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Die Lunæ, 12 Januarü, 1645.
Ordered by the commons assembled in parliament, That the committee of lords and commons for Irish affairs, do take care, that the relation of the late good success in Ireland be forthwith printed.
H. Elsynge, Cler, Par. D. Com.
PHYSICAL AND LITERAL SENSE OF THAT SCRIPTURË
Jeremiah viii. 7.
The Stork in the Heaven knoweth her appointed times ; and the Turtle,
and the Crane, and the Swallow observe the time of their coming, 8-c. Written by an eminent Professor * for the use of his scholars, and now
published at the earnest desire of some of them.
Printed by J. H. no date. Duodecimo, containing thirty-six pages.
"LIE whole place is a rebuke to man, who should best know, and
therefore most readily perform, the law of his creator, written in his nature; this is the theological scope, wherein he is upbraided by brute creatures, that better observe their instincts.
But our present enquiry is of the physical and literal sense, especially of these words (in the heaven) where the stork seems to be and reside, when she knoweth her appointed time of her return unto this our earth. The question is, Whence come the stork, and the turtle, the crane, and the swallow, when they know and observe the appointed time of their coming ?
For the probable solution of which question, four things deserve some particular consideration, being of the number of those wonderful works of God, which seem to be proposed to be sought out of all them that have pleasure therein, Psal. cxi. 3. besides the theologico-moral design of convincing unnatural sinners.
1. The kinds or species mentioned. And they are fowls; not but beasts, worms, and fishes have their seasons and months, in which they
• Mr. Charles Morton. See Calamy's Continuation, vol. I. pag. 811.
may be found (as is said of the wild ass, Jer. ii. 24.) But their abserice and coming is not so remarkable, because, for the most part, they are known and observed by men, whither they make their recess; whereas, in divers sorts of fowls, their absence is such, that we know not whither they 'go, or whence they come, but are, as it were, miraculously dropped down from heaven upon us.
Nor are these particular kinds of fowls, mentioned, all those that do observe those seasons; but it is probable, they were the most remarkable in the Holy Land; but we have divers sorts besides, of which we shall take notice, the rather because they are more familiar to us than some of those here inentioned; and so we can better observe their phænomena, that
may afford us some light in this matter: Such are the winter-birds that breed not here, as the woodcock, and wind-thrush (or the redwing, wheenerd, whindle; for so many names it has in divers countries) field-fare, snipe, &c. And the summer birds, that breed here, as the nightingale, the cuckow, marlot, &c. which may be added to the swallow, mentioned in the text, a breeder in our own country, and the stork, a breeder in our neighbour countries, of which we may obtain certain knowledge and intelligence; but the crane is an exotick, and preserved sometimes amongst us only as a rarity.
2. The second thing to be considered of them, is, their knowledge of the seasons: This is an instinct, or implanted natural faculty, whereby they take notice of the changes of the air where they are, or the steams of the body where they reside, or the alteration or abatement of their daily food, or the changes arising from one or more of these in the temperament of their own bodies, whereby they are invited to change quarter, in order to obtain what is more suitable to them, or to avoid what is offensive. I will not suppose that they ratiocinate in the matter; yet I will not deny, but they have true sense and perception, and moved by something therein more than mechanism. Without dogmatising, as it may be proposed a problem, or porisma, to be considered, whether the souls of brutes are not more than rarefied, or inflamed matter; and whether it will not suit well enough the harmony of the world, that spirits created should be of three sorts ; some that should have no relation to the matter, as angels; some that should bear relation to matter, but without dependence (unless quoad actum informandi) as the reasonable souls of men; and some that should bear relation to matter, with dependence (quoad esse, fieri, et operari) as the souls of brutes. Cers tainly, if this were granted, there would be one step more (not yet taken notice of) to advance the throne of the highest perfection, and no such chasm, and vast distance between things spiritual and corporeal, that there need to be vehicles invented to join them together in one compositum. And truly, if immortality be not so much the result of immateriality, as of the decree and designation of the first cause, the most considerable argument that I know is dismounted, that it cannot better this hypothesis, if any one would make bold to assert it.
