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Miles Capitalis Iustic. de Banco Regis Ano 1677

For W. Shrowsbery at The Sign of The Bible In Duck Lane,

THE Primitive Origination OF MANKIND, CONSIDERED AND EXAMINED According to The Light of Nature.


LONDON, Printed by WILLIAM GODBID, for WILLIAM SHROWSBERY at the Sign of the Bible in Duke-Lane. MDCLXXVII.


THE subject Matter of this Book is a free Dis­quisition, according to the Light of Nature and Natural Reason, touching the Primitive Origi­nation of Mankind, consisting principally of these Parts and Assertions.

I. That according to the Light of Nature and Natural Reason, the Mundus aspectabilis was not Eternal, but had a Beginning.

II. That if there could be any imaginable doubt thereof, yet by the necessary Evidence of Natural Light it doth appear that Mankind had a beginning, and that the successive Gene­rations of Men were in their Original Ex non genitis.

III. That this Truth is evident by Reason and Arguments demonstrative, or at least little less than apodeictical.

IV. That there are Moral Evidences of the truth of this Assertion, which are herein particularly expended and exa­mined; and how far forth they are concludent, and how far not: which I have impartially delivered.

V. That those great Philosophers that asserted this Origi­nation of Mankind Ex non genitis, both ancient and modern, that rendred it by Hypotheses different from that of Moses, were mistaken: Wherein the several Hypotheses of Aristotle, Plato, Empedocles, Epicurus, Avicen, Cardanus, Cisalpinus, Beregardus and others are examined, and the absurdity and impossibility thereof detected.

VI. That the Mosaical System, as well of the Creation of Man as of the World in general, abstractively considered without relation to the Divine Inspiration of the Writer, is highly consonant to Reason, and upon a bare rational account highly preferrible before the Sentiments of those Philosphers that either thought Mankind Eternal, or substituted Hypotheses of his first Production different from the Mosaical.

[Page]VII. I have concluded the whole with certain Corollaries and Deductions, necessarily flowing from the things thus as­serted, as well touching the Existence, the Wisdom, Power, Providence of Almighty God, as touching both the Duty and Happiness of Mankind.

Though this may seem a laborious Work to little purpose, since the generality of Christians, among whom I write, do generally believe this Truth of the Origination of the World and Mankind, as it is delivered in the Holy Scriptures; and thus to write in proof of a Truth generally received, doth rather create Doubts in Mens Minds of what they already believe, than any way advantage or confirm their belief.

I Answer, 1. That for my part I think Atheism so unrea­sonable a thing, so abhorrent to the Light of Nature and Sen­timents of Conscience, that I cannot think there is so much speculative Atheism abroad in the World as many good Men fear and suspect: But if there be but one quarter of that Atheism in the World, I do not know any better Cure of it, or Preservative against it, next to the Grace of God, than the due Consideration of the Origination of Mankind. 2. Again, though the Creation of Man be generally acknowledged by Jews and Christians, yet we must likewise consider that many take it up only as a part of their Education, and not upon any serious, deep Conviction of the truth of it: and had such Men but an Education in such a Place or Country where it is not believed, or where it is doubted, they would be at least sce­ptical and doubtful in the belief of it. 3. The best of Men, and soundest believers of Divine Revelations, may be better confirmed by the accession and suffrage even of Natural Evi­dences of the Verities they already believe; but howsoever, it better enables them to convince such Gainsayers as will be governed in their Judgments by no other Light than the Light of Nature and Reason, and many such there may be met withal in the World.

And upon that account, my whole Discourse is bottomed upon Natural and Moral Evidences suited to these Mens Principles or Motives, by which they are guided and governed; yea when I make use of the Sacred and Infallible Scriptures, I do use them abstractively from their Divine and Infallible Au­thority, and only as Moral Evidences of the Truth I assert: [Page] for any Man may easily foresee, that an Atheistical Spirit that denies or questions the truth of the Fact therein delivered, will not be convinced by the Infallibility of that Scripture which delivers that for a Truth, which he denies or questions.

This whole Book as thou now seest it, was written by me some Years since, and hath lain ever since in my Chest, and surely therein should have lain still, but only for Three Reasons: 1. Because that some Writings of mine have without my privity come abroad in Print, which I never intended; and this might have had the same fate, if not in my Life time, yet after my Death. 2. Because possibly there hath some more care been used by me in the Digesting and Writing hereof, than of some others that have gone abroad in publick. 3. That although I could never be brought to value the Writings of mine that are published, as worthy of the publick view, yet I find them well accepted by many, which encouraged me to let this Book come abroad under my own Name; wherein I used more care than in those lesser Tractates, although I have not yet confidence enough to say that this may deserve any great acceptation: though there be many things in it which may not please, yet I do think there be many things useful, and such as will not displease Judicious Readers.

If there be any Faults or Mistakes in Quotations, in Syntax, in Translations, in Transcriptions, or if there by any Errours (as possibly there may be) in my Deductives, Inferences, or Applications; or if the Language be in some places either improper or obscure, or if the Expressions or Words which we sometimes use be not so full, so significant, or proper, or delivered from Amphibologies, yet I must desire the Reader to take this Apology for it.

1. It was written at leisure and broken times, and with great intervals, and many times hastily, as my busie and im­portant Employment of another nature (known to the World) would give me leave; which must needs make such Breaks, and Chasms, and Incoherences, that possibly a continued, un­interrupted series of writing would have prevented, and carried on the Discourse with a more equal Thred.

2. A long indisposition of Health hath much hindred and interrupted me in a strict revising and amending of what pos­sibly might have been requisite to be done.

[Page]3. A Man whose scope, and intent, and drift is at some one thing, and hath his Eye and Design fixed upon it, many times is not so solicitous nor so curious, nor so exact in the choice of his Words, especially in Expressions of collateral things, not being the principal Subject of the Discourse, which though they may lye in his way, yet are not much under his strict advertence; but he thinks it is enough if he dresseth his Discourse so that it tend to what it principally aims and drives at. And hence it is, that in Chronological Computations, which I sometimes make use of, I content my self with a more lax and common Computation, without any great curiosity or exactness, because it equally serves my purpose as if my Computations were more critical and exact, even usque ad minutias Chronologicas; and so in some other mentions of Names and Times of Authors, and the like: and likewise in the choice of Words or Expres­sions, wherein possibly I may sometimes be too lax and free, using such as come next into my Mind, without a curious or critical choice; which is more excusable in a Discourse of this nature, than in some Polemical and Controversial Dis­courses of other natures, where Men usually catch at Words and Expressions, and it is the greatest part of their Business.

4. I must also desire my Readers pardon, in that in my Transcripts of some entire Texts out of Aristotle, Plato, Plutarch and others, I use the Latin Translation, and not the Original Greek, wherein the Authors wrote: I was a better Grecian in the 16th, than in the 66th Year of my Life; and my application to another Study and Profession, rendred my skill in that Lan­guage of little use to me, and so I wore it out by degrees.

And thus thou hast this Book presented to thy view, I wish thee as much Contentment in Reading as I had in Writing it: If there be any thing therein that may be useful to thee (as I suppose there may be) there is matter for my Contentment and thy Benefit; if all be not answerable thereunto, and to thy expectation, the former Considerations give thee reasonable Motives of Charity to excuse it.

The Contents.

  • CAP. I. THE Introduction, declaring the Reason of the Choice of this Subject, and the Method of the intended Discourse.
  • CAP. II. Touching the Excellency of the Humane Nature in General.
  • CAP. III. A brief Consideration of the Hypotheses that concern the Eternity of the World.
  • CAP. IV. Concerning the Origination of Mankind; and whether the same were Eternal, or had a Beginning.
  • CAP. V. Concerning the Supposition of the first Eternal Existence of the common Parents of Mankind, and the production of the succeeding Individuals from them.
  • CAP. VI. Certain Objections against the Truths formerly delivered, and against the Reasons given in proof thereof, with their Solutions.
  • CAP. I. The Proofs of Fact that seem with the greatest Moral Evidence to evince the Inception of Mankind; and first, touching the Antiquity or Novity of History.
  • CAP. II. Concerning the first Evidence, the Antiquity of History and the Chro­nological Account of Times.
  • [Page] CAP. III. The Second Evidence of Fact, namely, the apparent Evidences of the first Foundation of the Greatest and Ancient Kingdoms and Empires.
  • CAP. IV. The Third Instance of Fact, proving the Origination of Mankind, namely, the Invention of Arts.
  • CAP. V. The Fourth Instance of Fact, seeming to evince the Novity of Man­kind, namely, the Inceptions of the Religions and Deities of the Heathens; and the deficiency of this Instance.
  • CAP. VI. A Fifth Consideration concerning the Decays, especially of the Humane Nature; and whether there be any such Decays, and what may be collected concerning the Origination of Man upon that Supposition.
  • CAP. VII. The Sixth Evidence of Fact, proving Novitatem generis humani, namely, the History of the Patres familiarum, and the original Plantation of the Continents and Islands of the World.
  • CAP. VIII. The Seventh Evidence of Fact proving the Origination of Man, namely, the Gradual Increase of Mankind.
  • CAP. IX. Concerning those Correctives of the Evils of Mankind, which may be thought to be sufficient to reduce it to a greater Equability.
  • CAP. X. The farther Examination of the precedent Objection.
  • CAP. XI. The Consequence and Illation upon the premisses against the Eternity of Mankind.
  • CAP. XII. The Eighth Evidence of Fact proving the Origination of Mankind, namely, the Consent of Mankind.
  • [Page]CAP. I. The Opinions of the more Learned part of Mankind, Philosphers and other Writers, touching Man's Origination.
  • CAP. II. Touching the various Methods of the Origination of Mankind.
  • CAP. III. Touching the Second Opinion of those that assert the Natural Pro­duction of Mankind ex non genitis, or the possibility thereof.
  • CAP. IV. Concerning Vegetables, and especially Insecta Animalia; whether any of them are sponte orta, or arise not rather ex praeexistente semine.
  • CAP. V. If it be supposed that any of those Insects at this day have their Ori­ginal ex non genitis, or spontaneè whether yet the same may be said a Natural or Fortuitous Production.
  • CAP. VI. Supposing the Production of Insects were totally spontaneous, equivocal, and ex putrido; whether any Consequence be thence deducible for the like Production of Perfect Animals, but especially of Men.
  • CAP. VII. Touching the Matter of Fact it self, whether de facto there hath been any such Origination of Mankind, or of any Perfect Animal, either Natural or Casual.
  • CAP. I. Concerning the last Opinion, attributing the Origination of Mankind to the immediate Power and Will of Almighty God.
  • CAP. II. The Mosaical History touching the Production of the World and of Mankind, and the Congruity and Reasonableness of the Mosaical Hypothesis.
  • [Page] CAP. III. Concerning the Production and Formation of Man.
  • CAP. IV. The Reasonableness of this Hypothesis of the Origination of the World, and particularly of the Humane Nature, and the great Advantages it hath above all other Hypotheses touching the same.
  • CAP. V. Concerning the Nature of that Intelligent Agent that first formed the Humane Nature, and some Objections against the Inferences above made, and their Answer.
  • CAP. VI. The Reasonableness of the Divine Hypothesis touching the Origination of the World, and particularly of Man, and the preference thereof before all the other precedent Suppositions.
  • CAP. VII. A Collection of certain evident and profitable Consequences from this Consideration, that the first Individuals of Humane Nature, had their Original from a Great, Powerful, Wise, Intelligent Being.
  • CAP. VIII. A farther Enquiry touching the End of the Formation of Man, so far as the same may be collected by Natural Light and Ratiocination.


CAP. I. The Introduction, declaring the reason of the choice of this Subject, and the Method of the intended Discourse.

IT is an admirable evidence of the Divine Wisdom and Providence, that there is that sutable accommodation and adaptation of all things in Nature, both to their own convenience and exigence, and to the convenience, use, and exigence of one another; which evidenceth, 1. That all things are made, governed, and disposed by a most intelligent, and wise, and powerful Being. 2. That that governing Being is but one, and that all this accommodation, and adapta­tion, and mutual subservience of the things in Nature are the product of one most wise decree, counsel, and purpose of that one most wise, intelli­gent, and soverag [...]n in Being.

It is not here seasonable to make a large prosecution of the particular instances of that accommodation of things in Nature, nor of the necessity of the former consequences arising from it. The instances thereof, that are sutable to the Design meant in this Discourse, shall be only these two, which I shall but shortly touch: 1. The admirable accommodation of Sensible Faculty to the Objects of Sense, and of those Objects to it, and of both to the well-being of the Sensible Nature: 2. The admirable accommodation of the Intellectual Faculty in Man to Intellectual Objects, and of those Objects to it, and of both to the well-being of the Humane or Rational Nature.

Touching the former, the Sensible Nature in its complement and integrity hath five exterior powers or faculties, that are accommodated to all those motions or impressions of natural bodies, and their accidents which are useful to it; and by these five ports or gates all those impressions which are useful for the perception of the Sensible Nature are communi­cated to it, namely, the five exterior Senses. It is not only possible, but very likely, that there may be such motions or qualities of Bodies, that make not any impression upon any of those Senses; but if there be such, they are such as are not of use for the perception or convenience of the Sensible Nature. But for such as are necessary for such perception of the Sensible Nature, there is no motion, quality, or operation of external Bodies, but what hath accommodated to it a Faculty in Sense receptive of it: Is there such a motion or objectiveness of external Bodies which produceth light or colour, figure, vicinity, or distance, the Faculty of Sight is fitted to receive that impression or objectiveness, and [Page 2] that objectiveness fitted and accommodate to that Faculty. Is there that motion or objectiveness that causeth sounds? the Faculty of Hearing is fitted to be receptive of it, and that objectiveness or motion (or what ever it is) fitted to make an impression upon that Faculty. And so for the other Senses. And by this adaptation and congruity of these Faculties to their several proper Objects, and by the fitness and proportionateness of these objective Impressions, Qualities, or Motions, upon their respective Faculties, accommodated to their reception, the Sensible Nature hath so much of perception and reception of things as is necessary for its sensible Being. I speak not here of those other interior Senses of Discrimination of the Objects of Sense, Phantasie, Memory, Appetite, and the rest, for they are not at present to my purpose.

II. And what is thus excellent and admirable in the accommodation between the sensitive Faculties and their Objects, is to be observed in the intellectual Faculty, though the Faculty and Object are far more noble and excellent than that of Sense. As there is an accommodation between the visive Faculty and its Object, and as there is an accommodation between the Faculty of the Taste and the Object, the Object fitted to make an impression upon the Faculty, and Faculty fitted to take the impression from the Object; so there is an accommodation, and sutable adaptation, between the intellective Faculty and the intelligible Object, the Object as it were thrusting it self into the Faculty, and the Faculty receiving and perceiving the Object.

The means of derivation, and immediate union of these intelligible Objects to the Understanding, are various: Sometimes divine and super­natural, as by immediate irradiation or revelation; sometimes artificial and instituted, as by discourse and instituted signs, and thus Intelligibles are conveyed from one man to another by words or writing; sometimes natural, and that seems to be by three kinds of means, 1. by the mediation of Sense, which is ordinarily the first basis of all humane intellectual know­ledge; 2. by ratiocination or discourse of the Mind, whereby even from sensible Objects the Intellect receives a farther prospect of other Intelli­gibles, not immediately presented by or to the Sense, but by consequences, deductions, and conclusions deduced from things more obvious to Sense, and perchance at first represented by it; 3. there seems to be a third means, which is a kind of intuition; there are some truths so plain and evident, and open, that need not any process of ratiocination to evidence or evince them; they seem to be objected to the Intellective Nature when it is grown perfect and fit for intellectual operation, as the Objects of Light or Colour are objected to the Eye when it is open, they are understood and assented unto quasi per saltum & intuitum; and though these truths are such as are also deducible by ratiocination and rational process, yet the connexion between the premisses, and the conclusion in them, are so clear, and the transition from the premisses to the conclusion is so swift, short, and clear, that it seems to be in a moment, and the assent to them and evidence of them is instantaneous; such are many conclusions of moral and intellectual truths, which seem upon this accompt to be congenite with us, connatural to us, and engraven in the very frame and compages of the Soul, because they are Intelligibles of that nature that present themselves, and thrust themselves into the Understanding [Page 3] immediately, and many times without the mediation of Sense or Ratio­cination. There is that primitive congruity between these Intelligibles and the Intellectual Faculty, that they are immediately united as I said by a kind of intuition, and though they are deducible by ratiocination, as conclusions from premisses, yet in respect of their swift transitus in the Understanding they seem to be principles.

Now this excellent Faculty of the Understanding, though it seems to be passive in relation to its reception of its Object, yet it is not barely a passive Faculty, it hath an activity about that Object that it receives, and it actively trades upon it to its farther improvement.

And therefore according to the nature of this excellent Faculty the Understanding (which as it hath been said is partly active and partly passive) there are two things that do much improve and enrich this Faculty.

First, It is improved by its Exercise and Employment, the very Faculty it self will degenerate, and grow sluggish, dull, and rusty by idleness: The exercise of the Intellective Faculty makes it agil, quick, and lively, yea though the object about which it is exercised be poor, little, and low, yet a Man hath this advantage by the exercise of this Faculty about it, that it keeps it from rust and torpidness, it enlargeth and habituates it for a due improvement even about nobler Objects.

Secondly, It is enriched by the nobleness and worth of the Object about which it is exercised, when the Object is noble, generous, useful, and sutable, at least in a convenient degree to the worth of the Faculty: Diligence and Industry, and exercise of the Intellective Faculty therein, doth not only exercise, imploy, habituate, and enlarge the Faculty, but enrich and enable it by the worth of the Object wherewith it is furnished.

There is so great variety of Intelligibles in the World, so much objected to our Senses, so much deducible from them by Ratiocination and Discourse, and every several Object so full of subdivided multiplicity and complicateness: And on the other side, the life of Man so short, and the approaches of the Understanding to the knowledge of things, is for the most part so slow, and gradual, and difficult, that it is not to be hoped that a Man should ever attain the full comprehension even of any small inconsiderable Insect, with all its connexions, dependences, relations, deductions, and consequents; much less can it be expected, that any Man should ever attain the full knowledge of that stupendious multiplicity and variety, that appears in all or any considerable part of those Objects of our Senses that occur in that mundus aspectabilis which every day we behold: And yet even the World we see is the smallest part of that which we neither do nor can see.

Therefore it seems to be worth the care of a Man, that hath a desire to improve those two great Talents that God hath lent us, namely, his Time and his Faculties; that he not only exercise his Faculty to keep him from sloth and idleness, but out of this great multiplicity of Objects to chuse some such for the exercise of his Faculties, that by their worth and value may improve and advance them; and such as may be profitable for this use and exercise, and in some measure attainable with competent certainty and satisfaction.

There be certain qualifications that do much commend an Object to a Man's Enquiry, which are principally these:

[Page 4]First, the nobleness and worth of an Object: Secondly, the usefulness of this Object being known, or of the knowledge of it: Thirdly, sufficient certainty touching the Object, or of the knowledge of it: Fourthly, that the Object be such as may be large enough to satisfie the Intellective Faculty, and yet not distract it through its multiplicity, vastness, or extent. Something I shall say of each of these.

I. The first qualification in the choice of an Object is, that it be noble and worthy of the Faculty that is employed about it. There is not only a congruity herein between the nobleness of the Faculty and the Object, but also the Faculty is enriched and advanced by the worth of the Object. It was the reproach of Domitian a great Emperour, that he busied himself in hunting of Flies: Yet I do not blame the pursuit of the Works of Nature, even in the Contemplation of the smallest Works thereof; for though the things themselves are comparatively low, and inconsiderable, yet even in the smallest Vegetable or Animal, even in the very little Insects, there appears the excellent Work of the Divine Wisdom, and therefore there is a worth and excellency in the Contemplation of them, especially when that Contemplation is directed to the search and admi­ration of the great Wisdom and Skill of the great Creator, who in many small Insects, that in respect of their minuteness almost escape the Sight, hath placed and digested as great a variety and excellency of Organs, Faculties, and Instincts, as in the Whale or Elephant: And therefore the Labours herein of Aristotle, Fortunius Licetus, Muffetus, Aldrovandus, Goddart, and others, that have written whole Volumes concerning the generation, production, alteration, and variety, even of small Insects: Flies and Worms are not without their worth and use, seeing in the least of these the curious Wisdom, Skill, and Power of the great Maker of all things is conspicuous; and though they are but little Rills, yet if they be closely followed, they are and may be Manuductions to lead us to that Ocean of Wisdom, Power, and Goodness of the God of Nature, from which they had their original.

II. The second qualification that commends an Object, or Subject of Enquiry, is the usefulness of its knowledge. It is true, that there is scarce any kind of knowledge of any Object but is grateful and useful in some measure to the Understanding: But among the Scibilia or Intelligibilia in the World, there are several degrees, some are not only useless to be known, but seem to be meer impertinencies; as for instance, many Grammatical Criticisms, and how this Word was written by one Author, how by another, what fashion Cloaths the Roman Officers, Military, Civil or Sacred used, and very many Curiosities relating to Languages: It is true, so far forth as Words and Languages are means to derive unto us the memory, relation, or understanding of the things contained under them, so far the knowledge of them is useful in order to that end, but Languages simply in relation to themselves are but a narrow piece of speculation, and consequently those great expences of time and study that some have taken about little useless Criticisms, and trifles of that nature, hath been an improvident expence, and misemployment of their time and faculties. Again, some things there are which are yet of more value, but yet but of little use, they are known only that they may be known, or inquired into only for the exercise of Wit, Invention and [Page 5] Subtilty: What great pains hath been taken concerning the Quadrature of a Circle, and the Duplication of a Cube, and some other Mathematical Problems? And many Men have spent much time, and written great Volumes touching those matters, which yet were they attained, the knowledge rests in it self, and is never applicable to any use answerable to the pains of their acquest. Again, there be many things touching Matters Physical, which though they are full of contentation to be known, and have their use thus far, that they are an inquiry and discovery of things that are the Works of God, and of his Wisdom, and serve to explain many Phaenomena in Nature, yet they are otherwise of little use to Mankind; as concerning the degrees of acceleration of Motion, the gravitation of the Air, the existence or non-existence of empty spaces, either coacervate or interspersed, and many the like, which have taken up the thoughts and times, and exercised the Wits, and even the Passions of Men in Disputes concerning them; and yet though the knowledge of them is curious, and contenting in it self, yet it is not much ordinable or applicable to the use and benefit of the Man that knows them, or of others: And therefore though the knowledge of these Objects be com­mendable unto us upon an account of their contentation and curiosity, yet they do not commend their knowledge to us upon the account of their usefulness and beneficialness.

Again, some Objects there are that are not only noble in themselves, but they have also at least a mediate and preparatory usefulness to Mankind, though perchance in themselves and immediately they have not that commodation. Thus the knowledge of divers parts in Natural Philo­sophy, and the rules, motions, and variety of Qualities and Operations of divers Natural Objects, the connexion of Causes and Effects, the observation of the Order of things in Nature, are of singular use to carry the Mind up to the acknowledging and admiration of the Great Efficient and Governour of the World, of His Wisdom, Power, Goodness, Bounty, and consequently to raise up the Heart to veneration of Him, dutifulness and gratitude unto Him, dependance upon Him, and a deep impression of Natural Religion towards Him, and of all those conse­quents that arise in the Mind and Life from this habit of Religion: So true is the Saying of an excellent Naturalist of our own, A little knowledge in Philosophy may perchance make a proud empty Man an Atheist, but it is impossible that Atheism can lodge in a Mind well studied and acquainted with Natural Philosophy.

And as thus the knowledge of Nature is useful to Mankind, to bring him to and confirm him in the knowledge of the Glorious God, so it is preparatively useful, and indeed necessary to many useful things in this Life, as to make a Man a good Physician, ubi desinit Philosophus ibi incipit Medicus, where the Philosopher ends the Physician begins; which next to the knowledge of Almighty God is of great necessity and use to Mankind.

And touching Geometry, Astronomy, and Arithmetick, though in the knowledge of them there be many things that are nice and curious, and not so much in order to use as to speculation and exercise of Wit, yet they are such Objects, the knowledge whereof is in many things very bene­ficent to Mankind, as we see in the construction of all Mechanical Engins [Page 6] in the measuring of Bodies, Superficies, and Distances, in the Rules and Exercise of Architecture, Fortifications, and ordering of Battalia's, Computations and Reckonings in Contracts and Merchants Affairs, in Navigation, in the Measure and Computation of Time, and the right knowledge of several Seasons, these Mathematical Subjects and Sciences have great use in relation to humane affairs and concerns.

And as thus those more curious Sciences have their use in the Affairs of Mankind, and are commended unto us, not only upon the account of the nobleness, but also of the usefulness thereof; so the knowledge of History, of Humane Laws, of Moral Philosophy, and of Political and Oeconomical regiments of the various Modes, Temperaments, and Qualifications of Governments, with their Appendages, are upon the account of their usefulness to Humane Society, and the Peace, Tran­quillity, and Order of the World, and of the particular Societies, Rela­tions, and Persons therein commended to our knowledge and contem­plation, as things without which the World of Mankind would soon be in disorder and confusion. And although these Studies are not so pleasing and grateful to the Understanding, as those other more curious Contemplations either Physical or Mathematical, yet they recom­pence it with the excellency and necessity of their use, in relation to the noblest visible Creature, Man, and in relation to his noblest and most useful posture and station in this World, namely, a state of regulated Society and Government.

Now according to the kind or degree of the usefulness of the Objects to be known, so the knowledge thereof is more or less commended unto us, upon the account of the various degrees of usefulness: Some Objects and their knowledge are of greatest value, because their use is of more universal concern and important necessity, and such is the true know­ledge of Almighty God, His Greatness, Power, Wisdom, Goodness, and Will, especially as He hath revealed Himself in His Word, and those noble habits that upon that account are ingenerated in the Soul, as Religion, Gratitude, Obedience, and Tranquillity of Mind, Regularity of the Soul and Life.

And upon the same account there is a great value in knowledge of Morals, and of those Duties that we owe to our selves and others, and a conformity of Minds and Lives to the Dictates of Religion and Morality. And the excellence of their use, and consequently the commendation of that knowledge upon that account is evident in these particulars: 1. The right and true knowledge of those things do not only perfect our Souls and Natures by the excellency of the knowledge it self, but they perfect our Souls and Natures with Goodness: They do not only perfect the Intellectual Faculty, but they also perfect the Volitive Faculty; they make the Man not only more knowing, but more wise, and they also make him the better, more just, sober, temperate, religious: A Man may know very much in Mathematicks and Natural Philosophy, and yet be a bad Man; but a Man truly acquainted with the knowledge of God, and with the due sense of his Duty to Him in matter of Religion, and his Duty to others in points of Morality, which is a part also of the Divine Will, is not only a knowing Man, but becomes also a good Man (if indeed his knowledge be sound and true).

[Page 7]Again, 2. All other knowledge meerly or principally serves the concerns of this Life, and is fitted to the meridian thereof: They are such as for ought we know will be of little use to a separate Soul, at least we do not know whether the Soul in its state of separation will be much concerned in the knowledge of Physical or Mathematical Learning, or the Rules or Methods of Political Regiment: But this we are or may be sure, that the Soul will carry with it into the other World that knowledge of God which it acquires here, and receive an unspeakable improvement thereof by a nearer union to Him; and it will carry with it those improvements and advances of Piety, Goodness, Righteousness, Holiness, those Habits and Graces that it began here; and as the Soul is improved and made the better in this Life by this knowledge, and those effects and meliorations that it here acquired by them, so it will carry along with it those advan­tages to the next World; for there is a connaturality and congruity between that knowledge and those habits, and that future estate of the Soul. So that this kind of knowledge is not only serviceable and useful for the present Life in via, but is proportioned to that state that is in patria.

And as touching the knowledge of things that are meerly accommodate to the present Life, they receive their disparity of value in this respect, according to the disparity or different degrees of usefulness. Some are useful for nobler ends, some for lower and more inferior ends; some are in a greater degree useful for the same ends than others; and according to the varieties of ends, uses, and their degrees, the knowledge of them (as in reference to this part of the commendation of an Object, namely, usefulness) is more or less eligible. But this is too large a Subject particu­larly to prosecute in this place.

III. The third commendation of a Subject of Contemplation, and that renders it eligible, is Certainty. Where the Subject is uncertain, and the evidences touching it doubtful, although perchance the speculation that it affords be very high and sublime, yet such a Subject is not in this respect so eligible as what is more certain, for it leaves an impartial and serious Mind full of doubt and dissatisfaction; and where it meets with a Man of a busie phantasie, self-conceited, and partial to himself and his own thoughts, and that would be thought to know beyond the common standard of other Mens Reason, it puts him upon the confident framing of Hypotheses built meerly upon Imagination, and from these weak foundations he deduceth Systems of Consequences and Conclusions, which being built upon meer fanciful and inevident Suppositions, fall to nothing but dust and smoke as soon as their evidence is impartially examined. Some Subjects are so remote from us that we are strangers to them, and our knowledge concerning them is meerly conjectural, and those very conjectures for the most part wanting competent media to make them tolerably probable. Concerning the Extent of the Universe, the Plurality of Worlds, the State of Heavenly Bodies, whether they are inhabited, and with what kind of Inhabitants, whether they are animate Bodies, whether they are moved by Intelligences, or by their own Forms, or by the motion of the Body of the Aether, or those ima­ginary Vortices wherein they are placed? These and many such Specu­lations touching things at this distance may gratifie the Imagination, but [Page 8] never satisfie the Mind. Again, some things though they are or may be near unto us, yet are of that subtilty that they escape our Senses, and thereby we cannot make our approaches to their discovery. As con­cerning the Nature of Spirits, their ubi, motus, the manner of their Intellection and mutual communication of Notions; by what means or in what manner actual Intellection is effected in the Soul; how the Species, Order, and Circumstances of things are preserved in the Memo­rative Faculty or Organ, or where else? these and many other hidden parts of Nature, even of a far lower form, are unaccessible to us.

The Contemplation of the Universe, and of the Natural Causes and Effects therein, is indeed an excellent Contemplation: For, first, it exerciseth the Intellectual Faculties, keeps them in motion and employ­ment, and thereby perfecteth them. Secondly, It is full of delight and contentation to the Mind. Thirdly, Although the Understanding attains not a perfect discovery of what it searcheth after, yet many times un­designed and unthought of discoveries of many excellent things recom­penceth the loss of the principal intention; as those that have bent their endeavour to attain the Philosophers Stone, though they never attain their end, yet in their process towards it do many times light upon excellent discoveries which they never thought of or designed, which in a great measure recompenseth their disappointment in the Particular sought after. Fourthly, It gives a great discovery of the admirable Wisdom and Power of God in framing and ordering of the World, and so becomes a manuduction to the knowledge, acknowledgement, and adoration of Him.

But yet when we consider how short and weak our best discoveries are in the most accessible, obvious particulars, and narrowest Integrals of the Universe: When we consider how many things in Nature escape our Senses, and the discoveries thereof; and yet how much we stand in need of the discoveries of Sense, and sensible and experimental observation, to bottom any sound conjecture concerning the Nature, Causes, and Effects of the things in Nature, and how uncertain, fanciful, and ima­ginary our Suppositions are without it, whereby it comes to pass, that we many times frame suppositions and conclusions concerning things supposed to be in Nature, before we have any certain evidence, whether in truth the very things about which we frame our suppositions or con­clusions have at all any real existence; or if they have, yet for want of a clear, and sensible, and experimented observation of them, our positions and conclusions touching their Causes, Effects, Order and Methods of their procedure are but fictions and imaginations, accommodated to our Inventions rather than to the things themselves, and such as we rather project we would have them be, if we had the making of them, than what in truth they are. And lastly, if we consider the vast extent and multiplicity of the whole Compass of the Universe, and the things therein contained, the many parts thereof, that either in respect of their tenuity or distance escape the reach of our Senses, the infinite complications and combinations of several concurrences, causes, and contributions to the constitution and operation of almost every Integral in Nature; the short­ness of our Lives, and the many necessary diversions that we have, and must necessarily have from those Contemplations. I say, when we consider [Page 9] these things, it seems a thing utterly to be despaired of to attain a full, certain, evident knowledge of the whole Universe, or of any considerable portion thereof.

And hence it is, that if we consider the various Hypotheses of the an­cient and modern Philosophers, touching the general Systeme of the World, and those more Universal and Cardinal Solutions of the com­mon and great Appearances in Nature, we shall find them or the grea­test part of them, to be little else than excogitated and invented Mo­dels, not so much arising from the true Image of the things themselves, or resulting from the real Existence of them, as certain instituted and artificial Contrivances of mens Wits and Fancies. And these Suppo­sitions being thus invented, they distort, stretch and reduce the Orders of things in a conformation to those pre-conceived Suppositions; and then by the Inventers of them, and those that are their followers, and would seem to be men of quicker sight than others, and not to come too short of the perceptions of their Leaders, they are in a little time magnified into the true Solutions of the Arcana Naturae, and then all or most of their Ar­gumentations, Positions, Superstructions and Conclusions, are founded upon, and conformed unto, and deduced from these excogitated Hypo­theses, as if they were the true, and only and real frame and constitution of things, when they have as little reality, and less evidence than the imaginary solid Spheres in the Heavens, or their Musick, the Horses of the Sun, or any other Poetical Fictions.

And if at any time some one Phaenomenon of Nature appears, that crosseth any of these Suppositions or Hypotheses, or suits not with them, or is not salved by them, presently great pains is taken to supply that Defect with some subsidiary Supposition, that may stop that Leak, and piece up the Hypothesis, which must be presently granted to be true, not be­cause there is any evidence of it from the things themselves, but because it suits with that artificial and precarious Hypothesis which was before ta­ken up and made much of.

This we may easily observe to be true; if we should examine all the various Suppositions of leading men in their several Sects.

The Chymical Philosophers make their Tria prima, Salt, Sulphur and Mercury, the great constituent Principles of all Bodies; others add two more: And their evidence that they are so, are, because they find by their solutions by Fire, some things which they call by these Names, to be that whereinto Bodies are dissolved; when, for ought can be evidently made out, many of these are not so much really in the constitution of the Bo­dies themselves, as the very alterations or changes of them by the force and energy of that active Element, or at least, though after their solu­tion, they assume the shapes of Salt, Sulphur and Mercury, yet there are even in those Consistences very various Contextures, differing extream­ly in each Body from other, though they seem to assume some analogy of shape: And possibly there may be a thousand Constituents of different Natures from any of these supposed Principles in Bodies, both before and after their solution by Fire or Heat.

The Aristotelians have excogitated another sort of Suppositions of Prin­ciples, Matter, Form and Privation. And yet it is very difficult to con­ceive that any such thing should be as Matter, undetermined by something [Page 10] called Form; and as difficult to conceive what many sorts of these Forms are (which they call substantial) whence they arise, what becomes of them, whether some of those they call Substantial, are any other than the various Modifications of Matter; whether others of them are not some middle Nature, neither Bodies nor Accidents, but Powers of a different nature from Bodies, Accidents, or Qualities, or Substances, though not so obvious to our perception: This Hypothesis therefore seems for the most part, to be a kind of artificial contrivance, not wholly taken from the na­tures of things, but fitted to give some kind of explication of them; and for the most part an Engine to guide our Conceptions, as the Figures in Logick, or the artificial Schemes for the finding out a Me­dium used by them; Barbara, Celarent, Darii, &c. Napcas, Cipinis vel Nipis.

Again, if we look upon the Supposition of Epicurus, and his Explica­tor, Lucretius, and his Advancer, Gassendus, how many things must be ta­ken for granted, that are not only perfectly inevident to our sense, but al­together improbable? The multitude of physically indivisible Atoms, their strange Figures acommodated to their Motion, Adhesion, and Coa­gulation, their declined Motions, and the means of their Coalition: And when all this will not serve to contain things within any possible certain­ty or specifical determination, to patch up that defect, certain Moleculae Seminales must be supposed to make up that Defect, and to keep the World and its Integrals from an Infinitude and Exten [...]lesness of excur­sions every moment into new Figures and Animals, and yet made up meerly by chance, and by the contexture of those Atoms which have nei­ther quality nor energy, nor any thing else besides their small and imper­ceptible Moles, to make them operative, and that Local Motion which they there have; but they teach us not from whence they have it.

Again, If we look upon Des Cartes his Supposition, who was not alto­gether content with the former, but gave it some Correctives, though the main Substratum be of Epicurus; what colour of evidence have we of the various Configurations of his Atomes, the grinding of them round by their mutual attritions, the coalition of the Globular Atomes into the Heavenly Bodies, the filling of Chinks and Interstices by the Ramenta of the greater, whereby a Materia Subtilis is diffused through the Universe, which is invisible, performs most of those motions that we see in things, that the Animals are only Engins, and actuated by the mobility of this subtil matter? These, and infinite more artificial Inventions of his there are, that neither Sense nor Reason could ever acquaint him or us with; but they are an ingenious Creature of his own fruitful Invention, wittily framed to explicate not so much the Nature of things, but those Concep­tions he entertained thereof, and to reduce and range them into an Order contrived by him, not by Nature.

This Excursion I have used to shew how great a difficulty there is for a man to have a suitable conception of the great Fabrick of the World with any tolerable certainty, whereby it hath come to pass that the readiest and most exercised Wits have fallen into so great varieties of explication thereof, and yet all of them so full of unevidence and incertainty, so full of precarious and imaginary Postulata, so [Page 11] full of unreasonableness, and improbability, and impossibilities in them­selves, and one with another, that a man that is not imposed upon by the Veneration of the Authors, or his own Phantasie, cannot tell how to fix in any of them but must cry out upon them with the Comedian, Probè fe­cistis, incertior sum nunc quàm dudum: Ye have mended the matter well; I am now more in doubt than before: Neither are we ever likely to attain any certain or satisfactory knowledge in the Physical Causes, Ef­fects and Appearances in their largest extent and latitude.

4. The fourth commendation of an Object of Knowledge is, that if it be meerly Physical or Mathematical, it bears some proportion to the Intellective power, neither too narrow, and circumscribed into a small compass, nor yet too full of multiplicity: The former satisfies not the Understanding; for it soon exhausts all that is in it, and leaves the Un­derstanding no work to exercise it self withal. The latter surchargeth and oppresseth the Understanding with its multiplicity. And upon this latter account it is, that, although the whole Universe and every part thereof are Objects full of excellency and worth, yet the multiplicity thereof is so great and various, that the Understanding falls under a kind of despondency of getting through so great a Task: and those that have undertaken the full speculation of all the parts of the visible World, have done it but superficially, lightly, and in Generals; the time of Life and the Intellective faculty, that moves but gradually and successively, have not been sufficient for an exact account of all things visible: And therefore they that have designed exactness and deep scrutiny into things, have taken some one part of Nature for that purpose; and even in those single Objects there is most commonly a connexion of such va­rious Appendances or Incidents that they that have set themselves upon such seemingly narrow Enquiries, have found it a business enough to take up a greater portion of Time and Enquiry than our short Lives will afford us; as may easily appear by the great and large Tractates of them that have written concerning the little Organ of the Eye, or the Visive Faculty, the Magnetick Motions and Variations, or some other single Organ or Faculty of the Reasonable or Sensitive Nature.

Among the many Objects of Knowledge, there seem to be two espe­cially, which upon the most part of the before-mentioned accounts, most commend themselves to our contemplation and enquiry; namely, the knowledge of the ever-glorious God, and the knowledge of our selves and the Humane Nature. Almighty God is the highest and most excellent and soveraign Object of the Intellectual Faculty: It is true, he falls not under the last qualification. Though he is but one, and one most simple uncompounded Being, yet his Nature and Perfections, his Power, Wisdom, Goodness, and all other Excellencies are infinite and incomprehensible by any intellectual Nature but himself; and therefore he is an Object infinitely too large for the comprehension of any created Understanding: He is a Light too bright for our Intellective eye to see, but by reflexion, or through the Vail of his Word or Works. The more we know of him, and the more we draw near unto him by serious and humble contemplation, the more we discover an endless and unsearchable Ocean and Perfection in him, so that we must not, cannot expect to find out the Almighty to perfection; his ways are unsearchable and past [Page 12] finding out, and much more his Essence and Perfections; so that though he be the most natural, and the most desirable Object of created Under­standings, he is an Object infinitely too large for it.

But although in respect of the measure of his Perfection, he be an Ob­ject unproportionate to a created Understanding, a Light too bright, and an Ocean too large and too deep for it, yet there is so much of his know­ledge attainable by us, as is sufficient for use, nature and everlasting happiness: and the knowlede of Almighty God, so far as it is attainable by our narrow created Understanding, highly advanceth the humane Under­standing upon all accounts, and infinitely excels the knowledge of any other Object in the world, upon these ensuing accounts among many others.

First, It is a knowledge of such an Object that hath the greatest and most convincing certainty in the world, a certainty that he is, and in a good measure a certainty what he is; for though it be impossible for any or all the created Beings in the world, to attain a distinct, perfect and full Idaea of the Divine excellencies, in their full, adequate, distinct per­fections; yet that Image that he hath given of himself, in the admirable Frame of so much of the world which we know, doth with all imagina­ble certainty evince, That he is, that he is but one, one most intelligent, wise, powerful, free, good, simple, eternal, infinite and most perfect Being, the Fountain of Being, and the first Cause of all things, though we cannot attain the full comprehension of that perfection: And truly it is no small evidence of the Divine Wisdom and Goodness, That that great and important Truth of the being and perfection of Almighty God (the Principle and Object of the greatest importance in the world to the good of Mankind, and for the advance and perfecting of humane Na­ture) should be written in such plain, clear and evident Characters in the Works of Nature, and evinced by Evidences rising from thence, as are obvious to any person that hath but the common use of Reason, and the honesty to use and exercise it sincerely.

Secondly, It is the most noble and excellent Object in the world, and that may and doth most enoble and advance the intellective Faculty; he is the Fountain of all Being, and of all Perfection: Those Excellen­cies that are in the noblest created Natures in the world, are but sha­dows of that perfection that is in him: Though a created Understand­ing can never take in the fulness of the Divine Excellencies, yet so much as it can or doth receive thereof, is of greater extent, use and value, and doth more advance and enrich the Faculty, than any other Object in the world, though that other Object were fully and adequately known.

Thirdly, Although the Understanding can never search out the Al­mighty to perfection, by reason of the infinite excess of this Object, be­yond the capacity of a created Faculty, yet there is that congruity be­tween this Faculty and this Object, that connatural ordination, as it were, of Intellective Faculty to this Object, as if it were (if not only, yet principally) lodged in the humane Nature for the sake of this Ob­ject; so that though there is no commensurableness between this Object and a created Understanding, yet there is a congruity and connatura­lity between them: And hence it is, that so much as we do or can know of God, is delightful and grateful to the Understanding. And [Page 13] though this abyss of excellency be infinite, yet it doth not confound, nor disorder, nor overwhelm the Understanding in its modest and due searches into it: And besides, although the perfection of his Essence, and ma­ny of his Attributes, as Infinitude, Immensity, Indivisibility, &c. do dazle our Understandings, yet some of his Attributes, and the Manifesta­tions thereof, are not only highly delectable to the Intellective Faculty, but are sutable and easily conceptible by us, because apparent in his Works, as his Goodness, Beneficence, Wisdom, Power, &c. if we attend to it.

And certainly it was the great Goodness and Condescention of the Glorious God unto his Creature Man, that when he knew all his own Excellencies were too great and too bright for us to see, he hath Been pleased to discover so much of himself as was fit and necessary for us to know, by means that our Faculties might use without dissipation, distraction, or too great astonishment; namely, first, By his Works, re­flecting his Greatness and Goodness. Secondly, By his Word, by Divine Revelation discovering his Goodness, Mercy, Power and Truth. Third­ly, By his Son, through the Vail of our Flesh; by all which that Brightness and Splendor of the Divine Excellence, that by an immedi­ate intuition or exhibition would-have overwhelmed our Intellective Faculty (as it stands united to our Bodies) is presented to us more pro­portionately to our Capacities and Faculties, by a kind of refraction, and a more easie and familiar manifestation.

Fourthly, It is the most useful Object of our Knowledge that can be; and in comparison of this, all other Knowledge is vain, light and imper­tinent; and indeed all other knowledge is valuable upon this single ac­count, by how much it gives us a manifestation of the Divine Excel­lencies, and leads and conducts to the knowledge of Almighty God and his Attributes. If I consider my self in this Life, there is not a moment which I live, or wherein I have any contentation, or comfort, or conve­nience, but all this I have from his Influence and Bounty; and certainly it concerns me highly to know my Benefactor, from whom I receive my Good, that I may depend upon him, be thankful unto him, probi­tiate him, and make my applications to him for what I want. Again, the wisest men that have searched after happiness in this Life, though they have missed of the place where it is to be found, have with great rea­son placed the best happiness that can be found on this side Death, ei­ther in Virtue and the exercise thereof, or in Tranquillity of mind, or in both, for they are rarely asunder. Now I may be an excellent Ma­thematician, a man well seen in Natural Causes and Effects, an excellent Statesman and Polititian, and yet be without that Goodness that may de­nominate me justly a good man, and without that tranquillity of mind that may make me a happy man: but the true knowledge of God, se­riously and really dwelling and digested in the Soul, makes a man a good man, and a happy man; it makes a man to love, fear, honour and obey him that he thus knows. A man cannot truly know him, but he must know that in him, which by a moral necessity raiseth in a man those Habits and Dispositions, namely, of Religious Piety towards God, Justice and Righ­teousness to men, Sobriety in relation to himself, for in knowing this God, he knows that these things are well-pleasing to him, and the con­trary [Page 14] displeaseth him, and he knows him to be a God that knows all things in the world, and that is a bountiful Lord to them that love and obey him, and a just Judge of them that despise or forsake him. And as thus it makes him good, so it makes him happy, by giving him the high­est and most firm Tranquillity of Mind that can be; for he knows that this most gracious and powerful God orders and governs all the things in the world with irresistible power, exquisite and infinite wisdom, and abundant goodness, and that he is well pleased with them that love, fear and obey him; and upon all these accounts a man rejoyceth in his Favour, depends upon his Power, Goodness, Wisdom and All-sufficiency, re­signes himself to his Will; is contented and patient under all conditions, and so doth enjoy perfect tranquillity of Mind.

But this is the lowest portion of the usefulness of Divine Knowledge. There is another Life after this, a Life of eternity, and the influx of the knowledge of God in relation to this everlasting Life, is infinitely of more moment; it fills the Soul with a capacity of it, with a sutableness and state of congruity to it, with those preparations, dispositions and ha­bits that are necessarily pre-requisite for it, and gives him the fruition and perfect enjoyment of it: That measure of the knowledge of God that we attain, is the best happiness we enjoy in this Life, and the per­fection of our happiness in the Life to come, where we shall have a more perfect intellectual Vision of the Glorious God, and as full a fruition of the Goodness of God, as that elevated Nature which we shall then have, can be capable of: Then that measure of the knowledge of God which we here acquire, shall be refined and advanced to a degree of per­fection sutable to the advance that this Intellective Faculty shall then re­ceive; and that measure of goodness that by the means of that know­ledge is wrought in the Soul in this Life, shall then be improved to a higher degree of excellence, and rewarded with a weight of Glory.

This Knowledge therefore of all other Knowledge is to be preferred: And in all our busie inquisitions touching other things, we must remem­ber our selves, as our Lord remembred Martha in the Gospel. We are busie about many things, and trouble our selves with many Enquiries; but there is one thing, one Object, and the knowledge thereof necessa­ry, namely, the knowledge of the glorious God: This is life eternal, to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent, John 17.3. Whatever therefore we endeavour to know, it must be with subordina­tion to the endeavour after this knowledge: And as far as is possible, all other knowledge, and desire thereof, should be directed to the im­provement of this Knowledge, or in order to it, and to the end acquira­ble by it.

The second profitable and useful Object of our Knowledge, is, the [...] Knowledge of our selves: And next to the Knowledge of Almigh­ty God, and his Will, and his Son, this Knowledge of our selves, seems most worthy of our endeavour: And therefore I have chosen this Sub­ject for my search and examination at this time: For in this Subject we shall find all those Qualifications or Requisites before-mentioned, that commend any Subject to our Enquiry or Knowledge.

Of any one visible Subject in the compass of created Nature, there is [Page 15] none that we know and are acquainted with, that hath more worth and excellency next to the great Creator of all things, and the holy Angels; and that which seems to be most noble, the Image of the glorious God; namely, the Universe, as it comprehends the Systeme, Order and Excel­lencies of all created Beings, digested into their several Ranks and Or­ders, and collected and put together into that glorious Frame of the Uni­verse: But as it is impossible for us, at least in this Life, by any means to be acquainted with all the Integrals of that glorious Structure, some are in their nature imperceptible by our Sense; namely, the Spiritual Beings; yea, and the more refined parts of material Existences, which by reason of their subtilty, escape our perception: Other parts thereof are so re­mote, that although they might in their own nature be perceived by Sense, yet they are at that remote distance from us, that they escape our Sight, though the most active Sense we have. And again, the vast extent of the Universe is such, that though we might successively see the parts of it, yet it is not physically possible to see it at one view; and consequently im­possible to see at once that beautiful and glorious Image of the more beau­tiful and glorious God in its full complement represented in the entire Frame of the Universe.

Again, we cannot but suppose that there are divers Ranks of created Beings intermediate between the glorious God and Man, which far sur­pass man in perfection of Nature and Operations; as the glorious Angels, and created Intelligences; nay possibly there may be material Beings of a more refined substance, and endued with more advanced Forms than ours. Who knows whether the Stars are not furnished with intellectual Crea­tures more excellent for their Substance and Forms, than we Mortals? Yea, and for ought we know, the Stars themselves may have Forms ap­propriate to them, of a more excellent frame than ours; though, as I have before said, this exceeds our determination.

But although these things may be, yet we know not that they are; and if they were, yet we are unacquainted with their natures and kinds; only the reality of existence of Angelical Creatures, and created separate Intelligences, and the possibility of Nobler Creatures or Natures than ours, residing in some parts of the Universe, may teach us not to be so over-prizing and over-valuing our selves, as to think that there are no other Creatures intermediate between God and Man, of a greater per­fection than Man. We see a multitude of Creatures between us and the lowest rank of Animals specifically and gradually one below another; and doubtless there are, or may be, many ranks of Beings intermediate between the glorious God and Mankind, that have specifical gradations one above another.

But whatever may be said touching these, yet certainly of all the visi­ble Creatures that we are acquainted with, Man seems to have a very great Prerogative of excellence. And though he may not bear so fair and so noble an Image of the Divine Glory as the Universe in its full Systeme and Order, or as those nobler Beings that are of a Rank and Nature above him, yet certainly he bears a greater measure of the Divine Image, than any one visible Creature we know; and so far forth as we know: God himself affirms thus much of Man, that he created him after his own Image; which he sayes not of any of the Celestial Bodies themselves; [Page 16] Gen. 1. Man therefore is a Creature, that of all visible Creatures that we know, is the noblest.

We may observe in the Creatures of a subordinate rank to us, how the more inferiour and ignoble bear somewhat of the Image of the superi­our, a kind of shadow or adumbration of those perfections that in the su­periour are more perfect, not only by a gradually, but specifically differing perfection. We see in some Metals an Analogical resemblance of those vital effects of Vegetables, growth, digestion and augmentation that is more perfectly in Plants and perfect Vegetables: We see in Vegetables a resemblance of Appetition, Election, Generation, and in some of them an imperfect Image of that universal sense of Feeling which we find more perfectly in Animals: We find in Animals, especially some of them, as Foxes, Dogs, Apes, Horses and Elephants, not only Perception, Phan­tasie and Memory (common to most, if not all Animals) but something of Sagacity, Providence, Disciplinableness, and a something like unto a Discursive Ratiocination, bearing an analogy, image or imperfect resem­blance of what we find, though in a degree, specifically more excellent in the humane Nature, insomuch that Porphiry, Plutarch, Sextus Emperi­cus, Patricius, and some others have been bold to make reasonableness not the specifical difference of the Humane Nature; and some latter per­sons would not have the Definition of a man to be Animal Rationale, without the addition of Religiosum; wherein he seems particularly to ex­ceed the Brutal Nature: Although in truth that which seems to be Rea­son in the Brutes, is nothing else but the Image and Analogical represen­tation of that true Reason that is in Man, as the Water-gall is the Image, Shadow, or weak Representation of the Rainbow.

And we have reason to think that that intellective and volitive power which is in Man, bears an Image and Representation of the like power that is in Angels and separate Intelligences, though neither of equality to that perfection that is in them, either in degree or kind.

And although it were too great presumption to think that there is any thing in any created Nature, that can bear any perfect resemblance of the incomprehensible perfection of the Divine Nature (very Being it self not predicating univocally touching him and any created Being and Intellect, and Will, as we attribute them to God, are, as we may reaso­nably think, not only of a Perfection infinitely transcending any created Intellect and Will, but of another kind and nature from it) yet though we are not able to comprehend the excellence of the Divine Nature, we cannot frame unto our selves a conception of him without the notion of Intellect and Will, though infinitely perfect: It seems that those two great Faculties in us, bear a weak Analogy with, and Representa­tion of the Divine Nature. And therefore in that respect, Man is the Image and Representation of the Glorious God, though the disproporti­on between him and this his Image, be infinitely more than the dispro­portion between Caesar and his Image upon his Coin, or the Sun in the Heaven, and the Shadow of him in a Bason of Water.

And in this respect, the Humane Nature is a worthy and noble Object of our Enquiry and Knowledge, because here is the best visible Image of Almighty God that we can fully acquaint our selves with, next to him that was the Brightness of the Fathers Glory, and express Image of his person, Christ Jesus our Lord.

[Page 17]And besides this relative consideration of the Humane Nature, with relation to those Beings that are above him, Man is an excellent Object of contemplation; so if we look upon him either absolutely in himself, or with relation to Creatures of an inferiour nature, he is a worthy and noble object of our contemplation.

If we consider him absolutely in himself, he is an Object worthy of our contemplation; he is admirable in excellent composure and figuration of his Body, and in every part apart, and in the whole structure put toge­ther, admirable in the Nature, Faculties, and Excellence of his Soul, ad­mirable in the conjunction of both together, admirable in all the opera­tions of Life, Sense, Intellect and Will, which he exerciseth in this state of conjunction and union, admirable in his production and generation, and admirable as to the condition of his Soul in its state of disunion and separation. The speculations concerning him, are all full of great va­riety, curiosity and worth, because the Subject it self is such.

If we consider him with relation to other created Beings of an infe­riour nature; First, he comprehends all the excellencies that are in the inferiour ranks of Being, and that for the most part in a more excellent and perfect manner: The Life that is in Vegetables, and the operations of that Life; the Life and Sense that is in Sensibles, and the excellent operati­ons of them, all Sensation, Perception, Memory, Phantasie, Nutrition; with its several process, the faculties of Appetition, Passion, Generation; The dis­position of Parts and Organs that are best in any Animal are to be found in the disposition, order and texture of the Body of man; and wherein it differs, it differs with much advantage and prelation over the structure of the Bodies of Animals; so that the knowledge of Man gives us a full account of the excellence of others, either Animals or Vegetables: He that well knows Man, knows whatsoever is excellent in the Animal or Vegetable Nature. Secondly, Besides these Excellencies common either to the Ve­getable or Animal Nature, and Man, there are certain excellencies su­peradded to the Humane Nature, certain specifical prelations in his Body, the Structure, Posture, Beauty and Majesty thereof, certain specifical ex­cellencies and usefulness in some of his Organs, the disposition of his Hand, Brain, Nerves and other Integrals: Again, the specifical Excel­lencies of his Soul in those great and admirable Faculties of Intellect and Will; Of all which in their due time: So that he that is well acquainted with, and knows Man, knows whatsoever is excellent in the Vegetable and Animal Nature, and much more.

So that upon the whole account, we have a Noble and Worthy Ob­ject of our Contemplations, in the contemplation of Man.

2. In the contemplation of Man we have an Object that doth not over­much confound us with its excessive multiplicity; and yet it doth not sa­tiate, nor proves ingrateful for want of sufficient variety: Touching the former of these, it hath been before observed, that he that goes about to make the whole Universe and all the several parts thereof the business of his Enquiry, as he shall find that there are many things therein that he cannot come at, or make any discovery of, so among those parts of the Universe that are objected to a greater discovery of our Senses, the mul­tiplicity is so great, that a man of the most equal and firm constitution, must despair of Life enough to make a satisfactory, particular and deep en­quiry [Page 18] into them: But the Object in hand is but one; it is Man, and the Nature of Man.

I confess it is true, that he that shall make it his business to take in as it were, by way of a common place, all those things that may be taken up under this consideration, and follow all those Lines that concenter in this, or almost any other the most single piece of Contemplation, will make this Subject large enough; and upon that account may be drawn in al­most all things imaginable: We find in the consideration of the Humane Nature, a Substance, a Body, a Spirit: We find the several Objects of his Senses, Light, Colour, Sound, and infinite more: He that upon this account will take in the distinct and large considerations of these and the like Appendices to Humane Nature, in their full amplitude, will have a large Plain, that will more than exhaust his Life, before he come to the Subject it self which he designes. Again, there is an infinite mul­titude of collateral considerations that yet are relative to man; hither comes all the considerations of Theology, Physick, Natural Philoso­phy, Politicks, the considerations of Speech, Government, Laws, of History, Topography, of Arts, of those Sciences that relate to the Senses, of Opticks, Musick, and infinite more; for all these have a rela­tion to Man, and are like so many Lines drawn from several Objects that some way relate to him, and concenter in him; and he that shall make it his business to follow all those Lines to their utmost, shall make the con­templation of Man almost as large as the contemplation of the whole Uni­verse.

When I say therefore the contemplation of Man is the contemplation of a single Object, I mean, when it is kept into those single bounds of Man in his own specifical Nature, and under the physical contemplation of his Nature, Parts and Faculties, as they are appropriate unto him. And then it is a Subject that we may possibly make some progress in its contemplation and conception within the period of the time, that by the ordinary time of Life, and the permission of necessary avocations, a man may employ in such a contemplation.

And yet secondly, though in this restrained notion, the Subject seems to be restrained and single, we shall find it no very narrow Subject; but there will be business enough in it to employ our Faculty, and to take up that time, which either more necessary, or more imporunate thoughts or employments will allow us; and variety enough to entertain our thoughts with delight, contentation and usefulness.

3. The Third Commendation of this Object to our contemplation, is this, that therein we have more opportunity of certainty and true know­ledge of the Object enquired into, than we can have in any other Object, at least of equal use, worth and value: Many excellent things there are in Nature, which were very well worth our Knowledge, but yet, as hath been said, either by reason of their remoteness from us, unaccessible­ness to them, subtilty and imperceptibleness to us, either are not at all suspected to be, or are not so much as within any of our Faculties to ap­prehend or discover what they are; or in case we have any conception that there may be something of that kind, yet our Notions touching them, are but products of Imagination and Phantasie, or at best, very faint, weak, ungrounded and uncertain conjectures, and such as we [Page 19] can never prove to the satisfaction of others or our selves.

Our Sense is the best evidence that we have in Nature, touching the existence of corporeal things without us, and where that is not pos­sibly to be exercised, we are naturally at a great uncertainty whether things are, or what they are. Now the Understanding perceives or un­derstands things by the assistance of Sense in a double manner. 1. It ei­ther perceives them immediately, as being immediately objected to, and perceptible to the Sense; as I perceive the Sun and the Stars by my sight; I find that there is a Body hard or gentle, or hot or cold, by my Touch; and accordingly my Understanding judgeth of them: Or secondly, though the Sense perceive not the Object immediately, yet it doth represent certain sensible effects or operations; and though by those effects or operations the Understanding doth not immediately conclude anything else to be, but what the Sense thus feels or sees; yet the Understanding sometimes by rati­ocination, and sometimes by the Memory doth infer and conclude something else to be besides what the Sense immediately represents either as the cause or the concomitant of it, and doth as forcibly and truly conclude the thing to be, and also sometimes what the nature of that cause or concomitant is, as if it were seen by the Eye, or felt by the Hand.

I do not see, nor by any Sense perceive the quiet, undisturbed Air; yet because I do see that a Bladder, that was before flaccid, doth swell by the reception of that which I see not, I do as truly and certainly con­clude that there is such a subtil Body which we call Air, as if I could see it as plain as I see the Water: I do not see the Animal or Vital Spirits, nei­ther can they, by reason of their subtilty and volatileness, be discovered immediately to the Sense; yet when I see that forcible motion of the Nerves and Muscles, I do as certainly conclude, there are such Instruments which the Soul useth for the performance of those motions, as if I saw them: I come into a Room where there is no visible or tangible Fire, yet I find by my Sense the Smoke ascending, I do as forcibly conclude that Fire is or hath been near, as if I saw it; because my sensible experi­ence and memory tells me they are concomitant. Upon the same account it is, that when my Sense and sensible experience shews me that these and these effects there are, and that they are successively generated and cor­rupted, though my eye sees not that God that first made those things, yet my Sense having shewed me these sensible Objects, and the state and vi­cisstude of them, my Understanding doth truly conclude that all this vicissitude of things must terminate in a first cause of things, with as great evidence and conviction, as if my Sense could immediately see or perceive him: So that in the ordinary way of Nature, and without the help of divine Revelation, all our certainty of things natural, begins at our Senses; namely, the immediate sense of the things themselves, or the sense of those effects and operations which after by the help of the Under­standing are carried up to the discovery of things not perceptible by Sense immediately.

Now there may be many things in Nature unto which we can have nei­ther of these accessions of Sense: How many Stars are now discovered by the Telescope, which were never before known, because not percei­ved by Sense? And how many more there may be, which are not vi­sible to us by that help, we cannot yet know till that discovery; We [Page 20] cannot know what the extent of the Universe is, whether there be any Worlds without the compass of this; whether the Heavenly Bodies are inhabited, and with what Creatures: We cannot know the Nature, Con­stitution, Faculties of created and separate Intelligences, nor the manner of their Ubi, Motion, Intellection, mutual Intercourse, or detection of their Minds: These things are out of the reach of our Sense either mediately, or immediately; and consequently without the help of Divine Revelation, we can never upon a natural account, come to any certainty in them; or the most we can otherwise know, is by considering the reflexed acts of our Understanding, whereby we know many acts of our own minds and Soul, which are not perceptible to our external Senses; and upon that ac­count, we may think that [...] their perception may be something ana­logical; But Man is an Object of greatest vicinity to himself, and hath thereby, and by other contributions, the best opportunity to know and understand himself with the greatest certainty and evidence.

And yet it cannot be denied, that notwithstanding this great proximity of Man to himself, yea, and notwithstanding the many and great Essayes, Attempts, Enquiries and Observations that have been made in all successions of Ages, by men of excellent Parts, Learning and Industry, we still remain, and are like still to remain ignorant of many things of importance concerning our selves: The great and wise God whose Glo­ry it is to conceal a matter, having lodged many things in the Humane Nature, and Fabrick, and Constitution thereof so secretly and so closely, that notwithstanding the Experience and Observation of near 6000 years, and the search and industry of the best Judgments in all Ages, and the close proximity of Man to himself, there are very many things in our Nature, whereof we neither can, and probably never shall be able to give any account to our selves or others, with any evident, nay with any tolerable certainty; as if the Divine Wisdom meant hereby to give to the Children of Men an instance to keep them humble, that cannot find out the certainty of what they hourly most intimately converse withal; and an indication of his own profound and infinite Wisdom, that can thus keep secret those things, which in regard of their proximity to us, we have great opportunity to know.

And of this nature are many things which we know to be, but we cannot give our selves any sufficient explication of the manner or reason of them. We are certain we have a vital, active Principle in us, by which we see, understand, remember; which we call the Soul. But whence that Soul comes, or how, and when, and in what manner it is united to the Body, whether it be extended with the Body, or indivisi­ble, and in every point of the Body, how and in what manner it exer­ciseth its nobler acts of Intellection and Volition, or how far forth it stands in need of the Organs actually to exert any of those operations; or how far forth it doth or may exert them without it: how or by what means the Species not only of sensible Objects, but even of Notions of the Mind are preserved in the Memory without confusion and dissipation, notwithstanding lapse of time, and intervention of infinite variety of Objects: whether it be the same individual principle that exerciseth the acts of Intellection, and likewise of Sense and Vegetation; and if it be, what become of these Faculties subservient to a temporal Life, in the state [Page 21] of separation of the Soul: where it is that the exercise of Sense is perfor­med; whether in the Brain, or by the Soul, by the mediation of the Spi­rits in the extremity of the Nerves; and if the former, how the Species of Visibles are carried through those dark Caverns between the Organ and Cerebellum, supposed to be the Seat of the common Sense. These and many more difficulties, scarce explicable with any sufficient certainty, do occur in the little Shop of the Fabrick of Humane Nature. We must not therefore think, that because of this nearness to our selves, all the Phaenomena of our Nature can be rendred as evidently explicable as we do or may understand the Fabrick of our Hand by Anatomical Dissection.

But though this vicinity of our selves to our selves, cannot give us the full prospect of all the Intrigues of our Nature, yet we have thereby, and by other opportunities, much more advantage to know our selves, than to know other things without us, and by that opportunity of know­ing of our selves, to know the truth or falshood, or analogy of very ma­ny things without us, which otherwise could not be so well known or ex­plicated.

1. We have hereby an opportunity to know the Constitutions, Frame and Order of our Bodies; It is true, the great advance of the practice and skill of Anatomy hath laid open to ocular inspection the Fabrick of the Bodies, as well of Brutes and Birds, as Men; and therein they seem to be equally obvious to our knowledge: But a Brute or a Man are ano­ther thing, when they are alive, from what they are when dead: Ana­tomy can give us the Position, Frame, Situation, Figure and connexion of all the several Integrals of the Body of Man or Beast; but it is the living Mans observation of himself, that must give account of those Vital mo­tions that are in the Body when living; as the Pulsations of the Heart, the Circulation of the Blood, the Communication of the Parts, the Con­gruity or Disagreement between my Nature and other things variously qualified: The Humor that separates, divides, attenuates and digests the Nourishment; the several exertions of the several Organs relating to their several Functions, the things that impede or advance the vital or sensible operations in a man, what impressions are made upon the Blood and Spirits by the several passions of the Mind, what things increase or advance the Spirits, what disorder or discompose them; the immediate and agil subservience of the Spirits to the Empire of the Mind or Soul. These and infinite more touching the Body, are discoverable by Observa­tion, and by no other Observation, so well as by a mans Observation of himself.

2. We have hereby an opportunity to know much more of the Na­ture, Operations and other things relating to our Souls, than we can touching other things or Natures. There hath been much Dispute among Learned men, concerning the manner of the Intellection of Spirits and Intelligences; and by others, touching the knowledge of Brutes, touching their remembring Faculty, whether they have a kind of Discursive Faculty, which some call Reason; whether they do pre­scind or abstract touching their Voyces; how far they are significant, and whether they intentionally signifie by them, how far their Animal motions are spontaneous, or meerly mechanical, and which are of one kind, which of another; or whether, as Des Cartes would have it, all are purely Mechanical.

[Page 22]Many vain things have been asserted by men that would be counted eminent Wits; but without debating in this place the truth of any of these things, it is no marvel if we are to seek what are the manner of these operations of abstract Spirits or Brutes; we cannot know them, unless we were in them, so as to be acquainted with their inward motions, or at least, unless they had some such way of communicating their Perceptions and Phantasms unto us, as we have to our selves, or one to another: But whatever can be known of them, we may easily by inspecting and obser­ving our selves, know much concerning our own Souls and the operati­ons of them: We may know that we have a principle within, which we do, as it were, feel distinct from our Bodies, whereby we think, and we know we think; whereby we do discursively, and by way of ratioci­nation deduce one thing from another; whereby we abstract, divide and define, whereby we have notions of things which were never derived to us by Sense, as the Substance or the Substratum of those Accidents of things which are derived to us by our Sense; whereby we do correct the errors of our Sense, and judge otherwise touching things represented, than the Sense represents them. The Sense represents the Sun no bigger than a Bushel; there is somewhat within us tells, and that truly, that it is bigger than the Earth, because we find Distance diminisheth the appea­rance of Bodies: Our Sense tells us that the representation in the Looking-Glass, hath all the motions, the bulk, figure, colour of that corporeal Moles it represents, and represents the same under all the renditions of a Body, as it doth the thing it self reflected; but there is that within tells us, and that truly, that it is but a meer shadow, and no real Substratum under that appearance of any such corporeal Moles: We do most certainly know that there is that within us, that doth exercise a rational Empire over our passions and sensual appetite; that believes, hopes and acts in order to ends that respect another Life than that of Sense, We do find, as it were, the principal seats of these operations, we feel our selves to understand in our Head, and that we will, and resolve, and love, and hate, and pity in our Heart, almost as plainly as we find our selves see with our Eyes, or hear with our Ears: I feel the propensions and inclinati­ons of my Mind as really as I feel my Body to be cold or warm. I find in my self that this inward principle doth exert many of its actions inten­tionally and purposely; I resolve and cast about to remember things that I would remember; I cast about for all circumstances that may revive my Memory or Reminiscence: When I command any Muscle of my most remote Limb to move, it doth it in an instant; in the moment I will it; and hereby I understand the motions of my Mind are no way Mechani­cal, though the motion of the Muscle be such; I move, ride, run, or speak, because I will do it, without any other physical impulse upon me, and when I see many analogal motions in Animals, which though I cannot call them voluntary, yet I see them spontaneous; I have reason to conclude that these in their principle are not simply mechanical, al­though a Mouse-trap, or Architas his Dove moved mechanically, from an artificial principle. And because I find that the remotest Muscle in my Body moves at the command of my Will, and since I see the energy of my Soul in every particle of my Body, though not using intellectual actions in every part, yet using some that are imperate, as Local Motion; [Page 23] some that are natural and involuntary, as the Pulse of my Heart, the Cir­culation of my Blood, my Digestion, Sanguification, Distribution Aug­mentation: And because at the same time I understand, consider, deter­mine, speak, walk, digest, and exercise, as well intelectual, imperate and involuntary actions, and all from the same vital Principle, though operating differently in several Faculties and Operations: I therefore ex­perimentally feel that my Soul, though it hath the residence of the exer­cise of his nobler Faculties in my Head and Heart, yet it pervades my whole Body, and exerciseth Vital Offices, proportionate to the Exigences or Use of every part, the Flesh, the Bones, the Blood, the Spirits, Nerves, Veins, Arteries, Seminal Parts; and this I feel to be through my whole Body, and if I find any part of my Body be so mortified as it becomes like a rotten Branch of a Tree, whether it be Nerve or Joint, whereby that principle cannot communicate it self to it, it putrifies and corrupts, and is not participant of the motion or influence derived from my Soul, because it is now no longer in it to quicken it. And as I find my whole Body the Province or Territory of my Soul; in which it universally acts according to the different organization and use of every part, so I find that my Soul, as to its substantial existence, is confined within the pre­cints of it, and doth not physically act without it; and by all this I learn, that my Soul, if it be a Spirit, may be circumscribed within the compass of a determinate space, that though it be a Spirit, yet its operations while it is in the Body, may be, if not altogether, yet in a great measure, or­ganical. I understand, remember and reason better in my health, than in my sickness; and better in my riper years, than when I was a Child, and had my organical Parts less digested and inconcocted: And though it be a Spirit, yet I find it is no inconvenience to have some analogy, at least of co-extension, with my Body. And although it may be a simple Spirit, and univocally and essentially the same, as well in my Toe, as my Head, yet according to the variety of the disposition and organization of the se­veral parts of my organical Body, it exerciseth variety of operations; the same Soul that understands in the Brain, and sees in the Eye, and hears in the Ear, neither understands, nor sees, nor hears in the Fingers, but moves and feels.

These and many such Perceptions I have touching that principle of Life, Sense and Intellection within me; and of these I have as great a certainty as possibly I can have of any thing in the world. First, Although I cannot immediately have any immediate sight of my Soul, or of its immediate operations, or internal actings, yet I sensibly see and feel the effects there­of with as great an evidence and demonstration that it is such, as if I saw the Principle it self, and its immediate operations. I sensibly see and feel that my Hand or Foot moves upon the command of that principle within me: And when that principle is removed by a total deprivation, as Death; or by a partial deprivation, as in a mortified Limb or Member; or by a temporary suspension, as in an Apoplexy or Deliquium Animi; I am sure there is no such motion, because that principle is absent in Death, or its operation suspended in case of such Diseases: It was therefore a principle that was within, distinct from my Body, that while it was there, exerted this Empire, and was obeyed in it. Secondly, In those actings of my Soul, which are not in themselves perceptible by any sensi­ble [Page 24] effect, yet I have as firm and certain an evidence that they are such, as if I had a sensible perception of them: When I think, or understand, or remember, or abstract, or divide, or define, or purpose, or will, it is most certain these effects or intrinsick operations of my mind are not pos­sibly perceptible by my sight, or hearing, or taste, or smell, or feeling; they are objects of such a nature, that fall not under any perception of any of those Senses; yet I am as certain, if not much more certain, that I do think, or remember, or abstract, or reason, or resolve, or will, as that I hear, or see, or feel; and I do as certainly know before I write, what I am now writing, that I think or reason touching the things I am writing, or that I resolve or purpose to write them, as I am certain that I have written them when I have written them; for the motions of my mind are as certainly obvious to a perception in me answerable to them (which I call the reflex act of the Soul, or the turning of the intellectual eye inward upon its own actions) as the motions or rather passions of my Sense are certainly obvious to my Sense; I see the Object, and I perceive that I see it: And therefore though he was a little too positive that said, Ego cogito, was, as it were, primum cognitum, yet certainly herein he was irrefragably true, that there cannot be any thing more certain and evident to a man that thinks, than that he doth think; and yet that Think­ing is not perceptible by any of our five Senses. Thirdly, But there is yet a farther opportunity of very much certainty in that knowledge that a man may have of himself, and of those things concerning himself; by that conversation, by the help of speech or signs that he hath, or may have with other men. Man only, of all visible Creatures, having this priviledge of communicating his thoughts and conceptions by instituted signs of speech or writing; and by this a man acquires a threefold super­added certainty of what he may or doth know concerning himself: Namely,

1. He thereby knows that there is a specifical Identity between him and other men, and that they agree in one common rational Nature; for by mutual speech we find that we have both alike an intellective, discursive Faculty, as I do reason, so doth he; as I divide, define, abstract, pur­pose, determine, will, so doth he use the like operations of his Mind; and although oftentimes interest and misapprehension make us differ in our conclusion, yet he endeavours to maintain his Conclusion by the like method of Reason and discursive Ratiocination as I do; and most times when prejudice and misapprehensions are removed, that which seems reasonable to him, seems so to me; whereby it appears that we concenter in one common Nature, and that the Principle of Reason and Reasonable Soul is common to us both, and that we meet in one common rational Nature.

2. He likewise knows that as they concenter in one common rational Nature, so every one of that Species, hath yet an individual Principle of his own, that individuates, and personally discriminates one from ano­ther: For till we mutually communicate our thoughts by instituted signs, he knows not what I think or purpose, nor I what he thinks or purposeth.

3. This adds a certainty to me that I am not deceived in those re­flections that I make upon my self, and the collections I make from [Page 25] them; for as I do find I think, I reason, abstract, divide, define, purpose, so I find by the help of Speech and Signs that he hath the very like in­ternal operations; and as I do find that those do arise from a principle different and distinct from that moles Corporea which I have, so I find that he hath the same perception of the original of these internal operations, and attributes them to a Principle in him distinct from the Body: So that if I might have any imaginable doubt of those reflexed perceptions which I have touching those appropriate operations of my own Mind, I am confirmed in them, because I find the like perceptions in all the men I converse with. And thus far touching the third Commendable in the search of our selves, namely, Certainty and Evidence.

4. The fourth advantage of this subject and the knowledge thereof is, the profit and usefulness thereof: Next to the knowledge of Almighty God, and our Blessed Saviour, and the Sacred Scriptures, there is not any subject in the World that is more necessary and useful to be known than the Humane nature, with those incidents that do necessarily fall into that consideration; and of all the knowledge that relates to man, there is nothing of greater moment or use to be known than Man under the Physical notion of his Body and Soul, and both united together. And the usefulness of this Consideration distributes it self into these two kinds; Usefulness in reference to Speculation or Knowledge, and Use­fulness in relation to Practice or Exercise.

1. Touching the Speculative Usefulness there is this to be said, that there is in the contemplation of Man a means of discovery and explication of very great and momentous truths. And although possibly the very same truths may be elicited, and in some measure explicated by parallel Phaenomena in the contemplation of Animals, yet they are more clearly and eminently evidenced in the contemplation of Man, who, by how much the more excellent and noble a Creature he is above Brutes, and by how much he is the more observable to himself than they can be, by to much the more useful and excellent is the knowledge of himself.

Now these Speculative truths which I shall chuse to instance in shall be these.

1. The due contemplation of the Humane nature doth by a necessary connexion and chain of Causes, carry us up to the unavoidable acknow­ledgement of the Deity; because it carries every thinking man to an original of every successive individual thereof by a course of generation, till it come to a common Parent of the whole Species, the immediate workmanship of the Glorious God.

2. Consequently, it gives every considering man a sound and full con­viction that the efficient of this first Parent of Mankind, is a most wise, most powerful and beneficent Being. For the true prospect of the Humane Fabrick in its essential and integral parts, in the fabrick of his Body, and the faculties and operation of his Soul must needs convince any man of ordi­nary reason, that can observe but clear and evident consequences, that the Efficient that first made this first root of Mankind was not only an intelligent Being, but a Being of most admirable Power, Wisdom, and Goodness; for such this effect doth necessarily declare its Efficient to be.

3. As the contemplation of the Origination of the Species of Mankind gives us an assurance of the Existence of the first Cause, and of his Attri­bute [Page 26] of Wisdom, Power, and Goodness; so the contemplation of the secondary origination of Mankind, or the production of the Individuals by generation gives us an evidence of the like power, wisdom, and good­ness of God, and a little Emblem of the Divine Power in the Creation of the World. Any man that attentively considers the progress of the generative production of mankind, will find, that this goodly and noble Creature called Man hath its gradual formation and complement from a small, almost imperceptible vital principle, which by the Divine insti­tution is endued with such a regular, orderly, and unerring power, that from most inconsiderable and unlikely materials builds up gradually the goodly frame of the Body, cloaths it self with it, and exerciseth an admi­rable Oeconomy over it: And this it doth not by such a kind of choice, deliberation and forecast as the Watch-maker makes his Watch; for as yet this vital rational principle doth not exercise an actual ratiocination or discursive deliberation, neither hath those organs of Heart, and Brain, and Spirits, and Vessels (by the help of which we exercise our Acts of Reason) till it hath made and framed them. And yet this admirable Frame is immediately wrought by this little particle which we call the Soul, and moulded, formed and perfected with an incomparable and uner­ring dexterity, skill, elegance, and curiosity more and greater than the most exquisite Artist can shew in the most polished piece of Artificial work.

Now if this little spark of Life that in this work of generation and for­mation is Vicarius Dei, the Instrument of his power and wisdom; if this little imperceptible Archeus is endowed by the Divine power, wisdom, and institution with this admirable, regular, and effective power out of so small, inconsiderable and unlikely materials to mould up and fashion the goodly Fabrick of Humane Nature, and to perfect it for a complete habitation for it self, wherein to exercise its most excellent oeconomy and operations; if this Pusillus divinae lucis radius, ex tantilla & tam improbabili materiae particula mirandam naturae humanae fabricam tam affabrè, eleganter, & inerrabundè formaverit. If we find in so small a particle of a created Being this admirable energy, why should we make a question whether that God that at first gave this admirable energy to the Soul to frame so goodly a piece out of matter so near to nothing, should not have power to create a World of matter out of nothing.

2. Again, since I do see as plainly as I see my Paper that I now write upon, that this fabrication of the Humane Body is the immediate work of a Vital principle that prepareth, disposeth, digesteth, distributeth and formeth the first rudiments of the Humane nature when it is no bigger than a little Bean; that afterwards gradually augmenteth and perfecteth it to the goodly complement of a Man: And the same thing I see in the first rudiments of all generations as well vegetable as animal. It doth give to me (notwithstanding all the bold confidence and conjectures of Epicurus, and those that follow him as far as for shame they durst) I say it doth give me not only an undeniable evidence, but an exemplar in ana­logy and explication, that the coalition of the goodly frame of the Universe was not the product of chance, or fortuitous concourse of particles of matter, nor the single effect of matter and motion; but of the most wise and powerful ordination of the most wise and glorious God, who thus [Page 27] ordered the World, and instituted that Rule, Order, or Law which we call Nature to be the Law of its future being and operation; if I see that the Coagmentation of a Man, nay of a Chicken or a grain of Wheat is not by casualty, but the wise and powerful God hath committed the Coag­mentation, Disposition, and Formation thereof to their Seminal Princi­ples, tanquam Vicariis & substitutis Divini Numinis Instrumentis, as it were to Vicegerents and subservient Instruments of the Deity: I have no reason to think that the goodly Frame of the Universe was the production of Chance, or Accident, or bare Matter, or its casual motion or modifi­cation thereof; but that the same was the Contrivance and Work of the Great, Wise, and Glorious God, as a Work in a great measure answerable to the Excellency of such an Efficient.

3. Again, I find a sort of Men that pretend to much severity of Wit, and would be thought too wise to be imposed upon by Credulity, where they think they have not evidence enough of Sense or Reason to convince them; that would be thought to be Men above the common rate; these have gone about, as far as they durst, to exclude God out of the World, and pity those Men as troubled with Credulity, and of weak Parts, that believe the Regiment of Divine Providence; a business that they think, or pretend to think may be made use of to impose upon the weaker part of Mankind, think it a Fiction, and such as is utterly inexplicable to the satisfaction of a reasonable and impartial judgment. Now the due con­templation of the Humane Nature, and that Oeconomy that the Active Principle in it ordinarily called the Soul doth exercise therein to my Un­derstanding, gives me both a reasonable evidence of the Divine Providence governing the World, and a fair explication of it to me.

I mean not in this place to examine the truth or falsity of the Plurality of Subordinate Forms, or whether there be two or three distinct Sub­stantial Forms or Souls in Man, whereby he is Vivens, Sentiens, & Intel­ligens; for they are proper for a farther Examination in their proper place: But at present I do suppose, that that one Soul, whereby Man is constitu­ted in Esse Hominis, is the single Principle of all his operations of Life, Sense, and Intellection; because, as to this purpose which I am now upon, it comes all to one whether there be a Unity or Plurality of Subordinate Forms, or of Souls in the Humane Nature.

I say therefore, in the Humane Fabrick we may observe two kinds of Forms, if I may so call them; the one, the Forma Corporis, as such where­by it hath those Properties or Operations which are common to Bodies of the like make or composition; whereby it is weighty and descends as other Bodies, it is figured, it hath dimensions and qualities common to other Bodies; it hath in it some parts more active and fiery, others more passive and waterish, or earthy; it hath its tendencies to corruption and dissipation: And though after the separation of the Soul from the Body, it perchance loseth some of those particular Qualities, Figurations and Properties that it had before, yet it retaineth many of them; for many of these Proprieties of a Body as such, do not depend upon the Specifical Form of the Humane Nature as such: Again, there is in this Body a certain Active Specifical Form, whereby it is constituted in Esse Hominis, which hath in it, and doth communicate to the Body certain operations specifical to it; by this he exerciseth those operations which either flow from or [Page 28] are communicated by that Form, as Life, Sense, Intellection, Volition, and the like: And though Life and Sense be common to Man and Brutes, and their operations in many things alike, yet by this Form he lives the Life of a Man and not of a Brute, and hath the Sense of a Man and not of a Brute: For there is no such thing as Animal, or Vivens, not deter­mined unto some particular Species, as there is no such thing as a Man not determined in some individual: For Universals are but Notions and Entia Rationis, having their existence only in the understanding power, and not in reality.

And these Operations and Faculties of Humane Life, Humane Sense, and Humane Understanding and Volition flow not from the corporeal Moles, but from some other active regent Principle that resides in the Body, and governs it whiles it lives, which we call the Soul. And therefore although the corporeal Moles after some kinds of Deaths retain the same bulky Integrals, the same Figure, Colour, and many other accidents; yet the Soul being removed, the Faculties and Operations of Life, Sense, and Intellection cease from that Moles corporea, and are no longer in it.

This Principle of Life, Sense, and Intellection in Man called the Soul, hath the Body as its Province and Districtus, wherein it exerciseth these Faculties and Operations: and we shall find the Actions which are per­formed by it in the Body are of three kinds or natures; 1. Some are im­manent, and not terminated immediately in any external or corporeal action. 2. Some are transient and spontaneous, terminating in the Body, or some parts or motions thereof. 3. Some transient, but involuntary, and exercised and terminated in or upon the Body.

These seem to be the several kinds of Actions of the Soul, at least relating to the Regiment and Oeconomical Government of the Soul upon the Body.

1. The internal and immanent Faculties and Acts of the reasonable Soul (besides those of Common Sense, Phantasie, Memory, Passion and Appetite, common to Men and inferiour Animals) are Intellect and Will; and the proper Acts of the Intellect are Intellection, Deliberation, and Determination or Decision: The proper Acts of the Will are Volition, Nolition, Choice, Purpose or Resolution, and Command in relation to Subordinate Faculties: And although there be many actings both of the Intellect and Will that are relative to other things or objects than what immediately concern the Microcosm it self; yet the principal part of that analogical Providence that the Soul exerciseth in relation to the Micro­cosm or Humane Compositum are Intellection, Deliberation, and Determi­nation in the Understanding; and Choice, Volition, Nolition, and Pur­pose in the Will; and these do or should regularly precede all those impe­rate Acts of the Soul that relate to the Compositum: Before I write, or speak, or go a journey, or eat, or any the like action, there is the deliberation of the Understanding, whether I shall do this action; the decision of the Understanding, that it is fit to be done; the choice of the Will to do it, the purpose of the Will that it shall be done: And although many times the distinction of these several procedures of the Soul do not always appear distinct, especially in sudden or ordinary actions, which seem to have but one act antecedent to the thing done, namely, the willing of it to be done; [Page 29] yet in actions of weight and importance all these have their distinct order and procedure. For although in the most incomprehensible and perfect Will of Almighty God there is no such succession of procedure; yet in the operations of the rational Soul that is linked to the Body, there is ordi­narily that successive procedure of those immanent acts of the Soul that relate to any thing to be done. This therefore is the first part of that analogical Providence that the Soul exerciseth in relation to the Body, namely, deliberation or counsel, and decision in the Intellect; and choice and purpose in the Will.

2. The next Act, which immediately succceds Purpose, is the Command that is given by the volitive Faculty of the Soul, and the Execution there­of: and herein are considerable, First, The Power commanding, which is the Will, now determined by purpose or resolution. Secondly, The things to which these commands relate, or the Object of them; which in relation to the Body is in effect nothing but motion of the Spirits, Nerves, Muscles, parts of the Body, or the entire Compositum; by virtue of this command the Muscles, the Hand, the Eye, the Tongue perform those imperate commands of the Will; I do not digest, sanguifie, nor my Heart move, nor my Blood circulate, nor my Meat digest by any imme­diate command of my Will; but I eat, I drink, I move my Eye, my Hand, my Muscles, my whole Body in pursuance of this command of my Will. Thirdly, The executive Instrument of this command mediately are my Nerves and Muscles, but immediately those subtil, invisible and forcible Engins which we call the Animal Spirits; these being the most subtil parts in Nature, and parts of matter subtilized, next in degree of purity to that Soul that commands them, are in their nature proper, fit, and suitable to be the first recipients of the Empire of the Soul; they are the nimblest, agil, strongest Instruments, fittest to be executive of the commands of the Soul; they are a middle nature between the Soul and the Body, the nexus animae to the Body; and these subtil Messengers speedily dispatch themselves through the Nerves to the Muscles, which are by these Spirits and the native Indoles that is in them and the exact texture of them fitted to move those Integrals of the Body to which they serve; and as the Spirits shot through the Nerves are the first and im­mediate Instruments of the Soul in its imperate acts, so the Muscles are as it were the Instruments of the Spirits, or the remote Instruments of these imperate motions: And by this means the Soul hath the actual imperium and command of all those motions of the Body which are spon­taneous or capable of being commanded by the volitive Power of the Soul; 'tis by this the Eye-lid opens or shuts, the Eye is converted to this or that object, the Lungs are intended or remitted, the Tongue speaks, the Hand strikes or moves, the Foot walks, the Mouth opens or shuts, and all those spontaneous motions subject to the Empire of the Will are per­formed: And though I chuse my Instance in the subject in hand, yet the like imperate motions are in Brutes and Animals, though not by the Empire of Will, which they have not, yet by a Faculty that moves in many things spontaneously in some analogy and adumbration of the Empire of the Will in Man, but incomparably below it both in perfection and freedom.

