FURTHER OBSERVATIONS UPON EXPERIMENTAL PHILOSOPHY, Reflecting withal upon some Principal Subjects in CONTEMPLATIVE PHILOSOPHY.
1. Ancient Learning ought not to be exploded, nor the Experimental part of Philosophy preferred before the Speculative.
IN this present age those are thought the greatest Wits that rail most against the ancient Philosophers, especially Ari∣stotle, who is beaten by all; but whether he deserve such punishment, others may judg. In my opinion, he was a very subtil Philosopher, and an ingenious Man; 'tis true, he was subject to errors as well as other men are, (for there is no creature so perfect but may err, nay, not Nature her self; but God onely Page 2 who is Omnipotent) but if all that err should be ac∣counted fools, and destitute of regular reason, then those deserve it most who think themselves wiser then they are, and upon that account few in this age would escape this censure. But concerning the Opinions of ancient Philosophers, condemned by many of our mo∣dern Writers, I for my particular, do very much ad∣mire them; for although there is no absolute perfecti∣on in them, yet if we do but rightly consider them, we shall find, that in many things, they come nearer to truth then many of our Moderns; for surely the anci∣ents had as good and regular rational and sensitive per∣ceptions, and as profitable Arts and Sciences as we have; and the world was governed as well, and they lived as happily in ancient times, as we do now, nay more. As for example; how well was the World governed, and how did it flourish in Augustus's time? how many proud and stately Buildings and Palaces could ancient Rome shew to the world, when she was in her flower? The Cedars, Gold, and many other curiosities which Solomon used in the structure of that Magnificent Temple, (the like whereof our age cannot shew) were as safely fetch'd and brought to him out of forreign places, as those commodities which we have out of other Countries either by Sea or Land: Besides, I doubt not but they had as profitable and use∣ful Arts and knowledges, and as skilful and ingenious Artists as our age can boast of; if not the very same, yet Page 3 the like, and perhaps better, which by the injury of time have been lost, to our great disadvantage; it may be they had no Microscopes or Telescopes, but I think they were the happier for the want of them, im∣ploying their time in more profitable studies: What learned and witty people the Egyptians were, is suffici∣ently known out of ancient Histories, which may in∣form us of many more. But I perceive the knowledg of several ages and times, is like the increase and decrease of the Moon; for in some ages Art and Learning flourishes better then in others, and therefore it is not onely an injury, but a sign of ill-nature, to exclaim a∣gainst ancient Learning, and call it Pedantry; for if the ancients had not been, I question whether we should have arrived to that knowledg we boast of at this present; for they did break the Ice, and shew'd us the way in many things, for which we ought to be thankful, rather then reward them with scorn. Neither ought Artists, in my opinion, to condemn Contem∣plative Philosophy, nay, not to prefer the Experi∣mental part before her; for all that Artists have, they are beholden for it to the conceptions of the ingenious Student, except some few Arts which ascribe their original to change; and therefore speculation must needs go be fore practice; for how shall a man practise, if he does not know what or which way to practise? Reason must direct first how sense ought to work, and so much as the Rational knowledg is more noble then the Sensi∣tive, Page 4 so much is the Speculative part of Philosophy more noble then the Mechanical. But our age being more for deluding Experiments then rational arguments, which some cal a tedious babble, doth prefer Sense before Reason, and trusts more to the deceiving sight of their eyes, and deluding glasses, then to the perception of clear and regu∣lar Reason; nay, many will not admit of rational argu∣ments, but the bare authority of an Experimental Philo∣sopher is sufficient to them to decide all Controversies, & to pronounce the Truth without any appeal to Reason; as if they onely had the Infallible Truth of Nature, and ingrossed all knowledg to themselves. Thus Reason must stoop to Sense, and the Conceptor to the Artist, which will be the way to bring in Ignorance, instead of advancing knowledg; for when the light of Rea∣son begins to be Eclipsed, darkness of Understanding must needs follow.
2. Whether Artificial Effects may be called Natural, and in what sense.
IN my former discourses I have declared that Art produces Hermaphroditical Effects, that is, such as are partly Natural, and partly Artificial; but the que∣stion is, whether those Hermaphroditical Effects may not be called Natural Effects as well as others, or whe∣ther they be Effects quite different and distinct from Natural? My answer is, When I call Artificial Page 5 effects Hermaphroditical, or such as are not Natural; I do not speak of Nature in general, as if they were something else besides Nature; for Art it self is natural, and an effect of Nature, and cannot produce any thing that is beyond, or not within Nature; wherefore ar∣tificial effects can no more be excluded from Nature, then any ordinary effect or Creature of Nature; But when I say they are not natural, I understand the par∣ticular nature of every Creature, according to its own kind of species; for as there is Infinite Nature which may be called General Nature, or Nature in General, which includes and comprehends all the effects and Creatures that lie within her, and belong to her, as be∣ing parts of her own self-moving body; so there are also particular natures in every Creature, which are the in∣nate, proper and inherent interior and substantial forms and figures of every Creature, according to their own kind or species, by which each Creature or part of Nature is discerned or distinguished from the other; as for example, although an Animal and a Vegetable be fellow Creatures, and both Natural, because Mate∣rial, yet their interior particular Natures are not the same, because they are not of the same kind, but each has its own particular Nature quite different from the other; and these particular Natures are nothing else but a change of corporeal figurative motions, which make this diversity of figures; for were the same inte∣rior and natural motions found in an Animal as are in Page 6 a Vegetable, an Animal would be a Vegetable, and a Vegetable an Animal without any difference; and after this rate there would be no variety at all in Nature; but self-motion acting diversly and variously, not onely in every kind and species, but in every particular Creature and part of Nature, causeth that wonderful variety which appears every where even to our admiration in all parts of Nature. But to return to artificial effects, it is known that Nature has her own ways in her actions, and that there are constant productions in every kind and sort of natural Creatures, which Nature observes in the propagation and increase of them; whose gene∣ral manner and way is always the same; (I say, general, because there are many variations in the particular mo∣tions belonging to the production of every particular Creature.) For example, all Mankind is produced after one and the same manner or way, to wit, by the copulation of two persons of each Sex; and so are other sorts of Creatures produced other ways: also a perfect Creature is produced in the same shape, and has the same interior and exterior figure as is proper to it ac∣cording to the nature of its kind and species to which it belongs, and this is properly called a natural produ∣ction: But when the figurative motions in particular productions do not move after this ordinary way, as in the productions of Monsters, it is called a praeter-natural or irregular production, proceeding from the irregu∣larity of motions; not praeternatural in respect to general Page 7 Nature, but in respect to the proper and particular na∣ture of the figure. And in this regard I call Artifical effects Hermaphroditical, that is, partly Natural, and partly Artificial; Natural, because Art cannot pro∣duce any thing without natural matter, nor without the assistance of natural motions, but artificial, because it works not after the way of natural productions; for Art is like an emulating Ape, and will produce such figures as Nature produces, but it doth not, nor cannot go the same way to work as Nature doth; for Natures ways are more subtil and mysterious, then that Art, or any one particular Creature should know, much less trace them; and this is the true construction of my sense concerning natural and artificial production; whereby it is manifest that I am not of the opinion of that Experimental Writer who thinks it no improba∣bility to say that all natural effects may be called artifi∣cial, nay, that Nature her self may be called the Art of God; for Art is as much inferior to Nature, as a part is inferior to the whole, and all Artificial Effects are Ir∣regular in comparison to Natural; wherefore to say God or Nature works Artificially, would be as much as to say they work irregularly.
3. Of Natural Matter and Motion.
IAm of that Learned Authors mind, who counts those but narrow souls, and not worthy the name of Page 8 Philosophers, that think any body can be too great, or too vast, as also too little in its natural dimensions, and that Nature is stinted at an atome, and brought to a non∣plus of her sub-divisions; for truly, if there cannot be Extreams in Infinite, there can also be none in Na∣ture, and consequently there can neither be smallest nor biggest, strongest nor weakest, hardest nor soft∣est, swiftest nor slowest, &c. in Nature, by reason Nature is Infinite in her actions, as well as in her parts, and hath no set bounds or limits; and therefore the Corpuscularian or Atomical Writers, which do reduce the parts of Nature to one certain and propor∣tioned Atome, beyond which they imagine Nature cannot go, because their brain or particular finite rea∣son cannot reach further, are much deceived in their arguments, and commit a fallacy in concluding the finiteness and limitation of Nature from the narrow∣ness of their rational Conceptions. Nevertheless, al∣though Natures actions and parts are Infinite, consi∣dered in general, yet my opinion is, that Nature ne∣ver doth actually run into Infinite in her particular a∣ctions and parts; for as there are infinite divisions, so there are also infinite compositions in Nature; and as there are infinite degrees of hardness, slowness and thickness, so there are also infinite degrees of softness, swiftness, thinness, &c. so that every particular mo∣tion or action of Nature is ballanced and poised by its opposite, which hinders a running into infinite in na∣tures Page 9 particulars, and causes a variety of natural figures; for although Infinite Matter in it self and its own es∣sence is simple and homogeneous, as the learned call it, or of the same kind and nature, and consequently is at peace with it self, yet there is a perpetual opposition and war between the parts of nature, where one sometimes gets the better of the other, and overpowers it either by force or slight, and is the occasion of its dissolution into some other figure; but there's no part so powerful as to reduce any thing into nothing, or to destroy it to∣tally from being Matter; nay, not Nature her self has such a power, but God alone, who as he has made Nature, so he may destroy her; for although Nature has an Infinite power, yet she is not omnipotent, but her power is a natural infinite power, when as Omni∣potency is an attribute onely belonging to God; nei∣ther hath she a divine, but a natural infinite knowledg; by which it is evident, that I do not ascribe divine at∣tributes to Nature, which were to make her a God, nor detract from Nature that which properly belongs to her; for Nature being infinite in body and parts, it would be absurd to confine her to a finite power and knowledg. By parts, I understand not onely the in∣finite figures and fizes, but also the infinite actions of Nature: and I am of Des Cartes opinion, that the parts of Matter may be made bigger or less by addition or subtraction of other parts; but I cannot yield to him when he says, that Motion may be swifter and slower Page 10 by addition given to the movent by other contiguous bodies more swiftly moving, or by subduction of it by bodies slower moved, and that Motion may be trans∣ferred out of one body into another; for Motion can∣not be conceived, much less subsist without Matter; and if Motion should be transferred or added to some other body, Matter must be added or transferred also: Neither doth the addition of some parts of Matter add always exterior local motion to the body it is joyned to, but they retain the motion proper to their own figure and nature; as for example, if a stone be added to an animal, it will rather hinder then help its exterior mo∣tions. But I must refer the Reader to my other Phi∣losophical Works, in which I have discoursed more of this subject.
