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The Second Book.


1. An addition of more Axiomes for the demonstrating that there is a Spirit or Immaterial Substance in Man. 2. The Truth of the first of these Axiomes confirmed from the testimony of Mr Hobbs, as well as demonstrated in the Preface. 3, 4. That Demonstration further cleared and evinced by answering a certain Evasion. 5. The proof of the second Axiome. 6. The proof of the third. 7. The confirmation of the fourth from the testimony of Mr Hobbs, as also from Reason. 8. An explication and proof of the fifth. 9. A further Proof of the Truth thereof. 10. An Answer to an Evasion. 11. Another Evasion answered. 12. A further management of this first Answer thereto. 13. A second Answer. 14. A third Answer, wherein is mainly contained a confirmation of the first Answer to the second Evasion. 15. The plainness of the sixth Axiome. 16. The proof of the seventh.

1. HAving cleared the way thus far as to prove That there is no Contradiction nor Inconsistency in the Notion of a Spirit, but that it may Exist in Nature, nay that de facto there are Incorporeal Substances really Existent in the world, we shall now drive more home to our main design, and demonstrate That there is such an Immaterial Substance in Man, which, from the power it is conceived to have in actuating and guiding the Body, is usually called the Soule. This Truth we shall make good first in a more general way, but not a whit the lesse stringent, by evincing That such Faculties or Operations as we are conscious of in our selves, are utterly incompetible to Matter considered at large without any particular organization. And then afterwards we shall more punctually consider the Body of man, and every possible fitness in the structure thereof that is <59> worth taking notice of for the performance of these Operations we ordinarily find in our selves. And that this may be done more plainly and convincingly, we will here adde to the number of our Axiomes these that follow.


Motion or Re-action of one part of the Matter against another, or at least a due continuance thereof, is really one and the same with Sense and Perception, if there be any Sense or Perception in Matter.

2. THIS Axiome, as it is plain enough of it self (supposing there were nothing but Body in the world) so has it the suffrage of our most confident and potent adversary Mr. Hobbs in his *[1] Elements of Philosophy. Whose judgment I make much of in such cases as these, being perswaded as well out of Reason as Charity, that he seeing so little into the nature of Spirits, that defect is compensated with an extraordinary Quicksightedness in discerning of the best and most warrantable wayes of salving all Phænomena from the ordinary allowed properties of Matter. Wherefore I shall not hold it impertinent to bring in his Testimony in things of this nature, my Demonstrations becoming thereby more recommendable to men of his own Conclusions. But my design being not a particular victory over such a sort of Men, but an absolute establishing of the Truth, I shall lay down no Grounds that are merely Argumenta ad hominem; but such as I am perswaded (upon this Hypothesis, That there is nothing but Body in the world) are evident to any one that can indifferently judge thereof. And the demonstration of this present Axiome I have prefixed in my Preface, Sect. 5.

3. Against which I cannot imagine any possible Evasion, unless one should conceit that a general agitation onely of the particles of the Matter will suffice to excite them to thinking, and that they being thus excited, can freely run out to other cogitations and Phantasmes then what adequately arise from the impress of Motion.

But to this may briefly be answered, First, That since from the Agitation and Collision of these particles Sense must needs arise (for they being near upon of the same magnitude, they will effectually act one upon another_ the Animadversion of thesee particles will be so taken up and fixt upon their sensible perceptions, that though they otherwise had a power of freely thinking, yet they would alwaies be necessarily detained in these sensible Phantasmes.

And then, Secondly, All that is perceived, is perceived in common by that which is capable of being the Percipient. But nothing that is not really the same with corporeal motion, or an immediate and adequate effect thereof, can be communicated to the common particles of this or that Matter. Hence therefore it is plain that there is not any congeries of Matter that does run into free cogitations, whether grosser Phantasmes or second Notions, for the want of mutual communication of them in one Particle to another, as I have more particularly demonstrated in its *[2] due place.


Thirdly and lastly, It is sufficiently manifest from sense and experience that Matter is a principle purely passive, and no otherwise moved or modified then as some other thing moves and modifies it, but cannot move it self at all. Which is most demonstrable to them that contend for Sense and Perception in it. For if it had any such Perception, it would be virtue of its Self-motion withdraw it self from under the knocks of hammers or fury of the fire; or of its own accord approach to such things as are most agreeable to it and pleasing, and that without the help of Muscles, it being thus immediately endowed with a Self-moving Power. But the Matter being so stupid as to want this Power, how can it be thought a Subject wherein a Power and activity infinitely more divine should reside, that is, the free expatiating into Variety of thoughts, the exercise of Invention, Judgement and Memory, and that in such Objects as are supposed not to be the Impresses of the Motion of the particles one upon another?

Nor would I be thought cunning and fraudulent in naming such gross and massy Matter as uses to be struck with Hammers or hewen with Axes, and to conclude from thence that no Matter at all, no not the most subtile, does move it self: For Self-motion is as competible to a massy piece of Matter as the most minute particle imaginable; for Force will be to Force as Magnitude to Magnitude; and therefore the most massy pieces of Matter will move themselves the most strongly and most irresistibly. From whence it appears that the minutest particle of any Massy body separate from it has not one jot of advantage toward Self-motion thereby, but onely becomes less irresistible in its Self-motion.

4. Nor can you help your self by recurring to the Figment of a Matter specifically distinct from what men ordinarily speak of, (which *[3] some adorn with the title of Divine, as if it were the very substance of the highest Godhead:) For we may easily undeceive our selves if we do but contemplate some considerable quantity of this Divine Matter, suppose a Globe os some few inches Diameter, and perfectly solid, that is, the parts thereof immediately united without pores or intervalls; and then consider how it cannot fail of being more hard then the Pig of Lead, or the Wedge of Gold, which I mention in my *[4] Demonstration of this Axiome, and as Opake as any body whtsoever. For hence this Divine Matter will appear to our mind as uncapable of spontaneous Motion and of free Cogitations and Perceptions unimpressed from corporeal motion as the Pig of Lead and Wedge of Gold there mentioned; and that therefore this Figment is but a mere Mockery of words, and as ill put together in this sense, as a divine Pig of Lead or divine Wedge of Gold would be.

And what I have said of the whole Globe, there is the same reason of any particle of the same nature with it; which will be no more capable of free cogitation, then the particles of that Matter that makes up Gold or Lead. For if there be any perception, it must be by corporeal Re-action in both, if we impartially attend to the dictates of our own Faculties. And let them be as they will, communication of free Perceptions will not be found possible in either; the Divinest Matter imaginable having no other union then Juxta-position of parts, as our Adversaries themselves freely willy acknowledge.


To which faithful presages and rational conclusions of our own Mind you may finally adde the suffrage of Nature in Experiments, which do clearly assure us that there is no such Divine Matter endued with free cogitation and free Agency intermingled or interspersed in the common Matter of the World, as I have plainly shown in my *[5] Antidote. And therefore we will conclude that no Matter whatsoever has any perception in any other manner or according to any other laws then what Mr Hobbs has already defined, and my self in this twentieth Axiome have declared, if Matter have any perception at all.


So far as this continued Re-action reaches, so far reaches Sense or Perception, and no farther.

5. THis Axiome is to be understood as well of Duration of Time, as Extension of the Subject, viz. That Sense and Perception spread no further in Matter then Re-action does, nor remain any longer then this Re-action remains. Which Truth is fully evident out of the foregoing Axiome.


That diversity there is of Sense or Perception does necessarily arise from the diversity of the Magnitude, Figure, Position, Vigour and Direction of Motion in parts of the Matter.

6. THE truth of this is also clear from the 20th Axiome. For Perception being really one and the same thing with Re-action of Matter one part against another, and there being a diversity of Perception, it must imply also a diversity of modification of Re-action; and Re-action being nothing but Motion in Matter, it cannot be varied but by such variations as are competible to Matter, viz. such as are Magnitude, Figure, Posture, Local Motion, wherein is contained any endeavour towards it, as also the Direction of that either full Motion or curb'd endeavour, and a Vigour thereof; which if you run to the lowest degrees, you will at last come to Rest, which therefore is someway referrible to that head, as to Magnitude you are to refer Littleness. These are the first conceivables in Matter, and therefore diversity of Perception must of necessity arise from these.


Matter in all the variety of those Perceptions it is sensible of, has none but such as are impressed by Corporeal Motions, that is to say, that are Perceptions of some Actions or modificated Impressions of parts of Matter bearing one against another.

7. TO this Truth Mr Hobbs sets his seal with all willingness imaginable, or rather eagerness, as also his Followers, they stoutly contending that we have not the perception of any thing but the Phantasms <62> of material Objects, and of sensible words or Marks, which we make to stand for such and such Objects. Which certainly would be most true if there were nothing but Matter in the world; so that they speak very consonantly to their own Principles: I say, this is not only true in that School, but also rational in it self, supposing nothing but Matter in the world, and that Perception and Re-action is really one. For that Reaction being in Brutes as well as in Men, there must not be any difference by a perception of quite another kind, but by an external way of communication of their perceptions. And therefore the distinction betwixt Men and Beasts must consist onely in this, that the one can agree in some common mark, whether Voices or Characters, or whatever else, to express their perceptions, but the other cannot; but the perceptions themselves must be of one kind in both, they neither of them perceiving any thing but corporeal impressions, such as they feel by the parts of the Matter bearing one against another.


The distinct Impression of any considerable extent of variegated Matter cannot be received by a mere point of Matter.

8. BY a mere point of Matter I do not mean a mere Mathematical point, but a perfect Parvitude, or the least Reality of Matter, (concerning which I have spoke already.)[6] Which being the least quantity that discerpible Matter can consist of, no particle of Matter can touch it less then it self. This Parvitude therefore that is so little that it has properly no integral parts, really distinguishable, how can it possibly be a Subject distinctly receptive of the view, haply, of half an Horizon at once? which sight is caused by real and distinct motion from real distinct parts of the Object that is seen. But this perfect Parvitude being the minutest quantity that Matter is divisible into, no more then one real line of motion can be directed upon it, the rest will goe beside. To which you may adde that if this so perfect Parvitude were distinctly perceptive of variegated Objects, it were a miracle if it could not perceive the particles of the Aire and of the Atmosphere, the Globuli of light, and subtilest contexture of the parts of Opake bodies.

9. Again, this Object we speak of may be so variegated, I mean with such colours, that it may imply a contradiction, that one and the same particle of Matter (suppose some very small round one, that shall be the Cuspe of the visual Pyramide or Cone) should receive them all at once; the opposite kindes of those colours being uncommunicable to this round particle otherwise then by contrariety of Motions, or by Rest and Motion, which are as contrary; as is manifest out of that excellent Theoreme concerning Colours in Des-Cartes his *[7] Meteors, which if it were possible to be false, yet it is most certainly true, that seeing Motion is the cause of Sight, the contrariety of Objects for Colour must arise out of contrary modifications of Motion in this particle we speak of, that immediatly communicates the Object to the Sentient: which contrariety of Motions <63> at the same time and within the same surface of the adequate place of a Body is utterly incompetible thereto.

10. Nor is that Evasion any thing available, That there is not any contrariety of real Motion here, but that there is onely endeavour to Motion: For it is plain that Endeavour is as real as Motion it self, and as contrary, because it does really affect the sight, and in a contrary manner. Besides, this Endeavour toward Motion is Motion it self, though of an exceeding small progress: But be it as little as it will, it is as great a contradiction, for example, that the Globe A should upon the same centre, and within the same superficies (which is its adequate place according to the meaning of that Notion in Aristotle's School) be turned never so little from C to B and from B to C, at once, as to be turned quite about in that manner. To which you may adde that some Colours imply the ones Motion, and the others Rest; but a Globe if it rest in any one part from turning, rests in all. From whence it will follow, That it is impossible to see Red and Black at once.

11. This Subterfuge therefore being thus clearly taken away, they substitute another, viz. That the distinct parts of the Object doe not act upon this round particle, which is the Cuspe of the visual Pyramide, at once, but successively, and so swiftly, that the Object is represented at once; as when one swings about a fire-stick very fast, it seems one continued circle of fire. But we shall find this instance very little to the purpose, if we consider, that when one swings a fire-stick in a circle, it describes such a circle in the bottome of the Eye, not upon one point there, but in a considerable distance; and that the Optick Nerve, or the Spirits therein, are touched successively, but left free to a kind of Tremor or Vibration as it were, (so as it is in the playing of a Lute) till the motion has gone round, and then touches in the same place again, so quick, that it findes it still vigorously moved: But there being but one particle to touch upon here, some such like inconveniences will recurre as we noted in the former case.

12. For as I demonstrated before, that some Colours cannot be communicated at once to one and the same round particle of Matter; so from thence it will follow here, That, such Colours succeeding one another, the impress of the one will take off immediatly the impress of the other; from whence we shall not be able to see such various Colours as are discernible in a very large Object at once. For unless the impression make some considerable stay upon that which receives it, there is no Sensation; insomuch that a man may wag his finger so fast that he can scarce see it: and if it do make a due stay, suppose a large Object checkered with the most opposite Colours, it were impossible that we should see that checker-work at once in so large a compass as we do, but we shall onely see it by parts, the parts vanishing and coming again in a competent swiftness, but very discernible.

13. Again; If we could possibly imagine the vicissitudes of the impresses, from the distinct parts of the Basis of the visual Cone to the point of it, which we will suppose to be a very small globulus, such as <64> Des-Cartes his second Element consists of, it being thus successively thrust against, things must then be as I have represented them in the adjoining figure, where C A is the Object, G H the Sentient Matter, and I the Globulus, which will be born from E directly toward F, where there will be received such a colour in the least Reality of the Sentient Matter in F; but from A it will be born towards B, and with a very short rowling touch in another Reality, or it may be more distantly from F, and impress such a colour from A upon B, or thereabout, and so from C upon D: so that hereby also it is manifest that no one perfect Parvitude receives the whole Object C E A.

14. Lastly, this quick vicissitude of impulse or impression would contaminate all the Colours, and make the whole Object as it were of one confounded colour, as a man may easily perceive in a painted Wheel: For what is it but a quick coming on of one colour upon the same part of the Optick nerve upon which another was, immediately that makes the whole Wheel seem of one blended colour? But not to impose upon any one, this instance of the Wheel has a peculiar advantage above this present Supposition for making all seem one confounded colour, because the colours of the Wheel come not onely upon one and the same part of the Nerve, but in one and the same line from the Object; so that in this regard the instance is less accommodate. But it is shreudly probable, that fluid perceptive Matter will not fail to find the colours tinctured from one another in some measure in the whole Object here also, especialy if it be nigh and very small, by reason of the instability of that particle that is plaied upon from all parts thereof. But at least this instance of the Wheel is an unexceptionable confirmation of our first Demonstration of the weakness of the second Evasion, from the necessity of a considerable stay upon the percipient Matter, and that Sensation cannot be but with some leisurely continuance of this or that Motion before it be wiped out. We might adde also that there ought to be a due permanency of the Object that presses against the Organ, though no new impression suddenly succeeded to wipe out the former, as one may experiment in swiftly swinging about a painted Bullet in a string, which will still more fully confirm what we aime at. But this is more then enough for the making good of this 24. Axiome; whose evidence is so clear of it self, that I believe there are very few but will be convinced of it at the first sight.



Whatever impression or parts of any impression are not received by this perfect Parvitude or Real point of Matter, are not at all perceived by it.

15. THis is so exceeding plain of it self, that it wants neither explication nor proof.


Whatever Sense or Motion there is now in Matter, it is a necessary impression from some other part of Matter, and does necessarily continue till some part or other of Matter has justled it out.

16. THat what Motion there is in any part of Matter is necessarily there, and there continues till some other part of Matter change or diminish its Motion, is plain from the laws of Motion set down by Des-Cartes in his *[8] Principia Philosophiæ. And that there is the same Reason of Sense or Perception (supposing there is nothing but Matter in the world) is plain from Axiome 20. that makes Motion and Sense or Perception really the same.


1. That if Matter be capable of Sense, Inanimate things are so too: And of Mr Hobbs his wavering in that point. 2. An Enumeration of several Faculties in us that Matter is utterly uncapable of. 3. That Matter in no kind of Temperature is capable of Sense. 4. That no one point of Matter can be the Common Sensorium. 5. Nor a multitude of such Points receiving singly the entire image of the Object. 6. Nor yet receiving part part, and the whole the whole. 7. That Memory is incompetible to Matter. 8. That the Matter is uncapable of the notes of some circumstances of the Object which we remembred. 9. That Matter cannot be the seat of second Notions. 10. Mr Hobbs his Evasion of the foregoing Demonstration clearly confuted. 11. That the Freedome of our Will evinces that there is a Substance in us distinct from Matter. 12. That Mr Hobbs therefore acknowledges all our actions necessary.

1. WE have now made our addition of such Axiomes as are most useful for our present purpose. Let us therefore, according to the order we propounded, before we consider the fabrick and organization of the Body, see if such Operations as we find in our selves be competible to Matter looked upon in a more general manner. That Matter from its own nature is uncapable of Sense, plainly appears from Axiome 20, and 21. For Motion and Sense being really one and the same thing, it will necessarily follow, that whereever there is Motion, especially <66> any considerable duration thereof, there must be Sense and Perception: Which is contrary to what we find in a Catochus, and experience daily in dead Carkasses; in both which, though there be Re-action, yet there is no Sense.

In brief, if any Matter have Sense, it will follow that upon Re-action all shall have the like, and that a Bell while it is ringing, and a Bow while it is bent, and every Jack-in-a-box that School-boyes play with, while it is held in by the cover pressing against it, shall be living Animals, or Sensitive Creatures. A thing so foolish and frivolous, that the mere recital of the opinion may well be thought confutation enough with the sober.

And indeed Mr. Hobbs himself, though he resolve Sense merely into Re-action of Matter,[9] yet is ashamed of these odd consequences thereof, and is very loth to be reckoned in the company of those Philosophers, (though, as he saies, learned men) who have maintained That all Bodies are endued with Sense, and yet he can hardly abstain from saying that they are; onely he is more shie of allowing them Memory, which yet they will have whether he will or no, if he give them Sense. As for Example, in the ringing of a Bell, from every stroke there continues a tremor in the Bell, which decaying, must (according to *[10] his Philosophie be Imagination, and referring to the stroke past must be Memory; and if a stroke overtake it within the compass of this Memory, what hinders but Discrimination or Judgment may follow? But the Conclusion is consonant enough to this absurd Principle, That there is nothing but Matter in the Universe, and that it is capable of perception.

2. But we will not content our selves onely with the discovery of this one ugly inconvenience of this bold assertion, but shall further endeavour to shew that the Hypothesis is false, and that Matter is utterly uncapable of such operations as we find in our selves, and that therefore there is Something in us Immaterial or Incorporeal. For we find in our selves, that one and the same thing both heares, and sees, and tasts, and, to be short, perceives all the variety of Objects that Nature manifests unto us. Wherefore Sense being nothing but the impress of corporeal motion from Objects without, that part of Matter which must be the common Sensorium, must of necessity receive all that diversity of impulsions from Objects; it must likewise Imagine, Remember, Reason, and be the fountain of Spontaneous Motion, as also the Seat of what the Greeks call the τὸ ἀυτεξούσιον or liberty of Will: Which supposition we shall finde involved in unextricable difficulties.

3. For first, we cannot conceive of any Portion of Matter but it is either Hard or Soft. As for that which is Hard, all men leave it out as utterly unlike to be endued with such Cognitive faculties as we are conscious to our selves of. That which is Soft will prove either opake, pellucid, or lucid. If opake, it cannot see, the exterior superficies being a bar to the inward parts. If pellucid, as Aire and Water, then indeed it will admit inwardly these Particles and that Motion which are the conveighers of the Sense, and distinction of Colours; and Sound also will penetrate. But this Matter being heterogeneall, that is to say, consisting of parts of a different nature and office, the Aire, suppose, being proper for Sound, and <67> those Round particles which Cartesius describes for Colour and Light; the perception of these Objects will be differently lodged: but there is some one thing in us that perceives both. Lastly, if lucid, there would be much-what the same inconvenience that there is in the opake, for its own fieriness would fend off the gentle touch of external impresses; or if it be so mild and thin that it is in some measure diaphanous, the inconveniences will again recurre that were found in the pellucid.

And in brief, any liquid Matter has such variety of particles in it, that if the Whole, as it must, (being the common Sensorium) be affected with any impress from without, the parts thereof must be variously affected, so that no Object will seem homogeneall, as appears from Axiome 22. Which Truth I shall further illustrate by a homely, but very significant, representation. Suppose we should put Feathers, Bullets and Spur-rowels in a Box, where they shall lye intermixedly, but close, one with another: upon any jog this Box receives, supposing all the stuffage thereof has Sense, it is evident that the several things therein must be differently affected, and therefore if the common Sensorium were such, there would seem no homogeneall Object in the world. Or at least these severall particles shall be the several Receptives of the several motions of the same kinde from without, as the Aire of Sounds, the Cartesian Globuli of Light and Colours. But what receives all these, and so can judge of them all, we are again at a loss for, as before: unless we imagine it some very fine and subtile Matter, so light and thin, that it feels not it self, but so yielding and passive, that it easily feels the several assaults and impresses of other Bodies upon it, or in it; which yet would imply, that this Matter alone were Sensitive, and the others not; and so it would be granted, that not all Matter (no not so much as in Fluid Bodies) has Sense.

Such a tempered Matter as this is analogous to the Animal Spirits in Man, which, if Matter could be the Soul, were the very Soul of the Body, and Common percipient of all Motions from within or without, by reason of the tenuity, passivity and near homogeneity, and *[11] (it may be) imperceptibility of any change or alteration from the playing together of its own tenuious and light particles; and therefore very fit to receive all manner of impresses from others. Whence we may rationally conclude, That some such subtile Matter as this is either the Soul, or her immediate Instrument for all manner of perceptions. The latter whereof I shall prove to be true in its due place. That the former part is false I shall now demonstrate, by proving more stringently, That no Matter whatsoever is capable of such Sense and Perception as we are conscious to our selves of.

4. For concerning that part of Matter which is the Common Sensorium, I demand whether some one point of it receive the whole image of the Object, or whether it is wholly received into every point of it, or finally whether the whole Sensorium receive the whole image by expanded parts, this part of the Sensorium this part of the image, and that part that. If the first, seeing that in us which perceives the external Object moves also the Body, it will follow, That one little point of Matter will give local motion to what is innumerable millions of times <68> bigger then it self; of which there cannot be found nor imagined any example in Nature.

5. If the second, this difficulty presents it self, which also reflects upon the former Position, How so small a point as we speak of should receive the images of so vast, or so various Objects at once, without Obliteration or Confusion; a thing impossible, as is manifest from Axiome 24. And therefore not receiving them, cannot perceive them, by Axiome 25. But if every point or particle of this Matter could receive the whole image, which of these innumerable particles, that receive the Image entirely, may be deemed I my self that perceive this Image? But if I be all those Points, it will come to pass, especially in a small Object, and very near at hand, that the line of impulse coming to divers and distant Points, it will seem to come as from several places, and so one Object will necessarily seem a Cluster of Objects. And if I be but one of these Points, what becomes of the rest? or who are they?

6. There remains therefore onely the third way, which is that the parts of the image of the Object be received by the parts of this portion of Matter which is supposed the common Sensorium. But this does perfectly contradict experience; for we finde our selves to perceive the whole Object, when in this case nothing could perceive the whole, every part onely perceiving its part; and therefore there would be nothing that can judge of the whole. No more then three men, if they were imagined to sing a song of three parts, and none of them should heare any part but his own, could judge of the Harmony of the whole.

7. As concerning the Seat of Imagination and Memory, especially Memory, what kinde of Matter can be found fit for this function? If it be Fluid, the images of Objects will be prone to vanish suddainly, as also to be perverted or turned contrary wayes. For example, C, a particle of this fluid Matter, receiving an impress from B, must feel it as coming from B; but it toying and tumbling up and down, as the particles of fluid Matter doe, turnes the side E F which received that impress from B towards L, whence it will feel as if the impress had been from L, for it must feel it as from the place directly opposite to it self, (if it can after the removal of the present Object, against which the Re-action is, feel at all:) and the same reason will be in other particles of this fluid Matter, which must needs force a great deal of preposterous confusion both upon the Fancy and Memory. If it be Hard, it will soon be composed to Rest, as in a Bell whose tremor is gone in a little time; but we remember things some years together, though we never think of them till the end of that term. If Viscid, there is the like inconvenience, nay it is the unfittest of all for either receiving of Motion or continuing it, and therefore unlikely to be the Seat of either Fancy or Memory. For if Motion or Re-action and Sense, whether internal or external, be all one, Motion ceasing Memory must needs cease, by Axiome 21. Nor can it any more remember when it is again moved in the same manner, then a Stone or a piece of Lead that was flung up into the Aire, can become more light or more prone to flie upwards when they have once ceased from <69> Motion; for they are both exquisitely as if they had never been moved.

8. Lastly, we remember some things of which there can be no Signatures in Matter to represent them, as for example, Wideness and Distance. For as for both of them, there is no note can be made in the Matter E by lines from the two Objects A B and C D, whereby the difference of remoteness of A E above C E, or of the wideness of A B above C D, can be discerned; for both the Objects make one and the same signature in the matter E.

9. Those that are commonly called by the name of Secundæ Notiones, and are not any sensible Objects themselves, nor the Phantasmes of any sensible Objects, but onely our manner of conceiving them, or reasoning about them, in which number are comprehended all Logical and Mathematical termes; these, I say, never came in at the Senses, they being no impresses of corporeal motion, which excite in us, as in Doggs and other Brutes, the sense onely of Sounds, of Colours, of Hot, of Cold, and the like. Now Matter being affected by no perception but of corporeal impression, by the bearing of one Body against another; it is plain from Axiome 23. that these second Notions, or Mathematical and Logical conceptions, cannot be seated in Matter, and therefore must be in some other Substance distinct from it, by Axiome 10.

10. Here Mr. Hobbs, to avoid the force of this Demonstration, has found out a marvellous witty invention to befool his followers withall, making them believe that there is no such thing as these Secundæ Notiones, distinct from the Names or Words whereby they are said to be signified; and that there is no perception in us, but of such Phantasmes as are impressed from external Objects, such as are common to Us and Beasts: and as for the Names which we give to these, or the Phantasmes of them, that there is the same reason of them, as of other Marks, Letters, or Characters, all which coming in at the Senses, he would beare them in hand that it is a plain case, that we have the perception of nothing but what is impressed from corporeal Objects. But how ridiculous an Evasion this is, may be easily discovered, if we consider, that if these Mathematical and Logical Notions we speak of be nothing but Names, Logical and Mathematical Truths will not be the same in all Nations, because they have not the same names. For Example, Similitudo and ὁμοιότης, ἀναλογία and Proportio, λόγος and Ratio, these names are utterly different, the Greek from the Latine; yet the Greeks, Latines, nor any Nation else, do vary in their conceptions couched under these different names: Wherefore it is plain, that there is a setled Notion distinct from these Words and Names, as well as from those corporeal Phantasmes impressed from the Object; which was the thing to be demonstrated.

11. Lastly, we are conscious to our selves of that Faculty which the Greeks call ἀυτεξούσιον, or a Power in our selves, notwithstanding any outward assaults or importunate temptations, to cleave to that which is vertuous and honest, or to yield to pleasures or other vile advantages. That we have this Liberty and freedome in our selves, and that we refuse the <70> good, and chuse the evil, when we might have done otherwise; that natural Sense of Remorse of Conscience is an evident and undeniable witness of. For when a man has done amiss, the pain, grief, or indignation that he raises in himself, or at least feels raised in him, is of another kind from what we find from misfortunes or affronts we could not avoid. And that which pinches us and vexes us so severely, is the sense that we have brought such an evil upon our selves, when it was in our power to have avoided it. Now if there be no Sense nor Perception in us but what arises from the Re-action of Matter one part against another; whatever Representation of things, whatever Deliberation or Determination we fall upon, it will by Axiome 26. be purely necessary, there being upon this Hypothesis no more Freedome while we deliberate or conclude, then there is in a pair of scales, which rests as necessarily at last as it moved before. Wherefore it is manifest that this faculty we call Free-will is not found in Matter, but in some other Substance, by Axiome 10.

12. Mr Hobbs therefore, to give him his due, consonantly enough to his own principles, does very peremptorily affirm That all our actions are necessary. But I having proved the contrary by that Faculty which we may call Internal Sense or Common Notion, found in all men that have not done violence to their own Nature; unless by some other approved Faculty he can discover the contrary, my Conclusion must stand for an undoubted Truth, by Axiome 5. He pretends therefore some Demonstration of Reason, which he would oppose against the dictate of this Inward Sense; which it will not be amiss to examine, that we may discover his Sophistry.


1. Mr Hobbs his Arguments whereby he would prove all our actions necessitated. His first Argument. 2. His second Argument. 3. His third Argument. 4. His fourth Argument. 5. What must be the meaning of these words, Nothing taketh beginning from it self, in the first Argument of Mr Hobbs. 6. A fuller and more determinate explication of the foregoing words, whose sense is evidently convinced to be, That no Essence of it self can vary its modification. 7. That this is onely said by Mr Hobbs, not proved, and a full confutation of his Assertion. 8. Mr Hobbs imposed upon by his own Sophistry. 9. That one part of this first Argument of his is groundless, the other sophistical. 10. The plain proposall of his Argument, whence appeares more fully the weakness and sophistry thereof. 11. An Answer to his second Argument. 12. An Answer to the third. 13. An Answer to a difficulty concerning the Truth and Falsehood of future Propositions. 14. An Answer to Mr Hobbs his fourth Argument, which, though slighted by himself, is the strongest of them all. 15. The difficulty of reconciling Free-will with Divine Prescience and Prophecies. 16. That the Faculty of Free-will is seldome put in use. 17. That the use of it is properly in Moral conflict. 18. That <71> the Soul is not invincible there neither. 19. That Divine decrees either finde fit Instruments or make them. 20. That the more exact we make Divine Prescience, even to the comprehension of any thing that implies no contradiction in it self to be comprehended, the more clear it is that mans Will may be sometimes free. 21. Which is sufficient to make good my last Argument against Mr Hobbs.

1. HIS first Argument runs thus (I will repeat it in his own words, as also the rest of them as they are to be found in his Treatise of Liberty and Necessity;) I conceive, (saith he) that nothing taketh beginning from it self, but from the action of some other immediate agent without it self; and that therefore, when first a man hath an appetite or Will to something to which immediatly before he had no appetite nor Will, the cause of his Will is not the Will it self, but something else not in his own disposing: So that whereas it is out of controversy, that of voluntary actions the Will is the necessary cause, and by this which is said the Will is also caused by other things, whereof it disposeth not, it followeth, that voluntary actions have all of them necessary causes, and therefore are necessitated.

2. His second thus; I hold (saith he) that to be a sufficient cause, to which nothing is wanting that is needfull to the producing of the effect: The same also is a necessary cause. For if it be possible that a sufficient cause shall not bring forth the effect, then there wanteth somewhat which was needfull for the producing of it, and so the cause was not sufficient; but if it be impossible that a sufficient cause should not produce the effect, then is a sufficient cause a necessary cause, for that is said to produce an effect necessarily that cannot but produce it. Hence it is manifest, that whatsoever is produced, is produced necessarily. For whatsoever is produced, hath had a sufficient cause to produce it, or else it had not been. What follows is either the same, or so closely depending on this, that I need not adde it.

3. His third Argument therefore shall be that which he urges from Future disjunctions. For example, let the case be put of the Weather, 'Tis necessary that to morrow it shall rain, or not rain; If therefore, saith he, it be not necessary it shall rain, it is necessary it shall not rain, otherwise there is no necessity that the Proposition, It shall rain or not rain, should be true.

4. His fourth is this, That the denying of Necessity destroyeth both the Decrees and the Prescience of God Almighty. For whatsoever God hath purposed to bring to pass by man, as an Instrument, or foreseeth shall come to pass; a man, if he have liberty from necessitation, might frustrate, and make not to come to pass; and God should either not foreknow it, and not decree it, or he should foreknow such things shall be as shall never be, and decree that which shall never come to pass.

5. The Entrance into his first Argument is something obscure and ambiguous, Nothing taketh beginning from it self: But I shall be as candid and faithfull an Interpreter as I may. If he mean by beginning, beginning of Existence, it is undoubtedly true, That no Substance, nor Modification of Substance, taketh beginning from it self; but this will not infer the Conclusion he drives at. But if he mean, that Nothing <72> taketh beginning from it self, of being otherwise affected or modified then before; he must either understand by nothing, no Essence, neither Spirit nor Body, or no Modification of Essence. He cannot mean Spirit, as admitting no such thing in the whole comprehension of Nature. If Body, it will not infer what he aims at, unless there be nothing but Body in the Universe; which is a mere precarious Principle of his, which he beseeches his credulous followers to admit, but he proves it no where, as I have already noted. If by Modification he mean the Modification of Matter or Body; that runs still upon the former Principle, That there is nothing but Body in the world, and therefore he proves nothing but upon a begg'd Hypothesis, and that a false one; as I have elsewhere demonstrated. Wherefore the most favourable Interpretation I can make is, That he means by no thing, no Essence, nor Modification of Essence, being willing to hide that dearly-hug'd Hypothesis of his (That there is nothing but Body in the World) under so general and uncertain termes.

6. The words therefore in the other senses having no pretence to conclude any thing, let us see how far they will prevail in this, taking no thing, for no Essence, or no Modification of Essence, or what will come nearer to the matter in hand, no Faculty of an Essence. And from this two-fold meaning, let us examine two Propositions that will result from thence, viz. That no Faculty of any Essence can vary its Operation from what it is, but from the action of some other immediate Agent without it self; or, That no Essence can vary its Modification or Operation by it self, but by the action of some other immediate Agent without it. Of which two Propositions the latter seems the better sense by far, and most natural. For it is very harsh, and, if truly looked into, as false, to say, That the Mode or Faculty of any Essence changes it self; for it is the Essence it self that exerts it self into these variations of Modes, if no externall Agent is the cause of these changes. And Mr Hobbs opposing an External Agent to this Thing that he saies does not change it self, does naturally imply, That they are both not Faculties but Substances he speaks of.

7. Wherefore there remains onely the latter Proposition to be examined, That no Essence of it self can vary its Modification. That some Essence must have had a power of moving is plain, in that there is Motion in the world, which must be the Effect of some Substance or other. But that Motion in a large sense, taking it for mutation or change, may proceed from that very Essence in which it is found, seems to me plain by Experience: For there is an Essence in us, whatever we will call it, which we find endued with this property; as appears from hence, that it has variety of perceptions, Mathematical, Logical, and I may adde also Moral, that are not any impresses nor footsteps of Corporeal Motion, as I have already demonstrated: and any man may observe in himself, and discover in the writings of others, how the Mind has passed from one of these perceptions to another, in very long deductions of Demonstration; as also what stilness from bodily Motion is required in the excogitation of such series of Reasons, where the Spirits are to run into no other posture nor motion then what they are guided into by the Mind it self, where these immaterial and intellectual Notions have the leading and <73> rule. Besides in grosser Phantasmes, which are supposed to be somewhere impressed in the Brain, the composition of them, and disclusion and various disposal of them, is plainly an arbitrarious act, and implies an Essence that can, as it lists, excite in it self the variety of such Phantasmes as have been first exhibited to her from External Objects, and change them and transpose them at her own will. But what need I reason against this ground of Mr Hobbs so sollicitously? it being sufficient to discover, that he onely saies, that No Essence can change the Modifications of it self, but does not prove it; and therefore whatever he would infer hereupon is merely upon a begg'd Principle.

8. But however, from this precarious ground he will infer, that whenever we have a Will to a thing, the cause of this Will is not the Will it self, but something else not in our own disposing; the meaning whereof must be, That whenever we Will, some corporeal impress, which we cannot avoid, forces us thereto. But the Illation is as weak as bold; it being built upon no foundation, as I have already shown. I shall onely take notice how Mr. Hobbs, though he has rescued himself from the authority of the Schools, and would fain set up for himself, yet he has not freed himself from their fooleries in talking of Faculties and Operations (and the absurditie is alike in both) as separate and distinct from the Essence they belong to, which causes a great deal of distraction and obscurity in the speculation of things. I speak this in reference to those expressions of his, of the Will being the cause of willing, and of its being the necessary cause of voluntary actions, and of things not being in its disposing. Whenas, if a man would speak properly, and desired to be understood, he would say, That the Subject in which is this power or act of willing, (call it Man or the Soul of Man) is the cause of this or that voluntary action. But this would discover his Sophistry, wherewith haply he has entrapt himself, which is this, Something out of the power of the Will necessarily causes the Will; the Will once caused is the necessary cause of voluntary actions; and therefore all voluntary actions are necessitated.

9. Besides that the first part of this Argumentation is groundless (as I have already intimated) the second is Sophisticall, that sayes That the Will is the necessary cause of voluntary actions: For by necessary may be understood either necessitated, forced and made to act, whether it will or no; or else it may signify that the Will is a requisite cause of voluntary actions, so that there can be no voluntary actions without it. The latter whereof may be in some sense true, but the former is utterly false. So the Conclusion being inferred from assertions whereof the one is groundless, the other Sophisticall, the Illation cannot but be ridiculously weak and despicable. But if he had spoke in the Concrete in stead of the Abstract, the Sophistry had been more grossly discoverable, or rather the train of his reasoning languid and contemptible. Omitting therefore to speak of the Will separately, which of it self is but a blind Power or Operation, let us speak of that Essence which is endued with Will, Sense, Reason, and other Faculties, and see what face this Argumentation of his will bear, which will then run thus;

10. Some external, irresistible Agent does ever necessarily cause that <74> Essence (call it Soul or what you please) which is endued with the Faculties of Will and Understanding, to Will: This Essence, endued with the power of exerting it self into the act of Willing, is the necessary cause of Voluntary actions: Therefore all voluntary actions are necessitated. The first Assertion now at first sight appears a gross falshood, the Soul being endued with Understanding as well as Will, and therefore she is not necessarily determined to will by externall impresses, but by the displaying of certain notions and perceptions she raises in her self, that be purely intellectual. And the second seems a very slim and lank piece of Sophistry. Both which my reasons already alledged doe so easily and so plainly reach, that I need adde nothing more, but pass to his second Argument, the form whereof in brief is this;

11. Every Cause is a sufficient cause, otherwise it could not produce its effect: Every sufficient cause is a necessary cause, that is to say, will be sure to produce the effect, otherwise something was wanting thereto, and it was no sufficient cause: And therefore every cause is a necessary cause, and consequently every Effect or Action, even those that are termed Voluntary, are necessitated. This reasoning looks smartly at first view; but if we come closer to it, we shall find it a pitifull piece of Sophistry, which is easily detected by observing the ambiguity of that Proposition, Every sufficient cause is a necessary cause: For the force lyes not so much in that it is said to be Sufficient, as in that it is said to be a Cause; which if it be, it must of necessity have an Effect, whether it be sufficient or insufficient; which discovers the Sophisme. For these relative terms of Cause and Effect necessarily imply one another. But every Being that is sufficient to act this or that if it will, and so to become the Cause thereof, doth neither act, nor abstain from acting necessarily. And therefore if it do act, it addes Will to the Sufficiency of its power; and if it did not act, it is not because it had not sufficient power, but because it would not make use of it. So that we see that every sufficient Cause rightly understood without captiositie is not a necessary cause, nor will be sure to produce the Effect; and that though there be a sufficiency of power, yet there may be something wanting, to wit, the exertion of the Will; whereby it may come to pass, that what might have acted if it would, did not: but if it did, Will being added to sufficient Power, that it cannot be said to be necessary in any other sense, then of that Axiome in Metaphysicks, Quicquid est, quamdiu est, necesse est esse: The reason whereof is, because it is impossible that a thing should be and not be at once. But before it acted, it might have chosen whether it would have acted or no; but it did determine it self. And in this sense is it to be said to be a free Agent, and not a necessary one. So that it is manifest, that though there be some prettie perversness of wit in the contriving of this Argument, yet there is no solidity at all at the bottome.

