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To the foregoing ANTIDOTE
Wherein is contained
An Answer to certain Objections made
against several Passages thereof.

By HENRY MORE, D.D. Fellow of Christ's College in Cambridge.

Aristot. Πρὸς τὶν ἔξω λόγον ἀεί ἐστιν ἐιστῆσαι, πρὸς δὲ τὶν ἔοω λόγον ὀυκ ἀεί.

london, Printed by James Flesher, for William Morden Book-seller in Cambridge, MDCLXII.


To the Foregoing ANTIDOTE


1. The Author's reason of adding this Appendix to his Antidote. 2. An Enumeration of the chief Objections made against the First Book thereof.

1. Suspected Innocency and misdoubted Truth can win no greater credit then by strictest examination: For the world is thereby more fully ascertain'd of the unblameableness of the one and of the solidity of the other, then it can be possibly without so publick a Trial. Wherefore that so great an advantage may not be wanting to that weighty Cause we have in hand, I was not contented onely to set down such Reasons for the existence of God which in my own judgement I conceiv'd to be irrefutably firm; but that the firmness of them may appear more conspicuous to all men, I have brought into view the chiefest and most material Objections I could meet with, whether raised by those that of themselves have excepted against any Argument I have made use of, or by such as have been invited more curiously to search and discover, where they could, any weakness of inconsequency in any Argumentation throughout the whole Treatise. And the chiefest Exceptions and Objections against the First Book are these:

2. First, That the Ground of our Demonstration of the Existence of God from his Idea is, That there are Innate Ideas in the Mind of Man; which, say they, is false.

Secondly, That there is no such Idea of God at all as we have describ'd, <146> neither Innate nor Acquisitious or Transcriptious; because it involves in it the Notion of a Spirit, which again consists of such particular Notions as are utterly unconceivable.

Thirdly, That Existence is no Term of Perfection, and therefore is not so inseparably involved in the Notion of a Being absolutely Perfect, or of God.

Fourthly, That though Necessary Existence be included in the Idea of God, yet out inferring from thence that he does Exist, is but a Sophism; because a Being absolutely Evil, as well as absolutely Perfect, includes necessary Existence in the Idea thereof.

Fifthly, That if there be any necessary Existent, it is plain that it is Matter, which we unadvisedly call Space, which we cannot imagine but did ever and will ever necessarily exist.

Sixthly, That God did not put this idea of himself into the Mind of Man, but the subtiler sort of Politicians, that have alwaies used Religion as a mere Engine of State.

Seventhly, That Fear and Hopes of Natural Conscience are nothing indeed but these Passions rais'd upon a belief of a God which men have had by Tradition or Education.

Lastly, That these Arguments whereby we prove the Incorporeity of the Soul of Man, will also conclude the Incorporeity of the Soul of a Beast, and that therefore they are Sophistical.

To these I shall answer in order with as little Pomp and Luxuriancy of words, and as much Plainness and Perspicuity, as I may, in so subtile and difficult a matter.


1. That the force of his Argument for the Existence of God from his Idea, does not lye in this, that there are Innate Ideas in the Mind of man. 2. That the force of arguing from the Idea of a thing, be it innate or not innate, is the same, proved by several instances. 3. The reason why he contends for Innate Ideas. 4. The seeming accuracy of a Triangle to outward sense no disproof but that the exact Idea thereof is from the Soul her self. 5. That it doth not follow that, if there be Innate Ideas, a Blind man may discourse of Colours. 6. That Brutes have not the Knowledge of any Logical or Mathematical Notions. 7. Why Zeno's Asse goes in a right line to the bottle of Hay. 8. That those actions and motions in things that are according to Reason and Mathematicks, do not prove any Logical or Mathematical Notions in the things thus acting or moving.

1. That some have excepted against our Demonstration of the Existence of God from his Idea, in that they have conceived that it is founded upon this Principle, That there are Innate Ideas in the Soul of Man; I can impute the mistake not so much to Ignorance as Inadvertency. For no mans parts can be so weak, but that if he attend to what <147> we have written,[1] he must plainly see that the stress of our Argument is not laid upon this Notion of Innate Ideas, but upon that confessed Truth, That there are some things so plain, that however the Soul came to the knowledge of them, she cannot but assent to them, and acknowledge them to be undeniably true.

2. Now the Idea of a Being absolutely Perfect being such, that it must needs be acknowledged according to the light of Nature to be indeed the true Idea of such a Being, call it Innate or not, it is all one, the Demonstration will as inevitably follow as if it were acknowledged an Innate Idea; as we shall more plainly discern if we instance in other Ideas; as for example, in the Idea of a Triangle, of a regular Geometrical body, and of a round Solid. For the nature of these Ideas is such, that the Mind of man cannot possibly deny but that they are such and such distinct Ideas, and that such and such affections belong unto them. As for example, That every Triangle is either Isopleuron, Isosceles, or Scalenum; so that there are just Three kinds of them in reference to their sides, and no more: That there are Five regular Bodies in Geometry, neither more nor less, viz. the Cube, the Tetraedrum, the Octaedrum, the Dodecaedrum and the Eicosaedrum: That there is one onely kind of round Solid, viz. the Sphere or Globe. And so contemplating the Idea of a Being absolutely Perfect (be the Idea innate or not innate, it is all one) we cannot but conclude that there can be but one onely such in number; and that That one also cannot fail to be, as we have demonstrated at large.

3. But however, though we need no such Principle for the carrying on of our Demonstration as this of Innate Ideas, yet because I thought it true, and of concernment to animate the Reader to attend the Notions of his own Mind, and relish the excellency of that Judge we are to appeal to, I held it not unfit to insist something upon it: And I am ready now to make it good, that this Principle is true, notwithstanding any thing that I find alledged against it.

4. For what I contend for in the sixth Chapter of this first Book, That the exact Idea of a Circle or a Triangle is rather hinted to us from those describ'd in Matter then taught us by them, is still true notwithstanding that Objection, that they seem exact to our outward Senses carelessly perusing them, though they be not so. For we plainly afterward correct our selves, not onely by occasion of the figure, which we may ever discern imperfect, but by our Innate knowledge, which tells us that the outward Senses cannot see an exact Triangle, because that an Indivisible point, in which the Angles are to be terminated, is to the outward Sense utterly invisible.

Besides, it is to be considered, that though we should admit that a Triangle could be so drawn that to our outward Sense, look on it as narrowly as we could, even through Microscopes, it would ever seem exact; yet they that never saw or took notice of any such accurate delineation, do of themselves upon the intimation of ruder draughts frame to themselves the exact Idea of a Triangle, which they having not learned from any outward Object, must needs be the inward representation of their own Minds.


5. But now for other Objections, That a Blind man would be able to discourse of Colours, if there were any Innate Ideas in his Soul; I say, it does not at all follow; because these Ideas that I contend to be in the Soul, are not Sensible, but Intellectual, such as are those many Logical, Metaphysical, Mathematical, and some Moral Notions. All which we imploy as our own Modes of considering sensible Objects, but are not the sensible Objects themselves, of which we have no Idea, but onely a capacity, by reason of the Organs of our Body, to be affected by them. The reason therefore of a blind man's inability of discoursing of Colours, is onely that he has no Substratum or Phantasm of the Subject of the discourse, upon which he would use these innate Modes or frame of Notions that are naturally in his Mind, and which he can make use of in the speculation of sundry other sensible Objects.

6. And whereas it is further objected,[2] That these Logical and Mathematical Notions came in also at the Senses, because Brutes have the knowledge of them, upon whom we will not bestow so rich an inward furniture as these Innate Ideas; I answer, that Brutes have the knowledge of them, upon whom we will not bestow so rich an inward furniture as these Innate Ideas; I answer, that Brutes have not the knowledge of any such Notion, but what they act is from a mere Concatenation of sensible Phantasms representing things grateful or ungrateful to the Sense: as to instance in those particulars that are objected, That a Dog will bark at one noise, suppose the knocking at the door, and not at another, as the falling of a stool or of a dish from off a shelf; that he will follow one sent, as that of the Hare and neglect another, and the like; these are all done, not that he has any Notion of Effect and Cause, but by mere Concatenation of Phantasms representing things as gratefull or ungratefull, or neither gratefull nor ungratefull to his Sense, in which case he is not mov'd at all. And if a Dog chop at the bigger morsel, it is not that he considers the notion of inequality; but because that sensible Object does more powerfully move his appetite. So if he take one single side of a Triangle to come to the corner of it, where a piece of bread may be placed, it is not because he considers that a straight line is the shortest betwixt the same terms, but he sensibly feels that going directly to it he shall be sooner at it then if he went about: as Zeno instances well in an Ass at one corner of a Pasture & the fodder in the other, that he would goe directly to that corner the fodder lay in; which as he thought was a marvellous witty jeer to Euclide his Demonstration, that any two sides of a Triangle are bigger than the third, as being so plain a Truth that no Ass could miss of it.

7. But by the favour of so Critical a Philosopher, we may very well suspect that neither Dog nor Ass, that makes toward any Object, goes directly in a straight line to it because he considers that a crooked one is further about, but because the visual line guides him straight to the Object he looks at, in which he goes as naturally, without any reflexion upon Mathematical notions, as a stone cast out of a sling of it self endeavours to steer its course with a Motion rectilinear: which having not so much as Sense, we can in no wise suspect to be capable of the rudest Notion in Geometry.

