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[Conclusion Of Chapter III: Cudworth's Digression On Plastic Nature.]

XXXVII. For we think fit here to observe, that neither the Cosmo-plastick or Stoical, nor the Hylozoick or Stratonical Atheists are therefore condemned by us, because they suppose such a thing, as a Plastick Nature, or Life distinct from the Animal; albeit this be not only exploded, as an Absolute Non-entity, by the Atomick Atheists, who might possibly be afraid of it, as that which approached too near to a Deity, or else would hazard the introducing of it; but also utterly discarded by some Professed Theists of later times; who might notwithstanding have an Undiscerned Tang of the Mechanick <147> Atheism, hanging about them, in that their so confident rejecting of all Final and Intending Causality in Nature, and admitting of no other Causes of things, as Philosophical, save the Material and Mechanical only. This being really to banish all Mental, and consequently Divine Causality, quite out of the World; and to make the whole World to be nothing else, but a mere Heap of Dust, Fortuitously agitated, or a Dead Cadaverous thing, that hath no Signatures of Mind and Understanding, Counsel and Wisdom at all upon it; nor indeed any other Vitality acting in it, than only the Production of a certain Quantity of Local Motion and the Conservation of it according to some General Laws; which things the Democritick Atheists take for granted, would all be as they are, though there were no God. And thus[1] Aristotle describes this kind of Philosophy, That it made the whole World to consist, ἐκ σωμάτων μόνον, καὶ μονάδων τάξιν μὲν ἐχόντων, ἀψύχων δὲ πάμπαν, of nothing but Bodies and Monads (that is, Atoms or Small Particles of Matter) only ranged and disposed together into such an order, but altogether Dead and Inanimate.

2. For unless there be such a thing admitted as a Plastick Nature, that acts ἕνεκά του, for the sake of something, and in order to Ends, Regularly, Artificially and Methodically, it seems that one or other of these Two Things must be concluded, That Either in the Efformation and Organization of the Bodies of Animals, as well as the other Phenomena, every thing comes to pass Fortuitously, and happens to be as it is, without the Guidance and Direction of any Mind or Understanding; Or else, that God himself doth all Immediately, and as it were with his own Hands, Form the Body of every Gnat and Fly, Insect and Mite, as of other Animals in Generations, all whose Members have so much of Contrivance in them, that Galen professed he could never enough admire that Artifice which was in the Leg of a Fly, (and yet he would have admired the Wisdom of Nature more, had he been but acquainted with the Use of Microscopes.) I say, upon supposition of no Plastick Nature, one or other of these Two things must be concluded; because it is not conceived by any, that the things of Nature are all thus administred, with such exact Regularity and Constancy every where, merely by the Wisdom, Providence and Efficiency, of those Inferior Spirits, Dæmons or Angels. As also, though it be true that the Works of Nature are dispensed by a Divine Law and Command, yet this is not to be understood in a Vulgar Sence, as if they were all effected by the mere Force of a Verbal Law or Outward Command, because Inanimate things are not Commandable nor Governable by such a Law; and therefore besides the Divine Will and Pleasure, there must needs be some other Immediate Agent and Executioner provided, for the producing of every Effect; since not so much as a Stone or other Heavy Body, could at any time fall downward, merely by the Force of a Verbal Law, without any other Efficient Cause; but either God himself must immediately impel it, or else there must be some other subordinate Cause in Nature for that Motion. Wherefore the Divine Law and Command, by which the things of Nature are administred, must be conceived to be the Real Appointment of some Energetick, Effectual and Operative Cause for the Production of every Effect.

<148> 3. Now to assert the Former of these Two things, that all the Effects of Nature come to pass by Material and Mechanical Necessity, or the mere Fortuitous Motion of Matter, without any Guidance or Direction, is a thing no less Irrational than it is Impious and Atheistical. Not only because it is utterly Unconceivable and Impossible, that such Infinite Regularity and Artificialness, as is every where throughout the whole World, should constantly result out of the Fortuitous Motion of Matter, but also because there are many such Particular Phænomena in Nature, as do plainly transcend the Powers of Mechanism, of which therefore no Sufficient Mechanical Reasons can be devised, as the Motion of Respiration in Animals; as there are also other Phænomena that are perfectly Cross to the Laws of Mechanism; as for Example, that of the Distant Poles of the Æquator and Ecliptick, which we shall insist upon afterward. Of both which kinds, there have been other Instances proposed, by my Learned Friend Dr. More in his Enchiridion Metaphysicum, and very ingeniously improved by him to this very purpose, namely to Evince that there is something in Nature besides Mechanism, and consequently Substance Incorporeal.

Moreover those Theists, who Philosophize after this manner, by resolving all the Corporeal Phænomena into Fortuitous Mechanism, or the Necessary and Unguided Motion of Matter, make God to be nothing else in the World, but an Idle Spectator of the Various Results of the Fortuitous and Necessary Motions of Bodies; and render his Wisdom altogether Useless and Insignificant, as being a thing wholly Inclosed and shut up within his own breast, and not at all acting abroad upon any thing without him.

Furthermore all such Mechanists as these, whether Theists or Atheists, do, according to that Judicious Censure passed by Aristotle[2] long since upon Democritus, but substitute as it were χεῖρα ξυλίνην τέκτονος, a Carpenters or Artificers Wooden Hand, moved by Strings and Wires, in stead of a Living Hand. They make a kind of Dead and Wooden World, as it were a Carved Statue, that hath nothing neither Vital nor Magical at all in it. Whereas to those who are Considerative, it will plainly appear, that there is a Mixture of Life or Plastick Nature together with Mechanism, which runs through the whole Corporeal Universe.

And whereas it is pretended, not only that all Corporeal Phænomena may be sufficiently salved Mechanically, without any Final, Intending and Directive Causality, but also that all other Reasons of things in Nature, besides the Material and Mechanical, are altogether Unphilosophical, the same Aristotle ingeniously exposes the Ridiculousness of this Pretence after this manner; telling us, That it is just as if a Carpenter, Joyner or Carver should give this accompt, as the only Satisfactory, of any Artificial Fabrick or Piece of Carved Imagery, ὅτι ἐμπεσόντος τοῦ ὀργάνου τὸ μὲν κοῖλον ἐγίνετο, τό δὲ ἐπίπεδον, that because the Instruments, Axes and Hatchets, Plains and Chissels, happened to <149> fall so and so upon the Timber, cutting it here and there, that therefore it was hollow in one place, and plain in another, and the like, and by that means the whole came to be of such a Form. For is it not altogether as Absurd and Ridiculous, for men to undertake to give an accompt of the Formation and Organization of the Bodies of Animals, by mere Fortuitous Mechanism, without any Final or Intending Causality, as why there was an Heart here and Brains there, and why the Heart had so many and such different Valves in the Entrance and Outlet of its Ventricles, and why all the other Organick Parts, Veins and Arteries, Nerves and Muscles, Bones and Cartilages, with the Joints and Members, were of such a Form? Because forsooth, the Fluid Matter of the Seed happened to move so and so, in several places, and thereby to cause all those Differences, which are also divers in different Animals; all being the Necessary Result of a certain Quantity of Motion at first indifferently impressed, upon the small Particles of the Matter of this Universe turned round in a Vortex. But as the same Aristotle adds, no Carpenter or Artificer is so simple, as to give such an Accompt as this, and think it satisfactory, but he will rather declare, that himself directed the Motion of the Instruments, after such a manner, and in order to such Ends:[3] βέλτιον ὁ τέκτων, οὐ γὰρ ἰκανὸν ἔσται αὐτῷ, τὸ τοσοῦτον εἰπεῖν, ὅτι ἐμπεσόντος τοῦ ὀργάνου, &c. ἀλλὰ διότι τὴν πληγὴν ἐποιήσατο τοιαύτην, καὶ τίνος ἕνεκα, ἐρεῖ τὴν αἰτίαν, ὅπως τοιόνδε ἢ τοιονδήποτε τὴν μορφήν γένηται. A Carpenter would give a better account than so, for he would not think it sufficient to say, that the Fabrick came to be of such a form, because the Instruments happened to fall so and so, but he will tell you that it was because himself made such strokes, and that he directed the Instruments and determined their motion after such a manner, to this End that he might make the Whole a Fabrick fit and useful for such purposes. And this is to assign the Final Cause. And certainly there is scarcely any man in his Wits, that will not acknowledge the Reason of the different Valves in the Heart, from the apparent Usefulness of them, according to those particular Structures of theirs, to be more Satisfactory, than any which can be brought from mere Fortuitous Mechanism, or the Unguided Motion of the Seminal Matter.

4. And as for the Latter Part of the Disjunction, That every thing in Nature should be done Immediately by God himself; this, as according to Vulgar Apprehension, it would render Divine Providence Operose, Sollicitous and Distractious, and thereby make the Belief of it to be entertained with greater difficulty, and give advantage to Atheists; so in the Judgment of the Writer De Mundo, it is not so Decorous in respect of God neither, that he should αὐτουργεῖν ἅπαντα, set his own Hand, as it were, to every Work, and immediately do all the Meanest and Triflingest things himself Drudgingly, without making use of any Inferior and Subordinate Instruments.[4] Εἴπερ ἄσεμνον ἦν αὐτὸν δοκεῖν Ξέρξην αὐτουργεῖν ἅπαντα, καὶ διατελεῖν ἅ βούλοιτο, καὶ ἐφιστάμενον διοικεῖν, πολὺ μᾶλλον ἀπρεπές ἂν ἔιῃ τῷ θεῷ. Σεμνότερον δὲ καὶ πρεπωδέστερον τὴν δύναμιν αὐτοῦ, διὰ τοῦ σύμπαντος κόσμου διηκούσαν, ἥλιον τε κινεῖν καὶ σελήνην, &c. If it were not congruous in respect of the State & Majesty of Xerxes the Great King of Persia that he should condescend to do all the meanest Offices him <150> self; much less can this be thought decorous in respect of God. But it seems far more August, and becoming of the Divine Majesty, that a certain Power and Vertue, derived from him, and passing through the Universe, should move the Sun and Moon, and be the Immediate Cause of those lower things done here upon Earth.

Moreover it seems not so agreeable to Reason neither, that Nature as a Distinct thing from the Deity, should be quite Superseded or made to Signifie Nothing, God himself doing all things Immediately and Miraculously; from whence it would follow also, that they are all done either Forcibly and Violently, or else Artificially only, and none of them by any Inward Principle of their own.

Lastly; This Opinion is further Confuted, by that Slow and Gradual Process that is in the Generations of things, which would seem to be but a Vain and Idle Pomp, or a Trifling Formality, if the Agent were Omnipotent: as also by those ἁμαρτήματα (as Aristotle calls them) those Errors and Bungles which are committed, when the Matter is Inept and Contumacious; which argue the Agent not to be Irresistible, and that Nature is such a thing, as is not altogether uncapable (as well as Humane Art) of being sometimes frustrated and disappointed, by the Indisposition of Matter. Whereas an Omnipotent Agent, as it could dispatch its work in a Moment, so it would always do it Infallibly and Irresistibly; no Ineptitude or Stubbornness of Matter, being ever able to hinder such a one, or make him Bungle or Fumble in any thing.

5. Wherefore since neither all things are produced Fortuitously, or by the Unguided Mechanism of Matter, nor God himself may reasonably be thought to do all things Immediately and Miraculously; it may well be concluded, that there is a Plastick Nature under him, which as an Inferior and Subordinate Instrument, doth Drudgingly Execute that Part of his Providence, which consists in the Regular and Orderly Motion of Matter: yet so as that there is also besides this, a Higher Providence to be acknowledged, which presiding over it, doth often supply the Defects of it, and sometimes Overrule it; forasmuch as this Plastick Nature cannot act Electively nor with Discretion. And by this means the Wisdom of God will not be shut up nor concluded wholly within his own Breast, but will display it self abroad, and print its Stamps and Signatures every where throughout the World; so that God, as Plato (after Orpheus) speaks, will be not only the Beginning and End, but also the Middle of all things, they being as much to be ascribed to his Causality, as if himself had done them all Immediately, without the concurrent Instrumentality of any Subordinate Natural Cause. Notwithstanding which, in this way it will appear also to Humane Reason, that all things are Disposed and Ordered by the Deity, without any Sollicitous Care or Distractious Providence.

And indeed those Mechanick Theists, who rejecting a Plastick Nature, affect to concern the Deity as little as is possible in Mundane Affairs, either for fear of debasing him and bringing him down to <151> too mean Offices, or else of subjecting him to Sollicitous Encumberment, and for that Cause would have God to contribute nothing more to the Mundane System and Oeconomy, than only the First Impressing of a certain Quantity of Motion, upon the Matter, and the After-conserving of it, according to some General Laws: These men (I say) seem not very well to understand themselves in this. Forasmuch as they must of necessity, ether {sic} suppose these their Laws of Motion to execute themselves, or else be forced perpetually to concern the Deity in the Immediate Motion of every Atom of Matter throughout the Universe, in order to the Execution and Observation of them. The Former of which being a Thing plainly Absurd and Ridiculous, and the Latter that, which these Philosophers themselves are extremely abhorrent from, we cannot make any other Conclusion than this, That they do but unskilfully and unawares establish that very Thing which in words they oppose; and that their Laws of Nature concerning Motion, are Really nothing else, but a Plastick Nature, acting upon the Matter of the whole Corporeal Universe, both Maintaining the Same Quantity of Motion always in it, and also Dispensing it (by Transferring it out of one Body into another) according to such Laws, Fatally Imprest upon it. Now if there be a Plastick Nature, that governs the Motion of Matter, every where according to Laws, there can be no Reason given, why the same might not also extend further, to the Regular Disposal of that Matter, in the Formation of Plants and Animals and other things, in order to that Apt Coherent Frame and Harmony of the whole Universe.

6. And as this Plastick Nature is a thing which seems to be in it self most Reasonable, so hath it also had the Suffrage of the best Philosophers in all Ages. For First, it is well known, that Aristotle concerns himself in nothing more zealously than this, That Mundane things are not Effected, merely by the Necessary and Unguided Motion of Matter, or by Fortuitous Mechanism, but by such a Nature as acts Regularly and Artificially for Ends; yet so as that this Nature is not the Highest Principle neither, or the Supreme Numen, but Subordinate to a Perfect Mind or Intellect, he affirming, that νοῦς αἴτιον καὶ φύσις τοῦδε τοῦ παντὸς, That Mind together with Nature was the Cause of this Universe; and that Heaven and Earth, Plants and Animals were framed by them both; that is, by Mind as the Principal and Directive Cause, but by Nature as a Subservient or Executive Instrument: and elsewhere joyning in like manner God and Nature both together, as when he concludes, That God and Nature do nothing in Vain.

Neither was Aristotle the First Broacher or Inventor of this Doctrine, Plato before him having plainly asserted the same. For in a Passage already cited, he affirms that Nature together with Reason, and according to it, orders all things; thereby making Nature, as a Distinct thing from the Deity, to be a Subordinate Cause under the Reason and Wisdom of it. And elsewhere he resolves, that there are ἔμφρονος φύσεως αἰτίαι, αῖς ὑπηρετούσαις ὁ θεὸς χρῆται, Certain Causes of a Wise and Artificial Nature, which the Deity uses as Subservient to it self; as also, that there are ξυναίτια οἶς ξυνεργοῖς θεὸς χρῆται, Con-causes which God makes use of, as Subordinately Cooperative with himself.

