A1r

A
Discovery
Of

New Worlds.

From the French.

Made English
By Mrs. A. Behn.

To which is prefixed a Preface,
by way of Essay on Translated
Prose: wherein the Arguments
of Father Tacquet, and others, against
the System of Copernicus (as to the
Motion of the Earth) are likewise
considered, and answered: Wholly
new.

London,
Printed for William Canning, at his Shop
in the Temple-Cloysters, 16881688.

A1v A2r

To the Right Honourable,
William, Earl of Drumlangrig,
Eldest Son to his
Grace, William, Duke of
Queensberry
; and one of
his Majesty’s most Honourable
Privy-Council in the
Kingdom of Scotland.

My Lord,

The Esteem I have for
your Nation in general,
and the great Veneration
I am obliged to have for some particular
Persons of Quality of it, has
made me ambitious of being
known to all those of Wit and A2 fine A2v
fine Parts. Amongst that Number,
none has a greater Character
than your Lordship, whose early
Knowledge of all that is excellent
in Learning, and of all the Graces
of the Mind, promised the World
that accomplished Great Man, it
now with so much Pride and Satisfaction
beholds; and which, even
without the addition of your illustrious
Birth, were sufficient, to
gain you the Esteem of all Mankind;
and you are never mentioned,
but with such vast Accumulations
of Praise, as are given only
to uncommon Men, and such, as
something extraordinary alone can
merit.

To all your advantages of Nature,
elevated Birth, Virtue,
Knowledge, Wit, Youth, and
Honours, to compleat your Happiness,piness A3r
Fortune has added her part
too; and has ally’d your Lordship
by Marriage to the Great and Noble
Family of Burlington, which
has at once been honour’d with
more Earls than any great Family
cou’d ever boast, and whose Vertues,
and Loyalty, deserve particular
and lasting Trophies to celebrate
them to Posterity.

My Lord, I presume to dedicate
this little Book to your Lordship,
which I ventured to translate,
because it pleased me in the
French; and tho but a trifle, has
something in it out of the way of
ordinary Wit, which renders it
more worthy to be laid at your
Lordships Feet. If it is not done
with that exactness it merits, I
hope your Lordship will pardon it
in a Woman, who is not supposed A3 to A3v
to be well versed in the Terms of
Philosophy, being but a new beginner
in that Science; but where
I have failed, your Lordship’s
Judgment can supply; and if it
finds acceptance with your Lordship,
I am already so much a Philosopher,
as to despise what the
World says of it, and will pride my
self only in being,

My Lord,
Your Lordship’s most humble
and most obedient Servant
,


A. Behn.

The A4r


The Translator’s
Preface.

The General Applause this little
Book of the Plurality of Worlds
has met with, both in France and
England in the Original, made me attempt
to translate it into English. The Reputation
of the Author, (who is the same, who
writ the Dialogues of the Dead) the Novelty
of the Subject in vulgar Languages,
and the Authors introducing a Woman as
one of the speakers in these five Discourses,
were further Motives for me to undertake
this little work; for I thought an English
Woman might adventure to translate
any thing, a French Woman may be supposed
to have spoken: But when I had made
a Tryal, I found the Task not so easie as
I believed at first. Therefore, before I
say any thing, either of the Design of the
Author, or of the Book it self, give me A 4 leave A4v
leave to say something of Translation of
Prose in general: As for Translation of
Verse, nothing can be added to that Incomparable
Essay of the late Earl of Roscommon,
the nearer the Idioms or turn
of the Phrase of two Languages agree, ’tis
the easier to translate one into the other.
The Italian, Spanish, and French, are all
three at best Corruptions of the Latin,
with the mixture of Gothick, Arabick
and Gaulish Words. The Italian, as it is
nearest the Latin, is also nearest the English:
For its mixture being composed of
Latin, and the Language of the Goths,
Vandals, and other Northern Nations,
who over-ran the Roman Empire, and
conquer’d its Language with its Provinces,
most of these Northern Nations spoke the
Teutonick or Dialects of it, of which the
English is one also; and that’s the Reason,
that the English and Italian learn the Language
of one another sooner than any other;
because not only the Phrase, but the Accent
of both do very much agree, the Spanish
is next of kin to the English, for almost
the same Reason: Because the Goths
and Vandals having over-run Africk,
and kept Possession of it for some hundred of A5r
of Years, where mixing with the Moors, no
doubt, gave them a great Tincture of their
Tongue. These Moors afterwards invaded
and conquered Spain; besides Spain was
before that also invaded and conquered by
the Goths, who possessed it long after the
time of the two Sons of Theodosius the
Great
, Arcadus and Honorius. The French,
as it is most remote from the Latin, so the
Phrase and Accent differ most from the
English: It may be, it is more agreeable
with the Welsh, which is near a-kin to
the Basbritton and Biscagne Languages,
which is derived from the old Celtick
Tongue, the first that was spoken amongst
the Ancient Gauls, who descended from
the Celts.

