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undoubted error. . For from the goodness of God, which they did not unfitly conceive necessary, infinite, and eternal', they collected that whatsoever dependeth of 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. If 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.

1 'Aνάγκη διά την του θεού αγαθό dria; whom though Porphyrius would τητα όντος του κόσμου, αεί τε τον θεόν make an apostate, for the credit of αγαθόν είναι, και τον κόσμον υπάρχειν. his heathen gods, yet St Hierome* ώσπερ ηλίω μεν και πυρί συνυφίσταται hath sufficiently assured us that he φώς, σώματι δε σκιά. Sallustius de lived and died in the Christian faith. Diis et Mundo, c. 7. Ει γαρ άμεινον The reason of my conjecture is no μή ποιείν, πως εις το ποιείν μεταβέ more than this: Proclus acknowβηκε; ει δε το ποιείν, τι μη εξ αιδίου ledgeth that Plutarch and others, έπραττεν; Ηierocles de Provid. [p. though with Plato they maintained 248.] Neither doth he mean any less, the goodness of God to be the cause of when in his sense he thus describes the World, yet withal they denied the the first Cause of all things: 'Eor' dy eternity of it: and when he quotes (so I read it, not tor', dv, as the print other expositors for his own opinion, ed copies, or έως άν, as Curterius) ή he produceth none but Porphyrius and το πρώτον αυτών αίτιον αμετάβλητον Iamblichus, the eldest of which was πάντη και ατρεπτον, και την ουσίαν the scholar of Plotinus the disciple of τη ενεργεία την αυτήν κεκτημένον, και Ammonius. And that he was of the την αγαθότητα ουκ επίκτητον έχον, opinion, I collect from him who was αλλ' ουσιωμένην καθ' αυτήν, και δι' his scholar both in philosophyand divi. αυτήν [αιτης in Needham's edition] nity, that is, Origen, whose judgment, τα πάντα προς το είναι παράγον (so if it were not elsewhere apparent, is I read it, not πάντων προς το ευ sufficiently known by the fragment of ciral, as the printed). Hierocl. in Aur. Methodius περί γεννητών, preserved in Carm. [ver. 1. p. 20.] Συνήρτηται Photius. [Bibliotheca, cod. 235. p. άρα τη μεν αγαθοτητα του πατρός ή 302. col. 1.] "Οτι ο Ωριγένης, δν κέντης προνοίας εκτένεια" ταύτη δε ή ταυρον καλεί, έλεγε συναΐδιον είναι το του δημιουργού διαιώνιος ποίησις" ταύτη μόνη σοφή και απροσδεεί θεώ το παν. δε ή του παντός κατά τον άπειρον χρό- Being then Porphyrius and Iambliτον αϊδιότης γιγνομένη ούσα, και ουχί chus cited by Proclus, being Hierocles, έστωσα αΐδιότης. και ο αυτός λόγος Proclus, and Sallustius, were all ταύτην τε αναιρεί, και την αγαθότητα either εκ της Ιεράς γενεάς, as they του πεποιηκότος. Ρroclus in Timeum, called it, that is, descended success1. ii. p. 111. 1. 45. Now although this sively from the School of Ammonius be the constant argumentation of the (the great conciliatorof Plato and Aris. later Platonists, yet they found no totle, and reformer of the ancient phisuch deduction or consequence in losophy), or at least contemporary to their master Plato: and I something them that were so; it is most probable incline to think, though it may seem that they might receive it from his very strange, that they received it mouth, especially considering that from the Christians, I mean out of even Origen a Christian confirmed the the school of Ammonius at Alexan.

* So also Eusebius (Ilist. Eccles. vi. 19). Possibly Eusebius confounded Ammonius Saccas with another Ammonius, a Christian writer, the author of a Diatessaron.

same.

Psil. xciv. 9, 10.

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 pre-conception 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

57 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 ? 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 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, 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. Being then the goodness of God is absolutely perfect of itself, being 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.

Eph. i. 11.

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 which 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 pro prietary 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 the 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 Rev. iv. 11. created all things, and for thy pleasure (that is, by thy will) they are and were created. 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 Gen, i. 3.

injunction; and there was light, that is the creation. Which 58 two are so intimately and immediately the same, that though

in our and other translations those words, let there be, which

i So Clemens Alexandrinus speaks of God: Ψιλώ τω βούλεσθαι δημιουργεί, και το μόνον εθελήσαι αυτόν έπεται το geyevisau. Protrept. c. 4. (p. 55.)

2 Γενηθήτω φως, και το πρόσταγμα {pyor mu. S. Basil. in Hexaem. Homil. ii. 7. [Vol. 1. p. 19 c.] "Orav De φωνήν επί θεου και ρημα και πρόσταγμα

λέγωμεν, -την εν τω θελήματι ροπήν–
ηγούμεθα εν είδει προστάγματος σχη-
ματίζεσθαι. Ιb. ibid. Τίνος-υπουρ-
γίας δέοιτο ο θελήματι μόνον δημιουρ-
γών, ομου τη βουλήσει συνυφισταμένης
tñs kloews; Id. l. ii. adv. Eunom.
8 21. [Vol. 1. p. 257 B.]

3 Ας γενηθήτω φως, και εγένετο

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 admira

tion of Moses in the 'enemies of the religion both of the Jews Psal. cxv. &. and Christians. God is in the heavens, he hath done what

soever he pleased”, saith David; yea, in the making of the heavens; he therefore created them, because he pleased; nay, more, he thereby created them, even by willing their creation.