4. Nature cannot be known by any of her Parts.
IAm not of Plinius's Opinion, That Nature in her whole power is never more wholly seen then in her smal∣lest Works; For how can Nature be seen in a part, when as Infinite cannot be known neither in nor by any Part, much less a small Part? Nay, were Nature a great finite body, it could not be perceived intirely in and by a small or minute part, no more then a humane eye can see all this world Celestial and Terestial at once. 'Tis true, Reason being joyned to Sense, may make a better discovery then if they were sepa∣rated; Page 11 but as the humane optick sense is not capable to perceive the greatest, so neither the smallest creatures exterior, much less their interior parts, although as∣sisted by Art; for Art, (as I mentioned before) many times deludes rather then informs, making hermaphro∣ditical figures; and Nature has more variety and cu∣riosity in the several forms, and figurative corporeal mo∣tions of one of the smallest creatures, then the most ob∣serving and clearest optick sense can perceive. But mi∣stake me not; I do not say, that Arts are not profi∣table, but that they are not truly and thorowly intelli∣gent or knowing of all Natures works; for seve∣ral Arts are like several other Creatures, which have their particular natures, faculties and proprieties, be∣yond which they cannot go, and one Creature is not able to comprehend or know all other Creatures, no not any one single Creature perfectly, which ifso, then none can inform what it doth not know. Nay, not onely one particular Creature is not able to know it, but not one particular kind or sort of Creatures: as for example; all Man-kind that ever have liv'd, or are at present living in this world, could never find out the truth of Nature, even in the least of her parts, nay, not in themselves: For what man is he that knows the figurative corporeal motions, which make him to be such a Creature as Man, or that make any part of him? and what Man or Art can inform us truly of the figurative motions that make the nature of blood, flesh, Page 12 bones, &c. or can give a reason why the heart is trian∣gular, and the head spherical, and so for every diffe∣rently-shaped part of his body? I will not say, but that Man may guess at it, but not infallibly know it by any Art; wherefore Reason will more truly disco∣ver so much of Nature as is discoverable to one kind or fort of Creatures, then Art can do; for Art must attend Reason as the chief Mistris of Information, which in time may make her a more prudent and pro∣fitable servant then she is; for in this age she is be∣come rather vain then profitable, striving to act be∣yond her power, as I do undertake to write beyond my experience, for which, 'tis probable Artists will condemn me; but if I err, I ask their pardon, and pray them to consider the Nature of our sex, which makes us, for the most part, obstinate and wilful in our opinions, and most commonly impertinently foolish: And if the Art of Micrography can but find out the figurative corporeal motions that make or cause us to be thus, it will be an Art of great same, for by that Artists may come to discover more hidden causes and effects; but yet I doubt they will hardly find out the interior nature of our fex by the exterior form of their faces or countenances, although very curious, and full of variety of several beauties; nay, I dare on the contrary say, had a young beautiful La∣dy such a face as the Microscope expresses, she would not onely have no lovers, bnt be rather a Monster of Page 13 Art, then a picture of Nature, and have an aversion, at least a dislike to her own exterior figure and shape; and perchance if a Lowse or Flea, or such like insect, should look through a Microscope, it would be as much affrighted with its own exterior figure, as a young beautiful Lady when she appears ill-favoured by Art. I do not say this, as if Optick Glasses could not present the true figure of an Original; for if they do not ex∣ceed the compass of natural dimensions, they may; but when they endeavour to go beyond them, and do more then Nature has done, they rather present mon∣strous, then truly natural figures. Wherefore those, in my opinion, are the best Artists, that keep nearest to Natures Rules, and endeavour not to know more then what is possible for a finite part or creature to know; for surely there is no better way to be rightly and truly informed of Natures works, then by study∣ing Natures corporeal figurative motions, by the means of which study, they will practise Arts (as far as Art is able to be practised) more easily and success∣fully then they will do without it. But to conclude this discourse, some parts of Nature are more indued with regular reason then others, which is the cause that some creatures of one and the same fort or kind, as for exam∣ple, Mankind, are more wife and ingenious then others; and therefore it is not art, but regular sense and reason, that makes some more knowing, and some more wife and ingenious then others; and the irregular motions Page 14 of sense and reason that make some more ignorant or more extravagant in their opinions then others.
5. Art cannot introduce new forms in Nature.
SOme account it a great honour, That the Indulgent Creator, although he gives not to Natural Creatures the power to produce one atome of matter, yet allows them the power to introduce so many forms which Philosophers teach to be nobler then matter, and to work such changes amongst Creatures, that if Adam was now alive, and should survelgh the great variety of mans production, that are to be found in the shops of Artificers, the Laborato∣ries of Chymists, and other well furnished Magazines of Art, he would admire to see what a new world it were. Where, first, I do not understand, how man, or any other creature, should have the power of making or intro∣ducing new forms, if those forms were not already in Nature; for no Creature by any Art whatsoever, is able to produce a new form, no more then he can make an atome of new matter, by reason the power lies in Nature, and the God of Nature, not in any of her Creatures; and if Art may or can work changes amongst some fellow-creatures, they are but natural, by reason Nature is in a perpetual Motion, and in some parts in a perpetual transformation. Next, as for the Question, Whether forms be more noble then the mat∣ter? my opinion is, that this can with no more ground Page 15 of truth be affirmed, then that the effect is nobler then its cause, and if any creature should have power to make forms, which are more noble then matter it self, then certainly that creature would be above Nature, and a creator rather then a creature. Besides, form cannot be created without matter, nor matter without form; for form is no thing subsisting by it self without matter, but matter and form make but one body; and therefore he that introduces a new form, must also introduce a new matter; and though Art changes forms, yet it cannot be said to introduce a new form; for forms are and have been eternally in Nature as well as Matter, so that nothing is created anew, which never was in Nature before. 'Tis true, if Adam were alive now, he might see more variety, but not more Truth; for there are no more kinds and sorts of natural Creatures, then there were at his time, though never more metamorphosed, or ra∣ther I may say disfigured, unnatural and hermaphro∣ditical issues then there are now, which if they should make a new world by the Architecture of Art, it would be a very monstrus one: But I am sure art will ne∣ver do it; for the world is still as it was, and new dis∣coveries by Arts, or the deaths and births of Creatures will not make a new world, nor destroy the old, no more then the dissolving and composing of several parts will make new Matter; for although Nature delights in variety, yet she is constant in her ground∣works; and it is a great error in man to study more the Page 16 exterior faces and countenances of things, then their interior natural figurative motions, which error must undoubtedly cause great mistakes, in so much as mans rules will be false, compared to the true Prin∣ciples of Nature; for it is a false Maxime to believe, that if some Creatures have power over others, they have also power over Nature: it might as well be be∣lieved, that a wicked Man, or the Devil, hath power over God; for although one Part may have power over another, yet not over Nature, no more then one man can have power over all Mankind: One Man or Creature may over-power another so much as to make him quit his natural form or figure, that is, to die and be dissolved, and so to turn into another fi∣gure or creature; but he cannot over-power all Creatures; nay, if he could, and did, yet he would not be an absolute destroyer and Creator, but onely some weak and simple Transformer, or rather some artificial disfigurer and misformer, which cannot al∣ter the world, though he may disorder it: But surely as there was always such a perpetual Motion in Na∣ture, which did and doth still produce and dissolve o∣ther Creatures, which Production and Dissolution is nam'd birth and death, so there is also a Motion which produces and dissolves Arts, and this is the ordinary action and work of Nature, which continues still, and onely varies in the several ways or modes of dissolving and composing.
6. Whether there be any Prime or Principal Figures in Nature, and of the true Principles of Na∣ture.
SOme are of opinion, that the Prime or Principal figures of Nature are Globes or Globular figures, as being the most perfect; but I cannot conceive why a globular or spherical figure should be thought more perfect then any other, for another figure may be as perfect in its kind, as a round figure is in its kind: for example, we cannot say a Bird is a more perfect figure then a Beast, or a Beast a more perfect figure then a Fish, or Worm; neither can we say Man is a more perfect figure then any of the rest of the Animals: the like of Vegetables, Minerals and Elements; for every several sort has as perfect a figure as another, according to the nature and propriety of its own kind or sort: But put the case man's figure were more perfect then any other, yet we could not say, that it is the Principle out of which all other figures are made, as some do con∣ceive that all other figures are produced from the Glo∣bular or Spherical; for there is no such thing as most or least perfect, because there is no most nor least in Nature. Others are of opinion, that the Principle of all natural Creatures is salt, and that when the World dissolves, it must dissolve into salt as into its first Prin∣ciple; but I never heard it determined yet, whether it be Page 18 fixt or volatile salt: Others again are of opinion, that the first principle of all Creatures is Water; which if so, then, seeing that all things must return into their first principle, it will be a great hinderance to the confla∣gration of the world, for there will be so much water produced as may chance to quench out the fire. But if Infinite Nature has Infinite parts, and those Infinite parts are of Infinite figures, then surely they cannot be confined to one figure: Sense and Reason proves that Nature is full of variety, to wit, of corporeal figurative motions, which as they do not ascribe their original to one particular, so neither do they end in one particular figure or creature. But some will wonder that I deny any Part or Creature of Nature should have a supre∣macy above the rest, or be called Prime or Principal, when as yet I do say that Reason is the Prime Part of Nature. To which, I answer: That, when I say, no Creature in Nature can be called Prime or Principal, I understand Natural effects, that is, Natural compo∣sed Parts or Creatures: as for example, all those finite and particular Creatures that are composed of Life, Soul and Body, that is, of the Animate both Rational and Sensitive, and the Inanimate parts of Matter, and none of those composed Creatures, I mean, has any superiority or supremacy above the rest, so as to be the Principle of all other composed Creatures, as some do conceive Water, other Fire, others all the four Ele∣ments to be simple bodies, and the principles of all other Page 19 Natural Creatures, and some do make Globous bo∣dies the perfectest figures of all others; for all these be∣ing but effects, and finite particulars, can be no princi∣ples of their fellow-creatures, or of Infinite Nature. But when I say that Reason, or the Rational part of Mat∣ter is the Prime Part of Nature, I speak of the Princi∣ples of Nature, out of which all other Creatures are made or produced, which Principle is but one, viz. Matter, which makes all effects or Creatures of Na∣ture to be material, for all the effects must be accord∣ing to their principle; but this matter being of two de∣grees, viz. animate and inanimate, the animate is no∣thing but self-motion; (I call it animate matter, by reason I cannot believe, as some do, that Motion is Im∣material, there being nothing belonging to Nature which is not material, and therefore corporeal self∣motion, or animate matter is to me one and the same) and this animate matter is again subdivided into two degrees, to wit, the rational and sensitive; the rational is the soul, the sensitive the life, and the inanimate the body of Infinite Nature; all which, being so inter∣mixed and composed, as no separation can be made of one from the other, but do all constitute one Infinite and self-moving body of Nature, and are found even in the smallest particles thereof (if smallest might be said) they are justly named the Principles of Nature, whereof the rational animate matter, or corporeal self∣motion is the chief designer and surveigher, as being Page 20 the most active, subtil and penetrating part, and the sensitive the workman: but the inanimate part of Matter being thorowly intermixed with this animate self-moving Matter, or rather with this corporeal self∣motion, although it have no motion in it self, that is, in its own nature, yet by vertue of the commixture with the animate, is moving as well as moved; for it is well to be observed, that although I make a distincti∣on betwixt animate and inanimate, rational and sen∣sitive Matter, yet I do not say that they are three di∣stinct and several matters; for as they do make but one body of Nature, so they are also but one Matter; but as I mentioned before, when I speak of self-mo∣tion, I name it animate matter, to avoid the mistake, lest self-motion might be taken for immaterial; for my opinion is, that they are all but one matter, and one material body of Nature. And this is the dif∣ference between the cause or principle, and the effects of Nature, from the neglect of which comes the mi∣stake of so many Authors, to wit, that they ascribe to the effects what properly belongs to the cause, ma∣king those figures which are composed of the foresaid animate and inanimate parts of matter, and are no more but effects, the principles of all other Creatures, which mistake causes many confusions in several mens brains, and their writings. But it may be, they will account it paradoxical or absurd, that I say Infinite Matter con∣sists of two parts, viz. animate and inanimate, and Page 21 that the animate again is of two degrees, rational and sensitive, by reason the number of two is finite, and a finite number cannot make one infinite whole, which whole being infinite in bulk, must of necessity also consist of infinite parts. To which I answer, My meaning is not, that Infinite Nature is made up of two finite parts, but that she consists out of a co-mixture of animate and inanimate Matter, which although they be of two degrees or parts (call them what you will) yet they are not separated parts, but make one infinite body, like as life, soul and body, make but one man; for animate matter is (as I said before) nothing else but self-motion, which self-motion joyned with inani∣mate matter makes but one self-moving body, which body by the same self-motion is divided into infinite fi∣gures or parts, not separated from each other, or from the body of Nature, but all cohering in one piece, as several members of one body, and onely distinguished by their several figures; every part whereof has animate and inanimate matter as well as the whole body: Nay, that every part has not onely sensitive, but also ratio∣nal matter, is evident, not onely by the bare motion in every part of Nature, which cannot be without sense, for wheresoever is motion, there's sense; but also by the regular, harmonious and well-ordered actions of Nature, which clearly demonstrate, that there must needs be reason as well as sense in every part and par∣ticle of Nature; for there can be no order, method Page 22 or harmony, especially such as appears in the actions of Nature, without there be reason to cause that order and harmony. And thus motion argues sense, and the well-ordered motion argues Reason in Nature, and in every part and particle thereof, without which Na∣ture could not subsist, but would be as a dull indigested and unformed heap and Chaos. Besides, it argues that there is also knowledg in Nature, and all her parts; for wheresoever is sense and reason, there is also sensitive and rational knowledg, it being most improbable, that such an exactly-ordered and harmonious consort of all the infinitely-various actions of Nature should be with∣out any knowledg, moving and acting, producing, transforming, composing, dissolving, &c. and not knowing how, whether, or why to move; and Na∣ture being infinite in her own substance as well as in her parts, there in bulk, here in number, her knowledg in general must of necessity be infinite too, but in her par∣ticulars it cannot but be finite and particular; and this knowledg differs according to the nature of each figure or creature; for I do not mean, that this sense and know∣ledg I speak of, is onely an animal sense and knowledg, as some have mis-interpreted; for animal sense and knowledg is but particular, and belongs onely to that sort of Creatures which are Animals; but I mean such sense and knowledg as is proper to the nature of each figure; so that Animal Creatures have animal sense and knowledg, Vegetables a vegetative sense and know∣ledg, Page 23 Minerals a mineral sense and knowledg; and so of the rest of all kinds and sorts of Creatures. And this is my opinion of the Principles of Nature, which I submit to the examination of the ingenious and im∣partial Reader to consider, whether it contains not as much probability, as the opinion of those whose Princi∣ples are either Whirl-pools, insensible Minima's, Gas, Blas and Archeus, dusty Atomes, thrusting backwards and forwards, which they call reaction, and the like; or of those that make the ground and foundation of the knowledg of Nature artificial Experiments, and prefer Art before Reason: for my Principles and Grounds are sense and reason; and if they cannot hold, I know not what will; for where sense and reason has no admittance, there nothing can be in order, but confusion must needs take place.
