« AnteriorContinuar »
CONTAINING ANIMADVERSIONS ON SPINOSA, AND A FRENCH WRITER PRETENDING
TO CONFUTE HIM.
A RECAPITULATION OF THE FORMER PART, AND AN ACCOUNT OF THE DESTITUTION
AND RESTITUTION OF GOD'S TEMPLE AMONG MEN.
SHOWING THE INDUCEMENT AND GENERAL CONTENTS OF THIS SECOND PART. THE OCCASION OF CONSIDERING SPINOSA, AND A
FRENCH WRITER WHO PRETENDS TO CONFUTE HIM. A SPECIMEN OF THE WAY AND STRENGTH OF THE FORMER'S REASONING, AS AN INTRODUCTION TO A MORE DISTINCT EXAMINATION OF SUCH OF HIS POSITIONS, AS THE DESIGN OF THIS DISCOURSE WAS MORE DIRECTLY CONCERNED IN.
It is not worth the while to trouble the reader with an account why the progress of this work (begun many years ago, in a former part) hath been so long delayed; or why it is now resumed. There are cases wherein things too little for public notice, may be sufficient reasons to oneself: and such self-satisfaction is all that can be requisite, in a matter of no more importance than that circumstance only, of the time of sending abroad a discourse, of such a nature and subject, as that if it can be useful at any time, will be so at all times. The business of the present discourse, is religion ; which is not the concern of an age only, or of this or that time, but of all times; and which, in respect of its grounds and basis, is eternal, and can never cease or vary. But if in its use and exercise it do at any time more visibly languish, by attempts against its foundations, an endeavour to establish them, if it be not altogether unfit to serve that purpose, will not be liable to be blamed as unseasonable. Every one will understand, that a design further to establish the grounds of religion, can have no other meaning, than only to represent their stability unshaken by any attempts upon them; that being all that is either
possible in this case, or needful. Nothing more is possible : for if there be not already, in the nature of things, a sufficient foundation of religion, it is now too late ; for their course and order cannot begin again. Nor is any thing, besides such a representation, needful: for have the adventures of daring wits (as they are fond of being thought) altered the nature of things? Or hath their mere breath thrown the world off from its ancient basis, and new-moulded the universe, so as to make things be after the way of their own hearts? Or have they prevailed upon themselves, firmly to believe things are as they would wish ?
One would be ashamed to be of that sort of creature, called Man, and count it an unsufferable reproach to be long unresolved, Whether there ought to be such a thing in the world as religion, yea, or no. Whatever came on't, or whai. soever I did or did not besides, I would drive this business to an issue ; I would never endure to be long in suspense about so weighty and important a question. But if I inclined to the negative, I would rest in nothing short of the plainest demonstration : for I am to dispute against mankind; and eternity hangs upon it. If I misjudge, I run counter to the common sentiments of all the world, and am lost for ever. The opposers of it have nothing but inclination to oppose it, with a bold jest now and then. But if I consider the unrefuted demonstrations brought for it, with the consequences, religion is the last thing in all the world upon which I would adventure to break a jest. And I would ask such as have attempted to argue against it, Have their strongest arguments conquered their fear? Have they no suspicion left, that the other side of the question may prove true? They have done all they can, by often repeating their faint despairing wishes, and the mutterings of their hearts, "No God! no God !" to make themselves believe there is none; when yet the restless tossings to and fro of their uneasy minds; their tasking and torturing that little residue of wit and common sense, which their riot hath left them, (the excess of which latter, as well shows as causes the defect of the former,) to try every new method and scheme of atheism they hear of, implies their distrust of all; and their suspicion, that do what they can, things will still be as they were, i.e. most adverse and unfavourable to that way of living, which however at a venture, they had before resolved on. Therefore, they find it necessary to continue their contrivances, how more effectually to disburden themselves of any obligation to be religious; and hope, at least, some or other great wit may reach further than their own; and that either by some new model of thoughts, or by not thi it may be possible at length to argue or wink the Deity into nothing, and all çion out of the world.
