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Yes, and much may be said, I conceive with convincing a common cause, which we design by the name of God. evidence, against it. As may perhaps be seen in the sequel And now considering him as a wise Agent, (which hath of this discourse.
been proved,) and consequently a free one, that acted not In the meantime, that there is, however, a necessary from any necessity of nature, but his mere good pleasure being, unto which all the perfections whereof we have any herein, we will not only conclude him to have all that footsteps or resemblances in the creation do originally and perfection and excellency in him which we find him to essentially belong, is undeniably evident.
have displayed in so vast and glorious a work, but will Now, that we may proceed, what can self-essentiate, readily believe him (supposing we have admitted a conunderived power, wisdom, goodness, be, but most perfect viction concerning what hath been discoursed before) to power, wisdom, goodness ? Or such, as than which there have a most inconceivable treasure of hidden excellency can never be more perfect ? For since there can be no and perfection in him, that is not represented to our view wisdom, power, or goodness, which is not either original in this work of his: and account, that he who could do all and self-essentiate, or derived and participated from this which we see is done, could do unspeakably more. thence; who sees not that the former must be the more For though, speaking of natural and necessitated agents, perfect? Yea, and that it comprehends all the other (as which always act to their uttermost, it would be absurd to what was from it) in itself, and consequently that it is simply argue from their having done some lesser thing, to their the most perfect? And the reason will be the same, con power of doing somewhat that is much greater; yet as to cerning any other perfection, the stamps and characters free agents, that can choose their own act, and guide themwhereof we find signed upon the creatures.
selves by wisdom and judgment therein, the matter is not But that the being unto which these belong is absolutely so. As when some great prince bestows a rich largess and universally perfect in every kind, must be further evi- upon some mean person, especially that deserved nothing denced by considering more at large the notion and import from him, or was recommended by nothing to his royal of such a self-originate necessary being.
favour, besides his poverty and misery; we justly take it Some indeed, both more anciently, and of late, have for a very significant demonstration of that princely muinverted this course; and from the supposition of absolute nificence and bounty, which would incline him to do perfection, have gone about to infer necessity of existence, much greater things, when he should see a proportionable as being contained in the idea of the former. But of this cause. latter we are otherwise assured upon clearer and less ex But now, if taking notice of the excellences that appear ceptionable terms. And being so, are to consider whal in created beings, and inquiring how they come to exist improvement may be made of it to our present purpose. and be what they are, we resolve all into their cause;
And in the general, this seems manifestly. imported in which, considering as perfectly free and arbitrary in all his the notion of the necessary being we have already evinced, communications, we do thence rationally conclude, that if that it have in it (some way or other, in what way there he had thought fit, he could have made a much more will be occasion to consider hereafter) the entire sum and pompous display of himself; and that there is in him, utmost fulness of being, beyond which or without the besides what appears, a vast and most abundant store of compass whereof no perfection is conceivable, or indeed undiscovered perfection. (which is of the same import) nothing.
When next we turn our inquiry and contemplation more Let it be observed, that we pretend not to argue this entirely upon the cause, and bethink ourselves, But how from the bare terms necessary being only, but from hence, came he to exist and be what he is? Finding this cannot that it is such as we have found it; though indeed these be refunded upon any superior cause; and our utmost very terms import not a little to this purpose. For that inquiry can admit of no other result but this, that he is of which is necessarily of itself, without being beholden to himself what he is, we will surely say then, He is all in any thing, seems as good as all things, and to contain in all. And that perfection which before we judged vastly itself an immense fulness, being indigent of nothing. Nor great, we will now conclude altogether absolute, and such by indigence is here meant cravingness, or a sense of want beyond which no greater can be thought. only; in opposition whereto, every good and virtuous man lding, I say, to what pre-conceptions we had of his hath or may attain a sort of avrápacia or self-fulness, and greatness, from the works which we see have been done be satisfied from himself: (which yet is a stamp of di- by him, (for why should we lose any ground we might vinity, and a part of the image of God, or such a partici- have esteemed ourselves to have gained before ?) the conpation of the divine nature, as is agreeable to the state and sideration of his necessary self-subsistence : and that no condition of a creature:) but we understand by it (what other reason is assignable of his being what he is, but the is naturally before that) want itself really, and not in peculiar and incommunicable excellency of his own naopinion, as the covetous is said to be poor. On the other ture; whereby he was not