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mocritus's Opinion, fo the Change he made in it was much for the worfe. He only took ShelDemocriter in the Science of Nature, against the Terto adjecit rors of Religion. A Vacuum and Atoms are the perpauca Principles upon which he builds. 'Tis no Wonfed ita, ut der his Disciples fhould have fo little Infight inqua corri- to the Nature of Motion, fince they were engere vult, tirely Strangers to the Nature of Time and depravare Place, which are of metaphyfical ConfideratiIdem de on. Yet in fpight of all this, Lucretius has reprefented his Mafter Epicurus, as the greatest of Epicuro Philofophers and of Men, in thofe high Elogies duo effe he has bestow'd on him in feveral Parts of his principia Poem; efpecially in the Entrance of his third Corpus 5 inane. Book, where he speaks of him in a Strain, Serv. in that makes him fomewhat more than a Mortal. En.6. Amaphamius whom Cicero mentions, differ'd in Rerum na- nothing from Epicurus, whofe Doctrine he comturâ cog- mitted to Writing. Chryfippus's Book of Nanita fuperftitione ture and of natural Things, is cited by Plutarch, evamur, and highly commended by Phavorinus. The chief mortis me- Remains of the ancient Gracian Naturalifts. ใน non we meet with in the Fragments collected by mur igno- Diogenes Laertius. We are promis'd from Florence a general Body of the ancient Phyficks by Rurerum ex cellai, in which he has given the Draughts of thirty quá borri- fix different Systems. But as this Work, which biles exi- is written in Italian, and will make twelve Vofunt formidines, lumes, could not be publish'd before the Authors Cic, de Death, fo we have Reafon to fear, that the PubFin. 1. lick will never be obliged with it, fince the general Lofs that the learned World has had in the Cardinal de Medicis, who alone could have promoted the Impreffion.
Tho' the Romans fcarce made any Efforts in natural Philofophy, but ought to yield that Honour to the Greeks; yet have they left us fome
very excellent Pieces on that Subject. Nothing was ever written in purer Latin, or with a more polite Air than Lucretius's Poem on the Philofophy of Epicurus, which Lambin prefers even to Virgil, for the Accuracy and Propriety of Expreffion, tho' nothing certainly can be more dangerous in refpect of Morals and Principles. Cicero, who of all the Romans, beft understood and best explain'd the Grecian Philofophy, fpeaks fo dubiously of it, that we cannot easily determine what Hypothefis he valued above the reft. Those who beft apprehend his Meaning, think he embraces no particular Sect, but rallies them All: Yet we may perceive that Plato and Ariftotle were his Favourites. Seneca feems to have quite mistaken the preceptory Stile, in his Books of natural Questions. He makes very nice and curious Reflections, where 'twas only requifite to use the greatest Plainnefs and Simplicity; and affects to moralize where he ought only to be natural. No Latin Author has written fo largely of Phyficks, or with fo much Elegance, as Pliny. The Idea of his Work feems to be one of the greateft Designs that was ever form'd by Man. He is the general Historian of Nature, who tells us his Opinion of every Thing, and always tells it finely. He has given a vaft Number of Curiofities, which had been loft, but for his Care in preferving them. Yet if we confult Salmafius's Obfervations upon Pliny, we fhall find, that this great Author many times fuffer'd himself to be impos'd upon by those that furnish'd him with Memoirs for his History; that he often goes out of his Way, in hopes of riding the more Ground; that he is over credulous in following other Mens Opinions, and too precipitate in giving his own; that in his Reports, he very often confiders more the Beauty of Hh 4
Words, than the Truth of Things; and that the neceffity he is often under of relying upon the Integrity of others, brings his own into Sufpicion. Pintian. Not but that he has had his Defenders in these Rhenan. latter Days, who affirm that most of thofe Relations which have been fome time doubted of, have at length, upon full Enquiry, been found Zeglerus to be true. Yet 'tis my Opinion, that we canBeciche- not fo well depend upon thefe Authors, as upon Salmafius, who has illuftrated Pliny with greater Learning than all before him; and that we cannot deny, but that Pliny's Work is of too wide a Compafs to be exact. However, it must be confefs'd to be one of the noblest Designs of 'Antiquity.
