« PreviousContinue »
PROP. naked and open to his view, and even the deepest thoughts of intelligent beings themselves manifest in his sight. Further, all things being not only present to him,but also entirely depending upon him, and having received both their being itself and all their powers and faculties from him; it is manifest that, as he knows all things that are, so he must likewise know all possibilities of things, that is, all effects that can be. For, being himself alone self-existent, and having alone given to all things all the powers and faculties they are indued with; it is evident he must of necessity know perfectly what all and each of those powers and faculties, which are derived wholly from himself, can possibly produce: and seeing, at one boundless view, all the possible compositions and divisions, variations and changes, circumstances and dependences of things; all their possible relations one to another, and their dispositions or fitnesses to certain and respective ends, he must, without possibility of error, know exactly what is best and properest in every one of the infinite possible cases or methods of disposing things; and understand perfectly how to order and direct the respective means, to bring about what he so knows to be, in its kind, or in the whole, the best and fittest in the end. This is what we mean by infinite wisdom. And having before shown, (which indeed is also evident of itself,) that the supreme cause is moreover all-powerful; so that he can no more be prevented by force or opposition, than he can be hindered by error or mistake, from effecting always what is absolutely fittest and wisest to be done: it follows undeniably, that he is actually and effectually, in the highest and most complete sense, infinitely wise; and that the world, and all things therein, must be and are effects of infinite wisdom. This is demonstration à priori. The proof à posteriori, of the infinite wisdom of God, from the consideration of the exquisite perfection and consummate excellency of his works, is no less strong and undeniable. But I shall not enlarge upon this
argument; because it has often already been accurate. PROP. ly and strongly urged, to the everlasting shame and confusion of the atheists, by the ablest and learnedest See Galen writers both of ancient and modern times. I shall de Usu Partium; here observe only this one thing; that the older the Tully de world grows, and the deeper men inquire into things, Natura and the more accurate observations they make, and the more and greater discoveries they find out, the Final stronger this argument continually grows; which is Causes; MrRay, of a certain evidence of its being founded in truth. If the WisGalen, so many ages since, could find, in the construc- God in tion and constitution of the parts of a human body, the Crea such undeniable marks of contrivance and design as Mr Derforced him then to acknowledge and admire the wis- ham's dom of its author; what would he have said, if he PhysicoTheology. had known the late discoveries in anatomy and physic, &c. the circulation of the blood, the exact structure of the heart and brain, the uses of numberless glands and valves for the secretion and motion of the juices in the body, besides several veins and other vessels and receptacles not at all known, or so much as imagined to have any existence in his days; but which now are discovered to serve the wisest and most exquisite ends imaginable! If the arguments against the belief of the being of an all-wise creator and governor of the world, which Epicurus, and his follower Lucretius, drew from the faults which they imagined they could find in the frame and constitution of the earth, were so poor and inconsiderable, that, even in that in fancy of natural philosophy, the generality of men contemned and despised them as of no force; how would they have been ashamed if they had lived in these days, when those very things which they thought to be faults and blunders in the constitution of nature, are discovered to be very useful, and of exceeding benefit to the preservation and well-being of the whole? And to mention no more: If Tully, from the partial and very imperfect knowledge in
*Opinionum commenta delet dies, naturæ judicia confirmat.-Cic.
PROP. astronomy, which his times afforded, could be so confident of the heavenly bodies being disposed and moved by a wise and understanding mind, as to declare that, in his opinion, whoever asserted the contrary, was himself void of all understanding; what would he have said if he had known the modern discoveries in astronomy ?-the immense greatness of the world, (I mean that part of it which falls under our observation,) which is now known to be as much greater than what in his time they imagined it to be, as the world itself, according to their system, was greater than Archimedes's sphere ?-the exquisite regularity of all the planets' motions, without epicycles, stations, retrogradations, or any other deviation or confusion whatsoever?-the inexpressible nicety of the adjustment of the primary velocity and original direction of the annual motion of the planets, with their distance from the central body and their force of gravitation towards it?-the wonderful proportion of the diurnal motion of the earth and other planets about their own centres, for the distinction of light and darkness, without that monstrously disproportionate whirling of the whole heavens which the ancient astronomers were forced to suppose?-the exact accommodating of the densities of the planets† to their distances from the sun, and consequently to the proportion of heat which each of them is to bear respectively; so that neither those which are nearest the sun are destroyed by the heat, nor those which are farthest off, by the cold; but
* Cœlestem ergo admirabilem ordinem incredibilemque constantiam, ex qua conservatio et salus omnium omnis oritur, qui vacare mente putat; is ipse mentis expers habendus est.-De Natura Deorum, lib. 2.
