ePub 版
[ocr errors]

cannot without study or deliberation; that they know things by their forms, and define by specifical difference what we describe by accidents and properties; and therefore probabilities to us may be demonstra- . tions unto them : that they have knowledge not onely of the specifical, but numerical forms of individuals, and understand by what reserved difference each single Hypostasis (besides the relation to its species,) becomes its numerical self: that, as the Soul hath a power to move the body it informs, so there's a faculty to move any, though inform none : ours upon restraint of time, place, and distance; but that invisible hand that conveyed Habakkuk to the Lyons Den, or Philip to Azotus, infringeth this rule, and hath a secret conveyance, wherewith mortality is not acquainted. If they have that intuitive knowledge, whereby as in reflexion they behold the thoughts of one another, I cannot peremptorily deny but they know a great part of ours. They that, to refute the Invocation of Saints, have denied that they have any knowledge of our affairs below, have proceeded too far, and must pardon my opinion, till I can thoroughly answer that piece of Scripture, At the conversion of a sinner the Angels in Heaven rejoyce. I cannot, with those in that great Father, securely interpret the work of the first day, Fiat lux, to the creation of Angels; though I confess, there is not any creature that hath so neer a glympse of their nature as light in the Sun and Elements. We stile it a bare accident; but, where it subsists alone, 'tis a spiritual Substance, and may be an Angel : in brief, conceive light invisible, and that is a Spirit. * These are certainly the Magisterial and masterpieces of the Creator, the Flower, or (as we may say,) the best part of nothing; actually existing, what we are but in hopes and probability. We are onely that amphibious piece between a corporal and spiritual Essence, that middle form that links those two together, and makes good the Method of God and Nature, that jumps not from extreams, but unites the incompatible distances by some middle and partici

[ocr errors]

pating natures. That we are the breath and similitude of GOD, it is indisputable, and upon record of Holy Scripture ; but to call ourselves a Microcosm, or little World, I thought it only a pleasant trope of Rhetorick, ni till my neer judgement and second thoughts told me there was a real truth therein. For first we are a rude mass, and in the rank of creatures which onely are, and have a dull kind of being, not yet priviledged with life, or preferred to sense or reason; next we live the life of Plants, the life of Animals, the life of Men, and at last the life of Spirits, running on in one myssterious nature those five kinds of existences, which comprehend the creatures, not onely of the World, but of the Universe. Thus is Man that great and true Amphibiium, whose nature is disposed to live, not onely like other creatures in divers elements, but in divided and distinguished worlds: for though there be but one to sense, there are two to reason, the one visible, the other invisible; whereof Moses seems to have left description, and of the other so obscurely, that some parts thereof are yet in controversie. And truely, for the first chapters of Genesis, I must confess a great deal of obscurity; though Divines have to the power of humane reason endeavoured to make all go in a literal meaning, yet those allegorical interpretations are also probable, and perhaps the mystical method of Moses bred up in the Hieroglyphical Schools of the Egyptians.

Now for that immaterial world, methinks we need not wander so far as beyond the first moveable ; for even in this material Fabrick the Spirits walk as freely exempt from the affection of time, place, and motion, as beyond the extreamest circumference. Do but extract from the corpulency of bodies, or resolve things beyond their first matter, and you discover the habitation of Angels, which if I call the ubiquitary and omnipresent Essence of God, I hope I shall not offer.d. Divinity : for before the Creation of the World GOD was really all things. For the Angels He created no . new World, or determinate mansion, and therefore

e vening an in the person where there were

they are everywhere where is His Essence, and do live at a distance even in Himself. That God made all things for Man, is in some sense true, yet not so far as to subordinate the Creation of those purer Creatures unto ours, though as ministring Spirits they do, and are willing to fulfil the will of God in these lower and sublunary affairs of Man. God made all things for Himself, and it is impossible He should make them for any other end than His own Glory; it is all He can receive, and all that is without Himself. For, honour being an external adjunct, and in the honourer rather than in the person honoured, it was necessary to make a Creature, from whom He might receive this homage; and that is, in the other world, Angels, in this, Man; which when we neglect, we forget the very end of our Creation, and may justly provoke God, not onely to repent that He hath made the World, but that He bath sworn He would not destroy it. That there is but one World, is a conclusion of Faith : Aristotle with all his Philosophy hath not been able to prove it, and as weakly that the World was eternal. That dispute much troubled the Pen of the ancient Philosophers, but Moses decided that question, and all is salved with the new term of a Creation, that is, a production of something out of nothing. And what is that? whatsoever is opposite to something; or more exactly, that which is truely contrary unto God: for He onely is, all others have an existence with dependency, and are something but by a distinction. And herein is Divinity conformant unto Philosophy, and generation not onely founded on con. trarieties, but also creation ; God, being all things, is contrary unto nothing, out of which were made all things, and so nothing became something, and Omneity informed Nullity into an Essence.

