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An Introduction to the Confutation of the Atheistick Grounds, in which is contained a particular Accompt of all the several Forms of Atheism. 1. That the Grounds of the Hylozoick Atheism could not be insisted on in the former Chapter, together with those of the Atomick, they being directly contrary each to other; with a further Accompt of this Hylozoick Atheism. 2. A Suggestion, by way of Caution, for the preventing of all mistakes, That every Hylozoist must not therefore be condemned for an Atheist, or a mere Counterfeit Histrionical Theist. 3. That nevertheless, such Hylozoists as are also Corporealists, can by no means be excused from the Imputation of Atheism, for Two Reasons. 4. That Strato Lampsacenus, commonly called Physicus, seems to have been the first Asserter of the Hylozoick Atheism, he holding no other God but the Life of Nature in Matter. 5. Further proved, that Strato was an Atheist, and that of a different Form from Democritus, he attributing an Energetick Nature, but without Sense and Animality, to all Matter. 6. That Strato not deriving all things from a mere Fortuitous Principle, as the Democritick Atheists did, nor yet acknowledging any one Plastick Nature to preside over the Whole, but deducing the Original of things from a Mixture of Chance and Plastick Nature both together, in the several parts of Matter, must therefore needs be an Hylozoick Atheist. 7. That the famous Hippocrates was neither an Hylozoick nor Democritick Atheist, but rather an Heraclitick Corporeal Theist. 8. That Plato took no Notice of the Hylozoick Atheism, nor of any other, then what derives the Original of all things from a mere Fortuitous Nature; and therefore either the Democritical, or the Anaximandrian Atheism, which latter will be next declared. 9. That it is hardly imaginable, there should have been no Philosophick Atheists in the World before Democritus and Leucippus, there being in all Ages, as Plato observes, some or other sick of the Atheistick Disease. That Aristotle affirms many of the first Philosophers, to have assigned only a Material Cause of the Mundane System, without either Efficient or Intending Cause; They supposing Matter to be the only Substance, and all things else nothing but the Passions and Accidents of it, Generable and Corruptible. 10. That the Doctrine of these Materialists will be more fully understood from the Exceptions which Aristotle makes against them; His first Excep <102> tion, That they assigned no Cause of Motion, but introduced it into the World unaccomptibly. 11. Aristotle's second Exception, That these Materialists did assign no Cause τοῦ εὖ καὶ καλῶς, of Well and Fit, and give no accompt of the Orderly Regularity of things. That Anaxagoras was the first Ionick Philosopher who made Mind and Good a Principle of the Universe. 12. Concluded, That Aristotle's Materialists were downright Atheists, not merely because they held all Substance to be Body, since Heraclitus and Zeno did the like, and yet are not therefore accompted Atheists, (they supposing their Fiery Matter to be Originally Intellectual, and the whole World to be an Animal) but because these made Stupid Matter, devoid of all Understanding, and Life, to be the only Principle{sic} 13. As also, because they supposed every thing besides the Substance of Matter, Life and Understanding, and all Particular Beings, to be Generable and Corruptible, and consequently that there could be no other God, then such as was Native and Mortal. That those ancient Theologers, who were Theogonists, and Generated all the Gods out of Night and Chaos, were only Verbal Theists but Real Atheists: Sensless Matter being to them the highest Numen. 14. The great difference observed betwixt Aristotle's Atheistical Materialists, and the Italick Philosophers; the former determining all things, besides the Substance of Matter, to be Made or Generated, the latter that no Real Entity was either Generated or Corrupted; thereupon both destroying Qualities and Forms of Body, and asserting the Ingenerability and Incorporeity of Souls. 15. How Aristotle's Atheistick Materialists endeavoured to baffle and elude that Axiom of the Italick Philosophers, That Nothing can come from Nothing nor go to Nothing, And that Anaxagoras was the first amongst the Ionicks who yielded so far to that Principle, as from thence to assert Incorporeal Substance, and the Pre-existence of Qualities and Forms in Similar Atoms, forasmuch as he conceived them to be things, really distinct from the Substance of Matter. 16. The Error of some Writers, who because Aristotle affirms, that the Ancient Philosophers did generally conclude the World to have been Made, from thence infer, that they were all Theists, and that Aristotle contradicts himself in representing many of them as Atheists. That the Ancient Atheists did generally κοσμοποιε͂ιν, assert the World to have been Made, or have had a Beginning; as also some Theists did maintain its Eternity, but in a way of Dependency upon the Deity. That we ought here to distinguish betwixt the System of the World, and the Substance of the Matter, all Atheists asserting the Matter to have been, not only Eternal, but also such Independently upon any other Being. 17. That Plato and others concluded this Materialism or Hylopathian Atheism, to have been at least as old as Homer, who made the Ocean (or fluid Matter) the Father of all the Gods. And that this was indeed the Ancientest of all Atheisms, which verbally acknowledging Gods, yet derived the Original of them all from Night and Chaos. The description of this Atheistick Hypothesis in Aristophanes, That Night and Chaos first laid an Egg, out of which sprung forth Love, which afterwards mingling with Chaos begat Heaven and Earth, Animals and all the Gods. 18. That notwithstanding this, in Aristotle's judgment, Parmenides, Hesiod, with {illeg} others, who made Love in like man <103> ner, Senior to all the Gods, were to be exempted out of the number of Atheists; they understanding this Love to be an Active Principle, or Cause of Motion in the Universe, which therefore could be no Egg of the Night, nor Off-spring of Chaos, but something in Order of Nature before Matter. Simmias Rhodius his Wings, a Poem in honour of this Heavenly Love. This not that Love which was the Offspring of Penia and Porus in Plato. In what rectified sence it may pass for true Theology, that Love is the Supreme Deity and Original of all things. 19. That though Democritus and Leucippus be elsewhere taxed by Aristotle, for this very thing, that they assigned only a Material Cause of the Universe; yet they were not the Persons intended by him in the fore-cited Accusation, but certain Ancienter Philosophers, who also were not Atomists but Hylopathians. 20. That Aristotle's Atheistick Materialists were all the first Ionick Philosophers before Anaxagoras, Thales being the Head of them. But that Thales is acquitted from this Imputation of Atheism by several good Authors (with an Accompt how he came to be thus differently represented) and therefore that his next Successour Anaximander is rather to be accounted the Prince of this Atheistick Philosophy. 21. A Passage out of Aristotle objected which, at first sight, seems to make Anaximander a Divine Philosopher, and therefore hath led both Modern and Ancient Writers into that mistake. That this Place well considered, proves the contrary, That Anaximander was the Chief of the old Atheistick Ohilosophers. 22. That it is no wonder, if Anaximander called Sensless Matter the τὸ θε͂ιον, or God, since to all Atheists, that must needs be the the highest Numen; Also how this is said to be Immortal, and to Govern all; with the concurrent Judgment of the Greek Scholiasts upon this Place. 23. A further Accompt of the Anaximandrian Philosophy, manifesting it to have been purely Atheistical. 24. What ill Judges the Vulgar have been of Theists and Atheists; as also that learned men have commonly supposed fewer Atheists than indeed there were. Anaximander and Democritus Atheists both alike, though Philosophising different ways. That some Passages in Plato respect the Anaximandrian Form of Atheism, rather than the Democritical. 25. Why Democritus and Leucippus new modell'd Atheism into the Atomick Form. 26. That besides the Three Forms of Atheism already mentioned, we sometimes meet with a Fourth, which supposes the Universe though not to be an Animal, yet a kind of Plant or Vegetable, having one Plastick Nature in it, devoid of Understanding and Sense, which disposes and orders the Whole. 27. That this Form of Atheism which makes one Plastick Life to preside over the Whole, is different from the Hylozoick, in that it takes away all Fortuitousness, and subjects all to the Fate of one Plastick Methodical Nature. 28. Though it be possible that some in all ages might have entertained this Atheistical Conceipt, That things are dispensed by one Regular and Methodical but Unknowing Sensless Nature; yet it seems to have been chiefly asserted by certain Spurious Heracliticks and Stoicks. And therefore this Form of Atheism, which supposes one Cosmoplastick Nature, may be called Pseudo-zenonian. 29. That, besides the Philosophick Atheists, there have been always Enthusiastick and Fanatical Atheists, though <104> in some sence all Atheists may be said also to be both Enthusiasts and Fanaticks, they being led by an ὑρμὴ ἄλογος, or Irrational Impetus. 30. That there cannot easily be any other Form of Atheism, besides those Four already mentioned, because all Atheists are Corporealists, and yet all Corporealists not Atheists, but only such as make the first Principle of all things, not to be Intellectual. 31. A Distribution of Atheisms, producing the former Quaternio, and showing the Difference between them. 32. That they are but Bunglers at Atheism, who talk of Sensitive and Rational Matter; and that the Canting Astrological Atheists are not at all considerable, because not understanding themselves. 33. Another Distribution of Atheisms; That they either derive the Original of things from a Merely Fortuitous Principle, the Unguided Motion of Matter, or else from a Plastick and Methodical, but Sensless Nature. What Atheists denied the Eternity of the World, and what asserted it. 34. That of these Four Forms of Atheism, the Atomick or Democritical, and the Hylozoick or Stratonical are the chief, and that these Two being once confuted, all Atheism will be confuted. 35. These Two Forms of Atheism, being contrary to one another, how we ought in all reason to insist rather upon the Atomick; but that afterwards we shall confute the Hylozoick also, and prove against all Corporealists, that no Cogitation nor Life belongs to Matter. 36. That in the mean time, we shall not neglect any Form of Atheism, but confute them all together, as agreeing in one Principle; as also show, how the old Atomick Atheists did sufficiently overthrow the Foundation of the Hylozoists. 37. Observed here, that the Hylozoists are not condemned merely for asserting a Plastick Life, distinct from the Animal, (which with most other Philosophers we judge highly probable, if taken in a Right Sence) but for grosly misunderstanding it, and attributing the same to Matter. {illeg} The Plastick Life of Nature largely explained. 38. That though the Confutation of the Atheistick grounds, according to the Laws of Method, ought to have been reserved for the last part of this Discourse, yet we having reasons to violate those Laws, crave the Readers Pardon for this Preposterousness. A considerable Observation of Plato's, that it is not only Moral Vitiosity which inclines men to Atheize, but also an Affectation of seeming wiser than the Generality of Mankind; As likewise that the Atheists, making such pretence to Wit, it is a Seasonable undertaking to evince that they fumble in all their Ratiocinations. That we hope to make it appear, that the Atheists are no Conjurers; and that all Forms of Atheism are Non-sence and Impossibility.

I. WE have now represented the Grand Mysteries of Atheism, which may be also called the Mysteries of the Kingdom of Darkness; though indeed some of them are but briefly hinted here, they being again more fully to be insisted on afterward, where we are to give an account of the Atheists Endeavours to Salve the Phænomenon of Cogitation. We have represented the chief Grounds of Atheism in General, as also of that most Notorious Form of Atheism in particular, that is called Atomical: but whereas there hath been already <105> mentioned, another Form of Atheism, called by us Hylozoical; the Principles hereof could not possibly be insisted on in this place, where we were to make the most Plausible Plea for Atheism; they being directly contrary to those of the Atomical, so that they would have mutually destroyed each other. For, whereas the Atomick Atheism supposes, the Notion or Idea of Body to be nothing but Extended Resisting Bulk, and consequently to include no manner of Life and Cogitation in it; Hylozoism on the contrary makes all Body, as such, and therefore every smallest Atom of it, to have Life Essentially belonging to it (Natural Perception, and Appetite) though without any Animal Sense or Reflexive Knowledge, as if Life, and Matter or Extended Bulk, were but two Incomplete and Inadequate Conceptions, of one and the same Substance, called Body. By reason of which Life (not Animal but only Plastical) all parts of Matter being supposed able, to form themselves Artificially and Methodically (though without any Deliberation or Attentive Consideration) to the greatest advantage of their present respective Capabilities, and therefore also sometimes, by Organization to improve themselves further, into Sense and Self-enjoyment in all Animals, as also to Universal Reason and Reflexive Knowledge in Men; it is plain that there is no Necessity at all left, either of any Incorporeal Soul in Men to make them Rational, or of any Deity in the whole Universe to salve the Regularity thereof. One main difference betwixt these two Forms of Atheism is this, that the Atomical supposes all Life whatsoever to be Accidental, Generable and Corruptible: But the Hylozoick admits of a certain Natural or Plastick Life, Essential and Substantial, Ingenerable and Incorruptible, though attributing the same only to Matter, as supposing no other Substance in the World besides it.

II. Now to prevent all Mistakes, we think fit here by way of Caution to suggest; That as every Atomist is not therefore necessarily an Atheist, so neither must every Hylozoist needs be accounted such. For who ever so holds the Life of Matter, as notwithstanding to assert another kind of Substance also, that is Immaterial and Incorporeal, is no way obnoxious to that foul Imputation. However we ought not to dissemble, but that there is a great Difference here betwixt these two, Atomism and Hylozoism, in this regard; That the former of them, namely Atomism (as hath been already declared) hath in it self a Natural Cognation and Conjunction with Incorporeism, though violently cut off from it by the Democritick Atheists; whereas the latter of them, Hylozoism, seems to have altogether as close and intimate a Correspondence with Corporealism; Because, as hath been already signified, if all Matter, as such, have not only such a Life, Perception and Self-active Power in it, as whereby it can Form it self to the best advantage, making this a Sun and that an Earth or Planet, and fabricating the Bodies of Animals most Artificially; but also can improve it self into Sense and Self-enjoyment; it may as well be thought able to advance it self higher, into all the Acts of Reason and Understanding in Men: so that there will be no need either of an Incorporeal Immortal Soul in Men, or a Deity in the Universe. Nor indeed is it easily conceivable, how any should be induced to admit <106> such a Monstrous Paradox as this is, That every Atom of Dust or other Sensless Matter, is Wiser than the greatest Politician and the most acute Philosopher that ever was; as having an Infallible Omniscience of all its own Capabilities and Congruities; were it not by reason of some strong Prepossession, against Incorporeal Substance and a Deity, there being nothing so Extravagánt and Outragiously Wild, which a Mind once infected with Atheistical Sottishness and Disbelief, will not rather greedily swallow down, than admit a Deity, which to such is the highest of all Paradoxes imaginable, and the most affrightful Bug-bear. Notwithstanding all which, it may not be denied, but that it is possible for one, who really entertains the belief of a Deity and a Rational Soul Immortal, to be perswaded, first, that the Sensitive Soul, in men as well as Brutes, is merely Corporeal; and then that there is a Material Plastick Life in the Seeds of all Plants and Animals, whereby they do Artificially form themselves; and from thence afterward to descend also further, to Hylozoism, that all matter, as such, hath a kind of Natural, though not Animal Life in it; in consideration whereof, we ought not to Censure every Hylozoist, professing to hold a Deity and a Rational Soul Immortal, for a mere Disguised Atheist, or Counterfeit Histrionical Theist.

III. But though every Hylozoist be not therefore necessarily an Atheist, yet whosoever is an Hylozoist and Corporealist both together, he that both holds the Life of Matter in the Sence before declared, and also that there is no other Substance in the World besides Body and Matter, cannot be excused from the Imputation of Atheism, for Two Reasons. First, because though he derive the Original of all Things, not from what is perfectly Dead and Stupid, as the Atomick Atheist doth, but from that which hath a kind of Life or Perception in it, nay an Infallible Omniscience, of whatsoever it self can Do or Suffer, or of all its own Capabilities and Congruities, which seems to bear some Semblance of a Deity; yet all this being only in the way of Natural and not Animal Perception, is indeed nothing but a Dull and Drowsie, Plastick and Spermatick Life, devoid of all Consciousness and Self-enjoyment. The Hylozoists Nature, is a piece of very Mysterious Non-sence, a thing perfectly Wise, without any Knowledge or Consciousness of it self; Whereas a Deity, according to the true Notion of it, is such a Perfect Understanding Being, as with full Consciousness and Self-enjoyment, is completely Happy. Secondly, because the Hylozoick Corporealist, supposing all Matter, as such, to have Life in it, must needs make Infinite of those Lives, (forasmuch as every Atom of Matter has a Life of its own) Coordinate and Independent on one another, and consequently, as many Independent first Principles, no one Common Life or Mind ruling over the Whole. Whereas, to assert a God, is to derive all things ἀϕ ἑνός τινος, from some one Principle, or to suppose one Perfect Living and Understanding Being, to be the Original of all things, and the Architect of the whole Universe.

Thus we see that the Hylozoick Corporealist is really an Atheist, though carrying more the Semblance and Disguise of a Theist, than <107> other Atheists, in that he attributes a kind of Life to Matter. For indeed every Atheist must of necessity cast some of the Incommunicable Properties of the Deity, more or less, upon that which is not God, namely Matter: and they who do not attribute Life to it, yet must needs bestow upon it Necessary Self-existence, and make it the First Principle of all things, which are the Peculiarities of the Deity. The Numen which the Hylozoick Corporealist pays all his Devotions to, is a certain blind Shee-god or Goddess, called Nature or the Life of Matter; which is a very great Mystery, a thing that is Perfectly Wise, and Infallibly Omniscient, without any Knowledge or Consciousness at all. Something like to that τῶν παίδων αἴνιγμα (in[1] Plato) περὶ τοῦ εὐνούχου βολῆς τῆς νυκτερίδος, that vulgar Enigm or Riddle of Boys, concerning an Eunuch striking a Bat; A Man and not a Man, Seeing and not Seeing, did Strike and not Strike, with a Stone and not a Stone, a Bird and not a Bird, &c. The Difference being only this; that this was a thing Intelligible, but humoursomly expressed, whereas the other seems to be perfect Non-sence, being nothing but a misunderstanding of the Plastick Power, as shall be showed afterwards.

