« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
goras were of this opinion, yet his authority should not be of any credit, because he was the author of many other monstrous absurdities.
To this I answer; if a man's error in some particulars should take away his credit for every thing else, this would abolish the force of all human authority ; for humanum est errare. Secondly, it is probable that many of Pythagoras's sayings which seem so absurd, are not to be understood according to their letter, but in a mystical sense.
2. But he objects again, that Pythagoras was not of this opinion; and that for two reasons; first, because no ancient author that he had read-ascribes it unto him. Secondly, it is contradictory to his other opinions, concerning the harmony that was made by the motion of the heavens; which could not consist with this other of the earth's motion.
To the first I answer; the objector could not chuse but know that this assertion is by many ancient authors ascribed to that sect whereof Pythagoras was the chief. He might have seen it expressly in Aristotle* himself. O. de Iudaro ELOL λεγουσιν επι μεν του μεσω πυρ ειναι, την τε γην εν τον αστραν ουσαν κυκλω Φερομενην περι μεσιν, νυκτα τε και εμεραν ποιειν.
In which the philosopher does compendiously reckon up the three chief particulars implied in the opinion of the Pythagoreans. First, the sun's being in the centre of the world. Secondly, the earth's annual motion about it, as being one of the planets. Thirdly, its diurnal revolution, whereby it caused day and night.
To his second reason I answer; first, that Pythagoras thought the earth to be one of the planets (as appears by Aristotle's testimony concerning him) and to move amongst the rest. So that his opinion concerning the motion of the heavens is not inconsistent with that of the earth. Secondly, but as for the celestial harmony, he might perhaps under this mystical expression, according to his usual custom, shadow forth unto us that mutual proportion and harmonical consent, which he did conceive in the several big
De Cælo, l. 2. c. 13.
ness, distance, motions of the orbs. So that notwithstanda ing these objections, it is evident that Pythagoras was of this opinion, and that his authority may add somewhat for the confirmation of it. Unto him assented Aristarchus Samius*, who flourished about 280 years before the birth of our Saviour; and was by reason of this opinion, arraigned for profaneness and sacrilege by the Areopagites; because he had blasphemed the deity of Vesta, affirming the earth to move. To them agreed Philolaus, Heraclides, Pontius, Nicetas, Syracusanus, Ecphantus, Lucippus, and Plato himself (as some think.) So likewise Numa Pompilius, as Plutarch relates it in his life; who in reference to this opinion, built the temple of Vesta round, like the universe; in the middle of it was placed the perpetual vestal fire; by which he did represent the sun in the centre of the world. All these men were in their several times of special note, as well for their extraordinary learning, as for this opinion.
4. It is considerable, that since this science of astronomy hath been raised to any perfection, there have been many of the best skill in it, that have assented unto that assertion which is here defended. Amongst whom was the cardinal Cusanust, but more especially Copernicus, who was a man very exact and diligent in these studies for above thirty years together, from the year 1500 to 1530, and upwards; and since him, most of the best astronomers have been of this side. So that now there is scarce any of note and skill, who are not Copernicus's followers; and if we should go to most voices, this opinion would carry it from any other. It would be too tedious to reckon up the names of those that may be cited for it; I will only mention some of the chief; such were Joachinus Rheticus, an elegant writer; Christopherus Rothman; Mestlin, a man very eminent for his singular skill in this science; who though at the first he were a follower of Ptolemy, yet upon his second and more exact thoughts, he concluded Copernicus to be in the right; and that the usual hypothesis, præscriptione potius quam
Archimedes de arænæ numero.
+ De doct. ignor. l. 2. cap. 12.
ratione valet*, does prevail more by prescription than rea
So likewise Erasmus Reinoldus, who was the man that calculated the prutenical tables from Copernicus his Observations, and did intend to write a commentary upon his other works, but that he was taken out of this life before he could finish those resolutions. Unto these also I might add the names of Gilbert, Keplar, Galilæus, with sundry others, who have much beautified and confirmed this hypothesis, with their new inventionst. Nay I may safely affirm, that amongst the variety of those opinions that are in astronomy, there are more (of those which have skill in it) that are of this opinion, not only than any other side, but than all the rest put together. So that now it is a greater argument of singularity to oppose it.
