skip to primary navigation skip to content



THough it may well seem needless to preface any thing in particular touching these Three First Dialogues, we being in so great a measure prevented by what is already noted in general in the Palæopolite's Epistle to his Friend; yet because the other two went not out of my hands without something a larger Preamble, I have thought it not amiss to preface a little in way of commendation of these. Briefly then, the Subject of the First of these Three Dialogues is the Attributes of God; of the Two latter, the <A2v> Adjusting of the Phænomena of the World to the Goodness of his Providence. Arguments that will easily allure the Attention of the Curious, and I think handled with that plainness, that full comprehension and carefull circumspection, that they will also satisfie the Ingenuous. But they that have a minde to finde flaws will easily phansie they see them even there where they are not. The main Scope of the Authour in the handling of the Attributes of God seems to be, to cut his way with that Caution and Judgement, as neither to lessen the Majesty of the Godhead by a pretence of making his Nature so universally intelligible to all Capacities whatsoever, (for it is well known how dull and short-sighted some are) nor yet on the other side to make his Existence incredible, by puzzling and confounding even the best Understandings with highflown Notions and hard Repugnancies, yea perfect Contradictions, upon pretence of magnifying the Nature of God the more thereby. As if the more per <A3r> plext and self-inconsistent the Nature of God were, it were the more glorious and adorable; and that were not a Reprehension of our Saviour to the Samaritans, but an Encomium, where he saies,[1] Ye worship ye know not what. Which yet is the condition of all those that dress up the Deity with repugnant Attributes, and an Invitation to the Atheistically-given to quit both the Deity and his Worship at once.

Which consideration I conceive made the Authour of these Dialogues not onely with sound Reason to beat down, but also with a due and becoming Contemptuousness to explode that new fond Opinion of the Nullubists, who, forsooth, imagine themselves so superlatively intellectual above other men, in declaring that God is no-where, though they cannot deny but that he is. In which lofty adventure though they boast themselves as so safely elevated above the Region of Imagination, yet I do not doubt but this high Lift of their thoughts will be found at last to be but <A3v> as a tumid Bubble on troubled waters, and that the Levity and Puffiness of their Spirits has carried their conceptions (if they have any of the thing they pronounce of) above the levell of common Sense and Reason.

In his adjusting of the Phænomena of the Universe to the Divine Goodness, it is considerable that he has declined no Difficulties the wit of man can imagine or invent, but brought them all into view, or at least the hardest of all, and such Specimina of all kindes, that in all likelihood, what-ever new Instances may occur to men, or they may on set purpose excogitate, will be easily satisfy'd by the Solution of these foregoing Examples.

That also is not to be pretermitted, how he has fitted Solutions and Hypotheses to the severall degrees and capacities of the mindes of men, that the Argument may not be too big for some, and too little for others. To say nothing how in the representing of the gross Barbarities of the Manners and Religions in the Unciviliz'd parts of <A4r> the World, he does by not an unpleasant Satyricalness dexterously endeavour the quickening of the Civilized parts into a sense and abhorrence of the least shadow or resemblance of those execrable Barbarities.

And that again, methinks, is very sober and humane, in that in the setting out these Genius's of severall sorts and sizes, as I even now intimated, there is nothing of reproach cast upon any, but he that has not the Fate to be a Philotheus or a Bathynous, is notwithstanding allow'd to be a Sophron. All which Dispensations in their kinde are laudable and honourable; and it is certainly want of Judgement or Good nature that makes them contemn one another. For those that are arrived to any due measure of real Piety and Vertue finde so great a Perfection in that, that those whom they see arrived to the like degree there with themselves, let their other Capacities be what they will, they will easily give them the right hand of Fellowship, and acknowledge them their equals. But for those whose <A4v> either Knowledge or Ignorance is accompanied with so high a pitch of Rudeness and Immorality, as that they contemn and reproch all that are not of their own size in either, it is but just if they find themselves lightly perstringed in the Parable of those two loudsinging Nightingales of Arcadia that so rudely awakened Bathynous out of his Divine Dream.

Lastly, For the observation of Decorum of Persons, though it be not neglected or transgressed in any part of all the Five Dialogues, yet it is more full and articulate in these Three; whenas the peculiar Character of Hylobares had no occasion distinctly to shew it self in the Two last. But the Characters of all the others are more or less discernible in all Five, but most of all that of Cuphophron. In the Character of which Person the Dramatist seems to have been judicious even to Physiognomonicall Curiosity, he intimating him to be one of so little a Stature. Which comports excellently well with that gaiety of Manners, that ver <A5r> satility of Wit, and lightsomeness of Humour, that discovers it self all along from the beginning to the end in the person of Cuphophron. For this qualification of Manners is most incident, according to the rules of Physiognomie, to men of a little stature, their Heat and Spirits being something over-proportionated to the bigness of their Bodie; which makes them quick and chearfull, and of a sudden apprehension, obnoxious to Raptures and exalted Resveries, though reaching short, or else shooting over, and not easily hitting the Truth. Which therefore agrees well with the Platonicalness of Cuphophron's Genius. Besides that it may be the Authour may have some regard to the littleness of Des-Cartes his Stature, of whose Wisedome Cuphophron is introduced such an excessive Admirer. As if the lesser-sized Bodies were the fittest Sheath or Case for a Cartesian Wit. Not to note farther, that Plato also was of no procere Stature.

Severall such like Prettinesses accompany the nervose prosecution of <A5v> the main Subject of these Dialogues: wherein to the free and ingenuous I think the Authour will not easily seem to have over-shot himself in any thing, unless in his over-plain and open opposing that so-much-admired Philosopher Renatus Des-Cartes, on whom persons well versed in Philosophicall Speculations have bestowed so high Encomiums, especially a Writer of our own, who, besides the many Commendations he up and down in his Writings adorns him with, compares him (in his Appendix to the Defence of his Philosophicall Cabbala) to Bezaliel and Aholiab, as if he were inspired from above with a Wit so curiously Mechanicall, as to frame so consistent a Contexture of Mechanicall Philosophy as he did. And the late learned Authour of Philosophia Scripturæ Interpres, after an operose, subtile and copious endeavour of evincing that Philosophy is the best Interpreter of Scripture, as if all that pains had been intended in the behalf of Des-Cartes, to set him in the infallible Chair, he concludes all at last with a <A6r> very high and unparallel'd Elogie of the Cartesian Philosophy. Wherefore it may very well be questioned whether it was so advisedly done of the Writer of these Dialogues, to adventure the exposing of his own Credit, by so openly opposing and oppugning the great Name and Authority of so very famous and eminent a Philosopher as Cartesius.

But for my part, I must confess, the more he may have exposed himself by this freedome, (provided that he be in the right, which the impartial Reader must judge of) the Points that are controverted are of such great consequence, that I think it is in him the more conspicuous Act of Vertue, and that that very ground upon which this Imputation of Over-shooting himself is raised is a Principle to be abhorred by all good and generous Spirits; namely, As if it were a point of Imprudence to be less tender of a man's own private Credit then of the Glory of God and the publick God {sic}; or, As if any one ought to lose any esteem by doing what is really worthy and laudable.


Besides, he does but follow the Pattern of that very Authour that is observed so highly to have commended Des-Cartes, most of the Allegations against his Philosophy being more fully pursued in that Encomiast's Writings. And in that very Epistle to V. C. where he makes it his business to apologize for him, and to extoll him and magnifie him to the Skies, yet he does plainly and apertly declare, That it is a kinde of vile and abject ὑλολατρεία, or superstitious idolizing of Matter, to pretend that all the Phænomena of the Universe will arise out of it by mere Mechanical Motion. And yet in the same Epistle he seems to acknowledge that there may be some few effects purely Mechanicall. Which I believe was from his over-great desire of making Des-Cartes seem as considerable as he could with any judgement and Conscience. But for my part, upon my more seriously considering what occurrs in these Dialogues, I am abundantly assured that there is no purely-Mechanicall Phænomenon in the whole Universe.

<A7r> Nor ought that Authour so to be understood in the comparing Cartesius with Bezaliel and Aholiab, as if he did really believe he was supernaturally inspired. For with what face can any one put that sense upon such an high-flown Complement, whenas he does as well up and down in his Works plainly and zealously confute Des-Cartes, where he findes him faulty in things of any concern, as praise him and commend him where he deserves it? Which is a plain indication he did not take him to be infallibly inspired. And it may be the right Exegesis of Bezaliel and Aholiab's being filled with the Spirit of God,[2] is but their being filled with wisedome of heart for those Mechanicall Curiosities of Work; as it is signified toward the end of that Chapter, That they had a special and extraordinary Genius that way, which was the gift of God in Nature. Besides that every great thing in Nature according to the Hebrew Idiom has its denomination from God. And therefore[3] to be filled with the Spirit of God in wise <A7v> dome and understanding, &c. is to have a great measure of Wisedome and Understanding in such and such things. As without question Des-Cartes had a great deal of Wit and Sagacity to finde out the most credible Material Causes of the Phænomena of the World, and to order them into the most specious Contexture that the thing is capable of, to make up a Mechanicall Philosophy. But that these things can neither arise nor hold together without an higher Principle that must superintend and guide them, this great Encomiast of his does as plainly declare in [4] severall places, as the Contriver of these present Dialogues does.

But as for the Authour of Philosophia Scripturæ Interpres, I must confess I do much admire, that after he has laboured so much to make good his Argument, he should pitch upon Des-Cartes his Philosophy as such a safe Oracle to consult about the meaning of Scripture. It is true, that severall strokes of it are very fitly applicable to a Philosophical sense of the Six daies Creation: <A8r> but those are such as are comprehended in the Pythagorick frame of the Universe, and correspond with the ancient Cabbala; are no new Inventions of the Cartesian Wit. And the truth is, that which makes Des-Cartes his Philosophy look so augustly on't is, in that he has interwoven into it that noble System of the World according to the Tradition of Pythagoras and his Followers, or, if you will, of the most ancient Cabbala of Moses. But the rest of his Philosophy is rather pretty then great, and in that sense that he drives at, of pure Mechanism, enormously and ridiculously false.

But now for those Principles or Passages in his Philosophy that are more peculiarly his own, there is nothing more estranged from the Genius of the Scripture and the service of Theologie then they. For fuller satisfaction, and for the suavity of the Conceit's sake, let us make triall in some few. It is a grand Principle with him, that where-ever we cannot but conceive an Extension or Expansion, <A8v> we must likewise necessarily conceive there is Matter. And therefore because we cannot but conceive an indefinite Space round about us extended, we cannot but conceive Matter all along extended. Which plainly implies, we cannot but conceive there is Matter, what-ever else there is. Whence it follows, that its existence is necessary of it self and independent of God, because in its very Notion or Idea it cannot but be conceived to be; we being not able otherwise to conceive but that there is an indefinite Extension round about us. How this will comport with the absolute Perfection of God, or how sound a sense it will render of the first Verse in Genesis, I leave to any one to conjecture.

Again, It is as confessed a Principle with him, that Matter alone with such a degree of Motion as is supposed now in the Universe will produce all the Phænomena of the World, Sun, Moon, and Stars, Air, Water, Earth, Plants, Animals, and the Bodies of Men, in such order and organization as they are found. Which Principle in his Philoso <a1r> phy certainly must prove a very inept Interpreter of Rom. 1. 19, 20. where the eternall Power and Godhead is said clearly to be seen by the things that are made; insomuch that the Gentiles became thereby unexcusable. But if the Cartesian Philosophy be true, it was their ignorance they could not excuse themselves. For they might have said, That all these things might come to pass by Matter and mere Mechanicall Motion; and that Matter excludes Motion in its own Idea no more then it includes Rest: so that it might have Motion of it self as well as its Existence, according to the former Implication. See also how fit a Gloss this Principle will afford upon Acts 14. 17. and how well that Text agrees with the first Section of the first Chapter of Des-Cartes his Meteors.

A third peculiar property of his Philosophy is,[5] A seeming Modesty in declining all search into the Final causes of the Phænomena of the World: as if, forsooth, that were too great a presumption of humane wit, to pry into the Ends of God's Creation; whenas in <av> deed his Philosophy is of that nature, that it prevents all such Researches; things coming to pass, according to it, as if God were not at all the Creatour and Contriver of the World, but that mere Matter Mechanically swung about by such a measure of Motion fell necessarily, without any more to doe, into this Frame of things we see, and could have been no otherwise then they are; and that therefore all the particular Usefulnesses of the Creation are not the Results of Wisedome or Counsel, but the blinde issues of mere Material and Mechanicall Necessity. And things being so, it is indeed very consistent to cast the consideration of the Final Cause out of the Mechanicall Philosophy. But in the mean time how fit an Interpreter of Scripture this Philosophy will be in such places as that of the Psalmist, O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisedome hast thou made them all, I understand not. For, according to this Philosophy, he has made none of them so. Let the zealous Cartesian reade the whole 144 Psalm, and tune it in this point, if he can, to his Master's Philoso <a2r> phy. Let him see also what sense he can make of the first to the Corinthians, Ch. I. v. 21.

Fourthly, The Apparitions of Horsemen and Armies encountring one another in the Air, 2 Macch.5. let him consider how illustrable that passage is from the last Section of the 7. Chapter of Des-Cartes his Meteors, and from the conclusion of that whole Treatise.

Fifthly, That of the Prophet, The[6] Oxe knows his owner, and the Ass his Master's Crib; as also that of Solomon, The righteous man regardeth the life[7] of his Beast, but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel: what an excellent Gloss that Conceit of Des-Cartes his, of Brutes being senseless Machina's, will produce upon these Texts, any one may easily foresee.

And, lastly, Gal. 5. 17. where that Enmity and conflict betwixt the Flesh and the Spirit is mentioned, (and is indeed as serious and solemn an Argument as any occurrs in all Theologie) what light the Cartesian Philosophy will contribute for the more plainly understanding this so important Mystery, <a2v> may easily be conjectured from the 47th Article of his Treatise of the Passions, where the Combate betwixt the superiour and inferiour part of the Soul, the Flesh and the Spirit, as they are termed in Scripture and Divinity, is at last resolved into the ridiculous Noddings and Joggings of a small glandulous Button in the midst of the Brain encountred by the animal Spirits rudely flurting against it. This little sprunt Champion, called the Conarion, (or Nux pinea) within which the Soul is entirely cooped up, acts the part of the Spirit, as the animal Spirits of the Flesh. And thus by the Soul thus ingarrison'd in this Pine-kernell, and bearing herself against the Arietations or Jurrings of the Spirits in the Ventricles of the Brain, must that solemn Combat be performed, which the holy Apostle calls the War betwixt the Law of our Members and the Law of our Minde.[8] Spectatum admissi risum teneatis, amici? Would not so trivial and ludicrous an account of Temptation and Sin occasion Bodinus his Black-smith to raise as de <a3r> risorious a Proverb touching actual Sin, as he did touching original, and make them say, What adoe is there about the wagging of a Nut, as well as he did about the eating of the Apple? Besides, if this Conflict be not a Combat betwixt two contrarie Lives seated in the Soul her self, but this that opposes the Soul be merely the Spirits in such an Organized body, (as Cartesius expresly affirms;) the Souls of the wicked and of the godly in the other state are equally freed from the importunities of Sin.

These few Tasts may suffice to satisfie us how savoury an Interpreter the Cartesian Philosophy would prove of Holy Scripture and Theologicall Mysteries. So that Religion can suffer nothing by the lessening of the Repute of Cartesianism, the Notions that are peculiar thereto having so little tendency to that service. Indeed if Cartesius had as well demonstrated as affirmed that Matter cannot think, he had directly deserved well of Religion it self. But how-ever Providence has so ordered things, that in an oblique way his Phi <a3v> losophy becomes serviceable to Religion, whether he intended it or no, or rather, that of it that was most against his intention, namely the Flaws and Defects so plainly discoverable in it. For the unsuccessfulness of his Wit and Industry in the Mechanicall Philosophy has abundantly assured the sagacious, that the Phænomena of the Universe must be entitled to an higher and more Divine Principle then mere Matter and Mechanicall Motion. Which is the main reason that his greatest Encomiast does so affectionately recommend the reading of the Cartesian Philosophy:[9] as you may see in the Preface to his Treatise of the Immortality of the Soul.

These things, I think, duly considered will easily clear the Authour of these Dialogues from all imputation of Imprudence, in opposing the renowned Philosopher in such things as it is of so great concern thus freely to oppose him, especially he going very little farther then his highest Encomiasts have led the way before him.

Nor can I bethink me of any else that may have any colourable Pre <a4r> tense of a just Complaint against him, unless the Platonists, who haply may judge it an unfit thing that so Divine a Philosophy should be so much slurred by introducing Cuphophron, a Platonist, uttering such tipsie and temulent Raptures and Rhetoricall Apologies, as he does in the Second and Third Dialogues, for the extenuating the hideousness of Sin; besides the ill Tendency of such loose and lusorious Oratorie. And yet the judicious, I believe, will finde those passages as pertinent and usefull as those that bear the face of more Severity and Reservedness; and will easily remember that the Character of Cuphophron is not simply a Platonist, but an aiery-minded one, as indeed both the danger and indecorum of Light-mindedness or over-much Levity of spirit is both represented and perstringed all along in his person;) which therefore does not redound to the discredit of Platonism as such, but to the discovery of the hazard of that Philosophy, if it meet not with a minde that is sober and well ballasted. And for the ill Tendency of his rapturous Eloquence, that <a4v> fear is altogether groundless; since of all the force of Reason and Rhetorick he produces, there is so perfect and convictive a Confutation, that there is not the least colour left to palliate Immorality; for as much as it is so clearly evidenced that Sin and Vice are not, as Cuphophron's Sophistry would suggest, onely pursuances of a lesser good, but things in themselves absolutely evil, and perfectly contrary to the will and nature of God.

But it was a matter of no small moment to bring into view all that could plausibly be said in the behalf of so pleasing a Monster, that it being all enervated and demonstrated to be weak and frivolous, the Minde of man might be the more firmly radicated and established in what is good: and that evil men also might take notice, that the more-severely vertuous are not ignorant of the wittiest Pleas and Excuses they can frame for their adherence to Sin, nor at all at a loss how utterly to defeat them. And that therefore those that are cordially good are not so out of simplicity and ignorance, (as the <a5r> falsely-deemed Wits foolishly conceit them) but out of a clear and rational discernment what is best, and out of an holy sense and relish of the Divinest things. To the latter whereof as those conceited Wits lay no claim; so is it as manifest that they have as little right or title to the former, no man willingly continuing in Wickedness but out of a base Stupidity of minde and Imbecillity of Reason.

But these things, Reader, thou wilt best understand by perusing the Dialogues themselves, from which I have too long detained thee by an over-tedious Preface; which I must intreat thee to impute rather to my desire that thou mightest reap a clear satisfaction without the least Scruple or Disgust, then that I have any suspicion of either thy Candour or Judgement.

Farewell. G.C.


Of Fr. Euistor, the Palæopolite,
to a Noble Friend of his, tou
ching the ensuing Dialogues.

Honoured Sir,

IT is now well-nigh two years agoe since I gave you Intelligence touching that notable Meeting I had the good hap to be at in Cuphophron's renowned Arbour: Wherein I signify'd to you the great satisfaction Philopolis received in those Conferences, and how excessively Hylobares was transported with Philotheus his Converse, being made thereby so firm a Convert to the belief of Spiritual Beings, and of the Accuracy of that Divine Providence that has the Government of the World. But though the Hints I gave then of the severall Days Discourses made you so passionately desirous of having the whole matter of those Disceptations more fully communicated to you, and all the Five Days Con <a6r> ferences recovered, if it were possible, into so many Dialogues: yet, for all the care and industry I could use, I could not till now bring about what you so earnestly requested.

But now, partly out of my own Records I made to my self there a-nights after every Day's Discourse, and partly by communicating since that time either by Letters or word of mouth with those that were there present, (especially Sophron, a man of a very firm memory as well as of an able judgement) I think I have at length recovered all that passed in every Day's Conference, even to the minutest Humours and Circumstances of our Converse: Which I have done with that faithfulness, that I have not omitted such passages as may seem to redound to my own discredit; as being more then once not over-handsomely abused by our young Friend Hylobares, who, you know, is free enough in that kinde with his familiar Acquaintances. Which made him fly upon Cuphophron so frequently as he did, even to the admiration, and of <a6v> fense sometimes, of my worthy Patron Philopolis.