3. Again, there be very many Operations, that although they flow [Page 30] from this active Principle, yet they are not acts that are imperate by the Will, but they are in a manner natural and unvoluntary; and there­fore I call them sometimes Involuntary, sometimes Natural, and they are very many and various; such are many of the acts of Sense, especially the external. Though I do by the Empire of my Will direct the Motion or Acies of my Organ to this or that Object, yet my Eye, my Ear, my Touch, my Smell, my Tast exercise their office of perception upon the Object duly applied to them, without any act of my Will commanding them so to do when they are joyned to their Object: So my Heart moves, my Blood circulates, my Meat digests, my Body is augmented, without any intention of mind to assist their actings. So if there be an ill humour in my Body, or a wound in my Hand or Leg, the Vital energy of my Soul thrusts out the Balsamical humour of my Blood to heal the latter, and useth all that Oeconomy that is proper for the expulsion or subduing of the former; sometimes by pustulae or eruptions in the flesh, sometimes by sweat, sometimes by urine, sometimes by seige; and all this it doth in the most congruous way imaginable; so that the best Physicians have not better direction ordinarily in their applications, than to follow Nature in those motions. And all this is done most exquisitely, and yet without any deliberation or rational decision of the Understanding or Empire of the Will in relation to those Natural motions. I shall only therefore observe concerning these Involuntary motions, 1. That though they are without any dictamen Rationis, yet they are done in a way of as great congruity to its end, as if they were directed by the wisest coun­sel of the wisest Soul; and it is reason good it should, for it is a standing and most wise Law of exercise planted by the most wise God in this Vital Principle for the regiment of the Body: And therefore though it be not directed by deliberation of the Humane Intellect, or choice of Humane Will, it is setled, contrived, implanted and directed there by a higher Wisdom, even the Wisdom of the most wise God: And this indeed is the reason of that Excellency that is seen in Instincts, even of Brutes, and the Formative process in generation; that they so aptly and excellently attain their Ends: namely, because these Instincts and Powers are the immediate Impressions, Signatures and Energies placed in them by the Great and Glorious God, whose very foolishness, as the Apostle tells us (namely the seemingly vilest and lowest Impressions of his Wisdom) is wiser than men. 2. The second thing to be observed herein, is, That those Natural and Involuntary actings are not done as the former, by deliberation and formal command, yet they are done by the virtue, energy, and influx of the Soul, and the instrumentality of the Spirits as well as those Imperate acts before spoken of; wherein we see the immediate empire of the Soul: That Soul that moves my hand, my tongue, my foot by way of express command and empire; digests, sanguifies, carnifies, excerts and doth all those Involuntary operations by it influence and pre­sence: remove but the Soul, there is no more digestion, sanguification, or any other acts of that kind, than there is speech in the tongue. And although in some Insects there appears a palpitation of the Heart for some little space after it is severed from the Body; and in Chicken and other Fowl, after the separation of the Head from the Body there is a motion of the parts divided, yet it lasts not long, and they are but the irregular [Page 31] and convulsive motions or struglings of those Spirits which could not so hastily dismiss themselves from the vessels wherein they were inclosed.

I would now observe some generals in relation to this Adumbration of Providence and analogical Oeconomy of the Soul in the Body, which are these: 1. That this analogical Providence of the Soul in relation to its Province the Compositum or Microcosm is universal to every part of it; there is not the most inconsiderable particle of Flesh, Bone or Artery, not the smallest Capillary Vein but it is present with, and auxiliary to it, according to its use and exigence, and the congruity of its constitution; it accommodates it self to the Eye for seeing, to the Ear for hearing; and though it accommodate not it self to the Finger in those exertings of those Senses of Seeing or Hearing, yet it equally accommodates it self to those remote and small Organs as perfectly in relation to Feeling, and to those motions that are suitable to them. 2. That even those Exertions of the active Energy of the Soul that seem most remote from the delibe­ration of the Understanding and immediate active Empire of the Will, are guided and directed with all imaginable congruity to their several Ends and Uses. 3. That this very same individual Soul may, and often­times doth exert all those operations at the same time without any difficulty or confusion: At the same time I think, I deliberate, I purpose, I com­mand: in inferiour Faculties; I walk, I see, I hear, I digest, I sanguifie, I carnifie, my Lungs move swifter or slower by the empire and command of my Will, my Heart moves naturally by the motion of Palpitation, my Blood by the motion of Circulation, Excretion, Perspiration; my Guts by the motion of Vermiculation, my Stomach and Intestines di­gest, the good ejects and expulses the bad, my Disease is resisted and expelled, my Wound cured, and a thousand more concurrent, coincident Motions; and all these performed at the same time by the Power, Energy and Oeconomy of one individual Soul; and yet all this done easily, and sweetly, and perfectly; without either lassitude, confusion, or pertur­bation.

And all this done by a little spark of Life, which in its first appearance might be inclosed in the hollow of a Cherry-stone; yet this little active Principle as the Body increaseth and dilateth, evolveth, diffuseth and expandeth if not his Substantial Existence, yet his Energy and Virtue, to the utmost confines of his little Province and every particle and atom thereof; yea and it is of that absolute necessity that it should do so, that without it the Compositum would be dissolved, and the Body dissipated into corruption and its first principles, as we see it falls out suddenly after the separation of the Soul from the Body: As the Body could not be reduced into that orderly frame in which it is constituted, without the Plastick and Formative power of the Soul, so it could never be upheld in that state of Order and Convenience without the continued Influence of the Soul: The latter is as absolutely necessary for its continuance and conser­vation, as the former for its constitution.

I easily foresee two Objections against the Method proposed; 1. That the Hypothesis it self is not sufficiently evidenced: How do we know that this Oeconomy is the effect of a Power, or Nature, or Being distinct from the Body? and why may it not be the result of this Disposition, Harmony, or Contemperation of qualities or parts of that Matter that constitutes [Page 32] the Body? 2. And if it be, what need we magnifie the Humane Nature as the great Instructer in this business; since we may with a little obser­vation find very much the like in Brutes as well as Men? For there we find a sensible Perception and Phantasie answering the Intellect in Man; an Estimative or Judicial faculty, an Appetition or Aversation and Loco­motive faculty answering the Will; and the very Oeconomy of the animal Soul or Spirits managing as well their spontaneous actions as these natural or involuntary exertions of Digestion, Egestion, Cir­culation, and the rest of those Motions called Involuntary or Na­tural.

To the First of these I say, That this is not the place for a large reduction of these Operations to the regiment of the Soul as a distinct active Faculty, distinct from the Corporeal Moles and its contemperation, that shall, God willing, in its due place be at large discussed, which I am not here willing to anticipate. In the mean time, let the Objector but honestly and impartially examine and observe Himself, and he will need no other evidence of this truth but his own experience to satisfie him, that all those effects proceed from an active, regnant Principle within him, distinct from the Moles corporea, or the contemperation thereof. The distemper of the humours of the Body cause sometimes such sickness as disorders the Phantasie and Reason; but sometimes though it distempers the Body, the Intellective faculty and operations are nevertheless free and sound, as Experience shews. If this Objector was ever under a Sickness or Distem­per of the latter kind, let him give an account what it is that gives him under such a Disease the use of his Reason.

To the Second I need not say more than what I have before observed; namely, 1. That although the Inferiour Natures have a kind of Image of the Humane Nature, yet it is less perfect, and therefore no equal Instance in order to the explication of what I herein design. 2. As it is less perfect, so it is more distant and less evident to us, than our selves are or may be to our selves; the Regiment and Oeconomy of our own Souls in our Bodies and of them are more evident to us and percepti­ble by us, than that Regiment and Oeconomy that the Souls of Brutes exercise in them, and therefore fitter to be made our Instance of that which I go about thereby to illustrate; namely, the possibility, ne­cessity and explication of the Divine Providence in the governing and influencing of the Universe and all the parts thereof; which I shall in the next place prosecute in the Analogy that this small Regnant Prin­ciple bears within its little Province to the Divine Regiment of the Universe.

Sic parvis componere magna.

I come therefore to the illustration of the Divine Providence, and Regiment of the World by the foregoing Emblem thereof.

1. By this smaller Instance of this Regiment of this lesser World by the immediate presidency of the Soul, it seems evident that it is no way impossible but that the greater World may be governed by the Divine Wisdom, Power, and Providence. It is true, there are these two dispa­rities between these, namely, the greater World and the lesser: The [Page 33] greater World is of a more vast extent; and again, the Integrals and Parts thereof are of greater multiplicity and variety; but neither of these are any impediment, because the Regent thereof is of an infinite immensity more than commensurate to the extent of the World, and such as is most intimately present with all the Beings of the World, and of an infi­nite Understanding, Wisdom, and Power that is able to apply it self to every created Being, and therefore without any difficulty equally able to govern the whole and every part thereof: This we see in Natural agents; that little spark of Life, the Soul, that exerciseth its regiment upon an Infant of a span long, when the Body is grown to its due stature, and together with the extension of the Body this little Vital particle evolves and diffuseth it self to the extent of the enlarged Body, governs it with the same facility as it did before that extension. And the sensible Soul of a vast Whale exerciseth its regiment to every part of that huge stru­cture with the same efficacy and facility as the Soul of a Fly or a Mite doth in that small and almost imperceptible dimension to which it is con­signed. For the Soul is expanded and evolved, and present to every part and the uttermost extremity of the greater as well as the lesser Animal. And therefore if my Soul can have its effectual energy and regiment upon my Body with ease and facility, with how much more ease and facility can a Being of immense Existence and Omnipresence, of infinite Wis­dom and Power govern and order a great but yet a finite Universe, and all the numerous yet not infinite parts thereof?

2. As there is a possibility of such a regiment of the Divine Wisdom, Power and Influence in the Government of the World, so there is a necessity of it. It is not enough for the Soul of the Humane Nature to form and mould its Corporeal Vehicle, if it gave over its work when that were done, it would soon dissolve, dissipate and corrupt. There is the same necessity for the Divine Influence and regiment to order and govern, conserve and keep together the Universe in that consistence it hath re­ceived, as it was at first to give it before it could receive it: The inter­mission of that Regiment and Divine Providence and Influx but a moment after the constitution of this World would have dissolved its order and consistence, if not annihilated its Being.

And indeed, he that observes the great variety of things in the World, the many junctures and contributions of things that serve to keep up its consistence, the want of any of which (as the disorder of a little Nerve, Vein, or Artery in the Body) would bring it into a great dis­order; the continual strife between contrary qualities, the strange activity of the active Fiery Nature that involves it, or at least is dissemina­ted up and down in it; the vast and irregular concretions of Meteors, and those strange and various Phaenomena that are in the World, which as they proceed from or are found in the Integrals of the Universe, are devoid not only of Reason but of Sense. And he that after all this shall see the World upheld without any considerable decay or defect, in the same state and order as it hath been for many Thousands of years, will upon a due and impartial search find that it were far more impossi­ble that this could be without the Wisdom, Power, and Influx of a most Infinite, Omnipresent, Omniscient and Omnipotent Fixed Being, than for the Humane Body to be kept without dissolution and putre­faction, [Page 34] being destitute of the influx and regiment of its Vital Principle the Soul.

And therefore some of the Ancients that were willing to solve the Phaenomena of the World, have (though erroneously) thought that the World was Animate, and that all these Operations in the World pro­ceeded from that Anima Mundi, as the Operations in the Bodies of Men proceeded from that Anima Humana that lodged in it; and at length finding so great effects that are and may be done by this supposed Anima Mundi, according to their Hypothesis, have at last proceeded in plain terms to determine that this Anima Mundi was, in truth, no other than the Glo­rious God; whereas they might with much more ease and truth have attributed all the great Oeconomy of the Universe to the most Glorious God, without dishonouring him into the existence of a Forma informans, or a constituent part of that World which he made.

Others to amend that absurdity, and yet out of a piece of mannerliness and respect, as they think, to God, though they deny this Universal Soul or Form informing of the whole Universe, yet without any sufficient ground have devised several Systems of the Universe, and assigned several Souls to each System or Vortex at least, which should be the immediate Regent in every such System, as the Soul is in the Body: This, as it supposeth something without evident ground, so it doth without any necessity: For the Divine Wisdom and Power is sufficient for the ma­nagement and government of the whole Universe; and if such Animae Systematum should be granted, yet still there must be some one common Regent of all these Systems and their respective Souls, or otherwise dis­order would follow between the Systems themselves.

But thus far even those suppositions bear witness to the necessity of a Providential Regiment of the parts of the Universe; that bare Matter, Motion, and Chance cannot perform this business, but that there is a perfect necessity of a Regent Principle besides it, which may govern and dispose it as the Soul of Man doth his Body: And even that supposed regiment of these particular Souls of every System, as they must needs have it, if they had it at all, from the institution and efficiency of the Wise God, so they are all continually influenced from him, and the whole College of them governed, guided and ordered by him as their sovereign Regent.

3. The Third thing that I design is this, That although it is impossible for any Created Being, or the Operations thereof, to hold a perfect Ana­logy or adequate Representation of the Divine Wisdom, Power, and Providence in the governing of the World; because the Wisdom and the Ways of Almighty God are unsearchable and past finding out; they are of such a perfection that no Created Being or Operation thereof can be a just Parallel or adequate Resemblance of them; yet there seems to be such an instance in the regiment which the Humane Soul exerciseth in relation to the Body, that with certain correctives and exceptions may give some kind of Explication or Adumbration thereof, whereby though we can never get a complete Idea of the Divine Regiment, yet we may attain such a notion thereof as may render it evidently credible, and in some kind explicable.

1. The first act of the Divine Nature relating to the World and his [Page 35] administration thereof is an immanent act: The most wise counsel and purpose of Almighty God terminated in those two great transeunt or emanant acts or works, the works of Creation and Providence.

The Divine Counsel relating to the work of Creation, is that whereby he purposed to make the World, and all the several Integrals thereof, according to that most excellent Idea or Exemplar which he had designed or chosen, according to his infinite Wisdom, in those several ranks and methods, and in that order and state wherein they were after created and made.

The Divine Counsel relating to his Providence, or Regiment of the World, seems to consist in these two things: 1. A purpose of commu­nication of an uncessant influence of his power and goodness for the sup­port and upholding of things created, according to the several essential states and conditions wherein they were made; some being created more durable, some less; some in one rank of being or existence, some in another. 2. A purpose of instituting certain laws, methods, rules, and effluxes, whereby he intended to order and rule all the things he had made with the greatest wisdom and congruity, and according to the natures and orders wherein he had created them.

And this is that which I call the law, rule, and regiment of Divine Providence, and seems to be of two kinds, namely, general Providence and special Providence.

The general Providence I call that whereby every created Being is gover­ned and ordered, according to that essential, connatural, implanted method, rule, and law wherein it was created. And thus the state and several motions and influences of the Heavenly Bodies is that general providential law wherein they were created, and according to which they are governed; and the susceptibility of those influences, and the effects thereof, and of that mo­tion, is the general providential law, whereby other physical Beings are governed in relation thereunto; the activity of the active Elements, and the passiveness of the passive, the methods and vicissitudes of generation and corruption, the efficacy of natural causes, and the proper effects consequential to them, the natural properties or affections of Bodies according to their several constitutions, as motion, alteration; ascent of light, descent of heavy Bodies. These and the like are the general providential Laws relating to them. Again, that things indued with sense should have a sensible perception, and certain instincts connatural to them, that rational and free Agents should move rationally and freely. These and infinite more are the standing and ordinary Rules and Laws of general Providence, and the wise God, who sees all things from the beginning to the end, and therefore can neither be disappointed nor overseen in any of his Counsels, hath with that great and admirable Wisdom so ordered these Laws of his general Providence, that he thereby governs most excellently the World; and they are never totally changed, and but rarely altered in particular, and that only to most wise ends, and upon most eminent occasions.

And the reason is, because the Infinite Wisdom of God hath so instituted and modelled those natural Laws, that they are ad omnem eventum fitted to the ordinary administration of the World. When the wisest Counsel of Men in the World have with the greatest care, prudence and foresight, [Page 36] made Laws, yet frequent emergencies happen which they did not, nor could foresee, and therefore they are necessarily put upon repeals, cor­rectives, and supplements of such their Laws: But Almighty God by one most simple foresight foresaw all Events in Nature, and could therefore fit Laws of Nature that might be proportionate to the things he made, and not stand in need of any change in the ordinary administration of his Providence.

The special Providence of God is so denominated either in relation to the objects which are special, or in relation to the acts themselves.

Special Providence in relation to the objects, is that Providence which Almighty God exerciseth either to Man or Angels in relation to their everlasting ends, such as are Divine Laws and Institutions, the Redem­ption of Men by Christ Jesus, the Message of the Gospel, and the like.

Special Providence in relation to the acts themselves, are those special actings of the Divine Power and Will, whereby He acts either in things natural or moral, not according to the Rules of general Providence, but above, or besides, or against them: And these I call the Imperate Acts of Divine Providence; whereof in the next place.

2. Analogal to the imperate acts of the Soul upon the Body are the imperate acts of Divine Providence, whereby with greatest wisdom and irresistible power He doth mediately or immediately order some things out of the tract of ordinary Providence. For although the Divine Wisdom hath with great stability settled the Laws of his general Providence, so that ordinarily or lightly they are not altered, yet it could never stand with the Divine Administration of the World, that He should be eter­nally mancipated to those Laws he hath appointed for the ordinary admi­nistration of the World. Neither is this, if it be rightly considered, an infringing of the Law of Nature, since every created Being is most naturally subject to the Soveraign Will of his Creator; therefore though He is sometimes pleased by extraordinary interposition, and pro imperio voluntatis, to alter the ordinary method of natural or voluntary Causes and Effects, to interpose by his own immediate Power, He violates no Law of Nature, since it is the most natural thing in the World that every thing should obey the Will of him that gave it being, whatever that Will be, or however manifested.

Now the Instances that I shall give touching these actus imperati of Divine special Providence shall be, 1. In things simply natural: 2. In things voluntary or free Agents.

In things natural we have these Instances of the actus imperati of the Divine Providence, namely, first those that are real and also appearing Miracles, as Moses his Rod turned into a Serpent, our Saviours miraculous curing of all sorts of Diseases, and raising the Dead, and the like: Again, there are other things, that though they are natural effects, and not in themselves apparently miraculous, yet are in truth the actus imperati of the Divine Providence, Winds and Storms, Hail and Thunder, and many the like, are things that are in themselves natural, yet when they are in such a season and such a juncture, they may be and are, and possibly more often than we are aware, actus imperati specialis providentiae: The East Wind that brought the Locusts, and the West Wind that carried them off from Egypt, Exod. 10.13, 19. The East Wind that [Page 37] divided the Red Sea, Exod. 14.21. The Hail that slew the Canaanitish Kings, Josh. 10.12. The Rain and Drought, 1 Kings 18. Amos 4.7. Thunder and Lightning, 1 Sam. 13.18. Yea the very Blasting, and Mildew, and Caterpiller, and Palmer-worm, Amos 4.9. are sent by God. The ravenousness of a Lion or Bear are natural to them, yet the mission of them upon an extraordinary occasion may be an actus imperatus of Divine Providence, 1 Kings 14.24. 2 Kings 2.24. And although we often attribute as well mischiefs as deliverances to accidental natural Causes, yet many times they are actus imperati of the Divine special Pro­vidence, as much and as really and truly as the motion of my Pen is the actus imperatus of my Will at this time.

And if we enquire how these things are effected, though it may be they be sometimes effected by the immediate Fiat of the Divine Will, yet I have just reason to think they are most ordinarily done by the Ministra­tion of Angels, as the destruction of the Host of the Assyrians, and divers other great Exertions of these imperate acts of Divine Providence. Psal. 103. His Angels that excel in strength, that do his commandements, heark­ning to the voice of his word. That as the more refined and efficacious Matter, which we by way of analogy call Spirits, are the executive In­struments of the actus imperati of our Will, so these true and essential Spirits are ordinarily the immediate Instruments of the imperate acts of Divine Providence.

And therefore although many times Effects purely natural, that have their Originals meerly by the ordinary course of Providence, are ordered by special Providence unto great and wonderful Events, yet it seems to me very plain, that there be many natural productions that it may be in the immediate Cause, or second, or third, may be purely natural, yet at the farthest end of the Chain there is an Agent that is not simply natural (as we use to call natural Causes) but voluntary, sometimes in the first production, sometimes in the restriction, sometimes in the direction of them, for otherwise we must of necessity make all successes in the World purely natural and necessary, and Almighty God would be mancipated to the Fatality of Causes, and to that Natural Law which he gave at first, and Prayers and Invocation upon Him in case of any cala­mity would be unuseful and ineffectual.

And therefore though Almighty God do not create a Wind for every emergent occasion, but the Wind is a Vapour breaking out of the Earth, yet the Ministration of an Angel may restrain, open, excite, direct or guide that Vapour to the fulfilling of those imperate acts of Divine special Regiment. And it is observable, that although the regular part of Nature is seldom varied, but ordinarily keeps its constant tract, as the Motions of the Heavenly Bodies, yet the Meteors, as the Winds, Rain, Snow, Thunder, Exhalations, and the like, which are in themselves more un­stable, and less mancipated to stated and regular motions, are oftentimes employed in the World to very various ends, and in very various methods of the special Divine Providence.

And hence the Winds and Storms are stiled in a peculiar manner, Winds and storms fulfilling his will, Psal. 148. And, He bringeth his winds out of his treasury, Psal. 134. And again, Hath the rain a Father, and who begot the drops of dew? Job 38.28. And again, Can any of the vanities of the [Page 38] Gentiles give rain? Jer. 14.22. Thus the wise God, who doth nothing vainly or unnecessarily, nor infringeth the more constant Laws of Nature, when those parts thereof that are more anomalous, and more easily appli­cable to his imperate acts and ends of Providence may serve, more ordinarily chuseth those parts of Nature to execute his special Providences, that may do it without any great fracture of the more stable and fixed parts of Nature, or the infringment of the Laws thereof.

Again, as the Empire of the Divine Will doth exercise its imperate acts in the Methods of special Providence upon things simply in themselves natural, so it doth upon Agents or Natures intellectual and free: Some­times immediately by Himself, sometimes by the Instrumentality of Angels or proposed Objects.

This Exercise of the imperate Acts of the Divine Providence may be upon the Understanding or Will.

Upon the Understanding principally these ways, 1. By immediate afflatus, or impression, as anciently was usual in prophetick Inspirations. 2. By conviction of some Truths, and this may be either by a strong and over-bearing presenting of them to the Understanding with that light and evidence, that it is under a kind of necessity of believing them, which was often seen in the primitive times of Christianity, wherein God was pleased many times irresistibly, and by immediate overpowering the Understanding by the powerful impression of the Object or Truth pro­pounded, to conquer as it were the Understanding into an assent. Or, 2. By advancing and enlightning the understanding Faculty with a super­added light and perception, whereby it was enabled to discern the truth of things delivered: For as the Understanding receives some Truths proposed by reason of the congruity between the Faculty and the Object, as the Eye sees some visible Objects by reason of the congruity between it and them; so the reason why it perceives not all Objects of Truth is because of some defect of the Faculty, whereby it holds not a full and perfect congruity with them, either by reason of the remoteness or sub­limity of the Object, or some deficiency of light in the Faculty, which is aided by the Collyrium of the Divine Assistance, Rev. 2. Or else, 3. By some extraordinary concomitant moral evidence; such was that of the Miracles of our Saviour and his Apostles, the Seals and Credentials of the Truths they delivered: And as thus the imperate acts of the Divine special Providence are exercised upon the Understanding, so they are exercised upon the Will, and that either immediately or mediately.

Immediately, 1. By an immediate determining of the Will: For al­though the Will be naturally free, yet it is naturally and essentially subject to the imperium divinae voluntatis, when He is pleased to exercise that empire upon it: This although he rarely doth, yet he may do it, and sometimes doth it irresistibly, determining the Will to chuse this or that good, and yet this without any such force or violence as is simply contrary to the nature of it; because as there is no Power in the World but owes most naturally an obediential subjection to the Lord of Nature, so even the Will it self is naturally and essentially subject to the determination of the Lord and Author of it. 2. By immediate inclining and inflecting it to determin of it self: This is that secret striving of the Spirit of God with the Will, inflecting and perswading it to this or that good: It differs from [Page 39] the former way because that it is irresistible, this though potent yet in its own nature resistible by the Will of Man, though it many times prevails by its efficacy. V. Gen. 6.3. Eph. 4.30.

Again, 2. Sometimes it is done Mediately more humano, and yet not without the mediate special Empire and Regiment of the Divine Will: and thus it is done two ways, viz. 1. By an irresistible, or at least power­ful conviction of the Understanding that the thing in proposal is fit and necessary to be done or omitted; for although some think that the Will hath a power of choosing or refusing or suspending, notwithstanding the final decision of the practical Understanding, yet certain we are that ordinarily and when the Will acts as a Rational faculty, it is or ought to be determined by the last decision of the practical Understanding; and 2. By proposing Moral objects that do more humano guide the Will to determine it self accordingly; and these are various, sometimes Inter­vention, Perswasion, or Examples of others, and sometimes even the junctures of Natural occurrences. For, as I shall have occasion to shew, and is partly touched before, even the Natural occurrences of things are under the guidance and conduct of the Divine Providence, even when to us they seem to be either Accidental, or to be the meer product of Natural Causes.

And surely if we should deny the intervention of Imperate Acts of Divine Providence in relation to actions Natural or Moral that appear in the World, we should exclude his Regiment of the World in a great measure, and chain up all things to a fatal necessity of Second Causes, and allow at most to the glorious God a bare prospect or prescience of things that are or shall be done, without any other Regency of things but meerly according to the instituted nature and operations of things. And thus far of the Imperate Acts of the Divine Providence. Only this farther I must subjoyn as a certain truth, That neither the Empire of the Divine Providence, or his mediate or immediate determinations, per­swasions or inflexions of the Understanding or Will of Rational Creatures doth either naturally, morally, or intentionally deceive the Understanding, or pervert the Will, or necessitate or incline either to any falshood or moral evil.

3. The third Analogy that is between the regiment of the Soul over the Body and the Divine regiment of the Universe, is in relation to the acts of general Providence, or that ordinary Law wherein Almighty God governs ordinarily the Universe and the things in it, without the par­ticular mixture of those that I have called the Imperate Acts of special Providence, which seems to consist of two parts: 1. The institution of certain common Laws or Rules for all created Beings, which (without a special intervention of his Will to alter or change) they should regularly observe; as that the Heavenly Bodies should have such Motions and In­fluences, that the Inferiour or Elementary World should have its several Mixtures and Transmutations by the application of the active principles and particles in it to Passives, and by the virtue of the Heavenly Mo­tions and Influences: That there should be vicissitudes of generations and corruptions; that Vegetables should have the operation of vital vege­tation, increase, duration and productions according to their several kinds; that Sensible Natures should enjoy a life of Sense, and those several [Page 40] powers or faculties of Sensation, Phantasie, Memory, Appetition, Di­gestion, Local Motion, Generation, and those several instincts whereby they should be managed and governed according to the conveniencies of a sensitive nature: That the Rational Nature should have those Faculties of a Sensitive Nature, and superadded to it the Faculties of Intellect, Reason and Will, whereby it might govern it self as a reasonable free Agent, and determine it self to this or that action. And these are the instituted Laws of the Divine common Providence.

2. A continued influx of the Divine Goodness, whereby things are upheld and continued in their state of being according to this Law of their Creation: And by virtue of both these acts of common divine Provi­dence all things are enabled to act and operate according to the Laws of their being, without the necessity of any new individual concurrent act of special Providence producing, directing, or determining their several operations. And hence it is that the Will of man by the instituted Law of his Creation, and the common Influence of the Divine goodness and power is enabled to act as a reasonable Creature, to determine it self, and to govern its proper actions according to the Law of his Creation, with­out any particular, specificating, concurrent, new imperate act of the Divine special Providence to every particular determination of his Will: Even as the continued influx of the reasonable Soul enables those Facul­ties which we call Natural or Involuntary, without new deliberation, purpose or counsel to every new act thereof: And by this means the World is in an ordinary course of Providence governed according to those standing fixed Laws given to the Universe and the several parts thereof by the Di­vine Will, wherein it is supported by the common influx and presence of the Divine power and goodness.

And this is that which being duly considered extricateth that Question which hath so much troubled the World, concerning the sinful acts of men, and how far forth the glorious God is at all concerned in them. Certainly the imperate acts of his Blessed Will have nothing to do to enforce or necessitate the Will of man to any sin, it is far from the purity of his Glorious Nature: But the general Law of his Providence is only thus far concerned in it, That he hath made Man an intelligent and free Agent, put him into the power of his own Will, but yet sub graviore imperio, to restrain its actings, if he please, by his special Providence; and Man in this state of his liberty, when he doth sin, sins from the Empire of his own Will, and not from a determination of the Divine Regiment.

But though the contemplation of the regiment of the Soul over the Body hath given some analogical explication of the Divine Providence in the Government of the World, yet as this Analogy is but imperfect, the Divine Regiment of the World is infinitely more wise, more power­ful, more perfect than the regiment of the Soul over the Body, so in many things this Analogy by no means holds: For instance, The Soul doth what it doth in the Body, though by a kind of efficiency, yet it is but a subordinate efficient, and vicarious and instrumental in the hands of the Almighty; who as it hath endued the Soul with this energy, so the Soul is but his substitute in this regiment of the Body; but Almighty God is the supreme Rector of the World, and of all those subordinate [Page 41] provinces and parts thereof: Secondly, in the imperate acts of the Souls regency of the Body and the Compositum: She cannot in the Body work immediately without the instrumentality of the intermediate animal and vital Spirits: But in the imperate acts of the special Divine Providence though we may justly think he doth most ordinarily use the ministry of those noble natures called Angels, yet he may and oftentimes doth by the immediate Fiat of his own Will exercise these imperate acts of special Providence; for his Power is infinite, and all Beings are in an immediate obedience and subjection to it.

3. The Soul cannot by its own Will exercise any immediate imperate act upon those natural and involuntary operations which yet are exer­cised by an influx from it; indeed it may starve and destroy the Body by its Empire, and thereby consequently impede and determine those natu­ral and involuntary operations, yet it cannot by its Intention or Empire prohibit or suspend their exercise, the natural means being allowed and present; it cannot effectually prohibit the Heart not to move, or the Blood not to circulate, or the Ventricle not to digest: But it is otherwise with the Regent and regiment of the World; even those things wherein he hath set a fixed Law, which by virtue of the common influence of the Divine Power and Goodness they observe and follow, are subject to the Empire of his special Providence and the imperate acts thereof. And this is evident in that Administration of special Providence which is miraculous; he commanded the Fire not to burn, stopped the mouths and appetites of Lions, and prohibited the natural operation and agency of Natural Causes. 2. In all the special Providences that are exercised in the World, though they do not visibly appear to us to be miraculous, yet they most certainly are governed by the imperium of special Divine Providence, whereby it sometimes excites second Causes to production of Effects which being thus excited they naturally produce; sometimes impeding them, sometimes diverting them, sometimes directing them, sometimes by contemperation, or uniting other more active or contrary Causes allaying or enforcing them: and although it may be the interpo­sition of the Divine imperium or special Providence be not immediately the immediate antecedent Cause, but it may be the third, the fourth, the tenth, the twentieth Cause distant from the Effect. Nay though possi­bly the conjunction of the immediate imperium Providentiae be with the First Mover in Nature, the Heavenly, Aethereal, or Fiery Influx, yet the regiment of the Divine Providence is as full and infallible in relation to the imperate regiment of the Effect, as if it were immediately joyned to the designed Effect: So that the Moral of that Poetical fiction, that the uppermost Link of all the series of subordinate Causes is fastned to Jupi­ter's Chair, signifies a useful truth; Almighty God doth as powerfully govern and direct when he pleaseth, and how he pleaseth, all subordinate Causes and Effects, as the Soul governs the motion of the Muscle or Limb by those strings of the Nerve which are rooted in the Brain.

4. Again, the regiment of the Soul over the Body is the regiment of the more active part over the more passive, though both making one Com­positum; but the regiment of Almighty God over the World is not as a part of it, or as a Form or Soul informing it, but as a Rector or Go­vernour, distinct, separate, and essentially differing from it, his regiment [Page 42] of the World in this respect not so much resembling the regiment of the Soul over the Body, which together with it make one compounded Na­ture; as the regiment of the Master or Rector over the Ship, or the regiment of a King over his Subjects.

And thus I have gone through the Speculative consideration of the Divine Providence resulting from the contemplation of a Souls regi­ment of the Body, wherein I have been the longer, because the contem­plation of the Divine Providence is a Subject that delights me, and I am contented to dwell upon it as much as I may, and to take up this or any the like occasion to lead me to the contemplation of it.

And thus far touching the Usefulness of the Contemplation of the Humane Nature, in relation to truths Speculative.

II. The Usefulness of it in relation to matters Practical, wherein I shall be shorter. This Contemplation hath these useful Advantages, namely, 1. Physical; 2. Moral; 3. Theological or Divine.

1. For Physical, by which I mean that practical part of Physical know­ledge that is called Medicinal. The due consideration and knowledge of the structure, fabrick and parts of the Humane Body is necessarily con­ducible to that excellent Faculty for the preservation of life and health, no one thing being more conducible to the advance and perfection of that Science or Faculty than the knowledge of the Humane Body, wherein the Experience of Anatomy and dissection, and the Observations of the ancient and modern Physicians hath given a large evidence and testi­mony.

2. The Moral Practical consequences deducible from the knowledge of the Humane nature are many and useful. For instance, when I con­sider the admirable Frame of the Humane Nature, made by the Wisdom, and according to the Image of the Glorious God, 1. How careful should it make me that I do not injure that goodly Structure in others, by offering violence to the life of another, or to corrupt him either by evil example or evil counsels? 2. How careful should it make me in relation to my self, not to embase that excellent Frame either of my Body or Soul, or both, into the image of a Brute by sensuality, luxury, or intemperance; or into the image of a Devil, by malice, envy, or irreligion? How care­ful should it make me to improve and ennoble those excellent and com­prehensive faculties of my Understanding and Will with such Objects as are worthy to be known and desired? The intellectual Faculty is a goodly field, capable of great improvement, and it is the worst husbandry in the world to sow it with trifles or impertinencies, or to let it lye fallow without any seed at all.

3. The Theological uses that arise from the knowledge of our selves are great and many. When I consider the admirable Frame of my Body, made up in that elegant, stately, and useful composure; and when I con­sider the usefulness, amplitude, and nobleness of my Faculties, an Under­standing capable of the knowledge of all things necessary for me to know, accommodate and fitted to the perception and intellection (though not to the full comprehension) of a World full of variety and excellency; of a God full of all conceivable perfection and goodness; a Memory able to retain the notions of what I understand; a Will endued with freedom, whereby I am a subordinate Lord of all my actions, and endued with a [Page 43] connatural propension and appetite unto rational good; Reason and Con­science to guide and direct me in all the enquiries and actions of my life; and besides all this, a Soul, the stock and root of all those Faculties, endued with immortality, and capable of everlasting blessedness: When I consider that this Soul of mine is not only endued with faculties admi­rably fitted to the life of Sense which I enjoy in this World, but find in it certain secret connatural rudiments of goodness and virtue, and a con­natural desire and endeavour after a state of immortal happiness. And when I consider that this Frame both of Body and Soul had its primitive origination immediately from the great Creator of all things; and al­though my own immediate origination was from my Parents, yet that very productive virtue was implanted in the primitive Nature by Al­mighty God, and the derivation of the same specifical Nature to me was by virtue of his original Institution and Benediction, and by virtue thereof that excellency and perfection of Humane Nature in its essential which was first formed by the glorious God, is handed over to me, abating only those decays which Sin brought into my nature: I say, when I deeply and intimately consider these things, I cannot but be sensible that that Being from whom I thus derive this being, and such a being, is a most wise, powerful and bountiful Being, that could thus frame the Humane Nature, and thus freely bestow and confer this constitution upon me. 2. And upon this sense of his Wisdom, Power and Goodness, I must needs entertain it with all imaginable admiration of it, and with all possible gratitude, for so great and so free a gift. 3. And consequently I cannot choose but exercise the choicest affections I have towards him, of reverence and fear of his Greatness and Majesty, of dependance and rest upon his Power and Goodness, of love to the excellency of his Es­sential Perfection and Communicative Goodness and Beneficence. 4. And consequently of entire subjection unto him that upon all the rights ima­ginable hath the most just sovereignty over me. 5. And consequently of all due inquisitiveness what is the Will and good pleasure of that God that I owe so much gratitude, love and subjection to, that I may serve and please him. 6. A resolved, entire, hearty obedience of that Will of his in all things; thereby to testifie to him my love, gratitude, and subjection. 7. An external manifestation to Men and Angels of that internal love and gratitude I owe him by continual praise and thanks­giving to him, invocation of him, reverence of him, and all those acts of Religion, Duty and Obedience which are the natural Proceed of that internal frame of my Soul towards him. 8. A constant desire of my Soul to enjoy as much of this bountiful glorious blessed Being, as it is possible for my nature to be capable of. 9. And because my estate and condition in this life is but a state of mortality, and a temporal life; an earnest endeavour to have my everlasting Soul fitted and qualified to be an everlasting partaker of his presence and goodness in a state of nearer union to him and fruition of him, in that future life of glory and im­mortality. 10. And consequently abundance of circumspection, care and vigilance that I so behave my self in this state of probation here, that I neither lose his favour from whom I expect this happiness, nor render my self unworthy, unfit, or uncapable to enjoy it.

And thus this deep, serious, and comprehensive Consideration of our [Page 44] selves and the Humane Nature in its just latitude, doth not run out barely into Notions and Speculations, but is operative and practical; teacheth a man Virtue and Goodness and Religion and Piety, as well as Know­ledge, and is operative to make a man such as it teacheth him to be; per­fects his nature, enricheth it with practical as well as speculative habits, and fits and moulds and accommodates a man to a conformity to the End of his being.

And these be the Reasons that have especially put me upon the search and enquiry into this Subject, MAN.

I am not without excellent helps and patterns in this Inquiry, nor without the due fruits and effects that it hath had upon the Minds of them that have been exercised in it.

Galen, though he spoke darkly and doubtfully of the Soul, being desti­tute of much of that light which we now have, yet upon the bare con­templation of the structure of the Body and the parts thereof, in that excellent Book of his De Usu Partium, resolves the whole Oeconomy thereof into the Power, Wisdom, Goodness, and Efficiency of the Glorious God; and is transported both with the admiration of the Divine Wisdom appearing therein, and with indignation against the perversness and stupi­dity of Epicurus and his disciples, which would attribute this one Phaeno­menon to Chance.

And had he, or should any else apply himself to the search of that Intellectual Principle in Man, his Soul, he will find a greater evidence of the Divine Wisdom, Goodness and Power; as will easily appear in a little consideration thereof.

CAP. II. Touching the Excellency of the Humane Nature in general.

ALthough I intend a more distinct Consideration of the Humane Nature, and the Faculties of the Humane Soul, and the Parts of the Humane Body, yet it may be necessary before we come to the discussion of the origination of Mankind, to premise something concerning the Nature of Mankind, and its preheminence and excellence above all other sublu­nary Creatures, that we may have a little tast touching that Being whose origination we inquire. This Consideration will be of use to us in the enquiry touching the origination of Man; to evidence, that neither Chance nor surd or inanimate Nature could be the Efficient of such a Being, but a most Wise, Powerful, and Excellent Author thereof.

I shall not at large discuss those Faculties and Organs which he hath in common with Vegetables and Brutes, but those only that belong to him specifically as Man, and those also but briefly.

The Corporeal Beings of this lower World are divided into these two ranks or kinds; such as are Inanimate or not living, and such as are Animate or living.

Life, according to Aristotle in 1. De Anima, cap. 1. is described by its [Page 45] effects, viz. Nutritio, & auctio, & diminutio quae per seipsum fit; and the lowest rank of such things as have life are Vegetables: for though Mi­nerals have a kind of analogical nutrition and augmentation, yet it is such as ordinarily non fit per seipsa, but rather by accession and digestion from external Principles and coagmentation.

The Principle from whence this Life flows in all Corporeal Natures that have it, is that which they call Anima, or at least vis Animastica. The Faculties or Operations of this Anima vegetabilis are these; 1. At­tractio alimenti: 2. Fermentatio & assimilatio nutrimenti sic attracti in succum sibi congenerem: 3. Digestio, vel dispersio alimenti sic assimilati in diversas partes individui vegetabilis: 4. Augmentatio individui vegetabi­lis, ex unione & consolidatione succi vegetabilis diversis partibus individui. 5. Conformatio hujusmodi particularum unitarum specificae naturae ejusdem in­dividui cujus est augmentatio; ut in trunco, ramis, cortice, fibris, foliis, fructu, &c. 6. Seminificatio & propagatio ex semine vel partibus semina­libus. 1. Attraction of aliment: 2. Fermentation and assimilation of the nourishment so attracted, into a juice of the same kind with it self: 3. Digestion, or dispersion of the aliment so assimilated into the divers parts of the vegetable individual: 4. Augmentation of the vegetable individual, from the union and consolidation of the vegetable juice to the divers parts of the individual: 5. The conformation of these united particles, to the specifical nature of the same Individual, which is aug­mentation; as in the trunk of a Tree, the bark, fibres, leaves, and fruit: 6. Seminification and propagation from the seed or seminal parts. These seem to be the process of the Vegetable Nature, Soul, and Life.

2. The next rank of living Creatures is that which hath not only a vegetable life, and a vegetable principle of life, but hath also superadded a life of sense, and a sensitive Soul or Principle of that life of Sense, which nevertheless as one specifical Principle exerts the acts as well of the vegetable as sensitive life.

And this nature 1. Includes all those powers and faculties of the Vegetable Nature, as Attraction, Assimilation, Digestion, Augmen­tation, Conformation, and Propagation or Seminification.

2. It includes them in a far more curious, elegant, and perfect manner, at least in the more perfect Animals. As for instance, the first assimi­lation of the attracted nourishment in Vegetables converts it into a watry humor or juice; but the assimilation thereof in Animals rectifies this alimental juice into Chyle, and then into Blood: The propagation of Vegetables is without distinction of Sexes, but that of Animals usually with distinction of Sexes; and many more such advances hath the animal nature above the vegetable in those faculties or operations which for the main are common to both.

3. It superadds a greater and higher perfection to the animal nature, by communicating to it certain essential Faculties and Powers that the vegetable nature hath not: And those are these;

1. Sense. It is true, that Campanella in his Book De Senfu rerum, and some others that have written de Perceptione substantiae, attribute a kind of Sense to all created Beings, and therefore much more to those that have a vegetable life: And in some Vegetables we see something that carries a kind of analogy to Sense; they contract their leaves against the cold, [Page 46] they open them to the favourable heat; they provide teguments for them­selves and their seeds against the injury of the weather, as their cortices, shells; and membranes; they seem to be carried with a complacency in the propagation of their kinds as well as Brutes, and therefore many of them being impeded therein, they germinate again, though later in the year: And some Plants seem to have the sense of Touch, as in the Sen­sitive Plant and some others; which seems to be an advance of the Vege­table Nature to the very confines, or a kind of contiguity to the lowest degree of those Animals that are reckoned in the rank of Sensibles.

But this notwithstanding we deny a real and true sense to Vegetables; indeed, they have a kind of umbra Sensus, a shadow of Sense, as we shall hereafter observe, that Sensibles have a kind of umbra Rationis, a shadow of Reason, but it is only a shadow thereof. 2. There are also in their natures by the wise God of Nature implanted even in their vegetable natures certain passive Strictures or Signatures of that Wisdom which hath made and ordered all things with the highest reason, even the least inconsiderable Herb; and these Signatures are bound to their natures by certain connatural instincts planted in them; but still they want the active principle of Sense in them.

Now this Sense or Sensitive Faculty in Animals is of two kinds; the external Senses, and the internal. The external Senses are five, all which belong to the more perfect Animals; and that of the Soul to all Animals, viz. Seeing, Heiring, Tasting, Smelling, and Touching.

And it is admirable to consider that the great Lord of Nature hath so disposed of sensible Beings, that although (for ought we know) there may be many more impressions or motions of external Bodies that we know not by their communication unto Sense, because we have not Fa­culties receptive of them. Yet the Faculties of the five Senses are ade­quate and proportioned to all those impressions of Objects from with­out that are conducible to the use and well-being of Animals in a sensible station or nature.

The internal Senses are of two kinds, viz. 1. Such as concern per­ception of Objects: 2. Such as concern the motion to them as useful, or from them as noxious.

Those of the first sort have some adumbration of the Rational Nature, as Vegetables have of the Sensible, and they seem to be these; the Com­mon Sense, the Phantasie, the Estimative Faculty, and the Memory.

The Common Sense, or Commune Sensorium, which receives the several reports of the several Senses by their several Nerves into that common receptacle or seat of this useful office, the Brain; where it distinguisheth the Objects of the several Sensories.

The Phantasie, that in a way unsearchable unto us, 1. Creates the [...]Images of the things delivered from the several Senses to the Commune Sensorium: 2. Compounds those Images into some things not unlike Propositions, though confusedly and indistinctly: 3. Makes particular applications of them one to another, though still darkly and confusedly, whereby it excites the Appetite either to prosecute their attainment, or fly from them.

The Estimative Faculty, which is indeed no other than the last ope­ration or composition of the Phantasie before-mentioned, whereby it [Page 47] concludes that this is a sensible good or a sensible evil, that it is attainable or feasible, or not attainable; that though it be good, yet sometimes it is not safe to be attempted by reason of the impendence of a greater sensible evil. This seems to be the dark and confused shadow of the decision of the practical Intellect in Man.

The Memory, which is an impression of the Image of some sensible Object made by the Phantasie, which remains some time after, the im­pression, and by the return of a like Objedt again is sometimes revived and reinforced: But how this Image is made, where it is imprinted, how conserved, are things we cannot at all attain the knowledge of; they are wonderfull, though common effects of a most wise and stupen­dious Wisdom and Power that hath thus constituted even the Faculties of the Animal Nature: Only it seems to me that these Images are not made in the Brain it self, as the Pencil of a Painter or Engraver makes the Image in the Table or Metal, but are imprinted in a wonderfull me­thod in the very Soul it self: For it is plain that Sounds and Voices are remembred, and yet no real configurations are possible to be made thereof in the Brain; for what Image can there be of a Sound?

Now as to that Faculty or those Faculties that concern the pursuit or flight of what is thus propounded by the Phantasie or Estimative Faculty, they are generally two: The Appetitus naturalis, which bears some analogy to the Will in the Reasonable Nature; and the acts thereof are either prosecution of the Sensible Object propounded, if presented by the Phantasie and Estimative Faculty as good; or else aversation from it, if presented as evil.

This is the Faculty of Empire or Command, for in conformity to the determination of the Appetite the motion of the Body follows.

The other Faculties that concern pursuit or aversation, are the Pas­sions, the Satellites appetitus, serving either in the prosecution of the good propounded, as Love, Desire, &c. or in opposition of the evil presented, as Anger, Revenge, &c.

And thus far touching the Senses in Animals, both External and In­ternal.

2. The second superadded prelation of the sensible nature above the vegetable is the faculty and exercise of animal and local motion, whereas Vegetables have naturally no other motion but that which is determined and natural, and what is within it self; as the motion of Attraction, Digestion, Nourishment, Augmentation and Increase. Animals have the faculty and power of animal motion; which hath these accessions, 1. It is or may be spontaneous; for though the object moves objectively, yet the faculty or power moves ab intrinseco, and spontaneously. 2. It moves the parts spontaneously, the Leg, the Eye, the Ear or any other part, which cannot be done by Vegetables. 3. Again, it can move the whole Compositum from one ubi to another (at least in all Animals except those that are almost in the nature of Plants, called Zoophyta or Plantanimali a) which cannot be done by Plants, who are mancipated and fixed to the place of their station or growth, unless removed by an extrinsecal agent.

3. The third superadded advantage of Animals is their Instincts. It is true, Vegetables have their instincts radicated in their nature, as we [Page 48] have before observed; yea even things Inanimate have certain simple in­stincts, as in the motions of ascent of light bodies, and descent of heavy bodies: But the instincts of Animals are sensible instincts of a more noble kind and nature than those of Vegetables, and such as seem to savour more of an active principle; as sagacity of Brutes in taking their prey, defending themselves, providing against the inclemency of the weather, care for their young, building their nests, and infinite more, which are too long to name.

These are the superadded Faculties of the Animal Nature; and pro­portionate and accommodate to their faculties are their organizations of their Bodies. And in as much as there is great varieties in the tempera­ments, dispositions, faculties and uses of several Animals of several kinds, their organizations are not only fitted to the common natures, uses and powers of sensible Creatures, but every several Species hath its several ac­commodation as well of his Organs as of his Faculties to the exigence, use and convenience of his proper specifical nature.

Thus the ranks of the vegetable perfections are not only included within the rank of sensible Beings, but these have greater perfections in what is common to both, and superadditions of other more noble Facul­ties and Organs not communicable to the former. The Vegetable Nature is indeed like a curious Engin, but it hath but some simple and single motions, like a Watch that gives the hour of the day, or a Trochea with one Wheel: But the Animal Nature is like an Engin that hath a greater composition of Wheels, and more variety of motions and ap­pearances; as one of the compound Engins of Archimedes, or as a Watch, that besides the hour of the day gives the day of the month, the age of the Moon, the place of the Sun in the Zodiack, and other curious Motions wrought by multiplication of Wheels.

Now touching the Sensitive Natures, there have been two extreme opinions, both of them extremely contrary one to another, and yet both of them, as they are delivered by their Authors, untrue.

1. That Opinion that depresseth the natures of sensible Creatures below their just value and estimate, rendring them no more but barely Mecha­nisms or Artificial Engins; such as were Archytas his Dove, Regiomon­tanus his wooden Eagle, or Walchius his iron Spider: that they have no vital Principle of all their various Motions but the meer modifications of Matter, or at least the elementary Fire mingled with their other Matter; that they have no other form or internal principle of Life, Motion, or Sense but that which is relative and results from the disposition, texture, orga­nization and composition of their several Limbs, Members or Organs: This fancy began by Des Cartes in his Fundamenta Physica, and hath been followed and improved by some of his admirers, and particularly much favoured by Honoratus Faber in his Book De Generatione Animalium; and herein they think they have given a fair solution to all the Phaenomena of the Sensitive Nature, and given a fair prelation to the Soul of Man, which they agree to be a substantial Principle of humane actions: But in both these they have been disappointed; for this supposition as it gives not at all a tolerable explication of the Phaenomena of sense and animal motions, so if it did, it would easily administer to a little more confidence and bold­ness, a temptation to resolve all the Motions of the reasonable Soul into [Page 49] the like supposition, only by advancing the Engin or Automaton huma­num into a more curious and complicated constitution: For he that can once suppose that the various modifications of Matter and Motion, and the due organization of the Bodies of Brutes can produce the admirable operations of Sense, Phantasie, Memory, Appetite, and all those instincts which we find in Brutes; is in a fair way of resolving the operation of the Reasonable Nature into the like supposition, only by supposing the organization of the latter somewhat more curiously and exactly disposed and ordered as much above that of Brutes, as theirs is above that of Ve­getables. It is true, the organization of the humane and animal Body, with accommodation to their several functions and offices, is certainly fitted with the most curious and exact Mechanism imaginable; as appears by the structure of the Heart, the Lungs, the Brain, the Tongue, the Hand, the Nerves, the Muscles and all other parts, and the several orders and methods of their motions and adaptations to their several offices, and the exercise by them of those Faculties to whose service they are consigned; This must needs be acknowledged by every man that observes them, or that takes the pains to read the Tracts of those that have written of them; and especially Galen his divine Book De Usu Partium, Des Cartes and Fa­britius concerning the structure of the Eye, the same Fabritius and Steno De motu Musculorum, and divers others.

But that the Principle that sets on work these Organs, and worketh by them, is nothing else but the modification of Matter, or the natural motion thereof thus or thus posited or disposed, or the bare conformation of the Organs, or the inclusion and expansion of any natural inanimate particles of elementary Fire, is most apparently false, even to the view of any that observes or considers impartially.

It is impossible to resolve Perception, Phantasie, Memory, the sagaci­ties and instincts of Brutes, the spontaneousness of many of their animal motions into those Principles, nor are they explicable without supposing some active determinate power, force, or virtue connexed to, and inherent in their Spirits or more subtil parts, of a higher extraction than the bare natural modification or texture of Matter, or disposition of Organs, or, as they are often pleased to stile them, their plexus partium.

Again, it is visible to the Eye, that that power, or virtue, or principle, whatever it is, that in the generative process first immediately formeth and organizeth the parts of the Body, is that which guides, orders and governs all the animal motions of it after: That power which first forms the Brain, the Heart, the Liver, the Eye, is that which afterward increa­seth, augmenteth, exerciseth and employeth them after: And no man living can force himself to imagin that that Principle which forms, or­ganizeth, disposeth, and modifieth the parts, is any thing that results from the organization or modification of those parts which are not yet moulded or framed, but must have its modification from that Principle which is antecedent to any manner of organization or texture of parts into an animal composition: No man therefore that hath not abjured his Reason, and sworn allegiance to a preconceived fantastical Hypothesis, can undertake the defence of such a supposition, if he have but the patience impartially to consider and look about him.

2. The other extreme Opinion seems to advance the Animal Nature [Page 50] too high, at least without a due allay of their general expression; namely, those who attribute Reason and a reasoning faculty or power to Animals as well as to Men, though not altogether in the same degree of perfe­ction: so that they will not have Reason to be the specifical or constitutive difference of the Humane Nature, but common to them and Brutes: This Opinion seems generally to be favoured by the Pythagoreans, that held Transmigration of Souls; by Plutarch, in Grillo, and his second Oration De Esu Carnium; by Sextus Empiricus, Contra Mathematicos; by Por­phyry, Lib. 3. de Abstinentia ab Esu Animalium; which he endeavours to prove and illustrate by divers reasons and instances; and among the latter by Patricius in his fifth Book de Animis irrationalibus; but above all by the ingenious and learned De Chambre in his Book of the Knowledge of Beasts, wherein he asserts not only the simple apprehension of Beasts by phantasms or images wrought by the Phantasie, but the conjunction of images with affirmations and negations, which make up Propositions, and the conjunction of Propositions one to another, and illation of Con­clusions upon them, which is Ratiocination or Discourse: And that in farther evidence thereof there is a certain kind of Language whereby Beasts or Birds, especially of the same Species, communicate their con­ceptions one to another; only this discursive Ratiocination of Brutes he calls Ratio imaginativa, and differenceth it from Ratio intellectualis which belongs properly to Men, principally in this, That the imaginative or brutal Ratiocination keeps still in particulars, and within the verge of particular propositions and conclusions; but intellectual Reason hath to do with universals, and for the most part grounds and directs its Ratio­cination by them.

Touching the thing called Reason, we must consider that it hath a double acceptation: 1. It is taken for every conduct of any thing by fitting means to fitting ends, or the due and convenient ordering and adapting of one thing to another; and this again seems to be of three kinds, viz. Active, Passive, or Mixt: i. That I call Active Reason which from an inward intellective principle orders and disposeth, as the Watch-maker contrives, orders, and disposeth the several parts of the Watch, so that it excites a regular and useful motion: 2. The Passive Reason (which is more properly Reasonableness) is that order and con­gruity which is impressed upon the thing thus wrought; as in the Watch I see every thing moves duly and orderly, and the reason of the motion of the Ballance is by the motion of the next Wheel, and that by the motion of the next, and that by the motion of the Fusee, and that by the motion of the Spring; the whole frame, order and contexture of the Watch carries a reasonableness in it, the passive impression of the Reason or intellectual Idea that was in the Artist: 3. The Mixt sort of Reason seems to be when a thing concurrs actively and from an internal prin­ciple, and (in things that have life) vitally, to the production of a reason­able effect; but yet per modum instrumenti, and in the virtue of a superiour direction of a reasonable agent: Thus when I plow my ground, my Horse is harnessed and chained to my Plough, and put in his track or surrow, and guided by my Whip and my Tongue, and so draws on my Plough, and this reasonable work is performed actively and vitally by my Brute in the virtue of my direction. And certainly this kind of latter Reason [Page 51] is evident not only in the brute Beasts in their instincts and operations, but also in Vegetables, and almost in all things in Nature; for they are all indued with a certain inherent activity, which is nevertheless implanted, directed, ordered and determined by the great Creator in the Laws of their several constitutions: The process of nutrition and generation not only in Animals but even in Vegetables is done with the highest Reason, exceeding the imitation of the Humane Reason; the Birds making their Nests, ordering their Eggs and moving them in incubation, feeding and disciplining their young, is done with the most exquisite reason and con­gruity thereunto, beyond the artifice of the most ingenious man. And it must needs be so; for though they concur actively from an internal Principle to the production of the effect, yet they are determined therein and there­unto, and their track ordered for them and to them by the Laws of their nature instituted and imprinted on them by the unimitable Wisdom of the highest intellectual Being. This mixed or instrumental Reason, as I may call it, therefore all must agree to belong not only to Brutes, but almost to all things in Nature, and herein differs from Reason or Reasonableness which I before call simply passive, in that it immediately proceeds from the internal active Principles implanted by God in their natures.

2. But there is another kind of Reason which we call Ratiocination, or Discursus rationalis, which consists principally in these three things, though the two former without the latter make not up a compleat Ratio­cination: 1. The simple apprehension of things themselves, which is done by images or representations thereof, made either by the Intellect, or by the representations made thereunto by the Phantasie: 2. The com­pounding of the images or representation of things with an affirmation or negation; this makes a Proposition: 3. The composition of several Propositions among themselves, and drawing from them Conclusions; and this is called Syllogismus, Ratiocination or Discourse.

But though this be the analysis of Ratiocination into which by a care­ful attention it may be resolved, we are not to think all sort of reasoning or ratiocination, even in Men themselves, is presently by way of explicit or formed Syllogisms, or artificial Moods and Figure. Some consecutions are so intimately and evidently connexed to or found in the premisses, that the conclusion is attained quasi per saltum, and without any thing of ratiocinative process, and as the Eye sees his object immediately and without any previous discourse; so in objects intellectual many evident truths or principles are primo intuitu assented unto: as in objects of Sense the action is elicited per saltum; as many times when a Horse is hungry and comes to a good pasture, he falls to his food immediately without forming Mr. Chambre's Syllogism,

  • This green is grass,
  • This grass is good to eat,
  • Therefore this green is good to eat.

But the transitus from the Sense to the Phantasie, and from that to the Appetite, and from that to the motion of Eating is immediate, momen­taneous, and per saltum.

[Page 52]In brief, as the vegetable nature, as hath been observed, hath a kind of shadow of the sensible nature, so the sensitive nature hath a kind of shadow of the truly rational nature; their Reason is but a low, obscure and imperfect shadow thereof, as the Water-gall is of the Rain-bow; and proportionable to their imaginative Reason is their animal Language, which though it be a kind of natural sign of their Imagination and Pas­sions, yet it is infinitely below the perfection of humane Language: For we see that those Birds who by reason of the analogy of their organs by use are taught some words or sentences, yet they never proportion those words to an explication of any distinct conception signified by them, nor can use or apply those words they learn to the things they signifie, nor can they connex their words or sentences in coherence with the matter which they signifie; and commonly have recourse to their wild natural notes when they would express their imaginations or passions, which notes are at the best but like natural interjections, framed by Nature, not by Art, to discover their passions or impressions; and their artificial lan­guage or notes are no other than impressions upon their sensitive Memory by iterated use, and drawn out from them upon the strength of such impression, or by repetition of Objects that excite that Memory.

Thus much I thought good to premise concerning the vegetable and sensitive natures; which may be of some use in the consideration of the rational or humane nature; partly to instance what this latter includes, namely the whole perfection of the vegetable and animal faculties, and partly to discover the preference that the Humane Nature hath above the Animal Life in these most perfect faculties of Intellect, intellectual Reason, and Will.

I shall not here distinctly and fully examine the nature of Man in the whole compass and extent thereof, but shall reserve it to a fuller inquiry; I shall only instance in so much thereof in this place as may be apposite to my purpose, namely, to shew that he is a Creature of most admirable constitution, and such as deserves our inquiry, and such whose first com­posure and origination requires a higher and nobler Constituent than either Chance or the ordinary method of meer Natural causes and con­currences; and that it is such a piece as in its first constitution and ordi­nation requires an Efficient of infinite Power, Wisdom and Goodness: This is the end and scope of my present Inquiry.

Now to give a brief Inventory of the Excellence of the Humane Nature, I shall observe as near as I can this order.

First, I will briefly consider those Excellencies that he hath in common with the vegetable and sensible nature: Secondly, I shall consider those specifical or appropriate Excellencies that he hath above the former, both vegetable and animal nature.

Under the Second general I shall consider Man singly with relation to himself, and then with relation to other things without him.

In relation to himself I shall briefly consider these particulars: 1. The excellency of his Soul or intellectual nature in its nature, faculties, acts and habits; 2. The peculiar excellency of his Body; 3. The peculiar excellency of the Compositum, consisting of both his former essential parts.

In relation to things without him, I shall consider him with relation 1. To God, 2. To Mankind, 3. To the other integrals of the World; [Page 53] and therein 1. Of their serviceableness and accommodation to him; 2. Of his dominion and soveraignty over them, and the means and instruments thereof.

This is the brief Scheme that I intend of those specifical and appropriate preheminences that the Nature of Man hath above other visible Crea­tures.

First therefore, touching those Excellencies that the humane Nature hath above the vegetable and animal Nature, I shall subjoin these ensuing Positions.

1. There is no excellent vegetable or animal Faculty in the vegetable or animal Nature, as such, but it is found in the humane Nature; such as are attraction, nutrition, digestion, conformation of parts digested, proportionable augmentation, generation, sensible perception, common sense, estimative faculty, sensible appetite, locomotive faculty, and animal motion: I meddle not herein with all those smaller sort of Fa­culties, which are peculiarly appropriate to Vegetables or Animals, as swiftness, sagacity, strength, and special artifices, which belong not to them in the common nature of Vegetables or Animals, but by certain specifical Instincts or Faculties, because though it may be some of them are not found in the same kind and degree in the humane Nature, yet they are such as are abundantly recompensed by that art and ingeny which appropriately belongs to the humane Nature.

2. There are no Organs in the sensible Nature (which yet are more perfect than those of the vegetable Nature) subservient to the Faculties of Life and Sense, which are wanting in the constitution of the humane Body, at least in substance and equivalence.

3. Those very Faculties and Organs subservient unto them in the vege­table or sensible Nature, which are found in them, are lodged in the humane Nature in far more excellency and perfection than they are in the vegetable or animal Nature: So that if the Faculties or Organs sub­servient to the vegetable or animal Life in Man, do differ in their state or composure from those of Brutes, it differs for the better, as obtaining a more exquisite perfection, usefulness, beauty, and contexture, than those of Brutes, as may appear in the Hand of Man compared with the Foot of Beasts or Birds; the Foot, the Leg, the Thigh of Man, with those of Beasts, and the like. It is true, the constitution of some Faculties and Organs of Sensibles, is more accommodate to their fabrick and use than the like Organs of Man would be to the use of Brutes; but simply comparing one with another, the Organs of the humane Body are more curious and excellent than the Organs of the bare animal Nature. And from hence it comes to pass, that the full knowledge of the humane Faculties and Organs, subservient to the animal Life in Man, compre­hends in effect all the like Faculties and Organs in the animal Nature, though differing in some particular textures and positions, with a pro­portionable advance by the access of excellence of the humane Nature.

2. As to the specifical or appropriate Excellencies of the humane Na­ture above the most perfect Animals, they come next to be considered.

It is true, that Animals in proportion to the length of their Life attain their complement of their specifical perfection sooner in proportion than the humane Nature: The animal Soul sooner expands and evolves it self [Page 54] to its full orb and extent than the humane Soul: Therefore the Horse that lives naturally about thirty years, comes to his full growth and per­fect exercise of its animal Faculties in four years; but Man, that lives not ordinarily above seventy yeas, comes not to the ripeness of his Intel­lectual Life 'till two and twenty or three and twenty years at least, nor even to his full growth 'till nineteen or twenty: So that what we say concerning Man, in relation to the actings of his Mind, must be applied to that state and age wherein his Soul hath fully as it were evolved it self, and its Organs fully mature and disposed for the actings of his Soul: He is long ripening, but then his maturity, and the complement thereof, recompenseth the flowness of his maturation.

Now the Excellencies appropriate to the humane Nature are, as before, observed of two kinds; 1. such as immediately concern the humane Na­ture it self; or 2. such as are extrinsecal, but yet relating to it.

Those things that are immediately residing in, or part of the humane Nature, come first to be considered: And they are three: 1. His Soul, or intellectual and volitive Principle. 2. His Body, or corporeal part. 3. The Compositum or Coalitum of both those Principles, which complete the humane Nature.

The Soul comes first to be considered, and therein these four things: 1. Its Constitution or Nature. 2. Its Original. 3. Its Faculties. 4. Its congenite Habits or rational Instincts.

1. Touching the Constitution of the Intellectual Soul of Man, I shall not in this place enter into a large discourse concerning it, but reserve that consideration to its proper place, only in general it is 1. An active principle; 2. It is a substantial principle; 3. It is not corporeal or material; 4. It is not corruptible or mortal.

2. Touching its Original, whether it be by traduction, or creation, or participation, I shall not here dispute, but reserve it to its proper place for a fuller disquisition. But whether the one way or the other it had its original, there is no inconsistency but that it hath those essential qualifi­cations above-mentioned.

3. Touching its Faculties, they are two, the Understanding and the Will: And here I shall not concern my self in the Inquiry, whether the Faculties are the same with the Soul it self, or the same one with the other, and only distinct in notion? whether the Will be any more than the complete or ultimate act of the Understanding determined? It is sufficient, that the acting of the Soul as it relates to perception and decision, and as it relates to choice and pursuit, or aversation, are distin­guishable to us, and those notions serve to explicate what we mean in the things we discourse of, as the supposed Circles in the Heavens serve to explicate the appearances thereof. The Understanding or the Intel­lective Faculty (the shadow whereof only is the Phantasie in Brutes, but it is but a shadow of this of Intellect) is a Faculty that not only gradually but essentially differs from and exceeds the perceptive Faculty in Brutes.

Three things there are that give us the best notion we can have of the humane Intellect, and the discrimination thereof from the animal per­ception and imagination: 1. The Objects thereof: 2. The Acts thereof: And 3. The Habits thereof.

1. The Object of the humane Intellect is omne intelligibile, which is of [Page 55] a far larger extent than the Object of sensible perception or imagination, which as it exceeds not the province of sensible Objects, so it is in order to the convenience of a sensible Life. For instance: When a Brute sees a Man, it sees his colour, figure, motion, bulk, and by the advantage of Memory or Instinct it comes to him, or flyes from him, as it hath received, or thinks it like to receive good or evil by him, but it per­ceives not substance. These Objects, among many other that might be instanced, fall under the perception of the Intellective, which seem not to be within the verge of Imagination or sensible perception: 1. The Notion of a Spirit, or substance void of corporeity. 2. Universals, or conception of things as conjoined in one common nature or notion, abstracted from the Individuals thereof. 3. Abstracted conceptions, as entity, corporeity, &c. 4. Though Brutes may be able to apprehend multitude, as things more than singular, yet they cannot have a distinct notion of Number. 5. Though they may have a confused imagination of something as past, or future, yet it is without distinction of Time, or the notion of it. 6. The truth of consequence in or from the ante­cedent. 7. The actings of the Mind or Imagination it self, by way of reflection or introspection of themselves, are discernible by Man distinctly, but at least not distinctly by Brutes. 8. The truth and evidence of Geo­metrical Demonstration. 9. The reason or just estimate of connexion of things to their Causes. 10. The moral goodness and congruity, or evilness, unfitness, and unseasonableness of moral or natural actions; which falls not within the verge of a brutal faculty. 11. The Notions of a Deity, and the result thereupon, namely, Religion, is not to be found in Brutes, but seems connatural to the humane Nature, as shall be shewn.

2. The Intellectual Acts, and they are many:

1. Intellectual Perception, which greatly differs from imaginative or sensitive perception, as far above it: For in those things where the root of intellective perception is in the sense and phantasie, the perception intel­lective oftentimes departs from and corrects the report of the phantasie, as in the apparent bigness of the Sun, the apparent crookedness of the Staff in a double medium of Air and Water; though this kind of Intel­lective Perception be not without the help of Ratiocination.

2. Intellective Ratiocination, which infinitely exceeds that imagina­tive Ratiocination which some have attributed to Brutes. 1. It is distinct, and with a distinct knowledge of the terms, which in Brutes is confused, 2. It is founded for the most part in Universals, which is not compatible to imaginative Ratiocination. 3. The thread and train of Consequences in intellective Ratiocination is often long, and chained together by divers Links, which cannot be done in imaginative discourse or ratiocination by some attributed to Brutes, which if the transitus from the premisses to the conclusion be not very speedy and short, that imperfect Ratiocination is lost in Brutes.

And here I shall again a little resume the former Consideration touching the imaginary Reasoning of Brutes, which I have before called the Image of Reason, and not truly Reason; for it is not a distinct reasoning, but performed in a physical moment: And though we suppose Subject, and Predicate, and Copula, and Propositions, and Syllogistical Connexions [Page 56] in their Reasoning, there is no such matter, but the entire business is at the same moment present with them without deducing one thing from another, though we form them into notions of distinct acts; and this acting of the sentient Phantasie is performed, 1. By a presence of sense, as the Horse is under the sense of hunger, and that without any formal Syllogism presseth him to eat: the fire burns the Cats foot, and therefore it pulleth it away because the immediate sense of pain enforceth it. 2. By the presence of Memory; the Dog hath been beaten for taking the meat out of the dish, and the next time he sees it there, though he be hungry yet he dares not venture, for his imaginative Memory makes the past strokes as present to him as if he felt them. 3. By the presence of In­stinct, which puts him upon those motions that are most evidently as reasonable as any thing can be, and yet without the intervention of Ratiocination. For instance, Every Creature almost hath certain Instru­ments for its defence, and the offence of its enemies, exactly fitted for their use, and they have that singular dexterity in using them that the most disciplined Fencer cannot equal: The Cock, for instance, hath his Spurs, and he strikes his Feet inward with singular strength and order, and it is not possible he should use his Spurs with greater reason for his advan­tage; yet he doth not this by any syllogistical method, or by Ratioci­nation, but is meerly tutored to it by Instinct, which is present with him, and at hand without any discursive Reasoning. And this appears, because while it is yet a Chick, and hath no Spurs, nor cannot hurt by it, nor yet hath seen the like motion before to imitate or learn it; yet he readily practiseth it. And to these three present impulses of Sense, Memory, and Instinct, most if not all the sagacities of Brutes may be reduced without the help of true Ratiocination or discursive Reason; though witty men by Analytical resolution have Chymically extracted an artificial Logick out of all their actions.

3. Intellective Memory, which I call an act of the intellective faculty because it is wrought by it, though I do not inquire how or where, because it is not solvible: The specifical preferences that it hath above the sensible Memory are these; 1. That it remembers and retains such things as were never at all in the Sense, as the conceptions, enuntiations and actions of the Intellect and Will; the conviction of truth or falshood of propositions or reasonings; the conceptions of universals: whereas the sensitive Memory retains nothing but sensible Objects, or their Images wrought by the Phantasie. 2. In that it is more complicated and com­plex than the sensitive Memory, retaining the series of propositions, argumentations, and a long tract of historical narratives. 3. In that it is more distinct and unconfused than the sensitive Memory. 4. In that it is firmer, and more fixed and permanent than the sensitive Memory. 5. In that it can resuscitate and stir up it self to remember and call toge­ther other Images or media to retrive what it once remembred; which is Reminiscence, an act of intention, which therefore Aristotle in his Book De Memoria & Reminiscentia makes an act peculiar to Man; whereas the Memory of Brutes is either conserved by the Images impressed by the Imagination, and there continued, or revived and reinforced by the oc­currence of external Objects bearing an identity or resemblance to the Images at first impressed by the Phantasie.

[Page 57]4. Deliberation; a staid and attentive consideration of things to be known and their media, and of their several weights, conclusiveness, or evidence; and of things to be done and their media, their congruity, suitableness, possibility and convenience, and of the several circumstances aptly conducible thereunto; which is an act far above the animal actings, which are sudden and transient, and admit not of that attention, mora, and propendency of actions.

5. Judgment; either concerning things to be known, of the weight and concludency of them and ends in decision; or of things done or to be done, of their congruity, fitness, rightness, appositness: and this if it refers to things to be done, ends in determination or purpose; if in re­lation to things already done, then in sentence of approbation or disap­probation: And hither that which we call Conscience is to be referred, namely, if by a due comparison of things done with the rule, there be a consonancy follows the sentence of Approbation; if discordant from it, the sentence of Condemnation.

And this act of the Judgment in relation to things to be done, and the determination thereupon, is that which is usually stiled the last decision of the practical Understanding immediately antecedent to the decree of the Will, which it must follow by a kind of moral necessity, when it acts as a reasonable Faculty, and in the due state and order of its nature; though by its liberty and empire it sometimes suspends its concurrence. And thus far concerning the Acts of the Understanding.

3. Concerning intellectual Habits or the genuine effects of these acts in the understanding Faculty, and they are divers and diversly expressed by those that have treated thereof.

1. Opinion, when the assent of the Understanding is so far gained by evidence of probability, that it rather inclines to one perswasion than to another, yet not altogether without a mixture of incertainty or doubting.

2. Science or Knowledge effected by such evidence, cui non potest subesse falsum; as in case of demonstrative evidence.

3. Fides, or Faith, or Belief, which rests upon the relation of another that we have no reasonable cause to suspect; and upon this account we believe Divine Revelation when we are sufficiently convinced that it is Divine Revelation; we also believe our Senses, because we have the greatest Moral evidence that we can reasonably have of the truth of their reports, when they are not controlled by apparent Reason, impossibility, or improbability: We believe good and credible persons, and this prin­cipally referrs to matter of fact, which we cannot or do not controll by our Senses or other weighty evidence; as that there was such a man as Julius Caesar, that there is such a place as Rome, though we never saw the one or the other; because delivered over to us by credible persons, and such who could probably have no end to deceive us.

4. Wisdom; which is a complicated habit referring to all things to be known and done, the due comparison of things and actions, and the preference of them according to their various natures and degrees.

5. Prudence; which is principally in reference to actions to be done, the due means, order, season, method of doing or not doing.

6. Moral Virtues; as Justice, Temperance, Sobriety, Fortitude, [Page 58] Patience, &c. for these begin in the Intellect, though their exercise belong principally to the faculty of the Will.

7. Arts Liberal or Mechanical; for though the exercise of those (in which the formal nature of an Art consists) be external, yet the Ideal notion and habit of them begins in the Understanding; and a man is first a Geometrician in his Brain, before he be such in his Hand.

And all these habits of the intellectual Faculty are far advanced above what is found in Sensible Natures; take the last for instance. It is true, we find a rare dexterity in the Spider and Silkworm in framing of their threads, but this proceeds not from any Intellectual principle in them, but from an Instinct connatural to them, and whereunto they are deter­mined by the Law of their nature; again, we find in the Fox, the Hawk, and other Animals admirable sagacities, wiles and subtilties in getting their prey and in defending themselves: But when we consider the saga­city of the Humane Understanding, although the particular Instincts of some Animals are scarce imitable by it, yet it exceeds them in other things almost of the same nature, and so by way of equivalence, or rather pre­lation in those very Instincts; witness the Arts of Painting, Tapestry, Fortification, Architecture, the Engins whereby noxious and subtil Ani­mals are subdued, and infinite more arising from the fruitfulness of the Understanding and the dexterity of the Hand. And thus much touching the Intellective Faculty, the seat of intellective Perception and Counsel: I come to consider of that other Faculty, the Will, the seat of Empire and Authority.

The Will therefore is that other great Faculty of the Reasonable Soul, and it is not a bare appetitive power as that of the sensual appetite, but is a rational appetite, and is considerable, 1. In its Nature, 2. In its Object, 3. In its Acts.

1. The Nature of this Faculty is that it is free, domina suarum actionum, free from compulsion, and so spontaneous, and free from determination by the particular Object, wherein it differs from the sensitive appetite, which though spontaneous, because moving from an inward principle, yet is, if not altogether, yet for the most part determined in its choice by the external Object. But how far forth the Will is determined by the last act of the practick Understanding, or how far such a determination is, or is not consistent with the essential or natural liberty of the Will, is not seasonable here to dispute. This liberty of Will, together with that other Faculty of Understanding, is that which renders the humane Nature properly capable of a Law, and of the consequence of Law, Rewards and Punishments; which doth not properly belong to the animal Nature, because destitute of these two Faculties.

2. The Object of the Will is not confined to a sensible Good, but is much larger, namely, such a Good as is compatible to an Intellectual Nature in its full latitude, such as are moral and supernatural Good.

3. The Acts of this Faculty are generally divided into Volition, No­lition, and Suspension: That division that herein better suits with my purpose are these, Election and Empire.

1. Election or choice, and this in reference both to means and end; for though the Schools tell us, that Electio is only mediorum & non finis, this is to be intended of the general end or good at large, and in its uni­versal [Page 59] conception, for when several particular ends are in proposal, there is belonging to the Will a power of Election of these, as well as of the means to attain them.

2. The Imperium voluntatis over the Body and the Faculties: We may observe in the humane as well as the animal Body two kinds of motions or exertions of Faculties; some are stiled natural or involuntary, such is the motion of the Heart, the Circulation of the Blood, the perception of the Senses; when the Organs are open, and the Object applied, these natural, though vital Faculties and Motions, are not under the com­mand of the Will immediately, for whether I will or will not, while I live, my Heart beats, my Blood circulates, my Ventricle digests what is in it, my Eye sees when open. But there be other Motions in the humane, and also in the animal Nature, that are subject to the command of the Will in Man, and to the appetite in Brutes, as local motion, which in Animals is under the regiment of the Appetite, in Man under the regiment of the Will.

Now this Imperium voluntatis may be considered in relation,

1. To it self: It can suspend its own acting, either of electing or re­jecting.

2. To the Understanding: Though it cannot suspend its perception, omnibus ad percipiendum requisitis adhibitis, yet it may suspend its decision or determination, or at least its obsequium to such decision.

3. The Passions, which are as it were the Satellites voluntatis, and follow the command of the Will, where the Will acts according to its power and authority.

4. To the animal Spirits, and the Vessels in which they are received when designed to Motion, namely the Nerves and Muscles, those are all subject to the Empire of the Will, as to Local Motion of the whole Body or any part thereof, when the Spirits, Nerves and Muscles are in their due and natural state.

5. To the sensual Appetite: And indeed herein is evident both the Empire and Sovereignty of the Will, and also the visible discrimination between the Humane Nature and the Animal or Brutal Nature, and its preference before it. In the animal Nature it is evident that the sensual Appetite is that which hath and exerciseth the sovereignty and dominion over the spontaneous actions of the animal Nature, that commands the Foot to go, the Mouth to eat, and all other the spontaneous motions in order to a sensible good: But in Man the sensual Appetite is Regimen sub graviere regimine, the government of the Appetite is under the govern­ment of the Will and controlled by it, at least where the reasonable Fa­culty is not embased and captived by ill custom or disorder. And this appears two ways:

1. Sometimes the very motion of the Appetite it self is restrained by the Empire of the Will, so that a man doth not appetere that sensible good which otherwise he might or would, because he will not; and this is the most natural and noble regiment of the Will over the sensual Appetite.

2. Though it may fall out that the sensual Appetite may appetere bonum sensibile, yet the Will may and doth controll the empire of the Appetite in the execution of that appetition: As for instance, A man sees delicious [Page 60] fruit, and he desires it; in so much, that were there not a controll over the empire of his Appetite, it would command the Hand to reach it, and the Mouth to eat it: But the contrary command of the Will supersedes the command of the Appetite; the Appetite desires it, but the Hand is forbidden by the Will to reach it.

Now if any man shall say this contradiction appears, not only in the reasonable Nature, but even in the sensible: The sensible Appetite is checked in its execution oftentimes by sensual Fear, as in Dogs and Horses, and other Brutes, yea sometimes by the remembrance of a former suffering for the like attempt to gratifie his sensual Appetite; and yet they are destitute of any superior faculty of Will to interpose a prohibition upon the Appetite. I answer, this is true, for in such cases the impen­dent Fear is either present or in memory, and so expected; and it being of a sensible evil, hath the same influence upon the sensual Appetite as the present good; and therefore if the evil feared or impendent be a greater sensible evil than the good, it over-rules the Appetite to aver­sation; as the Fish that loves the bait, yet feareth the hook, which it discerns as a greater sensible evil, the very Appetite is thereby determined to aversation.

But the controll of the Will upon the Appetite in the reasonable Na­ture, is many times, and indeed most often done, not upon the account of a sensible evil felt or feared, which of it self were sufficient to deter­min the Appetite; but sometimes upon the account of such hopes or fears as fall not under a sensitive notice, as of the command or prohibition by God; yea many times upon a bare Moral account of the indecorum, un­reasonableness, unseasonableness or utter unfitness of the thing it self, with­out any other motive of fear either of a present or future sensible incon­venience thereby; which Moral consideration can no way move the sensible Appetite, were it not for the Will, which being a rational Faculty is moved by it.

And this is all that I shall say touching the two great Faculties of the Soul, the Understanding and Will: I shall not add any thing here touching Passions or Affections of the Mind, 1. Because they are but a kind of appendices to the Will, the Satellites voluntatis; those of the concupisci­ble kind being as it were the flowers of the motion of Volition, those of the irascible kind the flowers of the motion of Aversation. 2. Because the Passions for the most part are found in the sensible Nature, namely those of love, hatred, delight, grief, expectation and fear; and therefore I shall not here treat of them.

3. I come now to consider of those rational Instincts as I call them, the connate Principles engraven in the humane Soul; which though they are Truths acquirable and deducible by rational consequence and argumentation, yet they seem to be inscribed in the very crasis and texture of the Soul antecedent to any acquisition by industry or the exer­cise of the discursive Faculty in Man, and therefore they may be well called anticipations, prenotions, or sentiments characterized and engraven in the Soul, born with it, and growing up with it till they receive a check by ill customs or educations, or an improvement and advancement by the due exercise of the Faculties. I shall shew first what they are: Secondly, what moves me to think that such are connatural.

[Page 61]1. Touching the former, I think those implanted and connatural anti­cipations are these; namely, That there is a God; that he is of greatest Power, Wisdom, Goodness, and Perfection; that he is pleased with good, and displeased with evil; that he is placable; that he is to be feared, honoured, loved, worshipped, and obeyed; that he will reward the good, and punish the evil; a secret sentiment of the immortality of the Soul, or that it survives the Body to be capable of rewards and punishments, according to its deportment in this life; certain common notions of Moral good and evil, of decorum and turpe; that faith and promises are to be kept; that a man must do as he would be done by; that the obscene parts and actions, though otherwise natural, are not to be exposed to publick view, obvelatio pudendorum; that a man must be grateful for bene­fit received; These, and some such common notions or intimate propen­sions seem to be con naturally engraven in the Soul antecedently to any discursive Ratiocination; and though they are not so distinct and expli­cite, yet they are secret Byasses inclining the humane Nature primarily to what is useful and convenient for it in proportion to the state of an intellectual Nature: That as we see in Brutes, besides the exercise of their Faculties of sensitive Perception and Imagination, there are lodged in them certain sensible Instincts antecedent to their imaginative Faculty, whereby they are pre-determined to the good and convenience of the sen­sible Life: So there are lodged in the very crasis and constitution of the Soul certain rational Instincts whereby it is pre-disposed, inclined, and byassed to the good and convenience proportionable to a rational and intellectual Life; a certain congenite stock of rational Sentiments and Inclinations which may go along with him, and fairly incline him to such a trade and way as is suitable to the good of his Nature; so that he is not left barely to the undetermination, incertainty, and unsteadiness of the operation of his Faculties, without a certain secret and gentle pre-disposition of them to what is right, decent, and convenient for their manage and guidance by these common anticipations, inclinations, and connatural Characters engraven in the Soul. 2. And that which in­clines me to believe this, is not only the congruity of the supposition to the convenience of the humane Nature, and the instance of the sensible Instincts in the animal Nature proportionate to their convenience, and the great importance of them to the convenience thereof: But also that which is observable in the attentive consideration of the manners of Man­kind in general, which seems to have those common sentiments in them, and to accord in them in a very great measure; and though evil Customs and Education much prevails among men, yet it doth not wholly ob [...] ­literate these sentiments, at least from the generality of Mankind.

It must be agreed that these rational Instincts, as I call them, are not always so vigorous and uniform in their actings as the animal Instincts of Brutes are in their kind, which partly proceeds from that liberty of Will that is in the humane Nature which many times suspends or inter­rupts their energy and operation, partly from that mixture of the sentient Appetite with the actings of the reasonable Soul, which oftentimes trans­port it: Even the more simple and uncompounded any Nature is, the more uniform are its motions and actings; the natural Instincts and Pro-portions even of things inanimate (as of heavy Bodies to descend) are [Page 62] more uniform than the very Instincts of Brutes, who have a more com­plicated form or nature; But as this accidental interruption of rational Instincts doth not disprove their existences, so Man hath a greater advan­tage by the exercise of his Reason and intellective Faculties, to remove those interruptions, and improve those connatural Sentiments or rational Instincts to his singular use and benefit, which abundantly recompenceth those Interruptions.

And if any shall say that there are or may be other means of propa­gation of those motions and inclinations in Men, namely, 1. A Tra­ditional traduction of them into the World; and 2. The Exercise of the humane Intellectual Faculties upon the occurrence and observation of external Objects and Events: I answer,

1. As touching Traditional communication and traduction of those Truths that I call connatural and engraven, I do not doubt but many of those Truths have had the help of that derivation: But, first, such a Tradition possibly hath not been without interruptions by evil Edu­cation, and yet these Sentiments have obtained almost in all Ages and Places, though not without interspersion of certain corrupt additaments, obtained likewise by evil Custom or Education. But secondly, it can­not reasonably be supposed that a Tradition could so constantly and uni­versally prevail and obtain among Mankind, unless there were some com­mon consonancy and congruity of somewhat inherent in Nature which suits, corresponds and suffragates to that Tradition, and closeth with it, and accepts it.

2. As to the other, concerning the Exercise and Actings of our Intel­lectual Faculties, it must needs be agreed that those that I call Conna­tural Principles are in themselves highly reasonable, and deducible by a strong process of Ratiocination to be most true and most convenient; and consequently the high exercise of Ratiocination or intellective Dis­course might evince their truth and excellency, though there were no such originally inscribed in the Mind: But this no more concludes against the supposition, than it would conclude against the supposition of implanted Instincts in Brutes; which as they are in themselves highly reasonable and useful to their ends, and evincible by true Reason to be such, as it may be any thing we know: So also many, though not all the actings of those Instincts might possibly in the Brutes themselves be elicited by a strong intention and exercise of their Phantasie and sensible Perception, Ratiocination, and Connatural Implantation, are but several means or discoveries of the same thing which in it self is most highly reasonable; only the latter is for the most part less difficult, and readier at hand. But to the Objection.

1. Let any man but duly consider how few men there are in the World that are capable in respect of the meanness of their Parts and Education, to act and improve their Intellects or Faculties to so high a strain as the eliciting of those that I call Connatural Principles by the strength of their Intellectual Operation; this requires very choice Parts, great at­tention of Mind, sequestration from the importunity of Secular employ­ments, and a long advertent and deliberate connexing of Consequents; which falls not in the common road of ordinary men, but of Philoso­phers, Metaphysical heads, and such as have had a more refined education, [Page 63] which is not the thousandth part of Mankind; Other men require a more easie and familiar access to these Truths and Inclinations; and yet we see that these Sentiments are not confined to the Literati of man­kind.

