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Of Colours

Scientific Writings by Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)

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Colours – Edwards talks about how colours work.

COLOURS we have already supposed that the Different Refrangibility of Rays Arises from their Different bulk, we have also supposed that they Are very Elastic bodies, from these suppositions the Colours of natural bodies may be accounted for that is why some Particles of matter Reflect a sort or sorts of Rays and no Other the Different Density of Particles whence Arises a Different attraction and together with their Different firmness will account for all some bodies have so little of firmness and so Easily Give way that they Are able to Resist the stroak of no Rays But the Least and Weakest, and most Reflexible Rays, all the other Rays that Are bigger and therefore their force not so Easily Resisted overcome the Resistance of the Particles that stand in their way such bodies therefore appear blue as the atmosphere or skies, smoke &c. — again tis known that the most Refrangible Rays are most easily attracted that is are most easily stay’d or diverted by attraction, for as has been already shown Refraction & Reflection from Concave surfaces is by attraction because therefore that the most Refrangible Rays are most Diverted by Refraction and Easiest Reflected inward from the surface, and most Diverted by Passing by the edges of bodies it follows that attraction has most influence on the most Refrangible Rays.

’Tis also evident that the Particles of bodies that are the most Dense have the strongest attraction. the Particles of any body therefore may be so dense and attract so strongly as to hold fast all the Lesser and more Refrangible Rays so that they shall none of them be Reflected but Only the Greater Rays, on Whom the attraction of these Particles Can have Less influence, hereby the body will become Red and as for the intermediate Colours the Particles of a body may be so Dense as to hold all the most Refrangible Rays and may yet not be firm Enough to Resist the stroak of the Least Refrangible hereby the body may become Yellow or Green or of any other intermediate Colour.

Or a body may be Colourd by the Reflection of a mixture of Rays the body Particles may be able to Reflect three or four sorts of Rays and have too strong an attraction to Reflect those Rays that are Less and too weak a Resistance to Reflect the Bigger Rays, or the Colour of A body may be Compounded of Reflected Rays of very Distant Degrees of Refrangibility and not Reflect any of the intermediate Colours by reason of its being Compounded of very heterogeneous Particles [which] have a very Different Degree of Density and firmness, or the Particles of a body may be firm Enough to Reflect all sorts of Rays yet have so little attraction to hold them that the body will be White, or a body may be Compounded of Particles having so little Resistance as to Reflect no Rays, of so Great Density as to hold all or so full of Pores as to Drink in all, then the body is black

Or the Particles of bodies may have Pores and hollows that may be big enough to Let in the Least Rays not the Rest so that the Pores of Particles may have much to Do in the Causing of Colours

The blue of mountains at a Distance is not made by any Rays Reflected from the mountains but from the Air and vapours that is between us and them. the mountain occasions the blueness by intercepting all Rays that would Come from beyond to Disturb the Colour by their mixture it may therefore seem a Difficulty Why the atmosphere all Round by the horizon Dont appear very blue seeing tis Evident that the atmosphere Reflects Chiefly the blue Rays as Appears In the higher Parts of the atmosphere by the blueness of the skie and near the Earth by the blueness of mountains, and the Redness or Yellowness of the Rising and setting sun, it would therefore seem that the atmosphere should appear most blue where no Rays are Intercepted by mountains because the atmosphere beyond the mountain Reflects blue Rays as well as on this Side, therefore it seems that there would be more blue Rays Come to Our Eyes where none were intercepted by mountains. And Consequently that the most lively blue would be there. and so it would be, if blue Rays Came to our Eyes in the same Proportion as they are Reflected but most of those blue Rays that Are Reflected by those Parts of the Atmosphere that Are at a great Distance are intercepted by the intermediate Air before they Come to Our eyes (for the Air by supposition intercepts them Easiest) and only those few Yellow Rays and Less Reflexible Rays that are Reflected by the Air Come to our eyes whence it Comes to Pass that the Atmosphere near the horizon Dont appear blue but of a Whitish Yellow. And sometimes when it is filled with more Dense exhalations that Can Reflect Less Reflexible Rays still, it appears a little Reddish.

Consider the following two works by Edwards that have been updated and republished for easy reading:

Ripe for Damnation: Sermons on the Book of Revelation – by Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758). Are you hungry for more of Edwards’ sermons? On the book of Revelation? These new works are not found anywhere on A Puritan’s Mind, and there are new ones not found in his large 2 volume works. 4 deal with the plight of the wicked, and 2 deal with the bliss of saints in heaven. These sermons are powerful, practical, and biblical, glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ, and contain 2 never before published sermons.

Justification by Faith Alone – by Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758). In this classic work, Edwards covers the intricacies of how believers are made righteous only through Christ’s merits, and that this justifying righteousness is equally imputed to all elect believers. This is accomplished by the condition of faith as an instrument.

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