John Wesley.

A survey of the wisdom of God in the creation; or, A compendium of natural philosophy .. (Volume 4) online

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Online LibraryJohn WesleyA survey of the wisdom of God in the creation; or, A compendium of natural philosophy .. (Volume 4) → online text (page 1 of 22)
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These nre thy glorious Works, Parent of Good,

Almighty! Thine this universal Frarae,

Thus wondrous fa^r J Thyself how wondrous then !



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









OJ-tht Properties that are common to all Bodies.


1. Of extension - - 3

2. Of a vacuum - - - 4
S. Of solidity - - , - ib.

4. Of divisibility - ib.

5. Of motion and rest - 5

6. Of the laws of motion - -6

7. Of the Aristotelic element* - ib.
VOL. iv. *



8. Of the principles of the ehy mists 6

9. Objections to them - 7
10, What is the primary element of all things ilk


Of those Things wherein Natural Bodies differ.

1. Of the particular properties of bodies - 9

2. Of light * ib.
Particles of light attracted by those of other

bodies - 10

Rays of light differ in various respects - n

The effects of light and sound - 14
Remarkable account of the effects of music on

animals - - 15

The density of light - 16

Of elementary light J . 17

' The inconceivable extension of light - 19

Of natural and artificial phosphor! : their surprising

properties - - -20

3. Of colours - 22
Of secondary colours : with curious experiments

thereon - - 23

4. Of sounds - 25

5. Of smells - 26
Mr. Boyle's account of smells ib.
Fatal instance of the effluvia of flowers 27
Effects of the effluvia of springs in England and

abroad - - ib.


6. Of tastes - 23

7. Of moisture ad dryness, beat and cold 29

8. Of gravity - - - ib.
Mr. Hutchinson's account of gravitation - 30
Mr. Hervey's strong and beautiful observations on

this head - 32
Dr. Rogers's observation thereon

i thoughts on comets - 37

$. Of the other properties of bodies - 38

10. Of occult qualities - - ib-

11. Reflections - 39
On the heavenly bodies - ib;
On the ear til - - 41
On the natural instinct of animals 43
On seas and rivers ib.
On man in particular - - 44
On a general review of the whole 45

By MR. BONNET, of Geneva.

Introduction 49


1. The First Cause - 50

2. The creation - ib.

3. The universe considered with respect to its greater

parts - . 51.

-With respect to the planetary system - ib.


4. With respect to comets - 52

5. Of the suspension of those immense bodies in

the air - - 53

6. Of the sea, islands, &c. 54

7. Of the moon, venus, mercury, satnrn, and the sun ib.

8. Universal connection, or harmony of the universe 55

9. The elements act reciprocally on each other - 56


Of the relative Perfection of Beings.

1. General distribution of terrestrial beings 58

2. Of corporeal perfection 59

3. The terrestrial life, and the species of it - ib,

4. The immensity of the chain ot beings - 60

5. Mean spaces : and their consequence - ib.


General Flew of the gradual Progression of Beings,

1. The elements - 63

2. Three kinds of composition in bodies 64

3. Of fluids in general, and cei tain fluids in particular ib.

4. Of some rude, or unorganized solids 65

5. Passage of rude, or unorganized solids, into or-

ganized - 6



6. Of some species of plants, whose form differs

greatly from that of those most known to us 68

7. Of plants in general - - ib.

8. A view of the exterior parts of plants - 69

9. A view of the inside of pjants 71

10. Transition from vegetables to animals : the sen-

sitive plant and the polypus - 73

11. Reflections on animal machines 75

12. Reflections on the polypus . ib.

13. Of worms that may be multiplied by slips 76

14. Of insects in general - 77

15. Tfce external parts of insects - 78

16. The inside of insects - * 80

17. Passage from insects to shell-fish : pipe-worms ib.
13. Of shell-fish - 81

19. Passage from shell-fish to reptiles, and of reptiles

to fishes - 83

20. Of fishes - - ib.

21. Passage from fishes to birds : the flying-fish ; water-

birds ; amphibious birds 84

22. Passage from birds to quadrupeds : the bat ; flying-

squirrel ; the ostrich, &c. - 85


Continuation of the gradual Progression of Beings.

1. Of animals, considered as mixed beings. Superi-
ority which the faculty of reeling gives the ani-
ma) over the plant . .87



2. Difficulty concerning the construction of the ani-

mal scale. Answer to this difficulty 87

3. Of the extent of instinct in animals : method of

distinguishing it 89

Inquiry concerning souls . ib,

4. Man endued with reason, cultivating the arts and

sciences - - ib.

