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William Nicholls.

A Conference with a Theist : containing an answer to all the most usual objections of the infidels against the Christian religion ... (Volume 1) online

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in



"with a T H E I s T. ^9

In us the Idea of what we call Light. Now fince this is
a Body* it has the Property of Body, and that is Impe-
netrability, and confequently Reiiftibility ; and whatfo-'
ever refifts another Body in Motion, either changes the
Term of its Motion and returns it back again ; or elfe ab-
forbs Part of its Motion ; both which are inconfiftent
with an equable eternal Motion. Now fince the Earth,
and every Planet, moves in the ^Ether, the iSther muft
fome Way or other retard the Motion of it : For fince it
is not of Solidity enough to drive the Earth back, it muft
by continual tho* little Impulfes, weaken its Motion ;
and therefore the Motion of the Earth can never be eter-
nal. It will not avail to fay, that thefe Checks or Im-,
pulfes of this fine Matter are but fmall and infignificant ;
for tho' they be ever fo fmall, they will in an Infinity of
Time perfedly abforb the whole Motion of the Earth,
or any other Planets, and leave them at laft dead movelefs
Heaps of Matter. So that fuch a circular Motion is not
naturally eternal ; nay that it is of any very long Conti-
nuance, it muft be beholding to the confervative Provi-
dence of God, which we can give no natural Reafon
for.

2. Neither does a circular Figure contribute to the "Dw^sphertcxl-
ration of the Subftance or the Bulk of the World. In-^'^fi f^'^
deed in a Hurly-burly of Matter, the jagged angular Pie-^^^^„'"y ^r
ces are more apt to be broken, and their Parts knocked o^ jjhrf.ti$n^
than the round ones; all whofe Parts are equally fupport-
ed. But the Cafe is otherways in Matter regularly mo-
delled, and where the Motion is methodically terminated.-
For we fee that an Apple or an Orange is much fooner
cormpted than a Flint, and yet generally the one is far
more circular than the other.

Phil, Indeed this is plaufible Talk , but tho* this you
have faid fhould be fufficient to overthrow the Arguments
I have urged for the eternity of the World ; yet it is no
fufficient Proof, that the World is not Eternal ', for there
may be better Arguments than thefe I have produced to
eftablilli this Opinion ; or if there were not, I fhould ex-
ped to hear ibmething from youj to prove it to be other-
ways.



^o A Conference

ways* For we find the World as it is, and we are like
fo to leave it ; fo that we muft conclude it always was
fuch, until we fee good Reafon to think the contrary*
Therefore the Proof! Sir, lies on your Side, and pray let
us fee if you can defend your Opinion better, than I have
done mine.
uirguments Cred, You lliould not mifcall that my Opinion, which
a^at>^.jl the j^ j^y Faith : but that fnall break no Squares between us ,
tlTmrld. ^ ^^'^^^ endtavour to defend this, as well as I can, by thofe
Arguments, which, together with God's Grace^ confirm
me in it. You muft not, Sir, exped, I lliould produce
all thofe Arguments which are urged by Divines and Phi-^
lofophers upon this Subjed; I ihall only bring fbme few
choice ones, which feem to have moft Weight and Soli-
dity. And,
Are. I. ^fl^ ^ ^^^ prove the World is not eternal from the

Trom the Nature o^ Petrification, or the Growth of Stones and other
Nattire of offcous Subftances. It is granted by all, that Stones do
Tetripca- g^.^.^^ . gj^ J Philofophers have made it clear, that the Way
of their Augmentation is by the Concretion of faline Par-
ticles, which, according to their Commixture with more
or lefs terreous Matter, make them either fine as Ada-
mants, or coarfe as Pebbles and Free-Stone. Now by
Experience we find it ; that thefe Concretions are fo
ftrangely durable, that hardly any Time is able to diffi-
pate and diffolve them ; for the Marbles in the great
Pyramid in Egjpty which lie inwards, and are not expo-
fed to the Waihings of the Rains, and the Frettings of
the nitrous Air, are not in the leaft decayed, for all they
have ftood there fo many thoufand Years. Now if Stones
do continually increafe, and there be no fenfible Decay of
them ; upon Suppofition that the World has continued
from Eternity, the whole World would be turn'd by this
time into one maffy Rock by this eternal Petrification ; for
many Ages ago the Earth would have been incultivable,
at leaft Men muft have made ufe of Crows and Mattocks*
inftead of Ploughs. And We may farther obferve the In-
clination of the Earth to Petrification in Places uninliabited
or difpeopled, as particularly in Pakfiine^ which formerly