The French therefore is of all the hardest
to translate into English. For Proof
of this, there are other Reasons also. And
first, the nearer the Genious and Humour
of two Nations agree, the Idioms of their
Speech are the nearer; and every Body
knows there is more Affinity between the
English and Italian People, than the English
and the French, as to their Humours;
and for that Reason, and for what I have
said before, it is very difficult to translate Spanish A5v
Spanish into French; and I believe hardly
possible to translate French into Dutch.
The Second Reason is, the Italian Language
is the same now it was some hundred
of Years ago, so is the Spanish, not only as
to the Phrase, but even as to the Words and
Orthography; whereas the French Language
has suffered more Changes this hundred
Years past, since Francis the first,
than the Fashions of their Cloths and Ribbons,
in Phrase, Words and Orthography.
So that I am confident a French Man a
hundred Years hence will no more understand
an old Edition of Froisard’s History,
than he will understand Arabick. I
confess the French Arms, Money and Intrigues
have made their Language very
universal of late, for this they are to be
commended: It is an Accident, which
they owe to the greatness of their King
and their own Industry; and it may fall
out hereafter to be otherwise. A third
Reason is as I said before, that the French
being a Corruption of the Latin, French
Authors take a liberty to borrow whatever
Word they want from the Latin, without
farther Ceremony, especially when they
treat of Sciences. This the English do not A6r
not do, but at second hand from the French.
It is Modish to Ape the French in every
thing: Therefore, we not only naturalize
their words, but words they steal from other
Languages. I wish in this and several
other things, we had a little more of
the Italian and Spanish Humour, and did
not chop and change our Language, as we
do our Cloths, at the Pleasure of every
French Tailor.

In translating French into English, most
People are very cautious and unwilling to
print a French Word at first out of a new
Book, till Use has rendered it more familiar
to us and therefore it runs a little
rough in English, to express one French
Word, by two or three of ours; and thus
much, as to the Ease and Difficulty of translating
these Languages in general: But,
as to the French in particular, it has as
many Advantages of the English, as to the
Sound, as ours has of the French, as to
the Signification; which is another Argument
of the different Genius of the two
Nations. Almost all the Relatives, Articles,
and Pronouns in the French Language,
end in Vowels, and are written
with two or three Letters. Many of their words A6v
words begin with Vowels; so, that when a
word after a Relative, Pronoun or Article,
ends with a Vowel, and begins with
another, they admit of their beloved Figure
Apostrophe, and cut off the first Vowel.
This they do to shun an ill sound; and they
are so musical as to that, that they will
go against all the Rules of Sense and Grammar,
rather than fail; as for Example,
speaking of a Man’s Wife they say, son
Epouse”
, whereas in Grammar, it ought to
be sa Epouse”; but this would throw a
French-Man into a Fit of a Fever, to hear
one say, by way of Apostrophe “S’Epouse”,
as this makes their Language to run smoother,
so by this they express several
Words very shortly, as “qu’entend je”, in
English, what do I hear? In this Example,
three words have the Sound but of one,
for Sound prevails with them in the beginning,
middle and end. Secondly, their
words generally end in Vowels, or if they
do not, they do not pronounce the Consonant,
for the most part, unless there be
two together, or that the next word begins
with a Vowel Thirdly, by the help of their
Relatives, they can shortly, and with ease
resume a long Preceeding Sentence, in two or A7r
or three short words these are the Advantages
of the French Tongue, all which
they borrow from the Latin. But as the
French do not value a plain Suit without
a Garniture, they are not satisfied with
the Advantages they have, but confound
their own Language with needless Repetitions
and Tautologies and by a certain
Rhetorical Figure, peculiar to themselves,
imply twenty Lines, to express what an
English Man would say, with more Ease
and Sense in five; and this is the great
Misfortune of translating French into English:
If one endeavours to make it English
Standard, it is no Translation. If one
follows their Flourishes and Embroideries,
it is worse than French Tinsel. But these
defects are only comparatively, in respect
of English: And I do not say this so much, to
condemn the French, as to praise our own Mother-Tongue,
for what we think a Deformity,
they may think a Perfection; as the Negroes
of Guinney think us as ugly, as we think
them: But to return to my present Translation.

I have endeavoured to give you the true
meaning of the Author, and have kept as
near his Words as was possible; I was necessitated
to add a little in some places, otherwise A7v
otherwise the Book could not have been understood.
I have used all along the Latin
Word “Axis”, which is “Axle-tree” in English,
which I did not think so proper a Word in
a Treatise of this nature; but ’tis what is
generally understood by every Body. There
is another Word in the two last Nights,
which was very uneasie to me, and the more
so for that it was so often repeated, which
is “Tourbillion”, which signifies commonly a
“Whirl-wind”; but Monsieur DesChartes understands
it in a more general sense, and I
call it a “Whirling”; the Author hath given
a very good Definition of it, and I need say
no more, but that I retain the Word unwillingly,
in regard of what I have said in the
beginning of this Preface.

I know a Character of the Book will be
expected from me, and I am obliged to give
it to satisfie my self for being at the pains
to translate it, but I wish with all my heart
I could forbear it; for I have that Value
for the ingenious French Author, that I am
sorry I must write what some may understand
to be a Satyr against him. The Design of
the Author is to treat of this part of Natural
Philosophy in a more familiar Way than
any other hath done, and to make every bodydy A8r
understand him: For this End, he introduceth
a Woman of Quality as one of the
Speakers in these five Discourses, whom he
feigns never to have heard of any such
thing as Philosophy before. How well he
hath performed his Undertaking you will
best judge when you have perused the Book:
But if you would know before-hand my
Thoughts, I must tell you freely, he hath
failed in his Design; for endeavouring to
render this part of Natural Philosophy familiar,
he hath turned it into Ridicule; he
hath pushed his wild Notion of the Plurality
of Worlds
to that height of Extravagancy,
that he most certainly will confound those
Readers, who have not Judgment and Wit
to distinguish between what is truly solid
(or, at least, probable) and what is trifling
and airy: and there is no less Skill and
Understanding required in this, than in
comprehending the whole Subject he treats
of. And for his Lady Marquiese, he makes
her say a great many very silly things, tho’
sometimes she makes Observations so learned,
that the greatest Philosophers in Europe
could make no better. His way of Arguing
is extreamly fine, and his Examples
and Comparisons are for the most part extraordinary,traordinary A8v
just, natural, and lofty, if he
had not concluded with that of a Rose, which
is very irregular. The whole Book is very
unequal; the first, fourth, and the beginning
of the fifth Discourses are incomparably
the best. He ascribes all to Nature, and
says not a Word of God Almighty, from the
Beginning to the End; so that one would
almost take him to be a Pagan. He endeavours
chiefly two things; one is, that there
are thousands of Worlds inhabited by Animals,
besides our Earth, and hath urged this
Fancy too far: I shall not presume to defend
his Opinion, but one may make a very
good use of many things he hath expressed
very finely, in endeavouring to assist his wild
Fancy; for he gives a magnificent Idea of
the vastness of the Universe, and of the
almighty and infinite Power of the Creator,
to be comprehended by the meanest Capacity.
This he proves judiciously, by the Appearances
and Distances of the Planets and fixed
Stars and if he had let alone his learned
Men, Philosophical Transactions, and
Telescopes in the Planet Jupiter, and his
Inhabitants not only there, but in all the
fixed Stars, and even in the Milky-Way,
and only stuck to the greatness of the Universe,niverse a1r
he had deserved much more
Praise.