<152> Moreover before Plato, Empedocles Philosophized also in the same manner, when supposing Two Worlds, the one Archetypal, the other Extypal, he made φιλία and νεῖκος, Friendship & Discord, to be the ἀρχὴ δραστήριος, the Active Principle and Immediate Operator in this Lower World. He not understanding thereby, as Plutarch and some others have conceited, Two Substantial Principles in the World, the one of Good the other of Evil, but only a Plastick Nature, as Aristotle in sundry places intimates: which he called by that name, partly because he apprehended that the Result and Upshot of Nature in all Generations and Corruptions, amounted to nothing more than Mixtures and Separations, or Concretion and Secretion of Preexistent things, and partly because this Plastick Nature is that which doth reconcile the Contrarieties and Enmities of Particular things, and bring them into one General Harmony in the Whole. Which latter is a Notion that Plotinus, describing this very Seminary Reason or Plastick Nature of the World, (though taking it in something a larger sence, than we do in this place) doth ingeniously pursue after this manner;[5] ἀντιθεὶς δὲ ἀλλήλοις τὰ μέρη, καὶ ποιήσας ἐνδεᾶ, πολέμου καὶ μάχης σύστασιν καὶ γένεσιν εἰργάσατο. καὶ οὕτως ἐστὶν εἷς πᾶς; εἰ μὴ ἓν εἴη. γενόμενον γὰρ ἑαυτῷ τοῖς μέρεσι πολέμιον, οὕτως ἕν ἐστι καὶ φίλον, ὥσπερ ἂν εἰ δράματος λόγος εῖς, ὁ τοῦ δράματος, ἔχων ἐν αὐτῷ πολλὰς μάχας. τὸ μὲν οὖν δράμα τὰ μεμαχημένα, οἷον εἰς μίαν ἁρμονίαν, ἄγει σύμφωνον.—ὥς τε μᾶλλον ἄν τις τῇ ἁρμονιᾳ τῇ ἐκ μαχομένων εἰκάσειε. The Seminary Reason or Plastick Nature of the Universe, opposing the Parts to one another and making them severally Indigent, produces by that means War and Contention. And therefore though it be One, yet notwithstanding it consists of Different and Contrary things. For there being Hostility in its Parts, it is nevertheless Friendly and Agreeable in the Whole; after the same manner as in a Dramatick Poem, Clashings and Contentions are reconciled into one Harmony. And therefore the Seminary and Plastick Nature of the World, may fitly be resembled to the Harmony of Disagreeing things. Which Plotinick Doctrine, may well pass for a Commentary upon Empedocles, accordingly as Simplicius briefly represents his sence,[6] Ἐμεδοκλῆς δύο κόσμους συνίστησι, τὸν μὲν ἡνωμένον καὶ νοητὸν, τὸν δὲ διακεκριμένον καὶ αἰσθητὸν, καὶ ἐν τούτῳ κόσμῳ τὴν ἕνωσιν ὁρᾷ καὶ τὴν διάκρισιν. Empedocles makes Two Worlds, the one United and Intelligible, the other Divided and Sensible; and in this lower Sensible World, he takes notice both of Unity and Discord.

It was before observed, that Heraclitus likewise did assert a Regular and Artificial Nature, as the Fate of things in this Lower World; for his Reason passing thorough the Substance of all things, or Ethereal Body, which was the Seed of the Generation of the Universe, was nothing but that Spermatick or Plastick Nature which we now speak of. And whereas there is an odd Passage of this Philosophers recorded, κόσμον τόνδε οὔτε τὶς θεῶν οὔτ' ἀνθρώπων ἐποίησε, that neither any God nor Man made this World, which as it is justly derided by Plutarch for its Simplicity, so it looks very Atheistically at first sight; yet because Heraclitus hath not been accompted an Atheist, we therefore conceive the meaning of it to have been this, That the World was not made by any whatsoever, after such a manner as an Artificer makes an House, <153> by Machins and Engins, acting from without upon the Matter, Cumbersomly and Moliminously, but by a certain Inward Plastick Nature of its own.

And as Hippocrates followed Heraclitus in this (as was before declared) so did Zeno and the Stoicks also, they supposing besides an Intellectual Nature, as the Supreme Architect and Master-builder of the World, another Plastick Nature as the Immediate Workman and Operatour. Which Plastick Nature hath been already described in the words of Balbus, as a thing which acts not Fortuitously but Regularly, Orderly and Artificially; and Laertius tells[7] us, it was defined by Zeno himself after this manner, ἔστι δὲ φύσις ἕξις ἐξ αὐτῆς κινουμένη κατὰ σπερματικοὺς λόγους, ἀποτελοῦσά τε καὶ συνέχουσα τὰ ἐξ αὐτῆς ἐν ὡρισμένοις χρόνοις, καὶ τοιαῦτα δρῶσα ἀφ' οἵων ἀπεκρίθη. Nature is a Habit moved from it self according to Spermatick Reasons or Seminal Principles, perfecting and containing those several things, which in determinate times are produced from it, and acting agreeably to that from which it was secreted.

Lastly, as the Latter Platonists and Peripateticks have unanimously followed their Masters herein, whose Vegetative Soul also is no other than a Plastick Nature; so the Chymists and Paracelsians insist much upon the same thing, and seem rather to have carried the Notion on further, in the Bodies of Animals, where they call it by a new name of their own, the Archeus.

Moreover, we cannot but observe here, that as amongst the Ancients, They were generally condemned for down-right Atheists, who acknowledged no other Principle besides Body or Matter, Necessarily and Fortuitously moved, such as Democritus and the first Ionicks; so even Anaxagoras himself, notwithstanding that he was a professed Theist, and plainly asserted Mind to be a Principle, yet because he attributed too much to Material Necessity, admitting neither this Plastick Nature nor a Mundane Soul, was severely censured, not only by the Vulgar (who unjustly taxed him for an Atheist) but also by Plato and Aristotle, as a kind of spurious and imperfect Theist, and one who had given great advantage to Atheism. Aristotle in his Metaphysicks thus represents his Philosophy,[8] Ἀναξαγόρας τε γὰρ μηχανῇ χρῆται τῷ νῷ, πρὸς τὴν κοσμοποιΐαν, καὶ ὅταν ἀπορήσῃ διὰ τίν αἰτίαν, ἐξ ἀνάγκης ἐστὶ, τότε ἕλκει αὐτὸν, ἐν δὲ τοῖς ἄλλοις πάντα μᾶλλον αἰτιᾶται τῶν γινομένων ἢ νοῦν. Anaxagoras useth Mind and Intellect, that is, God, as a Machin in the Cosmopœia, and when he is at a loss to give an accompt of things by Material Necessity, then and never but then, does he draw in Mind or God to help him out; but otherwise he will rather assign any thing else for a Cause than Mind. Now if Aristotle censure Anaxagoras in this manner, though a professed Theist, because he did but seldom make use of a Mental Cause, for the salving of the Phænomena of the World, and only then when he was at a loss for other Material and Mechanical Causes (which it seems he sometimes confessed himself to be) what would that Philosopher have thought of those our so confident Mechanists of later times, who will never vouchsafe so much <154> as once to be beholding to God Almighty, for any thing in the Oeconomy of the Corporeal World, after the first Impression of Motion upon the Matter?

Plato likewise in his Phædo and elsewhere, condemns this Anaxagoras by name, for this very thing, that though he acknowledged Mind to be a Cause, yet he seldom made use of it, for salving the Phænomena; but in his twelfth de Legibus, he perstringeth him Unnamed, as one who though a professed Theist, had notwithstanding given great Encouragement to Atheism, after this manner;[9] λέγοντες ὡς νοῦς εἴη ὁ διακεκοσμηκὼς πάνθ' ὅσα κατ' οὐρανὸν, αὐτοὶ δὲ πάλιν ἁμαρτάνοντες ψυχῆς φύσεως, ὅτι πρεσβύτερον εἴη σωμάτων, ἅπανθ ὡς εἰπεῖν ἔπος, ἀνέτρεψαν πάλιν, τὰ γὰρ δὲ πρὸ τῶν ὀμμάτων πάντα, αὐτοῖς ἐφάνη, τὰ κατ' οὐρανὸν φερόμενα, μεστὰ εἶναι λίθων, καὶ γῆς, καὶ πολλῶν ἄλλων ἀψύχων σωμάτων, διανεμόντων τὰς αἰτίας παντὸς τοῦ κόσμου, ταῦτ' ἦν τὰ τότε ἐξειργασμένα πολλὰς ἀθεότητας. Some of them who had concluded, that it was Mind that ordered all things in the Heavens, themselves erring concerning the Nature of the Soul, and not making that Older than the Body, have overturned all again; for Heavenly Bodies being supposed by them, to be full of Stones, and Earth, and other Inanimate things (dispensing the Causes of the whole Universe) they did by this means occasion much Atheism and Impiety.

Furthermore the same Plato there tells us, that in those times of his, Astronomers and Physiologers commonly lay under the prejudice and suspicion of Atheism amongst the vulgar, merely for this reason, because they dealt so much in Material Causes, οἱ πολλοὶ διανοοῦνται τοῦς τὰ τοιαῦτα μεταχειρισαμένους, ἀστρονομία τε καὶ ταῖς μετὰ ταύτης ἀναγκαίαις ἄλλαις τέχναις, ἀθέους γίγνεσθαι, καθεωρακότας ὡς οἷόντε γιγνόμενα ἀνάγκαις τὰ πράγματ', ἀλλ' οὐ διανοίαις βουλήσεως ἀγαθῶν πέρι τελουμένων. The Vulgar think that they who addict themselves to Astronomy and Physiology, are made Atheists thereby, they seeing as much as is possible how things come to pass by Material Necessities, and being thereby disposed to think them not to be ordered by Mind and Will, for the sake of Good. From whence we may observe, that according to the Natural Apprehensions of Men in all Ages, they who resolve the Phænomena of Nature, into Material Necessity, allowing of no Final nor Mental Causality (disposing things in order to Ends) have been strongly suspected for Friends to Atheism.

7. But because some may pretend, that the Plastick Nature is all one with an Occult Quality, we shall here show how great a Difference there is betwixt these Two. For he that asserts an Occult Quality, for the Cause of any Phænomenon, does indeed assign no Cause at all of it, but only declare his own Ignorance of the Cause; but he that asserts a Plastick Nature, assigns a Determinate and proper Cause, nay the only Intelligible Cause, of that which is the greatest of all Phænomena in the World, namely the τὸ εὖ καὶ καλῶς, the Orderly, Regular and Artificial Frame of things in the Universe, whereof the Mechanick Philosophers, however pretending to salve all Phænomena by Matter and Motion, assign no Cause at all. Mind and Understanding <155> is the only true Cause of Orderly Regularity, and he that asserts {sic}Plastick Nature, asserts Mental Causality in the World; but the Fortuitous Mechanists, who exploding Final Causes, will not allow Mind and Understanding to have any Influence at all upon the Frame of things, can never possibly assign any Cause of this Grand Phænomenon, unless Confusion may be said to be the Cause of Order, and Fortune or Chance of Constant Regularity; and therefore themselves must resolve it into an Occult Quality. Nor indeed does there appear any great reason why such men should assert an Infinite Mind in the World, since they do not allow it to act any where at all, and therefore must needs make it to be in Vain.

8. Now this Plastick Nature being a thing which is not without some Difficulty in the Conception of it, we shall here endeavour to do these Two things concerning it; First, to set down a right Representation thereof, and then afterwards to show how extremely the Notion of it hath been Mistaken, Perverted and Abused by those Atheists, who would make it to be the only God Almighty, or First Principle of all things.

How the Plastick Nature is in general to be conceiv'd, Aristotle instructs us in these words,[10] εἰ ἐνῆν ἐν τῷ ξύλῳ ἡ ναυπηγικὴ ὁμοίως ἂν τῇ φύσει ἐποίει. If the Naupegical Art, that is the Art of the Shipwright, were in the Timber it self, Operatively and Effectually, it would there act just as Nature doth. And the Case is the same for all other Arts; If the Oecodomical Art, which is in the Mind of the Architect, were supposed to be transfused into the Stones, Bricks and Mortar, there acting upon them in such a manner, as to make them come together of themselves and range themselves into the Form of a complete Edifice, as Amphion was said by his Harp, to have made the Stones move, and place themselves Orderly of their own accord, and so to have built the Walls of Thebes: Or if the Musical Art were conceived to be immediately in the Instruments and Strings, animating them as a Living Soul, and making them to move exactly according to the Laws of Harmony, without any External Impulse. These and such like Instances, in Aristotle's Judgment, would be fit Iconisms or Representations of the Plastick Nature, That being Art it self acting Immediately upon the Matter as an inward Principle in it. To which purpose the same Philosopher adds, that this thing might be further illustrated by an other Instance or Resemblence, μάλιστα δὲ δῆλον, ὅταν τὶς ἱατρεύει αὐτὸς ἑαυτὸν, τούτῳ γὰρ ἔοικεν ἡ φύσις. Nature may be yet more clearly Resembled to the Medicinal Art, when it is imployed by the Physician, in curing himself. So that the meaning of this Philosopher is, that Nature is to be conceived as Art Acting not from without and at a Distance, but Immediately upon the thing it self which is Formed by it. And thus we have the first General Conception of the Plastick Nature, That it is Art it self, acting immediately on the Matter, as an Inward Principle.

9. In the next Place we are to observe, that though the Plastick Nature be a kind of Art, yet there are some Considerable Preeminences <156> which it hath above Humane Art, the First whereof is this; That whereas Humane Art cannot act upon the Matter otherwise than from without and at a distance, nor communicate it self to it, but with a great deal of Tumult and Hurliburly, Noise and Clatter, it using Hands and Axes, Saws and Hammers, and after this manner with much ado, by Knockings and Thrustings, slowly introducing its Form or Idea (as for Example of a Ship or House) into the Materials. Nature in the mean time is another kind of Art, which Insinuating it self Immediately into things themselves, and there acting more Commandingly upon the Matter as an Inward Principle, does its Work Easily, Cleaverly and Silently. Nature is Art as it were Incorporated and Imbodied in matter, which doth not act upon it from without Mechanically, but from within Vitally and Magically,[11] οὔτε χεῖρες ἐνταῦθα, οὔτε πόδες, οὔτε τὶ ὄργανον ἐπακτὸν ἢ σύμφυτον, ὕλης δὲ δεῖ ἐφ' ἧς ποιήσει, καὶ ἣν ἐν ἔιδει ποιεῖ, πάντι που δῆλον. δεῖ δὲ καὶ τὸ μοχλεύειν ἀφελεῖν ἐκ τῆς φυσικῆς ποιήσεως. ποῖος γὰρ ὠθισμός, ἢ τὶς μοχλεία, &c. Here are no Hands, nor Feet, nor any Instrument, Connate or Adventitious, there being only need of Matter to work upon and to be brought into a certain Form, and Nothing else. For it is manifest that the Operation of Nature is different from Mechanism, it doing not its Work by Trusion or Pulsion, by Knockings or Thrustings, as if it were without that which it wrought upon. But as God is Inward to every thing, so Nature Acts Immediately upon the Matter, as an Inward and Living Soul or Law in it.