8 Wherefore it is a mere fallacy, to argue that Brutes, because they doe such things as are Reasonable or Mathematical, therefore they doe <149> them from Notions of Logick or Mathematicks; whenas in creatures inanimate that can think of nothing, we may read the footsteps of Reason and Geometry in their Motions and Figurations; as in the drops of Rain that fall downwards in the form of Hailstones, and in the beauty and symmetry of the leaves and flowers of Herbs and Plants: Which Objects while we contemplate, we apply to them the Innate modes of our own Mind, which she uses in the speculation even of those things that themselves are dead and thoughtless.


1. That considering the lapse of Man's Soul into Matter, it is no wonder she is so much puzzled in speculating things Immaterial. 2. That all Extension does not imply Physical Divisibility or Separability of Parts. 3. That the Emanation of the Secondary substance from the Centrall in a Spirit, is not properly Creation. 4. How it comes to pass that the Soul cannot withdraw her self from pain by her Self-contracting faculty. 5. That the Soul's extension does not imply as many Wills and Understandings as imaginable Parts, by reason of the special Unity and Indivisibility of her substance. 6. Several Instances of the puzzledness of Phansy in the firm conclusions of Sense, and of Reason. 7. The unconceivableness of the manner of that strong union some parts of the Matter have one with another. 8. What is meant by Hylopathy, and how a Spirit, though not impenetrable, may be the Impellent of Matter. 9. That the unexplicableness of a Spirit's moving Matter is no greater argument against the truth thereof, then the unconceivableness of that line that is produced by the Motion of a Globe on a Plane is an argument against the Mobility thereof. 10. That the strength of this last Answer consists in the Assurance that there are such Phænomena in the World as utterly exceed the Powers of mere Matter; of which several Examples are hinted out of the foregoing Treatise.

1. That the Souls of Men, the lowest dregs of all the Intellectual Orders, should be plung'd and puzzled in the more close and accurate Speculation of things Spiritual and Intellectual, is but reasonable; especially considering that even Matter it self, in which they tumble and wallow, which they feel with their hands and usurp with all their Senses, if they once offer to contemplate it in an Intellectual and Rational manner, their Phansies are so clouded in this dark state of incarceration in these earthly Bodies, that the Notion thereof seems unimaginable and contradictious,[3] as I have largely enough already insisted upon.

But that the Notion of a Spirit, which seems so to obscure the clearness of the Idea of God, is no such inconsistent and unconceivable Notion as some would have it, I hope I shall sufficiently evince by answering the shrewdest Objections that I think can be made against it.


2. Whereas therefore we have defined a Spirit (I mean chiefly a created one) as well from those more absolute powers of Self-contraction and dilation, as also from those relative faculties of Penetrating, moving and altering of the Matter; we will now set down the Objections made against them both.

And against the first it is objected, That it is impossible for the Mind of Man to imagine any Substance having a power of Self-dilation and Contraction to be unextended, and that Extension cannot be imagined without diversity of parts, nor diversity of parts without a possibility of division or separation of them; because diversity of parts in any Substance supposes diversity of substances, and diversity of substances supposes independency of one another: from whence it will follow that Indivisibility is incompetible to a Spirit, which notwithstanding we have added in the Definition thereof.

I confess the Objection is very ingenious and set on home; but withall conceive that the difficulty is easily taken off, if we acknowledge some such thing to be in the nature of a Spirit as has been by thousands acknowledged in the nature of Intentional Species. We will therefore represent the property of a Spirit in this Symbole or Hieroglyphick.

Suppose a Point of light from which rays out a luminous Orb according to the known principles of Opticks: This Orb of light does very much resemble the nature of a Spirit, which is diffus'd and extended, and yet indivisible. For wee'l suppose in this Spirit the Center of life to be indivisible, and yet to diffuse it self by a kind of circumscrib'd Omnipresency, as the Point of light is discernible in every point of the Luminous Sphere. And yet supposing that Centra lucid Point indivisible, there is nothing divisible in all that Sphere of light. For it is ridiculous to think by any Engine or Art whatsoever to separate the luminous rays from the shining Center, and keep them apart by themselves; as any man will acknowledge that does but carefully consider the nature of the thing we speak of.

Now there is no difficulty to imagine such an Orb as this a Substance as well as a Quality. And indeed this Sphere of light it self, it not inhering in any Subject in the space it occupies, looks far more like a Substance then any Accident. And what we fancie unadvisedly to befal Light and Colours, that any point of them will thus ray orbicularly, is more rationally to be admitted in Spiritual substances, whose central essence spreads out into a Secondary substance, as the luminous rays are conceiv'd to shoot out from a lucid Point. From whence we are enabled to return an Answer to the greatest difficulty in the foregoing Objection, viz. That the conceived parts in a Spirit have an inseparable dependence upon the central Essence thereof, from which they flow, and in which they are radically contained; and therefore though there be an Extension of this whole substantial power, yet one part is not separable or discerpible from another, but the intire Substance, as well Secondary as Primary or Central, is indivisible.

3. But let us again cast our eye upon this lucid Point and radiant Orb we have made use of; It is manifest that those rays that are hindred from <151> shooting out so far as they would, need not loose their virtue or Being, but onely be reflected back toward the shining Center; and the obstacle being removed, they may shoot out to their full length again: so that there is no generation of a new ray, but an emission of what was actually before. Whereby we are well furnish'd with an Answer to a further Objection, that would insinuate that this Emanation or Efflux of the Secondary Substance from the Central is Creation properly so called, which is deemed incompetible to any creature.

But we answer, that both the Central and Secondary Substance of a Spirit were created at once by God, and that these free active Spirits have onely a power in them of contracting their vital rays and dilating of them, not of annihilating or creating of them: For we also added in the Definition of a Spirit, Self-penetration, or the running of one part into another, if we may call them parts. And this Answer I hold so satisfactory, that I think it needless to alledge the opinion of Durandus, who contends that Creation is not incompetible unto a creature, provided that it be acknowledged to be done by virtue of donation from the first Creator, and in an inevitable observance to his Laws. We might also further scruple whether any Emanation may be properly call'd Creation; but enough has been already said to satisfie this Objection.

4. But we are further yet urged concerning this Self-contraction and dilation; for it is demanded why the Soul of man, which we acknowledge a Spirit, does not contract it self or withdraw it self from those parts which are pained, or why she does not dilate her self beyond the bounds of the Body. To which is answered, That the Plantal faculty of the Soul, whereby she is unitable to this terrestrial Body, is not arbitrarious, but fatal or natural; which union cannot be dissolved unless the bond of Life be loosened, and that vital congruity (which is in the Body, and does necessarily hold the Soul there) be either for a time hindred or utterly destroy'd.

5. The last Objection against the Self-extension of a Spirit is,[4] That there will be as many Wills and Understandings as Parts. But I have, in that Symbolical representation I have made use of, so represented the Extension of a Spirit, that it is also acknowledged Indivisible; whereby the Objection is no sooner propounded then answered, that engine lying in readiness to receive all such assaults.

6. Now for the Objections made against the Relative faculties of a Spirit, to wit, The power of penetrating, moving and altering the Matter; there is mainly this one, That Matter cannot be altered but by Motion, nor Motion be communicated but by Impulse, nor Impulse without Impenetrability in the Impulsor, and that therefore how a Spirit should move Matter which does not penetrate it, is not to be imagined.

But I answer, first, what our Imagination is baffled in, either our outward Senses or inward Reason often prove to be true. As for example, our Reason attending to the nature of an exact Globe and Plane, will undoubtedly pronounce that they will touch in a point, and that they may be moved one upon another: But our Imagination cannot but make this exception, That the Globe thus drawn upon the Plane describes a line <152> which must necessarily consist of points, point perpetually following point in the whole description; which how monstrous it is to be admitted, I have already intimated in the foregoing Discourse.[5]

So likewise the Angle of Contact included betwixt the Periphery and a Perpendicular falling on the end of the Diameter of a Circle, Geometricians demonstrate by Reason to be less then any acute Angle whatsoever, insomuch that a line cannot fall betwit the Periphery and the Perpendicular: whence the Phansy cannot but imagine this Angle to be indivisible; which is a perfect contradiction, and against the definition of an Angle, which is not the coincidence but the inclination of two lines. Besides, a lesser Circle inscrib'd in a greater, so that it touches in one point, through which let there be drawn the common Diameter of them both, and then let fall a Perpendicular on that end of the Diameter where the Circles touch; it will be evidence that one Angle of Contact is bigger then the other, when yet they are both indivisible, as was acknowledged by our Imagination before: So that one and the same Angle will be both divisible and indivisible, which is again a plain contradiction.

And as Imagination is puzzled in things we are sure of by Reason, so is it also in things we are certain of by Sense; for who can imagine how it comes about that we see our image behinde the Looking-glass? for it is more easie to fancy that we should deprehend our faces either in the very surface of the glass, or else in the place where they are: For if the reflected rayes might serve the turn, then we should finde the distance of our image in greater then that of the glass; but if we be affected also by the direct rayes, methinks we should be led by them to the first place whence they came, and finde our faces in that reall situation they are.

