AN Argumental Discourse
Concerning some Principal Subjects in Natural Phi∣losophy, necessary for the better understanding, not onely of this, but all other Philosophical Works, hi∣therto written by the AUTHOEESSE.
WHen I was setting forth this Book of Experimental Observations, a Dis∣pute chanced to arise between the rational Parts of my Mind con∣cerning some chief Points and Principles in Natural Philoso∣phy; for some New Thoughts endeavouring to op∣pose and call in question the Truth of my former Con∣ceptions, caused a war in my mind, which in time grew to that height, that they were hardly able to compose the differences between themselves, but were in a man∣ner necessitated to refer them to the Arbitration of the impartial Reader, desiring the assistance of his judg∣ment to reconcile their Controversies, and, if pos∣sible, Page [unnumbered] to reduce them to a setled peace and agree∣ment.
The first difference did arise about the question, How it came, that Matter was of several degrees, as Ani∣mate and Inanimate, Sensitive and Rational? for my latter thoughts would not believe that there was any such difference of degrees of Matter: To which my former conceptions answered, That Nature, being Eternal and Infinite, it could not be known how she came to be such, no more then a reason could be given how God came to be: for Nature, said they, is the Infinite Servant of God, and her origine cannot be described by any finite or particular Creature; for what is infinite, has neither beginning nor end; but that Natural Matter consisted of so many degrees as mentioned, was evidently perceived by her effects or actions; by which it appeared first, that Nature was a self-moving body, and that all her parts and Creatures were so too: Next, That there was not onely an animate or self-moving and active, but also an inani∣mate, that is, a dull and passive degree of Matter; for if there were no animate degree, there would be no motion, and so no action nor variety of figures; and if no inanimate, there would be no degrees of natural fi∣gures and actions, but all actions would be done in a mo∣ment, and the figures would all be so pure, fine and sub∣til, as not to be subject to any grosser perception such as our humane, or other the like perceptions are. This Ina∣nimate Page [unnumbered] part of Matter, said they, had no self-motion, but was carried along in all the actions of the animate degree, and so was not moving, but moved; which Animate part of Matter being again of two de∣grees, viz. Sensitive and Rational, the Rational be∣ing so pure, fine and subtil, that it gave onely directi∣ons to the sensitive, and made figures in its own de∣gree, left the working with and upon the Inani∣mate part, to the Sensitive degree of Matter, whose Of∣fice was to execute both the rational parts design, and to work those various figures that are perceived in Na∣ture; and those three degrees were so inseparably com∣mixt in the body of Nature, that none could be with∣out the other in any part or Creature of Nature, could it be divided to an Atome; for as in the Exstruction of a house there is first required an Architect or Surveigh∣er, who orders and designs the building, and puts the Labourers to work; next the Labourers or Work∣men themselves, and lastly the Materials of which the House is built: so the Rational part, said they, in the framing of Natural Effects, is, as it were, the Sur∣veigher or Architect; the Sensitive, the labouring or working part, and the Inanimate, the materials, and all these degrees are necessarily required in every com∣posed action of Nature.
To this, my latter thoughts excepted, that in pro∣bability of sense and reason, there was no necessity of introducing an inanimate degree of Matter; for all those Page [unnumbered] parts which we call gross, said they, are no more but a composition of self-moving parts, whereof some are denser, and some rarer then others; and we may ob∣serve, that the denser parts are as active, as the rarest; for example, Earth is as active as Air or Light, and the parts of the Body are as active, as the parts of the Soul or Mind, being all self-moving, as it is percei∣veable by their several, various compositions, divisions, productions and alterations; nay, we do see, that the Earth is more active in the several productions and alterations of her particulars, then what we name Coe∣lestial Lights, which observation is a firm argument to prove, that all Matter is animate or self-moving, one∣ly there are degrees of motion, that some parts move flower, and some quicker.
Hereupon my former Thoughts answered, that the difference consisted not onely in the grossness, but in the dulness of the Inanimate parts; and that, since the sen∣sitive animate parts were labouring on, and with the inanimate, if these had self-motion, and that-their mo∣tion was flower then that of the animate parts, they would obstruct, cross and oppose each other in all their actions, for the one would be too slow, and the other too quick.
The latter Thoughts replied, that this slowness and quickness of motion would cause no obstruction at all; for, said they, a man that rides on a Horse is carried away by the Horses motion, and has nevertheless also Page [unnumbered] his own motions himself; neither does the Horse and Man transfer or exchange motion into each other, nor do they hinder or obstruct one another.
