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contrive a piece of his own work,* as in it to preserve the memory of himself, never to be obliterated without the destruction of the work, well may we read the great Artificer of the world in the works of his own hands, and by the existence of any thing demonstrate the first cause of all things.
We find by the experience of ourselves, that some things in this world have a beginning, before which they were not; the account of the years of our age sufficiently infer our nativities, and they our conceptions, before which we had no being. Now if there be any thing which had a beginning, there must necessarily be something which had no beginning, because nothing can be a beginning to itself. Whatsoever is, must of necessity either have been made, or not made; and something there must needs be which was never made, because all things cannot be made. For whatsoever is made, is made by another, neither can any thing produce itself; otherwise it would follow, that the same thing is and is not at the same instant in the same respect: it is, because a producer; it is not, because to
interpretation, by accusing other interpreters of unfaithfulness: Plerique interpretes, ex præpositione a, ex fecerunt, contra ipsorum Græcorum Codicam fidem, qui non éx cTi0EWS, sed årò krioews babent:' yet there is no ground for such a calumny, because åtò may be, and is often rendered e or ex as well as éx, as Matt. iii. 4. årò tpixūv kauýlov, e pilis camelinis, vii. 4. årò toũ óppaluoŨ oov, ex oculo tuo, 16. årò åkavēõv, ex spinis; and even in the sense which Socinus contends for, Matt. xvii. 18. àtò tñs őons érelvns, V.T. ex illa hora, as Tully, 1 de Fin. 51. ' Ex ea die,' and Virgil, ' Ex illo Corydon, Corydon est tempore nobis,' Ecl. vii. 70. and, ‘Tempore jam ex illo casus mihi cognitus urbis Trojanæ. Æn. i. 623. So the Greek árò pépovs the Latins render ex parte, ÅTÒ ToŨ ioov, ex æquo: of which examples are innumerable. There is no unfaithfulness then imputable to the interpreters: nor can such pitiful criticisms give any advantage to the first part of Socinus's exposition. Howsoever the Catholic interpretation depends not on those words åtò «TiOews, but on the consideration of the persons, that is the Gentiles, and the other words, toinMaol vooýueva, which he farther perverts, rendering them the miraculous operations of Christ and his apostles, or, as one of our learned men, their doings, mistaking noinua, which is from the passive πεποίημαι, for ποίη
σις, from the active εποίησα: for ποίηja is properly the thing made or created, not the operation or doing of it; as krious is sometimes taken for the creature, sometimes for the creation, but kriopa is the creature only. As therefore we read, 1 Tim. iv. 4. Tãv ktioua Osoő kalòv, so Eph. ii. 10. αυτού γάρ εσμεν ποίημα. In this sense spake Thales properly: Πρεσβύτατον των όντων θεός, αγέννητον γάρ κάλλιστον κόσμος, ποίημα γαρ θεού. Laert. Thal. p. 9. ed. Rom. 1594. The other interpretations, which he was forced to, are yet more extravagant: as when he renders the eternal Godhead, 'that which God would always have us do, or • bis everlasting will,' and proves that rendition by another place of St. Paul, Col. ii. 9. “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily;" that is, says he, all the will of God' (whereas it is most certain, that where the Godhead is, especially where the fulness, even all the fulness of the Godhead is, there must be all the attributes as well as the will of God): and when he interprets the eternal power to be the promises which shall never fail;' and thinks he has sufficiently proved it, because the same apostle calls the Gospel the power of God. For by this way of interpretation no sentence of Scripture can have any certain sense.
* In the shield of Pallas. Arist. de Mundo, c. vi. post med.
be produced: it is therefore in being, and is not in being; which is a manifest contradiction. If then all things which are made were made by some other, that other which produced them either was itself produced, or was not: and if not, then have we already an independent being; if it were, we must at last come to something which was never made, or else admit either a circle of productions, in which the effect shall make its own cause, or an
infinite succession in causalities, by which nothing will be made: both which are equally impossible. Something then we must confess was never made, something which never had beginning. And although these effects or dependent beings, singly considered by themselves, do not infer one supreme cause and maker of them all, yet the admirable order and + connexion of things shew as much ; and this one supreme Cause is God. For all things which we see or know have their existence for some end, which no man who considereth the uses and utilities of every species can deny. Now whatsoever is and hath its being for some end, of that the end for which it is must be thought the cause; and a final cause is no otherwise the cause of any thing than as it moves the efficient cause to work: from whence we cannot but collect a prime efficient Cause of all things, endued with infinite wisdom, who having a full comprehension of the ends of all, designed, produced, and disposed all things to those ends.