7. But to instance in things that will come more near to our purpose. We see in some kindes of Matter almost an invincible union of parts, as in Steel, Adamant, and the like; what is it that holds them so fast together? If you'l say, some inward Substantial form; we have what we look'd for, a Substance distinct from the Matter. If you say it is the quality of Hardness in the Matter that makes it thus hard; that is no more then to say, it is so because it is so. If you say it is a more perfect rest of parts one by another then there is in other Matter; if that be true, it is yet a thing utterly unimaginable: as for example, That upon Matter exactly plain, more plain and solid then a Table of Marble, if a man laid a little Cube upon it of like plainness and solidity, that this Cube by mere immediate touching of the Table should have as firm union therewith as the parts of the Cube have one with another, is a thing that the Phansy of man cannot tell how to admit. For suppose at first you drew along this Cube on the Table, as it would easily goe, both surfaces being so exactly smooth, and that then you left drawing of it; that these two smooth bodies should presently stick so fast together that a Hammer and a Chiesill would scarce sever them, is a thing utterly unimaginable.

Wherefore the union betwixt the Parts of the Matter being so strong, and yet so unimaginable how it comes to pass to be so, why should we not admit as strong or stronger union betwixt a Spirit and a Body, though our Phansy suggest it will pass through, as well as it does that smooth bodies <153> will ever lie loose, unless there be some cement to hold them together? And this union once admitted, Motion, Activity and Agitation being so easie and prone a conception of the property of a Spirit, it will as easily and naturally follow that it does move or agitate the Matter it is thus united to.

8. But again to answer more closely, I say, this present Objection is nothing else but a Sophism of the Phansy, conceiving a Spirit as a Body going through some pervious hole of passage too wide and patent for it, in which therefore it cannot stick or be firmly settled in it. To which imagination we will oppose, that though Spirits do penetrate Bodies, yet they are not such thin and lank things that they must of necessity run through them, or be unable to take hold of them, or be united with them, but that they may fill up the capacity of a Body penetrable by Spirits: which penetrability of a Body or Matter when it is satiated or fill'd, that Spirit that thus fills it is more strongly riveted in, or united with the Body or Matter, then one part of the Matter can be with another.

And therefore we will acknowledge one speciall faculty of a Spirit, which after penetration it doth either naturally or arbitrariously exert, which is this, to fill the Receptivity or Capacity of a Body or Matter so far forth as it is capable or receptive of a Soul or Spirit.

And this affection of a Spirit we will make bold to call, for more compendiousness, by one Greek term ὑλοπάθια. which, that there may be no suspicion of any fraud or affected foolery in words, we will as plainly as we can define thus, A power in a Spirit of offering so near to a corporeal emanation from the Center of life, that it will so perfectly fill the receptivity of Matter into which it has penetrated, that it is very difficult or impossible for any other Spirit to possess the same; and therefore of becoming hereby so firmly and closely united to a Body, as both to actuate and to be acted upon, to affect and be affected thereby.

And now let us appeal to Imagination her self, if Matter does not sit as close, nay closer, to a Spirit then any one part of Matter can do to another: For here union pervades through all, but there conjunction is onely in a common Superficies, as is usually fancied and acknowledged. And this Hylopathia which we thus suppose in a finite Spirit or Soul, I further adde, may well answer in Analogy to that power of creating Matter which is necessarily included in the Idea of God.

9. But lastly, if the manner how a Spirit acts upon a Body, or is affected by a Body, seems so intricate that it must be given up for inexplicable; yet as the mobility of an exact Globe upon a Plane is admitted as an evident and undeniable property thereof by our Understanding, though we cannot imagine how it always touching in a point should by its motion describe a continued line, (and the like may be urged from the other following instances of Intricacy and perplexedness:) so supposing such manifest operations in Nature, that Reason can demonstrate not to be from the Matter it self, we must acknowledge there is some other Substance besides the Matter that acts in it and upon it, which is Spiritual, though we know not how Motion can be communicated to Matter from a Spirit.


10. And the strength of this our third and last Answer consists in this, that there are indeed several such operations apparently transcending the power of Matter, of which we will onely here briefly repeat the heads, havin more fully discoursed of them in the foregoing Treatise.

And first, I instance in what is more general, and acknowledged by Des-Cartes himself, who yet has entituled the Laws of Matter to the highest Effects that ever any Man could rationally do: and 'tis this; That that matter out of which all things are, is of it self uniform and of one kinde. From whence I infer, that of it self therefore it all either rests or moves. If it all rest, there is something besides Matter that moves it, which necessarily is a Spirit: If it all move, there could not be possibly the coalition of any thing, but every imaginable particle would be actually loose from another. Wherefore there is required a Substance besides Matter that must binde what we finde fix'd and bound.

The second Instance is in that admirable Wisdom discoverable in all the works of Nature, which I have largely insisted on in my Second Book, which do manifestly evince that all things are contriv'd by a wise Principle: But who but a fool will say that the Matter is wise, and yet notwithstanding out of the putrefied parts even of the Earth it self, as also out of the drops of dew, rotten pieces of wood, and such like geer, the bodies of Animals do arise so artificially and exquisitely well framed, that the Reason of Man cannot contemplate them but with the greatest pleasure and admiration?

Thirdly, Those many and undeniable Stories of Apparitions do clearly evince, that an Understanding lodges in sundry Aiery bodies, when it is utterly impossible that Aire should be so arbitrariously changed into shapes, and yet held together as an actuated vehicle of life, if there were not something besides the Aire it self that did thus possess it and moderate it, and could dilate, contract, and guide it as it pleased; otherwise it would be no better figured nor more steddily kept together then the fume of Tobacco or the reek of Chimneys.

Fourthly and lastly, It is manifest that that which in us understands, remembers and perceives, is that which moves our bodies, and that those Cognoscitive Faculties can be no operation of the bare Matter. From whence it is evident that there is in our Bodies an Intellectual spirit that moves them as it pleases; as I have largely enough prov'd in the last Chapter of the First Book of my Antidote, and shall yet further confirm when we come to the Objections made against it.



1. That Existence is a Perfection, verified from vulgar Instances. 2. Further proved from Metaphysical Principles. 3. An Appeal to ordinary Reason. 4. That at least Necessary Existence is a Perfection, if bare Existence be not. 5. An Illustration of that last Conclusion.

1. To avoid the Necessity and Evidence of our Demonstration of the Existence of God drawn from the inseparable connexion of the Notion thereof with his Idea (we urging That necessary Existence must needs be included in the Idea of a Being absolutely Perfect) there are some that stick not to affirm that Existence is no Term of intrinsecal Perfection to any thing. For, say they, imagine two pieces of Gold equal in weight, purity and all other respects, but onely duration or necessity of Existence; we cannot justly, without being humoursome or phansiful, attribute preeminence to one more then to the other. To which I answer, That as two pieces of Gold are better then one, so one piece of Gold that will last twice as long as another is twice as good as the other, or at least much better then the other; which I think is so evident that it wants no further proof.

But further, that we may not onely apply our selves to answer Objections, but absolutely to ratifie the present Truth, That Existence is a Perfection: First, it is palpably plain, according to that sensible Aphorism of Solomon, Better is a living Dog then a dead Lion.

2. But then again to argue more generally, The Metaphysicians, as it is very well known, look upon Existence as the formal and actual part of a Being; and Form or Act is acknowledged the more noble and perfect Principle in every Essence; and therefore if they can be distinguished in God, is so there also: if they cannot, then it is thereby confest, that we cannot think of the Idea of God but it immediately informs us that he doth Exist. And I recommend it to the inquiry of the Hebrew Criticks, whether , from whence is , does not rather signifie Existence then Essence.

3. Thirdly, let the Metaphysicians conclude what they please, it is evident to ordinary Reason, that if there be one conception better then another, that implies no imperfection in it, it must be cast upon what is most perfect: But Existence is better then non-existence, and implies no imperfection in it; therefore it must be cast upon an Idea of a Being absolutely Perfect.

4. But fourthly and lastly, Though it were possible to cavil at the single Notion of Existence, that it neither argued Perfection no Imperfection, nor belong'd to either; yet there can be no shew of exception against the highest and most perfect manner of existing, but that that is naturally and undeniably included in the Idea of a Being absolutely Perfect; and that therefore we do but rightfully contend that necessary Existence is inseparably contained in the notion of God.


5. For as for example, while it is confest that Matter is finite and cannot be otherwise, for a Body to be Figured implies neither Perfection nor Imperfection, but is a natural and necessary affection thereof; yet to be ordinately figured, is an undoubted Perfection of a Body: so in like manner, though it were confessed that mere Existence is neither Perfection nor Imperfection, yet so noble a Mode thereof as necessarily to Exist, must without all tergiversation be acknowledged a notion of Perfection, and therefore to accrew naturally to the Idea of a Being absolutely perfect.


