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ture, and differ only in size and shape? saith that CHAP. excellent person, who there with a great deal of elo-quence lays open the folly of the atomical philosophy, Θαυμαστή γε των ατόμων η δημοκρατία, δεξιουμένων τε αλλήλας Ιb. p. 776. των φίλων και περιπλεκομένων, εις μίαν τε κατασκηνούν συνοικίαν émelyouévwv. It is a rare democracy of atoms, saith he, where the friendly atoms meet and embrace each other, and from thenceforward live in the closest society together.
2. Not only the variety, but the exact order and beauty of the world, is a thing unaccountable by the atomical hypothesis. Were the whole world still a Hesiod's chaos, (from the consideration of which Dio- Laert. 1. x. genes Laertius tells us Epicurus began to philosophize,) we might probably believe an agitation of particles (supposing matter created) might settle it in such a confused manner; but that there should be nothing else but a blind impetus of atoms to produce those vast and most regular motions of the heavenly bodies, to order the passage of the sun for so great conveniency of nature, and for the alternate succession of the seasons of the year; which should cut such channels for the ocean, and keep that vast body of the water (whose surface is higher than the earth) from overflowing it; which should furnish the earth with such seminal and prolific principles, as to provide food and nourishment for those animals which live upon it, and furnish out every thing necessary for the comfort and delight of man's life; to believe, I say, that all these things came only from a blind and fortuitous concourse of atoms, is the most prodigious piece of credulity and folly that human nature is subject to. But this part which concerns the order and beauty of the parts of the universe, and the argument thence, that it could be no blind fortuitous principle, but an infinitely wise God, hath been
BOOK so fully and judiciously handled by a learned person
already, that I shall rather choose to refer the reader Dr.H. More to his discourse, than insist any more upon it. Autidote
3. The production of mankind is a thing which the atomists are most shamefully puzzled with, as well as the formation of the internal parts of man's body; of which I have already spoken in the precedent chapter. It would pity one to see what lamentable shifts the atomists are put to, to find out a way for the production of mankind, viz. that our teeming mother the earth at last cast forth some kind of bags like wombs upon the surface of the earth, and these by degrees breaking, at last came out children, which were nourished by a kind of juice of the earth like milk, by which they were brought up till they came to be men. Oh what will not atheists believe rather than
a Deity and Providence! But lest we should seem to Censor de wrong the atomists, hear what Censorinus saith of Die Nat.
Epicurus ; Is enim credidit, limo calefacto uteros nescio quos radicibus terræ cohærentes primum increvisse, et infantibus ex se editis ingenitum lactis humorem naturam ministrantem præbuisse ; quos ita educatos et adultos genus hominum propagasse. But because Lucretius may be thought to speak more impartially in the case, how rarely doth he describe
Lucret. v. 806.
Crescebant uteri terræ radicibus apti;
Had Lucretius been only a poet, this might have CHAP. passed for a handsomely described fable; but to deli- ver it for a piece of philosophy, makes it the greater mythology. That man's body was formed out of the earth, we believe, because we have reason so to do; but that the earth should cast forth such folliculi, as he expresseth it, and that men should be brought up in such a way as he describes, deserves a place among the most incredible and poetic fables. But if poets must be credited, how much more like a man did he speak, who told us, Natus homo est ; sive hunc divino semine fecit
tam. 1. i. Ille opifex rerum, Mundi melioris origo;
Finxit in effigiem moderantum cuncta Deorum.
Ταύτ' ειδώς σοφός ίσθι, μάτην δ' 'Επίκουρον έασον
1. i. c. 15. Learn to be wise; let Epicurus chase
To find his atoms, and his empty space. I come now to the last hypothesis mentioned, which XVII. undertakes to give an account of the origin of the universe, from the mere mechanical laws of motion and
BOOK matter; which is the hypothesis of the late famous
French philosopher, Mr. Des Cartes. For although there be as much reason as charity to believe that he never intended his hypothesis as a foundation of atheism, having made it so much his business to assert the existence of a Deity, and immateriality of the soul; yet because it is apt to be abused to that end by persons atheistically disposed, because of his ascribing so much to the power of matter, we shall therefore so far consider it, as it undertakes to give an account of the origin of
the universe without a Deity. His hypothesis therefore Cartesii is briefly this. He takes it for granted that all the b. . art. matter of the world was at first of one uniform na46, &c.
ture, divisible into innumerable parts, and divided into many, which were all in motion : from hence he supposeth, 1. That all the matter, of which the universe is composed, was at first divided into equal particles of an indifferent size, and that they had all such a motion as is now found in the world. 2. That all those particles were not at first spherical, because many such little globes joined together will not fill up a continued space, but that of whatever figure they were at first, they would by continual motion become spherical, because they would have various circular motions ; for seeing that at first they were moved with so great force that one particle would be disjoined from the other, the same force continuing would serve to cut off all angles which are supposed in them, by their frequent occursions against each other; and so when the angles were cut off, they would become spherical. 3. He supposeth that no space is left empty; but when those round particles being joined, leave some intervals between them, there are some more subtle particles of matter, which are ready to fill up those void spaces which arise from those angles which
were cut off from the other particles to make them CHAP. spherical ; which fragments of particles are so little, — and acquire thereby such a celerity of motion, that by the force of that they will be divided into innumerable little fragments, and so will fill up all those spaces which other particles could not enter in at. 4. That those particles, which fill up the intervals between the sphèrical ones, have not all of them the same celerity of motion, because some of them are more undivided than others are, which filled up the space between three globular particles when their angles were cut off; and therefore those particles must necessarily have very angular figures, which are unfit for motion, and thence it comes to pass that such particles easily stick together, and transfer the greatest part of their motion upon those other particles which are less, and therefore have a swifter motion ; and because these particles are to pass through such triangular spaces which lie in the midst of three globular particles touching each other, therefore he supposeth them, as to their breadth and depth, to be of a triangular figure; but because these particles are somewhat long, and the globular particles, through which they pass with so swift notion, have their rotation about the poles of the heavens, thence he supposes that those triangular particles come to be wreathed. Now, from these things being thus supposed, Des Cartes hath ingenuously, and consonantly to his principles, undertaken to give an account of the most noted phenomena of the world; and those three sorts of particles mentioned he makes to be his three elements. The first is that subtle matter which was supposed to arise from the cutting off the angles of the greater particles; and of this he tells us the sun and fixed stars consist, as those particles of that subtle matter being in continual motion