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152. This aether or pure invisible fire, the most subtile and elastic of all bodies, seems to pervade and expand it self throughout the whole universe. If air be the immediate agent or instrument in natural things, it is the pure invisible fire that is the first natural mover or spring, from whence the air derives it's power («). This mighty agent is every where at hand, ready to break forth into action, if not restrained and governed with the greatest wisdom. Being always restless and in motion, it actuates and enlivens the whole visible mass, is equally fitted to produce and to destroy, distinguishes the various stages of nature, and keeps up the perpetual round of generations and corruptions, pregnant with forms which it constantly sends forth and "resorbs. So quick in it's motions, so subtile and penetrating in it's nature, so extensive in it's efsects, it scemeth no other than the vegetative soul or vital spirit of the world.
153. The animal spirit in man is the instrumental or physical cause both of sense and motion. To suppose sense in the world, would be gross and unwarranted. But loco-motive faculties are evident in all it's parts. The Pythagoreans, Platonists, and Stoics held the world to be an animal. Though some of them have chosen to consider it as a vegetable. However the phenomena and effects do plainly shew there is a spirit that moves, and a mind or providence that presides. This providence, Plutarch faith, was thought to be in regard to the world, what the soul is in regard to man.
154. The order and course of things, and the experiments we daily make* shew there U a mind that governs and actuates this mundane system,
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as the proper real agent and cause. And that the inserior instrumental cause is pure æther, fire, or the substance of light (c) which is applied and determined by an infinite mind in the macrocosm or universe, with unlimited power, and according to stated rules; as it is in the microcosm, with limited power and skill by the humane mind. We have no proof either from experiment or reason, of any other agent or efficient cause than mind or spirit. When therefore we speak of corporeal agents or corporeal causes, this is to be understood in a disserent, subordinate, and improper sense.
155. The principles whereof a thing is com* pounded, the instrument used in its production, and the end for which it was intended, are all ia vulgar use termed Causes, though none of them be strictly speaking agent or efficient. There is not any proof that an extended corporeal or mechanical cause doth really and properly act, even motion itself being in truth a passion. Therefore though we speak of this fiery substance as acting, yet it is to be understood only as a mean or h> ftrument, which indeed is the case of all mechanical causes whatsoever. They are nevertheless sometimes termed agents and causes, although they are by no means active in a strict and proper signification. When, therefore, force, power, vir> tue, or action are mentioned as subsisting in an extended and corporeal or mechanical being, this is not to be taken in a true, genuine, and real, but only in a gross and popular sense, which sticks in appearances, and doth not analyse things to their first principles. In compliance with established language, and the use of the world, we must employ the popular current phrase. But then in regard to truth we ought to distinguish (s) *9> 37. >36, «49
its its meaning. It may suffice to have made this declaration once for all, in order to avoid mistakes.
156. The calidum innatum, the vital flame, or animal spirit in man is supposed the cause of all motions, in the several parts of his body, whether voluntary or natural. That is, it is the instrument, by means whereof the mind exerts and manisests herself in the motions of the body. In the fame sense may not fire be faid to have force, to operate, and agitate the whole system of the world, which is held together and informed by one presiding mind, and animated throughout by one and the fame fiery substance, as an instrumental and mechanical agent, not as a primary real efficient?
157. This pure spirit or invisible fife b ever ready to exert and shew itself in its efsects (</), cherishing, heating, sermenting, dissolving, Alining and operating in various manners, where a subject offers to employ or determine its force." It is present in all parts of the earth and firmament, though perhaps latent and unobserved, till some accident produceth it into act, and renders it visible in its effects.
158. There is no effect in nature, great, marvellous, or terrible but proceeds from fire, that diffused and active principle, which at the fame time that it shakes the earth and heavens, will enter, divide, and dissolve the smallest, closest, and most compacted bodies. In remote cavities of the earth it remains quiet, till perhaps an accidental spark from the collision of one stone against another kindles an exhalation, that gives birth to an earthquake or tempest, which splits mountains, or overturns cities. This fame fire stands unseen in the focus of a burning glass, till subjects for it to act upon come in it's way, when it is found to melt, calcine, or vitrify the hardest: bodies.
159. No eye could ever hitherto discern, and no sense perceive, the animal spirit in a human body, otherwise than from it's effects. The fame may be faid of pure fire, or the spirit of the universe, which is perceived ODly by means of some other bodies, on which it operates, or with which it is joined. What the chemists fay, of pure acid's being never found alone, might as well be faid of pure fire.
160. The mind of man acts by an instrument necessarify. The ro nyt(Aa»ni», or mind presiding in die world, acts by an instrument freely. Without instrumental and second causvs, there could be no regular course of nature- And without a regular course, nature could never .be understood. Mankind must always be at a loss, not knpwing what to expect, or how to govern themselves, or .direct their actions for the obtaining of any end. Therefore in the government of the world physics agents, improperly so called, or mechanical, or second cauies, or natural causes, or instruments, are necessary to assist, not tlie governor, but thp governed.
161. In the human body the mind orders and moves the limbs: but the animal spirit is supposed the immediate physical cause of their motion. So likewise in the mundane system, a mind presides, but the immediate, mechanical, or instrumental cause, that moves or animates all it's parts, is the pure elementary fire or spirit of the -world. The more sine and subtile part or spirir. is supposed to receive the impressions of the first rnover, and communicate them to the grosser sen» £ib\c parts of thij world. Motion, though in me
taphysical rigor and truth a passion or mere effect, yet, in physics, passeth for an action. And by this action all effects are supposed to be produced. Hence the various communications, determinations, accelerations of motion constitute the laws of nature.
162. The pure æther or invisible fire contains parts of different kinds, that are imprefied with different forces, or subjected to disserent laws of motion, attraction, repulsion and expansion, and endued with divers distinct habitudes towards other .bodies. These seem to constitute the many various qualities (if), virtues, flavours, odours, and colours, which distinguish natural productions. The different modes of cohæsion, attraction, repulsion and motion, appear to be the source from whence the specific properties are derived, rather than diflerent shapes or figures. This, as hath been already observed, seems confirmed by the experiment of fixed falts operating one way, notwithstanding tbe difference of their angles. The original particles productive of odours, flavours, and other properties, as well as of colours, are, one may suspect, all contained and blended together in that univerfal and original seminary of pure elementary fire; from which they are diverfly separated and attracted, by the various subjects of the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms; which thereby become clafled into kinds, and endued with those distinct properties, which continue till their several forms, or specific proportions of fire return into the common mass.
163. As the soul acts immediately on pure fire, so pure fire operates immediately on air. That is the abrasions of all terrestrial things being rendered volatile and elastic by fire if) and at the fame time lessening the volatility and expansive force of the (') 37, 40. -M- (/) 149," 150,152.