1. That there is a vast difference betwixt arguing from forced Figments or fancies and from the natural Ideas of our own Minds. 2. That the Idea of a Being absolutely Evil does not imply necessary Existence, whether it signifie a Being absolutely Imperfect, 3. Or absolutely Wicked, 4. Or absolutely Miserable, 5. Or absolutely Mischievous. 6. That if by a Being absolutely Mischievous were meant onely the Infinite power of doing hurt, this is God, whose absolute Goodness prevents the execution thereof. 7. That the right Method of using our Reason is to proceed from what is plain and unsuspected to what is more obscure and suspicable. 8. That according to this Method, being assured first of the Existence of a Being absolutely Perfect from his Idea, we are therewithall inabled to return answer, that Impossibility of Existence belongs to a Being either absolutely Miserable or absolutely Mischievous. 9. That the Phænomena of the World further prove the impossibility of the Existence of a Being absolutely Mischievous. 10. And that the Counsels and Works of God are not to be measured by the vain Opinions of Men.

1. As for those that admit necessary Existence to be included in the Idea of a Being absolutely Perfect, but would shew that our Inference from thence, viz. That this perfect Being doth Exist, is false and sophistical, because necessary existence is contained in the Idea of a Being absolutely Evil, which notwithstanding we will not admit to Exist (for, say they, that which is absolutely Evil is immutably and ever unavoidably such, and cannot but be so, and therefore it cannot but Exist, and ever has Existed:) To these we answer, That we shall easily discover the grand difference betwixt such arbitrarious and forced Figment and fancies as these, and the naturall and consistent Ideas of our own Mind, if we look more carefully and curiously into the Nature of what these Objectors have ventured to utter, and sift out what either themselves mean, or what must mecessarily be understood by this Idea of a Being absolutely Evil; which they have thus forged.

2. By the Idea of a Being absolutely Evil must be meant either the Idea of a Being absolutely Imperfect, or absolutely Wicked, or absolutely Miserable, or absolutely Mischievous.

Now the Idea of what is absolutely Imperfect removes from it what <157> ever sounds Perfection; as if all Perfectness were 1000, then this Idea removes from this absolute imperfect every unite of these 1000, allowing not so much as an unite or fraction of an unite, no not the possibility of them, to what is thus absolutely imperfect. So that what is absolutely imperfect is impossible to Exist. But necessary Existence is a Term of Perfection, as was plainly demonstrated before.

3. The Idea of a Being absolutely Wicked removes from it all manner of Goodness, Equity, Decorum, Righteousness; and implies a firm and immutable aversation of the Will from all these, and a settled and unchangeable purpose of doing things wickedly: but intimates nothing either of the Necessity or Contingency of the Existence of the Substance of this Being; that being neither here nor there to the moral deformity thereof, as is evidently plain at first sight.

4. The Idea of a Being absolutely Miserable is the Idea of a Being that sustains the fullest and compleatest torments that are conceiveable; and this must be in a knowing, passive, and reflexive Subject. Now, I say, this torture arising partly from the sense of present smart, and partly out of reflexion of what it has suffered, and a full belief that it shall suffer thus eternally; this miserable Being, though but a Creature, is as perfectly tormented as it could possibly be if it necessarily existed of it self. For if it were always, though but contingently and dependently of another, the torture is equally perfect; and therefore necessary Existence is not included in the Idea thereof.

Again, the Objector is to prove that a Being wholly Immaterial can suffer any torture: which till he do, it seeming more reasonable that it cannot, I shal flatly deny that it can; and therefore do assert, that a torturable Being is a Spirit incorporate; and affirm also, as a thing most rational, that this Spirit, if very great pain was upon it, such as that it were better for him not to be at all then to be in it, that anguish by continuance would be so increased, (pain infinitely overpowering the vital vigour, and overpoising the contents of life and sense) that it would die to the Body in which it is thus tormented. But if it be not in so ill a plight as to change its state of conjunction, but that the torture proves tolerable; then necessary Existence would not be its misery, but some part of happiness: so that there can be no such thing as a Being absolutely Miserable in the world. For Misery rack'd up to the highest would make the thing cease to be. As a man cannot say an absolute big Triangle; for a Circle will be always bigger: or rather no Figure can be absolutely big, because the nature of it is to be limited.

Thirdly, The Idea of a Being absolutely Perfect is compos'd of Notions of the same denomination, all of them of themselves sounding absolute Perfection; but the Idea of a Being absolutely Miserable is not compiled of Notions that sound absolute Misery of themselves. For what Misery, but rather good, is there in necessary Existence? Wherefore if we should contend that an inference from the Idea of a thing to its necessary Existence is onely warrantable there where the Idea consists of Notions of one denomination, the Objector is to take off the distinction.

Or, to speak more plainly, Absolutely necessary Existence and self <158> existence is one and the same Notion: But Self-existence is the most hight and perfect mode of Existence that is conceivable, and therefore proper to what is most absolutely Perfect. Wherefore to transplant Self-existence to so pitiful an Idea as the Idea of a Being absolutely Miserable, is as absonous and prodigious as to clap the head of a Lion to the body of a Snail. Nay, indeed, it seems more contradictious, that being but the misplacin of Body and Figure, but this the implantation of an inward Property into a wrong Subject; nay infinitely contrary properties in the same Subject.

5. Fourthly and lastly, As for a Being absolutely Mischievous, it seems indeed to include necessary and unavoidable Existence as well as Omnipotency and Omnisciency, or else this Soveraign Mischief is not so full and absolute as our apprehension can conceive. These added to a peremptory and immutable desire or will of doing all mischief possible for Mischief sake, do fully complete the Notion of this absolute Mischievous Being.

But how spurious and unnatural this Idea is, is evident in that it does forcedly tie together Notions of a quite contrary nature, the greatest Imperfection with the highest Perfections, joyning the incommunicable Attributes of God with that which is haply worse then we can demonstrate to be in any Devil; nay such as seem a contradiction in any Subject whatsoever.

Wherefore, as I intimated before, if any man pretend our Argument to be a Sophism, and in imitating it would discover the fallacy in some other Matter, he is exactly to observe the Laws thereof in his imitation, and constitute an Idea of Notions that agree with the same Title, as they exquisitely do in the Idea of a Being absolutely Perfect; for there is no notion there but what sounds highest Perfection.

But in this Idea of a Being absolutely Mischievous there is nothing that of its own nature signifies mischief, but that wicked and malicious desire of doing mischief merely for mischiefs sake. Which is a degree of Imperfection sunk into the borders of Inconsistency and Contradiction. But yet to be able accurately to destroy all good whatsoever, implies again an Omnipotency in Power, and an Omnisciency. But what is omnipotently and absolutely mischievous, must also destroy it self; as an infinitely-big Triangle implies no Triangle at all. So that this Idea is not free from the intanglement of multifarious Contradictions in the conception thereof.

6. But if by a Being absolutely mischievous were meant, a Being that has the power and skill of doing all mischief imaginable, and indeed far above all the Imagination and Conceit of man, and that so effectually and universally that nothing possibly can prevent him; this is indeed the Eternal God, who is necessarily of himself, and prevents all things, and can be limited in his actions by none but by himself: but he being that absolute and immutable Good, and full and pure Perfection, he cannot but include in his Idea that precious Attribute of Benignity; and therefore acting according to his entire Nature, he is not onely Good himself, but, by the prerogative of his own Being, keeps out such mischievous So <159> veraignties as have been here pleaded for, from ever having any Existence in the world.

7. Wherefore to bring our Answer to a head, I say, we are to use that natural method in this Speculation that men that know the use of their Faculties observe in all others, viz. to assent to what is most simple, easie and plain first, and of which there can be no doubt but that the Notion is congruous and consistent; and such is the Idea of a Being absolutely Perfect, no arbitrarious or fortuitous figment, or forced compilement of Notions that jarre one with another, or may be justly suspected, if not demonstrated, to be incoherent and repugnant; such as for example would be a walking Tree, or an intelligent Stone, or the like: but such as wherein the Notions naturally and necessarily come together to compleat the conception of some one single Title, as being homogeneal and essential thereunto.

8. And then what I contend for is this, That attending to this Natural Idea of God, or a Being absolutely Perfect, we unavoidably discover the necessity of actual Existence, as inseparable from him, it being necessarily included in this Idea of absolute Perfection: which is still more undeniably set on in the last push of my Argument, where I urge that either Impossibility, Contingency, or Necessity of actual Existence must needs belong to a Being absolutely Perfect; but not Impossibility nor Contingency, therefore Necessity of actual Existence.

And therefore being so well secured of this Truth, I require the Objector to bring up his Argument to this last and clearest frame, and let him also urge that either Impossibility, Contingency, or Necessity of actual Existence, belongs either to a Being absolutely Miserable or absolutely Mischievous; and I shall confidently answer, Impossibility of Existence, and give him a further Reason, besides what I intimated before of the incongruity of the Notions themselves, that it is also repugnant with the Existence of God, whom, without any rub or scruple, attending to the natural and undistorted suggestions of our own Faculties, we have already demonstrated to exist.

9. And still to make our Answer more certain concerning a Being absolutely Mischievous, it is most evidence He is not, and therefore sith he must be of himself if he be at all, it is impossible he should be: And that he is not, is plain, because things would then be infinitely worse then they are, or not at all, whenas I dare say they are now as well as it is fit or possible for them to be, if we had but the wisdome to conceive or comprehend the whole counsel and purpose of Providence, and knew clearly and particularly what is past and what is to come.

