A free enquiry into the vulgarly receiv'd notion of nature made in an essay address'd to a friend
Boyle, Robert, 1627-1691.


V. HAving, in the foregoing Se∣ction, propos'd some of the Considerations, that have dissa∣tisfied me with the Receiv'd Notion of Nature, it may now be justly ex∣pected, that I should also consider, what I foresee will be alledg'd in Its behalf, by the more Intelligent of Its Favourers. And I shall not deny the Objections, I am going to name a∣gainst my Opinion, to be considera∣ble, especially for this Reason, that I am very unwilling to seem to put Page  183 such an Affront upon the generality as well of Learned Men as of Others, as to maintain, that they have built a Notion of so great weight and im∣portance upon slight and inconside∣rable Grounds.

The Reasons, that I conceive may have induced Philosophers to take up, and rely on, the Receiv'd Notion of Nature, are such as these that fol∣low.

And the first Argument, as one of the most obvious, may be taken from the general Belief, or, as Men sup∣pose, Observation, that divers Bo∣dies, as particularly Earth, Water, and other Elements, have each of them its natural Place assign'd it in the Universe; from which Place, if any portion of the Element, or any mixt Body, wherein that Element predominates, happens to be re∣mov'd, it has a strong incessant Appe∣tite to return to it; because, when 'tis there, it ceases either to gravitate, or (as some School-men speak) to levitate, and is now in a place, which Page  184Nature has qualifi'd to preserve it, according to the Axiom, that Locus conservat locatum.

To this Argument I answer, that I readily grant, that, there being such a Quantity of very bulky Bodies in the World, 'twas necessary they should have Places adequate to their bigness; and 'twas thought fit by the wise Architect of the Universe, that they should not be all blended together, but that a great Portion of each of them should, at the begin∣ning of things, be dispos'd of and lodg'd in a distinct and convenient Place. But when I have granted this, I see not any necessity of gran∣ting likewise, what is asserted in the Argument above-propos'd. For In∣animate Bodies having no Sense or Perception, (which is the Preroga∣tive of Animadversive Beings) it must be all one to them in what Place they are, because they cannot be concern'd to be in one Place rather than in another, since such a prefe∣rence would require a knowledg, Page  185 that Inanimate things are destitute of. And, for the same reason, a Portion of an Element, remov'd, by force or chance, from what they call its proper Place, can have no real Ap∣petite to return thither: For, who tells it 'tis in an undue Place, and that it may better its Condition by remo∣ving into another? And who in∣forms it, whether that Place lies on this hand of it, or that hand of it, or above it, or beneath it? Some Phi∣losophers indeed have been some∣what aware of the weakness of the Argument, drawn from the vulgarly propos'd Instance (which yet is the best that is wont to be imploy'd,) of Earthy Bodies, which being let fall from the top of an House, or thrown into the Air, do of themselves fall, in a direct Line, towards the Centre of the Earth; and therefore they have strengthned this Argument, as far as might be, by pretending, that these Bodies have not indeed, as for∣mer Philosophers were wont to think, an Appetite to descend to the Page  186 Centre of the Earth, but to the great Mass of their Connatural Bodies. I I will not therefore accuse these Phi∣losophers of the inconsiderate Opi∣nion of their Predecessors, who would have Nature make all heavy Things affect to lodg themselves in the Centre of the Earth, which (as was formerly noted,) being but a Point, cannot contain any one of them, (how little soever it be;) but yet the Hypothesis of these Moderns is liable, though not to that, yet, to other weighty Objections.

For the First Argument, I lately imploy'd, will hold good against these Philosophers too, it not being conceivable, how an Inanimate Body should have an Appetite to re-joyn Homogeneous Bodies, neither whose situation, nor whose distance from it, it does at all know.

Secondly, It does not appear that all Bodies have such an Appetite, as is presum'd, of joyning themselves to greater Masses of Connatural Bodies; as, if you File the end of an Ingot or Page  187 Bar of Silver or of Gold, the Filings will not stick to their own Mass, though it be approach'd never so near, or made to touch them, and much less will they leap to it, when 'tis at a distance from them. The like may be said almost of all Consistent Bodies we are acquainted with, ex∣cept the Loadstone and Iron, and Bo∣dies that participate of one of those two.

Thirdly, 'Tis obvious to them that will observe, that, that which makes Lumps of Earth, or Terrestrial Mat∣ter, fall through the Air to the Earth, is some general Agent, whatever that be, which, according to the wise disposition of the Author of the Uni∣verse, determines the Motion of those Bodies, we call heavy, by the short∣est ways that are permitted them, to∣wards the Central part of the Terra∣queous Globe; Whether the Body, put into Motion downwards, be of the same, or a like, or a quite differ∣ing nature, from the greater Mass of Matter, to which, when 'tis aggrega∣ted, Page  188 it rests there? If, from the side of a Ship, you let fall a Chip of Wood out of your Hand, when your Arm is so stretch'd out, that the Per∣pendicular, or shortest Line, be∣tween that and the Water, lies never so little without the Ship, that Chip will fall into the Sea, which is a fluid Body, and quite of another Nature than itself, rather than swerve in the least from the Line of Direction, as Mechanicians call it, to rejoyn itself to the great bulk of Wood, whereof the Ship, though never so big, con∣sists. And, on the other side, if a Man, standing upon the Shore just by the Sea, shall pour out a Glass of Water, holding the Glass just over his Feet, that Water will fall into the Sand, where 'twill be immedi∣ately soak'd up and dispersed, rather than deviate a little, to joyn itself to so great a Mass of Connatural Body, as the Ocean is.

And as to what is generally be∣liev'd, and made part of the Argu∣ment that I am answering, That Page  189 Water does not weigh in Water, be∣cause it is in its own natural Place, and Elementa in proprio loco non gra∣vitant. I deny the matter of Fact, and have convinc'd divers curious Persons by Experi∣ment, * that Water does gravitate in Water, as well as out of it, though indeed it does not prae∣gravitate, because 'tis Counter-bal∣lanc'd by an equal weight of Colla∣teral Water, which keeps it from descending.

And Lastly, For the Maxim, that Locus conservat locatum; besides that, it has been prooflesly asserted, and therefore, unless it be cautiously explain'd, I do not think my self bound to admit it; besides this, I say, I think, that either the proper Place of a Body cannot be inferr'd, as my Adversaries would have it, from the Natural tendency of a Bo∣dy to it; or else it will not hold true in general, that Locus conservat loca∣tum; as when, for Instance, a poor Page  190 unluky Seaman falls, from the Main∣yard of a Ship, into the Water, does the Sea, to which he makes such hast, preserve him or destroy him? And when in a foul Chim∣ney, a lump of Soot falls into the Hearth, and presently burns up there, can we think that the Wis∣dom of Nature gave the Soot an Ap∣petite to hasten to the Fire, as a greater Bulk of its Connatural Body, or a Place provided by Nature for its Conservation.