only able to make such a world, hand, we bere intend not a merely rational, (much less an but did possess eternally and invariably in himself all that imaginary,) but a real self-fulness. And so we say, what he is, and hath: we cannot conceive that all to be less than is of that nature, that it is, and subsists wholly and only absolutely universal, and comprehensive of whatsoever can of itself, without depending on any other, must owe this lie within the whole compass of being. absoluteness to so' peculiar an excellency of its own nature, For when we find that among all other beings, (which as we cannot well conceive to be less than whereby it is most certainly true not only of actual, but all possible comprehends in itself the most boundless and unlimited beings also,) how perfect soever they are or may be in their fulness of being, life, power, or whatsoever can be con own kinds, none of them, nor all of them together, are or reived under the name of a perfection. For taking notice ever can be of that perfection, as to be of themselves withof the existence of any thing whatsoever, some reason must out dependence on somewhat else as their productive, yea be assignable, whence it is that this particular being doth and sustaining, cause; we 'see besides, that their cause exist, and hath such and such powers and properties be- hath all the perfection, some way, in it that is to be found longing to it, as do occur to our notice therein. When in them all: there is also that appropriate perfection bewe can now resolve its existence into some cause that put longing thereto, that it could be; and eternally is (yea and it into being, and made it what it is, we cease so much to could not but be) only of itself, by the underived and inadmire the thing, how excellent soever it be, and turn our communicable excellency of its own being. And surely, admiration upon its cause, concluding that to have all the what includes in it all the perfection of all actual and posperfection in it which we discern in the effect, whatsoever sible beings, besides its own, (for there is nothing possible unknown perfection (which we may suppose is very great) which some cause, yea and even this, cannot produce, it may have besides. And upon this gronnd we are led, and inconceivably more, must needs be absolutely and when we behold the manifold excellences that lie dispersed every way perfect. Of all which perfections this is the among particular beings in this universe, with the glory of radical one, that belongs to this common Cause and Author the whole resulting thence, to resolve their existence into of all things, that he is necessarily and only self-subsisting.
1. so that whatever thero is of strength in that way of arguing, the glory art. 1. contra Gentil. 1. 1. c. 10. Bradwardin. 1. 1. c. 1. And by divers of of it cannot be without injury appropriated to the present age, much less late, as is sufficiently known, some rejecting, others much confiding in its to any particular person therein: it having, since Anselm, been ventilated both of these former, and of modern writers. by diven others heretoforo. D. Scot
dist. 2 Q. 2 Tb. Aquin. P. I. Q. 2
So that unto all that vast possibility, a proportionable theme
For if this high prerogative in point of being had been And hence we may see what it is to be nearer, or at a
it is plain all that, with its own being, was contained in it
. Wherefore that is a sober and most important truth which And therefore, even in that sense, it is at the greatest disis occasionally drawn forth (as is supposed) from the so tance from no-being; as comprehending the utmost fulness admired Des Cartes by the urgent objections of bis very of being in itself, and consequently absolute perfection. acute, friendly adversary, that the inexhaustible power of which will yet further appear, in what follows. We thereGod is the reason for which he needed no cause ; and that fore add, since that unexhausted power, or the immensity of his es IV. That necessary being is most unmixed or purest sence, is most highly positive, therefore he may be said to being, without allay. That is pure which is full of itself. be of himself positively, i. e. not as if he did ever by any Purity is not here meant in a cor eal sense, (which few positive efficiency cause himself(which is most manifestly will think,) nor in the moral; but as, with metaphysicians
, the best impossible) but that the positive excellency of his own it signifies simplicity of essence. And in its present use being was such, as could never need, nor admit of, being is more especially intended to signify that simplicity which caused.
is opposed to the composition of act and possibility. We And that seems highly rational, (which is so largely in- say then, that necessary being imports purest actuality; sisted on by Doctor Jackson, and divers others,) that what which is the ultimate and highest perfection of being. For is without cause must also be without limit of being; be- it signifies no remaining possibility, yet unreplete or not cause all limitation proceeds from the cause of a thing, filled up, and consequently the fullest exuberancy and enwhich imparted to it so much and no more; which argu- tire confluence of all being, as in its fountain and original ment, though it seems neglected by Des Cartes, and is source. We need not here look further to evince this, opposed by his antagonist; yet I cannot but judge that the than the native import of the very terms themselves; nelonger one meditates, the less he shall understand, how cessity and possibility; the latter whereof is not so fitly any thing can be limited ad intra, or from itself, &c. As said to be excluded the former, as contingency is, but to be the author of the Tentam. Phys. Theol. speaks.
