Page images
PDF
EPUB

Although therefore that God is, be of itself an immediate, certain neceffa- * Hæc propo

sitio, Deus est, ry truth, yet must it be * evidenced and made apparent unto us by its con

quantum in se nexion unto other truths ; so that the Being of the

Creator may appear unto us eft,per se nota by his Creatures, and the dependency of inferior Entities may lead us to a clear eft, quia præacknowledgement of the fupreme and independent Being. The Wisdom of dem cum fubthe Jews thought this method proper, a for by the greatness and beauty of jecto, Deus ethe creatures, proportionably the maker of them is seen: and not only they, effe

. Sed quia but S. Paul hath taught us, that b the invisible things of God, from the nos non sciCreation of the World, are clearly seen, being understood by the things mus de Deo that are made, even his eternal Power and Godhead. For if | Phidias

nobis could so contrive a piece of his own work, as in it to preserve the memory se nota, fed of himself, never to be obliterated without the destruction of the work, indiget dewell may we read the great Artificer of the World in the Works of his own ea quæ funt hands, and by the existence of any thing demonstrate the first Cause of all things. magis nota

quoad nos, & minùs nota quoad naturam, scilicet per effectus. Aquin. I. p.q. 2. art. 2. a Wisd. of Sol. 13.15. b Rom. 1.20. 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 S. Paul answers thus : Sciendum eft verba à creatione mundi debere conjungi cum verbo Invisibilia --- Ait igitur eo in loco Apoftolus, æternam divinitatem Dei, i. id quod nos Deus perpetuo facere vult, (Divinitas enim hoc sensu alibi quoque apud ipfum enunciatur, ut Col. 2.9.) aternamque potentiam, i. promiffiones quæ numquam intercident, (quo sensu paulo fuperiùs dixerat Evangelium esse potentiam Dei) hæc, inquam, quæ nunquam poftquam mundus creatus eft ab hominibus vila fuerant, i. non fuerant eis cognita, per opera, hoc est per mirabiles ipsius Dei & divinorum hominum, præfertim v. Christi & Apoftolorum ejus, operationes, conspecta fuisse. in which explication there is nothing which is not forced and distorted: for though his for fi observation seem plausible, get there is no validity in it. He bringeth only for proof, Mat. 13:35. xexqupepelice dise xa7cbonñs xóous, which proves not at all that d've xliciwg has the same sense : and it is more probable that it hath not, because that is usually expressed by és úgxñs x?icews, Mar. 10.6. and 13, 19. 2 Pet. 3. 4. never by dre xVicews. Besides, the tergure selfíce in s. Matthew bears not that Analogy with bócale which Socinus pretends, signifying not things unseen or unknown till then, but only obscure sayings or parables; for which purpose those words were produced out of the Psalms by the Evan prove that the Messias was to speak in Parables, in the Original - 72p nitn LXX.5096ampecei ce do' dexãs, i. wise, 'ancient Sayings, which were not unseen and unknown, for it immediately followeth, which we have heard and known, and our Fathers have told us, Pfal. 78.3. And though he would make out this Interpretation, by accusing other interpreters of unfaithfulness, Plerique interpretes ex præpofitione à, ex fecerunt, contra ipsorum Græcorum Codicum fidem, qui non éx xhirews fed an xicsws habent: get there is no ground for such a calumny, because and may be, and is often, rendred è or ex as well as éx, as Matt. 3.4. Ad rerxão xapéndi è pilis camelinis, 7.4. do řipoancă 78, ex oculo tuo, 16. doo diraveño, ex fpinis; and even in the sense which Socinus contends for Mat. 17.18.dzo e cogns creions, V. T. ex illâ horâ, as Tully, ex eo die, and Virgil, Ex illo Corydon, Corydon est tempore nobis, and, Tempore jam ex illo casus mihi cognitus urbis Trojanæ. So, the Greek die picos the Latins render ex parte, der ic8, ex æquo: of which examples are innumerable. There is no unfaithfulness then imputable to the Interpreters: nor can such pitiful Criticisms give any advantage to the first part of Socinus's Exposition. Howsoever the Catholick Interpretation depends not on those words arà xlícews, but on the consideration of the persons, that is the Gentiles, and the other words, noin uasi yoépluce, which he farther perverts, rendring them the miraculous Operations of Christ and his Apostles, or, as one of our learned men, their doings, mistaking toimude, which is from the passive getoimucus, for moingos, from the active Toinou for woimpece is properly the thing made or created, not the operation or doing of it; as ulioos is sometimes taken for the Creature, sometimes for the Creation, but rious is the Creature only. As therefore we read, 1 Tim.4.4. wãoxious Oi8 xanov. so Eph. 2. 10. aútgyóe eo refer toimua. In this sense spake Thales properly, Ngocúralov var Ords, cégfóunlov gs. sárrisov xórua, moimpece go O:8, Laert. The other interpretations which he was forced to, are yet more extravagant : as when he renders the eternal Godhead, that which God would always have us do, or his everlasting will, and proves that rendition by' another place of s. Paul, Col. 2.9. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, that is, says he, all the will of God (whereas it is most certain, that where the Godhead is, especially where the fulness, even all the fulness of the Godhead is, there must be all the Attributes as well as the Wil of God :) and when he interprets the eternal Power to be the promises which shall never fail ; and thinks he has sufficiently prov'd it, because the same Apostle calls the Gospel the power of God. For by this way of Interpretation no fentence of Scripture can have any certain sense. In the shield of Pallas. Arist. de mundo.

