Page images
PDF
EPUB

BOOK have made those several vortices or ethereal whirlIII.

pools. The second element consists of the spherical particles themselves, which make up the heavens : out of the third element, which are those wreathed particles, he gives an account of the formation of the earth, and planets, and comets; and from all of them, by the help of those common affections of matter, size, figure, motion, &c. he undertakes to give an account of the phenomena of the world. How far his principles do conduce to the giving men's minds satisfaction as to the particular phenomena of nature, is not here our business to inquire, but only how far these principles can give an account of the origin of the universe without a Deity. And that it cannot give a satisfactory account how the world was framed without a Deity, appears by the two grand suppositions on which all his elements depend; both which cannot be from any other principle but God. Those are, 1. The existence of matter in the world, which we have already proved cannot be independent on God, and necessarily existent; and therefore supposing that matter existent and put into motion would grind itself into those several particles by him supposed, yet this cannot give an account of the origin of the universe without a Deity. 2. The motion of the particles of matter supposeth a Deity; for matter is no self-moving principle, as hath

been fully demonstrated in several places by that judiDr. More cious philosopher Dr. H. More, who plainly manifests, Antidote, b. ii. ch. 1. that if motion did necessarily belong to matter, it were Immortali-:m

thel- impossible there should be sun, or stars, or earth, or Soul, b. i; man in the world; for the matter being uniform, it C.IJ. sect. 3. &c. Ep. 3. must have equal motion in all its particles, if motion ad Cartes. p. 88. doth belong to it. For motion being supposed to be

natural and essential to matter, must be alike every where in it; and therefore every particle must be sup

ty of the

II.

posed in motion to its utmost capacity, and so every CHAP. particle is alike and moved alike: and therefore there – being no prevalency at all in any one particle above another in bigness or motion, it is manifest that this universal matter, to which motion is so essential and natural, will be ineffectual for the producing of any variety of appearances in nature; for nothing could be caused by this thin and subtle matter, but what would be wholly imperceptible to any of our senses; and what a strange kind of visible world would this be! From hence then it appears that there must be an infinitely powerful and wise God, who must both put matter into motion, and regulate the motion of it, in order to the producing all those varieties which appear in the world. And this necessity of the motion of matter by a power given it from God, is freely acknowledged by Mr. Des Cartes himself, in these words; Cartes,

2. Considero materiam sibi libere permissam, et nullum ke

Resp. ad. aliunde impulsum suscipientem, ut plane quiescentem ; Mori, p.

104. illa autem impellitur a Deo, tantundem motus sive translationis in ea conservante, quantum ab initio posuit. So that this great improver and discoverer of the mechanical power of matter doth freely confess the necessity, not only of God's giving motion in order to the origin of the universe, but of his conserving motion in it for the upholding it; so that we need not fear from this hypothesis the excluding of a Deity from being the prime efficient cause of the world. All the question then is concerning the particular manner which was used by God as the efficient cause in giving being to the world. As to which I shall only in general suggest what Maimonides says of it: Omnia simul Maimon. creata erant, et postea successive ab invicem sepa-1. i. rata; although I am somewhat inclinable to that of Gassendus, mundus majus opus est, quam ut assequi

More Nev.

BOOK mens humana illius molitionem possit. To which, I UI.

- think, may be well applied, that speech of Solomon ; Gassendi Physic. Then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cansect. 1. 1. vii. c. 6. not find out the work that is done under the sun : beEccl. viii.

cause though a man labour to seek it out; yea fur17.

ther, though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.

CHAP. III.

OF THE ORIGIN OF EVIL.
I. Of the being of Providence. II. Epicurus's arguments against

it refuted. The necessity of the belief of Providence in order
to religion. III. Providence proved from a consideration of the
nature of God and the things of the world. Of the spirit of
nature. IV. The great objections against Providence pro-
pounded. The first concerns the origin of evil. V. God can-
not be the author of sin, if the Scriptures be true. The account,
which the Scriptures give of the fall of man, doth not charge
God with man's fault. God's power to govern man by laws,
though he gives no particular reason of every positive precept.
VI. The reason of God's creating man with freedom of will,
largely shewed from Simplicius; and the true account of the
origin of evil. VII. God's permitting the fall, makes him not
the author of it. VIII. The account which the Scriptures give
of the origin of evil, compared with that of heathen philoso-
phers. IX. The antiquity of the opinion of ascribing the origin
of evil to an evil principle. Of the judgment of the Per-
sians, Egyptians, and others about it. X. Of Manichæism.
XI, XII, XIII, XIV. The opinion of the ancient Greek phi.
losophers; of Pythagoras, Plato, the Stoics; the origin of evil
not from the necessity of matter. XV, XVI. The remainders
of the history of the fall among the heathens. XVII, XVIII,
XIX. Of the malignity of demons. XX, XXI, XXII. Pro-
vidence vindicated as to the sufferings of good, and the impunity
of bad men. An account of both from natural light, mani-

fested by Seneca, Plutarch, and others. IT being now manifested not only that there is a God, CHAP. but that the world had its being from him, it thence follows, by an easy and rational deduction, that there is a particular hand of Divine Providence, which upholds the world in its being, and wisely disposeth all events in it. For it is a most irrational and absurd opinion to assert a Deity, and deny Providence; and in nothing did Epicurus more discover the weakness and puerility of his judgment than in this. Indeed,

OW ma

СНАР.

III.

UI.

теrе

BOOK if Epicurus had no other design in asserting a Deity,

_ than (as many ancient philosophers imagined) to avoid

the imputation of direct atheism, and yet to take away all foundations of religion, he must needs be said to serve his hypothesis well, though he did assert the being of an excellent nature, which he called God, while yet he made him sit as it were with his elbows folded up in the heavens, and taking no cognizance of human actions. For he well knew, that if the belief of Divine Providence were once rooted out of men's minds, the thoughts of an excellent Being above the heavens would have no more awe or power upon the hearts and lives of men, than the telling men that there are jewels of inestimable value in the Indies, makes them more ready to pay taxes to their princes; for that philosopher could not be ignorant that it is not worth but power, not speculation but interest, that rules the world. The poor tenant more regards his petty landlord, than the greatest prince in the world that hath nothing to do with him: and he thinks he hath great reason for it; for he neither fears punishment, nor hopes for reward from him; whereas his landlord may dispossess him of all he hath upon displeasure, and may advantage him the most if he gains his favour. Supposing then that there were such an excellent Being in the world, which was completely happy in himself, and thought it an impairing of his happiness to trouble himself with an inspection of the world, religion might then be indeed derived à relegendo, but not à religando; there might be some pleasure in contemplating his nature, but there could be no obligation to obedience. So that Epicurus was the first founder of a kind of philosophical Antinomianism; placing all religion in a veneration of the Deity purely for its own excellency, without any such mercenary

« PreviousContinue »