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almost divine, guided by the light of mathematics purely his own, first demonstrated the motions and figures of the planets, the paths of comets, and the causes of the tides; who discovered, what before his time no one had even suspected, that rays of light are differently refrangible, and that this is the cause of colours; and who was a diligent, penetrating, and faithful interpreter of nature, antiquity, and the sacred writings. In his philosophy, he maintained the majesty of the Supreme Being; in his manners, he expressed the simplicity of the Gospel. Let mortals congratulate themselves that the world has seen so great and excellent a man, the glory of human nature.'
to the individual enjoying that high distinction. His claims to the regard of posterity are not more founded on his intellectual capacity, than on his moral excellence. He maintained a steady and uncompromising adherence to his principles, at a time when vacillation and change were so common as almost to escape unnoticed and uncensured. From some conscientious scruples, which he shared in common with many of the wisest and most pious men of his time, he did not hesitate to sacrifice his views of preferment in the church, although his talents and learning, joined to the powerful influence of his numerous friends, might have justified him in aspiring to a considerable station. The benevolence of his disposition continually appears in the generosity of his praise, the tenderness of his censure, and solicitude to promote the welfare of others. His modesty and self-abasement were so great, that they transpire insensibly on all occasions; and his affectionate and grateful feelings led him, as has been remarked, to fulfil the sacred duties of friendship even to his own prejudice, and to adorn the bust of his friend with wreaths which he himself might have justly assumed. All these qualities were refined and exalted by the purest Christian feeling, and the union of the whole constitutes a character which procured the admiration of contemporaries, and well deserves to be recommended to the imitation of posterity."* For the greater part of his popular fame, however, Ray is indebted to an admirable treatise published in 1691, under the title of The Wisdom of God Manifested in the Works of the Creation, which has gone through many editions, and been translated into several continental languages. One of his reasons for composing it is thus stated by himself: 'By virtue of my function, I suspect myself to be obliged to write something in divinity, having written so much on other subjects; for, being not permitted to serve the church with my tongue in preaching, I know not but it may be my duty to serve it with my hand in writing; and I have made choice of this subject, as thinking myself best qualified to treat of it.' Natural theology had previously been treated of in England by Boyle, Stillingfleet, Wilkins, Henry More, and Cudworth; but Ray was the first to systematise and popularise the subject in the manner of Paley's work, the unrivalled merits of which have caused it to supersede both the treatise now under consideration, and the similar productions of Derham in the beginning of the eighteenth century. But though written in a more pleasing style, and at a time when science had attained greater extension and accuracy, the Natural Theology' of Paley is but an imitation of Ray's volume, and he has derived from it many of his most striking arguments and illustrations. Ray displays throughout his treatise much philosophical caution with respect to the admission of facts in natural history, and good sense in the reflections which he is led by his subject to indulge in. Seveextracts from the work are here subjoined.
