Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

sions be entertained in absolute consideration ; for so distinct is the relation, and so artificial the habitude of this inferior globe unto the superior, and even of one thing in each unto the other, that general rules are dangerous, and applications most safe that run with security of circumstance, which rightly to effect, is beyond the subtilty of sense, and requires the artifice of reason.:

CHAPTER IV.

Of some computation of days, and deductions of one part of the year unto

another.

FOURTHLY, there are certain vulgar opinions concerning days of the year, and conclusions popularly deduced from certain days of the month; men commonly believing the days increase and decrease equally in the whole year; which notwithstanding is very repugnant unto truth. For they increase in the month of March, almost as much as in the two months of January and February: and decrease_as much in September, as they do in July and August. For the days increase or decrease according to the declination of the sun, that is, its deviation northward or southward from the equator. Now this digression is not equal, but near the equinoxial intersections, it is right and greater, near the solstices more oblique and lesser. So from the eleventh of March the vernal equinox, unto the eleventh of April, the sun declineth to the north twelve degrees ; from the eleventh of April, unto the eleventh of May, but eight; from thence -unto the fifteenth of June, or the summer solstice, but three and a half: all which make twenty-two degrees and an half, the greatest declination of the sun.

s reason.] Hence itt may appeare that those rules of prognostic and signification, which the Ægyptian, Arabian, Græcian, yea, and Italian astronomers, have given concerning the starrs, and those clymates wherein they lived, cannot bee applied to our remote and colder clymes, nor to these later times (wherein the constellations of all the twelve signes are moved eastward almost 30 degrees; Aries into Taurus and that into Gemini, &c.) without manifest errors and grosse deceptions, and are therefore of late rejected by the most famous astronomers, Tycho, Copernicus, Longomontanus, and Kepler (as diabolical impostures). De Cometa Anni 1618.- Wr.

And this inequality in the declination of the sun in the zodiack or line of life, is correspondent unto the growth or declination of man. For setting out from infancy, we increase, not equally, or regularly attain to our state or perfection; nor when we descend from our state, is our declination equal, or carrieth us with even paces unto the grave. For as Hippocrates affirmeth, a man is hottest in the first day of his life, and coldest in the last; his natural heat setteth forth most vigorously at first, and declineth most sensibly at last. And so though the growth of man end not perhaps until twenty-one, yet is his stature more advanced in the first septenary than in the second, and in the second more than in the third, and more indeed in the first seven years, than in the fourteen succeeding; for what stature we attain unto at seven years, we do sometimes but double, most times come short of at one and twenty.

And so do we decline again: For in the latter age upon the tropick and first descension from our solstice, we are scarce sensible of declination : but declining further, our decrement accelerates, we set apace, and in our last days precipitate into our graves. And thus are also our progressions in the womb, that is, our formation, motion, our birth, or exclusion. For our formation is quickly effected, our motion appeareth later, and our exclusion very long after: if that be true which Hippocrates and Avicenna have declared, that the time of our motion is double unto that of formation, and that of exclusion treble unto that of motion. As if the infant be formed at thirty-five days, it moveth at seventy, and is born the two hundred and tenth day, that is, the seventh month; or if it receives not formation before forty-five days, it moveth the ninetieth day, and is excluded in the two hundred and seventieth, that is, the ninth month.

There are also certain popular prognosticks drawn from festivals in the calendar, and conceived opinions of certain days in months; so is there a general tradition in most parts of Europe, that inferreth the coldness of succeeding winter from the shining of the sun upon Candlemas day, or the purification of the Virgin Mary, according to the proverbial distich,

Si Sol splendescat Mariâ purificante,

Major erit glacies post festum quam fuit ante. So is it usual among us to qualify and conditionate the twelve months of the year, answerable unto the temper of the twelve days in Christmas ; and to ascribe unto March certain borrowed days from April

, all which men seem to believe upon annual experience of their own, and the received traditions of their forefathers.

Now it is manifest, and most men likewise know, that the calendars of these computers, and the accounts of these days are very different: the Greeks dissenting from the Latins, and the Latins from each other: the one observing the Julian or ancient account, as Great Britain and part of Germany; the other adhering to the Gregorian or new account, as Italy, France, Spain, and the United Provinces of the Netherlands. Now this latter account, by ten days at least, anticipateth the other; so that before the one beginneth the account, the other is past it; yet in the several calculations, the same events seem true, and men with equal opinion of verity, expect and confess á confirmation from them all. Whereby is evident the oraculous authority of tradition, and the easy seduction of men, neither enquiring into the verity of the substance, nor reforming upon repugnance of circumstance.