And we are really to do the age that right, as to acknowledge, the genius of it aims at more consistency and agreement with itself, and more cleverly to reconcile notions with common practice than heretofore. Men seem to be grown weary of the old dull way of practising all manner of lewdness, and pretending to repent of them; to sin, and say they are sorry for it. The running this long-beaten circular tract of doing and repenting the same things, looks ridicalously, and they begin to be ashamed on't. A less interrupted and more progressive course in their licentious ways, looks braver; and they count it more plausible to disbelieve this world to have any ruler at all, than to suppose it to have
such a one as they can cheat and mock with so easy and ludicrous a repentance, or reconcile to their wickedness, only by calling themselves wicked, while they still mean to continue so. And perhaps of any other repentance they have not heard much; or if they have, they count it a more heroical, or feel it an easier thing to laugh away the fear of any future account or punishment, than to endure the severities of a serious repentance, and a regular life. Nor can they, however, think the torments of any hell so little tolerable as those of a sober and pious life upon earth. And for their happening to prove everlasting, they think they may run the hazard of that. For as they can make a sufficient shift to secure themselves from the latter sort of tormenis, so they believe the champions of their cause have taken sufficient care to secure them from the former.
As religion hath its gospel and evangelists, so hath atheism and irreligion too: There are tidings of peace sent to such as shall repent and turn to God; and there have been those appointed, whose business it should be to publish and expound them to the world. This also is the method for carrying on the design of irreligion. Doctrines are invented to make men fearless, and believe they need no repentance. And some have taken the part to assert and defend such doctrines, to evangelize the world, and cry “Peace, peace,” 10 men, upon these horrid terms. And these undertake for the common herd, encourage them to indulge themselves in all manner of liberty, while they watch for them, and guard the coasts: and no faith was ever more implicit or resigned, than the infidelity and disbelief of the more unthinking sort of these men. They reckon it is not every one's part to think. It is enough for the most to be boldly wicked, and credit their common cause, by an open contempt of God and religion. The other warrant them safe, and confidently tell them they may securely disbelieve all that ever hath been said, to make a religious regular life be thought necessary; as only invented frauds of sour and ill-natured men, that envy to mankind the felicity whereof their nature hath made them capable, and which their own odd preternatural humour makes them neglect and censure.
And for these defenders of the atheistical cause, it being their part and province to cut off the aids of reason from religion, to make it seem an irrational and a ridiculous thing, and to warrant and justify the disuse and contempt of it, and as it were, to cover the siege, wherewith the common rout have begirt the temple of God; they have had less leisure themselves, to debauch and wallow in more grossly sensual impurities. Herewith the thinking part did less agree: and they might perhaps count it a greater thing to make debauchees than to be such, and reckon it was glory enough to them to head and lead on the numerous throng, and pleasure enough to see them they had so thoroughly disciplined to the service, throw dirt and squibs at the sacred pile, the dwelling of God among men on earth, and cry, "Down with it even to the ground.” Nor for this sort of men, whose business was only to be done by noise and clamour, or by jest and laughter, we could think them no more fit to be discoursed with than a whirlwind, or an ignis fatuus. But for such as have assumed to themselves the confidence to pretend to reason, it was not fit they should have cause to think themselves neglected. Considering therefore, that if the existence of a Deity were fully proved, fi.e. such as must be the fit object of religion, or of the honour of a temple,) all the little cavils against it must signify nothing, (because the same thing cannot be both true and false,) we have in the former part of this discourse, endeavoured to assert so much in an argumentative way. And therefore first laid down such a notion of God, as even atheists themselves, while they deny him to exist, cannot but grant to be the true notion of the thing they deny; riz. summarily that he can be no other than a being absolutely perfect. And thereupon next proceed to evince the existence of such a being. And whereas this might have been attempted in another method, as was noted Part 1. Ch. 1. by concluding the existence of such a being first from the idea of it
, which (as a fundamental perfection) involves existence; yea, and necessity of existence, most apparently in it. Because that was clamoured at as sophistical and captious (though very firm unsliding steps might with cantion, be taken in that way,*) yet we rather chose the other as plainer, more upon the square, more easily intelligible and convictive, and less liable to exception in any kind; 2. e. rather to begin at the bottom, and rise from necessity of existence, to absolute perfection, than to begin at ihe top, and prove downward, from absolute perfection, necessity of existence.