The former Thoughts answer'd, it was True, that Motion could not be transferred from one body into another without Matter or substance; and that several self-moving parts might be joined, and each act a part without the least hinderance to one another; for not all the parts of one composed Creature (for example Man) were bound to one and the same action; and this was an evident proof that all Creatures were composed of parts, by reason of their different actions; nay, not onely of parts, but of self-moving parts: also they confessed, that there were degrees of motion, as quick∣ness and slowness, and that the slowest motion was as much motion as the quickest. But yet, said they, this does not prove, that Nature consists not of Inanimate Matter as well as of Animate; for it is one thing to speak of the parts of the composed and mixed body of Nature, and another thing to speak of the constitutive parts of Nature, which are, as it were, her ingredients of which Nature is made up as one intire self-mo∣ving body; for sense and reason does plainly perceive, that some parts are more dull, and some more lively, subtil and active; the Rational parts are more agil, a∣ctive, pure and subtil then the sensitive; but the Inani∣mate have no activity, subtilty and agility at all, by reason they want self-motion; nor no perception, for Page [unnumbered] self-motion is the cause of all perception; and this Tri∣umvirate of the degrees of Matter, said they, is so neces∣sary to ballance and poise Natures actions, that other∣wise the creatures which Nature produces, would all be produced alike, and in an instant; for example, a Child in the Womb would as suddenly be framed, as it is figured in the mind; and a man would be as sud∣denly dissolved as a thought: But sense and reason per∣ceives that it is otherwise; to wit, that such figures as are made of the grosser parts of Matter, are made by de∣grees, and not in an instant of time, which does mani∣festly evince, that there is and must of necessity be such a degree of Matter in Nature as we call Inanimate; for surely although the parts of Nature are infinite, and have infinite actions, yet they cannot run into ex∣treams, but are ballanced by their opposites, so that all parts cannot be alike rare or dense, hard or soft, dilating or contracting, &c. but some are dense, some rare, some hard, some soft, fome dilative, some con∣tractive, &c. by which the actions of Nature are kept in an equal ballance from running into extreams. But put the case, said they, it were so, that Natures body consisted altogether of Animate Matter, or corporeal self-motion, without an intermixture of the inanimate parts, we are confident that there would be framed as many objections against that opinion as there are now against the inanimate degree of Matter; for disputes are endless, and the more answers you receive, the more Page [unnumbered] objections you will find; and the more objections you make, the more answers you will receive; and even shews, that Nature is ballanced by opposites: for, put the case, the Inanimate parts of Matter were self-mo∣ving; then first there would be no such difference be∣tween the rational and sensitive parts as now there is; but every part, being self-moving, would act of, and in it self, that is, in its own substance as now the rational part of Matter does: Next, if the inanimate part was of a slower motion then the rational and sensitive, they would obstruct each other in their actions, for one would be too quick, and the other too slow; neither would the quicker motion alter the nature of the slower, or the slower retard the quicker; for the nature of each must remain as it is; or else it would be thus, then the animate part might become inanimate, and the rational the sensitive, &c. which is impossible, and against all sense and reason.
At this declaration of my former Thoughts, the lat∣ter appear'd somewhat better satisfied, and had almost yielded to them, but that they had yet some scruples left, which hindered them from giving a full assent to my former rational conceptions. First they asked, how it was possible, that that part of Matter which had no innate self-motion, could be moved? for, said they, if it be moved, it must either be moved by its own mo∣tion, or by the motion of the animate part of Matter: by its own motion it cannot move, because it has none; Page [unnumbered] but if it be moved by the motion of the animate, then the animate must of necessity transfer motion into it: that so, being not able to move by an innate motion, it might move by a communicated motion.
The former Thoughts answered, that they had re∣solved this question heretofore by the example of a Horse and a Man, where the Man was moved and carried along by the Horse, without any Communica∣tion or Translation of motion from the Horse into the Man; also a Stick, said they, carried in a Man's hand, goes along with the man, without receiving any motion from his hand.
My latter Thoughts replied, That a Man and a Stick were parts or Creatures of Nature, which consist of a commixture of Animate or self-moving Matter, and that they did move by their own motions, even at the time when they were carried along by other parts; but with the Inanimate part of Matter it was not so; for it having no self-motion, could no ways move.
You say well, answered my former Thoughts, that all the parts of Nature, whensoever they move, move by their own motions; which proves, that no parti∣cular Creature or effect of composed Nature, can act upon another, but that one can onely occasion another to move thus or thus; as in the mentioned example, the Horse does not move the man, but occasions him onely to move after such or such a manner; also the hand does not move the Stick, but is onely an occasion that Page [unnumbered] the Stick moves thus, for the Stick moves by its own motion.
But as we told you before, this is to be understood of the parts of the composed body of Nature, which as they are Natures Creatures and Effects, so they con∣sist also of a commixture of the forementioned degrees of animate and inanimate Matter; but our discourse is now of those parts which do compose the body of Na∣ture, and make it what it is: And as of the former parts none can be said moved, but all are moving, as ha∣ving self-motion within them; so the inanimate part of Matter considered as it is an ingredient of Nature, is no ways moving, but always moved: The former parts, being effects of the body of Nature, for distinctions sake may be called Effective parts; but these, that is; the Animate and Inanimate, may be called constitutive parts of Nature: Those follow the composition of Nature, but these are the Essential parts, which consti∣tute the body of Nature; whereof the Animate, by reason of their self-motion, are always active and per∣ceptive; but the Inanimate is neither active nor percep∣tive, but dull and passive; and you may plainly per∣ceive it, added my former thoughts, by the alledged example; for as the Stick has no animal motion, and yet is carried along by and with the animal wheresoever it goes; so the Inanimate Matter, although it has no motion at all, yet it goes along with the animate parts wheresoever they'l have it; the onely difference is this, Page [unnumbered] as we told you before, that the Stick being composed of animate as well as inanimate Matter, cannot proper∣ly be said moved, but occasioned to such a motion by the animal that carries it, when as the inanimate part cannot be said occasioned, but moved.
