John Wesley.

A survey of the wisdom of God in the creation; or, A compendium of natural philosophy .. (Volume 5) online

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Online LibraryJohn WesleyA survey of the wisdom of God in the creation; or, A compendium of natural philosophy .. (Volume 5) → online text (page 1 of 16)
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These are thy glorious Works, Parent of Good,

Almighty ! Thine this universal frame,

Thus wondrous fair! Thyself how wondrous then !



Printed by J. D. Bewick, 46, Barbican,








Extract of MR. DUTEN'S Enquiry into the Origin
of the Discoveries attributed to the Moderns.

The Author's Preface

* ^ ft


Of the Circulation of the Blood; and the Fallopian

.1. Injustice done to the anciems, in endeavouring to
deprive them of -the glory of the tnost important
VOL. V. a


2. Scarce any aphorism in medicine new, since the

time of Hippocrates . . 4

3, 4. The circulation of the blood clearly discovered

by Hippocrates . . ib.

f . Plato and Aristotle's sentiments on the circulation

of the blood . . 5

6. Julius Pollux and Apuleius describe this circulation

as clearly as any of the modems . 6

7. The motion of the pulse owes its origin to the heart ib.
( 8. Servetus discovered three sorts of spirits in the hu-
man body .. . . ib.

9. The valves of the heart discovered by Father Paul 7

10. Of the fallopian tubes .


Of the Chirurgery of the Ancients.

j, S. Extract of Mr. Bernard's Thoughts on Ancient

Chirurgery . 9

The moderns have contributed to the advancement
of chirurgery . . JO

3. The grand operation for the stone was the invention

of Johannes de Romanis . 11

4. The cure of the hernia intestinalis exactly described

by the ancients , ib.

5. The real caustic well Hippocrates ; 1*



6. AH sorts of amputations successfully performed by

the ancients . ib.

7. Reflections on ancient and modern chirurgery . id


Of Generation.

1. Harvey and Redi's sentiment on generation . 15

2. A different sentiment thereon supported by Lewen-

hoek . . -ib.

3. Arguments in support of the first sentiment, drawn

from the analogy of nature in the production of
plants and animals . . ib.

4. Ernpedocles' and Aristotle's opinions on generation 16

5. Herodotus accounts for numbers of fishes being

found on land . ib.

0. Hippocrates describes a fetus six days old . 17

7. How the fetus is produced , . ib.

8. Macrobius^ account of generation , ib.
g. The ancients amazingly exceed the moderns in their

sentiments on generation . f &,

1O, 11. Democritus, and other ancients' opinions on

this subject , . .18

12. Hippocrates asserts, that nothing is born but what

had a prior existence . . 19

13 Objection urged, and solved ' ib.

a 2



14. Plato, Seneca, and Tertullian, clearly describe the

nature of generation . . SQ

15. Discovery of the multiplicity of animation which

the polypus is capable of . . ib.


Of the Sexual System 'of Plants

j The organs whereby the propagation of plants is

effected . 2$

2. Linnaeus has reduced all trees and plants to particu-

lar classes . . ib.

3, 4, 'The moderns give more accurate accounts of

plants than the ancients . . 23;

5. Theophrastus's opinion on the distinction of plants <J4

6, 7. Various sentiments of the ancients, as to the

1 !

difference of sexes in plants . ib.

8, 9. Empedocles and Aristotle give a clear account of

the distinction of sexes in plants . 25

10, Theophrastus and Pliny's instances of the fecunda-

licn of plants . .. ibv.


Of the Chymistry of the Ancients.

3.. Chymistry had its origin in the cOwitry of Chem<a

In Egypt c . 27;



-2. Tubai Cain, and those ancients who wrought, in
brass and iron, well understood the chymical
process . . . ib.

31 By the power of chymistry Moses rendered the

golden calf potable . 2

Experiments in chymistry, of Frederic the Third*
King of Denmark . . 29

4. The mummies kept so long in high preservation,

demonstrate the skill of the Egyptians in chymistry ib.

5. The ancients' manner of painting on linen pro-

ceeded from their knowledge of chymistry . 30

0. Their method of imitating precious stones ; 31

7. Their pharmacy much depended on chymistry ib.

8. The invention and use of the alembic . 33

9. The ancients knew the various qualities of salts 34

10. Cleopatra, by the aid of chymistry, dissolves a pearl

of great value in acids v . 35

1 1. The ancients had a method of rendering glass ductile ib,

12. Democritus, the pafent of experimental philosophy,

imitates nature in her production of precious stones 33

13. The ancients knew the use of gunpowder . ib.

14. Objection urged > and clearly refuted 40


Of Sensible Qualities.

