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Spanish Divine and. Jesuit, one of a subtle wit and penetrating genius. He has a pretty large chapters, spent entirely upon our present question. He takes notice, that there were not wanting some of that time who con tended that the existence of a Deity might be proved a priori h. He had Suarez in his eye, as is plain enough, (though he does not name him,) because, a little after, he quotes the very words which Suarez had made use of in that argument. He mentions also Scotus, and some of his followers, as aiming at the like conclusion in a more far-fetched and roundabout way i; allowing, that if God should extraordinarily or supernaturally infuse some higher degrees of knowledge, then some kind of proof a priori (however fruitless, and superseded by such illumination) might be made from it. See how solicitous and industrious some have been in searching for every appearance of a proof a priori, as much as others have been in searching for the philosopher's stone, or for the squaring of the circle, or the like, and with the like success.

Our judicious author first observes, that all pretences of any formal demonstration of that kind had been utterly exploded k by the judicious; particularly by Albertus

& Gillii Commentationes Theologicæ de Essentia et Unitate Dei, lib. i. tract. 8. c. 4. p. 391–396.

h Non desunt recentiores, qui affirmant esse demonstrabilem a priore, etiam respectu viatorum, si non per se primo, saltem posita cognitione Dei acquisita per discursum : quoniam, inquiunt, postquam ex creaturis convincitur Deum esse ens necessarium, et a se, et unum, necessario concluditur a priore hunc esse Deum, &c. Ibid. p. 391.

i Alio modo eandem conclusionem tuetur Scotus in I. dist. 2. qu. 2. Cum Scotistis interpretibus ibidem : Ochamus in I. dist. 3. qu. 4. lit. F. Gabriel. qu. 4. conclus. 3. Rubionius, dist. 2. qu. 1. art. 2. concl. 4. Nam quamvis existiment de lege ordinaria non haberi a nobis demonstrationem propter quid, hujus propositionis Deus est; censent tamen fieri posse ut demonstretur, si Deus infunderet alicui notitiam evidentem eorundem terminorum, vel saltem termini Dei, &c. p. 391.

Propositio, Deus est, sub neutra acceptatione ex prædictis, est viatoribus de lege formaliter demonstrabilis a priore. Hæc est Alberti in Summa, tract. iii. qu. 17. Henrici in Summa, art. xxii. qu. 4. Richardi, in 1. dist. 3. art. 1. qu. 1. Scoti, in I. dist. 2. qu. 2. et quodlibeto 7. Lyrani in Sapient. xiii. Gaspa Casalii, lib. i. de Quadripart. justit. cap. xvi. conclus. 2. Et est


Magnus, and Henricus de Gandavo, and Richardus de Media Villa, and Scotus, and Lyra, and Gasp. Casalius, and many others referred to elsewherel: so that it might be justly looked upon as a ruled point, that no proper demonstration a priori could be made of the Divine existence; all such attempts at length resolving either into some petitio principii, or some equivocation of terms, or other the like fallacy, or foreign subtilty,

He proceeds to examine the question with the utmost strictness and nicety, traversing it through all its mazes, and unravelling every ambiguity and subtile intricacy, whereby some had endeavoured to support what they would call a demonstration a priori in that case; and showing that none of them sufficiently answered the purpose, or came up to the point m. From whence we may remark, that Suarez's attempts that way were not approved by the most judicious Divines of his own time, but were condemned by the generality, and even by those of his own order, (for Gillius was a Jesuit,) and that soon after: for as his Metaphysics had first appeared in 1600, so this censure of Gillius was finished and licensed in 1606, though not published before 1610.

de mente doctorum quos referam cap. seq. num. 7. Qui omnes non agnoscunt demonstrationem Dei nisi ex creaturis.-Notitia vero sumpta ex creaturis non potest esse a priore, ut patet. Gillius, ibid. p. 392. conf. p. 394.

| Gillius, c. v. p. 400.

m Ex his constat firmum non esse fundamentum sententiæ asserentis demonstrari Deum esse a priore per rationem necessitatis, quoniam non est radix attributorum habentium prdinem ad creaturas : et quamvis esset, cum ipsa non cognoscatur a nobis a priore, vel ex terminis evidenter conjuncta cum Deo sub ratione illa attributalis fieri nequit ut eadem demonstratio sit formalis a prioré:-

Primum initium illius demonstrationis sumitur ex cognitione creaturarum;-resolvitur in principia cognita ex posteriore, et ideo demonstratio non constat formaliter ex primis-Quodnam peto est ens, de quo primum probatur esse ? Ipsene est Deus, an vero ens necessarium ? Si Deus, totus discursus sequens erit superfluus, quoniam procedit ad probandum id quod supponitur probatum : si ens necessarium, aut sumitur secundum absolutam et omnimodam necessitatem, et tunc hoc ipso supponitur esse necessarium ab intrinseco; aut, &c.-Ita patet ex illo principio, ens necessarium est, nullo modo demonstrari posse a priore hanc propos. Deus

Gillius, p. 396.


A. D. 1615. ESTIUS. At the same time with Gillius lived the learned Estius, who delivered his sentiments of the present question in the manner here following. no. As there are, among lo

gicians, two kinds of demonstration, one demonstrating - the effect from the causes, and the other, the cause “ from the effects; it is manifest, that the existence of a Deity cannot be proved in the former way of demon

stration, since no cause in any kind can be assigned ei“ther of God, or of his existing. But it may be demon

strated in the latter way, aš St. Thomas (Aquinas] rightly judges, (I. q. 2. art. 2, 3.) and as the School“ men upon this distinction do universally teach.”

