Theodicy - Essays on the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man and the Origin of Evil
by G. W. Leibniz
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353. I agree with M. Bayle that God could have so ordered bodies and [337] souls on this globe of earth, whether by ways of nature or by extraordinary graces, that it would have been a perpetual paradise and a foretaste of the celestial state of the blessed. There is no reason why there should not be worlds happier than ours; but God had good reasons for willing that ours should be such as it is. Nevertheless, in order to prove that a better state would have been possible here, M. Bayle had no need to resort to the system of occasional causes: it abounds in miracles and in hypotheses for which their very originators confess there is no justification; and these are two defects such as will most of all estrange a system from true philosophy. It is a cause for surprise, in the first place, that M. Bayle did not bethink himself of the System of Pre-established Harmony which he had examined before, and which for this matter was so opportune. But as in this system all is connected and harmonious, all following from reasons and nothing being left incomplete or exposed to the rash discretion of perfect indifference, it seems that it was not pleasing to M. Bayle: for he was here somewhat biassed in favour of such indifference, which, notwithstanding, he contested so strongly on other occasions. He was much given to passing from one extreme to the other, not with an ill intention or against his own conviction, but because there was as yet nothing settled in his mind on the question concerned. He contented himself with whatever suited him for frustrating the opponent he had in mind, his aim being only to perplex philosophers, and show the weakness of our reason; and never, in my opinion, did either Arcesilaus or Carneades argue for and against with more eloquence and more wit. But, after all, one must not doubt for the sake of doubting: doubts must serve us as a gangway to the truth. That is what I often said to the late Abbe Foucher, a few specimens of whose work prove that he designed to do with regard to the Academicians what Lipsius and Scioppius had done for the Stoics, and M. Gassendi for Epicurus, and what M. Dacier has so well begun for Plato. It must not be possible for us to offer true philosophers such a reproach as that implied in the celebrated Casaubon's answer to those who, in showing him the hall of the Sorbonne, told him that debate had been carried on there for some centuries. What conclusions have been reached? he said to them.

354. M. Bayle goes on (p. 166): 'It is true that since the laws of motion were instituted in such forms as we see now in the world, it is an inevitable necessity that a hammer striking a nut should break it, and[338] that a stone falling on a man's foot should cause some bruise or some derangement of its parts. But that is all that can follow the action of this stone upon the human body. If you want it in addition to cause a feeling of pain, then one must assume the institution of a code other than that one which regulates the action and reaction of bodies one upon another; one must, I say, have recourse to the particular system of the laws of union between the soul and certain bodies. Now as this system is not of necessity connected with the other, the indifference of God does not cease in relation to the one immediately upon his choice of the other. He therefore combined these two systems with a complete freedom, like two things which did not follow naturally the one from the other. Thus it is by an arbitrary institution he has ordained that wounds in the body should cause pain in the soul which is united to this body. It therefore only rested with him to have chosen another system of union between soul and body: he was therefore able to choose one in accordance wherewith wounds only evoke the idea of the remedy and an intense but agreeable desire to apply it. He was able to arrange that all bodies which were on the point of breaking a man's head or piercing his heart should evoke a lively sense of danger, and that this sense should cause the body to remove itself promptly out of reach of the blow. All that would have come to pass without miracles, since there would have been general laws on this subject. The system which we know by experience teaches us that the determination of the movement of certain bodies changes in pursuance of our desires. It was therefore possible for a combination to be effected between our desires and the movement of certain bodies, whereby the nutritive juices were so modified that the good arrangement of our organs was never affected.'

355. It is evident that M. Bayle believes that everything accomplished through general laws is accomplished without miracles. But I have shown sufficiently that if the law is not founded on reasons and does not serve to explain the event through the nature of things, it can only be put into execution by a miracle. If, for example, God had ordained that bodies must have a circular motion, he would have needed perpetual miracles, or the ministry of angels, to put this order into execution: for that is contrary to the nature of motion, whereby the body naturally abandons the circular line to continue in the tangent straight line if nothing holds it [339] back. Therefore it is not enough for God to ordain simply that a wound should excite an agreeable sensation: natural means must be found for that purpose. The real means whereby God causes the soul to be conscious of what happens in the body have their origin in the nature of the soul, which represents the bodies, and is so made beforehand that the representations which are to spring up one from another within it, by a natural sequence of thoughts, correspond to the changes in the body.

356. The representation has a natural relation to that which is to be represented. If God should have the round shape of a body represented by the idea of a square, that would be an unsuitable representation: for there would be angles or projections in the representation, while all would be even and smooth in the original. The representation often suppresses something in the objects when it is imperfect; but it can add nothing: that would render it, not more than perfect, but false. Moreover, the suppression is never complete in our perceptions, and there is in the representation, confused as it is, more than we see there. Thus there is reason for supposing that the ideas of heat, cold, colours, etc., also only represent the small movements carried out in the organs, when one is conscious of these qualities, although the multiplicity and the diminutive character of these movements prevents their clear representation. Almost in the same way it happens that we do not distinguish the blue and the yellow which play their part in the representation as well as in the composition of the green, when the microscope shows that what appears to be green is composed of yellow and blue parts.

357. It is true that the same thing may be represented in different ways; but there must always be an exact relation between the representation and the thing, and consequently between the different representations of one and the same thing. The projections in perspective of the conic sections of the circle show that one and the same circle may be represented by an ellipse, a parabola and a hyperbola, and even by another circle, a straight line and a point. Nothing appears so different nor so dissimilar as these figures; and yet there is an exact relation between each point and every other point. Thus one must allow that each soul represents the universe to itself according to its point of view, and through a relation which is peculiar to it; but a perfect harmony always subsists therein. God, if he wished to effect representation of the dissolution of continuity of [340] the body by an agreeable sensation in the soul, would not have neglected to ensure that this very dissolution should serve some perfection in the body, by giving it some new relief, as when one is freed of some burden or loosed from some bond. But organic bodies of such kinds, although possible, do not exist upon our globe, which doubtless lacks innumerable inventions that God may have put to use elsewhere. Nevertheless it is enough that, due allowance being made for the place our world holds in the universe, nothing can be done for it better than what God does. He makes the best possible use of the laws of nature which he has established and (as M. Regis also acknowledged in the same passage) 'the laws that God has established in nature are the most excellent it is possible to conceive'.

358. I will add to that the remark from the Journal des Savants of the 16th March 1705, which M. Bayle has inserted in chapter 162 of the Reply to the Questions of a Provincial (vol. III, p. 1030). The matter in question is the extract from a very ingenious modern book on the Origin of Evil, to which I have already referred here. It is stated: 'that the general solution in respect of physical evil which this book gives is that the universe must be regarded as a work composed of various pieces which form a whole; that, according to the laws established in nature, some parts cannot be better unless others become worse, whence would result a system less perfect as a whole. This principle', the writer goes on, 'is good; but if nothing is added to it, it does not appear sufficient. Why has God established laws that give rise to so many difficulties? philosophers who are somewhat precise will say. Could he not have established others of a kind not subject to any defects? And to cut the matter short, how comes it that he has prescribed laws for himself? Why does he not act without general laws, in accordance with all his power and all his goodness? The writer has not carried the difficulty as far as that. By disentangling his ideas one might indeed possibly find means of solving the difficulty, but there is no development of the subject in his work.'

359. I suppose that the gifted author of this extract, when he thought the difficulty could be solved, had in mind something akin to my principles on this matter. If he had vouchsafed to declare himself in this passage, he would to all appearance have replied, like M. Regis, that the laws God established were the most excellent that could be established. He would have acknowledged, at the same time, that God could not have refrained[341] from establishing laws and following rules, because laws and rules are what makes order and beauty; that to act without rules would be to act without reason; and that because God called into action all his goodness the exercise of his omnipotence was consistent with the laws of wisdom, to secure as much good as was possible of attainment. Finally, he would have said, the existence of certain particular disadvantages which strike us is a sure indication that the best plan did not permit of their avoidance, and that they assist in the achievement of the total good, an argument wherewith M. Bayle in more than one place expresses agreement.