IV. Now the First and Chief Assertour of this Hylozoick Atheism was, as we conceive, Strato Lampsacenus, commonly called also Physicus, that had been once an Auditor of Theophrastus and a famous Peripatetick, but afterwards degenerated from a Genuine Peripatetick, into a new-formed kind of Atheist. For Velleius, an Epicurean Atheist in Cicero, reckoning up all the several sorts of Theists, which had been in former times, gives such a Character of this Strato, as whereby he makes him to be a strange kind of Atheistical Theist, or Divine Atheist, if we may use such a contradictious Expression; his words are these, [2] Nec audiendus Strato, qui Physicus appellatur, qui omnem Vim Divinam in Natura sitam esse censet, quæ Causas gignendi, augendi minuendíve habeat, sed careat omni sensu; Neither is Strato, commonly called the Naturalist or Physiologist, to be heard, who places all Divinity in Nature, as having within it self the Causes of all Generations, Corruptions and Augmentations, but without any manner of Sense. Strato's Deity therefore was a certain Living and Active, but Sensless Nature. He did not fetch the Original of all things, as the Democritick and Epicurean Atheists, from a mere Fortuitous Motion of Atoms, by means whereof he bore some slight Semblance of a Theist, but yet he was a down-right Atheist for all that, his God being no other than such a Life of Nature in Matter, as was both devoid of Sense and Consciousness, and also multiplied together with the several parts of it. He is also in like manner described by Seneca in St. Augustine [3] , as a kind of Mongrel thing, betwixt an Atheist and a Theist; Ego feram aut Platonem, aut Peripateticum Stratonem, quorum alter Deum sine Corpore fecit, alter sine Animo? Shall I endure either Plato, or the Peripatetick Strato, whereof the one made God to be without a Body, the other without a Mind? In which words Seneca taxes these two Philosophers, as guilty of two contrary Extremes; Plato, because he made God to be a pure Mind or a perfectly Incorporeal Being; and Strato, because he made him to be a Body <108> without a Mind, he acknowledging no other Deity than a certain Stupid and Plastick Life, in all the several parts of Matter, without Sense. Wherefore this seems to be the only reason, why Strato was thus sometimes reckoned amongst the Theists, though he were indeed an Atheist, because he dissented from that only form of Atheism, then so vulgarly received, the Democritick and Epicurean, attributing a kind of Life to Nature and Matter.

V. And that Strato was thus an Atheist, but of a different kind from Democritus, may further appear from this Passage of Cicero's [4] , Strato Lampsacenus negat operâ Deorum se uti ad fabricandum Mundum, quæcunque sint docet omnia esse Effecta Natura, nec ut ille, qui asperis, & lævibus, & hamatis uncinatísque Corporibus Concreta hæc esse dicat, interjecto Inani; Somnia censet hæc esse Democriti, non docentis sed optantis: Strato denies that he makes any use of a God, for the fabricating of the World, or the salving the Phænomena thereof; teaching all things to have been made by Nature; but yet not in such a manner as he who affirmed them to be all Concreted out of certain rough and smooth, hookey and crooked Atoms, he judging these things to be nothing but the mere Dreams and Dotages of Democritus, not teaching but wishing. Here we see that Strato denied the World to be made by a Deity or perfect Understanding Nature, as well as Democritus, and yet that he dissented from Democritus notwithstanding, holding another kind of Nature, as the Original of things, than he did, who gave no account of any Active Principle and Cause of Motion, nor of the Regularity that is in Things. Democritus his Nature was nothing but the Fortuitous Motion of Matter, but Strato's Nature was an Inward Plastick Life in the several Parts of Matter, whereby they could Artificially frame themselves to the best advantage, according to their several Capabilities, without any Conscious or Reflexive Knowledg. Quicquid aut sit aut fiat, (says the same Authour) Naturalibus fieri, aut factum esse docet ponderibus & motibus: Strato teaches whatsoever is, or is made, to be made by certain inward Natural Forces and Activities.

VI. Furthermore it is to be observed, that though Strato thus attributed a certain kind of Life to Matter, yet he did by no means allow of any one Common Life, whether Sentient and Rational, or Plastick and Spermatick only, as Ruling over the whole mass of Matter and Corporeal Universe; which is a thing in part affirmed by Plutarch [5] , and may in part be gathered from these words of his; τὸν κόσμον αὐτὸν οὐ ζῶον εἶναί ϕησι, τόδε κατὰ ϕύσιν ἕπεσθαι τῷ κατὰ τύχην, ἀρχὴν γὰρ ἐνδιδόναι τὸ αὐτόματον, εἶτα οὕτω περαίνεσθαι τῶν ϕυσικῶν παθῶν ἕκαστον. Strato affirmeth that the World is no Animal (or God) but that what is Natural in every thing, follows something Fortuitous antecedent, Chance first beginning, and Nature acting consequently thereupon. The full sence whereof seems to be this, that though Strato did not derive the Original of all Mundane things from mere Fortuitous Mechanism, as Democritus before him had done, but supposed a Life and Natural Perception in the Matter, that was directive of it, yet not acknowledging any one Common Life, whether Animal or Plastick, as govern <109> ing and swaying the whole, but only supposing the several Parts of Matter, to have so many several Plastick Lives of their own, he must needs attribute something to Fortune, and make the Mundane System to depend upon a certain Mixture of Chance and Plastick or Orderly Nature both together, and consequently must be an Hylozoist. Thus we see, that these are two Schemes of Atheism, very different from one another; that which fetches the Original of all things from the mere Fortuitous and Unguided Motion of Matter, without any Vital or Directive Principle; and that which derives it from a certain Mixture of Chance and the Life of Matter both together, it supposing a Plastick Life, not in the whole Universe, as one thing, but in all the several Parts of Matter by themselves; the first of which is the Atomick and Democritick Atheism, the second the Hylozoick and Stratonick.

VII. It may perhaps be suspected by some, that the famous Hippocrates, who lived long before Strato, [6] was an Assertour of the Hylozoick Atheism, because of such Passages in him as these, ἀπαίδευτος ἡ φύσις ἐκ τοῦ σάου *[7] Nature is Unlearned or Untaught, but it learneth from it self what things it ought to do: And again, ἀνευρίσκει ἡ φύσις αὑτὴ ἐαυτῇ τὰς ἐφόδους οὐκ ἐκ διανοίας. Nature findeth out ways to it self, not by Ratiocination. But there is nothing more affirmed here concerning Nature by Hippocrates, than what might be affirmed likewise of the Aristotelick and Platonick Nature, which is supposed to act for Ends, though without Consultation and Ratiocination. And I must confess, it seems to me no way mis-becoming of a Theist, to acknowledge such a Nature or Principle in the Universe, as may act according to Rule and Method for the Sake of Ends, and in order to the Best, though it self do not understand the reason of what it doth; this being still supposed to act dependently upon a higher Intellectual Principle, and to have been first set a work and employed by it, it being otherwise Non-sence. But to assert any such Plastick Nature, as is Independent upon any higher Intellectual Principle, and so it self the first and highest Principle of Activity in the Universe, this indeed must needs be, either that Hylozoick Atheism, already spoken of, or else another different Form of Atheism, which shall afterwards be described. But though Hippocrates were a Corporealist, yet we conceive he ought not, to lie under the suspicion of either of those two Atheisms; forasmuch as himself plainly asserts a higher Intellectual Principle, than such a Plastick Nature, in the Universe, namely an Heraclitick Corporeal God, or Understanding Fire, Immortal, pervading the whole World, in these words;[8] Δοκέει δέ μοι ὃ καλεόμεν θερμὸν, ἀθάνατόν τε εἶναι, καὶ νοεῖν πάντα, καὶ ὁρῇν, καὶ ἀκούειν, καὶ εἰδέναι πάντα τὰ ὄντα καὶ τὰ μέλλοντα ἔσεσθαι. It seems to me, that that which is called Heat or Fire, is Immortal, and Omniscient, and that it sees, hears, and knows all things, not only such as are present, but also future. Wherefore we conclude, that Hippocrates was neither an Hylozoick nor Democritick Atheist, but an Heraclitick Corporeal Theist.


VIII. Possibly it may be thought also, that Plato in his Sophist intends this Hylozoick Atheism, where he declares it as the Opinion of many, τὴν φύσιν πάντα γεννᾶν, ἀπό τινος αἰτίας αὐτομάτης, καὶ ἄνευ διανοίας φυούσης. That Nature generates all Things from a certain Spontaneous Principle, without any Reason and Understanding. But here the word αὐτομάτης may be as well rendred Fortuitous, as Spontaneous; however there is no necessity, that this should be understood of an Artificial or Methodical Unknowing Nature. It is true indeed that Plato himself seems to acknowledge a certain Plastick or Methodical Nature in the Universe, Subordinate to the Deity, or that perfect Mind which is the supreme Governour of all things; as may be gathered from these words of his,[9] τὴν φύσιν μετὰ λόγου καὶ σὐν λὸγῳ καὶ νῷ τὰ πάντα διακοσμε͂ιν. That Nature does rationally (or orderly) together with Reason and Mind, govern the whole Universe. Where he supposes a certain Regular Nature to be a Partial and Subordinate Cause of things under the Divine Intellect. And it is very probable that Aristotle derived that whole Doctrine of his concerning a Regular and Artificial Nature which acts for Ends, from the Platonick School. But as for any such Form of Atheism, as should suppose a Plastick or Regular, but Sensless Nature either in the whole World, or the several parts of Matter by themselves, to be the highest Principle of all things, we do not conceive that there is any Intimation of it to be found any where in Plato. For in his De Legibus, where he professedly disputes against Atheism, he states the Doctrine of it after this manner,[10] τὰ μὲν μέγιστα καὶ κάλλιστα ἀπεργάζεσθαι φύσιν καὶ τύχην, τὰ δὲ σμικρότερα τέχνην. That Nature and Chance produced all the first, greatest and most excellent things, but that the smaller things were produced by Humane Art. The plain meaning whereof is this, that the First Original of things, and the frame of the whole Universe, proceeded from a mere Fortuitous Nature, or the Motion of Matter unguided by any Art or Method. And thus it is further explained in the following words, πῦρ καὶ ὕδωρ καὶ γῆν καὶ ἀέρα φύσει πάντα εἶναι καὶ τύχῃ ϕασί. τέχνῃ δὲ οὐδὲν τούτων, &c. That the first Elements, Fire, water, Air and Earth, were all made by Nature and Chance, without any Art or Method, and then, that the bodies of the Sun, Moon and Stars, and the whole Heavens, were afterward made out of those Elements, as devoid of all manner of Life, and only fortuitously moved and mingled together; and lastly, that the whole Mundane System, together with the orderly Seasons of the year, as also Plants, Animals and Men did arise after the same manner, from the mere Fortuitous Motion of sensless and stupid Matter. In the very same manner does Plato state this Controversie again, betwixt Theists and Atheists, in his Philebus,[11] Πότερον ὦ Πρώταρχε, τὰ ξύμπαντα, καὶ τόδε τὸ καλούμενον ὄλον, επιτροπεύειν ϕῶμεν τὴν τοῦ ἀλόγου καὶ εικῆ δύναμιν, καὶ τὰ ὅπη ἕτυχεν; ἢ τὰναντία, καθάπερ οἳ πρόοδεν ἡμγ͂ν ἕλεγον, νοῦν καὶ φρόνησίν τινα δαυμαςὴν συντάττουσαη διακυσερνᾷν; Whether shall we say, O Protarchus, that this whole Universe is dispensed ond {sic} ordered, by a mere Irrational, Temerarious and Fortuitous Principle, and so as it happens; or contrariwise, (as our fore-fathers have instructed us) that Mind, and a certain Wonderful Wisdom, did at first frame, and does still govern all things?

<111> Wherefore we conclude that Plato took no notice of any other Form of Atheism, as then set on foot, than such as derives all things from a mere Fortuitous Principle, from Nature and Chance, that is the unguided Motion of Matter, without any Plastick Artificialness or Methodicalness, either in the whole Universe, or the parts of it. But because this kind of Atheism, which derives all things from a mere Fortuitous Nature, had been managed two manner of ways; by Democritus in the way of Atoms, and by Anaximander and others in the way of Forms and Qualities; (of which we are to speak in the next place) therefore the Atheism which Plato opposes, was either the Democritick or the Anaximandrian Atheism; or else (which is most probable) both of them together.

IX. It is hardly imaginable that there should be no Philosophick Atheists in the world before Democritus and Leucippus. Plato long since concluded, that there have been Atheists, more or less, in every Age, when he bespeaks his young Atheist after this manner,[12] Οὐ σὺ μόνος οὐδὲ σοὶ φίλοι πρῶτοι καὶ πρῶτον ταύτην δόξαν περὶ θεῶν ἔσχετε, γίγνονται δὲ ἀεὶ πλείους ἢ ἐλάττους ταύτην τὴν νόσον ἔχοντες. The full sence whereof seems to be this; Neither you (my Son) nor your friends (Democritus, Leucippus and Protagoras) are the first who have entertained this Opinion concerning the Gods, but there have been always some more or less, sick of this Atheistick Disease. Wherefore we shall now make a diligent search and enquiry, to see if we can find any other Philosophers who Atheized before Democritus and Leucippus, as also what Form of Atheism they entertained.

Aristotle in his Metaphysicks, speaking of the Quaternio of Causes, affirms that many of those who first Philosophized, assigned only a Material Cause of the whole Mundane System, without either Intending or Efficient Cause. The reason whereof he intimates to have been this, because they asserted Matter to be the only Substance, and that whatsoever else was in the World, besides the substance or bulk of Matter, were all nothing else but πάθη, different Passions and Affections, Accidents and Qualities of Matter that were all Generated out of it, and Corruptible again into it, the Substance of Matter always remaining the same, neither Generated nor Corrupted, but from Eternity unmade; Aristotle's words are [13] these: τῶν πρώτων φιλοσοφησάντων οἱ πλεῖστοι τὰς ἐν ὕλης εἴδει μόνον ᾡήθησαν ἀρχὰς εἶναι πάντων, ἐξ οὖ γὰρ ἐστιν ἅπαντα τὰ ὅντα, καὶ ἐξ οὖ γίγνεται πρώτου, καὶ εἰς ὃ φθείρεται τελευταῖον, τῆς μὲν οὐσίας ὑπομενούσης, τοῖς δε πάθεσι μεταβαλλούσης, τοῦτο στοιχεῖον, καὶ ταύτην τῶν ὄντων τὴν ἀρχήν φασιν εἶναι. Most of those who first philosophized, took notice of no other Principle of things in the Universe, than what is to be referred to the Material Cause; for that out of which all things are, and out of which they are first made, and into which they are all at last corrupted and resolved, the Substance always remaining the same, and being changed only in its Passions and Qualities; This they concluded to be the first Original and Principle of all things.


X. But the meaning of these old Material Philosophers will be better understood, by those Exceptions which Aristotle makes against them, which are Two: First, that because they acknowledged no other Substance besides Matter, that might be an Active Principle in the Universe,[14] it was not possible for them to give any account of the Original of Motion and Action. Εἰ γὰρ ὅτι μάλιστα πᾶσα φθορὰ καὶ γένεσις ἔκ τινος, ὡς ἑνὸς ἢ καὶ πλειόνων ἐστὶν, διὰ τί τοῦτο συμβαίνει καὶ τί τὸ αἴτιον; οὐ γὰρ δὴ τό γε ὑποκείμενον αὐτὸ ποιεῖ μεταβάλλειν ἑαυτό. λέγω δὲ οἶον, οὔτε τὸ ξύλον, οὔτε τὸ χαλκὸς αἴτιον τοῦ μεταβάλλειν ἑκάτερον αὐτῶν. οὐδὲ ποιεῖ τὸ μὲν ξύλον κλίνην, ὁ δὲ χαλκὸς ἀνδριάντα, ἀλλ' ἕτερόν τι τῆς μεταβολῆς αἴτιον. τό δὲ τοῦτο ζητεῖν ἐστι τὸ τὴν ἑτέραν ζητεῖν ἁρχὴν, ὡς ἂν ἡμεῖς φαίημεν, ὅθεν ἡ ἀρχὴ τῆς κινήσεως. Though all Generation be made never so much out of something as the Matter, yet the question still is, by what means this cometh to pass, and what is the Active Cause which produceth it? because the Subject-matter cannot change it self; As for example, neither Timber, nor Brass, is the cause that either of them are changed; for Timber alone does not make a Bed, nor Brass a Statue, but there must be something else as the Cause of the Change; and to enquire after this is to enquire after another Principle, besides Matter, which we would call that from whence Motion springs. In which words Aristotle intimates that these old Material Philosopers shuffled in, Motion and Action into the World unaccountably, or without a Cause; forasmuch as they acknowledged no other Principle of Things besides Passive Matter, which could never move, change or alter it self.