I. That sensible qualities exist in the mind- , 42

0, 3. Descartes and Mallebranche's opinions on this

subject , . 43-*4'A



4. The ancients and moderns agree on this point 4*

5,6, 7. Democ'ritus, Sextus, Empirictfs,' and Prota-
goras, shew, that the existence of external things
consist in the impressions we perceive in our-
selves . . 45 46
8, 9. A'ristippus's experiments hereon . 46 47
10, 11, 12. Plato and Epicurus' clearly distinguish be-
tween sensible qualities, and the objects which
cause them . 47 48
13. The moderns have scarcely- advanced any thing new

on this subject . 50 "


Of Animated Nature.

3 > 2. fhe ancients understood the natural history of

animals and minerals better than the moderns 5-1-

3. That bodies are composed of similar and dissimilar


4, 5, 6. Of animal and vegetable nutrition 5354

7. Of the formation of a fetus

8. Reflection . 56i


Nature Active and Animated.

1, 2. That animal and vegetative substances are ori-
ginally the same



3. That there are active principles in the universe that

produce motion . .58

4, 5, 6, 7. The ancients' opinions on this subject 58 59
8. The ancients' sentiments respecting generation GO


Of Thunder and Earthquakes.; of the Virtues of .the
Magnet ;. of the Elling and Flowing of the Sea y
and of the Source of Rivers,

* 1. The introduction . . 61

2. The moderns divide in their ppinions concerning

the cause of thunder . ib..

3, 4, 5. The ancients' sentiments on what occasions
thunder . . 62

6. Th moderns' account of the cause Of earthquakes 63

7, 8, Aristotle and Seneca's sentiments on earthquakes ib.
9. The moderns assert, that the sun and moon act re-
ciprocally in causing the ebbing and flowing of the

sea . . .64

10. Pliny's account exactly agrees with this . ib.

11. The moderns' account of the wonderful properties

of the loadstone . . . 6.5

12. The ancients clearly knew the virtues of the load-

stone . . ib.

13. Modern naturalists are divided in their opinions as to

electric matter . $Q

H That rivejs return from the sea to their, sources by

subterraneous passages , 0;


Of Ether, and of ike Weight and Elasticity of
the Air.


1. That ether is a fluid more subtle than the air . 68

2, 3, 4. The ancients describe ether to be a subtle,

active fire, which diffuses itself through the uni-
verse . . 68- 69

5. The nature of air, as well as ether, clearly under-
stood by the ancients . .' ib.

0, The general notions respecting fire 70


Newton's Theory of Colnurs, indicated ly Pythagoras
and Plato;

5. That colours result from the different modifications

of reflected light . 72;

2. Diversity of colours formed by the combined inter-

mixture of others r 7$

3. That light is the action of a subtle matter upon the

organs of light . . 74

4. Experiment respecting light . r 7$




Of Burning Glasses.


1, 2. Introduction . . 70

3, 4. Description of the glass Archimedes made use of
in setting fire to the Roman fleet, at the siege of
Syracuse . . 77

5. The manner of using this glass 78

6. A fleet destroyed by means of glasses, at the siege

of Constantinople . .79

7. Undoubted testimonies of the power of the glasses 80

8. The ancients were well acquainted with the nature

of refracting burning-glasses ib.


'-Of Universal Gravity, and Centripetal and Centri-
Jugal Force. Laws 'of the Movements of the
Planets, according to their Distance frojn the
common Centre.

2. The moderns have demonstrated the laws of uni-
versal gravitation . . 82

2, 3. The ancients were nst unacquainted with these

laws . . . 82 83

4. Of the soul of the world, which puts all nature in

motion . . ib.

3> 6. What retains the. heavenly bodies in their orbits 64.



7, 9. The tendency of all bodies to one common centre 85
9. Various pinions as to the courses observed by the

planets . . ib.

10. The harmony which reigns in the course of the

planets . . 85

11. Musical experiment ; ib

12. How bodies are constantly kept at an equal distance

from their proper centre 7


Of the Copernlcan System ; the Motion of the
Earth alout the Sun; and the Antipodes.

