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Title: Theodicy - Essays on the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man and the Origin of Evil
Author: Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm, Freiherr von, 1646-1716
Language: English
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Essays on
the Goodness of God
the Freedom of Man and
the Origin of Evil


Edited with an Introduction by Austin Farrer, Fellow of Trinity College,

Translated by E.M. Huggard from C.J. Gerhardt's Edition of the Collected
Philosophical Works, 1875-90

Open [Logo] Court

La Salle, Illinois 61301

       *       *       *       *       *


OPEN COURT and the above logo are registered in the U.S. Patent & Trademark

  Published 1985 by Open Court Publishing Company, Peru, Illinois 61354.
  This edition first published 1951 by Routledge & Kegan Paul Limited,
  Second printing 1988
  Third printing 1990
  Fourth printing 1993
  Fifth printing 1996

Printed and bound in the United States of America.


  Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm, Freiherr von, 1646-1716.
    Theodicy: essays on the goodness of God, the
  freedom of man, and the origin of evil.

    Translation of: Essais de Théodicée.
    Includes index.
    1. Theodicy--Early works to 1800. I. Title.
  B2590.E5 1985 231'.8 85-8833
  ISBN O-87548-437-9

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION                                                page 7
PREFACE                                                                  49
EXCURSUS ON THEODICY, § 392                                             389
CAUSA DEI ASSERTA                                                       443
INDEX                                                                   445

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


Leibniz was above all things a metaphysician. That does not mean that his
head was in the clouds, or that the particular sciences lacked interest for
him. Not at all--he felt a lively concern for theological debate, he was a
mathematician of the first rank, he made original contributions to physics,
he gave a realistic attention to moral psychology. But he was incapable of
looking at the objects of any special enquiry without seeing them as
aspects or parts of one intelligible universe. He strove constantly after
system, and the instrument on which his effort relied was the speculative
reason. He embodied in an extreme form the spirit of his age. Nothing could
be less like the spirit of ours. To many people now alive metaphysics means
a body of wild and meaningless assertions resting on spurious argument. A
professor of metaphysics may nowadays be held to deal handsomely with the
duties of his chair if he is prepared to handle metaphysical statements at
all, though it be only for the purpose of getting rid of them, by showing
them up as confused forms of something else. A chair in metaphysical
philosophy becomes analogous to a chair in tropical diseases: what is
taught from it is not the propagation but the cure.

Confidence in metaphysical construction has ebbed and flowed through
philosophical history; periods of speculation have been followed by periods
of criticism. The tide will flow again, but it has not turned yet, and  [8]
such metaphysicians as survive scarcely venture further than to argue a
case for the possibility of their art. It would be an embarrassing task to
open an approach to Leibnitian metaphysics from the present metaphysical
position, if there is a present position. If we want an agreed
starting-point, it will have to be historical.

The historical importance of Leibniz's ideas is anyhow unmistakable. If
metaphysical thinking is nonsensical, its empire over the human imagination
must still be confessed; if it is as chimerical a science as alchemy, it is
no less fertile in by-products of importance. And if we are to consider
Leibniz historically, we cannot do better than take up his _Theodicy_, for
two reasons. It was the only one of his main philosophical works to be
published in his lifetime, so that it was a principal means of his direct
influence; the Leibniz his own age knew was the Leibniz of the _Theodicy_.
Then in the second place, the _Theodicy_ itself is peculiarly rich in
historical material. It reflects the world of men and books which Leibniz
knew; it expresses the theological setting of metaphysical speculation
which still predominated in the first years of the eighteenth century.

Leibniz is remembered for his philosophy; he was not a professional
philosopher. He was offered academic chairs, but he declined them. He was a
gentleman, a person of means, librarian to a reigning prince, and
frequently employed in state affairs of trust and importance. The librarian
might at any moment become the political secretary, and offer his own
contributions to policy. Leibniz was for the greater part of his active
life the learned and confidential servant of the House of Brunswick; when
the Duke had nothing better to do with him, he set him to research into
ducal history. If Leibniz had a profession in literature, it was history
rather than philosophy. He was even more closely bound to the interests of
his prince than John Locke was to those of the Prince of Orange. The Houses
of Orange and of Brunswick were on the same side in the principal contest
which divided Europe, the battle between Louis XIV and his enemies. It was
a turning-point of the struggle when the Prince of Orange supplanted
Louis's Stuart friends on the English throne. It was a continuation of the
same movement, when Leibniz's master, George I, succeeded to the same
throne, and frustrated the restoration of the Stuart heir. Locke returned
to England in the wake of the Prince of Orange, and became the          [9]
representative thinker of the régime. Leibniz wished to come to the English
court of George I, but was unkindly ordered to attend to the duties of his
librarianship. So he remained in Hanover. He was then an old man, and
before the tide of favour had turned, he died.

Posterity has reckoned Locke and Leibniz the heads of rival sects, but
politically they were on the same side. As against Louis's political
absolutism and enforced religious uniformity, both championed religious
toleration and the freedom of the mind. Their theological liberalism was
political prudence; it was not necessarily for that reason the less
personally sincere. They had too much wisdom to meet bigotry with bigotry,
or set Protestant intolerance against Catholic absolutism. But they had too
much sympathy with the spirit of Europe to react into free thinking or to
make a frontal attack on revealed truth. They took their stand on a
fundamental Christian theism, the common religion of all good men; they
repudiated the negative enormities of Hobbes and Spinoza.

The Christian was to hold a position covered by three lines of defences.
The base line was to be the substance of Christian theism and of Christian
morals, and it was to be held by the forces of sheer reason, without aid
from scriptural revelation. The middle line was laid down by the general
sense of Scripture, and the defence of it was this. 'Scriptural doctrine is
reconcilable with the findings of sheer reason, but it goes beyond them. We
believe the Scriptures, because they are authenticated by marks of
supernatural intervention in the circumstances of their origin. We believe
them, but reason controls our interpretation of them.' There remained the
most forward and the most hazardous line: the special positions which a
Church, a sect, or an individual might found upon the scriptural
revelation. A prudent man would not hold his advance positions in the same
force or defend them with the same obstinacy as either of the lines behind
them. He could argue for them, but he could not require assent to them.

One cannot help feeling, indeed, the readiness of these writers to fall
back, not only from the front line to the middle line, but from the middle
line itself to the base line. Leibniz, for example, writes with perfect
seriousness and decency about the Christian scheme of redemption, but it
hardly looks like being for him a crucial deliverance from perdition. It is
not the intervention of Mercy, by which alone He possesses himself of  [10]
us: it is one of the ways in which supreme Benevolence carries out a cosmic
policy; and God's benevolence is known by pure reason, and apart from
Christian revelation.

In one politically important particular the theological attitude of Leibniz
differed from that of Locke. Both stood for toleration and for the
minimizing of the differences between the sects. This was a serious enough
matter in England, but it was an even more serious matter in Germany. For
Germany was divided between Catholics and Protestants; effective toleration
must embrace them both. English toleration might indulge a harmless
Catholic minority, while rejecting the Catholic régime as the embodiment of
intolerance. But this was not practical politics on the Continent; you must
tolerate Catholicism on an equal footing, and come to terms with Catholic
régimes. Leibniz was not going to damn the Pope with true Protestant
fervour. It was his consistent aim to show that his theological principles
were as serviceable to Catholic thinkers as to the doctors of his own
church. On some points, indeed, he found his most solid support from
Catholics; in other places there are hints of a joint Catholic-Lutheran
front against Calvinism. But on the whole Leibniz's writings suggest that
the important decisions cut across all the Churches, and not between them.

Leibniz was impelled to a compromise with 'popery', not only by the
religious divisions of Germany, but (at one stage) by the political
weakness of the German Protestant States. At the point of Louis XIV's
highest success, the Protestant princes had no hope but in Catholic
Austria, and Austria was distracted by Turkish pressure in the rear.
Leibniz hoped to relieve the situation by preaching a crusade. Could not
the Christian princes sink their differences and unite against the infidel?
And could not the Christian alliance be cemented by theological agreement?
Hence Leibniz's famous negotiation with Bossuet for a basis of
Catholic-Lutheran concord. It was plainly destined to fail; and it was
bound to recoil upon its author. How could he be a true Protestant who
treated the differences with the Catholics as non-essentials? How could he
have touched pitch and taken no defilement? Leibniz was generally admired,
but he was not widely trusted. As a mere politician, he may be judged to
have over-reached himself.

It has been the object of the preceding paragraphs to show that Leibniz[11]
the politician and Leibniz the theologian were one and the same person; not
at all to suggest that his rational theology was just political expediency.
We may apply to him a parody of his own doctrine, the pre-established
harmony between nature and grace. Everything happens as though Leibniz were
a liberal politician, and his theology expressed his politics. Yes, but
equally, everything happens as though Leibniz were a philosophical
theologian, and his politics expressed his theology. His appreciation of
Catholic speculation was natural and sincere; his dogmatic ancestry is to
be looked for in Thomism and Catholic humanism as much as anywhere. Above
all, he had himself a liberal and generous mind. It gave him pleasure to
appreciate good wherever he could see it, and to discover a soul of truth
in every opinion.

From the moment when Leibniz became aware of himself as an independent
thinker, he was the man of a doctrine. Sometimes he called it 'my
principles', sometimes 'the new system', sometimes 'pre-established
harmony'. It could be quite briefly expressed; he was always ready to
oblige his friends with a summary statement, either in a letter or an
enclosed memorandum, and several such have come down to us. The doctrine
may have been in Leibniz's view simple, but it was applicable to every
department of human speculation or enquiry. It provided a new alphabet of
philosophical ideas, and everything in heaven and earth could be expressed
in it; not only could be, but ought to be, and Leibniz showed tireless
energy in working out restatements of standing problems.

As a man with an idea, with a philosophical nostrum, Leibniz may be
compared to Bishop Berkeley. There was never any more doubt that Leibniz
was a Leibnitian than that Berkeley was a Berkeleian. But there is no
comparison between the two men in the width of their range. About many
things Berkeley never took the trouble to Berkeleianize. To take the most
surprising instance of his neglect--he assured the world that his whole
doctrine pointed to, and hung upon, theology. But what sort of a theology?
He scarcely took the first steps in the formulation of it. He preferred to
keep on defending and explaining his _esse est percipi_. With Leibniz it is
wholly different; he carries his new torch into every corner, to illuminate
the dark questions.

The wide applicability of pre-established harmony might come home to its
inventor as a rich surprise. The reflective historian will find it less[12]
surprising, for he will suspect that the applications were in view from the
start. What was Leibniz thinking of when the new principle flashed upon
him? What was he _not_ thinking of? He had a many-sided mind. If the
origins of the principle were complex, little wonder that its applications
were manifold. Every expositor of Leibniz who does not wish to be endlessly
tedious must concentrate attention on one aspect of Leibniz's principle,
and one source of its origin. We will here give an account of the matter
which, we trust, will go most directly to the heart of it, but we will make
no claims to sufficient interpretation of Leibniz's thought-processes.

Leibniz, then, like all the philosophers of the seventeenth century, was
reforming scholasticism in the light of a new physical science. The science
was mathematical in its form, mechanistical in its doctrine, and
unanswerable in its evidence--it got results. But it was metaphysically
intractable, and the doctrines of infinite and finite substance which it
generated furnish a gallery of metaphysical grotesques; unless we are to
except Leibniz; his system is, if nothing else, a miracle of ingenuity, and
there are moments when we are in danger of believing it.

It is a natural mistake for the student of seventeenth-century thought to
underestimate the tenacity of scholastic Aristotelianism. Descartes, we all
know, was reared in it, but then Descartes overthrew it; and he had done
his work and died by the time that Leibniz was of an age to philosophize at
all. We expect to see Leibniz starting on his shoulders and climbing on
from there. We are disappointed. Leibniz himself tells us that he was
raised in the scholastic teaching. His acquaintance with Descartes's
opinions was second-hand, and they were retailed to him only that they
might be derided. He agreed, like an amiable youth, with his preceptors.

The next phase of his development gave him a direct knowledge of Cartesian
writings, and of other modern books beside, such as those of the atomist
Gassendi. He was delighted with what he read, because of its fertility in
the field of physics and mathematics; and for a short time he was an
enthusiastic modern. But presently he became dissatisfied. The new systems
did not go far enough, they were still scientifically inadequate. At the
same time they went too far, and carried metaphysical paradox beyond the
limits of human credulity.

There is no mystery about Leibniz's scientific objections to the new
philosophers. If he condemned them here, it was on the basis of scientific
thought and observation. Descartes's formulation of the laws of motion
could, for example, be refuted by physical experiment; and if his general
view of physical nature was bound up with it, then so much the worse for
the Cartesian philosophy. But whence came Leibniz's more strictly
metaphysical objections? Where had he learned that standard of metaphysical
adequacy which showed up the inadequacy of the new metaphysicians? His own
disciples might be satisfied to reply, that he learnt it from Reason
herself; but the answer will not pass with us. Leibniz reasoned, indeed,
but he did not reason from nowhere, nor would he have got anywhere if he
had. His conception of metaphysical reason was what his early scholastic
training had made it.

There are certain absurd opinions which we are sure we have been taught,
although, when put to it, we find it hard to name the teacher. Among them
is something of this sort. 'Leibniz was a scholarly and sympathetic
thinker. He had more sense of history than his contemporaries, and he was
instinctively eclectic. He believed he could learn something from each of
his great predecessors. We see him reaching back to cull a notion from
Plato or from Aristotle; he even found something of use in the scholastics.
In particular, he picked out the Aristotelian "entelechy" to stop a gap in
the philosophy of his own age.' What this form of statement ignores is that
Leibniz _was_ a scholastic: a scholastic endeavouring, like Descartes
before him, to revolutionize scholasticism. The word 'entelechy' was,
indeed, a piece of antiquity which Leibniz revived, but the thing for which
it stood was the most familiar of current scholastic conceptions.
'Entelechy' means active principle of wholeness or completion in an
individual thing. Scholasticism was content to talk about it under the name
of 'substantial form' or 'formal cause'. But the scholastic interpretation
of the idea was hopelessly discredited by the new science, and the
scholastic terms shared the discredit of scholastic doctrine. Leibniz
wanted a term with a more general sound. 'There is an _X_', he wanted to
say, 'which scholasticism has defined as substantial form, but I am going
to give a new definition of it.' Entelechy was a useful name for _X_, the
more so as it had the authority of Aristotle, the master of scholasticism.

Under the name of entelechy Leibniz was upholding the soul of          [14]
scholastic doctrine, while retrenching the limbs and outward flourishes.
The doctrine of substantial form which he learnt in his youth had had
_something_ in it; he could not settle down in the principles of Descartes
or of Gassendi, because both ignored this vital _something_. Since the
requirements of a new science would not allow a return to sheer
scholasticism, it was necessary to find a fresh philosophy, in which
entelechy and mechanism might be accommodated side by side.

If one had asked any 'modern' of the seventeenth century to name the
'ancient' doctrine he most abominated, he would most likely have replied,
'Substantial form'. Let us recall what was rejected under this name, and

The medieval account of physical nature had been dominated by what we may
call common-sense biology. Biology, indeed, is the science of the living,
and the medievals were no more inclined than we are to endow all physical
bodies with life. What they did do was to take living bodies as typical,
and to treat other bodies as imperfectly analogous to them. Such an
approach was _a priori_ reasonable enough. For we may be expected to know
best the physical being closest to our own; and we, at any rate, are alive.
Why not argue from the better known to the less known, from the nearer to
the more remote, interpreting other things by the formula of our own being,
and allowing whatever discount is necessary for their degree of unlikeness
to us?

Common-sense biology reasons as follows. In a living body there is a
certain pattern of organized parts, a certain rhythm of successive motions,
and a certain range of characteristic activities. The pattern, the sheer
anatomy, is basic; but it cannot long continue to exist (outside a
refrigerator) without accompanying vital rhythms in heart, respiration and
digestion. Nor do these perform their parts without the intermittent
support of variable but still characteristic activities: dogs not only
breathe and digest, they run about, hunt their food, look for mates, bark
at cats, and so on. The anatomical pattern, the vital rhythm, and the
characteristic acts together express dogginess; they reveal the specific
form of the dog. They _reveal_ it; exactly what the specific form
_consisted in_ was the subject of much medieval speculation. It need not
concern us here.

Taking the form of the species for granted, common-sense biology proceeds
to ask how it comes to be in a given instance, say in the dog Toby.    [15]
Before this dog was born or thought of, his form or species was displayed
in each of his parents. And now it looks as though the form of dog had
detached itself from them through the generative act, and set up anew on
its own account. How does it do that? By getting hold of some materials in
which to express itself. At first it takes them from the body of the
mother, afterwards it collects them from a wider environment, and what the
dog eats becomes the dog.

What, then, is the relation of the assimilated materials to the dog-form
which assimilates them? Before assimilation, they have their own form.
Before the dog eats the leg of mutton, it has the form given to it by its
place in the body of a sheep. What happens to the mutton? Is it without
remainder transubstantiated from sheep into dog? It loses all its
distinctively sheep-like characteristicsm but there may be some more
basically material characteristics which it preserves. They underlay the
structure of the mutton, and they continue to underlie the structure of the
dog's flesh which supplants it. Whatever these characteristics may be, let
us call them common material characteristics, and let us say that they
belong to or compose a common material nature.

The common material nature has its own way of existing, and perhaps its own
principles of physical action. We may suppose that we know much or that we
know little about it. This one thing at least we know, that it is capable
of becoming alternatively either mutton or dog's flesh. It is not essential
to it to be mutton, or mutton it would always be; nor dog's flesh, or it
would always be dog's flesh. It is capable of becoming either, according as
it is captured by one or other system of formal organization. So the voters
who are to go to the polls are, by their common nature, Englishmen; they
are essentially neither Socialist curs nor Conservative sheep, but
intrinsically capable of becoming either, if they become captured by either
system of party organization.

According to this way of thinking, there is a certain _looseness_ about the
relation of the common material nature to the higher forms of organization
capable of capturing it. Considered in itself alone, it is perhaps to be
seen as governed by absolutely determined laws of its own. It is heavy,
then it will fall unless obstructed; it is solid, then it will resist
intrusions. But considered as material for organization by higher forms, it
is indeterminate. It acts in one sort of way under the persuasion of the
sheep-form, and in another sort of way under the persuasion of the     [16]
dog-form, and we cannot tell how it will act until we know which form is
going to capture it. No amount of study bestowed on the common material
nature will enable us to judge how it will behave under the persuasion of
the higher organizing form. The only way to discover that is to examine the
higher form itself.

Every form, then, will really be the object of a distinct science. The form
of the sheep and the form of the dog have much in common, but that merely
happens to be so; we cannot depend upon it, or risk inferences from sheep
to dog: we must examine each in itself; we shall really need a science of
probatology about sheep, and cynology about dogs. Again, the common
material nature has its own principles of being and action, so it will need
a science of itself, which we may call hylology. Each of these sciences is
mistress in her own province; but how many there are, and how puzzlingly
they overlap! So long as we remain within the province of a single science,
we may be able to think rigorously, everything will be 'tight'. But as soon
as we consider border-issues between one province and another, farewell to
exactitude: everything will be 'loose'. We can think out hylology till we
are blue in the face, but we shall never discover anything about the entry
of material elements into higher organizations, or how they behave when
they get there. We may form perfect definitions and descriptions of the
form of the dog as such, and still derive no rules for telling what
elements of matter will enter into the body of a given dog or how they will
be placed when they do. All we can be sure of is, that the dog-form will
keep itself going in, and by means of, the material it embodies--unless the
dog dies. But what happens to the matter in the body of the dog is
'accidental' to the nature of the matter; and the use of this matter,
rather than of some other equally suitable, is accidental to the nature of
the dog.

No account of material events can dispense with accidental relations
altogether. We must at least recognize that there are accidental relations
between particular things. Accident in the sense of brute fact had to be
acknowledged even by the tidiest and most dogmatic atomism of the last
century. That atomism must allow it to be accidental, in this sense, that
the space surrounding any given atom was occupied by other atoms in a given
manner. It belonged neither to the nature of space to be occupied by just
those atoms in just those places, nor to the nature of the atoms to be [17]
distributed just like that over space; and so in a certain sense the
environment of any atom was an accidental environment. That is, the
particular arrangement of the environment was accidental. The nature of the
environment was not accidental at all. It was proper to the nature of the
atom to be in interaction with other atoms over a spatial field, and it
never encountered in the fellow-denizens of space any other nature but its
own. It was not subject to the accident of meeting strange natures, nor of
becoming suddenly subject to strange or unequal laws of interaction. All
interactions, being with its own kind, were reciprocal and obedient to a
single set of calculable laws.

But the medieval philosophy had asserted accidental relations between
distinct sorts of _natures_, the form of living dog and the form of dead
matter, for example. No one could know _a priori_ what effect an accidental
relation would produce, and all accidental relations between different
pairs of natures were different: at the most there was analogy between
them. Every different nature had to be separately observed, and when you
had observed them all, you could still simply write an inventory of them,
you could not hope to rationalize your body of knowledge. Let us narrow the
field and consider what this doctrine allows us to know about the wood of a
certain kind of tree. We shall begin by observing the impressions it makes
on our several senses, and we shall attribute to it a substantial form such
as naturally to give rise to these impressions, without, perhaps, being so
rash as to claim a knowledge of what this substantial form is. Still we do
not know what its capacities of physical action and passion may be. We
shall find them out by observing it in relation to different 'natures'. It
turns out to be combustible by fire, resistant to water, tractable to the
carpenter's tools, intractable to his digestive organs, harmless to
ostriches, nourishing to wood-beetles. Each of these capacities of the wood
is distinct; we cannot relate them intelligibly to one another, nor deduce
them from the assumed fundamental 'woodiness'.

We can now see why 'substantial forms' were the _bêtes noires_ of the
seventeenth-century philosophers. It was because they turned nature into an
unmanageable jungle, in which trees, bushes, and parasites of a thousand
kinds wildly interlaced. There was nothing for it, if science was to
proceed, but to clear the ground and replant with spruce in rows: to
postulate a single uniform nature, of which there should be a single
science. Now neither probatology nor cynology could hope to be         [18]
universal--the world is not all sheep nor all dog: it would have to be
hylology; for the world is, in its spatial aspect, all material. Let us
say, then, that there is one uniform material nature of things, and that
everything else consists in the arrangements of the basic material nature;
as the show of towers and mountains in the sunset results simply from an
arrangement of vapours. And let us suppose that the interactions of the
parts of matter are all like those which we can observe in dead manipulable
bodies--in mechanism, in fact. Such was the postulate of the new
philosophers, and it yielded them results.

It yielded them results, and that was highly gratifying. But what,
meanwhile, had happened to those palpable facts of common experience from
which the whole philosophy of substantial forms had taken its rise? Is the
wholeness of a living thing the mere resultant of the orderly operations of
its parts? Is a bee no more essentially one than a swarm is? Is the life of
a living animal indistinguishable from the rhythm of a going watch, except
in degree of complication and subtlety of contrivance? And if an animal's
body, say my own, is simply an agglomerate of minute interacting material
units, and its wholeness is merely accidental and apparent, how is my
conscious mind to be adjusted to it? For my consciousness appears to
identify itself with that whole vital pattern which used to be called the
substantial form. We are now told that the pattern is nothing real or
active, but the mere accidental resultant of distinct interacting forces:
it does no work, it exercises no influence or control, it _is_ nothing. How
then can it be the vehicle and instrument of my conscious soul? It cannot.
Then is my soul homeless? Or is it to be identified with the activity and
fortunes of a single atomic constituent of my body, a single cog in the
animal clockwork? If so, how irrational! For the soul does not experience
itself as the soul of one minute part, but as the soul of the body.

Such questions rose thick and fast in the minds of the seventeenth-century
philosophers. It will cause us no great surprise that Leibniz should have
quickly felt that the Formal Principle of Aristotle and of the Scholastic
philosophy must be by hook or by crook reintroduced--not as the detested
_substantial form_, but under a name by which it might hope to smell more
sweet, _entelechy_.

Nothing so tellingly revealed the difficulties of the new philosophy in[19]
dealing with living bodies as the insufficiency of the solutions Descartes
had proposed. He had boldly declared the unity of animal life to be purely
mechanical, and denied that brutes had souls at all, or any sensation. He
had to admit soul in man, but he still denied the substantial unity of the
human body. It was put together like a watch, it was many things, not one:
if Descartes had lived in our time, he would have been delighted to compare
it with a telephone system, the nerves taking the place of the wires, and
being so arranged that all currents of 'animal spirit' flowing in them
converged upon a single unit, a gland at the base of the brain. In this
unit, or in the convergence of all the motions upon it, the 'unity' of the
body virtually consisted; and the soul was incarnate, not in the plurality
of members (for how could it, being one, indwell many things?), but in the
single gland.

Even so, the relation between the soul and the gland was absolutely
unintelligible, as Descartes disarmingly confessed. Incarnation was all
very well in the old philosophy: those who had allowed the interaction of
disparate natures throughout the physical world need find no particular
difficulty about the special case of it provided by incarnation. Why should
not a form of conscious life so interact with what would otherwise be dead
matter as to 'indwell' it? But the very principle of the new philosophy
disallowed the interaction of disparate natures, because such an
interaction did not allow of exact formulation, it was a 'loose' and not a
'tight' relation.

From a purely practical point of view the much derided pineal gland theory
would serve. If we could be content to view Descartes as a man who wanted
to make the world safe for physical science, then there would be a good
deal to be said for his doctrine. In the old philosophy exact science had
been frustrated by the hypothesis of loose relations all over the field of
nature. Descartes had cleared them from as much of the field as science was
then in a position to investigate; he allowed only one such relation to
subsist, the one which experience appeared unmistakably to force upon
us--that between our own mind and its bodily vehicle. He had exorcized the
spirits from the rest of nature; and though there was a spirit here which
could not be exorcized, the philosophic conjurer had nevertheless confined
it and its unaccountable pranks within a minutely narrow magic circle: all
mind could do was to turn the one tiny switch at the centre of its     [20]
animal telephone system. It could create no energy--it could merely
redirect the currents actually flowing.

Practically this might do, but speculatively it was most disturbing. For if
the 'loose relation' had to be admitted in one instance, it was admitted in
principle; and one could not get rid of the suspicion that it would turn up
elsewhere, and that the banishment of it from every other field represented
a convenient pragmatic postulate rather than a solid metaphysical truth.
Moreover, the correlation of the unitary soul with the unitary gland might
do justice to a mechanistical philosophy, but it did not do justice to the
soul's own consciousness of itself. The soul's consciousness is the 'idea'
or 'representation' of the life of the whole body, certainly not of the
life of the pineal gland nor, as the unreflective nowadays would say, of
the brain. I am not conscious in, or of, my brain except when I have a
headache; consciousness is in my eyes and finger-tips and so on. It is
physically true, no doubt, that consciousness in and of my finger-tips is
not possible without the functioning of my brain; but that is a poor reason
for locating the consciousness in the brain. The filament of the electric
bulb will not be incandescent apart from the functioning of the dynamo; but
that is a poor reason for saying that the incandescence is in the dynamo.

Certainly the area of representation in our mind is not simply equivalent
to the area of our body. But in so far as the confines of mental
representation part company with the confines of the body, it is not that
they may contract and fall back upon the pineal gland, but that they may
expand and advance over the surrounding world. The mind does not represent
its own body merely, it represents the world in so far as the world affects
that body or is physically reproduced in it. The mind has no observable
natural relation to the pineal gland. It has only two natural relations: to
its body as a whole and to its effective environment. What Descartes had
really done was to pretend that the soul was related to the pineal gland as
it is in fact related to its whole body; and then that it was related to
the bodily members as in fact it is related to outer environment. The
members became an inner environment, known only in so far as they affected
the pineal gland; just as the outer environment in its turn was to be known
only in so far as it affected the members.

This doctrine of a double environment was wholly artificial. It was forced
on Descartes by the requirements of mechanistical science: if the members
were simply a plurality of things, they must really be parts of
environment; the body which the soul indwelt must be _a_ body; presumably,
then, the pineal gland. An untenable compromise, surely, between admitting
and denying the reality of the soul's incarnation.

What, then, was to be done? Descartes's rivals and successors attempted
several solutions, which it would be too long to examine here. They
dissatisfied Leibniz and they have certainly no less dissatisfied
posterity. It will be enough for us here to consider what Leibniz did. He
admitted, to begin with, the psychological fact. The unity of consciousness
is the representation of a plurality--the plurality of the members, and
through them the plurality of the world. Here, surely, was the very
principle the new philosophy needed for the reconciliation of substantial
unity with mechanical plurality of parts. For it is directly evident to us
that consciousness focuses the plurality of environing things in a unity of
representation. This is no philosophical theory, it is a simple fact. Our
body, then, as a physical system is a mechanical plurality; as focused in
consciousness it is a unity of 'idea'.

Very well: but we have not got far yet. For the old difficulty still
remains--it is purely arbitrary, after all, that a unitary consciousness
should be attached to, and represent, a mechanical collection of things
which happen to interact in a sort of pattern. If there is a consciousness
attached to human bodies, then why not to systems of clockwork? If the body
is _represented_ as unity, it must surely be because it _is_ unity, as the
old philosophy had held. But how can we reintroduce unity into the body
without reintroducing substantial form, and destroying the mechanistical
plurality which the new science demanded?

It is at this point that Leibniz produces the speculative postulate of his
system. Why not reverse the relation, and make the members represent the
mind as the mind represents the members? For then the unity of person
represented in the mind will become something actual in the members also.

Representation appears to common sense to be a one-way sort of traffic. If
my mind represents my bodily members, something happens to my mind, for it
becomes a representation of such members in such a state; but nothing
happens to the members by their being so represented in the mind. The  [22]
mental representation obeys the bodily facts; the bodily facts do not obey
the mental representation. It seems nonsense to say that my members obey my
mind _because_ they are mirrored in it. And yet my members do obey my mind,
or at least common sense supposes so. Sometimes my mind, instead of
representing the state my members are in, represents a state which it
intends that they shall be in, for example, that my hand should go through
the motion of writing these words. And my hand obeys; its action becomes
the moving diagram of my thought, my thought is represented or expressed in
the manual act. Here the relation of mind and members appears to be
reversed: instead of its representing them, they represent it. With this
representation it is the opposite of what it was with the other. By the
members' being represented in the mind, something happened to the mind, and
nothing to the members; by the mind's being represented in the members
something happens to the members and nothing to the mind.

Why should not we take this seriously? Why not allow that there is two-way
traffic--by one relation the mind represents the members, by another the
members represent the mind? But then again, how can we take it seriously?
For representation, in the required sense, is a mental act; brute matter
can represent nothing, only mind can represent. And the members are brute
matter. But are they? How do we know that? By brute matter we understand
extended lumps of stuff, interacting with one another mechanically, as do,
for example, two cogs in a piece of clockwork. But this is a large-scale
view. The cogs are themselves composed of interrelated parts and those
parts of others, and so on _ad infinitum_. Who knows what the ultimate
constituents really are? The 'modern' philosophers, certainly, have
proposed no hypothesis about them which even looks like making sense. They
have supposed that the apparently inert lumps, the cogs, are composed of
parts themselves equally inert, and that by subdivision we shall still
reach nothing but the inert. But this supposition is in flat contradiction
with what physical theory demands. We have to allow the reality of _force_
in physics. Now the force which large-scale bodies display may easily be
the block-effect of activity in their minute real constituents. If not,
where does it come from? Let it be supposed, then, that these minute real
constituents are active because they are alive, because they are minds; for
indeed we have no notion of activity other than the perception we have [23]
of our own. We have no notion of it except as something mental. On the
hypothesis that the constituents of active body are also mental, this
limitation in our conception of activity need cause us neither sorrow nor

The mind-units which make up body will not of course be developed and fully
conscious minds like yours or mine, and it is only for want of a better
word that we call them minds at all. They will be mere unselfconscious
representations of their physical environment, as it might be seen from the
physical point to which they belong by a human mind paying no attention at
all to its own seeing. How many of these rudimentary 'minds' will there be
in my body? As many as you like--as many as it is possible there should
be--say an infinite number and have done with it.

We may now observe how this hypothesis introduces real formal unity without
prejudicing mechanical plurality. Each of the mind-units in my body is
itself and substantially distinct. But since each, in its own way and
according to its own position, represents the superior and more developed
mind which I call 'me', they will order themselves according to a common
form. The order is real, not accidental: it is like the order of troops on
a parade-ground. Each man is a distinct active unit, but each is really
expressing by his action the mind of the officer in command. He is
expressing no less his relation to the other men in the ranks--to obey the
officer is to keep in step with them. So the metaphysical units of the
body, being all minds, represent one another as well as the dominant mind:
one another co-ordinately, the dominant mind subordinately.

But if the metaphysically real units of the body are of the nature of mind,
then _the_ mind is a mind among minds, a spirit-atom among spirit-atoms.
What then constitutes its superiority or dominance, and makes it a mind
_par excellence_? Well, what constitutes the officer an officer? Two
things: a more developed mentality and the fact of being obeyed. In
military life these two factors are not always perfectly proportioned to
one another, but in the order of Leibniz's universe they are. A fuller
power to represent the universe is necessarily combined with dominance over
an organized troop of members; for the mind knows the universe only in so
far as the universe is expressed in its body. That is what the         [24]
_finitude_ of the mind means. Only an infinite mind appreciates the whole
plurality of things in themselves; a finite mind perceives them in so far
as mirrored in the physical being of an organized body of members. The more
adequate the mirror, the more adequate the representation: the more highly
organized the body, the more developed the mind.

The developed mind has an elaborate body; but the least developed mind has
still some body, or it would lack any mirror whatever through which to
represent the world. This means, in effect, that Leibniz's system is not an
unmitigated spiritual atomism. For though the spiritual atoms, or monads,
are the ultimate constituents out of which nature is composed, they stand
composed together from the beginning in a minimal order which cannot be
broken up. Each monad, if it is to be anything at all, must be a continuing
finite representation of the universe, and to be that it must have a body,
that is to say, it must have other monads in a permanent relation of mutual
correspondence with it. And if you said to Leibniz, 'But surely any
physical body can be broken up, and this must mean the dissolution of the
organic relation between its monadical constituents,' he would take refuge
in the infinitesimal. The wonders revealed by that new miracle, the
microscope, suggested what the intrinsic divisibility of space itself
suggests--whatever organization is broken up, there will still be a minute
organization within each of the fragments which remains unbroken--and so
_ad infinitum_. You will never come down to loose monads, monads out of all
organization. You will never disembody the monads, and so remove their
representative power; you will only reduce their bodies and so impoverish
their representative power. In this sense no animal dies and no animal is
generated. Death is the reduction and generation the enrichment of some
existing monad's body; and, by being that, is the enrichment or the
reduction of the monad's mental life.

'But,' our common sense protests, 'it is too great a strain on our
credulity to make the real nature of things so utterly different from what
sense and science make of them. If the real universe is what you say it is,
why do our minds represent it to us as they do?' The philosopher's answer
is, 'Because they _represent_ it. According to the truth of things, each
monad is simply its own mental life, its own world-view, its own thoughts
and desires. To know things as they are would be simultaneously to live
over, as though from within and by a miracle of sympathy, the          [25]
biographies of an infinite number of distinct monads. This is absolutely
impossible. Our senses represent the coexistent families of monads _in the
gross_, and therefore conventionally; what is in fact the mutual
representation of monads in ordered systems, is represented as the
mechanical interaction of spatially extended and material parts.' This does
not mean that science is overthrown. The physical world-view is in terms of
the convention of representation, but it is not, for all that, illusory. It
can, ideally, be made as true as it is capable of being. There is no reason
whatever for confusing the 'well-grounded seemings' of the apparent
physical world with the fantastic seemings of dream and hallucination.

So far the argument seems to draw whatever cogency it has from the
simplicity and naturalness of the notion of representation. The nature of
idea, it is assumed, is to represent plurality in a unified view. If idea
did not represent, it would not be idea. And since there _is_ idea (for our
minds at least exist and are made up of idea) there is representation. It
belongs to idea to represent, and since the whole world has now been
interpreted as a system of mutually representing ideations, or ideators, it
might seem that all their mutual relations are perfectly natural, a harmony
of agreement which could not be other than it is. But if so, why does
Leibniz keep saying that the harmony is _pre-established_, by special and
infinitely elaborate divine decrees?

Leibniz himself says that the very nature of representation excludes
interaction. By representing environment a mind does not do anything to
environment, that is plain. But it is no less plain that environment does
nothing to it, either. The act of representing is simply the act of the
mind; it represents _in view of_ environment, of course, but not under the
causal influence of environment. Representation is a business carried on by
the mind on its own account, and in virtue of its innate power to

Very well; but does this consideration really drive us into theology? Is
not Leibniz the victim of a familiar fallacy, that of incompletely stated
alternatives? '_Either_ finite beings interact _or else_ they do not
directly condition one another. Monads do not interact, therefore they do
not directly condition one another. How then explain the actual conformity
of their mutual representation, without recourse to divine fore-ordaining?'
It seems sufficient to introduce a further alternative in the first line of
the argument, and we are rid of the theology. Things may condition the [26]
action of a further thing, without acting upon it. It acts of itself, but
it acts in view of what they are. We are tempted to conclude that Leibniz
has introduced the _Deus ex machina_ with the fatal facility of his age.
'Where a little further meditation on the characters in the play would
furnish a natural _dénouement_, he swings divine intervention on to the
scene by wires from the ceiling. It is easy for us to reconstruct for him
the end of the piece without recourse to stage-machines.'

Is it? No, I fear it is not. There is really no avoiding the
pre-established harmony. And so we shall discover, if we pursue our train
of reflexion a little further. It is natural, we were saying, than an idea
should represent an environment; indeed, it _is_ the representation of one.
Given no environment to represent, it would be empty, a mere capacity for
representation. Then every idea or ideator, taken merely in itself, _is_ an
empty capacity. But of what is the environment of each made up? According
to the Leibnitian theory, of further ideas or ideators: of empty
capacities, therefore. Then no idea will either be anything in itself, or
find anything in its neighbours to represent. An unhappy predicament, like
that of a literary clique in which all the members are adepts at discussing
one another's ideas--only that unfortunately none of them are provided with
any; or like the shaky economics of the fabled Irish village where they all
lived by taking in one another's washing.

It is useless, then, to conceive representations as simply coming into
existence in response to environment, and modelling themselves on
environment. They must all mutually reflect environment or they would not
be representations; but they must also exist as themselves and in their own
right or there would be no environment for them mutually to represent.
Since the world is infinitely various, each representor must have its own
distinct character or nature, as our minds have: that is to say, it must
represent in its own individual way; and all these endlessly various
representations must be so constituted as to form a mutually reflecting
harmony. Considered as a representation, each monadical existence simply
reflects the universe after its own manner. But considered as something to
be represented by the others, it is a self-existent mental life, or world
of ideas. Now when we are considering the fact of representation, that
which is to be represented comes first and the representation follows upon
it. Thus in considering the Leibnitian universe, we must begin with the[27]
monads as self-existent mental lives, or worlds of ideas; their
representation of one another comes second. Nothing surely, then, but
omnipotent creative wisdom could have pre-established between so many
distinct given mental worlds that harmony which constitutes their mutual

Our common-sense pluralistic thinking escapes from the need of the
pre-established harmony by distinguishing what we are from what we do. Let
the world be made up of a plurality of agents in a 'loose' order, with room
to manoeuvre and to adjust themselves to one another. Then, by good luck or
good management, through friction and disaster, by trial and error, by
accident or invention, they may work out for themselves a harmony of
_action_. There is no need for divine preordaining here. But on Leibniz's
view what the monads do is to represent, and what they are is
representation; there is no ultimate distinction between what they are and
what they do: all that they do belongs to what they are. The whole system
of action in each monad, which fits with such infinite complexity the
system of action in each other monad, is precisely the existence of that
monad, and apart from it the monad is not. The monads do not _achieve_ a
harmony, they _are_ a harmony, and therefore they are pre-established in

Leibniz denied that he invoked God to intervene in nature, or that there
was anything arbitrary or artificial about his physical theology. He was
simply analysing nature and finding it to be a system of mutual
representation; he was analysing mutual representation and finding it to be
of its nature intrinsically pre-established, and therefore God-dependent.
He was not adding anything to mutual representation, he was just showing
what it necessarily contained or implied. At least he was doing nothing
worse than recognized scholastic practice. Scholastic Aristotelianism
explained all natural causality as response to stimulus, and then had to
postulate a stimulus which stimulated without being stimulated, and this
was God. Apart from this supreme and first stimulus nothing would in fact
be moving. The Aristotelians claimed simply to be analysing the nature of
physical motion as they perceived it, and to find the necessity of
perpetually applied divine stimulation implicit in it. No violence was
thereby done to the system of physical motion nor was anything brought in
from without to patch it up; it was simply found to be of its own      [28]
nature God-dependent.

It seems as though the reproachful description _'Deus ex machina'_ should
be reserved for more arbitrary expedients than Aristotle's or Leibniz's,
say for the occasionalist theory. Occasionalism appeared to introduce God
that he might make physical matter do what it had no natural tendency to
do, viz. to obey the volitions of finite mind. Ideas, on the other hand,
have a natural tendency to represent one another, for to be an idea is to
be a representation; God is not introduced by Leibniz to make them
correspond, he is introduced to work a system in which they shall
correspond. This may not be _Deus-ex-machina philosophy_, but it is
_physical theology_; that is to say, it treats divine action as one factor
among the factors which together constitute the working of the natural
system. And this appears to be perhaps unscientific, certainly blasphemous:
God's action cannot be a factor among factors; the Creator works through
and in all creaturely action equally; we can never say 'This is the
creature, and that is God' of distinguishable causalities in the natural
world. The creature is, in its creaturely action, self-sufficient: but
because a creature, insufficient to itself throughout, and sustained by its
Creator both in existence and in action.

The only acceptable argument for theism is that which corresponds to the
religious consciousness, and builds upon the insufficiency of finite
existence throughout, because it is finite. All arguments to God's
existence from a particular gap in our account of the world of finites are
to be rejected. They do not indicate God, they indicate the failure of our
power to analyse the world-order. When Leibniz discovered that his system
of mutual representations needed to be pre-established, he ought to have
seen that he had come up a cul-de-sac and backed out; he ought not to have
said, 'With the help of God I will leap over the wall.'

If we condemn Leibniz for writing physical theology, we condemn not him but
his age. No contemporary practice was any better, and much of it a good
deal worse, as Leibniz liked somewhat complacently to point out. And
because he comes to theology through physical theology, that does not mean
that all his theology was physical theology and as such to be written off.
On the contrary, Leibniz is led to wrestle with many problems which beset
any philosophical theism of the Christian type. This is particularly so[29]
in the _Theodicy_, as its many citations of theologians suggest. His
discussions never lack ingenuity, and the system of creation and providence
in which they result has much of that luminous serenity which colours the
best works of the Age of Reason.

Every theistic philosopher is bound, with whatever cautions, to conceive
God by the analogy of the human mind. When Leibniz declares the harmony of
monads to be pre-established by God, he is invoking the image of
intelligent human pre-arrangement. Nor is he content simply to leave it at
that: he endeavours as well as he may to conceive the sort of act by which
God pre-arranges; and this involves the detailed adaptation for theological
purposes of Leibnitian doctrine about the human mind.

The human mind, as we have seen, is the mind predominant in a certain
system of 'minds', viz. in those which constitute the members of the human
body. If we call it predominant, we mean that its system of ideas is more
developed than theirs, so that there are more points in which each of them
conforms to it than in which it conforms to any one of them. The conception
of a divine pre-establishing mind will be analogous. It will be the
conception of a mind _absolutely_ dominant, to whose ideas, that is to say,
the whole system simply corresponds, without any reciprocating
correspondence on his side. In a certain sense this is to make God the
'Mind of the World'; and yet the associations of the phrase are misleading.
It suggests that the world is an organism or body in which the divine mind
is incarnate, and on which he relies for his representations. But that is
nonsense; the world is not _a_ body, nor is it organic to God. Absolute
dominance involves absolute transcendence: if everything in the world
without remainder simply obeys the divine thoughts, that is only another
way of saying that the world is the creature of God; the whole system is
pre-established by him who is absolute Being and perfectly independent of
the world.

Of createdness, or pre-establishedness, there is no more to be said: we can
think of it as nothing but the pure or absolute case of subjection to
dominant mind. It is no use asking further _how_ God's thoughts are obeyed
in the existence and action of things. What we can and must enquire into
further, is the nature of the divine thoughts which are thus obeyed. They
must be understood to be volitions or decrees. There are indeed two ways in
which things obey the divine thought, and correspondingly two sorts of
divine thoughts that they obey. In so far as created things conform to [30]
the mere universal principles of reason, they obey a reasonableness which
is an inherent characteristic of the divine mind itself. If God wills the
existence of any creature, that creature's existence must observe the
limits prescribed by eternal reason: it cannot, for example, both have and
lack a certain characteristic in the same sense and at the same time; nor
can it contain two parts and two parts which are not also countable as one
part and three parts. Finite things, if they exist at all, must thus
conform to the reasonableness of the divine nature, but what the divine
reasonableness thus prescribes is highly general: we can deduce from it
only certain laws which any finite things must obey, we can never deduce
from it which finite things there are to be, nor indeed that there are to
be any. Finite things are particular and individual: each of them might
have been other than it is or, to speak more properly, instead of any one
of them there might have existed something else; it was, according to the
mere principles of eternal reason, equally possible. But if so, the whole
universe, being made up of things each of which might be otherwise, might
as a whole be otherwise. Therefore the divine thoughts which it obeys by
existing have the nature of _choices_ or _decrees_.

What material does the finite mind supply for an analogical picture of the
infinite mind making choices or decrees? If we use such language of God, we
are using language which has its first and natural application to
ourselves. We all of us choose, and those of us who are in authority make
decrees. What is to choose? It involves a real freedom in the mind. A
finite mind, let us remember, is nothing but a self-operating succession of
perceptions, ideas, or representations. With regard to some of our ideas we
have no freedom, those, for example, which represent to us our body. We
think of them as constituting our given substance. They are sheer datum for
us, and so are those reflexions of our environment which they mediate to
us. They make up a closely packed and confused mass; they persevere in
their being with an obstinate innate force, the spiritual counterpart of
the force which we have to recognize in things as physically interpreted.
Being real spiritual force, it is quasi-voluntary, and indeed do we not
love our own existence and, in a sense, will it in all its necessary
circumstances? But if we can be said to will to be ourselves and to enact
with native force what our body and its environment makes us, we are   [31]
merely willing to conform to the conditions of our existence; we are making
no choice. When, however, we think freely or perform deliberate acts, there
is not only force but choice in our activity. Choice between what? Between
alternative possibilities arising out of our situation. And choice in
virtue of what? In virtue of the appeal exercised by one alternative as
seemingly better.

Can we adapt our scheme of choice to the description of God's creative
decrees? We will take the second point in it first: our choice is in virtue
of the appeal of the seeming best. Surely the only corrective necessary in
applying this to God is the omission of the word 'seeming'. His choice is
in virtue of the appeal of the simply best. The other point causes more
trouble. We choose between possibilities which arise for us out of our
situation in the system of the existing world. But as the world does not
exist before God's creative choices, he is in no world-situation, and no
alternative possibilities can arise out of it, between which he should have
to choose. But if God does not choose between intrinsic possibilities of
some kind, his choice becomes something absolutely meaningless to us--it is
not a choice at all, it is an arbitrary and unintelligible _fiat_.

Leibniz's solution is this: what are mere possibilities of thought for us
are possibilities of action for God. For a human subject, possibilities of
action are limited to what arises out of his actual situation, but
possibilities for thought are not so limited. I can conceive a world
different in many respects from this world, in which, for example,
vegetables should be gifted with thought and speech; but I can do nothing
towards bringing it about. My imaginary world is practically impossible but
speculatively possible, in the sense that it contradicts no single
principle of necessary and immutable reason. I, indeed, can explore only a
very little way into the region of sheer speculative possibility; God does
not explore it, he simply possesses it all: the whole region of the
possible is but a part of the content of his infinite mind. So among all
possible creatures he chooses the best and creates it.

But the whole realm of the possible is an actual infinity of ideas. Out of
the consideration of an infinity of ideas, how can God arrive at a choice?
Why not? His mind is not, of course, discursive; he does not successively
turn over the leaves of an infinite book of sample worlds, for then he
would never come to the end of it. Embracing infinite possibility in   [32]
the single act of his mind, he settles his will with intuitive immediacy
upon the best. The inferior, the monstrous, the absurd is not a wilderness
through which he painfully threads his way, it is that from which he
immediately turns; his wisdom is his elimination of it.

But in so applying the scheme of choice to God's act, have we not
invalidated its application to our own? For if God has chosen the whole
form and fabric of the world, he has chosen everything in it, including the
choices we shall make. And if our choices have already been chosen for us
by God, it would seem to follow that they are not real open choices on our
part at all, but are pre-determined. And if they are pre-determined, it
would seem that they are not really even choices, for a determined choice
is not a choice. But if we do not ourselves exercise real choice in any
degree, then we have no clue to what any choice would be: and if so, we
have no power of conceiving divine choice, either; and so the whole
argument cuts its own throat.

There are two possible lines of escape from this predicament. One is to
define human choice in such a sense that it allows of pre-determination
without ceasing to be choice; and this is Leibniz's method, and it can be
studied at length in the _Theodicy_. He certainly makes the very best he
can of it, and it hardly seems that any of those contemporaries whose views
he criticizes was in a position to answer him. The alternative method is to
make the most of the negative element involved in all theology. After all,
we do not positively or adequately understand the nature of infinite
creative will. Perhaps it is precisely the transcendent glory of divine
freedom to be able to work infallibly through free instruments. But so
mystical a paradox is not the sort of thing we can expect to appeal to a
late-seventeenth-century philosopher.

One criticism of Leibniz's argument we cannot refrain from making. He
allows himself too easy a triumph when he says that the only alternative to
a choice determined by a prevailing inclination towards one proposal is a
choice of mere caprice. There is a sort of choice Leibniz never so much as
considers and which appears at least to fall quite outside his categories,
and that is the sort of choice exercised in artistic creativity. In such
choice we freely feel after the shaping of a scheme, we do not arbitrate
simply between shaped and given possible schemes. And perhaps some such
element enters into all our choices, since our life is to some extent  [33]
freely designed by ourselves. If so, our minds are even more akin to the
divine mind than Leibniz realized. For the sort of choice we are now
referring to seems to be an intuitive turning away from an infinite, or at
least indefinite, range of less attractive possibility. And such is the
nature of the divine creative choice. The consequence of such a line of
speculation would be, that the divine mind designs more through us, and
less simply for us, than Leibniz allowed: the 'harmony' into which we enter
would be no longer simply 'pre-established'. Leibniz, in fact, could have
nothing to do with such a suggestion, and he would have found it easy to be
ironical about it if his contemporaries had proposed it.


Leibniz wrote two books; a considerable number of articles in learned
periodicals; and an enormous number of unpublished notes, papers and
letters, preserved in the archives of the Electors of Hanover not because
of the philosophical significance of some of them, but because of the
political importance of most of them. From among this great mass various
excerpts of philosophical interest have been made by successive editors of
Leibniz's works. It may be that the most profound understanding of his mind
is to be derived from some of these pieces, but if we wish to consider the
public history of Leibniz, we may set them aside.

Of the two books, one was published, and the other never was. The _New
Essays_ remained in Leibniz's desk, the _Theodicy_ saw the light. And so,
to his own and the succeeding generation, Leibniz was known as the author
of the _Theodicy_.

The articles in journals form the immediate background to the two books. In
1696 Leibniz heard that a French translation of Locke's _Essay concerning
Human Understanding_ was being prepared at Amsterdam. He wrote some polite
comments on Locke's great work, and published them. He also sent them to
Locke, hoping that Locke would write a reply, and that Leibniz's reflexions
and Locke's reply might be appended to the projected French translation.
But Locke set Leibniz's comments aside. Leibniz, not to be defeated, set to
work upon the _New Essays_, in which the whole substance of Locke's book is
systematically discussed in dialogue. The _New Essays_ were written in
1703. But meanwhile a painful dispute had broken out between Leibniz   [34]
and the disciples of Locke and Newton, in which the English, and perhaps
Newton himself, were much to blame, and Leibniz thought it impolitic to
publish his book. It was not issued until long after his death, in the
middle of the century.

The discussion with Locke was a failure: Locke would not play, and the book
in which the whole controversy was to be systematized never appeared. The
discussion with Bayle, on the other hand, was a model of what a discussion
should be. Bayle played up tirelessly, and was never embarrassingly
profound; he provided just the sort of objections most useful for drawing
forth illuminating expositions; he was as good as a fictitious character in
a philosophical dialogue. And the book in which the controversy was
systematized duly appeared with great éclat.

Here is the history of the controversy. In 1695 Leibniz was forty-nine
years old. He had just emerged from a period of close employment under his
prince's commands, and he thought fit to try his metaphysical principles
upon the polite world and see what would come of it. He therefore published
an article in the _Journal des Savants_ under the title: 'New System of
Nature and of the Communication of Substances, as well as of the Union
between Soul and Body'. In the same year Foucher published an article in
the _Journal_ controverting Leibniz; and in the next year Leibniz replied
with an 'Explanation'. A second explanation in the same year appeared in
Basnage's _Histoire des Ouvrages des Savants_, in answer to reflexions by
the editor. M. Pierre Bayle had all these articles before him when he
inserted a note on Leibniz's doctrine in his article on 'Rorarius', in the
first edition of his _Historical and Critical Dictionary_. The point of
connexion between Rorarius and Leibniz was no more than this, that both
held views about the souls of beasts.

Pierre Bayle was the son of a Calvinist pastor, early converted to
Catholicism, but recovered to his old faith after a short time. He held
academic employments in Switzerland and Holland; he promoted and edited the
_Nouvelles de la République des Lettres_, and he produced that
extraordinary work the _Historical and Critical Dictionary._ The notices it
contains of authors and thinkers are little more than pegs upon which Bayle
could hang his philosophical reflexions. He could write an intelligent
discussion on any opinion; what he could not do was to reconcile the points
of view from which he felt impelled to write upon this author and that.[35]
His was not a systematic mind. So far as he had a philosophical opinion, he
was a Cartesian; in theology he was an orthodox Calvinist. He could not
reconcile his theology with his Cartesianism and he did not try to. He made
a merit of the oppositions of faith to reason and reason to itself, so that
he could throw himself upon a meritorious and voluntary faith.

There is nothing original in this position. It was characteristic of
decadent scholasticism, it squared with Luther's exaggerations about the
impotence of reason in fallen man, and Pascal had given his own highly
personal twist to it. Bayle has been hailed as a forerunner of Voltairean
scepticism. It would be truer to say that a Voltairean sceptic could read
Bayle's discussions in his own sense and for his own purposes if he wished.
But Bayle was not a sceptic. It is hard to say what he was; his whole
position as between faith and reason is hopelessly confused. He was a
scholar, a wit, and a philosophical sparring-partner of so perfectly
convenient a kind that if we had not evidence of his historical reality, we
might have suspected Leibniz of inventing him.

In the first edition of his _Dictionary_, under the article 'Rorarius',
Bayle gave a very fair account of Leibniz's doctrine concerning the souls
of animals, as it could be collected from his article in the _Journal des
Savants_, 27 June 1695. He then proceeded to comment upon it in the
following terms:

'There are some things in Mr. Leibniz's hypothesis that are liable to some
difficulties, though they show the great extent of his genius. He will have
it, for example, that the soul of a dog acts independently of outward
bodies; that _it stands upon its own bottom, by a perfect _spontaneity_
with respect to itself, and yet with a perfect _conformity_ to outward
things_.... That _its internal perceptions arise from its original
constitution, that is to say, the representative constitution (capable of
expressing beings outside itself in relation to its organs) which was
bestowed upon it from the time of its creation, and makes its individual
character_ (_Journal des Savants_, 4 July 1695). From whence it results
that it would feel hunger and thirst at such and such an hour, though there
were not any one body in the universe, and _though nothing should exist but
God and that soul_. He has explained (_Histoire des Ouvrages des Savants_,
Feb. 1696) his thought by the example of two pendulums that should
perfectly agree: that is, he supposes that according to the particular laws
which put the soul upon action, it must feel hunger at such an hour;   [36]
and that according to the particular laws which direct the motion of
matter, the body which is united to that soul must be modified at that same
hour as it is modified when the soul is hungry. I will forbear preferring
this system to that of occasional causes till the learned author has
perfected it. I cannot apprehend the connexion of internal and spontaneous
actions which would have this effect, that the soul of a dog would feel
pain immediately after having felt joy, though it were alone in the
universe. I understand why a dog passes immediately from pleasure to pain
when, being very hungry and eating a piece of bread, he is suddenly struck
with a cudgel. But I cannot apprehend that his soul should be so framed
that at the very moment of his being beaten he should feel pain though he
were not beaten, and though he should continue to eat bread without any
trouble or hindrance. Nor do I see how the spontaneity of that soul should
be consistent with the sense of pain, and in general with any unpleasing

'Besides, the reason why this learned man does not like the Cartesian
system seems to me to be a false supposition; for it cannot be said that
the system of occasional causes brings in God acting by a miracle (ibid.),
_Deum ex machina_, in the mutual dependency of the body and soul: for since
God does only intervene according to general laws, he cannot be said to act
in an extraordinary manner. Does the internal and active virtue
communicated to the forms of bodies according to M. Leibniz know the train
of actions which it is to produce? By no means; for we know by experience
that we are ignorant whether we shall have such and such perceptions in an
hour's time. It were therefore necessary that the forms should be directed
by some internal principle in the production of their acts. But this would
be _Deus ex machina,_ as much as in the system of occasional causes. In
fine, as he supposes with great reason that all souls are simple and
indivisible, it cannot be apprehended how they can be compared with a
pendulum, that is, how by their original constitution they can diversify
their operations by using the spontaneous activity bestowed upon them by
their Creator. It may clearly be conceived that a simple being will always
act in a uniform manner, if no external cause hinders it. If it were
composed of several pieces, as a machine, it would act different ways,
because the peculiar activity of each piece might change every moment the
progress of others; but how will you find in a simple substance the    [37]
cause of a change of operation?'

Leibniz published a reply to Bayle in the _Histoire des Ouvrages des
Savants_ for July 1698. As in all his references to Bayle, he is studiously
polite and repays compliment for compliment. The following are perhaps the
principal points of his answer.

1. On the example of the dog:

(_a_) How should it of itself change its sentiment, since everything left
to itself continues in the state in which it is? Because the state may be a
state of _change_, as in a moving body which, unless hindered, continues to
move. And such is the nature of simple substances--they continue to evolve

(_b_) Would it really feel as though beaten if it were not beaten, since
Leibniz says that the action of every substance takes place as though
nothing existed but God and itself? Leibniz replies that his remark refers
to the causality behind an action, not to the reasons for it. The
spontaneous action of the dog, which leads to the feeling of pain, is only
decreed to be what it is, for the reason that the dog is part of a world of
mutually reflecting substances, a world which also includes the cudgel.

(_c_) Why should the dog ever be displeased _spontaneously_? Leibniz
distinguishes the spontaneous from the voluntary: many things occur in the
mind, of itself, but not chosen by it.

2. On Cartesianism and miracle:

Cartesianism in the form of occasionalism _does_ involve miracle, for
though God is said by it to act according to laws in conforming body and
mind to one another, he thereby causes them to act beyond their natural

3. On the problem, how can the simple act otherwise than uniformly?

Leibniz distinguishes: some uniform action is monotonous, but some is not.
A point moves uniformly in describing a parabola, for it constantly fulfils
the formula of the curve. But it does not move monotonously, for the curve
constantly varies. Such is the uniformity of the action of simple

Bayle read this reply, and was pleased but not satisfied with it. In the
second edition of the dictionary, under the same article 'Rorarius', he
added the following note:

'I declare first of all that I am very glad I have proposed some small
difficulties against the system of that great philosopher, since they  [38]
have occasioned some answers whereby that subject has been made clearer to
me, and which have given me a more distinct notion of what is most to be
admired in it. I look now upon that new system as an important conquest,
which enlarges the bounds of philosophy. We had only two hypotheses, that
of the Schools and that of the Cartesians: the one was a _way of influence_
of the body upon the soul and of the soul upon the body; the other was a
_way of assistance_ or occasional causality. But here is a new acquisition,
a new hypothesis, which may be called, as Fr. Lami styles it, a _way of
pre-established harmony_. We are beholden for it to M. Leibniz, and it is
impossible to conceive anything that gives us a nobler idea of the power
and wisdom of the Author of all things. This, together with the advantage
of setting aside all notions of a miraculous conduct, would engage me to
prefer this new system to that of the Cartesians, if I could conceive any
possibility in the _way of pre-established harmony_.

'I desire the reader to take notice that though I confess that this way
removes all notions of a miraculous conduct, yet I do not retract what I
have said formerly, that the system of occasional causes does not bring in
God acting miraculously. (See M. Leibniz's article in _Histoire des
Ouvrages des Savants_, July 1698.) I am as much persuaded as ever I was
that an action cannot be said to be miraculous, unless God produces it as
an exception to the general laws; and that everything of which he is
immediately the author according to those laws is distinct from a miracle
properly so called. But being willing to cut off from this dispute as many
things as I possibly can, I consent it should be said that the surest way
of removing all notions that include a miracle is to suppose that all
created substances are actively the immediate causes of the effects of
nature. I will therefore lay aside what I might reply to that part of M.
Leibniz's answer.

'I will also omit all objections which are not more contrary to his opinion
than to that of some other philosophers. I will not therefore propose the
difficulties that may be raised against the supposition that a creature can
receive from God the power of moving itself. They are strong and almost
unanswerable, but M. Leibniz's system does not lie more open to them than
that of the Aristotelians; nay, I do not know whether the Cartesians would
presume to say that God cannot communicate to our souls a power of acting.
If they say so, how can they own that Adam sinned? And if they dare not[39]
say so they weaken the arguments whereby they endeavour to prove that
matter is not capable of any activity. Nor do I believe that it is more
difficult for M. Leibniz than for the Cartesians or other philosophers, to
free himself from the objection of a fatal mechanism which destroys human
liberty. Wherefore, waiving this, I shall only speak of what is peculiar to
the system of the _pre-established harmony_.

'I. My first observation shall be, that it raises the power and wisdom of
the divine art above everything that can be conceived. Fancy to yourself a
ship which, without having any sense or knowledge, and without being
directed by any created or uncreated being, has the power of moving itself
so seasonably as to have always the wind favourable, to avoid currents and
rocks, to cast anchor where it ought to be done, and to retire into a
harbour precisely when it is necessary. Suppose such a ship sails in that
manner for several years successively, being always turned and situated as
it ought to be, according to the several changes of the air and the
different situations of seas and lands; you will acknowledge that God,
notwithstanding his infinite power, cannot communicate such a faculty to a
ship; or rather you will say that the nature of a ship is not capable of
receiving it from God. And yet what M. Leibniz supposes about the machine
of a human body is more admirable and more surprising than all this. Let us
apply his system concerning the union of the soul with the body to the
person of Julius Caesar.

'II. We must say according to this system that the body of Julius Caesar
did so exercise its moving faculty that from its birth to its death it went
through continual changes which did most exactly answer the perpetual
changes of a certain soul which it did not know and which made no
impression on it. We must say that the rule according to which that faculty
of Caesar's body performed such actions was such, that he would have gone
to the Senate upon such a day and at such an hour, that he would have
spoken there such and such words, etc., though God had willed to annihilate
his soul the next day after it was created. We must say that this moving
power did change and modify itself exactly according to the volubility of
the thoughts of that ambitious man, and that it was affected precisely in a
certain manner rather than in another, because the soul of Caesar passed
from a certain thought to another. Can a blind power modify itself so
exactly by virtue of an impression communicated thirty or forty years  [40]
before and never renewed since, but left to itself, without ever knowing
what it is to do? Is not this much more incomprehensible than the
navigation I spoke of in the foregoing paragraph?

'III. The difficulty will be greater still, if it be considered that the
human machine contains an almost infinite number of organs, and that it is
continually exposed to the shock of the bodies that surround it,[1] and
which by an innumerable variety of shakings produce in it a thousand sorts
of modifications. How is it possible to conceive that this _pre-established
harmony_ should never be disordered, but go on still during the longest
life of a man, notwithstanding the infinite varieties of the reciprocal
action of so many organs upon one another, which are surrounded on all
sides with infinite corpuscles, sometimes hot and sometimes cold, sometimes
dry and sometimes moist, and always acting, and pricking the nerves a
thousand different ways? Suppose that the multiplicity of organs and of
external agents be a necessary instrument of the almost infinite variety of
changes in a human body: will that variety have the exactness here
required? Will it never disturb the correspondence of those changes with
the changes of the soul? This seems to be altogether impossible.

[1] 'According to M. Leibniz what is active in every substance ought to be
reduced to a true unity. Since therefore the body of every man is composed
of several substances, each of them ought to have a principle of action
really distinct from the principle of each of the others. He will have the
action of every principle to be spontaneous. Now this must vary the effects
_ad infinitum_, and confound them. For the impression of the neighbouring
bodies must needs put some constraint upon the natural spontaneity of every
one of them.'

'IV. It is in vain to have recourse to the power of God, in order to
maintain that brutes are mere machines; it is in vain to say that God was
able to make machines so artfully contrived that the voice of a man, the
reflected light of an object, etc., will strike them exactly where it is
necessary, that they may move in a given manner. This supposition is
rejected by everybody except some Cartesians; and no Cartesian would admit
it if it were to be extended to man; that is, if anyone were to assert that
God was able to form such bodies as would mechanically do whatever we see
other men do. By denying this we do not pretend to limit the power and
knowledge of God: we only mean that the nature of things does not permit
that the faculties imparted to a creature should not be necessarily
confined within certain bounds. The actions of creatures must be       [41]
necessarily proportioned to their essential state, and performed according
to the character belonging to each machine; for according to the maxim of
the philosophers, whatever is received is proportionate to the capacity of
the subject that receives it. We may therefore reject M. Leibniz's
hypothesis as being impossible, since it is liable to greater difficulties
than that of the Cartesians, which makes beasts to be mere machines. It
puts a perpetual harmony between two beings, which do not act one upon
another; whereas if servants were mere machines, and should punctually obey
their masters' command, it could not be said that they do it without a real
action of their masters upon them; for their masters would speak words and
make signs which would really shake and move the organs of the servants.

'V. Now let us consider the soul of Julius Caesar, and we shall find the
thing more impossible still. That soul was in the world without being
exposed to the influence of any spirit. The power it received from God was
the only principle of the actions it produced at every moment: and if those
actions were different one from another, it was not because some of them
were produced by the united influence of some springs which did not
contribute to the production of others, for the soul of man is simple,
indivisible and immaterial. M. Leibniz owns it; and if he did not
acknowledge it, but if, on the contrary, he should suppose with most
philosophers and some of the most excellent metaphysicians of our age (Mr.
Locke, for instance) that a compound of several material parts placed and
disposed in a certain manner, is capable of thinking, his hypothesis would
appear to be on that very ground absolutely impossible, and I could refute
it several other ways; which I need not mention since he acknowledges the
immateriality of our soul and builds upon it.

'Let us return to the soul of Julius Caesar, and call it an immaterial
automaton (M. Leibniz's own phrase), and compare it with an atom of
Epicurus; I mean an atom surrounded with a vacuum on all sides, and which
will never meet any other atom. This is a very just comparison: for this
atom, on the one hand, has a natural power of moving itself and exerts it
without any assistance, and without being retarded or hindered by anything:
and, on the other hand, the soul of Caesar is a spirit which has received
the faculty of producing thoughts, and exerts it without the influence [42]
of any other spirit or of any body. It is neither assisted nor thwarted by
anything whatsoever. If you consult the common notions and the ideas of
order, you will find that this atom can never stop, and that having been in
motion in the foregoing moment, it will continue in it at the present
moment and in all the moments that shall follow, and that it will always
move in the same manner. This is the consequence of an axiom approved by M.
Leibniz: _since a thing does always remain in the same state wherein it
happens to be, unless it receives some alteration from some other thing ...
we conclude_, says he, _not only that a body which is at rest will always
be at rest, but that a body in motion will always keep that motion or
change, that is, the same swiftness and the same direction, unless
something happens to hinder it_. (M. Leibniz, ibid.)

'Everyone clearly sees that this atom, whether it moves by an innate power,
as Democritus and Epicurus would have it, or by a power received from the
Creator, will always move in the same line equally and after a uniform
manner, without ever turning or going back. Epicurus was laughed at, when
he invented the motion of declination; it was a needless supposition, which
he wanted in order to get out of the labyrinth of a fatal necessity; and he
could give no reason for this new part of his system. It was inconsistent
with the clearest notions of our minds: for it is evident that an atom
which describes a straight line for the space of two days cannot turn away
at the beginning of a third, unless it meets with some obstacle, or has a
mind all of a sudden to go out of its road, or contains some spring which
begins to play at that very moment. The first of these reasons cannot be
admitted in a vacuum. The second is impossible, since an atom has not the
faculty of thinking. And the third is likewise impossible in a corpuscle
that is a perfect unity. I must make some use of all this.

'VI. Caesar's soul is a being to which unity belongs in a strict sense. The
faculty of producing thoughts is a property of its nature (so M. Leibniz),
which it has received from God, both as to possession and exercise. If the
first thought it produces is a sense of pleasure, there is no reason why
the second should not likewise be a sense of pleasure; for when the total
cause of an effect remains the same, the effect cannot be altered. Now this
soul, at the second moment of its existence, does not receive a new faculty
of thinking; it only preserves the faculty it had at the first moment, and
it is as independent of the concourse of any other cause at the second [43]
moment as it was at the first. It must therefore produce again at the
second moment the same thought it had produced just before. If it be
objected that it ought to be in a state of change, and that it would not be
in such a state, in the case that I have supposed; I answer that its change
will be like the change of the atom; for an atom which continually moves in
the same line acquires a new situation at every moment, but it is like the
preceding situation. A soul may therefore continue in its state of change,
if it does but produce a new thought like the preceding.

'But suppose it to be not confined within such narrow bounds; it must be
granted at least that its going from one thought to another implies some
reason of affinity. If I suppose that in a certain moment the soul of
Caesar sees a tree with leaves and blossoms, I can conceive that it does
immediately desire to see one that has only leaves, and then one that has
only blossoms, and that it will thus successively produce several images
arising from one another; but one cannot conceive the odd change of
thoughts, which have no affinity with, but are even contrary to, one
another, and which are so common in men's souls. One cannot apprehend how
God could place in the soul of Julius Caesar the principle of what I am
going to say. He was without doubt pricked with a pin more than once, when
he was sucking; and therefore according to M. Leibniz's hypothesis which I
am here considering, his soul must have produced in itself a sense of pain
immediately after the pleasant sensations of the sweetness of the milk,
which it had enjoyed for the space of two or three minutes. By what springs
was it determined to interrupt its pleasures and to give itself all of a
sudden a sense of pain, without receiving any intimation of preparing
itself to change, and without any new alteration in its substance? If you
run over the life of that Roman emperor, every page will afford you matter
for a stronger objection than this is.

'VII. The thing would be less incomprehensible if it were supposed that the
soul of man is not one spirit but rather a multitude of spirits, each of
which has its functions, that begin and end precisely as the changes made
in a human body require. By virtue of this supposition it should be said
that something analogous to a great number of wheels and springs, or of
matters that ferment, disposed according to the changes of our machine,
awakens or lulls asleep for a certain time the action of each of those
spirits. But then the soul of man would be no longer a single substance[44]
but an _ens per aggregationem_, a collection and heap of substances just
like all material beings. We are here in quest of a single being, which
produces in itself sometimes joy, sometimes pain, etc., and not of many
beings, one of which produces hope, another despair, etc.

'In these observations I have merely cleared and unfolded those which M.
Leibniz has done me the honour to examine: and now I shall make some
reflexions upon his answers.

'VIII. He says (ibid., p. 332) that _the law of the change which happens in
the substance of the animal transports him from pleasure to pain at the
very moment that a solution of continuity is made in his body; because the
law of the indivisible substance of that animal is to represent what is
done in his body as we experience it, and even to represent in some manner,
and with respect to that body, whatever is done in the world_. These words
are a very good explication of the grounds of this system; they are, as it
were, the unfolding and key of it; but at the same time they are the very
things at which the objections of those who take this system to be
impossible are levelled. The law M. Leibniz speaks of supposes a decree of
God, and shows wherein this system agrees with that of occasional causes.
Those two systems agree in this point, that there are laws according to
which the soul of man is _to represent what is done in the body of man, as
we experience it_. But they disagree as to the manner of executing those
laws. The Cartesians say that God executes them; M. Leibniz will have it,
that the soul itself does it; which appears to me impossible, because the
soul has not the necessary instruments for such an execution. Now however
infinite the power and knowledge of God be, he cannot perform with a
machine deprived of a certain piece, what requires the concourse of such a
piece. He must supply that defect; but then the effect would be produced by
him and not by the machine. I shall show that the soul has not the
instruments requisite for the divine law we speak of, and in order to do it
I shall make use of a comparison.

'Fancy to yourself an animal created by God and designed to sing
continually. It will always sing, that is most certain; but if God designs
him a certain tablature, he must necessarily either put it before his eyes
or imprint it upon his memory or dispose his muscles in such a manner that
according to the laws of mechanism one certain note will always come after
another, agreeably to the order of the tablature. Without this one cannot
apprehend that the animal can always follow the whole set of the notes [45]
appointed him by God. Let us apply this to man's soul. M. Leibniz will have
it that it has received not only the power of producing thoughts
continually, but also the faculty of following always a certain set of
thoughts, which answers the continual changes that happen in the machine of
the body. This set of thoughts is like the tablature prescribed to the
singing animal above mentioned. Can the soul change its perceptions or
modifications at every moment according to such a set of thoughts, without
knowing the series of the notes, and actually thinking upon them? But
experience teaches us that it knows nothing of it. Were it not at least
necessary that in default of such a knowledge, there should be in the soul
a set of particular instruments, each of which would be a necessary cause
of such and such a thought? Must they not be so placed and disposed as to
operate precisely one after another, according to the correspondence
_pre-established_ between the changes of the body and the thoughts of the
soul? but it is most certain that an immaterial simple and indivisible
substance cannot be made up of such an innumerable multitude of particular
instruments placed one before another, according to the order of the
tablature in question. It is not therefore possible that a human soul
should execute that law.

'M. Leibniz supposes that the soul does not distinctly know its future
perceptions, _but that it perceives them confusedly_, and that _there are
in each substance traces of whatever hath happened, or shall happen to it:
but that an infinite multitude of perceptions hinders us from
distinguishing them. The present state of each substance is a natural
consequence of its preceding state. The soul, though never so simple, has
always a sentiment composed of several perceptions at one time: which
answers our end as well as though it were composed of pieces, like a
machine. For each foregoing perception has an influence on those that
follow agreeably to a law of order, which is in perceptions as well as in
motions...The perceptions that are together in one and the same soul at the
same time, including an infinite multitude of little and indistinguishable
sentiments that are to be unfolded, we need not wonder at the infinite
variety of what is to result from it in time. This is only a consequence of
the representative nature of the soul, which is, to express what happens
and what will happen in its body, by the connexion and correspondence of
all the parts of the world_. I have but little to say in answer to this: I
shall only observe that this supposition when sufficiently cleared is the
right way of solving all the difficulties. M. Leibniz, through the     [46]
penetration of his great genius, has very well conceived the extent and
strength of this objection, and what remedy ought to be applied to the main
inconveniency. I do not doubt but that he will smooth the rough parts of
his system, and teach us some excellent things about the nature of spirits.
Nobody can travel more usefully or more safely than he in the intellectual
world. I hope that his curious explanations will remove all the
impossibilities which I have hitherto found in his system, and that he will
solidly remove my difficulties, as well as those of Father Lami. And these
hopes made me say before, without designing to pass a compliment upon that
learned man, that his system ought to be looked upon as an important

'He will not be much embarrassed by this, viz. that whereas according to
the supposition of the Cartesians there is but one general law for the
union of spirits and bodies, he will have it that God gives a particular
law to each spirit; from whence it seems to result that the primitive
constitution of each spirit is specifically different from all others. Do
not the Thomists say, that there are as many species as individuals in
angelic nature?'

Leibniz acknowledged Bayle's note in a further reply, which is written as
though for publication. It was communicated to Bayle, but it was not in
fact published. It is dated 1702. It may be found in the standard
collections of Leibniz's philosophical works. It reads almost like a sketch
for the _Theodicy_.

The principal point developed by Leibniz is the richness of content which,
according to him, is to be found in each 'simple substance'. Its simplicity
is more like the infinitely rich simplicity of the divine Being, than like
the simplicity of the atom of Epicurus, with which Bayle had chosen to
compare it. It contains a condensation in confused idea of the whole
universe: and its essence is from the first defined by the part it is to
play in the total harmony.

As to the musical score ('tablature of notes') which the individual soul
plays from, in order to perform its ordained part in the universal harmony,
this 'score' is to be found in the confused or implicit ideas at any moment
present, from which an omniscient observer could always deduce what is to
happen next. To the objection 'But the created soul is not an omniscient
observer, and if it cannot read the score, the score is useless to it',[47]
Leibniz replies by affirming that much spontaneous action arises from
subjective and yet unperceived reasons, as we are all perfectly aware, once
we attend to the relevant facts. All he claims to be doing is to generalize
this observation. All events whatsoever arise from the 'interpretation of
the score' by monads, but very little of this 'interpretation' is in the
least conscious.

Leibniz passes from the remarks about his own doctrine under the article
'Rorarius' to other articles of Bayle's dictionary, and touches the
question of the origin of evil, and other matters which receive their
fuller treatment in the _Theodicy_.

In the same year Leibniz wrote a very friendly letter to Bayle himself,
offering further explanations of disputed points. He concluded it with a
paragraph of some personal interest, comparing himself the
historian-philosopher with Bayle the philosophic lexicographer, and
revealing by the way his attitude to philosophy, science and history:

'We have good reason to admire, Sir, the way in which your striking
reflexions on the deepest questions of philosophy remain unhindered by your
boundless researches into matters of fact. I too am not always able to
excuse myself from discussions of the sort, and have even been obliged to
descend to questions of genealogy, which would be still more trifling, were
it not that the interests of States frequently depend upon them. I have
worked much on the history of Germany in so far as it bears upon these
countries, a study which has furnished me with some observations belonging
to general history. So I have learnt not to neglect the knowledge of sheer
facts. But if the choice were open to me, I should prefer natural history
to political, and the customs and laws God has established in nature, to
what is observed among mankind.'

Leibniz now conceived the idea of putting together all the passages in
Bayle's works which interested him, and writing a systematic answer to
them. Before he had leisure to finish the task, Bayle died. The work
nevertheless appeared in 1710 as the Essays in _Theodicy_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

It has ever been seen that men in general have resorted to outward forms
for the expression of their religion: sound piety, that is to say, light
and virtue, has never been the portion of the many. One should not wonder
at this, nothing is so much in accord with human weakness. We are impressed
by what is outward, while the inner essence of things requires
consideration of such a kind as few persons are fitted to give. As true
piety consists in principles and practice, the outward forms of religion
imitate these, and are of two kinds: the one kind consists in ceremonial
practices, and the other in the formularies of belief. Ceremonies resemble
virtuous actions, and formularies are like shadows of the truth and
approach, more or less, the true light. All these outward forms would be
commendable if those who invented them had rendered them appropriate to
maintain and to express that which they imitate--if religious ceremonies,
ecclesiastical discipline, the rules of communities, human laws were always
like a hedge round the divine law, to withdraw us from any approach to
vice, to inure us to the good and to make us familiar with virtue. That was
the aim of Moses and of other good lawgivers, of the wise men who founded
religious orders, and above all of Jesus Christ, divine founder of the
purest and most enlightened religion. It is just the same with the
formularies of belief: they would be valid provided there were nothing [50]
in them inconsistent with truth unto salvation, even though the full truth
concerned were not there. But it happens only too often that religion is
choked in ceremonial, and that the divine light is obscured by the opinions
of men.

The pagans, who inhabited the earth before Christianity was founded, had
only one kind of outward form: they had ceremonies in their worship, but
they had no articles of faith and had never dreamed of drawing up
formularies for their dogmatic theology. They knew not whether their gods
were real persons or symbols of the forces of Nature, as the sun, the
planets, the elements. Their mysteries consisted not in difficult dogmas
but in certain secret observances, whence the profane, namely those who
were not initiated, were excluded. These observances were very often
ridiculous and absurd, and it was necessary to conceal them in order to
guard them against contempt. The pagans had their superstitions: they
boasted of miracles, everything with them was full of oracles, auguries,
portents, divinations; the priests invented signs of the anger or of the
goodness of the gods, whose interpreters they claimed to be. This tended to
sway minds through fear and hope concerning human events; but the great
future of another life was scarce envisaged; one did not trouble to impart
to men true notions of God and of the soul.

Of all ancient peoples, it appears that the Hebrews alone had public dogmas
for their religion. Abraham and Moses established the belief in one God,
source of all good, author of all things. The Hebrews speak of him in a
manner worthy of the Supreme Substance; and one wonders at seeing the
inhabitants of one small region of the earth more enlightened than the rest
of the human race. Peradventure the wise men of other nations have
sometimes said the same, but they have not had the good fortune to find a
sufficient following and to convert the dogma into law. Nevertheless Moses
had not inserted in his laws the doctrine of the immortality of souls: it
was consistent with his ideas, it was taught by oral tradition; but it was
not proclaimed for popular acceptance until Jesus Christ lifted the veil,
and, without having force in his hand, taught with all the force of a
lawgiver that immortal souls pass into another life, wherein they shall
receive the wages of their deeds. Moses had already expressed the beautiful
conceptions of the greatness and the goodness of God, whereto many
civilized peoples to-day assent; but Jesus Christ demonstrated fully   [51]
the results of these ideas, proclaiming that divine goodness and justice
are shown forth to perfection in God's designs for the souls of men.

I refrain from considering here the other points of the Christian doctrine,
and I will show only how Jesus Christ brought about the conversion of
natural religion into law, and gained for it the authority of a public
dogma. He alone did that which so many philosophers had endeavoured in vain
to do; and Christians having at last gained the upper hand in the Roman
Empire, the master of the greater part of the known earth, the religion of
the wise men became that of the nations. Later also Mahomet showed no
divergence from the great dogmas of natural theology: his followers spread
them abroad even among the most remote races of Asia and of Africa, whither
Christianity had not been carried; and they abolished in many countries
heathen superstitions which were contrary to the true doctrine of the unity
of God and the immortality of souls.

It is clear that Jesus Christ, completing what Moses had begun, wished that
the Divinity should be the object not only of our fear and veneration but
also of our love and devotion. Thus he made men happy by anticipation, and
gave them here on earth a foretaste of future felicity. For there is
nothing so agreeable as loving that which is worthy of love. Love is that
mental state which makes us take pleasure in the perfections of the object
of our love, and there is nothing more perfect than God, nor any greater
delight than in him. To love him it suffices to contemplate his
perfections, a thing easy indeed, because we find the ideas of these within
ourselves. The perfections of God are those of our souls, but he possesses
them in boundless measure; he is an Ocean, whereof to us only drops have
been granted; there is in us some power, some knowledge, some goodness, but
in God they are all in their entirety. Order, proportions, harmony delight
us; painting and music are samples of these: God is all order; he always
keeps truth of proportions, he makes universal harmony; all beauty is an
effusion of his rays.

It follows manifestly that true piety and even true felicity consist in the
love of God, but a love so enlightened that its fervour is attended by
insight. This kind of love begets that pleasure in good actions which gives
relief to virtue, and, relating all to God as to the centre, transports the
human to the divine. For in doing one's duty, in obeying reason, one   [52]
carries out the orders of Supreme Reason. One directs all one's intentions
to the common good, which is no other than the glory of God. Thus one finds
that there is no greater individual interest than to espouse that of the
community, and one gains satisfaction for oneself by taking pleasure in the
acquisition of true benefits for men. Whether one succeeds therein or not,
one is content with what comes to pass, being once resigned to the will of
God and knowing that what he wills is best. But before he declares his will
by the event one endeavours to find it out by doing that which appears most
in accord with his commands. When we are in this state of mind, we are not
disheartened by ill success, we regret only our faults; and the ungrateful
ways of men cause no relaxation in the exercise of our kindly disposition.
Our charity is humble and full of moderation, it presumes not to domineer;
attentive alike to our own faults and to the talents of others, we are
inclined to criticize our own actions and to excuse and vindicate those of
others. We must work out our own perfection and do wrong to no man. There
is no piety where there is not charity; and without being kindly and
beneficent one cannot show sincere religion.

Good disposition, favourable upbringing, association with pious and
virtuous persons may contribute much towards such a propitious condition
for our souls; but most securely are they grounded therein by good
principles. I have already said that insight must be joined to fervour,
that the perfecting of our understanding must accomplish the perfecting of
our will. The practices of virtue, as well as those of vice, may be the
effect of a mere habit, one may acquire a taste for them; but when virtue
is reasonable, when it is related to God, who is the supreme reason of
things, it is founded on knowledge. One cannot love God without knowing his
perfections, and this knowledge contains the principles of true piety. The
purpose of religion should be to imprint these principles upon our souls:
but in some strange way it has happened all too often that men, that
teachers of religion have strayed far from this purpose. Contrary to the
intention of our divine Master, devotion has been reduced to ceremonies and
doctrine has been cumbered with formulae. All too often these ceremonies
have not been well fitted to maintain the exercise of virtue, and the
formulae sometimes have not been lucid. Can one believe it? Some Christians
have imagined that they could be devout without loving their neighbour,[53]
and pious without loving God; or else people have thought that they could
love their neighbour without serving him and could love God without knowing
him. Many centuries have passed without recognition of this defect by the
people at large; and there are still great traces of the reign of darkness.
There are divers persons who speak much of piety, of devotion, of religion,
who are even busied with the teaching of such things, and who yet prove to
be by no means versed in the divine perfections. They ill understand the
goodness and the justice of the Sovereign of the universe; they imagine a
God who deserves neither to be imitated nor to be loved. This indeed seemed
to me dangerous in its effect, since it is of serious moment that the very
source of piety should be preserved from infection. The old errors of those
who arraigned the Divinity or who made thereof an evil principle have been
renewed sometimes in our own days: people have pleaded the irresistible
power of God when it was a question rather of presenting his supreme
goodness; and they have assumed a despotic power when they should rather
have conceived of a power ordered by the most perfect wisdom. I have
observed that these opinions, apt to do harm, rested especially on confused
notions which had been formed concerning freedom, necessity and destiny;
and I have taken up my pen more than once on such an occasion to give
explanations on these important matters. But finally I have been compelled
to gather up my thoughts on all these connected questions, and to impart
them to the public. It is this that I have undertaken in the Essays which I
offer here, on the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man, and the Origin of

There are two famous labyrinths where our reason very often goes astray:
one concerns the great question of the Free and the Necessary, above all in
the production and the origin of Evil; the other consists in the discussion
of continuity and of the indivisibles which appear to be the elements
thereof, and where the consideration of the infinite must enter in. The
first perplexes almost all the human race, the other exercises philosophers
only. I shall have perchance at another time an opportunity to declare
myself on the second, and to point out that, for lack of a true conception
of the nature of substance and matter, people have taken up false positions
leading to insurmountable difficulties, difficulties which should properly
be applied to the overthrow of these very positions. But if the        [54]
knowledge of continuity is important for speculative enquiry, that of
necessity is none the less so for practical application; and it, together
with the questions therewith connected, to wit, the freedom of man and the
justice of God, forms the object of this treatise.

Men have been perplexed in well-nigh every age by a sophism which the
ancients called the 'Lazy Reason', because it tended towards doing nothing,
or at least towards being careful for nothing and only following
inclination for the pleasure of the moment. For, they said, if the future
is necessary, that which must happen will happen, whatever I may do. Now
the future (so they said) is necessary, whether because the Divinity
foresees everything, and even pre-establishes it by the control of all
things in the universe; or because everything happens of necessity, through
the concatenation of causes; or finally, through the very nature of truth,
which is determinate in the assertions that can be made on future events,
as it is in all assertions, since the assertion must always be true or
false in itself, even though we know not always which it is. And all these
reasons for determination which appear different converge finally like
lines upon one and the same centre; for there is a truth in the future
event which is predetermined by the causes, and God pre-establishes it in
establishing the causes.

The false conception of necessity, being applied in practice, has given
rise to what I call _Fatum Mahometanum_, fate after the Turkish fashion,
because it is said of the Turks that they do not shun danger or even
abandon places infected with plague, owing to their use of such reasoning
as that just recorded. For what is called _Fatum Stoicum_ was not so black
as it is painted: it did not divert men from the care of their affairs, but
it tended to give them tranquillity in regard to events, through the
consideration of necessity, which renders our anxieties and our vexations
needless. In which respect these philosophers were not far removed from the
teaching of our Lord, who deprecates these anxieties in regard to the
morrow, comparing them with the needless trouble a man would give himself
in labouring to increase his stature.

It is true that the teachings of the Stoics (and perhaps also of some
famous philosophers of our time), confining themselves to this alleged
necessity, can only impart a forced patience; whereas our Lord inspires
thoughts more sublime, and even instructs us in the means of gaining
contentment by assuring us that since God, being altogether good and   [55]
wise, has care for everything, even so far as not to neglect one hair of
our head, our confidence in him ought to be entire. And thus we should see,
if we were capable of understanding him, that it is not even possible to
wish for anything better (as much in general as for ourselves) than what he
does. It is as if one said to men: Do your duty and be content with that
which shall come of it, not only because you cannot resist divine
providence, or the nature of things (which may suffice for tranquillity,
but not for contentment), but also because you have to do with a good
master. And that is what may be called _Fatum Christianum_.

