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the four first Books are taken up with represent. Perfecurus ing the different Species; and in the five last heft Aristo
teles aniexamines their various Ways of Multiplication :
mantium He has enrich'd this whole Work, with a vast omnium Number of Experiments, and curious Disquisi- ortus, vitions ;, among which, upon a closer View, we&us, figu
Cic. may perhaps, observe the first Lines of all the mas;
de Fin.se famous Discoveries so much boasted of by modern Philosophy. I forbear to speak of his Book of Colours, his Treatise of Physiognomy, his mechanick Questions, his Problems, his Books of Plants, his two Books of Generation and Corruption, his Book de Mundo, compos’d for the Use of. Alexander the Great, together Naturam with many other Pieces, in which he has hand- & Peripaled all Manner of Subjects, and explain'd the teticis fic Reason of all Things from the greatest to the investigaleast, as Diogenes Laertius remarks. And this tam ut obliges me to say in Conclusion, that Aristotle's cælo
, ternatural Doctrine is the most ample and ex-ra, mari. tensive that ever appear'd in the World ; no- que prething having escapå so vast a Genius, which termise stretch'd it self to the universal Compass offit; Cic.
VI. This is what may be offer'd on the favourable Side, as to the natural Philosophy of Aristotle : Let us now consider what may be alledg’d against it, or what there is in it that may seem chiefly liable to Censure. The eight Books of Physicks appear confus’d, nor are they carried on with a natural Order and Dependance. The Materia prima, and the bringing of Forms out of this Matter, are both extreamly difficult to our Apprehension. The whole Treatife of Motion is dark and abstracted: The Arguments alledged to prove thọ Eternity of Motion, through the Course of the eighth Book, are unintelligi. нь
ble; and that whole Book is of too metaphyfical a Character. Nor are this Philosopher's Discourses of Time and Place, peculiar to the Subject of Physicks, since they agree likewife to spiritual Substances. His Doctrine of Time is borrow'd from Archytas, as that of Motion, is from Ocellus, and that concerning a Vacuum, from Timaus, as Patricius has informd us. What he advances in his first two Books de Cælo, as also in his Explication of Comets, of the Rainbow, and other Meteors, is by no means found true in all its Circumstances : But we ought to except his fourth Book of Meteors, which seems to be compiled with greater Accuracy than the reft. The Situation, that in his third Book de Cælo, he gives the Element of Fire, under the Concave of the Moon, agreeably to the Opinion of Leucippus and Democritus, has no Manner of Foundation: Pythagoras was of quite another Judgment in this Matter. In his second Book of Meteors, he pretends, that the Earth is unhabitable under the Equinox, which is contradicted by Experience. But, what he delivers, as to the Eternity of the World, how false foever, may seem the most pardonable Mistake. He conceiv'd all Things to proceed from God in the Way of necessary Emanation, as the Light which we fee darted from the Sun is coæval with the Solar Body. This seems to afford us an Advantage against the Heresy of the Aria ans, who would not acknowledge the Divine Word, to be Principium a Principio, or coeternal with the Father. Thus Aristotle's Error may be of Service against these Corruptions, who perhaps had not fallen into such an Extravagance, if they had hearken’d to the Reasonings of this Philosopher, though by himself misapplied. Pawisius a Philosopher of Venice, in his Discussion
of the Aristotelian Doctrine, Ramus in his School of Physicks, and Gafsendus in his Observations against the Peripateticks, report a great Number of Instances, in which Aristotle appears to have mistaken the Subject of Nature; especially about the Order and Construction of the heavenly Bodies, the History of Animals, the Anatomy of human Body, do. I freely grant that the modern Philosophy, having been so far improv'd by Experiments of all kinds, and so much aslifted by the Benefit of newly invented Instruments, may have out-done Aristotle's Performance in many Particulars which Time alone could clear; and that the Opinions of the ancient Philosophers concerning the Heaven,and heavenly Bodies, recited by Plutarch in the sea cond Tome of his Works, have been found, for the most part, to be false, by the Instruments and Observations of later Discoveries. To be brief, I acknowledge that Aristotle is less demonstram tive in his Physicks, than in the other parts of his Philosophy ; that his Method is less accurate, and his whole Characer and Conduct less accomplish'd. But we ought to impute this Default, rather to the Incapacity of the Matter, than to the Unskilfulness of the Workman: His Genius is always the same, and maintains an equal Force in all its Reasonings and Refle&ti
But Reason, howsoever extensive and universal it may seem, has its Bounds in certain Subjects, and if it transgress those Bounds, it ventures too far, and is in Danger of losing it self.