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.
8. Of Animal Spirits.
I am not of the opinion of those that place the cause of all Sense and Motion in the animal Spirits, which they call the Purest and most aethereal particles of all bo∣dies in the World whatsoever, and the very top and per∣fection of all Natures operations: For Animal Spirits, in my opinion, are no more then other effects of Na∣ture, onely they are not so gross as some, but are parts of a most pure, refined and rare sort of Inanimate Page 27 Matter, which being intermixed with the parts of A∣nimate Matter, and enlivened by them, become very subtil and active; I will not say, that they are of the highest and last degree of Inanimate Matter, nearest to the Animate, (as they do say, they have the neerest alliance to spiritualities, which in my opinion, is as much as to say, they are almost nothing) or of the first degree of sensitive matter, there being no such thing as first and last in Nature, but that they are one∣ly such pure and rare parts of Inanimate Matter, as are not subject to the exterior perception of humane sense; for example, as the matter of respiration, or the like: for as there are Infinite parts of Inanimate Matter, so there are also infinite degrees of strength, weakness, purity, impurity, hardness, softness, density, rarity, swiftness, slowness, knowledg, ignorance, &c. as also several sorts and degrees of complexions, statures, constitu∣tions, humors, wits, understanding, judgment, life, death, and the like; all which degrees, although they be in and of the infinite body of Nature, yet properly they belong to particular Creatures, and have onely a regard to the several parts of Nature, which being In∣finite in number, are also of Infinite degrees, according to the Infinite changes of self-motion, and the propri∣ety and nature of each figure; wherefore that opinion which makes Animal Spirits the prime or principal mo∣tion of all things, and the chief Agent in Natures three Kingdoms, Mineral, Animal and Vegetable, reduces Page 28 Infinite Nature to a finite Principle; whereas any one that enjoys but so much of humane sense and reason as to have the least perception or insight into Natural things, may easily conceive that the Infinite effects of Nature cannot proceed from a finite particular cause; nay, I am firmly perswaded, that they who believe any finite part to be the cause and Principle of Infinite self∣moving Nature, do, in my opinion, not onely sin a∣gainst Nature, but against God the Author of Na∣ture, who out of his Infinite bounty gave Nature the Power of self-motion. But if any one desire to know, what then the true cause and Principle of all Natures Creatures and Figures be; I answer, In my opinion, it is not a Spirit or Immaterial substance, but Matter; but yet not the Inanimate part of Matter, but the A∣nimate; which being of two degrees, rational and sen∣sitive; both of them are the Infinite Life and Soul of the Infinite body of Nature; and this Animate Matter is also the cause of all infinite works, changes, figures and parts of Nature, as I have declar'd above more at large. Now as great a difference as there is between A∣nimate and Inanimate, Body and Soul, Part and Whole, Finite and Infinite, so great a difference there is also be∣tween the Animal Spirits, and the Prime Agent or Movent of Nature, which is Animate Matter, or (which is all one thing) corporeal self-motion; and as it would be paradoxical, to make Inanimate Matter to be the cause of Animate, or a part to be the cause of the whole, whose Page 29 part it is, or a finite to be the cause of Infinite; so pa∣radoxical would it also be to make Animal Spirits the top and perfection of all Natures operations; nay, so far are they from being the Prime Movent of other bodies, as they are but moved themselves; for to re∣peat what I mentioned in the beginning, Animal Spi∣rits are onely some sorts of rare and pure Inanimate Matter, which being thorowly intermixt with the animate parts of Matter, are more active then some sorts of more dense and grosser parts of Inanimate Mat∣ter; I say some; for I do believe, that some of the most solid bodies are as active as the most rare and fluid parts of Matter, if not exteriously, yet interiously; and therefore we cannot say, that rare and fluid parts are more active then fixt and solid, or that fixt and solid are less active then fluid bodies, because all parts are self-moving. But if I was to argue with those that are so much for Animal Spirits, I would ask them, first, whether Animal Spirits be self-moving? If they say, they are, I am of their opinion, and do in∣fer thence, that if animal spirits, which are but a small part of Nature, have self-motion, much more has Nature her self: But if not, I would ask, what gives them that motion they have? If they say Nature, then Nature must be self-moving. Perchance they'l say, God moves Nature: 'Tis true, God is the first Au∣thor of Motion, as well as he is of Nature; but I cannot believe, that God should be the Prime actual Page 30 Movent of all natural Creatures, and put all things in∣to local motion, like as one wheel in a Clock turns all the rest; for Gods Power is sufficient enough to rule and govern all things by an absolute Will and Com∣mand, or by a Let it be done, and to impart self-mo∣tion to Nature to move according to his order and de∣cree, although in a natural way. Next, I would ask whether any dead Creature have such Animal Spirits? If they affirm it, I am of their mind; if not, then I would ask, what causes in dead bodies that dissolution which we see? Thirdly, I would ask, whether those animal spirits be annihilated and generated anew? If they an∣swer, not, I am of their opinion: but if they say, they are annihilated and generated anew; then I would fain know who is their Generator and Annihilator, for nothing can generate and annihilate it self? And if they say, God: I answer, It is not probable that God should have made any thing imperfect, especially in the production of Nature; for if there be things cre∣ated anew which never were before in Nature, it ar∣gues that Nature was not perfect at first, because of a new addition of so many Creatures; or if any thing could be annihilated in Nature, it would likewise ar∣gue an imperfection in Nature, viz. that Nature was perfecter before those things were annihilated. And thus it would inferr, as if God had not power either to have made Nature perfect at first, or that God wanted work, and was forced to create and annihilate every Page 31 moment; for certainly, the work of creation and anni∣hilation is a divine action, and belongs onely to God. Lastly, concerning the functions and offices which the animal spirits perform in animal, or at least humane bodies, by their several motions and migrations from the brain through the spinal marrow, nerves, tendons, fibres, into all the parts of the body, and their return to the brain; I have declared my opinion thereof twelve years since, in my work of Poetical Fancies, which then came out the first time; and I thought it not unfit to insert here, out of the same book, these following lines, both that my meaning may be the better understood, and that they may witness I have been of that opinion so many years ago.
9. Of the Doctrine of the Scepticks concerning the Knowledg of Nature.
WHen Scepticks endeavour to prove that not any thing in Nature can be truely and thorowly known, they are, in my opinion, in the right way, as far as their meaning is, that not any particular Crea∣ture can know the Infinite parts of Nature; for Nature having both a divideable and composeable sense and reason, causes ignorance as well as knowledg amongst Particulars: But if their opinion be, that there is no true knowledg at all found amongst the parts of Na∣ture, then surely their doctrine is not onely unprofi∣table, but dangerous, as endeavouring to overthrow all useful and profitable knowledg. The truth is, that Na∣ture, being not onely divideable, but also composeable in her parts, it cannot be absolutely affirmed that there is either a total ignorance, or a universal knowledg in Na∣ture, so as one finite part should know perfectly all o∣ther parts of Nature; but as there is an ignorance a∣mongst Particulars, caused by the division of Natures parts, so there is also a knowledg amongst them, caused by the composition and union of her parts: Neither can any ignorance be attributed to Infinite Nature, by reason she being a body comprehending so many parts of her own in a firm bond and indissoluble union, so as no part can separate it self from her, must of necessity Page 34 have also an Infinite wisdom and knowledg to govern her Infinite parts. And therefore it is best, in my judgment, for Scepticks and Dogmatists to agree in their different opinions, and whereas now they express their wit by division, to shew their wisdom by composition; for thus they will make an harmonious consort and u∣nion in the truth of Nature, where otherwise their dis∣agreement will cause perpetual quarrels and disputes both in Divinity and Philosophy, to the prejudice and ruine of Church and Schools; which disagreement proceeds meerly from self-love: For every Man being a part of Nature, which is self-loving as well as self∣moving, would fain be, at least appear, wiser then his fellow-creatures. But the Omnipotent Creator has ordered Nature so wisely, as to divide not onely her power, but also her wisdom into parts, which is the rea∣son that she is not Omnipotent, being divideable and composeable; When as God can neither be divided nor composed, but is one, simple and individual in∣comprehensible being, without any composition of parts, for God is not material.
10. Of Natural Sense and Reason.
THose Authors which confess, That vulgar Reason is no better then a more refined Imagination, and that both Reason, Fancy and the Senses, are influenced by the bodies temperament, and like the Index of a Clock, are moved by the inward springs and wheels of the corporeal Machine, seem, in my opinion, to confirm, that natu∣ral sense and reason is corporeal, although they do it in an obscure way, and with intricate arguments. But truly, do what they can, yet they must prove reason by reason; for irrational discourse cannot make proofs and arguments to evince the truth of Nature: But first it must be proved, what Sense and Reason is, whe∣ther Divine or Natural, Corporeal or Immaterial. Those that believe natural sense and reason to be imma∣terial, are in my opinion in a great error, because Na∣ture is purely corporeal, as I have declared before; And those which affirm, that our understanding, will and reason are in some manner like to God's, shall never gain my assent; for if there be so great a difference be∣tween God's Understanding, Will and Decree, and between Natures, as no comparison at all can be made betwixt them, much more is there between a part of Nature, viz. Man, and the Omnipotent and In∣comprehensible God; for there is an Infinite difference between Divine Attributes and Natural Properties; Page 36 wherefore to similize our Reason, Will, Understand∣ing, Faculties, Pasions, and Figures, &c. to God, is too high a presumption, and in some manner a blas∣phemy. Nevertheless, although our natural reason and faculties are not like to divine attributes, yet our natural rational perceptions are not always delusions; and therefore it is certain, that Natures knowing parts, both sensitive and rational, do believe a God, that is some Being above Nature: But many Writers en∣deavour rather to make divisions in Religion, then promote the honour and worship of God by a mutual and united agreement, which I confess, is an irregu∣larity and imperfection in some parts of Nature, and argues, that Nature is not so perfect but she has some faults and infirmities, otherwise she would be a God, which she is not.
11. Of a General Knowledg and Worship of God, given him by all Natural Creatures.
IT is not the sight of the beauteous frame of this world (as some do conceive) that makes men be∣lieve and admire God, but the knowledg of the exi∣stence of God is natural, and there's no part of Na∣ture but believes a God; for, certainly, were there not any optick sense in Nature, yet God would be the God of Nature, and be worshiped and adored by her Creatures, which are her parts; for it is irreli∣gious Page 37 to say, God should want admiration and adora∣tion for want of an eye, or any other of the animal or humane organs; surely Nature has more ways then five to express and declare God's Omnipotency: It is Infinite sense and reason that doth worship and a∣dore God, and the several perceptions of this sense and reason know there is a God that ought to be worship∣ped and adored, and not onely Ears, or Eyes, or the like exterior organs of man. Neither is it man alone, but all Creatures, that do acknowledg God; for although God cannot be perfectly known what he is in his Essence, yet he may be known in as much as Na∣ture can know of him. But since Nature is dividable in her parts, each part has but a particular knowledg of God, which is the cause of several Religions, and several opinions in those Religions; and Nature being also composeable, it causes a conformity and union of those Opinions and Religions in the fundamental knowledg, which is, the existence of God: Wherefore that which makes a general and united knowledg of the Existence of God, is, that Nature is intire in her self, as having but one body, and therefore all her parts which are of that body have also one knowledg of God; for though the parts be different in the Worship of God, yet they have not a different belief of the Existence of God; not that God can be perfectly known either by Nature, or any of her parts, for God is Incomprehen∣sible, and above Nature; but in as much as can be Page 38 known, to wit, his Being; and that he is All-powerful, and that not any thing can be compared or likened to him; for he is beyond all draught and likeness, as be∣ing an Eternal, Infinite, Omnipotent, Incorporeal, Individual, Immovable Being. And thus it is not one part or creature viewing another that causes either the knowledg or admiration of God, but the soul and life of Nature, which are her sensitive and rational parts; and Nature being the Eternal servant and Worshipper of God, God hath been also eternally worshipped and a∣dored; for surely God's Adoration and Worship has no beginning in time: neither could God be worship∣ped and adored by himself so, as that one part of him should adore and worship another; for God is an individual and simple Being, not composed of parts; and therefore, as it is impossible for me to believe, that there is no general Worship and Adoration of God, so it is impossible also to believe, that God has not been adored and worshipped from all Eternity, and that Nature is not Eternal; for although God is the Cause of Nature, and Nature the Effect of God, yet she may be Eternal however, there being nothing impos∣sible to be effected by God; but he, as an Eternal Cause, is able to produce an Eternal Effect, for although it is a∣gainst the rules of Logick, yet it is not above the power of God.