10. But if we take up, our of our own blindness or rashness, Principles concerning the Providence of God that are inconsistent with his Idea (such as the Ptolemaical Systeme of the Heavens, which (as some say) Alphonso looked upon (though others tell the story of the misplacement of certain Mountains on the Earth) as so perplex'd a Bungle, that transported with zeal against that fond Hypothesis, he did scoffingly and audaciously profess, that if he had stood by whilst God made the World, he could have directed the Frame of it better) we shall indeed then have occasion to <160> quarrell, but not with either the Counsels or Works of God, but rather with the Opinions of ignorant and mistaken men.


1. That the sense of his Argument from the Idea of God in the first posture, is not simply That the Idea is true, and if God were, his Existence were necessary; but That this Idea being true does exhibite to our Minde an absolute necessary Existence as belonging to Him. 2. That the Idea of the God of the Manichees does not include in it necessary existence. 3. That to say that necessary Existence included in the Idea of a Being absolutely perfect is but conditional, is a Contradiction. 4. The second posture of his Argument made good, and that by virtue of the form thereof the Existence of the Manichean God is not concludible. 5. The invincible Evidence of the third posture of his Argument in the judgement of his Antagonist himself. 6. That the force of his Argument in the fourth and last posture is not, That we conceive the Idea of Matter without necessary Existence; but that, look as near as we can, we finde no necessary existence included therein, as we do in the Idea of God. 7. That the Faculties of our Minde, to which he perpetually appeals, are to be supposed, not proved to be true.

1. And now having thus clearly satisfied the Objection taken from the Idea of a Being absolutely Evil, it will be easie to turn back the edge of any Argument of the like nature, be it never so skilfully & cunningly directed against us. As that which I had from an ingenious hand, which because it seems very witty to me as well as invincible to the Objector, I shall propound it in his own words; the tenour whereof runs thus:

If a man may have a true Idea or Notion of that which is not, yea and of that which is not and yet would necessarily be if it were, then your Argument for the Existence of God, from necessary Existence being comprehended in his Idea or Notion, is unconcluding. How you can deny this Argument, I cannot possibly conceive, the substance of your first Argument from the Idea of God being contained therein in the first posture of it.

But a man may have a true Notion of that which is not, yea and of that which is not and yet would necessarily be if it were; as for instance, of the e;vil God of the Manichees.

But I answer briefly to the Proposition thus, That it does not reach our Case: because we argue God does exist, not because the Idea of him is true, and if he did exist he would necessarily exist; for[6] Conditional necessary Existence, as being less perfect then absolute necessary Existence, cannot belong to a Being absolutely Perfect: but because this true Idea, without any If or And, does suggest to our Natural Faculties, That necessary Existence being involved in his Idea alone, the like not happening in any other Idea beside, without any more a-do, he doth of himself absolutely and really exist.


To the Assumption I answer, That the Manichees God, if he could exist at all, would so do necessarily; and my reason is, because God would never create so foul a Monster.

2. But if you still urge that the Idea of this Evil God of the Manichees includes necessary Existence in it, it being the Notion of a God, and yet he is not existent; and that therefore the true God cannot be proved to exist, because necessary Existence is involved in his Idea: I further answer, That the Notion of the Manichees God does not naturally include necessary Existence in it, because it is not the Notion of a Being absolutely Perfect; and that the Notion of an Evil God is a mere forced or fortuitous Figment, and no better sense then a Wooden God, whose Idea implies not necessary Existence, but an impossibility thereof.

3. But the Objector proceeds, and we must attend his motions, onely before he comes to the second posture of our Argument,[7] he takes notice of my charging of all those with self-contradiction that acknowledge that necessary Existence is contained in the Idea of God, or a Being absolutely Perfect, and that thereby is signified that necessary Existence belongs unto him, and yet unsay it again, by adding, If he do at all exist. But I answer, my charge is true: For to say, necessary Existence belongs to a Being, which we notwithstanding profess may not be for all that, is to admit a contradiction; for thus the same thing by our Faculties is acknowledged both necessary and contingent, that is, that it cannot but be, and yet that it may not be; which if it be not a Contradiction in this case, I know not what is: for no less then absolutely necessary Existence must be comprized in the Idea of a Being absolutely perfect.

4. But the Argument will still appear more plain in the second posture.[8] For if there be any fraud or fallacy, it lies in this term, Necessary, which I have truly explain'd (and it is not denied) to signifie nothing else but an inseparable connexion betwixt the Subject and the Prædicate. Wherefore Existence having an inseparable connexion with God, it must needs follow that this Axiom, God does Exist, is eternally and immutably true. But here to reply, If he did exist, is to insinuate that for all this he may not exist, which is to say, that what is immutably true is not immutably true; which is a palpable contradiction.

But the Objector here flyes for aid to the God of the Manichees, desiring me to put the Manichean God in stead of the God whose Existence I would prove, whereby I may discern my own Sophisme. Well, if it be not Idolatry, let us place him there; but how shrimpish he is and unfit to fill this place, you may understand out of what I said before, That the Manichean God does no more imply in the Notion thereof necessary Existence then a Wooden God does, nay it rather implyes impossibility of Existence. For the Notion of God is the same, that is, of a Being absolutely Perfect, which must involve in it the most absolute Goodnesse that may be. Now bring the Manichean God into sight, and let us view his inscription: He is an evil absolutely good; which, as I said before, is far worse sense in my conceit then a Wooden God, and therefore Impossibility, and not Necessity of Existence, is contained in his Idea.

5. The third posture of my Argument[9] is formidable even to the Ob <162> jector himself: for whereas I urge, That either Impossibility, Contingency, or Necessity of Actual Existence belongs to a Being absolutely Perfect, he confesses here, that the Manichean God will succour him no longer; but as a man left in distress he complains, that it is an hard case, that we must be put to prove the Existence of God impossible, or else we must be forced to admit that he is. But afterwards being better advised, he takes notice that if he be not, it is impossible for him to be; and therefore, say I, it is but just that we except of him that will deny that he is, to prove his Being impossible, especially the force of our Argument so necessarily casting him upon it. But in my conceit he had better save his pains, then venture upon so frustraneous an undertaking: for he may remember that the Idea of this Being absolutely Perfect is so fram'd, that in the judgement of any man that has the use of his Faculties, there is no inconsistency nor incompossibility therein, nor the least shadow for suspicion or shyness. And besides, since impossibility of existing is the most imperfect σχέσις that any Being can bear to Existence, it must needs be an outragious incongruity to attribute it to a Being absolutely Perfect, it so naturally and undeniably belonging to a Being absolutely Imperfect, as hath been noted before.[10]

Wherefore if either the doubting or obdurate Atheist will say the Existence of God is impossible, that will not argue any weakness or vanity in my Argument, but rash boldness and blind impudency in him that shall return so irrational an Answer.

6. But the Objector as arrived now to the fourth and last posture of our Argumentation,[11] of which he conceives this is the utmost summe, That either there is a God, or Matter is of it self; but Matter is not of it self, because necessary Existence is not included in the Idea thereof. Against which he alledges, that as thousands have the Idea of a Triangle, and yet have not any knowledge of that property of having the three Angles equal to two right ones; so a man may have the Idea of Matter, and yet know nothing of the necessity of its Existence, though it have that property in it.

But I answer, This does not reach the force of our Argument; for look as curiously and skilfully as you will into the Idea of Matter, and you can discover no such property as necessity of Existence therein. And then again, the weight of my reasoning lieth mainly in this, That necessity of Self-existence being so plainly and unavoidably discoverable in the Idea of a Being absolutely Perfect, but not at all discernible in the Idea of Matter; that we doe manifest violence to our Faculties while we acknowledge Self-existence in Matter, no Faculty informing us so, and deny it in God, the Idea of God so conspicuously informing us that necessary Self-existence belongs unto him. So that all I contend for is this, That he that denies a God, runs counter to the light of his Natural Faculties, to which I perpetually appeal.

7. But if you will still say, It may be our Faculties are false; I say so too, that it might be so if there were no God by whom we were made; for then we were such as we finde our selves; and could seek no further, nor assure our selves but that we might be of that nature, as to be then <163> mistaken most when we think we are most sure, and have used the greatest caution and circumspection we could to avoid errour. But it is sufficient for us that we ask no more then what is granted to them that pretend to the most undeniable Methods of Demonstration, and which Geometry her self cannot prove, but supposes; to wit, That our Faculties are true.


1. That that necessity of Existence that seems to be included in the Idea of Space is but the same that offers it self to our Mind in that more full and perfect Idea of God. 2. That there is the same reason of Eternal Duration, whose immediate subject is God, not Matter. 3. That Space is but the possibility of Matter, measurable onely as so many several possible Species of things are numberable. 4. That Distance is no Physical affection of any thing, but onely Notional. 5. That Distance of Bodies is but privation of tactual union, measurable by parts, as other Privations of qualities by degrees. 6. That if distant Space after the removal of Matter be any real thing, it is that necessary Being represented by the Idea of God. 7. That Self-Existence and Contingency are terms inconsistent with one another.