360. Now that I have proved sufficiently that everything comes to pass according to determinate reasons, there cannot be any more difficulty over these principles of God's foreknowledge. Although these determinations do not compel, they cannot but be certain, and they foreshadow what shall happen. It is true that God sees all at once the whole sequence of this universe, when he chooses it, and that thus he has no need of the connexion of effects and causes in order to foresee these effects. But since his wisdom causes him to choose a sequence in perfect connexion, he cannot but see one part of the sequence in the other. It is one of the rules of my system of general harmony, that the present is big with the future, and that he who sees all sees in that which is that which shall be. What is more, I have proved conclusively that God sees in each portion of the universe the whole universe, owing to the perfect connexion of things. He is infinitely more discerning than Pythagoras, who judged the height of Hercules by the size of his footprint. There must therefore be no doubt that effects follow their causes determinately, in spite of contingency and even of freedom, which nevertheless exist together with certainty or determination.

361. Durand de Saint-Pourcain, among others, has indicated this clearly in saying that contingent futurities are seen determinately in their causes, and that God, who knows all, seeing all that shall have power to tempt or repel the will, will see therein the course it shall take. I could cite many other authors who have said the same thing, and reason does not allow the possibility of thinking otherwise. M. Jacquelot implies also (Conformity of Faith with Reason, p. 318 et seqq.), as M. Bayle observes (Reply to the Questions of a Provincial, vol. III, ch. 142, p. 796), that the dispositions of the human heart and those of circumstances acquaint God unerringly with the choice that man shall make. M. Bayle [342] adds that some Molinists say the same, and refers us to those who are quoted in the Suavis Concordia of Pierre de S. Joseph, the Feuillant (pp. 579, 580).

362. Those who have confused this determination with necessity have fabricated monsters in order to fight them. To avoid a reasonable thing which they had disguised under a hideous shape, they have fallen into great absurdities. For fear of being obliged to admit an imaginary necessity, or at least one different from that in question, they have admitted something which happens without the existence of any cause or reason for it. This amounts to the same as the absurd deviation of atoms, which according to Epicurus happened without any cause. Cicero, in his book on Divination, saw clearly that if the cause could produce an effect towards which it was entirely indifferent there would be a true chance, a genuine luck, an actual fortuitous case, that is, one which would be so not merely in relation to us and our ignorance, according to which one may say:

Sed Te Nos facimus, Fortuna, Deam, caeloque locamus,

but even in relation to God and to the nature of things. Consequently it would be impossible to foresee events by judging of the future by the past. He adds fittingly in the same passage: 'Qui potest provideri, quicquam futurum esse, quod neque causam habet ullam, neque notam cur futurum sit?' and soon after: 'Nihil est tam contrarium rationi et constantiae, quam fortuna; ut mihi ne in Deum quidem cadere videatur, ut sciat quid casu et fortuito futurum sit. Si enim scit, certe illud eveniet: sin certe eveniet, nulla fortuna est.' If the future is certain, there is no such thing as luck. But he wrongly adds: 'Est autum fortuna; rerum igitur fortuitarum nulla praesensio est.' There is luck, therefore future events cannot be foreseen. He ought rather to have concluded that, events being predetermined and foreseen, there is no luck. But he was then speaking against the Stoics, in the character of an Academician.

363. The Stoics already derived from the decrees of God the prevision of events. For, as Cicero says in the same book: 'Sequitur porro nihil Deos ignorare, quod omnia ab iis sint constituta.' And, according to my system, God, having seen the possible world that he desired to create, foresaw[343] everything therein. Thus one may say that the divine knowledge of vision differs from the knowledge of simple intelligence only in that it adds to the latter the acquaintance with the actual decree to choose this sequence of things which simple intelligence had already presented, but only as possible; and this decree now makes the present universe.

364. Thus the Socinians cannot be excused for denying to God the certain knowledge of future events, and above all of the future resolves of a free creature. For even though they had supposed that there is a freedom of complete indifference, so that the will can choose without cause, and that thus this effect could not be seen in its cause (which is a great absurdity), they ought always to take into account that God was able to foresee this event in the idea of the possible world that he resolved to create. But the idea which they have of God is unworthy of the Author of things, and is not commensurate with the skill and wit which the writers of this party often display in certain particular discussions. The author of the Reflexion on the Picture of Socinianism was not altogether mistaken in saying that the God of the Socinians would be ignorant and powerless, like the God of Epicurus, every day confounded by events and living from one day to the next, if he only knows by conjecture what the will of men is to be.

365. The whole difficulty here has therefore only come from a wrong idea of contingency and of freedom, which was thought to have need of a complete indifference or equipoise, an imaginary thing, of which neither a notion nor an example exists, nor ever can exist. Apparently M. Descartes had been imbued with the idea in his youth, at the College of la Fleche. That caused him to say (part I of his Principles, art. 41): 'Our thought is finite, and the knowledge and omnipotence of God, whereby he has not only known from all eternity everything that is, or that can be, but also has willed it, is infinite. Thus we have enough intelligence to recognize clearly and distinctly that this power and this knowledge are in God; but we have not enough so to comprehend their extent that we can know how they leave the actions of men entirely free and indeterminate.' The continuation has already been quoted above. 'Entirely free', that is right; but one spoils everything by adding 'entirely indeterminate'. One has no need of infinite knowledge in order to see that the foreknowledge and the providence of God allow freedom to our actions, since God has foreseen those actions in [344] his ideas, just as they are, that is, free. Laurentius Valla indeed, in his Dialogue against Boethius (which I will presently quote in epitome) ably undertakes to reconcile freedom with foreknowledge, but does not venture to hope that he can reconcile it with providence. Yet there is no more difficulty in the one than the other, because the decree to give existence to this action no more changes its nature than does one's mere consciousness thereof. But there is no knowledge, however infinite it be, which can reconcile the knowledge and providence of God with actions of an indeterminate cause, that is to say, with a chimerical and impossible being. The actions of the will are determined in two ways, by the foreknowledge or providence of God, and also by the dispositions of the particular immediate cause, which lie in the inclinations of the soul. M. Descartes followed the Thomists on this point; but he wrote with his usual circumspection, so as not to come into conflict with some other theologians.

366. M. Bayle relates (Reply to the Questions of a Provincial, vol. III, ch. 142, p. 804) that Father Gibieuf of the Oratory published a Latin treatise on the freedom of God and of the creature, in the year 1639; that he was met with protests, and was shown a collection of seventy contradictions taken from the first book of his work; and that, twenty years after, Father Annat, Confessor to the King of France, reproached him in his book De Incoacta Libertate (ed. Rome, 1654, in 4to.), for the silence he still maintained. Who would not think (adds M. Bayle), after the uproar of the de Auxiliis Congregations, that the Thomists taught things touching the nature of free will which were entirely opposed to the opinion of the Jesuits? When, however, one considers the passages that Father Annat quoted from the works of the Thomists (in a pamphlet entitled: Jansenius a Thomistis, gratiae per se ipsam efficacis defensoribus, condemnatus, printed in Paris in the year 1654 in 4to.) one can in reality only see verbal controversies between the two sects. The grace efficacious of itself, according to the one side, leaves to free will quite as much power of resistance as the congruent grace of the others. M. Bayle thinks one can say almost as much of Jansenius himself. He was (so he says) an able man, of a methodical mind and of great assiduity. He worked for twenty-two years at his Augustinus. One of his aims was to refute the Jesuits on the dogma of free will; yet no decision has yet been reached as to whether he rejects or adopts freedom of indifference. From his work innumerable passages [345] are quoted for and against this opinion, as Father Annat has himself shown in the work that has just been mentioned, De Incoacta Libertate. So easy is it to render this subject obscure, as M. Bayle says at the conclusion of this discourse. As for Father Gibieuf, it must be admitted that he often alters the meaning of his terms, and that consequently he does not answer the question in the main, albeit he often writes with good sense.