swallowed up of it; as fulness takes up all the space But that we may entertain ourselves with some more which were otherwise nothing but vacuity or emptiness. particular considerations of this necessary being, which it is plain then that necessary being engrosses all possible may evince that general assertion of its absolute plenitude being, both that is, and (for the same reason) ihat ever was or fulness of essence : it appears to be such,
so. For nothing can be, or ever was, in possibility to III. As is first, at the greatest imaginable distance from come into being, but what either must spring, or hath non-entity. For what can be at a greater than that which sprung, from the necessary self-subsisting being. is necessarily, which signifies as much as whereto not to be is utterly impossible ? Now an utter impossibility not actuality of this being must be understood to correspond. to be, or the uttermost distance from no being, seems Else the other were not possible. For nothing is possible plainly to imply the absolute plenitude of all being. And, to be produced which is not within the actual productive if here it be said that to be necessarily and of itself needs power of the necessary being: I say within its actual probe understood to import no more than a firm possession of ductive power; for if its power for such production were that being which a thing hath, be it never so scant or mi- not already actual, it could never become so, and so were nute a portion of being; I answer, it seems indeed so, if none at all : inasmuch as necessary being can never alter, we measure the signification of this expression by its first and consequently can never come actually to be what it and more obvious appearance. But if you consider the already is not; upon which account it is truly said, In matter more narrowly, you will find here is also signified aternis posse et esse sunt idem. Wherefore in it, is nothing the nature and kind of the being possessed, as well as the else but pure actuality, as profound and vast as is the utmanner of possession, viz. that it is a being of so excellent most possibility of all created or producible being; i. e. it and noble a kind, as that it can subsist alone without being can be nothing other than it is, but can do all things, of beholden : which is so great an excellency, as that it man which more hereafter. It therefore stands opposed, not ifestly comprehends all other, or is the foundation of all only, more directly, to impossibility of being, which is the that can be conceived besides. Which, they that fondly most proper notion of no-being, but some way, even to dream of necessary matter, not considering, unwaringly possibility also. That is, the possibility of being any thing make one single atom a more excellent thing than the but what it is; as being every way complete and perfectly whole frame of heaven and earth : that being supposed full already. simply necessary, this the merest piece of hap-hazard, the V. Again, we might further add, that it is the most ab strangest chance imaginable, and beyond what any but stracted being, or is being in the very abstract. A thing themselves could ever have imagined. And which, being much insisted on by some of the schoolmen. And the considered, would give us to understand that no minute or notion which with much obscurity they pursue after their finite being can be necessarily.
manner, may carry some such sense as this, (if it may,
b Ad ob. in Med. resp. quarta.
c of the Essence and Attributes of God.
thronghout, be called sense,) that whereas no created na- being by somewhat else. And inasmuch as there is no ture is capable of any other than mere mental abstraction, middle sort of being betwixt necessary and not necessary, bat exists always in concretion with some subject, that, be and all that is not necessary is caused, it is plain that it never so refined, is grosser and less perfect than itself; which is necessary must be the cause of all the rest. And so that we can distinguish the mentally abstracted essence, surely what is the cause of all being besides its own, must and the thing which hath that essence; by which concre- needs, one way or other, contain its own and all other in tion, essence is limited, and is only the particular essence itself, and is consequently comprehensive of the utmost of this or that thing, which hath or possesses that essence. fulness of being; or is the absolutely perfect heing, (as The necessary being is, in strict propriety, not so truly must equally be acknowledged,) unless any one would said to have essence, as to be it, and exist separately by imagine himself to have got the notice of some perfection itself; not as limited to this or that thing. Whence it is, that lies without the compass of all being. in itself, universal essence, containing therefore, not for Nor is it an exception worth the mentioning, that there mally, but eminently, the being of all things in perfect may be a conception of possible being or perfection, which simplicity. Whence all its own attributes are capable of the necessary being hath not caused. For it is, manifestly, being affirmed of it in the abstract, that it is wisdom, as well the possible cause of all possjble being