« PreviousContinue »
PROP. jects of the senses, that has any manner of similitude VIII. to any of these qualities; but they are plainly thoughts
or modifications of the mind itself, which is an intel. ligent being; and are not properly caused, but only occasioned, by the impressions of figure and motion. Nor will it at all help an atheist, (as to the present question) though we should here make for him, (that we may allow him the greatest possible advantage) even that most absurd supposition, that the mind itself is nothing but mere matter and not at all an immaterial substance. For, even supposing it to be mere matter, yet he must needs confess it to be such matter as is indued not only with figure and motion, but also with the quality of intelligence and perception; and consequently, as to the present question, it will still come to the same thing, that colours, sounds, and the like, which are not qualities of unintelligent bodies, but perceptions of mind, can no more be caused by, or arise from mere unintelligent figure and motion, than colour can be a triangle, or sound a square, or something be caused by nothing. Secondly, as to the other part of the objection; that figure, divisibility, mobility, and other qualities of matter, are (as we ourselves acknowledge) given it from God, who yet cannot, without extreme blasphemy, be said to have any such qualities himself; and that therefore, in like manner, perception or intelligence may arise out of that which has no intelligence itself; the answer is still easier : That figure, divisibility, mobility, and other such like qualities of matter, are not real, proper, distinct, and positive powers, but only negative qualities, deficiencies, or imperfections. And though no cause can communicate to its effect any real perfection which it has not itself, yet the effect may easily have many imperfections,deficiencies,or negative qualities,which are not in the cause. Though, therefore, figure, divisibility, mobility, and the like, (which are mere negations, as all limitations and all defects of powers are,) may be in the effect, and not in the cause; yet
intelligence, (which I now suppose, and shall prove PROP immediately, to be a distinct quality, and which no man can say is a mere negation,) cannot possibly be
Having therefore thus demonstrated, that if perception or intelligence be supposed to be a distinct quality or perfection, (though even but of matter only, if the atheist pleases,) and not a mere effect or composition of unintelligent figure and motion ; then beings indued with perception or consciousness can never have arisen purely out of that which had no such quality as perception or consciousness ; because nothing can ever give to another any perfection which it has not itself. It will easily appear, secondly, that perception or intelligence is really such a distinct quality or perfection, and not possibly a mere effect or composition of unintelligent figure and motion; and that for this plain reason, because intelligence is not figure, and consciousness is not motion : For whatever can arise from, or be compounded of any things, is still only those very things of which it was compounded. And if infinite compositions or divisions be made eternally, the things will still be but eternally the same; and all their possible effects can never be any thing but repetitions of the same. For instance, all possible changes, compositions, or divisions of figure, are still nothing but figure ; and all possible compositions or effects of motion can eternally be nothing but mere motion. If, therefore, there ever was a time when there was nothing in the universe but matter and motion, there never could have been any thing else therein but matter and motion. And it would have been as impossible there should ever have existed any such thing as intelligence or consciousness, or even any such thing as light, or heat, or sound, or colour, or any of those we call secondary qualities of matter, as it is now impossible for motion to be blue or red, or for a triangle to be transformed into a sound. That which has been apt to deceive men in this matter is this; that they imagine com:
PROP. pounds to be somewhat really different from that VIII. of which they are compounded : which is a very
great mistake. For all the things of which men so judge, either, if they be really different, are not compounds nor effects of what men judge them to be, but are something totally distinct; as, when the vulgar think colours and sounds to be properties inherent in bodies, when indeed they are purely thoughts of the mind : or else, if they be really compounds and effects, then they are not different, but exactly the same that ever they were ; as, when two triangles put together make a square, that square is still nothing but two triangles; or when a square cut in halves makes two triangles, those two triangles are still only the two halves of a square ; or when the mixture of a blue and yellow powder makes a green, that green is still nothing but blue and yellow intermixed, as is plainly visible by the help of microscopes. And in short, every thing, by composition, division, or motion, is nothing else but
the very same it was before, taken either in whole well, with or in parts, or in different place or order. He theredefences of fore that will affirm intelligence to be the effect of
a system of unintelligent matter in motion, must either affirm intelligence to be a mere name or external denomination of certain figures and motions, and that it differs from unintelligent figures and motions, no otherwise than as a circle or triangle differs from a square ; which is evidently absurd : or else he must suppose it to be a real distinct quality, arising from certain motions of a system of matter not in itself intelligent; and then this no less evidently absurd consequence would follow, that one quality inherred in another; for, in that case, not the substance itself, the particles of which the system consists, but the mere mode, the particular mode of motion and figure, would be intelligent. Mr. Hobbes seems to have been aware of this: and therefore, though he is very sparing, and as it were ashamed to speak out, yet finding himself pressed, in his own mind, with thedifficulty arising from the impossibility
letter to Mr. Dod.
