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sooner turn Scepticks, than be able to imagine, that we can give any tolerable account of them. For when all is done, we know just enongh of them to acknowledge and admire the infinite Power and Wisdom and Goodness of God, and to be led to a stedfast Belief and Assurance of what he has reveal'd of himself, and of the World to come; that the invisible things of him from the creation of the world, may be clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, Rom. i. 23. How little is it, that we know of this Earth, where we live, and which we dote so much upon ? For by the least Calculation, it is above three thousand and five hundred Miles to the Center ; but the Art and Curiosity of Man has never reach'd, according to Mr. Boyle's account,
after all his Enquiries among Navigators and Miners, bove one mile or two at most downward (and that not in above three or four places) either into the Earth, or into the Sea: yet all Astronomers agree, as he afterwards observes, that the Earth is but a Physical Point , in comparison of the Starry Heaven. Of how little Extent then says he, muft our Knowledge be, which leaves us ignorant of so many things touching the vast Bodies, that are above us, and penetrates so little a may even into the Earth, that is beneath us, that it seems confined to but a small pare of the superficial part of a Physical Point. And to shame the Pride and 'Vanity of Mankind, the chiefest Discoveries in Philosophy, as he likewise observes, have been the Productions of Time and Chance, not of any Wisdom or Sagacity. Which is a remarkable ACknowledgment in a Person, who has oblig'd the World with so many wonderful Improvements in experimental Philosophy.
The Circulation of the Blood has been but lately found out, and was look'd upon as absurd at its first Discovery ; though now, what Man can doubt of it?
• Excellency of Theology, 8.4.
And some of the most common effects of Nature might seem as strange as any, if the frequency of them did not prevent our wonder. If (as ? Maimonides puts a cafe) we suppose a Man of never so good natural Parts, so brought up as to be ignorant of the manner how the several Species of Animals are preserved and propagated in the World, how many Scruples might he raise to himself concerning their Conception and Formation? Might he not object, that it is impossible, that the Infant should ever live, and be nourished, and grow in the Womb? And would he not offer abundance of Demonstrations to prove, that the Natural Birth of Mankind, and of all other Creatures, is utterly impossible? Our Saviour in his discourse with Nicodemus, answers his Doubts concerning the New Birth, by putting him in mind, that he was as little able to give an account of the Wind, and that he could not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; implying, that there is much less reason to doubt of things of a Spiritual Nature, because we are able to give no sufficient explication of them, when we are thus at a loss about the most common and obvious things in the World, John iii. 8.' And St. Paul confutes all Objections against the Resurrection by a like Argument, alledging, that as it would be intolerably absurd to deny or doubt of the growth of Corn, because it cannot perfectly be explained: so it is much more absurd, to deny or doubt of the Resurrection for no better reason, since supernatural things must be more obscure and harder to be understood by us than natural, i Côr. XV. 36.
Indeed, Infidelity could never be more inexcusable than in the present Age, when so niany Discoveries have been made in Natural Philosophy, which would have been thought as incredible to former Ages, as any thing perhaps that can be imagined, which is not a downright Contradiction. That Gravitating or Attractive Force, by which all Bodies act one upon another, at never so great a distance, even through a Vacuum of prodigious Extent, lately demonstrated by Mr. Newton; the Earth, together with the Planets, and the Sun and Stars being placed at such distances, and dispos’d of in such order, and in such a manner, as to maintain a perpetual balance and poise throughout the Universe, is such a Discovery, as nothing lefs than a Demonstration could have gained it any Belief. And this System of Nature being so lately discovered, and so wonderful, that no account can be given of it by any Hypothesis in Philosophy, but it must be refolved into the fole Power and good Pleasure of Almighty God, may be a caution against all Attempts of estimating the Divine Works and Dispensations by the Measures of Humane Reason. The vastnefs of the World's Extent is found to be fo prodigious, that it would exceed the Belief not only of the Vulgar, but of the greatest Philosophers, if undoubted Experiments did not assure us of the Truth of it. We are assured by Men of the best art and skill in those things, that every Fixt Star of the first magnitude, is above an hundred times bigger than the whole Globe of the Earth, and yet they appear less thro’the Telescopes, than they do to the naked Eye, and look no bigger than meer Specks or Physical Points of Light ; and the Sun, which is some millions of Miles nearer to us than the Fixt Stars, is by Mathematicians generally believed to be above an hundred and threescore times bigger than the Earth; and by the exactest Calculations, is eftimated to be eight or ten thousand times as big as the whole Earth, and (as Mr. Boyle thinks) may perhaps be found to be yet much vaster by farther Observations. The Earth is & computed
e Maimon. More Nevoch. Part 2. C. 18.