1. Others there are that seem to come nearer the mark,[12] while they alledge against the fourth posture of our Argument that necessary Existence is plainly involved in the Idea of Matter. For, say they, a man cannot possibly but imagine a Space running out in infinitum every way, whether there be a God or no. And this Space being extended thus, and measurable by Yards, Poles, or the like, it must needs be something, in that it is thus extended and measurable; for Non-entity can have no affection or property. And if it be an Entity, what can it be but corporeal Matter?

But I answer, If there were no Matter, but the Immensity of the Divine Essence only, occupying all by his Ubiquity, that the Replication, as I may so speak, of his indivisible substance, whereby he presents himself intirely every where, would be the Subject of that Diffusion and Mensurability. And I adde further, That the perpetual obversation of this infinite Amplitude and Mensurability, which we cannot disimagine in our Phansie but will necessarily be, may be a more rude and obscure Notion offered to our Mind of that necessary and self-existent Essence which the Idea of God does with greater fulness and distinctness represent to us. For it is plain that not so much as our Imagination is engaged to an appropriation of this Idea of Space to corporeal Matter, in that it does not naturally conceive any impenetrability or tangibility in the Notion thereof; and therefore it may as well belong to a Spirit as a Body. Whence, as I said before, the Idea of God being such as it is, it will both justly and <164> necessarily cast this ruder notion of Space upon that Infinite and Eternal Spirit which is God.

2. Now there is the same reason for Time (by Time I mean Duration) as for Space. For we cannot imagine but that there has been such a continued Duration as could have no beginning nor interruption. And any one will say, it is non-sense that there should be such a necessary duration, when there is no reall Essence that must of it self thus be always, and for ever so endure. What or who is it then that this eternal, uninterrupted and never-fading duration must belong to? No Philosopher can answer more appositely then the holy Psalmist, From everlasting to everlasting thou art God. Wherefore I say that those unavoidable imaginations of the necessity of an Infinite Space, as they call it, and Eternal duration, are no proofs of a Self-existent Matter, but rather obscure sub-indications of the necessary Existence of God.

3. There is also another way of answering this Objection, which is this; That this Imagination of Space is not the imagination of any real thing, but onely of the large and immense capacity of the potentiality of the Matter, which we cannot free our Mindes from, but must necessarily acknowledge, that there is indeed such a possibility of Matter to be measured upward, downward, every way in infinitum, whether this corporeal Matter were actually there or no; and that though this potentiality of Matter or Space be measurable by furlongs, miles, or the like, that it implies no more any real Essence or Being, then when a man recounts so many orders or kindes of the Possibilities of things, the compute or number of them will infer the reality of their Existence.

4. But if they urge us further, That there will be a real distance even in Space devoid of Matter; as if, for Example, Three Balls of brass or steel were put together in this empty Space, it is utterly unimaginable but that there should be a Triangular distance in the midst of them: it may be answered, That Distance is no real or Physical property of a thing, but onely notional; because more or less of it may accrue to a thing, whenas yet there has been nothing at all done to that to which it does accrue. As suppose one of these Balls mentioned were first an inch distant from another; this distance betwixt them may be made many miles, and yet one of them not so much as touch'd or stirr'd, though it become as much distant as the other.

5. But if they urge us still further, and contend, That this distance must be some real thing, because it keeps off those Balls so one from another, that supposing two of them two miles distant in empty Space, and one of them to lie in the mid-way, if that two miles distant would come to the other so soon as that but one mile distant, it must have double celerity of motion ot perform its race: I answer briefly, that Distance is nothing else but the privation of tactual union, and the greater distance the greater privation, and the greater privation the more to doe to regain the former positive condition; and that this privation of tactual union is measur'd by parts, as other privations of qualities are by degrees; and that parts and degrees, and such like notions, are not real things themselves any where, but our mode of conceiving them, and therefore we can <165> bestow them upon Non-entities as well as Entities, as I have discovered elswhere more at large.

6. But if this will not satisfie, 'tis no detriment to our cause: For if after the removal of corporeal Matter out of the world, there will be still Space and Distance in which this very Matter, while it was there, was also conceived to lye, and this distant Space cannot but be something, and yet not corporeal, because neither impenetrable nor tangible; it must of necessity be a Substance Incorporeal necessarily and eternally existent of it self: which the clearer Idea of a Being absolutely perfect will more fully and punctually inform us to be the Self-subsisting God.

7. But that we may omit nothing that may seem at all worth the answering, There are that endeavour to decline the stroke of our Argument in the third and fourth posture thereof, by saying that Contingency is not incompetible to God or any thing else: for all things that exist in the world, happen so to do, though they might have done otherwise. But no man would answer thus, if he attended to what he answered; or to the light of his own Reason, that would instruct him better. For, for example, if Matter did exist of it self, it is evident that it does necessarily exist, and could not have done otherwise: for Self-existence prevents all impediments whatsoever, whereby a thing may seem to have been in danger possibly to have fallen short of actually existing.

And as for God, it is as evident, that it is either impossible for him to be, or else that he is of himself; and if of himself, his Existence is unpreventable and necessary; as any man must needs acknowledge that understands the terms he ventures to pronounce.


1. That the Idea of God is a natural and indeleble Notion in the Soul of Man. 2. That if there were some smal obscurity in the Notion, it hinders not but that it may be natural. 3. That the Politician's abuse of the notion of God and Religion argues them no more to be his Contrivance, then natural Affection, love of Honour and Liberty are; which he in like manner abuses. 4. A twofold Answer to an Objection touching God's implanting his Idea in us upon counsel or design.

1. That the Idea of a Being absolutely Perfect is a Notion natural to the Soul, and such as she cannot deny but it is exactly representative of such a Being, without any clashing of one part against another, all the Attributes thereof being homogeneal to the general Title of Perfection to which they belong, is a thing so plain, that I dare appeal to any man that has the use of his Faculties, whether it be not undoubtedly and immutably true.

Nor can what is objected make it at all suspected of falsity: for whereas it is supposed, that the Atheist will pretend that the thousandth <166> part of the world never had any such Idea; and that those that have had it, have blotted it out of their Souls; and those that have it most deeply imprinted upon them, are not so sure of it as two and two make four; I briefly answer, That all men ever had and have this Idea in their Souls, nor is it in their power to blot it out, no more then to blow out the Sun with a pair of bellows. Interest, diversion of their Minds to other matters, distemper of Body by Sensuality or Melancholy, may hinder the actual contemplation or discovery of this Idea in the Mind, but it cannot radically obliterate it.

2. For the last alledgement, That it is not so clear as two and two make four; suppose it were true, yet it does not invalid our position, That this Truth we contend for is natural and undeniable. For many Truths on this side of that easiness at least, if not clearness, cannot but be acknowledged naturally and undeniably true.

3. But now to come more near to the business, and that grand suspicion of Atheists, That this Notion of a God is onely a crafty Figment of Politicians, whereby they would contain the People in Obedience, and that it is they that by their cunning and power have impressed this Character upon the minds of men; I answer, That what is naturally in man already, they cannot put there. They may, I confess, make a Political use of it; as indeed it is not so true as dreadful and detestable, That mere States-men make no conscience of prostituting the most Sacred things that are to their own base trivial Designs. But to argue therefore that there is no such thing as Religion, or a God, because they do so abominably abuse the acknowledgement of them to Political purposes, is as irrationally inferred as if we should contend that there is not naturally any Self-love, love of Wife and Children, desire of Liberty, Riches or Honour, but what Politicians and States-men have conveyed into the hearts of men: because by applying themselves skilfully to these affections, they carry and winde about the People as they please; and by the inflaming of their spirits by their plausible Orations, hurry them many times into an hazzard of losing the very capacity of the injoyment of those hopes that they so fairly and fully spread out before them.

4. The most material Objection that I can conceive can be made against our second Argument from the Idea of God, as it is subjected in our Soul, is this, That this Idea is so plain and conspicuous a Truth, that it cannot but be in an intellectual Subject, and therefore we cannot well argue as we do in the ninth Chapter of our first Book, That this Idea in our Soul was put there that we might come to the knowledge of our Maker; for it is necessarily there, and what is necessary is not of counsel or purpose.

But to this I answer, first, That our Bodies might have been of such a frame that our Minds thereby had been ever hindered or diverted from attending this Idea, though it could not possibly but be there.

And in the second place, That it is not any inconvenience to us to acknowledge, that the Idea of God is such that no intellectual Being can be conceived without it, that is, can be imagined of an intellectual nature, and yet not necessarily acknowledge upon due proposal that this Idea is <167> undeniably true: for hereby it is more manifest how absurd and irrational they are that will pretend to Reason and Understanding, and yet excuse themselves from the acknowledging of so plain a Truth.


1. That the natural frame of Conscience is such, that it suggests such Fears and Hopes that imply that there is a God. 2. That the ridiculousness of sundry Religions is not any proof that to be affected with Religion is no Innate faculty of the Soul of man.

