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when communicated to the son by the laws of generation ? It is acknowledged by the common consent of almost all philosophers, that every form,* to which class the human soul must be considered as belonging, is produced by the power of matter.
It was probably by some such considerations as these that Augustine was led to confess that he could neither discover by study, nor prayer, nor any process of reasoning, how the doctrine of original sin could be defended on the supposition of the creation of souls.f The texts which are usually advanced,
* Milton frequently uses the word forma in its philosophical sense. In his English works he commonly expresses it by the word shape.
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Virtue in her shape how lovely. Paradise Lost, IV. 846. Discipline is not only the removal of disorder; but if any visible shape can be given to divine things, the very visible shape and image of virtue.' The Reason of Church Government, &c. Prose Works, I. 81. •Regenerate in us the lovely shapes of virtues and graces.' Ibid. 86. Truth indeed came once into the world with her divine master, and was a perfect shape most glorious to look on.' Speech for Liberty of Printing. Ibid. 319.
t.We cannot deny but that besides Origen, several others of the an. cient fathers before the fifth council seem either to have espoused the pre-existence of souls, or at least to have had a favour and kindness for it; insomuch that St. Augustine himself is sometimes staggering in this point, and thinks it to be a great secret whether men's souls existed before their generations or no, and somewhere concludes it to be a matter of indifferency, wherein every one may have his liberty of opinion either way without offence.' Cudworth's Intellectual System, chap. v. Hujus igitur damnationis in parvulis causam requiro, quia neque animarum, si novæ fiunt singulis singulæ, video esse ullum in illa ætate peccatum, nec a Deo damnari aliquam credo quam videt nullum habere peccatum.' Augustinus De Origine anima, &c. ad Hieron. Quære ubi, vel unde, vel quando cæperint (animæ) dampationis meritum habere, si novæ sunt, ita sane ut Deum non facias, nec aliquam naturam, quarn non condidit Deus, vel peccati earum vel innocentum damnationis auctorem. Et si inveneris quod te quærere admonui, quod ipse adhuc, fateor, non inveni, defende quantum potes, atque assere animam infantium ejusmodi esse
Eccles. xii. 7. Isai. lvii. 16. Zech. xii. 1. certainly indicate that nobler origin of the soul implied in its being breathed from the mouth of God; but they no more prove that each soul is severally and immediately created by the Deity, than certain other texts, which might be quoted, prove that each individual body is formed in the womb by the immediate hand of God.* Job x. 8–10. •thine hands have made me....hast thou not poured me out as milk ? Psal. xxxii. 15. he fashioneth their hearts alike.' Job xxxi. 15. did not he that made me in the womb make him ?' Isai. xliv. 24. thus saith Jehovah.... he that formed thee from the womb.' Acts xvii. 26. • he hath made of one blood all nations of men.' We are not to infer from these passages, that natural causes do not contribute their ordinary efficacy for the propagation of the body; nor on the other hand that the soul is not received by traduction from the father, because at the time of death it again betakes itself to different elements than the body, in conformity with its own origin.
With regard to the passage, Heb. xii. 9. where • the fathers of the flesh' are opposed to the Father of spirits,' I answer, that it is to be understood in a theological, not in a physical sense, as if the father of the body were opposed to the father of the soul ; for flesh is taken neither in this passage, nor probably any where else, for the body without the soul ; nor • the father of spirits' for the father of the soul, in respect of the work of generation ; but the father of the flesh' here means nothing else than the earthly or natural father, whose offspring are begotten in sin ; “the father of spirits' is either the heavenly father, who in the beginning created all spirits, angels as well as the human race, or the spiritual father, who bestows a second birth on the faithful ; according to John iii. 6. 'that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.' The argument too, will proceed better, if the whole be understood as referring to edification and correction, not to generation ; for the point in question is not, from what source each individual originated, or what part of him thence originated, but who had proved most successful in the employment of chastisement and instruction. By parity of reasoning, the apostle might exhort the converts to bear with his rebuke, on the ground that he was their spiritual father. God indeed is as truly the father of the flesh as of the spirits of flesh,' Numb. xvi. 22. but this is not the sense intended here, and all arguments are weak which are deduced from passages of Scripture originally relating to a different subject,
novitatem, ut nulla propagatione ducuntur; et nobiscum quod inveneris fraterna dilectione communica. Augustinus Ep. 157. (190. Edit. Benedict.) ad Optatum.
** Sunt quædam scripturæ loca, quæ id asserere videntur, ut Job xxxiii. 4. Eccles. xii. 9. Zach. xii. 4. Respondeo, ex eo quod Jobus ait, spiraculum Omnipotentis vitam sibi indidisse, non magis sequi id factum esse immediate a Deo, quam ex eo quod idem dicit, nonne sicut lac mulsisti me, &c. Job. X. 8. colligi legitime potest corpora nostra a parentibus non gigni, sed immediate a Deo ipso formari.' Curcell. Instit. III. 10. 9.
With regard to the soul of Christ, it will be suffi.. eient to answer that its generation was supernatural, and therefore cannot be cited as an argument in the discussion of this controversy. Nevertheless, even he is, called the seed of the woman,' the sced of
David according to the flesh;' that is, undoubtedly, according to his human nature.
There seems therefore no reason, why the soul of man should be made an exception to the general law of creation. For, as has been shown before, God breathed the breath of life into the other living beings, and blended it so intimately with matter, that the propagation and production of the human form were analogous to those of other forms, and the proper effect of that power which had been communicated to matter by the Deity.
Man being formed after the image of God, it followed as a necessary consequence that he should be endued with natural wisdom, holiness, and righteousness. Gen. i. 27, 31. ï. 25. Eccles. vii. 29. Eph. iv. 24. Col. iii. 10. 2 Cor. ii. 18. Certainly without extraordinary wisdom he could not have given names to the whole animal creation with such sudden intelligence, Gen. ii. 20.*
*In this illustration the chief stress is laid upon the suddenness with which Adam was enabled to give appropriate names to the brute creation, as it passed in review before him. Milton has two other allusions to this event, and the same circumstance is marked as the prominent feature of the case in both passages. There is nothing in the scriptural narration to suggest the particular idea, or the coincidence would have been less remarkable.
I nam'd them as they pass'd, and understood
My sudden apprehension. Paradise Lost, VIII. 352. • But Adam, who had the wisdom given him to know all creatures, and to name them according to their properties, no doubt but had the gift to discern perfectly that which concerned him much more, and to apprehend at first sight the true fitness of that consort which God provided him.' Tetrachordon. Prose Works, II. 133.
OF THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD, OR OF HIS GENERAL
GOVERNMENT OF THE UNIVERSE.
The remaining species of God's external efficiency, is his government of the whole creation.
This government is either general or special. His general government is that whereby God the Father regards, preserves, and governs the whole of creation with infinite wisdom and holiness according to the conditions of his decree.
God the Father. Neh. ix. 6. thou, even thou, art Jehovah alone .... thou hast made, and thou preservest them all.' To this truth Christ himself bears witness everywhere. Matt. v. 45. that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven ; for he maketh his sun to rise .... and sendeth rain,' &c. vi. 4. • thy Father which seeth in secret.' v. 8.
your Father knoweth.' v. 13. 'thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory.' v. 26. ' your heavenly Father feedeth them.' v. 32. your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things." vii. 11. ' your Father which is in heaven shall give good things into them that ask him.' x. 29. one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Fa