12. And as little is there in his third. But in this, I must confess, I cannot so much accuse him of Art and Sophistry, as of ignorance of the rules of Logick; for he does plainly assert That the necessity of the truth of that Proposition there named depends on the necessity of the truth of the parts thereof; then which no grosser errour can be committed in the <75> Art of reasoning. For he might as well say that the necessity of the truth of a Connex Axiome depends on the necessity of the truth of the parts, as of a Disjunct. But in a Connex, when both the parts are not onely false, but impossible, yet the Axiome is necessarily true. As for example, If Bucephalus be a man, he is endued with humane reason; this Axiome is necessarily true, and yet the parts are impossible. For Alexander's horse can neither be a man, nor have the reason of a man, either radically or actually. The necessity therefore is only laid upon the connexion of the parts, not upon the parts themselves. So when I say, To morrow it will rain, or it will not rain, this Disjunct Proposition also is necessary, but the necessity lyes upon the Disjunction of the parts, not upon the parts themselves: For they being immediately disjoyned, there is a necessity that one of them must be, though there be no necessity that this must be determined rather then that. As when a man is kept under custody where he has the use of two rooms only, though there be a necessity that he be found in one of the two, yet he is not confined to either one of them. And to be brief, and prevent those frivolous both answers and replies that follow in the pursuit of this Argument in Mr Hobbs; As the necessity of this Disjunct Axiome lyes upon the Disjunction it self, so the truth, of which this necessity is a mode, must lye there too; for it is the Disjunction of the parts that is affirmed, and not the parts themselves, as any one that is but moderately in his wits must needs acknowledge.

13. There is a more dangerous way that Mr Hobbs might have made use of, and with more credit, but yet scarce with better success, which is the consideration of an Axiome that pronounces of a future Contingent, such as this, Cras Socrates disputabit. For every Axiome pronouncing either true or false, as all doe agree upon; if this Axiome be now true, it is impossible but Socrates should dispute to morrow; or if it be now false, it is impossible he should: and so his Action of disputing or the omission thereof will be necessary, for the Proposition cannot be both true and false at once. Some are much troubled to extricate themselves out of this Nooze; but if we more precisely enquire into the sense of the Proposition, the difficulty will vanish. He therefore that affirms that Socrates will dispute to morrow, affirms it (to use the distinction of Futurities that Aristotle somewhere suggests) either as a τὸ μέλλον, or τὸ ἐσόμενον, that is, either as a thing that is likely to be, but has a possibility of being otherwise, or else as a thing certainly to come to pass. If this latter, the Axiome is false; if the former, it is true: and so the liberty of Socrates his action, as also of all like contingent effects, are thus easily rescued from this sophistical entanglement. For every Future Axiome is as incapable of our judgment, unless we determine the sense of it by one of the forenamed modes, as an Indefinite Axiome is, before we in our minds adde the notes of Universality or Particularity: Neither can we say of either of them, that they are true or false, till we have compleated and determined their sense.

14. His fourth Argument he proposes with some diffidence and dislike, as if he thought it not good Logick (they are his own words) to make <76> use of it, and adde it to the rest. And for my own part, I cannot but approve of the consistency of his judgment, and coherency with other parts of his Philosophie: For if there be nothing but Body or Matter in the whole comprehension of things, it will be very hard to find out any such Deity as has the knowledge or fore-knowledge of any thing: And therefore I suspect that this last is onely cast in as Argumentum ad hominem, to puzzle such as have not dived to so profound a depth of natural knowledge, as to fancy they have discovered there is no God in the world.

15. But let him vilifie it as he will, it is the only Argument he has brought that has any tolerable sense or solidity in it; and it is a Subject that has exercised the wits of all Ages, to reconcile the Liberty of mans Will with the Decrees and Præscience of God. But my Freeness, I hope, and Moderation shall make this matter more easy to me, then it ordinarily proves to them that venture upon it. My Answer therefore in brief shall be this;

16. That though there be such a Faculty in the Soul of man as Liberty of Will, yet she is not alwaies in a state of acting according to it. For she may either degenerate so far, that it may be as certainly known what she will doe upon this or that occasion, as what an hungry Dog will doe when a crust is offered him; which is the general condition of almost all men in most occurrences of their lives: or else she may be so Heroically good, though that happen in very few, that it may be as certainly known as before what she will doe or suffer upon such or such emergencies: and in these cases the use of Liberty of Will ceases.

17. Secondly, That the use of the Faculty of Free-will is properly there, where we finde our selves so near to an Æquiponderancy, being touch'd with the sense of Vertue on the one side, and the ease or Pleasure of some vitious action on the other, that we are conscious to our selves that we ought, and that we may, if we will, abandon the one and cleave to the other.

18. Thirdly, That in this Conflict the Soul has no such absolute power to determine her self to the one or the other action, but Temptation or Supernaturall assistance may certainly carry her this way or that way; so that she may not be able to use that liberty of going indifferently either way.

19. Fourthly, That Divine Decrees either find men fit, or make them so, for the executing of whatever is absolutely purposed or prophesied concerning them.

20. Fifthly, That the Præscience of God is so vast and exceeding the comprehension of our thoughts, that all that can be safely said of it is this, That this knowledge is most perfect and exquisite, accurately representing the Natures, Powers and Properties of the thing it does foreknow. Whence it must follow, that if there be any Creature free and undeterminate, and that in such circumstances and at such a time he may either act thus or not act thus, this perfect Fore-knowledge must discern from all eternity, that the said Creature in such circumstances may either act thus, or so, or not. And further to declare the perfection of this Fore <77> knowledge and Omniscience of God; as His Omnipotence ought to extend so far, as to be able to doe whatsoever implies no contradiction to be done; so his Praescience and Omniscience ought to extend so far, as to know precisely and fully whatever implies no contradiction to be known.

To conclude therefore briefly; Free or Contingent Effects do either imply a contradiction to be foreknown, or they do not imply it. If they imply a contradiction to be foreknown, they are no object of the Omniscience of God; and therefore there can be no pretence that his Foreknowledge does determinate them, nor can they be argued to be determined thereby. If they imply no contradiction to be foreknown, that is to acknowledge that Divine Præscience and they may very well consist together. And so either way, notwithstanding the Divine Omniscience, the Actions of men may be free.

21. The sum therefore of all is this, That mens actions are sometimes free and sometimes not free; but in that they are at any time free, is a Demonstration that there is a Faculty in us that is incompetible to mere Matter: which is sufficient for my purpose.


1. An Enumeration of sundry Opinions concerning the Seat of Common Sense. 2. Upon supposition that we are nothing but mere Matter, That the whole Body cannot be the Common Sensorium; 3. Nor the Orifice of the Stomack; 4. Nor the Heart; 5. Nor the Brain; 6. Nor the Membranes; 7. Nor the Septum lucidum; 8. Nor Regius his small and perfectly solid Particle. 9. The probability of the Conarion being the common Seat of Sense.

1. I Have plainly proved, that neither those more Pure and Intellectual faculties of Will and Reason, nor yet those less pure of Memory and Imagination, are competible to mere Bodies. Of which we may be the more secure, I having so convincingly demonstrated, That not so much as that which we call *[12] External Sense is competible to the same: all which Truths I have concluded concerning Matter generally considered.

But because there may be a suspicion in some, which are over-credulous concerning the powers of Body, that Organization may doe strange feats (which Surmise notwithstanding is as fond as if they should imagine, that though neither Silver, nor Steel, nor Iron, nor Lute-strings, have any Sense apart, yet being put together in such a manner and formed as will (suppose) make a compleat Watch, they may have Sense; that is to say, that a Watch may be a living creature, though the severall parts have neither Life nor Sense;) I shall for their sakes goe more particularly to work, and recite every Opinion that I could ever meet with by converse with either men or books concerning the Seat of the Common Sense, and after trie whether any of these Hypotheses can possibly be admitted for <78> Truth, upon supposition that we consist of nothing but mere modified and organized Matter.

I shall first recite the Opinions, and then examine the possibility of each in particular, which in brief are these. 1. That the whole Body is the Seat of Common Sense. 2. That the Orifice of the Stomack. 3. The Heart. 4. The Brain. 5. The Membranes. 6. The Septum lucidum. 7. Some very small and perfectly-solid particle in the Body. 8. The Conarion. 9. The concurse of the Nerves about the fourth ventricle of the Brain. 10. The Spirits in that fourth ventricle.

2. That the first Opinion is false is manifest from hence, That, upon supposition we are nothing but mere Matter, if we grant the whole Body to be one common Sensorium, perceptive of all Objects, Motion which is impressed upon the Eye or Eare, must be transmitted into all the parts of the Body. For Sense is really the same with communication of Motion, by Axiome 20. And the variety of Sense arising from the modification of Motion, which must needs be variously modified by the different temper of the parts of the Body, by Axiome 22. it plainly follows that the Eye must be otherwise affected by the motion of Light, then the other parts to which this motion is transmitted. Wherefore if it be the whole Body that perceives, it will perceive the Object in every part thereof several wayes modified at once; which is against all Experience. It will also appear in all likelihood in several places at once, by reason of the many windings and turnings that must happen to the transmission of this Motion, which are likely to be as so many Refractions or Reflections.

3. That the Orifice of the Stomack cannot be the seat of Common Sense, is apparent from hence, That that which is the common Sentient does not only perceive all Objects, but has the power of moving the Body. Now besides that there is no organization in the mouth of the Stomack that can elude the strength of our Arguments laid down in the foregoing Chapters, which took away all capacity from Matter of having any perception at all in it, there is no Mechanical reason imaginable to be found in the Body, whereby it will appear possible, that supposing the mouth of the Stomack were the common Percipient of all Objects, it could be able to move the rest of the members of the Body, as we finde something in us does. This is so palpably plain, that it is needless to spend any more words upon it.

4. The same may be said concerning the Heart. For who can imagine that, if the Heart were that common Percipient, that there is any such Mechanical connexion betwixt it and all the parts of the Body, that it may, by such or such a perception, command the motion of the Foot or little Finger? Besides that it seems wholly imployed in the performance of its Systole and Diastole, which causes such a great difference of the situation of the Heart by turns, that if it were that Seat in which the sense of all Objects centre, we should not be able to see things steddily or fix our sight in the same place.

5. How uncapable the Brain is of being so active a Principle of Motion as we find in our selves, the viscidity thereof does plainly indicate. Besides that Physicians have discovered by experience, that the Brain is so <79> far from being the common Seat of all senses, that it has in it none at all. And the Arabians, that say it has, have distinguished it into such severall offices of Imagination, Memory, Common Sense, &c. that we are still at a loss for some one part of Matter that is to be the Common Percipient of all these. But I have so clearly demonstrated the impossibility of the Brain's being able to perform those functions that appertain truly to what ordinarily men call the Soul, in my Antidote against Atheism,[13] that it is enough to refer the Reader thither.

6. As for the Membranes, whether we would fancy them all the Seat of Common Sense, or some one Membrane, or part thereof; the like difficulties will occur as have been mentioned already. For if all the Membranes, the difference and situation of them will vary the aspect and sight of the Object, so that the same things will appear to us in several hues and several places at once, as is easily demonstrated from Axiome 22. If some one Membrane, or part thereof, it will be impossible to excogitate any Mechanical reason, how this one particular Membrane, or any part thereof, can be able so strongly and determinately to move upon occasion every part of the Body.

7. And therefore for this very cause cannot the Septum lucidum be the Common Percipient in us, because it is utterly unimaginable how it should have the power of so stoutly and distinctly moving our exteriour parts and limbs.

8. As for that new and marvelous Invention of Henricus Regius,[14] That it may be a certain perfectly-solid, but very small particle of Matter in the Body, that is the seat of common perception; besides that it is as boldly asserted, that such an hard particle should have Sense in it, as that the filings of Iron and Steel should; it cannot be the spring of Motion: For how should so small at Atome move the whole Body, but by moving it self? But it being more subtile then the point of any needle, when it puts it self upon motion, especially such strong thrustings as we sometimes use, it must needs passe through the Body and leave it.

9. The most pure Mechanical Invention is that of the use of the Conarion, proposed by[15] Des-Cartes; which, considered with some other organizations of the Body, bids the fairest of any thing I have met withall, or ever hope to meet withall, for the resolution of the Passions and Properties of living Creatures into mere Corporeal motion. And therefore it is requisite to insist a little upon the explication thereof, that we may the more punctually confute them that would abuse his Mechanical contrivances to the exclusion of all Principles but Corporeal, in either Man or Beast.



1. How Perception of external Objects, Spontaneous Motion, Memory and Imagination, are pretended to be performed by the Conarion, Spirits and Muscles, without a Soul. 2. That the Conarion, devoid of a Soul, cannot be the Common Percipient, demonstrated out of Des-Cartes himself. 3. That the Conarion, with the Spirits and Organization of the Parts of the Body, is not a sufficient Principle of Spontancous motion, without a Soul. 4. A description of the use of the Valvulæ in the Nerves of the Muscles for spontaneous motion. 5. The insufficiency of this contrivance for that purpose. 6. A further demonstration of the insufficiency thereof, from whence is clearly evinced that Brutes have Souls. 7. That Memory cannot be salved the way above described; 8. Nor Imagination. 9. A Distribution out of Des-Cartes of the Functions in us, some appertaining to the Body, and others to the Soul. 10. The Author's Observations thereupon.

1 THE sum of this Abuse must in brief be this, That the Glandula Pinealis is the common Sentient or Percipient of all Objects; and without a Soul, by virtue of the Spirits and Organization of the Body, may doe all those feats that we ordinarily conceive to be performed by Soul and Body joyned together. For it being one, whenas the rest of the Organs of Sense are double,[16] and so handsomely seated as to communicate with the Spirits as well of the posteriour as anteriour Cavities of the Brain; by their help all the motions of the Nerves (as well of those that transmit the sense of outward Objects, as of them that serve for the inward affections of the Body, such as Hunger, Thirst and the like) are easily conveighed unto it: and so being variously moved, it does variously determine the course of the Spirits into such and such Muscles, whereby it moves the Body.

Moreover that the transmission of Motion from the Object, through the Nerves, into the inward concavities of the Brain, and so to the Conarion, opens such and such Pores of the Brain, in such and such order or manner, which remain as tracts or footsteps of the presence of these Objects after they are removed. Which tracts, or signatures, consist mainly in this, that the Spirits will have an easier passage through these Pores then other parts of the Brain. And hence arises Memory, when the Spirits be determined, by the inclining of the Conarion, to that part of the Brain where these tracts are found, they moving then the Conarion as when the Object was present, though not so strongly.

From the hitting of the Spirits into such like tracts, is also the nature of Imagination to be explained; in which there is little difference from Memory, saving that the reflexion upon time as past, when we saw or perceived such or such a thing, is quite left out. But these are not all the operations we are conscious to our selves of, and yet more then can be made out by this Hypothesis, That Perception of Objects, Spontaneous <81> Motion, Memory and Imagination, may be all performed by virtue of this Glandula, the Animal Spirits, and mere Organization of the Body; as we shall plainly find, though but upon an easy examination.

2. For that the Conarion, devoid of a Soul, has no perception of any one Object, is demonstrable from the very description Cartesius makes of the transmission of the image, suppose through the Eye to the Brain, and so to the Conarion. For it is apparent from what he sets down in his Treatise of the Passions of the Soul,[17] that the Image that is propagated from the Object to the Conarion, is impressed thereupon in some latitude of space. Whence it is manifest that the Conarion does not, nor can perceive the whole Object, though severall parts may be acknowledged to have the perception of the several parts thereof. But something in us perceives the whole, which therefore cannot be the Conarion.

And that we do not perceive the external Object double, is not so much because the Image is united in the Organ of Common Sense, as that the lines come so from the Object to both the Eyes, that it is felt in one place; otherwise if the Object be very near, and the direction of our Eyes be not fitted to that nearness, it will seem double however. Which is a Demonstration that a man may see with both Eyes at once; and for my own part, I'me sure that I see better at distance, when I use both, then when one.

3. As for Spontaneous Motion, that the Conarion cannot be a sufficient Principle thereof, with the Spirits and organization of other parts of the Body,[18] though we should admit it a fit seat of Common Sense, will easily appear, if we consider, that so weak and so small a thing as that Glandula is, seems utterly unable to determine the Spirits with that force and violence we find they are determined in running, striking, thrusting and the like; and that it is evident, that sometimes scarce the thousandth part of the Conarion shall be directer of this force; viz. when the Object of Sight, suppose, is as little as a pin's point, or when a man is prick'd with a needle, these receptions must be as little in the Glandula as in the exteriour Sense.

But suppose the whole Conarion alwaies did act in the determining the motion of the Spirits into this or that Muscle; it is impossible that such fluid Matter as these Spirits are, that upon the noddings of the Conarion forward may easily recede back, should ever determine their course with that force and strength they are determined.

But haply it will be answered, That such subtile and fluid bodies as the Animal Spirits, that are in a readiness to be upon Motion any way, the least thing will determine their course; and that the Muscles themselves, being well replenish'd with Spirits, and framed with such Valvulæ as will easily intromit them from the Brain, and also conveigh them out of one opposite Muscle into another upon the least redundance of Spirits in the one above the other, and so shut them in; that that force we find in spontaneous Motion may very well be salved by this Mechanical Artifice.

4. That the insufficiency of this Answer may appear, let us more accurately consider the contrivance in the following Figure, which <82> must be some such thing as *[19] Regius has ventured at in his Philosophy, and which may serve for the more easy understanding of what *[20] Des-Cartes writes in his Book of Passions. Here B C are two opposite Muscles, the known Instruments of spontaneous Motion; K, some part of the Body to be moved; D E and F G are the Nerves through which Spirits are transmitted from the Brain into the foresaid Muscles; D and F two Valvulæ to let pass the Spirits from the Brain into the Muscles, but stop them if they would regurgitate; G is a Valve that lets the Spirits out of the Muscle C into B, and E another Valve that lets the Spirits out of B into C. Now in brief, the result of this Mechanicall contrivance is this, viz. That the Spirits being determined by the Conarion never so little more copiously into B then into C, those in C will pass through the Valve G into B, and so B swelling, and consequently shortning it self, it must needs bring up the member K.

5. We will not here alledge that this may be onely a mere fancy, these Valvulæ in the Nerves not being yet discovered by any Anatomist to be part of the Organization of the Body of any Animal; but rather shew, that they would not effect what is aimed at, though they were admitted. For first, it does not appear that the Spirits will make more hast out of C into B, then the pressure caused in B by the determination of the Spirits from the Conarion forces them to. For all places being alike to them to play in, they will goe no further then they are driven or pressed, as Wind in a Bladder. And how the Conarion should drive or press the Spirits into B, so as to make it press those in C, and force them out so quick and smart as we find in some Actions, is a thing utterly unconceivable.

6. Besides, admit that the Conarion could determine them with some considerable force so into B, that they would make those in C come to them through the Valve G, there being the Valve E to transmit them into C again, it is impossible but that the Tenth part of that force which we ordinarily use to open a mans hand against his will, should whether he would or no easily open it. For a very ordinary strength moving K from B towards C, must needs so press the Spirits in B, that they will certainly pass by E into C, if our Body be nothing but Matter Mechanically organized. And therefore it is the mere Imperium of our Soul that does determine the Spirits to this Muscle rather then the other, and holds them there in despite of external force. From whence it is manifest that brute Beasts must have Souls also.