and perpower, goodness; and not only hath these, and that upon fection, as the actual cause of what is actual. And what this account it is a being, which is necessarily and of itself. it is possible to it to produce, it hath within its productive For that which is necessarily and of itself, is not whatso power, as hath been said before. ever it is by the accession of any thing to itself, whereof And if the matter did require it, we might say further, necessary being is incapable; but by its own simple and that the same necessary being which hath been the prounvariable essence. Other being is upon such terms auctive cause, is also the continual root and basis of all powerful, wise, yea, and existent, as that it may cease to being, which is not necessary. For what is of itself, and be so. Whereas to necessary being, it is manifestly repug- cannot, by the special privilege of its own being, but be, nant, and impossible either simply not to be, or to be any needs nothing to sustain it, or needs not trust to any thing thing else but what and as it is. ` And though other things besides its own eternal stability. But what is not so, may have properties belonging to their essence not separa- seems to need a continual reproduction every moment ble from it, yet they are not their very essence itself. And, and to be no more capable of continuing in being by itself, whereas they are in a possibility to lose their very exist- than it was, by itself, of coming into being. For (as is ence, the knot and ligament of whatsoever is most intimate frequently alleged by that so often mentioned author) since to their actual being, all then falls from them together. there is no connexion betwixt the present and future time, Here, essence, properties, and existence, are all one simple but what is easily capable of rupture, it is no way consething that can never cease, decay, or change, because the quent that, because I am now, I shall therefore be the whole being is necessary. Now, all this being supposed, next moment, further than as the free Author of my being of the force of that form of speech, when we affirm any shall be pleased to continue his own most arbitrary inthing in the abstract of another, we may admit the common Auence, for my support. This seems highly probable to sense of men to be the interpreter. For every body can be true, whether that reason signify any thing or nothing. tell, though they do not know the meaning of the word And that thence, also, continual conservation differs not abstract, what we intend when we use that phrase or from creation. Which, whether (as is said by the same manner of speaking. As when we say, by way of hyper- author) it be one of the things that are manifest by natural bolical commendation, Such a man is not only learned, light, or whether a positive act be needless to the annihibut leaming itself; or he not only hath much of virtue, lation of created things, but only the withholding of injustice, and goodness in him, but he is virtue, justice, and Auence, let them examine that apprehend the cause to goodness itself, (as was once said of an excellent pagan need it. And if, upon inquiry, they judge it at least virtuoso, that I may borrow leave to use that word in the evidenceable by natural light to be so, (as I doubt not moral sense,) every one knows the phrase intends the ap- they will,) they will have this further ground upon which propriating all learning, virtue, justice, goodness, to such thus to reason : that, inasmuch as the necessary being
Which, because they know unappropriable to any subsists wholly by itself, and is that whereon all other man, they easily understand it to be, in such a case, a doth totally depend, it hereupon follows, that it must, rhetorical strain and form of speech. And yet could not some way, 'contain in itself all being. We may yet furknow that, if also they did not understand its proper and ther add, native import. And so it may as well be understood what That the necessary being we have evinced, though it is meant by saying of God, He is being itself. With have caused and do continually sustain all things, yet which sense may be reconciled that of (the so named) doth not itself in the meantimé suffer any diminution. Dionysius the Areopagite ;f that God is not so properly It is not possible, nor consistent with the very terms nesaid to be of, or be in, or to have, or partake, of being, as cessary being, that it can. It is true, that if such a thing that it is of him, &c. Inasmuch as he is the pre-existent as a necessary atom were admitted, that would be also Being to all being; i. e. if we understand him to mean all undiminishable, it were not else an atom. But as nothing besides his own. In which sense taking being for that then can flow from it, as from a perfect parvitude nothing which is communicated and imparted, he may truly be can, so it can effect nothing. And the reason is the same said, (as this author and the Platonists generally speak,b) of many as of one. Nor would undiminishableness, upon to be super-essential or super-substantial. But how fitlý such terms, signify any thing to the magnifying the value being is taken in that restrained sense, we may say more of such a trifle. hereafter.