VII. As for the Judgment that we may make of all the other Naturalists, ancient or modern, it is as follows. We have no Remains of what the Egyp* tians perform'd in this Kind, except their Obfer.
H h 2
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vations on the Heavens, and heavenly Bodies which they were better acquainted with than
other Nations, their Genius carrying them to Com. in Astrology and Prognosticks. Simplician tells us, Lib. de
that Callisthenes, at the Request of his Father Cælo.
Aristotle, fent into Greece the Observations that Ex lor
. had been made by the Chaldeans, for almost Epift. ad two thousand Years before Alexander : And PorRhodom. phyry declares that he himself had seen these Amicos in Observations. What the Phoenicians and Æthiquibus eft ftudium, opians had written of Physicks, is lost with
the ad Græci- Books of Diodorus Siculus, from the Fifth to the am mitto, Eleventh. But the Greeks, who were Masters ad Græcos of all other Sciences, were so especially of this, ire jubeo, in which they have written beyond the rest of fontibus the World ; and may be styld the first Aupotius
thors of natural Difcoveries. For Plutarch, in bauriant, his Life of Nicias, informs us, that Anaxagoquam ri
ras, and the other Tonick Philosophers of those sedlentur. Days, were purely Naturalists. The Asyrians, Cic. Acad properly speaking, knew no more than the first Qu. 1. Elements of Astronomy, by their inaccurate
Observations, made without the Help of Instruments: for they had, no other Way of measuring the Cælestial Motions, but by Water-dials. Among the Philosophers of Greece, Pythagoras and Ocellus, Archytas and Timaus, Disciples to
the latter, Hippocrates, Leucippus and Democritus, Nobilifsi- applied themselves to the Study of Nature, and mus Pbilo-adorn'd it with more Success than others. Demofopborum
appears to have been a very eminent Natu
ralist. Aulus Gellius gives him a wonderful Encopræter a- mium. Empedocles compos'd a System of Phylios vene- ficks in Verse, according to Pythagoras's Princi. randusz.. ples, which Lucretius speaks of as a Prodigy, and autoritate antiquâ
which is likewise mention'd by Aristotle, and præditus. 1. 10. C. 12. Ex materia in se omnia recipiente mundum fa&um effe cenfet Plato.
Cic. Qu. Acad. 4.
Diogenes Laertius. Plato has scarce ever written
Zeno alie ment of Julius Scaliger, who has commented batur aton it. Zeno the Prince of the Stoicks, has no- que omthing particular in his Physicks, only that he nes, fentie uses a different Expression, from others, though
ebat idem he is the fame in Opinion. He establishes two jeri. Principles, God and Matter : He supposes a Cic. de Soul of the World, diffus'd through all its Parts, Fin. 4. and informing it, as one great Animal. Lipsius Inter Z
nonem & has given us an Abridgement of this Philosopher's
PeripatePhysicks, as well as of his Ethicks. Epicurus ticos ni. has nothing fix'd and certain in his Doctrine of bil inteNature ; but is perpetually upon the Ramble. relle præc Cicero observes of him, that as he embraced De- ter verbo.
tatem. Ibid. In pbyficis quibus maxime gloriatur Epicurus, totus alienus eft. Cic. de Fin. 4