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must excite us, and it will take off part of our | make us happy: and when lust and appetite in, necessary end : and I think the objectors will cline men strongly and constantly to their several confess, that if they have no certainty what God objects, what shall sufficiently restrain them, ex. will do with them, they must have some proba- cept the greater and more durable delights or bility and hope, before they can be sincerely motives drawn from divine things ? Lust and devoted here to please him.
appetite distinguish not between lawful and unIf a man be but uncertain what he should lawful. We may see in the brutish politics of make the end of his life, or what he should live Benedictus Spinosa, * whither the principles of for, how can he pitch upon an uncertain end ? infidelity tend. If sin so overspreads the earth, And if he waver so as to have no end, he can that the whole world is as drowned in wicked. use no means: and if end and means be all laidness, notwithstanding all the hopes and fears of by, the man lives not as a man, but as a brute. a life to come, what would it do were there no What a torment must it be to a considerate mind such hopes and fears ? to be uncertain what to intend and do in all the No mercy can be truly known and estimated, tenor and actions of his life? Like a man going nor rightly used and improved by him that sees out at his door, not knowing whither, or what to not its tendency to the end, and perceives not that do, or which way to go; either he will stand it leads to a better life, and uses it not thereunto. still, or move as brutes do by present sense, or God deals more bountifully with us than world, a windmill or weather-cock, as he is moved. lings understand : he gives us all the mercies of
But if he pitch upon a wrong end, it may this life, as helps to an immortal state of glory, yet be worse than none; for he will but do and as earnests of it. Sensualists know not hurt, or make work for repentance: and all the what a soul is, nor what soul-mercies are ; and actions of his life must be formally wrong, how therefore not what the soul of all bodily mercies good soever materially, if the end of them be are: but take up only with the shadow. If the wrong
king would give me a lordship, and send me a If I fetch them not from this end, and horse or coach to carry me to it, and I should believe not in God as a rewarder of his servants, only ride about the fields for my pleasure, and in a better life, what motives shall I have, which make no other use of it, should I not undervalue in our present difficulties, will be sufficient to and lose the principal benefit of my horse or cause me to live a holy, yea, or a truly honest coach ? No wonder if unbelievers be unthankful, life ? All piety and honesty indeed is good, and when they know not at all that part of God's goodness is desirable for itself: but the goodness mercies which is the life and real excellency of of a means, is its aptitude for the end ; and we them. have here abundance of impediments, competi
Alas! How should I bear with comfort tors, diversions and temptations, and difficulties the sufferings of this wretched life, without the of many sorts; and all these must be overcome hopes of a life with Christ? What should support by him that will live in piety or honesty. Our and comfort me under my bodily languishings natures, we find, are diseased, and greatly indis- and pains, my weary hours, and my daily exposed to unquestionable duties ; and will they perience of the vanity and vexation of all things ever discharge them, and conquer all these difi- under the sun, had I not a prospect of a comculties and temptations, if the necessary motive fortable end of all ? I that have lived in the be not believed ? Duty to God and man is acci- midst of great and precious mercies, have all my dentally hard and costly to the flesh, though life had something to do, to overcome the tempamiable in itself: it may cost us our estates, our tation of wishing that I had never been born, liberties and lives. The world is not so happy and had never overcome it, but by the belief of a as commonly to know good men from bad, or to blessed life hereafter. Solomon's sense of vanity encourage piety and virtue, or to forbear oppos- and vexation, has long made all the business, ing them. Who will let go his present welfare, wealth, honour, and pleasure of this world, as without some hope of better as a reward ? Men such, appear such a dream and shadow to me, use not to serve God for nought; nor that think that were it not for the end, I could not have it will be their loss to serve him.
much distinguished men's sleeping and their A life of sin will not be avoided upon lower waking thoughts, nor have much more valued ends and inotives : nay, those lower ends, when the waking than the sleeping part of life, but alone, will be a constant sin themselves : a pre- should have thought it a kind of happiness to ferring vanity to glory, the creature to God, have slept from the birth unto the death. Chiland a setting our heart on that which will never
* Tractat. Theolog. Polit.
