Page images
PDF
EPUB

Mould resolve that Problem of distilling frelh Water out of Salt. That the Clouds should be so carried about by the Winds, as to be almost equally dispers’d and distributed, no part of the Earth wanting convenient Showers, unless when it pleaseth God for the punishment of a Nation to with-hold Rain by a special Interposition of his Providence ; or if any Land wants Rain, they have a supply some other way ; as the Land of Egypt, though there seldoin falls any Rain there, yet hath abundant Recompence made it by the annual overflowing of the River. This Distribution of the Clouds and Rain is to me (I say) a great Argument of Providence and Divine Disposition, for else { do not fee but why there might be in some Lands continual succesfive Droughts for many Years, till they were quite depopulated ; in others as lasting Rains, till they were overflown and drown'd; and these, if the Clouds mov'd casually, often happening; whereas since the ancient'st Records of History we do not read or hear of any such Droughts or Inundations, unless perhaps that of Cyprus, wherein there fell no Rain there for Thirty-six Years, till the Island was almost quite deserted, in the Reign of Constantine; which doubtless fell not out without the wife dispo

fition of Providence, for great and weighty * Reasons.

Again, If we consider the manner of the Rain's descent, distilling down gradually and by

drops, which is most convenient for the water:ing of the Earth; whereas if it should fall down in a continual Stream like a River, it would gall the Ground, wallı away Plants by the Roots, overthrow Houses, and greatly incommode, if not suffocate Animals : If, I fay, we consider these things and many more that might be added, we might in this respect also cry out with the Apostle, O the depth of the Riches both of the Wisdom and Knowledge of God !

Secondly, Another Meteor is the Wind; which how many Uses it doth serve to, is not easie to enumerate, but many it doth, viz. to ventilate and break the Air, and dissipate noisom and contagious Vapours, which otherwise stagnating, might occasion inany Diseases in Animals; and therefore it is an Observation concerning our Native Country, Anglia ventosa, li. non ventosa venenosa : To transfer the Clouds from place to place, for the more commodious watering of the Earth. To temper the excesses of the Heat, as they find, who in Brasil, Nere Spain, the Neighbouring Inands, and other the like Countries near the Equator, reap the benefit of the Breezes. To fill the Sails of Ships, and carry them on their Voyages to remote Countries; which of what eminent advantage it is to Mankind, for the procuring and continuing of Trade and mutual Commerce between the most diftant Nations, the illustrating every

graphy and Natural History, is apparent to every Man. That the Monsoons and Trade-winds should be so constant and periodical even to the 30th Degree of Latitude all round the Globe,

and

and that they should so feldom transgress or fall short of those bounds, is a Subject worthy of the Thoughts of the greatest Philosophers.' To this may be added the driving about of Windmills for grinding of Corn, making of Oil, draining of Pools, raising of Water, fawing of Wood, fulling of Cloth, c. That it should seldom or never be so violent and boisterous, as to overturn Houses ; yea, whole Cities; to tear up Trees by the Roots, and prostrate Woods ; to drive the Sea over the lower Countries, as, were it the effect of Chance, or mere natural Causes not moderated by a superiour Power, it would in all likelihood often do. Hurricanes, Spouts, and Inundations would be more frequent than they are. All these things declare the Wisdom and Goodness of Him who bringeth the Wind out of bis Treasures.

Of Inanimate Mix'd Bodies.

I proceed now to such inanimate Bodies as are called Perfe&mixta, perfectly mix’d, improperly enough, they being many of thein (for ought I know) as fimple as those they call Èlements. These are Stones, Metals, Minerals and Salts.

In Stones, which one would think were a neglected Gemus, what variety? What beauty and elegancy? What constancy in their temper and consistency, in their figures and colours ? I fhall speak of first some notable Qualities wherewith some of them are endued ; Secondly, The remarkable Uses they are of to us. The Qualities I shall instance in are, First, Colour, which in some of them is most lively, sparkling, and beautiful; the Carbuncle or Rubine shining with red, the Sapphire with blue, the Emerauld with green, the Topaz or Chryfolyte of the Ancients with a yellow or Gold-colour, the Amethyst as it were tinctur'd with Wine, the Opal varying its colours like changeable T'affata, as it is diverfly expos'd to the light. Secondly, Hardnefs, wherein fome Stones exceed all other Bodies, and among them the Adamant all other Stones, being exalted to that degree thereof, that Art in vain endeavours to counterfeit it, the factitious Stones of Chymists in imitation being easily detected by an ordinary Lapidist. Thirdly, Figure, inany of them shoot into regular Figures, as Crystal and bastard Diamonds into Hexagonal ; others into those that are more elegant and compounded, as thole form'd in imitation of the Shells of testaceous Fishes of all sorts, Sharks Teeth and Vertebres, Bruce If these be originally Stones, or primary Productions of Nature in imitation of Shells and Fishes Bones, and not the Shells and Bones themselves petrified, as we have sometimes thought. Some have a kind of vegetation and resemblance of Plants, as Corals, Pori, and Fungites, which grow upon the Rocks like Shrubs : To which I might add our ordinary Star-stones and Trocbites, which I look upon as a fort of Rock-Plants,

remarkable

Secondly,

Secondly; For the Uses; some serve for Building, and many sorts of Vessels and Utenfils; for Pillars, and Statues, and other carv'd Works in relieve, for the Temples, Ornament of Palaces, Portico's, Piazza's, Conduits, &c. as Freestone and Marble ; fome to burn into Liine, as Chalk and Lime-stone ; fome, with the mixture of Beriglia or Kelp, to make Glass, as that the Venetians call Cuogolo, and common Flints, which serve also to strike Fire ; some to cover Houses, as Slates ; some for marking, as Morochthus, and the fore-mention'd Chalk, which is a monumensov, serving moreover for manuring Land, and some Medicinal Uses; some to make Vessels of which will endure the Fire, as that found in the Country of Chiavenna near Plurs. To these useful Stones I might add the Warming-stone, digg'd in Cornwal, which being once well heated at the Fire retains its warinth a great while, and hath been found to give ease and relief in several Pains and Diseases, particularly in that of the internal Hæmorrhoids. I might also take notice that some Stones are endued with an Ele&trical or attractical Vertue. “ My honoured Friend Dr. Tancred Robinson, “ in his Manuscript Itinerary of Italy, relates “ the many various Figures he observ'd natu“ rally delineated and drawn on several forts “ of Stones digged up in the Quarries, Caverns “ and Rocks, about Florence, and other parts of Italy, not only representing Cities, Moun“ tains, Ruins, Clouds, Oriental Characters, “ Rivers, Woods, Animals, but also fome

“ Plants

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »