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Philosophical Letters: OR, MODEST REFLECTIONS Upon some Opinions in NATVRAL
PHILOSOPHY, MAINTAINED By several Famous and Learned Authors of this Age,
Expressed by way of LETTERS: By the Thrice Noble, Illustrious, and Excellent
LONDON, Printed in the Year, 1664.
Philosophical Letters.
TIs Supernatural, nay 'tis Divine,
To write whole Volumes ere I can a line.
I'mplor'd the Lady Muses, those fine things,
But they have broken all their Fidle-strings
And cannot help me; Nay, then I did try
Their Helicon, but that is grown all dry:
Then on Parnassus I did make a sally,
But that's laid level, like a Bowling-alley;
Invoked my Muse, found it a Pond, a Dream,
To your eternal Spring, and running Stream;
So clear and fresh, with Wit and Fancy store,
As then despair did bid me write no more.
W. Newcastle.
My Noble Lord,
ALthough you have always encouraged me in my harmless pastime of Writing, yet
was I afraid that your Lordship would be angry with me for Writing and
Publishing this Book, by reason it is a Book of Controversies, of which I have
heard your Lordship say, That Controversies and Disputations make Enemies of
Friends, and that such Disputations and Controversies as these, are a
pedantical kind of quarrelling, not becoming Noble Persons. But your Lordship
will be pleased to consider in my behalf, that it is impossible for one Person
to be of every one's Opinion, if their opinions be different, and that my
Opinions in Philosophy, being new, and never thought of, at least not divulged
by any, but my self, are quite different from others: For the Ground of my
Opinions is, that there is not only a Sensitive, but also a Rational Life and
Knowledge, and so a double Perception in all Creatures: And thus my opinions
being new, are not so easily understood as those, that take up several pieces
of old opinions, of which they patch up a new Philosophy, (if new may be made
of old things,) like a Suit made up of old Stuff bought at the Brokers:
Wherefore to find out a Truth, at least a Probability in Natural Philosophy by
a new and different way from other Writers, and to make this way more known,
easy and intelligible, I was in a manner forced to write this Book; for I have
not contradicted those Authors in any thing, but what concerns and is opposite
to my opinions; neither do I any thing, but what they have done themselves, as
being common amongst them to contradict each other: which may as well be
allowable, as for Lawyers to plead at the Barr in opposite Causes. For as
Lawyers are not Enemies to each other, but great Friends, all agreeing from the
Barr, although not at the Barr: so it is with Philosophers, who make their
Opinions as their Clients, not for Wealth, but for Fame, and therefore have no
reason to become Enemies to each other, by being Industrious in their
Profession. All which considered, was the cause of Publishing this Book;
wherein although I dissent from their opinions, yet doth not this take off the
least of the respect and esteem I have of their Merits and Works. But if your
Lordship do but pardon me, I care not if I be condemned by others; for your
Favour is more then the World to me, for which all the actions of my Life shall
be devoted and ready to serve you, as becomes,
My LORD, Your Lordships honest Wife, and humble Servant, M. N.
Most Noble, Ingenious, Learned, and Industrious Students.
BE not offended, that I dedicate to you this weak and infirm work of mine; for
though it be not an offering worthy your acceptance, yet it is as much as I can
present for this time; and I wish from my Soul, I might be so happy as to have
some means or ways to express my Gratitude for your Magnificent favours to me,
having done me more honour then ever I could expect, or give sufficient thanks
for: But your Generosity is above all Gratitude, and your Favours above all
Merit, like as your Learning is above Contradiction: And I pray God your
University may flourish to the end of the World, for the Service of the Church,
the Truth of Religion, the Salvation of Souls, the Instruction of Youth, the
preservation of Health, and prolonging of Life, and for the increase of
profitable Arts and Sciences: so as your several studies may be, like several
Magistrates, united for the good and benefit of the whole Common-wealth, nay,
the whole World. May Heaven prosper you, the World magnify you, and Eternity
record your fame; Which are the hearty wishes and prayers of,
Your most obliged Servant M. NEWCASTLE.
Worthy Readers,
I Did not write this Book out of delight, love or humour to contradiction; for
I would rather praise, then contradict any Person or Persons that are
ingenious; but by reason Opinion is free, and may pass without a pass-port, I
took the liberty to declare my own opinions as other Philosophers do, and to
that purpose I have here set down several famous and learned Authors opinions,
and my answers to them in the form of Letters, which was the easiest way for me
to write; and by so doing, I have done that, which I would have bone unto me;
for I am as willing to have my opinions contradicted, as I do contradict
others: for I love Reason so well, that whosoever can bring most rational and
probable arguments, shall have my vote, although against my own opinion. But
you may say, If contradictions were frequent, there would be no agreement
amongst Mankind. I answer; It is very true: Wherefore Contradictions are better
in general Books, then in particular Families, and in Schools better then in
Public States, and better in Philosophy then in Divinity. All which
considered, I shun, as much as I can, not to discourse or write of either
Church or State. But I desire so much favour, or rather Justice of you, Worthy
Readers, as not to interpret my objections or answers any other ways then
against several opinions in Philosophy; for I am confident there is not any
body, that doth esteem, respect and honour learned and ingenious Persons more
then I do: Wherefore judge me neither to be of a contradicting humour, nor of a
vain-glorious mind for dissenting from other men's opinions, but rather that it
is done out of love to Truth, and to make my own opinions the more
intelligible, which cannot better be done then by arguing and comparing other
men's opinions with them. The Authors whose opinions I mention, I have read, as
I found them printed, in my native Language, except Des Cartes, who being in
Latin, I had some few places translated to me out of his works; and I must
confess, that since I have read the works of these learned men, I understand
the names and terms of Art a little better then I did before; but it is not so
much as to make me a Scholar, nor yet so little, but that, had I read more
before I did begin to write my other Book called Philosophical Opinions, they
would have been more intelligible; for my error was, I began to write so early,
that I had not lived so long as to be able to read many Authors; I cannot say,
I divulged my opinions as soon as I had conceived them, but yet I divulged them
too soon to have them artificial and methodical, But since what is past, cannot
be recalled, I must desire you to excuse those faults, which were committed for
want of experience and learning. As for School-learning, had I applied my self
to it, yet I am confident I should never have arrived to any; for I am so
incapable of Learning, that I could never attain to the knowledge of any other
Language but my native, especially by the Rules of Art: wherefore I do not
repent that I spent not my time in Learning, for I consider, it is better to
write wittily then learnedly; nevertheless, I love and esteem Learning,
although I am not capable of it. But you may say, I have expressed neither Wit
nor Learning in my Writings: Truly, if not, I am the more sorry for it; but
selfconceit, which is natural to mankind, especially to our Sex, did flatter
and secretly persuade me that my Writings had Sense and Reason, Wit and
Variety; but Judgment being not called to Counsel, I yielded to Selfconceits
flattery, and so put out my Writings to be Printed as fast as I could, without
being reviewed or corrected: Neither did I fear any censure, for Selfconceit
had persuaded me, I should be highly applauded; wherefore I made such haste,
that I had three or four Books printed presently after each other.
But to return to this present Work, I must desire you, worthy Readers, to read
first my Book called Philosophical and Physical Opinions, before you censure
this, for this Book is but an explanation of the former, wherein is contained
the Ground of my Opinions, and those that will judge well of a Building, must
first consider the Foundation; to which purpose I will repeat some few Heads
and Principles of my Opinions, which are these following: First, That Nature is
Infinite, and the Eternal Servant of God: Next, That she is Corporeal, and
partly self-moving, dividable and composable; that all and every particular
Creature, as also all perception and variety in Nature, is made by corporeal
self-motion, which I name sensitive and rational matter, which is life and
knowledge, sense and reason. Again, That these sensitive and rational parts of
matter are the purest and subtilest parts of Nature, as the active parts, the
knowing, understanding and prudent parts, the designing, architectonical and
working parts, nay, the Life and Soul of Nature, and that there is not any
Creature or part of nature without this Life and Soul; and that not only
Animals, but also Vegetables, Minerals and Elements, and what more is in
Nature, are endued with this Life and Soul, Sense and Reason: and because this
Life and Soul is a corporeal Substance, it is both dividable and composable;
for it divides and removes parts from parts, as also composes and joins parts
to parts, and works in a perpetual motion without rest; by which actions not
any Creature can challenge a particular Life and Soul to it self, but every
Creature may have by the dividing and composing nature of this self-moving
matter more or fewer natural souls and lives.
These and the like actions of corporeal Nature or natural Matter you may find
more at large described in my aforementioned Book of Philosophical Opinions,
and more clearly repeated and explained in this present. Tis true, the way of
arguing I use, is common, but the Principles, Heads and Grounds of my Opinions
are my own, not borrowed or stolen in the least from any; and the first time I
divulged them, was in the year 1653. since which time I have reviewed, reformed
and reprinted them twice; for at first, as my Conceptions were new and my own,
so my Judgment was young, and my Experience little, so that I had not so much
knowledge as to declare them artificially and methodically; for as I mentioned
before, I was always unapt to learn by the Rules of Art. But although they may
be defective for want of Terms of Art, and artificial expressions, yet I am
sure they are not defective for want of Sense and Reason: And if any one can
bring more Sense and Reason to disprove these my opinions, I shall not repine
or grieve, but either acknowledge my error, if I find my self in any, or
defend them as rationally as I can, if it be but done justly and honestly,
without deceit, spite, or malice; for I connot choose but acquaint you, Noble
Readers, I have been informed, that if I should be answered in my Writings, it
would be done rather under the name and cover of a Woman, then of a Man, the
reason is, because no man dare or will set his name to the contradiction of a
Lady; and to confirm you the better herein, there has one Chapter of my Book
called The Worlds Olio, treating of a Monastical Life, been answered already in
a little Pamphlet, under the name of a woman, although she did little towards
it; wherefore it being a Hermaphroditical Book, I judged it not worthy taking
notice of. The like shall I do to any other that will answer this present work
of mine, or contradict my opinions indirectly with fraud and deceit. But I
cannot conceive why it should be a disgrace to any man to maintain his own or
others opinions against a woman, so it be done with respect and civility; but
to become a cheat by dissembling, and quit the Breeches for a Petticoat, merely
out of spite and malice, is base, and not fit for the honour of a man, or the
masculine sex. Besides, it will easily be known; for a Philosopher or
Philosopheress is not produced on a sudden. Wherefore, although I do not care,
nor fear contradiction, yet I desire it may be done without fraud or deceit,
spite and malice; and then I shall be ready to defend my opinions the best I
can, whilst I live, and after I am dead, I hope those that are just and
honourable will also defend me from all sophistry, malice, spite and envy, for
which Heaven will bless them. In the mean time, Worthy Readers, I should
rejoice to see that my Works are acceptable to you, for if you be not partial,
you will easily pardon those faults you find, when you do consider both my sex
and breeding; for which favour and justice, I shall always remain,
Your most obliged Servant, M. N.
Philosophical Letters.
SECT. 1.
YOu have been pleased to send me the Works of four Famous and Learned Authors,
to wit, of two most Famous Philosophers of our Age, Des Gartes, and Hobbs, and
of that Learned Philosopher and Divine Dr. More, as also of that Famous
Physician and Chemist Van Helmont. Which Works you have sent me not only to
peruse, but also to give my judgment of them, and to send you word by the usual
way of our Correspondence, which is by Letters, how far, and wherein I do
dissent from these Famous Authors, their Opinions in Natural Philosophy. To
tell you truly, Madam, your Commands did at first much affright me, for it did
appear, as if you had commanded me to get upon a high Rock, and fling my self
into the Sea, where neither a Ship, nor a Plank, nor any kind of help was near
to rescue me, and save my life; but that I was forced to sink, by reason I
cannot swim: So I having no Learning nor Art to assist me in this dangerous
undertaking, thought, I must of necessity perish under the rough censures of my
Readers, and be not only accounted a fool for my labour, but a vain and
presumptuous person, to undertake things surpassing the ability of my
performance; but on the other side I considered first, that those Worthy
Authors, were they my censurers, would not deny me the same liberty they take
themselves; which is, that I may dissent from their Opinions, as well as they
dissent from others, and from amongst themselves: And if I should express more
Vanity then Wit, more Ignorance then Knowledge, more Folly then Discretion, it
being according to the Nature of our Sex, I hoped that my Masculine Readers
would civilly excuse me, and my Female Readers could not justly condemn me.
Next I considered with my self, that it would be a great advantage for my Book
called Philosophical Opinions, as to make it more perspicuous and intelligible
by the opposition of other Opinions, since two opposite things placed near each
other, are the better discerned; for I must confess, that when I did put forth
my Philosophical Work at first, I was not so well skilled in the Terms or
Expressions usual in Natural Philosophy; and therefore for want of their
knowledge, I could not declare my meaning so plainly and clearly as I ought to
have done, which may be a sufficient argument to my Readers, that I have not
read heretofore any Natural Philosophers, and taken some Light from them; but
that my Opinions did merely issue from the Fountain of my own Brain, without
any other help or assistance. Wherefore since for want of proper Expressions,
my named Book of Philosophy was accused of obscurity and intricacy, I thought
your Commands would be a means to explain and clear it the better, although not
by an Artificial way, as by Logical Arguments or Mathematical Demonstrations,
yet by expressing my Sense and Meaning more properly and clearly then I have
done heretofore: But the chief reason of all was, the Authority of your
Command, which did work so powerfully with me, that I could not resist,
although it were to the disgrace of my own judgment and wit; and therefore I am
fully resoved now to go on as far, and as well as the Natural strength of my
Reason will reach: but since neither the strength of my Body, nor of my
understanding, or wit, is able to mark every line, or every word of their
works, and to argue upon them, I shall only pick out the ground Opinions of
the aforementioned Authors, and those which do directly dissent from mine, upon
which I intend to make some few Reflections, according to the ability of my
Reason; and I shall merely go upon the bare Ground of Natural Philosophy, and
not mix Divinity with it, as many Philosophers use to do, except it be in those
places, where I am forced by the Authors Arguments to reflect upon it, which
yet shall be rather with an expression of my ignorance, then a positive
declaration of my opinion or judgment thereof; for I think it not only an
absurdity, but an injury to the holy Profession of Divinity to draw her to the
Proofs in Natural Philosophy; wherefore I shall strictly follow the Guidance of
Natural Reason, and keep to my own ground and Principles as much as I can;
which that I may perform the better, I humbly desire the help and assistance of
your Favour, that according to that real and entire Affection you bear to me,
you would be pleased to tell me unfeignedly, if I should chance to err or
contradict but the least probability of truth in any thing; for I honour Truth
so much, as I bow down to its shadow with the greatest respect and reverence;
and I esteem those persons most, that love and honour Truth with the same zeal
and fervor, whether they be Ancient or Modern Writers.
Thus, Madam, although I am destitute of the help of Arts, yet being supported
by your Favour and wise Directions, I shall not fear any smiles of scorn, or
words of reproach; for I am confident you will defend me against all the
mischievous and poisonous Teeth of malicious detractors. I shall besides,
implore the assistance of the Sacred Church, and the Learned Schools, to take
me into their Protection, and shelter my weak endeavours: For though I am but
an ignorant and simple Woman, yet I am their devoted and honest Servant, who
shall never quit the respect and honour due to them, but live and die theirs, as
MADAM, Your Ladyships humble and faithful Servant.
BEfore I begin my Reflections upon the Opinions of those Authors you sent me,
I will answer first your Objection concerning the Ground of my Philosophy,
which is Infinite Matter: For you were pleased to mention, That you could not
well apprehend, how it was possible, that many Infinites could be contained in
one Infinite, since one Infinite takes up all Place Imaginary, leaving no room
for any other; Also, if one Infinite should be contained in an other Infinite,
that which contains, must of necessity be bigger then that which is contained,
whereby the Nature of Infinite would be lost; as having no bigger nor less, but
being of an Infinite quantity.
First of all, Madam, there is no such thing as All in Infinite, nor any such
thing as All the Place, for Infinite is not circumscribed nor limited: Next, as
for that one Infinite cannot be in an other Infinite, I answer, as well as one
Finite can be in another Finite; for one Creature is not only composed of
Parts, but one Part lies within another, and one Figure within another, and one
Motion within another. As for example, Animal Kind, have they not Internal and
External Parts, and so Internal and External Motions? And are not Animals,
Vegetables and Minerals enclosed in the Elements? But as for Infinites, you
must know, Madam, that there are several kinds of Infinites. For there is
first Infinite in quantity or bulk, that is such a big and great Corporeal
substance, which exceeds all bounds and limits of measure, and may be called
Infinite in Magnitude. Next there is Infinite in Number, which exceeds all
numeration and account, and may be termed Infinite in Multitude; Again there is
Infinite in Quality; as for example, Infinite degrees of softness, hardness,
thickness, thinness, heat and cold, c. also Infinite degrees of Motion, and so
Infinite Creations, Infinite Compositions, Dissolutions, Contractions,
Dilations, Digestions, Expulsions; also Infinite degrees of Strength, Knowledge,
Power, c. Besides there is Infinite in Time, which is properly named Eternal.
Now, when I say, that there is but one Infinite, and that Infinite is the Only
Matter, I mean infinite in bulk and quantity. And this Only matter, because it
is Infinite in bulk, must of necessity be divisible into infinite Parts, that
is, infinite in number, not in bulk or quantity; for though Infinite Parts in
number make up one infinite in quantity, yet they considered in themselves,
cannot be said Infinite, because every Part is of a certain limited and
circumscribed Figure, Quantity and Proportion, whereas Infinite hath no limits
nor bounds: besides it is against the nature of a single Part to be Infinite,
or else there would be no difference between the Part and the whole, the nature
of a Part requiring that it must be less then its whole, but all what is less
hath a determined quantity, and so becomes finite. Therefore it is no absurdity
to say, that an Infinite may have both Finite and Infinite Parts, Finite in
Quantity, Infinite in Number. But those that say, if there were an Infinite
Body, that each of its Parts must of necessity be Infinite too, are much
mistaken; for it is a contradiction in the same Terms to say One Infinite Part,
for the very Name of a Part includes a Finiteness, but take all parts of an
Infinite Body together, then you may rightly say they are infinite. Nay Reason
will inform you plainly, for example: Imagine an Infinite number of grains of
Corn in one heap, surely if the number of Grains be Infinite, you must grant of
necessity the bulk or body, which contains this infinite number of grains, to
be Infinite too; to wit, Infinite in quantity, and yet you will find each Grain
in it self to be Finite. But you will say, an Infinite Body cannot have parts,
for if it be Infinite, it must be Infinite in Quantity, and therefore of one
bulk, and one continued quantity, but Infinite parts in number make a discrete
quantity. I answer it is all one; for a Body of a continued quantity may be
divided and severed into fo many Parts either actually, or mentally in our
Conceptions or thoughts; besides nature is one continued Body, for there is no
such Vacuum in Nature, as if her Parts did hang together like a linked Chain;
nor can any of her Parts subsist single and by it self, but all the Parts of
Infinite Nature, although they are in one continued Piece, yet are they several
and discerned from each other by their several Figures. And by this, I hope,
you will understand my meaning, when I say, that several Infinites may be
included or comprehended in one Infinite; for by the one Infinite, I understand
Infinite in Quantity, which includes Infinite in Number, that is Infinite
Parts; then Infinite in Quality, as Infinite degrees of Rarity, Density,
Swiftness, Slowness, Hardness, Softness, c. Infinite degrees of Motions,
Infinite Creations, Dissolutions, Contractions, Dilations, Alterations, c.
Infinite degres of Wisdom, Strength, Power, c. and lastly Infinite in Time or
Duration, which is Eternity, for Infinite and Eternal are inseparable; All
which Infinites are contained in the Only Matter as many Letters are contained
in one Word, many Words in one Line, many Lines in one Book. But you will say
perhaps, if I attribute an Infinite Wisdom, Strength, Power, Knowledge, c. to
Nature; then Nature is in all coequal with God, for God has the same
Attributes: I answer, Not at all; for I desire you to understand me rightly,
when I speak of Infinite Nature, and when I speak of the Infinite Deity, sor
there is great difference between them, for it is one thing a Deitical or
Divine Infinite, and another a Natural Infinite; You know, that God is a
Spirit, and not a bodily substance, again that Nature is a Body, and not a
Spirit, and therefore none of these Infinites can obstruct or hinder each
other, as being different in their kinds, for a Spirit being no Body, requires
no place, Place being an attribute which only belongs to a Body, and therefore
when I call Nature Infinite, I mean an Infinite extension of Body, containing
an Infinite number of Parts; but what doth an Infinite extension of Body hinder
the Infiniteness of God, as an Immaterial Spiritual being? Next, when I do
attribute an Infinite Power, Wisdom, Knowledge, c. to Nature, I do not
understand a Divine, but a Natural Infinite Wisdom and Power, that is, such as
properly belongs to Nature, and not a supernatural, as is in god; For Nature
having Infinite parts of Infinite degrees, must also have an Infinite natural
wisdom to order her natural Infinite parts and actions, and consequently an
Infinite natural power to put her wisdom into act; and so of the rest of her
attributes, which are all natural: But Gods Attributes being supernatural,
transcend much these natural infinite attributes; for God, being the God of
Nature, has not only Natures Infinite Wisdom and Power, but besides, a
Supernatural and Incomprehensible Infinite Wisdom and Power; which in no ways
do hinder each other, but may very well subsist together. Neither doth Gods
Infinite Justice and his Infinite Mercy hinder each other; for Gods Attributes,
though they be all several Infinites, yet they make but one Infinite.
But you will say, If Nature's Wisdom and Power extends no further then to
natural things, it is not Infinite, but limited and restrained. I answer, That
doth not take away the Infiniteness of Nature; for there may be several kinds
of Infinites, as I related before, and one may be as perfect an Infinite as the
other in its kind. For example: Suppose a Line to be extended infinitely in
length, you will call this Line Infinite, although it have not an Infinite
breadth: Also, if an infinite length and breadth join together, you will call
it, an Infinite Superficies, although it wants an infinite depth; and yet every
Infinite, in its kind, is a Perfect Infinite, if I may call it so: Why then
shall not Nature also be said to have an Infinite Natural Wisdom and Power,
although she has not a Divine Wisdom and Power? Can we say, Man hath not a free
Will, because he hath not an absolute free Will, as God hath? Wherefore, a
Natural Infinite, and the Infinite God, may well stand together, without any
opposition or hinderance, or without any detracting or derogating from the
Omnipotency and Glory of God; for God remains still the God of Nature, and is
an Infinite Immaterial Purity, when as Nature is an Infinite Corporeal
Substance; and Immaterial and Material cannot obstruct each other. And though
an Infinite Corporeal cannot make an Infinite Immaterial, yet an Infinite
Immaterial can make an Infinite Corporeal, by reason there is as much
difference in the Power as in the Purity: And the disparity between the Natural
and Divine Infinite is such, as they cannot join, mix, and work together,
unless you do believe that Divine Actions can have allay.
But you may say, Purity belongs only to natural things, and none but natural
bodies can be said purified, but God exceeds all Purity. 'Tis true: But if
there were infinite degrees of Purity in Matter, Matter might at last become
Immaterial, and so from an Infinite Material turn to an Infinite Immaterial,
and from Natrue to be God: A great, but an impossible Change. For I do verily
believe, that there can be but one Omnipotent God, and he cannot admit of
addition, or diminution; and that which is Material cannot be Immaterial, and
what is Immaterial cannot become Material, I mean, so, as to change their
natures; for Nature is what God was pleased she should be; and will be what she
was, until God be pleased to make her otherwise. Wherefore there can be no new
Creation of matter, motion, or figure; nor any annihilation of any matter,
motion, or figure in Nature, unless God do create a new Nature: For the
changing of Matter into several particular Figures, doth not prove an
annihilation of particular Figures; nor the cessation of particular Motions an
annihilation of them: Neither doth the variation of the Only Matter produce an
annihilation of any part of Matter, nor the variation of figures and motions of
Matter cause an alteration in the nature of Only Matter: Wherefore there
cannot be new Lives, Souls or Bodies in Nature; for, could there be any thing
new in Nature, or any thing annihilated, there would not be any stability in
Nature, as a continuance of every kind and sort of Creatures, but there would
be a confusion between the new and old matter, motions, and figures, as between
old and new Nature; In truth, it would be like new Wine in old Vessels, by
which all would break into disorder. Neither can supernatural and natural
effects be mixed together, no more then material and immaterial things or
beings: Therefore it is probable, God has ordained Nature to work in herself by
his Leave, Will, and Free Gift. But there have been, and are still strange and
erroneous Opinions, and great differences amongst Natural Philosophers,
concerning the Principles of Natural things; some will have them Atoms, others
will have the first Principles to be Salt, Sulphur and Mercury; some will have
them to be the four Elements, as Fire, Air, Water, and Earth; and others will
have but one of these Elements; also some will have Gas and Blas, Ferments,
Idea's, and the like; but what they believe to be Principles and Causes of
natural things, are only Effects; for in all Probability it appears to humane
sense and reason, that the cause of every particular material Creature is the
only and Infinite Matter, which has Motions and Figures inseparably united;
for Matter, Motion and Figure, are but one thing, individable in its Nature.
And as for Immaterial Spirits, there is surely no such thing in Infinite
Nature, to wit, so as to be Parts of Nature; for Nature is altogether Material,
but this opinion proceeds from the separation or abstraction of Motion form
Matter, viz. that man thinks matter and motion to be dividable from each other,
and believes motion to be a thing by its self, naming it an Imaterial thing,
which has a being, but not a bodily substance: But various and different
effects do not prove a different Matter or Cause, neither do they prove an
unsettled Cause, only the variety of Effects hath obscured the Cause from the
several parts, which makes Particular Creatures partly Ignorant, and partly
knowing. But in my opinion, Nature is material, and not any thing in Nature,
what belongs to her, is immaterial; but whatsoever is Immaterial, is
Supernatural, Therefore Motions, Forms, Thoughts, Ideas, Conceptions,
Sympathies, Antipathies, Accidents, Qualities, as also Natural Life, and Soul,
are all Material: And as for Colours, Scents, Light, Sound, Heat, Cold, and the
like, those that believe them not to be substances or material things, surely
their brain or heart (take what place you will for the forming of Conceptions)
moves very Irregularly, and they might as well say, Our sensitive Organs are
not material; for what Objects soever, that are subject to our senses, cannot
in sense be denied to be Corporeal, when as those things that are not subject
to our senses, can be conceived in reason to be Immaterial? But some
Philosophers striving to express their wit, obstruct reason; and drawing
Divinity to prove Sense and Reason, weaken Faith so, as their mixed Divine
Philosophy becomes mere Poetical Fictions, and Romancical expressions, making
material Bodies immaterial Spirits, and immaterial Spirits material Bodies; and
some have conceived some things neither to be Material nor Immaterial, but
between both. Truly, Madam, I wish their Wits had been less, and their
Judgments more, as not to jumble Natural and Supernatural things together, but
to distinguish either clearly, for such Mixtures are neither Natural nor
Divine; But as I said, the Confufion comes from their too nice abstractions,
and from the separation of Figure and Motion from Matter, as not conceiving
them individable; but if God, and his servant Nature were as Intricate and
Confuse in their Works, as Men in their Understandings and Words, the Universe
and Production of all Creatures would soon be without Order and Government, so
as there would be a horrid and Eternal War both in Heaven, and in the World,
and so pitying their troubled Brains, and wishing them the Light of Reason,
that they may clearly perceive the Truth, I rest
MADAM, Your real Friend and faithful Servant.