My later Thoughts replied, That the alledged ex∣ample of the carried Stick, could give them no full sa∣tisfaction as yet; for, said they, put the case the Stick had its own motion, yet it has not a visible, exterior, local, progressive motion, such as Animals have, and there∣fore it must needs receive that motion from the animal that carries it; for nothing can be occasioned to that which it has not in it self.
To which the former answered first, that although animals had a visible exterior progressive motion, yet not all progressive motion was an animal motion: Next, they said, that some Creatures did often occasion o∣thers to alter their motions from an ordinary, to an ex∣traordinary effect; and if it be no wonder, said they, that Cheese, Roots, Fruits, &c. produce Worms, why should it be a wonder for an Animal to occasion a visible progressive motion in a vegetable or mineral, or any other sort of Creature? For each natural action, said they, is local, were it no more then the stirring of a hairs breadth, nay, of an Atome; and all compo∣sition and division, contraction, dilation, nay, even retention, are local motions; for there is no thing in so just a measure, but it will vary more or less; nay, if it Page [unnumbered] did not to our perception, yet we cannot from thence infer that it does not at all; for our perception is too weak and gross to perceive all the subtil actions of Na∣ture; and if so, then certainly Animals are not the onely Creatures that have local motion, but there is lo∣cal motion in all parts of Nature.
Then my later Thoughts asked, that if every part of Nature moved by its own inherent self-motion, and that there was no part of the composed body of Na∣ture which was not self-moving, how it came, that Children could not go so soon as born? also, if the self∣moving part of Matter was of two degrees, sensitive and rational, how it came that Children could not speak be∣fore they are taught? and if it was perceptive, how it came that Children did not understand so soon as born?
To which the former answered, That although there was no part of Matter that was figureless, yet those fi∣gures that were composed by the several parts of Mat∣ter, such as are named natural Creatures, were com∣posed by degrees, and some compositions were sooner perfected then others, and some sorts of such figures or Creatures were not so soon produced or strengthened as others; for example, most of four legg'd Creatures, said they, can go, run and skip about so soon as they are parted from the Dam, that is, so soon as they are born; also they can suck, understand, and know their Dam's, when as a Bird can neither feed it self, nor fly so soon as it is hatched, but requires some time before it Page [unnumbered] can hop on its leggs, and be able to fly; but a Butter∣fly can fly so soon as it comes out of the shell; by which we may perceive, that all figures are not alike, either in their composing, perfecting or dissolving, no more then they are alike in their shapes, forms, understand∣ing, &c. for if they were, then little Puppies and Kit∣lings would see, so soon as born, as many other Crea∣tures do, when as now they require nine days after their birth before they can see; and as for speech, al∣though it be most proper to the shape of Man, yet he must first know or learn a language before he can speak it; and although when the parts of his mind, like the parts of his body, are brought to maturity, that is, to such a regular degree of perfection as belongs to his figure, he may make a language of his own; yet it requires time, and cannot be done in an instant: The truth is, although speech be natural to man, yet lan∣guage must be learned; and as there are several self∣active parts, so there are several Languages; and by reason the actions of some parts can be imitated by o∣ther parts, it causes that we name learning not onely in Speech, but in many other things.
Concerning the question why Children do not un∣derstand so soon as born: They answered, that as the sensitive parts of Nature did compose the bulk of Crea∣tures, that is, such as were usually named bodies; and as some Creatures bodies were not finished or perfect∣ed so soon as others, so the self-moving parts, which Page [unnumbered] by conjunction and agreement composed that which is named the mind of Man, did not bring it to the per∣fection of an Animal understanding so soon as some Beasts are brought to their understanding, that is, to such an understanding as was proper to their figure. But this is to be noted, said they, that although Nature is in a perpetual motion, yet her actions have degrees, as well as her parts, which is the reason, that all her productions are done in that which is vulgarly named Time; that is, they are not executed at once, or by one act: In short, as a House is not finished, until it be throughly built, nor can be thorowly furnished until it be throughly finished; so is the strength and under∣standing of Man, and all other Creatures; and as per∣ception requires Objects, so learning requires practice; for though Nature is self-knowing, self-moving, and so perceptive; yet her self-knowing, self-moving, and perceptive actions, are not all alike, but differ variously; neither doth she perform all actions at once, other∣wise all her Creatures would be alike in their shapes, forms, figures, knowledges, perceptions, producti∣ons, dissolutions, &c. which is contradicted by expe∣rience.