2. Again, I appeal to the most knowing men in the World that have but had the leisure to think seriously and converse with themselves, and that have kept their Minds free from the fumes of intemperance and excess, passion and perturbation; whether next under Divine Revelation their best and clearest sentiments of Morality at least have not been ga­thered from the due animadversion and inspection of their own Minds, and the improving of that stock of Morals that they there find, and the transcribing of that Original which they found first written there: It is true, that it is with the connatural Principles inscribed in our Minds as it is with our Faculties, they lye more torpid, and inactive, and inevi­dent, unless they are awakened and exercised, like a spark involved in ashes; and being either suppressed or neglected they seem little better than dead, but being diligently attended, inspected and exercised, they expand and evolve themselves into more distinction and evidence of themselves. And therefore it was not without some kind of probability that some of the Ancients thought that Science was little else than Memory or Re­miniscence, a discovery of what was in the Soul before. But whatever may be said of other matters, certainly the first draughts and strictures of Natural Religion and Morality are naturally in the Mind.

And hence some thinking men have thought that the specifical dif­ference of the humane Nature is Propension to Religion, and therefore define Man to be Animal religiosum, which could not be from any habit barely acquisite by the exercise of Faculties, unless the same were radically engraven in the very texture of his Soul.

I shall add but this one thing more: It is plain that the existence of a Deity as a Being of infinite Perfection, and consequently of infinite Goodness and Justice to reward and punish, and of infinite Power and Wisdom, is a truth that is highly rational and demonstrable by the exer­cise of intellectual Faculties upon the consideration of the Universe and its several parts; and possibly the Immortality of the Soul is evincible by very great reason: But these great truths are not communicated barely by one kind of means, and it is needful, in respect of their use, they should all have all contributions, and not only Brains to pursue a long train of consequences. And yet we shall find in the generality of mankind (espe­cially when death begins to draw towards them) a very quick and active demonstration of these convictions, and possibly many times more vi­gorous and active than that rational conviction that is wrought by Spe­culation and Syllogisms; which evidenceth that these Principles of the existence of a most righteous and powerful God, and a state of rewards and punishments after death, are more universally engraven in the Crasis of the Soul by Almighty God in its natural constitution than barely by the exercise of Faculties in Speculation and Ratiocination.

And herein it must be remembred that I am in this Discourse still in the outward Court of the Gentiles, discoursing only as a reasonable Man, and not taking in the assistance of the Christian Doctrine and those subsidia divinae gratiae that relate thereunto.

[Page 64]Therefore to conclude this point, There seems to be two means of communicating and preserving in the Soul and Conscience these great speculative and moral Principles whereof I have even now treated, viz. 1. That which I here call Connatural, or a certain rational Instinct en­graven in the very Make and constitution of it: And as those that write of Conscience tell; us it hath three offices or acts, Synteresis, Syneidesis, and Epicrisis; so those Principles are lodged in that Chest of the Con­science called Synteresis.

2. A second means of attaining and keeping and improving these connatural Sentiments or rational Instincts both speculative and moral, is that admirable adaptation of the Faculties of the humane Soul to those Principles and Sentiments, that as the Eye discerns light and colour by a congruity between the visive Faculty and the visible Object, and as the Palate tasts and relisheth its meat by the congruity between the Faculty and the Object, whereby it judgeth of what is good and embraceth it, and what is evil to it, and rejects it: So in the humane Faculties, those of his Intellect and Will there is a proportionating of the Faculties to the Object, whereby the former discerns truth from falshood, and moral good from moral evil, honestum & decorum from indecens & turpe; and accordingly the Will, when it acts regularly and as it should, accepts or rejects it: But as the estimative Faculty in Brutes is nevertheless con­sistent with their connatural Instincts, which latter have still excellent use in the sentient Province; so this adaptation of the Faculties in Man to their Objects doth not exclude those connatural, implanted, rational Instincts in the humane Nature, but both consist together, and are of admirable use to the humane Soul.

And thus far concerning the Soul of Man, its Faculties and In­stincts.

I come now to consider of the structure and fabrick of the humane Body, and that not at large, for that will be for another place, but briefly and summarily to give an account of some of those appropriate and dis­criminating notices wherein it differs from and hath preference above the most perfect brutal Nature: And they are such as either concern the entire Fabrick of the Body, or such as concern some special Parts or Inte­grals thereof: but I shall mingle them together as followeth.

1. There is in the humane Fabrick a greater Majesty and Beauty than in any Animal in the World besides; and that appears, 1. In the erect­ness of his posture; all other Animals have transverse Bodies, as Birds and Beasts, and though some do raise themselves upon their hinder legs to an upright posture, yet they cannot endure it long, it is unnatural and uneasie to them, neither are the figures or junctures or order of their Bones, Nerves, and Muscles fitted to such a posture. And it is obser­vable, that the structure of Man's Body is with that equilibration (not­withstanding divers prominences therein) the composure of his Nerves and Muscles for the due motion of his Spirits, the structure of his Feet are so singularly accommodated; that he maintains this erect posture standing or walking, though his Feet, the Basis of the Pillar of his Body, be much narrower than the latitude of his Body. 2. In the Majesty of his Face and Eyes. 3. In the Beauty of his Face: Beauty consists principally in these things, Figure, Symmetry, and Colour. No Bird, or terrestrial [Page 65] Animal exhibits its Face in the native colour of its Skin but Man; all others are covered with Feathers, or Hair, or a Cortex that is obduced over the Cutis, as in Elephants and some sort of Indian Dogs; and though in the torrid Climates the common colour is black or swarthy, yet the natural colour of the temperate Climates is more transparent and beau­tiful.

2. There is no Animal hath any Organ of equal use to the Arm and Hand of a Man, that Organum organorum, an Organ accommodate to all the useful motions, operations, arts and uses of his life: Man is born with­out any offensive or defensive weapons like to those of other Animals, but by the usefulness and accommodation of this Organ and his Intelle­ctive faculty he maketh weapons and useth them, he forgeth and mouldeth Metals, builds Houses and Ships, makes his Cloaths and Ornaments, and exerciseth all Arts for use and ornament.

3. There is no Creature that I know of, hath the like structure of his Leg and Foot; the former being only two to support his Body, have greater and larger Muscles than any Animal of no greater proportionable bigness; and the latter being the Basis of those Pillars, are admirably fitted by their length and figure for his gressus progressivus.

4. Since the Brain is the great Organ of Intellection in Man, and of Imagination in Brutes, which are the two noblest Faculties of either Nature, it will not be amiss to examine the differences between the Brain of either, and the Nerves proceeding from either, wherein none that I know hath given more light than Doctor Willis in his Anatomy of the Head; all therefore that I shall do herein shall be to gather up the most of those observable differences that lye dispersed in that Book.

1. The humane Brain is in proportion to the Body much greater and larger than the Brains of Brutes, having regard to the size and proportion of their Bodies, and fuller of anfractus or sinuations, and so more capa­ble of greater diversity of employments and uses in the Perceptive Fa­culties.

2. There are in the Brain certain portions called protuberantia annularis, nates, & testes; and that in those Brutes wherein this protuberantia annu­laris is largest in proportion, those Brutes are of greatest sagacity and sub­tilty, as Foxes, Apes, &c. that though in Man those prominences called nates and testes are the least, yet the protuberantia annularis is greater in proportion in Man than in any Animal, the structure of this Organ being fitted to a greater degree of natural sagacity.

3. That whereas in Brutes the only communication of the Brain with the Heart is by the nervus paris vagi derived from the Cerebellum, and spreading its branches into the Muscle of the Heart; in Man there is not only the same communication of that Nerve, but a ramification of the nervus intercostalis is also inserted into the Muscle of the Heart, whereby a greater communication between the Brain and Heart is maintained in Man than in Brutes.

4. That other ramifications of this nervus intercostalis are derived into the Chest and Diaphragma, whereby principally that peculiar affection of Laughter is excited, more appropriate to Man, together also those others of Sternutation and other natural actions common to Men and Beasts are excited, but not from the like communication of that Nerve in Brutes.

[Page 66]And thus much shall serve to be spoken of the peculiarities of the Hu­mane Body, though what I before said touching the Faculties of the Animal Nature in Man must also be remembred touching the organical parts of his Body: There is no Organ in the Brutal Body subservient to the Animal Faculties, which is not found in the Humane Body, with such variations and additions as render them more curious, perfect, useful, and admirably accommodate to his Animal Life and Faculties; But of this more fully hereafter.

3. I shall now subjoin a Consideration of Man in his whole Compositum, consisting of both his essential parts of Body and Soul, and of the aggre­gation of the Faculties and Organs belonging to either, so far forth as they evidence his appropriate and specifical Excellency above the Animal Nature.

The appropriate or specifical acts of the humane compositum, are the capacity and faculty of instituted Signs, expressive of the inward con­ceptions of the Mind, which are of two kinds: 1. Audible, 2. Visible Signs.

The Audible Signs are instituted Speech or Language, the formal nature whereof consists in two things: 1. Articulate Voice; 2. The accommo­dation of the Articulate Voice to the rendring or expressing of the inward thoughts or intentions of the Mind: And herein is the great preference of the language of Man above that of Brutes or Birds, who though they have audible signs that express something of their Imaginations or Appe­tites, yet they extremely differ from humane speech: 1. They are but short and transient, like Interjections in speech, whereby though they express the sudden motions of their Phantasie, Appetite, or Passions, yet they carry not with them any distinct series or long train of their Imaginations; they are short and sudden, somewhat like Sighs or Eju­lations in Man. 2. They are not articulate, nor orderly, but short, natural and broken. 3. When Birds, especially by the fabrick of their Tongue and Palate, are taught to use articulate words, yet they understand not their import, nor do render any conceptions of their Phantasie by them, nor can answer a question by them, but use them insignificantly, as the Organ or Pipe renders the Tune which it understands not.

And by the help of significant and articulate speech, one Man expresseth the notions or conceptions of his Mind to another, instructs another, mutual commerce and society is maintained, which could never be without instituted signs.

And this Act of instituted signs, especially those of Speech or Lan­guage, proceeds from the entire compositum, the Mind instituting the signs, and communicating its notions and desires by it, and the Palate, Larinx, Tongue, and Lips, forming the Voice according to such insti­tution, whereunto they are most admirably accommodated by their Aper­tures, Nerves, and Muscles.

2. The instituted visible Signs, are Writings, Gestures, Tears, Motions of the Eye, Mouth, and Face, which were long to enumerate: By means of writing, former Ages transmit the Memorials of ancient times and things to posterity; Men understand the sentiments, purposes, and desires of one another, though absent, and the living converse with those ancient Philosophers, and others, that are long since dead.

[Page 67]And now in this composition of the humane Nature, we have these things observable:

1. That in this contexture of the Humane Body and Intellectual Soul we have a Creature made up, that is, nexus utriusque mundi, intellectualis scilicet & corporei. The next Range of Beings above him are the pure and immaterial Intelligences, the next below him is the sensible Nature. Man is as it were the Comes limitaneus of each Nature, participating of both. And we may observe, that in the process of Natural Beings, there seem some to be Creatures placed as it were in the Confines of several Pro­vinces, and participating something of either; as in things that have life and that have not; there is placed the Minerals between the inanimate and vegetable Province, participating something analogical to either: Between the vegetable and sensitive Province there are Plant-animals, and some kind of Insects arising from Vegetables, that seem to participate of both: Between the animal and rational Province, there seem to be some Animals that have a dark Image or resemblance of the Influxes of Reason. So between the corporeal and intellectual World, there is constituted Man, participating much of both Natures: It a quod non transitur ad extreme nisi per media.

2. That Man in his constitution seems admirably fitted to the conve­nience of his Nature, a little World accommodated with Faculties and Organs admirably convenient to it self, a kind of entire State, King­dom, or Republick within himself, fitted with all accommodations and requisites for the due Regiment of himself, as a Sensible and Intellectual Being: He hath the Council or Senate of his Intellect, and her subser­vient Acts and Faculties to advise him; the Empire and Regiment of his Will to command the Satellites and Ministers of his Passions and Animal Spirits to execute his Conscience for his Tribunal: There wants nothing within this little Circle of himself, which may be requisite to order that little compacted Province for its Political Regiment.

And thus far concerning Man, as relating to himself, his Parts, Fa­culties, and entire Composition: It remains, that we take a little survey of him, as he stands in relation to things without him; which is the last Consideration that I promised in this brief Inventory of the Humane Nature and Excellencies.

The Humane Nature, thus fitted with these Faculties, is admirably accommodated to a threefold relation to somewhat without him, namely, To Almighty God: To the rest of Mankind: And to this mundus aspecta­bilis wherein he lives.

1. To Almighty God; for being a Creature endued with an Immortal Soul, endued with those great Faculties of Understanding and Will, and those Facultates Ancillares of his Affections, he is rendred into a capacity, 1. Of knowing Him: 2. Of knowing his Will, and what is acceptable to Him; for it is in a great measure inscribed in his Soul: 3. Of being a fit Subject to Him, and to obey Him: 4. Of loving and trusting in Him: 5. Of glorifying of Him, especially in the Contemplation of His Works, which are proposed to his Sense and Understanding: 6. Of Invoking and Worshipping: And 7. Finally, to enjoy the Blessed Vision of Him, by reason of the congruity of his Immortal and Intellectual Nature to such a fruition. And thus we have him in his Duty, Religion; and in his Happiness, Immortal Life.

[Page 68]2. To the rest of mankind he is accommodated with Moral principles inherent in his Nature, and improvable by the exercise of his Faculties, as is before shewn; he is accommodated with Speech and Intellectual signs to maintain intercourse and mutual communion and commerce; and his very disposition and the mutual necessitudes of humane Nature ne­cessarily maintain mutual offices and correspondence between them; and the accommodations of Government and Laws are the fruit and pro­ductions of his Intellectual nature, and the support of society.

3. To the rest of the visible World; there is an admirable accommo­dation of the humane Nature and Faculties to the Mundus aspectabilis, and of the several parts of it, and of them to it.

1. Of the Faculties of the humane Nature to the visible Universe, especially the vegetable and animal Natures, which by means of the ad­mirable advantage of his Intellect, and that singular Engin of the Hand, he hath skill and power to subdue and bring under, whereby he exer­ciseth dominion over them and protection of them, as the Vicegerent and Deputy of Almighty God.

2. Of the Universe and parts thereof to the humane Nature and Fa­culties, which were infinite to enumerate; I shall only insert some of them.

1. A kind of awful subjection and fear of the greatest part of the ani­mal Nature, of him and to him; and though some be so hardy and unruly as to resist him, yet he wants not power by the advantage of his Under­standing and Hand to subdue and master them.

2. An accommodation of most of the things within the compass of the visible Universe to his use and convenience, which though I cannot say it is the only or the prime end of their being, yet they are singularly accommodated to the use, delight and benefit of mankind, as might easily appear by an enumeration of particulars: The light, motion, and in­fluence of the Sun and Stars; the nature, position and frame of Elements; the variety and concurrence of the Meteors; the fertility of the Land; the position of the Ocean; the interspersion of the Rivers; the various Minerals, Vegetables and Animals, some serving for his food, some for his clothing; some for his labour and travel; some for his delight; the whole compass of Nature affording infinite variety of Instances of this kind.

3. An admirable accommodation of all the things in the World to his Faculties, and for their delight, advancement and improvement. He hath the perception of Sense, to which all the visible Objects of the World are presented, and he hath the light and searching Faculty of his Understanding, which as it is qualified for such an employment of Con­templation, so it hath a fruitful exhibition of Objects of great variety and excellency, the knowledge whereof doth not only delight and enrich his Faculties, but are so many manuductions to the knowledge and admi­ration of the infinite Wisdom, Power and Goodness of the Creator and Upholder of them.

And thus I have given a short and brief estimate of the peculiar Excellencies of the Humane Nature: I did not design a large or exact enumeration or description of them; There is not any one particular above-mentioned but would take up the business of a just Volume, and [Page 69] I am easily conscious that I have omitted many things that possibly might be of as great importance as any that I have mentioned: But this brief Inventory I have here given as preparatory to what follows, and to pre-possess the Reader, 1. That a natural Indagation according to the light of natural Reason touching the Origination of such a Creature as this, is no contemptible or unworthy enquiry: 2. That surely such a Creature as this thus accommodated could not have his Origination from any less than an Intellectual, most Wise, Powerful and Beneficent Being, the great God, Creator and Governour of Heaven and Earth: And this is the scope and end of my business in this Tract, the short Sy­nopsis whereof is as followeth.

There are two grand Opinions among the Ancients touching the Origination of Man: The first is, That Humane Species had no beginning, but was Eternal; the second, That it had a beginning.

In the first place, I examin the supposition of the Eternity of Mankind in their successive Generations: And in order thereunto I take up the consideration of the Eternity of the World as it is now constituted, and, whether it be in Nature possible that it should be so: I then descend to the particular consideration of the Eternity of Mankind, whether al­though there should be a possibility of an eternity of some permanent created Beings, whether yet there be a possibility in Nature, or any proba­bility of evidence that Mankind can be eternal à parte ante, or without beginning.

This I oppose by Arguments of two kinds; 1. From the very re­pugnancy in Nature of successive Beings to be without an inception, or eternal, and upon these kind of evidences I do indeed lay the principal weight and stress of my Conclusion, because though these kind of Arguments may seem more obscure, yet upon a due consideration of them they are highly consequential and concludent to my purpose.

2. The second sort of evidences are Moral evidences, wherein I take into consideration most of those Moral evidences that have been collected by others or thought of by my self against the Eternity of Mankind: Whereupon I do conclude, 1. That singly and apart many of them are subject to exception, yet collectively they make up a good moral evi­dence touching a temporary inception of the humane Nature: 2. I do consider the particular deficiencies of those moral evidences taken singly and apart: 3. I substitute other moral evidences that even singly and apart have each of them a great moral and topical evidence of this truth and are not capable of any considerable Objection against them, though taken sigillatim and apart.

But when all is done, I lay the great stress of my Conclusion upon the first sort of Evidences natural, or metaphysical, which seem to me no less than demonstrative; and therefore if no other moral evidences were added thereunto, or if those moral evidences should be capable of exception (as some of them are) yet the truth of the Conclusion against the eternity of Mankind is sufficiently supported by those that I offer in the first place, which I call Physical and Metaphysical.

2. Again, I then come to consider that Opinion which supposeth an Inception of the Humane Nature.

I consider the various Hypotheses that the Ancients entertained touching the [Page 70] manner of that Origination, and shew the absurdity of them in their several orders.

I then consider the Mosaical Hypothesis, and the great reasonableness thereof upon a bare Natural or Moral accompt, without taking in the Infallibility of Divine Revelation.

In order to that, I consider the whole Mosaical Systeme or History of the Creation of the World, the admirable congruity it hath, both with it self, and with a due and unprejudiced and considerate Reason.

And lastly, I deduce certain Corollaries or Consequences from the whole Discourse, both Theoretical and Moral, and this is in effect the whole Method of what these Papers contain: Wherein I proceed meerly upon an account of Natural Reason and Light, because in this Discourse I deal with such as are either only or most commonly guided and governed by such Sentiments, and therefore I do not call in to my assistance the Authority of Divine Revelation, though that of it self doth and ought to carry the full and unquestionable Assent of all good Men that are acquainted therewith.

CAP. III. A brief Consideration of the Hypotheses that concern the Eternity of the World.

ALthough I intend not a large Discourse touching their Suppositions that hold the Eternity of the World, yet it will be convenient a little to consider it, for the better application of what follows in the ensuing Discourse, touching the Eternity of the Successions of Mankind, and the possibility or impossibility thereof.

The Supposition of the Eternity of the World is considerable under a double relation: 1. With relation to the Notion of Eternity: 2. With relation to the Subject it self, which they would have eternal, namely, the World, either wholly or in some parts thereof.

In relation to Eternity it self, two things are to be premised: 1. What it is; 2. What its Kinds are. 1. As to the former, in all this Discourse I call that Eternal which is without beginning, or eternal à parte ante. 2. Things thus supposed Eternal may be of two kinds, either such as have an Eternity simply independent upon any thing without it, or from which it should derive that Eternal Being, as we and all good Men say that Almighty God is Eternal: Or else, such an Eternity as yet supposeth its dependence upon Almighty God as its Cause. And they that attribute the first kind of Eternity to the World, must do it upon one of these two grounds, viz. That there is no other first Being, no first Cause, no God, upon whom the World should depend, or from whom it should derive this its Eternal Existence: And this is the grossest and most irrational Supposition, as well as the foulest Atheism, that can be imagined. Or else, That although there be in truth such a Being as God, yet the World had not this its Eternal Existence by any derivation or influx from [Page 71] Him, but hath it absolutely and independently. This is the Epicurean Atheism, which though it oppose the Eternity of the World in that consistency that now it hath, yet it asserts the Eternity of those small and infinite particles of Matter, and the coalition of them into that state wherein they now are in process and succession of time and motion, yet without any dependence of the one or the other upon Almighty God, whom he totally secludes from the concerns of the World.

Others there are again, that attribute an Eternity to the World, but yet withall acknowledge Almighty God, and also Him to be the Efficient thereof: And therefore though they attribute an Eternity to it, yet it is but a dependent Eternity, and so though it be Eternal, yet it is but an Eternal Effect of an Eternal Cause. These are much more tolerable than either of the former, for they assert a God, and likewise the dependence of the World in its Eternal Existence and Duration upon Almighty God, as the Cause and Root of that Being of the World.

But among those that thus assert this dependent Eternity of the World upon Almighty God as its Cause or Efficient, there seems to be two Parties, namely, 1. Such as suppose Almighty God the Necessary Cause of the World as his Necessary Effect. 2. Such as suppose Him meerly the Voluntary Cause of the World and of its Eternity. Of the former sort, that suppose Almighty God the Necessary Cause of the World and of its Eternal Existence, there seem to be these two Parties or different Opinions.

1. Such as suppose the World a meer natural and necessary Emanation from God as its necessary Cause, without any manner of intrinsecal free­dom in Himself to do or be otherwise, and consequently it being a necessary and connatural Effect of the first Cause, it must be necessarily as ancient as Himself, and if Almighty God be (as He is) most necessarily, so upon the same necessity He is the Cause of the World, and the World a necessary, and consequently Eternal, Production necessarily flowing from the same; as if the Sun be Eternal, his Light, which necessarily flows from the Existence of the Sun, is likewise necessarily Eternal. This seems to be the Opinion of Aristotle, and some others that follow him.

2. Again some there have been, who will not have Almighty God to be a meer natural and necessary Cause of the World, but such a Cause as is a free Agent, agens per intellectum & voluntatem, and that the World was an Effect of Him, not as a natural or necessary, but as a voluntary and free Agent: And yet the World was necessarily Eternal, though freely willed to be Eternal. For they do suppose, that in as much as God Almighty is necessarily Good and Wise, and it is part of his Perfection to will what is best, and always to will it, therefore the Divine Will was always determined, even eternally, to will the Existence of the World, as a thing eternally consonant to the Perfection of his Nature, to will and always to will what is best: And there was never, in all the vast and boundless Period of Eternity, any one moment wherein he willed not to communicate his own Benignity and Bounty to something without Him; and therefore though he freely willed the World to be, as a free Agent, yet that freedom of his Will was from all Eternity determin'd, by the Perfect Goodness and Beneficence of his Nature, ever to will what He once willed, and consequently to will the World to be Eternally: Herein confounding the Divine Goodness with the Divine Beneficence [Page 72] and Benignity, the former being indeed necessary, but the latter under the Conduct and Guidance of his Free Will, indetermined by any thing but it self.

Others there are that attribute the Being of the World to the meer be­neplacitum voluntatis divinae, neither determined as a meer Natural cause, nor determined by any intrinsecal obligation of his own Goodness; but only that he willed it because he willed it, though most wisely and boun­tifully: Many of these do not indeed conclude the World to have been eternal, but in conformity to the truth of the Sacred Scriptures conclude it to be created in the beginning of time, but yet do again conclude that there is nothing in the nature of the thing either on the part of Almighty God, or on the part of the World it self, or on the part of the manner of its Creation which is instantanous and per modum ema­nationis; but that such parts of the World at least as have a permanent existence, and are not in a flux of succession, might have been not only in some period antecedent to that point of time wherein de facto it was created, but also that it might have been thus eternally created if the Divine beneplacitum had so pleased: And therefore many of those do not conclude that it was so, but that it might have been so eternally created, yet freely and voluntarily without any of the two foregoing necessities. Thus [...]quinas, Suarez and some others.

And thus having considered these various suppositions touching the divers qualities or qualifications of this eternal Existence of the World, I shall now consider the subject Matter which men would thus have to be eternal, or at least possible to be such, namely the World. And herein even many of the assertors of the Eternity of the World, or the possibility thereof, have (and not without cause) faln into divers conclu­sions.

By the World therefore we must understand either the Matter of the World simply in it self, without being determined to this determinate Fabrick wherein it is; and thus it should seem that all those ancient Phi­losophers that have asserted the Eternity of the World, as Aristotle, and before him Otellus Lucanus: or, that have asserted novitatem mundi in hac constitutione, have agreed; thus Epicurus, that asserts the coalition of Atoms into this Fabrick that we see, was of later edition than Eternity, yet asserts that these Atoms were eternal: and those Ancients mentioned by Aristotle in the 8th of his Physicks, that held that the World was made, and unmade and made again by eternal vicissitudes of Amor & Inimicitia, yet held the constituent Matter thereof eternal. And this seems to be the most comprehensive acceptation of the World.

2. Again, by the World we may understand the World as it is now framed, the visible World in that form and constitution as it now is: And thus it seems, Aristotle and those others that hold it proceeds neces­sarily from God as a necessary cause, or as a cause determined by his intrin­sick Goodness, have held the World to be eternal; but yet we must not rest here. The World is like a goodly Palace, a fair large Building; but as in such a Palace there is first the case or fabrick or moles of the Structure it self, and besides that there are certain additaments that con­tribute to its ornament and use; as various Furniture, rare Fountains and Aqueducts, curious Motions of divers things appendicated to it, as [Page 73] Clocks, Engins, &c. so in the goodly Universe there are the great Stru­cture it self, and its great integrals the Heavenly and Elementary Bodies, framed in such a position and situation, the great Sceleton, as I may call it, of the World: But besides this there are very various and curious furnitures and accommodations of the Universe, as for instance, in our inferior World various Animals, Vegetables, Meteors, Minerals, Mix­tures, and Men; and in the Heavenly Bodies various Motions and Aspects.

Now it will be necessary for him that asserts the Eternity of the World as now it stands, or the possibility of such an eternity, to consider whe­ther he applies his assertion to the whole World, as consisting not only of the greater integrals whereof it consists, as the Heavenly and possibly the Elementary Bodies; but also of that furniture thereof consisting of Men, Animals, Vegetables, Meteors, Minerals, and those accommodations that are to it, as the Motions of the Heavenly Bodies; or whether he intends only some parts of it which seem more capable of an eternal existence, as being more fixed, and in themselves permanent, and so more able to sustain an eternal and consequently an immutable exi­stence.

And upon examination we shall [...] find either of these choices full of incurable difficulties, if not utter impossibilities, in relation to an eternal existence of the World or any parts thereof.

And this I shall in the order of this Discourse evince against all those former suppositions of Eternity; namely, 1. Against those that assert an independent eternal existence of the World: 2. Against those that assert an eternal but dependent existence thereof upon Almighty God, as a meer natural and necessary Cause thereof: 3. Against those that assert an eternal existence of the World dependent upon God as a free intellectual and voluntary Agent, but yet determined in his external emanations by the necessity of the Goodness and Beneficence of his nature: 4. Against those that assert at least a possibility of an eternal existence of the World, but dependent upon the freedom of the Divine Will unde­termined by the necessity of his Beneficence.

First therefore concerning the supposition of the Eternity of the World in general; I shall not in this place dispute whether there be an utter impossibility of any material Being to be either independently or depen­dently eternal; enough may be said against it from the incapacity of any material Being to sustain such a kind of duration à parte ante, and yet without any derogation to the Divine Omnipotence or Goodness, which though infinite, yet cannot communicate such a duration to that which in its own intrinsick nature is not capable of it: Nor secondly, shall I dispute whether there be any such material or corporeal Being or Beings within the compass of the Universe, that hath or may have such a kind of permanence or fixedness in being that may be capable of an eternal existence à parte ante, either dependently or independently upon Al­mighty God; admitting by way of argument, but not granting it pos­sible, that in the nature of the thing some material or corporeal Being may be of such a fixed, permanent consistence as may sustain such an eternal exi­stence; and I here omit this dispute not because I make the least doubt of the beginning thereof by Creation, but because these are matters that [Page 74] require a longer and stricter process of enquiry and debate than I intend in this place: and therefore I shall descend to things that are more plain and evident, and yet such as will abundantly serve my design in the in­quiry in hand.

And therefore for the present I shall gratia argumenti admit or suppose, 1. That there are or may be some corporeal things in the compass of the Universe that may possibly be of such a fixedness, stability and permanent nature that may sustain an eternal existence, at least dependently upon the supreme Cause. 2. And that possibly Matter it self undetermined to any particular form, or under any particular constitution; the Heavenly Bodies, the Elementary Bodies, and such as seem to have a simple nature; and possibly their figure, position, and situation may be such as might have this eternal existence, as the Sun, the Stars, the Aether, the four Elements; we will, for avoiding dispute touching it for the present, admit them to have been, or that possibly they might have been of that nature, quality, distance each from other eternally as now they are, like the great integrals and contignations, figure and concamerations of a goodly Palace: These things I say, though in themselves most certainly untrue, I shall for avoidance of difficult disputes admit at present. Yet I farther say, that though all these things were admitted, yet there are some great and considerable parts and integrals, and appendications unto the Mundus aspectabilis that we see, that are purely impossible to be eternal, and do de facto appear so to be; and consequently it is apparent that the World in its full latitude and comprehension cannot be eternal.

And herein I shall not fix upon little or inconsiderable things, but upon such as highly contribute to the excellency, beauty and usefulness thereof; neither shall I fix upon individuals which are apparently transient, and necessarily have their beginning, duration and end in certain known determinate portions of time, as is evident in the individuals of all kinds or species of mixed, sublunary Natures: But I shall apply my self to the species themselves, which most that assert the eternity of the World assert to be eternal, or to such individuals as are the single Conservators of their own species.

And in this debate I shall take my measure from things in Nature as I find them; and it is reasonable I should do so, especially considering that this Discourse concerns principally the Judgments or Opinions of those men that are the great assertors of Nature, and the eternity of those Laws, Rules, Orders, or Methods of Nature which they now find and observe in it: And it were a great vanity and rashness especially for such men to reject those reasons which are drawn from the nature of things as now they appear, or for them to go about to answer those reasons by suppo­sitions of a variety in things from what they now appear. If there­fore the state and method of things to be instanced in, as they now appear, do involve a repugnancy to an eternal existence, the Arguments drawn from that Supposition must be conclusive, at least to those great Priests and Venerators of Nature and its appearances.

Those things therefore that I would instance in, as in their own nature uncapable of eternal existence à parte ante, are these:

1. All things that are of all hands agreed to be concreted of other things, and necessarily in their own nature require a pre-existence of [Page 75] those more simple Bodies out of which they are concreted, and a pre-existence of some preparatory antecedent motion for their coalition, mixtion and concretion; as Animals, Vegetables, Minerals, Meteors, and regularly all mixt Bodies.

2. All things that are in their own nature successive, as all Motion, Alteration, Generations, Corruptions, and all things that in their own constitution have as it were intrinsecally annexed to them, or at least necessarily belonging to them in respect of their situation and position, and juxta-position to other things, a necessary subjection to alteration or corruption.

3. All things that do not, nor (their nature considered) cannot persist in one immutable state, but have variety in the nature and manner of their existence necessarily by the laws of their nature annexed to them.

These things constituted and being in that state we find them, cannot without a total alteration of their nature and being from what in truth they are, nor in the state of nature wherein they are placed, can they be eternal or without beginning: And these are very considerable and mo­mentous parts or appendices of the World, and if it had been eternally without these, it had been a very lame and defective World, and such as the wisest man under Heaven could hardly understand for what use it would be, or why it should have continued in such a defective con­dition from the endless period of Eternity: Or at least if it had its use and beauty, certainly it had not had the same use that now it hath, nor the same beauty that now it hath.

And the consequence thereof is of great moment and importance, viz. If these great accessions to the World, whereof I am speaking, could not be eternal, and yet without them the World would have been greatly deficient from what it is, the greatest Arguments for the Eternity of the rest of the World will necessarily fall off: for the same reason that concludes for the necessity of an eternal existence of the World, would as effectually conclude for the eternal existence of that which highly con­duceth to the beauty, use, and ends of the Universe, which yet we shall find cannot be eternally existing; as it concludes for the eternity of such integrals of the World which possibly might be eternal. Again, if it be inconsistent with the nature of many of those things eternally to be, which yet contribute much to the glory, beauty, usefulness and excel­lency of the World, as mixt Bodies, motion, and alteration; how can we think that there is a necessity in the Divine Nature to have made that Case or Sceleton of the World from eternity which should have been in so great a measure useless, and wanting that beauty, order, use and per­fection which it obtains from the contribution of mixt Bodies, motions, and alterations? And what could be thought a sufficient motive to have had an eternal Carcass of an Universe wherein the materials and positions of it were eternally laid together, and to consist infinite millions of Ages; and yet that which gives it its beauty and ornament and use, at least in a great measure, must be brought to a beginning five, or six, or ten thousand years since, and not before? The nearness or novity there­fore that is necessarily required in these great contributions to the beauty and use of the Universe is a great evidence of the novity of all the rest: [Page 76] And therefore although the House must be built some time before it be furnished, and the Watch must be made, the materials formed, adapted and fitted, and the whole put together before it be put in motion; yet it were unnecessary and vain to suppose the Case or Fabrick of the House, or the Fabrick and Composition of the Watch, were an infinite time before its furnishing and setting into motion.

But to the business it self, and the Instances above given:

1. It seems inconsistent with the Nature of mixed Bodies that they should be eternal, for then they must be as ancient as those simple Bodies out of which they are taken.

That there are in our inferior World divers Bodies, that are concreted out of others, is beyond all dispute. We see it in the Meteors; the Clouds are attracted out of moist and watry, and also earthy Vapours; Stones and Minerals do grow and arise in the Earth, out of the succus terrestris digested by the heat of the Sun: Divers Vegetables, and some Animals, sponte nata, arise from the temperament of the terrestrial and watry Matter, the insinuations of the Aether and Air into it, and the influence of the Sun: Other Animals, and some Vegetables, have a more regular production from Seed, as some of the perfecter sort of Vegetables, and the nobler Animals, and Men; which seminal Principle is a mixture of the divers particles of Matter and Spirits, derived and elicited from the Plant or Animal.

And as it is apparent, that there are such mixt Concretions, so it is apparent, that before the actual concretion of these mixt Bodies there must be pre-existent to it: 1. The Matter, or more simple Bodies out of which they are concreted: Again, 2. There must be antecedent to it that Ethereal or Solar heat, that must digest, influence, irradiate, and put these more simple parts of Matter into motion and coalition: And 3. Be­fore the full and perfect formation of this concrete, there must be a pre­paration, and digestion, and formation of this Matter, before it come into a perfect Concrete, be it of what kind soever; and this preparation, digestion, and formation, requires a competent mora, or time, antece­dent to its complete and full constitution. All these are evident, in a more special and eminent manner in the production of Animals and Vege­tables, but I shall at present take the Instance, that is obvious every day in our Gardens, in the production of a common Flint or Pebble: First, there is the more simple Matter, out of which it borrows its substance, namely, the Earth, and the Water or Moisture; then there is the heat of the Sun, that digests and concocts both; then there is the conjunction and cohesion of the Matter into a more loose, or indigested and softer consistency like Mortar or Clay, and thereby it is prepared to the con­crement of a Pebble or Flint, which possibly in a week or a month it perfectly obtains. Every Man must needs see, that in the natural course of things this Pebble doth suppose, as pre-existent to it, the more simple Matter out of which it is desumed, the heat and influence of the Sun, and the due preparation of the Matter; which takes up a competent time, and that necessarily, before this Pebble had its complete Being: And consequently, in the course of Nature, it is impossible that any Pebble was eternal, for it necessarily required these things to have been before it could be, and yet if it were eternal, it must have been as ancient as [Page 77] that Earth, and that Water, which was its material constituent, and as that Sun, whose heat digested it, or coagulated it, or as that prepa­ration which preceded its consistence.

And though this Instance be of one Individual, and that of the basest nature, yet the very same reason holds in all mixed Bodies, as in Meteors, Comets, Minerals, Vegetables, Animals, their Seeds and Productions. The consequence of this is, that it is impossible that mixed or compounded Bodies can be eternal, because there is necessarily, according to the Rules of Nature, a pre-existence of the simple Bodies out of which they are desumed, and an antecedence of their constitution preceding the existence of mixed Bodies.

If any Man shall object against this Reason, and say, That it destroyeth my own Foundation, which supposeth a creation or concrement of those very Bodies which I suppose to be mixed, as Animals, Vegetables, &c. without all this preliminary process, or orderly antecedency of such cir­cumstances, as are now in the course of Nature, as it stands settled, necessary to their production: And that, as I do suppose, all created Beings had at first their primitive production by the Fiat of the Divine Will and Power, so in the defence of that Supposition or Conclusion, I must suppose another method of production of mixed Bodies, than what we now find in Nature as it stands settled.

I answer, That it is true, I must and do suppose another kind of method in the first and primitive Constitution of things by Creation: But it stands and consists with, and is consonant to my whole Supposition, and indeed my general Supposition▪ cannot possibly be or consist without a Supposition also, That the first constitution and coalition of mixed Bodies was quite of another frame or method, than what now obtains in settled Nature.

But the Objector must consider against whom and what kind of Opi­nators the Reason above given is levelled, who take all their Measures from things as they now see them in settled Nature, and do thereupon assert, That the order and method of the existence and production of all things was eternally the same as now it is. And therefore certainly this Reason is fully concludent against those persons that would suppose an Eternity in all things in the World, independent upon the first Cause and Efficient: For certainly those of their Principles do and must needs sup­pose, that things had no other method of their production than what we now see they have, and therefore they must (if they hold to their Prin­ciples) agree that they had their production always as now they have: The necessary consequence whereof is, that if such a kind of production of mixt Bodies cannot in the nature of the thing be eternal, they cannot have an eternal production.

But it is true, that this doth not answer the Supposition of those, that though they suppose an Eternity in mixt Bodies, do attribute even that Eternity to an eternal Creation, and therefore to another kind of pro­duction than what we now suppose to be natural, and consequently as they suppose, at first in an eternal moment Almighty God created simple Bodies, as the Heavenly or Elementary Bodies, so in the same instant He might and did create other Bodies, which though in their constitution they were or might be composed of such particles, as had they been asunder [Page 78] and divided, might have been of the simple nature of those simpler Bo­dies, yet they were in the same eternal moment or instant created and put together without any priority of existence in those simple Bodies whereof they might otherwise consist; nor were such mixt eternal Bodies succes­sively desumed or compounded out of the pre-existing simple Bodies, but con-created and put together in the same eternal and indivisible moment or instant: so that a Mineral for the purpose might be created in the same moment wherein the elementary Earth was created. And although after the completing of the whole Frame of Nature in that eternal, indi­visible, intelligible moment, the production of mixt Bodies either by spontaneous or contingent coalition of various particles of Matter, or by an univocal generation, the course that is now held in Nature might be observed, and that Priority of particles of simple Matter, Influx of the Heavens, and Preparation of Matter might be antecedent and pre­cedaneous not only in order but in time to their ordinary productions; yet at first it might be, and was otherwise in the primitive constitution of such mixt Bodies as had their original by Creation.

I do confess this Supposition may evade the illation made upon the Natural production of mixt Bodies, but then we must remember that this quite departs from the method of things as they now stand in the course of Nature; neither can any man conclude that it was or could be so from the observation of the Order or Cause of Nature, or any rational deduction from the same, but must have recourse either to bare Notion or Conjecture, or else to Divine Revelation; the former seems somewhat too light, soundly to ground any Hypothesis; and the latter, namely, Di­vine Revelation, though it doth discover unto us that things had their production in a different way in their first Constitution or Origination, namely, by the almighty Power of God creating them, yet withall it informs us that that origination was not from Eternity, but in the begin­ning of Time, which wholly overthrows the Hypothesis of an Eternal Creation of the World: If therefore they will appeal to Revelation for their Creation, they must be concluded by it, not to say it was eternal.

2. My second Reason is this, Because all things that are in their na­ture successive must have a first beginning of their being, and cannot be eternal. But there are in the World many things of great note and mo­ment (and without which the Order and Usefulness of the Universe would be deficient) which have a successive nature; and therefore such things cannot be eternal or without beginning: And this reason con­cludes forcibly as well against that independent Eternity supposed by some of the Ancients, as that Eternity dependent upon Almighty God, whe­ther as a necessary Cause, or as a free voluntary intellectual Cause deter­mined by the necessary Goodness and Beneficence of his nature; or as a perfectly free Agent, determining his Will by his own beneplacitum thus eternally to produce the World.

The Assumption or minor Proposition, That there are many things in the World of great moment and importance to it that are in their own nature successive, is apparent; such are all the Individuals of Species of corruptible things, that yet notwithstanding have a continued succession in their in­dividuals, as Vegetables, Animals, and Men, that successively propagate [Page 79] their kind. 2. All kinds of Motions to which all natural Bodies are in some kind or other subject, as the motions of Generation and Corruption, Augmentation, Diminution, and Alteration that are uncessantly incident to all sublunary Bodies, and they must change their nature and cease to be what they are, before they can cease to be actually subject to alterations; such is also Local motion, communicable not only to the inferior and sublunary Bodies, but also to celestial Bodies, and this motion even of the Heavenly Bodies themselves seems to be partly continued and uninter­mitted, as that motion of the First Moveable; partly interpolated and interrupted, as some affirm of that Motus trepidationis; sometimes of access and recess, as the Annual motion of the Sun, wherein some have thought there is a small, though impeceptible, rest in the very point of returning, which we call Solstices.

The major Proposition, namely, that such successive things cannot be eternal, includes two Affirmations, viz. 1. That the motions or suc­cessions themselves cannot be eternal or without beginning: 2. That the things that have necessarily and inseparably these motions or alte­rations annexed to their nature cannot be eternal, so long as we suppose them necessarily accompanied with these alterations: The former of these is considerable in this place, the other is considerable under the next Reason.

Now touching the impossibility of the eternal succession of the Species, whether of Men, Animals, or Vegetables by natural propagation or pro­semination, the same and the Reasons thereof shall be fully delivered when we come to the particular consideration of the Origination of Man­kind, and the necessity of fixing in some common Parents of the indi­viduals of Mankind, and thither I shall refer my self.

As touching the eternity of any kind of Motion, especially even of that of the Heavenly Bodies, I shall say somewhat briefly in this place which will be easily reducible to any other of the motions in the World, as namely the motions of Generation, Corruption or Alteration, all which are in some respect but the effects of Local motion of one kind or ano­ther.

And there seem to be two special Reasons even from the intrinsecal nature of the things that encounter the possibility of an eternal successive duration in them: The first concludes against all imaginable eternity of Motion of the Heavenly Bodies, whether independent or dependent upon Almighty God; the latter indeed principally concludes against the pos­sibility of the created or dependent eternity thereof. And they are these:

1. If the circular motion of the Sun or Heavens were eternal, then there must be two circulations of the Heavens immediately succeeding on the other Eternal; the consequence whereof yet would be, That the one of those circulations would be necessarily before the other by the space of twenty four Hours, which would be impossible, for then the next succeeding circulation would not be so ancient as the first, and yet both should be eternal, which is impossible and repugnant.

This Reason a late Philosopher hath made use of in substance, but in a different method, namely, That if the circular Motion of the Heaven were eternal, then of necessity there must be granted some one circulation [Page 80] of the Heaven to be distant from us by an interposition of infinite Circu­lations: This consequence must needs be true, and yet it would perfectly destroy infinite Circulation of the Heaven; for it would necessarily from hence follow that all the intermediate Circulations were finite, and de­terminate on both ends; at this end with that Circulation that is pre­sently in motion, and à parte ante with that Circulation that is supposed to be infinitely distant from us, which excludes any possibility of infini­tude in Motions intermediate. And if it be said that the first of these intermediate Circulations is likewise infinitely distant from this, then it should be infinitely distant and yet the next precedent Circulation should be before it, which destroys the very nature and reason of infinitude. And if it shall be said that that next succeeding Circulation after that which is so supposed infinitely distant from what is now currant, is distant from us by a finite interval, and not infinitely, then that one Circulation which preceded it, and must necessarily be like ours, and consequently absolved in the space of twenty four Hours, shall by its accession to a finite number of Circulations, or consequently to a finite interval of duration, make up an infinite succession and an infinite du­ration; the addition of that one antecedent Circulation shall make the intermediate finite Circulations infinite, and the addition of a period of twenty four Hours (the uttermost extent of one Circulation) shall make a finite time or interval infinite, which are intolerable absurdities, and yet necessary consequences upon the supposition of the eternal Motion of the Heaven or Sun; or if you will, of the Earth, as the Copernicans will have it.

2. A second Reason is this, which though it be but a different and farther explication of the former, yet it renders it clearer and in more perspicuous terms, which is this: Whatsoever once was and now is not, as it is now past, so it was once present, and before it was so pre­sent was future: Take it in the former Instance; It is not possible that there could have been any Revolution of the Heaven that is now past, but that the same was once present; as whatsoever now is, is necessarily whiles it is so; whatsoever hath been, was necessarily whiles it was; in praeteritis non est contingentia.

The consequent whereof is, that whiles it is impossible but that the remotest Revolution of the Heaven once was present, That Revolution when present, was necessarily the Epocha, the terminus from whence all other succeeding Revolutions took the course or journey; and yet this remotest Revolution could not be of a greater period than 24 Hours, which was not sufficient to make it eternal, yet all the succeeding Revolutions took their rise and journey from it; and must needs be closed within two bounds, namely, the most remote and the present Revolution.

Again, if it be impossible that there can be any Revolution now past which was not once present, then the most remote was once present, and at that time when it was so present had none before it or more ancient than it; and that Revolution being such as now we have, must neces­sarily have its beginning within the space of twenty four Hours, before which it was not, and consequently when it was so present could not be eternal; and consequently all the Revolutions that succeeded came after it, was terminated by it, and by such a Revolution that when it [Page 81] was present had a beginning and could not be eternal, nor consequently all the Revolutions that hapned since that first, which are utrinque clausa, namely, with that which is remotest, and with this that now is in motion.

3. Whatsoever bodily Being is created eternally, must necessarily be created in some certain situs or disposition, and must of necessity remain an eternal duration in that situs or disposition wherein it was so created. For instance, if we should suppose the Sun created eternally, we must neces­sarily suppose 1. That he was created in some determinate ubi or situs, for that is undispensably necessary to every created individual Body; and therefore if he were eternally created we must suppose him created in tali vel tali plaga mundi, suppose we to be above our Horizon, or below it. 2. It must necessarily be, that in that ubi where he was so created, that he must by an eternal space or duration abide in that situs or ubi where he was so created; and he must (it is true) have a disposition to motion, but he must be in dispositione tantum ad motum by an infinite tract of duration: For if we shall suppose that he staid in his situs of his Creation but an hour, or a day, or a moment, and then set out to move, that moment of his existence before he moved would terminate and bound the duration of his motion, which could not be eternal because it had an antecedent moment before it, which secludes it from eternity: Neither can we suppose him to be eternally created in motion, for he must be before he can move, and must also have a terminus motus à quo. But suppose we might imagin him to be in the very first eternal ima­ginable instant of his eternal being put into motion, yet the terminus of that motion must necessarily be that ubi and situs wherein he was created, which would necessarily be the antecedent circumscription of the line of his motion; and if the line of his motion hath necessarily a terminus of its inception, it must of necessity have a terminus of its duration, and cannot be infinite in duration à parte ante: And as to this purpose there will be no manner of difference between a circular motion and a streight motion, if we could suppose in the vast abyss of imaginary infinite space there were some one determinate point from whence a direct local motion should be supposed to begin its motion, the line that such a streight motion should make would be finite, and consequently an infinite time could not possibly be consumed in such a motion. And upon the same account if the Sun were created in any point of the Hemisphere, and then presently took his start or motion to the West, and so onward in his circular journey, it were impossible that the line of that motion should be of an infinite extension, but being drawn out at length like a clew of thred wound off from a bottom, it would be of a finite extension, and consequently the period of that motion could never be infinite. For Aristotle tells us truly, that an infinite time can never be drawn out in a finite motion, nor an infinite motion be absolved in a finite time: This Reason the acute and judicious Suarez, 2. Metaph. disp. 29. sect. 1. borrows from Antonius Ruvio, and though according to the opinion of Aquinas he be a stiff assertor of the possibility of the Eternal Creation of the World, ibid. disp. 20. yet he frankly confesseth and maintaineth that Motion is of such a nature as is not capable of an eternal duration à parte ante; and thereupon concludes, Propter hanc ergo causam existimó [Page 82] Aeternitatem repugnare Motui, & Motum includere repugnantiam cum quadam immutabilitate, quam includit Aeternitas: Ideoque de facto motum non solum non esse aeternum, verum neque esse posse. Igitur ex motu aeterno colligi non potest Motor eternus vel immaterialis.

And now let any Man consider what is gained by the Supposition of an Eternity of the Bulk or Carkass of the World, when yet it cannot hold with it in consort an Eternity of Motion: 1. That we must separate from Bodies that which is most connatural to them, especially the Heavenly Bodies, and this for an eternal period, 'till put in motion within the limits of time. 2. We shall hereby separate from the Body of the Universe for an eternal period that which renders it most useful, and most beautiful: To suppose an Eternal World, and yet eternally destitute of Motion, were to suppose the whole Universe destitute of Life, and all Vegetables, Animals, Meteors, the Ebbing and Flowing of the Sea, the whole Furniture at least of this inferiour World, to be none but dead, liveless, stupid Beings, for such it certainly would be, if the Heavenly Bodies should be destitute of their Motion.

And therefore it seems wholly disagreeing to Reason, that the World should be eternal, when it is evident, that Motion (which as Aristotle truly tells us is, Vita quaedam omnium mobilium) cannot be eternal, and so there should be an eternal useless Carkass of a World from all Eternity, without that life of it, its Motion.

And on the other side, it seems more consonant to Reason, that the Fabrick of the World did not long antecede its Motion, and that since Motion is not, cannot be eternal, so neither is the Fabrick of the World, but they both began at least very neer together, and the World was not made from Eternity to lye fallow and uninhabited during that infinite abyss of its pre-existence to its first putting forth into any Motion, for such it must be, if destitute of Motion. And consequently the evincing of an impossibility of an eternal successive Motion, doth not only evince, that the whole World, with all its considerable Appendices, was not eternal, but doth with great evidence enforce, that the great Integrals of the World it self were not eternal, which had been imperfect without Motion.

And this doth salve two Objections at once, viz. 1. That drawn from Gods Omnipotence, that could have made the World eternal, if He pleased. The Answer is: That whatever could have been done in refe­rence to the Rest of the World, yet as in reference to successive Motion the same could not have been made eternal, and yet without derogation to the Divine Power or Omnipotence, but because the nature of the thing could not sustain or bear such a duration.

And likewise this answers the Argument for the Eternity of the World, drawn from the Divine Benignity and Goodness, whereby He is supposed to be under a kind of intrinsick necessity of doing all the good He could, and consequently to make the World eternally. I answer, 1. That as before the World, in its complement and perfection with the advantage of Motion, though there was no determinate time, point, or period, but God might have made it sooner if He had pleased, yet (with all due reverence to His Majesty) it could not have been in its complement and perfection eternal, because its successive Motion could not be eternal, nor [Page 83] consequently all that glory, beauty and usefulness which accrues to the Universe by that successive Motion. 2. That although the Divine Will be determined by the Divine Perfection necessarily to will his own im­mense Goodness, yet he is not determined by his own Benignity neces­sarily to will any thing without himself; his own essential Goodness he wills, and that necessarily, and ad ultimum posse; but his Benignity is measured out ad beneplacitum voluntatis, and not by an absolute necessity ad ultimum posse: And therefore although it were admitted that he could have eternally made the World, or made more Worlds or better Worlds, yet he was not bound to it, because the emanations of his Benignity are not necessary, but governed in their extent and measure juxta volun­tatis beneplacitum. 3. And upon the same account also, though he could have made the World sooner than he made it, yet he was not bound to it, but to make it when and how he pleased, though all his Works carry the impression of transcendent Wisdom and Goodness.

And therefore as these Reasons seem strongly to conclude 1. Against the very possibility of an eternal duration of those things that gave the principal ornament, beauty and usefulness to the Universe, namely, Va­riety and Succession of Individuals and Species, and Motion, so they do, at least de facto, evidence that if the rest of the Universe were able to sustain an eternal duration, yet they did not, because these would be very defective without those that cannot hold that state of Eternity with them.

2. Against the truth of that Reason and Assertion, That Divine Good­ness did intrinsecally necessitate his Will to create things in their best state from Eternity, since it seems evident that the condition and state of many things in the Universe that give it much of its usefulness, per­fection and beauty, namely Motion, and Succession of Generations and Corruptions, of Animals, Vegetables and Men, are impossible to be as ancient as that intrinsick Goodness of the Divine Nature, which is as eternal as his own most perfect being.

3. I come now to the third Reason against the Eternity of considerable parts of the World, which is this; Sublunary Bodies, whether simple or mixt, are by the necessity of their nature subject to alteration and cor­ruption: But whatsoever is subject thus to alteration or corruption, is incapable of sustaining an eternal duration à parte ante, and consequently sublunary Bodies are not capable of such an Eternity.

The first of these Propositions, namely, That all sublunary Bodies are subject necessarily to alteration and corruption: This naturally hap­pens to sublunary Bodies upon both or one of these accounts, 1. From an intrinsecal Cause, which is principally seen in mixt Bodies, in which the band and ligament between Matter and Form, nor of the parts of Matter themselves is not so strict and tenacious, but that they must ne­cessarily in process of time fall asunder. Besides, by the continual con­test between those contrary qualities bound up together in them, there do arise uncessant alterations, and at last final dissolution of them, even from within themselves 2. From extrinsecal Causes: For the very necessary composure and position of things in the World is such, that there is a vicinity between Agents and Patients, and contrary dissenting active Qualities, that the one incessantly invades the other, and alters, [Page 84] changes, intends, remits and corrupts the other; which perpetual lucta is seen daily not only in the mixed and compounded Bodies, but even in the more simple elementary Bodies, which daily invade, change, alter, and corrupt one the other according to their various degrees of activity, contrariety and vicinity each to other.

And if the World had been eternal, we must suppose it eternally con­stituted of such natures so placed and disposed in such situation and con­stitution as now they stand, or otherwise, we do not reason ad idem, the World otherwise should have been of another make, constitution and position than now it is; things corruptible must have been incorruptible, and the vicinity, activity, contrariety and position of things and their natures and qualities must otherwise have been quite different, and so our debate would be transferred quite to another World of another nature and constitution from that touching whose Eternity we now dispute.

The second Proposition is this, That whatsoever is subject to such alteration or corruption cannot possibly be eternal, at least unless we shall wholly remove from it by an infinite duration that corruption or alteration to which it is thus necessarily subject, and so make it ano­ther thing than what indeed it is.

And because the due and clear explication of this Truth renders the Assertion plain in it self, I shall distinctly examin it; and because we have supposed that the corruption of things corruptible, and the alte­ration of things alterable depends, as before, upon a double Principle, viz. That intrinsecal defectibility of the connexion or union of the parts of things corporeal, which is rooted in the very Nature of the things themselves; and 2. From the vicinity of other contrary active Princi­ples endued with contrary active Qualities which mutually invade one another; which position (considering the Frame and Constitution at least of this inferior World, is absolutely necessary, unless we shall make the World another thing, and of another Fabrick than what it is) as the moisture of the Water is contiguous to the dryness of the Earth, and the heat of the Sun is contiguous to the coldness and moisture of the Water, and cannot be otherwise in the Constitution of the World as now it stands, and consequently one must necessarily work an alteration in the other: I shall therefore pursue the same method, and first consider such Bodies as seem to have an intrinsick principle of alteration or cor­ruption from the dissolubility of their parts, and the coadunition of several particles endued with contrary and destructive qualities each to other; or such as at least tend to a gradual alteration. And secondly, I shall consider such parts of the Universe as do mutually act one upon another, and thereby induce corruption or alteration of one by another, according to the prevalency and activity of the one or the other.

But before I come to either of the particulars I shall premise some things which will be of use in all that follows, viz. 1. That preceda­neous to all Generation of any material Being, according to the course of Nature which we see, there must be a gradual preparation and alte­ration of the matter before there is a complete generation of any thing: This we see in the casual production of Insects and Vegetables, and in the natural production of Minerals or Meteors, and in the regular pro­duction [Page 85] of Animals and Men. 2. That in things which yet hold their essential consistency, yet there are very many alterations, not only acci­dental, as where things are rarified or condensed, or made hot from being cold, or cold from being hot, but also such as seems connatural to the Species: Thus we see in a Man, first he is a weak little Infant, then a Y [...]u [...]h, then a Man, then he becomes an Old Man, and yet continues still a Man till his dissolution; and to these various states of his Age there seem to be various alterations accommodate, as difference in stature, bigness, strength, activity, understanding; and the same is observable in proportion to their capacities in Animals, Vegetables, Minerals, and the like. 3. That these alterations are necessarily successive and gradual, whether they be such as are preparative to Generation or Corruption of Beings, or such as consist with the Existence of the being they have (as those alterations incident to the state of things in their consistency) yet they are not instantaneous, but successive and gradual; nay those very alterations that are wrought in things by an external contrary Agent, yet they are not in a moment, but gradual and successive, which is partly by reason of the resistence in the Patient, and partly because the Agent works upon the Patient by a certain local motion of it self or parts, or of its virtue and activity, which cannot be instantaneous and tota simul, but gradual and successive: Thus the Sun reduceth the Clay to its final degree of hardness, and the Wax to its final degree of softness succes­sively and gradually; the Fire assimulates the Stubble, and converts it into Fire, not in an instant but by degrees, though sooner or slower ac­cording to the vicinity of each, and the precedaneous preparations of congruity of the Stubble to be wrought upon by the Fire. 4. That these alterations that are thus successive and gradual, as they cannot be per­fectly instantaneous, so it is impossible they can last or continue for an infinite or eternal duration. The reason is, because as they must have an inception of their motion, so they must of necessity arrive to their complement within the compass of time, and can never hold out in their progress to an infinite duration: Let us suppose the Fire and the Stubble to have been created eternally contiguous one to another, the Fire could never have held an infinite duration in consuming that Stubble, for then it could never have been consumed; for that which had been burning an infinite time could never be burnt, no not so much as any part of it; for if it had burned part after part, the whole must needs be absumed in a portion of time: neither need we labour this, for we see that the Fire consumes Stubble or other combustible matter in a short portion of time; and since if we talk of an Eternity of the World, or of any thing in it, we must in common reason suppose it to be such as now it is, we must necessarily allow the like properties, activities, natures and operations to things as we find them now have. And since we see that all bodily alterations are effected in certain portions of measured duration or time, we cannot upon any reasonable account allow to those alterations an infinite antecedent duration; but if any Body or Thing in that imaginary period of Eternity allotted to it had any such alterations as we see now are incident to them, they could not pos­sibly be of an eternal duration no more than they are now, for that were wholly to alter the state of the World and of those things that are in it. [Page 86] 5. And consequently whatsoever thing it is that hath or can have an eternal being à parte ante, must persist in that eternal being without any change, alteration or corruption; or if it have any alteration or cor­ruption, the first alteration, change or corruption that it can have, must be in time, and after an eternal, unchanged, unaltered estate precedaneous to such alteration; for if we should suppose it to be eternal, then of necessity that alteration or corruption which it hath, must be subsequent to that eternal state which it had before it was altered or corrupted, and consequently must have had a persistence in that unaltered, uncorrupted estate infinite Ages before such alteration or corruption: If it were eter­nally altered, or eternally corrupted, then it was eternally, and eternally was not; it was eternally without alteration, and eternally altered: The thing must be before it can be altered or corrupted, and consequently its alteration and corruption must be subsequent and after that existence which it had unaltered or uncorrupted; and consequently the alteration and corruption must needs be younger than that estate which it had un­altered or uncorrupted, and consequently cannot be eternal.

Again, we cannot by any means suppose that any commencement of alteration in the first moment or degree of it could be coeternal to it; for (as is before evident) then that alteration would of necessity be per­fected within the like portion of time as the like alteration is perfected: Now suppose it were a corruptive alteration, it may be that is perfected in the space of three or six months from its first inception, the conse­quence whereof would be, that the like alteration of that eternal altera­ble or corruptible Body, if it began with the thing it self, would be per­fected in the like space, viz. six months: And should that perfected alteration fall within the compass of Eternity, or out of it? If it should, then the thing was eternally unaltered and uncorrupted, and was yet eternally altered or corrupted; was eternally, and yet that Eternity was but a space of six months, for so long only it had its being uncorrupted: If the alteration or corruption was not eternally perfected, but perfected in time, then an addition of six months the more of that alteration added unto a finite duration or time succeeding after such alteration, should make it infinite and eternal. 6. And yet the supposition of an eternal state of any corruptible or alterable Being, in a state of incorruption or unalteration, were utterly to change the very nature of things; and to give them an eternal state, we must be forced to gratifie them with a nature not only preter-natural to what they had, but quite of a distinct nature: For the purpose; That man that is even upon the intrinsick constitution of his nature dissolvible, must by being in an eternal du­ration continue immortal, unalterable, and not for a year, or a million or two of years, but for an eternal duration antecedent to his dissolution: Nay, it is inconceptible how any such man that hath stood the shock of an eternal duration without corruption or alteration, should after be corrupted or altered: from any internal principle of corruption or alte­ration it could not be, for then he could never have ridden out an eternal period; but it must be, if at all, by the power of a more powerful Being than himself, that must violently de novo introduce his change and dissolution. The Supposition therefore of an eternal existence of any thing corruptible, is to alter their very nature, and make that to be [Page 87] incorruptible which is corruptible. And to suppose that imaginary eter­nal state of things corruptible, to be utterly of another nature, kind, and condition than what we now see them to be, which is an unreason­able Supposition, unworthy of an admirer of Nature, which should be constant in his Supposition, and yet is the necessary consequence of the granting of an Eternity of corruptible Beings. But particular Instances of the several kinds of alterations and corruptions of things either ab in­trinseco or ab extrinseco, will make the thing more plain.

1. Touching things alterable or corruptible from an intrinsecal Cause, as Vegetables, Animals, Men. If any Vegetables were eternal, as an Oak, or an Elm, then some Oak was eternal; if it were, then if it were of the same nature as Oaks are now, it was first a slender Plant, and then gradually grew to his just dimensions, perhaps in two hundred years, and in about two hundred years more decayed, and was corrupted to dust; so that his duration exceeded not four hundred years, and in that period of time he grew perchance from an inch in diameter to six foot in diameter, and from a foot high to a hundred foot high: These alterations and augmentations were gradual and successive; he was not in the same moment one inch and six foot in the diameter, nor in the same moment was a Plant and dissolved and turned to dust; and yet if this Oak were eternal in all this portion of his duration, he must be eternally one inch in diameter, and yet eternally six foot in diameter; eternally one foot high, and yet eternally a hundred foot high, he must have eternally been a Plant, eternally a Tree, and yet eternally corrupted; his duration must have lasted but four hundred years, and yet he must be eternal, though his first being were but four hundred years before utter dissolution: And yet it is most certain that this Tree could not have been eternal; for being but of four hundred years standing, some­what must have anteceded that period, and so somewhat more ancient than what had been eternal.

But let us suppose this eternal Oak had not been bound to the laws of duration of other Oaks, but to have lasted eternally, and probably would have lasted to this day, had not external force either violently or accidentally corrupted or destroyed him; yet did this Oak ever grow bigger or taller than what he once was, or did he put off his leaves in the Winter, and gather others in the Spring? Did he put forth new branches, which before he had not? If he did none of these things, surely he was not a vegetable Being, he was not like those Oaks that are now growing, but quite of another nature, and we have nothing to do with him, he is a perfect stranger to this World: If it did grow from lesser to greater, and did put forth new branches, certainly the increment could not be eternal, but must be done gradually and successively, and from one degree of bigness to another; and since that augmentation could never be of an infinite procedure, but being successive, we must come to the beginning of that increase within the measure of such a portion of time as we now find sufficient for such a production or increase, it may be two or three hundred years, which being but a finite duration can never be eternal: And this necessary Supposition of a successive alteration or increase, utterly destroys the possibility of an eternal duration in any thing capable of such alterations; 1. Because it necessarily supposeth [Page 88] somewhat precedent to that state wherein it is, namely, a precedent alteration of it, whereby it is now become what it now is, and what before it was not; so that it had somewhat before its present state which stateth it to be what it now is, namely, that alteration or augmentation which so preceded its present state, and consequently that present state wherein it is, could not be eternal, for it had somewhat before it. 2. Because that very alteration that anteceded that state which it hath cannot possibly be eternal, but must be perfected within a certain portion of time destined to it, and consequently must have beginning within the compass of a determinate time, and cannot be eternally moving to its accomplishment.

And as this Instance gives the impossibility of an eternal Existence in any thing essentially alterable or corruptible, so it would be possibly more conspicuous in the Contemplation of the Humane Nature: If we should suppose a Man to have been eternal, Was that Man ever an Em­bryo, a Child, a Youth, a ripe Aged Man? Did he grow from a smaller stature to a greater, had he vicissitudes of temperaments and distempers, did he eat, digest, &c. If he did not, then those eternal Men were not of the same Make with the Men that are now, but quite another thing, which we know not what it was, or where to find it: But if he had all those changes he could not be eternal, he should be eternally a Child and eternally a Man, eternally young and eternally old, yea eternally living and yet eternally dead; for all these must fall within the compass of Eternity.

2. But let us now consider how the Case falls out in relation to alte­rations and corruptions occasioned ab extrinseco, and we shall find, 1. That as the World is framed, and as those that suppose it eternal, must suppose it to have been always so framed, there must necessarily be incessant mutations, alterations, generations, and corruptions by the invasion and juxta-position of contrary Natures, Agents, Patients, Qua­lities, Motions; the Earth naturally dry is moistned by the vicinity of the Water, and again dryed by the heat of the Sun; the Earth obstructs the fluidity of the Water by mingling its grosser parts with it; all things as it were in continual motion and agitation, and mutual preying as it were one upon another; which as necessarily occasioneth mutations, alterations, generations and corruptions, as the very intrinsecal dissolu­bility of the natures of mixt Bodies. 2. And as we find this now, so we must suppose that this hath been always so since the World had a being; unless we shall suppose, as I have often said, another kind of World than what we see: And although we are not acquainted with the state of things out of, or beyond this sublunary World, in which we see this vicissitude of alterations, yet whether there may not be some such mu­tations in the Ethereal World, we know not; but there may be such, though we cannot certainly know them. 3. And yet it is most certain, that it is impossible that any thing that is capable of these mutations and changes can be eternally under them, but must of necessity, if it were eternal, consist in such a state of fixedness and permanency that were not obnoxious to these changes. 4. And since it is not possible, for the infe­rior World at least, to be de facto one moment of time without these changes and variations, alterations, generations and corruptions; which, [Page 89] as before, are not at all consistent with an eternal duration à parte ante, of that that is so subject to changes, we have just reason to deny and disesteem this imaginary Eternity can belong at least to the sublunary World. The late Author of a Book De Aetate Mundi hath given us an Instance herein, that if it would hold, we need not go farther; namely, That the great Rocks in the Sea are yet many of them eminently visible to this day, and yet daily experience shews us that those Rocks are gra­dually diminished by the beating of the Sea against them; which had they been so dealt with from Eternity, though they lost but one grain in a million of millions of years, they would not have been, but would have been consumed an indefinite time long since elapsed: But the Sup­position fails, because it may be that these Rocks have at least vicissi­tudes of increase and diminution by the very alluvion of the Sea, or, which seems far more easily supposed, that the Earth and Seas might notwithstanding have been eternal, but yet the Sea might not have kept the same Channel where these Rocks now are, from eternity, but gained it in time; the Ancients telling us that the great Atlantick Sea was for the most part of it anciently a Continent, or at least a great Island as big as Europe and Asia, and after swallowed up and corroded into that vast Sea called the Atlantick Ocean, leaving behind it only those reliques now called the Canary Islands: I will therefore take my Instance in some other things.

1. It is evident that divers Minerals are bred in the Earth from an earthy consistence, by the heat of the Sun and other concurrent causes successively, as may appear to any man's observation touching Coals, Rocks, especially of Stone, which from a sandy kind of Earth gradually concoct into Free-stone, when they were before Earth, as may be seen in many Quarries by those pieces of unconcocted Earth not yet perfectly digested into Stone: If the Body of the Earth were eternal, either these concretions were also as eternal as the Earth gradually and successively digested into these concretions, or else the Earth must have had an eternal permanency in that state of simple natural Earth, without any such con­cretions or alterations in it: If we shall say the latter, we make the Earth another thing than what in truth it now is, which by the aid of the Sun hath these concretions and alterations even by a kind of necessity of Nature wrought in it: And besides, if in that portion of eternal duration wherein the Earth and Sun were in that very same natural state wherein they now are; the one active, piercing, and digestive by its heat; the other passive, receptive, and stored with materials for such a production. What should hinder but that there should be such production gradually and successively prepared, and at length generated by the conjunction of these active and passive Principles.

And yet if it be duly considered, supposing the Sun and the Earth to be both eternal, the Earth and its parts must of necessity persist in an eternal unchangeable state in that period of Eternity antecedent to the first al­teration thereof to any such production: For if the production of these Minerals should be eternal, and consequently infinitely distant from us, the productions must be eternal, and yet there must necessarily ante­cede those productions a successive and gradual alteration of those parts of the Earth which were to be moulded in succession of time to Coals, [Page 90] or Stone, or Minerals: And though perchance that alteration might take up a long preparation and disposition, yet it could not be eternal, but must be absolved, though in a long, yet in finite time; and conse­quently the Earth, if eternal, must be before that preparation or alteration, and must have continued in an eternal state, destitute of such alteration or preparation, and in an eternal disposition thereunto; which yet had been to suppose the Earth in that eternal period quite destitute of that mutation that upon the Supposition of the agency of the Sun had been connatural to it. So that upon the whole matter it seems plain, That neither successive natural Beings, nor corporeal Beings, that are corruptible or necessarily subject to alteration, either from an intrinsick Principle or from an extrinsick natural Cause necessarily contiguous or approximate to it in situation or virtue, cannot be eternal; which will deprive the greatest part of the sublunary World at least of that possibility, and must leave only such parts of the visible Universe as are incorruptible, unal­terable, and unsuccessive (if any such be) capable of this priviledge of the very possibility of an eternal existence à parte ante: And conse­quently the whole Universe cannot be eternal.

It remains then, they who assert the Eternity of the World must content themselves with such parts thereof as are capable of that duration. And accordingly there seem to have been three Opinions, which although they assume not the Assertion of the Eternity of the whole World, yet they endeavour to come as near to it as they can; which I shall distinctly set down and examin.

1. The first Opinion is of such, that although they suppose the sub­lunary World not to be eternal in its Frame and Constitution, yet they assert the Matter thereof eternal, though undigested, and not perfected till afterwards: But yet the Celestial or Ethereal World, the Stars and Planets they will have eternal, and that these were used as the great Engins in the subsequent formation of the inferior [...]r sublunary Wor [...]d.

Touching the Eternity of Matter, whether Celestial or Sublunary, I mean not in this place to meddle; but as to the Supposition of the eternal existence of the Celestial or Ethereal World, this shall be all I shall say: 1. We are not acquainted with the Constitution of them, and whether they are in their nature corruptible or subject to alterations; if they are such, they are as equally uncapable of an eternal existence as the sublunary World. 2. But suppose them to have a radical incor­ruptibility and immutability in their natures, yet their Motion cannot be eternal upon the Reasons before given. 3. And therefore though they are a goodly Fabrick, yet they are not in a state of Permanency of so great use, beauty and perfection, as in a state of Motion, which is a great part of their excellency, and that which accommodates the several parts thereof one to another, and all to the advantage and good of the inferior World; and therefore it seems not probable that they should have an eternal existence in Rest and Permanence, and afterwards in a process or period of time be endued with that which is their great perfection, namely their Motion, which neither was nor could be eternal: It rather seems more agreeable to the nature of the thing, and to the Divine Wisdom, whose Works are full of wisdom, excellence, and perfection, to respite the Fabrick till it were capable of its most useful and beautiful perfection, [Page 91] namely Motion; which must either be natural to them, and then it were marvellous they should yet enjoy an infinite duration destitute of what was natural to them, and yet not capable to be enjoyed by them in an eternal duration à parte ante: Or if it were adventitious from the immediate power of God, or by the instrumentality of Intelligences, yet surely it was foreseen by him that knew all his Works from the beginning: and therefore was not likely to ordain an eternal consistence of those Bodies to which he intended to give Motion, their great perfection, not sooner than time: And therefore though the Heavenly Bodies were admitted capable of an eternal Permanency, yet it is not probable they had their Being before, or at least not so long before their Mo­tion.

2. The second Opinion is of those that although they allow not the Mundus aspectabilis to be eternal, yet do suppose that besides that Eternal Generation of the Second, and the Eternal Procession of the Third Person of the Sacred Trinity, Almighty God eternally created a World of Intel­ligences, whereunto he might and did communicate the emanations of his Bounty and Benignity, and that in the beginning of Time he Created this Mundus aspectabilis which we see, for the farther commu­nication of his Bounty and Goodness; and this they suppose more con­genious and suitable to the Order of things, and of his own Goodness and the communication thereof, than to suppose the Creation of a ma­terial World either eternally or quasi per saltum, or at the same time with the Creation of those purer Beings, who had a greater similitude and proximity to his own most Divine and Spiritual Nature. This though it might possibly be so, yet we are without any sufficient Evi­dence that it was so, and such Conjectures of things without our know­ledge, or those media that we are capable to exercise for the acquest thereof, are uncertain and endless: Upon such conjectural Congruities the Platonists had their Dii ex Deo, the Manichees their Aeones, and Origen his Mundus Animarum: and therefore I leave it as a Conje­cture.

3. The third Opinion is of those who though they suppose the World not to be eternal, and perchance think with reason enough that the duration of Eternity à parte ante is such as is only competible to the Eter­nal God, and not communicable to any Created Being, at least such as is in its own nature either corruptible, alterable, or compounded: yet to the end that they may carry the Communication of the Divine Good­ness and Benignity as far as is possible, are not contented to suppose the World to be sempiternal or eternal à parte post, or to be as ancient as the Sacred Scriptures inform us, but will carry up the Creation of the World to an immense antiquity, long before Six Thousand years, and thereby they think they do at once salve the large Accounts which the Babylonians and Egyptians and Chineses give of the duration of their own Kingdoms and Histories, and also do, as they think, satisfie at least in a great measure that immense Benignity of the glorious God, whom they declare not only infinitely Good in himself, but necessitated by the per­fection of his nature to comunicate his Goodness ad ultimum posse to things ad extra.

This Supposition of theirs seems to be grounded upon two matters [Page 92] which are as I think mistakes, or at least do no way appear to be evi­dently true; namely, 1. That Almighty God, though he be by them admitted a free and intellectual Agent, is necessitated ab extrinseco from the Perfection of his nature to do good ad extra, ad ultimum posse, which seems untrue. 2. And it seems likewise untrue, that if he were under that intrinsecal necessity, yet he were thereby bound to make the World sooner than we suppose he made it: For as to the fabulous protractions of the age of the World by the Egyptians or others, they are uncertain idle Traditions, whereof they have no evidence but from the Impostures of their fabulous Priests.

Touching the first of these, namely, the Intrinsick Necessity of Al­mighty God to do good ad extra, ad ultimum posse, this is that Opinion upon which some have built their Hypothesis of the Eternity of the World, and others, driven from that Hypothesis by the absurdities that accompany it, build their imagination though not of the Eternity, yet of a prodigious Antiquity of the World. But it seems to me, That although Almighty God being infinitely and essentially Good, is necessarily carried to will and delight in that his own infinite Goodness; yet in his acts of Be­nignity ad extra he is not necessitated by his own Perfection to act ad ultimum posse, but although his own Nature be Benign and Boun­tiful, the seasons, degrees and measures, and other circumstances of its Emanations are guided and directed by the freedom of his own Will.

And the reason thereof is evident, namely, Because all the Good that is without, or that is possibly communicable by him to any thing without him, is finite, and cannot be infinite; and therefore he cannot be carried to it by an infinite desire and intention, and yet such it must be, if it be ad ultimum posse.

And if it should be so, there would be infinite absurdities follow which cannot be solved; as for instance, That either this present World must be actually of an infinite extension, or that there must be either infinite Worlds, or at least as many Worlds as is possible to be by the power of Omnipotence. That he hath made some Beings of that perfection, that Omnipotence it self cannot make them one grain perfecter, that they are but in the very next degree of perfection to himself, and cannot have the addition of one grain more to the excellence of their nature; that the Universe is so perfect, omnibus numeris, that it is not possible for Omni­potence it self to add to it, no nor to alter it in one jot or tittle, either to make it better or worse, or otherwise than it is; nay he cannot, pro arbitrio or dominion make one spire of Grass, or one Fly, or one Worm more or less than he hath made, because he hath made it as good as is possible to make it, and he is under the necessary obligation of his own indispensable Perfection to make and keep it just as he hath made it: That the whole Ocean of Omnipotence and infinite Goodness is already exhausted in the Work of the Universe, and hath nothing of good left that he can do more. These are the consequences of this Position, That the Divine Will is necessitated by the Perfection of his Nature to do good ad ultimum posse.

And as these absurdities evince the untruth of the Assertion, so it is apparent in the very Frame of the Universe it self and the integrals thereof, [Page 93] that it is untrue: For upon this Supposition admitted, there could not be a disparity in the Natures of things, but every thing should be con­stituted in that state of being that might be capable of as much of the Divine Beneficence as it were possible for God to communicate. And if it be said that this disparity of things in their degrees of specifical or individual perfection contributes to the beauty and convenience of the Universe, which is the primary Object of the Divine Beneficence, this salves not the Objection; because it is possible that many things might have a greater measure of specifical Perfection with great advantage to themselves and to the Universe also. But suppose this inequality of de­grees of specifical or individual Perfection might nevertheless contribute to the advantage of the Universe considered collectively, yet do we not see that daily there are many deficiencies even in individuals, which might have been supplied with exceeding benefit to themselves, and with ad­vantage to the Universe? Are there not among men some that want the integrity of their Limbs, some that want their Senses, Memories, Un­derstandings; some that are extremely vicious, and unjust, and degene­rate even from the common Principles of Humanity, many that are dis­eased and infirm, many good men of short and difficult lives; and might not all these have the integrity of their Bodies and Minds proportionate to the perfection of their specifical Nature; be virtuous, sound, long-lived, with advantage to themselves and mankind, and yet without detriment to the Universe? And therefore surely such they would have been, if the glorious God were necessitated to be Beneficent ad ultimum posse, unless we should presumptuously assert an impotence in him to rectifie these things.

2. But if we should suppose this to be true concerning the Divine Obligation or Necessity, let us now examin what the making of the World a million of years elder than it, is would do in the business.

1. It is true, though we say the World is not, cannot be eternal à parte ante, yet it is certain that either upon the nature of the thing or the part of the Almighty and the absolute power of God, without relation to the determination of his Will, there can be no determinate moment, or tempus signatum imaginarium, within the bounds or limits (if I may so speak) of antecedent infinite duration, but God might have made it sooner than he made it; and if a year sooner than he made it, he might have made it a thousand years sooner than that.

2. Consequently, if the World be not eternal, it is impossible to assign any time for its making it which answered the ultimum posse of Almighty God for the making it; and therefore if we should suppose the World to have been made as many millions of years before it was made, as there have been minutes since it was made, it could not answer the ultimum posse of Almighty God, nor answer that imaginary Obligation or Ne­cessity of his nature to do good ad ultimum posse, for still it might have been made before any hora signata.

3. Consequently the time of the Creation of the World, if it were on this side an eternal period, could neither be determined by his want of Power, nor by his necessitated Benignity agere ad ultimum posse, for in that indefinite time within the limits of Eternity no time can be assigned before which he could not have made the World, though it be admitted it could not be eternal.

[Page 94]4. Consequently there could be nothing that could determin the time or period wherein the World was to have been made, but the absolute Divinum beneplacitum; there could be nothing without him to determin it, for nothing was till he made it, nor any thing but his own Will within him that could determin it: for his power and goodness were un­determined to do it sooner or later, since no time could be assigned for the doing of it but it might be done sooner.

And when all is done, his Beneficence, nor the good which the created Beings might receive from that Beneficence, had had no imaginable advance or enlargement, if the World had been created millions of millions of years before it was; and that upon these plain evident Reasons.

1. Because though the World had indeed been at this hour ancienter, and lasted longer, if it had been created a million of years sooner, yet the future Eternity or Sempiternity of the World being of all hands ad­mitted, though the Eternity à parte ante be denied, there will be a future infinity for the emanation of the Divine Goodness and Beneficence to his Creatures.

2. Considering the nature of the Beings themselves that partake of the Divine Beneficence, there is no advance at all to them by receiving it sooner or later: If Plato had been a million of years before he in truth was, and had lived his proportion of eighty years, he had tasted no more of the Divine Beneficence than if he had lived as he did about two thou­sand years since.

3. Neither is there any difference in respect of the ever-glorious God, for he received no access of happiness by the Creation of the World, nor stood at all in need of it: And if he might be imagined to have received any contentment in it, yet he had an eternal prospect of all things as if they had been really made eternally: And besides, if the World had been myriads of millions of years sooner than it was, yet it was still infinitely short of an eternal duration; Almighty God had been an infinite duration before without that World, which had it been made millions of years before it was, yet had not held any proportion to that infinite duration that preceded.

And whatsoever hath been formerly said against the Eternity of this World doth equally conclude against an eternal being of any World ante­cedent to this, much more against an eternal succession of infinite Worlds, either of which can have no certainty, nor have any evidence or probability; so that as there cannot be attributed an eternal duration à parte ante to any one such supposed pre-existing World, so much less to a succession of Worlds.

The very same Arguments that conclude against the possibility of eternal Motion, or the eternal successions of Generation and Corruption, or of successive Individuals of Mankind do as effectually conclude against an eternal succession of infinite Worlds, and therefore I shall spare the repetition of them.

The Arguments which I have before used are such, as though at the first view they seem intricate, yet they have strength of evidence in them, and such as are accommodate to the nature of the thing which requires Arguments of such a nature; and those Arguments that are [Page 95] more experimental and obvious to sense, though they are more easie to be apprehended, yet are more easie to be evaded by the Assertors of the Eternity of the World.

In the before-mentioned Book De Aetate Mundi two experimental Arguments are brought against the Eternity of the World, upon which the Author lays some weight.

1. That if the World were eternal, by the continual fall and wearing of Waters all the protuberances of the Earth would infinite Ages since have been levelled, and the Superficies of the Earth rendred plain, no Mountains, no Vallies, no inequalities would be therein, but the Su­perficies thereof would have been as level as the Superficies of the Water.

2. That if this World had been eternal there would have been no Rocks appearing in the Seas above the Water, whereof there are very many visible; for the motion and agitation of the Water doth wear and eat off gradually the roots and other parts thereof, as is visible to our observation; some whereof have their roots so corroded by the Water, that they are ready to fall, and others have apparently by that means been either wasted or decayed, that now they are not extant which in some mens memory have been standing; and if the bredth of a Barley­corn had been consumed in a million of years, there had been nothing of them left.

That these things are true in fact, and that the reason why many of these effects are apparent to us to be as they are, is because that these Rocks and these Protuberances have not been eternal, may bp well attri­buted to that novitas essendi, that finite period wherein they have con­tinued, is very probable and evident to him that is satisfied otherwise, that the World had a beginning, I easily grant: But he that asserts the Eternity of the World will find out easie evasions of these sensible Argu­ments: They will tell us, and with truth enough, that in a great tract even of a finite duration the Earth must have and hath had great mu­tations: That by the eruption of Bituminous and Sulphureous Vapours, and the firing thereof, these protuberances of Mountains and Hills may be made, and have been made in many parts: That as Warts or Wenns growing in our Hands are thrust up by the humors ministred by the extre­mity of the orifice of some Capillary Vein, and increase; so in the great Body of the Earth such protuberances may be thrust out and gradually increased, though not so easily perceptible in one Age, and by this means there may be a continued supply of what is successively abraded from them by decursion of Waters: That Matter is never lost or annihilated: That what is decayed by that decursion of Waters is in some measure supplied by the terrene faeces which that Water brings with it: That by continued vicissitudes the Earth is repaired by the insensible descent of Atoms of Matter raised in others places, the Atmosphere being evermore filled with little particles and concretes of Matter which are uncessantly dis­charged upon the Earth, and as uncessantly again supplied in the Air by the more gross and terrestrial parts of those Vapours that are raised prin­cipally from the Sea and watrish places, by means whereof the Water justly pays in process of time what is borrowed from the Earth by a per­petual circulation. And that hence it comes to pass that in process of [Page 96] time, even to our view, Channels that were deep and broad, yet by a little time of dryness grow narrow and shallow; that those Mountains, whose chief substance is Rock, become cloathed with a superficial Mantle of Earth and Mould; that those places, which were formerly filled with Wood, have buried the fallen Trees three, four, or five foot deep in the ground, by an accretion or cover of Earth, derived to them sometimes by Alluvions or Floods, sometimes and most ordinarily by the descent of those Terrestrial Particles, that are drawn up together with watry Va­pours, and either together with those Waters, or after arefaction thereof in the Air, discharged upon the Earth, which doth reparare deperditum.

And as to those Rocks in the Sea, they will also tell us, that the vicissitudes of the Sea and Land in a long process of time, much more in an eternal duration, are very many and various: Sometimes that becomes Land which was once Sea, as appears in that part of Egypt thorough which Nilus runs, long since observed by Aristotle, and before him by Herodotus; and even in our memory great quantities of Land are now firm and habitable, where Ships anciently rode; and on the other side many parts are become Sea, which were once firm Land: They instance in that traditional vast Island in the Atlantick Ocean, which is drowned, and hath left no Remains of it self, but those Islands called the Canary Islands; but whether that tradition be true or not, it is very probable, that by particular Inundations the Face and State of the Terrestrial Globe, by great vicissitudes, is much changed. And therefore though they suppose the Terrestrial Globe Eternal, yet the Earth and Water hath not eternally kept the same position or site that now it hath: And therefore the Sea, so often (at least in an Eternal Period) shifting its Channel, hath not eternally washed the same Rocks that now it doth, but after an indeter­minate and vast uncertain Period, it may be of ten or twenty thousand years, leaves that Channel which before it had, and gives those Rocks that it wasted opportunity to recruit again, and then perchance after a like vast Period of Time visits the same Channel again; and therefore though the World might be Eternal, the alluvion of the Sea upon those Rocks might not be eternally continued, but interpolated. And though the Earth be not animated with a Sensible Soul, yet it is possible that it may be a great Immortal Vegetable, which may reproduce or increase Rocks or Mountains in various vicissitudes of vast Periods of Duration. And this they think very probably to be collected by the observation of things, and yet if it be not to be proved to be thus, yet thus possibly it may be, which is sufficient to elude the force of those sensible Argu­ments.

And the truth is, these Solutions do evade the edge and concludency of those Physical Arguments, and therefore much weight is not be laid upon them, but upon those of another nature, whereof in the foregoing part of this Chapter.

And there is no way to encounter the Solutions that these Men do, or may give of these two last Arguments, but to have recourse to what hath been before said, namely, that since the Solutions are grounded upon a Supposition of Eternal successive Motions, whereby by vicissitudes of long uncertain Periods of the Decays and Reparations of the inferior [Page 97] World, and by eternal vicissitudes of the translation of the Earth and Seas to several sites either by interpolated, or successive Motions. And since by what hath been before proved, there is an utter impossibility in Reason and Nature of any Eternity à parte ante of continued or interpo­lated Motion, there is likewise an impossibility in Nature that there should be this eternal vicissitude of decays and repairs of the Earth, or shifting of stations between the Earth and the Sea. And thus we are at last driven to resort to those though more obscure yet more concludent Arguments against the Eternity of the World which are mentioned in the beginning of this Chapter, or such as are of the like nature, some whereof will be hereafter farther considered.