XI. And Aristotle's second Exception against these old Material Philosophers is this; that since there could be no Intending Causality in Sensless and Stupid Matter, which they made to be the only Principle of all things, they were not able to assign τοῦ εὖ καὶ καλῶς αἰτίαν, any Cause of Well and Fit, and so could give no account of the Regular and Orderly Frame of this Mundane System; τοῦ εὖ καὶ καλῶς τὰ μὲν ἔχειν, τὰ δὲ γίγνεσθαι τῶν ὄντων, ἴσως οὔτε γῆν, οὔτ' ἄλλο τῶν τοιούτων οὐθὲν, εἰκὸς αἴτιον εἶναι. οὐδ' αὐτῷ αὐτομάτους, καὶ τύχῃ τοσοῦτον ἐπιτρέψαι πρᾶγμα καλῶς ἔχει.[15] That things partly are so well in the World, and partly are made so well, cannot be imputed either to Earth or Water, or any other sensless Body; much less is it reasonable to attribute so noble and Excellent an Effect as this, to mere Chance or Fortune. Where Aristotle again intimates, that as these Material Philosophers shuffled in Motion into the world without a Cause, so likewise they must needs suppose this Motion to be altogether Fortuitous and Unguided and thereby in a manner make Fortune, which is nothing but the absence or defect of an Intending Cause, to supply the room both of the Active and Intending Cause, that is, Efficient and Final. Whereupon Aristotle subjoyns a Commendation of Anaxagoras, as the first of the Ionick Philosophers, who introduced Mind or Intellect for a Principle in the Universe; that in this respect, he alone seemed to be sober and in his wits, comparatively with those others that went before him, who talked so idly and Atheistically. For Anaxagoras his Principle was such, saith Aristotle, as was ἅμα τοῦ καλῶς αἰτία, καὶ τοιαύτη ὅθεν ἡ κίνησις ὑπάρχει, at once a cause of Motion and also of Well and <113> Fit; of all the Regularity, Aptitude, Pulchritude and Order that is in the whole Universe. And thus it seems Anaxagoras himself had determined:[16] Ἁναξαγόρας τὸ αἴτιον τοῦ καλῶς καὶ ὀρθῶς νοῦν λέγει, Anaxagoras saith that Mind is the only Cause of Right and Well; this being proper to Mind to aim at Ends and Good, and to order one thing Fitly for the sake of another. Whence it was that Anaxagoras concluded Good also, as well as Mind, to have been a Principle of the Universe,[17] Ἀναξαγόρας ὡς κινοῦν τὸ ἀγαθὸν ἀρχὴν, ὁ γὰρ νοῦς κινεῖ, ἀλλὰ κινεῖ ἕνεκά τινος, ὥστε ἕτερον. Anaxagoras makes Good a Principle, as that which moves; For though Mind move Matter, yet it moves it for the sake of something, and being it self, as it were, first moved by Good: So that Good is also a Principle. And we note this the rather, to show how well these three Philosophers, Aristotle, Plato and Anaxagoras, agreed all together, in this excellent Truth, That Mind and Good are the First Principle of all things in the Universe.

XII. And now we think it is sufficiently evident, that these old Materialists in Aristotle, whoever they were, were downright Atheists; not so much, because they made all Substance to be Body or Matter, for Heraclitus first, and after him Zeno, did the like, deriving the Original of all things from Fire, as well as Anaximenes did from Air, and Thales is supposed by Aristotle to have done from Water, and that with some little more seeming plausibility, since Fire being a more Subtle and Moveable Body than any other, was therefore thought by some of those Ancients to be ἀσωματώτατον, the most Incorporeal of all Bodies, as Earth was for that cause rejected by all those Corporeal Philosophers, from being a Principle, by reason of the grossness of its parts. But Heraclitus and Zeno, notwithstanding this, are not accounted Atheists, because they supposed their Fiery Matter, to have not only Life, but also a perfect Understanding Originally belonging to it, as also the whole World to be an Animal: Whereas those Materialists of Aristotle, made Sensless and Stupid Matter, devoid of all Understanding and Life, to be the first Principle and Root of all things. For when they supposed, Life and Understanding, as well as all other Differences of Things, to be nothing but mere Passions and Accidents of Matter, Generable out of it, and Corruptible again into it, and indeed to be produced, but in a Secundary way, from the Fortuitous Commixture of those first Elementary Qualities, Heat and Cold, Moist and Dry, Thick and Thin, they plainly implied the substance of Matter in it self to be devoid of all Life and Understanding. Now if this be not Atheism, to derive the Original of all things, even of Life and Mind it self, from Dead and Stupid Matter, Fortuitously Moved, then there can be no such thing at all.

XIII. Moreover, Aristotle's Materialists concluded every thing besides the Substance of Matter, (which is in it self indifferent to all things,) and consequently all particular and determinate Beings, to be Generable and Corruptible. Which is a thing that Plato takes notice of as an Atheistick Principle, expressing it in these words; ἔστι μὲν γὰρ οὐδέποτ' οὐδὲν, ἀεὶ δὲ γίγνεται, that Nothing ever is, [18] but every <114> thing is Made and Generated. Forasmuch as it plainly follows from hence, that not only all Animals and the Souls of men, but also if there were any Gods, which some of those Materialists would not stick, at least verbally, to acknowledge, (meaning thereby certain Understanding Beings superiour to men) these likewise must needs have been all Generated, and consequently be Corruptible. Now to say that there is no other God, than such as was Made and Generated, and which may be again Unmade, Corrupted and Die, or that there was once no God at all till he was made out of the Matter, and that there may be none again, this is all one as to deny the thing it self. For a Native and Mortal God is a pure Contradiction. Therefore whereas Aristotle in his Metaphysicks,[19] tells us of certain Theologers, οἱ ἐκ νυκτὸς πάντα γεννῶντες, such as did Generate all things (even the Gods themselves) out of Night and Chaos, we must needs pronounce of such Theologers as these, who were Theogonists, and Generated all the Gods (without exception) out of Sensless and Stupid Matter, that they were but a kind of Atheistical Theologers or Theological Atheists. For though they did admit of certain Beings, to which they attributed the Name of Gods, yet according to the true Notion of God, they really acknowledged none at all, (i. e. no Understanding Nature as the Original of things) but Night and Chaos, Sensless and Stupid Matter, Fortuitously Moved, was to them the highest of all Numens. So that this Theology of theirs, was a thing wholly founded in Atheistical Non-sence.

XIV. And now we think it seasonable, here to observe, how vast a difference there was betwixt these old Materialists in Aristotle, and those other Philosophers, mentioned before in the first Chapter, who determined, οὐδὲν οὐδὲ γίγνεσθαι οὐδὲ φθείρεσθαι τῶν ὄντων. That no Real Entity at all was Generated or Corrupted, for this reason, because Nothing could be made out of Nothing. These were chiefly the Philosophers of the Italick or Pythagorick Succession, and their design in it was not, as Aristotle was pleased somewhere to affirm, ἀνελεῖν πᾶσαν τὴν γένεσιν, to contradict common sence and experience, in denying all Natural Generations and Alterations; but only to interpret Nature rightly in them, and that in way of opposition to those Atheistick Materialists, after this manner; That in all the Mutations of Nature, Generations and Alterations, there was neither any new Substance Made, which was not before, nor any Entity really distinct from the Preexisting Substances, but only that Substance which was before, diversly Modified; and so Nothing Produced in Generations, but new Modifications, Mixtures, and Separations of preexistent Substances.

Now this Doctrine of theirs drove at these Two things; First, the taking away of such Qualities and Forms of Body, as were vulgarly conceived to be things really distinct from the Substance of extended Bulk, and all its Modifications of more or less Magnitude, Figure, Site, Motion or Rest. Because, if there were any such things as these, produced in the Natural Generations and Alterations of Bodies, there would then be some Real Entity Made ἐκ μηδενὸς ἐνυπάρχοντος ἤ <115> προϋπάρχοντος, out of Nothing Inexistent or Preexistent. Wherefore they concluded, that these supposed Forms and Qualities of Bodies were really nothing else, but only the different Modifications of Preexistent Matter, in respect of Magnitude, Figure, Site and Motion or Rest, or different Concretions and Secretions, which are no Entities really distinct from the Substance, but only cause different Phasmata, Phancies and Apparitions in us.

The Second thing which this Doctrine aimed at, was the establishing the Incorporiety and Ingenerability of all Souls. For since Life, Cogitation, Sense and Understanding, could not be resolved into those Modifications of Matter, Magnitude, Figure, Site and Motion, or into Mechanism and Phancie, but must needs be Entities really distinct from Extended Bulk, or Dead and Stupid Matter; they concluded, that therefore Souls could not be Generated out of Matter, because this would be the Production of some Real Entity out of Nothing Inexisting or Preexisting; but that they must needs be another kind of Substance Incorporeal, which could no more be Generated or Corrupted, than the Substance of Matter it self; and therefore must either Preexist in Nature, before Generations, or else be divinely Created and Infused, in them.

It hath been already proved in the First Chapter, that the Upshot of that Pythagorick Doctrine, That Nothing could be Generated out of Nothing preexisting, amounted to those Two things mentioned, viz. the Asserting of the Incorporiety and Ingenerability of Souls, and the Rejecting of those Phantastick Entities of Forms and Real Qualities of Bodies, and resolving all Corporeal Phænomena, into Figures or Atoms, and the different Apparitions or Phancies caused by them; but the latter of these, may be further confirmed from this passage of Aristotle's, where after he had declared that Democritus and Leucippus made the Soul and Fire, to consist of round Atoms or Figures, like those ἐν τῷ ἀέρι ξύσματα, those Ramenta that appear in the Air when the Sun-beams are transmitted through Cranies;[20] he adds ἔοικε δὲ καὶ τὸ παρὰ τῶν Πυθαγορείων λεγόμενον, τὴν αὐτὴν ἔχειν διάνοιαν, ἔφασαν γάρ τινες αὐτῶν, ψυχὴν εἶναι τὰ ἐν τῷ ἀέρι ξύσματα, οἰ δὲ, τὸ ταῦτα κινοῦν. And that which is said amongst the Pythagoreans, seems to have the same sence, for some of them affirm, that the Soul is those very ξύσματα, Ramenta or Atoms; but others of them, that it is That which Moves them; which latter doubtless were the genuine Pythagoreans. However, it is plain from hence, that the old Pythagoreans Physiologized by ξύσματα, as well as Democritus; that is, Figures and Atoms, and not Qualities and Forms.

But Aristotle's Materialists, on the contrary, taking it for granted that Matter or Extended Bulk is the only Substance, and that the Qualities and Forms of Bodies, are Entities really distinct from those Modifications of Magnitude, Figure, Site, Motion or Rest; and finding also by experience, that these were continually Generated and Corrupted, as likewise that Life, Sense and Understanding were produced in the Bodies of such Animals, where it had not been before, <116> and again extinguished at the Death or Corruption of them, concluded, that the Souls of all Animals, as well as those other Qualities and Forms of Bodies, were Generated out of the Matter, and Corrupted again into it, and consequently that every thing that is in the whole World, besides the Substance of Matter, was Made or Generated, and might be again Corrupted.

[21] Of this Atheistick Doctrine, Aristotle speaks elsewhere, as in his Book de Cœlo. εἰσὶ γάρ τινες οἳ φασιν, οὐθὲν ἀγέννητον εἶναι τῶν πραγμάτων, ἀλλὰ πάντα γίγνεσθαι. μάλιστα μὲν οἱ περὶ τὸν Ἡσίοδον, εἶτα δὲ καὶ τῶν ἄλλων, οἱ πρῶτοι φυσιολογήσαντες. οἱ δὲ, τὰ μὲν ἄλλα πάντα γίνεσθαί τε φασὶ, καὶ ῥεῖν, εἶναι δὲ παγίως οὐθέν. ἒν δέ τι μόνον ὑπομένειν, ἐξ οὖ ταῦτα πάντα μετασχηματίζεσθαι πέφυκεν. . There are some who affirm, that Nothing is Ingenerable, but that all things are Made; as Hesiod especially, and also among the rest they, who First Physiologized, whose meaning was, that all other things are Made (or Generated) and did Flow, none of them having any Stability; only that there was one thing (namely Matter) which always remained, out of which all those other things were transformed and Metamorphiz'd. Though as to Hesiod, Aristotle afterwards speaks differently. So likewise in his Physicks, after he had declared that some of the Ancients made Air, some Water, and some other Matter, the Principle of all things; he adds, [22] τοῦτο καὶ τοσαύτην φασὶν εἶναι τὴν ἅπασαν οὐσίαν. τὰ δὲ ἄλλα πάντα πάθη τούτων, καὶ ἕξεις, καὶ διαθέσεις. καὶ τούτων μὲν ὀτιοῦν εἶναι αΐδιον. τὰ δὲ ἄλλα γίγνεσθαι καὶ φθείρεσθαι ἀπειράκις. This they affirmed to be all the Substance or Essence that was; but all other things, the Passions, Affections and Dispositions of it; and that this therefore was Eternal, as being capable of no Change, but all other things, Infinitely Generated and Corrupted.

XV. But these Materialists being sometimes assaulted by the other Italick Philosophers, in the manner before declared, That no Real Entities, distinct from the Modifications of any Substance, could be Generated or Corrupted, because Nothing could come from Nothing nor go to Nothing; they would not seem plainly to Contradict that Theorem, but only endeavoured to interpret it into a compliance with their own Hypothesis, and distinguish concerning the Sence of it in this manner; That it ought to be understood, only of the Substance of Matter and Nothing else, viz. That no Matter could be Made or Corrupted, but that all other things whatsoever, not only Forms and Qualities of Bodies, but also Souls; Life, Sense and Understanding, though really different from Magnitude, Figure, Site and Motion, yet ought to be accounted only the πάθη, the Passions and Accidents of this Matter, and therefore might be generated out of it and Corrupted again into it, and that without the Production or Destruction of any real Entity, Matter being the only thing that is accounted such. All this we learn from these words of Aristotle, [23] καὶ διὰ τοῦτο οὔτε γίσνεσθαι οὐθὲν οἴονται, οὔτε ἀπόλλυσθαι, ὡς τῆς τοιαύτης φύσεως ἀεὶ σωζομένης. ὥσπερ δὲ τὸν Σωκράτη φαμὲν οὔτε γίγνεσθαι ἁπλῶς, ὅταν γίγνεται καλὸς ἢ μουσικὸς, οὔτε ἀπόλλυσθαι, ὅταν ἀποβάλλῃ ταύτας τὰς ἕξεις, διὰ τὸ ὑπομένειν τὸ ὑποκείμενον, τὸν Σωκράτη αὐτὸν, οὕτως οὐδὲ τῶν ἄλλων οὐδέν. δεῖ γὰρ εἶναί τινα φύσιν, ἢ μίαν, ἢ πλείους μιᾶς, ἐξ ὧν γίγνεται τὰ ἄλλα, σωζομένης ἐκείνης. <117> The sence whereof is this; And therefore as to that Axiom of some Philosophers, That Nothing is either Generated or Destroyed, these Materialists admit it to be true in respect of the Substance of matter only, which is always preserved the same, As, say they, We do not say that Socrates is simply or absolutely Made, when he is made either Handsom or Musical, or that he is Destroyed, when he loseth those Dispositions, because the Subject Socrates still remains the same; so neither are we to say that any thing else is absolutely ether Generated or Corrupted, because the Substance or Matter of every thing always Continues. For there must needs be some certain Nature, from which all other things are Generated, that still remaining one and the same.

We have noted this Passage of Aristotle's the rather, because this is just the very Doctrine of Atheists at this day. That the Substance of Matter or Extended Bulk is the only Real Entity, and therefore the only Unmade thing, that is neither Generable nor Creatable, but Necessarily Existent from Eternity; But whatever else is in the World, as Life and Animality, Soul and Mind, being all but Accidents and Affections of this Matter (as if therefore they had no Real Entity at all in them) are Generable out of Nothing and Corruptible into Nothing, so long as the Matter in which they are, still remains the same. The Result of which is no less than this, That there can be no other Gods or God, than such as was at first Made or Generated out of Sensless Matter, and may be Corrupted again into it. And here indeed lies the Grand Mystery of Atheism, that every thing besides the Substance of Matter is Made or Generated, and may be again Unmade or Corrupted.

However Anaxagoras, though an Ionick Philosopher, and therefore, as shall be declared afterward, Successor to those Atheistick Materialists, was at length so far Convinced by that Pythagorick Doctrine, That no Entity could be naturally Generated out of Nothing, as that he departed from his Predecessors herein, and did for this reason acknowledge Mind and Soul, that is, all Cogitative Being to be a Substance really distinct from Matter, neither Generable out of it nor Corruptible into it; as also that the Forms and Qualities of Bodies (which he could not yet otherwise conceive of than as things really distinct from those Modifications of Magnitude, Figure, Site and Motion) must for the same cause pre-exist before Generations in certain Similar Atoms, and remain after Corruptions, being only Secreted and Concreted in them. By means whereof he introduced a certain Spurious Atomism of his own; For whereas the Genuine Atomists before his time had supposed ὄγκους ἀνομοίους, Dissimilar Atoms devoid of all Forms and Qualities to be the Principles of all Bodies, Anaxagoras substituted in the room of them his ὁμοιομέρεια, his Similar Atoms, endued from Eternity with all Manner of Forms and Qualities Incorruptibly.

XVI. We have made it manifest that those Material Philosophers, described by Aristotle, were absolute Atheists, not merely because they made Body to be the only Substance, though that be a thing which Aristotle himself justly reprehends them for also in <118> these words of his,[24] ὅσοι μὲν οὖν ἕν τε τὸ πᾶν καὶ μίαν εἶναί τινα φύσιν, ὡς ὕλην τιθέασι, καὶ ταύτην σωματικὴν, καὶ μέγεθος ἔχουσαν, δῆλον ὅτι πολλαχῶς ἁμαρτάνουσι, τῶν γὰρ σωμάτων τὰ στοιχεῖα τιθέασι μόνον, τῶνδε ἀσωμάτον οὒ, ὄντων καὶ ἀσωμάτων. They who suppose the World to be one uniform thing, and acknowledge only one nature as the matter, and this Corporeal or indued with Magnitude, it is evident that they erre many ways, and particularly in this, that they set down only the Elements of Bodies, and not of Incorporeal things, though there be also things Incorporeal. I say, we have not concluded them Atheists, merely for this reason, because they denied Incorporeal Substance, but because they deduced all things whatsoever from Dead and Stupid Matter, and made every thing in the World, besides the bare Substance of Matter, devoid of all Quality, Generable and Corruptible.

