a physiochemical explanation of the mechanisms of development, finally admitting:
I persuade my selfe it appeareth evident enough, that to effect this worke of generation, there needeth not be supposed a forming vertue ... of an unknowne power and operation.... Yet, in discourse, for conveniency and shortnesse of expression we shall not quite banish that terme from all commerce with us; so that what we meane by it, be rightly understood; which is, the complexe, assemblement, or chayne of all the causes, that concurre to produce this effect; as they are sett on foote, to this end by the great Architect and Moderatour of them, God Almighty, whose instrument Nature is.
Digby's general theory thus represents a strange mixture of epigenesis and pangenesis, and is not entirely devoid of "virtues." It is, however, a bold attempt to explain embryonic development in terms commensurate with his time, and it embodies the same optimistic belief that the mechanism of embryogenesis lay accessible to man'