Observations Upon a Blazing World

Observations: Hermaphroditical

2. Whether Artificial Effects may be called Natural, and in what sense.

IN my former discourses I have declared that Art produces Hermaphroditical Effects, that is, such as are partly Natural, and partly Artificial; but the question is, whether those Hermaphroditical Effects may not be called Natural Effects as well as others, or whether they be Effects quite different and distinct from Natural? My answer is, When I call Artificial effects Hermaphroditical, or such as are not Natural; I do not speak of Nature in general, as if they were something else besides Nature; for Art it self is natural, and an effect of Nature, and cannot produce any thing that is beyond, or not within Nature; wherefore ar∣tificial effects can no more be excluded from Nature, then any ordinary effect or Creature of Nature; But when I say they are not natural, I understand the par∣ticular nature of every Creature, according to its own kind of species; for as there is Infinite Nature which may be called General Nature, or Nature in General, which includes and comprehends all the effects and Creatures that lie within her, and belong to her, as be∣ing parts of her own self-moving body; so there are also particular natures in every Creature, which are the in∣nate, proper and inherent interior and substantial forms and figures of every Creature, according to their own kind or species, by which each Creature or part of Nature is discerned or distinguished from the other; as for example, although an Animal and a Vegetable be fellow Creatures, and both Natural, because Mate∣rial, yet their interior particular Natures are not the same, because they are not of the same kind, but each has its own particular Nature quite different from the other; and these particular Natures are nothing else but a change of corporeal figurative motions, which make this diversity of figures; for were the same inte∣rior and natural motions found in an Animal as are in a Vegetable, an Animal would be a Vegetable, and a Vegetable an Animal without any difference; and after this rate there would be no variety at all in Nature; but self-motion acting diversly and variously, not onely in every kind and species, but in every particular Creature and part of Nature, causeth that wonderful variety which appears every where even to our admiration in all parts of Nature. But to return to artificial effects, it is known that Nature has her own ways in her actions, and that there are constant productions in every kind and sort of natural Creatures, which Nature observes in the propagation and increase of them; whose gene∣ral manner and way is always the same; (I say, general, because there are many variations in the particular mo∣tions belonging to the production of every particular Creature.) For example, all Mankind is produced after one and the same manner or way, to wit, by the copulation of two persons of each Sex; and so are other sorts of Creatures produced other ways: also a perfect Creature is produced in the same shape, and has the same interior and exterior figure as is proper to it ac∣cording to the nature of its kind and species to which it belongs, and this is properly called a natural produ∣ction: But when the figurative motions in particular productions do not move after this ordinary way, as in the productions of Monsters, it is called a praeter-natural or irregular production, proceeding from the irregu∣larity of motions; not praeternatural in respect to general Nature, but in respect to the proper and particular na∣ture of the figure. And in this regard I call Artifical effects Hermaphroditical, that is, partly Natural, and partly Artificial; Natural, because Art cannot pro∣duce any thing without natural matter, nor without the assistance of natural motions, but artificial, because it works not after the way of natural productions; for Art is like an emulating Ape, and will produce such figures as Nature produces, but it doth not, nor cannot go the same way to work as Nature doth; for Natures ways are more subtil and mysterious, then that Art, or any one particular Creature should know, much less trace them; and this is the true construction of my sense concerning natural and artificial production; whereby it is manifest that I am not of the opinion of that Experimental Writer who thinks it no improba∣bility to say that all natural effects may be called artifi∣cial, nay, that Nature her self may be called the Art of God; for Art is as much inferior to Nature, as a part is inferior to the whole, and all Artificial Effects are Ir∣regular in comparison to Natural; wherefore to say God or Nature works Artificially, would be as much as to say they work irregularly.

