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parcel of matter. eternal, great or small, we shall find it, in itself, able to produce nothing. For example; let us suppose the matter of the next pebble we meet with eternal, closely united, and the parts firmly at rest together; if there were no other being in the world, must it not eternally remain so, a dead inactive lump? Is it possible to conceive it can add motion to itself, being purely matter, or produce any thing? Matter, then, by its own strength, cannot produce in itself so much as motion : the motion it has must also be from eternity, or else be produced and added to matter by some other being more power·ful than matter; matter, as is evident, having not power to produce motion in itself. But let us suppose motion eternal too; yet matter, incogitative matter and motion, whatever changes it might produce of figure and bulk, could never produce thought: knowledge will still be as far beyond the power of motion and matter to produce, as matter is beyond the power of nothing or non-entity to produce. And I appeal to every one's own thoughts, whether he cannot as easily conceive matter produced by nothing, as thought to be produced by pure matter, when before there was no such thing as thought, or an intelligent being existing ? Divide matter into as minute parts as you will (which we are apt to imagine a sort of spiritualizing, or making a thinking thing of it); vary the figure and motion of it as much as you please; a globe, cube, cone, prism, cylinder, &c. whose diameters are about 1000000th part of a gry*, will operate no otherwise upon other bodies of proportionable bulk, than those of an
is to of a line, a line to of an inch, an inch to of a philosophical foot, a philosophical foot of a pendulum, whose diadroms, in the latitude of 45 degrees, are each equal to one second of time or z's of a minute. I have affectedly made use of this measure here, and the parts of it, under a decimal division, with names to them, because, I think, it would be of general convenience, that this should be the common measure, in the commonwealth of letters.
inch or foot diameter; and you may as rationally expect to produce sense, thought, and knowledge, by putting together, in a certain figure and motion, gross particles of matter, as by those that are the very minutest that do any where exist. They knock, impel, and resist one another, just as the greater do, and that is all they can do. So that if we will suppose nothing first, or eternal ; matter can never begin to be: if we suppose bare matter, without motion, eternal; motion can never begin to be: if we suppose only matter and motion first, or eternal; thought can never begin to be. For it is impossible to conceive that matter, either with or without motion, could have originally in and from itself sense, perception, and knowledge; as is evident from hence, that then sense, perception, and knowledge must be a property eternally inseparable from matter and every particle of it. Not to add that though our general or specific conception of matter makes us speak of it as one thing, yet really all matter is not one individual thing, neither is there any such thing existing as one material being, or one single body that we know or can conceive. And therefore if matter were the eternal first cogitative being, there would not be one eternal infinite cogitative being, but an infinite number of eternal finite cogitative beings, independent one of another, of limited force and distinct thoughts, which could never produce that order, harmony, and beauty which are to be found in nature. Since therefore whatsoever is the first eternal being must necessarily be cogitative; and whatsoever is first of all things must necessarily contain in it and actually have, at least, all the perfections that can ever after exist; nor can it ever give to another any perfection that it hath not, either actually in itself, or at least in a higher degree; it necessarily follows, that the first eternal being cannot be matter. $ 11. If therefore it be evident, that
Therefore something necessarily must exist from there has
eternity, it is also as evident, that that
something must necessarily be a cogitawisdom.
tive being: for it is as impossible that incogitative matter should produce a cogitative being, as that nothing, or the negation of all being, should produce a positive being or matter.
8. 12. Though this discovery of the necessary existence of an eternal mind does sufficiently lead us into the knowledge of God; since it will hence follow, that all other knowing beings that have a beginning must depend on him, and have no other ways of knowledge, or extent of power, than what he gives them; and therefore if he made those, he made also the less excellent pieces of this universe, all inanimate beings, whereby his omniscience, power, and providence will be established, and all his other attributes necessarily follow : yet to clear up this a little farther, we will see what doubts can be raised against it. Whether § 13. First, perhaps it will be said, that material though it be as clear as demonstration can
make it, that there must be an eternal being, and that being must also be knowing; yet it does not follow, but that thinking being may also be material. Let it be so; it equally still follows, that there is a God. For if there be an eternal, omniscient, omnipotent being, it is certain that there is a God, whether you imagine that being to be material or no. But herein, I suppose, lies the danger and deceit of that supposition: there being no way to avoid the demonstration, that there is an eternal knowing being, men, devoted to matter, would willingly have it granted, that this knowing being is material; and then letting slide out of their minds, or the discourse, the demonstration whereby an eternal knowing being was proved necessarily to exist, would argue all to be matter, and so deny a God, that is, an eternal cogitative being; whereby they are so far from establishing, that they destroy their own hypothesis. For if there can be, in their opinion, eternal matter,
without any eternal cogitative being, they manifestly
Not matesatisfy themselves or others, that this
rial, 1. Beeternal thinking being is material.
cause every First, I would ask them, Whether they particle of imagine, that all matter, every particle of matter is not matter, thinks ? This, I suppose, they will cogitative. scarce say; since then there would be as many eternal thinking beings as there are particles of matter, and so an infinity of gods. And yet if they will not allow matter as matter, that is every particle of matter to be as well cogitative as extended, they will have as hard a task to make out to their own reasons a cogitative being out of incogitative particles, as an extended being out of unextended parts, if I may so speak.
$ 15. Secondly, if all matter does not think, I next ask, “Whether it be only one ticle alone atom that does so?” This has as many ab- of matter surdities as the other; for then this atom of matter must be alone eternal or not. If cogitative. this alone be eternal, then this alone, by its powerful thought or will, made all the rest of matter. And so we have the creation of matter by a powerful thought, which is that the materialists stick at. For if they suppose one single thinking atom to have produced all the rest of matter, they cannot ascribe that pre-eminency to it upon any other account than that of its thinking, the only supposed difference. But allow it to be by some other way, which is above our conception, it must still be creation, and these men must give up
2. One par
their great maxim, ex nihilo nil fit. If it be said, that all the rest of matter is equally eternal, as that thinking atom, it will be to say any thing at pleasure, though ever so absurd: for to suppose all matter eternal, and yet one small particle in knowledge and power infinitely above all the rest, is without any the least appearance of reason to frame an hypothesis. Every particle of matter, as matter, is capable of all the same figures and motions of any other; and I challenge any one, in his thoughts, to add any thing else to one above another.
$ 16. If then neither one peculiar atom 3. A system of incogita
alone can be this eternal thinking being; tive matter nor all matter as matter, i. e. every par
ticle of matter, can be it; it only remains, cogitative.
that it is some certain system of matter duly put together, that is this thinking eternal being. This is that, which, I imagine, is that notion which men are aptest to have of God, who would have him a material being, as most readily suggested to them, by the ordinary conceit they have of themselves, and other men, which they take to be material thinking beings. But this imagination, however more natural, is no less absurd than the other; for to suppose the eternal thinking being to be nothing else but a composition of particles of matter, each whereof is incogitative, is to ascribe all the wisdom and knowledge of that eternal being only to the juxta-position of parts ; ! than which nothing can be more absurd. For unthinking particles of matter, however put together, can have nothing thereby added to them, but a new relation of position, which it is impossible should give thought and knowledge to them.
$ 17. But farther, this corporeal system Whether in
either has all its parts at rest, or it is a motion or
certain motion of the parts wherein its
thinking consists. If it be perfectly at rest, it is but one lump, and so can have no privileges above one atom.