Averroes, who was a strong Assertor of the Eternity of the World, insisteth upon a Reason which is witty, but upon a mistake of the nature of eternal duration, viz. That if the World were not eternal, but created in some certain Epocha or Period, it could never have been at all, because an eternal duration must necessarily have anteceded the first pro­duction of the World; and that Supposition excludeth the possibility of such its production, and is contradictory to that supposed novitas essendi of the World; for, infinitum non potest pertransiri, an infinite duration pre-existing to the Worlds production could never be passed through, so no possible accession to the first existence of the World through the vast compass of a pre-existing infinite duration.

But this reasoning of his is insufficient, because it takes in but a portion of Eternity which is à parte ante, whereas that Maxim is to be applied to the full and entire compass of Eternity or Infinitude. For if that Argument should hold, neither Averroes nor Plato, nor any man else could have been born in the World, but must have had an eternal existence upon the very same reason that Infinitum non potest pertransiri; for it is certain that as well an infinite duration anteceded the Birth of Plato or Averroes, as it must do the production of the World if admitted to have novitas essendi.

And thus much touching this preparatory Disquisition concerning the Eternity of the World in general.

CAP. IV. Concerning the Origination of Mankind; and whether the same were Eternal, or had a Beginning.

IF the World it self were not eternal, this Disquisition touching the Eternity of Mankind were needless, because decided in that de­cision.

Therefore our Inquiry touching the Origination of Mankind, and whether it had or had not a Beginning, is in this place by way of Sup­position or Admission, namely, Whether admitting the great Integrals at least of the Universe, the Heavens and Heavenly Bodies, the Elemen­tary World were or at least might be eternal; whether yet Mankind [Page 98] were, or might be eternal? And the Question possibly will be much of the same kind, with relation to other at least perfect Animals and Vege­tables, yea and all mixed or compound Bodies; for we shall easily find, that admitting those greater Integrals of the World were eternal, yet whatsoever is said against the Eternity of Mankind will bear as hard against the Eternity of perfect Animals, and almost of all compound Bodies.

And although for the more orderly discussion of this Enquiry con­cerning the Original of Mankind, I must gratia argumenti, and ac­cording to the Method proposed, admit the Eternity of the great Integrals of the World; yet it will appear upon a due examination to be such an Admission as must in a great measure be contradicted in the debate of what is propounded to be proved, and the particular Reasons against the Eternity of the Humane, Animal, or compounded Bodies will neces­sarily infer an impossibility, or intollerable absurdity in the thing admitted. For instance:

To suppose an eternal existence of the Heavenly Bodies and of the Elementary Bodies in the site and position in which they are, and to suppose them in an eternal rest and unactivity, and without motion, action, passion, or perfection of the less noble by the more noble, were to suppose them eternally kept in a useless, needless, imperfect state, for an immense, eternal duration, till the first moment of their being put into Motion.

Again, to suppose the Heavenly Bodies and their Motions and In­fluence, the Fiery Nature dispersed through all the Sublunary World, with its activity and motion; and the Passive Nature of the more pas­sive Elements to have been eternally in the World, and in all that eternal duration not to have produced mixed and compound Bodies in that eternal duration until such a determinate point of it, were a thing strangely repugnant in Nature, unless Almighty God were pleased to uphold their being, and yet suspend their activity for an immense eternal period.

And yet to suppose that the composition of Bodies out of the Elements (by virtue of the activity and influx of Motion, out of Matter that must by that influx be prepared for composition) should be as ancient as those Heavens, or that Motion, that Fiery active Principle that must compound them out of those simpler Bodies out of which they must be compounded (as all this must be, if they are eternal) is as impossible as any thing that can be thought of.

Again, if we should resolve the Eternity of the World into the Di­vine Will, which being necessitated by his goodness to do all the good he can, even ad ultimum posse, and upon that account made the World eternal, it were a strange Supposition to imagin that this God should give the great Integrals of the World an eternal being in eternal rest, without Motion, which is their perfection; or if together with Beings he gave or indeed could give an eternal Motion, it were a strange Sup­position that he should suspend the efficacy of that Motion or Activity of the active Principles upon the passive (which both existed) for an infinite space, and then after took off that suspension: And yet farther, Suppose Almighty God did or could give an eternal being to those Active or Passive Natures, and an eternal production of all mixed Bodies for [Page 99] an eternal duration but only Mankind (that is the noblest of all sublunary Natures, and apparently the glory of the sublunary World, and the very end of much of what is produced) I say, it is strange that the inferior World should be moved, agitated, and mingled into various mixed Bodies, and thus continue during the immensity of an eternal duration without Mankind in the World, if Almighty God were necessitated by the Benignity of his nature to do the uttermost good he could; and if he could produce Man eternally, there was an equal necessity for him to do it as to produce a Tree or a Stone eternally.

All this tends but to this, That if in the debate of this matter we can find that Man either could not be, or was not eternally produced, we have the same reason to believe that no compound Nature was produced eternally, that no local Motion or corporeal Action was or could be from Eternity; and consequently, that the Heavenly or Elementary Bodies were not from Eternity: The very single clearing of this one thing, that Man was not eternal, breaks the whole Hypothesis of the Eternity of the World, cuts asunder all the connexion of evidence that is for it, renders the most considerable perfection of the World, its Motion, Action, and Operation impossible to be eternal, and the existence of the Bulk, Position, and Fabrick thereof (unuseful, imperfect, and deficient without its Motion, Activity, and Operations) improbable to be eternal. So that the Position which I endeavour to prove, namely, the Non-eternity of Mankind, doth in truth destroy the Supposition of the Eternity at least of the inferior World. But this I only subjoyn by the way.

Concerning the Origination of Mankind, Censorinus in his golden Book de Die Natali, cap. 4. gives us the short state of the Question, and the several Authors that hold either way; viz. Alii, semper homines fuisse, nec unquam nisi ex hominibus natos, atque eorum generi caput exor­diumque nullum extitisse; alii, fuisse tempus cum homines non essent, & his ortum aliquando principiúmque natura tributum. Of the former Opinion he reckons Pythagoras Samius, Ocellus Lucanus, Archytas Tarentinus, Aristotle, Theophrastus, Plato, Xenocrates, Dicaearchus, and others.

But for the more clear stating of the Inquiry, I shall resume somewhat which hath been before said touching the Question before-going of the Eternity of the World, and some other things I shall add thereunto.

First, it is to be observed, that the Question is not here, Whether the successive Individuals of Mankind may or shall be eternal à parte post, perpetuated to everlasting by successive generation. For although whe­ther that shall be or no, depends upon the Divine Beneplacitum, yet there is no intrinsecal repugnance ex parte rei, but that as the World, and the Generations of Men in it have been thus long continued by the communication of the Divine Influence and Providence, so both the one and the other by the same Influence and Providence may be conti­nued without end: And the reason is, because such a duration, and such a successive multiplication of Individuals imports only a potential infini­tude, and such as never shall nor can be completed into an actual infinitude of duration or number: So that as Number is potentially infinite by addition of new parts to it, which yet never shall nor can arise to a num­ber actually infinite, because after every period thereof there still may be a farther accession of a farther period, yet it never will nor can be actually [Page 100] infinite, because still there will or may be farther additional periods of duration to that which went before.

The Question therefore rests only as to that part of the imaginary Line of the duration of successive Individuals that anteceded any given mo­ment; or, Whether Mankind had any beginning of being, or were eter­nal or without beginning.

And touching this, there have been some that have affirmed Mankind to be without beginning or eternal; others that have affirmed that Man­kind had a beginning.

Touching the latter of these, and the various Conjectures touching the manner of it, I shall write hereafter; at present I shall consider and examin the former.

Again, of those that have affirmed Mankind to be without beginning, and that maintain not only the Eternity of the rest of the World, but also of Mankind; they are of two sorts, viz. 1. Such as have affirmed that the successive Generations of Men have been eternal, not only without any beginning, but without any first Parents of Mankind, and that they have been always geniti ex genitis. 2. Those that have supposed that there were some first Parents of Mankind, which by a natural and uni­vocal generation multiplied their Species, but yet that those first Parents of Mankind were eternal Individuals, having an eternal existence in their individual nature, and in relation to them the rest of Mankind were geniti ex non genitis.

As to the former of these Opinions, they seem to be divided into these ensuing Parties or Opinions.

1. Such as think the successive Generations of Men were eternally so, and independent upon any Efficient, and necessarily by the eternal esta­blished course of Nature independent upon Almighty God, or any first Efficient of the Species.

2. Such as think the successive Generations of Men were eternally so, but dependently upon Almighty God, yet as a necessary Effect produced by Almighty God as a necessary or natural Cause, as the Light is a co­existent Effect of the Sun.

3. Such as think the successive Generations of Men were eternally so, but dependently upon God as an efficient voluntary Cause of them by eternal Creation, yet suppose that Will intrinsecally determined to such an eternal Creation of Mankind by the indispensable benignity and good­ness of his nature.

4. Such as though they take Almighty God to be under neither of the former necessities, but an Agent purely voluntary, and determining his own Will by it self only, and that deny the eternal successions of humane Generations as to the fact; but yet affirm it possible that Al­mighty God might, if he pleased, have created the World and Mankind eternally.

Having thus stated the Opinions of the Assertors of the Eternity or Beginning of Humane Generations, I shall pursue this Method; 1. In this Chapter I shall consider the possibility or impossibility of eternal Generations of Mankind, with relation to the four preceding Suppositions that assert it. 2. In the next Chapter I shall consider the possibility or impossibility of any one Man or Woman eternally existing, from whom [Page 101] Mankind had their production by univocal generation. 3. I shall after­wards consider of those evidences of fact and probability, that de facto may seem to prove that Mankind had their beginning in time, and the Objections against it. 4. I shall then descend to the Consideration of the various Suppositions of those that have supposed a temporary Origination of Mankind.

At the present therefore I shall propound those Reasons that to me seem concludent, that although it might for Arguments sake be supposed that some parts of universal Nature, namely, such as are permanent and fixed, and not in fluxu, might be eternal; yet it is simply impossible that the Generations of Mankind can be eternal in any of the four foregoing ways.

And before I come to give my Reasons, I shall premise two things.

1. In relation to the four foregoing Opinions, there seems to be this implyed in them: 1. The two former do most clearly take up the entire collection of Mankind and the Generations of them to be a meer natural Effect or Work, with this odds, that the former acknowledgeth no Effi­cient at all; the latter acknowledgeth God the Efficient or first Cause of the eternal World and the Generations of Mankind as a natural Cause: And consequently they must needs hold, that as Man is now generated, so he was eternally so; and as he is now, so he always hath been; and the measure that we take of him now will fit to all those innumerable Men that have been within the vast compass of Eternity: As Man is now a compound Body of the four Elements, so he always was; as he is now nine Months in utero matris, such was the method and the mora of every Man's production; for the Effect is a natural uniform Effect, whether independent upon God as the Efficient thereof, or dependent upon Him as a Natural Effect. And therefore whatsoever is impossible to be attri­buted to Peter, or John, or any other individual Man, is incompetible to every Man in all this infinite Collection within the unlimited extent of Eternity.

But the two latter, though both suppose an eternity of Generations, and though in Eternity there cannot be supposed well a first, yet do what they can, if they suppose a production of Man by eternal Creation, they cannot deliver themselves from these consequences; 1. That there must be some Man or Men that had his or their beginning in some other way then other persons had it, namely by Creation; for although Creation be an instantaneous act of the Divine Will and Power, it must of necessity be terminated in some individual determinate Person, and it cannot be quid vagum; the consequence whereof must necessarily be, That if there were an eternal Creation of any Man or Men, they that were thus created had their production (if we may suppose such a pro­duction) by a different way from the production of those that had their being by generation; and herein this Supposition of the Origination of Humane Nature differs from the two former Suppositions. 2. And con­sequently, that if the Creation of Man and of the rest of the World must be in the same point, as I may call it, of Eternity, the rest of the World or any part thereof could not be precedent to the Creation of Man; for then they have lost what they contend for, namely, an eternal Creation of Man: If it were but one imaginable moment after, then the [Page 102] World might indeed have had an eternal existence, but it would be im­possible for Man to have had that eternal existence by Creation, unless in the same first imaginary conceptible moment of Eternity (an expres­sion improper enough I confess) Man and the rest of the World were con­created: The consequence whereof, as I before said, is, that those Men must not as the former suppose all Individuals of Mankind had the same natural manner of production, for among the whole Collection some one or more had a supernatural manner of production, namely, by Creation.

2. This being premised concerning the different states of the two former and two latter Opinions, somewhat I shall say in general touching the Reasons I use against all these Suppositions: 1. In general, That that kind of reasoning which reduceth the opposite Conclusion to something that is apparently impossible or absurd, is as much a Demonstration in disaffirmance of any thing that is affirmed as can possibly be in any case, if the Conclusion of the affirming party doth necessarily inferr an impossi­bility or absurdity in the nature of the thing affirmed, it is a Demon­stration, Argumentum cum contradictione conclusionis; and such will those be which I shall bring. 2. Because the former Suppositions touching the Eternity of Mankind, though they conclude in the same Assertion, yet because they do it by several Suppositions, the Arguments that I shall use shall be of three natures; 1. Such as oppose in special the two first Assertions: 2. Such as especially oppose the two last: 3. Such as in com­mon oppose both.

1. The Argument that I use against the two first Suppositions is this, That it is evident to Experience and the Concessions of those very men, that the Body of a Man and all other compounded Bodies consist not only of Matter antecedent to their Composition, but also of such a Matter as is digested from those more simple Bodies which we call the four Ele­ments, Fire, Air, Water, and Earth: And therefore of necessity, and according to the Principles of these very men, before the existence of any compounded Body there must be of necessity, 1. A pre-existence of those simple Bodies out of which this compounded or mixed Body is com­pounded: 2. A pre-existence of those more active Principles in Nature that are necessarily pre-requisite to the mixing of these particles of Ele­mentary Bodies, and to the disposition of them to the Union and Consti­tution of that mixed Body whereinto it is to be formed, namely, the Motions and Influx of the Heavens, the Activity of the fiery Nature, subduing the more passive parts of Matter to the susception of that Form wherein it is to be brought. 3. A mora, or due space of time intervening between the first coagulation of Matter and the first instant of the dis­posing thereof, and the complement thereof in its determinate Species, which according to the degree of its specifical perfection is sometimes longer, and sometimes shorter; as the Statuary strikes more strokes upon that piece of Marble that is completed into the Statue of Caesar than into the Cube or Pedestal whereon he stands: all these must precede, not only in nature, but in time, before the complement of any compounded Body in its specifical constitution. And therefore since all mixed Bodies require necessarily the antecedence of these simple Bodies, this action of the more active Principles, this mora in the full disposition and digestion [Page 103] of them into their complement of a mixed Being, it is simply necessary that there must be a posteriority in time of every compounded Body, espe­cially the Body of Man, to these more simple Bodies out of which it is constituted, and those successive and gradual actions, and of the more active Nature by which it is disposed and completed in its being: And if once we admit a priority and posteriority, it is impossible the latter can be eternal, because it hath necessarily something that actually preceded it.

2. The Argument against the Eternity of Mankind upon the two latter Suppositions is thus; If Man were eternally created, or con-created with the rest of the World, it is of absolute necessity that that Creation must be terminated in that individual Person that was thus created. For whether Creation be eternal or not eternal, it must necessarily be termi­nated in some individual Being that is so created. And it is necessary also that that created Person were created in some determinate state, and in a state answerable to the nature of these Men that we now see; and though his Life were longer than ours, yet it would be certain that he lived as we do, one day, one month, one year after another, and that those first created Persons did generate their kind by the conjunction of Sexes, as is done in the World. And therefore if both Sexes were created, yet sooner or later they propagated their kind, as is now done; for though they themselves had a differing manner of production from those that succeeded them, we must conceive that their Constitution was the same, otherwise we shall not so much suppose an eternal Creation of Man, as of something else of a nature essentially differing from Man; which is contrary to the Hypothesis it self: And if this be supposed, we shall never deliver our selves from intollerable difficulties and absurdities. For, 1. There would of a necessity be a first Man, which cannot be consistent with the attribution of Eternity to Mankind. Again, 2. That first Man, if created eternally, must needs be distant from us by a less portion of duration after he had lived a year or two; and consequently the duration from his age of two years could not be eternal, for it is short of the pe­riod of his Creation by two years, and therefore not eternal; neither could his Creation be eternal, for then the adding of two years to a duration less than infinite should make it infinite, which is absurd and impossible. Again, 3. Was the generation of the first born Man at an infinite distance from us, and eternal, or no? If it were, then it must be of the same antiquity with the Creation of the first Man; and so the first born Man was eternal, and was consequently before he was born; and his Eternity should be ten, twenty, thirty, or forty years short of the Eternity of his Father, yet both eternal: If the Birth of that Man were not eternal, then consequently the Generations of Mankind are neither infinite nor eternal; nay consequently the Creation of the first Man could not be eternal nor an infinite distance from us, for there must necessarily be a determinate Period between the Creation of the first Man and the Birth of the second, and that time must necessarily be finite; and the addition of a finite duration to a finite duration can never make an infinite duration.

Eternity therefore, and a duration actually infinite, cannot be applied to successive Beings: The absurdities and incongruities that arise upon such an application are infinite and uncurable, and not to be attempted: [Page 104] Nothing but an infinite and indivisible Being is able to sustain an infinite and eternal duration, it will never fit other things, it is too great for them.

3. I now come to consider those Reasons that are applicable indiffe­rently to all the former four Suppositions, and render them all alike vain, absurd, and impossible. I shall resume some of those that I used before against the Supposition of the World's Eternity, and I shall subjoyn some others more particularly applicable to the condition of Man.

1. If the successive Generations of Mankind were eternal, then of necessity some one Man among them that preceded us was infinitely distant from us that are now living in point of duration, and infinite numbers of Men have intervened between us and him; this is plain and un­deniable.

If so then, if this Man lived to the ordinary age of man, for the pur­pose, till thirty years old, and then had a Son, and after this he lived to seventy years old, and died: Was this Son of his distant from us an infinite duration, an infinite period of years; or were there infinite Persons that intervened between this Son and us his remote descendants or no? If there were, then the duration from his Father, which was thirty years before his Son, must be thirty years greater than the duration of the Son, and yet the Son as eternally existing as his Father: if not, then thirty years added to the finite duration from the Son to us must make it infinite. There were infinite Persons in the interval between us and his Father, and but finite between us and his Son, and yet the odds between both must be but one. The Father's Death must be eternally distant from us as well as his Birth, and yet his birth seventy years before his death.

2. I shall here also resume the Argument above-given against the Eter­nity of Motion (which yet is no other but a different kind of application of the Argument last mentioned.) Whatsoever is now past and gone, was most certainly once present; therefore the most remotely distant Man in that vast Period of Eternity was certainly once actually existing, and though he be now past, yet those Attributes and Conceptions that were applicable and affirmable of him when present, are now affirmable and applicable to him though past, (abating only the relations of past and present,) if when he was present and actually existing he could not be eternal, so neither can the addition of all the succeeding myriads of Men by successive procreation make any one day of that Man's age to be infinitely distant from us, for it could not be so when he was present and existing. That Man whereof we speak was such a Man as we are, lived successively as we do, and though possibly he might be longer-lived than us, yet his age was measured by days and years as ours is, and could ne­ver be without beginning; and consequently this Man, when existing, was the Radix of all that succeeded him, the terminus claudens of all his succeeding Generations, which bounds and terminates à parte ante all the succeeding Generations; as that Man when present was not eternal, so neither can the addition of successive Generations produce a Line of duration of infinite extent, for that duration is utrinque clausa, namely, with that Man which was once present, and that Moment wherein I now write.

[Page 105]3. My third Argument (which though it be common, is very evident) is this:

It is impossible, ex natura rei, that any multitude can be actually infi­nite, or, (which is all one) so great that there cannot be a greater, or, multitudo omnium maxima: But if we should suppose an eternal succession of Generations of Men, or an infinite Series of successive individual Men, there would necessarily follow an infinite multitude, or a multi­tude than which there could not be a greater. And therefore ex im­possibili, there could not be such an eternal succession of Generations.

The first Proposition, namely, That it is impossible there should be an infinite multitude, or (which is all one) a number actually infinite, is evident by those many contradictions, absurdities, and intollerable incon­gruities that would follow upon such a Supposition.

It must needs be granted that an infinite multitude is the greatest mul­titude that can be, there can be no greater; if there can be a greater, then the former was not infinite. For when we have to do with any thing whose very essence, as I may call it, consists in being greatest, there majus and minus do alter the very essence of the thing, and is identical with magis and minus: A greater or larger Line, or Superficies, or Body is not magis linea, superficies, aut corpus, than a shorter, narrower, or lesser Line, Superficies, or Body, because they agree in the same common nature, the one as well as the other is a Line, Superficies, or Body. And so of other things.

But when the very Essence of the thing consists in a certain essential difference of major or minor, there major or minor vary the kind.

And therefore a Line of two foot long (with relation to that extent) essentially differs from a Line of a foot long, which under that notion is essentially greater or more extended than a Line of a foot long, and it is impossible that a Line of a foot long should be as long as a Line of two foot long, as it is impossible that a part should be equal to the whole. And yet upon the supposition of an infinite multitude, it must necessarily follow that one infinite multitude must be greater than another, and yet both infinite; upon the supposition of infinite Generations of Men, there must have been an infinite multitude of antecedent Individuals and Generations of Men a million of years since, and yet necessarily by the addition of those Individuals that have accrued since in that great Period of a Million of years, there must needs be an accession of a vast number to that multitude that was before, whereby it must necessarily be greater, and yet both supposed infinite, that is, such than which there can be nothing greater. Again, the multitude of the individual Men must be infinite, and yet the multitude of these Mens Eyes must be double to the number of Men, and yet both be infinite. And it is but a vain thing to say, that though the collection of Men be antecedently infinite, yet it is clausa and finita in the present extreme: as if a Line should be ex­tended infinitely from the point A, the Line would be finite at the point A, — A though infinite towards the other part; and the apposition of the acces­sional number of Men is to that part that is finite: For though the Ge­nerations of Men are limited towards the extreme that is next us, or at the Period of a Thousand years before us: and though the apposition of the accessional number be towards this hithermost extreme which is clausa [Page 106] or finita, yet the apposition is to the whole number or multitude, and the collection thereof, and therefore the absurdity of the Supposition of an infinite pre-existing multitude, which is more enlarged by the increase, is equally evident, as if we could suppose an apposition of the number to any other part; for the scope of the Argument is to prove the incom­possibility of Infinite and Multitude, because no Multitude can be greater than Infinite, yet such would it necessarily be, if we should suppose the multitude now greater than it was a thousand years before: And to render it yet more plain, suppose on the other side we should take the other Operation of Arithmetick, namely, Subduction: If out of that supposed infinite multitude of antecedent Generation, we should by the Operation of the Understanding subduce Ten, whether we subduct that Number of Ten out of the last Generations of Men, or out of Generations a thousand years since, or indeterminately out of the whole Collection, certainly the residue must needs be less by Ten than it was before that Subduction made, and yet still the Quotient must be as great as before, which is still infinite.

Again, the incongruity of the Supposition of an infinite multitude appears in this, that the part must be as infinite as the whole: It is the Instance of Algarel, in his Dialogue with Averroes; the Number of 4 multiplied into it self produceth the Square Number of 16, and that again multiplied by 4 produceth the Cubick Number of 64. If we should suppose a multitude actually infinite, there must be infinite Roots, and Square and Cubick Numbers, yet of necessity the Root is but the fourth part of the Square, and the sixteenth part of the Cubick Number. The Instance of Algarel, in his first Disputation with Averroes, which Averroes endeavours to answer (but tyres himself in vain to do it) may explain this Consequence: The Sun passeth through the Zodiack in one year, Saturn passeth through it in thirty years; so that the Revolution of Saturn to the Revolution of the Sun is as one to thirty, and consequently as one Revolution of Saturn contains thirty Revolutions of the Sun, so two Revolutions thereof must contain sixty Revolutions of the Sun, and so if we should suppose their Revolutions infinite, yet the proportion of the Revolutions must necessarily hold the same, namely, in all the whole Collection, the Number of the Suns Revolutions must be thirty times as many as the Number of Saturns Revolutions, and consequently the Revolutions of Saturn can be no more than one thirtieth part of the Revolutions of the Sun, and yet both being supposed infinite, the part, namely, the thirtieth part, must be as great as that whereof it is the thirtieth part, which is impossible.

And this impossibility holds in all other things that have succession or extension, as in quantity, motion, successive duration of things, in their nature successive. But it is more plain and conspicuous in discrete quantity, or different Individuals, which are already measured by Num­ber, without any breaking the continuity that is in things that have con­tinuity, as continued quantity and motion. And therefore they that go about to demonstrate the impossibility of Eternal Motion, à parte ante, or infinite extension in a Body, Line, or Superficies, do first break it into parts to measure them, and reduce them to discrete quantity, because the demonstration is more clear and sensible thereby, and therefore they break [Page 107] the Measures of Motion into Hours, Days, Years, or such like Measures, or into Periodical Revolutions, and so they break continued Quantity into Palms, Feet, Perches, or the like; because though the repugnancy of Infinitude be equally incompetible to continued or successive Motion, Duration, or continued Quantity, and depends upon the incompossibility of the very nature of things successive or extensive with Infinitude, yet that incompossibility is more conspicuous in discrete Quantity or Multitude, that ariseth from parts or Individuals already actually distinguished: But the reason of both is the same, especially if broken and divided into real or imaginary parts.

But in the Matter in question, namely, Multitude of successive Men, or successive Generations of Men, there is already a separate, divided, discrete multitude, without any antecedent work of my Understanding, or otherwise, to reduce it into parts or discrete multitude; and so the Instances of the Absurdities that arise by an infinite multitude of Indi­viduals and distinct Generations, is made more plain and open to view: And he that is desirous to prosecute these Asystata of Infinitude and Mul­titude, let him resort to the Prelections of Faber, collected by Monsuerius, in his Metaphysica demonstrativa de infinito.

And to say the truth, there are none of the Ancients that have any weight in them, that do not agree, that it is impossible that any Quantity, either discrete or continued, should be actually infinite, but only poten­tially, either by addition of supposed parts to either, or by division of Quantity continued into parts infinitely divisible: But the greater diffi­culty rests in the Assumption, which is next to be considered.

The second Proposition is this, That if Eternal Generations of Men were admitted, there would be this absurd Consequence, that a multitude given might be actually infinite, which remains to be proved.

The Objection that stands in the way seems to be this, That there is no repugnancy that Multitude might be possibly infinite, for as we may without any inconvenience suppose, that the Generations of Mankind might be sempiternal or eternal, à parte post, so there is no inconvenience to suppose them eternal, à parte ante, for they never co-exist, but are successive, and so do not constitute any multitude co-existing actually infinite, which is indeed impossible; but there is no implication or repugnancy that there might be an infinite succession of Generations, for they are not together, but one Generation passeth and another suc­ceedeth.

And hence it is they say, that in moventibus vel causis per se subordinatis, there cannot be processus in infinitum, but we must necessarily fix in a First Mover, between whom and the last Motion or Effect there cannot be a series of Infinite Causes for two Reasons: First, Because if there were Infinite Movers or Causes, moving per se to the same effect or motion, the motion would be infinite, and so would the time wherein that motion would be absolved, for infinitus motus non fit in finito tempore. Secondly, And again, there would be an actual Infinitude of co-existing Causes, which is impossible; and therefore for the purpose, to the production of this generation of an Insect by putrefaction, there is not an infinite series of Causes per se co-operating to its production, but the series of Causes is finite; for the active qualities of the Elements move the Matter, and [Page 108] the Heat and Influence of the Heavens agitate and move, it may be, the Elementary Body, and the Intelligences move the Heavenly Bodies, and Almighty God the Primum Movens moves the Intelligences, and these are finite in number: But in causis aut moventibus accidentaliter subordinatis there may be an Infinitude or Eternity, thus the Father may beget the Son, and the Grandfather begat the Father, and so backward to Eternity, and so in the successive productions of all Animals ex semine. For though the Individuals successively existing from all Eternity, must needs be infi­nite, yet they do not coexist, but as one Generation comes another decays, and so make no infinite multitude; and consequently, that all the absurdities that are heaped upon the Supposition of infinite multitude or numbers, conclude nothing to the matter in question, because there is no infinite multitude, because no infinite Individuals or Generations of Mankind coexisting: And though this cannot at all, according to their supposition, any way admit the possibility of an infinitely extended Body, Line, Superficies, or Place, because that would be an actual infinitude in extent; yet as to successive continued things, as successive Motion, as that of the Heavens, and successive Duration, as that of Motion which we call Time, there is nothing of inconvenience according to their Sup­position, if they be infinite, eternal, and without beginning; because though they consist of infinite Parts, yet they are not altogether, or co­existing, without which there is no real Multitude.

So that the Question will be hereby reduced to this Point, Whether in this succession of Generations and Individuals of Mankind there be such a Multitude produced that is consistent with Infinitude therein.

I shall not here lay hold of that Supposition of the Immortality of the Souls of the several Individuals of Mankind (which if supposed, would make an infinite multitude actually coexisting of separate Souls) because some of those that maintain the Eternity of Mankind, deny the Immor­tality of the Soul; others deny the Immortality of the Soul in its indi­viduation, supposing it to resolve into a certain common Element of Souls; and others, as the Pythagoreans, though allowing the Immortality of Souls in their individuation, yet suppose a finite number of Souls might supply the infinite Successions of Men by Transmigration of these in their due time: This I lay aside, because it would necessarily occasion other Disputes with Men of those Perswasions.

I do therefore say, That upon the Supposition of the Eternal Suc­cession of the Generations of Men, and the infinite successive Individuals thereby arisen, there doth arise such a Multitude as is equally inconsistent with Infinitude, as if the Individuals had been all coexisting, and that all those foregoing Asystata that render any number or multitude of co­existing Individuals impossible to be infinite, render the multitude of successive Individuals impossible to be infinite; abating only the excre­scence of infinite coexisting Men to an infinite moles, which inconve­nience indeed falls not upon the successions of Individuals, some by death and corruption making room for new Successors.

And to make good what I say, I shall deliver these ensuing Conclu­sions.

1. That as in things that are present, while they actually are, they also necessarily are; so in things that have been, they have been while they [Page 109] were, actually and necessarily: It is as certain that my Father and Grand­father once actually were in rerum natura, as it is certain that I now actually am; for though in things that are yet to come, they are only in possibility, and not in act; yet in things that have already been, they have been as actually as what now is; in praeteritis non datur possibilitas; and it is as certain that what is past, once was actually present and existing, as what now is, is actually present and existing. This I say to prevent that Objection, That things past and things to come are of the same nature in relation to their existence, and that only our manner of apprehension is that which makes things future only inter possi­bilia.

2. That things that once existed and are now past, do as really con­stitute a multitude (if many) as things that are coexisting; It is as evi­dent that the Grandfather and Father and Son did as really make up a multitude, that is, one man, and one man, and one man, (which mul­titude we call artificially three, though the Father and Son were both Posthumi) as if they all had or did all now exist together; and it is as true a Predication to say that these were many, as it were in case they had all coexisted, or were now coexisting: And those three Revolutions of the First Moveable that were past three days since, are as really a multitude of Revolutions, as the three Stars that this hour coexist in Heavenly Con­stellation are a multitude of Stars; and when I speak of a multitude, I mean more than one.

3. That although number, or the digesting things under this or that number, whether Collective, as three, six, nine; or Ordinal, as the se­cond, third, or fourth, be but an operation of the Understanding only, yet antecedent to any act of the Understanding, and without the help of it, unum and multa, and of those multa, plura, or pauciora have a reality: Plato is one, and Plato and Aristotle are multi, or more than one; and Plato and Aristotle and Tully, are a greater multitude than Plato and Ari­stotle, antecedently to any operation of the Understanding.

4. That antecedently to any act of the Understanding, even in those things that have a successive existence, and are not all together, there is as real an unity or multiplicity as in things coexisting. For instance, The Revolution of Heaven that was dispatched the first Natural day of the last week, was as really, as that Revolution which now is in con­cluding really is; and as it really was, so it really was but one: And the Revolutions that followed in the two next Natural days were really more than one, and therefore multa; and the Revolutions of the three next days after, was a multitude greater than the Revolutions of the two former days; and all those six Revolutions were really a greater multi­tude of Revolutions than any one of the former multitudes, and this without and before any operation of the Understanding, though indeed the Understanding gives them their numeral distinction of one, and two, and three, and six.

5. That the incompossibility of Infinitude with Multitude, or the impossibility that any Multitude should be infinite, doth not arise either upon the existence or non-existence of the Subjects of that Multitude to­gether at this or any other determinate time, but from the very nature of Multitude it self: So that whether the multa were present, or past, [Page 110] or fixed, or successive, yet the very supposition of Multitude doth exclude the possibility of its infinitude: For 1. It supposeth a discrete Quan­tity, and any Quantity must needs be limited. 2. It supposeth a con­sistence of many Unities into which it must necessarily be resolved, as the constituent Subject or Matter of them. 3. It supposeth a Term which cannot be the greatest: It is impossible that any Multitude can be so great but that a greater may be given: So that as although there were no Man in the World to take notice of it, every Triangle would contain three angles equal to two right-angles, though no Man were in the World to discover or assent to it; so though there were no things in the World existing to be denominated multa, and no Understanding in the World to form the conception of it, it would be an eternal Truth, That what consisteth of many Unities, as all Multitude necessarily doth, cannot be Infinite, nor consequently any Multitude arising by succession cannot in the nature of the thing be Eternal.

Upon the whole matter therefore, I conclude that it is impossible that the Generations of Men or their successive Individuals can be Eternal; that a Multitude doth as well arise by successive as by coexisting Indivi­duals; that if the Generations of Men and their successive Individuals were Eternal, there would necessarily follow, that the multitude of such Individuals were infinite as well as if they were all coexisting, and that it is equally repugnant to the nature of multitude, whether of successive or of coexisting Individuals to be infinite: Therefore there could not be such an eternal succession of Individuals or Generations.

And that this Supposition, That multitude of coexisting Individuals, or of Causes or moventes per se, cannot be infinite; but that successive In­dividuals or Causes and Effects per accidens might be infinite and eternal, is in truth a Supposition not fitted to the truth of things, or grounded upon any rational difference between the things, but a Supposition fitted merely to serve that other precarious Supposition which Aristotle and his followers had taken up touching the Eternity of the World.

And these shall be all the Reasons that I shall trouble my self withall against the Eternity of Mankind, or the successive Generations and Indi­viduals thereof; having willingly declined those many other Ingenious Reasons given by others (as of the Impertransibility of Eternity, and the impossibility therein to attain to the present term or limit of antecedent Generations or Ages; the necessity of every posterius to have a prius, that there be an equal number of priora and posteriora) which either are so many various Explications of the Reasons going before, or at least are not so evidently concludent, or are subject to Exceptions in some particulars.

The Objections both against the Reasons before given, and against the Supposition it self, I shall take up after the next Chapter, wherein I shall examin the other Supposition before mentioned, namely, The eternal existence of some first Man and Woman, and the successive Gene­rations from them, wherein, because it is touched before, I shall be brief.

CAP. V. Concerning the Supposition of the first Eternal Existence of the common Parents of Mankind, and the production of the succeeding Individuals from them.

I Come to that other Supposition, namely, of the Existence of some one Man and Woman the common Parents of Mankind eternally, and the successive multiplication of the Race of Mankind from them by the ordinary course of generation. And although this Supposition carries with it the clear evidence of its absurdity, and therefore may seem to be scarce worth the pains of a Confutation; yet because it lyes in my way, and the Observations upon it may be useful for other pur­poses, I shall say somewhat concerning it.

This first eternal Pair we cannot conceive to have an existence by a bare course of Nature, without an eternal Creation of them by Almighty God, and an unintermitted Influence from him to support them in a state of Incorruptibility through the vast abyss of Eternity: For he that will suppose things purely under that course of existence that is proper to them by the course of Nature, must needs suppose the Individuals of the humane Nature to have been always such, and of such a Frame as now they are, that is, mortal and corruptible Beings; and though their Ages might anciently be of a longer continuance than now they are, yet (upon a bare natural account) they could not be conceived immortal, incorruptible, immutable, no more than they are now.

Therefore since the great admirers of Nature do therefore frame their Hypotheses of an eternal Succession of Men, because they think themselves bound to think that all things have ever been as now they are, and because they will not substitute other Hypotheses of the Origination or Existence of things in any other manner than they now see them. Cer­tainly as to these, and ad hominem, it is an Evidence beyond contradi­ction, that there never was any such pair of Man and Woman that eter­nally existed, but that all Men and other perfect Animals, if they were eternal in their Species, were eternally produced ex prius genitis as now they are, and that there was no one first individual of Man or Beast that had an eternal Existence, because such a Supposition equally crosseth that course of the nature of things which now they see, which therefore they make the standard, and their measure of things that are past.

They therefore that must support an existence of the first individual Parents of humane Nature, and that those Individuals had an eternal existence, must necessarily suppose that they had that existence by an eternal Creation of Almighty God, and an eternal Influx and Support from him in that incorruptible estate through all the vast extent of an eternal duration.

And by this means they do think, and that truly, that they assert a dependence of the Species of things upon Almighty God, which cannot possibly be supposed to be dependent upon him, unless they had in their [Page 112] individual nature their existence from him; since it is impossible there can be any Supposition of the existence of any Species (as for instance, the Species of Man) unless it be supposed to exist in Individuals; nor con­sequently a dependence of the Species of Mankind upon God as its Cause, unless there were a dependence of the first Individuals thereof upon him in fieri as their Cause: And they likewise hope (but vainly) hereby to avoid the inconveniences of successive eternal Generations without any first Caput or Radix of those Generations, though they fall hereby into the same difficulties, and others that are equally intricate and inexpli­cable.

And although in this Supposition we must admit the first pair that were the Roots of Mankind did herein differ from the state of Mankind now, that whereas now Men live ordinarily seventy or eighty years, and are subject to Death, yet those first radices humani generis were by the Influence of the Divine Power immortal, and not confined to the age incident now to Mankind, but were able to endure the immense du­ration of an eternal being; yet we must also suppose that in other respects they were of the same Make with these individuals of Mankind that are now: For otherwise instead of a supposition of an eternal being of the first individual Man and Woman that had their being by eternal Creation, we shall fall into a supposition of something that was not in truth Man. And therefore, as according to the Doctrine of Moses and the Truth, Adam the first created Man, though consisting of a composition intrin­secally dissolvable, had he continued in Innocence, should or might have held by the continued Influx of the Divine Will and Power a state of immortality and indissolubleness of his Composition; yet as to the Es­sentials of his nature, and the Integrals thereof, he should have been and continued like other Men.

And therefore those first imaginary eternal Individuals, the Root of Mankind, should have consisted of Flesh and Blood and Mind and Soul and Body as other Men do, they must have the support of their Lives by receiving of nourishment, by digesting thereof according to the various process of Digestion as we do, they must draw in their Breath or Air and emit it again as we do, they must have had the like successive motion of the Heart and the like circulation of their Blood as we have, the like local motion of their Bodies, the like variation and succession of Thoughts as we have; and though the supposed Eternity of them should have excluded from them corruption or dissolution in that vast Period of Eternity, yet even that duration of his must be in this respect like ours, that it was a successive duration, a duration that was measured out by the supposed coexistence of the eternal succession of days, and months, and years; And such a duration, as though there had been no such collateral or coextended extrinsick measure, yet it was intrinsecally successive, and not indivisible, because he was in his nature a corporeal successive Being as well as we; and as we in the very Constitution of our Automaton have certain successive gradual marks and signs and ope­rations, whereby though there were no external successive measure, by comparison whereto the succession of our duration might appear, as the Motion of the Heavens and Heavenly Bodies, and the like; yet by those connatural successive marks and signs our beings and durations would [Page 113] be measured, and the successions thereof would appear; as the vicissi­tudes of Respiration, the Pulses, Palpitations of our Hearts, the variety and succession of acts of Sensation, the succession of our Thoughts and Cogitations; whereby it is apparent we have not only intrinsecal marks and distinctions of our successive duration, but also that our operations are various: I do, I think and speak that to day which I did not yester­day, the number of my Respirations or Pulses were thus many yesterday, and as many to day, and it may be more, upon the variety happening in my Body by local motion, repletion, or any casual perturbation. And as all this I find in my self and other men, so I must needs conclude the very like was in these first Individuals that are supposed to be eternal: For though they had (ex suppositione) an immortality and preservation from putrefaction or corruption by the eternal and continued influx of the Divine Goodness and Power, yet they were not in a state of perfect immutability in their actions, operations, or existence: For then we must suppose them not to have been Humane Creatures, but Gods, or at least Angels; which nevertheless are not wholly exempt from their degrees of mutability and variation, at least in their intrinsick operations: it being the sovereign Prerogative of Almighty God only, to be without variableness or shadow of change.

And now I shall not inquire what are become of those eternal pair of first Parents, where they are, or if they are dead, how it came to pass they could weather and stand the shock of an eternal duration, and yet be at any time subject to a dissolution. It may be said they were translated into Heaven, or possibly they may be since dead, the Divine Beneficence subducting in this or that point of time that Influence which it communicated from the time of their first Creation, whereby they were kept in a state of immortality till that moment of the subduction thereof wherein they began to undergo the common Laws of Disso­lution.

But I do say that there is the same impossibility that any corporeal Individual of such a Make and Constitution as Man is, should be eternal in hoc individuo, as there is in the eternal succession of several Indivi­duals: Such a kind of duration cannot be sustained by succession of Humane Individuals, much less can it be sustained by any single Indivi­dual of Humane Nature.

1. The same absurdities and impossibilities would follow upon the admission of the Eternity of one single Humane Individual as of succes­sive; because that Individual hath necessarily a concomitant succession of interpolated Motions, namely, the Pulses of the Heart, and the suc­cessive Motions of Respiration, and divers others. All which will pro­duce multitudes uncapable of Infinitude, as much as the several indi­viduals of Mankind.

And among all these Pulses and Respirations some one will be neces­sarily, infinitely, actually distant from some other Pulse within the limits of time, whereupon all those former heaps of incongruities and impos­sibilities before observed will be consequential.

2. It is impossible that any Being can be eternal with successive eternal Physical changes, or variety of states or manner of existency naturally and necessarily concomitant unto it. But if we should suppose any one [Page 114] one Man eternal, yet he must in the very constitution of his being ne­cessarily have Physical changes and variety of states and manners of existence accompanying him, or else we must unman him, and make him another thing: Therefore no individual Man can be eternal. The Ma­jor Proposition is evident to any that consider it. For let us suppose the first Man created eternally in a state of Childhood, Youth, or Rest, it is necessary that he continue eternally in that state, and the first moment he moves or alters that state, must be on this side the uttermost limits or compass of Eternity, namely, within such a compass as is finitely distant from this hour, for two Causes: Because Rest must needs be antecedent to his Motion, his Childhood antecedent to his Youth, and that to his Manhood; and therefore if his Rest, Childhood, or Youth were eternal, his motion or alteration of his state cannot be eternal, for then this con­tradictory Proposition should be true, That Man did eternally rest and eternally move, or which is all one, eternally move and eternally not move, for Rest in Bodies is but an absence or privation of Motion: That he was eternally a Child, eternally a Youth, and eternally a grown Man.

But let us suppose that it were possible that he might be created eter­nally in a state of Rest, or yet in some determinate point within the extent of Eternity he should begin to move, that interval that anteceded his Motion must be either in a finite or infinite distance from us: If we should suppose it infinite, we contradict our selves; for we shall make the first Motion eternal, and consequently infinitely distant from us; and yet to have a beginning, and such a beginning that was infinitely later than the Eternity of Rest. And if we shall suppose the interval between the first imaginary beginning of that Rest and the beginning of that Motion, finite, (suppose for the purpose, the time of a Month) then we shall upon the very same account make the beginning of that Motion to be less than eternal, because begun a Month after what was eternal; and consequently also we shall make the beginning of that Rest to be not eternal, because that first Motion having a beginning after Eternity, could not be eternal; nor consequently the beginning of that Rest could not be eternal, for, ex suppositione, it is but a Month ancienter than that Motion, which was not eternal: and a finite duration added to a finite duration cannot make an infinite duration: Therefore if Man, ex suppositione, were created in any state whether of Motion or Rest, Childhood, Youth, full grown Age, or whatever other state it be, he must necessarily so persist an infinite duration, and if he undergo any alteration from that state, that alteration must be in time, or of a puisne date to Eternity.

The second Proposition is this; That Man in his very Constitution is such, that there is uncessantly and naturally concomitant with him Phy­sical changes, and a variety of states and real changes, without which he would be in vain, and indeed he could not be what he must be supposd to be, namely, essentially a Man.

It hath been heretofore shewn what great variety of Motions and Alte­rations do necessarily accompany his very Constitution, and let any Man but think with himself what a kind of thing Man would be during all that immense abyss of his first being, if he be supposed eternally and unchangeably resting, unchangeably moving, eternally and unchangeably [Page 115] a Child, a Youth, a full grown Man, or any other determinate unchange­able state. As we have before observed, though we should admit a possibility of an eternal Creation of Man or of any created Being what­soever, we must suppose him created under some of the conditions which are incident to an individual nature; he must be created in some determinate ubi, and in some determinate situs and state; he must be created in Rest or in Motion, a Child, or a Youth, or a full grown Man: This Man, unless he put off his nature, must in some finite or limited time at least after the eternal imaginary moment of his Being move locally, or with the Motions of alteration, augmentation, growth or decay. These and the like Motions are, upon the account of his Con­stitution, necessarily incident to him within certain ordinary Periods, and are connatural to his very Constitution.

And therefore it is irrational, and indeed impossible that this created Man should eternally be in a state of Rest without Motion, without Alteration, Augmentation, Diminution; and yet thus he must be con­ceived to be, if he were eternally made: If once we admit a variation from the state of his Creation, that variation must be necessarily after an eternal and infinite duration, and therefore within the compass of Time: If this Man should be conceived to move or alter his condition within a year, nay a million of years after his Creation, his Creation could not be eternal, because his Creation would be antecedent to that first alteration but a finite time; and that first alteration could not be eternal, but within the compass of a finite time; and consequently his Creation anteceding that first alteration by a finite time could not be eternal, or of an infinite distance from the time wherein I write: And consequently this Creation of Man is not, cannot be eternal, because Man in his very Constitution hath the necessary concomitants of those alterations that are inconsistent with an eternal duration, and such as he cannot be without, according to the very intrinsick fabrick of his na­tive Constitution one Week, much less an eternal duration.

Again, the truth is, the very Supposition of eternal Creation of any Being essentially distinguished from Almighty God is a perfect contra­diction in it self: That which is eternal, is that which is without begin­ning; that which is created, hath necessarily a beginning, although by Creation.

But I shall not prosecute this any farther, the Supposition of any in­dividual of Mankind eternally created is so absurd that it deserves not half the words that have been used about it: But I have not been so prolix in it for the sake of the Supposition it self, but rather because it gives a fair opportunity of clearing of some things which could not be so aptly done otherwise.

And upon all this that hath been said, although it should be admitted that there were an eternal being of a first Man and a first Woman, yet it were impossible in Nature that the Generations of Men should be in­finite; and this appears upon the Reasons here given, and likewise upon the former Consideration of the impossibility of the Eternity of Mixed Bodies. For it is absolutely necessary that there be an interval be­tween the first existence of the first created Parents of Mankind and the production of any descendent from them by ordinary course of pro­creation [Page 116] or generation: For such a production cannot by any possibility be as ancient as the producents; though Creation may be instantaneous, yet Generation in its first inception, complement and perfection, cannot be instantaneous. Ideóque necesse est ut primus homo per procreationem sive naturalem generationem productus, per novem menses integros post primam con­ceptionem in utero lateat, & demum post ejusdem in lucem editionem, per omnes gradus infantiae, pueritiae, juventutis, ad complementum maturioris aetatis deveniat: unde etiam necesse est ut primus homo per generationem, posterior sit primis hominibus per creationem, per spatium ad minus novem men­sium. Unde si daretur primos humani generis parentes extitisse per aeternam creationem, impossibile est primos homines ex iisdem prognatos extitisse per aeternam generationem; parentum enim existentia praecedere debet existentiam filii, aliter filius per generationem & pater in suis positivis existentiis erunt aequè antiqui, utrique aeterni: Et si detur existentia patris (licet non sub ea relatione) ante existentiam filii, filii existentiâ principium habeat necesse est posterius existentiâ patris, & sic non aequè antiquum, & consequenter nec aeter­num.

Upon the whole matter, I do conclude, That although the Creation of the common Parents of Mankind might be de facto a very long time since, nay although there can be no imaginable time nor imaginable point wherein the Creation of the Individuals might not have been by the Divine Power; nor no imaginable point but that the Creation of the World or Mankind might have been sooner, if the Divine Will had been so pleased, (for that denotes only a possibility of pre-existence sooner than it was, if the infinite Agent had so pleased, and not an actual Eternity) yet it is not possible in the nature of the thing that Mankind or any other created Being, that hath succession either continued or dis­crete necessarily accompanying it, should sustain an actual, eternal, and consequently infinite duration.

CAP. VI. Certain Objections against the Truths formerly delivered, and against the Reasons given in proof thereof, with their Solutions.

THere are certain considerable Objections against those things that are delivered in the precedent Chapters, and against the conclu­dency or evidence of those Reasons, these I have delivered over to this Chapter.

The First Objection is thus: That Eternity, and Infinite, and the notions thereof are too large for our Understanding, and we are lost when we go about to frame Conceptions of them; and all our Argumen­tations touching them are inevident and unconcludent, because our Understanding being but a finite power is capable only of finite Objects, and that the media whereby we go about to evince any thing must needs be finite, or otherwise they are not comprehensible by us, and therefore wholly disproportionate to frame Conclusions touching an Object that [Page 117] of all hands is agreed to be infinite; our Faculties are proportionate to those Objects that are derived to us by the help and instrumentality of Sense, either immediately, or at least mediately, and therefore are not proportioned to the nature of Eternity and Infinitude. And therefore our Reasoning touching these matters is as if he that were born blind should Philosophize touching Light or Colours, whereunto he hath not, nor never had a Faculty accommodate.

I answer, It is true that there is something which I may call Positive in the conception of Eternal or Infinite, which the Understanding cannot master. But since it is very plain that all things in the World come under the distribution of finite or infinite, or that which hath a beginning, or that which hath not a beginning and is consequently eternal; If I can (as most certainly I may) have a conception of what is finite, and what are the Laws and necessary Connexions of it, I can by that Notion conclude that whatsoever is finite, or that must be under the Laws and Rules of finite Beings, cannot be infinite: I have a Globe in my Hand, though I know not the Eternity, yet I know that whatsoever hath or must necessarily have limits or fines, is not, cannot be infinite, and there­fore this Globe cannot be infinite: And if I can find in any other thing a parity of Reason, I do and may remove infiniteness from it as reasonably and evidently as I do from this Globe I hold, or this Hour I write, or this Life I live: I do therefore certainly know that whatsoever is limited or bounded by somewhat that necessarily anteceded it, cannot be eter­nal.

I do not determin what Eternal or Infinite is in the Positive nature of it, only I remove Infinitude from what I find to be necessarily finite; and determin, that whatsoever hath bounds or limits to it, is quid finitum, and not quid non finitum; and whatsoever hath necessarily a beginning is quid temporale, and not quid aeternum: And all my endeavour hath been to shew that the things before disputed are and needs must be of such a nature as comes under the notion of what I know, namely, finitum or temporale; and not under the negation thereof, namely, infinitum, or non finitum, or fine principio.

2. Object. That by denying the possibility at least of Eternity to created successive Beings, I put a restraint to the infinite Goodness of God, who thereby is straitned in the communication of his Goodness, coeternal to his being, which is part of his Divine Perfection; and also to the extent of his Power and Omnipotence: which is too bold and adventurous.

I answer, Touching the Goodness of God, and the necessity of his communication thereof, I have before said enough in the Second Cha­pter, I shall not repeat it: But as touching the other restraint upon his Omnipotence, I say, the denying of Power in God to make a Creature, especially a successive created Nature as ancient as himself, is no more a derogation from his Power, than to deny him Power to make a Crea­ture as great, and as good, and as powerful as himself: The Infiniteness of his Duration is a part of the Divine Perfection (in my judgment) incommunicable to any created Being, and it is part of the eminence, and excellence, and transcendence of that Divine Perfection, as well as others that are not communicable to any created Being. But secondly, [Page 118] Suppose that Eternity might be communicated to any created Being, as for the purpose, to the more pure Mental Natures, yet I do not dispa­rage the Omnipotence of God when I say it is not communicable to a successive Being that is in fluxu; not for want of Power in God, but for want of Capacity in the nature of the thing to sustain such a duration upon the intrinsecal discongruity of the one to the other: It would not be a derogation to the Divine Omnipotence, to deny that the Diagonal of a Square should be commensurate in length to the Sides; for the nature of the thing will not bear it.

3. Object. But a late Author hath with ostentation enough produced an Argument whereby all those Reasons and Instances concerning the impossibility and absurdity of infinite Generations, infinite Individuals, and infinite Motion supposed to have actually existed, are easily dis­charged; and therefore he concludes, that notwithstanding all that hath been said, the Generations of Men might have been actually eternal, and that there may be infinite numbers of successive Men, Generations and Revolutions, and that consequently it is not repugnant that infinite may be greater than infinite; that there be infinite Days, and Years, and Men, and yet in that infinite 365 times more Days than Years, yet both infinite; the number of Men infinite, and yet the number of their Hands or Eyes double to the number of the Men: That the Supposition that these are contradictions, are but mistakes and delusions of our Under­standing not able well to digest the business of Eternal, Immense, or Infinite. And this he thinks he proves by two principal Instances which he thinks are unquestionable.

1. That there is and would be such a thing as Duration, and that duration would be successive though there were no being in rerum natura, which he calls tempus aeternum.

2. That there is unquestionably an infinite Space actually: And yet all these imaginary consequences and absurdities follow upon that Sup­position, which are urged as the Reasons against the successive eternal duration of Individuals above mentioned: For in that infinite space there are infinite Miles and infinite Leagues, and yet thrice so many Miles as Leagues: The extent at both the extremes of East and West infinite; yet each extreme divided, infinite: and many such the like Instances, which yet notwithstanding avoid not the truth of an infinite extension.

To this I answer briefly in this place, (for I have elsewhere examined at large the truth of both these Hypotheses) I do in the first place premise, That as the excess (as I may call it) of Being, namely Infinitude, is difficult to apprehend; so the defect of Being, namely Nothing, is very difficult to apprehend: When we go about to apprehend simple No­thing, yet our Imagination clothes it with something like Existence, and gives imaginary being to Nothing, before we can come to shape a thought concerning it.

And certainly Duration and Space are in themselves relative to some­thing that doth durare, and something that is spatiatum, namely, some­thing extended: And if any (thing I cannot say) but if any Conceptible is more nothing than another, Duration without a thing that dureth, and Space without a thing that is extended in it, is the veriest, the abso­lutest Nothing that can be: While they are in conjunction with the [Page 119] thing that sustains them, they are the meanest Being that is, for they are but modes of being; and therefore when the things that must sustain them are not, they are the purest nothing that can undergo the notion of Nothing.

To say there is a duration, whether successive, or permanent, or in­divisible, when there is nothing that doth sustain that duration, is a Phantasm of Nothing under the notion of Something: For it is most apparent to any man that will but lay aside the Phantasm, That the duration of every thing is diversified in relation to it self, according to the nature of the thing that endures; and though it coexists with a thing that appropriates another kind of duration, as suitable to its being, yet it retains still its own duration, as appropriate to it self. Thus the duration of the glorious God is another kind of duration than that of Motion or Bodies, and yet it coexists with that duration. Nay possibly the duration of a permanent Being (we will take it, a piece of Gold) hath another kind of duration than that of Motion, that is successive: So that all the notion that we have of Duration without relation to something that endures, is a fiction that the Understanding takes up, and the Image whereby it conceives it, is partly by the successiveness of its own operations, and partly by those external measures that it finds in Motion, rendred a successive Nature, and pars post partem: And thus the imaginative Understanding dresseth up a Nothing, namely, Duration without a thing that endures, and then attributes to it what she finds in her self, and the things she converseth with, namely Succession; when really there is no such thing as duration or successive duration, unless there is something that doth so endure.

And that this is nothing else but a creature of the Imagination appears by this: No man alive can suppose that there is any existence of duration that is to be a thousand years hence, it rests meerly in possibility; yet the Imagination will dress up that future duration under certain proportions that it borrows from the things it sees and converseth with.

And what is said of Duration without a Body that dures, is in truth to be said of Space without a Body to which it relates, and therefore well called spatium imaginarium.

The just apprehension of Space seems to be this; That wheresoever there is a Body actually existing to which Space relateth, there is an actual space: And therefore if we should suppose nothing to be beyond the convex Superficies of the last Heaven, yet the immediate contiguity of that convex to nothing were a real space, because it denotes a true relation to that which is, namely, the convex Superficies of the highest Arch of being: Nay, if we should suppose


that the Universe were perfectly spherical, and another Universe of the same dimension and figure were created contiguous to it, as A and B, though they were conti­guous only in the point of contingency, yet their two imaginary Poles C and D would have really a space between, which would be commensurate to the Semidiameter of both Spheres; for still there is a real distance between the parts of two Bodies, and from that relation [Page 120] ariseth a real space: So if the Air within a concave Sphere or Cube were annihilated or not there, yet there would be a real space between the sides of the Cube or Sphere though no Body intervened, because still there remained the ambient sides, to which that space may as well relate and be commensurate, as if the vacant space were full of Air.

But without relation to some Body, there can be no actual Space; for Space is a term meerly of relation to something that is spatiatum.

But then comes in the Author, and brings Lucretius with him, and tells us, that before the World was there was Space, or otherwise how could there be room for the Universe unless there were space to receive it: and supposeth that if an Archer were upon the convex Superficies of the Heaven there would be space for him, and if he shot his Arrow upward, there would be space for that Arrow to fly, or else the Arrow would not move from the string.

And all this is very true, and yet it proves nothing of real Space beyond the confines and relation of Bodies.

But as in relation to the infinite active Power of God, nothing had (as it were) a passive potentiality to be something, to be a Body, to be a World; so consequently nothing had a potentiality, as I may call it, to become Space when the World was made, and together with the pro­duction of Body there was a production of Space: As if at this day in the sunshine there should be produced an opacous Body, together with it the shadow would be produced: and as the shadow, though really no­thing when there was no opacous Body, had a kind of potentiality to be, upon the existence of that Body; so this abyss of Nothing had a kind of potentiality to be Space, when something was produced to which it might have relation, as quid spatiatum.

And the same Answer is most clearly evident, as to Lucretius his Archer.

There was nothing, and therefore no space, till the Archer came to the convex of the uppermost Heaven, but only a potentiality, if I may so call it, to receive him when he was there; and when he shot up his Arrow, that space that really was not before, but only potentially to serve a Body when it comes there, now becomes space for the flight and re­turn of his Arrow; but when it was returned, now the space no more existed for the Arrow, nor for the Archer after his coming from the con­vex of the highest Heaven: so that though nothing may be space when it hath a Body to which it may relate, yet till that relation it is not space, but nothing.

And certainly that which imposeth upon persons to assert an infinite Space, is this: Their Imagination and Phantasie doth first create a Phantasm, that doth subire vices corporis, and they fill an imaginary space or an imaginary extension with that Phantasm, and then indeed they have got an imaginary space; I say, their Phantasie and Imagination follows the conception of the imaginary space with an imaginary exten­sion, either supposing the World infinitely extended, or else fancying the Archer and the Arrow, and when that is handsomly fancied, the Phantasm it self doth effectually in the Imagination serve the turn to make up a relation between a Body and it, though really there be neither infinite Body, nor infinite Space, till the Body comes to give it its relation.

[Page 121]And if men will needs be concluding, that because I cannot deliver my self from the apprehension of space ultra pomoeria coeli, therefore it must be supposed really to be; we shall find another imagination hardly able to deliver it self from the apprehension of something beyond the last Heavens, and again something beyond that, because it cannot frame to it self an apprehension of nothing, or of any space to be without a Body in it; and so upon the same reason prove the World infinitely extended.

And yet I appeal to the Phantasie of these very men which either suppose an infinite empty Space, or an infinite World, whether they can bring their Imagination to such a discipline as to suppose this Infinitude all together, but are fain to go on from one step to another, and to think first of a space larger than the Heavens, and then of a space larger than that, and so gradually; so that if Imagination should be a sufficient medium to prove a real existence, it would only prove an indefinite space or extension, not a space or extension actually infinite; for Imagination will never be able per saltum to conceive actually Infinite, nor without an Image of Existence to conceive that which actually is not.

Therefore it seems to me to be too precarious an Argumentation against the strong evidence of Reason, to prove the existence of an infinite Space or infinite Body, barely by bold affirming it; or because a man's Phan­tasie, or Imagination, or Intellect being accustomed to the knowledge only of things extended and real space, cannot deliver it self from the thought of an imaginary space or extent, though there were nothing in the World to sustain it.

And upon this account a late Excellent Author hath used a very in­congruous medium to prove a most certain and important Truth, namely, the existence of God, because there was really a Space before the World was created: Whereas first of all, there could be no Space without a Body; and secondly, if there could be such a Space, it were of a divisible existence, which could hold no proportion with the indivisible nature of the glorious God; Space being quid extensum, and divisible; but the Essence of God purely spiritual and indivisible, and equally immense, whether there were a World or no World, Space or no Space.

4. The Fourth Objection is this: That it seems that it is not incon­sistent that one Infinite should be larger than another, and yet both infi­nite: Instances may be given of two kinds; 1. One Infinite in Intension may be larger than another; there are degrees of perfection in Created Natures, a Brute is more perfect than a Vegetable, and a Man more per­fect than a Brute; and an Angel more perfect than a Man, and one Angel more perfect than another, at least gradually; and consequently the Per­fection of Almighty God must more infinitely exceed the perfection of a Man than it doth of an Angel, and more infinitely exceed the per­fection of an Angel of an inferiour Order than an Angel of the supremest Order, and yet He infinitely exceeds the perfection of the most perfect Angel. 2. In Extension, or somewhat analogal to it: Certainly [...] the Eternal God had an eternal duration the first moment that he had Created the World as he hath now, and yet with Humility and Reve­rence in so great a Mystery, we may say, and that truly, that he hath endured at this day above five thousand years longer than he had endured [Page 122] at the Creation of the World: so that it is not repugnant to the nature of Eternity to be longer or shorter.

I answer, That for the obviating of this difficulty I have willingly declined that Instance against the eternal succession of Mankind that purely consists upon the account of additional accessions to the latter end, as I may call it, of Eternal Duration.

But first, I say that this answers not at all the Reason given, the stress whereof rests not upon the incompetibility of an excess of one Infinitude above another either in Intension or Extension, but the incompetibility of any multitude to be infinite; because it is impossible that any number or multitude can be infinite if there can be another multitude or number given that exceeds it, which will fall out in the successive Individuals and Generations of Men: But the glorious God, as he is most simply and indivisibly One, and all his Perfections essentially and indivisibly the same with his most One and indivisible Being; so the infinite excesses both of his Essential Perfections and of his Eternal Duration beyond all other Beings, are not measurable by multitude or number of degrees or successive moments, which would in it self imply either parts or divi­sibility, but exceeds them all by an infinite interval that neither hath nor can have any bounds or limits: As his Perfection is infinitely greater than the perfection of a Man, so it is infinitely greater than the perfection of an Angel; and were it not infinitely greater than the perfection of an Angel, it could not be infinitely greater than the perfection of a Man, because the intensive distance between the perfection of an Angel and of a Man is but finite: And therefore though that interval between an Angelical and a Humane perfection be subducted out of the extent of the Divine Perfection, still the extent of the Divine Perfection is infinite; for what is so subtracted or subducted out of the extent of the Divine Perfection, leaves still a Quotient, if I may so call it, Infinite.

Secondly, That which gives a clear Answer to the Instance is this: The Perfection of Almighty God is a Primitive Essential Perfection, antecedent to all created perfection; and all created perfection is a per­fection indeed given by the glorious God, according to such measures-and degrees as he is pleased to bestow: But as it is a derivative perfection, so it is a distinct kind of perfection from that which is in God, and of another nature, and makes no alteration in the Divine Perfection, nor borrows any of it: The glorious God was equally perfect before a Brute, or a Man, or an Angel, or a World was created, as he was after; and the production of Creatures of various degrees of essential perfection con­tributes nothing to it, nor takes any thing from it, nor makes any alteration in it: only it gives a new or farther relation from the Creature new created unto the Creator, and that in those various ranks or decrees of perfection is indeed diversified by disparity in the Creatures themselves, and in that comparative preference that one hath above another; but still it is without and below the essential infinite Perfection of God, and doth no way affect or alter it. Take this Example in some measure to ex­plain my meaning; I have a Rod of six foot long in my Hand, I take ano­ther Rod of four foot, another of two foot long, and apply them to my Rod of six foot long; I thereby find that my Rod of four foot takes up a greater space upon my Rod of six foot than that of two foot, yet it [Page 123] makes no alteration in my Rod of six foot, but that continues of the same length as before, only by the application of the shorter Rods to it there ariseth a new relation, or rather variety of comparison between the Rod of six foot and the other Rods. Thus the Divine Perfection is primitive, absolute, unchangeable; and when a Man is created, there is a Creature made that hath a perfection greater than a Brute, and when an Angel is created, he hath a perfection greater than a Man, and thereby comes in a nearer degree or likeness of perfection to the Divine Excel­lence than a Man doth; but yet it doth not at all alter that Perfection that is primitively and essentially and infinitely in Almighty God, but is a perfection of quite another kind as well as degree.

And upon the same account it is, that although the extent of the Divine Duration is now greater than it was five or ten thousand years since, yet the duration of the Divine Existence was no less infinite ten thousand years since than it is now; because the duration of ten thousand years is but finite, and therefore though taken out of an infinite duration, leaves still the duration infinite; for finite taken out of infinite, leaves still that which remains infinite.

Besides, the duration of the glorious God is the duration of such a Being as is indivisible, and as he hath no divisibility in himself, so nei­ther is his Eternal Duration divisible into parts.

It is true, that when his own Power hath produced a World, and with it Motion, he coexists with that Motion and successive Duration of created Being, which is little else besides a relation to the things existing: And therefore he cannot be said now to coexist with that which yet is not, but shall be, because the coexistence with any thing imports an existence of both the terms of that relation: And although by reason of that relation to Beings that are successive and have succession of parts, as Local Motion, or successive Generations; it seems to us that he hath a kind of succession in his duration, yet most certainly the existence of a divisible succession in created Beings doth no more make his duration successive than if nothing had been besides himself: As the unsuccessive duration of Almighty God with relation to himself, which is the modus existentiae divinae, doth not communicate unto Motion or other created Being the same manner of duration which is appropriate to the Divine Existence; so neither doth the existence of Motion or created Beings transfer to the Divine Being such a kind of duration as is proper to them, namely, a divisible successive duration consisting of successive and innu­merable parts: For, as I before have observed, the duration of every thing, which is only the mode of its existence or permanentiae in suo esse, is diversified according to the nature of the


existence thereof. And though by reason of the coexistence of one thing with another there ariseth a various relation or connotation be­tween them, yet it alters not that intrinsecal manner of duration that is appropriate to the Essences of the things themselves.

If we should suppose the Circle A B C to move about a fixed unmoveable Center at D, whereby the part that is now in A, an hour [Page 124] hence will be at B, and an hour after that at C, and thereby is gained successively different relations of site or position between the fixed or stable central Body at D, yet it is without any variation either of situs or motion in the central Body at D, which all this while rests unmoveable, and keeps the same unaltered site or position in it self: So it is in the coexi­stence of successive Beings with the indivisible, fixed, permanent state of the glorious God.

But in all this there is nothing that answers or weakens the Reason before given against the Eternity of successive Generations or Individuals, which is not upon this account, that that which is eternal cannot be extended to a greater extent at the hithermost and concluding extreme, as I may call it, for at the hither end it is quasi quid finitum; but that those Beings that must by their successive existence excrescere in mul­titudinem sive numerum, cannot be eternal upon a certain intrinsick in­congruity between Multitude and Number of the one part, and Infinite of the other part: But in the eternal duration of the glorious God there is neither Multitude, nor so much as Succession. And this is my second Answer.

3. My third Answer is this: That although it may be, and certainly is consistent with an eternal duration, that it may be shorter, or it may be longer upon the hither end thereof, namely, that extreme wherein it is finite, as is before shewn; yet it is impossible to be consistent with the very notion of an eternal duration to be longer or shorter, à parte ante, in the extreme or remote part thereof, as I may call it; for upon that Supposition it should be utrinque clausa, terminated in the moment wherein I write, and terminated or limited by an antecedent being or duration of something else: (With Reverence be it spoken) If any thing in the compass of Nature might bear an eternal Creation, yet if that Creation were but a moment after the Divine Existence, that created Being could not be eternal because it had a pre-existence of the Divine Being before it: Nay, though I use the expression of an antecedent mo­ment to render my conception, yet that very imaginable moment must be an infinite duration antecedent to that created Being; and it could not pos­sibly be otherwise; for if it were possible to be otherwise, it would conse­quently deny the Eternity of God himself: for that created Being being im­possible to be eternal, since it must, ex suppositione, have a pre-existing moment of the Divine Existence, if that mora prae-existentiae divinae were not eter­nal, but a moment, or any limited duration less than eternal and infinite, it would be but an addition of a limited time to a limited or non-eternal time; and therefore cannot be eternal (and here by the way, the Eternal, Incomprehensible Generation of the Son, and Procession of the Holy Spirit are no way concerned in this Dispute, which are not created Beings, nor distinct from the Divine Essence, or essentially distinct from one another, but One Incomprehensible God Blessed for ever) though under a per­sonal distinction.

This therefore being the true state of the matter, the Reason herein given doth not at all infirm the important Reason against the Eternity of Mankind, because necessarily there would upon such a Supposition follow an Eternity that had a beginning, an Eternity that was puisne to some other thing or some other Eternal: And that although that [Page 125] duration which is infinite in one extreme, namely, à parte ante, and finite at another extreme, namely by the present time, may have an in­crease, accession, or addition in that part in which, it is finite; yet it is impossible that it should have any thing before it in that extreme wherein its Infinity and Eternity consisted. This is the chief stress of the former Debate, which is no way impugned by the Instance here given; for the glorious God and his Eternal Existence is such, that it hath not, cannot have any thing antecedent to it; neither is it measured by successive parts, but is simply eternal, infinite, before all things, without begin­ning of Being or Duration as well as without end; and such a Duration, as it is impossible to suppose any thing before it, or any thing equally ancient to it; but ever was, and ever had Being or Existence, that is, eternally and immutably the same; what once he was he ever was, still is, and ever shall be.

5. A Fifth Objection is this: That because we have formerly supposed that nothing can possibly be eternal, and together with it have variety of Operations. The glorious Eternal God hath variety of Operations in all the Works of Creation and Providence, his emanant Actions; and also in the Counsels and Determination of his Will, his immanent Actions: And therefore the Position seems to be derogatory to the Eternity of Al­mighty God.

I had not inserted this Objection but for the fuller vindication of the Truth, and to shew, that it no way in the least imaginable degree derogates from the Truths concerning God.

I therefore answer, that when we are speaking of alterations or changes, it may reasonably be supposed to be one of these kinds.

1. An alteration that with it carries a change of the Nature or Es­sence of a thing; and thus in a large sense generation or corruption, or the essential change of any thing or Being into another thing; thus corporeal Matter under any determinate form is changeable, and such a mutability is impossible to be consistent with Eternity: and it is thus impossible for the glorious God to be subject to any change, for he ne­cessarily and therefore eternally exists, and must ever exist.

2. An alteration of states or conditions of any Being, which yet as to its essential condition persists as before: thus Bodies are every moment changed, sometimes in quality, as from hot to cold, sometimes in figure, sometimes in dimensions, as the motions of augmentation and dimi­nution: a Child grows unto the stature of a Youth, and then of a Man; and such Beings as these cannot sustain an eternal duration, à parte ante: and in this respect the ever-glorious God is perfectly unchangeable, without so much as a shadow of change, but eternally and immutably the same.

3. A change of the internal and immanent acts of the Understanding and Will in a Being endued therewith; as to know that which before it knew not, to will, purpose, or determin what before it willed not or purposed not. The Schoolmen are indeed many of them a Generation of Men that think they can give an estimate of the manner of the Di­vine Operations, even those that are immanent, when yet God knows 'tis more possible for the Infant of a span long to discern and understand [Page 126] and define and determin the most sublime and abstruse Notions of the most Seraphical Doctor, than for such a Doctor to give an estimate of the hidden Operations of the Divine Intellect and Will: And therefore they are too bold to adventure upon such determinations touching these Ope­rations of the glorious God; and in the upshot arrive at nothing touch­ing them but presumptuous, uncertain and dangerous Speculations: and it must needs be so, for as the Heavens are higher than the Earth, so and much more are the thoughts of the unsearchable God higher than our thoughts. The more sober and weighty part of the Schoolmen do conclude this Question in the negative, and assert, That Almighty God by one eternal act knew all things from all Eternity, and by the like eternal act willed from all Eternity what he any way willed; and though the termination of that Will respected Objects that neither were nor could be eternal, yet his Knowledge and Will was eternally the same as ever; and he begins not to know any thing which he did not eternally know, nor to will any thing which he did not eternally will, though the execution of that Will respects things to be done in time and futu­rity. And certainly as this is the most probable Opinion, so it takes away the pretence of the Objection; the immanent Acts and Operations of the glorious God being eternal and without change.

It is true, some late Schoolmen, and after them Clara in his 4th Problem seems to assert, that, Divina voluntas potest velle aliquid novum sine mu­tatione sui.

But suppose that this Supposition were admissible, yet this would not any way be inconsistent with the Eternity of the Divine Nature and Essence: 1. This is no Physical change in Almighty God, but a volun­tary and free operation of his Will, which possibly was so at first willed by him to be changed according as he saw cause in his infinite Wisdom. 2. That this which is here called a change of his Will, is not in truth a change of his Will, but a change in the Object, which only seems to make a diversification of the Will, but indeed is the same Will diversi­fied only in the habitude to the Object. The Will of God is like a straight unalterable Rule or Line, but the various comportments of the Creature either thwarting this Rule or holding conformity to it, occasions several habitudes of this Rule unto it. We need no better explication hereof than that of the Prophet Ezechiel, Chap. 33. from the twelfth to the twentieth Verse.

4. A change of Actions and Operations in relation to some external Object, or terminated therein; and such a change as this is consistent with an Eternal Being, though the change happen in any given portion of Time: Thus the Almighty and Eternal God created the World by his Power and Will in the beginning of Time, and orders, governs and disposeth of the things by his Providence in all the Periods of Time, and yet without any Physical or real change in himself. And thus he began to be a Creator, when before he was not a Creator; and began to be a Governour of the World after it was made, and exerciseth divers external acts of his Providence daily which before he did not. For those various acts of his are terminated in such Objects as neither were nor could be eternal, namely, the World and the Government thereof: And although he thereby gain a change of relation or relative denomi­nation, [Page 127] yet it is no real or Physical change in himself. For all relations arise from the supposition of existence of both the terms of relation, as between the Creator and the thing created, and the Governour and thing governed; and therefore although one of the terms of that relation, namely the Eternal God, had an eternal existence in his own absolute nature; yet the World, that was the other term of relation, had no eternal existence, but was created in the beginning of Time, and the relation of a Creator or Governour must necessarily therefore arise in Time, and not from Eternity, because one of the terms of the relation, namely the World, had not any existence before Time began.

But in the eternal Generation of the Son and Procession of the Holy Spirit, the termini relationis were all eternal, and consequently the re­lation of Paternity and Filiation between the First and Second Person, and the relation between the Sacred Persons of the Trinity and the de­nomination thereof must needs be eternal, because the terms of relation between whom that relation ariseth were eternal: But it is not so be­tween the Eternal God and a temporary World, for the relation could not arise till the World had an existence; and a change or acquest of a new relation is not at all any real change in God, but is an accident resulting from the existence of both the termini, and can be no ancienter than the coexistence even of the latest and newest of those terms, which if began in time must necessarily produce a new relation, yet without any real change in the pre-existing and eternal God.

And thus I have done with those Physical and Metaphysical Evidences of the Inception of the World and of Mankind, and against the Eter­nity of both. And although I shall descend in the ensuing Section to Moral Evidences of probability strongly perswading the same Truth, yet I lay the principal weight and stress of this Argument upon what is said in the preceding Chapters of this First Section, which though per­chance they may have something of obscurity, as being bottomed upon and fetched from the true nature of the things themselves, and therefore not so obvious and plain to all Capacities, yet they have a concludency in them not inferior, or at least little inferior to Demonstrations.


CAP. I. The Proofs of Fact, that seem with the greatest Moral evidence to evince the Inception of Mankind: And first, touching the Antiquity or Novity of History.

I Have now done with those Evidences that in my Understanding seem, quasi ab intrinseco, to evince the Inception of Mankind from that intrinsecal incompossibility and inconsistency that the Sup­position of the eternal existence thereof bears with his Nature: I now descend to the examination of those Evidences of Fact, which do or may seem to contribute to the proof of what is designed, namely, Novitatem generis humani.

And although that Evidences of Fact of things remote from our Sense cannot be said infallible and demonstrative, because the nature of such matters of fact (simply as they are matters of fact) is not capable (as such) of Demonstration; yet they may be Evidences of high cre­dibility, and such as no reasonable Man can with any just reason deny his assent unto them.

That which hath been, hath as certainly and infallibly, yea and as necessarily been, as that which is: Omne quod, est, dum est necessariò est, & omne quod fuit, cum jam preteriit necessariò fuit quando fuit, & in prae­teritis non est contingentia. Only that which is, and is obvious to Sense, hath this advantage of evidence which that which hath been wants, namely, the immediate evidence of Sense, wherein though it is not uni­versally impossible but that Sense may be deceived, yet because it is the best evidence that we have of matters of fact, we give credit to it as a sensible evidence, and we have reason so to do.

But of things transacted before our time, and out of the immediate reach of our Sense, we may have such an evidence as in reason we ought as reasonable Men to acquiesce in, though the evidence be still in its own nature but moral, and not simply demonstrative or infallible: And the variety of circumstances renders the credibility of such things more or less, according to the various ingredients and contributions of credi­bility that are concentred in such an evidence.

It is impossible to demonstrate by evidence infallible (or which is all one, by evidence that is impossible to be false) that there was such a Man as Julius Caesar or Augustus, that there was such a Man as William the Conqueror, or King Henry the Eighth, or that such a Man was his Father, or such a Woman his Mother; or that there is such a City as Venice, or Rome, (to me that never saw it,) for all these I have but by relation from others, and it is not impossible but those Histories or informations or relations by which I am informed of these things may be false: And [Page 129] they are such matters as have in them a less evidence than my own Sense of Sight; for the evidence of my Sense is simple and immediate, and therefore I have but a shorter cut thereby to the assent to the truth of the things so evidenced: But in things that I have by relation from others, my evidence is of greater distance; for first, I see them not by my own Eyes, but it is others that must first see the thing they relate; and secondly, though I should think that whatsoever might be believed, if obvious to the Sense of others, might have as great a credibility as if obvious to my own, yet I must have a second postulation that must have an ingredient to elicit my assent, namely, the veracity of him that reports and relates it. And hence it is, that that which is reported by many Eye-witnesses hath greater motives of credibility than that which is reported by few; that which is reported by credible and authentick witnesses, than that which is reported by light and inconsiderable witnesses; that which is reported by persons disinteressed, than that which is reported by persons whose interest it is to have the thing true, or believed to be true; that which hath the concurring testimony of real existing monuments, than that which is without them; and finally, that which is reported by credible persons of their own view, than that which they receive by hear-say from those that report upon their own view: So that it is not with Evidences of Fact as it is with Logical or Mathematical Demon­strations, which seem to consist in indivisibles, for that which thus is demonstratively true is impossible to be false; but Moral Evidence is gradual, according to the variety of circumstances. Yet such a man would be exploded as an irrational man, that will not believe there was such a man as Julius Caesar, because the Historians that write of him might possibly conspire to deceive the World with a Romance, or that the Books may be supposititious or corrupted; or will not believe that such a Man was his Father, or such a Woman his Mother, because he might be supposititious; or will not believe there is such a City as Rome, which he never saw, because Travellers are wont to love to tell strange things, and so may many as well as one.

So that as eternal Truths may have one kind of certainty by Logical Demonstration, and as Mathematical Conclusions have an infallible certainty by Mathematical Demonstration, and as matters objected im­mediately to our Sense have another kind of certainty by sensible evi­dence, so matters simply of fact not objected immediately to our Sense have another kind of certainty, though not altogether equal to the former, nor simply infallible, yet so highly credible that may justly elicit the assent of reasonable men, and such as is proportionate to the nature of the thing, and therefore more cannot be reasonably expected for the proof of the fact.

In the pursuance of this Argument, namely, Evidences of Fact touch­ing the Origination of Mankind, I must therefore say that the Evidences thereof are not of an infallible certainty, and so much the rather because it relates to a matter that at the nearest that can be supposed is near six thousand years distant from us, and some suppose more; therefore the Evidences of Fact are as it were percolated through a vast Period of Ages, and many very obscure to us. And therefore all Proofs of this kind except that of Divine Revelation (which though true, and infallibly true, [Page 130] we must not by the Laws of Argumentation bring in here, because at one word it determins the Question) will arise to no higher than Moral, and therefore fallible in their own nature. We rest upon what hath been before said for Evidences and Reasons, that to me seem demon­strative.

But yet the Evidences of Fact which we shall produce must be consi­dered also with these Advantages for their credibility.

1. They are such as bear a great congruity and consonancy with, and subservience to those former Arguments that ex natura rei and intrinsecè prove an impossibility of an eternal duration of Mankind, à parte ante, which though it doth not, cannot evince that Mankind must have their Origination or Beginning in hac vel ista hora, yet they do evince that Beginning it must have, and the evidences of fact are as so many testes, contestes, or suffragiales, that bear witness to that Truth that the former sort of Arguments do plainly evince.

2. Though these Evidences of Fact taken singly and apart, are not without their Objections that may seem to weaken them, yet juncta ju­vant: That evidence at Law which taken singly or apart makes but an imperfect proof, semiplena probatio, yet in conjunction with others grow to a full proof, like Silurus his twigs, that were easily broken apart, but in conjunction or union were not to be broken.

Truths (especially of Fact) are not made Truths by Arguments or Evidence; If there were once such a man as Caesar, it is most certainly true that he was, though no Historian ever mentioned him; and there­fore if there were ten thousand Authors that mention him kept sacredly and inviolably in certain Archives unto this day, all this evidence doth not make him to be, but only gives us a light and evidence of great probability that he was: The Stars in the Milky-way, and those Asseclae Jovis are not therefore in the Heavens or Aether, because the Telescope hath discovered them, for they were there before; but the position of those Glasses present them to our perception, and evidence their being, which cannot be discovered without them.

And so it is with Evidences of Fact, they do not make the thing to be, but evidence them to be; and because if to any one quaesitum of fact there be many but probable evidences, which taken singly have not per­chance any full evidence, yet when many of those evidences concur and concenter in the evidence of the same thing, their very multiplicity and consent makes the evidence the stronger; as the concurrent testimonies of many Witnesses or many Circumstances even by their multiplicity and concurrence make an evidence more concludent.

Now these Evidences of Fact I shall cast into these ranks.

1. We have no authentical History of former Ages extant, but what hath been written within the compass of four thousand years.

2. The subject matter of those Histories give us no account of the Original of great Monarchies, Kingdoms, or Commonwealths, but what appear thereby to have begun within the compass of about five thousand years.

3. The original Invention and Inventors of most considerable Arts had their Origination, as far as we can find, by Monuments of ancient times, within the compass of about six thousand years.

[Page 131]4. The Original of the Apotheoses of most of the Heathen fictitious Deities appears by the ancient Monuments of former times to have had their beginning within the compass of five thousand years.

5. The most authentick Histories and Monuments of Antiquity give us an account of the first Fathers, or Capita familiarum, and of the Plan­tation of the known Parts, Continents and Islands of the World within the compass of five thousand years.

6. The Inhabitants of the World do daily increase, and their incre­ment surmounts daily their decrease; which could not be, unless the World of Mankind had their original within some proportionate time, and could not consist with such a vast excess of duration which some would assign, much less with an eternal duration, or such as never had a beginning.

7. There hath in all Ages, and among all People been a constant tra­dition retained and believed, touching the Origination of Mankind ex non genitis vel per generationem propagatis.

These are the Heads of those Evidences of Fact which I shall use in this Argument touching the Origination of Mankind, whereunto pos­sibly other occasional Topicks of the like nature may be added.

And touching these Evidences of Fact, this I shall subjoyn.

1. That I do not lay the weight of this Argument upon those Evi­dences of Fact, because they have or may have their several allays and fallibilities, which I shall impartially subjoyn to every particular To­pick.

But I lay the weight of the Argument upon what hath been before said, which to me seems to be little less than demonstrative, drawn from the intrinsick nature of the thing, and from that absurdity which would arise upon the Supposition of the Eternity of Mankind, and the incom­possibility of an eternal duration, à parte ante, to successive Natures.

2. That although singly and apart these Evidences of Fact are not so conclusive but have their allays and exceptions, yet they have these ad­vantages that advance their evidence, as very credible; 1. In that the Supposition which they are produced to prove, is not impossible to be true: 2. That there is nothing of probability of Reason or Instance that can be produced against the truth of that Supposition which is contended to be proved by them: 3. They have so much the more weight and evi­dence, in that they do suffragate and bear witness to the truth of that Supposition (namely, the Inception of Mankind) which holds so great a congruity with the intrinsick reason and nature of the thing, the con­trary whereof, namely, the Eternity of Mankind, is apparently contra­dictory to a strict and true reason.

3. That although these Evidences of Fact, taken singly and apart, possibly may not be so weighty, yet the very concurrence and coinci­dence of so many Evidences that contribute to the Proof of the thing designed, carries with it a great weight, even as to the point of Fact: it is not probable that that Supposition should be false which hath so many concurrent Testimonies bearing witness to it: And therefore although I shall impartially subjoyn those Allays and Abatements which may be brought against the several Instances, whereby if single, they might seem of less weight and moment; yet I do not thereby take off that Evidence [Page 132] which in consort and conjunction they give to the truth of the Suppo­sition intended to be proved by them.

4. That it cannot be expected in an Argument of this nature, which is touching a matter of Fact, that Evidences of Fact can be no more than topical and probable; and therefore though there may be Allays and Abatements that may take away a necessary or infallible concludency in these Evidences of Fact, yet it is sufficient that they be probable and inductive of Credibility, though not of Science or Infallibility. Aristotle, as I remember, in the beginning of his Politicks tells us that all Truths have not the same kind of Evidence, neither indeed can have, and there­fore it is unreasonable to expect such an Evidence as the thing cannot possibly bear, though it be a real Truth.

5. That among these Evidences of Fact, though all contribute to the Proof of the Supposition, yet the three last seem to be of that nature that they are of greatest weight, and less subject to exception.

6. That in as much as in this Argument I design only the use of Reason and Reasonable Evidence, and endeavour to make my Suppo­sition evident to Reasonable Men as such; I do not therefore make use of the divine and irrefragable Authority of the Holy Scriptures: For they that subscribe to the Infallibility and Divine Authority of them, need none of this Method of Ratiocination that I use to prove this Supposition of the Origination of Mankind, which is so plainly and distinctly deli­vered in the Holy Scriptures; and therefore where I have recourse to the Holy Scriptures, I use it but as a Moral Evidence, a History highly credible; and I demand of my Reader [...] this equal Justice, That he would at least give it that credit that the Antiquity, Congruity, and Moral Evidence of it deserves, which certainly would be much more than what the most do ordinarily allow to the History of Thucydides, Herodotus, Livy, Tacitus, Manethon, Xenophon, Ctesias, or Berosus.

7. Though in this large Discourse I may seem to lose time by proving of that which is not questioned by sober Men, that in a laborious Dis­course of this nature I do rather raise a Question that would be at quiet if let alone, at least I lose time, and, magno conatu nihil efficiam; yet I hope in the Conclusion it will be of use to confirm our Faith, to mag­nifie the value of the Holy Scriptures, and to give some stop to those Atheistical and Epicurean Opinions that begin more than formerly to obtain in the World.