1. Introduction , . 89

2. The system of Copernicus described ib

8, 4, 5. The ancients wer well acquainted with the
movement of the earth round the sun . 90

6. Plato's opinion of the sun moving round the earth,

exploded . , 91

7, 8. That the earth is round, inhabited on all sides,

and, of course, has antipodes .9192

9. Of the sphericity of the earth . . ib.


Of the Revolution of the Planets alout their own Axis.
1. Tiiat every planet has its particular revolutions , 93



2, 3. That the earth turns from west to east on its own

axis, or centre . . 9394

4. That the moon has no light of its own, but reflects

it from the sun ib.

s, 0, Observations on the form and situation of the

moon . . 95

7, 8, 9. That the moon is an earth like ours . 9596
10. Reflection . . .97


The Milky Way ; Solar Systems, or a Plurality of

1. Introduction . * .98

2. That what we call the milky way is a vast assem-

blage of fixed stars . . gg

3. That those stars are suns like ours, have planets of

their own, and form various solar systems ib.

4 10. The ancients give cogent reasons tor their opi-
nion of a multiplicity of worlds . 100 102


Of Comets.
l , The Newtonian account of comets . 1 0$



, The Chaldeans look upon comets as ; .anetary

bodies ., . . 104

S, 4. Aristotle and Stobeeus assert, that comets are
. wandering stars, which appear to us only in par-
ticular parts of their orbits . . ib.

5. Seneca clearly discusses the subject . 105

6. Reflection . . ib.


Of the Refraction. of Light, and Astronomical
Refraction, and of Perspective.

1, 2. The advantages "Of the eastern nations in 'the

study of astronomy . 106107

Their invention of the ribrations of the pendulum,
dials, c. . . . ib.

3) 4. The discovery of the refraction of light as ancient

as ihe time.of Ptolomy . 107108

5. What is the cause of astronomic refraction . ib.

6. Th.e difference of magnitude in stars accounted for 109

7. Perspective clearly. understood and described by the

'ancients, . . j MO

8. Various conjectures as t the image of the sun, by

collecting its rays .. . in

CHAP! xix.

' Of the Discoveries of the Ancients in Mathematics^ c.
l. Introduction . . lift'


2. Thales was the first who predicted eclipses, and

made various discoveries . ib.

3, Pythagoras was the first who gave fundamental pre-

cepts respecting music . .114

4. Plato first introduced the geometric analysis ... ib

5, <J. Plain and spherical trigonometry, as well as

algebra, owe their origin to Hipparchus . 115 llS
7' Method of measuring the distance of the SUB from

the earth . 117

f. The ancients calculated tables of the motion of the

sun and moon, and made catalogues of the fixed

stars . . fr.


Of Archimedes ; of ike Mechanics and Architecture
of the Ancients; and of Microscopes. Of Sculp-
ture, Painting, and the Origin of Music.


1, 2, 3. Brief recital of the amazing mechanical dis-
coveries of Archimedes , 1 1 91 20

4. The mechanical powers used by the ancients are

beyond conception . . 121

5. Of the pyramids of Egypt, and ruins of Palmyra and

Balbec . . 122

6. Of the immense magnitude and grandeur of Babylon ib.

7. .Other cities of amazing extent . ib*
VOL, V, fc


* The lake Mocris, a striking proof of the ancients'

vast undertakings . ^ . 123

g. Of the other pyramids of Egypt . ib^

l-Oi Remarkable instances of trie immense hardness of

the cement of the ancients . la*

The ancients knew the nature of, and used glass, in
their houses and windows . 125

11, The ancients ? skill in working in miniature ... 125

12, They well knew the nature and use of microscopes 120

13, 14. The pre-eminence of the ancients in architec-

ture, engraving, sculpture, medicine, poetry, and
history . . 12f

15. Striking instances of the- ancients excelling in paint-
ing . 129

16; Of the beautiful mosaic work of the ancients 131

17. Of the antiquity and dignity, of music ib.

18. Effects of music were no way short in the ancients

of what they are among the moderns 133

10. The harmony of the music of the ancients . 134

20. Striking instances of the utility of musia, from the

scriptures, and various ancient authors . 13(3

ai. General observations respecting the merit of the an-
cients in music .- . >3*\
The Conclusion : shewing the true state of the dis-
coveries both of the ancients and moderns . *3Q


