Chapter 20

Of The Growing Faculty

THE Next faculty of a Vegitable [life] is Growth, a power of Augmenting itself to Just Magnitude.1 Of which note the difference in plants and Animalls, the Cause, respect to Species, Individuals.

1. The Difference of it in plants, and Animals from Accression (as in stones) which is by Juxtaposition; or Vicinity of convertible matters; whereas this is by Inward reception, and (Even in Plants) as it use[th] to be said a vitall applycation of the Nutriment; which is in this order.

1. The Small Filaments of the root (as So many little mouths) do receive in the Nutritive juice of the Earth, which is conveyed to the thicker roots (as to the Stomack, and Entrailes) of the plant. There it receives a Kind of Digestion and is then thrust up into the plant. This Digestion, and Vitall application is not allowed by the [Neoterics], who refer it all to the Mechaniek frame of the plants, and steaming Effluviums of the Earth. But Methinks the Constant figuration of all the parts in one Tenour with their beautyfull Collours, fragrant [Scents], and exact harmony in dimentions, (Contrary to what we see in stones, which have their Various figures in an Accidentall Uncertainty) these things give some Countenance [to] the Old oppinion, and seam to render the new less intelligiable, though it may have plausibility to deserve better consideration. If you say some Stones have an Exactness, and Uniformity in their shape; And Diamond[s], and Some Christalls are [all] Sexangular with a Kind of Root by which they stick to and (as it were) grow out of other [Stones]; this is commonly Ascribed to their salts, (as is before noted in the Chapter of stones) and is more fully handled by Mr Boyle in his Origen of Gems. But be it in the one or the Other Way [63] to proceed in the Order of Growth we shall consider the plant, Either in its seed or Greater Maturity.

1. In the seed are supposed the first rudiments of the plant to be latent which when it hath Imbibed the Earths Juice do swell, and open Every way. [First] Downwards in a small shoot, which is the beginni[n]g of the root and then upwards Commonly in two little leaves, and a small bud between them; which when it is farther distended doth become the stalk.

2. In the plant more Mature, and perfectly shaped, the Course of this Juice is between the bark, and [the] Woody Substance, and perhaps Circulating down again by the Pith, or in the Pores that lye between the fibers (or Stringy parts of the Wood.) When in the Summer time this Juice is plentifully shut up, or thrust up, it loosens the bark from the wood, and stretches it more large, and having Got room there lo[d]ges itself in [a] Good Quantity like a Gelatine matter but when the Winter comes, tis hardened into Wood.

Hence it is that we see in a Tree sawn athwart divers Circles in the Wood which are but so [many] years growth, which it hath had, and hence some observe that it is better husbandry to preserve old thriveing timber, than young, for that there is more timber yearly added; because in the Greater tree are Greater Circles [next] the bark, Greater I say in Cumpass, and greater in content, of Solid Wood; tho the ring of the younger [may] be somewhat thicker, as you may observe in the diagrams; for there is more Solid wood in the ring (a.) than in (b.) for tho (b.) be a broader ring, yet (a.) has more than a Compensation for breadth by its far greater length.

2. The Cause of Growth is say’d to be different in plants, and Animalls.

1. In plants tis the Asending of the Juice (thrust up say the [Neoterics]) by the Volatile steams assending in the Spring and Summer, as is before noted in the discourse of rain.

2. In Animalls tis the Ebullition of humours, and Spirits, that by heat, are rarifyed, and distended; and thereby the Vessells, and members wherein they are, being yet tender, and Soft are likewise Stretched forth, and distended too. In this State many of the Members particles must Stand at a little distance into which spaces nourishment is thrust, and So hold out the member to that Extension. These Fermentations, Rarefactions, Distensions, and Implesions, (or filling up the spaces) being repeated, Augment the Animall and is called Growth. Hence the Growing, Paines, and Aches, which Young ones Used to complain [of].

In Plants by Steames the Juice is upward sent,

Animals heat opens for nourishment.

3. The difference of Growth as to species, and Individuals is observable.

1. As to Species; and that in respect to time, Magnitude, and Shape.

1. As to time; All things Grow only in youth, because then the parts are moist Soft, and Easyly distendable, this (In [Scripture]) is cal’d the dew of youth. but Every Severall kind hath its proper time of Growing to full magnitude, [Some] in 2, or 3, months, [as birds; Some] In 6, or 8 months, [as Dogs, Cats, etc: Some], in 3, or 4 Year[s], [as Horses, Neats, etc: Some] in twenty or twenty-five years, [as Men]; and these again are different in diverse Countryes, and Climates all which diverssities do arise from the various proportion of heat, and moisture distinctly peculiar unto Every kind.

2. As to Magnitude Every Species hath its particular Growth, and Extention, which it doth not ordinarily or Much vary from. The reason is because of the plastiek or formative vertue, in the seed, and Seminal parts, of Every Kind. which we may Call the Law of Nature, Physicall determination, or mould, given by the Creator to every distinct Species.