367. Indeed, confusion springs, more often than not, from ambiguity in terms, and from one's failure to take trouble over gaining clear ideas about them. That gives rise to these eternal, and usually mistaken, contentions on necessity and contingency, on the possible and the impossible. But provided that it is understood that necessity and possibility, taken metaphysically and strictly, depend solely upon this question, whether the object in itself or that which is opposed to it implies contradiction or not; and that one takes into account that contingency is consistent with the inclinations, or reasons which contribute towards causing determination by the will; provided also that one knows how to distinguish clearly between necessity and determination or certainty, between metaphysical necessity, which admits of no choice, presenting only one single object as possible, and moral necessity, which constrains the wisest to choose the best; finally, provided that one is rid of the chimera of complete indifference, which can only be found in the books of philosophers, and on paper (for they cannot even conceive the notion in their heads, or prove its reality by an example in things) one will easily escape from a labyrinth whose unhappy Daedalus was the human mind. That labyrinth has caused infinite confusion, as much with the ancients as with those of later times, even so far as to lead men into the absurd error of the Lazy Sophism, which closely resembles fate after the Turkish fashion. I do not wonder if in reality the Thomists and the Jesuits, and even the Molinists and the Jansenists, agree together on this matter more than is supposed. A Thomist and even a wise Jansenist will content himself with certain determination, without going on to necessity: and if someone goes so far, the error mayhap will lie only in the word. A wise Molinist will be content with an indifference opposed to necessity, but such as shall not exclude prevalent inclinations.

368. These difficulties, however, have greatly impressed M. Bayle, who[346] was more inclined to dwell on them than to solve them, although he might perhaps have had better success than anyone if he had thought fit to turn his mind in that direction. Here is what he says of them in his Dictionary, art. 'Jansenius', lit. G, p. 1626: 'Someone has said that the subject of Grace is an ocean which has neither shore nor bottom. Perhaps he would have spoken more correctly if he had compared it to the Strait of Messina, where one is always in danger of striking one reef while endeavouring to avoid another.

Dextrum Scylla latus, laevum implacata Charybdis Obsidet.

Everything comes back in the end to this: Did Adam sin freely? If you answer yes, then you will be told, his fall was not foreseen. If you answer no, then you will be told, he is not guilty. You may write a hundred volumes against the one or the other of these conclusions, and yet you will confess, either that the infallible prevision of a contingent event is a mystery impossible to conceive, or that the way in which a creature which acts without freedom sins nevertheless is altogether incomprehensible.'

369. Either I am greatly mistaken or these two alleged incomprehensibilities are ended altogether by my solutions. Would to God it were as easy to answer the question how to cure fevers, and how to avoid the perils of two chronic sicknesses that may originate, the one from not curing the fever, the other from curing it wrongly. When one asserts that a free event cannot be foreseen, one is confusing freedom with indetermination, or with indifference that is complete and in equipoise; and when one maintains that the lack of freedom would prevent man from being guilty, one means a freedom exempt, not from determination or from certainty, but from necessity and from constraint. This shows that the dilemma is not well expressed, and that there is a wide passage between the two perilous reefs. One will reply, therefore, that Adam sinned freely, and that God saw him sinning in the possible state of Adam, which became actual in accordance with the decree of the divine permission. It is true that Adam was determined to sin in consequence of certain prevailing inclinations: but this determination destroys neither contingency nor freedom. Moreover, the certain determination to sin which exists in man does not deprive him of the power to avoid sinning (speaking generally) or, since he does sin, prevent him from being guilty and deserving [347] punishment. This is more especially so since the punishment may be of service to him or others, to contribute towards determining them another time not to sin. There is besides punitive justice, which goes beyond compensation and amendment, and wherein also there is nothing liable to be shaken by the certain determination of the contingent resolutions of the will. It may be said, on the contrary, that the penalties and rewards would be to some extent unavailing, and would fail in one of their aims, that of amendment, if they could not contribute towards determining the will to do better another time.

370. M. Bayle continues: 'Where freedom is concerned there are only two courses to take: one is to say that all the causes distinct from the soul, and co-operating with it, leave it the power to act or not to act; the other is to say that they so determine it to act that it cannot forbear to do so. The first course is that taken by the Molinists, the other is that of the Thomists and Jansenists and the Protestants of the Geneva Confession. Yet the Thomists have clamorously maintained that they were not Jansenists; and the latter have maintained with equal warmth that where freedom was concerned they were not Calvinists. On the other hand, the Molinists have maintained that St. Augustine did not teach Jansenism. Thus the one side not wishing to admit that they were in conformity with people who were considered heretics, and the other side not wishing to admit that they were in opposition to a learned saint whose opinions were always considered orthodox, have both performed a hundred feats of contortion, etc.'

371. The two courses which M. Bayle distinguishes here do not exclude a third course, according to which the determination of the soul does not come solely from the co-operation of all the causes distinct from the soul, but also from the state of the soul itself and its inclinations which mingle with the impressions of the senses, strengthening or weakening them. Now all the internal and external causes taken together bring it about that the soul is determined certainly, but not of necessity: for no contradiction would be implied if the soul were to be determined differently, it being possible for the will to be inclined, but not possible for it to be compelled by necessity. I will not venture upon a discussion of the difference existing between the Jansenists and the Reformed on this matter. They are not perhaps always fully in accord [348] with themselves as regards things, or as regards expressions, on a matter where one often loses one's way in bewildering subtleties. Father Theophile Raynaud, in his book entitled Calvinismus Religio Bestiarum, wished to strike at the Dominicans, without naming them. On the other hand, those who professed to be followers of St. Augustine reproached the Molinists with Pelagianism or at the least semi-Pelagianism. Things were carried to excess at times by both sides, whether in their defence of a vague indifference and the granting of too much to man, or in their teaching determinationem ad unum secundum qualitatem actus licet non quoad ejus substantiam, that is to say, a determination to evil in the non-regenerate, as if they did nothing but sin. After all, I think one must not reproach any but the adherents of Hobbes and Spinoza with destroying freedom and contingency; for they think that that which happens is alone possible, and must happen by a brute geometrical necessity. Hobbes made everything material and subjected it to mathematical laws alone; Spinoza also divested God of intelligence and choice, leaving him a blind power, whence all emanates of necessity. The theologians of the two Protestant parties are equally zealous in refuting an unendurable necessity. Although those who follow the Synod of Dordrecht teach sometimes that it suffices for freedom to be exempt from constraint, it seems that the necessity they leave in it is only hypothetical, or rather that which is more appropriately termed certainty and infallibility. Thus it results that very often the difficulties only lie in the terms. I say as much with regard to the Jansenists, although I do not wish to make excuse for those people in everything.

372. With the Hebrew Cabalists, Malcuth or the Kingdom, the last of the Sephiroth, signified that God controls everything irresistibly, but gently and without violence, so that man thinks he is following his own will while he carries out God's. They said that Adam's sin had been truncatio Malcuth a caeteris plantis, that is to say, that Adam had cut back the last of the Sephiroth, by making a dominion for himself within God's dominion, and by assuming for himself a freedom independent of God, but that his fall had taught him that he could not subsist of himself, and that men must needs be redeemed by the Messiah. This doctrine may receive a good interpretation. But Spinoza, who was versed in the Cabala of the writers of his race, and who says (Tractatus Politicus, c. 2, n. 6) that men, conceiving of freedom as they do, establish a dominion within God's dominion, has [349] gone too far. The dominion of God is with Spinoza nothing but the dominion of necessity, and of a blind necessity (as with Strato), whereby everything emanates from the divine nature, while no choice is left to God, and man's choice does not exempt him from necessity. He adds that men, in order to establish what is termed Imperium in Imperio, supposed that their soul was a direct creation of God, something which could not be produced by natural causes, furthermore that it had an absolute power of determination, a state of things contrary to experience. Spinoza is right in opposing an absolute power of determination, that is, one without any grounds; it does not belong even to God. But he is wrong in thinking that a soul, that a simple substance, can be produced naturally. It seems, indeed, that the soul to him was only a transient modification; and when he pretends to make it lasting, and even perpetual, he substitutes for it the idea of the body, which is purely a notion and not a real and actual thing.

