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That those spots and brighter parts, which by our sight
may be distinguished in the Moon, do shew the difference betwirt the sea and land in that other world.
POR the clear proof of this proposition, I shall firs
reckon up and refute the opinions of others concern ing the matter and form of those spots, and then shew the greater probability of this present assertion, and how agreeable it is to that truth which is most commonly received As for the opinions of others concerning these, they have been very many: I will only reckon up those which are common and remarkable.
Some there are that think those spots do not arise from any deformity of the parts, but a deceit of the eye, which cannot at such a distance discern an equal light in that planet: but these do but only say it, and shew not any reason for the proof of their opinion. Others think that there are some bodies betwixt the sun and moon, which keeping off the light in some parts, do by their shadow produce these spots which we there discern*.
Others would have them to be the figure of the seas or mountains here below, represented there as in a lookingglass. But none of those fancies can be true, because the spots are still the same, and not varied according to the difference of places; and besides, Cardan t thinks it is impossible that any image should be conveyed so far, as there to be represented unto us at such at a distance. But it is commonly related of Pythagoras, that he by writing wha he pleased in a glass, by the reflexion of the same species would make those letters to appear in the circle of the moon, where they should be legible by any other, who
* So Bede in l. de Mund. constit.
+ De subtil. lib. 3.
might at that time be some miles distant from himn. Agrippa * affirms this to be possible, and the way
performing it not unknown to himself, with some others in his time. It may be, that bishop Godwin did by the like means perform those strange conclusions, which he professes in his Nuncius Inanimatus; where he pretends, that he can inform his friends of what he pleases, though they be an hundred miles distant, forte etiam, vel milliare millesimumn (they are his own words), and perhaps a thousand; and all this in a little space, quicker than the sun can
Now, what conveyance there should be for so speedy a passage, I cannot conceive, unless it be carried with the light, than which we know not any thing quicker. But of this only by the way. However, whether those images can be represented so or not, yet certain it is, those spots are not such representations. Some think that when God had at first created too much earth to make a perfect globe, not knowing well where to bestow the rest, he placed it in the moon, which ever since hath so darkened it in some parts: but the impiety of this is sufficient confutation, since it so much detracts from the divine power and wisdom. .
The stoics + held that planet to be mixed of fire and air ; and in their opinion, the variety of its composition caused her spots : being not ashamed to stile the same body a goddess; calling it Diana, Minerva, &c. and yet affirm it to be an impure mixture of flame and smoke, and fuliginous air.-But this planet cannot consist of fire, saith Plutarch, because there is not any fuel to maintain it. And the poets have therefore feigned Vulcan to be lame, because he can no more subsist without wood or other fuel, than a lame man without a staff.
Anaxagoras thought all the stars to be of an earthly nature, mixed with some fire; and as for the sun, he affirmed it to be nothing else but a fiery stone: for which latter opi
Occulta Philos. I. i.cap. 6.
+ Plut. de placit. phil. 1. 2. c. 25.
nion, the Athenians sentenced him to death * ; those zeal. ous idolaters counting it a great blasphemy to make their god a stone; whereas notwithstanding, they were so senseless in their adoration of idols, as to make a stone their god. This Anaxagoras affirmed the moon to be more terrestrial than the other planets, but of a greater purity than any thing here below; and the spots he thought were nothing else but some cloudy parts intermingled with the light which belonged to that planet ; but I have above destroyed the supposition on which this fancy is grounded. Pliny + thinks they arise from some drossy stuff, mixed with that moisture which the moon attracts unto herself; but he was of their opinion who thought the stars were nourished by some earthly vapours; which you may commonly see refuted in the Commentators on the books De Cælo.
