Page:A Collection of Several Philosophical Writings of Dr. Henry More.djvu/200
158 Chap. V.
An Appendix to the foregoing Antidote
existence is one and the same Notion: But Self-existence is the most high and perfect mode of Existence that is conceivable, and therefore proper to what is most absolutely Perfect. Wherefore to transplant Self-existence to so pitiful an Idea as the Idea of a Being absolutely Miserable, is as absonous and prodigious as to clap the head of a Lion to the body of a Snail. Nay, indeed, it seems more contradictious, that being but the misplacing of Body and Figure, but this the implantation of an inward Property into a wrong Subject; nay infinitely contrary properties in the same Subject.
5. Fourthly and lastly, As for a Being absolutely Mischievous, it seems indeed to include necessary and unavoidable Existence as well as Omnipotency and Omnisciency, or else this Soveraign Mischief is not so full and absolute as our apprehension can conceive. These added to a peremptory and immutable desire or will of doing all mischief possible for Mischief sake, do fully complete the Notion of this absolute Mischievous Being.
But how spurious and unnatural this Idea is, is evident in that it does again forcedly tie together Notions of a quite contrary nature, the greatest Imperfection with the highest Perfections, joyning the incommunicable Attributes of God with that which is haply worse then we can demonstrate to be in any Devil; nay such as seem a contradiction in any Subject whatsoever.
Wherefore, as I intimated before, if any man pretend our Argument to be a Sophism, and in imitating it would discover the fallacy in some other Matter, he is exactly to observe the Laws thereof in his imitation, and constitute an idea of Notions that agree with the same Title, as they exquisitely do in the Idea of a Being absolutely Perfect; for there is no notion there but what founds highest Perfection.
But in this idea of a Being absolutely Mischievous there is nothing that of its own nature signifies mischief, but that wicked and malicious desire of doing mischief merely for mischiefs sake. Which is a degree of Imperfection sunk into the borders of Inconsistency and Contradiction. But yet to be able accurately to destroy all good whatsoever, implies again an Omnipotency in Power, and an Omnisciency. But what is omnipotently and absolutely mischievous, must also destroy it self, as an infinitely-big Triangle implies no Triangle at all. So that this idea is not free from the intanglement of multifarious Contradictions in the conception thereof.6. But if by a Being absolutely Mischievous were meant, a Being that has the power and skill of doing all mischief imaginable, and indeed far above all the Imagination and Conceit of man, and that so effectually and universally that nothing possibly can prevent him; this is indeed the Eternal God, who is necessarily of himself, and prevents all things, and can be limited in his actions by none but by himself: but he being that absolute and immutable Good, and full and pure Perfection, he cannot but include in his Idea that precious Attribute of Benignity; and therefore acting according to his entire Nature, he is not onely Good himself, but, by the prerogative of his own Being, keeps out such mischievous So-