IT seems you are offended at my Opinion, that Nature is Eternal without
beginning, which, you say, is to make her God, or at least coeqnal with God;
But, if you apprehend my meaning rightly, you will say, I do not: For first,
God is an Immaterial and Spiritual Infinite Being, which Propriety God cannot
give away to any Creature, nor make another God in Essence like to him, for
Gods Attributes are not communicable to any Creature; Yet this doth not hinder,
that God should not make Infinite and Eternal Matter, for that is as easy to
him, as to make a Finite Creature, Infinite Matter being quite of another
Nature then God is, to wit, Corporeal, when God is Incorporeal, the difference
whereof I have declared in my former Letter. But as for Nature, that it cannot
be Eternal without beginning, because God is the Creator and Cause of it, and
that the Creator must be before the Creature, as the Cause before the Effect,
so, that it is impossible for Nature to be without a beginning; if you will
speak naturally, as human reason guides you, and bring an Argument concluding
from the Priority of the Cause before the Effect, give me leave to tell you,
that God is not tied to Natural Rules, but that he can do beyond our
Understanding, and therefore he is neither bound up to time, as to be before,
for if we will do this, we must not allow, that the Eternal Son of God is
Coeternal with the Father, because nature requires a Father to exist before the
Son, but in God is no time, but all Eternity; and if you allow, that God hath
made some Creatures, as Supernatural Spirits, to live Eternally, why should he
not as well have made a Creature from all Eternity? for Gods making is not our
making, he needs no Priority of Time. But you may say, the Comparison of the
Eternal Generation of the Son of God is Mystical and Divine, and not to be
applied to natural things: I answer, The action by which God created the World
or made Nature, was it natural of supernatural? surely you will say it was a
Supernatural and God-like action, why then will you apply Natural Rules to a
God-like and Supernatural Action? for what Man knows, how and when God created
Nature? You will say, the Scripture doth teach us that, for it is not Six
thousand years, when God created this World. I answer, the holy Scripture
informs us only of the Creation of this Visible World, but not of Nature and
natural Matter; for I firmly believe according to the Word of God, that this
World has been Created, as is described by Moses, but what is that to natural
Matter? There may have been worlds before, as many are of the opinion that
there have been men before Adam, and many amongst Divines do believe, that
after the destruction of this World God will Create a new World again, as a new
Heaven, and a new Earth; and if this be probable, or at least may be believed
without any prejudice to the holy Scripture, why may it not be probably
believed that there have been other worlds before this visible World? for
nothing is impossible with God; and all this doth derogate nothing from the
Honour and Glory of God, but rather increases his Divine Power. But as for the
Creation of this present World, it is related, that there was first a rude and
indigested Heap, or Chaos, without form, void and dark; and God said, Let it be
light; Let there be a Firmament in the midst of the Waters, and let the Waters
under the Heaven be gathered together, and let the dry Land appear; Let the
Earth bring forth Grass, the Herb yielding seed, and the Fruit-tree yielding
Fruit after its own kind; and let there be Lights in the Firmament, the one to
rule the Day, and the other the Night; and let the Waters bring forth
abundantly the moving Creature that hath life; and let the Earth bring forth
living Creatures after its kind; and at last God said, Let us make Man, and
all what was made, God saw it was good. Thus all was made by Gods Command, and
who executed his Command but the Material servant of God, Nature? which ordered
her self-moving matter into such several Figures as God commanded, and God
approved of them. And thus, Madam, I verily believe the Creation of the World,
and that God is the Sole and omnipotent Creator of Heaven and Earth, and of all
Creatures therein; nay, although I believe Nature to have been from Eternity,
yet I believe also that God is the God and Author of Nature, and has made
Nature and natural Matter in a way and manner proper to his Omnipotency and
Incomprehensible by us: I will pass by natural Arguments and Proofs, as not
belonging to such an Omnipotent Action; as for example, how the nature of
relative terms requires, that they must both exist at one point of Time, viz. a
Master and his Servant, and a King and his Subjects; for one bearing relation
to the other, can in no ways be considered as different from one another in
formiliness or laterness of Time; but as I said, these being merely natural
things, I will nor cannot apply them to Supernatural and Divine Actions; But if
you ask me, how it is possible that Nature, the Effect and Creature of God, can
be Eternal without beginning? I will desire you to answer me first, how a
Creature can be Eternal without end, as, for example, Supernatural Spirits are,
and then I will answer you, how a Creature can be Eternal without beginning;
For Eternity consists herein, that it has neither beginning nor end; and if it
be easy for God to make a Being without end, it is not difficult for Him to
make a Being without beginning. One thing more I will add, which is, That if
Nature has not been made by God from all Eternity, then the Title of God, as
being a Creator, which is a Title and action, upon which our Faith is grounded,
(for it is the first Article in our Creed) has been accessory to God, as I
said, not full Six thousand years ago; but there is not anything accessory to
God, he being the Perfection himself. But, Madam, all what I speak, is under
the liberty of Natural Philosophy, and by the Light of Reason only, not of
Revelation; and my Reason being not infallible, I will not declare my Opinions
for an infallible Truth: Neither do I think, that they are offensive either to
Church or State, for I submit to the Laws of One, and believe the Doctrine of
the Other, so much, that if it were for the advantage of either, I should be
willing to sacrifice my Life, especially for the Church; yea, had I millions of
Lives, and every Life was either to suffer torment or to live in ease, I would
prefer torment for the benefit of the Church; and therefore, if I knew that my
Opinions should give any offence to the Church, I should be ready every minute
to alter them: And as much as I am bound in all duty to the obedience of the
Church, as much am I particularly bound to your Ladyship, for your entire love
and sincere affection towards me, for which I shall live and die,
MADAM, Your most faithful Friend, and humble Servant.
I Have chosen, in the first place, the Work of that famous Philosopher Hobbs,
called Leviathan, wherein I find he says, Part. 1. ch. 1.
That the cause of sense or sensitive perception is the external body or
Object, which presses the Organ proper to each Sense. To which I answer,
according to the ground of my own Philosophical Opinions, That all things, and
therefore outward objects as well as sensitive organs, have both Sense and
Reason, yet neither the objects nor the organs are the cause of them; for
Perception is but the effect of the Sensitive and rational Motions, and not the
Motions of the Perception; neither doth the pressure of parts upon parts make
Perception; for although Matter by the power of self-motion is as much
composeable as divideable, and parts do join to parts, yet that doth not make
perception; nay, the several parts, betwixt which the Perception is made, may
be at such a distance, as not capable to press: As for example, Two men may see
or hear each other at a distance, and yet there may be other bodies between
them, that do not move to those perceptions, so that no pressure can be made,
for all pressures are by some constraint and force; wherefore, according to my
Opinion, the Sensitive and Rational free Motions, do pattern out each others
object, as Figure and Voice in each others Eye and Ear; for Life and Knowledge,
which I name Rational and Sensitive Matter, are in every Creature, and in all
parts of every Creature, and make all perceptions in Nature, because they are
the self-moving parts of Nature, and according as those Corporeal, Rational,
and Sensitive Motions move, such or such perceptions are made: But these
self-moving parts being of different degrees (for the Rational matter is purer
then the Sensitive) it causes a double perception in all Creatures, whereof one
is made by the Rational corporeal motions, and the other by the Sensitive; and
though both perceptions are in all the body, and in every part of the body of a
Creature, yet the sensitive corporeal motions having their proper organs, as
Work-houses, in which they work some sorts of perceptions, those perceptions
are most commonly made in those organs, and are double again; for the sensitive
motions work either on the inside or on the outside of those organs, on the
inside in Dreams, on the out-side awake; and although both the Rational and the
Sensitive matter are inseparably joined and mixed together, yet do they not
always work together, for oftentimes the Rational works without any sensitive
paterns, and the sensitive again without any rational paterns. But mistake me
not, Madam, for I do not absolutely confine the sensitive perception to the
Organs, nor the rational to the Brain, but as they are both in the whole body,
so they may work in the whole body according to their own motions. Neither do I
say, that there is no other perception in the Eye but sight, in the Ear but
hearing, and so forth, but the sensitive organs have other perceptions besides
these; and if the sensitive and rational motions be irregular in those parts,
between which the perception is made, as for example, in the two fore-mentioned
men, that see and hear each other, then they both neither see nor hear each
other perfectly; and if one's motions be perfect, but the other's irregular and
erroneous, then one sees and hears better then the other; or if the Sensitive
and Rational motions move more regularly and make perfecter paterns in the Eye
then in the Ear, then they see better then they hear; and if more regularly and
perfectly in the Ear then in the Eye, they hear better then they see: And so it
may be said of each man singly, for one man may see the other better and more
perfectly, then the other may see him; and this man may hear the other better
and more perfectly, then the other may hear him; whereas, if perception were
made by pressure, there would not be any such mistakes; besides the hard
pressure of objects, in my opinion, would rather annoy and obscure, then
inform. But as soon as the object is removed, the Perception of it, made by the
sensitive motions in the Organs, cease, by reason the sensitive Motions cease
from paterning, but yet the Rational Motions do not always cease so suddenly,
because the sensitive corporeal Motions work with the Inanimate Matter, and
therefore cannot retain particular figures long, whereas the Rational Matter
doth only move in its own substance and parts of matter, and upon none other,
as my Book of Philosophical Opinions will inform you better. And thus
Perception, in my opinion, is not made by Pressure, nor by Species, nor by
matter going either from the Organ to the Object, or from the Object into the
Organ. By this it is also manifest, that Understanding comes not from Exterior
Objects, or from the Exterior sensitive Organs; for as Exterior Objects do not
make Perception, so they do neither make Understanding, but it is the rational
matter that doth it, for Understanding may be without exterior objects and
sensitive organs; And this in short is the opinion of
MADAM, Your faithful Friend and Servant.
YOur Authors opinion is, Leviathan, Part. 1. c. 2.
that when a thing lies still, unless somewhat else stir it, it will lie still
for ever; but when a thing is in motion, it will eternally be in motion, unless
somewhat else stay it; the reason is, saith he, because nothing can change it
self; To tell you truly, Madam, I am not of his opinion, for if Matter moves
it self, as certainly it doth, then the least part of Matter, were it so small
as to seem Individable, will move it self; Tis true, it could not desist from
motion, as being its nature to move, and no thing can change its Nature; for
God himself, who hath more power then self-moving Matter, cannot change himself
from being God; but that Motion should proceed from another exterior Body,
joining with, or touching that body which it moves, is in my opinion not
probable; for though Nature is all Corporeal, and her actions are Corporeal
Motions, yet that doth not prove, that the Motion of particular Creatures or
Parts is caused by the joining, touching or pressing of parts upon parts; for
it is not the several parts that make motion, but motion makes them; and yet
Motion is not the cause of Matter, but Matter is the cause of Motion, for
Matter might subsist without Motion, but not Motion without Matter, only there
could be no perception without Motion, nor no Variety, if Matter were not
self-moving; but Matter, if it were all Inanimate and void of Motion, would lie
as a dull, dead and senseless heap; But that all Motion comes by joining or
pressing of other parts, I deny, for if sensitive and rational perceptions,
which are sensitive and rational motions, in the body, and in the mind, were
made by the pressure of outward objects, pressing the sensitive organs, and so
the brain or interior parts of the Body, they would cause such dents and holes
therein, as to make them sore and patched in a short time; Besides, what was
represented in this manner, would always remain, or at least not so soon be
dissolved, and then those pressures would make a strange and horrid confusion
of Figures, for not any figure would be distinct; Wherefore my opinion is, that
the sensitive and rational Matter doth make or pattern out the figures of
several Objects, and doth dissolve them in a moment of time; as for example,
when the eye sees the object first of a Man, then of a Horse, then of another
Creature, the sensitive motions in the eye move first into the figure of the
Man, then straight into the figure of the Horse, so that the Mans figure is
dissolved and altered into the figure of the Horse, and so forth; but if the
eye sees many figures at once, then so many several figures are made by the
sensitive Corporeal Motions, and as many by the Rational Motions, which are
Sight and Memory, at once: But in sleep both the sensitive and rational Motions
make the figures without patterns, that is, exterior objects, which is the
cause that they are often erroneous, whereas, if it were the former Impression
of the Objects, there could not possibly be imperfect Dreams or Remembrances,
for fading of Figures requires as much motion, as impression, and impression
and fading are very different and opposite motions; nay, if Perception was made
by Impression, there could not possibly be a fading or decay of the figures
printed either in the Mind or Body, whereas yet, as there is alteration of
Motions in self-moving Matter, so there is also an alteration of figures made
by these motions. But you will say, it doth not follow, if Perception be made
by Impression, that it must needs continue and not decay; for if you touch and
move a string, the motion doth not continue for ever, but cease by degrees; I
answer, There is great difference between Prime self-motion, and forced or
Artificial Motions; for Artificial Motions are only an Imitation of Natural
Motions, and not the same, but caused by Natural Motions; for although there is
no Art that is not made by Nature, yet Nature is not made by Art; Wherefore we
cannot rationally judge of Perception by comparing it to the motion of a string,
and its alteration to the ceasing of that motion, for Nature moves not by
force, but freely. 'Tis true, 'tis the freedom in Nature for one man to give
another a box on the Ear, or to trip up his heels, or for one or more men to
fight with each other; yet these actions are not like the actions of loving
Embraces and Kissing each other; neither are the actions one and the same, when
a man strikes himself, and when he strikes another; and so is likewise the
action of impression, and the action of self-figuring not one and the same, but
different; for the action of impression is forced, and the action of
self-figuring is free; Wherefore the comparison of the forced motions of a
string, rope, watch, or the like, can have no place here; for though the rope,
made of flax or hemp, may have the perception of a Vegetable, yet not of the
hand, or the like, that touched or struck it; and although the hand doth
occasion the rope to move in such a manner, yet it is not the motion of the
hand, by which it moves, and when it ceases, its natural and inherent power to
move is not lessened; like as a man, that hath left off carving or painting,
hath no less skill then he had before, neither is that skill lost when he plays
upon the Lute or Virginals, or plows, plants, and the like, but he hath only
altered his action, as from carving to painting, or from painting to playing,
and so to plowing and planting, which is not through disability but choice. But
you will say, it is nevertheless a cessation of such a motion. I grant it: but
the ceasing of such a motion is not the ceasing of self-moving matter from all
motions, neither is cessation as much as annihilation, for the motion lies in
the power of the matter to repeat it, as oft it will, if it be not overpowered,
for more parts, or more strength, or more motions may over-power the less;
Wherefore forced, or artificial and free Natural motions are different in their
effects, although they have but one Cause, which is the self-moving matter, and
though Matter is but active and passive, yet there is great Variety, and so
great difference in force and liberty, objects and perceptions, sense and
reason, and the like. But to conclude, perception is not made by the pressure
of objects, no more then hemp is made by the Rope-maker, or metal by the
Bell-founder or Ringer, and yet neither the rope nor the metal is without sense
and reason, but the natural motions of the metal, and the artificial motions of
the Ringer are different; wherefore a natural effect in truth cannot be
produced from an artificial cause, neither can the ceasing of particular forced
or artificial motions be a proof for the ceasing of general, natural, free
motions, as that matter it self should cease to move; for there is no such
thing as rest in Nature, but there is an alteration of motions and figures in
self-moving matter, which alteration causes variety as well in opinions, as in
every thing else; Wherefore in my opinion, though sense alters, yet it doth not
decay, for the rational and sensitive part of matter is as lasting as matter it
self, but that which is named decay of sense, is only the alteration of
motions, and not an obscurity of motions, like as the motions of memory and
forgetfulness, and the repetition of the same motions is called remembrance.
And thus much of this subject for the present, to which I add no more but rest
MADAM, Your faithful Friend, and Servant.
YOur Author discoursing of Imagination, saith, Leviathan, part. 1. c. 2.
That as soon as any object is removed from our Eyes, though the Impression
that is made in us, remain, yet other objects more present succeeding and
working on us, the Imagination of the past is obscured and made weak. To which
I answer, first, that he conceives Sense and Imagination to be all one, for he
says, Imagination is nothing else, but a fading or decaying sense; whereas in
my opinion they are different, not only their matter, but their motions also
being distinct and different; for Imagination is a rational perception, and
sense a sensitive perception; wherefore as much as the rational matter differs
from the sensitive, as much doth Imagination differ from Sense. Next I say,
that Impressions do not remain in the body of sensitive matter, but it is in
its power to make or repeat the like figures; Neither is Imagination less, when
the object is absent, then when present, but the figure patterned out in the
sensitive organs, being altered, and remaining only in the Rational part of
matter, is not so perspicuous and clear, as when it was both in the Sense and
in the Mind: And to prove that Imagination of things past doth not grow weaker
by distance of time, as your Author says, many a man in his old age, will have
as perfect an Imagination of what is past in his younger years, as if he saw it
present. And as for your Authors opinion, that Imagination and Memory are one
and the same, I grant, that they are made of one kind of Matter; but although
the Matter is one and the same, yet several motions in the several parts make
Imagination and Memory several things: As for Example, a Man may Imagine that
which never came into his Senses, wherefore Imagination is not one and the same
thing with Memory. But your Author seems to make all Sense, as it were, one
Motion, but not all Motion Sense, whereas surely there is no Motion, but is
either Sensitive or Rational; for Reason is but a pure and refined Sense, and
Sense a grosser Reason. Yet all sensitive and rational Motions are not one and
the same; for forced or Artificial Motions, though they proceed from sensitive
matter, yet are they so different from the free and Prime Natural Motions, that
they seem, as it were, quite of another nature: And this distinction neglected
is the Cause, that many make Appetites and Passions, Perceptions and Objects,
and the like, as one, without any or but little difference. But having
discoursed of the difference of these Motions in my former Letter, I will not
be tedious to you, with repeating it again, but remain,
MADAM, Your faithful Friend and Servant.
YOur Authors opinion, concerning Dreams Leviathan, Part. 1. c. 2.
, seems to me in some part very rational and probable, in some part not; For
when he says, that Dreams are only Imaginations of them that sleep, which
imaginations have been before either totally or by parcels in the Sense; and
that the organs of Sense, as the Brain and the Nerves, being benumbed in sleep,
as not easily to be moved by external objects, those Imaginations proceed only
from the agitation of the inward parts of mans body, which for the connexion
they have with the Brain, and other organs, when they be distempered, do keep
the same in motion, whereby the Imaginations there formerly made, appear as if
a man were waking; This seems to my Reason not very probable: For, first,
Dreams are not absolutely Imaginations, except we do call all Motions and
Actions of the Sensitive and Rational Matter, Imaginations. Neither is it
necessary, that all Imaginations must have been before either totally or by
parcels in the Sense; neither is there any benumbing of the organs of Sense in
sleep. But Dreams, according to my opinion, are made by the Sensitive and
Rational Corporeal Motions, by figuring several objects, as awake; only the
difference is, that the Sensitive motions in Dreams work by rote and on the
inside of the Sensitive organs, when as awake they work according to the
patterns of outward objects, and exteriously or on the outside of the sensitive
Organs, so that sleep or dreams are nothing else but an alteration of motions,
from moving exteriously to move interiously, and from working after a Pattern
to work by rote: I do not say that the body is without all exterior motions,
when asleep, as breathing and beating of the Pulse (although these motions are
rather interior then exterior,) but that only the sensitive organs are
outwardly shut, so as not to receive the patterns of outward Objects,
nevertheless the sensitive Motions do not cease from moving inwardly, or on the
inside of the sensitive Organs; But the rational matter doth often, as awake,
so asleep or in dreams, make such figures, as the sensitive did never make
either from outward objects, or of its own accord; for the sensitive hath
sometimes liberty to work without Objects, but the Rational much more, which is
not bound either to the patterns of Exterior objects, or of the sensitive
voluntary Figures. Wherefore it is not divers distempers, as your Author
says, that cause different Dreams, or Cold, or Heat; neither are Dreams the
reverse of our waking Imaginations, nor all the Figures in Dreams are not made
with their heels up, and their heads downwards, though some are; but this error
or irregularity proceeds from want of exterior Objects or Patterns, and by
reason the sensitive Motions work by rote; neither are the Motions reverse,
because they work inwardly asleep, and outwardly awake, for Mad-men awake see
several Figures without Objects. In short, sleeping and waking is somewhat
after that manner, when men are called either out of their doors, or stay
within their houses; or like a Ship, where the Mariners work all under hatches,
whereof you will find more in my Philosophical Opinions; and so taking my
leave, I rest
MADAM, Your faithful Friend and Servant.
YOur Author going on in his discourse of Imagination, says, Leviathan, part.
1. c. 3.
That, as we have no Imagination, whereof we have not formerly had sense, in
whole or in parts; so we have not Transition from one Imagination to another,
whereof we never had the like before in our senses. To which my answer is in
short, that the Rational part of Matter in one composed figure, as in Man, or
the like Creature, may make such figures, as the senses did never make in that
composed Figure or Creature; And though your Author reproves those that say,
part. 1. c. 2.
Imaginations rise of themselves; yet, if the self-moving part of Matter, which
I call Rational, makes Imaginations, they must needs rise of themselves; for
the Rational part of matter being free and self-moving, depends upon nothing,
neither Sense nor Object, I mean, so, as not to be able to work without them.
Next, when your Author, defining Understanding, says that it is nothing else,
but Ibid. c. 3.
an Imagination raised by words or other voluntary signs, My Answer is, that
Understanding, and so Words and Signs are made by self-moving Matter, that is,
Sense and Reason, and not Sense and Reason by Words and Signs; wherefore
Thoughts are not like ibid.
Water upon a plain Table, which is drawn and guided by the finger this or that
way, for every Part of self-moving matter is not always forced, persuaded or
directed, for if all the Parts of Sense and Reason were ruled by force or
persuasion, not any wounded Creature would fail to be healed, or any disease to
be cured by outward Applications, for outward Applications to Wounds and
Diseases might have more force, then any Object to the Eye: But though there is
great affinity and sympathy between parts, yet there is also great difference
and antipathy betwixt them, which is the cause that many objects cannot with
all their endeavours work such effects upon the Interior parts, although they
are closely pressed, for Impressions of objects do not always affect those
parts they press. Wherefore, I am not of your Author's opinion, that all Parts
of Matter press one another; It is true, Madam, there cannot be any part
single, but yet this doth not prove, that parts must needs press each other:
And as for his Train of Thoughts, I must confess, that Thoughts for the most
part are made orderly, but yet they do not follow each other like Geese, for
surely, man has sometimes very different thoughts; as for Example, a man
sometime is very sad for the death of his Friend, and thinks of his own death,
and immediately thinks of a wanton Mistress, which later thought, surely, the
thought of Death did not draw in; wherefore, though some thought may be the
Ring-leader of others, yet many are made without leaders. Again, your Author in
his description of the Mind says, that the discourse of the mind, when it it
is governed by design, is nothing but seeking, or the Faculty of Invention; a
hunting out of the Causes of some Effects, present or past; or of the Effects
of some present or past Cause. Sometimes a man seeks what he has lost, and from
that Place and Time wherein he misses it, his mind runs back from place to
place, and time to time, to find where and when he had it, that is to say, to
find some certain and limited Time and Place, in which to begin a method of
Seeking. And from thence his thoughts run over the same places and times to
find what action or other occasion might make him lose it. This we call
Remembrance or calling to mind. Sometimes a man knows a place determinate,
within the compass whereof he is to seek, and then his thoughts run over all
the Parts thereof in the same manner as one would sweep a room to find a Jewel,
or as a Spaniel ranges the field till he find a sent; or as a Man should run
over the Alphabet to start a Rime. Thus far your Author: In which discourse I
do not perceive that he defines what the Mind is, but I say, that if,
according to his opinion, nothing moves it self, but one thing moves another,
then the Mind must do nothing, but move backward and forward, nay, only
forward, and if all actions were thrusting or pressing of parts, it would be
like a crowd of People, and there would be but little or no motion, for the
crowd would make a stoppage, like water in a glass, the mouth of the Glass
being turned downwards, no water can pass out, by reason the numerous drops are
so closely pressed, as they cannot move exteriously. Next, I cannot conceive
how the Mind can run back either to Time or Place, for as for Place, the mind
is enclosed in the body, and the running about in the parts of the body or
brain will not inform it of an Exterior place or object; besides, objects being
the cause of the minds motion, it must return to its Cause, and so move until
it come to the object, that moved it first, so that the mind must run out of
the body to that object, which moved it to such a Thought, although that object
were removed out of the World (as the phrase is:) But for the mind to move
backward, to Time past, is more then it can do; Wherefore in my opinion,
Remembrance, or the like, is only a repetition of such Figures as were like to
the Objects; and for Thoughts in Particular, they are several figures, made by
the mind, which is the Rational Part of matter, in its own substance, either
voluntarily, or by imitation, whereof you may see more in my Book of
Philosophical Opinions. Hence I conclude, that Prudence is nothing else, but a
comparing of Figures to Figures, and of the several actions of those Figures,
as repeating former Figures, and comparing them to others of the like nature,
qualities, proprieties, as also chances, fortunes, c. Which figuring and
repeating is done actually, in and by the Rational Matter, so that all the
observation of the mind on outward Objects is only an actual repetition of the
mind, as moving in such or such figures and actions; and when the mind makes
voluntary Figures with those repeated Figures, and compares them together, this
comparing is Examination; and when several Figures agree and join, it is
Conclusion or Judgment: likewise doth Experience proceed from repeating and
comparing of several Figures in the Mind, and the more several Figures are
repeated and compared, the greater the experience is. One thing more there is
in the same Chapter, which I cannot let pass without examination; Your Author
says, That things Present only have a being in Nature, things Past only a
being in the Memory, but things to come have no being at all; Which how it
possibly can be, I am not able to conceive; for certainly, if nothing in nature
is lost or annihilated, what is past, and what is to come, hath as well a
being, as what is present; and, if that which is now, had its being before, why
may it not also have its being hereafter? It might as well be said, that what
is once forgot, cannot be remembered; for whatsoever is in Nature, has as much a
being as the Mind, and there is not any action, or motion, or figure, in
Nature, but may be repeated, that is, may return to its former Figure, when it
is altered and dissolved; But by reason Nature delights in variety, repetitions
are not so frequently made, especially of those things or creatures, which are
composed by the sensitive corporeal motions in the inanimate part of Matter,
because they are not so easily wrought, as the Rational matter can work upon
its own parts, being more pliant in its self, then the Inanimate matter is; And
this is the reason, that there are so many repetitions of one and the same
Figure in the Rational matter, which is the Mind, but seldom any in the Gross
and inanimate part of Matter, for Nature loves ease and freedom: But to
conclude, Madam, I perceive your Author confines Sense only to Animal-kind,
and Reason only to Man-kind: Truly, it is out of self-love, when one Creature
prefers his own Excellency before another, for nature being endued with
self-love, all Creatures have self-love too, because they are all Parts of
Nature; and when Parts agree or disagree, it is out of Interest and Self-love;
but Man herein exceeds all the rest, as having a supernatural Soul, whose
actions also are supernatural, To which I leave him, and rest,
MADAM, Your faithful Friend, and Servant.
