Page:Newton's Principia (1846).djvu/43

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life of sir isaac newton.

ment aye, firmament to firmament, again and again, till, converging home, it may be, to some ineffable centre, where more presently dwells He who inhabiteth immensity, and where infinitudes meet and eternities have their conflux, and where around move, in softest, swiftest measure, all the countless hosts that crowd heaven's fathomless deeps.

And yet Newton, amid the loveliness and magnitude of Omnipotence, lost not sight of the Almighty One. A secondary, however universal, was not taken for the First Cause. An impressed force, however diffused and powerful, assumed not the functions of the creating, giving Energy. Material beauties, splendours, and sublimities, however rich in glory, and endless in extent, concealed not the attributes of an intelligent Supreme. From the depths of his own soul, through reason and the Word, he had risen, à priori, to God: from the heights of Omnipotence, through the design and law of the builded universe, he proved à posteriori, a Deity. "I had," says he, "an eye upon such principles as might work, with considering men, for the belief of a Deity," in writing the Principia; at the conclusion whereof, he teaches that—"this most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. And if the fixed stars are the centres of other like systems, these, being formed by the like wise counsels, must be all subject to the dominion of One; especially since the light of the fixed stars is of the same nature with the light of the sun, and from every system light passes into all other systems: and lest the systems of the fixed stars should, by their gravity, fall on each other mutually, he hath placed those systems at immense distances one from another.

"This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont, to be called Lord God παντοκρατωρ or Universal Ruler; for God is a relative word, and has a respect to servants; and Deity is the dominion of God, not over his own body, as those imagine who fancy God to be the soul of the world, but over servants. The Supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, absolutely perfect; but a being, however perfect, without dominion, cannot be said to