But this is none of the present case: for our eyes tell In the meantime, what hath been said concerning this us here is a world in being, which we are sure is not itself abstractedness of the necessary being, hath in it somethings necessarily; and was therefore made by him that is. And so unintelligible, and is accompanied with so great (un- that, without mutation or change in him; against which mentioned) difficulties, (which it would give us, perhaps, the very notion of a necessary being is most irreconcilably more labour than profit to discuss,) and the absolute per- reluctant; and therefore without diminution, which cansection of God appears so evidenceable otherwise, by what not be conceived without change. bath been and may be further said, that we are no way Wherefore how inexhaustible a fountain of life, being, concerned to lay the stress of the cause on this matter and all perfection, have we here represented to our thoughts! only.
from whence this vast universe is sprung, and is continually VI. Moreover, necessary being is the cause and author springing, and that in the meantime receiving no recruits of all being besides. Whatsoever is not necessary, is or foreign supplies, yet suffers no impairment or lessening caused; for not having being of itself, it must be put into of itself? What is this but absolute all-fulness? And it is
e To which purpose we may take notice of the words of one, not the leas | αυτος του ειναι, και εν αυτωι εστι το ειναι, και ουκ αυτος εν τωι ειναι, και worlby to be named, for not being reckoned of that fore-mentioned order, Si e derrominative de eo quippiam prædicaretur, abstractum esset tum aliud
αυτον εχει το ειναι, και ουκ αυτος έχει το ειναι. De Dinine nonία. Co. 5.. ab ipso, tum ipso prius. Quod sane impium est, quare neque ens est sed es
Εταυτη τη φρεια καθορα, πηγην μεν ζωης, πηγην δε νου, αρχην regtia, neque bonus sed bonitos est. Jul. Scal. Ezerc. 365. Και αυτο το ειναι εκ του προοντος, και αυτου εστι δε το ειναι, και ουκ | ελαττουντων. Plotine Enή. 9. c. 9.
οντος, αγαθου αιτιάν ρίζαν ψυχης ουκ εκ χεόμενων απ' αυτου ειτ' εκείνων
so far from arguing any deficiency or mutability in his bound or limit. This is the same with absolute perfec-
Either therefore the creature is, or some time may be VII. We only say further, that this necessary Being is actually made, so perfect thąt it cannot be more perfect, or such to which nothing can be added; so as that it should not. If not, we have our purpose; that there is an infinite be really greater, or better, or more perfect, than it was possibility on the part of the creature, always unreplete; before. And this not only signifies, that nothing can be and consequently, a proportionable infinite actuality of joined to it, so as to become a part of it, (which necessary power on the Creator's part. Infinite power, I say; otherbeing, by its natural immutability, manifestly refuses,) but wise there were not that acknowledged infinite possibility we also intend by it, that all things else, with it, contain of producible being: For nothing is producible that no not more of real perfection than it doth alone. Which, power can produce, be the intrinsic possibility of it (or its though it carries a difficulty with it that we intend not not-implying in itself a contradiction that it should exist) wholly to overlook when it shall be seasonable to consider what it will. And I say, infinite actual power, because it, is a most apparent and demonstrable truth. For it is the Creator, being what he is necessarily, what power he plain that all being and perfection which is not necessary, hath not actually, he can never have, as was argued
before. proceeds from that which is, as the cause of it; and that But if it be said, the creature either is, or may some time no cause could communicate any thing to another which be, actually so perfect as that it cannot be more perfect; it had not, some way, in itself. Wherefore it is manifestly that, as was said, will suppose it then actually infinite; consequent that all other being was wholly before com- and therefore much more that its cause is so. And thereprehended in that which is necessary, as having been fore in this way our present purpose would be gained also. wholly produced by it. And what is wholly comprehended But we have no mind to gain it this latter way, as we have of another, i. e. within its productive power, before it be no need. It is in itself plain, to any one that considers, produced, can be no real addition to it, when it is. that this possibility on the creature's part can never actu
Now what can be supposed to import fulness of being 'ally be filled up; that it is a bottomless abyss, in which and perfection, more than this impossibility of addition, our thoughts may still gradually go down deeper and or that there can be nothing greater or more perfect ? deeper, without end: that is, that still more might be pro
And now these considerations are mentioned, without duced, or more perfect creatures, and still more, everlastsolicitude whether they be so many exactly distinct heads. ingly, without any bound; which sufficiently infers what For admit that they be not all distinct, but some are in- we aim at, that the Creator's actual power is proportionvolved with others of them, yet the same truth may, more able. And indeed the supposition of the former can neither powerfully strike some understandings in one form of re- consist with the Creator's perfection, nor with the imperpresentation, others in another. And it suffices, that fection of the creature; it would infer that the Creator's (though not severally) they do together plainly evidence productive power might be exhausted'; that he could do that the necessary being includes the absolute, entire ful- no more, and so place an actual boundary to him, and ness, of aļl being and perfection actual and possible within make him finite. It were to make the creature actually itself.
