| Foscarini, Paolo Antonio An Epistle to Fantoni 1661, tr. Salusbury, Thomas |
Therefore the two great Lights are to be understood in respect of
us, and according to vulgar estimation, and not according to the
true and reall existence of such Bodies.
Secondly, in the speci
fication of the Proposition it is said, The greater Light to rule the
Day; hereby denoting the Sun; in which the verbal sense of
Scripture agreeth with the Truth of the Thing; For that the Sun
is the Greatest of all Luminaries, and Globes.
But that which
followeth immediately after, And the lesser Light to rule the
Night, meaning the Moon, cannot be taken in the true and real
sense of the words: For the Moon is not the lesser Light, but
Mercury; which is not only much lesser than the Moon, but also
than any other Star.
And if, again, it be said, That the Holy
Text doth not speak of the Stars, but onely of the Luminaries,
for that presently after they are mentioned apart, And the Stars;
and that what we say is true touching the comparison of the Stars
amongst themselves, but not in respect of the Luminaries, name
ly, the Sun and Moon: This reply doth discover a man to be
utterly ignorant in these Studies, and such who having not the
least smattering in them, doth conceive an absurd and erroneous
Opinion of the Cœlestial Bodies.
For the Moon and Sun, con
sidered in themselves, and as they appear to us, if they should
be a far greater distance from us, than indeed they are, would be
no other, nor would appear to us otherwise than Stars, as the
rest do in the Firmament.
But Great Luminaries they neither
are, nor seem to be, save only in respect of us: And so, on
the other side, the Stars, as to themselves, are no other than so
many Suns and so many Moons; yet are so far remote from us,
that by reason of their distance they appear thus small, and dim
of light, as we behold them.
For the greater and lesser distance
of heavenly Bodies (cæteris paribus) doth augment and diminish
their appearance both as to Magnitude and Light.
fore the words which follow in that place of Genesis, And the
Stars (as distinguishing the Stars from the Sun and Moon) are
to be taken in no other acceptation than that which we have spo
ken of, namely, according to the sense of the Vulgar, and the
common manner of speech. For indeed, according to the truth
of the matter, all Cœlestial Bodies, being shining Globes, are of
a vast bigness, to which if we should be so neer as we are to the
Moon, they would seem to us of as great, yea a greater magni
tude than the Moon: As likewise on the contrary, if we were as
far distant from the Sun and Moon, as we are from them, both
Moon and Sun would shew but as stars to us.
And yet the
splendor of the Sun would doubtless be greater intensivè than
that of any other star.
For, although it should be granted that
some stars (as those of the Fixed that twinkle) do shine of them