Observations upon experimental philosophy to which is added The description of a new blazing world
Newcastle, Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of, 1624?-1674.
Page  45

AN EXPLANATION OF Some obscure and doubtful passages occurring in the Philosophical Works, hitherto published BY THE AUTHORESSE.

AS I have made a beginning in my Philosophical Letters * to clear some doubtful passages which I marked in my Philosophical Opinions; so I thought it necessary to second them with these following Notes, and to add not onely what was forgot in the same Book, but to explain also some other passages which hitherto I observed in the mentioned Book of Letters. For though I know that it is but in vain to hinder all ob∣jections, yet I'le endeavour, as much as lies in me, to pre∣vent such as might be occasioned by the obscurity of my Writings. No Creature can be so perfect as not to commit Errors sometimes; and so may I in my Philosophical Works, where the causes of natural effects are not obvious to every ones sense: Where∣fore, if in some things, which yet are but few, I have altered my Conceptions from those I maintained here∣tofore, none, I hope, will condemn me for it, but ra∣ther account me so great a friend to Truth, that instead Page  46 of being wedded to my own opinions, as some or most Philosophers are, who think it a great disgrace to go but a hairs breadth from the least tittle of what they have once asserted, though the Error be as plain as Noon∣day: I am most willing to desert what hitherto I have maintained upon more rational and probable arguments then mine, and shall joyfully embrace whatever I am in reason convinced to come nearer to Truth. But find∣ing, as yet, my opinions grounded upon sense and rea∣son, I am resolved to maintain them so long, till the contrary be proved; and therefore left their obscurity occasion a wrong interpretation in the mind of the Rea∣der, I have (as mentioned) added an explanation of these following Passages.

Whensoever, in my Philosophical Opinions, I say Animate Matter and Motion, or the motions of A∣nimate Matter; I do not take them to be two diffe∣rent things, but one and the same; and therefore, both in my Philosophical Letters, and these present Obser∣vations, instead of that expression, I say Corporeal figu∣rative Motion; for Self-motion, and Animate Matter, are one and the same thing.

Also, when I call * the Animate part of Matter the Cause of Motion; I do not mean that considered in general, they are two distinct things, as a Cause and Effect uses to be; for, as I said before, Self-moving Matter, and Corporeal Self-motion, are equivalent, and signifie the same; but I speak of particular motions, Page  47 which are particular actions of Infinite self-moving Matter, which I call effects; and are nothing else but infinite parts of an Infinite whole.

Again: when I name Animate and Inanimate Matter, my meaning is not, that they are two distinct matters or substances, as two wholes; but two degrees or parts of one onely Matter whose Nature is one and the same, that is, to be material.

When I say*, that every part or degree of onely Matter is Infinite, I do not mean the particular effects, parts or figures of self-moving Matter; for it is impos∣sible that a part or particular figure can be infinite, as I have often declared: But I speak of the three prime degrees of Matter, which are the constitutive princi∣ples of Nature, and the cause of all natural effects, viz. the animate (sensitive and rational) and the inani∣mate; which as they are intermixt together, are infi∣nite in the body or substance of Nature, that is, they make but one infinite, corporeal, self-moving Nature; and therefore I desire that my expression of the menti∣oned parts, may be understood as of united, and not as of separated parts; for it is impossible almost, to con∣ceive them divided, much less to separate them actually from each other: and since Nature is one infinite bo∣dy, that is, of an infinite bulk or extension, and con∣sists of animate and inanimate parts of Matter; it must of necessity follow, that these mentioned parts are infi∣nite also; for there is no particle of Nature whatever, Page  48 nay, could it be an Atome, that consists not of those men∣tioned parts or degrees. Thus wheresoever I name Infinite degrees of Infinite Matter *, I call them In∣finite, not as divided, or several, but as united in one body; producing infinite effects; for, as I said, they make but one Infinite body of Nature.