+ Planetarum densitates fere sunt, ut radices diametrorum apparentium applicatæ ad diametros veros, hoc est, reciproce ut distantiæ planetarum a sole, ductæ in radices diametrorum apparentium. Collocavit igitur Deus planetas in diversis distantiis a sole, ut quilibet, pro gradu densitatis, calore solis majore vel minore fruatur.Newton. Princip. lib. 3. prop. 8.
each one enjoys a temperature suited to its proper PROP. uses, as the earth to ours?-the admirable order, number, and usefulness of the several moons, (as I may very properly call them,) never dreamt of by antiquity, but now by the help of telescopes clearly and distinctly seen to move about their respective planets, and whose motions are so exactly known, that their very eclipses are as certainly calculated and foretold as those of our own moon ?-the strange adjustment of our moon's motion about its own centre once in a month, with its motion about the earth in the same period of time, to such a degree of exactness, that by that means the same face is always obverted to the earth without any sensible variation? -the wonderful motions of the comets, which are now known to be as exact, regular, and periodical, as the motions of other planets ?-lastly, the preservation of the several systems, and of the several planets and comets in the same system, from falling upon each other, which, in infinite past time, (had there been no intelligent governor of the whole,) could not but have been the effect of the smallest possible resistance made by the finest æther, and even by the rays of light themselves, to the motions (supposing it possible there ever could have been any motions) of those bodies?—what (I say,) would Tully, that great master of reason, have thought and said, if these and other newly-discovered instances of the inexpressible accuracy and wisdom of the works of God, had been found out and known in his time? Certainly atheism, which then was altogether unable to withstand the arguments drawn from this topic, must now, upon the additional strength of these later observations, (which are every one an unanswerable proof of the incomprehensible wisdom of the Creator,) be utterly ashamed to show its head. We now see, with how great reason the author of the Book of Ecclesiasticus, after he had described the beauty of the sun and stars, and all the then visible works of God in heaven and earth, concluded, chap. xliii, v. 32, (as we, after all the discoveries of later ages, may, no doubt, still
PROP. truly say,) "There are yet hid greater things than XII. these, and we have seen but a few of his works."
thor of all
XII. Lastly; the supreme cause and author of all preme au- things must of necessity be a being of infinite goodthings ness, justice, and truth, and all other moral perfecmust be tions, such as become the supreme governor and good, just, judge of the world. That there are different relaand true. tions of things one towards another, is as certain as
that there are different things in the world. That from these different relations of different things. there necessarily arises an agreement or disagreement of some things to others, or a fitness or unfitness of the application of different things or different relations, one to another, is likewise as certain as that there is any difference in the nature of things, or that different things do exist. Further, that there is a fitness or suitableness of certain circumstances to certain persons, and an unsuitableness of others, founded in the nature of things and in the qualifications of persons, antecedent to will and to all arbitrary or positive appointment whatsoever, must unavoidably be acknowledged by every one who will not affirm that it is equally fit and suitable, in the nature and reason of things, that an innocent being should be extremely and eternally miserable as that it should be free from such misery. There is, therefore, such a thing as fitness and unfitness, eternally, necessarily, and unchangeably in the nature and reason of things. Now, what these relations of things, absolutely and necessarily are in themselves; that also they appear to be, to the understanding of all intelligent beings except those only who understand things to be what they are not, that is, whose understandings are either very imperfect or very much depraved; and by this understanding or knowledge of the natural and necessary relations of things, the actions likewise of all intelligent beings are constantly directed, (which, by the way, is the true ground and foundation of all morality,) unless their will be corrupted by particular interest or affection, or swayed by some unreasonable and prevailing lust.