These two, I mean Hylobares and Cuphophron, are, as it were, the small Mean and Treble in this Heptachordon or Instrument of seven Strings. And indeed they are all along (especially in the Three first Dialogues) as acute and canorous as two stridulous Swallows on the top of a Chimney. The rest you will find grave enough, and my self some degrees below Gravity, that is to say, pretty solemnly and authentickly dull. How ever, I served to supply the place of an Historian to them; as I do to you in the rehearsall of the whole matter. Wherein I recording the Humours and Passions of men as well as their Reasonings, if any thing be faulty in any phrase of speech or Comportment of the young men, yet you are to consider that it had been a Fault in me to have omitted it; especially the Blemishes of the less perfect being so discernible in the company of those more-accomplished persons, and therefore the more likely to beget a <a7r> disrelish and aversation in the Reader to such Miscarriages. Which is the main Scope of all Moral Writings, whether Poetry or History.

But what may seem more harsh in those youthfull persons, compared with the discreet and unexceptionable demeanour of those of more mature age, will yet be found very sutable and harmonious to the Persons themselves, if you have but recourse to the particular Characters in the Page before the Book; which briefly represents the Genius of every Actour. Which if you firmly fix in your mind, and carry with you all along as you reade, you will at least be assured that I am not altogether an unskilfull Dramatist, how-ever you may doubt whether I be so exact an Historian.


From Palæopolis,
Novemb. 29.

Yours to command,
Fr. Euistor.


Three first Dialogues.

  • I. THE Preference of Vertue and assurance of an happy Immortality before the Pleasures and Grandeur of this present World. 1.
  • II. The Description of Hylobares his Genius, and of Cuphophron's Entertainments in his Philosophicall Bowre. 4.
  • III. Philopolis his Quere's touching the Kingdome of God, together with his sincere purpose of proposing them. 13.
  • IV. Hylobares his Interposall of his Quere's: first, touching the Existence of God, and Divine Providence. 18.
  • V. The Existence of God argued from the orderly Designs discoverable in the Phænomena of Nature. 20.
  • VI. Severall Instances of that general Argument. 22.
  • VII. That necessary Causality in the blind Matter can doe as little toward the orderly Effects in Nature, as the fortuitous Jumbles thereof. 28.
  • <a8r>
    VIII. That there is no Phænomenon in Nature purely Mechanicall. 31.
  • IX. That there is no Levitation or Gravitation of the Æther or of the vulgar Elements in their proper places. Whence 'tis plain that Matter's Motion is moderated from some Diviner Principle. 33.
  • X. That the Primordialls of the World are not Mechanicall, but Vital. 36.
  • XI. Instances of some simple Phænomena quite contrary to the Laws of Mechanicks. 39.
  • XII. The fond and indiscreet hankering after the impossible Pretensions of solving all Phænomena Mechanically, freely and justly perstringed. 43.
  • XIII. The Existence of God argued from the Consent of Nations, from Miracles and Prophecies, from his Works in Nature, and from his Idea. 49.
  • XIV. The Obscurity of the Nature of God, and the Intricacy of Providence; with preparatory Cautions for the better satisfaction in these Points. 54.
  • XV. The Attribute of Eternity. 57.
  • XVI. An Objection against the All-comprehension of Eternity, with the Answer thereto. 66.
  • XVII. Another Objection, with its Answer. 71.
  • XVIII. The Attribute of Immutability. 73.
  • XIX. Of the Deity's acting ad extra. 78.
  • XX. The Attribute of Omnisciency. 80.
  • <a8v>
    XXI. The Attribute of Spirituality, and that God cannot be Material. 87.
  • XXII. The false Notion of a Spirit. 90.
  • XXIII. That there is a Spiritual Being in the World. 92.
  • XXIV. That Extension and Matter are not reciprocall. 93.
  • XXV. That there is an Extension intrinsecall to Motion. 96.
  • XXVI. That there is an immovable Extension distinct from that of movable Matter. 101.
  • XXVII. That this Extension distinct from Matter is not imaginary, but real. 104.
  • XXVIII. A fresh Appeal touching the truth of that Point to Reason, Sense, and Imagination. 111.
  • XXIX. The essential Properties of Matter. 118.
  • XXX. The true Notion of a Spirit. 124.
  • XXXI. The Attribute of Omnipresency. 132.
  • XXXII. Cuphophron's Paradox of God's being no-where. 135.
  • XXXIII. The Confutation of that Paradox. 139.
  • XXXIV. That all Spirits are some-where. 142.
  • XXXV. The Grounds of Cuphophron's Paradox (that Spirits are no-where) produced and examined. 151.
  • <b1r>
    XXXVI. That God is essentially present every-where. 157.
  • XXXVII. The Arborists affected liberty of dissenting in unnecessary Opinions, and friendly Abusiveness of one another in their Philosophicall Meetings. 160.
  • XXXVIII. The Conclusion. 164.

    The Second Dialogue.

  • I. THE Introduction, containing Philopolis his Thanks for the last day's Discourse; with a touch by the bye of Inspiration, and of the Difficulty of the present Subject. 168.
  • II. The two main Heads of Objections against Providence, with certain Laws to be observed in disputing thereof. 172.
  • III. Evils in general how consistent with the Goodness of God. 175.
  • IV. The Arguments of Lucretius against Providence. 181.
  • V. Providence argued against from the promiscuous falling of the Rain, and undiscriminating discharges of Thunder-claps. 187.
  • VI. An Answer to Lucretius his Arguments. 198.
  • VII. Of Death, how consistent with the Goodness of Providence. 211.
  • VIII. Of Diseases. 217.
  • IX. Of War, Famine, Pestilence, and Earthquakes. 220.
  • <b1v>
    X. Of ill Accidents happening to brute Creatures, whereby their lifes become miserable. 226.
  • XI. Of the Cruelty and Rapacity of Animals. 232.
  • XII. Of the Rage of the Elements, the Poison of Serpents, and Wrath of wilde Beasts. 239.
  • XIII. Of Monstrosities in Nature. 244.
  • XIV. Of Fools, Mad-men, and men irreclamably Wicked from their very birth. 252.
  • XV. The best Use to be made of the saddest Scene of the things of this World. 262.
  • XVI. How the Entrance of Sin into the World can consist with the Goodness of Providence. 264.
  • XVII. Cuphophron's Lunatick Apologie whereby he would extenuate the Hainousness of Sin. 268.
  • XVIII. A solid Answer to the foregoing Apologie, though ushered in with something ludicrous Preamble. 281.
  • XIX. A more sober Enquiry into that Difficulty, How the Permission of Sin in the World can consist with the Goodness of God. 290.
  • XX. The first Attempt of satisfying the Difficulty, from that Stoicall Position of the invincible Freedome of Man's Will. 292.
  • XXI. The second Attempt, from the consideration of some high Abuses of a vincible
    , as also from the nature of this Freedome it self. 299.
  • XXII. The third and last, from the Questionableness whether in compute of the whole there does not as much good redound to the Universe by God's Permission of Sin, as there would by his forcible keeping it out. 308.
  • XXIII. How consistent it is with the Goodness of Providence, that God does not suddenly make men holy so soon as they have an hearty minde to it. 314.
  • XXIV. The Parable of the Eremite and the Angel. 320.
  • XXV. That the Adversity of the Good, and the Prosperity and Impunity of the Wicked in this Life, are no Arguments against the Accuracy of Providence. 329.
  • XXVI. A civil, but merry-conceited, bout of drinking in Cuphophron's Arbour. 338.
  • XXVII. The marvellous Conjuncture in Hylobares of an outward Levity and inward Soberness at once. 343.
  • XXVIII. His serious Song of Divine Providence. 345.
  • XXIX. The breaking up of the Meeting. 348.

    The Third Dialogue.

  • I. COnjectures touching the Causes of that Mirth that the Meeting of some persons naturally excites in one another. 350.
  • II. Hylobares his Relapse into Dissettlement
    of minde touching Providence
    , with the cause thereof. 355.
  • III. Paucity of Philosophers no blemish to Divine Providence. 357.
  • IV. Reasons in general of the gross Deformity in the Religions and Customs of the Savage Nations, as also of the variety of this Deformity in Manners & Customs. 361.
  • V. Of the barbarous Custome of going naked. 366.
  • VI. Of the ridiculous Deckings and Adornings of the Barbarians. 369.
  • VII. The Lawlesness of the Barbarians and their gross Extravagancies touching Wedlock apologized for by Cuphophron, Advocate-General for the Paynims. 376.
  • VIII. Of the γυναικοκρατόυμὲνοι, and the men of Arcladam that lie in Child-bed for their Wives. 383.
  • IX. Of the Pagans Cruelty to their Enemies, and inhumane Humanity to their Friends. 385.
  • X. Their killing men at Funerals to accompany the dead. 388.
  • XI. The Caraiamites murthering good men to seize on their Vertues. 391.
  • XII. Of the Anthropophagi or Cannibals. 393.
  • XIII. Of the Atheism and the Polytheism of the Barbarians. 398.
  • XIV.Of their Men-Sacrifices. 402.
  • <b3r>
    XV. Of their worshipping the Devil. 404.
  • XVI. Of their sacrificing men to the Devil. 408.
  • XVII Of Self-Sacrificers. 416.
  • XVIII. The meaning of Providence in permitting such horrid Usages in the World. 419.
  • XIX. The Madness of the Priests of the Pagans. 421.
  • XX. Of their Religious Methods of living in order to future Happiness. 430.
  • XXI. Of their Opinions touching the other State. 433.
  • XXII. The Unsuccessfulness of Cuphophron's Advocateship hitherto in reference to the ease of Hylobares his Perplexities. 437.
  • XXIII. Severall Considerations to make us hope that the state of the World may not be so bad as Melancholy or History may represent it. 440.
  • The first Consideration. 442.
  • The second Consideration. 445.
  • The third Consideration. 450.
  • The fourth Consideration. ibid.
  • The fifth Consideration. 451.
  • The sixth Consideration. 452.
  • The seventh Consideration. 453.
  • The eighth Consideration. 454.
  • XIV. Excellent Instances of Morality even in the most barbarous Nations. 455.
  • The ninth Consideration. 461.
  • The tenth Consideration. 462.
  • <b3v>
    The last Consideration. 463.
  • XXV. Cuphophron's rapturous Reasons why God does not dissolve the World, notwithstanding the gross Miscarriages in it; with Hylobares and Sophron's solid Animadversions thereon. 464.
  • XXVI. Hylobares as yet unsatisfied touching the Goodness of Providence, by reason of the sad Scene of things in the World. 470.
  • XXVII. An Hypothesis that will secure the Goodness of Providence, were the Scene of things on this Earth ten times worse then it is. 473.
  • XXVIII. Bathynous his Dream of the two Keys of Providence, containing the above-mentioned Hypothesis. 480.
  • XXIX. His being so rudely and forcibly awaked out of so Divine a Dream, how consistent with the Accuracy of Providence. 492.
  • XXX. That that Divine Personage that appeared to Bathynous was rather a Favourer of Pythagorism, then Cartesianism. 496.
  • XXXI. The Application of the Hypothesis in the Golden-Key-Paper, for the clearing all Difficulties touching the Moral Evils in the World. 502.
  • XXXII. Severall Objections against Providence fetch'd from Defects, answered partly out of the Golden, partly out of the Silver-Key-Paper. 514.
  • XXXIII. Difficulties touching the Extent
    of the Universe. 520.
  • XXXIV. Difficulties touching the Habitableness or Unhabitableness of the Planets. 523.
  • XXXV. That though the World was created but about six thousand years ago, yet, for ought we know, it was created as soon as it could be. 536.
  • XXXVI. Hylobares his excess of Joy and high Satisfaction touching Providence, from the Discourse of Philotheus. 549.
  • XXXVII. The Philosopher's Devotion. 552.
  • XXXVIII. The Hazard and Success of the foregoing Discourse. 556.
  • XXXIX. The Preference of Intellectual Joy before that which is Sensual. 557.
  • XL. That there is an ever-anticipative Eternity and inexterminable Amplitude that are proper to the Deity onely. 559.


Pag. 75. lin. 2. reade Ac—Aq. p. 151. l. 24. r. Res cogitantes. p. 213. l. 16. r. as in. p. 278. l. 18. r. ἴχνος p. 339. l. 13. r. neighbour Philotheus p. 340. l. 4. r. Philoth. p. 345. l. ult. r. bear. p. 441. l. 14. for have, r. hear. p. 457. l. 20. r. Hathney and the Brasilian.


The proper Characters of the Persons
in the ensuing Dialogues, with
some Allusion to their Names.

Philotheus, A zealous and sincere Lover of God and Christ, and of the whole Creation.

Bathynous, The Deeply-thoughtfull or profoundly-thinking man.

Sophron, The Sober and wary man.

Philopolis, The pious and loyall Politician.

Euistor, A man of Criticism, Philologie and History.

Hylobares, A young, witty, and well-moralized Materialist.

Cuphophron, A zealous, but Airie-minded, Platonist and Cartesian, or Mechanist.

The general Character.

All free spirits, mutually permitting one another the liberty of Philosophizing without any breach of Friendship.


Several Disquisitions and In
structions touching the

Attributes OF GOD

The First Dialogue.

Philotheus, Bathynous, Sophron, Philopolis, Euistor, Hylobares, Cuphophron.

Cuph.[10] THrice welcome, O Philotheus, who have brought along with you two such desireable Associates as Bathynous and Sophron. Will you please to make a step up into the Garden?

Philoth. With all our hearts. There is nothing more pleasant these Sum <2> mer-Evenings then the cool open Air. And I'll assure you it is very fresh here, and the Prospect very delightsome.

Cuph. Methinks I envy Greatness for nothing so much as their magnificent Houses, and their large Gardens and Walks, their Quarters contrived into elegant Knots adorned with the most beautifull Flowers, their Fountains, Cascades and Statues; that I might be in a more splendid capacity of entertaining my Friends. This would be to me no small prelibation of the Joys of Paradise here upon Earth.

Philoth. For my part, Cuphophron, I think he need envy no body who has his Heart full fraught with the Love of God, and his Mind established in a firm belief of that unspeakable Happiness that the vertuous and pious Soul enjoys in the other State amongst the spirits of just men made perfect. The firm belief of this in an innocent Soul is so high a prelibation of those eternal Joys, that it equa <3> lizes such an one's Happiness, if he have but the ordinary Conveniences of life, to that of the greatest Potentates. Their difference in external Fortune is as little considerable as a Semidiameter of the Earth in two measures of the highest Heaven, the one taken from the Surface of the Earth, the other from its Centre: The disproportion you know is just nothing.

Cuph. It is so.

Philoth. And for gratifying your Friends; They that are in a capacity of being truly such, are as fully well satisfy'd with your ordinary Entertainment, as if you were Master of the Fortunes of Princes. Besides that it would be hazardous to your self to live in that affected Splendour you speak of, as it is not altogether safe to affect it. For both the desire and enjoyment of external Pomp does naturally blinde the eyes of the Mind, and attempts the stifling of her higher and more heavenly Operations, engages the Thoughts here <4> below, and hinders those Meditations that carry the Soul to an anticipatory view of those eternal Glories above.

Cuph. What you say, Philotheus, may be, and may not be: These things are as they are used. But I must confess I think worldly Fortunes are most frequently abused, and that there is a danger in them: which makes me the more contented with the state I am in.

Philoth. And so you well may be, Cuphophron: for though you will not admit you live splendidly, yet it cannot be deny'd but that you live neatly and elegantly. For such are the Beds and Alleys of this little spot of Ground: and such also that Arbour, if the Inside be as neat as the Outside.

Cuph. That you may quickly see, Philotheus.

Philoth.[11] All very handsome, Table, Cushions, Seats and all.

Cuph. Here I love to entertain my Friends with a frugal Collation, a <5> cup of Wine, a dish of Fruit and a Manchet: The rest they make up with free Discourses in Philosophy. And this will prove your greatest Entertainment now, Philotheus, if Philopolis, Euistor and Hylobares were come.

Sophr. No Entertainment better any-where then a frugal Table, and free and ingenuous Discourse. But I pray you, Cuphophron, who is that Hylobares? Is it he who is so much famed for holding That there is nothing but Body or Matter in the world; That there is nothing Just or Unjust in its own nature; That all Pleasures are alike honest, though it be never so unaccountable a satisfaction of either a man's Cruelty or his Lust?

Cuph. O no, it is not he. For I verily believe I know who you mean, though it never was yet my fortune to be in his company, and I least of all desire it now. For he is a person very inconversable, and, as they say, an imperious Dictatour of the Principles of Vice, and impatient of all <6> dispute and contradiction. But this Hylobares is quite of another Genius and extraction; one that is as great a Moralist on this side rigour and severity of life, as he is a Materialist, and of a kind and friendly nature.

Bath. That is not incredible: For I see no reason why a Soul that is infortunately immersed into this material or corporeall Dispensation may not in the main be as solid a Moralist as a Mathematician. For the chief Points of Morality are no less demonstrable then Mathematicks; nor is the Subtilty greater in Moral Theorems then in Mathematicall.

Sophr. In my mind it is a sign of a great deal of natural Integrity and inbred Nobleness of spirit, that maugre the heaviness of his Complexion that thus strongly bears him down from apprehending so concerning Metaphysicall Truths, yet he retains so vivid resentments of the more solid Morality.

Philoth. That will redound to his greater Joy and Happiness, when <7> ever it shall please God to recover his Soul into a clearer knowledge of himself. For even Moral Honesty it self is part of the Law of God, and an adumbration of the Divine life. So that when Regeneration has more throughly illuminated his Understanding, I doubt not but that he will fall into that pious admiration and speech of the ancient Patriarch,[12] Verily God was in this place, and I knew not of it. Wherefore those that are the true lovers of God must be friendly and lovingly disposed towards all his Appearances, and bid a kinde welcome to the first dawnings of that Diviner Light.

Cuph. But besides the goodness of his Disposition, he has a very smart Wit, and is a very shrewd Disputant in those Points himself seems most puzzled in, and is therein very dexterous in puzzling others, if they be not through-paced Speculatours in those great Theories.

Sophr. If he have so much Wit added to his Sincerity, his case is the more hopefull.


Cuph. What he has of either you will now suddenly have the opportunity to experience your selves: for I see Philopolis and the rest coming up into the Garden. I will meet them, and bring them to you. Gentlemen, you are all three welcome at once, but most of all Philopolis, as being the greatest Stranger.

Philop. I pray you, Cuphophron, is Philotheus and the rest of his Company come?

Cuph. That you shall straightways see, when you come to the Arbour.

Philop. Gentlemen, we are very well met. I am afraid we have made you stay for us.

Philoth. It was more fitting that we should stay for Philopolis, then he for us. But we have been here but a little while.

Cuph. A very little while indeed; but now our Company is doubled, so little will be twice as little again. I am very much transported to see my little Arbour scored with such choice Guests. But that mine own Worth <9> lesness spoils the conceit, I could think our Company parallel to the Seven wise men of Greece.

Hyl. I warrant the Septenary will be henceforth much more sacred to Cuphophron for this day's Meeting.

Cuph. The Senary at least.

Hyl. You are so transported with the pleasure of the presence of your Friends, O Cuphophron, that you forget to tell them how welcome they are.

Cuph. That is soon recounted. I sent into my Arbour just before Philotheus came this dish of Fruit, and this Wine, the best, I hope, in all Athens; and I begin to Philopolis, and bid you now all welcome at once.

Hyl. You was very early in your provision, Cuphophron.

Cuph. I did early provide for our privacy, that there might be no need of any body's coming here but our selves.

Hyl. A large Entertainment.

Cuph. I keep touch both with my promise to Philopolis and with my <10> own usual Frugality in these kind of Collations: And yet, Hylobares, you have no cause to complain; you have to gratifie all your five Senses. Here is another Glass, tast this Wine.

Hyl. It is very good, Cuphophron, and has an excellent flavour.

Cuph. There's to gratifie your Tast then, Hylobares, besides the delicacy of these ripe Fruit, which recreate also the Nostrils with their Aromatick sent; as also does the sweet smell of the Eglantines and Hony-suckles that cover my Arbour.

Hyl. But what is there to gratifie the Touch, Cuphophron?

Cuph. Is there any thing more delicious to the Touch then the soft cool Evening-Air, that fans it self through the leaves of the Arbour, and cools our bloud, which youth and the season of the year have overmuch heated?

Hyl. Nothing that I know of: nor any thing more pleasant to the Sight then the Faces of so many ingenuous Friends met together, whose Can <11> dour and Faithfulness is conspicuous in their very Eyes and Countenances.

Cuph. Shame take you, Hylobares, you have prevented me: It is the very Conceit and due Complement I was ready to utter and bestow upon this excellent Company.

Hyl. It seems good wits jump, and mine the nimbler of the two. But what have you to gratifie the Ear, Cuphophron?

Cuph. Do you not hear the pleasant Notes of the Birds both in the Garden and on the Bowre? And if you think meanly of this Musick, I Pray you give us a cast of your skill, and play us a Lesson on your Flagellet.

