1. That the Pronenesse of these Ages of the World to winde themselves from under the awe of Superstition makes the attempt seasonable of endeavouring to steer them off from Atheisme. 2. That they that adhere to Religion in a mere superstitious and accustomary way, if that tye once fail, easily turn Atheists. 3. The usefulness of this present Treatise even to them that are seriously Religious.
1. THE grand Truth which we are now to be imployed about and to prove, is, That there is a God: And I made choice of this Subject as very seasonable for the Times we are in, and are coming on, wherein Divine Providence more universally loosening the minds of men from the awe and tyranny of mere accustomary Superstition, and permitting a freer perusal of matters of Religion then in former Ages, the Tempter would take advantage, where he may, to carry men captive out of one dark prison into another, out of Superstition into Atheisme it self.
2. Which is a thing feasible enough for him to bring about in such men as have adhered to Religion in a mere externall way, either for fashion sake, or in a blinde obedience to the Authority of a Church. For when this externall frame of Godliness shall break about their ears, they being really at the bottome devoid of the true fear and love of God, and destitute of a more free and unprejudic'd use of their Faculties, by reason of the sinfulness and corruption of their natures, it will be an easy thing to allure them to an assent to that which seems so much for their present Interest; and so being imboldened by the tottering and falling of what they took for the chief Structure of Religion before, they will gladly in their conceit cast down also the very Object of that Religious Worship after it, and conclude that there is as well no God as no Religion; that is, they have a mind there should be none, that they may be free from all <10> wringings of Conscience, trouble of correcting their Lives, and fear of being accountable before that great Tribunall.
3. Wherefore for the reclaiming of these, if it were possible, at least for the succouring and extricating of those in whom a greater measure of the love of God doth dwell, (who may probably by some darkening cloud of Melancholy, or some more then ordinary importunity of the Tempter, be dissettled and intangled in their thoughts concerning this weighty matter) I held it fit to bestow mine endeavours upon this so useful and seasonable an enterprise, as to demonstrate That there is a God.
1. That there is nothing so demonstrable, that the Mind of man can rationally conclude that it is impossible to be otherwise. 2. That the Soul of man may give full Assent to that which notwithstanding may possibly be otherwise, made good by severall Examples. 3. A like Example of Dissent. 4. The Reasons why he has so sedulously made good this point. 5. That the Atheist has no advantage from the Authour's free confession, that his Arguments are not so convictive but that they leave a possibility of the thing being otherwise.
1. BUT when I speak of demonstrating there is a God, I would not be suspected of so much vanity and ostentation, as to be thought I mean to bring no Arguments but such as are so convictive, that a mans Understanding shall be forced to confesse that it is impossible to be otherwise then I have concluded. For, for mine own part, I am prone to believe that there is nothing at all to be so demonstrated. For it is possible that Mathematicall evidence it self may be but a constant undiscoverable Delusion, which our nature is necessarily and perpetually obnoxious unto, and that either fatally or fortuitously there has been in the world time out of mind such a Being as we call Man, whose essentiall Property it is to be then most of all mistaken, when he conceives a thing most evidently true. And why may not this be as well as any thing else, if you will have all things fatall or casuall without a God? For there can be no curb to this wilde conceit, but by the supposing that we our selves exist from some higher Principle that is absolutely Good and Wise, which is all one as to acknowledge That there is a God.
2. Wherefore when I say that I will demonstrate That there is a God, I do not promise that I will alwayes produce such Arguments, that the Reader shall acknowledge so strong, as he shall be forced to confesse that it is utterly unpossible that it should be otherwise: but they shall be such as shall deserve full assent, and win full assent from any unprejudic'd mind.
For I conceive that we may give full assent to that which notwithstanding may possibly be otherwise: which I shall illustrate by severall Examples. Suppose two men got to the top of mount Athos, and there <11> viewing a stone in the form of an Altar with Ashes on it, and the footsteps of men on those ashes, or some words, if you will; as Optimo Maximo, or, τῷ ἀγνὠστῳ ϴεῷ, or the like, written or scralled out upon the ashes; and one of them should cry out, Assuredly here have been some men here that have done this: but the other more nice then wise should reply, Nay, it may possibly by otherwise; for this stone may have naturally grown into this very shape, and the seeming ashes may be no ashes, that is, no remainders of any fewell burnt there, but some unexplicable and imperceptible motions of the Aire, or other particles of this fluid Matter that is active every where, have wrought some parts of the Matter into the form and nature of ashes, and have fridg'd and play'd about so, that they have also figured those intelligible Characters in the same. But would not any body deem it a piece of weaknesse no lesse then dotage for the other man one whit to recede from his former apprehension, but as fully as ever to agree with what he pronounced first, notwithstanding this bare possibility of being otherwise?
So of Anchors that have been digged up, either in plain fields or mountainous places, as also the Roman Urnes with ashes and inscriptions, as Severianus, Ful. Linus, and the like, or Roman Coins with the effigies and names of the Cæsars on them, or that which is more ordinary, the Sculls of men in every Church-yard, with the right figure, and all those necessary perforations for the passing of the vessels, besides those conspicuous hollows for the eyes and rowes of teeth, the Os Styloeides, Ethoeides, and what not? if a man will say of them, that the Motion of the particles of the Matter, or some hidden Spermatick power has gendered these both Anchors, Urnes, Coins, and Sculls in the ground, he doth but pronounce that which humane Reason must admit as possible: Nor can any man ever so demonstrate that those Coins, Anchors and Urnes were once the Artifice of men, or that this or that Scull was once a part of a living man, that he shall force an acknowledgment that it is impossible that it should be otherwise. But yet I do not think that any man, without doing manifest violence to his Faculties, can at all suspend his assent, but freely and fully agree that this or that Scull was once part of a living man, and that these Anchors, Urnes and Coins, were certainly once made by humane artifice, notwithstanding the possibility of being otherwise.
3. And what I have said of Assent is also true in Dissent. For the Mind of man, not craz'd nor prejudic'd, will fully and unreconcilably disagree, by its own natural sagacity, where notwithstanding the thing that it doth thus resolvedly and undoubtingly reject, no wit of man can prove impossible to be true. As if we should make such a Fiction as this, that Archimedes with the same individuall body that he had when the Souldiers slew him, is now safely intent upon his Geometricall Figures under ground, at the Center of the Earth, farre from the noise and din of this world, that might disturb his Meditations, or distract him in his curious delineations he makes with his Rod upon the dust; which no man living can prove impossible: Yet if any man does not as unreconcilably dissent from such a Fable as this as from any Falshood imaginable, assuredly that man is next door to madness or dotage, or does enormous violence to the free use of his Faculties.
Wherefore it is manifest that there may be a very firm and unwavering Assent or Dissent, when as yet the thing we thus assent to may be possibly otherwise, or that which we thus dissent from cannot be proved impossible to be true.
4. Which point I have thus long and thus variously sported my self in, for making the better impression upon my Reader, it being of no small use and consequence, as well for the advertising of him, that the Arguments which I shall produce, though I do not bestowe that ostentative term of Demonstration upon them, yet they may be as effectuall for winning a firm and unshaken assent as if they were in the strictest notion such; as also to re-minde him, that if they be so strong, and so patly fitted and sutable with the Faculties of mans Mind, that he has nothing to reply, but only that for all this it may possibly be otherwise, that he should give a free and full Assent to the Conclusion: and if he do not, that he is to suspect himself rather of some distemper, prejudice, or weakness, then the Arguments of want of strength.
5. But if the Atheist shall contrariwise pervert my candour and fair dealing, and phansie that he has got some advantage upon my free confession, that the Arguments that I shall use are not so convictive but that they leave a possibility of the thing being otherwise; let him but compute his supposed gains, by adding the limitation of this possibility (viz. that it is no more possible, then that the clearest Mathematicall evidence may be false, (which is impossible, if our Faculties be true) or in the second place, then that the Roman Urnes and Coins above mentioned may prove to be the works of Nature, not the Artifice of man; which our Faculties admit to be so little probable, that it is impossible for them not fully to assent to the contrary:) and when he has cast up his account, it will be evident that it can be nothing but his grosse ignorance in this kinde of Arithmetick that shall embolden him to write himself down gainer, and not me.
1. That we are first to have a settled notion What God is, before we goe about to demonstrate That he is. 2. The Definition of God. 3. That there is an Idea of a Being absolutely perfect in our Minde, whether the Atheist will allow it to be the Idea of God or not. 4. That it is no prejudice to the Naturality of this Idea, that it may be framed from some occasions from without.