The strength of my Argument from Natural Conscience is this, That men naturally fear Misfortunes, and hope for Success, accordingly as they behave themselves. But I must confess that this proof or reason is the most lubricous and unmanageable of any that I have made use of, it being so plainly obnoxious to that cavil or evasion, That the Fears and Hopes of Conscience are not from any natural knowledge of God, but from the power of Education, which is another Nature.

Now there scarce being any Nation that hath not aw'd their Children by some rudiments or other of Religion, we are not able to give a sincere instance that will fitly set off the validity of our Argument, and we do not know how to help our selves but by a Supposition.

We will therefore suppose a man of an ordinary stamp (for I do profess that some men are born so enormously deformed for their ingeny or inward nature, that a man can no more judge of what is the Intellectual or Moral property of a man by them, then what is the genuine shape of his body by a Mole or Monster) not to have inculcated into him any Principles of Religion, or explicite or Catechistical doctrine of a God, but to be of such a temper only (whether by Nature or Education, 'tis all one) as to deem some things fit and right to be done, and other unfit and unjust. For what is just and unjust, good and evil, amiable and execrable, is more palpable and plain, according to the judgement of some, then the Existence of a Deity. I say, suppose such a man should commit some things that he held very hainous and abominable crimes, as Murder of Father or Mother, Incest with his Sister, betraying of his truest Friends, or the like, and should after not by the hand of the Magistrate be punished, (he doing these things so cunningly that they escap'd his cognisance) but should immediatly thereupon be continually unfortunate, his Barns and Stacks of Corn burnt by Lightning from heaven, his Cattel die in his grounds, himself afterward tormented with most noisome and grievous Diseases; all which notwithstanding befall many in the course of nature; I appeal to any one, whether he can think it at all probable but that this man will naturally and unavoidably be so touch'd in Conscience, as to suspect that these Misfortunes are fallen upon him as a punishment from some invisible Power or Divine hand that orders all things justly.

2. What is alledged against our Argument from the Universality of <168> Religious veneration, viz. The manifold ridiculous Religions in the world; from whence it is inferred that the Mind of man has no Innate principle of Religion at all in it, it being mouldable into any shape or form of Worship that it pleases the Supreme Power in every Countrey to propose; I answer to this,

First, That if every Religionist would look upon extraneous Religions with the same venerable candor and awfull sobriety that he does upon his own, he might rather finde them worthy to be pitied for their falseness then laughed at for their ridiculousness. But it no more follows that all Religions are false because so many are, then that no Philosophick opinions are true because so many are false.

But, secondly, The multitude of various and, if you will, fond Religions in the world, into which the Nations of the earth are mouldable, the more ridiculous, the never the worse for our purpose, who contend that Religion is a natural property of man. For the necessity of its adherence to our nature is more manifestly evidenced thereby, who can no more be without Religion then Matter can be without Figure, though few parts of it have the happiness to be framed unto what is Regular or Ordinate, or to have any beauty or propertion in their shape; and yet break the Matter as you will, it will be in some shape or other.


1. That though the Conarion might be the Seat of Common Sense, yet it cannot be the Common Percipient; 2. As being incapable of Sensation, 3. Of Memory, 4. Of Imagination, 5. Of Reason, 6. And of Spontaneous Motion. 7. That these Arguments do not equally prove an Incorporeal Substance in Brutes; nor, if they did, were their Souls straightway immortal. 8. That we cannot admit Perception in Matter as well as Divisibility, upon pretence the one is no more perplex'd then the other; because both Sense and Reason averres the one, but no Faculty gives witness to the other. 9. In what sense the Soul is both divisible and extended. 10. A Symbolical representation how she may receive multitudes of distinct figurations into one indivisible Principle of perception. 11. That the manifest incapacity in the Matter for the Functions of a Soul assures us of the Existence thereof, be we never so much puzzled in the speculation of her Essence.

1. We have in the last Chapter of our first Book largely and evidently enough demonstrated, That neither the Animal Spirits the nor {sic} Brain are the first Principle of Spontaneous motion in us; we touch'd also upon the Conarion: but because our Opposers will not be so slightly put off, we shall here more fully & particularly shew the impossibility of that part proving any such Principle of Motion, though I confess it bids very fair to be the Organical seat of Common sense, because it is so conve <169> niently placed near the Center of the Brain; and if the transmission of Motions which act upon the Organs had not some such one part to terminate in, it is conceiv'd by some (but I suspect more wittily then solidly) there these outward Organs of Sense being two, the Objects would seem two also; which is contrary to experience.

But though the Conarion may be the Organ of sundry perceptions from corporeal Objects, and the Tent or Pavilion wherein the Soul is chiefly seated; yet we utterly deny that without an Immaterial inhabitant this arbitrarious Motion which we are conscious to our selves of can at all be performed in us or by us: for if we attend to the condition of our own natures, we cannot but acknowledge that that which moves our Body thus arbitrariously, does not only perceive sensible Objects, but also remembers, has a power of free Imagination and of Reason.

2. And to begin with the first of these; I say that mere Perception of external Objects seems incompetible to the Conarion. For it being of like nature with the rest of the Brain, it is not only divisible, but in a sort actually divided one particle from another; else it could not be so soft as it is, though it be something harder then the rest of the Brain. Now I say, the Images of sensible Objects, they spreading to some space in the surface of the Conarion against which they hit, one part of the Conarion has the perception, suppose, of the head of a man, the other of a leg, the third of an arm, the fourth of his breast; and therefore though we should admit that every particle of such a space of the Conarion may perceive such a part of a man, yet there is nothing to perceive the whole man, unless you'l say they communicate their perceptions one to another. But this communication seems impossible; for if Perception be by impression from the external Object, no particle in the Conarion shall perceive any part of the Object but what it receives an impress from. But if you will yet say, that every part of the Object impresses upon every part of the Conarion wherein the Image is, it will be utterly impossible but that the whole Image will be confused, and the distinctness of Colours lost, especially in lesser Objects.

3. Now for the Faculty of remembring of things, that it cannot be in the Conarion we prove thus: For that Memory, which is the standing seal or impression of external Objects, is not there, is plain; for it if were, it would spoil the representation of things present, or rather after-Objects would be sure to deface all former impressions whatsoever. But if you'l say that Memory is in the Brain, but Reminiscency in the Conarion; I answer, That these Impresses or signatures made by outward Objects in the Brain must also of necessity be obliterated by superadvenient Impressions. For whether these Images or Impresses consist in a certain posture or motion of the Plicatile Fibres or subtile threds of which the Brain consists, it is evident that they cannot but be cancelled and obliterated by occasion of thousands of Objects that invade our Senses daily, which must needs displace them, or give them a new motion from what they had before.

But suppose Memory were thus seal'd upon the Brain, and transmitted its Image through the Animal Spirits in the ventricles, as an outward <170> Object does its Species through the Aire to the Eye; being that perception is by impression, and that the impression was lost in the Conarion, though retain'd in the Brain, how can the Conarion ever say that it had any such impression before? for the impression once wiped out, it is as if it never had any, and therefore can never remember that it had. Besides, the perception of this image in the Brain is as incompetible to the Conarion as the perception of any external Object, upon which we have already insisted.

4. And thirdly, For the power of free Imagination, whereby the Conarion is supposed to excogitate the several forms or shapes of things which it never saw; I enquire, whether it be the thin Membrane, or the inward and something soft and fuzzy Pulpe it contains, that raises and represents to it self these arbitrarious Figments and Chimeras; and then, what part or particle of either of them can perform these fine feats; and (what is most material) whether the representations being corporeal, there be not a necessity of the Conarion's being so affected or impressed as in external corporeal Objects: and then I demand how this passive soft substance should be able to impress or signe it self, or how one part of this body should be able to act upon another for this purpose; and there being a memory also of these figmental impressions, how they can be sealed upon the Brain the seat of Memory. For admitting the Conarion to imitate the manner of impression of outward Objects in inventing Images of her own, she then impressing these Images upon the Brain, it will be like as if we should make use of the impression of a Seal upon some hard matter to seal some softer matter with; in which case the two impressions will be notoriously different, those parts that give out in the one, in the other giving in.

5. Fourthly, As concerning Reason, besides that it is manifest in the use thereof that we comprehend at once the Images or Phantasms of not only different but contrary things in the very same part or particle of the Conarion, (for if they be in different parts, what shall judge of them both?) as when, for example, we conclude hot is not cold, or a crooked line is not a straight line, which cannot be conceived without a confusion of both impressions: there is also another consideration of Notions plainly immaterial, which do not impress themselves upon the Conarion, nor any part of the Brain, or on the outward Organs from sensible Objects, but are our own innate conceptions in the speculation of things; and such are sundry Logical, Metaphysical and Mathematical Notions, as I have elsewhere made good. Wherefore it seems altogether incredible that the Conarion, being so gross and palpable a body as it is, should have any Notions or Conceptions that are not corporeal and conveyed to it from material Objects from without.