Also when in my Philosophical Letters *, I say, that the Animate part of Matter, considered in it self, could not produce Infinite effects without the Inanimate, ha∣ving nothing to work upon, and withal; some per∣haps will think I contradict my self, because in other places, I have declared, that the rational part of ani∣mate Matter works or makes figures in its own degree, without the help either of the sensitive or inanimate; besides, it being matter, or material, why should it not be able to produce effects in it self, as well as with other parts: To which I answer, my opinion is, that the animate part of Matter, by which I include the sensi∣tive as well as the rational, could not without the inanimate part of Matter, produce such infinite vari∣ety of effects as Nature has, and as are partly subject to our perception; for without it there would be no gros∣ser substance for the sensitive to work on, nor nothing for the rational to direct: besides, there would be no such degrees of Matter as thicker and thinner, rarer and denser, &c. nor no variety of figures; nay, were there no inanimate part of Matttr as well as animate, all productions, dissolutions; and what actions soever Page  49 would be done in an instant of time, and a man, or any other natural Creature would be produced as soon as a thought of the mind; wherefore to poise or bal∣lance the actions of Nature, there must of necessity be an inanimate, dull, or passive degree of Matter, as well as there is an animate, active and self-moving; and this triumvirate of the constitutive degrees of material nature is so necessary, that Nature could not be what she is, nor work such variety of figures, as she doth, without it

When I say *, that Matter cannot know it self, be∣cause it is infinite; I do no not mean as if it had not self∣knowledg; for as Matter is self-moving, so it is also self∣knowing; nay, that the Inanimate part of Matter has also self-knowledg, I have sufficiently declared here∣tofore; but my meaning is, that its knowledg cannot be limited or circumscribed; and that it is an infinite na∣tural self-knowledg.

Also when in the same place I say, That Nature hath no free-will, and that no change or alteration can be made in infinite and eternal Matter; I mean concern∣ing its own nature; for Matter cannot go beyond its na∣ture, that is, change from being Matter to something immaterial, or from a natural being, to a non-being; nevertheless, Nature in her particular actions works and changes her effects as she pleases, and according to the wisdom and liberty God hath given her,

Page  50 When I say, that the sensitive animate part of Mat∣ter is the life of the rational soul; I do not mean, as if the rational part was not living as well as the sensitive; but I speak comparatively, in comparison to man; who as he has humane life, soul and body, all three con∣stituting or composing, but one intire man; so in the composition of Nature, I name the Inanimate part the Body, the Sensitive, the Life, and the Rational, the Soul of Nature; nevertheless all parts have life and knowledg; for the inanimate, although it is not self∣moving, and has not an active life and a perceptive knowledg, yet has it life and knowledg according to the nature of its degree, that is, an innate and fixt self-life and self-knowledg; and the sensitive, although it is not so subtile, piercing and active a degree of self-moving Matter as the rational, yet has it an active life and know∣ledg, according to the Nature of its degree; and it is well to be observed, that each degree in their various commixtures, do never change their natures; for the sensitive doth not acquire a rational life and knowledg, nor the rational a sensitive; neither does the inanimate part get an active life and a perceptive knowledg, for all they are so closely commixt, but each retains the nature of its degree; for as one part cannot be another part, so one parts life and knowledg, cannot become another parts life and knowledg; or else it would produce a confusion in Nature and all her actions.

Page  51 In what place soever, both in my Philosophical Opinions and Letters, I say, that the inanimate part of Matter has neither life nor self-knowledg; I mean, it has not an active life and a perceptive self-knowledg, such as the animate part of Matter has; for though the inanimate part of Matter is moved, yet it is not self∣moving, but it moves by the help of the animate parts of Matter; which by reason of their close and insepa∣rable union and commixture, bear it along in all their actions and operations, and thus its motions or actions are onely passive, not active: Nevertheless, although it has not self-motion, yet may it have life and self-know∣ledg, according to its own Nature; for self-knowledg does not depend upon motion, but is a fixt and innate being: In short, all parts or degrees of Matter are li∣ving and knowing, but not all are self-moving, but onely the animate.