3. The appointment of their time. This is not like the appointment of days, or months, or new'moons, or sabbaths to the reasonable creatures, who have both notions of time, and a power to discern and dise tinguish the parts thereof; all which is denied to brutes. But it is only the settlement of the order and fixation of the whole frame of nature, that which was at first made, and afterward secured by the promise, Gen. viii. 22. While the earth remains, seed-time and harvest; and cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night shall not cease.' This diversity is derived from the lights in the heaven, set for 'signs and for seasons, and for days and for years,' Gen. i. 14. for, according to the access and recess of these lights, so as their irradiations are more direct or oblique, to any part of the earth, or as they vary their mutual aspects one to the other, so is their influx upon the earth, or any other body among the heavens of like composition, to cause such changes in the effluvia, as gives distinction to those brute creatures, in this or that season, so or so to provide for themselves; that is, while the effluvia, or steams, or the other things requisite for these animals, are congenial to their temperament, it intimates to thein, to abide where they are; but; when an offensivc alteration is made, it commands them to be gone, and shift for themselves; so that the ordinances of heaven (as they are called, Job. xxxviii. 33.) that is, the settled order of motions and influences of the heavenly bodies, and the regular and uniform acts of nature by agents and patients joined with that common law of nature, given by instinct to every thing to preserve itself; these two together do constitute that law which is here called, the appointments of their seasons, to which law they readily yield obedience, not out of religion, as reasonable creatures do, or should (religion, rather than reason; being according to the opinion of some learned men, the essential difference) but out of necessity of nature, and by those shadows of reason, which many brute creatures have.
4. The last thing to be considered, is, The place whence they come, and whither they go; which is the main enquiry, and gave occasion tơ this exercitation.
Concerning some brutes, that keep seasons, it is known to men, where they make their recesses, or what is become of them, when they are absent from us. I shall mention some particulars in their several kinds.
1. And first of insects, and almost all sorts of flies; we know they are plentiful with us in the summer; but where are they in the winter! Some in their seeds or eggs, as silk-worms, butterflies, &c. some in their pregnant dams, as bees, wasps, &c. which hide themselves all winter in some warm place, and, in the spring lay their eggs, which, by the warmth of their bodies, and temper of the air, are after hatched in great abundance.
2. Divers sorts of fishes have their seasons, some whereof are river fish, that go up into the smaller brooks to breed, as salmon, trout, &c. and after go down into the greater rivers, as trouts, or as low as the mouth of the rivers, into the very sea, yet not so far but they may now and then have a gust of fresh water, as is observed in the salmon, which, being marked when they were young spawns, and cast into the rivers, have
gone down into the sea, and returned again full grown with their marks into the same river. Some are sea fish, that come in great shoals at certain seasons, as mullet, mackarel, herring, pilchard, and many more; but these, having the wide sea to travel in, do remove north and
south either for the suitable warmth of the water, or the suitable food which such warmth doth produce.
3. Divers kinds of beasts have also their removes, these having not so great a scope to range in, as being confined to the habitable parts of the earth, where man also resides (the fear and dread of whom was placed in them all, Gen. ix. 2.). Therefore those that are natural, or that are wild, do at times go farther from the presence of men, when they have convenience of covert and food, or when they breed, the better to hide and secure their young; but, when they are streightened in those conveniences, they are forced to appear nearer, by spreading further to seek for forage; but even then they take the opportunity of the night, wherein they may be best concealed. This is excellently cele brated, Psal. civ. ver. 18, 20, 21, 23, 24. The high hills are a refuge for the goats, and the rocks for conies. Ver. 20. Thou makest darkness, and it is night, wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth. Veri 21. The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens. Ver. 23. Man goeth forth unto his work, and to his labour, until the evening. Ver. 24. O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom bast thou made them all! 4. But the fowls of the air are most remarkable in their seasons, as is before noted; their removes are at a greater distance, by the convenience of their wing: and they have a larger scope than the fishes themselves, who have the whole oceañ to wander in. The sea is wide and deep, yet not as the air, that compasseth the sea and land, nor so passible in any part as the air is supposed to be in some parts thereof: for, if the opinion be true, that gravitation is from the magnetism of the earth, then, the more remote from the earth, the less is the gravity, and by consequence the more easy passage; for then the bird, employing little or none of his strength to bear up its weight, may use it all in promotion whither it would tend. Then (beyond the atmosphere) the air is thin; and makes less resistance, and does so at least compensate the want of density to thrust the wing against; therefore the whole strength of the bird is reserved only for the progressive motion, and by consequence that motion there must be abundantly more swift and easy; than it can posa sibly be here below in the atmosphere.
