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HISTORIA LITTERARIA. NO.XXI.
P eacepta yo
The Author offers another Argument to
the Chapter where the Author treats of the * Eternity of Hell-Torments...!!
In the Vth Chapter, the Author treats of Original Sin ; and here he is as Orthodox as can be desired ; 'but for that Reason we need not give a large account of this Chapter: however, we must take notice of what our Author offers to explain, how the Sin of our first Parents could be transmitted to their whole Pofterity. He thinks, with Leibniz ?, that the Souls of all Men have been created at once, and from the Moment of their Creation united to an organized Body, and were all in the Loins of Adam; by this Supposition, says he, it is an easy thing to understand how Men not yet born could be personated by one moral Head: Very well,
but this does not explain yet how the Bodies . and Souls of all Men could be defiled by the
Sin of Adam ; this is what we would be glad to
Theodicée, $ 90, 91, no
see explained, but our Author has not thought fit to do it. '.
He enquires next, whether the virtuous ACtions of Heathens' were any thing else but hining Sins 4. To solve this Question he observes, that Sins are nothing else but the Absence of Perfection ; and that the Rule of Perfection (with regard to moral Actions) is the Law, either natural or revealed. Some Heathens have lived in such a manner, that their Actions were agreeable to the Law of Nature; now :,moral Goodness consists in that Agreement,
therefore in this Respect, at least, the Actions of the Heathens were really good : but being not perform'd according to the revealed Law, nor by the Impulse of the Holy Ghost, they were defective upon that account. But how could they be otherwise, since the Heathens had no Revelacion, and since it was not in their power to be a flisted by the Holy Ghost, of which they had not the least Notion : And indeed our Author owns, that the Virtues of the Heathens were really good Actions, tho' he · says they were tainted with Defeats T.
· The Sixth Chapter treats of God's Provi. dence, and his Permission of Evil. It must be own'd this Subject is one of the most intricate, and the most difficult to explain in such a manner, as not to make it liable to unanswer. able Objections; which appears by the many Schemes, which have been held by the Philosophers and Divines of all Ages. Our Author in this Chapter quotes several Passages from the Fathers, to fhew how far they agree with M. Leibniz's System; and he pretends to make Q4
ic 9 Splendida Peccata.
Virtutes Gentium non funt mera Peccata, fed Actiones boną, Defectibus tamen contaminarą.
it appear, that where they differ from him, they either speak Nonsense, or charge God with being the Author of Sin. He afterwards explains more distinctly the Opinion of Leibniz ; which is, that God being infinitely perfect, could not but create the best World possible, which happened to be interwoven with Sin and Misery. Here the Author repeats what he has said in Chapter the Third, where he speaks of the Creation of the World: as we have given a large account of that Chapters, in our last Journal, we refer our Readers to it. We must observe however, that our Author supposes Sin could not be avoided in this present World but by a constant Intercourse of Miracles ; and he says, it is blasphemous to suppose, that it became God Almighty to prevent Sin with his infinite Power. How this Affertion will silence Mr, Bayle's Followers, I own, I cannot apprehend; for they say, that the Nocion we have of God's Wisdoin and Goodness is inconsistent with his permitting Men to fin, especially if they are to be punished for it with eternal Misery; and that Free-will is a poisonous Gift, if attended with such fatal Confequences : besides, we don't see, say they, that to prevent Sin, Men must be bereft of Free-will, or God interpose miraculously, since the glorified Saints and Angels never fing tho' they be free, and God does not perform any Miracles to prevent their Sinning. Therefore to assert, with Leibniz, that God could not but chuse the best World, which happen'd to be defiled with Sin, is not to solve the Difficulty, but meerly to beg the Question : Our Author seems nevertheless mightily pleas'd with this Solution, and challenges his Adversaries to find out a better Scheme to answer all Bayle's Ob
je&tions ( No. XX. Art. 9. p. 190, c.
jections against the Wisdom and Goodness of God.
In the Seventh Chapter the Authorendeavours · to apply the Leibnitian Philosophy to the Omni
presence of Christ. Being a Lutheran, he believes that the Body of our Saviour is present every where. To explain this Mystery, says he very piously, we must begin with fervent Prayers, that our Understanding darken'd by Nature, may be enlighten'd with heavenly Rays from God. He afterwards enters upon his Subject, and to make it appear that it is not impossible that the same Body be present every where, he explains what it is to exist, and to be present : and by the way he endeavours to confute, what our famous Newton has proved about the mutual Attraction of Bodies at a distance. He next enumerates the different ways in which several things can be present to one another : He afterwards considers the Body, enquires into its Unity, and asserts that the Body of Christ. can be omnipresent, which Assertion is illustrated and supported with several Arguments ; finally, he explains what he calls the Sacramental Presence of Christ. Tho' this Chapter be very long, we cannot give a larger account of it, because we freely own it, we don't understand our Author's Meaning, and we are of opinion our Readers would not be much pleased with his subtle and metaphysical Notions.
The Subject of the Eighth Chapter is the Satisfaction of Christ, which being connected with, and depending upon the Justice of God, the Auchor explains what is Justice, which he defines thus, “ Justice is Goodness managed with Wisdom.”! Juftitia definitur per Bonitatem, quce administratur Sapientiâ. Here he starts an Ob.
jection; how can Punishments, says he, be the
effect of Goodness? Does Evil proceed from ".. Benevolence? That the Reader may be able to
judge of our Author's Answer, we'll fer down
- Ex recentiorum mente dolor omnis, in quo pæna.
66 sence ! The Author means by them, Leibniz and his Followers