And now I speak of such an In∣nate Appetite of Conjunction be∣tween Bodies; I remember, what I lately forgot to mention in a fitter place; That Bubbles themselves may overthrow the Argument, I was An∣swering. For if a Bubble happens to arise from the bottom of a Vessel to the upper Part of it, we are told, that the Haste, wherewith the Air moves thorow Water, proceeds from the Appetite it has to quit that Pre∣ternatural Place, and re-joyn the Element, or great Mass of Air, de∣tain'd Page  191 at the very Surface of the Wa∣ter by a very thin skin of that Li∣quor, together with which it con∣stitutes a Bubble. Now I demand, how it comes to pass, that this Ap∣petite of the Air, which, when it was at the bottom of the Water, and also in its passage upwards, is sup∣pos'd to have enabled it to Ascend with so much eagerness and force, as to make its way thorow all the incumbent Water, (which possibly was very deep,) should not be able, when the Air is arriv'd at the very top of the Water, to break thorow so thin a Membrane of Water, as usually serves to make a Bub∣ble, and which suffices to keep it from the beloved Conjunction with the great Mass of the External Air? especially since they tell us, that Na∣tural Motion grows more quick, the nearer it comes to the End or Place of rest; the Appetites of Bodies en∣creasing, with their approaches to the Good they aspire to; upon which account, Falling Bodies, as Stones, &c.Page  192 are said (though falsesly) to en∣crease their swiftness, the nearer they come to the Earth. But if, setting aside the Imaginary Appetite of the Air, we attribute the Ascension of Bubbles to the Gravity and Pressure upwards of the Water, 'tis easie Hy∣drostatically to Explicate, why Bub∣bles often move slower when they come near the Surface of the Water, and why they are detain'd there; which last Phaenomenon proceeds from this, that the Pressure of the Water being There incosiderable, 'tis not able to make the Air quite Surmount the Resistence made by the Tenacity of the Superficial Part of the Water. And therefore in good Spirit of Wine, whose Tena∣city and Glutinousness is far less than that of Water, Bubbles rarely conti∣nue upon the Surface of the Liquor, but are presently broken and vanish.

And to make this presum'd Appe∣tite, of the smaller Portions of the Air to unite with the great Mass of it, appear the less probable; I shall add Page  193 that I have often observ'd, that Wa∣ter, in that state which is usually call'd its Natural State, is wont to have store of Aerial Particles mingled with it, notwithstanding the Neigh∣bourhood of the External Air, that is incumbent on the Water, as may appear by putting a Glass full of Water into the Receiver of the new Pneumatical Engine. For the Pres∣sure of the External Air being by the Pump taken off, there will, from time to time, disclose themselves in the Water, a multitude of Bubbles, made by the Aerial Particles, that lay conceal'd in that Liquor.

And I have further try'd, as I doubt not but some others also have done, that, by exactly inclosing, in a conveniently shap'd Glass, some Water, thus freed from the Air, and leaving a little Air at the top of the Vessel, which was afterwards set by in a quiet place; the Cor∣puscles of that incumbent Air did, one after another, insinuate them∣selves into the Water, and remain'd Page  194 lodg'd in it; so little Appetite has Air, in general, to flee all Associa∣tion with Water, and make its escape out of that Liquor; though, when sensible Portions of it happen to be under Water, the great ine∣quality in Gravity, between those two Fluids, makes the Water press up the Air. But, though 'twere easie to give a Mechanical Account of the Phaenomena of mingled Air and Wa∣ter, yet, because it cannot be done in few Words, I shall not here un∣dertake it; the Phaenomena them∣selves being sufficient, to render the Supposition of my Adversaries im∣probable.

Another Argument, in favour of the Received Opinion of Nature, may be drawn from the strong Ap∣petite, that Bodies have to recover their Natural state, when by any means they are put out of it, and thereby forced into a State that is called Preternatural; as we see, that Air being violently compress'd in a blown Bladder, as soon as the force Page  195 is remov'd, will return to its first Dimensions: And the Blade of a Sword being bent by being thrust against the Floor; as soon as the force ceases, restores itself, by its innate power, to its former straight∣ness: And Water, being made Hot by the fire, when 'tis removed thence, hastens to recover its former Coldness.

But though I take this Argument to have much more weight in it, than the foregoing; because it seems to be grounded upon such real Phae∣nomena of Nature, as those newly recited, yet I do not look upon it as Cogent.

In Answer to it therefore, I shall represent, that it appears by the In∣stances lately mention'd, that the Proposers of the Argument ground it on the affections of Inanimate Bodies. Now, an Inanimate Por∣tion of Matter being confessedly de∣void of Knowledge and Sense, I see no Reason, why we should not think it uncapable of being concern'd to be Page  196 in One state or constitution, rather than Another, since it has no know∣ledge of that, which it is in at pre∣sent, nor remembrance of that, from which it was forc'd; and conse∣quently, no Appetite to forsake the Former, that it may return to the Latter. But every Inanimate Bo∣dy, (to say nothing now of Plants and Bruit Animals, because I want time to launch into an ample Di∣scourse) being of itself indifferent to all Places and States, continues in in that Place or State to which the action and resistence of Other Bodies, and especially Contiguous Ones, ef∣fectually determine it.

