Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

nations, they assigned them names from some remarkable qualities : as is very observable in their red and splendent planets, that is, of Mars and Venus. But the change of their names * disparaged not the consideration of their natures; nor did they thereby reject all inemory of these remarkable stars, which God himself admitted in his tabernacle, if conjecture will hold concerning the golden candlestick, whose shaft resembled the sun, and six branches the planets about it.

9. We are unwilling to enlarge concerning many other; only referring unto sober examination, what natural effects can reasonably be expected, when to prevent the ephialtès or night-mare, we hang up an hollow stone in our stables ; when for amulets against agues we use the chips of gallows and places of execution. When for warts we rub our hands

* Maadim Nogah. ? execution.] See what the Lord St. Alban's sayes for the certaintye of this experimente made upon himself in his natural historye, centurye 10th, and 997 experiment.-— Wr.

“The sympathy of individuals, that have been entire, or have touched, is of all others the most incredible ; yet according unto our faithful manner of examination of nature, we will make some little mention of it. The taking away of warts, by rubbing them with somewhat that afterwards is put to waste and consume, is a common experiment; and I do apprehend it the rather because of my own experience. I had from my childhood a wart upon one of my fingers : afterwards, when I was about sixteen years old, being then at Paris, there grew upon both my hands a number of warts at the least an hundred, in a month's space. The English ambassador's lady, who was a woman far from superstition, told me one day, she would help me away with my warts: whereupon she got a piece of lard with the skin on, and rubbed the warts all over with the fat side ; and amongst the rest, that wart which I had had from my childhood : then she nailed the piece of lard, with the fat towards the sun, upon a post of her chamber window, which was to the south. The success was, that within five weeks' space all the warts went quite away: and that wart which I had so long endured, for company. But at the rest I did little marvel, because they came in a short time, and might go away in a short time again : but the going away of that which had stayed so long doth yet stick with me. They say the like is done by the rubbing of warts with a green elder stick and then burying the stick to rot in muck. It would be tried with corns and wens, and such other excrescences. I would have it also tried with some parts of living creatures that are nearest the nature of excrescences ; as the combs of cocks, the spurs of cocks, the horns of beasts, &c. And I would have it tried both ways; both by rubbing those parts with lard, or elder, as before ; and by cutting off before the moon, or commit any maculated part unto the touch of the dead. What truth there is in those common female doctrines, that the first rib of roast beef powdered, is a peculiar remedy against fluxes ;-that to urine upon earth newly cast up by a mole, bringeth down the menses in women ;-that if a child dieth, and the neck becometh not stiff, but for many hours remaineth lithe and flaccid, some other in the same house will die not long after ;—that if a woman with child looketh upon a dead body, her child will be of a pale complexion ;9_our learned and critical philosophers might illustrate, whose exacter performances our adventures do but solicit: meanwhile, I hope they will plausibly receive our attempts, or candidly correct our misconjectures.

Disce, sed ira cadat naso, rugosaque sanna,
Dum veteres avias tibi de pulmone revello.

some piece of those parts, and laying it to consume : to see whether it will work any effect towards the consumption of that part which was once joined with it.”—Natural History, Cent. x. No. 997.

8 When for warts we rub our hands, &c.] Hear what Sir Kenelme Digby says of this matter in his Late Discourse, dic. Touching the Cure of wounds by the Power of Sympathy, &c. 12mo. 1658.

I cannot omit to add hereunto another experiment, which is, that we find by the effects, how the rays of the moon are cold and moist. It is without controversy, that the luminous parts of those rays come from the sun, the moon having no light at all within her, as her eclipses bear witness, which happen when the earth is opposite betwixt ber and the sun; which interposition suffers her not to have light from his rays. The beams then which come from the moon, are those of the sun, which glancing upon her, reflect upon us, and so bring with them the atoms of that cold and humid star, which participates of the source whence they come : therefore if one should expose a hollow bason, or glass, to assemble them, one shall find, that whereas those of the sun do burn by such a conjuncture, these clean contrary do refresh and moisten in a notable manner, leaving an aquatic and viscous glutining kind of sweat upon the glass. One would think it were a folly that one should offer to wash his hands in a well-polished silver bason, wherein there is not a drop of water, yet this may be done by the reflection of the moonbeams only, which will afford a competent humidity to do it; but they who have tried this, have found their hands, after they are wiped, to be much moister than usually : but this is an infallible way to take away warts from the hands, if it be often used..

9 What truth there is, &c.] This sentence was first added, and the arrangement of the paragraphs in the chapter altered, in the 6th edit.

I misconjectures.] The perusal of the two preceding chapters calls

powerfully to inind the following lively and eloquent “character of the superstitious,” drawn by our author's pious and learned friend, Bishop Hall.