Again, as all things have their existence, so have they also their operations for some end; I and whatsoever worketh so, must needs be directed to it. Although then those creatures which are endued with reason can thereby apprehend the goodness of the end for which they work, and make choice of such means as are proportionable and proper for the obtaining of it, and so by their own counsel direct themselves unto it: yet can we not conceive that other natural agents, whose operations flow from a bare instinct, can be directed in their actions by any counsel of their own. The stone doth not deliberate whether it shall descend, nor doth the wheat take counsel whether it shall grow or not. Even men in natural actions use no act of deliberation : we do not advise how our heart shall beat, though without that pulse we cannot live; when we have provided nutriment for our stomach, we take no counsel how it shall be digested there, or how the chyle is distributed to every part for the reparation of the whole; the
* 'Αλλά μήν ότι γ' εστίν αρχή τις, Græcos, quæst. iij. 6. p. 204. ed. Coουκ άπειρα τα αίτια των όντων, ούτ' εις lon. 1686. ευθυωρίαν,ούτε κατ' είδος, δήλον. Aristot. 1 'Εν όσοις τέλος τι εστί, τούτου ένεκα Metaph. I. ii. c. 2. and again : ei Trep πράττεται το πρότερον και το εφεξής. . μηδέν έστι το πρώτον, όλως αίτιον ουδέν ουκούν ως πράττεται, ούτω πέφυκε και έστι. .
ως πέφυκεν, αν μη τι εμποδίζη, ούτω + Πόθεν δήλον, ει όλως εστί θεός ; πράττεται έκαστον πράττεται δε ένεκά 'Εκ της τών όντων συστάσεώς τε και του, και πέφυκεν άρα τούτου ένεκα. diapovñs. Justin. Quæst. et Resp. ad Aristot. Phys. I. ii. c. 8.
mother which conceives takes no care how that conceptus shall be framed, how all the parts shall be distinguished, and by what means or ways the child shall grow within her womb : and yet all these operations are directed to their proper ends, and that with a greater reason, and therefore by a greater wisdom, than what proceeds from any thing of human understanding. What then can be more clear, than that those natural agents which work constantly for those ends which they themselves cannot perceive, must be directed by some high and overruling wisdom? And who can be their director in all their operations tending to those ends, but he who gave them their beings for those ends ? And who is that, but the great Artificer who works in all of them? For art is so far the imitation of nature, that if it were not in the artificer, but * in the thing itself which by art is framed, the works of art and nature would be the same. Were that which frames a watch within it, and all those curious wheels wrought without the hand of man, it would seem to grow into that form; nor would there be any distinction between the making of that watch, and the growing of a plant. Now what the artificer is to works of art, who orders and disposes them to other ends than by nature they were made, that is the Maker of all things to all natural agents, directing all their operations to ends which they cannot apprehend; and thus appears the Maker to be the ruler of the world, the steerer of this great ship, the law of this aniversal commonwealth, the general of all the hosts of heaven and earth. By these ways, as by the † testimony of the creature, we come to find an eternal and independent Being, upon which all things else depend, and by which all things else are governed ; and this we have before supposed to be the first notion of God.
Neither is this any private collection or particular ratiocination, but the public and universal reason of the world. No age so distant, no country so remote, no people so barbarous, but gives a sufficient testimony of this truth. When the Roman Eagle flew over most parts of the habitable world, they met with atheism no where, but rather by their miscellany deities at Rome, which grew together with their victories, they shewed no nation was without its God. And since the later art of navigation improved hath discovered another part of the world, with which no former commerce hath been known, although the customs of the people be much different, and
"Ατοπον το μή οίεσθαι ένεκα του uóvo ToŨTO Oeds ļv kóquq. Aristot. de γίνεσθαι, εάν μη ίδωσι το κινούν βουλευ Mund. c. 6. post med. σάμενον καίτοι και η τέχνη ου βουλεύ I 'Habet Dominus testimonium εται και γάρ ει ένήν εν τω ξύλο ή totum hoc quod sumus, et in quo suναυπηγική, ομοίως αν τη φύσει επoίει. mus.' Tertull. Aristot. ibid.
