(Continuing the narrative that began here.)

Part 5.

The Interlocutor,

No. 78.

That ’tis both good, and profitable, to enquire into the Secrets of Nature, and to discover and reduce to Order the Laws by which she operates, is a Point so universally admitted in our Age, as to require no Argument here: But in descending from the general Principle to the particular Case, we may often find some Difficulty in distinguishing between rational Enquiry, which is laudable, and groundless Speculation, which is no more than philosophick Gossip. We have in London now, and have had this Fortnight, the eminent Doctor Albertus;—“eminent” he styles himself, tho’ ’tis to be doubted whether his Name had been heard at all in this Country a Month ago. His clockwork Contrivances have entertained us a great deal, and we acknowledge without Hesitation, that few have equalled, and none surpassed him, in the Art of imparting Motion to lifeless Matter. But the eminent Doctor is not content with mechanical Demonstrations, for he would teach us Theology as well, as if his Skill in assembling Gears and Ratchetts had made him a Kind of younger Brother to the Creator.

Now, the Interlocutor himself, out of Materials no more elevated than a Pot of Ink and a few Scraps of Paper, assembles a lofty Universe of Thought three Days out of every Week, and therefore might claim equal if not closer Kinship with the Author of the greater Universe. But he refrains: For he considers such Pride not only blasphemous, but unbecoming a Gentleman.

Doctor Albertus shews us a clockwork Hound, and we applaud his Skill. He shews us a clockwork Woman, and we marvel at his Ingenuity. When he styles her the new Eve, however, and raises a lofty Tower of philosophical Speculation upon so soft a Foundation, we think he is a better Mechanick than he is a Philosopher, and ought to confine his Efforts to those Endeavors in which he is an acknowledged Master, leaving Divinity to the Divines.

Continue to Part 6.