We find by the experience of our selves, that some things in this World have a beginning, before which they were not; the account of the years of our Age lufficiently 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 no. thing can be a beginning to itself. Whatsoever is, muit of necessity either have been made, or not made; and something 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 it felf; otherwise it would follow, that the fame 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 contradi

etion.

D 2

1. 2. 6.2. and

όλως

αίτιον έδεν

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ad Grecos.

ction. If then all things which are made were made by some other, that other which produced them either was it self produced, or was not: and if not, then have we already an independent Being; if it were, we must at last

come to fomething which was never made, or else admit either a circle of * 'Aande peleis productions, in which the effect shall make its own cause, or an * infinite one o ist aber fuccession in causalities, by which nothing will be made: both which are χή τις, και εκ & Tung te ci- equally impossible. Something then we must confess was never made, fomeTheme Tan, thing which never had beginning. And although these effects or dependent Chevrs van Beings fingly confidered by themselves, do not infer one fupreme Cause and rido, dónov , Maker of them all

, yet the admirable order and † connexion of things shew Arift. Metaph.

as much; and this one fupreme Cause is God. For all things which we fee again, frie or know have their Existence for fome end, which no man who considereth und'év isi to the uses and utilities of every Species can deny. Now whatsoever is and πρώτον, ,

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 t noder dödor as it moves the efficient Caufe to work : from whence we cannot but collect ós ; 'Ex a prime efficient Cause of all things, indued with infinite Wisdom, who 077wr ousázs- having a full comprehension of the ends of all, designed, produced, and moras . Infin

. difpofed all things to those ends. Queeft. Cresp. Again, as all things have their existence, so have they also their operations

for fome # end; and whatsoever worketh fo, must needs be directed to it. Η 'Εν όσοις τέda si isi, Although then those creatures which are indued with reafon can thereTóre iverse by apprehend the goodness of the end for which they work, and make

og prego nie ma chaice of fuch means as are proportionable and proper for the obtaining of tosžās öngy it, and so by their own counsel direct themselves unto it : yet can we not is wat oorle9, conceive that other natural Agents, whose operations flow from a bare Inme to wipomítinct, can be directed in their actions by any counsel of their own. The eiv pes to furo- stone doth not deliberate whether it shall descend, nor doth the wheat διζη, έτω take counsel whether it shall grow or no.

Even men in natural actions எமுச) Exesov. 617e9, use no act of deliberation : we do not advise how our heart shall beat, 3 lived to be though without that pulse we cannot live; when we have provided nutri

ment for our stomach, we take no counsel how it shall be digested there, Arift. Phys. 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 Thall 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 there

fore by a greater Wisdom, than what proceeds from any thing of human unmi cis af, ove derstanding. What then can be more clear, than that those natural Agents xa ti pinsat