When I say, that all Matter lives in figures and* Creatures, and all figures and Creatures lie or live in Matter; I mean, that Infinite Matter moves figu∣ratively, and that all Creatures are composed by cor∣poreal figurative motion; for in what places soever of my Philosophical Works, I say Figure and Motion, I do not mean they are two several things distinct from body, but I understand by it, corporeal figurative motion, or self-moving figurative Matter, which is one and the same.

Page  52 When I say*, That the Rational part of Matter lives in the Sensitive, and the Sensitive in the Inani∣mate; I do not mean, that one lies within the other like as several Boxes are put together, the lesser in the bigger; but I use this expression onely to denote the close conjunction of these three degrees, and that they are inseparably mixt together.

Concerning the Chapter of Vacuum in my Philoso∣phical Opinions * though I was doubtful then which opinion to adhere to, yet I have sufficiently declared my meaning thereof in the foregoing observations, to wit, that there can be no vacuity in Natures body.

When I name six Principal Motions, viz. Attra∣ction,* Contraction, Dilation, Digestion, Retention, Expulsion; I do not mean that they are the principles of all motions, no more then a circular motion can be said the principle of all natural motions, as I have de∣clared before; for particular motions are but effects of self-moving Matter. But I call them principal, be∣cause to our humane sense they seem to be some chief sorts of motions, in those natural bodies that are sub∣ject to our perception; but there may be infinite other sorts of motions which we know not of; the same may be said when I speak of the ground of Infinite compo∣sitions, which is symmetry; and infinite divisions, which is number; for to speak properly, there's no other ground, but self-moving Matter in Nature

Page  53 When I make a distinction * between forced, or Artificial and Natural Motions; as that, for example, the motion of a Watch, or a Clock, is artificial, and not natural; my meaning is not, as if artificial moti∣ons were something super, or praeter-natural, and had no relation to Nature; but by the word Natural, I understand the particular nature of some certain figure or Creature; and when such a figure has some other exterior motions besides those which are proper to its particular nature, caused by Art, I call them artifi∣cial, and do distinguish them from such motions as are proper and natural to it; as for example, mans exte∣rior natural local motions, are going, leaping, dan∣cing, running, &c. but not flying; which is a moti∣on to Birds, and winged Creatures: Now if a man should by some Artacquire this motion of flying, and imitate such winged Creatures to whom it is natural, then it would be an artificial or forced action to him, and not a natural; also the nature of Iron or Steel is not to have an exterior progressive local motion, such as animals and other Creatures have, and therefore the motion of the wheels of a Watch is forced, or artificial: Nevertheless, I say, that all these motions, although they be forced or artificial, do not proceed from some exterior agent any otherwise but occasionally, and that all motions whatsoever are intrinsecally inherent in the body, or which is in motion; for motion cannot be transferred out of one body into another, but every Page  54 body moves by its own motion. Thus the intrinsecal principle and cause of all particular, both interior and exterior motions or actions, is in the body, which is in motion, even of those we call forced or artificial, and proceeds not from some exterior agent, but occasio∣nally; for every part and particle of Nature is self∣moving, as consisting of a commixture of animate Mat∣ter; and no motion can be imparted without body, by reason there's no such thing as an incorporeal mo∣tion.

When I say, There is no rest in Nature; I mean, that all parts are either moving, or moved; for al∣though the inanimate part of Matter has no self-mo∣tion, yet it is moved, and consequently never at rest; Nor can we say, that things do rest, or have no motion at all, when they have not exterior progressive motion, such as is perceptible by our sight; for this is but a gross exterior motion; and a world of Gold may be as active interiously, as a world of Air is exteriously; that is, the actions of Gold are as alterable, as those of air.