The other thing he endeavours to defend
and assert, is, the System of Copernicus.
As to this, I cannot but take his part as
far as a Woman’s Reasoning can go. I shall
not venture upon the Astronomical part,
but leave that to the Mathematicians; but
because I know, that when this Opinion of
Copernicus (as to the Motion of the Earth,
and the Sun’s being fixed in the Centre of
the Universe, without any other Motion,
but upon his own Axis) was first heard of
in the World, those who neither understood
the old System of Ptolemy, nor the new one
of Copernicus, said, That this new Opinion
was expresly contrary to the holy Scriptures,
and therefore not to be embraced; nay, it
was condemned as Heretical upon the same
Account: After it had been examined by
the best Mathematicians in Europe, and
that they found it answered all the Phænomena’s
and motions of the Spheres and
Stars better than the System of Ptolemy;
that it was plainer, and not so perplexing
and confused as the old Opinion; several of
these learned Men therefore embraced this
but those that held out, when they saw all a Arguments a1v
Arguments against Copernicus would not
do, they had recourse to what I said before,
that this System was expresly against the
holy Scriptures. Amongst this Number is
the learned Father Tacquit, a Jesuite;
who, I am told, has writ a large Course of
Mathematicks, and particularly, of Astronomy,
which is deservedly much esteemed.
In the end of this Treatise, he cites several
Texts of Scripture; and particularly,
the INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.19th. Psalm, “And the Sun standing
still at the Command of Joshua.”
If I can
make it appear, that this Text of Scripture
is, at least, as much for Copernicus as Ptolemy,
I hope it will not be unacceptable to
my Readers: Therefore, with all due Reverence
and Respect to the Word of God, I
hope I may be allowed to say, that the design
of the Bible was not to instruct Mankind
in Astronomy, Geometry, or Chronology,
but in the Law of God, to lead us to
Eternal Life; and the Spirit of God has
been so condescending to our Weakness, that
through the whole Bible, when any thing of
that kind is mentioned, the Expressions are
always turned to fit our Capacities, and to
fit the Common Acceptance, or Appearances
of things to the Vulgar. As to Astronomy,nomy a2r
I shall reserve that to the last, and shall
begin with Geometry; and though I could
give many Instances of all three, yet I shall
give but one or two at most. The Measure and
Dimensions of Solomon’s Molten Brass Sea
in INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.1 King. 7.23. the Words are these, “And
he made a molten Sea, ten Cubits from
one brim to the other, it was round all
about, and his heighth was five Cubits,
and a Line of thirty Cubits did compass it
round about”
: That is to say, the Diameter
of this Vessel was a Third of its Circumference:
This is indeed commonly understood
to be so, but is far from a Geometrical
Exactness, and will not hold to a Mathematical
Demonstration, as to the just Proportion
between the Diameter and Circumference
of a Circle. In the next place, as
to Chronology, I could give many Instances
out of the Bible, but shall only name two
that are very apparent, and easie to be understood
by the meanest Capacity. See
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.1 King. 6.1. the Words are these, “And it
came to pass, in the 0480four hundred and
fourscorth
Year after the Children of Israel
were come out of the Land of Egypt, in
the fourth Year of Solomon’s Reign over
Israel, in the Month Zif, which is the seconda2 cond a2v
Month, he began to build the House
of the Lord.”
Compare this Text, and number
of Years with INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Act. 13.17, 18, 19, 20,
21, 22.
which is the beginning of St. Paul’s
Sermon to the Jews of Antioch, and the
number of Years therein contained: The
Words are these,

VerVerse. 17. “The God of this People of Israel
chose our Fathers, and exalted the
People when they dwelt as Strangers in
the Land of Egypt, and with an high
Hand brought he them out of it.”

VerVerse. 18. “And about the time of forty
Years suffered he their Manners in the
Wilderness.”

VerVerse. 19. “And when he had destroyed
seven Nations in the Land of Canaan,
he divided their Land to them by Lot.”

VerVerse. 20. “And after that, he gave unto
them Judges, about the space of four hundred
and fifty Years, until Samuel the
Prophet.”

VerVerse. 21. “And afterwards they desired a
King, and God gave them Saul, the Son
of Kish, a Man of the Tribe of Benjamin,
for the space of forty Years.”

VerVerse. 22. “And when he had removed
him, he raised up unto them David to be
their King.”