After this my later Thoughts asked, how it came that the Inanimate part of Matter had more degrees then the Animate?
The former answered, That, as the Animate part had but two degrees, to wit, the sensitive and rational, so Page [unnumbered] the Inanimate was but grosser and purer; and as for density, rarity, softness, hardness, &c. they were no∣thing but various compositions and divisions of parts, or particular effects; nor was it density or hardness that made grossness; and thinness or rarity of parts that made fineness and purity; for Gold is more dense then dross, and yet is more pure and fine; but this is most probable, said they, that the rarest compositions are most suddenly altered; nor can the grossness and fineness of the parts of Nature be without Animate and Inanimate Matter; for the dulness of one degree poises the acti∣vity of the other; and the grossness of one, the purity of the other; all which keeps Nature from extreams.
But replied my later Thonght, You say that there are infinite degrees of hardness, thickness, thinness, den∣sity, rarity, &c.
Truly, answered the former, if you'l call them de∣grees, you may; for so there may be infinite degrees of Magnitude, as bigger and bigger, but these degrees are nothing else but the effects of self-moving Matter, made by a composition of parts, and cannot be attri∣buted to one single part, there being no such thing in Nature; b they belong to the infinite parts of Nature, joined in one body; and as for Matter it self, there are no more degrees, but animate and inanimate; that is, a self-moving, active and perceptive, and a dull, passive, and moved degree.
Page [unnumbered] My later Thoughts asked, since Natures parts were so closely joined in one body, how it was possible that there could be finite, and not single parts?
The former answered, That finite and single parts were not all one and the same; for single parts, said they, are such as can subsist by themselves; neither can they properly be called parts, but are rather finite wholes; for it is a meer contradiction to say single parts, they having no reference to each other, and consequently not to the body of Nature; But what we call finite Parts, are nothing else but several corporeal figurative moti∣ons, which make all the difference that is between the figures or parts of Nature, both in their kinds, sorts and particulars: And thus finite and particular parts are all one, called thus, by reason they have limited and circumscribed figures, by which they are discerned from each other, but not single figures, for they are all join∣ed in one body, and are parts of one infinite whole, which is Nature; and these figures being all one and the same with their parts of Matter, change according as their parts change, that is, by composition and di∣vision; for were Nature an Atome, and material, that Atome would have the properties of a body, that is, be dividable and composable, and so be subject to infinite changes, although it were not infinite in bulk.
My later Thoughts replied, That if a finite body could have infinite compositions and divisions, then Nature Page [unnumbered] need not to be infinite in bulk or quantity; besides, said they, it is against sense and reason that a finite should have infinite effects.
The former answered first, As for the infiniteness of Nature, it was certain that Nature consisted of infi∣nite parts; which if so, she must needs also be of an infinite bulk or quantity; for where soever is an infinite number of parts or figures, there must also be an infi∣nite whole, since a whole and its parts differ not really, but onely in the manner of our conception; for when we conceive the parts of Nature as composed in one bo∣dy, and inseparable from it, the composition of them is called a whole; but when we conceive their diffe∣rent figures, actions and changes, and that they are dividable from each other, or amongst themselves, we call them parts; for by this one part is discerned from the other part; as for example, a Mineral from a Ve∣getable, a Vegetable from an Element, an Element from an Animal, &c. and one part is not another part; but yet these parts are, and remain still parts of infinite Nature, and cannot be divided into single parts, sepa∣rated from the body of Nature, although they may be divided amongst themselves infinite ways by the self∣moving power of Nature. In short, said they, a whole is nothing but a composition of parts, and parts are no∣thing but a division of the whole.
Next, as for the infinite compositions and divisions of a finite whole, said they, it is not probable that a Page [unnumbered] finite can have infinite effects, or can be actually divi∣ded into infinite parts; but yet a body cannot but have the proprieties of a body as long as it lasts; and there∣fore if a finite body should last eternally, it would eter∣nally retain the effects, or rather proprieties of a body, that is, to be dividable and composable; and if it have self-motion, and was actually divided and composed, then those compositions and divisions of its parts would be eternal too; but what is eternal is infinite, and therefore in this sense one cannot say amiss, but that there might be eternal compositions and divisions of the parts of a finite whole; for wheresoever is self-motion there is no rest: But, mistake us not, for we do not mean divisions or compositions into single or infinite parts, 〈◊〉 perpetual and eternal change and self-motion of the parts of that finite body or whole amongst themselves.
But because we speak now of the parts of Infinite Nature, which are Infinite in number, though finite, or rather distinguished by their figures; It is certain, said they, that there being a perpetual and eternal self∣motion in all parts of Nature, and their number being infinite, they must of necessity be subject to infinite changes, compositions, and divisions; not onely as for their duration, or eternal self-motion, but as for the number of their parts; for parts cannot remove but from and to parts; and as soon as they are removed from such parts, they join to other parts, which is no∣thing else but a composition and division of parts; Page [unnumbered] and this composition and division of the Infinite parts of Nature, hinders that there are no actual divisions or compositions of a finite part, because the one counter∣balances the other; for if by finite you understand a single part, there can be no such thing in Nature, since what we call the finiteness of parts, is nothing else but the difference and change of their figures, caused by self-motion; and therefore when we say Infinite Nature consists of an infinite number of finite parts, we mean of such parts as may be distinguished or discerned from each other by their several figures; which figures are not constant, but change perpetually in the body of Nature; so that there can be no constant figure al∣lowed to no part, although some do last longer then others.