12. Of a Particular Worship of God, given him by those that are his chosen and elect People.
NAtural Philosophy is the chief of all sorts of knowledges; for she is a Guide, not onely to other Sciences, and all sorts of Arts, but even to divine knowledg it self; for she teaches that there is a Being above Nature, which is God, the Author and Master of Nature, whom all Creatures know and adore. But to adore God, after a particular manner, according to his special Will and Command, requires his Particu∣lar Grace, and Divine Instructions, in a supernatural manner or way, which none but the chosen Creatures of God do know, at least believe, nor none but the sacred Church ought to explain and interpret: And the proof, that all men are not of the number of those elect and chosen people of God, is, that there can be but one True Religion, and that yet there are so many several and different opinions in that Religion; where∣fore the Truth can onely be found in some, which are those that serve God truly, according to his special Will and Command, both in believing and acting that which he has been pleased to reveal and command in his holy Word: And I pray God, of his infinite mercy, to give me Grace, that I may be one of them, which I doubt not but I shall, as long as I follow the Instru∣ction of our blessed Church, in which I have been Page 40 educated. 'Tis true, many persons are much trou∣bled concerning Free-will and Predestination, com∣plaining, that the Christian Church is so divided about this Article, as they will never agree in one united be∣lief concerning that point; which is the cause of the trouble of so many Consciences, nay, in some even to despair. But I do verily believe, that if man do but love God from his soul, and with all his power, and pray for his saving Graces, and offend not any Crea∣ture when offences can or may be avoided, and fol∣low the onely Instructions of the sacred Church, not endeavouring to interpret the Word of God after his own fancy and vain imagination, but praying zea∣lously, believing undoubtedly, and living virtuously and piously, he can hardly fall into despair, unless he be disposed and inclined towards it through the irre∣gularities of Nature, so as he cannot avoid it. But I most humbly thank the Omnipotent God, that my Conscience is in peace and tranquility, beseeching him of his mercy to give to all men the like.
13. Of the Knowledg of Man.
SOme Philosophical Writers discourse much con∣cerning the knowledg of Man, and the ignorance of all other Creatures; but I have sufficiently expres∣sed my opinion hereof, not onely in this, but in my other Philosophical Works, to wit, that I believe Page 41 other Creatures have as much knowledg as Man, and Man as much in his kind as any other particular Crea∣ture in its kind; But their knowledges being different, by reason of their different natures and figures, it causes an ignorance of each others knowledg; nay, the know∣ledg of other Creatures many times gives information to Man: As for example; the Egyptians are inform∣ed how high the River Nilus will rise by the Croco∣dil's building her nest higher or lower, which shews, that those Creatures fore-see or fore-know more then Man can do: also many Birds fore-know the rising of a Tempest, and shelter themselves before it comes: the like examples might be given of several other sorts of Animals, whose knowledg proceeds either from some sensitive perceptions, or from rational observations, or from both; and if there be such a difference in the ra∣tional and sensitive knowledg of one kind of Creatures, to wit, Animals, much more in all other kinds, as Vegetables, Minerals, Elements, and so in all Na∣tures Works: Wherefore he that will say, there is no knowledg but in Man, at least in Animal kind; doth, in my opinion, say more then ever he will be able to prove; nay, the contrary is so evident, as it is without all dispute: But Man, out of self-love, and conceited pride, because he thinks himself the chief of all Creatures, and that all the World is made for his sake; doth also imagine that all other Creatures are ignorant, dull, stupid, senseless and irrational, and he onely Page 42 wise, knowing and understanding. And upon this ground some believe, that Man is bound and decreed to pray to God for all other Creatures, as being not capable to pray for themselves; like as a Minister is bound to pray for his Flock. But really, if the Pastor should onely pray, and his Sheep not, but they did continue in their sins, I doubt his Prayers would be of little effect, and therefore it is well if their Prayers and Petitions be joyned together. The like may be said of all other Creatures: for the single knowledg and devotion of Man-kind cannot benefit other Creatures, if they be ignorant, and not capable to know, admire, adore and worship God themselves. And thus no man, with all the force of Logick, will ever be able to prove, that he is either the chief above all other Crea∣tures, or that he onely knows and worships God, and no natural Creature else: for it is without dispute, that other Creatures, in their kinds, are as knowing and wise, as Man is in his kind.
14. A Natural Philosopher cannot be an Atheist.
IWonder how some of our learned Writers can imagine, that those who study Reason and Philo∣sophy should make them their Vouchees of Licentious practices, and their secret scorn of Religion, and should ac∣count it a piece of wit and gallantry to be an Atheist, and of atheism to be a Philosopher; considering that Reason Page 43 and Philosophy is the onely way that brings and leads us to the natural knowledg of God: for it would be as much absurdity to say, Reason and Philosophy in∣duce Atheism, as to say, Reason is not Reason; for Reason is the most knowing and wisest part of Nature, and the chief knowledg of Nature is to know there is a God; wherefore those that do argue in such a manner, argue without reason, and by calling others weak heads and fools, prove themselves Irrational. But I perceive their supposition is built upon a false ground; for they are of opinion, That the Exploding of Imma∣terial substances, and the unbounded prerogative of Mat∣ter must needs infer Atheism: which whether it do not shew a weaker head then those have that believe no Immaterial substances in Nature, Rational men may judg: For by this it is evident, that they make Imma∣terial substances to be Gods, by reason they conclude, that he who believes no Immaterial substance in Na∣ture is an Atheist: And thus by proving others A∣theists, they commit Blasphemy themselves; for he that makes a God of a Creature, sins as much, if not more, then he who believes no God at all. And as for the unbounded prerogative of Matter, I see no reason, why men should exclaim against it; for why should Immaterial substances have more prerogative then Ma∣terial? Truly, I may upon the same ground conclude the prerogative of Matter, as well as they do the prero∣gative of Spirits; for both are but Creatures, and in Page 44 that case, one has no more prerogative then the other, for God could make a Material Being to move it self as well as a Material Nothing. Nevertheless, al∣though Matter is self-moving, yet it has not a God∣like omnipotent power, nor any divine attributes; but an Infinite Natural power, that is, a power to pro∣duce infinite effects in her own self, by infinite chan∣ges of Motions: Neither doth it argue that Nature is above God, or at least God-like; for I do not say, that Nature has her self-moving power of her self, or by chance, but that it comes from God the Author of Nature; which proves that God must needs be a∣bove Nature, although Nature is Infinite and Eter∣nal; for these proprieties do not derogate any thing from the Attributes of God, by reason Nature is na∣turally Infinite, which is Infinite in quantity and parts; but God is a Spiritual, Supernatural and In∣comprehensible Infinite; and as for the Eternity of Nature, it is more probable to Regular Reason, then that Nature should have any beginning; for all be∣ginning supposes time, but in God is no time, and there∣fore neither beginning nor ending, neither in himself, nor in his actions; for if God be from all Eternity, his actions are so too, the chief of which is the production or creation of Nature. Thus natural reason may conceive that Nature is the Eternal servant of God; but how it was produced from all Eternity, no parti∣cular or finite creature is able to imagine; by reason Page 45 that not onely God, but also Nature is Infinite, and a finite Creature can have no Idea or conception of Infi∣nite.
15. Of the Rational Soul of Man.
OF all the opinions concerning the Natural Soul of Man, I like that best which affirms the Soul to be a self-moving substance; but yet I will add a Material self-moving substance; for the Soul of Man is part of the Soul of Nature, and the Soul of Na∣ture is Material; I mean onely the Natural, not the Divine Soul of Man, which I leave to the Church. And this natural Soul, otherwise called Reason, is nothing else but corporeal natural self-motion, or a particle of the purest, most subtil and active part of Matter, which I call animate; which animate Mat∣ter is the Life and Soul of Nature, and consequently of Man, and all other Creatures: For we cannot in Reason conceive that Man should be the onely Crea∣ture that partakes of this soul of Nature, and that all the rest of Natures parts, or most of them, should be soul-less, or (which is all one) irrational, although they are commonly called, nay believed to be such. Truly, if all other Creatures cannot be denied to be Material, they can neither be accounted Irrational, Insensible, or Inanimate, by reason there is no part, nay, not the smallest particle in Nature, our reason Page 46 is able to conceive, which is not composed of Animate Matter, as well as of Inanimate; of Life and Soul, as well as of Body; and therefore no particular Creature can claim a prerogative in this case before an other; for there is a thorow mixture of Animate and Inanimate Matter in Nature, and all her Parts. But some may object, That if there be sense and reason in every part of Nature, it must be in all parts alike, and then a stone, or any other the like Creature, may have reason, or a rational soul, as well as Man. To which, I answer: I do not deny that a Stone has Reason, or doth partake of the Rational Soul of Nature as well as Man doth, because it is part of the same Matter Man consists of; but yet it has not animal or humane sense and reason, because it is not of animal kind; but being a Mineral, it has Mineral sense and reason: for it is to be observed, that as Animate self-moving Matter moves not one and the same way in all Creatures, so there can neither be the same way of knowledg and understanding, which is sense and reason, in all Creatures alike; but Nature being various, not onely in her parts, but in her acti∣ons, it causes a variety also amongst her Creatures; and hence come so many kinds, sorts and particulars of Natural Creatures, quite different from each other; though not in the General and Universal principle of Nature, which is self-moving Matter, (for in this they agree all) yet in their particular interior natures, figures and proprieties. Thus although there be Sense Page 47 and Reason, which is not onely Motion, but a regu∣lar and well-ordered self-motion, apparent in the wonderful and various Productions, Generations, Transformations, Dissolutions, Compositions, and o∣ther actions of Nature, in all Natures parts and parti∣cles; yet by reason of the variety of this self-motion, whose ways and modes do differ according to the na∣ture of each particular figure, no figure or creature can have the same sense and reason, that is, the same natural motions which another has; and therefore no Stone can be said to feel pain as an Animal doth, or be called blind because it has no Eyes; for this kind of sense, as Seeing, Hearing, Tasting, Touching and Smelling, is proper onely to an Animal figure, and not to a Stone, which is a Mineral; so that those which frame an argument from the want of animal sense and sensitive organs, to the defect of all sense and motion; as for example, that a Stone would withdraw it self from the Carts going over it, or a piece of Iron from the hammering of a Smith, conclude, in my opinion, ve∣ry much against the artificial rules of Logick; and although I understand none of them, yet I question not but I shall make a better argument by the Rules of Natural Logick: But that this difference of sense and reason is not altogether impossible, or at least im∣probable to our understanding, I will explain by ano∣ther instance. We see so many several Creatures in their several kinds, to wit, Elements, Vegetables, Mi∣nerals, Page 48 and Animals, which are the chief distinctions of those kinds of Creatures as are subject to our sensitive perceptions; and in all those, what variety and diffe∣rence do we find both in their exterior figures, and in their interior natures? truly such, as most of both an∣cient and modern Philosophers have imagined some of them, viz. the Elements, to be simple bodies, and the principles of all other Creatures; nay, those several Creatures do not onely differ so much from each other in their general kinds, but there is no less difference per∣ceived in their particular kinds: for example, con∣cerning Elements, what difference is there not between heavy and contracting Earth, and between light and dilating Air? between flowing Water, and ascending Fire? so as it would be an endless labour to consider all the different natures of those Creatures onely that are subject to our exterior senses. And yet who dares deny that they all consist of Matter, or are material? Thus we see that Infinite Matter is not like a piece of Clay, out of which no figure can be made, but it must be clayie, for natural Matter has no such narrow bounds, and is not forced to make all Creatures alike; for though Gold and Stone are both material, nay, of the same kind, to wit, Minerals, yet one is not the other, nor like the other. And if this be true of Matter, why may not the same be said of self-motion, which is Sense and Reason? Wherefore, in all probability of truth, there is sense and reason in a Mineral, as well as in an Page 49 Animal, and in a Vegetable as well as in an Element, al∣though there is as great a difference between the man∣ner and way of their sensitive and rational perceptions, as there is between both their exterior and interior fi∣gures and Natures. Nay, there is a difference of sense and reason even in the parts of one and the same Creature, and consequently of sensitive and rational perception or knowledg; for, as I have declared here∣tofore more at large, every sensitive organ in man hath its peculiar way of knowledg and perception; for the Eye doth not know what the Ear knows, nor the Ear what the Nose knows, &c. All which is the cause of a general ignorance between Natures parts: And the chief cause of all this difference is the variety of self∣motion; for if natural motion were in all Creatures a∣like, all sense and reason would be alike too; and if there were no degrees of matter, all the figures of Crea∣tures would be alike, either all hard, or all soft; all dense, or all rare and fluid, &c. and yet neither this variety of motion causes an absence of motion, or of sense and reason, nor the variety of figures an absence of Matter, but onely a difference between the parts of Nature, all being nevertheless self-moving, sensible and rational, as well as Material; for wheresoever is natural Mat∣ter, there is also self-motion, and consequently sense and reason. By this we may see, how easie it is to con∣ceive the actions of Nature, and to resolve all the Phae∣nomena or appearances upon this ground; and I can∣not Page 50 admire enough, how so many eminent and learned Philosophers have been, and are still puzled about the Natural rational soul of man. Some will have her to be a Light; some an Entilechy, or they know not what; some the Quintessence of the four Elements; some com∣posed of Earth and Water, some of Fire, some of Blood, some an hot Complexion, some an heated and dispersed Air, some an Immaterial Spirit, and some Nothing. All which opinions seem the more strange, the wiser their Authors are accounted; for if they did proceed from some ignorant persons, it would not be so much taken notice of; but coming from great Philosophers, who pretend to have searched the depth of Nature, and disclosed her secrets, it causes great admiration in any body, and may well serve for an argument to confirm the variety and difference of sensitive and rational knowledg, and the ignorance amongst natural parts; for if Creatures of the same particular kind, as men, have so many different Perceptions, what may there be in all Nature? But Infinite Nature is wise, and will not have that one part of hers should know more then its particular nature requires, and she taking de∣light in variety, orders her works accordingly.
