The Air a fit medium to convey the Light and influences of the Hea∣vens to the lower World. Tis the repository of Vapours that are drawn up by the Sun, and descend in fruitful Showers. The Winds of great benefit. The separation of the Sea from the Land thePage 20 effect of great Wisdom and Po∣wer. That the Earth is not an equal Globe, is both pleasant and useful. The League of the Ele∣ments considered. Excellent Wis∣dom visible in Plants and Fruits. The shapes of Animals are an∣swerable to their properties. They regularly act to preserve them∣selves. The Bees, Swallows, Ants directed by an excellent mind.
THe Expension of the Air from the Etherial Heavens to the Earth, is another testimo∣ny of Divine Providence. For 'tis transparent, and of a subtle Nature, and thereby a fit medi∣um to convey Light and Ce∣lestial Influences to the lower World. It receives the first im∣pressions of the Heavens, and insinuating without resistance, Page 21 conveys them to the most di∣stant things. By it the greatest numbers of useful objects that cannot by immediate applicati∣on to our faculties be known, are transmitted in their images and representations; All colours and figures to the Eye, sounds to the Ear. Tis necessary for the subsistence of Animals that live by respiration. It mixes with their nourishment, cools the in∣ward heat, and tempers its vio∣lence.
Besides, In the Air Vapors are attracted by the Sun, till they ascend to that height to which its reflection does not ar∣rive, and there losing the soul of heat that was only borrowed, by degrees return to their native coldness, and are gathered into Clouds, which do not break in Page 22 a deluge of waters that would wash away the seed, but dissolv∣ing into fruitful showers, fall in millions of drops to refresh the Earth, so that what is taken from it without loss, is restor'd with immense profit.
The Air is the field of the Winds, an invisible generation of Spirits, whose life consists in motion. These are of divers qualities and effects, for the ad∣vantage of the World. Some are turbid, others serene and chearful; some warm and re∣freshing, others cold and sharp; some are placid and gentle, o∣thers furious and stormy; some moist, others dry. They cleanse and purifie the Air that other∣wise would corrupt by the set∣ling of vapors, & be destructive to the lives of Animals. They Page 23 convey the Clouds for the uni∣versal benefit of the Earth; for if the Clouds had no motion but directly upwards, they must only fall on those parts from whence they ascended, to the great damage of the Earth. For moist places that send up plen∣ty of Vapours would be over∣flowed; and the highest parts, to which no other Waters arise, would be unfruitful. Now the Winds are assigned to all the quarters of the World, and as the Reigns are slack or hard, they guide the Clouds for the advantage of the lower World.
The separation of the Sea from the Land, and containing it within just bounds, is the ef∣fect of Almighty Wisdom and Goodness. For being the lighter Element, its natural situation is Page 24 above it. And till separated, 'twas absolutely useless as to habitation or fruitfulness. 'Tis now the convenient seat of ter∣restrial Animals, and supplies their Provisions. And the Sea is fit for Navigation, whereby the most distant Regions main∣tain Commerce for their mutu∣al help and comfort.
The Rivers dispers'd through the veins of the Earth, preserve its beauty, and make it fruitful. They are always in motion, to prevent corrupting, and to visit several parts, that the labour of cultivating may not be in vain. And that these Waters may not fail, the innumerable branches spred through the Earth, at last unite in the main body of the Sea. What they pour into it, through secret chanels they de∣rive Page 25 from it, by a natural per∣petual circulation, not to be imitated by Art. In this we have a clear proof of the Wis∣dom and Goodness of the Crea∣tor.
That the Earth is not an equal Globe, but some parts are rais'd into Hills and Mountains, others sunk into deep Valleys; some are immense Plains, affects with vari∣ous delight, and is useful for excel∣ent ends: not onely for the pro∣duction of Minerals, of Marble and Stones requisite for Build∣ings, but for the thriving of se∣veral kinds of Grain and Plants that are necessary for Food or * Medicine: for some love the Shade, others the Sun; some flou∣rish best on Rocks and Precipices, others in low moist places; some delight in Hills, others in Plains. Page 26 Thus by the unequal surface of the Earth, is caused a convenient temperature of Air and Soil for its productions.
