<121>

Dr. Clarke's Fourth Reply.

1, and 2. THIS Notion leads to universal Necessity and Fate, by supposing that Motives have the same relation to the Will of an Intelligent Agent, as [1] Weights have to [2] a Balance; so that of two things absolutely indifferent, an Intelligent Agent can [3] no more choose Either, than a Balance can move it self when the Weights on both sides are Equal. But the Difference lies here. A Balance is no Agent, but is merely Passive and acted upon by the Weights; so that, when the Weights are equal, there is nothing to move it. But Intelligent Beings are Agents; not passive, in being moved by Motives, as a Balance is by Weights; but they have Active Powers and do move Themselves, sometimes upon the View of strong Motives, sometimes upon weak ones, and sometimes where things are absolutely indifferent. In which latter case, there may be very good reason to act, though two or more Ways of acting may be absolutely indifferent. This learned Writer always supposes the contrary, as a Principle; but gives no Proof of it, either <123> from the Nature of Things, or the Perfections of God.

3, and 4. This Argument, if it was True, would prove that God neither has created, nor [4] can possibly create any Matter at all. For the perfectly solid parts of all Matter, if you take them of equal Figure and Dimensions (which is always possible in Supposition,) are exactly alike; and therefore it would be perfectly indifferent if they were transposed in Place; and consequently it was impossible (according to this Learned Author's Argument,) for God to place them in those Places wherein he did actually place them at the Creation, because he might as easily have transposed their Situation. 'Tis very true, that no two Leaves, and perhaps no two drops of Water are exactly alike; because they are Bodies very much compounded. But the case is very different in the parts of simple solid Matter. And even in Compounds, there is no impossibility for God to make two drops of Water exactly alike. And if he should make them exactly alike, yet they would never the more become one and the same drop of Water, because they were alike. Nor would the Place of the One, be the Place of the Other; though it was absolutely indifferent, which was placed in which place. <125> The same Reasoning holds likewise concerning the original determination of Motion, this way or the contrary way.

5. and 6. Two things, by being exactly alike, do not cease to be Two. The parts of Time, are as exactly like to each other, as those of Space: Yet two Points of Time, are not the same Point of Time, nor are they two Names of only the same Point of Time. Had God created the World but This Moment, it would not have been created at the Time it was created. And if God has made (or can make) Matter Finite in Dimensions, the material Universe must consequently be in its Nature Moveable; For nothing that is finite, is immoveable. To say therefore that God could not have altered the Time or Place of the existence of Matter, is making Matter to be necessarily Infinite and Eternal, and reducing all things to Necessity and Fate.

7. Extra-mundane Space, (if the material World be Finite in its Dimensions,) is not imaginary, but real. Nor are void Spaces in the World, merely imaginary. In an <127> [5] exhausted Receiver, though Rays of Light, and perhaps some Other Matter, be There in an exceeding small Quantity; yet the want of Resistence plainly shows, that the greatest part of That Space is void of Matter. For Subtleness or Fineness of Matter, cannot be the cause of want of Resistence. Quicksilver is as subtle, and consists of as fine parts and as fluid, as Water; and yet makes more than ten times the resistence: Which resistence arises therefore from the Quantity, and not from the Grossness of the Matter.

8. Space void of Body, is the Property of an incorporeal Substance. Space is not Bounded by Bodies, but exists equally within and without Bodies. Space is not inclosed between Bodies; but Bodies, existing in unbounded Space, are, themselves only, terminated by their own Dimensions.

9. Void Space, is not an Attribute without a Subject; because, by void Space, we never mean Space void of every thing, but void of Body only. In All void Space, God is certainly present, and possibly many other Substances which are not Matter; <129> being neither Tangible, nor Objects of Any of Our Senses.

10. Space is not a Substance, but a Property; And if it be a Property of That which is necessary, it will consequently (as all other Properties of That which is necessary must do,) exist more necessarily, (though it be not itself a Substance,) than those Substances Themselves which are not necessary. Space is immense, and immutable, and eternal; and so also is Duration. Yet it does not at all from hence follow, that any thing is eternal hors de Dieu. For Space and Duration are not hors de Dieu, but [6] are caused by, and are immediate and neces <131> sary Consequences of His Existence. And without them, his Eternity and Ubiquity [or Omnipresence] would be taken away.