As to the Instance afforded by Wa∣ter, I consider, that before it be as∣serted, That Water, being Heated, returns of itself to its Natural Cold∣ness, it were fit, that the Assertors should determine, what degree or measure of Coldness is Natural to that Liquor; and this, if I mistake not, will be no easie Task. 'Tis true indeed, that, in reference to us Men, Page  197 Water is usually Cold, because its minute Parts are not so briskly agita∣ted, as those of the Blood and Juices, that are to be found in our Hands, or other Organs of Feeling. But, that Water is actually cold in refe∣rence to Frogs, and those Fishes that live in it, whose Blood is cold as to our Sense, has not, that I know of, been prov'd, nor is easie to be so. And I think it yet more difficult to determine, what degree of Coldness is natural to Water, since this Liquor perpetually varies its Temperature, as to Cold and Heat, according to the temper of the Contiguous or the Neighbouring Bodies, especially the Ambient Air. And therefore the Water of an unshaded Pond, for In∣stance, though it rests in its proper and natural Place, as they speak, yet in Autumn, if the Weather be fair, the Temperature of it will much va∣ry in the compass of the same Day, and the Liquor will be much hotter at Noon, than early in the Morning, or at Midnight; though this great Page  198 diversity be the Effect only of a Na∣tural Agent, the Sun, acting accor∣ding to its regular Course. And, in the depth of Winter, 'tis generally confess'd, that Water is much colder than in the Heat of Summer; which seems to be the Reason of what is ob∣serv'd by Watermen, as a wonder∣ful thing, namely, that in Rivers, Boats equally Laden will not sink so deep in Winter as in Summer, the cold Condensing the Water, and consequently making it heavier in specie, than it is in Summer, when the Heat of the Ambient Air makes it more thin. In divers parts of Africk, that Temperature is thought natural to the Water, because 'tis that which it usually has, which is far hotter than that which is thought natural to the same Liquor in the frigid Zone. And, I remember, on this occasion, what perhaps I have else∣where mention'd upon another, that the Russian Czars chief Physician in∣form'd me, that in some Parts of Si∣beria, (one of the more NorthernPage  199 Provinces of that Monarch's Empire, Water is so much more Cold, not only than in the Torrid Zone, but than in England, that two or three foot beneath the surface of the Ground, all the Year long (even in Summer itself,) it continues Concre∣ted in the form of Ice, so Intense is the Degree of Cold that there seems natural to it. This odd Phaenomenon much confirms what I lately intima∣ted, of the Power of Contiguous Bo∣dies, and especially of the Air, to va∣ry the Degree of the coldness of Wa∣ter. I particularly mention the Air, because, as far as I have try'd, it has more Power to bring Water to its own Temperature, than is common∣ly suppos'd. For though, if, in Sum∣mer-time, a Man puts his Hand into Water, that has lain expos'd to the Sun, he will usually feel it Cold, and so conclude it much colder, than the Ambient Air; yet, that may of∣ten happen upon another Account, namely, that the Water being ma∣ny Hundred times a more Dense Page  200 Fluid than the Air, and consisting of Particles more apt to insinuate them∣selves into the Pores of the Skin, a greater Part of the Agitation of the Blood and Spirits, contained in the Hand, is communicated to the Wa∣ter, and thereby lost by the Fluids that part with it. And the Minute Particles of the Water, which are, perhaps, more Supple and Flexible, insinuating themselves into the Pores of the Skin, which the Aerial Parti∣cles, by Reason of their Stifness, and perhaps Length, cannot do; they come to affect the somewhat more Internal Parts of the Hand, which, being much Hotter than the Cuticula or Scarf-skin, makes us feel them very Cold; as, when a Sweating Hand is plung'd into Luke-warm Water, the Liquor will be judg'd Cold by Him, who, if his Other Hand be very Cold, will with it feel the same Water Hot. To confirm which Conjecture, I shall add, that, having sometimes purposely taken a Seal'd Weather-glass, whose inclu∣ded Page  201 Liquor was brought to the Tem∣perature of the Ambient Air, and thrust the Ball of it under Water, kept in the same Air, there would be discover'd no such Coldness in the Water, as One would have ex∣pected; the former Reason of the sensible Cold the Hand feels, when thrust into that Liquor, having here no Place. To which I shall add, that having, for Tryal's sake, made Wa∣ter very Cold, by dissolving Sal-ar∣moniac in it, in Summer time, it would, after a while, return to its usual degree of Warmth. And, having made the same Experiment in Winter, it would return to such a Coldness, as belong'd to it in that Sea∣son: So that it did not return to any Determinate degree of Coldness, as Natural to it, but to that Greater or Lesser, that had been Accidentally given it by the Ambient Air, before the Sal-armoniac had Refrigerated It.

As to the Motion of Restitution, ob∣servable upon the Removal or Cea∣sing Page  202 of the Force in Air violently com∣press'd, and in the Blade of a Sword forcibly bent; I confess it seems to me a very difficult Thing, to assign the true Mechanical Cause of It. But yet, I think it far more likely, that the Cause should be Mechani∣cal, than, that the Effect proceeds from such a Watchfulness of Nature, as is pretended. For First, I que∣stion, Whether we have any Air here Below, that is in Other than a Preternatural or Violent State; the Lower Parts of our Atmospherical Air being constantly compress'd by the weight of the Upper Parts of the same Air, that lean upon them.

As for the Restitution of the bent Blade of a Sword, and such like Springy Bodies, when the force that bent them is remov'd; my Thoughts about the Theory of Springynes be∣long to another Paper. And there∣fore, I shall here only, by way of Argument ad Hominem, consider, in Answer to the Objection; That if, for Example, you take a some∣what Page  203 long and narrow Plate of Sil∣ver, that has not been hammer'd, or compress'd, or, which is surer, has been made red-hot in the Fire, and suffer'd to cool leasurely, you may bend it which way you will, and it will constantly retain the last curve Figure, that you gave It. But if, having again streightned this Plate, you give it some smart stroaks of a Hammer, it will, by that meerly Mechanical Change, become a Sprin∣gy Body: So that, if with your Hand you force it a little from its Rectitude, as soon as you remove your Hand, it will endeavour to re∣gain its former Streightness. The like may be observ'd in Copper, but nothing near so much, or scarce at all, in Lead. Now upon these Phaenomena, I demand, Why, if Na∣ture be so careful to restore Bodies to their former State, She does not restore the Silver Blade or Plate to its Rectitude, when it is bent this way or that way, before it be Ham∣mer'd? And why a few stroaks of a Page  204 Hammer (which, acting violently, seems likely to have put the Metal into a Preternatural State,) should entitle the Blade to Nature's peculiar Care, and make Her solicitous to restore it to its Rectitude, when it is forc'd from It? And Why, if the Springy Plate be again Ignited and Refrigerated of itself, Nature aban∣dons Her former Care of It, and suf∣fers it quietly to continue in what crooked Posture, One pleases to put it into? Not, now, to demand a Reason of Nature's greater Partiali∣ty to Silver, and Copper and Iron, than to Lead and Gold itself, in Re∣ference to the Motion of Restitution; I shall add to what I was just now saying, that even in Sword-Blades it has been often observ'd, That though, if soon after they are bent, the force that bent them be with∣drawn, they will nimbly return to their former straightness; yet, if they (which are not the only Sprin∣gy Bodies, of which this has been ob∣serv'd,) be kept too long bent, they Page  205 will lose the Power of recovering their former streightness, and conti∣nue in that crooked Posture, though the force that put them into it cease to act: So that, it seems, Nature easi∣ly forgets the care She was presum'd to take of it, at first.

There is an Axiom that passes for current among Learned Men, viz. Nullum violentum durabile, that seems much to favour the Opinion of the Naturists, since 'tis grounded upon a Supposition, that what is violent, is, as such, contrary to Nature, and, for that Reason, cannot last long. And this trite Sentence is, by the Schools and even some Modern Philosophers, so particularly apply'd to Local Mo∣tion, that some of them have, not improbably, made it the Characteri∣stick token, whereby to distinguish Natural Motions from those that are not so; that the Former are perpetu∣al, or at least very durable, whereas the Later, being continually check'd more and more by the Renitency of Nature, do continually decay, and Page  206 within no long time are suppress'd or extinguish'd: But, on this occasion, I must crave leave to make the fol∣lowing Reflections.

1. It may be justly Question'd, upon Grounds laid down in another Part of this Essay, Whether there be any Motion, among Inanimate Bodies, that deserves to be call'd Vi∣olent, in Contradistinction to Natu∣ral; since among such, all Motions, where no Intelligent Spirit inter∣venes, are made according to Catho∣lick, and almost, if not more than almost, Mechanical Laws.

2. Methinks, the Peripateticks, who are wont to be the most forward to imploy this Axiom, should find but little Reason to do so, if they con∣sider how unsuitable it is to their Doctrine, That the vast Body of the Firmament and all the Planetary Orbs are, by the Primum Mobile, with a stupendious swiftness, whirl'd about, from East to West, in four and twenty Hours, contrary to their Na∣tural tendency; and, That this vi∣olent Page  207 and rapid Motion, of the incom∣parably greater Part of the Universe, has lasted as long as the World itself, that is, according to Aristotle, for in∣numerable Ages.