Now, if it do appear from what hath been said concerning the nature of necessary, self-existing being, that it cannot but be absolutely perfect, even as it is such, since nothing is more evident than that some being or other doth exist necessarily, or of itself, our point is gained without more ado; i. e. we have an object of religion, or one to whom temple duly belongs. We thereupon used some endeavour to make that good, and secure that more compendious way to our end; as may be seen in the former Part. Which was endeavoured as it was a nearer and more expeditious course; noi that the main cause of religion did depend upon the immediate and self-evident reciprocal connexion of the terms necessary existence, and absolute perfection, as we shall see hereafter in the following discourse; but because there are other hypotheses, that proceed either upon the denial of atly necessary being that is absolutely perfect, or upon the assertion of some necessary being that is not absolutely perfect; it hence appears requisite, to undertake the examination of what is said to either of these purposes, and to show with how little pretence a necessary most perfect being is denied, or any such imperfect necessary being, is either asserted or imagined.
We shall therefore in this Second Part, first, take into consideration what is (with equal absurdity and impiety) asserted by one author, of the identity of all substance, of the impossibility of one substance being produced by another, and consequently of one necessary self-existing being, pretended with gross self-repugnancy, to be endued with infinite perfections, but really represented the common receptacle of all imaginable imperfection and confusion.- Next, what is asserted by another in avowed opposition to him, of a necessary self-existent being, that is at the same time said to be essentially
imperfect.-Then we shall recapitulate what had been discoursed in the former Part, for proof of such a necessarily existent and absolutely perfect being, as is there asserted.—Thence we shall proceed to show how reasonably Scripture testimony is to be relied upon, in referehce to some things concerning God, and the religion of his temple, which either are not so clearly demonstrable, or not at all discoverable the rational way.–And shall lastly show how it hath come to pass, if God be such as he hath been represented, so capable of a temple with man, so apt and inclined to inhabit such a one, that he should ever not do so; or how such a temple should ever cease, or be uninbabited and desolate, that the known way of its restitution may be the more regardable and marvellous in our eyes.
The authors against whom we are to be concerned, are Benedictus Spinosa, a Jew, and an anonymous French writer, who pretends to confute him. And the better to prepare our way, we shall go on to preface something concerning the former, viz. Spinosa, whose scheme,t though, with great pretence of devotion, it acknowledges a Deity, yet so confounds this his fictitious deity with every substantial being in the world besides, that upon the whole it appears allogether inconsistent with any rational exercise or sentiment of religion at all. And indeed, the mere pointing with the finger at the most discernible and absurd weakness of some of his principal supports, might be sufficient to overearn his whole fabric; though perhaps he thought the fraudulent artifice of contriving it geometrically must confound all the world, and make men think it not liable to be attacked in any part.
But whether it can, or no, we shall make some present trial; and for a previous essay, (to show that he is not invul- ' Derable, and that his scales do not more closely cohere, than those of his brother-leviathan,) do but compare his definition of an attribute, I " That which the understanding perceives of substance; as constituting the essence thereof," • As by the excellent Dr. Cudworth, in his Intellectual System, we find is done. • Ehic. Part 1. Def. 1.
As is laid down in his Posthumous Ethics.
with his fifth Proposition, " There cannot be two or more substances of the same nature or attribute ;" which is as much as to say that two substances cannot be one and the same substance. For the attribute of any substance (saith he) constitutes its essence; whereas the essence therefore of one thing, cannot be the essence of another thing, if such an attribute be the essence of one substance, it cannot be the essence of another substance. A rare discovery! and which needed mathematical demonstration! Well, and what now ? Nothing, it is true, can be plainer, if by the same attribute or nature, he means numerically the same; it only signifies one thing is not another thing. But if he mean there cannot be two things or substances, of the same special or general nature, he hath his whole business yet to do; which how he does, we shall see in time.
But now compare herewith his definition of what he thinks fit to dignify with the sacred name of God: “By God (saith he*) I understand a being absolutely infinite; i.e, a substance consisting of infinite attributes, every one whereof expresses an infinite essence.” And behold the admirable agreement! how amicably his definition of an attribute, and that mentioned proposition, accord with this definition (as he calls it) of God! There cannot be two substances, he saith, that have the same attribute, i. e. the same essence. But now it seems the same substance may have infinite attributes, i. e. infinite essences! O yes, very conveniently: for he tellst you that two attributes really distinct, we cannot conclude do constitute two divers substances. And why do they not? Because it belongs to the nature of substance, that each of its attributes be conceived by itself, &c. Let us consider his assertion, and his reason for it. He determines, you see, two really distinct attributes do not constitute two divers substances. You must not here take any other man's notion of an attribute, according to which, there may be accidental attributes, that, we are sure, would not infer diversity of substances for their subjects; or, there may be also essential ones, that only flow from the essence of the thing to which they belong; so, too, nobody doubts one thing may have many properties. But we must take his own notion of an attribute, according whereto it constitutes, or (which is all one) is, that very essence. Now will not such attributes as these, being really distinct, make divers substances ? Surely what things are essentially diverse, must be concluded to be most diverse. But these attributes are by himself supposed to be really distinci, and to constitute (which is to be) the essence of the substance. And how is that one thing, or one substance, which hath many essences? If the essence of a thing be that, by which it is what it is, surely the plurality of essences must make a plurality of things.
