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dence nor am under his inspection, I That eminent person desired that I have no relation to such a Being, nor would inform you distinctly what can he exercise any controul over me. kind of proofs he desires. He es. Indeed, neither of these Peings can pressly directed me to send you his have any cognizance of the other, or best respects. He thanks you for the at all influence each other's condition. pains you have taken to gratify him; For, because each is self-sufficient, he and regrets the afflicted state of your cannot therefore acquire any greater health, and if it should ill allow you perfection by any nearness to, or dis- to indulge profound speculations, be tance from the other, or lose any thing requests that you will not expose of his perfection : otherwise he would yourself to the fatigue of studies, burnot be self-sufficient. Therefore, densome in your state of ill health, or though it be highly gratifying to an unfavourable to your recovery. In inquirer after truth to be able clearly the mean time, he ardently wishes for to demonstrate an independent Being you a firm and vigorous health ; and to be only one ; yet if it should hap- that, should that permit, you will pen that it cannot be clearly demon- greatly oblige him by sending your strated, nothing seems to be thence opinion of the second proposition as detracted from the necessity and per- now stated by me, according to his fection of religion, because it is only -views of the subject. You will judge one Being upon whom I depend. for yourself concerning his method, Such was the substance of that emi. and what to answer. I only add, that nent person's discourse, so far as I when I read your letter to him he understood him.
did not require a copy, but acqui; I bave not examined the train of esced in the terms which you had argument in your Essay of Human proposed. Had he made such a re. Understanding, though I doubt not quest I should have politely refused. but you have proved that there is But he had too much kindness thus some Being on whom we depend, and to give me pain. that such a Being is eternal and self
It is quite time to leave off. Faresufficient. The argument to prove well, most worthy friend. this is clear and convincing. But I
Yours affectionately, know not whether you could thus
P. à LIMBORCH. prove that you depend on one Being alone, and could not depend upon
No. 41. more. The argument of that eminent person, indeed, implies that I depend
John Locke to Philip d Limborch. on an eternal Being, but I have not (Lettre de M. Locke à M. Limborch.) yet seen it proved by him that I de
Oates, May 21, 1698. pend on one Being alone; which only Sir, respects the first proposition. For in THOUGH my health will not althe second, it is laid down that be low me easily to indulge my desire to sides that eternal Being on whom I execute the orders of that great man depend, no other Being can be eter- who so favourably accepted my re nal. So that here it seems, probably, Alections, inconsiderable as they were, to be understood, that I depend on it is however certain that I could not one Being alone, yet I have not found sacrifice it on a worthier occasion that distinctly proved, which is, how. than in pursuing the subject to which ever, necessary to be done before we he calls my attention, and thus shewproceed to the evidence of the second ing my inclination to obey him. Yet proposition. It is also to be exa- this engagement will scarcely demand mined whether, indeed, reason per- such a sacrifice, for if I do not hazard mit the supposition of eternal and my reputation in his opinion. I am self-sufficient matter, for if a Being satisfied that my health will not suffer can be self-sufficient and eternal, such by this correspondence. Having to an one must be every way perfect; do with one who reasons so clearls, whence it follows, that matter, which and so fully comprehends the subject
, is an inert substance, destitute of all I shall have no occasion to say much, Jife and motion, cannot possibly be to be understood. His great pene. understood to be eternal and self-suffic tration will enable him at once to cient.
perceive how my arguments are supThe Correspondence between Locke and Limborch, translated. 219 ported; so that, without engaging my
No. 42. self in long deductions, he will easily Philip à Limborch to John Locke. perceive whether they are well or ill- Amsterdam, Cal. Jul. 1698. founded.
MY DEAR FRIEN), I cannot help remarking his exact
YOUR last letter I communicated judgment in the orderly arrangement to that eminent person, who is much of his propositions, and it is true, as obliged by your exertions, in complihe well observes, that in putting the ance with his request, though he does third in the place of the second, di- not fully acquiesce in your mode of reavines, philosophers, and even Descartes soning. His own method is to prove, himself
, assume the Unity of God in the first place, that there must be instead of proving it.