Before I do propose a direct answer to the question; Whither these fowls do probably make their recess, I must lay down some postulata or prolegomena ; such as,
1. That the Creator made the universe for the manifestation of his own glory.
2. That, in order thereunto, he has endowed the rational creature (man) with a capacity to observe, search out; and celebrate his power, wisdom, and goodness in his works.
3. That, since the fall, the ordinary method of man's understanding any thing of the works of God, is by industry in sense, observation, experience, induction, and the communication of these things from one man to another,
4. That must be acknowledged as true, or at least most probable; that is most easily deducible from man's experience and observation of the phænom«na of nature.
5. That those phænomena do yield ground for opinions more strange, weak, or variable, not so much from the diversity of appearances, as of observation from whence principally they derive their denomination of phænomena; therefore, when men speak of new ones, upon which they ground new argumentations and opinions, they are not (for the most part) new things in nature, but old things newly taken notice of.
6. New observations may be made in one age, that are not in another, by the hints that one age gives to another, whereby human reason (being still the same in all ages) works on upon former observations, so as what is begun, in one age, may be perfected in another; and the same may hint some things imperfectly to the next, that may be left to them to perfect, and so onwards: Ita res accendunt lumina rebus.
7. Whence it follows, there may be a sober sense of that saying [Senescente mundo adolescunt ingenia] the older the world, the wiser; not that new opinions arise from affectation of novelty, or proud contempt of the ancients; but, granting their wit and industry to be equal, yet we may soberly say, their opportunities were not so; for latter ages have the observations of the former, and their own to boot.
8. That all manner of sciences have improved, and are still improve ing, is manifest enough to any that are not overweening of their own entertained conceits, or impertinently superstitious towards dead heroes, and from hence are enemies to all reformation; as if envying that any thing should be done well, that was not done by them and their ancestors; or as if this must needs reflect upon them, as careless or un-. skiliul.
9. That many little things in nature are of great importance, and become the most admirable (and God's wisdom therein) when their end and use come better to be discerned. One would admire to think, why God should create eclipses to appear only at certain times. The thing in itself is a very toy, a non-entity, a privation, a shadow of short duration, and no more in nature than the putting my hand between my eye and the candle, and yet this little darkness gives light to all astronomy and chronology; for by this men only are sure that their hypotheses in the main are more than doubtful conjectures, God making use of this contemptible mote (as a fescue) to teach men to read the heavens, and it enables man (that little pigmy on a mole-hill) to measure and comprehend at such a distance such vast magnitudes and motiuns. This is noted to prevent the sneer of some that possibly may be at our enquiry after the habitation of a woodcock.
10. I do suppose, that the hypothesis of Copernicus is reasonable, and may be real, without any contradiction to scripture, namely, “That the moon's body (as also of the other five planets) is of a composition like our earth, and may have in it dry land and water, mountains and vallies, fountains, streams, seas, &c. and about it an atmosphere of vapours and fumes from its body, clouds, rain, &c. like this earth we inhabit, and by consequence convenient entertainment for those fowls, in case they arrive thither.'
These things premised, I say, it is not impossible, that divers of these fowls, which make such changes, and observe their seasons, do pass and repa s between this and the moon, which is the nearest concute betero