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Lord our God is God of gods, and Lord of lords : (Deut. x. 17. Psalm cxxxvi. 2. Dan. ii. 47. xi. 36.) and in the same respect is called “the most high God,” (Gen. xiv. 18—20. 22.) (others being but inferior, or under him), and, “ God over or above all.” (Rom. ix. 5. Ephes. iv. 6.)* This eminency and excellency, by which these titles become proper unto him, and incommunicable to any other, is grounded upon the Divine nature or essence, wbich all other who are called gods have not, and therefore are not by nature gods. “ Then when ye knew not God (saith St. Paul), ye did service to them which by nature are not gods.” (Gal. iv. 8.) There is then a God by nature, and others which are called gods, but by nature are not so: for either they have no power at all, because no being, but only in the false opinions of deceived men, as the gods of the heathen; or if they have any real power or authority, from whence some are called godst in the Scripture, yet they have it not from themselves or of their own nature, but from him who “only hath immortality,” (1 Tim. vi. 16.) and consequently only Divinity, and therefore is “the only true God." (John xvii. 3.) So that the notion of a Deity doth at last expressly signify a Being or nature of infinite perfection ;I and the intinite perfection of a nature or being consisteth in this, that it be absolutely and essentially necessary, an actual being of itself; and potential or causative of all beings beside itself, independent from any other, upon which all things else depend, and by which all things else are governed. It is true, indeed, that to give a perfect definition of God is impossible, neither can our finite reason hold any proportion with infinity; but yet a sense of this Divinity we have, and the first and common notion of it consists in these three particulars; that it is a Being of itself, and independent from any other; that it is that upon which all things which are made depend ; that it governs all things. And this I conceive sufficient as to the first consideration, in reference to the notion of a God.
As for the existence of such a Being, how it comes to be known unto us, or by what means we are assured of it, is not so unanimously agreed upon, as that it is. For although some have imagined that the knowledge of a Deity is connatural to ts.c soul of man, so that every man hath a connate inbred no
notion of a God; yet I rather conceive the soul of man to have no connatural knowledge at all, no particular notion of any thing in it, from the beginning; but being we can have no assurance of its pre-existence, we may more rationally judge it to receive the first apprehensions of things by sense, and by
* • Imprimis necesse est concedatis esse ego disi, loquentis est potius sermo quam aliquem sublimiorem Deum et mancipem rei nomen.' S. Hilar. de Trin. I. vii. c. 10. quendam divinitatis, qui ex hominibus * Deus plenæ ac perfectæ divinitatis Deos fecerit.' Terriadr. Gentes, c. 11. est nomen.' S. Hilir, de Trin. I. xi. c. 48.
+ .Ego diri. Dui estis ; sed in eo indulti · Deus substantiæ ipsius nomen, id est, nominis sigpifcatio est : et ubi refertur, dirinitatis.' Tertull. adr. Herm. c. 3.
them to make all rational collections. If then the soul of man be at the first like a fair smooth table, without any
actual characters or knowledge imprinted in it; if all the knowledge which we have comes successively by sensation, instruction, and rational collection; then must we not refer the apprehenson of a Deity to any connate notion or inbred opinion; at least we are assured God never charged us with the knowledge of him upon that account.
Again, although others do affirm, that the existence of God is a truth evident of itself, so as whosoever hears but these terms once named, that God is, cannot choose but acknowledge it for a certain and infallible truth upon the first
apprehension : that as no man can deny that the whole is greater than any part, who knoweth only what is meant by whole, and what by part: so no man can possibly deny or doubt of the existence of God, who knows but what is meant by God, and what it is to be ; yet can we not ground our knowledge of God's existence upon any such clear and immediate evidence: nor were it safe to lay it upon such a ground, because whosoever should deny it, could not by this means be convinced ; it being a very irrational way of instruction to tell a man that doubts of this truth, that he must believe it because it is evident unto him, when he knows that he therefore only doubts of it, because it is not evident unto him.