some Being self-existent and self-suf. If, when the question was first pro. ficient; then that such a Being is only posed to me, I bad comprehended, as one; and in the third place, that such I now do, the intention of that learned a Being contains in himself all perfecperson, I should not have offered him tions, and is, therefore, God. But the reply which I sent you, but one you, in your train of argument, premore concise and better suited to the sume, as evident to every man of seorder of nature and reason ; each ar- rious consideration, that there must ticle appearing in its proper place.
be an infinite Being, as to whom, I think that whoever turns his nothing can be added or taken away. thoughts upon himself, must assuredly This appears to him the same as to know, without being able to hesitaté, take for granted that there is an allthat there has been, from all eternity, perfect Being, which is the third proan intelligent Being. · I also believe, position of his Thesis. And thus, by that it is evident to every reflecting anticipating this third part of his Theperson that there is also an infinite sis, you prove the second. Yet the Being. But I say, that as there must second should rather have been first be an infinite Being, so that infinite proved, from whence the third might Being must be eternal, because that ihen have been concluded. For this which is infinite, must have been infi. reason I submitted to your considenite from all eternity, for any additions ration, whether his order might not made in time, could not render any be advantageously changed, and then thing infinite, if it were not, so in bis third would become his second itself, and of itself, from all eternity; proposition. But as the reasoning such being the nature of infinite, that proceeded in the other order, the nothing can be added to, or taken proposition ought not to have been from it. Whence it follows, that in- presumed, but rather proved from the finite cannot be distributed into more first proposition. Or, adopting his that one, and must remain in one method, it ought first, from the acalone.
knowledged existence of an eternal This, in my judgment, is a proof and self-sufficient Being, to be proved à priori, that the eternal, independent that he is one; and then from this Being is only one, and if we add the proof it might be deduced that such idea of all possible perfections, we a Being must be infinite or all-perfect. have then the idea of a God eternal, He has not yet communicated to infinite, omniscient and omnipotent, me his method, and I very much &e.
doubt whether he will. His scruples If this reasoning should accord with are the same as yours. He fears the the opinion of the excellent person severe censures of the divines who set who will examine it, I shall be very a black mark on whatever does not much gratified. And if it should not proceed from their own school, and appear to him satisfactory, I shall allow themselves to traduce it as the esteem it a great favour if he will vilest heresy. I will try, however, communicate to me his mode of argu- whether, in a longer conversation ment, which I will either conceal or which he has promised to afford me, divulge as he may choose. Pray 1 may not discover something, which assure him of my profound respect.
I will endeavour to send you.
Farewell, my most worthy friend.
P. à LIMBORCH.
cessarily accompany it. If the emi. Philip à Limborch to John Locke. nent person could produce such arguAmsterdam, Sept. 12, 1698.
ments, they would be well worthy
of beiug communicated to the learned MY WORTHY FRIEND,
world. SINCE my last conversation with Professor Vander Waeyen published that eminent person I have had no lately a small treatise of Rittangeopportunity of meeting him, as he lius, * and prefixed to it a long and has been lately indisposed with a virulent preface against M. Le Clere, slight fever. I have conversed with in which he endeavoured to refute the one of his friends, who remarked, that explanation of the beginning of the he could not approve the reasoning Gospel of John, which had been pubof that eminent person, when he con- lisbed hy M. Le Clerc. f I wish to tended, that if we grant thought to be see that subject treated with candour self-existent, and quite distinct from and judgment. At last he attacked matter or extension, it will follow
me, though slightly, because in my that neither could have any know. Christian Theology I had said of Burledge of the other. Extension, indeed, man, that much of what he had said (he said,) can have no knowledge of on the Divine omnipotence, in his thought, but it cannot from thenee Synopsis of Theology, had been taken be concluded that thought can have from the Metaphysical Thoughts of no knowledge of extension; because Spinoza. This he does not deny, but since thought is self-existent and in- contends, notwithstavding, that Burdependent, it is also infinite, and
man was not a Spinozist, which inthence must be able to conceive the deed I never asserted. Neither of us existence of extension, by the innate chooses to take any notice of such a force of its own infinite powers. superficial writer.
