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Answ. 1. My supposition is but the objectors': for if they confess that spirits are substances, (as cannot with reason be denied; for they that specify their operations by motion only, yet suppose a pure proper substance to be the substance or thing moved,) then when they talk of many souls becoming one, it inust be by conjunction, and increase of the substance of that one : or when they say, that they were always one, they will confess withal that they now differ in number, as individuate in the body. And who will say, that millions of millions are no more than one of all those millions? Number is a sort of quantity; and all souls in the world are more than Cain's or Abel's only; one feeleth not what another feeleth; one knoweth not what another knoweth. And indeed, though souls have not such corporeal extension, as passive, gross, bodily matter hath, yet, as they are more noble, they have a more noble sort of extension, quantity, or degrees, according to which all mankind conceive of all the spiritual substance of the universe ; yea, all the angels, or all the souls on earth, as being more, and having more substance than one man's soul alone. 2. And the fathers, for the most part, especially the Greeks, (yea, and the second council of Nice,) thought that spirits created, had a purer sort of material being, which Tertullian called a body; and doubtless, all created spirits have somewhat of passiveness; for they do recipere vel pati from the divine influx; only God is wholly impassive. We are moved when we move, and acted when we act; and it is hard to conceive, that (when matter is commonly called passive) that which is passive should have no sort of matter in a large sense taken ; and if it had any parts distinguishable, they are by God divisible. 3. But if the contrary be supposed, that all souls are no more than one, and so that there is no place for uniting or partition, there is no place then for the objection of all souls becoming one, and of losing individuation, unless they mean by annihilation.
Sect. 53. But that God who (as is said) delighteth both in the union, and yet in the wonderful multiplicity of creatures, and will not make all stars to be only one ; though fire have a most uniting or aggregative inclination, hath further given experimental notice that there is individuation in the other world as well as here, even innumerable angels and devils, and not one only: as apparitions and witches, and many other evidences prove, of which more anon. So that, all things considered, there is no reason to fear that the souls shall lose their individuation or activity, (though they change their manner of action,) any more than their being or formal power : and so it is naturally certain that they are immortal.
Sect. 54. And if holy souls are so far immortal, I need not prove that they will be immortally happy; for their holiness will infer it; and few will ever dream that it shall there go ill with them that are good, and that the most just and holy God will not use those well whom he maketh holy.
Sect. 1. ii. That holy souls shall be hereafter happy, seemeth to be one of the common notices of nature planted in the consciences of mankind; and it is therefore acknowledged by the generality of the world that freely use their understandings. Most, yea almost all the heathen nations at this day believe it, besides the Mahometans; and it is the most barbarous cannibals and Brazilians that do not, whose understandings have had the least improvement, and who have rather an inconsiderate nescience of it, than a denying opposition. And though some philosophers denied it, they were a small and contemned party : and though many of the rest were somewhat dubious, it was only a certainty which they professed to want, and not a probability or opinion that it was true; and both the vulgar and the deep-studied men believed it, and those that questioned it were the half-studied philosophers, who, not resting in the natural notice, nor yet reaching full intellectual evidence of it by discourse, had found out matter of difficulty to puzzle them, and came not to that degree of wisdom as would have resolved them.
Sect. 2. And even among apostates from Christianity, most, or many still acknowledge the soul's immortality, and the felicity and reward of holy souls, to be of the common notices, known by nature to mankind. Julian was so much persuaded of it, that, on that account he exhorteth his priests and subjects to great strictness and holiness of life, and to see that the Christian did not exceed them : and, among us, the Lord Herbert de Veritate, and many others that seem not to believe our supernatural revelations of Christianity, do fully acknowledge it. Besides, those philosophers who most opposed Christianity, as Porphyrius, Maximus Tyrius, and such others.
Sect. 3. And we find that this notice hath so deep a root in nature, that few of those that study and labor themselves into bestiality (or sadducism) are able to excuse the fears of future misery, but conscience overcometh, or troubleth them much at least, when they have done the worst they can against it. And whence should all this be in man and not in beast, if man had no further reason of hopes and fears than they? Are a few Sadducees wiser by their forced or crude conceits, than all the world that are taught by nature itself.
Sect. 1. III. If the God of nature have made it every man's certain duty to make it his chief care and work in this life, to seek for happiness hereafter, then such a happiness there is for them that truly seek it. But the antecedent is certain, as I have elsewhere proved. Ergo, &c.