Then my later Thoughts desired to know, whether there were not degrees of Motion, as well as there are of Matter?
The former answered, That without question there were degrees of motion; for the rational parts were more agil, quick and subtil in their corporeal actions then the sensitive, by reason they were of a purer and finer degree of Matter, and free from labouring on the inanimate parts: but withal they told them, that the several different and opposite actions of Nature hin∣dred each other from running into extreams: And as for the degrees of Matter, there could not possibly be more then Animate and Inanimate, neither could any Page [unnumbered] degree go beyond Matter, so as to become immaterial. The truth is, said they, to balance the actions of Na∣ture, it cannot be otherwise, but there must be a Pas∣sive degree of Matter, opposite to the active; which passive part is that we call Inanimate; for though they are so closely intermixt in the body of Nature, that they cannot be separated from each other, but by the power of God; nevertheless, sense and reason may perceive that they are distinct degrees, by their distinct and different actions, and may distinguish them so far, that one part is not another part, and that the actions of one degree are not the actions of the other. Where∣fore as several self-moving parts may be joined in one composed body, and may either act differently with∣out hinderance and obstruction to each other, or may act jointly and agreeably to one effect; so may the sen∣sitive parts carry or bear along with them the inanimate parts, without either transferring and communicating motion to them, or without any co-operation or self∣action of the inanimate parts; and as for Matter, as there can be no fewer degrees then Animate and Ina∣nimate, sensitive and rational; so neither can there be more; for as we mentioned heretofore, were there no∣thing but animate or self-moving Matter in Nature, the parts of Nature would be too active and quick in their several productions, alterations and dissolutions, and all things would be as soon made, as thoughts. Again, were there no Inanimate degree of Matter, Page [unnumbered] the sensitive corporeal motions would retain the fi∣gures or patterns of exterior objects, as the rational do; which yet we perceive otherwise; for so soon as the object is removed, the sensitive perception is altered; and though the sensitive parts can work by rote, as in dreams and some distempers, yet their voluntary actions are not so exact, as their Exterior perceptive actions, nor altogether and always so regular as the ra∣tional; and the reason is, that they are bound to bear the inanimate parts along with them in all their actions. Also were there no degree of Inanimate Matter, Na∣tures actions would run into extreams; but because all her actions are ballanced by opposites, they hinder both extreams in Nature, and produce all that Har∣monious variety that is found in Natures parts.
But said my later Thoughts, wheresoever is such an opposition and crossing of actions, there can be no har∣mony, concord or agreement, and consequently no orderly productions, dissolutions, changes and alte∣rations, as in Nature we perceive there be.
The former answered, That though the actions of Nature were different and opposite to each other, yet they did cause no disturbance in Nature, but they were ruled and governed by Natures wisdom; for Nature being peaceable in her self, would not suffer her actions to disturb her Government; wherefore al∣though particulars were crossing and opposing each o∣ther, yet she did govern them with such wisdom and Page [unnumbered] moderation, that they were necessitated to obey her and move according as she would have them; but sometimes they would prove extravagant and refracto∣ry, and hence came that we call Irregularities. The truth is, said they, contrary and opposite actions are not always at war; for example, two men may meet each other contrary ways, and one may not onely stop the other from going forward, but even draw him back again the same way he came; and this may be done with love and kindness, and with his good will, and not vi∣olently by power and force: The like may be in some actions of Nature. Nevertheless, we do not deny, but there is many times force and power used between particular parts of Nature, so that some do over-power others, but this causes no disturbance in Nature; for if we look upon a well-ordered Government, we find that the particulars are often at strife and difference with each other, when as yet the Government is as orderly and peaceable as can be.
My later thoughts replied, That although the several and contrary actions in Nature did not disturb her Go∣vernment, yet they moving severally in one compo∣sed figure at one and the same time, proved that Mo∣tion, Figure and Body could not be one and the same thing.
