Observations upon experimental philosophy to which is added The description of a new blazing world
Newcastle, Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of, 1624?-1674.

7. Whether Nature be self-moving.

THere are some, who cannot believe, That any Man has yet made out, how Matter can move it self, but are of opinion, that few bodies move but by something else, no not Animals, whose spirits move the nerves, the nerves again the muscles, and so forth the whole body. But if this were so, then certainly there must either be something else that moves the spirits, or they must move of themselves; and if the spirits move of themselves, and be material, then a material substance or body may Page  24 move of it self; but if immaterial, I cannot conceive, why a material substance should not be self-moving as well as an immaterial. But if their meaning be, that the Spirits do not move of themselves, but that the Soul moves them, and God moves the Soul; then it must either be done by an All-powerful Command, or by an Immediate action of God: The later of which is not probable, to wit, that God should be the Imme∣diate Motion of all things himself; for God is an Im∣moveable and Immutable Essence; wherefore it fol∣lows, that it is onely done by an Omnipotent Com∣mand, Will and Decree of God; and if so, Why might not Infinite Matter be decreed to move of it self as well as a Spirit, or the Immaterial Soul? But I perceive, Man has a great spleen against self-moving corporeal Nature, although himself is part of her, and the reason is his Ambition; for he would fain be su∣preme and above all other Creatures, as more to∣wards a divine Nature: he would be a God, if argu∣ments could make him such, at least God-like, as is evident by his fall, which came meerly from an ambi∣tious mind of being like God. The truth is, some opinions in Philosophy are like the Opinions in se∣veral Religions, which endeavouring to avoid each other, most commonly do meet each other; like Men in a Wood, parting from one another in oppo∣site ways, oftentimes do meet again; or like Ships which travel towards East and West, must of neces∣sity Page  25 meet each other; for as the learned Dr. Donn says, the furthest East is West, and the furthest West is East; in the same manner do the Epicurean, and some of our modern Philosophers meet; for those endea∣vour to prove matter to be somewhat like a God, and these endeavour to prove man to be something like God, at least that part of man which they say is imma∣terial, so that their several opinions make as great a noise to little purpose, as the dogs barking or howling at the Moon; for God the Author of Nature, and Na∣ture the servant of God, do order all things and actions of Nature, the one by his Immutable Will, and All∣powerful Command, the other by executing this Will and Command; the one by an Incomprehensible, Di∣vine and Supernatural Power, the other in a natural manner and way; for God's Will is obey'd by Na∣tures self-motion, which self-motion God can as easily give and impart to corporeal Nature, as to an Imma∣terial Spirit; but Nature being as much dividable, as she is composeable, is the cause of several opinions as well as of several other creatures; for Nature is fuller of variety then men of arguments, which variety is the cause there are so many extravagant and irregular opi∣nions in the world: and I observe, that most of the great and famous, especially our modern Authors, endeavour to deduce the knowledg of causes from their effects, and not effects from their causes, and think to find out Nature by Art, not Art by Nature: whereas, in my opinion, Page  26 Reason must first consider the cause, and then Sense may better perceive the effects; Reason must judg, Sense execute: for Reason is the prime part of Nature, as being the corporeal soul or mind of Nature. But some are so much in love with Art, as they endeavour to prove not onely Nature, but also Divinity, which is the knowledg of God, by Art, thus preferring Art before Nature, when as Art is but Natures foolish changeling Child; and the reason is, that some parts of Nature, as some Men, not knowing all other parts, believe there is no reason, and but little sense in any part of Nature but themselves; nay, that it is irre∣ligious to say, that there is, not considering, that God is able to give Sense and Reason to Infinite Nature, as well as to a finite part. But those are rather irreligi∣ous, that believe Gods power is confined, or that it is not Infinite.