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of the moderns contend that it was formed from nothing, a basis as unsubstantial as that of their own theory.* In the first place, it is certain that neither the Hebrew verb 872, nor the Greek xtífelv, nor the Latin creare, can signify to create out of nothing.t On the contrary, these words uniformly signify to create out of matter. Gen. 1. 21, 27. God created ....every living creature which the waters brought forth abundantly.... male and female created he them.' Isai. liv. 16. • behold, I have created the smith....I have created the waster to destroy.' To allege, therefore, that creation signifies production out of nothing, is, as logicians say, to lay down premises without a proof; for the passages of Scripture commonly quoted for this purpose, are so far from confirming the received opinion, that they rather imply the contrary, namely, that all things were not made out of nothing. 2 Cor. iv. 6. •God, who commanded the
Who out of smallest things could without end
Thy folly. VI. 135. where Newton rightly observes, that Milton did not favour the opinion that the creation was out of nothing.
* So Drusius, Paulus Fagius, Estius, &c, and nearly all the English commentators. Tillotson takes occasion to reply to the objections raised against the doctrine, in bis sermon On the Power of God, from Psal. lxii. 11. With regard to the opinion of the Fathers, Lactantius says, (De Orig. Error. lib. ii.) Nemo quærat ex quibus ista materiis tam magna, tam mirifica opera Deus fecerit; omnia enim fecit ex nihilo.' Tertullian, (.Advers. Hermog. cap. xlv.) • Igitur in quantum constitit materiam nullam fuisse, ex hoc etiam quod nec talem competat fuisse qualis inducitur, in tantum probatur omnia a Deo ex nihilo facta.' Justin. (Aristotel. Dogm. evers.) si ouras latiniam ayiwntos, as • Osòs, xal dúvera ó los in toll éysyvýtou monorífi, dhaor ws dúvara ó sòs, xai ix Toû πλώς μη όντος ποιήσαι τι.
† See this urgument answered by Beveridge, Exposition of the First Article, Works, Vol. IX. p. 50.
light to shine out of darkness.' That this darkness was far from being a mere negation, is clear from Isai. xlv. 7. I am Jehovah ; I form the light, and create darkness. If the darkness be nothing, God in creating darkness created nothing, or in other words, he created and did not create,which is a contradiction. Again, what we are required to understand through faith' respecting the worlds,' is merely this, that *the things which were seen were not made of things which do appear,' Heb. xi. 3. Now the things which do not appear' are not to be considered as synonymous with nothing, (for nothing does not admit of a plural, nor can a thing be made and compacted together out of nothing, as out of a number of things)* but the meaning is, that they do not appear as they now are. The apocryphal writers, whose authority may be considered as next to that of the Scriptures, speak to the same effect. Wisd. xi. 17. “thy almighty hand that made the world of matter without form.' 2 Macc. vii. 28. God made the earth and all that is therein of things that were not.' The expression in Matt. ii. 18. may be quoted, the children of Rachel are not. This, however, does not mean properly that they are nothing, but that (according to a common Hebraism) they are no longer amongst the living
It is clear then that the world was framed out of matter of some kind or other. For since action and passion are relative terms, and since, consequently,
* There seems to be an error in the Latin MS. in this passage. It stands thus-neque compingi ex multis tanquam ex nihilo quicquam potest. It is probable that a confusion bas arisen in the arrangernent of the words, and that they ought to have been written as follows neque compingi ex nihilo tanquam ex multis quicquam potest.
.no agent can act externally, unless there be some patient, such as matter, it appears impossible that God could have created this world out of nothing ; not from any defect of power on his part, but because it was necessary that something should have previously existed capable of receiving passively the exertion of the divine efficacy. Since, therefore, both Scripture and reason concur in pronouncing that all these things were made, not out of nothing, but out of matter, it necessarily follows, that matter must either have always existed independently of God, or have originated from God at some particular point of time. That matter should have been always independent of God, (seeing that it is only a passive principle, dependent on the Deity, and subservient to him ; and seeing, moreover, that, as in number, considered abstractly, so also in time or eternity there is no inherent force or efficacy) that matter, I say, should have existed of itself from all eternity, is inconceivable. If on the contrary it did not ex-" ist from all eternity, it is difficult to understand from whence it derives its origin, There remains, therefore, but one solution of the difficulty, for which moreover we have the authority of Scripture, namely, that all things are of God.* Rom. xi. 36. . for of
* I am by no means confident that I have succeeded in conveying the meaning intended to have been expressed by Milton in the preceding sentences. In the original the passage is evidently corrupt, and it is not very easy to propose satisfactory emendations. I have ventured to translate it on the supposition that it was originally written and pointed thus:-Ut extra Deum semper fuerit materia (quamvis principium tantummodo passivum sit, a Deo pendeat, eique subserviat ; quamvis ut numeri, ita et cevi, vel sempiterni, nulla vis, nulla apud se efficacia sit) tamen ut ab æterno, inquam, per se materia extiterit intelligi non potest ; nec si ab æterno non fuit, unde tandem fuerit intellectu est facilius ; restat igitur hoc solum, præunte præsertim scriptura, fuisse omnia ex Deo.
him, and through him, and to him are all things." 1 Cor. viii. 6. 'there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things :' where the same Greek preposition is used in both cases. Heb ii. 11. ' for both he that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified, are all of one.'
In the first place, there are, as is well known to all, four kinds of causes,-efficient, material, formal, and final.* Inasmuch then as God is the primary, and absolute, and sole cause of all things, there can be no doubt but that he comprehends and embraces within himself all the causes above-mentioned. Therefore the material cause must be either God, or nothing. Now nothing is no cause at all ; and yet it is contended that forms, and above all, that human forms, were created out of nothing. But matter and form, considered as internal causes, constitute the thing itself; so that either all things must have had two causes only, and those external, or God will not have been the perfect and absolute cause of every thing. Secondly, it is an argument of supreme power and goodness, that such diversified, multiform, and inexhaustible virtue should exist and be substantially inherent in God (for that virtue cannot be accidental which admits of degrees, and of augmentation or remission, according to his pleasure) and that this diversified and substantial virtue should not remain dor
* Quot autem modis alicujus vi res est, tot esse species causæ statuendum est: Modis autem quatuor alicujus vi res est; ut recte A ristot. Phys. II. 7. et nos supra diximus ; vel enim a quo, vel ex quo, vel per quod, vel propter quod res una quæque est, ejus vi esse recte dicitur. His modis nec plures inveniuntur, nec pauciores esse possunt; recte igitur causa distribuitur in causam a qua, ex qua, per quam, et propter quam, id est, efficientem, et materiam, aut formam, et finem.' Artis Logicce plenior Institutio. Prose Works, VI. 205.
mant within the Deity, but should be diffused and propagated and extended as far and in such manner as he himself may will. For the original matter of which we speak, is not to be looked upon as an evil or trivial thing, but as intrinsically good, and the chief productive stock* of every subsequent good. It was a substance, and derivable from no other source than from the fountain of every substance, though at first confused and formless, being afterwards adorned and digested into order by the hand of God.t.
Those who are dissatisfied because, according to this view, substance was imperfect, must also be dissatisfied with God for having originally produced it out of nothing in an imperfect state, and without form.. For what difference does it make, whether God produced it in this imperfect state out of nothing, or out of himself ? By this reasoning, they only tranfer that imperfection to the divine efficiency, which they are unwilling to admit can properly be attributed to sub
* Producendi seminarium.' The same word is used in the Doctrine
Paradise Lost, III. 12.
Flew upward, spirited with various forms. Ibid. 708.