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thought, resolved and unresolved, a thousand times in a may think fit to use, for the avoiding the force of this day. That is, if any thing could be thought or resolved dilemma; and may rely upon as a ground, why they may at all, or, if this were a subject capable of framing or re- judge this choice the more secure; that is
, that they say ceiving any sort of notion.
ihey are rational by dependence on the body they animate; But still that is the greatest difficulty, how there can be because they are only found so united with one another such a thing as thinking, or forming of notions. The case there; that there they have the first coalition; there they is plain of sạch notions as have no relation to matter, or are severed from such as serve not this turn; there they dependence upon external sense. For what doth contri- are pent in, and held together as long as its due temperament bute to my contemplation of my own mind, and its acts lasts; which, when it fails, they are dissipated, and so lose and powers; to my animadversion, or knowing that. I their great advantage for the acts of reason, which they had think, or will, this or that ?
in such a body. What pleasure soever this may yield, it But besides, and more generally, what proportion is will soon appear it does them little service. For it only there between a thought and the motion of an atom ? implies, that they have their rationality of themselves, so Will we appeal to our faculties, to our reason itself?. And be it that they were together; and not immediately from whither else will we? Is there any cognation or kindred the body; or any otherwise, than that they are somewhat between the ideas we have of these things, the casual beholden to it, for a fair occasion of being together; as if agitation of a small particle of matter, (be it as little or as it were, else, an unlawful assembly; or that they knew round as we please to imagine,) and an act of intellection not, otherwise, how to meet and hold together. They will or judgment? And what if there be divers of them toge- not say that the body gives them being, for they are eternal, ther? What can they do more towards the composing an and self-subsisting, as they will have it. Yea, and of intelligent thing, than many ciphers to the arithmetical themselves (though the case be otherwise with the Carcomposition of a number? It would be as rational to tesian particles) undiminishable, as to their size, and, as to suppose a heap of dust, by long lying together, might at their figure and weight, unalterable; so that they have last become rational. 'Yes, these are things that have, neither their littleness, their roundness, nor their lightness, some way or other, the power of motion; and what can from the body, but only their so happy meeting. Admit they effect by that They can frisk about, and ply to and this, and only suppose them to be met out of the body. fro, and interfere among themselves, and hit
, and justle, And why may not this be thought supposable? If they be and tumble over one another, and that will contribute a not rational till they be met, they cannot have wit enough great deal; about as much, we may suppose, as the shak- to scruple meeting, at least somewhere else, than in the ing of such dust well in a bag, by which means it might body. And who knows but such a change may happen? possibly become finer and smaller something; and by As great as this, are by these persons supposed to have continuing that action, at length rational! No; but these happened, before the world could have come to this pass atoms, of which the soul is made, have a greater advan- it is now at; who can tell but such a number of the same tage by their being disposed into à so well-contrived and sort of atoms (it being natural for things so much of a comfilly organized receptacle as the body is. It is indeed true, plexion and temper to associate and find out one another) and admirable, that the body is, as hath been before ob- might ignorantly, and thinking no harm, come together served, so fitly framed for the purposes whereto the whole And having done so, why might they not keep together? of it, and its several parts, are designed. But how unfitly Do they need to be pent in ? How are they pent in, whils. is that commodious structure of it so much as mentioned, in the body? If they be disposed, they have ways enough by such as will not allow themselves to own and adore to get out. And if they must needs be inclined to scatter the wisdom and power of its great Architect.
when the crasis of the body fails, surely a way might be And what if the composure of the body be so apt and found to hem them in, if that be all, at the time of expirauseful; so excellent in its own kind; is it so in every tion, more tightly and closely, than they could be in the kind, or to all imaginable purposes ? Or what purpose can body. And what reason can be devised, why, being bewe possibly imagine more remote or foreign to the com- come rational, by their having been assembled in the body, posítion of the body, than that the power of ratiocination they may not agree to hold together, and do so in spite of should be derived thence ? It might as well be said it was fate, or maugre all ordinary accidents, when they find it so made, to whirl about the sun, or to govern the motions convenient to leave it? And then upon these no-way imof the moon and stars, as to confer the power of reason, or possible suppositions, (according to their principles, so far enable the soul to think, to understand, to deliberate, to as can be understood, with whom we have to do,) will will, &c. Yea, its organs, some of them, are much more they now be rational out of the body? Being still endowed proportionable to those actions, than any of them unto (as they cannot but be) with the same high privileges of these. Which, though a well-habited body, while the soul being little, round, and light, and being still also together; remains in this imprisoned state, do less hinder, yet how and somewhat more, it may be, at liberty, to roll and doth it help? And that it might perform these acts without tumble, and mingle with one another, than in the body? bodily organs, is much more apprehensible than how they If it be now affirmed, they will, in this case, be rational, can properly be said to be performed by them. And that, at least as long as they hold together, then we are but though they are done in the body, they would be done where we were. And this shift hath but diverted us a much better out of it.
