Chapter 31

Of The World

THE world or Universe is distinguished into

Intellectuall or Invisible—of Angels,

Aspectible, bodyes—of this here.

It is not directly a Subject of Physicks or any other Science because it is an Aggregate, or being by accident. Its defin’d an Aggregate body, consisting of Heaven, Earth, Elements and all other naturall bodyes disposed togather in the best order.

Of this Consider the Principles, and affections.

1. The Principles (analogically So cal’d) Speaking of it (as it were) a Physicall body. Internall Externall.

1. Internall, matter, and form.

1. Matter, Aggregate all natturall bodyes.

2. Form, not one Soul of the Universe diffused throughout all its parts (as the Platonists would have it) but Such as is convenient for Such an Aggregate matter, Namly naturall order between all these bodyes.

2. Externall Efficient, and End.

1. Efficient, God who created all things out of nothing, not (as Epicurus would have it) the Casuall Concourse of Atomes rolling about in the Abyss, for (Say they) two of them meating hitched togather, they rolling further met a third, which was allso affixed to them, these a fourth, etc: Still increasing (as a Snow ball) by tumbling further, but that So beautifull and wise a Contexture Should come forth thus by Accident is Such an Idle Conceit that a man may as well think that Stones, timber, tyles, etc: Should roll, by Chance into a beautifull Structure; or that printers letters Cast up in the Air would fall down into Such an Order as from them we might read an Ingeneous poem.1 Others have thought that the wo[r]ld might have no beginning, or been from eternity, but if So there must be two Infinites, God, and the world, which is absurd; again if So, then there must have been a multitude of men before Adam, as well as other things: and then Supposing them to [have been] of the Same kind, and inclination with other men who we see love to communicate the hystory of their [own] times to [posterity], we had then Surely had the hystory of their times infinitely before the present date of the world; and the 764 Imaginary years of the Julian period, had not only been reall time, but they and Infinitely more before them had been filled with noble actions; and then also had all arts, and Sciences had their perfection infinitely Sooner, and not grown by degrees as we see they do. God indeed could have created it from Eternity, but the world could not be from eternity: The Active [95] power was Sufficient for it but not the passive; we may therefore conclude with the Schoolmen, that newness of being (or to have a beginning) is necessary to the Creature, and if a beginning then [a] Cause, and that not itselfe (which could not act before it was) nor any other thing except God himself, who has no Cause nor beginning, for if any other thing which had a beginning was a Cause, then that also must have its Cause and So onwards Infinitely, which in ratiocination is absurd.

Not atomes rolling concurrs World forth brings

Nor Can Externall be Created things.

The Efficiency of God in respect of the world is Creation, and that

Primary or


1. Primary, a production of all things out of, or rather from nothing. The term nothing being considered not as matter, but as a term from which, as Privation is in Generation; So he produced the Chaos, or first Confused or inordinate matter.

2. Secondary, out of inhabile or unapt matter, as man out of Earth woman out of man; and this also is creation because exceeding the power of nature, and therefore requiring an Infinite power to affect.

Chaos at first; then [Species] which we See.

Which by the power of nature could, not be.

2. The End of the World is 2 fold, Primary, and Secondary.

1. Primary Gods Glory: for the Invisible things of him from the Creation of the world are Clea[r]ly Seen being understood by the things that are made even his Eternall power and Godhead, (Romans, 1. 20.)

2. Secondary, is the Use of man, (Genesis, 1. 28.) have dominion over it, (and verse 29.) behold I have Given you Every herb, etc:

Worlds matter aggregate form order is

Maker God; End his [Glory], and mans bliss.

and thus of the principles of the world.

2. The Affections are Usuaslly reckoned, 5. Unity, Locability, Duration, contiguity perfection

1. Unity, for though God by his absolute power could have created more such worlds, yet tis probable he did not; because this one is Sufficient for the Ends, (Gods Glory, and mans good.) And if it were granted that the moon and all other planets, except the Sun, were not only habitable, but inhabited, as this our Earth is, yet this would not make a plurality of worlds; because the Earth, planets, and fixed Stars altogather make but one world. Those places, (Hebrews. [1. 2. and] 11. 3.) that mention worlds as made (Κοσμια) are Spoken of the parts metanimically having the name of the Whole from their adornment which the aforementioned Greek-word Signifyes. So that they are to be understood thus; all the adorned and beautifull creatures were made of what did not appear, or nothing, for of not being and not appearing is the Same reason or we make the Same account.

One world therein all bodyes doth comprise,

and to Answer Gods Creating End Suffise

2. Locability (in Power) though not Locality (in act) as to Externall place there being no other body containing or Adjacent. Internall place it has namely the Space it does possess, but instead of the Externall is the Abyss, or Imaginary space, or rather the Infinite presence of God.

Internall place unto the world there is

Externall none; unless it be th’abyss.

3. Duration unknown to man.

1. As to the present State of nature men are apt to enquire of this or any other hidden knowledge; the Jews had a Conceit of 6000 years and then the 1000 Sabbatism; applying that of the Psalmist 1000 years are in thy presence but as yesterday, (Psalm 90. 4) hence they inferr that 1000 years are answerable to a day, and So the world to last a Week of Such dayes, but here are too many presumptions for faith or reason to assent unto. Others have allowed unto the world 33 Jubilees (of 50 years) for the Christian religion to remain on the Earth because Christ lived 33 years in the dayes of his flesh; and then it Should have Ended anno 1650. Which being past this Conceit is Experimentally confuted. A more Ingenious conjecture is that of Dr. Power2 taken from the motion of the Suns Apoge, which is but I degree. 42. 33." in [100] years, now this revolution will not be accomplished in less than 20000 years therefore so much he assigns to the world, whereof about 5000 years are past, and about 15000 yet to come; for he Supposes that the wise oppificer will not distroy his fabrick till every wheel has had its round once at least. But waving these conceits of men we should have regard rather to Scripture which plainly tells us it is not for us to know the times which he has put only in his own power (Acts. 1. 7.) And again Of that day and hour knoweth no man nor the Angels in heaven, nor the Son (as man by humane ordinary knowledge) but the father (Mark. 13. 32.) yea it ware better for us (leaving Secret things with God) to mind our personall frailty, and prepare for our own dissolutions, and departure, out of this world, for then the world [will be ended for] us, how long [96] soever it Lasteth after us. Only Sure it is that the world will continue till all the Elect be cal’d; but who they are, and how many, and in what Ages they Shall live can only be Known to God.

2. As to the future State of the Universe after the Dissolution of the present form and Matter diverse conjectures also have been made. Some have thought, it shall be totally Annihilated, Others that the last conflagration will be only a purgative fire of the Dross, and Vanity to which the whole groaning creation was made subject by the Sin of man; and that the raised, and Glorifyed bodyes of Saints shall have their happy residence in this purifyed world; being by this refining rendred the new heavens and new Earth, which are promised to come and shall abide for ever. But I doubt in this matter also the Scripture light is not Sufficient to make Such conjectures Satisfactory. On the whole it is best for us to be wise unto Sobryety, not pretending to know more than is intelligibly revealled to us, tis enough to beleive that Glorifyed bodyes shall have a Glorious State adapted for them where so ever it be.

The worlds duration is a thing conceal’d

We are Allow’d to know but what’s reveal’d

4. Contiguity of parts So that there is no Vacuum (or Empty Space) therein. Tis better methinks to allow Cartesian Subtile matter, than the Atomists intersperced vacuityes, to Solve the doctrine of Locall motion. The matter of Light and fyer we See can penitrate where air cannot, and therefore the Subtile matter being the Same or like it may Every way Give place to, and Immediatly follow a [removing] body, [without] penetration of Dimensions.

Vacuum abhorr’d, all motion Solve you may

by Subtile matter yealding every way.

5. Perfection, both of parts, and Vertues.

1. Of parts [their variety] being a Sufficient number of Species or Kinds, the Individuall Souls are dayly [c]reated anew yet they are no new Species, the Extraordinary, and miraculous works that are Somtimes Seen are not to be [reckoned] as Species of nature, or additions to the world but new creatures of Gods immediate power [produced] for the Same End for which the world was made.

2. Of Vertues, their degrees assigned to Every Creature; So that tho we may fancy greater perfections, (as that man Should fly as birds dive as fishes, be Invisible as Angels etc:) yet in reallity these would not be mans perfections because the Infinitly wise God has ordered for Every Thing what is best; his will and wisdom being the measure of all perfection.

The World of parts perfection is Possest.

and Every part of Vertues which are best.

Now of him, and through him, and to him are all things [to whom be Glory] for Ever. Amen.


OCTOBER 3. ANNO. 1697.