dren cry when they come into the world : and I knows how soon a temptation from satan, or inam often sorry when I am awakened out of a fidels, or our own dark hearts, may assault us, quiet sleep, especially to the business of an un- which will not, without such evidence and requiet day. We should be strongly tempted in solving light, be overcome ? Yet many that try, our considering state, to murmur at our Creator, reason, and dispute most, have not the strongest, as dealing much harder by us than by the brutes : or most powerful faith. if we must have had all those cares, griefs, and My thoughts of this have had this issue. fears, by the knowledge of what we want, and There is a great difference between that light the prospect of death, and future evils, which which shows us the thing itself, and that artifithey are exempted from, and had not withal had cial skill by which we have right notions, names, the hopes of a future felicity to support us. Seneca definitions, and formed arguments, and answers and his stoics had no better argument to silence to objections. This artificial, logical, organical, such murmurers, who believed not a better life, kind of knowledge is good and useful in its kind, than to tell them, that if this life had more evil if right; like speech itself : but he that hath than good, and they thought God did them much of this, may have little of the former : unwrong, they might remedy themselves by end- learned persons that have little of this, may have ing it when they would: but that would not more of the former, and may have those inward cure the repinings of a nature, which found it- perceptions of the vanity of the promises and self necessarily weary of the miseries of life, and rewards of God, which they cannot bring forth yet afraid of dying. It is no great wonder that into artificial reasonings to themselves or others; many thought that pre-existent souls were put who are taught of God by the effective sort of into these bodies as a punishment of something teaching, which reaches the heart or will, as well done in a former life, while they foresaw not the as the understanding, and is a giving of what is hoped end of all our fears and sorrows. O how taught, and a making us such as we are told we contemptible a thing is man !' saith the same Se- must be. Who finds not need to pray hard for neca, “ unless he lift up himself above human this effective teaching of God, when he hath got things. Therefore, saith Solomon, when he had all organical knowledge, words and arguments glutted himself with all temporal pleasures, I in themselves most apt, at his finger ends, as we hated life, because the work that is wrought say? When I can prove the truth of the word under the sun, is grievous to me: for all is van- of God, and the life to come, with the most conity and vexation of spirit.'
vincing, undeniable reasons, I feel need to cry I have often thought whether an implicit and pray daily to God to increase my faith, and belief of a future happiness, without any search to give me that light which may satisfy the soul, into its nature, and thinking of any thing that and reach the end. can be said against it, or the searching, try- Yet man being a rational creature, is not ing way, be better. On the one side, I have taught by mere instinct and inspiration : thereknown many godly women that never disputed fore this effective teaching of God doth or the matter, but served God comfortably to a very dinarily suppose a rational, objective, organical old age, (between 80 and 100) to have lived teaching and knowledge. The foresaid unlearned many years in a cheerful readiness and desire of Christians are convinced by good evidence, that death, and such as few learned, studious men God's word is true, and his rewards are sure, do ever attain to in that degree ; who, no doubt, though they have but a confused conception of had this as a divine reward of their long and this evidence, and cannot word it, nor reduce it faithful service of God, and trusting in him. On to fit notions. To drive these that have fundathe other side, a studious man can hardly keep mental evidence, unseasonably and hastily to off all objections, or secure his mind against the dispute their faith, and so to puzzle them by words suggestions of difficulties and doubts ; and if and artificial objections, is but to hurt them, by they come in, they must be answered ; seeing setting the artificial, organical, lower part, (which we give them half a victory, if we cast them off is the body of knowledge) against the real light before we can answer them. A faith that is not and perception of the thing (which is as the upheld by such evidence of truth, as reason can soul), even as carnal men set the creatures against discern and justify, is often joined with much se- God, that should lead us to God; so do they by cret doubting, which men dare not open, but do logical, artificial knowledge. not therefore overcome : its weakness may have But they that are prepared for such disputes, a weakening deficiency, as to all the graces and and furnished with all artificial helps, may duties which should be strengthened by it. Who make good use of them for defending and clear. ing up the truth to themselves and others ; so The soul is a substance: for that which is be it they use them as a means to the due end, nothing, can do nothing ; but it doth move, underand in a right manner, and set them not up stand and will. No man will deny that this is against, or instead of the real and effective light. done by something in us, and by some substance ;