3. We may observe here below, that the Ebbing and Flowing of the Sea, which is generally suppos'd to proceed either from the Motion of the Moon, or that of the Terrestrial Globe, or some other External Cause, has lasted for some Thousands of Years, and probably will do so, as long as the present System of our Vortex shall continue. I consider al∣so, that the other great Ocean, the Atmosphere, consists of numberless Myriads of Corpuscles, that are here below continually kept in a violent State; since they are Elastical Bo∣dies, whereof the Lower are still com∣press'd by the weight of the Higher. And, to make a Spring of a Body, it is requisite that it be forcibly bent or stretch'd, and have such a perpetual endeavour to fly open, or to shrink in, that it will not fail to do so, as Page  208 soon as the External Force, that hin∣der'd it, is remov'd. And, as for the States of Inanimate Bodies, I do not see, that their being or not being Natural can be, with any certainty, concluded, from their being or not being very Durable. For, not to mention, that Leaves that wither in a few Months, and even Blossoms that often fade and fall off in few Days, are as well Natural Bodies, as the solid and durable Trees that bear them; 'tis obvious, that, whether we make the State of Fluidity, or that of Congelation, to be that which is Natural to Water, and the other that which is Violent; Its change from one of those States into ano∣ther, and even its return to its for∣mer State, is oftentimes, at some Sea∣sons, and in some Places, made very speedily, perhaps in an Hour or less, by Causes that are acknowledg'd to be Natural. And Mists, Hail, Whirl∣winds, Lightning, Falling-Stars, to name no more, notwithstanding their being Natural Bodies, are far from Page  209 being lasting, especially in compari∣son of Glass, wherein the Ingredients, Sand and Fixt Salt, are brought to∣gether by great violence of Fire. And the Motion that a thin Plate, or slen∣der Wire, of this Glass can exercise, to restore itself to its former Position, when forcibly bent, is (in great part) a lasting Effect of the same violence of the Fire. And so is the most durable perseverance of the In∣dissolubleness of the Alcalisate Salt, that is one of the two Ingredients of Glass, notwithstanding its being ve∣ry easily dissoluble in Water and other Liquors, and not uneasily e'ne in the moist Air itself.

There is a distinction of Local Mo∣tion, into Natural and Violent, that is so generally receiv'd and us'd, both by Philosophers and Physicians, that, I think, it deserves to have special Notice taken of it in this Section; since it implicitely contains an Argu∣ment for the Existence of the Thing call'd Nature, by supposing it so manifest a Thing, as that an Impor∣tant Page  210 Distinction may justly be groun∣ded on It.

This imply'd Objection, I con∣fess, is somewhat difficult to clear; not for any great Force, that is con∣tained in It, but because of the Am∣biguity of the Terms, wherein the Distinction is wont to be imploy'd: For most Men speak of the propos'd Distinction of Motion, in so obscure, or so uncertain a way, that 'tis not easie to know what they mean by either of the Members of It. But yet some there are, who endeavour to speak Intelligibly, (and for that are to be commended) and define Natural Motion to be That, whose Principle is within the Moving Bo∣dy itself; and Violent Motion, That which Bodies are put into by an Ex∣ternal Agent or Cause. And, in in regard these speak more clearly than, the rest, I shall here principally consider the lately mention'd Distin∣ction, In the Sense They give It. I say then, that, even according to this Explication, I am not satisfied Page  211 with the Distinction: For, whereas 'tis a Principle received, and fre∣quently employ'd, by Aristotle and his Followers, Quicquid move∣tur ab alio movetur; it seems, that, according to this Axiom, all Motion may be called Violent, since it pro∣ceedes from an External Agent; and indeed, according to the School Phi∣losophers, the Motion of far the greatest Part of the Visible World, though this Motion be most Regular and Lasting, must, according to the propos'd Distinction, be reputed Violent; since they assert, that the Immense Firmament itself, and all the Planetary Orbs, (in comparison of which vast Coelestial Part of the World, the Sublunary Part is little more than a Physical Point,) is perpetually (and against its Na∣tive Tendency,) hurry'd about the the Centre of the World, once in Twenty four Hours, by an External, though Invisible, Agent, which they therefore call the Primum Mobile. And as for the Criterion of Natural Page  212 Motion, that, Its Principle is within the Moving Body, it may be said, that all Bodies, once in the State of Actual Motion, whatever Cause first brought them to It, are mov'd by an Internal Principle: As, for Instance, an Arrow, that actually flies in the Air towards a Mark, moves by some Principle or other residing within itself; for, it does not depend on the Bow 'twas shot out of, since 'twould continue, tho' That were Broken, or even annihi∣lated; nor does it depend upon the Medium, which more resists than assists its Progress, as might be easi∣ly shewn, if it were needful; and, if we should suppose the Ambient Air either to be annihilated, or (which in our Case would be Aequi∣alent,) render'd uncapable of either furthering or hindring its Progress, I see not why the Motion of the Ar∣row must necessarily cease, since in this Case there remains no Medium to be penetrated, and on that ac∣count oppose its Progress. When in Page  213 a Watch that is wound up, the Spring endeavours to unbend or dis∣play itself; and when the String of a drawn Bow is broken or let go, the Spring of the former, and the wooy Part of the later, does each return to a less crooked Line. And though these Motions be occasioned by the forcible Acts of External A∣gents, yet the Watch, Spring, and the Bow, have in themselves (for ought appears to those I Reason with,) an inward Principle, by which they are mov'd till they have attain'd their Position. Some, per∣haps, would add, that a Squib, or a Rocket, though an artificial Body, seems, as well as a falling Star, to move from an Internal Principle: But I shall rather observe, that, on the other side, External Agents are requisite to many Motions, that are acknowledg'd to be Natural, as, to omit the Germination and Flourish∣ing of divers Plants, as Onions, Leeks, Potato's, &c. though hung up in the Air, by the heat of the Page  214 Sun in the Spring; to pass by this, I say, if in the Pneumatical Engine or Air-Pump, you place divers In∣sects, as Bees, Flies, Catterpil∣lars, &c. and withdraw the Com∣mon Air from the Receiver, they will lye moveless, as if they were dead, though it be for several hours, whilst they are kept from enjoying the presence of the Air: But, when the External Air is permitted again to return upon them, they will pre∣sently be reviv'd, (as I have with pleasure try'd,) and be brought to move again, according to their re∣spective Kinds; as if a Fly, for In∣stance, resembled a little Windmill in this, that being Moveless of itself, it required the Action of the Air to put its Wings and other Parts into Motion. But, to insist no farther on these Arguments ad Hominem, we may consider, that, since Motion does not essentially belong to Matter, as Divisibility and Impenetrableness are believ'd to do; the Motions of all Bodies, at least at the beginning Page  215 of Things, and the Motions of most Bodies, the Causes of whose Moti∣ons we can discern, were impress'd on them, either by an External Im∣material Agent, God; or by other Portions of Matter (which are also Extrinsecal Impellers) acting on them.

