The Existence of God
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The Existence of God

By François de Salignac de La Mothe- Fénelon
Free
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Table of Contents
  • The Existence of God, by Francois de Salignac de La Mothe- Fenelon
  • THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
    • INTRODUCTION
    • THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
      • SECTION I.  Metaphysical Proofs of the Existence of God are not within Everybody’s reach.
      • SECT.  II.  Moral Proofs of the Existence of God are fitted to every man’s capacity.
      • SECT.  III.  Why so few Persons are attentive to the Proofs Nature affords of the Existence of God.
      • SECT.  IV.  All Nature shows the Existence of its Maker.
      • SECT.  V.  Noble Comparisons proving that Nature shows the Existence of its Maker.  First Comparison, drawn from Homer’s “Iliad.”
      • SECT.  VI.  Second Comparison, drawn from the Sound of Instruments.
      • SECT.  VII.  Third Comparison, drawn from a Statue.
      • SECT.  VIII.  Fourth Comparison, drawn from a Picture.
      • SECT.  IX.  A Particular Examination of Nature.
      • SECT.  X.  Of the General Structure of the Universe.
      • SECT.  XI.  Of the Earth.
      • SECT.  XII.  Of Plants.
      • SECT.  XIII.  Of Water.
      • SECT.  XIV.  Of the Air.
      • SECT.  XV.  Of Fire.
      • SECT.  XVI.  Of Heaven.
      • SECT.  XVII.  Of the Sun.
      • SECT.  XVIII.  Of the Stars.
      • SECT.  XIX.  Of Animals, Beasts, Fowl, Birds, Fishes, Reptiles, and Insects.
      • SECT.  XX.  Admirable Order in which all the Bodies that make up the Universe are ranged.
      • SECT.  XXI.  Wonders of the Infinitely Little.
      • SECT.  XXII.  Of the Structure or Frame of the Animal.
      • SECT.  XXIII.  Of the Instinct of the Animal.
      • SECT.  XXIV.  Of Food.
      • SECT.  XXV.  Of Sleep.
      • SECT.  XXVI.  Of Generation.
      • SECT.  XXVII.  Though Beasts commit some Mistakes, yet their Instinct is, in many cases, Infallible.
      • SECT.  XXVIII.  It is impossible Beasts should have Souls.
      • SECT.  XXIX.  Sentiments of some of the Ancients concerning the Soul and Knowledge of Beasts.
      • SECT.  XXX.  Of Man.
      • SECT.  XXXI.  Of the Structure of Man’s Body.
      • SECT.  XXXII.  Of the Skin.
      • SECT.  XXXIII.  Of Veins and Arteries.
      • SECT.  XXXIV.  Of the Bones, and their Jointing.
      • SECT.  XXXV.  Of the Organs.
      • SECT.  XXXVI.  Of the Inward Parts.
      • SECT.  XXXVII.  Of the Arms and their Use.
      • SECT.  XXXVIII.  Of the Neck and Head.
      • SECT.  XXXIX.  Of the Forehead and Other Parts of the Face.
      • SECT.  XL.  Of the Tongue and Teeth.
      • SECT.  XLI.  Of the Smell, Taste, and Hearing.
      • SECT.  XLII.  Of the Proportion of Man’s Body.
      • SECT.  XLIII.  Of the Soul, which alone, among all Creatures, Thinks and Knows.
      • SECT.  XLIV.  Matter Cannot Think.
      • SECT.  XLV.  Of the Union of the Soul and Body, of which God alone can be the Author.
      • SECT.  XLVI.  The Soul has an Absolute Command over the Body.
      • SECT.  XLVII.  The Power of the Soul over the Body is not only Supreme or Absolute, but Blind at the same time.
      • SECT.  XLVIII.  The Sovereignty of the Soul over the Body principally appears in the Images imprinted in the Brain.
      • SECT.  XLIX.  Two Wonders of the Memory and Brain.
      • SECT.  L.  The Mind of Man is mixed with Greatness and Weakness.  Its Greatness consists in two things.  First, the Mind has the Idea of the Infinite.
      • SECT.  LI.  The Mind knows the Finite only by the Idea of the Infinite.
      • SECT.  LII.  Secondly, the Ideas of the Mind are Universal, Eternal, and Immutable.
