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no agent can act externally, unless there be some patient, such as matter, it appears impossible that God could have created this world out of nothing ; not from any defect of power on his part, but because it was necessary that something should have previously existed capable of receiving passively the exertion of the divine efficacy. Since, therefore, both Scripture and reason concur in pronouncing that all these things were made, not out of nothing, but out of matter, it necessarily follows, that matter must either have always existed independently of God, or have originated from God at some particular point of time. That matter should have been always independent of God, (seeing that it is only a passive principle, dependent on the Deity, and subservient to him ; and seeing, moreover, that, as in number, considered abstractly, so also in time or eternity there is no inherent force or efficacy) that matter, I say, should have existed of itself from all eternity, is inconceivable. If on the contrary it did not exist from all eternity, it is difficult to understand from whence it derives its origin, There remains, therefore, but one solution of the difficulty, for which moreover we have the authority of Scripture, namely, that all things are of God. *
God.* Rom. xi. 36.- for of * I am by no means confident that I have succeeded in conveying the meaning intended to bave been expressed by Milton in the preceding sentences. In the original the passage is evidently corrupt, and it is not very easy to propose satisfactory emendations. I have ventured to translate it on the supposition that it was originally written and pointed thus :-Ut extra Deum semper fuerit materia (quamvis principium tantummodo passivum sit, a Deo pendeat, eique subserviat ; quamvis ut numeri, ita et ævi, vel sempiterni, nulla vis, nulla apud se effcacia sit) tamen ut ab æterno, inquam, per se materia extiterit intelligi non potest ; nec si ab æterno non fuit, unde tandem fuerit intellectu est facilius ; restat igitur hoc solum, præunte præsertim scriptura, fuisse omnia ex Deo.
him, and through him, and to him are all things.' 1 Cor. viii. 6. there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things :' where the same Greek preposition is used in both cases. Heb ii. 11. for both he that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified, are all of one."
In the first place, there are, as is well known to all, four kinds of causes,-efficient, material, formal, and final.
Inasmuch then as God is the primary, and absolute, and sole cause of all things, there can be no doubt but that he comprehends and embraces within himself all the causes above-mentioned. Therefore the material cause must be either God, or nothing. Now nothing is no cause at all ; and yet it is contended that forms, and above all, that human forms, were created out of nothing. But matter and form, considered as internal causes, constitute the thing itself; so that either all things must have had two causes only, and those external, or God will not have been the perfect and absolute cause of every thing. Secondly, it is an argument of supreme power and goodness, that such diversified, multiform, and inexhaustible virtue should exist and be substantially inherent in God (for that virtue cannot be accidental which admits of degrees, and of augmentation or remission, according to his pleasure) and that this diversified and substantial virtue should not remain dor
* · Quot autem modis alicujus vi res est, tot esse species causæ statuendum est: Modis autem quatuor alicujus vi res est; ut recte Aristot. Phys. II. 7. et nos supra diximus ; vel enim a quo, vel ex quo, vel per quod, vel propter quod res una quæque est, ejus vi esse recte dicitur. His modis nec plures inveniuntur, nec pauciores esse possunt; recte igitur causa distribuitur in causam a qua, ex qua, per quam, et propter quam, id est, efficientem, et materiam, aut formam, et finem.' Artis Logicae plenior Institutio. Prose Works, VI. 205.
mant within the Deity, but should be diffused and propagated and extended as far and in such manner as he himself may will. For the original matter of which we speak, is not to be looked upon as an evil or trivial thing, but as intrinsically good, and the chief productive stock* of every subsequent good. It was a substance, and derivable from no other source than from the fountain of every substance, though at first confused and formless, being afterwards adorned and digested into order by the hand of God.t
Those who are dissatisfied because, according to this view, substance was imperfect, must also be dissatisfied with God for having originally produced it out of nothing in an imperfect state, and without form. For what difference does it make, whether God produced it in this imperfect state out of nothing, or out of himself ? By this reasoning, they only tranfer that imperfection to the divine efficiency, which they are unwilling to admit can properly be attributed to substance, considered as an efflux of the Deity. For why did not God create all things out of nothing in an absolutely perfect state at first ? It is not true, however, that matter was in its own nature originally imperfect; it merely received embellishment from the accession of forms which are themselves material.* And if it be asked how what is corruptible can proceed from incorruption, it may be asked in return how the virtue and efficacy of God can proceed out of nothing. Matter, like the form and nature of the angels itself, proceeded incorruptible from God; and even since the fall it remains incorruptible as far as concerns its essence.
* • Producendi seminarium.' The same word is used in the Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce. “Seeing then there is a two-fold seminary or stock in nature, from whence are derived the issues of love and hatred, &c. Prose Works, I. 370. | Won from the void and formless infinite.
Paradise Lost, III. 12.
I saw when at his word the formless mass,
Flew upward, spirited with various forms. Ibid. 708. Compare also the more detailed account in Book VII. 192—275.
But the same, or even a greater difficulty still remains—how that which is in its nature peccable can have proceeded (if I may so speak) from God? I ask in reply, how anything peccable can have originated from the virtue and efficacy which proceeded from God ? Strictly speaking indeed it is neither matter nor form that sins; and yet having proceeded from God, and become in the
of another is there to prevent them, inasmuch as they have now become mutable, from contracting taint and contamination through the enticements of the devil, or those which originate in man himself? It is objected, however, that body cannot emanate from spirit. I reply, much less then can body emanate from nothing. For spirit being the more excellent substance, virtually and essentially contains within itself the inferior one;
... one first matter all, Endued with various forms, various degrees Of substance, and in things that live, of life.
Paradise Lost, V. 472.
as the spiritual and rational faculty contains the corporeal, that is, the sentient and vegetative faculty.* For not even divine virtue and efficiency could produce bodies out of nothing, according to the commonly received opinion, unless there had been some bodily power in the substance of God; since no one can give to another what he does not himself possess. Nor did St. Paul hesitate to attribute to God something corporeal; Col. ij. 9. in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Neither is it more incredible that a bodily power should issue from a spiritual substance, than that what is spiritual should arise from body; which nevertheless we believe will be the case with our own bodies at the resurrection. Nor, lastly, can it be understood in what sense God can properly be called infinite, if he be capable of receiving any accession whatever; which would be the case if any thing could exist in the nature of things, which had not first been of God and in God.
Since therefore it has (as I conceive) been satisfactorily proved, under the guidance of Scripture, that God did not produce everything out of nothing, but of himself, I proceed to consider the necessary consequence of this doctrine, namely, that if all things are not only from God, but of God, no created thing can
Know that in the soul
lesser faculties, that serve
And food alike those pure
And corporeal to incorporeal turn. Ibid. 407.