5. Man in society - "91

6. Man in commerce with God by religion - ib.

7. Gradations of mankind - 92
The celestial hierarchies - v 95
Reflections - - 94


Of the various Relations of Terrestrial Beings.

1. The union of souls to organized bodies : the per.

ceptions and sensations 1)7

*>. The passions : the temper . * 98

3. The memory and imagination 99

4. The sight - 101

5. Of v colours: their consequences 102

6. Of fire - J05

7. Of air - 107

8. The appropriation of animals to divers climates,

places and matters 108

9. The union of terrestial beings by their mutual

services - - - ib.

10. The transformation many tilings undergo, paticular-

ly by the action of 01 ganical macmnes 109



Of Vegetable Economy.


1. Of organical economy in general - - 111

2. Nutrition of plants by the roots and leaves ib.

3. Direction of the leaves, their returning, the folding

of the stalk 113

4. A sketch of tiie theory of the motions of the sap 114

5. Germination and growth 116

6. Multiplication by seed. Distinction of sexes 117

7. Multiplication by shoots - - 118

8. Multiplication by slips and grafting - 119

9. Regeneration of vegetables - 120


Of Animal CEconomy.

1. The nrves : the spirits - 122

2. The muscles - 123

3. The organs of nutrition - - ib.

4. The organs of circulation 124

5. The organs of respiration - 125

6. Secretions - ib.

7. Growth - - 126

8. The germs 127

9. The primitive state of organized beings - 13CX
30. Generation: the chick - 131
11. 12,13. Continuation of the same subject 133 J35
14. The generation of mules - - ise


15. The formation of monsters - 157

16. Accidents may give birth to monsters - 138

17. Application to vegetables - 139

18. The mystery of the generation of plants cleared up 140


Of Animal Economy, considered in Insects.

1, Introduction - - 14 1

2, The mechanism of respiration - ib
o. The circulation - - 142

4. The organs of generation, and their dependencies 143

5. Distinction of insects into viviparous and oviparous J44

6. Varieties of generation . J45

7. The vine-fretter J46

8. Zoophytes, or plant-animals without feet. Fresh-

water worms - - 148

9. Cluster polypuses - - 151
3 0. Funnel polypuses - - 153

1 1 . Net polypuses ~ ** - 154

12. The polypus with arms - - ib.

13. Philosophical considerations on the subject of

polypuses ... 155166


Continuation of Animal Economy considered in

I. Thoughts on the regeneration of earth-worms 167

t, The regeneration of faesh water worms .tfcS



3 Immense distinctions in the gifts of nature - 169

4. The metarmorphoses of insects - - ib.

5. The metamorphoses into an oblong ball 1 7*

6. Of the spider fly - 171

7. Sketch of a division of insects - - 172

8. The moultings or diseases of insects - - 17*

9. Sketch of a theory of metamorphoses - - 17*
10. 11,12. Reflections on metamorphoses, 174178

CHAP. x.

Parallel letiveen Plants and Animals:

1 Introduction * 17f

2. The seed ib.

3. The. e.iig - - 180

4. The Bud, the fetus ib.

5. The nutrition of the plant, and of the animal - 181

6. The growth of the plant - - 182

7. The growth of the aninfal - 184

8. The fecundation of the plant - - 180

9. The fecundation of the animal - - ib.

10. The multiplication of the plant, and of the animal 188

11. Irregularities in the generation of the plant, and in

the generation of animals - 189

12. Diseases incident to plants and animals ib,

13. Old age and death of the plant and of the animal 190

14. Other sources of analogy between the plant and animal 191

15. Their place and number - - 192

16. Fecundity - - - 194

17. Apposition in variety of plants and animals 195

1 8. The form $nd the structure - - 197



19. The circulation 202

20. The distribution of aliment - 203

21. Reflections - - 205

22. Sap circulates in plants, as blood in animals 207

23. The necessity of circulation 208

24. The loco-motive faculty * ib.

25. The distinction between plants and animals 209

26. The feeling - - 210

27. The nutrition ~ ~ - - 211
23. Irritability - 21$


Of the Industry of dnimals.