WHen your Author discourses of the use of Speech or Words and Names, he is
pleased to say, Leviathan, part. 1. c. 4.
That their use is to serve for marks and notes of Remembrance; Whereof to give
you my opinion, I say, That Speech is natural to the shape of Man; and though
sometimes it serves for marks or notes of remembrance, yet it doth not always,
for all other Animals have Memory without the help of Speech, and so have deaf
and dumb men, nay more then those that hear and speak: Wherefore, though Words
are useful to the mind, and so to the memory, yet both can be without them,
whereas Words cannot be without Memory; for take a Bird and teach him to speak,
if he had not Memory, before he heard the words, he could never learn them. You
will ask me, Madam, What then, is Memory the Cause of Speech? I answer, Life
and Knowledge, which is Sense and Reason, as it creates and makes all sorts of
Creatures, so also amongst the rest it makes Words: And as I said before, that
Memory may be without the help of Speech or Words, so I say also, that there is
a possibility of reckoning of numbers, as also of magnitudes, of swiftness, of
force, and other things without words, although your Author denies it: But some
men are so much for Art, as they endeavour to make Art, which is only a
Drudgery-maid of Nature, the chief Mistress, and Nature her Servant, which is
as much as to prefer Effects before the Cause, Nature before God, Discord
before Unity and Concord.
Again, your Author, in his Chapter of Reason Ch. 5.
, defines Reason to be nothing else but Reckoning: I answer, That in my opinion
Reckoning is not Reason it self, but only an effect or action of Reason; for
Reason, as it is the chiefest and purest degree of animate matter, works
variously and in divers motions, by which it produces various and divers
effects, which are several Perceptions, as Conception, Imagination, Fancy,
Memory, Remembrance, Understanding, Judgment, Knowledge, and all the Passions,
with many more: Wherefore this Reason is not in one undivided part, nor bound
to one motion, for it is in every Creature more or less, and moves in its own
parts variously; and in some Creatures, as for example, in some men, it moves
more variously then in others, which is the cause that some men are more dull
and stupid, then others; neither doth Reason always move in one Creature
regularly, which is the cause, that some men are mad or foolish: And though all
men are made by the direction of Reason, and endued with Reason, from the first
time of their birth, yet all have not the like Capacities, Understandings,
Imaginations, Wits, Fancies, Passions, c. but some more, some less, and some
regular, some irregular, according to the motions of Reason or Rational part of
animate matter; and though some rational parts may make use of other rational
Parts, as one man of another mans Conceptions, yet all these parts cannot
associate together; as for example, all the Material parts of several objects,
no not their species, cannot enter or touch the eye without danger of hurting
or loosing it, nevertheless the eye makes use of the objects by patterning them
out, and so doth the rational matter; by taking patterns from the sensitive;
And thus knowledge or perception of objects, both sensitive and rational, is
taken without the pressure of any other parts; for though parts join to parts,
(for no part can be single) yet this joining doth not necessarily infer the
pressure of objects upon the sensitive organs; Whereof I have already
discoursed sufficiently heretofore, to which I refer you, and rest
MADAM, Your faithful Friend and Servant.
UNderstanding, says your Author, Leviathan, part. 1. c. 4.
is nothing else but Conception caused by speech, and therefore, if speech be
peculiar to man, (as, for ought I know, it is) then is understanding peculiar
to him also. Where he confineth Understanding only to speech and to Mankind;
But, by his leave, Madam, I surely believe, that there is more understanding in
Nature, then that, which is in speech, for if there were not, I cannot
conceive, how all the exact forms in Generations could be produced, or how
there could be such distinct degrees of several sorts and kinds of Creatures,
or distinctions of times and seasons, and so many exact motions and figures in
Nature: Considering all this, my reason persuades me, that all Understanding,
which is a part of Knowledge, is not caused by speech, for all the motions of
the Celestial Orbs are not made by speech, neither is the knowledge or
understanding which a man hath, when sick, as to know or understand he is sick,
made by speech, nor by outward objects, especially in a disease he never heard,
nor saw, nor smelt, nor tasted, nor touched; Wherefore all Perception,
Sensation, Memory, Imagination, Appetite, Understanding, and the like, are not
made nor caused by outward objects, nor by speech. And as for names of things,
they are but different postures of the figures in our mind or thoughts, made by
the Rational matter; But Reasoning is a comparing of the several figures with
their several postures and actions in the Mind, which joined with the several
words, made by the sensitive motions, inform another distinct and separate
part, as an other man, of their minds conceptions, understanding, opinions, and
the like.
Concerning Addition and Substraction, wherein your Author says Reasoning
consists, I grant, that it is an act of Reasoning, yet it doth not make Sense
or Reason, which is Life and Knowledge, but Sense and Reason which is
self-motion, makes addition and substraction of several Parts of matter; for
had matter not self-motion, it could not divide nor compose, nor make such
varieties, without great and lingering retardments, if not confusion. Wherefore
all, what is made in Nature, is made by self-moving matter, which self-moving
matter doth not at all times move regularly, but often irregularly, which
causes false Logic, false Arithmetic, and the like; and if there be not a
certainty in these self-motions or actions of Nature, much less in Art, which
is but a secondary action; and therefore, neither speech, words, nor exterior
objects cause Understanding or Reason. And although many parts of the Rational
and Sensitive Matter joined into one, may be stronger by their association, and
over-power other parts that are not so well knit and united, yet these are not
the less pure; only these Parts and Motions being not equal in several
Creatures, make their Knowledge and Reason more or less: For, when a man hath
more Rational Matter well regulated, and so more Wisdom then an other, that
same man may chance to over-power the other, whose Rational Matter is more
irreregular, but yet not so much by strength of the united Parts, as by their
subtilty; for the Rational Matter moving regularly, is more strong with
subtilty, then the sensitive with force; so that Wisdom is stronger then Life,
being more pure, and so more active; for in my opinion, there is a degree of
difference between Life and Knowledge, as my Book of Philosophical Opinions
will inform you.
Again, your Author says, That Man doth excel all other Animals in this
faculty, that when he conceives any thing whatsoever, he is apt to enquire the
Consequences of it, and what effects he can do with it: Besides this (says he)
Man hath an other degree of Excellence, that he can by Words reduce the
Consequences he finds to General Rules called Theoremes or Aphorisms, that is,
he can reason or reckon not only in Number, but in all other things, whereof
one may be added unto, or subtracted from an other. To which I answer, That
according to my Reason I cannot perceive, but that all Creatures may do as
much; but by reason they do it not after the same manner or way as Man, Man
denies, they can do it at all; which is very hard; for what man knows, whether
Fish do not Know more of the nature of Water, and ebbing and flowing, and the
saltness of the Sea? or whether Birds do not know more of the nature and
degrees of Air, or the cause of Tempests? or whether Worms do not know more of
the nature of Earth, and how Plants are produced? or Bees of the several sorts
of juices of Flowers, then Men? And whether they do not make there Aphorisms
and Theoremes by their manner of Intelligence? For, though they have not the
speech of Man, yet thence doth not follow, that they have no Intelligence at
all. But the Ignorance of Men concerning other Creatures is the cause of
despising other Creatures, imagining themselves as petty Gods in Nature, when
as Nature is not capable to make one God, much less so many as Mankind; and
were it not for Mans supernatural Soul, Man would not be more Supreme, then
other Creatures in Nature, But (says your Author) this Privilege in Man is
allayed by another, which is, No living Creature is subject to absurdity, but
only Man. Certainly, Madam, I believe the contrary, to wit, that all other
Creatures do as often commit mistakes and absurdities as Man, and if it were
not to avoid tediousness, I could present sufficient proofs to you: Wherefore I
think, not only Man but also other Creatures may be Philosophers and subject
to absurdities as aptly as Men; for Man doth, nor cannot truly know the
Faculties, and Abilities or Actions of all other Creatures, no not of his own
Kind as Man-Kind, for if he do measure all men by himself he will be very much
mistaken, for what he conceives to be true or wise, an other may conceive to be
false and foolish. But Man may have one way of Knowledge in Philosophy and
other Arts; and other Creatures another way, and yet other Creatures manner or
way may be as Intelligible and Instructive to each other as Man's, I mean, in
those things which are Natural. Wherefore I cannot consent to what your Author
says, That Children are not endued with Reason at all, till they have attained
to the use of Speech; for Reason is in those Creatures which have not Speech,
witness Horses, especially those which are taught in the manage, and many other
Animals. And as for the weak understanding in Children, I have discoursed
thereof in my Book of Philosophy; The rest of this discourse, lest I tyre you
too much at once, I shall reserve for the next, resting in the mean time,
MADAM, Your faithful Friend, and Servant.
I sent you word in my last, that your Author's opinion is, That Children are
not endued with Reason at all, until they have attained to the use of Speech,
in the same Chapter Ch. 4.
he speaks to the same purpose thus: Reason is not as Sense and Memory born
with us, nor gotten by experience only, as Prudence is, but attained by
industry. To which I reply only this, That it might as well be said, a Child
when new born hath not flesh and blood, because by taking in nourishment or
food, the Child grows to have more flesh and blood; or, that a Child is not
born with two legs, because he cannot go, or with two arms and hands, because
he cannot help himself; or that he is not born with a tongue, because he cannot
speak: For although Reason doth not move in a Child as in a Man, in Infancy as
in Youth, in Youth as in Age, yet that doth not prove that Children are without
Reason, because they cannot run and prate: I grant, some other Creatures appear
to have more Knowledge when new born then others; as for example, a young Foal
has more knowledge than a young Child, because a Child cannot run and play;
besides a Foal knows his own Dam, and can tell where to take his food, as to
run and suck his Dam, when as an Infant cannot do so, nor all beasts, though
most of them can, but yet this doth not prove, that a Child hath no reason at
all; Neither can I perceive that man is a Monopoler of all Reason, or Animals
of all Sense, but that Sense and Reason are in other Creatures as well as in
Man and Animals; for example, Drugs, as Vegetables and Minerals, although they
cannot slice, pound or infuse, as man can, yet they can work upon man more
subtly, wisely, and as sensibly either by purging, vomiting, spitting, or any
other way, as man by mincing, pounding and infusing them, and Vegetables will
as wisely nourish Men, as Men can nourish Vegetables; Also some Vegetables are
as malicious and mischievous to Man, as Man is to one another, witness Hemlock,
Nightshade, and many more; and a little Poppy will as soon, nay sooner cause a
Man to sleep, though silently, then a Nurse a Child with singing and rocking;
But because they do not act in such manner or way as Man, Man judges them to
be without sense and reason; and because they do not prate and talk as Man, Man
believes they have not so much wit as he hath; and because they cannot run and
go, Man thinks they are not industrious; the like for Infants concerning
Reason. But certainly, it is not local motion or speech that makes sense and
reason, but sense and reason makes them; neither is sense and reason bound
only to the actions of Man, but it is free to the actions, forms, figures and
proprieties of all Creatures; for if none but Man had reason, and none but
Animals sense, the World could not be so exact, and so well in order as it is:
but Nature is wiser then Man with all his Arts, for these are only produced
through the variety of Natures actions, and disputes through the superfluous
varieties of Mans follies or ignorances, not knowing Natures powerful life and
knowledge: But I wonder, Madam, your Author says in this place, That Reason is
not born with Man, when as in another place, In his Elements of Philosophy,
part. 1. c. 1. art. 1.
he says, That every man brought Philosophy, that is Natural reason with him
into the World; Which how it agree, I will leave to others to judge, and to him
to reconcile it, remaining in the mean time,
MADAM, Your Constant Friend and Faithful Servant.
TWo sorts of motions, I find your Author Leviathan, part. 1. c. 6.
doth attribute to Animals, viz. Vital and Animal, the Vital motions, says he,
are begun in Generation, and continued without Interruption through their whole
life, and those are the Course of the Blood, the Pulse, the Breathing,
Conviction, Nutrition, Excretion, c. to which motions there needs no help of
Imaginations; But the animal Motions, otherwise called voluntary Motions, are
to go, to speak, to move any of our limbs, in such manner as is first fancied
in our minds: And because going, speaking, and the like voluntary motions,
depend always upon a precedent thought of whither, which way, and what, it is
evident, that the Imagination is the first Internal beginning of all voluntary
Motion. Thus far your Author. Whereof in short I give you my opinion, first
concerning Vital Motions, that it appears improbable if not impossible to me,
that Generation should be the cause and beginning of Life, because Life must of
necessity be the cause of Generation, life being the Generator of all things,
for without life motion could not be, and without motion not any thing could be
begun, increased, perfected, or dissolved. Next, that Imagination is not
necessary to Vital Motions, it is probable it may not, but yet there is
required Knowledge, which I name Reason; for if there were not Knowledge in all
Generations or Productions, there could not any distinct Creature be made or
produced, for then all Generations would be confusedly mixed, neither would
there be any distinct kinds or sorts of Creatures, nor no different Faculties,
Proprieties, and the like. Thirdly, concerning Animal Motions, which your
Author names Voluntary Motions, as to go, to speak, to move any of our limbs,
in such manner as is first fancied in our minds, and that they depend upon a
precedent thought of whither, which way, and what, and that Imagination is the
first Internal beginning of them; I think, by your Authors leave, it doth imply
a contradiction, to call them Voluntary Motions, and yet to say they are caused
and depend upon our Imagination; for if the Imagination draws them this way, or
that way, how can they be voluntary motions, being in a manner forced and
necessitated to move according to Fancy or Imagination? But when he goes on in
the same place and treats of Endeavour, Appetite, Desire, Hunger, Thirst,
Aversion, Love, Hate, and the like, he derives one from the other, and treats
well as a Moral Philosopher; but whether it be according to the truth or
probability of Natural Philosophy, I will leave to others to judge, for in my
opinion Passions and Appetites are very different, Appetites being made by the
motions of the sensitive Life, and Passions, as also Imagination, Memory, c. by
the motions of the rational Life, which is the cause that Appetites belong more
to the actions of the Body then the Mind: Tis true, the Sensitive and Rational
self-moving matter doth so much resemble each other in their actions, as it is
difficult to distinguish them. But having treated hereof at large in my other
Philosophical Work, to cut off repetitions, I will refer you to that, and
desire you to compare our opinions together: But certainly there is so much
variety in one and the same sort of Passions, and so of Appetites, as it cannot
be easily expressed. To conclude, I do not perceive that your Author tells or
expresses what the cause is of such or such actions, only he mentions their
dependence, which is, as if a man should converse with a Nobleman's Friend or
Servant, and not know the Lord himself. But leaving him for this time, it is
sufficient to me, that I know your Ladyship, and your Ladyship knows me, that I
MADAM, Your faithful Friend, and humble Servant.
HAving obeyed your Commands in giving you my opinion of the First Part of the
Book of that famous and learned Author you sent me, I would go on; but seeing
he treats in his following Parts of the Politics, I was forced to stay my Pen,
because of these following Reasons. First, That a Woman is not employed in
State Affairs, unless an absolute Queen. Next, That to study the Politics, is
but loss of Time, unless a man were sure to be a Favourite to an absolute
Prince. Thirdly, That it is but a deceiving Profession, and requires more Craft
then Wisdom. All which considered, I did not read that part of your Author: But
as for his Natural Philosophy, I will send you my opinion so far as I
understand it: For what belongs to Art, as to Geometry, being no Scholar, I
shall not trouble my self withal. And so I'll take my leave of you, when I have
in two or three words answered the Question you sent me last, which was,
Whether Nature be the Art of God, Man the Art of Nature, and a Politic
Government the Art of Man? To which I answer, Tis probable it may be so; only
I add this, That Nature doth not rule God, nor Man Nature, nor Politic
Government Man; for the Effect cannot rule the Cause, but the Cause doth rule
the Effect: Wherefore if men do not naturally agree, Art cannot make unity
amongst them, or associate them into one Politic Body and so rule them; But
man thinks he governs, when as it is Nature that doth it, for as nature doth
unite or divide parts regularly or irregularly, and moves the several minds of
men and the several parts of men's bodies, so war is made or peace kept: Thus it
is not the artificial form that governs men in a Politic Government, but a
natural power, for though natural motion can make artificial things, yet
artificial things cannot make natural power; and we might as well say, nature
is governed by the art of nature, as to say man is ruled by the art and
invention of men. The truth is, Man rules an artificial Government, and not the
Government Man, just like as a Watch-maker rules his Watch, and not the Watch
the Watch-maker. And thus I conclude and rest,
MADAM, Your faithful Friend and Servant.
COncerning the other Book of that learned Author Hobbs you sent me, called
Elements of Philosophy, I shall likewise according to your desire, give you my
judgment and opinion of it as I have done of the former, not that I intend to
prejudice him any ways thereby, but only to mark those places wherein I seem
to dissent from his opinions, which liberty, I hope, he will not deny me; And
in order to this, I have read over the first Chapter of the mentioned Book,
treating of Philosophy in General, wherein amongst the rest, discoursing of the
Utility of Natural Philosophy, and relating the commodities and benefits which
proceed from so many arts and sciences, he is pleased to say, Art. 7.
that they are enjoyed almost by all people of Europe, Asia, and some of
Africa, only the Americans, and those that live near the Poles do want them:
But why, says he, have they sharper wits then these? Have not all men one kind
of soul, and the same faculties of mind? To which, give me leave, Madam, to
add, That my opinion is, that there is a difference between the Divine and the
Natural soul of man, and though the natural mind or soul is of one kind, yet
being made of rational matter, it is divideable and composeable, by which
division and composition, men may have more or less wit, or quicker and slower
wit; the like for Judgments, Imaginations, Fancies, Opinions, c. For were the
natural rational mind individeable, all men would have the like degree of wit
or understanding, all men would be Philosophers or fools, which by reason they
are not, it proves the natural rational mind is divideable and composeable,
making variations of its own several parts by self-motion; for it is not the
several outward objects, or foreign instructions, that make the variety of the
mind; neither is wit or ingenuity alike in all men; for some are natural Poets,
Philosophers, and the like, without learning, and some are far more ingenious
then others, although their breeding is obscure and mean, Neither will learning
make all men Scholars, for some will continue Dunces all their life time;
Neither doth much experience make all men wise, for some are not any ways
advanced in their wisdom by much and long experiences; And as for Poetry, it is
according to the common Proverb, a Poet is born, not made; Indeed learning doth
rather hurt Fancy, for great Scholars are not always good Poets, nor all
States-men Natural Philosophers, nor all Experienced Men Wise Men, nor all
Judges Just, nor all Divines Pious, nor all Pleaders or Preachers Eloquent, nor
all Moral Philosophers Virtuous; But all this is occasioned by the various
Motions of the rational selfmoving matter, which is the Natural Mind. And thus
much for the present of the difference of wits and faculties of the mind; I add
no more, but rest,
MADAM, Your faithful Friend, and Servant.
MY Discourse for the present shall be of Infinite, and the question shall be
first Whether several Finite parts, how many soever there be, can make an
Infinite. Your Author says, Elem. of Philos. c. 7. a. 12.
that several Finite parts when they are all put together make a whole Finite;
which, if his meaning be of a certain determinate number, how big soever, of
finite parts, I do willingly grant, for all what is determinate and limited, is
not Infinite but Finite; neither is there any such thing, as Whole or All in
Infinite; but if his meaning be, that no Infinite can be made of finite parts,
though infinite in number, I deny it; Next he says there can be no such thing
as One in Infinite, because No thing can be said One, except there be another
to compare it withal; which in my opinion doth not follow, for there is but One
God, who is Infinite, and hath none other to be compared withal, and so there
may be but one Only Infinite in Nature, which is Matter. But when he says,
there cannot be an Infinite and Eternal Division, is very true, viz, in this
sense, that one single part cannot be actually infinitely divided, for the
Compositions hinder the Divisions in Nature, and the Divisions the
Compositions, so that Nature, being Matter, cannot be composed so, as not to
have parts, nor divided so, as that her parts should not be composed, but there
are nevertheless infinite divided parts in Nature, and in this sense there may
also be infinite divisions, as I have declared in my Book of Philosophy. P. 1.
c. 8.
And thus there are Infinite divisions of Infinite parts in Nature, but not
Infinite actual divisions of one single part; But though Infinite is without
end, yet my discourse of it shall be but short and end here, though not my
affection, which shall last and continue with the life of
MADAM, Your Faithful Friend and Humble Servant.
AN Accident, says your Author, Elem. of Philos c. 8. ^rt. 2.
is nothing else, but the manner of our Conception of body, or that Faculty of
any body, by which it works in us a Conception of it self; To which I willingly
consent; but yet I say, that these qualities cannot be separated from the body,
for as impossible it is that the essence of Nature should be separable from
Nature, as impossible is it that the various modes or alterations, either of
Figures or Motions, should be separable from matter or body; Wherefore when he
goes on, and says, An accident is not a body, but in a body, yet not so, as if
any thing were Art. 3.
contained therein, as it for example, redness were in blood in the same manner
as blood is in a bloody cloth; but as magnitude is in that which is great, rest
in that which rests, motion in that which is moved; I answer, that in my
opinion, not any thing in Nature can be without a body, and that redness is as
well in blood, as blood is in a bloody cloth, or any other colour in any thing
else; for there is no colour without a body, but every colour hath as well a
body as any thing else, and if Colour be a separable accident, I would faih
know, how it can be separated from a subject, being bodiless, for that which is
no body is nothing, and nothing cannot be taken away from any thing; Wherefore
as for natural Colour it cannot be taken away from any creature, without the
parts of its substance or body; and as for artificial Colours, when they are
taken away, it is a separation of two bodies, which joined together; and if
Colour, or Hardness, or Softness do change, it is nothing else but an
alteration of motions and not an annihilation, for all changes and alterations
remain in the power of Corporeal motions, as I have said in other places; for
we might as well say, life doth not remain in nature, when a body turns from an
animal to some other figure, as believe that those, they name accidents, do not
remain in Corporeal Motions; Wherefore I am not of your Authors mind, when he
says, Art. 20.
that when a White thing is made black, the whiteness perishes; for it cannot
perish, although it is altered from white to black, being in the power of the
same matter, to turn it again from black to white, so as it may make infinite
Repetitions of the same thing; but by reason nature takes delight in variety,
she seldom uses such repetitions; nevertheless that doth not take away the
Power of self-moving matter, for it doth not; and it cannot, are two several
things, and the latter doth not necessarily follow upon the former; Wherefore
not any, the least thing, can perish in Nature, for if this were possible, the
whole body of nature might perish also, for if so many. Fugures and Creatures
should be annihilated and perish without any supply or new Creation, Nature
would grow less, and at last become nothing; besides it is as difficult for
Nature to turn something into nothing, as to Create something out of nothing;
Wherefore as there is no annihilation or perishing in Nature, so there is
neither any new Creation in Nature. But your Author makes a difference between
bodies and accidents, saying, that bodies are things and not Generated, but
accidents are Generated and not things, Truly, Madam, these accidents seem to
me to be like Van Helmont's Lights, Gases, Blazes and Ideas; and Dr More's
Immaterial Substances or Daemons, only in this Dr More hath the better, that
his Immaterial Substances, are beings, which subsist of themselves, whereas
accidents do not, but their existence is in other bodies; But what they call
Accidents, are in my opinion nothing else but Corporeal Motions, and if these
accidents be generated, they must needs be bodies, for how nothing can be
Generated in nature, is not conceivable, and yet your Author denies, Art. 2.
that Accidents are something, namely some part of a natural thing; But as for
Generations, they are only various actions of self-moving matter, or a variety
of Corporeal Motions, and so are all Accidents whatsoever, so that there is not
any thing in nature, that can be made new, or destroyed, for whatsoever was and
shall be, is in nature, though not always in act, yet in power, as in the
nature and power of Corporeal motions, which is selfmoving matter, And as there
is no new Generation of Accidents, so there is neither a new Generation of
Motions; wherefore when your Author says, Art. 21.
That, when the hand, being moved, moves the pen, the motion doth not go out
of the hand into the pen, for so the writing might be continued, though the
hand stood still, but a new motion is generated in the pen, and is the pens
motion: I am of his opinion, that the motion doth not go out of the hand into
the pen, and that the motion of the pen, is the pens own motion; but I deny,
that after holding the hand a little while still, and beginning to write again,
a new motion of the pen is generated; for it is only a repetition, and not a
new generation, for the Hand, Pen and Ink, repeat but the same motion or action
of writing: Besides, Generation is made by Connexion or Conjunction of parts,
moving by consent to such or such Figures, but the motion of the Hand or the
Pen is always one and the same; wherefore it is but the variation and
repetition in and of the same motion of the Hand, or Pen, which may be
continued in that manner infinitely, just as the same Corporeal Motions can
make infinite variations and repetitions of one and the same Figure, repeating
it as oft as they please, as also making Copy of Copy; And although I do not
deny, but there are Generations in Nature, yet not annihilations or perishings,
for if any one motion or figure should perish, the matter must perish also; and
if any one part of matter can perish, all the matter in nature may perish also;
and if there can any new thing be made or created in nature, which hath not
been before, there may also be a new Nature, and so by perishings and new
Creations, this World would not have continued an age; But surely whatsoever is
in Nature, hath been existent always. Wherefore to conclude, it is not the
generation and perishing of an Accident that makes its subject to be changed,
but the production and alteration of the Form, makes it said to be generated or
destroyed, for matter will change its motions and figures without perishing or
annihilating; and whether there were words or not, there would be such causes
and effects; But having not the art of Logic to dispute with artificial words,
nor the art of Geometry to demonstrate my opinions by Mathematical Figures, I
fear they will not be so well received by the Learned; However, I leave them to
any mans unprejudiced Reason and Judgment, and devote my self to your service,
as becomes,
MADAM, Your Ladyships humble and faithful Servant.
YOur Author concerning Place and Magnitude says, that Place is nothing out of
the mind, nor Part. 2. c. 8. a. 5.