Hyl. Upon condition you will dance to it.

Sophr. I dare say Philopolis thinks us Athenians very merry Souls.

Philop. Mirth and Chearfulness, O Sophron, are but the due reward of Innocency of life; which, if anywhere, I believe is to be found in your manner of living, who do not <12> quit the World out of any Hypocrisie, Sullenness, or Superstition, but out of a sincere love of true Knowledge and Vertue. But as for the pretty warbling of the Birds, or that greater skill of Hylobares on the Flagellet, I must take the liberty to profess, that it is not that kind of Musick that will gain my Attention at this time, when I see so many able and knowing persons met together; but the pursuance of some instructive Argument freely and indifferently managed for the finding out of the Truth. Nothing so musicall to my ears as this.

Cuph. Nor, I dare say, to any of this Company, Philopolis.

Philop. But I am the more eager, because I would not lose so excellent an opportunity of improving my Knowledg. For I never met with the like advantage before, nor am likely again to meet with it, unless I meet with the same Company.

Cuph. We are much obliged to you for your good opinion of us, Philopolis. But you full little think <13> that you must be the Beginner of the Discourse your self.

Philop.[13] Why so, Cuphophron?

Cuph. For it is an ancient and unalterable Custome of this place, that in our Philosophical Meetings he that is the greatest Stranger must propound the Argument. Whether this Custome was begun by our Ancestors out of an ambition of shewing their extemporary ability of speaking upon any Subject, or whether out of mere civility to the Stranger, I know not.

Philop. I believe it was the latter, I am so sensible of the advantage thereof, and do not onely embrace, but, if need were, should claim the privilege, now I know it; but shall use it with that modesty, as to excuse the choice of my Argument, if it shall appear rather a Point of Religion then Philosophy. For Religion is the Interest of all, but Philosophy of those onely that are at leisure and vacant from the affairs of the world.


Philoth. Let not that trouble you, Philopolis: For, for my part, I look upon the Christian Religion rightly understood to be the deepest and the choicest piece of Philosophy that is.

Philop. I am glad to hear you say so, Philotheus; for then I hope the Argument I shall pitch upon will not appear over-unsuitable. It is touching the Kingdome of God.

Cuph. Philopolis hath both gratify'd Philotheus, and most exquisitely fitted himself in the choice of his Argument, his Genius and Affairs being so notedly Politicall. It must be a very comprehensive Argument, in which Religion, Philosophy and Policy do so plainly conspire.

Philoth. It must, indeed. But what are the Quere's you would propose touching the Kingdome of God, O Philopolis?

Philop. They are chiefly these. First, What the Kingdome of God is. Secondly, When it began, and where it has been or is now to be found. Thirdly, What Progress it hath made <15> hitherto in the world. Lastly, What Success it is likely to have to the End of all things.

Philoth. These are grand Questions indeed, Philopolis, insomuch that I am mightily surprised that so weighty and profound Quere's should come from a person that is so continuedly taken up with affairs of the World.

Cuph. I dare pawn my life that the noise of the fifth Monarchy, or the late plausible sound of setting Jesus Christ in his Throne, did first excite Philopolis to search after these Mysteries.

Philoth. I am not so curious to enquire into the first occasions of Philopolis his search after these things, as solicitous for what end he now so eagerly enquires after them. For it is a great and general errour in mankind, that they think all their Acquisitions are of right for themselves, whether it be Power, or Riches, or Wisedom, and conceit they are no farther obliged then to fortifie <16> or adorn themselves with them: whenas they are in truth mere Depositum's, put into their hands by Providence for the common good; so that it were better they had them not, then not to use them faithfully and conscienciously to that end: for they bring the greater snare upon their own heads by such acquired Abilities, and make themselves obnoxious to the greater condemnation, unless they use them, as I said, as the Depositum's of God, not to their own Pride or Lust, but to the common good of the Church, of their Prince, and of their Countrey.

Philop. I acknowledge that to be exceeding true, Philotheus. And next to those are they obnoxious that craftily decline the acquisition of any Power or Knowledge, that they may not run the risques of Fortune in witnessing to the Truth, or assisting the publick Concern: which Hypocrisie I being aware of, am so far from being discouraged, that my Zeal is the more enkindled after important <17> Truths, that I may the more faithfully and effectually serve God and my Prince in my Generation, though with the hazard of all that I have.

Euist. Which he has once already more then hazarded in the Cause of his Sovereign, besides the hazard of his life in five or six bloudy Battels. But I hope he will never have the occasion of running that hazard again.

Philoth. O admired Philopolis, you are of a right faithfull and upright spirit; verily I have not discovered more true Vertue and Nobleness, no not in the most famous Philosophical Societies.

Philop. I love to feel myself of an express and settled Judgement and Affection in things of the greatest moment; and nothing, I think, can be of greater then the Affairs of the Kingdome of God, to know who are more properly and peculiarly his People, that my Heart may be joyned with them, where-ever they are discoverable in the world, and my Hand may relieve them to the ut <18> most extent of the activity of my narrow sphear. For it seems to me both a very ignoble and tedious condition, to be blown about with every winde of Doctrine or transitory Interest, and not to stick to that wherein a man's loss proveth his greatest gain, and Death it self a translation into eternal Life and glory.

Hyl.[14] This were an excellent Temper in Philopolis indeed, to be thus resolved, if he were sure not to fall short in his account.

Sophr. But suppose he was not sure, seeing he ventures so little for so great a stake, I think his Temper is still very singularly excellent and commendable.

Philoth. But what needs any such supposition, O Sophron? for as sure as there is a God and a Providence, such a single-minded soul as Philopolis will after this life prove a glorious Citizen of Heaven.

Hyl. I am fully of your opinion, O Philotheus, that Philopolis his future Happiness is as sure as the Existence <19> of God and Divine Providence. But the assurance of these has hitherto seemed to me very uncertain and obscure: whence, according to right Method, we should clear that Point first. For there can be no Kingdome of God, if God himself be not, or if his Providence reach not to the Government of the Universe, but things be left to blinde Chance or Fate.

Philop. For my part, Gentlemen, I could never yet call such Truths into doubt, though Hylobares has divers times attempted to dissettle me at my House near the other Athens, where sometimes he gives me the honour of a Visit. But all his Reasonings have seemed to me Sophistical Knots or Tricks of Legerdemain, which though they might a little amuse me, yet they could not move me at all from my settled Faith in God and his Providence.

Philoth. So great a firmitude is there in Life against all the subtle attaques of shifting Reason. This farther confirms me in an Observation I have <20> made a long time ago, That there is a kind of Sanctity of Soul and Body that is of more efficacy for the receiving or retaining of Divine Truths, then the greatest pretences to Discursive Demonstration.

Philop. But though I want nothing to confirm me in these Points, yet if Philotheus could convince Hylobares of the truth of them, and beat him at his own weapon, it would be to me a pleasant spectacle; provided he come to my proposed Theme at the last.

Philoth.[15] It is a great wonder to me that a person so ingenious as Hylobares, and so much conversant in Philosophy, should at all doubt of the Existence of the Deity, any more then he does of Philopolis his Existence or my own; for we cannot so audibly or intelligibly converse with him as God doth with a Philosopher in the ordinary Phænomena of Nature. For tell me, O Hylobares, whether if so brief a Treatise as that of Archimedes de Sphæra & Cylindro had been <21> found by chance, with the delineations of all the Figures sutable for the design, and short Characters (such as they now use in specious Arithmetick and Algebra) for the setting down of the Demonstrations of the orderly-disposed Propositions, could you or any else imagine that the delineating and fitting these things together was by Chance, and not from a knowing and designing Principle, I mean from a power Intellectual?

Hyl. I must confess I think it in a manner impossible that any one that understood the purpose of those Figures and the adnexed Demonstrations should doubt but that the Description of them was by some intelligent Being.

Philoth. But why do you think so, Hylobares?

Hyl. Because it is the property of that which is Intelligent to lay several things together orderly and advantageously for a proposed Design. Which is done so constantly and repeatedly in that Treatise, and so me <22> thodically, that it is impossible to doubt but that it is the effect of some Intellectual Agent.

Philoth. Wherefore where-ever we finde frequent and repeated Indications of pursuing skilfully a Design, we must acknowledge some Intelligent Being the cause thereof.

Hyl. We must so.

Philoth. But what a small Scroll and how few Instances of pursuing a Design is there in that Treatise of Archimedes, in comparison of the whole Volume of Nature, wherein, as in Archimedes every leading Demonstration to the main upshot of all (which is the Proportion betwixt the Sphear and Cylinder) is a pledge of the Wit and Reason of that Mathematician, so the several subordinate Natures in the world (which are in a manner infinite) bear conspicuously in them a Design for the best, and therefore are a cloud of Witnesses that there is a Divine and Intellectual Principle under all?

Hyl. [16] This is better understood by Instances, Philotheus.


Philoth. It is. And I will instance in the meanest first, I mean in the most loose and general strokes of the Skill of that great Geometrician, as Plutarch some-where calls the Deity. As in the nature of Gravity, which precipitates thick terrestrial parts downward through both Air and Water, without which power no Beasts nor Fowls could live upon the Earth or in the Air, dirt and filth would so flow into their mouths and stop their breath; nor could Fishes subsist in the Water. 2. In that strong tug against over-much baring the subtilest Matter in these lower Regions, that thinner Element being disproportionated to the Lungs of either Birds or Beasts; as is to be more fully understood in those excellent Experiments of the Air-pump. 3. In the Parallelism and the due-proportionated Inclination of the Axis of the Earth, and the Latitude of the Moon from the Æquator.

Hyl. I cannot deny but that these <24> Laws are better then if things had been otherwise.

Philoth. 4. The contrivance of the Earth into Hills and Springs and Rivers, into Quarries of Stone and Metall: is not all this for the best?

Hyl. I conceive it is.

Philoth. And what think you of Land and Sea, whenas all might have been a Quagmire?

Hyl. That also is for the best. For on it depends the pleasure and profit of Navigation. Besides that the Sea is the fountain of Moisture that administers to the Springs underneath, as the Springs supply the Rivers above-ground, and so imitate the Circulation of the Bloud in man's Body.

Philoth. Cast your eye also upon the variety of Herbs and Trees, their Beauty, their Virtue and manifold Usefulnesse, the contrivance of their Seed for propagation; and consider if all be not for the best.

Hyl. It would require an Age to pursue these things.


Philoth. Well then, let us for brevity sake consider onely the severall kinds of Animals: which, beside the Usefulness of some of them especially and more appropriately to mankind, (as the Dog and the Horse for Services, and Oxen and Sheep for his Food) their external Shapes are notoriously accommodated to that Law or guise of life that Nature has designed them; as in general the Birds for flying, the Fish for swimming, and the Beasts for running on the ground; the external frame and covering of their Bodies are exquisitely fitted for these purposes. Besides what also is very general, that contrivance of Male and Female for Propagation, and that notable difference of Fishes and Birds being oviparous, that there might be the more full supply for that great Havock that would be necessarily made upon those kind of Creatures by their devouring enemies. To these you may add the instinct of Birds in building their Nests and sitting on their Eggs; <26> the due number and position of the Organs of Sense and peculiar Armatures of Creatures, with the instinct of using them: That those Fowls that frequent the Waters, and onely wade, have as well long Legs as long Necks; and those that are made for swimming have Feet like Oars: and that no Birds have Paps, as Beasts have. All which things, and infinite more, do plainly argue the accuracy of Design in their framing.

Hyl. Things are, I must confess, as if they were plainly designed to be so.

Philoth. But to put an end to these Instances, which, as you said, a whole Age would not suffice to enumerate; the inward Anatomie and use of Parts in many thousand kinds of Animals is as sure a demonstration of a very-curiously contrived Design in each of these Animals Bodies, as the severall Figures and Demonstrations in the above-named Book of Archimedes are of the Writer's purpose of concluding the Truth of each Pro <27> position to which they appertain. That in Man's Body is notorious. The fabrick of the Eye, its safe and usefull situation, the superaddition of Muscles, and the admirable contrivance of the Flesh of the whole Body in a manner into that usefull Organization; those of the Larynx for Speech and Singing; the industrious perforation of the Tendons of the second Joints both of Fingers and Toes, and the drawing of the Tendons of the third Joints through them; the Ventricles of the Heart and their Valvulæ, as also the Valvulæ of the Veins; the fabrick of these, and the apparently-designed Use of them, and of a thousand more, not onely in Man, but analogically in the rest of Animals, are as certain a pledge of the Existence of a God, as any Voice or Writing that contains such Specimens of Reason as are in Archimedes his Treatise are an Argument of the existence of some man or Angel that must be the Authour of them.


Hyl. The weight of Reason and the vehemence of Philotheus his Zeal does for the present bear me down into this belief whether I will or no. For I easily feel the force of his arguing from these few Hints, having perused the latest Treatises of this Subject, and being sufficiently versed in Anatomicall History; which, I must confess, urges upon me, more effectually then any thing, the Existence of God.

Philoth. Which belief, methinks, you should never be able to stagger in, if you consider that in these infinite kinds of living Creatures, none of them are made foolishly or ineptly, no not so much as those that are gendered of Putrefaction. [17] So that you have infinite examples of a steddy and peremptory acting according to Skill and Design, and abundant assurance that these things cannot come to pass by the fortuitous Jumbling of the parts of the Matter.

Hyl. No, Philotheus, they cannot. But though they be not the results <29> of such Fortuitous causes, why may they not be the effects of Necessary ones, I mean, of the necessary Mechanicall Law of the Motion of Matter? As a Line proportionally cut, if the greater Segment subtends an Isosceles whose Crura each of them are equal to the whole Line, each Angle at the Basis will necessarily be double to that of the Vertex. And this will be the necessary Property of this Triangle.

Philoth. But what does this prove, whenas there is no necessity in the matter that any Line should be so cut, or, if it were, that any two Lines of equal length with the whole should clap in with the greater Segment to make such a Triangle, much less to inscribe a Quinquangle into a Circle, or that the motion of the matter should frame an exact Icosaëdrum or Dodecaëdrum, whose fabrick much depends on this proportional section of a Line, as you may see in Euclide? And yet there is a more multifarious Artifice in the structure of <30> the meanest Animal. I tell thee, Hylobares, there is nothing necessarily in Matter that looks like an Intellectual Contrivance. For why should blind Necessity doe more in this kind then fluctuating Chance? or what can be the motion of blind Necessity but peremptory and perpetual Fluctuation? No, the necessary and immutable property of such a Triangle as thou hast described, with such a Basis and such Crura, is in thy own Minde or Intellect, which cannot but conceive every Triangle so made to have such a propriety of Angles, because thy Minde is the Image of the eternall and immutable Intellect of God. But the matter is lubricous and fluid, and has no such intellectual and immutable Laws in it at all, but is to be guided and governed by that which is Intellectual.

Hyl. I mean as Cartesius means and professes, that the Mechanicall Deduction of Causes in the explication of the Phæ;nomena of the world is as close and necessary as Mathematicall Sequels.


Philoth. Nay, I adde farther, that he conceives his own Mechanicall Deductions to be such. And I must confess I think they are as much such as any will be; and so excellent a Wit failing so palpably, makes me abundantly confident, that the pretence of salving the Phænomena by mere Mechanicall Principles is a design that will never prove successfull.

Hyl. [18] Why? where does Cartesius fail, O Philotheus?

Philoth. Nay, rather tell me, O Hylobares, where he does not; or rather instance in any one Phænomenon that is purely Mechanicall.

Hyl. The Earth's being carried about in this our Vortex round the Sun.

Philoth. That is very judiciously pitched upon, if the Deferent of the Earth, I mean the Vortex, were the result of mere Mechanicall Principles.

Hyl. Why? is it not? what can Mechanicall motion doe, if not produce that simple Phænomenon of Liquidity?


Philoth. The matter of the Vortex is not simple enough, not to need the assistence of an higher Principle to keep it in that consistence it is.

Hyl. Why so, Philotheus?

Philoth. Because Disunity is the natural property of Matter, which of it self is nothing else but an infinite Congeries of Physicall Monads.

Hyl. I understand you, Philotheus. And indeed there is nothing so unconceivable to me as the holding together of the parts of Matter; which has so confounded me when I have more seriously thought upon it, that I have been prone to conclude with my self, that the Gimmers of the World hold together not so much by Geometry as some natural Magick, if I knew what it was.

Philoth. You may do in due time. But in the mean while it is worth our noting, that there is another great flaw in this most hopefull Instance you produce of pure Mechanism. For the Earth never got into this Orbit it is now moved in by virtue of <33> those Mechanicall Laws Cartesius describes, nor is still detained here by them.

Hyl. Why not?

Philoth. For if the Earth had been bandied out of one Vortex into another, as is supposed, all that looser and lighter matter that hung about it had been stript from it long before it came hither: (as if a man should fling out of his hand Feathers, Chaffe and a Bullet together, the solidity of the Bullet will carry it from the Chaffe and Feathers, and leave them behinde) and so the Matter of the third Region of the Earth had been lost, whereby it had become utterly unhabitable.

Hyl. I never thought of this before.

Philoth.[19] And then the descending of the Earth to this Orbit is not upon that Mechanicall account Cartesius pretends, namely the strong swing of the more solid Globuli that overflow it. For if there were such an actual tug of the Globuli of the Vortex from <34> the Centre toward the Circumference, the Pressure would be intolerable, and they would even mash themselves and all things else apieces.

Hyl.I am again surprised, Philotheus, but I must ingenuously confess, I think so.

Philoth. But there being no such hard Pressure, no Levitation or Gravitation (as is also manifest in the Elements vulgarly so called) in locis propriis, is it not a manifest Argument that all is not carried according to Mechanicall Necessity, but that there is a Principle that has a Prospection for the best, that rules all?

Hyl. It is very manifest, in that neither the Celestial matter of the Vortices nor the Air nor Water are pressitant in their proper places, that it is for the best. Else how could any creatures live in the Air or Water? the weight of these Elements would press them to death.

Philoth. Must not then some diviner Principle be at the bottom, that <35> thus cancells the Mechanicall Laws for the common good?

Hyl. It should seem so; and that the motion of Matter is not guided by Matter, but by something else.

Philoth. That seems very evident from light things that rise up in water. As for example in a deep Bucket of water, where we will suppose a thin round Board forced to the bottom, of almost the same wideness that the Bucket is: the water of the Bucket we will suppose so heavy, that scarce two men shall be able to bear it. Now tell me, Hylobares, how this thin Board does get to the top, so massie a weight lying on it. The whole water that lies upon it does actually press downward, and therefore rather presses it down, then helps it up.

Hyl. It may be the weight of the water gets by the sides under it, and so bears it up by its own sinking.

Philoth. That is ingeniously attempted, Hylobares. But you must consider that the water that lies upon <36> the Board to press it down is, it may be, forty times more then that which you conceive to press betwixt the rim of the round Board and the Vessel.

Hyl.[20] I am convinced that the rising of the round Board is not Mechanicall. But I pray you deal freely with me, Philotheus, for I perceive you are cunninger then I in that Philosophy; has Des-Cartes truly solved no Phænomenon in Nature mechanically?

Philoth. He thinks he has solved all mechanically he treats of. But, to deal freely, I finde none of his Solutions will hold by mere Mechanicks: not his formation of Suns, Stars nor Planets; not the Generation nor Motion of the Magnetick particles; not his Hypothesis of the Flux and Reflux of the Sea; not the figure and colours of the Rainbow; not the Winds, nor Clouds, nor Rain, nor Thunder: neither of these, nor of any other Phænomena, has he given sufficient Mechanicall causes. Nay, I <37> will adde at once, That that simplest and first Hypothesis of his,[21] That all the Matter of the Universe was first cast into small parts equal in motion and magnitude, and that hence the Suns or Stars and Vortices arose in the distinction of the Matter (by the mutual fridging of those Particles one against another) into the first and second Element, I will adde, I say, That this first Original of things is most grosly repugnant to the actual proportion of these Elements one to another. For from this Mechanicall way, so stated as he has declared, it will follow that the Sun overflows the Orbit of Saturn no less then ten millions four hundred eighty four thousand Semidiameters of the Earth: which one would think were intimation sufficient to give us to understand, that the Primordialls of the World are not Mechanicall, but Spermaticall or Vital; not made by rubbing and filing and turning and shaving, as in a Turner's or Blacksmith's Shop, but from some universal Prin <38> ciple of inward Life and Motion containing in it the seminal forms of all things, which therefore the Platonists and Pythagoreans call the great λόγος σπερματίτης of the World.

Hyl. This is admirable: and it would be a great pleasure to me to see these things made out by Reason, that I might the more clearly understand how much that great Wit has fallen short in his account.