1. Treating in general of the instinct of animals 215

2. Wisdom displayed in the preservation of the species 217

3. Of animals that scarce take any care of their gs 218

4. Of the peculiar attachment of other animals to them 219

5. Of divers species of solitary flies - - 220

6. The different degrees of art and sagacity displayed

in their work - -. - 221

7. That brutes act in concert with each other ib,

8. Reflections - - 222

9. Birds of passage * - 223

10. Societies of animals properly and improperly so

called - 224

11. Common caterpillars - 825

12. Processionary caterpillars - ib.

13. Remarkable procedure of caterpillars that live in

society - - 226

14. Ants - . * 227

XI 11

15. Thoughts on the policy of bees - -29.8

16. Of Beavers - 229

17. Reflections on beavers - - 230


Continuation of the Industry of Animal*.

1. A summary account of the industrious proceedings

of divers insects relative to their metamor-
phoses - - 233

2. Caterpillars that fasten themselves with a girdle 233

3. Caterpillars that form cones - - ib.

4. Of spinning caterpillars - 234

5. Insects that live in fruits - - 235

6. Insects that fold and roll up the leaves j ib

7. Insects that are miners of leaves - 237
8 Wonderful properties of those miners 238
g. False moths - - - 239

10. Of moths in general. Domestic moths - 241

11. Field Moths - 342

12. Aquatic moths * - - 143

13. Reflections on the various proceedings of insects ib.

14. Procedings of shell fish. The tellina - 24

1 5 . The cutler : its peculiar methods - - ib.

16. The dails or pholas - 248

17. Divers ssa insects or animals. Nettles - ib.

18. These nettles feed on shellfish - - 251

19. Resemblance of nettles to polypuses ib.

20. Stars - - - - 253

2 1 . Sea hedgehogs - - - 25

22. Bernard the acrnut - - 256



23. Shell fish that spin.' Muscles and pinnae marina 257
34. Shell fish 'and other animals that fasten themselves

by a sort of glue or stony juice - - 260

The proceedings of fishes - - 262

25. Of the proceedings of birds - - -263

26. Of the proceedings of quadrupeds. The rabbit 265

27. The monkey 266

28. The caterpillar that constructs his cone like a grain

of corn 267

29. Analogous proceedings of other insects - 268

50. Reflections on the industry of animals - 270

51. The tapestry bee ib.
The subtleties of the hare and stag - ^ 273

39. The skilfulness and subtlety of the fox - 274

Conclusion - - - - 27*






Of the Properties that are common to all Bodies,
and of the Elements of Natural Bodies.

1. Of Extension.

2. Of a Vacuum.

3. Of Solidity.

4. Of Divisibility.

5. Of Motion and Rest.

6. Of the Laws of Motion.

7. Of the Aristotelic Elements.

8. Of the Principles of the Chy-


9. Objections to them.

19. What is the primary Element
of all Things.

1. JL JLAVING spoken of the particular species of
bodies, it remains only to speak of bodies in general :
and it may be observed of them all, that they are ex-
tended, solid, divisible, figured, and capable of motion.
We cannot conceive any body that is not extended or
composed of several parts : and yet \ve cannot affirm
that the essence of body consists in this alone,
VOL, iv. B

2. For there may be extension without body, which
is usually tef mecl space or a vacuum : these are widely
different from each other. Body is divisible and sepa-
rable into parts, and consequently capable of motion ;
none of which can be said of mere space: and that
there is empty space is clear from hence : that if all
were full, there could be no motion in the world ; for in
order to this, it is requisite that each particle leave its
place empty for another to fill. It is said, indeed, this
need not be, because all motion is circular, so that in
every motion, of whatever kind, part of the body
moved succeeds another. But this is absolutely con-
trary to matter of fact: we see with our eyes that all
motion is not circular ; and if not, then (here must be
empty space, or there could -be no motion at all.

3. Another property of body is solidify, whereby it
resists another body, moving it out of us place. Not
much different from this is impenetrability, \\ hereby a
body excludes another from the place where it is. *So-.
Jidity is not the same with hardness, the former belong-
ing to all, the latter to some bodies only. Hardness
consists in the firm cohesion of the parts, so as not easily
to be separated. As the solidity of bodies flows from
the intrinsic nature of matter, it is vain to assign as the
cause of it, either the figure or rest of the parts, or the
pressure of the air, or of some subtle matter. By these
solutions we do not at all explain the thing, but only
entangle ourselves in fresh difficulties.