When, contradicting the opinion of Mr. Hobbes* concerning voluntary motions, who says, That volun∣tary motions, as going, speaking, moving our lips, depend upon a precedent thought of whither, which way, and what, &c. I answer, that it implies a contradiction, to call them Voluntary Motions, and yet say they depend on our imagination; for if the imagination draws them this or that way, how can they be voluntary? My Page  55 meaning is not as if those actions were not self-actions, nor as if there were no voluntary actions at all; for to make a balance between Natures actions, there are voluntary, as well as occasioned actions, both in sense and reason; but because Mr Hobbs says, that those actions are depending upon Imagination and Fancy, and that Imagination is the first internal beginning of them, which sets them a going, as the prime wheel of a Watch does the rest: My opinion is, that after this rate they cannot properly be called voluntary, but are rather necessitated, at least occasioned by the Mind or Fancy; for I oppose voluntary actions to those that are occasioned or forced; which voluntary actions are made by the self-moving parts by rote, and of their own accord; but occasioned actions are made by imitation, although they are all self-actions, that is, move by their own inherent self-motion.

When I say, That Animals by their shapes are not*tied or bound to any other kind of Creature, either for sup∣port or nourishment, as Vegetables are, but are loose and free of themselves from all others: My opinion is not, as if the animal figure were a single figure, precised from all the rest of natural parts or figures, or from the body of Nature, and stood in no need either of nourishment or support, but could subsist of it self without any re∣spect or relation to other Creatures: But I speak com∣paratively, that in comparison to Vegetables, or such like Creatures, it is more free in its exterior progressive Page  56 local motions then they, which as we see, being taken out of the ground where they grow, wither and change their interior natural figures; for animals, may by a visible progressive motion remove from such parts to other parts, which Vegetables cannot do: neverthe∣less Animals depend as much upon other parts and Creatures, as others depend on them, both for nou∣rishment and respiration, &c. although they may sub∣sist without being fixt to some certain parts of ground: The truth is, some animals can live no more without air, then fishes can live without water, or Vegetables without ground; so that all parts must necessarily live with each other, and none can boast that it needs not the assistance of any other part, for they are all parts of one body.

When discoursing of the growth of an Animal, I* say, that attractive motions do gather and draw sub∣stance proper to and for that figure; I mean, that such sorts of corporeal motions attract and invite by sympa∣thy other parts to help to form that Creature; so that every where by several substances, I mean several parts which are particular substances; that is, corporeal par∣ticular figures; and by several places in the same Chap∣ter, I understand several distances of parts.