Philop. I prithee, dear Hylobares, deny thy self that pleasure at this time: for I fear all the time of my abode here in the Town will not suffice for such a Task.

Philoth. It would, I must confess, be something too copious a digression.

Cuph. And the more needless, forasmuch as it cannot be deny'd but that Des-Cartes's Deductions are not always so mathematically or mechanically certain as he took them to be. But however, though he fails in his attempt, yet the Mechanicall Philosophy may stand firm still. It is not the <39> errour of the Art, but of the Artist.

Philoth. But it is a shrewd presumption, O Cuphophron, that when so transcendent a Wit as Des-Cartes, and so peculiarly Mechanicall, fails so palpably even in the general strokes of Nature, of giving any such necessary Mechanicall Reasons of her Phænomena, it is too palpable a presumption, I say, that the pretence it self is rash and frivolous, and that it is not the true and genuine mode of Philosophizing.

Philop. What Philotheus says seems to me infinitely credible, though I be no pretender to Philosophy.

Philoth.[22] But if we produce even among the more general Phænomena of Nature such Instances as plainly thwart the acknowledged Laws of Mechanicks, let Cuphophron tell me then what will become of his pure and universal Mechanism he pretends to run through the whole frame of the World.

Cuph. I will tell you, when you have produced them.


Philoth. But tell me first whether you do not firmly believe the motion of the Earth Annual and Diurnal.

Cuph. I do, and every one else I think that has any skill in Philosophie.

Philoth. Why then you must necessarily hold a Vortex of Æthereall matter running round the Sun, which carries the Earth about with it.

Cuph. I must.

Philoth. And being so great a Mechanist as you are, That the Particles that have swallowed down the Earth thus far into our Vortex, that even those that are near the Earth, so many of them as answer to the magnitude of the Earth, are at least as solid as it.

Cuph. They are so.

Philoth. And that therefore they move from the Centre with a very strong effort.

Cuph. They do so.

Philoth. And so do the Vortices that bear against our Vortex.

Cuph. No question, or else our Vor <41> tex would over-run them, and carry them away with it self.

Philoth. Do you or any else either here or under the Line at mid-day or mid-night feel any such mighty Pressure as this Hypothesis inferrs?

Cuph. I believe, not.

Philoth. There is one thrust at your pure pretended Mechanism.

Cuph. Well, at it again; I will see if I can lie at a closer Ward.

Philoth. The Phænomenon of Gravity, is it not perfectly repugnant to that known mechanicall Principle, That what is moved will continue its motion in a right line, if nothing hinder? whence it will follow that a Bullet flung up into the Air must never return back to the Earth, it being in so rapid a motion with that of the Earth's.

Cuph. I understand what you mean; you thrust at the Mechanicall Philosophy before, you have now shot at it.

Philoth. I and hit the mark too, I trow: so that it is needless to adde that of the great weight hanging at <42> the Sucker of the Air-pump, and drawn up thereby beyond all the accounts of Mechanick Philosophy, with other things of the like nature.

Hyl. I expected these Instances of Philotheus, and understand the force of them throughly out of a late[23] Authour, and must ingenuously confess that they seem to me such as contain little less then a Demonstration, that all things in Nature are not carried on by Principles merely Mechanicall.

Cuph. If they be so good, I pray you let us hear some more of them, Philotheus.

Philoth. When I have heard your answer to these.

Cuph. My answer is, O Philotheus, that these Instances seem for the present demonstrative and unanswerable; so far Hylobares and I concurr. But I hope I may without offence profess that I think the cause of the Mechanick Philosophy is not therefore quite desperate, but that when our active and searching Wits have made farther Enquirie into things, they may <43> finde out the pure Mechanicall causes of that puzzling Phænomenon of Gravity.

Philoth. I but Hylobares may take notice, that the Authour he mentions does not onely confute the false Solutions of that Phænomenon, but demonstrates all Mechanicall Solutions of it impossible, it being so manifestly repugnant to the confessed Laws of Mechanicks.

Hyl. It is very true.

Cuph. That may seem a Demonstration for the present, which to posterity will appear a mere Sophistical Knot, and they will easily see to loose it.

Bath. I believe by the help of some new-improved Microscopes.

Philop.[24] Nay but in good earnest, O Cuphophron, (if you will excuse my freedome of speech) though I have not that competency of judgement in Philosophicall matters, yet I cannot but deem you an over-partial Mechanist, that are so devoted to the Cause, as not to believe Demonstration against it till Mechanicks be farther <44> improved by posterity. It is as if one would not believe the first Book of Euclide till he had read him all over, and all other Mathematicall Writers besides. For this Phænomenon of Gravity is one of the simplest that is, as the first Book of Euclide one of the easiest. Not to adde what a blemish it is to a person otherwise so moral and vertuous, to seem to have a greater zeal for the ostentation of the Mechanical wit of men, then for the manifestation of the Wisedome of God in Nature.

Sophr. Excellently well spoken, O Philopolis.[25] As in water face answers to face, so the heart of man to man. You have spoken according to the most inward sense and touch of my very Soul concerning this matter. For I have very much wondred at the devotedness of some mens spirits to the pretence of pure Mechanism in the solving of the Phænomena of the Universe, who yet otherwise have not been of less Pretensions to Piety and Vertue. Of which Mechanick pro <45> nity I do not see any good tendency at all. For it looks more like an itch of magnifying their own or other mens wit, then any desire of glorifying God in his wise and benign Contrivances in the works of Nature, and cuts off the most powerfull and most popular Arguments for the Existence of a Deity, if the rude career of agitated Matter would at last necessarily fall into such a Structure of things. Indeed if such a Mechanicall Necessity in the nature of Matter were really discoverable, there were no help for it: And the Almighty seeks no honour from any Man's Lie. But their attempts being so frustraneous, and the Demonstrations to the contrary so perspicuous, it is a marvell to me, that any men that are vertuously and piously disposed should be so partially and zealously affected in a Cause that has neither Truth nor any honest Usefulness in it.

Cuph. O Sophron, Sophron, full little do you consider what a wonderfull pleasure it is to see the plain Mecha <46> nicall sequels of Causes in the explication of the Phænomena of the World as necessarily and closely coherent as Mathematicall Demonstration it self.

Sophr. Certainly, O Cuphophron, you are much transported with the imagination of such fine Spectacles, that your mere desire should thus confidently present them to you before they are. But for my part, I conceive there is far more pleasure in clearly and demonstratively discovering that they are not, then there would be if it were discoverable that they are. And that way of Philosophizing that presses the Final cause, the[26] τὴν ἄνω ἀρχῂν, as Aristotle calls it, seems to me far more pleasing and delicious then this haughty pretence of discovering that the Frame of the World owes nothing to the Wisedome of God.

Bath. All things must out, O Sophron, in the promiscuous ferments and ebulliencies of the spirits of men in this Age, that that Wisedome which <47> is the genuine fruit or flower of the Divine Life may in succession of time triumph over the most strutting attempts or performances of the highest natural Wits.

Cuph. What wisedome is that which flows out of the Divine Life, O Bathynous?

Bath. That which leads to it; which the Mechanicall Philosophy does not, but rather leads from God, or obstructs the way to him, by prescinding all pretence of finding his Footsteps in the works of the Creation, excluding the Final cause of things, and making us believe that all comes to pass by a blinde, but necessary, Jumble of the Matter.

Cuph. Well, be the future Fate of things what it will, I doubt not but Cartesius will be admired to all posterity.

Bath. Undoubtedly, O Cuphophron; for he will appear to men a person of the most eminent wit and folly that ever yet trode the stage of this Earth.


Cuph. Why of wit and folly, Bathynous?

Bath. Of wit, for the extraordinary handsome semblance he makes of deducing all the Phænomena he has handled, necessarily and Mechanically, and for hitting on the more immediate material Causes of things to a very high probability.

Cuph. This at least is true, Bathynous. But why of folly?

Bath. Because he is so credulous, as not onely to believe that he has necessarily and purely Mechanically solved all the Phænomena he has treated of in his Philosophy and Meteors, but also that all things else may be so solved, the Bodies of Plants and Animals not excepted.

Cuph. Posterity will be best able to judge of that.

Philop. Cuphophron is very constantly zealous in the behalf of the Mechanick Philosophy, though with the hazard of losing those more notable Arguments deducible from the Phænomena of Nature for the proving <49> the Existence of a God: And yet I dare say he is far from being in the least measure smutted with the soil of Atheism.

Cuph. I hope so.

Philop.[27] Wherefore, O Cuphophron, let me beg the liberty of asking you what other inducements you have to believe there is a God. Is it the Authority of the Catholick Church? or what is it?

Cuph. I have a very venerable respect for the Church, O Philopolis, which makes me the more sorry when I consider how much they have wronged or defaced their Authority in obtruding things palpably impossible, and most wretchedly blasphemous, with equal assurance and severity as they do the belief of a God.

Euist. I conceive Cuphophron reflects upon their barbarous butchering of men for their denying the Article of Transubstantiation.

Cuph. It may be so. Who can believe men upon their own Authority <50> that are once deprehended in so gross and impious an Imposture?

Euist. But these are not the Church Catholick, but onely a something-more-numerous Faction of men. But not onely these, but the whole Church, and indeed all Nations, believe that there is a God.

Cuph. Indeed Tully says, Nulla gens tam barbara, &c.

Euist. It is consent of Nations therefore, O Cuphophron, that you chiefly establish your belief of a Deity upon.

Cuph. That is a plausible Argument, Euistor.

Euist. But the History of Miracles and Prophecies, with their Completion, a far greater.

Cuph. They are very strong Arguments that there are invisible Powers that superintend the affairs of mankind, that have a greater Virtue and comprehension of Knowledge then our selves.

Bath. And so may be able to bring to pass what themselves predict in <51> long succession of Ages. As if the Government of the World and the affairs of mankinde were intrusted into the hands of Angels.

Sophr. But some Miracles are so great, and Predictions of so vast a compass of time, that none but God can rationally be thought to be the Authour of them.

Bath. Most assuredly God himself superintends and acts through all.

Philop. Is this then the Basis of Cuphophron's Belief.

Cuph. I will tell you, O Philopolis, because I see you so hugely desirous, what is the main Philosophicall Basis of my belief of a God.

Philop. What is it?

Cuph. The innate Idea of God in my minde: the arguings from thence seem to me undeniable Demonstrations.

Philop. I believe they are the more prevalent with you because they are Des-Cartes his.

Cuph. It may be so. And they are so convictive, that I do very secure <52> ly disregard all that other way of arguing from the Phænomena of Nature.

Philop. I have read those Reasonings of Des-Cartes, but they seem to me hugely high and Metaphysicall, and I meet with many men that look upon them as Sophisticall; most men some of them, others all. But it is the privilege of you high and exalted Wits to understand the force of one another's Notions the best.

Cuph. I must confess, O Philopolis, there is an extraordinary and peculiar congruity of spirit betwixt me and Des-Cartes.

Philop. I but we ought to consult the common good, O Cuphophron, and not decry the more vulgar intelligible Arguments, or affect such a Philosophy as will exclude all from laying hold of God but such as can soar so high as you raised Wits can. Arguments from the Phænomena of the World are far more accommodate to a popular understanding.

Cuph. Wherefore I talk at this rate onely in our free Philosophicall Meetings.


Philop. It is discreetly done of you.

Hyl. Well, Cuphophron, you may hug your self in your high Metaphysicall Acropolis as much as you will, and deem those Arguments fetched from the frame of Nature mean and popular: but for my part, I look upon them as the most sound and solid Philosophicall Arguments that are for the proving the Existence of a God. And I wonder you do not observe that mighty force that Philotheus his comparing of the Volume of Nature and Archimedes his Book of the Sphear and Cylinder together has for the evincing some Intellectual Principle to be the Framer of the World. For those Figures and Characters annexed to each Proposition with an effectual subserviency to the Demonstration of them is not a more manifest indication of an Intellectual Agent, then an hundred thousand single fabricks of Matter here in the world are of the like Agency; the parts being so disposed to one End, as the management of the Demon <54> stration to one Conclusion, and the subordination of severall Conclusions to one Final and ultimate one: Which Subordinations of things are also most evidently and repeatedly conspicuous in Nature.

Philop. On my word, Philotheus, you have not spent your labour in vain on Hylobares, that does thus judiciously and resentingly recapitulate your main Reasonings from Nature for the Existence of a God. I hope now, Hylobares, Philotheus may proceed to treat of God's Kingdome, we being all so well assured of his Existence.

Hyl.[28] I must confess, while I am in this Company, I am like Saul amongst the Prophets. Philotheus his Zeal and smartness of arguing carries me away captive, whether I will or no, into an assent to the Conclusion. And indeed when at first I set my eyes on this side of things, there shines from them such an intellectual fulgor, that methinks the very Glory of the Deity becomes visible through them. But <55> when I would more fully comprehend his Nature, and approch more nigh him, the same Glory, that recreated mine eyes before, strikes me blinde, and I lose the sight of him by adventuring to look too near him. This is one entanglement and confusion of minde, that I understand not the Nature of God. And the second thing is this, The obscurity and Intricacy of the ways of Providence.

Sophr. Is it not consonant to the transcendency of so high a Nature as that of God, Hylobares, that it be acknowledged Incomprehensible, as also to his infinite Wisedom, that his ways be past finding out?

Bath. This is excellently well spoken, O Sophron, if it be rightly understood: otherwise, to give no other account of the Nature of God and his ways then that they are unintelligible, is to encourage the Atheist, and yield him the day; for that is the thing he does chiefly applaud himself in, that he is secure there is neither head nor foot in the Mysteries of Re <56> ligion, and that the very Notion of a God implies a contradiction to our Faculties.

Hyl. I desire onely so to understand God, that nothing be attributed to him repugnant to my Understanding, nor any thing found in the world repugnant to his Attributes.

Bath. I believe Philotheus will make this good, that nothing is truly attributed to God but what is most certainly existent in the world, whether we understand it or not; and that there is nothing in the world truly in such circumstances as are repugnant to the Attributes of God.

Philoth. I conceive Bathynous means this, that unless we will entangle our selves with making good some fictitious Attributes of God, or defend his Providence upon false suppositions and circumstances, there will be no greater entanglements touching the Notion of God and his Providence, then there would be in the nature of those things we are sure do exist, though there were no God in the <57> world. Wherefore, Hylobares, let me advise you to this, since you have such fast and certain hold of the Existence of the Deity by the repeated effects thereof in Nature, not to let that hold goe upon any grounds that are uncertain or false. For the Scripture declares nothing contradictious touching the Nature of God: nor is there any humane Authority that has any right to be believed when it propounds Contradictions: nor are we bound to burthen the Notion of a Deity with any thing we are not assured implies Perfection. These Cautions if we use, no man, I think, need be much entangled in his thoughts touching the Nature of the Deity.

Hyl. [29] This is a hopefull Preamble, Philotheus, and therefore I will the more chearfully propound my Difficulties, which are drawn from these five Heads; from the Eternity of God, from his Immutability, from his Omnisciency, his Spirituality, and his Omnipresencie. For, to my understanding, the very Notion of Eternity <58> implies a Contradiction, as some describe it, namely, That it is an essential presence of all things with God, as well of things past, present, as to come; and that the Duration of God is all of it, as it were, in one steddy and permanent το νῦν or Instant at once. If there cannot be a God, but he must be in such a sense as this eternall, the Contemplation of his Idea will more forcibly pull a man back from the belief of his Existence, then his effects in Nature draw a man to it. For what can be more contradictious, then that all things should have been really and essentially with God from all Eternity at once, and yet be born in time and succession? For the reality and essence of corporeall things is corporeall; and those very individuall Trees and Animals that are said to be generated, and are seen to grow from very little Principles, were always, it seems, in their full form and growth: which is a perfect repugnancy to my Understanding. For it implies that the same thing that is al <59> ready in being may, notwithstanding, while it is, be produced of a-fresh. That eternall duration should be at once, is also to me utterly unconceivable, and that one permanent Instant should be commensurate, or rather equal, to all successions of Ages. Besides, if the Duration of God be all at once, sith no Agent acts but within the compass of its own Duration, God must both create and destroy the World at once. Whence it seems impossible that eternall Duration should be indistant to it self, or without continuation of Intervalls.

Philoth. You argue shrewdly, Hylobares, against that Notion of Eternity that some have rashly pitched upon, but without the least prejudice to the belief of God's Existence, if you have but recourse to those Cautions I intimated at first, That we are not bound to believe Contradictions upon any man's account. These are oversublime reaches of some high-soaring Wits, that think they never fly high enough till they fly out of the sight <60> of common Sense and Reason. If we may charitably guess at what they would be at in this so lofty a Notion, it may be it is onely this, That the whole Evolution of Times and Ages from everlasting to everlasting is so collectedly and presentifickly represented to God at once, as if all things and Actions which ever were, are, or shall be, were at this very Instant, and so always, really present and existent before him: Which is no wonder, the Animadversion and intellectual Comprehension of God being absolutely infinite according to the truth of his Idea.

Hyl. This, I must confess, is a far more easie and passable Notion then the other.

Philoth. Yes surely; and not harder to conceive how Continuity of Duration is also competible to the Divine Existence, as well as Eternity or Life eternall, which comprehends the Idea's of all Things and Ages at once in the Intellect of God. For it is as a vast Globe wholly moved on <61> a Plane, and carried on in one exile Line at once: or like the Permanency of a steady Rock by which a River slides; the standing of the Rock, as well as the sliding of the River, has a Continuity of Duration. And no other way can Eternity be commensurate to Time then so; that is to say, the Comprehension of the Evolution of all Times, Things and Transactions is permanently exhibited to God in every moment of the succession of Ages.

Hyl. What makes the Schools then so earnest in obtruding upon us the belief, that nothing but nunc permanens is competible to the Divine Existence?

Philoth. It may be out of this conceit, as if that whose Existence was successive would necessarily break off, or at least may hazard to fail, one part of successive Duration having no dependence on another. But it is a mere Panick fear: For the continuation of Duration is necessary where the Existence of the thing is <62> so. And such is manifestly the Existence of God from his own Idea.

Bath. And this necessary Existence of God I conceive to be the most substantial Notion of his eternall Duration: which cannot well be said to be successive properly and formally, but onely virtually and applicatively; that is to say, it contains in it virtually all the successive Duration imaginable, and is perpetually applicable to the succeeding parts thereof, as being always present thereto, as the Chanel of a River to all the water that passes through it; but the Chanel is in no such successive defluxion, though the water be. Such is the steddy and permanent Duration of the necessary Existence of God in respect of all successive Durations whatsoever.

Philoth. I do not yet so throughly understand you, Bathynous.

Bath. I say that successive Duration properly so called is incompetible to God, as being an Essence necessarily existent, and therefore without begin <63> ning: but the most infinite successive Duration that you can imagine will be found to have a beginning. For what-ever is past was sometime present: And therefore there being nothing of all this infinite Succession but was sometime present, the most-infinitely-remote moment thereof was sometime present: Which most-infinitely-remote moment was the Terminus terminans thereof, which plainly shews it had a beginning.

Philoth. You say true, Bathynous. There must be a most-remote Moment in Succession, and a most-infinitely-remote one in infinite Succession. But being the most-infinitely-remote Moment cannot be Terminus copulans, there being nothing for it to couple with future Succession, and therefore it being Terminus terminans, and of necessity having been once present, it is plain that at that present was the term or beginning of this infinite supposed Succession.

Or briefly thus, to prevent all possible Exceptions against the most-infi <64> nitely-remote Moment in an infinite Succession, as if they were ἀσύστατα, I would rather argue on this manner; viz. That forasmuch as all the Moments past in infinite Succession were sometime present, it thence plainly follows that all the Moments in this infinite Succession, or at least all but one, were sometime to come. And if either all these Moments, or all but one, were sometime to come, it is manifest that the whole Succession (or at least the whole bating but one Moment) was sometime to come, and therefore had a beginning. I understand the strength of your reasoning very well. And therefore when I spake of the successive Duration of God, I did not mean Succession in that proper and formal sense, but onely a virtual, applicative or relative Succession; as you might gather from some passages or expressions in my speaking thereof. The Duration of God is like that of a Rock, but the Duration of natural things like that of a River; their Succession passes <65> ποταμοῦ δίκην, as Heraclitus speaks. And therefore they that give successive Duration properly so called to the steddy Permanency of a necessary Self-existence, seem like those that phansie the Shore to move by reason of the motion of the Ship. Provehimur portu, terræque urbésque recedunt. We apply our own fluid successive Duration to the steddy Permanency of the eternall Duration of God: whose Duration, though steddy and permanent, and without all defluxion and succession, (as being indeed nothing else but his necessary Self-existence) is notwithstanding such as the most infinite successive Duration past can never reach beyond, nor future ever exhaust. Whence it is plain, that though the eternall Duration of God be really permanent, yet it is impossible to be an indivisible Instant, and to be perfectly and in all regards indistant to it self, and not to comprehend all possible successive Evolutions that are.