5. It is probable, that many other of the ancients would have assented unto this opinion, if they had been acquainted with those experiments which later times have found out for the confirmation of it: and therefore Rheticus; and Kcplar|| do so often wish that Aristotle were now alive again. Questionless, he was so rational and ingenious a man, (not half so obstinate as many of his followers) that upon such probabilities as these, he would quickly have renounced his own principles, and have come over to this side: for in one place, having proposed some questions about the heavenss, which were not easy to be resolved, he sets down this rule; that in difficulties, a man may take a liberty to speak that which seems most likely to him; and in such cases, an aptness to guess at some resolution, for the satisfying of our philosophical thirst, does deserve rather to be stiled by the name of modesty, than boldness. And in another place, he refers the reader to the different opinions of astronomers, advising him to examine their several tenets, as well Eudoxus as Calippus; and to entertain that (not which is most ancient, but) which is most exact and
* Præf. ad Narrat. Rhetici.
# In narracione. || Myst. Cosmiogr. c. 1. item Præf. ad 4. 1. Astr. Copern. § De Cæl. 1. 2. c. 12. I Met. lib. 12. cap. 8.
ágreeable to reason. And as for Ptolomy, it is his counsel*, that we should endeavour to frame such suppositions of the heavens, as might be more simple, being void of all superHuities: and he confesses, that his hypothesis had many implications in it, together with sundry intricate and unlikely turnings; and therefore in the same place, he seems to admonish us, that we should not be too confident the heavens were really in the same form wherein astronomers did suppose them. So that it is likely, it was his chief intent to propose unto us such a frame of the celestial bodies, from which we might, in some measure, conceive of their different appearances; and according to which, we might be able to calculate their motions. But now it is Copernicus's endeavour, to propound unto us the true natural causes of these several motions and appearances : it was the intent of the one, to settle the imagination; and of the other, to satisfy the judgment. So that we have no reason to doubt of his assent unto this opinion, if he had but clearly understood all the grounds of it.
It is reported of Clavius; that when lying upon his deathbed, he heard the first news of those discoveries which were made by Galilæus's glass, he brake forth into these words: videre astronomos, quo pacto constituendi sunt orbes cælestes, ut hæc phænomena salvari possint; that it did behove astronomers to consider of some other hypothesis, beside that of Ptolomy, whereby they might solve all those new appearances. Intimating that this old one, which formerly he had defended, would not now serve the turn: and doubtless, if he had been informed how congruous all these might have been unto the opinion of Copernicus, he would quickly have turned on that side. It is considerable, that amongst the followers of Copernicus, there are scarce any who were not formerly against him; and such, as at first had been thoroughly seasoned with the principles of Aristotle ; in which, for the most part, they have no less skill than those who are so violent in the defence of them.
Whereas on the contrary, there are very few to be found amongst the followers of Aristotle and Ptolomy, that have read any thing in Copernicus, or do fully understand the grounds of his opinion; and I think, not any, who having been once settled with any strong assent on this side, that have afterwards revolted from it. Now if we do but seri. ously weigh with ourselves, that so many ingenious, considering men, should reject that opinion which they were nursed up in, and which is generally approved as the truth; and that for the embracing of such a paradox as is condemned in schools, and commonly cried down, as being absurd and ridiculous; I say, if a man do but well consider all this, he must needs conclude, that there is some strong evidence for it to be found out by examination; and that in all probability, this is the righter side.
7. It is probable, that most of those authors who have opposed this opinion, since it hath been confirmed by new discoveries, were stirred up thereunto by some of these three insufficient grounds.
1. An over-fond and partial conceit of their proper inventions. Every man is naturally more affected to his own brood, than to that of which another is the author; though perhaps it may be more agreeable to reason. It is very difficult for any one, in the search of truth, to find in himself such an indifferency, as that his judgment is not at all swayed by an over-weaning affection unto that which is proper unto himself. And this perhaps might be the first reason that moved the noble Tycho with so much heat to oppose Copernicus, that so he might the better make way for the spreading of that hypothesis which was of his own invention. To this I might likewise refer that opinion of Origanus and Mr. Carpenter, who attribute to the earth only a diurnal revolution. It does more especially concern those men that are leaders of several sides, to beat down any that should oppose them.
2. A servile and superstitious fear of derogating from the authority of the ancients, or opposing that meaning of scripture-phrases, wherein the supposed infallible church hath