CAP. II. Concerning the first Evidence, the Antiquity of History, and the Chro­nological account of Times.

BUT before I begin, I shall prefix a short Chronological Scheme of Times, to which I shall have occasion oftentimes to refer; wherein I shall not be over-sollicitous for great curiosity or exactness. For al­though there is scarce any one Chronological Writer that differs not from another in the precise connexion of Times and Things, yet there [Page 133] will be certainty enough for my purpose, if I take so much out of them wherein they do in substance agree, though they differ in their particular Account.

And although the Account of the Years of the World according to the seventy, do seem more useful to the solution of some difficulties in Chronology, who assign 2262 years from the Creation to the Flood; and from thence to the Birth of Abraham 1132 years; whereas the Jewish Account assigns for the former Period 1656 years, and for the latter 292 years. So that according to the Seventy, from the Creation to the Birth of Abraham were 3394, but according to the Jews only 1948 years; yet I shall rather choose to follow the Jewish Account, and take Helvicus Abstract for my little, small Chronological Table.

8171 Belus.
1771 Ninus.
1823 Semiramis.
1870 Ninus.
2093 Inachus.
2149 Phoronous.
Regnante in
Attica Ogy­
ge, & intra
annos Phore­
nei, diluvium
2200  Apis.
2210   Aegyptie­
rum dyna­
stia: The­
2220Joseph in
2235 Argus.
2300   Promethei
[Page 134]2430    Athenien­
sium dynastiaz
2450Exitus ab
2475 Danaus.
2490Joshua dux.  
2573 Ganymedis
2660  Cadmus è
Phoenicia in
nis filius.
2710   Argonau­
tarum expe­
2750     Bellum Tro­
janum, &
Trojae exci­
2850     Reditus He­
2905David Rex
    Ionica mi­
3000     Homeri aetas.
3060Athalia &
3175Ʋzziah.    Olympiades
3195     Roma con­
3325     solon & se­
ptem sapien­
3391     Pythagoras,

Having premised thus much touching the Chronological Account of some Times and Things past, without confining my self to the exactness of Years, and with omission of many things happening in these Pe­riods; I shall now proceed with the first of my Instances, namely, touching the Histories of former Ages, and their Antiquity; reserving [Page 135] the matter of their Histories, and what may be collected from them, to the ensuing Chapters.

Those Nations whose Historians put fair for the greatest Antiquity, are the Romans, Grecians, Persians, Assyrians or Babylonians, Egyptians, and the Jews: of all these there is something extant.

As touching the Chineses and their long derived Annals, there is much spoken by report or relation, but nothing authentick thereof is extant to the common view but some ingenious yet uncertain Collections out of Martinius by Mr. Webb in his Essay touching the Primitive Lan­guage; Vossius, and some others: and therefore I shall spare any thing touching them.

First touching the Romans, though there were many Monuments of Antiquity preserved in writing among them, as appears by their Laws of Twelve Tables, their Fasti Consulares, the Transcripts whereof are extant to this day; yet we cannot expect so much Antiquity of Histo­rians and Writers among these, as we may among other People of greater Antiquity; since the first Foundation of their City was some time after the Olympiads began, viz. in the 7th Olympiad, and about the year of the World 3190.

The Grecians, whose Monarchy preceded that of the Romans, have more ancient Historians than the Romans: And not to reckon up their Philosophers and Poets, that applied not themselves to History, I shall only mention these that follow: Xenophon, that lived about the 97th or 98th Olympiad; Thucydides and Herodotus, who lived about the 85th or 88th Olympiad; but he among them of greatest note and antiquity was Homer, who wrote the History of the Trojan War; touching the time of his life and writing the Chronologists agree not, some making him 200 years after the Destruction of Troy, some more, some less; but all placing him before the first Olympiad, and after the Destruction of Troy, those two famous Epochae among the Greeks.

This is the ancientest Poetical Historian that is extant among the Greeks, although it is not unlike that many were more ancient among them, as is mentioned by Tatianus in Euseb. praeparationis lib. 10. as Linus the Tutor of Hercules, Amphion, Orpheus, Musaeus, and some others; yet we have little extant of them but Poetical Raptures and Fictions, and those also but in fragments and pieces traditionally preserved in subse­quent Authors.

Among the Persians, though their Monarchy were more ancient than that of Greece, yet we have less extant of Historical Writings con­cerning them; the ancientest that I have heard of is that of Xenophon, though a Grecian, and Ctesias, who is supposed to have lived contem­porary with Xenophon; Megasthenes, a Persian Historian about the 120th Olympiad, out of whom Abydenus that wrote touching the Assyrians and Babylonians extracted many things relating to the Persians, as appears by his Fragments cited by Euseb. lib. 9. Praepar. sect. 41.

Touching the Chaldean or Babylonian Historians, though that Monar­chy be extended to a vast Period by some of their ancient Historians, yet the ancientest credible Historians that we have concerning them are, Berosus who lived about the 130th Olympiad, and Abydenus before men­tioned; only it is reported by Simplicius out of Porphyry, that Calisthenes [Page 136] one of Alexander's Captains brought to Aristotle from Babylon a relation of their ancientest Astronomical Calculations, 1903 years before the Taking of Babylon by Alexander, which is supposed to be in the year of the World 3620 according to the Septuagint; which gives a probable conjecture of the Inception of the Babylonian Monarchy to be about 200 years before the Birth of Abraham.

Touching the Phoenicians, from whom it is supposed that not only Learning but Letters themselves were brought into Greece by Cadmus; the first and ancientest Historian is supposed to be Sancuniathon, who is related by Philo Biblius according to Euseb. praepar. lib. 1. sect. 9. to have been before the Destruction of Troy, and very near the time of Moses, and to have written a History à prima Universi molitione, and that he searched many Monuments of Antiquity: The Writings of Mercurius Trismegistus whom the Egyptians call Thoth, and the arcana Ammoneorum volumina, purged the History of former times from Fables, and gave a full account of former Ages, whose Writings Philo Biblius translated into Greek, and digested into nine Volumes, he gathered much from Hierombal the Priest of Jao, whom Bochart upon very probable reasons supposeth to be Gedeon called Jerubbaal; and having set up an Ephod in his City, might be supposed a Priest, and from the intercourse between them the Idol Baal-berith was brought from Berith the City of Sancunia­thon, into Judea.

Touching the Egyptians, they pretended to the greatest antiquity both of Government and Learning; the latter they principally derived from Hermes, stiled by some Mercurius Trismegistus, and by the Egyptians Thoth; the Phenicians made claim to this man as theirs, attributed to him the Invention of Letters, of Navigation, of the Virtues of Herbs, Euseb. lib. 1. Praeparat. sect. 10. de Phoenicum Theologia; he is supposed more an­cient than Moses, but we have nothing authentick existing which he wrote: The ancientest Historian of the Affairs of Egypt was Manethes the Egyptian Priest, who lived about, or as some think, before the time of Alexander, he carries up the Res Aegyptiacas to an excessive Antiquity, and yet with great particularity and pretended certainty: some account him fabulous, because he carries up the Egyptian Dynasties before the Flood, yea and long before the Creation; others assert the probability of the Egyptian Dynasties to over-reach the universal Flood, but salve that prodigious excess of their numerous Years by reducing them to Months, or Anni Lunares, which were anciently so accounted among the Egy­ptians.

The Egyptians have had other Writers of their Histories, but of a later date, as Ptolemeus Mendesius, mentioned sometimes by Eusebius; and those Arabick Historians mentioned by Kircher in that Book that delivers the History of the succession of their Dynasties.

Lastly, I come to the Jewish History begun by Moses, and continued down in a clear succession and series of times till their return from the Babylonish Captivity and this History hath a just prelation above all the Writings of other Historians in these ensuing respects.

1. It hath the greatest and most particular certainty, and far beyond any of the Historians before mentioned; it contains the certain Periods of Times, Names, Men, Places, Actions, and all Circumstances requirable [Page 137] in a History to inform; it is not involved in Mystical expressions or Mythologies, but is plain, familiar, and intelligible.

2. It hath the greatest evidence of Truth that can be expected by a reasonable man, namely, Evidence from it self, the particularity and circumstances of the things it relates; Evidence from the ancientest Heathen Authors, especially Sancuniathon, Berosus, and Abydenus before mentioned; Evidence from the several parts thereof, the Book of one Age bearing witness to another; as the Books of Joshua to those of Moses, the Books of Kings to those of Moses and Joshua, though written in several Ages; Evidentia rei, or facti, there cannot be greater Evidence than the Regiment of a People for so many Ages according to the Laws given and recorded by their first Historian Moses, and the enjoyment of their Possessions according to the distribution of their next Historian Jo­shua.

3. It is no broken Piece, or Historical Fragment, but it is carried down from the beginning of Time to all the ensuing Ages of the Jewish State, without any chasma or interval.

4. It hath the evidence of the highest credibility that any thing of that nature is capable of, That the Books of Moses especially, which are the Caput Historiae Judaicae, were written by that Man Moses, and that he lived in that Age wherein he is supposed to write: 1. The constant uninterrupted Tradition of that Kingdom and Nation from it first coa­lition, even to this day. 2. The attestation of all the succeding Writers of that Historical Series of the Jewish Affairs. 3. The inviolable Ob­servation of those Laws given by Moses and recorded in that History, as of the Laws given by him. 4. The Suffrage of all Heathen Authors both modern and ancient, that have occasion to mention the concerns of that People.

5. It is a History that contains matters of far greater moment and antiquity than any other Writers but such as in probability made their Collections out of it, namely, of the Transactions from the first Creation of the World until the Universal Flood, and from thence to the time of him that first wrote it, namely Moses.

6. It is a History that was really written by Moses, who was far more ancient than all the Heathen Writers above mentioned (excepting only Trismegistus, of whose Writings we have nothing extant) and more ancient than most of those Things or Notes recorded by those most ancient Heathen Writers which for the most part filled their Books; He wrote 540 years before Homer; 200 years before Sancuniathon, ac­cording to Bochart's account; 300 years before the Expedition of the Argonauts; 350 years before the Trojan War; and a considerable time before the Apotheoses or Inaugurations of many of the Heathenish Deities. So that as the Matter of his History, so the Time of his writing is far more ancient than the writing of the most ancient Heathen Historians that are at all extent. Much of this I shall have occasion to resume and enlarge in the ensuing Chapters, yet this was necessary in this place.

The Inference that is made from hence is, That probably if the World of Mankind had been Eternal, or if it had any such vast distance from its Beginning as some suppose, we should have had Historical Monuments and Writings long before the Age of Moses.

[Page 138]But for all this, I must needs say, this Consideration singly (I say singly) taken and weighed, maketh not much against an eternal or at least a vaster Epocha of the first Origination of Man than is ordinarily supposed; I shall therefore set down those allays that make against the strength of the consequence drawn from this Topick.

1. It is evident that the use of Letters and Writing were far more ancient than the time of Moses; the Egyptians and Phenicians carry up the original of the invention thereof to Mercurius Trismegistus, which is supposed long before Moses: And although Cadmus is supposed to have brought the use of Letters out of Phoenicia into Greece some time after the Age of Moses, according to Polydore Virgil, lib. 1. cap. 6. out of Pliny, Hero­dotus and others; yet it appears by what is before mentioned, that there were in Phoenicia very ancient written Volumes called Volumina Ammo­naeorum long before the time of Sancuniathon. And if we believe the Tradition of Josephus, the Pillars of Seth were extant in his time; and according to Tertullian some Fragments of the Writings of Enoch were traditionally extant in his time: But howsoever Moses (if he be the Au­thor of the History of Job, whom some think to be contemporary at least with Jacob) mentions Books and Writings to have been common things in the time of Job, Job 19.23. Josephus lib. 1. cap. 3. Tertull. de Habitu Mulierum.

2. Surely if Writing were so ancient, it is probable that many Hi­stories might be before the time of Moses which were lost in succession of time, as it must be agreed that most of those ancient Monuments that in the granted Period of the World were extant before Moses time are since lost, and many millions of Books that have been written since Moses time have by the injury of Time and Men been lost; much more those Books which were written antecedent to Moses time: And the truth is, the preservation of the Books of Moses entire unto this day, when so many of a far later date are lost, is to be attributed to the special Providence of Almighty God.

2. Again, they that assign the shortest time between the Origination of Mankind and the Writings of Moses, allow it to be somewhat above 2460 years: So that although Moses were admitted the first Historian that ever wrote, it would very near as strongly conclude against the an­tiquity of 2460 years before his writing as against an eternal existence of Mankind: if it should be an Argument against the latter, it would be such also against the former.

3. Considering the many mutations and casualties of Wars, Trans­migrations, especially that of the General Flood, there might probably be an obliteration of all those Monuments of Antiquity that immense Ages precedent at some time have yielded. Cecrops was contemporary with Moses, and Belus and Ninus were before him; yet we have no Monuments extant of the Assyrians so ancient as Belus, or of the Athe­nians so ancient as Cecrops, but such as are Traditions, and written long after their times. So that although I have mentioned this concerning the known Periods of Historical Writers, yet I think we are to be careful not to lay too great a stress singly on it, and it is the least of all that follow in weight or evidence: And yet this was fit to be mentioned, because it is ne­cessary for the more clear discovery and application of that which follows.

CAP. III. The second Evidences of Fact, namely, the apparent Evidences of the first Foundation of the greatest and ancient Kingdoms and Em­pires.

I Come to my Second Evidence of Fact, which is the subject Matter of Histories, and principally concerning the Evidence arising from them of the first Original of the most considerable Monarchies in the World.

Touching the great Monarchies of the World, their Original is so well known, and delivered down to us from Authors of unquestionable truth, that there need little be said touching them; for they have their confessed Epochae within certain and known Periods. As the beginning of the Roman Monarchy under Romulus, which gives the Epocha Urbis conditae in the 7th Olympiad; the beginning of the Grecian Monarchy, which hath its Epocha in Alexander about the 111th Olympiad; the beginning of the Persian Monarchy, which had its Epocha in Cyrus about the 55th Olympiad, though the same were not established in the beginning of Cyrus, but completed in Cambyses his Son about the 62d Olympiad. And the like might be observed concerning several smaller Kingdoms, whose originals are delivered over to us in Histories.

And although it is true that these Beginnings of these several Monar­chies and Kingdoms do not so begin as if those Men that founded these Monarchies were the natural Fathers of all those Persons that did coalescere in Regnum vel Monarchiam; or as if those Monarchies were derived from the Heads or Roots that gave them this denomination, as all Men are derived from the common Parent of Mankind, or as possibly some other of the ancient Monarchies, which we shall have occasion hereafter to mention, were derived: For many times the beginning of Monarchies and Kingdoms was by the coalition of many Persons, it may be of several Nations, into an Army, as they did under Cyrus, or into a City, as they did under Romulus, or by transmigration of Persons from one Countrey to another, as the Israelites did.

And therefore we are not to take it that these Originations of Monar­chies were the Origination of all the People that were joyned in it; for they had their existence oftentimes before, and took their denomination from the Dux Exercitùs or the Rector Civitatis, under which they were as it were listed in their Civil or Military coalition.

And therefore the Argument is not thus necessarily that the Roman Monarchy or the Grecian Monarchy had not its beginning before such a time, therefore those Men that were the constituent parts thereof had no existence before that time; but that the Civil Society under the Prince, Rector or form of Government then began to be formally such in such a special Constitution.

But those Monarchies that pretend to the greatest Antiquity are prin­cipally,

  • [Page 140]1. The Assyrian or Babylonian Monarchy.
  • 2. The Egyptians, and their Dynasties.
  • 3. The Grecians.
  • 4. The Chineses.

These I shall examin in order.

1. Touching the Assyrian or Babylonian Monarchy, we do with the best authority both of Sacred and Prophane Writers suppose,

1. That it had its beginning since the Universal Deluge from Ham the youngest Son of Noah.

2. That the Reasons and Authorities against that Supposition are not of weight enough to evince the contrary.

Before I come to my Reasons for this Assertion, something I shall pre­mise touching the Assyrian Empire, and how it stood in relation to that of the Babylonian.

It seems that Babylon was at first the Seat of the Assyrian Empire, the building whereof some attribute to Belus, some to Ninus his Son, some to Semiramis his Wife, and some to others: but afterwards the Caput Imperti of the Assyrians was Ninive, built upon the River Tigris.

It also seems, that in process of time the Assyrians either new built or repaired Babylon that had lain long neglected, and the same was peopled with those People on the South of Assyria called Caldeans: That which gives me light of it, and indeed of the whole History of the Babylonian Monarchy is Isaiah 23.13. Behold the land of the Caldeans, this people was not till the Assyrian founded it for them that dwell in the wilderness: They set up the towers thereof, they raised up the palaces thereof. It seems therefore that Babylon formerly neglected, by this favour of the King of Assyria prospered into a petty Kingdom, and growing powerful did set up for themselves in the time of Ahaz the King of Judah who was contemporary with Tiglah Pileser, 2 Kings 16.10. And possibly the first divided King of Babylon was that Nabonassar that gave the original of the Aera Nabo­nassaris that began about the beginning of King Ahaz, in the beginning of the 8th Olympiad, about four years after the Building of Rome.

It seems that either the same Tiglah Pileser, or his next Successor Salma­nassar King of Assyria that carried away the People of Israel in the ninth year of Hoseah, about four years after the death of Ahaz, 2 Kings 17.6. did afterwards re-take Babylon; for certainly he was possessed of it at or shortly after the deportation of Israel; for he brought Men from Babylon, from Cutha, from Ava, Hamath and Sepharvaim, to put into Samaria. 2 Kings 17.24.

It seems that most of these places from whence People were trans­planted to Samaria, were places conquered by the Assyrian Monarch, who did as Victors use prudently to do, transplant the conquered into other places; and the same seems evident for some of these places at least, and as pro­bably for Babylon also, 2 Kings 18.24. Isaiah 10.10. particularly for Hamath, Sepharvaim and Avah: And accordingly he transplanted the conquered People into Gozan and other places, 2 Kings 18.11. which were won by Salmanassar from the Medes by Conquest. 2 Kings 19.12.

Senacherib succeeded Salmanassar, and came up against Hezekiah in the fourteenth year of his Reign, where he received that great blow of 185000 [Page 141] Men, which sent him back to Nineveh where he was slain; and Ezar­haddon his Son reigned in his stead. 2 Kings 20.35, 36, 37.

This gave opportunity to the new usurped Kingdom of Babylon again to break the Yoak of Assyrian Monarchy; for it evidently appears that Berodach-Baladan the Son of Baladan was King of Babylon, and sent to complement Hezekiah when there was another King of Assyria, 2 Kings 20.12. Hezekiah having reigned 29 years dyed, and Manasseh his Son succeeded him.

Manasseh reigned 55 years, and towards the latter end of his Reign he was carried Captive to Babylon by the King of Assyria, 2 Chron. 33.11. whether the King of Assyria had regained Babylon, or whether the King of Babylon had overcome the Assyrian, and so held the stile of that Mo­narch, appears not, though the latter seems probable by comparing the reprehension of Isaiah, 2 Kings 20.17.

Ammon succeeded, and reigned 2 years.

Josiah succeeded, and reigned 31 years.

Jehoahaz 3 months.

Jehoiachim 11 years.

Jehoiachin 3 months.

Zedekiah 11 years; the last year of whose Reign was contemporary with the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar.

Now putting all the years together from the first of Ahaz to the last of Zedekiah are about 155 years and 6 months; out of which subducting 19 years for the Reign of Nebuchadnezzar, there remains from the first of Ahaz to the first of Nebuchadnezzar 136 years, which comes very near to the Aera Nabonassaris; for according to the common Calculation the first of Nebuchadnezzar hapned in the 138th year of Nabonassar, which began about two years before the first year of Ahaz; or in the second year of the 8th Olympiad.

And that in all probability, Baladan who was the Father of Merodach-Baladan that sent to visit Hezekiah, might be that Nabonassar whose Aera is so much celebrated.

After the beginning of the Reign of Nebuchadnezzar the entire Assyrian Monarchy was translated to Babylon, and Nebuchadnezzar the King thereof. Herodotus in his First Book tells us that Cyaxares the Grand-child of Dioces first attempted the taking of Niniveh, but was repulsed by the aid of the Scythians; and that afterwards he took it, and became Master of all As­syria, Excepta Babylonica quadam portione.

But according to the Histories of Tobit and Judith, Niniveh was taken by Assuerus and Nebuchadnezzar, and afterwards entirely possessed by Ne­buchadnezzar, Tobit 10.17. Judith 11. But this is obscure, because it hath been conceived that Nebuchadnezzar was a common Name used amongst the Babylonian Kings, as Pharaoh among the Egyptians; only it may not be impossible that Nebuchadnezzar who was certainly contem­porary with Cyaxares the Mede, might be an assistant in the Destruction of Niniveh with Cyaxares, called it may be by Tobit, Assuerus; but how he came to be sole Possessor after in the time of Judith, is hard to un­riddle.

This Nebuchadnezzar made Babylon the Seat of his Empire, and so far enlarged it that it seemed as new built, as his own arrogant and [Page 142] vain-glorious expression witnesseth; Is not this great Babel that I have built? Dan. 4.30.

Upon all this that hath been said, it seems plain:

1. That Babylon or Babel was the first or ancient Seat of the Assyrian Empire.

2. That the same was first built by Belus, or Ninus, or Semiramis, as the Heathen Writers tell us; or by Nimrod, as the Holy History tells us, who possibly might be the same with Belus.

3. That afterward the Seat of the Assyrian Empire was translated to Nineveh the great City of that Empire.

4. That afterward Babylon was again either repaired or enlarged by the Assyrian Empire, and was the Metropolis of that part of Assyria called Caldaea, the Inhabitants whereof were greatly addicted to the Ce­lestial Observation, and became so famous for it, that a Caldean and an Astrologer were terms equivalent in common appellation.

5. That afterward the Babylonians or Caldeans obtained or usurped a divided Kingdom from the Assyrian Empire.

6. That the first King of that divided Kingdom was called Nabonassar, which give the original to the Aera Nabonassaris, beginning about the 8th Olympiad.

7. That about 140 years after the beginning of that Kingdom it grew so potent, that it acquired the whole Assyrian Monarchy, and became the Seat thereof under Nebuchadnezzar.

8. That Nebuchadnezzar again enlarged the City of Babylon with Buildings and Walls of incredible strength and glory.

This being premised, I now come to those Reasons that satisfie me that the Assyrian or Babylonian Monarchy was not of that great Anti­quity that the Babylonians and the favourers of their Tradition pretended, but had its known Original or Epocha from whence it began.

1. The Authority of the Heathen Authors allow not above 1400 years at most for the continuance of the Assyrian Monarchy, and lodge the Original of it in Belus the Father of Ninus, the beginning of whose Reign is by computation to be cast in the 153d year after the Flood, according to the Jewish Account. Vide probationes indè Petavii doctrina temp. l. 9. per totum. The Account, according to Diodorus Siculus, runs thus; The As­syrian Monarchy beginning with Ninus lasted 1360 years unto the fall of Sardanapalus by Arbaces the Mede, after which that Monarchy fell in with the Mede: it continued there until Pul became the Head of the Assyrian Monarchy, and after him Tiglah Pileser, and then Salmanassar, and after­wards Senacherib: The Proof they add to this Supputation is this; That from the Fall of Sardanapalus to the Taking of Babylon by Alexander are accounted 543 years, which added to the former number gives 1903 years, the Epocha of the Caldean Astrological Calculation brought by Calisthenes to Aristotle at the Taking of Babylon by Alexander; which casts the Beginning of the Assyrian Monarchy under Belus, or at least under Ninus his Son, to be about the year of the World 1717, about 60 years after the Flood, according to the Jewish Account; though others, fol­lowing also the Jewish Account, cast the same to be about 104 years after the Flood.

But Africanus, and others that follow the Account of the 70 Interpreters, [Page 143] tell us of seven Kings of the Caldeans, and six Kings of the Arabians that were antecedent to Belus in that Empire, that successively reigned in Babylon 440 years; that Belus obtained by Conquest the Kingdom, and reigned 55 years; and by this Account the Beginning of the Assyrian Kingdom under Ninus was 631 years after the Flood, and one Age after the Confusion of Languages in the time of Phaleg: But which way soever we take, yet we find a Beginning of the Assyrian Empire, though they that suppose it 440 years before Belus, thrust the Deluge and the Creation farther back than the Jewish Account.

2. The Authority of the Holy Scripture by the Pen of Moses gives us the Original of the Babylonian or Assyrian Monarchy in Nimrod, which possibly may be the Name in Hebrew of Belus the first Founder of it. And here I do not take advantage of the Divine Authority of the Sacred Scripture, but make use of it only as a History, and singly upon that account hath greater evidence of its truth than any Heathen Historian whatsoever. 1. The Writer thereof was most certainly nearer the times of the first Foundation, of that Monarchy by above 800 years than any other Historian that gives us the account of the Assyrian and Babylonian Monarchy; which is a great advantage in point of evidence touching the truth of any Historical Relation. Again, 2. He was not very far di­stant from the Place or Seat of that Monarchy, the Wilderness and Palestine being not far distant from Assyria 3. He was descended from him that was the native of that Country, namely Abraham, who was born and lived many years in the Caldean Country, and doubtless did bring along with him and transmit to his Posterity a fair Tradition of that Empire, being contemporary with Peleg, in whose time the famous dissipation of Man­kind and distinction of Languages hapned. 4. He was educated in Egypt, the people whereof were greatly learned, especially in Chrono­logical Computations. 5. The coherence and synchronism of all the parts of the Mosaical Chronology, especially after the Flood, bears a most singular testimony to the truth of his History and Computation: for although he draws not down the lineal Descendents of Ham and Japhet down to his time, but only mentions their Children and Grand-children for two or three Generations at most; yet he draws down the lineal Pedigree from Sem in the Sacred Line down to his very Age, together with their Births and Ages, which are a great evidence of the probability of the rest of his Account. So that if we take the History of Moses upon a bare Moral account, abstracted from the Authority of Divine Reve­lation, he hath greater evidence of the truth of what he relates than any Historian whatsoever that takes upon him the narrative of the Anti­quity of Kingdoms or Empires, the ancientest of which Historians were above 1000 years later than Moses. But this I shall have occasion farther to improve hereafter.

The Objections against this late Original of the Assyrian or Babylonian Monarchy (for it had its successive translation into these denominations) are principally these:

1. That it appears by the Account of ancient Historians, that the Caldeans (in whom the Assyrian Monarchy began and ended) at the Taking of Babylon by Alexander had preserved Astronomical Calculations for about 400000 years; thus Diodorus Siculus, lib. 3. cap. 8. Quadringenta [Page 144] tria annorum millia usque ad ascensum Alexandri numerant; and Tully in his second Book de Divinatione mentions the number to be greater, Qua­dringenta & septuaginta millia annorum, in periclitandis experiendisque Pueris quicunque essent nati, Babylonios posuisse.

2. That it seems impossible, that if their Monarchy began but in Nim­rod, or so short a time after the Universal Deluge, that in the time of Ninus, by some supposed the first, by some the second King of the As­syrians or Babylonians, the Empire could have grown so populous as to build that vast City of Babylon, and that of Nineveh, whose state and magnificence and amplitude were of incredible greatness; or that his Widow Semiramis could at once bring into the field against Zoroastres an Army of 1700000 Foot-men, 500000 Horse-men, 100000 Chariots, 2000 Ships, as Diodorus Siculus out of Ctesias, l. 3. cap. 5. And therefore as well Mankind as the Empire of Assyria must have had a longer conti­nuance to have set out such an Army, than the succession of an Empire for two or three Governours at most, or the successions or propagations of Mankind within so short a time as this is supposed to succeed the Uni­versal Deluge, could afford. To the first I answer:

1. That some will have these Years to be but Months, which they suppose to be accounted Years by the ancient Babylonians and Egyptians: But as we have no certain evidence that they used to account a Month a Year, but if we had, yet that reduction will not serve; for that num­ber of Lunar Months reduced to Solar Years will arise to above 40000 Years, which will over-reach the Creation of Mankind.

2. Therefore we may with the same Tully and Diodorus Siculus pronounce it to be an incredible and fabulous Account warranted by no credible evidence, but meerly their own fancy or imposture; that because they held the World eternal, would gratifie their people with a succession of an incredible Antiquity. And it appears to be fabulous, 1. For that in all this time they would probably have gotten the perfect Theory of the Planetary Motions and Positions, which it is plain they did not, if we believe the same Author; for they were at a loss touching the true dis­coveries and periods of the Eclipses, especially of the Sun. 2. For that Calisthenes, who was very curious in searching the famous Periods of the Babylonian or Caldean Celestial Observations, at the very time when they pretended so great an Antiquity, namely, at the Taking of Babylon by Alexander, upon a strict enquiry found their Astronomical Observations not to be above 1903 years old, which he accordingly reported to Aristotle, that employed him specially in that Enquiry, as Simplicius reports in his Commentaries upon the Book of Aristotle de Caelo. The prodigious Accounts therefore of the Caldeans of the Times past deserve as little cre­dit as their Predictions of things to come, who, as the same Tully there observes, flattered both Caesar and Pompey with long Lives and happy and peaceable Death; both which fell out in the success, to both extremely contrary.

2. I come to the second Objection, namely, That it seems altogether im­possible that the General Flood should put a period to all former Govern­ments, and indeed to the whole Race of Mankind except eight persons, and yet that from these in so short a time such vast and powerful Monarchies, especially as that of the Babylonian or Syrian should arise. To which I answer:

[Page 145]1. That if we should admit the Computation of the Seventy, now much magnified by Vossius and others, it would easily deliver us from that difficulty; for whereas the Hebrew Computation gives the Universal Flood to be but 1656 years after the Creation of Mankind, the Septuagint gives it to be 2262 years: and whereas the Hebrew Account gives us about 300 years from the Flood to the Birth of Abraham, and consequently about 104, and according to some only 58 years from the Flood to the begin­ning of Ninus the Son of Belus, the Septuagint gives us from the Flood to the Birth of Abraham 1132 years; and consequently the beginning of Ninus though admitted to have been about 250 years before the Birth of Abraham, would yet have hapned near 800 years after the Flood, which would not only give a competent time for Mankind to grow to that great multitude that is supposed, but would satisfie those preceding thirteen Kings in Babylon that are supposed to have worn out 440 years before [...] the beginning of Belus the Father of Ninus.

2. But the Objection needs not that help, neither doth enforce us to desert the Hebrew Account to satisfie that or the like Objections. For considering the long Life of the Ancients that lived within 300 years after the Flood, and consequently their coexistence with those that de­scended from them; we may without the help of a miraculous fertility find that in 104 years Mankind descended from Noah and his three Sons and their Wives, might arise to a stupendious multitude by that Arithme­tical Progression that would be found in their Generations. I shall not need to set down the process of the Computation or the product, it is excellently done to my hand by Temporarius in his second Book Chronolo­gicarum demonstrationum, and out of him by Petavius his Doctrina tempo­rum, lib. 10. and out of both by Kircherus in the first Book of his first Tome of his Oedipus Aegyptiacus, where he undertakes, that in the pro­gress of 200 years after the Flood the multitude of the coexisting People might be so great, that if they were cast into a square Battalia, allowing to every person but one square foot of ground, the side of that Square would be 372 Astronomical miles, or 25 Heavenly degrees. And thus far touching the Original of the Assyrian, Caldean, or Babylonian Monar­chy.

2. Touching the Egyptians, they maintained the Origination of Man­kind, and that the same was not Eternal, as it seems by Diodorus Siculus in his second Book; for they supposed, in respect of the fruitfulness of their soil and the convenience of their situation, that the first Original of Mankind was among them, and that the Egyptians were the an­cientest People in the World.

But though they admitted the Origination of Man, yet they pretended to a very great antiquity of their Nation and Government; and because they would exceed all others, they suppose their first Governours were Gods: Diodorus tells us, that in the 180th Olympiad they pretended a succession of Government of 33000 years, whereof the first 18000 years they were governed by Gods and Heroes, and the last 15000 years by Men.

Manetho, that wrote the History of the Egyptians about the beginning of the Grecian Monarchy under Alexander, with very great pretence hath carried up their Government to an incredible distance before the Creation [Page 146] of Mankind; for he digested the successive Governments of the Egyptians into 32 Dynasties, and to each Dynasty a great number of Governours and Years, whereof 15 exceeded the time of the Flood, and therefore are omitted by Africanus and others that yet are fond of the credit of Ma­netho: the other 17 Dynasties are supposed to be extended unto the begin­ning of the Grecian Empire for about 1694 years after the Flood.

But 1. This Account, even of Diodorus Siculus, is very uncertain; for it appears by Censorinus, de die Natali, cap. 19. that the ancient Egyptian year was bimestris, and after that trimestris, and after that, in latter time, of 13 months and 5 days: And some tell us, that yet their most ancient year was but one month, namely, one revolution of the Moon through the Zodiack; which if it should be admitted, may shorten their Account of 33000 years to 3600 years or thereabout. But yet this An­swer serves not, for in all probability their years continued to be 365 days ever since the time of the Jewish Exody at least, which will carry up the Account far beyond the Creation of Man, though their former years should be supposed menstrui or bimestres.

Therefore it seems either a plain Imposture of Manetho, out of an emulation of the pretended Antiquity of the Babylonian Monarchy, or at least a very plain mistake, by reckoning all these 32 Dynasties or Prin­cipatus successivè, when it seems they were all contemporary, and that after Mene, which is supposed the first Head of these Dynasties, the Re­giment of Egypt was divided into several Principalities, and each had his Dynasty, but the particular Regiment of each several Principality, Mene being the Head to them all; which is so well evinced by Vossius in his little Tract de Aetate Mundi, out of Eratosthenes contemporary with Ma­netho, Herodotus and others, that nothing can be added to it, or reasonably objected against it; though Kircherus in the first Book of his Egyptian Antiquities endeavours to carry on the 17 last Dynasties in continued succession from Cham to the dissolution of the Egyptian Monarchy by Alexander; and supposeth the first 15 Dynasties to have incurred before the Flood, and the traditional memory thereof derived down by Cham to his Posterity. But of this also more hereafter.

Touching the Grecians, it is true, the Grecian Monarchy had its known Epocha in Alexander about the 114th Olympiad: but they were a People long before, though divided into smaller Kingdoms or States; but the Memorials of the Babylonians and Egyptians were far more ancient than those of Greece, which derived much of its Learning from the Egyptians. Censorinus in his golden Book de die Natali gives us out of Varro a threefold Period of the Grecian Histories or Monuments or Times, Cap. 21. namely, 1. [...] or incognitum, from the first Origination of Mankind (if it had an Original) ad cataclysmum priorem, or the Ogygian Flood: 2. [...] or fabulosum, from the Ogygian Flood to the first Olym­piad: 3. Historicum, from the first Olympiad until his time. For the first of these times, Sive semper fuit, sive habuit initium, certè quot annorum sit non potest comprehendi: for the second; Non planè quidem scitur, sed creditur esse annos circiter mille & sexcentos, though he reduceth it by his account to a shorter time; namely, 400 years from the Ogygian Flood to Inachus, and from him to the first Olympiad according to some 400, according to others 395, 407, or 417: I shall not trouble my self with the curious [Page 147] enquiry into the number, or the different Account of Chronologers touch­ing it: But within the compass of this tempus [...], or Periodus fabulosa, hapned many of those Relations of the Greeks; namely, the Age of Prometheus, the Flood of Deucalion, shortly after the beginning of the Dynasty of the Athenians, in the time of Cretopus King of the Argives; Incendium Idae, Cadmus and Europa, Ganymedis raptus, Phaetontis incendium, Hercules Amphitryonis filius, Expeditio Argonautarum, Bellum Trojanum & Reditus Heraclidarum, Ionica migratio, and many other fine Stories that have furnished some of the Poetical Historians of after Ages.

But however Censorinus makes his Computation, Inachus, who was the first King of the Argives, though he were about 375 years after the beginning of the Assyrian Monarchy, and contemporary with Isaac, yet he began his Reign about 100 years before the Ogygian Flood, which hapned in the latter end of Phoroneus the Son of Inachus and second King of the Argives. So that Inachus was about 100 years before the Ogygian Flood, and about 1070 or 1080 years before the first Olympiad upon this account.

This then being, as it seems, the state of these Periods, there seem two Nations of the Grecians that pretend to greatest Antiquity, namely, the Argivi and the Attici.

The former had their beginning with Inachus, whether before or after the Ogygian Flood it will not be much of moment, but at least within 1070 years before the first Olympiad, which is the highest time that the Grecians pretend unto.

Touching the Attici, the Grecian Memorials give us no higher Account than of Ogyges, in whose time it is supposed the Ogygian Flood hapned in that part of Greece called Attica, and takes its name from him, namely, Diluvium Ogygium.

Out of this Kingdom arose the Dynasty of the Athenians, about 200 years after the Ogygian Flood, wherein Cecrops was the first Governour contemporary with Moses; he first set up the Worship of Jupiter, as some report. And so we have the Original of the Government of the Argives in Inachus, of the Athenians in Cecrops.

It is true, the Egyptian Priest under the name of Timaeus in Plato tells us a large Story of the Island of Atlantis far bigger than Asia, and that although now that goodly Island be lost and swallowed up in the Sea, yet the Athenians were a kind of Colony transplanted from that Island into Greece about 7000 years before Solon's time. But this is one of those Poetical Fictions wherewith Plato plays, mingling more serious things with it in the following part of his Discourse; and the Story hath no footsteps of any evidence for it, unless we shall suppose that Atlantis to be an Island that was before the Universal Deluge, and destroyed by it.

4. Concerning the Seres or Chineses, a People whose Customs and Histories were strangers to Europe till of late times, wherein some Tra­vellers have lately given us some account of those great Periods both of their Histories and Government. Vossius in that little Book de Aetate Mundi, tells us by relation from others, That by their Histories and Mo­numents their Empire hath lasted 4505 years in the year of Christ 1658, which reacheth some Ages beyond the Flood according to the Hebrew Account, but according to the Septuagint the beginning thereof falls in the time of Phaleg, 531 years after the Flood; which he brings as an [Page 148] Argument for the Authority of the Septuagint: But the truth is, we are still strangers to the true state of Chronology of the Seres or Chineses, what we have touching it, is by broken relation of some few Travellers, and what they had, possibly may be gathered up from the vulgar Tra­ditions of that People, upon which little of sound conclusion can be made touching their Antiquity. But be it true or not, which we have from these Relations, yet their longest Period gives them a Beginning, and reacheth not so high as the pretended Epoch of the Babylonians or Egyptians, much less is there any thing in them that gives any colour of Evidence of an Eternal Duration.

And thus I have gone through the Examination of those Kingdoms and Monarchies which pretend to greatest Antiquity, the Babylonian or Assyrian, the Egyptian, the Grecian, and the Seres or Chineses; upon all which we may observe,

1. That though many of them pretend to a very great Antiquity, yet there are none that give us any sufficient Evidence of an Eternal Dura­tion; for what are those Periods of the Egyptians or Babylonians to Eter­nity? Nay many of these Nations that pretend to the longest conti­nuance, as the Egyptians and Grecians, yet disclaim an Eternal Succession; pretend themselves to be Aborigines, and to be the first People, but yet not to be Eternal. Indeed their vast continuance, if admitted, would seem to contradict the Authenticalness and Authority of the Mosaical History, which contains a Relation of the Beginnings of Mankind within the compass of about 5660 Years, according to the Hebrew Account, and about 7240 Years, according to the Septuagint; but doth not so much as suppose an Eternity thereof.

2. That notwithstanding these great pretensions of Antiquity, yet upon a true examination their great pretended Antiquity is fabulous; and the Origination of their Monarchies began some Ages after the general Deluge; and so the truth of the Holy History concerning the Inception of Mankind, and the Inception of all the Monarchies in the World after the Deluge that happened under Noah, 1656 Years after the Creation of Mankind, is not at all weakened by those Fabulous Antiquities of the Babylonians, Egyptians, or Grecians.

3. That this Inception of the Notable Empires and Kingdoms of the World, even of those that pretend greatest Antiquity, and the termi­nation of the uttermost Extent of the Histories of the Babylonians, Egyptians, and Grecians, within the compass of the Extent of their pre­tended Monarchies, is an Evidence against the Eternity of Mankind; for had Mankind been Eternal, they had infinite Ages since arrived to all the perfection of Political Government, and to all those Means and Arts for the preserving the Memorials of things past, as they have now attained unto; there would have been no tempus [...], or obscurum, among the Grecians, but there would have been as fair Monuments and Histo­rical Narratives of things past, before the Olympiads or the Ogygian Flood (which was not universal) as after. I shall conclude therefore with Lucretius, lib. 5.

Preterea, si nulla fuit genitalis origo
Terrai & Coeli, semperque aeterna fuerunt;
[Page 149]Cur supra bellum Thebanum & funera Trojae
Non alias alii quoque res cecinere Poetae,
Qui tot facta virum toties cecidere, neque usquam
Aeternis famae monumentis insita florent?
Verùm ut opinor habet novitatem summa, recensque
Natura est mundi, neque pridem exordia cepit:
Quare etiam quaedam nunc artes expoliuntur,
Nunc etiam augescunt, &c. —

But yet this Consideration touching the Antiquity of Monarchies, their Inception, and the Narratives and Historical Monuments of things, hap­pening within the Periods of their Commencement and Continuances, are not of that weight that we can lay the stress of this Hypothesis of the Inception of Mankind upon: And therefore this Consideration must be taken with its allay, I shall therefore fully set down those Instances that do give this Consideration its due abatement.

1. It is no Consequence, That because a Monarchy or Kingdom had its Beginning, that therefore the People that constituted the Moles of that Kingdom had its Beginning: Kingdoms, Monarchies, and States, often change their Governours, and the Forms of Government, and their Stiles and Denominations, as the Silk-worm doth his shape, and yet the People in a continued succession the same. Rome took its Name from Romulus, but the People were a Farrago, collected and gathered out of the neighbouring Nations. Greece fell into one Monarchy under Alexan­der, yet the People (that were the Stuffing, as it were, and Materials of that Monarchy) were existing before in other Forms of Government, and under other Governours. And though it is by some supposed, That the Assyrian Monarchy began in Ninus, yet Diodorus out of Ctesias tells us, That he made up that great Structure of the Assyrian Monarchy by the Conquest of divers People, who thereby were added to it, as the Egyptians, Phenicians, Syria, Coelicia, Pamphilia, Lydia, Caria, Phrygia, Mysia, and many more, mentioned by him, l. 3. cap. 1.

England began not to be a People, when Alfred reduced it into a Monarchy, for the Materials thereof were extant before, namely, under the Heptarchy. So that the finding out of the Head of a Monarchy is not like the finding out the Head of a River in the Fountain, or the Head of a Family in one common Parent: The ancientest Monarchy might have a Beginning, and yet the People, that are the material constituent of it, might exist long before, under other Forms or Vicissitudes of Governments.

2. All Nations do not always begin their Histories, or the Matter, of the same Antiquity with the People touching which they write; but some earlier, some later, according to the variety of their Opportunities, Educations, and Disciplines.

The Israelites were certainly the most knowing People of the World, began early to record the Memorials of their own Times, and of those that anteceded them, delivered down by Tradition from the Patriarchs: Thus did Moses; and the Annals of that People are carried down to the very dissolution of their Government. The Phenicians began their Historical Monuments after them, the Grecians after them. The Pelasgi and Attici were [Page 150] a People long before Homer wrote. England was doubtless Inhabited before Caesar came over, yet we have few Monuments of Britain more ancient than Caesar gives us; and from him, except Beda, we have few Authenti­cal Histories by any known Historian before the Conquest by King Wil­liam; but they have been all written since, or very near his time; and many of the things which they have put together touching the Britains, Picts, Danes, yea and the beginning of the Saxons, have been collected out of broken Monuments in Monasteries, and Tradition, and digested into series and order of times by those that have written long since the things done; by men that lived since the Normans came in, as Henry of Huntington, William of Malmsbury, Roger Hoveden, Matthew Paris, and others.

3. A third difficulty is this: That in those elder times there were not those means of preserving the Monuments of things past, as after times afforded; for whatever antiquity the World may be supposed to be, it is plain that Arts have increased and grown: Printing is a new In­vention, and although Letters and Writing were ancient among the Phenicians, and from them derived to the Greeks, yet we must suppose they were not so perfect or so common in the elder Ages as in those that succeed them. And therefore those that contend for an Eternal succes­sion of Men in the World, do suppose that by a kind of circulation or rotation Arts have their successive invention and perfection and tradu­ction from one People to another; and consequently though some might be early able to deliver over Historical passages, as being better instructed in Letters and Writing, and more civilized than others, yet others at­tained it later: As the Europeans had their Learning from the Asiaticks, so the Americans have it from the Europeans, and yet the People of Europe, Asia, and America may be of equal Antiquity.

Besides all this, there have been many vicissitudes and changes whereby ancient Monuments and Histories have been lost: As 1. The Variation of Languages, or at least of the Characters wherein they were written, many things written in former Ages being scarce legible in after Ages, and so neglected. 2. Wars and Desolations hapning thereby, which obliterate many ancient Monuments. If by a kind of common stipulation or pact as it were, Monasteries had not had a kind of common Protection in the vicissitudes of the Conquests of England by the Picts, Danes, Saxons and Normans, we had had very little extant of ancient things. 3. Trans­migrations of People from one Country to another, whereby they left their ancient Monuments behind them, which were neglected by them that succeeded them. 4. Floods and Inundations, especially in the parts of Asia, which swept away many ancient Monuments.

These are the Allays that are to be given to this particular touching the Epochae and Original of Monarchies, Kingdoms, and States, and the Monuments and Historical Relations of them or hapning in them, and to the weight of those consequences deduced or deducible from them, in order to the Argument in question touching the Origination of Man­kind.

CAP. IV. The Third Instance of Fact proving the Origination of Mankind, namely, the Invention of Arts.

I Come to the Third Instance of Fact, namely, the Discovery and Per­fecting of Arts, and the new Discoveries that later Ages have made of things that were not formerly known.

And this Topick consists principally of these parts; 1. That there have been such Discoveries of Things and Arts not formerly known: 2. That consequently the World, especially of Mankind, is of a far later Edition than Eternity.

Touching the former of these, it is very evident both by the Tradition of the Ancients, and also by our own unquestionable Experience, that very great Discoveries have been in several Ages made of Things and Arts that were hidden and unknown unto precedent Ages. I shall not trouble my self with those large Catalogues of profitable Inventions which have been successively discovered, when before they were not known, at least for ought appears to us; as the use of Husbandry, the making of Wine and Oyl, the discovery of the Letters of the Alphabet in successive Ages, Musick, Military and Civil Discipline, Engins of War, and Navi­gation: These and infinite more have been by the Industry of former Writers reduced to their several Epochae and Authors of their Discoveries, and some of the Authors have had therefore divine Honour given to them by the admiring Heathen. These several Inventors and Inventions are registred by Diodorus Siculus in his first six Books, by Clemens Alexan­drinus in the first Book of his Stromata, by Pliny l. 7. cap. 56. and ex pro­fesso by Polydore Virgil in his eight Books de Rerum Inventoribus: In which and other Collections of that kind, although possibly there be many things that are fabulous, or grounded upon a very light and uncertain tradition; yet there are many things that are true or very credible, especially since the Monuments of ancient times give us an account of the most remote Ages of Men; Rudes primùm & incuria silvestri non multùm à ferarum asperitate dissimiles, Macrob. in somnio Scipionis, l. 2. cap. 10. see the elegant description of the elder Inhabitants of the World, Lucret. l. 5.

Nec commune bonum peterant spectare, neque ullis
Moribus inter se scibant neque legibus uti.

With which description of the elder World agrees Plato in his Politicks, Nudi enim & sine stragulis magnam partem foris & sub dio vitam colebant; and the same Plato in his third Book de Legibus supposeth, that those relicks of Men that escaped the ancient Deluges by flight into the Mountains became perfectly ignorant in process of time of those Arts and conve­niences of humane Life, which possibly their Progenitors might have been better acquainted with.

But we need not go so far for a full conviction of that admirable Dis­covery and Improvement of Arts and other things, especially such as are necessary for humane Life.

[Page 152]In matters Astronomical we have a far greater light than what was two thousand years since; for we find the old Hypothesis of the Heavenly System called since in question by Copernicus, Galilaeus, and Kepler; the solidity of the Orbs detected to be untrue, by the plain discovery of Tycho Brahe and others; the new discoveries of Stars and Asterisms, and their figures, by the help of the Telescope, demonstratively and to the sense.

In matters Philosophical many new Discoveries have been made by Experiences, whereunto the Ancients never attained: And although the Bodies of Men, Animals and Insects have been these many thousands of years exposed to the view and search of diligent Physicians and Anato­mists, yet it is a wonder to see what new Discoveries have been made in Anatomical Dissections and Observations, which seem wholly hidden to the Ancients; as those of the Circulation of the Blood by Doctor Harvey; the Venae lacteae by Asellius; the Repositorium Chyli of Pecquet, with the method of its deduction into the Vena cava; the process of Generation and of the For­mative actions; the curious Discoveries of the Parts and Faculties of small Insects, by the help of the Microscope, rendred by Malpighius and others.

Again, the great Discoveries that have been made by the means of Pyrotechny and Chymistry, which in late Ages have attained to a greater height than formerly.

Again, in matters Mechanical, although it be true that this latter Age hath not arrived to that incredible skill of Archimedes, yet Mecha­nical powers have been strangely improved, as we see in the late im­provement of the late discovery of the Motion of the Pendulum, whereby the portions of Time are not only measured with an incredible exactness, but the use thereof translated unto Watches, Clocks, and other Engins; so we have high advancement of Dialling, Clocks, Pumps, Fountains and other Motions beyond the acquests of former Ages.

And although the Art of Navigation hath been very ancient, and the use of the Mariner's Needle, which some carry up to Amalpes an Arabian in the year of Christ 1360; others to the Chineses, and by them discovered to Paulus Venetus; others carry it up to King David: yet the Art of Na­vigation hath been since greatly improved, and many excellent Disco­veries in relation to the Inclination and Variation of the Magnetick Needle. To these we may add the use of Guns, Gunpowder, and Printing, which though by some asserted to be of long use in China, yet in this Western part of the World the original of the Invention hath its known Epocha.

By these and many more Instances of the like kind it may appear, That many Inventions and Discoveries of things not only of curiosity but of use and convenience to Mankind have had their known and certain Epochae, or a sufficient evidence of times when they were not used or known in the World.

2. The consequence of this Supposition seems to be this; That in as much as these had their discoveries within known Periods, it is not supposable that the successions of Mankind could have been without a Beginning, but rather that they had a Beginning within a reasonable time: for it is not conceptible that in an infinite, or indeed in a very long period of Revolutions of Mankind, those or any things of this kind discoverable would have been of so late and puisne a discovery: This is [Page 153] the Argument of Lucretius, who though an Asserter of the Eternity of Matter and Motion, yet together with his Master Epicurus asserts a Be­ginning of this World which we now behold, Lib. 5.

Quare etiam quaedam nunc artes expoliuntur,
Nunc etiam augescunt; nunc addita navigiis sunt
Multa, modo organici melicos peperere sonores;
Denique natura haec rerum ratióque reperta
Nuper —

And upon the same account Macrobius l. 2. cap. 10. in Somnium Scipionis; Si enim ab initio, imò ante initium fuit mundus, ut Philosophi volunt, Cur per innumerabilem seriem seculorum non fuerat Cultus quo nunc utimur inventus? Non Literarum usus quo solo memoriae fulcitur Eternitas? Cur denique multa­rum rerum experientia ad aliquas gentes recenti aetate pervenit? ut ecce Galli vitem vel cultum oleae, Roma jam adolescente, didicerunt; aliae verò gentes adhuc multa nesciunt quae nobis inventa placuerunt. Haec omnia videntur aeter­nitati rerum repugnare, dum opinari nos faciunt certo mundi principio paulatim singula quaeque coepisse.

But although this Argument at the first view may seem to have much of evidence in it of the Origination of Mankind, yet it seems too weak to lay any great weight, at least singly, upon it, as will appear by what follows; though in consort with other Instances it hath its use and weight.

The Discovery or Invention of things may seem to be upon these, or some of these Methods.

2. It seems to me that some things have been discovered unto Mankind by a more immediate interposition of the Divine Providence, or the ministration of Angels; as for instance, the Medicinal Virtue of some Herbs, Vegetables, or Minerals, that lye not in the ordinary road of Experience, or analogical collection from Circumstances, Signatures, or Observation.

2. Some things were discovered experimentally, though perchance not intentionally, or by design in the first discovery: And thus probably the Virtues of ordinary Simples came to be discovered; for the Food of Mankind being anciently Herbs and Fruits, or at least of such of Mankind who either through choice, custom or necessity were driven to that abste­mious Diet, there did doubtless occurr the experience of various tem­peraments and operations of those Herbs; some purgative, some emetick, some sudorifick, some astringent, which gave Men opportunity of di­gesting them into several ranks and uses.

3. Some things were discovered ex praenotis, & per viam rationalis dis­cursus: Thus probably Men by the Signatures, Tasts and Colours of Herbs, bearing analogy to other things they knew, concluded fairly touching their Nature and Use, which by Tryal and Experience they improved into more fixed and stable Theorems and Conclusions: And upon this account also many Practical Arts, especially relating to Num­bers, Weight, Measure and Mechanism had their production; for the Rudiments of Proportion being lodged in the Mind, they seem to have grown intentionally and ex industria into those various practices of [Page 154] Arithmetick, Geometry, and Mechanicks resulting from those princi­ples per media processus rationalis; and thus those practices of the Rules of Proportion, Mechanical Motions, Staticks, Architecture, Navigation, Measuring of Distances and Quantities, and infinite more did arise.

4. Some things in their first discovery seem purely accidental, and although possibly the operation of Reason and Tryal and Experiment might or may carry on the Invention into farther Improvements and Advances, yet in the very first primo primum of the Discovery it may be accidental: The old, whether true or fabulous Discovery of Fire may serve to explain my conception; wherein it is supposed, that one sitting upon a Hill and tumbling down Flint stones, upon the collision thereof he observed sparks of Fire, which nevertheless he after improved by adding combustible materials to it; and doubtless upon such and the like occurrences many Chymical and other accidental Discoveries have been made, besides and beyond and without the intention of the Operator: And I well knew a Person that had not capacity enough to deduce any thing of curiosity per processum rationalem, yet by accidental dealing with Water and some Canes did arrive to a most admirable excellence in some Mechanical Works of that nature, though he never had the Wit to give a reason of his performance of them.

5. Some things have been found out by a kind of necessity and exi­gence of Humane Nature; such as Clothes, Societies, Places of Defence and Habitation, and possibly much of the plainer sort of Tillage and Husbandry; Venter magister artis, ingeniíque largitor: and commonly these were the earliest Inventions, because Nature stood early in need of them. And hence it came to pass, that they who had Coelum clementius, that afforded them necessaries without the assistance of considerable In­dustry, continued longest rude and uncultivated. And therefore if the Husbandry of Ceres or Triptolemus came late into the World, it was because those Eastern Countries then inhabited abounded with plenty of Fruits, which supplied the defect of Husbandry till the World grew more dispersed and fuller of Inhabitants, and transmigrated into parts of less natural fertility.

6. Some things have been discovered not only by the Ingeny and Industry of Mankind, but even the inferior Animals have subministred unto Man the invention or discovery of many things both Natural and Artificial and Medicinal, unto which they are guided, and in which they are directed by secret and untaught instincts, which would be infinite to prosecute. The Fable or History of Glaucus observing Fishes to leap into the Sea, upon tasting an Herb by the shore; the Weasel using Plan­tane as an Antidote; the wounded Stag using Dittany to draw out the Arrow, (if true) and divers others, give us some Analogical In­stances.

And these are ordinarily the Methods of Discoveries. The Things or Objects discovered are principally of two kinds; viz. 1. Such things as are already lodged in Nature, as Natural Causes and Effects, and those various Phaenomena in Nature, whereof some lye more open to our Senses and daily observation; others are more occult and hidden, and though accessible in some measure to our Senses, yet not without great search and scrutiny, or some happy accident; others again are such as we cannot [Page 155] attain to any clear sensible discovery of them, either by reason of their remoteness, distance, and unaccessibleness, as the Heavenly Bodies and things closed up in the bowels of the Earth; or by reason of their subtil and curious texture, escaping the clear and immediate access of Sense, as Spiritual Natures, the Soul and its various Faculties and Operations, and the Reasons or Methods of them, wherein for the most part our ac­quests touching them are but Opinion and Conjecture, wherein Men vary according to the variety of their Apprehensions and Phantasies, and wherein (because they want that manuduction of Sense which is our best and surest Guide in the first Instance in matters Natural) Men range into incertain, inevident, and unstable Notions.

2. Such things as are Artificial, wherein some Discoveries are simply new, others are but accessions and additaments to things that were before mentioned: Some things are of convenience, utility or necessity to Humane Nature or the condition of Mankind; some things are of curiosity: some things are found out casually or accidentally; some things intentionally, and out of those Principles or Notions that seem to be lodged originally in the Mind.

Now upon these Considerations premised, it seems that the late Dis­covery of many things in Nature, and many Inventions in Art are not a sufficient Evidence of the Origination or late Origination of Mankind, at least taken singly and apart.

1. In things Natural the variety is so great, and the various combi­nations therein so many, that it seems possible that there should not have been a full discovery of the whole state of things Natural unto the Minds of Men, although there were supposed an eternal duration of Mankind. We may give our selves a Specimen hereof, if we look but back upon that one Piece of Nature with which we have reason to be best ac­quainted, namely, our selves; which by reason of our vicinity to our selves, our daily conversation with our selves and others of the same Species, our daily necessities and opportunities of inquiring into our selves, and the narrowness of our own nature in comparison of the vast and various bulk of other things, seems to render us a Subject capable of being very fully discovered. And besides all this, the more inquisitive and judicious part of Mankind have industriously set themselves for many Ages to make the best discovery they could of the nature of Man. Hip­pocrates the Father of Physicians, who lived in the 82d Olympiad, and above 2000 years since busied himself much and profoundly in this En­quiry; and a succession of industrious, observing and learned Physicians and Naturalists have pursued the Chase with all care and vigilancy, and by the help of Anatomical Dissections have searched into those various Maeanders of the Veins, Arteries, Nerves and Integrals of the Humane Body: Yet for all this, in this sensible and narrow part of Humane Nature, the husk and shell thereof, how much remains after all this whereof we are utterly ignorant? So that notwithstanding all the Discoveries that have been made by the Ancients, and those more curious and plentiful Discoveries by the latter Ages, there still remains so much undiscovered that leaves still room for Admiration and In­dustry, and gives us a powerful conviction of our Ignorance, that the things we know in this little narrow obvious part of Nature the [Page 156] Body of Man is the least part of that we know not touching the same.

But when we yet consider how small a part of the Humane Nature is that which is the Corporeal part; and how little we know with any tolerable certainty touching the more noble Parts, Acts and Operations of the Humane Nature, the Principle of Life, Sense, and Intellection, we have still reason to conclude that this little, narrow, near Subject of our Knowledge is yet very difficult for us actually and fully to com­prehend, and furnisheth our search with more Materials than we are possibly able to exhaust with all our Industry, Care, Study, and Ob­servation. When I consider those difficulties that occurr touching the Production of that we call the Soul, whence it is, what it is, what power it is that performs the processus formativus that digests, disposes, models the prima stamina naturae humanae that acts with most admirable skill, dexterity, infallible order, and in the most incomparable way of Intelligence, and yet wholly destitute of those Organs whereby we exercise the operations of Life, Sense, and Intellection. That incom­parable accommodation of all parts and things fittest for use, for time, for convenience: Again, when I consider those various powers of the Sensible Nature, that Regiment that it performs and exerciseth by the Spirits, Nerves, and Muscles; the admirable powers of Sensation, of Phantasie, of Memory, in what Salvatories or Repositories the Species of things past are conserved: Again, when I consider the strange powers of Intellection, Ratiocination, Reminiscence, and what that Thing or Nature is that performs all those various operations: And when I con­sider how little, how incertain, how contradictory those Sentiments of Mankind have been touching these things, wherein nevertheless they have searched and toyled Age after Age; I must needs conclude, That if we had no other subject of our search and enquiry besides our selves, we should have for ought I know for infinite Ages a continued stock for our discovery; and when we had learned much, yet still even in this narrow Subject there would be still somewhat to be learned; and we should never be able actually to overtake the plenary discovery of what would remain; ‘Sic rota posterior currit, sed in axe secundo.’ And if this one small near piece of Nature still affords new matter for our discovery, where or when should we be ever able to search out all the vast Treasuries of Objective Knowledge that lyes within the compass of the Universe? So that the new Discoveries that have been made in Natural things is not a sufficient evidence of the newness of the existence of Mankind, because of that inexhaustible Magazin of Natural Causes and Effects which possibly will store Mankind with new Discoveries unto an everlasting continuance.

2. And the same that is said for the redundance of matters intelligible and cognoscible in things Natural, may be also applied to things Artifi­cial. There are these things that render Artificial Inventions prodigiously fertil and various: 1. The variety of the materials of things that may be applied to Artificial ends and uses; as we have Iron, Brass, Wood, Stones, Sounds, Light, Figuration, Tactile qualities; some things of a [Page 157] more active, some things of a more passive nature; some things diversified in degrees of heat, cold, dryness, moisture; various Elements, Meteors: and infinite variety of these Materials we have, which may be the material constituents or ingredients into Artificial Structures, Engins, Motions, or Effects. 2. The variety of the Apprehensions and Fancies of several Men in the destination and application of things to several ends and uses; and this arising in them partly by the various texture and frame of their very temper of their Brains, Blood, and Spirits; partly by variety of Edu­cation, partly by Necessity, partly by Accidental Emergency: by this means possibly the same Material is variously managed into various Arti­fices, according to this variety of Phantasy or Imagination. As take the same Wool, for instance, one Men felts it into a Hat, another weaves it into Cloth, another weaves it into Kersey or Serge, another weaves it into Arras; and possibly these variously subdiversified according to the phan­tasy of the Artificer: For it is most certain that there is not greater variety in the figures and complexions of Mens Faces and Features, and in the contemperations of their natural Humours, than there is in their Phan­tasies, Apprehensions and Inclinations. And hence it is that, for in­stance, the texture of Zeuxes or Apelles inclines him to the invention or improving of Painting, Archimedes to Mechanical Motions, Euclid to Geometrical Conclusions: and hence it must necessarily come to pass, that according to the variety of Men that either casually or industriously apply themselves to Artificial Discoveries or Inventions, there will ensue variety of Inventions. That Invention that did arise from the Genius or temperament of the Phantasie or Imagination of Apelles, would pro­bably never in the same individual Invention have been found out before him, though the World of Men had lasted millions of Years before him; because perchance in that long Period no Man had ever the same Syntax of Phantasie or Imagination that he had, and consequently though some Artificial Inventions are as it were of that common congruity to the general Phantasies of Men; or seem to arise upon a common sutable­ness to the use or exigence of Mankind, as digging, planting, ploughing, sowing, making of Apparel and Houses; yet some have that particular respect or cognation to the Phantasie of this or that particular Man, that they would never have been found out till such a Man had had his being in the World; and consequently the Invention was not found sooner, because the Man to whose Phantasie this Invention was accommodate was not born nor lived sooner.

3. The variety of Application and Combination of several Materials of Artificial things in their several Artificial Complements: For it is very plain, that even where things are finite and determinate in their number, yet they arise to a strange and prodigious multitude, if not indefinitude, by their various Positions, Combinations, and Conjunctions: The Letters of the Alphabet, which arise from the several apertures and conjunctions of the Tongue, the Teeth, the Palate, the Lips, the Throat, are but 24 in number, yet various combinations of these Letters are the formal constituents of all the Words and Languages in the World: And yet all the Words and Languages in the World do not amount to the hundredth part of those other articulate Languages that might be made out of the remaining combinations of the Letters of the Alphabet, which are not [Page 158] in use in any or all the Languages of the World. The general division of Lines in Geometry is into streight and crooked, but the various com­binations and positions of these two sorts of Lines would make more Figures of Superficies than all the Ages of the World could possibly col­lect or describe.

And from this variety of Materials, variety of Phantasies and Imagi­nations, and variety of Combinations or Junctures of things, we may reasonably conclude that the multitude of Artificials is inexhaustible; and that although there be many new Inventions discovered daily which were not discovered before, yet that alone is no sufficient Argument of the Novity of Mankind; for this Magazin of Artificials is so fruitful, vast, and indeterminate, that if the World should last millions of Ages there would be a store and supply for immense Ages, Et semper aliquid ultra.

It may be possibly objected, That although the variety of Materials are great, and possibly indefinite and indeterminate, and so also of the Fancies of Men, and consequently those various combinations of things that are constituents of new Inventions, yet they are not Infinite: For although the combinations of the 24 Letters of the Alphabet are a pro­digious number, yet if instead of 24 Letters there were 24 millions, as those 24 millions are a finite number, so would all the changes and combinations thereof be finite, though perchance not easily computable by Arithmetick, in respect of the huge excess of the number; and conse­quently, in an infinite Period of Time, though one of these combinations should be exhibited in a million of Years, the whole number of combi­nations had been infinite Ages since exhausted, and no combination left to make up the material or formal constituent of a new Invention.

I answer; It is true, the combinations of things finite existing must needs be finite as well as the things themselves. But, as I have before supposed, the Invention of Arts doth not only depend upon the existence of the Materials of things Artificial, no nor singly upon the various combinations of those Materials; but upon the Phantasie, Design and Destination of Man, which is various, according to those various Tem­peraments that have ingredience and influence into him: yea and possibly also upon certain junctures and concourses of things that might never before befall any other. And therefore, as if upon a supposed Eternal Succession of Mankind we should find but one individual Socrates or Plato, so it is not impossible to suppose that Socrates or Plato should consist of such a Temperament and Constitution, such a Phantasie and Ima­gination as never any man before had exactly the like; and consequently he might be the discoverer of some such Invention as never before was discovered. Or if we should be so hardy as to suppose a Man pre-existing in all things exactly like to Socrates, both in his Temperament, Body and Mind, yet possibly those accidental Occurrences which excited the Imagination of Socrates to the discovery and composing of such an In­vention might not fall in with that Man that is supposed of a perfect parity with Socrates.

For although perchance existing Individuals may not be actually Infi­nite, yet certain it is that the potential gradation of things may be po­tentially Infinite, and so may the junctures of Occurrences be potentially Infinite; whereby it may come to pass, that though an Eternal Succession [Page 159] of Men were admitted, yet in ista hora a Man might be produced that had never parem omnibus gradibus & numeris: And such junctures of Oc­currences might happen in ista hora that had never an exact parity of all Circumstances, and the same exact weight and number of Occurrences in any antecedent portion of Eternity.

And hence it may very easily come to pass, that as any one Invention had not its existence in a portion of a thousand, two, ten, twenty thou­sand years before; so, if the Ages of Mankind were infinite, it might never have pre-existence before, though the whole Race of Mankind had been industriously addicted ad ultimum posse to have discovered or im­proved Artificial Inventions.

3. The third Allay to the concludence of this Argument is this: That Mankind have been, and in many places are very remiss and unactive in improving their knowledge and discovery of things Natural and Arti­ficial; and that which befalls one Man, or Age, or Place in this kind, may befall another: This may happen by laziness and sloth, by an evil custom, or by overflowing barbarousness and want of improvement by Education: And upon this account we find a great want of Arts and Inventions in the Western World, in Africa, and even nearer hand among the Irish: And if now by the accession of Planters of better Education, or by the advanced Industry of some Inhabitant of those barbarous Countries there should be derived among them the Inventions of profitable or curious Arts, we could not with any sufficient reason conclude that the World lately began in those Countries, because the Original of those Arts and Inventions was but lately begun among them. If therefore those People by reason of their Barbarous course of life might be strangers unto Arts and Inventions for the space of five hundred or a thousand Years, why not for a much longer time? why not eternally? Since the very same supineness and negligence might as well possess those Parts and Inhabitants for many Ages, as well as few; and for interminate Ages, as well as certain: and if at this day they should discover and practise new Arts and Inventions, it were no greater Argument against the Eternity of their Succession, than against their Continuance for those many thousand Years, which probably they have had in that un­known Western World.

4. The fourth Allay of this Observation seems to be this: That as in Kingdoms and Empires, so in Discoveries of Arts there seem to be very great vicissitudes and circulations, which strangely vary the Faces of Things and Countries; and this principally done, 1. By Wars and Victories: 2. By Floods, Inundations, or Epidemical Diseases and Plagues.

The Instances of the former are various. The Romans were a People civilized and improved into great Knowledge in Arts and Sciences, and in Civil and Military Government; and where they prevailed in Con­quests and Victories, they did together with their Victories transmit Arts, Sciences, and excellent Methods of Government among even Barba­rous Nations, which quite altered oftentimes the former Face of those con­quered Countries, and by that means those Arts which were not known before in those Places, became in use and request in those Countries wherein before they were strangers: not as if they then began for they [Page 160] had their Practice and Use long before among the Romans, though their transmission and derivation into those Countries that were conquered seemed new.

Again, some Countries were benè morati, well disciplined in Learning, Arts, and Knowledge, but possibly by the Irruption of numerous Armies of Barbarous People, those Countries were quickly over-grown with Barbarism and desuetude from their former Civility and Knowledge, and degenerated into the Ignorance and Barbarism of their Conquerors; so that in a reasonable Period of time much of their ancient Knowledge and Arts was forgotten, as if they never had it. This was the condition of Greece the Learned Part of the World after their subjugation by the Turks, and this possibly may be the condition of China in a few years after the great Irruption and Devastation by the Tartars; wherein possibly if an Age or two hence the state of things should be judged according to the present appearance, it would be looked upon as if it had never been the habitation of those Curious Arts which some time dwelt there: and possibly the setting on foot some of those very Arts that were once well known in those parts, would be looked upon as the Natales of those Arts, or the first Inchoation of them, Wars and Desolations having obliterated the Monuments of their former practices; which yet neverthe­less would be in truth but the reviving of those Arts which were long before practised, though intermitted and interrupted by the vicissi­tudes of Wars.

And upon the same account are those alterations that have hapned in the condition and state of People by other accidents, as Inundations, Epidemical Diseases, Corruption of the Air in some Parts and Conti­nents, either by some eruption of pernicious Vapours, or other Incle­mency of the Heavens. Plato in his third Book de Legibus, in the begin­ning, though he suppose an interminate Beginning of Mankind, and that there were successively Cities, Laws, and Arts; yet he supposeth that upon these and the like Occurrences, those that escaped these com­mon Calamities betook themselves to the Mountains, kept Sheep, and preserved the Species of Mankind; but most of those Arts and Sciences which formerly were common, became disused and forgotten among them: But after Mankind multiplying, they descended into the Vallies, and by degrees, mutual conversation, the necessity of their condition, and the due consideration of things did gradually revive those Arts which Men had formerly lost by long intermission. For such is the indoles of the Humane Nature, where it is not strangely over-grown with Barba­rousness, that it will by a kind of Natural Sagacity discover things, especially necessary for the use of Humane Life and Society; as Hus­bandry, Laws, Government, Architecture, Clothing, and the like; as Bees or Ants provide for their common habitation and supply.

Upon all which it may seem that we are over-hasty when we conclude, That because Arts or Sciences do perchance discover themselves first to our view in such Places or Ages, that therefore this was their first and primitive production, or that they were never before. For it may very reasonably be, that those or the like Arts might have been either in other places, and by a kind of migration or circulation be transmitted to those new places either by Armies or Colonies deduced hither; or that even [Page 161] among the same People or Nation these Arts were sometimes flourishing, though possibly having received some intermission by great Accidents and Occurrences, they again do repullulare and revive upon the opportunity of Peace, Trade, Commerce and Popular Increase. Nay many times it comes to pass, as is before observed, That when People are multi­plied, so that their places grow strait and narrow, and their supplies not proportionable to their number, necessity and exigence, it gives an edge to their Industry and Invention, and produceth new Discoveries of things that were either not known before, or forgotten: And even this one thing hath advanced the Dutch to that eminence of Manufacture, Industry and Arts, that they exceed the rest of the World therein.

We may have an Instance of this Circulation of Arts even in this Kingdom of England in that which is our great Manufacture, namely, Woollen Cloth: It appears very plainly by those ancient Gilds that were settled in England for this Manufacture, as at Lincoln, York, Oxford and divers other Cities, that in the time of H. 2. and R. 1. this Kingdom greatly flourished in that Art: but by the troublesom Wars in the time of King John, H. 3. and also in the times of E. 1. and E. 2. this Manufa­cture was wholly lost, and all our Trade ran out in Wools, Wool-fells, and Leather carried out in specie; and the Manufacture, during those Warly times, held its course in France, the Netherlands, and the Hans Towns; but by the Wisdom and peaceable times of E. 3. and his fair treating of forein Artists, which he invited and entertained in this King­dom, he regained that Art hither again, which for near one hundred Years had been for the most part intermitted, which hath hitherto con­tinued to the great Wealth and Benefit of this Kingdom.

So that we are not to conclude every new appearance of any Art or Science is the first production of it, but as they say of the River Tigris and some others, they sink into the ground, and keep a subterranean course, it may be 40 or 50 miles, and then break out above ground again, which is not so much a new River, as the continuation and new ap­pearance of the old: So many times it falls out with Arts and Sciences, though they have their non-appearances for some Ages, and then seem first to discover themselves where before they were not known, it is not so much the first production of the Art as a transition, or at least a resti­tution of what possibly was either before in another, or in the same Country or People: And thus some tell us that Guns and Printing, though but lately discovered in Europe, yet were of far ancienter use in China.

So that notwithstanding this Consideration of the late Invention of Arts, or Discoveries of things Natural or Artificial, Mankind might have had an infinite succession, or at least such a continuance as surmounts all those Accounts which the most prodigal Computations have given: and that Saying of the Wise Man may be verified, Ecclesiast. 1.9. The thing that hath been is that which shall be, and that which hath been done is that which shall be done, and there is no new thing under the Sun: Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? It hath been already of old time before.

I shall here add a farther Consideration, because it hath a cognation with the Subject of this Chapter.

[Page 162]There seems to be very probable Conjectures made touching the Ori­gination of Mankind, because there seems to be one Radical Language from which all others have their derivation, though some carry in them more, some less Memorials of their Original, as they were more or less remote in their Inception.

The Languages of the World may be aptly enough divided into the Primo primae, the Primo secundae, and the Secundo secundae.

The Language which I call Primo primae must needs be but one, if the Original of Mankind were but two common Parents of either Sex, as the Holy Scriptures teach us; and this one Language they must needs learn either from a conformation of Voices by the Angels, such might that vocal Language be between Almighty God by the ministration of Angels, and Adam, whereof we read in the first and second Chapters of Genesis; or it must be an instituted Language, chosen by Adam in Paradise, by which he gave the several Beasts their names, and maintained discourse with GOD, and the Woman with the Serpent: For although it is as natural to Man­kind to express their Desires, Passions, and Conceptions vocally, as it is for Brutes to use their natural vocal Signs, though of a more simple and im­perfect kind; yet the forming of Languages into this or that particular fashion or mode, whereby Conceptions may be rendred intelligible to others, is a business of Institution, Discipline, Intention and Consent. But what this first Language of our first Parents was, is difficult for us to de­termin: some think it was the Hebrew, and from thence they derive other Languages; others think that the Chineses Language was the Original, because it is the most simple, consisting most of monosyllables, the most natural, fitting the apertures and flexures of the Lips and Tongue with the greatest ease, and yet having the greatest multiplicity and variety of Words; others again contend for the Scythian Language as the Primi­tive: all founded upon conjectural Reasons.

But when we consider how soon Languages are changed, and what a tract of time there was between the Creation and the Flood, and from thence to Moses, it may be difficult to suppose that that Language conti­nued so long in its purity and integrity; possibly if in any Line it con­tinued in its integrity, it might be in the Line and Family of Noah, and so down to the Confusion of Languages at the Tower of Babel.

But it is hard to determin what that Primitive Language was: the Hebrew or Samaritan bids fairest for it, 1. In respect of its Antiquity; 2. In respect of many Languages, especially of the East, that seem to be derived from it, as the Caldee, Egyptian, Phenician, Syriack, Arabick, which have a great cognation with it, and derivation, as it seems, from it.

And though possibly in those Elder times, as in the time of Abraham, these several Languages might be but as so many several Dialects of the same Language, whereby it came to pass that Abraham, though brought up in Caldea or Assyria, held conference with the King of Gerar and the Children of Heth, that were Canaanites, and as some think, used the Hebrew Language; his Servant also readily conferred with Laban the Syrian: Isaac also had conference with the Philistims and Egyptians, yet it is apparent that in process of time they grew into distinct Languages, unintelligible each to other: The Sons of Jacob understood not the Egyptian Language when they came down for Corn, Gen. 42.23. neither [Page 163] did they afterward understand ordinarily the Syrian Language, 2 Kings 19.26. nor the Caldean Language, Jer. 5.15.

But although it be commonly thought the Hebrew Language was the common Language of the Canaanites, yet it seems hard that the Holy and supposed Primitive Language should be preserved only in the Po­sterity of accursed Canaan, and from them derived to the Posterity of Abraham the Holy Seed.

As touching the Language of the Seres or Chineses, those that sup­pose it to be the Primitive Language, do suppose that Noah's Ark first rested upon the bordering Mountains of China, and that Country first peopled by the descendents of Noah; that they were not at the building of Babel. But this seems to be but a novel Conceit.

2. The Languages that were Secundo primae, were those that hapned upon the Confusion of Tongues, which the Jews suppose to be 70 or 72, from that place Psal. 78. vers. 55. He hath divided the Nations according to the number of the Princes of Israel, or the Sanhedrim; but whether they were so many, or more, or less, is not possible to determin.

Some suppose those Languages which are ordinarily called Linguae matri­ces, were some of those Languages that arose at the Confusion of Tongues, and are called Matrices, because divers other, especially of the European, seem to be much derived from them, namely, the Greek, Latin, Teutonick, Sclavonick, Scythian, Hungarian, Finnick, Cantabrian, Irish, British, Arabick, Frisick, Illyrian, and Jarygium.

But though these are taken to be Linguae matrices, yet much of their Languages seem to be borrowed from the Hebrew and Phenician Language; and though they suppose those Linguae matrices might arise at the Confu­sion of Tongues, yet they were not totally estranged from that common Language which universally obtained before that Confusion, which some think as before, was the Hebrew; some relicks of which Primitive Lan­guage were notwithstanding that Confusion retained as Indications and Monuments thereof, as Bochart in his Phaleg, and out of him Mr. Gale in his Book called The Court of the Gentiles, endeavours largely to prove.

3. The third sort of Languages, which I call Secundo secundae, are those that have either been derived from those that were Primo secundae, or that have been compounded out of other Languages, or taken up de novo of later times, or by all of those ways have obtained in several parts of the World, as the French, Italian, Spanish, Danish, English, and divers others.

Now if it can be well deduced that there was some ancient Primitive Language that by reasonable Evidence can appear to be the common Root of all other Languages, it is reasonable to conclude, That surely there was some one common Head that was the Beginning of Mankind; for without this Supposition it is hardly possible that there should be a common Language at any time in the World, from which as from a common Root all the Languages of the World should in process of time be derived.

But this Evidence also taken singly, lyes open to some Objections that weaken it upon these Considerations.

1. We have not clear Evidence enough of any single Primitive Lan­guage, nor what that Primitive Language was if such there hath been: [Page 164] there might be in process of time a thousand successive Languages, and many that went before have been lost, and succeeded by others.

2. Those similitudes of Words of one Language which are found in another, give us no sufficient Demonstrations which of them was Pri­mitive; the resemblances of words signifying the same thing in the Hebrew and Greek Language prove no more that the Hebrew was before the Greek, and lent Words to them, than that the Greek was before the Hebrew, and lent the similitude of Words to them.

3. If we consider almost any Language not before-hand or by some after means mancipated to Rules, we shall scarce find any that contain themselves in the same Articulation, Accent or Pronunciation for the space of three or four hundred Years, but are infinitely varied in process of time from what they formerly were. The English Language that was common and usual three or four hundred Years since, is scarce now intel­ligible by us; yea and the Greek Tongue, though a regular Language, and reduced to a Grammatical Canon, yet a good Grammatical Grecian can hardly understand a Native Grecian, nor a Native Grecian the other at this day: yea we are told by Quintilian, as I remember, that in Rome it self in process of time the Latin Language was so altered, that the Priests could not readily understand the Hymns composed for their Idol-Service by the ancient Priests of Rome.

4. As succession of Ages, so variety of places in the same Country and Nation gives such variety of Dialects in the same Language, that one side of a Kingdom scarce understands the other: witness the four Dialects of the Greek Language, and the several Pronunciations of the French in several parts of France, and the various Dialects of the English in the North and West that render their Expressions many times unintel­ligible to the other, and both scarce intelligible to the Midland: various Provinces of the same Kingdom, and that at first used the same Language, in process of time use various manners of Pronunciation, which in time also alter the structure of the Words as they are spoken or written, which in farther process of time alters the Language into several Dialects, as it did in Greece and other places.

5. Every Nation hath a certain humour or disposition appropriate to it, which by a kind of Natural necessity frames the very Air of Words, Speech and Accents accommodate and similar to that Natural humour or inclination;

— Graiis dedit ore rotundo
Musa loqui —

In the very frame of the Speech of the Spaniard, Italian, French, Dutch, Welsh, English we may find a kind of Image of their Complexions and Tempers, suiting and framing their Speech, Accents, Tone, Pronuncia­tion: Vowels conform thereunto, no less than in their Gate and Gesture; and this very Account would in a little time diversifie one and the same Language in the Mouths of several Nations, so that in a little space they would not be the same.

6. Commerce and Trade with forein Nations gives great alterations in Languages, each Country borrowing some Words, Accents, or Ex­pressions from the other, whereby in a little time it is quite altered, and [Page 165] becomes a mixt confused Language, made up of the Ingredients of se­veral Languages.

7. As in Clothes, so in Words, Phrases, and Expressions there com­monly grow new Fashions, whereby it comes to pass that the same Words and Phrases that were not used, or scarce understood in former Ages, become in Fashion, Reputation and Vogue in another Age; and this obtains sometims from the Courts of Princes, wherein a Word a little in request soon grows in fashion with the Gentry, and from them at the third hand passeth over to the Tradesman or Countryman.

8. Many times the Literati and Scholares coyn new Words, and some­times in common Speech or Writing in their Native Language, give Terminations and Idiotisms sutable to their Native Language, unto Words newly invented or translated out of other Languages; which is some­times done out of Affectation, sometimes out of Necessity, by reason of the want of sufficient significancy in their own Language; and when such Phrases or Words come abroad in printed Books, in Sermons or Orations, they become more general, and incorporate into the Native Language.

9. Many Languages of Countries are greatly altered and mingled, and sometimes totally eradicated and lost by Invasions and Victories, or by transmission of Colonies by Forein Princes of a different Language. Thus by the chacing the Britons out of England into Wales, their Lan­guage was wholly exterminated from hence with them, and by the suc­cessive Incursions and Invasions of the Saxons, Danes and Normans, the English Language grew a kind of mixture of them all, which yet in pro­cess of time hath been so much varied, that the English that was written in the time of H. 1. is not now intelligible.

It is true that those Languages that are not now Native, though some­times they were, but are preserved in Writing or Rules or Canons, have long kept their simplicity, as the Hebrew, Greek and Latin, which have been indeed preserved from being lost by vulgar use, but when a Language once becomes of vulgar use, it soon loseth its integrity; thus the Latin degenerated into the Italian, and the very Hebrew and Greek more bar­barous by much where they are popularly used, than in the ancient Writings, wherein they have been preserved and kept to their ancient integrity.

Considering therefore the great instability of Languages, the great variations and changes to which they are subject, the great alterations that they have had, the great difficulty of finding any Language which (upon grounds barely of Reason, without Divine Revelation) we can safely call Original, and the great difficulty of deducing other Languages entirely from it: It is hard for us singly to lay any weight upon this In­stance, to prove the Origination of Man upon a meer Moral Account or Topical Ratiocination thereof.

CAP. V. The Fourth Instance of Fact seeming to evince the Novity of Mankind, namely, the Inceptions of the Religions and Deities of the Heathens, and the deficiency of this Instance.

REligion seems to be as connatural to Humane Nature as Reason, and possibly a more distinguishing property of Humane Nature than it: For almost in all sensible Creatures, especially those of the more perfect kind, a certain Image or weak Adumbration of something like Reason appears, yet we find in no Creatures below Mankind any thing like Religion, or Veneration of a Deity: And those faint Conjectures touching something analogical to Religion observed in Elephants, are too weak to give any reasonable admission thereof in them.

Religion therefore seems as ancient as Humanity it self, at least of some kind of dress or fashion or other: therefore if we can arrive at the Inception of Religion, Veneration of a Deity, and those Rites, Adorations, and Services that result from thence; we have reason to conjecture that the Inception of Mankind was not long before.

And because the Inception of Mankind is not doubted by Jews or Christians, who acknowledge the Truth and Divine Authority of the Scriptures, that reveal and discover the Origination both of Mankind and the World, but the doubt only resteth among those of the Gentile World; it hath been thought a reasonable Argument to convince the Heathen World of the Origination of Mankind, by discovering the Ori­gination not only of the Religious Worship of the Heathens, but even of those very Deities which they celebrated and venerated, and paid that Religious Worship unto.

And this Discovery of the Origination of their Heathenish Deities hath been endeavoured by two Methods: First, by following the ancient Histories of the Phenicians, Egyptians, Grecians, and Romans; by which means they have traced up most if not all their Heathenish Deities to their Original, and their first Inauguration into Deities; whereas they were in their original for the most part but Men of great Note and Merit or Power in the Ancient World, or such, who outgoing the ordinary rate of Mankind by some signal Excellence, Learning or Industry, were by the admiring inferior sort of Men translated into the Opinion and Veneration of Gods: and then there wanted not Poets and Priests to derive from them a Race and Progeny of Gods, which swelled into great Numbers, Pedigrees, and Genealogies of Gods and Heroes, Theogonia, which filled the superiour World as Men filled the inferiour World by successive Generations: And those Authors that have given us an account of the Apotheoses, the Inau­guration of the Heathenish Deities and their successions, are many; especially, Diodorus Siculus in his first six Books; Eusebius in his first and second Book De Praeparatione Evangelii, out of the Ancient Monuments of the Phenicians, Egyptians and Grecians; and Clemens Alexandrinus in lib. 1. Stromat. who gives us an account of the Apotheoses of Bacchus, Her­cules, Aesculapius, Isis, Ceres, Serapis, Apis and others, many of them, if not [Page 167] all, having their being and translation into Deities after the time of Moses; and from the various Denominations of those Heathenish Deities, some had one Name among the Egyptians, another among the Phenicians, another among the Syrians, another among the Grecians; though possibly the Persons themselves were for the most part the same.

Secondly, By carrying up the Original of most of the Ancient Deities of the Heathens, and resolving them into Noah, and his Sons and De­scendents, deducing by very probable Arguments that Noah was Saturn, Chronos, &c. that Japhet was Neptune, Ham Jupiter, Shem Pluto, Canaan Mercury, Nimrod Bacchus, Magog Prometheus: vid. Bochart. in Phaleg, l. 1. Vossius de Idololatriae origine & progressu, l. 1. and others that have followed those Learned and Ingenious Authors.

But this Inference of the Recentness of Mankind from the Recentness of these Apotheoses and Origination of Gentile Deities, seems also too weak to bear up this Supposition of the Novitas humani generis.

1. Because although possibly some of their Heathenish Deities might have been of a late Edition, yet there might be many more that might be ancienter, who either were antiquated and forgotten, or they were translated to other Names and Successors; it faring with Idol Gods as it doth with Words or Languages,

— Cecidere cadéntque,
Quae jam sunt in honore vocabula. —

The lust of Mens Fancies in Propagation of Deities was endless and unsatiable. We are told out of Varro that there were no less than thirty thousand Heathenish Gods and Deities of all sorts, which were known in his time; and how many more there might be whose Names and Wor­ship were long before that time antiquated, we cannot easily conjecture: only in all probability they were far more than those that survived. And therefore possibly there might be a Race and Succession of Apotheoses long antecedent to those whose Originals we have given us in Ancient Histories. We see how easily the Roman Calendar swells with new Consecrations of Saints, and to what a multitude they have grown within less than the compass of one thousand Years; and possibly had the World continued many thousand years before it is supposed to have began, there might have been an interminate succession of imaginary Deities, though many or most of their Names are now unknown, or the times of their Consecrations forgotten.