But when I replied that the emi- A few weeks since I gave N. N. a nent person in question disapproved of the reasoning by which all other attributes are ascribed to a Being self- Professor of oriental languages in the existent and independent, before it University of Konigsberg, where he died, has been proved that he is only one, he 1652. He is said 10 have been educated answered, that such a Being must be
a Catholic, afterwards to have professed affirmed to be infinite, not only in his Judaism, and then to have become a L«•
theran. In his Notes on Ezra he maio. own nature, but to be endowed with tained that the Chaldee Paraphrase furinfinite knowledge, and his substance nished arguments against Jews and Antito be of infinite extension, if, indeed, trinitarians. This remark engaged him he be self-existent. But from thence in a controversy with a Polish Socinian, it appeared to me to follow, that who wrote under the name of Irenopolita. other attributes also might be proved; Sec Nouv. Dict. Hist. 1772, V. 180. for his infinity being once proved, it + At the commencement of this year may thence be also proved that other (1698) Le Clerc had published Hammond attributes belong to him, without
on the New Testament, translated into which his infinity cannot be imagined. Latin, with additional Notes, “ quibus," This he did not deny; and thus he
as he speaks of bimself in the third person, appeared to think with me, that it ab eo dicta confirmabat, aut omissa sup
aut leniter Hammondum confutabat, aut was vain to iuquire after the Unity of plebat.” See C. Clerici Vita et Opere, such a Being by such a mude of rea- 1711, pp. 91, 253.
soning; but that the second proposi- It was, no doubt, these additional notes tion ought to be the third. It has to Hammond, wbich Vander Waeyen aloccurred to me that the eminent per
tacked. Le Clerc appears to have con. son laid down that method of inves- sidered the Word, in the proem of Joko, tigating the truth for himself, and
“ the Divine 'Wisdom, by wbieb all when he could not find arguments sa
things were created,” and which " dwelt tisfactory to himself, sought them from
in Jesus." See his Harmony, translated others. It seems to me difficult to his Le Nouv. Test., 1703, pp. 262–269. prove a Being, existing by the ne. cessity of bis nature to be only one, described by his French biographer
Le Clerc is, probably, not very incorrectly before you deduce from his necessary Sectateur sécret de Socin. existence other attributes which ne. Dict, Hist. II. p. 229.
Mr. Cogan's Strictures on some of the Arguments in “ Apeleutherus." 221 letter of introduction to you, but he I know that the delay in your replies is yet detained at Rotterdam. He is is not to be ascribed to forgetfulness a learned and worthy person. You of me, but to indispensable engageare not one of those who shun their ments. Guennelon gives some hope society who do not exactly accord of your going into France this winter, with you in religious sentiments. and returning to England by way of When he comes, he can tell you more Holland. If such a journey would of our affairs.
serve to confirm your health, I heartily This week Mr. Guennelon brought wish that you may undertake it. Thus me your salutations and your excuse after a long absence I may have an for not having yet answered my last opportunity of seeing you, and enjoyletter. Your letters are always most ing your society, and probably of acceptable to me, and the more fre- bidding you a last farewell. Adieu. quent, the more agreeable. Yet I
Yours affectionately, cappot allow myself to exact them
P. à LIMBORCH. from you so importunately as to interrupt your more important concerns.
Mr. Cogan's Strictures on some of the goodness; and this glorious truth we
Arguments in “ Apeleutherus," with pronounce to be pot more the doctrine regard to the Natural Evidences of of revelation than the dictate of sound e Future Stute.
philosophy. But let us hear the voice
of an enlightened Heathen. Cicero attention having been lately begins bis work on the Nature of the
directed to the subject of na- Gods with this memorable declaration tural religion, I send you a few re- that the question respecting the naflections upon it, to make such use of ture of the gods is very difficult and as you shall please.
very obscure. And whoever reads the By natural religion, as distinguished Treatise through, may see reason to from revealed, might seem to be congratulate himself ihat he did not meant that system of faith and worship Jive in an age when such a disputation which has prevailed in the world could be held on such a subject. I where revelation has been unknown. pass over the providential government But this appellation is rather given to of God, to the doctrine of a future certain principles which, while they life; and on this important doctrine 1 have been admitted by some, have been shall quote a few observations from rejected by others, and which have a work recently published, and enbeen very indistinctly apprehended by titled “ Apeleutherus," premising that the majority of mankind. But what though I differ from the Author most ever may be the principles of natural materially, this difference does not religion, and however clear may be diminish my respect for his talents, their evidence, I ask, what has this or my admiration of his sincerity. religion effected? Has it ever saved But I shall first make a remark on a mankind from the grossest idolatry and position of our Author's, respecting the most debasing superstition ? 'Has the evidence of what he terms superit at any period led the great mass of natural revelation. the human race to the worship or the “ The history of a miracle cannot, knowledge of one all-wise, all-power- without absurdity, be admitted as ful, all-benevolent Creator ?