"Superstition is godless religion, devout impiety. The superstitious is fond in observation, servile in fear : be worships God, but as he lists: he gives God what he asks not, more than he asks, and all but what he should give ; and makes more sins than the ten commandments. This man dares not stir forth, till his breast be crossed, and his face sprinkled. If but a hare cross him the way, he returns ; or, if his journey began, unawares, on the dismal day, or if he stumbled at the threshold. If he see a snake unkilled, he fears a mischief: if the salt fall towards him, he looks pale and red; and is not quiet, till one of the waiters has poured wine on his lap: and when he sneezeth, thinks them not his friends that uncover not. In the morning he listens whether the crow crieth even or odd; and, by that token, presages of the weather. If he hear but a raven croak from the next roof, he makes his will ; or if a bittour fly over his head by night: but if his troubled fancy shall second his thoughts with the dream of a fair garden, or green rushes, or the salutation of a dead friend, he takes leave of the world, and says he cannot live. He will never set to sea but on a Sunday ; neither ever goes without an erra pater in his pocket. St. Paul's day, and St. Swithin's, with the twelve, are his oracles; which he dares believe against the almanack. When he lies sick on his death-bed, no sin troubles him so much, as that he did once eat flesh on a Friday: no repentance can expiate that; the rest need none. There is no dream of his, without an interpretation, without a prediction; and, if the event answer not his exposition, he expounds it according to the event. Every dark grove and pictured wall strikes him with an awful but carnal devotion. Old wives and stars are his counsellors : his nightspell is his guard, and charms, his physicians. He wears Paracelsian characters for the tooth-ache : and a little hallowed wax is his antidote for all evils. This man is strangely credulous ; and calls impossible things, miraculous : if he hear that some sacred block speaks, moves, weeps, smiles, his bare feet carry him thither with an offering; and, if a danger miss him in the way, his saint hath the thanks. Some ways he will not go, and some he dares not; either there are bugs, or he feigneth them : every lantern is a ghost, and every noise is of chains. He knows not why, but his custom is to go a little about, and to leave the cross still on the right hand. One event is enough to make a rule : out of these rules he concludes fashions proper to himself; and nothing can turn him out of his own course. If he have done his task, he is safe : it matters not with what affection. Finally, if God would let him be the carver of his own obedience, he could not have a better subject : as he is, he cannot have a worse.”-Bishop Hall's Characters of Vices; Works by Pratt, vol. vii. 102.

THE SIXTH BOOK :

THE PARTICULAR PART CONTINUED.

OF POPULAR AND RECEIVED TENETS, COSMOGRAPHICAL,

GEOGRAPHICAL, AND HISTORICAL.

CHAPTER I.

Concerning the beginning of the World, that the time thereof is not

precisely known, as commonly it is presumed. CONCERNING the world and its temporal circumscriptions, whoever shall strictly examine both extremes, will easily perceive, there is not only obscurity in its end, but its beginning ; that as its period is inscrutable, so is its nativity indeterminable; that as it is presumption to enquire after the one, so is there no rest or satisfactory decision in the other. And hereunto we shall more readily assent, if we examine the information, and take a view of the several difficulties in this point; which we shall more easily do, if we consider the different conceits of men, and duly perpend the imperfections of their discoveries.

And first, the histories of the Gentiles afford us slender satisfaction, nor can they relate any story, or affix a probable point to its beginning. For some thereof (and those of the wisest amongst them) are so far from determining its beginning, that they opinion and maintain it never had any at all; as the doctrine of Epicurus implieth, and more positively Aristotle, in his books De Colo, declareth. Endeavouring to confirm it with arguments of reason, and those appearingly demonstrative; wherein his labours are

its beginning.] The beginning of the world.

rational, and uncontrollable upon the grounds assumed, that is, of physical generation, and a primary or first matter, beyond which no other hand was apprehended. But herein we remain sufficiently satisfied froin Moses, and the doctrine delivered of the creation; that is, a production of all things out of nothing, a formation not only of matter, but of form, and a materiation even of matter itself.

Others are so far from defining the original of the world or of mankind, that they have held opinions not only repugnant unto chronology, but philosophy; that is, that they had their beginning in the soil where they inhabited; assuming or receiving appellations conformable unto such conceits. So did the Athenians term themselves aúróxooves or Aborigines, and in testimony thereof did wear a golden insect on their heads : the same name is also given unto the Inlanders, or Midland inhabitants of this island, by Cæsar. But this is a conceit answerable unto the generation of the giants ; not admittable in philosophy, much less in divinity, which distinctly informeth we are all the seed of Adam, that the whole world perished, unto eight persons before the flood, and was after peopled by the colonies of the sons of Noah. There was therefore never any autochthon, or man arising from the earth, but Adam ; for the woman being formed out of the rib, was once removed from earth, and framed from that element under incarnation. And so although her production were not by copulation, yet was it in a manner seminal: for if in every part from whence the seed doth flow, there be contained the idea of the whole; there was a seminality and contracted Adam in the rib, which, by the information of a soul, was individuated unto Eve. And therefore this conceit applied unto the original of man, and the beginning of the world, is more justly appropriable unto its end; for then indeed men shall rise out of the earth : the graves shall shoot up their concealed seeds, and in that great autumn, men shall spring up, and awake from their chaos again,

2 autochthon.] Autochthon (rising himselfe from the earthe], which was not to bee granted of the first; who did not spring (as plants now doe) of himselfe. For Adam was created out of the dust by God. The second Adam might bee trulyer called Autochthon, in a mystical sense, , not only in respect of his birthe, but of his resurrection alsoe.- Wr.

« AnteriorContinuar »