King a3r

King David the Prophet reigned seven
years in Hebron, and thirty three Years in
Jerusalem; and for this see INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.1 King. 2.11
To this you must add the first three Years of
his Son Solomon, according to the Text I
have cited, in INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.1 King. 6.1. Put all these
Numbers together, which are contained in
St. Paul’s Sermon at Antioch, with the
Reign of King David, the first three Years
of Solomon, and seven Years of Joshua’s
Government, before the Land was divided
by Lot, which is expresly set down in INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Act.
13.19.
the number of Years will run
thus: Forty Years in the Wilderness, the
seven Years of Joshua, before the dividing
the Land by Lot; from thence, till Samuel,
four hundred and fifty Years; forty Years
for the Reign of Saul, forty Years for the
Reign of David, and the first three Years
of Solomon; all these Numbers added together,
make five hundred and eighty
Years: which Computation differs an hundred
Years from that in INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.1 King. 6.1. which
is but four hundred and eighty. It is not
my present Business to reconcile this difference;
but I can easily do it; if any Body
think it worth their Pains to quarrel
with my Boldness, I am able to defend my
self.

a3 The a3v

The second Instance is, as to the Reign
of King Solomon; for this, see INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.1 King.
11.42.
where it is said, he reigned but
forty Years over Israel. Josephus says expresly,
in the third Chapter of his eighth
Book of Antiquities, that King Solomon
reigned eighty Years, and died at the Age
of ninety four. I would not presume to
name this famous Historian in contradiction
to the Holy Scriptures, if it were
not easie to prove by the Scriptures, that
Solomon reigned almost twice forty Years.
The Greek Version of the Bible, called commonly
the Septuagint or seventy two
Interpreters
has it most expresly in INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.3 King.
2.
But the first Book of Kings according
to our Translation in English, says, that
“Solomon sat upon the Throne of his Father
David, when he was twelve Years of
Age.”
But for Confirmation, be pleas’d
to see INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.1 Chr. 22.5. and 29.1. where it
is said, that “Solomon was but young
and tender for so great a work, as the
building of the Temple. Rehoboam the
Son of Solomon was forty one Years old,
when he began to reign,”
see INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.1 King. 14.
21.
How was it possible then that Solomon
could beget a Son, when he was but a Child a4r
Child himself, or of eleven Years of Age
according to the Septuagint? This Difficulty
did strangely surprise a Primitive
Bishop, by Name, Vitalis, who proposed
this Doubt to St. Jerome, who was strangely
put to it to return an Answer; and the Learned
Holy Father is forc’d at last to say,
“that the Letter of the Scripture does often
kill, but the Spirit enlivens.”
The
Difficulty is still greater than what Vitalis
proposed to St. Jerome in his Epistle.
Rehoboam was the Son of Naamah an Ammonitish,
stranger Woman, as you may see
in INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.1 King. 14.31. Now it is clear, that
Solomon did not abandon the Law of God,
nor give himself to strange Women till the
end of his Reign, see INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.1 King. 9. where he
had so many strange Wives and Concubines,
besides his lawful Queen, the King
of Ægypt’s Daughter; and I hope this will
convince any rational Man, that the Scripture
names only the first forty Years of
the Reign of King Solomon, which was
the time, wherein he did what was Right
in the Sight of the Lord; which I think is
Demonstration, that the Holy Scripture
was not designed, to teach Mankind Geometry,
or instruct them in Chronology. a4 The a4v
The Learned Anthony Godeanu, Lord
and Bishop of Venice, seems to have been
sensible of this great Difficulty; for in his
Learned Church-History, his Epitome
from Adam to Jesus Christ, writing the
Life of Solomon, he says, “he was twenty
three Years old when he began his
Reign.”
Upon what Grounds, or from
what Authority I know not; but this agrees
better with the Age of Solomon’s
Son Rehoboam; but it doth not remove
the Difficulty, so well as what I have
said.

I come now in the last place to perform
what I undertook, which is to prove, that
the Scripture was not designed to teach us
Astronomy, no more than Geometry or Chronology:
And to make it appear that the
two Texts cited by Father Tacquet, viz.
that of INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Psal. 19.4, 5, 6. and INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Josh. 10.12,
&c. are at least as much for Copernicus
his System, as they are for Ptolemy’s. The
Words of the INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.19th. Psalm are, “In them
hath he set a Tabernacle for the Sun,
which is as a Bridegroom coming out of
his Chamber; and rejoices as a strong
Man to run his Race,”
&c.