But it may be said, Cannot one thing be compounded of two or more things essential diverse, as the soul and body of a man; whence therefore, the same thing, viz. a man, will have two essences? This is true, but impertinent. For the very notion of composition signifies these are two things united, not identified, that are capable of being again separated; and that the third thing, which results from them both united, contains them still distinct from one another, not the same.
But it may be said, though these attributes are acknowledged and asserted to be distinct from one another, they are yet found in one and the same substance common to them all. And this no more ought to be reckoned repugnant to common reason, than the philosophy heretofore in credit, which taught that the vast diversity of forms throughout the universe, which were counted so many distinct essences, do yet all reside in the same first matter, as the common receptacle of them all.
Nor yet doth this salve the business, were that philosophy never so sure and sacred. For you must consider he asserts an attribute is that which constitutes the essence of the substance in which it is. But that philosophy never taught the forms lodged in the same common matter were its essence, though they were supposed to essentiate the composita, which resulted from their union therewith. Yea, it did teach they were so little the essence of that common matter, that they might be expelled out of it, and succeeded by new ones, and yet the matter which received them still remain the same. But that an attribute should be supposed to be the essence of the substance to which it belongs; and that another superadded attribute, which is also the essence of substance, should not make another substance essentially distinct, is an assertion as repugnant to common sense, as two and two make not four. But that which completes the jest, (though a tremendous one upon so awful a subject,) is, that this authort should so gravely tell the world, they who are not of his sentiment, being ignorant of the causes of things, confound all things; imagine trees and men speaking alike, confound the divine nature with the human, &ć. Who would imagine this to be the complaining voice of one so industriously labouring to mingle heaven and earth! and to make God, and men, and beasts, and stones, and trees, all one and the same individual substance!
And now let us consider the reason of that assertion of his; why two attributes really distinct, do not constitute two beings, or two distinct substances; because, saith he,s it is of the nature of substance that each of its attributes be conceived by itself, &c. A marvellous reason! Divers attributes, each whereof, as before, constitutes the essence of substance, do not make divers substances; because those attributes may be conceived apart from each other, and are not produced by one another. It was too plain to need a proof, (as was observed before,) that there cannot be two substances of one attribute, or of one essence, (as his notion of an attribute is,) i. a two are not one. But that two attributes or essences of substance, cannot make two substances, because they are diverse, is very surprisingly strange. This was (as Cicero upon as good an occasion speaks) not to consider, but to cast lots what to say. And it deserves observation too, how well this assertion, " That two distinct attributes do not constitute two distinct substances,"agrees with that,11" Two substances having divers attributes, have nothing common between them." This must certainly suppose the diversity of attributes to make the greatest diversity of substances imaginable; when they admit not there should be any thing (not the least thing) common between them! And yet they make not distinct substances !
But this was only to make way for what was to follow, the overthrow of the creation. A thing he was so overintent upon, that in the heat of his zeal and haste, he makes all Ay asunder before him, and overturns even his own batteries as fast as he raises them; says and imsays, does and undoes, at all adventures. Here two substances are supposed having distinct attributes, that is, distinct essences, to have therefore nothing commun between them ; and yet presently after, the two, or never so many distinct attributes, give unto substance two, or never so many distinct essences, yet they shall not be so much as two, but one only. For to the query put' by himself, By what sign one may discern the diversity of substances ? he roundly answers, " The following propositions would show there was no other substance but one, and that one infinite, and therefore how substances were to be diversified would be inquired in vain. Indeed, it would be in vain, if knowing them to have different essences, we must not yet call them different substances. But how the following propositions do show there can be no more than one substance, we shall see in time. We shall for the present take leave of him, till we meet him again in the following discourse. * Schol. in Prop. 10. • Schol. 2 in Prop. & Part 1. Schol. in Prop. 10.
