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2. Sometimes for the beginning and first creation of it. Isa. xl. 2. Hath it not been told you from the beginning, have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? and in many other places, before the foundation of the world was laid *; that is, before the first creation.
3. Sometimes it signifies the magistrates and chief governors of the earth. So, many interpret that place in Micah, where it is said, vi. 2. Hear O ye mountains the Lord's controversy, and ye strong foundations of the earth. So Psal. Ixxxii. 5. The foundations of the earth are out of course ; and in Sam. ii. &. they are called pillars. For the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, and he hath set the world upon them. Hence it is, that the Hebrews derive their word for master, or lord, from a root which signifies a basis or bottom. 172, ab 74. And the Greek word for king, does in its primitives import as much as the foundation of the people, Beoideus, quasi Baris T8 148 t. But now, none of all the several interpretations of this phrase, will in the least manner conduce to the confirmation of the present argument.
As for the second word, 1709932 basis ejus: I answer, the proper signification of it, is locus dispositus, sedes, or statio, an appointed seat or station; and according to this sense, is it most frequently used in scripture. And therefore, the heavens are sometimes called y's the seat of God's habitation. And for this reason likewise, do Aquila and Symma. chus translate it by the word ispce, a seat or appointed situation, which may as well be attributed to the heavens.
The third expression is ovan 52, that it should not be moved, from the primitive ova, which does not signify barely to move, but declinare, or vacillare, to decline or slip aside from its usual course. Thus is it used by David, Psal. xvii. 5. where he prays, hold up my goings in thy paths, 'Oyo yong sa that my footsteps slide not: he does not mean that his feet should not move. So Psal. cxxi. 3. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved. Thus likewise, Psal,
* John xvü. 24. Ephes. i. 4.
+ Etymol. mag.
xvi. 8. Because the Lord is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Which last place is translated in the New Testament * by the Greek word Ocheuw, which signifies fluctuare, or vacillare, to be shaken by such an uncertain motion as the waves of the sea. Now as David's feet may have their usual motion, and yet in this sense be said not to move, that is, not to decline or slip aside; so neither can the same phrase applied to the earth, prove it to be immoveable.
Nor do I see any reason, why that of Didacus Astunica f may not be truly affirmed, that we may prove the natural motion of the earth, from that place in Job ix. 6. Qui commovet terram e loco suo, as well as its rest and immobility from these.
From all which, it is very evident, that each of these expressions, concerning the founding or establishing both of heaven or earth, were not intended to shew the unmoveableness of either; but rather, to manifest the power and wisdom of providence, who had so settled these parts of the world in their proper situations, that no natural cause could displace them, or make them decline from their appointed course. As for such who do utterly dislike all new interpretation of scripture, even in such matters as do merely concern opinion, and are not fundamental, I would only propose unto them a speech of St. Hierom, concerning some that were of the same mind in his time. Cum novas semper expetant voluptates, et gula eorum vicina maria non sufficiant, cur in solo studio scripturarum, veteri sapore contenti sunt.
Thus have I in some measure cleared the chief arguments froni scripture, against this opinion. For which notwithstanding, I have not thence cited any; because I conceive the holy writ, being chiefly intended to inform us of such things as concern our faith and obedience, we cannot thence take any proper proof for the confirmation of natural secrets.
That there is not any argument from the words of scrip
ture, principles of nature, or observations in astronomy, which can sufficiently evidence the earth to be in the centre of the universe. UR adversaries do much insult in the strength of those
arguments which they conceive do unanswerably conclude the earth to be in the centre of the world. Whereas, if they were but impartially considered, thcy would be found altogether insufficient for any such conclusion, as shall be clearly manifested in this following chapter.
The arguments which they urge in the proof of this, are of three sorts ; either such as are taken,
1. From expressions of scripture.
Those of the first kind are chiefly two: the first is grounded on that common scripture-phrase, which speaks of the sun, as being above us. So Solomon often mentioning human affairs, calls them, the works which are done under the sun *. From whence it appears, that the earth is below it, and therefore nearer to the centre of the universe, than the sun.
I answer: Though the sun in comparison to the absolute frame of the world, be in the midst ; yet this does not hinder, but that in respect to our earth, he may be truly said to be above it ; because we usually measure the height or lowness of every thing, by its being further off, or nearer unto this centre of our earth. From which, since the sun is so remote, it may properly be affirmed that we are under it, though notwithstanding that be in the centre of the world.
* Eccles i. 14, &c.
A second argument of the same kind, is urged by Fromondus.
It is requisite, that hell (which is in the centre of the earth *) should be most remotely situated from the seat of the blessed. But now this heaven, which is the seat of the blessed, is concentrical to the starry sphere: and therefore it will follow, that our earth must be in the midst of this sphere; and so consequently in the centre of the world.
I answer: this argument is grounded upon these uncertainties;
1. That hell must needs be situated in the centre of our earth.
2. That the heaven of the blessed must needs be concentrical to that of the stars.
3. That places must be as far distant in situation as in
Which because they are taken for granted, without any proof, and are in themselves but weak and doubtful, therefore the conclusion (which always follows the worser part) cannot be strong, and so will not need any other answer.
The second sort of arguments taken from natural philosophy, are principally these three.
1. First, from the vileness of our earth, because it consists of a more sordid and base matter than any other part of the world ; and therefore must be situated in the centre, which is the worst place, and at the greatest distance from those purer incorruptible bodies, the heavens.
I answer: this argument does suppose such propositions for grounds, which are not yet proved, and therefore not to be granted. As,
1. That bodies must be as far distant in places, as in nobility.
2. That the earth is of a more ignoble substance than any of the other planets, consisting of a more base and vile matter.
* Antar. c. 12. item Vesta. tract. 5. c. 2.
3. That the centre is the worst place. All which are (if not evidently false) yet very uncertain.
2. From the nature of the centre, which is the place of rest, and such as in all circular motions is itself immove able, and therefore will be the fittest situation for the earth; which by reason of its heaviness, is naturally unfit for motion.
I answer: this argument likewise is grounded upon these two false foundations ; as,
1. That the whole frame of nature does move round, excepting only the earth.
2. That the whole earth, considered as whole, and in its proper place, is heavy, or more unfit for a natural motion, than any of the other planets.
Which are so far from being such general grounds from which controversies should be discussed, that they are the very thing in question betwixt us and our adversaries.
3. From the nature of all heavy bodies, which is to fall towards the lowest place. From whence they conclude, that our earth must be in the centre.
I answer : this may prove it to be a centre of gravity,, but not of distance, or that it is in the midst of the world. Yea, (but say our adversaries) Aristotle for this urges a demonstration, which must needs be infallible. Thus the motion of light bodies does apparently tend upward towards the circumference of the world: but now the motion of heavy bodies is directly contrary to the ascent of the other; wherefore it will necessarily follow, that these do all of them tend unto the centre of the world.
I answer: though Aristotle were a master in the art of syllogisms, and he from whom we received the rules of disputation; yet in this particular, it is very plain that he was deceived with a fallacy, whilst his argument does suppose that which it does pretend to prove.
That light bodies do ascend unto some circumference which is higher and above the earth, is plain and undeniable. But that this circumference is the same with that of the world, or concentrical unto it, cannot be reasonably