صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

a Change in the Creature is confonant to the Wifdom and Goodness of God; but a Change in God himself would be Weakness and Folly.

not volun


But I will charge this yet homer upon you. For when such you fay that God is changed into this Variety of Fi- Change of the Deity gures we behold in the World, you must either affert, that this Mutation is caused by the Will of God, or by Neceffity, both which Affertions are equally abfurd. For to make the World God, and to say these Alterations are caufed voluntarily by him, is to make the Nature of God to depend upon his Will; which all Men, who understand what they fay, muft make neceffary. For who ever faid, that God was because he would be? They rather fay, God is, because he must be. There is a Neceffity, that there fhould be fome primary Caufe of Things, which was neceffarily of himself, and could not but be; but all other Things depend upon his Will, and are because he would have them be. And fo it is in all the Attributes of the Divine Nature. God Almighty is necef farily Omnipotent, not because he has a Mind to be fo. He is Pure, and Just, and Merciful, because he cannot be otherways. But to make the Nature of God confift in this Series of voluntary Mutations, is to be guilty of the most abfurd and manifeft Contradiction, because it is to affert an Effect prior to its Caufe. For to fay the Nature of God is fo, because he will have it fo, is to make an Act of Volition, which is the Effect of the Divine Nature or Understanding, to be the Cause of it: The act of Willing fuppofes an understanding Nature before, and the Nature Willed fuppofes it yet not to be.

Neither can these Changes of the Deity, or this fuc- Nor Necef ceffive Nature of God (which is here afferted) be necef-fary. fary neither. There is but one Thing in the World of it felf neceffary, and that is God; and all other Things which are neceffary, are fo, because his Will has determined them. God neceffarily is, because he can have no Caufe; but we cannot fay fo of any Thing elfe. We cannot fay, that such particular Men, or Horfes, or Trees, are neceffarily; because we can affign a Caufe of their Pro

C 4


duction, namely God, who might (if he pleased) not have produced them. Nay, though 'twas only probable that God produced them, or if 'twere only poffible they might not have been produced by him, it were Argument enough against the Neceffity of their Being. But farther, to make all thefe Beings to be only the neceffary Emanations of the Deity, is not only to deftroy all Religion, but even Free-will and common Senfe. For why hould I praife God and honour him for this noble Being I enjoy, and for the Comforts of this Life, which (according to this Opinion) he could not but afford me ; any more than I fhould thank the Clouds, for letting down thofe Rains, which they could not keep up? I am as fure, that I have a Free-will, as I am fure of any Conclufion in the World; and therefore I am fure that any Argument, which fhall go about to prove a neceffary Fatality is falfe. I am fure I have a Liberty to walk or to fit; and therefore to say these Actions are but the neceffary Productions or Emanations of the Deity, is to 'fay what I know to be falfe; which will be fo far from perfuading a Man, that it will only ferve to enrage him. And lastly, This Opinion contradicts the common Senfe and Experience of all Mankind. For if these continual Mutations, which we behold in the World, (as Generations, Corruptions, &c.) are but the neceffary Exhi bitions of the Deity, then they cannot be promoted or hindred by the Interpofition of any Thing elfe; the contrary of which is manifeftly evident. For how many Men are killed in the Wars, or Duels, by the Ambition or Malice of others? How many Animals (as Sheep, Hens,) have their Breed incouraged by Men, and many (as Wolfs and Lyons) diminished or deftroyed? How many contribute to the Decrease of Mankind by a voluntary Celibacy, and how many towards the Increase of it by Marriage, or Polygamy? To fay nothing of the Devaltations made by God himfelf in Plagues, Earthquakes, Famines, and the like. So that thefe fucceffive Generations are fo far from being the neceffary Effects of the Deity which he cannot alter him

felf; that they are liable to the Alterations of Thousands of his Creatures.

contrary to

Nor is this Opinion of yours lefs repugnant to the such a other Attributes of God, his Impaffibility, his Good-Changenefs, Wisdom, &c. We can never conceive a Noti-ableness on of a God, that is fubject to Paffion, or Pain, or Sick-the Attrinefs, or Infirmity. But if we make the World to be butes of God, and all us Creatures to be Parts of him, we must God. make him liable to all thefe Weakneffes and Misfortunes. God must be fick, and God must be lame, God muft be angry, and hungry, and thirsty, when any poor Men or Beafts are under thefe Circumftances. So it is impoffible to think of a Deity, without being Wife and Good. But your Notion of God will make him guilty of all the Folly and Wickedness in the World. God must be circumvented and impofed upon, when any defigning Creatures pur Tricks upon their Fellows; God must be guilty of all thofe Sillineffes and Inadvertencies, which foolish Men commit, and wife Men deride. Befides, this Notion will charge all the Wickedness in the World upon God; it will not only make him to lend Affiftance, but himself to commit all the Perjuries, Rapines, Whoredoms, and other Lewdneffes, which 'tis a Shame to mention. For if God be every Thing, then God does every Thing, not only thofe virtuous Actions which are the Subject of History and Panegyrick, but alfo thofe wicked and infamous ones which are known only in Goals and Stews. But to attribute thefe Things to God, which the most profligate Villains themselves are ashamed of, is a Blafphemy fo loud and daring, that it shocks human Nature but to think of; it fets a Man a trembling but to hear fuch an impious Affertion, tho' he fhould not confider all the horrid Confequences of


Phil. Pray, Sir, don't grow too warm upon a Point of Philofophy, for I have a great deal more of it for you yet, Have a care you do not fret your felf too much upon the firft Heat, for if you do, I foretel I fhall win the Prize. Well! but farther, fays our old Philofopher, the circu


lar Figure and Motion of the World do demonftrate its Eternity; for what is compos'd of a spherical Figure is on every Side equal, and confequently without beginning and ending; and if the Motion be circular, it is confeIt is ve-quently araçábalos y ádiétodos, never to be gone through, ry comical and never to have an end. Here is Logick for you.

to obferve


how Mr. Blount has tranflated these two Words in Ocellus. He tranflates araçúcalos Stable; but a ftable Motion is a Bull, for 'tis as much as to fay a Motion which ftands, or is at reft. He renders dos by never fhifting its former place. But who ever faid Motion was in a place before? for Place is only an Affection of Body, and 'tis as incongruous to fay Motion changes its place, as to fay a white or a green Motion. But befides, adds can never fignify never fhifting place, but that which has no Exit, or End. 'Tis a Metaphor taken from the Windings in a Wood, which Strangers go round and round in, and think they can never find their way out. Which is a very apt Simile of an eternal Motion.

Anfw, to Arg, V.

Cred. Logick! Sir. No 'tis very poor Sophistry, 'tis meer quibbling upon Words. For what tolerable Confe-. quence is there in your first Argument from the spherical Figure of the World? Because a Sphere is without beginning, or ending; therefore the World, which is Spherical, is fo too. Does not every one know, when we fay a Sphere is without beginning or ending, we mean one Thing; and when we fay God or the World is fo, we mean another? The one, we fay, has no beginning or end in refpect of Menfuration; it is not of a long Figure, the Extremities of which we call the two Ends, at one of which we begin when we measure it; but the Parts thereof lie equally diftant from the Centre, it is neither long nor broad; and if you measure it, there is no affign'd Part or End to begin at, but you may begin your Computation where you please; and fo in this Senfe we fay it has no Beginning or End. But when we fay God or the World has no Beginning nor End, we mean it in respect of Duration; that there fhall be no Period of Time to bound their Being; or their Nature, or Existence, never had a Beginning; which is quite another Thing.


the Un

But granting you mean by this, that the spherical Figure of the World does infer the Perpetuity of its Motion, or Duration, the Argument is weak on all Sides. For ft, that the Figure of the World is Spherical, is more No Conftat than moft will allow, or indeed any Body, but those who of the Sphe ftick to the old Mumpfimus of folid Orbs. The Figure ricanes of of the World, or Univerfe, may be fquare or oval, or verfe. any other Figure for ought that we know, as well as Spherical. The Figure indeed of fo much of it, as appears to us, is a Sphere; but that is no more Argument that it is fo, than that the Moon is a white yellowifh fhining Plate, about the bigness of the Crown of one's Hat, when fhe is at full. We fee in the Day-time, that Arch of ragged Clouds hovering over our Heads, equally to the Eye distant from the Superficies of the Earth; which, with the refracted Rays of Light, that with a blewish Colour fill up the Interstices, feem to form the half of a Sphere. And in the Night-time, we view a mighty Number of Stars, which, confidering their Remotenefs from the Earth, seem all equally diftant, and so form an imaginary Sphere; as when by pricked Lines, we reprefent a Square or a Circle, as well as by continued ones. And this efpecially is reprefented more livelily and feemingly real, when the Interstices between the Stars are filled up with a pale fcatter'd Light, And upon this Account it is, that we have in our Eyes the Image of a great white Hemisphere, ftudded with Stars. But this does no more conclude the World to be a Sphere, than the nine Pins fet up by three and three, make a real Square, tho' we may conceive it to be one; or that Figure of the Part of any Object, which lies next to the Eye, and is feen by it, is the Figure of the whole, Part of which lies behind undifcerned. 2dly, But granting the Univerfe was That no ArSpherical, it would not from thence acquire a perpetual sument of Motion. A fpherical Figure makes a Thing move a perpetual cafily, but it does not make it always move. For otherways, Tops and Balls once put in Motion would never ceafe. Nay, fhould you only affert, that the Motion of the Parts of the Univerfe, the Earth, Planets, Sun and




« السابقةمتابعة »