1 Schol. in Prop. 10.
• Definit. 6.
1 Prop. 2.
THE LIVING TEMPLE.
WHEREIN IS SHOWN, THE DESTRUCTIVENESS OF SPINOSA'S SCHEME AND DESIGN TO BELIGION AND THE TEMPLE OF GOD. THE
REPUGNANCY OF HIS DOCTRINE TO THIS ASSERTION THAT WHATSOEVER EXISTS NECESSARILY AND OF ITSELF, IS. ABSOLUTELY PERFECT ; WHICH IS THEREFORE FURTHER WEIGHED. HIS VAIN ATTEMPT TO PROVE WHAT HE DESIGNS. HIS SECOND PROPOSITION CONSIDERED. HIS DEFINITION OF A SUBSTANCE DEFECTIVE. PROVES NOT MIS PURPOSE. HIS THIRD, FOURTH, AND FIFTH PROPOSITION. HIS EIGHTH SCHOLIA. THE MANUDUCTIO AD PANTOSOPHIAM
HITHERTO we have discoursed only of the Owner of this / what is so impotent must be very imperfect: yea, and temple, and shown to whom it rightfully belongs; viz. whatsoever is not omnipotent, is evidently not absolutely That there is one only necessary, self-existing, and most perfect. We are therefore cast upon reconsidering this absolutely-perfect being, the glorious and ever-blessed God proposition-Whatsoever being exists necessarily and of - who is capable of our converse, and inclined thereto; itself, is absolutely perfect. It is true that if any being whom we are to conceive as justly claiming a temple with be evinced to exist necessarily and of itself, which is abus, and ready, upon our willing surrender, to erect in us, solutely perfect, this gives us an object of religion, and or repair such a one, make it habitable, to inhabit and re- throws Spinosa’s farrago, his confused heap and jumble plenish it with his holy and most delectable presence, and of self-existent being, into nothing. But if we carry the converse with us therein suitably to himself and us; i. e. universal proposition as it is laid down, though that will to his own excellency and fulness, and to our indigency oblige us afterwards as well to confute his French conand wretchedness. And now the order of discourse would futer, as him ; it carries the cause of religion with much lead us to behold the sacred structure rising, and view the the greater clearness, and with evident, unexceptionable surprising methods by which it is brought about, that any self-consistency. For indeed that being cannot be undersuch thing should have place in such a world as this. But stood to be absolutely perfect, which doth not eminently we must yield to stay, and be detained a little by some comprehend the entire fulness of all being in itself; as things of greater importance than merely the more even that must be a heap of imperfection, an everlasting chaos, shape and order of a discourse; that is, looking back an impossible, self-repugnant medley, that should be preupon what hath been much insisted on in the former Part tended to contain all the varieties, the diversifications, -That some being or other doth exist necessarily and of compositions, and mixtures of things in itself formally. itself, which is of absolute or universal perfection—and And for the universal proposition: the matter itself retaking notice of the opposite sentiments of some hereto; quires not an immediaie, self-evident, reciprocal connexbecause the whole design of evincing an object of religion ion of the terms—necessarily self-existent, and absolutely would manifestly be much served hereby, we could not perfect. It is enough that it however be brought about but reckon it of great importance to consider what is said by gradual steps, in a way that at length cannot fail; and against it. We have observed in the Preface a two-fold I conceive hath been in the method that was followed in opposite hypothesis, which therefore, before we go further the former Part. in the discourse of this temple of God, require to be dis For, to bring the business now within as narrow a cussed.
