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therefore perhaps it is, that the devil is stiled the prince of the air. But of this only occasionally, and by reason of Plutarch's opinion concerning those that are round about the moon.
As for the moon itself, he esteems it to be a lower kind of heaven; and therefore in another place he calls it a terrestrial star, and an olympian or cælestial earth; answerable, as I conceive, to the paradise of the schoolmen*. And that paradise was either in, or near the moon, is the opinion of some late writers, who derived it (in all likelihood) from the assertion of Plato, and perhaps, this of Plutarch. Tostatus lays this opinion upon Isiodor. Hispalensis, and the venerable Bede, and Perius, father it upon Strabus and Rabanus his master f. Some would have it to be situated in such a place as could not be discovered; which caused the penman of Esdras to make it a harder matter to know the out-goings of paradise, than to weigh the weight of the fire, or measure the blasts of wind, or call again a day that is past f. But notwithstand. ing this, there be some others, who think that it is on the top of some high mountain under the line; and these interpreted the torrid zone to be the flaming sword whereby paradise was guarded. It is the consent of divers others, that paradise is situated in some high and eminent place. So Tostatus : Est etiam paradisus situ altissima, supra omnem terre altitudinem §. “ Paradise is situated in some “ high place above the earth.” And therefore in his comment upon the 49th of Genesis, he understands the blessing of Jacob concerning the everlasting hills, to be meant of paradise, and the blessing itself to be nothing else but a promise of Christ's coming, by whose passion the gates of paradise should be opened. Unto him assented Rupertus, Scotus, and most of the other schoolmen, as I find them cited by Pererius, and out of him in Şir Walter Rawleigh. Their reason was this: because in probabi
* Cur silent oracula. + Sir W. Raw. I. 1. c. 3. sect. 7. In Genes.
lity, this place was not overflowed by the food, since there were no sinners there, which might draw that curse upon it. Nay, Tostatus thinks that the body of Enoch was kept there; and some of the fathers, as Tertullian and Austin have affirmed, that the blessed souls were reserved in that place till the day of judgment; and therefore it is likely that it was not overflowed by the flood. It were easy to produce the unanimous consent of the fathers, to prove that paradise is yet really existent. Any diligent peruser of them, may easily observe how they do generally interpret the paradise whereto St. Paul* was wrapt, and that wherein our Saviour promised the thief should be with him, to be locally the same from whence our first parents were banished. Now there cannot be any place on earth designed where this should be; and therefore it is not altogether improbable that it was in this other world.
And besides, since all men should have, went naked if Adam had not fell, it is requisite therefore that it should be situated in some such place where it might be privileged from the extremities of heat and cold. But now this could not be (they thought) so conveniently in any lower, as it might in some higher air. For these and such like considerations, have so many affirmed that paradise was in a high elevated place: which some have conceived could be no where but in the moon: for it could not be in the top of any mountain ; nor can we think of any other body separated from this earth, which can be a more convenient place for habitation than this planet; therefore they concluded that it was there.
It could not be on the top of any mountain :
1. Because we have express scripture, that the highest of them was overflowed t.
2. Because it must be of a greater extension, and not some small patch of ground, since it is likely all men should have lived there, if Adam had not fell. But for a satisfaction of the arguments, together with a farther dis
2 Cor. xi. 4. Luke xxü. 43.
t Gen. vii. 19.
course of paradise, I shall refer you to those who have written purposely upon this subject. Being content for my own part to have spoken so much of it, as may conduce to shew the opinion of others concerning the inhabitants of the moon; I dare not myself affirm any thing of these Selenites, because I know not any ground whereon to build any probable opinion. But I think that future ages will discover more ; and our posterity, perhaps, may invent some means for our better acquaintance with these inhabitants.
That it is possible for some of our posterity to find out a
conveyance to this other world; and if there be inhabitants there, to have commerce with them.
LL that hath been said concerning the people of the
new world, is but conjectural, and full of uncertainties; nor can we ever look for any evident or more probable discoveries in this kind, unless there be some hopes of inventing means for our conveyance thither. The possibility of which shall be the subject of our enquiry in this last proposition.
And, if we do but consider by what steps and leisure, all arts do usually rise to their growth, we shall have no cause to doubt why this also may not hereafter be found out amongst other secrets. It hath constantly yet been the method of providence, not presently to shew us all, but to lead us on by degrees, from the knowledge of one thing to another
It was a great while ere the planets were distinguished from the fixed stars ; and some time after that, ere the morning and evening star were found to be the same ;
and in greater space (I doubt not) but this also, and other as excellent mysteries will be discovered. Time, who hath always been the father of new truths, and hath revealed unto us many things which our ancestors were ignorant of, will also manifest to our posterity that which we now desire, but cannot know. Veniet tempus (saith Seneca *) quo ista quæ nunc latent, in lucem dies extrahet, & longioris ævi diligentia. Time will come, when the endeavours of after-ages shall bring such things to light, as now lie hid in obscurity. Arts are not yet come to their solstice; but the industry of future times, assisted with the labours of their forefathers, may reach that height which we could not attain to. Veniet tempus quo posteri nostri nos tum aperta nescisse mirentur. As we now wonder at the blindness of our ancestors, who were not able to discern such things as seem plain and obvious unto us ; so will our posterity admire our ignorance in as perspicuous matters.
In the first ages of the world, the inlanders thought themselves either to be the only dwellers upon earth, or else if there were any other, they could not possibly conceive how they might have any commerce with them, being severed by the deep and broad sea. But after times found out the invention of ships ; in which notwithstanding, none but some bold daring men durst venture, according to that of the tragedian:
Audax nimium qui freta primus
Too bold was he, who in a ship so frail,
And yet now, how easy a thing is this even to a timorous and cowardly nature ? And questionless, the invention of some other means for our conveyance to the moon, cannot seem more incredible to us, than this did at first
* Nat. Qu. l. 7. c. 25. + Sen. Med. act. 1. Vide Hor. Od. 3. Juvenal. sat. 12. Claud. præf. ad. I lib. de rap. Proser.
to them and therefore we have no just reason to be discouraged in our hopes of the like success.
Yea, but (you will say) there can be no sailing thither, unless that were true which the poet does but feign, that she made her bed in the sea. We have not now any Drake, or Columbus, to undertake this voyage, or any Dædalus to invent a conveyance through the air.
I answer, though we have not, yet why may not succeeding times raise up some spirits as eminent for new attempts, and strange inventions, as any that were before them? It is the opinion of Keplar *, that as soon as the art of flying is found out, some of their nation will make one of the first colonies that shall transplant into that other world. I suppose his appropriating this preheminence to his own countrymen, may arise from an over-partial affection to them. But yet thus far I agree with him, that whenever that art is invented, or any other, whereby a man may be conveyed some twenty miles high, or thereabouts, then it is not altogether improbable that some or other may be successful in this attempt.
For the better clearing of which I shall first lay down, and then answer those doubts that may make it seem utterly impossible.
These are chiefly three.
The first, taken from the natural heaviness of a man's body, whereby it is made unfit for the motion of ascent, together with the vast distance of that place from us.
2. From the extreme coldness of the æthereal air. 3. The extreme thinness of it.
Both which must needs make it impassible, though it were but as many single miles thither as it is thousands.
For the first. Though it were supposed that a man could fly, yet we may well think he would be very slow in it, since he hath so heavy a body, and such a one too, as nature did not principally intend for that kind of motion. It is usually observed, that amongst the variety of birds,
* Dissert, cum Nun. Syder.