ANd now having premised thus much, I shall come on nearer to my present designe. In prosecution whereof it will be requisite for me, first to define What God is, before I proceed to demonstration That he is. For it is obvious for Man's Reason to finde Arguments for the impossibility, possibility, probability, or necessity of the Existence of a thing, from the explication of the Essence thereof.
And now I am come hither, I demand of any Atheist that denies there is a God, or of any that doubts whether there be one or no, what Idea or Notion they frame of that they deny or doubt of. If they will prove nice and squeamish, and profess they can frame no Notion of any such thing, I would gladly ask them, why they will then deny or doubt of they know not what. For it is necessary that he that would rationally doubt or deny a thing, should have some settled Notion of the thing he doubts of or denies. But if they profess that this is the very ground of their denying or doubting whether there be a God, because they can frame no Notion of him; I shall forthwith take away that Allegation, by offering them such a Notion as is as proper to God, as any Notion is proper to any thing else in the world.
2. I define God therefore thus, An Essence or Being fully and absolutely Perfect. I say, fully and absolutely Perfect, in counterdistinction to such Perfection as is not full and absolute, but the Perfection of this or that Species or Kind of finite Beings, suppose of a Lion, Horse or Tree. But to be fully and absolutely Perfect is to be at least as Perfect as the apprehension of a man can conceive, without a contradiction: for what is inconceivable or contradictious, is nothing at all to us, who are not now to wag one Atome beyond our Faculties; but what I have propounded is so far from being beyond our Faculties, that I dare appeal to any Atheist, that hath yet any command of Sense and Reason left in him, if it be not very easy and intelligible at the first sight, and that if there be a God, he is to be deemed of us such as this Idea or Notion sets forth.
3. But if he will sullenly deny that this is the proper Notion of God, let him enjoy his own humour; this yet remains undeniable, That there is in man an Idea of a Being absolutely and fully Perfect, which we frame out by attributing all conceivable Perfection to it whatsoever that implies no contradiction. And this Notion is naturall and essentiall to the Soul of man, & can not be washt out, nor conveigh'd away by any force or trick of wit whatsoever, so long as the Mind of man is not craz'd, but hath the ordinary use of her own Faculties.
4. Nor will that prove any thing to the purpose, whenas it shall be alleg'd that this Notion is not so connatural and essential to the Soul, because she framed it from some occasions from without. For all those undeniable Conclusions in Geometry which might be help'd and occasioned from something without, are so natural notwithstanding and Essentiall to the Soul, that you may as soon unsoul the Soul as divide her from perpetual assent to those Mathematical Truths, supposing no distemper nor violence offered to her Faculties. As for example, she cannot but acknowledge in her self the several distinct Ideas of the five regular Bodies, as also, that it is impossible that there should be any more then five. And this Idea of a Being absolutely Perfect is as distinct and indeleble an Idea in the Soul, as the Idea of the five Regular Bodies, or any other Idea whatsoever.
It remains therefore undeniable, that there is an inseparable Idea of a Being absolutely Perfect ever residing, though not alwayes acting, in the Soul of man.
1. What Notions are more particularly comprised in the Idea of a Being absolutely Perfect. 2.That the difficulty of framing the conception of a thing ought to be no Argument against the Existence thereof; the nature of corporeall Matter being so perplex'd and intricate, which yet all men acknowledge to exist. 3. That the Idea of a Spirit is as easy a Notion as of any other substance whatsoever. What powers and properties are contained in the Notion of a Spirit. That Eternity and Infinity, if God were not, would be cast upon something else; so that Atheism cannot free the Mind from such Intricacies. 5. Goodness, Knowledge and Power, Notions of highest Perfection, and therefore necessarily included in the Idea of a Being absolutely Perfect. 6. As also Necessity, it sounding greater Perfection then Contingency.
1. BUt now to lay out more particularly the Perfections comprehended in this Notion of a Being absolutely and fully Perfect, I think I may securely nominate these; Self-subsistency, Immateriality, Infinity as well of Duration as Essence, Immensity of Goodnesse, Omnisciency, Omnipotency, and Necessity of Existence. Let this therefore be the Description of a Being absolutely Perfect, That it is a Spirit, Eternall, Infinite in Essence and Goodnesse, Omniscient, Omnipotent, and of it self necessarily existent. All which Attributes being Attributes of the highest Perfection that falls under the apprehension of man, and having no discoverable imperfection interwoven with them, must of necessity be attributed to that which we conceive absolutely and fully Perfect. And if any one will say that this is but to dress up a Notion out of my own fancy, which I would afterwards slily insinuate to be the Notion of a God; I answer, that no man can discourse and reason of any thing without recourse to settled Notions deciphered in his own Mind: and that such an Exception as this implies the most contradictious Absurdities imaginable, to wit, as if a man should reason from something that never entered into his Mind, or that is utterly out of the ken of his own Faculties. But such groundless allegations as these discover nothing but an unwillingness to find themselves able to entertain any conception of God, and a heavy propension to sink down into an utter oblivion of him, and to become as stupid and senseless in Divine things as the very Beasts.
2. But others, it may be, will not look on this Notion as contemptible for the easy composure thereof out of familiar conceptions which the Mind of man ordinarily figures it self into, but reject it rather out of some unintelligible hard terms in it, such as Spirit, Eternall, and Infinite; for they do profess they can frame no Notion of Spirit, and that any thing should be Eternall or Infinite they do not know how to set their mind in a posture to apprehend, and therefore some would have no such thing as a Spirit in the world.
But if the difficulty of framing a conception of a thing must take away <15> the Existence of the thing it self, there will be no such thing as a Body left in the world, and then will all be Spirit, or nothing. For who can frame so safe a notion of a Body, as to free himself from the intanglements that the Extension thereof will bring along with it? For this extended Matter consists of either indivisible points, or of particles divisible in infinitum. Take which of these two you will, (and you can find no third) you will be wound into the most notorious Absurdities that may be. For if you say it consists of points, from this position I can necessarily demonstrate, that every Spear or Spire-Steeple, or what long body you will, is as thick as it is long; that the tallest Cedar is not so high as the lowest Mushrome; and that the Moon and the Earth are so near one another, that the thickness of your hand will not goe betwixt; that Rounds and Squares are all one Figure; that Even and Odde Numbers are Equall one with another; and that the clearest Day is as dark as the blackest Night. And if you make choice of the other Member of the Disjunction, your Fancy will be little better at ease; for nothing can be divisible into parts it has not: therefore if a Body be divisible into infinite parts, it has infinite extended parts: and if it has an infinite number of extended parts, it cannot be but a hard mysterie to the Imagination of Man, that infinite extended parts should not amount to one whole infinite Extension. And thus a grain of Mustard-seed would be as well infinitely extended as the whole Matter of the Universe; and a thousandth part of that grain as well as the grain it self. Which things are more unconceivable then any thing in the Notion of a Spirit. Therefore we are not scornfully and contemptuously to reject any Notion, for seeming at first to be clouded and obscured with some difficulties and intricacies of conception; sith that of whose being we seem most assured, is the most intangled and perplex'd in the conceiving, of any thing that can be propounded to the apprehension of a Man. But here you will reply, that our Senses are struck by so manifest impressions from the Matter, that though the nature of it be difficult to conceive, yet the Existence is palpable to us by what it acts upon us. Why then, all that I desire is this, that when you shall be re-minded of some Actions and Operations that arrive to the notice of your Sense or Understanding, which, unless we do violence to our Faculties, we can never attribute to Matter or Body, that then you would not be so nice and averse from the admitting of such a Substance as is called a Spirit, though you fancy some difficulty in the conceiving thereof.
3. But for mine own part, I think the nature of a Spirit is as conceivable and easy to be defined as the nature of any thing else. For as for the very Essence or bare Substance of any thing whatsoever, he is a very Novice in speculation that does not acknowledge that utterly unknowable; but for the Essentiall and Inseparable Properties, they are as intelligible and explicable in a Spirit as in any other Subject whatever. As for example, I conceive the intire Idea of a Spirit in generall, or at least of all finite created and subordinate Spirits , to consist of these several powers or properties, viz. Self-penetration, Self-motion, Self-contraction and Dilatation, and Indivisibility; and these are those that I reckon more absolute: I will adde also what has relation to another, and that is the power of <16> Penetrating, Moving, and Altering the Matter. These Properties and Powers put together make up the Notion and Idea of a Spirit, whereby it is plainly distinguished from a Body, whose parts cannot penetrate one another, is not Self-moveable, nor can contract nor dilate it self, is divisible and separable one part from another; but the parts of a Spirit can be no more separated, though they be dilated, then you can cut off the Rayes of the Sun by a paire of Scissors made of pellucid Crystall. And this will serve for the settling of the Notion of a Spirit; the proof of its Existence belongs not unto this place. And out of this Description it is plain that a Spirit is a notion of more Perfection then a Body, and therefore the more fit to be an Attribute of what is absolutely Perfect, then a Body is.