Now we shall take notice of an Objection, made by some late Writers, against this Aristotelick Accusation of the old Philosophers, founded upon a passage of Aristotle's own, who elsewhere in his Book De Cœlo,[25] speaking of the Heaven or World, plainly affirms, γενόμενον μὲν οὗν ἅπαντες εἶναί φασιν, that all the Philosophers before himself, did assert the World to have been Made, or have had a Beginning. From whence these Writers infer, that therefore they must needs be all Theists, and hold the Divine Creation of the World, and consequently, that Aristotle contradicts himself, in representing many of them as Atheists, acknowledging only one Material Principle of the whole Universe, without any Intending or Efficient Cause. But we cannot but pronounce this to be a great Errour in these Writers, to conclude all those who held the World to have been Made, therefore to have been Theists, whereas it is certain on the contrary, that all the First and most Ancient Atheists did (in Aristotle's language) κοσμοποιεῖν ἢ γεννᾷν τὸν κόσμον, Make or Generate the World, that is, suppose it not to have been from Eternity, but to have had a Temporary Beginning; as likewise that it was Corruptible, and would sometime or other, have an End again. The sence of which Atheistick Philosophers is represented by Lucretius in this manner: Et quoniam docui, Mundi Mortalia Templa Esse, & Nativo consistere Corpore Cœlum, Et quæcunque in eo fiunt, fientque, necesse Esse ea Dissolvi. And there seems to be indeed a Necessity, in reason, that they who derive all things from a Fortuitous Principle, and hold every thing besides the Substance of Matter to have been Generated, should suppose the World to have been Generated likewise, as also to be Corruptible. Wherefore it may well be reckoned for one of the Vulgar Errours; That all Atheists held the Eternity of the World.

Moreover, when Aristotle subjoins immediately after, ἀλλὰ γενόμενον, οἱ μὲν ἀΐδιον, οἱ δὲ φθαρτὸν, that though the Ancient Philosophers all held the World to have been Made, yet notwithstanding, they were divided in this, that some of them supposed for all that, that it would con <119> tinue to Eternity such as it is, others, that it would be Corrupted again; the former of these, who conceived the World to be γενόμενον, but ἀΐδιον, Made, but Eternal, were none of them Atheists, but all Theists. Such as Plato, whom Aristotle seems particularly to perstringe for this, who in his Timæus introduceth the Supreme Deity bespeaking those Inferiour Gods, the Sun, Moon and Stars (supposed by that Philosopher to be Animated) after this manner;[26] ἃ δἰ ἐμοῦ γενόμενα, ἄλυτα, ἐμοῦγε θἐλοντος. τὸ μὲν οὖν δεθὲν πᾶν λυτὸν. τόγε μὴν καλῶς ἁρμοσθὲν καὶ ἔχον εὖ, λύειν ἐθέλειν, κακοῦ. δἰ ἃ καὶ ἐπείπερ γεγένησθε, ἀθάνατοι μὲν οὐχ ἐστὲ, οὐδ' ἄλυτοι τὸ πάμπαν. οὔτι μὲν δὴ λυθήσεσθέ γε, οὐδὲ τεύξεσθε θανάτου μοίρας. τῆς ἐμῆς βουλήσεως μείζονος ἔτι δεσμοῦ καὶ κυριωτέρου λαχόντες. Those things which are made by me are Indissoluble by my will, and though every thing which is compacted, be in its own nature dissolvable, yet it is not the part of one that is good, to will the dissolution or destruction of any thing, that was once well made. Wherefore though you are not absolutely Immortal, nor altogether Indissolvable, yet notwithstanding, you shall not be dissolved, nor ever die. My will being a stronger Band to hold you together, than any thing else can be to loosen you. Philo and other Theists followed Plato in this, asserting that though the world was Made, yet it would never be Corrupted, but have a Post-eternity. Whereas all the Ancient Atheists, namely those who derived the Original of things from Nature and Fortune, did at once deny both Eternities to the World; Past and Future. Though we cannot say that none but Atheists did this, for Empedocles and Heraclitus, and afterward the Stoicks, did not only suppose the World likewise Generated, and to be again Corrupted, but also that this had been, and would be done over and over again, in Infinite vicissitudes.

Furthermore, as the World's Eternity was generally opposed by all the Ancient Atheists, so it was maintained also by some Theists, and that not only Aristotle, but also before him, by Ocellus Lucanus at least, though Aristotle thought not fit to take any notice of him; as likewise the latter Platonists universally went that way, yet so, as that they always supposed the World to have as much depended upon the Deity, as if it had been once Created out of Nothing by it.

To conclude therefore; neither they who asserted the world's Generation and Temporary Beginning, were all Theists; nor they who maintained its Eternity, all Atheists; but before Aristotle's time, the Atheists universally, and most of the Theists, did both alike conclude the World to have been Made; the difference between them lying in this, that the one affirmed the World to have been Made by God, the other by the Fortuitous Motion of Matter.

Wherefore if we would put another difference betwixt the Theists and Atheists here, as to this particular, we must distinguish betwixt the System of the World and the Substance of the Matter: For the Ancient Atheists, though they generally denied the Eternity of the World, yet they supposed the Substance of the Matter, not only to have been Eternal, but also Self-existent and Independent upon any other Being; they making it the first Principle and Original of all <120> things, and consequently the only Numen. Whereas the Genuine Theists, though many of them maintained the Worlds Eternity, yet they all concluded, both the Form and Substance of it, to have always depended upon the Deity, as the Light doth upon the Sun. The Stoicks with some others being here excepted.

XVII. Aristotle tells us, some were of opinion, that this Atheistick Philosophy, which derives all things from sensless and stupid Matter, in the way of Forms and Qualities, was of great Antiquity, and as old as any Records of Time amongst the Greeks; and not only so, but also that the Ancient Theologers themselves entertained it; εἰσὶ δέ τινες, οἱ καὶ τοὺς παμπαλαίους, καὶ πολὺ πρὸ τῆς νῦν γενέσεως, καὶ πρώτους θολογήσαντας, οὕτω οἴονται περὶ τῆς φύσεως διαλαβεῖν. Ωκεανόν τε γὰρ καὶ Τήθυν ἐποίησαν τῆς γενέσεως πατέρας, καὶ τὸν ὅρκον τῶν θεῶν ὕδωρ, τὴν καλουμένην ὑπ' αὐτῶν Στύγα τῶν ποιητῶν. τιμιώτατον μὲν γὰρ τὸ πρεσβύτατον. ὅρκος δὲ τὸ τιμιώτατόν ἐστιν.[27] There are some who conceive that even the most ancient of all, and the most remote from this present Generation; and they also who first Theologized, did Physiologize after this manner; forasmuch as they made the Ocean and Tethys to have been the Original of Generation; and for this cause the Oath of the Gods is said to be by water (called by the Poets Styx) as being that from which they all derived their Original. For an Oath ought to be by that which is most Honourable; and that which is most Ancient, is most Honourable. In which words it is very probable that Aristotle aimed at Plato; however it is certain that Plato in his Theætetus, affirms this Atheistick Doctrine to have been very ancient, ὅτι πάντα ἔκγονα ροῆς τε καὶ κινήσεως, that all things were the off-spring of Flux and Motion, that is, that all things were Made and Generated out of Matter; and that he chargeth Homer with it, in deriving the Original of the Gods themselves in like manner, from the Ocean, (or Floating Matter) in this Verse of his, Ὠκεανόν τε θεῶν γένεσιν, καὶ μητέρα Τεθύν. The Father of all Gods, the Ocean is, Tethys their Mother.

Wherefore these indeed seem to have been the ancientest of all Atheists, who though they acknowledged certain Beings superiour to men, which they called by the Name of Gods, did notwithstanding really deny a God, according to the true Notion of him, deriving the Original of all things whatsoever in the Universe, from the Ocean, that is, Fluid Matter, or, which is all one, from Night and Chaos; and supposing all their Gods to have been Made and Generated, and consequently to be Mortal and Corruptible. Of which Atheistick Theology, Aristophanes gives us the description, in his[28] Aves, after this manner: That at first was Nothing but Night and Chaos, which laying an Egg, from thence was produced Love, that mingling again with Chaos, begot Heaven, and Earth, and Animals, and all the Gods.

Χάος ἦν, καὶ νύξ, ἔρεβός. τε μέλαν πρῶτον, καὶ Τάρταρος εὐρύς.
Γῆ δ', οὐδ' ἀὴρ, οὐδ' οὐρανὸς ἦν. ἐρέβους δ' ἐν ἀπείροσι κόλποις
Τίκτει πρώτιστον ὑπηνέμιον νὺξ ἡ μελανόπτερος ὠόν.
Ἐξ οὗ περιτελλομέναις ὥραις ἔβλαστεν Ἔρως ὁ ποθεινός.
Στίλβων νῶτον πτερύγοιν χρυσαῖν. εἰκὼς ἀνεμώκεσι δίναις.
Οὗτος δὲ χάει πτερόεντι μιγεὶς νυχίω, κατὰ Τάρταρον εὐρὺν,
Ἐνεόττευσε γένος ἡμέτερον, καὶ πρῶτον ἀνήγαγεν ἐς φῶς,
Πρότερον δ' οὐκ ἧν γένος ἀθανάτων, πρὶν Ἔρως συνέμιξεν ἅπαντα.
First all was Chaos, one confused Heap,
Darkness enwrapt the disagreeing Deep,
In a mixt croud, the Jumbled Elements were,
Nor Earth, nor Air, nor Heaven did appear;
Till on this horrid vast Abyss of things,
Teeming Night spreading o'er her cole-black Wings,
Laid the first Egg; whence, after times due course,
Issu'd forth Love (the World's Prolifick Source)
Glistering with golden Wings; which fluttering o'er
Dark Chaos, gendred all the numerous store
Of Animals and Gods, &c.

And whereas the Poet there makes the Birds to have been begotten between Love and Chaos before all the Gods; though one might think this to have been done Jocularly by him, merely to humour his Plot; yet Salmasius conceives, and not without some reason, that it was really a piece of the old Atheistick Cabala, which therefore seems to have run thus. That Chaos or Matter confusedly moved, being the first Original of all; Things did from thence rise up gradually, from lesser to greater Perfection. First Inanimate things as the Elements, Heaven, Earth and Seas, then Brute-animals, afterwards Men, and last of all the Gods. As if not only the Substance of Matter, and those Inanimate Bodies of the Elements, Fire, Water, Air and Earth, were, as Aristotle somewhere speaks, according to the sence of those Atheistick Theologers, [29] φύσει πρότερα τοῦ θεοῦ, θεοὶ δὲ καὶ ταῦτα, First in order of Nature before God, as being themselves also Gods, but also Brute-animals at least, if not men too. And this is the Atheistick Creation of the World, Gods and all, out of Sensless and Stupid Matter, or Dark Chaos, as the only Original Numen; the perfectly Inverted order of the Universe.

XVIII. But though this Hypothesis be purely Atheistical, that makes Love, which is supposed to be the Original Deity, to have it self sprung at first from an Egg of the Night; and consequently that all Deity was the Creature or Off-spring of Matter and Chaos, or Dark Fortuitous Nature; yet Aristotle somewhere conceives that not only Parmenides, but also Hesiod, and some others, who did in like manner make Love the Supreme Deity, and derive all things from Love and Chaos, were to be exempted out of the number of those Atheistick Materialists before described; forasmuch as they seemed to understand by Love, an Active Principle, and Cause of Motion in the Universe; which there <122> fore could not spring from an Egg of the Night, nor be the Creature of Matter, but must needs be something Independent on it, and in order of Nature before it, ὑποπτεύσειε δ' ἄν τις, Ἡσίοδον πρῶτον ζητῆσαι τὸ τοιοῦτον, κᾂν εἴ τις ἄλλος, Ἔρωτα ἢ Ἐπιθυμίαν, ἐν τοῖς οὗσιν ἔθηκεν ὡς ἀρχὴν, οἷον καὶ Παρμενίδης. Καὶ γὰρ οὗτος κατασκευάζων τὴν τοῦ παντὸς γένεσιν Πρώτιστον μὲν (φησιν) ἔρωτα θεῶν μητίσατο πάντων. Ἡσίοδος δὲ, Πάντων μὲν πρώτιστα χάος γένετ'. αὐτὰρ ἐπειτα Γαῖ εὑρύστερνος, — Ἠδ' ἔρος, ὃς πάντεσσι μεταπρέπει ἀθανάτοισιν. ὡς δέον ἐν τοῖς οὗσιν ὐπάρχειν τινὰ αἰτίαν, ἥτις κινήσει καὶ συνέξει τὰ πράγματα. τούτους μὲν οὗν πῶς χρὴ διανεῖμαι περὶ τοῦ τις πρῶτος, ἐξέστω κρίνειν ὕστερον. One would suspect that Hesiod, and if there be any other who made Love or Desire, a Principle of things in the Universe, aimed at this very thing, (namely, the setling of another Active Principle besides Matter:) For Parmenides, describing the Generation of the Universe, makes Love to be the Senior of all the Gods, and Hesiod, after he had mentioned Chaos, introduced Love, as the Supreme Deity. As intimating herein, that besides Matter, there ought to be another Cause or Principle, that should be the Original of Motion and Activity, and also hold and conjoyn all things together. But how these two Principles are to be ordered, and which of them was to be placed first, whether Love or Chaos, may be judged of afterwards. In which latter words Aristotle seems to intimate, that Love, as taken for an Active Principle, was not to be supposed to spring from Chaos, but rather to be in order of Nature before it; and therefore by this Love of theirs must needs be meant the Deity. And indeed Simmias Rhodius in his Wings, a Hymn made in Honour of this Love, that is Senior to all the Gods, and a Principle in the Universe, tells us plainly, that it is not Cupid, Venuses soft and effeminate Son, but another kind of Love Οὔτί γε Κύπριδος παῖς. Ὠκυπέτας δ' αὐτὸς Ἔρως καλεῦμαι. Οὔτι γὰρ ἔκρινα βιάζειν, παράγω δὲ πειθοῖ. Γαῖα, θαλάσσας τε μυχοὶ, οὐρανίων πᾶσ τε θεός μοι ἔχει. Τῶν δ' ἐγὼν ἐκνοσφισάμην ὠγύγιον σκᾶπτρον, ἐκρᾳηνά τέ σφιν θέμιστας. I'm not that Wanton Boy, The Sea-froath Goddess's only Joy. Pure Heavenly Love I hight, and my Soft Magick Charms, not Iron Bands, fast tye Heaven, Earth and Seas. The Gods themselves do readily Stoop to my Laws. The whole World daunces to my Harmony.

Moreover, this cannot be that Love neither, which is described in Plato's Symposium (as some learned men have conceived) that was begotten between Penia and Porus, this being not a <123> Divine but Demoniack thing (as the Philosopher there declares) no God but a Dæmon only, or of a Middle Nature. For it is nothing but φιλοκαλία, or the Love of Pulchritude, as such, which though rightly used, may perhaps Wing and Inspire the Mind, to Noble and Generous Attempts, and beget a scornful disdeign in it, of Mean, Dirty, and Sordid things; yet it is capable of being abused also, and then it will strike downward into Brutishness and Sensuality. But at best it is an Affection, belonging only to Imperfect and Parturient Beings; and therefore could not be the First Principle of all things. Wherefore we see no very great reason, but that in a Rectified and Qualified sence, this may pass for true Theology; That Love is the Supreme Deity and Original of all things; namely, if by it be meant, Eternal, Self-originated, Intellectual Love, or Essential and Substantial Goodness, that having an Infinite overflowing Fulness and Fecundity, dispenses it self Uninvidiously, according to the best Wisdom, Sweetly Governs all, without any Force or Violence (all things being Naturally subject to its Autority, and readily obeying its Laws) and reconciles the whole World into Harmony. For the Scripture telling us, that God is Love, seems to warrant thus much to us, that Love in some rightly Qualified sence, is God.

XIX. But we are to omit the Fabulous Age, and to descend to the Philosophical, to enquire there, who they were among the professed Philosophers, who Atheized in that manner, before described. It is true indeed, that Aristotle in other Places, accuses Democritus and Leucippus of the very same thing, that is, of assigning only a Material Cause of the Universe, and giving no account of the Original of Motion; but yet it is certain that these were not the Persons intended by him here; Those which he speaks of, being τινὲς τῶν πρώτων φιλοσοφησάντων, some of the first and most ancient Philosophers of all. Moreover it appears by his Description of them, that they were such as did not Philosophize in the way of Atoms, but resolved all things whatsoever in the Universe, into ὕλη, and πάθη τῆς ὕλης, Matter, and the Passions or Affections, Qualities and Forms of Matter; so that they were not Atomical, but Hylopathian Philosophers. These two, the old Materialists and the Democriticks, did both alike derive all things from Dead and Stupid Matter, fortuitously Moved; and the Difference between them was only this, that the Democriticks manag'd this business in the way of Atoms, the other in that more vulgar way of Qualities and Forms: So that indeed, this is really but one and the same Atheistick Hypothesis, in two several Schemes. And as one of them is called the Atomick Atheism, so the other, for Distinctions sake, may be called the Hylopathian.

XX. Now Aristotle tells us plainly, that these Hylopathian Atheists of his, were all the first Philosophers of the Ionick Order and Succession, before Anaxagoras.{sic} Whereof Thales being the Head, he is consentaneously thereunto by Aristotle, made to be ἄρχηγος τῆς τοιαύτης φιλοσοφίας, the Prince and Leader of this kind of Atheistical Philosophy, he deriving all things whatsoever, as Homer had done before him, from Water, and acknowledging no other Principle but the Fluid Matter.