Add further, The Wisdom of the Creatour is discovered by ob∣serving the league of the Ele∣ments from whence all mixt bo∣dies arise. Of how different quali∣ties are Earth, Water, Air, Fire? yet all combine together without the destruction of their enmity, that is as necessary to preserve na∣ture as their friendship. Can there be imagin'd a greater discord in the parts of the Elementary World, and a greater concord in the whole? To reduce them to such an aequilibrium that all their operations promote the same end, proves that there is a Mind of the highest Wisdom, that has an abso∣lute Dominion over all things, Page 27 and tempers them accordingly.
If we come to Plants and Flow∣ers, Who divided their kinds, and form'd them in that beautiful order? who painted and perfum'd them? how doth the same Water dye them with various Colours, the Scarlet, the Purple, the Car∣nation? what causes the sweet O∣dors that breath from them with an insensible subtilty, and diffuse in the Air for our delight? from whence proceed their different vertues? These admirable works of Nature exceed the‖ imitation and comprehension of Man. 'Tis clear therefore they proceed from a Cause that excels him in Wisdom and Power. That some Plants of excellent vertue are full of prickles in their stock and leaves, to protect them from Beasts that would root them up, Page 28 or trample on them, an* Atheist acknowledg'd to be the effect of Providence. The same Wisdom preserves the Seed in the Root un∣der the flower, and prepares the numerous Leaves of Trees, not only for a shadow to refresh li∣ving creatures, but to secure their Fruits from the injuries of the weather. Therefore in the Spring they shoot forth always before the fruits are form'd. And tender de∣licate fruits are cover'd with broa∣der and thicker leaves than others of a firmer substance. In Winter they cast their leaves, are naked and dry, the vital sap retiring to the root, as if careless of dying in the members to preserve life in the heart, that in the returning Spring diffuses new heat and spi∣rits, the cause of their flourishing and fruitfulness. The season of Page 29 Fruits is another indication of Pro∣vidence. In Summer we have the cool and moist to refresh our heats, in Autumn the durable to be preserved when the Earth produ∣ces none.
If we observe the lower rank of Animals, their kinds, shapes, properties, 'tis evident that all are the Copies of a designing Mind, the effects of a skilful Hand. Some of them are fierce, others familiar; some are servile, others free; some crafty, others simple, and all fram'd conveniently to their Na∣tures. How incongruous were it for the Soul of a Lion to dwell in the body of a Sheep, or that of a Hare to animate the body of a Cow? It would require a volume to describe their different shapes, and fitness to their particular na∣tures. Besides, creatures meerly▪ sen∣sitive Page 30 are acted so regularly to pre∣serve themselves & their kind, that the reason of a superiour Agent ‖ shines in all their actions. They no sooner come into the World but know their enemies, and ei∣ther by Strength or Art secure themselves. They are instructed to swim, to fly, to run, to leap. They understand their fit nou∣rishment, and remedies proper for their Diseases. Who infused into the Birds the art to build their nests, the love to cherish their young? How are the Bees in∣structed to frame their Hony∣combs without† hands, and in the dark, and of such a figure that a∣mong all other of equal compass and filling up the same space, is most capacious? The considera∣tion of their Art and Industry, their political Government and Page 31 Providence, and other miraculous qualities, so astonish'd some great Wits, that they attributed some∣thing divine* to them.
—some there are maintain That Bees deriv'd from a Coele∣stial strain, And Heavenly race.
What moves the Swallows upon the approach of Winter to fly to a more temperate Clime, as if they understood the Celestial Signs, the Influences of the Stars, and the Changes of the Seasons? From whence comes the fore-sight of the Ants to provide in Summer for Winter? their oeconomy fer∣vour, Page 32 their discretion in assisting one another, as if knowing that every one labour'd for all, and where the benefit is common the labour must be common; their care to fortifie their receptacles with a banck of Earth that in great rains, it may not be over∣flowed, have made them the fit emblems of prudent diligence.
This is excellently described by Virgil.
How could they propound such ends, and devise means proper to obtain them? 'Tis evident from their constant and regular actings, that an Understanding above man's, who often fails in his de∣signs, Page 34 signs, imprest their unerring in∣stincts, and directs their motions.