Although therefore that, God is, be of itself an immediate, certain, necessary truth, yet must it be* evidenced and made apparent unto us by its connexion to other truths; so that the being of a Creator may appear unto us by his creature, and the dependency of inferior entities may lead us to a clear acknowledgment of the supreme and independent Being. The wisdom of the Jews thought this method proper, “ for by the greatness and beauty of the creatures, proportionably the Maker of them is seen :^ (Wisd. of Sol. xiii. 5.) and not only they, but St. Paul hath taught us, that “the invisible things of God, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.” (Rom. i. 20.)+ For if Phidias could so
Hæc propositio, Deus est, quantum in se est, per se nota est, quia prædicatuna est idem cum subjecto, Deus enim est suum esse. Sed quia nos non scimus de Deo quid est, non est nobis per se nota, sed indiget demonstrari per ea quæ sant magis nota quoad nos, et minus nota quoad naturam, scilicet per effectus.' Aquin. I. p. q. 2. art. 2.
+ This place must be vindicated from the false gloss of Socinus, who contends, that it cannot be proved from the creature that there is a God, and therefore to this place of St. Paul answers thus : Sciendum est verba a creatione mundi
debere conjungi cum verbo invisibilia-ait igitur eo in loco Apostolus, aternam divinitatem Dei, i. id quod nos Deus perpetuo facere vult (Divinitas enim hoc sensu alibi quoque apud ipsum enunciatur, ut Col. ii. 9.), alernamque potentiam, i. promissiones quæ nunquam intercident (quo sensu paulo superius dixerat Evangelium esse potentiam Dei), hæc, inquam, quæ nunquam postquam mundus creatus est ab hominibus visa fuerant, i. non fuerant eis cognita, per opera, boc est, per mirabiles ipsius Dei et divinorum hominum, præsertim vero Christi et Apostolorum ejus, operationes, conspecta fuisse.' In
contrive a piece of his own work,* as in it to preserve the memory of himself, never to be obliterated without the destruction of the work, well may we read the great Artificer of the world in the works of his own hands, and by the existence of any thing demonstrate the first cause of all things.
We find by the experience of ourselves, that some things in this world have a beginning, before which they were not; the account of the years of our age sufficiently infer our nativities, and they our conceptions, before which we had no being. Now if there be any thing which had a beginning, there must necessarily be something which had no beginning, because nothing can be a beginning to itself. Whatsoever is, must of necessity either have been made, or not made; and something which explication there is nothing wbich then imputable to the interpreters: nor is not forced and distorted; for though can such pitiful criticisms give any adhis first observation seems plausible, yet vantage to the first part of Socinus's exthere is no validity in it. He bringeth position. Howsoever the Catholic interonly for proof, Mait. xiii. 35. xexzupepe éva pretation depends not on those words από καταβολής κόσμου, which proves not da) xtisews, but on the consideration of at all that à trò xTiGenç has the same the persons, that is the Gentiles, and the sense : and it is more probable that it other words, ποιήμασι νοούμενα, which he bath not, because that is usually ex farther perverts, rendering them the mipressed by áts' apxñs xTITEWS, Mark x. 6. raculous operations of Christ and his apoand xiii. 19. 2 Pet. iii. 4. never by anò stles, or, as one of our learned men, their κτίσεως. Besides the κεκρυμμένα in St. doings, mistaking noinjec, which is from Matthew bears not that analogy with the passive πεποίημαι, for ποίησις, from åópata wbich Socinus pretends, signifying the active εποίησα: for ποίημα is properly not things unseen or unknown till then, the thing made or created, not the operabut only obscure sayings or parables; for tion or doing of it; as xrisis is sometimes which purpose those words were pro taken for the creature, sometimes for the duced out of the Psalms by the Evange creation, but stigua is the creature only. list, to prove that the Messias was to As therefore we read, 1 Tim. iv. 4. Fy speak in parables, in the original 117'n κτίσμα Θεού καλόν, 80 Εph. ii. 10. αυτου 072-3 LXX. mpoahmata år arxñs, i. γάρ εσμεν ποίημα. .
