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SECT. VII. That God is the cause of all things.

EVERY thing that is, derives its existence from God; this follows from what has been already said. For we conclude, 8that there is but one necessary self-existent Being; whence we collect, that all other things sprung from a being different from themselves: for those things, which are derived front something else, were all of them, either immediately in themselves, or mediately in their causes, derived front him who had no beginning, that is, from God, as was before evinced. And this is not only evident to reason, but in a manner to sense too: for if we take a survey of the admirable structure of a human body, both within and without, and see how every, even the most minute, part hath its proper use, without any design or intention of the parents, and with so great exactness, as the most excellent philosophers and physicians could never enough admire; it is a sufficient demonstration that. the Author of nature is the most complete understanding. Of this a great deal may be seen in Galen,77   Book iii. ch.10. which place is highly worth reading, but too long to be inserted. But many later divines and natural philosophers in England have explained these things more accurately. Le Clerc. especially where he examines the use of the hands and eyes: and the same may be observed in the bodies of dumb creatures; for the figure and situation of their parts to a certain end cannot be the effect of any power in matter. As also in plants and herbs, which is accurately observed by the philosophers. Strabo88   Book xvii. where after he had distinguished betwixt the works of nature, that is, the material world, and those of Providence, he adds: “After, the earth was surrounded with water, because man was not made to dwell in the water, but belongs partly to the earth and partly to the air, and stands in great need of light. Providence has caused many eminences and cavities in the earth, that in these the water, or the greatest part of it, might be received; whereby that part of the earth under it might be covered; and that by the other the earth might be advanced to cover the water, except what is of use for men, animals, and plants.” The same hath been observed by rabbi Jehuda Levita, and Abeneadra, amongst the Jews, and St. Chrysostom, in his 9th homily of statutes, among Christians. excellently well takes notice hereof in the position of water, which, as to its quality, is of a middle nature betwixt air and earth, 9and ought to have been placed betwixt them, but is therefore interspersed and mixed with the earth, lest its fruitfulness, by which the life of man is preserved, should be hindered. Now it is the property of intelligent beings only to act with some view. Neither are particular things appointed for their own peculiar ends only, but for the good of the whole; as is plain in water, which, contrary to its own nature, is raised upwards, lest by a vacuum there should be a gap in the structure of the universe, which is upheld by the continued union of its parts.99   This was borrowed from the peripatetic philosophy, by this great man; which supposed the water in a pump to ascend for fear of a vacuum; whereas it is now granted by all to be done by the pressure of the air. But by the laws of gravitation, as the moderns explain them, the order of the universe, and the wisdom of its Creator, are no less conspicuous. Le Clerc. Now, the good of the whole could not possibly be designed, nor a power put into things to tend towards it, but by an Intelligent Being, to whom the universe is subject. There are moreover some actions, even of the beasts, so ordered and directed, as plainly discover them to be the effects of some small degree of reason: as is most manifest in ants and bees, and also in some others, which, before they have experienced them, will avoid things hurtful, and seek those that are profitable to them. That this power, of searching out and distinguishing, is not properly in themselves, is apparent from hence, because they act always alike, and are unable to do other things which do not require more pains; wherefore they are acted upon by some foreign reason; and what they do, must of necessity proceed from the efficiency of that reason impressed upon them: which reason is no other than what we call God.1010   No, they are done by the soul of those beasts, which is so far reasonable, as to be able to do such things, and not others. Other. wise God himself would act in them instead of a soul, which a good philosopher will hardly be persuaded of. Nothing hinders but that there may be a great many ranks of sensible and intelligent natures, the lowest of which may be in the bodies of brute creatures; for nobody, I think, really believes with Ren. Cartes, that brutes are mere corporeal machines. But you will say, when brute creatures die, what becomes of the souls? That indeed 1 know not; but it is nevertheless true that souls reside in them. There is no necessity that we should know all things, nor are we therefore presently to deny any thing because we cannot give account of it. We are to receive those things that are evident, and be content to be ignorant of those things which we cannot know. Le Clerc. Next, the heavenly constellations, but more especially those eminent ones, the sun and moon, have their courses so exactly accommodated to the fruitfulness of the earth, and to the health of animals, that nothing can be imagined more convenient: for though, 10otherwise, the most simple motion had been along the equator, yet are they directed in an oblique circle, that the benefit of them might extend to more places of the earth. And as other animals are allowed the use of the earth, so mankind are permitted to use those animals, and can by the power of his reason tame the fiercest of them. Whence it was that the stoics concluded that the world was made for the sake of man.1111   See Tully in his first book of offices, and his second of the nature of the gods. But, since the power of man does not extend so far as to compel the heavenly luminaries to serve him, nor is it likely they should of their own accord submit themselves to him, hence it follows, that there is a superior understanding, at whose command those beautiful bodies afford their perpetual assistance to man, wile, is placed so far beneath them; which understanding is none other than the Maker of the stars and of the universe. The eccentric motions of the stars, and the epicycles, as they term them, manifestly show, that they are not the effects of matter, but the appointment of a free agent;1212   This argument is learnedly handled by Maimonides, in his Ductor Dubitantium, part ii. c. 4. And if you suppose the earth to be moved, it amounts to the same thing in other words.—These, and some of the following things, are according to the vulgar opinion, which is now exploded; but the efficacy of the Divine Power is equally seen in the constant motion of the planets, in ellipses, about the sun, through the most fluid vortex; in such a manner as not to recede from, or approach to, their centre, more than their wonted limits, but always cut the sun’s equator at like obliquity. Le Clerc.—Sir Isaac Newton has demonstrated that there are no such vortexes, but that their motions are better explained without them. and the same assurance we have from the position of the stars, some in 11one part of the heavens, and some in another: and from the unequal form of the earth and seas: nor can we attribute the motion of the stars in such a direction, rather than another, to any thing else. The very figure of the world, which is the most perfect, viz. round, and all the parts of it inclosed, as it were, in the bosom of the heavens, and placed in wonderful order, sufficiently declare, that these things were not the result of chance, but the appointment of the most excellent understanding: for, can any one be so foolish, as to expect any- thing so accurate from chance? He may as soon believe, that pieces of timber, and stones, should frame themselves into a house:1313   Or ship, or engine. or that, from letters thrown at a venture, there should arise a poem; when the philosopher, who saw only some geometrical figures on the sea-shore, thought them plain indications of a man’s having been there, such things not looking as if they proceeded from chance. Besides, that mankind were not from eternity, but date their original from a certain period of time, is clear, as from other arguments, so from the improvement of arts, and those desert places, which came afterwards to be inhabited,1414   t Tertullian treats of this matter, from history, in his book concerning the soul, sect. 30. “We find” (says he) “in all commentaries, especially of the antiquities of men, that mankind increase by degrees,” &c. And a little after, “The world manifestly improves every day, and grows wiser than it was.” These two arguments caused Aristotle’s opinion (who would not allow mankind any beginning) to be rejected by the learned historians, especially the Epicureans. Lucretius, book v.—    ” If heaven and earth had no original,
How is it, that, before the Trojan war,
No poets sung of memorable things;
Bat deeds of heroes died so oft with them;
And no where monuments raised to their praise?
This shews the world is young, and lately made.
Whence ’tis that arts are every day increas’d,
Or fresh renew’d; and ships so much improv’d,
And music, to delight the ear.”

