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66 cal mass.
serve how even the mind of Newton gains ground gradually upon darkness.
“ As to your first query," says he, “ it seems “ to me, that if the matter of our sun and planets, “ and all the matter of the universe, were evenly “scattered throughout all the heavens, and every
particle had an innate gravity towards all the rest,
and the whole space throughout which this “ matter was scattered, was but finite ; the matter
on the outside of this space would by its gravity • tend towards all the matter on the inside, and by
consequence fall down into the middle of the " whole
space, and there compose one great spheri
But if the matter was evenly disposed throughout an infinite space, it could never convene into one mass; but some of it would con
vene into one mass, and some into another, so as “ to make an infinite number of great masses, scat“ tered at great distances from one to another “ throughout all that infinite space. And thus “ might the sun and fixed stars. be formed, sup“ posing the matter were of a lucid nature. But “ how the matter should divide itself into two sorts, “ and that part of it which is fit to compose a
shining body, should fall down into one mass and “ make a sun, and the rest, which is fit to compose
an opaque body, should coalesce, not into one “ great body, like the shining matter, but into
many little ones; or if the sun at first were an “ opaque body like the planets, or the planets lucid “ bodies like the sun, how he alone should be “ changed into a shining body, whilst all they con, “ tinue opaque, or all they be changed into opaque “ ones, whilst he remains unchanged, I do not
(“think more explicable by mere natural causes, “ but am forced to ascribe it to the counsel and “ contrivance of a voluntary agent."
The hypothesis of matter evenly disposed through infinite space, seems to labour with such difficulties, as makes it almost a contradictory supposition, or a supposition destructive of itself.
Matter evenly disposed through infinite space, is either created or eternal; if it was created, it infers a Creator : if it was eternal, it had been from eternity evenly spread through infinite space; or it had been once coalesced in masses, and afterwards been diffused. Whatever state was first, must have been from eternity, and what had been from eternity could not be changed, but by a cause beginning to act as it had never acted before, that is, by the voluntary act of some external
power. If matter infinitely and evenly diffused was a moment without coalition, it could never coalesce at all by its own power. If matter originally tended to coalesce, it could never be evenly diffused through infinite space. Matter being supposed eternal, there never was a time when it could be diffused before its conglobation, or conglobated before its diffusion.
This Sir Isaac seems by degrees to have understood; for he says, in his second Letter, “ The
reason why matter evenly scattered through a “finite space would convene in the midst, you “ conceive the same with me; but that there should “ be a central particle, so accurately placed in the “ middle, as to be always equally attracted on all “ sides, and thereby continue without motion, seems “ to me a supposition fully as hard as to make the "sharpest needle stand upright upon its point on " a looking-glass. For if the very mathematical “ centre of the central particle be not accurately 66 in the
mathematical centre of the attractive < power of the whole mass, the particle will not “ be attracted equally on all sides. And much “ harder is it to suppose all the particles in an in“ finite space should be so accurately poised one “ among another, as to stand still in a perfect “ equilibrium. For I reckon this as hard as to “ make not one needle only, but an infinite num“ ber of them (so many ds there are particles in an “ infinite space) stand accarately poised upon their “ points. Yet' I grant it possible, at least by a “ divine power; and if they were once to be “placed, I agree with you that they would conti
nue in that posture, without motion for every “ unless put into new motion by the same power. “ When therefore I said, that matter evenly spread " through all space, would convene by its gravity “ into one or more great masses, I understand it “ of matter not resting in an accurate poise.”
Let not it be thought irreverence to this great name, if I observe, that by matter evenly spread through infinite space, he now finds it necessary to mean matter not evenly spread. Matter not evenly spread will indeed convene, but it will convene as soon as it exists. And, in my opinion, this puzzling question about matter is only how that could be that never could have been, or what a man thinks on when he thinks of nothing.
Turn matter on all sides, make it eternal, or of late production, finite or infinite, there can be no regular system produced but by a voluntary and meaning agent. This the great Newton always
asserted, and this he asserts in the third letter; but proves in another manner, in a manner perhaps more happy and conclusive.
“ The hypothesis of deriving the frame of the “ world by mechanical principles from matter
evenly spread through the heavens being incon“sistent with my system, I had considered it very “ little before your letter put me upon it, and “ therefore trouble you with a line or two more “ about it, if this comes not too late for your use. “ In my former I represented that the diurnal “ rotations of the planets could not be derived “ from gravity, but required a divine arm to im
press them. And though gravity might give “ the planets a motion of descent towards the “ sun, either directly, or with some little obliquity,
yet the transverse motions by which they re“ volve in their several orbs, required the divine arm “ to impress them according to the tangents of “ their orbs. I would now add, that the hypo6s thesis of matter's being at first evenly spread " through the heavens, is, in my opinion, incon“ sistent with the hypothesis of innate gravity, “ without a supernatural power to reconcile them, “ and therefore it infers a Deity. For if there be “ innate gravity, it is impossible now for the mat« ter of the earth, and all the planets and stars, to “fly up from them, and become evenly spread “throughout all the heavens, without a superna“ tural power; and certainly that which can never “ be hereafter without a supernatural power, could
never be heretofore without the same power."
« PORTSMOUTH TO KINGSTON UPON THAMES,
• through souTHAMPTON, WILTSHIRE, &c.
• Addressed to TIVO LADIES of the Partie.
• To which is added,
"AN ESSAY ON TEA, · Considered as pernicious to Health, obstructing Industry,
• and impoverishing the Nation : with an Account of its 'Growth, and great Consumption in these Kingdoms; • with several political Reflections ; and Thoughts on • Publick Love: in Thirty-two Letters to Two Ladies.
By MR H*****! [From the Literary Magazine, Vol. II. No. xiii. 1757.)
OUR readers may perhaps remember, that we gave them a short account of this book, with a letter extracted from it, in November 1756. The author then sent us an injunction to forbear his