11, and 12. Infinites are composed of Finites, in no other sense, than as Finites are composed of infinitesimals. In what sense Space has or has not Parts, has been explained before, Reply 3d, § 3. Parts, in the corporeal Sense of the Word, are separable, compounded, ununited, independent on, and moveable from each other: But infinite Space, though it may by Us be partially apprehended, that is, may in our Imagination be conceived as composed of Parts; yet Those Parts (improperly so called) being essentially indiscerpible and immoveable from each other, and not partable without an express Contradiction in Terms, [See above, Reply II, § 4. and Reply III, § 3;] Space consequently is in itself essentially One, and absolutely indivisible.

<133>

13. If the World be Finite in Dimensions, it is moveable by the Power of God; and therefore my Argument drawn from that moveableness, is conclusive. Two places, though exactly alike, are not the same place. Nor is the Motion or Rest of the Universe, the [7] same State; any more than the Motion or Rest of a Ship, is the same State, because a Man shut up in the Cabbin cannot perceive whether the Ship sails or not, so long as it moves uniformly. The Motion of the Ship, though the Man perceives it not, is a real different State, and has real different Effects; and, upon a sudden stop, it would have Other real Effects; And so likewise would an indiscernable Motion of the Universe. To This Argument, no Answer has ever been given. It is largely insisted on by Sir Isaac Newton in his Mathematical Principles, (Definit. 8.) where, from the Consideration of the Properties, Causes, and Effects of Motion, he shows the difference between real Motion, or a Bodie's being carried from one part of Space to another; and relative Motion, which is merely a change of the Order or Situation of Bodies with respect to each other. This Argument is a Mathematical one; showing, from real Effects, that there may be real Motion where there is none relative; and relative Motion, where there is <135> none real: And is not to be answered, by barely asserting the contrary.

14. The reality of Space is not a Supposition, but is proved by the fore-going Arguments, to which no Answer has been given. Nor is any Answer given to That other Argument, that Space and Time are Quantities, which Situation and Order are not.

15. It was no impossibility for God to make the World sooner or later than he did: Nor is it at all impossible for him to destroy it sooner or later than it shall actually be destroyed. As to the Notion of the World's Eternity; They who suppose Matter and Space to be the same, must indeed suppose the World to be not only Infinite and Eternal, but necessarily so; even as necessarily as Space and Duration, which depend not on the Will, but on the [8] Existence of God. But they who believe that God created Matter in what Quantity, and at what particular Time, and in what particular Spaces he pleased, are here under no difficulty. For the Wisdom of God may have very good reasons for creating This World, <137> at That particular Time he did; and may have made other kinds of things Before this material World began, and may make other kinds of things After This World is destroyed.

16. and 17. That Space and Time are not the mere Order of things, but real Quantities, (which Order and Situation are not;) has been proved above, (See Third Reply, § 4; and in This Paper, § 13.) and no Answer yet given to those Proofs. And till an Answer be given to those Proofs, this learned Author's assertion is (by his own Confession in this place) a Contradiction.

18. The Uniformity of all the parts of Space, is no Argument against God's acting in Any part, after what manner he pleases. God may have good reasons to create finite Beings, and Finite Beings can be but in particular Places. And, all places being originally alike, (even though Place were nothing else but the Situation of Bodies;) God's placing one cube of matter behind another equal cube of matter, rather than the other behind That; is a choice no way unworthy of the Perfections of God, though Both these Situations be perfectly equal: Because there may be very good reasons why Both the Cubes should exist, <139> and they cannot exist but in one or other of equally reasonable Situations. The Epicurean Chance, is not a Choice of Will, but a blind Necessity of Fate.

19. This Argument, (as I now observed, § 3,) if it proves any thing, proves that God neither [9] did nor can create any matter at all; because the Situation of equal and similar parts of matter, could not but be originally indifferent: As was also the original Determination of their Motions, this way, or the contrary Way.

20. What This tends to prove, with regard to the argument before us; I understand not.

21. That God Cannot limit the Quantity of Matter, is an Assertion of too great Consequence, to be admitted without Proof. If he cannot limit the Duration of it neither, then the material World is both infinite and eternal necessarily and independently upon God.

22, and 23. This Argument, if it were good, would prove that Whatever God can do, he cannot but do; and consequently that he cannot but make every thing infinite, and every thing eternal. Which is making <141> him no Governor at all, but a mere necessary Agent, that is, indeed no Agent at all, but mere Fate and Nature and Necessity.