See Mr. Boyle, of the high Veneration Man's Intelle&t owes to God.
to be above Seventeen millions of German miles diftant from the Sun : And a Bullet carried with the fame fwiftness that it has when it is shot out of a great Gun, supposing it moved from the Earth to the Sun, would spend twenty five Years in its passage; to move from Jupiter to the Sun, it would require One hundred and twenty five Years; and from Saturn thither, Two hundred and fifty Years : and such a Bullet, by Mr. Huygens's computation, would spend almost Seven hundred thousand Years in its passage between us and the nearest of the Fixt Stars ; he speaks concerning the nearest of them, and then stands amaz'd to think, what a prodigious number besides there must be of those, which are placed so deep in the vast Spaces of Heaven, as to be as remote from these, as these are from the Sun. For, if with our bare Eye we can observe above a thousand, and with a Telescope can discover ten or twenty times as many, what bounds of number, says he, must we set to those, which are out of the reach even of these Assistances ! especially, if we consider the infinite Power of God. Really, when I have been reflecting thus with my Jelf, methought all our Arithmetick was nothing, and we are versed but in the very Rudiments of Numbers in comparison of this great Sum. For this requires an immense Treasury, not of twenty or thirty Figures only in our Decuple Progression, but of as many as there are grains of Sand upon
the Shore. And yet who can say, that even this 'number exceeds that of the Fixt Stars?
The Quantity of Motion in the World, is no less wonderful. For if the Earth move upon its own *Axis, a place situate under the Æquator must be carried with as swift a motion, as a Bullet shot out of a Cannon; and if the Earth stand still, and the Stars move round about it, a Fixt Star in the Æquator must move Fifty two thousand five hundred fifty five Miles in' a minute of an hour; which, if not more, is at
Mr. Boyle, ibid.
least Three thousand times faster than the motion of a Cannon Bullet : and the motion of the Fluid Matter interspers’d between the Earth and the Stars, must be answerably rapid. And yet all these prodigious Motions are so exa&ly proportioned and moderated, that, as that great Philosopher Mr. Boyle observes, no Watch, for a few hours, has ever gone fo regularly, as the whole world has been moved for so many Ages. And in the consideration of innumerable Instances of the stupendous Works of Nature, the Ingenuous, says he, confess their Ignorance, and the Confident betray theirs. A late Writer having observed from M. Huygens, that a Cannon Bullet would be Twenty five Years in passing from the Earth to the Sun, and consequently Fifty. Years in moving thro' the Diameter of the Sun's Orb; concludes, according - to the Proportion of the Diameter to the Circumference, that a Cannon Bullet would be about One hundred and fifty Years in performing the Circuit of the Earth's annual Motion; or that the Earth moves about One hundred and fifty times faster than a Cannon Bullet : Which would be rightly concluded, if the Earth moved in a perfect Circle. But then he adds, that this Orb being less than a Point, in comparison of the whole World's extent; if one could leave this Earth, and go on from any side of it in a Right Line to all Eternity, he might perhaps never come to the last of those Suns, which we call Fixt Stars. This is in effect to say, that there may be an infinite Number of Fixt Stars, or a Space containing an infinite Number of Miles: or that there may be such a Number of Fixt Stars, or of Miles, as is capable neither of Addition, nor of Substraction. So manifest a Contradiction there is , in supposing any thing Infinite but God himself.
But if any Man shall think these Calculations extravagant, (as Discoveries in Philosophy are commonly thought, by such as are little conversant in it,) let