Of the Origin of Evil.

1. Of the being of Providence. II. Epicurus's arguments aguinst

it refuted. The Necessity of the Belief of Providence in order

to Religion. III. Providence proved from a Consideration of the

Nature of God and the Things of the World. Of the Spirit of

Nature. IV. The great Objections against Providence pro-

pounded. The first concerns the Origin of Evil. V. God can-

not be the Author of Sin, if the Scriptures be true. The Account,

which the Scriptures give of the Fall of Man, doth not charge

God with Man's Fault. God's Power to govern Man by Laws,

though he gives no particular Reason of every positive Precept.

VI. The Reason of God's creating Man with Freedom of Will,

largely shewed from Simplicius; and the true Account of the

-Origin of Evil. VII, God's permitting the Fall, makes him not

the Author of it. VIII. The Account which the Scriptures give

of the Origin of Evil, compared with that of Heathen Philoso-

phers. IX. The Antiquity of the Opinion of ascribing the Origin

of Evil to an eril Principle of the Judgment of the Per-

sians, Egyptians, and others about it. X. Of Manichæism.

XI, XII, XIII, XIV. The Opinion of the ancient Greek Phi-

losophers; of Pythagoras, Plato, the Stoics; the Origin of Evil

not from the Necessity of Matter. XV, XVI. The Remainders

of the History of the Fall among the Heathens. XVII, XVIII,

XIX. Of the Malignity of Demons. XX, XXI, XXII. Pro-

vidence vindicated as to the Sufferings of good, and the Impunity

of bad Men. An Account of both from natural Light, mani-

fested by Seneca, Plutarch, and others.

Page 46.






Of the Origin of the Universe. 1. The Necessity of the Belief of the Creation of the World, in

order to the Truth of Religion. Of the several Hypotheses of the Philosophers who contradict Moses : with a particular Examination of them. II. The ancient Tradition of the World consonant to Moses; proved from the Ionic Philosophy of Thales, and the Italic of Pythagoras. III. The Pythagoric Cabala rather Egyptian than Mosaic. Of the Auid Matter, which was the material Principle of the Universe. IV. Of the Hypothesis of the Eternity of the World, asserted by Ocellus Lucanus and Aristotle. V. The Weakness of the Foundations on which that Opinion is built. Of the Manner of forming Principles of Philosophy. VI. The Possibility of Creation proved. [No arguing from the present State of the World against its Beginning, shewed from Maimonides.] VII. The Platonists' Arguments, from the Goodness of God for the Eter, nity of the World, answered. VIII. Of the Stoical Hypothesis of the Eternity of Matter ; whether reconcileable with the Text of Moses. IX. Of the Opinions of Plato und Pythagoras concerning the Preexistence of Matter to the Formation of the World. X. The Contradiction of the Eternity of Matter to the Nature and Attributes of God. XI, XII, XIII. Of the Atomical Hypothesis of the Origin of the Universe. XIV, XV, XVI, XVI. The World could not be produced by a casual Concourse of Atoms, proved from the Nature and Motion of Epicurus's Atoms, and the Phænomena of the Universe ; especially the Production and Nature of Animals. XVIII. Of the Cartesian Hypothesis, that it cannot salve the Origin of the Universe

without a Deity giving Motion to Matter. The foundations of religion being thus established in the being of God, and the immortality of the soul, we VOL. II.



BOOK now come to erect our superstructure upon them, by asIII.

serting the undoubted truth and certainty of that account of the world which is given us in the writings of Moses ; which, beginning with the world itself, leads us to a particular consideration of the origin of the universe; the right understanding of which hath great influence upon our belief of all that follows in the word of God. For although we should assert with Epicurus the being of a Deity, if yet with him we add that the world was made by a casual concourse of atoms, all that part of religion which lies in obedience to the will of God is unavoidably destroyed. All that is left is only a kind of veneration of a Being more excellent than our own, which reacheth not to the government of men's lives, and so will have no force at all upon the generality of the world, who are only allured by hopes, or awed by fears, to that which of their choice they would be glad to be freed from. Besides, what expressions of gratitude can be left to God for his goodness, if he interpose not in the affairs of the world? What dependance can there be on Divine goodness, if it be not at all manifested in the world? What apprehensions can we have of God's infinite wisdom and power, if neither of them are discernible in the being of the world? And as the opinion of Epicurus destroys religion, so doth that of Aristotle, which attributes eternity to the universe, and a necessary emanation of it from the

first cause, as light comes from the sun; for if so, as Maimon. Maimonides well observes, the whole religion of Moses is More Ne overthrown, all his miracles are but impostures, all the voch. p. ii.

hopes which are grounded on the promises of God are vain and fruitless. For if the world did of necessity exist, then God is no free agent; and if so, then all instituted religion is to no purpose: nor can there be any expectation of reward, or fear of punishment, from him who hath nothing else to do in the world but to set the great wheel of the heavens going. So much is it our concernment to enquire into the true original of the world, and on what evidence of reason those opinions are built, which are so contrary to that account given of it in the very entrance of the books of Moses; wherein we read the true origin of the world to have been by a production of it, by the omnipotent will and word of God. This being then the plain assertion of Moses, we come to compare it, in point of reason, with all those several hypotheses which are repugnant to it, which have been embraced in several ages by the philosophers of greatest

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