There has existed from eternity some one unchangeable and independent being. For since something must needs have been from eternity; as hath been already proved, and is granted on all hands; either there has always existed one unchangeable and independent Being, from which all other beings that are or ever were in the universe, have received their original; or else there has been an infinite succession of changeable and dependent beings, produced one from another in an endless progression, without any original cause at all: which latter supposition is so very absurd, that tho' all atheism must in its account of most things (as shall be shown hereafter) terminate in it, yet I think very few atheists ever were so weak as openly and directly to defend it. For it is plainly impossible and contradictory to itself. I shall not argue against it from the supposed impossibility of infinite succession, barely and absolutely considered in itself; for a reason which shall be mentioned hereafter: but, if we consider such an infinite progression, as one entire endless series of dependent beings; 'tis plain this whole series of beings can have no cause from without, of its existence; because in it are supposed to be included all things that are or ever were in the universe: and 'tis plain it can have no reason within itself, of its existence; because no one being in this infinite succession is supposed to be self-existent or necessary (which is the only ground or reason of existence of any thing, that can be imagined within the thing itself, as will presently more fully appear), but every one dependent on the foregoing: and where no part is necessary, ’tis manifest the whole cannot be necessary; absolute necessity of existence, not being an outward, relative, and accidental determination; but an inward and essential property of the nature of the thing which so exists. An infinite succession therefore of merely dependent beings, without any original independent cause; is a series of beings, that has neither necessity nor cause, nor any reason at all of its existence, neither within itself nor from without: that is, 'tis an express contradiction and impossibility; 'tis a supposing something to be caused, (because ifs granted in every one of its stages of succession, not to be necessary and from itself); and yet that in the whole it is caused absolutely by nothing: Which every man knows is a contradiction to be done in time; and because duration in this case makes no difference, 'tis equally a contradiction to suppose it done from eternity: And consequently there must on the contrary, of necessity have existed from eternity, some one immutable and independent Being: Which, what it is, remains in the next place to be inquired.