10. Another Preeminence of Nature above Humane Art is this, That whereas Humane Artists are often to seek and at a loss, and therefore Consult and Deliberate, as also upon second thoughts mend their former Work; Nature, on the contrary, is never to seek what to do, nor at a stand; and for that Reason also (besides another that will be Suggested afterwards) it doth never Consult nor Deliberate. Indeed Aristotle Intimates, as if this had been the Grand Objection of the old Atheistick Philosophers against the Plastick Nature, That because we do not see Natural Bodies to Consult or Deliberate, therefore there could be Nothing of Art, Counsel or Contrivanee {sic} in them, but all came to pass Fortuitously. But he confutes it after this manner:[12] Ἄτοπον δὲ τὸ μὴ οἴεσθαι ἕνεκά του γίνεσθαι, ἐὰν μὴ ἴδωσι τὸ κινοῦν βουλευσάμενον, καίτοι καὶ ἡ τέχνη οὐ βουλεύεται. It is absurd for Men to think nothing to be done for Ends, if they do not see that which moves to consult, although Art it self doth not Consult. Whence he concludes that Nature may Act Artificially, Orderly and Methodically, for the sake of Ends, though it never Consult or Deliberate. Indeed Humane Artists themselves do not Consult properly as they are Artists, but when ever they do it, it is for want of Art, and because they are to seek, their Art being Imperfect and Adventitious: but Art it self or Perfect Art, is never to seek, and therefore doth never Consult or Deliberate. And Nature is this Art, which never hesitates nor studies, as unresolved what to do, but is always readily prompted; nor does it ever repent afterwards of what it hath formerly done, or go about, as it were upon second thoughts, to alter and mend its former Course, but it goes on in one Constant, Unrepenting Tenor, from Generation to Generation, because it is the Stamp or Impress of that Infallibly <155> Omniscient Art, of the Divine Understanding, which is the very Law and Rule of what is Simply the Best in every thing.

And thus we have seen the Difference between Nature and Humane Art; that the Latter is Imperfect Art, acting upon the Matter from without, and at a Distance; but the Former is Art it self or Perfect Art, acting as an Inward Principle in it. Wherefore when Art is said to imitate Nature, the meaning thereof is, that Imperfect Humane Art imitates that Perfect Art of Nature, which is really no other than the Divine Art it self, as before Aristotle, Plato had declared in his Sophist, in these words, τὰ φύσει λεγόμενα ποιεῖσθαι θείᾳ τέχνῃ. Those things which are said to be done by Nature, are indeed done by Divine Art.

11. Notwithstanding which, we are to take notice in the next place, that as Nature is not the Deity it self, but a Thing very remote from it and far below it, so neither is it the Divine Art, as it is in it self Pure and Abstract, but Concrete and Embodied only; for the Divine Art considered in it self, is nothing but Knowledge, Understanding or Wisdom in the Mind of God: Now Knowledge and Understanding, in its own Nature is κεχωρισμένον τι, a certain Separate and Abstract thing, and of so Subtil and Refined a Nature, as that it is not Capable of being Incorporated with Matter, or Mingled and Blended with it, as the Soul of it. And therefore Aristotle's Second Instance, which he propounds as most pertinent to Illustrate this business of Nature by, namely of the Physicians Art curing himself, is not so adequate thereunto; because when the Medicinal Art Cures the Physician in whom it is, it doth not there Act as Nature, that is, as Concrete and Embodied Art, but as Knowledge and Understanding only, which is Art Naked, Abstract and Unbodied; as also it doth its Work Ambagiously, by the Physician's Willing and Prescribing to himself, the use of such Medicaments, as do but conduce, by removing of Impediments, to help that which is Nature indeed, or the Inward Archeus to effect the Cure. Art is defined by Aristotle, to be λόγος τοῦ ἔργου ἄνευ ὕλης, The Reason of the thing without Matter; and so the Divine Art or Knowledge in the Mind of God is Unbodied Reason; but Nature is Ratio Mersa & Confusa, Reason Immersed and Plunged into Matter, and as it were Fuddled in it, and Confounded with it. Nature is not the Divine Art Archetypal, but only Ectypal, it is a living Stamp or Signature of the Divine Wisdom, which though it act exactly according to its Arthetype {sic}, yet it doth not at all Comprehend nor Understand the Reason of what it self doth. And the Difference between these two, may be resembled to that between the λόγος ἐνδιάθετος, the Reason of the Mind and Conception, called Verbum Mentis, and the λόγος προφορικὸς, The Reason of External Speech; the Latter of which though it bear a certain Stamp and Impress of the Former upon it, yet it self is nothing but Articulate Sound, devoid of all Understanding and Sense. Or else we may Illustrate this business by another Similitude, comparing the Divine Art and Wisdom to an Architect, but Nature to a Manuary Opificer; the Difference betwixt which two is thus set forth by Aristotle pertinently to our purpose;[13] τοὺς ἀρχιτέκτονας περὶ ἕ <156> καστον τιμιωτέρους καὶ μᾶλλον εἰδέναι νομίζομεν τῶν χειροτεχνῶν, καὶ σοφωτέρους, ὅτι τὰς αἰτίας τῶν ποιουμένων ἴσασιν. οἱ δ' ὥσπερ καὶ τῶν ἀψύχων ἔνια, ποιεῖ μὲν, οὐκ εἰδότα δὲ ποιεῖ, οἷον καίει τὸ πῦρ. τὰ μὲν οὖν ἄψυχα φύσει τινὶ ποιεῖν τούτων ἕκαστον. τοὺς δὲ χειροτέχνας δι᾽ ἔθος. We account the Architects in every thing more honourable than the Manuary Opificers, because they understand the Reason of the things done, whereas the other, as some Inanimate things, only Do, not knowing what they Do: the Difference between them being only this, that Inanimate Things Act by a certain Nature in them, but the Manuary Opificer by Habit. Thus Nature may be called the χειροτέχνης or Manuary Opificer that Acts subserviently under the Architectonical Art and Wisdom of the Divine Understanding, ἣ ποιεῖ μὲν οὐκ εἰδυῖα, which does Do without Knowing the Reason of what it Doth.

12. Wherefore as we did before observe the Preeminences of Nature above Humane Art, so we must here take Notice also of the Imperfections and Defects of it, in which respect it falls short of Humane Art, which are likewise Two; and the First of them is this, That though it Act Artificially for the sake of Ends, yet it self doth neither Intend those Ends, nor Understand the Reason of that it doth. Nature is not Master of that Consummate Art and Wisdom according to which it acts, but only a Servant to it, and a Drudging Executioner of the Dictates of it. This Difference betwixt Nature and Abstract Art or Wisdom is expressed by Plotinus in these words:[14] τί διοίσει τῆς λεγομένης φύσεως φρόνησις; ὅτι ἡ μὲν φρόνησις πρῶτον, ἡ δὲ φύσις ἔσχατον, ἴνδαλμα γάρ φρονήσεως ἡ φύσις, καὶ ψυχῆς ἔσχατον ὂν, ἔσχατον καὶ τὸν ἐν αὐτῇ ἐλλαμπόμενον λογὸν ἔχει. οἷον εἰ ἐν κηρῷ βαθεῖ, διικνεῖτο εἰς ἔσχατον ἐπὶ θάτερα ἐν τῇ ἐπιφανείᾳ τύπος. ἐνάργους μὲν ὄντος τοῦ ἀνω, ἰχνοῦς δὲ ἀσθενοῦς ὄντος τοῦ κάτω, ὄθεν οὐδὲ οἷδε φύσις, μόνον δὲ ποιεῖ. How doth Wisdom differ from that which is called Nature? Verily in this Manner, That Wisdom is the First Thing, but Nature the Last and Lowest; for Nature is but an Image or Imitation of Wisdom, the Last thing of the Soul, which hath the lowest Impress of Reason shining upon it; as when a thick piece of Wax, is thoroughly impressed upon by a Seal, that Impress which is clear and distinct in the superiour Superficies of it, will in the lower side be weak and obscure; and such is the Stamp and Signature of Nature, compared with that of Wisdom and Understanding, Nature being a thing which doth only Do, but not Know. And elsewhere the same Writer declares the Difference between the Spermatick λόγοι,[15] or Reasons, and Knowledges or Conceptions of the Mind in this manner; Πότερα δὲ οἱ λόγοι οὗτοι οἱ ἐν ψυχῇ νοήματα; ἀλλὰ πῶς κατὰ τὰ νοήματα ποιήσει; ὁ γὰρ λόγος ἐν ὕλῃ ποιεῖ, καὶ τὸ ποιοῦν φυσικῶς, οὐ νόησις, οὐδὲ ὅρασις, ἀλλὰ δύναμις τρεπτικὴ τῆς ὕλης, οὐκ ἐδυῖα, ἀλλὰ δρῶσα μόνον, οἷον τύπον καὶ σχῆμα ἐν ὕδατι. Whether are these Plastick Reasons or Forms in the Soul Knowledges? But how shall it then Act according to those Knowledges? For the Plastick Reason or Form Acts or Works in Matter, and that which acts Naturally is not Intellection nor Vision, but a certain Power of moving Matter, which doth not Know, but only Do, and makes as it were a Stamp or Figure in Water.

And with this Doctrine of the Ancients, a Modern Judicious Writer and Sagacious Inquirer into Nature, seems fully to agree, that Nature is such a Thing as doth not Know but only Do: For after he had <157> admired that Wisdom and Art by which the Bodies of Animals are framed, he concludes that one or other of these two things must needs be acknowledged, that either the Vegetative or Plastick Power of the Soul, by which it Fabricates and Organizes its own body, is more Excellent and Divine than the Rational; Or else,[16] In Naturæ Operibus neque Prudentiam nec Intellectum inesse, sedita solùm videri Conceptui nostro, qui secundùm Artes nostras & Facultates, seu Exemplaria à nobismetipsis mutuata, de rebus Naturæ divinis judicamus; Quasi Principia Naturæ Activa, effectus suos eo modo producerent, quo nos opera nostra Artificialia solemus: That in the Works of Nature there is neither Prudence nor Understanding, but only it seems so to our Apprehensions, who judge of these Divine things of Nature, according to our own Arts and Faculties, and Patterns borrowed from our selves; as if the Active Principles of Nature did produce their Effects in the same manner, as we do our Artificial Works. Wherefore we conclude, agreeably to the Sence of the best Philosophers, both Ancient and Modern, That Nature is such a Thing, as though it act Artificially and for the sake of Ends, yet it doth but Ape and Mimick the Divine Art and Wisdom, it self not Understanding those Ends which it Acts for, nor the Reason of what it doth in order to them; for which Cause also it is not Capable of Consultation or Deliberation, nor can it Act Electively or with Discretion.

13. But because this may seem strange at the first sight, that Nature should be said to Act ἕνεκά του, for the sake of Ends, and Regularly or Artificially, and yet be it self devoid of Knowledge and Understanding, we shall therefore endeavour to perswade the Possibility, and facilitate the Belief of it, by some other Instances; and first by that of Habits, particularly those Musical ones, of Singing, Playing upon Instruments, and Dancing. Which Habits direct every Motion of the Hand, Voice, and Body, and prompt them readily, without any Deliberation or Studied Consideration, what the next following Note or Motion should be. If you jogg a sleeping Musician, and sing but the first Words of a Song to him, which he had either himself composed, or learnt before, he will presently take it from you, and that perhaps before he is thoroughly awake, going on with it, and singing out the remainder of the whole Song to the End. Thus the Fingers of an exercised Lutonist, and the Legs and whole Body of a skilful Dancer, are directed to move Regularly and Orderly, in a long Train and Series of Motions, by those Artificial Habits in them, which do not themselves at all comprehend those Laws and Rules of Musick or Harmony, by which they are governed: So that the same thing may be said of these Habits, which was said before of Nature, That they do not Know, but only Do. And thus we see there is no Reason, why this Plastick Nature (which is supposed to move Body Regularly and Artificially) should be thought to be an Absolute Impossibility, since Habits do in like manner, Gradually Evolve themselves, in a long Train or Series of Regular and Artificial Motions, readily prompting the doing of them, without comprehending that Art and Reason by which they are directed. The forementioned Philosopher illustrates the Seminary Reason and Plastick Nature of the Universe, by this <158> very Instance:[17] ἡ τοίνυν ἐνέργεια αὐτῆς τεχνικὴ. ὥσπερ ἂν ὁ ὀρχούμενος, κινούμενος ἔιη. ὁ γὰρ ὀρχιστὴς, τῇ οὕτω τεχνικῇ ζωῇ ἔοικεν ἀυτος, καὶ ἡ τέχνη αὐτὸν κινεῖ, καὶ οὕτω κινεῖ, ὡς τῆς ζωῆς αὐτῆς τοιαύτης πῶς οὔσης. The Energy of Nature is Artificial, as when a Dancer moves; for a Dancer resembles this Artificial Life of Nature, forasmuch as Art it self moves him, and so moves him as being such a Life in him. And agreeably to this Conceit, the Ancient Mythologists represented the Nature of the Universe, by Pan Playing upon a Pipe or Harp, and being in love with the Nymph Eccho; as if Nature did, by a kind of Silent Melody, make all the Parts of the Universe every where Daunce in measure & Proportion, it self being as it were in the mean time delighted and ravished with the Reecchoing of its own Harmony. Habits are said to be an Adventitious and Acquired Nature, and Nature was before defined by the Stoicks to be ἕξις, or a Habit: so that there seems to be no other Difference between these two, than this, that whereas the One is Acquired by Teaching, Industry and Exercise; the other, as was expressed by Hippocrates, is ἀπαίδευτος καὶ οὐκ μαθοῦσα, Unlearned and Untaught, and may in some sence also be said to be αὐτοδίδακτος, Self-taught, though she be indeed always Inwardly Prompted, Secretly Whispered into, and Inspired, by the Divine Art and Wisdom.

14. Moreover, that something may Act Artificially and for Ends, without Comprehending the Reason of what it doth, may be further evinced from those Natural Instincts that are in Animals, which without Knowledge direct them to Act Regularly, in Order both to their own Good and the Good of the Universe. As for Example; the Bees in Mellification, and in framing their Combs and Hexagonial Cells, the Spiders in spinning their Webs, the Birds in building their Nests, and many other Animals in such like Actions of theirs, which would seem to argue a great Sagacity in them, whereas notwithstanding, as Aristotle observes, οὔτε τέχνη, οὔτε ζητήσαντα, οὔτε βουλευσάμενα ποιεῖ. They do these things, neither by Art nor by Counsel nor by any Deliberation of their own, and therefore are not Masters of that Wisdom according to which they Act, but only Passive to the Instincts and Impresses thereof upon them. And indeed to affirm, that Brute Animals do all these things by a Knowledge of their own, and which themselves are Masters of, and that without Deliberation and Consultation, were to make them to be endued with a most Perfect Intellect, far transcending that of Humane Reason; whereas it is plain enough, that Brutes are not above Consultation, but Below it, and that these Instincts of Nature in them, are Nothing but a kind of Fate upon them.