16. Whether Animal Parts separated from their Bo∣dies have Life.
SOme do question, Whether those Parts that are separated from animal Bodies do retain life? But my opinion is, That all parts of Nature have life, each according to the propriety of its figure, and that all parts of an animal have animal life and motion as long as they continue parts of the animal body; but if they be separated from the body to which they did belong, although they retain life, yet they do not retain animal life, because their natural motions are changed to some other figure when they are separated, so that the parts which before had animal life and motion, have then such a kind of life and motion as is proper and natural to the figure into which they are changed or transform∣ed. But some separated parts of some Creatures retain longer the life of that composed figure whose parts they were, then others, according as the dissolving and transforming motions are slower or quicker; as for ex∣ample, in some Vegetables, some Trees, if their boughs, armes, or branches, be lopt or cut from a lively stock, those boughs or branches will many times re∣main lively, according to the nature of the figure whose parts they were, for a good while; nay, if they be set or planted, they will grow into the same figure as the stock was; or if joyned into another stock, they will Page 52 be partly of the nature of the stock which they did pro∣ceed from, and partly of the nature of the stock into which they were ingrafted; But yet I do not perceive that animal kind can do the like; for I make a questi∣on, whether a man's arm, if cut off from his body, and set to another mans body, would grow, and keep its natural form and figure, so as to continue an arm, and to receive nourishment from that body it is joyned to? nevertheless, I will not eagerly contradict it, consider∣ing that Nature is very different and various both in her productions and nourishments, nay, so various, as will puzzle, if not confound, the wisest part or Crea∣ture of Nature to find them out.
17. Of the Splene.
COncerning the splene of an animal Creature, whe∣ther it may artificially be cut out, and the body closed up again, without destruction of the animal fi∣gure, as some do probably conceive, I am not so good an artist as to give a solid judgment thereof; onely this I can say, that not all the parts of an animal body are equally necessary for life; but some are convenient more then necessary: Neither do I perfectly know whether the Splene be one of the prime or principal vital parts; for although all parts have life, yet some in some particular Creatures are so necessary for the preservation of life, as they cannot be spared; whereas Page 53 others have no such relation to the life of an Animal, but it may subsist without them: And thus although some parts may be separated for some time, yet they cannot continue so, without a total dissolution of the animal fi∣gure; but both the severed, and the remaining parts change from their nature, if not at all times suddenly, yet at last: And as for the spleen, although the separa∣tion should not be so great a loss as the pain in loosing it, yet some persons will rather lose their lives with ease, then endure great pain to save them: but the question is, if a man was willing to endure the pain, whether he would not die of the wound; for no creature can assure another of its life in such a case, neither can any one be assured of his own; for there is no assurance in the case of life and death, I mean such a life as is proper to such a Creature, for properly there is no such thing in Na∣ture as death, but what is named death, is onely a change from the dissolution of some certain figure to the com∣position of another.
18. Of Anatomy.
I Am not of the opinion of those, who believe that Anatomifts could gain much more by dissecting of li∣ving then of dead bodies, by reason the corporeal figu∣rative motions that maintain life, and nourish every part of the body, are not at all perceptible by the exte∣rior Optick sense, unless it be more perceiving and sub∣tiler Page 54 then the humane optick sense is; for although the exterior grosser parts be visible, yet the interior corpo∣real motions in those parts are not visible; wherefore the dissecting of a living Creature can no more inform one of the natural motions of that figure, then one can by the observing of an egg, be it never so exact, per∣ceive the corporeal figurative motions that produce or make the figure of a Chicken: Neither can artificial optick glasses give any advantage to it; for Nature is so subtil, obscure and various, as not any sort or kind of Creatures can trace or know her ways: I will not say, but her parts may in their several Perceptions know as much as can be known; for some parts may know and be known of others, and so the infinite body may have an infinite information and knowledg; but no particular Creature, no not one kind or sort of Creatures can have a perfect knowledg of another particular Creature; but it must content it self with an imperfect knowledg, which is a knowledg in Parts. Wherefore it is as im∣probable for humane sight to perceive the interior cor∣poreal figurative motions of the parts of an animal body by Anatomy, as it is for a Micrographer to know the interior parts of a figure by viewing the exterior; for there are numerous corporeal figures or figurative mo∣tions of one particular Creature, which lie one with∣in another, and most commonly the interior are quite different from the exterior; as for example, the out∣ward parts of a mans body are not like his inward Page 55 parts; for his brain, stomack, liver, lungs, splene, midriff, heart, guts, &c. are of different figures, and one part is not another part, no not of the like nature or constitution; neither hath a man a face on the inside of his head, and so of the rest of his parts; for every part has besides its exterior, interior figure and motions, which are not perceptible by our exterior senses. Ne∣vertheless there is some remedy to supply this sensitive ignorance by the perception of Reason; for where sense fails, reason many times informs, it being a more clear and subtile perception then sense is; I say many times, because reason can neither be always assured of know∣ing the Truth; for particular Reason may sometimes be deceived as well as sense; but when the Perceptions both of sense and reason agree, then the information is more true, I mean regular sense and reason, not irregu∣lar, which causes mistakes, and gives false informations; also the Presentation of the objects ought to be true, and without delusion.
19. Of preserving the Figures of Animal Creatures.
I Am absolutely of the opinion of those, who believe Natural Philosophy may promote not onely Ana∣tomy, but all other Arts, for else they would not be worth the taking of pains to learn them by reason the rational perceptions are beyond the sensitive. I am also of opinion, that there may be an Art to preserve the Page 56 exterior shapes of some animal bodies, but not their interior forms; for although their exterior shapes, e∣ven after the dissolution of the animal figure, may be some what like the shapes and figures of their bodies when they had the life of an animal, yet they being transformed into some other Creatures by the altera∣tion of their interior figurative motions, can no ways keep the same interior figure which they had when they were living animals. Concerning the preserving of blood by the means of spirit of Wine, as some do pro∣bably believe, my opinion is, That spirit of Wine, otherwise call'd Hot-water, if taken in great quantity, will rather dry up or putrifie the blood, then preserve it; nay, not onely the blood, but also the more solid parts of an animal body, insomuch as it will cause a total dissolution of the animal figure; and some animal Creatures that have blood, will be dissolved in Wine, which yet is not so strong as extracts or spirit of Wine: But blood mingled with spirit of Wine, may perhaps retain somewhat of the colour of blood, although the nature and propriety of blood be quite altered. As for the instance of preserving dead fish or flesh from putrifying and stinking, alledged by some; we see that ordinary salt will do the same with less cost; and as spirits of Wine, or hot Waters, may like salt pre∣serve some dead bodies from corruption, so may they, by making too much or frequent use of them, also cause living bodies to corrupt and dissolve sooner then Page 57 otherwise they would do. But Chymists are so much for extracts, that by their frequent use and application, they often extract humane life out of humane bodies, instead of preserving it.
20. Of Chymistry and Chymical Principles.
IT is sufficiently known, and I have partly made mention above, what a stir Natural Philoso∣phers do keep concerning the principles of Nature and natural Beings, and how different their opinions are. The Schools following Aristotle are for the Four Ele∣ments, which they believe to be simple bodies, as having no mixture in themselves, and therefore fit∣test to be principles of all other mixt or compound∣ed bodies; But my Reason cannot apprehend what they mean by simple bodies; I confess that some bodies are more mixt then others; that is, they consist of more differing parts, such as the learned call Heterogeneous; as for example, Animals consist of flesh, blood, skin, bones, muscles, nerves, tendons, gristles, and the like, all which are parts of different figures: Other bodies again are composed of such parts as are of the same na∣ture, which the learned call Homogeneous; as for ex∣ample, Water, Air, &c. whose parts have no differ∣ent figures, but are all alike each other, at least to our perception; besides, there are bodies which are more rare and subtile than others, according to the degrees Page 58 of their natural figurative motions, and the composi∣on of their parts; Nevertheless I see no reason, why those Homogeneous bodies should be called simple, and all others mixt, or composed of them; much less why they should be principles of all other natural bodies; for they derive their origine from matter, as well as the rest; so that it is onely the different composure of their parts, that makes a difference between them, proceeding from the variety of self-motion, which is the cause of all dif∣ferent figures in nature; for as several work-men join in the building of one house, and several men in the fra∣ming of one Government; so do several parts in the ma∣king or forming of one composed figure.
But they'l say, it is not the likeness of parts that makes the Four Elements to be principles of natural things; but because there are no natural bodies, besides the menti∣oned Elements that are not composed of them, as is evi∣dent in the dissolution of their parts; for example, A piece of Green wood that is burning in a Chimney, we may readily discern the Four Elements in its dissolution, out of which it is composed; for the fire discovers it self in the flame, the smoak turns into air, the water hisses and boils at the ends of the wood, and the ashes are nothing but the Element of earth: But if they have no better arguments to prove their principles, they shall not rea∣dily gain my consent; for I see no reason why wood should be composed of the Four Elements, because it burns, smoaks, hisses, and turns into ashes; Fire is none of its Page 59 natural ingredients, but a different figure, which being mixt with the parts of the wood, is an occasion that the Wood turns into ashes; neither is Water a princi∣ple of Wood; for Water is as much a figure by it self; as Wood or Fire is, which being got into the parts of the wood, and mixt with the same, is expelled by the fire, as by its opposite; but if it be a piece of dry, and not of green wood, where is then the water that boils out? Surely dry wood hath no less principles, then green wood; and as for smoak, it proves no more, that it is the Element of Air in Wood, then that Wood is the Ele∣ment of Fire; for Wood, as experience witnesses, may last in water, where it is kept from the air; and smoak is rather an effect of moisture, occasioned into such a figure by the commixture of fire.
