Page images

the way

face when we talk to him, so we look up to heaven when we pray to God. God who is, and operateth as, the root of nature, in all the works of creation, (for in him, we live, and move, and are,) and by

of grace in all the gracious, doth operate, and is, by the works and splendor of his glory, eminently in heaven: by which glory, therefore, we must mean some created glory: for his essence hath no inequality.

Sect. 5. 2. We shall be present with the human nature of Christ, both soul and body: but here our present narrow thoughts must not too boldly presume to resolve the difficulties which, to a distinct understanding of this, should be overcome: for we must not here expect any more than a dark and general knowledge of them : as, 1. What is the formal difference between Christ's glorified body, and his flesh on earth? 2. Where Christ's glorified body is, and how far it extendeth. 3. Wherein the soul and the glorified body differ, seeing it is called a spiritual body: these things are beyond our present reach.

Sect. 6. (1.) For what conceptions can we have of a spiritual body, save that it is pure, incorruptible, invisible to mortal eyes, and filled to the most perfect state of the soul ? How near the nawre of it is to a spirit, (and so to the soul,) and how far they agree, or differ, in substance, extensiveness, divisibility, or activity, little do we know.

Sect. 7. (2.) Nor do we know where and how far Christ's body is present by extent.' The sun is commonly taken for a body, and its motive, illuminative, and calefactive beams, are, by the most prob

ble philosophy, taken to be a real emanant part of its substance, and so that it is essentially as extensive as those beams; that is, it at once filleth all our air, and toucheth the surface of the earth; and how much further it extendeth we cannot tell. And what difference there is between Christ's glorified body and the sun, in purity, splendor, extent, or excellency of nature, liule do poor mortals know: and so of the rest.

Sect. 8. Let no man, therefore, cavil, and say, 'How can a whole world of glorified bodies be all present. with the one body of Christ, when each must possess its proper room?' for, as the body of the so


lar beams, and the extensive air, are so compresent, as that none can discern the difference of the places which they possess, and a world of bodies are present with them both, so may all our bodies be with Christ's body, and that without any real confusion.

Sect. 9. ï. Besides presence with Christ, there will be such an union as we cannot now distinctly know. A political, relative union is past doubt, such as subjects have in one kingdom with their king; but little know we how much more. We see that there is a wonderful, corporeal continuity, or contact, among the material works of God; and the more spiritual, pure, and noble, the more inclination each nature hath to union. Every plant on earth hath an union with the whole earth in which it liveth; they are real parts of it. And what natural conjunction our bodies shall have to Christ's, and what influence from it, is past our knowledge. Though his similitudes in John xv. and vi., and Eph. v., and 1 Cor. xii., seem to extend far, yet being but similitudes, we cannot fully know how far.

Sect. 10. The same, variatis variandis, we may say of our union with Christ's human soul. Seeing souls are more inclinable to union than bodies, when we see all vegetables to be united parts of one earth, and yet to have each one its proper individuating form and matter, we cannot, though animals seem to walk more disjunct, imagine that there is no kind of union or conjunction of invisible souls; though they retain their several substances and forms: nor yet that our bodies shall have a nearer union with Christ's body than our souls with his soul. But the nature, manner, and measure of it, we know not.

Sect. 11. Far be it from us to think that Christ's glorified, spiritual body, is such in forms, parts, and dimensions, as his earthly body

That it hath hands, feet, brains, heart, stomach, liver, intestines, as on earth: or, that it is such a compound of earth, water, and air, as here it was, and of such confined extent: for then, as his disciples and a few Jews nly were present with him, and all the world besides were absent, and had none of his company, so it would be in heaven. But it is such as not only Paul, but all true believers in the world, from the creation to the end, shall be with Christ and see his glory: and though inequality of fitness, or degrees of holiness, will make an inequality of glory, no man can prove an Vol. II.



[ocr errors]

inequality, by local distance, from Christ; or, if such there be, for it is beyond our reach, yet none in heaven are at such a distance from him as not to enjoy the felicity of his presence.

Sect. 12. Therefore, when we dispute against them that hold transubstantiation, and the ubiquity of Christ's body, we do assuredly conclude that sense is judge, whether there be real bread and wine present, or not; but it is no judge, whether Christ's spiritual body be present or not, no more than whether an angel be present. And we conclude that Christ's body is not infinite, or immense, as is bis godhead; but what are its dimensions, limits, or extent, and where it is absent, far be it from us to determine, when we cannot tell how far the sun extendeth its secondary substance, or emanant beams; nor well what locality is as to Christ's soul, or any spirit, if to a spiritual body.

Sect. 13. Their fear is vain and carnal, who are afraid lest their union with Christ, or one another, will be too near; even lest thereby they lose their individuation, as rivers that fall into the sea, or extinguished candles, whose fire is after but a sunbeam, or part of the common element of fire in the air, or as the vegetative spirits which, in autumn, retire from the leayes into the branches and trunk of the tree. I have proved before, that our individuation, or numerical existence, ceaseth not; and that no union is to be feared, were it never so sure, which destroyeth not the being, or formal powers, or action of the soul; and that it is the great radical disease of selfishness, and want of holy love to God and our Saviour, and one another, which causeth these unreasonable fears, even that selfishness which now maketh men so partially desirous of their own wills and pleasure in comparison of God's, and their own felicity in comparison of others, and which maketh them so easily bear God's injuries, and the sufferings of a thousand others, in comparison of their own.

But he that put a great desire of the body's preservation into the soul, while it is its form, will abate that desire when the time of separation is come, because there is then no use for it till the resurrection; else it would be a torment to the soul.

Sect. 14. iji. And as we shall have union, so also communion, with the divine and human nature of Christ respectively; both as



they will be the objects of our soul's most noble and constant acts, and as they will be the fountain or communicative cause of our receptions.

Sect. 15. 1. We find now that our various faculties have various objects, suitable to their natures. The objects of sense are things sensible, and the objects of imagination things imaginable, and the objects of intellection things intelligible, and the objects of the will things amiable. The eye, which is a nobler sense than some others, hath light for its object, which, to other senses, is none : and so of the rest. Therefore we have cause to suppose, that as far as our glorified souls and our spiritual, glorified bodies will differ, so far Christ's glorified soul and body will, respectively, be their several objects; and beholding the glory of both will be part of our glory.

Sect. 16. Yet it is not hence to be gathered, that the separated soul, before the resurrection, shall not have Christ's glorified body for its object; for the objects of the body are also the objects of the soul, or, to speak more properly, the objects of sense are also the objects of intellection and will, though all the objects of the intellect and will are not objects of sense. The separated soul can know Christ's glorified body, though our present bodies cannot see a soul. But how much our spiritual bodies will excel in capacity and activity these passive bodies, that have so much earth and water, we cannot tell.

Sect. 17. And though now our souls are as a candle in a lantern, and must have extrinsic objects admitted by the senses before they can be understood, yet it followeth not that therefore a separated soul cannot know such objects : 1. Because it now knoweth them abstrac- . tively, per species, because its acts of ratiocination is compound as to the cause (soul and body). But it will then know such things intuitively, as now it can do itself, when then the lantern is cast by. 2. And whatever many of late, that have given themselves the title of ingenious, have said to the contrary, we have little reason to think that the sensitive faculty is not an essential, inseparable power of the same soul that is intellectual, and that sensation ceaseth to separated souls, however the modes of it may cease with their several uses and organs. To feel intellectually, or to understand, and will feelingly,

we have cause to think, will be the action of separated souls: and if so, why may they not have communion with Christ's body and soul, as their objects in their separated state ? 3. Besides that, we are uncertain whether the separated soul have no vehicle or body at all. Things unknown to us must not be supposed true or false. Some think that the sensitive soul is material, and, as a body to the intellectual, never separated. I am not of their opinion that make them two substances; but I cannot say I am certain that they err. Some think that the soul is material, of a purer substance than things visible, and that the common notion of its substantiality meaneth nothing else but a pure, (as they call it,) spiritual materiality. Thus thought not only Tertullian, but almost all the old Greek doctors of the church that write of it, and most of the Latin, or very many, as I have elsewhere showed, and as Faustus reciteth them in the treatise answered by Mammertus. Some think that the soul, as vegetative, is an igneous body, such as we call ether, or solar fire, or rather of a higher, purer kind ; and that sensation and intellection are those formal faculties which specifically difference it from inferior mere fire, or ether. There were few of the old doctors that thought it not some of these ways material ; and, consequently, extensive and divisible per potentiam divinam, though not naturally, or of its own inclination, because most strongly inclined to unity : and if any of all these uncertain opinions should prove true, the objections in hand will find no place. To say nothing of their conceit, who say, that as the spirit that retireth from the falling leaves in autumn, continueth to animate the tree, so man's soul may do, when departed, with that to which it is united, to ani• mate some more noble, universal body. But as all these are the too bold cogitations of men that had better let unknown things alone, so yet they may be mentioned to refel that more perilous boldness which denieth the soul's action, which is certain, upon, at best, uncertain reasons.

Sect. 18. I may boldly conclude, notwithstanding such objections, that Christ's divine and human nature, soul and body, shall be the felicitating objects of intuition and holy love to the separated soul before the resurrection; and that to be with Christ is to have such communion with him, and not only to be present where he is.

« PreviousContinue »