JOHN RAY (1628-1705), the son of a blacksmith at Black Notley, in Essex, was the most eminent of several distinguished and indefatigable cultivators of natural history who appeared in England about the middle of the seventeenth century. In the department of botany, he laboured with extraordinary diligence; and his works on this subject, which are more numerous than those of any other botanist except Linnæus, have such merit as to entitle him to be ranked as one of the great founders of the science. Ray was educated for the church at Cambridge, where he was a fellow-pupil and intimate of Isaac Barrow. His theological views were akin to the rational opinions held by that eminent divine, and by Tillotson and Wilkins, with whom also Ray was on familiar terms. The passing of the act of uniformity in 1662 put an end to Ray's prospects in the church; for in that year he was deprived of his fellowship of Trinity college, on account of his conscientious refusal to comply with the injunction, that all ecclesiastical persons should make a declaration of the nullity and illegality of the solemn league and covenant. In company with his friend Mr Willughby, also celebrated as a naturalist, he visited several continental countries in 1663; both before and after which year, his love of natural history induced him to perambulate England and Scotland extensively. The principal works in which the results of his studies and travels were given to the public, are, Observations, Topographical, Moral, and Physiological, made in a Journey through part of the Low Countries, Germany, Italy, and France (1673); and Historia Plantarum Generalis [A General History of Plants']. The latter, consisting of two large folio volumes, which were published in 1686 and 1688, is a work of prodigious labour, and aims at describing and reducing to the author's system all the plants that had been discovered throughout the world. As a cultivator of zoology and entomology also, Ray deserves to be mentioned with honour; and he farther served the cause of science by editing and enlarging the posthumous works of his friend Willughby on birds and fishes. His character as a naturalist is thus spoken of by the Rev. Gilbert White of Selborne, who was addict-ral ed to the same pursuits: Our countryman, the excellent Mr Ray, is the only describer that conveys some precise idea in every term or word, maintaining his superiority over his followers and imita- the operations of his hands: let us take notice of and tors, in spite of the advantage of fresh discoveries and modern information." Cuvier, also, gives him a high character as a naturalist; and the author of a recent memoir speaks of him in the following merited terms:-'His varied and useful labours have justly caused him to be regarded as the father of natural history in this country; and his character is, in every respect, such as we should wish to belong
[The Study of Nature Recommended.] Let us then consider the works of God, and observe
* Natural History of Selborne, Letter 45.
* Memoir of Ray, in The Naturalist's Library, Entomology, vol. vii. p. 69.
+ Derham's works here alluded to are, Physico-Theology, or a Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of a God, from his Works of Creation (1713); and Astro-Theology, or a Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of a God, from a Survey of by the author in 1711 and 1712, in the capacity of lecturer on the Heavens (1714). The substance of both had been preached
admire his infinite wisdom and goodness in the forImation of them. No creature in this sublunary world is capable of so doing beside man; yet we are deficient herein we content ourselves with the knowledge of the tongues, and a little skill in philology, or history perhaps, and antiquity, and neglect that which to me seems more material, I mean natural history and the works of the creation. I do not discommend or derogate from those other studies; I should betray mine own ignorance and weakness should I do so; I only wish they might not altogether justle out and exclude this. I wish that this might be brought in fashion among us; I wish men would be so equal and civil, as not to disparage, deride, and vilify those studies which themselves skill not of, or are not conversant in. No knowledge can be more pleasant than this, none that doth so satisfy and feed the soul; in comparison whereto that of words and phrases seems to me insipid and jejune. That learning, saith a wise and observant prelate, which consists only in the form and pedagogy of arts, or the critical notion upon words and phrases, hath in it this intrinsical imperfection, that it is only so far to be esteemed as it conduceth to the knowledge of things, being in itself but a kind of pedantry, apt to infect a man with such odd humours of pride, and affectation, and curiosity, as will render him unfit for any great employment. Words being but the images of matter, to be wholly given up to the study of these, what is it but Pygmalion's frenzy to fall in love with a picture or image. As for oratory, which is the best skill about words, that hath by some wise men been esteemed but a voluptuary art, like to cookery, which spoils wholesome meats, and helps unwholesome, by the variety of sauces, serving more to the pleasure of taste than the health of the body.
[Proportionate Lengths of the Necks and Legs of Animals.]