And this occasion invites me to observe, that, though Motion be deservedly made one of the Principal Parts of Aristotle's Definition of Na∣ture,* yet Men are wont to call such Motions Natural, as are very hard to di∣stinguish from those, they call Violent. Thus, when Wa∣ter falls down to the Ground, they tell us, that this Motion is Natural to that Liquor, as 'tis a heavy Body; but when a Man spurts up Water out of his Mouth into the Air, they pronounce that Motion, because of its tendency upwards, to be contrary to Nature. And yet when he draws Page  216 Water into his Mouth, by sucking it through a long Pipe held Perpendi∣cularly, they will have this Motion of the Water, though directly up∣wards, to be not Violent, but Natu∣ral. So when a Foot-Ball, or Blown Bladder, being let fall upon a hard Floor, rebounds up to a good height, the Descent and Ascent are both said to be Natural Motions, though the former tends towards the Centre of the Earth, and the later recedes as far as it can do from it. And so if from a considerable height you let fall a Ball of some close Wood, that yet is not too heavy, as Oak or the like, in∣to a deep Vessel of Water, it will de∣scend a great way in that Liquor, by a Natural Motion; and yet its con∣trary Motion upwards ought not to be esteem'd Violent, since, according to the Schools, being lighter in Spe∣cie than Water, 'tis Natural to it to affect its proper Place, for which purpose it must ascend to the top of the Liquor, and lye afloat there; and yet 'tis from these tendencies to Page  217 opposite Points, (as the Zenith and the Nadir) that Men are wont to judg many Motions of Bodies to be Natural or Violent.

And indeed, since it must be indif∣ferent to a Lifeless and Insensible Bo∣dy, to what place 'tis made to move, all its Motions may, in some respect, be said to be Natural, and in another, Violent: For as very many Bodies of visible Bulk are set a moving by Ex∣ternal Impellents, and, on that score, their Motions may be said to be Vio∣lent; so the generality of Impell'd Bodies do move either upwards, downwards, &c. toward any Part of the World, in what Line or Way soever they find their Motion least resisted; which Impulse and Ten∣dency, being given by vertue of what they call the general Laws of Nature, the Motion may be said to be Natural.

I might here take notice, that, ac∣cording to the Epicurean Hypothesis, it need not at all be admitted, that Motion must be produc'd by such a Page  218 Principle, as the Schoolmens Nature. For, according to that great and an∣cient Sect of Philosophers, the Ato∣mists, every indivisible Corpuscle has actual Motion, or an incessant endea∣vour to change Place, essentially belonging to it, as 'tis an Atom: In∣somuch that in no case it can be de∣priv'd of this Property or Power. And all sensible Bodies being, accor∣ding to these Physiologers, but casual Concretions or Coalitions of Atoms; each of them needs no other Princi∣ple of Motion, than that unloseable endeavour of the Atoms that com∣pose it; and happen, on the account of Circumstance, to have the Ten∣dency of the more numerous, or at least the predominant, Corpuscles, determin'd one way. And to these I might add some other such Reflecti∣ons. But I shall, in this place, say no more concerning Motion, not only because, even after having consider'd the differing Definitions, that Aristo∣tle, Cartesius, and some other Philoso∣phers, have given of it, I take it to Page  219 be too difficult a Subject, to be clear∣ly explicated in few words; but be∣cause the only occasion I had to men∣tion it here, was, to shew that the vulgar Distinction of it into Natural and Violent is not so clear and well∣grounded, as to oblige us to admit (what it supposes,) that there is such a Being, as the Naturists assert.

I come now to consider the Argu∣ment, that may be drawn in favour of the Receiv'd Notion of Nature, from the Critical Evacuations which happen at certain times in Diseases, and the strange Shifts that Nature sometimes makes use of in them, to free Herself from the Noxious Hu∣mours that oppress'd Her.

This Argument I willingly ac∣knowledg to be very considerable. For we really see, that in Continual Feavers, especially in hotter Cli∣mates, there do usually happen, at certain times of the Diseases, Nota∣ble and Critical Commotions or Con∣flicts, after which the Morbifick Matter is dispos'd of and discharg'd Page  220 by Ways strange and surprising, to the great and speedy Relief of the Patient, if not to his perfect Cure; as may appear by many Instances, to be met with in the Observations of Phy∣scians about Feavers, Pleurisies, &c. Upon this Account, I take the Argu∣ment drawn from Crises's to be much the weightiest, that can be urg'd for the Opinion from which I Dissent, and therefore I shall employ the more words in clearing this impor∣tant Difficulty.

In order to this, I desire it may be kept in mind, that I do not only ac∣knowledge, but teach, that the Body of a Man is an incomparable Engine, which the most wise Author of Things has so skilfully fram'd, for lasting very many Years, that, if there were in it an Intelligent Principle of Self-preservation, (as the Naturists suppose there is) Things would not, in most Cases, be better or otherwise manag'd, for the Conservation of the Animals Life, than they generally are. So that the Question is not, Page  221 Whether there is a great deal of Pro∣vidence and Wisdom exercis'd, in the Crises's of Diseases, but upon what Account it is, that these apposite Things are perform'd? The Univer∣sal Opinion of Physcians is, that 'tis that Intelligent Principle they call Nature, which, being solicitous for the Welfare of the Patient, and di∣stress'd by the quantity or hurtful∣ness of the Morbifick Matter, watches Her opportunity (especially when 'tis concocted) to expel it hastily out of the Body, by the most safe and convenient Ways, which, in the pre∣sent condition of the Patient, can be taken. And I, on the other side, attri∣bute Crises's to the Wisdom and or∣dinary Providence of God, exerting Itself by the Mechanism, partly of that great Machine, the World, and partly of that smaller Engine, the Human Body, as 'tis constituted in the Patients present Circumstance. And the Reasons that hinder me, from acquiescing in the general Opi∣nion of Physicians about Crises's, are principally these.

Page  222First, I observe that Crises's, pro∣perly so call'd, do very seldom hap∣pen in other than Feavers, and the like acute Diseases; where, accor∣ding to the common Course of Things, the Malady is terminated, in no long time, either by Recovery, or Death, or a change into some other Disease: But Chronical-sick∣nesses, such as Coughs, Dropsies, Gouts, &c. unless they happen to be accompany'd with Feaverish Di∣stempers, are not wont to have Cri∣ses's; which argues, that Nature doth not make Critical Evacuations, upon the account of such Care and Watchfulness, as Physicians ascribe them to: Since She neglects to em∣ploy so Salutary an Expedient in Diseases, that are oftentimes no less Dangerous and Mortal, than divers acute Diseases, which She attempts to Cure by Crises's.

Next I consider, that Critical Eva∣cuations may be procur'd by the bare Mechanism of the Body. For, by ver∣tue of That, it will often happen, Page  223 that the Fibres, or motive Organs of the Stomach, Bowels, and other Parts, being Distended or Vellicated by the Plenty or Acrimony of the Peccant Matter, will, by that Irrita∣tion, be brought to contract them∣selves vigorously, and to throw out the Matter that offends the Parts, either by the Emunctories or Com∣mon-Shores of the Body, or by what∣ever Passages the proscrib'd Matter can be, with most ease, discharg'd. Thus, when some Men find their Stomachs burden'd with a Clog of Meat or Drink, they use to thrust their Fingers into their Throats, and, by that Mechanical way, provoke the Stomach to disburden itself of its offensive Load, without being behol∣den to Natures Watchfulness for a Crisis, which probably She would not (at least so seasonably) attempt. And thus, whereas 'tis usual enough, for Crises's to be made in Feavers by large Haemorrhagi's at the Nose, and sometimes at other Parts, which is ascrib'd to Natures Watchful Solici∣tude Page  224 for the Patients Recovery; I must take leave to add, that it hath been divers times observ'd, that, even after Death, large Bleedings have succeeded, at the Nose and other Parts of the Body: Which shews, that such Excretions may be made by vertue of the Structure of it, and the Turgescence and Acrimony of the Humours, without any Design of Nature, to save the Life of the Pa∣tient, already Dead.