The whole Creation is a Mystery, and particularly ti at of Man. . At the blast of His mouth were the rest of the Creatures made, and at His bare word they started out of nothing: but in the frame of Man (as the Text describes it,) He played the sensible operator, and seemed not so much to create, as make him. When He had separated the materials of other creatures, there consequently resulted a form and soul; but, having raised the walls of Man, He was driven to a second and harder creation of a substance like Himself, an incorruptible and immortal Soul. For these two affections we have the Philosophy and opinion of the Heathens, the flat affirmative of Plato, and not a negative from Aristotle. There is another scruple cast in by Divinity concerning its production, much disputed in the Germane auditories, and with that indifferency and equality of arguments, as leave the controversie undetermined. I am not of Paracelsus mind, that boldly delivers a receipt to make a man without conjunction; yet cannot but wonder at the multitude of heads that do deny traduction, having no other argument to confirm their belief then that Řhetorical sentence and Antimetathesis of Augustine, Creando infunditur, infundendo creatur. Either opinion will consist well enough with Religion : yet I should rather incline to this, did not one objection haunt me, (not wrung from speculations and subtilties, but from common sense and observation; not pickt from the leaves of any Author, but bred amongst the weeds and tares of mine own brain ;) and this is a conclusion from the equivocal and monstrous productions in the conjunction of Man with Beast: for if the Soul of man be not transmitted and transfused in the seed of the Parents, why are not those productions meerly beasts, but have also an impression and tincture of reason in as high a measure as it can evidence it self in those improper Organs? Nor, truely, can I peremptorily deny that the Soul, in this her sublunary estate, is wholly and in all acceptions inorganical ; but that for the performance of her ordinary actions there is required not onely a symmetry and proper disposition of Organs, but a Crasis and temper correspondent to its operations : yet is not this mass of flesh and visible structure the instrument and proper corps of the Soul, but rather of Sense, and that the hand of Reason. In


our study of Anatomy there is a mass of mysterious Philosophy, and such as reduced the very Heathens to Divinity: yet, amongst all those rare discoveries and curious pieces I find in the Fabrick of Man, I do not so much content myself, as in that I find not, there is no Organ or Instrument for the rational Soul; for in the brain, which we term the seat of Reason, there is not any thing of moment more than I can discover in the crany of a beast: and this is a sensible and no. inconsiderable argument of the inorganity of the Soul, . at least in that sense we usually so receive it. Thus. we are men, and we know not how: there is something in us that can be without us, and will be after us; though it is strange that it hath no history what it was before us, nor cannot tell how it entred in us...

Now, for these walls of flesh, wherein the Soul doth seem to be immured before the Resurrection, it is nothing but an elemental composition, and a Fabrick that must fall to ashes. All flesh is grass, is not onely metaphorically, but litterally, true; for all those creatures we behold are but the herbs of the field, digested into flesh in them, or more remotely carnified in our selves. Nay further, we are what we all abhor, Anthropophagi and Cannibals, devourers not onely of men, but of our selves; and that not in an allegory, but a positive truth; for all this mass of flesh which we behold, came in at our mouths; this frame we look upon, hath been upon our trenchers; in brief, we have devour'd our selves. I cannot believe the wisdom of Pythagoras did ever positively, and in a literal sense, affirm his Metempsychosis, or impossible transmigration of the Souls of men into beasts. Of all Metamorphoses or transmigrations, I believe only one, that is of Lots wife; for that of Nebuchodonosor proceeded not so far: in all others I conceive there is no further verity than is contained in their implicite sense and morality, I believe that the whole frame of a beast doth perish, and is left in the same state after death as before it was materialled unto life: that the Souls of men know

« 上一頁繼續 »