Hyl.[30] This is very well, Philotheus: but yet there are some Scruples still behinde. I must acknowledge that Eternity in your sense bears along with it no palpable Contradiction; but methinks it is not altogether free from a marvellous strange Incredibility.

Philoth. What's that?

Hyl. That all the Noises and Cryings, and Houlings and Shreekings, and Knockings and Hammerings, and Cursings and Swearings, and Prayings and Praisings, that all the Voices of men, the Squawlings of children, the Notes of Birds, and Roarings and Squeekings of Beasts, that ever were or shall be, have ever been in the ears of God at once: And so all the Turnings and Toyings of every visible Object, all the Dispersions, Motions and Postures of Hairs, and Leaves, and Straws, and Feathers, and Dust, in fine, all the little and inconsiderable Changes of the ever-agitated Matter which have been, are, or ever shall be, are, and ever were, <67> and ever shall be in the sight of God at once. This seems to me (though not an impossible, yet) a very incredible Privilege of all-comprehending Eternity.

Philoth. This is a wild, unexpected fetch of yours, Hylobares, and as madly expressed. But if you will answer me soberly to a question or two, you shall see the difficulty will vanish of it self.

Hyl. I will.

Philoth. Whether do you think, O Hylobares, that this Privilege, as you call it, is really a Privilege, that is, a Perfection, of the Divine Nature, or no?

Hyl. I cannot tell.

Euist. Those Philosophers in Maimonides, which I do not well remember whether he calls the Sect of the Loquentes, would tell us roundly that it is not; they presuming God's Providence reaches no farther then the Species of things, but that he little concerns himself in Individuals.

Bath. I suppose then that they hold <68> that he has concredited the Administration of his more particular Providence to severall Orders of Angels, and in some sort to Men and all intelligent Creatures, in whom he has implanted a Law for the rightly ordering Individuals.

Euist. It may be so.

Bath. Which if they could order as well as if God himself look'd on, as it is no addition to God's Happiness to have made the World or to meddle with it; so it would be no detriment to the World if he were conceived to be wholly rapt into the contemplation of his own Divine Excellencies.

Euist. This, I must confess, is not much abhorrent from the Aristotelean Theologie.

Bath. But it is intolerably false, if the frame of the Creation be not such as that the standing Spirits hugely exceed the number of the lapsed.

Euist. They need do so. Besides, what a ridiculous thing were it to offer sacrifice or pray to God, if he <69> were always so rapt into himself that he never were at leisure to hear us?

Bath. That is most pertinently observed, Euistor: And all pious men must acknowledge that they draw power and influence by their earnest Devotions to the Deity.

Hyl. And therefore I easily acknowledge that all things in present Succession lie open to the eyes of God. But whether all Voices and Sights whatsoever from everlasting to everlasting be represented continually to him at once, for all that this short Sally of Bathynous and Euistor has given me some time to think of it, yet I must still profess I cannot tell.

Philoth. Well then, Hylobares, in such a case as this you know the above-mentioned Rule, That you are not to let goe your hold of those solid and certain Grounds of the Existence of a God, for what is either false or uncertain

Hyl. You say very true. Nor does this at all shake my belief.


Philoth. But farther to corroborate it, answer me but this one question, Hylobares. Is it not necessary that that part of the representation you made of Eternity be either a Perfection, or an Imperfection, or a thing of Indifferency?

Hyl. That cannot be deny'd.

Philoth. If it be an Imperfection, it is to be removed, and so the Difficulty is removed therewith: If an Indifferency, it is indifferent whether you remove it or not: If a Perfection, being that it is not impossible, as you cannot but acknowledge, no man need hesitate, nay he ought not, but to attribute it to God. So that be your fate what it will in the determination of your assent to any of these three parts, it can be no impediment to the belief of God's Existence. This is the thing that made your Objection seem so considerable to you, that you did not consider, that though all those Voices and Sights are perceived in the Divine Being at once, yet they are perceived in <71> the same distances and distinctnesses that they are found in in the very succession of Ages. For infinite Comprehension admits, or rather implies, this.

Hyl.[31] You are a man, O Philotheus, of the most dexterous art in facilitating our adherence to the belief of a Deity that ever I met with in my life. I have but one Scruple more touching God's Eternity, and I will pass to the next Attribute. The eternall succession of God's Existence seems to imply a Contradiction. For unless every denominated part be infinite, the whole cannot be infinite. And if every denominated part, suppose the tenth, the hundredth, the thousandth, be infinite, there are so many Infinites.

Philoth. I understand you very well. But you must consider that either God has been ab æterno, or the World has been so. Wherefore something being so certainly eternall, it is no repugnancy that God be so. So that you see there is no more <72> perplexity or difficulty on the account of God's being, then if he were not in the world, according to the last of my preliminary Advertisements. Nay, indeed, the most inextricable Perplexity of all would be to admit a World ab æterno without God. For an eternall Flux of Motion be eternall Succession properly so called; which Bathynous shrewdly suggested to be impossible. And if it ever rested, and afterwards was moved, there must be a first Mover distinct from the Matter. Which seems necessarily to inferr there is a God; and the rather, because if Matter was of it self, it must eternally have rested before it moved.

Hyl. This Difficulty has vanished so of a sudden, that I am half ashamed I ever propounded it.

Philoth. I have met with not a few that this would have seemed no small Difficulty to; so that it was not unworthy the propounding.

Philop. But I pray you proceed to <73> the next Attribute, Hylobares: for I am hugely pleased to see the succesfulness of Philotheus.

Hyl.[32] The next is Immutability, which seems to me a necessary Attribute of God, forasmuch as Mutability implies Imperfection. But here humane understanding does seem to be caught in this Dilemma; That either we must acknowledge a mutable God, or an immutable one: If the former, he is not properly God; because God excludes all Imperfection in his nature: If the latter, he is not to be worshipped; for all the good that was to come will come without our worshipping him; and none of the evil can be kept off by all our Services, because he is immutable. Wherefore we must either grant an imperfect God, or a God not to be worshipped: either of which is so absurd, that it seems forcibly to suggest that there is no God at all.

Philoth. This seems a smart Dilemma at first, Hylobares; yet I think neither Horn is strong enough to <74> push us off from our belief of the Existence of a God. But for my part, I will bear the push of the former of them, and grant that God is mutable; but deny that all Mutability implies Imperfection, though some does, as that Vacillancy in humane Souls, and such Mutations as are found in corporeal matter. But such a Mutability as whose absence implies an impotency to or incapacity of the most noble acts imaginable, such as the Creation of the World, and the administration of Justice to men and Angels, is so far from being any Defect, that it is a very high Perfection. For this power in God to act upon the Creature in time, to succour or chastise it, does not at all discompose or distract him from what he is in himself in the blessed calmness and stilness of his all-comprehensive Eternity, his Animadversion being absolutely free and infinite. So that they that would account this power of acting in time an imminution to the Perfection of God are, I think, as much out in their ac <75> count as if one should contend that A c + A q. is less then A c. alone.

Hyl. This is convincing.

Bath. And that you may be the more throughly convinced of the weakness of your Biaion, I will bear the push of the latter Horn, and deny that the Immutability of God would imply that he is not to be worshipped. For what is the Worshipping of God but the acknowledging those supereminent and Divine Excellencies in him to which the World owes its Conservation and Subsistence, and from which is that beautifull Order and wise Contrivance of things in the Universe? It is therefore a piece of indispensable Justice to acknowledge this rich Fountain and Original of all Good, and not the less, because he is so perfectly good, that he cannot be nor act otherwise, but is immutably such. Besides that this Praise and Adoration done to him are actions perfective of our own Souls, and in our approches to him he is made nearer to us; as the opening of <76> our Eyes is the letting in of the light of the Sun.

Hyl. What you say, Bathynous, I must confess will hold good in that part of Worship which consists in Praising of God: but I do not see how his Immutability will well consist with our Praying to him. For things will be or will not be whether we pray unto him or no.

Bath. But you do not consider, that though this were, yet our Praying to him is an acknowledgment of his being the great Benefactour of mankinde; and it is like Children asking their Fathers Blessing, who yet would pray to God to bless them whether they ask it or no. Besides that while we pray to God for internall good things, for Grace, Wisedome and Vertue, we do ipso facto open our Souls to receive the Divine Influence, which flows into our Hearts according to the measure of the depth and earnestness of our Devotion. Which is, as I said, like the opening of our Eyes to receive the <77> light of the Sun. Nor do we alter or change the will of God in this, because it is the permanent and immutable will of God, that as many as make their due Addresses to him shall receive proportionable Comfort and Influence from him. And, lastly, for externall good things, though we should imagine God still resting in the immutable Sabbatism of his own ever-blessed Eternity, and that nothing is done in this world ad extra but by either natural or free created Agents, either good men or those more high and holy orders of Angels, that are as the Ears and Eyes and Arms of God, as Philo somewhere insinuates, and who are so steddily and fully actuated by the Spirit of God, that they will do the very same things that God himself would doe if he were to act ad extra in the affairs of the world: upon this Hypothesis of things, notwithstanding the Immutability of God, it implies no incongruity to pray unto him. For he does not onely hear and behold all things <78> at once, but has eternally and immutably laid such trains of Causes in the world, and so rules the good Powers and over-rules the bad, that no man that prays unto him as he ought shall fail of obtaining what is best for him, even in externall matters.

Hyl. This is a consideration I never thought of before. But it seems to me not altogether irrational.

Euist. [33] But, methinks, something needless, because the Divine Records do testifie, that the very Deity sometimes steps out into externall Action; as in our Saviour Christ's feeding the multitude with five loaves and two fishes, in his raising the dead, and in that great execution he is to doe on the Globe of the Earth at the last Day.

Bath. The Deity indeed does act here ad extra, but not the bare Deity, as I may so speak, but the Divine Magick of the exalted Soul of the Messias.

Euist. But what will you say to those passages in the Old Testament, <79> Bathynous, such as the dividing of the Red sea, the making of the Sun and Moon stand still, the keeping of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego harmless in the fierie Furnace, and the like? did not the bare Deity, as you called it, step out then into externall Action?

Bath. You know, Euistor, there was a mighty East-winde that blew all night, and divided the Sea; and that there appeared a fourth man in the fiery furnace like unto the Son of God. And, in brief, all the Miracles that were done by Moses or any way else among or upon the people of the Jews were done by virtue of the presence of the same Christ, who was the Conductour of the Israelites into the Land of Canaan, and the Residentiary Guardian of that People.

Euist. Indeed I remember some such opinion of some of the ancient Fathers, but I look'd upon it as one of their Extravagancies.

Sophr. And I upon the Hypothesis of Bathynous as a very high reach of wit; but methought Philotheus had <80> fully satisfied Hylobares his Dilemma before.

Hyl.[34] I must ingenuously confess, that I think neither of the Solutions so weak but that they sufficiently enervate my Argument touching the Immutability of God: and therefore I willingly pass on to his Omnisciency.

Philoth. What is it that pinches you there, Hylobares?

Hyl. A certain and determinate Prescience of things contingent, free and uncertain. For it seems otherwise to take away the Liberty of Will and the nature of Sin: For Sin seems not to be Sin, unless it be voluntary.

Philoth. It may be not, Hylobares. But why do you then attribute such a Prescience to God as is involved in such dangerous Inconveniences?

Hyl. Because it is a greater Perfection in God to foresee all things that are to come to pass certainly and determinately, then the contrary.

Philoth. And would it not be a greater Perfection in the Omnipotency of God to be able to doe all things, <81> even those that imply a Contradiction, then not to be able to doe them?

Hyl. It would. But because they imply a Contradiction to be done, no body thinks the Omnipotency of God maimed or blemished in that it reaches not to such things.

Philoth. Why then, Hylobares, if certain Prescience of uncertain things or events imply a Contradiction, it seems it may be struck out of the Omnisciency of God, and leave no scar nor blemish behinde; for God will nevertheless be as omniscient as he is omnipotent. But if it imply no Contradiction, what hinders but we may attribute it to him?

Hyl. But it seems necessary to attribute it to him: else how can he manage the affairs of the World?

Philoth. O Hylobares, take you no care for that. For that eternall Minde that knows all things possible to be known, comprehends all things that are possible to be done, and so hath laid such trains of Causes as shall most certainly meet every one in due time <82> in judgement and righteousness, let him take what way he will.

Hyl. I understand you, Philotheus.

Philoth. And you may farther understand that, according to some, what you would attribute to God as a Perfection sounds more like an Imperfection, if well considered.

Hyl. Why so, Philotheus?

Philoth. Is it not the perfection of Knowledge to know things as they are in their own nature?

Hyl. It is so.

Philoth. Wherefore to know a free Agent, which is undeterminate to either part, to be so undeterminate, and that he may chuse which part he will, is the most perfect knowledge of such an Agent and of his Action, till he be perfectly determinate and has made his choice.

Hyl. It seems so.

Philoth. Therefore to know him determined before he be determined, or while he is free, is an Imperfection of Knowledge, or rather no Knowledge at all, but a Mistake and Er <83> rour: and indeed is a contradiction to the Nature of God, who can understand nothing but according to the distinct Idea's of things in his own minde. And the Idea of a free Agent is Undeterminateness to one part before he has made choice. Whence to foresee that a free Agent will pitch upon such a part in his choice, with knowledge certain and infallible, is to foresee a thing as certain even then when it is uncertain; which is a plain Contradiction or gross Mistake.

Hyl. You do more then satisfie me in this, Philotheus, That to conceive things undeterminate determinately, or that they will be certainly this way while they may be either this way or that way, is an Imperfection or contradiction to the Truth. But there is yet this piece of perplexity behinde, that this pretence of perfection of Knowledg will necessarily inferr an imperfection or inability of Predicting future Actions of free Agents, and take away Divine Inspiration and Prophecie.


Philoth. That is shrewdly urged and seasonably. But you are to understand, that so much Liberty as is in Man will leave room enough for millions of certain Predictions, if God thought fit to communicate them so throngly to the world. For though I question not but that the Souls of men are in some sense free; yet I do as little doubt but there are or may be infinite numbers of Actions wherein they are as certainly determined as the brute Beasts. And such are the Actions of all those that are deeply lapsed into Corruption, and of those few that are grown to a more Heroicall state of Goodness: It is certainly foreknowable what they will doe in such and such circumstances. Not to adde, that the Divine Decrees, when they finde not men sitting Tools, make them so, where Prophecies are peremptory or unconditionate.

Bath. What Philotheus has hitherto argued for the reconciling of the Divine Omniscience with the Notion of <85> Man's Free will and the nature of Sin, bears along with it a commendable plainness and plausibleness for its easiness to the understanding. But in my apprehension, for all it looks so repugnantly that there should be a certain foreknowledge of what is free and uncertain, yet it seems more safe to allow that Privilege to the infinite Understanding of God, then to venture at all to circumscribe his Omniscience. For though it may safely be said, that he does not know any thing that really implies a Contradiction to be known; yet we are not assured but that may seem a Contradiction to us that is not so really in it self. As for example, To our finite Understanding a Quadrate whose Diagonial is commensurate to one of the Sides is a plain Contradiction, and we conceit we can demonstrate it to be so, that is to say, that the Ratio of the one to the other is unconceivable and undefinable. But dare any one be so bold as to affirm that the Divine Intellect it self, whose Comprehensi <86> on is infinite, cannot define to it self the Ratio of a Diagonial Line in a Quadrate to the Side thereof? The Application is very obvious.

Philoth. It is so, Bathynous. For I suppose in brief you mean this; That as the Diagonial Line and Side of a Quadrate, which to our apprehension are incommensurate, are yet commensurable to the infinite Comprehension of the Divine Intellect; so a certain and infallible Prescience of uncertain Futurities, that seems inconsistent to us, may notwithstanding be deprehended abundantly consistent by the all-comprehensive Understanding of God. A very safe and sober Solution of the present Difficulty. I am very well contented it should be so, Bathynous, and that what I have offered at therein should pass as spoken by way of Essay rather then of Dogmatizing, and according to the sense of others rather then mine own.

Philop. I never saw that saying so much verified any-where, that Wisedome is easie to him that understands, <87> as in Bathynous and Philotheus's discourses. Are you not throughly satisfied hitherto, Hylobares?

Hyl. I must confess I am. But now I come to the most confounding Point, and which is such as that I fear it is fatal to me never to be satisfied in.

Philoth. What is that, Hylobares?

Hyl.[35] The Spirituality of God. It is the proper Disease of my minde, not to be able to conceive any thing that is not material or corporeal. But I hope it is not a Disease unto death.

Philoth. God forbid it should be, Hylobares, so long as it is no impediment to the belief of the Existence of God, and of all those Attributes that are requisite for the engaging a man's Soul in the pursuit of true Piety and Vertue. God will at last bring such an one to the true knowledge of himself, what-ever his Ignorance may be for the present. And for my part, I am not fond of the Notion of Spirituality nor any Notion else, but so far forth as they are subservient to <88> Life and Godliness; that there may be as much Happiness in this life as humane affairs are capable of, and that we may be eternally happy in the life to come. Otherwise I have no such great solicitude, that any should be such trim and precise Speculators of things, as not to erre an hair's breadth in matters of great perplexity and obscurity.

Euist. I reade that some of the Fathers have been of opinon that God is a kinde of pure subtile Body.

Bath. That may very well be. But then they had not that true and precise Notion of a subtile Body that most Philosophers have in this Age: but it is likely they understood no more thereby, then that it was a subtile extended Substance; which, for my part, I conceive in the general may be true. But to say it is properly a subtile Body, is to acknowledge it a Congeries of very little Atomes toying and playing one by another, which is too mean a conception of the Majesty of God. Besides that it is <89> unconceivable how these loose Atoms, which are so independent of one another, should joyn together to make up the Godhead; or how they do conspire to keep together, that there is not a dissolution of the Divinity. Or thus: If this multitude of Divine Atoms be God, be they interspersed amongst all the matter of the World? or do they keep together? If they be dispersed, God is less one then any thing else in the World, and is rather an infinite number of Deities then one God or any God; and this infinite number in an incapacity of conferring notes to contrive so wise a frame of the Universe as we see. But if there be one Congeries of Divine Atomes that keep together, in which of those infinite numbers of Vortices is it seated, or amongst which? or how can it order the matter of those Vortices from which it is so far distant? or how again do these Atomes, though not interspersed, communicate Notions one with another for one Design? Do <90> they talk or discourse with one another? or what do they doe? And then again—

Hyl. Nay forbear, Bathynous, to go any farther, for you have put me quite out of conceit with a Material Deity already, the more my grief and pain. For to make a Material Deity, I must confess, seems extremely ridiculous; and to make a Spiritual one, impossible: So that I am in greater streights then ever I was.

Philoth. [36] Why, Hylobares, what conceit have you of a Spirit, that you should think it a thing impossible?

Hyl. Is it not infinitely incredible, Philotheus, if not impossible, that some thousands of Spirits may dance or march on a Needle's point at once?

Cuph. I, and that booted and spurred too.

Hyl. And that in one instant of time they can fly from one Pole of the world to the other?

Philoth. These things, I must confess, seem very incredible.


Hyl. And that the Spirit of man, which we usually call his Soul, is wholly, without flitting, in his Toe, and wholly in his Head, at once? If the whole Soul be in the Toe, there is nothing left to be in the Head. Therefore the Notion of a Spirit is perfectly impossible: or else all things are alike true: for nothing seems more impossible then this.

Philoth. But whose description of a Spirit is this, Hylobares?

Hyl. It is, Philotheus, the description of the venerable Schools.

Philoth. But did I not preadvertise you, that no humane Authority has any right of being believed when they propound Contradictions? Wherefore their rash description of a Spirit ought to be no prejudice to the truth of its Existence. And though the true Notion of a Spirit were incomprehensible, yet that would be no solid Argument against the Reality of it; as you may observe in the nature of eternall Succession, which we cannot deny to be, though <92> we be not able to comprehend it.

Hyl.[37] That is very true indeed, and very well worth the noting. But how shall we be so well assured of the Existence of a Spirit, while the comprehension of its Nature is taken for desperate?

Philoth. That there is some Intellectual Principle in the World, you were abundantly convinced from the works of Nature, as much as that Archimedes his Treatise De Sphæra & Cylindro was from a Rational Agent: and even now it seemed ridiculous to you beyond all measure, that a Congeries of Atomes should be Divine and Intellectual: Wherefore there is something that is not Matter that is Intellectual, which must be a substance Immaterial or Incorporeal, that is in a word, a Spirit.