I shall now add another instance of the wisdom of nature, or rather the God of nature, in adapting the parts of the same animal one to another, and that is the proportioning the length of the neck to that of the legs. For seeing terrestrial animals, as well birds as quadrupeds, are endued with legs, upon which they stand, and wherewith they transfer themselves from place to place, to gather their food, and for other conveniences of life, and so the trunk of their body must needs be elevated above the superficies of the earth, so that they could not conveniently either gather their food or drink if they wanted a neck, therefore Nature hath not only furnished them therewith, but with such a one as is commensurable to their legs, except here the elephant, which hath indeed a short neck (for the excessive weight of his head and teeth, which to a long neck would have been unsupportable), but is provided with a trunk, wherewith, as with a hand, he takes up his food and drink, and brings it to his mouth. I say the necks of birds and quadrupeds are commensurate to their legs, so that they which have long legs have long necks, and they that have short legs short ones, as is seen in the crocodile, and all lizards; and those that have no legs, as they do not want necks, so neither have they any, as fishes. This equality between the length of the legs and neck, is especially seen in beasts that feed constantly upon grass, whose necks and legs are always very near equal; very near, I say, because the neck must necessarily have some advantage, in that it cannot hang perpendicularly down, but must incline a little. Moreover, because this sort of creatures must needs hold their heads down in an inclining posture for a considerable time together, which would be very laborious and painful for the muscles; therefore on each side the ridge of the vertebres of the neck,
nature hath placed an aponeurosis, or nervous ligament of a great thickness and strength, apt to stretch and shrink again as need requires, and void of sense, extending from the head (to which, and the next vertebres of the neck, it is fastened at that end) to the middle vertebres of the back (to which it is knit at the other), to assist them to support the head in that posture, which aponeurosis is taken notice of by the vulgar by the name of fixfax, or pack-wax, or whitleather. It is also very observable in fowls that wade in the water, which, having long legs, have also necks answerably long. Only in these too there is an exception, exceeding worthy to be noted; for some waterfowl, which are palmipeds, or whole-footed, have very long necks, and yet but short legs, as swans and geese, and some Indian birds; wherein we may observe the admirable providence of Nature. For such birds as were to search and gather their food, whether herbs or insects, in the bottom of pools and deep waters, have long necks for that purpose, though their legs, as is most convenient for swimming, be but short. Whereas there are no land-fowl to be seen with short legs and long necks, but all have their necks in length commensurate to their legs. This instance is the more considerable, because the atheists' usual flam will not here help them out. For, say they, there were many animals of disproportionate parts, and of absurd and uncouth shapes, produced at first, in the infancy of the world; but because they could not gather their food to perform other functions necessary to maintain life, they soon perished, and were lost again. For these birds, we see, can gather their food upon land conveniently enough, notwithstanding the length of their necks; for example, gecse graze upon commons, and can feed themselves fat upon land. Yet is there not one land-bird which hath its neck thus disproportionate to its legs; nor one water one neither, but such as are destined by nature in such manner as we have mentioned to search and gather their food; for nature makes not a long neck to no purpose.
[God's Exhortation to Activity.]
Methinks by all this provision for the use and service of man, the Almighty interpretatively speaks to him in this manner: I have now placed thee in a spacious and well-furnished world; I have endued thee with an ability of understanding what is beautiful and proportionable, and have made that which is so agreeable and delightful to thee; I have provided thee with materials whereon to exercise and employ thy art and strength; I have given thee an excellent instrument, the hand, accommodated to make use of them all; I have distinguished the earth into hills and valleys, and plains, and meadows, and woods; all these parts capable of culture and improvement by thy industry; I have committed to thee for thy assistance in thy labours of ploughing, and carrying, and drawing, and travel, the laborious ox, the patient ass, and the strong and serviceable horse; I have created a multitude of seeds for thee to make choice out of them, of what is most pleasant to thy taste, and of most wholesome and plentiful nourishment; I have also made great variety of trees, bearing fruit both for food and physic, those, too, capable of being meliorated and improved by transplantation, stercoration, incision, pruning, watering, and other arts and devices. Till and manure thy fields, sow them with thy seeds, extirpate noxious and unprofitable herbs, guard them from the invasions and spoil of beasts, clear and fence in thy meadows and pastures, dress and prune thy vines, and so rank and dispose them as is most suitable to the climate; plant thee orchards, with all sorts of fruit-trees, in such order as may be most beautiful to the eye, and most comprehensive of plants; gardens for culinary herbs, and all kinds of