Magnitude any thing within it; for Place is a mere Phantasm of a body of such
quantity and figure, and Magnitude a peculiar accident of the body; But this
doth not well agree with my reason, for I believe that Place, Magnitude and
Body are but one thing, and that Place is as true an extension as Magnitude,
and not a feigned one; Neither am I of his opinion, that Place is Immovable,
but that place moves, according as the body moves, for not any body wants
place, because place and body is but one thing, and wheresoever is body, there
is also place, and wheresoever is place, there is body, as being one and the
same; Wherefore Motion cannot be a relinquishing of one place and acquiring
another, Art. 10.
for there is no such thing as place different from body, but what is called
change of place, is nothing but change of corporeal motions; for, say an house
stands in such a place, if the house be gone, the place is gone also, as being
impossible that the place of the house should remain, when the house is taken
away; like as a man when he is gone out of his chamber, his place is gone too;
Tis true, if the ground or foundation do yet remain, one may say, there stood
such an house heretofore, but yet the place of the house is not there really at
that present, unless the same house be built up again as it was before, and
then it hath its place as before; Nevertheless the house being not there, it
cannot be said that either place or house are annihilated, viz, when the
materials are dissolved, no not when transformed into millions of several other
figures, for the house remains still in the power of all those several parts of
matter; and as for space, it is only a distance betwixt some parts or bodies;
But an Empty place signifies to my opinion Nothing, for if place and body are
one and the same, and empty is as much as nothing, then certainly these two
words cannot consist together, but are destructive to one another. Concerning,
that your Author says; Two bodies cannot be together in the same place, nor
Art. 8.
one body in two places at the same time, is very true, for there are no more
places then bodies, nor more bodies then places, and this is to be understood
as well of the grosser, as the purest parts of nature, of the mind as well as
of the body, of the rational and sensitive animate matter as well as of the
inanimate, for there is no matter, how pure and subtle soever, but is imbodied,
and all that hath body hath place. Likewise I am of his opinion, That one body
hath always one and the same Art. 5.
magnitude; for, in my opinion, magnitude, place and body do not differ, and as
place, so magnitude can never be separated from body. But when he speaks of
Rest, I cannot believe there is any such thing truly in Nature, for it is
impossible to prove, that any thing is without Motion, either consistent, or
composing, or dissolving, or transforming motions, or the like, although not
altogether perceptible by our senses, for all the Matter is either moving or
moved, and although the moved parts are not capable to receive the nature of
self-motion from the self-moving parts, yet these self-moving parts, being
joined and mixed with all other parts of the moved matter, do always move the
same; for the Moved or Inanimate part of Matter, although it is a Part of it
self, yet it is so intermixed with the self-moving Animate Matter, as they make
but one Body; and though some parts of the Inanimate may be as pure as the
Sensitive Animate Matter, yet they are never so subtle as to be self-moving;
Wherefore the Sensitive moves in the Inanimate, and the Rational in the
Sensitive, but often the Rational moves in it self. And, although there is no
rest in nature, nevertheless Matter could have been without Motion, when as it
is impossible that Matter could be without place or magnitude, no more then
Variety can be without motion; And thus much at this present: I conclude, and
MADAM, Your Faithful Friend and Servant.
PAssing by those Chapters of your Authors, that treat of Power and Act, Identy
and Difference, Analogisme, Angle and Figure, Figures deficient, dimension of
Circles, and several others, most of which belong to art, as to Geometry, and
the like; I am come to that wherein he discourses of Sense and Animal Motion,
saying, That some Natural bodies have in themselves the patterns almost of all
things, and others of none C. 25. a. 1.
at all; Whereof my opinion is, that the sensitive and rational parts of Matter
are the living and knowing parts of Nature, and no part of nature can challenge
them only to it self, nor no creature can be sure, that sense is only in
Animal-kind, and reason in Man-kind; for can any one think or believe that
Nature is ignorant and dead in all her other parts besides Animals? Truly this
is a very unreasonable opinion; for no man, as wise as he thinks himself, nay
were all Man-kind joined into one body, yet they are not able to know it,
unless there were no variety of parts in nature, but only one whole and
individeable body, for other Creatures may know and perceive as much as
Animals, although they have not the same Sensitive Organs, nor the same manner
or way of Perception. Next your Author says, The cause of Sense or Perception
consists herein, that the first organ of sense is touched and pressed; For when
the Art. 2.
uttermost part of the organ is pressed, it no sooner yields, but the part next
within it is pressed also, and in this manner the pressure or motion is
propagated through all the parts of the organ to the innermost. And thus also
the pressure of the uttermost part proceeds from the pressure of some more
remote body, and so continually, till we come to that, from which, as from its
fountain, we derive the Phantasm or Idea, that is made in us by our sense: And
this, whatsoever it be, is that we commonly call the object; Sense therefore is
some Internal motion in the Sentient, Generated by some Internal motion of the
Parts of the object, and propagated through all the media to the innermost part
of the organ. Moreover there being a resistance or reaction in the organ, by
reason of its internal motion against the motion propagated from the object,
there is also an endeavour in the organ opposite to the endeavour proceeding
from the object, and when that endeavour inwards is the last action in the act
of sense, then from the reaction a Phantasm or Idea has its being. This is
your Authors opinion, which if it were so, perception could not be effected so
suddenly, nay I think the sentient by so many pressures in so many perceptions,
would at last be pressed to death, besides the organs would take a great deal
of hurt, nay totally be removed out of their places, so as the eye would in
time be pressed into the centre of the brain; And if there were any Resistance,
Reaction or Endeavour in the organ, opposite to the Endeavour of the object,
there would, in my opinion, be always a war between the animal senses and the
objects, the endeavour of the objects pressing one way, and the senses pressing
the other way, and if equal in their strengths, they would make a stop, and the
sensitive organs would be very much pained; Truly, Madam, in my opinion, it
would be like that Custom which formerly hath been used at Newcastle, when a
man was married, the guests divided themselves, behind and before the
Bridegroom; the one party driving him back, the other forwards, so that one
time a Bridegroom was killed in this fashion; But certainly Nature hath a more
quick and easy way of giving intelligence and knowledge to her Creatures, and
doth not use such constraint and force in her actions; Neither is sense or
sensitive perception a mere Phantasm or Idea, but a Corporeal action of the
sensitive and rational matter, and according to the variation of the objects or
patterns, and the sensitive and rational motions, the perception also is
various, produced not by external pressure, but by internal self-motion, as I
have declared heretofore; and to prove, that the sensitive and rational
corporeal motions are the only cause of perception; I say, if those motions in
an animal move in another way, and not to such perceptions, then that animal
can neither hear, see, taste, smell, nor touch, although all his sensitive
organs be perfect, as is evident in a man falling into a swoon, where all the
time he is in a swoon, the pressure of the objects is made without any effect;
Wherefore, as the sensitive and rational corporeal motions make all that is in
nature, so likewise they make perception, as being perception it self, for all
self-motion is perception, but all perception is not animal perception, or
after an animal way; and therefore sense cannot decay nor die; but what is
called a decay or death, is nothing else but a change or alteration of those
Motions: But you will say, Madam, it may be, that one body, as an object,
leaves the print of its figure, in the next adjoining body, until it comes to
the organ of sense, I answer that then sustained bodies only must be pressed, and
the object must be so hard as to make a print, and as for rare parts of matter,
they are not able to retain a print without self-motion; Wherefore it is not
probable that the parts of air should receive a print, and print the same again
upon the adjoining part, until the last part of the air print it upon the eye;
and that the exterior parts of the organ should print upon the interior, till
it come to the centre of the Brain, without self-motion. Wherefore in my
opinion, Perception is not caused either by the printing of objects, nor by
pressures, for pressures would make a general stop of all natural motions,
especially if there were any reaction or resistance of sense; but according to
my reason, the sensitive and rational corporeal motions in one body, pattern
out the Figure of another body, as of an exterior object, which may be done
easily without any pressure or reaction; I will not say, that there is no
pressure or reaction in Nature, but pressure and reaction doth not make
perception, for the sensitive and rational parts of matter make all perception
and variety of motion, being the most subtle parts of Nature, as self-moving,
as also divideable, and composeable, and alterable in their figurative motions,
for this Perceptive matter can change its substance into any figure whatsoever
in nature, as being not bound to one constant figure. But having treated hereof
before, and being to say more of it hereaster, this shall suffice for the
present, remaining always,
MADAM, Your constant Friend, and faithful Servant.
TO discourse of the World and Stars, is more then I am able to do, wanting the
art of Astronomy and Geometry; wherefore passing by that Chapter of your
Author, I am come to that Ch. 27.
wherein he treats of Light, Heat and Colours; and to give you my opinion of
Light, I say, it is not the light of the Sun, that makes an Animal see, for we
can see inwardly in Dreams without the Suns light, but it is the sensitive and
rational Motions in the Eye and Brain that make such a figure as Light; For if
Light did press upon the Eye, according to your Authors opinion, it might put
the Eye into as much pain as Fire doth, when it sticks its points into our skin
or flesh. The same may be said of Colours, for the sensitive motions make such
a figure, which is such a Colour, and such a Figure, which is such a Colour;
Wherefore Light, Heat and Colour, are not bare and bodiless qualities; but such
figures made by corporeal self-motions, and are as well real and corporeal
objects as other figures are; and when these figures change or alter, it is
only that their motions alter, which may alter and change heat into cold, and
light into darkness, and black colour into white. But by reason the motions of
the Sun are so constant, as the motions of any other kind of Creatures, it is
no more subject to be altered then all the World, unless Nature did it by the
command of God; for though the Parts of self-moving Matter be alterable, yet
all are not altered; and this is the reason, that the figure of Light in our
eye and brain is altered, as well as it is alterable, but not the real figure
of the Sun, neither doth the Sun enter our eyes; and as the Light of the Sun is
made or patterned in the eye, so is the light of Glow-worms-tails, and
Cats-eyes, that shine in the dark, made not by the Sun's, but their own motions
in their own parts; The like when we dream of Light, the sensitive corporeal
motions working inwardly, make the figure of light on the inside of the eye, as
they did pattern out the figure of light on the out side of the eye when awake,
and the objects before them; for the sensitive motions of the eye pattern out
the figure of the object in the eye, and the rational motions make the same
figure in their own substance. But there is some difference between those
figures that perceive light, and those that are light themselves; for when we
sleep, there is made the figure of light, but not from a copy; but when the eye
sees light, that figure is made from a copy of the real figure of the Sun; but
those lights which are inherent, as in Glow-worms-tails, are original lights,
in which is as much difference as between a Man and his Picture; and as for the
swiftness of the Motions of light, and the violence of the Motions of fire, it
is very probable they are so, but they are a certain particular kind or sort of
swift and violent motions; neither will all sorts of swift and violent motions
make fire or light, as for example the swift and violent Circular motion of a
Whirlwind neither makes light nor fire; Neither is all fire light, nor all
light fire, for there is a sort of dead fire, as in Spices, Spirits, Oils, and
the like; and several sorts of lights, which are not hot, as the light which is
made in Dreams, as also the inherent lights in Glow-worms, Cats-eyes,
Fish-bones, and the like; all which several fires and lights are made by the
self-moving matter and motions distinguishable by their figures, for those
Motions make such a figure for the Suns light, such a figure for Glow-worms
light, such a figure for Cats-eyes light, and so some alteration in every sort
of light; The same for Fire, only Fire-light is a mixed figure, as partly of
the figure of Fire, and partly of the figure of Light: Also Colours are made
after the like manner, viz. so many several Colours, so many several Figures;
and as these Figures are less or more different, so are the Colours.
Thus, Madam, whosoever will study Nature, must consider the Figures of every
Creature, as well as their Motions, and must not make abstractions of Motion
and Figure from Matter, nor of Matter from Motion and Figure, for they are
inseparable, as being but one thing, viz. Corporeal Figurative Motions; and
whosoever conceives any of them as abstract, will, in my opinion, very much
err; but men are apt to make more difficulties and enforcements in nature then
nature ever knew. But to return to Light: There is no better argument to prove
that all objects of sight are figured in the Eye, by the sensitive, voluntary
or self-motions, without the pressure of objects, but that not only the
pressure of light would hurt the tender Eye, but that the eye doth not see all
objects according to their Magnitude, but sometimes bigger, sometimes less: as
for example, when the eye looks through a small passage, as a
Prospective-glass, by reason of the difficulty of seeing a body through a small
hole, and the double figure of the glass being convex and concave, the
corporeal motions use more force, by which the object is enlarged, like as a
spark of fire by force is dilated into a great fire, and a drop of water by
blowing into a bubble; so the corporeal motions do double and treble their
strength, making the Image of the object exceeding large in the eye; for though
the eye be contracted, yet the Image in the eye is enlarged to a great
extension; for the sensitive and rational matter is extremely subtle, by reason
it is extremely pure, by which it hath more means and ways of magnifying then
the Perspective-glass. But I intend to write more of this subject in my next,
and so I break off here, resting,
MADAM, Your Faithful Friend and Servant.
SOme perhaps will question the truth or probability of my saying, that Light
is a Body, objecting that if light were a body, when the Sun is absent or
retires under our Horizon, its light would leave an empty place, or if there
were no empty place but all full, the light of the Sun at its return would not
have room to display it self, especially in so great a compass as it doth, for
two bodies cannot be in one place at one time. I answer, all bodies carry their
places along with them, for body and place go together and are inseparable, and
when the light of the Sun is gone, darkness succeeds, and when darkness is
gone, light succeeds, so that it is with light and darkness as with all
Creatures else; For you cannot believe, that if the whole World were removed,
there would be a place of the world left, for there cannot be an empty nothing,
no more then there can be an empty something; but if the world were
annihilated, the place would be annihilated too, place and body being one and
the same thing; and therefore in my opinion, there be no more places then there
are bodies, nor no more bodies then there are places.
Secondly, They will think it absurd that I say, the eye can see without light;
but in my opinion it seems not absurd, but very rational, for we may see in
dreams, and some do see in the dark, not in their fancy or imagination, but
really; and as for dreams, the sensitive corporeal motions make a light on the
inside of the organ of sight really, as I have declared in my former Letter.
But that we do not see ordinarily without exterior Light, the reason is, that
the sensitive Motions cannot find the outward objects to pattern out without
exterior light, but all perception doth not proceed from light, for all other
perception besides animal sight requires not light. Neither in my opinion, doth
the Perception of sight in all Creatures but Animals, but yet Animals do often
see in the dark, and in sleep: I will not say but that the animate matter which
by self-motion doth make the Perception of light with other perceptive Figures,
and so animal perceptive light may be the presenter or ground perceptive figure
of sight; yet the sensitive corporeal motions can make other figures without
the help of light, and such as light did never present: But when the eye
patterns out an exterior object presented by light, it patterns also out the
object of light; for the sensitive motions can make many figures by one act,
not only in several organs, but in one organ; as for example, there is
presented to sight a piece of Imbroydery, wherein is silk, silver and gold upon
Satin in several forms or figures, as several flowers, the sensitive motions
straight by one and the same act, pattern out all those several figures of
flowers, as also the figures of Silk, Silver, Gold and Satin, without any
pressure of these objects, or motions in the medium, for if they all should
press, the eye would no more see the exterior objects, then the nose, being
stopped, could smell a presented perfume;
Thirdly, They may ask me, if sight be made in the eye, and proceeds not from
the outward object, what is the reason that we do not see inwardly, but
outwardly as from us? I answer, when we see objects outwardly, as from us, then
the sensitive motions work on the outside of the organ, which organ being
outwardly convex, causes us to see outwardly, as from us, but in dreams we see
inwardly; also the sensitive motions do pattern out the distance together with
the object: But you will say, the body of the distance, as the air, cannot be
perceived, and yet we can perceive the distance; I answer, you could not
perceive the distance, but by such or such an object as is subject to your
sight; for you do not see the distance more then the air, or the like rare
body, that is between grosser objects; for if there were no stars, nor planets,
nor clouds, nor earth, nor water, but only air, you would not see any space or
distance; but light being a more visible body then air, you might figure the
body of air by light, but so, as in an extensive or dilating way; for when the
mind or the rational matter conceives any thing that hath not such an exact
figure, or is not so perceptible by our senses; then the mind uses art, and
makes such figures, which stand like to that; as for example, to express
infinite to it self, it dilates it parts without alteration, and without
limitation or circumference; Likewise, when it will conceive a constant
succession of Time, it draws out its parts into the figure of a line; and if
eternity, it figures a line without beginning and end: But as for Immaterial,
no mind can conceive that, for it cannot put it self into nothing, although it
can dilate and rarify it self to an higher degree, but must stay within the
circle of natural bodies, as I within the circle of your Commands, to express
my self,
MADAM, Your faithful Friend, and obedient Servant.
HEat and Cold, according to your Authors opinion, are made by Dilation and
Contraction: for says he, When the Motion of the ambient ethereal C. 28. ^. 1.
substance makes the spirits and fluid parts of our bodies tend outwards, we
acknowledge heat, but by the endeavour inwards of the same spirits and humours we
feel cold: so that to cool is to make the exterior parts of the body endeavour
inwards, by a motion contrary to that of calefaction, by which the internal
parts are called outwards. He therefore that would know the cause of Cold, must
find by what motion the exterior parts of any body endeavour to retire inwards.
But I desire you to consider, Madam, that there be moist Colds, and dry Heats,
as well as dry Colds, and moist Heats; wherefore all sorts of Cold are not made
by the retiring of parts inwards, which is contraction or attraction; neither
are all sorts of Heat made by parts tending outwards, which is dilation or
rarefaction; for a moist cold is made by dilation, and a dry heat by
contraction, as well as a moist heat is made by dilation, and a dry cold by
contraction: But your Author makes not this difference, but only a difference
between a dilated heat, and a contracted cold; but because a cold wind is made
by breath blown thorough pinched or contracted lips, and an hot wind by breath
through opened and extended lips, should we judge that all heat and cold must be
made after one manner or way? The contracted mouth makes Wind as well as the
dilated, but yet Wind is not made that way, as heat and cold; for it may be,
that only the air pressed together makes wind, or it may be that the corporeal
motions in the air may change air into wind, as they change water into vapour,
and vapour into air; or it may be something else that is invisible and rare, as
air; and there may be several sorts of wind, air, heat, cold, as of all other
Creatures, more then man is capable to know. As for your Authors opinion
concerning the congealing of Water, and how Ice is made, I will not contradict
it, only I think nature hath an easier way to effect it, then he describes;
Wherefore my opinion is, that it is done by altering motions; as for example,
the corporeal motions making the figure of water by dilation in a Circle
figure, only alter from such a dilating circular figure into a contracted
square, which is Ice, or into such a contracted triangle, as is snow: And thus
water and vapour may be changed with ease, without any forcing, pressing,
raking, or the like. The same may be said of hard and bent bodies; and of
restitution, as also of air, thunder and lightning, which are all done by an
easy change of motion, and changing into such or such a figure is not the
motion of Generation, which is to build a new house with old materials, but
only a Transformation; I say a new house with old materials; not that I mean
there is any new Creation in nature, of any thing that was not before in
nature; for nature is not God, to make new beings out of nothing, but any thing
may be called new, when it is altered from one figure into another. I add no
more at this time, but rest,
MADAM, Your faithful Friend and Servant.
THe Generation of sound, according to your worthy Authors opinion, is as
follows: As Vision, Ch. 29. a. 1.
says he, so hearing is Generated by the medium, but but not in the same
manner; for sight is from pressure, that is, from an endeavour, in which there
is no perceptible progression of any of the parts of the medium, but one part
urging or thrusting on another, propagates that action successively to any
distance whatsoever; where as the motion of the medium, by which sound is made,
is a stroke; for when we hear, the drum of the Ear, which is the first organ of
hearing, is stricken, and the drum being stricken, the Pia Matter is also
shaken, and with it the arteries inserted into it, by which the action
propagated to the heart it self, by the reaction of the heart a Phantasm is
made which we call Sound. Thus far your Author: To which give me leave to
reply, that I fear, if the Ear was bound to hear any loud Music, or another
sound a good while, it would soundly be beaten, and grow sore and bruised with
so many strokes; but since a pleasant sound would be rendered very unpleasant in
this manner, my opinion is, that like as in the Eye, so in the Ear the
corporeal sensitive motions do pattern out as many several figures, as sounds
are presented to them; but if these motions be irregular, then the figure of
the sound in the ear is not perfect according to the original; for if it be,
that the motions are tyred with figuring, or the object of sound be too far
distant from the sensitive organ, then they move slowly and weakly, not that
they are tyred or weak in strength, but with working and repeating one and the
same object, and so through love to variety, change from working regularly to
move irregularly, so as not to pattern outward objects as they ought, and then
there are no such patterns made at all, which we call to be deaf; and sometimes
the sensitive motions do not so readily perceive a soft sound near, as a
stronger farther off. But to prove it is not the outward object of sound with
its striking or pressing motion, nor the medium, that causes this perception of
sense, if there be a great solid body, as a wall, or any other partition
betwixt two rooms, parting the object and the sensitive organ, so, as the sound
is not able to press it, nevertheless the perception will be made; And as for
pipes to convey sounds, the perception is more fixed and perfecter in united
then in dilated or extended bodies, and then the sensitive motions can make
perfecter patterns; for the stronger the objects are, the more perfect are the
figures and patterns of the objects, and the more perfect is the perception.
But when the sound is quite out of the ear, then the sensitive motions have
altered the patterning of such figures to some other action; and when the sound
fades by degrees, then the figure or pattern alters by degrees; but for the
most part the sensitive corporeal motions alter according as the objects are
presented, or the perception patterns out. Neither do they usually make figures
of outward objects, if not perceived by the senses, unless through
Irregularities as in Mad men, which see such and such things, when as these
things are not near, and then the sensitive motions work by rote, or after
their own voluntary invention. As for Reflection, it is a double perception, and
so a double figure of one object; like as many pictures of one man, where some
are more perfect then others, for a copy of a copy is not so perfect as a copy
of an original. But the recoiling of sound is, that the sensitive motions in
the ear begin a new pattern, before they dissolved the former, so as there is
no perfect alteration or change, from making to dissolving, but pattern is made
upon pattern, which causes a confusion of figures, the one being neither
perfectly finished, nor the other perfectly made. But it is to be observed,
that not always the sensitive motions in the organs take their pattern from the
original, but from copies; as for example, the sensitive motions in the eye,
pattern out the figure of an eye in a glass, and so do not take a pattern from
the original it self, but by an other pattern, representing the figure of the
eye in a Looking-glass; The same doth the Ear, by patterning out Echoes, which
is but a pattern of a pattern; But when as a man hears himself speak or make a
sound, then the corporeal sensitive motions in the Ear, pattern out the object
or figure made by the motions of the tongue and the throat, which is voice; By
which we may observe, that there may be many figures made by several motions
from one original; as for example, the figure of a word is made in a mans
mouth, then the copy of that figure is made in the ear, then in the brain, and
then in the memory, and all this in one Man: Also a word being made in a mans
mouth, the air takes a copy or many copies thereof; but the Ear patterns them
both out, first the original coming from the mouth, and then the copy made in
the air, which is called an Echo, and yet not any strikes or touches each
others parts, only perceives and patterns out each others figure. Neither are
their substances the same, although the figures be alike; for the figure of a
man may be carved in wood, then cut in brass, then in stone, and so forth,
where the figure may be always the same, although the substances which do
pattern out the figure are several, viz. Wood, Brass, Stone, c. and so likewise
may the figure of a stone be figured in the fleshy substance of the Eye, or the
figure of light or colour, and yet the substance of the Eye remains still the
same; neither doth the substantial figure of a stone, or tree, patterned out by
the sensitive corporeal motions, in the flesh of an animal eye, change from
being a vegetable or mineral, to an animal, and if this cannot be done by
nature, much less by art; for if the figure of an animal be carved in wood or
stone, it doth not give the wood or stone any animal knowledge, nor an animal
substance, as flesh, bones, blood, c. no more doth the patterning or figuring
of a Tree give a vegetable knowledge, or the substance of wood to the eye, for
the figure of an outward object doth not alter the substance that patterns it
out or figures it, but the patterning substance doth pattern out the figure, in
it self, or in its own substance, so as the figure which is patterned, hath the
same life and knowledge with the substance by and in which it is figured or
patterned, and the inherent motions of the same substance; and according as the
sensitive and rational self-moving matter moves, so figures are made; and thus
we see, that lives, knowledges, motions and figures are all material, and all
Creatures are endued with life, knowledge, motion and figure, but not all alike
or after the same manner. But to conclude this discourse of perception of
Sound, the Ear may take the object of sound afar off, as well as at a near
distance; not only if many figures of the same sound be made from that great
distance, but if the interposing parts be not so thick, close, or many as to
hinder or obscure the object from the animal Perception in the sensitive organ;
for if a man lays his Ear near to the Ground, the Ear may hear at a far
distance, as well as the Eye can see, for it may hear the noise of a troop afar
off, perception being very subtle and active; Also there may several Copies be
made from the Original, and from the last Copy nearest to the Ear, the Ear may
take a pattern, and so pattern out the noise in the organ, without any strokes
to the Ear, for the subtle matter in all Creatures doth inform and perceive.
But this is well to be observed, that the figures of objects are as soon made,
as perceived by the sensitive motions in their work of patterning. And this is
my Opinion concerning the Perception of Sound, which together with the rest I
leave to your Ladyships and others wiser Judgment, and rest,
MADAM, Your faithful Friend and Servant.
