Abbildungen der Seite

with the worlds which were framed : but that those "things which are seen,” that is, which are, were made of those“ which did not appear,

"* that is, which were not. l'ain therefore was that opinion of a real matter coeval with God as necessary for production of the World by way of subject, as the eternal and Almighty God by way of efficient. For if some real and material being must be presupposed by indispensable necessity, without which God could not cause any thing to be, then is not he independent in his actions, nor of infinite power and absolute activity, which is contradictory to the divine perfection. Nor can any reason be alleged why he should be dependent in his operation, who is confessed independent in his being.

And as this coeternity of matter opposeth God's independency, the proper notion of the Deity, so doth it also contradict his all-sufficiency. For if, without the production of something beside himself, he cannot make a demonstration of his attributes, or cause any sensibility of his power and will for the illustration of his own glory; and if, without something distinct wholly from himself, he cannot produce any thing, then must he want something external : + and whosoever wanteth any thing is not all-sufficient. And certainly he must have a low opinion and poor conception of the infinite and eternal God, who thinks he is no otherwise known to be omnipotent than by the benefits of another. Nor were the framers of the CREED so wise in prefixing the Almighty before Maker of heaven and earth, if out of a necessity of material concurrence, the making of them left a mark of impotency rather than omnipotency.

The supposition then of an eternal matter is so unnecessary where God works, and so derogatory to the infinity of his power, and all-sufficiency of himself, that the latter philosophers, something acquainted with the truth which we profess,

* For I take per ix pasvopereer in this superior est eo cui præstat uti.' Tertull. place to be equivalent unto ουκ εξ όντων in adv. Hermog. c. 8. the di accabees, and that of the same sense + Grande revera beneficium contulit, with i cix Örtav, as the Syriac translation, ut haberet hodie per quem Deus coynos

ceretur et omnipotens vocaretur: nisi quod Which manner of speech may be jam non omnipotens, si non et hoc potens, observed even in the best Greek authors; ex nibilo omnia proferre.' Ibid. Quomodo as in Aristotle: μεταβάλλοι αν το μεταβάλ ab homine divina illa vis differret, si, ut Αν τετραχάς. ή γας εξ υποκειμένου εις υπο homo, sic etiam Deus ope indigeat aliena: αξίμενον, και ουκ εξ υποκειμένου εις ουχ υποκεί indiget autem si nibil moliri potest, nisi μειον, ή μη εξ υποκειμένου εις υποκείμενον, ή ab altero illi materia ministretur.' Lactan. εξ υποκειμένου εις μη υποκείμενον. Phys. 1. 1. ii. c. 9. 1. c. 1. t. 7. Where ουκ εξ υποκειμένου is ΚΑΙ Ας Hierocles: Και τί καταλέγω σοι τούthe same with 1 ov x ÜTI OXEINSvou, and un τους, όπου γε και των Πλατωνικών τινές ουκ εξ υποκειμένου with έκ μη υποκειμένου. ορθήν την περί του δημιουργού θεού διασώζουσιν

έννοιαν και ου γαρ ικανόν αυτόν είναι ώήθησαν, αυτοNemo enim non eget eo de cujus τελώς υποστήσαι δύνασθαι κόσμον οικεία δυνάμει atitur; nemo non subjicitur ei cujus eget και σφία εξ αιδίου ενεργούντα· αλλ' άγεννήτου ut possit uti. Sic et nemo de alieno ίλης συνεργεία, και τη μη παρ' αυτού υποστάση olendo, non minor est eo de cujus utitur; φύσει καταχρώμενον, μόνος δημιουργείν δύναet derno qui præstat de suo uti, non in hoc cha..

De Provid. et Fato, p. 6.

-e1 iis que non conspici מן אילין דלא מתהזין

[ocr errors]


though rejecting Christianity, have reproved those of the school of Plato, who delivered, as the doctrine of their master, an eternal companion, so injurious to the Father and Maker of all things.

Wherefore to give an answer to that general position, That out of nothing nothing can be produced, which Aristotle* pretends to be the opinion of all natural philosophers, I must first observe, that this universal proposition was first framed out of particular considerations of the works of art and nature. For if we look upon all kinds of artificers,t we find they cannot give any specimen of their art without materials. Being then the beauty and uniformity of the World shews it to be a piece of art most exquisite; hence they conclude that the Maker of it was the most exact artificer, and consequently had his matter from all eternity prepared for him. Again, considering the works of nature, and all parts of the World subject to generation and corruption, they also s observed that nothing is ever generated but out of something pre-existent, nor is there any inutation wrought but in a subject, and with a presupposed capability of alteration. From hence they presently collected, that if the whole world were ever generated, it must have been produced out of some subject, and consequently there must be a matter eternally pre-existing:

Now what can be more irrational, than from the weakness of some creature to infer the same imbecility in the Creator, and to measure the arm of God by the finger of man? Whatsoever speaketh any kind of excellency or perfection in the artificer, may be attributed unto God: whatsoever signifieth any infirmity, or involveth any imperfection, must be excluded from the notion of him. That wisdom, prescience, and pre-conception, that order and beauty of operation which is required in an artist, is most eminently contained in him, who hath “ordered all things in measure, and number, and weight :" (Wisd. xi. 20.) but if the most absolute idea in the artificer's understanding be not sufficient to produce his design without hands to work, and materials to make use of, it will follow no more that God is necessarily tied unto pre-existing matter, than that he is really compounded of corporeal parts.

Again, it is as incongruous to judge of the production of

Πάν το γινόμενον ανάγκη γίνεσθαι και εξ όντων ή εκ μη όντων τούτων δε το μεν εκ μη όντων γίνεσθαι αδύνατον σερί γάρ ταύτης όμο. γνωμονούσι της δόξης άπαντες οι περί φύσεως. . Physic, I. i. c. 4. t. 34.

+*Ut igitur faber cum quid ædificaturus est, non ipse facit materiam, sed ea utitur quæ sit parata, fictorque item cera : sic isti providentiæ divinæ materiam presto esse oportuit, non quam ipse faceret, sed quam haberet paratam.' Cicero de Nat. Deorum, iii. in fragm. ap. Lactant, I. ii. c.

8. 'Απεικαστέον τω μεν θεα τον τεχνίτην, τον δε αδριάντα τω κόσμω. Methodius" περί των yerintär, in Phot. Bibl. 237. col. 937. ed. Hoeschel. 1612.

# So Hierocles calls him xoruototoy rai ápistíte Xvov 9 sèv, in Aur. Carm. p. 10, 11.

και “Οτι δε αι ουσίαι, και όσα άλλα απλώς όντα εξ υποκειμένου τινός γίνεται, επισκοπούντι γένοιτ' αν φανερόν· αει γάρ έστι τι δ υπόκειται, εξ ου γίνεται το γιγνόμενον, οίον τα φυτά και Tá sãva ir stépatos. Aristot. Phys. l. i. c. 7.

the World by those parts thereof which we see subject to gederation and corruption : and thence to conclude, that if it ever had a cause of the being which it hath, it must have been generated in the same manner in which they are; and if that cannot be, it must never have been made at all. For nothing is more certain than that this manner of generation cannot possibly have been the first production even of those things which are now generated. We see the plants grow from a seed ; that is their ordinary way of generation : but the first plant could not be so generated, because all seed in the same course of nature is from the pre-existing plant. We see from spawn the fishes, and from eggs the fowls receive now the original of their being: but this could not at first be so, because both spawn and egg are as naturally from precedent fish and fowl. Indeed, because the seed is separable from the body of the plant, and in that separation may long contain within itself a power of germination : because the spawn and egg are sejungeable from the fish and fowl, and yet still retain the prolific power of generation ; therefore some might possibly conceive that these seminal bodies might be originally scattered on the earth, out of which the first of all those creatures should arise. But in viviparous animals, whose offspring is generated within themselves, whose seed by separation from them loseth all its seminal or prolific power, this is not only improbable, but inconceivable. And therefore being the philosophers* themselves confess, that whereas now all animals are generated by the means of seed, and that the animals themselves must be at first before the seed proceeding from them; it followeth that there was some way of production antecedent to and differing from the common way of generation, and consequently what we see done in this generation can be no certain rule to understand the first production. Being then that universal maxim, that 'nothing can be made of nothing,' is merely calculated for the meridian of natural causes, raised solely out of observation of continuing creatures by successive generation, which could not have been so continued without a being ante