, which work constantly for those ends which they themselves cannot personuv Price_ceive, must be directed by fome high and over-ruling Wisdom? and who cü piļuovzzi can be their director in all their operations tending to those ends, but he Toote ni Teren, which gave them their beings for those ends ? and who is that, but the great

s cilvbe in the Artificer who works in all of them? For Art is so far the imitation of Nature, Eu 2w i rauta- that if it were not in the Artificer, but * in the thing it self which by Art is 2v in euro:- framed, the works of Art and Nature would be the fåme. Were that which soif. Arift. ib. frames a Watch within it, and all those curious wheels wrought without the Η Καθόλα όπες

hand of man, it would seem to grow into that form; nor would there be iu vai xuốeçvá- any distinction between the making of that Watch, and the growing of a 7.35, ir čique x70 Plánt. Now what the Artificer is to works of Art, who orders and disposes pa ö rogus

them to other ends than by nature they were made, that is the Maker of ***@gmód all things to all natural Agents, directing all their operations to ends which segonidos they cannot apprehend; and thus appears the Maker to be the Ruler of the il suecíve psio World, † the Steerer of this great Ship, the Law of this universal CommonOros iv nóruw. wealth, the General of all the hosts of Heaven and Earth. By these ways, as

by

πέφυκεν άρα

[ocr errors]

1. 2. 6.8.

"Ατοπον το

[ocr errors]

Arift Mund.

.2

quo sumus. Tertul.

[ocr errors]

Deos credat.

by the * testimony of the Creature, we come to find an eternal and inde- * Habet Dopendent Being, upon which all things else depend, and by which all things monutritioelse are governed; and this we have before supposed to be the first notion tum hoc quod of God.

sumus, & in Neither is this any private collection or particular ratiocination, but the publick and universal reason of the world. f No Age fo distant, no Country t'Agzaio lo remote, no People fo barbarous, but gives a sufficient testimony of this "5,162@ truth. When the Roman Eagle flew over most parts of the habitable world, xãow avbgasthey met with Atheism no-where, but rather by their miscellany Deities at Tos, wis in Rome, which grew together with their victories, they shewed no Nation was

Ta, se algois without its God. And since the later Art of Navigation improved hath dif- suiv cwisucovered another part of the world, with which no former commerce hath mudrijf. de been known, although the Customs of the people be much different, and their manner of Religion hold small correspondency with any in these parts of the world professed, yet in this all agree, that some religious observances they retain, and a Divinity they acknowledge. Or if any Nation be discovered which maketh no profession of piety, and exerciseth no religious observances, it followeth not from thence that they acknowledge no God : for they may only deny his Providence, as the Epicureans did ; or if

any go farther, their numbers are so few, that they must be inconsiderable in respect of mankind. And therefore so much of the Creed hath been the

general Confession of * all Nations, I believe in God. Which were it not a most * Nulla gens certain truth grounded upon principles obvious unto all, what reason could ufquam eit abe given of fo universal a consent; or how can it be imagined, that all men ges inorésque should † conspire to deceive themselves and their posterity ?

projecta, ut Nor is the reason only general, and the consent unto it universal, but God non aliquos hath still preserved and quickened the worship due unto his Name, by the Sen. patefaction of himself

. Things which are to come are so beyond our know- 1 Nec in hunc Iedge, that the wisest man can but conjecture : and being we are assured of nes mortales the contingency of future things, and our ignorance of the concurrence of confenfiffent several free causes to the production of an effect, we may be sure that certain alloquendi and infallible predictions are clear divine patefactions. For none but he & inefficaces who made all things, and gave them power to work, none but be who ru- Deos. Sen. leth all things, and ordereth and directeth all their operations to their ends, none but he upon whose will the actions of all things depend, can possibly be imagined to foresee the effects depending merely on those causes. And therefore by what means we may be assured of a Prophecy, by the fame we may be secured of a Divinity. Except then all the Annals of the world were forgerics, and all remarks of History designed to put a cheat upon posterity, we can have no pretence to suspect God's existence, having fo ample testimonies of his influence.

The works of nature appear by observation uniform, and there is a certian sphere of every body's power and activity. If then any action be performed, which is not within the compass of the power of any natural agent, any thing be wrought by the intervention of a body which beareth no proportion to it, or hath no natural aptitude fo to work; it must be ascribed to a cause transcending all natural caules, and disposing all their operations. Thus every Miracle proves its author, and every act of Omnipotency is a fufficient demonstration of a Deity. And that man must be possessed with a strange opinion of the weakness of our Fathers, and the testimony of all former Ages, who Thall deny that ever any Miracle was wrought. We have heard with psal

. 44. I. our ears, O God, our Fathers have told us what works thou didst in their days, in the times of old. Blesed be the Lord God, who only doth wondrous works. Nor are we only informed by the necessary dependency of all things on

God,

if

72.18.

