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or that substance, or by whatsoever name that is to be “ called which is God, whatsoever that be, the same cannot “ be corporally perceived." And of this opinion were Origen, Cyril, Chrysostom, Gregory Nazianzene, Hierome, Augustine, Gregory the Great, Evaristus, Alcuinus, Dionysius Areopagita, Aquinas, and all others of authority. But by his own word, and by this visible world, is God perceived of men; which is also the understood language of the Almighty, vouchsafed to all his creatures, whose hieroglyphical characters are the unnumbered stars, the sun, and moon; written on these large volumes of the firmament; written also on the earth and the seas, by the letters of all those living creatures, and plants, which inhabit and reside therein. Therefore said that learned f Cusanus, Mundus universus nihil aliud est,quam Deus explicatus; “The world “ universal is nothing else but God expressed.” And the invisible things of God, saith & St. Paul, are seen by his creation of the world, being considered in his creatures. Of all which there was no other cause preceding than his own will, no other matter than his own power, no other workman than his own word, no other consideration than his own infinite goodness. The example and pattern of these his creatures, as he beheld the same in all eternity in the abundance of his own love, so was it at length in the most wise order, by his unchanged will moved, by his high wisdom disposed, and by his almighty power perfected, and made visible. And therefore, saith Mirandula, we ought to love God, ex fide, et ex effectibus, that is, “ both per“suaded by his word, and by the effects of the world's crea“tion:” Neque enim qui causa caret, ex causa et origine sciri cognoscique potest, sed vel ex rerum, qua facta sunt, quæ
Origen, l. 2. msgi ágxwv, c. 22. visibilibus posset sciri, opus fecit, Cyril. et Chrys. in Joh. hom. 14. quod opificem sui visibiliter maniGreg. Naz. 1. 2. Theolog. Hier. in festaret, ut per certum incertum sciEsaiam. Aug. 1. 2. de Trin. c. 12. et retur, et ille Deus omnium esse cre13. Greg. Magn. I. 18. Mor. Evar. deretur, Amb. in Epist. ad Rom. Ep. 1. Decret. Alcuin. l. 2. de Trin. c. 16. D. Areop. c. 4. Cæl. Hierar. f Cusan. de Gen. Dialog. Thom. p. 2. q. 12. Art. 11. et alibi. & Roin. i. 20. Deus, qui natura invisibilis est, ut a
que fiunt et gubernantur, observatione et collatione, vel ex ipsius Dei verbo: “For he, of whom there is no higher cause, “ cannot be known by any knowledge of cause or beginning,” saith h Montanus, " but either by the observing and con“ferring of things, which he hath, or doth create and govern,
or else by the word of God himself.”
That the wisest of the heathen, whose authority is not to be despised, have acknowledged the world to have been created by God.
THIS work and creation of the world did most of the ancient and learned philosophers acknowledge, though by divers terms and in a different manner expressed; I mean all those who are entitled by St. Augustine, summi philosophi,“ philosophers of highest judgment and understanding." Mercurius Trismegistus calleth God, Principium universorum, “ the original of the universal;" to whom he giveth also the attributes of mens, natura, actus, necessitas, finis, et renovatio. And wherein he truly, with St. Paul, casteth upon God all power; confessing also, that the world was made by God's almighty word, and not by hands: Verbo, non manibus, fabricatus est mundus. Zoroaster (whom Heraclitus followed in opinion) took the word fire to express God by, (as in k Deuteronomy and in St. Paul it is used,) Omnia ex uno igne genita sunt ; “ All things,” saith he,
are caused or produced out of one fire.” So did Orpheus plainly teach that the world had beginning in time, from the will of the most high God: whose remarkable words are thus converted; m Cum abscondisset omnia Jupiter summus, deinde in lumen gratum emisit, ex sacro corde operans cogitata et mirabilia : of which I conceive this sense: “ When great Jupiter had hidden all
things in himself, working out of the love of his sacred “ heart, he sent thence, or brought forth, into grate
h A. Mont. Nat. Hist. fol. 7.
i Herm. in Pæmaudro, et in sermone sacro,
k Deut. iv. 24.
“ful light, the admirable works which he had fore“ thought.”
Pindarus the poet, and one of the wisest, acknowledged also one God, the most High, to be the Father and Creator of all things: Unus Deus, Pater, Creator summus.
Plato calleth God the cause and original, the nature and reason of the universal: Totius rerum natura, causa, et origo Deus. But hereof more at large hereafter.