7. Concerning Memory and Imagination, that the mere Mechanical reasons of Des-Cartes will not reach them, we shall clearly understand, if we consider that the easy aperture of the same Pores of the Brain, that were opened at the presence of such an Object, is not sufficient to represent the Object, after the Conarion has by inclining it self thitherward determined the course of the Spirits into the same Pores. For this could <83> only represent the Figure of a thing, not the Colours thereof. Besides, a man may bring an hundred Objects, and expose them to our view at the same distance, the Eye keeping exactly in the same posture, insomuch that it shall be necessary for these images to take up the very same place of the Brain, and yet there shall be a distinct remembrance of all these; which is impossible, if there be no Soul in us, but all be mere Matter. The same may be said of so many Names or Words levell'd if you will out of a Trunk into the Eare kept accurately in the same posture, so that the Sound shall beat perpetually upon the same parts of the Organ, yet if there be five hundred of them, there may be a distinct memory for every one of them; which is a power perfectly beyond the bounds of mere Matter, for there would be a necessary confusion of all.

8. Lastly, for those imaginations or representations that are of no one Object that we ever see, but made up of several that have taken their distinct places in the Brain, some (suppose) before and others behinde, how can the Conarion joyn these together, and in such a posture of conjunction as it pleases? Or rather in one and the same Object, suppose this Man or that House, which we see in a right posture, and has left such a signature or figure in the Brain as is fit to represent it so,[21] how can the Conarion invert the posture of the image, and make it represent the House and Man with the heels upwards? Besides the difficulty of representing the Distance of an Object, or the Breadth thereof, concerning which we have spoken[22] already. It is impossible the Conarion, if it be mere Matter, should perform any such operations as these. For it must raise motions in it self, such as are not necessarily conveighed by any corporeal impress of another Body, which is plainly against Axiome 26.

9. And therefore that sober and judicious Wit Des-Cartes dares not stretch the power of Mechanical organization thus far, but doth plainly confess, That as there are some Functions that belong to the Body alone; so there are others that belong to the Soul, which he calls Cogitations; and are according to him of two sorts, the one Actions, the other Passions. The Actions are all the operations of our Will, as in some sense all Perceptions may be termed Actions. And these Actions of the Will are either such as are mere Intellectual Operations, and end in the Soul her self, such as her stirring up her self to love God, or contemplate any Immaterial Object; or they are such as have an influence on the Body, as when by virtue of our Will we put our selves upon going to this or that place.

He distinguishes again our Perceptions into two sorts, whereof the one has the Soul for their Cause, the other the Body.[23] Those that are caused by the Body are most-what such as depend on the Nerves. But besides these there is one kind of Imagination that is to be referred hither, and that properly has the Body for its cause, to wit, that *[24] Imagination that arises merely from the hitting of the Animal Spirits against the tracts of those Images that external Objects have left in the Brain, and so representing them to the Conarion; which may happen in the day-time when our Fancy roves, and we do not set our selves on purpose to think on things, as well as it does in sleep by night. Those Perceptions that arrive to the Soul by the interposition of the Nerves differ one from another <84> in this that some of them refer to outward Objects that strike our Sense, others to our Body, such as Hunger, Thirst, Pain, &c. and others to the Soul it self, as Sorrow, Joy, Fear, &c.

Those Perceptions that have the Soul for their Cause, are either the Perceptions of her own Acts of Will, or else of her Speculation of things purely Intelligible, or else of Imaginations made at pleasure, or finally of Reminiscency, when she searches out something that she has let slip out of her Memory.

10. That which is observable in this Distribution is this, That all those Cogitations that he calls Actions, as also those kind of Perceptions whose Cause he assignes to the Soul, are in themselves (and are acknowledged by him) of that nature, that they cannot be imitated by any creature by the mere organization of its Body. But for the other, he holds they may, and would make us believe they are in Bodies of Brutes, which he would have mere Machinas,[25] that is, That from the mere Mechanical frame of their Body, outward Objects of Sense may open Pores in their Brains so, as that they may determine the Animal Spirits into such and such Muscles for Spontaneous Motion: That the course of the Spirits also falling into the Nerves in the Intestines and Stomack, Spleen, Heart, Liver, and other parts, may cause the very same effects of Passion, suppose of Love, Hatred, Joy, Sorrow, in these brute Machinas, as we feel in our Bodies; though they, as being senseless, feel them not: and so the vellication of certain Tunicles and Fibres in the Stomack and Throat may affect their Body as ours is in the Sense of Hunger or Thirst: And finally, That the hitting of the Spirits into the tracts of the Brain that have been signed by External Objects, may act so upon their Body as it does upon ours in Imagination and Memory.

Now adde to this Machina of Des-Cartes, the capacity in Matter of Sensation and Perception, (which yet I have demonstrated it to be uncapable of) and it will be exquisitely as much as Mr. Hobbs himself can expect to arise from mere Body, that is, All the Motions thereof being purely Mechanical, the perceptions and propensions will be fatall, necessary and unavoidable, as he loves to have them.

But being no Cogitations that Des-Cartes terms Actions, as also no kind of Perceptions that he acknowledges the Soul to be the cause of, are to be resolved into any Mechanical contrivance; we may take notice of them as a peculiar rank of Arguments, and such, as that if it could be granted that the Souls of Brutes were nothing but Sentient Matter, yet it would follow that a Substance of an higher nature, and truly Immaterial, must be the Principle of those more noble Operations we find in our selves, as appears from Axiome 20, and 26.



1. That no part of the Spinal Marrow can be the Common Sensorium without a Soul in the Body. 2. That the Animal Spirits are more likely to be that Common Percipient. 3. But yet it is demonstrable they are not: 4. As not being so much as capable of Sensation; 5. Nor of directing Motion into the Muscles; 6. Much less of Imagination and rational Invention; 7. Nor of Memory. 8. An answer to an Evasion. 9. The Author's reason, why he has confuted so particularly all the suppositions of the Seat of Common Sense, when few of them have been asserted with the exclusion of a Soul.

1. THere remain now onely Two Opinions to be examined: the one, That place of the Spinal Marrow where Anatomists conceive there is the nearest concurse of all the Nerves of the Body; the other, the Animal Spirits in the fourth Ventricle of the Brain. As for the former, viz. That part of the Spinal Marrow where the concurse of the Nerves are conceived to be, as I have answered in like case, so I say again, that besides that I have already demonstrated, that Matter is uncapable of Sense, and that there is no modification thereof in the Spinal Marrow, that will make it more likely to be indued with that Faculty then the pith of Elder or a mess of Curds; we are also to take notice, that it is utterly inept for Motion, nor is it conceivable how that part of it, or any other that is assigned to this office of being the Common Percipient in us of all Thoughts and Objects, (which must also have the power of moving our members) can, having so little agitation in it self, (as appearing nothing but a kind of soft Pap or Pulp) so nimbly and strongly move the parts of our Body.

2. In this regard the Animal Spirits seem much more likely to perform that office; and those, the importunity of whose gross fancies constrains them to make the Soul Corporeal, do nevertheless usually pitch upon some subtile thin Matter to constitute her nature or Essence: And therefore they imagine her to be either Aire, Fire, Light, or some such like Body; with which the Animal Spirits have no small affinity.

3. But this opinion, though it may seem plausible at first sight, yet the difficulties it is involved in are insuperable. For it is manifest, that all the Arguments that are brought *[26] before will recur with full force in this place. For there is no Matter that is so perfectly liquid as the Animal Spirits, but consists of particles onely contiguous one to another, and actually upon Motion playing and turning one by another as busy as Atomes in the Sun. Now therefore, let us consider whether that Treasury of pure Animal Spirits contained in the fourth Ventricle be able to sustain so noble an office as to be the common Percipient in our Body, which, as I have often repeated, is so complex a Function, that it does not onely contain the Perception of external Objects, but Motion, Imagination, Reason and Memory.

4. Now at the very first dash, the transmission of the image of the <86> Object into this crowd of particles cannot but hit variously upon them, and therefore they will have several Perceptions amongst them, some haply perceiving part of the Object, others all, others more then all, others also perceiving of it in one place, and others in another. But the Percipient in us representing no such confusion or disorder in our beholding of Objects, it is plain that it is not the Animal Spirits that is it.

5. Again, That which is so confounded a Percipient, how can it be a right Principle of directing Motion into the Muscles? For besides what disorder may happen in this function upon the distracted representation of present Objects, the power of thinking, excogitating, and deliberating, being in these Animal Spirits also, (and they having no means of communicating one with another, but justling one against another; which is as much to the purpose, as if men should knock heads to communicate to each other their conceits of Wit,) it must needs follow that they will have their perceptions, inventions, and deliberations apart; which when they put in Execution, must cause a marvelous confusion in the Body, some of them commanding the parts this way, others driving them another way: or if their factions have many divisions and subdivisions, every one will be so weak, that none of them will be able to command it any way. But we find no such strugling or countermands of any thing in us, that would act our Body one way when we would another; as if when one was a going to write Μῆνιν ἄειδε θεά------ something stronger in him, whose conceits he is not privy to, should get the use of his hand, and, in stead {sic} of that write down Arma virúmque cano--- And the like may be said of any other Spontaneous Motion, which being so constantly within our command as it is, it is a sufficient Argument to prove that it is not such a lubricous Substance as the Animal Spirits, nor so disunited; but something more perfectly One and Indivisible, that is the Cause thereof.

6. We need not instance any further concerning the power of Invention and Reason, how every particle of these Animal Spirits has a liberty to think by it self, and consult with it self, as well as to play by it self, and how there is no possible means of communicating their Thoughts one to another, unless it should be, as I have said, by hitting one against another: but that can onely communicate Motion, not their determinate Thought; unless that these particles were conceived to figure themselves into the shape of those things they think of, which is impossible by Axiome 26. And suppose it were possible one particle should shape it self, for example, into a George on Horse-back with a Lance in his hand, and another into an Inchanted Castle; this George on Horse-back must run against the Castle, to make the Castle receive his impress and similitude. But what then? Truly the encounter will be very unfortunate: For S. George indeed may easily break his Lance, but it is impossible that he should by justling against the Particle in the form of a Castle conveigh the entire shape of himself and his Horse thereby, such as we find our selves able to imagine of a man on horse-back. Which is a Truth as demon <87> strable as any Theorem in Mathematicks, but so plain at first sight, that I need not use the curiosity of a longer Demonstration to make it more firm.

Nor is there any colourable Evasion by venturing upon a new way, as if this particle having transformed it self into a Castle, and that into an Horseman, all the others then would see them both and they one another. For by what light, and how little would they appear, and in what different places, according to the different posture of the particles of the Animal Spirits, and with what different faces, some seeing one side, others another?

But besides this, there is a further difficulty, that if such Sensible representations as these could be conveighed from one particle to another by corporeal encounters and justlings, or by that other way after alledged; Logical and Mathematical Notions can not. So that some of the Animal Spirits may think of one Demonstration in Mathematicks, or of part of that Demonstration, and others of another: insomuch that if a Mathematician be to write, while he would write one thing upon the determination of these Animal Spirits, others may get his hand to make use of for the writing something else, to whose Thoughts and Counsell he was not at all privy; nor can tell any thing, till those other Animal Spirits have writ it down. Which Absurdities are so mad and extravagant, that a man would scarce defile his pen by recording them, were it not to awaken those that dote so much on the power of Matter (as to think it of it self sufficient for all Phænomena in the world) into due shame and abhorrence of their foolish Principle.

7. The last Faculty I will consider is Memory, which is also necessarily joyned with the rest in the Common Percipient; of which not onely the fluidity of parts, but also their dissipability, makes the Animal Spirits utterly uncapable. For certainly, the Spirits by reason of their Subtilty and Activity are very dissipable, and in all likelihood remain not the same for the space of a week together; and yet things that one has not thought of for many years, will come as freshly into a mans mind as if they were transacted but yesterday.

8. The onely Evasion they can excogitate here is this, That as there is a continual supply of Spirits by degrees, so, as they come in, they are seasoned, fermented and tinctured with the same Notions, Perceptions and Propensions that the Spirits they find there have. These are fine words, but signifie nothing but this, that the Spirits there present in the Brain communicate the Notions and Perceptions they have to these new-comers; which is that which I have already proved impossible in the foregoing Sections. And therefore it is impossible that the Animal Spirits should be that Common Percipient that hears, sees, moves, remembers, understands, and does other functions of life that we perceive performed in us or by us.

9. We have now particularly evinced, that neither the whole Body, nor any of those parts that have been pitched upon, if we exclude the presence of a Soul or Immaterial Substance, can be the Seat of Common Sense. In which I would not be so understood, as if it implied that there are none <78> of these parts, but some or other have affirmed might be the common Sensorium, though we had no Soul: But because they have been stood upon, all of them, by some or other to be the Seat of Common Sense, supposing a Soul in the Body, that there might no imaginable doubt or scruple be left behind, I have taken the pains thus punctually and particularly to prove, that none of them can be the place of Common Sense without one.

And thus I have perfectly finished my main design, which was to demonstrate That there is a Soul or Incorporeal Substance residing in us, distinct from the Body. But I shall not content my self here, but for a more full discovery of her Nature and Faculties, I shall advance further, and search out her chief Seat in the Body, where and from whence she exercises her most noble Functions, and after enquire whether she be confined to that part thereof alone, or whether she be spred through all our members; and lastly consider after what manner she sees, feels, hears, imagines, remembers, reasons, and moves the Body. For beside that I shall make some good use of these discoveries for further purpose, it is also in it self very pleasant to have in readiness a rational and coherent account, and a determinate apprehension of things of this nature.


1. His Enquiry after the Seat of Common Sense, upon supposition there is a Soul in the Body. 2. That there is some particular Part in the Body that is the seat of Common Sense. 3. A general division of their Opinions concerning the place of Common Sense. 4. That of those that place it out of the Head there are two sorts. 5. The Invalidity of Helmont's reasons whereby he would prove the Orifice of the Stomack to be the principal Seat of the Soul. 6. An Answer to Helmont's stories for that purpose. 7. A further confutation out of his own concessions. 8. Mr. Hobbs his Opinion confuted, that makes the Heart the Seat of Common Sense. 9. A further confutation thereof from Experience. 10. That the Common Sense is seated somewhere in the Head. 11. A caution for the choice of the particular place thereof. 12. That the whole Brain is not it; 13. Nor Regius his small solid Particle; 14. Nor any external Membrane of the Brain, nor the Septum Lucidum. 15. The three most likely places. 16. Objections against Cartesius his Opinion concerning the Conarion answered. 17. That the Conarion is not the Seat of Common Sense; 18. Nor that part of the Spinal Marrow where the Nerves are conceived to concurre, but the Spirits in the fourth Ventricle of the Brain.

1. IT will therefore be requisite for us to resume the former Opinions, altering the Hypothesis; and to examine which of them is most reasonable, supposing there be a Substance Immaterial or Soul in man.


2. That there is some particular or restrain'd Seat of the Common Sense, is an Opinion that even all Philosophers and Physicians are agreed upon. And it is an ordinary Comparison amongst them, that the External Senses & the Common Sense considered together are like a Circle with five lines drawn from the Circumference to the Centre. Wherefore as it has been obvious for them to finde out particular Organs for the External Senses, so they have also attempted to assign some distinct part of the Body for to be an Organ of the Common Sense; that is to say, as they discovered Sight to be seated in the Eye, Hearing in the Eare, Smelling in the Nose, &c. so they conceived that there is some part of the Body wherein Seeing, Hearing and all other Perceptions meet together, as the lines of a Circle in the Centre: and that there the Soul does also judge and discern of the difference of the Objects of the outward Senses. They have justly therefore excluded all the External parts of the Body from the lightest suspicion of any capacity of undergoing such a function as is thus general, they being all employed in a more particular task, which is to be the Organ of some one of these five outward Senses; and to be affected no otherwise then by what is impressed upon themselves, and chiefly from their proper Objects; amongst which five, Touch properly so called has the greatest share, it being as large as the Skin that covers us, and reaching as deep as any Membrane and Nerve in the limbs and trunk of the Body, besides all the Exteriour parts of the Head. All which can no more see then the Eye can hear, or the Eare can smell.

3. Besides this, all those Arguments that do so clearly evince that the place of Common Sense is somewhere in the Head, are a plain demonstration that the whole Body cannot be the Seat thereof, and what those Arguments are you shall hear anon. For all those Opinions that have pitched on any one Part for the Seat of Common Sense, being to be divided into two Ranks, to wit, either such as assign some particular place in the Body, or else in the Head, we will proceed in this order: as first to confute those that have made choice of any part for the Seat of Common Sense out of the Head; and then in the second place we will in general shew, that the common Sensorium must be in some part of the Head; and lastly, of those many opinions concerning what part of the Head this common Sensorium should be, those which seem less reasonable being rejected, we shall pitch upon what we conceive the most unexceptionable.

4. Those that place the Common Sensorium out of the Head, have seated it either in the upper Orifice of the Stomack, or in the Heart. The former is *[27] Van-Helmont's Opinion, the other Mr Hobbs his.

5. As for Van-Helmont, there is nothing he alledges for his Opinion but may be easily answered. That which mainly imposed upon him was the exceeding Sensibility of that part, which Nature made so, that, as a faithfull and sagacious Porter, it might admit nothing into the Stomack that might prove mischievous or troublesome to the Body. From this tender Sensibility, great offences to it may very well cause Swoonings, and Apoplexies, and cessations of Sense. But Fear and Joy and Grief have dispatch'd some very suddainly, when yet the first entrance of that deadly stroke has been at the Eare or the Eye, from some unsupportable ill <90> newes or horrid spectacle. And the harsh handling of an angry Sore, or the treading on a Corn on the Toe, may easily cast some into a swoon, and yet no man will ever imagine the Seat of the Common Sense to be placed in the Foot. In fine, there is no more reason to think the Common Sensorium is in the mouth of the Stomack, because of the Sensible Commotions we feel there, then that it is seated in the Stars, because we so clearly perceive their Light, as Des-Cartes[28] has well answered upon like occasion. Nor can Phrensies and Madnesses, though they may sometimes be observed to take their rise from thence, any more prove that it is the Seat of the Common Sense, then the Furor uterinus, Apoplexies, Epilepsies, and Syncopes proceeding from the Wombe, do argue that the common Sensorium of Women lies in that part.

6. And if we consider the great Sympathy betwixt the Orifice of the Stomack and the Heart, whose Pathemata are so alike and conjoyned that the Ancients have given one name to both parts, calling them promiscuously καρδία, and the pains of the Stomack καρδιαλγίαι, and καρδιωγμὸι, as also that the Heart is that part from which manifestly are the supplies of Life, whence the Pulse ceasing, Life cannot long continue for want of Warmth and Spirits; here is an evident reason, how it may happen that a Wound about the mouth of the Stomack may dispatch a man more suddainly then a wound in the Head, they being both supposed mortal, though the seat of the Sensitive Soul be not chiefly in the aforesaid Orifice. For partly the natural Sympathy betwixt the Orifice of the Stomack and the Heart, and partly the horrour and pain perceived by the Soul in the common Sensorium, which we will suppose in the Head, does so dead the Heart, that, as in the suddain Passions above named, it ceases to perform the ordinary functions of Life, and so Pulse and Sense and all is gone in short time; whenas the Head being wounded mortally, Perception is thereby so diminished, that the Heart scapes the more free from the force of that lethiferous passion; and so though Sense be gone, can continue the Pulse a longer time: which is a perfect answer to Helmont's stories he recites in his Sedes Animæ.

7. To all which I may adde, That himself does acknowledge in the end of that Treatise, that the power of Motion, of Will, Memory and Imagination, is in the Brain; and therefore unless a man will say and deny any thing, he must say that the Common Sense is there also.

