Compendium Physicae








Anno Dom:


A System of Physicks

The Preface

THE Usuall Proem of Physicks Shew it to be a proper science in that it hath all the requisites which to Science do belong; viz: the End Contemplation, and the Object a real, and necessary being,

1. The End Contemplation; the End indeed of the Scient, or that which puts a man upon the Study of nature, both may, and should be, both practice, and operation, and that in many wayes, as Medicine, Husbandry, and all Handycrafts, and trades which can never be well handled without some understanding of the nature of those things which we have in hand; Yet the End and last design of the science it self is to enable a man to contemplate and meditate upon the nature of bodyes, the same may be said of all other sciences.

The scient meditates for opperation

The science hath its end in contemplation

2. The Object or Subject handled is Natural body a real, a necessary being; Necessary in the Genus, body, and the species thereof Though allwayes very mutable in its Individuals. ’Tis Necessary that body in General or any of its Species, i.e. whatsoever is a body Should have matter, Form, time, Place, etc: though in this or that particular body the matter may be altered, the form distroyed, the time ended, or the place Changed.

Body in General is necessary,

but in the Individuals doth vary

Now because of the necessity which is scientifical there are many things in nature most certain and demonstrable; [and yet it must be acknowledged, that the Doctrine of] Bodyes admitts of more disputes than any other part of Phylosophy; So that the Greatest part of it is made up of oppinions, and conjectures how that comes to pass which appears to be; this they call the Solving of the P[h]ainomina of nature.

You may remember in Logick1 the rule of settling probable oppinions is by sence, observation, Experience, and induxion: Now because some things fall out in one place, or age, more observable than in another; and because also men in several places, and times are born, of more than ordinary Reach, Sagacity, Opportunities, Encourragements, etc: and lastly because there is a mutuall [Subserviency] of arts, and Sciences (like Stones in an Arch which support each other) and Some of these have been at Several Seasons, and by degrees improved (as for instance, Printing, Optiek Glasses, Chymistry, Anotomy, Botanies, etc:) hence it is that latter observation do contradict the former Hypotheses (or Suppositions) and therefore these new discoveries do beget New Suppositions; which after observations will be again regulating; so that in this matter we cannot say Certainly what is the very truth, but what seams most probable according to the discoveryes already made. And hence Grows a distinction, of the Old, and new Phylosophy, and there will be newer still (in all liklyhood in some particulars) even unto the end of the world.

Where New apperance is before the Eyes,

New Suppositions thereupon arise

And Yet (notwithstanding this Uncertainty) it is not impertinent for men to be inquisitive into the mystery of nature natured (the Creation) which is the work of nature naturing (the creator) because it makes for the Glory of God; and our own Good: Yea it is his command that we should meditate upon all his works both of Creation and Providence; Hence Davids practice (Psalm 143. 5.) I [2] Meditate on all thy works. I Muse on the Works of thy hands. This is the travel that God has Given unto the Sons of men to be exercised in it (Ecclesiastes. 3. 10.) Yea tho it be perfectly unconquerable by them. He hath mad every thing beautifull in its time; Also he hath set the world in their heart, So that no man can find out the work, that God maketh from the beginning to the End (Verse ii.) So also (Job. 11. 7.) Yet hath he set it in their heart, he hath given them an Instinct of Enquiery and Pleasure Concomitant to Encourrage them; the works of the Lord are Great Sought out of all them that have pleasure therein (Psalm iii. 2.) and hence it is as (Proverbs. 18. 1.) through desire a man having seperated himself, seeketh and intermedleth with all wisdome; A fool hath no delight in understanding, etc: So that you See ’tis natural Theology that men should be industrious in Natural Phylosophy.

Though man can’t fully know what God hath done

Yet tis his duty still to think thereon.

Besides the Will of God, the need, and convenience of man may stir us up thereto; for whatsoever is our Rayment, Meat, or Medicine hath its Ground in Naturall phylosophy, or knowledge So much as we can get thereof. ’Twould be convenient to have Good knowledge therein for husbandry, and Household affairs; but the Physitian had need be very expert, a Man of Great industry, and Sharp observation, and of a Judicious composure of mind to make Solid inferences from well observed Experiments; Men of Esculapian Genius, and not the Dulheads of the universities who are of too loose Inclinations to be listed among the Clergy.

All men had need of Physick[s], but Physitians

Should be herein not fidlers but Musitians.

This I thought good to præmise that you should not be dishartned when you meat with diversities of oppinions in the folloing discourse: and because the former Phylosophers had their Method more Systematical, than the latter; I have therefore Chosen their method, and noted the Others Matter by the Way in those places where I observe a discrepance.