On the bounds and extent of human understanding


Sect. l. Of the ideas- of sensation . !'>

Sect. 2. Of the idea- of spirits . . 152

Sect, 3> Of the properties of ideas of sensation 135


JSect.l* Of the pure intellect, and its operations . K3*
Sect. 2. Of the different kinds of knowledge and

evidence ^ . l<59

Sect. 3. Of the improvement of knowledge by reve*

lation . ; 184

General reflections, shewing the peculiar advantages
which result from a propet survey of the wifdom
of God in the creation | s iQt




lAVINC by reason of the largeness of the pre-
ceding volumes, which contain much more than 1 ex-
pected, some pages to spare, I am well pleased -with
an opportunity of inserting here another extract from,
one of the most ingenious treatises which I believe was
ever wrote upon the subject, Mr. Deutens's u Inquiry
into the Origin of the Discoveries attributed to the Mo-
derns." I am surprised that I never heard of it till
very lately, and 1 have met with exceeding few that
have; although the Latin original (I suppose, for I
have not se-n it) has been published pood part of
twenty years, and the elegant and judicious transla-
tion of it was printed eight or nine years ago. It is
true 1 am hereby convinced of several mistakes which
1 had been in for many years; but I look upon every
such conviction as a valuable acquisition : and I trust
iny heart will always say, both to God and man,
4 What I know not, teach thou me."

TOL. v.



.AN the comparison between the moderns and an-
cients, a distinction ought to be made between the
arts and sciences which require long experience and
practice to bring them to perfection, anil those which
depend solely on talent and genius. Without doubt,
the former in so long a series of ages, have been ex-
tended more and more, and brought to a very high de-
gree of perfection by the moderns, who in this respect
surpass the ancients, though the art of printing and
many other discoveries have not a little contributed
to it. We know the astronomers in our days under-
stand much better the nature of the stars, and the whole
planetary system, than Hipparchua, PtoKmy, or any
other of the ancients. But it may be doubted whether
they had gone so far, unaided by telescopes. The
moderns have certainly perfected the art of navigation;
nay, and discovered now worlds ; but yet without the
assistance of the compass, America, in all probability,
Iia'.lstili remained unknown. Likewise by long obser.
yation and experiments often repeated, we have
the arts of botany, anatomy, and chirurgery.

to the degree of perfection we now behold them in.
Many secrets of nature, not to be penetrated in one
age, have been laid open in a succession of many. Mo-
rality itself hath been perfected by the Christian reli-
gion ; philosophy hath assumed a new air ; and the
trifling, childish, and rain cavils of the schools, have
at length been put to flight by the reiterated efforts of
Ramu>, Bacon, Newton, and many others.

I willingly therefore give up to the partizans of the
moderns every advantage I have here enumerated ; but
there is no need on that account to rob the ancients of
the share they have had in promoting all these parts of
knowledge, by the pains they took to beat out for us
the tracks we have pursued. Much less should we as-
sume, as modern discoveries, what the ancients really
invented or illustrated. It also deserves notice, that
the most part of the admirable and useful inventions,
in which our age glories, such as printing, gunpowder,
the compass, telescopes, &c. were not the acquisi-
tions of genius and philosophy, but mere effects of
chance. To place in its true light the share the an.
dents havs in whatever we pretend to know^ and even
in what has been called modern discoveries, is the prin-
cipal aim of my present undertaking.


Of the Circulation of the Bhod> and the fallopian

HE medical art affords striking instances of the
injustice done to the ancients in endeavouring to de
prive them of the glory of having made the most im-
portant discoveries in it. I shall produce two or three
manifest proofs of this, and doubt not but the reader
vill perceive not only probable hints, but demonstra-
tive evidence, that the ancients dearly taught what we
ow dispute their having had any kt owLdge of.

2. It is remarkable with rrgard to medicine, that
none of the sciences Footter arrived at perfection ; lor
in the space cf tvto thousand )e*r* ? elapsed since the
time of Hippocrates, there has scarcely been added a
new aphorism to those of that great n:aii. notvvith.
standing all the application of so manj ingenious men
as have situ:*; studied that science.

3. I omit taking notice of some modern atthors,
who have endeavoured to prove that the circulation of
the blood was known to Solomon, that I inaj pass to
the more evident proofs of this discovery, wtiicti Hip-
pocrates furoiaher us with. After exan -ining, thoFC
passages no one will deny but this able physician

what he expresses so cLarly.