8. The Opinion of Mr Hobbs[29] bears more credit and countenance with it, as having been asserted heretofore by Philosophers of great fame, Epicurus, *[30] Aristotle, and the School of the Stoicks: but if we look closer to it, it will prove as little true as the other; especially in his way, that holds there is no Soul in a Man, but that all is but organized Matter. For let him declare any Mechanical reason whereby his Heart will be able to move his Finger. But upon this Hypothesis I have confuted this Opinion already. It is more maintainable, if there be granted a Soul in the Body, that the Heart is the chief Seat thereof, and place of Common Sense, as Aristotle and others would have it, as also the spring of Spontaneous Motion. But it is very unlikely that that part that is so continually employed in that natural Motion of contracting and dilating it self, should <91> be the Seat of that Principle which commands Free and Spontaneous progressions: Perceptions also would be horribly disturbed by its squeezing of it self, and then flagging again by vicissitudes. Neither would Objects appear in the same place, or at least our sight not fixt on the same part of the Object, when the Heart is drawn up and when it is let down again, as I have above intimated: the extreme heat also of it could not admit that it be affected with the gentle motions of the Objects of Sense, the Blood being there in a manner scalding hot. And it is in this sense that that Aphorisme in Aristotle is to be understood, τὸ μέσον κριτικὸν, That which must receive the variety of external impresses, must not be it self in any high temper or agitation.

9. Wherefore it is a very rash thing to assert, That the Heart is the Seat of Common Sense, unless by some plain experience it could be evinced to be so, whenas indeed Experiments are recorded to the contrary. As, that if we bind a Nerve, Sense and Motion will be betwixt the Ligature and the Brain, but not betwixt the Heart and the Ligature. And that the Crocodile, his Heart being cut out, will live for a considerable time, and fight, and defend himself. The like is observed of the Sea-Tortoise, and the wild Goat, as Calcidius writes. To which you may adde what Galen relates of sacrificed Beasts,[31] that their Hearts being taken out and laid upon the Altar, they have been seen in the mean time not onely to breath, and roar aloud, but also to run away, till the expence of Blood has made them fall down. Which Narrations to me are the more credible, I having seen with mine own eyes a Frog quite exenterated, heart, stomack, guts and all taken out by an ingenious friend of mine, and dexterous Anatomist; after which the Frog could see, and would avoid any object in its way, and skipped as freely and nimbly up and down, as when it was entire, and that for a great while. But a very little wound in the Head deprives them immediatly of Life and Motion. Whence it is plain that the derivation of Sense and spontaneous Motion is not from the Heart. For if the Motion be intercepted betwixt the Brain and the Heart, by *[32] Mr Hobbs his own concession, there will be no perception of the Object. And there is the same reason of the Orifice of the Stomack: so that this one Experiment does clearly evince these two Opinions to be erroneous.

10. And that no man hereafter may make any other unhappy choice in the parts of the Body, we shall now propose such Reasons as we hope will plainly prove, That the common Sensorium must needs be in the Head; or indeed rather repeat them: For some of those whereby we proved that the Heart is not the Seat of Common Sense, will plainly evince that the Head is. As that out of Laurentius,[33] that a Nerve being tied, Sense and Motion will be preserved from the Ligature up towards the Head, but downwards they will be lost. As also that experiment of a Frog, whose brain if you pierce will presently be devoid of Sense and Motion, though all the Entrals being taken out it will skip up and down, and exercise its Senses as before. Which is a plain evidence that Motion and Sense is derived from the Head; and there is now no pretence to trace any Motion into a farther fountain, the Heart, (from whence the <92> Nerves were conceived to branch by Aristotle, and from whence certainly the Veins and Arteries do, as appears by every Anatomie) being so justly discharged from that office.

To which it may suffice to adde the consideration of those Diseases that seize upon all the Animal functions at once, such as are the Lethargie, Apoplexie, Epilepsie, and the like, the causes of which Physicians find in the Head, and accordingly apply remedies. Which is a plain detection that the Seat of the Soul, as much as concerns the Animal Faculties, is chiefly in the Head. The same may be said of Phrensy and Melancholy, and such like distempers, that deprave a mans Imagination and Judgment; Physicians alwaies conclude something amiss within the Cranium.

Lastly, if it were nothing but the near attendance of the outward Senses on the Soule, or her discerning Faculty, being so fitly placed about her in the Head; this, unless there were some considerable Argument to the contrary, should be sufficient to determine any one that is unprejudiced, to conclude that the Seat of Common Sense, Understanding, and command of Motion, is there also.

11. But now the greatest difficulty will be to define In what part thereof it is to be placed. In which, unless we will goe over-boldly and carelesly to work, we are to have a regard to Mechanical congruities, and not pitch upon any thing that, by the advantage of this Supposal, That there is a Soul in man, may goe for possible; but to chuse what is most handsome and convenient.

12. That the whole Brain is not the Seat of Common Sense, appears from the wounds and cuts it may receive without the destruction of that Faculty; for they will not take away Sense and Motion, unless they pierce so deep as to reach the Ventricles of the Brain, as Galen has observed.

13. Nor is it in Regius his small solid particle. For besides that it is not likely the Centre of Perception is so minute, it is very incongruous to place it in a Body so perfectly solid, more hard then Marble or Iron. But this Invention being but a late freak of his petulant fancy, that has an ambition to make a blunder and confusion of all Des-Cartes his Metaphysical Speculations, (and therefore found out this rare quirk of wit to shew, how though the Soul were nothing but Matter, yet it might be incorruptible and immortal) it was not worth the while to take notice of it here in this Hypothesis, which we have demonstrated to be true, viz. That there is a Soul in the Body, whose nature is Immaterial or Incorporeal.

14. Nor are the Membranes in the Head the common Sensorium; neither those that envelop the Brain, (for they would be able then to see the light through the hole the Trepan makes, though the party Trepan'd winked-with his eyes; to say nothing of the conveyance of the Nerves, the Organs of external Sense, that carry beyond these exteriour Membranes, and therefore point to a place more inward, that must be the Recipient of all their impresses) nor any Internal membrane, as that which bids fairest for it, the Septum Lucidum, as being in the midst of the upper Ventricle. But yet if the levell of Motion through the externall Senses be accurately considered, some will shoot under, and some in a distant <93> parallel, so that this Membrane will not be struck with all the Objects of our Senses. Besides that it seems odd and ridiculous that the Centre of Perception should be either driven out so into plates, or spread into hollow convexities, as it must be supposed, if we make either the external or internal Membranes of the Brain the Seat of Common Sense.

15. The most likely place is some one of those that the three last Opinions point at, viz. either the Conarion, or the Concurse of the Nerves in the fourth Ventricle, or the Animal Spirits there.

16. The first is Des-Cartes Opinion, and not rashly to be refused, neither do I find any Arguments hitherto that are valid enough to deface it. Those that are recited out of Bartholine, and subscribed to by the learned[34] Author of Adenographia, in my apprehension have not the force to ruine it. We will first repeat them, and then examine them.

The first is, That this Glandula is too little to be able to represent the Images of all that the Soul has represented to her.

The second, That the external Nerves do not reach to the Glandula, and that therefore it cannot receive the impress of sensible Objects.

The third, That it is placed in a place of excrements which would soile the Species of things.

The fourth, That the Species of things are perceived there where they are carried by the Nerves. But the Nerves meet about the beginning or head of the Spinal Marrow, a more noble and ample place then the Glandula pinealis.

To the first I answer, That the amplitude of that place where the Nerves meet in the Spinal Marrow, is not large enough to receive the distinct impresses of all the Objects the Mind retains in Memory. (Besides, that the other parts of the Brain may serve for that purpose, as much as any of it can.) But it must be the Soul her self alone that is capable of retaining so distinct and perfect representations of things, though it were admitted that she might make an occasional use of some private marks it impresses in the Brain;[35] which haply may be nothing at all like the things it would remember, nor of any considerable magnitude nor proportion to them, such as we observe in the words Arx and Atomus, where there is no correspondency of either likeness or bigness betwixt the words and the things represented by them.

To the second, That though there be no continuation of Nerves to the Conarion, yet there is of Spirits; which are as able to conveigh the impresses of Motion from external Sense to the Conarion, as the Aire and Æther the impress of the Stars unto the Eye.

To the third, That the Glandula is conveniently enough placed, so long as the Body is sound; for no excrementitious humours will then overflow it or besmear it. But in such distempers wherein they doe, Apoplexies, Catalepsies, or such like diseases will arise; which we see do fall out, let the seat of Common Sense be where it will.

To the last I answer, That the Nerves, when they are once got any thing far into the Brain, are devoid of Tunicles, and be so soft and spongy, that the motion of the Spirits can play through them, and that therefore they may ray through the sides, and so continue their motion <94> to the Conarion, whereever their extremities may seem to tend.

17. But though these Arguments do not sufficiently confute the Opinion, yet I am not so wedded to it, but I can think something more unexceptionable may be found out, especially it being so much to be suspected that all Animals have not this Conarion; and then, that what pleased Des-Cartes so much in this Invention, was that he conceited it such a marvelous fine instrument to beat the Animal Spirits into such and such Pores of the Brain; a thing that I cannot at all close with for reasons[36] above alledged. Besides that Stones have been found in this Glandula, and that it is apparent that it is environ'd with a net of Veins and Arteries, which are indications that it is a part assigned for some more inferiour office. But yet I would not dismiss it without fair play.

18. Wherefore that Opinion of the forecited Author,[37] who places the Seat of Common Sense in that part of the Spinal Marrow where the Nerves are suspected to meet, as it is more plain and simple, so it is more irrefutable, supposing that the Soul's Centre of perception (whereby she does not onely apprehend all the Objects of the external Senses, but does imagine, reason, and freely command and determine the Spirits into what part of the Body she pleases) could be conveniently seated in such dull pasty Matter as the Pith of the Brain is; a thing, I must needs profess, that pleases not my Palate at all, and therefore I will also take leave of this Opinion too, and adventure to pronounce, That the chief Seat of the Soul, where she perceives all Objects, where she imagines, reasons, and invents, and from whence she commands all the parts of the Body, is those purer Animal Spirits in the fourth Ventricle of the Brain.


1. The first reason of his Opinion, the convenient Situation of these Spirits. 2. The second, that the Spirits are the immediate Instrument of the Soul in all her functions. 3. The proof of the second Reason from the general Authority of Philosophers, and particularly of Hippocrates; 4. From our Sympathizing with the changes of the Aire; 5. From the celerity of Motion and Cogitation; 6. From what is observed generally in the Generation of things; 7. From Regius his experiment of a Snail in a glass; 8. From the running round of Images in a Vertigo; 9. From the constitution of the Eye, and motion of the Spirits there; 10. From the dependency of the actions of the Soul upon the Body, whether in Meditation or corporeal Motion; 11. From the recovery of Motion and Sense into a stupified part; 12. And lastly, from what is observed in swooning fits, of paleness and sharpness of visage, &c. 13. The inference from all this, That the Spirits in the fourth Ventricle are the seat of Common Sense, and that the main use of the Brain and Nerves is to preserve the Spirits.


1. THAT which makes me embrace this Opinion rather then any other is this; That, first, this situation of the common Sensorium betwixt the Head and the trunk of the Body is the most exactly convenient to receive the impresses of Objects from both, as also to impart Motion to the Muscles in both the Head and in the Body. In which I look upon it as equall with the last Opinion, and superiour to all them that went before. For whatever may be objected, is already answered in what I have said to the last Objection against Des-Cartes.

2. But now in the second place, (wherein this Opinion of mine has a notorious advantage above all else that I know) It is most reasonable that that Matter, which is the immediate Instrument of all the Animal functions of the Soul, should be the chiefest Seat from whence and where she exercises these functions, and if there be any place where there is a freer plenty of the purest sort of this Matter, that her peculiar residence should be there. Now the immediate Instrument of the functions of the Soul is that thinner Matter which they ordinarily call Animal Spirits, which are to be found in their greatest purity and plenty in the fourth Ventricle of the Brain. From whence it must follow that that precious and choice part of the Soul which we call the Centre of perception is to be placed in that Ventricle, not in any pith of the Brain thereabout, but in the midst of these Spirits themselves; for that is the most natural situation for the commanding them into the parts of the Head and Body; besides a more delicate and subtile use of them at home, in pursuing various imaginations and inventions.

3. That this thin and Spirituous Matter is the immediate engine of the Soul in all her operations, is in a manner the general opinion of all Philosophers. And even those that have placed the Common Sensorium in the Heart, have been secure of the truth of this their conceit, because they took it for granted, that the left Ventricle thereof was the fountain of these pure and subtile Spirits, and please themselves very much, in that they fancied that Oracle of Physicians, the grave and wise Hippocrates, to speak their own sense so fully and significantly. Γνώμη γὰρ ἡ τοῦ ἀνθρὼπου πέφυκεν ἐν τῆ λαιῇ κοιλίῃ. τρέφεται δὲ οὔτε σιτίοισιν οὔτε ποτοῖσιν ἀπὸ τῆς νηδύος, ἀλλὰ καθαρῇ καὶ φωτοειδεῖ περιουσίᾳ γεγονυίῃ ἐκ τῆς διακρίσεως τοῦ αἵματος. that is to say, That the Mind of man is in the left Ventricle of his Heart; and that it is not nourished from meats and drinks from the belly, but by a clear and luminous Substance that redounds by separation from the blood: which is that which happens exactly in the Brain. For the Spirits there are nothing else but more pure and subtile parts of the blood, whose tenuity and agitation makes them separate from the rest of the mass thereof, and so replenish the Ventricles of the Brain.

4. Moreover our sympathizing so sensibly with the changes of the Aire, which Hippocrates also takes notice of, that in clear Aire our Thoughts are more clear, and in cloudy more obscure and dull, is no slight indication that that which conveighs Sense, Thoughts, and Passions immediately to the Soul, is very tenuious and delicate, and of a nature very congenerous to the Aire with which it changes so easily.


5. The strange Agility also of Motions and Cogitations that we find in our selves, has forced the most sluggish witts, even such as have been so gross as to deem the Soule Corporeall, yet to chuse the freest, subtilest and most active Matter to compound her of, that their imaginations could excogitate. And Lucretius, the most confident of the Epicurean Sect, thinks he has hit the naile on the head in his choice, De rerum Nat. lib. 3. where he concludes thus, Nunc igitur quoniam est animi natura reperta Mobilis egregie, per quam constare necesse est Corporibus parvis & lævibus atque rotundis: whose testimony I account the better in this case, by how much the more crass Philosopher he is, the necessity of the tenuity of particles that are to pervade the Body of a Man being convinced hence to be so plain, that the dimmest eyes can easily discover it.

6. But we will advance higher to more forcible Arguments, amongst which this, I think, may find some place, That we cannot discover any immediate operation of any kind of Soule in the world, but what it first works upon that Matter which participates in a very great measure of this fineness and tenuity of parts, which will easily yield and be guided; as may be universally observed in all Generations, where the Body is alwaies organized out of thin fluid liquor, that will easily yield to the plastick power of the Soule. In which I doe not doubt but it takes the advantage of moving the most subtile parts of all first, such as Des-Cartes his first and second element, which are never excluded from any such humid and tenuious substance: which elements of his are that true Heavenly or Æthereal matter which is every where, as Ficinus somewhere saith Heaven is; and is that fire which Trismegist affirms is the most inward vehicle of the minde, and the instrument that God used in the forming of the world, and which the Soul of the world, whereever she acts, does most certainly still use.

7. And to make yet a step further, That ocular demonstration that Henricus Regius brings Philos. Natur. lib. 4. cap. 16. seems to me both ingenious and solid. It is in a Snail, such as have no shells, moving in a glass: so soon as she begins to creep, certain Bubbles are discovered to move from her tail to her head; but so soon as she ceases moving, those Bubbles cease. Whence he concludes, That a gale of spirits that circuit from her head along her back to her tail, and thence along her belly to her head again, is the cause of her progressive motion.

8. That such thin Spirits are the immediate instruments of Sense, is also discovered by what is observed in a Vertigo. For the Brain it self is not of such a fluid substance as to turn round, and to make external Objects seem to doe so. Wherefore it is a sign that the immediate corporeal instrument of conveying the images of things is the Spirits in the Brain.

9. And that they are the chief Organ of Sight is plain in the exteriour parts of the Eye; for we may easily discern how full they are of that καθαρὴ καὶ φωτοειδὴς οὐσία, pure and lucid substance which Hippocrates speaks of, though he seat it in a wrong place; and how upon the passions of the minde these Spirits ebbe or flow in the Eye, and are otherwise wonderful-significantly modified, insomuch that the Soul even seems to speak through them, in that silent voice of Angels, which some fancy to be by nothing but by dumb shews, but I doe not at all believe it. It is also plain enough, that dimness of sight comes from deficiency of these Spirits, though the parts of the Eye otherwise be entire enough. The wider opening also of the pupill of one Eye upon the shutting of the other does indicate the flux and more copious presence of Spirits there, as Galen has ingeniously collected.

10. To which we may adde that in those more noble operations of the Minde, when she meditates and excogitates various Theorems, that either she uses some part of the Body as an Instrument then, or acts freely and independently of the Body. That the latter is false is manifest from hence, that then the change of Air, or Distemper and Diseasedness, could not prejudice her in her Inventive and purely Intellectuall Operations; but it is manifest that they doe, and that a mans Minde is much more cloudy one time then another, and in one Country then another, whence is that proverbiall Verse, Bœotûm crasso jurares aere natum. If she uses any part of the Body, it must be either these animal Spirits, or the Brain. That it is not the Brain, the very consistency thereof so clammy and sluggish is an evident demonstration, which will still have the more force, if we consider what is most certainly true, That the Soul has not any power, or else exceeding little, of moving Matter; but her peculiar priviledge is of determining Matter in motion; which the more subtile and agitated it is, the more easily by reason of its own mobility is it determined by her. For if it were an immediate faculty of the Soul to contribute motion to any matter, I doe not understand how that faculty never failing nor diminishing no more then the Soul it self can fail or diminish, that we should ever be weary of motion. In so much that those nimble-footed Mænades or she-Priests of Bacchus, with other agile Virgins of the Country, which Dionysius describes dancing in the flowry meadows of Mæander and Cayster, might, if life and limbs would last, be found dancing there to this very day, as free and frolick as wanton Kids (as he pleases to set out their activity) and that without any lassitude at all. For that immediate motive faculty of the Soul can still as fresh as ever impart motion to all the Body, and sooner consume it into air or ashes by heating and agitating it, then make her self weary or the Body seem so. Wherefore it is plain that that motion or heat that the Soul voluntarily confers upon the Body is by vertue of the Spirits, which she, when they are playing onely and gently toying amongst themselves, sends forth into the exteriour members, and so agitates and moves them: but they being so subtile and dissipable, the Soul spends them in using of them; and they being much spent, she can hardly move the Body any longer, the sense whereof we call Lassitude. These are the τὰ ὁρμῶντα or ἐνορμῶντα of Hippocrates, and the Souls immediate engine of motion through all the parts of the Body.


11. As they are also of Sense in the more remote parts as well as in the Head, as Spigelius handsomely insinuates by that ordinary example of a mans legge being stupefied or asleep, as some call it, by compression or whatever hinderance may be of the propagation of the Spirits into that part. For as Sense and Motion is restored, a man may plainly feel something creep into it tingling and stinging like Pismires, as he compares it; which can be nothing but the Spirits forcing their passage into the part. Wherein what they suffer is made sensible to the Soul, they being her immediate Vehicle of life and sense.

12. Lastly, in swooning fits, when Motion and Sense fails, the exteriour parts are pale and fallen, the Face looking more lean and sharp; of which there can be no other meaning, then that that benign gale of vital air that fill'd up the parts before, is now absent and retreated from them; that is, that the fluid Spirits are retired, without which no Sense nor Motion can be performed: whence it is apparent that they are the immediate instrument of both.

13. I have proved that the Animal Spirits are the Soul's immediate organ for Sense and Motion. If therefore there be any place where these Spirits are in the fittest plenty and purity, and in the most convenient situation for Animal functions; that in all reason must be concluded the chief seat and Acropolis of the Soul. Now the Spirits in the middle ventricle of the Brain are not so indifferently situated for both the Body and the Head, as those in the fourth are; nor so pure. The upper Ventricles, being two, are not so fit for this office, that is so very much one and singular. Besides that the sensiferous impresses of motion through the eyes play under them; to say nothing how the Spirits here are less defecate also then in the fourth Ventricle.