Hyl. I am, I must confess, very strongly urged to believe there is a Spirit as well as an eternall Duration, though I can comprehend neither.

Philoth. And that you may be farther corroborated in your belief, con <93> sider the manifold Stories of Apparitions, and how many Spectres have been seen or felt to wrastle, pull or tug with a man: which, if they were a mere Congeries of Atomes, were impossible. How could an arm of mere Air or Æther pull at another man's hand or arm, but it would easily part in the pulling? Admit it might use the motion of Pulsion yet it could never that of Attraction.

Hyl. This indeed were a palpable demonstration that there must be some other substance in these Spectres of Air or Æther, if the Histories were true.

Euist. We reade such things happening even in all Ages and places of the world; and there are modern and fresh examples every day: so that no man need doubt of the truth.

Hyl.[38] These Experiments indeed strike very strongly on the Imagination and Senses, but there is a subtile Reason that presently unlooses all again. And now methinks I could wish the nature of a Spirit were more un <94> known to me then it is, that I might believe its Existence without meddling at all with its Essence. But I cannot but know thus much of it, whether I will or no, that it is either extended, or not extended; I mean, it has either some Amplitude of Essence, or else none at all. If it has no Amplitude or Extension, the ridiculous Hypothesis of the Schools will get up again, and millions of Spirits, for ought I know, may dance on a Needle's point, or rather, they, having no Amplitude, would be nothing. If they have any Amplitude or Extension, they will not be Spirits, but mere Body or Matter. For, as that admired Wit Des-Cartes solidly concludes, Extension is the very essence of Matter. This is one of the greatest Arguments that fatally bear me off from a chearfull closing with the belief of Spirits properly so called.

Philoth. It is much, Hylobares, that you should give such an adamantine Assent to so weak and precarious an <95> Assertion as this of Des-Cartes. For though it be wittily supposed by him, for a ground of more certain and Mathematicall after-Deductions in his Philosophy; yet it is not at all proved, that Matter and Extension are reciprocally the same, as well every extended thing Matter, as all Matter extended. This is but an upstart conceit of this present Age. The ancient Atomical Philosophers were as much for a Vacuum as for Atomes. And certainly the world has hitherto been very idle, that have made so many Disputes and try'd so many Experiments whether there be any Vacuum or no, if it be so demonstratively concludible, as Des-Cartes would bear us in hand, that it implies a Contradiction there should be any. The ground of the Demonstration lies so shallow and is so obvious, that none could have missed of it, if they could have thought there had been any force in it.

Hyl. It is true, this might in reason abate a man's confidence a little, <96> Philotheus; but the apprehension is so deeply rivetted into my minde, that such Rhetoricall Flourishes cannot at all loosen or brush it out.

Philoth. [39] Well then, give me leave, Hylobares, to attaque you some other way. Did you not say even now, that what-ever has no Extension or Amplitude is nothing?

Hyl. I did, and do not repent me of so saying. For I doubt not but that it is true.

Philoth. Wherefore Extension or Amplitude is an intrinsecall or essential Property of Ens quatenus Ens, as the Metaphysicians phrase it.

Hyl. It is so.

Philoth. And what is an intrinsecall or essential Attribute of a thing, is in the thing it self.

Hyl. Where should it be else?

Philoth. Therefore there is Extension in every thing or Entity.

Hyl. It cannot be deny'd.

Philoth. And it can as little be deny'd but that Motion is an Entity, I mean a Physicall Entity.


Hyl. It cannot.

Philoth. Therefore Extension is an intrinsecall property of Motion.

Hyl. It must be acknowledged; what then?

Philoth. What then? Do you not yet see, Hylobares, how weak an Assertion that of Des-Cartes is, That Extension and Matter are reciprocall? for you plainly see that Extension is intrinsecall to Motion, and yet Motion is not Matter.

Hyl. Motion is not Ens, but Modus Entis.

Philoth. Nay, by your favour, Hylobares, Motion is Ens, though in some sense it may be said to be Modus corporis.

Hyl. Methinks I am, I know not how, Philotheus, illaqueated, but not truly captivated into an assent to your Conclusion.

Philoth. That is because you are already held captive in that inured Conceit of Des-Cartes, that makes you suspect solid Reason for a Sophism.


Hyl. If Motion were a thing that was loose or exemptitious from Matter, then I could not but be convinced that it had Extension of its own; but being it is a mere Mode of Matter, that cannot pass from it into another Subject, it has no other Extension then that of the Matter it self it is in.

Philoth. But if it have another Essence from the Matter it self, by your own concession it must however have another Extension. Besides, you seem mistaken in what I mean by Motion. For I mean not simply the Translation, but the vis agitans that pervades the whole body that is moved. Which both Regius and Des-Cartes acknowledge exemptitious and loose, so that it may pass from one part of Matter to another.

Hyl. But what is that to me, if I do not?

Philoth. It is at least thus much to you, that you may take notice how rashly and groundlesly both Des-Cartes and Regius assert Extension and <99> Matter to be reciprocall, while in the mean time they affirm that which according to your own judgement does plainly and convincingly inferr that Extension is more general then Matter.

Hyl. It is, I must confess, a sign that the apprehensions of men are very humoursome and lubricous.

Philoth. And therefore we must take heed, Hylobares, how we let our mindes cleave to the Opinion of any man out of admiration of his Person.

Hyl. That is good advice, and of great consequence (if it be given betimes) for the keeping out of Errour and Falshood. But when a Phancy is once engrafted in the Minde, how shall one get it out?

Philoth. I must confess I marvell much, Hylobares, that you being so fully convinced that every real and Physicall Entity has an intrinsecall Extension of its own, and that Motion is a Physicall Entity different from Matter, you should not be pre <100> sently convinced that Motion has also an intrinsecall Extension of its own. To which you might adde, that the manner of the Extension of Matter is different from the nature of the Extension in Motion: the former being one single Extension, not to be lessened nor increased without the lessening and increase of the Matter it self; but the other a gradual Extension, to be lessened or augmented without any lessening or augmenting the Matter. Whence again it is a sign that it has an Extension of its own, reduplicative into it self, or reducible to thinner or weaker degrees; while the Extension of the Matter remains still single and the same.

Hyl. I must confess, Philotheus, that I am brought to these streights, that I must either renounce that Principle, That every Physicall Entity has an intrinsecall Extension of its own, as much as it has an intrinsecall Essence of its own, (which I know not how to doe;) or else I must acknowledge <101> that something besides Matter is extended. But I must take time to consider of it. I am something staggered in my judgement.

Philoth.[40] Give me leave then, Hylobares, to follow my blow with one stroke more, and see if I cannot strike your Opinion to the ground.

Hyl. Do, Philotheus. I will stand the shock of it.

Philoth. Place your self then under the Æquinoctial Line, Hylobares.

Hyl. Is it not better being in this cool Arbour?

Philoth. I hope the mere Imagination of the Torrid Zone will not heat you. But you may place your self in a more Temperate Clime, if you please.

Hyl. What then, Philotheus?

Philoth. Shoot up an Arrow perpendicularly from the Earth; the Arrow, you know, will return to your foot again.

Hyl. If the winde hinder not. But what does this Arrow aim at?

Philoth. This Arrow has described <102> onely right Lines with its point, upwards and downwards, in the Air; but yet, holding the motion of the Earth, it must also have described in some sense a circular or curvilinear Line.

Hyl. It must so.

Philoth. But if you be so impatient of the heat abroad, neither your body nor your phancy need step out of this cool Bowre. Consider the round Trencher that Glass stands upon; it is a kinde of short Cylinder, which you may easily imagine a foot longer, if you will.

Hyl. Very easily, Philotheus.

Philoth. And as easily phansy a Line drawn from the top of the Axis of that Cylinder to the Peripherie of the Basis.

Hyl. Every jot as easily.

Philoth. Now imagine this Cylinder turned round on its Axis. Does not that Line from the top of the Axis to the Peripherie of the Basis necessarily describe a Conicum in one Circumvolution?


Hyl. It does so, Philotheus.

Philoth. But it describes no such Figure in the wooden Cylinder it self: As the Arrow in the æreal or material Æquinoctial Circle describes not any line but a right one. In what therefore does the one describe, suppose, a circular Line, the other a Conicum?

Hyl. As I live, Philotheus, I am struck as it were with Lightning from this surprizing consideration.

Philoth. I hope, Hylobares, you are pierced with some measure of Illumination.

Hyl. I am so.

Philoth. And that you are convinced, that whether you live or no, that there ever was, is, and ever will be an immovable Extension distinct from that of movable Matter.

Hyl. This evidently demonstrates the existence of the ancient Democritish Vacuum, and withall that Extension and Matter are not convertible terms; for which yet Cartesius so much contends. This Conceit is <104> struck quite dead with the point of the Arrow describing a curvilinear Line in the steady Æquinoctial Circle. And if it should ever offer to flame out again into life in my thoughts, I would use the Conicum as an Extinguisher to smother it.

Philop. What a chearfull thing the apprehension of Truth is, that it makes Hylobares so pleasant and so witty?

Cuph. [41] But methinks he claps his wings before the Victory, or rather submits before he be overcome. For it may be seasonably suggested, that it is real Extension and Matter that are terms convertible; but that Extension wherein the Arrow-head describes a curvilinear Line is onely imaginary.

Hyl. But it is so imaginary, that it cannot possibly be dis-imagined by humane understanding. Which methinks should be no small earnest that there is more then an imaginary Being there. And the ancient Atomists called this Vacuum τὴν ἀναφῆ φύσιν,[42] the <105> intangible nature; which is a sign they thought it some real thing. Which appears farther from their declaring, that this and Atomes were the onely true things, but that the rest were mere Appearances. And Aristotle somewhere in his Physicks expresly declares of the Pythagoreans, that they held there was a Vacuum, from an infinite spirit that pervades Heaven or the Universe, as living and breathing in virtue thereof.

Euist. I remember the passage very well: it is in the fourth Book and the sixth Chapter. εἶναι δ' ἔφασαν καὶ οἱ Πυθαγόρειοι κενόν, καὶ ἐπεισιέναι αὐτὸ τῷ οὐρανῷ ἐκ τοῦ ἀπείρου πνεύματος ὡς ἂν ἀναπνέοντι..

Bath. As if this Pythagorick Vacuum were that to the Universe which the Aire is to particular Animals, that wherein and whereby they live and breathe. Whence it is manifest the Pythagoreans held it no imaginary Being.

Hyl. And lastly, O Cuphophron, unless you will flinch from the Dictates of your so highly-admired <106> Descartes forasmuch as this Vacuum is extended, and measurable, and the like, it must be a Reality; because Non entis nulla est Affectio, according to the Reasonings of your beloved Master. From whence it seems evident that there is an extended Substance far more subtile then Body, that pervades the whole Matter of the Universe.

Bath. Excellently well argued, O Hylobares! Thou art become not only a Disciple, but a very able Champion for the Truth of Immaterial Beings, and therefore art not far off from the right apprehension of the Nature of God. Of whose Essence I must confess I have always been prone to think this subtile Extension (which a man cannot dis-imagine but must needs be) to be a more obscure shadow or adumbration, or to be a more general and confused apprehension of the Divine Amplitude. For this will be necessarily, though all Matter were annihilated out of the World. Nay indeed this is antece <107> dent to all Matter, forasmuch as no Matter nor any Being else can be conceived to be but in this. In this are all things necessarily apprehended to live and move and have their being.

Sophr.[43] Lord thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations. Before the Mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the Earth or the World: even from everlasting to everlasting thou art God.

Bath. Whence the Cabbalists have not vainly attributed those Titles of מקום and אדוני unto God, who is the Immovable Mover, Receptacle and Sustainer of all things. Answerable to what Hylobares noted of the Opinion of the Phythagoreans, who have a great affinity with the ancient Cabbalists.

Cuph. What Mysterious conceits has Bathynous of what can be but a mere Vacuum at best?

Bath. It is an Extension plainly distinct from that of Matter, and more necessarily to be imagined in this distinctness then that Extension of Matter, and therefore a ground in <108> finitely more certain of the Existence of an infinite Spirit then the other of indefinite Matter. For while that Extension which Cartesius would build his Matter on is conceived movable, this Spirit is necessarily supposed in which it moves, as appears from Philotheus his Instances. So that this is the Extension onely which must imply the necessity of the existence of some real Being thereunto appertaining; which therefore must be coincident with the Essence of God, and cannot but be a Spirit, because it pervades the Matter of the Universe.

Cuph. It is onely the Capacity of Matter, Bathynous.

Bath. What do you mean by Capacity, Cuphophron? Matter in potentia?

Cuph. Yes.

Bath. But we conceive this Extension loosly distinct from that of Matter: that of Matter being movable, this immovable; that of Matter discerpible, this indiscerpible. For if it <109> were discerpible, it would be also movable, and so ipso facto distinguish it self from the indiscerpible and immovable Extension. But when Ens potentiâ is once made Ens actu, they are one and the same undivided Essence actually existent, nor can possibly be loose from one another while they are: As your Metaphysicall wit cannot but easily apprehend.

Cuph. I cannot so easily apprehend it in this case, Bathynous, who must, with Des-Cartes, make Extension and Matter reciprocall. For I am certain I am illaqueated with a mere Sophism, forasmuch as I easily conceive that, if God were exterminated as well as Matter out of the World, yet this Extension you talk so magnificently of would to my deluded phancy seem necessarily to remain. But if there were no God nor Matter, there would be nothing. Which is a plain sign that this remaining Extension is the Extension of nothing, and therefore that it self is nothing but our Imagination.


Bath. This is cunningly fetch'd about, O Cuphophron. But if you well consider things, this Fetch of yours, which seems to be against me, is really for me. For in that you acknowledge that while you conceive God exterminated out of the World, this Extension does notwithstanding remain, it is but an Indication of what is true, that the conception of God's being exterminated out of the World implies a Contradiction, as most certainly it does. For no Essence that is exterminable can be the Essence of God, forasmuch as his Essence implies necessary Existence. Wherefore that God which you did exterminate, that is to say, conceived exterminable, was a figment of your own: but that Extension which remains to you whether you will or no, is really and identifically coincident with the Amplitude of the Essence of God. Whence we may see not onely the folly, but the impiety, of the other Position, which would transplant that main Prerogative of God, <111> I mean his necessary Existence, upon Matter, upon pretence that whatever is extended must be such; and withall necessarily exterminate God out of the Universe with as many as cannot conceive any thing to be but what is extended, that is to say, has some kinde of Amplitude or other.

Hyl. [44] And therefore it had been my inevitable fate to have been an Atheist, had not Philotheus so fortunately freed me from so mischievous a conceit by those Instances of the Conicum and Arrow. For I do most immutably apprehend thereby, that there is an Extension distinct from that of Matter, which though we should admit to be imaginary, yet this at least will result therefrom, That Extension being thus necessarily applicable as well to imaginary things as to real, it is rather a Logicall Notion then a Physicall, and consequently is applicable to all Objects as well Metaphysicall as Physicall.

Cuph. As well Phantasticall or Imaginary as Physicall, you should say, <112> Hylobares. For if any real thing be extended, it is ipso facto Matter, as that Oracle of Philosophy has concluded, I mean Renatus Des-Cartes.

Hyl. That is again spitefully interposed, Cuphophron, (but not at all proved) and yet repugnantly to your own admired Oracle, who has declared, as I told you before, that Nihili nulla east affectio. Wherefore there being a measurable Extension distinct from that of Matter, there is also a Substance distinct from Matter, which therefore must be immaterial, and consequently Metaphysicall. But that there is an Extension distinct from Matter, is apparent in that Instance of the Conicum.

Cuph. There is no real description of a Conicum, Hylobares, nor in any Extension but that of the wooden Cylinder it self. These are Whims and turnings of our Phancy onely: and then we make grave Theologicall Inferences, and Uses of Reproof, as if we carried all before us.

Hyl. Answer me but with patience, <113> Cuphophron, and I doubt not but I shall quickly convince you, that there is more then Phancy in those arguings. I will appeal to your Reason, your Imagination, and your Sense. What therefore is it, O Cuphophron, to describe a Figure, as the Mathematicians speak, but to draw some Extensum or some point of it through the parts of some other Extensum, so that the parts are passed through of that Extensum in which the Figure is said to be described?

Cuph. Right, Hylobares, that is plain at first sight.

Hyl. This to gratifie your Reason. But farther too to caress your Sense and Phancy, let us imagine for that wooden Cylinder a glass one, with a red Line in it for its Axis, and from the top of this Axis another red Line drawn down to the Peripherie of the Basis; which Lines would be visible to your very sight through the transparent Glass.

Cuph. A fine thing to play with, Hylobares; what then?



I would have you play with such a thing, O Cuphophron, but in such sort, as to make it turn swiftly upon its Axis. And there will appear to your very sight a red Conicum, like the usual shape of an Extinguisher. If the Line were blew, it would be like it something in colour as well as figure. This I conceive (for I never try'd it, nor thought of it before now) you might distinctly see in the Glass.

Cuph. A goodly sight: but what of all this?


I demand in what Extensum this Conicum is described.

Cuph. In the same it is seen, namely in the Glass, Hylobares.

Hyl. You answer what is impossible, Cuphophron, and against your first concession. For the red Line does not pass through the parts of the Glass, but is carried along with them, and therefore cannot describe the Conicum in it. But there is a Conicum described even to your very Sense. In what Extensum therefore is it described?



In an imaginary Extensum.

Hyl. But what is imaginary, Cuphophron, is a Figment made at pleasure by us: But this Extensum we cannot dis-imagine, as I told you before, but it is whether we will or no: For no Figure can be drawn but through the parts of some Extensum.

Cuph. I am cast upon the same Answers again that I was before: Then it is the Idea of a possible Extensum, which indeed the glass-Cylinder actually is.

Hyl. That is to say, It is the particular or individual possible Idea of that Extensum which the glass-Cylinder is actually.

Cuph. It is that, or else I confess I know not what it is. It is a mockery of the minde, it is a troublesome Fallacy.

Hyl. But you do not mean any Idea in our Brain by this possible Idea. For the red Line that describes the Conicum is in the Glass, not in our Brain.

Cuph. Therefore I must mean the Object of that Idea.


Hyl. But is not the actual describing of a Figure in a mere possible Extensum like sense to the writing of an actual Epistle in a possible sheet of Paper? Besides, this particular or individual possible Idea of the Extensum which this particular Cylinder is actually is an immovable Extensum, but this Cylinder removable from it even while it does exist. How can it then be that particular possible Extensum which the Cylinder is actually? But admit it could be, and let this Cylinder be removed from this possible immovable Extensum, and another Cylinder of the same bigness succeed into its place. Now this second Cylinder is actually that particular Extensum which still the same individual possible Extensum is or was potentially. And so both the first and second Cylinders are one and the same individual Cylinder: For one individual Possibility can afford no more then one individual Actuality in the world. And therefore one and the same Cylinder is in two distant places at once.


Sophr. This makes Cuphophron rub his temples. I believe he is confounded in the midst of this hot and hasty Career he has taken afresh in the behalf of Des-Cartes. Let me help him a little. It may be that immoveable possible Cylindricall Extensum is the Genus of the two other Cylinders, and, as I remember, [45] Des-Cartes intimates some such thing.

Hyl. But how can that which is immovable, O Sophron, be the Genus of those things that are movable? And we will suppose both these Cylinders removed from this possible Cylindricall Extensum, and thus the Genus will be deserted of its Species, and the Species destitute of their Genus. Which can be good in no Logick but Cuphophron's or Des-Cartes's. But if by Genus you mean a mere Logicall Notion, that is onely in the Brain, which the red Line is not, but in the Glass.

Sophr. Nay, I perceive there is no dealing with Hylobares when his wit is once awakened. I am presently <118> forced to sound a retreat. And yet I care not to cast this one conceit more at him before I run away. What if I should say it is onely spatium imaginarium, Hylobares?

Hyl. Then you would onely say but what in effect Cuphophron has said twice already. But I tell you, Sophron, that the Extension of this Space which you call imaginary is real. For whatsoever is a real Affection or Attribute any-where, (and you know Extension is so in Matter) is everywhere real where it is deprehended to be independently on our imagination. And that this Extension is actual, necessary and independent on our imagination, is plainly discoverable in those Instances of the Arrow and Conicum.

Philoth. You are an excellent Proficient, Hylobares, that can thus vary, emprove and maintain things from so few and slender hints. I never spoke with better success to any one in all my life touching these matters.

Hyl.[46] I finde my self hugely at ease since your freeing me, O Philotheus, <119> from that prejudice, that whatsoever is extended must be Matter. Whence I can now easily admit the Existence of Spirits; but have therefore the greater Curiosity, and find my self finely at leisure, to be more punctually instructed concerning the nature of them.