little; but so, as it was easy to bring the matter, again, But shall it be granted that these soul-constituting atoms, about, to the same point we were at before. Wherefore till they be (or otherwise than as they are) united with a the shelter of the body being thus quite again forsaken, duly organized body, are utterly destitute of any reasoning this poor expulsed crew of dislodging atoms are exposed or intelligent power? Or are they, by themselves, apart to fight in the open air, for their rationality, against all that from this grosser body, irrational ? If this be not granted, was said before. the thing we intend must be argued out. Either, then, they But if this refuge and sanctuary of the body be not are, or they are not. If the latter be said, then they have merely pretended to, but really and plainly trusted in, and it of themselves, without dependence on the organized stuck to, then are we sincerely and honestly to consider body; and so we are fairly agreed to quit that pretence, what a body so variously organized can do, to make such without more ado, of their partaking reason from thence. a party of atoms (that of themselves are not so, singly, nor And are only left to weigh over again what hath been together) become rational. And surely, if the cause were already said io evince the contrary, that is, how manifestly not saved before, it is now deplorate, and lost without absurd it is, to imagine that particles of matter, by their remedy. For what do they find here that can thus, bepeculiar size, or weight, or shape, or motion, or all of these yond all expectation, improve them to so high an exceltogether; and that, whether single or associated, should lency? Is it flesh, or blood, or bones, that puts this stamp be capable of reasoning. If the former be the thing which upon them? Think, what is the substance of the nobler is resolved to be stuck to, that is, that they are of them- parts, the liver, or heart, or brain, that they should turn selves irrational, but they become reasonable by their being these, before, irrational atoms, when they fall into them, united in such a prepared and organized body, this requires into rational, any more than if they were well soaked in a to be a little further considered. And to this purpose it is quagmire, or did insinuate themselves into a piece of necessary to obviate a pitiful shift that it is possible some soft dough ? But here they meet with a benign and kindly heat and warmth, which comfortably fosters and cherishes fitly be entertained but with derision. Nor doth it more them, till at length it hath hatched them into rational. unbecome a serious person to laugh at what is ridiculous, Bat methinks they should be warm enough of themselves, than gravely to weigh and ponder what is weighty and since they are supposed so much to resemble fire. And, considerable; provided he do not seek occasion of that however, wherein do we find a flame of fire more rational, former sort, on purpose to gratify a vain humour ; but only than a piece of ice? Yea, but here they find a due temper allow himself io discourse suitably to them, when they of moisture as well as heat. And that surely doth not occur. And their dotage who would fain serve themselves signify much; for if the common maxim be true, that the of so wildly extravagant and impossible suppositions, for dry soul is the wisest, they might have been much wiser, the fostering their horrid misbelief, that they have no God if they had kept themselves out of the body. And since to worship, would certainly justify as sharp ironies, as the it is necessary the soul should consist of that peculiar sort prophet Elijah bestows upon them who worshipped Baal, of atoms before described; and the organical body (which instead of the true God. must be said for distinction sake, the soul being all this XIV. Nor is any thing here said intended as a reflection while supposed a body also) consists of atoms too, that are on such as, being unfurnished with a notion of created, of a much coarser alloy, methinks a mixture should not intelligent spirits, that might distinguish their substance be necessary, but a hinderance, and great debasement, ra- from the most subtile matter, have therefore thought that ther, to this rational composition. Besides, that it cannot their mind or thinking power might have some such subbe understood, if it were necessary these atoms should stratum, unto which it is superadded, or impressed thereon receive any tincture from the body, in order to their being by a divine hand; in the meantime not doubting their rational, what they can receivė, or how they can receive immortality, much less the existence of a Deity, the anything. They have not pores that can admit an adven- Author and former of them, and all things. For they are titious moisture, though it were of the divinest nectar, and no way guilty of that blasphemous nonsense, to make the body could never so plentifully furnish them with it. them consist of necessary, self-subsistent matter, every Wherein then lies the great advaniage these atoms have by minute particle whereof is judged eternal and immutable, being in the body, to their commencing rational ? If there and in themselves, for aught we can find asserted, destitute be such advantage, why