3. Of Natural Matter and Motion.

I Am of that Learned Authors mind, who counts those but narrow souls, and not worthy the name of Philosophers, that think any body can be too great, or too vast, as also too little in its natural dimensions, and that Nature is stinted at an atome, and brought to a non∣plus of her sub-divisions; for truly, if there cannot be Extreams in Infinite, there can also be none in Na∣ture, and consequently there can neither be smallest nor biggest, strongest nor weakest, hardest nor soft∣est, swiftest nor slowest, &c. in Nature, by reason Nature is Infinite in her actions, as well as in her parts, and hath no set bounds or limits; and therefore the Corpuscularian or Atomical Writers, which do reduce the parts of Nature to one certain and propor∣tioned Atome, beyond which they imagine Nature cannot go, because their brain or particular finite rea∣son cannot reach further, are much deceived in their arguments, and commit a fallacy in concluding the finiteness and limitation of Nature from the narrow∣ness of their rational Conceptions. Nevertheless, al∣though Natures actions and parts are Infinite, consi∣dered in general, yet my opinion is, that Nature ne∣ver doth actually run into Infinite in her particular a∣ctions and parts; for as there are infinite divisions, so there are also infinite compositions in Nature; and as there are infinite degrees of hardness, slowness and thickness, so there are also infinite degrees of softness, swiftness, thinness, &c. so that every particular mo∣tion or action of Nature is ballanced and poised by its opposite, which hinders a running into infinite in na∣tures particulars, and causes a variety of natural figures; for although Infinite Matter in it self and its own es∣sence is simple and homogeneous, as the learned call it, or of the same kind and nature, and consequently is at peace with it self, yet there is a perpetual opposition and war between the parts of nature, where one sometimes gets the better of the other, and overpowers it either by force or slight, and is the occasion of its dissolution into some other figure; but there's no part so powerful as to reduce any thing into nothing, or to destroy it to∣tally from being Matter; nay, not Nature her self has such a power, but God alone, who as he has made Nature, so he may destroy her; for although Nature has an Infinite power, yet she is not omnipotent, but her power is a natural infinite power, when as Omni∣potency is an attribute onely belonging to God; nei∣ther hath she a divine, but a natural infinite knowledg; by which it is evident, that I do not ascribe divine at∣tributes to Nature, which were to make her a God, nor detract from Nature that which properly belongs to her; for Nature being infinite in body and parts, it would be absurd to confine her to a finite power and knowledg. By parts, I understand not onely the in∣finite figures and fizes, but also the infinite actions of Nature: and I am of Des Cartes opinion, that the parts of Matter may be made bigger or less by addition or subtraction of other parts; but I cannot yield to him when he says, that Motion may be swifter and slower by addition given to the movent by other contiguous bodies more swiftly moving, or by subduction of it by bodies slower moved, and that Motion may be trans∣ferred out of one body into another; for Motion can∣not be conceived, much less subsist without Matter; and if Motion should be transferred or added to some other body, Matter must be added or transferred also: Neither doth the addition of some parts of Matter add always exterior local motion to the body it is joyned to, but they retain the motion proper to their own figure and nature; as for example, if a stone be added to an animal, it will rather hinder then help its exterior mo∣tions. But I must refer the Reader to my other Phi∣losophical Works, in which I have discoursed more of this subject.

4. Nature cannot be known by any of her Parts.

IAm not of Plinius's Opinion, That Nature in her whole power is never more wholly seen then in her smal∣lest Works; For how can Nature be seen in a part, when as Infinite cannot be known neither in nor by any Part, much less a small Part? Nay, were Nature a great finite body, it could not be perceived intirely in and by a small or minute part, no more then a humane eye can see all this world Celestial and Terestial at once. 'Tis true, Reason being joyned to Sense, may make a better discovery then if they were sepa∣rated; but as the humane optick sense is not capable to perceive the greatest, so neither the smallest creatures exterior, much less their interior parts, although as∣sisted by Art; for Art, (as I mentioned before) many times deludes rather then informs, making hermaphro∣ditical figures; and Nature has more variety and cu∣riosity in the several forms, and figurative corporeal mo∣tions of one of the smallest creatures, then the most ob∣serving and clearest optick sense can perceive. But mi∣stake me not; I do not say, that Arts are not profi∣table, but that they are not truly and thorowly intelli∣gent or knowing of all Natures works; for seve∣ral Arts are like several other Creatures, which have their particular natures, faculties and proprieties, be∣yond which they cannot go, and one Creature is not able to comprehend or know all other Creatures, no not any one single Creature perfectly, which ifso, then none can inform what it doth not know. Nay, not onely one particular Creature is not able to know it, but not one particular kind or sort of Creatures: as for example; all Man-kind that ever have liv'd, or are at present living in this world, could never find out the truth of Nature, even in the least of her parts, nay, not in themselves: For what man is he that knows the figurative corporeal motions, which make him to be such a Creature as Man, or that make any part of him? and what Man or Art can inform us truly of the figurative motions that make the nature of blood, flesh, bones, &c. or can give a reason why the heart is trian∣gular, and the head spherical, and so for every diffe∣rently-shaped part of his body?

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