sallading; for delectable flowers, to gratify the eye with their agreeable colours and figures, and thy scent with their fragrant odours; for odoriferous and evergreen shrubs and suffrutices; for exotic and medicinal plants of all sorts; and dispose them in that comely order as may be most pleasant to behold, and commodious for access. I have furnished thee with all materials for building, as stone, and timber, and slate, and lime, and clay, and earth, whereof to make bricks and tiles. Deck and bespangle the country with houses and villages convenient for thy habitation, provided with out-houses and stables for the harbouring and shelter of thy cattle, with barns and granaries for the reception, and custody, and storing up thy corn and fruits. I have made thee a sociable creature, zoon politikon, for the improvement of thy understanding by conference, and communication of observations and experiments; for mutual help, assistance, and defence, build thee large towns and cities with straight and well-paved streets, and elegant rows of houses, adorned with magnificent temples for my honour and worship, with beautiful palaces for thy princes and grandees, with stately halls for public meetings of the citizens and their several companies, and the sessions of the courts of judicature, besides public porticos and aqueducts. I have implanted in thy nature a desire of seeing strange and foreign, and finding out unknown countries, for the improvement and advance of thy knowledge in geography, by observing the bays, and creeks, and havens, and promontories, the outlets of rivers, the situation of the maritime towns and cities, the longitude and latitude, &c., of those places; in politics, by noting their government, their manners, laws, and customs, their diet and medicine, their trades and manufactures, their houses and buildings, their exercises and sports, &c. In physiology, or natural history, by searching out their natural rarities, the productions both of land and water, what species of animals, plants, and minerals, of fruits and drugs, are to be found there, what commodities for bartering and permutation, whereby thou mayest be enabled to make large additions to natural history, to advance those other sciences, and to benefit and enrich thy country by increase of its trade and merchandise. I have given thee timber and iron to build the hulls of ships, tall trees for masts, flax and hemp for sails, cables and cordage for rigging. I have armed thee with courage and hardiness to attempt the seas, and traverse the spacious plains of that liquid element; I have assisted thee with a compass, to direct thy course when thou shalt be out of all ken of land, and have nothing in view but sky and water. Go thither for the purposes before-mentioned, and bring home what may be useful and beneficial to thy country in general, or thyself in particular.'
I persuade myself, that the bountiful and gracious Author of man's being and faculties, and all things else, delights in the beauty of his creation, and is well pleased with the industry of man, in adorning the earth with beautiful cities and castles, with pleasant villages and country-houses, with regular gardens, and orchards, and plantations of all sorts of shrubs, and herbs, and fruits, for meat, medicine, or moderate delight; with shady woods and groves, and walks set with rows of elegant trees; with pastures clothed with flocks, and valleys covered over with corn, and meadows burthened with grass, and whatever else differenceth a civil and well-cultivated region from a barren and desolate wilderness.
without plantations, without corn-fields or vineyards, where the roving hordes of the savage and truculent inhabitants transfer themselves from place to place in wagons, as they can find pasture and forage for their cattle, and live upon milk, and flesh roasted in the sun, at the pommels of their saddles; or a rude and unpolished America, peopled with slothful and naked Indians-instead of well-built houses, living in pitiful huts and cabins, made of poles set end-ways; then surely the brute beast's condition and manner of living, to which what we have mentioned doth nearly approach, is to be esteemed better than man's, and wit and reason was in vain bestowed on him.
[All Things not Made for Man.]
There are infinite other creatures without this earth, which no considerate man can think were made only for man, and have no other use. For my part, I cannot believe that all the things in the world were so made for man, that they have no other use.