4. But now for the other two hard terms of Eternall and Infinite, if any one would excuse himself from assenting to the Notion of a God, by reason of the Incomprehensiblenesse of those Attributes, let him consider, that he shall whether he will or no be forced to acknowledge something Eternall, either God or the World, and the Intricacy is alike in either. And though he would shuffle off the trouble of apprehending an Infinite Deity, yet he will never extricate himself out of the intanglements of an Infinite Space; which Notion will stick as closely to his Soul as her power of Imagination.
5. Now that Goodnesse, Knowledge and Power, which are the three following Attributes, are Attributes of Perfection, if a man consult his own Faculties, it will be undoubtedly concluded; and I know nothing else he can consult with. At least this will be returned as infallibly true, That a Being absolutely Perfect has these, or what supereminently contains these. And that Knowledge or something like it is in God, is manifest, because without Animadversion in some sense or other it is impossible to be Happy. But that a Being should be absolutely Perfect, and yet not Happy, is as impossible. But Knowledge without Goodness is but dry Subtilty or mischievous Craft; and Goodness with Knowledge devoid of Power is but lame and ineffectuall. Wherefore whatever is absolutely Perfect, is Infinitely both Good, Wise and Powerfull.
6. And lastly, it is more Perfection that all this be Stable, Immutable and Necessary, then Contingent or but Possible. Therefore the Idea of a Being absolutely Perfect represents to our mindes, That that of which it is the Idea is necessarily to exist: and that which of its own nature doth necessarily exist, must never fail to be. And whether the Atheist will call this absolute Perfect Being God or not, it is all one; I list not to contend about words. But I think any man else at the first sight will say that we have found out the true Idea of God.
1. What has occasioned sundry men to conceit that the Soul is Abrasa Tabula. 2. That the Mind of Man is not Abrasa Tabula, but has actuall Knowledge of her own, and in what sense she has so. 3. A further illustration of the truth thereof.
1. AND now we have found out this Idea of a Being absolutely Perfect, that the use which we shall hereafter make of it may take the better effect, it will not be amisse, by way of further preparation, briefly to touch upon that notable point in Philosophy, Whether the Soul of man be Abrasa Tabula, a Table-book in which nothing is writ; or Whether she have some Innate Notions and Ideas in her self. For so it is, that she having taken first occasion of thinking from externall Objects, it hath so imposed upon some mens judgements, that they have conceited that the Soul has no Knowledge nor Notion, but what is in a Passive way impressed or delineated upon her from the Objects of Sense; they not warily enough distinguishing betwixt extrinsecall Occasions, and the adequate or principal Causes of things.
2. But the Mind of Man more free, and better exercised in the close observations of its own operations and nature, cannot but discover that there is an active and actuall Knowledge in a man, of which these outward Objects are rather the re-minders then the first begetters or implanters. And when I say actuall Knowledge, I do not mean that there is a certain number of Ideas flaring and shining to the Animadversive Faculty, like so many Torches or Starres in the Firmament to our outward Sight, or that there are any Figures that take their distinct places, and are legibly writ there like the Red letters or Astronomical Characters in an Almanack: but I understand thereby an active sagacity in the Soul, or quick recollection, as it were, whereby some small businesse being hinted unto her, she runs out presently into a more clear and larger conception.
3. And I cannot better describe her condition then thus: Suppose a skilfull Musician fallen asleep in the field upon the grasse, during which time he shall not so much as dream any thing concerning his Musicall faculty, so that in one sense there is no actuall Skill or Notion, nor representation of any thing musicall in him; but his friend sitting by him, that cannot sing at all himself, jogs him and awakes him, and desires him to sing this or the other Song, telling him two or three words of the beginning of the Song, whereupon he presently takes it out of his mouth, and sings the whole Song upon so slight and slender intimation: So the Mind of Man being jogg'd and awakened by the impulses of outward Objects, is stirred up into a more full and clear conception of what was but imperfectly hinted to her from externall occasions; and this Faculty I venture to call actuall Knowledge, in such a sense as the sleeping Musician's skill might be called actuall Skill when he thought nothing of it.
1. Sundry Instances arguing actual Knowledge in the Soul: as that she has a more accurate Idea of a Circle and Triangle then Matter can exhibite to her: 2. And that upon one single consideration she assures her self of the Universal Affection of a Triangle. 3. The same argued from the nature of Mathematical and Logical Notions, which come not in by the Senses, as being no Physical affections of the Matter; 4. Because they are produced without any Physical motion upon the Matter; 5. And that contrary kindes may be intirely in one and the same part of Matter at once. 6. That there are certain sure Complex Notions of the Mind for which she was not beholden to Sense.
1. AND that this is the condition of the Soul is discoverable by sundry observations. As for example, Exhibite to the Soul through the outward Senses the figure of a Circle; she acknowledgeth presently this to be one kind of Figure, and can adde forthwith, that if it be perfect, all the lines from some one point of it drawn to the Perimeter must be exactly Equal. In like manner shew her a Triangle; she will straightway pronounce, that if that be the right figure it makes toward, the Angles must be closed in indivisible points. But this accuracy either in the Circle or the Triangle cannot be set out in any material Subject: therefore it remains that she hath a more full and exquisite knowledge of things in her self then the Matter can lay open before her.
2. Let us cast in a third Instance: Let some body now demonstrate this Triangle described in the Matter to have its three Angles equal to two right ones; Why yes, saith the Soul, this is true, and not only in this particular Triangle, but in all plain Triangles that can possibly be describ'd in the Matter. And thus, you see, the Soul sings out the whole Song upon the first hint, as knowing it very well before.
3. Besides this, there are a multitude of Relative Notions or Ideas in the Mind of Man, as well Mathematical as Logical, which if we prove cannot be the Impresses of any material Object from without, it will necessarily follow that they are from the Soul her self within, and are the natural furniture of humane Understanding. Such as are these, Cause, Effect, Whole and Part, Like and Unlike, and the rest. So Equality and Inequality, λόγος and ἀναλογία, Proportion & Analogy, Symmetry and Asymmetry, and such like: all which Relative Ideas I shall easily prove to be no material Impresses from without upon the Soul, but her own active conception proceeding from her self whilest she takes notice of external Objects. For that these Ideas can make no Impresses upon the outward Senses is plain from hence, because they are no sensible nor Physical affections of the Matter. And how can that that is no Physical affection of the Matter, affect our corporeal Organs of Sense?
But now that these Relative Ideas, whether Logical or Mathematical, be no Physical affections of the Matter, is manifest from these two Argu <19> ments. First, They may be produced when there has been no Physical Motion nor alteration in the Subject to which they belong, nay, indeed, when there hath been nothing at all done to the Subject to which they doe accrue. As for example, suppose one side of a Room whitened, the other not touch'd or meddled with, this other has thus become unlike, and hath the Notion of Dissimile necessarily belonging to it, although there has nothing at all been done thereunto. So suppose two Pounds of Lead, which therefore are two Equal Pieces of that Metall; cut away half from one of them, the other Pound, nothing at all being done unto it, has lost its Notion of Equal, and hath acquired a new one of Double unto the other. Nor is it to any purpose to answer, That though there was nothing done to this Pound of Lead, yet there was to the other; for that does not at all enervate the Reason, but shews that the Notion of Sub-double, which accrued to that Lead which had half cut away, is but our Mode of conceiving, as well as the other, and not any Physical affection that strikes the corporeal Organs of the Body, as Hot and Cold, Hard and Soft, White and Black, and the like do. Wherefore the Ideas of Equal and Unequal, Double and Sub-double, Like and Unlike, with the rest, are no external Impresses upon the Senses, but the Souls own active manner of conceiving those things which are discovered by the outward Senses.
5. The Second Argument is, That one and the same part of the Matter is capable at one and the same time wholly and entirely of two contrary Ideas of this kind. As for example, any piece of Matter that is a Middle proportional betwixt two other pieces is Double, suppose, and Sub-double, or Triple and Sub-triple, at once. Which is a manifest sign that these Ideas are no affections of the Matter, and therefore do not affect our Senses; else they would affect the Senses of Beasts, and they might also grow good Geometricians and Arithmeticians. And they not affecting our Senses, it is plain that wee have some Ideas that we are not beholding to our Senses for, but are the mere exertions of the Mind occasionally awakened by the Appulses of the outward Objects; which the outward Senses do no more teach us, then he that awakened the Musician to sing taught him his skill.
