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So that this first evasion of our adversaries will not shelter them from the force of that argument, which is taken from the incredible swiftness of the heavens.
2. Whereas they tell us in the second place, that a bigger body, as a millstone, will naturally descend swifter than a less, as a pebble. I answer: this is not because such a great body is in itself more easily moveable, but because the bigger any thing is which is out of its own place, the stronger will be its natural desire of returning thither, and so consequently, the quicker its motion. But now those bodies that move circularly, are always in their proper situations, and so the same reason is not appliable unto them. And then, whereas it is said, that magnitude does always add to the swiftness of a violent motion (as wind will move a great ship sooner than a little stone: we answer: this is not because a ship is more easily moveable in itself than a little stone: for I suppose the objector will not think he can throw the one as far as the other; but because these little bodies are not so liable to that kind of violence from whence their motion does proceed.
As for those instances, which are cited to illustrate the possibility of this swiftness in the heavens, we answer: the passage of a sound is but very slow in comparison to the motion of the heavens. And then besides, the swiftness of the species of sound or sight which are accidents, are not fit to infer the like celerity in a material substance: and so likewise for the light which Aristotle himself *, and with him the generality of philosophers, do for this very reason prove not to be a body, because it inoves with such swiftness, of which (it seems) they thought a body to be incapable. Nay, the objector + himself in another place, speaking of light in reference to a substance, does say: Lumen est accidens, sic species rei visa, & alia est ratio substantiarum, alia accidentium.
To that of a bullet, we answer: he might as well have illustrated the swiftness of a bullet, which will pass four or five miles in two minutes, by the motion of a hand in a
* De Anima, l. 2. c. 7.
# Ross. I. 2, sect. 1. c. 4.
watch, which passes two or three inches in twelve hours ; there being a greater disproportion betwixt the motion of the heavens and the swiftness of a bullet, than there is betwixt the swiftness of a bullet and the motion of a hand in a watch.
Another argument to this purpose may be taken from the chief end of the diurnal and annual motions, which is to distinguish betwixt night and day, winter and summer; and so consequently, to serve for the commodities and seasons of the habitable world. Wherefore it may seem more agreeable to the wisdom of providence, for to make the carth as well the efficient, as the final cause of this motion; especially since nature in her other operations does never use any tedious difficult means to perform that which may as well be accomplished by shorter and easier ways. But now, the appearances would be the same, in respect of us, if only this little point of earth were made the subject of these motions, as if the vast frame of the world, with all those stars of such number and bigness were moved about it. It is a common maxim, Μηδεν ειχη την φυσιν εργαζεσθαι *. Nature does nothing in vain, but in all her courses does take the most compendious way. It is not therefore (I say) likely, that the whole fabric of the heavens, which do so much exceed our earth in magnitude and perfection, should be put to undergo so great and constant a work in the service of our earth, which might more easily save all that labour by the circumvolution of its own body; especially, since the heavens do not by this motion attain any farther perfection for themselves, but are made thus serviceable to this little ball of earth. So that in this case it may seem to argue as much improvidence in nature to employ them in this motion, as it would in a mother t, who in warming her child, would rather turn the fire about that, than that about the fire : or in a cook I, who would not roast his meat by turning it about to the fire ; but rather, by turning the fire about it: or in a man |, who ascending some high tower, to
save the labour of stirring his head, should rather desire that all the regions might successively be turned before his eye, that so he might easily take a view of them.
We allow every watchmaker so much wisdom as not to put any motion in his instrument, which is superfluous, or may be supplied an easier way: and shall we not think that nature has as much providence as every ordinary mechanic? or can we imagine that she should appoint those numerous and vast bodies, the stars, to compass us with such a swift and restless motion, so full of confusion and uncertainties, when as all this might as well be done by the revolution of this little ball of earth?
