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him remember, that the highest Calculations, which seem most extravagant, are set down according to the best Observations, that the Wit of Man, after the experience of so many Ages, has been able to make. So that whether these Accounts be true or false, they shew the insufficiency of humané Understanding to examine the Works of God, and do, by consequence, shew how much more uncapable the wisest of Men are to comprehend the Infinite Essence of the Creator himself.
The famous i Mr. Huygens lately mentioned, speaking of the Passage and Communication of Light every way, and in every Point of Space through such valt Regions (which must be much more to be adniired, if there be suppos'd to be a Vacuum, in which there can be nothing to direct or determine its Motion and regulate its Course) has these words ; All these things are so wisely, so wonderfully contrived, that it is above the power of humane Wit, not to invent or frame fomewhat like them, but even to imagine or comprehend them.
To say nothing of the strange Discoveries concerning the Formation and Contexture of the Bodies both of Plants and Animals'; the innumerable little Animals, which are discovered by Microscopes in but one drop of Water, and many other Observations of the like nature, are so wonderful, that we might well sufpect the truth of the Experiments, if Men of the greatest skill and integrity, as well in our own, as in other Countries, did not agree in them. The vast quantities of Water, which are continually flowing out of so many thousand Rivers into the Sea, keep their constant course, and are some way so disposed of, as that the Sea and Land retain always a due proportion to each other. But the Original of the Fountains from whence those Rivers proceed, and low this Circulation of Waters is made, is still matter of dispute. The concussions of Earthquakes reaching sometimes to so
i conje&ture concerning the Planetary Worlds,
vast an extent, and the prodigious eruptions of Fire from divers burning Mountains in several parts of the Earth, throwing out abundance of Matter in Rivers of Fire, of great breadth, for many miles together, seem incredible to those, who have not read and confidered these things. The Attraction and Verticity of the Loadstone, the Flux and Reflux of the Sea, Life and Motion, every thing in Natural Philosophy, when seriously examined, has so many inexplicable Difficulties, as would make a considerate Man very modeft in his Censures concerning things supernatural. For if we had been placed in another World, a Natural History of this might have seemed as strange to us, as any thing Revealed can do now. And it must be great presumption in us, who know so little of the World we live in, to talk pragmatically of another, which we have only been told of; and to believe no more than our Senses can inform us of, when every Sense may inform us, how narrow and imperfect our Knowledge is, and that we take upon Trust, or swallow in the Gross, what we are commonly least diftrustful about.
And not only Nature, but even Art, exceeds the Apprehensions of most Men. The Mechanical Powers and Motions are wont to be mistaken for Magick, by such as have not skill and experience in those matters; the performances of Archimedes were so wonderful beyond all expectation or belief, that the King of Syiacuse is said to have made a Decree, to forbid any Man to question whatever Archimedes should assert. The Force of Gun-powder might be thought incredible, if it were not so common amongst us.
Not to mention, that the Indians took Watches for Animals, and could not imagine, how Men could hold correspondence at a distance by a little piece of paper. What Man is there among the Vulgar, that can concéive, how the dimensions and distances of the Sun and Stars can be taken, and how the Eclipses of the
Sun and Moon, and how the Satellites of Jupiter; can be calculated? And is not the Knowledge of the
? wisest Man upon Earth infinitely more surpass’d by the Divine Wisdom, than his Knowledge can excel that of the greatest Idiot ?
III. Those who disbelieve and reject the Mysteries of Religion, must believe things much more incredible. 1. He that will not believe the Being of an Eter* nal God, must believe Matter to be eternal: for it is certain, something must be eternal, because nothing could produce nothing; and unless there always had been something, there never could have been any thing. But this Eternal Matter must either have been once without Motion, or always with it : if it were once without Motion, then Matter must move it felf, that is, Motion must be produced without any thing to produce it. If it were always in motion, then there must have been an eternal Succession, since Motion cannot be all at once; for the very nature of Motion supposes Progression, and no Body can move in this space and the next, at the same instant: for then it must be in two places at once. But all Succession of Duration is gradual, and the Degrees of it are capable of being numbred; and to suppose an Eternal Succession, is to suppose an Infinite Number; that is, a Number, to which nothing can be added, and from which nothing can be substracted; or a Number which is no Number. Motion therefore could not be Eternal, and consequently the World could not exist from Eternity.