6. And now in the third and last place it is manifest, besides these single Ideas I have proved to be in the Mind, that there are also severall complex Notions in the same, such as are these, The Whole is bigger then the Part; If you take Equall from equall, the Remainders are Equall; Every Number is either Even or Odde; which are true to the Soul at the very first proposal, as any one that is in his wits does plainly perceive.
1. The Mind of Man being not unfurnish'd of Innate Truth, that we are with confidence to attend to her naturall and unprejudic'd Dictates and Suggestions. 2. That some Notions and Truths are at least naturally and unavoidably assented unto by the Soul, whether she have of her self Actual Knowledge in her or not. 3. And that the Definition of a Being absolutely Perfect is such. 4. And that this absolutely Perfect Being is God, the Creator and Contriver of all things. 5. The certainty and settledness of this Idea.
1.AND now we see so evidently the Soul is not unfurnished for the dictating of Truth unto us, I demand of any man, why under a pretence that she having nothing of her own, but may be moulded into an assent to any thing, or that she does arbitrariously and fortuitously compose the severall Impresses she receives from without, he will be still so squeamish or timorous as to be afraid to close with his own Faculties, and receive the Naturall Emanations of his own Mind, as faithfull Guides.
2. But if this seem, though it be not, too subtile which I contend for, viz. That the Soul hath actuall Knowledge in her self in that sense which I have explained; yet surely this at least will be confess'd to be true, That the nature of the Soul is such, that she will certainly and fully assent to some Conclusions, however she came to the knowledge of them, unlesse she doe manifest violence to her own Faculties. Which Truths must therefore be concluded not fortuitous or arbitrarious, but Natural to the Soul: such as I have already named, as, that Every finite number is either even or odde; If you adde equal to equal, the wholes are equal: and such as are not so simple as these, but yet stick as close to the Soul once apprehended, as, that The three Angles in a Triangle are equal to two right ones; That there are just five regular Bodies, neither more nor less, and the like, which we will pronounce necessarily true according to the light of Nature.
3. Wherefore now to re-assume what we have for a while laid aside, the Idea of a Being absolutely Perfect above proposed; it being in such sort set forth that a man cannot rid his Minde of it, but he must needs acknowledge it to be indeed the Idea of such a Being, it will follow, that it is no arbitrarious nor fortuitous conceipt, but necessary, and therefore natural to the Soul at least, if not ever actually there.
Wherefore it is manifest, that we consulting with our own Natural light concerning the Notion of a Being absolutely Perfect, that this Oracle tells us, That it is A Spiritual substance, Eternal, Infinite in Essence and Goodness, Omnipotent, Omniscient, and of it self necessarily existent.
For this Answer is such, that if we understand the sense thereof, we cannot tell how to deny it, and therefore it is true according to the light of Nature.
4. But it is manifest that that which is Self-subsistent, infinitely Good, <21> Omniscient and Omnipotent, is the Root and Original of all things. For Omnipotency signifies a power that can effect any thing that implies no contradiction to be effected; and Creation implies no contradiction: therefore this perfect Being can create all things. But if it found the Matter or other Substances existing aforehand of themselves, this Omnipotency and power of Creation will be in vain, nay, indeed, a full Omnipotency will not be in this absolute Omnipotent; which the free and unprejudic'd Faculties of the Minde of man do not admit of, but look upon as a Contradiction. Therefore the natural notion of a Being absolutely Perfect, implies that the same Being is Lord and Maker of all things. And according to Natural Light, that which is thus, is to be adored and worshipped of all that has the knowledge of it, with all humility and thankfullness: and what is this but to be acknowledged to be God?
5. Wherefore I conceive I have sufficiently demonstrated that the Notion or Idea of God is as Natural, necessary and essential to the Soul of Man, as any other Notion or Idea whatsoever, and is no more arbitrarious or fictitious then the Notion of a Cube or Tetraedrum, or any other of the Regular Bodies in Geometry: which are not devised at our own pleasure (for such Figments and Chimæras are infinite,) but for these it is demonstrable that there can be no more then Five of them; which shews that their Notion is necessary, not an arbitrarious compilement of what we please.
And thus having fully made good the Notion of God, What he is, I proceed now to the next Point, which is to prove That he is.
1. That the very Idea of God implies his necessary Existence. 2. That his Existence is not hypothetically necessary, but absolutely, with the occasion noted of that slippery Evasion. 3. That to acknowledge God a Being necessarily Existent according to the true Notion of him, and yet to say he may not Exist, is a plain contradiction. 4. That Necessity is a Logical term, and implies an indissoluble connexion bewixt Subject and Prædicate, whence again this Axiome is necessarily and eternally true, God doth exist. 5. A further Demonstration of his Existence from the incompetibility of Contingency or Impossibility to his Nature or Idea. 6. That necessary Self-existence belongs either to God, or to Matter, or to both. 7. The great Incongruities that follow the admission of the Self-existency of Matter. 8. An Answer to an Evasion. 9. That a number of Self-essentiated Deities plainly takes away the Being of the true God. 10. The onely undeniable Demonstration of the Unity of the Godhead. 11. The absurdness in admitting actual Self-existence in the Matter, and denying it in God. 12. That this absurdity cannot be excused from the sensibleness of Matter, sith the Atheist himself is forced to admit such things as fall not under Sense. 13. That it is as foolish a <22> thing to reject the Being of God because he does not immediately fall under the Senses, as it were to reject the Being of Matter because it is so incomprehensible to the Phansy. 14. The factious Humoursomeness of the Atheist in siding with some Faculties of the Soul, and rejecting the rest, though equally competent judges.
1. AND now verily casting my eyes upon the true Idea of God which we have found out, I seem to my self to have struck further into this businesse then I was aware of. For if this Idea or Notion of God be true, as I have undeniably proved, it is also undeniably true That he doth exist: For this Idea of God being no arbitrarious Figment taken up at pleasure, but the necessary and natural Emanation of the Minde of Man, if it signifies to us that the Notion and Nature of God implies in it necessary Existence, as we have shewn it does, unless we will wink against our own natural Light, we are without any further Scruple to acknowledge That God does exist.
2. Nor is it sufficient grounds to diffide to the strength of this Argument, because our Phansy can shuffle in this Abater, viz. That indeed this Idea of God, supposing God did exist, shews us that his Existence is necessary, but it does not shew us that he doth necessarily exist. For he that answers thus, does not observe out of what prejudice he is enabled to make this Answer, which is this: He being accustomed to fancy the Nature or Notion of every thing else without Existence, and so ever easily separating Essence and Existence in them, here unawares he takes the same liberty, and divides Existence from that Essence to which Existence it self is essential. And that's the witty Fallacy his unwariness has intangled him in.
3. Again, when as we contend that the true Idea of God represents him as a Being necessarily existent, and therefore that he does exist; and you to avoid the edge of the Argument reply, If he did at all exist; by this answer you involve your self in a manifest Contradiction. For first, you say with us, That the Nature of God is such, that in its very Notion it implies its Necessary Existence; and then again you unsay it, by intimating that notwithstanding this true Idea and Notion, God may not exist; and so acknowledge that what is absolutely necessary according to the free Emanation of our Faculties, yet may be otherwise: Which is a palpable Contradiction as much as respects us and our Faculties, and we have nothing more inward and immediate then these to steer our selves by.
4. And to make this yet plainer at least, if not stronger; when we say that the Existence of God is Necessary, we are to take notice that Necessity is a Logical Term, and signifies so firm a Connexion betwixt the Subject and Prædicate (as they call them) that it is impossible that they should be dissevered, or should not hold together; and therefore if they be affirm'd one of the other, that they make Axioma Necessarium, an Axiome that is Necessary, or eternally true. Wherefore there being a Necessary Connexion betwixt God and Existence, this Axiome, God does Exist, is an Axiome Necessarily and Eternally true. Which we shall yet more clearly <23> understand, if we compare Necessity and Contingency together. For as Contingency signifies not onely the Manner of Existence in that which is Contingent according to its Idea, but does intimate also a Possibility of Actual Existence; so (to make up the true and easy Analogy) Necessity does not only signifie the Manner of Existence in that which is Necessary, but also that it does actually Exist, and could never possibly do otherwise. For ἀναγκαῖον εἰναι and ἀδὐνατον μὴ εἰναι Necessity of being and Impossibility of Not being, are all one with Aristotle and the rest of the Logicians. But the Atheist and the Enthusiast are usually such profess'd Enemies against Logick; the one merely out of Dotage upon outward gross Sense, the other in a dear regard to his stiffe and untamed Phansy, that shop of Mysteries and fine things.