Amongst the several parts of the world, there are six planets which are generally granted to move. As for the sun and the earth, and the fixed stars, it is yet in question, which of them are naturally endowed with the same condition. Now common reason will dictate unto us, that motion is most agreeable to that which in kind and properties is most near to those bodies that undoubtedly are moved. But now there is one eminent qualification, wherein the earth does agree with the planets; whereas the sun, together with the fixed stars, do in the same respect' differ from them: and that is light, which all the planets, and so too the earth, are fain to borrow elsewhere, whilst the sun and the stars have it of their own. From whence it may be probably concluded, that the earth is rather the subject of this motion than the other. To this it may be added, that the sun and stars seem to be of a more excellent nature than the other parts of the world; and therefore should in reason be endowed with the best qualifications. But now motion is not so noble a condition as rest. That is but a kind of wearisome and servile thing; whereas, this is usually ascribed to God himself: of whom it is said:
Immotus stabilisque manens dans cuncta moveri *. Aristotle + tells us, it is very agreeable to reason that the time appointed for the revolution of each orb should
be proportionable to its bigness. But now this can only be by making the earth a planet, and the subject of the annual and diurnal motions. Wherefore it is probable, that this does rather move than the heavens.
According to the common hypothesis, the primum mobile will move round in a day. Saturn in thirty years. Jupiter in twelve. Mars in two. The Sun, Venus, and Mercury, which have several orbs, yet will agree in their revolutions, being each of them about a year in finishing their courses: whereas by making the earth a planet, there will be a just proportion betwixt the bigness of the orbs and the time of their motions: for then, next to the sun or centre, there will be the sphere of Mercury ; which as it is but narrower in its diameter, so likewise is it quick in its motion, running its course in 88 days. Venus, that is next unto it, in 224 days. The earth in 365 days, or a year. Mars in 687 days, Jupiter in 4332 days, Saturn in 10759 days. Thus likewise is it with those Medicean stars that encompass Jupiter. That which is lowest amongst them, finishes his course in two and twenty hours; the next in three days and a half; the third in seven days; and the farthest in seventeen days. Now as it is (according to Aristotle's confession) more likely that nature should observe such a due proportion betwixt the heavenly orbs ; so is it more probable, that the earth should move, rather than the heavens.
This may likewise be confirmed from the appearance of comets: concerning which there are three things commonly granted, or if they were not, might be easily proved : namely,
1. That there are divers comets in the air, betwixt the moon and our earth.
2. That many of these comets do seem to rise and set as the stars.
3. That this appearing motion is not properly their own, but communicated unto them from somewhat else.
But now, this motion of theirs cannot be caused by the
heavens; and therefore it must necessarily proceed from the revolution of our earth.
That the moon's orb cannot carry along with it the greater part of the air, wherein these comets are placed, might easily be proved from the cominon grounds. For the concave superficies of that sphere is usually supposed to be exactly terse and smooth ; so that the meer touch of it cannot turn about the whole element of fire, with a motion that is not natural unto it. Nor could this elementary fire, which they imagine to be of a more rarified and subtle nature, communicate the same motion to the thicker air, and that to the waters (as some affirm :) for by what means could that smooth orb take hold of the adjoining air? To this Sarsius answers, that there are great gibbosities and mountainous inequalities in the concavity of the lowest sphere, and by these is it enabled to carry along with it the fire and air. But Fromondus * tells him, Fictitia ista & ad fugam reperta sunt. And yet his own conjecture is scarce so good, when he affirms, that this motion of the æthereal air, as also of that elementary air hard by us, is caused by that ruggedness which there is in the bodies of the planets; of which opinion we may with as good reason say as he says to Sarsius, fictitia ista & ad fugam reperta : these things are mere fictions invented for shifts, and without any probable ground.
But now this appearance of the comets may easily be resolved, if we suppose the earth to move. For then, though they did still remain in their wonted places; yet this, by its diurnal revolution successively withdrawing itself from them, they will appear to rise and set. And therefore, according to this common natural experiment, it is more probable that the carth should move, than the heavens.
Another argument urged by some to prove that this globe of earth is easily moveable, is taken from the opinion of those who affirm that the access of any weight unto a