can it not be understood? Why of reason; and which yet acquire it by no one knows what is it not assigned ? Why should we further spend our coalition, without the help of a wise efficient, that shall guesses what may possibly be said ? But yet, may not direct and order it to so unimaginable an improvement. much be attributed to the convenient and well-fenced These persons do only think more refined matter capable carity of the brain's receptacle, or the more secret cham- of that impression and stamp; or of having such a power bers within that, where the studious atoms may be very put into it, by the Creator's all-disposing hand. Wherein, private and free from disturbance? Yet sure it is hard to to do them right, though they should impose somewhat say, why they that are wont to do it here, might not as well hardly upon themselves, if they will make this estimate of philosophize in some well-chosen cavern, or hole of a rock; the natural capacity of matter; or if they think the acts nor were it impossible to provide them there, with as soft and power of reason in man, altogether unnatural to him; 2 bed. And yet would it not be some relief to speak of yet they do, in effect, the more befriend the cause we are "he fide slender pipes, winding to and fro, wherein they pleading for; (as much as it can be befriended by a mismay be conveyed so conveniently from place to place, that apprehension; which yet is a thing of that untoward if they do not fall into a reasoning humour in one place, genius, and doth so ill consort with truth, that it is never they may in another ? Why, what can this do? It seems admitted as a friend, in any one respect, but it repays it somewhat like Balaam's project
; to get into a vein of in- with a mischievous revenge, in some other; as might many canlation, by changing stations. And transplace them as ways be shown in this instance, if it were within the comyou will, it requires more magic than ever he was master pass of our present design ;) it being evident, that if any of, to make those innocent, harmless things, masters of portion of matter shall indeed be certainly found the actual reason.
subject of such powers, and to have such operations beFor do but consider, what if you had a large phial capa- longing to it, there is the plainer and more undeniable ble of as great a quantity as you can think needful, of very necessity and demonstration of his power and wisdom, fine particles, and replenished with them, closely stopped, who can make any thing of any thing; of stones raise up and well luted; suppose these as pure and fit for the pur- children 10 Abraham! and who shall then have done that pose as you can imagine, only not yet rational; will their which is so altogether impossible, except him to whom faring to and fro, through very close and stanch tubes, from all things are possible? There is the more manifest need one such receptacle to another, make them at last become of his hand to heighten dull matter, to a qualifiedness for 50? It seems then, do what you will with them, toss and performances so much above its nature; to make the tamble them hither and thither, rack them from vessel to loose and independent parts of so fluid matter cohere and vessel, try what methods you can devise of sublimation or hold together; that, if it were once made capable of improvement, every thing looks like a vain and hopeless knowledge, and the actual subject of it, whatsoever essay. For indeed, do what you please or can think of, notions were impressed thereon, might not be, in a mothey are such immutable entities, you can never make ment, confounded and lost: as indeed they could not but them less, or finer, than they originally were: and rational be, if the particles of matter were the immediate seat of they were not, before their meeting in the body; wherefore reason; and so steady a hand did not hold them, in a it were a strange wonder, if that should so far alter the case settled composure, that they be not disordered, and men with them, that they should become rational by it. have, thence, the necessity of beginning afresh, to know
XIII. And now I must, upon the whole, profess not to any thing, every hour of the day. Though yet it seems a be well pleased with the strain of this discourse ; not that great deal more reasonable to suppose the souls of men to I think it unsuitable to its subject, (for I see not how it is be of a substance in itself more consistent, and more fitly to be dealt with in a more serious way,) but that I agreeable to our experience; who find a continual ebbing dislike the subject. And were it not that it is too obvious, and flowing of spirits, without being sensible of any so how prone the minds of some are to run themselves into notable' and sudden changes in our knowledge, as we any the grossest absurdities rather than admit the plain could not but, thereupon, observe in ourselves; if they, and easy sentiments of religion; it were miserable trifling or any as fluid finer matter, were the immediate subjects to talk at this rate, and a loss of time not to be endured. of it. It is therefore however sufficiently evident, and out But when an unaccountable aversion to the acknowledg- of question, that the human soul (be its own substance nent and adoration of