5. Thirdly, we may further adde, That whereas we must needs attribute to the Idea of God either Contingency, Impossibility, or Necessity of Actuall Existence, (some one of these belonging to every Idea imaginable) and that Contingency is incompetible to an Idea of a Being absolutely Perfect, much more Impossibility, the Idea of God being compiled of no Notions but such as are possible according to the Light of Nature, to which wee now appeal; it remains therefore that Necessity of Actuall Existence be unavoidably cast upon the Idea of God, and that therefore God does actually Exist.
6. But fourthly and lastly, If this seem more subtile, though it be no lesse true for it, I shall now propound that which is so palpable, that it is impossible for any one that has the use of his wits for to deny it. I say therefore, that either God, or this corporeall and sensible World must of it self necessarily exist. Or thus, Either God, or Matter, or both, do of themselves necessarily exist: If both, we have what we would drive at, the Existency of God.
7. But yet to acknowledge the necessary Existence of the Matter of it self, is not so congruous and suteable to the Light of Nature. For if any thing can exist independently of God, all things may: so that not onely the Omnipotency of God might be in vain, but beside, there would be a letting in from hence of all confusion and disorder imaginable; nay, of some grand Devil of equal Power and of as large Command as God himself; or, if you will, of six thousand Millions of such monstrous Gigantick Spirits, fraught with various and mischievous Passions, as well as armed with immense power, who in anger or humour appearing in huge shapes, might take the Planets up in their prodigious Clutches, and pelt one another with them as Boyes are wont to doe with snow-balls. And that this has not yet happened, will be resolved onely into this, that the humour has not yet taken them: but the frame of Nature and the generation of things would be still liable to this ruine and disorder. So dangerous a thing it is to slight the natural dependencies and correspondencies of our Innate Ideas and Conceptions.
8. Nor is there any Refuge in such a Reply as this, That the full and perfect Infinitude of the Power of God, is able easily to overmaster these six thousand Millions of Monsters, and to stay their hands. For I say that six or fewer may equalize the Infinite Power of God. For if any thing <24> may be Self-essentiated besides God, why may not a Spirit of just six times less power then God exist of it self? and then six such will equalize him, a seventh will over-power him.
9. But such a rabble of Self-essentiated and divided Deities does not onely hazzard the pulling the world in pieces, but plainly takes away the Existence of the true God. For if there be any Power or Perfection whatsoever which has its original from any other then God, it manifestly demonstrates that God is not God, that is, is not a Being absolutely and fully Perfect, because we see some Power in the world that is not his, that is, that is not from him. But what is fully and wholly from him, is very truly and properly his, as the thought of my minde is rather my mind's then my thought's.
10. And this is the only way that I know to demonstrate that it is impossible that there should be any more then One true God in the world: For if we did admit another beside him, this other must be also Self-originated; and so neither of them would be God. For the Idea of God swallows up into it self all Power and Perfection conceivable, and therefore necessarily implies that whatever hath any Being derives it from him.
11. But if you say the Matter does only exist, and not God, then this Matter does necessarily exist of it self, and so we give that Attribute unto the Matter which our Natural Light taught us to be contain'd in the Essential conception of no other thing besides God. Wherefore to deny that of God which is so necessarily comprehended in the true Idea of him, and to acknowledge it in that in whose Idea it is not at all contain'd, (for necessary Existence is not contain'd in the Idea of any thing but of a Being absolutely Perfect) is to pronounce contrary to our Natural Light, and to doe manifest violence to our Faculties.
12. Nor can this be excused by saying that the Corporeal Matter is palpable and sensible unto us, but God is not, and therefore we pronounce confidently that it is, though God be not; and also that it is necessary of it self, sith that which is without the help of another, must necessarily be, and eternally.
For I demand of you then, sith you professe your selves to believe nothing but Sense, how could Sense ever help you to that Truth you acknowledged last, viz. That that which exists without the help of another is necessary and eternall? For Necessity and Eternity are no sensible Qualities, and therefore are not the Objects of any Sense; and I have already very plentifully proved, that there is other Knowledge and perception in the Soul besides that of Sense. Wherefore it is very unreasonable, when as we have other Faculties of Knowledge besides the Senses, that we should consult with the Senses alone about matters of Knowledge, and exclude those Faculties that penetrate beyond Sense. A thing that the profess'd Atheists themselves will not doe when they are in the humour of Philosophising; for their Principle of Atomes is a business that does not fall under Sense, as Lucretius at large confesses.
13. But now seeing it is so manifest that the Soul of man has other Cognoscitive Faculties besides that of Sense, (which I have clearly above de <25> monstrated) it is as incongruous to deny there is a God, because God is not an Object fitted to the Senses, as it were to deny there is Matter or a Body, because that Body or Matter, in the imaginative Notion thereof, lies so unevenly and troublesomly in our Phansy and Reason.
In the contemplation whereof our Understanding discovereth such contradictious incoherencies, that were it not that the Notion is sustain'd by the confident dictates of Sense, Reason appealing to those more crass Representations of Phansy, would by her shrewd Dilemmas be able to argue it quite out of the world. But our Reason being well aware that corporeall Matter is the proper Object of the Sensitive Faculty, she gives full belief to the information of Sense in her own sphear, slighting the puzling objections of perplexed Phansy, and freely admits the existence of Matter, notwithstanding the intanglements of Imagination; as she does also the existence of God, from the contemplation of his Idea in our Soul, notwithstanding the silence of the Senses therein.
14. For indeed it were an unexcusable piece of folly and madnesse in a man, whenas he has Cognoscitive Faculties reaching to the knowledge of God, and has a certain and unalterable Idea of God in his Soul, which he can by no device wipe out, as well as he has the knowledge of Sense that reaches to the discovery of the Matter; to give necessary Self-existence to the Matter, no Faculty at all informing him so; and to take necessary Existence from God, though the natural Notion of God in the Soul inform him to the contrary; and onely upon this pretence, because God does not immediately fall under the Knowledge of the Senses: thus partially siding with one kinde of Faculty onely of the Soul, and proscribing all the rest. Which is as humoursomely and foolishly done, as if a man should make a faction amongst the Senses themselves, and resolve to believe nothing to be but what he could see with his Eyes, and so confidently pronounce that there is no such thing as the Element of Aire, nor Winds, nor Musick, nor Thunder. And the reason, forsooth, must be, because he can see none of these things with his Eyes, and that's the sole Sense that he intends to believe.
1. The Existence of God argued from the Finall cause of the implantation of the Idea of God in the Soul. 2. An Evasion of the Argument, by supposing all things to be such as they are, by Chance. 3. That the Evasion is either impossible, or but barely possible, and therefore of no weight. 4. That we are not to attend to what is simply possible, but to what our Natural Faculties determine. 5. He urges therefore again the Final cause of the indeleble Idea or Image of God in the Soul, illustrating the force thereof from a Similitude. 6. That supposing God did exist, he would have dealt no otherwise with us for the making himself known unto us then we are de facto dealt with; which therefore again argues that He doth exist.
1. ANd hitherto I have argued from the naturall Notion or Idea of God as it respects that of which it is the Idea or Notion. I shall now try what advantage may be made of it from the respect it bears unto our Souls, the Subject thereof, wherein it does reside.
I demand therefore, who put this Indeleble Character of God upon our Souls? why, and to what purpose is it there?
2. Nor do not think to shuffle me off by saying, We must take things as we finde them, and not inquire of the finall Cause of any thing: for things are necessarily as they are of themselves, whose guidance and contrivance is from no Principle of Wisdome or Counsel, but every Substance is now and ever was of what nature and capacity it is found, having its Originall from none other then it self; and all those changes and varieties we see in the World are but the result of an Eternal Scuffle of coordinate Causes, bearing up as well as they can, to continue themselves in the present state they ever are; and acting and being acted upon by others, these varieties of things appear in the world, but every particular Substance with the Essential Properties thereof is self-originated, and independent of any other.
