Chapter 2

Of The General Part of Physicks

IN this are considered 3 things the Object, Its Principles and affections

1. The Object, (or Subject handled) (Natural body in General), as it is precinded from all its Species by precisive abstraction, and considered not as any particular body but only in General as it is contradistinct to Spirit in the Division of Substance; body hath matter Spirit hath none.

Body in General Precinds from all,

The Species that under it do fall.

2. The Principles on which natural body dos depend as a thing principled ([i.e.] taking begining, for, from, by, out of them) are of 2 sorts External, and Internal.

1. External are those by, and for which (not out of which) natural body is made, and these are the 2 External causes Efficient, and End.

1. Efficient, whose deffinition in General is treated of in Metaphysicks but as applyed to natural things ’tis defin’d by Aristotle1 that principle by which mutation is made [at] first really.

2. The End, the principle for which (or for whose Sake) a thing is, this is first intentionally, as the Other is really; for the End first moves the Efficient to act.

Externall principles are what doth make,

The Efficient; the End is for whose sake

2. Internall principles defin’d by Aristotle, those [that] are not made up one of another, nor of any [other] thing as Physical components, but out of them are all things, either as Components or terms. Components, Matter, and Form; Term, Privation.

1. Privation (Physical) is an absence of Some form [to be introduced. The words (to be introduced) make it differ from privation (Logicall,) which is the absence of any form] whereof the Nature is capable, without respect to its future Introduction. Thus the blindness of a Dog before the 9th day is a Physical Privation; because Sight will Naturally come in its time; but if the Dog be made afterwards fully blind, the same Numerical sight cannot be recall’d, or become future; and therefore it is a (Logical) Privation. So absence of life in an Embrio (or yet imperfect Animal) is a Privation (Physical;) but In a Carcase ’tis (Logical). Hence that common saying from Privation (Physical) to Habit, is progresse; from privation (Logical) to Habit, is not regresse. Therfor Lazarus, and Bartimeus2 had not the Same numerical life, and Sight restored to them, but a new created by the power of Christ, and bestowed upon them.

(Physical) Privation notes futurity;

but (Logical) doth still the same deny.

This Physicall privation is the principle of Generation only, and not of the thing Generated. Of the Generation, because it [4] is in the deffinition thereof; for Generation is a change from Privation (or not being) to being; not of the thing Generated, but, by Accident; for it is of too mean a nature as a Privative to produce a Positive being, and therefore Some allow it to be only a condition (without which a thing cannot be) and not a Principle at all. Such a condition indeed it is; for a thing cannot be made, but out of, or from (as a term) that which it is, or has, not: So the Prolifique seed must first be Void of the Soul; before that by the Union of the Soul thereto it be Generated or become an animal.

Not of the thing Generated Privation,

Is Principle; but of the Generation.

2. Form is a Substantial (or rather Essential) principle of natural body which by active Union with the Matter doth constitute it in Some Species of bodyes. So the Rational Soul (the form of man) united actively with the Humane body (the matter of Man) doth constitute him in the Species of man distinct from other animals. Therefore the Soul seperated is not man; nor the body after Death (for it is then but a Carcase) but only when they are in Essential Union, as before death and after the resurrection.

N.B. The word (Form) is Used very Equivocally. In Logick it is taken for any positive accident, that inheres in a Subject, and So it is opposed to Logical privation (the Absence of any positive form; i.e. Accident) So also it is Used in the antiprædicamental denominations,3 and Concrete words, where we find a form, (i.e. an Accident) denominating. And thus analogically it is applyed to things of art, Speach, Moral actions, etc: [Whence] the distinction of material and formal (as you see in the Use of Logick) is said properly to belong to body but by Analogie (proportion, or Similitude) it is applyed to concrete Accidents, especially in artificials, in objects, in terms of the 1st and 2d notions. But here in Physicks it is taken only for the Cheif Essential part that gives Specifically being to a natural body, and therefore also it is called Substantial form to distinguish it from all accidents, which are said to be consequentia[ll] and Secondary to the form; and many of them do arise from it; as others do arise, and follow from the matter. ’Tis not indeed a Substance nor directly in the first predicament; because it is an incomplete being in that it is but a part; yet ’tis Said to be Substantial because it is an Essential part of a true Substance, namely, body. But latter men do think the Essential form of most things to be made up of an aggregation of accidents; and therefore do not allow the term (Substantial) to any form but the Soul of Man. See Mr. Boyles treatise of essential forms.4 This form is a principle of constitution only to the natural body, whereof it is an internal constituent part; not of the Generation, whereof it is a Consequent.

Essentiall form is but a Constituent,

Of body; Generations consequent

’Tis 2 fold Material, and Immaterial.

1. Material is that which is materially educed from the power of matter, that is not made out of matter because it is a principle; but depending thereon as to being, 1st Production, and after, conservation. So the forms of brutes, and Inanimates are said to depend on matter; for if they are Seperated from their bodyes (or matter) they Cease to exist, or be; whereas the form of man (his soul being a Spirit) doth exist in a state of Seperation. This is pointed at Genesis 2. 7. Man became a living Soul, [5] Whilst other Souls are perishing and dyeing. The forms of brutes they say when seperated, are not wholly annihillated, but reduced into the Power of the matter.5 This Eduction, and Reduction, is explained by a Simmile of Soft wax which hath actually but one figure (say round) but it hath in it potentially all figures (as Square, Long, etc:) Now if you press the round ball into a Square you do educe the Square figure out of the power (or Capacity) of the wax; but at the same time and by the same act you do reduce the round figure into the power of the matter; from whence you educe it again at your pleasure by rolling the Square into a ball.

