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their activity from the fulphurs joined with them. From which also, as hath been said, he derives all their kinds and differences (8). Salt, water, oil, and earth seem to be originally the same in all vegetables. All the difference, according to the chemists, ariseth from a spirit residing in the oil, called the Rector or Archæus. This is otherwise called by chemists, ens primum, or the native spirit, whereon depend, and wherein are contained, ". the peculiar favour and odour, the specific qualities and virtues of the plant. . · 137. These native spirits or vegetable souls are all breathed or exhaled into the air, which seems the receptacle as well as fource of all sublunary forms, the great mass or chaos which imparts and. receives them. The air, or atmosphere, that surrounds our earth, contains a mixture of all the active volatile parts of the whole habitable world, that is, of all vegetables, minerals, and animals. Whatever perspires, corrupts, or exhales, impregnates the air; which, being acted upon by the solar fire, produceth within itself all sorts of chemical operations, dispensing again those falts and spirits in new generations, which it had received from putrefactions.
138. The perpetual oscillations of this elastic and restless element operate without ceasing, on all things that have life, whether animal or vegetable, keeping their fibres, vessels, and Huids in a motion always changing; as heat, cold, moisture, dryness, and other causes alter the elasticity of the air. Which accounts, it must be owned, for many effects. But there are many more which must be derived from other principles or qualities in the air. Thus iron and copper are corroded and gather rust in the air, and bodies of all sorts are dissolved or corrupted, (g) 129..
Which fheweth an acid to abound and diffuse itself throughout the air.
139. By this same air fire is kindled, the lamp of life preserved, respiration, digestion, nutrition, the pulse of the heart and motion of all the muscles seem to be performed. Air therefore is a general agent, not only exerting its own, but calling forth the qualities or powers of all other bodies, by a division, comminution, and agitation of their particles, causing them to fly off and become vo. Jatile and active. · 140. Nothing ferments, vegetates, or putrefies without air, which operates with all the virtues of the bodies included in it ; that is, of all nature ; there being no drug, salutary or poisonous, whose virtues are not breathed into the air. The air therefore is an active mass of numberless different principles, the general source of corruption and generation ; on one hand dividing, abrading, and carrying off the particles of bodies, that is, corrupting or diffolving them ; on the other, producing new ones into being ; destroying and bestowing forms without intermission.
141. The seeds of things seem to lye latent in the air, ready to appear and produce their kind, whenever they light on a proper matrix. The extremely small seeds of fern, mosles, mushrooms, and some other plants are concealed and wafted about in the air, every part whereof seems replete with seeds of one kind or other. The whole atmosphere seems alive. There is every where acid to corrode, and feed to engender. Iron will ruft, and mold will grow in all places. Virgin earth becomes fertile, crops of new plants ever and anon Thew themselves; all which demonstrates the air to be a common seminary and receptable of all vivifying principles,
forms withou seeds of things le conduce their kind,
1742. Air may also be said to be the seminary of minerals and metals, as it is of vegetables. Mr; Boyle informs us, that the exhausted ores of tin and iron being exposed to the air become again impregnated with metal, and chat ore of alum having left it's fale recovers it after the same manner. And munberless instances there are of sales produced by the air, that vaft collection or treasury of active principles; from which all sublunary bodies seem to derive their forms, and on which animals depend for their life and breath.
143. That there is some latent vivifying spirit dispersed throughout the air common experience fleweth ;- infmuch as it is neceffary both to veges Cibles and aniorals (b) whether terrestrial or aquatic, neither beasts, infects, birds, nor fishes being able to subrift without air. Nor dorh all air fuffice, there being some quality or ingredient, of which when air is deprived, it becometh anfit to maintain either life or fame. And this even though the air should retain it's elasticity; which, by the bye, is an argumene chat air doth not act only as an an: tagonilt to the intercostal muscles. It hath both thatid many other uses. . It gives and preserves a proper tone to the vessels : this elaftic Auid pro: motes all secretions : it's oscillations keep every part in motion :'it pervades and actuates the whole animal fyltein, producing great variery of effects, and even opposite in different parts, cooling at the same time and heating, distending and contrading, coagulating and resolving, giving and taking, suftaining life and impairing it, prefing without and expanding wichin, abrading some paris, at the fame time insinuating and supplying others, producing various vibrations in the fibres, and fero
(5) 138, 139.
mients in the fluids; all which must needs entie from such a subtile, active, heterogeneous and elastic Auid.
144. But there is, as we have observed, sonte one quality or ingredient in the air, on which life more immediately and principally depends. What that is, though men are not agreed, yet it is agreed it must be the same thing that supports the vitil and the common flame; it being found that when air, by often breathing in it, is become unfit for the one, it will no longer serve for the other. The like iś observable in poisonous damps or steams, wherein flame cannot be kindled. As is evident in the Grotto del cane near Naples. And here it, occurs, to recommend the plunging them into cold water, as an experiment to be tried on persons affected by breathing a poisonous vapour in old vaults, nines, deep holes or cavities under ground. Which, I am apt to think, might save the lives of several, by what I have seen practised on a dog convulsed, and in all appearance dead, but instantly reviving on being taken out of the abovementioned Grotto and thrown into a lake adjacent.
145. Air, the general menstruum and seminary, seemeth to be only an aggregate of the volatile parts of all natural beings, which variously combined and agitated produce many various effects. Small particles in a near and close situation strongly act upon each other, attracting, repelling, vibrating. Hence divers fermentations, and all the variety of Aneteors, tem pests, and concussions both of earth and firmament. Nor is the microcosm less affected thereby. Being pent up in the viscera, vessels, and membranes of the body, by it's falts, sulphurs, and elastic power, it engenders cholics, spasms, hysteric disorders and other maladies. 146. The specific quality of air is taken to be
permanent permanent elasticity. Mr. Boyle is expresly of this opinion. And yet, whether there be any such thing as permanently elastic air may be doubted, there being many things which seem to rob the air of this quality, or at least lefsen and suspend it's exertion. The salts and fulphurs, for instance, that float in the air abate much of it's elasticity by their attraction.
147. Upon the whole it is manifest, that air is no distinct element, but a mass or mixture of things. the most heterogeneous and even opposite to each other (m), which become air, by acquiring an elasticity and volatility from the attraction of some active, subtile substance; whether it be called fire, æther, light, or the vital spirit of the world; in Jike manner as the particles of antimony, of themselves not volatile, are carried off in sublimation and rendered volatile, by cohering with the particles of fal ammoniac. But action and reaction being equal, the spring of this æthereal spirit is diminished by being imparted. It's velocity and fubtilty are also less from it's being mixed with grosser particles. Hence sound moves flower than light, as mud than water,
148. Whether air be only freed and fixed, or generated and destroyed, it is certain that air begins and ceases to exert or shew itself, Much by experimenţs seems to be generated, not only from animals, fruits, and vegetables, but also from hard bodies. And it is observed by Sir Isaac Newton, that air produced from hard bodies is most elastice The transmutation of elements, each into other, hath been anciently held. In Plutarch we find in was the opinion of Heraclitus, that the death of fire was a birth to air, and the death of air a birth to water. This opinion is also maintained by (m) 137, 145.