2. But yet farther, if we should suppose that this course of Idolatry began even shortly after the time of Noah and his three Sons, yet it is granted of all hands that the World had stood above 1600 Years before the invention of this kind of Idolatry: So that ex confesso this was not the first Religion in the World, neither did this Religion tread upon the Heels of the Origination of Mankind if Mankind was, and was 1600 Years before those Deities were found out; and so this Religion cannot pretend to be coeval with Mankind, nor give us any sufficient Indication of the Recentness of Mankind.

3. But yet farther, it is very apparent that this Veneration of Men Consecrated into Deities was not the ancientest Idolatry, much less the [Page 168] ancientest Religion of the World: The Worshipping of the Host of Hea­ven, the Sun, Moon, and Stars was an Idolatry that way far more ancient than this of the Heathen Gods made of Men: and this is an Evidence of the antecedency of that Idolatry of the Stars and Heavenly Bodies, in as much as when these new consecrated Deities were made, they did as it were incorporate and affix them to that more ancient Idolatry, transferring the Names of most of their Gods to the Heavenly Bodies or Asterisms; as Saturn to the Star of Saturn, Mars, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter to the several Planetary Bodies; and to the Sun and Moon a prodigious number of Deities, as to the Sun, Phoebus, Apollo, Osyris, Horus, and many more; to the Moon, Diana, Hecate, Venus, Astarte, and many others: So that although we should allow the first Origination of those Heathenish Dei­ties to have been when Historians give us an account, and not before; yet the Idolatry performed to the Heavenly or Elementary Bodies, the Sun, Moon, Stars, Fire, Aether, &c. might have had a long practice among Men before the Invention of these later Deities.

4. But yet farther; in as much as Truth is certainly more ancient than Errour, we have reason to think that even before the ancientest Form of Idolatrous Worship in the World, even that of the Heavenly and Elementary Bodies, there was a True Worship of the True GOD, which might continue many Ages before any sort of Idolatry prevailed in the World. So that it would be too rash to conclude, That because many of the Heathenish Deities had their known Original, that therefore no other Religion anteceded it, or that that Religion soon followed the Origination of Mankind.

5. Besides all this there seems in the World, or at least it is very possible to suppose certain vicissitudes or relations not only in Arts and Sciences, as is before observed, but even in the Religions professed, which may obtain successively both in Places and Ages according to several vicissi­tudes: We see that in the Country of Palestine shortly after the Flood Idolatry obtained among the Canaanites and the descendents of Ham; after that, the Knowledge and Worship of the True GOD among the Israelites for many Ages; and after that, a degeneration of the greatest part thereof to Idolatry again in the Country of the Ten Tribes, and in a great part among the other Two Tribes: after that a Reformation and Restitution of the true Worship of God, in the return from the Captivity until Christ came; then the most sound and perfect Religion, namely Christianity, obtained for some time; then the return of Paganism, under persecuting Roman Emperours; then the prevalence again of the Christian Religion, under Constantine and some that succeeded him; then Popish Superstition; after that Turcism and Mahumetanism, especially in the parts of Greece, Palestine, Egypt and other parts of Asia and Africa. Thus various Professions of Religion have had various Vicissitudes, Revo­lutions and successive Alterations in Places and Ages.

Albertus Magnus, as I remember, with somewhat too much curiosity, and somewhat transported with too much fancifulness towards the In­fluences of the Heavenly Motions and Astrological Calculations, sup­poseth that Religion hath had its successive Alterations and Seasons ac­cording to certain Periodical Revolutions of the Planets: to the first Ages of the World he assigns the Presidency of Saturn in matters of [Page 169] Religion, and so downward, according to several successive assigned Periods. These are vain Conjectures, but they serve to explain what I mean, namely, That there may be successive Alterations and Changes in the professed Religion of the World in successive Ages, and successively in the same and other places of the World; whereby it will be hard to determin the Epocha of the Commencement of Mankind by any one Form or Shape of Religion professed in the World; for there may be some Religion antecedent to that which to us in this Age appears to have been the ancientest; but still with this probable Conclusion, That since Truth is more ancient than Errour, it seems, that if there were any Religion that was Primitive in the World, it was the true Religion and true Worship of the true God, and not Idolatry, or worshipping of Men or Idols, or the Works of Nature: and consequently, that although we had no Monuments extant of any Religion ancienter than Idolatry, yet we had no reason to conclude that that Idolatrous Religion was the most ancient, or coeval to the Origination of Mankind: but rather, that Mankind had an Existence in the World much antecedent to such Ido­latrous Worship, wherein the true God was for many Ages and Gene­rations truly worshipped; and that partly by the subtilty of the Enemy of Mankind, partly by the apostacy and corruption of Humane Nature, and partly by the gradual decay of that true and ancient Tradition of the true Worship of the true God, Idolatry and Superstition prevailed and obtained in the World.

So that although it be a most certain Truth that Mankind had an Ori­gination, and was not without Beginning, yet the Evidence of the Origination of their Idolatry and Idolatrous Deities, is no sufficient Proof or Evidence of the Origination of Mankind.

CAP. VI. A Fifth Consideration concerning the Decays especially of the Humane Nature, and whether there be any such Decays; and what may be collected concerning the Origination of Man upon that Suppo­sition.

THis Argument hath been excellently handled by Dr. Hakewell, I shall therefore be the shorter in it, yet somewhat I shall say con­cerning it.

Some of those that have been inquisitive into the Nature of Man have observed two things, which if they were true, would certainly give us an irrefragable Argument against the Eternal Succession of Mankind, viz. 1. That the Ages of Men grow gradually shorter and shorter: 2. That the Quantity of Humane Bodies was ordinarily heretofore much larger than they are now, and by a kind of gradual decay of that Na­tural Vigour and Strength they decline to a smaller Stature. Thus Plu­tarch inter placita Philosophorum tells us out of Empedocles, Nostrae aetatis homines priscis comparatos infantium instar esse; and yet Empedocles lived [Page 170] upon the point of 2000 Years since, and Plutarch near 1500 Years since: and Pliny in the 7th Book of his Natural History, cap. 16. tells us the same, In plenum autem, cuncto mortalium generi minorem indies fieri propemodum observatur, rarósque patribus proceriores, consumente ubertate seminum ex­ustione, in cujus vices nunc vergat aevum; and some Instances are given there and by the Additional Notes thereupon, of the great Sceletons of Mens Bodies found in several Ages, and that, Jam ante annos mille vates ille Homerus non cessavit minora corpora mortalium quam prisca conqueri.

And indeed if this natural Decrease of the Ages of Mens Lives and their Bodily Statures had held such a proportion, it would not only avoid the possibility of an Eternal Succession of Mankind, but would also give us a very late Epocha of their first Origination: For a very ancient Ori­ginal, accompanied with such a natural Decrease of Age and Stature by reason of that insensible but unintermitted decay of the strength and stature of Nature, would have long since reduced Mankind to be but Ephemeraes in duration, and little other than Insects in extent, or rather wholly determined, and put a Period to the whole Species infinite Ages past.

But it seems that these are mistaken complaints both of Empedocles and Homer; for surely in so great a Period as 2000 or 1500 Years elapsed since the death of those Men the experiment of that Decrease would have been much more obvious and observable than we find it at this day. And although the nature of Mankind and of other Creatures subject to cor­ruption, if left to it self without the continued Subsidium and Influence of the Divine Providence, would soon have faln into dissolution per sal­tum, and without the incessant and corroding invasions of so long a time; yet that same Power that first gave Being to things, hath sup­ported their successive Generations in the same state and natural vigour that it ever had, abating those accidental occurrences that Sin, Excess, and other occurrences have brought into things.

First therefore as touching the Decays of the Age of Man's Life; we do indeed learn from the Sacred Scripture (for no Humane History reacheth so high) That the Lives of the Ancients were very long, espe­cially before and for some time after the Flood; and this the Divine Wisdom, Providence and Goodness ordered for most excellent Ends, namely, the Peopling of the New World, and that without any other means than his own Will, or at least by means unknown to us: in Ar­phaxad the Son of Shem the great Age of the Ancients was cut to halves, namely to 440 Years; and in his Grand-child Peleg it was again cut to halves, for he lived but 242 Years; and it is also true that afterwards gradually to the days of Moses the Lives of Men became shorter and shorter, till they fixed in that common Period of the Life of Man of 70 or 80 Years: and although it be true that the Histories of former times give us some account of longer Lives of Men, as the Lives of Moses, Aaron, Phinehas and some others, and those mentioned by Pliny, lib. 7. cap. 48. and some in our own Experience; yet Moses himself states the ordinary Standard of the Life of Man to be 70, or at most 80 Years. Psal. 90.10. 2 Sam. 19.32, 35. And this we shall find true upon the consideration of the Chronological Account of the Years of the ancient Patriarchs and Kings that succeeded Moses; as likewise of the time that the Israelites lived in the Wilderness, all which that were twenty Years old and up­wards [Page 171] at the coming into the Wilderness when the Spies were sent into Canaan, which was shortly after their coming thither; all these I say, except Joshua and Caleb, dyed within the 40 Years Peregrination in the Wilderness: and at this stay the ordinary Age of Men hath been for these 4000 Years, abating those casualties either of Diseases or other Accidents that have shortned the ordinary complete Ages of Mens Li [...]

2. As touching the Stature of Men, it must be agreed that in former Ages there have been Giants and Men of extraordinary Stature: some Instances we have in the same Pliny and other Heathen Authors, and many more in the History of the Old Testament: But these were out of the ordinary and regular course of Nature.

But it seems that ordinarily in all Ages the Statures of Men have little differed from what they now are, though according to the difference of Climates and situations there hath been ordinarily and regularly a diffe­rence in the Stature of Men; many times Marsh-Countries, and those that are of a temperate heat, producing Men of a larger size than Mountainous or those Parts that are nearer the Sun, as some parts of Spain and Ga­licia.

And that the ordinary Stature of Mens Bodies is much the same now as anciently in the same Places or Regions appears by undeniable Expe­rience: 1. The Bodies of the Egyptians that have been exsiccated into Mummy, and lain some thousands of Years, are found to have the same Stature or very little differing from what they now have; neither could they shrink into a shorter dimension by the length of time, considering that the Bones of all parts are joyned in their extremities, and could not become shorter without putrefaction, which occurrs not in those exsic­cated Bodies.

2. As the first practical Rudiments of Arithmetick were taken from the Parts of the Humane Body in the Numeri primarii or Digitales, so in Geometry it is evident that the first notation of Measures was taken from the Parts of the Body of Man, and very ancient both among the Hebrews, Greeks and Romans, and these hold still the same proportion as they did anciently.

These Measures according to the Jewish, Arabian and Egyptian Account are as followeth.

6 Barley-corns make 1 Digit.

An Inch consisted of 8 Barley-corns, or which is all one, one Digit and ⅓ of a Digit.

The Palm consisted of 3 Inches, or 4 Digits, or 24 Barley-corns, mentioned Exod. 25.25.

Spithama, a Span consisted of 9 Inches, or 12 Digits; the half of a Cubit, namely, the utmost extent between the extremity of the Thumb and the little Finger extended to their greatest dimension. This was the Measure of Aarons Breast-plate. Exod. 28.16.

A Foot consisted of 4 Palms, or 12 Inches, or 16 Digits, or 96 Barley-corns.

A Cubit, the interval between the Elbow and the extremity of the longest Finger; this was the Ordinary Cubit, it consisted of 6 Palms, which allowing 3 Inches to a Palm is 18 Inches, or a Foot and a half: vid. Kircher in Oedipo, Tom. 2. Class. 8. where writing of the Egyptian [Page 172] Cubit, Habet autem omnis Cubitus sex Palmos, & Palmus quatuor digitos, & Digitus sex grana hordei. This was the usual Mosaical Legal Cubit which they used in Measures of Building; the length of Ehud's Dagger, Judges 3.16. and that measure whereby the dimensions of the Ark are measured: though besides that common Cubit they had among the Jews and Egyptians two larger sorts of Cubits, one called Cubitus Regius, which was 3 Inches longer than the ordinary Cubit; and the other called Cu­bitus Geometricus, which was double to the common Cubit, viz. 3 Foot, or according to others, 6 common Cubits, viz. 9 Foot.

These Measures according to the Roman or Latin Account are as fol­loweth.

4 Barley-corns breadth make 1 Digit.

An Inch [Uncia] consisted of 5 Barley-corns and ⅓ of a Barley-corn, or which is all one, the breadth of the Thumb, or, 1 Digit and ⅓ of a Digit.

The Palm consisted of 3 Inches, or which is all one, of 4 Digits, or 16 Barley-corns.

Spithama, the Span consisted of 3 Palms, or 9 Inches, or 12 Digits, or 48 Barley-corns.

Pes, a Foot consisted of 4 Palms, or 12 Inches, or 16 Digits, or 64 Barley-corns.

Cubitus, a Cubit consisted of 6 Palms, or 18 Inches, or 24 Digits, or 96 Barley-corns.

Gressus, a Step, two Foot and a half; in Greek [...].

Passus, a Pace, consisting of 2 Steps, or of 5 Foot according to the Roman Account, but according to the Greek Account 6 Roman Feet and ¼; so that the Grecian Pace was longer than the Roman by a Foot and quarter.

Orgya, or a Fathom, the distance between the extremities of the Fingers of each Hand, the Arms being extended, which very near answers the length of any person from Head to Foot; and to reduce it to a certainty, the usual estimate thereof is 6 Foot. Vide de hac re Danielem Angelo­cratorem de Ponderibus & Mensuris.

The usual Computation according to a medium or proportion of the height of a Man is 6 Foot, or a regular Fathom, or 4 Cubits: So Vi­truvius, Pes est sexta pars altitudinis corporis, Cubitus quarta: with this agrees Kircher, ubi supra; Altitudo humana è quatuor communibus Cubitis Egyptiacis, unus quoque Cubitus sex Palmis, Palmus quatuor digitis. So that the ordinary height of a Man is 96 Digits which the ancient Egyptians estimated to be equal to that Mystical Cubit among them stiled Passus Ibidis, or the Trigon that the Ibis makes at every step, consisting of 3 latera, each 32 Digits, amounting in all to 96 Digits, the common Measure of the procerity of a Man, or 4 common Cubits.

These were the very ancient estimates of distances taken from the Parts of a Man, and their extent; namely, the Finger, the Thumb, the Span, the Cubit, the Fathom, the Foot, the Step; and these were the estimates and reduction of them to known and certain Measures, and these Pro­portions are still, even in our Age, in Men that are of an ordinary sta­ture: The Fingers breadth now as anciently 6 Barly-corns breadth; the 4 Fingers or Palm about 3 Inches; the Span, the Cubit, the Foot, the [Page 173] Step, the Fathom of the same extent and dimension now as anciently, and the ordinary estimate of a tall Man 6 Foot now as then; Witness our Qld Statute called Compositio Ulnarum & Perticarum; Tria grana hordei sicca & rotunda (viz. in length) faciunt pollicem, duodecim pollices faciunt pedem, tres pedes faciunt ulnam, quinque ulnae & dimidium faciunt perticam, qua­draginta perticae in longitudine & quatuor in latitudine faciunt acram. Where­by we have very plain reason to conclude that Empedocles and Pliny were mistaken touching the gradual diminution of Humane Stature, since those Measures that took their denomination and extent from the Parts of Men held anciently that extent and length that the very same Parts in Men hold in these times.

And truly if we look upon the progressive Growth and Periods in Humane Nature, as also in all other perfect Animals, they hold regularly the same state and order as they held in the most remote Ages whereof we have any Memorial in Ancient Writings or Histories, The same time for the Formative process of the Humane Embryo now as is recorded to have been usual in the times of Aristotle and Hippocrates, viz. ordinarily in the beginning of the tenth Month. Aristot. Hist. Animal. cap. 3, & 4, Hippocrat, de Carnibus, in fine.

The proportion of Stature the same now as anciently; they bred Teeth at 7 Months, Aristot. Hist. Animalium, l. 2. cap. 10. shedding and new breeding of Teeth at 7 Years, Censorinus de Die Natali, cap. 14. and again breeding of the novissimi maxillares or genuini dentes at 20. Arist. Hist. Animal. l. 2. cap. 4. At 5 Years of age in an ordinary growth the procerity is half of that which will be attained at full age, Aristot. de Ge­nerat. Animalium, l. 1. cap. 18. though Pliny l. 7. cap. 16. assigns that pro­portion to trimatos or 3 Years of age, but mistakenly, as it seems.

The ordinary Period of the Humane Procreative Faculty in Males 65, or at most 70; in Females 45, or at most 50. Arist. Hist. Animal. l. 5. cap. 14.

The several Periods of the Ages of the Life of Man according to Hip­pocrates divided into 7, viz. at 7, at 14, at 22, at 35, at 42, at 61, and from thence to the end of Life, which at most is 81 or 84, upon the greatest ordinary Account. Vide Rhodogin. l. 19. cap. 21.

So that although the Humane Nature, as to that part of it that is Cor­poreal, is subject to changes and corruptions, and not of so firm and stable a consistence as the Heavenly Bodies, and consequently not so capable of a permanent and fixed constancy and continuation as they; yet by the constant and unintermitted Influx of the Divine Providence this cor­ruptible and mutable Nature of Mankind, yea and of the other perfect Animals, is admirably preserved in the same measure of extent, regular procedure, and length of duration, as it hath been many Thousands of Years since. Indeed it may be possibly true, that Accidents, accidental Occurrences, Intemperance, ill and noxious Effluvia from the Earth, Waters, and intemperature of the Air, and other Accidents may in these latter Ages of the World produce some such Diseases and accidental Dis­orders as may possibly more infest Mankind, and occasion more Mortality than in former Ages. But as to the regular and ordinary course of Na­tural procedure and state of things with Mankind, yea and other Animals, there seems to be little or no decay or variation from what hath been [Page 174] formerly (abating that Concussion which the Perfection of the Humane Nature suffered by the first Fall, and the shortning of Mens Lives, which is of another Consideration.)

And therefore I am not so apt to attribute that firm Consistency of the Heavenly Bodies, their constant uninterrupted and invaried Motion, and those other Indications of Permanency and Perpetuity, barely or singly to the singular and indissoluble Texture of their Nature or Com­position, as to that incessant Influx and unintermitted Causality of the Divine Power and Providence, which I so plainly see conserves almost an equal regularity in the Motions, Processes, Succession, and Condition of poor, frail, Sublunary Bodies, which in their little Period belonging to their specifical and individual Nature, have the same regularities and orders now as formerly, and in the whole Systeme of their specifical Nature preserved in the successive Individuals for many thousands of years, obtain the same regularity, order, and method of Existence, with­out decay, as it hath always held.

This Supposition therefore of the gradual decay of the state of Humane Nature, though in hypothesi it would strongly infer a late Origination of Man, yet it is false in thesi, and so concludes nothing touching the Argu­ment in hand, namely, the Origination of Mankind in some determinate Point of Finite Duration.

An Ingenious Person, in a new Essay of Natural Philosophy, Entituled, New Principles of Philosophy, Part. 2. Cap. 22. tells us: That the Sun or Fiery Region gains gradually upon the Inferior Elements, so that the greatest Declination of the Sun in the time of Hipparchus and Ptolemy was observed to be 23 deg. 52 min. but is since found to be reduced to 23 deg. 30 min. or 28 min. which is a necessary Consequent of the Suns gradual approximation towards the Earth: And if that should be so, it were a necessary Argument of the Origination of the World, and with it of Mankind, within a certain Period of Time. But we must not be over hasty in allowing of that Position; for every Day gives us Instances how difficult it is exactly to find out the Distances of the Heavenly Bodies, Lines, and Motions, especially when we come to measure them by Mi­nutes, or Parts of Minutes, which cannot be effected but by Mathe­matical Instruments, which can never reach to a perfect exactness in this nature.

CAP. VII. The Sixth Evidence of Fact proving Novitatem generis humani, namely, The History of the Patres familiarum, and the Original Plantation of the Continents and Islands of the World.

IN Profane Authors and Historians we may find the Roots and Founders of many Kingdoms, Monarchies, and States, either by Victories, or by Emigrations, or by Intestine Commotions, or by common Consent of the People or Inhabitants: Thus we find the Foundation of the later States or Monarchies in that Constitution at least wherein they now stand, [Page 175] or in some former Ages stood; As the Foundation of the English Monarchy in the Norman Conquest; and before that, the Foundations of the Saxon and Danish Monarchies in this Kingdom, in the old Histories of Hoveden, William of Malmsbury, and others. The like might be found for the Foundation of the French, Spanish, and Danish Kingdoms, the Empire of Germany, of the Grand Seignior, and others. And ancienter Histories give us an account of the Foundation of the Roman Empire in Romulus, of the Grecian in Alexander, of the Persian in Cyrus, of the Babylonian in Nabonassar, of the Assyrian in Belus, Ninus, Semiramis. But yet, as is formerly observed, the Discovery of these Originations of Civil Coa­litions into Kingdoms and Empires, do not lead us up to the Origination of Mankind, in the material Constituents of these Kingdoms and Em­pires; for the Men that made up these Civil Bodies, or at least their Ancestors, had a Being before, though perchance under a different form of Civil Government, or under some other Names or Governour: As the several States of Greece, before their coalition into one Kingdom under Alexander, or Philip his Father, subsisted in several smaller Prin­cipalities or Commonwealths. For these kind of Histories, though they afford us the Inception of new Governors or Governments, the Capita Regiminum, yet they give us not the Capita Familiarum: For though Romulus, for Instance, laid the Foundation of the City and Monarchy of Rome, and became as it were the Parent of that City and State, yet he was not the Parent of the Men that were the material Constituents of it, for they were a Farrago, or Collection of many people that had their Existence long before in themselves or their natural Progenitors. And upon the same account it is, that although many Histories, as Diodorus Siculus, Thucidides, Herodotus, and others, do give us some true and some fabulous Derivations of the Names of Places or Countries, from the Men that seemed to be the Heads or Roots of those Denominations, yet though they should be all admitted to have truly given those Deno­minations to those Countries, it doth by no means follow, that they were the Parents of the Inhabitants thereof; but they were such, as either by War, or Power, or Election of the People, presided in those places, and gave them thereupon their denomination. Thus they tell us, That Helen gave the denomination to that part of Greece which was called Helenica, and those Grecians were called Helenistae. Pelasgus was he that gave the denomination to the Pelasgi, another part of Greece. Latinus, to Latium and the Latins. Danaus, to another Cept of the Grecians. Tenes, the Son of Cygnus, to Tenedos. Cretas, to Creta and the Cretians. Italus, as some say, to Italia and the Italians. Romulus, to Rome and the Romans. And infinite more such Allusions of Denominations of Countries and People, from the Name of him that presided either in the Army, or Colony, or Countrey unto which such Denominations were after given: And yet Latinus, nor Pelasgus, nor Cretas, nor Helen, were any more the Natural Parents of all those persons that were called Pelasgi, or Cretenses, or Helenistae, or Latini; than Romulus was the Natural Parent of all those people that were the first Inhabitants of Rome, or of those that were after Incorporated and Infranchised into that Name, City, or Government. Indeed these were such persons, as perchance were the Captains of those Armies or Colonies that were commanded by them, [Page 176] or were such as were the Heads or Founders of the Monarchies or King­doms that they thus founded; or such as did sustinere nomen & personam totius communitatis, and thereby had the Power and Priviledge to give a Denomination to those Countries or People they governed, calling them after their own Names: But they were not the Natural Roots, or com­mon Natural Parents of all them that bore their Denomination, though it may be very likely they had some Children of their own which might participate in that common Denomination.

This therefore singly considered, namely, the Denomination of Peo­ple from some one Person, is not sufficient to assure us that all those Persons that bore that Denomination were derived by Natural Propa­gation from him whose Name they so bear; but though it may be true that such a Denomination may be communicated to such only, as de­scended by Natural Propagation from him, as I shall hereafter instance, yet it may be otherwise: Therefore I have no reason to conclude, That wheresoever I find a Society of Men bearing the Denomination of one Man, that that Man was the Natural Parent of those that bear that Denomination, unless I have some better Evidence than Allusion of Names, since it is apparent in these Histories that it is otherwise.

Upon this Reason it seems plain, that it will not be possible from any Prophane History to find the Original Parents of any one Kingdom, much less of Mankind. It is very evident indeed, that by help of a continuation of Prophane Histories or other common Monuments well kept together, the Genealogies and Ramifications of some single Families even to a vast and numerous extension may be preserved. But that will not do the business that I intend. For it is rare, and beyond Example in any Author that I know, that the entire and complete Pedigree of the whole Descendents of any particular Family is deduced down through the space of a thousand Years last past; whereas such Instances as must serve my turn must be such as are at least five thousand Years old, or otherwise I shall fail in the application of this Topick now in hand to the Matter in question.

It remains therefore that for Instances of such Antiquity useful to my purpose I must resort to the ancientest History, namely, the History of Moses, which as it is a History of the ancientest Times and Occurrences in the World, so it is a History that was written at the greatest distance from this Time, and nearest to the Times and Things whereof he writes; no History in the World being so ancient as this by near eight hundred Years, for so long lived Moses the Author of this Book before Homer the first Prophane Historian that is extant.

And if any Man shall object against the competency of this Instance, 1. Because the same Moses whom I use in this Topick is the person that asserts the thing de quo ambigitur, namely the first Production of Mankind, and therefore that he is incompetent in this Case: 2. Because all that urge the Testimony of Moses urge him as infallible, divinely inspired, and so whatsoever he saith must not be contradicted; and upon such a Supposition there were a compendious way of evincing the Question in hand of the Inception of Mankind, by telling us that Moses who wrote by an infallible Spirit and Inspiration, tells us that Mankind was Created by GOD about 6669 Years since according to the Seventy; [Page 177] and so there needs no farther Reason, nor can be any farther Controversie touching it.

To this I shall say these things: That although it is certain that Moses was Inspired by an Infallible Spirit in what he wrote, and that he doth in plain terms tell us that Man was at first Created by Almighty God, and therefore to me or any else that is satisfied of the Infallible Authority of the Holy Scripture, this is sufficient to satisfie that the truth is as Moses hath informed us, and there needs no other Argument to support my Faith of the truth hereof: yet because I am writing of those Natural and Moral Evidences of this Truth that may be of strength enough to evince the truth of this Assertion, upon the apparent Moral Evidences of the credibility of the Writings of Moses, I shall here urge the Authority of Moses for the Proof of the Matters of Fact in question as I would urge Herodotus or Livy to prove a Matter of Fact alleged by them; and at this time and in this Dispute shall only use his Testimony as a Moral Evi­dence of the Truth he asserts, as an Evidence of Credibility. And as I shall not exact a Subscription to the Truths he delivers upon the account of his Infallibility, so it is not reason to deny that Credibility of what he relates, which would be allowed to a Prophane Author; especially when it carries with it singly, without the contribution of the Supposition of a Divine Authority, as great an evidence of truth as any History in World besides.

And as to that which is said, That the Supposition of the truth of what Moses asserts, is to suppose the thing controverted, because Moses asserts the Creation of Mankind: I say, 1. That I shall not at all instance in that Assertion as to determin the Question, but only so far forth as it is a Moral Evidence of the truth of it; namely, That this was a thing believed near 4000 Years since by Wise Men, such as Moses was, and by them that were much nearer to the time wherein the Origination of Mankind and those other Matters of Fact that are contributory to the Proof thereof was transacted; and therefore in common Reason must needs have a clearer Tradition and Evidence of the truth in this matter than the Ages so many thousand Years after; but this I shall reserve to its proper place. 2. In this place I shall not at all insist upon the Tradition of Moses touching the Creation of Man, but only upon those Historical Narratives delivered by Moses relating to such Matters of Fact that were nearer his time, and such as he might very reasonably know and deliver as an Historiographer; namely, the Propagation of Mankind after the Flood, and the Reduction of most of the considerable Nations of the World to their several Roots or Parents by Natural Propagation, and the credibility of his Relation touching it: Though even the credibility of this Relation of his gives a great Evidence and Attestation, even upon a Moral account to what he writes touching the Creation of Man, and those parts of the History antecedent to the Flood.

The Sum therefore of the Mosaical History that I shall in this place make use of, is this:

1. That a Universal Flood was brought upon the Earth in the Year 1656 after the supposed Creation of Man according to the Jewish Account, although the Septuagint allows a longer Period between the Creation and the Flood.

[Page 178]2. That by that Universal Flood all Mankind were destroyed except eight persons, namely, Noah, his Wife, his three Sons, Shem, Japhet, and Ham, and their Wives.

3. That all the Race of Mankind after this Flood, were derived by natural generation from these three Sons of Noah and their Wives.

4. That the particular Descendents from these three Sons of Noah, are truly described and set forth in the 9th, 10th, and 11th Chapters of Genesis by their several Names, and drawn down from that Root to the filling and peopling of the whole Earth: Gen. 32. These are the Fa­milies of the Sons of Noah, after their Generations, in their Nations; and by these were the Nations divided in the Earth after the Flood.

5. That after the Flood, in the time of Phaleg, the Languages of the World, especially of the families of Cham and Japhet, were confounded, and the Nations proceeding from these Families dispersed.

6. That the Family of the Israelites was deduced through these ensuing Patriarchs, viz.

  • Sem.
  • Arphaxad, born two years after the Flood, Anno mundi, 1658.
  • Salah.
  • Heber.
  • Peleg.
  • Reu.
  • Serug.
  • Nahor.
  • Terah.
  • Abram.
  • Isaac.
  • Jacob marries Rachel and Leah, Anno mundi, 2192.
  • Levi, and the Twelve Patriarchs.
  • Kohath.
  • Amram.
  • Moses, born in the Year of the World, 2373.

So that from the Flood to the Birth of Moses the Descendents from Jacob grew into a great Nation, for in the 80th Year of Moses Life the Males of the Children of Israel, that were above 20 Years old, were above 600000, besides the Levites, and besides Women, and Children that were under 20 Years old, Numb. 2.32. and this great Increase of this People happened within the compass of about 260 Years. And thus, according to the Jewish Account in the Holy Text, the Period between the Flood and the Exitus of the People out of Egypt was about 800 Years: But indeed the Account of the Septuagint, partly by the Intersection of Cainan in the Genealogy, and partly by adding 100 Years to that Techno­gonia of the Patriarchs before Abraham, have made the Period larger by 884 Years. So that according to that Account, the Exitus ex Egypto was at least 1684 Years after the Flood.

Now this History of Moses of the peopling of the World by the Poste­rity of Noah, doth these two things:

1. It gives us an Account of the Original of all the Nations in the World, not from bare allusion of Names, nor from bare Coalitions into Civil Societies in which they were formed, as Romulus was the Founder [Page 179] of the Populus Romanus, and Pelasgus of the Pelasgi; but it gives us the Account of their Origination by Propagation from the Natural Roots and Parents of them. 2. Although notwithstanding this Instance, it may be possible, that though the Natural Derivation of all Mankind was from Noah and his three Sons, yet the Progenitors or Ancestors of Noah might have no Original, but might be Eternal, according to the Hypo­thesis of Aristotle: yet when I find the same Author that gives me an Account of the Derivation of all the World from Noah and his three Sons, and that with most clear evidence and credibility, it gives me a very great Moral Evidence of the truth of his Relation touching the first Origination of Man by Creation: For doubtless both were derived to him by a constant Tradition from those from whom he was descended, and it is not reasonable to suspect the truth of the one, since we have a strong Moral Evidence for the truth of the other; namely, the General Flood, and the preservation of Noah and his Family, and the derivation of all Mankind from him and his Sons: He that hath sufficient reason to believe the History touching the latter, will have little reason to doubt the truth of the Relation touching the Origination of Mankind; which as in it self it seems reasonable, and no other possible Supposition to compass it but by a Supernatural Production, so it hath a most excellent congruity with the subsequents of the Holy History touching the Descendents from the first Man, the Flood, and the Re-peopling of the World from Noah.

Now the Moral Evidences of the credibility and truth of this History are these:

1. Moses that wrote it, had the best opportunity that could be to give a true Narrative of this Fact touching the Flood, and the Productions of Mankind by Generation from the Children of Noah: For, 1. It is evi­dent by the Writings of this Man that lie was a very Learned knowing Man, inquisitive after all sort of Learning; a Man in great Power and Esteem in the Court of Egypt, and after that a great Governour of a very great People, which he governed with admirable Wisdom; and by this means had opportunity to furnish himself with all Monuments and Evi­dences of Antiquity that might be conducible to the Discovery of former things, and his Learning, Judgment and Ability to make an excellent use of these helps was also remarkable. Again, 2. He lived not far remote from the transaction of these things that he wrote, in comparison of the Writers or Historians of after Ages: He dyed above 500 Years before Homer lived, which yet is the ancientest Historian that Greece af­fords, and he lived within the Period of 800 Years after the Flood and the division of the World among the Posterity of Noah. Livy and other Historians give us an account of the Affairs of Rome for above 600 Years before they were born, and many other Historians for a much longer time, and we give them credit; and certainly such an Occurrence of such remark as the Universal Flood and the Re-peopling of the World must needs be fresh in memory for such a Period of about 800 Years; especially considering that the Peopling of the World was a gradual and successive business, that must needs preserve its Memory even upon its own account, for it was still current, and many were concerned in it in the preser­vation of the laying the first Foundations of their States and Republicks. 3. As the Period or distance of time was not great, so if we consider [Page 180] the longevity of Mens Lives in those times, the Period was not much longer than three Generations, and so the Tradition of things might be preserved fresh and certain unto the time of Moses without any great difficulty: For Shem that was an Eye-witness of the Flood was contem­porary with Abraham, Abraham was contemporary with Jacob, Cohath the Son of Levi was contemporary with Jacob, and with Amram the Fa­ther of Moses and Son of Cohath: So that the Tradition of the Flood, and all that succeeded, might be handed from Shem to Abraham, from Abraham to Jacob, from Jacob to Cohath, from him to Amram, and from him to Moses. 4. Besides all this, without any more Hands in the deli­very of it over, it appears that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob were great Men, had great Families and Wealth, were Men of great Note and Obser­vation for their Learning and Knowledge, Men that had great Expectations, having a Promise of that Land to be given to their Posterity; and al­though they kept Sheep and Cattel according to the custom of those Eastern Countries, yet they were great Princes, and Men of excellent Education: doubtless Abraham instructed his Son in all the Knowledge that he had received by Tradition from his Ancestors, the like did Isaac, and after him Jacob. And therefore it might very reasonably be thought that the Traditions of former things were kept fresh and pure in this Line of Men.

And though we have no Writings extant ancienter than Moses, yet probably in his time there might be Books, or at least Monuments and Inscriptions of things done before his time, which might preserve the Memory of things past as well as our Books do now: For it is not to be doubted but Writing was much ancienter than Moses his time, Job speaks of Writing as a thing in use in his time, Job 19.23, 24. and Jose­phus tells us of certain Pillars erected by Seth, wherein the Monuments of Learning and History were preserved, Joseph. l. 1. Antiquitat. cap. 2. and Moses mentions Books written by others, either before or in his time.

I very well know that Moses had a greater means to know all those things that to a Jew or a Christian are of greater weight than all these; namely, the Infallible Conduct, Revelation and Inspiration of the Divine Spirit: But the truth is, we are faln into an Age of many Christians in Name and Profession, that yet think it below them to believe upon that account without some farther Evidence that may satisfie their Reason; I have therefore subjoyned these and the following Considerations to make it appear, That upon the bare account of Moral Evidence more is to be said for the truth of the History of Moses than may be said for the truth of any other History of things transacted before the life of the Historiographer.

2. Again, we usually allow such an Historian to be worthy of belief, even in those things whereof we have no other Evidence than the Credit of the Historian, if we find many things delivered by him to have so great an Evidence of Truth that they cannot well be doubted by any reasonable Man. I will admit that Moses delivers many things that were antecedent to him, and can have now no other Evidence than the Credit, Prudence, and Fidelity of the Historian himself; as touching the De­rivation of the Nations of the Earth from the several Sons of Noah, and [Page 181] though possibly when he wrote there was a vigorous and authentical Tradition or other authentick Evidence of the Truth of them, which it may be is now so lost that we have no other Evidence thereof but the bare Relation of Moses (this I do for the present admit, though in the sequel it will appear that there are other concurrent or collateral Evi­dences that assert and attest it) yet it is plain that the same Moses writes many things that have so undoubted and so solid a Tradition asserting it, that no Man can doubt it that will not first deny his own Reason. As for instance, Can there be any doubt but that the Family of the Israelites were derived from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the 12 Patriarchs; that they were brought out of Egypt under the Conduct of Moses; that they lived in the Wilderness forty Years, and were there miraculously fed by Quails and Manna, since this was written in that very Time and Age that could and would have contradicted it, if false? Can there be any doubt but the History of his making the Ark and the Tabernacle were true, since both continued for many hundred Years after? Can there be any doubt of the History of the Fiery Serpents, and the Cure of their Biting by the Brazen Serpent, which continued in the Wilderness until the time of Hezekiah, which was many hundred Years after, with an unquestionable Tradition of the reason of its Making? Can there be any doubt whe­ther he divided the Land of Canaan, in such manner as is set down, in his life time, namely, to the two Tribes and a half on the farther side of Jordan; and his Prescripts for the future dividing of the rest, since it was enjoyed according to those Prescripts for many hundreds of Years after, and part of it until the coming of Christ? Can there be any doubt that he gave those Laws Moral, Judicial and Ceremonial recorded by him, since those very Laws have been for the space of near two thousand Years the very Rule and Model by which the Sacred and Civil Concerns of that People were always ruled and governed, and that in contem­plation of the same Law that was given by the Hand of Moses, and so recorded in his Books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy? I say we have not greater Evidence that there was such a Man as Alfred, Edward the Confessor, or William the Conqueror; or that there were such Laws of the Confessor, such a Survey of England called Doomsday made by William the Conqueror, such an Abbey founded by him in Memory of his Victory in Sussex called Abbatia de Bello; such Laws made by H. 1. as are transcribed in the Red Book of the Exchequer under that name; such a Charter of King John made at Reningmead, or such a Charter as Magna Charta made by King H. 3. than we have that there were such Laws, such Distributions of the Land of Canaan, and such things done in Egypt and the Wilderness as are recorded by Moses. The Moral Evi­dence that ariseth from this Consideration is this; That since in these things that are capable of an incomparable Evidence of Credibility in respect of the time wherein they were done (though very ancient, and exceeding the Age of any other Author) we find such indisputable Evi­dence of Truth, we have reason to give credit to the same Author re­lating the Derivation and Beginning of Nations from the Sons of Noah, though in respect of the greater Antiquity thereof we have not any other concurrent Testimony but that of Moses: And the rather, though we have not those other Evidences thereof, yet Moses might have as [Page 182] unquestionable Evidences of the things transacted between his time and the Flood, which at the greatest Account was not above 1600 Years, but by the Jewish Account about 800 Years before his time, as we now have of those things which were transacted in the time of Moses, which is above twice 1600 Years distant from our time.

3. Besides the Relation of the Traduction of the several Nations of the World from the Sons of Noah, delivered by Moses in that short Pedigree or Extract, Gen. 10. we have very many probable Evidences of the con­sent of all succeeding Ages to that Genealogy of the World; as, 1. The common Tradition of those Ages that succeeded shortly after Moses, which commonly esteemed them so descended: 2. The Analogy of their several Names of the Countries wherein Moses supposed the first Fathers fixed, as Canaan, Misraim or Egypt, Chittim, Assur or Assyria, and infinite more of this kind which are not needful here to be remembred, since Bochart and those that have transcribed out of him give us abundant Instances. Nei­ther is it reasonable to object against this that which is before observed in relation to other Allusions of this kind, namely, That those Deno­minations of Places might not be so much from the Roots of those Nations or Families, or from the Captains or Governors that gave Names to those Countries they conquered; because the Historian Moses gives us in express terms the reason of the Denomination to be from the very Parental Roots of those People or Families: and 2. Because those Heads of Countries or Nations who were nearer to Moses time gave the De­nomination to the Countries which in effect they peopled; as Edomites to the Posterity of Edom, Moabites and Ammonites to the Posterity of the two Sons of Lot, Madian to the Posterity of Abraham by Keturah, and many more: And we have as great reason to suppose that these grew and increased into great Nations in the time of Moses, since the People of Israel who descended from a later Stock than any of these within the space of little more than 200 Years, increased into so great a People, that in their going out of Egypt their Males of above 20 Years old amounted to 600000, whereof use will be made hereafter.

The late Discovery of the vast Continent of America and Islands ad­jacent, which appears to be as populous with Men, and as well stored with Cattel almost as any part of Europe, Asia, or Africa, hath occasioned some difficulty and dispute touching the Traduction of all Mankind from the two common Parents supposed of all Mankind, namely Adam and Eve; but principally concerning the storing of the World with Men and Cattel from those that the Sacred History tells us were preserved in the Ark. And the Objection runs thus:

It seems apparent by all Geographical Descriptions of this lower World, that the whole Continent of America and the adjacent Isles thereof are no way contiguous to any parts of Asia, Europe, or Africa, but disjoyned from the same by huge and vast Oceans; divided from the Western Coasts of Europe and Africa by the vast Atlantick Ocean; from the North parts of Europe by the great Frozen Seas lying between it and Greenland, which seems to be the Northern Coast of America; from the North-east part of Asia, Tartary and Cathay by the Fretum Anian; from the East parts of China and the Philippine Islands by the Oceanus Pacificus of above 2000 Leagues breadth, and is divided from the great lately [Page 183] discovered Island del Fogo by the Straits of Magellan, and that Island again divided from the uttermost Southern Continent (if any be) by a great Sea, which though not formerly known to the Europeans and Asiaticks, being divided from Asia and Africa by the great Indian Ocean, yet hath been lately discovered by Le Maire.

It is also evident that this vast Continent and the greatest part of the Islands near adjacent to it are well stored with Men, and Beasts of all sorts: Laetius, in his Disquisition touching the Original of the Ameri­cans, in his 8th Observation gives us an account of above thirty Millions of Americans destroyed by the Spaniards in those Parts of America that they have usurped to their own Dominion, which is not the hundredth part of that great Continent.

The Inhabitants of this Continent as they greatly differ among them­selves, so they extremely differ from the Asiaticks, Europeans and Africans in their Language and Customs, they recognize no Original from these Parts: it is true, they have some resemblance of the Scythians or Tartars in some of their barbarous Customs, and some Words they have which seem to carry a congruity with Words of other Nations; But these are but slender Evidences to prove their Traduction from Asia, Africa, or Europe, especially since no Monument is extant that gives an account of their Traduction or Migration thither; and the rather, because it was a World wholly unknown to the Europeans, Africans and Asiaticks, till the Discovery thereof made by Americus Vesputius and Christopher Columbus which is but of late time.

Again, Acosta tells us in his 4th Book, Cap. 36. there are divers perfect Animals of divers kinds in America which have none of the same kind in Europe, Asia or Africa, as their Pacos, Guanacos, and Indian Sheep; and on the other side, many species of Birds and Beasts in these Countries which are not found in America.

And upon these Premisses they thus argue:

That since by all Circumstances it is apparent that America hath been very long inhabited, and possibly as long as any other Continent in the World, and since it is of all hands agreed that the supposed common Pa­rents of the rest of Mankind, Adam, Noah and his three Sons, had their Ha­bitations in some Parts of Asia, and since we have no probable Evidence that any of their Descendents traduced the first Colonies of the American Plantations into America, being so divided from the rest of the World, the access thither so difficult, and Navigation the only means of such a Migration being of a far later perfection than what could answer such a Population of so great a Continent; That consequently the Americans derive not their Original either from Adam, or at least not from Noah; but either had an Eternal Succession, or if they had a Beginning, they were Aborigines, and multiplied from other common Stocks than what the Mosaical History imports.

And although their Traditions in America be mingled with some things fabulous, yet they seem to favour this Conclusion. Some of them ac­knowledge the Creation of all things by God, and that He fixed certain Arrows in the ground, and from thence the Original of Mankind came. de Laet. de origine gent. Americanorum, Observat. 6. Many of them have a Tradition of a Flood, at least in the Continent of America, which [Page 184] dispeopled all the Countrey, and that out of the Lake Tilocaca the great God created at several places the common Parents of Mankind: ut videre est apud eundem, pag. 115, & 105. or that certain Men leapt out of a Cave called Picare Campo, or Tampo, and were the first Parents of Mankind; and therefore they hold the Tambi the most ancient of Mankind.

Besides, if we could suppose that either ex industria, or by accident some might pass the Seas from Africa, Asia or Europe into America, yet it is not easily conceptible how Beasts, especially of prey, should be trans­ported into America, through those large Seas after the Deluge; neither is it possible to suppose that all the Beasts of America, which are many of them wholly different in kind from those of Europe, Asia or Africa, should be conducted over the Seas to be preserved in the Ark, and after be transported again thither: and the improbability thereof is so much the greater, because many of the perfect Animals found in America have none of the same kind in Europe, Asia or Africa, and è converso, but are as it were appropriate to their proper Regions, though some there are that are common to America and the other Countries on this side. And there­fore either the Flood was not universal, or new Creations of Animals proper to America hapned there after the Flood.

I answer to these difficulties: The Author of the Book called Praeadamitae hath set down certain Suppositions, which though they salve the diffi­culties, yet they cross the tenor of the Mosaical History, viz.

1. That Moses in the History of the Creation of Man doth not set down the Original of Mankind, but only the Original or common Parent of the Jewish Nation: that Adam was not the first Man that was created, but there were very many Ages of Men before him that peopled tho greater part of the World long before the Creation of Adam: And con­sequently, though Adam was the common Parent of the Inhabitants of Palestine and many of the Countries adjacent, yet those that peopled the far greater part of the World, especially the Parts of America, were not descended from him.

2. That the Flood in Noah's time, though it drowned the Descendents from Adam and the Countries inhabited by them, namely, Palestine and some of the adjacent Countries, yet it was no Universal Deluge, but the far greater part of the World and the Inhabitants thereof were free from that Deluge; and consequently that Noah and his three Sons were not the Capita familiarum of the whole Earth, but only of those Families and Nations that were Inhabitants in Palestine and some of the adjacent Countries; and consequently that many of the Countries of Europe, Asia and Africa, and the entire Continent and Islands of America were not overwhelmed with this Deluge, though possibly they might have their particular Deluges, as hapned in Greece and Thessaly under Deucalion and Ogyges: and in favour of his Opinion alledgeth the long Computations of the Egyptians, Babylonians and Chineses; the vast Armies of Ninus, Se­miramis, Zoroaster and others, and the great extent of their Monarchies suddenly after the Flood; which could not, as he supposeth, be so sud­denly propagated from Noah and his three Sons: But especially insists upon the greatness of the Continent of America and the Islands thereof, the populousness and great store of Men and Animals, which could not be [Page 185] in any tolerable probability transported from Countries divided by such great Seas from it.

And likewise he insists upon the Antiquity of the Egyptian Compu­tations, and upon that fond Reason of the Egyptian Priest in Plato's Ti­maeus, That Egppt is the most ancient of the habitable World, because neither subject to Total Inundations by reason it hath no Shoars, nor to Conflagration because of the Inundation of Nilus: That consequently Palestine and the Countries adjacent were only drowned, but the upper Asia from whence the Dove fetched his Olive-branch was never thereby totally overwhelmed. This is the principal Subject of his 4th Book of what he calls his Systema Theologicum.

If there were no other fault in this Author, there is this one that renders him inexcusable; In that he in all places of his Book pretends to own and maintain the Truth and Sacred Authority of the Mosaical History, and seems to maintain some of his Tenets by Scriptural Suffrage, and yet substitutes such Assertions as any Man, and much more the Ingenious Author himself could not, cannot choose but see, that if they were true would necessarily not only weaken but overthrow the Authority and Infallibility of the Sacred Scriptures; at least where it seems to cross the Fabulous Traditions of the Egyptian and Babylonian Antiquity, to which Fables he gives more credit than to the Holy Scriptures, and submits the Authority of these to the Authority of those: and while Judas like he seems to kiss these Sacred Oracles, he perfidiously betrays their Authority, and draws their Truth as much as he can into suspicion. Such a Dis­course had better become a plain professed Infidel, and is so much the worse, in that it is done slily, and by invidious Insinuations, sub Amici nomine: If he durst have spoken out, he would have told us roundly and plainly that the Eleven first Chapters of Genesis were but Fables; That Genesis 3.20. where Eve is said to be the Mother of all living; That Gen. 7.19, 20. where it is said, that all the high Hills that were under the whole Heavens were covered; That Gen. 7.23. where it is said, that every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the Ground, both Man and Cattel and Creeping things and the Fowls of the Heaven, and Noah only remained alive and those that were with him in the Ark; That Gen. 10.32. where it is said, that these were the Families of the Sons of Noah after their Generations in their Nations, and by these were the Nations divided on the Earth after the Flood; are not to be believed, and are but meer Fictions: This had become a Man of his Principles; but he durst not speak out.

I shall not in this place undertake a particular Answer of all that this Man hath said; it is besides my intention in this place to make so large an excursion, and many others have done it to my hand: only I may say thus much, That a Man that gives so much cred it to the Egyptian, Caldean, and Grecian prodigious Traditions, in derogation of that very Scripture which this Man in Complement at least seems to venerate, might have remembred, That the Tradition of the Universal Flood hath obtained in all places, even among the Americans themselves, and that the Race of Mankind was thereby destroyed, except some few that were preserved: That the most severe and observing Sect of the Philosophers, namely the Stoicks, have constantly held vicissitudes of Destructions of Mankind [Page 186] by successive Deluges and Conflagrations, and a new Peopling of the World successively by the Power of God; That Aristotle himself insi­nuates those great Vicissitudes, especially of Deluges in those Periodical great Winters which he supposeth to have hapned, and for the future to happen in this lower World. But of this hereafter.

And although this Author in his 8th Chapter of his 4th Book gives us a computation of a declivity of 600 Perches from the Fountain of Da­nubius until its fall into the Pontus Euxinus, and supposeth the highest Mountains of Armenia, whereof Ararat where the Ark rested was the highest, doth not exceed the perpendicular height of one Mile above the plain of the Earth; and therefore that an excess of 15 Cubits above Ararat would not reach the Head of Danubius, or at least the upper Plains of the Upper Asia; yet he might have remembred, That though it were admitted, that usually the heights of most Mountains do not exceed a Mile in perpendicular height above their Basis, yet many Mountains are situate in the more elevated parts of the Earth, and have the advantage thereby of the height of their Basis: and possibly it will be found that the Basis of the Mountains of Armenia is situate in higher ground than the Fountain of Danubius or Euphrates. So that an excess of 15 Cubits above their height must in all probability cover the Plain of the Upper Asia.

Again, he might have remembred that Egypt, that from the Authority of the Fable of the Egyptian Priest is favoured by him with an immu­nity from Inundation, lyes much lower than the Plains of Palestine, yea than the Superficies of the Red Sea it self: And therefore the Water (that naturally keeps its level, neither without a Miracle can lose it) which overflowed the whole Continent of Palestine, even to 15 Cubits above its highest Mountains, must of necessity overflow Egypt, which Aristotle by impregnable Evidences concludes to be one of the lowest Countries in the World, and the very Production and Accretion of the Slime of Nilus; so that if the Flood covered Palestine, nothing but a Miracle could protect Egypt from it.

The Author of the Dissertation De Aetate Mundi, cap. 12. though he reprehend the Praeadamitae, and confutes the extravagancy of their Opi­nion, yet he seems to mince the Universality of the Flood: Nullum ita­que relinquitur dubium, quin unum tantum fuerit diluvium, idque universale, cujus apud omnes penè gentes extat memoria: Verùm hîc minime probo eorum sententiam qui totum terrae globum it a aquis tectum fuisse existimant, ut nulla prorsus extaret ejus portio; ad hoc efficiendum multa debuissent concurrere mira­cula. Cum enim universae orbis aquae non sufficiant ad obruendam tam altè terram, etiamsi omnia maria siccentur; debuissent vel plures aquae creari, vel dicendum cum aliquibus, istam aquarum molem ex aliis coeli orbibus decidisse, & demum finito diluvio ad sedes suas revolasse: Verùm hoc est piè nugari, Deus non facit miracula sine causa: Quid opus erat mergere terras ubi nec olim fuere homines, ac ne nunc quidem sunt? Stultum est putare ante diluvium adeò mul­tiplicatum fuisse genius hominum, ut omnes terrae angulos pervaserit, &c. Ut verò diluvii inundationem ultra orbis habitati termines producamus, nulla jubet ratio, imo prorsus absurdum est dicere, ubi nulla hominum sedes, illic etiam viguisse effectus poenae solis hominibus inflictae.

This indeed salves the necessity of drowning America and the greatest [Page 187] part of the New habitable World, when it extends the Flood no farther than there were Mankind inhabiting, and confines those Habitations possibly within the Circle of Syria and Mesopotamia. And so all the Brutes that possibly in their first Creation were produced sparsim through all the parts of the habitable World, as well in America as Asia or Europe, were safe and untouched; and all those Birds and Fowl that were within 40 or 50 Miles of the Circulus diluvii might easily preserve them­selves by flight out of the extent of it; yea and the Brutes and Birds which were out of that supposed narrow extent of Syria and Mesopo­tamia where the Flood prevailed, might easily refurnish the same Conti­nent after the subsiding of the Flood, without the wonderful and diffi­cult including of their kinds within the Ark for their preservation, which if this Supposition hold, seems a needless Institution and Miracle by the wise God. Gen. 7.1. Therefore, I confess, I am no way satisfied with this Gratification of that Author to the Prae-Adamitae.

For first, although I take this Flood to be somewhat more than Na­tural, and a thing instituted by the Will of God, yet do I not esteem it a thing purely Supernatural or Miraculous, neither do I suppose those Waters created de novo, nor sent out of the Orbs of Heaven to drown the Earth: I do not think the Face of the Earth and Waters were altogether the same before the Universal Deluge, and after; but possibly the Face of the Earth was more even than now it is, the Seas possibly more dilate and extended, and not so deep as now; the Waters possibly more than now, and in those respects more capable of diffusion over the, dry Land. For though there be many great variations in process of time in the Sea and Land, yet it seems that ad plurimum the Seas grow deeper, and eat lower into the Earth, and consequently more dry Land is daily acquired, and the Seas grow narrower and deeper.

Now to deliver this Supposition of an Universal Deluge from those difficulties, and that necessity of multiplication of Miracles, which that Author hath substituted, we are to consider:

1. That we are not to make our estimate of the quantity of Waters meerly by the Superficies of the Sea, but by its vast depth, which in some places is unfathomable, and by those vast subterraneous Receptacles of Water which pour themselves out in several great Ebullitions and Marine Springs: Neither is it altogether improbable that the Waters of the Sea, naturally tending downward, and being of a fluid searching consistency, might in process of time have worked themselves even almost to the Center of the Earth, and there residing in great and vast quantities, and possibly have in a manner undermined much of the ap­pearing Continent of the Earth: so that that which the Prophet speaketh may be true literally, Psal. 24.2. He hath founded it upon the Seas, and established it upon the Floods: So that there are greater Store-houses of Water than appear visible to the World. If we could suppose that the incumbent Superficies of the Earth should subside and press upon those Store-houses of Water within its bowels, it might afford a competent store to drown the Earth without a new Creation.

2. Again, we may easily compute that the quantity or extension of the Body of the Air, even that which is commonly called the Atmosphere, which at the lowest account extends seven Miles in height, might by [Page 188] condensation into Water afford a competent store for the drowning of the World, and yet be again rarified into the same dimension and con­sistence which before it obtained: for there is that vicinity of Nature between those two Elements, that we daily see considerable proportions of the one by condensation changed into the other.

3. When we consider those immense Inundations that are Annually, and with some constant equality occasioned by great Rains, as for In­stance, in the River Nilus, which by the Annual Rains in Ethiopia is raised almost every Year twenty Cubits, and overflows a considerable part of Egypt yearly between the Months of June and October; and the like Inun­dations yearly hapning by Periodical Showers in the great River of America called Orenoque, between May and September, whereby it riseth upright above 30 Foot; so that many of the Islands and Plains at other times inhabited, are 20 Foot yearly at that time under Water. And when we see that even the Ocean it self in its daily Tides, especially those that happen about the Equinoxes, caused, as the Copernicans say, by the Intersections of the Annual and Diurnal Motions of the Earth; we need not have recourse to a new Creation of Waters to perform this Office of the Divine Providence and Justice; He might by a stronger elevation of Vapours, or by an extraordinary motion of the Seas perform his purpose; which though probably it might not at the same time drown Asia and America, yet by the successive peragration of these Wa­ters they might drown the whole Earth, as the Inundation of Nilus by the Showers of Ethiopia make the Flood there a Month sooner than it happens in Egypt.

2. As to the Second Objection; I do confess it to be most true, that the Universal Deluge was a Judgment upon the Old World for their intolerable degeneration from their Duty to God: But I do not think that was the only Reason thereof; for the Infinite Power of God might have destroyed those Evil Men by a Pestilence as well as by a Flood, without detriment to the harmless Brutes or Birds: But as God Almighty is of Infinite Wisdom, so it is the high Prerogative of that Wisdom to have variety of Excellent Ends in the same Action. I do really think that this Universal Deluge was not only an act of his Vengeance upon Evil Men, but possibly an act of Goodness and Bounty to the very Con­stitution of this Inferior World, though the particulars thereof be hid from us. And if as some would have it, it should be coextended only to the places that were then inhabited, and so the Flood particular, yet most certain it would be, even in such a particular Flood, many great Spots of Ground would be necessarily drowned where never any Men were, or inhabited.

3. And it seems it is too hastily concluded, That in the Period of 1656, or as the Septuagint, whom he follows, 2256 Years between the Creation and the Flood, that only Palestine, Syria or Mesopotamia were inhabited: For considering the longevity of Mens Lives in that Period, a small skill in Arithmetical Calculation will render the Number of coexisting Inhabitants of the Earth more than six times as many as would have hapned in 5000 Years, when Mens Ages were abridged to that ordinary dimension which now they have: and the strait bounds of Syria and Mesopotamia would not have held one fortieth part of the Inhabitants; [Page 189] all Europe, Asia and Africa were not more than sufficient for them: So that as the World grew full of Sin, so it grew full of Men and Beasts, and stood in need of a Deluge to make room for its future Inhabitants.

And this is as much as I shall say in this place, for the Vindication of the Possibility and Reasonableness of the Universality of that Deluge recorded by Moses.

And if any shall doubt of the Capacity of the Ark of Noah for the Reception of Brutes, Birds, and the Family of Noah, with the necessary Provisions of Livelihood for them; let him but consult Mr. Poole's Synopsis, and he will find that which may reasonably satisfie him touching it.

And now I shall briefly consider the Method and Means and Manner of the Peopling of America, and storing that vast Countrey with Men and Beasts and Birds, so far forth as we may reasonably conjecture.

And herein I must confess that I only make an Abstract or brief Col­lection of what hath been done to my hands by those that had better Opportunities and Abilities to do it; as namely, Grotius, Laetius, Breer­wood, Hornius, Josephus Acosta, Mr. John Webb, Martinius and others, who have professedly written, De origine gentium Americanarum.

First therefore, I shall consider the Manner of Traduction of Men into America.

Secondly, The Manner of Traduction of Brutes into America.

Touching the Traduction of Mankind into America, I do suppose these things following:

1. That the Origination of the common Parents of the Humane Na­ture hapned in some part of Asia.

2. That though the Origination of the common Parents of Mankind were in Asia, yet some of their Descendents did come into Ame­rica.

3. That such Migration into America by the Descendents from Adam, was not only possibly, but fairly probable, notwithstanding all the ob­jected Difficulties.

4. That the Migrations of the Descendents of Adam and Noah into America, was successive, and interpolated.

5. That although we cannot certainly define the Time or Manner of all these Migrations, yet many of them were long since, or, as we may reasonably conjecture, some Thousands of Years since; but yet after the Universal Deluge.

The Means of Transmigration of the Children or Descendents of Adam and Noah from Asia into America must be either by Land or by Sea, or by both; and if by Sea, then it must be designed, and ex proposito, or casually.

I think it probable it may be all of these ways, but especially by Sea.

Touching the Transmigration by Land, it seems very difficult, because though it may be possible that there may be some junctures between the North Continent of America and some part of Tartary, Russia, or Muscovy, yet none are known, unless the Frozen Seas in those Parts might be a means to transport Men thither; which is difficult to suppose, those Parts being unpassable by reason of the great Snows that happen so far Northward: though some have thought that Groenland is one Continent [Page 190] with America, and that in its farthest North-east extent it is joyned to the Continent of Asia about Japan or Cathay; so that a Land-passage might be out of Asia into Groenland, and thence into America. But this is only conjectured, and not fully discovered to be so.

But however the Case now stands with the three known Parts of the World, in relation to its contiguity with the Continent of America; it is not impossible, but in that long tract of 4000 Years at least, which hath hapned since the Universal Deluge, there hath been great alterations in the situations of the Sea and Earth: possibly there might be anciently Necks of Land that maintained passage and communication by Land between the two Continents. Many Instances of this kind are remem­bred by Pliny, not only of the great Atlantick Island mentioned by the Egyptian Priest in Plato's Timaeus, of a great bigness, almost contiguous to the Western parts of Spain and Africa, yet wholly swallowed up by that Ocean to which it hath given its Name of the Atlantick Ocean; which if true, might for ought we know afford a Passage from Africa to America by Land before that Submersion; but also many more In­stances of the like Variations: thus he reports that Sicily was anciently divided from Italy, Cyprus from Syria, Euboea from Boetia. Vide Plin. l. 2. cap. 88, 89, 90, 91.

Strabo also in his first Book seems to referr the Straits or Apertures of the Euxin and Mediterranean Seas to the like separations made by the force of the Sea, and attributes those great Floods and Inundations to the ele­vation and subsiding of the Moles terrestris, in these words; Restat ut causam adscribamus solo, sive quod mari subest, sive quod inundatur; potius tamen ei quod mari subest: hoc enim multo est mobilius, & quod ob humiditatem celerius mutari possit. Spiritus enim, hujusmodi omnium rerum causa, ibi est copiosior. Sed, sicuti dixi, causa horum efficiens accidentium est, quod eadem sola alias attolluntur, alias subsidunt: and he resembles the ordinary Elevations and Depressions whereby the ordinary Fluxes and Refluxes are made, to the Exspiration and Respiration of Animals; but those greater and extraor­dinary Elevations and Depressions of the Earth to the greater Accidents; Nam diluvia, terraemotus, eruptiones flatuum, & tumores subiti terrae in mari latentis, mare quoque extollunt; subsidentésque in se eaedem terrae, faciunt ut mare dimittatur. And it is no new or feigned Observation, That as the Volcans in the Land, as Aetna and Vesuvius, raise up those great Protu­berances which seem Natural Mountains; so the like Volcans or Fiery Eruptions happen sometimes in the Land subjected to the Sea, whereby great quantities of Earth together with Fire are thrown up, and grow into Islands. De quibus videsis Strabonem & Plinium in locis citatis. And if we may give credit to the Conjectures of Verstegan, the Countries of England and France were formerly conjoyned, and after separated by the Ir­ruption of the Sea between Dover and Calais. And therefore, although it may be that at this day there is no Land-passage from this Elder World unto that of America, yet within the tract of 4000 Years such there might have been, whereby both Men and Beasts, especially from about Tartary or China might pass; or between Norway or Finland and the Northern part of the American Continent.

But we need not go so far from home, nor resort to the Ages of ancient times for the evincing the great Changes that have been between the [Page 191] Sea and Lands, sometimes by tempestuous Winds, sometimes by Earth­quakes, sometimes, and that most commonly, by the working of the Sea, by casting up Silt and Sand, and by exaggerations thereby wrought; elegantly described by Ovid, 15. Metamorph.

Vidi ego quod fuerat quondam solidissima tellus
Esse fretum, vidi factas ex aequore terras;
Et procul à pelago conchae jacuere marinae,
Et vetus inventa est in montibus anchora summis.
Quódque fuit campus, vallem decursus aquarum
Fecit, & eluvie mons est deductus in aequor,
Eque paludosa siccis humus aret arenis.

The Instances of latter Discoveries which make evident this various state of the Globe of Earth and Water, thus described by the Poet, are among others those that follow.

1. Some Towns that were anciently Havens and Ports where Ships did ride, are now by exaggeration of Sand between those Towns and the Sea, converted into firm Land 2, 3, 4 Miles distant from the Sea; such was St Omer in Flanders, Old Rumney in Kent, Rye in Suffolk: vide Mr. Dugdale his History of Draining, pag. 173. and the Authors there cited by him.

2. some whole Countries, as well as the Egyptian Delta, recovered to be dry Land, partly by the exaggeration of Sand by the Sea or the out­falls of great Rivers; thus the whole Country of Holland seems to be an Accretion partly by the Sea, partly by the River Rhine. Dugdale ibid. p. 12.

3. Some great Continents and Tracts of Ground were anciently firm Land, and full of great Woods that could not have less time than 500 Years continuance, and yet were afterwards reduced again into the Dominion of the Ocean, and after all that re-reduced into firm Land; leaving the infallible Signatures of these several Changes, though the precise times thereof exceed the Memory of any Men alive; Instances whereof are as follow.

In the great Level near Thorny, several Trees of Oak and Firr, some severed from their Roots, others joyned to their Roots which stand in firm Earth below the Moor, and in all probability have lain there hun­dreds of Years, till covered by the inundation of the fresh and salt Waters, and the Silt and Moorish Earth exaggerated upon them: and the like monuments of great Trees buried in great quantities in the Isle of Ax­holm about 3 Foot, and some 5 Foot under ground, whereof there are multitudes; some Oaks of 5 Yards in compass, Firr-Trees of 30 Foot long. Vide Dugd. ubi supra, pag. 141, 171.

Mr. Ray in his Ingenious Observations upon his Travels in the Nether­lands, &c. pag. 6. gives us the like account of great quantities of sub­terraneous Woods, lying 10 and 20 Ells below the Superficies of the Ground, prostrate towards the East, which are supposed to be anciently thrown down by the irruption of the Sea and strong Western Winds, which yet now, and for all the time of the Memory of Man or History extant, are firm Land, namely, Bruges in Flanders.

[Page 192]But that one Instance is instar omnium, remembred by Mr. Dugdale, ubi supra, pag. 172, but of known and notorious truth; the Sceleton of a great Sea-fish above 20 Foot long found in the Downs or Uplands of Cammington in Huntingdonshire, very far distant from the Sea; which is an unquestionable Evidence that the Sea was sometime Master of that Tract of Ground.

4. Touching the Conchae marinae of several sorts, it is most unquestiona­ble; I referr my self herein to the Relation of Mr. Ray, ubi supra, pag. 114. & seqq. wherein he gives us an account of these Petrified Shells found in great quantities within Continents at a vast distance from the Sea; and some Shells that are found in the Continent, which are strangers in the Ports of the Sea conterminous to those Continents.

There are two Opinions concerning the Origination of these Pe­trified Shells; 1. Of those that have thought (and with great proba­bility) that these were left in those places by the Sea, either by the Uni­versal Deluge, or that really the Sea did possess those places where it left these Relicks and Memorials of it self upon its recess to a more setled Channel. And certainly if this be so, we must needs suppose anciently another Face of the Sea and Earth than what now is; possibly many of these Vallies and lower grounds might be entirely Sea, and the Hills and Mountains, and other Prominences of the Earth where these Petri­fied Shells are often found, being the Shoars of that great Ocean in those elder times, those Shells were there cast up, as they are at this day upon the Shoars.

The second Opinion is of those that think that these Conchae or Petri­fied Shells were no other than the Lusus naturae, the Effects of the Pla­stick power of the Earth; 1. Because they are found at such great distances from the Sea: 2. Because they are many times of such a kind of Fabrick as are not to be found in those parts of the Sea that is con­terminous to those Continents where they are found; some are found in the middle of Germany, 200 Miles distant from the Sea at the nearest; Scallop-shells are found in the Ditches of Antwerp, and yet they are rarely to be gotten on the Sea or Sea-shoar nearer than Gallicia in Spain: 3. Be­cause these Shells are ordinarily filled with Stone suitable to the Stone of those places where they are found. These and the like Reasons, though not evidently concludent against the former Supposition, yet have in­duced many Learned Men to attribute these Phaenomena to the Plastick power of the Earth.

For my own part, I have seen such apparent Evidences in and near the place where I live of things of this nature, that I am satisfied that many of them are but the Relicks of Fish-shells left by the Sea, and there in length of time actually Petrified; and the Instance of the great Fish-sceleton found at Cammington seems an undeniable Evidence thereof. And I remember in my youth, in the Lisne of a Rock at Kingscote in Glocester­shire, I found at least a Bushel of Petrified Cockles actually distinct one from another, each near as big as my Fist: and at Adderly, mentioned by Mr. Cambden, about 40 or 50 Years since those Configurations of great Shells in Stones were frequently found, and for their curiosity, as many as could be found were taken up by several persons and carried away; since which time, for above 20 Years last past, there are none, or very [Page 193] few found; which nevertheless if they had been the Product of the Plastick power of the Earth, would have been Annually re-produced.

And yet I do think that all these Petrifications are not always neces­sarily the Monuments of the Sea possessing those places as its constant or usual Seat, but that many of those Shells arise de novo, not barely from the Plastick power of the Earth (as some Insects and Vegetables arise spontaneously) but from certain Seminal Ferments brought thither, which are as it were the Seminium, of their production. And these Seminal Ferments were first in the Sea and Sea-Waters, and might by many means by brought into those new parts of firm Land, 1. By the Universal Deluge; 2. By the various mutable stations of the Land, and fluxes of the Sea; 3. By elevation of those Seminal Ferments from the Sea or some desiccated places thereof, by the heat of the Sun, and discharging them by Rain upon several parts of the dry Land, and where possibly those Seminal Ferments might be digested and ripened gradually into these Configurations. But touching these kinds of Seminal Ferments, and their Energy, more will be said hereafter.

By this digression I mean but thus much, namely, That we can by no means reasonably suppose the Face, Figure, Position and Disposition of the Sea and dry Land to be the same anciently as now, but there might then be Sea where there is now dry Land, and dry Land where there is now Sea; and that there might have been in former times Necks of Land, whereby communication between the parts of the Earth, and mutual passage and re-passage for Men and Animals might have been, which in long process of time within a Period of 4000 Years may have been since altered: That those parts of Asia and America which are now dis-joyned by the interluency of the Sea, might have been formerly in some Age of the World contiguous to each other; and those Spots of Ground, namely, the Philippine Islands, and others that are now crum­bled into small Islands, might anciently have been one entire Continent. And if in places that have been long inhabited, and observed by Men, these mutations have happened as are apparent to our very Senses, yet the precise Times, Manner and Circumstances thereof are wholly lost to us, as in divers parts of Europe is apparent: much more the like Changes may happen in those remote and vast Marine Tracts which have been long unknown and unobserved, and scarce possible to be observed by Mankind, as in the Scythian, Atlantick, Pacifick, and other Northern and Southern parts of the Seas.

Touching the Second Means, namely, the Passage by Sea; It seems very probable that the greatest and readiest means of the migration of Colonies or Plantations into the Western World from the Eastern, was by Sea, and the help of Navigation; whereof much might be casual, by Tempests or contrary Winds, but some and the more principal might be, ex instituto & industria.

Navigation, and the use of Ships is of that great Antiquity, that it is difficult to assign when it began to be in use.

It seems probable that it was not unknown to the Old World before the Flood, and yet not in that perfection that it was after, their Vessels being not reduced to that perfection as to endure a wide Sea, such as the Universal Deluge was, neither were they probably fitted with such Stores [Page 194] as might be requisite for so long and unexpected a Navigation as the Flood lasted.

But the Ark of Noah was certainly a most exact piece of Architecture, and might give a Pattern or Instruction for Vessels of great burthen, and very probably since that time the skill of Making and Navigating of Ships was much ripened and improved.

If we consult the Heathenish Histories, we shall find Navigation very ancient among the Grecians, but especially among the Phenicians, Tyrians, and Carthaginians.

Polydore Virgil, de Inventione Rerum, l. 3. cap. 15. and before him, Pliny in his Natural History, lib. 5. cap. 57. gives us an Account of the several Inventors of the various forms and appendants of Shipping and Navi­gation, but yet the thing it self they carry up to higher Memorials; the Navigation of the Argonauts to Colchis for the Golden Fleece, being one of the famous Epochae of the Grecian Computation, happened in about the 1100 Year after the Flood according to the Jewish Account; and above 200 Years before them Danaus sailed out of Egypt into Greece, Shipping being there in use long before.

That although we find not express mention of the Pyxis Nautica or Magnet for many Years after mention of the Use of Navigation, yet the same Author tells us that the Phenicians steered their Course by the Obser­vation of the Stars.

But we have a better and ancienter Account of the use and frequency and antiquity of Navigation in the Sacred Scriptures: Jacob died about 600 Years after the Flood, mentions Ships and Havens for Shipping as things well known, and particularly Zidon, as a great Port of Shipping, where Zebulon's Lot was to be cast, Gen. 49.13. Balaam also in the time of Moses mentions the Ships of Chettim or Greece as a known thing, Numb. 24.24. again, in the Reign of Solomon, the Tyrians are taken notice of to be expert Sea-men; that Solomon had a Navy upon the Coast of the Red Sea, that from thence he with the Tyrians made long and great Voyages to Ophir and Tarshish (places, as it seems most probably, in the East India, not in Africa or America, as some have thought) and thence brought Gold and other Commodities once in three Years. 2 Chron.

And how sedulous and industrious all Maritim Coasts were in ad­vancing of Navigation, in multiplying of Shipping, in Merchandizing and Trading, in searching out and subduing Forein Countries, when either they were afflicted at home by War, or grew over-populous, the Histories of all succeeding Ages of the Grecians and Persians, of the Ty­rians, Phenicians and Carthaginians, of the Romans and Egyptians, of the Seres or Chineses; and in later times, of the Venetians, Sicilians, Rhodians, Spanish, Dutch, French and English give us a large Account.

And therefore as later Years, have given us of this Age witness, of the Transplantations to America from Spain, France, Portugal, England, Scotland, Holland, and some Ages before that have given Instances of Transplantations from Norway into Groenland and Iceland; so it seems not only possible, but very probable, that either by Casualty and Tempest, or by Intention and Design, either out of lucre of Gold, or for disbur­thening of the Countries surcharged with multitude of Inhabitants, or by greatness of Mind, affecting Noble Undertakings, or by reason of [Page 195] Hardship, Oppression and Wars at home, or by some or all of these ways, several parts of this great Continent at several times have been planted with Inhabitants, which in process of time have multiplied into those many Nations, and have forgotten their Original, and the Manners, Religion or Customs of those People from whom they were derived in Europe, Asia, or Africa. And surely we have reason to believe that we of this Island are not Aborigines, but came hither by Migrations, Colo­nies, or Plantations from other parts of the World; yet were it not for the help of Historical Monuments, we should have forgotten who inha­bited this Island six or seven hundred Years ago: yea, and notwithstanding all these Historical helps, we have no Authentick Tradition that can give us any tolerable Account before the time of Julius Caesar, much less of the first Plantation of this Island: for as to the Story of Brute and his Company, we have but little evidence of the truth of it, and if it were never so true, yet it doth not prove it uninhabited before.

Now those Countries in Asia or Europe that with greatest probability first peopled America, seem to be 1. The British; 2. The Norwegians; 3. The Tartars or Scythians; 4. The Phenicians and Carthaginians; 5. The Chineses or Seri. I do not at all mention the late Migrations of the Spanish, French, Portugals, Dutch, English, or Scottish, but those of a more ancient Edition.

1. Touching the British Migration, recorded by Dr Powel, sub anno 1170, who tells us, That Madoc one of the Sons of Owen Gwenith went over twice into the Northern Coasts of America, and made there a British Plantation, who though in process of time much degenerated from their Nature, Language, Customs and Religion, yet retained some Monuments of all. This is at large prosecuted by Laetius in his second Observation, who gives us many Resemblances in some principal Words between the Language of them and the Cambro-Britains.

2. Touching the Migration of the Norwegians, Hugo Grotius hath made some considerable Observations, which though not altogether approved by Laetius, yet he willingly grants that Iceland, and some part of Groen­land were visited and planted by Ericus Ruffus, sub anno Christi 982, and the Christian Religion there planted, and probably from thence Colonies were traduced into the Northern parts of America.

3. Touching the Migration of a considerable number of Tartars and Scythians into the North-east part of the Continent of America, over the Fretum Anian, Laetius seems to lay much stress upon it, partly in respect of the easiness and shortness of that Passage from Nova Zembla and the farthest North-east part of Tartary over that narrow Sea; and partly by reason of the congruity of the Barbarous Customs of the Americans and Scythians, and some other Indications of that kind.

4. Touching the Migration of the Phenicians and Carthaginians, espe­cially into the South-east part of the Continent of America, as Mexico and Brasil, Hornius thinks it probable upon many accounts: 1. Upon the great skill and long practice of Navigation, and the multitude of Shipping of the Phenicians and Carthaginians. 2. Upon the Accommo­dation of the part of Carthage and other African Ports bordering upon the Mediterranean Sea, to make their Voyages Westward, and the great ad­vantage of the constant Easterly Wind, that makes the Voyage to Mexico [Page 196] and Brasil more easie. 3. Upon some ancient Histories intimating the progress of the Phenician and Carthaginian Fleets into some Islands and Continents in or near the Atlantick Ocean. 4. From the Analogy of many Words, and Names of Places with the Carthaginian Language; all which, and much more to this purpose may be seen in the Book of George Horne, de Originibus Americanis. 5. And lastly, much of the Origination of the Americans seems to be attributable to the Migrations of the Seri or Sinenses from the Eastern parts of China and the Philippine Islands, from the Islands of Borneo, and the Molucca's, and Japan, through the Marc Pacificum into the Western part of the Continent of America; which though it be a large Ocean of above 2000 Leagues, between the Philip­pine Islands and the West of the American Continent, and the passage thither difficult in respect of constant Easterly Winds between the Tro­picks; yet many Reasons seem to induce a likelihood of Plantations from thence, 1. In respect of the Antiquity of the Peopling of China, which if we believe Mr Webb was the first peopled after the Universal Deluge; that the Ark there first rested upon that tract of Mountains that environ a great part of China; that Sem the Son of Noah first setled there; that it is the most Ancient and Primitive Language; that by means of the Antiquity and Setledness of this Monarchy, having continued in its entireness ever since the Universal Deluge, it is most probable that the Western Continent was peopled from thence. 2. Because they were the greatest Masters of Shipping, and best skilled in Navigation of any part of the World; that the Pixis Nautica was there known and used long before the knowledge thereof in Europe. 3. The many Islands on the South-east and South part of China, as Borneo, Java, Gilolo, Celebes and others near the Equator are dis-joyned but by very narrow Seas, not much broader than those between England and France, from the Neck of Land called Terra des Papos or Nova Guinea; and Nova Hollandia, which is now discovered to be at least in some parts disjoyned from the more Southern Continent by a great Sea, but thought to have been anciently part of the Southern Continent, and possibly so it may con­tinue in some parts thereof.

Upon these and the like probabilities it may seem reasonable to con­clude, 1. That the Americans had their Original from the Inhabitants of Europe, Asia and Africa, that transmigrated into that Continent either intentionally, or casually, or both. 2. That those Migrations were not of any one single Nation or People, but from many or divers Nations. 3. That these Migrations were not altogether, or at one time, but suc­cessively in several Ages; some earlier, some later. 4. That therefore it is impossible to determin the Time or first Epocha of such Migrations, but only that they were all since the Universal Deluge, which is now above 4000 Years since: Some Migrations might be within two, three, or four hundred Years after the Flood, some later, according to various Accidents; but it is no way probable that the earliest Migration thither was less distant than 1000 Years from this time. 5. That if we should admit that the first Migration thither were above 2000 Years since, of an hundred Pairs they might easily propagate a number competent enough to people all that vast Continent. 6. That it seems that since the last of these ancient Migrations, suppose that of Madoc and his [Page 197] Britons, until our late Migrations by the Spaniards, French, English, Dutch and Scotc [...], there probably interceded an interval of at least four or five hundred Years, in all which interval the Commerce and Communi­cation between Europe or Asia, and America, hath as it were slept, and been forgotten both by them and us. 7. That in that interval of 500 Years or thereabouts in all Parts, but in some Parts far greater, there must in all probability happen a great forgetfulness of their Original, a great degeneration from the Primitive Civility, Religion and Customs of those places from whence they were first derived; a ferine and ne­cessitous kind of Life, a conversation with those that having been long there were faln into a more barbarous habit of Life and Manners, would easily assimilate at least the next Generation to Barbarism and Ferineness. It is true, where a Colony comes and keeps it self in a Body, as the Roman Colonies anciently, and our Plantations in Virginia and New England do, and the new Accessions incorporate and joyn them­selves unto that Body, Customs both Religious and Civil, and the Original Language are long kept entire: But where the Accessions are but thin and sparing, and scattered among the Natives of the Country where they come, and are driven to conform themselves unto their Customs for their very subsistence, safety and entertainment, it falls out that the very first Planters do soon degenerate in their Habits, Customs and Religion; as a little Wine poured into a great vessel of Water loseth it self: But if they escape a total Assimulation to the Country where they thus are mingled, yet the next Generation in such a mixture is quickly assimulated to the corrupt Manners and Customs of the People among whom they are thus planted: So that it is no wonder, if in such kind of small Accessions successively from one and the same or seve­ral Countries, the third Generation forget their Ancestors, and the Customs, Religion and Languages of those People from whom they were first derived, and assume various temperaments in their Language and Customs, according as the places of their Habitation and the Com­pany among whom they live, obtain. And if any man consider but the strange contemperation and production of our English Language out of the combinations and mixtures of the Danish, Saxon, British, French, Dutch, and other Countries, he may easily perswade himself, that out of the Mixtures of People there may arise as great diversities of Language, Rites and Customs, as there may Temperaments of Qualities by the various combinations and mixtures of the prime Qualities, or varieties of Words by the various appositions of the 24 Letters in the Alphabet: and even these Customs and Languages subject to infinite successive alterations and variations, according to the variety of Forein Mix­tures, Commerce, Victories, Wars, Credit and Opinion of Factions or Parties.

And thus far touching the Peopling of America with Mankind; I shall subjoyn something touching the storing of it with Brutes and Birds.

It seems in the original Creation of things that Vegetables and In­sects, especially those that by their nature may sponte oriri, or by equi­vocal Generation, had as large and universal production as the habitable parts of the Earth or dry Land; as Fishes, for the most part, had their [Page 198] first created production as universal and sparsim, in the whole extent of the Seas or Waters.

But whether the primitive production of the more perfect Animals both Brutes and Birds, that have ever since had their production by univocal Generation, were diffusively created over the habitable or dry Ground as Vegetables were; or whether there were only certain Capita specierum perfectarum utriusque sexus, created in a certain determinate di­strictus near to the place of the first Origination of Mankind, viz. in or near the Garden of Eden; and that the whole Progeny of such Brutes and Birds were propagated after successively through the whole World from these Capita specierum, seems an Inquiry of more difficulty to de­termin.

Some Observations seem to favour the former Conjecture, especially considering that many Species of Brutes and Birds are as it were appro­priate to their several Countries, as Elephants, Camels, Lions, and divers other Brutes; Parrots, Ostriches, and other Fowls which are not found in other Countries.

But especially the same Opinion is inferred from the Beasts and Birds which are found in America, which have not the like in the other parts of the World: Acosta in his 36th Chap. of his 4th Book saith, that besides the Beasts called Guanaco's and Paco's, there be a thousand different kinds of Birds and Beasts of Forest in America which have never been known neither in shape nor name in other parts of the World; whereof no mention is made, nor names given in Greek or Latin, or other Eastern Language of the World.

And in his 34th Chapter of that Book he tells us, That though the Spaniards in their first Plantation found certain Beasts, Birds, and other things in America common to those of Europe, Asia and Africa; yet some Beasts and other things they brought thither which were unknown there, and for which they had no Names but what the Spaniards brought along with them. So that one of the best Indications which they had to know those Beasts which were originally brought with the Spaniards out of Europe in their first Plantation, was, in that the Indians had no other Names for such but Spanish Names.

And again, since America, as is generally supposed, is divided on every side from Asia, Africa and Europe by considerable Seas, and no known passage by Land, so that all the possibility there could be for traduction of the Brutes into America from the known World, could only be by Shipping: Though this might be, and certainly was a method used for the traduction of useful Cattel from hence thither, yet it is not credible that Bears, Lions, Tigers, Wolves, and Foxes should have so much care used for their transportation.

And upon the same account they seem to inferr, That the Beasts and Birds preserved by Noah in the Ark could only be such as were appro­priated to Asia, but not those that were of the American kinds, for how should they come from thence to the Ark? Or if it be supposable that they could be brought thither, why did none of the kinds which are found commonly in America leave some of their Kind or Race here?

On the other side, it hath been the more received Opinion, That the Capita specierum perfectarum of perfect Terrestrial Animals and Birds [Page 199] were created near unto the place of Adam's Creation, and that from these, and these only the Race of perfect Animals, Birds, and Brutes were propagated and traduced over the face of the whole Earth; and that the American Brood was traduced from these, and from those Couples of these that were preserved by Noah in the Ark: And that upon these Instances, whereof some are of Divine authority, others are Physical.

1. All the Beasts and Fowls were brought to Adam to give them their Names, Gen. 2.19, 20. which could not have been, if the several kinds of them in their first Creation had not been within some reasonable and approachable distance.

2. All the Beasts and Birds had their kinds preserved in the Ark, and the rest were drowned by the Universal Deluge. Gen. 7.23.

3. Although the Continent of America was in the first Spanish Plan­tations thereof stored with wild Beasts, as Lions, Tigers, Bears, &c. yet those Islands that were remote from the Land, though large and fruitful, had not any of these Beasts then in them, as Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, Margarita: this is verified by Acosta, upon a strict examination, Lib. 1. Cap. 21. & alibi, and the same hath been found true in other new discovered Islands by other Navigations: Whereby it appears that the Brutes were not Aborigines, for then they should have been found in those Islands as well as in the Continent, as well as Insects and Vegetables; and that therefore in the Continent it self, the first storing thereof was not from it self, but by some means of accession from other Parts, for otherwise they might have been found as well there as in the Continent.

The two great Obstacles are, 1. The difference of the Brutes and Birds of that Continent from those of Asia, Europe and Africa: 2. The difficulty of finding a commodious passage from Asia, Africa, or Europe for such Beasts and Birds from hence thither, admit they were all of the same kind. And touching both these I shall say something.