I Perceive by your last, that you cannot well apprehend my meaning, when I say
that the print or figure of a Body Printed or Carved, is not made by the
motions of the body Printing or Carving it, but by the motions of the body or
substance Printed or Carved; for say you, Doth a piece of Wood carve it self,
or a black Patch of a Lady cut its own figure by its own motions? Before I
answer you, Madam, give me leave to ask you this question, whether it be the
motion of the hand, or the Instrument, or both, that print or carve such or
such a body? Perchance you will say, that the motion of the hand moves the
Instrument, and the Instrument moves the Wood which is to be carved: Then I
ask, whether the motion that moves the Instrument, be the Instruments, or the
Hands? Perchance you will say the Hands; but I answer, how can it be the Hands
motion, if it be in the Instrument? You will say, perhaps, the motion of the
hand is tranferred out of the hand into the instrument, and so from the
instrument into the carved figure; but give me leave to ask you, was this
motion of the hand, that was transferred, Corporeal or Incorporeal? If you say,
Corporeal, then the hand must become less and weak, but if Incorporeal, I ask
you, how a bodiless motion can have force and strength to carve and cut? But
put an Impossible proposition, as that there is an Immaterial motion, and that
this Incorporeal motion could be transferred out of one body into another; then
I ask you, when the hand and instrument cease to move, what is become of the
motion? Perhaps you will say, the motion perishes or is annihilated, and when
the hand and the instrument do move again, to the carving or cutting of the
figure, then a new Incorporeal Motion is created; Truly then there will be a
perpetual creation and annihilation of Incorporeal motions, that is, of that
which naturally is nothing; for an Incorporeal being is as much as a natural
No-thing, for Natural reason cannot know nor have naturally any perception or
Idea of an Incorporeal being: besides, if the motion be Incorporeal, then it
must needs be a supernatural Spirit, for there is not any thing else Immaterial
but they, and then it will be either an Angel or a Devil, or the Immortal Soul
of man; but if you say it is the supernatural Soul, truly I cannot be persuaded
that the supernatural Soul should not have any other employment then to carve
or cut prints, or figures, or move in the hands, or heels, or legs, or arms of
a Man; for other animals have the same kind of Motions, and then they might
have a Supernatural Soul as well as Man, which moves in them. But if you say,
that these tranferrable motions are material, then every action whereby the
hand moves to the making or moving of some other body, would lessen the number
of the motions in the hand, and weaken it, so that in the writing of one
letter, the hand would not be able to write a second letter, at least not a
third. But I pray, Madam, consider rationally, that though the Artificer or
Workman be the occasion of the motions of the carved body, yet the motions of
the body that is carved, are they which put themselves into such or such a
figure, or give themselves such or such a print as the Artificer intended; for
a Watch, although the Artist or Watch-maker be the occasional cause that the
Watch moves in such or such an artificial figure, as the figure of a Watch, yet
it is the Watches own motion by which it moves; for when you carry the Watch
about you, certainly the Watch-makers hand is not then with it as to move it;
or if the motion of the Watch-makers hand be transferred into the Watch, then
certainly the Watch-maker cannot make another Watch, unless there be a new
creation of new motions made in his hands; so that God and Nature would be as
much troubled and concerned in the making of Watches, as in the making of a new
World; for God created this World in six days, and rested the seventh day, but
this would be a perpetual Creation; Wherefore I say that some things may be
Occasional causes of other things, but not the Prime or Principal causes; and
this distinction is very well to be considered, for there are no frequenter
mistakes then to confound these two different causes, which make so many
confusions in natural Philosophy; and this is the Opinion of,
MADAM, Your Faithful Friend and Servant.
IN answer to your question, What makes Echo, I say, it is that which makes
all the effects of Nature, viz. self-moving matter; I know, the common opinion
is, that Echo is made like as the figure of a Face, or the like, in a
Looking-glass, and that the Reverberation of sound is like the Reflection of
sight in a Looking-glass; But I am not of that opinion, for both Echo, and
that which is called the Reflection in a Looking-glass, are made by the
self-moving matter, by way of patterning and copying out. But then you will ask
me, whether the glass takes the copy of the face, or the face prints its copy
on the glass, or whether it be the medium of light and air that makes it? I
answer, although many Learned men say, that as all perception, so also the
seeing of ones face in a Looking-glass, and Echo, are made by impression and
reaction; yet I cannot in my simplicity conceive it, how bodies that come not
near, or touch each other, can make a figure by impression and reaction: They
say it proceeds from the motions of the Medium of light, or air, or both, viz.
that the Medium is like a long stick with two ends, whereof one touches the
object, the other the organ of sense, and that one end of it moving, the other
moves also at the same point of Time, by which motions it may make many several
figures; But I cannot conceive, how this motion of pressing forward and
backward should make so many figures, wherein there is so much variety and
curiosity. But, say light and air are as one figure, and like as a seal do
print another body; I answer, if any thing could print, yet it is not probable,
that so soft and rare bodies as light and air, could print such solid bodies as
glass, nor could air by reverberation make such a sound as Echo. But mistake
me not, for, I do not say, that the Corporeal motions of light or air, cannot,
or do not pencil, copy, or pattern out any figure, for both light and air are
very active in such sorts of Motions, but I say, they cannot do it on any other
bodies but their own. But to cut off tedious and unnecessary disputes, I return
to the expressing of my own opinion, and believe, that the glass in its own
substance doth figure out the copy of the face, or the like, and from that copy
the sensitive motions in the eyes take another copy, and so the rational from
the sensitive; and in this manner is made both rational and sensitive
perception, sight and knowledge. The same with Echoes; for the air patterns out
the copy of the sound, and then the sensitive corporeal motions in the ear
pattern again this copy from the air, and so do make the perception and sense
of hearing. You may ask me, Madam, if it be so, that the glass and the air copy
out the figure of the face and of sound, whether the Glass may be said to see
and the Air to speak? I answer, I cannot tell that; for though I say, that the
air repeats the words, and the glass represents the face, yet I cannot guess
what their perceptions are, only this I may say, that the air hath an
elemental, and the glass a mineral, but not an animal perception. But if these
figures were made by the pressures of several objects or parts, and by
reaction, there could not be such variety as there is, for they could but act
by one sort of motion: Likewise is it improbable, that sounds, words or voices,
should like a company of Wild-Geese fly in the air, and so enter into the ears
of the hearers, as they into their nests: Neither can I conceive, how in this
manner a word can enter so many ears, that is, be divided into every ear, and
yet strike every ear with an undivided vocal sound; You will say, as a small
fire doth heat and warm all those that stand by; for the heat issues from the
fire, as the light from the Sun. I answer, all what issues and hath motion,
hath a Body, and yet most learned men deny that sound, light and heat have
bodies: But if they grand of light that it has a body, they say it moves and
presses the air, and the air the eye, and so of heat; which if so, then the air
must not move to any other motion but light, and only to one sort of light, as
the Suns light; for if it did move in any other motion, it would disturb the
light; for if a Bird did but fly in the air, it would give all the region of
air another motion, and so put out, or alter the light, or at least disturb it;
and wind would make a great disturbance in it. Besides, if one body did give
another body motion, it must needs give it also substance, for motion is either
something or nothing, body or no body, substance or no substance; if nothing,
it cannot enter into another body; if something, it must lessen the bulk of the
body it quits, and increase the bulk of the body it enters, and so the Sun and
Fire with giving light and heat, would become less, for they cannot both give
and keep at once, for this is as impossible, as for a man to give to another
creature his human Nature, and yet to keep it still. Wherefore my opinion is
for heat, that when many men stand round about a fire, and are heated and
warmed by it, the fire doth not give them any thing, nor do they receive
something from the fire, but the sensitive motions in their bodies pattern out
the object of the fires heat, and so they become more or less hot according as
their patterns are numerous or perfect; And as for air, it patterns out the
light of the Sun, and the sensitive motions in the eyes of animals pattern out
the light in the air. The like for Echoes, or any other sound, and for the
figures which are presented in a Looking-glass. And thus millions of parts or
creatures may make patterns of one or more objects, and the objects neither
give nor loose any thing. And this I repeat here, that my meaning of Perception
may be the better understood, which is the desire of,
MADAM, Your faithful Friend, and Servant.
I Perceive you are not fully satisfied with my former Letter concerning Echo,
and a figure presented in a Looking-glass; for you say, how is it possible, if
Echo consists in the ears patterning out of a voice or sound, but that it will
make a confusion in all the parts of the air? My answer is, that I do not say
that Echo is only made by the patterning out of the voice or sound, but by
repeating the same voice or sound, which repetition is named an Echo, for
millions of ears in animals may pattern out a voice or words, and yet never
repeat them, and so may millions of parts of the air; wherefore Echo doth not
consist in the bare patterning out, but in the repetition of the same sound or
words, which are patterned out; and so some parts of the air may at one and the
same time pattern out a sound and not repeat it, and some may both pattern out,
and repeat it, but some may neither pattern out, nor repeat it, and therefore
the Repetition, not the bare Patterning out is called Echo: Just as when two
or more men do answer or mock each other, and repeat each others words, it is
not necessary, if there were a thousand standers by, that they should all do
the same. And as for the figure presented in a Looking-glass, I cannot conceive
it to be made by pressure and reaction; for although there is both pressure and
reaction in nature, and those very frequent amongst natures Parts, yet they do
neither make perception nor production. although both pressure and reaction are
made by corporeal self-motions; Wherefore the figure presented in a
Looking-glass, or any other smooth glassy body, is, in my opinion, only made
by the motions of the Looking-glass, which do both pattern out; and present the
figure of an external object in the Glass: But you will say, why do not the
motions of other bodies pattern out, and present the figures of external
objects, as well as smooth glassy bodies do? I answer, they may pattern out
external objects, for any thing I know; but the reason that their figures are
not presented to our eyes, lies partly in the presenting subject it self,
partly in our sight; for it is observed, that two things are chiefly required
in a subject that will present the figure of an external object; first it must
be smooth, even and glassy, next it must not be transparent: the first is
manifest by experience; for the subject being rough and uneven, will never be
able to present such a figure; as for example, A piece of steel rough and
unpolished, although it may perhaps pattern out the figure of an external
object, yet it will never present its figure, but as soon as it is polished,
and made smooth and glassy, the figure is presently perceived. But this is to
be observed, that smooth and glassy bodies do not always pattern out exterior
objects exactly, but some better, some worse; like as Painters have not all the
same ingenuity; neither do all eyes pattern out all objects exactly; which
proves that the perception of sight is not made by pressure and reaction, o:
herwise there would be no difference, but all eyes would see alike, Next I say,
it is observed, that the subject which will present the figure of an external
object, must not be transparent; the reason is, that the figure of Light being
a substance of a piercing and penetrating quality, hath more force on
transparent, then on other solid dark bodies, and so disturbs the figure of an
external object patterned out in a transparent body, and quite over-masters it.
But you will say, you have found by experience, that if you hold a burning
Candle before a Transparentglass, although it be in an open Sun-light, yet the
figure of light and flame of the Candle will clearly be seen in the Glass. I
answer, that it is an other thing with the figure of Candle-light, then of a
duskish or dark body; for a Candle-light, though it is not of the same sort as
the Suns light, yet it is of the same nature and quality, and therefore the
Candle-light doth resist and oppose the light of the Sun, so that it cannot
have so much power over it, as over the figures of other bodies patterned out
and presented in Transparent-glass. Lastly, I say, that the fault often-times
lies in the perceptive motions of our sight, which is evident by a plain and
Concave-glass; for in a plain Looking-glass, the further you go from it, the
more your figure presented in the glass seems to draw backward; and in a
Concave-glass, the nearer you go to it, the more seems your figure to come
forth: which effects are like as an house or tree appears to a Traveller; for,
as the man moves from the house or tree, so the house or tree seems to move
from the man; or like one that sails upon a Ship, who imagines that the Ship
stands still, and the Land moves; when as yet it is the Man and the Ship that
moves, and not the House, or Tree, or the Land: so when a Man turns round in a
quick motion, or when his head is dizzy, he imagines the room or place, where
he is, turns round. Wherefore it is the Inherent Perceptive motions in the Eye,
and not the motions in the Looking-glass, which cause these effects. And as for
several figures that are presented in one glass, it is absurd to imagine that
so many several figures made by so many several motions should touch the eye;
certainly this would make such a disturbance, if all figures were to enter or
but to touch the eye, as the eye would not perceive any of them, at least not
distinctly; Wherefore it is most probable that the glass patterns out those
figures, and the sensitive corporeal motions in the eye take again a pattern
from those figures patterned out by the glass, and so make copies of copies;
but the reason why several figures are presented in one glass in several
places, is, that two perfect figures cannot be in one point, nor made by one
motion, but by several corporeal motions. Concerning a Looking-glass, made in
the form or shape of a Cylinder, why it represents the figure of an external
object in an other shape and posture then the object is, the cause is the shape
and form of the Glass, and not the patterning motions in the Glass. But this
discourse belongs properly to the Optics, wherefore I will leave it to those
that are versed in that Art, to enquire and search more after the rational
truth thereof. In the mean time, my opinion is, that though the object is the
occasion of the figure presented in a Looking-glass, yet the figure is made by
the motions of the glass or body that presents it, and that the figure of the
glass perhaps may be patterned out as much by the motions of the object in its
own substance, as the figure of the object is patterned out and presented by
the motions of the glass in its own body or substance. And thus I conclude and
MADAM, Your Faithful Friend and Servant.
SInce I mentioned in my last that Light did disturb the figures of External
objects presented in Transparent bodies; you were pleased to ask, Whether light
doth penetrate transparent bodies? I answer, for any thing I know, it may; for
when I consider the subtle, piercing and penetrating nature of light, I believe
it doth; but again, when I consider that light is presented to our sight by
transparent bodies only, and not by duskish and dark bodies, and yet that
those duskish bodies are more porous then the transparent bodies, so that the
light hath more passage to pass through them, then through transparent bodies;
but that on the contrary, those dark bodies, as Wood, and the like, do quite
obscure the light, when as transparent bodies, as Glass, c. transmit it, I am
half persuaded that the transparent bodies, as Glass, rather present the Light
by patterning it out, then by giving it passage: Also I am of a mind, that the
air in a room may pattern out the Light from the Glass, for the Light in a room
doth not appear so clear as in the Glass; also if the Glass be any way
defective, it doth not present the Light so perfectly, whereas, if it were the
penetration of light through the glass, the light would pass through all sorts
of glass alike, which it doth not, but is more clearly seen through some, and
more obscurely through others, according to the goodness or purity of the
glass. But you may say, that the light divulges the imperfection or goodness of
the glass; I answer, so it doth of any other objects perceived by our sight;
for light is the presenter of objects to the sense and perception of sight, and
for any thing I know, the corporeal optic motions make the figure of light,
the ground figure of all other figures patterned out by the corporeal optic
motions, as in dreams, or when as some do see in the dark, that is, without the
help of exterior light. But you may say, That if the glass and the air in a
room did pattern out the figure of light, those patterns of light would remain
when light is absent: I answer, That is not usual in nature; for when the
object removes, the Pattern alters; I will not say but that the corporeal
optic motions may work by rote without objects, but that is irregular, as in
some distempers. And thus, Madam, I have given you my opinion also to this your
question; if you have any more scruples, I pray let me know of them, and assure
your self that I shall be ready upon all occasions to express my self,
MADAM, Your humble and faithful Servant.
YOur desire is to know, why sound is louder in a Vault, and in a large Room
then in a less? I answer, A Vault or arched Figure is the freest from
obstruction, as being without corners and points, so as the sensitive and
rational corporeal motions of the Ear can have a better perception; like as the
Eye can see farthest from a hill then being upon a level ground, because the
prospect is freer from the hill, as without obstruction, unless it be so cloudy
that the clouds do hinder the perception; And as the eye can have a better
prospect upon a hill, so the ear a stronger perception in a Vault; And as for
sound, that it is better perceived in a large, then in a little close room or
place, it is somewhat like the perception of sent, for the more the odorous
parts are bruised, the stronger is that perception of sent, as being repeated
double or treble, which makes the perception stronger, like as a thick body is
stronger then a thin one; So likewise the perception of sound in the air; for
though not all the parts of the air make repetitions, yet some or many make
patterns of the sound; the truth is, Air is as industrious to divulge or
present a found, by patterns to the Ear, as light doth objects to the Eye. But
then you may ask me, Why a long hollow pipe doth convey a voice to the ear more
readily, then any large and open place? My answer is, That the Parts of the air
in a long pipe are more Composed and not at liberty to wander, so that upon
necessity they must move only to the patterning out of the sound, having no
choice, which makes the sound much stronger, and the perception of the Ear
perfecter; But as for Pipes, Vaults, Prospects, as also figures presented in a
room through a little hole, inverted, and many the like, belongs more to
Artists then to my study, for though Natural Philosophy gives or points out the
Ground, and shows the reason, yet it is the Artist that Works; Besides it is
more proper for Mathematicians to discourse of, which study I am not versed in;
and so leaving it to them, I rest,
MADAM, Your faithful Friend and Servant.
FRom Sound I am come to Sent, in the discourse whereof, your Author Ch. 29.
art. 12.
is pleased to set down these following propositions: 1. That smelling is
hindered by cold and helped by heat: 2. That when the Wind blows from the
object, the smell is the stronger, and when it blows from the sentient towards
the object, the weaker, which by experience is found in dogs, that follow
thetrack of beasts by the Sent: 3. That such bodies as are last pervious to the
fluid medium, yield less smell then such as are more pervious: 4. That such
bodies as are of their own nature odorous, become yet more odorous, when they
are bruised: 5. That when the breath is stopped (at least in man) nothing can
be smelt: 6. That the Sense of smelling is also taken away by the stopping of
the Nostrils, though the mouth be left open. To begin from the last, I say,
that the nose is like the other sensitive organs, which if they be stopped, the
corporeal sensitive motions cannot take copies of the exterior objects, and
therefore must alter their action of patterning to some other, for when the eye
is shut and cannot perceive outward objects then it works to the Sense of
Touch, or on the inside of the organ to some phantasmes; and so do the rest of
the Senses. As for the stopping of breath, why it hinders the Sent, the cause
is, that the nostrils and the mouth are the chief organs, to receive air and to
let out breath: but though they be common passages for air and breath, yet
taste is only made in the mouth and tongue, and sent in the nose; not by the
pressure of meat, and the odoriferous object, but by patterning out the several
figures or objects of sent and taste, for the nose and the mouth will smell and
taste one, nay several things at the same time, like as the eye will see light,
colour, and other objects at once, which I think can hardly be done by
pressures; and the reason is, that the sensitive motions in the sensitive
organs make patterns of several objects at one time, which is the cause, that
when flowers, and such like odoriferous bodies are bruised, there are as many
figures made as there are parts bruised or divided, and by reason of so many
figures the sensitive knowledge is stronger; but that stones, minerals, and the
like, seem not so strong to our smell, the reason is, that their parts being
close and united, the sensitive motions in the organ cannot so readily perceive
and pattern them out, as those bodies which are more porous and divided. But as
for the wind blowing the sent either to or from the sentient, it is like a
window or door that by the motion of opening and shutting, hinders or
disturbs the sight; for bodies coming between the object and the organ, make
a stop of that perception. And as for the Dogs smelling out the track of
Beasts, the cause is, that the earth or ground hath taken a copy of that sent,
which copy the sensitive motions in the nose of the Dog do pattern out, and so
long as that figure or copy lasts, the Dog perceives the sent, but if he doth
not follow or hunt readily, then there is either no perfect copy made by the
ground, or otherwise he cannot find it, which causes him to seek and smell
about until he hath it; and thus smell is not made by the motion of the air,
but by the figuring motions in the nose: Where it is also to be observed, that
not only the motions in one, but in millions of noses, may pattern out one
little object at one time, and therefore it is not, that the object of sent
fills a room by sending out the sent from its substance, but that so many
figures are made of that object of sent by so many several sensitive motions,
which pattern the same out; and so the air, or ground, or any other creature,
whose sensitive motions pattern out the object of sent, may perceive the same,
although their sensitive organs are not like to those of animal creatures; for
if there be but such sensitive motions and perceptions, it is no matter for
such organs. Lastly, it is to be observed, That all Creatures have not the same
strength of smelling, but some smell stronger, some weaker, according to the
disposition of their sensitive motions: Also there be other parts in the body,
which pattern out the object of sent, besides the nose, but those are interior
parts, and take their patterns from the nose as the organ properly designed for
it; neither is their resentment the same, because their motions are not alike,
for the stomach may perceive and pattern out a sent with aversion, when the
nose may pattern it out with pleasure. And thus much also of Sent; I conclude
and rest,
MADAM, Your faithful Friend, and Servant.
COncerning your Learned Authors discourse of Density and Rality, he defines C.
30. a. 1.
Thick to be that, which takes up more parts of a space given; and thin, which
contains fewer parts of the same magnitude: not that there is more matter in
one place then in an other equal place, but a greater quantity of some named
body; wherefore the multitude and paucity of the parts contained within the
same space do constitute density and rarity. Where of my opinion is, That there
is no more nor less space or place then body according to its dilation or
contraction, and that space and place are dilated and contracted with the body,
according to the magnitude of the body, for body, place and magnitude are the
same thing, only place is in regard of the several parts of the body, and there
is as well space betwixt things distant a hairs breadth from one another, as
betwixt things distant a million of miles, but yet this space is nothing from
the body; but it makes, that that body has not the same place with this body,
that is, that this body is not that body, and that this bodies place is not
that bodies place. Next your Author says, Art. 2.
He hath already clearly enough demonstrated, that there can be no beginning of
motion, but from an external and moved body, and that heavy bodies being once
cast upwards cannot be cast down again, but by external motion. Truly, Madam, I
will not speak of your Authors demonstrations, for it is done most by art,
which I have no knowledge in, but I think I have probably declared, that all the
actions of nature are not forced by one part, driving, pressing, or shoving
another, as a man doth a wheel-barrow, or a whip a horse; nor by reactions, as
if men were at foot-ball or cuffs, or as men with carts meeting each other in a
narrow lane. But to prove there is no self-motion in nature, he goes on and
says; To attribute to created bodies the power to move themselves, what is it
else, then to say that there be creatures which have no dependence upon the
Creator? To which I answer, That if man. (who is but a single part of nature)
hath given him by God the power and a free will of moving himself, why should
not God give it to Nature? Neither can I see, how it can take off the
dependence upon God, more then Eternity; for if there be an Eternal Creator,
there is also an Eternal Creature, and if an Eternal Master, an Eternal
Servant, which is Nature; and yet Nature is subject to Gods Command, and
depends upon him; and if all Gods Attributes be Infinite, then his Bounty is
Infinite also, which cannot be exercised but by an Infinite Gift, but a Gift
doth not cause a less dependence. I do not say, That man hath an absolute
Free-will, or power to move, according to his desire; for it is not conceived,
that a part can have an absolute power: nevertheless his motion both of body
and mind is a free and self-motion, and such a self-motion hath every thing in
Nature according to its figure or shape; for motion and figure, being inherent
in matter, matter moves figuratively. Yet do I not say, That there is no
hindrance, obstruction and opposition in nature; but as there is no particular
Creature, that hath an absolute power of self-moving; so that Creature which
hath the advantage of strength, subtilty, or policy, shape, or figure, and the
like, may oppose and over-power another which is inferior to it, in all this;
yet this hinderance and opposition doth not take away self-motion. But I
perceive your Author is much for necessitation, and against free-will, which I
leave to Moral Philosophers and Divines. And as for the ascending of light, and
descending of heavy bodies, there may be many causes, but these four are
perceiveable by our senses, as bulk, or quantity of body, grossness of
substance, density, and shape or figure, which make heavy bodies descend: But
little quantity, purity of substance, rarity, and figure or shape make light
bodies ascend. Wherefore I cannot believe, that there are certain little bodies
as atoms, and by reason of their smallness, invisible, differing Art. 3.
from one another in consistence, figure, motion and magnitude, intermingled
with the air, which should be the cause of the descending of heavy bodies. And
concerning air, whether it be subject to our senses or not, I say, that if air
be neither hot, nor cold, it is not subject; but Art. 14.
if it be, the sensitive motions will soon pattern it out, and declare it. I'll
conclude with your Authors question, What Art. 6.
the cause is, that a man doth not feel the weight of Water in Water? and
answer, it is the dilating nature of Water. But of this question and of Water I
shall treat more fully hereafter, and so I rest,
MADAM, Your faithful Friend and Servant.
I Am reading now the works of that Famous and most Renowned Author, Des
Cartes, out of which I intend to pick out only those discourses which I like
best, and not to examine his opinions, as they go along from the beginning to
the end of his books; And in order to this, I have chosen in the first place,
his discourse of motion, and do not assent to his opinion, Philos. p. 2.
when he defines Motion to be only a Mode of a thing, and not the thing or
body it self; for, in my opinion, Art. 2^
there can be no abstraction made of motion from body, neither really, nor in
the manner of our conception, for how can I conceive that which is not, nor
cannot be in nature, that is, to conceive motion without body? Wherefore Motion
is but one thing with body, without any separation or abstraction soever.
Neither doth it agree with my reason, that one body can give or transferr Art.
motion into another body; and as much motion it gives or transferrs into that
body, as much loses it: As for example, in two hard bodies thrown against one
another, where one, that is thrown with greater force, takes the other along
with it, and loses as much motion as it gives it. For how can motion, being no
substance, but only a mode, quit one body, and pass into another? One body may
either occasion, or imitate another motion, but it can neither give nor take
away what belongs to its own or another bodies substance, no more then matter
can quit its nature from being matter; and therefore my opinion is, that if
motion doth go out of one body into another, then substance goes too; for
motion, and substance or body, as aforementioned, are all one thing, and then
all bodies that receive motion from other bodies, must needs increase in their
substance and quantity, and those bodies which impart or transferr motion, must
decrease as much as they increase: Truly, Madam, that neither Motion nor Figure
should subsist by themselves, and yet be transferrable into other bodies, is
very strange, and as much as to prove them to be nothing, and yet to say they
are something. The like may be said of all others, which they call accidents,
as skill, learning, knowledge, c. saying, they are no bodies, because they have
no extension, but inherent in bodies or substances as in their subjects; for
although the body may subsist without them, yet they being always with the
body, body and they are all one thing: And so is power and body, for body
cannot quit power, nor power the body, being all one thing. But to return to
Motion, my opinion is, That all matter is partly animate, and partly inanimate,
and all matter is moving and moved, and that there is no part of Nature that
hath not life and knowledge, for there is no Part that has not a comixture of
animate and inanimate matter; and though the inanimate matter has no motion,
nor life and knowledge of it self, as the animate has, nevertheless being both
so closely joined and commixed as in one body, the inanimate moves as well as
the animate, although not in the same manner; for the animate moves of it self,
and the inanimate moves by the help of the animate, and thus the animate is
moving and the inanimate moved; not that the animate matter transfers, infuses,
or communicates its own motion to the inanimate; for this is impossible, by
reason it cannot part with its own nature, nor alter the nature of inanimate
matter, but each retains its own nature; for the inanimate matter remains
inanimate, that is, without self-motion, and the animate loses nothing of its
self-motion, which otherwise it would, if it should impart or transferr its
motion into the inanimate matter; but only as I said heretofore, the inanimate
works or moves with the animate, because of their close union and commixture;
for the animate forces or causes the inanimate matter to work with her; and
thus one is moving, the other moved, and consequently there is life and
knowledge in all parts of nature, by reason in all parts of nature there is a
commixture of animate and inanimate matter: and this Life and Knowledge is sense
and reason, or sensitive and rational corporeal motions, which are all one
thing with animate matter without any distinction or abstraction, and can no
more quit matter, then matter can quit motion. Wherefore every creature being
composed of this commixture of animate and inanimate matter, has also
selfe-motion, that is life and knowledge, sense and reason, so that no part hath
need to give or receive motion to or from another part; although it may be an
occasion of such a manner of motion to another part, and cause it to move thus
or thus: as for example, A Watch-maker doth not give the watch its motion, but
he is only the occasion, that the watch moves after that manner, for the
motion of the watch is the watches own motion, inherent in those parts ever
since that matter was, and if the watch ceases to move after such a manner or
way, that manner or way of motion is never the less in those parts of matter,
the watch is made of, and if several other figures should be made of that
matter, the power of moving in the said manner or mode, would yet still remain
in all those parts of matter as long as they are body, and have motion in them.