When in my Philosophical Letters I do mention that all Perception is made by Patterning, I mean chiefly the perception of the exterior sensitive organs in animals, as smelling, hearing, seeing, tasting, Page  57 touching; whose perception, I mean, is made by that sort of motion which is call'd patterning; for in my Book of Philosophical Letters, I do onely prove, that all perceptions cannot be made by one sort of mo∣tion; as also that perception is not immediately made by the exterior object, but by the perceiving or senti∣ent parts: Nor do I treat in it of all kinds or sorts of perceptions belonging to all kinds or sorts of Creatures in Infinite Nature; for they are too numerous to be known by one particular; How can an Animal tell what perception a Vegetable or Mineral has? We may perceive that the Air, which is an Element, doth pattern out sound; for it is not done by reverberation, as pressure and reaction, by reason there will be in some places, not onely two several Ecchoes of one sound, but in some three, or four; but surely one sound can∣not be in several distant places at one time: Also a Looking-glass, we see, does pattern out the figure of an object; but yet we cannot be certainly affirmed, that either the Glass, or the Air, have the same per∣ceptions which Animals have; for although their pat∣terns are alike, yet their perceptions may be different: As for example, the picture of a Man may be like its original, but yet who knows what perception it has? for though it represents the exterior figure of an Ani∣mal, yet it is not of the nature of an Animal; and there∣fore although a man may perceive his picture, yet he knows not what perception the picture has of him; for Page  58 we can but judg by our selves of the perceptions of our own kind, that is, of Animal kind; and not of the per∣ceptions of other Creatures; for example, I observe, that the perception of my exterior senses is made by an easie way of patterning out exterior objects, and so conclude of the rest of my own kind, to wit, that the perception of their exterior sensitive organs, is made af∣ter the same manner or way; nay, I perceive, that also some perceptions of several other sorts of Creatures are made by way of patterning, as in the forementioned examples of the Air and Glass, and in Infectious Dis∣eases; where several Creatures will be infected, by one object; which certainly is not by an immediate pro∣pagation on so many numerous parts, proceeding from the object, but by imitation of the perceiving parts; but yet I cannot infer from thence, that all perceptions in Nature are made by imitation or patterning; for some may, and some may not: and although our rati∣onal perception, being more subtil then the sensitive, may perceive somewhat more, and judg better of out∣ward objects then the sensitive; yet it cannot be infal∣libly assured, that it is onely so, and not otherwise; for we see that some animals are produced out of Vegeta∣bles, whose off-spring is not any ways like their produ∣cer; which proves, that not all actions of Nature are made by imitation or patterning. In short, our rea∣son does observe, that all perception in general what∣soever, is made by corporeal figurative self-motion, but Page  59 it cannot perceive the particular figurative motions that make every perception; and though some Learn∣ed are of opinion, that all perceptions are made by pres∣sure and reaction, yet it is not probable to sense and reason; for this, being but one sort of action, would not make such variety of perceptions in the infinite parts of Nature, as we may perceive there are.

Whensoever I say, that outward objects work or cause such or such effects in the body sentient; I do not mean, that the object is the onely immediate cause of the changes of those parts in the sentient body; but that it is onely an external or occasional cause, and that the effects in the sentient proceed from its own in∣herent natural motions; which upon the perception of the exterior object, cause such effects in the sentient, as are either agreeable to the motions of the object, and that by way of imitation, which is called Sympathy; or disagreeable, which is call'd Antipathy.

When I say, * That the several senses of Animals, pattern out the several proprieties of one object; as for example, the Tongue patterns out the taste; the No∣strils the smell; the Ears the noise; the Eyes the exte∣rior figure, shape, colour, &c. and do prove by this, that they are different things, dividable from each o∣ther; and yet in other places, do affirm, that colour, place, figure, quantity or magnitude, &c. are one and the same with body, and inseparable from each other, 'tis no contradiction; for to be dividable from Page  60 such or such parts, and to be dividable from Matter, are several things: Smell and Taste, although they be material or corporeal, and cannot be divided from Matter, yet there is no necessity that all parts of Na∣ture must be subject to smell, or taste, or that such parts must have such smells, and such tastes; for though Colour, Place, Taste, Smell, &c. are material, and cannot be without body; yet may they be conceived by our sense and reason to be different and several figures, parts or actions; for as there is no such thing as sin∣gle parts, or single divisions in Nature, but all com∣positions, divisions, changes and alterations, are with∣in the body of Nature; and yet there is such a variety and difference of natural figures and actions, that one figure is not another, nor one action another; so it is likewise with the mentioned proprieties, or what you'l call them; which, although they cannot be separated from body or matter, yet they may be altered, changed, composed and divided with their parts several ways, and be perceived as various and different actions of Na∣ture, as they are; for as one body may have several different motions at one and the same time; so it may also have several proprieties, though not dividable from Matter (for all that is in Nature, is material; nor can there be any such thing as Immaterial accidents, quali∣ties, properties, and the like) yet discernable by their different actions, and changeable by the self-moving power of Nature.