1. Touching the diversity of Brutes and Birds of this and the Western World; the difficulty from thence is but small, for there are divers Accidents even in the Eastern World, Europe, Asia, and Africa, that afford us Instances of that kind, though, excepting some Islands, it be one common Continent: I shall instance only in some Accidents of this kind: 1. This Variation may happen by Mixtures of several Species in Generation, which gives an anomalous Production, as we see ordinarily by the mixture of Pheasants and Hens, Chickens are produced partaking of both in colour and figure, which yet renders them different from both: And it is observed by many that the Cause of that great variety of Brutes in Africa is by reason of the meeting together of Brutes of several Species at Waters (which in those dry Countries are scarce) and the promiscuous couplings of Males and Females of several Species, whereby there arise a sort of Brutes that were not in the first Creation. This was long since observed by Aristotle, so that it grew a Proverb also, Semper aliquid novi Africa affert. De generat. Animal. lib. 2. cap. 5. and so continues to this day. 2. The Percolation, as I may call it, of Vegeta­bles by Prosemination will alter their Nature, Colour and Shape, as Tulips, or Carnations rising from Seed will differ in Colour from what those were that yielded those Seeds. 3. Culture will improve Wild Flowers in bigness and beauty; and want of Culture will sometimes [Page 200] make Vegetables degenerate. See for these Transmutations Sir Francis Bacon, in the 6th Century of his Natural History. I have often observed, that River-Fish, as Trouts and Flounders, and others, will alter their figure, some for the better and some for the worse, being put into Ponds. Again in Animals; the Learned Doctor Harvey in the end of his last Book de Generatione Animalium, delivers an Opinion which at the first view seems wonderful strange, viz. That the Conformation of the Proles, both in Men and Brutes, to their several specifical Shapes and Configu­rations, is by a certain specifical operative Idea in the Phantasie or Ima­gination of Animals, fixed and radicated in them, and conformable to their several Species; and that monstrous or anomalous Productions are by some disturbance or discomposure of that specifical Idea, by some other inordinate Idea. And conformable hereunto seems the Opinion of Marcus Marci, in his learned Book de Ideis formatricibus. Whatever the truth of this Opinion be, it is not here properly examinable; yet it seems beyond question, that as to some external Signatures, as Colour, Shape, Fi­gure, &c. the Phantasie or Imagination of the Females as well Animals as of Mankind, especially in momento conceptus and for some time after, hath a great Influence: Some there are that think that Jacob's change of the colour of Sheep and Goats by peeled Rods, Gen. 30.37. was partly at least upon a Physical account; and he that reads Fienus de Viribus Imaginationis, and Sir Francis Bacon in the latter end of his Natural Hi­story, will find such Changes by the strength of Imagination as are very remarkable. It is probable, that in the great plenty of Birds and Fowls in uninhabited Woods of the Western World, even the several aspects of their Figure and Colour in their seasons of Copulation may make various Configurations and Colours in their Broods. 5. But that which is more to my purpose, and of greater evidence, is this; Variety of Soils and Climates makes admirable and almost specifical Variations even of the same Species of Vegetables, Animals and Men: In Vegetables, a fruit­ful Soil or Climate improves in Beauty, Bigness and Virtue; a barren Soil or Climate impairs them: among Animals, the Indian Elephants are larger than the African; the English Mastiff degenerates in his cou­rage and fierceness, at least in the first succession by generation, when brought into France; the Barbary Horse is of a finer Spirit and Make than the Flanders Horse, yet degenerates in a great measure in the first or second generation, when removed from Barbary. Nay let us look upon Men in several Climates, though in the same Continent, we shall see a strange variety among them in Colour, Figure, Stature, Complexion, Humor; and all arising from the difference of the Climate, though the Continent be but one, as to point of Access and mutual Intercourse and possibility of Intermigrations: The Ethiopian black, flat-nosed and crisp-haired; the Moors tawny; the Spaniards swarthy, little, haughty, deliberate; the French spritely, sudden; the Northern people large, fair-complexioned, strong, sinewy, couragious: nay we may see in more conterminous Climates, even in those of ours, great variety in the People thereof; the Up-lands in England yield strong, sinewy, hardy Men; the Marsh-lands, especially about Somersetshire, Men of large and high stature; the Welsh that inhabit the Mountains, commonly sharp-visaged. And there is no less difference in the Humors and Dispositions of People inhabiting several [Page 201] Climates, than there is in their Statures and Complexions. And it is an evidence that this ariseth from the Climate, because long continuance in these various Climates assimilate those that are of a Forein extraction to the Complexions and Constitutions of the Natives after the succession of a few Generations.

And upon this account there may be great variety in the Colour, Fi­gure and Make of divers Birds and Animals in America from those in the Eastern World, and yet both have the same original extraction; for there is no less variety in the Brutes and Birds of Africa from those of Europe or Asia, and yet nothing impedes their mutual commigrations, being the same Continent, though differing Climates.

And therefore although Acosta and others tell us of Brutes and Birds in America that are not found in Europe or Asia, it doth not at all enervate the Sacred History; it is possible there may be the like in Africa, or some Parts of Asia which yet Acosta never travelled. 2. But if not, they might arise by an anomalous Mixture of Species. 3. Possibly they may be of the same Species with the Primitives, but received some accidental Variations in process of time; as the various kinds of Dogs here in England, Mastiffs, Spaniels, Hounds, Greyhounds, &c. might in their Primitives be of one Species; the like may be said of various kinds of Apes, Baboons, Monkies; of Elks, Buffalo's, and Cows; the like of several sorts of Parrots, which primitively might be but one Species, and receive accidental Variations in process of generations, by some of the means above mentioned: and thus Crows, Daws, Rooks might be but a bastard kind of Raven; the Royston Crow and the Cornish Daw, though they have accidental differences from those among us, seem yet to be of the same kind with ours; and so possibly might the Sheep of Peru, called by Acosta Pacos and Guanacos, be primitively Sheep, but dif­ferenced by their long abode in successive generations in Peru; the Auza's and Poulasses mentioned by Acosta, lib. 4. cap. 37. may be but a Species of Ravens, though by the Climate accidentally altered in bigness and shape.

These things I mention, that it may appear, That even in the same Continent, wherein a mutual transition may be without difficulty, yet the very Climate may as it were appropriate some Brutes to certain Coun­tries, which yet might without any great difficulty be at first Creation of them contained within nearer bounds, and might upon the occasion of the Common Deluge be drawn together into the Ark, and afterwards by their wandring farther, and inuring themselves to a certain Continent or part thereof, be accidentally changed, and as it were appropriate to it: And also to shew, That Animals even of the same Original, Extraction and Species, be diversified by accustomable residence in one Climate, from what they are in another. Therefore possibly as little Consequence may be drawn against the common Original of the Capita specierum Animalium in Asia and America, as may be drawn from the diversity of some kind of Animals inhabiting in divers parts of Europe, Asia or Africa, which not­withstanding is one common Continent. I do therefore conclude, That the variety of the Brutes and Birds in America from those in Asia, where the Ark was made, is no Argument against their Original from those that were preserved in the Ark: Because that it doth not yet appear, [Page 202] that those that are now known in this World do differ any more than accidentally from those in the Western World, viz. either by the Couplings and Mixtures of Animals of several Species, or by reason of the Variety of the Climate, or Temperament thereof; which Variations might be acquired by a dispersion of them as well into America, as other parts of Europe, Africa or Asia, after the Universal Deluge.

As to the Second, namely, The difficulty of the first Migration of Brutes and Birds from Asia where the Capita specierum were first created, and after in the Ark preserved; I shall first deliver my self from the lesser difficulties of the Objection, and afterwards consider the greater.

1. It seems but little difficulty touching the translation of Birds from hence thither: for although without the supposition of Plato's Atlantis, or some number of smaller Islands in a convenient distance in the Atlantick Ocean, it is hardly possible to suppose that any Fowls could maintain a flight from Spain or Africa, cross the Atlantick Ocean into America; yet there are other Seas between some parts of Europe and Asia, and the Northern parts of America, where Fowls by flight might pass from hence thither, as the Fretum Anian, and the Sea bordering upon Norway and Finland.

2. As to the Water-Fowls, the difficulty is less, for they can and do supply the weariness of a long flight by taking Water, and infinite num­bers of them are found in Islands far remote from any Continent, and even in the main Ocean.

3. As to Domestick-Fowl, as Hens, Geese, Turkies, &c. and tame Animals for use, delight, or food, as Horses, Dogs, Hogs, Sheep, Goats, Deer, Apes, Monkies, Peacocks, Parrots, &c. of which America is furnished; there is as little difficulty but they might be transported by shipping either for use or commerce, especially by the Africans, who had store of them; and even Peacocks and Apes were an ancient part of commerce, 2 Chron. 9.21. and Acosta, lib. 4. cap. 33. tells us that the Dogs and Cattel transported not much above 20 Years before his coming thither from Spain, were in that space so exceedingly multiplied in St Domingo and other Islands possessed by the Spaniards where there were none for­merly, that they became wild, and filled all the Country, that they were forced to use what means they could for the destruction of the Dogs, and killed infinite numbers of Cows, meerly for their Skins.

4. The only difficulty that seems to remain, is touching those ferine, no­xious, and untamable Beasts, as Lions, Tigers, Wolves, Bears, and Foxes with which that Continent abounds: for it is not probable that these should be transported by shipping; no Men would probably be at that charge and hazard with such Beasts that would do more harm than good: And although possibly the frozen Northern Seas might be a Bridge for their passage, yet that seems unlikely in respect of the great Snows that ac­company such Frosts, and the impossibility of a supply of food in so great and troublesom a Journey: And as to Swimming, though it hath been observed that Bears have swimmed into Islands many Leagues from the Continent to prey upon Fowls, and to return again; and though the Seas between Tartary and Cathay and some parts of America be not so wide as the Atlantick or Pacifick Ocean, yet they are too large to afford a passage by Sea, especially for Tigers and Lions, which are not so apt to [Page 203] take the Water. And it is not yet certainly discovered, though con­jectured, that there is any Neck of Ground, or passage by Land from any part of Europe or Asia into any part of the Continent of Ame­rica.

There remains therefore nothing that I can reasonably conjecture to accommodate the difficulty, but to suppose what I have formerly inti­mated; That although it should be granted that there is now no such Land-passage extant, yet within the compass of 4000 Years elapsed since the Flood there have been some such Junctures or Land-passages between the Northern parts of Asia or Europe, and some Northern parts of the Con­tinent of America, or between the South-east parts of China or the Phi­lippine Islands, and the Southern Continent (though lately there be discovered an interposition of Sea between the Island del Fuogo and that Southern Continent) whereby either from Asia to Groenland in the North, or from China to Terra australis incognita on the South a Land-passage might be from Asia to America for Men and Brutes, though for some Ages past either by the violence of the Water, or by Floods or Earth­quakes, which hath made great alterations in the Globe of the Earth and Seas, that Bridge or Line of Communication be now broken and obliterated. And truly he that observes the infinite company of Islands lying between the Continent of China and Nova Guinea, almost contiguous to each other, hath probable reason to believe that these were all formerly one Continent joyning China and Nova Guinea together, though now by the irruption of the Sea crumbled into many small Islands.

CAP. VIII. The Seventh Evidence of Fact proving the Origination of Man, namely, The Gradual Increase of Mankind.

I Come to the Seventh Evidence of Fact, which seems with much strength and clearness to evince the Origination of Mankind, and that within such a Period of Time as the Sacred Scriptures propound, namely, The Gradual Increase of Mankind upon the Earth.

And because I mean throughly to examin this Consideration, I shall propound to my Enquiry these ensuing Particulars.

1. Whether according to the ordinary course and procedure of Nature in the Generations of Mankind, there be not a gradual and considerable Increase of Mankind upon the face of the Earth, unless some collateral Emergency or Occurrence interrupt or correct that Increase.

2. What Correctives there may be supposed that may check and restrain that Increase of Mankind, that otherwise according to the ordi­nary course of Nature would have obtained in the World.

3. Whether those Correctives or collateral Occurrences which have been, or may be supposed to have been in the World, have so far prevailed, as totally to stop that Increase of Mankind, which upon a Natural account, without the intervention of such Correctives would have obtained.

[Page 204]4. Whether notwithstanding all these Correctives of the Increase or Excesses of Generations, yet if still the numbers of Mankind have in­creased, it be not a sufficient Argument to satisfie a reasonable Man that Mankind had an Inception, and that within such a period or compass of Duration as is not of a vast or prodigious Excess.

I shall begin with the first of these, and I shall suppose, and I think clearly evidence, That without the intervention of some accidental or collateral Corrective, Mankind must needs increase upon the Earth, and that the Generations and Productions of Men and Woman in an ordinary, regular and constant course of Nature, do very much exceed the Decays of Mankind by Natural course of Mortality, allowing into the Ac­count those common Decays of Mankind by ordinary, usual and common Diseases incident to Individuals.

The Laws, especially of the Romans and others, have determined the Legal Ages of Matrimonial Conjunction of a Man to be 14, of a Wo­man to be 12; Prudential Considerations have protracted it longer. Plato in his Third De Legibus allows and determins the Age of the Woman should be between 16 and 20, of the Man to be between 30 and 35: we will suppose the medium to be for the Man 26, for the Woman 20. Aristotle determins the extreme time for Generation in the Man to be 70, for the Woman 50; the medium to be 65 for the former, 45 for the latter: we will take a shorter medium for both, and suppose the extreme term for Procreation for Man to be 55, for the Woman to be 40 Years; upon this account the terminus or periodus procreativa to be 20 Years: And although within that Period there is a possibility of procreation of 20 Children, yet considering that all Pairs are not of that fertility, we will take the medium to be less than a third part, viz. 6.

And because upon a due Observation of the Sexes of Mankind, espe­cially by such as have curiously observed the Registers and Calculations of Births and Burials, there is some, though not very considerable excess of Males above Females, viz. as 14 to 13, or in some places, as 16 to 15 (an evidence of the wise Providence of God, to bring the number of each Sex to so near a parity) yet allowing a redundance to the Males, to supply those many Casualties whereunto Males are subject by Wars, Navigations, and other Occurrences that more exhaust the numbers of Men than Woman. Therefore we will allow to Productions of five Couples, about 16 Males and 14 Females; which though not exactly an­swering either of those proportions, yet comes near to them, namely, 16 Males to 14 Females.

And because partly through the weakness of Infancy, and those Dis­eases that happen to Youth either by reason of intemperance, indis­cretion, want of of care, and the ebullition and fermentation of Blood, more dye before 20 Years than between that age and 50, we will suppose, of those six Procreations only two attain to the state of future Nuptials and procreation of succeeding Generations; therefore we will allott only two of these six to attain to the state of Men and Women, and conse­quently in an ordinary course of Nature live to the common age of Man­kind.

And although the common age of Mankind, when they are passed the danger of Childhood and Youth, is 70 Years, yet because I would have [Page 205] my Supposition as easie and general as may be, I shall allow 60 to be that ordinary Age, abating great Casualties and Epidemical Diseases.

And upon this account we may justly suppose these things; 1. That these two Children may be coexisting with their Parents for near 30 Years; for if the eldest be born at 27 Years of the age of the Father, and the other at 30 Years of his age, and live till the Father be 60 Years old, the youngest is 30 Years old at the extremity of his Father's age, which we suppose 60 Years: and 2. These two Children by Inter­marriage may have likewise two, three, or more Children by that time the Father attains 60 Years: So that in the compass of about 34 Years the number of two, namely the Father and Mother, is increased to the number of eight, namely, the Father and Mother, their two Children, and four Grand-children; so that in 34 Years they become increased in a quadruple proportion, and all coexisting: and although by that time we suppose the Father and Mother dye, yet in the like Period of thirty four by a Geometrical Proportion their Increase is multiplied proportion­nable to the Excess of their number above Two.

But if we shall suppose that the Technogonia began sooner, as at 17 or 18 Years, and continued longer, viz. until 65, and that the Ages of Mens Lives were protracted generally to 70 Years, the Increase would be very much greater.

And upon this account it is, that considering the long Lives of the Ancients shortly after the Flood, and the long continuance of their strength of Procreation, Petavius in his 9th Book De doctrina Temporum; cap. 14. and before him, Temporarius in his Chronology gives us a plain Demonstration, That within the compass of 215 Years after the Flood the Sons of Noah and their Descendents might without a Miracle increase to prodigious and incredible multitudes. The number of coexisting Individuals is by one of these Authors with very clear evidence com­puted to 1219133512, descended from one of the Sons of Noah. And therefore, that allowing the beginning of the Syrian Monarchy to have been about 153 Years after the Flood, it might shortly after the begin­ning of Ninus his Empire, which is supposed to have been about 215 Years after the Flood, have grown to that greatness, that might easily render credible the mighty Cities that were built by him, and the great Armies that he raised, and the Battles that he fought, and vast Slaugh­ters that he made and suffered; But if we should follow the Account of the Septuagint, which gives us a far greater Period of Time from the Flood to Abraham, the advantage of the Increase would be signally greater; although the common Account of the Jews render the Increase easily credible, without the help of a Miracle.

And because that there can be no greater evidence of this Truth of the Increase of Mankind than Experience and Observation, neither can there be any Observation or Experience of greater certainty, than the strict and vigilant Observance of the Calculations and Registers of the Bills of Births and Deaths; and because I do not know any one thing rendred clearer to the view, than this Gradual Increase of Mankind, by the curious and strict Observations of a little Pamphlet, entitled Observations upon the Bills of Mortality, lately printed, I shall not decline that light or evidence that this little Book affords in this matter; wherein he plainly evinceth,

[Page 206]1. That the number of Males to Females is regularly as 14 to 13, or as 16 to 15. Cap. 8.

2. That supposing the number of breeding Couples to be 48000, in about the space of 7 Years, in a healthy time, or in 8 Years, if there be Plagues, the great City of London, which is not so healthy as the Coun­trey, will double, without the help of the access of Foreiners: and therefore Adam and Eve doubling themselves every 64 Years, would in the Period of 5610 Years, the supposed distance from the Creation of Man, produce a far greater number of Mankind than are now in the World. Cap. 11.

3. That in the Countrey, which is generally more healthy than London, upon a medium of Observation of 90 Years, there are five Births for four Burials, sometimes three to two, and seldom in any Year these Burials equalled or exceeded the Births; or if they did, yet the succeeding Years ballanced it to that proportion of 5 to 4; for in the space of 90 Years 1059 were Born in one Parish more than were Buried. Cap. 12.

4. That this Redundance did not much increase the place or Parish it self, because by transmigrations to London, to Forein Plantations, and other places of Trade, they disburthened the proportion of their in­crease, and added to the greatness and amplitude of other places, especially London.

5. That considering the small excess of the number of Males above the number of Females, and considering the redundancy of the num­ber of Males is only sufficient to make good that decay of Males above Females, by Wars and Navigation, and other Accidents more incident to Males than Females; there is very near a parity of Males and Females in the World, to keep it in a consonancy and congruity to the first institution of Matrimonial society between one Man and one Wo­man.

6. That consequently Polygamy doth not in the general conduce to the Increase of Mankind, because the natural or ordinary proportion between the number of each is equal. But in as much as by reason of the great Consumption of Males among the Turks, by divers Accidents, especially that of their great Wars between them and the Persians, Tartars, Christians and Moors; whereby there is, or at least in some Ages was, a great redundance of the number of Woman above the number of Men: The use of Polygamy allowed among them, gives a greater increase of People than otherwise would be; because of the excess of the number of Women above the number of Men, by such Accidents.

These are some of those plain and evident Observations of the seemingly inconsiderable Pamphlets; which give a greater Demon­stration of the Gradual Increase of Mankind upon the face of the Earth, than a hundred notional Arguments can either evince or confute, and therefore I think them worthy of being mentioned to this purpose.

Upon all which, and much more that might be said, it is evident, That according to the ordinary course of Nature, though those common and usual Accidents of common Sicknesses, ordinary Casualties, and common Events are incident to Humane Nature; the number of Man­kind doth and must necessarily increase in the World, and the Natural Supplies of Mankind are greater, and more numerous than the Decays [Page 207] thereof. I now therefore come to the Second Consideration, namely, The Examination of the extraordinary or more universal Correctives of the Multiplication of Mankind, which because it will be large, I shall allow unto it a distinct Chapter.

CAP. IX. Concerning those Correctives of the Excess of Mankind which may be thought to be sufficient to reduce it to a greater Equability.

I Come now to the Second premised Consideration and Inquiry, viz. Whether there may not be found some extraordinary Occurrences and Correctives, that may reduce that otherwise Natural and ordinary Increase of Mankind to an Equability: And I call them Extraordinary, not simply in respect of themselves, but in opposition to those daily and ordinary Casualties which happen to Humane Nature; and in respect of those great Distances and Periods, whether certain or casual, wherein they may be supposed to happen: And I shall improve this Objection against the Increase de facto of Mankind, with the greatest impartiality and advantage that may be.

It is certain that the Increase of Brutes, and other Animals which are perfect and univocally generated, is very great in the World: Aristotle, that inquisitive Searcher into Nature, in his 4th Book of the History of Animals hath given us an Account touching most Animals, of the length of their Lives, times of their Breeding, intervals of their Birth; wherein though possibly there may be variation in several Climates, yet his Account may give a near estimate, proportionable also to other places.

For Instance, the Cow breeds in the second Year, brings forth the tenth Month; lives 15 or 20 Years: the Mare breeds the third Year, brings forth in the twelfth Month; lives 25, 30, and sometimes 40 Years; the Sheep and Goat bear in the second Year, bring forth in the beginning of the sixth Month, sometimes two, ordinarily but one; lives 10, 12, or 13 Years: Sows breed in the second Year, bring forth after four Months; their Young numerous: Bitches breed in the latter end of the first or beginning of the second Year, bring forth after threescore Days, or in the ninth Week; their Young many, 5, 6, or sometimes 12; they live 10 or 12, sometimes 15 or 20 Years: Wolves breed and bring forth as Dogs, only their number fewer, sometimes 2, sometimes 3, some­times 4: the Doe brings forth after eight Months complete, but one, and sometimes two; and live long: the Fox breeds 4, the Cat 5 or 6; and lives 6 Years, many times more: the speedy and numerous increase of Mice is prodigious; Aristotle mentions 120 produced of one Female in a very little time; Pliny in his 11th Book, Cap. 63. hath in effect transcribed Aristotle herein.

By this it appears, That the Natural Increase of these Animals is much greater than of Men, yet their numbers have not arrived to that great [Page 208] excess, because those that are for food have their reduction by their ap­plication for that purpose; those that are domestical, and not for food, as Cats and Dogs, are kept within compass by drowning or destroying their Young; and those that are noxious, as Wolves and Foxes, are reduced by that common destruction that Men pursue them with.

Touching Birds, their Increase seems to be much greater than of Men or Brutes, but they have those reductions that bring them to a fair equability, unless it be in those Islands and Rocks in the Sea unaccessible by Men, where Sea-Fowls breed. First, their number is reduced by Man for food: 2. For destruction, as in Birds that are noxious: 3. By the natural shortness of the Lives of many that are yet numerous breeders: 4. By the mutual destruction of the weaker by Birds of prey; whereof more particularly hereafter: 5. By the Winter cold, which starves very many, either for want of heat or food; and of this more here­after.

Fishes are infinitely more numerous or increasing than Beasts or Birds, as appears by the numerous Spawn of any one Fish, though ordinarily they breed but once a Year; and if all these should come ro maturity, even the Ocean it self would have been long since over-stored with Fish. Now the Correctives and Reductions of these are very many. 1. Ari­stotle observes in his 6th de Historia Animalium, cap. 13. Those Eggs that are not sprinkled, aspergine seminis genitalis maris, prove unfruitful; a great part are devoured by the Male, and much more by other Fish: some of their Eggs are buried in the slime, and corrupted. 2. Many are taken by Men, and employed for food. 3. As among Birds and Beasts they are Beasts and Birds of prey, which are less numerous than others, so especially among Fish: And though the Wisdom of Providence hath given certain Expedients to Animals, especially Fishes of the weaker nature, to escape the voracious; as swiftness to some, smalness to others, whereby they escape to Shallows and Shoars unaccessible to the greater: and to those that are not able to move, or at least not to move swiftly, the protection of Shells; as Oysters, Escalops, Crabs, Lobsters and other Shell-fish; yet a very great number are devoured by the voracious kind. I do remember, that a Friend of mine having stored a very great Pond of 3 or 4 Acres of ground with Carps, Tench, and divers other Pond-fish, of a very great number, and only put in two very little small Pikes; at 7 Years end, upon the draught of his Pond, not one Fish was left, but the two Pikes grown to an excessive bigness, and all the rest, together with their millions of Fry devoured by those pair of Tyrants. 4. Birds also of prey, as Storks, Herons, Cormorants, and other Fowl of that kind destroy many both in the Sea, Rivers, Ponds and Lakes. 5. Extreme Frost, especially in Ponds and Lakes, make a great destruction of Fish, partly by freezing them, partly by the exclusion of the ambient Air, which insinuates it self into the Water, and is necessary for the preservation of the Lives of those watry Inhabitants. 6. By great Heats and Droughts, not only drying up Lakes, Ponds, and Rivers, but also tainting the Water with excessive heat; and though these two do not so much concern Sea-fish, who have more scope and room, yet they have a great influx upon Rivers, Ponds, and Lakes.

Again, to say something of Insects, whether aiery, terrestrial, or watry; [Page 209] they seem to be more numerous than the common sorts of univocal Ani­mals, who have an univocal production. For first, their first production is strangely numerous, out of Putrefaction and much Moisture, influenced by Heat. Hence Diodorus Siculus in his first Book tells us of the numerous productions of Mice after every Inundation of Nilus, sensibly and visibly growing out of the slime; Juxta, Thebaidem, cum Nili cessavit inundatio, calefaciente Sole limum ab aqua relictum, multis in locis ex terrae hiatu mul­titudo Murium oritur: which Aristotle also observes, as frequent in other places, lib. 5. de Histor. Animal. cap. 37. Locis enim compluribus tam inaudito modo oriri solent, ut parum ex universo frumento relinquatur. And in my remembrance, after the drayning of the great Level in Northamptonshire, and other Shires, such an innumerable company of Mice did upon a sudden in the Summer time arise, as it were immediately out of the slimy Earth warmed by the Sun, that they were constrained to cut their Banks to drown the Lands, and so cure one Inundation with another.

The like numerous production of Frogs happens in some Years, which Aristotle in the first Section of his Problems, and Sir Francis Bacon out of him makes a Prognostick of a sickly Year; because such Productions are the effect of a great degree of Putrefaction in the Elementary Bodies. And we read, that in Norway there was not long since such innumera­ble company of Field-Rats of a new Make produced, somewhat larger than Rats, that they threatned a general Consumption of all their Fruits, but by some extreme hard weather they were destroyed; yet so as the multitude of their Carcases produced a noysom Contagion in the Coun­trey. And the like numerous production every Year gives us, though some Years more than others, of divers other kind of Insects, as Flies, Locusts, Worms, Caterpillars, and divers others, which in some Countries so abound, that they cover the face of the ground, especially in the parts of Africa: quod vide, in the 9th Book of Leo his History of Africa, and those additions out of Paulus Orosius and Alvarez in confirmation thereof. 2. As this original spontaneous production is very numerous, so the multiplication of these Insects by their Eggs or Seeds is infinitely more; their Lives are short, some dye within the compass of one Summer, as the Silk-worm: yet a curious Observer of that Insect, namely Mal­pighius, hath given us an account of the number of Eggs of one Silk­worm in one Year to be above 500; though all possibly prove not fruit­ful, yet preserved carefully from the injury of the Winter, many of them come to perfection the next Spring: And it is apparent that the Erucae, Caterpillars and Worms we see upon Hedges and Leaves, multiply their Seeds to a very great excess; and this is much more visible in the Spawn and production of Frogs, and also in the multiplication of Mice, the blowings of Flies, and almost all kind of Insects; though their Lives are shorter, yet their productions are more numerous and frequent in the short Period of their Lives, than the perfect Animals. So that if there should not be some Corrective of the excesses of their Productions, the whole Atmosphere, Earth and Waters would be crouded with their numbers: The contrary whereof is nevertheless apparent, for the mul­titudes of one Summer are for the most part exhausted, and invisible by the next Spring.

The Correctives therefore of the numerous Excess of Insects seem to [Page 210] be principally these: 1. The Industry of Mankind, in destruction of noxious Insects. 2. The Wise Providence hath placed a certain Antipathy between some Animals, and many Insects, whereby they delight in their destruction, though they use them not as food: As, the Peacock destroys Snakes and Adders; the Weasel, Mice and Rats; Spiders, Flies; and some sorts of Flies destroy Spiders. 3. The common sort of Insects are the ordinary food of divers Animals, as well Insects as others: The Spider and all sorts of small Birds, especially the Swallow, feed upon Flies; the Mole feeds upon Worms; Ducks and divers Water-fowl upon Frogs; the Cat and Owl upon Mice: and thus Insects become the prey of other Animals, which correct their excess. 4. As the hot and moist temperament of the Air and Earth produce and increase Insects, so that temperament of the Air, Earth, and Waters that seems most opposite to Putrefaction, either destroys many of the Individuals, or at least renders their numerous Eggs and Seeds unfruitful, and resists as well the ori­ginal Production of them from Putrefaction, or abates the Prolifick power of their Eggs or Seeds. 5. Great Rains, and Showers, and In­undation of Waters drowns oftentimes many sorts of Insects, and renders their Seeds and Eggs unprolifick, or destroys them. 6. But especially the Winter Cold, Frost and Snow do kill many Insects, and their Eggs and Seeds, and renders them unfruitful. The Cold and Winter season is a great Enemy not only to Insects, but to many sorts of Birds, Beasts and Fishes: and therefore Aristotle most truly observes in his 8th Hist. Animalium, cap. 13, 14, 15, 16, &c. that to avoid the severity of the approaching Cold, many of them retire into the closest and warmest Caverns they can get; wherein some lye for many Months without the benefit of Food, and if they escape the severity of the Cold, they as it were revive the next Spring. For instance, Serpents hide themselves 4 Months, Swallows betake themselves all the Winter to low Vallies and Caverns, Tortoises close up themselves in Holes and Earth all the Winter, as is obvious to daily Experiences; Et Insecta penè omnia conduntur, praeter ea quae vitam in domiciliis cum hominibus agunt, quaeque prius intereunt quam omnino tempus excedunt. And therefore Bees keep themselves close in their Hives, ab ortu Vergiliarum, till the next Spring. And yet, though Nature hath given Insects this Sagacity to avoid the Winter Cold, yet they are not always successful in it, but the severity of the Winter finds them out, and destroys them: But as for their Seeds or Eggs, which in the pre­cedent Summer are laid up and down upon Leaves, and in other places, they are for the most part destroyed by the Winter; except such as casually by the Wind or otherwise are dispersed, and lodged in safer Re­ceptacles, and thereby survive the inclemency of the Winter, and yield a new Production or Increase the next Spring.

And thus we have seen the Methods and Correctives, that by the Divine disposition of these small and inconsiderable pieces of Nature are used; whereby at once there is a preservation of the Kind of those little Animals, and yet a prevention of that Excess and Redundance which would happen by their numerous Increase, to the detriment and surcharge of the inferior World.

In all this Consideration of the Reduction of Excesses and Increase of Animals and Insects, two things are observable in a special manner, namely;

[Page 211]1. That in the state of Animals and Insects, we may see something that is analogal to the state of the Elementary and mixed Inanimate Bodies; that there are some more active and vigorous Qualities, that seem continually to exercise a Sovereignty and Tyranny over the more passive and weak Natures, and prey upon them: Thus Heat, and also in some degree Cold, are always persecuting and foyning at the weaker and more unactive parts of Nature: So among Brutes, Birds, Fishes, Insects there is a continual invading and prevalence of the more powerful, active and lively, over the more weak, flegmatick, and unactive Crea­tures; the Bear, Lion, Wolf, Dog, Fox, &c. pursue the Sheep, Oxen, Hare, Coney, &c. and prey upon them: the like is evident among Birds and Fishes, and generally Insects, being the weaker and more inconsi­derable parts of Nature.

2. That the vicissitudes of Generation and Corruption are by a kind of standing Law in Nature fixed in things, and the Notions and Qua­lities of Natural things are so ordered, to keep always that great Wheel in circulation; and therein the Accesses and Recesses of the Sun, the Influxes of the Heat thereof and of the other Heavenly Bodies, and the mutual and restless Agitation of those two great Engins in Nature, Heat and Cold, are the great Instruments of keeping on foot the Rotation and Circle of Generations and Corruptions, especially of Animals and Ve­getables of all sorts.

3. That yet these Motions of Generations and Corruptions, and of the conducibles thereunto, are so wisely and admirably ordered and con­temperated, and so continually managed and ordered by the wise Pro­vidence of the Rector of all things, that things are kept in a certain due stay and equability: and though the Motions of Generations and Cor­ruptions, and the Instruments and Engins thereof are in a continual course, neither the excess of Generations doth oppress and over-charge the World, nor the defect thereof, or prevalence of Corruptions doth put a Period to the Species of things, nor work a total Dissolution in Nature.

And upon this seemingly impertinent Diversion touching the Re­ductions and Correctives of these inferior Animals, there may seem to be collected reasonably an analogical Inference of the like means of the Correctives of the Generations of Mankind; and that although in an ordinary course of Humane Productions the Increase surmounts the De­cay, yet there may be reasonably supposed such Periodical Corrections as might fairly keep the state of Mankind in a mediocrity and equability, although it should be supposed the Generations of Mankind had been Eternal.

And although these Correctives may not happen every Day, or every Year in the ordinary course of things, and therefore may be called extra­ordinary, because they are less ordinary than the common Casualties of Mankind, as Sickness or Accident that happens to this or that individual Person promiscuously; yet they are in truth no more extraordinary, than a cold Winter is extraordinary; which although it is not every Day, nor doth it happen every Year possibly in an equal Degree, yet it is no extraordinary thing in Nature, if it happens once in 5, or 10, or 20 Years.

[Page 212]Having therefore considered these Correctives in the inferior Animal Nature, I shall now search out what may be those Correctives, that may be applicable to the Reductions of the Generations of Mankind to an Equability, or at least to keep it within such bounds as may keep it from surcharging the World; whereby if in the Period of 2, or 3, or 4000 Years it may grow too luxuriant, yet it may in probability be so far abated, as may allow it an Increase of the like number of Years to attain its former proportion. So that by these Prunings there may be a consistency of the Numbers of Mankind, with an eternal succession of Individuals.

Those Reductions that may be supposed effectual for these Ends, and such as the course of Mankind seem to have had great Experiences of, are, 1. Plagues and Epidemical Diseases: 2. Famines: 3. Wars and Inter­necions: 4. Floods and Inundations: 5. Conflagrations.

1. Concerning Plagues and Epidemical Diseases, the Histories of all times give us Accounts of the great Devastations that they have made in many places: and sometimes it hath been, it is true, only in some particular Regions or Cities, but at other times it hath been more uni­versal; and although at the same time, in some Seasons, it hath not universally prevailed, yet it hath gradually and successively moved from place to place.

The ancient Plagues of former Ages in Forein Parts have been very terrible, and cut off multitudes of People: See a Collection of some of them by Dr Hakewill, lib. 2. sect. 3. as, namely, That Plague in Ethiopia, and also in most parts of the Roman Empire, in the Year of Christ 250; which continued 15 Years, and left not so many People in Alexandria as there were formerly aged Men: that under Justinian, in Constantinople, and the parts adjacent; wherein there dyed 10000 in a Day: that in Africa, whereby according to Procopius, in the Country of Numidia there dyed 800000 Persons: that in Greece, under Michael Duca; which so prevailed, that the living were not sufficient to bury the dead: and that in Italy, in the Year 1359, whereby there were not left ten of a thousand; this possibly may be the same mentioned by Walsingham, but referred to the Year of Christ 1349; that prevailed over the World, beginning in the Northern and Southern parts, that the living were not able to bury the dead: Existimabatur à pluribus, quod vix decima pars hominum fuisset relicta ad vitam: and presently after followed a great Murrain of Cattel; so that he concludes, Tanta ex his malis miseria secuta est, quod mundus ad pristinum statum redeundi nunquam postea habuit facultatem. Vide Lipsium de Constantia, lib. 2. cap. 23.

And if we look upon our own Country, besides those great Plagues that have been in a manner universal, there have been very many such in England; sometimes more general, sometimes more circumscribed to particular Cities or places: As that Plague in the North parts of England, mentioned by Walsingham in the beginning of R. 2. that in a manner depopulated those Parts: that mentioned by the same Author, Anno 7 H. 4. whereby there dyed in one Year 30000 in London (which was considerable then, considering the narrowness of the City in those days, comparatively to what it now is) besides the great desolation it made in the Country.

[Page 213]If we come to latter Years, both in England and in Forein Parts, the Observator of the Bills of Mortality before mentioned hath given us the best Account of the Number that late Plagues have swept away; for Instance,

In London,Anno Dom. 1592,of the Plague11503
Anno Dom. 159310662
Anno Dom. 160330562
Anno Dom. 162535400
Anno Dom. 163610400
Anno Dom. 166568596

We have also Accounts of the great Devastations made by the Plague in late Years in Forein Parts:

In Amsterdam, between 1622 and 166484564
And in the Year 166424148
Anno 1637 at Prague30000
Anno 1652 at Cracovia37000
Anno 1656 at Naples30000
Anno 1657 at Genoa70000
Anno 1619 at Grand Cairo in 10 Weeks73500

And Leo in his History of Africa, tells us, that the Pestilence is so hot sometimes in that City, that there dye 12000 almost every Day; and Pliny in 7. Nat. Hist. cap. 50. saith that the Southern Plagues happen most in the Winter, and move Westward, according to the course of the Sun; which some have observed also in the Northern, that it sometimes held a gradual Motion, and for the most part Westward; as in 1652 at Cracovia; 1653 at Dantzick; 1654 at Copenhagen; 1655 at Amsterdam, and other Towns in the Netherlands; 1656 at Naples and Rome; 1657 at Genoa. And I have somewhere read, that in Alexandria in Egypt the Plague is Anniversary, beginning with the Rising of Nilus, which is about the 17th of June, and continueth rising 40 Days, sometimes 12, some­times 15 Cubits, and in its greatest excess to 18 Cubits, and as many Days decreaseth; so that the Plague lasteth 80 Days, and then perfectly ceaseth with the full Ebb of Nilus.

So that upon the account of Plagues, and extraordinary Epidemical Diseases, there seems to be a great Corrective of the Redundance and Increase of Mankind.

2. Let us a little take notice of Famines, which though they have not been of late times much observed, partly because of the great In­dustry of Mankind, improving and increasing the Fruits of the Earth; partly by those Supplies that have come by Sea to those Countries that are in want; but principally by the goodness of God, in lending the Children of Men seasonable Weather, and fruitful Seasons, and prosperous Influences: yet in former times they have been very grievous, and de­stroyed multitudes of People.

Walsingham in the Life of E. 2. tells us of so severe a Famine in England, that they were enforced to eat Dogs and Horses, yea and stole Children and eat them; viz. 9 E. 2. And divers other Instances our own Histories give us of other great Famines in this and other Countries.

[Page 214]Ordinarily a Famine and a Plague anciently went together, or the former followed upon the heels of the Plague, by reason of some of these means: 1. Commonly the same distemperature of the Air that occa­sioned the Plague, occasioned also the infertility or noxiousness of the Soil, whereby the Fruits of the Earth became either very small, or very unwholsom: As it happened in that Famine under E. 2. above mentioned, in so much that the Historian tells us, that Medicinales herbae, quae leva­men languidis conferre solebant, per Veris intemperiem & Elementorum inae­qualitatem, contra naturam effectae degeneres, virus pro virtute reddebant. 2. Commonly the Plague among Men was accompanied or followed with a Rot or Murrain among Cattel, whereby the flesh of Beasts was wanting, or noxious to those that used it. 3. Commonly by a great and general Mortality or Plague the Husbandmen and Labourers were so diminished, that there wanted People to gather in the Harvest, or Till the Ground, whereby there necessarily ensued a Famine: And oftentimes by a kind of necessity Famines were durable, the Stock being exhausted one Year, left little for the supply of Tillage, Husbandry, or Increase for the next.

And as Famine was anciently the Concomitant or Consequent of Plague, so both Plague and Famine, especially the latter, were the usual Consequents of War, which bring with it Devastation and Destruction, and a general intermission of that Husbandry and Care that should supply it.

The terrible Effects of Famine, and the great Consumption of Man­kind that is occasioned, was principally 1. Of the Poor, who upon the bare increase of the Price of Victuals, and wanting wherewith to buy, must needs occasion their starving, or a tumultuous gaining it by force, where they could not get it; which was but a short and temporary Relief, and made more want after, by the spoil and disorder occasioned thereby. 2. Of numerous Armies, who being brought into places of want or scarcity without due Conduct or Provision, are oftentimes de­stroyed in a Week, especially in close and long Sieges, as it happened in Samaria when besieged by the Assyrians, and Jerusalem when besieged by the Romans, wherein more dyed by the Famine than by the Sword.

So that Famines as well as Plagues seem to give a great Reduction to the Numbers of Mankind.

3. A few words may serve concerning Wars, which are so frequent, and bring so great a Desolation upon Mankind, that it seems to equal that allay of the Excesses of Brutes, Fishes, Birds, and Insects, by the other Beasts, Birds, or Fishes of prey; and the rather, because many if not all the considerable Parts of the World are some Years at it, though it may be some Ages free from Pestilences and Famines (other than such as are consequences of War) but in no Age nor Year of the World hath it been quiet from Wars, and those calamitous consequences thereof, at least in some considerable parts of the World.

It would be endless, and indeed Morally impossible, to give an Ac­count of the Numbers of People and Armies that have been cut off by Wars, especially on the side of the Conquered. Some few Instances may give some kind of Estimate herein.

Diodorus Siculus in his third Book tells us, that Ninus in his Preparation [Page 215] against the Bactrians gathered an Army of 1700000 Foot-men, 200000 Horse-men, 10600 Chariots: that Zoroastres his Army consisted of 400000, who in the first Conflict prevailed, and killed 40000, but were afterwards wholly destroyed; so that probably in that War there fell no less than 400000 Men: Darius Hystaspis in the Battel of Marathron, whi­ther he came with an Army of 600000, lost in one Battel 200000: his Successor Xerxes went into Greece with an Army, according to some, consisting in the whole number of it and its Appendices, of five Millions, those that spake most sparingly, of above one Million; all which within the space of five Years were in effect wholly lost. Vide Lips. de Constant. lib. 2. cap. 21, 22, 24. Alexander destroyed the Army of Darius, consisting of a Million of Men, the greatest part whereof fell by the Sword: and Pliny in his 7th Book of his Natural History, Cap. 15. tells us, that Julius Caesar, and his Armies in the time of His Command, killed 1192000 persons, besides those that he slew in the Civil Wars: And if by the Estimate of that one Man, we might make a Calculation of those that were slain by the Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, and Grecian Monarchies, by Cyrus, Darius, Astyages, Alexander and his succeeding Captains; by Marius, Sylla, Pompey, Vespasian, and the succeeding Roman Emperors; by Tamberlane and the Scythians; by the Goths, Vandals, Turks, Tartars, Mus­covites, Persians, Moors, and Christians; by the Wars in this little Spot of England; by the late Wars in France, Spain, Germany; by the Spaniards in the West Indies, the numbers of Internecions and Slaughters would exceed all Arithmetical Calculation.

So that it should seem, there needed no other Reductive of the Num­bers of Men to an Equability, than the Wars that have happened in the World.

And although Wars are in a great measure accidental, or at least proceed in a great measure from the Wills of Men, their Pride, Am­bition, impatience of Injuries, affectation of Dominion, mutual Jealou­sies and Fears of the Potency of each other, and oftentimes accidental Emergencies and Occurrences; yet it seems, that abstracting from all these Occasions, Wars seem to be in a manner a Natural Consequence of the over-plenitude and redundancy of the Number of Men in the World: And so by a kind of congruity and consequence, morally ne­cessary when the World grows too full of Inhabitants, that there is not room one by another; or that the common Supplies which the World should afford to Mankind begin to be too few, too strait, or too narrow for the Numbers of Men; that natural propension of Self-love, and natu­ral principle of Self-preservation will necessarily break out into Wars and Internecions, to make room for those that find themselves straitned or inconvenienced.

So that as when the Channel of a River is over-charged with Water more than it can deliver, it necessarily breaks over the Banks to make it self room; or when the very Brutes or Animals find themselves oppressed and straitned in their provisions and supplies, by the redundance of their numbers, one necessarily preys upon another, or destroys another to preserve it self: So Wars among Mankind are a kind of necessary Con­sequence of Redundance of Mankind, and will by a kind of Natural necessity make it self room, and give it self ease by the destruction of [Page 216] others, if it can get power and opportunity to do it: And consequently there seems to be no fear of the surcharge of the World with Mankind, because there is this natural and necessary Remedy at hand; the very Redundance it self of Mankind seeming by a natural consecution to yield and subminister this Remedy, for its Reduction and Equation. As in a redundance of Humors in the Body, the most lively and active do natu­rally thrust out those that are weaker or noxious, to make room for themselves: or as Bees swarm to get new habitations, when they are so increased that their Hives will not hold them.

4. Concerning the Fourth, and also, inclusively the Fifth Corrective of the Excess of Mankind, namely, Inundations and Conflagrations.

Those that have been Observers of things in Nature and Histories of former times, have given us Instances of two kinds of Mutations in this Terrestrial Globe of Earth and Waters: some that are more ordinary, and of less moment, and of such various have been in the World; such are those mentioned especially by Pliny in his Natural History, lib. 2. cap. 85. & seqq. some places severed from the Continent by the interruption of the Sea; thus he tells us that Sicily was divided from Italy, Cyprus from Syria, Euboea from Boeotia, Atlantis and Macris from Euboea, Bosticum from Bythinia; and some have thought, though perhaps upon very small evidence, that England and France were sometimes one Continent, and divided by the interruption of the Sea; and Spain from Africa. Again, some Cities and Countries swallowed up by the Sea; as Pirrha and Antissa, Elis and Buta, half the City of Tyndaris in Sicily, and 30 Miles of the Island Cea, with a great destruction of Men and Cattel: some Countries wholly swallowed up and drowned in the Sea; as Acarnania, Achaia, part of Europe and Asia in Propontis: but above all, that great Island of Atlantis, supposed by Plato in his Timaeus to be greater than Lybia and Asia, swallowed up in the Atlantick Ocean, to which it gives its de­nomination: but Plato is oftentimes so Poetical, that we can hardly tell where he means in earnest.

But on the other side, many times the Sea by a certain recompence makes new room for the Inhabitants of the World, sometimes by pro­ducing notable Islands; thus the same Pliny tells us that Delos, Rhodes, Anaphe, Nea, Thera, and Teresia, Hiera, Automate, Thia were produced.

Again, the Sea hath deserted vast Tracts of Ground in divers places, and left them dry Land, as is related by Aristotle in the second of his Meteors, Cap. 14. and by Pliny in a great measure, out of him and Hero­dotus. Thus considerable quantities of Land were left by the Sea at Ephesus, at Ambracia and other Parts; and that a very great part of Egypt, namely, that called Delta is but the accretion of Nilus, and was sometime covered with Water: and according to the conjecture of He­rodotus, the Sea possessed Memphis and a great part of Egypt, to the Moun­tains of Ethiopia. But these are but Conjectures of the Historian, of what might be in some thousand Years before he was born. Aristotle indeed supposeth, that the City Thebes and the adjacent Parts, were all that were habitable in Egypt in the time of Homer, because he makes no mention of Memphis.

But these smaller Vicissitudes, and mutual borrowings and payments between the Earth and Sea, are not those Mutations which so much [Page 217] contribute to the Reduction of Mankind; partly, because they are gradual and give Men opportunity to escape; and partly because they are not such Devastations as may be pares huic negotio (unless we believe that wonderful swallowing up of the vast Island, or rather Continent of Atlantis,) and partly because the Sea, which commonly gives in one place what it takes in another, and so makes room for the Inhabitants of the World in compensation of what it takes.

2. Therefore I come to those greater supposed Correctives, namely, 1. Floods and Inundations: 2. Incendia, Burnings; and again, both, or either of those are also varied, according to the Opinions of some of the Ancients.

1. They are either such as were all at one time, and did wholly over­whelm and confound this lower World: or 2. They are such as did not wholly dissolve the lower Word, or put a period to all things living therein.

Again, the former Opinion that held these Cataclysms and Empy­roses universal, was such, as either held that it put a total Consummation unto things in this lower World, especially that of Conflagration: Or else such, as though it quite for the present confounded the Face of things, especially in this inferior World; yet it was but preparative to a new Formation of things, wherein all things would be put into better Order, till in process of time they again degenerate, and so were to receive another Purgation by Fire or Water, according to the fatal Vicissitudes to which the World is subject: And they suppose, that these successive unmaking and making again of the World (not unlike the Suppositions of Anaxagoras or Empedocles) were Eternal, and should eternally con­tinue in this Vicissitude; that the last Destruction of the World was by Water, and that which is to succeed is by Fire: And this was for the most part the Opinion of the Stoicks, whereof Lipsius in his second Book de Physiologia Stoicorum, cap. 21, 22, &c. hath given us a large Account, out of Seneca especially, and others which are not necessary to be re­peated; and the rather, because they do suppose that Mankind is neither Eternal nor Perpetual, according to the course of Natural Generation: For these mighty Concussions of Nature, especially that of the Univer­sal Conflagration, puts an end to all the Race of Mankind and all living Bodies; though in the Redintegration of the World after these Destru­ctions there is also a Re-production of Mankind, but not by the ordinary method of Propagation as now.

Again, as to those others that held also certain Periodical Cataclysms and Conflagrations, yet they held them not to be Universal, nor any Universal Dissolution or Destruction of the inferior World thereby; but they were such as were great and notable Devastations, sometimes in one part of the Earth, sometimes in another; either by certain Rotations, or at least in some places more than in other, acocrding to the accom­modation or disaccommodation of them to such Calamities: As the Vallies and lower grounds were more subject to devastation by Floods, so the more Mountainous parts were more subject to the desolations by Fire and Conflagrations.

Plato, who seems very uncertain and unsetled in his Philosophy, seems yet to agree with this partial kind of exhausting the num­bers [Page 218] of Men and Brutes, by such partial Floods and Conflagrations.

In his third Book of Dialogues, de Legibus, he gives us an Account of various Methods of the Declinations of Civil Societies, and of those Laws and Customs, Arts and Sciences in several parts of the World: and again, how and by what degrees they have been repaired and reco­vered; the means whereof he assigns not only to be Wars and Epide­mical Diseases, but great Floods and Conflagrations, which, together with those of Aristotle relating thereunto, I shall transcribe out of the Latin Translation, because perchance more significant than the English, though not so significant as the Language wherein they wrote. And this I do intend to transcribe more largely, because they seem to contain the full declaration of the Instances of this nature.

He tells us therefore in the beginning of his third Book de Legibus; Multos hominun interitus ex diluviis, morbis, aliísque permultis, olim accidisse, ex quibus pauci homines superstites fuerunt. Again: Eos qui cladem tum evaserunt (scilicet ex diluviis) montanos quosdam pastores fuisse, in montium cacuminibus pauca semina ad propagandum genus humanum conservata: atqui necesse est eos aliarum artium fuisse expertes, campestres autem & maritimae urbes funditus illo tempore perierunt. Instrumenta igitur omnia, & quaecunque artium sive ad disciplinam civilem sive ad facultatem aliam pertinentium, ex­tabant inventa, concidisse illis temporibus. And afterwards: Ex ea itaque devastatione magnam terribilémque humanis in rebus desolationem tunc accidisse arbitramur; fertilium agrorum magnitudinem desertam, caeterísque animalibus corruptis, vix boum caprarúmque genus, & illud quidem rarum relictum fuisse, quibus pascendis tunc homines vitam agebant; civitatis verò & disciplinae civilis & legum memoriam quidem nullam fuisse putamus. Tempore igitur progrediente, &c. genere hominum multiplicato, ad eum quem nunc videmus habitum provecta omnia sunt.

Again, the same Plato though in his Timaeus he gives us an Account of the Origination of Mankind, yet he supposeth that a vast Period in­terceded between that Origination and the Age wherein he lived; and within the compass of that Period, that there happened very great and very many vicissitudes of Floods and Conflagrations in this inferior World, whereby the state of things here was variously altered, and the Numbers of Mankind and Animals corrected and reduced at several times to small proportions, only sufficient to replenish the World, until such time as its Excess and Increase received again a like Correction or Reduction, by the like Revolutions of Floods and Conflagrations, though still without a total destruction of the Species.

In this Book he gives us a personated Discourse between Solon and an Egyptian Priest, who after some discourse of the Antiquity of Athens, the Priest tells him; Vos Graeci semper pueri estis, nec quisquam è Graecia senex, quia juvenis semper vobis est animus, in quo nulla est ex vetustatis commemo­ratione prisca opinio, nulla cana scientia: Nam quod apud vos fertur Phaetontem quondam Solis filium currus ascendisse paternos, nec patris aurigatione servata, exussisse terrena, ipsúmque flammis coelestibus conflagrasse; quamvis fabulosum videatur, verum quodammodo esse putandum est: Fit enim longo temporis inter­vallo coelestis circuitus permutatio quaedam, quam inflammationis vastitas ne­cessario sequitur: tunc hi qui edita incolunt loca magis pereunt quam mari fluviísque vicini. Nobis prorò Nilus cum in plerisque rebus nobis salutaris est, [Page 219] tum hujusmodi à nobis arcet exitium. Quando verò Dii aquarum colluvione sordes terrarum diluunt, pastores ovium atque bubulci qui juga montium habitant, periculum illud evadunt; vestrae autem civitates in planitie sitae, impetu flumi­num ad mare rapiuntur: Sed in nostra regione neque tunc, neque alias unquam aqua in agros supernè descendit; contra verò sursum è visceribus terrae scaturit: quamobrem antiquissimarum rerum apud nos monumenta servantur. Proinde, ubicunque nec imbrium tempestas nimia, nec incendium ingens contingit, licèt alias plures, alias pauciores, semper tamen homines sunt. Quaecunque verò sive à nostris, sive à vestris, sive aliis nationibus gesta sunt memoratu digna, modo ad aures nostrorum pervenerunt, nostris in templis descripta servantur. Apud vos quidem & alias gentes res gestae nuper literis monumentísque traduntur, sed certis temporum curriculis illuvies immensa coelitus omnia populatur; ideo qui succedunt, & literis & Musis orbati sunt: quo fit, ut quasi juvenes iterum sitis, & rudes, praeteritarum rerum omnium prorsus ignari. Nam & ea ipsa quae modo ex vestris historiis recensentur, à fabulis puerilibus parum distant; primò, quod unius tantum inundationis memineritis, cum multae praecesserint; deinde, quod genus majorum vestrorum in regione vestra clarissimum ignoretis: ex quo, tu, & Athenienses cateri nati estis, exiguo semine quondam publicae cladi superstite: quod propterea vos latuit, quia superstites illi eorúmque posteri, literarum usu multis seculis caruerunt. Then he tells him of the Building of Athens by the Goddess Athena, 9000 Years since, ex terra & Vulcano accipiens semina: the great Wars between them and the Inhabitants of the vast Island Atlantis, greater than Lybia and Asia: the swallowing up of that Island by an Earthquake, Jugíque unius diei & noctis illuvione. After­wards Timaeus begins, and proceeds with his Narrative touching the Pro­duction of the Universe, and therein particularly of Mankind, which I shall have occasion hereafter to mention.

Thus this great Master seems to countenance the Supposition of the vicissitudes of Conflagrations and Floods, especially of the latter, certis temporum curriculis; and thereby the excessive multiplication of Mankind corrected, and the vicissitudes of Arts and Laws interrupted, lost, re­stored, and repaired: Only he supposeth Egypt free from those Floods and Conflagrations; though it seems necessary; that if Inundations prevailed in Greece and those upper Countries, Egypt, that seems to lye much lower, could not easily escape them, though they have no Rain that might occasion them. But the Priest mingles some strange and improbable Stories with his Supposition of those Vicissitudes.

Aristotle the Scholar of Plato differed much from his Master: 1. In his manner of writing, which was much more steady and severe than the Writings of Plato, who mingled Poetical Fancies with the things he delivered, and seems very uncertain and unresolved in most things of great importance. 2. In his Position; for Plato seems not to hold at least the Elementary World Eternal, though very Ancient: But Aristotle, following rather the Opinion of Ocellus Lucanus, and not being able to digest those many difficulties he found in the Hypotheses of the Inception of the World, supposeth it Eternal, and an eternal consistency in the state it now stands; but not without some partial, successive and periodical Changes in the Elementary World.

And therefore in this Supposition of the successive partial Floods or Inundations, and Conflagrations, whereby great Changes happen, [Page 220] and a fair Corrective and Reduction of the Excess of Mankind, he much agrees with Plato. And he gives us a large and learned Account of his Judgment herein, Lib. 1. Meteor. cap. 14. in these Words; Eadem terrae loca neque semper fluida, neque semper arida sunt, sed pro fluminum ortu aut defectu, faciem mutant suam: Quamobrem diversitas inter Mare & Continen­tem existit, nec perpetuo alia pro Continenti, alia pro Mari habentur; sed ubi terra aliquando patuit, mare superfunditur; & ubi nunc mare, terra exaggera­batur. Suspicaríque debemus, haec omnia ita fieri ordine quodam & ambitu; horum autem principium causáque existit, quod interiores quoque telluris partes, perinde atque animantium plantarúmque corpora, juventutem atque senectutem habeant. Verum istis haec per partem subire nequaquam contingit, sed simul totum javenescat aut senescat necesse est: Terrae particulatim hoc idem ob frigus & calorem accidit; haec igitur accrescere simul ac decrescere propter Solis calo­rem conversionémque assolent. Then he proceeds to shew, how that succes­sively some parts of the Earth grow moorish or watrish, others dry, where it becomes barren; Fountains and Rivers decay, and sometimes break out in other places; that this makes Changes in the Sea and Land. At quia omnis quae circa terram fit generatio non nisi successione & tempore, respectu vitae nostrae quam longo, fieri solet, ista nobis haudquaquam adverten­tibus fiunt. Atque prius universae gentes intereunt pereúntque, quàm horum mutatio ab initio ad finem usque memoriâ teneri queat: Maximas itaque celerrimásque clades praelia advehunt, alias morbi, nonnullas sterilitates; & hae quasdam statim magnas, quasdam lentas adeò, ut talium quoque gentium trans­migrationes nos lateant, propterea quod alii regionem deserant, alii eo usque sustinent, quoad nullam amplius multitudinem alere regio queat. Inter primam igitur novissimámque loci derelictionem, tempora interveniant adeò longa par est, ut nemo meminisse possit; imò incolumibus etiamnum hisoe qui remanserint, longi temporis injuriâ oblivio irrepserit. Eodem autem modo latere existiman­dum est quando primùm singuli populi, quae permutata essent & arida à palustri­bus aquosísve facta, inhabitare coeperint. Then he gives Instance in Egypt; Etenim locus ille totáque regio, quae fluminis tantum invectu nata est, semper aridior fieri videtur: That all the Ostia Nili, except one, were made by Art, and not by the River: That anciently Egypt was no more but the City of Thebes; which he proves out of Homer; shews, that in the time of Troy that part of Greece inhabited by the Argivi was Marish, and had but few Inhabitants, but now become fruitful and populous: That part of Greece inhabited by the Miceni was fruitful and populous, now become barren. Quod igitur in isto loco, qui parvus, accidit, hoc idem etiam circa loca magna accidere censeamus oportet. That there is no cause to conceive the Sea less than formerly; for though some places sometimes covered with Water, are added to the Continent, yet in other places the Sea hath gained upon the Land. Attamen hujusce rei causa ad mundi gene­rationem haudquaquam referenda; ridiculum enim foret ob parvas brevésque mutationes Universum moveri asserere. Porrò, Terrae moles atque magnitudo ad totum Coelum nihil profectò est. Verum horum omnium causam existimemus oportet, quod ut elapsis certis temporum spatiis, inter anni tempora hyems; ita magno quodam circuitu hyems magna, & imbrium excessu sieri solet: at hic non semper eisdem in locis efficitur, sed perinde ut vocatum dilivium quod tempore Dencalionis accidit; etenim hoc circa Graeciam maximè, & eam po­tissimam partem quam antiquam Hellada vocitant, factum est, &c. Cum autem [Page 221] necesse sit quandam mutationem esse Universi, non tamen ortum & interitum; siquidem ipsum maneat necesse est non semper eadem loca mari, aut amnibus humectari atque siccescere, quod reipsa quae fieri solet liquidò constat. And concludes, That Egypt, Cujus homines antiquissimos esse diximus, is nothing but a Production of the River Nilus, that is lower than the Red Sea; and therefore that Sesostris and Darius gave over that Attempt of cutting the Neck of Land between the Red Sea and Egypt, for fear of drowning that Country: That the Lake Moeotis is shallower, and not able to bear Ships of that burthen as it did 60 Years before, by reason of the Slime carried thither, which will in time dry it up: That Lakes grow by the exaggeration of Sand by the Sea, which Lakes in time grow dry: That Tanais or Nilus and all other Rivers were sometime dry Land, and did not run where now they do. At verò si amnes habent ortum & occasum, nec semper eadem terrae loca scatent aquis, ipsum quoque mare simili modo mutari oportet, quod cum assiduè alia deserat, alia invadat, patet universae terrae tractus eosdem hos Mare, illos Continentem non esse, sed tempore cuncta per­mutari.

I have mentioned these places of these Masters of Learning and Reason the more at large, not only because they herein give the sharpest Objections against the necessity of a Temporary Beginning of Mankind, by applying these Suppositions as Correctives or Reductions of the excess of the Generation of Men and Animals; but also they do discover herein some things that are useful in this Inquiry: For Instance, 1. It appears hereby that the Inventions of Arts, Sciences, and Laws might be far more ancient than those times that Historians gave for their Invention: for they might be in other Places or Ages, and either by a successive rotation brought from one place to another; or if they were lost, yet succession of Ages might retrive new Discoveries of them again. 2. We have a plain detection of the means whereby possibly the American People might have their deduction from the Europeans or Asiaticks; be­cause it is not impossible but the Continents might be in some Ages or other contiguous, though now disjoyned by the mutations of the situations of Seas; though the certain times of those Changes are not transmitted by History to our Age. 3. That the ancient Histories of things, by Depopulations, Wars, Famines, Inundations, Transmi­grations of People, and other Accidents may be lost in after Ages, which possibly in former Ages might be known, and some Monuments thereof than extant, which are now obliterated and forgotten.

Thus far concerning these Reductives by Inundations and Confla­grations, out of the Princes of the Academical and Peripatetical Philo­sophers: We shall find the like Suppositions frequently among the Stoicks, Seneca may be an Instance for all that Sect, only these vary from the former: for although they do with the former admit and instance in temporary and partial Inundations by Earthquakes and other Accidents, de quibus vide Senecam. l. 3. Nat. Quaest. de Terrae motu: yet these go farther, and suppose Universal Deluges and Conflagarations, which will quite alter the whole Frame of this lower World, and the whole Face thereof. See the Rhetorical Description thereof, Senec. in sine lib. 3. Nat. Quaest. Qua ratione inquis? Eadem qua conflagratio futura est; utrumque fit cum Deo visum ordiri meliora, vetera finire. Aqua & ignis terrenis dominatur; ex [Page 222] his ortus, ex his interitus. And out of Berosus assigns the Times and Pe­riods of these Universal Deluges and Conflagrations: Arsura enim terrena, quando omnia sidera quae nunc diversos agunt cursus in Cancrum con­venerint, sic sub eodem posita vestigio ut recta linea exire per omnes omnium possit: Inundationem futuram cum eadem siderum turba in Capricornum conve­nerit; illìc solstitium, hîc bruma confinitur. But yet he supposeth a Restitution of the World after these Destructions: Nec ea semper licentia undis erit, sed peracto exitio humani generis, extinctísque pariter feris in quarum homines ingenia transierant, iterum aquas terra sorbebit; natura pelagus stare, aut intra terminos furere coget, rejectus è nostris sedibus in sua secreta pelletur Oceanus, antiquus ordo revocabitur: omne ex integro animal generabitur, dabi­túrque terris homo inscius scelerum, & melioribus auspiciis natus: sed illis quoque innocentia non durabit nisi dum novi sunt, citò nequitia subrepit; virtus diffi­cilis inventu est, rectorem ducémque desiderat; etiam sine magistro vitia discuntur.

I shall spare mentioning any more to this purpose, though many more Instances may be given out of the Philosophers of all Sects, and Poets, as Ovid and others.

Only I shall subjoyn these two Inquiries, and so conclude this Ob­jection.

1. Whence it is that these Ancients had these Conjectures touching these Floods and Conflagarations, so as to frame them into an Hypothesis either for the Castigation of the Excesses of Generation, as Aristotle and Plato; or to the total Dissolution thereof, as the Stoicks; and the means that wrought this Perswasion seem to be these:

1. The things that seem to prevail with the Academicks and Peripate­ticks for these Partial Floods and Conflagrations, seem to be those dark and obscure Histories of the things of that nature which had twice before happened in Greece: Namely, for Floods, the Tradition of the Diluvium Ogygium, or Diluvium antiquius, which is supposed by Chronology to be under Ogyges King of Attica, about 1000 Years before the first Olympiad; about 248 Years before the Flood of Deucalion in Thessaly; about 532 after the General Flood in the time of Noah; and about the 2951 Year of the Julian Period, and of the World 2187, though there is some va­riation among the Computations of Chronologers. This was a Partial Flood, as it seems, in Attica, part of Greece. 2. Diluvium Deucalionis, which was also Partial, and about 248 Years after the former, in the time of Cecrops first King of Athens, or as others, in the time of Cranaus his Son: This is that mentioned by Plato and Aristotle, that drowned a great part of Greece, only some saved by Deucalion by bringing them to the top of Parnassus: And out of the History of Moses touching the Uni­versal Flood, and the History of Deucalion, Ovid made up his first Book, attracting in a great measure to the latter what was written of the former by Moses.

And for Conflagrations; they had two traditional Conflagrations in and near Greece, which might give some countenance to this Perswasion: namely, 1. That of Phaeton, Incendium Phaetontis, which seems not to be long after the Flood of Deucalion, though much of the Relation thereof, as the Grecians, and Ovid after them made, was a Poetical Fiction; yet it seems it had something of reality in it, as is observed by Plato, ubi supra. [Page 223] 2. Idae Incendium, which was no great business, but an Eruption of Fire out of the Hill Ida, as now in Etna: this was about 73 Years after the Flood of Deucalion.

2. As to the Stoicks, who held Universal Inundations and Confla­grations, possibly they might have the former of these from the Traditio­nal Relation of the Universal Flood of Noah, which Relation they be­lieved, and upon that founded their Supposition of the like Inundations; being acquainted with the History of the Flood, but not with the Cove­nant that God made never to bring a Flood again. 2. As to that of the Universal Conflagration of the World, it seems it was a known, ancient and received Tradition among the Jews before our Saviour's time, re­inforced by him and his Disciples: This seems to be implied in that Pro­phecy of Enoch, Jude 14. and by ancient Tradition, either from Noah or the ancient Jews this Perswasion might be Traditionally derived to the Gentiles, and believed by the Stoicks.

2. It appears by what hath been before transcribed, That these Philo­sophers supposed those Inundations and Conflagrations to be at great distances of times, and yet to be in some sort Periodical, and with a kind of stated Revolutions. Plato supposeth his Floods to be certis tempo­rum curriculis: Aristotle supposeth his Floods to be also Periodical, Haec omnia fieri ordine quodam & ambitu; and again, Magno quodam circuitu hyems magna & imbrium excessus fiunt, bearing some proportion to our Season of the Solar Year. Therefore it may be fit to consider what kind of Year this must be wherein this Hyems magna is supposed to happen.

Seneca as before hath given us out of Berosus some description of the Periods, namely, when all the Planets shall meet in one streight Line drawn from the Center of the Earth to the Tropick of Cancer, then the great Conflagration shall happen; and again, when they meet in the like position under the Tropick of Capricorn, then the Universal Deluge shall happen. So that these two Conjunctions divide that Annus magnus into two parts, and the Summer-Solstice thereof shall be for Conflagration, the Winter-Solstice for the Inundation, or that Magna hyems which Ari­stotle hath assigned for his Periodical Inundations. But what is that Magnus annus wherein these Revolutions must happen, or what number of Solar Years it contains is uncertain, some assigning a Period that seems too short, some a Period of a wonderful length.

Censorinus, de Die Natali, cap. 10. speaking of this Magnus annus whereof Aristotle's Winter seems to make the Conclusion, gives us several Estimates of the same, some making them 2484 Years, others 5552 Years, others 10224 Years, others 100020, others 360000 Years, and others supposing it Infinite, and that such a Conjunction will never happen.

Macrobius in Somn. Scipionis, lib. 2. cap. 11. both describes and determins this Magnus annus to be when all the Heavenly Bodies shall return to the same position as they were in any time given, which he resolves to be 15000 Years, in which all the Heavenly Bodies shall be in the same position as they were 15000 Years before. So that if we should assign the Caput anni to be [...] this Day and Year wherein I write, at the end of 15000 Years all the Heavenly Bodies will be in the same position that how they are; this he calls Annus mundanus.

Josephus, lib. 1. Antiquitat. cap. 4. in fine, determins that the Magnus annus [Page 224] is 600 Years; and yet the Flood happened not till 1656 Years from the Creation; which according to the Supposition therefore of Aristotle should be the Magnus annus, and that Year the Winter-Solstice thereof.

Plato supposeth that the Magnus annus animarum is 12000 Years, for in that Period the Soul hath run through all the Spheres and Dances of the Gods and Daemons, and returns to its first Station; and the Annus magnus mundanus consists of three of those Periods, namely, 36000 Years, wherein the Soul of the World hath performed its great Circuit, or one Revolution of the eighth Sphere: vide Marsil. Ficin. prolog. in lib. 10. Platonis de Republica: and then not only all the Heavenly Bodies will be just in the same position in which they were 36000 Years before, but all Humane things will be in the same state as they were.

Alter erit tum Typhis, & altera quae vehet Argo
Dilectos heroes; & erunt itidem altera bella,
Ad Trojámque iterum magnus mittetur Achilles.

The Egyptians had their great Apocatastases; viz. 1. Apocatastasis die­rum, which was 1461 Days: 2. Apocatastasis annorum aequabilium, which was 1461 Years: 3. Their Apocatastasis magna, consisting of 25 Apocata­stases annorum, which amounted to 36525 equable Years; which was their Magnus annus canicularis, whereunto Manetho accommodates his fabulous Egyptian Dynasties.

There seems to be another Annus magnus, viz. the Motion of the ninth Sphere or Chrystallin Heaven, from West to East; which though some to make it agree with the Magnus annus Platonicus suppose to be 1 Degree every 100 Years, in all performing its Revolution in 36000 Years, according to the great Platonick Year; yet Alphonsus allows a greater number of Years to that Revolution, viz. 49000 Years: and others I think more. But I think that we shall not be able to fit the Seasons of this Year to the Magna hyems Aristotelica, or his Winter-quarter; because 1. We know not whether any of these, or any other that can be found, will suit with these Instances upon which it may be thought he grounds his Supposition; for the Incendium Phaetontis and the Flood of Deucalion happened very near one the other, as also the Incendium Idae: and be­sides, if that Flood of Deucalion had faln within the Winter-quarter of any of these Anni magni, it would have had a longer Influence upon the World, and extended at least successively to all the several Parts thereof. For the Winter-quarter of the Magnus annus Platonicus, if it had any thing of proportion to our Seasons, must have been a fourth part of that Magnus annus; and then it had lasted above 8000 Years: But howsoever it must upon the lowest Account have lasted a thirty sixth part, viz. 1000 Years; and then the Effects thereof would certainly have been more permanent and extensive than to one or two Floods in Greece. 2. Again, could we know the extent of this Magnus annus, yet we can never find the Caput anni, when it begins, and consequently cannot possibly assign any probable Period for the Seasons of it; unless we shall fondly with Virgil suppose it began with the Birth of his Patron Pollio's Son, ‘Jam redit & virgo, redeunt Saturnia rgna.’

[Page 225]Again, these must needs be meerly Conjectures, and can have no possible Evidence because meerly depending upon Fact and Experience: it is not possible that any Man, or any Age of Men can give us any Account of any one Revolution of this Magnus annus, which amounts to 36000 Years.

Therefore it seems difficult, and utterly uncertain to suppose those Inundations and Conflagrations to be Periodical in any proportion to any supposed time or duration.

And thus far touching the urging of this Expedient for the Reduction or Correction of the Excesses of the Generations of Men or Animals, by Periodical Floods or Conflagrations; which though the Generations of Men were supposed Eternal, might Regulate and Reduce their Num­bers when beginning to be immoderate, as our annual Winters correct the excrescence of Insects, whose multiplication is far more excessive than that of Men, and would apppear so, if we had a perpetual Summer; yet are reduced to a mediocrity and due equability by the vicissitudes of Winter Cold and Rain.

CAP. X. The farther Examination of the precedent Objection.

I Have been the longer in the Explication and Inforcement of the for­mer Objection, because as the necessary and sensible Multiplication of Mankind upon the face of the Earth by the ordinary course of Natural Generation, seems to be the most sensible Evidence of Fact against the Eternal Succession of Mankind; so the Reductives mentioned in the fore­going Chapter seemed with most Evidence of Sense to weaken the Infe­rence upon that Observation, and by the Supposition of those continual or interpolated Correctives to render the possibility of an eternal con­sistence of Propagations of Men, yet without an over-charging of the World with a multitude inconsistent with its reception.

I shall now descend to the Examination of these supposed Correctives of the excess of the number of Mankind, and how far the same may be true; or if true, how far the same may be, or hath been effectual to that end.

Wherein, first I shall set down what is to be agreed touching the same, and wherein we differ from that Supposition of the efficacy, or available­ness, or accommodation, or suitableness of these Reductives to the end proposed, namely, to the containing of the Generations of Mankind in such an equability and proportion as may be consistent with an Eternal Succession of them.

Touching the first of these things it must be agreed, 1. That there have been great Devastations and Decrements of Mankind by all or many of the Means mentioned in the former Chapter, namely, Plagues and Epi­demical Diseases, Famines, and Sterilities of great parts of the World; Wars and Internecions, not only in Battels and Fights, but even in Per­secutions [Page 226] and Massacres, witness the great cruelty of the persecuting Emperours against the Christians, the cruelty of the Spaniards among the Indians, the violent bloodsheds of the Papists upon the Protestants, as the late and former Instances abundantly testifie: And also by Floods and Inundations, especially that Universal Deluge in the time of Noah, which probably did sweep away as great multitudes of Mankind as are now existing upon the Earth, considering what a Product might arise in the compass of 1656 Years, the interval between the Creation and the Flood upon the shortest Account, though the Septuagint render it much longer: and it is not easie to judge to what a Sum Mankind might arise to in such a Period, considering the great longevity of Man's Life in those times; only it is plain that it must needs arise to a greater proportion than thrice so long a Period would yield, when Mens Ages were reduced to less than a tenth part of the same longevity.

2. It is certain, that were it not for such Reductives as these above mentioned, though we should suppose that the Capita humani generis were only Noah and his three Sons, and that the Generations of Mankind began since the Universal Flood, yet the multitudes of Mankind would in this Period since the Flood have risen to such an excrescence, that according to the ordinary method of Propagation (though the Lives of Men were no longer than now they are) that the Earth would not have been able to have received its Inhabitants.

3. It is also therefore evident, that the most wise and glorious God hath used these Means above mentioned for most wise and excellent Ends. For it is the high Prerogative and Advantage of his infinite Wisdom, to bring about complicated and various excellent Ends in one and the same act of the dispensation of his Providence, by Plagues, Wars, Earthquakes and Floods (all which are at least permitted if not inflicted, but how­soever most wisely and infallibly governed by him) he punisheth the Sins and Enormities of Mankind, and reduceth the World to such a due proportion as may be consistent with their convenience and reception in this Earth: And for this cause, while the World was but thin and empty of Inhabitants, the Ages of Mankind were longer, and more accommodated to the peopling of the World; and as the World grew by that means fuller, so their Lives were successively reduced to a shorter scantlet, till they came to that ordinary Age and time of Life which now they have, and for near 4000 Years have held.

4. Therefore also it must be granted, that the apparent Multiplication of Mankind upon the face of the Earth singly considered, is not any Demonstration or Apodictical Argument against the Eternity of Man­kind: Since, as it is most evident, that there is a most wise and powerful God, who hath a care of the Inferior World as well as the Superior, and whose Providence (notwithstanding the contrary Sentiments of Aristotle) reacheth below the Moon, and governs the World with much more Accuracy and Wisdom than a Gardiner orders his Garden: I say, since the Regiment of the World, and especially of Mankind, is so actually under the Care, Wisdom, and Power of Almighty God, he that for near 6000 Years by those Methods of his Providence above mentioned hath kept the World of Mankind in a due proportion and equability, which otherwise would have grown too great for its reception; could have [Page 227] interposed with the like Correctives for twenty thousand Years as well as six, and for a million or other interminate duration for the time past or to come; and so have prevented that enormous excrescence of Man­kind, that in an infinite time or duration would have long since surchar­ged the World; and upon a Supposition of a future Sempiternity would produce the same difficulty, without such interposition of the Divine Wis­dom and Providence.

But all this while it must still be remembred, that this Supposition still takes in the Wisdom, Providence and Regiment of the glorious God; for without an intelligent Rector of the World, that ex intentione thus orders the Affairs of Mankind, these Reductives either barely, as accidental, or contingent, or periodical and necessary, were not equal nor competent Reductives of the Generations of Men, but would be too much or too little, or unseasonable in time, place, measure, or other Circumstances for such a Business, as shall be shewn.

We therefore are not enquiring what the wise and glorious God might or could do in order to the equable Reduction of the World, upon a Supposition of an Eternal Duration; but we are upon a Question of Fact indeed, namely, What he hath done, and whether upon the Supposition of all those Reductives instanced in the former Chapter, at least without the wise and intelligent Regiment of God, they have been, or well could be: considering the nature and course of things of that efficacy to cor­rect the increase and excess of Mankind, that may render it competible with an Eternal Duration.

I therefore shall now come to the things I oppose, and they are these two; viz. 1. That these Means considered simply in themselves (without the Conduct and Guidance and Interposition of the mighty God) are in themselves incompetent and unsuitable to the Ends proposed: and 2. That de facto they have appeared to be so; and notwithstanding their admission, yet de facto the World hath in all Ages increased.

Touching the former of these, the Incompetency of these Expedients to the End proposed (considered singly in themselves) this will best appear by induction of particulars.

For Famines, they are de facto incompetent to these Ends: for 1. There was never yet known a Universal Famine, but the defects of one Country supplied by another, as Canaan was by Egypt. 2. It is ordinarily not sudden but gradual, and foreseen before felt in the extremity, which gives People opportunity of transmigrations. 3. Though the ordinary supplies fail, yet necessity makes Men ingenious and hardy, and if they have but Land­room or Sea-room, they find some supplies for their hunger which they did not before think of or use; though it be otherwise in a close Siege, but that is but a narrow compass, and not of moment to be compared to the mul­titudes abroad.

2. Plagues are indeed a sharp and speedy Visitation, yet it hath these Allays: 1. Many there are that are able to escape it by Flights, some by Physick, and some by their Age and Complexion. 2. It is not ordinarily of long continuance, the strength of the Disease seldom continuing longer than a Year. 3. Though the Desolation be terrible while it lasts, yet it rarely consumes one half of the Inhabitants. The late Compu­tation of the Number of the Inhabitants, Men, Women and Children in [Page 228] the City of London and the 16 and 10 Out-Parishes are estimated at 384000, and about six Millions in the whole Kingdom of England. 2. The greatest Plagues in our remembrance have not swept away above 100000 at most in London and the Suburbs: Indeed that before mentioned by Walsingham, which was in a manner Universal, and successively in several places of the World lasted about 15 Years, is said to be so great, that scarce a tenth part of People survived it; yet if it left a tenth part, sup­pose in England, it left near a Million of People, which in a little time would and did recover and increase considerably, as shall be shewn. 4. Again, suppose the Devastation by Plagues greater than History gives us an Account, yet it is for the most part a Disease that reigns in some times and some places, it may fall in those places where the numbers are already too small, and need an Increase. And so taken singly by it self, is incompetent and unsuitable to the Excess, unless managed by the wise Conduct of Almighty God.

3. Touching Wars and Internecions. It is true, it hath been a great Consumption of Mankind, but yet it is not an equal Corrective of the Excess of Generations: 1. Though such have happened, and frequently, yet they seem against the nature and disposition of Mankind, ordinarily and in a course of Humane Constitution: Naturally Mankind is a sociable Creature, and more than Bees, as the Philosopher observes; and though sometimes Passions, Jealousies and Politick ends produce Wars, yet na­turally Man is not a Creature of prey upon others, as Lions and Tigers are. 2. Ordinarily, though Wars are by one Kingdom or State upon another, yet they preserve their own Societies with increase under Forein Wars; and therefore Civil Wars as they are more destructive, so they are more rare, because they are more unnatural and destructive to that which Men usually are careful to preserve, namely, their own Societies. 3. It seems an improper and unsuitable Corrective, because Accident and the Wills of Men have so great an Influence in the production of Wars; whereby it may fall out that Wars may happen in those Ages, Times or Places, and consequently, Devastations upon them where or when they need not to correct. And though it be true, that a Plethory or Excess of Numbers of Men, sometimes by a kind of Natural or at least Moral Consequence cause Wars, yet we have hardly known any produced singly upon that Account; though it hath oftentimes occasioned Transmigrations, deductions of Colonies, and new Plantations; and the World hath been never yet so full, but a weaker or oppressed Party have sound room to retreat from the violence or insolence of their Oppres­sors.

4. Touching Floods and Conflagrations. It is true that Almighty God as he manageth the forementioned Reductives by his Wisdom and Providence, so he hath done these especially in that Universal Deluge: But as they are instanced in by the Philosophers as Natural or Periodical Events whereby Mankind is reduced to an equability, we have no reason to believe them. Therefore I say, 1. That there doth not appear, either in History or in the Observation of Nature, any such Periodical Floods or Conflagrations; those that we have Relations of happened indeed near together, and in the same Country, viz. in Greece, had they been Periodical or Natural, probably either by a continued Circulation or Rotation, or [Page 229] else by the interposition of some reasonable intervals, the like would have happened before in Persia or some Easterly parts of Asia, or since in Italy or Germany, or some other Western parts of the World, which we have not observed to be. And therefore this Supposition of the Hyems magna, whereby parts of the Earth should be successively drowned, seems to be only an Imagination, or at least it cannot be known with any tolerable certainty; in as much as the Periods are supposed to be vast, and not happening within any competent time to give us an Observation or Proof thereof. And therefore although we yearly see a reduction of the numerous increase of Insects, by the Winter Frost and Storms yearly happening; we have no warrant from thence to imagin that great Win­ter that must make the like reduction of Men and Brutes; for every Year gives us Experience of the one, but never any Age gave us any reasonable Observation, upon which to build an Hypothesis of the like Perio­dical Revolution of the other: and the same I say touching Conflagrations. Indeed there have been accidental and particular Instances of both, but not any Periodical Return or Revolutions thereof, quasi in quodam ambitu & circuitu naturali. 2. If such were supposed, yet unless they were very sudden, and very general, they would not be sufficient to make the Cor­rection: Men would escape Floods by running up to Mountains and Hills, and though some might perish through improvidence, or though the suddenness of a Deluge, many would escape. 3. Natural and Periodi­cal Floods or Conflagrations would not be sutable nor commensurate to the Increase, which depending either upon Accidents or the Wills of Men, would possibly be more in one place than in another: The Country of Palestine would be more peopled than the Sands and Desarts of Arabia, Egypt than the Mountains of Ethiopia; and fruitful Countries, or Countries open to Trade, and safe from Incursions and Invasions; more populous than barren Countries, or such as are out of the way of Trade, or subject to Inroads: But Natural and Periodical Floods or Conflagrations would probably keep some constant or ordinary Tract or Course, either from East to West, or from North to South; and possibly keeping in such a Climate or Latitude, possibly in another; whereby possibly these Plagues might be more fierce in those places or Continents where the World wants People, and less vehement in those places where there needs a Corrective for their excess: If these should be Universal, they would destroy the Race of Mankind; if Partial, they would be perchance weak and insignificant Reductives of the excess of Mankind.

When all therefore is done, though it be plain that these and the like Calamities are certain Reductives of the excess of Mankind, yet they are incompetent of themselves, and upon a bare Supposition of Natural or Accidental Effects. But it is true, as they are either brought and in­flicted, or managed and governed by a most wise and intelligent Being, they are useful, and wisely applied to this End among others.

But in the whole management and conduct of these Events and Oc­currences whereby Mankind hath been reduced and corrected, we shall observe very easily that Mankind hath still increased, and the World grown fuller, even to manifest Sense and Experience, which was the second thing I propose to be considered.

2. Therefore I do affirm, That notwithstanding all these Ordinary [Page 230] and Extraordinary Occurrences that have afflicted Mankind, as shortness of Life, divers Casualties and common Diseases, loss of Men by Naviga­tion, the Intemperance and Luxury of Mankind, the Weaknesses and destructive Sicknesses incident especially to Infancy, Childhood, and Youth, Abortions voluntary or accidental, and all those ordinary Casual­ties incident to our nature. And notwithstanding also those great and vast Consumptions by Famine, by Pestilence, by strange and Epidemi­cal Diseases, by Wars and Battels, Sea-fights, Internecions, Massacres and Persecutions, Earthquakes, Floods, Inundations, Conflagrations, or what other extraordinary or terrible and universal Accidents that have happened to Mankind in any or all the Ages past since the Flood of Noah; Mankind hath notwithstanding all these increased and grown fuller, the Generations of Mankind have exceeded their Decays.

And because this is an Assertion of Fact, it is impossible to be made out but by Instances of Fact.

And although it be impossible for any Man to give an Account of all the Nations of the World collectively, and so to make out the Fact; yet if the Instance can be made out in one or two Nations, whereof a true and clear Account may be given, it will be more than a common probability that the same may be concluded concerning the generality of Mankind.

And therefore I shall single out the Instances of two Nations, touching whom the clearest Account of their Original and Increase may be given, and such also as had as great an Experience of the severest of these Cor­rectives, and possibly much greater than any determinate People or Nation in the World besides.

The first Instance I shall give is the Nation of the Jews, and I choose this People for my Instance, 1. Because their first Original, and the time wherein it began is most clearly, evidently, and unquestionably known, and the time wherein it was. 2. Because their several Increases and Abatements and Successions, with the several times thereof, even down to the last Dissolution of their City under Titus, is most clearly by a continued History plainly and authentically discovered. 3. Because by the strange and admirable Providence of God, even since the Dissolution of their State and Republick they have been to this day continued a sepa­rated People from the rest of the World; notwithstanding their re­markable dispersion among all Nations, among whom they have yet remained distinct as a signal Monument of the Divine Truth and Justice, and for what other secret ends and purposes, is best known to the Divine Wisdom. 4. Because this People hath been in all Ages exercised with as many Plagues and Slaughters and Devastations of all sorts, as ever any People under Heaven were. And 5. Because the particulars of these Devastations, and the several Times and Ages wherein they happened, and oftentimes the Numbers cut off thereby are Recorded by the several Authentical Histories of that People, which are extant to this day. And 6. Because their Increase even at this day, as in their several ante­cedent Periods, is signal and evident to all the World. So that what is verified touching the Increase of that People, may in all congruity of Reason be assumed and determined much more touching any other People, and all the People in the World: since none had ever greater Instances [Page 231] of Abatements or Correctives of the Excess of their Number than this People. Lastly, Because there can be no pretence that their decays or diminutions by those Occurrences were supplied by the accession and conjunction of others of other Nations to them: Since it was their Pri­viledge in which they gloried, and which they strictly and religiously observed, To keep themselves separate and distinct from the rest of Mankind.

I shall not be scrupulous or curious in the Chronological niceties touching their several Periods, because in this and other Computations that I have used I do not aim at curious or precise Computations, but only to shew the Order and Series of Things for the discovery of what I intend; and therefore shall take the Account of Helvicus, as being plainest and readiest at hand for my purpose.

Isaac and Rebecca were the two next immediate Parents of all the Fa­milies of Esau and the Edomites, and Jacob and the Israelites.

In the Year of the World 2108 were Jacob and Esau Born: I shall leave the Families of Esau, and carry down that of Jacob.

In the Year of the World 2238 Jacob goes down into Egypt, having then 70 Persons descended from him; which Increase was in the compass of about 130 Years after the Birth of Jacob, and about 70 Years after his Marriage with Leah. Gen. 46.27.

The Israelites increase in Egypt, yet not without a great destruction of them by their severe Bondage, and by the Slaughter of their Males. Exod. 1.

In the Year of the World 2453 the People of Israel came out of Egypt, which was about 215 Years after the going down of Jacob to Egypt.

In a short time after the Migration of the Israelites out of Egypt they were numbred, and the Number of their Males that were above 20 Years old then amounted to Six hundred and three thousand, five hundred and fifty, besides the Levites; from a Month old amounting to 22000. Numb. 1.46. and 2.32. and 3.39. and if we should take into the number of the Eleven Tribes Women, and Children under 20 Years old, we should reasonably have more than triple the number, viz. above two Millions.

From this time to the time of Phinehas we have no certain estimate of their Numbers, yet in this Interval they had very great Abatements and Diminutions, as will appear by these Instances.

That all this number of People above 20 Years old, except Joshua and Caleb, died in the compass of their 40 Years wandering in the Wilderness, Num. 26.65. yet some of them could not exceed 60 Years of age.

Of the Plague 34000 in the Wilderness, besides the Complices of Corah: Numb. 16.49. and 25.49. besides those that died of Fiery Ser­pents. Numb. 21.

