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Into the history of atomism Cudworth plunges with vast erudition.
It is, in its purely physical application, a theory that he fully accepts ; he holds that it was taught by Pythagoras, Empedocles, and in fact, nearly all the ancient philosophers, and was only perverted to atheism by Democritus.
It was first invented, he believes, before the Trojan war, by a Sidonian thinker named Moschus or Mochus, who is identical with the Moses of the Old Testament.
In dealing with atheism Cudworth's method is to marshal the atheistic arguments elaborately, so elaborately that Dryden remarked " he has raised such objections against the being of a God and Providence that many think he has not answered them "; then in his last chapter, which by itself is as long as an ordinary treatise, he confutes them with all the reasons that his reading could supply.
A subordinate matter in the book that attracted much attention at the time is the conception of the " Plastic Medium ," which is a mere revival of Plato's " World-Soul ," and is meant to explain the existence and laws of nature without referring all to the direct operation of God.
It occasioned a long-drawn controversy between Pierre Bayle and Le Clerc, the former maintaining, the latter denying, that the Plastic Medium is really favourable to atheism.

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