3. For to this I answer, That the very best that can be made of all this is but thus much, That it is merely and barely possible, nay, if we consult our own Faculties, and the Idea of God, utterly impossible: but admit it possible; this bare possibility is so laxe, so weak, and so undeterminate a consideration, that it ought to have no power to move the Mind this way or that way that has any tolerable use of her own Reason, more then the faint breathings of the loose Air have to shake a Mountain of brasse. For if bare possibility may at all intangle our assent or dissent in things, we cannot fully misbelieve the absurdest Fable in Æsop or Ovid, or the most ridiculous Figments that can be imagin'd; as suppose that Ears of Corn in the field hear the whistling of the wind and chirping of the Birds: that the stones in the street are grinded with pain when the Carts go over them: that the Heliotrope eyes the Sun, and really sees him, as well as turns round about with him: that the Pulp of the Wall-nut, as bearing the signature of the Brain, is indued with Imagination and Reason. I say, <27> no man can fully mis-believe any of these fooleries, if bare Possibility may have the least power of turning the Scales this way or that way. For none of these, nor a thousand more such like as these, imply a perfect and palpable Contradiction, and therefore will put in for their right of being deemed possible.
4. But we are not to attend to what is simply possible, but to what our Natural Faculties do direct and determine us to. As for example, Suppose the question were, Whether the Stones in the street have sense or no; we are not to leave the point as indifferent, or that may be held either way, because it is possible, and implies no palpable Contradiction, that they may have sense, and that a painfull sense too: but we are to consult with our Naturall Faculties, and see whither they propend; and they do plainly determinate the controversy, by telling us that what has sense and is capable of pain ought to have also progressive Motion, to be able to avoid what is hurtfull and painfull, and we see it is so in all Beings that have any considerable share of Sense. And Aristotle, who was no doter on a Deity, yet frequently does assume this Principle, Ἡ φύσις οὐδὲν μάτην ποιεῖ, That Nature does nothing in vain. Which is either an acknowledgment of a God, or an appeal to our own Rationall Faculties; and I am indifferent which, for I have what I would out of either; for if we appeal to the naturall suggestions of our own Faculties, they will assuredly tell us There is a God.
5. I therefore again demand, and I desire to be answered without prejudice, or any restraint laid upon our Natural Faculties, To what purpose is this Indelible Image or Idea of God in us, if there be no such thing as God existent in the world? or who seal'd so deep an impression of that Character upon our Minds?
If we were travelling in a desolate Wilderness, where we could discover neither Man nor House, and should meet with Herds of Cattel or Flocks of Sheep upon whose bodies there were branded certain Marks or Letters, we should without any hesitancy conclude that these have all been under the hand of some man or other that has set his name upon them. And verily when we see writ in our Souls in such legible Characters the Name, or rather the Nature and Idea, of God, why should we be so slow and backward from making the like reasonable inference? Assuredly, he whose Character is signed upon our Souls has been here, and has thus marked us, that we and all may know to whom we belong, That it is he that has made us, and not we our selves; that we are his people, and the sheep of his Pasture. And it is evidently plain from the Idea of God, which includes Omnipotency in it, that we can be made from none other then he; as I have * before demonstrated. And therefore there was no better way then by sealing us with this Image to make us acknowledge our selves to be his, and to doe that Worship and Adoration to him that is due to our mighty Maker and Creator, that is, to our God.
Wherefore things complying thus naturally and easily together, according to the free Suggestions of our Naturall Faculties, it is as perverse and forced a businesse to suspend assent, as to doubt whether those Roman Urnes and Coins I spoke of, digg'd out of the Earth, be the works of Nature, or the Artifice of Men.
6. But if we cannot yet for all this give free assent to this Position, That God does Exist, let us at least have the Patience a while to suppose it. I demand therefore, supposing God did Exist, What can the Mind of Man imagine that this God should doe better or more effectuall for the making himself known to such a Creature as Man, indued with such and such Faculties, then we finde really already done? For God being a Spirit and Infinite, cannot ever make himself known Necessarily & Adequately by any appearance to our outward Senses. For if he should manifest himself in any outward figures or shapes, portending either love or wrath, terror or protection, our Faculties could not assure us that this were God, but some particular Genius, good or bad: and besides, such dazling and affrightfull externall forces are neither becoming the Divine Nature, nor suteable with the Condition of the Soul of Man, whose better Faculties and more free God meddles with, does not force nor amaze us by a more course and oppressing power upon our weake and brutish Senses. What remains therefore but that he should manifest himself to our Inward Man? And what way imaginable is more fit then the indeleble Impression of the Idea of himself, which is (not Divine life and sense; for that's an higher prize laid up for them that can win it, but) a naturall representation of the Godhead, and a Notion of his Essence, whereby the Soul of Man could no otherwise conceive of him then an Eternall Spirit, Infinite in Goodnesse, Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Necessarily of himself Existent? But this, as I have fully proved, we find de facto done in us. Wherefore we being every way dealt with as if there were a God Existing, and no Faculty discovering any thing to the contrary, what should hinder us from the concluding that he does really Exist?
1 Several other Affections or Properties in the Soul of Man that argue the Being of God. 2. As Natural Conscience. 3. A pious Hope or Confidence of success in affairs upon dealing righteously with the World. 4. An Answer to an Objection, That some men are quite devoid of these Divine senses. 5. That the Universality of Religious Worship argues the Knowledge of the Existence of God to be from the Light of Nature. 6. An Answer to an Objection, viz. That this general acknowledgment of a God amongst the Nations may be but an Universal Tradition. 7. Another Objection answered, viz. That what is universally received by all Nations may notwithstanding be false. 8. An Objections taken from the general falsness and perversness of the Religions of the Nations. The first Answer thereto by way of Apologie. 9. The second Answer, supposing the Religions of the Nations as depraved as you please. 10. A further Objection from the long continuance of those false Religions, and the hopelessness of ever getting out of them, with a brief Answer thereto.
1. HItherto we have argued for the Existency of the Godhead from the natural Idea of God, inseparably and immutably residing in the Soul of Man. There are also other Arguments may be drawn from <29> what we may observe to stick very close to mans Nature; and such is Natural remorse of Conscience, and a fear and disturbance from the committing of such things as notwithstanding are not punishable by men; as also a Natural hope of being prosperous and successfull in doing those things which are conceived by us to be good and righteous; and lastly, Religious Veneration, or Divine worship: all which are fruits unforcedly and easily growing out of the Nature of man; and if we rightly know the meaning of them, they all intimate That there is a God.
2. And first, of Natural Conscience it is plain, that it is a Fear and Confusion of Minde arising from the presage of some mischief that may befall a man beside the ordinary course of Nature, or the usuall occurrences of affairs, because he has done thus or thus. Not that what is supernatural or absolutely extraordinary must needs fall upon him, but that at least the ordinary calamities and misfortunes which are in the world will be directed and levelled at him some time or other, because he hath done this or that Evil against his Conscience. And men doe naturally in some heavy Adversity, mighty Tempest on the Sea, or dreadfull Thunder on the Land (though these be but from Natural Causes) reflect upon themselves and their actions, and so are invaded with fear, or are unterrified, accordingly as they condemn or acquit themselves in their own Consciences. And from this supposal is that magnificent Expression of the Poet concerning the Just man, Nec fulminantis magna Jovis manus, That he is not afraid of the darting down of Thunder and Lightning from Heaven. But this Fear, that one should be struck rather then the rest, or at this time rather then another time, because a man has done thus or thus, is a natural acknowledgement that these things are guided and directed from some discerning Principle, which is all one as to confess That there is a God. Nor is it material that some alledge, that Mariners curse and swear the lowdest when the Storm is the greatest; for it is because the usualness of such dangers hath made them lose the sense of the danger, not the sense of a God.
3. It is also very natural for a man that follows honestly the dictates of his own Conscience, to be full of good Hopes, and much at ease, and secure that all things at home and abroad will go successfully with him, though his actions or sincere motions of his Minde act nothing upon Nature or the course of the world to change them any way: wherefore it implies that there is a Superintendent Principle over Nature and the material frame of the world, that looks to it so, that nothing shall come to pass but what is consistent with the good and welfare of honest and conscientious men. And if it does not happen to them according to their expectations in this world, it does naturally bring in a belief of a world to come.
4. Nor does it at all enervate the strength of this Argument, that some men have lost the sense and difference betwixt Good and Evil, if there be any so fully degenerate; but let us suppose it, this is a monster, and, I suspect, of his own making. But this is no more prejudice to what I aim at, who argue from the Natural constitution of a Man the Existency <30> of a God, then if, because Democritus put out his Eyes, some are born blind, others drink out their Eyes and cannot see, that therefore you should conclude that there is neither Light nor Colours: for if there were, then every one would see them; but Democritus and some others do not see them. But the reason is plain, there hath been force done to their Natural Faculties, and they have put out their Sight.
Wherefore I conclude from natural Conscience in a man, that puts him upon Hope and Fear of Good and Evil from what he does or omits, though those actions and omissions doe nothing to the change of the course of Nature or the affairs of the world, that there is an Intelligent Principle over universall Nature that takes notice of the Actions of men, that is, that there is a God; for else this Natural Faculty would be false and vain.
