<37>

Dr. Clarke's Second Reply.

1. WHen I said that the Mathematical Principles of Philosophy are opposite to those of the Materialists; the Meaning was, that whereas Materialists suppose the Frame of Nature to be such, as could have arisen from mere Mechanical Principles of Matter and Motion, of Necessity and Fate; the Mathematical Principles of Philosophy show on the contrary, that the State of Things [the Constitution of the Sun and Planets] is such as could not arise from any thing but an Intelligent and Free Cause. As to the Propriety of the Name; so far as Metaphysical Consequences follow demonstratively from Mathematical Principles, so far the Mathematical Principles may (if it be thought fit) be called Metaphysical Principles.

'Tis very true, that nothing is, without a sufficient Reason why it is, and why it is thus rather than otherwise. And therefore, where there is no Cause, there can be no Effect. But this sufficient Reason is oft- <39> times no other, than the mere Will of God. For instance; Why This particular System of Matter, should be created in one particular Place, and That in another particular Place; when, (all Place being absolutely indifferent to all Matter,) it would have been exactly the same thing vice versa, supposing the two Systems [or the Particles] of Matter to be alike; there can be no other Reason, but the mere Will of God. Which if it [1] could in No Case act without a predetermining Cause, any more than a Balance can move without a preponderating Weight; this would tend to take away all Power of Chusing, and to introduce Fatality.

2. Many Ancient Greeks, who had their Philosophy from the Phœnicians, and whose Philosophy was corrupted by Epicurus, held indeed in general Matter and Vacuum; but they knew not how to apply those Principles by Mathematicks, to the Explication of the Phænomena of Nature. How Small soever the Quantity of Matter be, God has not at all the less Subject to exercise his Wisdom and Power upon: For, Other Things, as well as Matter, are equally Subjects, on which God exercises his Power and Wisdom. By the <41> same Argument it might just as well have been proved, that Men, or any other particular Species of Beings, must be infinite in Number, lest God should want Subjects, on which to exercise his Power and Wisdom.

3. The Word Sensory does not properly signify the Organ, but the Place of Sensation. The Eye, the Ear, &c. are Organs, but not Sensoria. Besides, Sir Isaac Newton [2] does not say, that Space is the Sensory; but that it is, by way of Similitude only, as it were the Sensory, &c.

4. It was never supposed, that the Presence of the Soul was sufficient, but only that it is necessary in order to Perception. Without being present to the Images of the Things perceived, it could not possibly perceive them: But being present is not sufficient, without it be also a Living Substance. Any inanimate Substance, tho' present, perceives nothing: And a Living Substance can only there perceive, where it is present either to the Things themselves, (as the Omnipresent God is to the whole Universe;) or to the Images of Things, (as the Soul of Man is in its proper Sensory.) Nothing can any more Act, or be Acted <43> upon, where it is not present; than it can Be, where it is not. The Soul's being Indivisible, does not prove it to be present only in a mere Point. Space, finite or infinite, is absolutely indivisible, even so much as in Thought; (To imagine its Parts moved from each other, is to imagine them [3] moved out of themselves;) and yet Space is not a mere Point.

5. God perceives Things, not indeed by his simple Presence to them, nor yet by his Operation upon them, but by his being a Living and Intelligent, as well as an Omnipresent Substance. The Soul likewise, (within its narrow Sphere,) not by its simple Presence, but by its being a Living Substance, perceives the Images to which it is present; and which, without being present to them, it could not perceive.

6 & 7. 'Tis very true, that the Excellency of God's Workmanship does not consist in its showing the Power only, but in its showing the Wisdom also of its Author. <45> But then this Wisdom of God appears, not in making Nature (as an Artificer makes a Clock) capable of going on Without him: (For that's impossible; there being no Powers of Nature independent upon God, as the Powers of Weights and Springs are independent upon Men:) But the Wisdom of God consists, in framing Originally the perfect and complete Idea of a Work, which begun and continues, according to that Original perfect Idea, by the Continual Uninterrupted Exercise of his Power and Government.

8. The Word Correction, or Amendment, is to be understood, not with regard to God, but to Us only. The present Frame of the Solar System (for instance,) according to the present Laws of Motion, will in time [4] fall into Confusion; and perhaps, after That, will be amended or put into a new Form. But this Amendment is only relative, with regard to Our Conceptions. In reality, and with regard to God; the present Frame, and the consequent Disorder, and the following Renovation, are all equally parts of the Design framed in God's Original <47> perfect Idea. 'Tis in the Frame of the World, as in the Frame of Man's Body: The Wisdom of God does not consist, in making the present Frame of Either of them Eternal, but to last so long as he thought fit.

9. The Wisdom and [5] Foresight of God, do not consist in providing originally Remedies, which shall of themselves cure the Disorders of Nature. For in Truth and Strictness, with regard to God, there are no Disorders, and consequently no Remedies, and indeed no Powers of Nature at all, that [6] can do any Thing of themselves, (as Weights and Springs Work of themselves with regard to Men:) But the Wisdom and Foresight of God, consist (as has been said) in contriving at once, what his Power and Government is Continually putting in actual Execution.