      • SECT.  LIII.  Weakness of Man’s Mind.
      • SECT.  LIV.  The Ideas of Man are the Immutable Rules of his Judgment.
      • SECT.  LV.  What Man’s Reason is.
      • SECT.  LVI.  Reason is the Same in all Men, of all Ages and Countries.
      • SECT.  LVII.  Reason in Man is Independent of and above Him.
      • SECT.  LVIII.  It is the Primitive Truth, that Lights all Minds, by communicating itself to them.
      • SECT.  LIX.  It is by the Light of Primitive Truth a Man Judges whether what one says to him be True or False.
      • SECT.  LX.  The Superior Reason that resides in Man is God Himself; and whatever has been above discovered to be in Man, are evident Footsteps of the Deity.
      • SECT.  LXI.  New sensible Notices of the Deity in Man, drawn from the Knowledge he has of Unity.
      • SECT.  LXII.  The Idea of the Unity proves that there are Immaterial Substances; and that there is a Being Perfectly One, who is God.
      • SECT.  LXIII.  Dependence and Independence of Man.  His Dependence Proves the Existence of his Creator.
      • SECT.  LXIV.  Good Will cannot Proceed but from a Superior Being.
      • SECT.  LXV.  As a Superior Being is the Cause of All the Modifications of Creatures, so it is Impossible for Man’s Will to Will Good by Itself or of its own Accord.
      • SECT.  LXVI.  Of Man’s Liberty.
      • SECT.  LXVII.  Man’s Liberty Consists in that his Will by determining, Modifies Itself.
      • SECT.  LXVIII.  Will may Resist Grace, and Its Liberty is the Foundation of Merit and Demerit.
      • SECT.  LXIX.  A Character of the Deity, both in the Dependence and Independence of Man.
      • SECT.  LXX.  The Seal and Stamp of the Deity in His Works.
      • SECT.  LXXI.  Objection of the Epicureans, who Ascribe Everything to Chance, considered.
      • SECT.  LXXII.  Answer to the Objection of the Epicureans, who Ascribe all to Chance.
      • SECT.  LXXIII.  Comparison of the World with a Regular House.  A Continuation of the Answer to the Objection of the Epicureans.
      • SECT.  LXXIV.  Another Objection of the Epicureans drawn from the Eternal Motion of Atoms.
      • SECT.  LXXV.  Answers to the Objection of the Epicureans drawn from the Eternal Motion of Atoms.
      • SECT.  LXXVI.  The Epicureans confound the Works of Art with those of Nature.
      • SECT.  LXXVII.  The Epicureans take whatever they please for granted, without any Proof.
      • SECT.  LXXVIII.  The Suppositions of the Epicureans are False and Chimerical.
      • SECT.  LXXIX.  It is Falsely supposed that Motion is Essential to Bodies.
      • SECT.  LXXX.  The Rules of Motion, which the Epicureans suppose do not render it essential to Bodies.
      • SECT.  LXXXI.  To give a satisfactory Account of Motion we must recur to the First Mover.
      • SECT.  LXXXII.  No Law of Motion has its Foundation in the Essence of the Body; and most of those Laws are Arbitrary.
      • SECT.  LXXXIII.  The Epicureans can draw no Consequence from all their Suppositions, although the same should be granted them.
      • SECT.  LXXXIV.  Atoms cannot make any Compound by the Motion the Epicureans assign them.
      • SECT.  LXXXV.  The Clinamen, Declination, or Sending of Atoms is a Chimerical Notion that throws the Epicureans into a gross Contradiction.
      • SECT.  LXXXVI.  Strange Absurdity of the Epicureans, who endeavour to account for the Nature of the Soul by the Declination of Atoms.
      • SECT.  LXXXVII.  The Epicureans cast a Mist before their own Eyes by endeavouring to explain the Liberty of Man by the Declination of Atoms.
      • SECT.  LXXXVIII.  We must necessarily acknowledge the Hand of a First Cause in the Universe without inquiring why that first Cause has left Defects in it.
      • SECT.  LXXXIX.  The Defects of the Universe compared with those of a Picture.
      • SECT.  XC.  We must necessarily conclude that there is a First Being that created the Universe.