Page  61 But mistake me not, when I say they are several different figures, parts or actions; for my meaning is not, as if body and they were different things se∣parable from each other; or as if Colour, Place, Figure, Magnitude, &c. were several parts of mat∣ter; for then it would follow, that some parts could be without place, some without figure, some with∣out colour, &c. which is impossible; for could there be a single Atome, yet that Atome would have Colour, Place, Figure, Magnitude, &c. onely there would be no motion for want of Parts, and consequently no Perception: But my meaning is, That the several properties of a Body, as for ex∣ample, Tast, Touch, Smell, Sound, being percei∣ved by the several senses of Animals, to wit, the Tast by the Tongue, the Smell by the Nose, and Colour and Figure by the Eye, &c. it proves that they are several corporeal actions; for the Tast is not the Smell, nor Smell the Sound, nor Sound the Colour: Nevertheless they are all proprieties of the same body, and no more dividable from body, then motion is from body, or body from matter; onely they are made according to the several compositions and divisions of parts: And as for Colour, Place, Magnitude, Figure, &c. as I said before, could there be an Atome, it would have Colour, Place, Figure; and though parts be changed millions of ways, yet they cannot lose Colour, Place and Fi∣gure. Page  62 The truth is, as there are no single finite parts in Nature, so there can neither be single actions, or single perceptions; but as the parts or actions of Na∣ture move in one body, and not singly, several infinite ways, so the self-active parts in one composed figure, make perceptions of those several compositions in ex∣terior objects.

But since my Opinion is, that the Perception of the exterior animal senses is made by that sort of mo∣tion which is call'd Imitation or Patterning, as for example, that the perception of Seeing is made by the sensitive, corporeal, figurative motions in the Organ of sight, (which is the Eye) by their pattern∣ing out the figure of an exterior object; some perhaps will question, how it be possible that an eye, as also a glass, which is a more solid and dense body than an eye, should pattern out so many different figures of exterior objects, and yet keep their own figures perfect?

To which I answer, first, That not all the corpo∣real motions of an Object, are perceptible by ani∣mal sense, which is too gross a sort of perception to perceive them all; for can we say that Air, Light, Earth, &c. have no other motions but what we perceive? We observe in a Sun-dial, that the light removes, but we cannot see how it removes; and therefore our eye cannot perceive all the motions or actions of an object. Next I say, as for the patterns Page  63 of the sensitive motions, the framing of them is no hinderance to those motions that preserve the organ in its being; for there are many numerous and diffe∣rent sorts of motions in one composed figure, and yet none is obstructive to the other, but each knows its own work, and they act all unanimously to the conservation of the whole figure; also when some actions change, it is not necessary that they must all change at the same time; for if it were so, there would be no difference between the actions of Na∣ture, nor no difference of figures.

Again, it may be objected, That if we can per∣ceive the figure of an object, then we must of ne∣cessity perceive the substance also; figure and body being but one thing; for example, if we can perceive the figure of a thought, we must also perceive that degree of matter which is named Rational; the same may be said of the other degrees of matter, the Sen∣sitive and Inanimate.

I answer, That although the Figures are percei∣ved; yet the degree of matter cannot be perceived, at least not in all objects, nor by all our sensitive organs; for though the eye perceives light, yet it does not perceive what light is made of, neither does the Ear perceive it, but onely the Eye; also the Ear perceives sound, yet the Eye does not; nor does the Ear know or perceive the proper and immediate motions and parts that make the sound. Again, al∣though Page  64 the Eye, or rather the sensitive motions that make the perception of sight, perceive the light of fire, yet they do not perceive the heat thereof, which is onely subject to Touch; the same may be said of Smell and Tast; so that not all the parts are subject to one sense; and if this be onely in one sort of Creatures, what difference of perception may there be in the infinite parts of Nature? The truth is, our humane perception is stinted, so that we cannot perceive all objects, but those that are with∣in the compass of being perceived by our senses; nay it is without question, but that there are more per∣ceptions in man than these Five, because there are Numerous different perceptive parts, which have all their peculiar perceptions which we do not know of, what they are, nor how they are made. But, as I said before, although the figure may be perceived, yet the substance may not; and yet this does not prove that figure and body are not one thing; for though such a figure is not bound to such parts, yet parts cannot be figureless, no more then figure can be bodiless; and the change of figures is not an anni∣hilation or a total separation of figure from body; a mans face may change from being red, to pale, and from pale to red, and yet the substance of his face may remain the same; the like may be said of the figures in our Eyes, or of the figures made by a Looking∣glass, of exterior objects, they may change, and Page  65 yet the Eye remain perfect; and although the sub∣tilest corporeal motions cannot be perceived by us so perfectly as the grosser actions of Nature, yet we cannot but know by our rational perception, that there are such subtile actions which are no wayes subject to our exterior, sensitive perception: For though all actions of Nature are perceptive, yet none can be more agil and active then the rational; and next to them, none more but the sensitive action of imitation and patterning; for as we may perceive, the actions of production, dissolution, growth, de∣cay, &c. are far more slower then the actions of patterning or copying out of exterior objects, by reason those sorts of actions are gross, but these are subtil, purer and finer, and therefore quicker and agiler.