5. Now for Adoration or Religious Worship, it is as universall as mankind, there being no Nation under the cope of Heaven that does not doe Divine worship to something or other, and in it to God, as they conceive; wherefore according to the ordinary natural light that is in all men, there is a God.
6. Nor can the force of this Argument be avoided, by saying it is but an universall Tradition that has been time out of minde spred among the Nations of the world: For if it were so (which yet cannot at all be proved) in that it is universally received, it is manifest that it is according to the light of Nature to acknowledge there is a God; for that which all men admit as true, though upon the proposall of another, is undoubtedly to be termed true according to the light of Nature. As many hundreds of Geometrical Demonstrations, that were first the inventions of some one man, have passed undeniable through all Ages and places for true according to the light of Nature, with them that were but Learners, not Inventors of them. And it is sufficient to make a thing true according to the light of Nature, that no man upon a perception of what is propounded and the Reasons of it (if it be not clear at the first sight, and need Reasons to back it) will ever stick to acknowledge it for a Truth. And therefore if there were any Nations that were destitute of the knowledge of a God, as they may be, it is likely, of the Rudiments of Geometry; so long as they will admit of the knowledge of one as well as of the other, upon due and fit proposal, the acknowledgement of a God is as well to be said to be according to the light of Nature, as the knowledge of Geometry which they thus receive.
7. But if it be here objected, That a thing may be universally received of all Nations, and yet be so farre from being true according to the light of Nature, that it is not true at all, as for example, that the Sun moves about the Earth, and that the Earth stands still as the fixed Center of the world, which the best of Astronomers & the profoundest of Philosophers pronounce to be false; I answer, that in some sense it does stand still, if you understand by motion the translation of a Body out of the vicinity of other Bodies. But suppose it did not stand still, this comes not home to our Case; for this is but the just victory of Reason over the generall prejudice of Sense; and every one will acknowledge that Reason may correct <31> the Impresses of Sense, otherwise we should, with * Epicurus and Lucretius, admit the Sun and Moon to be no wider then a Sieve, and the bodies of the Stars to be no bigger then the ordinary flame of a Candle. Therefore you see here is a clashing of the Faculties one against another, and the stronger carries it. But there is no Faculty that can be pretended to clash with the judgment of Reason and naturall Sagacity, that so easily either concludes or presages that there is a God: wherefore that may well goe for a Truth according to the light of Nature that is universally receiv'd of men, be it by what Faculty it will they receive it, no other Faculty appearing that can evidence to the contrary. And such is the universall acknowledgment that there is a God.
8. Nor is it much more material to reply, That though there be indeed a Religious Worship excercised in all Nations upon the face of the Earth, yet they worship many of them but stocks and stones, or some particular piece of Nature, the Sun, Moon, or Stars. For I answer that, first, it is very hard to prove that they worship any Image or Statue without reference to some Spirit at least, if not to the Omnipotent God. So that we shall hence at least win thus much, That there are in the Universe some more subtile and Immaterial Substances that take notice of the affairs of men; and this is as ill to a slow Atheist as to believe that there is a God.
And for that Adoration some of them doe to the Sun and Moon, I cannot believe they doe it to them under the notion of mere Inanimate Bodies, but they take them to be the habitation of some Intellectuall Beings, as the verse does plainly intimate to us, Ήέλιός θ̓ ὂς παντ' ἐφορᾷ καὶ πάντ' ἐπακούι, The Sun that hears and sees all things: and this is very near the true Notion of a God.
9. But be this universal Religious Worship what it will, as absurd as you please to fancy it, yet it will not fail to reach very far for the proving of a Deity. For there is no natural Faculties in things that have not their Object in the world; as there is meat as well as mouths, sounds as well as hearing, colours as well as sight, dangers as well as fear, and the like. So there ought in like manner to be a God as well as a natural propension in men to Religious Worship, God alone being the proper Object thereof.
Nor does it abate the strength of the Argument, that this so deeply-radicated Property of Religion in man that cannot be lost, does so ineptly and ridiculously display it self in Mankind.
For as the plying of a Dog's feet in this sleep, as if there were some game before him, and the butting of a young Lamb before he has yet either horns or enemies to encounter, would not be in nature, were there not such a thing as a Hare to be coursed, and an horned Enemy to be encountred with horns: so there would not be so universal an exercise of Religious Worship in the world, though it be done never so ineptly and foolishly, were there not really a due Object of this Worship, and a capacity in Man for the right performance thereof; which could not be unless there were a God.
But the truth is, Man's Soul, in this drunken drowzy condition she is in, has fallen asleep in the Body, and like one in a dream talks to the bed-posts, embraces her pillow instead of her friend, falls down before Statues in stead of adoring the Eternal and Invisible God, prayes to stocks and stones in stead of speaking to him that by his Word created all things.
10. I but you will reply, that a young Lamb has at length both his weapon and Enemy to encounter, and the dreaming Dog did once and may again pursue some real game; and so he that talks in his sleep did once confer with men awake, and may doe so once again; but whole Nations for many successions of Ages have been very stupid Idolaters, and do so continue to this day. But I answer, that this rather informs us of another great Mystery, then at all enervates the present Argument, or obscures the grand Truth we strive for. For this does plainly insinuate thus much, That Mankind is in a laps'd condition, like one fallen down in the fit of an Epilepsie, whose limbs by force of the convulsion are moved very incomposedly and ilfavour'dly; but we know that he that does for the present move the members of his body so rudely and fortuitously, did before command the use of his Muscles in a decent exercise of his progressive faculty, and that when the fit is over he will doe so again.
This therefore rather implies that these poor barbarous Souls had once the true knowledge of God and of his Worship, and by some hidden Providence may be recover'd into it again, then that this propension to Religious Worship, that so conspicuously appears in them, should be utterly in vain: as it would be both in them and in all men else, if there were no God.
1. A concerning Enquiry touching the Essence of the Soul of Man. 2. That the Soul is not a mere Modification of the Body, the Body being uncapable of such Operations as are usually attributed to the Soul, as Spontaneous Motion, Animadversion, Memory, Reason. 3. That the Spirits are uncapable of Memory, and consequently of Reason, Animadversion, and of Moving of the Body. 4. That the Brain cannot be the Principle of spontaneous Motion, having neither Muscles nor Sense. 5. That Phansy, Reason and Animadversion is seated neither in any Pore, nor any particular part of the Brain, nor is all the Brain figured into this or that Conception, nor every Particle thereof. 6. That the Figuration of one part of the Brain is not reflected to the rest, demonstrated from the Site of things. 7. That the Brain has no Sense, further demonstrated from Anatomical Experiments. 8. How ridiculously the Operations of the Soul are attributed to the Conarion. 9. The Conclusion, That the Impetus of Spontaneous Motion is neither from the Animal spirits: nor the Brain. 10. That the Soul is not any Corporeal substance distinct from the Ani <33> mal Spirits and the Body. 11. And therefore is a Substance Incorporeal. 12. The discovery of the Essence of the Soul, of what great usefulness for the easier conceiving the nature of God. 13. And how there may be an Eternal Mind that has both Understanding and power of Moving the Matter of the Universe.
1. WE have done with all those more obvious Faculties in the Soul of Man that naturally tend to the discovery of the Existence of a God. Let us briefly, before we loose from our selves and lanch out into the vast Ocean of the Externall Phænomena of Nature, consider the Essence of the Soul her self, what it is, whether a mere Modification of the Body, or Substance distinct therefrom; and then whether Corporeal or Incorporeal. For upon the clearing of this point we may haply be convinced that there is a Spiritual Substance really distinct from the Matter; which who so does acknowledge, will be easilier induced to believe there is a God.
2. First therefore, if we say that the Soul is a mere Modification of the Body, the Soul then is but one universal Faculty of the Body, or a many Faculties put together, and those Operations which are usually attributed unto the Soul, must of necessity be attributed unto the Body. I demand therefore, to what in the Body will you attribute Spontaneous Motion? I understand thereby, A power in our selves of moving or holding still most of the parts of our Body, as our hand, suppose, or little finger. If you will say that it is nothing but the immission of the Spirits into such and such Muscles, I would gladly know what does immit these Spirits, and direct them so curiously. Is it themselves, or the Brain, or that particular piece of the Brain they call the Conarion or Pine-kernel? Whatever it be, that which does thus immit them and direct them must have Animadversion, and the same that has Animadversion has Memory also and Reason. Now I would know whether the Spirits themselves be capable of Animadversion, Memory and Reason; for it indeed seemes altogether impossible. For these Animal Spirits are nothing else but matter very thin and liquid, whose nature consists in this, that all the particles of it be in Motion, and being loose from one another, fridge and play up and down according to the measure and manner of agitation in them.