24, ———— 28. Concerning the Use of the word, Sensory; (though Sir Isaac Newton says only, as it were the Sensory;) enough has been said in my Third Reply, § 10; and Second Reply, § 3; and First Reply, § 3.

29. Space is the Place of All Things, and of All Ideas: Just as Duration is the Duration of All Things, and of All Ideas. That This has no Tendency to make God the Soul of the World, See above Reply II, § 12. There is no Union between God and the World. The Mind of Man might with greater Propriety be stiled The Soul of the Images of things which it perceives, than God can be stiled the Soul of the World, to which he is present throughout, and acts upon it as he pleases, without being acted upon by it. Though this Answer was given before, (Reply II, § 12.) yet the same Objection is repeated again and again, without taking any Notice of the Answer.

<143>

30. What is meant by [10] representative Principle, I understand not. The Soul discerns things, by having the Images of things conveyed to it through the Organs of Sense: God discerns things, by being present to and in the Substances of the Things themselves. Not by producing them continually; (for he rests now from his work of Creation:) but by being continually omnipresent to every thing which he created at the Beginning.

31. That the Soul [11] should not operate upon the Body; and yet the Body, by mere mechanical impulse of Matter, conform itself to the Will of the Soul in all the infinite variety of spontaneous Animal-Motion; is a perpetual Miracle. Pre-established Harmony, is a mere Word or Term of Art, and does nothing towards explaining the cause of so miraculous an effect.

32. To suppose that in spontaneous Animal-Motion, the Soul gives no new Motion or Impression to Matter; but that all spontaneous Animal-Motion is performed by mechanical impulse of Matter; is reducing all things to mere Fate and Necessity. God's acting in the World upon every thing, after what manner he pleases, without any Union, and without being acted upon by any thing; shews plainly the <145> difference between an Omnipresent Governor, and an imaginary Soul of the World.

33. Every Action is (in the nature of things) the giving of a new Force to the thing acted upon. Otherwise 'tis not really Action, but mere passiveness; as in the case of all mechanical and inanimate communications of Motion. If therefore the Giving a new Force, be supernatural; then every action of God is supernatural, and he is quite excluded from the Government of the natural World: And every action of Man, is either supernatural, or else Man is as mere a Machine as a Clock.

34, and 35. The difference between the true Notion of God, and that of a Soul of the World, has been before shown: Reply II, § 12. and in This Paper, § 29 and 32.

36. This has been answered just above, § 31.

37. The Soul is not diffused through the Brain; but is present to That particular Place, which is the Sensorium.

38. This is a bare Assertion, without Proof. Two Bodies, void of Elasticity, meeting each other with equal contrary Forces, Both lose their Motion. And Sir Isaac <147> Newton has given a Mathematical Instance, (page 341, of the Latin Edition of his Opticks,) wherein Motion is continually diminishing and increasing in Quantity, without any communication thereof to other Bodies.

39. This is no Defect, as is here supposed; but 'tis the just and proper Nature of inert Matter.

40. This Argument (if it be good,) proves that the Material World must be infinite, and that it must have been from eternity, and must continue to eternity: And that God must Always have created as many Men, and as many of all other things, as 'twas possible for him to create; and for as long a time also, as it was possible for him to do it.

41. What the meaning of these Words is; An Order, (or Situation,) which makes Bodies to be Situable; I understand not. It seems to me to amount to This, that Situation is the cause of Situation. That Space is not merely the Order of Bodies, has been shown before; Reply III, § 2 and 4. And that no Answer has been given to the Arguments there offered, has been shown in This Paper, § 13 and 14. Also that Time is not merely the Order of things succeeding each other, is evident; because the Quantity of Time may be greater or <149> less, and yet That Order continue the same. The Order of things succeeding each other in Time, is not Time itself: For they may succeed each other faster or slower in the same Order of Succession, but not in the same Time. If no Creatures existed, yet the Ubiquity of God, and the Continuance of his Existence, would make [12] Space and Duration to be exactly the same as they are Now.

42. This is appealing from Reason to vulgar Opinion; which Philosophers should not do, because it is not the Rule of Truth.