373. The story M. Bayle relates of Johan Bredenburg, a citizen of Rotterdam (Dictionary, art. 'Spinoza', lit. H, p. 2774) is curious. He published a book against Spinoza, entitled: Enervatio Tractatus Theologico-politici, una cum demonstratione geometrico ordine disposita, Naturam non esse Deum, cujus effati contrario praedictus Tractatus unice innititur. One was surprised to see that a man who did not follow the profession of letters, and who had but slight education (having written his book in Flemish, and had it translated into Latin), had been able to penetrate with such subtlety all the principles of Spinoza, and succeed in overthrowing them, after having reduced them by a candid analysis to a state wherein they could appear in their full force. I have been told (adds M. Bayle) that this writer after copious reflexion upon his answer, and upon the principle of his opponent, finally found that this principle could be reduced to the form of a demonstration. He undertook therefore to prove that there is no cause of all things other than a nature which exists necessarily, and which acts according to an immutable, inevitable and irrevocable necessity. He examined the whole system of the geometricians, and after having constructed his demonstration he scrutinized it from every imaginable angle, he endeavoured to find its weak spot and was never able to discover any means of destroying it, or even of weakening it. That caused him real distress: he groaned over it and begged the most talented of his [350] friends to help him in searching out the defects of this demonstration. For all that, he was not well pleased that copies of the book were made. Franz Cuper, a Socinian (who had written Arcana Atheismi Revelata against Spinoza, Rotterdam, 1676, in 4to.), having obtained a copy, published it just as it was, that is, in Flemish, with some reflexions, and accused the author of being an atheist. The accused made his defence in the same tongue. Orobio, a very able Jewish physician (that one who was refuted by M. Limbourg, and who replied, so I have heard say, in a work posthumously circulated, but unpublished), brought out a book opposing Bredenburg's demonstration, entitled: Certamen Philosophicum Propugnatae Veritatis Divinae ac Naturalis, adversus J.B. principia, Amsterdam, 1684. M. Aubert de Verse also wrote in opposition to him the same year under the name of Latinus Serbattus Sartensis. Bredenburg protested that he was convinced of free will and of religion, and that he wished he might be shown a possibility of refuting his own demonstration.

374. I would desire to see this alleged demonstration, and to know whether it tended to prove that primitive Nature, which produces all, acts without choice and without knowledge. In this case, I admit that his proof was Spinozistic and dangerous. But if he meant perhaps that the divine nature is determined toward that which it produces, by its choice and through the motive of the best, there was no need for him to grieve about this so-called immutable, inevitable, irrevocable necessity. It is only moral, it is a happy necessity; and instead of destroying religion it shows divine perfection to the best advantage.

375. I take this opportunity to add that M. Bayle quotes (p. 2773) the opinion of those who believe that the book entitled Lucii Antistii Constantis de Jure Ecclesiasticorum Liber Singularis, published in 1665, is by Spinoza. But I have reason for doubting this, despite that M. Colerus, who has passed on to me an account he wrote of the life of that famous Jew, is also of that opinion. The initial letters L.A.C. lead me to believe that the author of this book was M. de la Cour or Van den Hoof, famous for works on the Interest of Holland, Political Equipoise, and numerous other books that he published (some of them under the signature V.D.H.) attacking the power of the Governor of Holland, which was at that time considered a danger to the Republic; for the memory of Prince William the Second's attempt upon the city of Amsterdam was still quite fresh.[351] Most of the ecclesiastics of Holland were on the side of this prince's son, who was then a minor, and they suspected M. de Witt and what was called the Lowenstein faction of favouring the Arminians, the Cartesians, and other sects that were feared still more, endeavouring to rouse the populace against them, and not without success, as the event proved. It was thus very natural that M. de la Cour should publish this book. It is true that people seldom keep to the happy mean in works published to further party interests. I will say in passing that a French version of the Interest of Holland by M. de la Cour has just been published, under the deceptive title of Memoires de M. le Grand-Pensionnaire de Witt; as if the thoughts of a private individual, who was, to be sure, of de Witt's party, and a man of talent, but who had not enough acquaintance with public affairs or enough ability to write as that great Minister of State might have written, could pass for the production of one of the first men of his time.

376. I saw M. de la Cour as well as Spinoza on my return from France by way of England and Holland, and I learnt from them a few good anecdotes on the affairs of that time. M. Bayle says, p. 2770, that Spinoza studied Latin under a physician named Franz van den Ende. He tells at the same time, on the authority of Sebastian Kortholt (who refers to it in the preface to the second edition of the book by his late father, De Tribus Impostoribus, Herberto L. B. de Cherbury, Hobbio et Spinoza) that a girl instructed Spinoza in Latin, and that she afterwards married M. Kerkering, who was her pupil at the same time as Spinoza. In connexion with that I note that this young lady was a daughter of M. van den Ende, and that she assisted her father in the work of teaching. Van den Ende, who was also called A. Finibus, later went to Paris, and there kept a boarding-school in the Faubourg St. Antoine. He was considered excellent as an instructor, and he told me, when I called upon him there, that he would wager that his audiences would always pay attention to his words. He had with him as well at that time a young girl who also spoke Latin, and worked upon geometrical demonstrations. He had insinuated himself into M. Arnauld's good graces, and the Jesuits began to be jealous of his reputation. But he disappeared shortly afterwards, having been mixed up in the Chevalier de Rohan's conspiracy.

377. I think I have sufficiently proved that neither the foreknowledge nor the providence of God can impair either his justice or his goodness, [352] or our freedom. There remains only the difficulty arising from God's co-operation with the actions of the creature, which seems to concern more closely both his goodness, in relation to our evil actions, and our freedom, in relation to good actions as well as to others. M. Bayle has brought out this also with his usual acuteness. I will endeavour to throw light upon the difficulties he puts forward, and then I shall be in a position to conclude this work. I have already proved that the co-operation of God consists in giving us continually all that is real in us and in our actions, in so far as it involves perfection; but that all that is limited and imperfect therein is a consequence of the previous limitations which are originally in the creature. Since, moreover, every action of the creature is a change of its modifications, it is obvious that action arises in the creature in relation to the limitations or negations which it has within itself, and which are diversified by this change.

378. I have already pointed out more than once in this work that evil is a consequence of privation, and I think that I have explained that intelligibly enough. St. Augustine has already put forward this idea, and St. Basil said something of the same kind in his Hexaemeron, Homil. 2, 'that vice is not a living and animate substance, but an affection of the soul contrary to virtue, which arises from one's abandoning the good; and there is therefore no need to look for an original evil'. M. Bayle, quoting this passage in his Dictionary (art. 'Paulicians', lit. D, p. 2325) commends a remark by Herr Pfanner (whom he calls a German theologian, but he is a jurist by profession, Counsellor to the Dukes of Saxony), who censures St. Basil for not being willing to admit that God is the author of physical evil. Doubtless God is its author, when the moral evil is assumed to be already in existence; but speaking generally, one might assert that God permitted physical evil by implication, in permitting moral evil which is its source. It appears that the Stoics knew also how slender is the entity of evil. These words of Epictetus are an indication: 'Sicut aberrandi causa meta non ponitur, sic nec natura mali in mundo existit.'

379. There was therefore no need to have recourse to a principle of evil, as St. Basil aptly observes. Nor is it necessary either to seek the origin of evil in matter. Those who believed that there was a chaos before God laid his hand upon it sought therein the source of disorder. It was an opinion which Plato introduced into his Timaeus. Aristotle found fault with him for that (in his third book on Heaven, ch. 2) because, [353] according to this doctrine, disorder would be original and natural, and order would have been introduced against nature. This Anaxagoras avoided by making matter remain at rest until it was stirred by God; and Aristotle in the same passage commends him for it. According to Plutarch (De Iside et Osiride, and Tr. de Animae Procreatione ex Timaeo) Plato recognized in matter a certain maleficent soul or force, rebellious against God: it was an actual blemish, an obstacle to God's plans. The Stoics also believed that matter was the source of defects, as Justus Lipsius showed in the first book of the Physiology of the Stoics.

