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to their pores. It is also observed, that urine proo! ducech no phosphorus, unless it be long exposed to the solar light. From all which it may be concluded, that bodies attract and fix the light; whence it should seem, as some have observed, that fire without burning is an ingredient in many things, as water without wetting

194. Of this there cannot be a better proof; than the experiment of Monsieur Homberg, who made gold of mercury, by introducing light into its pores, but at such trouble and expence, that I fuppofe no body will try the experiment for profit." By this junction of light and mercury, both bodies became fixed, and produced a third different from either, to wit, real gold. For the truth of which fact, I refer to the memoirs of the French academy of Sciences. From the foregoing experiment it appears, that gold is only a mass of mercury penetrated and cemented by the suban ftance of light, the particles of those bodies attracting and fixing each other. This seems to have been not altogether unknown to former philofophers; Marfilius Ficinus the Platonist, in his commentary on the first book of the second Ennead of Plotinus, and others likewise before him, regard. ing mercury as the mother, and sulphur as the father of metals; and Plato himself in his Timæus describing gold, to be a dense fuid with a thining yellow light, which well suits a composition of light and mercury.

195. Fire or light mixeth with all bodies (a), even with water ; witness the Aashing lights in the fea, whose waves seem frequently all on fire. Its operations are various according to its kind, quantity, and degree of vehemence. One degree

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burnth therefore

keeps water Auid, another turns it into elastic air (a). And air itself seems to be nothing else but vapours and exhalations, rendered elastic by fire. Nothing Aames but oil: and sulphur with water, salt, and earth compose oil; which sulphur is fire : therefore fire enclosed attracts fire, and cauteth the bodies whose composition it enters to burn and blaze.

196. Fire collected in the focus of a glass opesites in vacuo, and therefore is thought not to need air to support it. Calx of lead hath gone off with an explosion in vacuo, which Niewentyot and others take for a proof that fire can burn without air. But Mr. Hales attributes this effect to air enclosed in the red lead, and perhaps too in she receiver, which cannot be perfectly exhausted. When common lead is put into the fire in order to make red-lead, a greater weight of this comes out than was put in of common lead. Therefore the red-lead should seem impregnated with fire. Mr. Hales thinks it is with air. The vast expansion of compound aqua fortis, Mr. Niewenty't will have to proceed from fire alone. Mr. Hales contends chat air must necessarily co-operate. Though by Niewentyr's experiment it should seem, the phosphorus burns equally, with and without air.

197. Perhaps they who hold the opposite sides in this question, may be reconciled by observing that air is in reality nothing more than particles of wet and dry bodies volatilised, and rendered elastic by fire (). Whatever therefore is done by air must be ascribed to fire, which fire is a subtile invisible thing, whose operation is not to be discerned but by means of some groffer body, which

a) 149.

(6) 147, 150, 151.




serves not for a pabulum to nourish the fire, but for a vehicle to arrest and bring it into view. Which seems the sole use of oil, air, or any other thing, that vulgarly passeth for a pabulum or food of that element.

198. To explain this matter more clearly, it is to be observed, thąt fire, in order to become sensible, must have some subject to act upon. This being penetrated and agitated by fire affects us with light, heat, or some other sensible alteration. And this subject so wrought upon may be called culinary fire. In the focus of a burning glass ex: posed to the sun, there is real actual fire, though not discerned by the sense, till it hath somewhat to work on, and can shew itself in it's effects, heating, Aaming, melting, and the like. Every ig. nited body is, in the foregoing sense, culinary fire. But it will not therefore follow, that it is convertible into pure elementary fire. This, for ought that appears, may be ingenerable and incorruptible by the course of nature. It may be fixed and imprisoned in a compound (a), and yet retain it's nature, though lost to sense, and though it return into the invisible elementary mass, upon the analysis of the compounded body: as is manifest in the soluțion of stone lime by water.

199. It should seem, therefore, that what is said of air's being the pábulum of fire, or being converted into fire, ought to be understood only in this sense ; to wit, that air being less gross than 0. ther bodies, is of a middle nature, and therefore more fit to receive the impressions of a fine ætherial fire (b), and impart them to other chings. According to the antients, foul servech for a vehicle to

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'intellect (a), and light or fire for a vehicle to the

soul ; and, in like manner, air may be supposed a vehicle to fire, fixing it in some degree, and communicating it's effects to other bodies.

200. The pure invisible fire or æther doth permcate all bodies, even the hardest and most solid, as the diamond. This alone, therefore, cannot, as fome learned men have supposed, be the cause of muscular motion, by a mere impulse of the nerves communicated from the brain to the membranes of the muscles, and thereby to the enclosed æther, whose expansive motion, being by that means increased, is thought to swell the muscles, and cause a contraction of the feshy fibres. This, it should seem, the pure æther cannot do immediately, and of itself, because, supposing it's expansive motion to be increased, it must ftill pass through the membranes, and consequently not swell them, inásmuch as æther is supposed freely to pervade the most solid bodies. It should seem therefore, that this effect must be owing, not to pure æther, but to æther in some part fixed and arrested by the particles of air.

201. Although this æther be extremely elastic, yet, as it is sometimes found by experience to be attracted, imprisoned and detained in gross bodies (b), so we may suppose it to be attracted, and its expansive force diminished, though it should not be quite fixed, by the loose particles of air, which combining and cohering therewith may bring it down, and qualify it for intercourse with grosser things. Pure fire may be said to animate air, and air other things, Pure fire is invisible ; therefore Aame is not pure fire. Air is necessary both to life and fame. And it is found by experi

(a) 178.

(6) 169.


ment, that air loseth in the lungs the power of feeding fame. Hence it is concluded, that the same thing in air contributes both to life and fame. Vital flame furvives culinary Aame in vacuo : therefore it requires less of that thing to sustain it. · 202. What this may be, whether some certain proportion, or some peculiar parts of æther, is not easy to say. But thus much seems plain, that whatever is ascribed to acid may be also ascribed to fire or æther. The particles of æther fly asun. der with the greatest force: therefore, agreeably to Sir Isaac Newton's doctrine, when united they must attract each other with the greatest force. There. fore they constitute the acid. For whatsoever strongly attracts and is attracted, may be called an acid, as Sir Isaac Newton informs us in his tract De acido. Hence it should seem, that the sulphur of Homberg, and the acid of Sir Isaac are at bot. com one and the fame thing, to wit, pure fire or æther. 3 203. The vital fame or æthereal spirit, being attracted and imprifoned in groffer bodies, seemeth to be fer free and carried off, by the superior attraction of a fubtil and pure fame. Hence, perhaps it is, that lightening kills animals, and turns {pirituous liquors vapid in an instant.

204. Hippocrates in his book concerning the Heart observeth, that the foul of man is not nousiihed by meats and drinks from the lower belly, but bý a pure and luminous substance darting its

wys, and distributing a non-natural nourishment, as he terms it, in like manner as that from the inditines is distributed to all parts of the body. This laninous non-natural nourishment, though it be decreted from the blood, is . exprefly said not to come from the lower belly. It is plain, therefore,


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