full of being, that it could receive no more, and so would Having therefore thus despatched that former part of this make that infinite. But it may be said, since all power is undertaking, the eviction of an every-way perfect being, in order to act, and the very notion of possibility imports we shall now need to labour little in the other, viz. that such a thing, of which it is said, may, some time, be
VIII. Secondly, The more express deduction of the in- actual; it seems very unreasonable to say that the infinite finiteness and onliness thereof.
power of a cause cannot produce an infinite effect; or that For as to the former of these, it is in effect the same infinite possibility can never become infinite actuality. For thing that hath been already proved; since to the fullest that were to say and unsay the same thing, of the same; notion of infiniteness, absolute perfection seems every way to affirm omnipotency and impotency of the same cause; most fully to correspond. For absolute perfection includes possibility and impossibility of the same effect. all conceivable perfection, leaves nothing excluded. And How urgent soever this difficulty may seem, there needs what doth most simple infiniteness import, but to have nothing but patience and attentive consideration to disennothing for a boundary, or, which is the same, not to be tangle ourselves and get through it. For if we will but bounded at all ?
allow ourselves the leisure to consider, we shall find that We intend not now, principally, infiniteness extrinsi- power and possibility must here be taken not simply and cally considered, with respect to time and place, as to be abstractedly, but as each of them is in conjunction with eternal and immense do import; but intrinsically, as im- infinite. And what is infinite, but that which can never porting bottomless profundity of essence, and the full con- be travelled through, or whereof no end can be ever arrived fluence of all kinds and degrees of perfection, without | unto ? Now suppose infinite power had produced all that
it could produce, it were no longer infinite, there were an done? The answer will be, Because eternity (in every and of it: i. e. it had found limits and a boundary beyond imaginable instant whereof, the inexhaustible power of which it could not go. If infinite possibility were filled God can, if he will be still adding either more creatures, up, there were an end of that also; and so neither were or more perfection to a creature) can never be at an end. infinite.
We might further argue the infinity of the necessary It may then be further urged, that there is therefore no being, from what hath been said of its undiminishableness, such thing as infinite power or possibility. For how is by all its vast communications. Its impossibilityk to rethat cause said to have infinite power, which can never ceive any accession to itself, by any its so great productions, produce its proportionable effect, or that effect have infinite both which are plainly demonstrable, as we have seen, of possibility, which can never be produced ? It would follow the necessary being, even as it is such, and do clearly, as then, that power and possibility, which are said to be in any thing can, bespeak infinity. But we have thence arfinite, are neither power nor possibility; and that infinite gued its absolute perfection, which so evidently includes must be rejected as a notion either repugnant to itself, or the same thing, that all this latter labour might have been to any thing unto which we shall go about to affix it. spared; were it not that it is the genius of some persons
I answer, It only follows, they are neither power nor not to be content that they have the substance of a thing possibility, whereof there is any bound or end; or that said, unless it be also said in their own terms. And that can ever be gone through. And how absurd is it that they the express asserting of God's simple infiniteness, in those shall be said, as they cannot but be, to be both very vast, very terms, is, in that respect, the more requisite, as it is if they were finite; and none at all, for no other reason a form of expression more known 'and usual. but their being infinite! And for the pretended repugnancy IX. There are yet some remaining difficulties in the of the very notion of infinite, it is plain, that though it can- matter we have been discoursing of; which partly through not be to us distinctly comprehensible, yet it is no more the debility of our own minds we cannot but find, and repugnant than the notion of finiteness. Nor when we which partly the subțilty of sophistical wits doth create to have conceived of power, in the general, and in our own us. It will be requisite we have some consideration of at thoughts set bounds to it, and made it finite, is it a greater least some of them, which we will labour to despatch with difficulty (nay, they that try will find it much easier) all possible brevity; leaving those that delight in the sport again to think away these bounds, and make it infinite ? of tying and loosing knots, or of weaving snares wherein And let them that judge the notion of infiniteness incon- cunningly to entangle themselves, to be entertained by the sistent, therefore reject it if they can. They will feel it school-men; among whom they may find enough, upon reimposing itself upon them, whether they will or no, and this subject, to give them exercise unto weariness; and, if sticking as close to their minds as their very thinking power their minds have any relish of what is more savory, I may itself. And who was therefore ever heard of, that did not venture to say, unto loathing. acknowledge some or other infinite ? Even the Epicure It may possibly be here said, in short, But what have ans themselves, though they confined their gods, they did we all this while been doing? We have been labouring not the universe. Which, also, though some Peripatetic to prove that necessary being comprehends the absolute atheists made finite in respect of place; yet in duration fulness of all being : and what doth this signify, but that they made it infinite. Though the notion of an eternal all being is necessary ? That God is all things, and so world is encumbered with such absurdities and impossi- that every thing is God; that we hereby confound the bebilities, as whereof there is not the least shadow, in that, ing of a man, yea, of a stone, or whatever we can think of an every way infinite Deity.
