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part continue unto all eternity; by which something which had a beginning shall have an end, and something not.

The second fallacy which led them to this novelty was the very name of universe, which comprehended in it all things; from whence they reasoned thus-If the world or universe were made, then were all things made; and if the world shall be dissolved, then all things shall come to nothing; which is impossible. For if all things were made, then must either all, or at least something, have made itself, and so have been the cause of itself as of the effect, and the effect of itself as of the cause, and consequently in the same instant both have been and not been; which is a contradiction. But this fallacy is easily discovered; for when we say the universe, or all things, were made, we must be always understood to except him who made all things, neither can we by that name be supposed to comprehend more than the frame of heaven and earth, and all things contained in them; and so Ocellus, he who first devised this argument, hath himself acknowledged.

Far more gross was that third conceit, that if the world were ever made, it must be after the vulgar way of ordinary natural generations in which two mutations are observable, the first from less to greater, or from worse to better; the second from greater to less, or from better to worse; (the beginning of the first mutation is called generation, the end of it perfection; the beginning of the second is from the same perfection, but concludeth in corruption or dissolution). But none hath ever yet observed that this frame of the world did ever grow up from less to greater, or improve itself from worse to better; nor can we now perceive that it becomes worse or less than it was, by which decretion we might guess at a former increase, and from a tendency to corruption collect its original generation. This conceit, I say, is far more gross. For certainly the argument so managed proves nothing at all, but only this, (if yet it prove so much) that the whole frame of the world, and the parts thereof which are of greater perfection, were not generated in that manner in which we see some other parts of Div. No. XIII.


it are; which no man denies. But that there can be no other way of production beside these petty generations, or that the world was not some other way actually produced, this argument doth not endeavour to infer, nor can any other prove it.

The next foundation upon which they cast off the constant doctrine of their predecessors, was that general assertion, that it is impossible for any thing to be produced out of nothing, or to be reduced unto nothing; from whence it will inevitably follow, that the matter of this world hath always been, and must always be. The clear refutation of which difficulty requires an explication of the manner how the world was made; the second part before propounded for the exposition of this article.

Now that the true nature and manner of this action may be so far understood as to declare the Christian faith, and refute the errors of all opposers, it will be necessary to consider it first with reference to the object or effect; secondly, in relation to the cause or agent; thirdly, with respect unto the time or origination of it.

The action by which the Heaven and Earth were made, considered in reference to the effect, I conceive to be the production of their total being; so that whatsoever entity they had when made, had no real existence before they were so made. And this manner of production we usually term creation, as excluding all concurrence of any material cause, and all dependence of any kind of subject, as presupposing no privation, as including no motion, as signifying a production out of nothing; that is, by which something is made, and not any thing preceding out of which it is made. This is the proper and peculiar sense of the word creation: not that it signifies so much by virtue of its origination or vulgar use in the Latin tongue; nor that the Hebrew word used by Moses, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth," hath of itself any such peculiar acception; for it is often used synonymously with words which signify any kind of production or formation, and by itself it seldom denotes a production out of nothing or proper creation, but most frequently the making of one substance out of another preexisting, as the fishes of the water, and man of the dust

of the earth; the renovating or restoring any thing to its former perfection, for want of Hebrew words in composition, Psal. li. 10; Isa. lxv. 17; or, lastly, the doing some new or wonderful work, the producing some strange and admirable effect, as the opening the mouth of the earth, and the signal judgments on the people of Israel, Numb. xvi. 30; Isa. xlv. 7.