Notwithstanding which Accusation of Aristotle's, Thales is far otherwise represented by good Authors; Cicero telling us, that besides Water, which he made to be the Original of all Corporeal things, he asserted also Mind for another Principle, which formed all things out of the Water; and Laertius and Plutarch recording, that he was thought to be the first of all Philosophers who determined Souls to be Immortal; He is said also to have affirmed, that God was πρεσβύτατον πάντων, the oldest of all things, and that the World was ποιήμα θεοῦ, the Workmanship of God; Clemens likewise tells us that being asked εἰ λανθάνει τὸ θεῖον πράσσων τὶ ὁ ἄνθρωπος; καὶ πῶς εἶπεν ὅσγε οὐδὲ διανοούμενος; Whether any of a mans Actions could be concealed from the Deity? he replied, not so much as any Thought. Moreover Laertius further writes of him, that he held τὸν κόσμον ἔμψυχον καὶ δαιμόνων πλήρη, That the World was animated, and full of Dæmons. Lastly Aristotle[30] himself elsewhere speaks of him as a Theist, καὶ ἐν τῷ ὅλῳ δέ τινες ψυχὴν μεμίχθαι φασίν. ὅθεν ἴσως καὶ Θαλῆς ὠήθη πάντα πλήρη θεῶν εἶναι. Some think (saith he) that Soul and Life is mingled with the whole Universe, and thence perhaps was that of Thales, that all things are full of Gods. Wherefore we conceive that there is very good reason, why Thales should be acquitted from this Accusation of Atheism. Only we shall observe the occasion of his being thus differently represented, which seems to have been this; Because as Laertius and Themistius intimate, he left no Philosophick Writings or Monuments of his own behind him, (Anaximander being the first of all the Philosophick Writers:) Whence probably it came to pass, that in after times some did interpret his Philosopy one way, some another, and that he is sometimes represented as a Theist, and sometime again as a down-right Atheist.

But though Thales be thus by good Authority acquitted, yet his next Successor Anaximander can by no means be excused from this Imputation, and therefore we think it more reasonable to fasten that Title upon him, which Aristotle bestows on Thales, that he was ἄρχηγος τῆς τοιαύτης φιλοσοφίας, the Prince and Founder of this Atheistick Philosophy; who derived all things from Matter, in the way of Forms and Qualities; he supposing a certain Infinite Materia Prima, which was neither Air nor Water nor Fire, but indifferent to every thing, or a mixture of all, to be the only Principle of the Universe, and leading a Train of many other Atheists after him, such as Hippo surnamed ἄθεος, by Simplicius and others, Anaximines, and Diogenes Apolloniates, and many more; who though they had some petty Differences amongst themselves, yet all agreed in this one thing, that Matter devoid of Understanding and Life, was the first Principle of all things; till at length Anaxagoras stopt this Atheistick Current, amongst these Ionick Philosophers; introducing Mind as a Principle of the Universe.

XXI. But there is a Passage in Aristotle's Physicks, which seems at first sight, to contradict this again; and to make Anaximander also, not to have been an Atheist, but a Divine Philosopher. Where <125> having declared that several of the Ancient Physiologers, made ἄπειρον, or Infinite to be the Principle of all things, he subjoyns these words,[31] διὸ καθάπερ λέγομεν, οὐ ταύτης ἀρχὴ, ἀλλ' αὕτη τῶν ἄλλων εἶναι δοκεῖ. Καὶ περιέχειν ἅπαντα καὶ πάντα κυβερνᾷν, ὥς φασιν ὅσοι μὴ ποιοῦσι παρὰ τὸ ἄπειρον ἄλλας αἰτίας, οἷον νοῦν, ἢ φιλίαν. Καὶ τοῦτο εἶναι τὸ θεῖον, ἀθάνατον γὰρ καὶ ἀνώλεθρον, ὥσπερ φησὶν ὁ Ἀναξίμανδρος καὶ οἱ πλεῖστοι τῶν φυσιόλογων. Therefore there seems to be no Principle of this Infinite, but this to be the Principle of other things, and to Contain all things and Govern all things, as they all say who do not make besides Infinite, any other Causes, such as Mind, or Friendship, and that this is the only real Numen or God in the World, it it  {sic}being Immortal and Incorruptible, as Anaximander affirms, and most of the Physiologers. From which Place some Late Writers have confidently concluded, that Anaximander, with those other Physiologers, there mentioned, did by Infinite, understand God, according to the True Notion of him, or an Infinite Mind, the Efficient Cause of the Universe, and not Sensless and Stupid Matter; since this could not be said to be Immortal and to Govern all things; and consequently, that Aristotle grosly contradicts himself, in making all those Ionick Philosophers before Anaxagoras, to have been Mere Materialists or Atheists. And it is possible, that Clemens Alexandrinus also, might from this very Passage of Aristotle's, not sufficiently considered, have been induced to rank Anaximander, amongst the Divine Philosophers, as he doth in his Protreptick to the Greeks; where after he had condemned certain of the old Philosophers, as Atheistick Corporealists, he subjoyns these words[32] τῶν δὲ ἄλλων φιλοσόφων, ὅσοι τὰ στοιχεῖα ὑπερβάντες, ἐπολυπραγμόνησάν τι ὑψηλότερον καὶ περιττότερον, οἱ μὲν αὐτῶν τὸ ἄπειρον καθύμνησαν, ὦν Ἀναξίμανδρος ὁ Μιλήσιος ἦν, καὶ Ἀναξαγόρας ὁ Κλαζομένιος, καὶ ὁ Ἀθηναῖος Ἀρχέλαος. But of the other Philosophers, who transcending all the Elements, searched after some higher and more excellent thing, some of them praised Infinite, amongst which was Anaximander the Milesian, Anaxagoras the Clazomenian, and the Athenian Archelaus. As if these Three had all alike acknowledged an Incorporeal Deity, and made an Infinite Mind, distinct from Matter, the First Original of all things.

But that forecited Passage of Aristotle's alone, well consider'd, will it self afford a sufficient Confutation of this Opinion; where Anaximander, with those other Physiologers, is plainly opposed to Anaxagoras, who besides Infinite Sensless Matter, or Similar Atoms, made Mind to be a Principle of the Universe, as also to Empedocles, who made a Plastick Life and Nature, called Friendship, another Principle of the Corporeal World; from whence it plainly follows, that Anaximander and the rest, supposed not Infinite Mind, but Infinite Matter, without either Mind or Plastick Nature, to have been the only Original of all things, and therefore the Only Deity or Numen.

Moreover, Democritus being linked in the Context with Anaximander, as making both of them alike, τὸ ἄπειρον, or Infinite, to be the First Principle of all; it might as well be inferred from this Place, that Democritus was a Genuine Theist, as Anaximander. But as De <126> mocritus his only Principle, was Infinite Atoms, without any thing of Mind or Plastick Nature; so likewise was Anaximander's, an Infinity of Sensless and Stupid Matter; and therefore they were both of them Atheists alike, though Anaximander, in the cited words, had the Honour (if it may be so called) to be only named, as being the most ancient of all those Atheistical Physiologers, and the Ringleader of them.

XXII. Neither ought it at all to seem strange, that Anaximander, and those other Atheistical Materialists should call Infinite Matter, devoid of all Understanding and Life, the τὸ θεῖον, the Deity or Numen, since to all those who deny a God, (according to the true Notion of him) whatsoever else they substitute in his room, by making it the First Principle of all things, though it be Sensless and Stupid Matter, yet this must needs be accounted the Only Numen, and Divinest thing of all.

Nor is it to be wondred at neither, that this Infinite, being understood of Matter, should be said to be, not only Incorruptible, but also Immortal, these two being often used as Synonymous, and Equivalent Expressions. For thus in Lucretius, the Corruption of all Inanimate Bodies is called Death, —Mors ejus quod fuit ante; And again, Quando aliud ex alio reficit Natura, nec ullam Rem Gigni patitur, nisi Morte adjutam alienâ. In like manner Mortal is used by him for Corruptible, Nam siquid Mortale à cunctis partibus esset, Ex oculis res quæque repentè erepta periret. And this kind of Language was very familiar with Heraclitus, as appears from these Passages of his, πυρὸς θάνατος, ἀέρι γένεσις. καὶ ἀέρος θάνατος ὕδατι γένεσις. The Death of Fire, is Generation to Air; and the Death of Air, is Generation to Water that is, the Corruption of them. And again, ψυχῇσιν θάνατος, ὕδωρ γενέσθαι. ὕδατι δὲ θάνατος, γῆν γενέσθαι. It is Death to Vapour or Air, to be made Water; and Death to Water, to be made Earth. In which Heraclitus did but imitate Orpheus, as appears from this Verse of his, cited by Clemens Alexand. Ἔστιν ὕδωρ ψυχῇ, θάνατος δ' ὑδάτεσσιν ἀμοιβή. Besides which, there are many Examples of this use of the word ἀθάνατος, in other Greek Writers, and some in Aristotle himself, who speaking of the Heavens, attributes ἀθανασία and ἀϊδιότης to them, <127> as one and the same thing: as also affirms, that the Ancients therefore made Heaven to be the Seat of the Deity, ὡς ὄντα μόνον ἀθάνατον, as being only Immortal, that is Incorruptible.

Indeed that other Expression, at first sight, would stagger one more, where it is said of this ἄπειρον, or Infinite, that it doth not only Contein, but also Govern all things; but Simplicius tells us, that this is to be understood likewise of Matter, and that no more was meant by it, than that all things were derived from it, and depended on it, as the First Principle; ὁ δὲ λόγος τοῖς τοιούτοις περὶ τῶν φυσικῶν ἀρχῶν, ἀλλ' οὐχὶ περὶ τῶν ὕπερ φύσιν, εἰ δὲ καὶ περιέχειν ἔλεγον καὶ κυβερνᾷν οὐδὲν θαυμαστόν. τὸ μὲν γὰρ περιέχειν ὑπάρχει τῷ ὑλικῷ αἰτίῷ, ὡς διὰ πάντων χωροῦντι, τὸ δὲ κυβερνᾷν ὡς κατὰ τὴν ἐπιτηδειότητα αὐτοῦ τῶν υπ᾽αὐτου γενομένων. These Philosophers spake only of natural Principles, and not of Supernatural; and though they say, that this Infinite of theirs, does both Contein and Govern all things, yet this is not at all to be wondered at; forasmuch as Conteining belongs to the Material Cause, as that which goes through all things, and likewise Governing, as that from which all things, according to a certain aptitude of it, are made. Philoponus (who was a Christian) represents Aristotle's sence in this whole place more fully, after this manner. Those of the ancient Physiologers who had no respect to any Active Efficient Cause, as Anaxagoras had to Mind, and Empedocles to Friendship and Contention, supposed Matter to be the only Cause of all things, and that it was Infinite in Magnitude, Ingenerable and Incorruptible, esteeming it to be a certain Divine thing, which did Govern all, or preside over the Compages of the Universe, and to be Immortal, that is, Undestroyable. This Anaximenes said to be Air, Thales to be Water, but Anaximander, a certain Middle thing; some one thing, and some another. Καὶ οὐδέν γε θαυμαστόν φησιν, ἐν τῇ καθ' ἡμᾶς περιόδῳ τοῦς πρώτους μὴ ἐπιστήσαντας τῇ ἐφεστηκυία τῶν ὅλων δυνάμει, ἕν τῶν στοιχείων, ὅπερ ἄν ὑπόπτευεν ἕκαστος, αἴτιον τοῖς ἄλλοις τε εἶναι, τοῦτο εὐθὺς καὶ Θεὸν ὑπονοῆσας. And Aristotle in this Passage, tells us, that it is no wonder, if they who did not attend to the Active Cause, that presides over the Universe, did look upon some one of the Elements (that which each of them thought to be the Cause of all other things) as God. But as they considering only the Material Principle, conceived that to be the Cause of all things; so Anaxagoras supposed Mind to be the Principle of all things, and Empedocles Friendship and Contention.

XXIII. But to make it further appear, that Anaximander's Philosophy was purely Atheistical; we think it convenient to shew what account is given of it by other Writers. Plutarch in his Placita Philosophorum, does at once briefly represent the Anaximandrian Philosophy, and Censure it after this manner.[33] Ἀναξίμανδρός φησι, τῶν ὄντων τὴν ἀρχὴν εἶναι τὸ ἄπειρον, ἐκ γὰρ τούτου πάντα γίνεσθαι, καὶ εἰς τοῦτο πάντα φθείρεσθαι, διὸ καὶ γεννᾶσθαι ἀπείρους κόσμους, καὶ πάλιν φθείρεσθαι. λέγει οὖν διὰ τί ἄπειρόν ἐστιν, ἵνα μὴ ἐλλείπῃ ἡ γένεσις ἡ ὑφισταμένη. ἁμαρτάνει δὲ οὖτος, τὴν μὲν ὕλην ἀποφαινόμενος, τὸ δὲ ποιοῦν αἴτιον ἀναιρῶν, τὸ δὲ ἄπειρον οὐδεν ἄλλο, ἣ ὕλη ἐστίν οὐ δύναται δὲ ἡ ὕλη εἶναι ἐνέργεια, ἐὰν μὴ τὸ ποιοῦν ὑποκέηται. Anaximander the Milesian affirms, Infinite to be the First Principle. And that all things are Generated out of it, and Corrupted again into it, and <128> therefore that Infinite Worlds, are successively thus Generated and Corrupted. And he gives the reason why it is Infinite, that so there might be never any Fail of Generations. But he erreth in this, that assigning only a Material Cause, he takes away the Active Principle of things. For Anaximander's Infinite, is nothing else but matter; but Matter can produce nothing, unless there be also an Active Cause. Where he shews also, how Anaximenes followed Anaximander herein, in assigning only a Material Cause of the Universe, without any Efficient; though he differed from him, in making the First Matter to be Air, and deriving all things from thence, by Rarefaction and Condensation. Thus, we see, it is plain, that Anaximander's Infinite, was no Infinite Mind, which is the true Deity, but only Infinite Matter, devoid of any Life or Active Power. Eusebius[34] is more particular in giving an account of Anaximander's Cosmopœia. τὸ ἄπειρον φάναι τὴν πᾶσαν αἰτίαν ἕχειν τῆς τοῦ παντὸς γενέσεώς τε καὶ φθορᾶς, ἐξ οὗ τούς τε οὐρανοὺς ἀποκεκρίσθαι, καὶ καθόλου τοὺς ἅπαντας ἀπείρους ὄντας κόσμους. φησὶ δὲ τὸ ἐκ τοῦ ἀϊδίου, γόνιμον θερμοῦ τε καὶ ψυχροῦ, κατὰ τὴν γένεσιν τοῦδε τοῦ κόσμου ἀποκριθῆναι, καὶ τινα ἐκ τούτου φλογὸς σφαῖραν, περιφυῆναι τῷ περὶ τὴν γῆν ἀέρι, ὡς τῷ δένδρῳ φλοιόν. ἧς τινος ἀποῤῥαγείσης, καὶ εἴς τινας ἀποκλεισθείσης κύκλους, ὑποστῆναι τὸν ἥλιον, καὶ τὴν σελήνην, καὶ τοὺς ἀστέρας. Anaximander affirms, Infinite (Matter) to be the only Cause of the Generation and Corruption of all things. And that the Heavens, and Infinite Worlds, were made out of it, by way of Secretion or Segregation. Also that those Generative Principles of Heat and Cold, that were conteined in it from Eternity, being Segregated, when this World was made, a certain Sphere of Flame or Fire, did first arise and incompass the Air, which surrounds this Earth, (a sa {sic} Bark doth a Tree) which being afterwards broken, and divided into smaller Spherical Bodies, constituted the Sun and Moon and all the Stars. Which Anaximandrian Cosmopœia, was briefly hinted by Aristotle[35] in these words, οἱ δὲ ἐκ τοῦ ἑνὸς, ἐνούσας τὰς ἐναντιότητας, ἐκκρίνουσιν, ὤσπερ Ἀναξίμανδρός φησι. Some Philosophers Generate the World, by the Secretion and Segregation of inexistent Contrarieties, as Anaximander speaks. And elsewere in his Metaphysicks,[36] he takes notice of Ἀναξιμάνδρου τὸ μίγμα, Anaximander's Mixture of things. Whence we conclude, that Anaximander's Infinite, was nothing else but an Infinite Chaos of Matter, in which were either Actually, or Potentially, conteined all manner of Qualities; by the Fortuitous Secretion and Segregation of which, he supposed Infinite Worlds to be successively Generated and Corrupted. So that we may now easily guess, whence Leucippus and Democritus had their Infinite Worlds, and perceive how near a kin, these two Atheistick Hypotheses were. But it will not be amiss to take notice also of that Particular Conceit, which Anaximander had, concerning the First Original of Brute Animals, and Mankind. Of the Former Plutarch gives us this account;[37] Ἀναξίμανδρος ἐν ὑγρῷ γεννηθῆναι τὰ πρῶτα ζῶα, φλοιοῖς περιεχόμενα ἀκανθώδεσι, προβαινούσης δὲ τῆς ἡλικίας, ἀποβαίνειν ἐπὶ τὸ ξηρότερον, καὶ περιῤῥηγνυμένου τοῦ φλοιοῦ, ἐπ' ὀλίγον χρόνον μεταβιῶναι. That the First Animals were generated in Moisture, and encompass'd about with certain Thorny Barks, by which they were guarded and defended, which after further growth, coming to be more Dry and Cracking, they issued forth, but lived only a short time after. And as for the first Original of Men, Eusebius <129> represents his Sence, thus:[38] Ἐξ ἀλλοειδῶν ζώων ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἐγεννήθη, ἐκ τοῦ τὰ μὲν ἄλλα δἰ ἑαυτῶν ταχὺ νέμεσθαι, μόνον δὲ τὸν ἄνθρωπον πολυχρονίου δεῖσθαι τιθηνήσεως, διὸ καὶ κατ᾽ ἀρχὰς οὐκ ἄνποτε τοιοῦτον ὄντα διασωθῆναι. Men were at first generated in the Bellies of other Animals, forasmuch as all other Animals, after they are brought forth, are quickly able to feed and nourish themselves, but Man alone needs to be nursed up a long time; and therefore could not be preserved at first, in any other way. But Plutarch expresseth this something more particularly.[39] Ἀναξίμανρος ἐν ἰχθύσιν ἐγγενέσθαι τὸ πρῶτον ἀνθρώπους ἀποφαίνεται, καὶ τραφέντας καὶ γενομένους ἱκανοὺς ἑαυτοῖς βοηθεῖν, ἐκβληθῆναι τηνικαῦτα καὶ γῆς λαβέσθαι. Anaximander concludes that Men were at first Generated in the Bellies of Fishes, and being there nourished, till they grew strong, and were able to shift for themselves, they were afterward cast out upon Dry Land. Lastly, Anaximander's Theology, is thus both represented to us, and censured, by Velleius the Epicurean Philosopher in Cicero.[40] Anaximandri opinio est Nativos esse Deos, longis Intervallis Orientes Occidentésque, eósque innumerabiles esse Mundos, sed nos Deum nisi Sempiternum intelligere quî possumus? Anaximander's Opinion is, that the Gods are Native, rising and vanishing again, in long Periods of times; and that these Gods are Innumerable Worlds; but how can we conceive that to be a God, which is not Eternal? We learn from hence, that Anaximander did indeed so far comply with Vulgar Opinion, as that he retained the Name of Gods, but however that he really denied the Existence of the thing it self, even according to the judgment of this Epicurean Philosopher. Forasmuch as all his Gods were Native and Mortal, and indeed nothing else, but those Innumerable Worlds, which he supposed in certain Periods of Time, to be successively Generated and Destroyed. Wherefore it is plain, that Anaximander's only Real Numen, that is, his First Principle, that was Ingenerable and Incorruptible, was nothing but Infinite Matter, devoid of all Understanding and Life, by the Fortuitous Secretion of whose inexistent Qualities and Parts, he supposed, First, the Elements of Earth, Water, Air and Fire, and then, the Bodies of the Sun, Moon and Stars, and both Bodies and Souls of men and other Animals, and lastly, Innumerable or Infinite such Worlds as these, as so many Secundary and Native Gods, (that were also Mortal) to have been Generated, according to that Atheistical Hypothesis described in Plato.