Nevertheless it happens that most men, and even Christians, introduce into
their dealings some mixture of fate after the Turkish fashion, although
they do not sufficiently acknowledge it. It is true that they are not
inactive or negligent when obvious perils or great and manifest hopes
present themselves; for they will not fail to abandon a house that is about
to fall and to turn aside from a precipice they see in their path; and they
will burrow in the earth to dig up a treasure half uncovered, without
waiting for fate to finish dislodging it. But when the good or the evil is
remote and uncertain and the remedy painful or little to our taste, the
lazy reason seems to us to be valid. For example, when it is a question of
preserving one's health and even one's life by good diet, people to whom
one gives advice thereupon very often answer that our days are numbered and
that it avails nothing to try to struggle against that which God destines
for us. But these same persons run to even the most absurd remedies when
the evil they had neglected draws near. One reasons in somewhat the same
way when the question for consideration is somewhat thorny, as for instance
when one asks oneself, _quod vitae sectabor iter_? what profession one must
choose; when it is a question of a marriage being arranged, of a war being
undertaken, of a battle being fought; for in these cases many will be
inclined to evade the difficulty of consideration and abandon themselves to
fate or to inclination, as if reason should not be employed except in easy
cases. One will then all too often reason in the Turkish fashion (although
this way is wrongly termed trusting in providence, a thing that in reality
occurs only when one has done one's duty) and one will employ the lazy
reason, derived from the idea of inevitable fate, to relieve oneself of the
need to reason properly. One will thus overlook the fact that if this  [56]
argument contrary to the practice of reason were valid, it would always
hold good, whether the consideration were easy or not. This laziness is to
some extent the source of the superstitious practices of fortune-tellers,
which meet with just such credulity as men show towards the philosopher's
stone, because they would fain have short cuts to the attainment of
happiness without trouble.

I do not speak here of those who throw themselves upon fortune because they
have been happy before, as if there were something permanent therein. Their
argument from the past to the future has just as slight a foundation as the
principles of astrology and of other kinds of divination. They overlook the
fact that there is usually an ebb and flow in fortune, _una marea_, as
Italians playing basset are wont to call it. With regard to this they make
their own particular observations, which I would, nevertheless, counsel
none to trust too much. Yet this confidence that people have in their
fortune serves often to give courage to men, and above all to soldiers, and
causes them to have indeed that good fortune they ascribe to themselves.
Even so do predictions often cause that to happen which has been foretold,
as it is supposed that the opinion the Mahometans hold on fate makes them
resolute. Thus even errors have their use at times, but generally as
providing a remedy for other errors: and truth is unquestionably better.

But it is taking an unfair advantage of this alleged necessity of fate to
employ it in excuse for our vices and our libertinism. I have often heard
it said by smart young persons, who wished to play the freethinker, that it
is useless to preach virtue, to censure vice, to create hopes of reward and
fears of punishment, since it may be said of the book of destiny, that what
is written is written, and that our behaviour can change nothing therein.
Thus, they would say, it were best to follow one's inclination, dwelling
only upon such things as may content us in the present. They did not
reflect upon the strange consequences of this argument, which would prove
too much, since it would prove (for instance) that one should take a
pleasant beverage even though one knows it is poisoned. For the same reason
(if it were valid) I could say: if it is written in the records of the
Parcae that poison will kill me now or will do me harm, this will happen
even though I were not to take this beverage; and if this is not written,
it will not happen even though I should take this same beverage;
consequently I shall be able to follow with impunity my inclination to [57]
take what is pleasing, however injurious it may be; the result of which
reasoning is an obvious absurdity. This objection disconcerted them a
little, but they always reverted to their argument, phrased in different
ways, until they were brought to understand where the fault of the sophism
lies. It is untrue that the event happens whatever one may do: it will
happen because one does what leads thereto; and if the event is written
beforehand, the cause that will make it happen is written also. Thus the
connexion of effects and causes, so far from establishing the doctrine of a
necessity detrimental to conduct, serves to overthrow it.

Yet, without having evil intentions inclined towards libertinism, one may
envisage differently the strange consequences of an inevitable necessity,
considering that it would destroy the freedom of the will, so essential to
the morality of action: for justice and injustice, praise and blame,
punishment and reward cannot attach to necessary actions, and nobody will
be under obligation to do the impossible or to abstain from doing what is
absolutely necessary. Without any intention of abusing this consideration
in order to favour irregularity, one will nevertheless not escape
embarrassment sometimes, when it comes to a question of judging the actions
of others, or rather of answering objections, amongst which there are some
even concerned with the actions of God, whereof I will speak presently. And
as an insuperable necessity would open the door to impiety, whether through
the impunity one could thence infer or the hopelessness of any attempt to
resist a torrent that sweeps everything along with it, it is important to
note the different degrees of necessity, and to show that there are some
which cannot do harm, as there are others which cannot be admitted without
giving rise to evil consequences.

Some go even further: not content with using the pretext of necessity to
prove that virtue and vice do neither good nor ill, they have the hardihood
to make the Divinity accessary to their licentious way of life, and they
imitate the pagans of old, who ascribed to the gods the cause of their
crimes, as if a divinity drove them to do evil. The philosophy of
Christians, which recognizes better than that of the ancients the
dependence of things upon the first Author and his co-operation with all
the actions of creatures, appears to have increased this difficulty. Some
able men in our own time have gone so far as to deny all action to     [58]
creatures, and M. Bayle, who tended a little towards this extraordinary
opinion, made use of it to restore the lapsed dogma of the two principles,
or two gods, the one good, the other evil, as if this dogma were a better
solution to the difficulties over the origin of evil. Yet again he
acknowledges that it is an indefensible opinion and that the oneness of the
Principle is incontestably founded on _a priori_ reasons; but he wishes to
infer that our Reason is confounded and cannot meet her own objections, and
that one should disregard them and hold fast the revealed dogmas, which
teach us the existence of one God altogether good, altogether powerful and
altogether wise. But many readers, convinced of the irrefutable nature of
his objections and believing them to be at least as strong as the proofs
for the truth of religion, would draw dangerous conclusions.

Even though there were no co-operation by God in evil actions, one could
not help finding difficulty in the fact that he foresees them and that,
being able to prevent them through his omnipotence, he yet permits them.
This is why some philosophers and even some theologians have rather chosen
to deny to God any knowledge of the detail of things and, above all, of
future events, than to admit what they believed repellent to his goodness.
The Socinians and Conrad Vorstius lean towards that side; and Thomas
Bonartes, an English Jesuit disguised under a pseudonym but exceedingly
learned, who wrote a book _De Concordia Scientiae cum Fide_, of which I
will speak later, appears to hint at this also.

They are doubtless much mistaken; but others are not less so who, convinced
that nothing comes to pass save by the will and the power of God, ascribe
to him intentions and actions so unworthy of the greatest and the best of
all beings that one would say these authors have indeed renounced the dogma
which recognizes God's justice and goodness. They thought that, being
supreme Master of the universe, he could without any detriment to his
holiness cause sins to be committed, simply at his will and pleasure, or in
order that he might have the pleasure of punishing; and even that he could
take pleasure in eternally afflicting innocent people without doing any
injustice, because no one has the right or the power to control his
actions. Some even have gone so far as to say that God acts thus indeed;
and on the plea that we are as nothing in comparison with him, they liken
us to earthworms which men crush without heeding as they walk, or in
general to animals that are not of our species and which we do not     [59]
scruple to ill-treat.

I believe that many persons otherwise of good intentions are misled by
these ideas, because they have not sufficient knowledge of their
consequences. They do not see that, properly speaking, God's justice is
thus overthrown. For what idea shall we form of such a justice as has only
will for its rule, that is to say, where the will is not guided by the
rules of good and even tends directly towards evil? Unless it be the idea
contained in that tyrannical definition by Thrasymachus in Plato, which
designated as _just_ that which pleases the stronger. Such indeed is the
position taken up, albeit unwittingly, by those who rest all obligation
upon constraint, and in consequence take power as the gauge of right. But
one will soon abandon maxims so strange and so unfit to make men good and
charitable through the imitation of God. For one will reflect that a God
who would take pleasure in the misfortune of others cannot be distinguished
from the evil principle of the Manichaeans, assuming that this principle
had become sole master of the universe; and that in consequence one must
attribute to the true God sentiments that render him worthy to be called
the good Principle.

Happily these extravagant dogmas scarce obtain any longer among
theologians. Nevertheless some astute persons, who are pleased to make
difficulties, revive them: they seek to increase our perplexity by uniting
the controversies aroused by Christian theology to the disputes of
philosophy. Philosophers have considered the questions of necessity, of
freedom and of the origin of evil; theologians have added thereto those of
original sin, of grace and of predestination. The original corruption of
the human race, coming from the first sin, appears to us to have imposed a
natural necessity to sin without the succour of divine grace: but necessity
being incompatible with punishment, it will be inferred that a sufficient
grace ought to have been given to all men; which does not seem to be in
conformity with experience.

But the difficulty is great, above all, in relation to God's dispositions
for the salvation of men. There are few saved or chosen; therefore the
choice of many is not God's decreed will. And since it is admitted that
those whom he has chosen deserve it no more than the rest, and are not even
fundamentally less evil, the goodness which they have coming only from the
gift of God, the difficulty is increased. Where is, then, his justice  [60]
(people will say), or at the least, where is his goodness? Partiality, or
respect of persons, goes against justice, and he who without cause sets
bounds to his goodness cannot have it in sufficient measure. It is true
that those who are not chosen are lost by their own fault: they lack good
will or living faith; but it rested with God alone to grant it them. We
know that besides inward grace there are usually outward circumstances
which distinguish men, and that training, conversation, example often
correct or corrupt natural disposition. Now that God should call forth
circumstances favourable to some and abandon others to experiences which
contribute to their misfortune, will not that give us cause for
astonishment? And it is not enough (so it seems) to say with some that
inward grace is universal and equal for all. For these same authors are
obliged to resort to the exclamations of St. Paul, and to say: 'O the
depth!' when they consider how men are distinguished by what we may call
outward graces, that is, by graces appearing in the diversity of
circumstances which God calls forth, whereof men are not the masters, and
which have nevertheless so great an influence upon all that concerns their

Nor will it help us to say with St. Augustine that, all men being involved
in the damnation caused by the sin of Adam, God might have left them all in
their misery; and that thus his goodness alone induces him to deliver some
of them. For not only is it strange that the sin of another should condemn
anyone, but there still remains the question why God does not deliver
all--why he delivers the lesser number and why some in preference to
others. He is in truth their master, but he is a good and just master; his
power is absolute, but his wisdom permits not that he exercise that power
in an arbitrary and despotic way, which would be tyrannous indeed.

Moreover, the fall of the first man having happened only with God's
permission, and God having resolved to permit it only when once he had
considered its consequences, which are the corruption of the mass of the
human race and the choice of a small number of elect, with the abandonment
of all the rest, it is useless to conceal the difficulty by limiting one's
view to the mass already corrupt. One must, in spite of oneself, go back to
the knowledge of the consequences of the first sin, preceding the decree
whereby God permitted it, and whereby he permitted simultaneously that [61]
the damned should be involved in the mass of perdition and should not be
delivered: for God and the sage make no resolve without considering its

I hope to remove all these difficulties. I will point out that absolute
necessity, which is called also logical and metaphysical and sometimes
geometrical, and which would alone be formidable in this connexion, does
not exist in free actions, and that thus freedom is exempt not only from
constraint but also from real necessity. I will show that God himself,
although he always chooses the best, does not act by an absolute necessity,
and that the laws of nature laid down by God, founded upon the fitness of
things, keep the mean between geometrical truths, absolutely necessary, and
arbitrary decrees; which M. Bayle and other modern philosophers have not
sufficiently understood. Further I will show that there is an indifference
in freedom, because there is no absolute necessity for one course or the
other; but yet that there is never an indifference of perfect equipoise.
And I will demonstrate that there is in free actions a perfect spontaneity
beyond all that has been conceived hitherto. Finally I will make it plain
that the hypothetical and the moral necessity which subsist in free actions
are open to no objection, and that the 'Lazy Reason' is a pure sophism.

Likewise concerning the origin of evil in its relation to God, I offer a
vindication of his perfections that shall extol not less his holiness, his
justice and his goodness than his greatness, his power and his
independence. I show how it is possible for everything to depend upon God,
for him to co-operate in all the actions of creatures, even, if you will,
to create these creatures continually, and nevertheless not to be the
author of sin. Here also it is demonstrated how the privative nature of
evil should be understood. Much more than that, I explain how evil has a
source other than the will of God, and that one is right therefore to say
of moral evil that God wills it not, but simply permits it. Most important
of all, however, I show that it has been possible for God to permit sin and
misery, and even to co-operate therein and promote it, without detriment to
his holiness and his supreme goodness: although, generally speaking, he
could have avoided all these evils.

Concerning grace and predestination, I justify the most debatable
assertions, as for instance: that we are converted only through the    [62]
prevenient grace of God and that we cannot do good except with his aid;
that God wills the salvation of all men and that he condemns only those
whose will is evil; that he gives to all a sufficient grace provided they
wish to use it; that, Jesus Christ being the source and the centre of
election, God destined the elect for salvation, because he foresaw that
they would cling with a lively faith to the doctrine of Jesus Christ. Yet
it is true that this reason for election is not the final reason, and that
this very pre-vision is still a consequence of God's anterior decree. Faith
likewise is a gift of God, who has predestinated the faith of the elect,
for reasons lying in a superior decree which dispenses grace and
circumstance in accordance with God's supreme wisdom.

Now, as one of the most gifted men of our time, whose eloquence was as
great as his acumen and who gave great proofs of his vast erudition, had
applied himself with a strange predilection to call attention to all the
difficulties on this subject which I have just touched in general, I found
a fine field for exercise in considering the question with him in detail. I
acknowledge that M. Bayle (for it is easy to see that I speak of him) has
on his side all the advantages except that of the root of the matter, but I
hope that truth (which he acknowledges himself to be on our side) by its
very plainness, and provided it be fittingly set forth, will prevail over
all the ornaments of eloquence and erudition. My hope for success therein
is all the greater because it is the cause of God I plead, and because one
of the maxims here upheld states that God's help is never lacking for those
that lack not good will. The author of this discourse believes that he has
given proof of this good will in the attention he has brought to bear upon
this subject. He has meditated upon it since his youth; he has conferred
with some of the foremost men of the time; and he has schooled himself by
the reading of good authors. And the success which God has given him
(according to the opinion of sundry competent judges) in certain other
profound meditations, of which some have much influence on this subject,
gives him peradventure some right to claim the attention of readers who
love truth and are fitted to search after it.

The author had, moreover, particular and weighty reasons inducing him to
take pen in hand for discussion of this subject. Conversations which he had
concerning the same with literary and court personages, in Germany and in
France, and especially with one of the greatest and most accomplished  [63]
of princesses, have repeatedly prompted him to this course. He had had the
honour of expressing his opinions to this Princess upon divers passages of
the admirable _Dictionary_ of M. Bayle, wherein religion and reason appear
as adversaries, and where M. Bayle wishes to silence reason after having
made it speak too loud: which he calls the triumph of faith. The present
author declared there and then that he was of a different opinion, but that
he was nevertheless well pleased that a man of such great genius had
brought about an occasion for going deeply into these subjects, subjects as
important as they are difficult. He admitted having examined them also for
some long time already, and having sometimes been minded to publish upon
this matter some reflexions whose chief aim should be such knowledge of God
as is needed to awaken piety and to foster virtue. This Princess exhorted
and urged him to carry out his long-cherished intention, and some friends
added their persuasions. He was all the more tempted to accede to their
requests since he had reason to hope that in the sequel to his
investigation M. Bayle's genius would greatly aid him to give the subject
such illumination as it might receive with his support. But divers
obstacles intervened, and the death of the incomparable Queen was not the
least. It happened, however, that M. Bayle was attacked by excellent men
who set themselves to examine the same subject; he answered them fully and
always ingeniously. I followed their dispute, and was even on the point of
being involved therein. This is how it came about.

I had published a new system, which seemed well adapted to explain the
union of the soul and the body: it met with considerable applause even from
those who were not in agreement with it, and certain competent persons
testified that they had already been of my opinion, without having reached
so distinct an explanation, before they saw what I had written on the
matter. M. Bayle examined it in his _Historical and Critical Dictionary_,
article 'Rorarius'. He thought that my expositions were worthy of further
development; he drew attention to their usefulness in various connexions,
and he laid stress upon what might still cause difficulty. I could not but
reply in a suitable way to expressions so civil and to reflexions so
instructive as his. In order to turn them to greater account, I published
some elucidations in the _Histoire des Ouvrages des Savants_, July 1698. M.
Bayle replied to them in the second edition of his _Dictionary_. I sent[64]
him a rejoinder which has not yet been published; I know not whether he
ever made a further reply.

Meanwhile it happened that M. le Clerc had inserted in his _Select Library_
an extract from the _Intellectual System_ of the late Mr. Cudworth, and had
explained therein certain 'plastic natures' which this admirable author
applied to the formation of animals. M. Bayle believed (see the
continuation of _Divers Thoughts on the Comet_, ch. 21, art. 11) that,
these natures being without cognition, in establishing them one weakened
the argument which proves, through the marvellous formation of things, that
the universe must have an intelligent Cause. M. le Clerc replied (4th art.
of the 5th vol. of his _Select Library_) that these natures required to be
directed by divine wisdom. M. Bayle insisted (7th article of the _Histoire
des Ouvrages des Savants_, August 1704) that direction alone was not
sufficient for a cause devoid of cognition, unless one took the cause to be
a mere instrument of God, in which case direction would be needless. My
system was touched upon in passing; and that gave me an opportunity to send
a short essay to the illustrious author of the _Histoire des Ouvrages des
Savants_, which he inserted in the month of May 1705, art. 9. In this I
endeavoured to make clear that in reality mechanism is sufficient to
produce the organic bodies of animals, without any need of other plastic
natures, provided there be added thereto the _preformation_ already
completely organic in the seeds of the bodies that come into existence,
contained in those of the bodies whence they spring, right back to the
primary seeds. This could only proceed from the Author of things,
infinitely powerful and infinitely wise, who, creating all in the beginning
in due order, had _pre-established_ there all order and artifice that was
to be. There is no chaos in the inward nature of things, and there is
organism everywhere in a matter whose disposition proceeds from God. More
and more of it would come to light if we pressed closer our examination of
the anatomy of bodies; and we should continue to observe it even if we
could go on to infinity, like Nature, and make subdivision as continuous in
our knowledge as Nature has made it in fact.

In order to explain this marvel of the formation of animals, I made use of
a Pre-established Harmony, that is to say, of the same means I had used to
explain another marvel, namely the correspondence of soul with body,   [65]
wherein I proved the uniformity and the fecundity of the principles I had
employed. It seems that this reminded M. Bayle of my system of accounting
for this correspondence, which he had examined formerly. He declared (in
chapter 180 of his _Reply to the Questions of a Provincial_, vol. III, p.
1253) that he did not believe God could give to matter or to any other
cause the faculty of becoming organic without communicating to it the idea
and the knowledge of organic nature. Also he was not yet disposed to
believe that God, with all his power over Nature and with all the
foreknowledge which he has of the contingencies that may arrive, could have
so disposed things that by the laws of mechanics alone a vessel (for
instance) should go to its port of destination without being steered during
its passage by some intelligent guide. I was surprised to see that limits
were placed on the power of God, without the adduction of any proof and
without indication that there was any contradiction to be feared on the
side of the object or any imperfection on God's side. Whereas I had shown
before in my Rejoinder that even men often produce through automata
something like the movements that come from reason, and that even a finite
mind (but one far above ours) could accomplish what M. Bayle thinks
impossible to the Divinity. Moreover, as God orders all things at once
beforehand, the accuracy of the path of this vessel would be no more
strange than that of a fuse passing along a cord in fireworks, since the
whole disposition of things preserves a perfect harmony between them by
means of their influence one upon the other.

This declaration of M. Bayle pledged me to an answer. I therefore purposed
to point out to him, that unless it be said that God forms organic bodies
himself by a perpetual miracle, or that he has entrusted this care to
intelligences whose power and knowledge are almost divine, we must hold the
opinion that God _preformed_ things in such sort that new organisms are
only a mechanical consequence of a preceding organic constitution. Even so
do butterflies come out of silkworms, an instance where M. Swammerdam has
shown that there is nothing but development. And I would have added that
nothing is better qualified than the preformation of plants and of animals
to confirm my System of Pre-established Harmony between the soul and the
body. For in this the body is prompted by its original constitution to
carry out with the help of external things all that it does in accordance
with the will of the soul. So the seeds by their original constitution [66]
carry out naturally the intentions of God, by an artifice greater still
than that which causes our body to perform everything in conformity with
our will. And since M. Bayle himself deems with reason that there is more
artifice in the organism of animals than in the most beautiful poem in the
world or in the most admirable invention whereof the human mind is capable,
it follows that my system of the connexion between the body and the soul is
as intelligible as the general opinion on the formation of animals. For
this opinion (which appears to me true) states in effect that the wisdom of
God has so made Nature that it is competent in virtue of its laws to form
animals; I explain this opinion and throw more light upon the possibility
of it through the system of preformation. Whereafter there will be no cause
for surprise that God has so made the body that by virtue of its own laws
it can carry out the intentions of the reasoning soul: for all that the
reasoning soul can demand of the body is less difficult than the
organization which God has demanded of the seeds. M. Bayle says (_Reply to
the Questions of a Provincial_, ch. 182, p. 1294) that it is only very
recently there have been people who have understood that the formation of
living bodies cannot be a natural process. This he could say also (in
accordance with his principles) of the communication between the soul and
the body, since God effects this whole communication in the system of
occasional causes to which this author subscribes. But I admit the
supernatural here only in the beginning of things, in respect of the first
formation of animals or in respect of the original constitution of
pre-established harmony between the soul and the body. Once that has come
to pass, I hold that the formation of animals and the relation between the
soul and the body are something as natural now as the other most ordinary
operations of Nature. A close parallel is afforded by people's ordinary
thinking about the instinct and the marvellous behaviour of brutes. One
recognizes reason there not in the brutes but in him who created them. I
am, then, of the general opinion in this respect; but I hope that my
explanation will have added clearness and lucidity, and even a more ample
range, to that opinion.

Now when preparing to justify my system in face of the new difficulties of
M. Bayle, I purposed at the same time to communicate to him the ideas which
I had had for some time already, on the difficulties put forward by him[67]
in opposition to those who endeavour to reconcile reason with faith in
regard to the existence of evil. Indeed, there are perhaps few persons who
have toiled more than I in this matter. Hardly had I gained some tolerable
understanding of Latin writings when I had an opportunity of turning over
books in a library. I flitted from book to book, and since subjects for
meditation pleased me as much as histories and fables, I was charmed by the
work of Laurentius Valla against Boethius and by that of Luther against
Erasmus, although I was well aware that they had need of some mitigation. I
did not omit books of controversy, and amongst other writings of this
nature the records of the Montbéliard Conversation, which had revived the
dispute, appeared to me instructive. Nor did I neglect the teachings of our
theologians: and the study of their opponents, far from disturbing me,
served to strengthen me in the moderate opinions of the Churches of the
Augsburg Confession. I had opportunity on my journeys to confer with some
excellent men of different parties, for instance with Bishop Peter von
Wallenburg, Suffragan of Mainz, with Herr Johann Ludwig Fabricius, premier
theologian of Heidelberg, and finally with the celebrated M. Arnauld. To
him I even tendered a Latin Dialogue of my own composition upon this
subject, about the year 1673, wherein already I laid it down that God,
having chosen the most perfect of all possible worlds, had been prompted by
his wisdom to permit the evil which was bound up with it, but which still
did not prevent this world from being, all things considered, the best that
could be chosen. I have also since read many and various good authors on
these subjects, and I have endeavoured to make progress in the knowledge
that seems to me proper for banishing all that could have obscured the idea
of supreme perfection which must be acknowledged in God. I have not
neglected to examine the most rigorous authors, who have extended furthest
the doctrine of the necessity of things, as for instance Hobbes and
Spinoza, of whom the former advocated this absolute necessity not only in
his _Physical Elements_ and elsewhere, but also in a special book against
Bishop Bramhall. And Spinoza insists more or less (like an ancient
Peripatetic philosopher named Strato) that all has come from the first
cause or from primitive Nature by a blind and geometrical necessity, with
complete absence of capacity for choice, for goodness and for understanding
in this first source of things.

I have found the means, so it seems to me, of demonstrating the contrary in
a way that gives one a clear insight into the inward essence of the matter.
For having made new discoveries on the nature of active force and the laws
of motion, I have shown that they have no geometrical necessity, as Spinoza
appears to have believed they had. Neither, as I have made plain, are they
purely arbitrary, even though this be the opinion of M. Bayle and of some
modern philosophers: but they are dependent upon the fitness of things as I
have already pointed out above, or upon that which I call the 'principle of
the best'. Moreover one recognizes therein, as in every other thing, the
marks of the first substance, whose productions bear the stamp of a supreme
wisdom and make the most perfect of harmonies. I have shown also that this
harmony connects both the future with the past and the present with the
absent. The first kind of connexion unites times, and the other places.
This second connexion is displayed in the union of the soul with the body,
and in general in the communication of true substances with one another and
with material phenomena. But the first takes place in the preformation of
organic bodies, or rather of all bodies, since there is organism
everywhere, although all masses do not compose organic bodies. So a pond
may very well be full of fish or of other organic bodies, although it is
not itself an animal or organic body, but only a mass that contains them.
Thus I had endeavoured to build upon such foundations, established in a
conclusive manner, a complete body of the main articles of knowledge that
reason pure and simple can impart to us, a body whereof all the parts were
properly connected and capable of meeting the most important difficulties
of the ancients and the moderns. I had also in consequence formed for
myself a certain system concerning the freedom of man and the cooperation
of God. This system appeared to me to be such as would in no wise offend
reason and faith; and I desired to submit it to the scrutiny of M. Bayle,
as well as of those who are in controversy with him. Now he has departed
from us, and such a loss is no small one, a writer whose learning and
acumen few have equalled. But since the subject is under consideration and
men of talent are still occupied with it, while the public also follows it
attentively, I take this to be a fitting moment for the publication of
certain of my ideas.

It will perhaps be well to add the observation, before finishing this
preface, that in denying the physical influence of the soul upon the   [69]
body or of the body upon the soul, that is, an influence causing the one to
disturb the laws of the other, I by no means deny the union of the one with
the other which forms of them a suppositum; but this union is something
metaphysical, which changes nothing in the phenomena. This is what I have
already said in reply to the objection raised against me, in the _Mémoires
de Trévoux_, by the Reverend Father de Tournemine, whose wit and learning
are of no ordinary mould. And for this reason one may say also in a
metaphysical sense that the soul acts upon the body and the body upon the
soul. Moreover, it is true that the soul is the Entelechy or the active
principle, whereas the corporeal alone or the mere material contains only
the passive. Consequently the principle of action is in the soul, as I have
explained more than once in the _Leipzig Journal_. More especially does
this appear in my answer to the late Herr Sturm, philosopher and
mathematician of Altorf, where I have even demonstrated that, if bodies
contained only the passive, their different conditions would be
indistinguishable. Also I take this opportunity to say that, having heard
of some objections made by the gifted author of the book on
_Self-knowledge_, in that same book, to my System of Pre-established
Harmony, I sent a reply to Paris, showing that he has attributed to me
opinions I am far from holding. On another matter recently I met with like
treatment at the hands of an anonymous Doctor of the Sorbonne. And these
misconceptions would have become plain to the reader at the outset if my
own words, which were being taken in evidence, had been quoted.

This tendency of men to make mistakes in presenting the opinions of others
leads me to observe also, that when I said somewhere that man helps himself
in conversion through the succour of grace, I mean only that he derives
advantage from it through the cessation of the resistance overcome, but
without any cooperation on his part: just as there is no co-operation in
ice when it is broken. For conversion is purely the work of God's grace,
wherein man co-operates only by resisting it; but human resistance is more
or less great according to the persons and the occasions. Circumstances
also contribute more or less to our attention and to the motions that arise
in the soul; and the co-operation of all these things, together with the
strength of the impression and the condition of the will, determines the
operation of grace, although not rendering it necessary. I have expounded
sufficiently elsewhere that in relation to matters of salvation        [70]
unregenerate man is to be considered as dead; and I greatly approve the
manner wherein the theologians of the Augsburg Confession declare
themselves on this subject. Yet this corruption of unregenerate man is, it
must be added, no hindrance to his possession of true moral virtues and his
performance of good actions in his civic life, actions which spring from a
good principle, without any evil intention and without mixture of actual
sin. Wherein I hope I shall be forgiven, if I have dared to diverge from
the opinion of St. Augustine: he was doubtless a great man, of admirable
intelligence, but inclined sometimes, as it seems, to exaggerate things,
above all in the heat of his controversies. I greatly esteem some persons
who profess to be disciples of St. Augustine, amongst others the Reverend
Father Quênel, a worthy successor of the great Arnauld in the pursuit of
controversies that have embroiled them with the most famous of Societies.
But I have found that usually in disputes between people of conspicuous
merit (of whom there are doubtless some here in both parties) there is
right on both sides, although in different points, and it is rather in the
matter of defence than attack, although the natural malevolence of the
human heart generally renders attack more agreeable to the reader than
defence. I hope that the Reverend Father Ptolemei, who does his Society
credit and is occupied in filling the gaps left by the famous Bellarmine,
will give us, concerning all of that, some explanations worthy of his
acumen and his knowledge, and I even dare to add, his moderation. And one
must believe that among the theologians of the Augsburg Confession there
will arise some new Chemnitz or some new Callixtus; even as one is
justified in thinking that men like Usserius or Daillé will again appear
among the Reformed, and that all will work more and more to remove the
misconceptions wherewith this matter is charged. For the rest I shall be
well pleased that those who shall wish to examine it closely read the
objections with the answers I have given thereto, formulated in the small
treatise I have placed at the end of the work by way of summary. I have
endeavoured to forestall some new objections. I have explained, for
instance, why I have taken the antecedent and consequent will as
preliminary and final, after the example of Thomas, of Scotus and others;
how it is possible that there be incomparably more good in the glory of all
the saved than there is evil in the misery of all the damned, despite  [71]
that there are more of the latter; how, in saying that evil has been
permitted as a _conditio sine qua non_ of good, I mean not according to the
principle of necessity, but according to the principle of the fitness of
things. Furthermore I show that the predetermination I admit is such as
always to predispose, but never to necessitate, and that God will not
refuse the requisite new light to those who have made a good use of that
which they had. Other elucidations besides I have endeavoured to give on
some difficulties which have been put before me of late. I have, moreover,
followed the advice of some friends who thought it fitting that I should
add two appendices: the one treats of the controversy carried on between
Mr. Hobbes and Bishop Bramhall touching Freedom and Necessity, the other of
the learned work on _The Origin of Evil_, published a short time ago in

Finally I have endeavoured in all things to consider edification: and if I
have conceded something to curiosity, it is because I thought it necessary
to relieve a subject whose seriousness may cause discouragement. It is with
that in view that I have introduced into this dissertation the pleasing
chimera of a certain astronomical theology, having no ground for
apprehension that it will ensnare anyone and deeming that to tell it and
refute it is the same thing. Fiction for fiction, instead of imagining that
the planets were suns, one might conceive that they were masses melted in
the sun and thrown out, and that would destroy the foundation of this
hypothetical theology. The ancient error of the two principles, which the
Orientals distinguished by the names Oromasdes and Arimanius, caused me to
explain a conjecture on the primitive history of peoples. It appears indeed
probable that these were the names of two great contemporary princes, the
one monarch of a part of upper Asia, where there have since been others of
this name, the other king of the Scythian Celts who made incursions into
the states of the former, and who was also named amongst the divinities of
Germania. It seems, indeed, that Zoroaster used the names of these princes
as symbols of the invisible powers which their exploits made them resemble
in the ideas of Asiatics. Yet elsewhere, according to the accounts of Arab
authors, who in this might well be better informed than the Greeks, it
appears from detailed records of ancient oriental history, that this
Zerdust or Zoroaster, whom they make contemporary with the great Darius,
did not look upon these two principles as completely primitive and     [72]
independent, but as dependent upon one supreme and single principle. They
relate that he believed, in conformity with the cosmogony of Moses, that
God, who is without an equal, created all and separated the light from the
darkness; that the light conformed with his original design, but that the
darkness came as a consequence, even as the shadow follows the body, and
that this is nothing but privation. Such a thesis would clear this ancient
author of the errors the Greeks imputed to him. His great learning caused
the Orientals to compare him with the Mercury or Hermes of the Egyptians
and Greeks; just as the northern peoples compared their Wodan or Odin to
this same Mercury. That is why Mercredi (Wednesday), or the day of Mercury,
was called Wodansdag by the northern peoples, but day of Zerdust by the
Asiatics, since it is named Zarschamba or Dsearschambe by the Turks and the
Persians, Zerda by the Hungarians from the north-east, and Sreda by the
Slavs from the heart of Great Russia, as far as the Wends of the Luneburg
region, the Slavs having learnt the name also from the Orientals. These
observations will perhaps not be displeasing to the curious. And I flatter
myself that the small dialogue ending the Essays written to oppose M. Bayle
will give some satisfaction to those who are well pleased to see difficult
but important truths set forth in an easy and familiar way. I have written
in a foreign language at the risk of making many errors in it, because that
language has been recently used by others in treating of my subject, and
because it is more generally read by those whom one would wish to benefit
by this small work. It is to be hoped that the language errors will be
pardoned: they are to be attributed not only to the printer and the
copyist, but also to the haste of the author, who has been much distracted
from his task. If, moreover, any error has crept into the ideas expressed,
the author will be the first to correct it, once he has been better
informed: he has given elsewhere such indications of his love of truth that
he hopes this declaration will not be regarded as merely an empty phrase.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

1. I begin with the preliminary question of the _conformity of faith with
reason_, and the use of philosophy in theology, because it has much
influence on the main subject of my treatise, and because M. Bayle
introduces it everywhere. I assume that two truths cannot contradict each
other; that the object of faith is the truth God has revealed in an
extraordinary way; and that reason is the linking together of truths, but
especially (when it is compared with faith) of those whereto the human mind
can attain naturally without being aided by the light of faith. This
definition of reason (that is to say of strict and true reason) has
surprised some persons accustomed to inveigh against reason taken in a
vague sense. They gave me the answer that they had never heard of any such
explanation of it: the truth is that they have never conferred with people
who expressed themselves clearly on these subjects. They have confessed to
me, nevertheless, that one could not find fault with reason, understood in
the sense which I gave to it. It is in the same sense that sometimes reason
is contrasted with experience. Reason, since it consists in the linking
together of truths, is entitled to connect also those wherewith experience
has furnished it, in order thence to draw mixed conclusions; but reason
pure and simple, as distinct from experience, only has to do with truths
independent of the senses. And one may compare faith with experience, since
faith (in respect of the motives that give it justification) depends   [74]
upon the experience of those who have seen the miracles whereon revelation
is founded, and upon the trustworthy tradition which has handed them down
to us, whether through the Scriptures or by the account of those who have
preserved them. It is rather as we rely upon the experience of those who
have seen China and on the credibility of their account when we give
credence to the wonders that are told us of that distant country. Yet I
would also take into account the inward motion of the Holy Spirit, who
takes possession of souls and persuades them and prompts them to good, that
is, to faith and to charity, without always having need of motives.

2. Now the truths of reason are of two kinds: the one kind is of those
called the 'Eternal Verities', which are altogether necessary, so that the
opposite implies contradiction. Such are the truths whose necessity is
logical, metaphysical or geometrical, which one cannot deny without being
led into absurdities. There are others which may be called _positive_,
because they are the laws which it has pleased God to give to Nature, or
because they depend upon those. We learn them either by experience, that
is, _a posteriori_, or by reason and _a priori_, that is, by considerations
of the fitness of things which have caused their choice. This fitness of
things has also its rules and reasons, but it is the free choice of God,
and not a geometrical necessity, which causes preference for what is
fitting and brings it into existence. Thus one may say that physical
necessity is founded on moral necessity, that is, on the wise one's choice
which is worthy of his wisdom; and that both of these ought to be
distinguished from geometrical necessity. It is this physical necessity
that makes order in Nature and lies in the rules of motion and in some
other general laws which it pleased God to lay down for things when he gave
them being. It is therefore true that God gave such laws not without
reason, for he chooses nothing from caprice and as though by chance or in
pure indifference; but the general reasons of good and of order, which have
prompted him to the choice, may be overcome in some cases by stronger
reasons of a superior order.

3. Thus it is made clear that God can exempt creatures from the laws he has
prescribed for them, and produce in them that which their nature does not
bear by performing a miracle. When they have risen to perfections and
faculties nobler than those whereto they can by their nature attain, the
Schoolmen call this faculty an 'Obediential Power', that is to say, a  [75]
power which the thing acquires by obeying the command of him who can give
that which the thing has not. The Schoolmen, however, usually give
instances of this power which to me appear impossible: they maintain, for
example, that God can give the creature the faculty to create. It may be
that there are miracles which God performs through the ministry of angels,
where the laws of Nature are not violated, any more than when men assist
Nature by art, the skill of angels differing from ours only by degree of
perfection. Nevertheless it still remains true that the laws of Nature are
subject to be dispensed from by the Law-giver; whereas the eternal
verities, as for instance those of geometry, admit no dispensation, and
faith cannot contradict them. Thus it is that there cannot be any
invincible objection to truth. For if it is a question of proof which is
founded upon principles or incontestable facts and formed by a linking
together of eternal verities, the conclusion is certain and essential, and
that which is contrary to it must be false; otherwise two contradictories
might be true at the same time. If the objection is not conclusive, it can
only form a probable argument, which has no force against faith, since it
is agreed that the Mysteries of religion are contrary to appearances. Now
M. Bayle declares, in his posthumous Reply to M. le Clerc, that he does not
claim that there are demonstrations contrary to the truths of faith: and as
a result all these insuperable difficulties, these so-called wars between
reason and faith, vanish away.

  _Hi motus animorum atque haec discrimina tanta,_
  _Pulveris exigui jactu compressa quiescunt._

4. Protestant theologians as well as those of the Roman confession admit
the maxims which I have just laid down, when they handle the matter with
attention; and all that is said against reason has no force save against a
kind of counterfeit reason, corrupted and deluded by false appearances. It
is the same with our notions of the justice and the goodness of God, which
are spoken of sometimes as if we had neither any idea nor any definition of
their nature. But in that case we should have no ground for ascribing these
attributes to him, or lauding him for them. His goodness and his justice as
well as his wisdom differ from ours only because they are infinitely more
perfect. Thus the simple notions, the necessary truths and the conclusive
results of philosophy cannot be contrary to revelation. And when some  [76]
philosophical maxims are rejected in theology, the reason is that they are
considered to have only a physical or moral necessity, which speaks only of
that which takes place usually, and is consequently founded on appearances,
but which may be withheld if God so pleases.

5. It seems, according to what I have just said, that there is often some
confusion in the expressions of those who set at variance philosophy and
theology, or faith and reason: they confuse the terms 'explain',
'comprehend', 'prove', 'uphold'. And I find that M. Bayle, shrewd as he is,
is not always free from this confusion. Mysteries may be _explained_
sufficiently to justify belief in them; but one cannot _comprehend_ them,
nor give understanding of how they come to pass. Thus even in natural
philosophy we explain up to a certain point sundry perceptible qualities,
but in an imperfect manner, for we do not comprehend them. Nor is it
possible for us, either, to prove Mysteries by reason; for all that which
can be proved _a priori_, or by pure reason, can be comprehended. All that
remains for us then, after having believed in the Mysteries by reason of
the proofs of the truth of religion (which are called 'motives of
credibility') is to be able to _uphold_ them against objections. Without
that our belief in them would have no firm foundation; for all that which
can be refuted in a sound and conclusive manner cannot but be false. And
such proofs of the truth of religion as can give only a _moral certainty_
would be balanced and even outweighed by such objections as would give an
_absolute certainty_, provided they were convincing and altogether
conclusive. This little might suffice me to remove the difficulties
concerning the use of reason and philosophy in relation to religion if one
had not to deal all too often with prejudiced persons. But as the subject
is important and it has fallen into a state of confusion, it will be well
to take it in greater detail.

6. The question of the _conformity of faith with reason_ has always been a
great problem. In the primitive Church the ablest Christian authors adapted
themselves to the ideas of the Platonists, which were the most acceptable
to them, and were at that time most generally in favour. Little by little
Aristotle took the place of Plato, when the taste for systems began to
prevail, and when theology itself became more systematic, owing to the
decisions of the General Councils, which provided precise and positive
formularies. St. Augustine, Boethius and Cassiodorus in the West, and  [77]
St. John of Damascus in the East contributed most towards reducing theology
to scientific form, not to mention Bede, Alcuin, St. Anselm and some other
theologians versed in philosophy. Finally came the Schoolmen. The leisure
of the cloisters giving full scope for speculation, which was assisted by
Aristotle's philosophy translated from the Arabic, there was formed at last
a compound of theology and philosophy wherein most of the questions arose
from the trouble that was taken to reconcile faith with reason. But this
had not met with the full success hoped for, because theology had been much
corrupted by the unhappiness of the times, by ignorance and obstinacy.
Moreover, philosophy, in addition to its own faults, which were very great,
found itself burdened with those of theology, which in its turn was
suffering from association with a philosophy that was very obscure and very
imperfect. One must confess, notwithstanding, with the incomparable
Grotius, that there is sometimes gold hidden under the rubbish of the
monks' barbarous Latin. I have therefore oft-times wished that a man of
talent, whose office had necessitated his learning the language of the
Schoolmen, had chosen to extract thence whatever is of worth, and that
another Petau or Thomasius had done in respect of the Schoolmen what these
two learned men have done in respect of the Fathers. It would be a very
curious work, and very important for ecclesiastical history, and it would
continue the History of Dogmas up to the time of the Revival of Letters
(owing to which the aspect of things has changed) and even beyond that
point. For sundry dogmas, such as those of physical predetermination, of
mediate knowledge, philosophical sin, objective precisions, and many other
dogmas in speculative theology and even in the practical theology of cases
of conscience, came into currency even after the Council of Trent.

7. A little before these changes, and before the great schism in the West
that still endures, there was in Italy a sect of philosophers which
disputed this conformity of faith with reason which I maintain. They were
dubbed 'Averroists' because they were adherents of a famous Arab author,
who was called the Commentator by pre-eminence, and who appeared to be the
one of all his race that penetrated furthest into Aristotle's meaning. This
Commentator, extending what Greek expositors had already taught, maintained
that according to Aristotle, and even according to reason (and at that time
the two were considered almost identical) there was no case for the    [78]
immortality of the soul. Here is his reasoning. The human kind is eternal,
according to Aristotle, therefore if individual souls die not, one must
resort to the metempsychosis rejected by that philosopher. Or, if there are
always new souls, one must admit the infinity of these souls existing from
all eternity; but actual infinity is impossible, according to the doctrine
of the same Aristotle. Therefore it is a necessary conclusion that the
souls, that is, the forms of organic bodies, must perish with the bodies,
or at least this must happen to the passive understanding that belongs to
each one individually. Thus there will only remain the active understanding
common to all men, which according to Aristotle comes from outside, and
which must work wheresoever the organs are suitably disposed; even as the
wind produces a kind of music when it is blown into properly adjusted organ

8. Nothing could have been weaker than this would-be proof. It is not true
that Aristotle refuted metempsychosis, or that he proved the eternity of
the human kind; and after all, it is quite untrue that an actual infinity
is impossible. Yet this proof passed as irresistible amongst Aristotelians,
and induced in them the belief that there was a certain sublunary
intelligence and that our active intellect was produced by participation in
it. But others who adhered less to Aristotle went so far as to advocate a
universal soul forming the ocean of all individual souls, and believed this
universal soul alone capable of subsisting, whilst individual souls are
born and die. According to this opinion the souls of animals are born by
being separated like drops from their ocean, when they find a body which
they can animate; and they die by being reunited to the ocean of souls when
the body is destroyed, as streams are lost in the sea. Many even went so
far as to believe that God is that universal soul, although others thought
that this soul was subordinate and created. This bad doctrine is very
ancient and apt to dazzle the common herd. It is expressed in these
beautiful lines of Vergil (_Aen._, VI, v. 724):

  _Principio coelum ac terram camposque liquentes,_
  _Lucentemque globum Lunae Titaniaque astra,_
  _Spiritus intus alit, totamque infusa per artus_
  _Mens agitat molem, et magno se corpore miscet._
  _Inde hominum pecudumque genus vitaeque volantum._

And again elsewhere (_Georg._, IV, v. 221):

      _Deum namque ire per omnes_
  _Terrasque tractusque maris caelumque profundum:_
  _Hinc pecudes, armenta, viros, genus omne ferarum,_
  _Quemque sibi tenues nascentem arcessere vitas._
  _Scilicet huc reddi deinde ac resoluta referri._

9. Plato's Soul of the World has been taken in this sense by some, but
there is more indication that the Stoics succumbed to that universal soul
which swallows all the rest. Those who are of this opinion might be called
'Monopsychites', since according to them there is in reality only one soul
that subsists. M. Bernier observes that this is an opinion almost
universally accepted amongst scholars in Persia and in the States of the
Grand Mogul; it appears even that it has gained a footing with the
Cabalists and with the mystics. A certain German of Swabian birth,
converted to Judaism some years ago, who taught under the name Moses
Germanus, having adopted the dogmas of Spinoza, believed that Spinoza
revived the ancient Cabala of the Hebrews. And a learned man who confuted
this proselyte Jew appears to be of the same opinion. It is known that
Spinoza recognizes only substance in the world, whereof individual souls
are but transient modifications. Valentin Weigel, Pastor of Zschopau in
Saxony, a man of wit, even of excessive wit, although people would have it
that he was a visionary, was perhaps to some extent of that opinion; as was
also a man known as Johann Angelus Silesius, author of certain quite
pleasing little devotional verses in German, in the form of epigrams, which
have just been reprinted. In general, the mystics' doctrine of deification
was liable to such a sinister interpretation. Gerson already has written
opposing Ruysbroek, a mystical writer, whose intention was evidently good
and whose expressions are excusable. But it would be better to write in a
manner that has no need of excuses: although I confess that oft-times
expressions which are extravagant, and as it were poetical, have greater
force to move and to persuade than correct forms of statement.

10. The annihilation of all that belongs to us in our own right, carried to
great lengths by the Quietists, might equally well be veiled irreligion in
certain minds, as is related, for example, concerning the Quietism of Foë,
originator of a great Chinese sect. After having preached his religion [80]
for forty years, when he felt death was approaching, he declared to his
disciples that he had hidden the truth from them under the veil of
metaphors, and that all reduced itself to Nothingness, which he said was
the first source of all things. That was still worse, so it would seem,
than the opinion of the Averroists. Both of these doctrines are
indefensible and even extravagant; nevertheless some moderns have made no
difficulty about adopting this one and universal Soul that engulfs the
rest. It has met with only too much applause amongst the so-called
freethinkers, and M. de Preissac, a soldier and man of wit, who dabbled in
philosophy, at one time aired it publicly in his discourses. The System of
Pre-established Harmony is the one best qualified to cure this evil. For it
shows that there are of necessity substances which are simple and without
extension, scattered throughout all Nature; that these substances must
subsist independently of every other except God; and that they are never
wholly separated from organic body. Those who believe that souls capable of
feeling but incapable of reason are mortal, or who maintain that none but
reasoning souls can have feeling, offer a handle to the Monopsychites. For
it will ever be difficult to persuade men that beasts feel nothing; and
once the admission has been made that that which is capable of feeling can
die, it is difficult to found upon reason a proof of the immortality of our

11. I have made this short digression because it appeared to me seasonable
at a time when there is only too much tendency to overthrow natural
religion to its very foundations. I return then to the Averroists, who were
persuaded that their dogma was proved conclusively in accordance with
reason. As a result they declared that man's soul is, according to
philosophy, mortal, while they protested their acquiescence in Christian
theology, which declares the soul's immortality. But this distinction was
held suspect, and this divorce between faith and reason was vehemently
rejected by the prelates and the doctors of that time, and condemned in the
last Lateran Council under Leo X. On that occasion also, scholars were
urged to work for the removal of the difficulties that appeared to set
theology and philosophy at variance. The doctrine of their incompatibility
continued to hold its ground _incognito_. Pomponazzi was suspected of it,
although he declared himself otherwise; and that very sect of the
Averroists survived as a school. It is thought that Caesar Cremoninus, [81]
a philosopher famous in his time, was one of its mainstays. Andreas
Cisalpinus, a physician (and an author of merit who came nearest after
Michael Servetus to the discovery of the circulation of the blood), was
accused by Nicolas Taurel (in a book entitled _Alpes Caesae_) of belonging
to these anti-religious Peripatetics. Traces of this doctrine are found
also in the _Circulus Pisanus Claudii Berigardi_, an author of French
nationality who migrated to Italy and taught philosophy at Pisa: but
especially the writings and the letters of Gabriel Naudé, as well as the
_Naudaeana_, show that Averroism still lived on when this learned physician
was in Italy. Corpuscular philosophy, introduced shortly after, appears to
have extinguished this excessively Peripatetic sect, or perhaps to have
been intermixed with its teaching. It may be indeed that there have been
Atomists who would be inclined to teach dogmas like those of the
Averroists, if circumstances so permitted: but this abuse cannot harm such
good as there is in Corpuscular philosophy, which can very well be combined
with all that is sound in Plato and in Aristotle, and bring them both into
harmony with true theology.

12. The Reformers, and especially Luther, as I have already observed, spoke
sometimes as if they rejected philosophy, and deemed it inimical to faith.
But, properly speaking, Luther understood by philosophy only that which is
in conformity with the ordinary course of Nature, or perhaps even
philosophy as it was taught in the schools. Thus for example he says that
it is impossible in philosophy, that is, in the order of Nature, that the
word be made flesh; and he goes so far as to maintain that what is true in
natural philosophy might be false in ethics. Aristotle was the object of
his anger; and so far back as the year 1516 he contemplated the purging of
philosophy, when he perhaps had as yet no thoughts of reforming the Church.
But at last he curbed his vehemence and in the _Apology for the Augsburg
Confession_ allowed a favourable mention of Aristotle and his _Ethics_.
Melanchthon, a man of sound and moderate ideas, made little systems from
the several parts of philosophy, adapted to the truths of revelation and
useful in civic life, which deserve to be read even now. After him, Pierre
de la Ramée entered the lists. His philosophy was much in favour: the sect
of the Ramists was powerful in Germany, gaining many adherents among the
Protestants, and even concerning itself with theology, until the revival of
Corpuscular philosophy, which caused that of Ramée to fall into        [82]
oblivion and weakened the authority of the Peripatetics.

13. Meanwhile sundry Protestant theologians, deviating as far as they could
from Scholastic philosophy, which prevailed in the opposite party, went so
far as to despise philosophy itself, which to them was suspect. The
controversy blazed up finally owing to the rancour of Daniel Hoffmann. He
was an able theologian, who had previously gained a reputation at the
Conference of Quedlinburg, when Tilemann Heshusius and he had supported
Duke Julius of Brunswick in his refusal to accept the Formula of Concord.
For some reason or other Dr. Hoffmann flew into a passion with philosophy,
instead of being content to find fault with the wrong uses made thereof by
philosophers. He was, however, aiming at the famous Caselius, a man
esteemed by the princes and scholars of his time; and Henry Julius, Duke of
Brunswick (son of Julius, founder of the University), having taken the
trouble himself to investigate the matter, condemned the theologian. There
have been some small disputes of the kind since, but it has always been
found that they were misunderstandings. Paul Slevogt, a famous Professor at
Jena in Thuringia, whose still extant treatises prove how well versed he
was in Scholastic philosophy, as also in Hebrew literature, had published
in his youth under the title of _Pervigilium_ a little book 'de dissidio
Theologi et Philosophi in utriusque principiis fundato', bearing on the
question whether God is accidentally the cause of sin. But it was easy to
see that his aim was to demonstrate that theologians sometimes misuse
philosophical terms.

14. To come now to the events of my own time, I remember that when in 1666
Louis Meyer, a physician of Amsterdam, published anonymously the book
entitled _Philosophia Scripturae Interpres_ (by many persons wrongly
attributed to Spinoza, his friend) the theologians of Holland bestirred
themselves, and their written attacks upon this book gave rise to great
disputes among them. Divers of them held the opinion that the Cartesians,
in confuting the anonymous philosopher, had conceded too much to
philosophy. Jean de Labadie (before he had seceded from the Reformed
Church, his pretext being some abuses which he said had crept into public
observance and which he considered intolerable) attacked the book by Herr
von Wollzogen, and called it pernicious. On the other hand Herr Vogelsang,
Herr van der Weye and some other anti-Cocceïans also assailed the same [83]
book with much acrimony. But the accused won his case in a Synod.
Afterwards in Holland people spoke of 'rational' and 'non-rational'
theologians, a party distinction often mentioned by M. Bayle, who finally
declared himself against the former. But there is no indication that any
precise rules have yet been defined which the rival parties accept or
reject with regard to the use of reason in the interpretation of Holy

15. A like dispute has threatened of late to disturb the peace in the
Churches of the Augsburg Confession. Some Masters of Arts in the University
of Leipzig gave private lessons at their homes, to students who sought them
out in order to learn what is called 'Sacra Philologia', according to the
practice of this university and of some others where this kind of study is
not restricted to the Faculty of Theology. These masters pressed the study
of the Holy Scriptures and the practice of piety further than their fellows
had been wont to do. It is alleged that they had carried certain things to
excess, and aroused suspicions of certain doctrinal innovations. This
caused them to be dubbed 'Pietists', as though they were a new sect; and
this name is one which has since caused a great stir in Germany. It has
been applied somehow or other to those whom one suspected, or pretended to
suspect, of fanaticism, or even of hypocrisy, concealed under some
semblance of reform. Now some of the students attending these masters had
become conspicuous for behaviour which gave general offence, and amongst
other things for their scorn of philosophy, even, so it was said, burning
their notebooks. In consequence the belief arose that their masters
rejected philosophy: but they justified themselves very well; nor could
they be convicted either of this error or of the heresies that were being
imputed to them.

16. The question of the use of philosophy in theology was debated much
amongst Christians, and difficulty was experienced over settling the limits
of its use when it came to detailed consideration. The Mysteries of the
Trinity, of the Incarnation and of the Holy Communion gave most occasion
for dispute. The new Photinians, disputing the first two Mysteries, made
use of certain philosophic maxims which Andreas Kessler, a theologian of
the Augsburg Confession, summarized in the various treatises that he
published on the parts of the Socinian philosophy. But as to their
metaphysics, one might instruct oneself better therein by reading the  [84]
work of Christopher Stegmann the Socinian. It is not yet in print; but I
saw it in my youth and it has been recently again in my hands.

17. Calovius and Scherzer, authors well versed in Scholastic philosophy,
and sundry other able theologians answered the Socinians at great length,
and often with success: for they would not content themselves with the
general and somewhat cavalier answers that were commonly used against that
sect. The drift of such answers was: that their maxims were good in
philosophy and not in theology; that it was the fault of heterogeneousness
called [Greek: metábasis eis állo génos] to apply those maxims to a matter
transcending reason; and that philosophy should be treated as a servant and
not a mistress in relation to theology, according to the title of the book
by a Scot named Robert Baronius, _Philosophia Theologiae ancillans_. In
fine, philosophy was a Hagar beside Sara and must be driven from the house
with her Ishmael when she was refractory. There is something good in these
answers: but one might abuse them, and set natural truths and truths of
revelation at variance. Scholars therefore applied themselves to
distinguishing between what is necessary and indispensable in natural or
philosophic truths and that which is not so.

18. The two Protestant parties are tolerably in agreement when it is a
question of making war on the Socinians; and as the philosophy of these
sectaries is not of the most exact, in most cases the attack succeeded in
reducing it. But the Protestants themselves had dissensions on the matter
of the Eucharistic Sacrament. A section of those who are called Reformed
(namely those who on that point follow rather Zwingli than Calvin) seemed
to reduce the participation in the body of Jesus Christ in the Holy
Communion to a mere figurative representation, employing the maxim of the
philosophers which states that a body can only be in one place at a time.
Contrariwise the Evangelicals (who name themselves thus in a particular
sense to distinguish themselves from the Reformed), being more attached to
the literal sense of Scripture, opined with Luther that this participation
was real, and that here there lay a supernatural Mystery. They reject, in
truth, the dogma of Transubstantiation, which they believe to be without
foundation in the Text; neither do they approve that of Consubstantiation
or of Impanation, which one could only impute to them if one were
ill-informed on their opinion. For they admit no inclusion of the body [85]
of Jesus Christ in the bread, nor do they even require any union of the one
with the other: but they demand at least a concomitance, so that these two
substances be received both at the same time. They believe that the
ordinary sense of the words of Jesus Christ on an occasion so important as
that which concerned the expression of his last wishes ought to be
preserved. Thus in order to show that this sense is free from all absurdity
which could make it repugnant to us, they maintain that the philosophic
maxim restricting the existence of, and partaking in, bodies to one place
alone is simply a consequence of the ordinary course of Nature. They make
that no obstacle to the presence, in the ordinary sense of the word, of the
body of our Saviour in such form as may be in keeping with the most
glorified body. They do not resort to a vague diffusion of ubiquity, which
would disperse the body and leave it nowhere in particular; nor do they
admit the multiple-reduplication theory of some Schoolmen, as if to say one
and the same body could be at the same time seated here and standing
elsewhere. In fine, they so express themselves that many consider the
opinion of Calvin, authorized by sundry confessions of faith from the
Churches that have accepted his teaching, to be not so far removed from the
Augsburg Confession as one might think: for he affirmed a partaking in the
substance. The divergence rests perhaps only upon the fact that Calvin
demands true faith in addition to the oral reception of the symbols, and
consequently excludes the unworthy.

19. Thence we see that the dogma of real and substantial participation can
be supported (without resorting to the strange opinions of some Schoolmen)
by a properly understood analogy between _immediate operation_ and
_presence_. Many philosophers have deemed that, even in the order of
Nature, a body may operate from a distance immediately on many remote
bodies at the same time. So do they believe, all the more, that nothing can
prevent divine Omnipotence from causing one body to be present in many
bodies together, since the transition from immediate operation to presence
is but slight, the one perhaps depending upon the other. It is true that
modern philosophers for some time now have denied the immediate natural
operation of one body upon another remote from it, and I confess that I am
of their opinion. Meanwhile remote operation has just been revived in
England by the admirable Mr. Newton, who maintains that it is the nature of
bodies to be attracted and gravitate one towards another, in proportion[86]
to the mass of each one, and the rays of attraction it receives.
Accordingly the famous Mr. Locke, in his answer to Bishop Stillingfleet,
declares that having seen Mr. Newton's book he retracts what he himself
said, following the opinion of the moderns, in his _Essay concerning Human
Understanding_, to wit, that a body cannot operate immediately upon another
except by touching it upon its surface and driving it by its motion. He
acknowledges that God can put properties into matter which cause it to
operate from a distance. Thus the theologians of the Augsburg Confession
claim that God may ordain not only that a body operate immediately on
divers bodies remote from one another, but that it even exist in their
neighbourhood and be received by them in a way with which distances of
place and dimensions of space have nothing to do. Although this effect
transcends the forces of Nature, they do not think it possible to show that
it surpasses the power of the Author of Nature. For him it is easy to annul
the laws that he has given or to dispense with them as seems good to him,
in the same way as he was able to make iron float upon water and to stay
the operation of fire upon the human body.

20. I found in comparing the _Rationale Theologicum_ of Nicolaus Vedelius
with the refutation by Johann Musaeus that these two authors, of whom one
died while a Professor at Franecker after having taught at Geneva and the
other finally became the foremost theologian at Jena, are more or less in
agreement on the principal rules for the use of reason, but that it is in
the application of these rules they disagree. For they both agree that
revelation cannot be contrary to the truths whose necessity is called by
philosophers 'logical' or 'metaphysical', that is to say, whose opposite
implies contradiction. They both admit also that revelation will be able to
combat maxims whose necessity is called 'physical' and is founded only upon
the laws that the will of God has prescribed for Nature. Thus the question
whether the presence of one and the same body in divers places is possible
in the supernatural order only touches the application of the rule; and in
order to decide this question conclusively by reason, one must needs
explain exactly wherein the essence of body consists. Even the Reformed
disagree thereon amongst themselves; the Cartesians confine it to
extension, but their adversaries oppose that; and I think I have even
observed that Gisbertus Voëtius, a famous theologian of Utrecht,       [87]
doubted the alleged impossibility of plurality of locations.

21. Furthermore, although the two Protestant parties agree that one must
distinguish these two necessities which I have just indicated, namely
metaphysical necessity and physical necessity, and that the first excludes
exceptions even in the case of Mysteries, they are not yet sufficiently
agreed upon the rules of interpretation, which serve to determine in what
cases it is permitted to desert the letter of Scripture when one is not
certain that it is contrary to strictly universal truths. It is agreed that
there are cases where one must reject a literal interpretation that is not
absolutely impossible, when it is otherwise unsuitable. For instance, all
commentators agree that when our Lord said that Herod was a fox he meant it
metaphorically; and one must accept that, unless one imagine with some
fanatics that for the time the words of our Lord lasted Herod was actually
changed into a fox. But it is not the same with the texts on which
Mysteries are founded, where the theologians of the Augsburg Confession
deem that one must keep to the literal sense. Since, moreover, this
discussion belongs to the art of interpretation and not to that which is
the proper sphere of logic, we will not here enter thereon, especially as
it has nothing in common with the disputes that have arisen recently upon
the conformity of faith with reason.

22. Theologians of all parties, I believe (fanatics alone excepted), agree
at least that no article of faith must imply contradiction or contravene
proofs as exact as those of mathematics, where the opposite of the
conclusion can be reduced _ad absurdum_, that is, to contradiction. St.
Athanasius with good reason made sport of the preposterous ideas of some
writers of his time, who maintained that God had suffered without any
suffering. _'Passus est impassibiliter. O ludicram doctrinam aedificantem
simul et demolientem!'_ It follows thence that certain writers have been
too ready to grant that the Holy Trinity is contrary to that great
principle which states that two things which are the same as a third are
also the same as each other: that is to say, if A is the same as B, and if
C is the same as B, then A and C must also be the same as each other. For
this principle is a direct consequence of that of contradiction, and forms
the basis of all logic; and if it ceases, we can no longer reason with
certainty. Thus when one says that the Father is God, that the Son is God
and that the Holy Spirit is God, and that nevertheless there is only   [88]
one God, although these three Persons differ from one another, one must
consider that this word _God_ has not the same sense at the beginning as at
the end of this statement. Indeed it signifies now the Divine Substance and
now a Person of the Godhead. In general, one must take care never to
abandon the necessary and eternal truths for the sake of upholding
Mysteries, lest the enemies of religion seize upon such an occasion for
decrying both religion and Mysteries.

23. The distinction which is generally drawn between that which is _above_
reason and that which is _against_ reason is tolerably in accord with the
distinction which has just been made between the two kinds of necessity.
For what is contrary to reason is contrary to the absolutely certain and
inevitable truths; and what is above reason is in opposition only to what
one is wont to experience or to understand. That is why I am surprised that
there are people of intelligence who dispute this distinction, and that M.
Bayle should be of this number. The distinction is assuredly very well
founded. A truth is above reason when our mind (or even every created mind)
cannot comprehend it. Such is, as it seems to me, the Holy Trinity; such
are the miracles reserved for God alone, as for instance Creation; such is
the choice of the order of the universe, which depends upon universal
harmony, and upon the clear knowledge of an infinity of things at once. But
a truth can never be contrary to reason, and once a dogma has been disputed
and refuted by reason, instead of its being incomprehensible, one may say
that nothing is easier to understand, nor more obvious, than its absurdity.
For I observed at the beginning that by REASON here I do not mean the
opinions and discourses of men, nor even the habit they have formed of
judging things according to the usual course of Nature, but rather the
inviolable linking together of truths.

24. I must come now to the great question which M. Bayle brought up
recently, to wit, whether a truth, and especially a truth of faith, can
prove to be subject to irrefutable objections. This excellent author
appears to answer with a bold affirmative: he quotes theologians of repute
in his party, and even in the Church of Rome, who appear to say the same as
he affirms; and he cites philosophers who have believed that there are even
philosophical truths whose champions cannot answer the objections that are
brought up against them. He believes that the theological doctrine of  [89]
predestination is of this nature, and in philosophy that of the composition
of the _Continuum_. These are, indeed, the two labyrinths which have ever
exercised theologians and philosophers. Libertus Fromondus, a theologian of
Louvain (a great friend of Jansenius, whose posthumous book entitled
_Augustinus_ he in fact published), who also wrote a book entitled
explicitly _Labyrinthus de Compositione Continui_, experienced in full
measure the difficulties inherent in both doctrines; and the renowned
Ochino admirably presented what he calls 'the labyrinths of

25. But these writers have not denied the possibility of finding thread in
the labyrinth; they have recognized the difficulty, but they have surely
not turned difficulty into sheer impossibility. As for me, I confess that I
cannot agree with those who maintain that a truth can admit of irrefutable
objections: for is an _objection_ anything but an argument whose conclusion
contradicts our thesis? And is not an irrefutable argument a
_demonstration_? And how can one know the certainty of demonstrations
except by examining the argument in detail, the form and the matter, in
order to see if the form is good, and then if each premiss is either
admitted or proved by another argument of like force, until one is able to
make do with admitted premisses alone? Now if there is such an objection
against our thesis we must say that the falsity of this thesis is
demonstrated, and that it is impossible for us to have reasons sufficient
to prove it; otherwise two contradictories would be true at once. One must
always yield to proofs, whether they be proposed in positive form or
advanced in the shape of objections. And it is wrong and fruitless to try
to weaken opponents' proofs, under the pretext that they are only
objections, since the opponent can play the same game and can reverse the
denominations, exalting his arguments by naming them 'proofs' and sinking
ours under the blighting title of 'objections'.

26. It is another question whether we are always obliged to examine the
objections we may have to face, and to retain some doubt in respect of our
own opinion, or what is called _formido oppositi_, until this examination
has been made. I would venture to say no, for otherwise one would never
attain to certainty and our conclusion would be always provisional. I
believe that able geometricians will scarce be troubled by the objections
of Joseph Scaliger against Archimedes, or by those of Mr. Hobbes       [90]
against Euclid; but that is because they have fully understood and are sure
of the proofs. Nevertheless it is sometimes well to show oneself ready to
examine certain objections. On the one hand it may serve to rescue people
from their error, while on the other we ourselves may profit by it; for
specious fallacies often contain some useful solution and bring about the
removal of considerable difficulties. That is why I have always liked
ingenious objections made against my own opinions, and I have never
examined them without profit: witness those which M. Bayle formerly made
against my System of Pre-established Harmony, not to mention those which M.
Arnauld, M. l'Abbé Foucher and Father Lami, O.S.B., made to me on the same
subject. But to return to the principal question, I conclude from reasons I
have just set forth that when an objection is put forward against some
truth, it is always possible to answer it satisfactorily.

27. It may be also that M. Bayle does not mean 'insoluble objections' in
the sense that I have just explained. I observe that he varies, at least in
his expressions: for in his posthumous Reply to M. le Clerc he does not
admit that one can bring demonstrations against the truths of faith. It
appears therefore that he takes the objections to be insoluble only in
respect of our present degree of enlightenment; and in this Reply, p. 35,
he even does not despair of the possibility that one day a solution
hitherto unknown may be found by someone. Concerning that more will be said
later. I hold an opinion, however, that will perchance cause surprise,
namely that this solution has been discovered entire, and is not even
particularly difficult. Indeed a mediocre intelligence capable of
sufficient care, and using correctly the rules of common logic, is in a
position to answer the most embarrassing objection made against truth, when
the objection is only taken from reason, and when it is claimed to be a
'demonstration'. Whatever scorn the generality of moderns have to-day for
the logic of Aristotle, one must acknowledge that it teaches infallible
ways of resisting error in these conjunctures. For one has only to examine
the argument according to the rules and it will always be possible to see
whether it is lacking in form or whether there are premisses such as are
not yet proved by a good argument.

28. It is quite another matter when there is only a question of
_probabilities_, for the art of judging from probable reasons is not yet
well established; so that our logic in this connexion is still very    [91]
imperfect, and to this very day we have little beyond the art of judging
from demonstrations. But this art is sufficient here: for when it is a
question of opposing reason to an article of our faith, one is not
disturbed by objections that only attain probability. Everyone agrees that
appearances are against Mysteries, and that they are by no means probable
when regarded only from the standpoint of reason; but it suffices that they
have in them nothing of absurdity. Thus demonstrations are required if they
are to be refuted.

29. And doubtless we are so to understand it when Holy Scripture warns us
that the wisdom of God is foolishness before men, and when St. Paul
observed that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is foolishness unto the Greeks, as
well as unto the Jews a stumbling-block. For, after all, one truth cannot
contradict another, and the light of reason is no less a gift of God than
that of revelation. Also it is a matter of no difficulty among theologians
who are expert in their profession, that the motives of credibility
justify, once for all, the authority of Holy Scripture before the tribunal
of reason, so that reason in consequence gives way before it, as before a
new light, and sacrifices thereto all its probabilities. It is more or less
as if a new president sent by the prince must show his letters patent in
the assembly where he is afterwards to preside. That is the tendency of
sundry good books that we have on the truth of religion, such as those of
Augustinus Steuchus, of Du Plessis-Mornay or of Grotius: for the true
religion must needs have marks that the false religions have not, else
would Zoroaster, Brahma, Somonacodom and Mahomet be as worthy of belief as
Moses and Jesus Christ. Nevertheless divine faith itself, when it is
kindled in the soul, is something more than an opinion, and depends not
upon the occasions or the motives that have given it birth; it advances
beyond the intellect, and takes possession of the will and of the heart, to
make us act with zeal and joyfully as the law of God commands. Then we have
no further need to think of reasons or to pause over the difficulties of
argument which the mind may anticipate.

30. Thus what we have just said of human reason, which is extolled and
decried by turns, and often without rule or measure, may show our lack of
exactitude and how much we are accessary to our own errors. Nothing would
be so easy to terminate as these disputes on the rights of faith and of
reason if men would make use of the commonest rules of logic and reason[92]
with even a modicum of attention. Instead of that, they become involved in
oblique and ambiguous phrases, which give them a fine field for
declamation, to make the most of their wit and their learning. It would
seem, indeed, that they have no wish to see the naked truth, peradventure
because they fear that it may be more disagreeable than error: for they
know not the beauty of the Author of all things, who is the source of

31. This negligence is a general defect of humanity, and one not to be laid
to the charge of any particular person. _Abundamus dulcibus vitiis_, as
Quintilian said of the style of Seneca, and we take pleasure in going
astray. Exactitude incommodes us and rules we regard as puerilities. Thus
it is that common logic (although it is more or less sufficient for the
examination of arguments that tend towards certainty) is relegated to
schoolboys; and there is not even a thought for a kind of logic which
should determine the balance between probabilities, and would be so
necessary in deliberations of importance. So true is it that our mistakes
for the most part come from scorn or lack of the art of thinking: for
nothing is more imperfect than our logic when we pass beyond necessary
arguments. The most excellent philosophers of our time, such as the authors
of _The Art of Thinking_, of _The Search for Truth_ and of the _Essay
concerning Human Understanding_, have been very far from indicating to us
the true means fitted to assist the faculty whose business it is to make us
weigh the probabilities of the true and the false: not to mention the art
of discovery, in which success is still more difficult of attainment, and
whereof we have nothing beyond very imperfect samples in mathematics.

32. One thing which might have contributed most towards M. Bayle's belief
that the difficulties of reason in opposition to faith cannot be obviated
is that he seems to demand that God be justified in some such manner as
that commonly used for pleading the cause of a man accused before his
judge. But he has not remembered that in the tribunals of men, which cannot
always penetrate to the truth, one is often compelled to be guided by signs
and probabilities, and above all by presumptions or prejudices; whereas it
is agreed, as we have already observed, that Mysteries are not probable.
For instance, M. Bayle will not have it that one can justify the goodness
of God in the permission of sin, because probability would be against a man
that should happen to be in circumstances comparable in our eyes to    [93]
this permission. God foresees that Eve will be deceived by the serpent if
he places her in the circumstances wherein she later found herself; and
nevertheless he placed her there. Now if a father or a guardian did the
same in regard to his child or his ward, if a friend did so in regard to a
young person whose behaviour was his concern, the judge would not be
satisfied by the excuses of an advocate who said that the man only
permitted the evil, without doing it or willing it: he would rather take
this permission as a sign of ill intention, and would regard it as a sin of
omission, which would render the one convicted thereof accessary in
another's sin of commission.

33. But it must be borne in mind that when one has foreseen the evil and
has not prevented it although it seems as if one could have done so with
ease, and one has even done things that have facilitated it, it does not
follow on that account _necessarily_ that one is accessary thereto. It is
only a very strong presumption, such as commonly replaces truth in human
affairs, but which would be destroyed by an exact consideration of the
facts, supposing we were capable of that in relation to God. For amongst
lawyers that is called 'presumption' which must provisionally pass for
truth in case the contrary is not proved; and it says more than
'conjecture', although the _Dictionary_ of the Academy has not sifted the
difference. Now there is every reason to conclude unquestionably that one
would find through this consideration, if only it were attainable, that
reasons most just, and stronger than those which appear contrary to them,
have compelled the All-Wise to permit the evil, and even to do things which
have facilitated it. Of this some instances will be given later.

34. It is none too easy, I confess, for a father, a guardian, a friend to
have such reasons in the case under consideration. Yet the thing is not
absolutely impossible, and a skilled writer of fiction might perchance find
an extraordinary case that would even justify a man in the circumstances I
have just indicated. But in reference to God there is no need to suppose or
to establish particular reasons such as may have induced him to permit the
evil; general reasons suffice. One knows that he takes care of the whole
universe, whereof all the parts are connected; and one must thence infer
that he has had innumerable considerations whose result made him deem it
inadvisable to prevent certain evils.

35. It should even be concluded that there must have been great or     [94]
rather invincible reasons which prompted the divine Wisdom to the
permission of the evil that surprises us, from the mere fact that this
permission has occurred: for nothing can come from God that is not
altogether consistent with goodness, justice and holiness. Thus we can
judge by the event (or _a posteriori_) that the permission was
indispensable, although it be not possible for us to show this (_a priori_)
by the detailed reasons that God can have had therefor; as it is not
necessary either that we show this to justify him. M. Bayle himself aptly
says concerning that (_Reply to the Questions of a Provincial_, vol. III,
ch. 165, p. 1067): Sin made its way into the world; God therefore was able
to permit it without detriment to his perfections; _ab actu ad potentiam
valet consequentia._ In God this conclusion holds good: he did this,
therefore he did it well. It is not, then, that we have no notion of
justice in general fit to be applied also to God's justice; nor is it that
God's justice has other rules than the justice known of men, but that the
case in question is quite different from those which are common among men.
Universal right is the same for God and for men; but the question of fact
is quite different in their case and his.

36. We may even assume or pretend (as I have already observed) that there
is something similar among men to this circumstance in God's actions. A man
might give such great and strong proofs of his virtue and his holiness that
all the most apparent reasons one could put forward against him to charge
him with an alleged crime, for instance a larceny or murder, would deserve
to be rejected as the calumnies of false witnesses or as an extraordinary
play of chance which sometimes throws suspicion on the most innocent. Thus
in a case where every other would run the risk of being condemned or put to
the torture (according to the laws of the country), this man would be
absolved by his judges unanimously. Now in this case, which indeed is rare,
but which is not impossible, one might say in a sense (_sano sensu_) that
there is a conflict between reason and faith, and that the rules of law are
other in respect of this person than they are in respect of the remainder
of mankind. But that, when explained, will signify only that appearances of
reason here give way before the faith that is due to the word and the
integrity of this great and holy man, and that he is privileged above other
men; not indeed as if there were one law for others and another for him,
nor as if one had no understanding of what justice is in relation to him.
It is rather because the rules of universal justice do not find here   [95]
the application that they receive elsewhere, or because they favour him
instead of accusing him, since there are in this personage qualities so
admirable, that by virtue of a good logic of probabilities one should place
more faith in his word than in that of many others.

37. Since it is permitted here to imagine possible cases, may one not
suppose this incomparable man to be the Adept or the Possessor of

                  _'that blessed Stone_
  _Able to enrich all earthly Kings alone'_

and that he spends every day prodigious sums in order to feed and to rescue
from distress countless numbers of poor men? Be there never so many
witnesses or appearances of every kind tending to prove that this great
benefactor of the human race has just committed some larceny, is it not
true that the whole earth would make mock of the accusation, however
specious it might be? Now God is infinitely above the goodness and the
power of this man, and consequently there are no reasons at all, however
apparent they be, that can hold good against faith, that is, against the
assurance or the confidence in God wherewith we can and ought to say that
God has done all things well. The objections are therefore not insoluble.
They only involve prejudices and probabilities, which are, however,
overthrown by reasons incomparably stronger. One must not say either that
what we call _justice_ is nothing in relation to God, that he is the
absolute Master of all things even to the point of being able to condemn
the innocent without violating his justice, or finally that justice is
something arbitrary where he is concerned. Those are rash and dangerous
expressions, whereunto some have been led astray to the discredit of the
attributes of God. For if such were the case there would be no reason for
praising his goodness and his justice: rather would it be as if the most
wicked spirit, the Prince of evil genii, the evil principle of the
Manichaeans, were the sole master of the universe, just as I observed
before. What means would there be of distinguishing the true God from the
false God of Zoroaster if all things depended upon the caprice of an
arbitrary power and there were neither rule nor consideration for anything

38. It is therefore more than evident that nothing compels us to commit
ourselves to a doctrine so strange, since it suffices to say that we   [96]
have not enough knowledge of the facts when there is a question of
answering probabilities which appear to throw doubt upon the justice and
the goodness of God, and which would vanish away if the facts were well
known to us. We need neither renounce reason in order to listen to faith
nor blind ourselves in order to see clearly, as Queen Christine used to
say: it is enough to reject ordinary appearances when they are contrary to
Mysteries; and this is not contrary to reason, since even in natural things
we are very often undeceived about appearances either by experience or by
superior reasons. All that has been set down here in advance, only with the
object of showing more plainly wherein the fault of the objections and the
abuse of reason consists in the present case, where the claim is made that
reason has greatest force against faith: we shall come afterwards to a more
exact discussion of that which concerns the origin of evil and the
permission of sin with its consequences.

39. For now, it will be well to continue our examination of the important
question of the use of reason in theology, and to make reflexions upon what
M. Bayle has said thereon in divers passages of his works. As he paid
particular attention in his _Historical and Critical Dictionary_ to
expounding the objections of the Manichaeans and those of the Pyrrhonians,
and as this procedure had been criticized by some persons zealous for
religion, he placed a dissertation at the end of the second edition of this
_Dictionary_, which aimed at showing, by examples, by authorities and by
reasons, the innocence and usefulness of his course of action. I am
persuaded (as I have said above) that the specious objections one can urge
against truth are very useful, and that they serve to confirm and to
illumine it, giving opportunity to intelligent persons to find new openings
or to turn the old to better account. But M. Bayle seeks therein a
usefulness quite the reverse of this: it would be that of displaying the
power of faith by showing that the truths it teaches cannot sustain the
attacks of reason and that it nevertheless holds its own in the heart of
the faithful. M. Nicole seems to call that 'the triumph of God's authority
over human reason', in the words of his quoted by M. Bayle in the third
volume of his _Reply to the Questions of a Provincial_ (ch. 177, p. 120).
But since reason is a gift of God, even as faith is, contention between
them would cause God to contend against God; and if the objections of
reason against any article of faith are insoluble, then it must be said
that this alleged article will be false and not revealed: this will be [97]
a chimera of the human mind, and the triumph of this faith will be capable
of comparison with bonfires lighted after a defeat. Such is the doctrine of
the damnation of unbaptized children, which M. Nicole would have us assume
to be a consequence of original sin; such would be the eternal damnation of
adults lacking the light that is necessary for the attainment of salvation.

40. Yet everyone need not enter into theological discussions; and persons
whose condition allows not of exact researches should be content with
instruction on faith, without being disturbed by the objections; and if
some exceeding great difficulty should happen to strike them, it is
permitted to them to avert the mind from it, offering to God a sacrifice of
their curiosity: for when one is assured of a truth one has no need to
listen to the objections. As there are many people whose faith is rather
small and shallow to withstand such dangerous tests, I think one must not
present them with that which might be poisonous for them; or, if one cannot
hide from them what is only too public, the antidote must be added to it;
that is to say, one must try to add the answer to the objection, certainly
not withhold it as unobtainable.

41. The passages from the excellent theologians who speak of this triumph
of faith can and should receive a meaning appropriate to the principles I
have just affirmed. There appear in some objects of faith two great
qualities capable of making it triumph over reason, the one is
_incomprehensibility_, the other is _the lack of probability_. But one must
beware of adding thereto the third quality whereof M. Bayle speaks, and of
saying that what one believes is _indefensible_: for that would be to cause
reason in its turn to triumph in a manner that would destroy faith.
Incomprehensibility does not prevent us from believing even natural truths.
For instance (as I have already pointed out) we do not comprehend the
nature of odours and savours, and yet we are persuaded, by a kind of faith
which we owe to the evidence of the senses, that these perceptible
qualities are founded upon the nature of things and that they are not

42. There are also things contrary to appearances, which we admit when they
are sufficiently verified. There is a little romance of Spanish origin,
whose title states that one must not always believe what one sees. What was
there more specious than the lie of the false Martin Guerre, who was
acknowledged as the true Martin by the true Martin's wife and          [98]
relatives, and caused the judges and the relatives to waver for a long time
even after the arrival of the other? Nevertheless the truth was known in
the end. It is the same with faith. I have already observed that all one
can oppose to the goodness and the justice of God is nothing but
appearances, which would be strong against a man, but which are nullified
when they are applied to God and when they are weighed against the proofs
that assure us of the infinite perfection of his attributes. Thus faith
triumphs over false reasons by means of sound and superior reasons that
have made us embrace it; but it would not triumph if the contrary opinion
had for it reasons as strong as or even stronger than those which form the
foundation of faith, that is, if there were invincible and conclusive
objections against faith.

43. It is well also to observe here that what M. Bayle calls a 'triumph of
faith' is in part a triumph of demonstrative reason against apparent and
deceptive reasons which are improperly set against the demonstrations. For
it must be taken into consideration that the objections of the Manichaeans
are hardly less contrary to natural theology than to revealed theology. And
supposing one surrendered to them Holy Scripture, original sin, the grace
of God in Jesus Christ, the pains of hell and the other articles of our
religion, one would not even so be delivered from their objections: for one
cannot deny that there is in the world physical evil (that is, suffering)
and moral evil (that is, crime) and even that physical evil is not always
distributed here on earth according to the proportion of moral evil, as it
seems that justice demands. There remains, then, this question of natural
theology, how a sole Principle, all-good, all-wise and all-powerful, has
been able to admit evil, and especially to permit sin, and how it could
resolve to make the wicked often happy and the good unhappy?

44. Now we have no need of revealed faith to know that there is such a sole
Principle of all things, entirely good and wise. Reason teaches us this by
infallible proofs; and in consequence all the objections taken from the
course of things, in which we observe imperfections, are only based on
false appearances. For, if we were capable of understanding the universal
harmony, we should see that what we are tempted to find fault with is
connected with the plan most worthy of being chosen; in a word, we _should
see_, and should not _believe_ only, that what God has done is the best. I
call 'seeing' here what one knows _a priori_ by the causes; and        [99]
'believing' what one only judges by the effects, even though the one be as
certainly known as the other. And one can apply here too the saying of St.
Paul (2 Cor. v. 7), that we walk by _faith_ and not by _sight_. For the
infinite wisdom of God being known to us, we conclude that the evils we
experience had to be permitted, and this we conclude from the effect or _a
posteriori_, that is to say, because they exist. It is what M. Bayle
acknowledges; and he ought to content himself with that, and not claim that
one must put an end to the false appearances which are contrary thereto. It
is as if one asked that there should be no more dreams or optical

45. And it is not to be doubted that this faith and this confidence in God,
who gives us insight into his infinite goodness and prepares us for his
love, in spite of the appearances of harshness that may repel us, are an
admirable exercise for the virtues of Christian theology, when the divine
grace in Jesus Christ arouses these motions within us. That is what Luther
aptly observed in opposition to Erasmus, saying that it is love in the
highest degree to love him who to flesh and blood appears so unlovable, so
harsh toward the unfortunate and so ready to condemn, and to condemn for
evils in which he appears to be the cause or accessary, at least in the
eyes of those who allow themselves to be dazzled by false reasons. One may
therefore say that the triumph of true reason illumined by divine grace is
at the same time the triumph of faith and love.

46. M. Bayle appears to have taken the matter quite otherwise: he declares
himself against reason, when he might have been content to censure its
abuse. He quotes the words of Cotta in Cicero, where he goes so far as to
say that if reason were a gift of the gods providence would be to blame for
having given it, since it tends to our harm. M. Bayle also thinks that
human reason is a source of destruction and not of edification (_Historical
and Critical Dictionary_, p. 2026, col. 2), that it is a runner who knows
not where to stop, and who, like another Penelope, herself destroys her own

  _Destruit, aedificat, mutat quadrata rotundis._

(_Reply to the Questions of a Provincial_, vol. III, p. 725). But he takes
pains especially to pile up many authorities one upon the other, in order
to show that theologians of all parties reject the use of reason just as he
does, and that they call attention to such gleams of reason as oppose
religion only that they may sacrifice them to faith by a mere         [100]
repudiation, answering nothing but the conclusion of the argument that is
brought against them. He begins with the New Testament. Jesus Christ was
content to say: 'Follow Me' (Luke v. 27; ix. 59). The Apostles said:
'Believe, and thou shalt be saved' (Acts xvi. 3). St. Paul acknowledges
that his 'doctrine is obscure' (1 Cor. xiii. 12), that 'one can comprehend
nothing therein' unless God impart a spiritual discernment, and without
that it only passes for foolishness (1 Cor. ii. 14). He exhorts the
faithful 'to beware of philosophy' (Col. ii. 8) and to avoid disputations
in that science, which had caused many persons to lose faith.

47. As for the Fathers of the Church, M. Bayle refers us to the collection
of passages from them against the use of philosophy and of reason which M.
de Launoy made (_De Varia Aristotelis Fortuna,_ cap. 2) and especially to
the passages from St. Augustine collected by M. Arnauld (against Mallet),
which state: that the judgements of God are inscrutable; that they are not
any the less just for that they are unknown to us; that it is a deep abyss,
which one cannot fathom without running the risk of falling down the
precipice; that one cannot without temerity try to elucidate that which God
willed to keep hidden; that his will cannot but be just; that many men,
having tried to explain this incomprehensible depth, have fallen into vain
imaginations and opinions full of error and bewilderment.

48. The Schoolmen have spoken in like manner. M. Bayle quotes a beautiful
passage from Cardinal Cajetan (Part I, _Summ._, qu. 22, art. 4) to this
effect: 'Our mind', he says, 'rests not upon the evidence of known truth
but upon the impenetrable depth of hidden truth. And as St. Gregory says:
He who believes touching the Divinity only that which he can gauge with his
mind belittles the idea of God. Yet I do not surmise that it is necessary
to deny any of the things which we know, or which we see as appertaining to
the immutability, the actuality, the certainty, the universality, etc., of
God: but I think that there is here some secret, either in regard to the
relation which exists between God and the event, or in respect of what
connects the event itself with his prevision. Thus, reflecting that the
understanding of our soul is the eye of the owl, I find the soul's repose
only in ignorance. For it is better both for the Catholic Faith and for
Philosophic Faith to confess our blindness, than to affirm as evident what
does not afford our mind the contentment which self-evidence gives. I do
not accuse of presumption, on that account, all the learned men who   [101]
stammeringly have endeavoured to suggest, as far as in them lay, the
immobility and the sovereign and eternal efficacy of the understanding, of
the will and of the power of God, through the infallibility of divine
election and divine relation to all events. Nothing of all that interferes
with my surmise that there is some depth which is hidden from us.' This
passage of Cajetan is all the more notable since he was an author competent
to reach the heart of the matter.

49. Luther's book against Erasmus is full of vigorous comments hostile to
those who desire to submit revealed truths to the tribunal of our reason.
Calvin often speaks in the same tone, against the inquisitive daring of
those who seek to penetrate into the counsels of God. He declares in his
treatise on predestination that God had just causes for damning some men,
but causes unknown to us. Finally M. Bayle quotes sundry modern writers who
have spoken to the same effect (_Reply to the Questions of a Provincial_,
ch. 161 et seq.).

50. But all these expressions and innumerable others like them do not prove
that the objections opposed to faith are so insoluble as M. Bayle supposes.
It is true that the counsels of God are inscrutable, but there is no
invincible objection which tends to the conclusion that they are unjust.
What appears injustice on the part of God, and foolishness in our faith,
only appears so. The famous passage of Tertullian (_De Carne Christi_),
'mortuus est Dei filius, credibile est, quia ineptum est; et sepultus
revixit, certum est, quia impossibile', is a sally that can only be meant
to concern appearances of absurdity. There are others like them in Luther's
book on _Freewill in Bondage_, as when he says (ch. 174): 'Si placet tibi
Deus indignos coronans, non debet displicere immeritos damnans.' Which
being reduced to more temperate phrasing, means: If you approve that God
give eternal glory to those who are not better than the rest, you should
not disapprove that he abandon those who are not worse than the rest. And
to judge that he speaks only of appearances of injustice, one only has to
weigh these words of the same author taken from the same book: 'In all the
rest', he says, 'we recognize in God a supreme majesty; there is only
justice that we dare to question: and we will not believe provisionally
[tantisper] that he is just, albeit he has promised us that the time shall
come when his glory being revealed all men shall see clearly that he has
been and that he is just.'

51. It will be found also that when the Fathers entered into a discussion
they did not simply reject reason. And, in disputations with the pagans,
they endeavour usually to show how paganism is contrary to reason, and how
the Christian religion has the better of it on that side also. Origen
showed Celsus how reasonable Christianity is and why, notwithstanding, the
majority of Christians should believe without examination. Celsus had
jeered at the behaviour of Christians, 'who, willing', he said, 'neither to
listen to your reasons nor to give you any for what they believe, are
content to say to you: Examine not, only believe, or: Your faith will save
you; and they hold this as a maxim, that the wisdom of the world is an

52. Origen gives the answer of a wise man, and in conformity with the
principles we have established in the matter. For reason, far from being
contrary to Christianity, serves as a foundation for this religion, and
will bring about its acceptance by those who can achieve the examination of
it. But, as few people are capable of this, the heavenly gift of plain
faith tending towards good suffices for men in general. 'If it were
possible', he says, 'for all men, neglecting the affairs of life, to apply
themselves to study and meditation, one need seek no other way to make them
accept the Christian religion. For, to say nothing likely to offend anyone'
(he insinuates that the pagan religion is absurd, but he will not say so
explicitly), 'there will be found therein no less exactitude than
elsewhere, whether in the discussion of its dogmas, or in the elucidation
of the enigmatical expressions of its prophets, or in the interpretation of
the parables of its gospels and of countless other things happening or
ordained symbolically. But since neither the necessities of life nor the
infirmities of men permit of this application to study, save for a very
small number of persons, what means could one find more qualified to
benefit everyone else in the world than those Jesus Christ wished to be
used for the conversion of the nations? And I would fain ask with regard to
the great number of those who believe, and who thereby have withdrawn
themselves from the quagmire of vices wherein before they were plunged,
which would be the better: to have thus changed one's morals and reformed
one's life, believing without examination that there are punishments for
sin and rewards for good actions; or to have waited for one's conversion
until one not only believed but had examined with care the foundations of
these dogmas? It is certain that, were this method to be followed, few[103]
indeed would reach that point whither they are led by their plain and
simple faith, but the majority would remain in their corruption.'

53. M. Bayle (in his explanation concerning the objections of the
Manichaeans, placed at the end of the second edition of the _Dictionary_)
takes those words where Origen points out that religion can stand the test
of having her dogmas discussed, as if it were not meant in relation to
philosophy, but only in relation to the accuracy wherewith the authority
and the true meaning of Holy Scripture is established. But there is nothing
to indicate this restriction. Origen wrote against a philosopher whom such
a restriction would not have suited. And it appears that this Father wished
to point out that among Christians there was no less exactitude than among
the Stoics and some other philosophers, who established their doctrine as
much by reason as by authorities, as, for example, Chrysippus did, who
found his philosophy even in the symbols of pagan antiquity.

54. Celsus brings up still another objection to the Christians, in the same
place. 'If they withdraw', he says, 'regularly into their "Examine not,
only believe", they must tell me at least what are the things they wish me
to believe.' Therein he is doubtless right, and that tells against those
who would say that God is good and just, and who yet would maintain that we
have no notion of goodness and of justice when we attribute these
perfections to him. But one must not always demand what I call 'adequate
notions', involving nothing that is not explained, since even perceptible
qualities, like heat, light, sweetness, cannot give us such notions. Thus
we agreed that Mysteries should receive an explanation, but this
explanation is imperfect. It suffices for us to have some analogical
understanding of a Mystery such as the Trinity and the Incarnation, to the
end that in accepting them we pronounce not words altogether devoid of
meaning: but it is not necessary that the explanation go as far as we would
wish, that is, to the extent of comprehension and to the _how_.

55. It appears strange therefore that M. Bayle rejects the tribunal of
_common notions_ (in the third volume of his _Reply to the Questions of a
Provincial_, pp. 1062 and 1140) as if one should not consult the idea of
goodness in answering the Manichaeans; whereas he had declared himself
quite differently in his _Dictionary_. Of necessity there must be agreement
upon the meaning of _good_ and _bad_, amongst those who are in dispute[104]
over the question whether there is only one principle, altogether good, or
whether there are two, the one good and the other bad. We understand
something by union when we are told of the union of one body with another
or of a substance with its accident, of a subject with its adjunct, of the
place with the moving body, of the act with the potency; we also mean
something when we speak of the union of the soul with the body to make
thereof one single person. For albeit I do not hold that the soul changes
the laws of the body, or that the body changes the laws of the soul, and I
have introduced the Pre-established Harmony to avoid this derangement, I
nevertheless admit a true union between the soul and the body, which makes
thereof a suppositum. This union belongs to the metaphysical, whereas a
union of influence would belong to the physical. But when we speak of the
union of the Word of God with human nature we should be content with an
analogical knowledge, such as the comparison of the union of the soul with
the body is capable of giving us. We should, moreover, be content to say
that the Incarnation is the closest union that can exist between the
Creator and the creature; and further we should not want to go.

56. It is the same with the other Mysteries, where moderate minds will ever
find an explanation sufficient for belief, but never such as would be
necessary for understanding. A certain _what it is_ ([Greek: ti esti]) is
enough for us, but the _how_ ([Greek: pôs]) is beyond us, and is not
necessary for us. One may say concerning the explanations of Mysteries
which are given out here and there, what the Queen of Sweden inscribed upon
a medal concerning the crown she had abandoned, 'Non mi bisogna, e non mi
basta.' Nor have we any need either (as I have already observed) to prove
the Mysteries _a priori_, or to give a reason for them; it suffices us
_that the thing is thus_ ([Greek: to hoti]) even though we know not the
_why_ ([Greek: to dioti]), which God has reserved for himself. These lines,
written on that theme by Joseph Scaliger, are beautiful and renowned:

  _Ne curiosus quaere causas omnium,_
  _Quaecumque libris vis Prophetarum indidit_
  _Afflata caelo, plena veraci Deo:_
  _Nec operta sacri supparo silentii_
  _Irrumpere aude, sed pudenter praeteri._
  [Page 105]
  _Nescire velle, quae Magister optimus_
  _Docere non vult, erudita inscitia est._

M. Bayle, who quotes them (_Reply to the Questions of a Provincial_, vol.
III, p. 1055), holds the likely opinion that Scaliger made them upon the
disputes between Arminius and Gomarus. I think M. Bayle repeated them from
memory, for he put _sacrata_ instead of _afflata_. But it is apparently the
printer's fault that _prudenter_ stands in place of _pudenter_ (that is,
modestly) which the metre requires.

57. Nothing can be more judicious than the warning these lines contain; and
M. Bayle is right in saying (p. 729) that those who claim that the
behaviour of God with respect to sin and the consequences of sin contains
nothing but what they can account for, deliver themselves up to the mercy
of their adversary. But he is not right in combining here two very
different things, 'to account for a thing', and 'to uphold it against
objections'; as he does when he presently adds: 'They are obliged to follow
him [their adversary] everywhere whither he shall wish to lead them, and it
would be to retire ignominiously and ask for quarter, if they were to admit
that our intelligence is too weak to remove completely all the objections
advanced by a philosopher.'

58. It seems here that, according to M. Bayle, 'accounting for' comes short
of 'answering objections', since he threatens one who should undertake the
first with the resulting obligation to pass on to the second. But it is
quite the opposite: he who maintains a thesis (the _respondens_) is not
bound to account for it, but he is bound to meet the objections of an
opponent. A defendant in law is not bound (as a general rule) to prove his
right or to produce his title to possession; but he is obliged to reply to
the arguments of the plaintiff. I have marvelled many times that a writer
so precise and so shrewd as M. Bayle so often here confuses things where so
much difference exists as between these three acts of reason: to
comprehend, to prove, and to answer objections; as if when it is a question
of the use of reason in theology one term were as good as another. Thus he
says in his posthumous Conversations, p. 73: 'There is no principle which
M. Bayle has more often inculcated than this, that the incomprehensibility
of a dogma and the insolubility of the objections that oppose it provide no
legitimate reason for rejecting it.' This is true as regards the
incomprehensibility, but it is not the same with the insolubility. And it
is indeed just as if one said that an invincible reason against a     [106]
thesis was not a legitimate reason for rejecting it. For what other
legitimate reason for rejecting an opinion can one find, if an invincible
opposing argument is not such an one? And what means shall one have
thereafter of demonstrating the falsity, and even the absurdity, of any

59. It is well to observe also that he who proves a thing _a priori_
accounts for it through the efficient cause; and whosoever can thus account
for it in a precise and adequate manner is also in a position to comprehend
the thing. Therefore it was that the Scholastic theologians had already
censured Raymond Lully for having undertaken to demonstrate the Trinity by
philosophy. This so-called demonstration is to be found in his _Works_; and
Bartholomaeus Keckermann, a writer renowned in the Reformed party, having
made an attempt of just the same kind upon the same Mystery, has been no
less censured for it by some modern theologians. Therefore censure will
fall upon those who shall wish to account for this Mystery and make it
comprehensible, but praise will be given to those who shall toil to uphold
it against the objections of adversaries.

60. I have said already that theologians usually distinguish between what
is above reason and what is against reason. They place _above_ reason that
which one cannot comprehend and which one cannot account for. But _against_
reason will be all opinion that is opposed by invincible reasons, or the
contrary of which can be proved in a precise and sound manner. They avow,
therefore, that the Mysteries are above reason, but they do not admit that
they are contrary to it. The English author of a book which is ingenious,
but has met with disapproval, entitled _Christianity not Mysterious_,
wished to combat this distinction; but it does not seem to me that he has
at all weakened it. M. Bayle also is not quite satisfied with this accepted
distinction. This is what he says on the matter (vol. III of the _Reply to
the Questions of a Provincial_, ch. 158). Firstly (p. 998) he
distinguishes, together with M. Saurin, between these two theses: the one,
_all the dogmas of Christianity are in conformity with reason_; the other,
_human reason knows that they are in conformity with reason_. He affirms
the first and denies the second. I am of the same opinion, if in saying
'that a dogma conforms to reason' one means that it is possible to account
for it or to explain its _how_ by reason; for God could doubtless do so,
and we cannot. But I think that one must affirm both theses if by     [107]
'knowing that a dogma conforms to reason' one means that we can
demonstrate, if need be, that there is no contradiction between this dogma
and reason, repudiating the objections of those who maintain that this
dogma is an absurdity.

61. M. Bayle explains himself here in a manner not at all convincing. He
acknowledges fully that our Mysteries are in accordance with the supreme
and universal reason that is in the divine understanding, or with reason in
general; yet he denies that they are in accordance with that part of reason
which man employs to judge things. But this portion of reason which we
possess is a gift of God, and consists in the natural light that has
remained with us in the midst of corruption; thus it is in accordance with
the whole, and it differs from that which is in God only as a drop of water
differs from the ocean or rather as the finite from the infinite. Therefore
Mysteries may transcend it, but they cannot be contrary to it. One cannot
be contrary to one part without being contrary to the whole. That which
contradicts a proposition of Euclid is contrary to the _Elements_ of
Euclid. That which in us is contrary to the Mysteries is not reason nor is
it the natural light or the linking together of truths; it is corruption,
or error, or prejudice, or darkness.

62. M. Bayle (p. 1002) is not satisfied with the opinion of Josua Stegman
and of M. Turretin, Protestant theologians who teach that the Mysteries are
contrary only to corrupt reason. He asks, mockingly, whether by right
reason is meant perchance that of an orthodox theologian and by corrupt
reason that of an heretic; and he urges the objection that the evidence of
the Mystery of the Trinity was no greater in the soul of Luther than in the
soul of Socinius. But as M. Descartes has well observed, good sense is
distributed to all: thus one must believe that both the orthodox and
heretics are endowed therewith. Right reason is a linking together of
truths, corrupt reason is mixed with prejudices and passions. And in order
to discriminate between the two, one need but proceed in good order, admit
no thesis without proof, and admit no proof unless it be in proper form,
according to the commonest rules of logic. One needs neither any other
criterion nor other arbitrator in questions of reason. It is only through
lack of this consideration that a handle has been given to the sceptics,
and that even in theology François Véron and some others, who         [108]
exacerbated the dispute with the Protestants, even to the point of
dishonesty, plunged headlong into scepticism in order to prove the
necessity of accepting an infallible external judge. Their course meets
with no approval from the most expert, even in their own party: Calixtus
and Daillé derided it as it deserved, and Bellarmine argued quite

63. Now let us come to what M. Bayle says (p. 999) on the distinction we
are concerned with. 'It seems to me', he says, 'that an ambiguity has crept
into the celebrated distinction drawn between things that are above reason
and things that are against reason. The Mysteries of the Gospel are above
reason, so it is usually said, but they are not contrary to reason. I think
that the same sense is not given to the word reason in the first part of
this axiom as in the second: by the first is understood rather the reason
of man, or reason _in concreto_ and by the second reason in general, or
reason _in abstracto_. For supposing that it is understood always as reason
in general or the supreme reason, the universal reason that is in God, it
is equally true that the Mysteries of the Gospels are not above reason and
that they are not against reason. But if in both parts of the axiom human
reason is meant, I do not clearly see the soundness of the distinction: for
the most orthodox confess that we know not how our Mysteries can conform to
the maxims of philosophy. It seems to us, therefore, that they are not in
conformity with our reason. Now that which appears to us not to be in
conformity with our reason appears contrary to our reason, just as that
which appears to us not in conformity with truth appears contrary to truth.
Thus why should not one say, equally, that the Mysteries are against our
feeble reason, and that they are above our feeble reason?' I answer, as I
have done already, that 'reason' here is the linking together of the truths
that we know by the light of nature, and in this sense the axiom is true
and without any ambiguity. The Mysteries transcend our reason, since they
contain truths that are not comprised in this sequence; but they are not
contrary to our reason, and they do not contradict any of the truths
whereto this sequence can lead us. Accordingly there is no question here of
the universal reason that is in God, but of our reason. As for the question
whether we know the Mysteries to conform with our reason, I answer that at
least we never know of any non-conformity or any opposition between the
Mysteries and reason. Moreover, we can always abolish such alleged    [109]
opposition, and so, if this can be called reconciling or harmonizing faith
with reason, or recognizing the conformity between them, it must be said
that we can recognize this conformity and this harmony. But if the
conformity consists in a reasonable explanation of the _how_, we cannot
recognize it.

64. M. Bayle makes one more ingenious objection, which he draws from the
example of the sense of sight. 'When a square tower', he says, 'from a
distance appears to us round, our eyes testify very clearly not only that
they perceive nothing square in this tower, but also that they discover
there a round shape, incompatible with the square shape. One may therefore
say that the truth which is the square shape is not only above, but even
against, the witness of our feeble sight.' It must be admitted that this
observation is correct, and although it be true that the appearance of
roundness comes simply from the effacement of the angles, which distance
causes to disappear, it is true, notwithstanding, that the round and the
square are opposites. Therefore my answer to this objection is that the
representation of the senses, even when they do all that in them lies, is
often contrary to the truth; but it is not the same with the faculty of
reasoning, when it does its duty, since a strictly reasoned argument is
nothing but a linking together of truths. And as for the sense of sight in
particular, it is well to consider that there are yet other false
appearances which come not from the 'feebleness of our eyes' nor from the
loss of visibility brought about by distance, but from the very _nature of
vision_, however perfect it be. It is thus, for instance, that the circle
seen sideways is changed into that kind of oval which among geometricians
is known as an ellipse, and sometimes even into a parabola or a hyperbola,
or actually into a straight line, witness the ring of Saturn.

65. The _external_ senses, properly speaking, do not deceive us. It is our
inner sense which often makes us go too fast. That occurs also in brute
beasts, as when a dog barks at his reflexion in the mirror: for beasts have
_consecutions_ of perception which resemble reasoning, and which occur also
in the inner sense of men, when their actions have only an empirical
quality. But beasts do nothing which compels us to believe that they have
what deserves to be properly called a _reasoning_ sense, as I have shown
elsewhere. Now when the understanding uses and follows the false decision
of the inner sense (as when the famous Galileo thought that Saturn had[110]
two handles) it is deceived by the judgement it makes upon the effect of
appearances, and it infers from them more than they imply. For the
appearances of the senses do not promise us absolutely the truth of things,
any more than dreams do. It is we who deceive ourselves by the use we make
of them, that is, by our consecutions. Indeed we allow ourselves to be
deluded by probable arguments, and we are inclined to think that phenomena
such as we have found linked together often are so always. Thus, as it
happens usually that that which appears without angles has none, we readily
believe it to be always thus. Such an error is pardonable, and sometimes
inevitable, when it is necessary to act promptly and choose that which
appearances recommend; but when we have the leisure and the time to collect
our thoughts, we are in fault if we take for certain that which is not so.
It is therefore true that appearances are often contrary to truth, but our
reasoning never is when it proceeds strictly in accordance with the rules
of the art of reasoning. If by _reason_ one meant generally the faculty of
reasoning whether well or ill, I confess that it might deceive us, and does
indeed deceive us, and the appearances of our understanding are often as
deceptive as those of the senses: but here it is a question of the linking
together of truths and of objections in due form, and in this sense it is
impossible for reason to deceive us.

66. Thus it may be seen from all I have just said that M. Bayle carries too
far _the being above reason_, as if it included the insoluble nature of
objections: for according to him (_Reply to the Questions of a Provincial_,
vol. III, ch. 130, p. 651) 'once a dogma is above reason, philosophy can
neither explain it nor comprehend it, nor meet the difficulties that are
urged against it'. I agree with regard to comprehension, but I have already
shown that the Mysteries receive a necessary verbal explanation, to the end
that the terms employed be not _sine mente soni_, words signifying nothing.
I have shown also that it is necessary for one to be capable of answering
the objections, and that otherwise one must needs reject the thesis.

67. He adduces the authority of theologians, who appear to recognize the
insoluble nature of the objections against the Mysteries. Luther is one of
the chief of these; but I have already replied, in § 12, to the passage
where he seems to say that philosophy contradicts theology. There is
another passage (_De Servo Arbitrio_, ch. 246) where he says that the
apparent injustice of God is proved by arguments taken from the       [111]
adversity of good people and the prosperity of the wicked, an argument
irresistible both for all reason and for natural intelligence ('Argumentis
talibus traducta, quibus nulla ratio aut lumen naturae potest resistere').
But soon afterwards he shows that he means it only of those who know
nothing of the life to come, since he adds that an expression in the Gospel
dissipates this difficulty, teaching us that there is another life, where
that which has not been punished and rewarded in this life shall receive
its due. The objection is then far from being insuperable, and even without
the aid of the Gospel one could bethink oneself of this answer. There is
also quoted (_Reply_, vol. III, p. 652) a passage from Martin Chemnitz,
criticized by Vedelius and defended by Johann Musaeus, where this famous
theologian seems to say clearly that there are truths in the word of God
which are not only above reason but also against reason. But this passage
must be taken as referring only to the principles of reason that are in
accordance with the order of Nature, as Musaeus also interprets it.

68. It is true nevertheless that M. Bayle finds some authorities who are
more favourable to him, M. Descartes being one of the chief. This great man
says positively (Part I of his _Principles_, art. 41) 'that we shall have
not the slightest trouble in ridding ourselves of the difficulty' (which
one may have in harmonizing the freedom of our will with the order of the
eternal providence of God) 'if we observe that our thought is finite, and
that the Knowledge and the Omnipotence of God, whereby he has not only
known from all eternity all that which is or which can be, but also has
willed it, is infinite. We have therefore quite enough intelligence to
recognize clearly and distinctly that this knowledge and this power are in
God; but we have not enough so to comprehend their scope that we can know
how they leave the actions of men entirely free and undetermined. Yet the
Power and the Knowledge of God must not prevent us from believing that we
have a free will; for we should be wrong to doubt of that whereof we are
inwardly conscious, and which we know by experience to be within us, simply
because we do not comprehend some other thing which we know to be
incomprehensible in its nature.'

69. This passage from M. Descartes, followed by his adherents (who rarely
think of doubting what he asserts), has always appeared strange to me. Not
content with saying that, as for him, he sees no way of reconciling   [112]
the two dogmas, he puts the whole human race, and even all rational
creatures, in the same case. Yet could he have been unaware that there is
no possibility of an insuperable objection against truth? For such an
objection could only be a necessary linking together of other truths whose
result would be contrary to the truth that one maintains; and consequently
there would be contradiction between the truths, which would be an utter
absurdity. Moreover, albeit our mind is finite and cannot comprehend the
infinite, of the infinite nevertheless it has proofs whose strength or
weakness it comprehends; why then should it not have the same comprehension
in regard to the objections? And since the power and the wisdom of God are
infinite and comprehend everything, there is no pretext for doubting their
scope. Further, M. Descartes demands a freedom which is not needed, by his
insistence that the actions of the will of man are altogether undetermined,
a thing which never happens. Finally, M. Bayle himself maintains that this
experience or this inward sense of our independence, upon which M.
Descartes founds the proof of our freedom, does not prove it: for from the
fact that we are not conscious of the causes whereon we depend, it does not
follow, according to M. Bayle, that we are independent. But that is
something we will speak of in its proper place.

70. It seems that M. Descartes confesses also, in a passage of his
_Principles_, that it is impossible to find an answer to the difficulties
on the division of matter to infinity, which he nevertheless recognizes as
actual. Arriaga and other Schoolmen make well-nigh the same confession: but
if they took the trouble to give to the objections the form these ought to
have, they would see that there are faults in the reasoning, and sometimes
false assumptions which cause confusion. Here is an example. A man of parts
one day brought up to me an objection in the following form: Let the
straight line BA be cut in two equal parts at the point C, and the part CA
at the point D, and the part DA at the point E, and so on to infinity; all
the halves, BC, CD, DE, etc., together make the whole BA; therefore there
must be a last half, since the straight line BA finishes at A. But this
last half is absurd: for since it is a line, it will be possible again to
cut it in two. Therefore division to infinity cannot be admitted. But I
pointed out to him that one is not justified in the inference that there
must be a last half, although there be a last point A, for this last point
belongs to all the halves of its side. And my friend acknowledged it  [113]
himself when he endeavoured to prove this deduction by a formal argument;
on the contrary, just because the division goes on to infinity, there is no
last half. And although the straight line AB be finite, it does not follow
that the process of dividing it has any final end. The same confusion
arises with the series of numbers going on to infinity. One imagines a
final end, a number that is infinite, or infinitely small; but that is all
simple fiction. Every number is finite and specific; every line is so
likewise, and the infinite or infinitely small signify only magnitudes that
one may take as great or as small as one wishes, to show that an error is
smaller than that which has been specified, that is to say, that there is
no error; or else by the infinitely small is meant the state of a magnitude
at its vanishing point or its beginning, conceived after the pattern of
magnitudes already actualized.

71. It will, however, be well to consider the argument that M. Bayle puts
forward to show that one cannot refute the objections which reason opposes
to the Mysteries. It is in his comment on the Manichaeans (p. 3140 of the
second edition of his _Dictionary_). 'It is enough for me', he says, 'that
it be unanimously acknowledged that the Mysteries of the Gospel are above
reason. For thence comes the necessary conclusion that it is impossible to
settle the difficulties raised by the philosophers, and in consequence that
a dispute where only the light of Nature is followed will always end
unfavourably for the theologians, and that they will see themselves forced
to give way and to take refuge in the canon of the supernatural light.' I
am surprised that M. Bayle speaks in such general terms, since he has
acknowledged himself that the light of Nature is against the Manichaeans,
and for the oneness of the Principle, and that the goodness of God is
proved incontrovertibly by reason. Yet this is how he continues:

72. 'It is evident that reason can never attain to that which is above it.
Now if it could supply answers to the objections which are opposed to the
dogma of the Trinity and that of hypostatic union, it would attain to those
two Mysteries, it would have them in subjection and submit them to the
strictest examination by comparison with its first principles, or with the
aphorisms that spring from common notions, and proceed until finally it had
drawn the conclusion that they are in accordance with natural light. It
would therefore do what exceeds its powers, it would soar above its   [114]
confines, and that is a formal contradiction. One must therefore say that
it cannot provide answers to its own objections, and that thus they remain
victorious, so long as one does not have recourse to the authority of God
and to the necessity of subjugating one's understanding to the obedience of
faith.' I do not find that there is any force in this reasoning. We can
attain to that which is above us not by penetrating it but by maintaining
it; as we can attain to the sky by sight, and not by touch. Nor is it
necessary that, in order to answer the objections which are made against
the Mysteries, one should have them in subjection to oneself, and submit
them to examination by comparison with the first principles that spring
from common notions. For if he who answers the objections had to go so far,
he who proposes the objections needs must do it first. It is the part of
the objection to open up the subject, and it is enough for him who answers
to say Yes or No. He is not obliged to counter with a distinction: it will
do, in case of need, if he denies the universality of some proposition in
the objection or criticizes its form, and one may do both these things
without penetrating beyond the objection. When someone offers me a proof
which he maintains is invincible, I can keep silence while I compel him
merely to prove in due form all the enunciations that he brings forward,
and such as appear to me in the slightest degree doubtful. For the purpose
of doubting only, I need not at all probe to the heart of the matter; on
the contrary, the more ignorant I am the more shall I be justified in
doubting. M. Bayle continues thus:

73. 'Let us endeavour to clarify that. If some doctrines are above reason
they are beyond its reach, it cannot attain to them; if it cannot attain to
them, it cannot comprehend them.' (He could have begun here with the
'comprehend', saying that reason cannot comprehend that which is above it.)
'If it cannot comprehend them, it can find in them no idea' (_Non valet
consequentia_: for, to 'comprehend' something, it is not enough that one
have some ideas thereof; one must have all the ideas of everything that
goes to make it up, and all these ideas must be clear, distinct,
_adequate_. There are a thousand objects in Nature in which we understand
something, but which we do not therefore necessarily comprehend. We have
some ideas on the rays of light, we demonstrate upon them up to a certain
point; but there ever remains something which makes us confess that we do
not yet comprehend the whole nature of light.) 'nor any principle such[115]
as may give rise to a solution;' (Why should not evident principles be
found mingled with obscure and confused knowledge?) 'and consequently the
objections that reason has made will remain unanswered;' (By no means; the
difficulty is rather on the side of the opposer. It is for him to seek an
evident principle such as may give rise to some objection; and the more
obscure the subject, the more trouble he will have in finding such a
principle. Moreover, when he has found it he will have still more trouble
in demonstrating an opposition between the principle and the Mystery: for,
if it happened that the Mystery was evidently contrary to an evident
principle, it would not be an obscure Mystery, it would be a manifest
absurdity.) 'or what is the same thing, answer will be made with some
distinction as obscure as the very thesis that will have been attacked.'
(One can do without distinctions, if need be, by denying either some
premiss or some conclusion; and when one is doubtful of the meaning of some
term used by the opposer one may demand of him its definition. Thus the
defender has no need to incommode himself when it is a question of
answering an adversary who claims that he is offering us an invincible
proof. But even supposing that the defender, perchance being kindly
disposed, or for the sake of brevity, or because he feels himself strong
enough, should himself vouchsafe to show the ambiguity concealed in the
objection, and to remove it by making some distinction, this distinction
need not of necessity lead to anything clearer than the first thesis, since
the defender is not obliged to elucidate the Mystery itself.)

74. 'Now it is certain', so M. Bayle continues, 'that an objection which is
founded on distinct notions remains equally victorious, whether you give to
it no answer, or you make an answer where none can comprehend anything. Can
the contest be equal between a man who alleges in objection to you that
which you and he very clearly conceive, and you, who can only defend
yourself by answers wherein neither of you understands anything?' (It is
not enough that the objection be founded on quite distinct notions, it is
necessary also that one apply it in contradiction of the thesis. And when I
answer someone by denying some premiss, in order to compel him to prove it,
or some conclusion, to compel him to put it in good form, it cannot be said
that I answer nothing or that I answer nothing intelligible. For as it is
the doubtful premiss of the adversary that I deny, my denial will be  [116]
as intelligible as his affirmation. Finally, when I am so obliging as to
explain myself by means of some distinction, it suffices that the terms I
employ have some meaning, as in the Mystery itself. Thus something in my
answer will be comprehended: but one need not of necessity comprehend all
that it involves; otherwise one would comprehend the Mystery also.)

75. M. Bayle continues thus: 'Every philosophical dispute assumes that the
disputant parties agree on certain definitions' (This would be desirable,
but usually it is only in the dispute itself that one reaches such a point,
if the necessity arises.) 'and that they admit the rules of Syllogisms, and
the signs for the recognition of bad arguments. After that everything lies
in the investigation as to whether a thesis conforms mediately or
immediately to the principles one is agreed upon' (which is done by means
of the syllogisms of him who makes objections); 'whether the premisses of a
proof (advanced by the opposer) 'are true; whether the conclusion is
properly drawn; whether a four-term Syllogism has been employed; whether
some aphorism of the chapter _de oppositis_ or _de sophisticis elenchis_,
etc., has not been violated.' (It is enough, putting it briefly, to deny
some premiss or some conclusion, or finally to explain or get explained
some ambiguous term.) 'One comes off victorious either by showing that the
subject of dispute has no connexion with the principles which had been
agreed upon' (that is to say, by showing that the objection proves nothing,
and then the defender wins the case), 'or by reducing the defender to
absurdity' (when all the premisses and all the conclusions are well
proved). 'Now one can reduce him to that point either by showing him that
the conclusions of his thesis are "yes" and "no" at once, or by
constraining him to say only intelligible things in answer.' (This last
embarrassment he can always avoid, because he has no need to advance new
theses.) 'The aim in disputes of this kind is to throw light upon
obscurities and to arrive at self-evidence.' (It is the aim of the opposer,
for he wishes to demonstrate that the Mystery is false; but this cannot
here be the aim of the defender, for in admitting Mystery he agrees that
one cannot demonstrate it.) 'This leads to the opinion that during the
course of the proceedings victory sides more or less with the defender or
with the opposer, according to whether there is more or less clarity in the
propositions of the one than in the propositions of the other.' (That [117]
is speaking as if the defender and the opposer were equally unprotected;
but the defender is like a besieged commander, covered by his defence
works, and it is for the attacker to destroy them. The defender has no need
here of self-evidence, and he seeks it not: but it is for the opposer to
find it against him, and to break through with his batteries in order that
the defender may be no longer protected.)

76. 'Finally, it is judged that victory goes against him whose answers are
such that one comprehends nothing in them,' (It is a very equivocal sign of
victory: for then one must needs ask the audience if they comprehend
anything in what has been said, and often their opinions would be divided.
The order of formal disputes is to proceed by arguments in due form and to
answer them by denying or making a distinction.) 'and who confesses that
they are incomprehensible.' (It is permitted to him who maintains the truth
of a Mystery to confess that this mystery is incomprehensible; and if this
confession were sufficient for declaring him vanquished there would be no
need of objection. It will be possible for a truth to be incomprehensible,
but never so far as to justify the statement that one comprehends nothing
at all therein. It would be in that case what the ancient Schools called
_Scindapsus_ or _Blityri_ (Clem. Alex., _Stromateis_, 8), that is, words
devoid of meaning.) 'He is condemned thenceforth by the rules for awarding
victory; and even when he cannot be pursued in the mist wherewith he has
covered himself, and which forms a kind of abyss between him and his
antagonists, he is believed to be utterly defeated, and is compared to an
army which, having lost the battle, steals away from the pursuit of the
victor only under cover of night.' (Matching allegory with allegory, I will
say that the defender is not vanquished so long as he remains protected by
his entrenchments; and if he risks some sortie beyond his need, it is
permitted to him to withdraw within his fort, without being open to blame
for that.)

77. I was especially at pains to analyse this long passage where M. Bayle
has put down his strongest and most skilfully reasoned statements in
support of his opinion: and I hope that I have shown clearly how this
excellent man has been misled. That happens all too easily to the ablest
and shrewdest persons when they give free rein to their wit without
exercising the patience necessary for delving down to the very foundations
of their systems. The details we have entered into here will serve as [118]
answer to some other arguments upon the subject which are dispersed through
the works of M. Bayle, as for instance when he says in his _Reply to the
Questions of a Provincial_ (vol. III, ch. 133, p. 685): 'To prove that one
has brought reason and religion into harmony one must show not only that
one has philosophic maxims favourable to our faith, but also that the
particular maxims cast up against us as not being consistent with our
Catechism are in reality consistent with it in a clearly conceived way.' I
do not see that one has need of all that, unless one aspire to press
reasoning as far as the _how_ of the Mystery. When one is content to uphold
its truth, without attempting to render it comprehensible, one has no need
to resort to philosophic maxims, general or particular, for the proof; and
when another brings up some philosophic maxims against us, it is not for us
to prove clearly and distinctly that these maxims are consistent with our
dogma, but it is for our opponent to prove that they are contrary thereto.

78. M. Bayle continues thus in the same passage: 'For this result we need
an answer as clearly evident as the objection.' I have already shown that
it is obtained when one denies the premisses, but that for the rest it is
not necessary for him who maintains the truth of the Mystery always to
advance evident propositions, since the principal thesis concerning the
Mystery itself is not evident. He adds further: 'If we must make reply and
rejoinder, we must never rest in our positions, nor claim that we have
accomplished our design, so long as our opponent shall make answer with
things as evident as our reasons can be.' But it is not for the defender to
adduce reasons; it is enough for him to answer those of his opponent.

79. Finally the author draws the conclusion: 'If it were claimed that, on
making an evident objection, a man has to be satisfied with an answer which
we can only state as a thing possible though incomprehensible to us, that
would be unfair.' He repeats this in the posthumous Dialogues, against M.
Jacquelot, p. 69. I am not of this opinion. If the objection were
completely evident, it would triumph, and the thesis would be overthrown.
But when the objection is only founded on appearances or on instances of
the most frequent occurrence, and when he who makes it desires to draw from
it a universal and certain conclusion, he who upholds the Mystery may
answer with the instance of a bare possibility. For such an instance  [119]
suffices to show that what one wished to infer from the premisses, is
neither certain nor general; and it suffices for him who upholds the
Mystery to maintain that it is possible, without having to maintain that it
is probable. For, as I have often said, it is agreed that the Mysteries are
against appearances. He who upholds the Mystery need not even adduce such
an instance; and should he adduce it, it were indeed a work of
supererogation, or else an instrument of greater confusion to the

80. There are passages of M. Bayle in the posthumous reply that he made to
M. Jacquelot which seem to me still worthy of scrutiny. 'M. Bayle'
(according to pp. 36, 37) 'constantly asserts in his _Dictionary_, whenever
the subject allows, that our reason is more capable of refuting and
destroying than of proving and building; that there is scarcely any
philosophical or theological matter in respect of which it does not create
great difficulties. Thus', he says, 'if one desired to follow it in a
disputatious spirit, as far as it can go, one would often be reduced to a
state of troublesome perplexity; and in fine, there are doctrines certainly
true, which it disputes with insoluble objections.' I think that what is
said here in reproach of reason is to its advantage. When it overthrows
some thesis, it builds up the opposing thesis. And when it seems to be
overthrowing the two opposing theses at the same time, it is then that it
promises us something profound, provided that we follow it _as far as it
can go_, not in a disputatious spirit but with an ardent desire to search
out and discover the truth, which will always be recompensed with a great
measure of success.

81. M. Bayle continues: 'that one must then ridicule these objections,
recognizing the narrow bounds of the human mind.' And I think, on the other
hand, that one must recognize the signs of the force of the human mind,
which causes it to penetrate into the heart of things. These are new
openings and, as it were, rays of the dawn which promises us a greater
light: I mean in philosophical subjects or those of natural theology. But
when these objections are made against revealed faith it is enough that one
be able to repel them, provided that one do so in a submissive and zealous
spirit, with intent to sustain and exalt the glory of God. And when we
succeed in respect of his justice, we shall likewise be impressed by his
greatness and charmed by his goodness, which will show themselves through
the clouds of a seeming reason that is deceived by outward            [120]
appearances, in proportion as the mind is elevated by true reason to that
which to us is invisible, but none the less sure.

82. 'Thus' (to continue with M. Bayle) 'reason will be compelled to lay
down its arms, and to subjugate itself to the obedience of the faith, which
it can and ought to do, in virtue of some of its most incontestable maxims.
Thus also in renouncing some of its other maxims it acts nevertheless in
accordance with that which it is, that is to say, in reason.' But one must
know 'that such maxims of reason as must be renounced in this case are only
those which make us judge by appearances or according to the ordinary
course of things.' This reason enjoins upon us even in philosophical
subjects, when there are invincible proofs to the contrary. It is thus
that, being made confident by demonstrations of the goodness and the
justice of God, we disregard the appearances of harshness and injustice
which we see in this small portion of his Kingdom that is exposed to our
gaze. Hitherto we have been illumined by the _light of Nature_ and by that
of _grace_, but not yet by that of _glory_. Here on earth we see apparent
injustice, and we believe and even know the truth of the hidden justice of
God; but we shall see that justice when at last the Sun of Justice shall
show himself as he is.

83. It is certain that M. Bayle can only be understood as meaning those
ostensible maxims which must give way before the eternal verities; for he
acknowledges that reason is not in reality contrary to faith. In these
posthumous Dialogues he complains (p. 73, against M. Jacquelot) of being
accused of the belief that our Mysteries are in reality against reason, and
(p. 9, against M. le Clerc) of the assertion made that he who acknowledges
that a doctrine is exposed to irrefutable objections acknowledges also by a
necessary consequence the falsity of this doctrine. Nevertheless one would
be justified in the assertion if the irrefutability were more than an
outward appearance.

84. It may be, therefore, that having long contended thus against M. Bayle
on the matter of the use of reason I shall find after all that his opinions
were not fundamentally so remote from mine as his expressions, which have
provided matter for our considerations, have led one to believe. It is true
that frequently he appears to deny absolutely that one can ever answer the
objections of reason against faith, and that he asserts the necessity of
comprehending, in order to achieve such an end, how the Mystery comes [121]
to be or exists. Yet there are passages where he becomes milder, and
contents himself with saying that the answers to these objections are
unknown to him. Here is a very precise passage, taken from the excursus on
the Manichaeans, which is found at the end of the second edition of his
_Dictionary_: 'For the greater satisfaction of the most punctilious
readers, I desire to declare here' (he says, p. 3148) 'that wherever the
statement is to be met with in my _Dictionary_ that such and such arguments
are irrefutable I do not wish it to be taken that they are so in actuality.
I mean naught else than that they appear to me irrefutable. That is of no
consequence: each one will be able to imagine, if he pleases, that if I
deem thus of a matter it is owing to my lack of acumen.' I do not imagine
such a thing; his great acumen is too well known to me: but I think that,
after having applied his whole mind to magnifying the objections, he had
not enough attention left over for the purpose of answering them.

85. M. Bayle confesses, moreover, in his posthumous work against M. le
Clerc, that the objections against faith have not the force of proofs. It
is therefore _ad hominem_ only, or rather _ad homines_, that is, in
relation to the existing state of the human race, that he deems these
objections irrefutable and the subject unexplainable. There is even a
passage where he implies that he despairs not of the possibility that the
answer or the explanation may be found, and even in our time. For here is
what he says in his posthumous Reply to M. le Clerc (p. 35): 'M. Bayle
dared to hope that his toil would put on their mettle some of those great
men of genius who create new systems, and that they could discover a
solution hitherto unknown.' It seems that by this 'solution' he means such
an explanation of Mystery as would penetrate to the _how_: but that is not
necessary for replying to the objections.

86. Many have undertaken to render this _how_ comprehensible, and to prove
the possibility of Mysteries. A certain writer named Thomas Bonartes
Nordtanus Anglus, in his _Concordia Scientiae cum Fide,_ claimed to do so.
This work seemed to me ingenious and learned, but crabbed and involved, and
it even contains indefensible opinions. I learned from the _Apologia
Cyriacorum_ of the Dominican Father Vincent Baron that that book was
censured in Rome, that the author was a Jesuit, and that he suffered for
having published it. The Reverend Father des Bosses, who now teaches
Theology in the Jesuit College of Hildesheim, and who has combined    [122]
rare erudition with great acumen, which he displays in philosophy and
theology, has informed me that the real name of Bonartes was Thomas Barton,
and that after leaving the Society he retired to Ireland, where the manner
of his death brought about a favourable verdict on his last opinions. I
pity the men of talent who bring trouble upon themselves by their toil and
their zeal. Something of like nature happened in time past to Pierre
Abelard, to Gilbert de la Porree, to John Wyclif, and in our day to the
Englishman Thomas Albius, as well as to some others who plunged too far
into the explanation of the Mysteries.

87. St. Augustine, however (as well as M. Bayle), does not despair of the
possibility that the desired solution may be found upon earth; but this
Father believes it to be reserved for some holy man illumined by a peculiar
grace: 'Est aliqua causa fortassis occultior, quae melioribus
sanctioribusque reservatur, illius gratia potius quam meritis illorum' (in
_De Genesi ad Literam_, lib. 11, c. 4). Luther reserves the knowledge of
the Mystery of Election for the academy of heaven (lib. _De Servo
Arbitrio_, c. 174): 'Illic [Deus] gratiam et misericordiam spargit in
indignos, his iram et severitatem spargit in immeritos; utrobique nimius et
iniquus apud homines, sed justus et verax apud se ipsum. Nam quomodo hoc
justum sit ut indignos coronet, incomprehensibile est modo, videbimus
autem, cum illuc venerimus, ubi jam non credetur, sed revelata facie
videbitur. Ita quomodo hoc justum sit, ut immeritos damnet,
incomprehensibile est modo, creditur tamen, donec revelabitur filius
hominis.' It is to be hoped that M. Bayle now finds himself surrounded by
that light which is lacking to us here below, since there is reason to
suppose that he was not lacking in good will.

    _Candidus insueti miratur limen Olympi,_
    _Sub pedibusque videt nubes et sidera Daphnis._

    _...Illic postquam se lumine vero_
    _Implevit, stellasque vagas miratur et astra_
    _Fixa polis, vidit quanta sub nocte jaceret_
    _Nostra dies._

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


1. Having so settled the rights of faith and of reason as rather to place
reason at the service of faith than in opposition to it, we shall see how
they exercise these rights to support and harmonize what the light of
nature and the light of revelation teach us of God and of man in relation
to evil. The _difficulties_ are distinguishable into two classes. The one
kind springs from man's freedom, which appears incompatible with the divine
nature; and nevertheless freedom is deemed necessary, in order that man may
be deemed guilty and open to punishment. The other kind concerns the
conduct of God, and seems to make him participate too much in the existence
of evil, even though man be free and participate also therein. And this
conduct appears contrary to the goodness, the holiness and the justice of
God, since God co-operates in evil as well physical as moral, and
co-operates in each of them both morally and physically; and since it seems
that these evils are manifested in the order of nature as well as in that
of grace, and in the future and eternal life as well as, nay, more than, in
this transitory life.

2. To present these difficulties in brief, it must be observed that freedom
is opposed, to all appearance, by determination or certainty of any kind
whatever; and nevertheless the common dogma of our philosophers states that
the truth of contingent futurities is determined. The foreknowledge of[124]
God renders all the future certain and determined, but his providence and
his foreordinance, whereon foreknowledge itself appears founded, do much
more: for God is not as a man, able to look upon events with unconcern and
to suspend his judgement, since nothing exists save as a result of the
decrees of his will and through the action of his power. And even though
one leave out of account the co-operation of God, all is perfectly
connected in the order of things, since nothing can come to pass unless
there be a cause so disposed as to produce the effect, this taking place no
less in voluntary than in all other actions. According to which it appears
that man is compelled to do the good and evil that he does, and in
consequence that he deserves therefor neither recompense nor chastisement:
thus is the morality of actions destroyed and all justice, divine and
human, shaken.

3. But even though one should grant to man this freedom wherewith he arrays
himself to his own hurt, the conduct of God could not but provide matter
for a criticism supported by the presumptuous ignorance of men, who would
wish to exculpate themselves wholly or in part at the expense of God. It is
objected that all the reality and what is termed the substance of the act
in sin itself is a production of God, since all creatures and all their
actions derive from him that reality they have. Whence one could infer not
only that he is the physical cause of sin, but also that he is its moral
cause, since he acts with perfect freedom and does nothing without a
complete knowledge of the thing and the consequences that it may have. Nor
is it enough to say that God has made for himself a law to co-operate with
the wills or resolutions of man, whether we express ourselves in terms of
the common opinion or in terms of the system of occasional causes. Not only
will it be found strange that he should have made such a law for himself,
of whose results he was not ignorant, but the principal difficulty is that
it seems the evil will itself cannot exist without co-operation, and even
without some predetermination, on his part, which contributes towards
begetting this will in man or in some other rational creature. For an
action is not, for being evil, the less dependent on God. Whence one will
come at last to the conclusion that God does all, the good and the evil,
indifferently; unless one pretend with the Manichaeans that there are two
principles, the one good and the other evil. Moreover, according to the
general opinion of theologians and philosophers, conservation being a [125]
perpetual creation, it will be said that man is perpetually created corrupt
and erring. There are, furthermore, modern Cartesians who claim that God is
the sole agent, of whom created beings are only the purely passive organs;
and M. Bayle builds not a little upon that idea.

4. But even granting that God should co-operate in actions only with a
general co-operation, or even not at all, at least in those that are bad,
it suffices, so it is said, to inculpate him and to render him the moral
cause that nothing comes to pass without his permission. To say nothing of
the fall of the angels, he knows all that which will come to pass, if,
having created man, he places him in such and such circumstances; and he
places him there notwithstanding. Man is exposed to a temptation to which
it is known that he will succumb, thereby causing an infinitude of
frightful evils, by which the whole human race will be infected and brought
as it were into a necessity of sinning, a state which is named 'original
sin'. Thus the world will be brought into a strange confusion, by this
means death and diseases being introduced, with a thousand other
misfortunes and miseries that in general afflict the good and the bad;
wickedness will even hold sway and virtue will be oppressed on earth, so
that it will scarce appear that a providence governs affairs. But it is
much worse when one considers the life to come, since but a small number of
men will be saved and since all the rest will perish eternally. Furthermore
these men destined for salvation will have been withdrawn from the corrupt
mass through an unreasoning election, whether it be said that God in
choosing them has had regard to their future actions, to their faith or to
their works, or one claim that he has been pleased to give them these good
qualities and these actions because he has predestined them to salvation.
For though it be said in the most lenient system that God wished to save
all men, and though in the other systems commonly accepted it be granted,
that he has made his Son take human nature upon him to expiate their sins,
so that all they who shall believe in him with a lively and final faith
shall be saved, it still remains true that this lively faith is a gift of
God; that we are dead to all good works; that even our will itself must be
aroused by a prevenient grace, and that God gives us the power to will and
to do. And whether that be done through a grace efficacious of itself, that
is to say, through a divine inward motion which wholly determines our [126]
will to the good that it does; or whether there be only a sufficient grace,
but such as does not fail to attain its end, and to become efficacious in
the inward and outward circumstances wherein the man is and has been placed
by God: one must return to the same conclusion that God is the final reason
of salvation, of grace, of faith and of election in Jesus Christ. And be
the election the cause or the result of God's design to give faith, it
still remains true that he gives faith or salvation to whom he pleases,
without any discernible reason for his choice, which falls upon but few

5. So it is a terrible judgement that God, giving his only Son for the
whole human race and being the sole author and master of the salvation of
men, yet saves so few of them and abandons all others to the devil his
enemy, who torments them eternally and makes them curse their Creator,
though they have all been created to diffuse and show forth his goodness,
his justice and his other perfections. And this outcome inspires all the
more horror, as the sole cause why all these men are wretched to all
eternity is God's having exposed their parents to a temptation that he knew
they would not resist; as this sin is inherent and imputed to men before
their will has participated in it; as this hereditary vice impels their
will to commit actual sins; and as countless men, in childhood or maturity,
that have never heard or have not heard enough of Jesus Christ, Saviour of
the human race, die before receiving the necessary succour for their
withdrawal from this abyss of sin. These men too are condemned to be for
ever rebellious against God and plunged in the most horrible miseries, with
the wickedest of all creatures, though in essence they have not been more
wicked than others, and several among them have perchance been less guilty
than some of that little number of elect, who were saved by a grace without
reason, and who thereby enjoy an eternal felicity which they had not
deserved. Such in brief are the difficulties touched upon by sundry
persons; but M. Bayle was one who insisted on them the most, as will appear
subsequently when we examine his passages. I think that now I have recorded
the main essence of these difficulties: but I have deemed it fitting to
refrain from some expressions and exaggerations which might have caused
offence, while not rendering the objections any stronger.

6. Let us now turn the medal and let us also point out what can be said in
answer to those objections; and here a course of explanation through  [127]
fuller dissertation will be necessary: for many difficulties can be opened
up in few words, but for their discussion one must dilate upon them. Our
end is to banish from men the false ideas that represent God to them as an
absolute prince employing a despotic power, unfitted to be loved and
unworthy of being loved. These notions are the more evil in relation to God
inasmuch as the essence of piety is not only to fear him but also to love
him above all things: and that cannot come about unless there be knowledge
of his perfections capable of arousing the love which he deserves, and
which makes the felicity of those that love him. Feeling ourselves animated
by a zeal such as cannot fail to please him, we have cause to hope that he
will enlighten us, and that he will himself aid us in the execution of a
project undertaken for his glory and for the good of men. A cause so good
gives confidence: if there are plausible appearances against us there are
proofs on our side, and I would dare to say to an adversary:

  _Aspice, quam mage sit nostrum penetrabile telum._

7. _God is the first reason of things_: for such things as are bounded, as
all that which we see and experience, are contingent and have nothing in
them to render their existence necessary, it being plain that time, space
and matter, united and uniform in themselves and indifferent to everything,
might have received entirely other motions and shapes, and in another
order. Therefore one must seek the reason for the existence of the world,
which is the whole assemblage of _contingent_ things, and seek it in the
substance which carries with it the reason for its existence, and which in
consequence is _necessary_ and eternal. Moreover, this cause must be
intelligent: for this existing world being contingent and an infinity of
other worlds being equally possible, and holding, so to say, equal claim to
existence with it, the cause of the world must needs have had regard or
reference to all these possible worlds in order to fix upon one of them.
This regard or relation of an existent substance to simple possibilities
can be nothing other than the _understanding_ which has the ideas of them,
while to fix upon one of them can be nothing other than the act of the
_will_ which chooses. It is the _power_ of this substance that renders its
will efficacious. Power relates to _being_, wisdom or understanding to
_truth_, and will to _good_. And this intelligent cause ought to be
infinite in all ways, and absolutely perfect in _power_, in _wisdom_ and in
_goodness_, since it relates to all that which is possible.           [128]
Furthermore, since all is connected together, there is no ground for
admitting more than _one_. Its understanding is the source of _essences_,
and its will is the origin of _existences_. There in few words is the proof
of one only God with his perfections, and through him of the origin of

8. Now this supreme wisdom, united to a goodness that is no less infinite,
cannot but have chosen the best. For as a lesser evil is a kind of good,
even so a lesser good is a kind of evil if it stands in the way of a
greater good; and there would be something to correct in the actions of God
if it were possible to do better. As in mathematics, when there is no
maximum nor minimum, in short nothing distinguished, everything is done
equally, or when that is not possible nothing at all is done: so it may be
said likewise in respect of perfect wisdom, which is no less orderly than
mathematics, that if there were not the best (_optimum_) among all possible
worlds, God would not have produced any. I call 'World' the whole
succession and the whole agglomeration of all existent things, lest it be
said that several worlds could have existed in different times and
different places. For they must needs be reckoned all together as one world
or, if you will, as one Universe. And even though one should fill all times
and all places, it still remains true that one might have filled them in
innumerable ways, and that there is an infinitude of possible worlds among
which God must needs have chosen the best, since he does nothing without
acting in accordance with supreme reason.

9. Some adversary not being able to answer this argument will perchance
answer the conclusion by a counter-argument, saying that the world could
have been without sin and without sufferings; but I deny that then it would
have been _better_. For it must be known that all things are _connected_ in
each one of the possible worlds: the universe, whatever it may be, is all
of one piece, like an ocean: the least movement extends its effect there to
any distance whatsoever, even though this effect become less perceptible in
proportion to the distance. Therein God has ordered all things beforehand
once for all, having foreseen prayers, good and bad actions, and all the
rest; and each thing _as an idea_ has contributed, before its existence, to
the resolution that has been made upon the existence of all things; so that
nothing can be changed in the universe (any more than in a number) save its
essence or, if you will, save its _numerical individuality_. Thus, if the
smallest evil that comes to pass in the world were missing in it, it  [129]
would no longer be this world; which, with nothing omitted and all
allowance made, was found the best by the Creator who chose it.

10. It is true that one may imagine possible worlds without sin and without
unhappiness, and one could make some like Utopian or Sevarambian romances:
but these same worlds again would be very inferior to ours in goodness. I
cannot show you this in detail. For can I know and can I present infinities
to you and compare them together? But you must judge with me _ab effectu_,
since God has chosen this world as it is. We know, moreover, that often an
evil brings forth a good whereto one would not have attained without that
evil. Often indeed two evils have made one great good:

  _Et si fata volunt, bina venena juvant_.

Even so two liquids sometimes produce a solid, witness the spirit of wine
and spirit of urine mixed by Van Helmont; or so do two cold and dark bodies
produce a great fire, witness an acid solution and an aromatic oil combined
by Herr Hoffmann. A general makes sometimes a fortunate mistake which
brings about the winning of a great battle; and do they not sing on the eve
of Easter, in the churches of the Roman rite:

  _O certe necessarium Adae peccatum, quod Christi morte deletum est!_
  _O felix culpa, quae talem ac tantum meruit habere Redemptorem!_

11. The illustrious prelates of the Gallican church who wrote to Pope
Innocent XII against Cardinal Sfondrati's book on predestination, being of
the principles of St. Augustine, have said things well fitted to elucidate
this great point. The cardinal appears to prefer even to the Kingdom of
Heaven the state of children dying without baptism, because sin is the
greatest of evils, and they have died innocent of all actual sin. More will
be said of that below. The prelates have observed that this opinion is ill
founded. The apostle, they say (Rom. iii. 8), is right to disapprove of the
doing of evil that good may come, but one cannot disapprove that God,
through his exceeding power, derive from the permitting of sins greater
goods than such as occurred before the sins. It is not that we ought to
take pleasure in sin, God forbid! but that we believe the same apostle when
he says (Rom. v. 20) that where sin abounded, grace did much more     [130]
abound; and we remember that we have gained Jesus Christ himself by reason
of sin. Thus we see that the opinion of these prelates tends to maintain
that a sequence of things where sin enters in may have been and has been,
in effect, better than another sequence without sin.

12. Use has ever been made of comparisons taken from the pleasures of the
senses when these are mingled with that which borders on pain, to prove
that there is something of like nature in intellectual pleasures. A little
acid, sharpness or bitterness is often more pleasing than sugar; shadows
enhance colours; and even a dissonance in the right place gives relief to
harmony. We wish to be terrified by rope-dancers on the point of falling
and we wish that tragedies shall well-nigh cause us to weep. Do men relish
health enough, or thank God enough for it, without having ever been sick?
And is it not most often necessary that a little evil render the good more
discernible, that is to say, greater?

13. But it will be said that evils are great and many in number in
comparison with the good: that is erroneous. It is only want of attention
that diminishes our good, and this attention must be given to us through
some admixture of evils. If we were usually sick and seldom in good health,
we should be wonderfully sensible of that great good and we should be less
sensible of our evils. But is it not better, notwithstanding, that health
should be usual and sickness the exception? Let us then by our reflexion
supply what is lacking in our perception, in order to make the good of
health more discernible. Had we not the knowledge of the life to come, I
believe there would be few persons who, being at the point of death, were
not content to take up life again, on condition of passing through the same
amount of good and evil, provided always that it were not the same kind:
one would be content with variety, without requiring a better condition
than that wherein one had been.

14. When one considers also the fragility of the human body, one looks in
wonder at the wisdom and the goodness of the Author of Nature, who has made
the body so enduring and its condition so tolerable. That has often made me
say that I am not astonished men are sometimes sick, but that I am
astonished they are sick so little and not always. This also ought to make
us the more esteem the divine contrivance of the mechanism of animals,
whose Author has made machines so fragile and so subject to corruption[131]
and yet so capable of maintaining themselves: for it is Nature which cures
us rather than medicine. Now this very fragility is a consequence of the
nature of things, unless we are to will that this kind of creature,
reasoning and clothed in flesh and bones, be not in the world. But that, to
all appearance, would be a defect which some philosophers of old would have
called _vacuum formarum_, a gap in the order of species.

15. Those whose humour it is to be well satisfied with Nature and with
fortune and not to complain about them, even though they should not be the
best endowed, appear to me preferable to the other sort; for besides that
these complaints are ill founded, it is in effect murmuring against the
orders of providence. One must not readily be among the malcontents in the
State where one is, and one must not be so at all in the city of God,
wherein one can only wrongfully be of their number. The books of human
misery, such as that of Pope Innocent III, to me seem not of the most
serviceable: evils are doubled by being given an attention that ought to be
averted from them, to be turned towards the good which by far
preponderates. Even less do I approve books such as that of Abbé Esprit,
_On the Falsity of Human Virtues_, of which we have lately been given a
summary: for such a book serves to turn everything wrong side out, and
cause men to be such as it represents them.

16. It must be confessed, however, that there are disorders in this life,
which appear especially in the prosperity of sundry evil men and in the
misfortune of many good people. There is a German proverb which even grants
the advantage to the evil ones, as if they were commonly the most

  _Je krümmer Holz, je bessre Krücke:_
  _Je ärger Schalck, je grösser Glücke._

And it were to be desired that this saying of Horace should be true in our

  _Raro antecedentem scelestum_
  _Deseruit pede poena claudo._

Yet it often comes to pass also, though this perchance not the most often,

  _That in the world's eyes Heaven is justified,_

and that one may say with Claudian:

  _Abstulit hunc tandem Rufini poena tumultum,_
  _Absolvitque deos..._

17. But even though that should not happen here, the remedy is all prepared
in the other life: religion and reason itself teach us that, and we must
not murmur against a respite which the supreme wisdom has thought fit to
grant to men for repentance. Yet there objections multiply on another side,
when one considers salvation and damnation: for it appears strange that,
even in the great future of eternity, evil should have the advantage over
good, under the supreme authority of him who is the sovereign good, since
there will be many that are called and few that are chosen or are saved. It
is true that one sees from some lines of Prudentius (Hymn. ante Somnum),

  _Idem tamen benignus_
  _Ultor retundit iram,_
  _Paucosque non piorum_
  _Patitur perire in aevum,_

that divers men believed in his time that the number of those wicked enough
to be damned would be very small. To some indeed it seems that men believed
at that time in a sphere between Hell and Paradise; that this same
Prudentius speaks as if he were satisfied with this sphere; that St.
Gregory of Nyssa also inclines in that direction, and that St. Jerome leans
towards the opinion according whereunto all Christians would finally be
taken into grace. A saying of St. Paul which he himself gives out as
mysterious, stating that all Israel will be saved, has provided much food
for reflexion. Sundry pious persons, learned also, but daring, have revived
the opinion of Origen, who maintains that good will predominate in due
time, in all and everywhere, and that all rational creatures, even the bad
angels, will become at last holy and blessed. The book of the eternal
Gospel, published lately in German and supported by a great and learned
work entitled [Greek: 'Apokatástasis pántôn], has caused much stir over
this great paradox. M. le Clerc also has ingeniously pleaded the cause of
the Origenists, but without declaring himself for them.

18. There is a man of wit who, pushing my principle of harmony even to
arbitrary suppositions that I in no wise approve, has created for himself a
theology well-nigh astronomical. He believes that the present confusion in
this world below began when the Presiding Angel of the globe of the earth,
which was still a sun (that is, a star that was fixed and luminous of
itself) committed a sin with some lesser angels of his department, perhaps
rising inopportunely against an angel of a greater sun; that
simultaneously, by the Pre-established Harmony of the Realms of Nature and
of Grace, and consequently by natural causes occurring at the appointed
time, our globe was covered with stains, rendered opaque and driven from
its place; which has made it become a wandering star or planet, that is, a
Satellite of another sun, and even perhaps of that one whose superiority
its angel refused to recognize; and that therein consists the fall of
Lucifer. Now the chief of the bad angels, who in Holy Scripture is named
the prince, and even the god of this world, being, with the angels of his
train, envious of that rational animal which walks on the surface of this
globe, and which God has set up there perhaps to compensate himself for
their fall, strives to render it accessary in their crimes and a
participator in their misfortunes. Whereupon Jesus Christ came to save men.
He is the eternal Son of God, even as he is his only Son; but (according to
some ancient Christians, and according to the author of this hypothesis)
having taken upon him at first, from the beginning of things, the most
excellent nature among created beings, to bring them all to perfection, he
set himself amongst them: and this is the second filiation, whereby he is
the first-born of all creatures. This is he whom the Cabalists called Adam
Kadmon. Haply he had planted his tabernacle in that great sun which
illumines us; but he came at last into this globe where we are, he was born
of the Virgin, and took human nature upon him to save mankind from the
hands of their enemy and his. And when the time of judgement shall draw
near, when the present face of our globe shall be about to perish, he will
return to it in visible form, thence to withdraw the good, transplanting
them, it may be, into the sun, and to punish here the wicked with the
demons that have allured them; then the globe of the earth will begin to
burn and will be perhaps a comet. This fire will last for aeons upon aeons.
The tail of the comet is intended by the smoke which will rise incessantly,
according to the Apocalypse, and this fire will be hell, or the second[134]
death whereof Holy Scripture speaks. But at last hell will render up its
dead, death itself will be destroyed; reason and peace will begin to hold
sway again in the spirits that had been perverted; they will be sensible of
their error, they will adore their Creator, and will even begin to love him
all the more for seeing the greatness of the abyss whence they emerge.
Simultaneously (by virtue of the _harmonic parallelism_ of the Realms of
Nature and of Grace) this long and great conflagration will have purged the
earth's globe of its stains. It will become again a sun; its Presiding
Angel will resume his place with the angels of his train; humans that were
damned shall be with them numbered amongst the good angels; this chief of
our globe shall render homage to the Messiah, chief of created beings. The
glory of this angel reconciled shall be greater than it was before his

  _Inque Deos iterum factorum lege receptus_
  _Aureus aeternum noster regnabit Apollo._

The vision seemed to me pleasing, and worthy of a follower of Origen: but
we have no need of such hypothesis or fictions, where Wit plays a greater
part than Revelation, and which even Reason cannot turn to account. For it
does not appear that there is one principal place in the known universe
deserving in preference to the rest to be the seat of the eldest of created
beings; and the sun of our system at least is not it.

19. Holding then to the established doctrine that the number of men damned
eternally will be incomparably greater than that of the saved, we must say
that the evil could not but seem to be almost as nothing in comparison with
the good, when one contemplates the true vastness of the city of God.
Coelius Secundus Curio wrote a little book, _De Amplitudine Regni
Coelestis_, which was reprinted not long since; but he is indeed far from
having apprehended the compass of the kingdom of heaven. The ancients had
puny ideas on the works of God, and St. Augustine, for want of knowing
modern discoveries, was at a loss when there was question of explaining the
prevalence of evil. It seemed to the ancients that there was only one earth
inhabited, and even of that men held the antipodes in dread: the remainder
of the world was, according to them, a few shining globes and a few
crystalline spheres. To-day, whatever bounds are given or not given to the
universe, it must be acknowledged that there is an infinite number of
globes, as great as and greater than ours, which have as much right as[135]
it to hold rational inhabitants, though it follows not at all that they are
human. It is only one planet, that is to say one of the six principal
satellites of our sun; and as all fixed stars are suns also, we see how
small a thing our earth is in relation to visible things, since it is only
an appendix of one amongst them. It may be that all suns are peopled only
by blessed creatures, and nothing constrains us to think that many are
damned, for few instances or few samples suffice to show the advantage
which good extracts from evil. Moreover, since there is no reason for the
belief that there are stars everywhere, is it not possible that there may
be a great space beyond the region of the stars? Whether it be the Empyrean
Heaven, or not, this immense space encircling all this region may in any
case be filled with happiness and glory. It can be imagined as like the
Ocean, whither flow the rivers of all blessed creatures, when they shall
have reached their perfection in the system of the stars. What will become
of the consideration of our globe and its inhabitants? Will it not be
something incomparably less than a physical point, since our earth is as a
point in comparison with the distance of some fixed stars? Thus since the
proportion of that part of the universe which we know is almost lost in
nothingness compared with that which is unknown, and which we yet have
cause to assume, and since all the evils that may be raised in objection
before us are in this near nothingness, haply it may be that all evils are
almost nothingness in comparison with the good things which are in the

20. But it is necessary also to meet the more speculative and metaphysical
difficulties which have been mentioned, and which concern the cause of
evil. The question is asked first of all, whence does evil come? _Si Deus
est, unde malum? Si non est, unde bonum?_ The ancients attributed the cause
of evil to _matter_, which they believed uncreate and independent of God:
but we, who derive all being from God, where shall we find the source of
evil? The answer is, that it must be sought in the ideal nature of the
creature, in so far as this nature is contained in the eternal verities
which are in the understanding of God, independently of his will. For we
must consider that there is an _original imperfection in the creature_
before sin, because the creature is limited in its essence; whence ensues
that it cannot know all, and that it can deceive itself and commit other
errors. Plato said in _Timaeus_ that the world originated in          [136]
Understanding united to Necessity. Others have united God and Nature. This
can be given a reasonable meaning. God will be the Understanding; and the
Necessity, that is, the essential nature of things, will be the object of
the understanding, in so far as this object consists in the eternal
verities. But this object is inward and abides in the divine understanding.
And therein is found not only the primitive form of good, but also the
origin of evil: the Region of the Eternal Verities must be substituted for
matter when we are concerned with seeking out the source of things.

This region is the ideal cause of evil (as it were) as well as of good:
but, properly speaking, the formal character of evil has no _efficient_
cause, for it consists in privation, as we shall see, namely, in that which
the efficient cause does not bring about. That is why the Schoolmen are
wont to call the cause of evil _deficient_.

21. Evil may be taken metaphysically, physically and morally. _Metaphysical
evil_ consists in mere imperfection, _physical evil_ in suffering, and
_moral evil_ in sin. Now although physical evil and moral evil be not
necessary, it is enough that by virtue of the eternal verities they be
possible. And as this vast Region of Verities contains all possibilities it
is necessary that there be an infinitude of possible worlds, that evil
enter into divers of them, and that even the best of all contain a measure
thereof. Thus has God been induced to permit evil.

22. But someone will say to me: why speak you to us of 'permitting'? Is it
not God that doeth the evil and that willeth it? Here it will be necessary
to explain what 'permission' is, so that it may be seen how this term is
not employed without reason. But before that one must explain the nature of
will, which has its own degrees. Taking it in the general sense, one may
say that _will_ consists in the inclination to do something in proportion
to the good it contains. This will is called _antecedent_ when it is
detached, and considers each good separately in the capacity of a good. In
this sense it may be said that God tends to all good, as good, _ad
perfectionem simpliciter simplicem_, to speak like the Schoolmen, and that
by an antecedent will. He is earnestly disposed to sanctify and to save all
men, to exclude sin, and to prevent damnation. It may even be said that
this will is efficacious _of itself (per se)_, that is, in such sort that
the effect would ensue if there were not some stronger reason to prevent
it: for this will does not pass into final exercise (_ad summum conatum_),
else it would never fail to produce its full effect, God being the    [137]
master of all things. Success entire and infallible belongs only to the
_consequent will_, as it is called. This it is which is complete; and in
regard to it this rule obtains, that one never fails to do what one wills,
when one has the power. Now this consequent will, final and decisive,
results from the conflict of all the antecedent wills, of those which tend
towards good, even as of those which repel evil; and from the concurrence
of all these particular wills comes the total will. So in mechanics
compound movement results from all the tendencies that concur in one and
the same moving body, and satisfies each one equally, in so far as it is
possible to do all at one time. It is as if the moving body took equal
account of these tendencies, as I once showed in one of the Paris Journals
(7 Sept. 1693), when giving the general law of the compositions of
movement. In this sense also it may be said that the antecedent will is
efficacious in a sense and even effective with success.

23. Thence it follows that God wills _antecedently_ the good and
_consequently_ the best. And as for evil, God wills moral evil not at all,
and physical evil or suffering he does not will absolutely. Thus it is that
there is no absolute predestination to damnation; and one may say of
physical evil, that God wills it often as a penalty owing to guilt, and
often also as a means to an end, that is, to prevent greater evils or to
obtain greater good. The penalty serves also for amendment and example.
Evil often serves to make us savour good the more; sometimes too it
contributes to a greater perfection in him who suffers it, as the seed that
one sows is subject to a kind of corruption before it can germinate: this
is a beautiful similitude, which Jesus Christ himself used.

24. Concerning sin or moral evil, although it happens very often that it
may serve as a means of obtaining good or of preventing another evil, it is
not this that renders it a sufficient object of the divine will or a
legitimate object of a created will. It must only be admitted or
_permitted_ in so far as it is considered to be a certain consequence of an
indispensable duty: as for instance if a man who was determined not to
permit another's sin were to fail of his own duty, or as if an officer on
guard at an important post were to leave it, especially in time of danger,
in order to prevent a quarrel in the town between two soldiers of the
garrison who wanted to kill each other.

25. The rule which states, _non esse facienda mala, ut eveniant bona_, and
which even forbids the permission of a moral evil with the end of     [138]
obtaining a physical good, far from being violated, is here proved, and its
source and its reason are demonstrated. One will not approve the action of
a queen who, under the pretext of saving the State, commits or even permits
a crime. The crime is certain and the evil for the State is open to
question. Moreover, this manner of giving sanction to crimes, if it were
accepted, would be worse than a disruption of some one country, which is
liable enough to happen in any case, and would perchance happen all the
more by reason of such means chosen to prevent it. But in relation to God
nothing is open to question, nothing can be opposed to _the rule of the
best_, which suffers neither exception nor dispensation. It is in this
sense that God permits sin: for he would fail in what he owes to himself,
in what he owes to his wisdom, his goodness, his perfection, if he followed
not the grand result of all his tendencies to good, and if he chose not
that which is absolutely the best, notwithstanding the evil of guilt, which
is involved therein by the supreme necessity of the eternal verities. Hence
the conclusion that God wills all good _in himself antecedently_, that he
wills the best _consequently_ as an _end_, that he wills what is
indifferent, and physical evil, sometimes as a _means_, but that he will
only permit moral evil as the _sine quo non_ or as a hypothetical necessity
which connects it with the best. Therefore the _consequent will_ of God,
which has sin for its object, is only _permissive_.

26. It is again well to consider that moral evil is an evil so great only
because it is a source of physical evils, a source existing in one of the
most powerful of creatures, who is also most capable of causing those
evils. For an evil will is in its department what the evil principle of the
Manichaeans would be in the universe; and reason, which is an image of the
Divinity, provides for evil souls great means of causing much evil. One
single Caligula, one Nero, has caused more evil than an earthquake. An evil
man takes pleasure in causing suffering and destruction, and for that there
are only too many opportunities. But God being inclined to produce as much
good as possible, and having all the knowledge and all the power necessary
for that, it is impossible that in him there be fault, or guilt, or sin;
and when he permits sin, it is wisdom, it is virtue.

27. It is indeed beyond question that we must refrain from preventing the
sin of others when we cannot prevent their sin without sinning ourselves.
But someone will perhaps bring up the objection that it is God himself[139]
who acts and who effects all that is real in the sin of the creature. This
objection leads us to consider the _physical co-operation_ of God with the
creature, after we have examined the _moral co-operation_, which was the
more perplexing. Some have believed, with the celebrated Durand de
Saint-Pourçain and Cardinal Aureolus, the famous Schoolman, that the
co-operation of God with the creature (I mean the physical cooperation) is
only general and mediate, and that God creates substances and gives them
the force they need; and that thereafter he leaves them to themselves, and
does naught but conserve them, without aiding them in their actions. This
opinion has been refuted by the greater number of Scholastic theologians,
and it appears that in the past it met with disapproval in the writings of
Pelagius. Nevertheless a Capuchin named Louis Pereir of Dole, about the
year 1630, wrote a book expressly to revive it, at least in relation to
free actions. Some moderns incline thereto, and M. Bernier supports it in a
little book on freedom and freewill. But one cannot say in relation to God
what 'to conserve' is, without reverting to the general opinion. Also it
must be taken into account that the action of God in conserving should have
some reference to that which is conserved, according to what it is and to
the state wherein it is; thus his action cannot be general or
indeterminate. These generalities are abstractions not to be found in the
truth of individual things, and the conservation of a man standing is
different from the conservation of a man seated. This would not be so if
conservation consisted only in the act of preventing and warding off some
foreign cause which could destroy that which one wishes to conserve; as
often happens when men conserve something. But apart from the fact that we
are obliged ourselves sometimes to maintain that which we conserve, we must
bear in mind that conservation by God consists in the perpetual immediate
influence which the dependence of creatures demands. This dependence
attaches not only to the substance but also to the action, and one can
perhaps not explain it better than by saying, with theologians and
philosophers in general, that it is a continued creation.

28. The objection will be made that God therefore now creates man a sinner,
he that in the beginning created him innocent. But here it must be said,
with regard to the moral aspect, that God being supremely wise cannot fail
to observe certain laws, and to act according to the rules, as well   [140]
physical as moral, that wisdom has made him choose. And the same reason
that has made him create man innocent, but liable to fall, makes him
re-create man when he falls; for God's knowledge causes the future to be
for him as the present, and prevents him from rescinding the resolutions

29. As for physical co-operation, here one must consider the truth which
has made already so much stir in the Schools since St. Augustine declared
it, that evil is a privation of being, whereas the action of God tends to
the positive. This answer is accounted a quibble, and even something
chimerical in the minds of many people. But here is an instance somewhat
similar, which will serve to disabuse them.

30. The celebrated Kepler and M. Descartes (in his letters) after him have
spoken of the 'natural inertia of bodies'; and it is something which may be
regarded as a perfect image and even as a sample of the original limitation
of creatures, to show that privation constitutes the formal character of
the imperfections and disadvantages that are in substance as well as in its
actions. Let us suppose that the current of one and the same river carried
along with it various boats, which differ among themselves only in the
cargo, some being laden with wood, others with stone, and some more, the
others less. That being so, it will come about that the boats most heavily
laden will go more slowly than the others, provided it be assumed that the
wind or the oar, or some other similar means, assist them not at all. It is
not, properly speaking, weight which is the cause of this retardation,
since the boats are going down and not upwards; but it is the same cause
which also increases the weight in bodies that have greater density, which
are, that is to say, less porous and more charged with matter that is
proper to them: for the matter which passes through the pores, not
receiving the same movement, must not be taken into account. It is
therefore matter itself which originally is inclined to slowness or
privation of speed; not indeed of itself to lessen this speed, having once
received it, since that would be action, but to moderate by its receptivity
the effect of the impression when it is to receive it. Consequently, since
more matter is moved by the same force of the current when the boat is more
laden, it is necessary that it go more slowly; and experiments on the
impact of bodies, as well as reason, show that twice as much force    [141]
must be employed to give equal speed to a body of the same matter but of
twice the size. But that indeed would not be necessary if the matter were
absolutely indifferent to repose and to movement, and if it had not this
natural inertia whereof we have just spoken to give it a kind of repugnance
to being moved. Let us now compare the force which the current exercises on
boats, and communicates to them, with the action of God, who produces and
conserves whatever is positive in creatures, and gives them perfection,
being and force: let us compare, I say, the inertia of matter with the
natural imperfection of creatures, and the slowness of the laden boat with
the defects to be found in the qualities and the action of the creature;
and we shall find that there is nothing so just as this comparison. The
current is the cause of the boat's movement, but not of its retardation;
God is the cause of perfection in the nature and the actions of the
creature, but the limitation of the receptivity of the creature is the
cause of the defects there are in its action. Thus the Platonists, St.
Augustine and the Schoolmen were right to say that God is the cause of the
material element of evil which lies in the positive, and not of the formal
element, which lies in privation. Even so one may say that the current is
the cause of the material element of the retardation, but not of the
formal: that is, it is the cause of the boat's speed without being the
cause of the limits to this speed. And God is no more the cause of sin than
the river's current is the cause of the retardation of the boat. Force also
in relation to matter is as the spirit in relation to the flesh; the spirit
is willing and the flesh is weak, and spirits act...

  _quantum non noxia corpora tardant._

31. There is, then, a wholly similar relation between such and such an
action of God, and such and such a passion or reception of the creature,
which in the ordinary course of things is perfected only in proportion to
its 'receptivity', such is the term used. And when it is said that the
creature depends upon God in so far as it exists and in so far as it acts,
and even that conservation is a continual creation, this is true in that
God gives ever to the creature and produces continually all that in it is
positive, good and perfect, every perfect gift coming from the Father of
lights. The imperfections, on the other hand, and the defects in operations
spring from the original limitation that the creature could not but   [142]
receive with the first beginning of its being, through the ideal reasons
which restrict it. For God could not give the creature all without making
of it a God; therefore there must needs be different degrees in the
perfection of things, and limitations also of every kind.

32. This consideration will serve also to satisfy some modern philosophers
who go so far as to say that God is the only agent. It is true that God is
the only one whose action is pure and without admixture of what is termed
'to suffer': but that does not preclude the creature's participation in
actions, since _the action of the creature_ is a modification of the
substance, flowing naturally from it and containing a variation not only in
the perfections that God has communicated to the creature, but also in the
limitations that the creature, being what it is, brings with it. Thus we
see that there is an actual distinction between the substance and its
modification or accidents, contrary to the opinion of some moderns and in
particular of the late Duke of Buckingham, who spoke of that in a little
_Discourse on Religion_ recently reprinted. Evil is therefore like
darkness, and not only ignorance but also error and malice consist formally
in a certain kind of privation. Here is an example of error which we have
already employed. I see a tower which from a distance appears round
although it is square. The thought that the tower is what it appears to be
flows naturally from that which I see; and when I dwell on this thought it
is an affirmation, it is a false judgement; but if I pursue the
examination, if some reflexion causes me to perceive that appearances
deceive me, lo and behold, I abandon my error. To abide in a certain place,
or not to go further, not to espy some landmark, these are privations.

33. It is the same in respect of malice or ill will. The will tends towards
good in general, it must strive after the perfection that befits us, and
the supreme perfection is in God. All pleasures have within themselves some
feeling of perfection. But when one is limited to the pleasures of the
senses, or to other pleasures to the detriment of greater good, as of
health, of virtue, of union with God, of felicity, it is in this privation
of a further aspiration that the defect consists. In general perfection is
positive, it is an absolute reality; defect is privative, it comes from
limitation and tends towards new privations. This saying is therefore as
true as it is ancient: _bonum ex causa integra, malum ex quolibet defectu_;
as also that which states: _malum causam habet non efficientem, sed   [143]
deficientem_. And I hope that the meaning of these axioms will be better
apprehended after what I have just said.

34. The physical co-operation of God and of creatures with the will
contributes also to the difficulties existing in regard to freedom. I am of
opinion that our will is exempt not only from constraint but also from
necessity. Aristotle has already observed that there are two things in
freedom, to wit, spontaneity and choice, and therein lies our mastery over
our actions. When we act freely we are not being forced, as would happen if
we were pushed on to a precipice and thrown from top to bottom; and we are
not prevented from having the mind free when we deliberate, as would happen
if we were given a draught to deprive us of discernment. There is
_contingency_ in a thousand actions of Nature; but when there is no
judgement in him who acts there is no _freedom_. And if we had judgement
not accompanied by any inclination to act, our soul would be an
understanding without will.

35. It is not to be imagined, however, that our freedom consists in an
indetermination or an indifference of equipoise, as if one must needs be
inclined equally to the side of yes and of no and in the direction of
different courses, when there are several of them to take. This equipoise
in all directions is impossible: for if we were equally inclined towards
the courses A, B and C, we could not be equally inclined towards A and
towards not A. This equipoise is also absolutely contrary to experience,
and in scrutinizing oneself one will find that there has always been some
cause or reason inclining us towards the course taken, although very often
we be not aware of that which prompts us: just in the same way one is
hardly aware why, on issuing from a door, one has placed the right foot
before the left or the left before the right.

36. But let us pass to the difficulties. Philosophers agree to-day that the
truth of contingent futurities is determinate, that is to say that
contingent futurities are future, or that they will be, that they will
happen: for it is as sure that the future will be, as it is sure that the
past has been. It was true already a hundred years ago that I should write
to-day, as it will be true after a hundred years that I have written. Thus
the contingent is not, because it is future, any the less contingent; and
_determination_, which would be called certainty if it were known, is not
incompatible with contingency. Often the certain and the determinate are
taken as one thing, because a determinate truth is capable of being   [144]
known: thus it may be said that determination is an objective certainty.

37. This determination comes from the very nature of truth, and cannot
injure freedom: but there are other determinations taken from elsewhere,
and in the first place from the foreknowledge of God, which many have held
to be contrary to freedom. They say that what is foreseen cannot fail to
exist, and they say so truly; but it follows not that what is foreseen is
necessary, for _necessary truth_ is that whereof the contrary is impossible
or implies contradiction. Now this truth which states that I shall write
tomorrow is not of that nature, it is not necessary. Yet supposing that God
foresees it, it is necessary that it come to pass; that is, the consequence
is necessary, namely, that it exist, since it has been foreseen; for God is
infallible. This is what is termed a _hypothetical necessity_. But our
concern is not this necessity: it is an _absolute necessity_ that is
required, to be able to say that an action is necessary, that it is not
contingent, that it is not the effect of a free choice. Besides it is very
easily seen that foreknowledge in itself adds nothing to the determination
of the truth of contingent futurities, save that this determination is
known: and this does not augment the determination or the 'futurition' (as
it is termed) of these events, that whereon we agreed at the outset.

38. This answer is doubtless very correct. It is agreed that foreknowledge
in itself does not make truth more determinate; truth is foreseen because
it is determinate, because it is true; but it is not true because it is
foreseen: and therein the knowledge of the future has nothing that is not
also in the knowledge of the past or of the present. But here is what an
opponent will be able to say: I grant you that foreknowledge in itself does
not make truth more determinate, but it is the cause of the foreknowledge
that makes it so. For it needs must be that the foreknowledge of God have
its foundation in the nature of things, and this foundation, making the
truth _predeterminate_, will prevent it from being contingent and free.

39. It is this difficulty that has caused two parties to spring up, one of
the _predeterminators_, the other of the supporters of _mediate knowledge_.
The Dominicans and the Augustinians are for predetermination, the
Franciscans and the modern Jesuits on the other hand are for mediate
knowledge. These two parties appeared towards the middle of the sixteenth
century and a little later. Molina himself, who is perhaps one of the [145]
first, with Fonseca, to have systematized this point, and from whom the
others derived their name of Molinists, says in the book that he wrote on
the reconciliation of freewill with grace, about the year 1570, that the
Spanish doctors (he means principally the Thomists), who had been writing
then for twenty years, finding no other way to explain how God could have a
certain knowledge of contingent futurities, had introduced predetermination
as being necessary to free actions.

40. As for himself, he thought to have found another way. He considers that
there are three objects of divine knowledge, the possibles, the actual
events and the conditional events that would happen in consequence of a
certain condition if it were translated into action. The knowledge of
possibilities is what is called the 'knowledge of mere intelligence'; that
of events occurring actually in the progress of the universe is called the
'knowledge of intuition'. And as there is a kind of mean between the merely
possible and the pure and absolute event, to wit, the conditional event, it
can be said also, according to Molina, that there is a mediate knowledge
between that of intuition and that of intelligence. Instance is given of
the famous example of David asking the divine oracle whether the
inhabitants of the town of Keilah, where he designed to shut himself in,
would deliver him to Saul, supposing that Saul should besiege the town. God
answered yes; whereupon David took a different course. Now some advocates
of this mediate knowledge are of opinion that God, foreseeing what men
would do of their own accord, supposing they were placed in such and such
circumstances, and knowing that they would make ill use of their free will,
decrees to refuse them grace and favourable circumstances. And he may
justly so decree, since in any case these circumstances and these aids
would not have served them aught. But Molina contents himself with finding
therein generally a reason for the decrees of God, founded on what the free
creature would do in such and such circumstances.

41. I will not enter into all the detail of this controversy; it will
suffice for me to give one instance. Certain older writers, not acceptable
to St. Augustine and his first disciples, appear to have had ideas somewhat
approaching those of Molina. The Thomists and those who call themselves
disciples of St. Augustine (but whom their opponents call Jansenists)
combat this doctrine on philosophical and theological grounds. Some   [146]
maintain that mediate knowledge must be included in the knowledge of mere
intelligence. But the principal objection is aimed at the foundation of
this knowledge. For what foundation can God have for seeing what the people
of Keilah would do? A simple contingent and free act has nothing in itself
to yield a principle of certainty, unless one look upon it as predetermined
by the decrees of God, and by the causes that are dependent upon them.
Consequently the difficulty existing in actual free actions will exist also
in conditional free actions, that is to say, God will know them only under
the condition of their causes and of his decrees, which are the first
causes of things: and it will not be possible to separate such actions from
those causes so as to know a contingent event in a way that is independent
of the knowledge of its causes. Therefore all must of necessity be traced
back to the predetermination of God's decrees, and this mediate knowledge
(so it will be said) will offer no remedy. The theologians who profess to
be adherents of St. Augustine claim also that the system of the Molinists
would discover the source of God's grace in the good qualities of man, and
this they deem an infringement of God's honour and contrary to St. Paul's

42. It would be long and wearisome to enter here into the replies and
rejoinders coming from one side and the other, and it will suffice for me
to explain how I conceive that there is truth on both sides. For this
result I resort to my principle of an infinitude of possible worlds,
represented in the region of eternal verities, that is, in the object of
the divine intelligence, where all conditional futurities must be
comprised. For the case of the siege of Keilah forms part of a possible
world, _which differs from ours only in all that is connected with this
hypothesis_, and the idea of this possible world represents that which
would happen in this case. Thus we have a principle for the certain
knowledge of contingent futurities, whether they happen actually or must
happen in a certain case. For in the region of the possibles they are
represented as they are, namely, as free contingencies. Therefore neither
the foreknowledge of contingent futurities nor the foundation for the
certainty of this foreknowledge should cause us perplexity or seem to
prejudice freedom. And though it were true and possible that contingent
futurities consisting in free actions of reasonable creatures were entirely
independent of the decrees of God and of external causes, there would [147]
still be means of foreseeing them; for God would see them as they are in
the region of the possibles, before he decrees to admit them into

43. But if the foreknowledge of God has nothing to do with the dependence
or independence of our free actions, it is not so with the foreordinance of
God, his decrees, and the sequence of causes which, as I believe, always
contribute to the determination of the will. And if I am for the Molinists
in the first point, I am for the predeterminators in the second, provided
always that predetermination be taken as not necessitating. In a word, I am
of opinion that the will is always more inclined towards the course it
adopts, but that it is never bound by the necessity to adopt it. That it
will adopt this course is certain, but it is not necessary. The case
corresponds to that of the famous saying, _Astra inclinant, non
necessitant_, although here the similarity is not complete. For the event
towards which the stars tend (to speak with the common herd, as if there
were some foundation for astrology) does not always come to pass, whereas
the course towards which the will is more inclined never fails to be
adopted. Moreover the stars would form only a part of the inclinations that
co-operate in the event, but when one speaks of the greater inclination of
the will, one speaks of the result of all the inclinations. It is almost as
we have spoken above of the consequent will in God, which results from all
the antecedent wills.

44. Nevertheless, objective certainty or determination does not bring about
the necessity of the determinate truth. All philosophers acknowledge this,
asserting that the truth of contingent futurities is determinate, and that
nevertheless they remain contingent. The thing indeed would imply no
contradiction in itself if the effect did not follow; and therein lies
contingency. The better to understand this point, we must take into account
that there are two great principles of our arguments. The one is the
principle of _contradiction_, stating that of two contradictory
propositions the one is true, the other false; the other principle is that
of the _determinant reason_: it states that nothing ever comes to pass
without there being a cause or at least a reason determining it, that is,
something to give an _a priori_ reason why it is existent rather than
non-existent, and in this wise rather than in any other. This great
principle holds for all events, and a contrary instance will never be
supplied: and although more often than not we are insufficiently      [148]
acquainted with these determinant reasons, we perceive nevertheless that
there are such. Were it not for this great principle we could never prove
the existence of God, and we should lose an infinitude of very just and
very profitable arguments whereof it is the foundation; moreover, it
suffers no exception, for otherwise its force would be weakened. Besides,
nothing is so weak as those systems where all is unsteady and full of
exceptions. That fault cannot be laid to the charge of the system I
approve, where everything happens in accordance with general rules that at
most are mutually restrictive.

45. We must therefore not imagine with some Schoolmen, whose ideas tend
towards the chimerical, that free contingent futurities have the privilege
of exemption from this general rule of the nature of things. There is
always a prevailing reason which prompts the will to its choice, and for
the maintenance of freedom for the will it suffices that this reason should
incline without necessitating. That is also the opinion of all the
ancients, of Plato, of Aristotle, of St. Augustine. The will is never
prompted to action save by the representation of the good, which prevails
over the opposite representations. This is admitted even in relation to
God, the good angels and the souls in bliss: and it is acknowledged that
they are none the less free in consequence of that. God fails not to choose
the best, but he is not constrained so to do: nay, more, there is no
necessity in the object of God's choice, for another sequence of things is
equally possible. For that very reason the choice is free and independent
of necessity, because it is made between several possibles, and the will is
determined only by the preponderating goodness of the object. This is
therefore not a defect where God and the saints are concerned: on the
contrary, it would be a great defect, or rather a manifest absurdity, were
it otherwise, even in men here on earth, and if they were capable of acting
without any inclining reason. Of such absurdity no example will ever be
found; and even supposing one takes a certain course out of caprice, to
demonstrate one's freedom, the pleasure or advantage one thinks to find in
this conceit is one of the reasons tending towards it.