Indeed, if it did appear by Expe∣rience, that all, or almost all, the Crises's of Diseases, did either expel the Morbifick Matter, or at least no∣tably relieve the Patient, the Critical Attempts of Nature would much fa∣vour the Opinion Men have con∣ceiv'd of her Vigilance and Conduct: But unwelcome Instances daily shew, that, as some Crises's are Salu∣tary, (as they call them) so others prove Mortal. And among those that do not directly or presently kill the Patient, there are divers that leave him in a worse Condition, than he Page  225 was before. And therefore, I won∣der not, that Physicians have thought themselves oblig'd to lay down seve∣ral Circumstances, as necessary Re∣quisites of a laudable Crisis, if any of which be wanting, 'tis not thought of the best kind; and if the contrary to some of them happen, 'tis to be judg'd either pernicious, or at least hurtful. For, whereas there are two general Ways, suppos'd to be em∣ploy'd by Nature in making Crises's, the one by expulsion of the Peccant Matter out of the Body, and the other by the setling of the Matter somewhere within it: Neither of these two Ways is constantly suc∣cessful.

And therefore Experience hath oblig'd Physicians to divide Crises's, not only into perfect, that fully deter∣mine the event of the Disease, and imperfect, that do but alter it for the better or the worse; but into Salutary, that quite deliver the Patient, and Mortal, that destroy him. And to a Perfect and Salutary Crisis, some Page  226 Learned Men require no less than six Conditions; namely, that it be pre∣ceded by Signs of Coction of the Peccant Matter; that it be made by a manifest and sufficiently copious Ex∣cretion or Translation; that it be made upon a Critical Day, as the se∣venth, fourteenth, twentieth, &c. that it leave no Relicks behind it, that may indanger a Relapse; that it be made safely, that is, without dangerous Symptoms: And lastly, that it be suitable to the Nature of the Disease, and the Patient. By this it may appear, that 'tis no common thing to meet with a Perfect and Sa∣lutary Crisis, so many laudable Con∣ditions must concur in it; and in∣deed Nature doth usually take up with but imperfectly good Ones, and it were happy if She made not better, provided She made no worse. But 'tis found, by sad Experience, that She rouses Herself up to make a Crisis, not only upon improper, and, as Phy∣sicians call them, Intercident Days, such as the Third, Fifth, Ninth, &c.Page  227 or upon those they call Empty or Me∣dicinal Days, which seldom afford any Crisis, and much seldomer a good One, but also when there appear not any signs of Coction, or at least of due Coction, and by these unseason∣able Attempts weaken the Patient, and encrease the Malady, or perhaps make it speedily Mortal. Nor will it justifie Nature, to say, with some Learned Physicians, that these At∣tempts are Accidentally brought on by the Acrimony or Importunity of the Morbifick Matter, by which She is provok'd, before the time, to en∣deavour an Expulsion of it. For if Nature be indeed so Prudent and Watchful a Guardian, as She is thought, She ought not to suffer Her∣self to be provok'd to act Preposte∣rously, and make furious Attempts, that lavish to no purpose, or worse than no purpose, that little strength the Patient hath so much need of. And therefore Physicians do often∣times very well, when, to act agree∣ably to the Dictates of Prudence, Page  228 they forget, how much Wisdom they are wont to ascribe to Nature, and employ their best Skill and Remedies to suppress or moderate the inordi∣nate Motions, or the improper and profuse Evacuations, that irritated Nature rashly begins to make. And though the Crises's that are made by a Metastasis of the Peccant Matter, or by lodging it in some particular Part of the Body, whether External or In∣ternal, be oftentimes, when they are not Salutary, somewhat less Hurtful, than those that are made by Excreti∣on; yet these do frequently, though perhaps more slowly, prove Dange∣rous enough, producing sometimes inward Imposthumes, and sometimes External Tumors, in Parts that are either Noble by their Functions, or by their Situation, or Connexion, or Sympathy with others, that are not to be without Hazard or great Incon∣venience oppress'd.

I know that Physicians make it a great Argument of Nature's Provi∣dence and Skill, that She watches Page  229 for the Concoction of the Peccant Matter, before She rouses Herself up to expel it by a Crisis. What is to be meant by this Coction of Humours, (for it ought not to be confounded with the Coction of the Aliments) they are not wont so clearly to de∣clare. But, as I understand it, when they say that a Portion of Peccant Matter is brought to Coction, they mean, that it has acquir'd such a Dis∣position, as makes it more fit, than be∣fore, to be separated from the sounder Portion of the Mass of Blood, or from the consistent Parts, to which it per∣haps formerly adhered, and to be af∣terwards expell'd out of the Body. This may be partly exemplifi'd by what happens in some recent Colds, where the Lungs are affected, in which we see, that, after a few days, the Phlegm is made more fluid; and that which is lodg'd in the Lungs, (not sticking so fast to the inside of the Aspera Arteria) is easily brought up by Coughing, which could not dis∣lodg it before. And in Feavers, that Page  230 separation in the Urine, formerly Cloudless, that Physicians look upon as a good sign of Coction, seems to be produc'd by some part of the Pec∣cant Matter, that, beginning to be se∣parated from the Blood, mingles with the Urine, and is not usually di∣stinguish'd from it, whilst this Li∣quor is warm; but when it is grown cold, does, on the score of its Weight or Texture, somewhat recede, and appear in a distinct Form, as of a Cloud, a Sediment, &c. But what∣ever they mean by Coction, 'tis plain enough, by what hath been lately noted, that, on many occasions, Na∣ture doth not wait for it, but unsea∣sonably, and oftentimes dangerously, attempts to proscribe the Matter that offends Her, before it be duly pre∣par'd for Expulsion.

