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subject to generation and corruption; and thence to conclude, that if it ever had a cause of the being which it hath, it must have been generated in the same manner which they are; and if that cannot be, it must never have been made at all; for nothing is more certain than that this manner of generation cannot possibly have been the first production even of those things which are now generated. We see the plants grow from a seed; that is their ordinary way of generation; but the first plant could not be so generated, because all seed in the same course of nature is from the pre-existing plant. We see from spawn the fishes, and from eggs the fowls, receive now the original of their being; but this could not at first be so, because both spawn and egg are as naturally from precedent fish and fowl. Indeed because the seed is separable from the body of the plant, and in that separation may long contain within itself a power of germination; because the spawn and egg are sejungeable from the fish and fowl, and yet still retain the prolific power of generation; therefore some might possibly conceive that these seminal bodies might be originally scattered on the earth, out of which the first of all those creatures should arise. But in viviparous animals, whose offspring is generated within themselves, whose seed by separation from them loseth all its seminal or prolific power, this is not only improbable but inconceivable. And therefore seeing the philosophers themselves confess, that whereas now all animals are generated by the means of seed, and that the animals themselves must be at first before the seed proceeding from them; it followeth that there was some way of production antecedent to and differing from the common way of generation; and, consequently, what we see done in this generation can be no certain rule to understand the first production. Seeing then that universal maxim, that nothing can be made of nothing, is merely calculated for the meridian of natural causes, raised solely out of observation of continuing creatures by successive generation, which could not have been so continued without a being antecedent to all such succession; it is most evident, it can have no place in the pro

duction of that antecedent or first being, which we call creation.

Now when we thus describe the nature of creation, and under the name of heaven and earth comprehend all things contained in them, we must distinguish between things created; for some were made immediately out of nothing by a proper, some only mediately, as out of something formerly made out of nothing, by an improper, kind of creation. By the first were made all immaterial substances, all the orders of angels, and the souls of men, the heavens and the simple or elemental bodies, as the earth, the water, and the air. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth;" so "in the beginning," as without any pre-existing or antecedent matter; this earth, when so "in the beginning" made, was "" without form and void," covered with waters likewise made, not out of it but with it, the same which, "when the waters were gathered together unto one place, appeared as dry land." By the second, all "the hosts of the earth," the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea were made. "Let the earth," said God, "bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind. Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth;" and more expressly yet, "Out of the ground God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air." And well may we grant these plants and animals to have their origination from such principles, when we read, "God formed man out of the dust of the ground;" and said unto him whom he created in his own image, "Dust thou art.'

Having thus declared the notion of creation in respect of those things which were created, the next consideration is of that action in reference to the Agent who created all things. Him therefore we may look upon first as moved; secondly, as free under that motion; thirdly, as determining under that freedom, and so performing that action. In the first we may see his goodness, in the second his will, in the third his power.

I do not here introduce any external impulsive cause, as moving God unto the creation of the world; for I have

presupposed all things distinct from him to have been produced out of nothing by him, and consequently to be posterior not only to the motion, but the actuation, of his will. Seeing then nothing can be antecedent to the creature beside God himself, neither can any thing be a cause of any of his actions but what is in him; we must not look for any thing extrinsecal unto him, but wholly acquiesce in his infinite goodness, as the only moving and impelling cause. "There is none good but one, that is God," saith our Saviour; none originally, essentially, infinitely, independently good, but he. Whatsoever goodness is found in any creature is but by way of emanation from that fountain whose very being is diffusive, whose nature consists in the communication of itself. In the end of the sixth day "God saw every thing that he had made, and behold it was very good;" which shows the end of creating all things thus good was the communication of that by which they were and appeared


The ancient heathens have acknowledged this truth, but with such disadvantage, that from thence they gathered an undoubted error; for from the goodness of God, which they did not unfitly conceive necessary, infinite, and eternal, they collected that whatsoever dependeth on it must be as necessary and eternal, even as light must be as ancient as the sun, and a shadow as an opacous body in that light. It then there be no instant imaginable before which God was not infinitely good, then can there likewise be none conceivable before which the world was not made. And thus they thought the goodness of the Creator must stand or fall with the eternity of the creature.