Now although some may conceive the creature might have been produced from all eternity by the free determination of God's will, and it is so far certainly true, that there is no instant assignable before which God could not have made the World; yet as this is an Article of our faith, we are bound to believe the heavens and earth are not eternal. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God. And by that faith we are assured, that whatsoever possibility of an eternal existence of the creature may be imagined, actually it had a temporal beginning; and therefore all the arguments for this World's eternity are nothing but so many erroneous misconceptions. The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old (saith Wisdom). I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or

ever the earth was: and the same Wisdom of God being made John xvii. 5. man, reflecteth upon the same priority, saying, Now, O Father,

glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had Eph. i. 3, 4. with thee before the World was. Yea, in the same Christ are

we blessed with all spiritual blessings, according as he hath

Ileb. xi. 3.

Prov. viii. 22, 23.

יהי אור ויהי אור ,tautology

pws, Fiat lux, et facta est lux: or as
Aquila, yevtoow, kal éyéveto, as Sym-
machus, έστω, και εγένετο, all with a
difference: whereas in the Hebrew it
is a most expressive and significant

,
1 As Dionysius Longinus, tepi
ύψους, Sect. 9. 8 9. Ταύτη και ο των
Ιουδαίων θεσμοθέτης, ουχ ο τυχών
ανήρ, επειδή την του θείου δύναμιν κατά
την αξίαν εγνώρισε [εχώρησε,] καξέφη-
νεν, ευθύς εν τη εισβολή γράψας των

νόμων, Είπεν ο θεός, φησί τί; γενέσθω φως, και εγένετο γενέσθω γή, και εγέVETO. Where observe, Longinus made use of the translation of Aquila.

2 Πάντα όσα ήθέλησεν εποίησεν εν τω ουρανό και εν τη γή οράς ότι ου προς δημιουργίας των εν τη γη μόνον, , αλλά και προς την κτίσιν των άνω δυνάμεων ήρκεσεν η θέλησις αυτού μόνη. S. Chrysost. I. ii. tepi tou dvotakýto Tov. [S 4. Vol. 1. p. 457 E.]

chosen us in him before the foundation of the World. The impossibility of the origination of a circular motion, which we are sure is either in the heaven or earth, and the impropriety of the beginning of time, are so poor exceptions, that they deserve not the least labour of refutation. The actual eternity of this World is so far from being necessary, that it is of itself most improbable; and without the infallible certainty of faith, there is no single person carries more evidences of his youth, than the World of its novelty'.

It is true indeed, some ancient accounts there are which would persuade us to imagine a strange antiquity of the World, far beyond the annals of Moses, and account of the same Spirit which made it. The 'Egyptian priests pretended an exact chronology for soine myriads of years, and the Chaldeans or 8 Assyrians far outreckon them, in which they delivered not only a catalogue of their kings, but also a table of the eclipses of the sun and moon. .

1 As even Lucretius confesseth, and that out of the principles of Epicarus, 1. ν. 330. "Verum, ut opinor, habet novitatem summa

recensque Naturast mundi, neque pridem exordia cepit.'

. Plato tells us of an account which an Egyptian priest gave to Solon, in which the Athenians were nine thousand years old, and those of Sais eight thousand: [Έρώ...της θεού χάριν, η τήν τε υμετέραν (πόλιν) και την δ' ελαχε, και έθρεψε, και επαίδευσε] προτέραν μεν την παρ' υμίν έτεσι χιλίοις έκ Γης τε και Ηφαίστου το σπέρμα παραλαβούσα υμών, τήνδε δε υστέραν της δε ενθάδε διακοσμήσεως παρ' ημίν εν τοις ιεράς γράμμασιν οκτακισχιλίων ετών αριθμός γέγραπται. In Timeo, [p. 23 D.) Pomponius Mela (Lib. i. c. 9. & 8.) makes a larger account out of Herodotus: 'Ipsi vetustissimi (ut prædicant) hominum trecentos et triginta reges ante Amasim, et supra tredecim millium annorum : ætates certis Annalibus, [referunt];' where, as the Egyptians much stretch the truth, so doth Mela stretch the relation of Herodotus, who makes it not thirteen thousand, but eleven thousand three hundred and forty

years. [Euterpe, c. 142.) Diodorus Siculus [Lib. i. 26.) tells us of twenty-three thousand years from the reign of the first king of Egypt to the expedition of Alexander; and Diogenes Laertius out of other authors more than doubles that account : Αιγύπτιοι μεν γάρ Νείλου γενέσθαι παίδα "Ήφαιστον, δν άρξαι φιλοσοφίας, ής τους προεστώτας ιερέας είναι και προφήτας. από δε τούτου εις 'Aλέξανδρον τον Μακέδονα ετών είναι μυριάδας τέσσαρας, και οκτακισχίλια οκτακόσια έτη εξήκοντα τρία : forty-eight thousand eight hundred and sixtythree. Proæm. [$ 1.] [Cicero autem in libro de Divinatione 1. 9. tradidit Chaldeos CCCCLXX millia annorum monumentis comprehensa se habere dixisse. Quos numeros haud mutandos esse ex aliis auctoribus con. firmavit Davisius. M. J. Routh.]

3 'Ασσύριοι δε, φησιν. Ιάμβλιχος, ουκ επτά και είκοσι μυριάδας ετών μόνας ετήρησαν, ώς φησιν "Ίππαρχος, αλλά και όλας αποκαταστάσεις και περιόδους των επτά κοσμοκρατόρων μνήμη παρέδοσαν. Ρroclus in Timeum. [Lib. 1. p. 31. 1. 23.]

4 'Εν οίς ηλίου μεν εκλείψεις γενέσθαι τριακοσίας εβδομήκοντα τρείς, σε

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