of, with one another, and all with the being of God. Briedy, it consists not with the nature of a contingent And again, how is it possible there'should be an infinite being, to be infinite. For what is upon such terms, only, self-subsisting being? For then how can there be any in being, is reducible to nothing, at ihe will and pleasure finite, since such infinite being includes all being, and of its maker; but it is a manifest repugnancy, that what there can be nothing beyond all ? is at the utmost distance from nothing (as infinite fulness Here therefore it is requisite, having hitherto only asof being cannot but be) should be reducible thither. serted, and endeavoured to evince that, some way, necesTherefore actual infinity cannot but be the peculiar privi- sary, being doth include 'all being, to show in what way. lege of that which is necessarily.'
And it is plain it doth not include all, in the same way, Yet may we not say, that it is not within the compass It doth not so include that which is created by it
, and of infinite power to make a creature that may be infinite. depends on it, as it doth its own, which is uncreated and For it argues not want of power that this is never to be independent. done, bat a still infinitely abounding surplusage of it, that The one it includes as its own, or rather as itself; las can never be drained or drawn dry. Nor, that the thing other, as what it is, and ever was, within its power to proitself is simply impossible. may be, as is compendiously duce. If any better like the terms formally and virtually, expressed by that most succinci and polite writer, Dr. they may serve themselves of them at their own pleasure, Boyle,i in fieri, not in facto esse. That is, it might be a which yet, as to many, will but more darkly speak the thing always in doing, but never done. Because it belongs same sense. to the infinite perfection of God, that his power be never We must here know, the productive power of God teractually exhausted; and to the infinite imperfection of the minates not upon himself, as if he were, by it, capable of creature, that its possibility or capacity be never filled up; adding any thing to his own appropriate being, which is to the necessary self-subsisting being, to be always full (as hath been evinced already) infinitely full, and incapaand communicative; to the communicated contingent be- ble of addition, and is therefore all pure act; but on the ing, to be ever empty and craving. One may be said to creature, where there is still a perpetual possibility, never have that, some way, in his power, not only which he can filled up; because divine power can never be exhausted. do presently, all at once, but which he can do by degrees, and thus all that of being is virtually in him, which, either and supposing he have sufficient time. So a man may be having produced, he doth totally sustain, or not being proreckoned able to do that, as the uttermost, adequate effect duced, he can produce. of his whole power, which it is only possible to him to Whereupon it is easy to understand, how necessary have effected, with the expiration of his life's-time. God's being may comprehend all being, and yet all being not be measure is eternity. What if we say then, this is a work necessary. It comprehends all being, besides what itself possible to be accomplished, even as the ultimate, propor- is, as having had, within the compass of its productive tionable issue of divine poroer, (if it were his will, upon power, whatsoever hath actually sprung from it, and having which all contingent being depends,) that the creature within the compass of the same power, whatsoever is still should be ever growing in the mean while, and be abso- possible to be produced. Which no more confounds such lutely perfect at the expiration of eternity? If then you produced or producible being with that necessary being be good at suppositions, suppose that expired, and this which is its cause, than it confounds all the effects of huwork finished, both together. Wherefore if you ask, Why man power with one another, and with the being of a man, can the work of making created being infinite, never be to say, that he virtually comprehended them (so far as they i Row Bishop of Clogher, in his Contemplat. Metaphys.
nothing added to it ; yet it is without dispute, that whatsoever is so full as that Por howsoever disputable it may be, whetrier whatsoever is infinite can have I nothing can be added to it, is infinite.