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repeats again, pag. 124, 125. of the same Treatise.
This Hypothesis, I say, I cannot fully acquiesce in, because an intelligent Being seems to me requisite to execute the Laws of Motion. For first, Motion being a fluent thing, and one part of its Duration being absolutely indepen. dent upon another, it doth not follow that becauseany thing moves this moment, it must ne-, cessarily continue to do so the next; unless it were actually possess’d of its future motion, which is a contradiction ; but it stands in as
tinue its inotion as it did at first to produce it. Secondly, Let Matter be divided into the subtilst parts, imaginable, and these be inov'd as: swiftly as you will, it is but a senseless and stu-, pid Being still, and makes no nearer approach to Sense, Perception or vital Energy, than it. had before ; and do but only stop the internal Motion of its parts, and reduce them to Rest, the finest and most subtile Body that is may bea. come as gross, and heavy, and stiff as Steel or Stone. And as for any external Laws or esta-, blish'd Rules of Motion, the stupid Matter is not capable of observing or taking any notice of them, but would be as sullen as the Mountain was that Mahomet commanded to come down to him, neither. can those Laws execute themselves. Therefore there must besides Matter and Law, be fome Efficient, and that either a Quality or Power inherent in the Mata ter it felf, which is hard to conceive, or forne
external intelligent Agent, either God himself immediately, or some Plaffick Nature.
Happening lately to read The Christian l'irtuoso, written by the fame Author of the Enquiry into the vulgar Notions of Nature, the illustri- ous Mr. Boyle, I find therein these Words.. "Nor will the force of all that has been faid
for God's special Providence be eluded, by “faying with fome Deifts, That after the first "forination of the Universe all things were
brought to pass by the settled Laws of Nature. "For though this be confidently, and not with"out colour, pretended, yet I confess it doth ?. not satisfie me. --- For I look upon a Law as "a Moral not Physical Cause, as being indeed
but a notional thing, according to which an intelligent and free Agent is bound to regulate
its Actions. But inanimate Bodies, are utterly “uncapable of understanding what it is, or what • it enjoins, or when they act conformably or * unconformably to it. Therefore the Actions • of inanimate Bodies, which cannot incite or • moderate their own Actions, are produced by * real Power, not by Laws.
All this being confonant to what I have here written, against what I took to be this Honourable Person's Hypothefis, I must needs to do hiin right, acknowledge my self mistaken ; perceiving now, that his opinion was, that God Almighty did not only establish Laws and Rules of Local Motion among the Parts of the universal Matter, but did, and does also himself, execute them, or move the Parts of Matter, according
to them. So that we are in the main agreed, differing chiefly about the Agent that executes those Laws, which he holds to be God himself immediately, we a Plaftick Nature ; for the Reasons alledg’d by Dr. Cudworth, in his Syitem, pag. 149. which are, First, Because the former, according to vulgar apprehension, would render the Divine Providence operose, solicitous and distractious : and thereby make the belief of it entertain'd with greater difficulty, and give advantage to Atheists, Secondly, It is not lo decorous in respect of God, that'he fhould auragyiv å riteyte, set his own hand as it were to every work, and immediately do all the meanest and trifling'st things himself drudgingly, with , out making ufe of any inferiour or subordinate Minister. These two Reasons are plausible, but not cogent, the two following are of greater force. Thirdly, the flow and gradual Process that is in the generation of things, which would feem to be a vain and idle Pomp or trifling Formality, if the Agent were omnipotent. Fourthly, Those d uagtinata, as Aristotle calls thein, those Errors and Bungles which are committed when the Matter is inept or contumacious, as in Monsters, Gc. which argue the Agent not to be irresistible; and that Nature is fuch a thing as is not altogether uncapable as well as Human Art, of being sometimes frustrated and disappointed by the indisposition of the Matter : Whereas an Omnipotent Agent wouli always do its Work infallibly and irresistibly, no ineptitude or stubbornness of the Matter being ever 2
ble to hinder such an one, or make him bungle or fumble in any thing. So far the Doctor. For my part, I should make no fcruple to attribute the Formation of Plants, their growth and nutrition to the vegetative Soul in them; and likewise the formation of Animals to the vegetative Power of their Souls ; but that the Segments and Cuttings of some Plants, nay, the very Chips and smallest Fragınents: of their Body, Branches or Roots, will grow and become perfect Plants themselves, and so the vegetative Soul, if that were the Architect, would be divisible, and consequently no spiritual or intelligent Being; which the Plastick Principle must be, as we have shewn. For that must preside over the whole Oeconomy of the Plant, and be one fingle Agent, which takes care of the Bulk and Figure of the whole, and the Situation, Figure, Texture of all the Parts, Root, Stalk, Branches, Leaves, Flowers, Fruit, and all their Vessels and Juices. I therefore incline to Dr. Cudworth's Opinion, that God uses for these Effects the subordinate Ministry of some inferiour Plastick Nature ; as in his Works of Providence he doth of Angels. For the description whereof I refer the
Reader to his System. X: Secondly, in particular I am difficult to be:
lieve, that the Bodies of Animals can be forin'd by Marter divided and mov'd by what Laws you will or can imagine, without the iminediate Prefidency, Direction and Regulation of some intelligent Being. In the generation or first formation of, suppose, the Humane Body..out of
(tho' not an homogeneous Liquor, yet) a fluid Substance, the only material Agent or Mover is. a moderate Heat. Now how this, by producing an intestine Motion in the Particles of the Matter, which can be conceiv'd to differ in nothing else but Figure, Magnitude and Gravity, should by vertue thereof, not only separate the Heterogeneous Parts, but allemble the'Homogeneous into Masses or Systems, and that not each kind into one Mass, but into inz-, ny and disjoin'dones, as it were so many Troops; and that in each Troop the particular Particles should take their places, and cast themselves into such a Figure; as for Example, the Bones being about 300, are form'd of various sizes and shapes, fo situate and connected, as to be subservient to many hundred Intentions and Ufes, and many of them conspire to one and the same Action, and all this contrarily to the Laws of Specifick Gravity, in whatever posture the Body be form’d; for the Bones, whose component parts are the heavier, will be above some parts of the Flesh which are the lighter ; how inuch more then, feeing it is form’d with the Head, (which for its bigness is the heaviest of all the parts) uppermost. This, I say, I cannot by any means conceive. I might instance in all the Homogeneous Parts of the Body, either Sitės and Figures, and ask by what imaginable. Laws of Motion their Bulk, Figure, Situation and Connection can be inade out? What account can be given of the Valves, of the Veins and Arteries of the Heart, and of the Veins
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