Wherefore there being sufficient plenty, and greatest purity, and fittest situation of the Spirits in this fourth Ventricle, it is manifest that in these is placed the Centre of Perception, and that they are the common Sensorium of the Soul: And that as the Heart pumps out Blood perpetually to supply the whole Body with nourishment, to keep up the bulk of this Edifice for the Soul to dwell in, as also, from the more subtile and agile parts thereof, to replenish the Brain and Nerves with Spirits, (which are the immediate Instrument of the Soul for Sense and Motion;) So likewise is it plain that the main use of the Brain and Nerves is to keep these subtile Spirits from over-speedy dissipation; and that the Brain with its Caverns is but one great round Nerve; as the Nerves with their invisible porosities are but so many smaller productions or slenderer prolongations of the Brain: And so altoether are but one continued Receptacle or Case of that immediate Instrument of the sensiferous motions of the Soul, the Animal Spirits, wherein also lies her hidden Vehicle of life in this mortal body.



1. Several Objections against Animal Spirits. 2. An Answer to the first Objection touching the Porosity of the Nerves. 3. To the second and third, from the Extravasation of the Spirits and pituitous Excrements found in the Brain. 4. To the fourth, fetcht from the incredible swiftness of motion in the Spirits. 5. To the last, from Ligation. 6. Undeniable Demonstrations that there are Animal Spirits in the Ventricles of the Brain.

1. BEfore we proceed to our other *[38] two Enquiries, we are forced to make a stop a while, and listen to some few Objections made by some late Authours, who, against the common stream of all other Philosophers, Physicians and Anatomists, are not ashamed to deny that there are any such things as Spirits in the Body; or at least that there are any in the Ventricles of the Brain. For as for the Nerves, say they, they have no Pores or Cavities to receive them; and besides, it is plain that what is fluid in them is nothing but a milky white juice, as is observed in the pricking of a Nerve. And as for the Ventricles of the Brain, those Cavities are too big; and the Spirits, if they issue into them, will be as extravasated Blood, whence they must needs be spoiled and corrupt. Besides that they will evaporate at those passages through which the mucous or pituitous excrements pass from the Brain. Whose appearance there is, say they, another great argument that these Ventricles were intended onely for receptacles and conveyances of such excrementitious Humours which the Brain discharges it self of. Lastly, if Spontaneous Motion be made by means of these Spirits, it could not be so extremely sudden as it is; for we can wagge our finger as quick as thought, but corporeal Motion cannot be so swift. And if the Spirits be continued from the Head to the Finger, suppose, in the ligation of the Nerve there would be sense from the Ligature to the Fingers end; which is, say they, against Experience. These are the main Objections I have met withall in Hofman and others; but are such as I think are very easily answered: and indeed they do in some sort clash some of them one with another.

2. For how can the Nerves derive juice if they have no Pores, or are not so much as passable to these thin active Spirits we speak of? or from whence can we better conceive that juice to arise, then from these Spirits themselves, as they lose their agitation, and flag into a more gross consistency?

3. Neither can the Spirits be looked upon as extravasated in the Ventricles of the Brain, more then the Blood in the Auricles or Ventricles of the Heart. Nor is there any fear of their sliding away through the Infundibulum, the pituitous excrements having no passage there but what they make by their weight, as well as their insinuating moistness, which alwaies besmearing these parts makes them more impervious to the light Spirits, whose agility also and componderancy with the outward Aire renders them uncapable of leaving the Caverns in which they are.


That arguing from the pituitous excrements found there, that they were made onely for a Receptacle of such useless redundancy, is as ineptly inferred, as if a man should argue from what is found in the Intestinum rectum, that the Stomack and all the Intestines were made for a Receptacle of Stercoreous excrement. The Spirits in the Ventricles of the Brain, playing about and hitting against the sides of the Caverns they are in, will in process of time abate of their agitation, the grosser parts especially; and so necessarily come to a more course consistency, and settle into some such like moist Sediment as is found at the bottome of the Ventricles, which nature dischargeth through fit passages, whereby the Spirits are left more pure. But because this necessary feculency is found in these Cavities, to conclude that that is the only use of them, is as ridiculous as to inferre That because I spit at my Mouth, and blow my Nose, that that was the chief end and use of these two parts of my Body, or that my Eyes were not made for seeing, but weeping.

4. The nature of the swiftness of Motion in these Spirits is much like that of Light, which is a Body as well as they. But that Lucid Matter in the Sun does not, so soon as he appears upon the Horizon, fly so many thousand miles in a moment to salute our eyes,; {sic} but Motion is propagated as it were at once from the Sun to our Eye through the æthereal Matter betwixt. Or suppose a long Tube, as long as you will, and one to blow in it; in a moment, so soon as he blows at one end, the Motion will be felt at the other, and that downwards as well as upwards, and as easily; to satisfie that other frivolous Objection I find in Hofman, as if it were so hard a business that these Spirits should be commanded downwards into the Nerves. But the Opposers of this ancient and solid Opinion are very simple and careless.

5. That of the Ligature proves nothing. For though the Nerve betwixt the Ligature and the Finger be well enough stored with Spirits, yet the Centre of Perception being not there, and there being an interruption and division betwixt the Spirits that are continued to their Common Sensorium, and these on the other side of the Ligature; 'tis no more wonder that we feel nothing on this side of the Ligature, then that we see nothing in our neighbour's garden when a wall is betwixt, though the Sun shine clearly on both sides of the wall.

6. We see how invalid their Arguments are against this received Opinion of almost all both Physicians and Philosophers: It is needless to produce any for the confirmation of it; Those which we have made use of for proving that the Spirits are the immediate Instrument of the Soul, being of equal force most of them to conclude their existence in the Body.

And yet for an overplus I will not much care to cast in a brief suggestion of the use of the Lungs, which the best Physicians and Anatomists adjudge to be chiefly for conveighing prepared aire to the Heart; as also of the Rete mirabile and Plexus Choroides, whose bare situation discover their use, that they may more plentifully evaporate the thinner and more agile particles of the Blood into the Ventriclees of the Brain.

The Diastole also of the Brain keeping time with the Pulse of the Heart, is a manifest indication what a vehement steam of Spirits, by the direct <101> and short passage of the Arteriæ Carotides, are carried thither. For if one part of the Blood be more fiery and subtile then another, it will be sure to reach the Head. From whence considering the sponginess and laxness of the Brain, and thinness of the Tunicles in the little Arteries that are there; it will follow by Mechanical necessity that the Ventricles thereof will be filled with that καθαρὴ καὶ φωτοειδὴς περιουσία ἐκ διακρίσεως τοῦ αἵματος, which Hippocrates so fitly describes, though he fancy the Seat of it in an unfitting place.

But the purest of these Spirits being in the fourth Ventricle, as Bartholine[39] and others have judiciously concluded, it follows plainly from what has been alledged, That the Common Sensorium is to be placed in the midst of these purer Spirits of the fourth Ventricle of the Brain.


1. That the Soul is not confined to the Common Sensorium. 2. The first Argument from the Plastick power of the Soul. 3. Which is confirmed from the gradual dignity of the Soul's Faculties, of which this Plastick is the lowest; 4. External Sensation the next; 5. After that, Imagination, and then Reason. 6. The second Argument from Passions and Sympathies in Animals. 7. An illustration of the manner of natural Magick. 8. The third Argument from the Perception of Pain in the exteriour parts of the Body. 9. The fourth and last from the nature of Sight.

1. WE are now at leisure to resume the two remaining Enquiries; the former whereof is, whether the Soul be so in this fourth Ventricle, that it is essentially no where else in the Body, or whether it be spread out into all the Members. Regius[40] would coup it up in the Conarion, which he believes to be the Common Sensorium, and so by consequence it should be confined to the fourth Ventricle, and not expatiate at all thence, supposing that the Seat of Common Sense. The reason of this conceit of his is this, That whatever is in the rest of the Body, may come to pass by powers merely Mechanical; wherein he does very superstitiously tread in the footsteps of his Master Des-Cartes. But for my own part, I cannot but dissent, I finding in neither any sufficient grounds of so novel an opinion, but rather apparent reasons to the contrary.

2. As first, the Frame of the Body, of which I think most reasonable to conclude the Soul her self to be the more particular Architect (for I will not wholly reject Plotinus his opinion;) and that the Plastick power resides in her, as also in the Souls of Brute animals, as very learned and worthy Writers have determined. That the Fabrick of the Body is out of the concurse of Atomes, is a mere precarious Opinion, without any ground or reason. For Sense does not discover any such thing, the first rudiments of life being out of some liquid homogeneal Matter; and it is <102> against *[41] Reason, that the tumbling of Atomes or corporeal particles should produce such exquisite frames of creatures, wherein the acutest wit is not able to find any thing inept, but all done exquisitely well every where, where the foulness and coursness of Matter has not been in fault.

That God is not the immediate Maker of these Bodies, the particular miscarriages demonstrate. For there is no Matter so perverse and stubborn but his Omnipotency could tame; whence there would be no Defects nor Monstrosities in the generation of Animals.

Nor is it so congruous to admit, that the Plastick faculty of the Soul of the World is the sole contriver of these Fabricks of particular Creatures, (though I will not deny but she may give some rude *[42] preparative strokes towards Efformation:) but that in every particular World, such as Man is especially, his own Soul is the peculiar and most perfective Architect thereof, as the Soul of the World is of it. For this vital Fabrication is not as in artificial Architecture, when an external person acts upon Matter; but implies a more particular and near union with that Matter it thus intrinsecally shapes out and organizes. And what ought to have a more particular and close union with our Bodies then our Souls themselves?

My opinion is therefore, That the Soul, which is a Spirit, and therefore contractible and dilatable, begins within less compass at first in Organizing the fitly-prepared Matter, and so bears it self on in the same tenour of work till the Body has attained its full growth; and that the Soul dilates it self in the dilating of the Body, and so possesses it through all the members thereof.

3. The congruity of this Truth will further discover it self, if we consider the nature of the Faculties of the Soul (of which you may read more fully in Enthusiasmus Triumphatus[43] ) in what a natural graduality they arise till they come to the most free of all. The deepest or lowest is this Plastick power we have already spoke of, in virtue whereof is continued that perpetual Systole and Diastole of the Heart, as I am more prone to think then that it is merely Mechanical, as also that Respiration that is performed without the command of our Will: For the Libration or Reciprocation of the Spirits in the Tensility of the Muscles would not be so perpetual, but cease in a small time, did not some more mystical Principle then what is merely Mechanical give Assistance; as any one may understand by observing the insufficiency of those devices that Henricus Regius propounds for adequate causes of such motions in the Body. These I look upon as the First Faculties of the Soul, which may be bounded by this general character, That the exercise of them does not at all imply so much as our Perception.

4. Next to these is the Sensation of any external Object, such as Hearing, Seeing, Feeling, &c. All which include Perception in an unresistible necessity thereof, the Object being present before us, and no external Obstacle interposing.

5. Imagination is more free, we being able to avoid its representations for the most part, without any external help; but it is a degree on <103> this side Will and Reason, by which we correct and silence unallowable fancies. Thus we see how the Faculties of the Soul rise by Degrees; which makes it still the more easy and credible, that the lowest of all is competible to her as well as the highest.

6. Moreover, Passions and Sympathies, in my judgment, are more easily to be resolved into this Hypothesis of the Soul's pervading the whole Body, then in restraining its essential presence to one part thereof. *[44] For to believe that such an horrible Object as, suppose, a Bear or Tiger, by transmission of Motion from it through the Eyes of an Animal to the Conarion, shall so reflect thence, as to determine the Spirits into such Nerves as will streighten the Orifice of the Heart, and lessen the Pulse, and cause all other symptomes of Fear; seems to me little better then a mere piece of Mechanical Credulity. Those Motions that represent the Species of things, being turned this way or the other way, without any such impetus of Matter as should doe such feats as Des-Cartes speaks of in his Book of Passions. And that which he would give us as a pledge of this Truth is so false, that it does the more animate me to dis-believe the Theorem. *[45] For the wafting of one's hand near the Eye of a mans friend, is no sufficient proof That external Objects will necessarily and Mechanically determine the Spirits into the Muscles, no Faculty of the Soul intermedling. For if one be fully assured, or rather can keep himself from the fear of any hurt, by the wafting of his friend's Hand before his Eye, he may easily abstain from winking: But if fear surprise him, the Soul is to be entitled to the action, and not the mere Mechanisme of the Body. Wherefore this is no proof that the Phænomena of Passions, with their consequences, may be salved in brute Beasts by pure Mechanicks; and therefore neither in Men.

But it is evident that they arise in us against both our Will and Appetite. For who would bear the tortures of Fears and Jealousies, if he could avoid it? And therefore the Soul sends not nor determines the Spirits thus to her own Torture, as she resides in the Head. Whence it is plain that it is the Effect of her as she resides in the Heart and Stomack, which sympathize with the horrid representation in the Common Sensorium, by reason of the exquisite unity of the Soul with her self, and of the continuity of Spirits in the Body, the necessary instrument of all her Functions. And there is good reason the Heart and Stomack should be so much affected, they being the chief Seats of those Faculties that maintain the Life of the Body; the danger whereof is the most eminent Object of Fear in any Animal.

7. From this Principle, I conceive that not onely the Sympathy of parts in one particular Subject, but of different and distant Subjects, may be understood: such as is betwixt the party wounded, and the Knife or Sword that wounded him, besmeared with the Weapon-salve, and kept in a due temper: Which certainly is not purely Mechanical, but Magical, though not in an unlawful sense; that is to say, it is not to be resolved into mere Matter, of what thinness or subtilty soever you please, but into the Unity of the Soul of the Universe,*[46] which is interessed in all Plastick powers, and into the Continuity of the subtile Matter, which <104> answers to our Animal Spirits. And in this sense it is that *[47] Plotinus sayes, that the World is ὁ μέγας γόης, the grand Magus or Enchanter. And I do not question, but that upon this score merely, without the association of any Familiar Spirit, several odde things may be done, for evil as well as good. For this Spirit of the World has Faculties that work not by Election, but fatally or naturally, as several Gamaieu's we meet withall in Nature seem somewhat obscurely to subindicate. Of this Principle we shall speak more fully in its *[48] due place.

8. But we have yet a more clear discovery, that our Soul is not confined to any one part of the Head, but possesses the whole Body, from the Perception of Pain in the parts thereof: For it is plainly impossible, that so high a torture as is felt but in the pricking of a Pin, can be communicated to the Centre of Perception upon a mere Mechanical account. For whether the immediate Instrument of Sense be the Pith of the Nerves, as Des-Cartes would have it, or whether it be the Spirits, as is most true; it is ridiculous to think, that by the forcible parting of what was joyned together at ease (when this case is not communicated to either the Spirits, or Pith of the Nerves, from the place of the Puncture, to the very seat of Common Sense) the Soul there seated should feel so smart a torment, unless that her very Essence did reach to the part where the pain is felt to be. For then the reason of this is plain, that it is the Unity of Soul possessing the whole Body, and the Continuity of Spirits that is the cause thereof.

And it is no wonder, if the continuation and natural composure of the Spirits be Rest and Ease to the Soul, that a violent disjoyning and bruising of them, and baring the Soul of them, as I may so speak, should cause a very harsh and torturous sense in the Centre of Perception. This Argument bears undeniable Evidence with it, if we do but consider the fuzziness of the Pith of the Nerves, and the fluidity of the Spirits, and what little stress or crouding so small a thing as a Pin or Needle can make in such soft and liquid Matter. The consideration whereof ought eternally to silence their scrupulosity who are so amused that the harms of the Body should be the pains of the Soul, the Body in the mean time being not pained. For this is infinitely more conceivable, then that some part of Matter in my Head should feel pain by a prick in my finger, that Matter in my Head being not at all incommodated, if so much as in the least measure moved thereby; and yet that Perception is within the Head alone, has been abundantly demonstrated.

9. Lastly, unless the very Essence of the Soul reach from the Common Sensorium to the Eye, there will be very great difficulties how there should be so distinct a representation of any visible Object. For it is very hard to conceive that the Colours will not be confounded, and the bigness of the Object diminished, and indeed that the image will not be quite lost before it can come to the Soul, if it be onely in the Common Sensorium. For it is plain, and Experience will demonstrate, that there is a very perfect Image of the Object in the bottome of the Eye, which is made by the decussation of the lines of Motion from it, thus: The Line A B from the Object A C bears against that point in the bottome <105> of the Eye in B, and the line C D against the point D; whereby C and A are felt in their place, and in such a distance as they are in the Object C A: and so of all the lines which come from the Object C A into the bottome of the Eye B D. From whence the Object is felt in such a length and breadth as it is capable of being perceived in at such a distance from the Eye. And as the Motion that is conveyed from A to B and from C to D is felt there; so the modification of it, whereby the Object in those parts may seem red, yellow, green, or any other colour, is felt there also. Whence it is plain that there will be an exquisite impression, according to all circumstances of the Object, in the bottome of the Eye: so that if the Soul receive it there, and convey it thence to her Centre of Perception intirely in the same circumstances, the representation will be compleat.

But if the Soul be not there, but the conveyance thereof must be left to the bare laws of Matter, the Image will be much depraved, or lost, before it can come to the Common Sensorium. For this Motion must be propagated from B and D till it come to the hole E, and so pass into the Optick Nerve, to be carried into the Brain, and so to the seat of Common Sense: but betwixt B and E, or D and E, there may be the depainture of sundry colours, whence it will be necessary that F be tinctured with the colour D, and G with the colour of both D and F; & so of the rest of the Lines drawn from the Object to the Eye: so that all their Colours would be blended before they came to E. Now at that harsh flexure at E, where the visual Line is as crooked as B E R, according to the experiments of Reflexion and Refraction, the breadth or length of the Object C A would be lost. For we must needs expect, that as it is in Reflexions and Refractions, where the Object will appear in that Line that immediately conveys the sense of it; so here it must be also, and therefore the point C and A must appear about Q, whence the Object will shrivel up in a manner into nothing.

And suppose it might appear in some tolerable latitude, for all this, the Brain being an opake substance, so soon as the Motion comes thither, it would be so either changed or lost, that the Image could not pass the opacity of it in any splendour or entireness. Wherefore I do not doubt but that the Image which the Soul perceives is that in the Eye, and not any other corporeally producted to the inside of the Brain (where Colour and Figure would be so strangely depraved, if not quite obliterated) I mean it is the concurse of the lucid Spirits in the bottome of the Eye, with the outward Light conveyed through the Humours thereof (which is the best sense of the Platonick συναύγεια that Plutarch speaks of) wherein the great Mystery of Sight consists.



1. That neither the Soul without the Spirits, nor the Spirits without the presence of the Soul in the Organ, are sufficient causes of Sensation. 2. A brief declaration how Sensation is made. 3. How Imagination. 4. Of Reason and Memory, and whether there be any Marks in the Brain. 5. That the Spirits are the immediate Instrument of the Soul in Memory also; and how Memory arises; 6. As also Forgetfulness. 7. How spontaneous Motion is performed. 8. How we walk, sing, and play, though thinking of something else. 9. That though the Spirits be not alike fine every where, yet the Sensiferous Impression will pass to the Common Sensorium. 10. That there is an Heterogeneity in the very Soul her self; and what it is in her we call the Root, the Centre, and the Eye; and what the Rayes and Branches. 11. That the sober and allowable Distribution of her into Parts, is into Perceptive and Plastick.

1. AFter our evincing that the Soul is not confined to the Common Sensorium, but does essentially reach all the Organs of the Body; it will be more easy to determine the Nature of Sensation & other Operations we mentioned,[49] which is the third thing we proposed. For we have already demonstrated these two things of main consequence; That the Spirits are not sufficient of themselves for these Functions; nor the Soul of her self, without the assistance of the Spirits: as is plain in the interception or disjunction of the Spirits by Ligature or Obstruction; whence it is, that Blindness sometimes happens merely for that the Optick Nerve is obstructed.