Vitellio and Reinoldus 1 affirm the spots to be the thicker parts of the moon, into which the sun cannot infuse much light; and this (say they) is the reason why in the suu's eclipses the spots and brighter parts are still in some measure distinguished, because the sun-beams are not able so well to penetrate through those thicker, as they may through the thinner parts of that planet. Of this opinion also was Cæsar la Galla, whose words are these $; “ The
moon doth there appear clearest, where she is transpi
cuous, not only through the superficies, but the substance “ also; and there she seems spotted, where her body is “ most opacous.” The ground of this his assertion was, because he thought the moon did receive and bestow her light by illumination only, and not at all by reflection ; but this, together with the supposed penetration of the sunbeams, and the perspicuity of the moon's body I have above answered and refuted.
* Josephus l. 2. con. App. August. de Civit. Dei, l. 18. c. 41. + Nat. Hist. 1. 2. c. 9. # Opt. lib. 9. Comment. in Purb.
164. § Ex qua parte luna est transpicua non solum secundum superficiem, sed etiam secundum substantiam, eatenus ara, ex qua autem parte opaca est, eatenus obscura videtur. De Phænom. cap. 11.
The more common and general opinion is, that the spots are the thinner parts of the moon, which are less able to reflect the beams that they receive from the sun, and this is most agreeable to reason ; for if the stars are therefore brightest, because they are thicker and more solid than their orbs, then it will follow, that those parts of the moon which have less light, have also less thickness *. It was the providence of nature (say some) that so contrived that planet to have these spots within it; for since that is nearest to those lower bodies which are so full of deformity, it is requisite that it should in some measure agree with them; and as in this inferior world, the higher bodies are the most complete, so also in the heavens, perfection is ascended unto by degrees, and the moon being the lowest, must be the least pure; and therefore Phiļo the Jew interpreting Jacob's dream concerning the ladder t, doth in an allegory shew how that in the fabric of the world, aļl things grow perfecter as they grow higher; and this is the reason (saith he) why the moon doth not consist of any pure simple matter, but is mixed with air, which shews so darkly within her body.
But this cannot be a sufficient reason; for though it were true that nature did frame every thing perfecter as it was higher, yet is it as true that nature frames every thing fully perfect for that office to which she intends it. Now had she intended the moon merely to reflect the sunbeams, and give light, the spots then had not so much argued her providence, as her unskilfulness and oversight, as if in the haste of her work she could not tell how to make that body exactly fit for that office to which she intended it I.
It is likely then that she had some other end which moved her to produce this variety; and this, in all probability, was her intent, to make it a fit body for habitation, with the same conveniences of sea and land, 'as this inferior world doth partake of. For since the moon is such a
* Albert. mag. de Coævis. Q. 4. Art. 21. Colleg. Con.
# Scalig. exercit. 62.
vast, such a solid and opacous body, like our earth (as was above proved) why may it not be probable that those thinner and thicker parts appearing in her, do shew the difference betwixt the sea and land in that other world? And Gali. læus doubts not, but that if our earth were visible at the same distance, there would be the like appearance of it.
If we consider the moon as another habitable earth, then the appearances of it will be altogether exact and beautiful, and may argue unto us that it is fully accomplished for all those ends to which Providence did appoint it. But consider it barely as a star or light, and then there will appear in it much imperfection and deformity, as being of an impure dark substance, and so unfit for the office of that nature.
As for the form of those spots, some of the vulgar think they represent a man, and the poets guess it is the boy Endymion, whose company she loves so well, that she carries him with her: others will have it only to be the face of a man, as the moon is usually pictured; but Albertus thinks rather, that it represents a lion with his tail towards the east, and his head the west ; and some others * have thought it to be very much like a fox; and certainly it is as much like a lion as that in the zodiac, or as ursa major is like a bear.
I should guess that it represents one of these as well as another, and any thing else as well as any of these, since it is but a strong imagination which fancies such images, as school-boys usually do in the marks of a wall, whereas there is not any similitude in the spots themselves, which rather like our sea, in respect of the land, appears under a rugged and confused figure, and doth not represent any distinct image: so that both in respect of the matter and the form, it may be probable enough that those spots and brighter parts may shew the distinction betwixt the sea and land in that other world.
* Eusebius Nieremb. Hist. Nat. 1. 8. c. 15.