But the revealed and necessary part must and that substance is it which we call the soul : here be distinguished from the unrevealed and it is not nothing, and it is within us. unnecessary. To study till we as clearly as may As to them that say, It is the temperabe understand the certainty of a future happi- ment of several parts united, I have elsewhere ness, and wherein it consists, in the sight of fully confuted them, and proved that it is some God's glory, and in perfect, holy, mutual love, one part that is the agent on the rest, which in union with Christ, and all the blessed, this is all they confess that think it to be the material of great use to our holiness and peace. But spirits, or fiery part: it is not bones and flesh when we will know more than God would have that understand, but a purer substance, as all us, it doth but tend, as gazing on the sun, to acknowledge. What part soever it be, it can make us blind, and to doubt of certainties, be- do no more than it is able to do: a conjunction cause we cannot be resolved of uncertainties. To of many parts, of which no one hath the power trouble our heads too much in thinking how of vitality, or volition, formally or eminently can souls out of the body subsist and act, sensi- never by contemperation do those acts : for there tively or not, by organs, or without ; how far can be no more in the effect than is in the cause, they are one, and how far still individuate, in otherwise it were no effect. what place they still remain, and where is their The vanity of their objections, that tell us, a paradise or heaven; how they shall be again lute, a watch, a book, perform that by co-operaunited to the body; whether by their own emis- tion, which no one part can do, I have elsewhere sion, as the sun-beams touch their objects here ; manifested. Many strings indeed have many and whether the body shall be restored, as the motions, and so have many effects on the ear, consumed flesh of restored sick men, or only and imagination, which in us are sound and from the old materials: a hundred of these ques- harmony: but all is but a percussion of the air tions are better left to the knowledge of Christ, by the strings, and were not that motion receivlest we but foolishly make snares for our-ed by a sensitive soul, it would be no music or selves. Had all these been needful to us, they melody; so that there is nothing done but what had been revealed. In respect to all such curi- each part had power to do. But intellect and voliosities and needless knowledge, it is a believer's tion are not the united motions of all parts of the wisdom implicitly to trust his soul to Christ, body, receiving their form in a nobler, intellectual and to be satisfied that he knows what we know nature, as the sound of the strings makes melody not, and to fear that vain, vexatious knowledge, in man: if it were so, that receptive nature still or inquisitiveness into good and evil, which is would be as excellent as the effect imports. selfish, and savours of a distrust of God, and is The watch or clock doth but move according to thật sin, and fruit of sin, which the learned the action of the spring or poise; but that it world too little fears.
moves in such an order as becomes to man a That God is the rewarder of them that dili- sign and measure of time, this is from man who gently seek him, and that holy souls shall be in orders it to that use. But there is nothing in the blessedness with Christ, these following evi- motion but what the parts have their power to dences conjoined do evince; on which my soul cause : that it signifies the hour of the day to raises its hopes.
us, is no action, but an object used by a rational The soul, which is an immortal spirit, must soul as it can use the shadow of a tree or house, be immortally in a good or bad condition : that yet doth nothing. So a book doth nothing but man's soul is an immortal spirit, and the good at all, but is merely an objective ordination of are not in a bad condition. Its immortality is passive signs, by which man's active intellect can proved thus : A spiritual, or most pure, invisible understand what the writer did intend ; so that substance, naturally endowed with the power, here is nothing done beyond the power of the virtue, or faculty of vital action and volition, agent, nor any thing in the effect which was not which is not annihilated, nor destroyed by sepa- in the cause, either formally or eminently. But ration of parts, nor ceases or loses either its for a company of atoms, of which no one hath power, species, individuality or action, is an im- sense or reason, to become sensitive and rational mortal spirit. But such is the soul of man, as by mere united motion, is an effect beyond the shall be manifested by what follows.
power of the supposed cause.
But as some think so lowly of our noblest As man's soul is a substance, so is it a acts, as to think that contempered, agitated atoms substance distinguished formally from all incan perform them, that have no natural intellect ferior substances, by an indate, power, virtue, or or sensitive virtue or power in themselves, so faculty, of vital action, intellect, and free-will: others think so highly of them, as to take them for we find all these acts performed by it, as to be the acts only of God, or some universal motion, light, and heat are by the fire or sun. soul, in the body of man; and so that there is no If any should think that these actions are like life, sense, or reason in the world, but God him those of a musician, compounded of the agents, self or such an universal soul ; and so that either the several principal and organical parts; could he every man is God, as to his soul, or that it is prove it, no more would follow but that the lower the body only that is to be called man, as distinct powers, the sensitive or spirits, are to the higher from God. But this is the self-ensnaring and as a passive organ, receiving its operations; and self-perplexing temerity of busy, bold and arro- that the intellectual soul bath the power of causgant heads, that know not their own capacity ing intellection and volition by its action on the and measure. On the like reasons they must at inferior parts, as a man can cause such motions last come, with others, to say, that all passive of his lute, as shall be melody, not to it, but to matter also is God, and that God is the universe, himself; and consequently, that as music is but consisting of an active soul and passive body. a lower operation of man, whose proper acts of As if God were no cause, and could make intellection and volition are above it, so intellecnothing, or nothing with life, or sense, or reason. tion and volition in the body are not the noblest
But why depart we from things certain, by acts of the soul, but are performed by an eminent such presumptions as these? Is it not certain power, which can do greater things. If this that there are lower creatures in the world than could be proved, what would it tend to the unmen or angels ? Is it not certain that one man believer's ends, or to the disadvantage of our not another ? Is it not certain that some men hopes and comforts. are in torment of body and mind? And will it That man's soul at death is not annihilated, be a comfort to a man in such torment to tell even the Atomists and Epicureans will grant, him that he is God, or that he is part of a uni- who think that no atom in the universe is versal soul ? Would not a man on the rack, or annihilated : and we that see not only the sun in the stone, or other misery, say, 'call me by and heavens continued, but every grain of matwhat name you please, that eases not my pain: ter, and that compounds are changed by dissolo. if I be a part of God, or a universal soul, I am tion of parts, and rarefaction, or migration, &c. sure I am a tormented, miserable part! And if and not by annihilation,-have no reason to dream you could make me believe that God hath some that God will annihilate one soul (though he parts which are not serpents, devils, or wicked can do it if he please, yea, and annihilate all or tormented men, you must give me other the world :) it is a thing beyond a rational exsenses, and perceptive powers, before it will com- pectation. fort me, to hear that I am not such a part. If God A destruction by the dissolution of the parts had wicked and tormented parts on earth, why of the soul, we need not fear. For, either an may he not have such, and I be one of them, intellectual spirit is divisible, or not; if not, we hereafter ? and if I be a holy and happy part of need not fear it: if it be, either it is a thing that God, or of a universal soul on earth, why may nature tends to, or not: but that nature doth not not I hope to be such hereafter?'
tend to it, is evident. There is naturally so We deny not but that God is the con- strange and strong an inclination to unity, and tinued first cause of all being whatsoever; and averseness to separation in all things, that even that the branches and fruit depend not as effects earth and stones, that have no other natural so much on the causality of the stock and roots, motion, have yet an aggregative motion in their as the creature doth on God; and that it is an gravitation : but if you will separate the parts impious conceit to think that the world, or any from the rest, it must be by force. Water is part of it, is a Being independent, and separated yet more averse to partition without force, and totally from God, or subsisting without his con. more inclined to union than earth, and air than tinued causation. But cannot God cause as a water, and fire than air, so he that will cut a creator, by making that which is not himself ? sun-beam into pieces, and make many of one, This yields the self-deceiver no other honour or must be an extraordinary agent. Surely spirits, happiness but what equally belongs to a devil, even intellectual spirits, will be no less averse to to a fly or to a worm !
partition, and inclined to keep their unity, thau fire or a sun-beam is ; so that naturally it is not and cease their acts, though they lose not their a thing to be feared, that it should fall into powers. But this is more unreasonable than the pieces.
former. For it must be remembered that it is He that will say, that the God of nature will not a mere obedient, passive power that we speak change and overcome the nature that he hath of; but an active power consisting in as great made, must give us good proofs of it, or it is an inclination to act, as passive natures have to not to be feared. If he should do it as a pun- forbear actions. So that if such a nature act not, ishment, we must find such a punishment some- it must be because its natural inclination is what threatened, either in his natural or super- hindered by a stronger: who shall hinder it ? natural law, which we do not, and therefore need God would not continue an active power, not fear it.
force and inclination in nature, and forcibly hinBut if it were to be feared, that souls were der the operation of that nature which he himpartible, and would be broken into parts, this self continues, unless penalty for some special would be no destruction of them, either as to cause, which he never gave us any notice of by their substance, powers, form or actions, but any threatening, but the contrary. only a breaking of one soul into many: for Objects will not be wanting, for all the world being not compounded of heterogeneous parts, but will be still at hand, and God above all. It is as simple elements of homogeneous only, as every therefore an unreasonable conceit to think that atom of earth is earth, and every drop of water God will continue an active, vital, intellectual nain the sea is water, and every particle of air and ture, form, power, force, inclination, in a noble fire is air and fire, and have all the properties of substance, which shall use none of these for many earth, water, air and fire ; so would it be with hundred or thousand years, and so continue them every particle of an intellectual spirit. But who in vain. can see cause to dream of such a partition never It is rather to be thought that some action is threatened by God.
their constant state, without wbich the cessaThat souls lose not their formal powers or tion of their very form would be inferred. virtues, we have great reason to conceive; be- But all that can be said with reason is, that cause they are their natural essence, not as mixed, separated souls, and souls hereafter in spiritual but simple substances : though some imagine bodies, will have actions of another mode, and that the passive elements may by attenuation be very different from these that we now perceive transmuted one into another, yet we see that in flesh. Be it so. They will yet be radically earth is still earth, water is water, and air is air ; of the same kind, and they will be formally or and their conceit hath no proof: were it proved, eminently such as we now call vitality, intellect it would but prove that none of these are a first and volition; and they will be no lower or less or proper element. But what should an intellect- excellent, if not far more ; and then what the difual spirit be changed into ; how should it lose ference will be, Christ knows whom I trust, and its formal power ? Not by nature ; for its nature in season I shall know. But to talk of a dead hath nothing that tends to deterioration, or de- life, and an inactive activity, or a sleeping soul, cay, or self-destruction? The sun doth not de- is fitter for a sleeping than a waking man. cay by its wonderful motion, light and heat : It is true that diseases or hurts do now hinder why should spirits ? Not by God's destroying the soul's intellectual perceptions in the body, them, or changing their nature; for, though all and in infancy and sleep they are imperfect. things are in constant motion or revolution, he Which proves indeed that the acts commonly continues the natures of the simple beings, and called intellectual and volition, have now someshows us, that he delights in a constancy of ope- thing in them also of sensation, and that senrations, insomuch that hence Aristotle thought sitive operations are diversified by the organs of the world eternal. God hath made no law that the several senses. And that bare intellect and threatens to do it as a penalty. Therefore to volition without any sensation is now scarcely to dream that intellectual spirits shall be turned be observed in us, though the soul may have into other things, and lose their essential, formal such acts intrinsically, and in its profundity. powers, which specify them, is without and For it is now so united to this body, that it against all sober reason. Let them first but acts on it, as our form ; and indeed the acts prove that the sun loses motion, light and heat, observed by us cannot be denied to be such and is turned into air, or water, or earth. Such as are specified or modified at least by the changes are beyond a rational fear.
agents, and the recipients, and sub-agents' parts But some men dream that souls shall sleep, united. But as the sun would certainly do the