In this sense spake wise ancient sayings, which were not un Thales properly: Πρεσβύτατον των όντων seen and unknown, for it immediately Θεός, αγέννητον γάρ κάλλιστον κόσμος, ποίημα followeth, which we have heard and known, yàp Occū. Laert. Thal. p. 9. ed. Rom. and our fathers have told us, Psal. lxxviii. 3. 1594. The other interpretations, which And though he would make out this in he was forced to, are yet more extravaterpretation, by accusing other interpre gant: as when he renders the eternal ters of unfaithfulness : Plerique inter Godhead, that wbich God would always pretes, ex præpositionc a, er fecerunt, bave us do,' or his everlasting will, contra ipsorum Græcorum Codicum fidem, and proves that rendition by another place qui non έκ κτίσεως, sed από κτίσεως habent: of St. Paul, Col. ii. 9. For in him yet there is no ground for such a calumny, dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead because àtò may be, and is often ren bodily;" that is, says he, . all the will of dered e or er as well as èx, as Matt. iii. 4. God' (whereas it is most certain, that από τριχών καμήλου, e pilis camelinis, vii. 4. where the Godhead is, especially where από του οφθαλμού σου, er oculo tuo, 16. από the fulness, even all the fulness of the áxarowv, er spinis ; and even in the sense Godhead is, there must be all the attriwhich Socinus contends for, Matt. xvii. 18. butes as well as the will of God): and årò tñs äpns éxeims, V.T. er illa horu, as when he interprets the eternal power to be Tully, 1 de Fin. 51. Ex ea die,' and • the promises which shall never fail; Virgil, ' Ex illo Corydon, Corydon est and thinks he has sufficiently proved it, tempore nobis,' Ecl. vii. 70. and, - Tem because the same apostle calls the Gospore jam ex illo casus mihi cognitus pel the power of God. For by this way of urbis Trojanæ.' Æn.i.623. So tbe Greek interpretation no sentence of Scripiure årò peépous the Latins render er parte, ånò can have any certain sense. Toù isou, er æquo : of which examples are • In the shield of Pallas, Arist. de innumerable. There is no unfaithfulness Mundo, c. vi. post med.
there must needs be which was never made, because all things cannot be made. For whatsoever is made, is made by another, neither can any thing produce itself; otherwise it would follow, that the same thing is and is not at the same instant in the same respect: it is, because a producer; it is not, because to be produced : it is therefore in being, and is not in being; which is a manifest contradiction. If then all things which are made were made by some other, that other which produced them either was itself produced, or was not: and if not, then have we already an independent being; if it were, we must at last come to something which was never made, or else admit either a circle of productions, in which the effect shall make its own cause, or an *infinite succession in causalities, by which nothing will be made : both which are equally impossible. Something then we must confess was never made, something which never had beginning. And although these effects or dependent beings, singly considered by themselves, do not infer one supreme cause and maker of them all, yet the admirable order and + connexion of things shew as much ; and this one supreme Cause is God. For all things which we see or know have their existence for some end, which no man who considereth the uses and utilities of every species can deny. Now whatsoever is and hath its being for some end, of that the end for which it is must be thought the cause ; and a final cause is no otherwise the cause of any thing than as it moves the efficient cause to work : from whence we cannot but collect a prime efficient Cause of all things, endowed with infinite wisdom, who having a full comprehension of the ends of all, designed, produced, and disposed all things to those ends.
