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with the destroyed cities, and in divers the city of Sodom placed about the middle, or far from the shore of it; but that it could not be far from Segor, which was seated under the mountains, near the side of the Lake, seems inferrrible from the sudden arrival of Lot, who coming from Sodom at daybreak, attained Segor at sun-rising; and therefore Sodom to be placed not many miles from it, and not in the middle of the Lake, which is accounted about eighteen miles over; and so will leave about nine miles to be passed in too small a space of time.
Of Divers other Relations, viz : Of the Woman that Con
ceived in a Bath ;- Of Crassus that never Laughed but once ;— That our Saviour never Laughed;— Of Sergius the Second, or Bocca di Porco;- That Tamerlane was a Scy.
thian Shepherd The relation of Averroes, and now common in every mouth, of the woman that conceived in a bath, by attracting the sperm or seminal effluxion of a man admitted to bathe in some vicinity unto her, I have scarce faith to believe : and had I been of the jury, should have hardly thought I had found the father in the person that stood by her. 'T is a new and unseconded way in history to fornicate at a distance, and much offendeth the rules of physic, which say, there is no generation without a joint emission, nor only a virtual, but corporal and carnal contaction. And although Aristotle and his adherents do cut off the one, who conceive no effectual ejaculation in women; yet in defence of the other they can
6 by attracting, &c.] No absurdity, meat and drink, though in some distance which Browne undertakes to refute from it." The conceit res cting Lot is though so gross as not to merit notice, not suggested by the scriptural account, appears too monstrous to find acceptance which only asserts that he did not rewith Ross. He finds it " quite pos- cognize his daughters. sible, even as the stomach attracteth
not be introduced. For if, as he believeth, the inordinate longitude of the organ, though in its proper recipient, may be a mean to inprolificate the seed ; surely the distance of place, with the commixture of an aqueous body must prove an effectual impediment, and utterly prevent the success of a conception. And therefore that conceit concerning the daughters of Lot, that they were impregnated by their sleeping father, or conceived by seminal pollution received at distance from him, will hardly be admitted. And therefore what is related of devils, and the contrived delusions of spirits, that they steal the seminal emissions of man, and transmit them into their votaries in coition, is much to be suspected; and altogether to be denied, that there ensue conceptions thereupon; however husbanded by art, and the wisest menagery of that most subtile impostor. And therefore also that our magnified Merlin was thus begotten by the devil, is a groundless conception; and as vain to think from thence to give the reason of his prophetical spirit. For if a generation could succeed, yet should not the issue inherit the faculties of the devil, who is but an auxiliary, and no univocal actor; nor will his nature substantially concur to such productions.
And although it seems not impossible, that impregnation may succeed from seminal spirits, and vaporous irradiations, containing the active principle, without material and gross immissions; as it happeneth sometimes in imperforated persons, and rare conceptions of some much under puberty or fourteen. As may be also conjectured in the coition of some insects, wherein the female makes intrusion into the male ; and from the continued ovation in hens, from one single tread of a cock, and little stock laid up near the vent, sufficient for durable prolification. And although also in human generation the gross and corpulent seminal body may return again, and the great business be acted by what it carrieth with it: yet will not the same suffice to support the story in question, wherein no corpulent immission is acknowledged; answerable unto the fable of Talmudists, in the story of Benzira, begotten in the same manner on the daughter of the prophet Jeremiah.
i And although, $c.] This paragraph first added in 3rd edition.
2. The relation of Lucillius, and now become common concerning Crassus, the grandfather of Marcus the wealthy Roman, that he never laughed but once in all his life, and that was at an ass eating thistles, is something strange. For, if an indifferent and unridiculous object could draw his habitual austereness unto a smile, it will be hard to believe he could with perpetuity resist the proper motives thereof. For the act of laughter, which is evidenced by a sweet contraction of the muscles of the face, and a pleasant agitation of the vocal organs, is not merely voluntary, or totally within the jurisdiction of ourselves, but, as it may be constrained by corporal contaction in any, and hath been enforced in some even in their death, so the new, unusual, or unexpected, jucundities which present themselves to any man in his life, at some time or other, will have activity enough to excitate the earthiest soul, and raise a smile from most composed tempers. Certainly the times were dull when these things happened, and the wits of those ages short of these of ours; when men could maintain such immutable faces, as to remain like statues under the flatteries of wit, and persist unalterable at all efforts of jocularity. The spirits in hell, and Pluto himself, whom Lucian makes to laugh at passages upon earth, will plainly condemn these Saturnines, and make ridiculous the magnified Heraclitus, who wept preposterously, and made a hell on earth; for rejecting the consolations of life, he passed his days in tears, and the uncomfortable attendments of hell.8
3. The same conceit' there passeth concerning our blessed Saviour, and is sometime urged as a high example of gravity. And this is opinioned, because in Holy Scripture it is recorded he sometimes wept, but never that he laughed. Which howsoever granted, it will be hard to conceive how he passed his younger years and childhood without a smile, if as divinity affirmeth, for the assurance of his humanity unto men, and the
8 the uncomfortable, &c.] Ross re 9 The same conceil, &c.] Tis noe marks with much reason on this obser- argument to say tis never read in Scripration, that “ oftentimes there is hell in ture that Christ laughed, therefore he laughing, and a heaven in weeping:" did never laughe, but on the other side to and that “good men find not the un- affirme, that hee did laughe is therefore comfortable attendments of hell in weep- dangerous bycause unwarrantable and ing, but rather the comfortable enjoy groundles. Ir. ments of heaven."~Arcana, p. 176.
