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This being premised, for our more clear and distinct proceeding in our cursory View of the Creation, I shall rank the Parts of this material and visible World under several Heads. Bodies are either inanimate or animate, Inanimate Bodies are either cæleftial or terrestrial. Cæleftial, as the Sun, Moon and Stars: Terrestrial, are either simple, as the four Elements, "Fire, Water, Earth, and Air ; or mixt, either imperfe&tly, as the Meteors, or more perfectly, as Stones, Metals, Minerals, and the like. Animate Bodies are either such as are endued with a l'egetative Soul, as Plants; or a Sensitive Soul, as the Bodies of Animals, birds, Beasts, Fishes, and Infects ; or a Rational Soul, as the Body of Man and the Vehicles of Angels, if any such there be.
I make use of this Division to comply with the common and receiv'd Opinion, and for eafier Comprehension and Memory; tho' I do not think it agreeable to Philosophick Verity and Accuracy, but do rather incline to the Atomick Hypothesis. For these Bodies we call Elements are not the only Ingredients of mix'd Bodies; neither are they absolutely simple themselves, as they do exist in the World, the Sea-water, containing a copious Salt manifest to Sense; and both Sea and Fresh-water sufficing to nourish many Species of Fish, and consequently containing the various parts of which their Bodies are compounded. And I believe there are many Species of Bodies which the Perepateticks call mix'd, which are as simple as the Elements themselves, as Metals, Salts, and some sorts of
Stones. I should therefore with Dr. Gretu and others rather attribute the various Species of inanimate Bodies to the divers Figures of the minute Particles of which they are made up : And the Reason why there is a set and conftant number of them in the World, none destroy'd nor any new ones produc'd, I take to be, because the sum of the Figures of those minute Bodies into which Matter was at first divided, is determinate and fix'd. 2. Because thofe ininute parts are indivisible, not absolutely, but by any natural force ; so that there neither is nor can be more or fewer of them: For were they divisible into small and diversly-figur'd parts by Fire or any other natural Agent, the Species of Nature must be confounded, foine might be loft and destroy'd, but new ones would certainly be produc'd; unless we could suppose these new, diminutive Particles should again assemble and marshal theinselves into corpuscles of such Figures as they compounded before ; which I fee no possibility for them to do, without some Ords DÒ un xarñis to direct them; Not that I think these inanimate Bodies to consist wholly of one sort of Atoms, but that their Bulk consists inainly or chiefly of one fort. But whereas it may be objected, that Metals (which of all others seem to be most simple) may be transmuted one. into another, and so the Species doth not depend upon the being compounded of Atoms of one Figure ; I answer, I am not fully satisfied of the Matter of Fact: But if any such Transmutation be, possibly all Metals may be of one
Species, and the diversity may proceed from the admixture of different Bodies with the Principles of the Metal. If it be ask'd, why may not Atoms of different Species concur to the composition of Bodies ? And so, tho' there be but a few forts of original Principles, inay there not be produced infinite Species of compound Bodies, as by the various Difpofitions and Combinations of Twenty-four Letters innumerable Words may be made up? I answer, Becaufe the Heterogeneous Atoms or Principles are not naturally apt to cohere and stick together when they are mingled in the fame Liquor, as the Homogeneous readily do.
I do not believe that the Species of Principles or indivisible Particles are exceeding numerous ; but possibly the immediate component Particles of the Bodies of Plants and Animals may be themselves compounded.
Of the Heavenly Bodies.
Before I come to treat of the Heavenly Bodies in particular, I shall 'premise in general, that the whole Üniverse is divided into two forts of Bodies, the one very thin and fluid, the other'inore dense, solid and consistent. The thin and fluid is the Ether, comprehending the Air or Atmosphere encompassing the particular Stars and Planets. Now, for the stability and perpetuity of the whole Universe, the Divine Wisdom and Providence hath given to the folid and stable parts a two-fold Power, one
of Gravity, and the other of Circular Motion. By the first they are preserv'd from Diffolution and Dissipation, which the fecond would otherwise infer. For it being by the Consent of Philosophers an innate Property of dy mov'd circularly about any Center to recede or endeavour to recede from that Center of its motion, and the more strongly the swifter it is mov'd, the Stars and Planets being whirld about with great velocity, would suddenly, did nothing inhibit it; at least in a short time, be shatter'd in pieces, and scatter'd every way thro' the Ether. But now their Gravity unites and binds them up fast, hindring the dispersion of their Parts, I will not dispute wliat Gravity
only I will add, that for ought I have heard or read, the Mechanical Philosopher's have not as yet given a dear and satisfactory account of it.
The second thing is a Circular Motion upon their own Axes, and in some of them also, it's probable, about other Points, if we admit the Hypothesis of every fix'd Star's being a Sun or Sun-like Body, and having a Choire of Planets, in like manner moving about him. These Revolutions, we have reason to believe, are as exadly equal and uniforin as the Earth's are : which could not be were there any place for Chance, and did not a Providence continually over-see and secure them from all alteration or imminution, which either internal Changes in their own parts, or external Accidents and Occurrences would at one time or other neceffarily induce.' Without this circular Motion of the Earth, here could be no living: One Hemi. Sphere would be condemn’d to perpetual cold and darkness, the other continually roasted and parch'd by the Sun-beams. And it is reasonable to think, that this circular Motion is as necessary to most other Planetary Bodies, as it is to the Earth. As for the fix'd Stars, if they be Sun-like Bodies, it is probable also each of them moves circularly upon its own Axes as the Sun doth. But what necessity there is of fuch a Motion, for want of understanding the Nature of those Bodies, I must confefs my self not yet to comprehend; tho' that it is very great I doubt not, both for themselves, and for the Bodies about them.
First, For the Celestial or Heavenly Bodies, the Equability and Constancy of their Motions, the certainty of their Periods and Revolutions, the conveniency of their Order and Situations, argue them to be ordain'd and govern'd by Wisdom and Understanding ; yea, so much Wisdom as Man cannot easily fathom or comprehend : For we see by how much the Hypothesis of Astronomers are more simple and conforinable to Reason, by so much do they give a better account of the Heavenly Motions. It is reported of Alphonfus King of Arragon, I know not whether truly, that when he faw and confider'd the many Eccentricks, Epicycles, Epioycles upon Epicycles, Librations, and contrariety of Motions, which were requisite in the old Hypothesis to give an account of the Celef