XXIV. It is certain that the Vulgar in all Ages have been very ill Judges of Theists and Atheists, they having condemned many hearty Theists, as guilty of Atheism, merely because they dissented from them, in some of their Superstitious Rites and Opinions. As for example; Anaxagoras the Clazomenian, though he was the first of all the Ionick Philosophers, (unless Thales ought to be excepted) who made an Infinite Mind to be a Principle, that is, asserted a Deity, according to the true Notion of it, yet he was notwithstanding, generally cried down for an Atheist, merely because he affirmed the Sun to be μύδρον διάπυρον, a Mass of Fire, or a Fiery Globe, and the Moon to be an Earth,[41] that is, because he denied them to be Animated and endued with Understanding Souls, and consequently to be Gods. So likewise Socrates was both accused, and condemned, for Atheisti <112> cal Impiety, as denying all Gods, though nothing was pretended to be proved against him, but only this,[42] that he did θεοὺς διδάσκειν μὴ νομίζειν, οὓς ἡ πόλις νομίζει, ἕτερα δὲ δαιμόνια καινὰ εἰσφέρειν, Teach that those were not true Gods which the City worshipt, and in the room thereof introduce other new Gods. And lastly, the Christians in the Primitive times, for the same reason, were vulgarly traduced for Atheists, by the Pagans, as Justin Martyr declares in his Apology, ἄθεοι κεκλήμεθα, καὶ ὁμλογοῦμεν τῶν τοιούτων νομιζομένων θεῶν ἄθεοι εἶναι, We are called Atheists, and we confess our selves such, in respect of those Gods which they worship, but not of the true God. And as the Vulgar have unjustly condemned many Theists for Atheists, so have they also acquitted many Rank Atheists from the Guilt of that Crime, merely because they externally complied with them, in their Religious Worship, and Forms of Speech. Neither is it only the Vulgar that have been imposed upon herein, but also the Generality of Learned men, who have been commonly so superficial in this business, as that they have hardly taken notice of above three or four Atheists that ever were in former times, as namely, Diagoras, Theodorus, Euemerus, and Protagoras; whereas Democritus and Anaximander, were as rank Atheists, as any of them all, though they had the wit to carry themselves externally, with more Cautiousness. And indeed it was really one and the self-same Form of Atheism, which both these entertained, they deriving all things alike, from Dead and Stupid Matter Fortuitously Moved, the Difference between them being only this, that they managed it two different ways; Anaximander in the way of Qualities and Forms, which is the more Vulgar and Obvious kind of Atheism; but Democritus in the way of Atoms and Figures, which seems to be a more learned kind of Atheism.

And though we do not doubt at all, but that Plato, in his Tenth De Legibus, where he attacques Atheism, did intend the Confutation as well of the Democritick as the Anaximandrian Atheism; yet whether it were, because he had no mind to take any notice at all of Democritus, who is not so much as once mentioned by him any where, or else because he was not so perfectly acquainted with that Atomick way of Physiologizing, certain it is, that he there describes the Atheistick Hypothesis more according to the Anaximandrian than the Democritick Form. For when he represents the Atheistick Generation of Heaven and Earth, and all things in them, as resulting from the Fortuitous Commixture of Hot and Cold, Hard and Soft, Moist and Dry Corpuscula; this is clearly more agreeable with the Anaximandrian Generation of the World, by the Secretion of Inexistent Contrarieties in the Matter, than the Democritick Cosmopœia, by the Fortuitous Concourse of Atoms, devoid of all manner of Qualities and Forms.

Some indeed seem to call that Scheme of Atheism, that deduces all things from Matter, in the way of Qualities and Forms, by the name of Peripatetick or Aristotelick Atheism; we suppose for this reason, because Aristotle Physiologized in that way of Forms and Qualities, educing them out of the Power of the Matter. But since Aristotle <131> himself cannot be justly Taxed for an Atheist, this Form of Atheism ought rather, as we conceive, to be denominated from Anaximander, and called the Anaximandrian Atheism.

XXV. Now the Reasons why Democritus and Leucippus New-modelled Atheism, from the Anaximandrian and Hylopathian, into the Atomick Form, seem to have been chiefly these; First, because, they being well instructed in that Atomick way of Physiologizing, were really convinced, that it was not only more Ingenious, but also more agreeable to Truth; the other by Real Qualities and Forms, seeming a thing Unintelligible. Secondly, because they foresaw, as Lucretius intimates, that the Production of Forms and Qualities out of Nothing, and the Corruption of them again into Nothing, would prepare an Easie way, for mens Belief of a Divine Creation and Annihilation. And lastly, because, as we have already suggested, they plainly perceived, that these Forms and Qualities of Matter were of a doubtful Nature, and therefore, as they were sometimes made a shelter for Atheism, so they might also prove, on the contrary, an Asylum for Corporeal Theism; in that it might possibly be supposed, that either the Matter of the whole World, or else the more Subtle and Fiery Part of it, was Originally endued with an Understanding Form or Quality, and consequently the Whole an Animal or God. Wherefore they took another more Effectual Course, to secure their Atheism, and exclude all Possibility of a Corporeal God, by deriving the Original of all things from Atoms, devoid of all Forms and Qualities, and having nothing in them, but Magnitude, Figure, Site and Motion, as the First Principles; it following unavoidably from thence, that Life and Understanding, as well as those other Qualities, could be only Accidental and Secundary Results from certain Fortuitous Concretions and Contextures of Atoms; so that the World could be made by no Previous Counsel or Understanding, and therefore by no Deity.

XXVI. We have here represented, Three several Forms of Atheism, the Anaximandrian, the Democritical and the Stratonical. But there is yet another Form of Atheism, different from them all, to be taken notice of, which is such, as supposes one kind of Plastick and Spermatick, Methodical and Artificial Nature, but without any Sense or Conscious Understanding, to preside over the whole World, and dispose and conserve all things, in that Regular Frame in which they are. Such a Form of Atheism as this, is hinted to us in that doubtful Passage of Seneca's;[43] Sive Animal est Mundus, (for so it ought to be read, and not Anima) sive Corpus Naturâ Gubernante, ut Arbores, ut Sata; Whether the whole World be an Animal (i. e. endued with one Sentient and Rational Life) or whether it be only a Body Governed, by (a certain Plastick and Methodical, but Sensless) Nature, as Trees, and other Plants or Vegetables. In which words are two several Hypotheses, of the Mundane System, Sceptically proposed, by one who was a Corporealist, and took it for granted that all was Body. First, that the whole World, though having nothing but Body in it, yet was notwithstanding an Animal, as our Humane Bodies are, endued with one Senti <132> ent or Rational Life and Nature, one Soul or Mind, governing and ordering the Whole. Which Corporeal Cosmo-zoism we do not reckon amongst the Forms of Atheism, but rather account it for a kind of Spurious Theism, or Theism disguized in a Paganick Dress, and not without a Complication of many false apprehensions, concerning the Deity, in it. The Second is, that the whole World is no Animal, but as it were, one Huge Plant or Vegetable, a Body endued with one Plastick or Spermatick Nature, branching out the whole, Orderly and Methodically, but without any Understanding or Sense. And this must needs be accounted a Form of Atheism, because it does not derive the Original of things in the Universe, from any clearly Intellectual Principle or Conscious Nature.

XXVII. Now this Form of Atheism which supposes the Whole World (there being nothing but Body in it) not to be an Animal, but only a Great Plant or Vegetable, having one Spermatick Form, or Plastick Nature, which without any Conscious Reason or Understanding, orders the whole, though it have some nearer Correspondence with that Hylozoick Form of Atheism before described, in that it does not suppose Nature to be a mere Fortuitous, but a kind of Artificial thing; yet it differs from it in this, that the Hylozoick supposing all Matter, as such, to have Life, Essentially belonging to it, must therefore needs to attribute to every part of Matter (or at least every Particular Totum, that is one by Continuity) a Distinct Plastick Life of its own, but acknowledge no one Common Life, as ruling over the whole Corporeal Universe, and consequently impute the Original of all things (as hath been already observed) to a certain Mixture of Chance, and Plastick or Methodical Nature, both together. Whereas the Cosmo-plastick Atheism, quite excludes Fortune or Chance, subjecting all things to the Regular and Orderly Fate, of one Plastick or Plantal Nature, ruling over the Whole. Thus that Philosopher before mentioned concludes,[44] that whether the World were an Animal (in the Stoical sence) or whether it were a mere Plant or Vegetable, Ab initio ejus usque ad exitum, quicquid facere, quicquid pati debeat, inclusum est. Ut in Semine, omnis futuri ratio hominis comprehensa est. Et Legem Barbæ & Canorum, nondum natus Infans habet. Totius enim Corporis, & sequentis, ætatis, in parvo occultoque, Lineamenta sunt. Sic Origo Mundi, non magis Solem & Lunam, & Vices Syderum, & Animalium Ortus, quàm quibus mutarentur Terrena, continuit. In his fuit Inundatio, quæ non secus quàm Hyems, quàm Æstas, Lege Mundi venit. Whatsoever, from the beginning to the end of it, it can either Do or Suffer, it was all at first included in the Nature of the whole; As in the Seed is conteined the Whole Delineation of the Future man, and the Embryo or Unborn infant, hath already in it, the Law of a Beard and Gray Hairs. The Lineaments of the whole Body, and of its following age, being there described as it were in a little and obscure Compendium. In like manner, the Original and First Rudiments of the World, conteined in them, not only the Sun and Moon, the Courses of the Stars, and the Generations of Animals, but also the Vicissitudes of all Terrestrial things. And every Deluge or Inundation of Water, comes to pass no less, by the Law of the World (its Spermatick or Plastick Nature) than Winter and Summer doth.


XXVIII. We do not deny it to be possible, but that some in all Ages might have entertained such an Atheistical Conceit as this, That the Original of this whole Mundane System was from one Artificial, Orderly and Methodical, but Sensless Nature lodged in the Matter; but we cannot trace the footsteps of this Doctrine any where so much as among the Stoicks, to which Sect Seneca, who speaks so waveringly and uncertainly in this point, (Whether the World were an Animal or a Plant) belonged. And indeed diverse learned men have suspected, that even the Zenonian and Heraclitick Deity it self, was no other than such a Plastick Nature or Spermatick Principle in the Universe, as in the Seeds of Vegetables and Animals, doth frame their respective Bodies, Orderly and Artificially. Nor can it be denied, but that there hath been just cause given for such a suspicion; forasmuch as the best of the Stoicks, sometimes confounding God with Nature, seemed to make him nothing but an Artificial Fire, Orderly and Methodically proceeding to Generation. And it was Familiar with them, as Laertius tells us, to call God σπερματικὸν λόγον τοῦ κόσμου, the Spermatick Reason or Form of the World. Nevertheless, because Zeno and others of the chief Stoical Doctors, did also many times assert, that there was φύσις νοερὰ καὶ λογικὴ, a Rational and Intellectual Nature (and therefore not a Plastick Principle only) in the Matter of the Universe; as likewise that the whole World was an Animal, and not a mere Plant: Therefore we incline rather, to excuse the generality of the first and most ancient Stoicks from the imputation of Atheism, and to account this Form of Atheism which we now speak of, to be but a certain Degeneracy from the right Heraclitick and Zenonian Cabala, which seemed to contain these two things in it; First, that there was an Animalish, Sentient and Intellectual Nature, or a Conscious Soul and Mind, that presided over the whole World, though lodged immediately in the Fiery Matter of it: Secondly, that this Sentient and Intellectual Nature, or Corporeal Soul and Mind of the Universe, did contain also under it, or within it, as the inferiour part of it, a certain Plastick Nature or Spermatick Principle which was properly the Fate of all things. For thus Heraclitus defined Fate λόγον τὸν διὰ τῆς οὐσίας τοῦ παντὸς διήκοντα, ἢ αἰθέριον σῶμα, σπέρμα τῆς τοῦ παντὸς γενέσεως, A certain Reason passing through the Substance of the whole World, or an Ethereal Body, that was the Seed of the Generation of the Universe. And Zeno's first Principle, as it is said to be an Intellectual Nature, so it is also said, to have contained in it πάντας τοὺς σπερματικοὺς λόγους, καθ᾽ οὓς ἕκαστα καθ᾽ εἱμαρμένην γίγνεται, All the Spermatick Reasons and forms, by which every thing is done according to Fate. However, though this seem to have been the genuine Doctrine, both of Heraclitus and Zeno; yet others of their Followers afterwards, divided these two things from one another, and taking only the latter of them, made the Plastick or Spermatick Nature, devoid of all Animality or Conscious Intellectuality, to be the highest Principle in the Universe. Thus Laertius tells us, that Boethus, an eminent and famous Stoical Doctor did plainly deny the World to be an Animal, that is, to have any Sentient, Conscious or Intellectual Nature presiding over it, and consequently must needs make it to be but Corpus Naturâ gubernante, ut Arbores, ut Sata, A Body govern <134> ed by a Plastick or Vegetative Nature, as Trees, Plants and Herbs. And as it is possible that other Stoicks and Heracliticks, might have done the like before Boethus, so it is very probable that he had after him many Followers; amongst which, as Plinius Secundus may be reckoned for one, so Seneca himself was not without a doubtful Tincture of this Atheism, as hath been already shewed. Wherefore this Form of Atheism, which supposes one Plastick or Spermatick Nature, one Plantal or Vegetative Life in the whole World, as the Highest Principle, may, for distinction sake, be called the Pseudo-Stoical or Stoical Atheism.

XXIX. Besides these Philosophick Atheists, whose several Forms we have now described, it cannot be doubted, but that there have been in all Ages many other Atheists that have not at all Philosophized, nor pretended to maintain any particular Atheistick System or Hypothesis, in a way of Reason, but were only led by a certain dull and sottish, though confident, Disbelief of whatsoever they could not either See or Feel: Which kind of Atheists may therefore well be accompted Enthusiastical or Fanatical Atheists. Though it be true in the mean time, that even all manner of Atheists whatsoever, and those of them who most of all pretend to Reason and Philosophy, may in some sence be justly stiled also both Enthusiasts and Fanaticks. Forasmuch as they are not led or carried on, into this way of Atheizing, by any clear Dictates of their Reason or Understanding, but only by an ὁρμὴ ἄλογος, a certain Blind and Irrational Impetus, they being as it were Inspired to it, by that lower Earthly Life and Nature, which is called in the Scripture-oracles τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ κόσμου, the Spirit of the World, or a Mundane Spirit, and is opposed to the τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ, the Spirit that is of God. For when the Apostle speaks after this manner, We have not received the Spirit of the World, but the Spirit that is of God, he seems to intimate thus much unto us; That as some men were Led and Inspired by a Divine Spirit, so others again are Inspired by a Mundane Spirit, by which is meant the Earthly Life. Now the former of these Two, are not to be accompted Enthusiasts, as the word is now commonly taken in a Bad Sence, because the Spirit of God is no Irrational thing, but either the very self same thing with Reason, or else such a thing as Aristotle (as it were Vaticinating concerning it) somewhere calls λόγου τι κρεῖττον, a certain Better and Diviner thing than Reason, and Plotinus ῥίζαν λόγου, the Root of Reason. But on the contrary, the Mundane Spirit, or Earthly Life, is Irrational Sottishness; and they who are Atheistically Inspired by it (how abhorrent soever they may otherwise seem to be from Enthusiasm and Revelations) are notwithstanding really no better, than a kind of Bewitched Enthusiasts and Blind Spiritati, that are wholly ridden and acted by a dark, narrow and captivated Principle of Life, and, to use their own Language, In-blown by it, and by it bereft, even in Speculative things, of all Free Reason and Understanding. Nay they are Fanaticks too, however that word seem to have a more peculiar respect to something of a Deity: All Atheists being that Blind Goddess, Natures Fanaticks.

