« AnteriorContinuar »
4thly. Supposing it was possible that the form of PROP. the world, and all the visible things contained therein, with the order, beauty, and exquisite fitness of From the their parts ; nay, supposing that even intelligence original of itself, with consciousness and thought, in all the beings we know, could possibly be the result or effect of mere unintelligent matter, figure, and motion; (which is the most unreasonable and impossible supposition in the world ;) yet even still there would remain an undeniable demonstration, that the selfexistent being, (whatever it be supposed to be,) must be intelligent. For even these principles themselves (unintelligent figure and motion) could never have possibly existed without there had been before them an intelligent cause. I instance in motion : It is evident there is now such a thing as motion in the world ; which either began at some time or other, or was eternal. If it began at any time, then the question is granted, that the first cause is an intelligent being; for mere unintelligent matter, and that
at rest, it is manifest could never of itself begin to move. On the contrary, if motion was eternal, it was either eternally caused by some eternal intelligent being, or it must of itself be necessary and selfexistent; or else, without any necessity in its own nature, and without any external necessary cause, it must have existed from eternity by an endless successive communication. If motion was eternally caused by some eternal intelligent being, this also is granting the question, as to the present dispute. If it was of itself necessary and self-existent, then it follows, that it must be a contradiction in terins to suppose any matter to be at rest : and yet at the same time, because the determination of this selfexistent motion must be every way at once, the effect of it could be nothing else but a perpetual rest. Besides, (as there is no end of absurdities, when they once begin,) it must also imply a contradiction, to suppose that there might possibly have been originally more or less motion in the universe than there
PROP. actually was: which is so very absurd a consequence,
that Spinoza himself, though he expressly asserts all things to be necessary, yet
seems ashamed here * to speak out his opinion, or rather plainly contradicts himself in the question about the original of motion. But if it be said, lastly, that motion, without any necessity in its own nature, and without any external necessary cause, has existed from eternity, merely by an endless successive communication, as † Spinoza, inconsistently enough, seems to assert: This I have before shown, (in my proof of the second general proposition of this discourse,) to be a plain contradiction. It remains, therefore, that motion must of necessity be originally caused by something that is intelligent, or else there never could have been any such thing as motion in the world ; and consequently the self-existent being, the original cause of all things, (whatever it be supposed to be,) must of necessity be an intelligent being.
From hence it follows again, that the material world cannot possibly be the original self-existent being : For, since the self-existent being is demonstrated to be intelligent, and the material world plainly is not so, it follows that the material world cannot possibly be self-existent. What some have fondly imagined concerning a soul of the world, if thereby they mean a created, dependent being, signifies nothing in the present argument: But if they understand thereby something necessary and self-existent, then it is nothing else but a false, corrupt, and imperfect notion of God.
IX. The self-existent and original cause of all
* Spinoze Ethic. Par. I, prop. 33, compared with part II, prop. 13, lemma 3.
+ Corpus motum, vel quiescens, ad motum vel quietem determi. nari debuit ab alio corpore, quod etiam ad motum vel quietem determinatum fuit ab alio, et illud iterum ab alio, et sic in infinitum.Ethic. par. II, prop. 13, lemma 3.
things, is not a necessary agent but a being indued PROP. with liberty and choice. The contrary to this proposition is the foundation and the sum of what Spi- self-existnoza and his followers have asserted concerning the ent being nature of God. What reasons or arguments they free agent. have offered for their opinion I shall have occasion to consider briefly in my proof of the proposition itself. The truth of which appears
1st. In that it is a necessary consequence of the This a neforegoing proposition. For intelligence without li- center berty (as I there hinted) is really (in respect of any of the forepower, excellence, or perfection, no intelligence at going pro. all: It is indeed a consciousness, but it is merely a passive one; a consciousness, not of acting, but purely of being acted upon. Without liberty, nothing can, in any tolerable propriety of speech, be said to be an agent, or cause of any thing. For to act necessarily, is really and properly not to act at all, but only to be acted upon. What therefore Spinoza and his followers assert, concerning the production of all things * from the necessity of the divine nature, is mere jargon and words, without any meaning at all. For if, by the necessity of the divine nature, they understand not the perfection and rectitude of his will, whereby God is unalterably determined to do always what is best in the whole, (as confessedly they do not, because this is consistent with the most perfect liberty and choice,) but, on the contrary, mean an absolute and strictly natural necessity; it follows evidently, that when they say God, by the necessity of his nature, is the cause and author of all things, they understand him to be a cause or agent in no other sense than as if a man should say, that a stone, by the necessity of its nature, is the cause of its own falling and striking the ground, which is really not to be an agent or cause at all; but their opinion amounts to this, that all things are equally self-exist
* Ex necessitate divinæ naturæ, infinita infinitis modis sequi debent - Ethic. prop.