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A. D. 1627. JOHANNES PUTEANUS. This writer expresses his judgment in the terms here following

Cum duplex sit apud dialecticos demonstratio, alia quæ ex causis effectum, alia quæ contra ex effectis causam monstrat; manifestum est, priori demonstrationis modo non posse doceri Deum esse, cum nec Dei nec ejus existentiæ possit in ullo genere causa proferri. Potest autem demonstrari posteriori modo, quemadmodum recte S. Thom. I. qu. 2. art. 2. et 3. Et in üniversum scholastici circa hanc distinctionem tradunt. Estius in Libr. Sentent. Comm. tom. i. p. 4.

So Cardinal Lugo also, a little later in the same age. Dico tertio, Deum esse, non est demonstrabile a priori. Sic cum Sancto Thoma, cæteri fere doctores, et latissime Gillius. Lug. lib. i. disp. 14. c. 2. 5. 8.

• Licet existentia Deitatis nequeat demonstrari a priori, concedendum tamen est de quibusdam attributis divinis, quod possint demonstrari a priori.

1. Prima pars conclusionis ex eo innotescit, quod demonstratio quælibet a priori consurgat ex causis vel veris, vel certe virtualibus, aut, quod idem est, ex ratione aliqua priori. Existentiæ autem divinæ nullæ sunt cause, verè, nec virtuales, nec ratio prior: hæc enim includitur in conceptu formali essentiæ divinæ, et quidem ita, ut impossibile sit concipere essentiam divinam quin concipiatur existens. Est enim essentia divina ens simpliciter necessurium ; repugnat autem enti simpliciter necessario, non habere existentiam : definitur enim hoc communiter, id quod ita est ut non esse ne

nec or


2. Posterior vero pars constat ex eo, quod æternitas demonstretur per imîutabilitatem, hoc modo : Omne immutabile est æternum ; Deus est immutubilis : ergo, Deus est æternus. Ubiquitas etiam divisa demonstratur com

“ Though the existence of a Deity cannot be demon“strated a priori, yet it must be allowed, that as to some “ of the Divine attributes, they may be demonstrated a priori.

“ 1. As to the first particular, it is plain from hence; “ that every proof a priori proceeds by causes either real

virtual, or, which comes to the same, by some prior reason;

but of the Divine existence there are no causes real or virtual, nor any prior reason: for existence is included “ in the formal conception of the Divine essence, insomuch " that it is impossible to conceive the Divine essence but “ as existing. The Divine essence is being simply neces

sary: now it is contradictory to the notion of being oc

simply necessary, not to have existence; for it is usually " defined, as that which so exists that it cannot but exist.

2. As to the second particular, it is manifest from “ hence, that eternity is demonstrated from immutability “ in this manner : Every thing immutable is eternal : God is immutable: therefore God is eternal. In like man“ner, the Divine ubiquity is commonly proved from the immensity. And so in many other cases.”

The author here well distinguishes between arguing a priori from existence and attributes already proved, to other attributes, and arguing a priori from attributes, or from any thing else, to the existence itself. The one he allows as just and rational, the other he rejects as manifestly absurd : and so far he is certainly right. Some indeed may scruple to call it arguing a priori, when a man argues from attribute to attribute ; conceiving that it should rather be styled arguing ex absurdo, and that nothing short of a real (as opposed to notional) priority is sufficient to denominate or constitute an argument a priori. But that I take to be a fruitless nicety, and such is not worth the insisting upon; for at last it will terminate in a dispute about words. It is sufficient, that there is nothing prior to the existence, no not so much as in order muniter per immensitatem ; et sic in aliis multis. Joan. Putean. Opp. tom. i. part. 1. qu. 3. p. 24.

of nature, or notion, or conception; and so all arguing a priori, as to that case, is for ever excluded. But as to the other case, the manner of arguing is undoubtedly right, whatever name we give to it: and there seems to be no just objection against calling it a priori, so long as the existence is looked upon as always first in conception, and that the most natural order of conception be followed in arguing from attribute to attribute, and the process be not made too arbitrary P.

A. D. 1642. RODERICUS De ARRIAGA. This acute metaphysician and divine delivers his sentiments as follows: “ The being or existence of God cannot “ be demonstrated a priori. So St. Thomas, Albertus, “Durandus; and of our order (of Jesuits) Valentia, Mo"lina, Suarez, and Vasquez, whom Tanner mentions and “ follows 9.” After this, he enters minutely into the merits of the question, assigning his reasons why the existence cannot be proved a priori : which being much the same with those before mentioned, I choose, for brevity sake, to omit them, and proceed. Only, I may observe, that here are three authors, Durandus, Molina, and Tanner, beyond what I have quoted upon the question: and it is further observable, that he takes in Suarez amongst

p Richardus de Media Villa, in a chapter before referred to, observes well to this purpose, that the order of the attributes ought not to be settled in an arbitrary manner, but as reason requires.

Nec loqnor hic de ordine qui tantum est ex parte voluntatis (quia tali ordine posset, in nostra ratione intelligendi, quandoque unum esse prius, quandoque posterius, sicut placeret nobis) sed loquor de ordine qui est in conceptionibus nostri intellectus intelligentis divina attributa secundum illum ordinem secundum quem magis sunt apta nata intelligi : et sic intelligendo divinas perfectiones, est talis ordo ex parte nostra. Prius enim, secundum rationem intelligendi, intelligimus divinum esse, quam aliquam ejus perfectionem ; secundo, suum intelligere ; tertio, suum velle. Ricard, de Med. Vill. lib. i. p. 32.

9 Prima conclusio, Deum esse, seu existere, non potest demonstrari a prie ori. Ita D. Thomas, Albertus, Durandus : et e nostris, Valentia, Molina, Suarez, et Vasquez, quos refert et sequitur Tannerus loco citato. Roderie. de Arriag. tom. i. p. 30. VOL, IV.


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