« PreviousContinue »
tial Phanomèna, he should presume blafphemously to say, that the Universe was a bungling Piece : and that if he had been of God's Counsel, he could have directed him to have made it better. A Speech as rash and igno-. rant, as daring and prophane.
For it was nothing but ignorance of the true Process of Nature that induced the Contrivers of that Hypothesis to invent such absurd Suppositions, and him to accept them for true, and attribute them to the great Author of the Heavenly. Motions. For in the New Hypothesis of the modern Astronomers, we see most of those Absurdities and Irregularities rectify'd and remov’d, and I doubt not but they would all vanish, could we certainly, discover the true Method and Process of Nature in those Revolutions : For seeing in those Works of Nature which we converse with, we constantly find those Axioms true, Natura non facit circuitus, Nature doth not fetch a Compass when it may proceed in a streight Line; and Natura nec abundat in superfiuis, nec deficit in necessariis, Nature abounds not in what is superfluous, neither is deficient in what is necessary : We may also rationally conclude concerning the Heavenly, Bodies, seeing there is so much exactness obfery'd in the time of their motions, that they punctually come about in the same periods to the hundredth part of a Minute, as may beyond Exception be demonstrated by comparing their Revolutions, surely there is also us’d the most ample, facile, and convenient way for
the performance of them. Among these Heavenly Bodies.
First, the Sun, à vast Globe of Fire, esteemid by the ancienter and most modest computation above 160 times bigger than the Earth, the very Life of this inferiour World, without whose falutary and vivifick Beams all Motion, both Animal, Vital and Natural, would speedily cease, and nothing be left here below but Darkness and Death: All Plants and Animals must needs in a very short time be not only mortified, but together with the surface of Land and Water frozen as hard as a Flint or Adamant : So that of all the Creatures of the World, the ancient Heathen had most reason to worship him as a God, tho' no true reason ; because he was but a Creature, and not God: And we Christians, to think that the Service of the Animals that live upon the Earth, and principally Man, was one end of his Creation seeing without him there could no such things have been. This Sun, I say, according to the old Hypothesis, whirld round about the Earth daily with incredible .celerity, making Night and Day by his rising and setting; Winter and Summer, by his access to the several Tropicks, creating such a grateful variety of Seaforis, enlightning all parts of the Earth by his Beams, and cherishing them by his Heat, fituate and mov'd so in respect of this sublunary World, (and it's likely also in respect of all the Planets about him) that Art and Counsel could not have design'd either to have placed him better,
or moy'd him more conveniently for the Service thereof, as I could easily make appear by the Inconveniencies that would follow upon the supposition of any other situation and motion, shews forth the great Wisdom of him who fo dispos’d and mov?d him.
Secondly, The Moon, a Body in all probability fomewhat like the Earth we live upon, by its constant and regular Motion helps us to divide our time, reflects the Sun-beams to us, and so by illuminating the Air, takes away in some measure the disconfolate darkness of our Winter Nights, procures or at least regulates the Fluxes and Refluxes of the Sea, whereby the Water is kept in constant Mction, and preferv'd from Putrefaction, and so render'd more falutary for the maintenance of its Breed, and useful and serviceable for Man's convenience of Fishing and Navigation ; not to mention tite
great influence it is suppos'd to have upon all moist Bodies, and the growth and encrease of Vegetables and Aniinals: Men generally observing the Age of the Moon in the planting of all kinds of Trees, sowing of Grain, grafting and inoculating, and pruning of Fruit-Trees, gathering of Fruit, cutting of Corn or Grass ; and thence also ma-king Prognosticks of Weather, because such Observations feeins to me uncertain. Did this Luminary serve to no other ends and uses, as I am persuaded it doth many, especially to maintain the Creatures which in all likelihood breed and, inhabit there, for which I refer you to the ingenious Treatises written by Bishop Wilkins and
Monfieur Fontenelle on that Subject, yėt these were enough to evince it to be the Effect and Product of Divine Wisdom and Power. ; .IT
Thirdly, As for the reft of the Planets; besides their particular Uses, which are to us unkuown, or meerly conje&ural, their Courses and Revolutions, their Stations and Retrogradations, observ'd constantly so many Ages together in most certain and determinate periods of time, do fufficiently demonstrate that their Motions are instituted and governd by Counsel, Wisdom and Understanding.
Fourthly, The like may be said of the fix'd Stars, whose Motions are regular, equal and constant. So that we see nothing in the Heavens which argues Chance, Vanity or Error ; but on the contrary, Rule, Order, and Constancy ;, the Effects and Arguments of Wisdom: Wherefore, as Cicero excellently concludes, Celestem ergo admirabilem ordinem, incredibilemque constantiam, ex qua conversatio & falus omnium omnis oritur, qui vacare mente putat, ne ipse mentis expers habendus eft : Wherefore who
soever thinketh that the admirable Order and ' incredible Constancy of the Heavenly Bodies ' and their Motions, whereupon the Preservati
on and Welfare of all things doth depend, is not govern'd by Mind and Understanding, he himself is to be accounted void thereof. And
again, Shall we (faith he) when we see an · Artificial Engine, as a Sphere or Dyal, or ' the like, at first sight acknowledge, that it is
Work of Reason and Art ? Cum autem impe
tim coeli, admirabili cum celeritate mäveri vertique videamus conftantissimè conficientem viciffitudines anniversarias, cum fumma Salute e Confervatione rerum omnium dubitare quin ea non folum ratione fiant, fed excellenti quâdam Divinâque ratione : And cart we, when we "fee the force of the Heavens mov'danid · whirl'd about with admirable Celerity, most
conftantly finishing its anniversary Vicifsitudes, to the eminent Welfare and Preservation of all things, doubt at all that these things are perform'd not only by Reason, but by a certain excellent and divine Reason?
To these things I fhall add an Observation which I must confefs my self to have borrow'd of the honourable Person more than once mention'd already, that even the Eclipses of the Sun and Moon, though they be frightful Things to the superstitious Vulgar, and of ill Influence on Mankind, if we may believe the no less superstitious Astrologers, yet to knowing Men, that can skilfully apply them, they are of great use, and such as common Heads could never have imagin’d; since not only they may on divers Occasions help to fettle Chronology, and rectifie the Mistakes of Historians that writ many Ages ago; but which is, though a lefs Wonder, yet of greater Utility, they are (as things yet stand) necessary to define with conpetent certainty, the Longitude of places or points on the Terraqueous Globe, which is a thing of very great moment not only to Geography, but to the most useful and impor