For it seems to me highly absurd and unreasonable to think that bodies of such vast magnitude as the fixed stars were only made to twinkle to us; nay, a multitude of them there are, that do not so much as twinkle, being, either by reason of their distance or of their smallness, altogether invisible to the naked eye, and only discoverable by a telescope; and it is likely, perfecter telescopes than we yet have may bring to light many more; and who knows how many lie out of the ken of the best telescope that can possibly be made? And I believe there are many species in nature, even in this sublunary world, which were never yet taken notice of by man, and consequently of no use to him, which yet we are not to think were created in vain; but may be found out by, and of use to, those who shall live after us in future ages. But though in this sense it be not true that all things were made for man, yet thus far it is, that all the creatures in the world may be some way or other useful to us, at least to exercise our wits and understandings, in considering and contemplating of them, and so afford us subject of admiring and glorifying their and our Maker. Seeing, then, we do believe and assert that all things were in some sense made for us, we are thereby obliged to make use of them for those purposes for which they serve us, else we frustrate this end of their creation. Now, some of them serve only to exercise our minds. Many others there be which might probably serve us to good purpose, whose uses are not discovered, nor are they ever like to be, without pains and industry. True it is, many of the greatest inventions have been accidentally stumbled upon, but not by men supine and careless, but busy and inquisitive. Some reproach methinks it is to learned men, that there should be so many animals still in the world whose outward shape is not yet taken notice of or described, much less their way of generation, food, manners, uses, observed.
Ray published, in 1672, a Collection of English Proverbs, and, in 1700, A Persuasive to a Holy Life. The latter possesses the same rational and solid character which distinguishes his scientific and physico-theological works. From a posthumous volume of his correspondence published by Derham, we extract the following affecting letter, written on his deathbed to Sir Hans Sloane :
'Dear Sir-The best of friends. These are to take a final leave of you as to this world: I look upon If a country thus planted and adorned, thus myself as a dying man. God requite your kindness polished and civilised, thus improved to the height by expressed anyways towards me a hundredfold; bless all manner of culture for the support and sustenance, you with a confluence of all good things in this and convenient entertainment of innumerable multi-world, and eternal life and happiness hereafter; grant tudes of people, be not to be preferred before a bar- us a happy meeting in heaven. I am, Sir, eternally barous and inhospitable Scythia, without houses, yours-JOHN RAY.'
a merry and facetious companion, his society was which was two hundred years a-building; therefore, greatly courted, and he was a distinguished com- gentlemen, lavish not away all your praises, I beseech poser of jovial and party songs. In the 29th num-you, upon one man, but allow others their share. ber of The Guardian,' Steele mentions a collection Why, thou diminutive inconsiderable wretch, said I of sonnets published under the title of Laugh and be in a great passion to him, thou worthless idle loggerFat, or Pills to Purge Melancholy; at the same time head, thou pigmy in sin, thou Tom Thumb in ini|| censuring the world for ungratefully neglecting to quity, how dares such a puny insect, as thou art, have reward the jocose labours of D'Urfey, 'who was so the impudence to enter the lists with Louis le Grand?!! large a contributor to this treatise, and to whose Thou valuest thyself upon firing a church, but how!| humorous productions so many rural squires in the when the mistress of the house was gone out to assist remotest part of this island are obliged for the dig- Olympias. 'Tis plain, thou hadst not the courage to nity and state which corpulency gives them.' do it when the goddess was present, and upon the spot. the 67th number of the same work, Addison humo- But what is this to what my royal master can boast of, rously solicits the attendance of his readers at a play that had destroyed a hundred and a hundred such for D'Urfey's benefit. The produce seems to have foolish fabrics in his time. relieved the necessities of the poet, who continued to give forth his drolleries till his death in 1723. Toм BROWN, who died in 1704, was a merry fellow' and libertine, who, having by his immoral conduct lost the situation of schoolmaster at Kingston-uponThames, became a professional author and libeller in the metropolis. His writings, which consist of dialogues, letters, poems, and other miscellanies, display considerable learning as well as shrewdness and humour, but are deformed by obscene and scurrilous buffoonery. From the ephemeral nature of the subjects, very few of them can now be perused with interest; indeed the following extracts comprise nearly all the readable passages that can with delicacy be presented in these modern times.