the ever-blessed Deity, hurries away what it will) must have an efficient diverse from matter; men, affrighted and offended at the lustre of his so mani- which it was our present intendment to evince. And so fest appearances, to take a bad, but the only shelter the our way is clear to proceed to, case can admit, under the wings of any the most silly, XV. The second inquiry, whether it be not also manifoolish figment; though the ill temper and dangerous state fest, from the powers and operations which belong to it as of the persons is to be thought on with much pity, yet the it is reasonable, that it must have had an intelligent efthings which they pretend being in themselves ridiculous, ficient ? That is, since we find, and are assured, that there if we will entertain them into our thoughts at all, cannot ) is a sort of being in the world (yea somewhat of ourselves,
and that hath best right, of any thing else about us, to be we see how aptly its powers and faculties serve for their called ourselves) that can think, understand, deliberate, proper and peculiar operations, who that is not beside argue, &c. and which we can most certainly assure our himself can think that such a thing was made by one that selves (whether it were pre-existent in any former state, or knew not what he was doing? or that such powers were no) is not an independent or uncaused being, and hath there- not given on purpose for such operations ? And what is fore been the effect of some cause; whether it be not ap- the capacity, but å power that should sometime be reduced parently the effect of a wise cause?
into act, and arrive to the exercise of reason itself? And this, upon supposition of what hath been before Now was it possible any thing should give that power proved, seems not liable to any the least rational doubt that had it not any way ? That is, in the same kind, or in For it is already apparent, that it is not itself matter; and some more excellent and noble 'kind ? For we contend if it were, it is however the more apparent, that its cause not that this Agent whereof we speak is in the strict and prois not matter; inasmuch, as if it be itself matter, its per sense rational, taking that term to import an ability or powers and operations are so much above the natural faculty of inferring what is less known from what is more
. capacity of matter, as that it must have had a cause, so For we suppose all things equally known to him, (which, much more noble and of a more perfect nature than that, so far as is requisite to our present design, that is, the repreas to be able to raise and improve it, beyond the natural senting him the proper object of religion, or of that honour capacity of matter : which it was impossible for that, itself, which the dedication of a temple to him imports, we may to do. Whence it is plain, it must have a cause diverse in due time come more expressly to assert,) and that the from matter.
knowledge which is with us the end of reasoning, is in hin Wherefore this its immaterial cause must either be wise in its highest perfection, without being at all beholden to and intelligent, or not so. But is it possible any man that means; that all the connexion of things with one anshould ever be guilty of a greater absurdity than to ac- Other lie open to one comprehensive view, and are known knowledge some certain immaterial agent, destitute of to be connected, but not because they are so. We say, iş wisdom, the only cause and fountain of all that wisdom, it conceivable that man's knowing power should proceed that is, or hath ever been, in the whole race of mankind. from a cause that hath it not, in the same, or this more That is as much as to say, that all the wisdom of mankind perfect kind ? And may use those words to this purpose, hath been caused without a cause. For it is the same not for their authority, (which we expect not should be thing, after we have acknowledged any thing to be caused, bere significant,) but the convincing, evidence they carry to say it was caused by no cause, as to say it was caused with them, “He that teacheth man knowledge, shall not by such a cause as hath nothing of that in it, whereof we be know?” That we may drive this matter to an issue, it find somewhat to be in the effect. Nor can it avail any is evident the soul of man is not a necessary, self-originate thing, to speak of the disproportion or superior excellency thing; and had therefore some cause. We find it to have in some effects to their second, or to their only partial knowledge, or the power of knowing, belonging to it