2. Wherefore briefly to dispatch our[50] third Querie; I say in general, That Sensation is made by the arrival of motion from the Object to the Organ; where it is received in all the circumstances we perceive it in, and conveyed by virtue of the Soul's presence there, assisted by her immediate Instrument the Spirits, by virtue of whose continuity to those in the Common Sensorium, the Image or Impress of every Object is faithfully transmitted thither.

3. As for Imagination, there is no question but that Function is mainly exercised in the chief seat of the Soul, those purer Animal Spirits in the fourth Ventricle of the Brain. I speak especially of that Imagination which is most free, such as we use in Romantick Inventions, or such as accompany the more severe Meditations and Disquisitions in Philosophy, or any other Intellectual entertainments. For Fasting, fresh Aire, moderate Wine, and all things that tend to an handsome supply and depuration of the Spirits, make our thoughts more free, subtile, and clear.

4. Reason is so involved together with Imagination, that we need say nothing of it apart by it self. Memory is a Faculty of a more peculiar consideration; and if the Pith of the Brain contribute to the Functions of any power of the Mind, (more then by conserving the Animal Spirits) it is to this. But that the Brain should be stored with distinct images (whether they consist of the Flexures of the supposed Fibrillæ, or the <107> orderly puncture of Pores, or in a continued modified Motion of the parts thereof, some in this manner, and others in that) is a thing, as I have[51] already proved, utterly impossible.

If there be any Marks in it, it must be a kind of Brachygraphie, some small dots here and there standing for the recovering to Memory a series of things that would fill, it may be, many sheets of paper to write them at large. As if a man should tie a string about a friends finger to remember a business, that a whole daies discourse, it may be, was but little enough to give him full instructions in. From whence it is plain that the Memory is in the Soul, and not in the Brain. And if she do make any such Marks as we speak of, she having no perception of them distinct from the representation of those things which they are to remind her of, she must not make them by any Cognitive power, but by some such as is Analogous to her Plastick Faculty of organizing the Body, where she acts and perceives it not.

5. But whether the Soul act thus or no upon the Brain, is a matter of uncertain determination; nor can it be demonstrated by any experiment that I know. And therefore if we will contain our selves within the capacities of the Spirits, which I have so often affirmed to be the immediate Instrument of the Soul in all her operations, that Position will be more unexceptionable. And truly I do not understand but that they and the Soul together will perform all the Functions of Memory that we are conscious to our selves of.

Wherefore I shall conclude that Memory consists in this, That the Soul has acquired a greater Promptitude to think of this or that Phantasm, with the circumstances thereof, which were raised in her upon some occasion. Which Promptitude is acquired by either the often representation of the same Phantasme to her; or else by a more vivid impress of it from its novelty, excellency, mischievousness, or some such like condition that at once will pierce the Soul with an extraordinary resentment; or finally by voluntary attention, when she very carefully and on set purpose imprints the Idea as deeply as she can into her inward Sense. This Promptitude to think on such an Idea will lessen in time, and be so quite spent, that when the same Idea is represented again to the Soul, she cannot tell that ever she saw it before.

But before this inclination thereto be quite gone, upon this proneness to return into the same conception, with the circumstances, the Relative Sense of having seen it before (which we call Memory) does necessarily emerge upon a fresh representation of the Object.

6. But Forgetfulness arises either out of mere Desuetude of thinking on such an Object, or on others that are linked in with it, in such a Series as would represent it as past, and so make it a proper Object of Memory. Or else for that the Spirits, which the Soul uses in all her Functions, be not in a due temper; which may arise from overmuch Coolness, or Waterishness in the Head, to which alone Sennertus ascribes Obliviousness.[52]

7. The last thing we are to consider is Spontaneous Motion. Which that it is performed by the continuation of the Spirits from the Seat of Common Sense to the Muscles, which is the gross Engine of Motion, is <108> out of doubt. The manner how it is, we partly feel and see; that is to say, we find in our selves a power, at our own pleasure to move this or the other member with very great force, and that the Muscle swels that moves the part; which is a plain indication of influx of Spirits, thither directed or there guided by our mere Will: a thing admirable to consider, and worth our most serious meditation.

That this direction of the impresse of Motion is made by our mere Will, and Imagination of doing so, we know and feel it so intimately, that we can be of nothing more sure. That there is some fluid and subtile Matter, which we ordinarily call Spirits, directed into the Muscle that moves the Member, its swelling does evidence to our sight; as also the experience, that moderate use of Wine which supplies Spirits apace will make this motion the more strong.

As for the manner, whether there be any such Valvulæ or no in the Nerve, common to the opposite Muscles, as also in those that are proper to each, it is not material. This great priviledge of our Soul's directing the motion of Matter thus, is wonderfull enough in either Hypothesis. But I look upon the Fibrous parts of the Muscle as the main Engine of motion; which the Soul moistning with that subtile liquor of the Animal Spirits, makes them swell and shrink, like Lute-strings in rainy weather: And in this chiefly consists that notable strength of our Limbs in Spontaneous motion. But for those conceived Valvulæ that Experience has not found out yet, nor sufficient Reason, they are to wait for admission till they bring better evidence. For the presence of the Animal Spirits in this Fibrous flesh, and the command of the Soul to move, is sufficient to salve all Phænomena of this kind. For upon the Will conceived in the Common Sensorium, that part of the Soul that resides in the Muscles, by a power near a-kin to that by which she made the Body and the Organs thereof, guides the Spirits into such Pores and parts as is most requisite for the shewing the use of this excellent Fabrick.

8. And in virtue of some such power as this do we so easily walk, though we think not of it, as also breath, and sing, and play on the Lute, though our Mindes be taken up with something else. For Custome is another Nature: and though the Animal Spirits, as being merely corporeal, cannot be capable of any habits; yet the Soul, even in that part thereof that is not Cognitive, may, and therefore may move the Body, though Cogitation cease; provided the members be well replenished with Spirits, whose assistance in naturall motions of Animals is so great, that their Heads being taken off, their Body for a long time will move as before: as Chalcidius relates of Wasps and Hornets, who will fly about, and use their wings, a good part of an houre after they have lost their Heads: which is to be imputed to the residence of their Soul in them still, and the intireness of the Animal Spirits, not easily evaporating through their crustaceous Bodies.

For it is but a vulgar conceit to think, that the Head being taken off, the Soul must presently fly out, like a Bird out of a Basket, when the Lid is lifted up. For the whole World is as much throng'd with Body, as where she is; and that Tye of the Spirits as yet not being lost, it is a <109> greater engagement to her to be there then any where else. This motion therefore in the Wasp, that is so perfect and durable, I hold to be Vital; but that in the parts of dismembred creatures, that are less perfect, may be usually Mechanical.

9. We have now, so far forth as it is requisite for our design, considered the Nature and Functions of the Soul; and have plainly demonstrated, That she is a Substance distinct from the Body, and that her very Essence is spread throughout all the Organs thereof: as also that the generall Instrument of all her Operations is the subtile Spirits; which though they be not in like quantity and sincerity every where, yet they make all the Body so pervious to the impresses of Objects upon the external Organs, that like Lightning they pass to the Common Sensorium. For it is not necessary that the Medium be so fine and tenuious as the Matter where the most subtile motion begins. Whence Light passes both Aire and Water, though Aire alone is not sufficient for such a motion as Light, and Water almost uncapable of being the Seat of the fountain thereof. This may serve to illustrate the passage of Sense from the Membranes (or in what other seat soever the Spirits are most subtile and lucid) through thicker places of the Body to the very Centre of Perception.

10. Lastly, we have discovered a kind of Heterogeneity in the Soul; and that she is not of the same power every where. For her Centre of Perception is confined to the Fourth Ventricle of the Brain; and if the Sensiferous Motions we speak of be not faithfully conducted thither, we have no knowledge of the Object. That part therefore of the Soul is to be looked upon as most precious; and she not being an independent Mass, as Matter is, but one part resulting from another, that which is the noblest is in all reason to be deemed the cause of the rest. For which reason (as Synesius calls God, on whom all things depend, ῥιζῶν ῥίζαν, so) I think this Part may be called the Root of the Soul.

Which apprehension of ours will seem the less strange, if we consider that from the highest Life, viz. the Deity, there does result that which has no Life nor Sense at all, to wit the stupid Matter. Wherefore in very good Analogie we may admit, that that precious part of the Soul in which resides Perception, Sense and Understanding, may send forth such an Essential Emanation from it self, as is utterly devoid of all Sense and Perception; which you may call, if you will, the Exteriour branches of the Soul, or the Rayes of the Soul, if you call that nobler and diviner part the Centre; which may very well merit also the appellation of the Eye of the Soul, all the rest of its parts being but mere darkness without it. In which, like another Cyclops, it will resemble the World we live in, whose one Eye is conspicuous to all that behold the light.

11. But to leave such lusorious Considerations, that rather gratifie our fancy then satisfy our severer Faculties; we shall content our selves hereafter, from those two notorious Powers, and so perfectly different, which Philosophers acknowledg in the Soul, (to wit, Perception and Organization,) onely to term that more noble part of her in the Common Sensorium, the Perceptive, and all the rest the Plastick part of the Soul.



1. An Answer to an Objection, That our Arguments will as well prove the Immortality of the Souls of Brutes, as of Men. 2. Another Objection inferring the Præexistence of Brutes Souls, and consequently of ours. 3. The first Answer to the Objection. 4. The second Answer consisting of four parts. 5. First, That the Hypothesis of Præexistence is more agreeable to Reason then any other Hypothesis. 6. And not onely so, but that it is very solid in it self. 7. That the Wisdome and Goodness of God argue the truth thereof. 8. As also the face of Providence in the World. 9. The second part of the second Answer, That the Præexistence of the Soul has the suffrage of all Philosophers in all Ages, that held it Incorporeal. 10. That the Gymnosophists of Ægypt, the Indian Brachmans, the Persian Magi, and all the learned of the Jews were of this Opinion. 11. A Catalogue of particular famous persons that held the same. 12. That Aristotle was also of the same mind. 13. Another more clear place in Aristotle to this purpose, with Sennertus his Interpretation. 14. An Answer to an Evasion of that Interpretation. 15. The last and clearest place of all out of Aristotle's Writings.

1. HAving thus discovered the Nature of the Soul, and that she is a Substance distinct from the Body; I should be in readiness to treat of her Separation from it, did I not think my self obliged first, to answer an envious Objection cast in our way, whereby they would make us believe, That the Arguments which we have used, though they be no less then Demonstrations, are mere Sophisms, because some of them, and those of not the least validity, prove what is very absurd and false, viz. That the Souls of Brutes also are Substances Incorporeal, distinct from the Body: from whence it will follow, that they are Immortal. But to this I have answered already in the Appendix to my Antidote,[53] and in brief concluded, That they are properly no more Immortal then the stupid Matter, which never perishes, and that out of a terrestrial Body they may have no more sense then it. For all these things are as it pleases the first Creatour of them.

2. To this they perversly reply, That if the Souls of Brutes subsist after death, and are then sensless and unactive, it will necessarily follow that they must come into Bodies again. For it is very ridiculous to think that these Souls, having a Being yet in the world, and wanting nothing but fitly-prepared Matter to put them in a capacity of living again, should be alwaies neglected, and never brought into play, but that new ones should be daily created in their stead: for those innumerable Myriads of Souls would lie useless in the Universe, the number still increasing even to infinity. But if they come into Bodies again, it is evident that they præexist: and if the Souls of Brutes præexist, then certainly the Souls of Men doe so too. Which is an Opinion so wilde and extravagant, that a wry mouth and a loud laughter (the Argument that every Fool is able to use) is sufficient to silence it and dash it out of countenance. <111> No wise man can ever harbour such a conceit as this, which every Idiot is able to confute by consulting but with his own Memory. For he is sure, if he had been before, he could remember something of that life past. Besides the unconceivableness of the Approach and Entrance of these præexistent Souls into the Matter that they are to actuate.

3. To this may be answered two things. The first, That though indeed it cannot be well denied, but that the concession of the Præexistence of the Souls of Brutes is a very fair introduction to the belief of the Præexistence of the Souls of Men also; yet the sequel is not at all necessary, but one may be without the other.

4. The second is this, That if the sequel were granted, that no Absurdity can be detected from thence in Reason, if the prejudices of Education, and the blind suggestion of unconcerned Faculties, that have no right to vote here, be laid aside. To speak more explicitely, I say, This consequence of our Soul's Præexistence is more agreeable to Reason then any other Hypothesis whatever; Has been received by the most learned Philosophers of all Ages, there being scarce any of them that held the Soul of man Immortal upon the mere light of Nature and Reason, but asserted also her Præexistence; That Memory is no fit Judge to appeal to in this Controversy; and lastly, That Traduction and Creation are as intricate and unconceivable as this opposed Opinion.

5. I shall make all these four parts of my Answer good in order. The truth of the first we shall understand, if we compare it with those Opinions that stand in competition with it, which are but two that are considerable. The one is of those that say, the Soule is ex traduce; the other of those that say it is created, upon occasion. The first Opinion is a plain contradiction to the Notion of a Soul, which is a Spirit, and therefore of an Indivisible, that is of an Indiscerpible, Essence. The second Opinion implies both an Indignity to the Majesty of God, (in making him the chief assistant and actour in the highest, freest, and most particular way that the Divinity can be conceived to act, in those abominable crimes of Whoredome, Adultery, Incest, nay Buggery it self, by supplying those foul coitions with new created Souls for the purpose:) and also an injury to the Souls themselves; that they being ever thus created by the immediate hand of God, and therefore pure, innocent and immaculate, should be imprisoned in unclean, diseased and disordered Bodies, where very many of them seem to be so fatally over-mastered, and in such an utter incapacity of closing with what is good and vertuous, that they must needs be adjudged to that extreme calamity which attends all those that forget God. Wherefore these two opinions being so incongruous, what is there left that can seem probable, but the Præexistency of the Soul?

6. But I shall not press the Reasonableness of this Opinion onely from comparing it with others, but also from the concinnity that is to be found in it self. For as it is no greater wonder that every particular mans Soul that lives now upon Earth should be à mundo condito, then the particular Matter of their Bodies should, (which has haply undergone many Millions of Alterations and Modifications, before it lighted <112> into such a contexture as to prove the entire Body of any one person in the world, has been in places unimaginably distant, has filed, it may be, through the triangular passages of as many Vortices as we see Stars in a clear frosty night, and has shone once as bright as the Sun (as the Cartesian Hypothesis would have all the Earth to have done) in so much that we eat, and drink, and cloath our selves with that which was once pure Light and Flame;) so that de facto they do bear the same date with the Creation of the World, that unavoidable certainty of the Præexistence of the Souls of Brutes does, according to the very concession of our Adversaries, fairly insinuate.

7. But this is not all. Both the Attributes of God, and Face of things in the world, out of which his Providence is not to be excluded, are very strong Demonstrations thereof to Reason unprejudiced. For first, If it be good for the Souls of men to be at all, the sooner they are the better. But we are most certain that the Wisdome and Goodness of God will doe that which is the best; and therefore if they can enjoy themselves before they come into these Terrestrial Bodies, (it being better for them to enjoy themselves then not,) they must be before they come into these Bodies; that is, they must be in a capacity of enjoying themselves without them for long periods of time, before they appeared here in this Age of the World. For nothing hinders but that they may live before they come into the Body, as well as they may after their going out of it: the latter whereof is acknowledged even by them that deny the Præexistence.

Wherefore the Præexistence of Souls is a necessary result of the Wisdome and Goodness of God, who can no more fail to doe that which is best, then he can to understand it: for otherwise his Wisdome would exceed his Benignity; nay there would be less hold to be taken of His Goodness, then of the Bounty of a very benign and good man, who, we may be well assured, will slip no opportunity of doing good that lies in his power, especially if it be neither damage nor trouble to him; both which hinderances are incompetible to the Deity.

8. Again, The face of Providence in the World seems very much to suit with this Opinion; there being not any so natural and easie account to be given of those things that seem the most harsh in the affairs of men, as from this Hypothesis, That their Souls did once subsist in some other state; where, in severall manners and degrees, they forfeited the favour of their Creatour. And so according to that just Nemesis that He has interwoven in the constitution of the Universe and of their own natures, they undergoe several calamities and asperities of Fortune, and sad drudgeries of Fate, as a punishment inflicted, or a disease contracted from the several Obliquities of their Apostasie. Which key is not onely able to unlock that recondite mystery of some particular mens almost fatal aversness from all Religion and Vertue, their stupidity and dulness and even invincible slowness to these things from their very childhood, and their uncorrigible propension to all manner of Vice; but also of that squalid forlornness and brutish Barbarity that whole Nations for many Ages have layen under, and many do still lie under at this very day. <113> Which sad Scene of things must needs exceedingly cloud and obscure the waies of Divine Providence, and make them utterly unintelligible; unless some light be let in from the present Hypothesis we speak of.

It is plain therefore that there are very weighty Reasons may be found out to conclude the Præexistence of Souls. And therefore this Opinion being so demonstrable from this Faculty, and there being no other that can contradict it, (for that the verdict of Memory in this case is invalid I shall prove anon) we are according to the Light of Nature undoubtedly to conclude, That the Souls of Men do præexist, by Axiome 5.

9. And as this Hypothesis is Rational in it self, so has it also gained the suffrage of all Philosophers of all Ages, of any note, that have held the Soul of Man Incorporeal and Immortal. And therefore I am not at all sollicitous what either the Epicureans or Stoicks held concerning this matter; this contest being betwixt those onely that agree on this Truth, That the Soul is a Substance Immaterial. And such amongst the Philosophers as held it so, did unanimously agree That it does Præexist. This is so plain, that it is enough onely to make this challenge; every one in the search will satifie himself of the Truth thereof. I shall onely adde, for the better countenance of the business, some few Instances herein, as a pledge of the Truth of my general Conclusion. Let us cast our Eye therefore into what corner of the World we will, that has been famous for Wisdome and Literature, and the wisest of those Nations you shall find the Assertours of this Opinion.

15 {sic}. In Egypt, that ancient Nurse of all hidden Sciences, that this Opinion was in vogue amongst the wise men there, those fragments of Trismegist do sufficiently witness. For though there may be suspected some fraud and corruption in several passages in that Book, in reference to the interest of Christianity; yet this Opinion of the Præexistency of the Soul, in which Christianity did not interest it self, cannot but be judged, from the Testimony of those Writings, to have been a Branch of the Wisdome of that Nation: of which Opinion not onely the Gymnosophists and other wise men of Egypt were, but also the Brachmans of India, and the Magi of Babylon and Persia; as you may plainly see by those Oracles that are called either Magical or Chaldaical, which Pletho and Psellus have commented upon. To these you may adde the abstruse Philosophy of the Jews, which they call their Cabbala, of which the Soul's Præexistence makes a considerable part; as all the learned of the Jews do confess. And how naturally applicable this Theory is to those three first mysterious chapters of Genesis, I have, I hope, with no contemptible success, endeavoured to shew in my Conjectura Cabbalistica.