XXX. We have described four several Forms of Atheism; First, <135> the Hylopathian or Anaximandrian, that derives all things from Dead and Stupid Matter in the way of Qualities and Forms, Generable and Corruptible: Secondly, the Atomical or Democritical, which doth the same thing in the way of Atoms and Figures: Thirdly, the Cosmoplastick or Stoical Atheism, which supposes one Plastick and Methodical but Sensless Nature, to preside over the whole Corporeal Universe: And lastly, the Hylozoick or Stratonical, that attributes to all Matter, as such, a certain Living and Energetick Nature, but devoid of all Animality, Sense and Consciousness. And as we do not meet with any other Forms or Schemes of Atheism, besides these Four, so we conceive that there cannot easily be any other excogitated or devised: and that upon these two following Considerations. First, because all Atheists are mere Corporealists, that is, acknowledge no other Substance besides Body or Matter. For as there was never any yet known, who asserting Incorporeal Substance, did deny a Deity; so neither can there be any reason, why he that admits the former should exclude the latter. Again, the same Dull and Earthly Disbelief or confounded Sottishness of Mind, which makes men deny a God, must needs incline them to deny all Incorporeal Substance also. Wherefore as the Physicians speak of a certain Disease or Madness, called Hydrophobia, the Symptome of those that have been bitten by a mad Dog, which makes them have a monstrous Antipathy to Water; so all Atheists are possessed with a certain kind of Madness, that may be called Pneumatophobia, that makes them have an irrational but desperate Abhorrence from Spirits or Incorporeal Substances, they being acted also, at the same time, with an Hylomania, whereby they Madly dote upon Matter, and Devoutly worship it, as the only Numen.

The Second Consideration is this, because as there are no Atheists but such as are mere Corporealists, so all Corporealists are not to be accompted Atheists neither: Those of them, who notwithstanding they make all things to be Matter, yet suppose an Intellectual Nature in that Matter, to preside over the Corporeal Universe, being in Reason and Charity to be exempted out of that number. And there have been always some, who though so strongly captivated under the power of gross Imagination, as that an Incorporeal God seemed to them, to be nothing but a God of Words (as some of them call it) a mere Empty Sound or Contradictious Expression, Something and Nothing put together; yet notwithstanding, they have been possessed with a firm belief and perswasion of a Deity, or that the System of the Universe depends upon one Perfect Understanding Being as the Head of it; and thereupon have concluded that ὕλη πῶς ἔχουσα, a certain kind of Body or Matter, is God. The grossest and most sottish of all which Corporeal Theists, seem to be those, who contend that God is only one particular Piece of Organized Matter, of Humane Form and Bigness, which endued with Perfect Reason and Understanding, exerciseth an Universal Dominion over all the rest. Which Hypothesis, however it hath been entertained by some of the Christian Profession, both in former and later times, yet it hath seemed very ridiculous, even to many of those Heathen Philosophers themselves, who were mere Corporealists, such as the Stoicks, who exploded it with a kind of Indig <136> nation, contending earnestly μὴ εἶναι θεὸν ἀνθρωπόμορφον, That God (though Corporeal) yet must not be conceived to be of any Humane Shape. And Xenophanes, an Ancient Philosophick Poet, expresseth the Childishness of this Conceit after this manner; Ἀλλ᾽ εἴτοι χεῖράς γ εἶχον βόες ἠὲ λέοντες, Ἢ γράψαι χείρεσσι, καὶ ἔργα τελεῖν ἅπερ ἄνδρες, Καί κε θεῶν ἰδίας ἔγραφον, καὶ σώματ' ἐποίεν Τοιαῦθ᾽ οἶόν περ καὶ αὐτοὶ δέμας εἶχον ὁμοῖον. If Oxen, Lions, Horses and Asses, had all of them a Sense of a Deity, and were able to Limn and Paint, there is no question to be made, but that each of these several Animals would paint God according to their respective Form & Likeness, and contend that he was of that shape & no other. But that other Corporeal Theism, seems to be of the two, rather more Generous and Gentile, which supposes the whole World to be one Animal, and God to be a certain Subtle and Etherial, but Intellectual Matter, pervading it as a Soul; which was the Doctrine of others before the Stoicks, τὸ πῦρ θεὸν ὑπειλήφατον Ἵππασός τε ὁ Μεταπόντινος καὶ ὁ Ἐφέσιος Ἡράκλειτος, Hippasus of Metapontus and Heraclitus the Ephesian supposed the Fiery and Etherial Matter of the World to be God. However, neither these Heracliticks and Stoicks, nor yet the other Anthropomorphites, are by us condemned for downright Atheists, but rather look'd upon as a sort of Ignorant, Childish and Unskilful Theists.

Wherefore we see that Atheists are now reduced into a narrow Compass, since none are concluded to be Atheists, but such as are mere Corporealists, and all Corporealists must not be condemned for Atheists neither, but only those of them who assert, that there is no Conscious Intellectual Nature, presiding over the whole Universe. For this is that which the Adepti in Atheism, of what Form soever, all agree in, That the first Principle of the Universe, is no Animalish, Sentient and Conscious Nature, but that all Animality, Sense and Consciousness, is a Secondary, Derivative and Accidental thing, Generable and Corruptible, arising out of particular Concretions of Matter organized and dissolved together with them.

XXXI. Now if the First Principle and Original of all things in the Universe, be thus supposed to be Body or Matter, devoid of all Animality, Sense and Consciousness, then it must of necessity be either perfectly Dead and Stupid, and without all manner of Life, or else endued with such a kind of Life only, as is by some called Plastick, Spermatical and Vegetative, by others the Life of Nature, or Natural Perception. And those Atheists who derive all things from Dead and Stupid Matter, must also needs do this, either in the way of Qualities and Forms, and these are the Anaximandrian Atheists; or else in the way of Atoms and Figures, which are the Democritical. But those who make Matter endued with a Plastick Life, to be the first Original of all things, must needs suppose either One such Plastick and Spermatick Life only, in the whole Mass of Matter or Corporeal Universe, which are the Stoical Atheists; or else all Matter as such to <137> have Life and an Energetick Nature belonging to it (though without any Animal Sense or Self-perception) and consequently all the Particular Parts of Matter, and every Totum by Continuity, to have a distinct Plastick Life of its own, which are the Stratonick Atheists. Wherefore there does not seem to be any room now left, for any other Form of Atheism, besides these Four, to thrust in.

And we think fit here again to inculcate, what hath been already intimated, That one Grand Difference amongst these several Forms of Atheism is this, That some of them attributing no Life at all to Matter, as such, nor indeed acknowledging any Plastick Life of Nature, distinct from the Animal, and supposing every thing whatsoever is in the world, besides ὕλη ἄποιος, the bare Substance of Matter considered as devoid of all Qualities, (that is, mere extended Bulk) to be Generated and Corrupted, consequently resolve, that all manner of Life whatsoever is Generable and Corruptible, or educible out of Nothing and reducible to Nothing again, and these are the Anaximandrian and Democritick Atheisms. But the other, which are the Stoical and Stratonical, do on the contrary suppose some Life to be Fundamental and Original, Essential and Substantial, Ingenerable and Incorruptible, as being a First Principle of things. Nevertheless, this not to be any Animal, Consciousand Self-perceptive Life, but a Plastick Life of Nature only; all Atheists still agreeing in those Two forementioned Things; First, that there is no other Substance in the World besides Body; Secondly, that all Animal Life, Sense and Self-perception, Conscious Understanding and Personality are Generated and Corrupted, successively Educed out of Nothing and Reduced into Nothing again.

XXXII. Indeed we are not ignorant, that some, who seem to be Well-wishers to Atheism, have talk'd sometimes of Sensitive and Rational Matter, as having a mind to suppose, Three several sorts of Matter in the Universe, Specifically different from one another, that were Originally such, and Self-existent from Eternity; namely Sensless, Sensitive and Rational: As if the Mundane System might be conceived to arise, from a certain Jumble of these Three several sorts of Matter, as it were scuffling together in the Dark, without a God, and so producing Brute Animals and Men. But as this is a mere Precarious Hypothesis, there being no imaginable accompt to be given, how there should come to be such an Essential Difference betwixt Matters, or why this Piece of Matter should be Sensitive, and that Rational, when another is altogether Sensless; so the Suggestors of it are but mere Novices in Atheism, and a kind of Bungling Well-wishers to it. First, because, according to this Hypothesis, no Life would be Produced or Destroyed in the successive Generations and Corruptions of Animals, but only Concreted and Secreted in them; and consequently all humane Personalities must be Eternal and Incorruptible: Which is all one, as to assert the Præ and Post-existence of all Souls, from Eternity to Eternity, a thing that all Genuine and Thorow-pac'd Atheists are in a manner as abhorrent from, as they are from the Deity it self. And Secondly, because there can be no imaginable Reason given by them, Why there might not be as well, a certain Divine Mat <138> ter perfectly Intellectual and Self-existent from Eternity, as a Sensitive and Rational Matter. And therefore such an Hypothesis as this, can never serve the turn of Atheists. But all those that are Masters of the Craft of Atheism, and thorowly Catechized or Initiated in the Dark Mysteries thereof, (as hath been already inculcated) do perfectly agree in this, That all Animal, Sentient and Conscious Life, all Souls and Minds, and consequently all humane Personalities, are Generated out of Matter, and Corrupted again into it, or rather Educed out of Nothing and Reduced into Nothing again.

We understand also that there are certain Canting Astrological Atheists, who would deduce all things from the Occult Qualities and Influences of the Stars, according to their different Conjunctions, Oppositions and Aspects, in a certain blind and unaccomptable manner. But these being Persons devoid of all manner of Sense, who neither so much as pretend to give an Accompt of these Stars, whether they be Animals or not, as also whence they derive their Original, (which if they did undertake to do Atheistically, they must needs resolve themselves at length into one or other of those Hypotheses already proposed) therefore, as we conceive, they deserve not the least Consideration. But we think fit here to observe, that such Devotoes to the heavenly Bodies, as look upon all the other Stars as petty Deities, but the Sun as the Supreme Deity and Monarch of the Universe, in the mean time conceiving it also to be Perfectly Intellectual, (which is in a manner the same with the Cleanthean Hypothesis) are not so much to be accompted Atheists, as Spurious, Paganical and Idolatrous Theists. And upon all these Considerations we conclude again, that there is no other Philosophick Form of Atheism, that can easily be devised, besides these Four mentioned, the Anaximandrian, the Democritical, the Stoical and the Stratonical.

XXXIII. Amongst which Forms of Atheism, there is yet another Difference to be observed, and accordingly another Distribution to be made of them. It being first premised, that all these forementioned Sorts of Atheists (if they will speak consistently and agreeably to their own Principles) must needs suppose all things to be one way or other Necessary. For though Epicurus introduced Contingent Liberty, yet it is well known, that he therein plainly contradicted his own Principles. And this indeed, was the First and Principal thing intended by us, in this whole Undertaking, to confute that False Hypothesis of the Mundane System, which makes all Actions and Events Necessary upon Atheistick Grounds, but especially in the Mechanick way. Wherefore in the next place we must observe, that though the Principles of all Atheists introduce Necessity, yet the Necessity of these Atheists is not one and the same, but of two different kinds; some of them supposing a Necessity of Dead and Stupid Matter, which is that which is commonly meant by ὑλικὴ ἀνάγκη, or Material Necessity, and is also called by Aristotle, an Absolute Necessity of things: Others the Necessity of a Plastick Life, which the same Aristotle calls an Hypothetical Necessity. For the Anaximandrian and Democritick Atheists do both of them assert a Material and Absolute Necessity of all things; one in the way of <139> Qualities, and the other of Motion and Mechanism: But the Stoical and Stratonical Atheists assert a Plastical and Hypothetical Necessity of things only.

Now one grand Difference betwixt these two Sorts of Atheisms and their Necessities lies in this, That the Former, though they make all things Necessary, yet they suppose them also to be Fortuitous; there being no Inconsistency between these Two. And the Sence of both the Anaximandrian and Democritick Atheisms seems to be thus described by Plato, πάντα κατὰ τύχην ἐξ ἀνάγκης συνεκεράσθη, All things were mingled together by Necessity according to Fortune. For that Nature from whence these Atheists derived all things, is at once both Necessary and Fortuitous. But the Plastick Atheisms suppose such a Necessary Nature, for the First Principle of things, as is not merely Fortuitous, but Regular, Orderly and Methodical; the Stoical excluding all Chance and Fortune universally, because they subject all things to One Plastick Nature ruling over the whole Universe, but the Stratonical doing it in part only, because they derive things, from a Mixture of Chance and Plastick Nature both together.

And thus we see that there is a Double Notion of Nature amongst Atheists, as well as Theists; which we cannot better express than in the words of Balbus the Stoick, personated by Cicero:[45] Alii Naturam censent esse Vim quandam sine Ratione, cientem motus in corporibus necessarios; Alii autem Vim participem Ordinis, tanquam Viâ progredientem. Cujus Solertiam, nulla Ars, nulla Manus, nemo Opifex, consequi potest imitando; Seminis enim Vim esse tantam, ut id quanquam perexiguum, nactumque sit Materiam, quâ ali augerique possit, ita fingat & efficiat, in suo quidque genere, partim ut per stirpes alantur suas, partim ut movere etiam possint, & ex se similia sui generare. Some by Nature mean a certain Force without Reason and Order, exciting Necessary Motions in Bodies; but others understand by it, such a Force as participating of Order, proceeds as it were Methodically. Whose exquisiteness, no Art, no Hand, no Opificer can reach to by Imitation. For the Force of Seed is such, that though the Bulk of it be very small, yet if it get convenient Matter for its nourishment and increase, it so Forms and Frames things in their several kinds, as that they can partly through their Stocks and Trunks be nourished, and partly Move themselves also, and Generate their like. And again; Sunt qui omnia Naturæ Nomine appellent, ut Epicurus; Sed nos, cum dicimus Naturâ constare administraríq; Mundum, non ita dicimus, ut Glebam, aut Fragmentum Lapidis, aut aliquid ejusmodi, nulla cohærendi Natura; Sed ut Arborem, ut Animalia, in quibus nulla Temeritas, sed Ordo apparet & Artis quædam Similitudo. There are some who call all things by the name of Nature, as Epicurus: But we, when we say that the World is administred by Nature, do not mean such a Nature as is in Clods of Earth and Pieces of Stone; but such as is in a Tree or Animal, in whose Constitution there is no Temerity, but Order and Similitude of Art. Now according to these Two different Notions of Nature, the Four forementioned Forms of Atheism may be again Dichotomized after this manner; into such as derive all things from a mere Fortuitous and Temerarious Nature, devoid of all Order <140> and Methodicalness; and such as deduce the Original of things from a certain Orderly, Regular and Artificial, though Sensless Nature in Matter. The former of which are the Anaximandrian and Democritick Atheisms, the latter the Stoical and Stratonical.

It hath been already observed, that those Atheisms that derive all things from a mere Fortutious Principle, as also suppose every thing besides ὕλη ἄποιος, the bare Substance of Matter or Extended Bulk, to be Generated and Corrupted; though they asserted the Eternity of Matter, yet they could not, agreeably to their own Hypothesis, maintain the Eternity and Incorruptibility of the World. And accordingly hereunto, both the Anaximandrian and Democritick Atheists did conclude the World to be γενόμενον καὶ φθαρτὸν, such as was at first Made and should be again Corrupted. And upon this accompt, Lucretius concerns himself highly herein, to prove both the Novity of the World, and also its Future Dissolution and Extinction, that Totum Nativum Mortali Corpore constat. But instead of the Worlds Eternity, these Two sorts of Atheists, introduced another Paradox, namely an ἀπειρία κόσμων, an Infinity of Worlds, and that not only Successive, in that space which this World of ours is conceived now to occupy, in respect of the Infinity of Past and Future Time, but also a Contemporary Infinity of Coexistent Worlds, at all times throughout Endless and Unbounded Space.

However it is certain, that some Persons Atheistically inclined, have been always apt to run out another way, and to suppose that the Frame of things, and System of the World, ever was from Eternity, and ever will be to Eternity, such as now it is, dispensed by a certain Orderly and Regular, but yet Sensless and Unknowing Nature. And it is Prophesied in Scripture, that such Atheists as these should especially abound in these latter days of ours; There shall come in the last days (ἐμπαῖκται) Atheistical Scoffers, walking after their own Lusts and saying,[46] Where is the promise of his Coming? For since the Fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were from the beginning of the Creation. Which latter words are spoken only according to the received Hypothesis of the Jews, the meaning of these Atheists being quite otherwise, that there was neither Creation nor Beginning of the World; but that things had continued, such as now they are, from all Eternity. As appears also from what the Apostle there adds by way of Confutation, That they were wilfully Ignorant of this, that by the word of God the Heavens were of old, and the Earth standing out of the Water and in the Water; and that as the World that then was, overflowing with Water perished, so the Heavens & Earth which now are, by the same word are kept in store, and reserved unto Fire against the day of Judgment & Perdition of Ungodly men. And it is evident, that some of these Atheists at this very day, march in the garb of Enthusiastical Religionists, acknowledging no more a God than a Christ without them, and Allegorizing the day of Judgment and future Conflagration, into a kind of seemingly Mystical, but really Atheistical Non-sence. These, if they did Philosophize, would resolve themselves into one or other of those Two Hypotheses before <141> mentioned; either that of One Plastick Orderly and Methodical, but Sensless Nature, ruling over the whole Universe; or else that of the Life of Matter, making one or other of these two Natures to be their only God or Numen. It being sufficiently agreeable to the Principles of both these Atheistick Hypotheses (and no others) to maintain the Worlds both Antè and Post-Eternity; yet so as that the latter of them, namely the Hylozoists, admitting a certain Mixture of Chance together with the Life of Matter, would suppose, that though the main Strokes of things, might be preserved the same, and some kind of constant Regularity always kept up in the World, yet that the whole Mundane System did not in all respects continue the same, from Eternity to Eternity, without any Variation. But as Strabo tells us[47] that Strato Physicus maintained, the Euxine Sea at first to have had no Outlet by Byzantium into the Mediterranean, but that by the continual running in of Rivers into it, causing it to overflow, there was in length of time a passage opened by the Propontis and Hellespont. As also that the Mediterranean Sea forced open that passage of the Herculean straits, being a continual Isthmus or neck of Land before; that many parts of the present Continent were heretofore Sea, as also much of the present Ocean habitable Land: So it cannot be doubted, but that the same Strato did likewise suppose such kind of Alternations and Vicissitudes as these, in all the greater parts of the Mundane System.

