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geny feem not at all to be impaired, as appears from the modern Writings and Inventions. But if we confider the primitive Fecundity of the Earth, and its Barrennefs now adays; of which I will discourse more by and by; which natural Fruitfulness is fo celebrated in ancient Writers under the Name of the Golden Age; and if we farther add the Longevity of our antediluvian Progenitors, and others for a confiderable Time after the Flood; one would be inclined to think, that Nature has loft much of its primitive Strength it enjoy'd, when the Earth was impregnated with its juvenile Vigour. Creation of 2dly, There is no Neceffity, because the World is prothe World duced in Time, that this primary Production should in not like or all Refpects anfwer to our natural and common Productions. ductions. I confefs, I have always took it to be not only an immodeft but an ignorant Way of arguing, to fay God muft act fuch a Way, becaufe Nature fo requires it, that otherways it would not be a natural Way of acting, and the like; as if God was not the God of Nature, as well as of every Thing elfe; or that the Power of God muft be bounded by that of Nature. So in the prefent Cafe, because Men fee that we are firft Infants, then Children, afterwards Men, and laftly old Men, which is the Series from our Production to our Diffolution; therefore fome conclude, that the like muft follow from the Production of the World. I remember there is a notable Difpute in Macrobius, which was oldeft, a Hen, or an Egg. And I think that Question might be eafily folved, by faying, that naturally the Egg is before the Hen, because the is generated out of it; but in the firft Creation the firft Hen was produced fupernaturally, otherways than from an Egg, because there was no preceding Hen to lay it. And the Anfwer is the fame to the Matter in hand. All natural Productions do proceed in the aforefaid Method from worfe to better, &c. but the Creation of the World is a fupernatural Production, precedent to all the Laws of Nature, which were to be obferved after the firft Production, but were impoffible to be obferved before.

3dly, But

3dly, But though there be no vifible Decay in the The DiffoWorld, it is no fufficient Argument to evince the Eter-lution not nity of it; efpecially to thofe who have Revelation Piece-meal but Inftan against it; for nothing, but a downright Contradiction, neous. can make them believe the contrary. But did never any Thing come to an End, but what had fome vifible Decay before it? Was never any Man kill'd or did die, but only by a lingring Sicknefs? Is not an Houfe as liable to be deftroyed by Fire or Earthquake, as by Delapidations? For we do not expect that the World fhould be destroyed, from the Defect of fome internal Principle thereof; but by the Will of God, and by the withdrawing his preferving Power, which keeps it in its Frame and Order. We do not think, that the World fhall decay like an old Houfe, piece by piece; but juft like the ftopping of a Clock all of a fudden, when the Weights are down: For when it fhall pleafe God to withdraw that divine Energy,which informs this great Machine, and fets it a moving; all the Wheels of Nature will be checked in an Inftant, and move no more for ever; and if he does likewife deny his preferving Power, which keeps the Parts in their being, even the very Matter of them must crumble and fink into nothing.

Phil. Well, Sir, let this be as it will, I have another knotty Piece of Work for you, and that is another Argument of Ocellus's; which is this. If the World be created, then is the Univerfe created; for I call the World by the Name of the Universe, being a perfect Collection of all Natures; for befides the Universe there is nothing, and if there be any Thing it is contained in the Universe, either as a Part or an Excrefcence thereof; now to make the Univerfe, or every Thing to be created, implies a Contradiction; for if every Thing be created, there will be nothing left to create; fo that it muft upon this Score be afferted, that fomething muft create it felf, which of all Contradictions is the most abfurd. Does not this Objection pinch a little?

Cred. And a very little too; for indeed it is nothing Anfw. të elfe but a childifh Fallacy, grounded upon the doubtful Arg. III.

C 2

Signifi

Anf. to

Signification of the word Univerfe; which fometimes may be used to fignify the whole Series of Beings, whether create or uncreate, fo as to take in God himself; or elfe to fignify the whole Compages of natural Bodies confifting of Earth, Sea, Heaven, Stars, or fometimes together with thefe, Spirits, Angels, and the whole intellectual World, and in thort every Thing befides God. Now when we fay that the Universe or every Thing was created, we take the Universe in its latter Signification exclufively of God, who being an eternal Mind was felf-fubfiftent and uncreate, but of his infinite Bounty did communicate a Being to all those other Things which before had none of their own; which Communication we call Creation.

Phil. Again proceeds that excellent Philofopher *. The World is the Caufe of all Perfection to other Things, but is of it felf perfect; and that which is the Caufe of Safety to others, muft of its felf be fafe and permanent; also that which is the Caufe of Compactedness to others, muft of it felf be compacted: But the World is to all other Things the Caufe of Being, Safety, and Perfection t; wherefore of its felf it must needs be eternal, perfect, and permanent for ever.