15. There is in the next place another Imperfection to be observed in the Plastick Nature, that as it doth not comprehend the Reason of its own Action, so neither is it Clearly and Expresly Conscious of what it doth; in which Respect, it doth not only fall short of Humane Art, but even of that very Manner of Acting which is in Brutes themselves, who though they do not Understand the Reason of those Actions, that their Natural Instincts lead them to, yet they are generally conceived to be Conscious of them, and to do them by Phancy; whereas the <159> Plastick Nature in the Formation of Plants and Animals, seems to have no Animal Fancie, no Express συναίσθησις, Con-sense or Consciousness of what it doth. Thus the often Commended Philosopher,[18] ἡ φύσις οὐδὲ φαντασίαν ἔχει, ἡ δὲ νόησις φαντασίας κρείττων, φαντασία δὲ μεταξὺ φύσεως τύπου καὶ νοήσεως. ἡ μὲν γὲ οὐθενὸς ἀντίληψιν οὐδε σύνεσιν ἔχει. Nature hath not so much as any Fancie in it; As Intellection and Knowledge is a thing Superiour to Fancie, so Fancie is Superiour to the Impress of Nature, for Nature hath no Apprehension nor Conscious Perception of any thing. In a Word, Nature is a thing that hath no such Self-perception or Self-injoyment in it, as Animals have.

16. Now we are well aware, that this is a Thing which the Narrow Principles of some late Philosophers will not admit of, that there should be any Action distinct from Local Motion besides Expresly Conscious Cogitation. For they making the first General Heads of all Entity, to be Extension and Cogitation, or Extended Being and Cogitative, and then supposing that the Essence of Cogitation consists in Express Consciousness, must needs by this means exclude such a Plastick Life of Nature, as we speak of, that is supposed to act without Animal Fancie or Express Consciousness. Wherefore we conceive that the first Heads of Being ought rather to be expressed thus; Resisting or Antitypous Extension, and Life, (i.e. Internal Energy and Self-activity:) and then again, that Life or Internal Self-activity, is to be subdivided into such as either acts with express Consciousness and Synæsthesis, or such as is without it; the Latter of which is this Plastick Life of Nature: So that there may be an Action distinct from Local Motion, or a Vital Energy, which is not accompanied with that Fancie, or Consciousness, that is in the Energies of the Animal Life; that is, there may be a simple Internal Energy or Vital Autokinesie, which is without that Duplication, that is included in the Nature of συναίσθησις, Con-sense and Consciousness, which makes a Being to be Present with it self, Attentive to its own Actions, or Animadversive of them, to perceive it self to Do or Suffer, and to have a Fruition or Enjoyment of it self. And indeed it must be granted, that what moves Matter or determines the Motion of it Vitally, must needs do it by some other Energy of its own, as it is Reasonable also to conceive, that it self hath some Vital Sympathy with that Matter which it Acts upon. But we apprehend, that Both these may be without Clear and Express Consciousness. Thus the Philosopher,[19] πᾶσα ζωὴ ἐνέργεια, καὶ ἡ φαύλη, ἐνέργεια δὲ, οὐχ ὡς τὸ πῦρ ἐνεργεῖ, ἀλλ' ἡ ἐνέργεια αὐτῆς, κἂν μὴ αἴσθησίς τις παρῇ, κίνησίς τις οὐκ εἰκῆ. Every Life is Energie, even the worst of Lives, and therefore that of Nature. Whose Energie is not like that of Fire, but such an Energie, as though there be no Sense belonging to it, yet is it not Temerarious or Fortuitous, but Orderly & Regular.

Wherefore this Controversie whether the Energy of the Plastick Nature, be Cogitation, or no, seems to be but a Logomachy, or Contention about Words. For if Clear and Express Consciousness be supposed to be included in Cogitation, then it must needs be granted that Cogitation doth not belong to the Plastick Life of Nature: but if the Notion of that Word be enlarged so as to comprehend all Action distinct from Local Motion, and to be of equal Extent with Life, then the Energie of Nature is Cogitation.


Nevertheless if any one think fit to attribute some Obscure and Imperfect Sense or Perception, different from that of Animals, to the Energie of Nature, and will therefore call it a kind of Drowsie, Unawakened, or Astonish'd Cogitation, the Philosopher, before mentioned, will not very much gainsay it: εἴτις βούληται σύνεσίν τινα ἣ αἴσθησιν αὐτῇ διδόναι, οὐχ οἵαν λέγομεν ἐπὶ τῶν ἄλλων τὴν αἴσθησιν ἢ τὴν σύνησιν, ἀλλ' οἷον εἴ τις τὴν τοῦ ὕπνου τῇ τοῦ ἐγρηγορότος προσεικάσειε.[20] If any will needs attribute some kind of Apprehension or Sense to Nature, then it must not be such a Sense or Apprehension, as is in Animals, but something that differs as much from it, as the Sense or Cogitation of one in a profound sleep, differs from that of one who is awake. And since it cannot be denied but that the Plastick Nature hath a certain Dull and Obscure Idea of that which it Stamps and Prints upon Matter, the same Philosopher himself sticks not to call this Idea of Nature, θέαμα and θεώρημα, a Spectacle and Contemplamen, as likewise the Energy of Nature towards it, θεωρία ἄψοφος, a Silent Contemplation; nay he allows, that Nature may be said to be, in some Sence, φιλοθεάμων, a Lover of Spectacles or Contemplation.

17. However, that there may be some Vital Energy without Clear and Express συναίσθησις, Con-sense and Consciousness, Animadversion, Attention, or Self-perception, seems reasonable upon several accompts. For first, those Philosophers themselves, who make the Essence of the Soul to consist in Cogitation, and again the Essence of Cogitation in Clear and Express Consciousness, cannot render it any way probable, that the Souls of Men in all profound Sleeps, Lethargies and Apoplexies, as also of Embryo's in the Womb, from their very first arrival thither, are never so much as one moment without Expresly Conscious Cogitations; which if they were, according to the Principles of their Philosophy, they must, ipso facto, cease to have any Being. Now if the Souls of Men and Animals be at any time without Consciousness and Self-perception, then it must needs be granted, that Clear and Express Consciousness is not Essential to Life. There is some appearance of Life and Vital Sympathy in certain Vegetables and Plants, which however called Sensitive Plants and Plant-animals, cannot well be supposed to have Animal Sense and Fancy, or Express Consciousness in them; although we are not ignorant in the mean time, how some endeavour to salve all those Phænomena Mechanically. It is certain, that our Humane Souls themselves are not always Conscious, of whatever they have in them; for even the Sleeping Geometrician, hath at that time, all his Geometrical Theorems and Knowledges some way in him; as also the Sleeping Musician, all his Musical Skill and Songs: and therefore why may it not be possible for the Soul to have likewise some Actual Energie in it, which it is not Expresly Conscious of? We have all Experience, of our doing many Animal Actions Non-attendingly, which we reflect upon afterwards; as also that we often continue a long Series of Bodily Motions, by a mere Virtual Intention of our Minds, and as it were by Half a Cogitation. That Vital Sympathy, by which our Soul is united and tied fast, as it were with a Knot, to the Body, is a thing that we have no direct Consciousness of, but only in its Effects. Nor can we tell how we come to be so different <161> ly affected in our Souls, from the many different Motions made upon our Bodies. As likewise we are not Conscious to our selves of that Energy, whereby we impress Variety of Motions and Figurations upon the Animal Spirits of our Brain in our Phantastick Thoughts. For though the Geometrician perceive himself to make Lines, Triangles and Circles in the Dust, with his Finger, yet he is not aware, how he makes all those same Figures, first upon the Corporeal Spirits of his Brain, from whence notwithstanding, as from a Glass, they are reflected to him, Fancy being rightly concluded by Aristotle to be a Weak and Obscure Sense. There is also another more Interiour kind of Plastick Power in the Soul (if we may so call it) whereby it is Formative of its own Cogitations, which it self is not always Conscious of; as when in Sleep or Dreams, it frames Interlocutory Discourses betwixt it self and other Persons, in a long Series, with Coherent Sence and Apt Connexions, in which oftentimes it seems to be surprized with unexpected Answers and Reparties; though it self were all the while the Poet and Inventor of the whole Fable. Not only our Nictations for the most part when we are awake, but also our Nocturnal Volutations in Sleep, are performed with very little or no Consciousness. Respiration or that Motion of the Diaphragmæ and other Muscles which causes it (there being no sufficient Mechanical accompt given of it) may well be concluded to be always a Vital Motion, though it be not always Animal; since no man can affirm that he is perpetually Conscious to himself, of that Energy of his Soul, which does produce it when he is awake, much less when asleep. And Lastly, the Cartesian Attempts to salve the Motion of the Heart Mechanically, seem to be abundantly confuted, by Autopsy and Experiment, evincing the Systole of the Heart to be a Muscular Constriction, caused by some Vital Principle, to make which, nothing but a Pulsifick Corporeal Quality in the Substance of the Heart it self, is very Unphilosophical and Absurd. Now as we have no voluntary Imperium at all, upon the Systole and Diastole of the Heart, so are we not conscious to our selves of any Energy of our own Soul that causes them, and therefore we may reasonably conclude from hence also, that there is some Vital Energy, without Animal Fancy or Synæsthesis, express Consciousness and Self-perception.

18. Wherefore the Plastick Nature acting neither by Knowledge nor by Animal Fancy, neither Electively nor Hormetically, must be concluded to act Fatally, Magically and Sympathetically. And thus that Curious and Diligent Inquirer into Nature, before commended, resolves,[21] Natura tanquam Fato quodam, seu Mandato secundùm Leges operante, movet; Nature moveth as it were by a kind of Fate or Command, acting according to Laws. Fate, and the Laws or Commands of the Deity, concerning the Mundane Oeconomy (they being really the same thing) ought not to be looked upon, neither as Verbal things, nor as mere Will and Cogitation in the Mind of God; but as an Energetical and Effectual Principle, constituted by the Deity, for the bringing of things decreed to pass. The Aphrodisian Philosopher with others of the Ancients, have concluded, that Fate and Nature are but two different Names, for one and the same thing, and that <162> τότε εἱμαρμένον κατὰ φύσιν, καὶ τὸ κατὰ φύσιν εἱμαρμένον, both that which is done Fatally, is done Naturally, and also whatever is done Naturally, is done Fatally; but that which we assert in this place is only this, that the Plastick Nature may be said to be, the True and Proper Fate of Matter, or the Corporeal World. Now that which acts not by any Knowledge or Fancy, Will or Appetite of its own, but only Fatally according to Laws and Impresses made upon it (but differently in different Cases) may be said also to act Magically and Sympathetically. Ἡ ἀληθινὴ μαγεία (saith the Philosopher) ἡ ἐν τῷ παντὶ φιλία καὶ νεῖκος, The true Magick is the Friendship and Discord that is in the Universe; and again Magick is said to be founded ἐν τῇ συμπαθείᾳ καὶ τᾔ τῶν δυνάμεων τῶν παλλῶν ποικιλίᾳ πρὸς ἓν ζῶον συντελούντων, In the Sympathy and Variety of diverse Powers conspiring together into one Animal. Of which Passages, though the Principal meaning seem to be this, that the ground of Magical Fascination, is one Vital Unitive Principle in the Universe; yet they imply also, that there is a certain Vital Energy, not in the way of Knowledge and Fancy, Will and Animal Appetite, but Fatally Sympathetical and Magical. As indeed that Mutual Sympathy which we have constant Experience of, betwixt our Soul and our Body, (being not a Material and Mechanical, but Vital thing) may be called also Magical.

19. From what hath been hitherto declared concerning the Plastick Nature, it may appear; That though it be a thing that acts for Ends Artificially, and which may be also called the Divine Art, and the Fate of the Corporeal World; yet for all that it is neither God nor Goddess, but a Low and Imperfect Creature. Forasmuch as it is not Master of that Reason and Wisdom according to which it acts nor does it properly Intend those Ends which it acts for, nor indeed is it Expresly Conscious of what it doth; it not Knowing but only Doing, according to Commands & Laws imprest upon it. Neither of which things ought to seem strange or incredible, since Nature may as well act Regularly and Artificially, without any Knowledge and Consciousness of its own, as Forms of Letters compounded together, may Print Coherent Philosophick Sence, though they understand nothing at all; and it may also act for the sake of those Ends, that are not intended by it self, but some Higher Being, as well as the Saw or Hatchet in the hand of the Architect or Mechanick doth,[22] τὸ σκέπαρνον ἕνεκά του πελεκᾷ, ἀλλ' οὐ προλογιζόμενον, ἀλλὰ τῷ προλογιζομένῳ ὑπηρετοῦν, the Ax cuts for the sake of something, though it self does not ratiocinate, nor intend or design any thing, but is only subservient to that which does so. It is true, that our Humane Actions are not governed by such exact Reason, Art, and Wisdom, nor carried on with such Constancy, Eavenness and Uniformity, as the Actions of Nature are; notwithstanding which, since we act according to a Knowledge of our own, and are Masters of that Wisdom by which our Actions are directed, since we do not act Fatally only, but Electively and Intendingly, with Consciousness and Self-perception; the Rational Life that is in us, ought to be accompted a much Higher and more Noble Perfection, than that Plastick Life of Nature. Nay, this Plastick Nature, is so far from being the First and Highest Life, that it is indeed the Last and Lowest of <163> all Lives; it being really the same thing with the Vegetative, which is Inferiour to the Sensitive. The difference betwixt Nature and Wisdom was before observed, that Wisdom is the First and Highest thing, but Nature the Last and Lowest; this latter being but an Umbratile Imitation of the former. And to this purpose, this Plastick Nature is further described by the same Philosopher in these Words,[23] ἔστι τοίνυν οὖτος ὁ λόγος οὐκ ἄκρατος νοῦς, οὐδ᾽ αὐτονοῦς, οὐδέ γε ψυχῆς καθαρᾶς τὸ γένος. ἠρτημένος δὲ ἐκείνης, καὶ οἶον ἔκλαμψις ἐξ ἀμφοῖν νοῦ καὶ ψυχῆς, καὶ ψυχῆς κατὰ νοῦν διακειμένης γεννησάντων τὸν λόγον τοῦτον. The Spermatick Reason or Plastick Nature, is no pure Mind or perfect Intellect, nor any kind of pure Soul neither; but something which depends upon it, being as it were an Effulgency or Eradiation, from both together, Mind and Soul, or Soul affected according to Mind, generating the same as a Lower kind of Life.

And though this Plastick Nature contain no small part of Divine Providence in it, yet since it is a thing that cannot act Electively nor with Discretion, it must needs be granted that there is a Higher and Diviner Providence than this, which also presides over the Corporeal World it self, which was a thing likewise insisted upon by that Philosopher, γίνεται τὰ ἐν τῷ παντὶ οὐ κατὰ σπερματικοὺς, ἀλλὰ κατὰ λόγους περιληπτικοὺς, καὶ τῶν προτέρον, ἢ κατὰ τοὺς τῶν σπερμολόγων λόγους, οὐ γὰρ ἐν τοῖς σπερματικοῖς λόγοις ἔνι, καὶ τῶν γενομένων, παρὰ τοῦς σπερματικοὺς αὐτοὺς λόγους.[24] The things in the world, are not administred merely by Spermatick Reasons, but by Perileptick (that is, Comprehensive Intellectual Reasons) which are in order of Nature before the other, because in the Spermatick Reasons cannot be contained that which is contrary to them, &c. Where though this Philosopher may extend his Spermatick Reasons further than we do our Plastick Nature in this place, (which is only confined to the Motions of Matter) yet he concludes, that there is a higher Principle presiding over the Universe than this. So that it is not Ratio mersa & confusa, a Reason drowned in Matter, and confounded with it, which is the Supreme Governour of the World, but a Providence perfectly Intellectual, Abstract and Released.