But the Stoical Atheists, who made the whole World to be dispensed by one Orderly and Plastick Nature, might very well, and agreeably to their own Hypothesis, maintain, besides the Worlds Eternity, one Constant and Invariable Course or Tenor of things in it, as Plinius Secundus doth, who, if he were any thing, seems to have been one of these Atheists; Mundum & hoc quod nomine alio Cœlum appellare libuit,[48] (cujus circumflexu reguntur cuncta) Numen esse, credi par est, Æternum, Immensum, neque Genitum neque Interiturum— Idem rerum Naturæ Opus, & rerum ipsa Natura; The World, and that which by another name is called the Heavens, by whose Circumgyration all things are governed, ought to be believed to be a Numen, Eternal, Immense, such as was never Made, and shall never be Destroyed. Where by the way, it may be again observed, that those Atheists who denied a God according to the True Notion of him, as a Conscious, Understanding Being, presiding over the whole World, did notwithstanding look upon either the World it self, or else a mere Sensless Plastick Nature in it, as a kind of Numen or Deity, they supposing it to be Ingenerable and Incorruptible. Which same Pliny, as upon the grounds of the Stoical Atheism, he maintained against the Anaximandrians and Democriticks the Worlds Eternity and Incorruptibility; so did he likewise in way of Opposition to that ἀπειρία κόσμων, that Infinity of Worlds of theirs, assert that there was but One World, and that Finite. In like manner we read concerning that Famous Stoick Boethus, whom Laertius affirms, to have denied the World to be an Animal (which according to the language and sence of those times was all one as to deny a God) that he also maintained, contrary to the received Doctrine of the Stoicks, the Worlds Ante-Eternity and Incorruptibllity, Philo in his Treatise περὶ ἀφθαρσίας κόσμου, or the Incorruptibility of the World testifying the same of him.


Nevertheless it seems, that some of these Stoical Atheists did also agree with the Generality of the other Stoical Theists, in supposing a successive Infinity of Worlds Generated and Corrupted, by reason of intervening Periodical Conflagrations; though all dispensed by such a Stupid and Sensless Nature as governs Plants and Trees. For thus much we gather from those words of Seneca before cited, where describing this Atheistical Hypothesis, he tells us, that though the World were a Plant, that is, governed by a Vegetative or Plastick Nature, without any Animality, yet notwithstanding, ab initio ejus usque ad exitum, &c. it had both a Beginning and will have an End, and from its Beginning to its End, all was dispensed by a kind of Regular Law, even its Successive Conflagrations too, as well as those Inundations or Deluges which have sometimes hapned. Which yet they understood after such a manner, as that in these several Revolutions and Successive Circuits or Periods of Worlds, all things should be ἀπαράλλακτα, exactly alike, to what had been Infinitely before, and should be again Infinitely afterwards. Of which more elsewhere.

XXXIV. This Quadripartite Atheism which we have now represented, is the Kingdom of Darkness Divided, or Labouring with an Intestine Seditious War in its own Bowels, and thereby destroying it self. Insomuch that we might well save our selves the labour of any further Confutation of Atheism, merely by committing these several Forms of Atheism together, and dashing them one against another, they opposing and contradicting each other, no less than they do Theism it self. For first, those two Pairs of Atheisms, on the one hand the Anaximandrian and Democritick, on the other the Stoical and Stratonical, do absolutely destroy each other; the Former of them supposing the First Principle of all things to be Stupid Matter devoid of all manner of Life, and contending that all Life as well as other Qualities is Generable and Corruptible, or a mere Accidental thing, and looking upon the Plastick Life of Nature as a Figment or Phantastick Capritio, a thing almost as formidable and altogether as impossible as a Deity; the other on the contrary, founding all upon this Principle, That there is a Life and Natural Perception Essential to Matter, Ingenerable and Incorruptible, and contending it to be utterly impossible to give any accompt of the Phænomena of the World, the Original of Motion, the Orderly Frame and Disposition of things, and the Nature of Animals, without this Fundamental Life of Nature.

Again, the Single Atheisms belonging to each of these several Pairs, quarrel as much also between themselves. For the Democritick Atheism explodes the Anaximandrian Qualities and Forms, demonstrating that the Natural Production of such Entities out of Nothing, and the Corruption of them again into Nothing, is of the two, rather more impossible, than a Divine Creation and Annihilation. And on the other side, the Anaximandrian Atheist plainly discovers, that when the Democriticks and Atomicks have spent all their Fury against these Qualities and Forms, and done what they can to salve the Phænomena of Nature, without them another way, themselves do notwithstanding <143> like drunken men reel and stagger back again into them, and are unavoidably necessitated at last, to take up their Sanctuary in them.

In like manner the Stoical and Stratonical Atheists, may as effectually undo and confute each other; the Former of them urging against the Latter, That besides that Prodigious Absurdity, of making every Atom of Sensless Matter Infallibly Wise or Omniscient, without any Consciousness, there can be no reason at all given by the Hylozoists, why the Matter of the whole Universe, might not as well Conspire and Confederate together into One, as all the single Atoms that compound the Body of any Animal or Man, or why one Conscious Life might not as well result from the Totum of the former, as of the latter; by which means the whole World would become an Animal or God. Again, the Latter contending, that the Stoical or Cosmo-plastick Atheist can pretend no reason, why the whole World might not have one Sentient and Rational, as well as one Plastick Soul in it, that is, as well be an Animal as a Plant. Moreover, that the Sensitive Souls of Brute Animals, and the Rational Souls of Men, could never possibly emerge out of one Single, Plastick and Vegetative Soul in the whole Universe. And lastly, that it is altogether as impossible, that the whole World should have Life in it, and yet none of its Parts have any Life of their own, as that the whole World should be White or Black, and yet no part of it have any Whiteness or Blackness at all in it. And therefore that the Stoical Atheists, as well as the Stoical Theists, do both alike deny Incorporeal Substance but in words only, whilst they really admit the thing it self; because One and the same Life, ruling over all the distant parts of the Corporeal Universe, must needs be an Incorporeal Substance, it being all in the Whole, and all acting upon every part, and yet none of it in any part by it self; for then it would be many and not one. From all which it may be concluded, That Atheism is a certain strange kind of Monster, with Four Heads, that are all of them perpetually biting, tearing and devouring one another.

Now though these several Forms of Atheism do mutually destroy each other, and none of them be really Considerable or Formidable in it self, as to any strength of Reason which it hath; yet as they are compared together among themselves; so some of them may be more considerable than the rest. For first, as the Qualities and Forms of the Anaximandrian Atheist, supposed to be really distinct from the Substances, are things unintelligible in themselves; so he cannot, with any colour or pretence of Reason, maintain the Natural Production of them out of Nothing, and the Reduction of them again into Nothing, and yet withstand a Divine Creation and Annihilation, as an Impossibility. Moreover the Anaximandrian Atheism, is as it were swallowed up into the Democritick, and further improved in it, this latter carrying on the same Design, with more seeming Artifice, greater Plausibility of Wit, and a more pompous Show of Something where indeed there is Nothing. Upon which accompt, it hath for many Ages past beaten the Anaximan <144> drian Atheism, in a manner quite off the Stage, and reigned there alone. So that the Democritick or Atomick Atheism, seems to be much more considerable of the Two, than the Anaximandrian or Hylopathian.

Again; as for the two other Forms of Atheism, if there were any Life at all in Matter, as the First and Immediate Recipient of it, then in reason this must needs be supposed to be after the same manner in it, that all other Corporeal Qualities are in Bodies, so as to be Divisible together with it, and some of it be in every part of the Matter; which is according to the Hypothesis of the Hylozoists: Whereas on the contrary the Stoical Atheists supposing one Life only in the whole Mass of Matter, after such a manner, as that none of the parts of it by themselves should have any Life of their own, do thereby no less than the Stoical Theists, make this Life of theirs to be no Corporeal Quality or Form, but an Incorporeal Substance; which is to contradict their own Hypothesis. From whence we may conclude, that the Cosmoplastick or Stoical Atheism, is of the two, less considerable than the Hylozoick or Stratonical.

Wherefore amongst these Four Forms of Atheism, that have been propounded, these Two, the Atomick or Democritical, and the Hylozoick or Stratonical are the Chief. The former of which, namely the Democritick Atheism, admitting a true Notion of Body, that (according to the Doctrine of the first and most Ancient Atomists) it is nothing but Resisting Bulk, devoid of all manner of Life; yet because it takes for granted, that there is no other Substance in the World besides Body, does therefore conclude, that all Life and Understanding in Animals and Men, is Generated out of Dead and Stupid Matter, though not as Qualities and Forms (which is the Anaximandrian way) but as resulting from the Contextures of Atoms, or some peculiar Composition of Magnitudes, Figures, Sites and Motions, and consequently that they are themselves really nothing else but Local Motion and Mechanism: Which is a thing, that sometime since, was very Pertinently and Judiciously both observed and perstringed, by the Learn[49] ed Author of the Exercitatio Epistolica, now a Reverend Bishop. But the latter, namely the Hylozoick, though truly acknowledging on the contrary, that Life, Cogitation and Understanding are Entities really distinct from Local Motion and Mechanism, and that therefore they cannot be Generated out of Dead and Stupid Matter, but must needs be somewhere in the World, Originally, Essentially, and Fundamentally; yet because they take it also for granted, that there is no other Substance besides Matter, do thereupon adulterate the Notion of Matter or Body, blending and confounding it with Life, as making them but two Inadequate Conceptions of Substance, and concluding that all Matter and Substance as such, hath Life and Perception or Understanding Natural and Inconscious, Essentially belonging to it; and that Sense and Conscious Reason or Understanding in Animals arises only from the Accidental Modification of this Fundamental Life of Matter by Organization.


We conclude therefore, that if these Two Atheistick Hypotheses, which are found to be the most Considerable, be once Confuted, the Reality of all Atheism will be ipso facto Confuted. There being indeed nothing more requisite, to a thorough Confutation of Atheism, than the proving of these Two things; First, that Life and Understanding are not Essential to Matter as such; and Secondly, that they can never possibly rise out of any Mixture or Modification of Dead and Stupid Matter whatsoever. The reason of which Assertion is, because all Atheists, as was before observed, are mere Corporealists, of which there can be but these Two Sorts; Either such as make Life to be Essential to Matter, and therefore to be Ingenerable and Incorruptible; or else such as suppose Life and Every thing besides ὕλη ἄποιος, the Bare Substance of Matter, or Extended Bulk to be merely Accidental, Generable or Corruptible, as rising out of some Mixture or Modification of it. And as the Proving of those Two Things will overthrow all Atheism, so it will likewise lay a clear Foundation, for the demonstrating of a Deity distinct from the Corporeal World.

XXXV. Now that Life and Perception or Understanding, should be Essential to Matter as such, or that all Sensless Matter should be Perfectly and Infallibly wise (though without Consciousness) as to all its own Congruities and Capabilities, which is the Doctrine of the Hylozoists; This I say, is an Hypothesis so Prodigiously Paradoxical, and so Outragiously Wild, as that very few men ever could have Atheistick Faith enough, to swallow it down and digest it. Wherefore this Hylozoick Atheism hath been very obscure ever since its first Emersion, and hath found so few Fautors and Abettors, that it hath look'd like a forlorn and deserted thing. Neither indeed are there any Publick Monuments at all extant, in which it is avowedly Maintained, Stated and Reduced into any System. Insomuch that we should not have taken any notice of it at this time, as a Particular Form of Atheism, nor have Conjured it up out of its Grave, had we not Understood, that Strato's ghost had begun to walk of late, and that among some Well-wishers to Atheism, despairing in a manner of the Atomick Form, this Hylozoick Hypothesis, began already to be look'd upon, as the Rising Sun of Atheism,---___Et tanquam Spes altera Trojæ, it seeming to smile upon them, and flatter them at a distance, with some fairer hopes of supporting that Ruinous and Desperate Cause.

Whereas on the Contrary, that other Atomick Atheism, as it insists upon a True Notion of Body, that it is nothing but Resisting Bulk; by which means we, joyning issue thereupon, shall be fairly conducted on to a clear Decision of this present Controversie, as likewise to the disintangling of many other points of Philosophy; so it is that which hath filled the World with the Noise of it, for Two Thousand years past; that concerning which several Volumes have been formerly written, in which it hath been stated and brought into a kind of System; and which hath of late obteined a Resurrection amongst us, together with the Atomick Physiology, and been recommended to <146> the World anew, under a Specious Shew of Wit and profound Philosophy.

Wherefore as we could not here insist upon both these Forms of Atheism together, because that would have been to confound the Language of Atheists, and to have made them like the Cadmean Offspring, to do immediate Execution upon themselves; so we were in all reason obliged to make our First and Principal Assault upon the Atomick Atheism, as being the only considerable, upon this accompt, because it is that alone which publickly confronts the World, and like that proud Uncircumcised Philistine, openly defies the Hosts of the Living God. Intending nevertheless in the Close of this whole Discourse, (that is, the Last Book) where we are to determine the Right Intellectual System of the Universe, and to assert an Incorporeal Deity, to demonstrate, That Life, Cogitation and Understanding do not Essentially belong to Matter, and all Substance as such, but are the Peculiar Attributes and Characteristicks of Substance Incorporeal.

XXXVI. However since we have now started these Several Forms of Atheism, we shall not in the mean time neglect any of them neither. For in the Answer to the Second Atheistick Ground, we shall Confute them all together at once, as agreeing in this One Fundamental Principle, That the Original of all things in the Universe is Sensless Matter, or Matter devoid of all Animality or Conscious Life. In the Reply to the Fourth Atheistick Argumentation, we shall briefly hint the Grounds of Reason, from which Incorporeal Substance is Demonstrated. In the Examination of the Fifth, we shall confute the Anaximandrian Atheism there propounded, which is as it were, the First Sciography, and Rude Delineation of Atheism. And in the Confutation of the Sixth, we shall shew, how the ancient Atomick Atheists, did preventively overtherthrow the Foundation of Hylozoism. Besides all which, in order to a Fuller and more Thorough Confutation, both of the Cosmo-plastick and Hylozoick Atheisms, we shall in this very place take occasion to insist largely upon the Plastick life of Nature, giving in the First Place, a True Accompt of it; and then afterwards shewing, how grosly it is misunderstood, and the Pretence of it abused by the Asserters of both these Atheistick Hypotheses. The Heads of which Larger Digression, because they could not be so conveniently inserted in the Contents of the Chapter, shall be represented to the Readers View, at the End of it.

[1] De Rep. l. 5.

[2] De Nat. De. l. 1.

[3] De Civ. Dei l. 6. c. 10.

[4] Acad. Quæst. l. 4.

[5] Advers. Colotem.

[6] VI. Epidem. Sect. 5.

[7] Al. lect. καὶ οὑ μαθοῦσα τα δέοντα ποιε͂ιν.

[8] De Princip. aut Carnibus. Sect. 1.

[9] In Sophist.

[10] Lib. 10.

[11] p. 28. Ed. Ser.

[12] p. 888. Ed. Sec.

[13] Lib. 1. c. 3.

[14] Arist. Met. l. 1. c. 3.

[15] Met. l. 1. c. 3.

[16] Arist. de An. Lib. 1. c. 2.

[17] Arist. Met. l. 14. c. 10.

[18] In Theat.

[19] Lib. 14. c. 6.

[20] Nat. Ausc. l. 1. c. 2.

[21] L. 3. c. 1.

[22] L. 2. c. 1.

[23] Metaph. l. 1. c. 3.

[24] Metaph. l. 1. c. 7.

[25] L. 1. c. 10.

[26] Timæ. p. 41{,}. Ser.

[27] Met. l. 1. c. 3.

[28] P. 573.

[29] De Gen. & Cor. Lib. 2. c. 6.

[30] De An. l. 1. c. 8.

[31] Lib. 3. c. 4.

[32] Clem. Prot. p. 43.

[33] Lib. 1. c. 3.

[34] Ev. Præp. Lib. 1. p. 15. Ed. Steph.

[35] Phys. L. 1. c. 4.

[36] L. 14. c. 4.

[37] Pla. Ph. l. 5. c. 19

[38] E. P. l. 1.

[39] Symp. lib. 8. Q. 8.

[40] De Nat. D. Lib. 1.

[41] Pla. Apol. Socr.

[42] Plat. Apol.

[43] Nat Quæst. l. 3. Sect. 29.

[44] Nat. Q. l. 3. c. 29.

[45] De Nat. De. l. 2.

[46] 2 Pet. 3.

[47] Strab. l. 1.

[48] Nat. H. l. 2. c. 1.

[49] Sect. 4. c. 3.

Cite as: Ralph Cudworth, The True Intellectual System of the Universe: The First Part (1678), pp. 101-146,, accessed 2023-12-01.