Cred. I grant this Argument would be conclufive, if Arg. IV. the World was the Caufe of all Perfection; because no Perfection can produce it felf, and therefore must have an eternal Caufe: Which Ways of Proof we make use of, in demonftrating the Neceffity of a Deity. But here we deny the World to be the Caufe of all Perfection; and fay whatever Perfections it enjoys, it received them from fome fuperiour Cause, namely, God.

Phil. But pray why may not the World it felf be God? And then it will be all one to fay that the World is the Caufe of all Perfection, or that God is the Caufe of it. And this Notion does not feem at all to entrench

* Ocelius Oracles of Reason, p. 213. † Cum Microcofmus à mundo trahit, vivit Microcofmus: cum Mundus à Mierocofino trahit; deficit Microcofmus. H. Blount de Anima Mund.

upon

upon
the Majefty of the Deity; for we fhall fecure all
his Attributes this Way, as well as you can yours: For
I look upon the World both to be Eternal and Infinite,
which are the two great Foundations of the Notion of
a Deity: For there never was a Time in which there was
not this vaft Extenfion of Matter regularly ordered as
it is now, and there is no part of Space but what is pof-
feffed by fome beautiful Machine or other, which its
Inhabitants efteem a World: Now the Collection of
thefe wonderful Beings, the All, or the Univerfe, is
what I call God. 'Tis he in whom we live, move,
and have our Being, and the Writer of your Pentateuch
calls him very well the I AM, or the Being, because
nothing elfe befides him is; we are nothing but fome
little pulvifculi of his immenfe Nature, which appear in
this or that Figure according to his Pleasure; who him-
felf is one eternal Proteus exhibiting himself sometimes
in this Form, and fometimes in that. Now you may
call this great infinite Being either Matter, or the Uni-
verfe, or God, or what you please, it is much the fame;
and it is all one whether you fay God is Eternal, or the
World, or Universe is fo.

World God.

Cred. I find this is an Argument, which takes mightí-The Ridiculy with fome Atheistical Men of late, who rather than lofness of own fuch a God as all pious and wife Men in all making the Ages have worshiped, will make a God of Stocks and Stones, and of all the vileft Things in Nature. But we will prove that this All or the Universe cannot be God, from thofe Affections or Properties, which we generally call Attributes, which all Men that have believed the Deity have acknowledged to be in him. I fhall argue firft from his Immutability, which all Philofophers and wife Men have attributed to him; because a whimfical changeable God, are Terms incompatible, the Idea of one of which does perfectly destroy the other. Now if we make the World to be God, we must make him to vary and change every Moment; to be turned into this Thing and that Thing, to have this and that Quality, to be hot and cold, and moift and dry, to be C 3

high

new Exhi

ductions.

high and low, and little and great; to be a Man and a Horfe, to be a Tree and a Fish; this would be to render God the Sport of every wife Man, who must needs laugh at the Shiftings of fuch an odd capricious Deity. For if all Things be God, what need of this fpectrous fantaftick Exhibition of himself; he can make himself known to no Body but himself; and therefore he had as good keep himfelf to his own original Na

ture.

Phil. But pray, Sir, why fhould it argue more Imperfection and Inconftancy, for God thus to change the Reprefentation of his Nature, and to exhibit himfelf in a new Manner, than for him to create Things anew, or to produce them? The one is a Change made by God as well as the other; and then the Whimfy and Caprice will lie hard upon you too.

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Cred. The Difference is very wide, Sir, in these two Cafes; in the one God changes, in the other he is changGod does ed. It implies no Imperfection in the Deity, to make not change a Change in his Creatures; because there is no real A!himself by teration made in him, but only a new Exercise of his bitions, but Power, which is Perfection, and not Imperfection. But his Crea- for God himself to be changed, implies Weakness; for tures by all Change is either for better or for worfe; to change for New Fro- the better argues the Deity imperfect before, and to change for the worfe implics both a Weakness in his former Knowledge, and a Diminution in his fubfequent Power. But it is not fo when a Change is made by the divine Nature in its Creatures; for that is but agreeable to the Excellence of that admirable Being, whofe Goodness and Bounty feem neceffarily to require it. For if there were no Change to be made in the Creatures, it would hinder that large Communication of the Divine Goodnefs to his Creatures, and would hedge in God's Bounty within narrow Bounds. For if there never was to be but one Set of Individuums in the World, and they only were to live all along to Eternity; not the thousandth Part of Beings would enjoy that Communication of Happiness, which now they do. So that I conclude,

a Change

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