We must not therefore weakly collect the true nature of creation from the force of any word which by some may be thought to express so much; but we must collect it from the testimony of God the Creator in his word, and of the world created, in our reason. The opinion of the church of the Jews will sufficiently appear in that zealous mother to her seventh and youngest son; "I beseech thee, my son, look upon the heaven and the earth, and all that is therein, and consider that God made them of things that were not, 2 Mac. vii. 28; which is a clear description of creation, that is, production out of nothing. But because this is not by all received as canonical, we shall therefore evince it by the undoubted testimony of St. Paul, who expressing the nature of Abraham's faith, propoundeth "him whom he believed as God who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not, as though they were;" for as to be called in the language of the scripture is to be, (" Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God," saith St. John in his epistle, who in his gospel told us, "he had given us power to become the sons of God.") so to call is to make, or cause to be. As where the prophet Jeremy saith, "Thou hast caused all this evil to come upon them," Jer. xxxii. 23, the original may be thought to speak no more than this, "Thou hast called this evil to them." He therefore "calleth those things which be not, as though they were," who maketh those things which were not, to be, and produceth that which hath a being out of that which had not, that is, out of nothing. This reason, generally persuasive unto faith, is more peculiarly applied by the apostle to the belief of the creation; for " through faith," saith he, we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things


which do appear," Heb. xi. 3. Not as if the earth which we see, were made of air, or any more subtil body which we see not; nor as if those things which are seen" were in equal latitude commensurable with the worlds which were framed; but that those " things which are seen," that is, which are, were made of those "which did not appear," that is, which were not.

Vain therefore was that opinion of a real matter coeval with God as necessary for production of the world by way of subject, as the eternal and almighty God by way of efficient; for if some real and material being must be presupposed by indispensable necessity, without which God could not cause any thing to be, then is not he independent in his actions, nor of infinite power and absolute activity, which is contradictory to the divine perfection. Nor can any reason be alleged why he should be dependent in his operation, who is confessed independent in his being.

And as this coeternity of matter opposeth God's independency, the proper notion of the Deity, so doth it also contradict his all-sufficiency; for if, without the production of something beside himself, he cannot make a demonstration of his attributes, or cause any sensibility of his power and will for the illustration of his own glory; and if without something distinct wholly from himself he cannot produce any thing, then must he want something external; and whosoever wanteth any thing is not allsufficient. And certainly he must have a low opinion and poor conception of the infinite and eternal God, who thinks he is no otherwise known to be omnipotent than by the benefit of another. Nor were the framers of the Creed so wise in prefixing the Almighty before Maker of heaven and earth, if, out of a necessity of material concurrence, the making of them left a mark of impotency rather than omnipotency.

The supposition then of an eternal matter is so unnecessary where God works, and so derogatory to the infinity of his power and all-sufficiency of himself, that the later philosophers, something acquainted with the truth which we profess, though rejecting Christianity, have reproved those of the school of Plato, who delivered, as the doc

trine of their master, an eternal companion, so injurious to the Father and Maker of all things.

Wherefore to give an answer to that general position, that out of nothing nothing can be produced, which Aristotle pretends to be the opinion of all natural philosophers, I must first observe, that this universal proposition was first framed out of particular considerations of the works of art and nature; for if we look upon all kinds of artificers, we find they cannot give any specimen of their art without materials. Seeing then the beauty and uniformity of the world shows it to be a piece of art most exquisite, hence they concluded that the Maker of it was the most exact Artificer, and consequently had his matter from all eternity prepared for him. Again; considering the works of nature and all parts of the world subject to generation and corruption, they also observed that nothing is ever generated but out of something pre-existent, nor is there any mutation wrought but in a subject, and with a presupposed capability of alteration. From hence they presently collected, that if the whole world were ever generated, it must have been produced out of some subject, and consequently there must be a matter eternally pre-existing.

Now what can be more irrational, than from the weakness of some creature to infer the same imbecility in the Creator, and to measure the arm of God by the finger of man? Whatsoever speaketh any kind of excellency or perfection in the artificer may be attributed unto God; whatsoever signifieth any infirmity or involveth any imperfection, must be excluded from the notion of him. That wisdom, prescience, and preconception, that order and beauty of operation which is required in an artist, is most eminently contained in him, who hath "ordered all things in measure, and number, and weight;" but if the most absolute idea in the artificer's understanding be not sufficient to produce his design without hands to work, and materials to make use of, it will follow no more that God is necessarily tied unto pre-existing matter, than that he is really compounded of corporeal parts.

Again; it is as incongruous to judge of the production of the world by those parts thereof which we see

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