Now, although the curiosity of some men have found it superfluous to remember the opinions of philosophers in matters of divinity, (it being true, that the scripture hath not want of any foreign testimony,) yet as the fathers, with others excellently learned, are my examples herein ; so St. Paul himself did not despise, but thought it lawful and profitable, to remember whatsoever he found agreeable to the word of God among the heathen, that he might thereby take from them all escape, by way of ignorance, God rendering vengeance to them that know him not: as in his Epistle to Titus he citeth Epimenides against the Cretans, and to the Corinthians, Menander; and in the seventeenth of the Acts, Aratus, &c. “For truth," saith St. Ambrose, “by whomsoever uttered, is of the Holy Ghost;" Veritas, a quocunque dicatur, a Spiritu Sancto est: and lastly, let those kind of men learn this rule; Quæ sacris serviunt, profana non sunt; “ Nothing is profane that serveth to “ the use of holy things.”
SECT. III. Of the meaning of In principio, Genes. i. i. THIS visible world, of which Moses writeth, God created in the beginning, or first of all; in which, saith Tertullian, things began to be. This word beginning (in which the Hebrews seek some hidden mystery, and which in the Jews' Targum is converted by the word sapientia) cannot be referred to succession of time, nor to order, as some men have conceived, both which are subsequent; but only to
n Vid. c. 6.
creation then : for before that beginning there was neither primary matter to be informed, nor form to inform, nor any being, but the eternal. Nature was not, nor the next parent, or time, begotten ; time properly and naturally taken: for if God had but disposed of matter already in being, then as the word beginning could not be referred to all things, so must it follow, that the institution of matter proceeded from a greater power than that of God. And by what name shall we then call such an one, saith Lactantius, as exceedeth God in potency; for it is an act of more excellency to make, than to dispose of things made? Whereupon it may be concluded, that matter'could not be before this beginning; except we feign a double creation, or allow of two powers, and both infinite: the impossibility whereof scorneth defence. Nam impossibile est plura esse infinita: quoniam alterum esset in altero finitum; “ There cannot “ be more infinites than one; for one of them would limit 66 the other.”
Of the meaning of the words heaven and earth, Genes. i. 1.
THE universal matter of the world (which Moses comprehendeth under the names of heaven and earth) is by divers diversely understood ; for there are that conceive, that by those words was meant the first matter, as the Peripatetics understand it; to which St. Augustine and Isidore seem to adhere: Fecisti mundum, saith St. Augustine, de materia informi; quam fecisti de nulla re, pene nullam rem: that is, “ Thou hast made the world of a matter with“ out form; which matter thou madest of nothing, and
being made, it was little other than nothing."
But this potential and imaginary materia prima cannot exist without form. Peter Lombard, the schoolmen Beda, Lyranus, Comestor, Tostatus, and others, affirm, that it pleased God first of all to create the empyrean heaven; which at the succeeding instant, saith p Beda and Strabo,
· Cusan. de mente, lib. 3.
he filled with angels. This empyrean heaven Steuchius Eugubinus calleth “ divine clarity, and uncreated :” an error for which he is sharply charged by Pererius; though (as I conceive) he rather failed in the subsequent, when he made it to be a place, and the seat of angels and just souls, than in the former affirmation: for of the first, that God liveth in eternal light, it is written, 4 My soul, praise thou the Lord, that covereth himself with light: and in the Revelation, 'And the city hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it; for the glory of God did light it. And herein also sJohn Mercer, upon Genesis, differeth not in opinion from Eugubinus: for as by heaven created in the beginning, was not meant the invisible, or supercelestial; so in his judgment, because it was in all eternity the glorious seat of God himself, it was not necessary to be created : Quem mundum supercælestem meo judicio creari (saith Mercer) non erat necesse.
But as Moses forbare to speak of angels, and of things invisible and incorporate, for the weakness of their capacities whom he then cared to inform of those things which were more manifest ; to wit, that God did not only by a strong hand deliver them from the bondage of Egypt, according to his promise made to their forefathers, but also that he created, and was the sole cause of this aspectable and perceivable universal: so, on the other side, I dare not think, that any supercelestial heaven, or whatsoever else (not himself) was increate and eternal. And as for the place of God before the world created, the finite wisdom of mortal men hath no perception of it; neither can it limit the seat of infinite power, no more than infinite power
itself be limited; for his place is in himself, whom no magnitude else can contain: How great is the house of God, saith t Baruch, how large is the place of his possession! It is great, and hath no end; it is high, and unmeasurable.
But leaving multiplicity of opinions, it is more probable
a Ps. civ. 12.
r Claritas divina non est lux facta, sed sapientia Dei, non creata, sed
nata. Apoc. xxi. 23.
s Mercer. in Gen. vii. 7.