concealment of his divinity from the devil, he passed this age like other children, and so proceeded until he evidenced the same. And surely herein no danger there is to affirm the act or performance of that, whereof we acknowledge the power and essential property; and whereby indeed he most nearly convinced the doubt of his humanity. Nor need we be afraid to ascribe that unto the incarnate Son, which sometimes is attributed unto the uncarnate Father; of whom it is said, “He that dwelleth in the heavens shall laugh the wicked to scorn.” For a laugh there is of contempt or indignation, as well as of mirth and jocosity: and that our Saviour was not exempted from the ground hereof, that is, the passion of anger, regulated and rightly ordered by reason, the schools do not deny; and, besides the experience of the money-changers and dove-sellers in the temple, is testified by St. John, when he saith, the speech of David was fulfilled in our Saviour.*
Now the alogy of this opinion consisteth in the illation; it being not reasonable to conclude from Scripture negatively in points which are not matters of faith, and pertaining unto salvation. And therefore, although in the description of the creation there be no mention of fire, Christian philosophy did not think it reasonable presently to annihilate that element, or positively to decree there was no such thing at all.”
* Zelus domús tua comedit me.
i humanity.] The doubt of his hu It is the characteristic description of our manity was convinced soe many other Redeemer that “he was a man of sorwayes (before his passion) as by his rows and acquainted with grief." Will birth, his circumcision, his hunger at the it not be felt by every Christian, that fig-tree, his compassion and teares over laughter is utterly out of keeping with his friend Lazarus, and those other in- the dignity, the character and office of stances here alleaged, that the propertye him, who himself took our infirmities, of risibilitye (which is indeed the usuall and bare our sins; who spent a life in instance of the schooles) though it bee the endurance of the contradiction of ivseparable from the nature of man, and sinners against himself,--and in the full incommunicable to any other nature, yet and constant contemplation of that aw. itt does not infer the necessitye of the ful moment when he was to lay down acte in every individuall subject or per- that life for their sakes? The difficulty son of man; noe more then the power would have been to credit the contrary and propertye of numeration (wherof no tradition, had it existed. other creature in the world is capable) a fire.] There is no mention of metcan make every man an arithmetician. tals or fossiles ; and yet wee know they Itt is likewise recorded of Julius Satur were created then, or else they could not ninus, sonne to Philippus (Arabs) the now bee.-Wr. emperor, that from his birth nullo pror. at all.] Many things may perchance sus cujusquam commento ad ridendum be past over in silence in Holy Scripture, moveri potuerit.-- Mr.
which notwithstandinge are knowne to
Thus, whereas in the brief narration of Moses there is no record of wine before the flood, we cannot satisfactorily conclude that Noaho was the first that ever tasted thereof.* Andi thus, because the word brain is scarce mentioned once, but heart above a hundred times in Holy Scripture, physicians that dispute the principality of parts are not from hence induced to bereave the animal organ of its priority. Wherefore the Scriptures being serious, and commonly omitting such parergies, it will be unreasonable from hence to condemn all laughter, and from considerations inconsiderable to discipline a man out of his nature. For this is by rustical severity to banish all urbanity: whose harmless and confined condition, as it stands commended by morality, so is it consistent with religion, and doth not offend divinity.
4. The custom it is of Popes to change their name at their creation; and the author thereof is commonly said to be Bocca di Porco, or Swines-face; who therefore assumed the stile of Sergius the 2nd, as being ashamed so foul a name should dishonour the chair of Peter; wherein notwithstanding, from Montacutius and others, I find there may be some mistake. For Massonius who writ the lives of Popes, acknowledgeth he was not the first that changed his name in that see; nor as Platina affirmeth, have all his successors precisely continued that custom; for Adrian the sixth, and Marcellus the second, did still retain their baptismal denomination. Nor is it proved, or probable, that Sergius changed
* Only in the vulgar Latin, Judg. ix, 53.
bee partes of the creation, and many yard, and that first made wine, and things spoken to the vulgar capacity, therfore was the first that dranke of the which must be understood in a modified wine; which does not only satisfactorily sense. But never any thinge soe spoken but necessarily oblige us to a beleefe as might be convinced of falshood : soe that wine made by expression into a that either God or Copernicus, speaking species of drinke was not knowne, and contradictions, cannot both speak truthe. therfore not used in that new (dryed) And therefore, sit Deus verus et omnis world till Noah invented itt. Itt was homo mendar, that speakes contradictions then, as itt is now in the new westerne to him.--Wr.
plantations, where they have the vine, 4 Noah.] Noah was not the first that und eate the grapes, but do not drinke tasted of the grape: but itt is expresly wine, bycause they never began to plant sayd, Genes. ix, 21, that Noah was the vineyardes till now of late. --Wr. first husbandman that planted a vine