20. But though the Plastick Nature be the Lowest of all Lives, nevertheless since it is a Life, it must needs be Incorporeal; all Life being such. For Body being nothing but Antitypous Extension, or Resisting Bulk, nothing but mere Outside, Aliud extra Aliud, together with Passive Capability, hath no Internal Energy, Self-activity, or Life belonging to it; it is not able so much as to Move it self, and therefore much less can it Artificially direct its own Motion. Moreover, in the Efformation of the Bodies of Animals, it is One and the selfsame thing that directs the Whole; that which Contrives and Frames the Eye, cannot be a distinct thing from that which Frames the Ear; nor that which makes the Hand, from that which makes the Foot; the same thing which delineates the Veins, must also form the Arteries; and that which fabricates the Nerves, must also project the Muscles and Joynts; it must be the same thing that designs and Organizes the Heart and Brain, with such Communications betwixt them; One and the self-same thing must needs have in it, the entire <164> Idea and the complete Model or Platform of the whole Organick Body. For the several parts of Matter distant from one another, acting alone by themselves, without any common Directrix, being not able to confer together, nor communicate with each other, could never possibly conspire to make up one such uniform and Orderly System or Compages, as the Body of every Animal is. The same is to be said likewise concerning the Plastick Nature of the whole Corporeal Universe, in which ἅπαντα πρὸς ἓν συντέτακται, all things are ordered together conspiringly into One. It must be one and the same thing, which formeth the whole, or else it could never have fallen into such an Uniform Order and Harmony. Now that which is One and the Same, acting upon several distant parts of Matter, cannot be Corporeal.

Indeed Aristotle is severely censured by some learned men for this, that though he talk every where of such a Nature as acts Regularly, Artificially and Methodically, in order to the Best, yet he does no where positively declare whether this Nature of his be Corporeal or Incorporeal, Substantial or Accidental, which yet is the less to be wondred at in him, because he does not clearly determine these same points concerning the Rational Soul neither, but seems to stagger uncertainly about them. In the mean time it cannot be denied, but that Aristotle's Followers do for the most part conclude this Nature of his to be Corporeal; whereas notwithstanding, according to the Principles of this Philosophy, it cannot possibly be such: For there is nothing else attributed to Body in it, besides these three, Matter, Form and Accidents; neither of which can be the Aristotelick Nature. First, it cannot be Matter; because Nature, according to Aristotle, is supposed to be the Principle of Motion and Activity, which Matter in it self is devoid of. Moreover Aristotle concludes, that they who assign only a Material Cause, assign no Cause at all τοῦ εὖ καὶ καλῶς, of well and fit, of that Regular and Artificial Frame of things which is ascribed to Nature; upon both which accompts, it is determined by that Philosopher, that ἡ φύσις μᾶλλον ἀρχὴ καὶ αἰτία τῆς ὕλης, Nature is more a Principle and Cause than Matter, and therefore it cannot be one and the same thing with it. Again, it is as plain, that Aristotle's Nature cannot be the Forms of particular Bodies neither, as Vulgar Peripateticks seem to conceive, these being all Generated and Produced by Nature, and as well Corruptible as Generable. Whereas Nature is such a thing as is neither Generated nor Corrupted, it being the Principle and Cause of all Generation and Corruption. To make Nature and the Material Forms of Bodies to be one and the self-same thing, is all one as if one should make the Seal (with the Stamper too) to be one and the same thing, with the Signature upon the Wax. And Lastly, Aristotle's Nature can least of all be the Accidents or Qualities of Bodies; because these act only in Vertue of their Substance, neither can they exercise any Active Power over the Substance it self in which they are; whereas the Plastick Nature is a thing that Domineers over the Substance of the whole Corporeal Universe, and which Subordinately to the Deity, put both Heaven and Earth into this Frame in which now it is. Wherefore since Aristotle's Nature can be neither the <165> Matter, nor the Forms, nor the Accidents of Bodies, it is plain, that according to his own Principles, it must be Incorporeal.

21. Now if the Plastick Nature be Incorporeal, then it must of necessity, be either an Inferiour Power or Faculty of some Soul which is also Conscious, Sensitive or Rational; or else a lower Substantial Life by it self, devoid of Animal Consciousness. The Platonists seem to affirm both these together, namely that there is a Plastick Nature lodged in all particular Souls of Animals, Brutes and Men, and also that there is a General Plastick or Spermatick Principle of the whole Universe distinct from their Higher Mundane Soul, though subordinate to it, and dependent upon it, ἡ λεγομένη φύσις γέννημα ψυχῆς προτέρας δυνατῶτερον ζώσης. That which is called Nature, is the Off-spring of an higher Soul, which hath a more Powerful Life in it. And though Aristotle do not so clearly acknowledge the Incorporeity and Substantiality of Souls, yet he concurrs very much with this Platonick Doctrine, that Nature is either a Lower Power or Faculty of some Conscious Soul, or else an Inferiour kind of Life by it self, depending upon a Superiour Soul.

And this we shall make to appear from his Book De Partibus Animalium, [25] after we have taken notice of some considerable Preliminary Passages in it in order thereunto. For having first declared, that besides the Material Cause, there are other Causes also of Natural Generations, namely these two, ἥτε οὗ ἕνεκα καὶ ὅθεν ἠ ἀρχὴ τῆς κινήσεως, that for whose sake, (or the Final Cause) and that from which the Principle of Motion is, (or the Efficient Cause) he determines that the former of these Two, is the principal, φαίνεται δὲ πρώτη ἣν λέγομεν ἕνεκά τινος. λόγος γὰρ οὗτος ἀρχὴ δὲ ὁ λόγος, ὁμοίως, ἔντε τοῖς κατὰ τέχνην καὶ τοῖς φύσει συνεστηκόσιν. The chiefest of these two Causes seems to be the Final or the Intending Cause; for this is Reason, and Reason is alike a Principle in Artificial and in Natural things. Nay the Philosopher adds excellently, that there is more of Reason and Art, in the things of Nature, than there is in those things that are Artificially made by men, μᾶλλον δ' ἐστὶ τὸ οὗ ἕνεκα καὶ τὸ καλὸν ἐν τοῖς φύσεως ἔργοις, ἢ ἐν τοῖς τῆς τέκνης. There is more of Final or Intending Causality and of the reason of Good, in the works of Nature than in those of Humane Art. After which he greatly complains of the first and most Ancient Physiologers, meaning thereby Anaximander, and those other Ionicks before Anaxagoras, that they considered only τὴν ὑλικὴν ἀρχὴν, the Material Principle and Cause of things, without attending to those Two other Causes, the Principle of Motion, and that which aims at Ends, they talking only, of Fire, Water, Air and Earth, and generating the whole World, from the Frotuitous {sic} Concourse of these Sensless Bodies. But at length Aristotle falls upon Democritus, who being Junior to those others before mentioned, Philosophised after the same Atheistical manner, but in a new way of his own, by Atoms; acknowledging no other Nature, neither in the Universe, nor in the Bodies of Animals, than that of Fortuitous Mechanism, and supposing all things to arise from the different Compositions of Magnitudes, Figures, Sites, and Motions. Of which Democritick Philosophy, he gives his Cen <166> sure in these following words,[26] εἰ μὲν οὖν τῷ σχήματι καὶ τῷ χρώματι ἕκαστον ἐστι, τῶν τε ζώων καὶ τῶν μορίων, ὀρθῶς ἂν Δημόκριτος λέγοι, &c. If Animals and their several parts did consist of nothing but Figure and Colour, then indeed Democritus would be in the right: But a Dead man hath the same Form and Figure of Body, that he had before, and yet for all that he is not a Man; neither is a Brazen or Wooden Hand a Hand, but only Equivocally, as a Painted Physician, or Pipes made of Stone are so called. No member of a Dead Mans Body, is that which it was before, when he was alive, neither Eye, nor Hand, nor Foot. Wherefore this is but a rude way of Philosophizing, and just as if a Carpenter should talk of a Wooden Hand. For thus these Physiologers declare the Generations and Causes of Figures only, or the Matter out of which things are made, as Air and Earth. Whereas no Artificer would think it sufficient, to render such a Cause of any Artificial Fabrick, because the Instrument happened to fall so upon the Timber, that therefore it was Hollow here and Plane there; but rather because himself made such strokes, and for such Ends, &c.

Now in the close of all, this Philosopher at length declares, That there is another Principle of Corporeal things, besides the Material, and such as is not only the Cause of Motion, but also acts Artificially in order to Ends, ἔστι τι τοιοῦτον ὃ δὴ καὶ καλοῦμεν φύσιν, there is such a thing as that which we call Nature, that is, not the Fortuitous Motion of Sensless Matter, but a Plastick Regular and Artificial Nature, such as acts for Ends and Good; declaring in the same place, what this Nature is, namely that it is ψυχὴ ἢ ψυχῆς μέρος, ἢ μὴ ἅνευ ψυχῆς, Soul, or Part of Soul, or not without Soul; and from thence inferring, that it properly belongs to a Physiologer, to treat concerning the Soul also. But he concludes afterwards, οὐδὲ πᾶσα ψυχὴ φύσις, that the whole Soul is not Nature; whence it remains, that according to Aristotle's sence, Nature is ἢ ψυχῆς μέρος, ἢ μὴ ἄνευ ψυχῆς, either part of a Soul or not without Soul, that is, either a lower Part or Faculty of some Conscious Soul; or else an Inferiour kind of Life by it self, which is not without Soul, but Suborditate {sic} to it and dependent on it.

22. As for the Bodies of Animals Aristotle first resolves in General, that Nature in them is either the whole Soul, or else some part of it, φύσις ὠς ἡ κινοῦσα, καὶ ὡς τὸ τέλος τοῦ ζώου, ἤτοι πᾶσα ἡ ψυχὴ, ἢ μέρος τι αὐτῆς, Nature as the Moving Principle, or as that which acts Artificially for Ends, (so far as concerns the Bodies of Animals) is either the whole Soul, or else some Part of it. But afterward he determines more particularly, that the Plastick Nature is not the whole Soul in Animals, but only some part of it; οὐ πᾶσα ψυχὴ φύσις, ἀλλὰ τι μόριον αὐτῆς, that is, Nature in Animals, properly so called, is some Lower Power or Faculty lodged in their respective Souls, whether Sensitive or Rational.

And that there is Plastick Nature in the Souls of Animals, the same Aristotle elsewhere affirms and proves after this manner:[27] τί τὸ συνέχον εἰς τ'αναντία φερόμενα, τὸ πῦρ καὶ τὴν γῆν. διασπασθήσεται γὰρ εἰ μήτι ἕσται τὸ κωλύσον, εἰδ' ἐστὶ, τοῦτ' ἔστιν ἡ ψυχὴ, καὶ τὸ αἴτιον τοῦ αὐξάνεσθαι καὶ τρέφεσθαι. What is that which in the Bodies of Animals holds <167> together such things as of their own Nature would otherwise move contrary ways, and flie asunder, as Fire and Earth, which would be distracted and dissipated, the one tending upwards, the other downwards, were there not something to hinder them: now if there be any such thing, this must be the Soul, which is also the Cause of Nourishment and Augmentation. Where the Philosopher adds, that though some were of Opinion, that Fire was that which was the Cause of Nourishment and Augmentation in Animals, yet this was indeed but συναίτιον πῶς, οὐ μὴν ἁπλῶς γε αἴτιον, ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον ἡ ψυχὴ, only the Concause or Instrument, and not simply the Cause, but rather the Soul. And to the same purpose he philosophizeth elsewhere,[28] οὐδὲ γὰρ ἡ πέψις δί ἦς ἡ τροφὴ γίνεται τοῖς ζώοις οὔτε ἄνευ ψυχῆς, οὔτε θερμότητός ἐστι, πυρὶ γὰρ ἐργάζεται πάντα. Neither is Concoction by which Nourishment is made in Animals done without the Soul, nor without Heat, for all things are done by Fire.

And certainly it seems very agreeable to the Phænomena, to acknowledge something in the Bodies of Animals Superiour to Mechanism, as that may well be thought to be, which keeps the more fluid parts of them constantly in the same Form and Figure, so as not to be enormously altered in their Growth by disproportionate nourishment; that which restores Flesh that was lost, consolidates dissolved Continuities, Incorporates the newly received Nourishment, and joyns it Continuously with the preexistent parts of Flesh and Bone; which regenerates and repairs Veins consumed or cut off; which causes Dentition in so regular a manner, and that not only in Infants, but also Adult persons; that which casts off Excrements and dischargeth Superfluities; which makes things seem ungrateful to an Interiour Sense, that were notwithstanding pleasing to the Taste. That Nature of Hippocrates, that is the Curatrix of Diseases, αἱ φύσιες τῶν νουσέων ἰητροὶ, and that Archeus of the Chymists or Paracelsians, to which all Medicaments are but Subservient, as being able to effect nothing of themselves without it. I say, there seems to be such a Principle as this in the Bodies of Animals, which is not Mechanical but Vital; and therefore since Entities are not to be multiplied without necessity, we may with Aristotle conclude it to be μέρος or μόριον τῆς ψυχῆς, a certain part of the Soul of those Animals, or a Lower Inconscious Power lodged in them.