The former answered, That they had sufficiently de∣clared heretofore that Matter was either moving, or mo∣ved: viz. That the Animate part was self-moving, and the Page [unnumbered] Inanimate moved, or carried along with, and by the Animate; and these degrees or parts of Matter were so closely intermixt in the body of Nature, that they could not be separated from each other, but did consti∣tute but one body, not onely in general, but also in every particular; so that not the least part (if least could be) nay, not that which some call an Atome, was without this commixture; for wheresoever was Inanimate, there was also Animate Matter; which Animate Matter was nothing else but corporeal self-motion, and if any dif∣ference could be apprehended, it was, said they, be∣tween these two degrees, to wit, the Animate and In∣animate part of Matter, and not between the animate part and self-motion, which was but one thing, and could not so much as be conceived differently; and since this Animate Matter, or corporeal self-motion is thorowly intermixt with the Inanimate parts, they are but as one body (like as soul and body make but one man) or else it were impossible that any Creature could be composed, consist, or be dissolved; for if there were Matter without Motion, there could be no com∣position or dissolution of such figures as are named Creatures; nor any, if there were Motion without Matter, or (which is the same) an Immaterial Mo∣tion; For can any part of reason, that is regular, believe, that that which naturally is nothing, should produce a natural something? Besides, said they, Material and Immaterial are so quite opposite to each other, as Page [unnumbered] 'tis impossible they should commix and work together, or act one upon the other: nay, if they could, they would make but a confusion, being of contrary na∣tures: Wherefore it is most probable, and can to the perception of Regular sense and reason be no otherwise, but that self-moving Matter, or corporeal figurative self-motion, does act and govern, wisely, orderly and easily, poising cr ballancing extreams with proper and fit oppositions, which could not be done by immate∣rials, they being not capable of natural compositions and divisions; neither of dividing Matter, nor of be∣ing divided? In short, although there are numerous corporeal figurative motions in one composed figure, yet they are so far from disturbing each other, that no Creature could be produced without them; and as the actions of retention are different from the actions of di∣gestion or expulsion, and the actions of contraction from those of dilation; so the actions of imitation or patterning are different from the voluntary actions vul∣garly called Conceptions, and all this to make an equal poise or ballance between the actions of Nature. Al∣so there is difference in the degrees of motions, in swift∣ness, slowness, rarity, density, appetites, passions, youth, age, growth, decay, &c. as also between se∣veral sorts of perceptions: all which proves, that Na∣ture is composed of self-moving parts, which are the cause of all her varieties: But this is well to be observed, said they, that the Rational parts are the purest, and Page [unnumbered] consequently the most active parts of Nature, and have the quickest actions; wherefore to ballance them, there must be a dull part of Matter, which is the Inanimate, or else a World would be made in an instant, and eve∣ry thing would be produced, altered and dissolved on a sudden, as they had mentioned before.
Well, replied my later Thoughts, if there be such op∣positions between the parts of Nature, then I pray in∣form us, whether they be all equally and exactly poised and ballanced?
To which the former answered, That though it was most certain that there was a poise and ballance of Na∣tures corporeal actions; yet no particular Creature was able to know the exactness of the proportion that is between them, because they are infinite.
Then my later Thoughts desired to know, whether Motion could be annihilated?
The former said, no: because Nature was Infinite, and admitted of no addition nor diminution; and con∣sequently of no new Creation nor annihilation of any part of hers.
But, said the later, If Motion be an accident, it may be annihilated.
The former answered, They did not know what they meant by the word Accident.
The later said, That an Accident was something in a body, but nothing without a body.
Page [unnumbered] If an Accident be something, answered the former, Then certainly it must be body; for there is nothing but what is corporeal in Nature; and if it be body, then it cannot be nothing at no time, but it must of ne∣cessity be something.
But it cannot subsist of, and by it self, replied my la∣ter Thoughts, as a substance; for although it hath its own being, yet its being is to subsist in another body.
The former answered, That if an Accident was no∣thing without a body or substance, and yet something in a body; then they desired to know, how, being no∣thing, it could subsist in another body, and be sepa∣rated from another body; for composition and division, said they, are attributes of a body, since nothing can be composed or divided but what has parts; and no∣thing has parts but what is corporeal or has a body, and therefore if an accident can be in a body, and be sepa∣rated from a body, it would be non-sense to call it no∣thing.
But then my later Thoughts asked, that when a parti∣cular Motion ceased, what became of it?
The former answered, it was not annihilated, but changed.
The later said, How can motion be corporeal, and yet one thing with body? Certainly if body be mate∣rial, and motion too, they must needs be two seve∣ral substances.
Page [unnumbered] The former answered, That motion and body were not two several substances; but motion and mat∣ter made one self-moving body; and so was place, co∣lour, figure, &c. all one and the same with body.
The later replied, That a Man, and his action were not one and the same, but two different things.
The former answered, That a Man, and his actions were no more different, then a man was different from himself; for, said they, although a man may have many different actions, yet were not that man existent, the same actions would not be; for though many men have the like actions, yet they are not the same.
But then replied the later, Place cannot be the same with body, nor colour; because a man may change his place and his colour, and yet retain his body.
Truly, said the former, If Place be changed, then Body must change also; for wheresoever is Place, there is Body; and though it be a vulgar phrase, That a man changes his place when he heremoves, yet it is not a proper Philosophical expression; for he removes onely from such parts, to such parts; so that it is a change or a division and composition of parts, and not of place: And as for colour, though it changes, yet that proves not that it is not a body, or can be annihilated. The truth is, though Figure, Motion, Colour, &c. do change, yet they remain still in Nature, and it is im∣possible that Nature can give away, or lose the least of her corporeal Attributes or Proprieties; for Nature Page [unnumbered] is infinite in power, as well as in act; we mean, for acting naturally; and therefore whatsoever is not in present act, is in the power of Infinite Nature.