Philoth. I dare say, Hylobares, you will be able abundantly to instruct your self touching that Point, if we do but first carefully settle the Notion of Matter, whose essence I conceive consists chiefly in these three Attributes, Self-disunity, Self-impenetrability, and Self-inactivity.

Hyl. But I desire, O Philotheus, to know the distinct meaning of every one of these terms.

Philoth. By Self-disunity I understand nothing else but that Matter has no Vinculum of its own to hold it together, so that of it self it would be disunited into a Congeries of mere Physicall Monads, that is, into so little particles, that is, implies a Contradiction they should be less.


Hyl. I understand the Notion well enough. But what makes you attribute Disunity to Matter rather then firm Union of parts, especially you attributing Self-inactivity thereto?

Philoth. Because there is no Vinculum imaginable in Matter to hold the parts together. For you know they are impenetrable, and therefore touch one another as it were in smooth Superficies's. How therefore can they hold together? what is the Principle of their Union?

Cuph. O, that is very clear, Philotheus; that stupendious Wit Des-Cartes plainly tells us that it is Rest.

Philoth. But I pray do you tell me, Cuphrophron, what is Rest?

Cuph. That is easily understood from Motion, which Des-Cartes intimates to be the Separation or translation of one part of Matter from the other.

Philoth. And so Rest is the Union or Unseparateness of one part of Matter from another.

Cuph. I can imagine nothing else <121> by it. For if a whole mass of Matter move together in one hard piece, the whole is moved; but the parts in respect of one another, because they do not separate one from another, are said to rest. And on this account Motion is said to be reciprocall, because indeed Separation is so.

Philoth. Then Rest and Unseparateness of parts are all one.

Cuph. It seems so.

Philoth. And Unseparateness and Union all one.

Cuph. The very same, I think.

Philoth. Why then, Rest and Union is all one, and so the Principle of the Union of the parts of Matter is the Union of their parts.

Hyl. That is, they have no Principle of Union at all, and therefore of themselves are disunited.

Philoth. And there is great reason they should have none, forasmuch as they are to be bound together in such forms and measures as some more Divine cause shall order.

Cuph. I think in my heart Philothe <122> us and Hylobares have both plotted a conspiracy together against that Prince of Philosophers, our admired Des-Cartes.

Hyl. Philotheus and I have conspired in nothing, O Cuphophron, but what so noble a Philosopher would commend us for, that is, the free searching out of truth: In which I conceive we are not unsuccessfull. For I must confess I am convinced that this first Attribute of Matter, as Philotheus has explained {illeg} true. And for Self-impenetrability it is acknowledged of all sides. But what do you mean, O Philotheus, by Self-inactivity?

Philoth. I mean that Matter does not move nor actuate it self, but is or has been alwaies excited by some other, and cannot modifie the motion it is excited into, but moves directly so as it is first excited, unless some externall cause hinder.

Hyl. This I understand, and doubt not of the truth thereof.

Cuph. This is no more then Des- <123> Cartes himself allows of.

Bath. And good reason, O Cuphophron, he should doe so. For there being no Medium betwixt Self-activity and Self-inactivity, nor betwixt Self-union and Self-disunity, nor any immediate Genus to these distributions, as Cogitation and Figure are to the kindes or modes under them, it is necessary that one of the twain, and not an indifferency to either, should be the innate Property of so simple an Essence as Matter: and that therefore Self-inactivity and Self-disunity should be the Properties thereof, it being a passive Principle, and wholly to be guided by another.

Philoth. You say right, Bathynous; and the Consectary from all this will be, That Sympathy cannot immediately belong to Matter.

Hyl. Very likely.

Philoth. We are fully agreed then touching the right Notion or nature of Matter, Hylobares.

Hyl. We are so, Philotheus.

Philoth. Can you then miss of <124> the true Notion of a Spirit?[47]

Hyl. Methinks I finde my self able to define it by the rule of Contraries. For if Self-disunity, Self-inactivity, Self-impenetrability, be the essential Attributes of Matter or Body; then the Attributes of the opposite species, viz. of Spirit, must be Self-unity, Self-activity, Self-penetrability.

Philoth. Very right. And have you not as distinct a Notion of every one of these Attributes as of the other?

Hyl. I will try. By the Self-unity of a Spirit I understand a Spirit to be immediately and essentially one, and to want no other Vinculum to hold the parts together but its own essence and existence; whence it is of its own nature indiscerpible.

Philoth. Excellently well defined.

Hyl. This I am carried to by my Reason. But methinks my Imagination boggles and starts back, and brings me into a suspicion that it is the Notion of a thing that cannot be. For how can an extended Substance be indivisible or indiscerpible? For qua <125> tenus extended it must be divisible.

Philoth. It is true, it is intellectually divisible, but Physically indiscerpible. Therefore this is the fallacy your Phancy puts upon you, that you make Indivisibility and Indiscerpibility all one. What is intellectually divisible may be Physically indivisible or indiscerpible: as it is manifest in the nature of God, whose very Idea implies Indiscerpibility, the contrary being so plain an Imperfection. For whatsoever is discerpible is also movable: But nothing is movable but must be conceived to move in that which is a necessary and immovable Essence, and which will necessarily be, though there were nothing else in the world: which therefore must be the holy Essence of God, as Bathynous has very well noted already, and seems to have light upon the true τὸ πρῶτον κινοῦν ἀκἰνητον, which Aristotle sought for above the Heavens, but Bathynous has rightly found to be every-where. Wherefore at length to make our Inference; If it imply a <126> Contradiction, Hylobares, that the Divine Extension should be discerpible, extended Essence quatenus extended cannot imply Physicall Divisibility.

Hyl. It is very true, Philotheus.

Philoth. What hinders then but Spirit quatenus Spirit, according to the right Idea thereof, be immediately or essentially one, that is to say, indiscerpible? For what is immediately and essentially one, and not instrumentally, or one by virtue of some other, is necessarily and immutably one, and it implies a Contradiction to be otherwise, while it at all is, and therefore is indiscerpible.

Cuph. Why, Philotheus? cannot the Omnipotence of God himself discerp a Spirit, if he has a minde to it?

Philoth. He may annihilate a Spirit, if he will. But if a Spirit be immediately and essentially one, he can no more discerp it, then he can separate that Property, of having the power of the Hypotenusa equal to the powers of both the Basis and <127> Cathetus, from a rectangle-Triangle.

Cuph. You know, Philotheus, Des-Cartes asserts that God might change this Property of a rectangle-Triangle, if he would.

Philoth. He does indeed say so, but by way of a slim jear to their ignorance, as he deems it, that are not aware of his supposed mechanicall necessity of the result of all the Phænomena of the World from the mere motion of the Matter. This piece of wit I suspect in this Paradox of that great Philosopher. However, I will not contend with you, Cuphophron: Let but a Spirit be no more discerpible then that Property of a rectangle-Triangle is separable from it, and then we are agreed.

Cuph. I am well pleased that we can agree in any thing that is compliable with the Dictates of the noble Des-Cartes.

Philoth. So I dare say should we all, O Cuphophron: But I must pursue my purpose with Hylobares. What do you understand by Self-activity in a Spirit, Hylobares?


Hyl. I understand an active power in a Spirit, whereby it either modifies it self according to its own nature, or moves the Matter regularly according to some certain Modifications it impresses upon it, uniting the Physicall Monads into particles of such magnitude and figure, and guiding them in such Motions as answer the end of the spiritual Agent, either conceived by it or incorporated into it. Whence there appears, as was said, the reason why both Disunity and Inactivity should belong to Matter.

Philoth. Very accurately and succinctly answered, Hylobares. You are so nimble at it, that certainly you have thought of these Notions before now.

Hyl. I have read something of them. But your dexterous defining the Attributes of Matter might of it self make me a little more chearfully nimble at defining those of a Spirit, especially now I can close with the belief of its Existence, which I could never doe heartily before. And for the <129> last Attribute, which seemed to me the most puzzling, I mean that of Self-penetrability, it is now to me as easie a Notion as any: and I understand nothing else by it, but that different Spirits may be in the same space, or that one and the same may draw its Extension into a lesser compass, and so have one part of its essence lie in the same space with some others: By which power it is able to dilate or contract it self. This I easily conceive may be a Property of any created and finite Spirit, because the Extension of no Spirit is corporeall.

Philoth. Very true. But did you not observe, Hylobares, how I removed Sympathy from the Capacity of Matter?

Hyl. I did, Philotheus; and thereby I cannot but collect that it is seated in the Spiritual or Incorporeall Nature. And I understand by this Sympathy, not a mere Compassivity, but rather a Coactivity of the Spirit in which it does reside: which I conceive to <130> be of great use in all perceptive Spirits. For in virtue of this Attribute, how-ever or in what-ever circumstances they are affected in one part, they are after the same manner affected in all. So that if there were a perceptive Spirit of an infinite Amplitude and of an infinite exaltedness of Sympathy, where-ever any perceptive Energie emerges in this infinite Spirit, it is suddenly and necessarily in all of it at once. For I must confess, Philotheus, I have often thought of these Notions heretofore, but could never attribute them to a Spirit, because I could not believe there was any such thing as a Spirit, forasmuch as all Extension seemed to me to be corporeall. But your Æquinoctial Arrow has quite struck that Errour out of my minde. For the more I think of it, the more unavoidable it seems to me, that that Extension in the Æquinoctial Circle wherein the Arrow is carried in a curvilinear motion is not onely an Extension distinct from that of the Aereall Circle, <131> but that it is an Extension of something real and independent of our Imagination. Because the Arrow is really carried in such a curvilinear line, and we not being able to dis-imagine it otherwise, we have as great a certainty for this as we have for any thing. For it is as certainly true as our Faculties are true: And we have no greater certainty then that of our Faculties. And thus was the sole obstacle that kept me off from admitting the Existence of Spirits demolished at once by the skilfull assaults of Philotheus.

Philop. I am exceeding glad of it, Hylobares, and must owe Philotheus many thanks for his successfull pains. The Spirituality of God then is not the least prejudice to your belief of his Existence.

Hyl. Not the least, Philopolis. The Notion of a Spirit is now to me as easie and comprehensible as that of Matter; and the Attributes of a Spirit infinitely more easie then the competibleness of such Properties as they must be forced to give to Matter <132> who deny there is any such thing as a Spirit in the world.

Philop. Why then, you may without any more adoe proceed to the last Attribute of God which you propounded.

Hyl. [48] I will, Philopolis. It was Omnipresency, I mean the essential Omnipresency of God. For attending to the infinite Perfection of God according to his Idea, I cannot but acknowledge his Essence to be infinite, and therefore that he is essentially present every-where. And for those that would circumscribe the Divine Essence, I would ask them, how they can make his Essence finite, and his Attributes infinite; or to what extent they conceive him circumscribed. To confine him to a Point were intolerably ridiculous. And to pretend that the amplifying of his Essence beyond this were any advantage or Perfection, were plainly to acknowledge that the taking away his essential Omnipresency is to attribute to him an infinite Imperfection. For any Cir <133> cumscription implies an infinite Defect. These considerations, O Philopolis, force me to believe that God is essentially Omnipresent, and that he pervades all things, even to all infinite imaginable spaces. But when I have thus concluded with my self, I am cast off again with a very rude and importune check, as if this were to draw down the Divinity into miry Lakes and Ditches and worse-sented places, and to be as unmannerly in our thoughts to the true God as Orpheus is in his expressions to the Pagan Jupiter, Ζεῦ κύδιστε, μέγιστε θεῶν, εἰλυμένε κόπρῳ.

Euist. It is the very verse that Gregory Nazianzen quotes in his Invectives against Julian the Apostate, and does severely reproch the Poet for the Slovenliness and Unmannerliness of his style.

Cuph. And well he may, Euistor.

Euist. But how shall we redeem our Imagination from this Captivity into such sordid conceits?

Cuph. I can tell, Euistor, and I am <134> very glad of the opportunity of the shewing the usefulness of a peculiar Notion I have of the Omnipresency of God, to solve such Difficulties as this of Hylobares.

Hyl. For the love of the truth, good Cuphophron, declare it.

Cuph. But it is so sublime, so subtil and so elevated, O Hylobares, (though not the less solid) that I question whether it will be discretion to commit it to unprepared ears.

Hyl. Why? you see, Cuphophron, that I am not altogether an undocible Auditour of Metaphysicks, by Philotheus his success upon me. Besides, it is against the professed freedome of Philosophizing in these our Meetings to suppress any thing, and the more injurious, in that you have set our mouths a-watering by the mentioning of so excellent a Notion, and so serviceable for the solving this present Difficulty touching the Divine Omnipresence.

Cuph. Well, Hylobares, because you do thus forcibly extort it, I will not <135> suppress my judgement concerning this matter.

Hyl. What is it then, dear Cuphophron?

Cuph. [49] That God is no-where: and therefore neither in miry Lakes nor dirty Ponds, nor any other sordid places.

Hyl. Ha ha he. Cuphophron, this is a subtil Solution, indeed, to come from one that does, I think, as firmly adhere to the belief of a God as any one in the whole Company. If all the Atheists in Italy, in England, in Europe, should hear this pious Solution of thine, they would assuredly with one voice cry out, Amen, venerable Cuphophron.

Cuph. It's much, Hylobares, the Atheists should be so universally devout.

Philop. This Solution seems to me point-blank against the very words of Scripture; If I climb up into Heaven, thou art there; if I descend to the bottom of the Sea, thou art there also; and the like. And again, In him we <136> live and move and have our being. If we have all this in him, we have it no-where, if he be no-where, nor are we any-where our selves.

Philoth. I suppose that Cuphophron's meaning is, that God is no-where circumscriptivé.

Cuph. I mean he is no-where essentially, Philotheus.

Philoth. Monster of Opinions!

Sophr. The Pythagoreans and Platonists, and all the established Religions of the Civilized parts of the world, are for the essential Omnipresence of God: onely Aristotle places him on the Primum mobile; whom Pomponatius, Cardan and Vaninus follow. Nor do I know any other Opinion, nor could I imagine any more Divisions touching God's Presence, but of those that would place him at least some-where, or else of those that would declare him every-where. But now we are come from every-where to some-where, and from some-where to no-where at all. This is a strain of wit, I suppose, <137> peculiar to this present Age.

Cuph. It may be so, O Sophron. For I think no Age within the Records of History has produced more elevated Wits then this present Age has done.

Bath. I suspect this new Conceit, O Cuphophron, of God's being no-where, is the waggish suggestion of some sly and sculking Atheists, (with which sort of people this present Age abounds) who, upon pretence of extolling the Nature of God above the capacity of being so much debased as to be present with any thing that is extended, have thus stretched their wits to the utmost extent to lift the Deity quite out of the Universe, they insinuating that which cannot but imply as much in their own judgments. For it is evident that that which is no-where is not at all. Wherefore it must needs make fine flearing sport with these elevated wits, while they see their ill-intended Raillery so devoutly taken up for choicest and sublimest pieces of natural Theologie by well-meaning, but less <138> cautious, Contemplators of Philosophicall matters.

Euist. Is not this something inhospitall for us all to fall upon Cuphophron thus in his own Arbour at once?

Cuph. No, Euistor, there is nothing committed against the laws of Hospitality, but all transacted according to that Liberty that is given and often made use of in these our Philosophicall Meetings. They are not at all uncivil, though you be extremely much a Gentleman, Euistor, and it may be a more favourable Estimatour of my distressed Opinion then the rest.

Euist. I must confess I think none can conceive better of your Person, Cuphophron, then my self; but your Assertion of God's being no-where is the most odd and unexpected Assertion that ever I heard in my life; and, but that you are so very well known for your Piety otherwise, I should have thought to have been the voice of a down-right Atheist. You will pardon this liberty.

Cuph. I told you at first, Euistor, <139> that the Notion was more then ordinarily subtil and sublime: These things are not apprehended in an instant.

Hyl. [50] I but a man may in almost less then an Instant discover the Assertion to be impossible, supposing God has any Essence at all, as Philotheus or Bathynous could quickly convince you.

Philoth. The Cause is in a very good hand; I pray you proceed, Hylobares.

Hyl. Tell me then first, O Cuphophron, whether God be not as essentially present every-where as he is any-where.

Cuph. That I must not deny, Hylobares: He is.

Hyl. And whether his essential Attributes be not in his Essence, not out of it.

Cuph. Who can imagine to the contrary?

Hyl. And whether Omnipotency, wherein is contained the power of moving the Matter, be not an essential Attribute of God.

Cuph. That is universally acknowledged.


Hyl. And that he does or did sometime move at least some part of the Matter.

Cuph. That Des-Cartes himself asserts, with whom I am resolved to stand and fall.

Hyl. Now I demand, if it be possible for the Matter to be moved by the Power of God, unless there be an Application of God's Power to the Matter.

Cuph. It is not possible, Hylobares.

Hyl. Nor the Power, being onely in the Essence, not out of it, to be apply'd without the Application or presence of the Essence to that part of the Matter the Power acts upon.

Cuph. I am surprised.

Hyl. And therefore there being a necessity that the Essence of God should be present to some part of the Matter at least, according to your own concession, it is present to all.

Cuph. And so I believe you will inferr, Hylobares, that the Divine Essence is in some sense extended.

Hyl. That indeed, Cuphophron, <141> might be inferred, if need were, that there is an Amplitude of the Divine Essence.

Bath. It might; but this in the mean time most seasonably noted: How that that Atheisticall Plot laid against the Existence of God in that bold Assertion, [That there can be no Extension or Amplitude, but it must necessarily be Matter] being defeated by the Notion of the essential Omnipresence of God, to make sure work, and to baffle the Truth, they raised this sublime and elevated Fiction, that in stead of God's being every-where, according to the universal Opinion of all sober men, that his Nature is such that he can be no-where: without which far-fetch'd Subterfuge they could never have born two faces under one hood, and play'd the Atheist and Deist at once, professing God was no-where, and yet that he was.

Cuph. Is this your Sagacity or deep Melancholy, Bathynous, that makes you surmize such Plots against the Deity? For I have no more Plot <142> against God, then against my own Soul, which I hold to be a Spirit. And I hold God to be no-where, not as he is God, but as he is an Intellectual Spirit: for I hold of all Spirits, that they are now-where.

Hyl. It seems then, Cuphophron, that the Plot aims farther then we thought on, not onely to exclude God, but all the Orders of Spirits that are, out of the world.

Cuph. I know not what you call excluding out of the world, Hylobares; I am sure I do not mean any excluding out of Being.

Hyl.[51] That is mercifully meant, O Cuphophron; but we cannot conceive they are, if they may not be upon any other terms then you conceit them. And it is a wonder to me, that you do not easily discern your own Soul to be some-where, if you can distinctly discern her to be at all.

Cuph. I do most intimately and distinctly perceive my own Soul or Minde to be, and that I am it, and yet without being any-where at all.


Hyl. But cannot you also think of two things at once, O Cuphophron?

Cuph. Every man can doe that that can compare two things or two Idea's one with the other: For if he do not think of them at once, how can he compare them?

Hyl. Let not go therefore this perception you have of your self, but raise up also the Idea or Remembrance of the indefinitely-extended Matter of the Universe, which is discontinued no-where, but reaches from your self to infinite spaces round about you, or is continued from infinite spaces round about till it reach your thinking Selfship. Can you be surrounded by all this, and yet be no-where? Or can you compare your distinct Selfship with this immense compass, and yet not conceive your self surrounded?

Cuph. I compare what is no-where with that which is every-where, and finde them to be ἀσύμβλητα.

Hyl. You suppose your Minde or Soul no-where first, or rather say <144> so, though you cannot conceive it, and then you cry out that the Universe and she are ἀσύμβλητα. Which errour, if you were unprejudiced, this Consideration would convince you of, especially back'd with what palpably falls under sense.

Cuph. What's that, Hylobares?

Hyl. The Soul's being touch'd and transfix'd, as it were, from real Objects ab extra round about, from above and beneath and from every side: Which would be notoriously perceptible to you, if you could pearch your self, as a Bird, on the top of some high Steeple.

Cuph. It is more safe to suppose the Experiment, then to try it. But what then, Hylobares?

Hyl. There being from above and beneath and from every side round from those externall Objects (suppose of Sight) Motion transmitted to the perceptive Soul her self through the Air and Organs of her Body, and she palpably perceiving her self thus affected from things <145> round about her, it is manifest from thence that she is in the midst of them, according as she plainly feels her self to be, and that consequently she is some-where.

Cuph. That which is no-where cannot be in the midst of any things. It is onely the Body that is in the midst of those Objects, which obtrudes this mistake upon the Soul, whiles she thinks herself to be in the midst of them, whenas indeed she is not.