23. Besides this Plastick Nature which is in Animals, forming their several Bodies Artificially, as so many Microcosms or Little Worlds, there must be also a general Plastick Nature in the Macrocosm the whole Corporeal Universe, that which makes all things thus to conspire every where, and agree together into one Harmony. Concerning which Plastick Nature of the Universe, the Author de Mundo writes after this manner, καὶ τὸν ὅλον κόσμον διεκόσμησε μία ἡ διὰ πάντων διήκουσα δύναμις, One Power passing thorough all things,{sic} ordered and formed the whole World. Again he calls the same πνεῦμα, καὶ ἔμψυχον, καὶ γόνιμον οὐσίαν, a Spirit, and a Living and Generative Nature, and plainly declares it, to be a thing distinct from the Deity, but Subordinate to it and dependent on it. But Aristotle himself in that ge <168> nuine Work of his before mentioned, speaks clearly and positively concerning this Plastick Nature of the Universe, as well as that of Animals, in these words,[29] φαίνεται γὰρ ὥσπερ ἐν τοῖς τεχναστοῖς ἐστιν ἡ τέχνη, οὕτως ἐν αὐτοῖς τοῖς πράγμασιν ἄλλη τις ἀρχὴ καὶ αἰτία τοιαύτη ἣν ἔχομεν, καθάπερ τὸ θερμὸν καὶ τὸ ψυχρὸν ἐκ τοῦ παντός. διὸ μᾶλλον εἰκός τὸν οὑρανὸν γεγενῆσθαι ὑπὸ τοιαύτης αἰτίας, εἰ γέγονε, καὶ εἶναι διὰ τοιαύτην αἰτίαν μᾶλλον, ἢ τὰ ζῶα τὰ θνητά. τὸ γοῦν τεταγμένον καὶ ὡρισμένον πολὺ μᾶλλον φαίνεται ἐν τοῖς οὐρανίοις, ἢ περὶ ἡμᾶς. τὸ δὲ ἄλλοτε ἄλλως, καὶ ὡς ἔτυχε, περὶ τὰ θνητὰ μᾶλλον. οἱ δὲ τῶν μὲν ζώων ἕκαστον φύσει φασὶν εἶναι καὶ γενέσθαι. τὸν δ' οὐρανὸν ἀπὸ τύχης καὶ τοῦ αὐτομάτου τοιοῦτον συστῆναι, ἐν ῷ ἀπὸ τύχης καὶ ἀταξίας οὐδ᾽ ὁτιοῦν φαίνεται. It seemeth, that as there is Art in Artificial things, so in the things of Nature, there is another such like Principle or Cause, which we our selves partake of; in the same manner as we do of Heat and Cold, from the Universe. Wherefore it is more probable that the whole World was at first made by such a Cause as this (if at least it were made) and that it is still conserved by the same, than that Mortal Animals should be so: For there is much more of Order and determinate Regularity, in the Heavenly Bodies than in our selves; but more of Fortuitousness and inconstant Regularity among these Mortal things. Notwithstanding which, some there are, who, though they cannot but acknowledge that the Bodies of Animals were all framed by an Artificial Nature, yet they will needs contend that the System of the Heavens sprung merely from Fortune and Chance; although there be not the least appearance of Fortuitousness or Temerity in it. And then he sums up all into this Conclusion, ὥστε εῖναι φανερὸν ὅτι ἐστι τι τοιοῦτον ὃ δὴ καὶ καλοῦμεν φύσιν. Wherefore it is manifest, that there is some such thing as that which we call Nature, that is, that there is not only an Artificial, Methodical and Plastick Nature in Animals, by which their respective Bodies are Framed and Conserved; but also that there is such a General Plastick Nature likewise in the Universe, by which the Heavens and whole World are thus Artificially Ordered and Disposed.

24. Now whereas Aristotle in the forecited Words, tells us, that we partake of Life and Understanding, from that in the Universe, after the same manner as we partake of Heat and Cold, from that Heat and Cold that is in the Universe; It is observable, that this was a Notion borrowed from Socrates; (as we understand both from Xenophon and Plato) that Philosopher having used it as an Argumentation to prove a Deity. And the Sence of it is represented after this manner by the Latin Poet; Principio Cœlum ac Terram, Campósque Liquentes, Lucentémque Globum Lunæ, Titaniáque Astra, Spiritus intus alit, totósque Infusa per Artus, Mens agitat Molem, & Magno se Corpore miscet. Inde Hominum Pecudúmque Genus, Vitæque Volantûm. From whence it may be collected, that Aristotle did suppose, this Plastick Nature of the Universe to be, ἢ μέρος ψυχὴς, ἣ μὴ ἄνευ ψυχῆς, Either Part of some Mundane Soul, that was also Conscious and Intelle <169> ctual, (as that Plastick Nature in Animals is) or at least some Inferiour Principle, depending on such a Soul. And indeed whatever the Doctrine of the modern Peripateticks be, we make no doubt at all, but that Aristotle himself held the Worlds Animation, or a Mundane Soul; Forasmuch as he plainly declares himself concerning it, elsewhere in his Book De Cœlo, after this manner;[30] ἀλλ᾽ ἠμεῖς ὡς περὶ σωμάτων μόνον αὐτῶν, καὶ μονάδων, τάξιν μὲν ἐχόντων, ἀψύχων δὲ πάμπαν, διανοούμεθα δεῖ δὲ ὡς μετεχόντων ὑπολαμβάνειν πράξεως καὶ ζωῆς. But we commonly think of the Heavens, as nothing else but Bodies and Monads, having only a certain Order, but altogether inanimate; whereas we ought on the contrary to conceive of them, as partaking of Life, and Action: that is, as being endued with a Rational or Intellectual Life. For so Simplicius there rightly expounds the place, δεῖ δὲ ὡς περὶ ἐμψύχων αὐτῶν συλλογίζεσθαι, καὶ λογικὴν ἐχόντων ψυχὴν, ὡς καὶ πράξεως καὶ ζωῆς λογικῆς μετέχειν. τὸ μὲν γὰρ ποιεῖν, καὶ κατὰ τῶν ἀλόγων ψυχῶν κατηγοροῦμεν, καὶ κατὰ τῶν ἀψύχων σωμάτων, τὸ δὲ πράττειν κυρίως κατὰ τῶν λογικῶν ψυχῶν κατηγοροῦμεν. But we ought to think of the Heavens, as Animated with a Rational Soul, and thereby partaking of Action and Rational Life. For (saith he) though ποιεῖν be affirmed not only of Irrational Souls, but also of Inanimate Bodies, yet the word πραττειν does only denominate Rational Beings. But further, to take away all manner of scruple or doubt, concerning this business; that Philosopher before in the same Book, ῥητῶς affirmeth, ὅτι ὁ οὐρανὸς ἔμψυχος, καὶ ἀρχὴν κινήσεως ἔχει, That the Heaven is Animated, and hath a Principle of Motion within it self: Where by the Heaven, as in many other places of Aristotle and Plato, is to be understood the Whole World.

There is indeed One Passage in the same Book De Cœlo, which at first sight, and slightly considered, may seem to contradict this again, and therefore probably is that, which hath led many into a contrary Perswasion, that Aristotle denied the Worlds Animation,[31] ἀλλὰ μὴν ὄυτε ̔υπὸ ψυχῆς εὔλογον ἀναγκαζούσης μένειν αΐδιον. οὐδὲ γὰρ τῆς ψυχῆς οἷον τ' εἶναι τὴν τοιαύτην ζωὴν ἀλυπον καὶ μακαρίαν. ἀνάγκη γὰρ καὶ τὴν κίνησιν μετά βιᾶς οὖσαν, πεφυκότος τοῦ πρώτου σώματος ἄλλως καὶ κινεῖν συνεχῶς, ἄσχολον εἶναι, καὶ πάσης ἀπηλλαγμένην ῥαστώνης ἔμφρονος. εἴγε μηδ᾽ ὥσπερ, τῇ ψυχῇ τῇ τῶν θνητῶν ζώων ἐστὶν ἀνάπαυσις ἡ περὶ τὸν ὕπνον γινομένη τοῦ σώματος ἄνεσις, ἀλλ᾽ ἀναγκαῖον Ἰξιονός τινος μοῖραν κατέχειν αὐτὴν αΐδιον καὶ ἄτρυτον. But it is not reasonable neither, to think that the Heavens continue to Eternity, moved by a Soul necessitating, or violently compelling them. Nor indeed is it possible, that the Life of such a Soul should be pleasurable or happy. Forasmuch as the continual Violent Motion of a Body (naturally inclining to move another way) must needs be a very unquiet thing, and void of all Mental Repose; especially when there is no such Relaxation, as the Souls of Mortal Animals have by sleep; and therefore such a Soul of the World as this, must of necessity be condemned to an Eternal Ixionian Fate. But in these Words Aristotle does not deny the Heavens to be moved by a Soul of their own, (which is positively affirmed by him elsewhere) but only by such a Soul, as should Violently and Forcibly agitate, or drive them round, contrary to their own Natural Inclination, whereby in the mean time, they tended downwards of themselves towards the Centre. And his sence, concerning the Motion of the <170> Heavens, is truly represented by Simplicius in this manner, τὸ δὲ ὅλον φύσικον καὶ ἔμψυχον, ὑπὸ ψυχῆς κυρίως κινεῖται, διά μέσης τῆς φύσεως. The whole World or Heaven, being as well a natural, as an Animalish Body, is moved properly by Soul, but yet by means of Nature also, as an Instrument, so that the Motion of it is not Violent. But whereas Aristotle there insinuates, as if Plato had held the Heavens to be moved, by a Soul violently, contrary to their Nature; Simplicius, though sufficiently addicted to Aristotle, ingenuously acknowledges his Error herein, and vindicating Plato from that Imputation, shews how he likewise held a Plastick Nature, as well as a Mundane Soul; and that amongst his Ten Instances of Motion,[32] the Ninth is that of Nature, τὴν ἕτερον ἀεὶ κινοῦσαν, καὶ μεταβαλλομένην ὑφ᾽ ἑτέρου. that which always moves another, being it self changed by something else; as the Tenth, that of the Mundane Soul, τὴν ἑαυτὴν κινοῦσαν καὶ ἕτερα, that which originally both moves it self and other things: as if his Meaning in that place were, That though Nature be a Life and Internal Energy, yet it acts Subserviently to a Higher Soul, as the First Original Mover.

But the Grand Objection against Aristotle's holding the Worlds Animation, is still behind; namely from that in his Metaphysicks, where he determines the Highest Starry Heaven, to be moved by an Immoveable Mover, commonly supposed to be the Deity it self, and no Soul of the World; and all the other Spheres likewise, to be moved by so many Separate Intelligencies, and not by Souls. To which we reply, that indeed Aristotle's First Immoveable Mover is no Mundane Soul, but an Abstract Intellect Separate from Matter, and the very Deity it self; whose manner of moving the Heavens is thus described by him, κινεῖ δὲ ὡς ἐρώμενον, It Moveth only as being Loved: wherefore besides this Supreme Unmoved Mover, that Philosopher supposed another Inferiour Moved Mover also, that is, a Mundane Soul, as the Proper and Immediate Efficient Cause of the Heavenly Motions; of which he speaks after this manner, κινούμενον δὲ τἄλλα κινεῖ, that which it self being moved, (objectively, or by Appetite and Desire of the First Good) moveth other things. And thus that safe and sure-footed Interpreter, Alex. Aphrodisius, expounds his Masters Meaning; That the Heaven being Animated, and therefore indeed Moved by an Internal Principle of its own, is notwithstanding Originally moved, by a certain Immoveable and Separate Nature, which is above Soul,[33] τῷ νοεῖν τε αὐτὸ, καὶ ἔφεσιν καὶ ὄρεξιν ἔχειν τῆς ὁμοιώσεως αὐτοῦ, both by its contemplating of it, and having an Appetite and Desire, of assimilating it self thereunto. Aristotle seeming to have borrowed this Notion from Plato, who makes the Constant Regular Circumgyration of the Heavens, to be an Imitation of the Motion or Energy of Intellect. So that Aristotle's First Mover, is not properly the Efficient, but only the Final and Objective Cause, of the Heavenly Motions, the Immediate Efficient Cause thereof being ψυχὴ καὶ φύσις, Soul and Nature.

Neither may this be Confuted from those other Aristotelick Intelligences of the Lesser Orbs; that Philosopher conceiving in like manner concerning them, that they were also the Abstract Minds or Intellects of <171> certain other inferiour Souls, which moved their several Respective Bodies or Orbs, Circularly and Uniformly, in a kind of Imitation of them. For this plainly appears from hence, in that he affirms of these his Inferiour Intelligences likewise as well as of the Supreme Mover, that they do κινεῖν ὡς τέλος, Move only as the end.

Where it is Evident, that though Aristotle did plainly suppose a Mundane Intellectual Soul, such as also conteined, either in it, or under it, a Plastick Nature, yet he did not make either of these to be the Supreme Deity; but resolved the First Principle of things, to be One Absolutely Perfect Mind or Intellect, Separate from Matter, which was ἀκίνητος οὐσία, an Immoveable Nature, whose Essence was his Operation, and which Moved only as being Loved, or as the Final Cause: of which he pronounces in this manner,[34] ὅτι ἐκ τοιαύτης ἀρχης ἤρτηται ὁ οὐρανὸς καὶ ἡ φύσις, That upon such a Principle as this, Heaven and Nature depends; that is, the Animated Heaven, or Mundane Soul, together with the Plastick Nature of the Universe, must of necessity depend upon such an Absolutely Perfect, and Immoveable Mind or Intellect.

Having now declared the Aristotelick Doctrine concerning the Plastick Nature of the Universe, with which the Platonick also agrees, that it is, ἢ μέρος ψυχῆς, ἢ μὴ ἄνευ ψυχῆς, either Part of a Mundane Intellectual Soul, (that is a Lower Power and Faculty of it) or else not without it, but some inferior thing depending on it; we think fit to add in this place, that though there were no such Mundane Soul, as both Plato and Aristotle supposed, distinct from the Supreme Deity, yet there might notwithstanding be a Plastick Nature of the Universe, depending immediately upon the Deity it self. For the Plastick Nature essentially depends upon Mind or Intellect, and could not possibly be without it; according to those words before cited, ἐκ τοιαύτης ἀρχῆς ἠρτηται ἡ φύσις, Nature depends upon such an Intellectual Principle; and for this Cause that Philosopher does elsewhere joyn νοῦς and φύσις, Mind and Nature both together.

25. Besides this General Plastick Nature of the Universe, and those Particular Plastick Powers in the Souls of Animals, it is not impossible but that there may be other Plastick Natures also (as certain Lower Lives, or Vegetative Souls) in some Greater Parts of the Universe; all of them depending, if not upon some higher Conscious Soul, yet at least upon a Perfect Intellect, presiding over the whole. As for Example; Though it be not reasonable to think, that every Plant, Herb and Pile of Grass, hath a Particular Plastick Life, or Vegetative Soul of its own, distinct from the Mechanism of the Body; nor that the whole Earth is an Animal endued with a Conscious Soul: yet there may possibly be, for ought we know, one Plastick Nature or Life, belonging to the whole Terrestrial (or Terraqueous) Globe, by which all Plants and Vegetables, continuous with it, may be differently formed, according to their different Seeds, as also Minerals and other Bodies framed, and whatsoever else is above the Power of Fortuitous Mechanism effected, as by the Immediate Cause, though <172> always Subordinate to other Causes, the chief whereof is the Deity. And this perhaps may ease the Minds of those, who cannot but think it too much, to impose all upon one Plastick Nature of the Universe.

26. And now we have finished our First Task, which was to give an Accompt of the Plastick Nature, the Sum whereof briefly amounts to this; That it is a certain Lower Life than the Animal, which acts Regularly and Artificially, according to the Direction of Mind and Understanding, Reason and Wisdom, for Ends, or in Order to Good, though it self do not know the Reason of what it does, nor is Master of that Wisdom according to which it acts, but only a Servant to it, and Drudging Executioner of the same; it operating Fatally and Sympathetically, according to Laws and Commands, prescribed to it by a Perfect Intellect, and imprest upon it; and which is either a Lower Faculty of some Conscious Soul, or else an Inferiour kind of Life or Soul by it self; but essentially depending upon an Higher Intellect.

We procede to our Second Undertaking; which was to shew, how grosly those Two Sorts of Atheists before mentioned, the Stoical or Cosmo-plastick, and the Stratonical or Hylozoick, both of them acknowledging this Plastick Life of Nature, do mistake the Notion of it, or Pervert it and Abuse it, to make a certain Spurious and Counterfeit God-Almighty of it, (or a First Principle of all things) thereby excluding the True Omnipotent Deity, which is a Perfect Mind, or Consciously Understanding Nature, presiding over the Universe; they substituting this Stupid Plastick Nature in the room of it.