But since there must be something Eternal, there must be something, the duration whereof is indivisible, or which has all its existence together, so as to, have existed now no longer than it had done before the Beginning of the World. For this is the notion of Eternity, that it has neither Beginning nor End : and therefore, things eternal never had a less or Shorter duration, than they now have ; and can never
have a longer, after millions of Ages, than they had the first Year, or Day, from whence we may be supposed to begin the computation of those Ages.
For a Ionger or îhorter Duration must suppose a Beginning, ftom whence the computation is made; and therefore that which is eternal, and had no Begine ning, can have neither a longer nor a shorter Duration, but always the same: and by consequence, Time can bear no proportion to Eternity, because that which had a Beginning can bear no proportion to that which had none. Yep Eternity must coexist with Time, in all the Differences and Successions of it, and must be present with every part of it ; that is, the Eternal Being exists the space, suppose, of a thousand Years, and a Temporal or Created Being exists at the same time as long, and the Temporal Being becomes a thousand Years older than it was, but the Eternal no older than it was before ; because, tho'it coexist with Time, yet it has no respect to the division of it into Past, Present and Future. There is no Mystery in Religion more difficult and perplexing than this; and yet this is no more than what every one, tho' he be a Deist, or an Atheist, must acknowledge to believe, if he will but consider it.
2. Whoever believes that there is a God, and yet believes no Revelation, or that the Scriptures are not by Revelation from him, must believe a God, and yet deny the Divine Attributes ; he must believe that there is a "God, who is not essentially just, and good, and holy, which is, in effect, to believe no God åt all, as I have proved at large in the former Book.
**F84 38&S & Jeov ovie xy á Sabòv traumácu Tois diów róσι, κι άπρακίον ' αποφίώαι 3 διαζόλα ή φθάνον, &c. Τί δή deg λοιπόν έδες Φράν η τ όλων δημιεργών και αραχωρήσαι Κρα7Bν 7 επί γής τοϊς ακαθάρθοις δαίμοσι, &c. Eτα πώς αΓαθος, ε μεθόν αμογή και λίαν και ταύτα δρών, έδενός ημάς piwoe 2.67. Cyrill. Alex. contr. Julian. lib. 8.
Much more might be said upon so copious a Subject, but this is enough to make us more humble and modest, in judging of the Divine Mysteries. For shall poor Mortals, who know so little, and that little fo imperfectly, presume to censure the Holy Scriptures, because they contain things, which they cannot understand ? Shall he, that cannot fully explain the Nature of the vilest Infect, reject what God hath deliver'd concerning himself, because he doth not comprehend it? The thoughts of mortal men are miserable, and our devices are but uncertain. For the corruptible body presseth down the soul, and the earthly tabernacle weigheth down the mind, that museth upon many things. And hardly do we guess aright at things that are upon earth, and with labour do we find the things that are before us': but the things that are in heaven, who hath searched out ? Wisd. ix. 14, 15, 16,
" But out of the Contemplation of Nature, and « out of the Principles of humane Reason, to dif" course, or earnestly to urge a point touching the « Mysteries of Faith ; and again to be curiously spe
culative into those Secrets, to ventilate them, and “ to be inquisitive into the manner of the Mystery « is in my Judgment not safe : Da fidei, que fidei “ sunt. For the Heathens themselves conclude as « much, in the excellent and divine Fable of the Golcc den Chain, that Men and Gods were not able to " draw Jupiter down to the Earth ; but contrariwise,
Jupiter was able to draw them up to Heaven. " Wherefore he laboureth in vain, who shall attempt « to draw down Heavenly Mysteries to our Reason; 16 it rather becomes us to raise and advance our Reau fon to the adored Throne of Divine Truth.
Lord Bacon's Advancement of Learning, B. 3. c. 2.