« PreviousContinue »
into ? how should it loose its formal power? Not by nature ; for its nature hath nothing that tendeth to deterioration, or decay, or selfdestruction. The sun doth not decay by its wonderful motion, light, and heat: and why should spirits ? Not by God's destroying them, or changing their nature : for, though all things are in constant motion or revolution, he continueth the natures of the simple beings, and showeth us, that he delighteth in a constancy of operations, insomuch that, hence, Aristotle thought the world eternal. And God hath made no law that threateneth to do it as a penalty. Therefore, to dream that intellectual spirits shall be turned into other things, and lose their essential, formal powers, which specify them, is without and against all sober reason. Let them first but prove that the sun loseth motion, light, and heat, and is turned into air, or water, or earth. Such changes are beyond a rational fear.
Sect. 29. 6. But some men dream that souls shall sleep, and cease their acts, though they lose not their powers. But this is more unreasonable than the former. For it must be remembered that it is not a mere obediential, passive power that we speak of; but an active power consisting in as great an inclination to act, as passive natures have to forbear action. So that if such a nature act not, it must be because its natural inclination is hindered by a stronger : and who shall hinder it?
(1.) God would not continue an active power, force, and inclination in nature, and forcibly hinder the operation of that nature which he himself continueth ; unless penally for some special cause; which he never gave us any notice of by any threatening, but the contrary.
(2.) Objects will not be wanting, for all the world will be still at hand, and God above all. It is, therefore, an unreasonable conceit to think that God will continue an active, vital, intellective, volitive nature, form, power, force, inclination, in a noble substance, which shall use none of these for many hundred or thousand years, and so continue them in vain.
Nay, (3.) It is rather to be thought that some action is their constant state, without which the cessation of their very form would be inferred.
Sec. 30. But all that can be said with reason is, that separated souls, and souls hereafter in spiritual bodies, will have actions of another mode, and very different from these that we now perceive in flesh: and be it so. They will yet be, radically, of the same kind, and they will be formally or eminently such as we now call, vitality, intellection, and volition; and they will be no lower or less excellent, if not far more; and then what the difference will be, Christ knoweth, whom I trust, and in season I shall know. But to talk of a dead life, and an unactive activity, or a sleeping soul, is fitter for a sleeping than a waking man.
Sec. 31. It is true that diseases or hurts do now hinder the soul's intellectual perceptions in the body, and in infancy and sleep they are imperfect. Which proveth, indeed, that the acts, commonly called intellection and volition, have now something in them also of sensation, and that sensitive operations are diversified by the organs of the several senses. And that bare intellection and volition, without any sensation is now scarce to be observed in us, though the soul may have such acts intrinsically, and in its profundity. For it is now so united to this body, that it acteth on it as our forin ; and, indeed, the acts observed by us cannot be denied to be such as are specified, or modified, at least, by the agents, and the recipients, and sub-agents' parts conjunct. But, 1. As the sun would do the same thing ex parte sui, if in vacuo only it sent forth its beams, though this were no illumination, or calefaction, because there were no recipient to be illuminated and heated by it. And it would lose nothing by the want of objects; so the soul, had it no body to act on, would have its profound immanent acts of self-living, self-perceiving, and self-loving; and all its external acts on other objects, which need not organs of sense for their approximation. And, 2. Its sensitive faculty is itself, or such as it is not separated from, though the particular sorts of sensation
be altered with their uses: and therefore it may still act on or with the sense : and if one way of sensation be hindered, it hath another. 3. And how far this lantern of flesh doth help, or hinder, its operations, we know not yet, but shall know hereafter. Sondius de Orig. Anima, (though an heretical writer), hath said much to prove that the body is a hindrance, and not a help, to the
soul's intuition. And if ratiocination be a compound act, yet intuition may be done for ever by the soul alone. 4. But as we are not to judge what powers the soul hath when the acts are hindered, but when they are done; nor what souls were made by God for, by their state in the womb, or infancy, or diseases, but by our ordinary, mature state of life; so we have little reason to think that the same God who made them for life, intellection, and volitions here, will not continue the same powers to the same, or as noble uses hereafter, whether with organs, or without, as pleaseth him. If in this flesh our spirits were not inactive and useless, we have no reason to think that they will be so hereafter, and that for ever.
Sect. 32. This greatest and hardest of all objections, doth make us confess (with Contarenus, contra Pomponatium de Anim. Immortalit.,) that though by the light of nature, we may know the immortality of souls, (and that they lose not their powers or activity,) yet, without supernatural light, we know not what manner of action they will have in their separated state, or in another world, because here they act according to objective termination, and the receptivity of the sense and fantasy, and recipitur ad modum recipientis; and in the womb we perceive not that it acteth intellectually at all.