Material forms on matter do depend,

And into matters power, reduc’d have End

2. Immaterial form is that which doth not at all depend on matter but only as to the act of informing; for as to the act of being it can and dos Subsist without it, and seperate from it; because it is a Spirit created indeed with Some relation to matter, whereby it differs from an Angel, but as to being without dependance thereon. This is the Noble Soul of man, of which Somewhat before, and more hereafter in its proper place.

[3.] Matter is a Substantial principle of natural bodyes constituting it by passive Union with the form; or (as Some) it is a principle out of which natural bodyes are made and into which they are at last resolved, Its self still remaining the same under all Changes: So the Same particle of matter may pass under diverse forms in diverss bodyes, and yet never be distroyed or lost; as in a man, Earth, Grass, beasts, and man again (as to [Alimentary] parts) and So on through never so many more mutations as you can Imagine.

N.B. The Words (as to [Alimentary] parts) are added to Signify that seminal parts of a man do not pass from one man to another by being added to another Substance in nutrition; but are alwayes kept distinct that so the Doctrine of the Resurrection may be better conceivable by humane reason, to be, not contrary to, though above nature, but the [Alimentary] parts (which are alwayes Changing) may become nourishment to another without contradiction of the raysing again of the same numerical body; for if all these Should be accounted as necessary parts to the same body, to which they once ware affixt, then every Individual man that dies at any Considerable Age, must be raysed as bigg as a Mountain which would be too harsh for us to conceive.

Matter is Passive in the bodyes frame,

And under every thing remains the same.

This Matter is a principle both of Generation, and of constitution; Of Generation because [it] is the Subject wherein it is performed (Naturall Generation being alwayes out of praesupposed, and praedisposed matter.) And herein it differs from creation which is either not out of matter or out of matter Inhabile, and Indisposed for such a form: As, To produce a Man out of the earth; Woman out of a Ribb; bread out of Stones, etc: Such things do allwayes require a Supernatural power to do them. ’Tis also the Principle of constitution because with form it concurs to constitute the Natural body

Matters [Substance], where Generation’s done,

Part of the bodyes constitution.

Matter is considered in a 2 fold state and So distinguished into



First Matter is conceived void of all forms, and capable of all; Not that there is, or ever was, or ever will be [any] Such matter existing in the world: For that confused lump which (Genisis. 1. 2.) is said to be without form Called [by] the Poets Chaos had Some form sutable to that confusion; but it was void of the form, Comliness, and Order, which by degrees appeared afterwards in the several Species made thereof. Yet notwithstanding we may abstract matter from all forms and conceive of it in its own distinct nature [6] (like Wax that hath no figure impressed thereon) and So abstractly conceived; It hath 2 Attributes, power, and Indetermin’d Quantity.

1. Power this is 2 fold Universal, and particular.

1. Universal, whereby it is able to receive all forms of bodyes Successively into it (like the said Wax capable of any figure you please to impress) and in this power ’tis said the Essence of matter dos consist.

2. Particular, whereby it is aptly disposed, through the Efficiency of some External Agent to receive a particular form; as, When the Embrio is Organized fitt to receive a Soul, (i.e.) hath members fitted to the souls opperation and then it is disposed, or prepared to receive the Soul as its proper form.

2. Quantity undetermined, i.e. Quantity in its self considered; Not that it hath no term at all; (for there is no Quantity but is finite and so must have its terms) But as it is a dependent on matter without Physical Determination by any particular form. Now as Matter is apt to receive this or that form; So this (its Undetermined Quantity) is apt from the form to receive this or that Physical determination; for every Physical body requires certain terms of its Greatness [and] littleness: they have a Greatest as Such [and] a least as such: therefore Gyants, and Dwarfs are monsters in nature, and have not the proper Physical body of men.

Second matter is the same really with the first only as it is informed with a particular form. Even as the Wax is the same both before, and after some signiture or Character is impressed upon it therefore it is commonly said 1st matter dos exist in 2d.

N.B. The Antients Doctrine is that all Generations, and Corruptions are made in first matter: for tho indeed the Matter as to its present form, which it hath, (no matter being without one) is truly 2d matter, Yet (say they) as to the form it is capable of and prepared for its 1st matter; So that the [true] difference of first, and Second matter liyes in the capacity, or possession of forms.

The first, and Second matter really

[Are one, distinct] by a formality.

These 2 Principles last mentioned (Mater and form) may be considered not only as constituents (of which is Spoken) but also as Efficients; namly [as] conjoyn’d, they produce all the affections (Attributes, or Properties) of body; and So taken togather, they are called by one name (Nature) which is defin’d the primary and Direct principle of motion, and rest successively in the body wherein it is.

N.B. By Motion, and Rest is not meant those things actually, but potentially (which we may call mobility, and Restibleness) For Some things never actually Move; (as, the Center of the Universe) and Some never Rest (as the Heavenly bodyes) and yet both have the Power of motion and rest, (at least passively) Supposing there be a Sufficient Agent to produce them.

N.B. By Primary, and Direct, is meant properly of its self, and not by accident to distinguish nature from art, or Accident from art as in a Clock, which moves by Art round to shew the time of the Day; Whereas by nature without art it moves downward, (and obstacles being removed) fals to the Ground. So also by accident as a Man sees by his visive power (a Quality, an Accident) but not primarily, for that is from the Nature of an Animal to which that power belongs; nature is 2-fold Universal, and particular.

1. Universal is a Principle of Motion and rest; whereby bodyes are carryed contrary to their particular natures, to preserve the Universe, (like Good subjects in a Common wealth who will foregoe their private Interest for the publique benifitt;) So heavy bodyes assend (being Sucked up) to avoid a Vacuity which Universal nature doth abhor.6

2. Particular is a principle of motion and rest in every particular body for its own conservation; So heavyes descend, etc:

Nature particular itself resigns

To correspond with Universe designs