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

That the Moon may be a World. in hac terra, & c. As if he had conceived the
Moon to be a great hollow Body, in the midſt
oſ whoſe Concavity, there ſhould be another
Globe oſ Sea and Land, inhabited by Men, as
as our Earth is. Whereas it ſeems to be
more likely by the Relation of others, that
this Philoſophers Opinion is to be underſtood
in the ſame Senſe, as it is here to be prov’d. True indeed, the Father condemns this Aſſer-
tion as an equal Abſurdity to that of Anaxaga-
ras, who affirm’d the Snow to be black: but
no wonder, for in the very next Chapter, it is
that he does ſo much deride the Opinion of
thoſe who thought there were Antipodes. So
that his ignorance in that particular, may per-
haps diſable him from being a Competent
Judge in any other like point in Philoſophy. Upon theſe agreed Pythagoras, who thought
that our Earth was but one of the Planets
which mov’d round about the Sun, (as Ari-
ſtotle relates of him) and the Pythagoreans in
general did affirm, that the Moon was alſo Ter-
reſtrial, and that ſhe was Inhabited as this low-
er World; That thoſe living Creatures and
Plants which are in her, exceed any of the
like kind, with us in the ſame proportion, as
their Days are longer than ours, viz. by 15. times. This Pythagoras was eſteem’d by all of a
moſt Divine Wit, as appears eſpecially by his
valuation amongſt the Romans, who being com-
manded by the Oracle to erecta Statue to the
wiſeſt Græcian, the Senate determin’d Pythago-
ras to be meant, preferring him in their Judge-
ment before the Divine Socrates, whom their
Gods pronounc’d the Wiſeſt. Some think That the Moon may be a World. him a Few by Birth; but moſt agree that he
was much Converſant amongſt the Learneder
ſort and Prieſts of that Nation, by whom he
was inform’d of many Secrets, and, perhaps,
this Opinion which he vented afterwards in
Greece, where he was much oppos’d by Ariſto-
tle in ſome worded Diſputations, but never
conſuted by any ſolid Reaſon.


Divin. Inſt.
lib. 3. c. 23.
De Cælo.
l. 2. cap. 13.
Plut. ibid.
cap. 30.
Plin. Nat.
Hiſt. l. 34,
cip. 6.

To this Opinion of Pythagoras did Plato alſo
aſſent, when he conſider’d that there was the
like Eclipſe made by the Earth; and this, that
it had no Light of its own, it was ſo full of
ſpots. And therefore we may oſten read in
him, and his followers, of an ætherea terra, and
lunares populi, An Æthereal Earth, and Inha-
biters in the Moon; but aſterwards this was
mix’d with many ridiculous Fancies: For
ſome of them conſidering the Myſteries im-
plied in the number 3, concluded that there
muſt neceſſarily be a Trinity of Worlds, where-
of the firſt of this is ours; the ſecond in the
Moon, whoſe Element of Water is repreſen-
ted by the Sphere of Mercury, the Air by Ve-
nus, and the Fire by the Sun. And that the
whole Univerſe might the better end in Earth
as it began, they have contriv’d it, that Mars
ſhall be a Sphere of the Fire, Fupiter oſ Air,
Saturn of Water; and above all theſe, the
Elyſian Fields, ſpacious and pleaſant places ap-
pointed for the Habitation of thoſe unſpotted
Souls, that either never were impriſoned in,
or elſe now have freed themſelves from any
Commerce with the Body. Scaliger ſpeaking
of this Platonick Fancy, quæ in tres trientes
mundum quaſi aſſem diviſit, thinks ’tisConfutati-


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