Others, as Helmont, who derives his opinion from Thales and others of the ancient Philosophers, are on∣ly for the Element of Water; affirming, that that is the sole principle, out of which all natural things consist; for say they, the Chaos where of all things were made, was nothing else but water, which first setled into slime, and then condensed into solid earth; nay, some endeavour to prove by Chymical Experiments, that they have disposed water according to their Chymical way, so that it visibly turn'd into earth, which earth pro∣duced animals, vegetables and minerals. But put the case it were so, yet this doth not prove water to be the onely principle of all natural beings; for first, we can∣not Page 60 think, that animals, vegetables and minerals are the onely kinds of creatures in Nature; and that there are no more but them: for nature being infinitely various, may have infinite Worlds, and so infinite sorts of Crea∣tures: Next I say, that the change of water into earth, and of this again into vegetables, minerals and animals, proves no more but what our senses perceive every day, to wit, that there is a perpetual change and alteration in all natural parts, caused by corporeal self-motion, by which rare bodies change into dense, and dense into rare, wa∣ter into slime, slime into earth, earth into animals, ve∣getables and minerals, and those again into earth, earth into slime, slime into water, and so forth: But I won∣der why rational men should onely rest upon water, and go no further, since daily experience informs them, that water is changed into vapour, and vapour into air; for if water be resolveable into other bodies, it cannot be a prime cause, and consequently no principle of Nature; wherefore they had better, in my opinion, to make Air the principle of all things. 'Tis true, Water may pro∣duce many creatures, as I said before, by a compositi∣on with other, or change of its own parts; but yet I dare say, it doth kill or destroy as many, nay more, then it produces; witness vegetables and others, which Hus∣bandmen and Planters have best experience of; and though some animals live in water as their proper Ele∣ment; yet to most it is destructive, I mean, as for their particular natures; nay if men do but dwell in a moist Page 61 place, or near marrish grounds, or have too much watery humors in their bodies, they'l sooner die then otherwise. But put the case, water were a principle of Natural things, yet it must have motion, or else it would never be able to change into so many figures; and this motion must either be naturally inherent in the substance of water, or it must proceed from some exterior agent; if from an exterior agent, then this agent must either be material, or immaterial; also if all motion in Nature did proceed from pres∣sure of parts upon parts; then those parts which press others, must either have motion inherent in themselves; or if they be moved by others, we must at last proceed to something which has motion in it self, and is not moved by another, but moves all things; and if we allow this, Why may not we allow self-mo∣tion in all things? for if one part of Matter has self∣motion, it cannot be denied of all the rest: but if immaterial, it must either be God himself, or created supernatural spirits: As for God, he being immove∣able, and beyond all natural motion, cannot actually move Matter; neither is it Religious, to say, God is the Soul of Nature; for God is no part of Nature, as the soul is of the body; And immaterial spirits, be∣ing supernatural, cannot have natural attributes or actions, such as is corporeal, natural motion. Wherefore it remains, that Matter must be naturally self-moving, and consequently all parts of Nature, all being ma∣terial; Page 62 so that not onely Water, Earth, Fire, and Air, but all other natural bodies whatsoever, have natural self-motion inherent in themselves; by which it is evi∣dent, that there can be no other principle in Nature, but this self-moving Matter, and that all the rest are but effects of this onely cause.
Some are of opinion, That the three Catholick or Universal principles of Nature, are, Matter, Motion and Rest; and others with Epicure, that they are Magni∣tude, Figure and Weight; but although Matter and Motion, or rather self-moving Matter, be the onely principle of Nature; yet they are mistaken in dividing them from each other, and adding rest to the number of them, for Matter and Motion are but one thing, and cannot make different principles; aud so is figure, weight and magnitude. 'Tis true, Matter might sub∣sist without Motion, but not Motion without Matter; for there is no such thing as an immaterial Motion, but Motion must necessarily be of something; also if there be a figure, it must of necessity be a figure of some∣thing; the same may be said of magnitude and weight, there being no such thing as a mean between some∣thing and nothing, that is, between body, and no bo∣dy in Nature: If Motion were immaterial, it is be∣yond all humane capacity to conceive, how it could be abstracted from something; much more, how it could be a principle to produce a natural being, it might easier be believed, that Matter was perishable or reduceable Page 63 into nothing, then that motion, figure and magnitude should be separable from Matter, or be immaterial, as the opinion is of those who introduce a Vacuum in Na∣ture; and as for Rest, I wonder how that can be a principle of any production, change or alteration, which it self acts nothing.
Others are for Atomes and insensible particles, con∣sisting of different figures and particular natures; not otherwise united but by a bare apposition, as they call it; by which although perhaps the composed body obtains new qualities, yet still the ingredients retain each their own Nature, and in the destru∣ction of the composed body, those that are of one sort associate, and return into Fire, Water, Earth, &c. as they were before: But whatever their opinion of Atoms be, first I have heretofore declared that there can be no such things as single bodies or Atomes in Na∣ture: Next, if there were any such particles in com∣posed bodies, yet they are but parts or effects of Mat∣ter, and not principles of Nature, or Natural be∣ings.
Lastly, Chymists do constitute the principles of all natural bodies, Salt, Sulphur and Mercury. But although I am not averse from believing that those in∣gredients may be mixt with other parts of Nature in the composition of natural figures, and that (especially) Salt may be extracted out of many Creatures; yet that it should be the constitutive principle of all other na∣tural Page 64 parts or figures, seems no ways conformable to truth; for salt is no more then other effects of Nature; and although some extractions may convert some sub∣stances into salt figures, and some into others, (for Art by the leave of her Mistress, Nature, doth oftentimes occasion an alteration of natural Creatures into artifi∣cial) yet these extractions cannot inform us how those natural creatures are made, and of what ingredients they consist; for they do not prove, that the same Creatures are composed of Salt, or mixt with Salt; but cause onely those substances which they extract, to change into saline figures, like as others do convert them into Chymical spirits; all which are but Herma∣phroditical effects, that is, between natural and arti∣ficial; Just as a Mule partakes both of the nature or figure of a Horse, and an Ass: Nevertheless, as Mules are very beneficial for use, so many Chymical effects, provided they be discreetly and seasonably u∣sed; for Minerals are no less beneficial to the life and health of Man, then Vegetables, and Vegetables may be as hurtful and destructive as Minerals by an un∣seasonable and unskilful application; besides, there may be Chymical extracts made of Vegetables as well as of Minerals, but these are bestused in the height or extremity of some diseases, like as cordial waters in fainting fits; and some Chymical spirits are as far beyond cordial waters, as fire is beyond smoak; which cannot be but dangerous, and unfit to be used; except it be Page 65 to encounter opposite extreams. By extreams, I mean not the extreams of Nature, but the height of a distem∣per, when it is grown so far, that it is upon point of de∣stroying or dissolving a particular animal figure; for Nature, being infinite, has no extreams; neither in her substance, nor actions; for she has nothing that is opposite to Matter, neither is there any such thing as most or least in Nature, she being infinite, and all her actions are ballanced by their opposites; as for example, there is no dilation but hath opposite to it contraction; no condensation but has its opposite, viz. rarefaction; no composition but hath its opposite, division; no gravity without levity; no grossness without purity; no animate without inanimate; no regularity without irregularity: All which produces a peaceable, orderly, and wise Government in Natures Kingdom, which wise Artists ought to imitate.
But you may say, How is it possible, That there can be a peaceable and orderly Government, where there are so many contrary or opposite actions; for contraries make war, not peace?
I answer: Although the actions of Nature are op∣posite, yet Nature, in her own substance is at peace, because she is one and the same; that is, one material body, and has nothing without her self to oppose and cross her; neither is she subject to a general change, so as to alter her own substance from being Matter, for she is Infinite and Eternal: but because she is self∣moving, Page 66 and full of variety of figures, this variety can∣not be produced without variety of actions, no not without opposition; which opposition is the cause, that there can be no extreams in particulars; for it ballances each action, so that it cannot run into infinite, which otherwise would breed a horrid confusion in Na∣ture.
And thus much of Principles: Concerning the par∣ticulars of Chymical preparations, I being not versed in that Art, am not able to give my judgment thereof, neither do I understand their terms and expressions: as first, what Chymists mean by Fixation; for there's nothing in Nature that can properly be called fixt, be∣cause Nature, and all her parts, are perpetually self∣moving; onely Nature cannot be altered from being material, nor from being dependant upon God.
Neither do I apprehend what some mean by the unlocking of bodies, unless they understand by it, a sepa∣ration of natural parts proper for artificial uses; nei∣ther can natural effects be separated by others, any o∣therwise but occasionally; so that some parts may be an occasion of such or such alterations in other parts. But I must say this, that according to humane sense and reason, there is no part or particle in Nature which is not alterable, by reason Nature is in a perpetual moti∣on, and full of variety. 'Tis true, some bodies, as Gold and Mercury, seem to be unalterable from their particular natures; but this onely appears thus to our Page 67 senses, because their parts are more fixt and retentive then others, and no Art has been found out as yet which could alter ther proper and particular figures, that is, untie and dissolve, or rather cause an alteration of their corporeal retentive motions, that bind them into so fixt and consistent a body; but all that is mixt with them, has hitherto been found too weak for the altera∣tion of ther inherent motions; Nevertheless, this doth not prove, that they are not altogether unalterable; for though Art cannot do it, yet Nature may; but it is an argument that they are not composed of straying A∣tomes, or most minute particles; for not to mention what I have often repeated before, that there cannot be such most minute bodies in Nature, by reason Na∣ture knows of no extreams, it is altogether improbable, nay, impossible, that wandering corpuscles should be the cause of such fixt effects, and by their association constitute such indissoluble masses or clusters, as some do conceive, which they call primary concretions; for there is no such thing as a primary concretion or com∣position in Nature; onely there are several sorts and degrees of motions, and several sorts of compositions; and as no particular creature can know the strength of motion, so neither can it know the degrees of strength in particular natural bodies. Wherefore although composition and division of parts are general motions, and some figures may be more composed then others, that is, consist of more or fewer parts then others; yet Page 68 there is none that hath not a composition of parts: The truth is, there is nothing prime or principal amongst the effects of Nature, but onely the cause from which they are produced, which is self-moving Matter, which is above particular effects: yet Nature may have more ways then our particular reason can apprehend; and therefore it is not to be admired that Camphor, and the like bodies do yield differing effects, according to the different occasions that make them move thus or thus; for though changes and alterations of particu∣lars may be occasioned by others; yet they move by their own corporeal figurative motions; as it is evident by the power of fire, which makes other bodies move or change their parts and figures, not by its own transforming motion, but onely by giving an occasion to the inherent figurative motions of those bodies, which by imitating the motions of fire, change into such or such figures by their own proper, innate and inherent mo∣tions; otherwise if the alteration of combustible bodies proceeded from fire, they would all have the like mo∣tions, which is contradicted by experience. I will not deny, but there is as much variety in occasioning, as there is in acting; for the imitation is according to the object, but the object is not the immediate agent, but onely an occasional efficient; so that, according to my opinion, there is no such difference, as the learned make between Patient and Agent, when they call the exte∣rior occasional cause; as for example, Fire, the Agent; Page 69 and the combustible body the Patient; for they con∣ceive that a body thrown into fire, acts nothing at all, but onely in a passive way suffers the fire to act upon it, according to the degree of its own, to wit, the fires strength, which sense and reason perceives other∣wise; for to pass by what I mentioned before, that those bodies on which they suppose fire doth work, change according not to the fires, but their own inhe∣rent figurative motions; it is most certain, that if Na∣ture and all her parts be self-moving, which regular reason cannot deny; and if Self-motion be corporeal, then every part of Nature must of necessity move by its own motion; for no body can impart motion to ano∣ther body, without imparting substance also; and though particular motions in particular bodies may change infinite ways, yet they cannot quit those bodies, so as to leave them void and destitute of all motion, be∣cause Matter and Motion are but one thing; and there∣fore though fire be commixed with the parts of the fuel, yet the fuel alters by its own motion, and the fire doth but act occasionally; and so do Chymical spi∣rits or extracts, which may cause a separation, and alter some bodies as readily as fire doth; for they are a cer∣tain kind of fire, to wit, such as is called a dead or li∣quid fire; for a flaming fire, although it be fluid, yet it is not liquid: The same may be said of the Antimo∣nial-Cup. For it is not probable to sense and reason, there should be certain invisible little bodies, that pass Page 70 out of the Cup into the liquor, and cause such effects, no more then there are magnetical effluviums issuing out of the Load-stone towards Iron, there being many causes, which neither impart nor lose any thing in the production of their effects; but the liquor that is with∣in the Antimonial Cup, does imitate the corporeal figu∣rative motions of the Cup, and so produces the same effects, as are proper to Antimony, upon other bodies or parts of Nature. In the same manner does the Blood-stone stop bleeding; not by imparting invisible Atomes or Rays to the affected parts, (or else if it were long worn about ones body, it would be wasted, at least alter its proper figure and vertue) but by being imi∣tated by the corporeal figurative motions of the distem∣pered parts. Thus many other examples could be alledged to prove, that natural motions work such or such effects within their own parts, without receiving any from without, that is, by imitation, and not by reception of Motion. By which it is evident, that properly there is no passive, or suffering body in Nature, except it be the inanimate part of Matter, which in its own nature is moveless or destitute of motion, and is carried along with, and by the animate parts of Mat∣ter: However, although inanimate Matter has no motion inherent in it self, as it is inanimate; yet it is so closely mixt with the animate parts, that it can∣not be considered without motion, much less be sepa∣rable from it; and therefore although it acts not of Page 71 it self, yet it acts by vertue of the animate parts of Matter.