These words of Aristotle are very ob ciently destroyed his own argument, which servable, in which he disputes against we produced before out of the first of the Speusippus and the Pythagoreans, who Physics, and is excellently urged in that thought the rudiments of tbings first made, philosopbical piece attributed unto Justin out of which they grew into perfection : Martyr. Eί πρώτόν έστι το σπείρον σπέρμα, “Όσοι δε υπολαμβάνουσιν, ώσπερ οι Πυθαγόρειοι και ύστερον το έκ σπέρματος γιγνόμενον, και και Σπεύσιππος, το άριστον και κάλλιστον μη γεννητα αμφότερα, τη μεν γενέσει του κειμένου in sexo aivai, dà tò in twv quz ūv xal Tår du er εκ σπέρματος γιγνομένου υπόκειται το σπέρμα τας αρχάς αίτια μίν είναι, το δε καλόν και το τη δε γενέσει του σπείραντος υποκείσθαι το τέλειον εν τοις εκ τούτων, ουκ ορθώς οίονται. το σπέρμα ου δυνατόν, ουκ άρα αει τα ζώα και τα γάρ σπέρμα εξ ετέρων εστί προτέρων τελείων: putà ix o Téppatog. Aristot. Dogm. Evers. και το πρώτον ου σπέρμα εστίν, αλλά το τέ art. 1. “οθεν ουθείς λέγει του σπέρματος είναι λειον. οίον πρότερον άνθρωπον αν φαίη τις είναι τον άνθρωπον, ουδε του ανού είναι την άλεκτορίδα: του σπέρματος, ου τον έκ τούτου γεννώμενον, της δε αλεκτορίδος το νόν είναι, και το σπέρμα ára' STEPON E BRÓ Chiqua. Metaph. xii. c. TOū åxogénov abyopen. Plut. Sympos. I. i. 7. By which words Aristotle bath suffi probl. 3.


cedent to all such succession ; it is most evident it can have no place in the production of that antecedent or first being, which we call creation.

Now when we thus describe the nature of creation, and under the name of heaven and earth comprehend all things contained in them, we must distinguish between things created. For some were made immediately out of nothing, by a proper, some only mediately, as out of something formerly made out of nothing, by an improper kind of creation. By the first were made all immaterial substances, all the orders of angels, and the souls of men, the heavens, and the simple or elemental bodies, as the earth, the water, and the air. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth;” (Gen. i. 1.) so in the beginning, as without any pre-existing or antecedent matter. This earth, when so in the beginning made, was “without form and void,” (Gen. i. 2.) covered with waters likewise made, not out of it but with it, the same which, “when the waters were gathered together unto one place, appeared as dry land.” (Gen. i. 9.) * By the second, all the "hosts of the earth," (Gen. ii. 1.) the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea; "Let the earth (said God) bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit-tree yielding fruit after his kind." (Gen.i.11 “ Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth;" (Gen.i.20.) and more expressly yet, “ Out of the ground God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air.” (Gen. ii. 19.) And well may we grant these plants and animals to have their origination from such principles, when we read, “ God formed man out of the dust of the ground;" (Gen. ii. 7.) and said unto bim whom he created in his own image, “ Dust thou art.” (Gen. iii. 19.)

Having thus declared the notion of creation in respect of those things which were created, the next consideration is of that action in reference to the agent who created all things. Him therefore we may look upon first as moved; secondly, as free under that motion ; thirdly, as determining under that freedom, and so performing of that action. In the first we may see his goodness, in the second his will, in the third his power.

I do not here introduce any external impulsive cause, as moving God unto the creation of the world; for I have presupposed all things distinct from him to have been produced out of nothing by him, and consequently to be posterior not only to the motion but the actuation of his will.' Being then nothing can be antecedent to the creature beside God himself, neither can any thing be a cause of any of his actions but what is in him; we must not look for any thing extrinsical unto him, but wholly acquiesce in his infinite goodness, as the only moving • Hic visibilis mundus ex materia quæ a Deo facta fuerat, factus

est et ornatus.' Gennad. c. 10.

and impelling cause; There is none good but one, that is God." (Matt. xix. 17.)* saith our Saviour; none originally, essentially, infinitely, independently good, but he. Whatsoever goodness is found in any creature is but by way

of emanation from that fountain, whose very being is diffusive, whose nature consists in the communication of itself. In the end of the sixth day “ God saw every thing that he had made, and behold it was very good :” (Gen. i. 31.) which shews the end of creating all things thus good, was the communication of that by which they were, and appeared so.

The ancient heathens have acknowledged this truth,+ but with such disadvantage, that from thence they gathered an undoubted error. For from the goodness of God, which they did not untitly conceive necessary, infinite, and eternal,I they col

"Αλλο γας το επίκτητον αγαθόν, άλλο το καθ' έξιν αγαθόσ, άλλο το πρώτως αγαθόν. Proclus in Timaum, I. ii. p. 110. 30. ed. Basil. 1534. Το δε αύταγαθών πρώτως άγαση. Ιbid. Ι. 33.