But some may ask, Whether in the sensitive a∣ction of imitating or patterning out the figures of forreign objects, there be inanimate matter mixt with it?

I answer, Yes; for 'tis impossible that one should either be, or work without the other, by reason it is the propriety of the sensitive corporeal motions to work upon, and with the inanimate parts, and the chief difference that is between the rational and sen∣sitive parts; for the rational can act within their own degree of matter, but the sensitive are always incum∣bred with labouring on the inanimate, and cannot Page  66 work so as the rational do.

But then they'l say, If the sensitive parts be so incumbred with the inanimate, how is it possible that they can make such quick perceptions as we ob∣serve they do?

I answer; There are many kinds and sorts of Per∣ceptions, whereof some are slower, and some quick∣er then others, according to the several degrees of grossness and purity of the inanimate parts; so that we have no reason to wonder at the variety of per∣ceptions, and how some come to be quicker, and some slower; for some parts of inanimate matter may be so pure and fine, that, were they subject to our perception, we should take them to be parts of the Animate degree.

Lastly; Some might say, That although the sen∣sitive degree of matter be not the same with the ina∣nimate, yet they being so closely intermixt, as I have described, may by a voluntary agreement, alter the parts of Nature as they please, as, from a Vegeta∣ble into a Mineral; from a Mineral into an Ani∣mal, &c. and that either of their own accord, or by imitation.

I answer; It may be possible in Nature, but yet it is not probable that they do so, by reason all the self-moving parts do not in all composed figures work agreeably, or alike; but their actions are for the most part poised by Opposites, not onely in infinite Page  67 Nature, but also in all composed figures, especially those that consist of different parts: Besides, the ra∣tional parts of matter being the surveighing, order∣ing and designing parts, do not suffer them in such actions to work as they please, but order them all ac∣cording to the Wisdom of Nature; and though some∣times it may happen that they work or move irregular∣ly, yet that is not perpetual in all actions, but sometimes; for wheresoever is crossing and opposition, there must of necessity be sometimes irregularities and disorders.

When in my Philosophical Letters, I say, That* there is difference between Life and Knowledg; by Life I understand Sense, or the sensitive parts of matter; and by Knowledg Reason, or the Rational parts of Matter; not as if the sensitive parts had not Knowledg as well as the rational, or the rational Life as well as the sensitive; but I speak comparatively, in the same sense as I name the sensitive part the Life, the rational the Soul, and the inanimate the Body of Nature.

And thus much for the present.

There may be many more the like places in my Philosophical Works, especially my Philosophical and Physical Opinions, which may seem dubious and obscure; but I will not trouble you now with a long Commentary or Explanation of them; but if God grant me life, I intend to rectifie that mention∣ed Page  68 Book of Philosophical Opinions, in the best manner I can, because it contains the Ground of my Philosophy, in which I hope there will be no la∣bour lost, but it will facilitate the Understanding of the Reader, and render my Conceptions easie and intel∣ligible, which is the onely thing I am at, and labour for.