of sense or consciousness being merely the effect of PROP. figure and motion, and it not serving his purpose at all, (were the thing never so possible,) to suppose that God, by an immediate and voluntary act of his almighty power indues certain systems of matter with consciousness and thought, (of which opinion I shall have occasion to speak something more hereafter,) he is forced* to have recourse to that prodigiously absurd supposition that all matter, as matter, is indued not only with figure and a capacity of motion, but also with an actual sense of perception ; and wants only the organs and memory of animals to express its sensation.
3dly. That the self-existent and original cause of From the all things is an intelligent being, appears abundant- beauty, orly from the excellent variety, order, beauty, and won-finalcauses derful contrivance and fitness of all things in the of things. world to their proper and respective ends. This ar- Boyle, of gument has been so learnedly and fully handled Final both by ancient and modern writers, that I do but Causes ; &
MrRay, of just mention it, without enlarging at all upon it. I the Wisshall only at this time make this one observation ; God in That, whereas Des Cartes and others have endea- the Creavoured to give a possible account, (possible, did I tion; and say? nay, indeed, a most impossible and ridiculous lam’s account,) how the world might be formed by the Physico
Theology. necessary laws of motion alone; they have, by so
* Scio fuisse philosophos quosdam, eosdemque viros doctos, qui corpora omnia sensu prædita esse sustinuerunt; nec video, si natura sensionis in reactione sola collocaretur, quomodo refutari possint. Sed etsi ex reactione etiam corporum aliorum, phantasma aliquod nasceretur, illud tamen, remoto objecto, statim cessaret. Nam, nisi ad retinendum motum impressum, etiam remoto objecto, apta habeant organa, ut habent animalia ; ita tantum sentient, ut nunquam sensisse se recordentur Sensioni ergo, quæ vulgo ita appellatur necessario adhæret memoria aliqua, &c. - Hobbes Physic. cap. 25. sect. 5. See also Nos. 2 and 11 of the Appendix to a Collection of papers which passed between Mr. Leibnitz and Dr. Clarke.
+ See Mr Boyle, of Final causes ; and Mr Ray, of the Wisdom of God in the creation ; and Mr Derham's Physico-Theology.
PROP. seemingly vast an undertaking, really meant no
more than to explain philosophically how the inanimate part, that is, infinitely the least considerable part of the world, might possibly have been framed. For as to plants and animals, in which the wisdom of the Creator principally appears, they have never, in any tolerable manner, or with any the least appearance of success, pretended to give an account how they were originally formed. In these things, matter and the laws of motion are able to do nothing at all. And how ridiculous the Epicurean hypothesis is, of the earth producing them all at first by chance, (besides that, I think, it is now given up even by all atheists ;) appears from the late discovery made in philosophy, that there is no such thing as equivocal generation of any the meanest animal or plant; the sun, and earth and water, and all the powers of nature in conjunction, being able to do nothing at all towards the producing any thing indued with so much as even a vegetable life. (From which most excellent discovery we may, by the way, observe the usefulness of natural and experimental philosophy, sometimes even in matters of religion.) Since therefore things are thus, it must unavoidably be granted (even by the most obstinate atheist,) either that all plants and animals are ori. ginally the work of an intelligent being, and created by him in time; or that, having been from eternity in the same order and method they are now in, they are an eternal effect of an eternal intelligent cause, continually exerting his infinite power and wisdom; or else, that, without any self-existent original at all, they have been derived one from another in an eternal succession, by an infinite progress of dependent causes. The first of these three ways is the conclu. sion we assert : the second, (so far as the cause of atheism is concerned,) comes to the very same thing: and the third I have already shown, (in my proof of the second general head of this discourse,) to be absolutely impossible, and a contradiction.