380. Aristotle was right in rejecting chaos: but it is not always easy to disentangle the conceptions of Plato, and such a task would be still less easy in respect of some ancient authors whose works are lost. Kepler, one of the most excellent of modern mathematicians, recognized a species of imperfection in matter, even when there is no irregular motion: he calls it its 'natural inertia', which gives it a resistance to motion, whereby a greater mass receives less speed from one and the same force. There is soundness in this observation, and I have used it to advantage in this work, in order to have a comparison such as should illustrate how the original imperfection of the creatures sets bounds to the action of the Creator, which tends towards good. But as matter is itself of God's creation, it only furnishes a comparison and an example, and cannot be the very source of evil and of imperfection. I have already shown that this source lies in the forms or ideas of the possibles, for it must be eternal, and matter is not so. Now since God made all positive reality that is not eternal, he would have made the source of evil, if that did not rather lie in the possibility of things or forms, that which alone God did not make, since he is not the author of his own understanding.

381. Yet even though the source of evil lies in the possible forms, anterior to the acts of God's will, it is nevertheless true that God co-operates in evil in the actual performance of introducing these forms into matter: and this is what causes the difficulty in question here. Durand de Saint-Pourcain, Cardinal Aureolus, Nicolas Taurel, Father Louis de Dole, M. Bernier and some others, speaking of this co-operation, would have it only general, for fear of impairing the freedom of man and the holiness of God. They seem to maintain that God, having given to creatures the power to act, contents himself with conserving this power. On the [354] other hand, M. Bayle, according to some modern writers, carries the cooperation of God too far: he seems to fear lest the creature be not sufficiently dependent upon God. He goes so far as to deny action to creatures; he does not even acknowledge any real distinction between accident and substance.

382. He places great reliance especially on that doctrine accepted of the Schoolmen, that conservation is a continued creation. The conclusion to be drawn from this doctrine would seem to be that the creature never exists, that it is ever newborn and ever dying, like time, movement and other transient beings. Plato believed this of material and tangible things, saying that they are in a perpetual flux, semper fluunt, nunquam sunt. But of immaterial substances he judged quite differently, regarding them alone as real: nor was he in that altogether mistaken. Yet continued creation applies to all creatures without distinction. Sundry good philosophers have been opposed to this dogma, and M. Bayle tells that David de Rodon, a philosopher renowned among those of the French who have adhered to Geneva, deliberately refuted it. The Arminians also do not approve of it; they are not much in favour of these metaphysical subtleties. I will say nothing of the Socinians, who relish them even less.

383. For a proper enquiry as to whether conservation is a continued creation, it would be necessary to consider the reasons whereon this dogma is founded. The Cartesians, after the example of their master, employ in order to prove it a principle which is not conclusive enough. They say that 'the moments of time having no necessary connexion with one another, it does not follow that because I am at this moment I shall exist at the moment which shall follow, if the same cause which gives me being for this moment does not also give it to me for the instant following.' The author of the Reflexion on the Picture of Socinianism has made use of this argument, and M. Bayle (perhaps the author of this same Reflexion) quotes it (Reply to the Questions of a Provincial, vol. III, ch. 141, p. 771). One may answer that in fact it does not follow of necessity that, because I am, I shall be; but this follows naturally, nevertheless, that is, of itself, per se, if nothing prevents it. It is the distinction that can be drawn between the essential and the natural. For the same movement endures naturally unless some new cause prevents it or changes it, because the reason which makes it cease at this instant, if it is no new reason, [355] would have already made it cease sooner.

384. The late Herr Erhard Weigel, a celebrated mathematician and philosopher at Jena, well known for his Analysis Euclidea, his mathematical philosophy, some neat mechanical inventions, and finally the trouble he took to induce the Protestant princes of the Empire to undertake the last reform of the Almanac, whose success, notwithstanding, he did not witness; Herr Weigel, I say, communicated to his friends a certain demonstration of the existence of God, which indeed amounted to this idea of continued creation. As he was wont to draw parallels between reckoning and reasoning—witness his Arithmetical Ethics (rechenschaftliche Sittenlehre)—he said that the foundation of the demonstration was this beginning of the Pythagorean Table, once one is one. These repeated unities were the moments of the existence of things, each one of them depending upon God, who resuscitates, as it were, all things outside himself at each moment: falling away as they do at each moment, they must ever have one who shall resuscitate them, and that cannot be any other than God. But there would be need of a more exact proof if that is to be called a demonstration. It would be necessary to prove that the creature always emerges from nothingness and relapses thither forthwith. In particular it must be shown that the privilege of enduring more than a moment by its nature belongs to the necessary being alone. The difficulties on the composition of the continuum enter also into this matter. This dogma appears to resolve time into moments, whereas others regard moments and points as mere modalities of the continuum, that is, as extremities of the parts that can be assigned to it, and not as constituent parts. But this is not the place for entering into that labyrinth.

385. What can be said for certain on the present subject is that the creature depends continually upon divine operation, and that it depends upon that no less after the time of its beginning than when it first begins. This dependence implies that it would not continue to exist if God did not continue to act; in short, that this action of God is free. For if it were a necessary emanation, like that of the properties of the circle, which issue from its essence, it must then be said that God in the beginning produced the creature by necessity; or else it must be shown how, in creating it once, he imposed upon himself the necessity of conserving it. Now there is no reason why this conserving action should not be [356] called production, and even creation, if one will: for the dependence being as great afterwards as at the beginning, the extrinsic designation of being new or not does not change the nature of that action.

386. Let us then admit in such a sense that conservation is a continued creation, and let us see what M. Bayle seems to infer thence (p. 771) after the author of the Reflexion on the Picture of Socinianism, in opposition to M. Jurieu. 'It seems to me', this writer says, 'that one must conclude that God does all, and that in all creation there are no first or second or even occasional causes, as can be easily proved. At this moment when I speak, I am such as I am, with all my circumstances, with such thought, such action, whether I sit or stand, that if God creates me in this moment such as I am, as one must of necessity say in this system, he creates me with such thought, such action, such movement and such determination. One cannot say that God creates me in the first place, and that once I am created he produces with me my movements and my determinations. That is indefensible for two reasons. The first is, that when God creates me or conserves me at this instant, he does not conserve me as a being without form, like a species, or another of the Universals of Logic. I am an individual; he creates me and conserves me as such, and as being all that I am in this instant, with all my attendant circumstances. The second reason is that if God creates me in this instant, and one says that afterwards he produces with me my actions, it will be necessary to imagine another instant for action: for before acting one must exist. Now that would be two instants where we only assume one. It is therefore certain in this hypothesis that creatures have neither more connexion nor more relation with their actions than they had with their production at the first moment of the first creation.' The author of this Reflexion draws thence very harsh conclusions which one can picture to oneself; and he testifies at the end that one would be deeply indebted to any man that should teach those who approve this system how to extricate themselves from these frightful absurdities.

387. M. Bayle carries this still further. 'You know', he says (p. 775), 'that it is demonstrated in the Scholastic writings' (he cites Arriaga, Disp. 9, Phys., sect. 6 et praesertim, sub-sect. 3) 'that the creature cannot be either the total cause or the partial cause of its conservation: for if it were, it would exist before existing, which is [357] contradictory. You know that the argument proceeds like this: that which conserves itself acts; now that which acts exists, and nothing can act before it has attained complete existence; therefore, if a creature conserved itself, it would act before being. This argument is not founded upon probabilities, but upon the first principles of Metaphysics, non entis nulla sunt accidentia, operari sequitur esse, axioms as clear as daylight. Let us go further. If creatures co-operated with God (here is meant an active cooperation, and not co-operation by a passive instrument) to conserve themselves they would act before being: that has been demonstrated. Now if they co-operated with God for the production of any other thing, they would also act before being; it is therefore as impossible for them to co-operate with God for the production of any other thing (such as local movement, an affirmation, volition, entities actually distinct from their substance, so it is asserted) as for their own conservation. Since their conservation is a continued creation, and since all human creatures in the world must confess that they cannot co-operate with God at the first moment of their existence, either to produce themselves or to give themselves any modality, since that would be to act before being (observe that Thomas Aquinas and sundry other Schoolmen teach that if the angels had sinned at the first moment of their creation God would be the author of the sin: see the Feuillant Pierre de St. Joseph, p. 318, et seqq., of the Suavis Concordia Humanae Libertatis; it is a sign that they acknowledge that at the first instant the creature cannot act in anything whatsoever), it follows manifestly that they cannot co-operate with God in any one of the subsequent moments, either to produce themselves or to produce any other thing. If they could co-operate therein at the second moment of their existence, nothing would prevent their being able to cooperate at the first moment.'

