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That the self-existent being
infinite and omni.
PROP. many learned men, of far better understanding and
judgment, who have rejected and opposed it.
VI. The self-existent Being must of necessity be
infinite and omnipresent. The idea of infinity or immust be mensity, as well as of eternity, is so closely connected
with that of self-existence, that, because it is impospresent. sible but something must be infinite independently
and of itself, ( for else it would be impossible there should be any infinite at all, unless an effect could be perfecter than its cause,) therefore it must of necessity be self-existent: and because something must of necessity be self-existent, therefore it is necessary that it must likewise be infinite. To be self-existent (as has been already shown) is to exist by an absolute necessity in the nature of the thing itself. Now, this necessity being absolute in itself, and not de. pending on any outward cause, it is evident it must be everywhere as well as always, unalterbly the same. For a necessity, which is not everywhere the same, is plainly a consequential necessity only, depending upon some external cause, and not an absolute one in its own nature; for a necessity absolutely such in itself, has no relation to time or place, or any thing else. Whatever therefore exists by an absolute necessity in its own nature, must needs be infinite as well as eternal. To suppose a finite being to be self-existent, is to say that it is a contradiction for that being not to exist, the absence of which may
ent to successions, let them that can, conceive:--Archbiskop Tillotson, vol. 7. serm. 13.
Others say, God sees and knows future things, by the presentiality and co-existenee of all things in eternity ; for they say, that fur ture things are actually present and existing to God, though not in mensura propria, yet in mensura aliena. The schoolmen have much more of this jargon and canting language. I envy no man the understanding these phrases; but to me they seem to signify nothing, but to have been words invented by idle and conceited men, which a great many ever since, lest they should seem to be ignorant, would seem to understand. But I wonder most, that men, when they have amused and puzzled themselves and others with hard words, should call this explaining things:--- Archbishop Tillotson, vol. 6. serm. 6.
yet be conceived without a contradiction; which is PROP. the greatest absurdity in the world. For if a being can, without a contradiction, be absent from one place, it may, without a contradiction, be absent likewise from another place, and from all places: and whatever necessity it may have of existing, must arise from some external cause, and not absolutely from itself; and, consequently, the being cannot be selfexistent.
From hence it follows,
1st. That the infinity of the self-existent being must be an infinity of fulness as well as of immensity ; that is, it must not only be without limits, but also without diversity, defect, or interruption : For instance; could matter be supposed boundless, it would not therefore follow that it was in this complete sense infinite; because, though it had no limits, yet it might have within itself many assignable vacuities. But whatever is self-existent, must of ne. cessity exist absolutely in every place alike, and be equally present everywhere; and consequently must have a true and absolute infinity, both of immensity and fulness.
2dly. From hence it follows, that the self-existent being must be a most simple, unchangeable, incorruptible being; without parts, figure, motion, divisibility, or any other such properties as we find in matter. For all these things do plainly and necessarily imply finiteness in their very notion, and are utterly inconsistent with complete infinity. Divisibility is a separation of parts, real or mental: meaning, by mental separation, not barely a partial apprehending, (for space, for instance, which is absolutely indivisible and inseparable, either really or mentally, may yet be partially apprehended ;*) but a removing, disjoining or separating of parts one from another, even so
* Ordo partium spatii est immutabilis ; moveantur hæ de locis suis, et movebuntur (ut ita dicam) de seipsis. Newton. Princip. Schol. ad definit. 8.
PROP. much as in the imagination. And any such separaVI.
tion or removing of parts, one from another, is really or mentally a setting of bounds; either of which destroys infinity. Motion, for the same reason, implies finiteness; and to have parts, properly speaking, signifies either difference and diversity of existence, which is inconsistent with necessity; or else it signifies divisibility, real or mental as before, which is inconsistent with complete infinity. Corruption, change, or any alteration whatsoever, implies' motion, separation of parts, and finiteness. And any manner of composition, in opposition to the most perfect simplicity, signifies difference and diversity in the manner of existence, which is inconsistent with necessity.