Wherefore one body may occasion another body to move so or so, but not give it
any motion, but everybody (though occasioned by another, to move in such a way)
moves by its own natural motion; for self-motion is the very nature of animate
matter, and is as much in hard, as in fluid bodies, although your Author denies
it, saying, The nature of fluid bodies consists in the motion of those little
insensible parts into which Philos. part. 2. a. 54.
they are divided, and the nature of bard bodies, when those little particles
joined closely together, do rest; for there is no rest in nature; wherefore if
there were a World of Gold, and a World of Air, I do verily believe, that the
World of Gold would be as much interiously active, as the World of Air
exteriously; for Natures motions are not all external or perceptible by our
senses, neither are they all circular, or only of one sort, but there is an
infinite change and variety of motions; for though I say in my Philosophical
opinions, Part. 1. c. 5.
As there is but one only Matter, so there is but one only Motion; yet I do
not mean, there is but one particular sort of motions, as either circular, or
straight, or the like, but that the nature of motion is one and the same,
simple and entire in it self, that is, it is mere motion, or nothing else but
corporeal motion; and that as there are infinite divisions or parts of matter,
so there are infinite changes and varieties of motions, which is the reason
that I call motion as well infinite as matter; first that matter and motion are
but one thing, and if matter be infinite, motion must be so too; and secondly,
that motion is infinite in its changes and variations, as matter is in its
parts. And thus much of motion for this time; I add no more, but rest,
MADAM, Your faithful Friend, and Servant.
I Observe your Author in his discourse of Place makes a difference betwixt an
Interior and Exterior Philos. p. 2. a. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14.
place, and that according to this distinction, one body may be said to change,
and not to change its place at the same time, and that one body may succeed
into another place. But I am not of this opinion, for I believe not that there
is any more place then body; as for example, Water being mixed with Earth, the
water doth not take the Earths place, but as their parts intermix, so do their
places, and as their parts change, so do their places, so that there is no more
place, then there is water and earth; the same may be said of Air and Water, or
Air and Earth, or did they all mix together; for as their bodies join, so do
their places, and as they are separated from each other, so are their places.
Say a man travels a hundred miles, and so a hundred thousand paces; but yet
this man has not been in a hundred thousand places, for he never had any other
place but his own, he hath joined and separated himself from a hundred
thousand, nay millions of parts, but he has left no places behind him. You will
say, if he travel the same way back again, then he is said to travel thorough the
same places. I answer, It may be the vulgar way of expression, or the common
phrase; but to speak properly, after a Philosophical way, and according to the
truth in nature, he cannot be said to go back again thorough the same places he
went, because he left none behind him, or else all his way would be nothing but
place after place, all the hundred miles along; besides if place should be
taken so, as to express the joining to the nearest bodies which compass him
about, certainly he would never find his places again; for the air being fluid,
changes or moves continually, and perchance the same parts of the air, which
compassed him once, will never come near him again. But you may say, If a man
be hurt, or hath some mischance in his body, so as to have a piece of flesh cut
out, and new flesh growing there; then we say, because the adjoining parts do
not change, that a new piece of flesh is grown in the same place where the
former flesh was, and that the place of the former flesh cut or fallen out, is
the same of this new grown flesh. I answer, In my opinion, it is not, for the
parts being not the same, the places are not, but every one hath its own place.
But if the wound be not filled or closed up with other new flesh, you will say,
that according to my opinion there is no place then at all. I say, Yes, for the
air or any thing else may be there, as new parts joining to the other parts;
nevertheless, the air, or that same body which is there, hath not taken the
fleshes place, which was there before, but hath its own; but, by reason the
adjoining parts remain, man thinks the place remains there also which is no
consequence. 'Tis true, a man may return to the same adjoining bodies, where he
was before, but then he brings his place with him again, and as his body, so
his place returns also, and if a mans arm be cut off, you may say, there was
an arm heretofore, but you cannot say properly, this is the place where the arm
was. But to return to my first example of the mixture of Water, and Earth or
Air; Suppose water is not porous, but only dividable, and hath no other place
but what is its own bodies', and that other parts of water intermix with it by
dividing and composing; I say, there is no more place required, then what
belongs to their own parts, for if some contract, others dilate, some divide,
others join, the places are the same according to the magnitude of each part or
body. The same may be said of all kinds or sorts of mixtures, for one body hath
but one place; and so if many parts of the same nature join into one body and
increase the bulk of the body, the place of that same body is accordingly; and
if they be bodies of different natures which intermix and join, each several
keeps its place; And so each body and each particular part of a body hath its
place, for you cannot name body or part of a body, but you must also understand
place to be with them, and if a point should dilate to a world, or a world
contract to a point, the place would always be the same with the body. And thus
I have declared my opinion of this subject, which I submit to the correction of
your better judgment, and rest,
MADAM, Your Ladyships faithful Friend and humble Servant.
IN my last, I hope, I have sufficiently declared my opinion, That to one body
belongs but one place, and that no body can leave a place behind it, but
wheresoever is body, there is place also. Now give me leave to examine this
question: when a bodies figure is printed on snow, or any other fluid or soft
matter, as air, water, and the like; whether it be the body, that prints its
own figure upon the snow, or whether it be the snow, that patterns the figure
of the body? My answer is, That it is not the body, which prints its figure
upon the snow, but the snow that patterns out the figure of the body; for if a
seal be printed upon wax, 'tis true, it is the figure of the seal, which is
printed on the wax, but yet the seal doth not give the wax the print of its own
figure, but it is the wax that takes the print or pattern from the seal, and
patterns or copies it out in its own substance, just as the sensitive motions
in the eye do pattern out the figure of an object, as I have declared
heretofore. But you will say, perhaps, A body being printed upon snow, as it
leaves its print, so it leaves also its place with the print in the snow. I
answer, That doth not follow; For the place remains still the bodies place, and
when the body removes out of the snow, it takes its place along with it: Just
like a man, whose picture is drawn by a Painter, when he goes away, he leaves
not his place with his picture, but his place goes with his body; and as the
place of the picture is the place of the colour or paint, and the place of the
copy of an exterior object patterned out by the sensitive corporeal motions is
the place of the sensitive organ, so the place of the print in snow, is the
snows place; or else, if the print were the bodies place that is printed, and
not the snow's, it might as well be said, that the motion and shape of a watch
were not the motion and shape of the watch, but of the hand of him that made
it. And as it is with snow, so it is with air, for a mans figure is patterned
out by the parts and motions of the air, wheresoever he moves; the difference
is only, that air being a fluid body doth not retain the print so long, as
snow or a harder body doth, but when the body removes, the print is presently
dissolved. But I wonder much, your Author denies, that there can be two bodies
in one place, and yet makes two places for one body, when all is but the
motions of one body: Wherefore a man sailing in a Ship, cannot be said to keep
place, and to change his place; for it is not place he changes, but only the
adjoining parts, as leaving some, and joining to others; and it is very
improper, to attribute that to place which belongs to parts, and to make a
change of place out of change of parts. I conclude, repeating once again, that
figure and place are still remaining the same with body; For example; let a
stone be beat to dust, and this dust be severally dispersed, nay, changed into
numerous figures; I say, as long as the substance of the stone remains in the
power of those dispersed and changed parts, and their corporeal motions, the
place of it continues also; and as the corporeal motions change and vary, so
doth place, magnitude and figure, together with their parts or bodies, for they
are but one thing. And so I conclude, and rest,
MADAM, Your Faithful Friend and Servant.
I Am absolutely of your Authors opinion, when he says, That all bodies of
this Universe are of one and Philos. part. 3. a. 46.
the same matter, really divided into many parts, and that these parts are
diversely moved: But that these motions should be circular more then of any
other sort, I cannot believe, although he thinks that this is the most probable
way, to find out the causes of natural effects: for nature is not bound to one
sort of motions more then to another, and it is but in vain to endeavour to
know how, and by what motions God did make the World, since Creation is an
action of God, and Gods actions are incomprehensible; Wherefore his ethereal
Whirlpooles, and little particles of matter, which he reduces to three sorts
and calls them the three elements of the Universe, their circular motions,
several figures, shavings, and many the like, which you may better read, then I
rehearse to you, are to my thinking, rather Fancies, then rational or probable
conceptions: for how can we imagine that the Universe was set a moving as a Top
by a Whip, or a Wheel by the hand of a Spinster, and that the vacuities were
filled up with shavings? for these violent motions would rather have disturbed
and disordered Nature; and though Nature uses variety in her motions or
actions, yet these are not extravagant, nor by force or violence, but orderly,
temperate, free, and easy, which causes me to believe, the Earth turns about
rather then the Sun; and though corporeal motions for variety make Whirl-winds,
yet Whirl-winds are not constant, Neither can I believe that the swiftness of
motion could make the matter more subtle and pure then it was by nature, for it
is the purity and subtilty of the matter, that causes motion, and makes it
swifter or slower, and not motion the subtilty and purity of matter; motion
being only the action of matter; and the self-moving part of matter is the
working part of nature, which is wise, and knows how to move and form every
creature without instruction; and this self-motion is as much her own as the
other parts of her body, matter and figure, and is one and the same with her
self, as a corporeal, living, knowing, and inseparable being, and a part of her
self. As for the several parts of matter, I do believe, that they are not all
of one and the same bigness, nor of one and the same figure, neither do I hold
their figures to be unalterable; for if all parts in nature be corporeal, they
are dividable, composable, and intermixable, and then they cannot be always of
one and the same sort of figure; besides nature would not have so much work if
there were no change of figures: and since her only action is change of
motion, change of motion must needs make change of figures: and thus natural
parts of matter may change from lines to points, and from points to lines, from
squares to circles, and so forth, infinite ways, according to the change of
motions; but though they change their figures, yet they cannot change their
matter; for matter as it has been, so it remains constantly in each degree, as
the Rational, Sensitive and Inanimate, none becomes purer, none grosser then
ever it was, notwithstanding the infinite changes of motions, which their
figures undergo; for Motion changes only the figure, not the matter it self,
which continues still the same in its nature, and cannot be altered without a
confusion or destruction of Nature. And this is the constant opinion of,
MADAM, Your faithful Friend and humble Servant.
THat Rarefaction is only a change of figure, according to your Authors
opinion, is in my reason Philos. part. 2. a. 6, 7.
very probable; but when he says, that in rarefied bodies are little intervals
or pores filled up with some other subtle matter, if he means that all rarefied
bodies are porous, I dissent from him; for it is not necessary that all
rarefied bodies should be porous, and all hard bodies without pores: but if
there were a probability of pores, I am of opinion, it would be more in dense
and hard, than in rare and soft bodies; as for example, rarefying and dilating
motions are plaining, smoothing, spreading and making all parts even, which
could not well be, if there were holes or pores; Earth is dense and hard, and
yet is porous, and flame is rare and dilating, and yet is not porous; and
certainly Water is not so porous as Earth. Wherefore pores, in my opinion, are
according to the nature or form of the figure, and not according to the rarity
or thinness, and density or thickness of the substance. As for his thin and
subtle matter filling up the pores of porous bodies, I assent to your Author so
far, that I mean, thin and thick, or rare and dense substances are joined and
mixed together. As for plaining, smoothing and spreading, I do not mean so much
artificial plaining and spreading; as for example, when a piece of gold is
beaten into a thin plate, and a board is made plain and smooth by a Joiners
tool, or a napkin folded up is spread plain and even, although, when you
observe these arts, you may judge somewhat of the nature of natural dilations;
for a folded cloth is fuller of creases then when plain, and the beating of a
thin plate is like to the motion of dilation, which is to spread out, and the
form of rarefying is thinning and extending. I add only this, that I am not
of your Authors opinion, that Rest is the Cause or Glue which keeps the parts
of dense or hard bodies together, but it is retentive motions. And so I
conclude, resting,
MADAM, Your Faithful Friend and Servant.
THat the Mind, according to your Authors opinion, is a substance really
distinct from the body, and may be actually separated from it and subsist
without it: If he mean the natural mind and soul of Man, not the supernatural
or divine, I am far from his opinion; for though the mind moves only in its
own parts, and not upon, or with the parts of inanimate matter, yet it cannot
be separated from these parts of matter, and subsist by its self, as being a
part of one and the same matter the inanimate is of, (for there is but one
only matter, and one kind of matter, although of several degrees,) only it is
the self-moving part; but yet this cannot empower it, to quit the same natural
body, whose part it is. Neither can I apprehend, that the Mind's or Soul's seat
should be in the Glandula or kernel of the Brain, and there sit like a Spider
in a Cobweb, to whom the least motion of the Cobweb gives intelligence of a
Fly, which he is ready to assault, and that the Brain should get intelligence
by the animal spirits as his servants, which run to and fro like Ants to inform
it; or that the Mind should, according to others opinions, be a light, and
embroidered all with Ideas, like a Heralds Coat; and that the sensitive organs
should have no knowledge in themselves, but serve only like peepingholes for
the mind, or barn-dores to receive bundles of pressures, like sheaves of Corn;
For there being a thorough mixture of animate, rational and sensitive, and
inanimate matter, we cannot assign a certain seat or place to the rational,
another to the sensitive, and another to the inanimate, but they are diffused
and intermixed throughout all the body; And this is the reason, that sense and
knowledge cannot be bound only to the head or brain: But although they are mixed
together, nevertheless they do not lose their interior natures by this mixture,
nor their purity and subtilty, nor their proper motions or actions, but each
moves according to its nature and substance, without confusion; The actions of
the rational part in Man, which is the Mind or Soul, are called Thoughts, or
thoughtful perceptions, which are numerous, and so are the sensitive
perceptions; for though Man, or any other animal hath but five exterior
sensitive organs, yet there be numerous perceptions made in these sensitive
organs, and in all the body; nay, every several Pore of the flesh is a
sensitive organ, as well as the Eye, or the Ear. But both sorts, as well the
rational as the sensitive, are different from each other, although both do
resemble another, as being both parts of animate matter, as I have mentioned
before: Wherefore I'll add no more, only let you know, that I constantly
MADAM, Your faithful Friend, and Servant.
THat all other animals, besides man, want reason, your Author endeavours to
prove in his discourse of method, where his chief argument is, That other
animals cannot express their mind, thoughts or conceptions, either by speech or
any other signs, as man can do: For, says he, it is not for want of the organs
belonging to the framing of words, as we may observe in Parrots and Pies, which
are apt enough to express words they are taught, but understand nothing of
them. My answer is, That one man expressing his mind by speech or words to an
other, doth not declare by it his excellency and supremacy above all other
Creatures, but for the most part more folly, for a talking man is not so wise
as a contemplating man. But by reason other Creatures cannot speak or discourse
with each other as men, or make certain signs, whereby to express themselves as
dumb and deaf men do, should we conclude, they have neither knowledge, sense,
reason, or intelligence? Certainly, this is a very weak argument; for one part
of a mans body, as one hand, is not less sensible then the other, nor the heel
less sensible then the heart, nor the leg less sensible then the head, but
each part hath its sense and reason, and so consequently its sensitive and
rational knowledge; and although they cannot talk or give intelligence to each
other by speech, nevertheless each hath its own peculiar and particular
knowledge, just as each particular man has his own particular knowledge, for
one man's knowledge is not another man's knowledge; and if there be such a
peculiar and particular knowledge in every several part of one animal creature,
as man, well may there be such in Creatures of different kinds and sorts: But
this particular knowledge belonging to each creature, doth not prove that there
is no intelligence at all betwixt them, no more then the want of humane
Knowledge doth prove the want of Reason; for reason is the rational part of
matter, and makes perception, observation, and intelligence different in every
creature, and every sort of creatures, according to their proper natures, but
perception, observation and intelligence do not make reason, Reason being the
cause, and they the effects. Wherefore though other Creatures have not the
speech, nor Mathematical rules and demonstrations, with other Arts and
Sciences, as Men; yet may their perceptions and observations be as wise as
Men's, and they may have as much intelligence and commerce betwixt each other,
after their own manner and way, as men have after theirs: To which I leave
them, and Man to his conceited prerogative and excellence, resting,
MADAM, Your faithful Friend, and Servant.
COncerning Sense and Perception, your Authors opinion is, That it is made by a
motion or impression from the object upon the sensitive organ, Philos. part. 4.
a. 189.
which impression, by means of the nerves, is brought to the brain, and so to
the mind or soul, which only perceives in the brain; Explaining it by the
example of a Man being blind, or walking in dark, who by the help Diopt. c. 1.
a. 2, 3. c. 4. a. 1.
of his stick can perceive when he touches a Stone, a Tree, Water, Sand, and
the like; which example he brings to make a comparison with the perception of
Light; For, says he, Light in a shining body, is nothing else but a quick and
lively motion or action, which through the air and other transparent bodies
tends towards the eye, in the same manner as the motion or resistance of the
bodies, the blind man meets withal, tends thorough the stick towards the hand;
wherefore it is no wonder that the Sun can display its rays so far in an
instant, seeing that the same action, whereby one end of the stick is moved,
goes instantly also to the other end, and would do the same if the stick were
as long as Heaven is distant from Earth. To which I answer first, That it is
not only the Mind that perceives in the kernel of the Brain, but that there is
a double perception, rational and sensitive, and that the mind perceives by the
rational, but the body and the sensitive organs by the sensitive perception;
and as there is a double perception, so there is also a double knowledge,
rational tional and sensitive, one belonging to the mind, the other to the
body; for I believe that the Eye, Ear, Nose, Tongue, and all the Body, have
knowledge as well as the Mind, only the rational matter, being subtle and pure,
is not encumbered with the grosser part of matter, to work upon, or with it, but
leaves that to the sensitive, and works or moves only in its own substance,
which makes a difference between thoughts, and exterior senses. Next I say,
That it is not the Motion or Reaction of the bodies, the blind man meets
withal, which makes the sensitive perception of these objects, but the
sensitive corporeal motions in the hand do pattern out the figure of the Stick,
Stone, Tree, Sand, and the like. And as for comparing the perception of the
hand, when by the help of the stick it perceives the objects, with the
perception of light, I confess that the sensitive perceptions do all resemble
each other, because all sensitive parts of matter are of one degree, as being
sensible parts, only there is a difference according to the figures of the
objects presented to the senses; and there is no better proof for perception
being made by the sensitive motions in the body, or sensitive organs, but that
all these sensitive perceptions are alike; and resemble one another; for if
they were not made in the body of the sentient, but by the impression of
exterior objects, there would be so much difference betwixt them, by reason of
the diversity of objects, as they would have no resemblance at all. But for a
further proof of my own opinion, did the perception proceed merely from the
motion, impression and resistance of the objects, the hand could not perceive
those objects, unless they touched the hand it self, as the stick doth; for it
is not probable, that the motions of the stone, water, sand; c. should leave
their bodies and enter into the stick, and so into the hand; for motion must be
either something or nothing; if something, the stick and the hand would grow
bigger, and the objects touched less, or else the touching and the touched must
exchange their motions, which cannot be done so suddenly, especially between
solid bodies; But if motion has no body, it is nothing, and how nothing can
pass or enter or move some body, I cannot conceive. Tis true there is no part
that can subsist singly by it self, without dependence upon each other, and so
parts do always join and touch each other, which I am not against; but only I
say perception is not made by the exterior motions of exterior parts of
objects, but by the interior motions of the parts of the body sentient. But I
have discoursed hereof before, and so I take my leave, resting,
MADAM, Your faithful Friend and Servant.
ICannot conceive why your Author is so much for little and insensible parts,
out of which the Elements and all other bodies are made; for though Nature is
divideable, yet she is also composeable; and I think there is no need to
dissect every creature into such little parts, to know their nature, but we can
do it by another way as well; for we may dissect or divide them into never so
little parts, and yet gain never the more knowledge by it. But according to
these principles he describing amongst the rest the nature of Water, says, That
those little Of Meteor. 1. a. 3.
parts, out of which Water consists, are in figure somewhat long, light and
slippery like little Eels, which are never so closely joined and entangled,
but may easily be separated. To which I answer, That I observe the nature and
figure of water to be flowing, dilating, divideable and circular; for we may
see, in Tides, overflowings, and breaking into parts, as in rain, it will
always move in a round and circular figure; And I think, if its parts were long
and entangled like a knot of Eels, it could never be so easily contracted and
denced into snow or ice. Neither do I think, That Salt-water hath a mixture of
somewhat grosser parts, not so apt to bend; for to C. 3. a. 1.
my observation and reason, the nature of salt-water consists herein, that its
circle-lines are pointed, which sharp and pointed figure makes it so
penetrating; yet may those points be separated from the circle lines of water,
as it is seen in the making of Salt. But I am not of your Authors opinion, That
those little points do stick so fast in flesh, as little nails, to keep it from
putrefaction; for points do not always fasten; or else fire, which certainly is
composed of sharp-pointed parts, would harden, and keep other bodies from
dissolving, whereas on the contrary, it separates and divides them, although
after several manners. But Putrefaction is only a dissolving and separating of
parts, after the manner of dilation; and the motion of salt is contracting as
well as penetrating, for we may observe, what flesh soever is dry-salted, doth
shrink and contract close together; I will not say, but the pointed parts of
salt may fasten like nails in some sorts of bodies, but not in all they work
on. And this is the reason also, that Sea-water is of more weight then
fresh-water, for being composed of points, those points stick within each
other, and so become more strong; But yet do they not hinder the circular
dilating motion of water, for the circle-lines are within, and the points
without, but only they make it more strong from being divided by other
exterior bodies that swim upon it. And this is the cause that Salt-water is not
so easily forced or turned to vapour, as Fresh, for the points piercing into
each other, hold it more strongly together; but this is to be considered, that
the points of salt are on the outside of the watery Circle, not on the inside,
which causes it to be divideable from the watery Circles. I will conclude, when
I have given the reason why water is so soon sucked up by sand, lime, and the
like bodies, and say that it is the nature of all spongy, dry and porous
bodies, meeting with liquid and pliable bodies as water, do draw and suck them
up, like as animal Creatures being thirsty, do drink: And so I take my leave,
and rest,
MADAM, Your Faithful Friend and Servant.
COncerning Vapour, Clouds, Wind and Rain, I am of your Authors opinion, That
Water is changed into Vapour, and Vapour into Air, and that dilated Vapours
make Wind, and condensed Vapours, Clouds Of Meteor. c. 2, 4, 5, 6.
and Mists; But I am not for his little particles, whereof, he says, Vapours
are made, by the motion of a rare and subtle matter in the pores of terrestrial
bodies; which certainly I should conceive to be loose atoms, did he not make
them of several figures and magnitude: for, in my opinion, there are no such
things in nature, which like little Flies or Bees do fly up into the air; and
although I grant, that in Nature are several parts, whereof some are more rare,
others more dense, according to the several degrees of matter, yet they are not
single, but all mixed together in one body, and the change of motions in those
joined parts, is the cause of all changes of figures whatever, without the
assistance of any foreign parts: And thus Water of it self is changed to Snow,
Ice, or Hail, by its inherent figurative Motions; that is, the circular
dilation of Water by contraction, changes into the figure of Snow, Ice, or
Hail; or by rarefying motions it turns into the figure of Vapour, and this
Vapour again by contracting motions into the figure of hoar-frost; and when all
these motions change again into the former, then the figure of Ice, Snow, Hail,
Vapour and Frost, turns again into the figure of Water: And this in all sense
and reason is the most facil and probable way of making Ice, Snow, Hail, c. As
for rarefaction and condensation, I will not say that they may be forced by
foreign parts, but yet they are made by change and alteration of the inherent
motions of their own parts, for though the motions of foreign parts, may be
the occasion of them, yet they are not the immediate cause or actors thereof.
And as for Thunder, that clouds of Ice and Snow, the uppermost being condensed
by heat, and so made heavy, should fall upon another and produce the noise of
thunder, is very improbable; for the breaking of a little small string, will
make a greater noise then a huge shower of snow with falling, and as for Ice
being hard, it may make a great noise, one part falling upon another, but then
their weight would be as much as their noise, so that the clouds or roves of
Ice would be as soon upon our heads, if not sooner, as the noise in our Ears;
like as a bullet shot out of a Canon, we may feel the bullet as soon as we hear
the noise. But to conclude, all densations are not made by heat, nor all noises
by pressures, for sound is oftener made by division then pressure, and
densation by cold then by heat: And this is all for the present, from,
MADAM, Your faithful Friend, and Servant.
I Cannot perceive the Rational Truth of your Authors opinion, concerning
Colours, made by the agitation of little spherical bodies of an Ethereal
matter, transmitting the action of Light; for if colours were made after this
manner, there would, in my opinion, not be any fixed or lasting colour, but one
colour would be so various, and change faster then every minute; the truth is,
there would be no certain or perfect colour at all: wherefore it seems
altogether improbable, that such liquid, rare and disunited bodies should
either keep or make inherent and fixed colours; for liquid and rare bodies,
whose several parts are united into one considerable bulk of body, their
colours are more apt to change then the colours of those bodies that are dry,
solid and dense; the reason is, that rare and liquid bodies are more loose,
slack, and agil, then solid and dry bodies, in so much, as in every alteration
of motion their colours are apt to change: And if united rare and liquid bodies
be so apt to alter and change, how is it probable, that those bodies, which are
small and not united, should either keep or make inherent fixed colours? I will
not say, but that such little bodies may range into such lines and figures, as
make colours, but then they cannot last, being not united into a lasting body,
that is, into a solid, substantial body, proper to make such figures as
colours. But I desire you not to mistake me, Madam, for I do not mean, that the
substance of colours is a gross thick substance, for the substance may be as
thin and rare as flame or light, or in the next degree to it; for certainly the
substance of light, and the substance of colours come in their degrees very
near each other; But according to the contraction of the figures, colours are
paler or deeper, or more or less lasting. And as for the reason, why colours
will change and rechange, it is according as the figures alter or recover their
forms; for colours will be as animal Creatures, which sometimes are faint,
pale, and sick, and yet recover; but when as a particular colour is, as I may
say, quite dead, then there is no recovering of it. But colours may seem
altered sometimes in our eyes, and yet not be altered in themselves; for our
eyes, if perfect, see things as they are presented; and for proof, if any
animal should be presented in an unusual posture or shape, we could not judge of
it; also if a Picture, which must be viewed side-wards, should be looked upon
forwards, we could not know what to make of it; so the figures of colours, if
they be not placed rightly to the sight, but turned topsie-turvie as the Phrase
is, or upside-down, or be moved too quick, and this quick motion do make a
confusion with the lines of Light, we cannot possibly see the colour perfectly.