For the clearing of which ancient mistake, we must observe, that as God is essentially and infinitely good without any mixture of deficiency, so is he in respect of all external actions or emanations absolutely free without the least necessity. Those bodies which do act without understanding or preconception of what they do, as the sun and fire give light and heat, work always to the utmost of their power, nor are they able at any time to suspend their action. To conceive any such necessity in

the divine operations, were to deny all knowledge in God, to reduce him into a condition inferior to some of the works of his own hands, and to fall under the censure contained in the psalmist's question, "He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see? he that teacheth man knowledge, shall he not know?" Psal. xciv. 9. Those creatures which are endued with understanding, and consequently with a will, may not only be necessitated in their actions by a greater power, but also as necessarily be determined by the proposal of an infinite good; whereas neither of these necessities can be acknowledged in God's actions, without supposing a power beside and above omnipotency, or a real happiness beside and above all-sufficiency. Indeed if God were a necessary Agent in the works of creation, the creatures would be of as necessary a being as he is: whereas the necessity of being is the undoubted prerogative of the first Cause. "He worketh all things after the counsel of his own will," saith the apostle and wheresoever counsel is, there is election, or else it is vain; where a will is, there must be freedom, or else it is weak. We cannot imagine that the all-wise God should act or produce any thing but what he determineth to produce; and all his determinations must flow from the immediate principle of his will. If then his determinations be free, as they must be coming from that principle, then must the actions which follow them be also free. Seeing then the goodness of God is absolutely perfect of itself, seeing he is in himself infinitely and eternally happy, and this happiness as little capable of augmentation as of diminution, he cannot be thought to look upon any thing without himself as determining his will to the desire, and necessitating to the production of it. If then we consider God's goodness, he was moved; if his all-sufficiency, he was not necessitated: if we look upon his will, he freely determined; if on his power, by that determination he created the world.

Wherefore that ancient conceit of a necessary emanation of God's goodness in the eternal creation of the world will now easily be refuted, if we make a distinction in the equivocal notion of goodness; for if we take it as

it signifieth a rectitude and excellency of all virtue and holiness, with a negation of all things morally evil, vicious, or unholy, so God is absolutely and necessarily good; but if we take it in another sense, as indeed they did who made this argument, that is, rather for beneficence, or communicativeness of some good to others, then God is not necessarily, but freely, good, that is to say, profitable and beneficial. For he had not been in the least degree evil or unjust, if he had never made the world or any part thereof, if he had never communicated any of his perfections by framing any thing beside himself. Every proprietary therefore being accounted master of his own, and thought freely to bestow whatever he gives, much more must that one eternal and independent being be wholly free in communicating his own perfections without any necessity or obligation. We must then look no farther than the determination of God's will in the creation of the world.

For this is the admirable power of God, that with him to will is to effect, to determine is to perform. So the elders speak before him that sitteth upon the throne; "Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure" (that is, by thy will)" they are and were created," Rev. iv. 11. Where there is no resistance in the object, where no need of preparation, application, or instrumental advantage in the agent, there the actual determination of the will is a sufficient production. Thus God did make the heavens and the earth by willing them to be. This was his first command unto the creatures, and their existence was their first obedience. "Let there be light," this is the injunction; "and there was light," that is the creation: which two are so intimately and immediately the same, that though in our and other translations those words, "Let there be," which express the command of God, differ from the other, "there was," which denote the present existence of the creature; yet in the original there is no difference at all, neither in point nor letter. And yet even in the diversity of the translation the phrase seems so expressive of God's infinite power, and immediate efficacy of his will, that it hath raised some admiration of Moses in the enemies of the religion both of the

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