[ocr errors]

Rom. 2. 15.

nion may

God, as effects upon their universal cause, or his external patefections unto others, and the consentient acknowledgment of mankind; but every particular person hath a particular Remembrancer in himself, as a fufficient testimony of his Creator, Lord, and Judge. We know there is a great force of Conscience in all men, by which their thoughts are ever accusing, or excusing them; they feel a comfort in those vertuous actions which they find themselves to have wrought according to their Rule, a sting and secret remorse for all vicious acts and impious machinations. Nay those who strive most to deny a God, and to obliterate all sense of Divinity out of their own Souls, have not been least sensible of this Remembrancer in their Breasts. 'Tis true indeed, that a false opinion of God, and a fuperstitious persuasion which hath nothing of the true God in it, may breed a remorse of Conscience in those who think it true; and therefore some may hence collect that the force of Conscience is only grounded upon an opinion of a Deity, and that opi

be false. But if it be a truth, as the testimonies of the wisest Writers of most different persuasions, and experience of all sorts of persons of most various inclinations, do agree, that the remorse of Conscience can never be obliterated, then it rather proveth than supposeth an opinion of a Divinity; and that man which most peremptorily denieth God's existence is the greatest argument himself that there is a God. Let Caligula profess himself an Atheist, and with that profession hide his head, or run under his bed, when the thunder strikes his ears, and lightning flashes in his eyes; those terrible works of nature put him in mind of the power

, and his own guilt of the justice of God; whom while in his wilful opinion he weakly denieth, in his involuntary action he strongly asserteth. So that a Deity will either be granted or extorted, and where it is not acknowledged it will be mani

fested. Only unhappy is that man who denies him to himself, and proves * Hæc eft him to others; who will not * acknowledge his existence; of whose power fumma delicti, nolle ag

we cannot be ignorant, a God is not far from every one of us. The proper nofcere quem

discourse of S. Paul to the Philosophers of Athens was, that they might feel ignorare non after him and find him. Some Children have been fo ungracious as to re

fuse to give the honour due unto their Parent, but never any so irrational S. Cypr. de

as to deny they had a Father. As for those who have dishonoured God, · Att. 17. 27. it may stand most with their interest, and therefore thcy may wish there

were none; but cannot consist with their reason to assert there is none, b Aft. 17. 28. when even the very Poets of the Heathen have taught us b that we are his

Off-Spring

It is necessary thus to believe there is a God, First, because there can be no Divine Faith without this belief. For all Faith is therefore only Divine, because it relieth upon the authority of God giving testimony to the object of it ; but that which hath no being can have no authority, can give no testimony. The ground of his authority is his Veracity, the foundations of his Veracity are his Omniscience and Sanctity, both which fuppofe his Essence and Existence, because what is not is neither knowing nor holy

Secondly, it is necessary to believe a Deity, that thereby we may acknowledge such a nature extant as is worthy of, and may justly challenge from us, the highest worship and adoration. For it were vain to be religious and to exercile devotion, except there were a Being to which all such holy applications were most justly due. Adoration implies submission and dejection, so that while we worlhip we cast down our felves : there must be therefore some great eminence in the object worshipped, or else we lhould dishonour our own nature in the worship of it. But when a Being is presented of that intrinfecal and necessary perfection, that it depends on nothing, and all things else depend on that, and are wholly governed and disposed by it, this worthily

calls

pollis.

Idol. V'an.

calls us to our knees, and shews the humblest of our devotions to be but just and loyal retributions.

