in making such great and illustrious Bodies, and of his Wisdom and Goodness in so placing and disposing of them, so moving them regularly and constantly, without clashing or interfering one with another, and enduing them with such excellent Virtues and Properties as to render them so serviceable and beneficial to Man, and all other creatures about them.
The like may be said of Fire, Hail, Snow, and other Elements and Meteors, of Trees, and other Vegetables, of Beasts, Birds, Insects, and all Animals, when they are commanded to praise God, which they cannot do by themselves; Man is commanded to consider them partieularly, to Observe and take Notice of their curious Structure, Ends, and Uses, and give God the Praise of his Wisdom and other Attributes therein manifested.
*180 And therefore those who have Leisure, Opportunity, and Abilities, to contemplate and consider any of these Creatures, if they do it not, do as it were rob God of some part of his Glory, in neglecting or slighting so eminent a Subject of it, and wherein they might have discovered so much Art, Wisdom, and Contrivance.
And it is particularly remarkable, that the Divine Author of this Psalm, amongst other Creatures, calls upon Insects also to praise God; which is as much as to say, ye Sons of Men, neglect none of his Works, those which seem most vile and contemptible; there is Praise belongs to him for them. Think not that any Thing he hath vouchsafed to create, is unworthy thy Cognizance, to be slighted by thee. It is Pride and Arrogance, or Ignorance and Folly in thee so to think. There is a greater depth of Art and Skill in the Structure of the meanest Insect, than thou art able for to fathom or comprehend.1717>
<1691>If Man ought to reflect upon his Creator the Glory of all his Works, then ought he to take notice of them all, and not to think any thing unworthy of his Cognizance. And truly the Wisdom, Art...1691>
The Wisdom Art, and Power of Almighty God, shines forth as visibly in the Structure of the Body of the minutest Insect, as in that of a Horse or Elephant: Therefore God is said to be, Maximus in minimis. We Men, esteem it a more difficult Matter, and of greater Art and Curiosity to frame a small Watch, than a large Clock: And no Man blames him who
spent his whole time in the Consideration of the Nature and Works of a Bee, or thinks his Subject was too narrow. Let us not then esteem any thing contemptible or inconsiderable, or below our notice taking; for this is to derogate from the Wisdom and Art of the Creator, and to confess ourselves unworthy of those Endowments of Knowledge and Understanding which he hath bestowed on us. Do we praise Daedalus, and Architas, and Hero, and Callicrates, and Albertus Magnus, and many others which I might mention, for their Cunning in inventing, and Dexterity in framing and composing a few dead Engines or Movements, and shall we not admire and magnifie the Great
<1717>I have already noted out of Dr. Hook, that to the performance of every Muscular Motion, at least in greater Animals, there are not fewer distinct Parts concerned, than many Millions of Millions.
*182 Further, from the Consideration of our own Smallness and Inconsiderableness, in respect of the Greatness and Splendor of those glorious heavenly Bodies, the Sun, Moon, and Stars, to which our Bodies bear no proportion at all, either in Magnitude or Lustre; let us with the holy Psalmist raise up our Hearts, to magnifie the Goodness of God towards us in taking such Notice of us, and making such Provision for us, and advancing us so highly above all his Works, Psalm 8.3. When I consider the Heavens, the Work of thy Fingers, the Moon and the Stars which thou hast ordained. What is Man that thou aret mindful of him, and the Son of Man that thou visitest him ? For thou hast made him a little lower than the Angels, and hast crowned him with Glory and Honour, etc.1717>
But it may be objected, that God Almighty was not so selfish and desirous of Glory, as to make the World and all the Creatures therein, only for his own honour, and to be praised by Man. To assert this, were, in Des Cartess opinion, an absurd and childish Thing, and a resembling of God to a proud Man. It is more worthy the Deity, to attribute the Creation of the World, to the exundation and overflowing of his transcendent and infinite Goodness, which is of its own Nature, and in the very Notion of it, most free, diffusive, and communicative.
To this I shall answer in two Words; First, The Testimony of Scripture makes God in all his Actions to intend and design his own Glory mainly, Prov. 16. 4. God made all things for himself . How, for himself ? He hath no Need of them: he hath no Use of them. No, he made them for the Manifestation of his Power, Wisdom, and Goodness, and that he might receive from the Creatures that were able to take notice thereof, his Tribute of Praise, Psalm 50. 14.
Secondly, It is most reasonable that God Almighty should intend his own <**133> Glory: For he being infinite in all Excellencies and Perfections, and independent Upon any other Being;
*184 nothing can be said or thought of him too great, and which he may not justly challenge as is due; nay, he cannot think too highly of himself, his other Attributes being adequate to his Understanding; so that, though his Understanding be infinite, yet he understands no more than his Power can effect, because that is infinite also. And therefore it is fit and reasonable, that he should own and accept the Creatures Acknowledgments and Celebrations of those Virtues and Perfections, which he hath not received of any other, but possesseth eternally and originally of himself.
And indeed, (with Reverence be it spoken) what else can we imagine the ever Blessed Deity to delight and take Complacency in for ever; but his own infinite Excellencies and Perfections, and the Manifestations and Effects of them, the Works of the Creation, and the Sacrifices of Praise and Thanks offered up by such of his Creatures as are capable of considering those Works, and discerning the Traces and Footsteps of his Power and Wisdom appearing in the Formation of them; and moreover, whose bounden Duty it is so to do;
The Reason why Man ought not to admire himself, or seek his own Glory, is because he is a dependent Creature, and hath nothing but what he hath received, and not only dependent, but imperfect; yea, weak and impotent: And yet I do not take Humility in Man to consist in disowning or denying any Gift or Ability that is in him but in a just Valuation of such Gifts
*185 and Endowments, yet rather thinking too meanly than too highly of them; because Humane Nature is so apt to ers in running into the other Extreme, to flatter itself, and to accept those Praises that are not due to it; Pride being an Elation of Spirit upon false Grounds, or a desire and acceptance of undue honour. Otherwlse I do not see why a Man may not admit, and accept the testimonies of others, concerning any Perfection, Accomplishment, or Skill, that he is really posssessed of, yet can he not think himself to deserve any Praise or Honour for it, because both the Power and the Habit are the Gift of God: And considering that one Virtue is counter-balanced by many Vices, and one Skill or Perfection, with much Ignorance and Infirmity.
The End of the First Part