4. Divisibility likewise belongs to all bodies; for
since no i ody can be conceived that is not extended,
and extension supposes parts, it follows, that every body,
however small, is divisible: perhaps not by the <ort of
man, but in its own nature. Nor is it ?ny objection*
that our uudeiMandi;' g cannot comprehend infinite divi-
sibility it cannot ; nor can it comprehend infinite num-
ber, or, indeed infinite* of any kind.

It is true there is no such thing, strictly speaking, as

parts infinitely small ; yet the s-mallness of the particles
of several bodies, is such as vastly surpasses our
conception. And there are innumerable instances
in nature of such parts actually separated from each

Mr. Boyle gives us several instances of this : he
speaks of a silken thread three hundred yards long,
that weighed but two grains and a iralf. Fifty square
inches of leaf-gold weighed but one grain. Now if
the length of an inch be divided into two hundred
parts, the eye may distinguish them all ; therefore,
there are, in one square inch, forty thousand visible
parts ; and, in one grain of leaf-gold, two millions of
such parts : which visible parts no one will deny to be
farther divisible. In odoriferous bodies, we may dis-
cern a still greater subtlety of parts, yea, of parts
actually separated from each other. Several bodies
scarce lose any thing of their weight in a long time,
and yet continually fill a large space with odoriferous
particles. Several animals are but just visible with
the finest microscope : and yet these have all the
parts necessary for life, as blood and other juices.
How wonderful must the subtlety of the parts be
whereof those fluids are composed : and hence the
following strange theorem is deduced and demonstrated
by Dr. Keil. " Any -particle of matter, how small
soever, and any infinite space, how large soever, being
given, it is possible for that particle to be diffused
through all that space, and to fill it in such a manner
that there shall be no pore in it whose diameter shall
exceed any given line."

5. The last general property of matter is motion
avid rest ; for it is plain all matter is either at rest or
in motion. God is the first and universal cause of motion,
as well as of all these tilings : the immediate cause of
it is either matter or spirit. It is beyond doubt, that a
body moved communicates its motion to another,
though in its own nature it be purely passive. Nor
B 2


can we reasonably deny that a spirit is able to move
matter, although the manner of its doing this we cannot

6. All the laws of motion may be reduced ,to
three: 1. Every .moving body is moved by another.
5. Every moving body communicates its motion to
any body it meets. 3. Every moving body continues
in motion till it communicates that motion to another.
While these laws remain in force, and concur iu pro-
ducing various effects, those effects are termed na-
tural. When awy of these laws are suspended, this is
properly a miracle.

7. As the elements or first stamina of bodies are
too small to be discerned by any of our senses, we
can only form conjectures concerning them. The
most probable conjectures are these : Empedocles,
and Aristotle, from him, supposed there are four
elements, fire, air, water and earth : and, indeed,
this division seems to be grounded on the nature of
things; for there is no doubt but at the creation of
this globe the confused mass was separated into four
parts, the heaviest of which constituted the earth, the
particles next in weight the water, the third, lighter
still, air, and the lightest of all, fire, otherwise termed
ether. And it is manifest, all bodies known to us are
reducible to one or more of these. Every thing cor-
poreal is either earth, air, water or fire, or compounded
of them. So that after all the disquisitions of two or
three thousand years, this easy, plain, natural account of
the elements, is not likely to be amended : it being a
certain fact that of these do all bodies consist.

8. The chymists have taken another way, endea-
vouring to trace the principle of bodies, not by the
ordinary use of their senses, nor by reasoning, but from
experiments made by fire: and by this means they
make five elements ; for whatever is distilled first emits
a sapid and spiritous vapour, which is by cold con-

deuced into a liquor : and this they term mercury : then
an insipid liquor, which they call phlegm : afterward aa
acid liquor, which is also termed mercury. A thicker
and oily liquor comes next, which, because easily in-
flammable, is stiled sulphur. The salt, which is after-
wards found, is their fourth element, ttie insipid earth,
which is left, the fifth.

9. But not to insist, that all bodies are not rcsolvible
into these principles, it is utterly uncertain whether
fire does not alter the natural qualities of bodies, and
introduce other qualities into them, which they had not -
before : besides, some of these are not simple elements,
they are compounded of others, oils, and salts in par-
ticular : therefore, neither are all those oils and salts of
one sort, but as various as the bodies from which they
are extracted. In truth, these are at most the constitu-
ent parts of two of the Aristotelic elements, namely,
water and earth ; but the two others, air and fire, are
quite omitted in their account.