It is evident, therefore, that the self-existent being manner of must be infinite in the strictest and most complete ving the sense. But as to the particular manner of his being immensity infinite or everywhere present, in opposition to the
manner of created things being present in such or such finite places; this is as impossible for our finite understandings to comprehend or explain, as it is for us to form an adequate idea of infinity. Yet that the thing is true, that he is actually omnipresent, we are as certain as we are that there must something be infinite,which noman who has thought upon these things at all ever denied. The schoolmen, indeed, have presumed to assert that the immensity of God is a point, as his eternity (they think) is an instant. But this being altogether unintelligible, that which we can more safely affirm, and which no atheist can say is absurd, and which nevertheless is sufficient to all wise and good purposes, is this: that whereas all finite and created beings can be present but in one definite place at once, and corporeal beings even in that one place very imperfectly and unequally, to any
power or activity, only by the successive motion of different members and organs; the Supreme Cause, on the contrary, being an infinite and most simple essence, and comprehending all things
perfectly in himself, is at all times equally present, PROP. both in his simple essence, and by the immediate and perfect exercise of all his attributes, to every point of the boundless immensity, as if it were really all but one single point.
VII. The self-existent being must of necessity be That the but one. This evidently follows from his being istent benecessarily-existent : for necessity absolute, in it-ing can be self, is simple and uniform and universal, without but one. any possible difference, difformity, or variety whatsoever : and all variety or difference of existence must needs arise from some external cause, and be dependent upon it, and proportionable to the efficiency of that cause, whatsoever it be. Absolute necessity, in which there can be no variation in any kind or degree, cannot be the ground of existence of a number of beings, however similar and agreeing : because, without any other difference, even number is itself a manifest difformity or inequality (if I may so speak) of efficiency or causality.
Again : To suppose two (or more) distinct beings existing of themselves, necessarily, and independent from each other, implies this plain contradiction ; that each of them being independent from the other, they may either of them be supposed to exist alone, so that it will be no contradiction to imagine the other not to exist; and consequently neither of them* will be necessarily-existing. Whatsoever therefore exists necessarily, is the one simple essence of the self-existent being; and whatsoever differs from that, is not necessarily-existing ; because in absolute necessity there can be no difference or diversity of existence. Other beings there may be innumerable, besides the one infinite self-existent: but no other being can be self-existent, because so it would be individually the same, at the same time that it is supposed to be different.
* See this farther explained, in the Answer to the First Letter at the end of this book,
From hence it follows,
1st. That the unity of God is a true and real, not Of the figurative unity. With which prime foundation of Trinity natural religion, how the scripture-doctrine of the
Trinity perfectly agrees I have elsewhere endeavoured to show particularly, in its proper place.
2dly. From hence it follows, that it is impossible possibility there should be two different self-existent independdependent ent principles, as some philosophers have imagined ; principles. such as God and matter. For, since self-existence is
necessary-existence, and since it is an express contradiction, (as has already been shown,) that two different beings should each be necessarily-existing ; it evidently follows, that it is absolutely impossible there should be two independent self-existent principles, such as God and matter.
3dly. From hence we may observe the vanity, of Spinoza. folly, and weakness of Spinoza ; who, because the
self-existent being must necessarily be but one, concludes from thence,* that the whole world, and every thing contained therein, is one uniform substance, eternal, uncreated, and necessary : whereas, just on the contrary, he ought to have concluded, that, because all things in the world are very different one from another, and have all manner of variety, and all the marks of will and arbitrariness and changeableness, (and none of necessity) in them, being plainly fitted with very different powers to very different ends, and distinguished one from another by a diversity, not only of modes, but also of essential attributes, and consequently (so far as it is possible for us, by the use of our present faculties, to attain any knowledge at all of them) of their substances themselves also ; therefore none of these things are necessary or self-existent, but must needs depend all upon some external cause, that is, on the one supreme, unchangeable, self-existent being. That
*Una substantia non potest produci ab alia. Ethic. par. 1. prop. 6. Ad naturam substantiæ pertinet existere. Prop. 7.
Præter Deum nulla dari, neque concipi potest substantia. Prop.14.