I come now to that Circumstance of Crises's, that is thought the most Wonderful, which is, that Nature does oftentimes by very unusual Ways, and at unexpected Places, dis∣charge the Matter that offends Her, Page  231 and thereby either Cures, or nota∣bly Relieves, the Patient. And it must not be deny'd, that, in some cases, the Critical Evacuations have somewhat of Suprising in them; and I shall also readily grant, that, N. B. [Divine Providence may ex∣pressly interpose, not only in the in∣fliction of Diseases by way of Pu∣nishment, but in the removal of them in the way of Mercy.] But, setting aside these extraordinary Ca∣ses, I think it not absurd to conje∣cture, that the performances of Na∣ture, in common Crises's, may be probably referr'd, partly to the par∣ticular condition of the Matter to be expell'd, and partly (and indeed principally) to some peculiar Disposi∣tion in the Primitive Fabrick of some Parts of the Patients Body, or some unusual change made in the Con∣struction of these Parts by the Dis∣ease itself, or other Accidents; which Original or Adventitious disposition, of the Sick Man's Body, not being visible to us, at least whilst he is a∣live, Page  232 we are apt to ascribe the un∣expected Accidents of a Crisis, if it prove Salutary, to the wonderful Providence of Nature. And, if it happen to be other than Salutary, we are wont to overlook them. To illustrate this Matter, we may con∣sider, that plentiful Evacuations, procured by Medicines, are a kind of Artificial Crises's: We see, that some Bodies are so constituted, that, although the peccant Humour, wrought on by the Medicine, ought, as the Physitian thinks, to be ex∣pell'd by Siege, and indeed is wont to be so, in the Generality of those that take that kind of Medicine, as, for Instance, Rhubarb or Senna; yet the peculiar disposition of the Pa∣tient's Stomach will make that an Emetick, which was intended to be, and regularly should be, a Cathartick. Nor does this Constitution of the Stomach equally regard all Purging Medicines; for the same Stomach, that will reject them in the Form, for Instance, of a Potion, will quietly Page  233 entertain them, being in the Form of Pills. And to this let me add what we observe of the Operation of Mercury; which though, if it be duly prepared, it is usually given to procure Saliva∣tion, especially to Succulent Bodies; yet there are some Patients, wherein, instead of Salivating, 'twill violently and dangerously work downwards, like a Purge, or make some other unexpected Evacuation. And I have seen a Patient, who, though Young and very Fat, could not be brought to Salivate, neither by the Gentler ways, nor by Turbith-Mineral and Other harsher Medicines, though administred by very skilful Physiti∣ans and Chyrurgeons. And this Peculiarity may be as well Contra∣cted, as Native. For some Persons, especially after Surfeits, having been rufly dealt with, or at least tyr'd out with a Medicine of this or that kind of Form, will afterwards Nauseate and Vomit up the like Medicine, tho' in other Bodies it be never so far from ••ing Emetick. We see also, that Page  234 sometimes Sudorifick Medicines, in∣stead of procuring Sweat, prove briskly Diuretick, and sometimes either Purging or Vomitive. From all this we may Argue, that the qualities of the irritating Matter, and much more the particular dispositi∣on of the Patients Body, may pro∣cure Evacuations at unexpected Pla∣ces. I remember too, that, among the Observations I have met with of fa∣mous Physitians, there are Instances of Periodical and Critical Evacua∣tions, at very inconvenient, as well as unusual, Vents; as some Women are Recorded to have had their Men∣ses, sometimes at the Eyes, some∣times at the Navil, and sometimes at the Mouth; of which there seems no cause so probable, as some pecu∣liar Structure, whether Native or Adventitious, of the Internal Parts concern'd in that discharge; and of such unusual Structures, Anatomists must have seen Many, since I my self have observ'd more than One or Two. If these uncommon Ways of disposing Page  235 of the Morbifick Matter were al∣ways Salutary to the Patient, the Argument grounded on them would have more weight: But though most Men take notice of this sort of Crises's, but when they are Lucky, yet an Impartial Observer shall often find, that ill-condition'd and hurt∣ful Crises's may be made by unusual and unexpected ways. And, in some Translations of the Morbifick Matter to distant and nobler Parts, perhaps it will be as difficult to shew, by what Channels or known Ways the Matter pass'd from one to another, as 'tis to determine, how it was conducted to those Parts, at which it was the most happily Ven∣ted.

In the foregoing Discourse about Crises's, there is, I confess, much of Paradox; and 'twas unwillingly enough; that I made an Excursion, or In-road, into a Subject that has been look'd upon as the Physitians peculiar Province. And, you may remember, that not far from the Page  236 beginning of this little Book, I told you, that I was willing to decline medling with Other, than Inanimate Bodies: Living Ones being, as of a less simple Sort, so of a more intri∣cate Speculation; which Reflexion will, I hope, excuse me to you, if you find, that my propos'd Brevity, or the difficulty of the Subject, has had any great Influence on what I write, about Health, Diseases and Crises's. And, as for the Sons of Aesculapius, it may be represented to them, in my favour, that, besides that I have treated of Sickness and Crises's, rather as a Physiologer than a Physician, I could not leave them unconsider'd, without being thought, if not to betray, at least to be wan∣ting to, the Cause I was to plead for.

If it should be dislik'd, that I make the Phaenomena of the merely Corporeal Part of the World, under which I comprize the Bodies of A∣nimals, though not the Rational Souls of Men, to be too generally re∣ferr'd Page  237 to Laws Mechanical; I hope you will remember, for me, several things dispers'd in this Treatise, that may, when laid together, afford a sufficient Answer to this Surmize; and particularly, that almost all the Modern Philosophers, and among Them divers eminent Divines, scru∣ple not to forsake the spread Opi∣nion, That the Coelestial Orbs were mov'd and guided by Intelligences; and to explicate, by Physical Causes, the Eclipses of the Sun and Moon, the Production or Apparition and Phaenomena of Comets, and other Things, that the Romans, as well as other Heathens, both Ancient and Modern, have ascrib'd to the imme∣diate Agency of Divine Causes. This allows me to observe to you, that, since these Modern Naturalists and Divines are wont to explicate the Phaenomena of the vast Coelestial Bodies, by their Local Motions and the Consequences of Them; They do, as well as I, endeavour to account for what happens in the incomparably Page  238 greatest Part of the Vniverse, by Physico-Mechanical Principles and Laws. And, even in the Terrestrial Part of the World, which we Men inhabit, most of the Moderns, that have freed themselves from the Pre∣judices of the Schools, do not stick to give Statical, Hydro-Statical, and other Mechanical Explications of the Ascension of Water in Pumps, the De∣tention of it in Watering-Pots, whose upper Orifices are clos'd, and of other various Phaenomena, which were for∣merly unanimously ascrib'd to Na∣ture's wonderful Providence, ex∣press'd in Her care to hinder a Va∣cuum.

But perhaps you will think it fit∣ter for me to provide against their Censure, who will dislike what I have written about Crises's, not be∣cause I have ascrib'd too much to merely Physical Causes, but (on the contrary,) because I do not strictly confine my self to Them. For I doubt, that if you should shew these Papers to some of your Friends, that Page  239 affect to be strict Naturalists, they will think it strange, that in one of the Clauses in the foregoing Dis∣course about Crises's, (I mean, that to which this Mark N. B. is pre∣fix'd,) I admit that their Events may sometimes be vary'd by some peculiar Interposition of God. But yet I own to you, that the Clause, 'tis like they would take Exceptions at, did not unawares slip from my Pen. For 'tis my setled Opinion, that Divine Prudence is often, at least, conversant in a peculiar man∣ner about the Actions of Men, and the things that happen to Them, or have a necessary Connexion with the One, or the Other, or Both. And tho' I think it probable, that in the Conduct of that far greatest Part of the Universe, which is merely Corporeal, the Wise Author of it does seldom manifestly procure a Re∣cession from the settled Course of the Universe, and especially from the most Catholick Laws of Motion: Yet, where Men, who are Creatures, Page  240 that He is pleas'd to indow with Free Wills, (at least in reference to things not Spiritual,) are nearly and highly concern'd; I think he has, not only sometimes by those signal and manifest Interpositions we call Miracles, acted by a Supernatural way, but, as the Sovereign Lord and Governor of the World, doth divers times, (and perhaps oftner than mere Philosophers imagine) give by the Intervention of Rational Minds, as well united, as not united, to human Bodies, divers such deter∣minations to the Motion of Parts in those Bodies, and of Others, which may be affected by Them, as by Laws merely Mechanical, those Parts of Mat∣ter would not have had: By which Motions, so determin'd, either Saluta∣ry or Fatal Crises's, and many other Things, conducive to the Welfare or Detriment of Men, are produc'd.