Now the Chief Errors or Mistakes of these Atheists concerning the Plastick Nature, are these Four following. First, that they make that to be the First Principle of all, and the Highest thing in the Universe, which is the Last and Lowest of all Lives; a thing Essentially Secondary, Derivative and Dependent. For the Plastick Life of Nature is but the mere Umbrage of Intellectuality, a faint and shadowy Imitation of Mind and Understanding; upon which it doth as Essentially depend, as the Shadow doth upon the Body, the Image in the Glass upon the Face, or the Eccho upon the Original Voice. So that if there had been no Perfect Mind or Intellect in the World, there could no more have been any Plastick Nature in it, than there could be an Image in the Glass without a Face, or an Eccho without an Original Voice. If there be Φύσις, then there must be Νοῦς, if there be a Plastick Nature, that acts Regularly and Artificially in Order to Ends, and according to the Best Wisdom, though it self not comprehending the reason of it, nor being clearly Conscious of what it doth; then there must of necessity be a Perfect Mind or Intellect, that is, a Deity upon which it depends. Wherefore Aristotle does like a Philosopher in joyning Φύσις and Νοῦς, Nature and Mind both together; but these Atheists do very Absurdly and Unphilosophically, that would make a Sensless and Inconscious Plastick Nature, and therefore without any Mind or Intellect, to be the First Original of all things.

Secondly, these Atheists augment the Former Error, in supposing <173> those Higher Lives of Sense or Animality, and of Reason or Understanding, to rise both of them from that Lower Sensless Life of Nature, as the only Original Fundamental Life. Which is a thing altogether as Irrational and Absurd, as if one should suppose the Light that is in the Air or Æther, to be the Only Original and Fundamental Light, and the Light of the Sun and Stars but a Secondary and Derivative thing from it, and nothing but the Light of the Air Modificated and Improved by Condensation. Or as if one should maintain that the Sun and Moon, and all the Stars, were really nothing else, but the mere Reflections of those Images that we see in Rivers and Ponds of Water. But this hath always been the Sottish Humour and Guise of Atheists, to invert the Order of the Universe, and hang the Picture of the World, as of a Man, with its Heels upwards. Conscious Reason and Understanding, being a far higher Degree of Life and Perfection, than that Dull Plastick Nature, which does only Do, but not Know, can never possibly emerge out of it; neither can the Duplication of Corporeal Organs be ever able to advance that Simple and Stupid Life of Nature into Redoubled Consciousness or Self-perception; nor any Triplication or indeed Milleclupation of them, improve the same into Rea-Understanding.

Thirdly; for the better Colouring of the Former Errors, the Hylozoists adulterate the Notion of the Plastick Life of Nature; confounding it with Wisdom and Understanding. And though themselves acknowledge, that no Animal-sense, Self-perception and Consciousness belongs to it, yet they will have it to be a thing Perfectly Wise, and consequently every Atom of Sensless Matter that is in the whole World, to be Infallibly Omniscient, as to all its own Capacities and Congruities, or whatsoever it self can Do or Suffer; which is plainly Contradictious. For though there may be such a thing as the Plastick Nature, that according to the Former Description of it, can Do without Knowing, and is devoid of Express Consciousness or Self-perception, yet Perfect Knowledge and Understanding without Consciousness, is Non-sence and Impossibility. Wherefore this must needs be condemned for a great piece of Sottishness, in the Hylozoick Atheists, that they attribute Perfect Wisdom and Understanding to a Stupid Inconscious Nature, which is nothing but χειροτέχνης, the mere Drudging Instrument, or Manuary Opificer of Perfect Mind

Lastly, these Atheists err in this, that they make this Plastick Life of Nature, to be a mere Material or Corporeal thing; whereas Matter or Body cannot move it self, much less therefore can it Artificially order and dispose its own Motion. And though the Plastick Nature be indeed the Lowest of all Lives, yet notwithstanding since it is a Life, or Internal Energy, and Self-activity, distinct from Local Motion, it must needs be Incorporeal, all Life being Essentially such. But the Hylozoists conceive grosly both of Life and Understanding, spreading them all over upon Matter, just as Butter is spread upon Bread, or Plaster upon a Wall, and accordingly slicing them out, in different Quantities and Bulks, together with it; they contending that they <174> are but Inadequate Conceptions of Body, as the only Substance; and consequently concluding, that the Vulgarly received Notion of God, is nothing else but such an Inadeqaute Conception of the Matter of the Whole Corporeal Universe, mistaken for a Complete and Entire Substance by it self, that is supposed to be the Cause of all things. Which fond Dream or Dotage of theirs, will be further confuted in due place. But it is now time to put a Period, to this long (though necessary) Digression, concerning the Plastick Life of Nature, or an Artificial, Orderly and Methodical Nature.

XXXVIII. Plato gives an accompt, why he judged it necessary in those times, publickly to propose that Atheistick Hypothesis, in order to a Confutation, as also to produce Rational Arguments for the Proof of a Deity, after this manner;[35] εἰ μὴ κατεσπαρμένοι ἦσαν οἱ τοιοῦτοι λόγοι ἐν τοῖς πᾶσιν, ὡς ἕπος εἱπεῖν, ἀνθρώποις, οὐδεν ἂν ἔδει τῶν ἐπαμυνόντων λόγων, ὡς εἰσὶ θεοὶ, νῦν δὲ ἀνάγκη. Had not these Atheistick Doctrines been publickly divulged, and made known in a manner to all, it would not have been needful to have confuted them, nor by Reasons to prove a Deity; but now it is necessary. And we conceive that the same Necessity at this time, will justifie our present undertaking likewise; since these Atheistick Doctrines have been as boldly vented, and publickly asserted in this latter Age of ours, as ever they could be in Plato's time. When the severity of the Athenian Government, must needs be a great check to such Designs, Socrates having been put to death upon a mere false and groundless Accusation of Atheism, and Protagoras, (who doubtless was a Real Atheist) having escaped the same punishment no otherwise than by flight, his Books being notwithstanding publickly burnt in the Market-place at Athens, and himself condemned to perpetual Exile, though there was nothing at that time proved against him, save only this one Sceptical Passage, in the beginning of a Book of his,[36] περὶ μὲν θεῶν οὐκ ἔχω εἰπεῖν, εἰθ ὡς εἰσὶν, εἰθ᾽ ὡς οὐκ εἰσὶ, πολλὰ γὰρ τὰ χωλύοντα εἰδέναι, ἥτε ἀδηλότης, καὶ βραχὺς ὢν ὁ βίος τοῦ ἀνθρώπου. Concerning the Gods, I have nothing at all to say, either that they be or be not; there being many things that hinder the knowledge of this Matter, both the Obscurity of the thing it self, and the shortness of humane Life. Whereas Atheism in this Latter Age of ours, hath been impudently asserted, and most industriously promoted: that very Atomick Form, that was first introduced (a little before Plato's time) by Leucippus, Protagoras and Democritus, having been also Revived amongst us, and that with no small Pomp and Ostentation of Wisdom and Philosophy.

It was before observed that there were Two several Forms of Atomical Philosophy; First, the most Ancient and Genuine that was Religious, called Moschical (or if you will Mosaical) and Pythagorical; Secondly, the Adulterated Atheistick Atomology, called Leucippean or Democritical. Now accordingly, there have been in this Latter Age of ours, Two several successive Resurrections or Restitutions of those Two Atomologies. For Renatus Cartesius first revived and restored the Atomick Philosophy, agreeably for the most part, to that ancient Moschical and Pythagorick Form, acknowledging besides Extended <175> Substance and Corporeal Atoms, another Cogitative Incorporeal Substance, and joyning Metaphysicks or Theology, together with Physiology, to make up one entire System of Philosophy. Nor can it well be doubted, but that this Physiology of his, as to the Mechanick part of it, hath been Elaborated by the ingenious Author, into an Exactness at least equal with the best Atomologies of the Ancients. Nevertheless, this Cartesian Philosophy is highly obnoxious to Censure upon some Accompts, the Chief whereof is this; That deviating from that Primitive Moschical Atomology, in rejecting all Plastick Nature, it derives the whole System of the Corporeal Universe, from the Necessary Motion of Matter, only divided into Particles Insensibly small, and turned round in a Vortex, without the Guidance or Direction of any Understanding Nature. By means whereof, though it boast of Salving all the Corporeal Phænomena, by mere Fortuitous Mechanism, and without any Final or Mental Causality, yet it gives no Accompt at all of that which is the Grandest of all Phænomena, the τὸ εὖ καὶ καλῶς, The Orderly Regularity and Harmony of the Mundane System. The Occasion of which Miscarriage hath been already intimated, namely from the acknowledging only Two Heads of Being, Extended and Cogitative, and making the Essence of Cogitation to consist in Express Consciousness; from whence it follows, that there could be no Plastick Nature, and therefore either all things must be done by Fortuitous Mechanism, or else God himself be brought Immediately upon the Stage, for the salving of all Phænomena. Which Latter Absurdity, our Philosopher being over careful to avoid, cast himself upon the Former, the banishing of all Final and Mental Causality quite out of the World, and acknowledging no other Philosophick Causes, beside Material and Mechanical. It cannot be denied, but that even some of the ancient Religious Atomists, were also too much infected with this Mechanizing Humour; but Renatus Cartesius hath not only outdone them all herein, but even the very Atheists themselves also, as shall be shewed afterward. And therefore as much as in him lies, has quite disarmed the World, of that grand Argument for a Deity, taken from the Regular Frame and Harmony of the Universe. To which Gross Miscarriage of his, there might be also another added, That he seems to make Matter Necessarily Existent, and Essentially Infinite and Eternal. Notwithstanding all which, we cannot entertain that Uncharitable Opinion of him, that he really designed Atheism, the Fundamental Principles of his Philosophy being such, as that no Atheistick Structure can possibly be built upon them. But shortly after this Cartesian Restitution of the Primitive Atomology that acknowledgeth Incorporeal Substance, we have had our Leucippus and Democritus too, who also revived and brought again upon the Stage, that other Atheistick Atomology, that makes ἀρχὰς τῶν ὅλων ἀτόμους, Sensless and Lifeless Atoms, to be the only Principles of all things in the Universe, thereby necessarily excluding, besides Incorporeal Substance and Immortality of Souls, a Deity and Natural Morality; as also making all Actions and Events, Materially and Mechanically necessary.

Now there could be no Satisfactory Confutation of this Atheistick Hypothesis, without a fair Proposal first made of the several Grounds <176> of it, to their best advantage, which we have therefore endeavoured in the Former Chapter. The Answers to which Atheistick Arguments, ought, according to the Laws of Method, to be reserved for the Last Part of the whole Treatise, where we are positively to determine the Right Intellectual System of the Universe; it being properly our Work here, only to give an Account of the Three False Hypotheses of the Mundane System, together with their several Grounds. Nevertheless, because it might not only seem Indecorous, for the Answers to those Atheistick Arguments, to be so long deferred, and placed so far behind the Arguments themselves, but also prove otherwise really Inconvenient, we shall therefore choose rather to break those Laws of Method, (neglecting the Scrupulosity thereof) and subjoyn them immediately in this place, craving the Readers Pardon for this Preposterousness.

It is certain that the Source of all Atheism, is generally a Dull and Earthy Disbelief of the Existence of things beyond the Reach of Sense; and it cannot be denied but that there is something of Immorality in the Temper of all Atheists, as all Atheistick Doctrine tends also to Immorality. Notwithstanding which, it must not be therefore concluded, that all Dogmatick Atheists came to be such, merely by means of Gross Intemperance, Sensuality, and Debauchery. Plato indeed describes one sort of Atheists in this manner;[37] οἷς ἂν πρὸς τῇ δόξῃ, τῇ θεῶν ἔρημα εἶναι πάντα, ἀκράτειαι τε ἡδονῶν καὶ λυπῶν προσπέσωσι, μνῆμαί τε ἴσχυραι καὶ μαθήσεις ὀξεῖαι παρῶσι. Such who together with this Opinion, that all things are void of Gods, are acted also by Intemperance of Pleasures and Pains, and hurried away with Violent Lusts, being Persons otherwise endued with strong Memories, and quick Wits. And these are the Debauched, Ranting, and Hectoring Atheists. But besides These, that Philosopher tells us, that there is another Sort of Atheists also,[38] οἷς μὴ νομίζουσι θεοὺς εἷναι τὸ παράπαν, ἤθος φύσει προσγίνεται δίκαιον, μισοῦντές τε γίγνονται τοὺς κακοὺς, καὶ τῷ δυσχεραίνειν τὴν ἀδικίαν, οὔτε τὰς τοιαύτας πράξεις προσίενται πράττειν, τούς τε μὴ δικαίους τῶν ἀνθρώπων φεύγουσι, καὶ τοὺς δικαίους στέργουσιν. Such, who though they think there be no Gods at all, yet notwithstanding being naturally disposed to Justice and Moderation, as they will not do Outragious and Exorbitant things themselves, so they will shun the Conversation of wicked debauched persons, and delight rather in the Society of those that are Fair and Just. And these are a sort of Externally honest, or Civilized Atheists. Now what that thing is, which besides Gross Sensuality and Debauchery, might tempt men to entertain Atheistick Opinions, the same Philosopher also declares; namely that it is, an Affectation of Singularity, or of seeming Wiser than the Generality of Mankind. For thus when Clinias had disputed honestly against Atheists, from those Vulgar Topicks, of the Regularity and Harmony of the Universe (observable in the Courses of Sun, Moon and Stars, and the Seasons of the Year) and of the common Notions of Mankind, in that both Greeks and Barbarians generally agreed in this, that there were Gods, thinking he had thereby made a Sufficient Confutation of Atheism, the Athenian Hospes hereupon discovers a great Fear and Jealousie which he had, lest he should thereby but render himself <177> an Object of Contempt to Atheists, as being a conceited and scornful Generation of men. ΑΘ. φοβοῦμαί γε ὧ μακάριε τοῦς μοχθηροὺς, μὴπως ὑμῶν καταφρονήσωσιν, ὑμεῖς μὲν γὰρ οὐκ ἴστε αὐτῶν πέρι, τὴν τῆς διαφορᾶς αἰτίαν, ἀλλ ἠγεῖσθε ἀκρατείᾳ μόνον ἡδονῶν τε καὶ ἐπιθυμιῶν ἐπὶ τὸν ἀκρατῆ βίον ὁρμασθαι τὰς ψυχὰς αὐτῶν, &c. I am afraid of those wicked men the Atheists, lest they should despise you: For you are ignorant concerning them, when you think the only Cause of Atheism to be Intemperance of Pleasures and Lusts, violently hurrying mens Souls on to a wicked Life. Clin. What other Cause of Atheism can there be besides this? Ath. That which you are not aware of, who live remotely, namely, Ἀμαθία μάλα χαλεπὴ δοκοῦσα εἶναι μεγίστη φρόνησις. A certain grievous Ignorance, which yet notwithstanding hath the appearance of the greatest Wisdom. And therefore afterwards, when that Philosopher goes about to propose the Atheistick Hypothesis, he calls it, τὸν παρὰ πολλοῖς δοξαζόμενον εἶναι σοφώτατον ἁπάντων λόγων, That which to many seemeth to be the Wisest and Profoundest of all Doctrines.