And thus may divers easily be mistaken who superstitiously observe certain times, or set down unto themselves an observation of unfortunate months, or days, or hours. As did the Egyptians, two in every month, and the Romans the days after the nones, ides, and calends. And thus the rules of navigators must often fail, setting down, as Rhodiginus observeth, suspected and ominous days in every month, as the first and seventh of March, and fifth and sixth of April, the sixth, the twelfth, and fifteenth of February. For the accounts hereof in these months are very different in our days, and were different with several nations in ages past, and how strictly soever the account be made, and by the selfsame calendar, yet it is possible that navigators may be out. For so were the Hollanders, who passing west

men.] By the jugling Priests in the old mythologies of the heathen deytyes, trulye taxte by the poet under that " Quicquid Græcia mendax mandat in historiis.-Wr. VOL. II.

K

even

9

ward through fretum le Mayre, and compassing the globe, upon their return into their own country found that they had lost a day. For if two men at the same time travel from the same place, the one eastward, the other westward, round about the earth, and meet in the same place from whence they first set forth, it will so fall out that he which hath moved eastward against the diurnal motion of the sun, by anticipating daily something of its circle with its own motion, will gain one day; but he that travelleth westward, with the motion of the sun, by seconding its revolution, shall lose or come short a day; and therefore also upon these grounds that Delos was seated in the middle of the earth, it was no exact decision, because two eagles let fly east and west by Jupiter, their meeting fell out just in the island Delos.

CHAPTER V.

[ocr errors]

A digression of the Wisdom of God in the Site and Motion of the Sun.

Having thus beheld the ignorance of man in some things, his error and blindness in others, that is, in the measure of duration both of years and seasons, let us awhile admire the wisdom of God in this distinguisher of times, and visible deity (as some have termed it) the sun, which, though some from its glory adore, and all for its benefits admire, we shall advance from other considerations, and such as illustrate the artifice of its Maker. Nor do we think we can excuse the duty of our knowledge, if we only bestow the flourish of poetry hereon, or those commendatory conceits which popularly set forth the eminency of this creature, except we

1 westward.] Captain Bodman, an auncient and discreete gentleman, and learned, for his many services to the State, being admitted a poore Knight at Windsor, was wont to tell mee, that at their returne from surrounding the world with Sir Francis Drake in the yeare 1579, they found that they lost a daye in their accomptes of their daylye saylinge, which agrees with this excellent observation of Dr. Browne ; for their voyage was from England to the Streits of Magellan, and soe round by the Moluccas and Cape of Good Hope, back to England, which was totalye with the sonne, and therefore what they observed with admiration, concerning the losse of a day in their accompt, had a manifest reason and cause to justifie the trueth of that observation, and that itt could not possiblye bee otherwise.--Wr.

ascend unto subtiler considerations, and such, as rightly understood, convincingly declare the wisdom of the Creator. Which since a Spanish physician* hath begun, we will enlarge with our deductions, and this we shall endeavour from two considerations, its proper situation and wisely ordered motion.

And first, we cannot pass over his providence, in that it moveth at all, for had it stood still, and were it fixed like the earth, there had been then no distinction of times, either of day or year, of spring, of autumn, of summer, or of winter; for these seasons are defined by the motions of the sun : when that approacheth nearest our zenith, or vertical point, we call it summer; when furthest off, winter; when in the middle spaces, spring or autumn; whereas, remaining in one place, these distinctions had ceased, and consequently the generation of all things, depending on their vicissitudes; making in one hemisphere a perpetual summer, in the other a deplorable and comfortless winter. And thus had it also

* Valerius de Philos. Sacr. 2 winter.] All this must of necessity evidentlye follow, unlesse (according to the supposition of Copernicus, for I suppose it was but a postulate of art, noe parte of his creed) that the son is fixed in the midst or center of this universal frame of the world, altogether immoovable, and that the earth, with all the rest of the elements, is annually caryed round about the sonne in the sphere between Mars and Venus, parting that lovinge couple of godlings by its boysterous intrusion, but the mischeef is that besides this annual motion of the earth, mounted like Phæthon in the chariot and throne of the sonne, the Copernicans are forced, contrary to their own principles, that unius corporis cælestis (for soe you must nowe accompte itt, though a dul and opacous planet, unius est motus simplex), to ascribe two other motions to the earth ; the one a vertiginous rotation, whirling about his own center, wherby turning toward the son causeth daye, and turning from the son, night; both of them every twenty-four hours ; the other a tottering motion of inclination to the son the sommer halfe yeare, and of reclination from the son in the halfe halfe, from whence must of necessity follow two vast and unconcedable postulates. First, that as the son, in his old sphere, is supposed in respect of his distance from the center to moove noe lesse than 18,000 miles every minute of an hour, yf the earth bee in the sons place, they must perforce acknowledge the same pernicitye in the earth, and yet not perceptible to our sense, nor to the wisest of the world, since the creation till our times. But to salve this, as they thinke, they suppose and postulate the second motion of rotation or whirling on his owne center, which others conceive to bee diametrally opposite to Scripture : but then there recoyles upon them this strange

« PredošláPokračovať »