The Interposition of Divine Pro∣vidences, in cases of Life and Death, might be easily shewn to Christians out of divers Passages of Scripture, Page  241 which expresly propos'd long Life as a Reward to Obedi∣ent Children,* and to other Righteous Per∣sons among the Iews, and threatens bloody and deceitful Men,* that they shall not live out half their days;* and which relates, that a King of Israel had his Disease made Mortal by his Impious recourse to the false God of Eckron; and that,* upon Hezekiah's Prayers and Tears, God was pleased to add fifteen Years to his Life,* and grant a special Benedi∣ction to an outward Medicine, ap∣ply'd to his threatning Sore. To which Passages divers may be added out of the New-Testament also, and especially that of St. Iames,* who ex∣horts the Sick to seek for Recovery by Prayer; and that of St. Paul, where, speaking Page  242 to the Corinthians of the unworthy Receivers of the Sacrament of the Eucharist, he tells them, that, For that cause, divers were become sick and weak among them,* and ma∣ny also died. But though the nature of this Discourse dissuades me from imploying here the Authority of Scripture, yet it allows me to observe, (what is considerable on this occasi∣on) that Natural Theology and Right Reason comport very well with our propos'd Doctrine. For, as I lately intimated, and do more ful∣ly shew in another Paper,* God has left to the Will of Man the direction of many Local Motions in the Parts of his own Body, and thereby of some others; though the Mechanical Laws, on which the ordinary Course of Things mainly depends, do not only regulate the Motions of Bodies, but the Determinations too: And since Man himself is vouchsaf'd a Page  243 Power, to alter, in several Cases, the usual Course of Things, it should not seem incredible, that the latent Interposition of Men, or perhaps An∣gels, or other Causes unthought of by Us, should sometimes be imploy'd to the like purposes by God, who is not only the All-wise Maker, but the Absolute, and yet most Just and Be∣nign, Rector of the Universe, and of Men.

To conclude the Excursion, which I hope will not appear useless, that has been occasion'd by the Dis∣course of Crises's, I think it becomes a Christian Philosopher, to admit, in general, that God doth sometimes in a peculiar, though hidden way, in∣terpose in the ordinary Phaenomena and events of Crises's; but yet, that this is done so seldom, at least in a way that we can certainly discern, that we are not hastily to have re∣course to an extraordinary Provi∣dence, and much less to the strange care and skill of that question'd Be∣ing call'd Nature, in this or that par∣ticular Page  244 Case, though perhaps unexpe∣cted, if it may be probably accounted for by Mechanical Laws, and the or∣dinary Course of Things.

And here, though in a place less proper than I might have chosen, if I had timely remembred it, I shall, both in reference to the extraordina∣ry Accidents that sometimes happen in Crises's, and more generally to the seemingly irregular Phaenomena of the Universe, venture to offer you a Notion, that perhaps you will not dislike. I think then, that, when we consider the World, and the Physi∣cal Changes that happen in It, with reference to the Divine Wisdom and Providence; the Arguments for the Affirmative ought, in their kind, to have more force than those for the Negative. For it seems more allow∣able, to argue a Providence from the exquisite Structure and Symmetry of the Mundane Bodies, and the apt Subordination and Train of Causes, than to infer from some Physical Ano∣malies, that Things are not fram'd Page  245 and administred by a wise Author and Rector. For the Characters and Impressions of Wisdom, that are Conspicuous in the curious Fabrick and orderly Train of Things, can, with no probability, be referr'd to blind Chance, but must be to a most Intelligent and Designing Agent. Whereas, on the other hand, besides that the Anomalies, we speak of, are incomparably fewer, than those Things which are regular, and are produc'd in an orderly Way; besides this, I say, the Divine Maker of the Universe being a most free Agent, and having an Intellect infinitely Su∣perior to Ours, may, in the Producti∣on of seemingly irregular Phaenome∣na, have Ends unknown to us, which even the Anomalies may be very fit to compass.

Thus, when a Man, not vers'd in the Mathematicks, looks upon a cu∣rious Geographical Globe, though, as soon as he perceives that the dif∣fering Bignesses, and particular Con∣fines of Kingdoms and Provinces, Page  246 and the apt Situations, true Distan∣ces and Bearings of the Cities and Towns he knows by Sight or Fame, be rightly set down; he cannot but conclude, from these Impresses of Art or Skill, that this was the Work of a designing Artificer. But though he also sees on the same Globe seve∣ral Circles, as the Tropicks, the Zodi∣ack, the Meridians, &c. if he be a so∣ber Man, he will not think that these were made by Chance only, because he knows not the Reasons or Uses of Them, or because some of the Lines, as those Curve-Lines the Seamen call Rumbs, are not, like the other, Circular, but do odly, and with a seeming Irregularity, intersect them: But will rather think, that the Artist, that had knowledg enough to repre∣sent the Globe of the Earth and Wa∣ters, in a Body not two foot in Dia∣meter, had also skill enough to draw those Lines, with some Design wor∣thy of the same Skill, though not ob∣vious to those that are unacquainted with his Art.

Page  247 I did not incogitantly speak of Ir∣regularities, as if they might some∣times be but seeming Ones. For I think it very possible, that an Artifi∣cer of so vast a Comprehension, and so piercing a Sight, as is the Maker of the World, might, in this great Automaton of His, have so order'd Things, that divers of Them may appear to us, and as it were break out, abruptly and unexpectedly, and at great distances of Time or Place from one another, and on such ac∣counts be thought Irregular; which yet really have, both in his Preordi∣nation, and in the Connection of their Genuine Causes, a reference that would, if we discern'd it, keep us from imputing it either to Chance, or to Nature's Aberrations. To illu∣strate this a little, let us consider, that if, when the Jesuits, that first came into China, presented a curious striking Watch to the King, he that look'd to it had wound up the Alarm, so as to strike a little after One; if, I say, this had been done, and that Page  248 these Chineses, that look'd upon it as a living Creature, or some European Animal, would think, that when the Index, pointing at two of the Clock, likewise struck the same Hour, and so three, four, and on∣ward, they would judg that these Noises were regularly produc'd, be∣cause they (at equal Intervals of time) heard them, and whensoe∣ver the Index pointed at an Hour, and never but then; but when the Alarm came unexpectedly to make a loud, confus'd, and more lasting Noise, they could scarce avoid think∣ing, that the Animal was sick, or ex∣ceedingly disorder'd: And yet the Alarming noise did as properly flow from the Structure of the little En∣gine, and was as much design'd by the Manager of it, as those Sounds of the Clock, that appear'd manifestly Regular.