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CHAPTER 3: On the Divine Virtues Concerned with Understanding - Francis Hutcheson, Logic, Metaphysics, and the Natural Sociability of Mankind 
Logic, Metaphysics, and the Natural Sociability of Mankind, ed. James Moore and Michael Silverthorne, texts translated from the Latin by Michael Silverthorne, introduction by James Moore (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2006).
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On the Divine Virtues Concerned with Understanding
God living and omnipotent
When we speak of the living God, we mean by this that he understands and perceives all things, and moves and rules them by his own efficacious will. In no other sense is he to be called the soul of the world.1 For God is not affected with a pleasing or displeasing sense against his will as a result of the motions of matter, as men’s minds are often affected by the motions of their bodies. Further, since the divine nature is fully active and at the same time absolute with every perfection, we cannot doubt that God can effect whatever he has willed; all things are possible to him, as we defined “possible” in our Ontology.2
Wise and omniscient
That God is most wise and does not act by blind impulse is shown by the intelligent structure of the whole universe, and by the reason and prudence with which men are endowed; these must necessarily be more perfect in men’s progenitor.
The divine ideas which are prior to every external thing could not have been aroused either by an external exemplar or by a superior nature; and since all things have been made on their pattern, they adequately represent all things. Therefore we do not ascribe to God sensations and images or any inadequate ideas. And it is not credible that God himself once of his own will fashioned in his own mind, which had been ignorant at first of all finite things, the first ideas of all things, as obscure adumbrations of his virtues. For if from the first God himself and all his virtues had been clearly known to him, he would from the first also have known all the other things with which his wisdom, power, and goodness would one day be concerned. This receives rich confirmation from the fact that all notions, apart from the general notion of being itself, include in themselves some relation to other things, or something relative; hence the actual ideas of the divine virtues could not have been full and distinct in God unless ideas of other things had also been present. This is the probable answer to this difficult question.
Little excellence would be found in ideas alone, if there were not also in them a knowledge or full perception of all the relationships and connections which hold between them. Hence we should attribute another operation of the mind to God, which logicians call judgment, or infinite knowledge: knowledge free from all doubt, error, ignorance, and forgetfulness, and from the laborious progress of inference from things known to things unknown, knowledge which extends to all things.
The knowledge of simple intelligence
The scholastics apply a twofold knowledge to God, namely, the knowledge of simple intelligence and the knowledge of vision.3 By the former God is thought to view all abstract truths as well as his own nature and necessary virtues; these are all those things which they do not wish even the will of God to be the cause of, since among the eternal ideas themselves in the mind of God are the necessary relations and immutable connections which are expressed in these eternal and abstract truths. No one can conceive that these truths could be otherwise, or that the nature of things could be so changed that such propositions could become false.
The knowledge of vision
By the knowledge of vision God is thought to have foreknown from the first all absolute truths about the existences of all things and any changes which may happen to them, that is, the changes which are considered to depend on his decree that governs all things. All these things, therefore, God is thought to perceive not in their effects but in his own efficacious intention.
No place for mediate knowledge
Anyone who ascribes this twofold knowledge to God and holds that both kinds of knowledge extend to all things, will leave no room for the other kind of knowledge which they call mediate knowledge, by which ex hypothesi God foresees what men will do.4 Different views of divine knowledge correspond with different views of liberty. There is no dispute about events which depend on natural and necessary causes. The dispute is about free causes. Those who adopt the Stoic view of liberty hold that when all the agents’ characters whether natural or artificial are thoroughly understood, and all the allurements and enticements are known which attract an agent toward one action rather than another, and all the support available to the agent is revealed, a sure foundation has been laid for divine foreknowledge to rest upon; and that foundation has been laid by God himself, who shaped all these things by his own decree. They will not grant that the supreme excellence of God allows one to say that divine knowledge may be said to increase gradually by fresh observation of events or that God may be said to make uncertain conjectures about future things.
The various views of the Peripatetics
Those who hold a contrary view about liberty think that this Stoic doctrine about foreknowledge and decrees, in decreeing and foreseeing evil actions as well [as good], is not consistent with the holiness and justice of God, and leaves no room for virtue or vice. There will be another opportunity, when we come to the divine operations, to discuss the reconciliation of divine holiness with a sure foreknowledge and decree of all events.5 And we have already spoken above of virtue and vice in actions certainly foreseen.6 Fairness itself, however, requires us to point out that the supporters of the Peripatetic position on liberty by no means deny to God a providence that extends to all things; and not all of them deny certain foreknowledge of all things. For some of them attribute also to man an indifferent liberty of turning himself in any direction, despite any attractions, and at the same time ascribe to God a sure foreknowledge of all actions from eternity: which indeed seems to us a completely inconsistent position. Others, in asserting this liberty in men, sharply deny that free actions have been certainly foreseen; they maintain that this is impossible, and that we no more detract from divine omniscience by denying it than we detract from divine omnipotence by denying that God can bring about the impossible. In any case, however, both sides hold that God has foreseen most things from certain causes, and that he has determined in himself from the beginning that as he is always present and aware of his own omnipotence, he will rule and govern all things by constantly interposing his power, and that he has always kept in view how far and in what directions men’s freedom might stray and how easily he could check it.7
Since the supporters of contrary positions on this difficult question seem to be motivated by so much piety and such scrupulous care not to derogate from the virtues of God in any way, they should abstain from curses, insults, angry assertions, and personal resentment, and not hurl abuse at each other; this is unworthy of philosophy.]8
[1 ]The characterization of God as “the soul of the world” had become particularly controversial in the early eighteenth century because of the identification of this Platonic and Stoic idea with the philosophy of Spinoza. See, for example, Bayle’s Dictionary article “Spinoza,” remark A: “He was a systematical Atheist, and upon a scheme intirely new, though the ground of his doctrine was the same with that of several other Philosophers, both ancient and modern. … The doctrine of the soul of the world, which was so common among the ancients, and which made a principal part of the system of the Stoics, is at the bottom that of Spinoza.” Vol. 9, pp. 347, 351. See also Leibniz’s second letter to Clarke: “Will they say that [God] is Intelligentia Mundana; that is, the Soul of the World ? I hope not. However, they will do well to take care not to fall into that Notion unawares.” The Works of Samuel Clarke, vol. 4, p. 595.
[2 ]Hutcheson’s note (1749): “Part I, Chapter 1, Section 4.” See p. 70.
[3 ]The distinction between knowledge of simple intelligence and knowledge of vision is found in the writings of Reformed scholastics. See Heinrich Heppe, Reformed Dogmatics, pp. 74-75; de Vries, Determinationes Ontologicae, pp. 68-69; and Carmichael, Natural Rights, pp. 259-61.
[4 ]The doctrine of mediate knowledge was rejected by the Reformed as Jesuitical and Pelagian. See Heppe, Reformed Dogmatics, p. 78, quoting Voetius: “The Jesuits thought out scientia media, which to this day is the refuge of all Pelagianisers.” See also Carmichael, Natural Rights, pp. 261-62.
[5 ]Hutcheson’s note (1749): “Part III, final chapter, Section 4.” See pp. 183-84.
[6 ]Hutcheson’s note (1749): “Part II, Chapter 2, Section 3.” See pp. 129-32.
[7 ]See the introduction, p. xxv.
[8 ]The paragraphs between brackets were added in 1744.