και Αρχαιός τις λόγος και πάτριός έστι + Καθόλου, όπερ εν νη κυβερνήτης, πάσιν ανθρώποις, ως εκ θεού τα πάντα εν άρματι ηνίοχος, εν χορώ δε κορυφαίος, και διά θεού ημϊν συνέστηκεν. Aristot. εν πόλει δε νόμος, έν στρατοπέδω δε ηγε de Mundo, c. 6. init.
their manner of religion hold small correspondency with any in these parts of the world professed, yet in this all agree, that some religious observances they retain, and a Divinity they acknowledge. Or if any nation be discovered which maketh no profession of piety, and exerciseth no religious obseryances, it followeth not from thence that they acknowledge no God: for they may only deny his providence, as the Epicureans did; or if any go farther, their numbers are so few, that they must be inconsiderable in respect of mankind. And therefore so much of the CREED hath been the general confession of all nations,* I believe in God. Which were it not a most certain truth grounded upon principles obvious unto all, what reason could be given of so universal a consent; or how can it be imagined that all men should conspire to deceive themselves and their posterity ?+
Nor is the reason only general, and the consent unto it universal, but God hath still preserved and quickened the worship due unto his name, by the patefaction of himself. Things which are to come are so beyond our knowledge, that the wisest man can but conjecture : and being we are assured of the contingency of future things, and our ignorance of the concurrence of several free causes to the production of an effect, we may be sure that certain and infallible predictions are clear divine patefactions. For none but he who made all things and gave them power to work, none but he who ruleth all things and ordereth and directeth all their operations to their ends, none but be upon whose will the actions of all things depend, can possibly be imagined to foresee the effects depending merely on those causes. And therefore by what . means we may be assured of a prophecy, by the same we may be secured of a Divinity. Except then all the annals of the world were forgeries, and all remarks of history designed to put a cheat upon posterity, we can have no pretence to suspect God's existence, having so ample testimonies of his influence.
The works of nature appear by observation uniform, and there is a certain sphere of every body's power and activity. If then any action be performed, which is not within the compass of the power of any natural agent; if any thing be wrought by the intervention of a body which beareth no proportion to it, or hath no natural aptitude so to work; it must be ascribed to a cause transcending all natural causes, and disposing all their operations. Thus every miracle proves its author, and every act of omnipotency is a sufficient demonstration of a Deity. And that man must be possessed with a strange opinion of the wickedness of our fathers, and the tes
Nulla gens usquam est adeo + Nec in hunc furorem omnes contra leges moresque projecta, ut mortales consensissent alloquendi non aliquos Deos credat. Sen. epist. surda numina et inefficaces Deos.' cxvii. p. 577.
Sen. I. iv, de benef. c. 4.
timony of all former ages, who shall deny that ever any míracle was wrought. "We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us what works thou didst in their days, in the times of old.-Blessed be the Lord God, who only doeth wondrous works.” (Psal. xliv. 1. lxxii. 18.)
Nor are we only informed by the necessary dependency of all things on God, as effects upon their universal cause, or his external patefactions untó others, and the consentient acs knowledgment of mankind; but every particular person hath a particular remembrancer in himself, as a sufficient testimony of his Creator, Lord, and Judge. We know there is a great force of conscience in all men, by wbich their "thoughts are ever accusing, or excusing them :” (Rom. ii. 15.) they feel a comfort in those virtuous actions which they find themselves to have wrought according to their rule, a sting and secret remorse for all vicious acts and impious machinations. Nay those who strive most to deny a God, and to obliterate all sense of Divinity out of their own souls, have not been least sensible of this remembrancer in their breasts. It is true indeed, that a false opinion of God, and a superstitious persuasion which hath nothing of the true God in it, may breed a remorse of conscience in those who think it true; and therea fore some may hence collect that the force of conscience is only grounded upon an opinion of a Deity, and that opinion may be false. But if it be a truth, as the testimonies of the wisest writers of most different persuasions, and experience of all sorts of persons of most various inclinations, do agree, that the remorse of conscience can never be obliterated, then it rather proveth than supposeth an opinion of a Divinity; and that man which most peremptorily denieth God's existence is the greatest argument himself that there is a God. Let Caligula profess himself an atheist, and with that profession hide his head, or run under his bed, when the thunder strikes his ears, and lightning flashes in his eyes; those terrible works of nature put him in mind of the power, and his own guilt of the justice of God; whom while in his wilful' opinion he weakly denieth, in his involuntary action he strongly asserteth. So that a Deity will either be granted or extorted, and where it is not acknowledged it will be manifested. Only unhappy is that man who denies him to himself, and proves him to others; who will not* acknowledge his existence, of whose power he cannot be ignorant, “God is not far from every one of us.” (Acts xvii. 27.) The proper discourse of St. Paul to the philosophers of Athens was, that “ they might feel after him and find him.” (Ibid.) Some children have been so ungracious as to refuse to give the honour due unto their parent, but never any so irrational as to deny they had a father. As for those who have dishonoured God, it may stand most with their interest, and therefore they may wish
Hæc est summa delicti, nollo sis.' S. Cyprian. de... Idol. Van. §. 3. agnoscere quem ignorare non pos fin.