. As that there are sometimes learned children of Therefore we say, so had its cause. We rely not here unlearned parents. For who did ever in that case say the upon the credit of vulgar maxims, (whereof divers might parents were the productive causes of that learning ? or be mentioned,) but the reason of them, or of the thing of them, as they were learned ? Sure that learning comes itself we allege. And do now speak of the whole, entire from some other cause. But shall it then be said, the cause of this being, the human soul, or of whatsoever is souls of men have received their being from some such casual of it; or of any perfection naturally appertaining to immaterial agent destitute of wisdom; and afterward, their it. It is of an intelligent nature. Did this intelligent nawisdom and intellectual ability came some other way; by ture proceed from an unintelligent, as the whole and only their own observation, or by institution and precept, from cause of it? That were to speak against our own eyes, others ? Whence then came their capacity of observing, or and most natural, common sentiments; and were the same of receiving such instruction ? Can anything naturally des- thing as to say that something came of nothing. For it is titute even of seminal reason, (as we may call it,) or of all one to say so, and to say that any thing communicated any aptitude or capacity tending thereto, ever be able to what it had not to communicate. Or(which is alike madly make observations, or receive instructions, whereby at absurd) to say that the same thing was such, and not such, length it may become rational ? And is not that capacity intelligent, and not intelligent, able to communicate an of the soul of man a real something? Or is there no differ- intelligent nature, (for sure what it doth it is able to do, ence between being capable of reason and incapable ? and not able, (for it is not able to communicate what it What, then, did this real something proceed from nothing ? hath not,) at the same time. Or was the soul itself caused, and this its capacity un- It is hardly here worth the while to spend time in councaused? Or was its cause, only, capable of intellectual termining that contemptible refuge, (which is as incapable perfection, but not actually furnished therewith? But if it of offending us, as of being defended,) that human souls were only capable, surely its advantages for the actual may perhaps only have proceeded in the ordinary course attainment thereof have been much greater than ours. of generation from one another. For that none have ever Whence it were strange if that capacity should never have said any thing to that purpose deserving a confutation, excome into act. And more strange, that we should know, cept that some sober and pious persons, for the avoiding or have any ground to pretend, that it hath not. But that of some other difficulties, have thought it more safe to asthere was an actual exercise of wisdom in the production sert the traduction of human souls, who yet were far enough of the reasonable soul is most evident. For is it a neces- from imagining that they could he total, or first causes to sary being ? That we have proved it is not. It is therefore one another: and doubted not, but they had the constant a contingent, and its being depended on a free cause, into necessary assistance of that same Being we are pleading whose pleasure, only, it was resolvable, that it should be for, acting in his own sphere, as the first cause in all suck, or not be; and which therefore had a dominion over its as well as any other, productions. Wherein they nothing own acts. If this bespeak not an intelligent agent, what oppose the main design of this discourse; and therefore it doth ?
is not in our way, to offer at any opposition unto them. And though this might also be said concerning every But if any have a mind to indulge themselves the liberty thing else which is not necessarily, and so might yield of so much dotage, as to say the souls of men were first more general argument to evince a free designing cause; and only causes to one another; either they must suppose yet it concludes with greater evidence concerning the rea- them to be material beings; and then we refer them to sonable soul; whose powers and operations it is so mani- what hath been already said, showing that their powers festly impossible should have proceeded from matter. And and operations cannot belong to matter, nor arise from it; therefore even that vain and refuted pretence itself, that or immaterial
, and then they cannot produce one another other things might, by the necessary laws of its motion, in the way of generation. For of what pre-existent subbecome what they are, can have less place here. Whence stance are they made? Theirs who beget them? Of it is more apparent
that the reasonable soul must have had that they can part with nothing; separability, at least, of a free and intelligent cause, that used liberty and counsel, parts being a most confessed property of matter. Or some in determining that it should be, and especially that it. Other? Where will they find that other spiritual substance, should be such a sort of thing as we find it is. For when that belonged not inseparably to some individual being
before? And besides, if it were pre-existent, as it must insist upon every thing that may be said, so that enough be if a soul be generated out of it, then they were not the be said to serve our present purpose. first and only causes of this production. And in another XVI. And that our purpose may yet be more fully way than that of generation, how will any form the notion served, and such a being evidenced to exist as we may of making a soul? Let experience and the making of with satisfaction esteem to merit a temple with us, and the trial convince the speculators. By what power, or by religion of it, it is necessary that we add somewhat conwhat art, will they make a reasonable soul spring up out cerning, of nothing?
