« EelmineJätka »
he thought it came into the blood either by respiration, or by attraction through the pores. And it must be acknowledged, that somewhat igneous or æthereal brought by the air into the blood seems to nourish, though not the foul it self, yet the interior tunicle of the soul, the aura's fimplicis ignem.
205. That there is really such a thing as vital flame, actually kindled, nourish'd, and extinguish'4 like common flame, and by the seme means, is an opinion of some moderns, particularly of Doctor Willis in his tract De fanguinis accenflone: that it requires constant eventilation, through the. trachaea and pores of the body, for the discharge of * fuliginous and excrementitious vapour: and that this vital flame, being extremely subtil, might not be seen any more than shining flies or ignes fatui by day-light. And yet it hath sometimes become visible on divers persons, of which there are undoubted instances. This is Dr. Willis'^notion: and perhaps there may be some truth in this, if it be so understood, as that light or fire might indeed constitute the animal spirit or immediate vehicle of the soul.
206. There have not been wanting those, who, not content to suppose light the most pure and refined of all corporeal beings, have gone farther, and bestowed upon it some attributes of a yet higher nature. Julianus the Platonic philosopher, as cited by Ficinus, faith it was a doctrine in the theology of the Phœnicians, that there is disfused thoughout the universe, a pellucid and shining nature pure and impassive, the act of a pure intelligence. And Ficinus himself undertakes to prove, that light is incorporeal, by several arguments: Because it enlightens and fills a great space in an instant, and without opposition: Because several
lights lights meet without resisting each other . Because light cannot be defiled by filth of any kind: Because the solar light is not fixed in any subject: Lastly, because it contracts and expands it self lo easily without collision, condenfation, rarefaction, or delay throughout the vastest space. These reasons are given by Ficinus, in his comment on the first book of the second Ennead of Plotinus.
207. But it is now well known, that light moves, and that it's motion is not instantaneous: that it is capable of condenfation, rarefaction, and collision: that it can be mixed with other bodies, enter their composition, and increase their weight (a). All which seems sufficiently to overthrow those arguments of Ficinus, and shew light to be corporeal. There appears indeed some difficulty at first sight, about the non-resistance of rays or particles of light occurring one to another, in all possible directions or from all points. Particularly, if we suppose the hollow surface of a large sphere, studded with eyes looking inwards one at another, it may perhaps seem hard to conceive, how distinct rays from every eye should arrive at every other eye without justling, repelling, and confounding each other.
208. But these disficulties may be got over by considering in the first place, that visible points are not mathematical points, and consequently that we are not to suppose every point of space a radiating point. Secondly, by granting that many rays do resist and intercept each other, notwithstanding which the act of vision may be performed. Since as every point of the object is not seen, so it is not necessary that rays from every such points arrive at the eye. We often see
(a) 169, 192, 193.
* an an object, though more dimly, when many rays are intercepted by a gross medium.
209. Besides we may suppose the particles of light to be indefinitely small, that is as small as we please, and their aggregate to bear as small a proportion to the void as we please, there being nothing in this that contradicts the phænomena. And there needs nothing more in order to conceive the possibility of rays passing from and to all visible points, although they be not incorporeal. Suppose a hundred ports placed round a circular sea, and stiips failing from each port to every other; the larger the sea, and the smaller the vessels are supposed, the less danger will there be of their striking against each other.. .But as there is by hypothesis no limited proportion between the sea and the ships, the void and solid particles of light, so there is no difficulty that can oblige us to conclude the sun's light incorporeal from it's free passage; especially when there are so many clear prooss of the contrary. As for the difficulty, therefore, attending the supposition of a sphere studded with eyes looking at each other, this is removed only by supposing the particles of light exceeding small relatively to the .empty spaces.
210. Plotinus supposeth, that from the'sun's light which is corporeal, there springs forth another equivocal light which is. incorporeal, and as it were the brightness of the former. Marsilius Ficinus also, observing it to be a doctrine in the Timæus of Plato, that there is an occult fire or spirit diffused throughout the universe, intimates that this fame occult invisible fire or light is, as it were, the sight of the mundane foul. And Plotinus, in his fourth Ennead, fheweth it to be his opinion, that the world seeth it self and all it's
... N pares. parts. The Platonic philosophers do wondersully refine upon light, and soar very high : from coal to flame; from flame to light; from this vifibe light to the occult light of the celestial or mundane soul, which they supposed to pervade and agitate' the substance of the universe by it's vigorous and expansive motion.
211. If we may believe Diogenes Laertius, the Pythagorean philosophers thought there was a certain pure heat or fire, which had somewhat divine in it, by the participation whereof men became allied to the Gods. And according to the Platonists,J heaven is not defined so much by it's local situation, as by it's purity. The purest and most excellent fire, that is heaven, faith Ficinus. And again, the hidden fire that every where exerts it self, he calls celestial. He represents fire as most powersul and active, dividing all things, abhorring all composition or mixture with other bodies. And, as soon as it gets free, relapsing instantly into the common mass of celestial fire, which is every where present and latent.
112. This is the general source of lise, spirits and strength, and, therefore of health to all animals, who constantly receive it's illapses cloathed in air, through the lungs and pores of the body. The fame spirit imprisoned in food and medicines, is conveyed into the stomach, the bowels, the lacteals, circulated and secreted by the several ducts, and distributed throughout the system (a). Plato in his Timaeus enumerating the ignited juices, names wine in the first place, and tar in the second. But wine is pressed from the grape, and sermented by human industry. Therefore of all ignited juices purely natural, tar or resin roust in his account be esteemed the first.
(*) 37. 4*» 44
213. The - tij. The vivifying luminous æther exists in all places, even the darkest caverns, as is evident from hence, that many animals see in those dark places, and that fire may be kindled in them by the collision or attrition of bodies. It is also. known that certain persons have sits of seeing in the dark. Tiberius was faid to have had this faculty or distemper. I my self knew an ingenious man, who had experienced it several times in himself. And doctor Willis m his tract De fanguinis accensione mentions another of his own knowledge. This luminous æther or spirit is therefore faid by Virgil, to nourilh or cherish the innermost earth, as well as the heavens and celestial bodies.
Principio ccelum ac terras, camposque liquentes.
214. The principles of motion and vegetation in living bodies seem to be delibations from the invisible fire or spirit of the universe (a). Which, though present to all things, is not nevertheless one .way received by, all; but variously imbibed, attracted, and secreted by the fine capillaries, and exquisite strainers in the bodies of plants and animals, whereby it becomes mixed and detained in their juices.
215. It hath been thought by some observers of nature, that the fine glandular vessels admit
from the common mass of the blood, only such juices as are homogeneous to those, with which they were originally imbued. How they came to be so imbued doth not appear. But thus much is plain-, that sine tubes attract fluids, that the glands are fine tubes, and that they attract very