3. The Shape is also from the Same mould, or (as Some would have it) the figures of the particles, and their position: for if they are apt to spin, or stretch out long, and the position be Upwards, or perpendicular, then the growth is tall; as in Men, trees, etc: but If the position be horizontall, then the Extension is according; as in serpents, Eeles, and reptile plants, etc: If some be one way some the other, then the Growth, is both in tallness, and thickness: where the proportion as to one sort is much in the Excess comparative to the other; there the Effects are Sutable to the Causes and the height seam[s] disproportionable to the thickness. But indeed there is no defect of harmony; but a [64] Wonderfull, and Pleasing Variety with Naturall remidies, for seaming Naturall defects; and All to set forth the Manifold wisdome of God.

Most remarkable in these respects are the Plants, which run up higher than their strength will enable them to stand alone, for that their parts are more apt to stretch upwards, than [sidewise]; Now least they should fall to the Ground, and rot in the Grass; Provident nature hath Given them an Aptitude to twine about, and Cleave to some other Erect body that is Stronger than themselves; and this Either in their whole bodyes; as the hop, Convolvulas, Kidney-bean, etc: Or by Certain Wires that grow forth in diverse places only for this purpose (as hands) to catch hold of their helper; as the Vine, Briony, Night-shade, etc: or Lastly by putting [forth] a Kind of Small root, which fastens in the [rough barks] of trees, or the Crevises, of walls; as [Ivy], Verginian Creeper, etc: Now in such Devoluting or Winding plants there is an Odd p[h]ainominon very observeable, that Some turn their wreath after the Sun [as Hopps]; but some as Convolvulas, and Kedney-beans do Quite Contrary, and wind from West, to East. The reason of this difference may be somwhat curious to Enquire; Perhaps It may be this; that the Sun Opperates only on the top[s] of the Hops, and draws them about after it; but upon all the body of the Kidney-bean as more tender, yea it may be that the top thereof is So tender that it cannt bear the Suns face unless in the refreshing morning, Hence it may begin first to bend towards the Sun Eastwards; but when at Noon it Grows hotter it may shun the heat, and turn off Northwards; in the temperate Evening it may look about again towards the S: and So Grow on towards East in the Night, and Morning, and then again turn N: etc: thus the Motion may begin, and Probably is continued, and helped forward by the suns heat at noon working on the S: Side of the Stalk, and may stretch, and open it more, than on the N: Side; therefore the top as it Groweth is thrust on N: and W: and S. untill the Morning Sun Draw it Eastwards again; and thus the Motion is continued; the head turning about in rounds, one after another.

Growth varyes in the time, Shape, Magnitude,

as Parts, Heat, Humour, bodyes do include.

2. As to Individuals their Growth do [also] vary [in] Every Kind.

1. As to time; Upon Accidentall accounts are very different; Some grow all in an Even tenour; Others that have been (as it ware) Stinted a Great while, do after Spring away Suddainly; and this Somtimes by Change of Air, or by a desease, Feaver, or Ague: Generally Men Grow most when they approach to Virility, because then by a Greater heat the Seminal containing parts are more stretched, and distended. This is natural. Now Suppose the Change of Air put the blood, and humours into a more than Ordinary fermentation; or the heat of an Ague be yet So moderate as not too much to dry up the Moisture, here the Active principle of heat is increased, and the Passive of Moisture not failing Men must needs Spring away at Such a time more than in Childhood, where the Active principle is weak; or in Manhood, where the Passive failes.

2. As to Magnitude in [the] Individuall[s], it depends Generally on the [Quantity] of Seminall matter, and Its first formation in the womb. Hence the Saying Partus Sequitur Ventrem, the Birth follows the belly; So that Large [Grown] women have [usually] large Growing offspring, It may also proceed from a Constant tenour of Health, In the Growing time good provision, good Digestion, etc: as preserving, and augmenting the Growing principles.

3. As to Shape tis mostly according to the Generating seed, the Plastiek or formative Vertue being Qualifyed by the Parentall protatype; agreeable to the Severall parts from whence it is derived, Hence the Ofspring is Mostly shaped like the Parent. If the Active heat, and Vigour continue after the moisture has done its part; then we continue to Grow in thickness and Solidity of parts when they have done growing in Stature. If thus Men Grow thick in Solid parts much beyond [the] proportion of their height, tis because their heat, and Volatility of Spirits, was Suppressed in their growing time, and afterwards (tho long first) were augmented, and grow very Vigorous; therefore such men are Usually Strong, and stout; but if the disproportion be in alimentary parts and fat tis commonly from a Cold and Moist temperament of the Membranous parts which Stop, and retain that which heat would have Expired. And therefore the best cure for fat that is burthensome is bodyly labour, and Sweat, and that helped forward by Frictions and Diaphoreticks.

Growth in the Individuall consents.

In time, Shape, Magnitude, with Accidents.