3. I therefore now demand, which of the particles in these so many loosely moving one from another has Animadversion in it? If you say that they all put together have, I appeal to him that thus answers, how unlikely it is that that should have Animadversion that is so utterly uncapable of Memory, and consequently of Reason. For it is as impossible to conceive Memory competible to such a Subject, as it is how to write Characters in the water or in the wind.
4. If you say the Brain immits and directs these Spirits, how can that so freely and spontaneously move it self or another that has no Muscles? Besides, Anatomists tell us, that though the Brain be the instrument of sense, yet it has no sense at all of it self; how then can that that has no sense direct thus spontaneously and arbitrariously the Animal Spirits into any part of the Body? an act that plainly requires determinate sense and <34> perception. But let the Anatomists conclude what they will, I think I shall little less then demonstrate that the Brains have no sense. For the same thing in us that has Sense has likewise Animadversion; and that which has Animadversion in us, has also a Faculty of free and arbitrarious Phansy and of Reason.
5. Let us now consider the nature of the Brain, and see how competible those Operations and Powers are to such a Subject. Verily if we take a right view of this laxe pithe or marrow in man's head, neither our Sense nor Understanding can discover any thing more in this Substance that can pretend to such noble Operations as free Imagination and the sagacious collections of Reason, then we can discern in a Cake of Sewet or a Bowl of Curds. For this loose Pulp that is thus wrapt up within our Cranium is but a spongy and porous Body, and pervious not only to the Animal Spirits, but also to more grosse juice and Liquor; else it could not well be nourished, at least it could not be so soft and moistened by Drunkenness and excess, as to make the Understanding inept and sottish in its Operations.
Wherefore I now demand, in this soft substance which we call the Brain, whose softness implies that it is in some measure liquid, and liquidity implies a severall Motion of loosned parts, in what part or parcell thereof does Phansy, Reason and Animadversion lye? In this laxe consistence that lyes like a Net all on heaps in the water, I demand in what knot, loop or interval thereof does this Faculty of free Phansy and active Reason reside? I believe you will be asham'd to assign me any one in particular.
And if you will say in all together, you must say that the whole Brain is figured into this or that representation, which would cancell Memory, and take away all capacity of there being any distinct Notes and places for the severall Species of things there represented.
But if you will say there is in every Part of the Brain this power of Animadversion and Phansy, you are to remember that the Brain is in some measure a liquid Body, and we must enquire how these loose parts understand one anothers several Animadversions and Notions: And if they could (which is yet very inconceivable) yet if they could from hence doe any thing toward the Immission and Direction of the Animal Spirits into this or or that part of the body, they must doe it (upon the knowing one anothers minds,) as it were by a joynt contention of strength; as when many men at once, the word being given, lift or tug together for the moving of some so massie a body that the single strength of one could not deal with. But this is to make the several particles of the Brain so many Individual persons; a fitter object for Laughter then the least measure of Belief.
6. Besides, how come these many Animadversions to seem but one to us, our Mind being these, as is supposed? Or rather why, if the figuration of one part of the Brain be communicated to all the rest, does not the same Object seem situated both behinde us and before us, above and beneath, on the right hand and on the left, and every way as the Impress of the Object is reflected against all the parts of the Brains? But there ap <35> pearing to us but one Animadversion, as but one site of things, it is a sufficient Argument that there is but one; or if there be many, that they are not mutually communicated from the parts one to another, and that therefore there can be no such joynt endeavour toward one designe: whence it is manifest that the Brains cannot immit nor direct these Animal Spirits into what part of the Body they please.
7. Moreover, that the Brain has no Sense, and therefore cannot impress spontaneously any motion on the Animal Spirits, it is no slight Argument, in that some being dissected have been found without Brains; and Fontanus tells us of a Boy at Amsterdam that had nothing but limpid water in his head in stead of Brains; and the Brains generally are easily dissolvable into a watery consistence; which agrees with what I intimated before. Now I appeal to any free Judge, how likely these liquid particles are to approve themselves of that nature and power as to be able, by erecting and knitting themselves together for a moment of time, to bear themselves so as with one joynt contention of strength to cause an arbitrarious ablegation of the Spirits into this or that determinate part of the Body. But the absurdity of this I have sufficiently insinuated already.
Lastly the Nerves, I mean the marrow of them, which is of the self-same substance with the Brain, have no Sense, as is demonstrable from a Catalepsis or Catochus. But I will not accumulate Arguments in a matter so palpable.
8. As for that little sprunt piece of the Brain which they call the Conarion, that this should be the very substance whose natural faculty it is to move it self, and by its motions and nods to determinate the course of the Spirits into this or that part of the Body, seems to me no less foolish and fabulous then the story of him that could change the wind as he pleased, by setting his cap on this or that side of his head.
If you heard but the magnificent stories that are told of this little lurking Mushrome, how it does not onely hear and see, but imagines, reasons, commands the whole fabrick of the body more dexterously then an Indian boy does an Elephant, what an acute Logician, subtle Geometrician, prudent Statesman, skilfull Physician and profound Philosopher he is, and then afterward by dissection you discover this worker of Miracles to be nothing but a poor silly contemptible Knob or Protuberancy, consisting of a thin Membrane containing a little pulpous Matter, much of the same nature with the rest of the Brain; Spectatum admissirisum teneatis amici? would not you sooner laugh at it then go about to confute it? And truly I may the better laugh at it now, having already confuted it in what I have afore argued concerning the rest of the Brain.
9. I shall therefore make bold to conclude, that the impress of Spontaneous Motion is neither from the Animal spirits nor from the Brain, and therefore that those Operations that are usually attributed unto the Soul are really incompetible to any part of the Body; and therefore that the Soul is not a mere Modification of the Body, but a Substance distinct therefrom.
10. Now we are to enquire whether this Substance distinct from what <36> ordinarily we call the Body, be also it self a Corporeal Substance, or whether it be Incorporeal. If you say that it is a Corporeal Substance, you can understand no other then Matter more subtile and tenuious then the Animal Spirits themselves, mingled with them and dispersed through the vessels and porosities of the Body, for there can be no Penetration of Dimensions. But I need no new Arguments to confute this fond conceit, for what I said of the Animal Spirits before, is applicable with all ease and fitness to this present case. And let it be sufficient that I advertise you so much, and so be excused from the repeating of the same things over again.
11. It remains therefore that we conclude, That that which impresses Spontaneous Motion upon the Body, or more immediately upon the Animal Spirits, that which imagines, remembers and reasons, is an Immaterial Substance distinct from the Body, which uses the Animal Spirits and the Brains for instruments in such and such Operations. And thus we have found a Spirit in a proper Notion and signification that has apparently these Faculties in it, it can both understand, and move Corporeal Matter.
12. And now this prize that we have wonne will prove for our design of very great Consequence: For it is obvious here to observe, that the Soul of man is as it were ἄγαλμα Θεοῦ, a compendious Statue of the Deity; her substance is a solid Effigies of God. And therefore as with ease we consider the Substance and Motion of the vast Heavens on a little Sphere or Globe, so we may with like facility contemplate the nature of the Almighty in this little meddal of God, the Soul of Man, enlarging to infinity what we observe in our selves when we transferre it unto God; as we do imagine those Circles which we view on the Globe to be vastly bigger while we fancy them as described in the Heavens.
13. Wherefore we being assured of this, That there is a Spiritual Substance in our selves in which both these Properties do reside, viz. of Understanding, and of moving Corporeall Matter; let us but enlarge our minds so as to conceive as well as we can of a Spiritual Substance that is able to move and actuate all Matter whatsoever never so farre extended, and after what way and manner soever it please, and that it has not the Knowledge only of this or that particular thing, but a distinct and plenary Cognoscence of all things; and we have indeed a very competent apprehension of the Nature of the Eternall and Invisible God, who, like the Soul of Man, does not indeed fall under Sense, but does every where operate so, that his presence is easily to be gathered from what is discovered by our outward Senses.
 * See the foregoing Chap. Sect. 7, 8, 9.
 * Lucret. de Natura Rerii, li. 5. and Diog. Laert. Vita Epicur.
Cite as: Henry More, An Antidote against Atheism, 3rd ed., from A Collection of Several Philosophical Writings (1662), pp. 9-36, https://www.cambridge-platonism.divinity.cam.ac.uk/view/texts/diplomatic/More1662F-excerpt001, accessed 2023-12-01.