But we know, That, 1. If even then it differed not in its formal power from the souls of brutes, it would not so much afterward difser in act: and it would never be raised to that which was not virtu-ally in its nature at the first. 2. And we find that even very little children have quick and strong knowledge of such objects as are brought within their reach; and that their ignorance is not for want of an intellectual power, but for want of objects, or images of things, which time, and use, and conversation among objects, must furnish their fantasies and memories with. And so a soul in the womb, or in an apoplexy, hath not objects of intellection within its reach to act upon; but is as the sun to a room that hath no windows to let in its light. 3. And what if its profound vitality, self-perception, and self-love, be by a kind of sensation and intuition, rather than by discursive reason : 1 doubt not but some late philosophers make snares to themselves and others, by too much vilifying sense and sensitive souls, as is sense were but some loseable accident of contempered atoms : but sensation
(though diversified by organs and uses, and so far mutable) is the act of a noble, spiritual form and virtue. And as Chambre, and some others, make brutes a lower rank of rationals, and man another higher species, as having his nobler reason for higher ends; so for man to be the noblest order (here) of sensitives, and to have an intellect to order, and govern sensations, and connect them and improve them, were a noble work, if we had no higher. And if intellection and volition were but a higher species of internal sensation than imagination, and the fantasy and memory are, it might yet be a height that should set man specifically above the brutes. And I am daily more and more persuaded, that intellectual souls are essentially sensitive and more, and that their sensation never ceaseth. 4. And still I say, that it is to nature itself a thing unlikely, that the God of nature will long continue a soul that hath formally or naturally an intellective power, in a state in which it shall have no use of it. Let others that will inquire whether it shall have a vehicle or none to act in, and whether aërial, or igneous, and ethereal, and whether it be really an intellectual sort of fire, as material as the solar fire, whose (not compounding, but) inadequaté-conceptus objectivi are, an igneous substance, and formal virtue of life, sense, and intellection, with other such puzzling doubts; it satisfieth me, that God will not continue its nobler powers in vain; and how they shall be exercised, is known to him; and that God's word tells us more than nature. And withal, lise, intuition, and love (or volition) are acts so natural to the soul, (as motion light and heat, quoad actum to fire) that I cannot conceive how its separation should hinder them, but rather that its incorporation hindereth the two latter, by hiding objects, whatever be said of abstractive knowledge and memory.
Sect. 33. 7. But the greatest difficulty to natural knowledge is, whether souls will continue their individuation, or rather fall into one common soul, or return so to God that gave them, as to be no more divers (or many) individuals as now; as extinguished candles are united to the illuminated air, or to the sunbeams; but of this I have elsewhere said much for others; and for myself, I find I need but this: 1. That, as I said before, either souls are partible substances or not; if not partible, how are they unible? If many may be made
one, by conjunction of substances, then that one may (by God) be made many again by partition. Either all (or many) souls are now but one, (individuate only by matter, as many gulfs in the sea, or many candles lighted by the sun) or not; if they are not one now in several bodies, what reason have we to think that they will be one hereafter, any more than now? Augustine (de Anim.) was put on the question, 1. Whether souls are one, and not many. And that he utterly denieth. 2. Whether they are many, and not one. And that it seemeth he could not digest. 3. Whether they were at once both one and many.
Which he thought would seem to some ridiculous, but he seemeth most to incline to. And as God is the God of nature, so nature (even of the devils themselves) dependeth on him, as I said, more than the leaves or fruit do on the tree; and we are all his offspring, and live, and move, and are in him. (Act. xvii.) But we are certain for all this, 1. That we are not God. 2. That we are yet many individuals, and not all one soul, or man. union should be as near as the leaves and fruit on the same tree, yet those leaves and fruit are numerous, and individual leaves and fruits, through parts of the tree. And were this proved of our present or future state, it would not alter our hopes or fears; for as now, though we all live, move, and be in God, (and, as some dream, are parts of a common soul,) yet it is certain, that some are better and happier than others; some wise and good; and some foolish and evil; some in pain and misery; and some at ease, and in pleasure; and (as I said) it is now no ease to the miserable, to be told that, radically, all souls are one ; no more will it be hereafter, nor can men reasonably hope for, or fear such an union, as shall make their state the same. We see in nature, (as I have elsewhere said,) that if you graft many sorts of scions, (some sweet, some bitter, some crabs,) on the same stock, they will be one tree, and yet have diversity of fruit. If souls be not unible, nor partible substances, there is no place for this doubt: if they be, they will be still what they are, notwithstanding any such union with a common soul. As a drop of water in the sea is a separable part, and still itself; and as a crab upon the foresaid stock, or tree. And the good or bad quality ceaseth not by any union with others.