388. This is the way it will be necessary to answer these arguments. Let us assume that the creature is produced anew at each instant; let us grant also that the instant excludes all priority of time, being indivisible; but let us point out that it does not exclude priority of nature, or what is called anteriority in signo rationis, and that this is sufficient. The production, or action whereby God produces, is anterior by nature to the existence of the creature that is produced; the creature taken in itself, with its nature and its necessary properties, is anterior to its accidental affections and to its actions; and yet all these things are in being [358] in the same moment. God produces the creature in conformity with the exigency of the preceding instants, according to the laws of his wisdom; and the creature operates in conformity with that nature which God conveys to it in creating it always. The limitations and imperfections arise therein through the nature of the subject, which sets bounds to God's production; this is the consequence of the original imperfection of creatures. Vice and crime, on the other hand, arise there through the free inward operation of the creature, in so far as this can occur within the instant, repetition afterwards rendering it discernible.

389. This anteriority of nature is a commonplace in philosophy: thus one says that the decrees of God have an order among themselves. When one ascribes to God (and rightly so) understanding of the arguments and conclusions of creatures, in such sort that all their demonstrations and syllogisms are known to him, and are found in him in a transcendent way, one sees that there is in the propositions or truths a natural order; but there is no order of time or interval, to cause him to advance in knowledge and pass from the premisses to the conclusion.

390. I find in the arguments that have just been quoted nothing which these reflexions fail to satisfy. When God produces the thing he produces it as an individual and not as a universal of logic (I admit); but he produces its essence before its accidents, its nature before its operations, following the priority of their nature, and in signo anteriore rationis. Thus one sees how the creature can be the true cause of the sin, while conservation by God does not prevent the sin; God disposes in accordance with the preceding state of the same creature, in order to follow the laws of his wisdom notwithstanding the sin, which in the first place will be produced by the creature. But it is true that God would not in the beginning have created the soul in a state wherein it would have sinned from the first moment, as the Schoolmen have justly observed: for there is nothing in the laws of his wisdom that could have induced him so to do.

391. This law of wisdom brings it about also that God reproduces the same substance, the same soul. Such was the answer that could have been given by the Abbe whom M. Bayle introduces in his Dictionary (art. 'Pyrrhon.' lit. B, p. 2432). This wisdom effects the connexion of things. I concede therefore that the creature does not co-operate with God to conserve [359] himself (in the sense in which I have just explained conservation). But I see nothing to prevent the creature's co-operation with God for the production of any other thing: and especially might this concern its inward operation, as in the case of a thought or a volition, things really distinct from the substance.

392. But there I am once more at grips with M. Bayle. He maintains that there are no such accidents distinct from the substance. 'The reasons', he says, 'which our modern philosophers have employed to demonstrate that the accidents are not beings in reality distinct from the substance are not mere difficulties; they are arguments which overwhelm one, and which cannot be refuted. Take the trouble', he adds, 'to look for them in the writings of Father Maignan, or Father Malebranche or M. Calli' (Professor of Philosophy at Caen) 'or in the Accidentia profligata of Father Saguens, disciple of Father Maignan, the extract from which is to be found in the Nouvelles de la Republique des Lettres, June 1702. Or if you wish one author only to suffice you, choose Dom Francois Lami, a Benedictine monk, and one of the strongest Cartesians to be found in France. You will find among his Philosophical Letters, printed at Trevoux in 1703, that one wherein by the geometricians' method he demonstrates "that God is the sole true cause of all that which is real." I would wish to see all these books; and as for this last proposition, it may be true in a very good sense: God is the one principal cause of pure and absolute realities, or of perfections. Causae secundae agunt in virtute primae. But when one comprises limitations and privations under the term realities one may say that the second causes co-operate in the production of that which is limited; otherwise God would be the cause of sin, and even the sole cause.

393. It is well to beware, moreover, lest in confusing substances with accidents, in depriving created substances of action, one fall into Spinozism, which is an exaggerated Cartesianism. That which does not act does not merit the name of substance. If the accidents are not distinct from the substances; if the created substance is a successive being, like movement; if it does not endure beyond a moment, and does not remain the same (during some stated portion of time) any more than its accidents; if it does not operate any more than a mathematical figure or a number: why shall one not say, with Spinoza, that God is the only substance, and [360] that creatures are only accidents or modifications? Hitherto it has been supposed that the substance remains, and that the accidents change; and I think one ought still to abide by this ancient doctrine, for the arguments I remember having read do not prove the contrary, and prove more than is needed.

394. 'One of the absurdities', says M. Bayle (p. 779), 'that arise from the so-called distinction which is alleged to exist between substances and their accidents is that creatures, if they produce the accidents, would possess a power of creation and annihilation. Accordingly one could not perform the slightest action without creating an innumerable number of real beings, and without reducing to nothingness an endless multitude of them. Merely by moving the tongue to cry out or to eat, one creates as many accidents as there are movements of the parts of the tongue, and one destroys as many accidents as there are parts of that which one eats, which lose their form, which become chyle, blood, etc.' This argument is only a kind of bugbear. What harm would be done, supposing that an infinity of movements, an infinity of figures spring up and disappear at every moment in the universe, and even in each part of the universe? It can be demonstrated, moreover, that that must be so.

395. As for the so-called creation of the accidents, who does not see that one needs no creative power in order to change place or shape, to form a square or a column, or some other parade-ground figure, by the movement of the soldiers who are drilling; or again to fashion a statue by removing a few pieces from a block of marble; or to make some figure in relief, by changing, decreasing or increasing a piece of wax? The production of modifications has never been called creation, and it is an abuse of terms to scare the world thus. God produces substances from nothing, and the substances produce accidents by the changes of their limits.

396. As for the souls or substantial forms, M. Bayle is right in adding: 'that there is nothing more inconvenient for those who admit substantial forms than the objection which is made that they could not be produced save by an actual creation, and that the Schoolmen are pitiable in their endeavours to answer this.' But there is nothing more convenient for me and for my system than this same objection. For I maintain that all the Souls, Entelechies or primitive forces, substantial forms, simple substances, or Monads, whatever name one may apply to them, can neither spring up [361] naturally nor perish. And the qualities or derivative forces, or what are called accidental forms, I take to be modifications of the primitive Entelechy, even as shapes are modifications of matter. That is why these modifications are perpetually changing, while the simple substance remains.

397. I have shown already (part I, 86 seqq.) that souls cannot spring up naturally, or be derived from one another, and that it is necessary that ours either be created or be pre-existent. I have even pointed out a certain middle way between a creation and an entire pre-existence. I find it appropriate to say that the soul preexisting in the seeds from the beginning of things was only sentient, but that it was elevated to the superior degree, which is that of reason, when the man to whom this soul should belong was conceived, and when the organic body, always accompanying this soul from the beginning, but under many changes, was determined for forming the human body. I considered also that one might attribute this elevation of the sentient soul (which makes it reach a more sublime degree of being, namely reason) to the extraordinary operation of God. Nevertheless it will be well to add that I would dispense with miracles in the generating of man, as in that of the other animals. It will be possible to explain that, if one imagines that in this great number of souls and of animals, or at least of living organic bodies which are in the seeds, those souls alone which are destined to attain one day to human nature contain the reason that shall appear therein one day, and the organic bodies of these souls alone are preformed and predisposed to assume one day the human shape, while the other small animals or seminal living beings, in which no such thing is pre-established, are essentially different from them and possessed only of an inferior nature. This production is a kind of traduction, but more manageable than that kind which is commonly taught: it does not derive the soul from a soul, but only the animate from an animate, and it avoids the repeated miracles of a new creation, which would cause a new and pure soul to enter a body that must corrupt it.