10. God is neither a Mundane Intelligence, nor a [7] Supra-Mundane Intelligence; but an Omnipresent Intelligence, both In and Without the World. He is In all, and Through all, as well as Above all.

<49>

11. If God's conserving all Things, means his actual Operation and Government, in preserving and continuing the Beings, Powers, Orders, Dispositions and Motions of all Things; this is all that is contended for. But if his conserving Things, means no more than a King's creating such Subjects, as shall be able to act well enough without his intermeddling or Ordering any thing amongst them ever after; This is making him indeed a real Creator, but a Governour only Nominal.

12. The Argument in this Paragraph supposes, that whatsoever God does, is Supernatural or Miraculous; and consequently it tends to exclude All Operation of God in the Governing and Ordering of the Natural World. But the Truth is; Natural and Supernatural are nothing at all different with regard to God, but distinctions merely in Our Conceptions of things. To cause the Sun [or Earth] to move regularly, is a thing we call Natural: To stop its Motion for a Day, we call Supernatural: But the One is the Effect of no greater Power, than the Other; nor is the One, with respect to God, more or less Natural or Supernatural than the other. God's <51> being present In or To the World, does not make him to be the [8] Soul of the World. A Soul, is part of a Compound, whereof Body is the Other part; and they mutually Affect each other, as parts of the same whole. But God is present to the World, not as a Part, but as a Governor; Acting upon all Things, himself acted upon by <53> nothing. He is not far from every one of Us, for in him We (and all Things) live and move and have our Beings.

[1] See Appendix, No. 4.

[2] See the Note in my First Reply, §. 3.

[3] Ut partium Temporis Ordo est immutabilis, sic etiam Ordo partium Spatij. Moveantur hæ de locis suis, & movebuntur (ut ita dicam) de Seipsis. Newton. Principia, Schol. ad Defin. 8.

[4] See the Note on Mr. Leibnitz's First Paper. § 4.

[5] See my Sermons preach'd at Mr. Boyles Lecture. Part 1. Page 106. Fourth Edition.

[6] See Appendix, No. 2.

[7] See Appendix, No 1.

[8] Hic [Deus] omnia regit, non ut Anima Mundi, sed ut universorum Dominus. — Deus est vox relativa, & ad Servos refertur; & Deitas est Dominatio Dei, non in corpus propium, sed in Servos. — In ipso continentur & moventur universa, sed absque mutuâ passione. Deus nihil patitur ex corporum Motibus; illa nullam sentiunt resistentiam ex Omnipræsentiâ Dei. — Corpore omni & figurâ corporeâ prorsus destituitur; ideoque videri non potest, nec audiri, nec tangi, nec sub specie rei alicujus corporei coli debet. Ideas habemus Attributorum ejus; sed quid sit rei alicujus Substantia, minimè cognoscimus. — Intimas [corporum] Substantias nullo Sensu, nulla actione reflexâ cognoscimus, & multò minus Ideam habemus Substantiæ Dei. Hunc cognoscimus solummodò per Proprietates suas & Attributa, & per sapientissimas & optimas rerum structuras, & causas finales; veneramur autem & colimus ob dominium. Deus enim sine Dominio, Providentia, & Causis Finalibus, nihil aliud est quàm Fatum & Natura. i. e. God Governs all Things, not as a Soul of the World, but as the Lord of the Universe. — God, is a relative Word, carrying in it the notion of Relation to Servants. And the Godhead of God, is His Dominion: A Dominion, not like that of a Soul over its own Body, but that of a Lord over his Servants. — In Him all Things subsist and move, but without a mutual affecting of each other, [such as is between Soul and Body.] God is no way affected by the Motions of Bodies; and the Motion of Bodies meets with no Obstruction from the Omnipresence of God. — He is altogether without Body or Bodily Shape; and therefore can neither be Seen, nor Heard, <53> nor Felt; nor ought to be worshipped under the similitude of any Corporeal Thing. We have Ideas of his Attributes; but what the Substance of any Thing is, we know not at all. — The very Substances themselves, even of Bodies, we cannot come at the knowledge of, either by any of our Senses, or by any reflex Act of the Mind: much less have we any Idea of the Substance of God. Him we know, only by his Properties and Attributes, and by his most Wise and Excellent Disposition of Things, and by Final Causes: And we adore and worship him, upon account of his Dominion. For a God without Dominion, without Providence and Final Causes, is nothing but Fate and Nature. Newtoni Principia, Scholium generale sub finem.

© 2019 The Newton Project

Professor Rob Iliffe
Director, AHRC Newton Papers Project

Scott Mandelbrote,
Fellow & Perne librarian, Peterhouse, Cambridge

Faculty of History, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2RL - newtonproject@history.ox.ac.uk

Privacy Statement

  • University of Oxford
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council
  • JISC