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this world, are yet joined by indissoluble ties, to those which have had being, and to those which shall in futurity have form,-combining together the eternal energy and chain of the operations of nature.
The phænomena, and diversities of this tertaqueous globe, have in general been supposed to depend upon three fundamental principles. The first, an universal power, energy, or spirit, which is the divine agent or efficient principle, by which the whole mass of matter in the earth is actuated, agitated, and kept in constant motion. The second, an universal power of vegetion, by which all bodies in the earth increase in bulk, and grow from small to great. The third, an universal plastic power, whereby every body in nature receives its peculiar and specific form, and such a texture and consistence, as makes it different from every other body, Thus, in regard to the first principle, we find a genial warmth in the earth, and all its parts, solid and fluid: now, there can be no warmth in any thing where there is not motion: for it is motion which excites the sensation of warmth or heat. Matter, as we have already seen, is in itself absolutely inert, or inactive, and is put in motion: therefore, motion must
be communicated from some external agent. But we find warmth and heat in all parts of the earth, more or less. This proves, that all
parts are more or less in motion, and consequently, that there is an universal agent, or spirit, or divine power. Hence, those wonderful phænomena of hot springs, and the fire and flame of volcanos, together with the constant perspiration of the earth, and of animals and vegetables:
The various materials of which the earth is composed, naturally ferment more or less, and of course warrant the conjecture, that there is a constant motion in the earth, from the central parts towards the surface. Witness, the constant supply of fuliginous and inflammable matter to volcanos, through all ages of the world, together with all the other innumerable phænomena of volcanos. In regard to the second principle, we see that all kinds of spar grow and increase in bulk, by peculiar juices and surrounding Auids. We see crystals, efflorescences, even metals, talks and asbestos, growing from stony substances, or an earthy root. Metals of all kinds grow in their proper earths. Silver, discovers as perfect a vegetation in branches and leaves, as fern itself can do. The like takes place, with diversity of manner,
in substances of every denomination, which shews the existence of an universal power of vegetation. And in regard to the third principle, we are to understand that immutable power, which in the beginning gave birth to the beautiful order and frame of the mundane system: to that regularity, distribution and distinction, which is to be observed eternally permanent; and at all times uniformly the same, amongst all the myriads of different kinds, and species of beings and bodies.
To each individual, therefore, of each class, there must be appropriated a means for its union and preservation; an ærial, ætherial, or electrical substance. And on the other hand, à menstruum for its separation or dissolution. Thus, say chymists, when the spirit in water begins to heat and ferment the fluid, we soon find an eager taste, which we commonly call an acid. The acid causes a precipitation of the earth with which the water was impregnated; and the more eager and heated it is, the more it precipitates. Thus all sublunary substances, as well in the class of animals as in those of vegetables and minerals, have a volatile spirit or subtile fluid, which makes part
of their combination, and is liable to be dispersed.
Chymists were long of opinion, that all spirits may be deduced to a perfect similarity, or sameness, from whatever subject they are produced, and that they are to be converted into one another. This alcohol, or spirit, reduced to the utmost degree of purity, is, as Dr. Shaw expresses it, a liquor sui generis, and possessed of many peculiar qualities, as 1. When absolutely purified, it is an uniform and homogene liquor, capable of no farther separation, without loss or destruction of some of its homogeneous parts. 2. It is totally inflammable, leaving no soot, nor any moisture behind. 3. It has no peculiar taste nor flavor, any more than pure water, except what is owing to its nature as alcohol, or perfectly pure spirit. 4. It is an unctuous and crispy fluid, running veiny in the distillation, and its drops rolling on the surface of any other fluid, before they unite. 5. It appears to be the essential oil of the body it is obtained from, broken very fine; and intimately and strongly mixed with an aqueous fluid, which is assimilated, or changed in its nature in the operation. 6. And lastly, it seems to be a kind of universal fluid.
As this spirit therefore, was looked upon as an essential part of all substances, so was an alkahest, or universal solvent, said by Paracelsus, and the elder Van Helmont, to be in nature, that which was capable of dissolving all bodies; and of reducing them, whether homogeneous or mixed, into their ens primum, or original matter whereof they were composed. But this was extravagant and visionary ; to the full as absurd as the building of a world. The real philosopher, as we have often observed, shuns such illusory ideas. He neither demands how the world exists; attempts to penetrate the reason of its existence; the æra of its birth, of the mode of its dissolution. To him it is sufficient, if he can but trace and consider a few of its phænomena ; if, in his inquiries, he can but find out a link in the chain of causes and cffects; or if, in the contemplation of the mighty fabric, he can but form probable conjectures on a few of the laws by which it is regulated.
Our globe is indisputably, both internally and externally, irregular.
It projects with mountains, and is dug into caverns. Its surface is unequal, and its inner parts are variegated. The alterations it has undergone, have been