      • SECT.  XCI.  Reasons why Men do not acknowledge God in the Universe, wherein He shows Himself to them, as in a faithful glass.
      • SECT.  XCII.  A Prayer to God.
    • SECTION I.  Metaphysical Proofs of the Existence of God are not within Everybody’s reach.
    • SECT.  II.  Moral Proofs of the Existence of God are fitted to every man’s capacity.
    • SECT.  III.  Why so few Persons are attentive to the Proofs Nature affords of the Existence of God.
    • SECT.  IV.  All Nature shows the Existence of its Maker.
    • SECT.  V.  Noble Comparisons proving that Nature shows the Existence of its Maker.  First Comparison, drawn from Homer’s “Iliad.”
    • SECT.  VI.  Second Comparison, drawn from the Sound of Instruments.
    • SECT.  VII.  Third Comparison, drawn from a Statue.
    • SECT.  VIII.  Fourth Comparison, drawn from a Picture.
    • SECT.  IX.  A Particular Examination of Nature.
    • SECT.  X.  Of the General Structure of the Universe.
    • SECT.  XI.  Of the Earth.
    • SECT.  XII.  Of Plants.
    • SECT.  XIII.  Of Water.
    • SECT.  XIV.  Of the Air.
    • SECT.  XV.  Of Fire.
    • SECT.  XVI.  Of Heaven.
    • SECT.  XVII.  Of the Sun.
    • SECT.  XVIII.  Of the Stars.
    • SECT.  XIX.  Of Animals, Beasts, Fowl, Birds, Fishes, Reptiles, and Insects.
    • SECT.  XX.  Admirable Order in which all the Bodies that make up the Universe are ranged.
    • SECT.  XXI.  Wonders of the Infinitely Little.
    • SECT.  XXII.  Of the Structure or Frame of the Animal.
    • SECT.  XXIII.  Of the Instinct of the Animal.
    • SECT.  XXIV.  Of Food.
    • SECT.  XXV.  Of Sleep.
    • SECT.  XXVI.  Of Generation.
    • SECT.  XXVII.  Though Beasts commit some Mistakes, yet their Instinct is, in many cases, Infallible.
    • SECT.  XXVIII.  It is impossible Beasts should have Souls.
    • SECT.  XXIX.  Sentiments of some of the Ancients concerning the Soul and Knowledge of Beasts.
    • SECT.  XXX.  Of Man.
    • SECT.  XXXI.  Of the Structure of Man’s Body.
    • SECT.  XXXII.  Of the Skin.
    • SECT.  XXXIII.  Of Veins and Arteries.
    • SECT.  XXXIV.  Of the Bones, and their Jointing.
    • SECT.  XXXV.  Of the Organs.
    • SECT.  XXXVI.  Of the Inward Parts.
    • SECT.  XXXVII.  Of the Arms and their Use.
    • SECT.  XXXVIII.  Of the Neck and Head.
    • SECT.  XXXIX.  Of the Forehead and Other Parts of the Face.
    • SECT.  XL.  Of the Tongue and Teeth.
    • SECT.  XLI.  Of the Smell, Taste, and Hearing.
    • SECT.  XLII.  Of the Proportion of Man’s Body.
    • SECT.  XLIII.  Of the Soul, which alone, among all Creatures, Thinks and Knows.
    • SECT.  XLIV.  Matter Cannot Think.
    • SECT.  XLV.  Of the Union of the Soul and Body, of which God alone can be the Author.
    • SECT.  XLVI.  The Soul has an Absolute Command over the Body.
    • SECT.  XLVII.  The Power of the Soul over the Body is not only Supreme or Absolute, but Blind at the same time.
    • SECT.  XLVIII.  The Sovereignty of the Soul over the Body principally appears in the Images imprinted in the Brain.
    • SECT.  XLIX.  Two Wonders of the Memory and Brain.
    • SECT.  L.  The Mind of Man is mixed with Greatness and Weakness.  Its Greatness consists in two things.  First, the Mind has the Idea of the Infinite.
    • SECT.  LI.  The Mind knows the Finite only by the Idea of the Infinite.
    • SECT.  LII.  Secondly, the Ideas of the Mind are Universal, Eternal, and Immutable.
    • SECT.  LIII.  Weakness of Man’s Mind.
    • SECT.  LIV.  The Ideas of Man are the Immutable Rules of his Judgment.