But, said my later Thoughts, if a body be divided into very minute parts as little as dust, where is the co∣lour then?
The Colour, answered the former, is divided as well as the body; and though the parts thereof be not subject to our sensitive perception, yet they have never∣theless their being; for all things cannot be perceptible by our senses.
The later said, That the Colour of a Man's face could change from pale to red, and from red to pale, and yet the substance of the face remain the same; which proved, that colour and substance was not the same.
The former answered, That although the colour of a mans face did change without altering the substance thereof, yet this proved no more that Colour was Im∣material, then that Motion was Immaterial; for a man may put his body into several postures, and have seve∣ral actions, and yet without any change of the sub∣stance of his body; for all actions do not necessarily im∣port a change of the parts of a composed figure, there being infinite sorts of actions.
We will leave Accidents, said my later Thoughts, and return to the Inanimate part of Matter; and since you declare, that all parts of Nature do worship and adore God, you contradict your self in allowing an Page [unnumbered] Inanimate degree of Matter, by reason, where there is no self-motion, there can be no perception of God, and consequently no Worship and Adoration.
The former answered, That the knowledg of God did not consist in exterior perception; for God, said they, being an Infinite, Incomprehensible, superna∣tural and Immaterial Essence, void of all parts, can no ways be subject to Perception. Nevetheless, although no part can have an exterior perception of the substance of God, as it has of particular natural Creatures, yet it has Conceptions of the Existence of God, to wit, that there is a God above Nature, on which Nature depends, and from whose Immutable and Eternal Decree it has its Eternal Being, as God's Eternal Ser∣vant; but what God is in his Essence, neither Nature, nor any of her parts or Creatures is able to conceive. And therefore although the Inanimate part of Matter is not perceptive, yet having an innate knowledg and life of it self, it is not improbable but it may also have an interior, fixt, and innate knowledg of the Existency of God, as that he is to be adored and worshipped: And thus the Inanimate part may after its own manner wor∣ship and adore God, as much as the other parts in their way: for it is probable, that God having endued all parts of Nature with self-knowledg, may have given them also an Interior knowledg of himself, that is, of his Existency, how he is the God of Nature, and ought to be worshipped by her as his Eternal servant.
Page [unnumbered] My later Thoughts excepted, That not any Crea∣ture did truly know it self, much less could it be ca∣pable of knowing God.
The former answered, That this was caused through the variety of self-motion; for all Creatures (said they) are composed of many several parts, and every part has its own particular self-knowledg, as well as self-motion, which causes an ignorance be∣tween them; for one parts knowledg is not another parts knowledg; nor does one part know what ano∣ther knows; but all knowledg of exterior parts comes by perception; nevertheless, each part knows it self and its own actions; and as there is an ignorance between parts, so there is also an acquaintance (espe∣cially in the parts of one composed Creature) and the rational parts being most subtile, active and free, have a more general acquaintance then the sensitive; besides, the sensitive many times inform the rational, and the rational the sensitive, which causes a gene∣ral agreement of all the parts of a composed figure, in the execution of such actions as belong to it.
But how is it possible, replied my later Thoughts, that the inanimate part of matter can be living and self-knowing, and yet not self-moving? for Life and Knowledg cannot be without self-motion; and therefore if the inanimate parts have Life and Know∣ledg, they must necessarily also have self-motion.
Page [unnumbered] The former answered, That Life and Knowledg did no ways depend upon self-motion; for had Na∣ture no motion at all, yet might she have Life and Kowledg; so that self-motion is not the cause of Life and Knowledg, but onely of Perception, and all the various actions of Nature; and this is the reason said they, that the inanimate part of matter is not perceptive, because it is not self-moving; for though it hath life and self-knowledg as well as the Animate part, yet it has not an active life, nor a perceptive knowledg. By which you may see, that a fixt and interior self-knowledg, may very well be without exterior perception; for though perception presup∣poses an innate self-knowledg as its ground and prin∣ciple, yet self-knowledg does not necessarily require perception, which is onely caused by self-motion; for self-motion, as it is the cause of the variety of Natures parts and actions, so it is also of their vari∣ous perceptions: If it was not too great a presum∣tion, said they, we could give an instance of God, who has no local self-motion, and yet is infinitely knowing: But we'l forbear to go so high, as to draw the Infinite, Incomprehensible God, to the proofs of Material Nature.
My later Thoughts replied, first, That if it were thus, then one and the same parts of matter would have a double life, and a double knowledg.
Next they said, That if perception were an effect Page [unnumbered] of self-motion, then God himself must necessarily be self-moving, or else he could not perceive Nature and her parts and actions.
Concerning the first objection my former thoughts answered, That the parts of Nature could have a double life and knowledg no more, then one man could be call'd double or treble: You might as well said they, make millions of men of one particular man, nay, call every part or action of his a peculi∣liar man, as make one and the same part of matter have a double life and knowledg.