Sect. 2. As to the antecedent. The world is made up of three sorts of men, as to the belief of future retribution, 1. Such as take it for a certain truth; such are Christians, Mahometans, and most heathens. 2. Such as take it for uncertain, but most probable or likeliest to be true. 3. Such as take it for uncertain, but rather think it untrue. For as none can be certain that it is false, which indeed is true, so I never yet met with one that would say he was certain that it was false : so that I need not trouble you with the mention of any other party or opinion ; but if any should say so, it is easy to prove that he speaketh falsely of himself.
Sect. 3. And that it is the duty of all these, but especially of the two former sorts, to make it their chief care and work to seek their happiness in the life to come, is easily proved thus : natural reason requireth every man to seek that which is best for himself, with the greatest diligence; but natural reason saith that probability or possibility of the future everlasting happiness is better and more worthy to be sought, than any thing attainable in this present life (which doth not suppose it.) Ergo, &c.
Sect. 4. The major is past doubt. Good and felicity being necessarily desired by the will of man, that which is best, and known so to be, must be most desired.
And the minor should be as far past doubt to men that use not their sense against their reason. For, 1. In this life there is nothing cerVol. II.
tain to be continued one hour. 2. It is certain that all will quickly end, and that the longest life is short. 3. It is certain that time and pleasure past are nothing, properly nothing; and so no better to us than if they had never been. 4. And it is certain that, while we possess them, they are poor, unsatisfactory things, the pleasure of the fesh being no sweeter to a man than to a beast, and the trouble that accompanieth it much more. Beasts have not the cares, fears, and sorrows, upon foresight, which man hath. They sear not death upon the foreknowledge of it, nor fear any misery after death, nor are put upon any labor, sufferings, or trials, to obtain a future happiness, or avoid a future misery. All which considered, he speaketh not by reason, who saith this vain, vexatious life is better than the possibility or probability of the everlasting glory.
Sect. 5. Now as to the consequence, or major of the first argument, it is evident of itself, from God's perfection, and the nature of his works. God maketh it not man’s natural duty to lay out his chief care and labor of all his life, on that which is not, or to seek that which man was never made to attain : for then, 1. All his duty should result from mere deceit and falsehood, and God should govern all the world by a lie, which cannot be his part who wanteth neither power, wisdom, nor love, to rule them by truth and righteousness, and who hath printed his image both on his laws and on his servants; in which laws lying is condemned, and the better any man is, the more he hateth it; and liars are loathed by all mankind. 2. And then the better any man is, and the more he doth his duty, the more deluded, erroneous, and miserable should he be. For he should spend that care and labor of his life upon deceit, for that which he shall never have, and so should lose his time and labor : and he should deny bis flesh those temporal pleasures which bad men take, and suffer persecutions and injuries from the wicked, and all for nothing, and on mistake : and the more wicked, or more unbelieving, any man is, the wiser and happier should he be, as being in the right, when he denieth the life to come, and all duty and labor in seeking it, or in avoiding future punishment; and while he taketh his utmost pleasure here, he hath all that man was made for. · But all this is utterly unsuitable to God's perfection, and to his other works : for he maketh nothing
in vain, nor can he lie, much less will he make holiness itself, and all that duty and work of life which reason itself obligeth all men, to be not only in vain but hurtful to them. But of this argument I have been elsewhere larger.
Sect. 1. IV. Man differeth so much from brutes in the knowledge of God, and of his future possibilities, that it proveth that he differeth as much in his capacity and certain hopes. I. As to the antecedent, man knoweth that there is a God by his works. He knoweth that this God is our absolute Lord, our ruler and our end. He knoweth that, naturally, we owe him all our love and obedience. He knoweth that good men use not to let their most faithful servants be losers by their fidelity ; nor do they use to set them to labor in vain. He knoweth that man's soul is immortal, or, at least, that it is far more probable that it is so; and therefore that it must accordingly be well or ill forever, and that this should be most cared for. 2. And why should God give him all this knowledge more than to the brutes, if he were made for no more enjoyment than the brutes, of what he knoweth. Every wise man maketh his work fit for the use that he intendeth it to: and will not God? So that the consequence also is proved from the divine perfection; and if God were not perfect, he were not God. The denial of a God, therefore, is the result of the denial of man's future hopes.
Sect. 2. And, indeed, though it be but an analogical reason that brutes have, those men seem to be in the right who place the difference between man and brutes more in the objects, tendency, and work of our reason, than in our reason itself as such, and so make animal religiosum to be more of his description than animal rationale. About their own low concerns, a fox, a dog, yea, an ass, and a goose, have such actions as we know not well how to ascribe to any thing below some kind of reasoning, or a perception of the same importance. But they think not of God, and his government, and laws, nor of obeying, trusting, or loving him, nor of the hopes or fears of another life, nor of the joyful prospect of it. These are that work that man was made for, which is the chief difference from the brutes : and shall we unman ourselves?