    • SECT.  LV.  What Man’s Reason is.
    • SECT.  LVI.  Reason is the Same in all Men, of all Ages and Countries.
    • SECT.  LVII.  Reason in Man is Independent of and above Him.
    • SECT.  LVIII.  It is the Primitive Truth, that Lights all Minds, by communicating itself to them.
    • SECT.  LIX.  It is by the Light of Primitive Truth a Man Judges whether what one says to him be True or False.
    • SECT.  LX.  The Superior Reason that resides in Man is God Himself; and whatever has been above discovered to be in Man, are evident Footsteps of the Deity.
    • SECT.  LXI.  New sensible Notices of the Deity in Man, drawn from the Knowledge he has of Unity.
    • SECT.  LXII.  The Idea of the Unity proves that there are Immaterial Substances; and that there is a Being Perfectly One, who is God.
    • SECT.  LXIII.  Dependence and Independence of Man.  His Dependence Proves the Existence of his Creator.
    • SECT.  LXIV.  Good Will cannot Proceed but from a Superior Being.
    • SECT.  LXV.  As a Superior Being is the Cause of All the Modifications of Creatures, so it is Impossible for Man’s Will to Will Good by Itself or of its own Accord.
    • SECT.  LXVI.  Of Man’s Liberty.
    • SECT.  LXVII.  Man’s Liberty Consists in that his Will by determining, Modifies Itself.
    • SECT.  LXVIII.  Will may Resist Grace, and Its Liberty is the Foundation of Merit and Demerit.
    • SECT.  LXIX.  A Character of the Deity, both in the Dependence and Independence of Man.
    • SECT.  LXX.  The Seal and Stamp of the Deity in His Works.
    • SECT.  LXXI.  Objection of the Epicureans, who Ascribe Everything to Chance, considered.
    • SECT.  LXXII.  Answer to the Objection of the Epicureans, who Ascribe all to Chance.
    • SECT.  LXXIII.  Comparison of the World with a Regular House.  A Continuation of the Answer to the Objection of the Epicureans.
    • SECT.  LXXIV.  Another Objection of the Epicureans drawn from the Eternal Motion of Atoms.
    • SECT.  LXXV.  Answers to the Objection of the Epicureans drawn from the Eternal Motion of Atoms.
    • SECT.  LXXVI.  The Epicureans confound the Works of Art with those of Nature.
    • SECT.  LXXVII.  The Epicureans take whatever they please for granted, without any Proof.
    • SECT.  LXXVIII.  The Suppositions of the Epicureans are False and Chimerical.
    • SECT.  LXXIX.  It is Falsely supposed that Motion is Essential to Bodies.
    • SECT.  LXXX.  The Rules of Motion, which the Epicureans suppose do not render it essential to Bodies.
    • SECT.  LXXXI.  To give a satisfactory Account of Motion we must recur to the First Mover.
    • SECT.  LXXXII.  No Law of Motion has its Foundation in the Essence of the Body; and most of those Laws are Arbitrary.
    • SECT.  LXXXIII.  The Epicureans can draw no Consequence from all their Suppositions, although the same should be granted them.
    • SECT.  LXXXIV.  Atoms cannot make any Compound by the Motion the Epicureans assign them.
    • SECT.  LXXXV.  The Clinamen, Declination, or Sending of Atoms is a Chimerical Notion that throws the Epicureans into a gross Contradiction.
    • SECT.  LXXXVI.  Strange Absurdity of the Epicureans, who endeavour to account for the Nature of the Soul by the Declination of Atoms.
    • SECT.  LXXXVII.  The Epicureans cast a Mist before their own Eyes by endeavouring to explain the Liberty of Man by the Declination of Atoms.
    • SECT.  LXXXVIII.  We must necessarily acknowledge the Hand of a First Cause in the Universe without inquiring why that first Cause has left Defects in it.
    • SECT.  LXXXIX.  The Defects of the Universe compared with those of a Picture.
    • SECT.  XC.  We must necessarily conclude that there is a First Being that created the Universe.
    • SECT.  XCI.  Reasons why Men do not acknowledge God in the Universe, wherein He shows Himself to them, as in a faithful glass.
    • SECT.  XCII.  A Prayer to God.
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