compass as is possible: nothing is more evident than that I. The first is that of Spinosa, which he hath more ex- some being exists necessarily, or of itself; otherwise nopressly stated, and undertaken with great pomp and boast thing at all could-now exist." Again, for the same reason, to demonstrate, in his Posthumous Ethics ; which we there is some necessary or self-existent being that is the sball therefore so far consider, as doth concern our present cause of whatsoever being exists not of itself; otherwise design. He there, as haih been noted in the preface, as- nothing of that kind could ever come into being. Now serts all “substance to be self-existent, and to be infinite; that necessary being, which is the cause of all other being, that one substance is improducible by another; that there will most manifestly appear to be absolutely perfect. For, is but one, and this one he calls God, &c." Now this hor- if it be universally causative of all other being, it must rid scheme of his, though he and his followers would both have been the actual cause of all being that doth cheat the world with names, and with a specious show of actually exist, and can only be the possible cause of ali piety, is as directly levelled against all religion, as any the that is possible to exist. Now so universal a cause car. mot avowed atheism: for, as to' religion, it is all one be no other than an absolutely or universally perfect being. whether we make nothing to be God, or every thing; For it could be the cause of nothing, which it did not whether we allow of no God to be worshipped, or leave virtually or formally comprehend in itself. And that being none to worship him. His portentous attempt to identify which comprehends in itself all perfection, both actual and and deify all substance, attended with that strange pair of possible, must be absolutely or universally perfect. And attributes, extension and thought, (and an infinite number such a being, as hath also further more particularly been of others besides,) hath a manifest design to throw reli- made apparent, must be an intelligent and a designing gion ont of the world that way.
agent, or cause; because, upon the whole universe of proII. And it most directly opposes the notion of a self- duced beings, there are most manifest characters of design, existent Being, which is absolutely perfect: for such a in the passive sense. They are designed to serve ends to being must be a substance, if it be any thing; and he which they have so direct and constant an aptitude, as allows no substance but one, and therefore none to be that the attempt to make it be believed they were forced perfect, unless all be so. And since we are sure some is or fell in that posture of subserviency to such and such imperfect, it will be consequent there is none absolutely ends, by any pretended necessity upon their principal cause perfect; for that the same should be imperfect, and abso- or causes, or by mere casualty, looks like the most ludilately perfect, is impossible. Besides, that he makes it no crous trifling to any man of sense. And because that among way possible to one substance to produce another, and produced beings there are found 10 be many, that are them
selves actively designing, and that do understandingly the uncaused self-existent Beiog be, but most unlimited, intend and pursue ends; and consequently that they infinite, all-comprehending, and most absolutely perfect í themselves must partake of an intelligent, spiritual nature, Nothing therefore can be more evident, than that the selfsince mere matter is most manifestly incapable of thought existent Being must be the absolutely perfect Being. or design. And further, by the most evident consequence, And again,
if you simply convert the terms, and let this that their productive cause, (viz. the necessary, self-ex- be the proposition,-That the absolutely-perfect Being is isting Being, whereto all other things owe themselves,) the self-existent Being—it is most obvious to every one, must be a mind or spirit, inasmuch as to suppose any that the very notion of an absolutely-perfect Being carries effect to have any thing more of excellency in it than the necessity of existence, or self-existence, in it; which the cause from whence it proceeded, is to suppose all that ex-notion of nothing else doth. And indeed one great mascellency to be effected without a cause, or to have arisen terb of this argument for the existence of God, hath himof itself out of nothing. See former Part, Chap. III. self told me, "That though when he had puzzled divers Sect. XII. &c.
atheists with it they had been wont to quarrel at it, as soTherefore if it did not immediately appear that neces- phistical and fallacious, he could never meet with any that sary being, as such, is absolutely perfect being; yet, by. I could detect the sophism, or tell where any fallacy in it this series of discourse, it appears that the main cause of lay; and that, upon the whole, he relied upon it as most religion is still safe; inasmuch as that necessary Being solid and firm." And I doubt not but it may be managed which is the cause of all things else, is however evinced with that advantage as to be very clearly concluding; yet