He had no sooner made his exit, but, cries an odd sort of a spark, with his hat buttoned up before, like a country scraper, Under favour, sir, what do you think of me? Why, who are you? replied I to him. Who am I, answered he; why, Nero, the sixth emCome, said peror of Rome, that murdered my I to him, to stop your prating, I know your history as well as yourself, that murdered your mother, kicked your wife down stairs, despatched two apostles out of the world, begun the first persecution against the Christians, and lastly, put your master Seneca to death. [These actions are made light of, and the sarcastic shade proceeds-] Whereas, his most Christian majesty, whose advocate I am resolved to be against all opposers whatever, has bravely and generously starved a million of poor Hugonots at home, and sent t'other million of them a-grazing into foreign countries, contrary to
[Letter from Scarron in the Next World to Louis XIV.]
solemn edicts, and repeated promises, for no other
All the conversation of this lower world at present provocation, that I know of, but because they were runs upon you; and the devil a word we can hear in such coxcombs as to place him upon the throne. In any of our coffee-houses, but what his Gallic majesty short, friend Nero, thou mayest pass for a rogue of is more or less concerned in. 'Tis agreed on by all the third or fourth class; but be advised by a stranger, our virtuosos, that since the days of Dioclesian, no and never show thyself such a fool as to dispute the prince has been so great a benefactor to hell as your-pre-eminence with Louis le Grand, who has murdered self; and as much a master of eloquence as I was once more men in his reign, let me tell thee, than thou hast thought to be at Paris, I want words to tell you how murdered tunes, for all thou art the vilest thrummer much you are commended here for so heroically tramp-upon cat-gut the sun ever beheld. However, to give ling under foot the treaty of Ryswick, and opening a the devil his due, I will say it before thy face, and new scene of war in your great climacteric, at which behind thy back, that if thou hadst reigned as many age most of the princes before you were such recreants, years as my gracious master has done, and hadst had, as to think of making up their scores with heaven, instead of Tigellinus, a Jesuit or two to have governed and leaving their neighbours in peace. But you, they thy conscience, thou mightest, in all probability, have say, are above such sordid precedents; and rather made a much more magnificent figure, and been inthan Pluto should want men to people his dominions, ferior to none but the mighty monarch I have been are willing to spare him half a million of your own talking of. subjects, and that at a juncture, too, when you are not overstocked with them.
This has gained you a universal applause in these regions; the three Furies sing your praises in every street: Bellona swears there's never a prince in Christendom worth hanging besides yourself; and Charon bustles for you in all companies. He desired me about a week ago to present his most humble respects to you, adding, that if it had not been for your majesty, he, with his wife and children, must long ago been quartered upon the parish; for which reason he duly drinks your health every morning in a cup of cold Styx next his conscience.
Last week, as I was sitting with some of my acquaintance in a public-house, after a great deal of impertinent chat about the affairs of the Milanese, and the intended siege of Mantua, the whole company fell a-talking of your majesty, and what glorious exploits you had performed in your time. Why, gentlemen, says an ill-looked rascal, who proved to be Herostratus, for Pluto's sake let not the grand monarch run away with all your praises. I have done something memorable in my time too; 'twas I who, out of the gaieté de cœur, and to perpetuate my name, fired the famous temple of the Ephesian Diana, and in two hours consumed that magnificent structure,
Having put my Roman emperor to silence, I looked about me, and saw a pack of grammarians (for so I guessed them to be by their impertinence and noise) disputing it very fiercely at the next table; the matter in debate was, which was the most heroical age; and one of them, who valued himself very much upon his reading, maintained, that the heroical age, properly so called, began with the Theban, and ended with the Trojan war, in which compass of time that glorious constellation of heroes, Hercules, Jason, TheI seus, Tidæus, with Agamemnon, Ajax, Achilles, Hector, Troilus, and Diomedes flourished; men that had all signalised themselves by their personal gallantry and valour. His next neighbour argued very fiercely for the age wherein Alexander founded the Grecian monarchy, and saw so many noble generals and commanders about him. The third was as obstreperous for that of Julius Cæsar, and managed his argument with so much heat, that I expected every minute when these puppies would have gone to loggerheads in good earnest. To put an end to your controversy, gentle-i men, says I to them, you may talk till your lungs are foundered; but this I positively assert, that the present age we live in is the most heroical age, and that my master, Louis le Grand, is the greatest hero of it. Hark you me, sir, how do you make that appear!