9. The divine goodness; for unto that eternal Being, It might be hoped that thus, without disputing the pos- whose existence we have hitherto asserted, goodness also sibility of an eternal, successive production of souls, this cannot but appertain ; together with those his other attrishift may appear vain. But if any will persist, and say, butes we have spoken of. that how, or in what way soever they are produced, it is It is not needful here to be curious about the usual strange if they need any nobler cause than themselves; scholastical notions of goodness, or what it imports, as it for may not any living thing well enough be thought ca- is wont to be attributed to being in the general, what, as pable of producing another of the same kind, of no more it belongs in a peculiar sense to intellectual beings, or than equal perfection with itself? To this we say, besides what more special import it may have, in reference to this. that no one living thing is the only cause of another such, That which we at present chiefly intend by it, is a propenyet if that were admitted possible, what will it avail? For sion to do good with delight; or most freely, without of her hath every soul that hath ever existed, or been in being, inducement than the agreeableness of it to his nature who been produced, in this way, by another ? This it were doth it; and a certain delectation and complacency, which, ridiculous to say, for if every one were so produced, there hence, is taken in so doing. The name of goodness (though was then some one, before every one ; inasmuch as that thus it more peculiarly signifies the particular virtue of which produces, must surely have been before that which liberality) is of a significancy large enough, even in the is produced by it. But how can every one have one before moral acceptation, to comprehend all other perfections or it? A manifest contradiction in the very terms! For virtues, that belong to, or may any way commend, the then there will be one without the compass of every one will of a free agent. These therefore we exclude not; and And how is it then said to be every one? There is then particularly whatsoever is wont to be signified, as attriit seems one besides, or more than all. And so all is not butable unto God, by the names of holiness, as a steady all. And if this be thought a sophism, let the matter be inclination unto what is intellectually pure and comely, soberly considered thus : The soul of man is either a thing with an aversion to the contrary; justice, as that signifies of that nature universally (and consequently every indi- an inclination to deal equally, which is included in the Fidual soul) as that it doth exist of itself, necessarily and former, yet as more expressly denoting what is more proper independently, or not. If it be, then we have, however, a to a governor over others, viz. a resolution not to let the wise intelligent being necessarily existing, the thing we transgressions of laws, made for the preservation of comhave been proving all this while. Yet this concession we mon order, pass without due animadversion and punishwill not accept, for though it is most certain there is such ment; truth, whose signification also may be wholly cona being, we have also proved the human soul is not it. tained under those former more general terms, but more Whence it is evidently a dependent being, in its own na- directly contains sincerity, unaptness to deceive, and conture, that could never have been of itself, and consequently stancy to one's word: for these may properly be styled not at all, had it not been put into being by somewhat else. good things in a moral sense ; as many other things might, And being so in its own nature, it must be thus with every in another notion of goodness, which'it belongs not to our one that partakes of this nature. And consequently it present design to make mention of. But these are menmust be somewhat of another nature that did put the souls tioned as more directly tending to represent to us an amiaof men into being. Otherwise, the whole stock and line, ble object of religion ; and are referred hither, as they age of human souls is said to have been dependent on a fitly enough may, out of an unwillingness to multiply, withproductive cause, and yet had nothing whereon to depend: out necessity, particular heads or subjects of discourse. and so is both caused by another, and not caused. And In the meantime, as was said, what we principally intherefore since it is hereby evident it was somewhat else, tend, is, That the Being whose existence we have been and of another nature, than a human soul, by which all endeavouring to evince, is good, as that imports a ready haman souls were produced into being : we again say, inclination of will to communicate unto others what may that distinct being either was a dependent, caused being, be good to them ; creating, first, its own object, and then or not. If not, it being proved that the soul of man can- issuing forth to it, in acts of free beneficence, suitable to not but have had an intelligent or wise cause, we have the nature of every thing created by it. Which, though now what we seek-an independent, necessary, intelligent it be the primary or first thing carried in the notion of being, if it do depend, or any will be so idle to say so; this goodness, yet because that inclination is not otherwise that, however, will infallibly and very speedily lead us to good than as it consists with holiness, justice, and truth, the same mark. For though some have been pleased to these therefore may be esteemed, secondarily at least, to dream of an infinite succession of individuals of this or that belong to it, as inseparable qualifications thereof. kind, I sappose we have no dream as yet, ready formed, Wherefore it is not a merely natural and necessary emato come under confutation, of infinite kinds or orders of nation we here intend, that prevents any act or exercise of beings, gradually superior, one above another; the inferior counsel or design; which would no way consist with the still depending on the superior, and all upon nothing. And liberty of the divine will, and would make the Deity as therefore, I conceive, we may fairly take leave of this ar- well a necessary Agent, as a necessary Being; yea, and gument from the human soul, as having gained from it would therefore make all the creatures merely natural sufficient evidence of the existence of a necessary being, and necessary emanations, and so destroy the distinction that is intelligent, and designedly active, or guided by of necessary and contingent beings: and, by consequence, wisdom and counsel, in what it dóth.
bid fair to the making all things God. It would infer not We miglialso, if it were needful, further argue the same only the eternity of the world, but would seem to infer thing from a power or ability manifestly superior to, and either the absolute infinity of it, or the perfection of it, and that exceeds the utmost perfection of, human nature, viz. of every creature in it, to that degree, as that nothing could that of prophecy, or the prediction of future contingen- be more perfect in its own kind, than it is; or would infer cies; yea, and from another that exceeds the whole sphere the finiteness of the divine Being. For it would make of all created nature, and which crosses and countermands what he hath done the adequate measure of what he can the known and stated laws thereof, viz. that of working do, and would make all his administrations necessary, yea, miracles; both of them exercised with manifest design; and all the actions of men, and consequently take away as might evidently be made appear, by manifold instances, all law and government out of the world, and all measures lo as many as can believe any thing to be true, more than of right and wrong, and make all punitive justice, barbarwhat they have seen with their own eyes ; and that do ous cruelty: and consequently, give us a notion of goodnot take present sense, yea, and their own only, to be the ness, at length, plainly inconsistent with itself. alone measure of all reality. But it is not necessary we All this is provided against, by our having first asserted
ral. As that it is at the remotest distance
absolute fulness and infiniteness of God considered. 2. The onliness of this
the wisdom of that Being, whereunto we also attribute of divine perfections, but under the notion of many, what. goodness; which guides all the issues of it, according to soever their real identity may be, so we do not know, but those measures or rules which the essential rectitude of that within the compass of universal perfection there may the divine will gives, or rather is, unto it: whereby also a be some particular ones, of which there is no footstep in foundation is laid of answering such cavils against the the creation, and whereof we have never formed any divine goodness, as they are apt to raise to themselves, thought,) por (more certainly) in degree; for surely the who are wont to magnify this attribute to the suppression world, and the particular creatures in it, are not so perfect of others; which is, indeed, in the end, to magnify it to in correspondence to those attributes of its great Architect
, nothing. And such goodness needs no other demonstra- which we have mentioned, viz. his power, wisdom, and tion, than the visible instances and effects we have of it goodness, as he might have made them, if he had pleased. in the creation and conservation of this world; and parti- And indeed, to say the world were absolutely and univercularly, in his large, munificent bounty and kindness to sally perfect, were to make that God. wards man, whereof his designing him for his temple and Wherefore it must also be acknowledged that an absoresidence, will be a full and manifest proof.
lutely perfect being cannot be immediately demonstrated And of all this, his own self-sufficient fulness leaves it from its effects, as whereto they neither do, nor is it within impossible to us to imagine another reason, than the de- the capacity of created nature that they can, adequately light he takes in dispensing his own free and large com- correspond. Whence, therefore, all that can be done for munications. Besides, that when we see some semblances the evincing of the absolute and universal perfection of and imitations of this goodness in the natures of some men, God, must be in some other way or method of discourse. which we are sure are not nothing, they must needs pro- And though it be acknowledged that it cannot be immeceed from something, and have some fountain and original, diately evidenced from the creation, yet it is to be hoped which can be no other than the common Cause and Au- that mediately it may. For from thence (as we have seen thor of all things. In whom, therefore, this goodness doth a necessary self-originate being, such as hath been descrifirstly and most perfectly reside.
bed, is, with the greatest certainty, to be concluded; and, from thence, if we attentively consider, we shall be led to an absolutely perfect one. That is, since we have the same certainty of such a necessary self-originate being, as we
have that there is any thing existent at all; if we seriously CHAPTER IV.