6. But fifthly and lastly, It is very hardly conceivable how the Conarion, if it were capable of Sense and perception, should, being thus but a mere pulpous protuberant knob, by its nods or joggs drive the Animal spirits so curiously, as not to miss the key that leads to the motion of the least joynt of our body, or to drive them in so forcibly and smartly, as to enable us to strike so fierce strokes as we see men do, especially these <171> Animal spirits being so very thin and fluid, and the Conarion so broad and blunt: For the one gives us to conceive, That the Spirits, especially being so faintly struck as they are likely to be by the Conarion, and certainly sometimes are, will gently wheel about all over the ventricles of the Brain, and be determinated to no key thereof that leads to the Muscle of this or that particular joynt of the body; and the other, That if this impulse of the Conarion will forcibly enough drive forward the Spirits in the ventricles of the Brain, that that wind will fling open more doors then one, whenas yet we see we can with a very considerable force move a finger or a toe, the rest of our body remaining unmoved. We might adde, also That it is hard to conceive how this Pineal Glandula can move it self thus spontaneously without Muscles and Spirits, or some equivalent mechanical contrivance; and if it do, to what purpose is that great care in Nature of Muscles and Animal spirits in the frame of Animals? if it do not, we shall further inquire concerning the Spring of Motion, and demand what moves the Animal Spirits that must be imagined to move the Conarion. For in Motion corporeal it is an acknowledged Maxime, Whatever is moved, is moved by another. So demonstrable is it every way that the first principle of our spontaneous motion is not nor can be seated in any part of our Body, but in a Substance really distinct from it, which men ordinarily call the Soul.

7. Nor does that at all invalid the force of our Demonstration which some alledge, that our Arguments are Sophistical, because they as certainly conclude that there is an Incorporeal substance in Beasts as they do that there is one in Men.

For I answer, first, That they conclude absolutely concerning Men, that there is an Incorporeal Soul in them, because we are certain there be in them such Operations that evidently argue such a nature; but we are not so certain of what is in Beasts: and very knowing men, but of a more mechanical Genius, have at least doubted whether Beasts have any Cogitation or no, though in the mean time they have professed themselves sure, that if they had, they could not but have also Immaterial Souls really distinct from their Bodies.

Secondly, Admit our Arguments proved that there were Souls in Brutes really distinct from their Bodies, is it any thing more then what all Philosophers and School-men, that have held Substantial forms, have either expressely or implicitly acknowledged to be true? But if they be Incorporeal, say they, they will be also Immortal, which is ridiculous. If they mean by Immortal, unperishable, as Matter is, why should they not be so as well as Matter it self; this active substance of the Soul, though but of a Brute, being a more noble Essence, and partaking more of its Makers perfection, then the dull and dissipable Matter? But if they mean by Immortality, a capacity of eternal life and bliss after the dissolution of their Bodies, that's a ridiculous consequence of their own, which we give the Authors of free leave to laugh at; it concerns not us nor our present Argument. For we conceive that the Soul of a Brute may be of that nature as to be vitally affected only in a Terrestrial Body, and that out of it it may have neither sense nor perception of any thing; so as to it self it utterly perishes.


8. That seems an Objection of more moment, Being there are Properties that cannot but be acknowledged to be in a Body or Matter, and yet such as imply strange repugnancies in the conception thereof, (as suppose that perplexed property of Divisibility, which must be into points or in infinitum, either of which confounds our Imagination to think of them) why we may not acknowledge that a Body may also have Sense and Understanding, though it seem never so contradictious in the more close consideration thereof. But I answer, This arguing is very Sophistical, because by the same reason we should admit that the Head of an Onion understands and perceives as well as the Conarion in a Man. For you can bring no greater Argument against it then that it is contradictious and repugnant that it should so be. But you'l reply, That we plainly see that some part of the Body of man must have Sense and Understanding in it, but we discern no such thing in an Onion. But I demand, By what Faculty do we discern this? If you answer, Our own Sense tells us so; I say, our own Sense, if we did not correct it, would confidently suggest to us that our Finger feels and our Eye sees; whenas 'tis plain they do not, for the very same thing that feels and sees, moves also our Body: but neither our Eye nor our Finger move the Body, and therefore they neither feel nor see.

And yet without our Eye we cannot see in this state of conjunction, as without the due frame and temper of our Brain we cannot well understand: but it no more follows from thence that the Brain understands, and not something distinct from it, then that the Eye sees. Wherefore it is apparent that there is no Faculty in us that can clearly inform us that any part of our Body is indued with Sense and Understanding.

From whence we see the great disparity betwixt admitting of Divisibility in Matter (though the Notion be never so perplex'd) and of Sense and Understanding in a Body, (which indeed brings on more perplexity then the other, if it be very accurately look'd into;) because we are fully ascertained by Sense, and I may say by Reason too, that Matter is divisible, but no Faculty at all can pretend to ascertain us that a Body is capable of either Sense or Reason.

9. But there seems to be a worser Objection then this still behinde, which is this: That though we have evidently proved the impossibility of there being either Sense, Understanding or Spontaneous Motion in Matter or a Body, yet we are never the nearer; for the like difficulties may be urged against there being any Sense or Understanding in a Spirit, sith a Spirit cannot but be extended, nor extended but divisible, nor divisible but incapable of Sense or Understanding, as we have argued before against Matter.

But to this I answer, If by Extension be meant a Juxta-position of parts, or placing of them one by another, as it is in Matter, I utterly deny that a Spirit is at all in this sense extended. But if you mean only a certain Amplitude of presence, that it can be at every part of so much Matter at once, I say it is extended; but that this kind of Extension does not imply any divisibility in the substance thus extended; for Juxta-position of parts, Impenetrability and Divisibility goe together, and therefore where <173> the two former are wanting, Extension implyes not the Third.

But when I speak of Indivisibility, that Imagination create not new troubles to her self, I mean not such an Indivisibility as is fancied in a Mathematical point; but as we conceive in a Sphere of light made from one lucid point or radiant Center. For that Sphere or Orbe of light, though it be in some sense extended, yet it is truly indivisible, supposing the Center such: For there is no means imaginable to discerp or separate any one ray of this Orbe, and keep it apart by it self disjoyned from the Center.

10. Now a little to invert the property of this luminous Orbe when we would apply it to a Soul or Spirit; As there can be no alteration in the radiant Center, but therewith it is necessarily in every part of the Orbe, as suppose it were redder, all would be redder, if dimmer, all dimmer, and the like: so there is also that unity and indivisibility of the exteriour parts, if I may so call them, of a Spirit or Soul with their inmost Center, that if any of them be affected, the Center of life is also thereby necessarily affected; and these exteriour parts of the Soul being affected by the parts of the Object with such circumstances as they are in, the inward Center receives all so circumstantiated, that it has necessarily the intire and unconfused images of things without, though they be contrived into so small a compasse, and are in the very center of this Spiritual Substance.

This Symbolical representation I used before, and I cannot excogitate any thing that will better set off the nature of a Spirit, wherein is implied a power of receiving multitudes of particular figurations into one indivisible Principle of Sense, where all are exactly united into one Subject, and yet distinctly represented; which cannot be performed by the Conarion it self, as I have demonstrated, and therefore it remains that it must refer to a Soul, whose chief seat may haply be there as to the act of perception.

11. But if any shall abuse our Courtesie of endeavouring to help his Imagination (or at least to gratifie it) in this Symbolical representation we have made, by conceiving of this Center of the Soul but as some dull divisible point in Matter, and of no greater efficacy, and of the vital or arbitrarious extension of it, as grossely as if it would necessarily argue as real a divisibility and seperability of the parts as in a Body; to prevent all such cavils, we shall omit those spinosities of the extension or indivisibility of a Soul or Spirit, and conclude briefly thus:

That the manifold contradictions and repugnancies we finde in the nature of Matter to be able to either think or spontaneously to move it self, do well assure us that these operations belong not to it, but to some other Substance: wherefore we finding those operations in us, it is manifest that we have in us an Immaterial Being really distinct from the Body, which we ordinarily call a Soul. The speculation of whose bare Essence though it may well puzzle us, yet those Properties that we finde incompetible to a Body, do sufficiently inform us of the different nature of her; for it is plain she is a Substance indued with the power of cogitation (that is, of perceiving and thinking of Objects) as also of penetrating and Spontaneously moving of a Body: which Properties are as immediate to <174> her as impenetrability and seperability of parts to the Matter; and we are not to demand the cause of the one no more then of the other.

[1] See Book 1. ch. 7. sect. 2, 3.

[2] See Book 1. ch. 6. sect. 3.

[3] * Antidote, Book 1. ch. 4. sect. 2.

[4] See my Immortality of the Soul, Book 2. chap. 11. sect. 10. also Book 3. chap. 2. sect. 3, 4. See also this Append. chap. 10. sect. 9, 10.

[5] Book 1. chap. 4. sect. 2.

[6] Antidote, Book 1. ch. 8. sect. 1, 2.

[7] Antidote, Book 1. chap. 8. sect. 3.

[8] Antidote, Book 1. chap. 8. sect. 4.

[9] Antidote, Book 1. ch. 8. sect. 5.

[10] chap. 5. sect. 2.

[11] Antidote, Book 1. chap. 8. sect. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.

[12] Antidote, Book 1. ch. 8. sect. 11.

Cite as: Henry More, An Appendix to the Foregoing Antidote against Atheism, 2nd ed., from A Collection of Several Philosophical Writings (1662), pp. 143-174,, accessed 2023-12-01.