46. There is therefore a freedom of contingency or, in a way, of
indifference, provided that by 'indifference' is understood that nothing
necessitates us to one course or the other; but there is never any
_indifference of equipoise_, that is, where all is completely even on [149]
both sides, without any inclination towards either. Innumerable great and
small movements, internal and external, co-operate with us, for the most
part unperceived by us. And I have already said that when one leaves a room
there are such and such reasons determining us to put the one foot first,
without pausing to reflect. For there is not everywhere a slave, as in
Trimalchio's house in Petronius, to cry to us: the right foot first. All
that we have just said agrees entirely also with the maxims of the
philosophers, who teach that a cause cannot act without having a
disposition towards action. It is this disposition which contains a
predetermination, whether the doer have received it from without, or have
had it in consequence of his own antecedent character.

47. Thus we have no need to resort, in company with some new Thomists, to a
new immediate predetermination by God, such as may cause the free creature
to abandon his indifference, and to a decree of God for predetermining the
creature, making it possible for God to know what the creature will do: for
it suffices that the creature be predetermined by its preceding state,
which inclines it to one course more than to the other. Moreover, all these
connexions of the actions of the creature and of all creatures were
represented in the divine understanding, and known to God through the
knowledge of mere intelligence, before he had decreed to give them
existence. Thus we see that, in order to account for the foreknowledge of
God, one may dispense with both the mediate knowledge of the Molinists and
the predetermination which a Bañez or an Alvarez (writers otherwise of
great profundity) have taught.

48. By this false idea of an indifference of equipoise the Molinists were
much embarrassed. They were asked not only how it was possible to know in
what direction a cause absolutely indeterminate would be determined, but
also how it was possible that there should finally result therefrom a
determination for which there is no source: to say with Molina that it is
the privilege of the free cause is to say nothing, but simply to grant that
cause the privilege of being chimerical. It is pleasing to see their
harassed efforts to emerge from a labyrinth whence there is absolutely no
means of egress. Some teach that the will, before it is determined
formally, must be determined virtually, in order to emerge from its state
of equipoise; and Father Louis of Dole, in his book on the _Co-operation of
God_, quotes Molinists who attempt to take refuge in this expedient:  [150]
for they are compelled to acknowledge that the cause must needs be disposed
to act. But they gain nothing, they only defer the difficulty: for they
will still be asked how the free cause comes to be determined virtually.
They will therefore never extricate themselves without acknowledging that
there is a predetermination in the preceding state of the free creature,
which inclines it to be determined.

49. In consequence of this, the case also of Buridan's ass between two
meadows, impelled equally towards both of them, is a fiction that cannot
occur in the universe, in the order of Nature, although M. Bayle be of
another opinion. It is true that, if the case were possible, one must say
that the ass would starve himself to death: but fundamentally the question
deals in the impossible, unless it be that God bring the thing about
expressly. For the universe cannot be halved by a plane drawn through the
middle of the ass, which is cut vertically through its length, so that all
is equal and alike on both sides, in the manner wherein an ellipse, and
every plane figure of the number of those I term 'ambidexter', can be thus
halved, by any straight line passing through its centre. Neither the parts
of the universe nor the viscera of the animal are alike nor are they evenly
placed on both sides of this vertical plane. There will therefore always be
many things in the ass and outside the ass, although they be not apparent
to us, which will determine him to go on one side rather than the other.
And although man is free, and the ass is not, nevertheless for the same
reason it must be true that in man likewise the case of a perfect equipoise
between two courses is impossible. Furthermore it is true that an angel, or
God certainly, could always account for the course man has adopted, by
assigning a cause or a predisposing reason which has actually induced him
to adopt it: yet this reason would often be complex and incomprehensible to
ourselves, because the concatenation of causes linked together is very

50. Hence it is that the reason M. Descartes has advanced to prove the
independence of our free actions, by what he terms an intense inward
sensation, has no force. We cannot properly speaking be sensible of our
independence, and we are not aware always of the causes, often
imperceptible, whereon our resolution depends. It is as though the magnetic
needle took pleasure in turning towards the north: for it would think that
it was turning independently of any other cause, not being aware of the
imperceptible movements of the magnetic matter. Nevertheless we shall [151]
see later in what sense it is quite true that the human soul is altogether
its own natural principle in relation to its actions, dependent upon itself
and independent of all other creatures.

51. As for _volition_ itself, to say that it is an object of free will is
incorrect. We will to act, strictly speaking, and we do not will to will;
else we could still say that we will to have the will to will, and that
would go on to infinity. Besides, we do not always follow the latest
judgement of practical understanding when we resolve to will; but we always
follow, in our willing, the result of all the inclinations that come from
the direction both of reasons and passions, and this often happens without
an express judgement of the understanding.

52. All is therefore certain and determined beforehand in man, as
everywhere else, and the human soul is a kind of _spiritual automaton_,
although contingent actions in general and free action in particular are
not on that account necessary with an absolute necessity, which would be
truly incompatible with contingency. Thus neither futurition in itself,
certain as it is, nor the infallible prevision of God, nor the
predetermination either of causes or of God's decrees destroys this
contingency and this freedom. That is acknowledged in respect of futurition
and prevision, as has already been set forth. Since, moreover, God's decree
consists solely in the resolution he forms, after having compared all
possible worlds, to choose that one which is the best, and bring it into
existence together with all that this world contains, by means of the
all-powerful word _Fiat_, it is plain to see that this decree changes
nothing in the constitution of things: God leaves them just as they were in
the state of mere possibility, that is, changing nothing either in their
essence or nature, or even in their accidents, which are represented
perfectly already in the idea of this possible world. Thus that which is
contingent and free remains no less so under the decrees of God than under
his prevision.

53. But could God himself (it will be said) then change nothing in the
world? Assuredly he could not now change it, without derogation to his
wisdom, since he has foreseen the existence of this world and of what it
contains, and since, likewise, he has formed this resolution to bring it
into existence: for he cannot be mistaken nor repent, and it did not behove
him to from an imperfect resolution applying to one part and not the  [152]
whole. Thus, all being ordered from the beginning, it is only because of
this hypothetical necessity, recognized by everyone, that after God's
prevision or after his resolution nothing can be changed: and yet the
events in themselves remain contingent. For (setting aside this supposition
of the futurition of the thing and of the prevision or of the resolution of
God, a supposition which already lays it down as a fact that the thing will
happen, and in accordance with which one must say, 'Unumquodque, quando
est, oportet esse, aut unumquodque, siquidem erit, oportet futurum esse'),
the event has nothing in it to render it necessary and to suggest that no
other thing might have happened in its stead. And as for the connexion
between causes and effects, it only inclined, without necessitating, the
free agency, as I have just explained; thus it does not produce even a
hypothetical necessity, save in conjunction with something from outside, to
wit, this very maxim, that the prevailing inclination always triumphs.

54. It will be said also that, if all is ordered, God cannot then perform
miracles. But one must bear in mind that the miracles which happen in the
world were also enfolded and represented as possible in this same world
considered in the state of mere possibility; and God, who has since
performed them, when he chose this world had even then decreed to perform
them. Again the objection will be made that vows and prayers, merits and
demerits, good and bad actions avail nothing, since nothing can be changed.
This objection causes most perplexity to people in general, and yet it is
purely a sophism. These prayers, these vows, these good or bad actions that
occur to-day were already before God when he formed the resolution to order
things. Those things which happen in this existing world were represented,
with their effects and their consequences, in the idea of this same world,
while it was still possible only; they were represented therein, attracting
God's grace whether natural or supernatural, requiring punishments or
rewards, just as it has happened actually in this world since God chose it.
The prayer or the good action were even then an _ideal cause_ or
_condition_, that is, an inclining reason able to contribute to the grace
of God, or to the reward, as it now does in reality. Since, moreover, all
is wisely connected together in the world, it is clear that God, foreseeing
that which would happen freely, ordered all other things on that basis
beforehand, or (what is the same) he chose that possible world in     [153]
which everything was ordered in this fashion.

55. This consideration demolishes at the same time what the ancients called
the 'Lazy Sophism' ([Greek: logos argos]) which ended in a decision to do
nothing: for (people would say) if what I ask is to happen it will happen
even though I should do nothing; and if it is not to happen it will never
happen, no matter what trouble I take to achieve it. This necessity,
supposedly existent in events, and detached from their causes, might be
termed _Fatum Mahometanum_, as I have already observed above, because a
similar line of reasoning, so it is said, causes the Turks not to shun
places ravaged by plague. But the answer is quite ready: the effect being
certain, the cause that shall produce it is certain also; and if the effect
comes about it will be by virtue of a proportionate cause. Thus your
laziness perchance will bring it about that you will obtain naught of what
you desire, and that you will fall into those misfortunes which you would
by acting with care have avoided. We see, therefore, that the _connexion of
causes with effects_, far from causing an unendurable fatality, provides
rather a means of obviating it. There is a German proverb which says that
death will ever have a cause; and nothing is so true. You will die on that
day (let us presume it is so, and that God foresees it): yes, without
doubt; but it will be because you will do what shall lead you thither. It
is likewise with the chastisements of God, which also depend upon their
causes. And it will be apposite in this connexion to quote this famous
passage from St. Ambrose (in cap. I _Lucae_), 'Novit Dominus mutare
sententiam, si tu noveris mutare delictum', which is not to be understood
as of reprobation, but of denunciation, such as that which Jonah dealt out
for God to the Ninevites. This common saying: 'Si non es praedestinatus,
fac ut praedestineris', must not be taken literally, its true sense being
that he who has doubts of his predestination need only do what is required
for him to obtain it by the grace of God. The sophism which ends in a
decision to trouble oneself over nothing will haply be useful sometimes to
induce certain people to face danger fearlessly. It has been applied in
particular to Turkish soldiers: but it seems that hashish is a more
important factor than this sophism, not to mention the fact that this
resolute spirit in the Turks has greatly belied itself in our days.

56. A learned physician of Holland named Johan van Beverwyck took the
trouble to write _De Termino Vitae_ and to collect sundry answers,    [154]
letters and discourses of some learned men of his time on this subject.
This collection has been printed, and it is astonishing to see there how
often people are misled, and how they have confused a problem which,
properly speaking, is the easiest in the world. After that it is no wonder
that there are very many doubts which the human race cannot abandon. The
truth is that people love to lose themselves, and this is a kind of ramble
of the mind, which is unwilling to subject itself to attention, to order,
to rules. It seems as though we are so accustomed to games and jesting that
we play the fool even in the most serious occupations, and when we least
think to do so.

57. I fear that in the recent dispute between the theologians of the
Augsburg Confession, _De Termino Paenitentiae Peremptorio_, which has
called forth so many treatises in Germany, some misunderstanding, though of
a different nature, has slipped in. The terms prescribed by the laws are
amongst lawyers known as _fatalia_. It may be said, in a sense, that the
_peremptory term_, prescribed to man for his repentance and amendment, is
certain in the sight of God, with whom all is certain. God knows when a
sinner will be so hardened that thereafter nothing can be done for him: not
indeed that it would be impossible for him to do penance or that sufficient
grace needs must be refused to him after a certain term, a grace that never
fails; but because there will be a time whereafter he will no more approach
the ways of salvation. But we never have certain marks for recognizing this
term, and we are never justified in considering a man utterly abandoned:
that would be to pass a rash judgement. It were better always to have room
for hope; and this is an occasion, with a thousand others, where our
ignorance is beneficial.

  _Prudens futuri temporis exitum_
  _Caliginosa nocte premit Deus_.

58. The whole future is doubtless determined: but since we know not what it
is, nor what is foreseen or resolved, we must do our duty, according to the
reason that God has given us and according to the rules that he has
prescribed for us; and thereafter we must have a quiet mind, and leave to
God himself the care for the outcome. For he will never fail to do that
which shall be the best, not only in general but also in particular, for
those who have true confidence in him, that is, a confidence composed [155]
of true piety, a lively faith and fervent charity, by virtue of which we
will, as far as in us lies, neglect nothing appertaining to our duty and
his service. It is true that we cannot 'render service' to him, for he has
need of nothing: but it is 'serving him', in our parlance, when we strive
to carry out his presumptive will, co-operating in the good as it is known
to us, wherever we can contribute thereto. For we must always presume that
God is prompted towards the good we know, until the event shows us that he
had stronger reasons, although perhaps unknown to us, which have made him
subordinate this good that we sought to some other greater good of his own
designing, which he has not failed or will not fail to effect.

59. I have just shown how the action of the will depends upon its causes;
that there is nothing so appropriate to human nature as this dependence of
our actions; and that otherwise one would slip into a preposterous and
unendurable fatality, namely into the _Fatum Mahometanum_, which is the
worst of all because it overthrows foresight and good counsel. It is well
to show, notwithstanding, how this dependence of voluntary actions does not
fundamentally preclude the existence within us of a wonderful
_spontaneity_, which in a certain sense makes the soul in its resolves
independent of the physical influence of all other creatures. This
spontaneity, hitherto little recognized, which exalts our command over our
actions to the highest pitch, is a consequence of the System of
Pre-established Harmony, of which I must give some explanation here. The
Scholastic philosophers believed that there was a reciprocal physical
influence between body and soul: but since it has been recognized that
thought and dimensional mass have no mutual connexion, and that they are
creatures differing _toto genere_, many moderns have acknowledged that
there is no _physical communication_ between soul and body, despite the
_metaphysical communication_ always subsisting, which causes soul and body
to compose one and the same _suppositum_, or what is called a person. This
physical communication, if there were such, would cause the soul to change
the degree of speed and the directional line of some motions that are in
the body, and _vice versa_ the body to change the sequence of the thoughts
that are in the soul. But this effect cannot be inferred from any notion
conceived in the body and in the soul; though nothing be better known to us
than the soul, since it is inmost to us, that is to say inmost to itself.

60. M. Descartes wished to compromise and to make a part of the body's
action dependent upon the soul. He believed in the existence of a rule of
Nature to the effect, according to him, that the same quantity of movement
is conserved in bodies. He deemed it not possible that the influence of the
soul should violate this law of bodies, but he believed that the soul
notwithstanding might have power to change the direction of the movements
that are made in the body; much as a rider, though giving no force to the
horse he mounts, nevertheless controls it by guiding that force in any
direction he pleases. But as that is done by means of the bridle, the bit,
the spurs and other material aids, it is conceivable how that can be; there
are, however, no instruments such as the soul may employ for this result,
nothing indeed either in the soul or in the body, that is, either in
thought or in the mass, which may serve to explain this change of the one
by the other. In a word, that the soul should change the quantity of force
and that it should change the line of direction, both these things are
equally inexplicable.

61. Moreover, two important truths on this subject have been discovered
since M. Descartes' day. The first is that the quantity of absolute force
which is in fact conserved is different from the quantity of movement, as I
have demonstrated elsewhere. The second discovery is that the same
direction is still conserved in all bodies together that are assumed as
interacting, in whatever way they come into collision. If this rule had
been known to M. Descartes, he would have taken the direction of bodies to
be as independent of the soul as their force; and I believe that that would
have led direct to the Hypothesis of Pre-established Harmony, whither these
same rules have led me. For apart from the fact that the physical influence
of one of these substances on the other is inexplicable, I recognized that
without a complete derangement of the laws of Nature the soul could not act
physically upon the body. And I did not believe that one could here listen
to philosophers, competent in other respects, who produce a God, as it
were, _ex machina_, to bring about the final solution of the piece,
maintaining that God exerts himself deliberately to move bodies as the soul
pleases, and to give perceptions to the soul as the body requires. For this
system, which is called that of _occasional causes_ (because it teaches
that God acts on the body at the instance of the soul, and _vice versa_),
besides introducing perpetual miracles to establish communication     [157]
between these two substances, does not obviate the derangement of the
natural laws obtaining in each of these same substances, which, in the
general opinion, their mutual influence would cause.

62. Being on other considerations already convinced of the principle of
Harmony in general, I was in consequence convinced likewise of the
_preformation_ and the Pre-established Harmony of all things amongst
themselves, of that between nature and grace, between the decrees of God
and our actions foreseen, between all parts of matter, and even between the
future and the past, the whole in conformity with the sovereign wisdom of
God, whose works are the most harmonious it is possible to conceive. Thus I
could not fail to arrive at the system which declares that God created the
soul in the beginning in such a fashion that it must produce and represent
to itself successively that which takes place within the body, and the body
also in such a fashion that it must do of itself that which the soul
ordains. Consequently the laws that connect the thoughts of the soul in the
order of final causes and in accordance with the evolution of perceptions
must produce pictures that meet and harmonize with the impressions of
bodies on our organs; and likewise the laws of movements in the body, which
follow one another in the order of efficient causes, meet and so harmonize
with the thoughts of the soul that the body is induced to act at the time
when the soul wills it.

63. Far from its being prejudicial, nothing can be more favourable to
freedom than that system. And M. Jacquelot has demonstrated well in his
book on the _Conformity of Faith with Reason_, that it is just as if he who
knows all that I shall order a servant to do the whole day long on the
morrow made an automaton entirely resembling this servant, to carry out
to-morrow at the right moment all that I should order; and yet that would
not prevent me from ordering freely all that I should please, although the
action of the automaton that would serve me would not be in the least free.

64. Moreover, since all that passes in the soul depends, according to this
system, only upon the soul, and its subsequent state is derived only from
it and from its present state, how can one give it a greater
_independence_? It is true that there still remains some imperfection in
the constitution of the soul. All that happens to the soul depends upon it,
but depends not always upon its will; that were too much. Nor are such[158]
happenings even recognized always by its understanding or perceived with
distinctness. For there is in the soul not only an order of distinct
perceptions, forming its dominion, but also a series of confused
perceptions or passions, forming its bondage: and there is no need for
astonishment at that; the soul would be a Divinity if it had none but
distinct perceptions. It has nevertheless some power over these confused
perceptions also, even if in an indirect manner. For although it cannot
change its passions forthwith, it can work from afar towards that end with
enough success, and endue itself with new passions and even habits. It even
has a like power over the more distinct perceptions, being able to endue
itself indirectly with opinions and intentions, and to hinder itself from
having this one or that, and stay or hasten its judgement. For we can seek
means beforehand to arrest ourselves, when occasion arises, on the sliding
step of a rash judgement; we can find some incident to justify postponement
of our resolution even at the moment when the matter appears ready to be
judged. Although our opinion and our act of willing be not directly objects
of our will (as I have already observed), one sometimes, takes measures
nevertheless, to will and even to believe in due time, that which one does
not will, or believe, now. So great is the profundity of the spirit of man.

65. And now, to bring to a conclusion this question of _spontaneity_, it
must be said that, on a rigorous definition, the soul has within it the
principle of all its actions, and even of all its passions, and that the
same is true in all the simple substances scattered throughout Nature,
although there be freedom only in those that are intelligent. In the
popular sense notwithstanding, speaking in accordance with appearances, we
must say that the soul depends in some way upon the body and upon the
impressions of the senses: much as we speak with Ptolemy and Tycho in
everyday converse, and think with Copernicus, when it is a question of the
rising and the setting of the sun.

66. One may however give a true and philosophic sense to this _mutual
dependence_ which we suppose between the soul and the body. It is that the
one of these two substances depends upon the other ideally, in so far as
the reason of that which is done in the one can be furnished by that which
is in the other. This had already happened when God ordered beforehand the
harmony that there would be between them. Even so would that          [159]
automaton, that should fulfil the servant's function, depend upon me
_ideally_, in virtue of the knowledge of him who, foreseeing my future
orders, would have rendered it capable of serving me at the right moment
all through the morrow. The knowledge of my future intentions would have
actuated this great craftsman, who would accordingly have fashioned the
automaton: my influence would be objective, and his physical. For in so far
as the soul has perfection and distinct thoughts, God has accommodated the
body to the soul, and has arranged beforehand that the body is impelled to
execute its orders. And in so far as the soul is imperfect and as its
perceptions are confused, God has accommodated the soul to the body, in
such sort that the soul is swayed by the passions arising out of corporeal
representations. This produces the same effect and the same appearance as
if the one depended immediately upon the other, and by the agency of a
physical influence. Properly speaking, it is by its confused thoughts that
the soul represents the bodies which encompass it. The same thing must
apply to all that we understand by the actions of simple substances one
upon another. For each one is assumed to act upon the other in proportion
to its perfection, although this be only ideally, and in the reasons of
things, as God in the beginning ordered one substance to accord with
another in proportion to the perfection or imperfection that there is in
each. (Withal action and passion are always reciprocal in creatures,
because one part of the reasons which serve to explain clearly what is
done, and which have served to bring it into existence, is in the one of
these substances, and another part of these reasons is in the other,
perfections and imperfections being always mingled and shared.) Thus it is
we attribute _action_ to the one, and _passion_ to the other.

67. But after all, whatsoever dependence be conceived in voluntary actions,
and even though there were an absolute and mathematical necessity (which
there is not) it would not follow that there would not be a sufficient
degree of freedom to render rewards and punishments just and reasonable. It
is true that generally we speak as though the necessity of the action put
an end to all merit and all demerit, all justification for praise and
blame, for reward and punishment: but it must be admitted that this
conclusion is not entirely correct. I am very far from sharing the opinions
of Bradwardine, Wyclif, Hobbes and Spinoza, who advocate, so it seems,[160]
this entirely mathematical necessity, which I think I have adequately
refuted, and perhaps more clearly than is customary. Yet one must always
bear testimony to the truth and not impute to a dogma anything that does
not result from it. Moreover, these arguments prove too much, since they
would prove just as much against hypothetical necessity, and would justify
the lazy sophism. For the absolute necessity of the sequence of causes
would in this matter add nothing to the infallible certainty of a
hypothetical necessity.

68. In the first place, therefore, it must be agreed that it is permitted
to kill a madman when one cannot by other means defend oneself. It will be
granted also that it is permitted, and often even necessary, to destroy
venomous or very noxious animals, although they be not so by their own

69. Secondly, one inflicts punishments upon a beast, despite its lack of
reason and freedom, when one deems that this may serve to correct it: thus
one punishes dogs and horses, and indeed with much success. Rewards serve
us no less in the managing of animals: when an animal is hungry, the food
that is given to him causes him to do what otherwise would never be
obtained from him.

70. Thirdly, one would inflict even on beasts capital punishments (where it
is no longer a question of correcting the beast that is punished) if this
punishment could serve as an example, or inspire terror in others, to make
them cease from evil doing. Rorarius, in his book on reason in beasts, says
that in Africa they crucified lions, in order to drive away other lions
from the towns and frequented places, and that he had observed in passing
through the province of Jülich that they hanged wolves there in order to
ensure greater safety for the sheepfolds. There are people in the villages
also who nail birds of prey to the doors of houses, with the idea that
other birds of the same kind will then not so readily appear. These
measures would always be justified if they were of any avail.

71. Then, in the fourth place, since experience proves that the fear of
chastisements and the hope of rewards serves to make men abstain from evil
and strive to do good, one would have good reason to avail oneself of such,
even though men were acting under necessity, whatever the necessity might
be. The objection will be raised that if good or evil is necessary it is
useless to avail oneself of means to obtain it or to hinder it: but the
answer has already been given above in the passage combating the lazy [161]
sophism. If good or evil were a necessity without these means, then such
means would be unavailing; but it is not so. These goods and evils come
only with the aid of these means, and if these results were necessary the
means would be a part of the causes rendering them necessary, since
experience teaches us that often fear or hope hinders evil or advances
good. This objection, then, differs hardly at all from the lazy sophism,
which we raise against the certainty as well as the necessity of future
events. Thus one may say that these objections are directed equally against
hypothetical necessity and absolute necessity, and that they prove as much
against the one as against the other, that is to say, nothing at all.

72. There was a great dispute between Bishop Bramhall and Mr. Hobbes, which
began when they were both in Paris, and which was continued after their
return to England; all the parts of it are to be found collected in a
quarto volume published in London in the year 1656. They are all in
English, and have not been translated as far as I know, nor inserted in the
Collection of Works in Latin by Mr. Hobbes. I had already read these
writings, and have obtained them again since. And I had observed at the
outset that he had not at all proved the absolute necessity of all things,
but had shown sufficiently that necessity would not overthrow all the rules
of divine or human justice, and would not prevent altogether the exercise
of this virtue.

73. There is, however, a kind of justice and a certain sort of rewards and
of punishments which appear not so applicable to those who should act by an
absolute necessity, supposing such necessity existed. It is that kind of
justice which has for its goal neither improvement nor example, nor even
redress of the evil. This justice has its foundation only in the fitness of
things, which demands a certain satisfaction for the expiation of an evil
action. The Socinians, Hobbes and some others do not admit this punitive
justice, which properly speaking is avenging justice. God reserves it for
himself in many cases; but he does not fail to grant it to those who are
entitled to govern others, and he exercises it through their agency,
provided that they act under the influence of reason and not of passion.
The Socinians believe it to be without foundation, but it always has some
foundation in that fitness of things which gives satisfaction not only to
the injured but also to the wise who see it; even as a beautiful piece of
music, or again a good piece of architecture, satisfies cultivated    [162]
minds. And the wise lawgiver having threatened, and having, so to speak,
promised a chastisement, it befits his consistency not to leave the action
completely unpunished, even though the punishment would no longer avail to
correct anyone. But even though he should have promised nothing, it is
enough that there is a fitness of things which could have prompted him to
make this promise, since the wise man likewise promises only that which is
fitting. And one may even say that there is here a certain compensation of
the mind, which would be scandalized by disorder if the chastisement did
not contribute towards restoring order. One can also consult what Grotius
wrote against the Socinians, of the satisfaction of Jesus Christ, and the
answer of Crellius thereto.

74. Thus it is that the pains of the damned continue, even when they no
longer serve to turn them away from evil, and that likewise the rewards of
the blessed continue, even when they no longer serve for strengthening them
in good. One may say nevertheless that the damned ever bring upon
themselves new pains through new sins, and that the blessed ever bring upon
themselves new joys by new progress in goodness: for both are founded on
the _principle of the fitness of things_, which has seen to it that affairs
were so ordered that the evil action must bring upon itself a chastisement.
There is good reason to believe, following the parallelism of the two
realms, that of final causes and that of efficient causes, that God has
established in the universe a connexion between punishment or reward and
bad or good action, in accordance wherewith the first should always be
attracted by the second, and virtue and vice obtain their reward and their
punishment in consequence of the natural sequence of things, which contains
still another kind of pre-established harmony than that which appears in
the communication between the soul and the body. For, in a word, all that
God does, as I have said already, is harmonious to perfection. Perhaps then
this principle of the fitness of things would no longer apply to beings
acting without true freedom or exemption from absolute necessity; and in
that case corrective justice alone would be administered, and not punitive
justice. That is the opinion of the famous Conringius, in a dissertation he
published on what is just. And indeed, the reasons Pomponazzi employed in
his book on fate, to prove the usefulness of chastisements and rewards,
even though all should come about in our actions by a fatal necessity,[163]
concern only amendment and not satisfaction, [Greek: kolasin ou timôrian].
Moreover, it is only for the sake of outward appearances that one destroys
animals accessary to certain crimes, as one razes the houses of rebels,
that is, to inspire terror. Thus it is an act of corrective justice,
wherein punitive justice has no part at all.

75. But we will not amuse ourselves now by discussing a question more
curious than necessary, since we have shown sufficiently that there is no
such necessity in voluntary actions. Nevertheless it was well to show that
_imperfect freedom_ alone, that is, freedom which is exempt only from
constraint, would suffice as foundation for chastisements and rewards of
the kind conducive to the avoidance of evil, and to amendment. One sees
also from this that some persons of intelligence, who persuade themselves
that everything is necessary, are wrong in saying that none must be praised
or blamed, rewarded or punished. Apparently they say so only to exercise
their wit: the pretext is that all being necessary nothing would be in our
power. But this pretext is ill founded: necessary actions would be still in
our power, at least in so far as we could perform them or omit them, when
the hope or the fear of praise or blame, of pleasure or pain prompted our
will thereto, whether they prompted it of necessity, or in prompting it
they left spontaneity, contingency and freedom all alike unimpaired. Thus
praise and blame, rewards and punishments would preserve always a large
part of their use, even though there were a true necessity in our actions.
We can praise and blame also natural good and bad qualities, where the will
has no part--in a horse, in a diamond, in a man; and he who said of Cato of
Utica that he acted virtuously through the goodness of his nature, and that
it was impossible for him to behave otherwise, thought to praise him the

76. The difficulties which I have endeavoured up to now to remove have been
almost all common to natural and revealed theology. Now it will be
necessary to come to a question of revealed theology, concerning the
election or the reprobation of men, with the dispensation or use of divine
grace in connexion with these acts of the mercy or the justice of God. But
when I answered the preceding objections, I opened up a way to meet those
that remain. This confirms the observation I made thereon (_Preliminary
Dissertation,_ 43) that there is rather a conflict between the true   [164]
reasons of natural theology and the false reasons of human appearances,
than between revealed faith and reason. For on this subject scarcely any
difficulty arises that is new, and not deriving its origin from those which
can be placed in the way of the truths discerned by reason.

77. Now as theologians of all parties are divided among themselves on this
subject of predestination and grace, and often give different answers to
the same objections, according to their various principles, one cannot
avoid touching on the differences which prevail among them. One may say in
general that some look upon God more metaphysically and others more
morally: and it has already been stated on other occasions that the
Counter-Remonstrants took the first course and the Remonstrants the second.
But to act rightly we must affirm alike on one side the independence of God
and the dependence of creatures, and on the other side the justice and
goodness of God, which makes him dependent upon himself, his will upon his
understanding or his wisdom.

78. Some gifted and well-intentioned authors, desiring to show the force of
the reasons advocated by the two principal parties, in order to persuade
them to a mutual tolerance, deem that the whole controversy is reduced to
this essential point, namely: What was God's principal aim in making his
decrees with regard to man? Did he make them solely in order to show forth
his glory by manifesting his attributes, and forming, to that end, the
great plan of creation and providence? Or has he had regard rather to the
voluntary movements of intelligent substances which he designed to create,
considering what they would will and do in the different circumstances and
situations wherein he might place them, so as to form a fitting resolve
thereupon? It appears to me that the two answers to this great question
thus given as opposites to one another are easy to reconcile, and that in
consequence the two parties would be agreed in principle, without any need
of tolerance, if all were reduced to this point. In truth God, in designing
to create the world, purposed solely to manifest and communicate his
perfections in the way that was most efficacious, and most worthy of his
greatness, his wisdom and his goodness. But that very purpose pledged him
to consider all the actions of creatures while still in the state of pure
possibility, that he might form the most fitting plan. He is like a great
architect whose aim in view is the satisfaction or the glory of having[165]
built a beautiful palace, and who considers all that is to enter into this
construction: the form and the materials, the place, the situation, the
means, the workmen, the expense, before he forms a complete resolve. For a
wise person in laying his plans cannot separate the end from the means; he
does not contemplate any end without knowing if there are means of
attaining thereto.

79. I know not whether there are also perchance persons who imagine that,
God being the absolute master of all things, one can thence infer that
everything outside him is indifferent to him, that he considers himself
alone, without concern for others, and that thus he has made some happy and
others unhappy without any cause, without choice, without reason. But to
teach so about God were to deprive him of wisdom and of goodness. We need
only observe that he considers himself and neglects nothing of what he owes
to himself, to conclude that he considers his creatures also, and that he
uses them in the manner most consistent with order. For the more a great
and good prince is mindful of his glory, the more he will think of making
his subjects happy, even though he were the most absolute of all monarchs,
and though his subjects were slaves from birth, bondsmen (in lawyers'
parlance), people entirely in subjection to arbitrary power. Calvin himself
and some others of the greatest defenders of the absolute decree rightly
maintained that God had _great and just reasons_ for his election and the
dispensation of his grace, although these reasons be unknown to us in
detail: and we must judge charitably that the most rigid predestinators
have too much reason and too much piety to depart from this opinion.

80. There will therefore be no argument for debate on that point (as I
hope) with people who are at all reasonable. But there will always be
argument among those who are called Universalists and Particularists,
according to what they teach of the grace and the will of God. Yet I am
somewhat inclined to believe that the heated dispute between them on the
will of God to save all men, and on that which depends upon it (when one
keeps separate the doctrine _de Auxiliis_, or of the assistance of grace),
rests rather in expressions than in things. For it is sufficient to
consider that God, as well as every wise and beneficent mind, is inclined
towards all possible good, and that this inclination is proportionate to
the excellence of the good. Moreover, this results (if we take the    [166]
matter precisely and in itself) from an 'antecedent will', as it is termed,
which, however, is not always followed by its complete effect, because this
wise mind must have many other inclinations besides. Thus it is the result
of all the inclinations together that makes his will complete and
decretory, as I have already explained. One may therefore very well say
with ancient writers that God wills to save all men according to his
antecedent will, but not according to his consequent will, which never
fails to be followed by its effect. And if those who deny this universal
will do not allow that the antecedent inclination be called a will, they
are only troubling themselves about a question of name.

81. But there is a question more serious in regard to predestination to
eternal life and to all other destination by God, to wit, whether this
destination is absolute or respective. There is destination to good and
destination to evil; and as evil is moral or physical, theologians of all
parties agree that there is no destination to moral evil, that is to say,
that none is destined to sin. As for the greatest physical evil, which is
damnation, one can distinguish between destination and predestination: for
predestination appears to contain within itself an absolute destination,
which is anterior to the consideration of the good or evil actions of those
whom it concerns. Thus one may say that the reprobate are _destined_ to be
condemned, because they are known to be impenitent. But it cannot so well
be said that the reprobate are _predestined_ to damnation: for there is no
_absolute_ reprobation, its foundation being final foreseen impenitence.

82. It is true that there are writers who maintain that God, wishing to
manifest his mercy and his justice in accordance with reasons worthy of
him, but unknown to us, chose the elect, and in consequence rejected the
damned, prior to all thought of sin, even of Adam, that after this resolve
he thought fit to permit sin in order to be able to exercise these two
virtues, and that he has bestowed grace in Jesus Christ to some in order to
save them, while he has refused it to others in order to be able to punish
them. Hence these writers are named 'Supralapsarians', because the decree
to punish precedes, according to them, the knowledge of the future
existence of sin. But the opinion most common to-day amongst those who are
called Reformed, and one that is favoured by the Synod of Dordrecht, is
that of the 'Infralapsarians', corresponding somewhat to the conception of
St. Augustine. For he asserts that God having resolved to permit the  [167]
sin of Adam and the corruption of the human race, for reasons just but
hidden, his mercy made him choose some of the corrupt mass to be freely
saved by the merit of Jesus Christ, and his justice made him resolve to
punish the others by the damnation that they deserved. That is why, with
the Schoolmen, only the saved were called _Praedestinati_ and the damned
were called _Praesciti_. It must be admitted that some Infralapsarians and
others speak sometimes of predestination to damnation, following the
example of Fulgentius and of St. Augustine himself: but that signifies the
same as destination to them, and it avails nothing to wrangle about words.
That pretext, notwithstanding, was in time past used for maltreating that
Godescalc who caused a stir about the middle of the ninth century, and who
took the name of Fulgentius to indicate that he followed that author.

83. As for the destination of the elect to eternal life, the Protestants,
as well as those of the Roman Church, dispute much among themselves as to
whether election is absolute or is founded on the prevision of final living
faith. Those who are called Evangelicals, that is, those of the Augsburg
Confession, hold the latter opinion: they believe that one need not go into
the hidden causes of election while one may find a manifest cause of it
shown in Holy Scripture, which is faith in Jesus Christ; and it appears to
them that the prevision of the cause is also the cause of the prevision of
the effect. Those who are called Reformed are of a different opinion: they
admit that salvation comes from faith in Jesus Christ, but they observe
that often the cause anterior to the effect in execution is posterior in
intention, as when the cause is the means and the effect is the end. Thus
the question is, whether faith or salvation is anterior in the intention of
God, that is, whether God's design is rather to save man than to make him a

84. Hence we see that the question between the Supralapsarians and the
Infralapsarians in part, and again between them and the Evangelicals, comes
back to a right conception of the order that is in God's decrees. Perhaps
one might put an end to this dispute at once by saying that, properly
speaking, all the decrees of God that are here concerned are simultaneous,
not only in respect of time, as everyone agrees, but also _in signo
rationis_, or in the order of nature. And indeed, the Formula of Concord,
building upon some passages of St. Augustine, comprised in the same   [168]
Decree of Election salvation and the means that conduce to it. To
demonstrate this synchronism of destinations or of decrees with which we
are concerned, we must revert to the expedient that I have employed more
than once, which states that God, before decreeing anything, considered
among other possible sequences of things that one which he afterwards
approved. In the idea of this is represented how the first parents sin and
corrupt their posterity; how Jesus Christ redeems the human race; how some,
aided by such and such graces, attain to final faith and to salvation; and
how others, with or without such or other graces, do not attain thereto,
continue in sin, and are damned. God grants his sanction to this sequence
only after having entered into all its detail, and thus pronounces nothing
final as to those who shall be saved or damned without having pondered upon
everything and compared it with other possible sequences. Thus God's
pronouncement concerns the whole sequence at the same time; he simply
decrees its existence. In order to save other men, or in a different way,
he must needs choose an altogether different sequence, seeing that all is
connected in each sequence. In this conception of the matter, which is that
most worthy of the All-wise, all whose actions are connected together to
the highest possible degree, there would be only one total decree, which is
to create such a world. This total decree comprises equally all the
particular decrees, without setting one of them before or after another.
Yet one may say also that each particular act of antecedent will entering
into the total result has its value and order, in proportion to the good
whereto this act inclines. But these acts of antecedent will are not called
decrees, since they are not yet inevitable, the outcome depending upon the
total result. According to this conception of things, all the difficulties
that can here be made amount to the same as those I have already stated and
removed in my inquiry concerning the origin of evil.

85. There remains only one important matter of discussion, which has its
peculiar difficulties. It is that of the dispensation of the means and
circumstances contributing to salvation and to damnation. This comprises
amongst others the subject of the Aids of Grace (_de auxiliis gratiae_), on
which Rome (since the Congregation _de Auxiliis_ under Clement VIII, when a
debate took place between the Dominicans and the Jesuits) does not readily
permit books to be published. Everyone must agree that God is         [169]
altogether good and just, that his goodness makes him contribute the least
possible to that which can render men guilty, and the most possible to that
which serves to save them (possible, I say, subject to the general order of
things); that his justice prevents him from condemning innocent men, and
from leaving good actions without reward; and that he even keeps an exact
proportion in punishments and rewards. Nevertheless, this idea that one
should have of the goodness and the justice of God does not appear enough
in what we know of his actions with regard to the salvation and the
damnation of men: and it is that which makes difficulties concerning sin
and its remedies.

86. The first difficulty is how the soul could be infected with original
sin, which is the root of actual sins, without injustice on God's part in
exposing the soul thereto. This difficulty has given rise to three opinions
on the origin of the soul itself. The first is that of the _pre-existence
of human souls_ in another world or in another life, where they had sinned
and on that account had been condemned to this prison of the human body, an
opinion of the Platonists which is attributed to Origen and which even
to-day finds adherents. Henry More, an English scholar, advocated something
like this dogma in a book written with that express purpose. Some of those
who affirm this pre-existence have gone as far as metempsychosis. The
younger van Helmont held this opinion, and the ingenious author of some
metaphysical _Meditations_, published in 1678 under the name of William
Wander, appears to have some leaning towards it. The second opinion is that
of _Traduction_, as if the soul of children were engendered (_per
traducem_) from the soul or souls of those from whom the body is
engendered. St. Augustine inclined to this judgement the better to explain
original sin. This doctrine is taught also by most of the theologians of
the Augsburg Confession. Nevertheless it is not completely established
among them, since the Universities of Jena and Helmstedt, and others
besides, have long been opposed to it. The third opinion, and that most
widely accepted to-day, is that of _Creation_: it is taught in the majority
of the Christian Schools, but it is fraught with the greatest difficulty in
respect of original sin.

87. Into this controversy of theologians on the origin of the human soul
has entered the philosophic dispute on _the origin of forms._ Aristotle and
scholastic philosophy after him called _Form_ that which is a         [170]
principle of action and is found in that which acts. This inward principle
is either substantial, being then termed 'Soul', when it is in an organic
body, or accidental, and customarily termed 'Quality'. The same philosopher
gave to the soul the generic name of 'Entelechy' or _Act_. This word
'Entelechy' apparently takes its origin from the Greek word signifying
'perfect', and hence the celebrated Ermolao Barbaro expressed it literally
in Latin by _perfectihabia_: for Act is a realization of potency. And he
had no need to consult the Devil, as men say he did, in order to learn
that. Now the Philosopher of Stagira supposes that there are two kinds of
Act, the permanent act and the successive act. The permanent or lasting act
is nothing but the Substantial or Accidental Form: the substantial form (as
for example the soul) is altogether permanent, at least according to my
judgement, and the accidental is only so for a time. But the altogether
momentary act, whose nature is transitory, consists in action itself. I
have shown elsewhere that the notion of Entelechy is not altogether to be
scorned, and that, being permanent, it carries with it not only a mere
faculty for action, but also that which is called 'force', 'effort',
'conatus', from which action itself must follow if nothing prevents it.
Faculty is only an _attribute_, or rather sometimes a mode; but force, when
it is not an ingredient of substance itself (that is, force which is not
primitive but derivative), is a _quality_, which is distinct and separable
from substance. I have shown also how one may suppose that the soul is a
primitive force which is modified and varied by derivative forces or
qualities, and exercised in actions.

88. Now philosophers have troubled themselves exceedingly on the question
of the origin of substantial forms. For to say that the compound of form
and matter is produced and that the form is only _comproduced_ means
nothing. The common opinion was that forms were derived from the potency of
matter, this being called _Eduction_. That also meant in fact nothing, but
it was explained in a sense by a comparison with shapes: for that of a
statue is produced only by removal of the superfluous marble. This
comparison might be valid if form consisted in a mere limitation, as in the
case of shape. Some have thought that forms were sent from heaven, and even
created expressly, when bodies were produced. Julius Scaliger hinted that
it was possible that forms were rather derived from the active potency of
the efficient cause (that is to say, either from that of God in the   [171]
case of Creation or from that of other forms in the case of generation),
than from the passive potency of matter. And that, in the case of
generation, meant a return to traduction. Daniel Sennert, a famous doctor
and physicist at Wittenberg, cherished this opinion, particularly in
relation to animate bodies which are multiplied through seed. A certain
Julius Caesar della Galla, an Italian living in the Low Countries, and a
doctor of Groningen named Johan Freitag wrote with much vehemence in
opposition to Sennert. Johann Sperling, a professor at Wittenberg, made a
defence of his master, and finally came into conflict with Johann Zeisold,
a professor at Jena, who upheld the belief that the human soul is created.

89. But traduction and eduction are equally inexplicable when it is a
question of finding the origin of the soul. It is not the same with
accidental forms, since they are only modifications of the substance, and
their origin may be explained by eduction, that is, by variation of
limitations, in the same way as the origin of shapes. But it is quite
another matter when we are concerned with the origin of a substance, whose
beginning and destruction are equally difficult to explain. Sennert and
Sperling did not venture to admit the subsistence and the indestructibility
of the souls of beasts or of other primitive forms, although they allowed
that they were indivisible and immaterial. But the fact is that they
confused indestructibility with immortality, whereby is understood in the
case of man that not only the soul but also the personality subsists. In
saying that the soul of man is immortal one implies the subsistence of what
makes the identity of the person, something which retains its moral
qualities, conserving the _consciousness_, or the reflective inward
feeling, of what it is: thus it is rendered susceptible to chastisement or
reward. But this conservation of personality does not occur in the souls of
beasts: that is why I prefer to say that they are imperishable rather than
to call them immortal. Yet this misapprehension appears to have been the
cause of a great inconsistency in the doctrine of the Thomists and of other
good philosophers: they recognized the immateriality or indivisibility of
all souls, without being willing to admit their indestructibility, greatly
to the prejudice of the immortality of the human soul. John Scot, that is,
the Scotsman (which formerly signified Hibernian or Erigena), a famous
writer of the time of Louis the Debonair and of his sons, was for the
conservation of all souls: and I see not why there should be less     [172]
objection to making the atoms of Epicurus or of Gassendi endure, than to
affirming the subsistence of all truly simple and indivisible substances,
which are the sole and true atoms of Nature. And Pythagoras was right in
saying generally, as Ovid makes him say:

  _Morte carent animae_.

90. Now as I like maxims which hold good and admit of the fewest exceptions
possible, here is what has appeared to me most reasonable in every sense on
this important question. I consider that souls and simple substances
altogether cannot begin except by creation, or end except by annihilation.
Moreover, as the formation of organic animate bodies appears explicable in
the order of nature only when one assumes a _preformation_ already organic,
I have thence inferred that what we call generation of an animal is only a
transformation and augmentation. Thus, since the same body was already
furnished with organs, it is to be supposed that it was already animate,
and that it had the same soul: so I assume _vice versa_, from the
conservation of the soul when once it is created, that the animal is also
conserved, and that apparent death is only an envelopment, there being no
likelihood that in the order of nature souls exist entirely separated from
all body, or that what does not begin naturally can cease through natural

91. Considering that so admirable an order and rules so general are
established in regard to animals, it does not appear reasonable that man
should be completely excluded from that order, and that everything in
relation to his soul should come about in him by miracle. Besides I have
pointed out repeatedly that it is of the essence of God's wisdom that all
should be harmonious in his works, and that nature should be parallel with
grace. It is thus my belief that those souls which one day shall be human
souls, like those of other species, have been in the seed, and in the
progenitors as far back as Adam, and have consequently existed since the
beginning of things, always in a kind of organic body. On this point it
seems that M. Swammerdam, Father Malebranche, M. Bayle, Mr. Pitcairne, M.
Hartsoeker and numerous other very able persons share my opinion. This
doctrine is also sufficiently confirmed by the microscope observations of
M. Leeuwenhoek and other good observers. But it also for divers reasons
appears likely to me that they existed then as sentient or animal     [173]
souls only, endowed with perception and feeling, and devoid of reason.
Further I believe that they remained in this state up to the time of the
generation of the man to whom they were to belong, but that then they
received reason, whether there be a natural means of raising a sentient
soul to the degree of a reasoning soul (a thing I find it difficult to
imagine) or whether God may have given reason to this soul through some
special operation, or (if you will) by a kind of _transcreation_. This
latter is easier to admit, inasmuch as revelation teaches much about other
forms of immediate operation by God upon our souls. This explanation
appears to remove the obstacles that beset this matter in philosophy or
theology. For the difficulty of the origin of forms thus disappears
completely; and besides it is much more appropriate to divine justice to
give the soul, already corrupted _physically_ or on the animal side by the
sin of Adam, a new perfection which is reason, than to put a reasoning
soul, by creation or otherwise, in a body wherein it is to be corrupted

92. Now the soul being once under the domination of sin, and ready to
commit sin in actual fact as soon as the man is fit to exercise reason, a
new question arises, to wit: whether this tendency in a man who has not
been regenerated by baptism suffices to damn him, even though he should
never come to commit sin, as may happen, and happens often, whether he die
before reaching years of discretion or he become dull of sense before he
has made use of his reason. St. Gregory of Nazianzos is supposed to have
denied this (_Orat. de Baptismo_); but St. Augustine is for the
affirmative, and maintains that original sin of itself is sufficient to
earn the flames of hell, although this opinion is, to say the least, very
harsh. When I speak here of damnation or of hell, I mean pains, and not
mere deprivation of supreme felicity; I mean _poenam sensus, non damni_.
Gregory of Rimini, General of the Augustinians, with a few others followed
St. Augustine in opposition to the accepted opinion of the Schools of his
time, and for that reason he was called the torturer of children, _tortor
infantum_. The Schoolmen, instead of sending them into the flames of hell,
have assigned to them a special Limbo, where they do not suffer, and are
only punished by privation of the beatific vision. The Revelations of St.
Birgitta (as they are called), much esteemed in Rome, also uphold this
dogma. Salmeron and Molina, and before them Ambrose Catharin and      [174]
others, grant them a certain natural bliss; and Cardinal Sfondrati, a man
of learning and piety, who approves this, latterly went so far as to prefer
in a sense their state, which is the state of happy innocence, to that of a
sinner saved, as we may see in his _Nodus Praedestinationis Solutus_. That,
however, seems to go too far. Certainly a soul truly enlightened would not
wish to sin, even though it could by this means obtain all imaginable
pleasures. But the case of choosing between sin and true bliss is simply
chimerical, and it is better to obtain bliss (even after repentance) than
to be deprived of it for ever.

93. Many prelates and theologians of France who are well pleased to differ
from Molina, and to join with St. Augustine, seem to incline towards the
opinion of this great doctor, who condemns to eternal flames children that
die in the age of innocence before having received baptism. This is what
appears from the letter mentioned above, written by five distinguished
prelates of France to Pope Innocent XII, against that posthumous book by
Cardinal Sfondrati. But therein they did not venture to condemn the
doctrine of the purely privative punishment of children dying without
baptism, seeing it approved by the venerable Thomas Aquinas, and by other
great men. I do not speak of those who are called on one side Jansenists
and on the other disciples of St. Augustine, for they declare themselves
entirely and firmly for the opinion of this Father. But it must be
confessed that this opinion has not sufficient foundation either in reason
or in Scripture, and that it is outrageously harsh. M. Nicole makes rather
a poor apology for it in his book on the _Unity of the Church_, written to
oppose M. Jurieu, although M. Bayle takes his side in chapter 178 of the
_Reply to the Questions of a Provincial_, vol. III. M. Nicole makes use of
this pretext, that there are also other dogmas in the Christian religion
which appear harsh. On the one hand, however, that does not lead to the
conclusion that these instances of harshness may be multiplied without
proof; and on the other we must take into account that the other dogmas
mentioned by M. Nicole, namely original sin and eternity of punishment, are
only harsh and unjust to outward appearance, while the damnation of
children dying without actual sin and without regeneration would in truth
be harsh, since it would be in effect the damning of innocents. For that
reason I believe that the party which advocates this opinion will never
altogether have the upper hand in the Roman Church itself. Evangelical[175]
theologians are accustomed to speak with fair moderation on this question,
and to surrender these souls to the judgement and the clemency of their
Creator. Nor do we know all the wonderful ways that God may choose to
employ for the illumination of souls.

94. One may say that those who condemn for original sin alone, and who
consequently condemn children dying unbaptized or outside the Covenant,
fall, in a sense, without being aware of it, into a certain attitude to
man's inclination and God's foreknowledge which they disapprove in others.
They will not have it that God should refuse his grace to those whose
resistance to it he foresees, nor that this expectation and this tendency
should cause the damnation of these persons: and yet they claim that the
tendency which constitutes original sin, and in which God foresees that the
child will sin as soon as he shall reach years of discretion, suffices to
damn this child beforehand. Those who maintain the one and reject the other
do not preserve enough uniformity and connexion in their dogmas.

95. There is scarcely less difficulty in the matter of those who reach
years of discretion and plunge into sin, following the inclination of
corrupt nature, if they receive not the succour of the grace necessary for
them to stop on the edge of the precipice, or to drag themselves from the
abyss wherein they have fallen. For it seems hard to damn them eternally
for having done that which they had no power to prevent themselves from
doing. Those that damn even children, who are without discretion, trouble
themselves even less about adults, and one would say that they have become
callous through the very expectation of seeing people suffer. But it is not
the same with other theologians, and I would be rather on the side of those
who grant to all men a grace sufficient to draw them away from evil,
provided they have a sufficient tendency to profit by this succour, and not
to reject it voluntarily. The objection is made that there has been and
still is a countless multitude of men, among civilized peoples and among
barbarians, who have never had this knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ
which is necessary for those who would tread the wonted paths to salvation.
But without excusing them on the plea of a sin purely philosophical, and
without stopping at a mere penalty of privation, things for which there is
no opportunity of discussion here, one may doubt the fact: for how do we
know whether they do not receive ordinary or extraordinary succour of [176]
kinds unknown to us? This maxim, _Quod facienti, quod in se est, non
denegatur gratia necessaria_, appears to me to have eternal truth. Thomas
Aquinas, Archbishop Bradwardine and others have hinted that, in regard to
this, something comes to pass of which we are not aware. (Thom. quest. XIV,
_De Veritate_, artic. XI, ad I et alibi. Bradwardine, _De Causa Dei_, non
procul ab initio.) And sundry theologians of great authority in the Roman
Church itself have taught that a sincere act of the love of God above all
things, when the grace of Jesus Christ arouses it, suffices for salvation.
Father Francis Xavier answered the Japanese that if their ancestors had
used well their natural light God would have given them the grace necessary
for salvation; and the Bishop of Geneva, Francis of Sales, gives full
approval to this answer (Book 4, _On the Love of God,_ ch. 5).

96. This I pointed out some time ago to the excellent M Pélisson, to show
him that the Roman Church, going further than the Protestants, does not
damn utterly those who are outside its communion, and even outside
Christianity, by using as its only criterion explicit faith. Nor did he
refute it, properly speaking, in the very kind answer he gave me, and which
he published in the fourth part of his _Reflexions_, also doing me the
honour of adding to it my letter. I offered him then for consideration what
a famous Portuguese theologian, by name Jacques Payva Andradius, envoy to
the Council of Trent, wrote concerning this, in opposition to Chemnitz,
during this same Council. And now, without citing many other authors of
eminence, I will content myself with naming Father Friedrich Spee, the
Jesuit, one of the most excellent in his Society, who also held this common
opinion upon the efficacy of the love of God, as is apparent in the preface
to the admirable book which he wrote in Germany on the Christian virtues.
He speaks of this observation as of a highly important secret of piety, and
expatiates with great clearness upon the power of divine love to blot out
sin, even without the intervention of the Sacraments of the Catholic
Church, provided one scorn them not, for that would not at all be
compatible with this love. And a very great personage, whose character was
one of the most lofty to be found in the Roman Church, was the first to
make me acquainted with it. Father Spee was of a noble family of Westphalia
(it may be said in passing) and he died in the odour of sanctity, according
to the testimony of him who published this book in Cologne with the   [177]
approval of the Superiors.

97. The memory of this excellent man ought to be still precious to persons
of knowledge and good sense, because he is the author of the book entitled:
_Cautio Criminalis circa Processus contra Sagas_, which has caused much
stir, and has been translated into several languages. I learnt from the
Grand Elector of Mainz, Johann Philipp von Schonborn, uncle of His Highness
the present Elector, who walks gloriously in the footsteps of that worthy
predecessor, the story that follows. That Father was in Franconia when
there was a frenzy there for burning alleged sorcerers. He accompanied even
to the pyre many of them, all of whom he recognized as being innocent, from
their confessions and the researches that he had made thereon. Therefore in
spite of the danger incurred at that time by one telling the truth in this
matter, he resolved to compile this work, without however naming himself.
It bore great fruit and on this matter converted that Elector, at that time
still a simple canon and afterwards Bishop of Würzburg, finally also
Archbishop of Mainz, who, as soon as he came to power, put an end to these
burnings. Therein he was followed by the Dukes of Brunswick, and finally by
the majority of the other princes and states of Germany.

98. This digression appeared to me to be seasonable, because that writer
deserves to be more widely known. Returning now to the subject I make a
further observation. Supposing that to-day a knowledge of Jesus Christ
according to the flesh is absolutely necessary to salvation, as indeed it
is safest to teach, it will be possible to say that God will give that
knowledge to all those who do, humanly speaking, that which in them lies,
even though God must needs give it by a miracle. Moreover, we cannot know
what passes in souls at the point of death; and if sundry learned and
serious theologians claim that children receive in baptism a kind of faith,
although they do not remember it afterwards when they are questioned about
it, why should one maintain that nothing of a like nature, or even more
definite, could come about in the dying, whom we cannot interrogate after
their death? Thus there are countless paths open to God, giving him means
of satisfying his justice and his goodness: and the only thing one may
allege against this is that we know not what way he employs; which is far
from being a valid objection.

99. Let us pass on to those who lack not power to amend, but good will.
They are doubtless not to be excused; but there always remains a great
difficulty concerning God, since it rested with him to give them this same
good will. He is the master of wills, the hearts of kings and those of all
other men are in his hand. Holy Scripture goes so far as to say that God at
times hardened the wicked in order to display his power by punishing them.
This hardening is not to be taken as meaning that God inspires men with a
kind of anti-grace, that is, a kind of repugnance to good, or even an
inclination towards evil, just as the grace that he gives is an inclination
towards good. It is rather that God, having considered the sequence of
things that he established, found it fitting, for superior reasons, to
permit that Pharaoh, for example, should be in such _circumstances_ as
should increase his wickedness, and divine wisdom willed to derive a good
from this evil.

100. Thus it all often comes down to _circumstances_, which form a part of
the combination of things. There are countless examples of small
circumstances serving to convert or to pervert. Nothing is more widely
known than the _Tolle, lege_ (Take and read) cry which St. Augustine heard
in a neighbouring house, when he was pondering on what side he should take
among the Christians divided into sects, and saying to himself,

  _Quod vitae sectabor iter?_

This brought him to open at random the book of the Holy Scriptures which he
had before him, and to read what came before his eyes: and these were words
which finally induced him to give up Manichaeism. The good Steno, a Dane,
who was titular Bishop of Titianopolis, Vicar Apostolic (as they say) of
Hanover and the region around, when there was a Duke Regent of his
religion, told us that something of that kind had happened to him. He was a
great anatomist and deeply versed in natural science; but he unfortunately
gave up research therein, and from being a great physicist he became a
mediocre theologian. He would almost listen to nothing more about the
marvels of Nature, and an express order from the Pope _in virtute sanctae
obedientiae_ was needed to extract from him the observations M. Thévenot
asked of him. He told us then that what had greatly helped towards inducing
him to place himself on the side of the Roman Church had been the voice of
a lady in Florence, who had cried out to him from a window: 'Go not on[179]
the side where you are about to go, sir, go on the other side.' 'That voice
struck me,' he told us, 'because I was just meditating upon religion.' This
lady knew that he was seeking a man in the house where she was, and, when
she saw him making his way to the other house, wished to point out where
his friend's room was.

101. Father John Davidius, the Jesuit, wrote a book entitled _Veridicus
Christianus_, which is like a kind of _Bibliomancy_, where one takes
passages at random, after the pattern of the _Tolle, lege_ of St.
Augustine, and it is like a devotional game. But the chances to which, in
spite of ourselves, we are subject, play only too large a part in what
brings salvation to men, or removes it from them. Let us imagine twin
Polish children, the one taken by the Tartars, sold to the Turks, brought
to apostasy, plunged in impiety, dying in despair; the other saved by some
chance, falling then into good hands to be educated properly, permeated by
the soundest truths of religion, exercised in the virtues that it commends
to us, dying with all the feelings of a good Christian. One will lament the
misfortune of the former, prevented perhaps by a slight circumstance from
being saved like his brother, and one will marvel that this slight chance
should have decided his fate for eternity.

102. Someone will perchance say that God foresaw by mediate knowledge that
the former would have been wicked and damned even if he had remained in
Poland. There are perhaps conjunctures wherein something of the kind takes
place. But will it therefore be said that this is a general rule, and that
not one of those who were damned amongst the pagans would have been saved
if he had been amongst Christians? Would that not be to contradict our
Lord, who said that Tyre and Sidon would have profited better by his
preaching, if they had had the good fortune to hear it, than Capernaum?

103. But were one to admit even here this use of mediate knowledge against
all appearances, this knowledge still implies that God considers what a man
would do in such and such circumstances; and it always remains true that
God could have placed him in other circumstances more favourable, and given
him inward or outward succour capable of vanquishing the most abysmal
wickedness existing in any soul. I shall be told that God is not bound to
do so, but that is not enough; it must be added that greater reasons
prevent him from making all his goodness felt by all. Thus there must [180]
needs be choice; but I do not think one must seek the reason altogether in
the good or bad nature of men. For if with some people one assume that God,
choosing the plan which produces the most good, but which involves sin and
damnation, has been prompted by his wisdom to choose the best natures in
order to make them objects of his grace, this grace would not sufficiently
appear to be a free gift. Accordingly man will be distinguishable by a kind
of inborn merit, and this assumption seems remote from the principles of
St. Paul, and even from those of Supreme Reason.

104. It is true that there are reasons for God's choice, and the
consideration of the object, that is, the nature of man, must needs enter
therein; but it does not seem that this choice can be subjected to a rule
such as we are capable of conceiving, and such as may flatter the pride of
men. Some famous theologians believe that God offers more grace, and in a
more favourable way, to those whose resistance he foresees will be less,
and that he abandons the rest to their self-will. We may readily suppose
that this is often the case, and this expedient, among those which make man
distinguishable by anything favourable in his nature, is the farthest
removed from Pelagianism. But I would not venture, notwithstanding, to make
of it a universal rule. Moreover, that we may not have cause to vaunt
ourselves, it is necessary that we be ignorant of the reasons for God's
choice. Those reasons are too diverse to become known to us; and it may be
that God at times shows the power of his grace by overcoming the most
obstinate resistance, to the end that none may have cause either to despair
or to be puffed up. St. Paul, as it would seem, had this in mind when he
offered himself as an example. God, he said, has had mercy upon me, to give
a great example of his patience.

105. It may be that fundamentally all men are equally bad, and consequently
incapable of being distinguished the one from the other through their good
or less bad natural qualities; but they are not bad all in the same way:
for there is an inherent individual difference between souls, as the
Pre-established Harmony proves. Some are more or less inclined towards a
particular good or a particular evil, or towards their opposites, all in
accordance with their natural dispositions. But since the general plan of
the universe, chosen by God for superior reasons, causes men to be in
different circumstances, those who meet with such as are more         [181]
favourable to their nature will become more readily the least wicked, the
most virtuous, the most happy; yet it will be always by aid of the
influence of that inward grace which God unites with the circumstances.
Sometimes it even comes to pass, in the progress of human life, that a more
excellent nature succeeds less, for lack of cultivation or opportunities.
One may say that men are chosen and ranged not so much according to their
excellence as according to their conformity with God's plan. Even so it may
occur that a stone of lesser quality is made use of in a building or in a
group because it proves to be the particular one for filling a certain gap.

106. But, in fine, all these attempts to find reasons, where there is no
need to adhere altogether to certain hypotheses, serve only to make clear
to us that there are a thousand ways of justifying the conduct of God. All
the disadvantages we see, all the obstacles we meet with, all the
difficulties one may raise for oneself, are no hindrance to a belief
founded on reason, even when it cannot stand on conclusive proof, as has
been shown and will later become more apparent, that there is nothing so
exalted as the wisdom of God, nothing so just as his judgements, nothing so
pure as his holiness, and nothing more vast than his goodness.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


107. Hitherto I have devoted myself to giving a full and clear exposition
of this whole subject: and although I have not yet spoken of M. Bayle's
objections in particular, I have endeavoured to anticipate them, and to
suggest ways of answering them. But as I have taken upon myself the task of
meeting them in detail, not only because there will perhaps still be
passages calling for elucidation, but also because his arguments are
usually full of wit and erudition, and serve to throw greater light on this
controversy, it will be well to give an account of the chief objections
that are dispersed through his works, and to add my answers. At the
beginning I observed 'that God co-operates in moral evil, and in physical
evil, and in each of them both morally and physically; and that man
co-operates therein also morally and physically in a free and active way,
becoming in consequence subject to blame and punishment'. I have shown also
that each point has its own difficulty; but the greatest of these lies in
maintaining that God co-operates morally in moral evil, that is, in sin,
without being the originator of the sin, and even without being accessary

108. He does this by _permitting_ it justly, and by _directing_ it wisely
towards the good, as I have shown in a manner that appears tolerably
intelligible. But as it is here principally that M. Bayle undertakes  [183]
to discomfit those who maintain that there is nothing in faith which cannot
be harmonized with reason, it is also here especially I must show that my
dogmas are fortified (to make use of his own allegory) with a rampart, even
of reasons, which is able to resist the fire of his strongest batteries. He
has ranged them against me in chapter 144 of his _Reply to the Questions of
a Provincial_ (vol. III, p. 812), where he includes the theological
doctrine in seven propositions and opposes thereto nineteen philosophic
maxims, like so many large cannon capable of breaching my rampart. Let us
begin with the theological propositions.

109. I. 'God,' he says, 'the Being eternal and necessary, infinitely good,
holy, wise and powerful, possesses from all eternity a glory and a bliss
that can never either increase or diminish.' This proposition of M. Bayle's
is no less philosophical than theological. To say that God possesses a
'glory' when he is alone, that depends upon the meaning of the term. One
may say, with some, that glory is the satisfaction one finds in being aware
of one's own perfections; and in this sense God possesses it always. But
when glory signifies that others become aware of these perfections, one may
say that God acquires it only when he reveals himself to intelligent
creatures; even though it be true that God thereby gains no new good, and
it is rather the rational creatures who thence derive advantage, when they
apprehend aright the glory of God.

110. II. 'He resolved freely upon the production of creatures, and he chose
from among an infinite number of possible beings those whom it pleased him
to choose, to give them existence, and to compose the universe of them,
while he left all the rest in nothingness.' This proposition is also, just
like the preceding one, in close conformity with that part of philosophy
which is called natural theology. One must dwell a little on what is said
here, that he chose the possible beings 'whom it pleased him to choose'.
For it must be borne in mind that when I say, 'that pleases me', it is as
though I were saying, 'I find it good'. Thus it is the ideal goodness of
the object which pleases, and which makes me choose it among many others
which do not please or which please less, that is to say, which contain
less of that goodness which moves me. Now it is only the genuinely good
that is capable of pleasing God: and consequently that which pleases God
most, and which meets his choice, is the best.

111. III. 'Human nature having been among the Beings that he willed to
produce, he created a man and a woman, and granted them amongst other
favours free will, so that they had the power to obey him; but he
threatened them with death if they should disobey the order that he gave
them to abstain from a certain fruit.' This proposition is in part
revealed, and should be admitted without difficulty, provided that _free
will_ be understood properly, according to the explanation I have given.

112. IV. 'They ate thereof nevertheless, and thenceforth they were
condemned, they and all their posterity, to the miseries of this life, to
temporal death and eternal damnation, and made subject to such a tendency
to sin that they abandoned themselves thereto endlessly and without
ceasing.' There is reason to suppose that the forbidden action by itself
entailed these evil results in accordance with a natural effect, and that
it was for that very reason, and not by a purely arbitrary decree, that God
had forbidden it: much as one forbids knives to children. The famous Fludde
or de Fluctibus, an Englishman, once wrote a book _De Vita, Morte et
Resurrectione_ under the name of R. Otreb, wherein he maintained that the
fruit of the forbidden tree was a poison: but we cannot enter into this
detail. It suffices that God forbade a harmful thing; one must not
therefore suppose that God acted here simply in the character of a
legislator who enacts a purely positive law, or of a judge who imposes and
inflicts a punishment by an order of his will, without any connexion
between the evil of guilt and the evil of punishment. And it is not
necessary to suppose that God in justifiable annoyance deliberately put a
corruption in the soul and the body of man, by an extraordinary action, in
order to punish him: much as the Athenians gave hemlock-juice to their
criminals. M. Bayle takes the matter thus: he speaks as if the original
corruption had been put in the soul of the first man by an order and
operation of God. It is that which calls forth his objection (_Reply to the
Questions of a Provincial_, vol. III, ch. 178, p. 1218) 'that reason would
not commend the monarch who, in order to chastise a rebel, condemned him
and his descendants to have a tendency towards rebellion'. But this
chastisement happens naturally to the wicked, without any ordinance of a
legislator, and they become addicted to evil. If drunkards begot children
inclined to the same vice, by a natural consequence of what takes place in
bodies, that would be a punishment of their progenitors, but it would [185]
not be a penalty of law. There is something comparable to this in the
consequences of the first man's sin. For the contemplation of divine wisdom
leads us to believe that the realm of nature serves that of grace; and that
God as an Architect has done all in a manner befitting God considered as a
Monarch. We do not sufficiently know the nature of the forbidden fruit, or
that of the action, or its effects, to judge of the details of this matter:
nevertheless we must do God justice so far as to believe that it comprised
something other than what painters depict for us.

113. V. 'It has pleased him by his infinite mercy to deliver a very few men
from this condemnation; and, leaving them exposed during this life to the
corruption of sin and misery, he has given them aids which enable them to
obtain the never-ending bliss of paradise.' Many in the past have doubted,
as I have already observed, whether the number of the damned is so great as
is generally supposed; and it appears that they believed in the existence
of some intermediate state between eternal damnation and perfect bliss. But
we have no need of these opinions, and it is enough to keep to the ideas
accepted in the Church. In this connexion it is well to observe that this
proposition of M. Bayle's is conceived in accordance with the principles of
sufficient grace, given to all men, and sufficing them provided that they
have good will. Although M. Bayle holds the opposite opinion, he wished (as
he states in the margin) to avoid the terms that would not agree with a
system of decrees subsequent to the prevision of contingent events.

114. VI. 'He foresaw from eternity all that which should happen, he ordered
all things and placed them each one in its own place, and he guides and
controls them continually, according to his pleasure. Thus nothing is done
without his permission or against his will, and he can prevent, as seems
good to him, as much and as often as seems good to him, all that does not
please him, and in consequence sin, which is the thing in the world that
most offends him and that he most detests; and he can produce in each human
soul all the thoughts that he approves.' This thesis is also purely
philosophic, that is, recognizable by the light of natural reason. It is
opportune also, as one has dwelt in thesis II on _that which pleases_, to
dwell here upon _that which seems good_, that is, upon that which God finds
good to do. He can avoid or put away as 'seems good to him' all 'that does
not please him'. Nevertheless it must be borne in mind that some objects of
his aversion, such as certain evils, and especially sin, which his    [186]
antecedent will repelled, could only have been rejected by his consequent
or decretory will, in so far as it was prompted by the rule of the best,
which the All-wise must choose after having taken all into account. When
one says 'that sin offends God most, and that he detests it most', these
are human ways of speaking. God cannot, properly speaking, be _offended_,
that is, injured, disturbed, disquieted or angered; and he _detests_
nothing of that which exists, in the sense that to detest something is to
look upon it with abomination and in a way that causes us disgust, that
greatly pains and distresses us; for God cannot suffer either vexation, or
grief or discomfort; he is always altogether content and at ease. Yet these
expressions in their true sense are justified. The supreme goodness of God
causes his antecedent will to repel all evil, but moral evil more than any
other: it only admits evil at all for irresistible superior reasons, and
with great correctives which repair its ill effects to good advantage. It
is true also that God could produce in each human soul all the thoughts
that he approves: but this would be to act by miracles, more than his most
perfectly conceived plan admits.

115. VII. 'He offers grace to people that he knows are destined not to
accept it, and so destined by this refusal to make themselves more criminal
than they would be if he had not offered them that grace; he assures them
that it is his ardent wish that they accept it, and he does not give them
the grace which he knows they would accept.' It is true that these people
become more criminal through their refusal than if one had offered them
nothing, and that God knows this. Yet it is better to permit their crime
than to act in a way which would render God himself blameworthy, and
provide the criminals with some justification for the complaint that it was
not possible for them to do better, even though they had or might have
wished it. God desires that they receive such grace from him as they are
fit to receive, and that they accept it; and he desires to give them in
particular that grace whose acceptance by them he foresees: but it is
always by a will antecedent, detached or particular, which cannot always be
carried out in the general plan of things. This thesis also is among the
number of those which philosophy establishes no less than revelation, like
three others of the seven that we have just stated here, the third, fourth
and fifth being the only ones where revelation is necessary.

116. Here now are the nineteen philosophic maxims which M. Bayle opposes to
the seven theological propositions.

I. 'As the infinitely perfect Being finds in himself a glory and a bliss
that can never either diminish or increase, his goodness alone has
determined him to create this universe: neither the ambition to be praised,
nor any interested motive of preserving or augmenting his bliss and his
glory, has had any part therein.' This maxim is very good: praises of God
do him no service, but they are of service to the men who praise him, and
he desired their good. Nevertheless, when one says that _goodness_ alone
determined God to create this universe, it is well to add that his GOODNESS
prompted him _antecedently_ to create and to produce all possible good; but
that his WISDOM made the choice and caused him to select the best
_consequently_; and finally that his POWER gave him the means to carry out
_actually_ the great design which he had formed.

117. II. 'The goodness of the infinitely perfect Being is infinite, and
would not be infinite if one could conceive of a goodness greater than
this. This characteristic of infinity is proper also to all his other
perfections, to love of virtue, hatred of vice, etc., they must be the
greatest one can imagine. (See M. Jurieu in the first three sections of the
_Judgement on Methods_, where he argues constantly upon this principle, as
upon a primary notion. See also in Wittich, _De Providentia Dei_, n. 12,
these words of St. Augustine, lib. I, _De Doctrina Christiana_, c. 7: "Cum
cogitatur Deus, ita cogitatur, ut aliquid, quo nihil melius sit atque
sublimius. Et paulo post: Nec quisquam inveniri potest, qui hoc Deum credat
esse, quo melius aliquid est.")'

This maxim is altogether to my liking, and I draw from it this conclusion,
that God does the very best possible: otherwise the exercise of his
goodness would be restricted, and that would be restricting his _goodness_
itself, if it did not prompt him to the best, if he were lacking in good
will. Or again it would be restricting his _wisdom_ and his _power_, if he
lacked the knowledge necessary for discerning the best and for finding the
means to obtain it, or if he lacked the strength necessary for employing
these means. There is, however, ambiguity in the assertion that love of
virtue and hatred of vice are infinite in God: if that were absolutely and
unreservedly true, in practice there would be no vice in the world. But
although each one of God's perfections is infinite in itself, it is
exercised only in proportion to the object and as the nature of things
prompts it. Thus love of the best in the whole carries the day over   [188]
all other individual inclinations or hatreds; it is the only impulse whose
very exercise is absolutely infinite, nothing having power to prevent God
from declaring himself for the best; and some vice being combined with the
best possible plan, God permits it.

118. III. 'An infinite goodness having guided the Creator in the production
of the world, all the characteristics of knowledge, skill, power and
greatness that are displayed in his work are destined for the happiness of
intelligent creatures. He wished to show forth his perfections only to the
end that creatures of this kind should find their felicity in the
knowledge, the admiration and the love of the Supreme Being.'

This maxim appears to me not sufficiently exact. I grant that the happiness
of intelligent creatures is the principal part of God's design, for they
are most like him; but nevertheless I do not see how one can prove that to
be his sole aim. It is true that the realm of nature must serve the realm
of grace: but, since all is connected in God's great design, we must
believe that the realm of grace is also in some way adapted to that of
nature, so that nature preserves the utmost order and beauty, to render the
combination of the two the most perfect that can be. And there is no reason
to suppose that God, for the sake of some lessening of moral evil, would
reverse the whole order of nature. Each perfection or imperfection in the
creature has its value, but there is none that has an infinite value. Thus
the moral or physical good and evil of rational creatures does not
infinitely exceed the good and evil which is simply metaphysical, namely
that which lies in the perfection of the other creatures; and yet one would
be bound to say this if the present maxim were strictly true. When God
justified to the Prophet Jonah the pardon that he had granted to the
inhabitants of Nineveh, he even touched upon the interest of the beasts who
would have been involved in the ruin of this great city. No substance is
absolutely contemptible or absolutely precious before God. And the abuse or
the exaggerated extension of the present maxim appears to be in part the
source of the difficulties that M. Bayle puts forward. It is certain that
God sets greater store by a man than a lion; nevertheless it can hardly be
said with certainty that God prefers a single man in all respects to the
whole of lion-kind. Even should that be so, it would by no means follow
that the interest of a certain number of men would prevail over the   [189]
consideration of a general disorder diffused through an infinite number of
creatures. This opinion would be a remnant of the old and somewhat
discredited maxim, that all is made solely for man.

119. IV. 'The benefits he imparts to the creatures that are capable of
felicity tend only to their happiness. He therefore does not permit that
these should serve to make them unhappy, and, if the wrong use that they
made of them were capable of destroying them, he would give them sure means
of always using them well. Otherwise they would not be true benefits, and
his goodness would be smaller than that we can conceive of in another
benefactor. (I mean, in a Cause that united with its gifts the sure skill
to make good use of them.)'

There already is the abuse or the ill effect of the preceding maxim. It is
not strictly true (though it appear plausible) that the benefits God
imparts to the creatures who are capable of felicity tend solely to their
happiness. All is connected in Nature; and if a skilled artisan, an
engineer, an architect, a wise politician often makes one and the same
thing serve several ends, if he makes a double hit with a single throw,
when that can be done conveniently, one may say that God, whose wisdom and
power are perfect, does so always. That is husbanding the ground, the time,
the place, the material, which make up as it were his outlay. Thus God has
more than one purpose in his projects. The felicity of all rational
creatures is one of the aims he has in view; but it is not his whole aim,
nor even his final aim. Therefore it happens that the unhappiness of some
of these creatures may come about _by concomitance_, and as a result of
other greater goods: this I have already explained, and M. Bayle has to
some extent acknowledged it. The goods as such, considered in themselves,
are the object of the antecedent will of God. God will produce as much
reason and knowledge in the universe as his plan can admit. One can
conceive of a mean between an antecedent will altogether pure and
primitive, and a consequent and final will. The _primitive antecedent will_
has as its object each good and each evil in itself, detached from all
combination, and tends to advance the good and prevent the evil. The
_mediate will_ relates to combinations, as when one attaches a good to an
evil: then the will will have some tendency towards this combination when
the good exceeds the evil therein. But the _final and decisive will_
results from consideration of all the goods and all the evils that enter
into our deliberation, it results from a total combination. This shows[190]
that a mediate will, although it may in a sense pass as consequent in
relation to a pure and primitive antecedent will, must be considered
antecedent in relation to the final and decretory will. God gives reason to
the human race; misfortunes arise thence by concomitance. His pure
antecedent will tends towards giving reason, as a great good, and
preventing the evils in question. But when it is a question of the evils
that accompany this gift which God has made to us of reason, the compound,
made up of the combination of reason and of these evils, will be the object
of a mediate will of God, which will tend towards producing or preventing
this compound, according as the good or the evil prevails therein. But even
though it should prove that reason did more harm than good to men (which,
however, I do not admit), whereupon the mediate will of God would discard
it with all its concomitants, it might still be the case that it was more
in accordance with the perfection of the universe to give reason to men,
notwithstanding all the evil consequences which it might have with
reference to them. Consequently, the final will or the decree of God,
resulting from all the considerations he can have, would be to give it to
them. And, far from being subject to blame for this, he would be
blameworthy if he did not so. Thus the evil, or the mixture of goods and
evils wherein the evil prevails, happens only _by concomitance_, because it
is connected with greater goods that are outside this mixture. This
mixture, therefore, or this compound, is not to be conceived as a grace or
as a gift from God to us; but the good that is found mingled therein will
nevertheless be good. Such is God's gift of reason to those who make ill
use thereof. It is always a good in itself; but the combination of this
good with the evils that proceed from its abuse is not a good with regard
to those who in consequence thereof become unhappy. Yet it comes to be by
concomitance, because it serves a greater good in relation to the universe.
And it is doubtless that which prompted God to give reason to those who
have made it an instrument of their unhappiness. Or, to put it more
precisely, in accordance with my system God, having found among the
possible beings some rational creatures who misuse their reason, gave
existence to those who are included in the best possible plan of the
universe. Thus nothing prevents us from admitting that God grants goods
which turn into evil by the fault of men, this often happening to men in
just punishment of the misuse they had made of God's grace. Aloysius  [191]
Novarinus wrote a book _De Occultis Dei Beneficiis_: one could write one
_De Occultis Dei Poenis_. This saying of Claudian would be in place here
with regard to some persons:

      _Tolluntur in altum,_ _Ut lapsu graviore ruant_.

But to say that God should not give a good which he knows an evil will will
abuse, when the general plan of things demands that he give it; or again to
say that he should give certain means for preventing it, contrary to this
same general order: that is to wish (as I have observed already) that God
himself become blameworthy in order to prevent man from being so. To
object, as people do here, that the goodness of God would be smaller than
that of another benefactor who would give a more useful gift, is to
overlook the fact that the goodness of a benefactor is not measured by a
single benefit. It may well be that a gift from a private person is greater
than one from a prince, but the gifts of this private person all taken
together will be much inferior to the prince's gifts all together. Thus one
can esteem fittingly the good things done by God only when one considers
their whole extent by relating them to the entire universe. Moreover, one
may say that the gifts given in the expectation that they will harm are the
gifts of an enemy, [Greek: hechthrôn dôra adôra],

    _Hostibus eveniant talia dona meis._

But that applies to when there is malice or guilt in him who gives them, as
there was in that Eutrapelus of whom Horace speaks, who did good to people
in order to give them the means of destroying themselves. His design was
evil, but God's design cannot be better than it is. Must God spoil his
system, must there be less beauty, perfection and reason in the universe,
because there are people who misuse reason? The common sayings are in place
here: _Abusus non tollit usum_; there is _scandalum datum et scandalum

120. V. 'A maleficent being is very capable of heaping magnificent gifts
upon his enemies, when he knows that they will make thereof a use that will
destroy them. It therefore does not beseem the infinitely good Being to
give to creatures a free will, whereof, as he knows for certain, they would
make a use that would render them unhappy. Therefore if he gives them free
will he combines with it the art of using it always opportunely, and
permits not that they neglect the practice of this art in any         [192]
conjuncture; and if there were no sure means of determining the good use of
this free will, he would rather take from them this faculty, than allow it
to be the cause of their unhappiness. That is the more manifest, as free
will is a grace which he has given them of his own choice and without their
asking for it; so that he would be more answerable for the unhappiness it
would bring upon them than if he had only granted it in response to their
importunate prayers.'

What was said at the end of the remark on the preceding maxim ought to be
repeated here, and is sufficient to counter the present maxim. Moreover,
the author is still presupposing that false maxim advanced as the third,
stating that the happiness of rational creatures is the sole aim of God. If
that were so, perhaps neither sin nor unhappiness would ever occur, even by
concomitance. God would have chosen a sequence of possibles where all these
evils would be excluded. But God would fail in what is due to the universe,
that is, in what he owes to himself. If there were only spirits they would
be without the required connexion, without the order of time and place.
This order demands matter, movement and its laws; to adjust these to
spirits in the best possible way means to return to our world. When one
looks at things only in the mass, one imagines to be practicable a thousand
things that cannot properly take place. To wish that God should not give
free will to rational creatures is to wish that there be none of these
creatures; and to wish that God should prevent them from misusing it is to
wish that there be none but these creatures alone, together with what was
made for them only. If God had none but these creatures in view, he would
doubtless prevent them from destroying themselves. One may say in a sense,
however, that God has given to these creatures the art of always making
good use of their free will, for the natural light of reason is this art.
But it would be necessary always to have the will to do good, and often
creatures lack the means of giving themselves the will they ought to have;
often they even lack the will to use those means which indirectly give a
good will. Of this I have already spoken more than once. This fault must be
admitted, and one must even acknowledge that God would perhaps have been
able to exempt creatures from that fault, since there is nothing to
prevent, so it seems, the existence of some whose nature it would be always
to have good will. But I reply that it is not necessary, and that it was
not feasible for all rational creatures to have so great a perfection,[193]
and such as would bring them so close to the Divinity. It may even be that
that can only be made possible by a special divine grace. But in this case,
would it be proper for God to grant it to all, that is, always to act
miraculously in respect of all rational creatures? Nothing would be less
rational than these perpetual miracles. There are degrees among creatures:
the general order requires it. And it appears quite consistent with the
order of divine government that the great privilege of strengthening in the
good should be granted more easily to those who had a good will when they
were in a more imperfect state, in the state of struggle and of pilgrimage,
_in Ecclesia militante, in statu viatorum_. The good angels themselves were
not created incapable of sin. Nevertheless I would not dare to assert that
there are no blessed creatures born, or such as are sinless and holy by
their nature. There are perhaps people who give this privilege to the
Blessed Virgin, since, moreover, the Roman Church to-day places her above
the angels. But it suffices us that the universe is very great and very
varied: to wish to limit it is to have little knowledge thereof. 'But', M.
Bayle goes on, 'God has given free will to creatures capable of sinning,
without their having asked him for this grace. And he who gave such a gift
would be more answerable for the unhappiness that it brought upon those who
made use of it, than if he had granted it only in response to their
importunate prayers.' But importunity in prayers makes no difference to
God; he knows better than we what we need, and he only grants what serves
the interest of the whole. It seems that M. Bayle here makes free will
consist in the faculty for sinning; yet he acknowledges elsewhere that God
and the Saints are free, without having this faculty. However that may be,
I have already shown fully that God, doing what his wisdom and his goodness
combined ordain, is not answerable for the evil that he permits. Even men,
when they do their duty, are not answerable for consequences, whether they
foresee them or not.

121. VI. 'It is as sure a means of taking a man's life to give him a silk
cord that one knows certainly he will make use of freely to strangle
himself, as to plant a few dagger thrusts in his body. One desires his
death not less when one makes use of the first way, than when one employs
the second: it even seems as though one desires it with a more malicious
intention, since one tends to leave to him the whole trouble and the whole
blame of his destruction.'

Those who write treatises on Duties (De Officiis) as, for instance, Cicero,
St. Ambrose, Grotius, Opalenius, Sharrok, Rachelius, Pufendorf, as well as
the Casuists, teach that there are cases where one is not obliged to return
to its owner a thing deposited: for example, one will not give back a
dagger when one knows that he who has deposited it is about to stab
someone. Let us pretend that I have in my hands the fatal draught that
Meleager's mother will make use of to kill him; the magic javelin that
Cephalus will unwittingly employ to kill his Procris; the horses of Theseus
that will tear to pieces Hippolytus, his son: these things are demanded
back from me, and I am right in refusing them, knowing the use that will be
made of them. But how will it be if a competent judge orders me to restore
them, when I cannot prove to him what I know of the evil consequences that
restitution will have, Apollo perchance having given to me, as to
Cassandra, the gift of prophecy under the condition that I shall not be
believed? I should then be compelled to make restitution, having no
alternative other than my own destruction: thus I cannot escape from
contributing towards the evil. Another comparison: Jupiter promises Semele,
the Sun Phaeton, Cupid Psyche to grant whatever favour the other shall ask.
They swear by the Styx,

  _Di cujus jurare timent et fallere Numen_.

One would gladly stop, but too late, the request half heard,

              _Voluit Deus ora loquentis_
  _Opprimere; exierat jam vox properata sub auras_.

One would gladly draw back after the request was made, making vain
remonstrances; but they press you, they say to you: 'Do you make oaths that
you will not keep?' The law of the Styx is inviolable, one must needs
submit to it; if one has erred in making the oath, one would err more in
not keeping it; the promise must be fulfilled, however harmful it may be to
him who exacts it. It would be ruinous to you if you did not fulfil it. It
seems as though the moral of these fables implies that a supreme necessity
may constrain one to comply with evil. God, in truth, knows no other judge
that can compel him to give what may turn to evil, he is not like Jupiter
who fears the Styx. But his own wisdom is the greatest judge that he can
find, there is no appeal from its judgements: they are the decrees of
destiny. The eternal verities, objects of his wisdom, are more        [195]
inviolable than the Styx. These laws and this judge do not constrain: they
are stronger, for they persuade. Wisdom only shows God the best possible
exercise of his goodness: after that, the evil that occurs is an inevitable
result of the best. I will add something stronger: To permit the evil, as
God permits it, is the greatest goodness.

  _Si mala sustulerat, non erat ille bonus._

One would need to have a bent towards perversity to say after this that it
is more malicious to leave to someone the whole trouble and the whole blame
of his destruction. When God does leave it to a man, it has belonged to him
since before his existence; it was already in the idea of him as still
merely possible, before the decree of God which makes him to exist. Can
one, then, leave it or give it to another? There is the whole matter.

122. VII. 'A true benefactor gives promptly, and does not wait to give
until those he loves have suffered long miseries from the privation of what
he could have imparted to them at first very easily, and without causing
any inconvenience to himself. If the limitation of his forces does not
permit him to do good without inflicting pain or some other inconvenience,
he acquiesces in this, but only regretfully, and he never employs this way
of rendering service when he can render it without mingling any kind of
evil in his favours. If the profit one could derive from the evils he
inflicted could spring as easily from an unalloyed good as from those
evils, he would take the straight road of unalloyed good, and not the
indirect road that would lead from the evil to the good. If he showers
riches and honours, it is not to the end that those who have enjoyed them,
when they come to lose them, should be all the more deeply afflicted in
proportion to their previous experience of pleasure, and that thus they
should become more unhappy than the persons who have always been deprived
of these advantages. A malicious being would shower good things at such a
price upon the people for whom he had the most hatred.'

(Compare this passage of Aristotle, _Rhetor._, 1. 2, c. 23, p. m. 446:
[Greek: hoion ei doiê an tis tini hina aphelomenos leipêsêi; hothen kai
tout' eirêtai,]

  [Greek: pollois ho daimôn ou kat' eunoian pherôn]
  [Greek: Megala didôsin eutychêmat', all' hina]
  [Greek: tas symphoras labôsin epiphanesteras.]

Id est: Veluti si quis alicui aliquid det, ut (postea) hoc (ipsi) erepto
(ipsum) afficiat dolore. Unde etiam illud est dictum:

  _Bona magna multis non amicus dat Deus,_
  _Insigniore ut rursus his privet malo._)

All these objections depend almost on the same sophism; they change and
mutilate the fact, they only half record things: God has care for men, he
loves the human race, he wishes it well, nothing so true. Yet he allows men
to fall, he often allows them to perish, he gives them goods that tend
towards their destruction; and when he makes someone happy, it is after
many sufferings: where is his affection, where is his goodness or again
where is his power? Vain objections, which suppress the main point, which
ignore the fact that it is of God one speaks. It is as though one were
speaking of a mother, a guardian, a tutor, whose well-nigh only care is
concerned with the upbringing, the preservation, the happiness of the
person in question, and who neglect their duty. God takes care of the
universe, he neglects nothing, he chooses what is best on the whole. If in
spite of all that someone is wicked and unhappy, it behoved him to be so.
God (so they say) could have given happiness to all, he could have given it
promptly and easily, and without causing himself any inconvenience, for he
can do all. But should he? Since he does not so, it is a sign that he had
to act altogether differently. If we infer from this either that God only
regretfully, and owing to lack of power, fails to make men happy and to
give the good first of all and without admixture of evil, or else that he
lacks the good will to give it unreservedly and for good and all, then we
are comparing our true God with the God of Herodotus, full of envy, or with
the demon of the poet whose iambics Aristotle quotes, and I have just
translated into Latin, who gives good things in order that he may cause
more affliction by taking them away. That would be trifling with God in
perpetual anthropomorphisms, representing him as a man who must give
himself up completely to one particular business, whose goodness must be
chiefly exercised upon those objects alone which are known to us, and who
lacks either aptitude or good will. God is not lacking therein, he could do
the good that we would desire; he even wishes it, taking it separately, but
he must not do it in preference to other greater goods which are opposed to
it. Moreover, one has no cause to complain of the fact that usually   [197]
one attains salvation only through many sufferings, and by bearing the
cross of Jesus Christ. These evils serve to make the elect imitators of
their master, and to increase their happiness.

123. VIII. 'The greatest and the most substantial glory that he who is the
master of others can gain is to maintain amongst them virtue, order, peace,
contentment of mind. The glory that he would derive from their unhappiness
can be nothing but a false glory.'

If we knew the city of God just as it is, we should see that it is the most
perfect state which can be devised; that virtue and happiness reign there,
as far as is possible, in accordance with the laws of the best; that sin
and unhappiness (whose entire exclusion from the nature of things reasons
of the supreme order did not permit), are well-nigh nothing there in
comparison with the good, and even are of service for greater good. Now
since these evils were to exist, there must needs be some appointed to be
subject to them, and we are those people. If it were others, would there
not be the same appearance of evil? Or rather, would not these others be
those known as We? When God derives some glory from the evil through having
made it serve a greater good, it was proper that he should derive that
glory. It is not therefore a false glory, as would be that of a prince who
overthrew his state in order to have the honour of setting it up again.

124. IX. 'The way whereby that master can give proof of greatest love for
virtue is to cause it, if he can, to be always practised without any
mixture of vice. If it is easy for him to procure for his subjects this
advantage, and nevertheless he permits vice to raise its head, save that he
punishes it finally after having long tolerated it, his affection for
virtue is not the greatest one can conceive; it is therefore not infinite.'

I am not yet half way through the nineteen maxims, and already I am weary
of refuting, and making the same answer always. M. Bayle multiplies
unnecessarily his so-called maxims in opposition to my dogmas. If things
connected together may be separated, the parts from their whole, the human
kind from the universe, God's attributes the one from the other, power from
wisdom, it may be said that God _can cause_ virtue to be in the world
without any mixture of vice, and even that he can do so _easily_. But,
since he has permitted vice, it must be that that order of the universe
which was found preferable to every other plan required it. One must
believe that it is not permitted to do otherwise, since it is not     [198]
possible to do better. It is a hypothetical necessity, a moral necessity,
which, far from being contrary to freedom, is the effect of its choice.
_Quae rationi contraria sunt, ea nec fieri a Sapiente posse credendum est_.
The objection is made here, that God's affection for virtue is therefore
not the greatest which can be conceived, that it is not _infinite_. To that
an answer has already been given on the second maxim, in the assertion that
God's affection for any created thing whatsoever is proportionate to the
value of the thing. Virtue is the noblest quality of created things, but it
is not the only good quality of creatures. There are innumerable others
which attract the inclination of God: from all these inclinations there
results the most possible good, and it turns out that if there were only
virtue, if there were only rational creatures, there would be less good.
Midas proved to be less rich when he had only gold. And besides, wisdom
must vary. To multiply one and the same thing only would be superfluity,
and poverty too. To have a thousand well-bound Vergils in one's library,
always to sing the airs from the opera of Cadmus and Hermione, to break all
the china in order only to have cups of gold, to have only diamond buttons,
to eat nothing but partridges, to drink only Hungarian or Shiraz
wine--would one call that reason? Nature had need of animals, plants,
inanimate bodies; there are in these creatures, devoid of reason, marvels
which serve for exercise of the reason. What would an intelligent creature
do if there were no unintelligent things? What would it think of, if there
were neither movement, nor matter, nor sense? If it had only distinct
thoughts it would be a God, its wisdom would be without bounds: that is one
of the results of my meditations. As soon as there is a mixture of confused
thoughts, there is sense, there is matter. For these confused thoughts come
from the relation of all things one to the other by way of duration and
extent. Thus it is that in my philosophy there is no rational creature
without some organic body, and there is no created spirit entirely detached
from matter. But these organic bodies vary no less in perfection than the
spirits to which they belong. Therefore, since God's wisdom must have a
world of bodies, a world of substances capable of perception and incapable
of reason; since, in short, it was necessary to choose from all the things
possible what produced the best effect together, and since vice entered in
by this door, God would not have been altogether good, altogether wise if
he had excluded it.

125. X. 'The way to evince the greatest hatred for vice is not indeed to
allow it to prevail for a long time and then chastise it, but to crush it
before its birth, that is, prevent it from showing itself anywhere. A king,
for example, who put his finances in such good order that no malversation
was ever committed, would thus display more hatred for the wrong done by
factionaries than if, after having suffered them to batten on the blood of
the people, he had them hanged.'

It is always the same song, it is anthropomorphism pure and simple. A king
should generally have nothing so much at heart as to keep his subjects free
from oppression. One of his greatest interests is to bring good order into
his finances. Nevertheless there are times when he is obliged to tolerate
vice and disorders. He has a great war on his hands, he is in a state of
exhaustion, he has no choice of generals, it is necessary to humour those
he has, those possessed of great authority with the soldiers: a Braccio, a
Sforza, a Wallenstein. He lacks money for the most pressing needs, it is
necessary to turn to great financiers, who have an established credit, and
he must at the same time connive at their malversations. It is true that
this unfortunate necessity arises most often from previous errors. It is
not the same with God: he has need of no man, he commits no error, he
always does the best. One cannot even wish that things may go better, when
one understands them: and it would be a vice in the Author of things if he
wished to change anything whatsoever in them, if he wished to exclude the
vice that was found there. Is this State with perfect government, where
good is willed and performed as far as it is possible, where evil even
serves the greatest good, comparable with the State of a prince whose
affairs are in ruin and who escapes as best he can? Or with that of a
prince who encourages oppression in order to punish it, and who delights to
see the little men with begging bowls and the great on scaffolds?

126. XI. 'A ruler devoted to the interests of virtue, and to the good of
his subjects, takes the utmost care to ensure that they never disobey his
laws; and if he must needs chastise them for their disobedience, he sees to
it that the penalty cures them of the inclination to evil, and restores in
their soul a strong and constant tendency towards good: so far is he from
any desire that the penalty for the error should incline them more and more
towards evil.'

To make men better, God does all that is due, and even all that can be done
on his side without detriment to what is due. The most usual aim of
punishment is amendment; but it is not the sole aim, nor that which God
always intends. I have said a word on that above. Original sin, which
disposes men towards evil, is not merely a penalty for the first sin; it is
a natural consequence thereof. On that too a word has been said, in the
course of an observation on the fourth theological proposition. It is like
drunkenness, which is a penalty for excess in drinking and is at the same
time a natural consequence that easily leads to new sins.

127. XII. 'To permit the evil that one could prevent is not to care whether
it be committed or not, or is even to wish that it be committed.'

By no means. How many times do men permit evils which they could prevent if
they turned all their efforts in that direction? But other more important
cares prevent them from doing so. One will rarely resolve upon adjusting
irregularities in the coinage while one is involved in a great war. And the
action of an English Parliament in this direction a little before the Peace
of Ryswyck will be rather praised than imitated. Can one conclude from this
that the State has no anxiety about this irregularity, or even that it
desires it? God has a far stronger reason, and one far more worthy of him,
for tolerating evils. Not only does he derive from them greater goods, but
he finds them connected with the greatest goods of all those that are
possible: so that it would be a fault not to permit them.

128. XIII. 'It is a very great fault in those who govern, if they do not
care whether there be disorder in their States or not. The fault is still
greater if they wish and even desire disorder there. If by hidden and
indirect, but infallible, ways they stirred up a sedition in their States
to bring them to the brink of ruin, in order to gain for themselves the
glory of showing that they have the courage and the prudence necessary for
saving a great kingdom on the point of perishing, they would be most
deserving of condemnation. But if they stirred up this sedition because
there were no other means than that, of averting the total ruin of their
subjects and of strengthening on new foundations, and for several
centuries, the happiness of nations, one must needs lament the unfortunate
necessity (see above, pp. 146, 147, what has been said of the force of[201]
necessity) to which they were reduced, and praise them for the use that
they made thereof.'

This maxim, with divers others set forth here, is not applicable to the
government of God. Not to mention the fact that it is only the disorders of
a very small part of his kingdom which are brought up in objection, it is
untrue that he has no anxiety about evils, that he desires them, that he
brings them into being, to have the glory of allaying them. God wills order
and good; but it happens sometimes that what is disorder in the part is
order in the whole. I have already stated this legal axiom: _Incivile est
nisi tota lege inspecta judicare_. The permission of evils comes from a
kind of moral necessity: God is constrained to this by his wisdom and by
his goodness; _this necessity is happy_, whereas that of the prince spoken
of in the maxim is _unhappy_. His State is one of the most corrupt; and the
government of God is the best State possible.

129. XIV. 'The permission of a certain evil is only excusable when one
cannot remedy it without introducing a greater evil; but it cannot be
excusable in those who have in hand a remedy more efficacious against this
evil, and against all the other evils that could spring from the
suppression of this one.'

The maxim is true, but it cannot be brought forward against the government
of God. Supreme reason constrains him to permit the evil. If God chose what
would not be the best absolutely and in all, that would be a greater evil
than all the individual evils which he could prevent by this means. This
wrong choice would destroy his wisdom and his goodness.

130. XV. 'The Being infinitely powerful, Creator of matter and of spirits,
makes whatever he wills of this matter and these spirits. There is no
situation or shape that he cannot communicate to spirits. If he then
permitted a physical or a moral evil, this would not be for the reason that
otherwise some other still greater physical or moral evil would be
altogether inevitable. None of those reasons for the mixture of good and
evil which are founded on the limitation of the forces of benefactors can
apply to him.'

It is true that God makes of matter and of spirits whatever he wills; but
he is like a good sculptor, who will make from his block of marble only
that which he judges to be the best, and who judges well. God makes of
matter the most excellent of all possible machines; he makes of spirits the
most excellent of all governments conceivable; and over and above all that,
he establishes for their union the most perfect of all harmonies,     [202]
according to the system I have proposed. Now since physical evil and moral
evil occur in this perfect work, one must conclude (contrary to M. Bayle's
assurance here) that _otherwise a still greater evil would have been
altogether inevitable_. This great evil would be that God would have chosen
ill if he had chosen otherwise than he has chosen. It is true that God is
infinitely powerful; but his power is indeterminate, goodness and wisdom
combined determine him to produce the best. M. Bayle makes elsewhere an
objection which is peculiar to him, which he derives from the opinions of
the modern Cartesians. They say that God could have given to souls what
thoughts he would, without making them depend upon any relation to the
body: by this means souls would be spared a great number of evils which
only spring from derangement of the body. More will be said of this later;
now it is sufficient to bear in mind that God cannot establish a system
ill-connected and full of dissonances. It is to some extent the nature of
souls to represent bodies.

131. XVI. 'One is just as much the cause of an event when one brings it
about in moral ways, as when one brings it about in physical ways. A
Minister of State, who, without going out of his study, and simply by
utilizing the passions of the leaders of a faction, overthrew all their
plots, would thus be bringing about the ruin of this faction, no less than
if he destroyed it by a surprise attack.'

I have nothing to say against this maxim. Evil is always attributed to
moral causes, and not always to physical causes. Here I observe simply that
if I could not prevent the sin of others except by committing a sin myself,
I should be justified in permitting it, and I should not be accessary
thereto, or its moral cause. In God, every fault would represent a sin; it
would be even more than sin, for it would destroy Divinity. And it would be
a great fault in him not to choose the best. I have said so many times. He
would then prevent sin by something worse than all sins.

132. XVII. 'It is all the same whether one employ a necessary cause, or
employ a free cause while choosing the moments when one knows it to be
determined. If I imagine that gunpowder has the power to ignite or not to
ignite when fire touches it, and if I know for certain that it will be
disposed to ignite at eight o'clock in the morning, I shall be just as much
the cause of its effects if I apply the fire to it at that hour, as I
should be in assuming, as is the case, that it is a necessary cause.  [203]
For where I am concerned it would no longer be a free cause. I should be
catching it at the moment when I knew it to be necessitated by its own
choice. It is impossible for a being to be free or indifferent with regard
to that to which it is already determined, and at the time when it is
determined thereto. All that which exists exists of necessity while it
exists. [Greek: To einai to on hotan êi, kai to mê einai hotan mê êi,
anankê.] "Necesse est id quod est, quando est, esse; et id quod non est,
quando non est, non esse": Arist., _De Interpret._, cap. 9. The Nominalists
have adopted this maxim of Aristotle. Scotus and sundry other Schoolmen
appear to reject it, but fundamentally their distinctions come to the same
thing. See the Jesuits of Coimbra on this passage from Aristotle, p. 380
_et seq._)'

This maxim may pass also; I would wish only to change something in the
phraseology. I would not take 'free' and 'indifferent' for one and the same
thing, and would not place 'free' and 'determined' in antithesis. One is
never altogether indifferent with an indifference of equipoise; one is
always more inclined and consequently more determined on one side than on
another: but one is never necessitated to the choice that one makes. I mean
here a _necessity_ absolute and metaphysical; for it must be admitted that
God, that wisdom, is prompted to the best by a _moral_ necessity. It must
be admitted also that one is necessitated to the choice by a hypothetical
necessity, when one actually makes the choice; and even before one is
necessitated thereto by the very truth of the futurition, since one will do
it. These hypothetical necessities do no harm. I have spoken sufficiently
on this point already.

133. XVIII. 'When a whole great people has become guilty of rebellion, it
is not showing clemency to pardon the hundred thousandth part, and to kill
all the rest, not excepting even babes and sucklings.'

It seems to be assumed here that there are a hundred thousand times more
damned than saved, and that children dying unbaptized are included among
the former. Both these points are disputed, and especially the damnation of
these children. I have spoken of this above. M. Bayle urges the same
objection elsewhere (_Reply to the Questions of a Provincial_, vol. III,
ch. 178, p. 1223): 'We see clearly', he says, 'that the Sovereign who
wishes to exercise both justice and clemency when a city has revolted must
be content with the punishment of a small number of mutineers, and    [204]
pardon all the rest. For if the number of those who are chastised is as a
thousand to one, in comparison with those whom he freely pardons, he cannot
be accounted mild, but, on the contrary, cruel. He would assuredly be
accounted an abominable tyrant if he chose punishments of long duration,
and if he eschewed bloodshed only because he was convinced that men would
prefer death to a miserable life; and if, finally, the desire to take
revenge were more responsible for his severities than the desire to turn to
the service of the common weal the penalty that he would inflict on almost
all the rebels. Criminals who are executed are considered to expiate their
crimes so completely by the loss of their life, that the public requires
nothing more, and is indignant when executioners are clumsy. These would be
stoned if they were known deliberately to give repeated strokes of the axe;
and the judges who are present at the execution would not be immune from
danger if they were thought to take pleasure in this evil sport of the
executioners, and to have surreptitiously urged them to practise it.' (Note
that this is not to be understood as strictly universal. There are cases
where the people approve of the slow killing of certain criminals, as when
Francis I thus put to death some persons accused of heresy after the
notorious Placards of 1534. No pity was shown to Ravaillac, who was
tortured in divers horrible ways. See the _French Mercury_, vol. I, fol.
m., 455 _et seq._ See also Pierre Matthieu in his _History of the Death of
Henry IV_; and do not forget what he says on page m. 99 concerning the
discussion by the judges with regard to the torture of this parricide.)
'Finally it is an exceptionally notorious fact that Rulers who should be
guided by St. Paul, I mean who should condemn to the extreme penalty all
those whom he condemns to eternal death, would be accounted enemies of the
human kind and destroyers of their communities. It is incontestable that
their laws, far from being fitted, in accordance with the aim of
legislators, to uphold society, would be its complete ruin. (Apply here
these words of Pliny the Younger, _Epist._, 22, lib. 8: Mandemus memoriae
quod vir mitissimus, et ob hoc quoque maximus, Thrasea crebro dicere
solebat, Qui vitia odit, homines odit.)' He adds that it was said of the
laws of Draco, an Athenian lawgiver, that they had not been written with
ink, but with blood, because they punished all sins with the extreme
penalty, and because damnation is a penalty even worse than death. But it
must be borne in mind that damnation is a consequence of sin. Thus I  [205]
once answered a friend, who raised as an objection the disproportion
existing between an eternal punishment and a limited crime, that there is
no injustice when the continuation of the punishment is only a result of
the continuation of the sin. I will speak further on this point later. As
for the number of the damned, even though it should be incomparably greater
among men than the number of the saved, that would not preclude the
possibility that in the universe the happy creatures infinitely outnumber
those who are unhappy. Such examples as that of a prince who punishes only
the leaders of rebels or of a general who has a regiment decimated, are of
no importance here. Self-interest compels the prince and the general to
pardon the guilty, even though they should remain wicked. God only pardons
those who become better: he can distinguish them; and this severity is more
consistent with perfect justice. But if anyone asks why God gives not to
all the grace of conversion, the question is of a different nature, having
no relation to the present maxim. I have already answered it in a sense,
not in order to find God's reasons, but to show that he cannot lack such,
and that there are no opposing reasons of any validity. Moreover, we know
that sometimes whole cities are destroyed and the inhabitants put to the
sword, to inspire terror in the rest. That may serve to shorten a great war
or a rebellion, and would mean a saving of blood through the shedding of
it: there is no decimation there. We cannot assert, indeed, that the wicked
of our globe are punished so severely in order to intimidate the
inhabitants of the other globes and to make them better. Yet an abundance
of reasons in the universal harmony which are unknown to us, because we
know not sufficiently the extent of the city of God, nor the form of the
general republic of spirits, nor even the whole architecture of bodies, may
produce the same effect.

134. XIX. 'Those physicians who chose, among many remedies capable of
curing a sick man, whereof divers were such as they well knew he would take
with enjoyment, precisely that one which they knew he would refuse to take,
would vainly urge and pray him not to refuse it; we should still have just
cause for thinking that they had no desire to cure him: for if they wished
to do so, they would choose for him among those good medicines one which
they knew he would willingly swallow. If, moreover, they knew that
rejection of the remedy they offered him would augment his sickness to[206]
the point of making it fatal, one could not help saying that, despite all
their exhortations, they must certainly be desirous of the sick man's

God wishes to save all men: that means that he would save them if men
themselves did not prevent it, and did not refuse to receive his grace; and
he is not bound or prompted by reason always to overcome their evil will.
He does so sometimes nevertheless, when superior reasons allow of it, and
when his consequent and decretory will, which results from all his reasons,
makes him resolve upon the election of a certain number of men. He gives
aids to all for their conversion and for perseverance, and these aids
suffice in those who have good will, but they do not always suffice to give
good will. Men obtain this good will either through particular aids or
through circumstances which cause the success of the general aids. God
cannot refrain from offering other remedies which he knows men will reject,
bringing upon themselves all the greater guilt: but shall one wish that God
be unjust in order that man may be less criminal? Moreover, the grace that
does not serve the one may serve the other, and indeed always serves the
totality of God's plan, which is the best possible in conception. Shall God
not give the rain, because there are low-lying places which will be thereby
incommoded? Shall the sun not shine as much as it should for the world in
general, because there are places which will be too much dried up in
consequence? In short, all these comparisons, spoken of in these maxims
that M. Bayle has just given, of a physician, a benefactor, a minister of
State, a prince, are exceedingly lame, because it is well known what their
duties are and what can and ought to be the object of their cares: they
have scarce more than the one affair, and they often fail therein through
negligence or malice. God's object has in it something infinite, his cares
embrace the universe: what we know thereof is almost nothing, and we desire
to gauge his wisdom and his goodness by our knowledge. What temerity, or
rather what absurdity! The objections are on false assumptions; it is
senseless to pass judgement on the point of law when one does not know the
matter of fact. To say with St. Paul, _O altitudo divitiarum et
sapientiae,_ is not renouncing reason, it is rather employing the reasons
that we know, for they teach us that immensity of God whereof the Apostle
speaks. But therein we confess our ignorance of the facts, and we
acknowledge, moreover, before we see it, that God does all the best   [207]
possible, in accordance with the infinite wisdom which guides his actions.
It is true that we have already before our eyes proofs and tests of this,
when we see something entire, some whole complete in itself, and isolated,
so to speak, among the works of God. Such a whole, shaped as it were by the
hand of God, is a plant, an animal, a man. We cannot wonder enough at the
beauty and the contrivance of its structure. But when we see some broken
bone, some piece of animal's flesh, some sprig of a plant, there appears to
be nothing but confusion, unless an excellent anatomist observe it: and
even he would recognize nothing therein if he had not before seen like
pieces attached to their whole. It is the same with the government of God:
that which we have been able to see hitherto is not a large enough piece
for recognition of the beauty and the order of the whole. Thus the very
nature of things implies that this order in the Divine City, which we see
not yet here on earth, should be an object of our faith, of our hope, of
our confidence in God. If there are any who think otherwise, so much the
worse for them, they are malcontents in the State of the greatest and the
best of all monarchs; and they are wrong not to take advantage of the
examples he has given them of his wisdom and his infinite goodness, whereby
he reveals himself as being not only wonderful, but also worthy of love
beyond all things.

135. I hope it will be found that nothing of what is comprised in the
nineteen maxims of M. Bayle, which we have just considered, has been left
without a necessary answer. It is likely that, having often before
meditated on this subject, he will have put there all his strongest
convictions touching the moral cause of moral evil. There are, however,
still sundry passages here and there in his works which it will be well not
to pass over in silence. Very often he exaggerates the difficulty which he
assumes with regard to freeing God from the imputation of sin. He observes
_(Reply to the Questions of a Provincial_, ch. 161, p. 1024) that Molina,
if he reconciled free will with foreknowledge, did not reconcile the
goodness and the holiness of God with sin. He praises the sincerity of
those who bluntly declare (as he claims Piscator did) that everything is to
be traced back to the will of God, and who maintain that God could not but
be just, even though he were the author of sin, even though he condemned
innocence. And on the other side, or in other passages, he seems to show
more approval of the opinions of those who preserve God's goodness at [208]
the expense of his greatness, as Plutarch does in his book against the
Stoics. 'It was more reasonable', he says, 'to say' (with the Epicureans)
'that innumerable parts' (or atoms flying about at haphazard through an
infinite space) 'by their force prevailed over the weakness of Jupiter and,
in spite of him and against his nature and will, did many bad and
irrational things, than to agree that there is neither confusion nor
wickedness but he is the author thereof.' What may be said for both these
parties, Stoics and Epicureans, appears to have led M. Bayle to the [Greek:
epechein] of the Pyrrhonians, the suspension of his judgement in respect of
reason, so long as faith is set apart; and to that he professes sincere

136. Pursuing his arguments, however, he has gone as far as attempting
almost to revive and reinforce those of the disciples of Manes, a Persian
heretic of the third century after Christ, or of a certain Paul, chief of
the Manichaeans in Armenia in the seventh century, from whom they were
named Paulicians. All these heretics renewed what an ancient philosopher of
Upper Asia, known under the name of Zoroaster, had taught, so it is said,
of two intelligent principles of all things, the one good, the other bad, a
dogma that had perhaps come from the Indians. Among them numbers of people
still cling to their error, one that is exceedingly prone to overtake human
ignorance and superstition, since very many barbarous peoples, even in
America, have been deluded by it, without having had need of philosophy.
The Slavs (according to Helmold) had their Zernebog or black God. The
Greeks and Romans, wise as they seem to be, had a Vejovis or Anti-Jupiter,
otherwise called Pluto, and numerous other maleficent divinities. The
Goddess Nemesis took pleasure in abasing those who were too fortunate; and
Herodotus in some passages hints at his belief that all Divinity is
envious; which, however, is not in harmony with the doctrine of the two

137. Plutarch, in his treatise _On Isis and Osiris_, knows of no writer
more ancient than Zoroaster the magician, as he calls him, that is likely
to have taught the two principles. Trogus or Justin makes him a King of the
Bactrians, who was conquered by Ninus or Semiramis; he attributes to him
the knowledge of astronomy and the invention of magic. But this magic was
apparently the religion of the fire-worshippers: and it appears that he
looked upon light and heat as the good principle, while he added the  [209]
evil, that is to say, opacity, darkness, cold. Pliny cites the testimony of
a certain Hermippus, an interpreter of Zoroaster's books, according to whom
Zoroaster was a disciple in the art of magic to one named Azonacus; unless
indeed this be a corruption of Oromases, of whom I shall speak presently,
and whom Plato in the _Alcibiades_ names as the father of Zoroaster. Modern
Orientals give the name Zerdust to him whom the Greeks named Zoroaster; he
is regarded as corresponding to Mercury, because with some nations
Wednesday _(mercredi)_ takes its name from him. It is difficult to
disentangle the story of Zoroaster and know exactly when he lived. Suidas
puts him five hundred years before the taking of Troy. Some Ancients cited
by Pliny and Plutarch took it to be ten times as far back. But Xanthus the
Lydian (in the preface to Diogenes Laertius) put him only six hundred years
before the expedition of Xerxes. Plato declares in the same passage, as M.
Bayle observes, that the magic of Zoroaster was nothing but the study of
religion. Mr. Hyde in his book on the religion of the ancient Persians
tries to justify this magic, and to clear it not only of the crime of
impiety but also of idolatry. Fire-worship prevailed among the Persians and
the Chaldaeans also; it is thought that Abraham left it when he departed
from Ur of the Chaldees. Mithras was the sun and he was also the God of the
Persians; and according to Ovid's account horses were offered in sacrifice
to him,

  _Placat equo Persis radiis Hyperiona cinctum,_
  _Ne detur celeri victima tarda Deo._

But Mr. Hyde believes that they only made use of the sun and fire in their
worship as symbols of the Divinity. It may be necessary to distinguish, as
elsewhere, between the Wise and the Multitude. There are in the splendid
ruins of Persepolis or of Tschelminaar (which means forty columns)
sculptured representations of their ceremonies. An ambassador of Holland
had had them sketched at very great cost by a painter, who had devoted a
considerable time to the task: but by some chance or other these sketches
fell into the hands of a well-known traveller, M. Chardin, according to
what he tells us himself. It would be a pity if they were lost. These ruins
are one of the most ancient and most beautiful monuments of the earth; and
in this respect I wonder at such lack of curiosity in a century so curious
as ours.

138. The ancient Greeks and the modern Orientals agree in saying that
Zoroaster called the good God Oromazes, or rather Oromasdes, and the evil
God Arimanius. When I pondered on the fact that great princes of Upper Asia
had the name of Hormisdas and that Irminius or Herminius was the name of a
god or ancient hero of the Scythian Celts, that is, of the Germani, it
occurred to me that this Arimanius or Irminius might have been a great
conqueror of very ancient time coming from the west, just as Genghis Khan
and Tamburlaine were later, coming from the east. Arimanius would therefore
have come from the north-west, that is, from Germania and Sarmatia, through
the territory of the Alani and Massagetae, to raid the dominions of one
Ormisdas, a great king in Upper Asia, just as other Scythians did in the
days of Cyaxares, King of the Medes, according to the account given by
Herodotus. The monarch governing civilized peoples, and working to defend
them against the barbarians, would have gone down to posterity, amongst the
same peoples, as the good god; but the chief of these devastators will have
become the symbol of the evil principle: that is altogether reasonable. It
appears from this same mythology that these two princes contended for long,
but that neither of them was victorious. Thus they both held their own,
just as the two principles shared the empire of the world according to the
hypothesis attributed to Zoroaster.

139. It remains to be proved that an ancient god or hero of the Germani was
called Herman, Arimanius or Irminius. Tacitus relates that the three tribes
which composed Germania, the Ingaevones, the Istaevones and the Herminones
or Hermiones, were thus named from the three sons of Mannus. Whether that
be true or not, he wished in any case to indicate that there was a hero
named Herminius, from whom he was told the Herminones were named.
Herminones, Hermenner, Hermunduri all mean the same, that is, Soldiers.
Even in the Dark Ages Arimanni were _viri militares,_ and there is _feudum
Arimandiae_ in Lombard law.

140. I have shown elsewhere that apparently the name of one part of
Germania was given to the whole, and that from these Herminones or
Hermunduri all the Teutonic peoples were named _Hermanni_ or _Germani_. The
difference between these two words is only in the force of the aspiration:
there is the same difference of initial letter between the _Germani_ of the
Latins and _Hermanos_ of the Spaniards, or in the _Gammarus_ of the Latins
and the _Hummer_ (that is, marine crayfish) of the Low Germans.       [211]
Besides it is very usual for one part of a nation to give the name to the
whole: so all the Germani were called Alemanni by the French, and yet this,
according to the old nomenclature, only applied to the Suabians and the
Swiss. Although Tacitus did not actually know the origin of the name of the
Germani, he said something which supports my opinion, when he observed that
it was a name which inspired terror, taken or given _ob metum_. In fact it
signifies a warrior: _Heer_, _Hari_ is army, whence comes _Hariban_, or
'call to Haro', that is, a general order to be with the army, since
corrupted into _Arrièreban_. Thus Hariman or Ariman, German _Guerre-man_,
is a soldier. For as _Hari_, _Heer_ means army, so _Wehr_ signifies arms,
_Wehren_ to fight, to make war, the word _Guerre_, _Guerra_ coming
doubtless from the same source. I have already spoken of the _feudum
Arimandiae_: not only did Herminones or Germani signify the same, but also
that ancient Herman, so-called son of Mannus, appears to have been given
this name as being pre-eminently a warrior.

141. Now it is not the passage in Tacitus only which indicates for us this
god or hero: we cannot doubt the existence of one of this name among these
peoples, since Charlemagne found and destroyed near the Weser the column
called _Irminsäule_, erected in honour of this god. And that combined with
the passage in Tacitus leaves us with the conclusion that it was not that
famous Arminius who was an enemy of the Romans, but a much greater and more
ancient hero, that this cult concerned. Arminius bore the same name as
those who are called Hermann to-day. Arminius was not great enough, nor
fortunate enough, nor well enough known throughout Germania to attain to
the honour of a public cult, even at the hands of remote tribes, like the
Saxons, who came long after him into the country of the Cherusci. And our
Arminius, taken by the Asiatics for the evil God, provides ample
confirmation of my opinion. For in these matters conjectures confirm one
another without any logical circle, when their foundations tend towards one
and the same end.

142. It is not beyond belief that the Hermes (that is, Mercury) of the
Greeks is the same Herminius or Arimanius. He may have been an inventor or
promoter of the arts and of a slightly more civilized life among his own
people and in the countries where he held supremacy, while amongst his
enemies he was looked upon as the author of confusion. Who knows but that
he may have penetrated even into Egypt, like the Scythians who in     [212]
pursuit of Sesostris came nearly so far. Theut, Menes and Hermes were known
and revered in Egypt. They might have been Tuiscon, his son Mannus and
Herman, son of Mannus, according to the genealogy of Tacitus. Menes is held
to be the most ancient king of the Egyptians; 'Theut' was with them a name
for Mercury. At least Theut or Tuiscon, from whom Tacitus derives the
descent of the Germani, and from whom the Teutons, _Tuitsche_ (that is,
Germani) even to-day have their name, is the same as that _Teutates_ who
according to Lucan was worshipped by the Gauls, and whom Caesar took _pro
Dite Patre_, for Pluto, because of the resemblance between his Latin name
and that of _Teut_ or _Thiet_, _Titan_, _Theodon_; this in ancient times
signified men, people, and also an excellent man (like the word 'baron'),
in short, a prince. There are authorities for all these significations: but
one must not delay over this point. Herr Otto Sperling, who is well known
for various learned writings, but has many more in readiness to appear, in
a special dissertation has treated the question of this Teutates, God of
the Celts. Some observations which I imparted to him on that subject have
been published, with his reply, in the _Literary News of the Baltic Sea_.
He interprets this passage from Lucan somewhat otherwise than I do:

  _Teutates, pollensque feris altaribus Hesus,_
  _Et Tamaris Scythicae non mitior ara Dianae._

Hesus was, it appears, the God of War, who was called Ares by the Greeks
and Erich by the ancient Germani, whence still remains _Erichtag_, Tuesday.
The letters R and S, which are produced by the same organ, are easily
interchanged, for instance: _Moor_ and _Moos_, _Geren_ and _Gesen_, _Er
war_ and _Er was_, _Fer_, _Hierro_, _Eiron_, _Eisen_. Likewise _Papisius_,
_Valesius_, _Fusius_, instead of _Papirius_, _Valerius_, _Furius_, with the
ancient Romans. As for Taramis or perhaps Taranis, one knows that _Taran_
was the thunder, or the God of Thunder, with the ancient Celts, called
_Thor_ by the Germani of the north; whence the English have preserved the
name 'Thursday', _jeudi_, _diem Jovis_. And the passage from Lucan means
that the altar of Taran, God of the Celts, was not less cruel than that of
Diana in Tauris: _Taranis aram non mitiorem ara Dianae Scythicae fuisse_.

143. It is also not impossible that there was a time when the western [213]
or Celtic princes made themselves masters of Greece, of Egypt and a good
part of Asia, and that their cult remained in those countries. When one
considers with what rapidity the Huns, the Saracens and the Tartars gained
possession of a great part of our continent one will be the less surprised
at this; and it is confirmed by the great number of words in the Greek and
German tongues which correspond so closely. Callimachus, in a hymn in
honour of Apollo, seems to imply that the Celts who attacked the Temple at
Delphi, under their Brennus, or chief, were descendants of the ancient
Titans and Giants who made war on Jupiter and the other gods, that is to
say, on the Princes of Asia and of Greece. It may be that Jupiter is
himself descended from the Titans or Theodons, that is, from the earlier
Celto-Scythian princes; and the material collected by the late Abbé de la
Charmoye in his _Celtic Origins_ conforms to that possibility. Yet there
are opinions on other matters in this work by this learned writer which to
me do not appear probable, especially when he excludes the Germani from the
number of the Celts, not having recalled sufficiently the facts given by
ancient writers and not being sufficiently aware of the relation between
the ancient Gallic and Germanic tongues. Now the so-called Giants, who
wished to scale the heavens, were new Celts who followed the path of their
ancestors; and Jupiter, although of their kindred, as it were, was
constrained to resist them. Just so did the Visigoths established in Gallic
territory resist, together with the Romans, other peoples of Germania and
Scythia, who succeeded them under Attila their leader, he being at that
time in control of the Scythian, Sarmatic and Germanic tribes from the
frontiers of Persia up to the Rhine. But the pleasure one feels when one
thinks to find in the mythologies of the gods some trace of the old history
of fabulous times has perhaps carried me too far, and I know not whether I
shall have been any more successful than Goropius Becanus, Schrieckius,
Herr Rudbeck and the Abbe de la Charmoye.

144. Let us return to Zoroaster, who led us to Oromasdes and Arimanius, the
sources of good and evil, and let us assume that he looked upon them as two
eternal principles opposed to each other, although there is reason to doubt
this assumption. It is thought that Marcion, disciple of Cerdon, was of
this opinion before Manes. M. Bayle acknowledges that these men used
lamentable arguments; but he thinks that they did not sufficiently    [214]
recognize their advantages or know how to apply their principal instrument,
which was the difficulty over the origin of evil. He believes that an able
man on their side would have thoroughly embarrassed the orthodox, and it
seems as though he himself, failing any other, wished to undertake a task
so unnecessary in the opinion of many people. 'All the hypotheses' (he
says, _Dictionary_, v., 'Marcion', p. 2039) 'that Christians have
established parry but poorly the blows aimed at them: they all triumph when
they act on the offensive; but they lose their whole advantage when they
have to sustain the attack.' He confesses that the 'Dualists' (as with Mr.
Hyde he calls them), that is, the champions of two principles, would soon
have been routed by _a priori_ reasons, taken from the nature of God; but
he thinks that they triumph in their turn when one comes to the _a
posteriori_ reasons, which are taken from the existence of evil.

145. He treats of the matter with abundant detail in his _Dictionary_,
article 'Manichaeans', p. 2025, which we must examine a little, in order to
throw greater light upon this subject: 'The surest and clearest ideas of
order teach us', he says, 'that a Being who exists through himself, who is
necessary, who is eternal, must be single, infinite, all powerful, and
endowed with all kinds of perfections.' This argument deserves to have been
developed more completely. 'Now it is necessary to see', he goes on, 'if
the phenomena of nature can be conveniently explained by the hypothesis of
one single principle.' I have explained it sufficiently by showing that
there are cases where some disorder in the part is necessary for producing
the greatest order in the whole. But it appears that M. Bayle asks a little
too much: he wishes for a detailed exposition of how evil is connected with
the best possible scheme for the universe. That would be a complete
explanation of the phenomena: but I do not undertake to give it; nor am I
bound to do so, for there is no obligation to do that which is impossible
for us in our existing state. It is sufficient for me to point out that
there is nothing to prevent the connexion of a certain individual evil with
what is the best on the whole. This incomplete explanation, leaving
something to be discovered in the life to come, is sufficient for answering
the objections, though not for a comprehension of the matter.

146. 'The heavens and all the rest of the universe', adds M. Bayle, 'preach
the glory, the power, the oneness of God.' Thence the conclusion      [215]
should have been drawn that this is the case (as I have already observed
above) because there is seen in these objects something entire and
isolated, so to speak. Every time we see such a work of God, we find it so
perfect that we must wonder at the contrivance and the beauty thereof: but
when we do not see an entire work, when we only look upon scraps and
fragments, it is no wonder if the good order is not evident there. Our
planetary system composes such an isolated work, which is complete also
when it is taken by itself; each plant, each animal, each man furnishes one
such work, to a certain point of perfection: one recognizes therein the
wonderful contrivance of the author. But the human kind, so far as it is
known to us, is only a fragment, only a small portion of the City of God or
of the republic of Spirits, which has an extent too great for us, and
whereof we know too little, to be able to observe the wonderful order
therein. 'Man alone,' says M. Bayle, 'that masterpiece of his Creator among
things visible, man alone, I say, gives rise to great objections with
regard to the oneness of God.' Claudian made the same observation,
unburdening his heart in these well-known lines:

  _Saepe mihi dubiam traxit sententia mentem_, etc.

But the harmony existing in all the rest allows of a strong presumption
that it would exist also in the government of men, and generally in that of
Spirits, if the whole were known to us. One must judge the works of God as
wisely as Socrates judged those of Heraclitus in these words: What I have
understood thereof pleases me; I think that the rest would please me no
less if I understood it.

147. Here is another particular reason for the disorder apparent in that
which concerns man. It is that God, in giving him intelligence, has
presented him with an image of the Divinity. He leaves him to himself, in a
sense, in his small department, _ut Spartam quam nactus est ornet_. He
enters there only in a secret way, for he supplies being, force, life,
reason, without showing himself. It is there that free will plays its game:
and God makes game (so to speak) of these little Gods that he has thought
good to produce, as we make game of children who follow pursuits which we
secretly encourage or hinder according as it pleases us. Thus man is there
like a little god in his own world or _Microcosm_, which he governs   [216]
after his own fashion: he sometimes performs wonders therein, and his art
often imitates nature.

  _Jupiter in parvo cum cerneret aethera vitro,_
    _Risit et ad Superos talia dicta dedit:_
  _Huccine mortalis progressa potentia, Divi?_
    _Jam meus in fragili luditur orbe labor._
  _Jura poli rerumque fidem legesque Deorum_
    _Cuncta Syracusius transtulit arte Senex._
  _Quid falso insontem tonitru Salmonea miror?_
    _Aemula Naturae est parva reperta manus._

But he also commits great errors, because he abandons himself to the
passions, and because God abandons him to his own way. God punishes him
also for such errors, now like a father or tutor, training or chastising
children, now like a just judge, punishing those who forsake him: and evil
comes to pass most frequently when these intelligences or their small
worlds come into collision. Man finds himself the worse for this, in
proportion to his fault; but God, by a wonderful art, turns all the errors
of these little worlds to the greater adornment of his great world. It is
as in those devices of perspective, where certain beautiful designs look
like mere confusion until one restores them to the right angle of vision or
one views them by means of a certain glass or mirror. It is by placing and
using them properly that one makes them serve as adornment for a room. Thus
the apparent deformities of our little worlds combine to become beauties in
the great world, and have nothing in them which is opposed to the oneness
of an infinitely perfect universal principle: on the contrary, they
increase our wonder at the wisdom of him who makes evil serve the greater

148. M. Bayle continues: 'that man is wicked and miserable; that there are
everywhere prisons and hospitals; that history is simply a collection of
the crimes and calamities of the human race.' I think that there is
exaggeration in that: there is incomparably more good than evil in the life
of men, as there are incomparably more houses than prisons. With regard to
virtue and vice, a certain mediocrity prevails. Machiavelli has already
observed that there are few very wicked and very good men, and that this
causes the failure of many great enterprises. I find it a great fault in
historians that they keep their mind on the evil more than on the     [217]
good. The chief end of history, as also of poetry, should be to teach
prudence and virtue by examples, and then to display vice in such a way as
to create aversion to it and to prompt men to avoid it, or serve towards
that end.

149. M. Bayle avows: 'that one finds everywhere both moral good and
physical good, some examples of virtue, some examples of happiness, and
that this is what makes the difficulty. For if there were only wicked and
unhappy people', he says, 'there would be no need to resort to the
hypothesis of the two principles.' I wonder that this admirable man could
have evinced so great an inclination towards this opinion of the two
principles; and I am surprised at his not having taken into account that
this romance of human life, which makes the universal history of the human
race, lay fully devised in the divine understanding, with innumerable
others, and that the will of God only decreed its existence because this
sequence of events was to be most in keeping with the rest of things, to
bring forth the best result. And these apparent faults in the whole world,
these spots on a Sun whereof ours is but a ray, rather enhance its beauty
than diminish it, contributing towards that end by obtaining a greater
good. There are in truth two principles, but they are both in God, to wit,
his understanding and his will. The understanding furnishes the principle
of evil, without being sullied by it, without being evil; it represents
natures as they exist in the eternal verities; it contains within it the
reason wherefore evil is permitted: but the will tends only towards good.
Let us add a third principle, namely power; it precedes even understanding
and will, but it operates as the one displays it and as the other requires

150. Some (like Campanella) have called these three perfections of God the
three primordialities. Many have even believed that there was therein a
secret connexion with the Holy Trinity: that power relates to the Father,
that is, to the source of Divinity, wisdom to the Eternal Word, which is
called _logos_ by the most sublime of the Evangelists, and will or Love to
the Holy Spirit. Well-nigh all the expressions or comparisons derived from
the nature of the intelligent substance tend that way.

151. It seems to me that if M. Bayle had taken into account what I have
just said of the principles of things, he would have answered his own
questions, or at the least he would not have continued to ask, as he does
in these which follow: 'If man is the work of a single principle      [218]
supremely good, supremely holy, supremely powerful, can he be subject to
diseases, to cold, heat, hunger, thirst, pain, grief? Can he have so many
evil tendencies? Can he commit so many crimes? Can supreme goodness produce
an unhappy creature? Shall not supreme power, united to an infinite
goodness, shower blessings upon its work, and shall it not banish all that
might offend or grieve?' Prudentius in his _Hamartigenia_ presented the
same difficulty:

  _Si non vult Deus esse malum, cur non vetat? inquit._
  _Non refert auctor fuerit, factorve malorum._
  _Anne opera in vitium sceleris pulcherrima verti,_
  _Cum possit prohibere, sinat; quod si velit omnes_
  _Innocuos agere Omnipotens, ne sancta voluntas_
  _Degeneret, facto nec se manus inquinet ullo?_
  _Condidit ergo malum Dominus, quod spectat ab alto,_
  _Et patitur fierique probat, tanquam ipse crearit._
  _Ipse creavit enim, quod si discludere possit,_
  _Non abolet, longoque sinit grassarier usu._

But I have already answered that sufficiently. Man is himself the source of
his evils: just as he is, he was in the divine idea. God, prompted by
essential reasons of wisdom, decreed that he should pass into existence
just as he is. M. Bayle would perchance have perceived this origin of evil
in the form in which I demonstrate it here, if he had herein combined the
wisdom of God with his power, his goodness and his holiness. I will add, in
passing, that his _holiness_ is nothing other than the highest degree of
goodness, just as the crime which is its opposite is the worst of all evil.

152. M. Bayle places the Greek philosopher Melissus, champion of the
oneness of the first principle (and perhaps even of the oneness of
substance) in conflict with Zoroaster, as with the first originator of
duality. Zoroaster admits that the hypothesis of Melissus is more
consistent with order and _a priori_ reasons, but he denies its conformity
with experience and _a posteriori_ reasons. 'I surpass you', he said, 'in
the explanation of phenomena, which is the principal mark of a good
system.' But, in my opinion, it is not a very good explanation of a
phenomenon to assign to it an _ad hoc_ principle: to evil, a _principium
maleficum_, to cold, a _primum frigidum_; there is nothing so easy and
nothing so dull. It is well-nigh as if someone were to say that the   [219]
Peripatetics surpass the new mathematicians in the explanation of the
phenomena of the stars, by giving them _ad hoc_ intelligences to guide
them. According to that, it is quite easy to conceive why the planets make
their way with such precision; whereas there is need of much geometry and
reflexion to understand how from the gravity of the planets, which bears
them towards the sun, combined with some whirlwind which carries them
along, or with their own motive force, can spring the elliptic movement of
Kepler, which satisfies appearances so well. A man incapable of relishing
deep speculations will at first applaud the Peripatetics and will treat our
mathematicians as dreamers. Some old Galenist will do the same with regard
to the faculties of the Schoolmen: he will admit a chylific, a chymific and
a sanguific, and he will assign one of these _ad hoc_ to each operation; he
will think he has worked wonders, and will laugh at what he will call the
chimeras of the moderns, who claim to explain through mechanical structure
what passes in the body of an animal.

153. The explanation of the cause of evil by a particular principle, _per
principium maleficum_, is of the same nature. Evil needs no such
explanation, any more than do cold and darkness: there is neither _primum
frigidum_ nor principle of darkness. Evil itself comes only from privation;
the positive enters therein only by concomitance, as the active enters by
concomitance into cold. We see that water in freezing is capable of
breaking a gun-barrel wherein it is confined; and yet cold is a certain
privation of force, it only comes from the diminution of a movement which
separates the particles of fluids. When this separating motion becomes
weakened in the water by the cold, the particles of compressed air
concealed in the water collect; and, becoming larger, they become more
capable of acting outwards through their buoyancy. The resistance which the
surfaces of the proportions of air meet in the water, and which opposes the
force exerted by these portions towards dilation, is far less, and
consequently the effect of the air greater, in large air-bubbles than in
small, even though these small bubbles combined should form as great a mass
as the large. For the resistances, that is, the surfaces, increase by the
_square_, and the forces, that is, the contents or the volumes of the
spheres of compressed air, increase by the _cube_, of their diameters. Thus
it is _by accident_ that privation involves action and force. I have
already shown how privation is enough to cause error and malice, and  [220]
how God is prompted to permit them, despite that there be no malignity in
him. Evil comes from privation; the positive and action spring from it by
accident, as force springs from cold.

154. The statement that M. Bayle attributes to the Paulicians, p. 2323, is
not conclusive, to wit, that free will must come from two principles, to
the end that it may have power to turn towards good and towards evil: for,
being simple in itself, it should rather have come from a neutral principle
if this argument held good. But free will tends towards good, and if it
meets with evil it is by accident, for the reason that this evil is
concealed beneath the good, and masked, as it were. These words which Ovid
ascribes to Medea,

      _Video meliora proboque,_
  _Deteriora sequor_,

imply that the morally good is mastered by the agreeably good, which makes
more impression on souls when they are disturbed by the passions.

155. Furthermore, M. Bayle himself supplies Melissus with a good answer;
but a little later he disputes it. Here are his words, p. 2025: 'If
Melissus consults the notions of order, he will answer that man was not
wicked when God made him; he will say that man received from God a happy
state, but that not having followed the light of conscience, which in
accordance with the intention of its author should have guided him along
the path of virtue, he has become wicked, and has deserved that God the
supremely good should make him feel the effects of his anger. It is
therefore not God who is the cause of moral evil: but he is the cause of
physical evil, that is, of the punishment of moral evil. And this
punishment, far from being incompatible with the supremely good principle,
of necessity emanates from that one of its attributes, I mean its justice,
which is not less essential to it than its goodness. This answer, the most
reasonable that Melissus can give, is fundamentally good and sound, but it
may be disputed by something more specious and more dazzling. For indeed
Zoroaster objects that the infinitely good principle ought to have created
man not only without actual evil, but also without the inclination towards
evil; that God, having foreseen sin with all its consequences, ought to
have prevented it; that he ought to have impelled man to moral good, and
not to have allowed him any force for tending towards crime.' That is quite
easy to say, but it is not practicable if one follows the principles  [221]
of order: it could not have been accomplished without perpetual miracles.
Ignorance, error and malice follow one another naturally in animals made as
we are: should this species, then, have been missing in the universe? I
have no doubt but that it is too important there, despite all its
weaknesses, for God to have consented to its abolition.

156. M. Bayle, in the article entitled 'Paulicians' inserted by him in his
_Dictionary_, follows up the pronouncements he made in the article on the
Manichaeans. According to him (p. 2330, lit. H) the orthodox seem to admit
two first principles, in making the devil the originator of sin. M. Becker,
a former minister of Amsterdam, author of the book entitled _The World
Bewitched_, has made use of this idea in order to demonstrate that one
should not assign such power and authority to the Devil as would allow of
his comparison with God. Therein he is right: but he pushes the conclusions
too far. And the author of the book entitled [Greek: Apokatastasis Pantôn]
believes that if the Devil had never been vanquished and despoiled, if he
had always kept his prey, if the title of invincible had belonged to him,
that would have done injury to the glory of God. But it is a poor advantage
to keep those whom one has led astray in order to share their punishment
for ever. And as for the cause of evil, it is true that the Devil is the
author of sin. But the origin of sin comes from farther away, its source is
in the original imperfection of creatures: that renders them capable of
sinning, and there are circumstances in the sequence of things which cause
this power to evince itself in action.

157. The devils were angels like the rest before their fall, and it is
thought that their leader was one of the chief among angels; but Scripture
is not explicit enough on that point. The passage of the Apocalypse that
speaks of the struggle with the Dragon, as of a vision, leaves much in
doubt, and does not sufficiently develop a subject which by the other
sacred writers is hardly mentioned. It is not in place here to enter into
this discussion, and one must still admit that the common opinion agrees
best with the sacred text. M. Bayle examines some replies of St. Basil, of
Lactantius and others on the origin of evil. As, however, they are
concerned with physical evil, I postpone discussion thereof, and I will
proceed with the examination of the difficulties over the moral cause of
moral evil, which arise in several passages of the works of our gifted

158. He disputes the _permission_ of this evil, he would wish one to admit
that God _wills_ it. He quotes these words of Calvin (on Genesis, ch. 3):
'The ears of some are offended when one says that God willed it. But I ask
you, what else is the permission of him who is entitled to forbid, or
rather who has the thing in his own hands, but an act of will?' M. Bayle
explains these words of Calvin, and those which precede them, as if he
admitted that God willed the fall of Adam, not in so far as it was a crime,
but under some other conception that is unknown to us. He quotes casuists
who are somewhat lax, who say that a son can desire the death of his
father, not in so far as it is an evil for himself but in so far as it is a
good for his heirs _(Reply to the Questions of a Provincial_, ch. 147, p.
850). It seems to me that Calvin only says that God willed man's fall for
some reason unknown to us. In the main, when it is a question of a decisive
will, that is, of a decree, these distinctions are useless: one wills the
action with all its qualities, if it is true that one wills it. But when it
is a crime, God can only will the permission of it: the crime is neither an
end nor a means, it is only a _conditio sine qua non_; thus it is not the
object of a direct will, as I have already demonstrated above. God cannot
prevent it without acting against what he owes to himself, without doing
something that would be worse than the crime of man, without violating the
rule of the best; and that would be to destroy divinity, as I have already
observed. God is therefore bound by a moral necessity, which is in himself,
to permit moral evil in creatures. There is precisely the case wherein the
will of a wise mind is only permissive. I have already said this: he is
bound to permit the crime of others when he cannot prevent it without
himself failing in that which he owes to himself.

159. 'But among all these infinite combinations', says M. Bayle (p. 853),
'it pleased God to choose one wherein Adam was to sin, and by his decree he
made it, in preference to all the others, the plan that should come to
pass.' Very good; that is speaking my language; so long as one applies it
to the combinations which compose the whole universe. 'You will therefore
never make us understand', he adds, 'how God did not will that Eve and Adam
should sin, since he rejected all the combinations wherein they would not
have sinned.' But the thing is in general very easy to understand, from all
that I have just said. This combination that makes the whole universe is
the best; God therefore could not refrain from choosing it without    [223]
incurring a lapse, and rather than incur such, a thing altogether
inappropriate to him, he permits the lapse or the sin of man which is
involved in this combination.

160. M. Jacquelot, with other able men, does not differ in opinion from me,
when for example he says, p. 186 of his treatise on the _Conformity of
Faith with Reason_: 'Those who are puzzled by these difficulties seem to be
too limited in their outlook, and to wish to reduce all God's designs to
their own interests. When God formed the universe, his whole prospect was
himself and his own glory, so that if we had knowledge of all creatures, of
their diverse combinations and of their different relations, we should
understand without difficulty that the universe corresponds perfectly to
the infinite wisdom of the Almighty.' He says elsewhere (p. 232):
'Supposing the impossible, that God could not prevent the wrong use of free
will without destroying it, it will be agreed that since his wisdom and his
glory determined him to form free creatures this powerful reason must have
prevailed over the grievous consequences which their freedom might have.' I
have endeavoured to develop this still further through _the reason of the
best and the moral necessity_ which led God to make this choice, despite
the sin of some creatures which is involved therein. I think that I have
cut down to the root of the difficulty; nevertheless I am well pleased, for
the sake of throwing more light on the matter, to apply my principle of
solution to the peculiar difficulties of M. Bayle.

161. Here is one, set forth in these terms (ch. 148, p. 856): 'Would it in
a prince be a mark of his kindness: 1. To give to a hundred messengers as
much money as is needed for a journey of two hundred leagues? 2. To promise
a recompense to all those who should finish the journey without having
borrowed anything, and to threaten with imprisonment all those whom their
money should not have sufficed? 3. To make choice of a hundred persons, of
whom he would know for certain that there were but two who should earn the
recompense, the ninety-eight others being destined to find on the way
either a mistress or a gamester or some other thing which would make them
incur expenses, and which he would himself have been at pains to dispose in
certain places along their path? 4. To imprison actually ninety-eight of
these messengers on the moment of their return? Is it not abundantly
evident that he would have no kindness for them, and that on the contrary
he would intend for them, not the proposed recompense, but prison?    [224]
They would deserve it, certainly; but he who had wished them to deserve it
and placed them in the sure way towards deserving it, should he be worthy
of being called kind, on the pretext that he had recompensed the two
others?' It would doubtless not be on that account that he earned the title
of 'kind'. Yet other circumstances may contribute, which would avail to
render him worthy of praise for having employed this artifice in order to
know those people, and to make trial of them; just as Gideon made use of
some extraordinary means of choosing the most valiant and the least
squeamish among his soldiers. And even if the prince were to know already
the disposition of all these messengers, may he not put them to this test
in order to make them known also to the others? Even though these reasons
be not applicable to God, they make it clear, nevertheless, that an action
like that of this prince may appear preposterous when it is detached from
the circumstances indicating its cause. All the more must one deem that God
has acted well, and that we should see this if we fully knew of all that he
has done.

162. M. Descartes, in a letter to the Princess Elizabeth (vol. 1, letter
10) has made use of another comparison to reconcile human freedom with the
omnipotence of God. 'He imagines a monarch who has forbidden duels, and
who, knowing for certain that two noblemen, if they meet, will fight, takes
sure steps to bring about their meeting. They meet indeed, they fight:
their disobedience of the law is an effect of their free will, they are
punishable. What a king can do in such a case (he adds) concerning some
free actions of his subjects, God, who has infinite foreknowledge and
power, certainly does concerning all those of men. Before he sent us into
this world he knew exactly what all the tendencies of our will would be: he
has endued us therewith, he also has disposed all other things that are
outside us, to cause such and such objects to present themselves to our
senses at such and such a time. He knew that as a result of this our free
will would determine us toward some particular thing, and he has willed it
thus; but he has not for that willed to constrain our free will thereto. In
this king one may distinguish two different degrees of will, the one
whereby he willed that these noblemen should fight, since he brought about
their meeting, and the other whereby he did not will it, since he forbade
duels. Even so theologians distinguish in God an absolute and independent
will, whereby he wills that all things be done just as they are done, [225]
and another which is relative, and which concerns the merit or demerit of
men, whereby he wills that his Laws be obeyed' (Descartes, letter 10 of
vol. 1, pp. 51, 52. Compare with that the quotation made by M. Arnauld,
vol. 2, p. 288 _et seqq_. of his _Reflexions on the System of Malebranche_,
from Thomas Aquinas, on the antecedent and consequent will of God).

163. Here is M. Bayle's reply to that (_Reply to the Questions of a
Provincial_, ch. 154, p. 943): 'This great philosopher is much mistaken, it
seems to me. There would not be in this monarch any degree of will, either
small or great, that these two noblemen should obey the law, and not fight.
He would will entirely and solely that they should fight. That would not
exculpate them, they would only follow their passion, they would be unaware
that they conformed to the will of their sovereign: but he would be in
truth the moral cause of their encounter, and he would not more entirely
wish it supposing he were to inspire them with the desire or to give them
the order for it. Imagine to yourself two princes each of whom wishes his
eldest son to poison himself. One employs constraint, the other contents
himself with secretly causing a grief that he knows will be sufficient to
induce his son to poison himself. Will you be doubtful whether the will of
the latter is less complete than the will of the former? M. Descartes is
therefore assuming an unreal fact and does not at all solve the

164. One must confess that M. Descartes speaks somewhat crudely of the will
of God in regard to evil in saying not only that God knew that our free
will would determine us toward some particular thing, but also _that he
also wished it_, albeit he did not will to constrain the will thereto. He
speaks no less harshly in the eighth letter of the same volume, saying that
not the slightest thought enters into the mind of a man which God does not
_will_, and has not willed from all eternity, to enter there. Calvin never
said anything harsher; and all that can only be excused if it is to be
understood of a permissive will. M. Descartes' solution amounts to the
distinction between the will expressed in the sign and the will expressive
of the good pleasure (_inter voluntatem signi et beneplaciti_) which the
moderns have taken from the Schoolmen as regards the terms, but to which
they have given a meaning not usual among the ancients. It is true that God
may command something and yet not will that it be done, as when he
commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son: he willed the obedience, and he did
not will the action. But when God commands the virtuous action and    [226]
forbids the sin, he wills indeed that which he ordains, but it is only by
an antecedent will, as I have explained more than once.

165. M. Descartes' comparison is therefore not satisfactory; but it may be
made so. One must make some change in the facts, inventing some reason to
oblige the prince to cause or permit the two enemies to meet. They must,
for instance, be together in the army or in other obligatory functions, a
circumstance the prince himself cannot hinder without endangering his
State. For example, the absence of either of them might be responsible for
the disappearance of innumerable persons of his party from the army or
cause grumbling among the soldiers and give rise to some great disturbance.
In this case, therefore, one may say that the prince does not will the
duel: he knows of it, but he permits it notwithstanding, for he prefers
permitting the sin of others to committing one himself. Thus this corrected
comparison may serve, provided that one observe the difference between God
and the prince. The prince is forced into this permission by his
powerlessness; a more powerful monarch would have no need of all these
considerations; but God, who has power to do all that is possible, only
permits sin because it is absolutely impossible to anyone at all to do
better. The prince's action is peradventure not free from sorrow and
regret. This regret is due to his imperfection, of which he is sensible;
therein lies displeasure. God is incapable of such a feeling and finds,
moreover, no cause therefor; he is infinitely conscious of his own
perfection, and it may even be said that the imperfection in creatures
taken individually changes for him into perfection in relation to the
whole, and that it is an added glory for the Creator. What more can one
wish, when one possesses a boundless wisdom and when one is as powerful as
one is wise; when one can do all and when one has the best?

166. Having once understood these things, we are hardened sufficiently, so
it seems to me, against the strongest and most spirited objections. I have
not concealed them: but there are some we shall merely touch upon, because
they are too odious. The Remonstrants and M. Bayle (_Reply to the Questions
of a Provincial_, vol. III, ch. 152, end page 919) quote St. Augustine,
saying, '_crudelem esse misericordiam velle aliquem miserum esse ut eius
miserearis_': in the same sense is cited Seneca _De Benef._, L. 6, c. 36,
37. I confess that one would have some reason to urge that against those
who believed that God has no other cause for permitting sin than the  [227]
design to have something wherewith to exercise punitive justice against the
majority of men, and his mercy towards a small number of elect. But it must
be considered that God had reasons for his permission of sin, more worthy
of him and more profound in relation to us. Someone has dared to compare
God's course of action with that of a Caligula, who has his edicts written
in so small a hand and has them placarded in so high a place that it is not
possible to read them; with that of a mother who neglects her daughter's
honour in order to attain her own selfish ends; with that of Queen
Catherine de Medicis, who is said to have abetted the love-affairs of her
ladies in order to learn of the intrigues of the great; and even with that
of Tiberius, who arranged, through the extraordinary services of the
executioner, that the law forbidding the subjection of a virgin to capital
punishment should no longer apply to the case of Sejanus's daughter. This
last comparison was proposed by Peter Bertius, then an Armenian, but
finally a member of the Roman communion. And a scandalous comparison has
been made between God and Tiberius, which is related at length by Andreas
Caroli in his _Memorabilia Ecclesiastica_ of the last century, as M. Bayle
observes. Bertius used it against the Gomarists. I think that arguments of
this kind are only valid against those who maintain that justice is an
arbitrary thing in relation to God; or that he has a despotic power which
can go so far as being able to condemn innocents; or, in short, that good
is not the motive of his actions.

167. At that same time an ingenious satire was composed against the
Gomarists, entitled _Fur praedestinatus, de gepredestineerdedief_, wherein
there is introduced a thief condemned to be hanged, who attributes to God
all the evil he has done; who believes himself predestined to salvation
notwithstanding his wicked actions; who imagines that this belief is
sufficient for him, and who defeats by arguments _ad hominem_ a
Counter-remonstrant minister called to prepare him for death: but this
thief is finally converted by an old pastor who had been dismissed for his
Arminianism, whom the gaoler, in pity for the criminal and for the weakness
of the minister, had brought to him secretly. Replies were made to this
lampoon, but replies to satires never please as much as the satires
themselves. M. Bayle (_Reply to the Questions of a Provincial_, vol. III,
ch. 154, p. 938) says that this book was printed in England in the    [228]
time of Cromwell, and he appears not to have been informed that it was only
a translation of the much older original Flemish. He adds that Dr. George
Kendal wrote a confutation of it at Oxford in the year 1657, under the
title of _Fur pro Tribunali_, and that the dialogue is there inserted. This
dialogue presupposes, contrary to the truth, that the Counter-remonstrants
make God the cause of evil, and teach a kind of predestination in the
Mahometan manner according to which it does not matter whether one does
good or evil, and the assumption that one is predestined assures the fact.
They by no means go so far. Nevertheless it is true that there are among
them some Supralapsarians and others who find it hard to declare themselves
in clear terms upon the justice of God and the principles of piety and
morals in man. For they imagine despotism in God, and demand that man be
convinced, without reason, of the absolute certainty of his election, a
course that is liable to have dangerous consequences. But all those who
acknowledge that God produces the best plan, having chosen it from among
all possible ideas of the universe; that he there finds man inclined by the
original imperfection of creatures to misuse his free will and to plunge
into misery; that God prevents the sin and the misery in so far as the
perfection of the universe, which is an emanation from his, may permit it:
those, I say, show forth more clearly that God's intention is the one most
right and holy in the world; that the creature alone is guilty, that his
original limitation or imperfection is the source of his wickedness, that
his evil will is the sole cause of his misery; that one cannot be destined
to salvation without also being destined to the holiness of the children of
God, and that all hope of election one can have can only be founded upon
the good will infused into one's heart by the grace of God.

168. _Metaphysical considerations_ also are brought up against my
explanation of the moral cause of moral evil; but they will trouble me less
since I have dismissed the objections derived from moral reasons, which
were more impressive. These metaphysical considerations concern the nature
of the _possible_ and of the _necessary_; they go against my fundamental
assumption that God has chosen the best of all possible worlds. There are
philosophers who have maintained that there is nothing possible except that
which actually happens. These are those same people who thought or could
have thought that all is necessary unconditionally. Some were of this [229]
opinion because they admitted a brute and blind necessity in the cause of
the existence of things: and it is these I have most reason for opposing.
But there are others who are mistaken only because they misuse terms. They
confuse moral necessity with metaphysical necessity: they imagine that
since God cannot help acting for the best he is thus deprived of freedom,
and things are endued with that necessity which philosophers and
theologians endeavour to avoid. With these writers my dispute is only one
of words, provided they admit in very deed that God chooses and does the
best. But there are others who go further, they think that God could have
done better. This is an opinion which must be rejected: for although it
does not altogether deprive God of wisdom and goodness, as do the advocates
of blind necessity, it sets bounds thereto, thus derogating from God's
supreme perfection.

169. The question of the _possibility of things that do not happen_ has
already been examined by the ancients. It appears that Epicurus, to
preserve freedom and to avoid an absolute necessity, maintained, after
Aristotle, that contingent futurities were not susceptible of determinate
truth. For if it was true yesterday that I should write to-day, it could
therefore not fail to happen, it was already necessary; and, for the same
reason, it was from all eternity. Thus all that which happens is necessary,
and it is impossible for anything different to come to pass. But since that
is not so it would follow, according to him, that contingent futurities
have no determinate truth. To uphold this opinion, Epicurus went so far as
to deny the first and the greatest principle of the truths of reason, he
denied that every assertion was either true or false. Here is the way they
confounded him: 'You deny that it was true yesterday that I should write
to-day; it was therefore false.' The good man, not being able to admit this
conclusion, was obliged to say that it was neither true nor false. After
that, he needs no refutation, and Chrysippus might have spared himself the
trouble he took to prove the great principle of contradictories, following
the account by Cicero in his book _De Fato_: 'Contendit omnes nervos
Chrysippus ut persuadeat omne [Greek: Axiôma] aut verum esse aut falsum. Ut
enim Epicurus veretur ne si hoc concesserit, concedendum sit, fato fieri
quaecunque fiant; si enim alterum ex aeternitate verum sit, esse id etiam
certum; si certum, etiam necessarium; ita et necessitatem et fatum
confirmari putat; sic Chrysippus metuit ne non, si non obtinuerit omne[230]
quod enuncietur aut verum esse aut falsum, omnia fato fieri possint ex
causis aeternis rerum futurarum.' M. Bayle observes (_Dictionary_, article
'Epicurus', let. T, p. 1141) 'that neither of these two great philosophers
[Epicurus and Chrysippus] understood that the truth of this maxim, every
proposition is true or false, is independent of what is called _fatum_: it
could not therefore serve as proof of the existence of the _fatum_, as
Chrysippus maintained and as Epicurus feared. Chrysippus could not have
conceded, without damaging his own position, that there are propositions
which are neither true nor false. But he gained nothing by asserting the
contrary: for, whether there be free causes or not, it is equally true that
this proposition, The Grand Mogul will go hunting to-morrow, is true or
false. Men rightly regarded as ridiculous this speech of Tiresias: All that
I shall say will happen or not, for great Apollo confers on me the faculty
of prophesying. If, assuming the impossible, there were no God, it would
yet be certain that everything the greatest fool in the world should
predict would happen or would not happen. That is what neither Chrysippus
nor Epicurus has taken into consideration.' Cicero, lib. I, _De Nat.
Deorum_, with regard to the evasions of the Epicureans expressed the sound
opinion (as M. Bayle observes towards the end of the same page) that it
would be much less shameful to admit that one cannot answer one's opponent,
than to have recourse to such answers. Yet we shall see that M. Bayle
himself confused the certain with the necessary, when he maintained that
the choice of the best rendered things necessary.

170. Let us come now to the possibility of things that do not happen, and I
will give the very words of M. Bayle, albeit they are somewhat discursive.
This is what he says on the matter in his _Dictionary_ (article
'Chrysippus', let. S, p. 929): 'The celebrated dispute on things possible
and things impossible owed its origin to the doctrine of the Stoics
concerning fate. The question was to know whether, among the things which
have never been and never will be, there are some possible; or whether all
that is not, all that has never been, all that will never be, was
impossible. A famous dialectician of the Megaric Sect, named Diodorus, gave
a negative answer to the first of these two questions and an affirmative to
the second; but Chrysippus vehemently opposed him. Here are two passages of
Cicero (epist. 4, lib. 9, _Ad Familiar._): "[Greek: peri dynatôn] me scito
[Greek: kata Diodôron krinein]. Quapropter si venturus es, scito      [231]
necesse esse te venire. Sin autem non es, [Greek: tôn adynatôn] est te
venire. Nunc vide utra te [Greek: krisis] magis delectet, [Greek:
Chrysippeia] ne, an haec; quam noster Diodorus [a Stoic who for a long time
had lived in Cicero's house] non concoquebat." This is quoted from a letter
that Cicero wrote to Varro. He sets forth more comprehensively the whole
state of the question, in the little book _De Fato_. I am going to quote a
few pieces (Cic., _De Fato_, p. m. 65): "Vigila, Chrysippe, ne tuam causam,
in qua tibi cum Diodoro valente Dialectico magna luctatio est, deseras ...
omne ergo quod falsum dicitur in futuro, id fieri non potest. At hoc,
Chrysippe, minime vis, maximeque tibi de hoc ipso cum Diodoro certamen est.
Ille enim id solum fieri posse dicit, quod aut sit verum, aut futurum sit
verum; et quicquid futurum sit, id dicit fieri necesse esse; et quicquid
non sit futurum, id negat fieri posse. Tu etiam quae non sint futura, posse
fieri dicis, ut frangi hanc gemmam, etiamsi id nunquam futurum sit: neque
necesse fuisse Cypselum regnare Corinthi, quamquam id millesimo ante anno
Apollinis Oraculo editum esset.... Placet Diodoro, id solum fieri posse,
quod aut verum sit, aut verum futurum sit: qui locus attingit hanc
quaestionem, nihil fieri, quod non necesse fuerit; et quicquid fieri
possit, id aut esse jam, aut futurum esse: nec magis commutari ex veris in
falsa ea posse quae futura sunt, quam ea quae facta sunt: sed in factis
immutabilitatem apparere; in futuris quibusdam, quia non apparent, ne
inesse quidem videri: ut in eo qui mortifero morbo urgeatur, verum sit, hic
morietur hoc morbo: at hoc idem si vere dicatur in eo, in quo tanta vis
morbi non appareat, nihilominus futurum sit. Ita fit ut commutatio ex vero
in falsum, ne in futuro quidem ulla fieri possit." Cicero makes it clear
enough that Chrysippus often found himself in difficulties in this dispute,
and that is no matter for astonishment: for the course he had chosen was
not bound up with his dogma of fate, and, if he had known how, or had
dared, to reason consistently, he would readily have adopted the whole
hypothesis of Diodorus. We have seen already that the freedom he assigned
to the soul, and his comparison of the cylinder, did not preclude the
possibility that in reality all the acts of the human will were unavoidable
consequences of fate. Hence it follows that everything which does not
happen is impossible, and that there is nothing possible but that which
actually comes to pass. Plutarch (_De Stoicor. Repugn._, pp. 1053, 1054)
discomfits him completely, on that point as well as on the dispute    [232]
with Diodorus, and maintains that his opinion on possibility is altogether
contrary to the doctrine of _fatum_. Observe that the most eminent Stoics
had written on this matter without following the same path. Arrian (in
_Epict._, lib. 2, c. 29, p. m. 166) named four of them, who are Chrysippus,
Cleanthes, Archidemus and Antipater. He evinces great scorn for this
dispute; and M. Menage need not have cited him as a writer who had spoken
in commendation of the work of Chrysippus [Greek: peri dynatôn] ("citatur
honorifice apud Arrianum", Menag. in _Laert._, I, 7, 341) for assuredly
these words, "[Greek: gegraphe de kai Chrysippos thaumastôs], etc., de his
rebus mira scripsit Chrysippus", etc., are not in that connexion a eulogy.
That is shown by the passages immediately before and after it. Dionysius of
Halicarnassus (_De Collocat. Verbor._, c. 17, p. m. 11) mentions two
treatises by Chrysippus, wherein, under a title that promised something
different, much of the logicians' territory had been explored. The work was
entitled "[Greek: peri tês syntaxeôs tôn tou logou merôn], de partium
orationis collocatione", and treated only of propositions true and false,
possible and impossible, contingent and equivocal, etc., matter that our
Schoolmen have pounded down and reduced to its essence. Take note that
Chrysippus recognized that past things were necessarily true, which
Cleanthes had not been willing to admit. (Arrian, _ubi supra_, p. m. 165.)
"[Greek: Ou pan de parelêlythos alêthes anankaion esti, kathaper hoi peri
Kleanthên pheresthai dokousi]. Non omne praeteritum ex necessitate verum
est, ut illi qui Cleanthem sequuntur sentiunt." We have already seen (p.
562, col. 2) that Abélard is alleged to have taught a doctrine which
resembles that of Diodorus. I think that the Stoics pledged themselves to
give a wider range to possible things than to future things, for the
purpose of mitigating the odious and frightful conclusions which were drawn
from their dogma of fatality.'

It is sufficiently evident that Cicero when writing to Varro the words that
have just been quoted (lib. 9, Ep. 4, _Ad Familiar._) had not enough
comprehension of the effect of Diodorus's opinion, since he found it
preferable. He presents tolerably well in his book _De Fato_ the opinions
of those writers, but it is a pity that he has not always added the reasons
which they employed. Plutarch in his treatise on the contradictions of the
Stoics and M. Bayle are both surprised that Chrysippus was not of the same
opinion as Diodorus, since he favours fatality. But Chrysippus and even his
master Cleanthes were on that point more reasonable than is supposed. [233]
That will be seen as we proceed. It is open to question whether the past is
more necessary than the future. Cleanthes held the opinion that it is. The
objection is raised that it is necessary _ex hypothesi_ for the future to
happen, as it is necessary _ex hypothesi_ for the past to have happened.
But there is this difference, that it is not possible to act on the past
state, that would be a contradiction; but it is possible to produce some
effect on the future. Yet the hypothetical necessity of both is the same:
the one cannot be changed, the other will not be; and once that is past, it
will not be possible for it to be changed either.

171. The famous Pierre Abélard expressed an opinion resembling that of
Diodorus in the statement that God can do only that which he does. It was
the third of the fourteen propositions taken from his works which were
censured at the Council of Sens. It had been taken from the third book of
his _Introduction to Theology_, where he treats especially of the power of
God. The reason he gave for his statement was that God can do only that
which he wills. Now God cannot will to do anything other than that which he
does, because, of necessity, he must will whatever is fitting. Hence it
follows that all that which he does not, is not fitting, that he cannot
will to do it, and consequently that he cannot do it. Abélard admits
himself that this opinion is peculiar to him, that hardly anyone shares in
it, that it seems contrary to the doctrine of the saints and to reason and
derogatory to the greatness of God. It appears that this author was a
little too much inclined to speak and to think differently from others: for
in reality this was only a dispute about words: he was changing the use of
terms. Power and will are different faculties, whose objects also are
different; it is confusing them to say that God can do only that which he
wills. On the contrary, among various possibles, he wills only that which
he finds the best. For all possibles are regarded as objects of power, but
actual and existing things are regarded as the objects of his decretory
will. Abélard himself acknowledged it. He raises this objection for
himself: a reprobate can be saved; but he can only be saved if God saves
him. God can therefore save him, and consequently do something that he does
not. Abélard answers that it may indeed be said that this man can be saved
in respect of the possibility of human nature, which is capable of
salvation: but that it may not be said that God can save him in respect of
God himself, because it is impossible that God should do that which he[234]
must not do. But Abélard admits that it may very well be said in a sense,
speaking absolutely and setting aside the assumption of reprobation, that
such an one who is reprobate can be saved, and that thus often that which
God does not can be done. He could therefore have spoken like the rest, who
mean nothing different when they say that God can save this man, and that
he can do that which he does not.

172. The so-called necessity of Wyclif, which was condemned by the Council
of Constance, seems to arise simply from this same misunderstanding. I
think that men of talent do wrong to truth and to themselves when, without
reason, they bring into use new and displeasing expressions. In our own
time the celebrated Mr. Hobbes supported this same opinion, that what does
not happen is impossible. He proves it by the statement that all the
conditions requisite for a thing that shall not exist (_omnia rei non
futurae requisita_) are never found together, and that the thing cannot
exist otherwise. But who does not see that that only proves a hypothetical
impossibility? It is true that a thing cannot exist when a requisite
condition for it is lacking. But as we claim to be able to say that the
thing can exist although it does not exist, we claim in the same way to be
able to say that the requisite conditions can exist although they do not
exist. Thus Mr. Hobbes's argument leaves the matter where it is. The
opinion which was held concerning Mr. Hobbes, that he taught an absolute
necessity of all things, brought upon him much discredit, and would have
done him harm even had it been his only error.

173. Spinoza went further: he appears to have explicitly taught a blind
necessity, having denied to the Author of Things understanding and will,
and assuming that good and perfection relate to us only, and not to him. It
is true that Spinoza's opinion on this subject is somewhat obscure: for he
grants God thought, after having divested him of understanding,
_cogitationem, non intellectum concedit Deo_. There are even passages where
he relents on the question of necessity. Nevertheless, as far as one can
understand him, he acknowledges no goodness in God, properly speaking, and
he teaches that all things exist through the necessity of the divine
nature, without any act of choice by God. We will not waste time here in
refuting an opinion so bad, and indeed so inexplicable. My own opinion is
founded on the nature of the possibles, that is, of things that imply [235]
no contradiction. I do not think that a Spinozist will say that all the
romances one can imagine exist actually now, or have existed, or will still
exist in some place in the universe. Yet one cannot deny that romances such
as those of Mademoiselle de Scudéry, or as _Octavia_, are possible. Let us
therefore bring up against him these words of M. Bayle, which please me
well, on page 390, 'It is to-day', he says, 'a great embarrassment for the
Spinozists to see that, according to their hypothesis, it was as impossible
from all eternity that Spinoza, for instance, should not die at The Hague,
as it is impossible for two and two to make six. They are well aware that
it is a necessary conclusion from their doctrine, and a conclusion which
disheartens, affrights, and stirs the mind to revolt, because of the
absurdity it involves, diametrically opposed to common sense. They are not
well pleased that one should know they are subverting a maxim so universal
and so evident as this one: All that which implies contradiction is
impossible, and all that which implies no contradiction is possible.'

174. One may say of M. Bayle, 'ubi bene, nemo melius', although one cannot
say of him what was said of Origen, 'ubi male, nemo pejus'. I will only add
that what has just been indicated as a maxim is in fact the definition of
the _possible_ and the _impossible_. M. Bayle, however, adds here towards
the end a remark which somewhat spoils his eminently reasonable statement.
'Now what contradiction would there be if Spinoza had died in Leyden? Would
Nature then have been less perfect, less wise, less powerful?' He confuses
here what is impossible because it implies contradiction with what cannot
happen because it is not meet to be chosen. It is true that there would
have been no contradiction in the supposition that Spinoza died in Leyden
and not at The Hague; there would have been nothing so possible: the matter
was therefore indifferent in respect of the power of God. But one must not
suppose that any event, however small it be, can be regarded as indifferent
in respect of his wisdom and his goodness. Jesus Christ has said divinely
well that everything is numbered, even to the hairs of our head. Thus the
wisdom of God did not permit that this event whereof M. Bayle speaks should
happen otherwise than it happened, not as if by itself it would have been
more deserving of choice, but on account of its connexion with that entire
sequence of the universe which deserved to be given preference. To say that
what has already happened was of no interest to the wisdom of God, and[236]
thence to infer that it is therefore not necessary, is to make a false
assumption and argue incorrectly to a true conclusion. It is confusing what
is necessary by moral necessity, that is, according to the principle of
Wisdom and Goodness, with what is so by metaphysical and brute necessity,
which occurs when the contrary implies contradiction. Spinoza, moreover,
sought a metaphysical necessity in events. He did not think that God was
determined by his goodness and by his perfection (which this author treated
as chimeras in relation to the universe), but by the necessity of his
nature; just as the semicircle is bound to enclose only right angles,
without either knowing or willing this. For Euclid demonstrated that all
angles enclosed between two straight lines drawn from the extremities of
the diameter towards a point on the circumference of the circle are of
necessity right angles, and that the contrary implies contradiction.

175. There are people who have gone to the other extreme: under the pretext
of freeing the divine nature from the yoke of necessity they wished to
regard it as altogether indifferent, with an indifference of equipoise.
They did not take into account that just as metaphysical necessity is
preposterous in relation to God's actions _ad extra_, so moral necessity is
worthy of him. It is a happy necessity which obliges wisdom to do good,
whereas indifference with regard to good and evil would indicate a lack of
goodness or of wisdom. And besides, the indifference which would keep the
will in a perfect equipoise would itself be a chimera, as has been already
shown: it would offend against the great principle of the determinant

176. Those who believe that God established good and evil by an arbitrary
decree are adopting that strange idea of mere indifference, and other
absurdities still stranger. They deprive God of the designation _good_: for
what cause could one have to praise him for what he does, if in doing
something quite different he would have done equally well? And I have very
often been surprised that divers Supralapsarian theologians, as for
instance Samuel Rutherford, a Professor of Theology in Scotland, who wrote
when the controversies with the Remonstrants were at their height, could
have been deluded by so strange an idea. Rutherford (in his _Exercitationes
Apologeticae pro Gratia_) says positively that nothing is unjust or morally
bad in God's eyes before he has forbidden it: thus without this prohibition
it would be a matter of indifference whether one murdered or saved a  [237]
man, loved God or hated him, praised or blasphemed him. Nothing is so
unreasonable as that. One may teach that God established good and evil by a
positive law, or one may assert that there was something good and just
before his decree, but that he is not required to conform to it, and that
nothing prevents him from acting unjustly and from perhaps condemning
innocence: but it all comes to the same thing, offering almost equal
dishonour to God. For if justice was established arbitrarily and without
any cause, if God came upon it by a kind of hazard, as when one draws lots,
his goodness and his wisdom are not manifested in it, and there is nothing
at all to attach him to it. If it is by a purely arbitrary decree, without
any reason, that he has established or created what we call justice and
goodness, then he can annul them or change their nature. Thus one would
have no reason to assume that he will observe them always, as it would be
possible to say he will observe them on the assumption that they are
founded on reasons. The same would hold good more or less if his justice
were different from ours, if (for example) it were written in his code that
it is just to make the innocent eternally unhappy. According to these
principles also, nothing would compel God to keep his word or would assure
us of its fulfilment. For why should the law of justice, which states that
reasonable promises must be kept, be more inviolable for him than any other

177. All these three dogmas, albeit a little different from one another,
namely, (1) that the nature of justice is arbitrary, (2) that it is fixed,
but it is not certain that God will observe it, and finally (3) that the
justice we know is not that which he observes, destroy the confidence in
God that gives us tranquillity, and the love of God that makes our
happiness. There is nothing to prevent such a God from behaving as a tyrant
and an enemy of honest folk, and from taking pleasure in that which we call
evil. Why should he not, then, just as well be the evil principle of the
Manichaeans as the single good principle of the orthodox? At least he would
be neutral and, as it were, suspended between the two, or even sometimes
the one and sometimes the other. That would be as if someone were to say
that Oromasdes and Arimanius reign in turns, according to which of the two
is the stronger or the more adroit. It is like the saying of a certain
Moghul woman. She, so it seems, having heard it said that formerly under
Genghis Khan and his successors her nation had had dominion over most [238]
of the North and East, told the Muscovites recently, when M. Isbrand went
to China on behalf of the Czar, through the country of those Tartars, that
the god of the Moghuls had been driven from Heaven, but that one day he
would take his own place again. The true God is always the same: natural
religion itself demands that he be essentially as good and wise as he is
powerful. It is scarcely more contrary to reason and piety to say that God
acts without cognition, than to maintain that he has cognition which does
not find the eternal rules of goodness and of justice among its objects, or
again to say that he has a will such as heeds not these rules.

178. Some theologians who have written of God's right over creatures appear
to have conceded to him an unrestricted right, an arbitrary and despotic
power. They thought that would be placing divinity on the most exalted
level that may be imagined for it, and that it would abase the creature
before the Creator to such an extent that the Creator is bound by no laws
of any kind with respect to the creature. There are passages from Twiss,
Rutherford and some other Supralapsarians which imply that God cannot sin
whatever he may do, because he is subject to no law. M. Bayle himself
considers that this doctrine is monstrous and contrary to the holiness of
God (_Dictionary_, v. 'Paulicians', p. 2332 _in initio_); but I suppose
that the intention of some of these writers was less bad than it seems to
be. Apparently they meant by the term right, [Greek: anypeuthynian], a
state wherein one is responsible to none for one's actions. But they will
not have denied that God owes to himself what goodness and justice demand
of him. On that matter one may see M. Amyraut's _Apology for Calvin_: it is
true that Calvin appears orthodox on this subject, and that he is by no
means one of the extreme Supralapsarians.

179. Thus, when M. Bayle says somewhere that St. Paul extricates himself
from predestination only through the consideration of God's absolute right,
and the incomprehensibility of his ways, it is implied that, if one
understood them, one would find them consistent with justice, God not being
able to use his power otherwise. St. Paul himself says that it is a
_depth_, but a depth of wisdom (_altitudo sapientiae_), and _justice_ is
included in _the goodness of the All-wise_. I find that M. Bayle speaks
very well elsewhere on the application of our notions of goodness to the
actions of God (_Reply to the Questions of a Provincial_, ch. 81, p. 139):
'One must not assert here', he says, 'that the goodness of the        [239]
infinite Being is not subject to the same rules as the goodness of the
creature. For if there is in God an attribute that can be called goodness,
the marks of goodness in general must apply to him. Now when we reduce
goodness to the most general abstraction, we find therein the will to do
good. Divide and subdivide into as many kinds as you shall please this
general goodness, into infinite goodness, finite goodness, kingly goodness,
goodness of a father, goodness of a husband, goodness of a master, you will
find in each, as an inseparable attribute, the will to do good.'

180. I find also that M. Bayle combats admirably the opinion of those who
assert that goodness and justice depend solely upon the arbitrary choice of
God; who suppose, moreover, that if God had been determined by the goodness
of things themselves to act, he would be entirely subjected to necessity in
his actions, a state incompatible with freedom. That is confusing
metaphysical necessity with moral necessity. Here is what M. Bayle says in
objection to this error (_Reply_, ch. 89, p. 203): 'The consequence of this
doctrine will be, that before God resolved upon creating the world he saw
nothing better in virtue than in vice, and that his ideas did not show him
that virtue was more worthy of his love than vice. That leaves no
distinction between natural right and positive right; there will no longer
be anything unalterable or inevitable in morals; it will have been just as
possible for God to command people to be vicious as to command them to be
virtuous; and one will have no certainty that the moral laws will not one
day be abrogated, as the ceremonial laws of the Jews were. This, in a word,
leads us straight to the belief that God was the free author, not only of
goodness and of virtue, but also of truth and of the essence of things.
That is what certain of the Cartesians assert, and I confess that their
opinion (see the Continuation of _Divers Thoughts on the Comet_, p. 554)
might be of some avail in certain circumstances. Yet it is open to dispute
for so many reasons, and subject to consequences so troublesome (see
chapter 152 of the same Continuation) that there are scarcely any extremes
it were not better to suffer rather than plunge into that one. It opens the
door to the most exaggerated Pyrrhonism: for it leads to the assertion that
this proposition, three and three make six, is only true where and during
the time when it pleases God; that it is perhaps false in some parts of the
universe; and that perhaps it will be so among men in the coming year.[240]
All that depends on the free will of God could have been limited to certain
places and certain times, like the Judaic ceremonies. This conclusion will
be extended to all the laws of the Decalogue, if the actions they command
are in their nature divested of all goodness to the same degree as the
actions they forbid.'

181. To say that God, having resolved to create man just as he is, could
not but have required of him piety, sobriety, justice and chastity, because
it is impossible that the disorders capable of overthrowing or disturbing
his work can please him, that is to revert in effect to the common opinion.
Virtues are virtues only because they serve perfection or prevent the
imperfection of those who are virtuous, or even of those who have to do
with them. And they have that power by their nature and by the nature of
rational creatures, before God decrees to create them. To hold a different
opinion would be as if someone were to say that the rules of proportion and
harmony are arbitrary with regard to musicians because they occur in music
only when one has resolved to sing or to play some instrument. But that is
exactly what is meant by being essential to good music: for those rules
belong to it already in the ideal state, even when none yet thinks of
singing, since it is known that they must of necessity belong to it as soon
as one shall sing. In the same way virtues belong to the ideal state of the
rational creature before God decrees to create it; and it is for that very
reason we maintain that virtues are good by their nature.

182. M. Bayle has inserted a special chapter in his Continuation of _Divers
Thoughts on the Comet_ (it is chapter 152) where he shows 'that the
Christian Doctors teach that there are things which are just antecedently
to God's decrees'. Some theologians of the Augsburg Confession censured
some of the Reformed who appeared to be of a different opinion; and this
error was regarded as if it were a consequence of the absolute decree,
which doctrine seems to exempt the will of God from any kind of reason,
_ubi stat pro ratione voluntas_. But, as I have observed already on various
occasions, Calvin himself acknowledged that the decrees of God are in
conformity with justice and wisdom, although the reasons that might prove
this conformity in detail are unknown to us. Thus, according to him, the
rules of goodness and of justice are anterior to the decrees of God. M.
Bayle, in the same place, quotes a passage from the celebrated M. Turretin
which draws a distinction between natural divine laws and positive    [241]
divine laws. Moral laws are of the first kind and ceremonial of the second.
Samuel Desmarests, a celebrated theologian formerly at Groningen, and Herr
Strinesius, who is still at Frankfort on the Oder, advocated this same
distinction; and I think that it is the opinion most widely accepted even
among the Reformed. Thomas Aquinas and all the Thomists were of the same
opinion, with the bulk of the Schoolmen and the theologians of the Roman
Church. The Casuists also held to that idea: I count Grotius among the most
eminent of them, and he was followed in this point by his commentators.
Herr Pufendorf appeared to be of a different opinion, which he insisted on
maintaining in the face of censure from some theologians; but he need not
be taken into account, not having advanced far enough in subjects of this
kind. He makes a vigorous protest against the absolute decree, in his
_Fecialis divinus_, and yet he approves what is worst in the opinions of
the champions of this decree, and without which this decree (as others of
the Reformed explain) becomes endurable. Aristotle was very orthodox on
this matter of justice, and the Schoolmen followed him: they distinguish,
just as Cicero and the Jurists do, between perpetual right, which is
binding on all and everywhere, and positive right, which is only for
certain times and certain peoples. I once read with enjoyment the
_Euthyphro_ of Plato, who makes Socrates uphold the truth on that point,
and M. Bayle has called attention to the same passage.

183. M. Bayle himself upholds this truth with considerable force in a
certain passage, which it will be well to quote here in its entirety, long
as it is (vol. II of the Continuation of _Divers Thoughts on the Comet_,
ch. 152, p. 771 _seqq._): 'According to the teaching of countless writers
of importance', he says, 'there is in nature and in the essence of certain
things a moral good or evil that precedes the divine decree. They prove
this doctrine principally through the frightful consequences that attend
the opposite dogma. Thus from the proposition that to do wrong to no man
would be a good action, not in itself but by an arbitrary dispensation of
God's will, it would follow that God could have given to man a law directly
opposed at all points to the commandments of the Decalogue. That is
horrifying. But here is a more direct proof, one derived from metaphysics.
One thing is certain, that the existence of God is not an effect of his
will. He exists not because he wills his existence, but through the   [242]
necessity of his infinite nature. His power and his knowledge exist through
the same necessity. He is all-powerful, he knows all things, not because he
wills it thus, but because these are attributes necessarily identified with
him. The dominion of his will relates only to the exercise of his power, he
gives effect outside himself only to that which he wills, and he leaves all
the rest in the state of mere possibility. Thence it comes that this
dominion extends only over the existence of creatures, and not over their
essential being. God was able to create matter, a man, a circle, or leave
them in nothingness, but he was not able to produce them without giving
them their essential properties. He had of necessity to make man a rational
animal and to give the round shape to a circle, since, according to his
eternal ideas, independent of the free decrees of his will, the essence of
man lay in the properties of being animal and rational, and since the
essence of the circle lay in having a circumference equally distant from
the centre as to all its parts. This is what has caused the Christian
philosophers to acknowledge that the essences of things are eternal, and
that there are propositions of eternal truth; consequently that the
essences of things and the truth of the first principles are immutable.
That is to be understood not only of theoretical but also of practical
first principles, and of all the propositions that contain the true
definition of creatures. These essences and these truths emanate from the
same necessity of nature as the knowledge of God. Since therefore it is by
the nature of things that God exists, that he is all-powerful, and that he
has perfect knowledge of all things, it is also by the nature of things
that matter, the triangle, man and certain actions of man, etc., have such
and such properties essentially. God saw from all eternity and in all
necessity the essential relations of numbers, and the identity of the
subject and predicate in the propositions that contain the essence of each
thing. He saw likewise that the term just is included in these
propositions: to esteem what is estimable, be grateful to one's benefactor,
fulfil the conditions of a contract, and so on, with many others relating
to morals. One is therefore justified in saying that the precepts of
natural law assume the reasonableness and justice of that which is
enjoined, and that it would be man's duty to practise what they contain
even though God should have been so indulgent as to ordain nothing in that
respect. Pray observe that in going back with our visionary thoughts to
that ideal moment when God has yet decreed nothing, we find in the    [243]
ideas of God the principles of morals under terms that imply an obligation.
We understand these maxims as certain, and derived from the eternal and
immutable order: it beseems the rational creature to conform to reason; a
rational creature conforming to reason is to be commended, but not
conforming thereto is blameworthy. You would not dare to deny that these
truths impose upon man a duty in relation to all acts which are in
conformity with strict reason, such as these: one must esteem all that is
estimable; render good for good; do wrong to no man; honour one's father;
render to every man that which is his due, etc. Now since by the very
nature of things, and before the divine laws, the truths of morality impose
upon man certain duties, Thomas Aquinas and Grotius were justified in
saying that if there were no God we should nevertheless be obliged to
conform to natural law. Others have said that even supposing all rational
beings in existence were to perish, true propositions would remain true.
Cajetan maintained that if he remained alone in the universe, all other
things without any exception having been destroyed, the knowledge that he
had of the nature of a rose would nevertheless subsist.'

184. The late Jacob Thomasius, a celebrated Professor at Leipzig, made the
apt observation in his elucidations of the philosophic rules of Daniel
Stahl, a Jena professor, that it is not advisable to go altogether beyond
God, and that one must not say, with some Scotists, that the eternal
verities would exist even though there were no understanding, not even that
of God. For it is, in my judgement, the divine understanding which gives
reality to the eternal verities, albeit God's will have no part therein.
All reality must be founded on something existent. It is true that an
atheist may be a geometrician: but if there were no God, geometry would
have no object. And without God, not only would there be nothing existent,
but there would be nothing possible. That, however, does not hinder those
who do not see the connexion of all things one with another and with God
from being able to understand certain sciences, without knowing their first
source, which is in God. Aristotle, although he also scarcely knew that
source, nevertheless said something of the same kind which was very
apposite. He acknowledged that the principles of individual forms of
knowledge depend on a superior knowledge which gives the reason for them;
and this superior knowledge must have being, and consequently God, the[244]
source of being, for its object. Herr Dreier of Königsberg has aptly
observed that the true metaphysics which Aristotle sought, and which he
called [Greek: tên zêtoumenên], his _desideratum_, was theology.

185. Yet the same M. Bayle, who says so much that is admirable in order to
prove that the rules of goodness and justice, and the eternal verities in
general, exist by their nature, and not by an arbitrary choice of God, has
spoken very hesitatingly about them in another passage (Continuation of
_Divers Thoughts on the Comet_, vol. II, ch. 114, towards the end). After
having given an account of the opinion of M. Descartes and a section of his
followers, who maintain that God is the free cause of truths and of
essences, he adds (p. 554): 'I have done all that I could to gain true
understanding of this dogma and to find the solution of the difficulties
surrounding it. I confess to you quite simply that I still cannot properly
fathom it. That does not discourage me; I suppose, as other philosophers in
other cases have supposed, that time will unfold the meaning of this noble
paradox. I wish that Father Malebranche had thought fit to defend it, but
he took other measures.' Is it possible that the enjoyment of doubt can
have such influence upon a gifted man as to make him wish and hope for the
power to believe that two contradictories never exist together for the sole
reason that God forbade them to, and, moreover, that God could have issued
them an order to ensure that they always walked together? There is indeed a
noble paradox! Father Malebranche showed great wisdom in taking other

186. I cannot even imagine that M. Descartes can have been quite seriously
of this opinion, although he had adherents who found this easy to believe,
and would in all simplicity follow him where he only made pretence to go.
It was apparently one of his tricks, one of his philosophic feints: he
prepared for himself some loophole, as when for instance he discovered a
trick for denying the movement of the earth, while he was a Copernican in
the strictest sense. I suspect that he had in mind here another
extraordinary manner of speaking, of his own invention, which was to say
that affirmations and negations, and acts of inner judgement in general,
are operations of the will. Through this artifice the eternal verities,
which until the time of Descartes had been named an object of the divine
understanding, suddenly became an object of God's will. Now the acts of his
will are free, therefore God is the free cause of the verities. That  [245]
is the outcome of the matter. _Spectatum admissi._ A slight change in the
meaning of terms has caused all this commotion. But if the affirmations of
necessary truths were actions of the will of the most perfect mind, these
actions would be anything but free, for there is nothing to choose. It
seems that M. Descartes did not declare himself sufficiently on the nature
of freedom, and that his conception of it was somewhat unusual: for he
extended it so far that he even held the affirmations of necessary truths
to be free in God. That was preserving only the name of freedom.

187. M. Bayle, who with others conceives this to be a freedom of
indifference, that God had had to establish (for instance) the truths of
numbers, and to ordain that three times three made nine, whereas he could
have commanded them to make ten, imagines in this strange opinion,
supposing it were possible to defend it, some kind of advantage gained
against the Stratonists. Strato was one of the leaders of the School of
Aristotle, and the successor of Theophrastus; he maintained (according to
Cicero's account) that this world had been formed such as it is by Nature
or by a necessary cause devoid of cognition. I admit that that might be so,
if God had so preformed matter as to cause such an effect by the laws of
motion alone. But without God there would not even have been any reason for
existence, and still less for any particular existence of things: thus
Strato's system is not to be feared.

188. Nevertheless M. Bayle is in difficulties over this: he will not admit
plastic natures devoid of cognition, which Mr. Cudworth and others had
introduced, for fear that the modern Stratonists, that is, the Spinozists,
take advantage of it. This has involved him in disputes with M. le Clerc.
Under the influence of this error, that a non-intelligent cause can produce
nothing where contrivance appears, he is far from conceding to me that
_preformation_ which produces naturally the organs of animals, and _the
system of a harmony pre-established by God_ in bodies, to make them respond
in accordance with their own laws to the thoughts and the wills of souls.
But it ought to have been taken into account that this non-intelligent
cause, which produces such beautiful things in the grains and seeds of
plants and animals, and effects the actions of bodies as the will ordains
them, was formed by the hand of God: and God is infinitely more skilful
than a watchmaker, who himself makes machines and automata that are   [246]
capable of producing as wonderful effects as if they possessed

189. Now to come to M. Bayle's apprehensions concerning the Stratonists, in
case one should admit truths that are not dependent upon the will of God:
he seems to fear lest they may take advantage against us of the perfect
regularity of the eternal verities. Since this regularity springs only from
the nature and necessity of things, without being directed by any
cognition, M. Bayle fears that one might with Strato thence infer that the
world also could have become regular through a blind necessity. But it is
easy to answer that. In the region of the eternal verities are found all
the possibles, and consequently the regular as well as the irregular: there
must be a reason accounting for the preference for order and regularity,
and this reason can only be found in understanding. Moreover these very
truths can have no existence without an understanding to take cognizance of
them; for they would not exist if there were no divine understanding
wherein they are realized, so to speak. Hence Strato does not attain his
end, which is to exclude cognition from that which enters into the origin
of things.

190. The difficulty that M. Bayle has imagined in connexion with Strato
seems a little too subtle and far-fetched. That is termed: _timere, ubi non
est timor_. He makes another difficulty, which has just as slight a
foundation, namely, that God would be subjected to a kind of _fatum_. Here
are his words (p. 555): 'If they are propositions of eternal truth, which
are such by their nature and not by God's institution, if they are not true
by a free decree of his will, but if on the contrary he has recognized them
as true of necessity, because such was their nature, there is a kind of
_fatum_ to which he is subjected; there is an absolutely insurmountable
natural necessity. Thence comes also the result that the divine
understanding in the infinity of its ideas has always and at the outset hit
upon their perfect conformity with their objects, without the guidance of
any cognition; for it would be a contradiction to say that any exemplary
cause had served as a plan for the acts of God's understanding. One would
never that way find eternal ideas or any first intelligence. One must say,
then, that a nature which exists of necessity always finds its way, without
any need for it to be shown. How then shall we overcome the obstinacy of a

191. But again it is easy to answer. This so-called _fatum_, which    [247]
binds even the Divinity, is nothing but God's own nature, his own
understanding, which furnishes the rules for his wisdom and his goodness;
it is a happy necessity, without which he would be neither good nor wise.
Is it to be desired that God should not be bound to be perfect and happy?
Is our condition, which renders us liable to fail, worth envying? And
should we not be well pleased to exchange it for sinlessness, if that
depended upon us? One must be indeed weary of life to desire the freedom to
destroy oneself and to pity the Divinity for not having that freedom. M.
Bayle himself reasons thus elsewhere against those who laud to the skies an
extravagant freedom which they assume in the will, when they would make the
will independent of reason.

192. Moreover, M. Bayle wonders 'that the divine understanding in the
infinity of its ideas always and at the outset hits upon their perfect
conformity with their objects, without the guidance of any cognition'. This
objection is null and void. Every distinct idea is, through its
distinctness, in conformity with its object, and in God there are distinct
ideas only. At first, moreover, the object exists nowhere; but when it
comes into existence, it will be formed according to this idea. Besides, M.
Bayle knows very well that the divine understanding has no need of time for
seeing the connexion of things. All trains of reasoning are in God in a
transcendent form, and they preserve an order amongst them in his
understanding, as well as in ours: but with him it is only an order and a
_priority of nature_, whereas with us there is a _priority of time_. It is
therefore not to be wondered at that he who penetrates all things at one
stroke should always strike true at the outset; and it must not be said
that he succeeds without the guidance of any cognition. On the contrary, it
is because his knowledge is perfect that his voluntary actions are also

193. Up to now I have shown that the Will of God is not independent of the
rules of Wisdom, although indeed it is a matter for surprise that one
should have been constrained to argue about it, and to do battle for a
truth so great and so well established. But it is hardly less surprising
that there should be people who believe that God only half observes these
rules, and does not choose the best, although his wisdom causes him to
recognize it; and, in a word, that there should be writers who hold that
God could have done better. That is more or less the error of the famous
Alfonso, King of Castile, who was elected King of the Romans by       [248]
certain Electors, and originated the astronomical tables that bear his
name. This prince is reported to have said that if God in making the world
had consulted him he would have given God good advice. Apparently the
Ptolemaic system, which prevailed at that time, was displeasing to him. He
believed therefore that something better planned could have been made, and
he was right. But if he had known the system of Copernicus, with the
discoveries of Kepler, now extended by knowledge of the gravity of the
planets, he would indeed have confessed that the contrivance of the true
system is marvellous. We see, therefore, that here the question concerned
the more or less only; Alfonso maintained that better could have been done,
and his opinion was censured by everyone.

194. Yet philosophers and theologians dare to support dogmatically such a
belief; and I have many times wondered that gifted and pious persons should
have been capable of setting bounds to the goodness and the perfection of
God. For to assert that he knows what is best, that he can do it and that
he does it not, is to avow that it rested with his will only to make the
world better than it is; but that is what one calls lacking goodness. It is
acting against that axiom already quoted: _Minus bonum habet rationem
mali_. If some adduce experience to prove that God could have done better,
they set themselves up as ridiculous critics of his works. To such will be
given the answer given to all those who criticize God's course of action,
and who from this same assumption, that is, the alleged defects of the
world, would infer that there is an evil God, or at least a God neutral
between good and evil. And if we hold the same opinion as King Alfonso, we
shall, I say, receive this answer: You have known the world only since the
day before yesterday, you see scarce farther than your nose, and you carp
at the world. Wait until you know more of the world and consider therein
especially the parts which present a complete whole (as do organic bodies);
and you will find there a contrivance and a beauty transcending all
imagination. Let us thence draw conclusions as to the wisdom and the
goodness of the author of things, even in things that we know not. We find
in the universe some things which are not pleasing to us; but let us be
aware that it is not made for us alone. It is nevertheless made for us if
we are wise: it will serve us if we use it for our service; we shall be
happy in it if we wish to be.

195. Someone will say that it is impossible to produce the best, because
there is no perfect creature, and that it is always possible to produce one
which would be more perfect. I answer that what can be said of a creature
or of a particular substance, which can always be surpassed by another, is
not to be applied to the universe, which, since it must extend through all
future eternity, is an infinity. Moreover, there is an infinite number of
creatures in the smallest particle of matter, because of the actual
division of the _continuum_ to infinity. And infinity, that is to say, the
accumulation of an infinite number of substances, is, properly speaking,
not a whole any more than the infinite number itself, whereof one cannot
say whether it is even or uneven. That is just what serves to confute those
who make of the world a God, or who think of God as the Soul of the world;
for the world or the universe cannot be regarded as an animal or as a

196. It is therefore not a question of a creature, but of the universe; and
the adversary will be obliged to maintain that one possible universe may be
better than the other, to infinity; but there he would be mistaken, and it
is that which he cannot prove. If this opinion were true, it would follow
that God had not produced any universe at all: for he is incapable of
acting without reason, and that would be even acting against reason. It is
as if one were to suppose that God had decreed to make a material sphere,
with no reason for making it of any particular size. This decree would be
useless, it would carry with it that which would prevent its effect. It
would be quite another matter if God decreed to draw from a given point one
straight line to another given straight line, without any determination of
the angle, either in the decree or in its circumstances. For in this case
the determination would spring from the nature of the thing, the line would
be perpendicular, and the angle would be right, since that is all that is
determined and distinguishable. It is thus one must think of the creation
of the best of all possible universes, all the more since God not only
decrees to create a universe, but decrees also to create the best of all.
For God decrees nothing without knowledge, and he makes no separate
decrees, which would be nothing but antecedent acts of will: and these we
have sufficiently explained, distinguishing them from genuine decrees.

197. M. Diroys, whom I knew in Rome, theologian to Cardinal d'Estrées,
wrote a book entitled _Proofs and Assumptions in Favour of_ _the      [250]
Christian Religion_, published in Paris in the year 1683. M. Bayle (_Reply
to the Questions of a Provincial_, vol. III, ch. 165, p. 1058) recounts
this objection brought up by M. Diroys: 'There is one more difficulty', he
says, 'which it is no less important to meet than those given earlier,
since it causes more trouble to those who judge goods and evils by
considerations founded on the purest and most lofty maxims. This is that
God being the supreme wisdom and goodness, it seems to them that he ought
to do all things as wise and virtuous persons would wish them to be done,
following the rules of wisdom and of goodness which God has imprinted in
them, and as they would be obliged themselves to do these things if they
depended upon them. Thus, seeing that the affairs of the world do not go so
well as, in their opinion, they might go, and as they would go if they
interfered themselves, they conclude that God, who is infinitely better and
wiser than they, or rather wisdom and goodness itself, does not concern
himself with these affairs.'

198. M. Diroys makes some apt remarks concerning this, which I will not
repeat, since I have sufficiently answered the objection in more than one
passage, and that has been the chief end of all my discourse. But he makes
one assertion with which I cannot agree. He claims that the objection
proves too much. One must again quote his own words with M. Bayle, p. 1059:
'If it does not behove the supreme Wisdom and Goodness to fail to do what
is best and most perfect, it follows that all Beings are eternally,
immutably and essentially as perfect and as good as they can be, since
nothing can change except by passing either from a state less good to a
better, or from a better to a less good. Now that cannot happen if it does
not behove God to fail to do that which is best and most perfect, when he
can do it. It will therefore be necessary that all beings be eternally and
essentially filled with a knowledge and a virtue as perfect as God can give
them. Now all that which is eternally and essentially as perfect as God can
make it proceeds essentially from him; in a word, is eternally and
essentially good as he is, and consequently it is God, as he is. That is
the bearing of this maxim, that it is repugnant to supreme justice and
goodness not to make things as good and perfect as they can be. For it is
essential to essential wisdom and goodness to banish all that is repugnant
to it altogether. One must therefore assert as a primary truth concerning
the conduct of God in relation to creatures that there is nothing repugnant
to this goodness and this wisdom in making things less perfect than   [251]
they could be, or in permitting the goods that it has produced either
completely to cease to be or to change and deteriorate. For it causes no
offence to God that there should be other Beings than he, that is beings
who can be not what they are, and do not what they do or do what they do

199. M. Bayle calls this answer paltry, but I find his counter-objection
involved. M. Bayle will have those who are for the two principles to take
their stand chiefly on the assumption of the supreme freedom of God: for if
he were compelled to produce all that which he can, he would produce also
sins and sorrows. Thus the Dualists could from the existence of evil
conclude nothing contrary to the oneness of the principle, if this
principle were as much inclined to evil as to good. There M. Bayle carries
the notion of freedom too far: for even though God be supremely free, it
does not follow that he maintains an indifference of equipoise: and even
though he be inclined to act, it does not follow that he is compelled by
this inclination to produce all that which he can. He will produce only
that which he wills, for his inclination prompts him to good. I admit the
supreme freedom of God, but I do not confuse it with indifference of
equipoise, as if he could act without reason. M. Diroys therefore imagines
that the Dualists, in their insistence that the single good principle
produce no evil, ask too much; for by the same reason, according to M.
Diroys, they ought also to ask that he should produce the greatest good,
the less good being a kind of evil. I hold that the Dualists are wrong in
respect of the first point, and that they would be right in respect of the
second, where M. Diroys blames them without cause; or rather that one can
reconcile the evil, or the less good, in some parts with the best in the
whole. If the Dualists demanded that God should do the best, they would not
be demanding too much. They are mistaken rather in claiming that the best
in the whole should be free from evil in the parts, and that therefore what
God has made is not the best.

200. But M. Diroys maintains that if God always produces the best he will
produce other Gods; otherwise each substance that he produced would not be
the best nor the most perfect. But he is mistaken, through not taking into
account the order and connexion of things. If each substance taken
separately were perfect, all would be alike; which is neither fitting nor
possible. If they were Gods, it would not have been possible to       [252]
produce them. The best system of things will therefore not contain Gods; it
will always be a system of bodies (that is, things arranged according to
time and place) and of souls which represent and are aware of bodies, and
in accordance with which bodies are in great measure directed. So, as the
design of a building may be the best of all in respect of its purpose, of
expense and of circumstances; and as an arrangement of some figured
representations of bodies which is given to you may be the best that one
can find, it is easy to imagine likewise that a structure of the universe
may be the best of all, without becoming a god. The connexion and order of
things brings it about that the body of every animal and of every plant is
composed of other animals and of other plants, or of other living and
organic beings; consequently there is subordination, and one body, one
substance serves the other: thus their perfection cannot be equal.

201. M. Bayle thinks (p. 1063) that M. Diroys has confused two different
propositions. According to the one, God must do all things as wise and
virtuous persons would wish that they should be done, by the rules of
wisdom and of goodness that God has imprinted in them, and as they would be
obliged themselves to do them if those things depended upon them. The other
is that it is not consistent with supreme wisdom and goodness to fail to do
what is best and most perfect. M. Diroys (in M. Bayle's opinion) sets up
the first proposition as an objection for himself, and replies to the
second. But therein he is justified, as it seems to me. For these two
propositions are connected, the second is a result of the first: to do less
good than one could is to be lacking in wisdom or in goodness. To be the
best, and to be desired by those who are most virtuous and wise, comes to
the same thing. And it may be said that, if we could understand the
structure and the economy of the universe, we should find that it is made
and directed as the wisest and most virtuous could wish it, since God
cannot fail to do thus. This necessity nevertheless is only of a moral
nature: and I admit that if God were forced by a metaphysical necessity to
produce that which he makes, he would produce all the possibles, or
nothing; and in this sense M. Bayle's conclusion would be fully correct.
But as all the possibles are not compatible together in one and the same
world-sequence, for that very reason all the possibles cannot be produced,
and it must be said that God is not forced, metaphysically speaking,  [253]
into the creation of this world. One may say that as soon as God has
decreed to create something there is a struggle between all the possibles,
all of them laying claim to existence, and that those which, being united,
produce most reality, most perfection, most significance carry the day. It
is true that all this struggle can only be ideal, that is to say, it can
only be a conflict of reasons in the most perfect understanding, which
cannot fail to act in the most perfect way, and consequently to choose the
best. Yet God is bound by a moral necessity, to make things in such a
manner that there can be nothing better: otherwise not only would others
have cause to criticize what he makes, but, more than that, he would not
himself be satisfied with his work, he would blame himself for its
imperfection; and that conflicts with the supreme felicity of the divine
nature. This perpetual sense of his own fault or imperfection would be to
him an inevitable source of grief, as M. Bayle says on another occasion

202. M. Diroys' argument contains a false assumption, in his statement that
nothing can change except by passing from a state less good to a better or
from a better to a less good; and that thus, if God makes the best, what he
has produced cannot be changed: it would be an eternal substance, a god.
But I do not see why a thing cannot change its kind in relation to good or
evil, without changing its degree. In the transition from enjoyment of
music to enjoyment of painting, or _vice versa_ from the pleasure of the
eyes to that of the ears, the degree of enjoyment may remain the same, the
latter gaining no advantage over the former save that of novelty. If the
quadrature of the circle should come to pass or (what is the same thing)
the circulature of the square, that is, if the circle were changed into a
square of the same size, or the square into a circle, it would be difficult
to say, on the whole, without having regard to some special use, whether
one would have gained or lost. Thus the best may be changed into another
which neither yields to it nor surpasses it: but there will always be an
order among them, and that the best order possible. Taking the whole
sequence of things, the best has no equal; but one part of the sequence may
be equalled by another part of the same sequence. Besides it might be said
that the whole sequence of things to infinity may be the best possible,
although what exists all through the universe in each portion of time be
not the best. It might be therefore that the universe became even     [254]
better and better, if the nature of things were such that it was not
permitted to attain to the best all at once. But these are problems of
which it is hard for us to judge.

203. M. Bayle says (p. 1064) that the question whether God could have made
things more perfect than he made them is also very difficult, and that the
reasons for and against are very strong. But it is, so it seems to me, as
if one were to question whether God's actions are consistent with the most
perfect wisdom and the greatest goodness. It is a very strange thing, that
by changing the terms a little one throws doubt upon what is, if properly
understood, as clear as anything can be. The reasons to the contrary have
no force, being founded only on the semblance of defects; and M. Bayle's
objection, which tends to prove that the law of the best would impose upon
God a true metaphysical necessity, is only an illusion that springs from
the misuse of terms. M. Bayle formerly held a different opinion, when he
commended that of Father Malebranche, which was akin to mine on this
subject. But M. Arnauld having written in opposition to Father Malebranche,
M. Bayle altered his opinion; and I suppose that his tendency towards
doubt, which increased in him with the years, was conducive to that result.
M. Arnauld was doubtless a great man, and his authority has great weight:
he made sundry good observations in his writings against Father
Malebranche, but he was not justified in contesting those of his statements
that were akin to mine on the rule of the best.

204. The excellent author of _The Search for Truth_, having passed from
philosophy to theology, published finally an admirable treatise on Nature
and Grace. Here he showed in his way (as M. Bayle explained in his _Divers
Thoughts on the Comet_, ch. 234) that the events which spring from the
enforcement of general laws are not the object of a particular will of God.
It is true that when one wills a thing one wills also in a sense everything
that is necessarily attached to it, and in consequence God cannot will
general laws without also willing in a sense all the particular effects
that must of necessity be derived from them. But it is always true that
these particular events are not willed for their own sake, and that is what
is meant by the expression that they are not willed by a _particular_ and
direct _will_. There is no doubt that when God resolved to act outside
himself, he made choice of a manner of action which should be worthy  [255]
of the supremely perfect Being, that is, which should be infinitely simple
and uniform, but yet of an infinite productivity. One may even suppose that
this manner of action by _general acts of will_ appeared to him
preferable--although there must thence result some superfluous events (and
even bad if they are taken separately, that is my own addition)--to another
manner more composed and more regular; such is Father Malebranche's
opinion. Nothing is more appropriate than this assumption (according to the
opinion of M. Bayle, when he wrote his _Divers Thoughts on the Comet_) to
solve a thousand difficulties which are brought up against divine
providence: 'To ask God', he says, 'why he has made things which serve to
render men more wicked, that would be to ask why God has carried out his
plan (which can only be of infinite beauty) by the simplest and most
uniform methods, and why, by a complexity of decrees that would unceasingly
cut across one another, he has not prevented the wrong use of man's free
will.' He adds 'that miracles being particular acts of will must have an
end worthy of God'.

205. On these foundations he makes some good reflexions (ch. 231)
concerning the injustice of those who complain of the prosperity of the
wicked. 'I shall have no scruples', he says, 'about saying that all those
who are surprised at the prosperity of the wicked have pondered very little
upon the nature of God, and that they have reduced the obligations of a
cause which directs all things, to the scope of a providence altogether
subordinate; and that is small-minded. What then! Should God, after having
made free causes and necessary causes, in a mixture infinitely well fitted
to show forth the wonders of his infinite wisdom, have established laws
consistent with the nature of free causes, but so lacking in firmness that
the slightest trouble that came upon a man would overthrow them entirely,
to the ruin of human freedom? A mere city governor will become an object of
ridicule if he changes his regulations and orders as often as someone is
pleased to murmur against him. And shall God, whose laws concern a good so
universal that all of the world that is visible to us perchance enters into
it as no more than a trifling accessary, be bound to depart from his laws,
because they to-day displease the one and to-morrow the other? Or again
because a superstitious person, deeming wrongly that a monstrosity presages
something deadly, proceeds from his error to a criminal sacrifice? Or
because a good soul, who yet does not value virtue highly enough to   [256]
believe that to have none is punishment enough in itself, is shocked that a
wicked man should become rich and enjoy vigorous health? Can one form any
falser notions of a universal providence? Everyone agrees that this law of
nature, the strong prevails over the weak, has been very wisely laid down,
and that it would be absurd to maintain that when a stone falls on a
fragile vase which is the delight of its owner, God should depart from this
law in order to spare that owner vexation. Should one then not confess that
it is just as absurd to maintain that God must depart from the same law to
prevent a wicked man from growing rich at the expense of a good man? The
more the wicked man sets himself above the promptings of conscience and of
honour, the more does he exceed the good man in strength, so that if he
comes to grips with the good man he must, according to the course of
nature, ruin him. If, moreover, they are both engaged in the business of
finance, the wicked man must, according to the same course of nature, grow
richer than the good man, just as a fierce fire consumes more wood than a
fire of straw. Those who would wish sickness for a wicked man are sometimes
as unfair as those who would wish that a stone falling on a glass should
not break it: for his organs being arranged as they are, neither the food
that he takes nor the air that he breathes can, according to natural laws,
be detrimental to his health. Therefore those who complain about his health
complain of God's failure to violate the laws which he has established. And
in this they are all the more unfair because, through combinations and
concatenations which were in the power of God alone, it happens often
enough that the course of nature brings about the punishment of sin.'

206. It is a thousand pities that M. Bayle so soon quitted the way he had
so auspiciously begun, of reasoning on behalf of providence: for his work
would have been fruitful, and in saying fine things he would have said good
things as well. I agree with Father Malebranche that God does things in the
way most worthy of him. But I go a little further than he, with regard to
'general and particular acts of will'. As God can do nothing without
reasons, even when he acts miraculously, it follows that he has no will
about individual events but what results from some general truth or will.
Thus I would say that God never has a _particular will_ such as this Father
implies, that is to say, _a particular primitive will_.

207. I think even that miracles have nothing to distinguish them from other
events in this regard: for reasons of an order superior to that of Nature
prompt God to perform them. Thus I would not say, with this Father, that
God departs from general laws whenever order requires it: he departs from
one law only for another law more applicable, and what order requires
cannot fail to be in conformity with the rule of order, which is one of the
general laws. The distinguishing mark of miracles (taken in the strictest
sense) is that they cannot be accounted for by the natures of created
things. That is why, should God make a general law causing bodies to be
attracted the one to the other, he could only achieve its operation by
perpetual miracles. And likewise, if God willed that the organs of human
bodies should conform to the will of the soul, according to the _system of
occasional causes_, this law also would come into operation only through
perpetual miracles.

208. Thus one must suppose that, among the general rules which are not
absolutely necessary, God chooses those which are the most natural, which
it is easiest to explain, and which also are of greatest service for the
explanation of other things. That is doubtless the conclusion most
excellent and most pleasing; and even though the System of Pre-established
Harmony were not necessary otherwise, because it banishes superfluous
miracles, God would have chosen it as being the most harmonious. The ways
of God are those most simple and uniform: for he chooses rules that least
restrict one another. They are also the most _productive_ in proportion to
the _simplicity of ways and means_. It is as if one said that a certain
house was the best that could have been constructed at a certain cost. One
may, indeed, reduce these two conditions, simplicity and productivity, to a
single advantage, which is to produce as much perfection as is possible:
thus Father Malebranche's system in this point amounts to the same as mine.
Even if the effect were assumed to be greater, but the process less simple,
I think one might say that, when all is said and done, the effect itself
would be less great, taking into account not only the final effect but also
the mediate effect. For the wisest mind so acts, as far as it is possible,
that the _means_ are also in a sense _ends_, that is, they are desirable
not only on account of what they do, but on account of what they are. The
more intricate processes take up too much ground, too much space, too much
place, too much time that might have been better employed.

209. Now since everything resolves itself into this greatest perfection, we
return to my law of the best. For perfection includes not only the _moral
good_ and the _physical good_ of intelligent creatures, but also the good
which is purely _metaphysical_, and concerns also creatures devoid of
reason. It follows that the evil that is in rational creatures happens only
by concomitance, not by antecedent will but by a consequent will, as being
involved in the best possible plan; and the metaphysical good which
includes everything makes it necessary sometimes to admit physical evil and
moral evil, as I have already explained more than once. It so happens that
the ancient Stoics were not far removed from this system. M. Bayle remarked
upon this himself in his _Dictionary_ in the article on 'Chrysippus', rem.
T. It is of importance to give his own words, in order sometimes to face
him with his own objections and to bring him back to the fine sentiments
that he had formerly pronounced: 'Chrysippus', he says (p. 930), 'in his
work on Providence examined amongst other questions this one: Did the
nature of things, or the providence that made the world and the human kind,
make also the diseases to which men are subject? He answers that the chief
design of Nature was not to make them sickly, that would not be in keeping
with the cause of all good; but Nature, in preparing and producing many
great things excellently ordered and of great usefulness, found that some
drawbacks came as a result, and thus these were not in conformity with the
original design and purpose; they came about as a sequel to the work, they
existed only as consequences. For the formation of the human body,
Chrysippus said, the finest idea as well as the very utility of the work
demanded that the head should be composed of a tissue of thin, fine bones;
but because of that it was bound to have the disadvantage of not being able
to resist blows. Nature made health, and at the same time it was necessary
by a kind of concomitance that the source of diseases should be opened up.
The same thing applies with regard to virtue; the direct action of Nature,
which brought it forth, produced by a counter stroke the brood of vices. I
have not translated literally, for which reason I give here the actual
Latin of Aulus Gellius, for the benefit of those who understand that
language (Aul. Gellius, lib. 6, cap. 1): "Idem Chrysippus in eod. lib.
(quarto, [Greek: peri pronoias]) tractat consideratque, dignumque esse id
quaeri putat, [Greek: ei hai tôn anthrôpôn nosoi kata physin gignontai]. Id
est, naturane ipsa rerum, vel providentia quae compagem hanc mundi et [259]
genus hominum fecit, morbos quoque et debilitates et aegritudines corporum,
quas patiuntur homines, fecerit. Existimat autem non fuisse hoc principale
naturae consilium, ut faceret homines morbis obnoxios. Nunquam enim hoc
convenisse naturae auctori parentique rerum omnium bonarum. Sed quum multa,
inquit, atque magna gigneret, pareretque aptissima et utilissima, alia
quoque simul agnata sunt incommoda iis ipsis, quae faciebat, cohaerentia:
eaque non per naturam, sed per sequelas quasdam necessarias facta dicit,
quod ipse appellat [Greek: kata parakolouthêsin]. Sicut, inquit, quum
corpora hominum natura fingeret, ratio subtilior et utilitas ipsa operis
postulavit ut tenuissimis minutisque ossiculis caput compingeret. Sed hanc
utilitatem rei majoris alia quaedam incommoditas extrinsecus consecuta est,
ut fieret caput tenuiter munitum et ictibus offensionibusque parvis
fragile. Proinde morbi quoque et aegritudines partae sunt, dum salus
paritur. Sic Hercle, inquit, dum virtus hominibus per consilium naturae
gignitur, vitia ibidem per affinitatem contrariam nata sunt." I do not
think that a pagan could have said anything more reasonable, considering
his ignorance of the first man's fall, the knowledge of which has only
reached us through revelation, and which indeed is the true cause of our
miseries. If we had sundry like extracts from the works of Chrysippus, or
rather if we had his works, we should have a more favourable idea than we
have of the beauty of his genius.'

210. Let us now see the reverse of the medal in the altered M. Bayle. After
having quoted in his _Reply to the Questions of a Provincial_ (vol. III,
ch. 155, p. 962) these words of M. Jacquelot, which are much to my liking:
'To change the order of the universe is something of infinitely greater
consequence than the prosperity of a good man,' he adds: 'This thought has
something dazzling about it: Father Malebranche has placed it in the best
possible light; and he has persuaded some of his readers that a system
which is simple and very productive is more consistent with God's wisdom
than a system more composite and less productive in proportion, but more
capable of averting irregularities. M. Bayle was one of those who believed
that Father Malebranche in that way gave a wonderful solution.' (It is M.
Bayle himself speaking.) 'But it is almost impossible to be satisfied with
it after having read M. Arnauld's books against this system, and after
having contemplated the vast and boundless idea of the supremely      [260]
perfect Being. This idea shows us that nothing is easier for God than to
follow a plan which is simple, productive, regular and opportune for all
creatures simultaneously.'

211. While I was in France I showed to M. Arnauld a dialogue I had composed
in Latin on the cause of evil and the justice of God; it was not only
before his disputes with Father Malebranche, but even before the book on
_The Search for Truth_ appeared. That principle which I uphold here, namely
that sin had been permitted because it had been involved in the best plan
for the universe, was already applied there; and M. Arnauld did not seem to
be startled by it. But the slight contentions which he has since had with
Father Malebranche have given him cause to examine this subject with closer
attention, and to be more severe in his judgement thereof. Yet I am not
altogether pleased with M. Bayle's manner of expression here on this
subject, and I am not of the opinion 'that a more composite and less
productive plan might be more capable of averting irregularities'. Rules
are the expression of general will: the more one observes rules, the more
regularity there is; simplicity and productivity are the aim of rules. I
shall be met with the objection that a uniform system will be free from
irregularities. I answer that it would be an irregularity to be too
uniform, that would offend against the rules of harmony. _Et citharoedus
Ridetur chorda qui semper oberrat eadem_. I believe therefore that God can
follow a simple, productive, regular plan; but I do not believe that the
best and the most regular is always opportune for all creatures
simultaneously; and I judge _a posteriori_, for the plan chosen by God is
not so. I have, however, also shown this _a priori_ in examples taken from
mathematics, and I will presently give another here. An Origenist who
maintains that all rational creatures become happy in the end will be still
easier to satisfy. He will say, in imitation of St. Paul's saying about the
sufferings of this life, that those which are finite are not worthy to be
compared with eternal bliss.

212. What is deceptive in this subject, as I have already observed, is that
one feels an inclination to believe that what is the best in the whole is
also the best possible in each part. One reasons thus in geometry, when it
is a question _de maximis et minimis_. If the road from A to B that one
proposes to take is the shortest possible, and if this road passes by C,
then the road from A to C, part of the first, must also be the shortest
possible. But the inference from _quantity_ to _quality_ is not always[261]
right, any more than that which is drawn from equals to similars. For
_equals_ are those whose quantity is the same, and _similars_ are those not
differing according to qualities. The late Herr Sturm, a famous
mathematician in Altorf, while in Holland in his youth published there a
small book under the title of _Euclides Catholicus_. Here he endeavoured to
give exact and general rules in subjects not mathematical, being encouraged
in the task by the late Herr Erhard Weigel, who had been his tutor. In this
book he transfers to similars what Euclid had said of equals, and he
formulates this axiom: _Si similibus addas similia, tota sunt similia_. But
so many limitations were necessary to justify this new rule, that it would
have been better, in my opinion, to enounce it at the outset with a
reservation, by saying, _Si similibus similia addas similiter, tota sunt
similia_. Moreover, geometricians often require _non tantum similia, sed et
similiter posita_.

213. This difference between quantity and quality appears also in our case.
The part of the shortest way between two extreme points is also the
shortest way between the extreme points of this part; but the part of the
best Whole is not of necessity the best that one could have made of this
part. For the part of a beautiful thing is not always beautiful, since it
can be extracted from the whole, or marked out within the whole, in an
irregular manner. If goodness and beauty always lay in something absolute
and uniform, such as extension, matter, gold, water, and other bodies
assumed to be homogeneous or similar, one must say that the part of the
good and the beautiful would be beautiful and good like the whole, since it
would always have resemblance to the whole: but this is not the case in
things that have mutual relations. An example taken from geometry will be
appropriate to explain my idea.

214. There is a kind of geometry which Herr Jung of Hamburg, one of the
most admirable men of his time, called 'empiric'. It makes use of
conclusive experiments and proves various propositions of Euclid, but
especially those which concern the equality of two figures, by cutting the
one in pieces, and putting the pieces together again to make the other. In
this manner, by cutting carefully in parts the squares on the two sides of
the right-angled triangle, and arranging these parts carefully, one makes
from them the square on the hypotenuse; that is demonstrating empirically
the 47th proposition of the first book of Euclid. Now supposing that some
of these pieces taken from the two smaller squares are lost, something[262]
will be lacking in the large square that is to be formed from them; and
this defective combination, far from pleasing, will be disagreeably ugly.
If then the pieces that remained, composing the faulty combination, were
taken separately without any regard to the large square to whose formation
they ought to contribute, one would group them together quite differently
to make a tolerably good combination. But as soon as the lost pieces are
retrieved and the gap in the faulty combination is filled, there will ensue
a beautiful and regular thing, the complete large square: this perfect
combination will be far more beautiful than the tolerably good combination
which had been made from the pieces one had not mislaid alone. The perfect
combination corresponds to the universe in its entirety, and the faulty
combination that is a part of the perfect one corresponds to some part of
the universe, where we find defects which the Author of things has allowed,
because otherwise, if he had wished to re-shape this faulty part and make
thereof a tolerably good combination, the whole would not then have been so
beautiful. For the parts of the faulty combination, grouped better to make
a tolerably good combination, could not have been used properly to form the
whole and perfect combination. Thomas Aquinas had an inkling of these
things when he said: _ad prudentem gubernatorem pertinet, negligere aliquem
defectum bonitatis in parte, ut faciat augmentum bonitatis in toto_ (Thom.,
_Contra Gentiles_, lib. 2, c. 71). Thomas Gatacre, in his Notes on the book
of Marcus Aurelius (lib. 5, cap. 8, with M. Bayle), cites also passages
from authors who say that the evil of the parts is often the good of the

215. Let us return to M. Bayle's illustrations. He imagines a prince (p.
963) who is having a city built, and who, in bad taste, aims rather at airs
of magnificence therein, and a bold and unusual style of architecture, than
at the provision of conveniences of all kinds for the inhabitants. But if
this prince has true magnanimity he will prefer the convenient to the
magnificent architecture. That is M. Bayle's judgement. I consider,
however, that there are cases where one will justifiably prefer beauty of
construction in a palace to the convenience of a few domestics. But I admit
that the construction would be bad, however beautiful it might be, if it
were a cause of diseases to the inhabitants; provided it was possible to
make one that would be better, taking into account beauty, convenience and
health all together. It may be, indeed, that one cannot have all these[263]
advantages at once. Thus, supposing one wished to build on the northern and
more bracing side of the mountain, if the castle were then bound to be of
an unendurable construction, one would prefer to make it face southward.

216. M. Bayle raises the further objection, that it is true that our
legislators can never invent regulations such as are convenient for all
individuals, 'Nulla lex satis commoda omnibus est; id modo quaeritur, si
majori parti et in summam prodest. (Cato apud Livium, L. 34, circa init.)'
But the reason is that the limited condition of their knowledge compels
them to cling to laws which, when all is taken into account, are more
advantageous than harmful. Nothing of all that can apply to God, who is as
infinite in power and understanding as in goodness and true greatness. I
answer that since God chooses the best possible, one cannot tax him with
any limitation of his perfections; and in the universe not only does the
good exceed the evil, but also the evil serves to augment the good.

217. He observes also that the Stoics derived a blasphemy from this
principle, saying that evils must be endured with patience, or that they
were necessary, not only to the well-being and completeness of the
universe, but also to the felicity, perfection and conservation of God, who
directs it. The Emperor Marcus Aurelius gave expression to that in the
eighth chapter of the fifth book of his _Meditations_. 'Duplici ratione',
he says, 'diligas oportet, quidquid evenerit tibi; altera quod tibi natum
et tibi coordinatum et ad te quodammodo affectum est; altera quod universi
gubernatori prosperitatis et consummationis atque adeo permansionis ipsius
procurandae ([Greek: tês euodias kai tês synteleias kai tês symmonês
autês]) ex parte causa est.' This precept is not the most reasonable of
those stated by that great emperor. A _diligas oportet_ ([Greek: stergein
chrê]) is of no avail; a thing does not become pleasing just because it is
necessary, and because it is destined for or attached to someone: and what
for me would be an evil would not cease to be such because it would be my
master's good, unless this good reflected back on me. One good thing among
others in the universe is that the general good becomes in reality the
individual good of those who love the Author of all good. But the principal
error of this emperor and of the Stoics was their assumption that the good
of the universe must please God himself, because they imagined God as the
soul of the world. This error has nothing in common with my dogma,    [264]
according to which God is _Intelligentia extramundana_, as Martianus
Capella calls him, or rather _supramundana_. Further, he acts to do good,
and not to receive it. _Melius est dare quam accipere_; his bliss is ever
perfect and can receive no increase, either from within or from without.

218. I come now to the principal objection M. Bayle, after M. Arnauld,
brings up against me. It is complicated: they maintain that God would be
under compulsion, that he would act of necessity, if he were bound to
create the best; or at least that he would have been lacking in power if he
could not have found a better expedient for excluding sins and other evils.
That is in effect denying that this universe is the best, and that God is
bound to insist upon the best. I have met this objection adequately in more
than one passage: I have proved that God cannot fail to produce the best;
and from that assumption it follows that the evils we experience could not
have been reasonably excluded from the universe, since they are there. Let
us see, however, what these two excellent men bring up, or rather let us
see what M. Bayle's objection is, for he professes to have profited by the
arguments of M. Arnauld.

219. 'Would it be possible', he says, _Reply to the Questions of a
Provincial_, vol. III, ch. 158, p. 890, 'that a nature whose goodness,
holiness, wisdom, knowledge and power are infinite, who loves virtue
supremely, and hates vice supremely, as our clear and distinct idea of him
shows us, and as well-nigh every page of Scripture assures us, could have
found in virtue no means fitting and suited for his ends? Would it be
possible that vice alone had offered him this means? One would have thought
on the contrary that nothing beseemed this nature more than to establish
virtue in his work to the exclusion of all vice.' M. Bayle here exaggerates
things. I agree that some vice was connected with the best plan of the
universe, but I do not agree with him that God could not find in virtue any
means suited for his ends. This objection would have been valid if there
were no virtue, if vice took its place everywhere. He will say it suffices
that vice prevails and that virtue is trifling in comparison. But I am far
from agreeing with him there, and I think that in reality, properly
speaking, there is incomparably more moral good than moral evil in rational
creatures; and of these we have knowledge of but few.

220. This evil is not even so great in men as it is declared to be. It[265]
is only people of a malicious disposition or those who have become somewhat
misanthropic through misfortunes, like Lucian's Timon, who find wickedness
everywhere, and who poison the best actions by the interpretations they
give to them. I speak of those who do it in all seriousness, to draw thence
evil conclusions, by which their conduct is tainted; for there are some who
only do it to show off their own acumen. People have found that fault in
Tacitus, and that again is the criticism M. Descartes (in one of his
letters) makes of Mr. Hobbes's book _De Cive_, of which only a few copies
had at that time been printed for distribution among friends, but to which
some notes by the author were added in the second edition which we have.
For although M. Descartes acknowledges that this book is by a man of
talent, he observes therein some very dangerous principles and maxims, in
the assumption there made that all men are wicked, or the provision of them
with motives for being so. The late Herr Jacob Thomasius said in his
admirable _Tables of Practical Philosophy_ that the [Greek: prôton
pseudos], the primary cause of errors in this book by Mr. Hobbes, was that
he took _statum legalem pro naturali_, that is to say that the corrupt
state served him as a gauge and rule, whereas it is the state most
befitting human nature which Aristotle had had in view. For according to
Aristotle, that is termed _natural_ which conforms most closely to the
perfection of the nature of the thing; but Mr. Hobbes applies the term
_natural state_ to that which has least art, perhaps not taking into
account that human nature in its perfection carries art with it. But the
question of name, that is to say, of what may be called natural, would not
be of great importance were it not that Aristotle and Hobbes fastened upon
it the notion of natural right, each one following his own signification. I
have said here already that I found in the book on the Falsity of human
Virtues the same defect as M. Descartes found in Mr. Hobbes's _De Cive_.

221. But even if we assume that vice exceeds virtue in the human kind, as
it is assumed the number of the damned exceeds that of the elect, it by no
means follows that vice and misery exceed virtue and happiness in the
universe: one should rather believe the opposite, because the City of God
must be the most perfect of all possible states, since it was formed and is
perpetually governed by the greatest and best of all Monarchs. This answer
confirms the observation I made earlier, when speaking of the conformity of
faith with reason, namely, that one of the greatest sources of fallacy[266]
in the objections is the confusion of the apparent with the real. And here
by the apparent I mean not simply such as would result from an exact
discussion of facts, but that which has been derived from the small extent
of our experiences. It would be senseless to try to bring up appearances so
imperfect, and having such slight foundation, in opposition to the proofs
of reason and the revelations of faith.

222. Finally, I have already observed that love of virtue and hatred of
vice, which tend in an undefined way to bring virtue into existence and to
prevent the existence of vice, are only antecedent acts of will, such as is
the will to bring about the happiness of all men and to save them from
misery. These acts of antecedent will make up only a portion of all the
antecedent will of God taken together, whose result forms the consequent
will, or the decree to create the best. Through this decree it is that love
for virtue and for the happiness of rational creatures, which is undefined
in itself and goes as far as is possible, receives some slight limitations,
on account of the heed that must be paid to good in general. Thus one must
understand that God loves virtue supremely and hates vice supremely, and
that nevertheless some vice is to be permitted.

223. M. Arnauld and M. Bayle appear to maintain that this method of
explaining things and of establishing a best among all the plans for the
universe, one such as may not be surpassed by any other, sets a limit to
God's power. 'Have you considered', says M. Arnauld to Father Malebranche
(in his _Reflexions on the New System of Nature and Grace_, vol. II, p.
385), 'that in making such assumptions you take it upon yourself to subvert
the first article of the creed, whereby we make profession of believing in
God the Father Almighty?' He had said already (p. 362): 'Can one maintain,
without trying to blind oneself, that a course of action which could not
fail to have this grievous result, namely, that the majority of men perish,
bears the stamp of God's goodness more than a different course of action,
which would have caused, if God had followed it, the salvation of all men?'
And, as M. Jacquelot does not differ from the principles I have just laid
down, M. Bayle raises like objections in his case (_Reply to the Questions
of a Provincial_, vol. III, ch. 151, p. 900): 'If one adopts such
explanations', he says, 'one sees oneself constrained to renounce the most
obvious notions on the nature of the supremely perfect Being. These teach
us that all things not implying contradiction are possible for him,   [267]
that consequently it is possible for him to save people whom he does not
save: for what contradiction would result supposing the number of the elect
were greater than it is? They teach us besides that, since he is supremely
happy, he has no will which he cannot carry out. How, then, shall we
understand that he wills to save all men and that he cannot do so? We
sought some light to help us out of the perplexities we feel in comparing
the idea of God with the state of the human kind, and lo! we are given
elucidations that cast us into darkness more dense.'

224. All these obstacles vanish before the exposition I have just given. I
agree with M. Bayle's principle, and it is also mine, that everything
implying no contradiction is possible. But as for me, holding as I do that
God did the best that was possible, or that he could not have done better
than he has done, deeming also that to pass any other judgement upon his
work in its entirety would be to wrong his goodness or his wisdom, I must
say that to make something which surpasses in goodness the best itself,
that indeed would imply contradiction. That would be as if someone
maintained that God could draw from one point to another a line shorter
than the straight line, and accused those who deny this of subverting the
article of faith whereby we believe in God the Father Almighty.

225. The infinity of possibles, however great it may be, is no greater than
that of the wisdom of God, who knows all possibles. One may even say that
if this wisdom does not exceed the possibles extensively, since the objects
of the understanding cannot go beyond the possible, which in a sense is
alone intelligible, it exceeds them intensively, by reason of the
infinitely infinite combinations it makes thereof, and its many
deliberations concerning them. The wisdom of God, not content with
embracing all the possibles, penetrates them, compares them, weighs them
one against the other, to estimate their degrees of perfection or
imperfection, the strong and the weak, the good and the evil. It goes even
beyond the finite combinations, it makes of them an infinity of infinites,
that is to say, an infinity of possible sequences of the universe, each of
which contains an infinity of creatures. By this means the divine Wisdom
distributes all the possibles it had already contemplated separately, into
so many universal systems which it further compares the one with the other.
The result of all these comparisons and deliberations is the choice of the
best from among all these possible systems, which wisdom makes in     [268]
order to satisfy goodness completely; and such is precisely the plan of the
universe as it is. Moreover, all these operations of the divine
understanding, although they have among them an order and a priority of
nature, always take place together, no priority of time existing among

226. The careful consideration of these things will, I hope, induce a
different idea of the greatness of the divine perfections, and especially
of the wisdom and goodness of God, from any that can exist in the minds of
those who make God act at random, without cause or reason. And I do not see
how they could avoid falling into an opinion so strange, unless they
acknowledged that there are reasons for God's choice, and that these
reasons are derived from his goodness: whence it follows of necessity that
what was chosen had the advantage of goodness over what was not chosen, and
consequently that it is the best of all the possibles. The best cannot be
surpassed in goodness, and it is no restriction of the power of God to say
that he cannot do the impossible. Is it possible, said M. Bayle, that there
is no better plan than that one which God carried out? One answers that it
is very possible and indeed necessary, namely that there is none: otherwise
God would have preferred it.

227. It seems to me that I have proved sufficiently that among all the
possible plans of the universe there is one better than all the rest, and
that God has not failed to choose it. But M. Bayle claims to infer thence
that God is therefore not free. This is how he speaks on that question
(_ubi supra_, ch. 151, p. 899): 'I thought to argue with a man who assumed
as I do that the goodness and the power of God are infinite, as well as his
wisdom; and now I see that in reality this man assumes that God's goodness
and power are enclosed within rather narrow bounds.' As to that, the
objection has already been met: I set no bounds to God's power, since I
recognize that it extends _ad maximum, ad omnia_, to all that implies no
contradiction; and I set none to his goodness, since it attains to the
best, _ad optimum_. But M. Bayle goes on: 'There is therefore no freedom in
God; he is compelled by his wisdom to create, and then to create precisely
such a work, and finally to create it precisely in such ways. These are
three servitudes which form a more than Stoic _fatum_, and which render
impossible all that is not within their sphere. It seems that, according to
this system, God could have said, even before shaping his decrees: I  [269]
cannot save such and such a man, nor condemn such and such another, _quippe
vetor fatis_, my wisdom permits it not.'

228. I answer that it is goodness which prompts God to create with the
purpose of communicating himself; and this same goodness combined with
wisdom prompts him to create the best: a best that includes the whole
sequence, the effect and the process. It prompts him thereto without
compelling him, for it does not render impossible that which it does not
cause him to choose. To call that _fatum_ is taking it in a good sense,
which is not contrary to freedom: _fatum_ comes from _fari_, to speak, to
pronounce; it signifies a judgement, a decree of God, the award of his
wisdom. To say that one cannot do a thing, simply because one does not will
it, is to misuse terms. The wise mind wills only the good: is it then a
servitude when the will acts in accordance with wisdom? And can one be less
a slave than to act by one's own choice in accordance with the most perfect
reason? Aristotle used to say that that man is in a natural servitude
(_natura servus_) who lacks guidance, who has need of being directed.
Slavery comes from without, it leads to that which offends, and especially
to that which offends with reason: the force of others and our own passions
enslave us. God is never moved by anything outside himself, nor is he
subject to inward passions, and he is never led to that which can cause him
offence. It appears, therefore, that M. Bayle gives odious names to the
best things in the world, and turns our ideas upside-down, applying the
term slavery to the state of the greatest and most perfect freedom.

229. He had also said not long before (ch. 151, p. 891): 'If virtue, or any
other good at all, had been as appropriate as vice for the Creator's ends,
vice would not have been given preference; it must therefore have been the
only means that the Creator could have used; it was therefore employed
purely of necessity. As therefore he loves his glory, not with a freedom of
indifference, but by necessity, he must by necessity love all the means
without which he could not manifest his glory. Now if vice, as vice, was
the only means of attaining to this end, it will follow that God of
necessity loves vice as vice, a thought which can only inspire us with
horror; and he has revealed quite the contrary to us.' He observes at the
same time that certain doctors among the Supralapsarians (like Rutherford,
for example) denied that God wills sin as sin, whilst they admitted   [270]
that he wills sin permissively in so far as it is punishable and
pardonable. But he urges in objection, that an action is only punishable
and pardonable in so far as it is vicious.

230. M. Bayle makes a false assumption in these words that we have just
read, and draws from them false conclusions. It is not true that God loves
his glory by necessity, if thereby it is understood that he is led by
necessity to acquire his glory through his creatures. For if that were so,
he would acquire his glory always and everywhere. The decree to create is
free: God is prompted to all good; the good, and even the best, inclines
him to act; but it does not compel him, for his choice creates no
impossibility in that which is distinct from the best; it causes no
implication of contradiction in that which God refrains from doing. There
is therefore in God a freedom that is exempt not only from constraint but
also from necessity. I mean this in respect of metaphysical necessity; for
it is a moral necessity that the wisest should be bound to choose the best.
It is the same with the means which God chooses to attain his glory. And as
for vice, it has been shown in preceding pages that it is not an object of
God's decree as _means_, but as _conditio sine qua non_, and that for that
reason alone it is permitted. One is even less justified in saying that
vice is _the only means_; it would be at most one of the means, but one of
the least among innumerable others.

231. 'Another frightful consequence,' M. Bayle goes on, 'the fatality of
all things, ensues: God will not have been free to arrange events in a
different way, since the means he chose to show forth his glory was the
only means befitting his wisdom.' This so-called fatality or necessity is
only moral, as I have just shown: it does not affect freedom; on the
contrary, it assumes the best use thereof; it does not render impossible
the objects set aside by God's choice. 'What, then, will become', he adds,
'of man's free will? Will there not have been necessity and fatality for
Adam to sin? For if he had not sinned, he would have overthrown the sole
plan that God had of necessity created.' That is again a misuse of terms.
Adam sinning freely was seen of God among the ideas of the possibles, and
God decreed to admit him into existence as he saw him. This decree does not
change the nature of the objects: it does not render necessary that which
was contingent in itself, or impossible that which was possible.

232. M. Bayle goes on (p. 892): 'The subtle Scotus asserts with much
discernment that if God had no freedom of indifference no creature could
have this kind of freedom.' I agree provided it is not meant as an
indifference of equipoise, where there is no reason inclining more to one
side than the other. M. Bayle acknowledges (farther on in chapter 168, p.
1111) that what is termed indifference does not exclude prevenient
inclinations and pleasures. It suffices therefore that there be no
metaphysical necessity in the action which is termed free, that is to say,
it suffices that a choice be made between several courses possible.

233. He goes on again in the said chapter 157, p. 893: 'If God is not
determined to create the world by a free motion of his goodness, but by the
interests of his glory, which he loves by necessity, and which is the only
thing he loves, for it is not different from his substance; and if the love
that he has for himself has compelled him to show forth his glory through
the most fitting means, and if the fall of man was this same means, it is
evident that this fall happened entirely by necessity and that the
obedience of Eve and Adam to God's commands was impossible.' Still the same
error. The love that God bears to himself is essential to him, but the love
for his glory, or the will to acquire his glory, is not so by any means:
the love he has for himself did not impel him by necessity to actions
without; they were free; and since there were possible plans whereby the
first parents should not sin, their sin was therefore not necessary.
Finally, I say in effect what M. Bayle acknowledges here, 'that God
resolved to create the world by a free motion of his goodness'; and I add
that this same motion prompted him to the best.

234. The same answer holds good against this statement of M. Bayle's (ch.
165, p. 1071): 'The means most appropriate for attaining an end is of
necessity one alone' (that is very well said, at least for the cases where
God has chosen). 'Therefore if God was prompted irresistibly to employ this
means, he employed it by necessity.' (He was certainly prompted thereto, he
was determined, or rather he determined himself thereto: but that which is
certain is not always necessary, or altogether irresistible; the thing
might have gone otherwise, but that did not happen, and with good reason.
God chose between different courses all possible: thus, metaphysically
speaking, he could have chosen or done what was not the best; but he could
not morally speaking have done so. Let us make use of a comparison    [272]
from geometry. The best way from one point to another (leaving out of
account obstacles and other considerations accidental to the medium) is one
alone: it is that one which passes by the shortest line, which is the
straight line. Yet there are innumerable ways from one point to another.
There is therefore no necessity which binds me to go by the straight line;
but as soon as I choose the best, I am determined to go that way, although
this is only a moral necessity in the wise. That is why the following
conclusions fail.) 'Therefore he could only do that which he did. Therefore
that which has not happened or will never happen is absolutely impossible.'
(These conclusions fail, I say: for since there are many things which have
never happened and never will happen, and which nevertheless are clearly
conceivable, and imply no contradiction, how can one say they are
altogether impossible? M. Bayle has refuted that himself in a passage
opposing the Spinozists, which I have already quoted here, and he has
frequently acknowledged that there is nothing impossible except that which
implies contradiction: now he changes style and terminology.) 'Therefore
Adam's perseverance in innocence was always impossible; therefore his fall
was altogether inevitable, and even antecedently to God's decree, for it
implied contradiction that God should be able to will a thing opposed to
his wisdom: it is, after all, the same thing to say, that it is impossible
for God, as to say, God could do it, if he so willed, but he cannot will
it.' (It is misusing terms in a sense to say here: one can will, one will
will; 'can' here concerns the actions that one does will. Nevertheless it
implies no contradiction that God should will--directly or permissively--a
thing not implying contradiction, and in this sense it is permitted to say
that God can will it.)

235. In a word, when one speaks of the _possibility_ of a thing it is not a
question of the causes that can bring about or prevent its actual
existence: otherwise one would change the nature of the terms, and render
useless the distinction between the possible and the actual. This Abelard
did, and Wyclif appears to have done after him, in consequence of which
they fell needlessly into unsuitable and disagreeable expressions. That is
why, when one asks if a thing is possible or necessary, and brings in the
consideration of what God wills or chooses, one alters the issue. For God
chooses among the possibles, and for that very reason he chooses      [273]
freely, and is not compelled; there would be neither choice nor freedom if
there were but one course possible.

236. One must also answer M. Bayle's syllogisms, so as to neglect none of
the objections of a man so gifted: they occur in Chapter 151 of his _Reply
to the Questions of a Provincial_ (vol. III, pp. 900, 901).


'God can will nothing that is opposed to the necessary love which he has
for his wisdom.

'Now the salvation of all men is opposed to the necessary love which God
has for his wisdom.

'Therefore God cannot will the salvation of all men.'

The major is self-evident, for one can do nothing whereof the opposite is
necessary. But the minor cannot be accepted, for, albeit God loves his
wisdom of necessity, the actions whereto his wisdom prompts him cannot but
be free, and the objects whereto his wisdom does not prompt him do not
cease to be possible. Moreover, his wisdom has prompted him to will the
salvation of all men, but not by a consequent and decretory will. Yet this
consequent will, being only a result of free antecedent acts of will,
cannot fail to be free also.


'The work most worthy of God's wisdom involves amongst other things the sin
of all men and the eternal damnation of the majority of men.

'Now God wills of necessity the work most worthy of his wisdom.

'He wills therefore of necessity the work that involves amongst other
things the sin of all men and the eternal damnation of the majority of

The major holds good, but the minor I deny. The decrees of God are always
free, even though God be always prompted thereto by reasons which lie in
the intention towards good: for to be morally compelled by wisdom, to be
bound by the consideration of good, is to be free; it is not compulsion in
the metaphysical sense. And metaphysical necessity alone, as I have
observed so many times, is opposed to freedom.

238. I shall not examine the syllogisms that M. Bayle urges in objection in
the following chapter (Ch. 152), against the system of the Supralapsarians,
and particularly against the oration made by Theodore de Bèze at the  [274]
Conference of Montbéliard in the year 1586. This conference also only
served to increase the acrimony of the parties. 'God created the World to
his glory: his glory is not known (according to Bèze), if his mercy and his
justice are not declared; for this cause simply by his grace he decreed for
some men life eternal, and for others by a just judgement eternal
damnation. Mercy presupposes misery, justice presupposes guilt.' (He might
have added that misery also supposes guilt.) 'Nevertheless God being good,
indeed goodness itself, he created man good and righteous, but unstable,
and capable of sinning of his own free will. Man did not fall at random or
rashly, or through causes ordained by some other God, as the Manichaeans
hold, but by the providence of God; in such a way notwithstanding, that God
was not involved in the fault, inasmuch as man was not constrained to sin.'

239. This system is not of the best conceived: it is not well fitted to
show forth the wisdom, the goodness and the justice of God; and happily it
is almost abandoned to-day. If there were not other more profound reasons
capable of inducing God to permit guilt, the source of misery, there would
be neither guilt nor misery in the world, for the reasons alleged here do
not suffice. He would declare his mercy better in preventing misery, and he
would declare his justice better in preventing guilt, in advancing virtue,
in recompensing it. Besides, one does not see how he who not only causes a
man to be capable of falling, but who so disposes circumstances that they
contribute towards causing his fall, is not culpable, if there are no other
reasons compelling him thereto. But when one considers that God, altogether
good and wise, must have produced all the virtue, goodness, happiness
whereof the best plan of the universe is capable, and that often an evil in
some parts may serve the greater good of the whole, one readily concludes
that God may have given room for unhappiness, and even permitted guilt, as
he has done, without deserving to be blamed. It is the only remedy that
supplies what all systems lack, however they arrange the decrees. These
thoughts have already been favoured by St. Augustine, and one may say of
Eve what the poet said of the hand of Mucius Scaevola:

  _Si non errasset, fecerat illa minus_.

240. I find that the famous English prelate who wrote an ingenious book on
the origin of evil, some passages of which were disputed by M. Bayle  [275]
in the second volume of his _Reply to the Questions of a Provincial_, while
disagreeing with some of the opinions that I have upheld here and appearing
to resort sometimes to a despotic power, as if the will of God did not
follow the rules of wisdom in relation to good or evil, but decreed
arbitrarily that such and such a thing must be considered good or evil; and
as if even the will of the creature, in so far as it is free, did not
choose because the object appears good to him, but by a purely arbitrary
determination, independent of the representation of the object; this
bishop, I say, in other passages nevertheless says things which seem more
in favour of my doctrine than of what appears contrary thereto in his own.
He says that what an infinitely wise and free cause has chosen is better
than what it has not chosen. Is not that recognizing that goodness is the
object and the reason of his choice? In this sense one will here aptly say:

  _Sic placuit superis; quaerere plura, nefas_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


241. Now at last I have disposed of the cause of moral evil; _physical
evil_, that is, sorrows, sufferings, miseries, will be less troublesome to
explain, since these are results of moral evil. _Poena est malum passionis,
quod infligitur ob malum actionis_, according to Grotius. One suffers
because one has acted; one suffers evil because one does evil.

    _Nostrorum causa malorum_
  _Nos sumus_.

It is true that one often suffers through the evil actions of others; but
when one has no part in the offence one must look upon it as a certainty
that these sufferings prepare for us a greater happiness. The question of
_physical evil_, that is, of the origin of sufferings, has difficulties in
common with that of the origin of _metaphysical evil_, examples whereof are
furnished by the monstrosities and other apparent irregularities of the
universe. But one must believe that even sufferings and monstrosities are
part of order; and it is well to bear in mind not only that it was better
to admit these defects and these monstrosities than to violate general
laws, as Father Malebranche sometimes argues, but also that these very
monstrosities are in the rules, and are in conformity with general acts of
will, though we be not capable of discerning this conformity. It is   [277]
just as sometimes there are appearances of irregularity in mathematics
which issue finally in a great order when one has finally got to the bottom
of them: that is why I have already in this work observed that according to
my principles all individual events, without exception, are consequences of
general acts of will.

242. It should be no cause for astonishment that I endeavour to elucidate
these things by comparisons taken from pure mathematics, where everything
proceeds in order, and where it is possible to fathom them by a close
contemplation which grants us an enjoyment, so to speak, of the vision of
the ideas of God. One may propose a succession or series of numbers
perfectly irregular to all appearance, where the numbers increase and
diminish variably without the emergence of any order; and yet he who knows
the key to the formula, and who understands the origin and the structure of
this succession of numbers, will be able to give a rule which, being
properly understood, will show that the series is perfectly regular, and
that it even has excellent properties. One may make this still more evident
in lines. A line may have twists and turns, ups and downs, points of
reflexion and points of inflexion, interruptions and other variations, so
that one sees neither rhyme nor reason therein, especially when taking into
account only a portion of the line; and yet it may be that one can give its
equation and construction, wherein a geometrician would find the reason and
the fittingness of all these so-called irregularities. That is how we must
look upon the irregularities constituted by monstrosities and other
so-called defects in the universe.

243. In this sense one may apply that fine adage of St. Bernard (Ep. 276,
Ad Eugen., III): 'Ordinatissimum est, minus interdum ordinate fieri
aliquid.' It belongs to the great order that there should be some small
disorder. One may even say that this small disorder is apparent only in the
whole, and it is not even apparent when one considers the happiness of
those who walk in the ways of order.

244. When I mention monstrosities I include numerous other apparent defects
besides. We are acquainted with hardly anything but the surface of our
globe; we scarce penetrate into its interior beyond a few hundred fathoms.
That which we find in this crust of the globe appears to be the effect of
some great upheavals. It seems that this globe was once on fire, and that
the rocks forming the base of this crust of the earth are scoria remaining
from a great fusion. In their entrails are found metal and mineral    [278]
products, which closely resemble those emanating from our furnaces: and the
entire sea may be a kind of _oleum per deliquium_, just as tartaric oil
forms in a damp place. For when the earth's surface cooled after the great
conflagration the moisture that the fire had driven into the air fell back
upon the earth, washed its surface and dissolved and absorbed the solid
salt that was left in the cinders, finally filling up this great cavity in
the surface of our globe, to form the ocean filled with salt water.

245. But, after the fire, one must conclude that earth and water made
ravages no less. It may be that the crust formed by the cooling, having
below it great cavities, fell in, so that we live only on ruins, as among
others Thomas Burnet, Chaplain to the late King of Great Britain, aptly
observed. Sundry deluges and inundations have left deposits, whereof traces
and remains are found which show that the sea was in places that to-day are
most remote from it. But these upheavals ceased at last, and the globe
assumed the shape that we see. Moses hints at these changes in few words:
the separation of light from darkness indicates the melting caused by the
fire; and the separation of the moist from the dry marks the effects of
inundations. But who does not see that these disorders have served to bring
things to the point where they now are, that we owe to them our riches and
our comforts, and that through their agency this globe became fit for
cultivation by us. These disorders passed into order. The disorders, real
or apparent, that we see from afar are sunspots and comets; but we do not
know what uses they supply, nor the rules prevailing therein. Time was when
the planets were held to be wandering stars: now their motion is found to
be regular. Peradventure it is the same with the comets: posterity will

246. One does not include among the disorders inequality of conditions, and
M. Jacquelot is justified in asking those who would have everything equally
perfect, why rocks are not crowned with leaves and flowers? why ants are
not peacocks? And if there must needs be equality everywhere, the poor man
would serve notice of appeal against the rich, the servant against the
master. The pipes of an organ must not be of equal size. M. Bayle will say
that there is a difference between a privation of good and a disorder;
between a disorder in inanimate things, which is purely metaphysical, and a
disorder in rational creatures, which is composed of crime and        [279]
sufferings. He is right in making a distinction between them, and I am
right in combining them. God does not neglect inanimate things: they do not
feel, but God feels for them. He does not neglect animals: they have not
intelligence, but God has it for them. He would reproach himself for the
slightest actual defect there were in the universe, even though it were
perceived of none.

247. It seems M. Bayle does not approve any comparison between the
disorders which may exist in inanimate things and those which trouble the
peace and happiness of rational creatures; nor would he agree to our
justifying the permission of vice on the pretext of the care that must be
taken to avoid disturbing the laws of motion. One might thence conclude,
according to him (posthumous Reply to M. Jacquelot, p. 183), 'that God
created the world only to display his infinite skill in architecture and
mechanics, whilst his property of goodness and love of virtue took no part
in the construction of this great work. This God would pride himself only
on skill; he would prefer to let the whole human kind perish rather than
suffer some atoms to go faster or more slowly than general laws require.'
M. Bayle would not have made this antithesis if he had been informed on the
system of general harmony which I assume, which states that the realm of
efficient causes and that of final causes are parallel to each other; that
God has no less the quality of the best monarch than that of the greatest
architect; that matter is so disposed that the laws of motion serve as the
best guidance for spirits; and that consequently it will prove that he has
attained the utmost good possible, provided one reckon the metaphysical,
physical and moral goods together.

248. But (M. Bayle will say) God having power to avert innumerable evils by
one small miracle, why did he not employ it? He gives so much extraordinary
help to fallen men; but slight help of such a kind given to Eve would have
prevented her fall and rendered the temptation of the serpent ineffective.
I have sufficiently met objections of this sort with this general answer,
that God ought not to make choice of another universe since he has chosen
the best, and has only made use of the miracles necessary thereto. I had
answered M. Bayle that miracles change the natural order of the universe.
He replies, that that is an illusion, and that the miracle of the wedding
at Cana (for instance) made no change in the air of the room, except that
instead of receiving into its pores some corpuscles of water, it      [280]
received corpuscles of wine. But one must bear in mind that once the best
plan of things has been chosen nothing can be changed therein.

249. As for miracles (concerning which I have already said something in
this work), they are perhaps not all of one and the same kind: there are
many, to all appearances, which God brings about through the ministry of
invisible substances, such as the angels, as Father Malebranche also
believes. These angels or these substances act according to the ordinary
laws of their nature, being combined with bodies more rarefied and more
vigorous than those we have at our command. And such miracles are only so
by comparison, and in relation to us; just as our works would be considered
miraculous amongst animals if they were capable of remarking upon them. The
changing of water into wine might be a miracle of this kind. But the
Creation, the Incarnation and some other actions of God exceed all the
power of creatures and are truly miracles, or indeed Mysteries. If,
nevertheless, the changing of water into wine at Cana was a miracle of the
highest kind, God would have thereby changed the whole course of the
universe, because of the connexion of bodies; or else he would have been
bound to prevent this connexion miraculously also, and cause the bodies not
concerned in the miracle to act as if no miracle had happened. After the
miracle was over, it would have been necessary to restore all things in
those very bodies concerned to the state they would have reached without
the miracle: whereafter all would have returned to its original course.
Thus this miracle demanded more than at first appears.

250. As for physical evil in creatures, to wit their sufferings, M. Bayle
contends vigorously against those who endeavour to justify by means of
particular reasons the course of action pursued by God in regard to this.
Here I set aside the sufferings of animals, and I see that M. Bayle insists
chiefly on those of men, perhaps because he thinks that brute beasts have
no feeling. It is on account of the injustice there would be in the
sufferings of beasts that divers Cartesians wished to prove that they are
only machines, _quoniam sub Deo justo nemo innocens miser est_: it is
impossible that an innocent creature should be unhappy under such a master
as God. The principle is good, but I do not think it warrants the inference
that beasts have no feeling, because I think that, properly speaking,
perception is not sufficient to cause misery if it is not accompanied [281]
by reflexion. It is the same with happiness: without reflexion there is

  _O fortunatos nimium, sua qui bona norint!_

One cannot reasonably doubt the existence of pain among animals; but it
seems as if their pleasures and their pains are not so keen as they are in
man: for animals, since they do not reflect, are susceptible neither to the
grief that accompanies pain, nor to the joy that accompanies pleasure. Men
are sometimes in a state approaching that of the beasts, when they act
almost on instinct alone and simply on the impressions made by the
experience of the senses: and, in this state, their pleasures and their
pains are very slight.

251. But let us pass from the beasts and return to rational creatures. It
is with regard to them that M. Bayle discusses this question: whether there
is more physical evil than physical good in the world? (_Reply to the
Questions of a Provincial_, vol. II, ch. 75.) To settle it aright, one must
explain wherein these goods and evils lie. We are agreed that physical evil
is simply displeasure and under that heading I include pain, grief, and
every other kind of discomfort. But does physical good lie solely in
pleasure? M. Bayle appears to be of this opinion; but I consider that it
lies also in a middle state, such as that of health. One is well enough
when one has no ill; it is a degree of wisdom to have no folly:

      _Sapientia prima est,_
  _Stultitia caruisse_.

In the same way one is worthy of praise when one cannot with justice be

  _Si non culpabor, sat mihi laudis erit_.

That being the case, all the sensations not unpleasing to us, all the
exercises of our powers that do not incommode us, and whose prevention
would incommode us, are physical goods, even when they cause us no
pleasure; for privation of them is a physical evil. Besides we only
perceive the good of health, and other like goods, when we are deprived of
them. On those terms I would dare to maintain that even in this life goods
exceed evils, that our comforts exceed our discomforts, and that M.
Descartes was justified in writing (vol. I, Letter 9) 'that natural reason
teaches us that we have more goods than evils in this life'.

252. It must be added that pleasures enjoyed too often and to excess would
be a very great evil. There are some which Hippocrates compared to the
falling sickness, and Scioppius doubtless only made pretence of envying the
sparrows in order to be agreeably playful in a learned and far from playful
work. Highly seasoned foods are injurious to health and impair the niceness
of a delicate sense; and in general bodily pleasures are a kind of
expenditure of the spirit, though they be made good in some better than in

253. As proof, however, that the evil exceeds the good is quoted the
instance of M. de la Motte le Vayer (Letter 134), who would not have been
willing to return to the world, supposing he had had to play the same part
as providence had already assigned to him. But I have already said that I
think one would accept the proposal of him who could re-knot the thread of
Fate if a new part were promised to us, even though it should not be better
than the first. Thus from M. de la Motte le Vayer's saying it does not
follow that he would not have wished for the part he had already played,
provided it had been new, as M. Bayle seems to take it.

254. The pleasures of the mind are the purest, and of greatest service in
making joy endure. Cardan, when already an old man, was so content with his
state that he protested solemnly that he would not exchange it for the
state of the richest of young men who at the same time was ignorant. M. de
la Motte le Vayer quotes the saying himself without criticizing it.
Knowledge has doubtless charms which cannot be conceived by those who have
not tasted them. I do not mean a mere knowledge of facts without that of
reasons, but knowledge like that of Cardan, who with all his faults was a
great man, and would have been incomparable without those faults.

  _Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas!_
  _Ille metus omnes et inexorabile fatum_
  _Subjecit pedibus._

It is no small thing to be content with God and with the universe, not to
fear what destiny has in store for us, nor to complain of what befalls us.
Acquaintance with true principles gives us this advantage, quite other than
that the Stoics and the Epicureans derived from their philosophy. There is
as much difference between true morality and theirs as there is       [283]
between joy and patience: for their tranquillity was founded only on
necessity, while ours must rest upon the perfection and beauty of things,
upon our own happiness.

255. What, then, shall we say of bodily sufferings? May they not be
sufficiently acute to disturb the sage's tranquillity? Aristotle assents;
the Stoics were of a different opinion, and even the Epicureans likewise.
M. Descartes revived the doctrine of these philosophers; he says in the
letter just quoted: 'that even amid the worst misfortunes and the most
overwhelming sufferings one may always be content, if only one knows how to
exercise reason'. M. Bayle says concerning this (_Reply to the Questions of
a Provincial_, vol. III, ch. 157, p. 991) 'that it is saying nothing, that
it is prescribing for us a remedy whose preparation hardly anyone
understands'. I hold that the thing is not impossible, and that men could
attain it by dint of meditation and practice. For apart from the true
martyrs and those who have been aided in wonderful wise from on high, there
have been counterfeits who imitated them. That Spanish slave who killed the
Carthaginian governor in order to avenge his master and who evinced great
joy in his deed, even in the greatest tortures, may shame the philosophers.
Why should not one go as far as he? One may say of an advantage, as of a

  _Cuivis potest accidere, quod cuiquam potest_.

256. But even to-day entire tribes, such as the Hurons, the Iroquois, the
Galibis and other peoples of America teach us a great lesson on this
matter: one cannot read without astonishment of the intrepidity and
well-nigh insensibility wherewith they brave their enemies, who roast them
over a slow fire and eat them by slices. If such people could retain their
physical superiority and their courage, and combine them with our
acquirements, they would surpass us in every way,

  _Extat ut in mediis turris aprica casis_.

They would be, in comparison with us, as a giant to a dwarf, a mountain to
a hill:

  _Quantus Eryx, et quantus Athos, gaudetque nivali_
  _Vertice se attollens pater Apenninus ad auras._

257. All that which is effected by a wonderful vigour of body and mind in
these savages, who persist obstinately in the strangest point of honour,
might be acquired in our case by training, by well-seasoned mortifications,
by an overmastering joy founded on reason, by great practice in preserving
a certain presence of mind in the midst of the distractions and impressions
most liable to disturb it. Something of this kind is related of the ancient
Assassins, subjects and pupils of the Old Man or rather the Seigneur
(_Senior_) of the Mountain. Such a school (for a better purpose) would be
good for missionaries who would wish to return to Japan. The Gymnosophists
of the ancient Indians had perhaps something resembling this, and that
Calanus, who provided for Alexander the Great the spectacle of his burning
alive, had doubtless been encouraged by the great examples of his masters
and trained by great sufferings not to fear pain. The wives of these same
Indians, who even to-day ask to be burned with the bodies of their
husbands, seem still to keep something of the courage of those ancient
philosophers of their country. I do not expect that there should
straightway be founded a religious order whose purpose would be to exalt
man to that high pitch of perfection: such people would be too much above
the rest, and too formidable for the authorities. As it rarely happens that
people are exposed to extremes where such great strength of mind would be
needed, one will scarce think of providing for it at the expense of our
usual comforts, albeit incomparably more would be gained than lost thereby.

258. Nevertheless the very fact that one has no need of that great remedy
is a proof that the good already exceeds the evil. Euripides also said:

  [Greek: pleiô ta chrêsta tôn kakôn einai brotois].
  _Mala nostra longe judico vinci a bonis._

Homer and divers other poets were of another mind, and men in general agree
with them. The reason for this is that the evil arouses our attention
rather than the good: but this same reason proves that the evil is more
rare. One must therefore not credit the petulant expressions of Pliny, who
would have it that Nature is a stepmother, and who maintains that man is
the most unhappy and most vain of all creatures. These two epithets do not
agree: one is not so very unhappy, when one is full of oneself. It is [285]
true that men hold human nature only too much in contempt, apparently
because they see no other creatures capable of arousing their emulation;
but they have all too much self-esteem, and individually are but too easily
satisfied. I therefore agree with Meric Casaubon, who in his notes on the
Xenophanes of Diogenes Laertius praises exceedingly the admirable
sentiments of Euripides, going so far as to credit him with having said
things _quae spirant_ [Greek: theopneuston] _pectus_. Seneca (Lib. 4, c. 5,
_De Benefic._) speaks eloquently of the blessings Nature has heaped upon
us. M. Bayle in his _Dictionary_, article 'Xenophanes', brings up sundry
authorities against this, and among others that of the poet Diphilus in the
Collections of Stobaeus, whose Greek might be thus expressed in Latin:

  _Fortuna cyathis bibere nos datis jubens,_
  _Infundit uno terna pro bono mala._

259. M. Bayle believes that if it were a question only of the evil of
guilt, or of moral evil among men, the case would soon be terminated to the
advantage of Pliny, and Euripides would lose his action. To that I am not
opposed; our vices doubtless exceed our virtues, and this is the effect of
original sin. It is nevertheless true that also on that point men in
general exaggerate things, and that even some theologians disparage man so
much that they wrong the providence of the Author of mankind. That is why I
am not in favour of those who thought to do great honour to our religion by
saying that the virtues of the pagans were only _splendida peccata_,
splendid vices. It is a sally of St. Augustine's which has no foundation in
holy Scripture, and which offends reason. But here we are only discussing a
physical good and evil, and one must compare in detail the prosperities and
the adversities of this life. M. Bayle would wish almost to set aside the
consideration of health; he likens it to the rarefied bodies, which are
scarcely felt, like air, for example; but he likens pain to the bodies that
have much density and much weight in slight volume. But pain itself makes
us aware of the importance of health when we are bereft of it. I have
already observed that excess of physical pleasures would be a real evil,
and the matter ought not to be otherwise; it is too important for the
spirit to be free. Lactantius (_Divin. Instit._, lib. 3, cap. 18) had said
that men are so squeamish that they complain of the slightest ill, as if it
swallowed up all the goods they have enjoyed. M. Bayle says, concerning
this, that the very fact that men have this feeling warrants the      [286]
judgement that they are in evil case, since it is feeling which measures
the extent of good or evil. But I answer that present feeling is anything
rather than the true measure of good and evil past and future. I grant that
one is in evil case while one makes these peevish reflexions; but that does
not exclude a previous state of well-being, nor imply that, everything
reckoned in and all allowance made, the good does not exceed the evil.

260. I do not wonder that the pagans, dissatisfied with their gods, made
complaints against Prometheus and Epimetheus for having forged so weak an
animal as man. Nor do I wonder that they acclaimed the fable of old
Silenus, foster-father of Bacchus, who was seized by King Midas, and as the
price of his deliverance taught him that ostensibly fine maxim that the
first and the greatest of goods was not to be born, and the second, to
depart from this life with dispatch (Cic., _Tuscul._, lib. 1). Plato
believed that souls had been in a happier state, and many of the ancients,
amongst others Cicero in his Consolation (according to the account of
Lactantius), believed that for their sins they were confined in bodies as
in a prison. They rendered thus a reason for our ills, and asserted their
prejudices against human life: for there is no such thing as a beautiful
prison. But quite apart from the consideration that, even according to
these same pagans, the evils of this life would be counterbalanced and
exceeded by the goods of past and future lives, I make bold to say that we
shall find, upon unbiassed scrutiny of the facts, that taking all in all
human life is in general tolerable. And adding thereto the motives of
religion, we shall be content with the order God has set therein. Moreover,
for a better judgement of our goods and our evils, it will be well to read
Cardan, _De Utilitate ex Adversis Capienda_, and Novarini, _De Occultis Dei

261. M. Bayle dilates upon the misfortunes of the great, who are thought to
be the most fortunate: the constant experience of the fair aspect of their
condition renders them unaware of good, but greatly aware of evil. Someone
will say: so much the worse for them; if they know not how to enjoy the
advantages of nature and fortune, is that the fault of either? There are
nevertheless great men possessed of more wisdom, who know how to profit by
the favours God has shown them, who are easily consoled for their
misfortunes, and who even turn their own faults to account. M. Bayle  [287]
pays no heed to that: he prefers to listen to Pliny, who thinks that
Augustus, one of the princes most favoured by fortune, experienced at least
as much evil as good. I admit that he found great causes of trouble in his
family and that remorse for having crushed the Republic may have tormented
him; but I think that he was too wise to grieve over the former, and that
Maecenas apparently made him understand that Rome had need of a master. Had
not Augustus been converted on this point, Vergil would never have said of
a lost soul:

  _Vendidit hic auro patriam Dominumque potentem_
  _Imposuit, fixit leges pretio atque refixit._

Augustus would have thought that he and Caesar were alluded to in these
lines, which speak of a master given to a free state. But there is every
indication that he applied it just as little to his dominion, which he
regarded as compatible with liberty and as a necessary remedy for public
evils, as the princes of to-day apply to themselves the words used of the
kings censured in M. de Cambray's _Telemachus_. Each one considers himself
within his rights. Tacitus, an unbiassed writer, justifies Augustus in two
words, at the beginning of his _Annals_. But Augustus was better able than
anyone to judge of his good fortune. He appears to have died content, as
may be inferred from a proof he gave of contentedness with his life: for in
dying he repeated to his friends a line in Greek, which has the
signification of that _Plaudite_ that was wont to be spoken at the
conclusion of a well-acted play. Suetonius quotes it:

  [Greek: Dote kroton kai pantes hymeis meta charas ktypêsate.]

262. But even though there should have fallen to the lot of the human kind
more evil than good, it is enough where God is concerned that there is
incomparably more good than evil in the universe. Rabbi Maimonides (whose
merit is not sufficiently recognized in the statement that he is the first
of the Rabbis to have ceased talking nonsense) also gave wise judgement on
this question of the predominance of good over evil in the world. Here is
what he says in his _Doctor Perplexorum_ (cap. 12, p. 3): 'There arise
often in the hearts of ill-instructed persons thoughts which persuade them
there is more evil than good in the world: and one often finds in the poems
and songs of the pagans that it is as it were a miracle when something good
comes to pass, whereas evils are usual and constant. This error has   [288]
taken hold not of the common herd only, those very persons who wish to be
considered wise have been beguiled thereby. A celebrated writer named
Alrasi, in his _Sepher Elohuth_, or Theosophy, amongst other absurdities
has stated that there are more evils than goods, and that upon comparison
of the recreations and the pleasures man enjoys in times of tranquillity
with the pains, the torments, the troubles, faults, cares, griefs and
afflictions whereby he is overwhelmed our life would prove to be a great
evil, and an actual penalty inflicted upon us to punish us.' Maimonides
adds that the cause of their extravagant error is their supposition that
Nature was made for them only, and that they hold of no account what is
separate from their person; whence they infer that when something
unpleasing to them occurs all goes ill in the universe.

263. M. Bayle says that this observation of Maimonides is not to the point,
because the question is whether among men evil exceeds good. But, upon
consideration of the Rabbi's words, I find that the question he formulates
is general, and that he wished to refute those who decide it on one
particular motive derived from the evils of the human race, as if all had
been made for man; and it seems as though the author whom he refutes spoke
also of good and evil in general. Maimonides is right in saying that if one
took into account the littleness of man in relation to the universe one
would comprehend clearly that the predominance of evil, even though it
prevailed among men, need not on that account occur among the angels, nor
among the heavenly bodies, nor among the elements and inanimate compounds,
nor among many kinds of animals. I have shown elsewhere that in supposing
that the number of the damned exceeds that of the saved (a supposition
which is nevertheless not altogether certain) one might admit that there is
more evil than good in respect of the human kind known to us. But I pointed
out that that neither precludes the existence of incomparably more good
than evil, both moral and physical, in rational creatures in general, nor
prevents the city of God, which contains all creatures, from being the most
perfect state. So also on consideration of the metaphysical good and evil
which is in all substances, whether endowed with or devoid of intelligence,
and which taken in such scope would include physical good and moral good,
one must say that the universe, such as it actually is, must be the best of
all systems.

264. Moreover, M. Bayle will not have it that our transgression should have
anything to do with the consideration of our sufferings. He is right when
it is simply a matter of appraising these sufferings; but the case is not
the same when one asks whether they should be ascribed to God, this indeed
being the principal cause of M. Bayle's difficulties when he places reason
or experience in opposition to religion. I know that he is wont to say that
it is of no avail to resort to our free will, since his objections tend
also to prove that the misuse of free will must no less be laid to the
account of God, who has permitted it and who has co-operated therein. He
states it as a maxim that for one difficulty more or less one must not
abandon a system. This he advances especially in favour of the methods of
the strict and the dogma of the Supralapsarians. For he supposes that one
can subscribe to their opinion, although he leaves all the difficulties in
their entirety, because the other systems, albeit they put an end to some
of the difficulties, cannot meet them all. I hold that the true system I
have expounded satisfies all. Nevertheless, even were that not so, I
confess that I cannot relish this maxim of M. Bayle's, and I should prefer
a system which would remove a great portion of the difficulties, to one
which would meet none of them. And the consideration of the wickedness of
men, which brings upon them well-nigh all their misfortunes, shows at least
that they have no right to complain. No justice need trouble itself over
the origin of a scoundrel's wickedness when it is only a question of
punishing him: it is quite another matter when it is a question of
prevention. One knows well that disposition, upbringing, conversation, and
often chance itself, have much share in that origin: is the man any the
less deserving of punishment?

265. I confess that there still remains another difficulty. If God is not
bound to account to the wicked for their wickedness, it seems as if he owes
to himself, and to those who honour him and love him, justification for his
course of action with regard to the permission of vice and crime. But God
has already given that satisfaction, as far as it is needed here on earth:
by granting us the light of reason he has bestowed upon us the means
whereby we may meet all difficulties. I hope that I have made it plain in
this discourse, and have elucidated the matter in the preceding portion of
these Essays, almost as far as it can be done through general arguments.
Thereafter, the permission of sin being justified, the other evils    [290]
that are a consequence thereof present no further difficulty. Thus also I
am justified in restricting myself here to the evil of guilt to account for
the evil of punishment, as Holy Scripture does, and likewise well-nigh all
the Fathers of the Church and the Preachers. And, to the end that none may
say that is only good _per la predica_, it is enough to consider that,
after the solutions I have given, nothing must seem more right or more
exact than this method. For God, having found already among things
possible, before his actual decrees, man misusing his freedom and bringing
upon himself his misfortune, yet could not avoid admitting him into
existence, because the general plan required this. Wherefore it will no
longer be necessary to say with M. Jurieu that one must dogmatize like St.
Augustine and preach like Pelagius.

266. This method, deriving the evil of punishment from the evil of guilt,
cannot be open to censure, and serves especially to account for the
greatest physical evil, which is damnation. Ernst Sonner, sometime
Professor of Philosophy at Altorf (a university established in the
territory of the free city of Nuremberg), who was considered an excellent
Aristotelian, but was finally recognized as being secretly a Socinian, had
composed a little discourse entitled: _Demonstration against the Eternity
of Punishment_. It was founded on this somewhat trite principle, that there
is no proportion between an infinite punishment and a finite guilt. It was
conveyed to me, printed (so it seemed) in Holland; and I replied that there
was one thing to be considered which had escaped the late Herr Sonner:
namely that it was enough to say that the duration of the guilt caused the
duration of the penalty. Since the damned remained wicked they could not be
withdrawn from their misery; and thus one need not, in order to justify the
continuation of their sufferings, assume that sin has become of infinite
weight through the infinite nature of the object offended, who is God. This
thesis I had not explored enough to pass judgement thereon. I know that the
general opinion of the Schoolmen, according to the Master of the Sentences,
is that in the other life there is neither merit nor demerit; but I do not
think that, taken literally, it can pass for an article of faith. Herr
Fecht, a famous theologian at Rostock, well refuted that in his book on
_The State of the Damned_. It is quite wrong, he says (§ 59); God cannot
change his nature; justice is essential to him; death has closed the door
of grace, but not that of justice.

267. I have observed that sundry able theologians have accounted for the
duration of the pains of the damned as I have just done. Johann Gerhard, a
famous theologian of the Augsburg Confession (in _Locis Theol._, loco de
Inferno, § 60), brings forward amongst other arguments that the damned have
still an evil will and lack the grace that could render it good. Zacharias
Ursinus, a theologian of Heidelberg, who follows Calvin, having formulated
this question (in his treatise _De Fide_) why sin merits an eternal
punishment, advances first the common reason, that the person offended is
infinite, and then also this second reason, _quod non cessante peccato non
potest cessare poena_. And the Jesuit Father Drexler says in his book
entitled _Nicetas, or Incontinence Overcome_ (book 2, ch. 11, § 9): 'Nec
mirum damnatos semper torqueri, continue blasphemant, et sic quasi semper
peccant, semper ergo plectuntur.' He declares and approves the same reason
in his work on _Eternity_ (book 2, ch. 15) saying: 'Sunt qui dicant, nec
displicet responsum: scelerati in locis infernis semper peccant, ideo
semper puniuntur.' And he indicates thereby that this opinion is very
common among learned men in the Roman Church. He alleges, it is true,
another more subtle reason, derived from Pope Gregory the Great (lib. 4,
Dial. c. 44), that the damned are punished eternally because God foresaw by
a kind of _mediate knowledge_ that they would always have sinned if they
had always lived upon earth. But it is a hypothesis very much open to
question. Herr Fecht quotes also various eminent Protestant theologians for
Herr Gerhard's opinion, although he mentions also some who think

268. M. Bayle himself in various places has supplied me with passages from
two able theologians of his party, which have some reference to these
statements of mine. M. Jurieu in his book on the _Unity of the Church_, in
opposition to that written by M. Nicole on the same subject, gives the
opinion (p. 379) 'that reason tells us that a creature which cannot cease
to be criminal can also not cease to be miserable'. M. Jacquelot in his
book on _The Conformity of Faith with Reason_ (p. 220) is of opinion 'that
the damned must remain eternally deprived of the glory of the blessed, and
that this deprivation might well be the origin and the cause of all their
pains, through the reflexions these unhappy creatures make upon their
crimes which have deprived them of an eternal bliss. One knows what burning
regrets, what pain envy causes to those who see themselves deprived of a
good, of a notable honour which had been offered to them, and which   [292]
they rejected, especially when they see others invested with it.' This
position is a little different from that of M. Jurieu, but both agree in
this sentiment, that the damned are themselves the cause of the
continuation of their torments. M. le Clerc's Origenist does not entirely
differ from this opinion when he says in the _Select Library_ (vol. 7, p.
341): 'God, who foresaw that man would fall, does not condemn him on that
account, but only because, although he has the power to recover himself, he
yet does not do so, that is, he freely retains his evil ways to the end of
his life.' If he carries this reasoning on beyond this life, he will
ascribe the continuation of the pains of the wicked to the continuation of
their guilt.

269. M. Bayle says (_Reply to the Questions of a Provincial_, ch. 175, p.
1188) 'that this dogma of the Origenist is heretical, in that it teaches
that damnation is not founded simply on sin, but on voluntary impenitence':
but is not this voluntary impenitence a continuation of sin? I would not
simply say, however, that it is because man, having the power to recover
himself, does not; and would wish to add that it is because man does not
take advantage of the succour of grace to aid him to recover himself. But
after this life, though one assume that the succour ceases, there is always
in the man who sins, even when he is damned, a freedom which renders him
culpable, and a power, albeit remote, of recovering himself, even though it
should never pass into action. And there is no reason why one may not say
that this degree of freedom, exempt from necessity, but not exempt from
certainty, remains in the damned as well as in the blessed. Moreover, the
damned have no need of a succour that is needed in this life, for they know
only too well what one must believe here.

270. The illustrious prelate of the Anglican Church who published recently
a book on the origin of evil, concerning which M. Bayle made some
observations in the second volume of his _Reply_, speaks with much subtlety
about the pains of the damned. This prelate's opinion is presented
(according to the author of the _Nouvelles de la République des Lettres_,
June 1703) as if he made 'of the damned just so many madmen who will feel
their miseries acutely, but who will nevertheless congratulate themselves
on their own behaviour, and who will rather choose to be, and to be that
which they are, than not to be at all. They will love their state, unhappy
as it will be, even as angry people, lovers, the ambitious, the       [293]
envious take pleasure in the very things that only augment their misery.
Furthermore the ungodly will have so accustomed their mind to wrong
judgements that they will henceforth never make any other kind, and will
perpetually pass from one error into another. They will not be able to
refrain from desiring perpetually things whose enjoyment will be denied
them, and, being deprived of which, they will fall into inconceivable
despair, while experience can never make them wiser for the future. For by
their own fault they will have altogether corrupted their understanding,
and will have rendered it incapable of passing a sound judgement on any

271. The ancients already imagined that the Devil dwells remote from God
voluntarily, in the midst of his torments, and that he is unwilling to
redeem himself by an act of submission. They invented a tale that an
anchorite in a vision received a promise from God that he would receive
into grace the Prince of the bad angels if he would acknowledge his fault;
but that the devil rebuffed this mediator in a strange manner. At the
least, the theologians usually agree that the devils and the damned hate
God and blaspheme him; and such a state cannot but be followed by
continuation of misery. Concerning that, one may read the learned treatise
of Herr Fecht on the _State of the Damned_.

272. There were times when the belief was held that it was not impossible
for a lost soul to be delivered. The story told of Pope Gregory the Great
is well known, how by his prayers he had withdrawn from hell the soul of
the Emperor Trajan, whose goodness was so renowned that to new emperors the
wish was offered that they should surpass Augustus in good fortune and
Trajan in goodness. It was this that won for the latter the pity of the
Holy Father. God acceded to his prayers (it is said), but he forbade him to
make the like prayers in future. According to this fable, the prayers of
St. Gregory had the force of the remedies of Aesculapius, who recalled
Hippolytus from Hades; and, if he had continued to make such prayers, God
would have waxed wroth, like Jupiter in Vergil:

  _At pater omnipotens aliquem indignatus ab umbris_
  _Mortalem infernis ad lumina surgere vitae,_
  _Ipse repertorem medicinae talis et artis_
  _Fulmine Phoebigenam Stygias detrusit ad undas._

Godescalc, a monk of the ninth century, who set at variance the theologians
of his day, and even those of our day, maintained that the reprobate should
pray God to render their pains more bearable; but one is never justified in
believing oneself reprobate so long as one is alive. The passage in the
Mass for the dead is more reasonable: it asks for the abatement of the
torments of the damned, and, according to the hypothesis that I have just
stated, one must wish for them _meliorem mentem_. Origen having applied the
passage from Psalm lxxvii, verse 10: God will not forget to be gracious,
neither will he shut up his loving-kindness in displeasure, St. Augustine
replies _(Enchirid._, c. 112) that it is possible that the pains of the
damned last eternally, and that they may nevertheless be mitigated. If the
text implied that, the abatement would, as regards its duration, go on to
infinity; and yet that abatement would, as regards its extent, have a _non
plus ultra_. Even so there are asymptote figures in geometry where an
infinite length makes only a finite progress in breadth. If the parable of
the wicked rich man represented the state of a definitely lost soul, the
hypothesis which makes these souls so mad and so wicked would be
groundless. But the charity towards his brothers attributed to him in the
parable does not seem to be consistent with that degree of wickedness which
is ascribed to the damned. St. Gregory the Great (IX _Mor._, 39) thinks
that the rich man was afraid lest their damnation should increase his: but
it seems as though this fear is not sufficiently consistent with the
disposition of a perfectly wicked will. Bonaventura, on the Master of the
Sentences, says that the wicked rich man would have desired to see everyone
damned; but since that was not to be, he desired the salvation of his
brothers rather than that of the rest. This reply is by no means sound. On
the contrary, the mission of Lazarus that he desired would have served to
save many people; and he who takes so much pleasure in the damnation of
others that he desires it for everyone will perhaps desire that damnation
for some more than others; but, generally speaking, he will have no
inclination to gain salvation for anyone. However that may be, one must
admit that all this detail is problematical, God having revealed to us all
that is needed to put us in fear of the greatest of misfortunes, and not
what is needed for our understanding thereof.

273. Now since it is henceforth permitted to have recourse to the misuse of
free will, and to evil will, in order to account for other evils,     [295]
since the divine permission of this misuse is plainly enough justified, the
ordinary system of the theologians meets with justification at the same
time. Now we can seek with confidence _the origin of evil in the freedom of
creatures_. The first wickedness is well known to us, it is that of the
Devil and his angels: the Devil sinneth from the beginning, and for this
purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of
the Devil (1 John iii. 8). The Devil is the father of wickedness, he was a
murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth (John viii. 44).
And therefore God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to
Hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto
judgement (2 Pet. ii. 4). And the angels which kept not their own
habitation, he hath reserved in _eternal_ (that is to say everlasting)
chains under darkness unto the judgement of the great day (Jude i. 6).
Whence it is easy to observe that one of these two letters must have been
seen by the author of the other.

274. It seems as if the author of the Apocalypse wished to throw light upon
what the other canonical writers had left obscure: he gives us an account
of a battle that took place in Heaven. Michael and his angels fought
against the Dragon, and the Dragon fought and his angels. 'But they
prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the
great Dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan,
which deceiveth the whole world: and he was cast out into the earth, and
his angels were cast out with him' (Rev. xii. 7, 8, 9). For although this
account is placed after the flight of the woman into the wilderness, and it
may have been intended to indicate thereby some revulsion favourable to the
Church, it appears as though the author's design was to show simultaneously
the old fall of the first enemy and a new fall of a new enemy.

275. Lying or wickedness springs from the Devil's own nature, [Greek: ek
tôn idiôn] from his will, because it was written in the book of the eternal
verities, which contains the things possible before any decree of God, that
this creature would freely turn toward evil if it were created. It is the
same with Eve and Adam; they sinned freely, albeit the Devil tempted them.
God gives the wicked over to a reprobate mind (Rom. i. 28), abandoning them
to themselves and denying them a grace which he owes them not, and indeed
ought to deny to them.

276. It is said in the Scriptures that God hardeneth (Exod. iv. 21 and[296]
vii. 3; Isa. lxiii. 17); that God sendeth a lying spirit (1 Kings xxii.
23); strong delusion that they should believe a lie (2 Thess. ii. 11); that
he deceived the prophet (Ezek. xiv. 9); that he commanded Shimei to curse
(2 Sam xvi. 10); that the children of Eli hearkened not unto the voice of
their father, because the Lord would slay them (1 Sam. ii. 25); that the
Lord took away Job's substance, even although that was done through the
malice of brigands (Job i. 21); that he raised up Pharaoh, to show his
power in him (Exod. ix. 19; Rom. ix. 17) that he is like a potter who
maketh a vessel unto dishonour (Rom. ix. 21); that he hideth the truth from
the wise and prudent (Matt. xi. 25); that he speaketh in parables unto them
that are without, that seeing they may see and not perceive, and hearing
they may hear and not understand, lest at any time they might be converted,
and their sins might be forgiven them (Mark iv. 12; Luke viii. 10); that
Jesus was delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God
(Acts ii. 23); that Pontius Pilate and Herod with the Gentiles and the
people of Israel did that which the hand and the counsel of God had
determined before to be done (Acts iv. 27, 28); that it was of the Lord to
harden the hearts of the enemy, that they should come against Israel in
battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no
favour (Joshua xi. 20); that the Lord mingled a perverse spirit in the
midst of Egypt, and caused it to err in all its works, like a drunken man
(Isa. xix. 14); that Rehoboam hearkened not unto the word of the people,
for the cause was from the Lord (1 Kings xii. 15); that he turned the
hearts of the Egyptians to hate his people (Ps. cv. 25). But all these and
other like expressions suggest only that the things God has done are used
as occasion for ignorance, error, malice and evil deeds, and contribute
thereto, God indeed foreseeing this, and intending to use it for his ends,
since superior reasons of perfect wisdom have determined him to permit
these evils, and even to co-operate therein. 'Sed non sineret bonus fieri
male, nisi omnipotens etiam de malo posset facere bene', in St. Augustine's
words. But this has been expounded more fully in the preceding part.

277. God made man in his image (Gen. i. 26); he made him upright (Eccles.
vii. 29). But also he made him free. Man has behaved badly, he has fallen;
but there remains still a certain freedom after the fall. Moses said as
from God: 'I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I
have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore   [297]
choose life' (Deut. xxx. 19). 'Thus saith the Lord: Behold, I set before
you the way of life, and the way of death' (Jer. xxi. 8). He has left man
in the power of his counsel, giving him his ordinances and his
commandments. 'If thou wilt, thou shalt keep the commandments' (or they
shall keep thee). 'He hath set before thee fire and water, to stretch forth
thine hand to whichever thou wilt' (Sirach xv. 14, 15, 16). Fallen and
unregenerate man is under the domination of sin and of Satan, because it
pleases him so to be; he is a voluntary slave through his evil lust. Thus
it is that free will and will in bondage are one and the same thing.

278. 'Let no man say, I am tempted of God'; 'but every man is tempted, when
he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed' (Jas. i. 13, 14). And Satan
contributes thereto. He 'blindeth the minds of them which believe not' (2
Cor. iv. 4). But man is delivered up to the Devil by his covetous desire:
the pleasure he finds in evil is the bait that hooks him. Plato has said so
already, and Cicero repeats it: 'Plato voluptatem dicebat escam malorum.'
Grace sets over against it a greater pleasure, as St. Augustine observed.
All _pleasure_ is a feeling of some perfection; one _loves_ an object in
proportion as one feels its perfections; nothing surpasses the divine
perfections. Whence it follows that charity and love of God give the
greatest pleasure that can be conceived, in that proportion in which one is
penetrated by these feelings, which are not common among men, busied and
taken up as men are with the objects that are concerned with their

279. Now as our corruption is not altogether invincible and as we do not
necessarily sin even when we are under the bondage of sin, it must likewise
be said that we are not aided invincibly; and, however efficacious divine
grace may be, there is justification for saying that one can resist it. But
when it indeed proves victorious, it is certain and infallible beforehand
that one will yield to its allurements, whether it have its strength of
itself or whether it find a way to triumph through the congruity of
circumstances. Thus one must always distinguish between the infallible and
the necessary.

280. The system of those who call themselves Disciples of St. Augustine is
not far removed from this, provided one exclude certain obnoxious things,
whether in the expressions or in the dogmas themselves. In the
_expressions_ I find that it is principally the use of terms like     [298]
'necessary' or 'contingent', 'possible' or 'impossible', which sometimes
gives a handle and causes much ado. That is why, as Herr Löscher the
younger aptly observed in a learned dissertation on the _Paroxysms of the
Absolute Decree_, Luther desired, in his book _On the Will in Bondage_, to
find a word more fitting for that which he wished to express than the word
necessity. Speaking generally, it appears more reasonable and more fitting
to say that obedience to God's precepts is always _possible_, even for the
unregenerate; that the grace of God is always _resistible_, even in those
most holy, and that _freedom_ is exempt not only from _constraint_ but also
from _necessity_, although it be never without infallible _certainty_ or
without inclining _determination_.

281. Nevertheless there is on the other hand a sense wherein it would be
permitted to say, in certain conjunctures, that the _power_ to do good is
often lacking, even in the just; that sins are often _necessary_, even in
the regenerate; that it is _impossible_ sometimes for one not to sin; that
grace is _irresistible_; that freedom is not exempt from _necessity_. But
these expressions are less exact and less pleasing in the circumstances
that prevail about us to-day. They are also in general more open to misuse;
and moreover they savour somewhat of the speech of the people, where terms
are employed with great latitude. There are, however, circumstances which
render them acceptable and even serviceable. It is the case that sacred and
orthodox writers, and even the holy Scriptures, have made use of
expressions on both sides, and no real contradiction has arisen, any more
than between St. Paul and St. James, or any error on either side that might
be attributable to the ambiguity of the terms. One is so well accustomed to
these various ways of speaking that often one is put to it to say precisely
which sense is the more ordinary and the more natural, and even that more
intended by the author (_quis sensus magis naturalis, obvius, intentus_).
For the same writer has different aims in different passages, and the same
ways of speaking are more or less accepted or acceptable before or after
the decision of some great man or of some authority that one respects and
follows. As a result of this one may well authorize or ban, as opportunity
arises and at certain times, certain expressions; but it makes no
difference to the sense, or to the content of faith, if sufficient
explanations of the terms are not added.

282. It is therefore only necessary to understand fully some distinctions,
such as that I have very often urged between the necessary and the    [299]
certain, and between metaphysical necessity and moral necessity. It is the
same with possibility and impossibility, since the event whose opposite is
possible is contingent, even as that whose opposite is impossible is
necessary. A distinction is rightly drawn also between a proximate potency
and a remote potency; and, according to these different senses, one says
now that a thing may be and now that it may not be. It may be said in a
certain sense that it is necessary that the blessed should not sin; that
the devils and the damned should sin; that God himself should choose the
best; that man should follow the course which after all attracts him most.
But this necessity is not opposed to contingency; it is not of the kind
called logical, geometrical or metaphysical, whose opposite implies
contradiction. M. Nicole has made use somewhere of a comparison which is
not amiss. It is considered impossible that a wise and serious magistrate,
who has not taken leave of his senses, should publicly commit some
outrageous action, as it would be, for instance, to run about the streets
naked in order to make people laugh. It is the same, in a sense, with the
blessed; they are still less capable of sinning, and the necessity that
forbids them to sin is of the same kind. Finally I also hold that 'will' is
a term as equivocal as potency and necessity. For I have already observed
that those who employ this axiom, that one does not fail to do what one
wills when one can, and who thence infer that God therefore does not will
the salvation of all, imply a _decretory will_. Only in that sense can one
support this proposition, that wisdom never wills what it knows to be among
the things that shall not happen. On the other hand, one may say, taking
will in a sense more general and more in conformity with customary use,
that the wise will is _inclined_ antecedently to all good, although it
_decrees_ finally to do that which is most fitting. Thus one would be very
wrong to deny to God the serious and strong inclination to save all men,
which Holy Scripture attributes to him; or even to attribute to him an
original distaste which diverts him from the salvation of a number of
persons, _odium antecedaneum_. One should rather maintain that the wise
mind tends towards all good, as good, in proportion to his knowledge and
his power, but that he only produces the best that can be achieved. Those
who admit that, and yet deny to God the antecedent will to save all men,
are wrong only in their misuse of the term, provided that they acknowledge,
besides, that God gives to all help sufficient to enable them to win  [300]
salvation if only they have the will to avail themselves thereof.

283. In the _dogmas_ themselves held by the Disciples of St. Augustine I
cannot approve the damnation of unregenerate children, nor in general
damnation resulting from original sin alone. Nor can I believe that God
condemns those who are without the necessary light. One may believe, with
many theologians, that men receive more aid than we are aware of, were it
only when they are at the point of death. It does not appear necessary
either that all those who are saved should always be saved through a grace
efficacious of itself, independently of circumstances. Also I consider it
unnecessary to say that all the virtues of the pagans were false or that
all their actions were sins; though it be true that what does not spring
from faith, or from the uprightness of the soul before God, is infected
with sin, at least virtually. Finally I hold that God cannot act as if at
random by an absolutely absolute decree, or by a will independent of
reasonable motives. And I am persuaded that he is always actuated, in the
dispensation of his grace, by reasons wherein the nature of the objects
participates. Otherwise he would not act in accordance with wisdom. I grant
nevertheless that these reasons are not of necessity bound up with the good
or the less evil natural qualities of men, as if God gave his grace only
according to these good qualities. Yet I hold, as I have explained already
here, that these qualities are taken into consideration like all the other
circumstances, since nothing can be neglected in the designs of supreme

284. Save for these points, and some few others, where St. Augustine
appears obscure or even repellent, it seems as though one can conform to
his system. He states that from the substance of God only a God can
proceed, and that thus the creature is derived from nothingness (Augustine
_De Lib. Arb._, lib. 1, c. 2). That is what makes the creature imperfect,
faulty and corruptible (_De Genesi ad Lit._, c. 15, _Contra Epistolam
Manichaei_, c. 36). Evil comes not from nature, but from evil will
(Augustine, in the whole book _On the Nature of Good_). God can command
nothing that would be impossible. 'Firmissime creditur Deum justum et bonum
impossibilia non potuisse praecipere' (_Lib. de Nat. et Grat._, c. 43, p.
69). Nemo peccat in eo, quod caveri non potest (lib. 3, _De Lib. Arb._, c.
16, 17, _lib._ 1 _Retract._ c. 11, 13, 15). Under a just God, none can be
unhappy who deserves not so to be, 'neque sub Deo justo miser esse    [301]
quisquam, nisi mereatur, potest' (lib. 1, c. 39). Free will cannot carry
out God's commands without the aid of grace (_Ep. ad Hilar.
Caesaraugustan._). We know that grace is not given according to deserts
(Ep. 106, 107, 120). Man in the state of innocence had the aid necessary to
enable him to do good if he wished; but the wish depended on free will,
'habebat adjutorium, per quod posset, et sine quo non vellet, sed non
adjutorium quo vellet' (_Lib. de Corrept._, c. 11 et c. 10, 12). God let
angels and men try what they could do by their free will, and after that
what his grace and his justice could achieve (ibid., c. 10, 11, 12). Sin
turned man away from God, to turn him towards creatures (lib. 1, qu. 2, _Ad
Simplicium_). To take pleasure in sinning is the freedom of a slave
(_Enchirid._, c. 103). 'Liberum arbitrium usque adeo in peccatore non
periit, ut per illud peccent maxime omnes, qui cum delectatione peccant'
(lib. 1, _Ad Bonifac._, c. 2, 3).

285. God said to Moses: 'I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and
will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy' (Exod. xxxiii. 19). 'So then it
is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that
sheweth mercy' (Rom. ix. 15, 16). That does not prevent all those who have
good will, and who persevere therein, from being saved. But God gives them
the willing and the doing. 'Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have
mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth' (Rom. ix. 18). And yet the same
Apostle says that God willeth that all men should be saved, and come to the
knowledge of the truth; which I would not interpret in accordance with some
passages of St. Augustine, as if it signified that no men are saved except
those whose salvation he wills, or as if he would save _non singulos
generum, sed genera singulorum_. But I would rather say that there is none
whose salvation he willeth not, in so far as this is permitted by greater
reasons. For these bring it about that God only saves those who accept the
faith he has offered to them and who surrender themselves thereto by the
grace he has given them, in accordance with what was consistent with the
plan of his works in its entirety, than which none can be better conceived.

286. As for predestination to salvation, it includes also, according to St.
Augustine, the ordinance of the means that shall lead to salvation.
'Praedestinatio sanctorum nihil aliud est, quam praescientia et praeparatio
beneficiorum Dei, quibus certissime liberantur quicunque liberantur' (_Lib.
de Persev._, c. 14). He does not then understand it there as an       [302]
absolute decree; he maintains that there is a grace which is not rejected
by any hardened heart, because it is given in order to remove especially
the hardness of hearts (_Lib. de Praedest._, c. 8; _Lib. de Grat._, c. 13,
14). I do not find, however, that St. Augustine conveys sufficiently that
this grace, which subdues the heart, is always efficacious of itself. And
one might perhaps have asserted without offence to him that the same degree
of inward grace is victorious in the one, where it is aided by outward
circumstances, but not in the other.

287. Will is proportionate to the sense we have of the good, and follows
the sense which prevails. 'Si utrumque tantundem diligimus, nihil horum
dabimus. Item: Quod amplius nos delectat, secundum id operemur necesse est'
(in c. 5, _Ad Gal._). I have explained already how, despite all that, we
have indeed a great power over our will. St. Augustine takes it somewhat
differently, and in a way that does not go far, when he says that nothing
is so much within our power as the action of our will. And he gives a
reason which is almost tautological: for (he says) this action is ready at
the moment when we will. 'Nihil tam in nostra potestate est, quam ipsa
voluntas, ea enim mox ut volumus praesto est' (lib. 3, _De Lib. Arb._, c.
3; lib. 5, _De Civ. Dei_, c. 10). But that only means that we will when we
will, and not that we will that which we wish to will. There is more reason
for saying with him: '_aut voluntas non est, aut libera dicenda est_' (d.
1, 3, c. 3); and that what inclines the will towards good infallibly, or
certainly, does not prevent it from being free. 'Perquam absurdum est, ut
ideo dicamus non pertinere ad voluntatem [libertatem] nostram, quod beati
esse volumus, quia id omnino nolle non possumus, nescio qua bona
constrictione naturae. Nec dicere audemus ideo Deum non voluntatem
[libertatem], sed necessitatem habere justitiae, quia non potest velle
peccare. Certe Deus ipse numquid quia peccare non potest, ideo liberum
arbitrium habere negandus est?' (_De Nat. et Grat._, c. 46, 47, 48, 49). He
also says aptly, that God gives the first good impulse, but that afterwards
man acts also. 'Aguntur ut agant, non ut ipsi nihil agant' (_De Corrept._,
c. 2).

288. I have proved that free will is the proximate cause of the evil of
guilt, and consequently of the evil of punishment; although it is true that
the original imperfection of creatures, which is already presented in the
eternal ideas, is the first and most remote cause. M. Bayle           [303]
nevertheless always disputes this use of the notion of free will; he will
not have the cause of evil ascribed to it. One must listen to his
objections, but first it will be well to throw further light on the nature
of freedom. I have shown that freedom, according to the definition required
in the schools of theology, consists in intelligence, which involves a
clear knowledge of the object of deliberation, in spontaneity, whereby we
determine, and in contingency, that is, in the exclusion of logical or
metaphysical necessity. Intelligence is, as it were, the soul of freedom,
and the rest is as its body and foundation. The free substance is
self-determining and that according to the motive of good perceived by the
understanding, which inclines it without compelling it: and all the
conditions of freedom are comprised in these few words. It is nevertheless
well to point out that the imperfection present in our knowledge and our
spontaneity, and the infallible determination that is involved in our
contingency, destroy neither freedom nor contingency.

289. Our knowledge is of two kinds, distinct or confused. Distinct
knowledge, or _intelligence_, occurs in the actual use of reason; but the
senses supply us with confused thoughts. And we may say that we are immune
from bondage in so far as we act with a distinct knowledge, but that we are
the slaves of passion in so far as our perceptions are confused. In this
sense we have not all the freedom of spirit that were to be desired, and we
may say with St. Augustine that being subject to sin we have the freedom of
a slave. Yet a slave, slave as he is, nevertheless has freedom to choose
according to the state wherein he is, although more often than not he is
under the stern necessity of choosing between two evils, because a superior
force prevents him from attaining the goods whereto he aspires. That which
in a slave is effected by bonds and constraint in us is effected by
passions, whose violence is sweet, but none the less pernicious. In truth
we will only that which pleases us: but unhappily what pleases us now is
often a real evil, which would displease us if we had the eyes of the
understanding open. Nevertheless that evil state of the slave, which is
also our own, does not prevent us, any more than him, from making a free
choice of that which pleases us most, in the state to which we are reduced,
in proportion to our present strength and knowledge.

290. As for spontaneity, it belongs to us in so far as we have within us
the source of our actions, as Aristotle rightly conceived. The        [304]
impressions of external things often, indeed, divert us from our path, and
it was commonly believed that, at least in this respect, some of the
sources of our actions were outside ourselves. I admit that one is bound to
speak thus, adapting oneself to the popular mode of expression, as one may,
in a certain sense, without doing violence to truth. But when it is a
question of expressing oneself accurately I maintain that our spontaneity
suffers no exception and that external things have no physical influence
upon us, I mean in the strictly philosophical sense.

291. For better understanding of this point, one must know that true
spontaneity is common to us and all simple substances, and that in the
intelligent or free substance this becomes a mastery over its actions. That
cannot be better explained than by the System of Pre-established Harmony,
which I indeed propounded some years ago. There I pointed out that by
nature every simple substance has perception, and that its individuality
consists in the perpetual law which brings about the sequence of
perceptions that are assigned to it, springing naturally from one another,
to represent the body that is allotted to it, and through its
instrumentality the entire universe, in accordance with the point of view
proper to this simple substance and without its needing to receive any
physical influence from the body. Even so the body also for its part adapts
itself to the wishes of the soul by its own laws, and consequently only
obeys it according to the promptings of these laws. Whence it follows that
the soul has in itself a perfect spontaneity, so that it depends only upon
God and upon itself in its actions.

292. As this system was not known formerly, other ways were sought for
emerging from this labyrinth, and the Cartesians themselves were in
difficulties over the subject of free will. They were no longer satisfied
by the 'faculties' of the Schoolmen, and they considered that all the
actions of the soul appear to be determined by what comes from without,
according to the impressions of the senses, and that, ultimately, all is
controlled in the universe by the providence of God. Thence arose naturally
the objection that there is therefore no freedom. To that M. Descartes
replied that we are assured of God's providence by reason; but that we are
likewise assured of our freedom by experience thereof within ourselves; and
that we must believe in both, even though we see not how it is possible to
reconcile them.

293. That was cutting the Gordian knot, and answering the conclusion of an
argument not by refuting it but by opposing thereto a contrary argument.
Which procedure does not conform to the laws for philosophical disputes.
Notwithstanding, most of the Cartesians contented themselves with this,
albeit the inward experience they adduce does not prove their assertion, as
M. Bayle has clearly shown. M. Regis (_Philos._, vol. 1, Metaph., book 2,
part 2, c. 22) thus paraphrases M. Descartes' doctrine: 'Most
philosophers', he says, 'have fallen into error. Some, not being able to
understand the relation existing between free actions and the providence of
God, have denied that God was the first efficient cause of free will: but
that is sacrilegious. The others, not being able to apprehend the relation
between God's efficacy and free actions, have denied that man was endowed
with freedom: and that is a blasphemy. The mean to be found between these
two extremes is to say' (id. ibid., p. 485) 'that, even though we were not
able to understand all the relations existing between freedom and God's
providence, we should nevertheless be bound to acknowledge that we are free
and dependent upon God. For both these truths are equally known, the one
through experience, and the other through reason; and prudence forbids one
to abandon truths whereof one is assured, under the pretext that one cannot
apprehend all the relations existing between them and other truths well

294. M. Bayle here remarks pertinently in the margin, 'that these
expressions of M. Regis fail to point out that we are aware of relations
between man's actions and God's providence, such as appear to us to be
incompatible with our freedom.' He adds that these expressions are
over-circumspect, weakening the statement of the problem. 'Authors assume',
he says, 'that the difficulty arises solely from our lack of enlightenment;
whereas they ought to say that it arises in the main from the enlightenment
which we have, and cannot reconcile' (in M. Bayle's opinion) 'with our
Mysteries.' That is exactly what I said at the beginning of this work, that
if the Mysteries were irreconcilable with reason, and if there were
unanswerable objections, far from finding the mystery incomprehensible, we
should comprehend that it was false. It is true that here there is no
question of a mystery, but only of natural religion.

295. This is how M. Bayle combats those inward experiences, whereon   [306]
the Cartesians make freedom rest: but he begins by reflexions with which I
cannot agree. 'Those who do not make profound examination', he says
(_Dictionary_, art. 'Helen.', lit. [Greek: TD]), 'of that which passes
within them easily persuade themselves that they are free, and that, if
their will prompts them to evil, it is their fault, it is through a choice
whereof they are the masters. Those who judge otherwise are persons who
have studied with care the springs and the circumstances of their actions,
and who have thought over the progress of their soul's impulses. Those
persons usually have doubts about their free will, and even come to
persuade themselves that their reason and mind are slaves, without power to
resist the force that carries them along where they would not go. It was
principally persons of this kind who ascribed to the gods the cause of
their evil deeds.'

296. These words remind me of those of Chancellor Bacon, who says that a
little philosophy inclineth us away from God, but that depth in philosophy
bringeth men's minds about to him. It is the same with those who reflect
upon their actions: it appears to them at first that all we do is only
impulsion from others, and that all we apprehend comes from without through
the senses, and is traced upon the void of our mind _tanquam in tabula
rasa_. But more profound meditation shows us that all (even perceptions and
passions) comes to us from our own inner being, with complete spontaneity.

297. Yet M. Bayle cites poets who pretend to exonerate men by laying the
blame upon the gods. Medea in Ovid speaks thus:

      _Frustra, Medea, repugnas,_
  _Nescio quid Deus obstat, ait._

And a little later Ovid makes her add:

  _Sed trahit invitam nova vis, aliudque Cupido,_
  _Mens aliud suadet; video meliora proboque,_
  _Deteriora sequor_.

But one could set against that a passage from Vergil, who makes Nisus say
with far more reason:

  _Di ne hunc ardorem mentibus addunt,_
  _Euryale, an sua cuique Deus fit dira cupido?_

298. Herr Wittich seems to have thought that in reality our independence is
only apparent. For in his _Diss. de providentia Dei actuali_ (n. 61)  [307]
he makes free will consist in our being inclined towards the objects that
present themselves to our soul for affirmation or denial, love or hate, in
such a way that we _do not feel_ we are being determined by any outward
force. He adds that it is when God himself causes our volitions that we act
with most freedom; and that the more efficacious and powerful God's action
is upon us, the more we are masters of our actions. 'Quia enim Deus
operatur ipsum velle, quo efficacius operatur, eo magis volumus; quod
autem, cum volumus, facimus, id maxime habemus in nostra potestate.' It is
true that when God causes a volition in us he causes a free action. But it
seems to me that the question here is not of the universal cause or of that
production of our will which is proper to it in so far as it is a created
effect, whose positive elements are actually created continually through
God's co-operation, like all other absolute reality of things. We are
concerned here with the reasons for willing, and the means God uses when he
gives us a good will or permits us to have an evil will. It is always we
who produce it, good or evil, for it is our action: but there are always
reasons that make us act, without impairing either our spontaneity or our
freedom. Grace does no more than give impressions which are conducive to
making will operate through fitting motives, such as would be an attention,
_a dic cur hic_, a prevenient pleasure. And it is quite evident that that
does not interfere with freedom, any more than could a friend who gives
counsel and furnishes motives. Thus Herr Wittich has not supplied an answer
to the question, any more than M. Bayle, and recourse to God is of no avail

299. But let me give another much more reasonable passage from the same M.
Bayle, where he disputes with greater force the so-called lively sense of
freedom, which according to the Cartesians is a proof of freedom. His words
are indeed full of wit, and worthy of consideration, and occur in the
_Reply to the Questions of a Provincial_ (vol. III, ch. 140, p. 761
_seqq._). Here they are: 'By the clear and distinct sense we have of our
existence we do not discern whether we exist through ourselves or derive
our being from another. We discern that only by reflexion, that is, through
meditation upon our powerlessness in the matter of conserving ourselves as
much as we would, and of freeing ourselves from dependence upon the beings
that surround us, etc. It is indeed certain that the pagans (the same must
be said of the Socinians, since they deny the creation) never attained[308]
to the knowledge of that true dogma that we were created from nothing, and
that we are derived from nothingness at every moment of our continuance.
They therefore thought erroneously that all substances in the universe
exist of themselves and can never be reduced to nothing, and that thus they
depend upon no other thing save in respect of their modifications, which
are liable to be destroyed by the action of an external cause. Does not
this error spring from the fact that we are unconscious of the creative
action which conserves us, and that we are only conscious of our existence?
That we are conscious of it, I say, in such a way that we should for ever
remain ignorant of the cause of our being if other knowledge did not aid
us? Let us say also, that the clear and distinct sense we have of the acts
of our will cannot make us discern whether we give them ourselves to
ourselves or receive them from that same cause which gives us existence. We
must have recourse to reflexion or to meditation in order to effect this
discrimination. Now I assert that one can never by purely philosophical
meditations arrive at an established certainty that we are the efficient
cause of our volitions: for every person who makes due investigation will
recognize clearly, that if we were only passive subjects with regard to
will we should have the same sensations of experience as we have when we
think that we are free. Assume, for the sake of argument, that God so
ordered the laws of the union between soul and body that all the modalities
of the soul, without a single exception, are of necessity linked together
with the interposition of the modalities of the brain. You will then
understand that nothing will happen to us except that of which we are
conscious: there will be in our soul the same sequence of thoughts from the
perception of objects of the senses, which is its first step, up to the
most definite volitions, which are its final step. There will be in this
sequence the consciousness of ideas, that of affirmations, that of
irresolutions, that of velleities and that of volitions. For whether the
act of willing be impressed upon us by an external cause or we bring it
about ourselves, it will be equally true that we will, and that we feel
that we will. Moreover, as this external cause can blend as much pleasure
as it will with the volition which it impresses upon us, we shall be able
to feel at times that the acts of our will please us infinitely, and that
they lead us according to the bent of our strongest inclinations. We shall
feel no constraint; you know the maxim: _voluntas non potest cogi_. Do[309]
you not clearly understand that a weather-vane, always having communicated
to it simultaneously (in such a way, however, that priority of nature or,
if one will, a real momentary priority, should attach to the desire for
motion) movement towards a certain point on the horizon, and the wish to
turn in that direction, would be persuaded that it moved of itself to
fulfil the desires which it conceived? I assume that it would not know that
there were winds, or that an external cause changed everything
simultaneously, both its situation and its desires. That is the state we
are in by our nature: we know not whether an invisible cause makes us pass
sufficiently from one thought to another. It is therefore natural that men
are persuaded that they determine their own acts. But it remains to be
discovered whether they are mistaken in that, as in countless other things
they affirm by a kind of instinct and without having made use of
philosophic meditation. Since therefore there are two hypotheses as to what
takes place in man: the one that he is only a passive subject, the other
that he has active virtues, one cannot in reason prefer the second to the
first, so long as one can only adduce proofs of feeling. For we should feel
with an equal force that we wish this or that, whether all our volitions
were imprinted upon our soul by an exterior and invisible cause, or we
formed them ourselves.'

300. There are here excellent arguments, which are valid against the usual
systems; but they fail in respect of the System of Pre-established Harmony,
which takes us further than we were able to go formerly. M. Bayle asserts,
for instance, 'that by purely philosophical meditations one can never
attain to an established certainty that we are the efficient cause of our
volitions'. But this is a point which I do not concede to him: for the
establishment of this system demonstrates beyond a doubt that in the course
of nature each substance is the sole cause of all its actions, and that it
is free of all physical influence from every other substance, save the
customary co-operation of God. And this system shows that our spontaneity
is real, and not only apparent, as Herr Wittich believed it to be. M. Bayle
asserts also on the same reasons (ch. 170, p. 1132) that if there were a
_fatum Astrologicum_ this would not destroy freedom; and I would concede
that to him, if freedom consisted only in an apparent spontaneity.

301. The spontaneity of our actions can therefore no longer be questioned;
and Aristotle has defined it well, saying that an action is           [310]
_spontaneous_ when its source is in him who acts. 'Spontaneum est, cujus
principium est in agente.' Thus it is that our actions and our wills depend
entirely upon us. It is true that we are not directly the masters of our
will, although we be its cause; for we do not choose volitions, as we
choose our actions by our volitions. Yet we have a certain power also over
our will, because we can contribute indirectly towards willing another time
that which we would fain will now, as I have here already shown: that,
however, is no _velleity_, properly speaking. There also we have a mastery,
individual and even perceptible, over our actions and our wills, resulting
from a combination of spontaneity with intelligence.

302. Up to this point I have expounded the two conditions of freedom
mentioned by Aristotle, that is, _spontaneity_ and _intelligence_, which
are found united in us in deliberation, whereas beasts lack the second
condition. But the Schoolmen demand yet a third, which they call
_indifference_. And indeed one must admit it, if indifference signifies as
much as 'contingency'; for I have already said here that freedom must
exclude an absolute and metaphysical or logical necessity. But, as I have
declared more than once, this indifference, this contingency, this
non-necessity, if I may venture so to speak, which is a characteristic
attribute of freedom, does not prevent one from having stronger
inclinations towards the course one chooses; nor does it by any means
require that one be absolutely and equally indifferent towards the two
opposing courses.

303. I therefore admit indifference only in the one sense, implying the
same as contingency, or non-necessity. But, as I have declared more than
once, I do not admit an indifference of equipoise, and I do not think that
one ever chooses when one is absolutely indifferent. Such a choice would
be, as it were, mere chance, without determining reason, whether apparent
or hidden. But such a chance, such an absolute and actual fortuity, is a
chimera which never occurs in nature. All wise men are agreed that chance
is only an apparent thing, like fortune: only ignorance of causes gives
rise to it. But if there were such a vague indifference, or rather if we
were to choose without having anything to prompt us to the choice, chance
would then be something actual, resembling what, according to Epicurus,
took place in that little deviation of the atoms, occurring without cause
or reason. Epicurus had introduced it in order to evade necessity, and[311]
Cicero with good reason ridiculed it.

304. This deviation had a final cause in the mind of Epicurus, his aim
being to free us from fate; but it can have no efficient cause in the
nature of things, it is one of the most impossible of chimeras. M. Bayle
himself refutes it admirably, as we shall see presently. And yet it is
surprising that he appears to admit elsewhere himself something of like
nature with this supposed deviation: here is what he says, when speaking of
Buridan's ass (_Dictionary_, art. 'Buridan', lit. 13): 'Those who advocate
free will properly so called admit in man a power of determining, either to
the right hand or the left, even when the motives are perfectly uniform on
the side of each of the two opposing objects. For they maintain that our
soul can say, without having any reason other than that of using its
freedom: "I prefer this to that, although I see nothing more worthy of my
choice in the one than the other".'

305. All those who admit a free will properly so called will not for that
reason concede to M. Bayle this determination springing from an
indeterminate cause. St. Augustine and the Thomists believe that all is
determined. And one sees that their opponents resort also to the
circumstances which contribute to our choice. Experience by no means
approves the chimera of an indifference of equipoise; and one can employ
here the argument that M. Bayle himself employed against the Cartesians'
manner of proving freedom by the lively sense of our independence. For
although I do not always see the reason for an inclination which makes me
choose between two apparently uniform courses, there will always be some
impression, however imperceptible, that determines us. The mere desire to
make use of one's freedom has no effect of specifying, or determining us to
the choice of one course or the other.

306. M. Bayle goes on: 'There are at the very least two ways whereby man
can extricate himself from the snares of equipoise. One, which I have
already mentioned, is for a man to flatter himself with the pleasing fancy
that he is master in his own house, and that he does not depend upon
objects.' This way is blocked: for all that one might wish to play master
in one's own house, that has no determining effect, nor does it favour one
course more than the other. M. Bayle goes on: 'He would make this Act: I
will prefer this to that, because it pleases me to behave thus.' But  [312]
these words, 'because it pleases me', 'because such is my pleasure', imply
already a leaning towards 'the object that pleases'.

307. There is therefore no justification for continuing thus: 'And so that
which determined him would not be taken from the object; the motive would
be derived only from the ideas men have of their own perfections, or of
their natural faculties. The other way is that of the lot or chance: the
short straw would decide.' This way has an outlet, but it does not reach
the goal: it would alter the issue, for in such a case it is not man who
decides. Or again if one maintains that it is still the man who decides by
lot, man himself is no longer in equipoise, because the lot is not, and the
man has attached himself to it. There are always reasons in Nature which
cause that which happens by chance or through the lot. I am somewhat
surprised that a mind so shrewd as M. Bayle's could have allowed itself to
be so misled on this point. I have set out elsewhere the true rejoinder to
the Buridan sophism: it is that the case of perfect equipoise is
impossible, since the universe can never be halved, so as to make all
impressions equivalent on both sides.

308. Let us see what M. Bayle himself says elsewhere against the chimerical
or absolutely undefined indifference. Cicero had said (in his book _De
Fato_) that Carneades had found something more subtle than the deviation of
atoms, attributing the cause of a so-called absolutely undefined
indifference to the voluntary motions of souls, because these motions have
no need of an external cause, coming as they do from our nature. But M.
Bayle (_Dictionary_, art. 'Epicurus', p. 1143) aptly replies that all that
which springs from the nature of a thing is determined: thus determination
always remains, and Carneades' evasion is of no avail.

309. He shows elsewhere (_Reply to the Questions of a Provincial_, ch. 90,
l. 2, p. 229) 'that a freedom far removed from this so-called equipoise is
incomparably more beneficial. I mean', he says, 'a freedom such as may
always follow the judgements of the mind, and such as cannot resist objects
clearly recognized as good. I know of no people who do not agree that truth
clearly recognized necessitates' (determines rather, unless one speak of a
moral necessity) 'the assent of the soul; experience teaches us that. In
the schools they teach constantly that as the true is the object of   [313]
the understanding, so the good is the object of the will. So likewise they
teach that as the understanding can never affirm anything save that which
is shown to it under the semblance of truth, the will can never love
anything which to it does not appear to be good. One never believes the
false as such, and one never loves evil as evil. There is in the
understanding a natural determination towards the true in general, and
towards each individual truth clearly recognized. There is in the will a
natural determination towards good in general; whence many philosophers
conclude that from the moment when individual goods are clearly recognized
by us we are of necessity compelled to love them. The understanding
suspends its actions only when its objects show themselves obscurely, so
that there is cause for doubt as to whether they are false or true. That
leads many persons to the conclusion that the will remains in equipoise
only when the soul is uncertain whether the object presented to it is a
good with regard to it; but that also, the moment the soul decides in the
affirmative, it of necessity clings to that object until other judgements
of the mind determine it otherwise. Those who expound freedom in this
fashion think to find therein plentiful enough material for merit or
demerit. For they assume that these judgements of the mind proceed from a
free attention of the soul in examining the objects, comparing them
together, and discriminating between them. I must not forget that there are
very learned men' (such as Bellarmine, lib. 3, _De Gratia et Libero
Arbitrio_, c. 8, et 9, and Cameron, in _Responsione ad Epistolam Viri
Docti, id est Episcopii_) 'who maintain with very cogent reasons that the
will always of necessity follows the last practical act of the

310. One must make some observations on this discourse. A very clear
recognition of the best _determines_ the will; but it does not necessitate
it, properly speaking. One must always distinguish between the necessary
and the certain or infallible, as I have already observed more than once,
and distinguish metaphysical necessity from moral necessity. I think also
that it is only God's will which always follows the judgements of the
understanding: all intelligent creatures are subject to some passions, or
to perceptions at least, that are not composed entirely of what I call
_adequate ideas_. And although in the blessed these passions always tend
towards the true good, by virtue of the laws of Nature and the system of
things pre-established in relation to them, yet this does not always  [314]
happen in such a way that they have a perfect knowledge of that good. It is
the same with them as with us, who do not always understand the reason for
our instincts. The angels and the blessed are created beings, even as we
are, in whom there is always some confused perception mingled with distinct
knowledge. Suarez said something similar concerning them. He thinks
(_Treatise on Prayer_, book I, ch. 11) that God has so ordered things
beforehand that their prayers, when they are made with a full will, always
succeed: that is an example of a pre-established harmony. As for us, in
addition to the judgement of the understanding, of which we have an express
knowledge, there are mingled therewith confused perceptions of the senses,
and these beget passions and even imperceptible inclinations, of which we
are not always aware. These movements often thwart the judgement of the
practical understanding.

311. As for the parallel between the relation of the understanding to the
true and that of the will to the good, one must know that a clear and
distinct perception of a truth contains within it actually the affirmation
of this truth: thus the understanding is necessitated in that direction.
But whatever perception one may have of the good, the effort to act in
accordance with the judgement, which in my opinion forms the essence of the
will, is distinct from it. Thus, since there is need of time to raise this
effort to its climax, it may be suspended, and even changed, by a new
perception or inclination which passes athwart it, which diverts the mind
from it, and which even causes it sometimes to make a contrary judgement.
Hence it comes that our soul has so many means of resisting the truth which
it knows, and that the passage from mind to heart is so long. Especially is
this so when the understanding to a great extent proceeds only by faint
_thoughts_, which have only slight power to affect, as I have explained
elsewhere. Thus the connexion between judgement and will is not so
necessary as one might think.

312. M. Bayle goes on to say, with truth (p. 221): 'Indeed, it cannot be a
fault in man's soul that it has no freedom of indifference as regards good
in general. It would be rather a disorder, an inordinate imperfection, if
one could say truthfully: It is all one to me whether I am happy or
unhappy; I have no more determination to love the good than to hate it; I
can do both equally. Now if it is a praiseworthy and advantageous quality
to be determinate as regards good in general, it cannot be a fault if [315]
one is necessitated as regards each individual good recognized plainly as
for our good. It seems even as though it were a necessary conclusion, that
if the soul has no freedom of indifference as regards good in general, it
also has none in respect of particular goods which after due examination it
judges to be goods in relation to it. What should we think of a soul which,
having formed that judgement, had, and prided itself on having, the power
not to love these goods, and even to hate them, and which said: I recognize
clearly that these are goods for me, I have all the enlightenment necessary
on that point; nevertheless I will not love them, I will hate them; my
decision is made, I act upon it; it is not that any reason' (that is, any
other reason than that which is founded upon 'Such is my good pleasure')
'urges me thereto, but it pleases me so to behave: what should we think, I
say, of such a soul? Should we not find it more imperfect and more unhappy
than if it had not this freedom of indifference?

313. 'Not only does the doctrine that subjects the will to the final acts
of the understanding give a more favourable idea of the state of the soul,
but it shows also that it is easier to lead man to happiness along that
road than along the road of indifference. It will suffice to enlighten his
mind upon his true interests, and straightway his will will comply with the
judgements that reason shall have pronounced. But if he has a freedom
independent of reason and of the quality of objects clearly recognized, he
will be the most intractable of all animals, and it will never be possible
to rely upon making him choose the right course. All the counsels, all the
arguments in the world may prove unavailing; you will give him
explanations, you will convince his mind, and yet his will will play the
haughty madam and remain motionless as a rock. Vergil, _Aen_., lib. 6, v.

  _Non magis incepto vultum sermone movetur,_
  _Quam si dura silex, aut stet Marpesia cautes_.

A caprice, an empty whim will make her stiffen against reasons of all
kinds; it will not please her to love her clearly recognized good, it will
please her to hate it. Do you consider such a faculty, sir, to be the
richest present God can have made to man, and the sole instrument of our
happiness? Is it not rather an obstacle to our felicity? Is there cause for
boasting in being able to say: "I have scorned all the judgements of  [316]
my reason, and I have followed an altogether different path, simply from
considerations of my own good pleasure?" With what regrets would one not be
torn, in that case, if the determination made had an ill result? Such a
freedom would therefore be more harmful than profitable to men, because the
understanding would not present all the goodness of the objects clearly
enough to deprive the will of the power of rejection. It would be therefore
infinitely better for man to be always of necessity determined by the
judgement of the understanding, than to permit the will to suspend its
action. For by this means it would achieve its aim with greater ease and

314. Upon this discourse I make the further observation, that it is very
true that a freedom of indifference, undefined and without any determining
reason, would be as harmful, and even objectionable, as it is impracticable
and chimerical. The man who wished to behave thus, or at the least appear
to be acting without due cause, would most certainly be looked upon as
irrational. But it is very true also that the thing is impossible, when it
is taken strictly in accordance with the assumption. As soon as one tries
to give an example of it one misses one's aim and stumbles upon the case of
a man who, while he does not come to a decision without cause, does so
rather under the influence of inclination or passion than of judgement. As
soon as one says: 'I scorn the judgements of my reason simply from
considerations of my own good pleasure, it pleases me to behave thus', it
is as if one were to say: I prefer my inclination to my interest, my
pleasure to my profit.

315. Even so some capricious man, fancying that it is ignominious for him
to follow the advice of his friends or his servants, might prefer the
satisfaction of contradicting them to the profit he could derive from their
counsel. It may happen, however, that in a matter of small moment a wise
man acts irregularly and against his own interest in order to thwart
another who tries to restrain him or direct him, or that he may disconcert
those who watch his steps. It is even well at times to imitate Brutus by
concealing one's wit, and even to feign madness, as David did before the
King of the Philistines.

316. M. Bayle admirably supplements his remarks with the object of showing
that to act against the judgement of the understanding would be a great
imperfection. He observes (p. 225) that, even according to the        [317]
Molinists, 'the understanding which does its DUTY well indicates that which
is THE BEST'. He introduces God (ch. 91, p. 227) saying to our first
parents in the Garden of Eden: 'I have given you my knowledge, the faculty
of judging things, and full power to dispose your wills. I shall give you
instructions and orders; but the free will that I have bestowed upon you is
of such a nature that you have equal power (according to circumstances) to
obey me and to disobey me. You will be tempted: if you make a good use of
your freedom you will be happy; and if you use it ill you will be unhappy.
It is for you to see if you wish to ask of me, as a new grace, either that
I permit you to abuse your freedom when you shall make resolve to do so, or
that I prevent you from doing so. Consider carefully, I give you four and
twenty hours. Do you not clearly understand' (adds M. Bayle) 'that their
reason, which had not yet been obscured by sin, would have made them
conclude that they must ask God, as the crowning point of the favours
wherewith he had honoured them, not to permit them to destroy themselves by
an ill use of their powers? And must one not admit that if Adam, through
wrongly making it a point of honour to order his own goings, had refused a
divine direction that would have safeguarded his happiness, he would have
been the prototype of all such as Phaeton and Icarus? He would have been
well-nigh as ungodly as the Ajax of Sophocles, who wished to conquer
without the aid of the gods, and who said that the most craven would put
their enemies to flight with such aid.'

317. M. Bayle also shows (ch. 80) that one congratulates oneself no less,
or even takes more credit to oneself, for having been aided from above,
than for owing one's happiness to one's own choice. And if one does well
through having preferred a tumultuous instinct, which arose suddenly, to
reasons maturely considered, one feels an extraordinary joy in this; for
one assumes that either God, or our Guardian Angel, or something or other
which one pictures to oneself under the vague name of _good luck_ has
impelled us thereto. Indeed, Sulla and Caesar boasted more of their good
luck than of their prudence. The pagans, and particularly the poets (Homer
especially), determined their heroes' acts by divine promptings. The hero
of the _Aeneid_ proceeds only under the direction of a God. It was very
great praise offered to the Emperors if one said that they were victorious
both through their troops and through their gods whom they lent to    [318]
their generals: 'Te copias, te consilium et tuos praebente Divos,' said
Horace. The generals fought under the auspices of the Emperors, as if
trusting to the Emperor's good luck, for subordinate officers had no rights
regarding the auspices. One takes credit to oneself for being a favourite
of heaven, one rates oneself more highly for the possession of good fortune
than of talent. There are no people that think themselves more fortunate
than the mystics, who imagine that they keep still while God acts within

318. 'On the other hand', M. Bayle adds (ch. 83), 'a Stoic philosopher, who
attaches to everything an inevitable necessity, is as susceptible as
another man to the pleasure of having chosen well. And every man of sense
will find that, far from taking pleasure in the thought of having
deliberated long and finally chosen the most honourable course, one feels
incredible satisfaction in persuading oneself that one is so firmly rooted
in the love of virtue that without the slightest resistance one would repel
a temptation. A man to whom is suggested the doing of a deed contrary to
his duty, his honour and his conscience, who answers forthwith that he is
incapable of such a crime, and who is certainly not capable of it, is far
more contented with himself than if he asked for time to consider it, and
were for some hours in a state of indecision as to which course to take.
One is on many occasions regretful over not being able to make up one's
mind between two courses, and one would be well pleased that the counsel of
a good friend, or some succour from above, should impel us to make a good
choice.' All that demonstrates for us the advantage a determinate judgement
has over that vague indifference which leaves us in uncertainty. But indeed
I have proved sufficiently that only ignorance or passion has power to keep
us in doubt, and have thus given the reason why God is never in doubt. The
nearer one comes to him, the more perfect is freedom, and the more it is
determined by the good and by reason. The character of Cato, of whom
Velleius said that it was impossible for him to perform a dishonourable
action, will always be preferred to that of a man who is capable of

319. I have been well pleased to present and to support these arguments of
M. Bayle against vague indifference, as much for the elucidation of the
subject as to confront him with himself, and to demonstrate that he ought
therefore not to complain of the alleged necessity imposed upon God,  [319]
of choosing the best way that is possible. For either God will act through
a vague indifference and at random, or again he will act on caprice or
through some other passion, or finally he must act through a prevailing
inclination of reason which prompts him to the best. But passions, which
come from the confused perception of an apparent good, cannot occur in God;
and vague indifference is something chimerical. It is therefore only the
strongest reason that can regulate God's choice. It is an imperfection in
our freedom that makes us capable of choosing evil instead of good, a
greater evil instead of the lesser evil, the lesser good instead of the
greater good. That arises from the appearances of good and evil, which
deceive us; whereas God is always prompted to the true and the greatest
good, that is, to the absolutely true good, which he cannot fail to know.

320. This false idea of freedom, conceived by those who, not content with
exempting it, I do not say from constraint, but from necessity itself,
would also exempt it from certainty and determination, that is, from reason
and perfection, nevertheless pleased some Schoolmen, people who often
become entangled in their own subtleties, and take the straw of terms for
the grain of things. They assume some chimerical notion, whence they think
to derive some use, and which they endeavour to maintain by quibblings.
Complete indifference is of this nature: to concede it to the will is to
grant it a privilege of the kind that some Cartesians and some mystics find
in the divine nature, of being able to do the impossible, to produce
absurdities, to cause two contradictory propositions to be true
simultaneously. To claim that a determination comes from a complete
indifference absolutely indeterminate is to claim that it comes naturally
from nothing. Let it be assumed that God does not give this determination:
it has accordingly no fountainhead in the soul, nor in the body, nor in
circumstances, since all is assumed to be indeterminate; and yet there it
is, appearing and existing without preparation, nothing making ready for
it, no angel, not even God himself, being able to see or to show how it
exists. That would be not only the emergence of something from nothing, but
its emergence thence _of itself_. This doctrine introduces something as
preposterous as the theory already mentioned, of the deviation of atoms,
whereby Epicurus asserted that one of these small bodies, going in a
straight line, would turn aside all at once from its path, without any[320]
reason, simply because the will so commands. Take note moreover that he
resorted to that only to justify this alleged freedom of complete
indifference, a chimerical notion which appears to be of very ancient
origin; and one may with good reason say: _Chimaera Chimaeram parit_.

321. This is the way Signor Marchetti has expressed it in his admirable
translation of Lucretius into Italian verse, which has not yet been
published (Book 2):

  _Mà ch'i principii poi non corran punto_
  _Della lor dritta via, chi veder puote?_
  _Sì finalmente ogni lor moto sempre_
  _Insieme s'aggruppa, e dall' antico_
  _Sempre con ordin certo il nuovo nasce;_
  _Ne tracciando i primi semi, fanno_
  _Di moto un tal principio, il qual poi rompa_
  _I decreti del fato, acciò non segua_
  _L'una causa dell' altra in infinito;_
  _Onde han questa, dich' io_, del fato sciolta
  Libera voluntà, _per cui ciascuno_
  _Va dove più l'agrada? I moti ancora_
  _Si declinan sovente, e non in tempo_
  _Certo, ne certa region, mà solo_
  _Quando e dove commanda il nostro arbitrio;_
  _Poiche senz' alcun dubbio à queste cose_
  _Dà sol principio il voler proprio, e quindi_
  _Van poi scorrendo per le membra i moti._

It is comical that a man like Epicurus, after having discarded the gods and
all incorporeal substances, could have supposed that the will, which he
himself takes as composed of atoms, could have had control over the atoms,
and diverted them from their path, without its being possible for one to
say how.

322. Carneades, not going so far back as to the atoms, claimed to find at
once in the soul of man the reason for the so-called vague indifference,
assuming as reason for the thing just that for which Epicurus sought a
reason. Carneades gained nothing thereby, except that he more easily
deceived careless people, in transferring the absurdity from one subject,
where it is somewhat too evident, to another subject where it is easier to
confuse matters, that is to say, from the body to the soul. For most
philosophers had not very distinct notions of the nature of the soul. [321]
Epicurus, who composed it of atoms, was at least right in seeking the
origin of its determination in that which he believed to be the origin of
the soul itself. That is why Cicero and M. Bayle were wrong to find so much
fault with him, and to be indulgent towards, and even praise, Carneades,
who is no less irrational. I do not understand how M. Bayle, who was so
clear-sighted, was thus satisfied by a disguised absurdity, even to the
extent of calling it the greatest effort the human mind can make on this
matter. It is as if the soul, which is the seat of reason, were more
capable than the body of acting without being determined by some reason or
cause, internal or external; or as if the great principle which states that
nothing comes to pass without cause only related to the body.

323. It is true that the Form or the Soul has this advantage over matter,
that it is the source of action, having within itself the principle of
motion or of change, in a word, [Greek: to autokinêton], as Plato calls it;
whereas matter is simply passive, and has need of being impelled to act,
_agitur, ut agat_. But if the soul is active of itself (as it indeed is),
for that very reason it is not of itself absolutely indifferent to the
action, like matter, and it must find in itself a ground of determination.
According to the System of Pre-established Harmony the soul finds in
itself, and in its ideal nature anterior to existence, the reasons for its
determinations, adjusted to all that shall surround it. That way it was
determined from all eternity in its state of mere possibility to act
freely, as it does, when it attains to existence.

324. M. Bayle himself remarks aptly that freedom of indifference (such as
must be admitted) does not exclude inclinations and does not demand
equipoise. He demonstrates amply enough (_Reply to the Questions of a
Provincial_, ch. 139, p. 748 _seqq_.) that the soul may be compared to a
balance, where reasons and inclinations take the place of weights.
According to him, one can explain what passes in our resolutions by the
hypothesis that the will of man is like a balance which is at rest when the
weights of its two pans are equal, and which always inclines either to one
side or the other according to which of the pans is the more heavily laden.
A new reason makes a heavier weight, a new idea shines more brightly than
the old; the fear of a heavy penalty prevails over some pleasure; when two
passions dispute the ground, it is always the stronger which gains the
mastery, unless the other be assisted by reason or by some other      [322]
contributing passion. When one flings away merchandise in order to save
oneself, the action, which the Schoolmen call mixed, is voluntary and free;
and yet love of life indubitably prevails over love of possessions. Grief
arises from remembrance of lost possessions, and one has all the greater
difficulty in making one's resolve, the nearer the approach to even weight
in the opposing reasons, as also we see that the balance is determined more
promptly when there is a great difference between the weights.

325. Nevertheless, as very often there are divers courses to choose from,
one might, instead of the balance, compare the soul with a force which puts
forth effort on various sides simultaneously, but which acts only at the
spot where action is easiest or there is least resistance. For instance,
air if it is compressed too firmly in a glass vessel will break it in order
to escape. It puts forth effort at every part, but finally flings itself
upon the weakest. Thus do the inclinations of the soul extend over all the
goods that present themselves: they are antecedent acts of will; but the
consequent will, which is their result, is determined in the direction of
that which touches most closely.

326. This ascendancy of inclinations, however, does not prevent man from
being master in his own domain, provided that he knows how to make use of
his power. His dominion is that of reason: he has only to prepare himself
in good time to resist the passions, and he will be capable of checking the
vehemence of the most furious. Let us assume that Augustus, about to give
orders for putting to death Fabius Maximus, acts, as is his wont, upon the
advice a philosopher had given him, to recite the Greek alphabet before
doing anything in the first heat of his anger: this reflexion will be
capable of saving the life of Fabius and the glory of Augustus. But without
some fortunate reflexion, which one owes sometimes to a special divine
mercy, or without some skill acquired beforehand, like that of Augustus,
calculated to make us reflect fittingly as to time and place, passion will
prevail over reason. The driver is master over the horses if he controls
them as he should, and as he can; but there are occasions when he becomes
negligent, and then for a time he will have to let go the reins:

  _Fertur equis auriga, nec audit currus habenas_.

327. One must admit that there is always within us enough power over  [323]
our will, but we do not always bethink ourselves of employing it. That
shows, as I have observed more than once, that the power of the soul over
its inclinations is a control which can only be exercised in an _indirect_
manner, almost as Bellarmine would have had the Popes exercise rights over
the temporal power of kings. In truth, the external actions that do not
exceed our powers depend absolutely upon our will; but our volitions depend
upon our will only through certain artful twists which give us means of
suspending our resolutions, or of changing them. We are masters in our own
house, not as God is in the world, he having but to speak, but as a wise
prince is in his dominions or as a good father of a family is in his home.
M. Bayle sometimes takes the matter differently, as though we must have, in
order to boast of a free will, an absolute power over ourselves,
independent of reasons and of means. But even God has not such a power, and
must not have in this sense, in relation to his will: he cannot change his
nature, nor act otherwise than according to method; and how could man
transform himself all of a sudden? I have already said God's dominion, the
dominion of wisdom, is that of reason. It is only God, however, who always
wills what is most to be desired, and consequently he has no need of the
power to change his will. 328. If the soul is mistress in its own house
(says M. Bayle, p. 753) it has only to will, and straightway that vexation
and pain which is attendant upon victory over the passions will vanish
away. For this effect it would suffice, in his opinion, to give oneself
indifference to the objects of the passions (p. 758). Why, then, do men not
give themselves this indifference (he says), if they are masters in their
own house? But this objection is exactly as if I were to ask why a father
of a family does not give himself gold when he has need thereof? He can
acquire some, but through skill, and not, as in the age of the fairies, or
of King Midas, through a mere command of the will or by his touch. It would
not suffice to be master in one's own house; one must be master of all
things in order to give oneself all that one wishes; for one does not find
everything in one's own house. Working thus upon oneself, one must do as in
working upon something else; one must have knowledge of the constitution
and the qualities of one's object, and adapt one's operations thereto. It
is therefore not in a moment and by a mere act of the will that one
corrects oneself, and that one acquires a better will.

329. Nevertheless it is well to observe that the vexations and pains
attendant upon victory over the passions in some people turn into pleasure,
through the great satisfaction they find in the lively sense of the force
of their mind, and of the divine grace. Ascetics and true mystics can speak
of this from experience; and even a true philosopher can say something
thereof. One can attain to that happy state, and it is one of the principal
means the soul can use to strengthen its dominion.

330. If the Scotists and the Molinists appear to favour vague indifference
(appear, I say, for I doubt whether they do so in reality, once they have
learnt to know it), the Thomists and the disciples of Augustine are for
predetermination. For one must have either the one or the other. Thomas
Aquinas is a writer who is accustomed to reason on sound principles, and
the subtle Scotus, seeking to contradict him, often obscures matters
instead of throwing light upon them. The Thomists as a general rule follow
their master, and do not admit that the soul makes its resolve without the
existence of some predetermination which contributes thereto. But the
predetermination of the new Thomists is not perhaps exactly that which one
needs. Durand de Saint-Pourçain, who often enough formed a party of his
own, and who opposed the idea of the special co-operation of God, was
nevertheless in favour of a certain predetermination. He believed that God
saw in the state of the soul, and of its surroundings, the reason for his

331. The ancient Stoics were in that almost of the same opinion as the
Thomists. They were at the same time in favour of determination and against
necessity, although they have been accused of attaching necessity to
everything. Cicero says in his book _De Fato_ that Democritus, Heraclitus,
Empedocles and Aristotle believed that fate implied necessity; that others
were opposed to that (he means perhaps Epicurus and the Academicians); and
that Chrysippus sought a middle course. I think that Cicero is mistaken as
regards Aristotle, who fully recognized contingency and freedom, and went
even too far, saying (inadvertently, as I think) that propositions on
contingent futurities had no determinate truth; on which point he was
justifiably abandoned by most of the Schoolmen. Even Cleanthes, the teacher
of Chrysippus, although he upheld the determinate truth of future events,
denied their necessity. Had the Schoolmen, so fully convinced of this [325]
determination of contingent futurities (as were for instance the Fathers of
Coimbra, authors of a famous Course of Philosophy), seen the connexion
between things in the form wherein the System of General Harmony proclaims
it, they would have judged that one cannot admit preliminary certainty, or
determination of futurition, without admitting a predetermination of the
thing in its causes and in its reasons.

332. Cicero has endeavoured to expound for us the middle course taken by
Chrysippus; but Justus Lipsius observed, in his _Stoic Philosophy_, that
the passage from Cicero was mutilated, and that Aulus Gellius has preserved
for us the whole argument of the Stoic philosopher (_Noct. Att._, lib. 6,
c. 2). Here it is in epitome. Fate is the inevitable and eternal connexion
of all events. Against this is urged in objection, that it follows that the
acts of the will would be necessary, and that criminals, being coerced into
evil, should not be punished. Chrysippus answers that evil springs from the
original constitution of souls, which forms part of the destined sequence;
that souls which are of a good natural disposition offer stronger
resistance to the impressions of external causes; but that those whose
natural defects had not been corrected by discipline allowed themselves to
be perverted. Next he distinguishes (according to Cicero) between principal
causes and accessary causes, and uses the comparison of a cylinder, whose
rotatory force and speed or ease in motion comes chiefly from its shape,
whereas it would be retarded by any roughness in formation. Nevertheless it
has need of impulsion, even as the soul needs to be acted upon by the
objects of the senses, and receives this impression according to its own

333. Cicero considers that Chrysippus becomes so confused that, whether he
will or no, he confirms the necessity of fate. M. Bayle is almost of the
same opinion (_Dictionary_, art. 'Chrysippus', lit. H). He says that this
philosopher does not get out of the bog, since the cylinder is regular or
uneven according to what the craftsman has made it; and thus God,
providence, fate will be the causes of evil in such a way as to render it
necessary. Justus Lipsius answers that, according to the Stoics, evil came
from matter. That is (to my mind) as if he had said that the stone on which
the craftsman worked was sometimes too rough and too irregular to produce a
good cylinder. M. Bayle cites against Chrysippus the fragments of Onomaus
and Diogenianus that Eusebius has preserved for us in the _Praeparatio[326]
Evangelica_ (lib. 6, c. 7, 8); and above all he relies upon Plutarch's
refutation in his book against the Stoics, quoted art. 'Paulicians', lit.
G. But this refutation does not amount to very much. Plutarch maintains
that it would be better to deny power to God than to impute to him the
permission of evils; and he will not admit that evil may serve a greater
good. I have already shown, on the contrary, that God cannot but be
all-powerful, even though he can do no better than produce the best, which
includes the permission of evil. Moreover, I have pointed out repeatedly
that what is to the disadvantage of a part taken separately may serve the
perfection of the whole.

334. Chrysippus had already made an observation to this effect, not only in
his fourth book on Providence, as given by Aulus Gellius (lib. 6, c. 1)
where he asserts that evil serves to bring the good to notice (a reason
which is not sufficient here), but still better when he applies the
comparison of a stage play, in his second book on Nature (as Plutarch
quotes it himself). There he says that there are sometimes portions in a
comedy which are of no worth in themselves and which nevertheless lend
grace to the whole poem. He calls these portions epigrams or inscriptions.
We have not enough acquaintance with the nature of the ancient comedy for
full understanding of this passage from Chrysippus; but since Plutarch
assents to the fact, there is reason to believe that this comparison was
not a poor one. Plutarch replies in the first place that the world is not
like a play to provide entertainment. But that is a poor answer: the
comparison lies in this point alone, that one bad part may make the whole
better. He replies secondly that this bad passage is only a small part of
the comedy, whereas human life swarms with evils. This reply is of no value
either: for he ought to have taken into account that what we know is also a
very small part of the universe.

335. But let us return to the cylinder of Chrysippus. He is right in saying
that vice springs from the original constitution of some minds. He was met
with the objection that God formed them, and he could only reply by
pointing to the imperfection of matter, which did not permit God to do
better. This reply is of no value, for matter in itself is indifferent to
all forms, and God made it. Evil springs rather from the _Forms_ themselves
in their detached state, that is, from the ideas that God has not produced
by an act of his will, any more than he thus produced numbers and     [327]
figures, and all possible essences which one must regard as eternal and
necessary; for they are in the ideal region of the possibles, that is, in
the divine understanding. God is therefore not the author of essences in so
far as they are only possibilities. But there is nothing actual to which he
has not decreed and given existence; and he has permitted evil because it
is involved in the best plan existing in the region of possibles, a plan
which supreme wisdom could not fail to choose. This notion satisfies at
once the wisdom, the power and the goodness of God, and yet leaves a way
open for the entrance of evil. God gives perfection to creatures in so far
as it is possible in the universe. One gives a turn to the cylinder, but
any roughness in its shape restricts the swiftness of its motion. This
comparison made by Chrysippus does not greatly differ from mine, which was
taken from a laden boat that is carried along by the river current, its
pace becoming slower as the load grows heavier. These comparisons tend
towards the same end; and that shows that if we were sufficiently informed
concerning the opinions of ancient philosophers, we should find therein
more reason than is supposed.

336. M. Bayle himself commends the passage from Chrysippus (art.
'Chrysippus', lit. T) that Aulus Gellius quotes in the same place, where
this philosopher maintains that evil has come _by concomitance._ That also
is made clear by my system. For I have demonstrated that the evil which God
permitted was not an object of his will, as an end or a means, but simply
as a condition, since it had to be involved in the best. Yet one must
confess that the cylinder of Chrysippus does not answer the objection of
necessity. He ought to have added, in the first place, that it is by the
free choice of God that some of the possibles exist; secondly, that
rational creatures act freely also, in accordance with their original
nature, which existed already in the eternal ideas; and lastly, that the
motive power of good inclines the will without compelling it.

337. The advantage of freedom which is in the creature without doubt exists
to an eminent degree in God. That must be understood in so far as it is
genuinely an advantage and in so far as it presupposes no imperfection. For
to be able to make a mistake and go astray is a disadvantage, and to have
control over the passions is in truth an advantage, but one that
presupposes an imperfection, namely passion itself, of which God is   [328]
incapable. Scotus was justified in saying that if God were not free and
exempt from necessity, no creature would be so. But God is incapable of
being indeterminate in anything whatsoever: he cannot be ignorant, he
cannot doubt, he cannot suspend his judgement; his will is always decided,
and it can only be decided by the best. God can never have a primitive
particular will, that is, independent of laws or general acts of will; such
a thing would be unreasonable. He cannot determine upon Adam, Peter, Judas
or any individual without the existence of a reason for this determination;
and this reason leads of necessity to some general enunciation. The wise
mind always acts _according to principles_; always _according to rules_,
and never _according to exceptions_, save when the rules come into
collision through opposing tendencies, where the strongest carries the day:
or else, either they will stop one another or some third course will emerge
as a result. In all these cases one rule serves as an exception to the
other, and there are never any _original exceptions_ with one who always
acts in a regular way.

338. If there are people who believe that election and reprobation are
accomplished on God's part by a despotic absolute power, not only without
any apparent reason but actually without any reason, even a concealed one,
they maintain an opinion that destroys alike the nature of things and the
divine perfections. Such an _absolutely absolute decree_ (so to speak)
would be without doubt insupportable. But Luther and Calvin were far from
such a belief: the former hopes that the life to come will make us
comprehend the just reasons of God's choice; and the latter protests
explicitly that these reasons are just and holy, although they be unknown
to us. I have already in that connexion quoted Calvin's treatise on
predestination, and here are the actual words: 'God before the fall of Adam
had reflected upon what he had to do, and that for causes concealed from
us.... It is evident therefore that he had just causes for the reprobation
of some of mankind, but causes to us UNKNOWN.'

339. This truth, that all God does is reasonable and cannot be better done,
strikes at the outset every man of good sense, and extorts, so to speak,
his approbation. And yet the most subtle of philosophers have a fatal
propensity for offending sometimes without observing it, during the course
and in the heat of disputes, against the first principles of good sense,
when these are shrouded in terms that disguise them. We have here     [329]
already seen how the excellent M. Bayle, with all his shrewdness, has
nevertheless combated this principle which I have just indicated, and which
is a sure consequence of the supreme perfection of God. He thought to
defend in that way the cause of God and to exempt him from an imaginary
necessity, by leaving him the freedom to choose from among various goods
the least. I have already spoken of M. Diroys and others who have also been
deluded by this strange opinion, one that is far too commonly accepted.
Those who uphold it do not observe that it implies a wish to preserve for,
or rather bestow upon, God a false freedom, which is the freedom to act
unreasonably. That is rendering his works subject to correction, and making
it impossible for us to say or even to hope that anything reasonable can be
said upon the permission of evil.

340. This error has much impaired M. Bayle's arguments, and has barred his
way of escape from many perplexities. That appears again in relation to the
laws of the realm of Nature: he believes them to be arbitrary and
indifferent, and he objects that God could better have attained his end in
the realm of grace if he had not clung to these laws, if he had more often
dispensed with their observance, or even if he had made others. He believed
this especially with regard to the law of the union between the soul and
the body. For he is persuaded, with the modern Cartesians, that the ideas
of the perceptible qualities that God gives (according to them) to the
soul, occasioned by movements of the body, have nothing representing these
movements or resembling them. Accordingly it was a purely arbitrary act on
God's part to give us the ideas of heat, cold, light and other qualities
which we experience, rather than to give us quite different ideas
occasioned in the same way. I have often wondered that people so talented
should have been capable of relishing notions so unphilosophic and so
contrary to the fundamental maxims of reason. For nothing gives clearer
indication of the imperfection of a philosophy than the necessity
experienced by the philosopher to confess that something comes to pass, in
accordance with his system, for which there is no reason. That applies to
the idea of Epicurus on the deviation of atoms. Whether it be God or Nature
that operates, the operation will always have its reasons. In the
operations of Nature, these reasons will depend either upon necessary
truths or upon the laws that God has found the most reasonable; and in the
operations of God, they will depend upon the choice of the supreme    [330]
reason which causes them to act.

341. M. Regis, a famous Cartesian, had asserted in his 'Metaphysics' (part
2, book 2, c. 29) that the faculties God has given to men are the most
excellent that they were capable of in conformity with the general order of
nature. 'Considering only', he says, 'the power of God and the nature of
man by themselves, it is very easy to conceive that God could have made man
more perfect: but if one will consider man, not in himself and separately
from all other creatures, but as a member of the universe and a portion
which is subject to the general laws of motions, one will be bound to
acknowledge that man is as perfect as he could have been.' He adds 'that we
cannot conceive that God could have employed any other means more
appropriate than pain for the conservation of our bodies'. M. Regis is
right in a general way in saying that God cannot do better than he has done
in relation to all. And although there be apparently in some places in the
universe rational animals more perfect than man, one may say that God was
right to create every kind of species, some more perfect than others. It is
perhaps not impossible that there be somewhere a species of animals much
resembling man and more perfect than we are. It may be even that the human
race will attain in time to a greater perfection than that which we can now
envisage. Thus the laws of motions do not prevent man from being more
perfect: but the place God has assigned to man in space and in time limits
the perfections he was able to receive.

342. I also doubt, with M. Bayle, whether pain be necessary in order to
warn men of peril. But this writer goes too far (_Reply to the Questions of
a Provincial_, vol. II, ch. 77, p. 104): he seems to think that a feeling
of pleasure could have the same effect, and that, in order to prevent a
child from going too near the fire, God could give him ideas of pleasure in
proportion to the distance he kept from it. This expedient does not appear
very practicable with regard to all evils, unless a miracle were involved.
It is more natural that what if it were too near would cause an evil should
cause some foreboding of evil when it is a little less near. Yet I admit
that it is possible such a foreboding will be something less than pain, and
usually this is the case. Thus it indeed appears that pain is not necessary
for causing one to shun present peril; it is wont rather to serve as a
penalty for having actually plunged into evil, and a warning against  [331]
further lapse. There are also many painful evils the avoidance whereof
rests not with us. As a dissolution of the continuity of our body is a
consequence of many accidents that may happen to us, it was natural that
this imperfection of the body should be represented by some sense of
imperfection in the soul. Nevertheless I would not guarantee that there
were no animals in the universe whose structure was cunning enough to cause
a sense of indifference as accompaniment to this dissolution of continuity,
as for instance when a gangrenous limb is cut off; or even a sense of
pleasure, as if one were only scratching oneself. For the imperfection that
attends the dissolution of the body might lead to the sense of a greater
perfection, which was suspended or checked by the continuity which is now
broken: and in this respect the body would be as it were a prison.

343. There is also nothing to preclude the existence in the universe of
animals resembling that one which Cyrano de Bergerac encountered in the
sun. The body of this animal being a sort of fluid composed of innumerable
small animals, that were capable of ranging themselves in accordance with
the desires of the great animal, by this means it transformed itself in a
moment, just as it pleased; and the dissolution of continuity caused it no
more hurt than the stroke of an oar can cause to the sea. But, after all,
these animals are not men, they are not in our globe or in our present
century; and God's plan ensured that there should not be lacking here on
earth a rational animal clothed in flesh and bones, whose structure
involves susceptibility to pain.

344. But M. Bayle further opposes this on another principle, one which I
have already mentioned. It seems that he thinks the ideas which the soul
conceives in relation to the feelings of the body are arbitrary. Thus God
might have caused the dissolution of continuity to give us pleasure. He
even maintains that the laws of motion are entirely arbitrary. 'I would
wish to know', he says (vol. III, ch. 166, p. 1080), 'whether God
established by an act of his freedom of indifference general laws on the
communication of movements, and the particular laws on the union of the
human soul with an organic body? In this case, he could have established
quite different laws, and adopted a system whose results involved neither
moral evil nor physical evil. But if the answer is given that God was
constrained by supreme wisdom to establish the laws that he has
established, there we have neither more nor less than the _Fatum_ of  [332]
the Stoics. Wisdom will have marked out a way for God, the abandonment
whereof will have been as impossible to him as his own self-destruction.'
This objection has been sufficiently overthrown: it is only a moral
necessity; and it is always a happy necessity to be bound to act in
accordance with the rules of perfect wisdom.

345. Moreover, it appears to me that the reason for the belief held by many
that the laws of motion are arbitrary comes from the fact that few people
have properly examined them. It is known now that M. Descartes was much
mistaken in his statement of them. I have proved conclusively that
conservation of the same quantity of motion cannot occur, but I consider
that the same quantity of force is conserved, whether absolute or directive
and respective, whether total or partial. My principles, which carry this
subject as far as it can go, have not yet been published in full; but I
have communicated them to friends competent to judge of them, who have
approved them, and have converted some other persons of acknowledged
erudition and ability. I discovered at the same time that the laws of
motion actually existing in Nature, and confirmed by experiments, are not
in reality absolutely demonstrable, as a geometrical proposition would be;
but neither is it necessary that they be so. They do not spring entirely
from the principle of necessity, but rather from the principle of
perfection and order; they are an effect of the choice and the wisdom of
God. I can demonstrate these laws in divers ways, but must always assume
something that is not of an absolutely geometrical necessity. Thus these
admirable laws are wonderful evidence of an intelligent and free being, as
opposed to the system of absolute and brute necessity, advocated by Strato
or Spinoza.

346. I have found that one may account for these laws by assuming that the
effect is always equal in force to its cause, or, which amounts to the same
thing, that the same force is conserved always: but this axiom of higher
philosophy cannot be demonstrated geometrically. One may again apply other
principles of like nature, for instance the principle that action is always
equal to reaction, one which assumes in things a distaste for external
change, and cannot be derived either from extension or impenetrability; and
that other principle, that a simple movement has the same properties as
those which might belong to a compound movement such as would produce [333]
the same phenomena of locomotion. These assumptions are very plausible, and
are successful as an explanation of the laws of motion: nothing is so
appropriate, all the more since they are in accord with each other. But
there is to be found in them no absolute necessity, such as may compel us
to admit them, in the way one is compelled to admit the rules of logic, of
arithmetic and geometry.

347. It seems, when one considers the indifference of matter to motion and
to rest, that the largest body at rest could be carried along without any
resistance by the smallest body in motion, in which case there would be
action without reaction and an effect greater than its cause. There is also
no necessity to say of the motion of a ball which runs freely on an even,
horizontal plane, with a certain degree of speed, termed A, that this
motion must have the properties of that motion which it would have if it
were going with lesser speed in a boat, itself moving in the same direction
with the residue of the speed, to ensure that the ball, seen from the bank,
advance with the same degree A. For, although the same appearance of speed
and of direction results through this medium of the boat, it is not because
it is the same thing. Nevertheless it happens that the effects of the
collision of the balls in the boat, the motion in each one separately
combined with that of the boat giving the appearance of that which goes on
outside the boat, also give the appearance of the effects that these same
balls colliding would have outside the boat. All that is admirable, but one
does not see its absolute necessity. A movement on the two sides of the
right-angled triangle composes a movement on the hypotenuse; but it does
not follow that a ball moving on the hypotenuse must produce the effect of
two balls of its own size moving on the two sides: yet that is true.
Nothing is so appropriate as this result, and God has chosen the laws that
produce it: but one sees no geometrical necessity therein. Yet it is this
very lack of necessity which enhances the beauty of the laws that God has
chosen, wherein divers admirable axioms exist in conjunction, and it is
impossible for one to say which of them is the primary.

348. I have also shown that therein is observed that excellent law of
continuity, which I have perhaps been the first to state, and which is a
kind of touchstone whose test the rules of M. Descartes, of Father Fabry,
Father Pardies, Father de Malebranche and others cannot pass. In virtue of
this law, one must be able to regard rest as a movement vanishing     [334]
after having continually diminished, and likewise equality as an inequality
that vanishes also, as would happen through the continual diminution of the
greater of two unequal bodies, while the smaller retains its size. As a
consequence of this consideration, the general rule for unequal bodies, or
bodies in motion, must apply also to equal bodies or to bodies one of which
is at rest, as to a particular case of the rule. This does result in the
true laws of motion, and does not result in certain laws invented by M.
Descartes and by some other men of talent, which already on that score
alone prove to be ill-concerted, so that one may predict that experiment
will not favour them.

349. These considerations make it plain that the laws of Nature regulating
movements are neither entirely necessary nor entirely arbitrary. The middle
course to be taken is that they are a choice of the most perfect wisdom.
And this great example of the laws of motion shows with the utmost clarity
how much difference there is between these three cases, to wit, firstly _an
absolute necessity_, metaphysical or geometrical, which may be called
blind, and which does not depend upon any but efficient causes; in the
second place, _a moral necessity_, which comes from the free choice of
wisdom in relation to final causes; and finally in the third place,
_something absolutely arbitrary_, depending upon an indifference of
equipoise, which is imagined, but which cannot exist, where there is no
sufficient reason either in the efficient or in the final cause.
Consequently one must conclude how mistaken it is to confuse either that
which is absolutely necessary with that which is determined by the reason
of the best, or the freedom that is determined by reason with a vague

350. This also settles M. Bayle's difficulty, for he fears that, if God is
always determinate, Nature could dispense with him and bring about that
same effect which is attributed to him, through the necessity of the order
of things. That would be true if the laws of motion for instance, and all
the rest, had their source in a geometrical necessity of efficient causes;
but in the last analysis one is obliged to resort to something depending
upon final causes and upon what is fitting. This also utterly destroys the
most plausible reasoning of the Naturalists. Dr. Johann Joachim Becher, a
German physician, well known for his books on chemistry, had composed a
prayer which looked like getting him into trouble. It began: 'O sancta[335]
mater natura, aeterne rerum ordo'. And it ended by saying that this Nature
must forgive him his errors, since she herself was their cause. But the
nature of things, if taken as without intelligence and without choice, has
in it nothing sufficiently determinant. Herr Becher did not sufficiently
take into account that the Author of things (_natura naturans_) must be
good and wise, and that we can be evil without complicity on his part in
our acts of wickedness. When a wicked man exists, God must have found in
the region of possibles the idea of such a man forming part of that
sequence of things, the choice of which was demanded by the greatest
perfection of the universe, and in which errors and sins are not only
punished but even repaired to greater advantage, so that they contribute to
the greatest good.

351. M. Bayle, however, has extended the free choice of God a little too
far. Speaking of the Peripatetic Strato (_Reply to the Questions of a
Provincial_, vol. III, ch. 180, p. 1239), who asserted that everything had
been brought forth by the necessity of a nature devoid of intelligence, he
maintains that this philosopher, on being asked why a tree has not the
power to form bones and veins, might have asked in his turn: Why has matter
precisely three dimensions? why should not two have sufficed for it? why
has it not four? 'If one had answered that there can be neither more nor
less than three dimensions he would have demanded the cause of this
impossibility.' These words lead one to believe that M. Bayle suspected
that the number of the dimensions of matter depended upon God's choice,
even as it depended upon him to cause or not to cause trees to produce
animals. Indeed, how do we know whether there are not planetary globes or
earths situated in some more remote place in the universe where the fable
of the Barnacle-geese of Scotland (birds that were said to be born of
trees) proves true, and even whether there are not countries where one
could say:

  _... populos umbrosa creavit_
  _Fraxinus, et foeta viridis puer excidit alno?_

But with the dimensions of matter it is not thus: the ternary number is
determined for it not by the reason of the best, but by a geometrical
necessity, because the geometricians have been able to prove that there are
only three straight lines perpendicular to one another which can intersect
at one and the same point. Nothing more appropriate could have been   [336]
chosen to show the difference there is between the moral necessity that
accounts for the choice of wisdom and the brute necessity of Strato and the
adherents of Spinoza, who deny to God understanding and will, than a
consideration of the difference existing between the reason for the laws of
motion and the reason for the ternary number of the dimensions: for the
first lies in the choice of the best and the second in a geometrical and
blind necessity.

352. Having spoken of the laws of bodies, that is, of the rules of motion,
let us come to the laws of the union between body and soul, where M. Bayle
believes that he finds again some vague indifference, something absolutely
arbitrary. Here is the way he speaks of it in his _Reply_ (vol. II, ch. 84,
p. 163): 'It is a puzzling question whether bodies have some natural
property of doing harm or good to man's soul. If one answers yes, one
plunges into an insane labyrinth: for, as man's soul is an immaterial
substance, one will be bound to say that the local movement of certain
bodies is an efficient cause of the thoughts in a mind, a statement
contrary to the most obvious notions that philosophy imparts to us. If one
answers no, one will be constrained to admit that the influence of our
organs upon our thoughts depends neither upon the internal qualities of
matter, nor upon the laws of motion, but upon an _arbitrary institution_ of
the creator. One must then admit that it depended altogether upon God's
freedom to combine particular thoughts of our soul with particular
modifications of our body, even when he had once established all the laws
for the action of bodies one upon another. Whence it results that there is
in the universe no portion of matter which by its proximity can harm us,
save when God wills it; and consequently, that the earth is as capable as
any other place of being the abode of the happy man.... In short it is
evident that there is no need, in order to prevent the wrong choices of
freedom, to transport man outside the earth. God could do on earth with
regard to all the acts of the will what he does in respect of the good
works of the predestined when he settles their outcome, whether by
efficacious or by sufficient grace: and that grace, without in any way
impairing freedom, is always followed by the assent of the soul. It would
be as easy for him on earth as in heaven to bring about the determination
of our souls to a good choice.'

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 Abbé 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

361. Durand de Saint-Pourçain, 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 Flèche. 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

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_

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,

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

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 Versé 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 _Mémoires 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

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 _Hexaëmeron_, 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-Pourçain, 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

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 Abbé 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 République des Lettres_, June 1702. Or if you wish one
author only to suffice you, choose Dom François Lami, a Benedictine monk,
and one of the strongest Cartesians to be found in France. You will find
among his _Philosophical Letters_, printed at Trévoux 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

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

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

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

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

  _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

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

413. This dialogue of Valla's is excellent, even though one must take
exception to some points in it: but its chief defect is that it cuts the
knot and that it seems to condemn providence under the name of Jupiter,
making him almost the author of sin. Let us therefore carry the little
fable still further. Sextus, quitting Apollo and Delphi, seeks out Jupiter
at Dodona. He makes sacrifices and then he exhibits his complaints. Why
have you condemned me, O great God, to be wicked and unhappy? Change  [370]
my lot and my heart, or acknowledge your error. Jupiter answers him: If you
will renounce Rome, the Parcae shall spin for you different fates, you
shall become wise, you shall be happy. SEXTUS--Why must I renounce the hope
of a crown? Can I not come to be a good king? JUPITER--No, Sextus; I know
better what is needful for you. If you go to Rome, you are lost. Sextus,
not being able to resolve upon so great a sacrifice, went forth from the
temple, and abandoned himself to his fate. Theodorus, the High Priest, who
had been present at the dialogue between God and Sextus, addressed these
words to Jupiter: Your wisdom is to be revered, O great Ruler of the Gods.
You have convinced this man of his error; he must henceforth impute his
unhappiness to his evil will; he has not a word to say. But your faithful
worshippers are astonished; they would fain wonder at your goodness as well
as at your greatness: it rested with you to give him a different will.
JUPITER--Go to my daughter Pallas, she will inform you what I was bound to

414. Theodorus journeyed to Athens: he was bidden to lie down to sleep in
the temple of the Goddess. Dreaming, he found himself transported into an
unknown country. There stood a palace of unimaginable splendour and
prodigious size. The Goddess Pallas appeared at the gate, surrounded by
rays of dazzling majesty.

          _Qualisque videri_
  _Coelicolis et quanta solet._

She touched the face of Theodorus with an olive-branch, which she was
holding in her hand. And lo! he had become able to confront the divine
radiancy of the daughter of Jupiter, and of all that she should show him.
Jupiter who loves you (she said to him) has commended you to me to be
instructed. You see here the palace of the fates, where I keep watch and
ward. Here are representations not only of that which happens but also of
all that which is possible. Jupiter, having surveyed them before the
beginning of the existing world, classified the possibilities into worlds,
and chose the best of all. He comes sometimes to visit these places, to
enjoy the pleasure of recapitulating things and of renewing his own choice,
which cannot fail to please him. I have only to speak, and we shall see a
whole world that my father might have produced, wherein will be represented
anything that can be asked of him; and in this way one may know also what
would happen if any particular possibility should attain unto         [371]
existence. And whenever the conditions are not determinate enough, there
will be as many such worlds differing from one another as one shall wish,
which will answer differently the same question, in as many ways as
possible. You learnt geometry in your youth, like all well-instructed
Greeks. You know therefore that when the conditions of a required point do
not sufficiently determine it, and there is an infinite number of them,
they all fall into what the geometricians call a locus, and this locus at
least (which is often a line) will be determinate. Thus you can picture to
yourself an ordered succession of worlds, which shall contain each and
every one the case that is in question, and shall vary its circumstances
and its consequences. But if you put a case that differs from the actual
world only in one single definite thing and in its results, a certain one
of those determinate worlds will answer you. These worlds are all here,
that is, in ideas. I will show you some, wherein shall be found, not
absolutely the same Sextus as you have seen (that is not possible, he
carries with him always that which he shall be) but several Sextuses
resembling him, possessing all that you know already of the true Sextus,
but not all that is already in him imperceptibly, nor in consequence all
that shall yet happen to him. You will find in one world a very happy and
noble Sextus, in another a Sextus content with a mediocre state, a Sextus,
indeed, of every kind and endless diversity of forms.

415. Thereupon the Goddess led Theodorus into one of the halls of the
palace: when he was within, it was no longer a hall, it was a world,

  _Solemque suum, sua sidera norat_.

At the command of Pallas there came within view Dodona with the temple of
Jupiter, and Sextus issuing thence; he could be heard saying that he would
obey the God. And lo! he goes to a city lying between two seas, resembling
Corinth. He buys there a small garden; cultivating it, he finds a treasure;
he becomes a rich man, enjoying affection and esteem; he dies at a great
age, beloved of the whole city. Theodorus saw the whole life of Sextus as
at one glance, and as in a stage presentation. There was a great volume of
writings in this hall: Theodorus could not refrain from asking what that
meant. It is the history of this world which we are now visiting, the
Goddess told him; it is the book of its fates. You have seen a number [372]
on the forehead of Sextus. Look in this book for the place which it
indicates. Theodorus looked for it, and found there the history of Sextus
in a form more ample than the outline he had seen. Put your finger on any
line you please, Pallas said to him, and you will see represented actually
in all its detail that which the line broadly indicates. He obeyed, and he
saw coming into view all the characteristics of a portion of the life of
that Sextus. They passed into another hall, and lo! another world, another
Sextus. who, issuing from the temple, and having resolved to obey Jupiter,
goes to Thrace. There he marries the daughter of the king, who had no other
children; he succeeds him, and he is adored by his subjects. They went into
other rooms, and always they saw new scenes.

416. The halls rose in a pyramid, becoming even more beautiful as one
mounted towards the apex, and representing more beautiful worlds. Finally
they reached the highest one which completed the pyramid, and which was the
most beautiful of all: for the pyramid had a beginning, but one could not
see its end; it had an apex, but no base; it went on increasing to
infinity. That is (as the Goddess explained) because amongst an endless
number of possible worlds there is the best of all, else would God not have
determined to create any; but there is not any one which has not also less
perfect worlds below it: that is why the pyramid goes on descending to
infinity. Theodorus, entering this highest hall, became entranced in
ecstasy; he had to receive succour from the Goddess, a drop of a divine
liquid placed on his tongue restored him; he was beside himself for joy. We
are in the real true world (said the Goddess) and you are at the source of
happiness. Behold what Jupiter makes ready for you, if you continue to
serve him faithfully. Here is Sextus as he is, and as he will be in
reality. He issues from the temple in a rage, he scorns the counsel of the
Gods. You see him going to Rome, bringing confusion everywhere, violating
the wife of his friend. There he is driven out with his father, beaten,
unhappy. If Jupiter had placed here a Sextus happy at Corinth or King in
Thrace, it would be no longer this world. And nevertheless he could not
have failed to choose this world, which surpasses in perfection all the
others, and which forms the apex of the pyramid. Else would Jupiter have
renounced his wisdom, he would have banished me, me his daughter. You see
that my father did not make Sextus wicked; he was so from all         [373]
eternity, he was so always and freely. My father only granted him the
existence which his wisdom could not refuse to the world where he is
included: he made him pass from the region of the possible to that of the
actual beings. The crime of Sextus serves for great things: it renders Rome
free; thence will arise a great empire, which will show noble examples to
mankind. But that is nothing in comparison with the worth of this whole
world, at whose beauty you will marvel, when, after a happy passage from
this mortal state to another and better one, the Gods shall have fitted you
to know it.

417. At this moment Theodorus wakes up, he gives thanks to the Goddess, he
owns the justice of Jupiter. His spirit pervaded by what he has seen and
heard, he carries on the office of High Priest, with all the zeal of a true
servant of his God, and with all the joy whereof a mortal is capable. It
seems to me that this continuation of the tale may elucidate the difficulty
which Valla did not wish to treat. If Apollo has represented aright God's
knowledge of vision (that which concerns beings in existence), I hope that
Pallas will have not discreditably filled the role of what is called
knowledge of simple intelligence (that which embraces all that is
possible), wherein at last the source of things must be sought.

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *

Some persons of discernment have wished me to make this addition. I have
the more readily deferred to their opinion, because of the opportunity
thereby gained for meeting certain difficulties, and for making
observations on certain matters which were not treated in sufficient detail
in the work itself.


Whoever does not choose the best course is lacking either in power, or
knowledge, or goodness.

God did not choose the best course in creating this world.

Therefore God was lacking in power, or knowledge, or goodness.


I deny the minor, that is to say, the second premiss of this syllogism, and
the opponent proves it by this


Whoever makes things in which there is evil, and which could have been made
without any evil, or need not have been made at all, does not choose the
best course.

God made a world wherein there is evil; a world, I say, which could have
been made without any evil or which need not have been made at all.

Therefore God did not choose the best course.


I admit the minor of this prosyllogism: for one must confess that there is
evil in this world which God has made, and that it would have been possible
to make a world without evil or even not to create any world, since its
creation depended upon the free will of God. But I deny the major, that is,
the first of the two premisses of the prosyllogism, and I might content
myself with asking for its proof. In order, however, to give a clearer
exposition of the matter, I would justify this denial by pointing out that
the best course is not always that one which tends towards avoiding evil,
since it is possible that the evil may be accompanied by a greater good.
For example, the general of an army will prefer a great victory with a
slight wound to a state of affairs without wound and without victory. I
have proved this in further detail in this work by pointing out, through
instances taken from mathematics and elsewhere, that an imperfection in the
part may be required for a greater perfection in the whole. I have followed
therein the opinion of St. Augustine, who said a hundred times that God
permitted evil in order to derive from it a good, that is to say, a greater
good; and Thomas Aquinas says (in libr. 2, _Sent. Dist._ 32, qu. 1, art. 1)
that the permission of evil tends towards the good of the universe. I have
shown that among older writers the fall of Adam was termed _felix culpa_, a
fortunate sin, because it had been expiated with immense benefit by the
incarnation of the Son of God: for he gave to the universe something more
noble than anything there would otherwise have been amongst created beings.
For the better understanding of the matter I added, following the example
of many good authors, that it was consistent with order and the general
good for God to grant to certain of his creatures the opportunity to
exercise their freedom, even when he foresaw that they would turn to evil:
for God could easily correct the evil, and it was not fitting that in order
to prevent sin he should always act in an extraordinary way. It will
therefore sufficiently refute the objection to show that a world with evil
may be better than a world without evil. But I have gone still further in
the work, and have even shown that this universe must be indeed better than
every other possible universe.


If there is more evil than good in intelligent creatures, there is more
evil than good in all God's work.

Now there is more evil than good in intelligent creatures.

Therefore there is more evil than good in all God's work.


I deny the major and the minor of this conditional syllogism. As for the
major, I do not admit it because this supposed inference from the part to
the whole, from intelligent creatures to all creatures, assumes tacitly and
without proof that creatures devoid of reason cannot be compared or taken
into account with those that have reason. But why might not the surplus of
good in the non-intelligent creatures that fill the world compensate for
and even exceed incomparably the surplus of evil in rational creatures? It
is true that the value of the latter is greater; but by way of compensation
the others are incomparably greater in number; and it may be that the
proportion of number and quantity surpasses that of value and quality.

The minor also I cannot admit, namely, that there is more evil than good in
intelligent creatures. One need not even agree that there is more evil than
good in the human kind. For it is possible, and even a very reasonable
thing, that the glory and the perfection of the blessed may be incomparably
greater than the misery and imperfection of the damned, and that here the
excellence of the total good in the smaller number may exceed the total
evil which is in the greater number. The blessed draw near to divinity
through a divine Mediator, so far as can belong to these created beings,
and make such progress in good as is impossible for the damned to make in
evil, even though they should approach as nearly as may be the nature of
demons. God is infinite, and the Devil is finite; good can and does go on
_ad infinitum_, whereas evil has its bounds. It may be therefore, and it is
probable, that there happens in the comparison between the blessed and the
damned the opposite of what I said could happen in the comparison between
the happy and the unhappy, namely that in the latter the proportion of
degrees surpasses that of numbers, while in the comparison between
intelligent and non-intelligent the proportion of numbers is greater than
that of values. One is justified in assuming that a thing may be so as long
as one does not prove that it is impossible, and indeed what is here  [380]
put forward goes beyond assumption.

But secondly, even should one admit that there is more evil than good in
the human kind, one still has every reason for not admitting that there is
more evil than good in all intelligent creatures. For there is an
inconceivable number of Spirits, and perhaps of other rational creatures
besides: and an opponent cannot prove that in the whole City of God,
composed as much of Spirits as of rational animals without number and of
endless different kinds, the evil exceeds the good. Although one need not,
in order to answer an objection, prove that a thing is, when its mere
possibility suffices, I have nevertheless shown in this present work that
it is a result of the supreme perfection of the Sovereign of the Universe
that the kingdom of God should be the most perfect of all states or
governments possible, and that in consequence what little evil there is
should be required to provide the full measure of the vast good existing


If it is always impossible not to sin, it is always unjust to punish.

Now it is always impossible not to sin, or rather all sin is necessary.

Therefore it is always unjust to punish.

The minor of this is proved as follows.


Everything predetermined is necessary.

Every event is predetermined.

Therefore every event (and consequently sin also) is necessary.

Again this second minor is proved thus.


That which is future, that which is foreseen, that which is involved in
causes is predetermined.

Every event is of this kind.

Therefore every event is predetermined.


I admit in a certain sense the conclusion of the second prosyllogism, which
is the minor of the first; but I shall deny the major of the first    [381]
prosyllogism, namely that everything predetermined is necessary; taking
'necessity', say the necessity to sin, or the impossibility of not sinning,
or of not doing some action, in the sense relevant to the argument, that
is, as a necessity essential and absolute, which destroys the morality of
action and the justice of punishment. If anyone meant a different necessity
or impossibility (that is, a necessity only moral or hypothetical, which
will be explained presently) it is plain that we would deny him the major
stated in the objection. We might content ourselves with this answer, and
demand the proof of the proposition denied: but I am well pleased to
justify my manner of procedure in the present work, in order to make the
matter clear and to throw more light on this whole subject, by explaining
the necessity that must be rejected and the determination that must be
allowed. The truth is that the necessity contrary to morality, which must
be avoided and which would render punishment unjust, is an insuperable
necessity, which would render all opposition unavailing, even though one
should wish with all one's heart to avoid the necessary action, and though
one should make all possible efforts to that end. Now it is plain that this
is not applicable to voluntary actions, since one would not do them if one
did not so desire. Thus their prevision and predetermination is not
absolute, but it presupposes will: if it is certain that one will do them,
it is no less certain that one will will to do them. These voluntary
actions and their results will not happen whatever one may do and whether
one will them or not; but they will happen because one will do, and because
one will will to do, that which leads to them. That is involved in
prevision and predetermination, and forms the reason thereof. The necessity
of such events is called conditional or hypothetical, or again necessity of
consequence, because it presupposes the will and the other requisites. But
the necessity which destroys morality, and renders punishment unjust and
reward unavailing, is found in the things that will be whatever one may do
and whatever one may will to do: in a word, it exists in that which is
essential. This it is which is called an absolute necessity. Thus it avails
nothing with regard to what is necessary absolutely to ordain interdicts or
commandments, to propose penalties or prizes, to blame or to praise; it
will come to pass no more and no less. In voluntary actions, on the
contrary, and in what depends upon them, precepts, armed with power to[382]
punish and to reward, very often serve, and are included in the order of
causes that make action exist. Thus it comes about that not only pains and
effort but also prayers are effective, God having had even these prayers in
mind before he ordered things, and having made due allowance for them. That
is why the precept _Ora et labora_ (Pray and work) remains intact. Thus not
only those who (under the empty pretext of the necessity of events)
maintain that one can spare oneself the pains demanded by affairs, but also
those who argue against prayers, fall into that which the ancients even in
their time called 'the Lazy Sophism'. So the predetermination of events by
their causes is precisely what contributes to morality instead of
destroying it, and the causes incline the will without necessitating it.
For this reason the determination we are concerned with is not a
necessitation. It is certain (to him who knows all) that the effect will
follow this inclination; but this effect does not follow thence by a
consequence which is necessary, that is, whose contrary implies
contradiction; and it is also by such an inward inclination that the will
is determined, without the presence of necessity. Suppose that one has the
greatest possible passion (for example, a great thirst), you will admit
that the soul can find some reason for resisting it, even if it were only
that of displaying its power. Thus though one may never have complete
indifference of equipoise, and there is always a predominance of
inclination for the course adopted, that predominance does not render
absolutely necessary the resolution taken.


Whoever can prevent the sin of others and does not so, but rather
contributes to it, although he be fully apprised of it, is accessary

God can prevent the sin of intelligent creatures; but he does not so, and
he rather contributes to it by his co-operation and by the opportunities he
causes, although he is fully cognizant of it.

Therefore, etc.


I deny the major of this syllogism. It may be that one can prevent the sin,
but that one ought not to do so, because one could not do so without
committing a sin oneself, or (when God is concerned) without acting
unreasonably. I have given instances of that, and have applied them to[383]
God himself. It may be also that one contributes to the evil, and that one
even opens the way to it sometimes, in doing things one is bound to do. And
when one does one's duty, or (speaking of God) when, after full
consideration, one does that which reason demands, one is not responsible
for events, even when one foresees them. One does not will these evils; but
one is willing to permit them for a greater good, which one cannot in
reason help preferring to other considerations. This is a _consequent_
will, resulting from acts of _antecedent_ will, in which one wills the
good. I know that some persons, in speaking of the antecedent and
consequent will of God, have meant by the antecedent that which wills that
all men be saved, and by the consequent that which wills, in consequence of
persistent sin, that there be some damned, damnation being a result of sin.
But these are only examples of a more general notion, and one may say with
the same reason, that God wills by his antecedent will that men sin not,
and that by his consequent or final and decretory will (which is always
followed by its effect) he wills to permit that they sin, this permission
being a result of superior reasons. One has indeed justification for
saying, in general, that the antecedent will of God tends towards the
production of good and the prevention of evil, each taken in itself, and as
it were detached (_particulariter et secundum quid_: Thom., I, qu. 19, art.
6) according to the measure of the degree of each good or of each evil.
Likewise one may say that the consequent, or final and total, divine will
tends towards the production of as many goods as can be put together, whose
combination thereby becomes determined, and involves also the permission of
some evils and the exclusion of some goods, as the best possible plan of
the universe demands. Arminius, in his _Antiperkinsus,_ explained very well
that the will of God can be called consequent not only in relation to the
action of the creature considered beforehand in the divine understanding,
but also in relation to other anterior acts of divine will. But it is
enough to consider the passage cited from Thomas Aquinas, and that from
Scotus (I, dist. 46, qu. 11), to see that they make this distinction as I
have made it here. Nevertheless if anyone will not suffer this use of the
terms, let him put 'previous' in place of 'antecedent' will, and 'final' or
'decretory' in place of 'consequent' will. For I do not wish to wrangle
about words.


Whoever produces all that is real in a thing is its cause.

God produces all that is real in sin.

Therefore God is the cause of sin.


I might content myself with denying the major or the minor, because the
term 'real' admits of interpretations capable of rendering these
propositions false. But in order to give a better explanation I will make a
distinction. 'Real' either signifies that which is positive only, or else
it includes also privative beings: in the first case, I deny the major and
I admit the minor; in the second case, I do the opposite. I might have
confined myself to that; but I was willing to go further, in order to
account for this distinction. I have therefore been well pleased to point
out that every purely positive or absolute reality is a perfection, and
that every imperfection comes from limitation, that is, from the privative:
for to limit is to withhold extension, or the more beyond. Now God is the
cause of all perfections, and consequently of all realities, when they are
regarded as purely positive. But limitations or privations result from the
original imperfection of creatures which restricts their receptivity. It is
as with a laden boat, which the river carries along more slowly or less
slowly in proportion to the weight that it bears: thus the speed comes from
the river, but the retardation which restricts this speed comes from the
load. Also I have shown in the present work how the creature, in causing
sin, is a deficient cause; how errors and evil inclinations spring from
privation; and how privation is efficacious accidentally. And I have
justified the opinion of St. Augustine (lib. I, _Ad. Simpl._, qu. 2) who
explains (for example) how God hardens the soul, not in giving it something
evil, but because the effect of the good he imprints is restricted by the
resistance of the soul, and by the circumstances contributing to this
resistance, so that he does not give it all the good that would overcome
its evil. 'Nec _(inquit)_ ab illo erogatur aliquid quo homo fit deterior,
sed tantum quo fit melior non erogatur.' But if God had willed to do more
here he must needs have produced either fresh natures in his creatures or
fresh miracles to change their natures, and this the best plan did not
allow. It is just as if the current of the river must needs be more rapid
than its slope permits or the boats themselves be less laden, if they [385]
had to be impelled at a greater speed. So the limitation or original
imperfection of creatures brings it about that even the best plan of the
universe cannot admit more good, and cannot be exempted from certain evils,
these, however, being only of such a kind as may tend towards a greater
good. There are some disorders in the parts which wonderfully enhance the
beauty of the whole, just as certain dissonances, appropriately used,
render harmony more beautiful. But that depends upon the answer which I
have already given to the first objection.


Whoever punishes those who have done as well as it was in their power to do
is unjust.

God does so.

Therefore, etc.


I deny the minor of this argument. And I believe that God always gives
sufficient aid and grace to those who have good will, that is to say, who
do not reject this grace by a fresh sin. Thus I do not admit the damnation
of children dying unbaptized or outside the Church, or the damnation of
adult persons who have acted according to the light that God has given
them. And I believe that, _if anyone has followed the light he had_, he
will undoubtedly receive thereof in greater measure as he has need, even as
the late Herr Hulsemann, who was celebrated as a profound theologian at
Leipzig, has somewhere observed; and if such a man had failed to receive
light during his life, he would receive it at least in the hour of death.


Whoever gives only to some, and not to all, the means of producing
effectively in them good will and final saving faith has not enough

God does so.

Therefore, etc.


I deny the major. It is true that God could overcome the greatest
resistance of the human heart, and indeed he sometimes does so,       [386]
whether by an inward grace or by the outward circumstances that can greatly
influence souls; but he does not always do so. Whence comes this
distinction, someone will say, and wherefore does his goodness appear to be
restricted? The truth is that it would not have been in order always to act
in an extraordinary way and to derange the connexion of things, as I have
observed already in answering the first objection. The reasons for this
connexion, whereby the one is placed in more favourable circumstances than
the other, are hidden in the depths of God's wisdom: they depend upon the
universal harmony. The best plan of the universe, which God could not fail
to choose, required this. One concludes thus from the event itself; since
God made the universe, it was not possible to do better. Such management,
far from being contrary to goodness, has rather been prompted by supreme
goodness itself. This objection with its solution might have been inferred
from what was said with regard to the first objection; but it seemed
advisable to touch upon it separately.


Whoever cannot fail to choose the best is not free.

God cannot fail to choose the best.

Therefore God is not free.


I deny the major of this argument. Rather is it true freedom, and the most
perfect, to be able to make the best use of one's free will, and always to
exercise this power, without being turned aside either by outward force or
by inward passions, whereof the one enslaves our bodies and the other our
souls. There is nothing less servile and more befitting the highest degree
of freedom than to be always led towards the good, and always by one's own
inclination, without any constraint and without any displeasure. And to
object that God therefore had need of external things is only a sophism. He
creates them freely: but when he had set before him an end, that of
exercising his goodness, his wisdom determined him to choose the means most
appropriate for obtaining this end. To call that a _need_ is to take the
term in a sense not usual, which clears it of all imperfection, somewhat as
one does when speaking of the wrath of God.

Seneca says somewhere, that God commanded only once, but that he obeys[387]
always, because he obeys the laws that he willed to ordain for himself:
_semel jussit, semper paret_. But he had better have said, that God always
commands and that he is always obeyed: for in willing he always follows the
tendency of his own nature, and all other things always follow his will.
And as this will is always the same one cannot say that he obeys that will
only which he formerly had. Nevertheless, although his will is always
indefectible and always tends towards the best, the evil or the lesser good
which he rejects will still be possible in itself. Otherwise the necessity
of good would be geometrical (so to speak) or metaphysical, and altogether
absolute; the contingency of things would be destroyed, and there would be
no choice. But necessity of this kind, which does not destroy the
possibility of the contrary, has the name by analogy only: it becomes
effective not through the mere essence of things, but through that which is
outside them and above them, that is, through the will of God. This
necessity is called moral, because for the wise what is necessary and what
is owing are equivalent things; and when it is always followed by its
effect, as it indeed is in the perfectly wise, that is, in God, one can say
that it is a happy necessity. The more nearly creatures approach this, the
closer do they come to perfect felicity. Moreover, necessity of this kind
is not the necessity one endeavours to avoid, and which destroys morality,
reward and commendation. For that which it brings to pass does not happen
whatever one may do and whatever one may will, but because one desires it.
A will to which it is natural to choose well deserves most to be commended;
and it carries with it its own reward, which is supreme happiness. And as
this constitution of the divine nature gives an entire satisfaction to him
who possesses it, it is also the best and the most desirable from the point
of view of the creatures who are all dependent upon God. If the will of God
had not as its rule the principle of the best, it would tend towards evil,
which would be worst of all; or else it would be indifferent somehow to
good and to evil, and guided by chance. But a will that would always drift
along at random would scarcely be any better for the government of the
universe than the fortuitous concourse of corpuscles, without the existence
of divinity. And even though God should abandon himself to chance only in
some cases, and in a certain way (as he would if he did not always tend
entirely towards the best, and if he were capable of preferring a lesser
good to a greater good, that is, an evil to a good, since that which  [388]
prevents a greater good is an evil) he would be no less imperfect than the
object of his choice. Then he would not deserve absolute trust; he would
act without reason in such a case, and the government of the universe would
be like certain games equally divided between reason and luck. This all
proves that this objection which is made against the choice of the best
perverts the notions of free and necessary, and represents the best to us
actually as evil: but that is either malicious or absurd.

       *       *       *       *       *



published by the author in Mémoires de Trévoux

July 1712

       *       *       *       *       *

_February_ 1712

I said in my essays, 392, that I wished to see the demonstrations mentioned
by M. Bayle and contained in the sixth letter printed at Trévoux in 1703.
Father des Bosses has shown me this letter, in which the writer essays to
demonstrate by the geometrical method that God is the sole true cause of
all that is real. My perusal of it has confirmed me in the opinion which I
indicated in the same passage, namely, that this proposition can be true in
a very good sense, God being the only cause of pure and absolute realities,
or perfections; but when one includes limitations or privations under the
name of realities one can say that second causes co-operate in the
production of what is limited, and that otherwise God would be the cause of
sin, and even its sole cause. And I am somewhat inclined to think that the
gifted author of the letter does not greatly differ in opinion from me,
although he seems to include all modalities among the realities of which he
declares God to be the sole cause. For in actual fact I think he will not
admit that God is the cause and the author of sin. Indeed, he explains
himself in a manner which seems to overthrow his thesis and to grant real
action to creatures. For in the proof of the eighth corollary of his second
proposition these words occur: 'The natural motion of the soul, although
determinate in itself, is indeterminate in respect of its objects. For it
is love of good in general. It is through the ideas of good appearing [390]
in individual objects that this motion becomes individual and determinate
in relation to those objects. And thus as the mind has the power of varying
its own ideas it can also change the determinations of its love. And for
that purpose it is not necessary that it overcome the power of God or
oppose his action. These determinations of motion towards individual
objects are not invincible. It is this noninvincibility which causes the
mind to be free and capable of changing them; but after all the mind makes
these changes only through the motion which God gives to it and conserves
for it.' In my own style I would have said that the perfection which is in
the action of the creature comes from God, but that the limitations to be
found there are a consequence of the original limitation and the preceding
limitations that occurred in the creature. Further, this is so not only in
minds but also in all other substances, which thereby are causes
co-operating in the change which comes to pass in themselves; for this
determination of which the author speaks is nothing but a limitation.

Now if after that one reviews all the demonstrations or corollaries of the
letter, one will be able to admit or reject the majority of its assertions,
in accordance with the interpretation one may make of them. If by 'reality'
one means only perfections or positive realities, God is the only true
cause; but if that which involves limitations is included under the
realities, one will deny a considerable portion of the theses, and the
author himself will have shown us the example. It is in order to render the
matter more comprehensible that I used in the Essays the example of a laden
boat, which, the more laden it is, is the more slowly carried along by the
stream. There one sees clearly that the stream is the cause of what is
positive in this motion, of the perfection, the force, the speed of the
boat, but that the load is the cause of the restriction of this force, and
that it brings about the retardation.

It is praiseworthy in anyone to attempt to apply the geometrical method to
metaphysical matters. But it must be admitted that hitherto success has
seldom been attained: and M. Descartes himself, with all that very great
skill which one cannot deny in him, never perhaps had less success than
when he essayed to do this in one of his answers to objections. For in
mathematics it is easier to succeed, because numbers, figures and
calculations make good the defects concealed in words; but in metaphysics,
where one is deprived of this aid (at least in ordinary               [391]
argumentation), the strictness employed in the form of the argument and in
the exact definitions of the terms must needs supply this lack. But in
neither argument nor definition is that strictness here to be seen.

The author of the letter, who undoubtedly displays much ardour and
penetration, sometimes goes a little too far, as when he claims to prove
that there is as much reality and force in rest as in motion, according to
the fifth corollary of the second proposition. He asserts that the will of
God is no less positive in rest than in motion, and that it is not less
invincible. Be it so, but does it follow that there is as much reality and
force in each of the two? I do not see this conclusion, and with the same
argument one would prove that there is as much force in a strong motion as
in a weak motion. God in willing rest wills that the body be at the place
A, where it was immediately before, and for that it suffices that there be
no reason to prompt God to the change. But when God wills that afterwards
the body be at the place B, there must needs be a new reason, of such a
kind as to determine God to will that it be in B and not in C or in any
other place, and that it be there more or less promptly. It is upon these
reasons, the volitions of God, that we must assess the force and the
reality existent in things. The author speaks much of the will of God, but
he does not speak much in this letter of the reasons which prompt God to
will, and upon which all depends. And these reasons are taken from the

I observe first, indeed, with regard to the second corollary of the first
proposition, that it is very true, but that it is not very well proven. The
writer affirms that if God only ceased to will the existence of a being,
that being would no longer exist; and here is the proof given word for

'Demonstration. That which exists only by the will of God no longer exists
once that will has ceased.' (But that is what must be proved. The writer
endeavours to prove it by adding:) 'Remove the cause, you remove the
effect.' (This maxim ought to have been placed among the axioms which are
stated at the beginning. But unhappily this axiom may be reckoned among
those rules of philosophy which are subject to many exceptions.) 'Now by
the preceding proposition and by its first corollary no being exists save
by the will of God. Therefore, etc.' There is ambiguity in this expression,
that nothing exists save by the will of God. If one means that things [392]
begin to exist only through this will, one is justified in referring to the
preceding propositions; but if one means that the existence of things is at
all times a consequence of the will of God, one assumes more or less what
is in question. Therefore it was necessary to prove first that the
existence of things depends upon the will of God, and that it is not only a
mere effect of that will, but a dependence, in proportion to the perfection
which things contain; and once that is assumed, they will depend upon God's
will no less afterwards than at the beginning. That is the way I have taken
the matter in my Essays.

Nevertheless I recognize that the letter upon which I have just made
observations is admirable and well deserving of perusal, and that it
contains noble and true sentiments, provided it be taken in the sense I
have just indicated. And arguments in this form may serve as an
introduction to meditations somewhat more advanced.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

1. As the question of Necessity and Freedom, with other questions depending
thereon, was at one time debated between the famous Mr. Hobbes and Dr. John
Bramhall, Bishop of Derry, in books published by each of them, I have
deemed it appropriate to give a clear account of them (although I have
already mentioned them more than once); and this all the more since these
writings of Mr. Hobbes have hitherto only appeared in English, and since
the works of this author usually contain something good and ingenious. The
Bishop of Derry and Mr. Hobbes, having met in Paris at the house of the
Marquis, afterwards Duke, of Newcastle in the year 1646, entered into a
discussion on this subject. The dispute was conducted with extreme
restraint; but the bishop shortly afterwards sent a note to My Lord
Newcastle, desiring him to induce Mr. Hobbes to answer it. He answered; but
at the same time he expressed a wish that his answer should not be
published, because he believed it possible for ill-instructed persons to
abuse dogmas such as his, however true they might be. It so happened,
however, that Mr. Hobbes himself passed it to a French friend, and allowed
a young Englishman to translate it into French for the benefit of this
friend. This young man kept a copy of the English original, and published
it later in England without the author's knowledge. Thus the bishop was
obliged to reply to it, and Mr. Hobbes to make a rejoinder, and to    [394]
publish all the pieces together in a book of 348 pages printed in London in
the year 1656, in 4to., entitled, _Questions concerning Freedom, Necessity
and Chance, elucidated and discussed between Doctor Bramhall, Bishop of
Derry, and Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury_. There is a later edition, of the
year 1684, in a work entitled _Hobbes's Tripos_, where are to be found his
book on human nature, his treatise on the body politic and his treatise on
freedom and necessity; but the latter does not contain the bishop's reply,
nor the author's rejoinder. Mr. Hobbes argues on this subject with his
usual wit and subtlety; but it is a pity that in both the one and the other
we stumble upon petty tricks, such as arise in excitement over the game.
The bishop speaks with much vehemence and behaves somewhat arrogantly. Mr.
Hobbes for his part is not disposed to spare the other, and manifests
rather too much scorn for theology, and for the terminology of the
Schoolmen, which is apparently favoured by the bishop.

2. One must confess that there is something strange and indefensible in the
opinions of Mr. Hobbes. He maintains that doctrines touching the divinity
depend entirely upon the determination of the sovereign, and that God is no
more the cause of the good than of the bad actions of creatures. He
maintains that all that which God does is just, because there is none above
him with power to punish and constrain him. Yet he speaks sometimes as if
what is said about God were only compliments, that is to say expressions
proper for paying him honour, but not for knowing him. He testifies also
that it seems to him that the pains of the wicked must end in their
destruction: this opinion closely approaches that of the Socinians, but it
seems that Mr. Hobbes goes much further. His philosophy, which asserts that
bodies alone are substances, hardly appears favourable to the providence of
God and the immortality of the soul. On other subjects nevertheless he says
very reasonable things. He shows clearly that nothing comes about by
chance, or rather that chance only signifies the ignorance of causes that
produce the effect, and that for each effect there must be a concurrence of
all the sufficient conditions anterior to the event, not one of which,
manifestly, can be lacking when the event is to follow, because they are
conditions: the event, moreover, does not fail to follow when these
conditions exist all together, because they are sufficient conditions. All
which amounts to the same as I have said so many times, that everything
comes to pass as a result of determining reasons, the knowledge       [395]
whereof, if we had it, would make us know at the same time why the thing
has happened and why it did not go otherwise.

3. But this author's humour, which prompts him to paradoxes and makes him
seek to contradict others, has made him draw out exaggerated and odious
conclusions and expressions, as if everything happened through an absolute
necessity. The Bishop of Derry, on the other hand, has aptly observed in
the answer to article 35, page 327, that there results only a hypothetical
necessity, such as we all grant to events in relation to the foreknowledge
of God, while Mr. Hobbes maintains that even divine foreknowledge alone
would be sufficient to establish an absolute necessity of events. This was
also the opinion of Wyclif, and even of Luther, when he wrote _De Servo
Arbitrio_; or at least they spoke so. But it is sufficiently acknowledged
to-day that this kind of necessity which is termed hypothetical, and
springs from foreknowledge or from other anterior reasons, has nothing in
it to arouse one's alarm: whereas it would be quite otherwise if the thing
were necessary of itself, in such a way that the contrary implied
contradiction. Mr. Hobbes refuses to listen to anything about a moral
necessity either, on the ground that everything really happens through
physical causes. But one is nevertheless justified in making a great
difference between the necessity which constrains the wise to do good, and
which is termed moral, existing even in relation to God, and that blind
necessity whereby according to Epicurus, Strato, Spinoza, and perhaps Mr.
Hobbes, things exist without intelligence and without choice, and
consequently without God. Indeed, there would according to them be no need
of God, since in consequence of this necessity all would have existence
through its own essence, just as necessarily as two and three make five.
And this necessity is absolute, because everything it carries with it must
happen, whatever one may do; whereas what happens by a hypothetical
necessity happens as a result of the supposition that this or that has been
foreseen or resolved, or done beforehand; and moral necessity contains an
obligation imposed by reason, which is always followed by its effect in the
wise. This kind of necessity is happy and desirable, when one is prompted
by good reasons to act as one does; but necessity blind and absolute would
subvert piety and morality.

4. There is more reason in Mr. Hobbes's discourse when he admits that [396]
our actions are in our power, so that we do that which we will when we have
the power to do it, and when there is no hindrance. He asserts
notwithstanding that our volitions themselves are not so within our power
that we can give ourselves, without difficulty and according to our good
pleasure, inclinations and wills which we might desire. The bishop does not
appear to have taken notice of this reflexion, which Mr. Hobbes also does
not develop enough. The truth is that we have some power also over our
volitions, but obliquely, and not absolutely and indifferently. This has
been explained in some passages of this work. Finally Mr. Hobbes shows,
like others before him, that the certainty of events, and necessity itself,
if there were any in the way our actions depend upon causes, would not
prevent us from employing deliberations, exhortations, blame and praise,
punishments and rewards: for these are of service and prompt men to produce
actions or to refrain from them. Thus, if human actions were necessary,
they would be so through these means. But the truth is, that since these
actions are not necessary absolutely whatever one may do, these means
contribute only to render the actions determinate and certain, as they are
indeed; for their nature shows that they are not subject to an absolute
necessity. He gives also a good enough notion of _freedom_, in so far as it
is taken in a general sense, common to intelligent and non-intelligent
substances: he states that a thing is deemed free when the power which it
has is not impeded by an external thing. Thus the water that is dammed by a
dyke has the power to spread, but not the freedom. On the other hand, it
has not the power to rise above the dyke, although nothing would prevent it
then from spreading, and although nothing from outside prevents it from
rising so high. To that end it would be necessary that the water itself
should come from a higher point or that the water-level should be raised by
an increased flow. Thus a prisoner lacks the freedom, while a sick man
lacks the power, to go his way.

5. There is in Mr. Hobbes's preface an abstract of the disputed points,
which I will give here, adding some expression of opinion. _On one side_
(he says) the assertion is made, (1) 'that it is not in the present power
of man to choose for himself the will that he should have'. That is _well_
said, especially in relation to present will: men choose the objects
through will, but they do not choose their present wills, which spring from
reasons and dispositions. It is true, however, that one can seek new  [397]
reasons for oneself, and with time give oneself new dispositions; and by
this means one can also obtain for oneself a will which one had not and
could not have given oneself forthwith. It is (to use the comparison Mr.
Hobbes himself uses) as with hunger or with thirst. At the present it does
not rest with my will to be hungry or not; but it rests with my will to eat
or not to eat; yet, for the time to come, it rests with me to be hungry, or
to prevent myself from being so at such and such an hour of day, by eating
beforehand. In this way it is possible often to avoid an evil will. Even
though Mr. Hobbes states in his reply (No. 14, p. 138) that it is the
manner of laws to say, you must do or you must not do this, but that there
is no law saying, you must will, or you must not will it, yet it is clear
that he is mistaken in regard to the Law of God, which says _non
concupisces_, thou shalt not covet; it is true that this prohibition does
not concern the first motions, which are involuntary. It is asserted (2)
'That hazard' (_chance_ in English, _casus_ in Latin) 'produces nothing',
that is, that nothing is produced without cause or reason. Very _right_, I
admit it, if one thereby intends a real hazard. For fortune and hazard are
only appearances, which spring from ignorance of causes or from disregard
of them. (3) 'That all events have their necessary causes.' _Wrong_: they
have their determining causes, whereby one can account for them; but these
are not necessary causes. The contrary might have happened, without
implying contradiction. (4) 'That the will of God makes the necessity of
all things.' _Wrong_: the will of God produces only contingent things,
which could have gone differently, since time, space and matter are
indifferent with regard to all kinds of shape and movement.

6. _On the other side_ (according to Mr. Hobbes) it is asserted, (1) 'That
man is free' (absolutely) not only 'to choose what he wills to do, but also
to choose what he wills to will.' That is _ill_ said: one is not absolute
master of one's will, to change it forthwith, without making use of some
means or skill for that purpose. (2) 'When man wills a good action, the
will of God co-operates with his, otherwise not.' That is _well_ said,
provided one means that God does not will evil actions, although he wills
to permit them, to prevent the occurrence of something which would be worse
than these sins. (3) 'That the will can choose whether it wills to will or
not.' _Wrong_, with regard to present volition. (4) 'That things happen
without necessity by chance.' _Wrong_: what happens without necessity [398]
does not because of that happen by chance, that is to say, without causes
and reasons. (5) 'Notwithstanding that God may foresee that an event will
happen, it is not necessary that it happen, since God foresees things, not
as futurities and as in their causes, but as present.' That begins _well_,
and finishes _ill_. One is justified in admitting the necessity of the
consequence, but one has no reason to resort to the question how the future
is present to God: for the necessity of the consequence does not prevent
the event or consequent from being contingent in itself.

7. Our author thinks that since the doctrine revived by Arminius had been
favoured in England by Archbishop Laud and by the Court, and important
ecclesiastical promotions had been only for those of that party, this
contributed to the revolt which caused the bishop and him to meet in their
exile in Paris at the house of Lord Newcastle, and to enter into a
discussion. I would not approve all the measures of Archbishop Laud, who
had merit and perhaps also good will, but who appears to have goaded the
Presbyterians excessively. Nevertheless one may say that the revolutions,
as much in the Low Countries as in Great Britain, in part arose from the
extreme intolerance of the strict party. One may say also that the
defenders of the absolute decree were at least as strict as the others,
having oppressed their opponents in Holland with the authority of Prince
Maurice and having fomented the revolts in England against King Charles I.
But these are the faults of men, and not of dogmas. Their opponents do not
spare them either, witness the severity used in Saxony against Nicolas
Krell and the proceedings of the Jesuits against the Bishop of Ypres's

8. Mr. Hobbes observes, after Aristotle, that there are two sources for
proofs: reason and authority. As for reason, he says that he admits the
reasons derived from the attributes of God, which he calls argumentative,
and the notions whereof are conceivable; but he maintains that there are
others wherein one conceives nothing, and which are only expressions by
which we aspire to honour God. But I do not see how one can honour God by
expressions that have no meaning. It may be that with Mr. Hobbes, as with
Spinoza, wisdom, goodness, justice are only fictions in relation to God and
the universe, since the prime cause, according to them, acts through the
necessity of its power, and not by the choice of its wisdom. That is  [399]
an opinion whose falsity I have sufficiently proved. It appears that Mr.
Hobbes did not wish to declare himself enough, for fear of causing offence
to people; on which point he is to be commended. It was also on that
account, as he says himself, that he had desired that what had passed
between the bishop and him in Paris should not be published. He adds that
it is not good to say that an action which God does not will happens, since
that is to say in effect that God is lacking in power. But he adds also at
the same time that it is not good either to say the opposite, and to
attribute to God that he wills the evil; because that is not seemly, and
would appear to accuse God of lack of goodness. He believes, therefore,
that in these matters telling the truth is not advisable. He would be right
if the truth were in the paradoxical opinions that he maintains. For indeed
it appears that according to the opinion of this writer God has no
goodness, or rather that that which he calls God is nothing but the blind
nature of the mass of material things, which acts according to mathematical
laws, following an absolute necessity, as the atoms do in the system of
Epicurus. If God were as the great are sometimes here on earth, it would
not be fitting to utter all the truths concerning him. But God is not as a
man, whose designs and actions often must be concealed; rather it is always
permissible and reasonable to publish the counsels and the actions of God,
because they are always glorious and worthy of praise. Thus it is always
right to utter truths concerning the divinity; one need not anyhow refrain
from fear of giving offence. And I have explained, so it seems to me, in a
way which satisfies reason, and does not wound piety, how it is to be
understood that God's will takes effect, and concurs with sin, without
compromising his wisdom and his goodness.

9. As to the authorities derived from Holy Scripture, Mr. Hobbes divides
them into three kinds; some, he says, are for me, the second kind are
neutral, and the third seem to be for my opponent. The passages which he
thinks favourable to his opinion are those which ascribe to God the cause
of our will. Thus Gen. xlv. 5, where Joseph says to his brethren, 'Be not
grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that you sold me hither: for God did
send me before you to preserve life'; and verse 8, 'it was not you that
sent me hither, but God.' And God said (Exod. vii. 3), 'I will harden
Pharaoh's heart.' And Moses said (Deut. ii. 30), 'But Sihon King of   [400]
Heshbon would not let us pass by him: for the Lord thy God hardened his
spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into thy
hand.' And David said of Shimei (2 Sam. xvi. 10), 'Let him curse, because
the Lord hath said unto him: Curse David. Who shall then say, wherefore
hast thou done so?' And (1 Kings xii. 15), 'The King [Rehoboam] hearkened
not unto the people; for the cause was from the Lord.' Job xii. 16: 'The
deceived and the deceiver are his.' v. 17: 'He maketh the judges fools'; v.
24: 'He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth, and
causeth them to wander in a wilderness'; v. 25: 'He maketh them to stagger
like a drunken man.' God said of the King of Assyria (Isa. x. 6), 'Against
the people will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the
prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.' And Jeremiah
said (Jer. x. 23), 'O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself:
it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.' And God said (Ezek.
iii. 20), 'When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and
commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling-block before him, he shall die.' And
the Saviour said (John vi. 44), 'No man can come to me, except the Father
which hath sent me draw him.' And St. Peter (Acts ii. 23), 'Jesus having
been delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have
taken.' And Acts iv. 27, 28, 'Both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the
Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do
whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.' And St.
Paul (Rom. ix. 16), 'It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that
runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.' And v. 18: 'Therefore hath he
mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth'; v. 19:
'Thou wilt say then unto me, why doth he yet find fault? For who hath
resisted his will?'; v. 20: 'Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest
against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, why hast
thou made me thus?' And 1 Cor. iv. 7: 'For who maketh thee to differ from
another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive?' And 1 Cor. xii.
6: 'There are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which
worketh all in all.' And Eph. ii. 10: 'We are his workmanship, created in
Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should
walk in them.' And Phil. ii. 13: 'It is God which worketh in you both to
will and to do of his good pleasure.' One may add to these passages all
those which make God the author of all grace and of all good          [401]
inclinations, and all those which say that we are as dead in sin.

10. Here now are the neutral passages, according to Mr. Hobbes. These are
those where Holy Scripture says that man has the choice to act if he wills,
or not to act if he wills not. For example Deut. xxx. 19: 'I call heaven
and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life
and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and
thy seed may live.' And Joshua xxiv. 15: 'Choose you this day whom ye will
serve.' And God said to Gad the prophet (2 Sam. xxiv. 12), 'Go and say unto
David: Thus saith the Lord, I offer thee three things; choose thee one of
them, that I may do it unto thee.' And Isa. vii. 16: 'Until the child shall
know to refuse the evil and choose the good.' Finally the passages which
Mr. Hobbes acknowledges to be apparently contrary to his opinion are all
those where it is indicated that the will of man is not in conformity with
that of God. Thus Isa. v. 4: 'What could have been done more to my
vineyard, that I have not done in it? Wherefore, when I looked that it
should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?' And Jer. xix. 5:
'They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire
for burnt offerings unto Baal; which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither
came it into my mind.' And Hos. xiii. 9: 'O Israel, thou hast destroyed
thyself; but in me is thine help.' And I Tim. ii. 4: 'God will have all men
to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.' He avows that he
could quote very many other passages, such as those which indicate that God
willeth not iniquity, that he willeth the salvation of the sinner, and
generally all those which declare that God commands good and forbids evil.

11. Mr. Hobbes makes answer to these passages that God does not always will
that which he commands, as for example when he commanded Abraham to
sacrifice his son, and that God's revealed will is not always his full will
or his decree, as when he revealed to Jonah that Nineveh would perish in
forty days. He adds also, that when it is said that God wills the salvation
of all, that means simply that God commands that all do that which is
necessary for salvation; when, moreover, the Scripture says that God wills
not sin, that means that he wills to punish it. And as for the rest, Mr.
Hobbes ascribes it to the forms of expression used among men. But one will
answer him that it would be to God's discredit that his revealed will [402]
should be opposed to his real will: that what he bade Jonah say to the
Ninevites was rather a threat than a prediction, and that thus the
condition of impenitence was implied therein; moreover the Ninevites took
it in this sense. One will say also, that it is quite true that God in
commanding Abraham to sacrifice his son willed obedience, but did not will
action, which he prevented after having obtained obedience; for that was
not an action deserving in itself to be willed. And it is not the same in
the case of actions where he exerts his will positively, and which are in
fact worthy to be the object of his will. Of such are piety, charity and
every virtuous action that God commands; of such is omission of sin, a
thing more alien to divine perfection than any other. It is therefore
incomparably better to explain the will of God as I have explained it in
this work. Thus I shall say that God, by virtue of his supreme goodness,
has in the beginning a serious inclination to produce, or to see and cause
to be produced, all good and every laudable action, and to prevent, or to
see and cause to fail, all evil and every bad action. But he is determined
by this same goodness, united to an infinite wisdom, and by the very
concourse of all the previous and particular inclinations towards each
good, and towards the preventing of each evil, to produce the best possible
design of things. This is his final and decretory will. And this design of
the best being of such a nature that the good must be enhanced therein, as
light is enhanced by shade, by some evil which is incomparably less than
this good, God could not have excluded this evil, nor introduced certain
goods that were excluded from this plan, without wronging his supreme
perfection. So for that reason one must say that he permitted the sins of
others, because otherwise he would have himself performed an action worse
than all the sin of creatures.

12. I find that the Bishop of Derry is at least justified in saying,
article XV, in his Reply, p. 153, that the opinion of his opponents is
contrary to piety, when they ascribe all to God's power only, and that Mr.
Hobbes ought not to have said that honour or worship is only a sign of the
power of him whom one honours: for one may also, and one must, acknowledge
and honour wisdom, goodness, justice and other perfections. _Magnos facile
laudamus, bonos libenter._ This opinion, which despoils God of all goodness
and of all true justice, which represents him as a Tyrant, wielding an
absolute power, independent of all right and of all equity, and       [403]
creating millions of creatures to be eternally unhappy, and this without
any other aim than that of displaying his power, this opinion, I say, is
capable of rendering men very evil; and if it were accepted no other Devil
would be needed in the world to set men at variance among themselves and
with God; as the Serpent did in making Eve believe that God, when he
forbade her the fruit of the tree, did not will her good. Mr. Hobbes
endeavours to parry this thrust in his Rejoinder (p. 160) by saying that
goodness is a part of the power of God, that is to say, the power of making
himself worthy of love. But that is an abuse of terms by an evasion, and
confounds things that must be kept distinct. After all, if God does not
intend the good of intelligent creatures, if he has no other principles of
justice than his power alone, which makes him produce either arbitrarily
that which chance presents to him, or by necessity all that which is
possible, without the intervention of choice founded on good, how can he
make himself worthy of love? It is therefore the doctrine either of blind
power or of arbitrary power, which destroys piety: for the one destroys the
intelligent principle or the providence of God, the other attributes to him
actions which are appropriate to the evil principle. Justice in God, says
Mr. Hobbes (p. 161), is nothing but the power he has, which he exercises in
distributing blessings and afflictions. This definition surprises me: it is
not the power to distribute them, but the will to distribute them
reasonably, that is, goodness guided by wisdom, which makes the justice of
God. But, says he, justice is not in God as in a man, who is only just
through the observance of laws made by his superior. Mr. Hobbes is mistaken
also in that, as well as Herr Pufendorf, who followed him. Justice does not
depend upon arbitrary laws of superiors, but on the eternal rules of wisdom
and of goodness, in men as well as in God. Mr. Hobbes asserts in the same
passage that the wisdom which is attributed to God does not lie in a
logical consideration of the relation of means to ends, but in an
incomprehensible attribute, attributed to an incomprehensible nature to
honour it. It seems as if he means that it is an indescribable something
attributed to an indescribable something, and even a chimerical quality
given to a chimerical substance, to intimidate and to deceive the nations
through the worship which they render to it. After all, it is difficult for
Mr. Hobbes to have a different opinion of God and of wisdom, since he
admits only material substances. If Mr. Hobbes were still alive, I would
beware of ascribing to him opinions which might do him injury; but it [404]
is difficult to exempt him from this. He may have changed his mind
subsequently, for he attained to a great age; thus I hope that his errors
may not have been deleterious to him. But as they might be so to others, it
is expedient to give warnings to those who shall read the writings of one
who otherwise is of great merit, and from whom one may profit in many ways.
It is true that God does not reason, properly speaking, using time as we
do, to pass from one truth to the other: but as he understands at one and
the same time all the truths and all their connexions, he knows all the
conclusions, and he contains in the highest degree within himself all the
reasonings that we can develop. And just because of that his wisdom is

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

1. It is a pity that M. Bayle should have seen only the reviews of this
admirable work, which are to be found in the journals. If he had read it
himself and examined it properly, he would have provided us with a good
opportunity of throwing light on many difficulties, which spring again and
again like the head of the hydra, in a matter where it is easy to become
confused when one has not seen the whole system or does not take the
trouble to reason according to a strict plan. For strictness of reasoning
performs in subjects that transcend imagination the same function as
figures do in geometry: there must always be something capable of fixing
our attention and forming a connexion between our thoughts. That is why
when this Latin book, so learned and so elegant of style, printed
originally in London and then reprinted in Bremen, fell into my hands, I
judged that the seriousness of the matter and the author's merit required
an attention which readers might fairly expect of me, since we are agreed
only in regard to half of the subject. Indeed, as the work contains five
chapters, and the fifth with the appendix equals the rest in size, I have
observed that the first four, where it is a question of evil in general and
of physical evil in particular, are in harmony with my principles (save for
a few individual passages), and that they sometimes even develop with force
and eloquence some points I had treated but slightly because M. Bayle [406]
had not placed emphasis upon them. But the fifth chapter, with its sections
(of which some are equal to entire chapters) speaking of freedom and of the
moral evil dependent upon it, is constructed upon principles opposed to
mine, and often, indeed, to those of M. Bayle; that is, if it were possible
to credit him with any fixed principles. For this fifth chapter tends to
show (if that were possible) that true freedom depends upon an indifference
of equipoise, vague, complete and absolute; so that, until the will has
determined itself, there would be no reason for its determination, either
in him who chooses or in the object; and one would not choose what pleases,
but in choosing without reason one would cause what one chooses to be

2. This principle of choice without cause or reason, of a choice, I say,
divested of the aim of wisdom and goodness, is regarded by many as the
great privilege of God and of intelligent substances, and as the source of
their freedom, their satisfaction, their morality and their good or evil.
The fantasy of a power to declare one's independence, not only of
inclination, but of reason itself within and of good and evil without, is
sometimes painted in such fine colours that one might take it to be the
most excellent thing in the world. Nevertheless it is only a hollow
fantasy, a suppression of the reasons for the caprice of which one boasts.
What is asserted is impossible, but if it came to pass it would be harmful.
This fantastic character might be attributed to some Don Juan in a St.
Peter's Feast, and a man of romantic disposition might even affect the
outward appearances of it and persuade himself that he has it in reality.
But in Nature there will never be any choice to which one is not prompted
by the previous representation of good or evil, by inclinations or by
reasons: and I have always challenged the supporters of this absolute
indifference to show an example thereof. Nevertheless if I call fantastic
this choice whereto one is determined by nothing, I am far from calling
visionaries the supporters of that hypothesis, especially our gifted
author. The Peripatetics teach some beliefs of this nature; but it would be
the greatest injustice in the world to be ready to despise on that account
an Occam, a Suisset, a Cesalpino, a Conringius, men who still advocated
certain scholastic opinions which have been improved upon to-day.

3. One of these opinions, revived, however, and introduced by         [407]
degenerate scholasticism, and in the Age of Chimeras, is vague indifference
of choice, or real chance, assumed in our souls; as if nothing gave us any
inclination unless we perceived it distinctly, and as if an effect could be
without causes, when these causes are imperceptible. It is much as some
have denied the existence of insensible corpuscles because they do not see
them. Modern philosophers have improved upon the opinions of the Schoolmen
by showing that, according to the laws of corporeal nature, a body can only
be set in motion by the movement of another body propelling it. Even so we
must believe that our souls (by virtue of the laws of spiritual nature) can
only be moved by some reason of good or evil: and this even when no
distinct knowledge can be extracted from our mental state, on account of a
concourse of innumerable little perceptions which make us now joyful and
now sad, or again of some other humour, and cause us to like one thing more
than another without its being possible to say why. Plato, Aristotle and
even Thomas Aquinas, Durand and other Schoolmen of the sounder sort reason
on that question like the generality of men, and as unprejudiced people
always have reasoned. They assume that freedom lies in the use of reason
and the inclinations, which cause the choice or rejection of objects. But
finally some rather too subtle philosophers have extracted from their
alembic an inexplicable notion of choice independent of anything
whatsoever, which is said to do wonders in solving all difficulties. But
the notion is caught up at the outset in one of the greatest difficulties,
by offending against the grand principle of reasoning which makes us always
assume that nothing is done without some sufficient cause or reason. As the
Schoolmen often forgot to apply this great principle, admitting certain
prime occult qualities, one need not wonder if this fiction of vague
indifference met with applause amongst them, and if even most worthy men
have been imbued therewith. Our author, who is otherwise rid of many of the
errors of the ordinary Schoolmen, is still deluded by this fiction: but he
is without doubt one of the most skilful of those who have supported it.

              _Si Pergama dextra_
  _Defendi possent, etiam hac defensa fuissent._

He gives it the best possible turn, and only shows it on its good side. He
knows how to strip spontaneity and reason of their advantages,        [408]
transferring all these to vague indifference: only through this
indifference is one active, resisting the passions, taking pleasure in
one's choice, or being happy; it appears indeed that one would be miserable
if some happy necessity should oblige us to choose aright. Our author had
said admirable things on the origin and reasons of natural evils: he only
had to apply the same principles to moral evil; indeed, he believes himself
that moral evil becomes an evil through the physical evils that it causes
or tends to cause. But somehow or other he thinks that it would be a
degradation of God and men if they were to be made subject to reason; that
thus they would all be rendered passive to it and would no longer be
satisfied with themselves; in short that men would have nothing wherewith
to oppose the misfortunes that come to them from without, if they had not
within them this admirable privilege of rendering things good or tolerable
by choosing them, and of changing all into gold by the touch of this
wondrous faculty.

4. We will examine it in closer detail presently; but it will be well to
profit beforehand by the excellent ideas of our author on the nature of
things and on natural evils, particularly since there are some points in
which we shall be able to go a little further: by this means also we shall
gain a better understanding of the whole arrangement of his system. The
first chapter contains the principles. The writer calls substance a being
the idea of which does not involve the existence of another. I do not know
if there are any such among created beings, by reason of the connexion
existing between all things; and the example of a wax torch is not the
example of a substance, any more than that of a swarm of bees would be. But
one may take the terms in an extended sense. He observes aptly that after
all the changes of matter and after all the qualities of which it may be
divested, there remain extension, mobility, divisibility and resistance. He
explains also the nature of notions, and leaves it to be understood that
_universals_ indicate only the resemblances which exist between
_individuals_; that we understand by _ideas_ only that which is known
through an immediate sensation, and that the rest is known to us only
through relations with these ideas. But when he admits that we have no idea
of God, of spirit, of substance, he does not appear to have observed
sufficiently that we have immediate apperception of substance and of spirit
in our apperception of ourselves, and that the idea of God is found in[409]
the idea of ourselves through a suppression of the limits of our
perfections, as extension taken in an absolute sense is comprised in the
idea of a globe. He is right also in asserting that our simple ideas at
least are innate, and in rejecting the _Tabula rasa_ of Aristotle and of
Mr. Locke. But I cannot agree with him that our ideas have scarce any more
relation to things than words uttered into the air or writings traced upon
paper have to our ideas, and that the bearing of our sensations is
arbitrary and _ex instituto_, like the signification of words. I have
already indicated elsewhere why I am not in agreement with our Cartesians
on that point.

5. For the purpose of advancing to the first Cause, the author seeks a
criterion, a distinguishing mark of truth; and he finds it in the force
whereby our inward assertions, when they are evident, compel the
understanding to give them its consent. It is by such a process, he says,
that we credit the senses. He points out that the distinguishing mark in
the Cartesian scheme, to wit, a clear and distinct perception, has need of
a new mark to indicate what is clear and distinct, and that the congruity
or non-congruity of ideas (or rather of terms, as one spoke formerly) may
still be deceptive, because there are congruities real and apparent. He
appears to recognize even that the inward force which constrains us to give
our assent is still a matter for caution, and may come from deep-rooted
prejudices. That is why he confesses that he who should furnish another
criterion would have found something very advantageous to the human race. I
have endeavoured to explain this criterion in a little _Discourse on Truth
and Ideas_, published in 1684; and although I do not boast of having given
therein a new discovery I hope that I have expounded things which were only
confusedly recognized. I distinguish between truths of fact and truths of
reason. Truths of fact can only be verified by confronting them with truths
of reason, and by tracing them back to immediate perceptions within us,
such as St. Augustine and M. Descartes very promptly acknowledged to be
indubitable; that is to say, we cannot doubt that we think, nor indeed that
we think this thing or that. But in order to judge whether our inward
notions have any reality in things, and to pass from thoughts to objects,
my opinion is that it is necessary to consider whether our perceptions are
firmly connected among themselves and with others that we have had, in such
fashion as to manifest the rules of mathematics and other truths of   [410]
reason. In this case one must regard them as real; and I think that it is
the only means of distinguishing them from imaginations, dreams and
visions. Thus the truth of things outside us can be recognized only through
the connexion of phenomena. The criterion of the truths of reason, or those
which spring from conceptions, is found in an exact use of the rules of
logic. As for ideas or notions, I call _real_ all those the possibility of
which is certain; and the _definitions_ which do not mark this possibility
are only _nominal_. Geometricians well versed in analysis are aware what
difference there is in this respect between several properties by which
some line or figure might be defined. Our gifted author has not gone so
far, perhaps; one may see, however, from the account I have given of him
already, and from what follows, that he is by no means lacking in
profundity or reflexion.

6. Thereafter he proceeds to examine whether motion, matter and space
spring from themselves; and to that end he considers whether it is possible
to conceive that they do not exist. He remarks upon this privilege of God,
that as soon as it is assumed that he exists it must be admitted that he
exists of necessity. This is a corollary to a remark which I made in the
little discourse mentioned above, namely that as soon as one admits that
God is possible, one must admit that he exists of necessity. Now, as soon
as one admits that God exists, one admits that he is possible. Therefore as
soon as one admits that God exists, one must admit that he exists of
necessity. Now this privilege does not belong to the three things of which
we have just spoken. The author believes also especially concerning motion,
that it is not sufficient to say, with Mr. Hobbes, that the present
movement comes from an anterior movement, and this one again from another,
and so on to infinity. For, however far back you may go, you will not be
one whit nearer to finding the reason which causes the presence of motion
in matter. Therefore this reason must be outside the sequence; and even if
there were an eternal motion, it would require an eternal motive power. So
the rays of the sun, even though they were eternal with the sun, would
nevertheless have their eternal cause in the sun. I am well pleased to
recount these arguments of our gifted author, that it may be seen how
important, according to him, is the principle of sufficient reason. For, if
it is permitted to admit something for which it is acknowledged there is no
reason, it will be easy for an atheist to overthrow this argument, by [411]
saying that it is not necessary that there be a sufficient reason for the
existence of motion. I will not enter into the discussion of the reality
and the eternity of space, for fear of straying too far from our subject.
It is enough to state that the author believes that space can be
annihilated by the divine power, but in entirety and not in portions, and
that we could exist alone with God even if there were neither space nor
matter, since we do not contain within ourselves the notion of the
existence of external things. He also puts forward the consideration that
in the sensations of sounds, of odours and of savours the idea of space is
not included. But whatever the opinion formed as to space, it suffices that
there is a God, the cause of matter and of motion, and in short of all
things. The author believes that we can reason about God, as one born blind
would reason about light. But I hold that there is something more in us,
for our light is a ray from God's light. After having spoken of some
attributes of God, the author acknowledges that God acts for an end, which
is the communication of his goodness, and that his works are ordered
aright. Finally he concludes this chapter very properly, by saying that God
in creating the world was at pains to give it the greatest harmony amongst
things, the greatest comfort of beings endowed with reason, and the
greatest compatibility in desires that an infinite power, wisdom and
goodness combined could produce. He adds that, if some evil has remained
notwithstanding, one must believe that these infinite divine perfections
could not have (I would rather say ought not to have) taken it away.

7. Chapter II anatomizes evil, dividing it as we do into metaphysical,
physical and moral. Metaphysical evil consists in imperfections, physical
evil in suffering and other like troubles, and moral evil in sin. All these
evils exist in God's work; Lucretius thence inferred that there is no
providence, and he denied that the world can be an effect of divinity:

  _Naturam rerum divinitus esse creatam;_

because there are so many faults in the nature of things,

  _quoniam tanta stat praedita culpa._

Others have admitted two principles, the one good, the other evil. There
have also been people who thought the difficulty insurmountable, and among
these our author appears to have had M. Bayle in mind. He hopes to    [412]
show in his work that it is not a Gordian knot, which needs to be cut; and
he says rightly that the power, the wisdom and the goodness of God would
not be infinite and perfect in their exercise if these evils had been
banished. He begins with the evil of imperfection in Chapter III and
observes, as St. Augustine does, that creatures are imperfect, since they
are derived from nothingness, whereas God producing a perfect substance
from his own essence would have made thereof a God. This gives him occasion
for making a little digression against the Socinians. But someone will say,
why did not God refrain from producing things, rather than make imperfect
things? The author answers appositely that the abundance of the goodness of
God is the cause. He wished to communicate himself at the expense of a
certain fastidiousness which we assume in God, imagining that imperfections
offend him. Thus he preferred that there should be the imperfect rather
than nothing. But one might have added that God has produced indeed the
most perfect whole that was possible, one wherewith he had full cause for
satisfaction, the imperfections of the parts serving a greater perfection
in the whole. Also the observation is made soon afterwards, that certain
things might have been made better, but not without other new and _perhaps_
greater disadvantages. This _perhaps_ could have been omitted: for the
author also states as a certainty, and rightly so, at the end of the
chapter, _that it appertains to infinite goodness to choose the best_; and
thus he was able to draw this conclusion a little earlier, that imperfect
things will be added to those more perfect, so long as they do not preclude
the existence of the more perfect in as great a number as possible. Thus
bodies were created as well as spirits, since the one does not offer any
obstacle to the other; and the creation of matter was not unworthy of the
great God, as some heretics of old believed, attributing this work to a
certain Demogorgon.

8. Let us now proceed to physical evil, which is treated of in Chapter IV.
Our famous author, having observed that metaphysical evil, or imperfection,
springs from nothingness, concludes that physical evil, or discomfort,
springs from matter, or rather from its movement; for without movement
matter would be useless. Moreover there must be contrariety in these
movements; otherwise, if all went together in the same direction, there
would be neither variety nor generation. But the movements that cause [413]
generations cause also corruptions, since from the variety of movements
comes concussion between bodies, by which they are often dissipated and
destroyed. The Author of Nature however, in order to render bodies more
enduring, distributed them into _systems_, those which we know being
composed of luminous and opaque balls, in a manner so excellent and so
fitting for the display of that which they contain, and for arousing wonder
thereat, that we can conceive of nothing more beautiful. But the crowning
point of the work was the construction of animals, to the end that
everywhere there should be creatures capable of cognition,

  _Ne regio foret ulla suis animalibus orba._

Our sagacious author believes that the air and even the purest aether have
their denizens as well as the water and the earth. But supposing that there
were places without animals, these places might have uses necessary for
other places which are inhabited. So for example the mountains, which
render the surface of our globe unequal and sometimes desert and barren,
are of use for the production of rivers and of winds; and we have no cause
to complain of sands and marshes, since there are so many places still
remaining to be cultivated. Moreover, it must not be supposed that all is
made for man alone: and the author is persuaded that there are not only
pure spirits but also immortal animals of a nature akin to these spirits,
that is, animals whose souls are united to an ethereal and incorruptible
matter. But it is not the same with animals whose body is terrestrial,
composed of tubes and fluids which circulate therein, and whose motion is
terminated by the breaking of the vessels. Thence the author is led to
believe that the immortality granted to Adam, if he had been obedient,
would not have been an effect of his nature, but of the grace of God.

9. Now it was necessary for the conservation of corruptible animals that
they should have indications causing them to recognize a present danger,
and giving them the inclination to avoid it. That is why what is about to
cause a great injury must beforehand cause pain such as may force the
animal to efforts capable of repulsing or shunning the cause of this
discomfort, and of forestalling a greater evil. The dread of death helps
also to cause its avoidance: for it if were not so ugly and if the
dissolution of continuity were not so painful, very often animals would
take no precautions against perishing, or allowing the parts of their [414]
body to perish, and the strongest would have difficulty in subsisting for a
whole day.

God has also given hunger and thirst to animals, to compel them to feed and
maintain themselves by replacing that which is used up and which disappears
imperceptibly. These appetites are of use also to prompt them to work, in
order to procure a nourishment meet for their constitution, and which may
avail to invigorate them. It was even found necessary by the Author of
things that one animal very often should serve as food for another. This
hardly renders the victim more unhappy, since death caused by diseases is
generally just as painful as a violent death, if not more so; and animals
subject to being preyed upon by others, having neither foresight nor
anxiety for the future, have a life no less tranquil when they are not in
danger. It is the same with inundations, earthquakes, thunderbolts and
other disorders, which brute beasts do not fear, and which men have
ordinarily no cause to fear, since there are few that suffer thereby.

10. The Author of Nature has compensated for these evils and others, which
happen only seldom, with a thousand advantages that are ordinary and
constant. Hunger and thirst augment the pleasure experienced in the taking
of nourishment. Moderate work is an agreeable exercise of the animal's
powers; and sleep is also agreeable in an altogether opposite way,
restoring the forces through repose. But one of the pleasures most intense
is that which prompts animals to propagation. God, having taken care to
ensure that the species should be immortal, since the individual cannot be
so here on earth, also willed that animals should have a great tenderness
for their little ones, even to the point of endangering themselves for
their preservation. From pain and from sensual pleasure spring fear,
cupidity and the other passions that are ordinarily serviceable, although
it may accidentally happen that they sometimes turn towards ill: one must
say as much of poisons, epidemic diseases and other hurtful things, namely
that these are indispensable consequences of a well-conceived system. As
for ignorance and errors, it must be taken into account that the most
perfect creatures are doubtless ignorant of much, and that knowledge is
wont to be proportionate to needs. Nevertheless it is necessary that one be
exposed to hazards which cannot be foreseen, and accidents of such kinds
are inevitable. One must often be mistaken in one's judgement, because it
is not always permitted to suspend it long enough for exact           [415]
consideration. These disadvantages are inseparable from the system of
things: for things must very often resemble one another in a certain
situation, the one being taken for the other. But the inevitable errors are
not the most usual, nor the most pernicious. Those which cause us the most
harm are wont to arise through our fault; and consequently one would be
wrong to make natural evils a pretext for taking one's own life, since one
finds that those who have done so have generally been prompted to such
action by voluntary evils.

11. After all, one finds that all these evils of which we have spoken come
accidentally from good causes; and there is reason to infer concerning all
we do not know, from all we do know, that one could not have done away with
them without falling into greater troubles. For the better understanding of
this the author counsels us to picture the world as a great building. There
must be not only apartments, halls, galleries, gardens, grottoes, but also
the kitchen, the cellar, the poultry-yard, stables, drainage. Thus it would
not have been proper to make only suns in the world, or to make an earth
all of gold and of diamonds, but not habitable. If man had been all eye or
all ear, he would not have been fitted for feeding himself. If God had made
him without passions, he would have made him stupid; and if he had wished
to make man free from error he would have had to deprive him of senses, or
give him powers of sensation through some other means than organs, that is
to say, there would not have been any man. Our learned author remarks here
upon an idea which histories both sacred and profane appear to inculcate,
namely that wild beasts, poisonous plants and other natures that are
injurious to us have been armed against us by sin. But as he argues here
only in accordance with the principles of reason he sets aside what
Revelation can teach. He believes, however, that Adam would have been
exempted from natural evils (if he had been obedient) only by virtue of
divine grace and of a covenant made with God, and that Moses expressly
indicates only about seven effects of the first sin. These effects are:

1. The revocation of the gracious gift of immortality.

2. The sterility of the earth, which was no longer to be fertile of itself,
save in evil or useless herbs.

3. The rude toil one must exercise in order to gain sustenance.

4. The subjection of the woman to the will of the husband.

5. The pains of childbirth.

6. The enmity between man and the serpent.

7. The banishment of man from the place of delight wherein God had placed

But our author thinks that many of our evils spring from the necessity of
matter, especially since the withdrawal of grace. Moreover, it seems to him
that after our banishment immortality would be only a burden to us, and
that it is perhaps more for our good than to punish us that the tree of
life has become inaccessible to us. On one point or another one might have
something to say in objection, but the body of the discourse by our author
on the origin of evils is full of good and sound reflexions, which I have
judged it advisable to turn to advantage. Now I must pass on to the subject
of our controversy, that is, the explanation of the nature of freedom.

12. The learned author of this work on the origin of evil, proposing to
explain the origin of moral evil in the fifth chapter, which makes up half
of the whole book, considers that it is altogether different from that of
physical evil, which lies in the inevitable imperfection of creatures. For,
as we shall see presently, it appears to him that moral evil comes rather
from that which he calls a perfection, which the creature has in common,
according to him, with the Creator, that is to say, in the power of
choosing without any motive and without any final or impelling cause. It is
a very great paradox to assert that the greatest imperfection, namely sin,
springs from perfection itself. But it is no less a paradox to present as a
perfection the thing which is the least reasonable in the world, the
advantage whereof would consist in being privileged against reason. And
that, after all, rather than pointing out the source of the evil, would be
to contend that it has none. For if the will makes its resolve without the
existence of anything, either in the person who chooses or in the object
which is chosen, to prompt it to the choice, there will be neither cause
nor reason for this election; and as moral evil consists in the wrong
choice, that is admitting that moral evil has no source at all. Thus in the
rules of good metaphysics there would have to be no moral evil in Nature;
and also for the same reason there would be no moral good either, and all
morality would be destroyed. But we must listen to our gifted author, from
whom the subtlety of an opinion maintained by famous philosophers among the
Schoolmen, and the adornments that he has added thereto himself by his[417]
wit and his eloquence, have hidden the great disadvantages contained
therein. In setting forth the position reached in the controversy, he
divides the writers into two parties. The one sort, he says, are content to
say that the freedom of the will is exempt from outward constraint; and the
other sort maintain that it is also exempt from inward necessity. But this
exposition does not suffice, unless one distinguish the necessity that is
absolute and contrary to morality from hypothetical necessity and moral
necessity, as I have already explained in many places.

13. The first section of this chapter is to indicate the nature of choice.
The author sets forth in the first place the opinion of those who believe
that the will is prompted by the judgement of the understanding, or by
anterior inclinations of the desires, to resolve upon the course that it
adopts. But he confuses these authors with those who assert that the will
is prompted to its resolution by an absolute necessity, and who maintain
that the person who wills has no power over his volitions: that is, he
confuses a Thomist with a Spinozist. He makes use of the admissions and the
odious declarations of Mr. Hobbes and his like, to lay them to the charge
of those who are infinitely far removed from them, and who take great care
to refute them. He lays these things to their charge because they believe,
as Mr. Hobbes believes, like everyone else (save for some doctors who are
enveloped in their own subtleties), that the will is moved by the
representation of good and evil. Thence he imputes to them the opinion that
there is therefore no such thing as contingency, and that all is connected
by an absolute necessity. That is a very speedy manner of reasoning; yet he
adds also, that properly speaking there will be no evil will, since if
there were, all one could object to therein would be the evil which it can
cause. That, he says, is different from the common notion, since the world
censures the wicked not because they do harm, but because they do harm
without necessity. He holds also that the wicked would be only unfortunate
and by no means culpable; that there would be no difference between
physical evil and moral evil, since man himself would not be the true cause
of an action which he could not avoid; that evil-doers would not be either
blamed or maltreated because they deserve it, but because that action may
serve to turn people away from evil; again, for this reason only one would
find fault with a rogue, but not with a sick man, that reproaches and [418]
threats can correct the one, and cannot cure the other. And further,
according to this doctrine, chastisements would have no object save the
prevention of future evil, without which the mere consideration of the evil
already done would not be sufficient for punishment. Likewise gratitude
would have as its sole aim that of procuring a fresh benefit, without which
the mere consideration of the past benefit would not furnish a sufficient
reason. Finally the author thinks that if this doctrine, which derives the
resolution of the will from the representation of good and evil, were true,
one must despair of human felicity, since it would not be in our power, and
would depend upon things which are outside us. Now as there is no ground
for hoping that things from outside will order themselves and agree
together in accordance with our wishes, there will always lack something to
us, and there will always be something too much. All these conclusions
hold, according to him, against those also who think that the will makes
its resolve in accordance with the final judgement of the understanding, an
opinion which, as he considers, strips the will of its right and renders
the soul quite passive. This accusation is also directed against countless
serious writers, of accepted authority, who are here placed in the same
class with Mr. Hobbes and Spinoza, and with some other discredited authors,
whose doctrine is considered odious and insupportable. As for me, I do not
require the will always to follow the judgement of the understanding,
because I distinguish this judgement from the motives that spring from
insensible perceptions and inclinations. But I hold that the will always
follows the most advantageous representation, whether distinct or confused,
of the good or the evil resulting from reasons, passions and inclinations,
although it may also find motives for suspending its judgement. But it is
always upon motives that it acts.

14. It will be necessary to answer these objections to my opinion before
proceeding to establish that of our author. The misapprehension of my
opponents originates in their confusing a consequence which is necessary
absolutely, whose contrary implies contradiction, with a consequence which
is founded only upon truths of fitness, and nevertheless has its effect. To
put it otherwise, there is a confusion between what depends upon the
principle of contradiction, which makes necessary and indispensable truths,
and what depends upon the principle of the sufficient reason, which   [419]
applies also to contingent truths. I have already elsewhere stated this
proposition, which is one of the most important in philosophy, pointing out
that there are two great principles, namely, _that of identicals or of
contradiction_, which states that of two contradictory enunciations the one
is true and the other false, and _that of the sufficient reason_, which
states that there is no true enunciation whose reason could not be seen by
one possessing all the knowledge necessary for its complete understanding.
Both principles must hold not only in necessary but also in contingent
truths; and it is even necessary that that which has no sufficient reason
should not exist. For one may say in a sense that these two principles are
contained in the definition of the true and the false. Nevertheless, when
in making the analysis of the truth submitted one sees it depending upon
truths whose contrary implies contradiction, one may say that it is
absolutely necessary. But when, while pressing the analysis to the furthest
extent, one can never attain to such elements of the given truth, one must
say that it is contingent, and that it originates from a prevailing reason
which inclines without necessitating. Once that is granted, it is seen how
we can say with sundry famous philosophers and theologians, that the
thinking substance is prompted to its resolution by the prevailing
representation of good or of evil, and this certainly and infallibly, but
not necessarily, that is, by reasons which incline it without necessitating
it. That is why contingent futurities, foreseen both in themselves and
through their reasons, remain contingent. God was led infallibly by his
wisdom and by his goodness to create the world through his power, and to
give it the best possible form; but he was not led thereto of necessity,
and the whole took place without any diminution of his perfect and supreme
wisdom. And I do not know if it would be easy, apart from the reflexions we
have just entertained, to untie the Gordian knot of contingency and

15. This explanation dismisses all the objections of our gifted opponent.
In the first place, it is seen that contingency exists together with
freedom. Secondly, evil wills are evil not only because they do harm, but
also because they are a source of harmful things, or of physical evils, a
wicked spirit being, in the sphere of its activity, what the evil principle
of the Manichaeans would be in the universe. Moreover, the author has
observed (ch. 4, sect. 4, § 8) that divine wisdom has usually forbidden
actions which would cause discomforts, that is to say, physical evils.[420]
It is agreed that he who causes evil by necessity is not culpable. But
there is neither legislator nor lawyer who by this necessity means the
force of the considerations of good or evil, real or apparent, that have
prompted man to do ill: else anyone stealing a great sum of money or
killing a powerful man in order to attain to high office would be less
deserving of punishment than one who should steal a few halfpence for a mug
of beer or wantonly kill his neighbour's dog, since these latter were
tempted less. But it is quite the opposite in the administration of justice
which is authorized in the world: for the greater is the temptation to sin,
the more does it need to be repressed by the fear of a great chastisement.
Besides, the greater the calculation evident in the design of an evil-doer,
the more will it be found that the wickedness has been deliberate, and the
more readily will one decide that it is great and deserving of punishment.
Thus a too artful fraud causes the aggravating crime called _stellionate_,
and a cheat becomes a forger when he has the cunning to sap the very
foundations of our security in written documents. But one will have greater
indulgence for a great passion, because it is nearer to madness. The Romans
punished with the utmost severity the priests of the God Apis, when these
had prostituted the chastity of a noble lady to a knight who loved her to
distraction, making him pass as their god; while it was found enough to
send the lover into exile. But if someone had done evil deeds without
apparent reason and without appearance of passion the judge would be
tempted to take him for a madman, especially if it proved that he was given
to committing such extravagances often: this might tend towards reduction
of the penalty, rather than supplying the true grounds of wickedness and
punishment. So far removed are the principles of our opponents from the
practice of the tribunals and from the general opinion of men.

16. Thirdly, the distinction between physical evil and moral evil will
still remain, although there be this in common between them, that they have
their reasons and causes. And why manufacture new difficulties for oneself
concerning the origin of moral evil, since the principle followed in the
solution of those which natural evils have raised suffices also to account
for voluntary evils? That is to say, it suffices to show that one could not
have prevented men from being prone to errors, without changing the   [421]
constitution of the best of systems or without employing miracles at every
turn. It is true that sin makes up a large portion of human wretchedness,
and even the largest; but that does not prevent one from being able to say
that men are wicked and deserving of punishment: else one must needs say
that the actual sins of the non-regenerate are excusable, because they
spring from the first cause of our wretchedness, which is original sin.
Fourthly, to say that the soul becomes passive and that man is not the true
cause of sin, if he is prompted to his voluntary actions by their objects,
as our author asserts in many passages, and particularly ch. 5, sect. 1,
sub-sect. 3, § 18, is to create for oneself new senses for terms. When the
ancients spoke of that which is [Greek: eph' hêmin], or when we speak of
that which depends upon us, of spontaneity, of the inward principle of our
actions, we do not exclude the representation of external things; for these
representations are in our souls, they are a portion of the modifications
of this active principle which is within us. No agent is capable of acting
without being _predisposed_ to what the action demands; and the reasons or
inclinations derived from good or evil are the dispositions that enable the
soul to decide between various courses. One will have it that the will is
alone active and supreme, and one is wont to imagine it to be like a queen
seated on her throne, whose minister of state is the understanding, while
the passions are her courtiers or favourite ladies, who by their influence
often prevail over the counsel of her ministers. One will have it that the
understanding speaks only at this queen's order; that she can vacillate
between the arguments of the minister and the suggestions of the
favourites, even rejecting both, making them keep silence or speak, and
giving them audience or not as seems good to her. But it is a
personification or mythology somewhat ill-conceived. If the will is to
judge, or take cognizance of the reasons and inclinations which the
understanding or the senses offer it, it will need another understanding in
itself, to understand what it is offered. The truth is that the soul, or
the thinking substance, understands the reasons and feels the inclinations,
and decides according to the predominance of the representations modifying
its active force, in order to shape the action. I have no need here to
apply my system of Pre-established Harmony, which shows our independence to
the best advantage and frees us from the physical influence of objects. For
what I have just said is sufficient to answer th