And we find the same thing at this very day, that Atheists make a great Pretence to Wisdom and Philosophy, and that many are tempted to maintain Atheistick Opinions, that they may gain a Reputation of Wit by it. Which indeed was one Reason that the {sic} rather induced us, nakedly to reveal all the Mysteries of Atheism, because we observed, that so long as these things are concealed and kept up in Huggermugger, many will be the rather apt to suspect, that there is some great Depth and Profundity of Wisdom lodged in them, and that it is some Noble and Generous Truth, which the Bigotick Religionists endeavour to smoother and oppress.

Now the Case being thus, it was pertinently suggested also, by the forementioned Philosopher, οὐ σμικρόν γε τὸ διαφέρον, εἰ φανεῖεν οἱ λόγων ἁπτόμενοι ἀσεβῶν, ἄλλοις τε ἐξάρχοντες, μηδὲ εὖ τοῖς λόγοις, ἀλλ᾽ ἐξημαρτημένως χρώμενοι, That it must needs be a Matter of no small moment, for any one to make it appear, that they who maintain wicked Atheistical Opinions, do none of them reason rightly, but grosly fumble in all their Ratiocinations. And we hope to effect this in our present Undertaking, to make it evident, that Atheists are no such Conjurers, as (though they hold no Spirits) they would be thought to be; no such Gigantick men of Reason, nor Profound Philosophers, but that notwithstanding all their Pretensions to Wit, their Atheism is really nothing else, but ἀμαθία μάλα χαλεπὴ, a most Grievous Ignorance, Sottishness and Stupidity of Mind in them.

Wherefore we shall in the next place, Conjure down all those Devils raised and displayed in their most Formidable Colours, in the Precedent Chapter; or rather we shall discover that they are really nothing else, but what these Atheists pretend God and Incorporeal Spirits to be, Mere Phantastick Spectres and Impostures, Vain Imaginations of deluded Minds, utterly devoid of all Truth and Reality. Neither shall we only Confute those Atheistick Arguments, and so stand upon our defensive Posture; but we shall also assault Atheism even with its own Weapons, and plainly demonstrate, that all Forms <178> of Atheism are unintelligible Nonsence, and Absolute Impossibility to Humane Reason. As we shall likewise over and above, Occasionally insert some (as we think) Undeniable Arguments for a Deity.

The Digression concerning the Plastick Life of Nature, or an Artificial, Orderly and Methodical Nature, N. 37. Chap. 3.

1. That neither the Hylozoick nor Cosmo-plastick Atheists are condemned for asserting an Orderly and Artificial Plastick Nature, as a Life distinct from the Animal, however this be a Thing exploded, not only by the Atomick Atheists, but also by some Professed Theists, who notwithstanding might have an undiscerned Tang of the Mechanically-Atheistick Humour hanging about them. 2. If there be no Plastick Artificial Nature admitted, then it must be concluded, that either all things come to pass by Fortuitous Mechanism, and Material Necessity (the Motion of Matter unguided) or else that God doth αὐτουργεῖν ἅπαντα, do all things himself Immediately and Miraculously, framing the Body of every Gnat and Fly, as it were with his own hands; since Divine Laws and Commands cannot Execute themselves, nor be the proper Efficient Causes of things in Nature. 3. To suppose all things to come to pass Fortuitously, or by the Unguided Motion of Matter, a thing altogether as Irrational as it is Atheistical and Impious; there being many Phænomena, not only above the Powers of Mechanism, but also contrary to the Laws of it. The Mechanick Theists make God but an Idle Spectator of the Fortuitous Motions of Matter, and render his Wisdom altogether Useless and Insignificant. Aristotle's Judicious Censure of the Fortuitous Mechanists, with the Ridiculousness of that Pretence, that Material and Mechanical Reasons are the Only Philosophical. 4. That it seems neither decorous in respect of God, nor congruous to Reason, that he should αὐτουργεῖν ἅπαντα, do all things himself Immediately and Miraculously, Nature being quite Superseded and made to signifie nothing. The same further confuted by the Slow and Gradual Process of things in Nature, as also by those Errors and Bungles that are committed, when the Matter proves Inept and Contumacious, arguing the Agent not to be Irresistible. 5. Reasonably inferred, that there is a Plastick Nature in the Universe, as a Subordinate Instrument of Divine Providence, in the Orderly Disposal of Matter; but yet so as not without a Higher Providence presiding over it, forasmuch as this Plastick Nature, cannot act Electively or with Discretion. Those Laws of Nature concerning Motion, which the Mechanick Theists themselves suppose, really nothing else but a Plastick Nature. 6. The Agreeableness of this Doctrine with the Sentiments of the best Philosophers in all Ages, Aristotle, Plato, Empedocles, Heraclitus, Hip <179> pocrates, Zeno and the Paracelsians. Anaxagoras, though a Professed Theist, severely censur'd, both by Aristotle and Plato, as an Encourager of Atheism, merely because he used Material and Mechanical Causes more than Mental and Final. Physiologers and Astronomers why vulgarly suspected of Atheism in Plato's time. 7. The Plastick Nature, no Occult Quality, but the only Intelligible Cause of that which is the Grandest of all Phænomena, the Orderly Regularity and Harmony of Things, which the Mechanick Theists, however pretending to salve all Phænomena, can give no accompt at all of. A God, or Infinite Mind, asserted by them, in vain and to no purpose. 8. Two Things here to be performed by us; First to give an Accompt of the Plastick Nature, and then to shew how the Notion of it hath been Mistaken, and Abused by Atheists. The First General Accompt of this Plastick Nature according to Aristotle, that it is to be conceived as Art it self acting, Inwardly and Immediately upon the Matter: as if Harmony Living in the Musical Instruments, should move the Strings of them, without any External Impulse. 9. Two Preeminencies of the Plastick Nature above Humane Art. First, that whereas Humane Art acts upon the Matter from without Cumbersomely and Moliminously, with Tumult and Hurliburly, Nature acting on it from within more Commandingly, doth its Work Easily, Cleaverly and Silently. Humane Art acts on the Matter Mechanically, but Nature Vitally and Magically. 10. The Second Preeminence of Nature above Humane Art, that, whereas Humane Artists are often to seek and at a loss, anxiously Consult and Deliberate, and upon Second thoughts Mend their former Work, Nature is never to seek, nor Unresolved what to do, nor doth she ever Repent afterwards of what she hath done, changing her Former Course. Humane Artists themselves Consult not, as Artists, but only for want of Art; and therefore Nature, though never Consulting, may act Artificially. Concluded, that what is called Nature, is really the Divine Art. 11. Nevertheless, that Nature is not the Divine Art, Pure and Abstract, but Concreted and Embodied in Matter: Ratio Mersa & Confusa: Not the Divine Art Archetypal, but Ectypal. Nature differs from the Divine Art, as the Manuary Opificer from the Architect. 12. Two Imperfections of the Plastick Nature, in respect whereof it falls short even of Humane Art; First, That though it act for Ends Artificially, yet it self neither Intends those Ends, nor Understands the Reason of what it doth, and therefore cannot act Electively. The Difference between the Spermatick Reasons and Knowledge. Nature doth but Ape or Mimick the Divine Art or Wisdom, being not Master of that Reason, according to which it acts, but only a Servant to it, and Drudging Executioner of it. 13. Proved that there may be such a thing as acts Artificially, though it self do not comprehend that Art, by which its Motions are Governed, First from Musical Habits; The Dauncer resembles the Artificial Life of Nature. 14. The same further evinced from the Instincts of Brute-animals, directing them to act Rationally and Artificially, in order to their own Good and the Good of the Universe, without any Reason of their own. The Instincts in Brutes but Passive Impresses of the Divine Wisdom, and a kind of Fate upon them. 15. The Second Imperfection of the Plastick Nature, that it <190> acts without Animal Phancy, συναἰσθησις, Express Con-sense, and Consciousness, and is devoid of Self-perception and Self-enjoyment. 16. Whether this Energy of the Plastick Nature, be to be called Cogitation or no, but a Logomachy or Contention about Words. Granted that what moves Matter Vitally, must needs do it by some Energy of its own, distinct from Local Motion; but that there may be a simple Vital Energy, without that Duplicity which is in Synæsthesis, or clear and express Consciousness. Nevertheless that the Energy of Nature might be called a certain Drowsie, Unawakened, or Astonish'd Cogitation. 17. Instances which render it probable, that there may be a Vital Energy, without Synæsthesis, clear and express Con-sense, or Consciousness. 18. The Plastick Nature, acting neither Knowingly nor Phantastically, acts Fatally, Magically and Sympathetically. The Divine Laws and Fate, as to Matter, not mere Cogitation in the Mind of God, but an Energetick and Effectual Principle; and the Plastick Nature, the true and proper Fate of Matter, or the Corporeal World. What Magick is, and that Nature which acts Fatally, acts also Magically and Sympathetically. 19. That the Plastick Nature, though it be the Divine Art and Fate, yet for all that, it it {sic} neither God nor Goddess, but a Low and Imperfect Creature, it acting Artificially and Rationally no otherwise, than compounded Forms of Letters, when printing Coherent Philosophick Sence, nor for Ends, than a Saw or Hatchet in the hands of a skilful Mechanick. The Plastick and Vegetative Life of Nature the Lowest of all Lives, and Inferiour to the Sensitive. A Higher Providence than that of the Plastick Nature governing the Corporeal World it self. 20. Notwithstanding which, forasmuch as the Plastick Nature is a Life, it must needs be Incorporeal. One and the same thing, having in it an entire Model and Platform, and acting upon several distant parts of Matter at once coherently, cannot be Corporeal; and though Aristotle no where declare whether his Nature be Corporeal or Incorporeal (which he neither doth clearly concerning the Rational Soul) and his Followers conclude it to be Corporeal, yet according to the very Principles of that Philosophy it must needs be otherwise. 21. The Plastick Nature being Incorporeal, must either be a Lower Power lodged in Souls that are also Conscious, Sensitive or Rational; or else a distinct Substantial Life by it self, and Inferiour Kind of Soul. How the Platonists complicate both these together; with Aristotle's agreeable Determination, that Nature is either Part of a Soul, or not without Soul. 22. The Plastick Nature as to Animals, according to Aristotle, a Part or Lower Power of their Respective Souls. That the Phænomena prove a Plastick Nature or Archeus in Animals, to make which a distinct thing from the Soul, is to multiply Entities without necessity. The Soul endued with a Plastick Power, the chief Formatrix of its own Body, the Contribution of certain other Causes not excluded. 23. That besides that Plastick Principle in Particular Animals, forming them as so many Little Worlds, there is a General Plastick Nature in the whole Corporeal Universe, which likewise according to Aristotle is either a Part and Lower Power of a Conscious Mundane Soul, or else something depending on it. 24. That no less according to Aristotle than Plato and Socrates, our selves partake of Life from the Life of the Universe, as well as we do of Heat and Cold, <181> from the Heat and Cold of the Universe; from whence it appears, that Aristotle also held the worlds Animation, with further Undeniable Proof thereof. An Answer to Two the most considerable places of that Philosopher that seem to imply the contrary. That Aristotles First Immoveable Mover, was no Soul, but a Perfect Intellect Abstract from Matter, but that he supposed this to move only as a Final Cause, or as being Loved, and besides it a Mundane Soul and Plastick Nature, to move the Heavens Efficiently. Neither Aristotle's Nature nor his Mundane Soul, the Supreme Deity. However, though there be no such Mundane Soul as both Plato and Aristotle conceived, yet notwithstanding there may be a Plastick Nature depending upon a Higher Intellectual Principle. 25. No Impossibility of some other Particular Plastick Principles; and though it be not reasonable to think, that every Plant, Herb, and Pile of Grass hath a Plastick or Vegetative Soul of its own, nor that the Earth is an Animal; yet that there may possibly be One Plastick Inconscious Nature, in the whole Terraqueous Globe, by which Vegetables may be severally organized and framed, and all things performed which transcend the Power of Fortuitous Mechanism. 26. Our Second Undertaking, which was to shew how grosly those Atheists, (who acknowledge this Plastick Nature) Misunderstand it and Abuse the Notion, to make a Counterfeit God-almighty or Numen of it, to the exclusion of the True Deity. First, in their supposing that to be the First and Highest Principle of the Universe, which is the Last and lowest of all Lives, a thing as Essentially Derivative from, and Dependent upon a Higher Intellectual Principle, as the Eccho on the Original Voice. 27. Secondly, in their making Sense and Reason in Animals to Emerge out of a Sensless Life of Nature, by the mere Modification and Organization of Matter. That no Duplication of Corporeal Organs, can ever make One Single Inconscious Life, to advance into Redoubled Consciousness and Self-enjoyment. 28. Thirdly, in attributing Perfect Knowledge and Understanding to this Life of Nature, which yet themselves suppose to be devoid of all Animal Sense and Consciousness. 29. Lastly, in making the Plastick Life of Nature to be merely Corporeal; the Hylozoists contending that it is but an Inadequate Conception of Body, as the only Substance, and fondly dreaming, that the Vulgar Notion of God, is nothing but such an Inadequate Conception of the Matter of the Whole Universe, mistaken for a Complete and Entire Substance by it self, the Cause of all things.

[1] De Cœ. l. 2. c. 12.

[2] De part. An. l. 1. c. 1.

[3] De Part. An. l. 1. c. 1.

[4] Cap. 7.

[5] En. 3. l. 2. §. 16.

[6] In Arist. de Cœ. l. 1. c. 10.

[7] In Vita Zen.

[8] L. 1. c. 4.

[9] P. 967. Steph.

[10] Phys. l. 2. c. 8.

[11] Pl. Eu. 3. l. 8. §. 1.

[12] Phys. l. 2. c. 8.

[13] Met. l. 1. c. 1.

[14] En. 4. l. 4. c. 13.

[15] En. 2. l. 3. s. 17.

[16] Harv. Gen. Ex. 49.

[17] En. 3. l. 2. s. 16.

[18] En. 4. L. 4. s. 13.

[19] En. 3. L. 2 c. 16.

[20] En. 3. L. 8. S. 3.

[21] Harvey de Gen. An.

[22] Simplic. in Arist. Phys. L. 2.

[23] En. 3. l. 2. c. 16.

[24] En. 4. l. 4. c. 39.

[25] L. 1. c. 1.

[26] De part. An. Lib. 1. cap. 1.

[27] De An. l. 1. c. 4.

[28] De Resp. c. 8.

[29] De Part. An. lib. 1. c. 1.

[30] Lib. c. 2:12.

[31] L. 2. c. 1.

[32] De Leg l. 10.

[33] Quæst. Nat. L. 1. c. 1.

[34] Met. L. 14. c. 7. Par.

[35] De Leg. lib. 10.

[36] Diog. La. in Vita Prot.

[37] De Leg. l. 10. p. 908.

[38] Ibid.

Cite as: Ralph Cudworth, The True Intellectual System of the Universe: The First Part (1678), pp. 146-181,, accessed 2023-12-01.