398. I am, however, of the same opinion as Father Malebranche, that, in general, creation properly understood is not so difficult to admit as might be supposed, and that it is in a sense involved in the notion of the dependence of creatures. 'How stupid and ridiculous are the Philosophers!' (he exclaims, in his Christian Meditations, 9, No. 3). 'They assume that Creation is impossible, because they cannot conceive how God's power [362] is great enough to make something from nothing. But can they any better conceive how the power of God is capable of stirring a straw?' He adds, again with great truth (No. 5), 'If matter were uncreate, God could not move it or form anything from it. For God cannot move matter, or arrange it wisely, if he does not know it. Now God cannot know it, if he does not give it being: he can derive his knowledge only from himself. Nothing can act on him or enlighten him.'

399. M. Bayle, not content with saying that we are created continually, insists also on this other doctrine which he would fain derive thence: that our soul cannot act. This is the way he speaks on that matter (ch. 141, p. 765): 'He has too much acquaintance with Cartesianism' (it is of an able opponent he is speaking) 'not to know with what force it has been maintained in our day that there is no creature capable of producing motion, and that our soul is a purely passive subject in relation to sensations and ideas, and feelings of pain and of pleasure, etc. If this has not been carried as far as the volitions, that is on account of the existence of revealed truths; otherwise the acts of the will would have been found as passive as those of the understanding. The same reasons which prove that our soul does not form our ideas, and does not stir our organs, would prove also that it cannot form our acts of love and our volitions, etc' He might add: our vicious actions, our crimes.

400. The force of these proofs, which he praises, must not be so great as he thinks, for if it were they would prove too much. They would make God the author of sin. I admit that the soul cannot stir the organs by a physical influence; for I think that the body must have been so formed beforehand that it would do in time and place that which responds to the volitions of the soul, although it be true nevertheless that the soul is the principle of the operation. But if it be said that the soul does not produce its thoughts, its sensations, its feelings of pain and of pleasure, that is something for which I see no reason. In my system every simple substance (that is, every true substance) must be the true immediate cause of all its actions and inward passions; and, speaking strictly in a metaphysical sense, it has none other than those which it produces. Those who hold a different opinion, and who make God the sole agent, are needlessly becoming involved in expressions whence they will only with difficulty extricate themselves without offence against religion; [363] moreover, they unquestionably offend against reason.

401. Here is, however, the foundation of M. Bayle's argument. He says that we do not do that of which we know not the way it is done. But it is a principle which I do not concede to him. Let us listen to his dissertation (p. 767 seqq.): 'It is an astonishing thing that almost all philosophers (with the exception of those who expounded Aristotle, and who admitted a universal intelligence distinct from our soul, and cause of our perceptions: see in the Historical and Critical Dictionary, Note E of the article "Averroes") have shared the popular belief that we form our ideas actively. Yet where is the man who knows not on the one hand that he is in absolute ignorance as to how ideas are made, and on the other hand, that he could not sew two stitches if he were ignorant of how to sew? Is the sewing of two stitches in itself a work more difficult than the painting in one's mind of a rose, the very first time one's eyes rest upon it, and although one has never learnt this kind of painting? Does it not appear on the contrary that this mental portrait is in itself a work more difficult than tracing on canvas the shape of a flower, a thing we cannot do without having learnt it? We are all convinced that a key would be of no use to us for opening a chest if we were ignorant as to how to use the key, and yet we imagine that our soul is the efficient cause of the movement of our arms, despite that it knows neither where the nerves are which must be used for this movement, nor whence to obtain the animal spirits that are to flow into these nerves. We have the experience every day that the ideas we would fain recall do not come, and that they appear of themselves when we are no longer thinking of them. If that does not prevent us from thinking that we are their efficient cause, what reliance shall one place on the proof of feeling, which to M. Jacquelot appears so conclusive? Does our authority over our ideas more often fall short than our authority over our volitions? If we were to count up carefully, we should find in the course of our life more velleities than volitions, that is, more evidences of the servitude of our will than of its dominion. How many times does one and the same man not experience an inability to do a certain act of will (for example, an act of love for a man who had just injured him; an act of scorn for a fine sonnet that he had composed; an act of hatred for a mistress; an act of approval of an absurd epigram. Take note that I speak only of inward acts, [364] expressed by an "I will", such as "I will scorn", "approve", etc.) even if there were a hundred pistoles to be gained forthwith, and he ardently desired to gain these hundred pistoles, and he were fired with the ambition to convince himself by an experimental proof that he is master in his own domain?

402. 'To put together in few words the whole force of what I have just said to you, I will observe that it is evident to all those who go deeply into things, that the true efficient cause of an effect must know the effect, and be aware also of the way in which it must be produced. That is not necessary when one is only the instrument of the cause, or only the passive subject of its action; but one cannot conceive of it as not necessary to a true agent. Now if we examine ourselves well we shall be strongly convinced, (1) that, independently of experience, our soul is just as little aware of what a volition is as of what an idea is; (2) that after a long experience it is no more fully aware of how volitions are formed than it was before having willed anything. What is one to conclude from that, save that the soul cannot be the efficient cause of its volitions, any more than of its ideas, and of the motion of the spirits which cause our arms to move? (Take note that no pretence is made of deciding the point here absolutely, it is only being considered in relation to the principles of the objection.)'

403. That is indeed a strange way of reasoning! What necessity is there for one always to be aware how that which is done is done? Are salts, metals, plants, animals and a thousand other animate or inanimate bodies aware how that which they do is done, and need they be aware? Must a drop of oil or of fat understand geometry in order to become round on the surface of water? Sewing stitches is another matter: one acts for an end, one must be aware of the means. But we do not form our ideas because we will to do so, they form themselves within us, they form themselves through us, not in consequence of our will, but in accordance with our nature and that of things. The foetus forms itself in the animal, and a thousand other wonders of nature are produced by a certain instinct that God has placed there, that is by virtue of divine preformation, which has made these admirable automata, adapted to produce mechanically such beautiful effects. Even so it is easy to believe that the soul is a spiritual automaton still more admirable, and that it is through divine preformation that it produces these beautiful ideas, wherein our will has no part and to which our [365] art cannot attain. The operation of spiritual automata, that is of souls, is not mechanical, but it contains in the highest degree all that is beautiful in mechanism. The movements which are developed in bodies are concentrated in the soul by representation as in an ideal world, which expresses the laws of the actual world and their consequences, but with this difference from the perfect ideal world which is in God, that most of the perceptions in the other substances are only confused. For it is plain that every simple substance embraces the whole universe in its confused perceptions or sensations, and that the succession of these perceptions is regulated by the particular nature of this substance, but in a manner which always expresses all the nature in the universe; and every present perception leads to a new perception, just as every movement that it represents leads to another movement. But it is impossible that the soul can know clearly its whole nature, and perceive how this innumerable number of small perceptions, piled up or rather concentrated together, shapes itself there: to that end it must needs know completely the whole universe which is embraced by them, that is, it must needs be a God.

404. As regards velleities, they are only a very imperfect kind of conditional will. I would, if I could: liberet si liceret; and in the case of a velleity, we do not will, properly speaking, to will, but to be able. That explains why there are none in God; and they must not be confused with antecedent will. I have explained sufficiently elsewhere that our control over volitions can be exercised only indirectly, and that one would be unhappy if one were sufficiently master in one's own domain to be able to will without cause, without rhyme or reason. To complain of not having such a control would be to argue like Pliny, who carps at the power of God because God cannot destroy himself.