But mistake us not, added my former thoughts, when we say, that one and the same part cannot have a double life and knowledg; for we mean not, the composed creatures of Nature, which as they consist of several degrees of matter, so they have al∣so several degrees of lives and knowledges; but it is to be understood of the essential or constitutive parts of Nature; for as the rational part is not, nor can be the sensitive part, so it can neither have a sen∣sitive knowledg; no more can a sensitive part have a rational knowledg, or either of these the know∣ledg of the inanimate part; but each part retains its own life and knowledg. Indeed it is with these parts as it is with particular creatures; for as one man is not another man, nor has another mans know∣ledg, so it is likewise with the mentioned parts of matter; and although the animate parts have an Page [unnumbered] interior, innate self-knowledg, and an exterior, per∣ceptive knowledg; yet these are not double know∣ledges; but perception is onely an effect of interior self-knowledg, occasioned by self-motion.
And as for the second, they answered, That the Divine Perception and Knowledg was not any ways like a natural Perception, no more than God was like a Creature; for Nature (said they) is materi∣al, and her perceptions are amongst her infinite parts, caused by their compositions and divisions; but God is a Supernatural, Individable, and Incorporeal Be∣ing, void of all Parts and Divisions; and therefore he cannot be ignorant of any the least thing; but being Infinite, he has an Infinite Knowledg, with∣out any Degrees, Divisions, or the like actions be∣longing to Material Creatures. Nor is he naturally, that is, locally self-moving; but he is a fixt, unal∣terable, and in short, an incomprehensible Being, and therefore no comparison can be made between Him and Nature, He being the Eternal God, and Nature his Eternal Servant.
Then my later Thoughts said, That as for the know∣ledg of God, they would not dispute of it; but if there was a fixt and interior, innate knowledg in all Natures parts and Creatures, it was impossible that there could be any error or ignorance between them.
The former answered, that although Errors belong∣ed to particulars as well as ignorance, yet they proceeded Page [unnumbered] not from interior self-knowledg, but either from want of exterior particular knowledges, or from the irregu∣larity of motions; and Ignorance was likewise a want not of interior, but exterior knowledg, otherwise cal∣led Perceptive knowledg: for, said they, Parts can know no more of other parts, but by their own percep∣tions; and since no particular Creature or part of Na∣ture can have an Infallible, Universal, and thorow per∣ception of all other parts; it can neither have an infal∣lible and universal knowledg, but it must content it self with such a knowledg as is within the reach of its own perceptions; and hence it follows, that it must be ignorant of what it does not know; for Perception has but onely a respect to the exterior figures and actions of other parts; and though the Rational part is more sub∣til and active then the Sensitive, and may have also some perceptions of some interior parts and actions of other Creatures, yet it cannot have an infallible and tho∣row perception of all their interior parts and motions, which is a knowledg impossible for any particular Creature to attain to.
Again my later Thoughts objected, That it was impossible that the parts of one and the same degree could be ignorant of each others actions, how various soever, since they were capable to change their acti∣ons to the like figures.
The former answered first, That although they might make the like figures, yet they could not make Page [unnumbered] the same, because the parts were not the same. Next they said, that particular parts could not have infinite perceptions, but that they could but perceive such ob∣jects as were subject to that sort of perception which they had; no not all such; for oftentimes objects were obscured and hidden from their perceptions, that al∣though they could perceive them if presented, or com∣ing within the compass and reach of their perceptive fa∣culty or power; yet when they were absent, they could not; besides, said they, the sensitive parts are not so subtile as to make perceptions into the interior actions of other parts, no not the rational are able to have ex∣act perceptions thereof; for Perception extends but to adjoining parts and their exterior figures and actions, and if they know any thing of their interior parts, figures or motions, it is onely by guess or probable conclusions, taken from their exterior actions or figures, and made especially by the rational parts, which as they are the most inspective, so they are the most knowing parts of Nature.
After these and several other objections, questions and answers between the later and former thoughts and conceptions of my mind, at last some Rational thoughts which were not concerned in this dispute, perceiving that they became much heated, and fearing they would at last cause a Faction or Civil War amongst all the rational parts, which would breed that which is called a Trouble of the Mind, endeavoured to make a Peace Page [unnumbered] between them, and to that end they propounded, that the sensitive parts should publickly declare their diffe∣rences and controversies, and refer them to the Arbi∣tration of the judicious and impartial Reader. This proposition was unanimously embraced by all the rati∣onal parts, and thus by their mutual consent this Ar∣gumental Discourse was set down and published after this manner: In the mean time all the rational parts of my Mind inclined to the opinion of my former concepti∣ons, which they thought much more probable then those of the later; and since now it is your part, Inge∣nious Readers, to give a final decision of the Cause, consider well the subject of their quarrel, and be impar∣tial in your judgment; let not Self-love or Envy cor∣rupt you, but let Regular Sense and Reason be your onely Rule, that you may be accounted just Judges, and your Equity and Justice be Remembred by all that honour and love it.