Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors]

(saith he) we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things, which do appear.” (Heb. xi. 3.) Not as if the earth, which we see, were made of air, or any more subtil body, which we see not; nor as if those “ things which are seen” were in equal latitude commensurable 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.

Vain 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 :t 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 benefit 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.

* For I take un tk paivouévwv in jus utitur; nemo non subjicitur ei this place to be equivalent unto our cujas eget ut possit uti. Sic et nemo ŽE Övrwv in the Maccabees, and that of de alieno utendo, non minor est eo de the same sense with é oủk ovpwv, as cujus utitur; et nemo qui præstat de the Syriac translation, 3597598 79 suo uti, non in hoc superior est eo un ex iis quæ non conspiciuntur. cui præstat uti.' Tertull. adv. Hermog. Which manner of speech may be ob- c.8. served even in the best Greek au I'Grande revera beneficium contuthors; as in Aristotle: peraßáxloi àv lit, ut haberet hodie per quem Deus Tò ueraßállov terpaxūs. î ydp łĘ Úno- cognosceretur et omnipotens vocaκειμένου εις υποκείμενον, ή ουκ εξ υπο- retur: nisi quod jam non omnipotens, keluévov eis oủx ůrokeljevov, Ñ uni si non et hoc potens, ex nibilo omnia ůtokaluévov eis ÜTokeluɛvov, Ñ EE U TOKEL- proferre.Ibid. Quomodo ab homine uévov eig per årtoreljevov. Phys.l.v.c. 1. divina illa vis differret, si, ut homo, sic t. 7. Where oủk és ÚTokenuévov is the etiam Deus ope indigeat aliena : insame with E oux u troketuévov, and ui) diget autém si nihil moliri potest, nisi εξ υποκειμένου with εκ μη υποκειμένου. ab altero illi materia ministretur.'

† Nemo enim non eget eo de cu- Lactan. I. ii. c. 9.

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 later philosophers, * something acquainted with the truth which we profess, 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 Aristotlet 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, 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,ş 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|| observed that nothing is ever generated but out of something preexistent, nor is there any mutation 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

* As Hierocles: Kai ti karaléyw oot sed ea utitur quæ sit parata, fictorque τούτους, όπου γε και τών Πλατωνικών item cera: sic isti providentiae divinae τινές ούκ ορθήν την περί του δημιουργού materiam praesto esse oportuit, non θεού δι ασώζουσιν έννοιαν; ου γάρ ικανόν quam ipse faceret, sed quam haberet ajtóv elvai vñonoav, avtoredūGůtootñ- paratam.' Cicero de Nat. Deorum, iii. σαι δύνασθαι κόσμον οικεία δυνάμει και τη fragm. ap. Lactant. 1. ii. c. 8. 'Απεισοφία εξ αϊδίου ενεργούντα' αλλ' άγεννή- καστέον τω μεν θεώ τον τεχνίτην, τον του ύλης συνεργεία, και τη μη παρ' αυτού δε αδριάντα το κόσμο. Methodius περί υποστάση φύσει καταχρώμένον, μόνως των γεννητών, 1η Phot. Bibl. 237. onulovpyɛīv dúvaobal. De Provid. et col. 937. ed. Hoeschel. 1612. Fato, p. 6.

και So Hierocles calls him κοσμοποιών + Πάν το γινόμενον ανάγκη γίνεσθαι και αριστοτεχνον θεόν, in Aur. Carm. η εξ όντων ή εκ μη όντων τούτων δε το p. 10, 11. μεν εκ μη όντων γίνεσθαι αδύνατον περί Ο "Οτι δε αι ουσίαι, και όσα άλλα απλώς γάρ ταύτης ομογνωμονούσι της δόξης όντα εξ υποκειμένου τινός γίνεται, επιάπαντες οι περί φύσεως. Physic. Ι. i. c. σκοπούντι γένοιτ' άν φανερόν: αεί γάρ εστί 4. t. 34.

τι δ υπόκειται, εξ ου γίνεται το γιγνόμε1 Ut igitur faber cum quid edit- νον, οίον τα φυτά και τα ζώα εκ σπέρcaturus est, non ipse facit materiam, uatos. Aristot. Phys. I, i. c. 7.

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 bands 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 the world by those parts thereof which we see subject to generation 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 måde 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