Also several lights or shades may make colours appear otherwise then in
themselves they are, for some sorts of lights and shades may fall upon the
substantial figures of colours in solid bodies, in such lines and figures, as
they may over-power the natural or artificial inherent colours in solid bodies,
and for a time make other colours, and many times the lines of light or of
shadows will meet and sympathize so with inherent colours, and place their
lines so exactly, as they will make those inherent colours more splendorous
then in their own nature they are, so that light and shadows will add or
diminish or alter colours very much. Likewise some sorts of colours will be
altered to our sight, not by all, but only by some sorts of light, as for
example, blew will seem green, and green blew by candle light, when as other
colours will never appear changed, but show constantly as they are; the reason
is, because the lines of candle light fall in such figures upon the inherent
colours, and so make them appear according to their own figures; Wherefore it
is only the alteration of the exterior figures of light and shadows, that make
colours appear otherwise, and not a change of their own natures; And hence we
may rationally conclude, that several lights and shadows by their spreading and
dilating lines may alter the face or out-side of colours, but not suddenly
change them, unless the power of heat, and continuance of time, or any other
cause, do help and assist them in that work of metamorphosing or transforming
of colours; but if the lines of light be only, as the phrase is, Skin-deep;
that is, but lightly spreading and not deeply penetrating, they may soon wear
out or be rubbed of; for though they hurt, yet they do not kill the natural
colour, but the colour may recover and reassume its former vigour and lustre:
but time and other accidental causes will not only alter, but destroy
particular colours as well as other creatures, although not all after the same
manner, for some will last longer then others. And thus, Madam, there are three
sorts of Colours, Natural, Artificial, and Accidental; but I have discoursed of
this subject more at large in my Philosophical Opinions, to which I refer you,
and rest,
MADAM, Your faithful Friend and Servant.
MY answer to your Authors question, Why flame ascends in a pointed figure? is,
That the figure P. 4. art. 97.
of fire consists in points, and being dilated into a flame, it ascends in
lines of points slope-wayes from the fired fuel; like as if you should make two
or more sticks stand upright and put the upper ends close together, but let the
lower ends be asunder, in which posture they will support each other, which, if
both their ends were close together, they could not do. The second question is,
Why fire doth not always flame? Art. 107.
I answer, Because all fuel is not flameable, some being so moist, as it doth
oppose the fires dryness, and some so hard and retentive, as fire cannot so
soon dissolve it; and in this contest, where one dissipares, and the other
retains, a third figure is produced, viz. smoke, between the heat of one, and
the moisture of the other; and this smoke is forced by the fire out of the
fuel, and is nothing else but certain parts of fuel, raised to such a degree of
rarefaction; and if fire come near, it forces the smoke into flame, the smoke
changing it self by its figurative motions into flame; but when smoke is above
the flame, the flame cannot force the smoke to fire or enkindle it self, for
the flame cannot so well encounter it; which shows, as if smoke had a swifter
motion then flame, although flame is more rarefied then smoke; and if moisture
predominate, there is only smoke, if fire, then there is flame: But there are
many figures, that do not flame, until they are quite dissolved, as Leather,
and many other things. Neither can fire work upon all bodies alike, but
according to their several natures, like as men cannot encounter several sorts
of creatures after one and the same manner; for not any part in nature hath an
absolute power, although it hath self-motion; and this is the reason, that wax
by fire is melted, and clay hardened. The third question is, Why some few drops
of water sprinkled upon fire, do increase its flame? I answer, by reason of
their little quantity, which being overpowered by the greater quantity and
force of fire, is by its self-motions converted into fire; for water being of a
rare nature, and fire, for the most part, of a rarefying quality, it cannot
suddenly convert it self into a more solid body then its nature is, but
following its nature by force it turns into flame. The fourth question is, Why
the flame of spirit of Wine doth consume the Wine, and yet cannot burn or hurt
a linen cloth? I answer, The Wine is the fuel that feeds the flame, and upon
what it feeds, it devoureth, and with the food, and feeder; but by reason Wine
is a rarer body then Oil, or Wood, or any other fuel, its flame is also
weaker. And thus much of these questions, I rest,
MADAM, Your Faithful Friend and Servant.
TO conclude my discourse upon the Opinions of these two famous and learned
Authors, which I have hitherto sent you in several Letters, I could not choose
but repeat the ground of my own opinions in this present; which I desire you to
observe well, left you mistake any thing, whereof I have formerly discoursed.
First I am for self-moving matter, which I call the sensitive and rational
matter, and the perceptive and architectonical part of nature, which is the
life and knowledge of nature. Next I am of an opinion, That all Perception is
made by corporeal, figuring self-motions, and that the perception of foreign
objects is made by patterning them out: as for example, The sensitive
perception of foreign objects is by making or taking copies from these
objects, so as the sensitive corporeal motions in the eyes copy out the objects
of sight, and the sensitive corporeal motions in the ears copy out the objects
of sound; the sensitive corporeal motions in the nostrils; copy out the objects
of sent; the sensitive corporeal motions in the tongue and mouth, copy out the
objects of taste, and the sensitive corporeal motions in the flesh and skin of
the body copy out the foreign objects of touch; for when you stand by the
fire, it is not that the fire, or the heat of the fire enters your flesh, but
that the sensitive motions copy out the objects of fire and heat. As for my
Book of Philosophy, I must tell you, that it treats more of the production and
architecture of Creatures then of their perceptions, and more of the causes
then the effects, more in a general then peculiar way, which I thought
necessary to inform you of, and so I remain,
MADAM, Your faithful Friend and Servant.
I Received your questions in your last: the first was, Whether there be more
body compact together in a heavy then in a light thing? I answer, That purity,
rarity, little quantity, exterior shape, as also motion cause lightness; and
grossness of bulk, density, much quantity, exterior figure and motion cause
heaviness, as it may be confirmed by many examples: but lightness and heaviness
are only conceptions of man, as also ascent and descent; and it may be
questioned, whether there be such things really in nature; for change of
motions of one and the same body will make lightness, and heaviness, as also
rarity and density: besides, the several figures and compositions of bodies
will cause them to ascend or descend, for Snow is a light body and yet descends
fron the clouds, and Water is a heavy body, and yet ascends in springs out of
the Earth; Dust is a dense body and yet is apt to ascend, Rain or Dew is a rare
body and yet is apt to descend; Also a Bird ascends by his shape, and a small
worm although of less body and lighter will fall down; and there can be no
other prof of light and heavy bodies but by their ascent and descent; But as
really there is no such thing as heavy or light in nature more then words, and
comparisons of different corporeal motions, so there is no such thing, as high
or low, place or time, but only words to make comparisons and to distinguish
different corporeal motions. The second question was, When a Basin with water
is wasted into smoke, which fills up a whole Room, Whether the air in the room
doth, as the sensitive motions of the eye, pattern out the figure of the smoke;
or whether all the room is really filled with the vapour or smoke? I answer, If
it be only the pattern or figure of smoke or vapour, the extension and
dilation is not so much as man imagines; but why may not the air, which in my
opinion hath self-motion, pattern out the figure of smoke as well as the eye?
for that the eye surely doth it, may be proved; because smoke, if it enter the
eye, makes it not only smart and water much, but blinds it quite for the
present; wherefore smoke doth not enter the eye, when the eye sees it, but the
eye patterns out the figure of smoke, and this is perception; In the same
manner may the air pattern out the figure of smoke. The third question was;
Whether all that they name qualities of bodies, as thickness, thinness,
hardness, softness, gravity, levity, transparentness and the like, be
substances? I answer, That all those, they call qualities, are nothing else but
change of motion and figure of the same body, and several changes of motions
are not several bodies, but several actions of one body; for change of motion
doth not create new matter or multiply its quantity: for though corporeal
motions may divide and compose, contract and dilate, yet they cannot create new
matter, or make matter any otherwise then it is by nature, neither can they add
or substract any thing from its nature. And therefore my opinion is, not that
they are things subsisting by themselves without matter, but that there can no
abstraction be made of motion and figure from matter, and that matter and
motion being but one thing and inseparable, make but one substance. Wherefore
density and rarity, gravity and levity, c. being nothing else but change of
motions, cannot be without matter, but a dense or rare, heavy or light matter
is but one substance or body; And thus having obeyed your commands, I rest,
MADAM, Your faithful Friend, and Servant.
Jam very ready to give you my opinion of those two questions you sent me,
whereof the first was, Whether that, which is rare and subtle, be not withal
pure? To which I answer, That all rare bodies are not subtle, nor pure, and
that all which is dense is not gross and dull: As for example, Puddle-water, or
also clear water, is rarer then Quicksilver, and yet not so subtle and pure as
Quicksilver; the like of Gold; for Quicksilver and Gold may be rarefied to a
transparentness, and yet be so dense, as not to be easily dissolved; and
Quicksilver is very subtle and searching, so as to be able to force other
bodies to divide as well as it can divide and compose its own parts. Wherefore
my opinion is, that the purest and subtilest degree of matter in nature, is
that degree of matter which can dilate and contract, compose and divide into
any figure by corporeal self-motion. Your second question was, Why a man's hand
cannot break a little hard body, as a little nail, whereas yet it is bigger
then the nail? I answer, It is not because the hand is softer then the nail,
for one hard body will not break suddenly another hard body, and a man may
easily break an iron nail with his hand, as I have bin informed; but it is some
kind of motion which can easier do it, then another: for I have seen a strong
cord wound about both a man's hands, who pulled his hands as hard and strongly
asunder as he could, and yet was not able to break it; when as a Youth taking
the same cord, and winding it about his hands as the former did, immediately
broke it; the cause was, that he did it with another kind of motion or pulling,
then the other did, which though he used as much force and strength, as he was
able, yet could not break it, when the boy did break it with the greatest ease,
and turning only his hands a little, which shows, that many things may be done
by a slight of motion, which otherwise a great strength and force cannot do.
This is my answer and opinion concerning your proposed questions; if you have
any more, I shall be ready to obey you, as,
MADAM, Your faithful Friend and humble Servant.
I understand by your last, that you are very desirous to know, Whether there
be not in nature such animal creatures both for purity and size, as we are not
capable to perceive by our sight. Truly, Madam, in my opinion it is very
probable there may be animal creatures of such rare bodies as are not subject
to our exterior senses, as well, as there are elements which are not subject to
all our exterior senses: as for example, fire is only subject to our sight and
feeling, and not to any other sense, water is subject to our sight, taste,
touch and hearing, but not to smelling; and earth is subject to our sight,
taste, touch and smelling, but not to our hearing; and vapour is only subject
to our sight, and wind only to our hearing; but pure air is not subject to any
of our senses, but only known by its effects: and so there may likewise be
animal creatures which are not subject to any of our senses both for their
purity and life; as for example, I have seen pumped out of a water pump small
worms which could hardly be discerned but by a bright Sun-light, for they were
smaller then the smallest hair, some of a pure scarlet colour and some white,
but though they were the smallest creatures that ever I did see, yet they were
more agil and fuller of life, then many a creature of a bigger size, and so
small they were, as I am confident, they were neither subject to taste, smell,
touch nor hearing, but only to sight, and that neither without dificulty,
requiring both a sharp sight and a clear light to perceive them; and I do
verily believe that these small animal creatures may be great in comparison to
others which may be in nature. But if it be probable that there may be such
small animal creatures in nature, as are not subject to our exterior senses, by
reason of their littleness; it is also probable, that there may be such great
and big animal creatures in nature as are beyond the reach and knowledge of our
exterior senses; for bigness and smallness are not to be judged by our exterior
senses, only; but as sense and reason inform us, that there are different
degrees in Purity and Rarity, so also in shapes, figures and sizes in all
natural creatures. Next you desired to know, Whether there can be an
artificial Life, or a Life made by Art? My answer is, Not; for although there
is Life in all natures parts, yet not all the parts are life, for there is one
part of natural matter which in its nature is inanimate or without life, and
though natural Life doth produce Art, yet Art cannot produce natural Life, for
though Art is the action of Life, yet it is not Life it self: not but that
there is Life in Art, but not art in life, for Life is natural, and not
artificial; and thus the several parts of a watch may have sense and reason
according to the nature of their natural figure, which is steel, but not as
they have an artificial shape, for Art cannot put Life into the watch, Life
being only natural, not artificial. Lastly your desire was to know, Whether a
part of matter may be so small, as it cannot be made less? I answer, there is
no such thing in nature as biggest or least, nature being Infinite as well in
her actions as in her substance; and I have mentioned in my book of Philosophy,
and in a letter, I sent you heretofore concerning Infinite, that there are
several forts of Infinites, as Infinite in quantity or bulk, Infinite in
number, Infinite in quality, as Infinite degrees of hardness, softness,
thickness, thinness, swiftness, slowness, c. as also Infinite compositions,
divisions, creations, dissolutions, c. in nature; and my meaning is, that all
these Infinite actions do belong to the Infinite body of nature, which being
infinite in substance must also of necessity be infinite in its actions; but
although these Infinite actions are inherent in the power of the Infinite
substance of nature, yet they are never put in act in her parts, by reason
there being contraries in nature, and every one of the aforementioned actions
having its opposite, they do hinder and obstruct each other so, that none can
actually run into infinite; for the Infinite degrees of compositions hinder the
infinite degrees of divisions; and the infinite degrees of rarity, softness,
swiftness, c. hinder the infinite degrees of density, hardness, slowness, c.
all which nature has ordered with great wisdom and Prudence to make an amiable
combination between her parts; for if but one of these actions should run into
infinite, it would cause a horrid confusion between natures parts, nay an utter
destruction of the whole body of nature, if I may call it whole: as for
example, if one part should have infinite compositions, without the hinderance
or obstruction of division, it would at last mount and become equal to the
Infinite body of nature, and so from a part change to a whole, from being
finite to infinite, which is impossible; Wherefore, though nature hath an
Infinite natural power, yet she doth not put this power in act in her
particulars; and although she has an infinite force or strength, yet she doth
not use this force or strength in her parts. Moreover when I speak of Infinite
divisions and compositions, creations and dissolutions, c. in nature, I do not
mean so much the infinite degrees of compositions and divisions, as the actions
themselves to be infinite in number; for there being infinite parts in nature,
and every one having its compositions and divisions, creations and
dissolutions, these actions must of necessity be infinite too, to wit, in
number, according to the Infinite number of parts, for as there is an Infinite
number of parts in nature, so there is also an infinite number and variety of
motions which are natural actions. However let there be also infinite degrees
of these natural actions, in the body or substance of infinite nature; yet, as
I said, they are never put in act, by reason every action hath its contrary or
opposite, which doth hinder and obstruct it from running actually into
infinite. And thus I hope, you conceive clearly now, what my opinion is, and
that I do not contradict my self in my works, as some have falsely accused me,
for they by misapprehending my meaning, judge not according to the truth of my
sense, but according to their own false interpretation, which shows not only a
weakness in their understandings and passions, but a great injustice and injury
to me, which I desire you to vindicate when ever you chance to hear such
accusations and blemishes laid upon my works, by which you will Infinitely
MADAM, Your humble and faithful Servant.
BEing come now to the Perusal of the Works of that learned Author Dr. Moor, I
find that the only design of his Book called Antidote, is to prove the
Existence of a God, and to refute, or rather convert Atheists; which I wonder
very much at, considering, he says himself, Antidote, Book 1. c. 10. a. 5.
That there is no man under the cope of Heaven but believes a God; which if so,
what needs there to make so many arguments to no purpose? unless it be to show
Learning and wit; In my opinion, it were better to convert Pagans to be
Christians, or to reform irregular Christians to a more pious life, then to
prove that, which all men believe, which is the way to bring it into question.
For certainly, according to the natural Light of Reason, there is a God, and no
man, I believe, doth doubt it; for though there may be many vain words, yet I
think there is no such atheistical belief amongst man-kind, nay, not only
amongst men, but also, amongst all other creatures, for if nature believes a
God, all her parts, especially the sensitive and rational, which are the living
and knowing parts, and are in all natural creatures, do the like, and therefore
all parts and creatures in nature do adore and worship God, for any thing man
can know to the contrary; for no question, but natures soul adores and
worships God as well as man's soul; and why may not God be worshipped by all
sorts and kinds of creatures as well, as by one kind or sort? I will not say
the same way, but I believe there is a general worship and adoration of God;
for as God is an Infinite Deity, so certainly he has an Infinite Worship and
Adoration, and there is not any part of nature, but adores and worships the
only omnipotent God, to whom belongs Praise and Glory from and to all eternity:
For it is very improbable, that God should be worshipped only in part, and not
in whole, and that all creatures were made to obey man, and not to worship God,
only for man's sake, and not for God's worship, for man's use, and not God's
adoration, for mans spoil and not God's blessing. But this Presumption, Pride,
Vain-glory and Ambition of man, proceeds from the irregularity of nature, who
being a servant, is apt to commit errors; and cannot be so absolute and exact
in her devotion, adoration and worship, as she ought, nor so well observant of
God as God is observing her: Nevertheless, there is not any of her parts or
creatures, that God is not acknowledged by, though not so perfectly as he
ought, which is caused by the irregularities of nature, as I said before. And
so God of his mercy have mercy upon all Creatures; To whose protection I
commend your Ladyship, and rest,
MADAM, Your faithful Friend and Servant.
SInce I spake in my last of the adoration and worship of God, you would fain
know, whether we can have an Idea of God? I answer, That naturally we may, and
really have a knowledge of the existence of God, as I proved in my former
letter, to wit, that there is a God, and that he is the Author of all things,
who rules and governs all things, and is also the God of Nature: but I dare not
think, that naturally we can have an Idea of the essence of God, so as to know
what God is in his very nature and essence; for how can there be a finite Idea
of an Infinite God? You may say, As well as of Infinite space. I answer, Space
is relative, or has respect to body, but there is not any thing that can be
compared to God; for the Idea of Infinite nature is material, as being a
material creature of Infinite material Nature. You will say, How can a finite
part have an Idea of infinite nature? I answer, Very well, by reason the Idea
is part of Infinite Nature, and so of the same kind, as material; but God being
an Eternal, Infinite, Immaterial, Individable Being, no natural creature can
have an Idea of him. You will say, That the Idea of God in the mind is
immaterial; I answer, I cannot conceive, that there can be any immaterial Idea
in nature; but be it granted, yet that Immaterial is not a part of God, for God
is individable, and hath no parts; wherefore the Mind cannot have an Idea of
God, as it hath of Infinite nature, being a part of nature; for the Idea of God
cannot be of the essence of God, as the Idea of nature is a corporeal part of
nature: and though nature may be known in some parts, yet God being
Incomprehensible, his Essence can by no ways or means be naturally known; and
this is constantly believed, by
MADAM, Your faithful Friend, and Servant.
ALthough I mentioned in my last, that it is impossible to have an Idea of God,
yet your Author is pleased to say, That he will not stick to affirm, that the
Idea or notion of God is as easy, as any notion else Of the Immortality of the
Soul, l. 1. a. 4.
whatsoever, and that we may know as much of him as of any thing else in the
world. To which I answer, That in my opinion, God is not so easily to be known
by any creature, as man may know himself; nor his attributes so well, as man
can know his own natural proprieties: for Gods Infinite attributes are not
conceivable, and cannot be comprehended by a finite knowledge and understanding,
as a finite part of nature; for though nature's parts may be Infinite in
number, and as they have a relation to the Infinite whole, if I may call it so,
which is Infinite nature, yet no part is infinite in it self, and therefore it
cannot know so much as whole nature: and God being an Infinite Deity, there is
required an Infinite capacity to conceive him; nay, Nature her self although
Infinite, yet cannot posibly have an exact notion of God, by reason of the
disparity between God and her self; and therefore it is not probable, if the
Infinite servant of God is not able to conceive him, that a finite part or
creature of nature, of what kind or sort soever, whether Spiritual, as your
Author is pleased to name it, or Corporeal, should comprehend God. Concerning
my belief of God, I submit wholly to the Church, and believe as I have bin
informed out of the Athanasian Creed, that the Father is Incomprehensible, the
Son Incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost Incomprehensible; and that there are
not three, but one Incomprehensible God; Wherefore if any man can prove (as I
do verily believe he cannot) that God is not Incomprehensible, he must of
necessity be more knowing then the whole Church, however he must needs dissent
from the Church. But perchance your Author may say, I raise new and prejudicial
opinions, in saying that matter is eternal. I answer, The Holy Writ doth not
mention Matter to be created, but only Particular Creatures, as this Visible
World, with all its Parts, as the history or description of the Creation of the
World in Genesis plainly shows; For God said, Let it it be Light, and there was
Light; Let there be a Firmament in the midst of the Waters, and let it divide
the Waters from the Waters; and Let the Waters under the Heaven be gathered
together unto one place, and let the dry Land appear; and let the Earth bring
forth Grass, the Herb yielding Seed, and the Fruit-tree yielding Fruit after
his kind; and let there be Lights in the Firmament of the Heaven, to divide the
Day from the Night, c. Which proves, that all creatures and figures were made
and produced out of that rude and desolate heap or chaos which the Scripture
mentions, which is nothing else but matter, by the powerful Word and Command of
God, executed by his Eternal Servant, Nature; as I have heretofore declared it
in a Letter I sent you in the beginning concerning Infinite Nature. But least I
seem to encroach too much upon Divinity, I submit this Interpretation to the
Church; However, I think it not against the ground of our Faith; for I am so
far from maintaining any thing either against Church or State, as I am
submitting to both in all duty, and shall do so as long as I live, and rest,
MADAM, Your Faithful Friend and Servant.
SInce your Worthy and Learned Author is pleased to mention, That an ample
experience both of Men Antid. Book. 2. Ch. 2. a. 1.
and Things doth enlarge our Understanding, I have taken occasion hence to
enquire, how a mans Understanding may be increased or enlarged. The
Understanding must either be in Parts, or it must be Individable as one; if in
Parts, then there must be so many Understandings as there are things
understood; but if Individable, and but one Understanding, then it must dilate
it self upon so many several objects. I for my part, assent to the first, That
Understanding increases by Parts, and not by Dilation, which Dilation must
needs follow, if the Mind or Understanding of man be Indivisible and without
parts; but if the Mind or Soul be Individable, then I would fain know, how
Understanding, Imagination, Conception, Memory, Remembrance, and the like, can
be in the mind? You will say, perhaps, they are so many faculties or properties
of the Incorporeal Mind, but, I hope, you do not intend to make the Mind or
Soul a Deity, with so many attributes, Wherefore, in my opinion, it is safer to
say, That the Mind is composed of several active Parts: but of these Parts I
have treated in my Philosophy, where you will find, that all the several Parts
of Nature are Living and Knowing, and that there is no part that has not Life
and Knowledge, being all composed of rational and sensitive matter, which is the
life and soul of Nature; and that Nature being Material, is composable and
dividable, which is the cause of so many several Creatures, where every
Creature is a part of Nature, and these Infinite parts or creatures are Nature
her self; for though Nature is a self-moving substance, and by self-motion
divides and composes her self several manners or ways into several forms and
figures, yet being a knowing, as well as a living substance, she knows how to
order her parts and actions wisely; for as she hath an Infinite body or
substance, so she has an Infinite life and knowledge; and as she hath an
Infinite life and knowledge, so she hath an infinite wisdom: But mistake me not,
Madam; I do not mean an Infinite Divine Wisdom, but an Infinite Natural Wisdom,
given her by the Infinite bounty of the Omnipotent God; but yet this Infinite
Wisdom, Life and Knowledge in Nature make but one Infinite. And as Nature hath
degrees of matter, so she has also degrees and variety of corporeal motions;
for some parts of matter are self-moving, and some are moved by these
self-moving parts of matter; and all these parts, both the moving and moved,
are so intermixed, that none is without the other, no not in any the least
Creature or part of Nature we can conceive; for there is no Creature or part of
Nature, but has a comixture of those mentioned parts of animate and inanimate
matter, and all the motions are so ordered by Natures wisdom, as not any thing
in Nature can be otherwise, unless by a Supernatural Command and Power of God;
for no part of corporeal matter and motion can either perish, or but rest; one
part may cause another part to alter its motions, but not to quit motion, no
more then one part of matter can annihilate or destroy another; and therefore
matter is not merely Passive, but always Active, by reason of the thorough
mixture of animate and inanimate matter; for although the animate matter is
only active in its nature, and the inanimate passive, yet because they are so
closely united and mixed together that they make but one body, the parts of the
animate or self-moving matter do bear up and cause the inanimate parts to move
and work with them; and thus there is an activity in all parts of matter moving
and working as one body, without any fixation or rest, for all is moveable,
moving and moved. All which, Madam, if it were well observed, there would not
be so many strange opinions concerning nature and her actions, making the
purest and subtlest part of matter immaterial or incorporeal, which is as
much, as to extend her beyond nature, and to rack her quite to nothing. But I
fear the opinion of Immaterial substances in Nature will at last bring in again
the Heathen Religion, and make us believe a god Pan, Bacchus, Ceres, Venus, and
the like, so as we may become worshippers of Groves and shadows, Beans and
Onions, as our Forefathers. I say not this, as if I would ascribe any worship
to Nature, or make her a Deity, for she is only a servant to God, and so are
all her parts or creatures, which parts or creatures, although they are
transformed, yet cannot be annihilated, except Nature her self be annihilated,
which may be, whenever the Great God pleases; for her existence and
resolution, or total destruction, depends upon Gods Will and Decree, whom she
fears, adores, admires, praises and prays unto, as being her God and Master;
and as she adores God, so do all her parts and creatures, and amongst the rest
Man, so that there is no Atheist in Infinite Nature, at least not in the
opinion of,
MADAM, Your faithful Friend and Servant.
I Cannot well conceive what your Author means by the Common Laws of Nature;
But if you desire Antid. Book. 2. c. 2.
my opinion how many Laws Nature hath, and what they are; I say Nature hath but
One Law, which is a wise Law, viz. to keep Infinite matter in order, and to
keep [so much Peace, as not to disturb the Foundation of her Government: for
though Natures actions are various, and so many times opposite, which would
seem to make wars between several Parts, yet those active Parts, being united
into one Infinite body, cannot break Natures general Peace; for that which Man
names War, Sickness, Sleep, Death, and the like, are but various particular
actions of the only matter; not, as your Author imagines, in a confusion, like
Bullets, or such like things juggled together in a mans Hat, but very orderly
and methodical: And the Playing motions of nature are the actions of Art, but
her serious actions are the actions of Production, Generation and
Transformation in several kinds, sorts and particulars of her Creatures, as
also the action of ruling and governing these her several active Parts.
Concerning the Preeminence and Prerogative of Man, whom your Author calls C. 3.