405. I intended to finish here after having met (as it seems to me) all the objections of M. Bayle on this matter that I could find in his works. But remembering Laurentius Valla's Dialogue on Free Will, in opposition to Boethius, which I have already mentioned, I thought it would be opportune to quote it in abstract, retaining the dialogue form, and then to continue from where it ends, keeping up the fiction it initiated; and that less with the purpose of enlivening the subject, than in order to explain myself towards the end of my dissertation as clearly as I can, and in a way [366] most likely to be generally understood. This Dialogue of Valla and his books on Pleasure and the True Good make it plain that he was no less a philosopher than a humanist. These four books were opposed to the four books on the Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius, and the Dialogue to the fifth book. A certain Spaniard named Antonio Glarea requests of him elucidation on the difficulty of free will, whereof little is known as it is worthy to be known, for upon it depend justice and injustice, punishment and reward in this life and in the life to come. Laurentius Valla answers him that we must console ourselves for an ignorance which we share with the whole world, just as one consoles oneself for not having the wings of birds.

406. ANTONIO—I know that you can give me those wings, like another Daedalus, so that I may emerge from the prison of ignorance, and rise to the very region of truth, which is the homeland of souls. The books that I have seen have not satisfied me, not even the famous Boethius, who meets with general approval. I know not whether he fully understood himself what he says of God's understanding, and of eternity superior to time; and I ask for your opinion on his way of reconciling foreknowledge with freedom. LAURENT—I am fearful of giving offence to many people, if I confute this great man; yet I will give preference over this fear to the consideration I have for the entreaties of a friend, provided that you make me a promise. ANT.—What? LAUR.—It is, that when you have dined with me you do not ask me to give you supper, that is to say, I desire that you be content with the answer to the question you have put to me, and do not put a further question.

407. ANT.—I promise you. Here is the heart of the difficulty. If God foresaw the treason of Judas, it was necessary that he should betray, it was impossible for him not to betray. There is no obligation to do the impossible. He therefore did not sin, he did not deserve to be punished. That destroys justice and religion, and the fear of God. LAUR.—God foresaw sin; but he did not compel man to commit it; sin is voluntary. ANT.—That will was necessary, since it was foreseen. LAUR.—If my knowledge does not cause things past or present to exist, neither will my foreknowledge cause future things to exist.

408. ANT.—That comparison is deceptive: neither the present nor the past can be changed, they are already necessary; but the future, movable in itself, becomes fixed and necessary through foreknowledge. Let us [367] pretend that a god of the heathen boasts of knowing the future: I will ask him if he knows which foot I shall put foremost, then I will do the opposite of that which he shall have foretold. LAUR.—This God knows what you are about to do. ANT.—How does he know it, since I will do the opposite of what he shall have said, and I suppose that he will say what he thinks? LAUR.—Your supposition is false: God will not answer you; or again, if he were to answer you, the veneration you would have for him would make you hasten to do what he had said; his prediction would be to you an order. But we have changed the question. We are not concerned with what God will foretell but with what he foresees. Let us therefore return to foreknowledge, and distinguish between the necessary and the certain. It is not impossible for what is foreseen not to happen; but it is infallibly sure that it will happen. I can become a Soldier or Priest, but I shall not become one.

409. ANT.—Here I have you firmly held. The philosophers' rule maintains that all that which is possible can be considered as existing. But if that which you affirm to be possible, namely an event different from what has been foreseen, actually happened, God would have been mistaken. LAUR.—The rules of the philosophers are not oracles for me. This one in particular is not correct. Two contradictories are often both possible. Can they also both exist? But, for your further enlightenment, let us pretend that Sextus Tarquinius, coming to Delphi to consult the Oracle of Apollo, receives the answer:

Exul inopsque cades irata pulsus ab urbe. A beggared outcast of the city's rage, Beside a foreign shore cut short thy age.

The young man will complain: I have brought you a royal gift, O Apollo, and you proclaim for me a lot so unhappy? Apollo will say to him: Your gift is pleasing to me, and I will do that which you ask of me, I will tell you what will happen. I know the future, but I do not bring it about. Go make your complaint to Jupiter and the Parcae. Sextus would be ridiculous if he continued thereafter to complain about Apollo. Is not that true? ANT.—He will say: I thank you, O holy Apollo, for not having repaid me with silence, for having revealed to me the Truth. But whence comes it that Jupiter is so cruel towards me, that he prepares so hard a fate for an[368] innocent man, for a devout worshipper of the Gods? LAUR.—You innocent? Apollo will say. Know that you will be proud, that you will commit adulteries, that you will be a traitor to your country. Could Sextus reply: It is you who are the cause, O Apollo; you compel me to do it, by foreseeing it? ANT.—I admit that he would have taken leave of his senses if he were to make this reply. LAUR.—Therefore neither can the traitor Judas complain of God's foreknowledge. And there is the answer to your question.

410. ANT.—You have satisfied me beyond my hopes, you have done what Boethius was not able to do: I shall be beholden to you all my life long. LAUR.—Yet let us carry our tale a little further. Sextus will say: No, Apollo, I will not do what you say. ANT.—What! the God will say, do you mean then that I am a liar? I repeat to you once more, you will do all that I have just said. LAUR.—Sextus, mayhap, would pray the Gods to alter fate, to give him a better heart. ANT.—He would receive the answer:

Desine fata Deum flecti sperare precando.

He cannot cause divine foreknowledge to lie. But what then will Sextus say? Will he not break forth into complaints against the Gods? Will he not say? What? I am then not free? It is not in my power to follow virtue? LAUR.—Apollo will say to him perhaps: Know, my poor Sextus, that the Gods make each one as he is. Jupiter made the wolf ravening, the hare timid, the ass stupid, and the lion courageous. He gave you a soul that is wicked and irreclaimable; you will act in conformity with your natural disposition, and Jupiter will treat you as your actions shall deserve; he has sworn it by the Styx.

411. ANT.—I confess to you, it seems to me that Apollo in excusing himself accuses Jupiter more than he accuses Sextus, and Sextus would answer him: Jupiter therefore condemns in me his own crime; it is he who is the only guilty one. He could have made me altogether different: but, made as I am, I must act as he has willed. Why then does he punish me? Could I have resisted his will? LAUR.—I confess that I am brought to a pause here as you are. I have made the Gods appear on the scene, Apollo and Jupiter, to make you distinguish between divine foreknowledge and providence. I have shown that Apollo and foreknowledge do not impair freedom; but I cannot satisfy you on the decrees of Jupiter's will, that is to say, on the orders of providence. ANT.—You have dragged me out of one abyss, and you [369] plunge me back into another and greater abyss. LAUR.—Remember our contract: I have given you dinner, and you ask me to give you supper also.

412. ANT.—Now I discover your cunning: You have caught me, this is not an honest contract. LAUR.—What would you have me do? I have given you wine and meats from my home produce, such as my small estate can provide; as for nectar and ambrosia, you will ask the Gods for them: that divine nurture is not found among men. Let us hearken to St. Paul, that chosen vessel who was carried even to the third heaven, who heard there unutterable words: he will answer you with the comparison of the potter, with the incomprehensibility of the ways of God, and wonder at the depth of his wisdom. Nevertheless it is well to observe that one does not ask why God foresees the thing, for that is understood, it is because it will be: but one asks why he ordains thus, why he hardens such an one, why he has compassion on another. We do not know the reasons which he may have for this; but since he is very good and very wise that is enough to make us deem that his reasons are good. As he is just also, it follows that his decrees and his operation do not destroy our freedom. Some men have sought some reason therein. They have said that we are made from a corrupt and impure mass, indeed of mud. But Adam and the Angels were made of silver and gold, and they sinned notwithstanding. One sometimes becomes hardened again after regeneration. We must therefore seek another cause for evil, and I doubt whether even the Angels are aware of it; yet they cease not to be happy and to praise God. Boethius hearkened more to the answer of philosophy than to that of St. Paul; that was the cause of his failure. Let us believe in Jesus Christ, he is the virtue and the wisdom of God: he teaches us that God willeth the salvation of all, that he willeth not the death of the sinner. Let us therefore put our trust in the divine mercy, and let us not by our vanity and our malice disqualify ourselves to receive it.

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