That these words are Allegorical is most plain a5r
plain. Does not the Word Set import Stability,
Fix’dness and Rest, as much as the
Words run his Race, and come forth of
his Chamber
, do signifie motion or turning
round? Do not the Words Tabernacle
and Chamber express Places of Rest and
Stability? And why may not I safely believe,
that this makes for the Opinion of Copernicus,
as well as for that of Ptolemy? For the
Words of the Scriptures favour one Opinion
as much as the other. The Texts of the
Suns standing still at the Command of Joshua,
are yet plainer for Copernicus, in
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Josh. 10. and the latter part of INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.v. 12. the
Words are these. “Sun stand thou still
on Gibeon, and thou Moon on the Valley
of Ajalon
,”
&c.

The best Edition of the English Bible,
which is printed in a small Folio by
Buck, in Cambridge, has an Asterism at
the Word stand, and renders it in the Margent,
from the Hebrew, “Be thou silent”:
If it be so in the Hebrew, “be thou silent”
makes as much for the Motion of the Earth,
according to Copernicus, as for the Motion
of the Sun according to Ptolemy, but not to
criticize upon Words, consider this miraculous
Passage, not only the Sun is commanded to stand a5v
stand still, but the Moon also, “And thou
Moon on the Valley of Ajalon.”
The Reason
the Sun was commanded to stand still,
was to the end the Children of Israel might
have Light to guide them, to destroy their
Enemies. Now when by this Miracle they
had the Light of the Sun, of what Advantage
could the Moon be to them? Why was
she commanded to stand still upon the Valley
of
Ajalon
? Besides, be pleased to consider,
the Holy Land is but a very little
Country or Province: The Valley of Ajalon
is very near Gibeon, where Joshua
spoke to both Sun and Moon together to
stand still above, in Places so near each
other, it is Demonstration, that the Moon
was at that time very near the Sun;
and by Consequence was at that time either
a day or two before her change, or a day
or two at most after new Moon; and then
she is nearer to the Body of the Sun, as to
appearance, so could not assist the Children
of Israel with Light, having so little of her
own: It was then for some other Reason
that the Moon stood still; and for some other
Reason that it is taken notice of in Holy
Scripture. Both Systems agree that the
Moon is the nearest Planets to the Earth, and a6r
and subservient to it, to enlighten it, during
the Night, in Absence of the Sun. Besides
this, the Moon has other strange Effects,
not only on the Earth it self, but upon
all the living Creatures that inhabit it;
many of them are invisible, and as yet unknown
to Mankind; some of them are
most apparent; and above all, her wonderful
Influence over the ebbing and flowing
of the Sea, at such regular Times and
Seasons, if not interrupted by the Accident
of some Storm, or great Wind.
We know of no Relation or Corresponding
between the Sun and the Moon, unless it be
what is common with all the rest of the
Planets, that the Moon receives her Light
from the Sun, which she restores again by
Reflection. If the Sun did move, according
to the System of Ptolemy, where was
the necessity of the Moon’s standing still?
For if the Moon had gone on her Course,
where was the Loss or Disorder in Nature?
She having, as I demonstrated before, so
little Light, being so very near her Change,
would have recovered her Loss at the next
Appearance of the Sun, and the Earth
could have suffered nothing by the Accident;
whereas the Earth moving at the same a6v
same time, in an Annual and Diurnal Course,
according to the System of Copernicus,
would have occasioned such a Disorder and
Confusion in Nature, that nothing less than
two or three new Miracles, all as great as
the first, could have set the World in Order
again: The regular Ebbings and Flowings
of the Sea must have been interrupted
as also the Appearing of the Sun in the
Horizon, besides many other Inconveniences
in Nature; as, the Eclipses of the Sun
and Moon, which are now so regular, that
an Astronomer could tell you to a Minute,
what Eclipses will be for thousands of Years
to come, both of Sun and Moon; when, and
in what Climates they will be visible, and
how long they will last, how many Degrees
and Digits of those two great Luminaries
will be obscured. So that I doubt not but
when this stupendious Miracle was performed
by the Almighty and Infinite Power of
God, his omnipotent Arm did in an Instant
stop the Course of Nature, and the
whole Frame of the Universe was at a stand,
though the Sun and Moon be only named,
being, to vulgar Appearance, the two
great Luminaries that govern the Universe.
This was the space of a Day in Time, a7r
Time, yet can be called no part of Time,
since Time and Nature are always in motion,
and this Day was a stop of that Course.
What is there in all this wonderful stop of
Time, that is not as strong for the System
of Copernicus, as for that of Ptolemy?
And why does my Belief of the Motion of
the Earth, and the Rest of the Sun contradict
the holy Scriptures? Am not I as much
obliged to believe that the Sun lodges in a
Tabernacle? (as in INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Psal. 19) Are not all
these Allegorical Sayings? In the abovenamed
Edition of the English Bible of
Buck’s at Cambridge, see INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Isa. 8.38. where
the Shadow returned ten Degrees backwards,
as a Sign of King Hezekiah’s Recovery,
and there follow these Words, “And
the Sun returned ten Degrees;”
but on the
Margin you will find it from the Hebrew,
“The Shadow returned ten Degrees by the
Sun;”
and this is yet as much for Copernicus
as Ptolemy. Whether God Almighty
added ten Degrees or Hours to that Day,
or by another kind of Miracle, made the
Shadow to return upon the Dial of Ahaz, I
will not presume to determine; but still
you see the Hebrew is most agreeable to
the new System of Copernicus.