remarka. ble passage of Mr
PROP. ent, and consequently that the material world is
God; which I have before proved to be a contradiction. In like manner, when they speak of the intelligence and knowledge of God, they mean to attribute
these powers to him in no other sense than the anSee a very cient Hylozoicks attributed them to all matter; that
is, that a stone, when it falls, has a sensation and con
sciousness, but that that consciousness is no cause at Hobbes, e
all, or power of acting ; which kind of intelligence, page 53. in any tolerable propriety of speech, is no intelligence
at all : And, consequently, the arguments that proved the supreme cause to be properly an intelligent and active being do also undeniably prove that he is likewise indued with liberty and choice, which
alone is the power of acting. Proved 2dly. If the supreme cause is not a being indued
with liberty and choice, but a mere necessary agent, arbitrary whose actions are all as absolutely and naturally nedis position of things in
cessary as his existence, then, it will follow, that the world; nothing which is not, could possibly have been; and
that nothing which is, could possibly not have been; Spinoza's and that no mode or circumstance of the existence arguments of any thing could possibly have been in any respect for the ne otherwise than it now actually is: All which being all things. evidently most false and absurd, it follows, on the
contrary, that the supreme cause is not a mere necessary agent, but a being indued with liberty and choice.
The consequence,* viz. that if the supreme cause
farther from the
* Alii putant Deum esse causam liberam, propterea quod potest, ut putant, efficere ut ea quæ ex ejus natura sequi diximus; hoc est, quæ in ejus potestate sunt, non fiant: Sed hoc idem est ac si dicerent quod Deus potest efficere, ut, ex natura trianguli, non sequatur ejus tres angulos æquales esse duobus rectis.-Ego me satis clare ostendisse puto, a summa Dei potentia, omnia necessario effluxe isse, vel semper eadem necessitate sequi ; eodem modo ac, ex natura trianguli
, ab æterno et in æternum sequitur ejus tres angulos æquari duobus rectis.- Ethic, par. 1, schol. ad prop.
17. Omnia ex necessitate naturæ divinæ determinata sunt, non tantum ad existendum, sed etiam ad certo modo existendum et operandum; nullumque datur contingens. Demonstrat. prop. 29.
be a necessary agent, then nothing which is not, PROP. could possibly have been ; and nothing which is, could possibly either not have been, or have been different from what it is: This, I say, is expressly owned by Spinoza to be the unavoidable consequence of his own opinion. And, accordingly, he endeavours to maintain, that no thing, or mode of existence of any thing, could possibly have been in any respect different from what it now actually is. His reasons are ; (1) because * from an infinitely perfect nature, infinite things in infinite manners, must needs proceed; and (2.) † because, if any thing could possibly be otherwise than it is, the will and nature of God must be supposed capable of change ; and (3.) because if all possible things in all possible manners do not always and necessarily exist, they never can all exist; but some things, that do not exist, will still always be possible only, and never can actually exist; and so the actual omnipotence of God is taken away. The first of these arguments is a plain begging of the question; For, that an infinitely perfect nature is able indeed to produce
Si res alterius naturæ potuissent esse, vel alio modo ad operandum determinari, ut naturæ ordo alius esset: ergo Dei etiam na. tura alia posset esse quam jam est. Prop. 33. demostrat.
Quicquid concipimus in Dei potestate esse, id necessario est, -Prop. 35.
Deum non operari ex libertate voluntatis.- Corol. ad prop.
Res nullo alio modo, neque alio ordine, a Deo produci potuerant quam productæ sunt.--Prop. 33.
* Ex necessitate divinæ naturæ, infinita infinitis modis sequi debent.- Prop. 16.
+ Si res alterius naturæ potuissent esse, vel alio modo ad operandum determinari ; ut naturæ ordo alius esset : Ergo Dei etiam natura alia posset esse quam jam est. Prop. 33. demonsi rat.
# Immo adversarii, [qui negant, ex necessitate divinæ naturæ, omnia necessario fluere,] Dei omnipotentiam negare videntur. Coguntur enim fateri, Deum infinita creabilia intelligere quæ tamen nunquam creare poterit: Nam alias ; si scilicet omnia, quæ intel. ligit crearet, suam, juxta ipsos, exhauriret omnipotentiam, et se imperfectum redderet. Ut igitur Deum perfectum statuant, eo rediguntur, ut simul statuere debeant ipsum non posse omnia efficere, ad quæ ejus potentia se extendit.-Coroll. ad prop. 17.