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THAT THE EARTH MAY BE A PLANET.
That the seeming novelty and singularity of this opinion can
be no sufficient reason to prove it erroneous II. That the places of scripture which seem to intimate the
diurnal motion of the sun or heavens, are fairly capable
of another interpretation
plainly conform his expressions to the error of our con-
in themselves, but as they appear unto us
dities, whilst they have looked for the grounds of phi
losophy from the words of scripture V. That the words of scripture, in their proper and strict
construction, do not anywhere affirm the immobility
of the earth
ture, principles of nature, or observations in astronomy,
centre of the universe ....
world VIII. That there is not any sufficient reason to prove the
earth incapable of those motions which Copernicus
ascribes unto it IX. That it is more probable the earth does move than the
heavens X. That this hypothesis is exactly agreeable to common ap
I amongst thy leisure hours, thou canst spare any for
the perusal of this Discourse, and dost look to find somewhat in it which may serve for thy information and benefit; let me then advise thee to come unto it with an equal mind, not swayed by prejudice, but indifferently resolved to assent unto that truth which upon deliberation shall seem most probable unto thy reason ; and then I doubt not, but either thou wilt agree with me in this assertion, or at least not think it to be as far from truth, as it is from conmon opinion.
Two cautions there are, which I would willingly admonish thee of in the beginning :
1. That thou shouldst not here look to find an exact accurate treatise ; since this discourse was but the fruit of some lighter studies, and those too huddled up in a short time ; being first thought of and finished in the space of some few weeks ; and therefore you cannot in reason expect that it should be so polished, as perhaps the subject would require, or the leisure of the author might have done it.
2. To remember that I promise only probable arguments for the proof of this opinion ; and therefore you must not look that every consequence should be of an undeniable dependance; or that the truth of each argument should be measured by its necessity. I grant, that some astronomia cal appearances may possibly be solved otherwise than here they are: but the thing I aim at is this: that probably they may so be solved, as I have here set them down. Which, if it be granted (as I think it must) then i doubt not, but the indifferent reader will find some satisfaction in the main thing that is to be proved.
Many ancient philosophers of the better note have formerly defended this assertion which I have here laid down; and it were to be wished, that some of us would more apply our endeavours unto the examination of these old opinions ; which, though they have for a long time lain neglected by others, yet in them you may find many truths well worthy your pains and observation. It is a false conceit, for us to think that amongst the ancient variety and search of opinions, the best hath still prevailed. Time (saith the learned Verulam) seems to be of the nature of a river or stream; which carrieth down to us that which is light, or blown up, but sinketh that which is weighty and solid.
It is my desire, that by the occasion of this discourse, I may raise up some more active spirit to a search after other hidden and unknown truths : since it must needs be a great impediment unto the growth of sciences, for men still to plod on upon beaten principles, as to be afraid of entertaining any thing that may seem to contradict them. An unwillingness to take such things into examination is one of those errors of learning, in these times observed by the judicious Verulam. Questionless there are many secret truths which the ancients have passed over, that are yet left to make some of our age famous for their discovery.
If by this occasion I may provoke any reader to an at. tempt of this nature, I shall think myself happy, and this Work successful.