Thus a7v

Thus I hope I have performed my Undertaking,
in making it appear, that the
holy Scriptures, in things that are not material
to the Salvation of Mankind, do altogether
condescend to the vulgar Capacity;
and that these two Texts of INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Psal. 19.
and INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Josh. 10. are as much for Copernicus
as against him. I hope none will think my
Undertaking too bold, in making so much
use of the Scripture, on such an Occasion.
I have a Precedent, much esteemed by all
ingenious Men; that is, Mr. Burnet’s Book
of Paradise, and Antedeluvian World,
which incroaches as much, if not more, on
the holy Scriptures. But I have another
Reason for saying so much of the Scriptures
at this time: We live in an Age, wherein
many believe nothing contained in that holy
Book, others turn it into Ridicule: Some
use it only for Mischief, and as a Foundation
and Ground for Rebellion: Some keep
close to the Literal Sense, and others give
the Word of God only that Meaning and
Sense that pleases their own Humours, or
suits best their present Purpose and Interest.
As I quoted an Epistle of St. Jerome
to Vitalis before, where that great Father
says, that “the Letter kills, but the Spirit enlivens; a8r
enlivens;”
I think it is the Duty of all good
Christians to acquiesce in the Opinion and
Decrees of the Church of Christ, in whom
dwells the Spirit of God, which enlightens
us to Matters of Religion and Faith; and
as to other things contained in the Holy Scriptures
relating to Astronomy, Geometry,
Chronology, or other liberal Sciences, we
leave those Points to the Opinion of the
Learned, who by comparing the several
Copies, Translations, Versions, and Editions
of the Bible, are best able to reconcile
any apparent Differences and this
with all Submission to the Canons of General
Councils, and Decrees of the Church.
For the School-men agitate and delbate many
things of a higher Nature, than the standing
still, or the Motion of the Sun or the
Earth. And therefore, I hope my Readers
will be so just as to think, I intend
no Reflection on Religion by this Essay;
which being no Matter of Faith, is free for
every one to believe, or not believe, as
they please. I have adventur’d to say nothing,
but from good Authority: And as
this is approved of by the World, I may
hereafter venture to publish somewhat may
be more useful to the Publick. I shall conclude A8v
conclude therefore with some few Lines, as
to my present Translation.

I have laid the Scene at Paris, where
the Original was writ; and have translated
the Book near the Words of the Author.
I have made bold to correct a Fault
of the French Copy as to the heighth of
our Air or Sphere of Activity of the Earth,
which the French Copy makes twenty or
thirty Leagues, I call it two or three, because
sure this was a Fault of the Printer, and
not a mistake of the Author. For Monsieur
DesCartes
, and Monsieur Rohalt, both
assert it to be but two or three Leagues. I
thought Paris and St. Denis fitter to be
made use of as Examples, to compare the
Earth and the Moon to, than London and
Greenwich; because St. Denis having several
Steeples and Walls, is more like Paris,
than Greenwich is to London. Greenwich
has no Walls, and but one very low
Steeple, not to be seen from the Monument
without a Prospective Glass. And I resolv’d
either to give you the French Book into English,
or to give you the subject quite
changed and made my own; but having neither
health nor leisure for the last I offer you
the first such as it is.

The

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