This necessary truth hath been so universally received, that we shall always find all nations of the World more prone unto Idolatry than to Atheism, and readier to multiply than deny the Deity. But our Faith teacheth us equally to deny them both, and each of them are renounced in these words, I believe in God. First, in God affirmatively, I believe he is, against Atheism. Secondly, in God exclusively, not in Gods, against Polytheilm and Idolatry. Altho' therefore the Existence and Vnity of God be two distinct truths, yet are they of fo necessary dependence and intimate coherence, that both may * Solum Debe expressed by * one word, and included in onet Article.

um confirmas

quem tantùm Deum nominas, Tertul. de Testim. Anime, c. 2. When Leo, Bishop of Rome, in an Epistle to Flavianus had written these words, Fidelium universitas profitetur credere se in Deum Patrem omnipotentem, & in Jesum Chriftum Filium ejus: one of the Eutychians objected with this question, Cur non dixerit in unum Deum Patrem, & in unum Jefum, juxta Nicæni Decretum Concilii ? To which Vigilius, Bishop of Trent, or rather of Tapsus, gives this answer, Sed Roma & antequam Nicæna Synodus conveniret, à temporibus Apoftolorum usque ad nunc, ità fidelibus Symbolum traditur, nec præjudicant verba úbi sensus incolumnis permanet: magis enim cum D. J. Christi sententia hæc fidei profelio facit dicentis, creditis in eum & in me credite : nec dixit in unum Deum Patrem, & in unum meipsum. Quis enim nefciat unum effe Deum, & unum J. Chriftum Filium ejus ? Vigil. 1. 4. contra Eutych. Rab. Chaldai in Or. Adonai. R. Jofeph. Allo in hikarim.

And that the Unity of the Godhead is concluded in this Article is apparent, not only because the Nicene Council fo expressed it by way of exposition, but also because this Creed in the * Churches of the East, before the Council of *Orientales Nice, had thar addition in it, I believe in one God. We begin our Creed then nes ista traas Plato did his chief and prime Epistles, who gave this distinction to his dunt, Credo in friends, that the Name of God was prefixed before those that were more fe- uno Deo Patre rious and remarkable, but of Gods, in the plural, to such as were more vul- Ruff. in Symb. gar and trivial. a Vnto thee it was Shewed, faith Mofes to Ifrael, that thou Bene hæc mightest know that the Lord he is God, there is none else beside him. And as the Law, fo the Gospel teacheth us the same, b We know that an Idol is Hæreticos

pertinere, nothing in the World, and there is none other God but one.

quia falsaveof the Godhead will easily appear as necessary as the existence, so that it runt Symbomust be as impossible there Thould be more Gods than one, as that there lum, dum alshould be none : which will clearly be demonstrated, first, out of the nature duos Deos, of God, to which multiplication is repugnant; and, secondly, from the Go- cum Deus uvernment as he is Lord, in which we must not admit Confusion.

nus sit. Optat. & Scimus, & legimus, & credimus, & tenemus, unum effe Deum, qui fecit cælum pariter ac terram, quoniam nec alterum novimus nec nôle, cum nullus sit, aliquando poterimus. Novatianus de Trinit. c. 30. And before all these Irenæus, citing under the title of Scripture, a passage out of the Book of Hermas called Pastor. Bene ergo Scriptura dicit, primo omnium crede quoniam unus eft Deus, qui omnia constituit & consummavit, & fecit ex eo quod non erat, ut effent omnia, omniuin capax, & qui à nemine capiatur, 1.4.6.37. Eufeb. in prap. Evang. the passage is yet extant in the Epistles of Plato. a Deut. 4. 35. b i Cor. 8.4.

omnia pote

runt ad solos

This Unity

1. 1. Nos enim

For first, the nature of God conksts in this, that he is the prime and original cause of all things, as an independent Being upon which all things else depend, and likewise the ultimate end or final cause of all; but in this sense two prime causes are inimaginable, and for all things to depend of one, and to be more independent beings than one, is a clear contradiction. This primity God requires to be attributed to himself; Hearken unto me, O Jacob, 1/a. 48. 12. and Israel my called, I am he, I am the first

, I also am the last

. And from this primity he challengeth his Unity; Thus faith the Lord, the King of 44. 6. Ifrael

, and his redeemer the Lord of Hofts, I am the first, and I am the last, and beside me there is no God.

Again, if there were more Gods than one, then were not all perfections in one, neither formally, by reason of their distinction, nor eminently and virtually, for then one should have power to produce the other, and that nature which is producible is not divine. But all acknowledge God to be absolutely and infinitely perfect, in whom all perfections imaginable which

are

« PreviousContinue »