43. Unusualness is necessarily included in the Notion of a Miracle. For otherwise there is nothing more wonderful, nor that requires greater Power to effect, than some of those things we call natural. Such as, the Motions of the Heavenly-Bodies, the Generation and Formation of Plants and Animals, &c. Yet these are for this only reason not Miracles, because they are common. Nevertheless, it does not follow, that every thing which is unusual, is therefore a Miracle. For it may be only the irregular and more rare effect of usual Causes: Of which kind are Eclipses, Monstrous Births, Madness in Men, and innu <151> merable things which the Vulgar call Prodigies.

44. This is a Concession of what I alleged. And yet 'tis contrary to the common Opinion of Divines, to suppose that an Angel can work a Miracle.

45. That One Body should attract another without any intermediate Means, is indeed not a Miracle, but a Contradiction: For 'tis supposing something to act where it is not. But the Means by which Two Bodies attract each other, may be invisible and intangible, and of a different nature from mechanism; and yet, acting regularly and constantly, may well be called natural; being much less wonderful than Animal-motion, which yet is never called a Miracle.

46. If the word, natural Forces, means here Mechanical; then all Animals, and even Men, are as mere Machines as a Clock. But if the word does not mean, mechanical Forces; then Gravitation may be effected by regular and natural Powers, though they be not Mechanical.

N. B. The Arguments alleged in the Postscript to Mr. Leibnitz's Fourth Paper, have been already answered in the foregoing Replies. All that needs here to be observed, is, that his Notion concerning the Impossibility of Physical Atomes, (for the Question is not about Mathematical Atomes,) is a manifest Absurdity. For either there are, or there are not any perfectly solid particles of Matter. If there are any such; then the parts of such perfectly solid particles, taken of <153> equal Figure and Dimensions, (which is always possible in Supposition,) are Physical Atoms perfectly alike. But if there be No such perfectly solid particles, then there is no Matter at all in the Universe. For, the further the Division and Subdivision of the parts of any Body is carried, before you arrive at parts perfectly solid and without Pores; the greater is the Proportion of Pores to solid matter in That Body. If therefore, carrying on the Division in infinitum, you never arrive at parts perfectly solid and without Pores; it will follow that All Bodies consist of Pores only, without any Matter at all: Which is a manifest Absurdity.

[1] See above, Mr. Leibnitz's Second Paper, § 1.

[2] See Appendix, No. 3.

[3] See Appendix, No 4.

[4] See Appendix, No. 9, and 4.

[5] This was occasioned by a Passage in the Private Letter, wherein Mr. Leibnitz's Paper came inclosed.

[6] Deus Æternus est & Infinitus, Omnipotens & Omnisciens; id est, durat ab æterno in æternum, & adest ab infinito in infinitum; omnia regit & omnia cognoscit, quæ fiunt aut sciri possunt. Non est Æternitas vel Infinitas , sed Æternus & Infinitus; non est Duratio vel Spatium , sed durat & adest. Durat Semper, & Adest Ubique; & existendo semper & ubique, Durationem & Spatium, æternitatem & infinitatem constituit. Cùm unaquæque Spatii particula sit semper, & unumquodque Durationis indivisibile momentum Ubique; certè rerum omnium Fabricator ac Dominus, non erit nunquam nusquam. Omnipræsens est, non per Virtutem solam, sed etiam per Substantiam: Nam Virtus sine Substantiâ subsistere non potest, i. e. God is Eternal and Infinite, Omnipotent and Omniscient: That is, he endures from Everlasting to Everlasting, and is present from Infinity to Infinity: He governs all things which are, and knows all <131> things which are possible to be known. He is not Eternity or Infinity, but Eternal and Infinite. He is not Duration, or Space; but he endures, and is Present. He endures Always, and is Present every where; and, by existing always and every where, constitutes Duration and Space, Eternity and Infinity. Seeing every particle of Space is Always, and every indivisible Moment of Duration is every where; surely it cannot be said of the Maker and Lord of all Things, that he is [at no Time, and in no Place,] Never and Nowhere. He is Omnipresent, not only Virtually, but Substantially: For Power cannot subsist without a Substance. Newtoni Principia, Schol. generale sub finem.

[7] See Appendix, No 10.

[8] See above, the Note on § 10.

[9] See Appendix, No 4, and 9.

[10] See Appendix, No 11.

[11] See Appendix, No 5.

[12] See above, the Note on § 10.

© 2022 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