, to be an absolutely perfect Being, and particularly a neces- because I reckoned the way I have taken more clear, I sary self-existent Mind or Spirit, which is therefore a most chose it rather. But finding that so near cognation and apparently fit and most deserving object of religion, or of reciprocal connexion between the terms both ways, I reckthe honour of a temple ; which is the sum of what we oned this short representation hereof, annexed to the were concerned for. Nor needed we be solicitous, but larger course of evincing the same thing, might add no that the unity or onliness of the necessary. Being, would unuseful strength to it; and doubt not to conclude, upon afterwards be made appear, as also we think it was. For the whole, that-whatsoever Being exists necessarily; and since the whole universe of produced being must arise out of itself, is absolutely perfect-and can, therefore, be no of that which was necessary self-existent Being, it must other than an intelligent Being; i. e. an infinite, eternal therefore comprehend all being in itself, its own formally, Mind, and so a most fit, and the only fit, descrving object and eminently all other; i. e. what was its own, being for- of religion, or of the honour of a temple. mally its own, must be eminently also all being else, con- III. But now, be all this never so plain, it will, by tained in all 'possible simplicity, within the productive some, be thought all false, if they find any man to have power of its own. This Being therefore containing in contrivance enough to devise some contrary scheme of itself all that exists necessarily, with the power of pro- things, and confidence enough to pretend to prove it; till ducing all the rest, which together make up all being, can that proof be detected of weakness and vanity, which primarily be but one, inasmuch as there can be but one all. must first be our further business with Spinosa. And not Upon the whole therefore, our general proposition is suf- intending to examine particularly the several parts and ficiently evident, and out of question-That whatever ex-junctures of his model, inasmuch as I find his whole de ists necessarily, and of itself, is absolutely perfect. Nor sign is lost, if he fail of evincing these things - That it is it at all incongruous that this matter should be thus belongs to all substance, as such, to exist of itself, and be argued out, by such a trajn and deduction of consequences, infinite-And, (which will be sufficiently consequent heredrawn from 'effects, that come under our present notice; upon,) That substance is but one, and that it is impossible for how come we to know that there is any self-existing for one substance to produce another. I shall only attend Being at all, but that we find there is somewhat in being to what he more directly says to this effect, and shall parthat is subject to continual mutation, and which therefore ticularly apply myself to consider
such of his propositions exists not necessarily, (for whatsoever is what it is neces- as more immediately respect this his main design: for sarily, can never change, or be other than what it is,) but they will bring us back to the definitions and axioms, or must be caused by that which is necessary and self-exist- other parts of his discourse, whereon those are grounded, ent. Nothing could be more reasonable or more certain and even into all the darker and more pernicious recesses than the deduction from what appears of excellency and of his labyrinth; so as every
thing of importance to the perfection in such being as it is caused; of the corres- mentioned purpose will be drawn under our considerapondent and far-transcendent excellency and perfection tion, as this ihread shall lead us. of its cause. But yet, after all this, if one set himself at. His first proposition we let pass; "That a substance is
, tentively to consider, there must appear so near a con- in order of nature, before its affections ;" having nothing nexion between the very things themselves, self-existence applicable to his purpose in it, which we shall not otherand absolute perfection, that it can be no easy matter to wise meet with. conceive them separately.
His second, "That two substances, having divers attriSelf-existence ! Into how profound an abyss is a manbutes, have nothing common between them; or, which cast at the thought of it! How doth it overwhelm and must be all one, do agree in nothing, I conceive it will be swallow up his mind and whole soul! With what salis- no great presumption to deny. And since he is pleased faction and delight must he see himself comprehended, of herein to be divided from himself, it is a civility to his what he finds he can never comprehend! For contem- later and wiser self to do so, who will aferwards have plating the self-existent Being, he finds it eternally, neces- substance, having a multitude of distinct attributes, i. e. sarily, never not existing! He can have no thought of the essences, and which therefore cannot but be manifold, to self-existing Being, as such, but as always existing, as have every thing 'common. So little hath he common having existed always, as always certain to exist. Inquir- with himself, ing into the spring and source of this Being's existence, And it will increase the obligation upon him, to deliver whence it is that it doth exist ; his own notion of a him from the entanglement of his demonstration, as he self-existing Being, which is not arbitrarily taken up, but calls it, of this proposition; as I hope we shall also of the which the reason of things hath imposed upon him, gives other too, for no doubt they are both false. Of this pro him his answer; and it can be no other, in that it is a self- position his demonstration is fetched from his third defini. existing Being, it hath it of itself, that it doth exist. It is tion, viz. of a substance, " That which is in itself, and an eternal, everlasting spring and fountain of perpetually-conceived by itself ; . e. whose conception needs the con; existent being to itself. What a glorious excellency of ception of nothing else, whereby it ought to be formed;" being is this! What can this mean, but the greatest re- so is his definition defined over and over. moteness from nothing that is possible; i. e. the most We are here to inquire :-1. Into his definition of a absolute fulness and plenitude of all being and perfection? substance. 2. Whether it sufficiently prove his proposition. And whereas all caused being, as such, is, to every man's IV. First, For his definition of a substance. He understanding, confined within certain limits; what can himself tells us,d “A definition ought to express nothing
a Des Cartes,
b Dr. More.
c Schol. in Prop. 10.
d Schol. in Prop. $