Next: I cannot conceive what some Chymists mean, when they call those Principles or Elements, which, they say, composed bodies consist of, distinct substances; for though they may be of different figures, yet they are not of different substances; because there is but one onely substance in Nature, which is Matter, whose se∣veral actions cause all the variety in Nature. But if all the parts of Natural bodies should be called Principles or Elements, then there would be infinite Principles in Nature, which is impossible; because there can be no more but one principle, which is, self-moving Matter; and although several Creatures, by the help of fire, may be reduced or dissolved into several diffe∣rent particles, yet those particles are not principles, much less simple bodies, or else we might say, as well, that ashes are a principle of Wood: Neither are they created anew, because they are of another form or figure then when composed into one concrete body; for there's nothing that is material, which is not pre-existent in Nature; no nor figure, motion, or the like, all being material, although not always subject to our hu∣mane sensitive perception; for the variation of the cor∣poreal figurative motions blindeth our particular senses, that we cannot perceive them, they being too subtile to be discerned either by Art or humane perception. The truth is, if we could see the corporeal figurative mo∣tions Page 72 of natural creatures, and the association and di∣vision of all their parts, we should soon find out the causes which make them to be such or such particular natural effects; but Nature is too wise to be so easily known by her particulars.
Wherefore Chymists need not think they can cre∣ate any thing anew; for they cannot challenge to them∣selves a divine power, neither can there be any such thing as a new Creation in Nature, no not of an A∣tome; Nor can they annihilate any thing; they 〈◊〉 sooner waste their Estates, then reduce the least par∣ticle of Matter into nothing; and though they make waste of some parts of natural bodies, yet those are but changes into other figures, there being a perpe∣tual inspiration and expiration, that is, composition and division of parts; but composition is not a new Creation, nor division an annihilation; and though they produce new forms, as they imagine; yet those forms, though they be new to them, are not new in Nature; for all that is material, has been existent in Nature from all Eternity; so that the combination of parts cannot produce anything that is not already in Nature. Indeed the generation of new figures, seems to me much like the generation of new motions; which would put God to a perpetual Creation, and argue that he was not able to make Nature or Mat∣ter perfect at first, or that he wanted imployment. But, say they, it is not Matter that is created anew, but Page 73 onely figures or forms. I answer: If any one can shew me a figure without Matter, I shall be willing to believe it; but I am confident Nature cannot do that, much less Art, which is but a particular effect; for as Matter cannot be without Figure, so neither can Fi∣gure be without Matter, no more then body without parts, or parts without body; and if so, no figure or form can be created without Matter, there being no such thing as a substanceless form. Chymists should but consider their own particular persons; as whether they were generated anew, or had been in Nature be∣fore they were got of their Parents; if they had not been pre-existent in Nature, they would not be natu∣ral, but supernatural Creatures; because they would not subsist of the same matter, as other Creatures do. Truly, Matter being Infinite, how some new mate∣rial creatures could be created without some parts of this Infinite Matter, is not conceivable by humane sense and reason; for infinite admits of no addition; but if there could be an addition, it would presuppose an an∣nihilation, so that at the same time when one part is annihilating or perishing, another must succeed by a new creation, which is a meer Paradox.
But that which puzles me most, is, how those sub∣stances, which they call Tria Prima, and princi∣ples of natural things, can be generated anew; for if the principles be generated anew, the effects must be so too; and since they, according to their supposition, Page 74 are Catholick or Universal principles, all natural ef∣fects must have their origine from them, and be, like their principles, created continually anew; which how it be possible, without the destruction of Nature, is beyond my reason to conceive. Some endeavour to prove, by their Artificial Experiments, that they have and can produce such things out of natural bodies, which never were pre-existent in them; as for exam∣ple, Glass out of Vegetables, without any addition of forreign parts onely, by the help of fire. To which I answer: That, in my opinion, the same Glass was as much pre-existent in the matter of those Vegetables, and the Fire, and in the power of their corporeal figura∣tive motions, as any other figure whatsoever; other∣wise it would never have been produced; nay, not onely Glass, but millions of other figures might be ob∣tained from those parts, they being subject to infinite changes; for the actions of self-moving Matter are so infinitely various, that according to the mixture, or composition and division of parts, they can produce what figures they please; not by a new Creation, but on∣ly a change or alteration of their own parts; and though some parts act not to the production of such or such fi∣gures; yet we cannot say, that those figures are not in Nature, or in the power of corporeal, figurative self∣motion; we might say, as well, that a man cannot go, when he sits; or has no motion, when he sleeps; as believe, that it is not in the power of Nature to pro∣duce Page 75 such or such effects or actions, when they are not actually produced; for, as I said before, although Nature be but one material substance, yet there are in∣finite mixtures of infinite parts, produced by infinite self-motion, infinite ways; in so much, that seldom any two Creatures, even those of one sort, do exactly re∣semble each other.
But some may say, How is it possible, That figure, being all one with Matter, can change; and matter remain still the same without any change or altera∣tion?
I answer: As well as an animal body can put it self into various and different postures, without any change of its interior animal figure; for though figure cannot subsist without matter, nor matter without figure, ge∣nerally considered; yet particular parts of matter are not bound to certain particular figures: Matter in its ge∣neral nature remains always the same, and cannot be changed from being Matter, but by the power of self∣motion it may change from being such or such a par∣ticular figure: for example, Wood is as much matter as Stone; but it is not of the same figure, nor has it the same interior innate motions which Stone hath, be∣cause it has not the like composition of parts, as other creatures of other figures have; and though some fi∣gures be more constant or lasting then others, yet this does not prove, that they are not subject to changes as well as those that alter daily, nay, every moment; much Page 76 less, that they are without motion; for not all motions are dividing or dissolving; but some are retentive, some composing, some attractive, some expulsive, some contractive, some dilative, and infinite other sorts of motions, as 'tis evident by the infinite variety which appears in the differing effects of Nature: Neverthe∣less it is no consequence, that, because the effects are dif∣ferent, they must also have different principles; For first, all effects of Nature are material; which proves, they have but one principle, which is the onely infinite Matter: Next, they are all self-moving; which proves, that this material principle has self-mo∣tion; for without self-motion there would be no va∣riety or change of figures, it being the nature of self∣motion to be perpetually acting.
Thus Matter and Self-motion, being inseparably united in one infinite body, which is self-moving ma∣terial Nature, is the onely cause of all the infinite effects that are produced in Nature, and not the Aristoteleon Elements, or Chymists Tria prima, which sense and reason perceives to be no more but effects; or else if we should call all those Creatures principles, which by the power of their own inherent motions, change into o∣ther figures, we shall be forced to make infinite prin∣ciples, and so confound principles with effects; and after this manner, that which is now an effect, will become a principle; and what is now a principle, will become an effect; which will lead our sense and reason Page 77 into a herrid confusion and labyrinth of ignorance.
Wherefore I will neither follow the Opinions of the Ancient, nor of our Moderns in this point, but search the truth of Nature, by the light of regular reason; for I perceive that most of our modern Wri∣tings are not fill'd with new Inventions of their own, but like a lumber, stuff'd with old Commodities, botch'd and dress'd up anew, contain nothing but what has been said in former ages. Nor am I of the opinion of our Divine Philosophers, who mince Phi∣losophy and Divinity, Faith and Reason, together; and count it Irreligious, if not Blasphemy, to assert any other principles of Nature, then what they (I will not say, by head and shoulders) draw out of the Scripture, especially out of Genesis, to evince the finiteness, and beginning of Nature; when as Moses doth onely describe the Creation of this World, and not of Infinite Nature: But as Pure natural Phi∣losophers do not meddle with Divinity, or things Su∣pernatural, so Divines ought not to intrench upon Natural Philosophy.
Neither are Chymists the onely natural Philoso∣phers, because they are so much tied to the Art of Fire, and regulate or measure all the effects of Nature according to their Artificial Experiments; which do delude rather then inform their sense and reason; and although they pretend to a vast and greater knowledg then all the rest, yet they have not dived so deep into Page 78 Nature yet, as to perceive that she is full of sense and reason, which is life and knowledg; and in parts, or∣ders parts proper to parts, which causes all the various motions, figures and changes in the infinite parts of Nature; Indeed, no Creature, that has its reason re∣gular, can almost believe, that such wise and orderly actions should be done either by chance, or by stray∣ing Atomes, which cannot so constantly change and exchange parts, and mix and join so properly, and to such constant effects as are apparent in Nature. And as for Galenists, if they believe that some parts of Nature connot leave or pass by other parts, to join, meet, or encounter others, they are as much in an er∣ror as Chymists, concerning the power of fire and fur∣nace; for it is most frequently observed thus amongst all sorts of Animals; and if amongst Animals, I know no reason but all other kinds and sorts of Creatures may do the like; nay, both sense and reason inform us they do, as appears by the several and proper actions of all sorts of drugs, as also Minerals and Elements, and the like; so that none ought to wonder how it is possible, that medicines that must pass through digestions in the body, should, neglecting all other parts, shew them∣selves friendly onely to the brain or kidnies, or the like parts; for if there be sense and reason in Nature, all things must act wisely and orderly, and not confused∣ly; and though Art, like an Emulating Ape, strives to imitate Nature, yet it is so far from producing natural Page 79 figures, that at best, it rather produces Monsters in∣stead of natural effects; for it is like the Painter, who drew a Rose instead of a Lion; nevertheless Art is as active as any other natural Creature, and doth never want imployment; for it is like all other parts, in a perpe∣tual self-motion; and although the interior actions of all other parts do not appear to our senses, yet they may be perceived by regular reason; for what sense wants, rea∣son supplies, which oftener rectifies the straying and erring senses, then these do reason, as being more pure, subtile and free from labouring on the inanimate parts of Matter, then sense is, as I have often declared; which proves, that reason is far beyond sense; and this appears also in Chymistry, which yet is so much for sensitive experiments; for when the effects do not readily follow, according to our intentions, reason is fain to consider and enquire into the causes that hinder or obstruct the success of our designs. And if reason be above sense, then Speculative Philosophy ought to be preferred before the Experimental, because there can no reason be given for any thing without it. I will not say, that all Arts have their first origine from Rea∣son; for what we name chance, does often present to the sensitive perception such things which the rational does afterwards take into consideration; but my mean∣ing is, that for the most part, Reason leads and directs the ways of Art; and I am of opinion, that Contem∣plative Philosophy is the best Tutoress, and gives the Page 80 surest instructions to Art, and amongst the rest to the Art of Chymistry, which no doubt is very profi∣table to man many several ways, and very soveraign in many desperate diseases, if discreetly and moderately used; but if Chymical medicines should be so com∣monly applied as others, they would sooner kill, then cure; and if Paracelsus was as frequently practised as Galen, it would be as bad as the Plague: Wherefore Chymical Medicines are to be used as the extreme Un∣ction in desperate cases, and that with great moderation and discretion.
21. Of the Universal Medicine, and of Diseases.
IAm not of the opinion, that there can be a Univer∣sal Medicine for all diseases, except it be proved, that all kinds of Diseases whatsoever, proceed from one cause; which I am sure can never be done, by reason there is as much variety in the causes of diseases, as in the dis∣eases themselves. You may say, All diseases proceed but from irregular motions. I answer: These irre∣gular motions are so numerous, different and various, that all the Artists in Nature are not able to rectifie them. Nay, they might sooner make or create a new Matter, then rectifie the irregularities of Nature more then Nature herself is pleased to do; for though Art may be an occasion of the changes of some parts or motions, of their compositions and divisions, imita∣tions, Page 81 and the like; like as a Painter takes a copy from an original, yet it cannot alter infinite Nature; for a man may build or pull down a house, but yet he can∣not make the materials, although he may fit or prepare them for his use: so Artists may dissolve and compose several parts several ways, but yet they cannot make the matter of those parts; and therefore although they may observe the effects, yet they cannot always give a true or probable reason why they are so, nor know the several particular causes which make them to be so: To see the effects, belongs to the perception of sense; but to judg of the cause, belongs onely to reason; and since there is an ignorance as well as a perceptive knowledg in Nature, no creature can absolutely know or have a thorow perception of all things, but according as the corporeal figurative motions are, so are the percepti∣ons; not onely in one composed figure, but also in e∣very part and particle of the same figure; for one and the same parts may make several perceptions in several Creatures, according to their several figurative moti∣ons. But reason being above sense, is more inspective then sense; and although sense doth many times inform reason, yet reason being more subtile, piercing and active, doth oftener inform and rectifie the senses when they are irregular; nay, some rational parts inform others, like as one man will inform another of his own voluntary conceptions, or of his exterior perceptions; and some sensitive parts will inform others, as one Ar∣tist Page 82 another; and although Experimental Phylosophy is not to be rejected, yet the Speculative is much bet∣ter, by reason it guides, directs and governs the Ex∣perimental; but as knowledg and understanding is more clear, where both the rational and sensitive perception do join; so Experimental and Speculative Philosophy do give the surest informations, when they are joined or united together.