Plutarch, Diofcorides, Alian, and Solinus, have farther improv'd and enrich'd the Science of Phyficks, each in his Way. Plutarch is rather a Moralift than a Naturalift. Diofcorides is rather a Phyfician than a Philofopher. Ælian is rather an Hiftorian; and Solinus rather a Geographer. Galen form'd his Syftem of Nature upon the Model of Hippocrates; and he is largely beholden, to Pliny, whom he studied with great Application. The learned Men of the following Ages were divided, as their Inclination led them, in Favour of Plato or Ariftotle, as were particularly Avicenna and Averroes. The School-men took the fame Way, in that Age which they feem to have govern'd. Yet the major Part embrac'd the Ariftotelian Syftem, notwithstanding all that Heat and Animofity with which they oppos'd each other. And the Schools, in fpight of their Pride and Conceit, fhew'd fo much Fidelity and Honour in this refpect, as for the fpace of three hundred Years to advance nothing on the Subject of Nature, but what was agreeable to the Doctrine of Ariftotle.
Modern Phyficks may date their Rife and Origin from the Age immediately preceeding ours. Galilei a Florentine was the first that fram'd this Plan and Defign, upon the Principles of Leucippus. He was happy in a ftrong and folid Genius, and by his perfect Knowledge of Aftronomy and Geometry, reafon'd better upon the Nature of Motion, than any before or fincer He was the first that found out the Proportion of the Vibration of Pendulums, and the Acceleration of the Motion of heavy Bodies in their Defcent; the Principles of which Doctrine he borrows from Ariftotle. He had more of the Peripatetick in him than any of his Succeffors; but had the Skill to give a very modern Turn and Air, to what he learnt of the Ancients. For he reform'd and enrich'd Copernicus's Syftem of the World; and by the Ufe of the Telescope -difcover'd many new Stars, obferv'd the Spots in the Sun, found out Mountains and Valleys in the Moon, and distinguish'd the Phafes of the Planet Venus. He fhew'd a great Force in all his Reafonings upon the Idea of that new Motion which he invented; and he rais'd fo eminent a Reputation in Italy, as to be esteem'd the Author and Founder of modern Philofophy. Nor did Bacon lefs revive the Love of Philofophy in England. He had a vast and comprehenfive Genius for the Study of Nature, but fucceeded in no Part better than in his History of the Winds; tho' he appears fometimes too eafie and credulous in admitting the Memoirs that were fent to him on that Subject. The rest of his Phyficks is not of the fame Strength or Accuracy; yet he always fhews fome Strokes of his Genius and Character. His Writings contributed exceedingly to the engaging his Countrymen in
natural Pursuits, who have, in great Numbers, imitated his Paffion for Nature, and have carried experimental Knowledge to a high and flou. rishing Condition. Toricelli, Viniani, and Michelino, all three of the Academy of Florence, have written excellently well of Motion. Gaf fendus is an Author never enough to be admir'd. We find no Philofopher of all Antiquity, that has left a Work of fuch Extent, (no less than fix great Volumes) compos'd with fo much Art and Force. He is indeed but the Reftorer of Epicurus's Theory, which he has improv'd and manag'd by Galileo's Doctrine of Motion; in all other Refpects he is an Epicurean, foften'd and mitigated by Principles of Confcience. He acknowledges the Creation of Atoms, which Epicurus denied, he maintains that they receive from God their Motion, Extenfion, and Figure, all which Epicurus would have to be effentially and originally in themfelves; he afferts a Providence, which that Philofopher excluded from his Syftem; in a word, he makes Epicurus an honeft Man, being really fuch himself. But notwithstanding his great Temper and Moderation, he has us'd Ariftotle with the utmost Severity; whom, on many Occafions, he charges with Ignorance, Folly, and Extravagance. As for Vanhelmont, who will allow nothing to be rational in Ariftotle's Syftem, it must be own'd that he had very little Judgment, and that Paracelfus had turn'd his Head. Campanella's Treatife of Phyficks, in which he gives Senfe to the smallest and most infenfible Things, and pretends to animate every: Part of Nature, is a meer Whim and Fancy, fuch as he lov'd to indulge. Yet Telefius has embrac'd this Opinion in his Difcourfe against Galen; he is over prefumptuous in his Decifions, and often corrects Ariftotle