   With a great deal more to the same purpose.

   Virgil, Eclogue vi.
   ——“From these first principles
All things arose; hence sprung the tender world.”

   And in his Georgics.
   “Use first produc’d those various arts we see, By small degrees; this taught the husbandman
To plough and sow his fields; from the hard flint
To fetch the hidden sparks; then men began
With hollow boats to cross the stream; pilots
Call’d Hyades and Pleiades their signs,
And Charles’s wain: then sportsmen spread their nets
To catch wild beasts, and dogs pursued their game.
Some drain the rivers, and some seek the main,
Stretching their nets to inclose the finny prey:
Others with iron forge whet instruments
To cleave the yielding wood: then arts arose.”

   Horace, book i. sat. iii.
   “When first mankind began to spread the earth.
Like animals devoid of speech, they strove
With utmost strength of hands, for dens and acorns;
From thence to clubs, and then to arms, they came,
Taught by experience; till words express’d
Their meaning, and gave proper names to things:
Then ended wars, cities were built, and laws
Were made for thieves, adulterers, and rogues.”

   Pliny, in his third book of natural history, about the beginning, “Wherefore I would be so understood as the words theinselvei signify, without the flourish of men; and as they were understood at the beginning, before any great exploits were performed.” The same author affirms, that the Hercynean wood (in Germany) was coeval with the world, book xvi. Seneca, in Lanctantius, “It is not a thousand years since wisdom had a beginning.” Tacitus’s Annals, iii. “The first men, before appetite and passion swayed them, lived without bribes, and without iniquity; and needed not to be restrained from evil by punishment: neither did they stand in need of reward, every one naturally pursuing virtue; for so long as nothing was desired contrary to morality, they wanted not to be restrained by fear; but after they laid aside equity, and violence and ambition succeeded in the room of honesty and humility, then began that power which has always continued amongst some people. But others immediately, or at least after they grew weary of kings, preferred a legal government.” And Aristotle could not fully persuade himself, any more than others, of the truth of his own hypothesis, that mankind never had any beginning. For he speaks very doubtfully of the matter in many places, as Moses Maimonides observes in his Ductor Dubitantium, part ii. In the prologue to his second book, concerning the heavens, he calls his position only a persuasion, and not a demonstration; and there is a saying of the same philosopher, in the third book of the soul, chap. iii. “that persuasion is a consequence of opinion.” But his principal argument is drawn from the absurdity of the contrary opinion, which supposes the heavens and the universe not to be created, but generated; which is inconsistent. Book xi. of his Metaphysics, chap. 8, he says, “It is very likely that arts have often been lost, and invented again.” And, in the last chapter of the third book of the generation of animals, he has these words, “It would not be a foolish conjecture, concerning the first rise of men and beasts, if any one should imagine, that of old they sprung out of the earth one of these two ways; either after the manner of maggots, or to have come from eggs.” After his explication of each of these, he adds, “If therefore animals had any beginning, it is manifest it must be one of these two ways.” The same Aristotle, in the first of his Topics, chap. xi. “There are some questions against which very good arguments may be brought; it being very doubtful which side is in the right, there being great probability on either hand, we have no certainty of them: and though they be of great weight, we find it very difficult to determine the cause and manner of their existence; as for instance, whether the world were from eternity, or no: for such things as these are disputable.” And again, disputing about the same thing, in his first book of the heavens, chap. x. “What shall be said will be the more credible, if we allow the disputants arguments their due weight.” Tatian, therefore, did well not to pass by this, where he brings his reasons for the belief of the scriptures, “That what they deliver, concerning the creation of the universe, is level to every one’s capacity.” If you take Plato for the world’s having a beginning, and Aristotle for its having had none, you will have seen both the Jewish and Christian opinions.”
and is further evidenced by the language of islands, plainly derived from the neighbouring continents. There are, moreover, certain ordinances so universal amongst men, that they do not seem so much to owe their institution to the instinct of nature, or the deductions of plain reason, as to a constant tradition, scarcely interrupted in any place, either by wickedness or misfortune: of which sort were formerly sacrifices, amongst holy rites; and now shame in venereal things, the solemnity of marriage, and the abhorrence of incest.

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