But to return to the Universal Medicine; although I do not believe there is any, nor that all Diseases are curable; yet my advice is, that no applications of re∣medies should be neglected in any disease whatsoever; because diseases cannot be so perfectly known, but that they may be mistaken, and so even the most ex∣perienced Physician may many times be deceived, and mistake a curable disease for an incurable; wherefore Trials should be made as long as life lasts. Of Drop∣sies, Cancers, Kings-evils, and the like diseases, I believe some may be cureable, especially if taken at the first beginning, and that without great difficuly, and in a short time; but such diseases, which consist in the decay of the vital parts, I do verily believe them incurable; as for example, those Dropsies, Consump∣tions, dead Palsies, &c. which are caused either through the decay of the vital parts, or through want of radical substance: Neither do I think a na∣tural Blindness, Dumbness, Deafness, or Lameness, curable; nor natural Fools, or Idiots: Nay, I fear, Page 83 the best Chymist will be puzled to cure a setled or fixt Gout, or the Stone, in such bodies as are apt to breed it; for Stones are produced several ways, and as their productions are different, so are they; wherefore al∣though many do pretend to great things, yet were their cures so certain, they would be more frequent. I will not say, but many times they perform great cures; but whether it be by chance, or out of a fun∣damental knowledg, I know not; but since they are so seldom performed, I think them rather to be casual cures. In my opinion, the surest way, both in Dis∣eases and Applications of Remedies, is, to observe the corporeal, figurative motions of both; which are best and surest perceived by the rational perception, be∣cause the sensitive is more apt to be deluded.
22. Of Outward Remedies.
REmedies, which are applied outwardly, may be very beneficial; by reason the bodies of Animal Cratures are full of Pores, which serve to attract nou∣rishment, or foreign matter into the body, and to vent superfluities. Besides, the interior parts of those bo∣dies, to which outward Remedies are applied, may i∣mitate the qualities or motions of the remedies, by the help of their own sensitive motions, and therefore the application of outward remedies is not altogether to be rejected. But yet I do not believe, that they do al∣ways Page 84 or in all persons, work the like effects; or that they are so sure and soveraign as those that are taken inwardly. The truth is, as Remedies properly and seasonably applied, can work good effects; so they may also produce ill effects, if they be used improperly and unseasonably; and therefore wise Physicians and Surgeons know by experience, as well as by learning and reason, what is best for their Patients in all kind of distempers: Onely this I will add concerning diseases, that in the productions of diseases, there must of neces∣sity be a conjunction of the Agent and Patient, as is e∣vident even in those diseases that are caused by conceit; for if a man should hear of an infectious disease, and be apprehensive of it; both the discourse of him that tells it, and the mind of him that apprehends it, are A∣gents or causes of that disease, in the body of the Pa∣tient, and concur in the production of the disease; the difference is onely, that the discourse may be called a remoter cause, and the rational motions, or the mind of the Patient, a nearer or immediate cause; for as soon as the mind doth figure such a disease, the sensitive, corporeal motions, immediately take the figure from the mind, and figure the disease in the substance or parts of the body of the Patient; the Rational proving the Fa∣ther, the Sensitive the Mother; both working by con∣sent. Whereby we may also conclude, that diseases, as well as other sorts of Creatures, are made by Na∣tures corporeal, figurative motions; and those parts that Page 85 occasion others to alter their natural motions, are most predominant; for although Nature is free, and all her parts self-moving; yet not every part is free to move as it pleases, by reason some parts over-power others, ei∣ther through number, strength, slight, shape, oppor∣tunity, or the like advantages; and natural Philosophy is the onely study that teaches men to know the parti∣cular natures, figures and motions of the several com∣posed parts of Nature, and the rational perception is more intelligent then the sensitive.
23. Of several sorts of Drink, and Meat.
SOme Physicians, when they discourse of several sorts of Drinks, and Meats, do relate several won∣derful Cures which some Drinks have effected: And truly, I am of opinion, that they may be both bene∣ficial, and hurtful, according as they are used properly, and temperately; or improperly, and excessively: but I find there are more several sorts for curiosity and luxury, then for health and necessity: Small Ale, or Beer, is a soveraign remedy to quench drought; and one Glass of Wine, proves a Cordial; but many Glasses may prove a kind of poyson, putting men oftentimes into Feavers, and the like diseases. And for Diet-drinks, I believe they are very good in some sorts of diseases; and so may Tea, and Coffee, and the water of Birches, for any thing I know, for I never had any experience Page 86 of them; but I observe; that these latter drinks, Tea, and Coffee, are now become mode-drinks, and their chief effects are to make good fellowship, rather then to perform great cures; for I can hardly believe, that such weak liquors, can have such strong effects. Con∣cerning several sorts of Meats, I leave them to experi∣enced Physicians, for they know best what is fit for the bodies of their Patients; Onely, as for the preserva∣tion, or keeping of several sorts of meats from putre∣faction, I will say this; That I have observed, that what will keep dead Flesh, and Fish, as also Vegeta∣bles, from putrefaction; will destroy living Animals; for if living Animals should, like dead flesh, be pick∣led up, and kept from air, they would soon be smo∣ther'd to death; and so would Fire, which yet is no A∣nimal. Neither can Ladies and Gentlewomen pre∣serve their lives, as they do several sorts of fruit: Ne∣vertheless, both this, and several other Arts, are very necessary and profitable for the use of man, if they be but fitly and properly imployed; but we may ob∣serve, that when as other Creatures have no more then what is necessary for their preservation, Man troubles himself with things that are needless; nay, many times, hurtful: Which is the cause there are so many unpro∣fitable Arts, which breed confusion, instead of pro∣ving beneficial and instructive.
24. Of Fermentation.
FErmentation, of which Helmont, and his follow∣ers make such a stir, as 'tis enough to set all the world a fermenting or working; is nothing else, but what is vulgarly called digestion; so that it is but a new term for an old action: And these digestions or Fermentations, are as various and numerous as all o∣ther actions of Nature, to wit, Respiration, Evacu∣ation, Dilation, Contraction, &c. for action and working are all one.
But there are good and ill Fermentations; those are done by a sympathetical agreement of parts, but these by an antipathetical disagreement: Those tend to the preservation of the subject, these to its destruction; Those are regular, these irregular: So that there are numerous sorts of fermentations, not onely in several sorts of Creatures, but in several parts of one and the same Creature: for Fermentation or Digestion is ac∣cording to the composition of the fermenting or dige∣stive parts, and their motions.
25. Of the Plague.
IHave heard, that a Gentleman in Italy fancied he had so good a Microscope, that he could see Atomes through it, and could also perceive the Plague; which Page 88 he affirmed to be a swarm of living animals, as little as Atomes, which entred into mens bodies, through their mouths, nostrils, ears, &c.
To give my opinion hereof, I must confess, That there are no parts of Nature, how little soever, which are not living and self-moving bodies; nay, every Re∣spiration is of living parts; and therefore the Infection of the Plague, made by the way of respiration, cannot but be of living parts; but that these parts should be a∣nimal Creatures, is very improbable to sense and rea∣son; for if this were so, not onely the Plague, but all other infectious diseases would be produced the same way, and then fruit, or any other surfeiting meat, would prove living Animals: But I am so far from be∣lieving, that the Plague should be living animals, as I do not believe it to be a swarm of living Atomes, fly∣ing up and down in the Air; for if it were thus, then those Atomes would not remain in one place, but in∣fect all the places they passed through; when as yet we observe, that the Plague will often be but in one Town or City of a Kingdom, without spreading any fur∣ther. Neither do I believe (as some others say) that it is always the heat of the Sun, or Air, that causes, or at least increases the Plague; for there are Winter∣plagues, as well as Summer-plagues; and many times the Plague decreases in Summer, when it is hot; and increases in Winter, when it is cold: Besides, the air being generally hot, over all the Country or King∣dom, Page 89 would not onely cause the infection in one Town or City, but in all other parts.
Therefore, my opinion is, that as all other diseases are produced several manners or ways, so likewise the Plague; and as they generally do all proceed from the irregularities of corporeal natural motions, so does also the Plague: But since it is often observed, that all bodies are not infected, even in a great Plague; it proves, that the Infection is made by imitation; and as one and the same agent cannot occasion the like effects in every Patient; as for example, Fire in several sorts of Fuels; nay, in one and the same sort; as for example, in Wood; for some wood takes sooner fire, and burns more clearly, and dissolves more sud∣denly then some other; so it is also with the Plague, and with all other diseases, that proceed from an out∣ward Infection; for the exterior agent is not an imme∣diate cause, but onely an occasion that the Patient has such or such motions; and as the imitating motions are stronger or weaker, quicker or flower; so is the breed∣ing of the disease. I will not deny, but there may be such figurative, corporeal motions in the Air or Earth, which may cause infections amongst those animals that live within the compass thereof, and many times the Air or Earth may be infected by Animals; But some particulars not being infected at all, though they be frequently with those that have the Plague; it proves, that the figurative motions of their bodies do not imi∣tate Page 90 those motions that make the Plague; when as, if the Air were filled with infectious Atomes, none would escape; nay, they would not onely enter into Men, but Beasts and Birds, &c.
Concerning the Spotted-Plague, it proceeds from a general irregularity of dissolving motions, which cause a general Gangrene of all the body; and to find a cure for this disease, is as difficult, as to find the Philosophers-stone; for though many pretend to cure it, yet none has as yet performed it; what may be done hereafter I know not; but I doubt they will be more able to raise a man from the dead, or renew old age, and change it into youth, then do it.
As for other Diseases, I refer the Reader to my o∣ther Works, especially my Philosophical Opinions; for my design is not now to make a Physical Treatise; and there they will find of the disease called Ague, that its cause is the irregularity of the digestive or conco∣ctive motions, and so of the rest: for in this present work I intended nothing else, but to make reflections upon Experimental Philosophy, and to explain some other Points in Natural Philosophy, for the better un∣derstanding of my own Opinions, which if I have done to the satisfaction of the Reader, I have my aim, and desire no more.
26. Of Respiration.
HAving made mention both in the foregoing dis∣course, and several other places of this Book, of Respiration; I'le add to the end of this part a full de∣claration of my opinion thereof.
First, I believe that there are Respirations in all Crea∣tures and Parts of Nature, performed by the several pas∣sages of their bodies, to receive forreign, and discharge some of their own parts. Next, I believe, That those Respirations are of different sorts, according to the different sorts of Creatures. Thirdly, As the Respi∣rations of natural Parts and Creatures are various and different, so are also the pores or passages through which they respire; as for example, in Man, and some other animals, the Nostrils, Ears, Mouth, Pores of the skin, are all of different figures: And such a difference may also be between the smaller pores of the skin, of the several parts of man, as between the pores of his breast, arms, legs, head, &c. also the grain or lines of a man's skin may be different, like as several figures of wrought Silks or Stuffs sold in Mercers shops; which if they did make several colours by the various refractions, inflections, reflections and positi∣ons of light, then certainly a naked man would appear of many several colours, according to the difference of Page 92 his pores or grains of the skin, and the different posi∣tion of light. But sense and reason does plainly ob∣serve, that the positions of light do not cause such ef∣fects; for though every several man, for the most part, hath a peculiar complexion, feature, shape, hu∣mor, disoposition, &c. different from each other, so that it is a miracle to see two men just alike one another in all things; yet light alters not the natural colour of their bodies, no more then it can alter the natural fi∣gures and shapes of all other parts of their bodies; but what alteration soever is made, proceeds from the na∣tural corporeal motions of the same body, and not from the various positions, refractions and reflections of light; whose variety in Nature, as it is infinite, so it produces also infinite figures, according to the infinite Wisdom of Nature, which orders all things orderly and wisely.