Hyl. But the Body with all its Organs, and those more externall Media betwixt the Body and the Objects, are but the Instruments whereby the Soul perceives those distant Objects round about. Wherefore she herself must needs be where the lines of Motion through these continued Instruments of her Perception do concentre. Nay indeed the transmission of any single Motion through Matter that affects the Soul is a palpable argument that she is some-where. For how can that which is some-where, as Matter and Motion <146> are, reach that which is no-where? How can they come at it, or it at them?[52] Not to adde, that Des-Cartes himself expressly admits that those Objects the Soul sees and flies from or pursues are without her. Wherefore many of these in a compass must needs surround her, and therefore they being without her, she must be within them, and so of necessity be some-where.

Cuph. The Philosopher, it may be, there slips into the ordinary Conceit of the Vulgar.

Hyl. Again, Cuphophron, if the Souls of men be no-where, they are as much in one man's Body as another's, and one man's Soul may move another man's Body as well as his own, and at what-ever distance that man is from them: which seems impossible for any finite Spirit to doe, nor are there any examples of their doing so.

Cuph. You give the reason your self, Hylobares, why they cannot act at any distance; namely, because their power is finite.


Hyl. And you, Cuphophron, acknowledge Souls to be nearer and farther off, in that you acknowledge they cannot act at any distance. But that which is nearer and farther off is some-where, at least definitivé.

Cuph. And that one man's Soul does not move another man's Body, is because it is vitally united onely to one.

Hyl. Is it then united to the inside of the Body, Cuphophron, or to the outside?

Cuph. That is a captious question. For whether I say to the inside or to the outside, you will infer the Soul to be some-where. But that which is no-where cannot be united to either side.

Hyl. And therefore is not united at all.

Cuph. These things will not fall into every man's capacity.

Hyl. Again, Cuphophron, is the Soul united to the Body by its Essence, or by some essential Attribute of the Soul?

Cuph. There is another Caption, <148> Hylobares: For I foresee your Sophistry, that if I say the Essence of the Soul is united with the Body, then the Soul must be where the Body is. But if I say by an essential Attribute, the Soul must be where the essential Attribute is, and consequently where the Body is: so that it will come all to one.

Hyl. Or thus, Cuphophron, Does not the Soul move the Body?

Cuph. What moves the Bodies of Brutes, Hylobares? Is not their Soul mere Mechanicall motion, according to that admirable Philosopher?

Hyl. But I ask you, does not the Rational Soul by the power of its Will move the Body?

Cuph. Else there were no exercise of Free-will in external Actions.

Hyl. Is then the power of moving the Body thus by her Will in the Soul, or out of the Soul?

Cuph. In the Soul, Hylobares.

Hyl. How then can this power be exerted on the Body to move it, unless the Soul be essentially present <149> to the Body to exert it upon it?

Cuph. By a certain emanative Efficacy that comes from the Soul.

Hyl. And flows like a Streamer in the air betwixt the Soul and the Body.

Cuph. You run always into these extensional Phantasms, Hylobares, the busie importunities of which, when I am rapt up into my Metaphysicall Sublimities, I look as contemptuously down upon, as upon the quick wrigglings up and down of Pismires and Earwigs upon the extended surface of the Earth.

Hyl. You have a very elevated Soul, I must confess, O Cuphophron. But I pray you look down a little lower and closer on this emanative Energy of the Soul upon the Body, and pursue it from the Body to the source of it, the Soul, where ends it, Cuphophron?

Cuph. In the Soul, Hylobares.


But where is then the Soul?

Cuph. No-where.

Hyl. Why then it ends no-where, <150> and began from no-where.

Cuph. That must needs be, because the Soul is no-where.

Hyl. But this is marvellously mysterious, O Cuphophron, that there should be a continued Emanation betwixt two things, whereof one is some-where, and yet the other no-where; the intermediate Emanation also proceeding but to a finite distance.

Cuph. Metaphysicks were not Metaphysicks, Hylobares, if they were not mysterious.

Hyl. Had you not better admit of an Immaterial or Metaphysicall Extension with Philotheus and my self, then to harbour such unconceivable Notions, that lie so unevenly in every man's minde but your own?

Cuph. I am not alone of this minde, Hylobares. And as for Philotheus his opinion and yours, (since you have adopted it) I have heard what has been said all this while, and have thought of these things over and over again, but your Reasons move me nothing at all.


Hyl.[53] Tell me then I pray you, Cuphophron what is it chiefly that moved you to be of the Opinion that you are, That no Spirit can be any-where, or that the Soul of man is no-where?

Cuph. O Hylobares, there be convincing Reasons of this seeming Paradox, if they meet with a minde capable of them: but the chief are these two. First, In that the Minde of man thinks of such things as are no-where, as of many Moral, Logicall and Mathematicall Truths, which being of the nature to be no-where, the Minde that conceives them must be necessarily no-where also. The second, In that Cogitation, as Cogitation, is ipso facto exempted or prescinded from all Extension. For though we doubt whether there be any Matter or any Extended thing in the world, yet we are even then assured that we are Recogitantes. Which shews that Cogitation has nothing at all to doe with Extension, nor has any Applicability to it; forasmuch as <152> we perceive our selves to think, when we have not the least thought of any thing extended. Wherefore our Thoughts having no Relation or Applicability to Extension, they have no Applicability to Place, and consequently neither they nor our Mindes are any-where.

Hyl. I partly understand what you would be at, Cuphophron, but not so fully as to discover any strength at all in your Reasonings. The weakness of the first Ground you may understand from hence; That it will as well follow, that the Soul or Minde of man is some-where, because it thinks of things that are some-where, as that it is no-where, because it thinks of things that are no-where. Besides that those things which you say are no-where are some-where, I mean those Moral, Logicall and Mathematicall Truths. For they are in the Minde or Soul; and the Soul I before demonstrated, I think, to any unprejudiced Auditour, to be in the Body, and the Body you cannot deny <153> but to be some-where. It is true, some of those Truths, it may be, as they are Representations, respect neither Time nor Place; but as they are Operations or Modes of a Subject or Substance, they cannot but be conceived to be in that Substance. And forasmuch as there is no Substance but has at least an essential Amplitude, they are in a Substance that is in some sort extended, and so by virtue of their Subject must necessarily be conceived to be some-where. For the Mode of a thing is inseparate from the Thing it self.

Cuph. But here you run away with that, Hylobares, which I will not allow you to assume, viz. That there is a Substance of the Minde or Soul didistinct {sic} from Cogitation. I say that Cogitation it self is the very Substance of the Soul, and therefore the Soul is as much no-where as if it had no substance at all.

Hyl. But observe, Cuphophron, that in your saying that Cogitation it self is the very Substance of the Soul, you <154> affirm the Soul is a Substance. And so my Argument returns again upon you; though the saying the very Operation is the Substance is a manifest falshood. For the Operations of the Soul are specifically distinct, and such specifically distinct Operations succeeding one another must be, according to your account, so many specifical Substances succeeding one another. So that your Soul would not be alwaies the same specifical Substance, much less the same individual; then which nothing can be more wilde and extravagant. Again, the Soul is accounted a permanent thing by all men, but her Operations are in flux and succession: How then can the Operations be the Soul her self? or what will become of Memorie? There is therefore, O Cuphophron, a substance of the Soul as distinct from its Operations or succeeding Cogitations, as the Matter is from the Figures and Motions that succeed in it.

Cuph. I am not yet convinced of that.


Hyl. And now for your second Ground, which would inferr from our being assured we think, while we doubt whether there be any extended thing in the World, or, it may be, think of no Extension, that therefore our Minds have no relation or applicability to any Extension whatsoever; The weakness of this Reasoning you may easily discover, if you will but consider, That Intension of Heat or Motion is considered without any relation to Extension, and yet it is related to a Subject extended, suppose to a burning-hot Iron. And we think without at all thinking of Time or of the course of the Sun; and yet our Thought is applicable to Time, and by the motion of the Sun may definitively be said not to have commenced till such a minute of an hour, and to have ceased by such a minute. And there is the same reason of Place as of Time, that is to say, such a man's Thoughts may be said definitively to have been conceived in such a place, as well as within such a time. <156> And, to conclude, it seems a mere Sophism, to argue from the precision of our Thoughts, that the Things themselves are really prescinded one from another; and it is yet far worse, to inferr they have not any relation or applicability one to another. If they were so unrelated indeed in the full and adequate apprehension of them, as well circumstantial as essential, then I confess the Inference might be sound: But when the Minde is so set on the Metaphysicall rack as to pull those things asunder that are found together in nature, and then to say they have no relation to one another, or to leave out by inadvertency what cannot be excluded from the perfect Idea of such or such a Being; all Conclusions from such Principles must be like the Principles themselves, defective or distorted. And therefore, being so little satisfy'd with Cuphophron's Solution of the present Difficulty touching the Divine Omnipresence, I foresee that Philotheus must have the sole honour of <157> fully easing and settling my mind in a right and rational apprehension of all the Attributes of God.

Philoth. The honour of that satisfaction is due to God alone, Hylobares, who has given you so quick an apprehension, and so impartial a love of the Truth, where-ever it is found.

Hyl. That honour I do unfeignedly render to God that is his peculiar due; and yet I think there is a civil Gratitude due also to those that he vouchsafes to make Instruments of his Goodness and Bounty, as he has at this time made you, Philotheus. And therefore you having had so excellent success hitherto, I desire you would proceed to the Solution of this last Difficulty, touching the Divine Omnipresence.

Philoth.[54] I will, Hylobares, and I believe you will find it one of the easiest you have propounded, though I must confess it may seem odd at the first sight, as it has done to very famous Criticks in Points of Theologie, who mainly from this considera <158> tion, that the foul and ill-sented places of the Earth are an unfit Receptacle of the Divine Presence, have made bold to confine the Godhead to the Heavens. Which opinion of theirs is rather to be imputed to the nicety of their Sense then to the sagacity of their Wit. For all those things that seem so foul and disagreeable in nature are not really so in themselves, but onely relatively; and what is one Creature's poison is the delight and food of another, and what is the death of the one is the life of the other. So that we may easily conceive, though God has an apprehension of what-ever is, that yet there is no necessity at all that he should be disaffected, disgusted, or any way annoy'd by being present with any thing: nay rather, that it is impossible he should, every thing that implies Imperfection being incompetible to the Divine Essence; so that he need not withdraw himself from it, he suffering nothing by immediately residing in it, no more then he can <159> be wounded with a sword or prick'd with a thorn; and there is the like reason for any other ingratefull Sense. For all is to be resolved into the motion and figure of the particles of the Matter variously impressed upon the Organs of our Bodies: And what Unholiness or absolute Defilement can there be in any either motion, figure, or exility of such particles? Wherefore the frame of all natural things whatsoever, nothing at all excepted, is no less inoffensive, no less holy, no less agreeable to the Eternall Minde, then the lines of a Picture or Statue are to a Limner or Statuary, no part whereof gives him the least disgust or aversation from the matter he has thus shaped or figured; for Art and Skill and Reason runs through all. Whence it appears that this exception against the Omnipresence of God is nothing but a fallacy put upon our own inadvertent thoughts, while we phansie God liable to the same inconveniencies that we our selves are by reason <160> of our weak and passive Senses.

Philop. This seems to me, though less versed in Philosophy, a very plain, solid and intelligible Solution of the present Difficulty. But Cuphophron's Hypothesis is, I must confess, to my slower apprehension infinitely Paradoxicall, and methought was very intelligibly confuted by Hylobares, though with some circumstances that to me seemed not so becoming toward so worthy and obliging a person as Cuphophron.

Cuph. [55] I thank you, Philopolis, for your sensibleness on my behalf. But in contest he ordinarily looks as if he were abused who is thought to be overcome. Besides, it is an usual thing in our Meetings, and to which we are much inured who are so familiarly acquainted, to abuse one another into the Truth, by shewing the ridiculousness of the Errour, and intimating from what disproportion of temper of minde it may arise. For this subderisorious mirth is so far from giving any offence to us who under <161> stand one another, that it is rather a pleasant Condiment of our Conversation, and makes our serious Discourses the less tedious to our selves, and, I think, sometimes not the more ungratefull to Strangers, when they understand that there is not the least enmity under it.

Philoth. That solicitude, Philopolis, which you seem to have for the excusing of Hylobares, we on the other side, I think, ought to have in the behalf of Cuphophron, who was not at all behind-hand with him in any jocant wit or humour.

Cuph. I confess it, in that sense I have already explained unto Philopolis.

Philop. You pass away your time in a marvellous way of pleasantry and innocency, O Cuphophron, while those things which may seem blemishes elsewhere are truely the badges of Vertue and good nature amongst you. But it is much that, there being so great consent of Affection and Friendship amongst you, <162> there is not likewise the same consent of Opinion.

Cuph. That is a thing we do not so much as affect, unless it be in those things that are necessary for proficiency in Piety and Vertue.

Philop. Are then the Opinions of God's being no-where and of his being every-where alike conducive to Vertue and Piety?

Cuph. Yes, Philopolis, if they be rightly understood. For he that saies that God is no-where, holds notwithstanding that his Providence and protective Presence is every-where. So that it is no discouragement to Vertue and true Piety. Wherefore the case stands thus betwixt Hylobares and my self. He has a great zeal against my Opinion of God's being nowhere, for fear it should be thence inferred that there is no God at all: And I have as great a zeal for my Opinion, because if I acknowledge God any-where, I must acknowledge him extended, and to me it is all one to acknowledge an exten <163> ded God, and no God at all. For what-ever is extended, is either Matter, or as uncapable of Cogitation or Perception as Matter it self. For if any entire thing, any Form or Figure be perceived by what is extended, nothing in the extended Percipient perceives the whole, but onely part. Which is a sign that our own Souls are not extended, much less the Essence of God. But I will not renew the Dispute.

Philop. I am surprized with an unexpected Subtilty of Cuphophron's: how will you rescue me, Hylobares?

Hyl. Very easily. Do you not remember the Notion of Sympathy, Philopolis, in virtue whereof whatever the least real point of the Essence of the Perceptive part of the Soul, suppose, does perceive, every real point of the Perceptive must perceive at once?

Philop. I partly understand you, Hylobares: but now I see you so good at these Notions, we will discourse some time more fully of them at my <164> house. In the mean time I think you cannot but be fully satisfy'd with Philotheus his Solution of this last Difficulty touching the Divine Omnipresence.

Hyl. Very fully.

Philop. And I am abundantly pleased with the consideration, that the widely-different Apprehensions betwixt you and Cuphophron touching God's Omnipresence, meet together and join so strongly in one common zealous design of turning off whatever may seem to supplant his Existence.

Hyl. I believe it is a great satisfaction to us both.

Philop.[56] But I triumph in nothing so much as that Philotheus has so throughly convinced you, that there is nothing in all the Divine Attributes so intricate as to hinder your closing heartily with the belief of a God.

Hyl. There is nothing, I thank God and Philotheus, in all those Attributes we have hitherto considered that seems not extremely much more easie <165> then any other Hypothesis that ever yet came into my minde. But there is a main Attribute behinde, which is the Goodness of God, the Notion whereof though it be not hard to conceive, yet to make the Phænomena of the World and the passages of Providence constantly to comport with it, I foresee may prove a very great Difficulty.

Philop. This therefore is the second Obstacle, Hylobares, you at[57] first mentioned.

Hyl. It is so.

Philoth. And I fear will be too copious a Subject to be entred upon at this time.

Philop. I conceive so too. And besides, I have some Letters to dispatch by the Post this night, which I must not neglect. For we may rectifie our inward thoughts so soon as we find our Errour; but if any errour or neglect be committed in outward affairs, though the errour be discovered, the loss is many times irrecoverable, and the inconvenience incorrigible.


Cuph. That is very true. But, according to the ancient custom of Athens, you have a right, Philopolis, as well of putting an end to as beginning the Dispute.

Philop. This Law was undoubtedly an intended Civility by your Ancestors, O Cuphophron, but in this circumstance of things I look upon it as a piece of Cruelty; that I must doe execution upon my self, and by mine own act deprive my self of that ingenuous Converse which I could enjoy with pleasure even to break of Day.

Cuph. It is the common loss of us all, especially mine, who enjoy myself no-where so well as in so excellent Company. But it is in your hand, Philopolis, to remedie this: For you have the right of appointing the time of our meeting again, as well as of dissolving this present Meeting.

Philop. Have I so? This makes amends for the other misfortune, which I will repair by a more timely <167> appointment. I adjourn therefore this Meeting till tomorrow at five a clock in the after-noon, if Philotheus and the rest be agreed.

Philoth. Agreed.

The End of the First Dialogue.

[1] John 4. 22.

[2] Exod. 35. 35.

[3] Exod. 35. 31.

[4] Antidot. lib. 2.cap. 2. sect. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. c.. 12. sect. 1, 2, 3, &c. Immortality of the Soul, lib. 3. c. 12, 13.

[5] Princip. part. 1. Artic. 28.

[6] Isai. 1. 3.

[7] Pro. 12. 10.

[8] Rom. 7. 23.

[9] Sect. 14, 15.

[10] I. The Preference of Vertue and assurance of an happy Immortality before the Pleasures and Grandeur of this present world.

[11] II. The Description of Hylobares <5> his Genius, and of Cuphophron's Entertainments in his Philosophical Bowre.

[12] Gen. 28. 16

[13] III. Philopolis his Quere's touching the Kingdome of God, together with his sincere purpose of proposing them.

[14] IV. Hylobares interposall of his Quere's: first, touching the Existence of God, and Divine Providence

[15] V. The Existence of God argued from the orderly Designs discoverable in the Phænomena of Nature.

[16] VI. Severall Instances of that general Argument.

[17] VII.That necessary Causality in the blind Matter can doe <29> as little toward the orderly effects in Nature as the fortuitous Jumbles thereof.

[18] VIII. That there is no Phænomenon in Nature purely mechanicall.

[19] IX. That there is no Levitation or Gravitation of the Æther or of the vulgar Elements in their proper places. Whence 'tis plain that Matter's motion is moderated from some diviner Principle.

[20] X. That the Primordialls of the World are not mechanicall, but vital.

[21] Princip. Philos. part. 3. sect. 46, 47.

[22] XI. Instances of some simple Phænomena quite contrary to the Laws of Mechanicks.

[23] Dr. More's Antidote, lib. 2. ch. 2. Immort. lib. 3. ch. 12, 13.

[24] XII. The fond and indiscreet hankering after the impossible pretensions of solving all Phænomena Mechanically, freely and justly perstringed.

[25] Prov. 27. 19.

[26] De generat. Animal. lib. 2.

[27] XIII. The Existence of God argued from the Consent of Nations, from Miracles and Prophecies, from his Works in Nature, and from his Idea.

[28] XIV.The obscurity of the Nature of God, and the Intricacy of Providence, with preparatorie Cautions for the better satisfaction in these Points.

[29] XV.The Attribute of Eternity.

[30] XVI. An Objection against the All-comprehension of Eternity, with the Answer thereto.

[31] XVII. Another Objection, with its Answer.

[32] XVIII.The Attribute of Immutability

[33] XIX. Of the Deity's acting ad extra.

[34] XX. The Attribute of Omnisciency

[35] XXI. The Attribute of Spirituality, and that God cannot be Material.

[36] XXII. The false Notion of a Spirit.

[37] XXIII. That there is a Spiritual Being in the World.

[38] XXIV. That Extension and Matter are not reciprocall.

[39] XXV. That there is an Extension intrinsecall to Motion.

[40] XXVI. That there is an immovable Extension distinct from that of movable Matter.

[41] XXVII. That this Extension distinct from Matter is not imaginary, but real.

[42] Diog. Laert. in vita Epicuri.

[43] Psal. 90. 1. 2.

[44] XXVIII. A fresh Appeal touching the truth of that Point to Reason, Sense and Imagination.

[45] Princ. Philos. par. 2. sect. 10, 11.

[46] XXIX. The essential Properties of Matter.

[47] XXX. The true Notion of a Spirit.

[48] XXXI. The Attribute of Omnipresency.

[49] XXXII. Cuphophron's Paradox of God's being no-where.

[50] XXXIII. The Confutation of that Paradox.

[51] XXXIV. That all Spirits are some-where

[52] Princ. part. 1. Artic. 71.

[53] XXXV. The Grounds of Cuphophron's Paradox (that Spirits are no-where) produced and examined.

[54] XXXVI. That God is essentially present every-where.

[55] XXXVII. The Arborist's affected liberty of dissenting in unnecessary Opinions and friendly Abusiveness of one another in their Philosophicall Meetings.

[56] XXXVIII. The Conclusion.

[57] Sect. 14.

Cite as: Henry More, Divine Dialogues (1668), pp. A2r-167,, accessed 2020-10-21.