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[From The Third Dialogue.]

Hyl.[1] I profess, Bathynous, this is not nothing that you say. Nay indeed, so much, as I must acknowledge my exception against Providence in this Passage very much weakned. But what use could you make of the Silver Key, when that Divine Personage explained nothing of it to you?

Bath. It was as it were a pointing of one to those Authours that conform the Frame of the World to that Scheme; as Nicolaus Copernicus and those that follow that Systeme. But it is no-where drawn nearer to the Elegancy of the Silver-Key-Paper then in Des-Cartes his third part of his Principles.

Cuph. That's notable indeed, Bathynous. This is a kinde of Divine <497> Testimonie to the truth of all Des-Cartes's Principles.

Bath. No, by no means, Cuphophron: For in the Golden-Key-Paper, in that cursory Glance I gave upon all the Sentences or Aphorisms therein contained, amongst the rest I espy'd one, of which part was writ in greater Letters, which was to this sense, That the Primordials of the World are not Mechanicall, but Spermaticall or Vital; which is diametrically and fundamentally opposite to Des-Cartes's Philosophy.

Cuph. There is great Uncertainty in Dreams.

Bath. But I must confess I think the thing true of it self. And if I had had full Conference with that Divine Sage, I believe I should have found his Philosophy more Pythagoricall or Platonicall, (I mean his Natural Philosophy, Cuphophron) then Cartesian. For there was also mention of the Seminal Soul of the World, which some modern Writers call the Spirit of Nature.


Cuph. So many men, so many mindes.

Bath. But I doubt not but that it is demonstrable by Reason, that the Primordials of the Universe are not purely Mechanicall.

Cuph. So many men, so many Reasons, so many Demonstrations.

Hyl. I believe Cuphophron takes it very ill of you, Bathynous, that the old grave Person you met with in the Wood was not a thorough-paced Cartesian, or else he is in a very Scepticall mood: which I do not desire to be in, especially in so weighty Points as these concerning Providence. And therefore let me intreat you, Bathynous, to unlock that Difficulty I propounded last to Philotheus, by virtue of your Golden Key.

Bath. You must excuse me there, Hylobares; I would not be so injurious to Cuphophron as to make him a false Prophet, who so expresly foretold a while agoe, that the Fates had designed that honour solely for Philotheus.


Philoth. And it seems, in the like Complement to Cuphophron, I must again resume my not unpleasant burthen of serving Hylobares; which I shall doe according to the best skill I have.

Philop. I pray you do, Philotheus; for I am very ambitious you should work upon Hylobares a perfect Cure.

Philoth. I shall endeavour it, Philopolis. But I must first take the liberty to chafe the benummed part, and soundly chide Hylobares that he is not cured already, nor has been sufficiently sensible of that Clearness and Evidence for the Unexceptionableness of Divine Providence which has been hitherto produced. Which I must profess I think to be such, that those that have not some peculiar humour or phancy, or labour not under the burthen of their own Idiosyncrasie, cannot but be fully satisfied with, without the flying to any such highswoln Hypothesis as that Systeme of the World represented in the Silver-Key-Paper, or Pre-existence of Souls, <500> which is part of the Golden one. So that any farther Solution of the present Difficulty, were it not for Hylobares his own fault, and the peculiarity of his own Phancy that still molesteth him, were plainly unnecessary and superfluous. How many thousands of sober and intelligent persons have been fully satisfied touching the Accuracy of Divine Providence without any such far-fetch'd Helps?

Sophr. Which is a shrewd Indication, that those Arguments, distinct from these more aiery Hypotheses and finely-contrived Phancies, are the more natural strength and arms, as it were, of humane Understanding, (by whose strokes it bears it self up in these profound Mysteries from sinking into Infidelity or Atheism;) but those more big and swelled Hypotheses, but as a bundle of Bull-rushes or a couple of Bladders ty'd under the Arms of some young and unskilfull Swimmer.

Hyl. And I for my part, Gentlemen, do profess my self such a young <501> and unskilfull Swimmer in these Depths, and therefore would gladly be supported by the artificial use of these Bladders, that my Melancholy may never sink me to the bottom.

Cuph. And I commend your wit, Hylobares, that you can so well provide for your own safety. For I dare undertake that these Bladders are so big, so tough, and so light, that if they be but well ty'd on, a Cow or Oxe may securely swim on them through the Hellespont, or rather through the main Ocean, and never fear drowning.

Hyl. I thank you for that encouragement, Cuphophron, and shall therefore the more earnestly beg of Philotheus, that he would use all the Art and Skill he has to tie them on me as fast as possibly he can, (that of Pre-existence especially, the Reasons and Uses thereof) that the string may never slip nor break, to my hazard of ducking to the bottom.

Philoth. That I will do, Hylobares, but on this condition, that you ever <502> remember that what I do thus firmly fasten on you is yet but by way of Hypothesis, and that you will no longer make use of these Bladders then till you can safely swim without them.

Hyl. That I do faithfully promise you, Philotheus, in the word of a Gentleman. Wherefore, without any farther Interruption, I pray you proceed.

[1] XXX. That that Divine Personage that appeared to Bathynous was rather a Favourer of Pythagorism, then Cartesianism.

Cite as: Henry More, Divine Dialogues (1668), pp. 494-502,, accessed 2023-12-01.