'with ^Theist. 51

was a Place luxuriantly fruitful ; but fince by the Ravage
of the Ro7mr.ii and the Turks the Inhabitants are (o much
thined, the Ground is grown ftony and barren for
want of Cultivation. I fay for want of Cultivation ^ for
Tillage does macerate and break the ftony Earth again in-
to a fine and kind Soil, which is fit for Vegetation; and
therefore, in thefe cultivated Parts of the World, wc arc
not fo fenfible of the increafing Petrification^ as we are in
the uncultivated ones* Befides, I am apt to fancy, that
the Subfidency of the Sea, in moft Parts of the World,
is in fome Meafure owing to the employing a great Part
of its faline Particles in the Produdion of Stones which
are partly concreted out of them ; for thefe thin Salts,
which are from thence drawn up with the Mifts and
Rains, are the Principles of Petrification. Now this Ar-
gument may be farther improved, if we confider the Du-
ration of OJfeom and Tefiaceot^ Subflances, far exceeding
the Time of their Produdion. The Bones of Animals
are produced in a little Time, and are not diffolved in a
very great one. The SheWs of Oyfters, Muflels, &c»
are concreted in one Year, and yet laft many Thoufands ;
as appears by thofe Beds of Shells we find in the Tops of
Hills, which have lain there at leaft ever fince the Deluge.
So that to any inquifitive Man it is plain, that Nature is
every Day more and more overtaking her felf, and as it
were treading upon her own Heels. For if the World
had continued an Infinity of Time, we fhould have been
all over-run with thefe Ojfeom and Conchom Subftances,
and no Matter left among us proper for Vegetation. And
indeed we cannot but obferve a Kind of Parfimony in
Nature, as if flie was afraid of this, by the fpeedy Cor-
ruption and Refolution of moft Animals and Vegetables,
by a natural Principle which we gei^erally call Fermenta-
tion : For there is an adive fpirituous Matter lodged in
the Compofition of Plants, Flowers, Flefh, &c, which
after the vital Principle is gone, does, by an agile internal
Motion, fhatter the Compages in pieces, that Nature may
make ufe of the Parts again for another Work : juft as
Printers are ufed to knock theii* Letters afunder, when the ■

Sheet



3^ A Conference

sheet is wrought of3^ Now unlefs Nature was afraid of
wanting a flifficient Stock of this fine Matter, and being
reducea to the faxeous and unpliable. which flie fees every
Day to grow upon her ; fhe cannot be fuppofed to make
fuch precipitate Hafle, in the DifTolution of her former
Produdions ; efpecially when Animals and Vegetables are
fo inconiiGcrable a Part of the Bulk of the Earth. I do
not fay, that this Increafe of faxeous Matter is any great
Inconvenience to the Earth already, or ever fhall be, if it
continues but feme few thoufand Years more, or that this
is any lmperfc on
which not To much as a Tree grewj

Efl profe Pitthaam Cumtilns Trezena Jlne tillli
ArdHHS arhorihm ~— — .

And what is this to the Produdions of fach vail: Moun-
tains as Cmcafus and the Alps f As to the other Inftances
out of Strd>o and Plinp every one knows what truft
thofe Authors repofe in Relations of common Fame, to
fay nothing of the Sincerity of the Authors themfelves.
But granting them true, they will not be able to fupport
your Hypothefis as you fhall fee by and by* The In-
ftance of the Hill by Vnz.z.mlo is unexceptionable, and
perhaps feveral others have been raifed by the fame Means.
But then this is no very great Hill, it is but loo Foot vhyft6-
perpendicular at the moft, and makes a great Sound un- ^^^oL Dif-
der a Man's Feet that ftamps upon it, as Mr. Ray w\\o ^TcU^s
has been upon it does tcflify. So chat this is but a thin s



Online LibraryWilliam NichollsA Conference with a Theist : containing an answer to all the most usual objections of the infidels against the Christian religion ... (Volume 1) → online text (page 4 of 47)