10. Perhaps one might rather term matter itself, with
its general properties, the first and most simple ele-
ment, out of which all things are compounded : but the
particles of this are not fit to compose the imme-
diate stamina of larger bodies, till they combine together
into oils, salts, and juices of various kinds. And
hence arise those principles of the chymists, of which
most bodies are compounded, although still they are
only secondary elements, as being themselves com-
pounded. Indeed, it seems probable, God, in the be-
ginning, formed matter in solid, impenetrable, moveable
particles, of such sizes and figures as most conduced
to the end for which he formed them ; and that these
primitive bodies are incomparably harder than any
porous bodies compounded of them, even so hard as
never to wear out, no natural power being able to
divide them: and thus remaining entire, they com*
pose bodies of the same nature and texture in all
ages; whereas, should these wear a\vay, or break in

B 3


pieces, the nature of things depending on them would
be changed. Nor would 'water and earth, composed
of broken worn-out particles, be the same as they
were at the beginning : but they are the same in
ail ages ; and the changes of things do not imply
any change in those original particles, but only vari-
ous associations and separations of them ; nor do com-
pound bodies ever break in the middle of solid parti-
cles, but where those particles are joined together,
and oul) touch in a few points*


Of those Things wherein Natural Bodies differ*

1. Of the particular Properties 7. Of Moisture and Dryness?

of Bodies. Heat and Cold.

2. Of Light. 8. Or Gravity.

3. Of Colours, 0. Of the other Properties of

4. Of So.mds. Bodies.

5. Or'Smells. 30. Or' occult Qualities.
. Of Tastes. 11. Reflections.

LAVING considered wherein natural bodies
agree, we come now to consider the particular properties
wherein they disagree, and whereby they are distinguish-
ed from each other : those of them which are perceived
by our outward senses, are divided accordingly into
various classes, as they aiFect the sense of sight, of hear-
ing, of tasting, of smelling, or of feeling.

2. Light seems to be one of the most subtle bodies in
the universe : the grand reservoir thereof is the sun ;
but it is likewise emitted by many other bodies, and by
almost ali when they are on fire. \Vhen it falls on any
body which it cannot pass through, and so is beat back,
it is said to be reflected : but when it passes from one
transparent body into another, which is either rarer or
denser, it moves obliquely, its rays being bent, and is
said to be refracted', when it passes through u body in
strait lines, it is said to be transmitted. Those which
emit the light are termed lucid bodies, those which re-
flect it, opake.

The particles of light, minute as they are, are at-
tracted by those of other bodies : hence, in their pas-
B 4


sage near the edges of bodies, whether opake or transpa-
rent, they are diverted from the right lines, and reflected
towards those bodies. This action of bodies on light
exerts itself, at some distance, but increases as the dis- is diminished, as appears in the passage of a ray
between the edges of two thin plates, at different aper-
tures, in which it is peculiar, that the attraction of one
edge is increased as the other is brought nearer it. The
rays of light passing out of glass into a vacuum, are not
only inflected toward the glass ; but if they fall too ob-
liquely, they will revert back to the glass, and be to-
tally reflected : this reflection cannot be owing to any
resistance of the vacuum, but merely as the attracting
power of the glass. This appears farther from hence :
if you wet the posterior surface of the glass, the rays,
which would otherwise have been reflected, will pass
into and through that liquor: which shews that the rays
are not reflected, till they come to that posterior sur-
face of the glass, nor even till they begin to go out of it ;
for if at their going out they fall into any liquor, they
sre not reflected, but persist in their course, the attrac-
tion of the liquor counterbalancing that of the glass.

From tiiis mutual attraction between the particles of
light and other bodies, arises the reflection and refraction
of light. The determination of any moving body is
changed, by the interposal of another body. Thus
light, meeting any solid body, is turned out of its way
and reflected : but with this peculiar circumstance-
it is not reflected from the body itself, but by something
diffused over the surface of that body hefore^it touches
it : it is the same thing in refraction. The rays refracted
come very near the refracting body, yet do not touch it.
Those that actually touch solid bodies, adhere to them,
aiid are as it were extinguished and lost.

This entirely agrees with the curious observation of
an ingenious writer. " It is common to admire the
lustre of the drops of rain, that lie on the leaves of

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Online LibraryJohn WesleyA survey of the wisdom of God in the creation; or, A compendium of natural philosophy .. (Volume 4) → online text (page 1 of 22)