+ As Piato: Λέγαμεν δή, δι' ήν αιτίαν γέ. εση και το πάν τόδε και ξυνιστάς ξυνέστησεν, αγαθές ήν αγαθα δ' ουδείς περί ουδενός ουδέποτε έγγινεται φθόνος· τούτου δ' εκτός αν, πάντα ότι μάλιστα εβoυλήθη γενέσθαι παραπλήσια αυτα ταύτην δε γενέσεως κόσμου μάλιστ' αν τις εγχην κυριοτάτην σαρ' ανδρών φρονίμων αποδεχόμενος, ορθότατα αποδέχoιτ' άν. In Τιιde. 504. ed. Βip. Αιτία γαρ της των πάντων ποιήσεως ουδεμία άλλη πρόσεστιν ελγος, πλην της κατ' ουσίαν αγαθότητος. Hietard. in Aur. Carm. p. 21. ed. pr. Ai γαρ παρά την αγαθότητα λεγόμεναι αιτίαι της έπμιουργίας του δε του παντός, ανθρωπίνοις μάλλον σεριστάσεσιν ή τω θεώ πρέπουσιν. Ibid.

: 'Ανάγκη διά την του θεού αγαθότητα όντος του κόσμου, αεί τε τον Θεόν αγαθόν είναι, και τον κόσμον υπάρχειν ώσπερ ηλίω μεν και πυρί συυφίσταται φάς, σώματι δε σκιά. Salustius de Dus et mundo, c. 7. Ε. γαρ άμεινον μη σετίν, πως εις το ποιεϊν μεταβεβηκε ; ει δε το σειεν, τί μη εξ αιδίου έπραττεν ; Hierocles de Fato et Prorid. p. 10. Neither doth he mean any less, when in bis sense he thus describes the first Cause of all things : Εστ' άν (so I read it, not έστ', αν, as the printed copies, or έως αν, as Curterius) ή το πρώτον αυτών αίτιον αμετάβλητον πάντη και έτρεστον, και την ουσίαν τη ενεργεία την αυτή κεκτημένον, και την αγαθότητα ουκ επίκτητον έχον, αλλ' ουσιωμένην καθ' αυτήν, και δι' αυτήν τα προς το είναι παράγον (so I Yead it, not σάντων προς το εύ είναι, as the printed). Hierocl. in Aur. Carm. p. 21. Συνήρτηται άρα τη μέν άγαθότητι του πατρός και της προτίας εκτένεια: ταύτη δε και του δημιαγγεί διαιώνιος ποίησις· ταύτη δε ή του παντός κατά τον άπειρον άιδιότης. και ο αυτός λόγος ταύτην τε αναιρεί, και την αγαθότητα του πε

ποιηκότος. Ρroclus in Tincum, 1. ii. p. 111. 46. Now although this be the constant argumentation of the later Platonists, yet they found no such deduction or consequence in their master Plato: and I something incline to think, though it may seem very strange, that they received it from the Christians, I mean out of the school of Ammonius at Alexandria ; whom though Porphyrius would make an apostate, for the credit of bis beathen gods, yet St. Jerome hath sufficiently assured us that he lived and died in the Christian faith. The reason of my conjecture is no more than this : Proclus acknowledgeth that Plutarch and others, though with Plato they maintained the goodness of God to be the cause of the World, yet withal they denied the eternity of it: and when he quotes other expositors for bis own opinion, be produceth none bui Por. phyrius and lamblichus, the eldest of which was the scholar of Plotinus the disciple of Ammonius. And that he was of the opinion, I collect from bim who was his scholar both in philosophy and divinity, that is, Origen, whose judgment, if it were not elsewhere apparent, is sufficiently known by the fragment of Methodius περί γεννητών, preserved in Photius. “Οτι ο 'Ωριγένης, όν κένταυρον καλεί, έλεγε συναίδιον είναι τα μόνα σοφώ και απροσδεεί θεώ το παν. [Vid. p. 89. col. 2.) Being then Porphyrius and lamblicbus cited by Proclus, being Hierocles, Proclus, and Salustius, were all either εκ της Ιεράς γενεάς, as they called it, that is, descended successively from the School of Ammonius (the great conciliator of Plato and Aristotle, and reformer of the ancient philosophy), or at least contemporary to them that were so; it is most probable that they might receive it from his mouth, especially considering that even Origen a Christian confirmed the same.

« ZurückWeiter »