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have we not ground to infer, that Providence had cer- CHAP. tainly such an end as the good of mankind to order things so, as by several means to make those habitations not only tolerable, but in many places delightful? By this we see how vain those old arguments against Providence were, which were grounded on this supposition, that so great a part of the earth was useless to mankind by the intolerable heat of the sun. Yet how confidently doth Lucretius argue upon this supposition; as though he could demonstrate against Providence from heaven and earth :
Lucret. v. 197.
Hoc tamen ex ipsis cæli rationibus ausim
So much room taken up by the heavens, so much by mountains, woods, rocks, marshes, and seas; and two parts of the earth useless for mankind by intolerable heat and cold; that he could never imagine this earth was framed with design for the good of mankind. And yet at the same time there were philosophers, who thought the conveniences for mankind were so great in this world, that from thence they inferred that there was a Providence which had a particular regard to the advantages which they enjoy; and this without any revelation from God of those ends which he designed. The Stoics knew, as well as Epicurus, the compass of the heavens, the greatness of the mountains, woods, rocks, and seas; and they believed as much that some
BOOK parts of the earth were not to be inhabited ; and yet
they concluded that there was a design of Providence in all with respect to mankind. For they took notice, not merely of the space which the heavens took up, but of the great beauty, and order, and usefulness of the celestial bodies; and particularly the convenient distance of the sun to make the earth fruitful and pleasant, and to distinguish days and nights for works and rest; and that the mountains were large storehouses for metals and rivers, which could not otherwise be supplied ; and that the seas afforded plenty of fish, and large conveniences for commerce; and the woods were furnished with timber to make vessels out of, to pass over those seas, and so preserve a correspondence among mankind, at the greatest distance, for their mutual advantage; and if there were uncultivated parts of the earth, that only shewed that God did not give these things to make mankind lazy and idle, but to exercise those abilities both of body and mind, which he had given them.
But as to the two parts of the earth being wholly unserviceable to mankind, by reason of excessive heat or cold, that is found, by experience of later ages, to
have been a great mistake. But Aristotle is positive Arist. Me- in it, That the places near the sun have no waters nor
pastures; and that the remote northern parts are not to be inhabited for the cold. But both these assertions
are found to be false : however his authority was folPlin. 1. ii. lowed, insomuch that Pliny saith, Of five xones two
are useless by extremity of cold; and that there is nothing but a perpetual mist and a shining frost; and that within the tropics all is burnt up by the heat of the sun, which is so intense, that, he saith, there is no passage from one temperate zone to the other. This is a strange account to us now, and given by a man who
teor. l. ii.
had read all authors then extant about these mat- CHAP.
II. ters; and it is the stranger, because in the chapter before he saith, That Hanno passed from Cadiz to the end of Arabia, (which is much doubted,) and that Eudoxus came to Cadiz from the Arabian Gulph; and that another went from Spain to Ethiopia on the account of trade; and that some Indians trading abroad were cast by storms on the northern coasts, who were presented to the proconsul of Gaul. How could these things be, and yet they such strangers to the torrid zone, through which they must pass ? But he seemed Id. I. v. c. to take it for granted, that those regions were unpassable, and uninhabitable, although himself mentions several nations which lived within the torrid zone; as the negroes on both sides the river Niger, the Garamantes, Troglodytæ, (whom Ludolphus makes to be the same with the Hottentots,) and several others. Now if all these countries were burnt up, how came so many people to be then known to live here? and so they were from the time of Herodotus, who mentions Herodot.
1. iv. c. 183. them. But how different are the best accounts we Plin. I. v. now have of these places, from what the ancients ima-S... gined! The country of the negroes, through which ed. Basil. the Niger runs (which is supposed to be of the same nature (if not original) with the Nile, and overflows the country of the negroes in the same manner, and at the same time that the Nile doth Egypt,) is, according to a late author, a populous and fertile country; who Voyage
to Surat, p. saith, That the natives endure the heat with ease, and 61, 71. are healthful and vigorous. Another, who spent some time in that country, saith, That the heat is more sup-Relation de portable by the cool wind which blows ; and that for 1689, p. 85? six months it is as pleasant as France. Andrew Bat-Euchas, tel, who lived about eighteen years in Angola and there-vii. c. 3. abouts, speaks enough of the populousness of those
Solin. c. 43.
BOOK parts; and Lopez, who was at Congo, commends the
temperature of the air there. Ludolphus, in his acComment count of Ethiopia, which he had chiefly from a native, 1.1,6.5. saith, That it is as temperate as Portugal. The same . 36.
we have already produced from Acosta of Peru. Many more such instances might be produced; but these are sufficient to shew what a wonderful mistake the ancients were under as to the torrid zone, and how very weak Lucretius's argument against Providence from thence is. But the argument for it is much stronger from these discoveries ; because, according to the ordinary effects of the heat of the sun, they reasoned truly: but there is a concurrence of several other things which temper the air, which they could not understand. It is true, there are some things that abate the heat which arises from the sun's nearness; as the equality of nights to days, and the abundance of rains which fall at that time; of which the most probable account is, that although in our parts the distance of the sun causes cold and rain, and the nearness heat and drought, yet it is quite otherwise there; for the sun raises up the vapours more there by rarefying the air, and that to a great height; which joining together, and falling down with greater force, doth thereby produce a wind as well as water, both which cool and refresh the air; and where the vapours do not produce rain, yet they make a dew, as in some parts of Peru, which falling on the ground makes it fruitful. But these things are not sufficient; for were all the country in the torrid zone a flat, with those advantages, it would not be habitable; and therefore the height of the mountains was necessary for this purpose. Which shews that these are so far from being botches or ruins, that they are great instances of Divine Providence, if they can be made out to be serviceable to this
1. ii. C. 12.
purpose. Scaliger saith, that those do pie delirare, chap. who impute the mountains to the fractures made in the earth by the flood; and that it is impossible that the Exerc. 43. earth which fell in should ever make a surface equal with the height of the mountains : but he asserts them to be a work of Providence in the original frame of the world, and chiefly intended to be a receptacle for water: and he observes, that the highest mountains are Exerc. 42. under the torrid zone; where they serve likewise for tempering the air. For Acosta gives that reason of Acosta, the temper of the air in the West Indies, that it is a the Indies, high country, having many mountains, which afford a great refreshment to the neighbour-countries : and he observes, that the sea-coast in Peru and New Spain is very hot, being low and flat; but it is otherwise in the higher parts. Piso, a learned physician, who lived Pison. in Brazil, and hath given a natural history of that et Medic. country, imputes the healthfulness of the maritine Brasiliæ, coasts there, which he thinks compares with Europe, Apud Elz. to two things. 1. The constant breeze from the sea lying on the east of it, which, he saith, very much defends them from the excessive heat of the sun.
2. A ridge of mountains between that and Peru, which keep off the noisome vapours of the moorish grounds on the other side of them. In the night, he saith, the cold is so great, (even in the torrid zone,) that they are forced to keep fires to prevent the ill effects of it. Nichol. de Tecko, who was in Tucumania, saith, That Hist. Parathe part of it which is within the torrid zone is very c. 19. cold, by reason of the mountains there ; which, he saith, Purchas, evidently confutes the ancients' opinion concerning it. I. vii. c. 3. Andrew Battel mentions the high mountains about sect. 3. Angola, over which he marched, and found the air very cold. Ludolphus saith, The providence of God Ludolph. is much to be admired in the mountains of Ethiopia ; Æthiop.
1. i. c. 1.
quar. I. i.
1. i. c. 6.