weigh what kind of being this must needs be, or what its
notion must import, above what hath been already evinced; Generally all supposable perfection asserted of this Being ; where, First, A be
we shall not be found, in this way, much to fall short of ing absolutely perfect is endeavoured to be evinced from the already proved our present aim, though we have also other evidence that nccessary being, which is shown to import, in the econeral, the utmost oful: may be produced in its own fitter place.
on no being. Most purely actual. Here therefore let us awhile make a stand, and more Most abstracted being. The productive and conserving cause of all things distinctly
consider how far we are already advanced
, thal expressly deduced, the infiniteness of this being. An inquiry whether it be we may with the better order and advantage make our possible the creature can be actually infinito ? Difficulties conceming the further progress. being. The Trinity not thereby excluded.
These two things, then, are already evident: 1. That
there is a necessary being that hath been eternally of itself, 1. Some account has been thus far given of that Being, without dependence upon any thing, either as a productive whereunto we have been designing to assert the honour of or conserving cause, and, of itself, full of activity and a temple. Each of the particulars having been severally vital energy, so as to be a productive and sustaining cause insisted on, that concur to make up that notion of this to other things. Of this any the most confused and indisbeing, which was at first laid down. And more largely, tinct view of this world, or a mere taking notice that there what hath been more opposed, by persons of an atheistical is any thing in being that lives and moves, and witbal that or irreligious temper. But because, in that fore-mentioned alters and changes, (which it is impossible the necessary account of God, there was added to the particulars there being itself should do,) cannot but put us out of doubt. enumerated, (out of a just consciousness of human inabili- 2. That
this necessary, self-originate, vital, active being, ty to comprehend every thing that may possibly belong to hath very vast power, admirable wisdom, and most free him,) this general supplement, " That all other supposa- and large goodness belonging to it. And
of this, our ble excellences whatsoever, do in the highest perfection nearer and more deliberate view and contemplation of the appertain also originally unto this Being," it is requisite world do equally ascertain us. For of these things we that somewhat be said concerning this addition. Espe- find the manifest prints and footsteps in it. Yes, we find cially in as much as it comprehends in it, or may infer, the derived things themselves, power,
wisdom, goodness some things (not yet expressly mentioned) which may be in the creatures: and we are most assured they have not thought necessary to the evincing the reasonableness of sprung from nothing; nor
thing that had them religion, or our self-dedication as a temple to him. not. And that which originally had them, or was their
For instance, it may possibly be alleged, that if it were first fountain, must have them necessarily and essentially admitted there is somewhat that is eternal, uncaused, in- (together with whatsoever else belongs to its being.) in and dependent, necessarily existent, that is self-active, living, of itself. So that the asserting of any other necessary powerful, wise, and good ; yet all this will not infer upon being, that is in itself destitute of these things, signifies us a universal 'obligation to religion, unless it can also be no more towards the giving any account how these things ply and satisfy all our
real wants and just desires. And, existing, were asserted at all. We are therefore, by the . That this Being is but one, and so that all be at a cer- exigency of the case itself, constrained to acknowledge, tainty where their religion ought to terminate ; and that not only that there is a necessary being, but
that there is the worship of every temple must concentre and meet in such a one as could be, and was, the fountain and cause the same object . Now the eviction of an absolutely perfect of all
those several kinds
and degrees of being and pera purposes which may seem hitherto'not so fully satisfied. ther sort of necessary being should not only be asserted It is therefore requisite that we endeavour, First, To show that the Being hitherto described is ab- imaginable use to be made of it, as a principle that can
to no purpose, there being nothing to be gained by it, no solutely or every way perfect.
serve any valuable end; (for suppose such a thing as ne: Secondly, To deduce, from the same grounds, the abso cessary matter, it will, as hath been shown, be unalterable; lute infinity, and the unity or the onliness thereof. and therefore another sort of matter must be supposed beII. And for the former part of this
undertaking, it must sides it, that may be the matter of the universe, raised up be pretended to have been expressed in any, or in all the wieldy and unmanageable an entity can never serve ;) hone know, (for as we cannot conceive, nor consequently speak, | able with any plausible show of reason to make it out.