4 In truth, it is hard to coi ceive that he knew
of the circulation of the blood 9 whn we hear

him say, < That all the veins communicate one with
the other, and run into one another ; that the veins
-which spread themselves over the whole body, filling
it with spirit, juice, and motion, are al) of them but
branches of one original vein. I protest, I know not,"
says he, u where it begins or where it ends, for in a
circle there is neither beginning nor ending.". A little
further he says, u that the heart is the source of the
arteries, which carry blood into all parts of the body,
communicating to them life ani heat ;" he adds, u that
they are the rivulets which cherish the human body,
and convey life to every part of man." In another
part, he says, u that the heart and veins arc always
in motion." He compares the course of rivers, which
return to their sources in an unaccountable and ex-
traordinary manner, to the circulation of the blood*
In apoplexies and such like disorders, which he as-
cribes to obstructions in the veins, he prescribes bleetU
ing, in order to procure a free motion to the blood
and spirits. He says al>o, '* that when the bile en-
tors into the blood, it breaks its consistence, and dis-
orders Us regular course : he compares its admirable
mechanism to clows of thread, whose filaments overlap
each other ;" and says, u that in the body it performs
just such a circ -it, alvvays terminating where it began.";

5. The next to Hippocrates is Plato, who speaks
with clearness of the circulation of the blood; u for
from the heart,'* he says, u spring the veins and.
blood, which with rapid ty carries itself into ail parts) 1 '
adding, that when the blood thickens, it flows with
more difficulty through the veins. Aristotle too re.
gards the heart as the origin and fountain of the veins
and blood. He says, u that from the heart there arise
two veins, one on the right and the other on the left
side; and lu> was the first who called this aorla.'* He
held that the arteries had a, communication with the
veins, and that they were intimately connected tc-

a 3

6. Julius Pollux, in his Onomasticon, describing
all the parts of the body, and their uses*, among other
thrttgs says, in speaking of the arteries, " that they are
the passages and canals of the spirits, as the veins are
of the blood ;" and in speaking of the heart, he says,
u that it hath two cavities, the one of which commu.*
nicatcs v, ith the arteries, the other with the veins. 1 '
Apulcius in explaining the doctrine of Plato, speaks
likewise of the circulation of the blood, and in a few
%vords describes it as clearly as any of the moderns. It
is true, he does not expressly mention that the blood
flows from the heart through the arteries, but on its
leaving the heart, he supposes its course along the
Jungs, to spread itself afterwards into all parts of the

7. Nemesius, bishop of Emissa, who may be ac-
counted among the ancients, having lived in the fourth
century, has a very clear passage to this purpose,
wherein he says, <fi that the motion of the pulse owes
its origin to the heart; and particularly to the left ven<*
tricle of that viscus. The cordiac artery expands and
contracts itself with very much force^ but always with
great regularity and harmony of motion, In its ex-
pansion it draws in the most subtle parts of the blood .
from the adjoining veins, and of that blood forms the
aliment of the vital spirits ; and in its contraction ex-
hales all the fumes brought into it by secret passages
from all parts of the body*"

8. It appears from what we have said, that the cir.
dilation of the blood was known to the ancients,
thoti.;li they did not expatiate upon it : and what re-
duce;- to a very small degree the honour that Hervey
can claim in making that discovery, is that Servetus
had treated t it very distinctly before him, in the fifth-
part of his book De Ghruiianismi Restifutione ; a
work so very scarce, that there are but tew who can,.
boast of having seen it in print, Mr. Wotton, in hi?

Reflections upon the Ancients and Moderns, cites this
passage of Servetus, in which he distinguishes three
sorts of spirits of the human body, and says, " that
blood, which he calls a vital spirit, is dispersed through
the body by the anastomosis, or mutual insertion of
two vessels, at therr extremities, into one another."
Where it deserves observation, that Servetus is the first
who employed that term to express the communication
between the veins and arteries, He makes the u ex-
panded air in the lungs contribute to the formation of
blood, which cornes to them from the right ventricle
of the heart by the canal of the pulmonary artery."
He says, " that the blojd is there refined and perfect-
ed by the action of the air, which subtilizes it, and
blends itself with that vital spirit, which the expanded
heart then receives as a fluid proper to carry life every
-where." He maintains that this conveyance and man-
ner of preparing the blood in the lungs, is evident from
the junction of the veins with the? arteri -s in this viscus.-
And he concludes with saying, u th/it 'he hra>t having
received the blood thus prepared by the 1 ngs, semis
it forth again by the artery of its left ventricle, ca led
the aorta, which disfributes it into ill parts of the" Andreas Cesalpinus, wao i*ved Hkew;be ia
the sixteenth century, hai-'i tvvo passages which com-
pletely contain all that we know about the circulation
or the blood. He explains at lenth, 4i how the blood

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