« PreviousContinue »
selves, when we talk of the World's being differently fix'd with Respect to either of these Sorts of Measures. I think, we know not what we mean, if we say, the World might have been differently placed from what it is, in the broad Expanse of Infinity ; or, that it might have been differently fix'd in the long Line of Eternity : And all Arguments and Objections which are built on the Imaginations we are apt to have of infinite Extension or Duration, are Buildings founded on Shadows, or Castles in the Air.
2. The second Argument, to prove that the most High wills one Thing rather than another, without any superiour Fitness or Preferableness in the Thing prefer'd, is God's actually placing in different Parts of the World, Particles or Atoms of Matter that are perfectly equal and alike. The foremention'd Author says, P. 78. &c. “ If one " would descend to the minute specific Particles, " of which different Bodies are composed, we « should see abundant Reason to believe that there “ are Thousands of such little Particles or Atoms “ of Matter, which are perfectly equal and alike, 6 and could give no distinct Determination to the " Will of God, where to place them.” He there instances in Particles of Water, of which there are such immense Numbers, which compose the Rivers and Oceans of this World ; and the infinite Myriads of the luminous and fiery Particles, which compose the Body of the Sun; so many, that it would be very unreasonable to suppose no two of them should be exactly equal and alike.
Answ. (1.) To this I answer : That as we must suppose Matter to be infinitely divisible, 'tis very unlikely that any two of all these Particles are exactly equal and alike; fo unlikely, that it is a
Thousand to one, yea, an infinite Number to one, but it is otherwise: And that although we should allow a great Similarity between the different Particles of Water and Fire, as to their general Nature and Figure; and however small we suppose those Particles to be, 'tis infinitely unlikely, that any two of them should be exactly equal in Dimensions and Quantity of Matter. — If we should suppose a great many Globes of the same Nature with the Globe of the Earth, it would be very strange, if there were any two of them that had exactly the same Number of Particles of Dust and Water in them. But infinitely less strange, than: that two Particles of Light should have just the same Quantity of Matter. For a Particle of Light (according to the Doctrine of the infinite Divisibility of Matter) is composed of infinitely more assignable Parts, than there are Particles of Dust and Water in the Globe of the Earth. And as it . is infinitely unlikely, that any two of these Particles should be equal; so it is, that they should be alike in other Respects. To instance in the Configuration of their Surfaces. If there were very many Globes, of the Nature of the Earth, it would be very unlikely that any two should have exactly the same Number of Particles of Dust, Water and Stone, in their Surfaces, and all posited exactly alike, one with Respect to another, without any Difference, in any Part discernable either by . the naked Eye or Microscope ; but infinitely less strange, than that two Particles of Light should be perfectly of the fame Figure. For there are infinitely more assignable real Parts on the Surface of a Particle of Light, than there are Particles of Dust, Water and Stone, on the Surface of the terrestrial Globe.
Answ. (2.) But then, supposing that there are two Particles or Atoms of Matter perfectly equal and alike, which God has placed in different Parts of the Creation; as I will not deny it to be pofsible for God to make two Bodies perfectly alike, and put them in different Places ; yet it will not follow, that two different or distinct Acts or Effects of the Divine Power have exactly the same Fitness for the same Ends. For these two different Bodies are not different or distinct, in any other Respects than those wherein they differ : They are two in no other Respects than those wherein there is a Difference. If they are perfectly equal and alike in themselves, then they can be distinguished, or be distinct, only in those Things which are called Circumstances; as Place, Time, Rest, Motion, or some other present or pait Circumstances or Relations. For 'tis Difference only that constitutes Distinction. If God makes two Bodies in themselves every Way equal and alike, and agreeing perfectly in all other Circumstances and Relations, but only their Place ; then in this only is there any Distinction or Duplicity. The Figure is the same, the Measure is the same, the Solidity and Resistance are the same, and every Thing the fame, but only the Place, Therefore what the Will of God determines, is this, namely, that there should be the same Fi. gure, the same Extension, the faine Resistance, &c. in two different Places. And for this Determination he has some Reason. There is some End, for which such a Determination and Act has a peculiar Fitness, above all other Acts. Here is no one Thing determined without an End, and no one Thing without a Fitness for that End, superiour to any Thing else. If it be the Pleasure of God to cause the same Resistance, and the same Figure, to be in two different Places and Situati.
ons, we can no more justly argue from it, that here must be fome Determination or Act of God's Will, that is wholly without Motive or End, then we can argue that whenever, in any Case it is a Man's Will to speak the same Words, or make the same Sounds at two different Times ; there must be some Determination or Act of his Will, without any Motive or End. The Difference of Place, in the former Case, proves no more than the Difference of Time does in the other. If any one should say with Regard to the former Case, that there must be something determined without an End; viz. That of those two similar Bodies, this in particular should be made in this Place, and the other in the other, and should inquire why the Creator did not make them in a Transposition, when both are alike, and each would equally have suited either Place ? The Inquiry supposes something that is not true ; namely, that the two Bodies differ and are distinct in other Respects besides their Place. So that with this Diftinction inberent in them, they might in their first Creation have been transposed, and each might have begun its Existence in the Place of the other.,
Let us for Clearness fake suppose, that God had at the Beginning made two Globes, each of an Inch Diameter, both perfect Spheres, and perfectly solid without Pores, and perfectly alike in every Respect, and placed them near one to another, one towards the right Hand, and the other towards the left, without any Difference as to Time, Motion or Reft, past or present, or any Circumstance, but only their Place; and the Question should be ask'd, Why God in their Creation placed 'em so? Why that which is made on the right Hand, was not made on the left, and vice verfa ? Let it be well considered, whether there
be any Sense in such a Question ; and whether the Inquiry don't suppose something false and absurd. Let it be considered, what the Creator must have done otherwise than he did, what different Act of Will or Power he must have exerted, in order to the Thing proposed. All that could have been done, would have been to have made two Spheres, perfectly alike, in the same Places where he has made them, without any Difference of the Things made, either in themselves, or in any Circumstance ; so that the whole Effect would have been without any Difference, and therefore just the same. By the Supposition, the two Spheres are different in no other Respect but their Place; and therefore in other Respects they are the fame. Each has the same Roundness : it is not a distinct Rotundity, in any other Respect but its Situation. There are also the same Dimensions, differing in nothing but their place. And so of their Refiftance, and every Thing else that belongs to them.
Here if any chuses to say, “ that there is a Difference in another Respect, viz. That they are not NUMERICALLY the fame : That it is thus with all the Qualities that belong to them: That it is confessed they are in fome Respects the same; that is, they are both exactly alike; but yet nume- , rically they differ. Thus the Roundness of one is not the same numerical, individual Roundness with that of the other." Let this be supposed; then the Question about the Determination of the divine Will in the Affair, is, Why did God will, that this individual Roundness should be at the right Hand, and the other individual Roundness at the left ? Why did not he make them in a contrary Position ? Let any rational Person consider, whether such Questions be not Words without a Meaning; as much as if God should see fit for