Full text: Wilkins, John: A discovery of a new world

That the Moon may be a World. brought out where one might ſhew him the
great Ocean, telling him the quality of that
Water, that it is brackiſh, ſalt, and not pota-
ble, and yet there were many vaſt Creatures
of all Forms living in it, which make uſe of
that water as we do of the Air, queſtionleſs
he would laugh at all this, as being monſtrous
Lies and Fables, without any colur of Truth. Juſt ſo will this Truth, which I now deliver,
appear unto others; becauſe we never dreamt
of any ſuch matter as a World in the Moon; becauſe the State of that place hath as yet been
vail'd from our Knowledge, therefore we can
ſcarcely aſſent to any ſuch matter. Things
are very hardly received which are altogether
ſtrange to our Thoughts and our Senſes. The Soul may with leſs difficulty be brought
to believe any abſurdity, when as it has for-
merly been acquainted with ſome Colours and
Probabilities for it; but when a new, and un-
heard of Truth ſhall come before it, though it
have good Grounds and Reaſons, yet the un-
derſtanding is aſraid of it as a ſtranger, and
dares not admit it into his Belief, without a
great deal of Reluctancy and Tryal. And be-
ſides, things that are not manifeſted to the
Senſes, are not aſſented unto without ſome
Labour of Mind, ſome Travel and Diſcourſe
of the underſtanding; and many lazy Souls
had rather quietly repoſe themſelves in an eaſie
Errour, than take Pains to ſearch out the
Truth. The ſtrangeneſs then of this Opinion
which I now deliver, will be a great hindrance
to its belief, but this is not to be reſpected by
reaſon it cannot be helped. I have ſtood the That the Moon may be a World. longer in the Preface, becauſe that Prejudice
which the meer Title of the Book may beget,
cannot eaſily be removed without a great deal
of preparation, and I could not tell otherwiſe
how to rectifie the Thoughts of the Reader
for an impartial Survey of the following Diſ-
courſe.

I muſt need confeſs, though I had often
thought with my ſelf that it was poſſible there
might be a World in the Moon, yet it ſeem'd
ſuch an uncouth Opinion, that I never durſt
diſcover it, for fear of being counted ſingular,
and ridiculous; but after having read Plutarch,
Gallileus, Keplar, with ſome others, and find-
ing many of my own Thoughts confirmed by
ſuch ſtrong Authority, I then concluded that
it was not only poſſible there might be, but
probably there was another habitable World
in that Planet. In the proſecuting of this Aſſer-
tion, I ſhall firſt endeavour to clear the way
from ſuch doubts as may hinder the ſpeed or
eaſe of farther progreſs; and becauſe the Sup-
poſitions imply'd in this Opinion, may ſeem to
contradict the Principles of Reaſon and Faith,
it will be requiſite that I firſt remove this Scru-
ple, ſhewing the conformity of them to both
theſe, and proving thoſe Truths that may make
way for the reſt, which I ſhall labour to perform
in the Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Chap-
ters, and then proceed to conform ſuch Pro-
poſitions, which do more directly belong to
the main point in Hand.

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