Again, as all things have their existence, so have they also their operations for some end; † and whatsoever worketh so, must needs be directed to it. Although then those creatures which are endued with reason can thereby apprehend the goodness of the end for which they work, and make choice of such means as are proportionable and proper for the obtaining of it, and so by their own counsel direct themselves unto it: yet can we not conceive that other natural agents, whose operations flow from a bare instinct, can be directed in their actions by any counsel of their own. The stone doth not deliberate whether it shall descend, nor doth the wheat take counsel whether it shall grow or not. Even men in natural actions use no act of deliberation : we do not advise how our
'Αλλά μήν ότι γ' έστιν αρχή της, και ουκ άπειρα τα αίτια των όντων, ούτ' εις ευθ glav, GT! xar' eldos, 8inov. Aristot. Metaph. I. ii. C. 2. and again: είπες μηδέν έστι το πρώτη, όλως αίτιον ουδέν έστι,
Quæst. et Resp. ad Gracus. quæst. iii. 6. p. 204. ed. Colon. 1686.
+ 'Εν όσοις τέλος τι εστι, τούτου ένεκα πράτ. τεται το πρότερον και το εφεξής. Ουκούν ως πράττιται, ούτω πέφυκε και ως πέφυκεν, αν μη τι εμποδίζη, ούτω πράττεται έκαστον πράττεται δε ένεκά του, και πέφυκεν άρα τούτου ένεκα. Aristot. Phys. 1. ii. c. 8.
+ Πόθεν δήλον, ει όλως έστι Θεός; Εκ της των Tu sustártás të xai diapeovns. Justin.
heart shall beat, though without that pulse we cannot live ; when we have provided nutriment for our stomach, we take no counsel how it shall be digested there, or how the chyle is distributed to every part for the reparation of the whole; the mother which conceives takes no care how that conceptus shall be framed, how all the parts shall be distinguished, and by what means or ways the child shall grow within her womb : and yet all these operations are directed to their proper ends, and that with a greater reason, and therefore by a greater wisdom, than what proceeds from any thing of human understanding. What then can be more clear, that that those natural agents which work constantly for those ends which they themselves cannot perceive, must be directed by some high and overruling wisdom? And who can be their director in all their operations tending to those ends, but he who gave them their beings for those ends? And who is that, but the great Artificer who works in all of them? For art is so far the imitation of nature, that if it were not in the artificer, but* in the thing itself which by art is framed, the works of art and nature would be the same. Were that which frames a watch within it, and all those curious wheels wrought without the hand of man, it would seem to grow into that form; nor would there be any distinction between the making of that watch, and the growing of a plant. Now what the artificer is to works of art, who orders and disposes them to other ends than by nature they were made, that is the Maker of all things to all natural agents, directing all their operations to ends which they cannot apprehend; and thus appears the Maker to be the ruler of the world,t the steerer of this great ship, the law of this universal commonwealth, the general of all the hosts of heaven and earth. By these ways, as by the testimony of the creature, we come to find an eternal and independent Being, upon which all things else depend, and by which all things else are governed; and this we have before supposed to be the first notion of God.
Neither is this any private collection or particular ratiocination, but the public and universal reason of the world. S No age so distant, no country so remote, no people so barbarous, but gives a sufficient testimony of this truth. When the Roman Eagle flew over most parts of the habitable world, they met with atheism no where, but rather by their miscellany deities at Rome, which grew together with their victories, they
'Ατοπον το μή οίεσθαι ένεκα του γίνεσθαι, εαν μη δασι το κινούν βουλευσάμενον· καίτοι και ή τέχνη ου βουλεύεται και γαρ ει ενην εν τω ξύλω ή ναυπηγική, ομοίως αν τη φύσει έσoίει. Aristot, ibid.
+ Καθόλου, όπερ εν νη κυβερνήτης, εν άρματι ηνίοχος, εν χορώ δε κορυφαίος, εν πόλει δε νόμος, έν στρατοπέδων δε ηγεμών· τούτο Θεός εν κόσμω.
Aristot. de Mund. c. 6. post med.
• Habet Dominus testimonium totum hoc quod sumus, et in quo sumus.' Tertull.
6 'Aρχαίος τις λόγος και πατριός έστι πασιν ανθρώποις, ως εκ Θεού τα πάντα και δια Θεού nuit GUTECTIXEY. Aristot. de Mundo, c. 6. init.