The flower and chief of all the products of nature upon this Globe of the
earth; I answer, That Man cannot well be judged of himself, because he is a
Party, and so may be Partial; But if we observe well, we shall find that the
Elemental Creatures are as excellent as Man, and as able to be a friend or foe
to Man, as Man to them, and so the rest of all Creatures; so that I cannot
perceive more abilities in Man then in the rest of natural Creatures; for
though he can build a stately House, yet he cannot make a Honey-comb; and
though he can plant a Slip, yet he cannot make a Tree; though he can make a
Sword, or Knife, yet he cannot make the Mettle. And as Man makes use of other
Creatures, so other Creatures make use of Man, as far as he is good for any
thing: But Man is not so useful to his neighbour or fellow-creatures, as his
neighbour or fellow-creatures to him, being not so profitable for use, as apt
to make spoil. And so leaving him, I rest,
MADAM, Your faithful Friend and Servant.
YOur Author demands, Whether there was ever any man, that was not mortal, and
whether there be any mortal that had not a beginning? Truly, if nature Antid.
1. 3. c. 15. a. 3.
be eternal, all the material figures which ever were, are, and can be, must be
also eternal in nature; for the figures cannot be annihilated, unless nature be
destroyed; and although a Creature is dissolved and transformed into numerous
different figures, yet all these several figures remain still in those parts of
matter, whereof that creature was made, for matter never changes, but is always
one and the same, and figure is nothing else but matter transposed or
transformed by motion several modes or ways. But if you conceive Matter to be
one thing, Figure another, and Motion a third, several, distinct and dividable
from each other, it will produce gross errors, for, matter, motion, and figure,
are but one thing. And as for that common question, whether the Egg was before
the Chick, or the Chick before the Egg, it is but a thred-bare argument, which
proves nothing, for there is no such thing as First in Eternity, neither doth
Time make productions or generations, but Matter; and whatsoever matter can
produce or generate, was in matter before it was produced; wherefore the
question is, whether Matter, which is Nature, had a beginning, or not? I say
not: for put the case, the figures of Earth, Air, Water, and Fire, Light and
Colours, Heat and Cold, Animals, Vegetables and Minerals, c. were not produced
from all Eternity, yet those figures have nevertheless been in Matter, which is
Nature, from all eternity, for these mentioned Creatures are only made by the
corporeal motions of Matter, transforming Matter into such several figures;
Neither can there be any perishing or dying in Nature, for that which Man calls
so, is only an alteration of Figure. And as all other productions are but a
change of Matters sensitive motions, so all irregular and extravagant opinions
are nothing but a change of Matters rational motions; only productions by
rational motions are interior, and those by sensitive motions exterior. For the
Natural Mind is not less material then the body, only the Matter of the Mind
is much purer and subtler then the Matter of the Body. And thus there is
nothing in Nature but what is material; but he that thinks it absurd to say,
the World is composed of mere self-moving Matter, may consider, that it is more
absurd to believe Immaterial substances or spirits in Nature, as also a spirit
of Nature, which is the Vicarious power of God upon Matter; For why should it
not be as probable, that God did give Matter a selfmoving power to her self, as
to have made another Creature to govern her? For Nature is not a Babe, or
Child, to need such a Spiritual Nurse, to teach her to go, or to move; neither
is she so young a Lady as to have need of a Governess, for surely she can
govern her self; she needs not a Guardian for fear she should run away with a
younger Brother, or one that cannot make her a Jointure. But leaving those
strange opinions to the fancies of their Authors, He add no more, but that I
MADAM, Your faithful Friend, and Servant.
YOur Author being very earnest in arguing against those that maintain the
opinion of Matter being self-moving, amongst the rest of his arguments brings
in this: Suppose, says he, Matter could Of the Immortality of the Soul, l. 1.
c. 12.
move it self, would mere Matter with self-motion amount to that admirable wise
contrivance of things which we see in the World? -- All the evasion I can
imagine, our adversaries may use here, will be this: That Matter is capable of
sense, and the finest and most subtle of the most refined sense; and
consequently of Imagination too, yea happily of Reason and Understanding. I
answer, it is very probable, that not only all the Matter in the World or
Universe hath Sense, but also Reason; and that the sensitive part of matter is
the builder, and the rational the designer; whereof I have spoken of before,
and you may find more of it in my Book of Philosophy. But, says your Author,
Let us see, if all their heads laid together can contrive the anatomical
Fabric of any Creature that lives? I answer, all parts of Nature are not
bound to have heads or tails; but if they have, surely they are wiser then many
a man's. I demand, says he, Has every one of these Particles, that must have a
hand in the framing of the body of an animal, the whole design of the work by
the Impress of some Phantasm upon it? or as they have several offices, so have
they several parts of the design? I answer, All the actions of self-moving
Matter are not Impresses, nor is every part a handlabourer, but every part
unites by degrees into such or such a Figure. Again, says he, How is it
conceiveable that any one Particle of Matter, or many together, (there not
existing, yet in Nature an animal) can have the Idea Impressed of that Creature
they are to frame? I answer, all figures whatsoever have been, are, or can be
in Nature, are existent in nature. How, says he, can they in framing several
parts confer notes? by what language or speech can they communicate their
Counsels one to another? I answer, Knowledge doth not always require speech, for
speech is an effect and not a cause, but knowledge is a cause and not an effect;
and nature hath infinite more ways to express knowledge then man can imagine,
Wherefore, he concludes, that they should mutually serve one another in such a
design, is more impossible; then that so many men, blind and dumb from their
nativity, should join their forces and wits together to build a Castle, or
carve a statue of such a Creature, as none of them knew any more in several,
then some one of the smallest parts thereof, but not the relation it bore to
the whole. I answer, Nature is neither blind nor dumb, nor any ways defective,
but infinitely wife and knowing; for blindness and dumbness are but effects of
some of her particular actions, but there is no defect in self-moving matter,
nor in her actions in general; and it is absurd to conceive the Generality of
wisdom according to an Irregular effect or defect of a particular Creature; for
the General actions of Nature are both life and knowledge, which are the
architects of all Creatures, and know better how to frame all kinds and sorts
of Creatures then man can conceive; and the several parts of Matter have a more
easy way of communication, then Mans head hath with his hand, or his hand with
pen, ink, and paper, when he is going to write; which later example will make
you understand my opinion the better, if you do but compare the rational part
of Matter to the head, the sensitive to the hand, the inanimate to pen, ink and
paper, their action to writing, and their framed figures to those figures or
letters which are written; in all which is a mutual agreement without noise or
trouble. But give me leave, Madam, to tell you, That self-moving Matter may
sometimes err and move irregularly, and in some parts not move so strong,
curious, or subtle at sometimes, as in other parts, for Nature delights in
variety; Nevertheless she is more wise then any Particular Creature or part can
conceive, which is the cause that Man thinks Nature's wise, subtle and lively
actions, are as his own gross actions, conceiving them to be constrained and
turbulent, not free and easy, as well as wise and knowing; Whereas Nature's
Creating, Generating and Producing actions are by an easy connexion of parts
to parts, without Counterbuffs, Joggs and Jolts, producing a particular figure
by degrees, and in order and method, as humane sense and reason may well
perceive: And why may not the sensitive and rational part of Matter know better
how to make a Be, then a Be doth how to make Honey and Wax? or have a better
communication betwixt them, then Bees that fly several ways, meeting and
joining to make their Combs in their Hives? But pardon, Madam, for I think it
a Crime to compare the Creating, Generating and producing Coporeal Life and
Wisdom of Nature unto any particular Creature, although every particular
Creature hath their share, being a part of Nature. Wherefore those, in my
opinion, do grossly err, that bind up the sensitive matter only to taste,
touch, hearing, seeing, and smelling; as if the sensitive parts of Nature had
not more variety of actions, then to make five senses; for we may well observe,
in every Creature there is difference of sense and reason according to the
several modes of self-motion; For the Sun, Stars, Earth, Air, Fire, Water,
Plants, Animals, Minerals; although they have all sense and knowledge, yet they
have not all sense and knowledge alike, because sense and knowledge moves not
alike in every kind or sort of Creatures, nay many times very different in one
and the same Creature; but yet this doth not cause a general Ignorance, as to
be altogether Insensible or Irrational, neither do the erroneous and irregular
actions of sense and reason prove an annihilation of sense and reason; as for
example, a man may become Mad or a Fool through the irregular motions of sense
and reason, and yet have still the Perception of sense and reason, only the
alteration is caused through the alteration of the sensitive and rational
corporeal motions or actions, from regular to irregular; nevertheless he has
Perceptions, Thoughts, Ideas, Passions, and whatsoever is made by sensitive and
rational Matter, neither can Perception be divided from Motion, nor Motion from
Matter; for all sensation is Corporeal, and so is Perception. I can add no
more, but take my leave, and rest,
MADAM, Your faithful Friend and Servant.
YOur Author is pleased to say, that Matter is a Principle purely passive, and
no otherwise moved or modified, Of the Immortality of the Soul, l. 2. c. 1. a.
then as some other thing moves and modifies it, but cannot move it self at
all; which is most demonstrable to them that contend for sense and perception
in it: For if it had any such perception, it would, by virtue of its
self-motion withdraw its self from under the knocks of hammers, or fury of the
fire; or of its own accord approach to such things as are most agreeable to it,
and pleasing, and that without the help of muscles, it being thus immediately
endowed with a self-moving power. By his leave, Madam, I must tell you, that I
see no consequence in this argument; Because some parts of matter cannot
withdraw themselves from the force and power of other parts, therefore they
have neither sense, reason, nor perception: For put the case, a man should be
overpowered by some other men, truly he would be forced to suffer, and no
Immaterial Spirits, I think, would assist him. The very same may be said of
other Creatures or parts of Nature; for some may over-power others, as the
fire, hammer and hand doth over-power a Horse-shooe, which cannot prevail over
so much odds of power and strength; And so likewise it is with sickness and
health, life and death; for example, some corporeal motions in the body turning
Rebels, by moving contrary to the health of an animal Creature, it must become
sick; for not every particular creature hath an absolute power, the power being
in the Infinite whole, and not in single divided parts: Indeed, to speak
properly, there is no such thing as an absolute power in Nature; for though
Nature hath power to move it self, yet not beyond it self. But mistake me not,
for I mean by an absolute Power; not a circumscribed and limited, but an
unlimited power, no ways bound or confined, but absolutely or every way
Infinite, and there is not any thing that has such an absolute power but God
alone: neither can Nature be undividable, being Corporeal or Material; nor rest
from motion being naturally self-moving, and in a perpetual motion. Wherefore
though Matter is self-moving, and very wise, (although your Author denies it,
calling those Fools that maintain this In the Append. to the Antid. c. 3. a.
opinion) yet it cannot go beyond the rules of its Nature, no more then any Art
can go beyond its Rules and Principles: And as for what your Author says, That
every thing would approach to that, which is agreeable and pleasant; I think I
need no demonstration to prove it; sor we may plainly see it in all effects of
Nature, that there is Sympathy and Antipathy, and what is this else, but
approaching to things agreeable and pleasant, and withdrawing it self from
things disagreeable, and hurtful or offensive? But of this subject I shall
discourse more hereafter, wherefore I finish here, and rest,
MADAM, Your Faithful Friend and Servant.
YOur Authors opinion is, That Matter being once actually divided as far as
possibly it can, it is a perfect In the Preface before the Imm. of the Soul.
contradiction it should be divided any further. I answer, Though Nature is
Infinite, yet her actions are not all dilative nor separative, but some divide
and some compose, some dilate and some contract, which causes a mean betwixt
Natures actions or motions. Next your Author says, That as Infinite Greatness
has no Figure, so Infinite Littleness hath none also. I answer, Whatsoever hath
a body, has a figure; for it is impossible that substance, or body, and figure,
should be separated from each other, but wheresoever is body or substance,
there is also figure, and if there be an infinite substance, there must also be
an infinite figure, although not a certain determined or circumscribed figure,
for such a figure belongs only to finite particulars; and therefore I am of
your Authors mind, That it is a contradiction to say an Infinite Cube or
Triangle, for a Cube and a Triangle is a perfect circumscribed figure, having
its certain compass and circumference, be it never so great or little;
wherefore to say an Infinite Cube, would be as much as to say a Finite
Infinite. But as for your Authors example of Infinite matter, space or
duration, divided into three equal parts, all which he says must needs be
Infinite, or else the whole will not be so, and then the middle part of them
will seem both Finite and Infinite. I answer, That Matter is not dividable into
three equal parts, for three is a finite number and so are three equal parts;
but I say that Matter being an Infinite body, is dividable into Infinite parts,
and it doth not follow, as your Author says, That one of those infinite parts
must be infinite also, for else there would be no difference betwixt the whole
and its parts; I say whole for distinctions and better expressions sake, and do
not mean such a whole which hath a certain number of parts, and is of a certain
and limited figure, although never so great; but an Infinite whole, which
expression I must needs use, by reason I speak of Infinite parts; and that each
one of these Infinite parts in number may be finite in substance or figure, is
no contradiction, but very probable and rational; nay, I think it rather absurd
to say that each part is infinite; for then there would be no difference
betwixt parts and whole, as I said before. Only this is to be observed, that
the Infinite whole is Infinite in substance or bulk, but the parts are Infinite
in number, and not in bulk, for each part is circumscribed, and finite in its
exterior figure and substance. But mistake me not, when I speak of
circumscribed and finite single parts; for I do not mean, that each part doth
subsist single and by it self, there being no such thing as an absolute single
part in Nature, but Infinite Matter being by self-motion divided into an
infinite number of parts, all these parts have so near a relation to each
other, and to the infinite whole, that one cannot subsist without the other;
for the Infinite parts in number do make the Infinite whole, and the Infinite
whole consists in the Infinite number of parts; wherefore it is only their
figures which make a difference betwixt them; for each part having its proper
figure different from the other, which is circumscribed and limited, it is
called a finite single part; and such a part cannot be said Infinitely
dividable, for infinite composition and division belong only to the Infinite
body of Nature, which being infinite in substance may also be infinitely
divided, but not a finite and single part: Besides, Infinite composition doth
hinder the Infinite division, and Infinite division hinders the Infinite
composition; so that one part cannot be either infinitely composed, or
infinitely divided; and it is one thing to be dividable, and another to be
divided. And thus, when your Author Antid. Book. 2. c. 4.
mentions in another place, That if a body be divisible into Infinite Parts, it
hath an Infinite number of extended parts: If by extension he mean corporeal
dimension, I am of his opinion; for there is no part, be it never so little in
Nature, but is material; and if material, it has a body; and if a body, it must
needs have a bodily dimension; and so every part will be an extended part: but
since there is no part but is finite in its self, it cannot be divisible into
infinite parts; neither can any part be infinitely dilated or contracted; for
as composition and division do hinder and obstruct each other from running into
Infinite, so doth dilation hinder the Infinite contraction, and contraction the
Infinite dilation, which, as I said before, causes a mean betwixt Nature's
actions; nevertheless, there are Infinite dilations and contractions in Nature,
because there are Infinite contracted and dilated parts, and so are infinite
divisions because there are infinite divided parts; but contraction, dilation,
extension, composition, division, and the like, are only Nature's several
actions; and as there can be no single part in Nature that is Infinite, so
there can neither be any single Infinite action. But as for Matter, Motion and
Figure, those are Individable and Inseparable, and make but one body or
substance; for it is as impossible to divide them, as impossible it is to your
Author to separate the essential proprieties, which he gives, from an Immortal
Spirit; And as Matter, Motion and Figure are inseparable; so is likewise
Matter, Space, Place and Duration; For Parts, Motion, Figure, Place and
Duration, are but one Infinite body; only the Infinite parts are the Infinite
divisions of the Infinite body, and the Infinite body is a composition of the
Infinite parts; but figure, place and body are all one, and so is time, and
duration, except you will call time the division of duration, and duration the
composition of time; but infinite time, and infinite duration is all one in
Nature: and thus Nature's Principal motions and actions are dividing,
composing, and disposing or ordering, according to her Natural wisdom, by the
Omnipotent God's leave and permission. Concerning the Sun, which your Author
speaks of in the same place, and denies him to be a Spectator of our Particular
affairs upon Earth; saying, there is no such divine Principle in him, whereby
he can do it. I will speak nothing against, nor for it; but I may say, that the
Sun hath such a Principle as other Creatures have, which is, that he has
sensitive and rational corporeal motions, as well as animals or other
Creatures, although not in the same manner, nor the same organs; and if he have
sensitive and rational motions, he may also have sensitive and rational
knowledge or perception, as well as man, or other animals and parts of Nature
have, for ought any body knows; for it is plain to humane sense and reason,
that all Creatures must needs have rational and sensitive knowledge, because
they have all sensitive and rational matter and motions. But leaving the Sun
for Astronomers to contemplate upon, I take my leave, and rest,
MADAM, Your faithful Friend, and Servant.
YOur Author in his arguments against Motion, being a Principle of Nature,
endeavours to prove, Append. to the Antid. c. 11.
that Beauty, Colour, Symmetry, and the like, in Plants, as well as in other
Creatures, are no result from the mere motion of the matter; and forming this
objection, It may be said, says he, That the regular motion of the matter made
the first plant of every kind; but we demand, What regulated the motion of it,
so as to guide it, to form it self into such a state? I answer, The Wisdom of
Nature or infinite Matter did order its own actions so, as to form those her
Parts into such an exact and beautiful figure, as such a Tree, or such a
Flower, or such a Fruit, and the like; and some of her Parts are pleased and
delighted with other parts, but some of her parts are afraid or have an
aversion to other parts; and hence is like and dislike, or sympathy and
antipathy, hate and love, according as nature, which is infinite self-moving
matter, pleases to move; for though Natural Wisdom is dividable into parts, yet
these parts are united in one infinite Body, and make but one Being in it self,
like as the several parts of a man make up but one perfect man; for though a
man may be wise in several causes or actions, yet it is but one wisdom; and
though a Judge may show Justice in several causes, yet it is but one Justice;
for Wisdom and Justice, though they be practised in several causes, yet it is
but one Wisdom, and one Justice; and so, all the parts of a mans body, although
they move differently, yet are they but one man's bodily actions; Just as a
man, if he carve or cut out by art several statues, or draw several Pictures,
those statues or pictures are but that one man's work. The like may be said of
Natures Motions and Figures; all which are but one self-active or self-moving
Material Nature. But Wise Nature's Ground or Fundamental actions are very
Regular, as you may observe in the several and distinct kinds, sorts and
particulars of her Creatures, and in their distinct Proprieties, Qualities, and
Faculties, belonging not only to each kind and sort, but to each particular
Creature; and since man is not able to know perfectly all those proprieties
which belong to animals, much less will he be able to know and judge of those
that are in Vegetables, Minerals and Elements; and yet these Creatures, for any
thing Man knows, may be as knowing, understanding, and wise as he; and each as
knowing of its kind or sort, as man is of his; But the mixture of ignorance and
knowledge in all Creatures proceeds from thence, that they are but Parts; and
there is no better proof, that the mind of man is dividable, then that it is
not perfectly knowing; nor no better proof that it is composeable, then that it
knows so much: but all minds are not alike, but some are more composed then
others, which is the cause, some know more then others; for if the mind in all
men were alike, all men would have the same Imaginations, Fancies, Conceptions,
Memories, Remembrances, Passions, Affections, Understanding, and so forth: The
same may be said of their bodies; for if all men's sensitive parts were as one,
and not dividable and composeable, all their Faculties, Properties,
Constitutions, Complexions, Appetites, would be the same in every man without
any difference; but humane sense and reason doth well perceive, that neither
the mind, life nor body are as one piece, without division and composition.
Concerning the divine Soul, I do not treat of it; only this I may say, That
all are not devout alike, nor those which are, are not at all times alike
devout. But to conclude: some of our modern Philosophers think they do God good
service, when they endeavour to prove Nature, as Gods good Servant, to be
stupid, ignorant, foolish and mad, or any thing rather then wise, and yet they
believe themselves wise, as if they were no part of Nature; but I cannot
imagine any reason why they should rail on her, except Nature had not given
them as great a share or portion, as she hath given to others; for children in
this case do often rail at their Parents, for leaving their Brothers and
Sisters more then themselves. However, Nature can do more then any of her
Creatures: and if Man can Paint, Imbroider, Carve, Engrave curiously; why may
not Nature have more Ingenuity, Wit and Wisdom then any of her particular
Creatures? The same may be said of her Government. And so leaving Wise Nature,
I rest,
MADAM, Your faithful Friend and Servant.
TO your Authors argument, That if Motion belong naturally to Matter, Matter
being Uniform, Antid. l. 2. c. 1.
it must be alike moved in every part of particle imaginable of it, by reason
this Motion being natural and essential to Matter, is alike every way. I
answer, That this is no more necessary, then that the several actions of one
body, or of one part of a body should be alike; for though Matter is one and
the same in its Nature, and never changes, yet the motions are various, which
motions are the several actions of one and the same Natural Matter; and this is
the cause of so many several Creatures; for self-moving matter by its
self-moving power can act several ways, modes or manners; and had not natural
matter a self-acting power, there could not be any variety in Nature; for
Nature knows of no rest, there being no such thing as rest in Nature; but she
is in a perpetual motion, I mean self-motion, given her from God: Neither do I
think it Atheistical (as your Author deems) to maintain this opinion of
selfmotion, as long as I do not deny the Omnipotency of God; but I should
rather think it Irreligious to make so many several Creatures as Immaterial
Spirits, like so many several Deities, to rule and govern Nature and all
material substances in Nature; for what Atheism doth there lie in saying, that
natural matter is naturally moving, and wise in her self? Doth this oppose the
omnipotency and Infinite wisdom of God? It rather proves and confirms it; for
all Natures free power of moving and wisdom is a gift of God, and proceeds from
him; but I must confess, it destroys the power of Immaterial substances, for
Nature will not be ruled nor governed by them, and to be against Natural
Immaterial substances, I think, is no Atheism, except we make them Deities;
neither is it Atheism to contradict the opinion of those, that believe such
natural incorporeal Spirits, unless man make himself a God. But although Nature
is wise, as I said before, and acts methodically, yet the variety of motions is
the cause of so many Irregularities in Nature, as also the cause of Irregular
opinions; for all opinions are made by self-moving matters motions, or (which
is all one) by corporeal self-motion, and some in their opinions do conceive
Nature according to the measure of themselves, as that Nature can, nor could
not do more, then they think, nay, some believe they can do as much as Nature
doth; which opinions, whether they be probable or regular, I'll let any man
judge; adding only this, that to humane sense and reason it appears plainly,
that as God has given Nature a power to act freely, so he doth approve of her
actions, being wise and methodical in all her several Productions, Generations,
Transformations and Designs: And so I conclude for the present, only subscribe
my self, as really I am,
MADAM, Your faithful Friend, and Servant.
I Am of your Authors opinion, concerning self-activity or self-motion, That
what is Active of it self, can Of the Immortality of the Soul, l. 1. c. 7.
no more cease to be active then to be: And I have been always of this opinion,
even from the first beginning of my conceptions in natural Philosophy, as you
may see in my first Treatise of Natural Philosophy, which I put forth eleven
years since; where I say, That self-moving Matter is in a Perpetual motion; But
your Author endeavours srom thence to conclude, That Matter is not self-active,
because it is reducible to rest. To which I answer, That there is no such thing
as Rest in Nature: Not do I say, that all sorts of motions are subject to our
senses, for those that are subject to our sensitive Perceptions, are but gross
Motions, in comparison to those that are not subject to our exterior senses: as
for example; We see some bodies dilate, others consume, others corrupt; yet we
do not see how they dilate, nor how they consume, nor how they corrupt: Also we
see some bodies contract, some attract, some condense, some consist, c. yet we
do not see their contracting, attracting, condensing, consisting or retenting
motions; and yet we cannot say, they are not corporeal motions, because not
subject to our exterior senses; for if there were not contracting, attracting,
retenting or consistent corporeal self-motions, it had been impossible that any
creature could have been composed into one united figure, much less stayed and
continued in the same figure without a general alteration. But your Author
says, If Matter, as Matter, had Motion, nothing would hold together, but
Flints, Adamants, Brass, Iron, yea, this whole Earth, would suddenly melt into
a thinner substance then the subtle Air, or rather it never had been
condensated together to this consistency we find it. But I would ask him, what
reason he can give, that corporeal self-motion should make all matter rare and
fluid, unless he believe there is but one kind of motion in Nature, but this,
human sense and reason will contradict; for we may observe there are Infinite
changes of Motion, and there is more variety and curiosity in corporeal
motions, then any one single Creature can imagine, much less know; but I
suppose he conceives all corporeal matter to be gross, and that not any
corporeal motion can be subtle, penetrating, contracting and dilating; and that
whatsoever is penetrating, contracting and dilating, is Individable: But by his
leave, Madam, this doth not follow; for though there be gross degrees of
Matter, and strong degrees of Corporeal Motions, yet there are also pure and
subtle degrees of Matter and Motions; to wit, that degree of Matter, which I
name sensitive and rational Matter, which is natural Life and Knowledge, as
sensitive Life and rational Knowledge. Again, your Author asks, What glue or
cement holds the parts of hard matter in Stones and Metals together? I answer,
Consistent or retentive corporeal motions, by an agreeable union and
conjunction in the several parts of Metal or Stone; and these retentive or
consistent motions, are as strong and active, if not more, then some dilative
or contractive motions; for I have mentioned heretofore, that, as sensitive and
rational corporeal motions are in all Creatures, so also in Stone, Metal, and
any other dense body whatsoever; so that not any one Creature or part of Matter
is without Motion, and therefore not any thing is at rest. But, Madam, I dare
say, I could bring more reason and sense to prove, that sensitive and rational
Matter is fuller of activity, and has more variety of motion, and can change
its own parts of self-moving Matter more suddenly, and into more exterior
figures, then Immaterial Spirits can do upon natural Matter. But your Author
says, That Immaterial Spirits are endued with Sense and Reason; I say, My
sensitive and rational corporeal Matter is Sense and Reason it self, and is the
Architect or Creator of all figures of Natural matter; for though all the parts
of Matter are not self-moving, yet there is not any part that is not moving or
moved, by and with the mover, which is animate matter. And thus I conclude, and
rest constantly,
MADAM, Your Faithful Friend and Servant.
THat Matter is incapable of Sense, your Author proves by the example of dead
Carcasses; For, says he, Motion and Sense being really one and the Of the
Imwortality of the Soul. l. 2. c. 2.
same thing, it must needs follow, that where there is motion, there is also
sense and perception; but on the contrary, there is Reaction in dead Carcasses,
and yet no Sense. I answer shortly, That it is no consequence, because there is
no animal sense nor exterior perceptible local motion in a dead Carcass,
therefore there is no sense at all in it; for though it has not animal sense,
yet it may nevertheless have sense according to the nature of that figure, into
which it did change from being an animal. Also he says, If any Matter have
sense, it will follow, that upon reaction all shall have the like; and that a
Bell while it is ringing, and a Bow while it is bent, and every fack-in-a-box,
that School-boys play with, shall be living animals. I answer, It is true, if
reaction made sense; but reaction doth not make sense, but sense makes
reaction; and