evidence of the truth of any doctrine, The fundamental principle of reli- since it cannot communicate that cergion is the being of a God; and it is tainty which it does not itself possess." generally admitted, that there is no What it does not possess it undoubt- . truth in the whole circle of moral edly cannot communicate. But supinquiry, which rests upon such satis- pose it to possess some degree of factors and conclusive evidence. We probability, which ivdeed the Author also, as Christians, believe that this virtually admits, there will certainly God is infinite in wisdom, power and be no absurdity in taking its evidence VOL. XIV.
as far as it will go; but there would to our present existence, and the be a great absurdity in rejecting this manifest absurdity of supposing the evidence altogether, because it does wise and benevolent Creator to have not amount to certainty; unless, in produced so noble a work as man, deed, the doctrine for which it pleads for the mere purpose of destroying “ is already supported by more than him; and I rely principally on this, sufficient evidence of an indisputable because, from its simplicity and force, kind.” “ In all cases in which human it appears eminently calculated to nature can feel an interest, would it affect, and is, in fact, that consideranot be much more easy to learn the tion which has always affected, the truth, independently of the miracle, mass of mankind, and produced that than to arrive at absolute certainly universal expectation of a future life concerning the miracle, in order to which we find to prevail in the prove the doctrine? I say absolute world;" * and which he tells us else. certainty, because nothing short of where, has prevailed among the ge. this can be of any use in the case we nerality of the human race,
" with are cousidering." Do the principles scarcely the intervention of a doubt." of natural religion, then, rest upon What has been thus confidently reabsolute certainty!" If not, they can ceived by the generality of the human be of no use whatever, and we shall race, I am not able to say; but there be in danger, for want of certainty, of are many passages in the ancient having no religion, at all. But why authors which satisfactorily demonis this absolute certainty required? strate that the wisest philosophers of Human belief and human conduct in Greece and Rome could not advance general are governed by probability, beyond this alternative, that death and by probability alone. The con- would either prove the extinction of viction, however, which is produced by historical testimony, and that with respect to facts of great antiquity, is * But our Author proceeds, " Not scarcely to be distinguished from the indeed that this argument necessarily preconfidence of certain knowledge. And sents itself to the unassisted understanding though"human testimony,"according of every individual of mankind; or even to our Author, “ however credible, that a majority of the buman race has in may or may not be true," when upon any age possessed powers and information sufficient inquiry we have satisfied
to reason correctly in this way; but that in ourselves that it is true, we feel per. Creator and Governor of the universe to
every age it has pleased the sovereign suaded that in this particular case it raise op men of superior discernment cannot be false. “ But if any man and penetration, who, after having ex. could persuade me that my eternal plored the paths of science for themselves, salvation were depending upon its have delighted in communicating their truth, he would, at the same moment, discoveries to others.” This does not apo fill my mind with doubt and anxiety." pear very consistent with what we read in Let me feel the same conviction of the p. 128, that “the religion of reason and reality of any fact, as I do of the nature is intelligible to every human being, reality of many facts even of ancient fix them attentively upon its luminous and
who is willing to open his eyes, and to date, and my mind would be filled instructive lessons." But if, as we are with no doubt or anxiety, whatever informed, there is a manifest'absurdity in were depending upon its truth. supposing the wise and benevolent Creator
But to proceed to the subject of a to have produced so noble a work as man future life; “ what I principally rely for the mere purpose of destroying him, on," says our Author, " is the obvious I cannot help inquiring how it came to suitableuess and propriety of a sequel pass that superior discernment and pene
tration should be necessary for discovering
this absurdity? Did the difficulty lie in * That they do not, our Author himself ascertaining the premises, or in drawing acknowledges, when he says, with respect the conclusion? As for the multitude who to a future life, p. 234, that “ certainty is were too dull to discern this absurdity entirely out of the question.” This con- themselves, there is reason to suspect that cession, indeed, I did not expect, after they took the matter upon trust, and never having read in p. 219, that it is impossible distinctly apprehended the force of the that human life should terminate in the argument by which they were so much silence and darkness of the grave.