After the death of all that were before numbred, they were again numbred all except the Levites; and the Number of all the Males from 20 Years old and upwards, were Six hundred and one thousand, seven hundred and thirty: among these was the Land after divided by Joshua. Numb. 26.51, 53.

I do not remember any Numeration of the People from this time till the time of King David, and in that Interval that People suffered very great detriments.

[Page 232]1. By the Wars with the Canaanites under Joshua, wherein though they were victorious, yet it could not be without great loss of Men.

2. After this they endured in the time of the Judges great diminutions under the Kings of Mesopotamia, Canaan, the Midianites, the Philistims, the Ammonites, besides about 65000 Men slain in the Civil Wars with the Benjamites.

3. The Wars in the time of Saul, wherein though he was often victo­rious, yet at last he suffered a great Slaughter by the Philistims.

4. The Wars of David, both with Foreiners and the Rebellious in his own Kingdom; wherein though he were victorious, yet those Victories could not be obtained without great Losses: In the Business of Absalom 40000 of the Israelites slain and lost in one Battel, 2 Sam. 18.7. in the latter end of the Reign of David, about the Year of the World 2925, which was 435 Years after the Numbring of the People by Moses and Eleazar, David again Numbers the People, and then the Account of the People of Israel was 800000 valiant Men that drew the Sword, and of Judah 500000 valiant Men, 2 Sam. 24.9. in all 1300000 fighting Men: and if we should take in Women, Children, and Aged, it is probable they were above five Millions.

So that in the space of 435 Years, notwithstanding all these Decre­ments they were increased about three Millions.

The next Account of the Numbers of the Tribes of Judah and Ben­jamin only under Jehosaphat, 2 Chron. 17.14. and though in the interval between David and Jehosaphat these two Tribes received considerable Allays by Wars, Plagues, and Famines, yet the Number of the mighty Men of valour of Benjamin was 380000, and of the Tribe of Judah 780000 mighty Men of valour. The Increase of Judah between that and David's Numeration was 280000 fighting Men; and therefore the Increase of Women, Children, and Aged not fit for War, must needs be much greater and more considerable; and yet this was in a Period only of those Years that intervened between David and Jehosaphat.

After this the ten Tribes were carried away Captives by Salmanasser, 2 Kings 17. and only Judah and Benjamin remained: so that now all our Account must run upon these two Tribes, the rest being carried away, and probably confounded and mingled among the Gentiles. And if we consider what Calamities these two Tribes endured by Wars and Capti­vities from the time of Hezekiah until their deportation into Babylon, we may reasonably suppose that they had as great a Reduction as ordinarily could befall a People: Manasseh carried Captive to Babylon, which pro­bably was the issue of some great Siege or Battel; Josiah slain in Battel by Pharaoh King of Egypt; Jerusalem taken by Nebuchadnezzar in the 8th Year of Jehojachim, 2 Kings 24.12. again in the 9th Year of Zedekiah the City again besieged, and after two Years Siege and great Famine and Slaughter, taken. Jer. 39.12.

These severe Administrations of War could not be without great Desolations, Slaughters and Mortalities, though their Number is not recorded.

The People were carried away Captive to Babylon in the Year of the World 3362 or thereabouts, which was about 437 Years after the Reign of David; seventy Years after the Captivity, viz. about the Year of [Page 233] the World 3420, there was a Return of the Jews under Cyrus, which con­tinued in Partial Remigrations for some time after.

The numbers of those that returned first with Ezra were 42360, Ezra 2.64. this seems to be the greatest number: there were other Remi­grations in the time of Darius, and Artaxerxes, both in the 27th Year, though the certain number be not mentioned. We will therefore take scope enough, and suppose them in all 100000 Persons, which is more than double to those that came up with Ezra.

These continued in a troubled condition from the time of the cessation of the Persian Monarchy until the time of Christ, and rarely without Wars, as the History of the Maccabees gives us an account; especially under Antiochus Epiphanes, who made great slaughter of them.

After that, Pompey by Arms took Jerusalem and subdued Syria in general, not without great bloodshed; and as they were naturally an unquiet People, so the Histories tell us that the Romans and their Governours exercised great severity and bloodshed among them.

And yet for all these Correctives and Decrements of this unquiet People, Josephus tells us, that Nero willing to take some Account and Estimate of them by their great convention and concourse in their Paschal Solemnity, found their number to be Seven and twenty hundred thousand Persons, Joseph. de Bello Judaico, l. 7. pag. 968. where Strangers might not be mingled with them in that Solemnity.

The Destruction of Jerusalem under Titus and Vespasian is supposed to be under the 66th Year after the Birth of Christ, about the Year of the World 4006 which was about 586 Years after the Return under Cyrus: Josephus gives us an Account of those that were slain at the Siege of Jerusalem, viz. 110000, and Prisoners taken 90000, Joseph. lib. 7. cap. penult. besides the multitudes slain in Cyrene, Alexandria, and other places not easie to be remembred.

By which we may reasonably conclude, That in the Period of about 600 Years this Nation of the Jews increased to 27 times more than when they returned under Cyrus; for then we allow the number of them that returned to be 100000, but now they were increased to 2700000.

It is true, some of the Jews escaped this Slaughter and Captivity, suppose we the number of those that escaped were a Million of Jews, such I mean as held rigorously to their Jewish Law; for many became Christians, and left much of the Jewish strictness, and possibly mingled with other Nations.

But if we should now examin the multitude of the Jews in Europe, Asia and Africa, we shall find vast numbers of them in all the Trading Cities' and Countries except England, France, Spain, Portugal, Naples and Sicily, from whence they were formerly banished; yet even in those Countries from whence they have been banished, they are in great numbers, but yet under the disguise of other Names and Nations: But if all the Jews (I mean those descended from the Reduces captivitatis Babylonicae) which are in Germany, Bohemia, Poland, Lituania, Russia, Venice, Rome and other parts of Italy; in the Dominions of the Turks, Persia, Arabia, India, Africa, at Alexandria and other parts of Egypt, were collected into one Body, they would exceed in number any one of the greatest Nations of the World, and yield an irresistible Army, if they had Weapons and [Page 234] Courage in any measure proportionable to their Wealth, Craft, Subtilty, and Numbers.

So that notwithstanding all the Abatements and Decrements they have had by Wars, Oppressions and Internecions, Plagues, Famines, and other Calamities, we find the Product of one Nation derived from only two Persons, Isaac and Rebecca, in the compass of about 5000 Years swoln into incredible numbers of Millions of Persons now existing, and known to be of that Linage and Descent, and still continuing unquestionably in that Distinction, besides those multitudes derived from the Line of Esau, and the ten Tribes, which are as it were lest and confounded, without any distinction among other Nations. And thus far of the first Instance, concerning the Multiplication of the Nation of the Jews.

The next Instance that I shall give shall be nearer home; the Kingdom of England: I shall not give any Instance touching it before the Con­quest, because those times are dark, and besides, the Vicissitudes and Successions of various Nations in this Kingdom renders the discovery of the Progress of Generations of Men, or the Increases thereof, difficult; as Britons, Romans, Picts, Saxons, and Danes.

The ancient Inhabitants were the Britons, the Body of which People hath been in a great measure shut up and contained within the Country of Wales; but what by the transplanting of many of the Welsh into Eng­land, and by transplanting of the English into Wales, it is not possible to say that all the Britons are confined to the Country of Wales, or that none but Britons are there: and therefore there can be no particular or evident Conclusion made touching their Increase or Multiplication. But I shall take a shorter Period or Compass of Time, namely, the last 600 Years or thereabouts since the Norman Conquest.

And although it may be true, that many Persons of Forein Countries have come into England and planted themselves here, so that the whole Increase of this Kingdom cannot be singly attributed to those that were either Natives, or such as came in with the Conquerour, but many Scotc [...], Irish, Dutch, but especially French, either by Naturalizations or Transmigrations have increased the Inhabitants of this Island; yet con­sidering that probably the Migrations of the English into Scotland, Holland, France and other Countries, have made amends for their Migrations hither: We may make a reasonable Conjecture, that the Descendents from those that inhabited this Kingdom in the time of the Conquerour, have increased exceedingly above what they were in that time.

And the Evidence thereof is this: King William the First, after his Victory over Herald, did in the 16th Year of his Reign over England caule a Survey to be made of all the Cities, Towns, Mannors and in­habited Lands in England, Northumberland, Cumberland, Durham and North-Wales.

This Survey was finished in the 20th Year of his Reign, and the Book it self preserved to this Day among the Records of the Exchequer, not only a Transcript or Copy, but the very Original Book it self, and is called Doomsday: In this Book are entred the Names of the Mannors or inhabited Townships, Boroughs and Cities, and the Owner of them, the Number of Plough-Lands that each contains, and the Number of the Inhabitants upon them, under the several Names appropriate to those [Page 235] Places: As for Instance, Ibi 12 Burgenses, 5 Villani, 5 Bordarii, 5 Na­tivi, 5 Radiminches, 5 Cotterelli; and the like, according to the quality or condition of the Inhabitants: So that this Book in effect gives an Account not only of the Manurable Lands in every Mannor, Town, or Vill, but also of the Number and Natures of their several Inhabi­tants.

To make a Calculation of the Number of Plough-Lands and Inhabi­tants through all England, as they are recorded, and to make therewith a Comparison unto the present State and Number of Inhabitants at this Day throughout England, is a laborious piece of work, but it is not difficult to be done in any one County; I have tryed the Comparison in the County of Gloucester through some great Boroughs, as Gloucester it self, Thornbury, Tetbury and other places, and in effect through the whole County; and I do find,

1. That there are very many more Vills and Hamlets now than there were then, and very few Villages, Towns or Parishes then, which con­tinue not to this Day; but now there are as many as then, and many more. The 5th of March, 9 E. 2. there issued Writs to the Sheriffs of the several Counties, to return the Names of the several Vills and Land-Owners in their several Bayliwicks, which was accordingly done, and remains of Record in the Exchequer under the stile of Nomina Villarum; and the Sum of the Vills of Gloucestershire, together with the five Bo­roughs of Gloucester, Bristol, Berkley, Dursly, and Newenham amounted to 234, which I take it are more than are in Doomsday, and yet not so many as are at this day; and those that continue to this day, are far more popu­lous than they were at the taking of either of those Surveys.

2. That there is much more Tillage, and more Plough-Lands now than there were then; which happens by the reduction of many great Wasts and Commons into Tillage, or Meadow, or Pasture, which then were only Wasts, and therefore not particularly surveyed because of no con­siderable Value, and not taken notice of in that Survey.

3. That the number of Inhabitants now are above twenty times more than they were at that time, as well in particular Towns, Boroughs, and Mannors, as in the general extent of the County; and yet that Survey, even as to the number and quality of those that resided in those Towns or Mannors, at least as Housholders, is very precise and particular: I have not yet made an exact particular Calculation of the Number re­corded in that Book through the whole County, but I will give a few Instances of particular Towns, which may give an estimate touching the whole.

Gloucester is now a very great and populous City, formerly before the time of H. 8. a Borough: In the Survey of Doomsday it is surveyed distinct from the Bertun of Glouc': the gross of the Borough is surveyed together in the beginning of the County, but there are some other particular Burgages thereof mentioned under the Titles of particular Mens Pos­sessions; as, Terra Rogeri de Lacy, Terra Elnuffi de Hesding, &c. The whole concretion of the City of Gloucester consists partly of what was the ancient Borough, partly of accessions from the Mannors or Villages adjacent, as Barton and some others: I shall therefore cast up the whole Number of all that were in Gloc' or Barton.

[Page 236]

In the Survey of Gloucester there are reckoned 23 Burgages and Houses; 16 that were demolished for the building of the Castle, 14 that were wasted, and some that belonged to Osbertus Episcopus, not numbred, but yielded the yearly Rent of 10 Shillings; which according to the usual rate of the Houses in Gloucester at that time, which was at 5d or 6d a House, might produce 20 Houses, in toto,73.
Besides these, there are surveyed under the Titles of several Owners of Lands sparsim through the Book, as under the Title Terra S. Dionysii, Ecclesia S. Martini, and others, according to my best Computation and Observation,82.
Besides these under the Title of the Poffessions of St Peter of Glouc', there are reckoned up as many Burgenses as yielded the Abbot anciently the Rent of 19s and 5d, and 16 Salmons; but at that time 16 Salmons and 50s Rent, without any certain number of Burgesses; but if we allow 6d for a Burgess, we may suppose them to100.
The Total255.

The Mannor of Barton, or the Barton of Glouc', some part whereof hath been taken into the Suburbs of Glouc', was of two Owners; part was the King's Lands, part belonged to the Abbey of St Peters, but the whole number of the Housholders inhabiting the whole Barton, with its members, Tuffly, Barnwood, &c. were as followeth,

Liberi homines10
In toto128

And the Total of the whole Account of the City of Glouc', the Barton with its members; Brewere, Upton, Merwin, Barnwood, Tuffly, Norwent, amounted then only to

  • 383.

And the single City of Gloucester within the Walls contains at this day near 1000 Houses and Housholds.

Again, the Borough and Mannor of Barclay, with the members thereof enumerated in Doomsday, viz. Alkington, Hinton, Cam, Gosington, Dersiloge, Cowly, Ewly, Nimsfield, Wotton, Simondshall, Kingscote, Beverscote, Oselword, Almondsbury, part of Cromhall, Harefell, Weston, Elberton, Cromale, Erling­ham, Escelword are surveyed to contain in the whole to 590 Families, whereas at this time there are near 5000 Families in this Precinct; the Parish of Wotton yielding upon the point of 2000 Comunicants, and that of Dersilege above 500 at this day.

Again, Tetbury and the Hamlet of Upton belonging to it, the Survey of Doomsday gives us an Account of about 73 Families of all kinds be­longing to it: But now I believe there are little less than 1500 Commu­nicants in that Parish.

[Page 237] Sodbury: the Survey gives us an Account of about 46 Families of all sorts; they are now near twenty times so many.

Thornbury, with the Hamlets thereunto belonging: the Account of Doomsday is of 105 Families of all sores; there is now near six times so many.

Aderly, a little Village at the time of making of that Survey, consisting not of above 17 Families of all sorts; now above twice as many.

The like Instances might be produced, with the like evidence of very great Increases in the Towns of Cirencester, Minchin, Hampton, Teuxbury, Campden, Winchcomb, Avening, Westbury near Bristol, and generally through the whole County of Gloucester; which I do not without just reason suppose hath more than twenty times the Inhabitants which it had at the time of the coming in of William the First, which is not now above 604 Years since.

And if we should institute a later Comparison, viz. between the present time and the beginning of Queen Elizabeth, which is not above 112 Years since, and compare the numbers of Trained Souldiers then and now, the number of Subsidy-men then and now, they will easily give us an Account of a very great Increase and Multiplication of People within this Kingdom, even to admiration.

And let any man but consider the Increase of London within the com­pass of 40 or 50 Years, we shall according to the Observations framed to my hands find, That the In-Parishes until the late Fire in that time have increased from 9 to 10, or a 10th part; and that the 16 Out-Parishes have in that time increased from 7 to 12, and yet without any decrement or decay of the rest of the Kingdom.

By which, and infinite undeniable Instances that might be given, it is apparent, that within the compass of the last 600 Years this Kingdom hath increased mightily in its number of Native Inhabitants.

And yet it is most apparent, that it hath had as great Allays and Abate­ments of the Multiplication of Mankind in it, as any Kingdom in the World. For Instance,

1. In respect of the nature of its Situation, which is all Maritim, and consists much in Navigation, which exhausts abundance of People by Diseases and Casualties at Sea.

2. It hath been as often visited with sore Pestilences, Epidemical Dis­eases, and Mortality by reason thereof, as any Country: the experience of the last 60 Years gives us abundance of Instances thereof, and former Ages were as frequently visited in this kind as later.

3. Forein Wars, both at Sea and Land, have devoured great multitudes of our Inhabitants; as those formerly with Scotland, France, Spain, and lately with the Netherlands and French.

4. No Kingdom in Europe hath had greater Experience of Civil Wars, nor greater Consumption of Men thereby, than England hath had since the time of William the First: For not to instance in our Wars with the Welsh and Irish, let any man read but the Histories of the Wars here in England between King Stephen, and H. 1. and his Mother, King John and his Nobles, King H. 3. and the Nobility; between King E. 2. and the Earls of Lancaster and Mortimer; the Wars between the two Houses of York and Lancaster, and their Partizans, from the time of H. 4. unto the [Page 238] beginning of H. 7. in one Battel between H. 6. and E. 4. killed of one side 30000; the Rebellions in the times of H. 7. and others the Kings and Queens that succeeded him, and the loss of many lives that happened by the suppression thereof; the late cruel Wars within these 30 Years last past in England; there cannot be Instances given in any one Kingdom of greater Abatements of the Increase, by Wars and Internecions, than may be given in England.

5. Let us also consider the vast Evacuations of Men that England hath had by Forein Assistances lent to Forein Kingdoms and States, by Volun­teers and Auxiliaries; as, to Scotland in the late Queens time, to France, to the Netherlands, to Germany.

6. To these also add the vast numbers of Men that have transplanted themselves not only into France, Holland, and our neighbour Nations, but also to Virginia, Maryland, New England, Barbadoes, Bermudas, to Amboyna and other places in the East India, and lastly, into Jamaica; we shall find upon these and other Accounts, that England, hath had as great Corre­ctives of the Excesses of their Generations within these last 600 Years, as any People in the World.

Add to these the great Famines and Pestilences which have happened within the compass of 600 Years, recorded in History, and obvious to our own Experience.

And therefore, if notwithstanding all these Correctives the number of Men have continually increased, and that in so vast and observable a degree above their decrease; we have as much reason to conclude a parity in the rest of Mankind: and possibly were we as well acquainted with the Concerns of other Kingdoms or States, especially of the Netherlands and France, the Instances of this Increase would he as much, and possibly more conspicuous than among us.

Upon the whole matter therefore I conclude, That as the Correctives instanced in the last Chapter are not in themselves likely to be sufficient and sutable to the Reduction of the Increase of Mankind to an Equability, especially in an infinite succession of Eternal Generations: So by plain Experience it is apparent and sensible, that de facto they have not done it in a finite limit of Ages; but Mankind have notwithstanding them increased every Age, and the multitude of them that are born and live, over-ballance the number of them that dye, communibus annis; or being taken upon a medium, though possibly some one Year gave the advantage of Number to the Descendents, yet it is not common nor ordinary, but more than two or three Years for one give the advantage of Number to them that are born and live.

CAP. XI. The Consequence and Illation upon the Premisses, against the Eternity of Mankind.

THe great Assertors of the Eternity of the World and of Mankind, have certainly gathered their Opinion principally from this, That they find that Mankind is propagated by ordinary course of Generation, [Page 239] and this they see by Experience: And as they do so now, so they did a hundred or a thousand Years since, and as far as those Histories they credit give them account, it was so in those times, and in the times before them, as far as Tradition could instruct them. And although those various Occurrences of Wars, Pestilences, Migrations, Floods, Changes of Religion and Languages have obscured the Histories, Relations and Tra­ditions of former times before those Histories that are extant; yet they think it becomes them, as reasonable Men, to believe that things have been always so as now they are; and that it were a fondness to suppose or believe things to be otherwise than they have appeared in the tract of all Times or Ages.

And upon the same ground that these Men assert the Eternity of the World, the Instance and Argument now produced of the plain and ex­perienced Increase of the numbers of Men upon the face of the Earth, seems much more forcibly to conclude against that supposed Eternity of Mankind. For it is plain and evident to Sense, that the World grows every day fuller than formerly, notwithstanding all those Correctives and Reductives thereof: And we have reason to think it is so in all places, at least one with another, and in all Ages, and among all People as we find it in England for these 600 Years, or among the People of the Jews for above 2000 Years: For among these People, and in these Periods of Time there have been as many and as great Diminutions and Abatements as ever were in such Periods of Time: and yet though perchance in one Age they have diminished, yet they have not been so diminished, but that in the compass of four or five hundred Years their Increase above what they were before such Diminution, is upon a medium always exceeding their Decay.

And since we have reason to believe what we see, namely, the Excess of Generations above their Decays, we have reason to believe it was so always; and if it were so always, it is not possible the Generations of Mankind could be eternal.

For if we should suppose the Eternity of the World, an Increase of but one Man in the Period of Millions of Years would have filled more space than all the Earth or the Concave of Heaven could receive: For in as much as in a Duration that never had a Beginning there must needs be infinite Millions of Years, the Increase of one Man in every Million above what was before, must needs produce an infinite coexisting number, and an infinite moles of Mankind; much more if the Increase were in any measure proportionable to what our daily Experiences give us Instances of. Whereby we find, that although it be possible that several Families may be wholly extinct in a Kingdom in the Period of 5 or 600 Years, and though possibly in some one Age there may be a dimi­nution of the People of a Kingdom from what they were in the Age before; yet in the succession of a very few Ages they again increase be­yond the diminution, and neither successively decrease, nor hold an equality; which we may reasonably suppose to be the common condition of the World.

And as to that Supposition, That even upon a Natural account, when the World grows too full of Inhabitants, they must break the Bonds of Society and Peace, and so diminish each other by Internecions and [Page 240] Wars. As Air compressed, or expanded beyond the measure of the Vessel containing it, breaks the Vessel wherein it is compressed to give it self room. I shall only say, that although the Pride and Ambition and In­solence of neighbouring Princes or People, or the sense of too much Oppression and Hardship hath many times raised Wars, yet we never knew Wars to grow meerly upon the account of the Fulness of any Country: indeed that Plethory hath many times occasioned Emigrations, and Transplantations, and Navigation, and increase of Trade or Manu­factures and other industrious Employments; but Wars have always grown upon other Occasions: though, as I before observe, the great, wise, and intellectual Governour of the World hath by his over-ruling Conduct of the Passions of Men, brought about ends for the convenience and benefit of Mankind in this respect also, as well as to punish their Excesses and Enormities.

CAP. XII. The Eighth Evidence of Fact proving the Origination of Mankind, namely, the Consent of Mankind.

I Come now to the Eighth and last Evidence of Fact, proving the Origination of Mankind, namely, The general Consent of Mankind in that Perswasion; wherein I shall pursue this Order:

First, to consider the more Popular or Vulgar Opinion of Nations in all or most Places and Ages of the World, agreeing in this Sentiment or Perswasion, and what may be reasonably concluded of the truth, or at least great probability of the truth of that Supposition of the Origination of Mankind, upon the Supposition of such a Consent. Secondly, to consider the more restrained Perswasion of the Learned and more consi­derate sort of Men, that guided themselves in their Sentiments not barely upon Popular or Vulgar Opinions, but searched deeper into the Reasons and Evidences of things; namely, the learneder Tribe of Men, Physio­logists and Philosophers: And then I shall also consider the several Sup­positions of those that agreed in that Perswasion touching the several Manners and Methods of such Originations, and wherein their several Suppositions seem to be deficient, insufficient, or untrue.

First, touching the National or Popular Opinions touching the Ori­gination of Mankind.

There hath prevailed among the generality of Mankind a common Perswasion, that Mankind had an Original ex non genitis; and those Nations that pretend to the greatest Antiquity, suppose themselves to be Terrigenae, or at least by some other Method than the ordinary course of Generation.

Kircherus in his Oedipus Aegyptiacus, Syntagm. 3. Cap. 1. out of Mai­monides gives us an Account of the Zabei, descended from Cush, and inha­biting the Coast of the Red Sea; that though they held the World eternal, yet supposed the first Man Adam to be begotten in the Moon, of a Father [Page 241] and Mother, and from thence he came into this lower World, and was called Apostolus Lunae, and taught Men to worship the Moon: and for this he cites Maimonides, l. 3. cap. 29. though the late Translation mention nothing of his proceeding from the Moon, but of his coming out of India into Babel, and teaching Men the Worship of the Moon: this Fable the Rabbi confutes. Diodorus Siculus gives us an Account of the Opinion of the Egyptians, lib. 1. cap. 2. who though they pretend a vast number of Years to have passed since the Origination of Mankind, yet they suppose it had an Original; Et ab orbis initio primos homines apud se creatos: and they inferr it from the Fertility of their Soil by the Inundation of Nilus, which at its recess leaves so fruitful a Tincture, that thereby and by the heat of the Sun, Animals have their visible production, part after part: And yet both Aristotle, l. 2. Meteoron. and Herodotus in Euterpe do with great probability evince that the fruitfullest part of Egypt, namely, the part called Delta where the Nile overflows, is an Exaggeration, or Ground gained by the Inundation of Nilus.

Herodotus, ubi supra, tells us, That in the time of Psamniticus sometimes King of Egypt there was a Competition between the Egyptians and Phry­gians, who were the first People, or the Terrigenae, and that by the Expe­riment of the Education of two Infants which should not be instructed, by their Natural Speech in the Language of Phrygia; the Phrygians car­ried the priority. The thing is fabulous, all the use that is to be made of it is, That there was a common Opinion in the Nations of the World, that there was some Inception of Mankind otherwise than by the way of Natural Procreation.

Laertius, in Prooemio, supposeth the Grecians to be the first Men, A quibus nedum Philosophorum, sed hominum genus initium habuit.

The above named Diodorus Siculus, lib. 4. cap. 1. tells us that the Ethio­pians claim a greater Antiquity than the Egyptians, who borrowed many of their Laws and Customs and Religion from them: that as Ethiopia was the fittest and most congruous place for the first Production of Men and Beasts, in respect of the vicinity and constancy of the Sun; so, de facto the Ethiopians were the first Men that were on the Earth, and Ter­rigenae. Ferunt, Aethiopes primos hominum omnium creatos esse; cujus rei con­jecturam ferunt, quod non aliunde homines in eam accesserunt, sed in ipsa geniti meritò Indigetes omnium consensu appellentur. Et quidem verisimile est eos qui sub meridie habitant primos è terra suisse homines genitos; nam Solis ar­dore terram quae humida erat arefaciente, atque omnibus vitam dante, decens fuit locum Soli propinquierem primò naturam animantium tulisse.

De Laet in his History of the Original of the Americans, pag. 178. tells us of the Perswasion of divers of the Americans, that held there is one God; Qui omnia creavit, dein plures in terram defixerat sagittas, è quibus hominum genus ortum & propagatum fuit: though they also held other infe­rior Deities: And Pag. 106. Alii narrant, è quadam specu per fenestram exiliisse sex aut nescio quot homines, eósque initium dedisse humano generi in loco qui ob eam causam dicitur Pacari tampo; atque ideo opinantur Tambes esse hominum antiquissimos. Vide Acost. l. 1. cap. 25. ad idem.

Thus it seems there hath been in all Nations, that have had any manner of Order among them, a common Opinion of the Origination of Man­kind; though they have dressed up the Supposition with various Fictions [Page 242] and Imaginations no less vain than the Poets, who supposed Men to grow of the Serpents Teeth sown by Cadmus, or the Stones thrown over their Heads by Deucalion and Pyrrha.

This perswasion and opinion of Mankind of their Original, might be conveyed to the generality of Nations by some of these ways:

1. By some Tradition, derived down unto them from those that lived before them; but then if we look after the original or first head of this Tradition, it may be hard positively to define from whence it began; but it seems probable, that it was from those first Parents of Mankind, and so the Tradition founded in the Truth of the Fact, and originally delivered by them that perfectly knew it to be so: It is true, there are, and have been very many things entertained as true by Traditional Deri­vation, which either have not any sufficient evidence of their Truth, or it may be some things that do oppose the credit of it; and it were a piece of vain credulity to believe every thing, that either vulgar Tradition, or the Artifices of Men, have imposed upon over credulous succeeding Ages and Persons: And we see, that as the Origination of Man hath been traditionally received, so those Adjuncts and Fables with which it hath been dressed up, have been also received and believed with it. But to this I say:

1. That the Origination of Man, as a Matter of Fact, could hardly be thought of, but either by very considering and thinking Men, whereof hereafter; or by such, as being the first Parents of Mankind, knew their Original. And if it be said, they could no more know their Original than a Child new born: It is true, if the Production of Mankind were such at first as it is now, or as some of the mistaken Heathen thought it, (viz. in Infantia) it may be so: But we shall see, that if Mankind had their Original ex non genitis, (as most certainly they had) then the For­mation of Mankind was in his full and perfect Constitution, and not by a gradual progress from Infancy as now.

2. That the Tradition of the Origination of Mankind seems to be universal, but the particular Modes or Methods of that Origination, excogitated by the Heathen, were particular, and not common; and therefore, though these be fabulous and deserve not our credit, yet they do not abate the credibility of the universal Tradition. The common Tradition and consent thereunto of the Existence of a Deity, carries in it a great moral Evidence of the Truth thereof, although the particular superadditions and multiplications of Deities, by the Fancies and Tra­ditions of particular Ages or Nations, are fabulous and untrue: Quod ab omnibus ubique & semper creditum est pro veritate habendum est, though the various particular Modes, and Methods, and Hypotheses, are or may be fabulous.

3. That Mankind had an Original might be known naturally, and without a Revelation to the first Individuals of Humane Nature, and consequently might with evidence and certainty enough, even upon a moral account, be communicated by them to others, and to pass into an universal Tradition: But the Manner of the first Production of Men, what gradations were antecedent to it could not possibly be known to the first Parents of Mankind without Divine Revelation, because it must needs be antecedent to their Being, and therefore the particular Manner. [Page 243] therefore could not, upon a bare natural or moral account, be any true Root or Foundation of such a Tradition as according to the Mosaical Hypothesis of the Origination of Mankind, whereby we understand that Adam was created out of the Dust of the Ground, and then had an In­tellectual Soul put into him; Adam might upon a natural account know that now he was, and that before he was not; and he might upon a rational account know, that such a Production of such a Being as he found himself to be, could never have been effected without the agency of a most powerful and wise Being, which we call Almighty God: And this Tradition, both that he was made when before he was not, and that he was created or made by Almighty God, he might with as great evidence and certainty traditionally communicate to his Descendents, as any other matter of fact, or rational deduction: But he could never know the manner of his own Production, or the particular Preparations ante­cedent to such his Being, without Revelation from God, or some intelli­gent Being that saw or knew the antecedents to his Constitution; neither could he without such Revelation or Discovery, deliver the same over traditionally with any certainty of truth to his Descendents. And con­sequently, the general Tradition of his Origination hath a Rode of Credibility in it, to such a Man as will believe that any matter of Fact may be true that he sees not; though the particular manner of his Or­gination is not with any certainty credible to him, that either believes not there is any Divine Revelation, or that believes not the particular Method propounded is in truth a Divine Revelation

So that the general Tradition that Man had his Origination ex non genitis, is a greater Evidence that it was true, than that he was made out of Arrows stuck in the Ground; or, ex folliculis terrae innascentibus, as some Philosophers.

2. The Ground of this Perswasion hath sprung from such of the Phi­losophers, and other considerate Men, who upon a strict Enquiry and Examination have found it impossible that the successive Generations of Mankind could be Eternal, and consequently Infinite; and therefore have concluded with very great evidence of Reason, that it must needs have some other Origination in some one Period of duration, than what is now natural and common. But then being destitute of Divine Reve­lation, or at least not giving due credit thereunto, and being greatly in the dark, and not knowing well how to determin what that Method of the Origination of Mankind should be, some took up one Fancy, some another, to salve the Phaenomenon, according as their Imaginations led them. And hence it was, that some thought their Origination was not altogether unlike the spontaneous Production of Insects; only these being Annual, required no great contribution of Heavenly Influkes; but that of the Production of Men or more perfect Animals, Non sine magna coele­stium corporum conjunctione sive mutatione: Others again, more soberly attributed it meerly to the Power and Wisdom of the glorious God: Others, to the efficiency of Angels; whereof in the next Chapter.

And this Contemplation of such Philosophers and knowing Men coming abroad into the World, the generality of Mankind subscribed to the truth of the grand Hypothesis it self; namely, That Mankind had at one time or other, or by some means or other an Origination differing [Page 244] from the ordinary and natural method of Propagation now observed: And finding that the same held a singular congruity to the nature of things, and the general Conception and Reason of the Humane Under­standing; the generality of the World entertained, and by Tradition transmitted this Hypothesis to their Posterity.

But finding the Philosophers and Wise Men so uncertain and dis­agreeing, de modo, and unable to give any satisfactory Resolution thereof; every Nation, and almost every Person took up what particular Hypothesis pleased them for the Method or Manner of such Origination; and herein the Wantonness of Poets, and the Crafts of their Heathenish Priests and Hierophants abundantly gratified the Fancies of the People with Superstructions and Inventions of their own.

And indeed it is observable, that all those ancient Traditions of things that were truly done, and so delivered over and received by Mankind, as they have for the substance and main of them been preserved by the strength of this Tradition; so where the Holy Scriptures have not been taught or known, these Traditions have been admirably dressed by So­phistications and Superadditions, introduced by the Phantasies of Poets or the deceits of Heathenish Priests, or by the gradual corruptings of the Traditions themselves. Thus the History of the Creation, of the Flood, of the Tower of Babel, of Noah and his three Sons; many of which are, for the substance of them, preserved among the Barbarous People of the East and West Indies at this day, as appears by those that have written the Relation, especially of the Americans, as Acosta, and De Laet have never­theless been covered over with divers fabulous and devised Additions and Stories: and so it happened also among the ancient Heathenish Writers, as hath been at large demonstrated, especially by Bochart in his Phaleg.

Now as touching the Opinion of the Learned Tribe, which, as before is shewn, fell into two Parties: The one holding the Eternal Successions of Mankind, whereof in this Second Section: The other holding a First Inception of Mankind, Ex non genitis.

The latter Opinion far out-ballanceth the former, both in the reasonable­ness thereof, and the multitude and great Learning of those that so asserted it; and should, according to the propounded Method, be here declared.

But because I intend in the next Section to examin the various Sup­positions of those of the latter sort, touching the Manner of the Origi­nation of Man, I shall reserve that Business to the next Section; wherein I shall at once consider the Learned ancient Authors that hold the Ori­gination of Mankind, and shall also deliver and examin their several Suppositions touching the same.


CAP. I. The Opinions of the more Learned part of Mankind, Philosophers and other Writers, touching Man's Origination.

I Have in the former Parts of this Enquiry shewed, that there have been among Philosophers and other Heathen, and some modern Writers, Two great Opinions touching Man's Origination: 1. Those that thought it indeed to be without any Origination, but Eternal; and this Opinion they took up principally upon two Reasons: 1. Because the Medium or Clew by which they guided themselves, was the common, con­stant Method of Productions by successive Generations; and they thought it more sutable to take their Measures, and make their Conclusions conso­nant to the course of Nature, which they saw and observed, and judged to be always uniform, and like itself; which could not be such, if Mankind had any other Method of Origination than now it hath: And in Natural Appearances, Causes and Effects, they thought it not becoming the Genius or Spirit of a Philosopher to call in any other Assistant or Pro­ducent than what was and is the ordinary Rule, Course, and Law of Nature as they now find it. And by this means they thought that they proceeded consonantly both to Nature, and to themselves. 2. Because that among those ancient Philosophers that either supposed the Origi­nation of Mankind to be either casual, as Epicurus, Democritus, &c. or to be natural, from the Earth, and conjunction of the Influences of Heavenly Bodies in some Periodical Aspects; or partly natural, and partly fortuitous, or at least spontaneous, as Insects arise: I say, in and among these various Suppositions of an Origination of Mankind (yea and per­fect Animals) ex non genitis, they found so much incertainty, improbabi­lity, and repugnancy, that they threw them all aside, together also with the Beginning or Origination of Mankind; and took up that more com­pendious, and more sutable, as they thought, to the Laws which they observed in Nature; and concluded, That the Generations of Mankind and of perfect Animals were without beginning, but always obtained in the same manner as now they are. Of this Opinion was Ocellus Lu­caenus, and likewise Aristotle, though in some places he seems to be doubtful, and although Plato in his Timaeus seems to assert an Origination of Man­kind, yet in some other places his Expressions are doubtful: and therefore Censorinus in his golden Book de Die Natali, reckons as well Plato as Aristotle, Ocellus Lucanus, Architas Tarentinus, Xenocrates, Dicearchus, Pytha­goras, Theophrastus, to be Assertors of the Eternity of Mankind.

And this Opinion I have examined in the Chapters of the Second Section of this Book, and offered Reasons Physical, Metaphysical and Moral against it. The last Moral Reason which I offered was, The [Page 246] received Opinion of Mankind asserting the Origination of Man, and that as well of the common sort of People as of the Tribe of the Learned Philosophers.

The former I dispatched in the last Chapter, but the Suffrage of the Gens literata I reserved to this Section, because thereby at once I may with the same labour shew the Opinions of Learned Men among the Heathen, asserting the Origination of Mankind, and what their several Sentiments were concerning the manner of it: And therefore I shall be constrained herein to mention the Opinions of some of those Learned Philosophers above-mention, and to add some others of the contrary Perswasion, which out-ballance the former.

2. The second general Opinion, was of those Learned Philosophers that held an Origination of Mankind ex non genitis; and the Reason moving them to this Perswasion was, not only the great Tradition that obtained generally in favour of it, and the great reasonableness of the Supposition it self; but also the many absurd Consequences, and indeed irreconcilable Contradictions that they found in the Hypothesis of an Eternal Succession of Humane Generations without beginning: Insomuch that the Assertors themselves of Eternal Generations were doubtful of the truth of their own Perswasions, as will hereafter appear.

And those of this latter sort were even Epicurus himself, Anaximander, Empedocles, Parmenides, and Zeno Citicus the great Founder of the Sect of the Stoicks, with those that followed or favoured it. But above all, the great Law-giver Moses, who was divinely inspired; and yet if he had not that advantage of Divine Infallibility, but stood barely upon the great credibility both of his Person, his Learning, and the Hypothesis it self which he delivered, he hath as great a weight, even upon a natural, moral, and rational account as any, or all the rest put together. But because I intend a particular Explication of the Hypothesis Mosaica, I shall not mingle this among the other Opinions, but reserve it for the next Section.

The Heathen Philosophers that held the Origination of Mankind ex non genitis, have these things in general wherein they agree one with another, and with the Truth it self; and some things wherein they differ among themselves, and in some things from the Truth.

1. They herein agree both among themselves, and with the Truth, and with that excellent and divine Relation of Moses, Gen. 1. That Man­kind is not Eternal, but had a Beginning ex non genitis.

2. They herein also agree among themselves, and with the Truth, That it is most absolutely necessary (if Mankind had a Beginning or Origi­nation) it must needs be in a differing kind and manner from that common course whereby Mankind is now propagated. This is asserted by those that hold the Origination of Mankind by the Efficiency of Almighty God (consonant to the Mosaical Hypothesis) either immediately, or partly by the Instrumentality of Angels, as Zeno Citicus, Plato and others: it is also asserted by them that hold the Origination of Mankind to be at first for­tuitous, as Epicurus and Democritus. And therefore as to these Perswa­sions and Suppositions, it is not only necessary that they should suppose a differing manner of the first Origination of Mankind from what now obtains; but it is consonant also to their Principles, and the grounds of [Page 247] their Supposition that it must be so: This is also asserted by those that suppose the Origination of Mankind to be purely natural, and according to the constituted Rule of Nature. But yet this Supposition, though most necessarily true where an Origination ex non genitis is once supposed, yet it seems less sutable to the Principles of those Men that assert such a natural Production of Mankind as is by them asserted, because they mancipating all Productions and Effects to the Laws of Nature, and governing their thoughts, and taking their measures barely by it, have no reason to think or believe any other Method of Production of Mankind to have at any time been any otherwise than as they see it now to be; which, as is before shewn, was the reason why Aristotle inclined to the Opinion of the Eternity of Humane Generations, because Nature is pre­sumed to be consonant to it self, and always to have been what once it was.

3. But in the Explication of the Cause and Manner of this Origination of Mankind, therein they differed very much among themselves.

This difference consisted principally in two great Considerations; 1. In the true stating of the efficient Cause of this Origination of Man­kind: 2. In the Manner, Method, and Order of such Origination.

As to the difference touching the Cause of such Origination, and the nature of that Cause thereof:

1. Some assigned a bare fortuitous Cause of the first Origination of Mankind, as Epicurus, and his Explicator Lucretius; for although in some places they are driven to assert some determinate Semina, of Mankind and perfect Animals, to avoid that indefinite and unlimited excursion of Atoms; yet they that suppose these Semina, do suppose a fortuitous Coa­lition of Atoms to the Constitution of these Semina, and so upon the whole account it is fortuitous.

2. Some assign a natural determined Cause of the first production of Mankind, namely, the due preparation of the fat and slimy Earth after a long incubation of Waters, and some admirable Conjunction of [...] the Heavenly and Planetary Bodies, in some certain Period of Time at a long distance from us; which as naturally and necessarily produced the first Couples of Mankind, and likewise of other perfect Animals, as necessarily and naturally as the return of the Vernal Sun produceth divers sorts of Insects, which though they are called sponte orientia, yet they arise meerly from a Connexion of Natural Causes, and the various Fer­ments and Dispositions of the Elementary, and Positions and Influxions of the Heavenly Bodies: Thus some of the Ancients, and also Avicen, Cardanus, Caesalpinus, Berogardus.

3. Some of the Ancients, that most truly assign the Origination of Mankind to the most High, Intelligent, Powerful, Beneficent Being, viz. Almighty God, and the Beneplacitum and Fiat of his Omnipotent Will; as Zeno Citicus. And thus their differences arose touching the Cause of this Origination.

As to the second, namely, the different Manner of the Origination of Mankind, Censorinus ubi supra, Euseb. praepar. Evang. lib. 1. cap. 7, 8, 9. and others give it as followeth.

1. The Opinion of Anaximander: Videri sibi ex aqua terráque calefa­ctos, exortos esse sive pisces, sive piscibus simillima animalia, in his homines [Page 248] crevisse, foetúsque ad pubertatem intus retentos; tum demum ruptis illis, viros mulierésque qui jam se alere possent, processisse.

2. The Opinion of Empedocles and Parmenides: Primò, membra singula ex terra quasi praegnante edita, & deinde coisse, & effecisse solidi hominis ma­teriam, igni simul & humori permixtam.

3. The Opinion of Democritus and Epicurus: Ex aqua limóque primùm homines procreatos; viz. uteros limo calefacto radicibus terrae cohaerentes pri­mùm increvisse, & infantibus ex se editis ingenitum lactis humorem, natura ministrante, praebuisse, quos ita educatos & adultos genus hominum propagasse.

4. The Opinion of Zeno Citicus, the Founder of the Stoical Sect: Principium humano generi ex novo mundo constitutum putavit, primósque ho­mines ex solo adminiculo divini ignis, id est, Dei providentia, genitos.

Ovid, though he were a wanton Poet, and his Metamorphosis full of Fictions, yet in the Description of the Creation he hath out-done many of the more serious Philosophers; and I believe was not only acquainted with the Mosaical History, but with most of those Writings that were extant in that time, containing the Origination of the World and Man­kind; though he mingle his own Fancies with what he so learned: He gives us an account of the Origination of Man, Lib. 2 Fab. 2. and of other Animals, Ibid. Fab. 8. Of the former,

Natus homo est, sive hunc divino semine fecit
Ille Opifex rerum mundi melioris origo,
Sive recens tellus, seductaque nuper ab alto
Aethere, cognati retinebat semina eoeli;
Quam natus Iapeto mistam fluvialibus undis
Finxit in effigiem, moderantum cunct a deorum.

Touching the latter, the Origination of other Animals after the De­luge, he gives an elegant Description, and from the Instance of the Productions after the Inundation of Nilus;

—Ex eodem corpore sapè
Altera pars vivit, rudis est pars altera tellus.

So, after the Flood, by the moisture of the Ground and heat of the Sun,

—Tellus Intulenta recenti
Solibus aethereis, altóque recanduit aestu,
Reddidit innumeras species.—

As to the Origination of brute Animals, he seems to ascribe the same in effect as happens in the equivocal production of Insects.

But as to the Origination of Man, he seems to agree with the Stoicks, but gives thereof a fuller Explication; namely, 1. That it was a Semi­nal Production, and not so fortuitous as that of Animals. 2. That these Semina humanae naturae were either the immediate Productions of the great Opifex rerum, or at least were left in the Earth by the Celestial Nature, while it stood mingled therewith in massa Chaotica: By which means, it seems, he thought not that the production of Mankind was [Page 249] by a gradual process and maturation in the Earth, and from it, like the ordinary course of the Formative process in utero matris, in the ordi­nary course of Generation; but by a shorter and more compendious Me­thod: For, according to the ancient Mythology, Japetus signified the Heaven, and Japeti satus, or Prometheus the Son of the Heaven, the Di­vine Providence which Almighty God exercised by the instrumentality of the Heavenly Motions: And the Ancients attributed the Formation or Configuration of the humane Body in its first original to this Divine Providence, whereby those Seminal Particles before described being taken and included in convenient Elementary Matter, the whole Composition was by the Divine Providence moulded up into the humane Shape and Consistency in its first Origination. This was that Notion that divers of the Ancients, and Ovid out of them had concerning the first Origination of Mankind; vide Caelium Rhodogin. l. 7. cap. 19, & 20. and seems to have some analogy with that Hypothesis of Plato in his Timaeus, hereafter men­tioned.

Thus we have an account of the Opinions, 1. Of the Pythagorean Philosophers: 2. Of the old Academicks: 3. Of the Peripateticks, all seeming to agree in the Supposition of the Eternity of the World: 4. Of the Epicureans, under which I include that of Anaximander and Empedo­cles, differing only in the modus: 5. Of the Stoicks, which give a true Account both of the Origination of Mankind, and of the Manner of it: where I have been the longer, because it is a Key to all that follows, and gives us a Scheme of it.

These several Opinions, and the Authors and Assertors thereof, I shall here farther illustrate and examin.

1. Touching the Opinion of the Pythagoreans, because we have nothing extant of his writing, I can say little more touching his Opinion; though some suppose, he was not of Opinion that the World or Mankind was Eternal.

2. Touching Plato, it is true, he seems very various and Poetical in his writing; and by reason of the Method of his Discourses, by way of Dialogues, it is hard to determin what his Opinion was concerning the Eternity of the World, or of the Generations of Mankind.

In the beginning of his third Book de Legibus, but especially in the middle of his sixth, under the Persons of Atheniensis hospes, and Clinias, he intimates his Opinion of the Eternity of the World and Mankind: Athen. Scire omnes oportet, hominum generationem vel nullum prorsus unquam initium habuisse, neque terminum habiturum, sed fuisse omninò semper & fore; aut si coepit, inaestimabili ante nos temporis magnitudine incepisse. Clin. Plané. And again, in his Menexemus, under the Person of Socrates commending the Country of Attica; Altera ejus laus erit, quod eo tempore quo tellus omnia animalia omnigena producebat, feras & armenta omnia; tellus duntaxat nostra ad hoc sterilis erat, agrestibúsque animalibus vacua, propriè verò ex omnibus animalibus hominem genuit, qui caeteris intelligentia praestat, solúsque jus ac deos colit. And again, in his Timaeus, in the Person of Timaeus he gives us an Account of the Original of Mankind, and the manner of it, to this effect; That when Almighty God had made and set in order the great World, and endowed it with a living Soul, and thereby it became a great Animal; and had also made a sort of inferior Deities (dii ex Deo) and [Page 250] endowed them also with Immortality, he brings in the great God be­speaking these inferior Deities; Accedite vos secundùm naturam ad anima­lium generationem, ita ut vim imitemini meam, qua in ortu vestro sum usus. Atque ejus quidem animalis quod in ipsis tale futurum est ut cum immortalibus appellatione conveniat, divinúmque vocetur, principatúmque teneat, & justitiam simul ac vos ultro colat: Ego vobis semen & initium tradam, vos caetera exequi par est, ut immortali naturae mortalem attexentes, faciatis generetísque ani­malia, subministrantésque alimenta augeatis, & consumpta rursum recipiatis. Haec fatus, in eodem cratere in quo mundi totius animam permiscens temperavit, superioris temperationis reliquias miscendo perfudit, &c. Satis autem & quasi sparsis animis, per singula singulis convenientia temporum instrumenta, fore ut animal nasceretur, quod omnium animalium maximè esset divino cultui de­ditum.

Thus he now gives us an account of the Creation of Man, namely, of his Soul by the great God. Therefore Plato seems not to be reckoned among the firm Assertors of the Eternity of Mankind, nor of the World; and accordingly his follower Proclus herein agrees with his Master.

3. Touching Aristotle, and the Peripateticks that were his followers, as Simplicius, Averroes, and others (except Philoponus) their Opinion seems to be for the Eternity not only of the World, but of Mankind, and of the perfect Animals: so that in l. 3. de Generatione Animalium, cap. 1. he deter­mins, Quod non fuit primus leo, &c. and in his way of reasoning follows Ocellus Lucanus, who was a more ancient Philosopher, and tenaciously asserted the Eternity of the World.

Yet Aristotle himself seems not to be over-confident of this Opinion, but holds it as a Problem, and in some places seems to give Intimations to the contrary. 2. Politic, cap. 6. Putandum est primos homines sive ex terra geniti fuerunt, sive ex corruptione aliqua servati, ignaros fuisse, &c. and in his 3d de Generatione, upon the various Productions of the Earth and Water, Ut animae quodammodo plena sunt omnia: and in his 10th Problem, sect. 15. Qui de natura disserunt, animantia in principio orta esse dicunt ingenti aliqua mundi universíque mutatione: and in his 64th Problem of his 10th Section, Quam ob causam animantium alia non solum coitu sed etiam sponte naturae pro­creantur, alia ex coitu duntaxat proveniunt, ut Homo & Equus, etsi non ob aliam causam, tamen quod aliis gignendi tempus breve statutum est. Itaque fieri non potest ut tempus quod vim obtinet generandi amplificetur prorogetúrque, sed temporum vicissítudine prorogationéque, ut prorogetur contingit; aliis multò generatio ampliari solet: etenim vel anno vel decem mensium spatio confici assolet, quo pacto vel nullo pacto, vel ex coitu procreari illa necesse est. So that he attributes the reason of the new production of Men and great Animals only to the time that they are to be perfected in utero. And l. 1. Topicor. cap. 11. he states the Question, Whether the World had a Beginning, or not? to be a Problem; wherein probabilities are on either side.

By these passages of Aristotle himself, he seems not to be so positive in his Opinion touching the Eternity of Mankind at least; but rather inclines to that for the Eternity of Generations, upon these Reasons: 1. Be­cause he was not willing to suppose any other state of things in the World than what he found; and since he never found any production of Man­kind, or the perfect Animals, ex non genitis, he therefore concluded them to have been ever produced in that method that he found them in the [Page 251] ordinary and setled course of Nature. 2. Because, as he was not satisfied with the strange and improbable Hypotheses of Empedocles, Anaximander, and Democritus touching the Production of Mankind; so he could not excogitate any of his own which had any clearness or certainty to him, being utterly unacquainted (for ought we know) with the Mosaical Hypothesis. 3. Because he being a great admirer of Nature, and the ordinary proceeding thereof, he was not willing to entertain any such Supposition as was not evident, according to the ordinary method of Nature, which he so much venerated; especially such as might seem dis­sonant to his great Hypothesis of the Eternity of the general Frame of the rest of the Universe.

And therefore, lib. 3. de Generatione Animalium, cap. 11. upon a Sup­position of a first Production of Men or Animals, he conforms his Thesis concerning them to his general Doctrine: Quamobrem de prima hominum atque quadrupedum generatione (si quando primum terrigenae oriebantur, ut aliqui dicunt) non temere existimaveris altero, de duobus his, modo oriri; aut enim ex verme constituto primum, aut ex ovo: quippe cum aut intra se ha­beant cibum ad incrementum necesse sit, qui quidem conceptus vermis est; aut aliunde accipere, ìdque aut ex parente, aut ex parte conceptus. Itaque si alterum fieri non potest ut effluat ex terra, quomodo caeteris animalibus ex parente, relin­quitur necessario, ut ex parte conceptus accipiatur. Talem autem generatio­nem esse ex ovo aut verme fatemur. Ergo si initium ullum generationis omnium animalium fuit, alterutrum de his fuisse probabile esse apertum est. Sed minus rationis est, ut ex ovo prodierint; nullius enim generationem animalem talem videmus; sed alterum tum sanguineorum quae diximus, tum exanguium, qualia sunt insectorum nonnulla, & ea quae testa operiuntur, de quibus agitur. Non enim ex parte aliqua oriuntur, ut ea quae ovo nascuntur. Thus he conforms his Position to his general Doctrine, upon a Supposition of the spontaneous Origination of Animals.

4. I come to the general Doctrine of the Epicureans under which I in­clude that of Anaximander and Empedocles, who though they differ something in the manner of their Hypothesis, yet they agree in the main for a kind of spontaneous production out of the Earth. 1. Empedocles seems to think that the Limbs or Members of Men grew here and there scattered and distinct, and that they were after concrete together by Heat and Moi­sture, into the stature, as it seems, of a full grown Man. 2. Anaximander thinks that they grew into the full stature of Men and Women in the involucrum of something like Fishes, and then brake out into the World, as it seems, in their perfect stature. And that near unto this was the Opinion of Anaximander, appears by Plutarch, in Placitis Philosophorum, l. 5. cap. 19. Prima animalia in humore nata corticibus contenta spinosis, adul­tiora autem facta ad siccitatem descivisse, ruptóque cortice non multum temporis supervixisse. Only in the recital of his Opinion by Censorinus and Plutarch, they both seem to agree in this, that they were of full growth when they thus broke their Prisons. 3. Democritus and Epicurus seem to think that they were hatched in these Folliculi or Terrestrial Excrescences, and then nourished by a Juyce of the Earth, until they were able to shift for themselves. Lucretius hath given us the Doctrine of Epicurus in Verse, in his fifth Book, Pag. 665. which is rendred in Prose by Gassendus, in Syn­tagmate Philosoph. Epicur. sect. 2. cap. 4.

[Page 252]
Tum ubi terra dedit primum mortalia sêcla,
Multus enim calor atque humor superabat in arvis;
Hinc ubi quaeque loci regio opportuna dabatur,
Crescebant uteri terrae radicibus apti;
Quos ubi tempore maturo patefecerat aetas,
Infantum fugiens humorem, aurásque petissens
Convertebat ubi natura foramina terrae,
Et succum venis cogebat fundere apertis:
Consimilem lactis sicut nunc semina quaeque
Quum peperit dulci repletur lacte, &c.

And again, Lib. 2. Pag. 256.

Denique coelesti sumus omnes semine oriundi;
Omnibus ille idem Pater est, unde alma liquentes
Humorum guttas mater cum terra recepit.
Foeta parit nitidas fruges, arbustaque laeta,
Et genus humanum, &c.

And afterwards, in the same Book, Pag. 281. he gives us the reason why the Earth gives not the same Productions now.

Jámque adeo fracta est aetas, effoetaque tellus,
Vix animalia parva creat, quae cuncta creavit
Sêcla, deditque ferarum ingentia corpora partu.

But although Epicurus and his followers suppose that small and imper­ceptible Atoms of Matter are the first Principia of all Corporeal things, yet he doth suppose that these Principia are first moulded into Semina, or Seminales moleculae, which were the immediate Constituents of all com­pleat Bodies, whether animate or inanimate; whereby all things are contained and determined within certain Species. Vide lib. 1. pag. 35.

At nunc seminibus quia certis quidque creatur,
Inde enascitur, atque oras in luminis exit,
Materies ubi inest quoiusque & corpora prima.
Atque hac re nequeunt ex omnibus omnia gigni;
Quod certis in rebus inest secreta facultas.

Which Gassendus thus renders, Sect. 2. Cap. 4. in Syntagmate Philosophiae Epicuri, having given us an account of the Concretion of the Heavenly and Elementary Bodies, he thus determins out of him concerning the smaller Parts of Nature: De minus praecipuis & veluti partium particulis, videtur in prima illa commistione effecta fuisse generabilium & corruptibilium rerum, varia semina ex quibus res variae & conformatae tum fuerunt, & dein­ceps magna ex parte propagari etiam potuerint.

And this casual Production of Mankind at first was not only the Sup­position of Epicurus, but also of the Egyptians and Phenicians.

Touching both, Caelius Rhodog. lib. 2. cap. 11. Phoenicum quidem & Aegy­ptiorum theologia, casu homines & reliqua animantium genera prorepsisse è [Page 253] terra asseverebatur. And Diodorus Siculus, lib. 1. gives us a large Relation of the Opinion of the Egyptians, very like to that of Epicurus and Anaxi­mander; wherein, after some declaration of the Manner of the first Se­paration of the Elementary and Heavenly Bodies, he proceeds to tells us; Terram verò lutosam evasisse, & omninò mollem: H [...]c primum cum Solis ardore densior evasisset, ejus postmodum superficie vi caloris tumefacta, multis in locis humores esse concretos, in quibus putredines tenui contectae pellicula sint excitatae; quemadmodum in paludibus & stagnis Aegyptiis adhuc videmus accidere, cum frigidam terram subitò aestus aeris calefacit. Cum verò in humidis calore ad­hibito generatio fiat, & noctu quidem circumfusus aer humorem praestet, qui die Solis virtute consolidetur: tandem putredines illae ad summum perductae, adveniente veluti partus tempore, exutis confractisque pelliculis, omne genus educunt animantium: quorum ea quae majorem sortita calorem sunt, in superio­rem regionem volatilia effecta abierunt; quae verò plus terrae continebant, ser­pentia, aliáque terrestria evaserunt animantia. Naturam aquosam nacta in sui generis elementum delata sunt, & appellati Pisces: Terra deinde cum Solis ardore, tum ventis deinceps arefacta, à gignendis majoribus animalibus desiit. Sed quae generata erant, mutua commixtione alios animantes procreaverunt. Haec & Euripides Anaxagorae Physici discipulus sentire videtur, cum in Mena­lippo coelum & terram mixta olim fuisse tradat, separata postmodum generasse singula, arbores, volatilia, feras, aquatilia, & omne mortalium genus. De prima terrae generatione quamvis praeter opinionem nonnullis esse videatur, tamen ea quae nunc fiunt testimonium his videntur afferre. Nam juxta Thebaidem Aegypti, cum Nili cessavit inundatio, calefaciente Sole limum ab aqua relictum, multis in locis ex terrae hiatu multitudo murium oritur: quod argumentum est ab ipso orbis primordio animantia similiter omnia generata esse. Eodem modo quoque & homines à principio genitos, in agris paestum quaerentes vixisse. And again, in his second Chapter of that first Book: Tradunt Aegyptii ab orbis initio primos homines apud se creatos, cum bonitate foelicitatéque soli, tum propter Nilum qui & multa generat, & suapte natura quae genuit facillimè nutrit: nam arundinum radices praebet, & loton & Aegyptiam fabam, multáque praeterea ad hominum victum exposita. Prima animantia apud se esse ortae ea utuntur conjectura, quod nunc etiam in Thebaidis agro certis temporibus multi & magni generantur mures; quâ ex re plurimum stupent homines, cum videant anteriorem usque pectus & priores pedes murium partem animatam moveri, posteriori nondum inchoata, sed informi. Ex hoc perspicuum fieri aiunt, ab ipso orbis ortu primos homines Aegyptum protulisse. In nullo enim orbis parte accidit eo modo animaliae creari. I have transcribed it at large, as Eusebius did before me, Lib. 1. Praepar. because it contains a large and full Exposition of the Hypotheses of those Philosophers that thus suppose an Origination of Mankind, and that by a spontaneous Production.

In these precedent Opinions of Anaximander, Empedocles, Epicurus, and the Egyptians, there is something that agrees with that Truth that I have asserted, namely, The Origination of Mankind ex non genitis. And for this purpose these Instances are especially given by me. But there is something that I shall in what follows impugn, namely, The Method or Manner of such Productions, which according to these Mens Opinions is either purely Casual, as Epicurus and his followers held; or at least Natural and Necessary, as Anaximander, Empedocles, and some of the loose passages of Aristotle seem to import, viz. by some great Conjunction [Page 254] of the Heavenly Bodies, and some great Natural Mutation in the Ele­mentary World.

5. I now come to the farther Examination of the Hypothesis of the Stoicks, who also agree in this main Truth, That Mankind had an Ori­ginal ex non genitis: and the Founder of that Sect hath given a rational and true Method thereof, namely, That this Origination was by the Power and Will of Almighty God: But when those of this Sect came to give a more particular Explication of the Manner of this Production, they seem to differ.

Tully was generally well inclined to the Stoical Sect, yet sometimes he is a Stoick, sometimes an Academick, sometimes an Epicurean, and indeed in some of his Discourses which he hath digested in Dialogues, he seems to be every thing.

In his first Book de Legibus he hath this passage touching the Origi­nation of Man: Nam cum de natura omni quaeritur, disputari solent nimirum ista: perpetuis cursibus, conversionibus coelestibus extitisse quandam materiam serendi generis humani, quod sparsum in terras, atque satum, divino auctum sit animorum munere. Nam quod aliquibus cohaerent homines, è mortali genere sumserunt, quae fragilia essent, & caduca: animum esse ingeneratum, à Deo: ex quo verè vel agnatio nobis cum coelestibus, vel genus vel stirps appellari potest. Itaque ex tot generibus nullum est animal, prater hominem, quod habeat notitiam aliquam Dei; de ipsísque hominibus nullagens est neque tam immansueta, neque tam fera, quae non, etiam si ignoret, qualem habere Deum deceat, tamen habendum sciat. Ex quo efficitur illud ut is agnoscat Deum, qui unde ortus sit, quasi recordetur ac noscat. By this he supposeth that there might be as it were a Prosemination of the Humane Fabrick by the Conversion of the Heavens, and then the same were stored with Souls immediately produced by Almighty God.

Seneca, following the received Opinion of the Vicissitudes of the De­struction of the inferior World by Floods and Conflagrations, and the Restitutions thereof by the Power of God, though he seems to admit Eternal Vicissitudes of such Making, and Unmaking, and Restitutions of the inferior World, in the latter end of his third Book of Natural Questions, before cited, Sect. II. Cap. 9. speaking of the Destruction of the World by Universal Floods: Qua ratione inquis? eadem qua conflagratio futura est; utrumque fit cum Deo visum ordiri meliora, vetera finire: aqua & ignis terrenis dominantur; ex his ortus, ex his interitus. And in the end of that Book: Nec ea semper licentia undis erit; sed peracto exitio generis humani, extinctisque pariter feris in quarum homines ingenia transierant, iterum aquas terra sorbebit: natura pelagus stare aut intra terminos suos fu­rere coget, & rejectus è nostris sedibus, in sua secreta pelletur Oceanus; antiquus ordo revocabitur, omne ex integro animal generabitur, dabitúrque terris homo inscius scelerum, & melioribus auspiciis natus; sed illis quoque innocentia non durabit, nisi dum novi sunt.

And with this seems to accord the Judgment of Plutarch, 2. Symposiac. quaest. 3. and out of him, Macrob. in 7. Saturnal. cap. ult. where in the dissertation of that seeming ludicrous Question, Ovúmne prius an Gallina? the Disputant for the latter concludes; Natura primum singula animalia perfecta formavit, deinde perpetuam legem dedit ut continuaretur propagatione successio. And Plutarch, Probabile est primum ortum ex terra temporis per­fectione [Page 255] absolutum fuisse, nihílque indigentem hujusmodi instrumentis, recepta­culis, & vasis qualia nunc ob imbecillitatem natura parat & machinatur parien­tibus.

This was the Sentence and Judgment of the Stoical Philosophers touching the Origination of perfect Animals and Men.

Upon all which foregoing Discourse it should seem, That the gene­rality of the Learned World rather supposed an Origination than an Eternity of Mankind; and this upon two great Motives.

1. A Tradition which seems generally to have been derived unto Mankind from the first Parents thereof, and so generally believed and entertained.

2. A great congruity of Reason that attended this Hypothesis, and an extrication thereby of the Minds of considering Men from infinite diffi­culties which the Supposition of Eternal Generations doth necessarily produce.

I should now come to those Philosophers and Learned Men of later Ages, Avicen, Cardan, Pomponatius Cisalpinus, Berogardus, and others; which nevertheless I shall referr to the next Chapter to be examined to another purpose.

CAP. II. Touching the various Methods of the Origination of Mankind.

HItherto I have endeavoured to shew those Evidences both of Reason and of Fact, which seem to assert the Origination of Mankind; and I have concluded with that last in the two precedent Chapters, namely, The Opinion and Perswasion of the Unlearned and Learned part of Mankind that have supposed such an Origination of Mankind, the weight or authority of which rests in the consideration of those Means whereby this Opinion or Perswasion hath been ingenerated in Mankind: For the Opinions or Perswasions of Men, concerning especially a Matter of Fact, have their weight or authority in argumentation from that Principle or Motive of such a Perswasion: and this I have reduced to one or both of these:

1. Some Tradition that hath been derived, and derived in probability from the first Parents of Mankind, that best knew their own Inception, which hath since accordingly prevailed almost in all Places and Ages.

2. The congruity of such a Supposition to Reason, and the Solution of those Difficulties which must needs arise from an Eternal Succession of Mankind. And this Motive of this Perswasion, though it began with the more thinking and considering sort of Mankind, yet from them hath been insinuated and derived unto the rest of Mankind, and by them entertained, as consonant to the common Reason of Humane Nature.

I have laid the weight of my reasoning touching the Origination of Mankind upon the Reasons first given in the beginning of this Tract; and I have only subjoyned those Reasons of Fact that might probably bear testimony to the truth of the Supposition, and I have endeavoured [Page 256] to shew where the strength, and where the deficiencies of those Evidences of Fact do rest; and which are most concludent, and which not.

I have concluded all these Evidences of Fact, with this concerning the common or general consent of the greatest and learnedst part of Man­kind therein; and I have concluded with this Evidence of Fact, not as if this were entertained by all: for 1. It is not without Opposers, as Aristotle, Ocellus Lucanus, and the Pythagoreans: and 2. Common Opinion or Perswasion of Mankind, especially touching Matter of Fact, is very fallible and unstable: 3. In this very Matter in question, there are by common perswasion of many of these Men, superadded certain fabulous, incredible and untrue Surmises touching the Manner and the Methods of this Origination, appearing in some of the Opinions delivered in the former Chapter.

But the reason why I conclude with that Instance touching the Opi­nions of Men, is, because it lets me into that which is the Second prin­cipal Part of this Discourse, namely, The various Hypotheses of those that supposed, admitted, or believed this Origination, which are in effect all contained in the former Chapter, which I intend in the following Discourse to examin.

Therefore, having thus partly out of the common Perswasion of Man­kind, but principally by the other foregoing Reasons made my Conclusion, That Mankind had a Beginning, now, as I think, delivered what may be said for the proof of this Proposition, That Mankind had their Ori­ginal ex non genitis, and in some good measure established that Supposition; I now proceed to examin the truth or probability of those several Sup­positions which are before delivered, touching the Means, Method or Manner of this Origination.

And not to examin every particular Adjunct or Explication of these several Methods, I shall divide these general Suppositions of the Ancients touching the Origination of Mankind into these three.

1. The Opinion, That the production of Mankind was ex non genitis, was fortuitous or casual; such was the Opinion of Democritus, Epicurus, and some others: the manner of the Explication thereof I shall hereafter consider.

1. The Opinion, That the production of Mankind was ex non genitis, was natural, and was founded upon a natural concourse of Causes, espe­cially the disposition of the Earth and Water, and the Influx of the Heaven. This was the Opinion of some of the Antients, but much improved by some later Philosophers.

3. The Opinion, That the production of Mankind ex non genitis was by the immediate Power, Wisdom, and Providence of Almighty God, and his meer Beneplacitum. This was the Opinion of the Stoicks, and differs but very little from the Divine Truth touching Man's Creation, as it is delivered by Moses.

And that which is said either for or against these Methods of the pro­duction of Mankind, will be also applicable to the production of the perfect Animals that have their ordinary production ex conjunctione maris & faeminae, and not otherwise; though what is said concerning those Animals will be more evident touching Man, which is a far more perfect nature than other Animals.

[Page 257]First therefore I begin with the Opinion of the Epicureans, which was in substance this; That there were eternally an infinite number of small imperceptible Bodies, that floated up and down in a vast infinite Inane; and these were the Principia of all other Beings beneath Almighty God: these they call Atoms. That those Atoms were eternally and casually moved in this infinite Vacuum, and by their mutual percussions the great Systems of the Heavenly and Elementary Bodies were framed and con­creted: That besides that concourse of Atoms that constituted the greater Integrals of the World, there was a certain coalition of Atoms that constituted certain Semina or Seminal Bodies, for the storing and fur­nishing the greater Integrals of the Universe, especially the Earth and Seas: That though the coalition of those Semina were casual, and by an accidental or fortuitous aggregation of some Atoms; yet these were the immediate, primitive, productive Principles of Men, Animals, Birds and Fishes, and that determined them in their several Species: That those Primordial Seeds thus fortuitously coagulated out of the Prima principia, or Atoms, were scattered by their Motion into the Earth and Seas: That by reason of the strength of the newly coagulated Bodies of the Earth and Water, and the heat of the Sun, these Semina did bring forth Man, and Brutes, and Birds, and Fishes; but that by the decay of the strength of the Earth and Waters, that Method of production of Men and perfect Animals is ceased, and their production now delegated ordinarily to Propagation: though in some places, and at some times, especially between the Tropicks, such a Pullulation of Men and Beasts may be supposed to be: That yet to this day the spontaneous production of some sort of Vegetables and Insects continues still in force, the Earth and Waters being furnished with a sufficient store of such Semina either of old or daily production; and with a sufficient strength, by the help of the Solar or Ethereal Heat, to perfect their productions: That the first spontaneous production of Men and the perfect Animals was in certain Folliculi or Bladders, excrescent from the Earth; and the growth of these Men and Animals gradual, being first Embryones, then grown ripe for Birth, then breaking out of those Folliculi, and furnished with nourishment from the Earth, instar lactis, till they were able to shift for themselves.

Touching this Supposition, although it contain in it that Truth that I have hitherto contended for, namely, That Mankind had an Original ex non genitis; or, That the Generations of Mankind in that order which now it holds, was not Eternal: yet the Manner or Method of this Epi­curean Origination of the World, and particularly of the perfect Animals, but especially of Mankind, is meerly fictitious, untrue, and impos­sible.

1. The Principia or Atoms of infinite number floating in Vacuo infinito, is a thing meerly invented, and hath neither truth, nor evidence, nor probability in it.

2. The Motion of these Atoms in this great Vacuum, unless first excited or put into Motion by some intelligent active Principle, is fabulous and incredible.

3. The Coalition of these Atoms by fortuitous strokes or motions, and their Coalition into that admirable Order and Constitution which [Page 258] we see in the Universe, or greater Integrals of this Mundus aspectabilis, is utterly incredible, and indeed impossible. But these things being beside my present purpose, and deserving a large prosecution, I shall dismiss.

4. Touching these Semina, and the Coagulation of them by the for­tuitous coalition of Atoms, they were driven to this Supposition, be­cause they found themselves at a loss, if they should have supposed, that per saltum their Atoms had been the immediate Constituents of Men and Animals; they could never have salved that specification of things in their several kinds, and the continuation of them in that constancy and order which is evidently found in the natures of Men and Animals; but either there would be an utter incertainty in the first Constitution of them, quidlibet ex quolibet; or at least it were impossible that they should continue their Propagation of their kind, but the constituent Atoms that should make up a Man, might have fallen into the Constitution of a Horse, or a Lion. Lucret. ubi supra.

Atque hac re nequeunt ex omnibus omnia gigni,
Quod certis in rebus inest secreta voluntas.

And again, Lib. 2.

Non tamen omnimodis connecti posse putandum est
Omnia: nam vulgò fieri portenta videres,
Semiferas hominum species existere,
Quorum nil fieri manifestum est, omnia quando
Seminibus certis certa genitrice creata.

And again, it were never explicable by the various concourse of Atoms, that there could be such an orderly, constant, and admirable accommo­dation of the parts of the Body to their use, or one to another. It is truly said by Galen in his 9th Book De Hipp. & Platonis decretis, l. 9. Quippe cum artem raro fine suo frustrari, fortunam raro eundem assequi, nemo sit qui nesciat; quocirca temerariam & fortuitam, neque artificialem causam fabricae nostri corporis existimare, absurdum. And again, in that divine Book De Usu Partium, but especially Lib. 11. that excellent Philosopher shews the gross absurdity and impossibility that any happy concourse of Atoms can ever fit and settle that congruity in the Parts of the Humane Body that is there. There needs no other Confutation of the vanity of that Opi­nion, than that excellent Expostulation in that Book, fit for the matter, but too long for the tenth of it to be here transcribed.

And therefore to avoid that insuperable absurdity, they have substituted a Medium between the Atomical Principles and the constitution of the spontaneous Birth of Men; namely, these Semina, made up to be the immediate Principle of these spontaneous Productions of Mankind, as also of perfect Animals in their first production.

What Semina there were in the first Constitution of Mankind, I shall have occasion at large to examin in the next Chapter: But at present it shall suffice to say and prove, That there is as great an absurdity and impossibility to suppose a casual production of such Semina, as there is to [Page 259] suppose an immediate casual production of any Man or Animal omnibus numeris perfectum.

For this Seminium humanae naturae must have in it the Vital Nature, the power of attracting to it self that substance which must serve to make up the Individual: It must have the power and energy of that formative act, whereby the Matter is conformed to its specifical Nature; it must have potentially at least the whole Systeme of Humane Nature, or at least that Ideal Principle or Configuration thereof, in the evolution whereof the complement and formation of the Humane Nature must consist; and besides this, it must have in it at least potentially all the Faculties of the Humane Soul, not only the vim altricem, but the vim sensitivam & intel­lectualem, and all this drawn from a fortuitous coalition of senseless and dead Atoms. Whereby these two grand Absurdities would ensue:

1. That a sort of dead, senseless, unintelligent Particles of Matter, should by their Coalition be advanced into a Being, that at least potentially hath all the Faculties of Life, Sense, or Intellect, and so arise to a per­fection beyond the Sphere and Circle of their own Nature or Power.

2. That though it might be possible, that by skill and the wise conduct of an Intelligent Being, these Atoms might be so marshalled or qualified, that they might advance to be a fit Seminium of a reasonable Creature, yet it is not possible to suppose, that meer Chance or Fortune should make up these Seminal Rudiments of the Humane Nature, because the Actions of this Seminal Principle must be so noble and high, and yet so various and complicated, so curious and choice, that it is never possible for Chance to make it up, and yet if the least stamen of this Composition be out of order, the whole office and use thereof is disappointed: And therefore the same Galen makes the processus formativus foetus to be no less admirable than the goodly structure of the Humane Body, and as im­possible to be the work of Chance as the other: And therefore in his Book de formatione foetus he saith, Ego vero, sicut fabricam nostri Corporis ostendi summam Opificis & sapientiam & potentiam prae se ferre; ita demonstrari à Philosophis velim, utrum is Opifex Deus aliquis sit, & sapiens & potens, qui & prius intellexit quale uniuscujusque animalis corpus esset fabricandum, & deinde quod proposuerat potentia fuerit assecutus; an Anima aliqua à Deo diversa. Neque enim naturae quae appellatur substantia, sive corporea sive incorporea ea sit, ad summum sapientiae dicent pervenisse, quam ne ulla sapientia esse praeditam inquiunt, unde eam tam artificiose in foetuum formatione se gessisse credendum non est: Hoc enim ab Epicuro aliisque qui sine providentia omnia fieri opinantur audientes, nullam fidem adhibemus. And in the Conclusion of that Book he as well blames the Platonicks, Dicentes Animam mundi foetus formare: nunquam tamen adduci potui ut crederem Scorpiones, Phalangia, Muscas, Culices, Viperas, Vermes, Lumbricos, Pytalas ab eadem fingi & formari, prope ad impietatem accedere hanc opinionem ratus. So far was he from thinking it possible for the Nobler Natures of Mankind, or perfect Animals, to be the work of the Anima mundi (much less of Fortune) that he could not suppose it a sufficient Cause of the Generation of Insects.

And besides all this, although a Man that hath received the Principle of Believing, that Almighty God might indeed ad beneplacitum mould up certain semina humanae naturae, and endue them with that admirable [Page 260] Formative Power: Yet surely for a Man that (as Epicurus did) pretends to be guided by the Conduct of Nature only, to suppose a thing so strange to the nature of things, as they now appear, that there should be another kind of semen humanum or animale than what is moulded in the Bodies of Men or Animals, and elicited from them by a coincidence only of stupid, dead, and senseless Atoms, seems below the Genius of a Philo­sopher. Oportet enim Physicum similiter se habere in omnibus.

5. And as his Supposition of these Semina, thus casually produc'd, seems unconsonant both to the Reason and Course of Nature, so his Supposition of the Manner of the Generation, and Production, and Nourishment of this Foetus, seems a Fiction utterly inconsonant to the whole Method of Nature, in relation to Mankind: For what Person, or what Age or Country, ever saw any such kind of Production as this? any such folliculi humani foetus? Or that ever credibly heard of any Man conceived nisi in utero muliebri? abating some of those Fables that Fortu­nius Licetus delivers in his First Book, cap. 28. or such as have been begotten by an abominable conjunction.

Again, how is it possible, that an Infant, whose Nature cannot be kept alive one moment sine calore uterino, should be preserved in Bladders adhering to the cold Earth? Or that that Infant, who by the very course of Nature cannot be supported without the care and oversight of others for divers Months, nay some Years after his Birth, should be able sub dio & Jove frigido to preserve it self? Again, who ever saw, or credibly heard of those venae lacteae arising in the Earth, and yielding a sutable nutriment to a new born Foetus? These Suppositions must withall suppose a total Inversion of the Course and Nature of Things quite from what they now are, and in all Ages have been; which, though it is true, those that admit a higher Principle than Nature, do and may with sufficient warrant and consonancy to their Hypothesis admit, yet is utterly unrea­sonable for such a Philosopher, who not only with some of the ancient Peripateticks excludes any Divine Providence below the Moon, but wholly exterminates it, ultra flammantis moenia Coeli.

And this is all I say at present, touching that Opinion which supposeth a meer casual Production of Mankind. There will be something in the ensuing Chapter, which though it be applied to the Imaginary Hypothesis of the Natural Production of Mankind, yet will be of use in relation to this Hypothesis of the Casual Production of Mankind.

CAP. III. Touching the Second Opinion of those that assert the Natural Production of Mankind ex non genitis, or the possibility thereof.

THe second Opinion is, that by a certain kind of natural Connexion of Causes, Mankind not only may be, but in their first Origination were produced ex non genitis: Which though for distinctions sake from the ordinary course of Generation we may call spontaneous or accidental, yet the same, if it were true, were truly natural, and deduced by a [Page 261] certain Chain of Natural Causes; as the yearly production of Insects, ex putri materia, or, as the Mice or Rats in Egypt are supposed by Diodorus Siculus to be produced after the decrease of Nilus in Egypt.

This seems to be the Opinion of some of the Ancients, that yet sub­scribed not to the Hypothesis of Epicurus touching the casual production of things by the uncertain concourse of Atoms, as of Anaximander and some others, which I shall not need here again to repeat; and the same Opinion hath been asserted by others, but with these two Correctives.

1. That the same is no casual and fortuitous Production, by the meer casual conjunction of Atomical Bodies, as Epicurus would have the first Semina, at least of Men and Animals, to be made up; but by an ordinary, natural, and necessary connexion of Natural Causes and Effects.

2. That yet many of them blame the Ancients, as being too venturous in telling us the particular Method or Order of these Productions out of Folliculi, or Cortices spinosi, or Fishes, because that is not a thing discoverable by Experience, or Natural Light; yet herein they agree, That this Production may be, and hath been a Natural Production ex non genitis, though the particular Manner of it is not so easie to be certainly ex­plained.

Hippocrates the great Physician seems to have inclined to this Perswasion; for, Sect. 3. de Carnibus, he writes to this purpose; Quod Calidum vocamus, id mihi immortale esse videtur; cunctáque intelligere, videre, & audire, sen­tiréque omnia tum praesentia tum futura, cujus pars maxima cum omnia pertur­bata essent in supremum ambitum secessit, quod mihi veteres videntur Aethera appellasse: altera pars locum infimum sortita Terra quidem appellatur, frigida & sicca, multásque motiones habens in qua multum sanè calidi inest: tertia verò pars medium aeris locum nacta est, calidum quid existens: quarta pars, terrae proximum locum obtinens, humidissima & crassissima. His igitur in orbem agitatis, cum turbata esset calidi pars magna, alias in terra relicta est, partim quidem magna, partim verò minor; & alias etiam valde parva, sed in multas partes divisa, & temporis successu resiccata terra ista, in ea tanquam in mem­branis contenta circum se putredines excitans, & longo tempore incalescens, quod quidem ex terrae putredine pinguedinem sortitum est; & minimum humidi habens, id citissimè ossa produxit: And then assigns the Methods of con­formation of the Nerves, Veins, Arteries, and the rest of the Body in conformity to this Supposition. So this great Physician and Naturalist delivers his Opinion. Wherein we may observe, that he takes the Hot or Fiery Nature to be God, knowing and understanding all things; which seems to be the ancient Error of the Eastern Countries, especially the Persians.

Yet this is observable, 1. That he supposeth an Origination of Man­kind after the Formation of the World. 2. Though the Formative Process of Mankind seems in his Opinion to be in a sort Natural, yet he supposeth it not purely so, but a Production by those fiery Particles which were Particles of a Divine Intelligent Nature. And though he be mistaken in the Method of the Origination of Mankind, as shall be shewn, yet he supposeth it, Opus intelligentis Naturae agentis per scientiam.

Avicen in the second Book of his Metaphysicks, cap. 15. delivers his Opinion; Possibile esse hominem generari ex terra, sed convenientiùs in ma­trice: which Opinion Averroes his Country-man perstringeth with some [Page 262] indignation, Commentar. 8. Physicor. cap. 5. Iste sermo ab homine qui dat se scientiae, est valde fatuus: his Reasons, I confess, are such as may not be admitted; for being a rigid Assertor of the Eternity of the World in the state it now stands, he formeth his Reasons against the Opinion of Avicen principally, if not altogether, upon that Hypothesis.

Cardanus, in his ninth Book, de Animalibus quae ex Putredine generantur, discoursing about Locusts, hath this passage; Et non solum ea minuta, sed & majora animalia è putredine, imo omnia credendum est originem ducere; cum jam de Muribus constet, & Pisces in aquis recentibus sponte generentur: but his severe Corrector, Julius Scaliger, in Exercit. 193. calls it, Illa impia & nefaria vox; Si Bos aliquando ex putri ortus est, cur post hominum memo­riam ex ejusmodi procreatione nullus exstitit? Caesalpinus, in his fifth Book Quaestionum Peripateticarum, cap. 1. undertakes an entire Defence of the Position of Cardanus, and contends not only that it is possible, but that de facto it is true. The sum of his Opinion seems to be this,

That although the Soul of Man be of a higher nature and extraction, yet the Body, and these Powers or Faculties of Life and Sense may be, and have been formed ex putredine, without the conjunction of Sexes; as Weeds, Vegetables, and Insects.

And that he meaneth such a Production to be by an ordinary course of Nature, he largely insists upon that Axiom of Aristotle, Sol & homo generant hominem; which he understands in sensu diviso, and that there is in the heat of the Sun an active, generative Principle, which in Matter prepared for its operation, commonly called Putrefaction, produceth a Seminal Formative Seed, sufficient of it self for the production of the Humane Nature, as also of the nature of other Animals.

That the Species of Animals are eternal, not upon the account of an eternal succession by ordinary propagation, but by that succession that would arise in certain great Conjunctions of the Heavens, and the heat of the Sun, which would be productive of the Individuals of the several Species; though all the Species of Animals were destroyed by Floods or other accidents, as possibly they might be.

That although the ordinary Method of preserving the Species of Men and Animals by ordinary Generation, be fitted for the ordinary conti­nuation of the Species; yet without this Method of production out of prepared Earth, Nature were defective, and wanted a sufficient Expe­dient for the preservation of Species upon great Occurrences.

That although this production of Men and perfect Animals ex putri be not obvious to our ordinary Experience, it is not because the Sup­position wants truth, but because 1. Every place is not fit for such a production, but where there is a constant and sufficient heat, duly to prepare and digest the Matter. But the likeliest place for such production is some unknown place between the Tropicks, where the heat is great and constant. 2. Because the maturation and ripening of such Productions require longer time than that which is sufficient for the production of Insects: for we see greater Animals, even with all the advantages of the calor uterinus, require a longer time for their formation and maturation; as, a Man nine months, an Elephant two years; and consequently, their productions without this auxilium uterinum must require longer time.

[Page 263]Then he gives us a large account touching Insects, that arise ex pu­tredine, and yet are of the same Species with those that are produced per coitum; and that when they are produced ex putri materia, yet they pro­pagate successively Individuals of the same kind: and that if greater Animals were thus produced, they would be of the same Species with the like Animals propagated per generationem ordinariam, and would accordingly propagate their kind; as many Herbs and Trees arise spon­taneously, yet are of the same Species with others that are per seminationem, and produce Seed, and thereby continue their Species as well as others that arise per proseminationem.

This I take to be the effect of his Position and his Reasons, which are very learnedly and smartly refuted by Fortunius Licetus, in his first Book de Spontaneo Ortu.

But yet there was one difficulty which Caesalpinus doth not at all, as I remember, obviate, which yet renders his Supposition utterly inexpli­cable; namely, since the Heat and Influences of the Heavens, even in their supposed extraordinary Conjunctions, must needs be uniform at those times, and in or near those Climates wherein they happen, how comes it to pass that the same univocal Heat doth produce at that time any variety of Animals? why should it not produce only Men, as the best of Animals, rather than Horses, Tigers, Lions, &c. Again on the other side, since the disposition of all the parts of Terrestrial Matter is so divers, and qualified with infinite combinations of Qualities and Particles, how it comes to pass, that in these great Conjunctions there are not infinite varieties of things produced, but they are determinate in certain Ranks and Species of Being; whereas the modifications of the Matter are so various and infinite, that the Species of things would be infinite, irregular, Humano capiti cervicem equinam. So that there seems necessary some superintendent Intellectual Nature, that by certain election and choice determined things in those determinate Ranks, and contained them within it: For the heat and influence of the Heavenly Conjunctions and of the Sun being common and universal, and the various Particles of the Earth variously modified and qualified, there could never only by these means be any determining or containing the Species of Animals within any determinate constant figures or bounds: And this we shall hereafter find necessary, when we come to consider the determination of Insects also in their several Species.

Again, he gives us not any reasonable Explication by this Hypothesis how the discrimination of Sexes happen, how all things thus produced come to propagate their kind, and to contain their Productions within the specifick limits of the natures of such Animals; all which were necessary to be done, to render his Supposition of this natural production of Men or Animals ex putredine to be any way tolerable.

Beregardus therefore in his 10th Circulus Pisanus hath refined and recti­fied this Hypothesis of Caesalpinus, and of Pomponatius that went before him; and though he can never make out the truth or probability of his Sup­position, yet he hath rendred it more tolerably explicable, especially in relation to the forementioned deficencies; I will give the sum of his Supposition briefly, as I understand it: And it seems thus;

That the Calidum innatum is that Altrix anima, and Princ [...]pium seminale [Page 264] sine quo nihil gignitur, and is the Basis of Life in all things that have it; but yet it is never single, and by it self, but is the first Rudiment of Life, and determined by the particular Species of Life in every Individual that hath Life: for there is no vivens that is not either Equus, or Canis, or Vitis, or some other determinate Vegetable or Animal.

That there are three kinds of this Life wherein it is specifically deter­mined, viz. Vegetable, Sensible, and Rational.

That at least the two former (he means the latter also, if he durst speak out) are raised out of certain Seminal Principles, whereby the Calidum innatum is specifically determined to this or that Specifical Life.

That these Semina are not eternal, because made up of things or Prin­cipia that are pre-existing: this seems perfectly to agree with the Doctrine of Epicurus before mentioned, whose Patronage he seems to take in the Person of Aristaeus, yet with some Correctives, as is hereafter shewn.

That there were in Nature various kinds of Calida, or Fiery Particles, or Spiritus ignei, and various kinds of Humida and Frigida; these were eternally floating up and down in small Particles, and variously agitated and mingled, which made up by this mixture the constituent Semina of Vegetative and Sensitive Natures.

That in this Constitution of the various kinds of the Spiritus ignei were the constituent Animae vegetabilium & sensibilium, and the various kind of Humores were the Oleum and Balsamum vitae; and according to the variety of