• These words of Aristotle are very totle hath sufficientlydestroyed bisown observable, in which he disputes argument, which we produced before against Speusippus and the Pythago- out of the first of the Physics, and is reans, who thought the rudiments of excellently urged in that pbilosopbithings first made, out of wbich they cal piece attributed unto Justin Margrew unto perfection: "Οσοι δε υπο- tyr. Eί πρώτόν εστι τό σπείρον σπέρμα, λαμβάνουσιν, ώσπερ οι Πυθαγόρειοι και και ύστερον το εκ σπέρματος γιγνόμενον, Σπεύσιππος, το άριστον και κάλλιστον και γεννητά άμφότερα, τη μεν γενέσει μη εν αρχή είναι, διά το εκ των φυτών και του κειμένου εκ σπέρματος γιγνομένου των ζώων τας αρχάς αίτια μεν είναι, το υπόκειται το σπέρμα τη δε γενέσει του δε καλόν και το τέλειον εν τοις εκ τούτων, σπείραντος υποκείσθαι το σπέρμα ου δυουκ ορθώς οίονται. το γάρ σπέρμα εξ ετέ- νατόν. ουκ άρα αεί τα ζώα και τα φυτά ρων εστί προτέρων τελείων και το πρώ- εκ σπέρματος. Αristot. Dogm. Evers. τον ου σπέρμα εστίν, αλλά το τέλειον. art. 1. “Όθεν ουθείς λέγει του σπέρματος οίον πρότερον άνθρωπον αν φαίη τις εί- είναι τον άνθρωπον, ουδε του ωού είναι ναι του σπέρματος, ου τον εκ τούτου γεν- την άλεκτορίδα της δέ άλεκτορίδος το νώμενον, αλλ' έτερον εξ ου το σπέρμα. ώον είναι, και το σπέρμα του ανθρώπου Metaph. xii.c.7. By which words Aris- tóyouev. Plut. Sympos. I. ii. probl. 3.

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 antecedent 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 him 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.

- Hic visibilis mundus ex ma- ctus est et ornatus.' Gennad. c. teria quæ a Deo facta fuerat, fa- 10.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

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 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 unfitly conceive necessary, infinite, and eternal,f they

* "Αλλο γάρ το επίκτητον αγαθόν, in his sense he thus describes the άλλο το καθ' έξιν αγαθόν, άλλο το πρώ- first Cause of all things: Εστ' άν (so τως αγαθόν. Ρroclus in Times 1. ii. I read it, not lot', àv, as the printed p. 110. 30. ed. Βasil. 1534. Το δε αυ- copies, or έως άν, as Curterius) τοαγαθόν πρώτως αγαθόν. Ιbid. Ι. 33. το πρώτον αυτών αίτιον αμετάβλητον

1 As Plato: Λέγωμεν δή, δι' ήν πάντη και άτρεπτον, και την ουσίαν αιτίαν γένεσιν και το πάν τόδε ο ξυνι- τη ενεργεία την αυτήν κεκτημένον, και στάς ξυνέστησεν, αγαθός ήν αγαθώ δ' την αγαθότητα ουκ επίκτητον έχον, ουδείς περί ουδενός ουδέποτε εγγίνεται αλλ' ουσιωμένην καθ' αυτήν, και δε φθόνος τούτου δ' εκτός ών, πάντα ότι αυτήν τα προς το είναι παράγον (so I μάλιστα εβoυλήθη γενέσθαι παραπλήσια read it, not πάντων προς το εύ είναι, as αυτώ" ταύτην δε γενέσεως κόσμου μάλιστ' the printed). Hierocl. in Aur. Carm. p. αν τις αρχήν κυριωτάτην παρ' ανδρών 21. Συνήρτηται άρα τη μεν αγαθότητι φρονίμων αποδεχόμενος, ορθότατα απο- του πατρός ή της προνοίας εκτένεια" ταύτη δέχoιτ' άν. In Timeo, p. 304. ed. Βip. δε ή του δημιουργού διαιώνιος ποίησις Αιτία γαρ της των πάντων ποιήσεως ταύτη δε ή του παντός κατά τον άπειρον ουδεμία άλλη πρόσεστιν εύλογος, πλήν άϊδιότης, και ο αυτός λόγος ταύτην τε της κατ' ουσίαν αγαθότητος. Hierocl. αναιρεί, και την αγαθότητα του πεποιηAur. Carm. p. 21. ed. pr. Αί γάρ. κότος. Ρroclus in Timgum, 1. ii. p. 111. παρά την αγαθότητα λεγόμεναι αιτίαι 46. Now although this be the conτης δημιουργίας τούδε του παντός, άν- stant argumentation of the later Plaθρωπίναις μάλλον περιστάσεσιν ή το tonists, yet they found no such deθεώ πρέπουσιν. Ιbid.

duction or consequence in their masΗ 'Ανάγκη διά την του θεού αγαθό- ter Plato: and I something incline τητα όντος του κόσμου, αεί τε τον θεόν to think, though it may seem very αγαθόν είναι, και τον κόσμον υπάρχειν" strange, that they received it from the ώσπερ ηλίω μεν και πυρί συνυφίσταται Christians, I mean out of the school φώς, σώματι δε σκιά. Salustius de Diis of Ammonius at Alexandria; whom et mundo, c. 7. Ει γάρ άμεινον μή though Porphyrius would make an ποιείν, πώς εις το ποιεϊν μεταβέβηκε ; ει apostate, for the credit of his heathen δε το ποιείν, τί μη εξ αϊδίου έπραττεν; gods, yet St. Jerome hath sufficiently Hierocles de Fato et Provid. p. 10. assured us that he lived and died in Neither doth he mean any less, when the Christian faith. The reason of

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »