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This proposition is as fairly demonstrated, as any proposition belonging to the sciences, and yet several impossible things seem to be demonstrable consequences of it, and which the Geometricians endeavour to solve by a distinction ; an angle, say they, is not quantitas but modus quantitatis: and even this solution (if it be one) was not given till it passed through a great number of hands, and all Geometricians, notwithstanding this, rested satisfied of the truth of the proposition fairly demonstrated, and were not at all staggered with those many absurdities, which had too much appearance of fair reasoning, to admit of any solution for many hundred years.
In this case you might ask a sceptick what was to be done? Should mankind quit the purfuit of geometrical knowledge, which is ex ceedingly beneficial to the world, inasmuch as without it, land could never be measured; neither a house could be built, nor a ship made, nor a town fortified, nor various utensils effected for the improvement of manufactures What! must all these useful, nay necessary arts, without which human life is bárbarous and ignorant, be thrown aside, as being without foundation of truth; since one proposition belonging to the principles, upon which they all de pend, is attended with insuperable difficulties? Perhaps the sceptick will say, they are all to be thrown afide ; for what is there too absurd for the mind of man, when prejudice and error rule in it, instead of reason and impartiality. But however absurdly the sceptick may speak, the bulk of mankind are not so sottish, as not to
purfue reasonable things that are extremely ú ful, tho' great difficulties sometimes attend the Hence it is, that the study of Geometry and practice of the arts depending upon it, is in the least retarded by thofe difficulties atter ing one propofition, which lie in the road that science. Land is surveyed upon prin ples of Geometry; houses and ships and mi are built, towns are fortified, and numberl machines for manufactures contrived, all up the principles of that science. And in this, ma kind act wisely, and so they thould in relig on: The plain realoning, upon which religio truths depend, should convince; and the difficu ties sometimes attending them should not sta ger their faith; but only make them mode and humble. They should be thankful f the light, which God has given them, and n perversely extinguish it, thereby to bring a things into chaos, and darkness, and confusion
To this geometrical difficulty may be adde a similar case in optics. The ingenuous Dog tor Barrow in the conclusion of his optic Led tures says, “ before I quit this subject for goo " and all, the fair dealing that I owe both t “ you and to truth, obligeth me to acquain ~ you with a certain untoward difficulty, whic! « seems directly opposite to the doctrine I have We been hitherto inculcating, at least admits o « no solution from it. Then he proposes the difficulty, and further remarks. “ Nor' is out «* tenet alone struck at by this experiment, but “ likewise all others, that ever came to my “ knowledge are, every whit as much, endan
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*s gered by it. But as for me, neither this, “ nor any other difficulty, shall have so great " influence on me, as to make me renounce " that, which I know to be manifestly agree€! able to reason, especially, when, as it here “ falls out, the difficulty is founded on the per "culiar nature of a certain odd and peculiar “ case. For in the present case something pecu“ liar lies hid, which being involved in the sub« tilty of nature, will perhaps hardly be dif“ covered, till such time as the manner of vi« fion is more perfectly made known.
Concerning the very fame case, another wri. ter in his treatise of Dioptrics says, “And so " he (i: e. Dr. Barrow) leaves this difficulty to « the solution of others, which I (after so great “ an example) shall do likewise, but with the «. refolution of the same admirable Author, of “ not quitting the true doctrine, which we have " before laid down, for determining the locus « obječti, on account of being pressed by one “ difficulty, which seems inexplicable, till a “ more intimate knowledge of the visive fa« culty be obtained by mortals.
The fame question may be put, and the same inference made from this case, as froin the former, which it is needless to repeat: And you are not unacquainted, that this important difficulty is now entirely removed, and the matter fairly explained by a learned Prelate, well known to the world for many ingenious performances, as well as his new theory of vision; which should give us hopes, that some difficulties now belonging to the sciences may hereafter be explained..
science; orare already arrived at the honour and ftation of being wisé « master builders. Ye are now examining the fields of nature, where every object to a philosophic mind demonstrates a self existent Being, infinitely powerful, wife, and good; the whole creation being as one volume, in which every line expresses the divine Attributes: For the invifible things of God from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and godhead."
By natural philosophy alone you are able to answer many of the pretenders to atheism. For if one of them asserts that the supreme being is material, you can shew from bodies moving in fluids, that there is a vacuum, but the fupreme being is infinite as to fulness, as well as extent, consequently nor materiali: For matter is not infinite as to fulness, since there is a vacuum. You can also shew that inertness is one of the fift, and most obvious properties of matter, whereby it ever continues in one state, unless, altered by fome impelling or refifting power; consequently it can never begin motion; but the supreine being must be the author of motion in the world, otherwise there would be no such thing as motion at all: Hence is it demonstrated that God is not material..
Ifit be objected by another to the doctrine of the resurrection of the fame body, that human bodies may pass into one another, either among those who live upon human flesh, if there be any such, or by passing in food into such animals, as are customary food to man: 2 . d copos apxıríttw. i Cor. iii. 10. !!!
in either of which cases, they may seem to become conftituent parts of a body, to which they did not originally belong: you may answer from discoveries in natural philosophy, owing to the fagacity of some late observers of natural things by the help of glasses; that all living bodies in their first state of existence consist of certain STAMINA, which are folded into a very narrow compass, yet are capable of a great expansion ; and that all that matter which was taken in by food, and which opened their original parts to the size, which nature intended for them, does not constitute the parts of a human body which shall rife. :;: - For that matter is only a kind of exuviæ, that muft be thrown off from the original ftamina which alone will rise. .. a .
The foundation of this reafoning is very plain in most feeds of plants, which are found to contain in miniature every thing belonging to a full grown state. An acorn is no less than an oak contracted into the size of a “nut: And an oak is no more than an acorn expanded into the shape and Dimensions of a' Tree. This is but confirming and explaining St. Paul's meaning, who replies to the two questions: · How are the dead raised? And with what body do they come to the first: How are the dead raised? he answers. Thou Fool that which thou fowest, is not quickened except it die, that is, the body must first die: To the second, and with what body do they come ? he answers : Thóu fowest not that body which mall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or some other grain: But God giveth it a body, as it bath