11. And if I should particularize in persons of this Opinon, truly they are such, of so great fame for depth of Understanding and abstrusest Science, that their Testimony alone might seem sufficient to bear down any ordinary modest man into an assent to their doctrine. And in the first place, if we can believe the Cabbala of the Jews, we must assign it to Moses, the greatest Philosopher certainly that ever was in the world; to whom you may adde Zoroaster, Pythagoras, Epicharmus, Em <114> pedocles, Cebes, Euripides, Plato, Euclide, Philo, Virgil, Marcus Cicero, Plotinus, Iamblichus, Proclus, Boethius, Psellus, and severall others which it would be too long to recite. And if it were fit to adde Fathers to Philosophers, we might enter into the same list Synesius and Origen: the latter of whom was surely the greatest Light and Bulwark that antient Christianity had; who, unless there had been some very great matter in it, was far from that levity and vanity, as to entertain an Opinion so vulgarly slighted and neglected by other men: and the same may be said of others that were Christians, as Boethius, Psellus, and the late learned Marsilius Ficinus. But I have not yet ended my Catalogue: that admirable Physician Johannes Fernelius is also of this perswasion, and is not content to be so himself onely, but discovers those two grand Masters of Medicine, Hippocrates and Galen, to be so too; as you may see in his[54] De abditis rerum causis.[55] Cardan also, that famous Philosopher of his Age, expresly concludes, that the Rational Soul is both a distinct being from the Soul of the World, and that it does præexist before it comes into the Body: and lastly Pomponatius, no friend to the Soul's Immortality, yet cannot but confess, that the safest way to hold it is also therewith to acknowledge her Præexistence.

12. And that nothing may be wanting to shew the frivolousness of this part of the Objection, we shall also evince that Aristotle, that has the luck to be believed more then most Authors, was of the same opinion, in his Treatise[56] De Anima. Where he speaks of the necessity of the qualification of the Body that the Soul is to actuate, and blaming those that omit that consideration, saies, That they are as careless of that matter, as if it were possible that, according to the Pythagorick fables, any Soul might enter into any Body. Whenas every Animal, as it has its proper species, so it is to have its peculiar form. But those that define otherwise, Παραπλήσιον λέγουσι, saith he, ὥσωερ εἴτις φαίη τὴν τεκτονικὴν εἰς ἀυλοὺς ἐνδύεσθαι. δεῖ γὰρ τὲχνην χρῆσθαι τοῖς ὀργάνοις, τὴν δε ψυχὴν τῷ σώματι, i. e. They speak as if one should affirm that the skill of a Carpenter did enter into a Flute or Pipe; for every Art must use its proper Instruments, and every Soule its proper Body. Where (as Cardan also has observed[57] ) Aristotle does not find fault with the Opinion of the Soul's going out of one Body into another, (which implies their Præexistence;) but that the Soul of a Beast should goe into the Body of a Man, and the Soul of a Man into a Beast's Body: this is the Absurdity that Aristotle justly rejects, the other Opinion he seems tacitely to allow of.

13. He speaks something more plainly in his De Generat. Animal.[58] There are generated, saith he, in the Earth, and in the moisture thereof, Plants and living Creatures; because in the Earth is the moisture, and in the moisture Spirit, and in the whole Universe an Animal warmth or heat; insomuch that in a manner all places are full of Souls, ὥστe τρόπον τινὰ πάντα ψυχῆς εἰναι πλήρη, Adeò ut modo quodam omnia sint Animarum plena, as Sennertus interprets the place: Aristotle understanding by ψυχὴ, the same that he does afterwards by ψυχικὴ ἀρχὴ, that Prin <115> ciple we call Soul, according to the nobility whereof he asserts that Animals are more or less noble; which assertion therefore reaches Humane Souls as well as these of Beasts.

14. Nor can this Text be eluded by being so injurious to Aristotle, as to make him to assert that there is but one Soul in the world, because he saies ψυχῆς, not ψυχῶν. For the text admitting of Sennertus his exposition as well as this other, that which is most reasonable is to be attributed to him. Now if his meaning was, that there is but One Soul in the World that goes through all things, and makes the Universe one great Animal, as the Stoicks would have it; he need not say that all places are in a manner full of this Soul, but absolutely full of it, as our Body is wholly actuated by the Soul in it. And therefore the Sense must be, that all places indeed are in a manner full of Souls: not that they have opportunity to actuate the Matter, and shew their presence there by vital operation; but are there dormient as to any visible energie, till prepared Matter engage them to more sensible actions.

15. We will adde a third place still more clear, out of the same Treatise,[59] where he starts this very question of the Præexistency of Souls, of the Sensitive and Rational especially; περὶ αἰσθητικῆς ψυχῆς καὶ περὶ νοητικῆς, whether both kinds do προϋπάρχειν, that is præexist, before they come into the Body, or whether the Rational onely: and he concludes thus, Λείπεται δὲ τὸν νοῦν μόνον θύραθεν ἐπεισιούναι καὶ θεῖον εἰναι μόνον. οὐδὲν γὰρ αὐτοῦ τῇ ἐνεργείᾳ κοινωτεῖ σωματικὴ ἐνέργεια, i. e. It remains that the Rational or Intellectual Soul onely enter from without, as being onely of a nature purely divine, with whose actions the actions of this gross Body have no communication. Concerning which point he concludes like an Orthodox Scholar of his excellent Master Plato; to whose footsteps the closer he keeps, the less he ever wanders from the Truth. For in this very place he does plainly profess, what many would not have him so apertly guilty of, that the Soul of man is Immortal, and can perform her proper Functions without the help of this Terrestrial Body.

And thus I think I have made good the two first parts of my Answer to the proposed Objection; and have clearly proved, That the Præexistence of the Soul is an Opinion both in it self the most rational that can be maintained, and has had the suffrage of the renownedst Philosophers in all Ages of the World; and that therefore this Sequel from our Arguments for the Immortality of the Soul is no discovery of any fallacy in them.



1. The third part of the second Answer, That the forgetting of the former state is no good Argument against the Soule's Præexistence. 2. What are the chief causes of Forgetfulness. 3. That they all conspire, and that in the highest degree, to destroy the memory of the other state. 4. That mischances and Diseases have quite taken away the Memory of things here in this life. 5. That it is impossible for the Soul to remember her former condition without a Miracle. 6. The fourth part of the second Answer, That the Entrance of a Præexistent Soul into a Body is as intelligible as either Creation or Traduction.

1. AS for the two last Difficulties, concerning the Soul's Memory of her former state, and the manner of her coming into the Body; I hope I shall with as much ease extricate my self here also, especially in the former. For if we consider what things they are that either quite take away, or exceedingly diminish our Memory in this life; we shall find the concourse of them all, and that in a higher degree, or from stronger causes, contained in our descent into this Earthly Body, then we can meet with here: they none of them being so violent as to dislodge us out of it.

2. Now the things that take away our Memory here are chiefly these; either The want of opportunity of being re-minded of a thing, as it happens with many, who rise confident they slept without dreaming such a night, and yet before they goe to bed again, recover a whole Series of representations they had in their last sleep, by something that fell out in the day, without which it had been impossible for them to recall to mind their Dream. Or else, in the second place, Desuetude of thinking of a matter; whereby it comes to pass, that what we have earnestly meditated, laboured for, and penn'd down with our own hands when we were at School, were it not that we saw our names written under the Exercise, we could not acknowledge for ours when we are grown men. Or lastly, some considerable change in the frame and temper of our Body, whether from some externall mischance, or from some violent Disease, or else from old age, which is disease enough of it self: which often do exceedingly impair, if not quite take away, the Memory, though the Soul be still in the same Body.

3. Now all these Principles of Forgetfulness, namely The want of something to re-mind us, Desuetude of thinking, and an Extraordinary change in the Body, are more eminently to be found in the Descent of the Soul into these Earthly prisons, then can happen to her for any time of her abode therein. For there is a greater difference, in all probability, betwixt that Scene of things the Soul sees out of the Body and in it, then betwixt what she sees sleeping and waking: and the perpetuall occursions of this present life continue a long Desuetude of thinking on the former. Besides that their Descent hither in all likelihood scarce befalls them but in their state of Silence and Inactivity, in which myriads <117> of Souls may haply be for many Ages, as the maintainers of this Opinion may pretend, by reason of the innumerable expirations of the Aëreal periods of life, and the more narrow Lawes of preparing Terrestrial Matter. And lastly, her coming into this Earthly Body is a greater and more disadvantageous change, for the utter spoiling of the Memory of things she was acquainted with before, then any Mischance or Disease can be for the bringing upon her a forgetfulness of what she has known in this life.

4. And yet that Diseases and Casualties have even utterly taken away all memory, is amply recorded in History. As that Messala Corvinus forgot his own name; that one, by a blow with a stone, forgot all his learning; another, by a fall from an Horse, the name of his Mother and kinsfolks. A young Student of Montpelier, by a wound, lost his Memory so, that he was fain to be taught the letters of the Alphabet again. The like befell a Franciscan after a Feaver. And Thucydides writes of some, who after their recovery from that great Pestilence at Athens, did not onely forget the names and persons of their friends, but themselves too, not knowing who themselves were, nor by what name they were called: Atque etiam quosdam cepisse oblivia rerum Cunctarum, neque se possent cognoscere ut ipsi; as the Poet Lucretius[60] sadly sets down in his description of that devouring Plague, out of the fore-named Historian.

5. Wherefore without a miracle it is impossible the Soul should remember any particular circumstance of her former condition, though she did really præexist, and was in a capacity of acting before she came into this Body, (as Aristotle plainly acknowledges she was) her change being far greater by coming into the Body then can ever be made while she staies in it. Which we haply shall be yet more assured of, after we have considered the manner of her descent, which is the last Difficulty objected.

6. I might easily decline this Controversie, by pleading onely, That the Entrance of the Soul into the Body, supposing her Præexistence, is as intelligible as in those other two wayes, of Creation and Traduction. For how this newly-created Soul is infused by God, no man knows; nor how, if it be traducted from the Parents, both their Souls contribute to the making up a new one. For if there be decision of part of the Soul of the Male, in the injection of his seed into the matrix of the Female, and part of the Female Soule to joyn with that of the Male's; besides that the decision of these parts of their Souls makes the Soul a Discerpible essence, it is unconceivable how these two parts should make up one Soul for the Infant: a thing ridiculous at first view. But if there be no decision of any parts of the Soul, and yet the Soul of the Parent be the Cause of the Soul of the Child, it is perfectly an act of Creation; a thing that all sober men conclude incompetible to any particular Creature. It is therefore plainly unintelligible, how any Soul should pass from the Parents into the Body of the seed of the Fœtus, to actuate and inform it: which might be sufficient to stop the mouth of <118> the Opposer, that pretends such great obscurities concerning the entrance of Præexistent Souls into their Bodies.


1. The knowledge of the difference of Vehicles, and the Soul's Union with them, necessary for the understanding how she enters into this Earthly Body. 2. That though the name of Vehicle be not in Aristotle, yet the Thing is there. 3. A clearing of Aristotle's notion of the Vehicle, out of the Philosophy of Des-Cartes. 4. A full interpretation of his Text. 5. That Aristotle makes onely two Vehicles, Terrestrial and Æthereal; which is more then sufficient to prove the Soul's Oblivion of her former state. 6. That the ordinary Vehicle of the Soul after death is Aire. 7. The duration of the Soul in her several Vehicles. 8. That the Union of the Soul with her Vehicle does not consist in Mechanical Congruity, but Vital. 9. In what Vital congruity of the Matter consists. 10. In what Vital congruity of the Soul consists, and how it changing, the Soul may be free from her Aiery Vehicle, without violent precipitation out of it. 11. Of the manner of the Descent of Souls into Earthly Bodies. 12. That there is so little Absurdity in the Praeexistence of Souls, that the concession thereof can be but a very small prejudice to our Demonstrations of her Immortality.

1. BUT I shall spend my time better in clearing the Opinion I here defend, then in perplexing that other that is so gross of it self, that none that throughly understand the nature of the Soul can so much as allow the possibility thereof: wherefore for the better conceiving how a Præexistent Soul may enter this Terrestrial Body, there are two things to be enquired into; the difference of the Vehicles of Souls, and the cause of their union with them. The Platonists do chiefly take notice of Three kinds of Vehicles, Æthereal, Aereal, and Terrestrial, in every one whereof there may be several degrees of purity and impurity, which yet need not amount to a new Species.

2. This Notion of Vehicles, though it be discoursed of most in the School of Plato, yet is not altogether neglected by Aristotle, as appears in his De Generat. Animal.[61] where, though he does not use the Name, yet he does expresly acknowledge the Thing it self: For he does plainly affirm, That every Soul partakes of a Body distinct from this organized terrestrial Body, and of a more divine nature then the Elements so called; and that as one Soul is more noble then another, so is the difference of this diviner Body; which yet is nothing else with him then that warmth or heat in the seed, τὸ ἐν τῷ σπέρματι ἐνυπάρχον τὸ καλούμενον δερμὸν, which is not Fire, but a Spirit contained in the spumeous seed, and in this Spirit a nature analogous to the Element of the Stars.

3. Of which neither Aristotle himself had, nor any one else can have, so explicite an apprehension as those that understand the first and second <119> Element of Des-Cartes; which is the most subtile and active Body that is in the World, and is of the very same nature that the Heaven and Stars are, that is to say, is the very Body of Light, (which is to be understood chiefly of the first Element) though so mingled with other Matter here below that it does not shine, but is the Basis of all that natural warmth in all generations, and the immediate Instrument of the Soul, when it organizeth any Matter into the figure or shape of an Animal; as I have also intimated[62] elsewhere, when I proved, That the Spirits are the immediate instrument of the Soul in all Vital and Animal functions. In which Spirits of necessity is contained this Celestial Substance, which keeps them from congealing, as it does also all other liquid bodies, and must needs be in the Pores of them; there being no Vacuum in the whole comprehension of Nature.

4. The full and express meaning therefore of Aristotle's text must be this, That in the spumeous and watry or terrene moisture of the seed is contained a Body of a more spirituous or aëreal consistency, and in this aëreal or spirituous consistency is comprehended φύσις ἀνάλογος οὖςα τῷ τῶν ἄστρων στοιχείῳ, a nature that is analogous or like to the Element of the stars, namely that is of it self æthereal and lucid.

5. And it is this Vehicle that Aristotle seems to assert that the Soul does act in separate from the Body; as if she were ever either in this Terrestrial Body, or in her Æthereal one: which if it were true, so vast a change must needs obliterate all Memory of her former condition, when she is once plunged into this earthly prison. But it seems not so probable to me, that Nature admits of so great a Chasme; nor is it necessary to suppose it for this purpose: the descent of the Soul out of her Aiery Vehicle into this terrestrial Body, and besmearing moisture of the first rudiments of life, being sufficient to lull her into an eternal oblivion of whatever hapned to her in that other condition; to say nothing of her long state of Silence and Inactivity before her turn come to revive in an earthly body.

6. Wherefore not letting go that more orderly conceit of the Platonists, I shall make bold to assert, That the Soul may live and act in an Aëreal Vehicle as well as in the Æthereal; and that there are very few that arrive to that high Happiness, as to acquire a Celestial Vehicle immediately upon their quitting the Terrestrial one: that Heavenly Chariot necessarily carrying us in triumph to the greatest Happiness the Soul of man is capable of: which would arrive to all men indifferently, good and bad, if the parting with this Earthly Body would suddainly mount us into the Heavenly. Wherefore by a just Nemesis, the Souls of Men that are not very Heroically vertuous will find themselves restrained within the compass of this caliginous Aire, as both Reason it self will suggest, and the Platonists have unanimously determined.

7. We have competently described the difference of those Three kinds of Vehicles, for their purity and consistency. The Platonists adde to this the difference of duration, making some of them of that nature as to entertain the Soul a longer time in them, others a shorter. The shortest of all is that of the Terrestrial Vehicle. In the Aëreal the Soul may inhabit, as they define, many ages, and in the Æthereal for ever.


8. But this makes little to the clearing of the manner of their descent εἰς γένεσιν, which cannot be better understood, then by considering their Union with the Body generated or indeed with any kind of Body whatever, where the Soul is held captive, and cannot quit her self thereof by the free imperium of her own Imagination and Will. For what can be the cause of this cohæsion, the very Essence of the Soul being so easily penetrative of Matter, and the dimensions of all Matter being alike penetrable every where? For there being no more Body or Matter in a Vessel filled with Lead then when it is full of Water, nor when full with Water then when with Aire, or what other subtiler Body soever that can be imagined in the Universe; it is manifest that the Crassities of Matter is every where alike, and alike penetrable and passable to the Soul. And therefore it is unconceivable how her Union should be so with any of it, as that she should not be able at any time to glide freely from one part thereof to another as she pleases.

It is plain therefore, that this Union of the Soul with Matter does not arise from any such gross Mechanical way, as when two Bodies stick one in another by reason of any toughness and viscosity, or streight commissure of parts; but from a congruity of another nature, which I know not better how to term then Vital: which Vital Congruity is chiefly in the Soul it self, it being the noblest Principle of Life; but is also in the Matter, and is there nothing but such modification thereof as fits the Plastick part of the Soul, and tempts out that Faculty into act.

9. Not that there is any Life in the Matter with which this in the Soul should sympathize and unite; but it is termed Vital because it makes the Matter a congruous Subject for the Soul to reside in, and exercise the functions of life. For that which has no life it self, may tie to it that which has. As some men are said to be tied by the teeth, or tied by the ear, when they are detained by the pleasure they are struck with from good Musick or delicious Viands. But neither is that which they eat alive, nor that which makes the Musick, neither the Instrument, nor the Air that conveighs the sound. For there is nothing in all this but mere Matter and corporeal motion, and yet our vital functions are affected thereby. Now as we see that the Perceptive part of the Soul is thus vitally affected with that which has no life in it, so it is reasonable that the Plastick part thereof may be so too; That there may be an Harmony betwixt Matter thus and thus modified, and that Power that we call Plastick, that is utterly devoid of all Perception. And in this alone consists that which we call Vital Congruity in the prepared Matter, either to be organized, or already shaped into the perfect form of an Animal.

10. And that Vital Congruity which is in the Soul, I mean in the Plastick part thereof, is analogous to that Pleasure that is perceived by the Sense, or rather to the capacity of receiving it, when the Sense is by agreeable motions from without or in the Body it self very much gratified, and that whether the Mind will or no. For there are some Touches that will in their Perception seem pleasant, whether our Judgement would have them so or not. What this is to the Perceptive part of <121> the Soul, that other Congruity of Matter is to the Plastick. And therefore that which ties the Soul and this or that Matter together, is an unresistible and unperceptible pleasure, if I may so call it, arising from the congruity of Matter to the Plastick faculty of the Soul: which Congruity in the Matter not failing, nor that in the Soul, the Union is at least as necessary as the continuation of eating and drinking, so long as Hunger and Thirst continues, and the Meat and Drink proves good. But either satiety in the Stomack or some ill tast in the Meat may break the congruity on either side, and then the action will cease with the pleasure thereof. And upon this very account may a Soul be conceived to quit her Aiery Vehicle within a certain period of Ages, as the Platonists hold she does, without any violent precipitation of her self out of it.

11. What are the strings or cords that tie the Soul to the Body, or to what Vehicle else soever, I have declared as clearly as I can. From which it will be easy to understand the manner of her descent. For assuredly, the same cords or strings that tie her there, may draw her thither: Where the carcass is, there will the Eagles be gathered. Not that she need use her Perceptive faculty in her descent, as Hawks and Kites by their sight or smelling fly directly to the lure or the prey: but she being within the Atmosphere (as I may so call it) of Generation, and so her Plastick power being reached and toucht by such an invisible reek, (as Birds of prey are, that smell out their food at a distance;) she may be fatally carried, all Perceptions ceasing in her, to that Matter that is so fit a receptacle for her to exercise her efformative power upon. For this Magick-sphere, as I may so term it, that has this power of conjuring down Souls into Earthly Bodies, the nearer the Centre, the vertue is the stronger; and therefore the Soul will never cease till she has slided into the very Matter that sent out those rays or subtile reek to allure her.

From whence it is easy to conceive that the Souls of Brutes also, though they be not able to exercise their Perceptive faculty out of a Terrestrial body, yet they may infallibly finde the way again into the world, as often as Matter is fitly prepared for generation. And this is one Hypothesis, and most intelligible to those that are pleased so much with the opinion of those large Sphears they conceive of emissary Atomes.

There is also another, which is the Power and Activity of the Spirit of Nature or Inferiour Soul of the World, who is as fit an Agent to transmit particular Souls, as she is to move the parts of Matter. But of this[62] hereafter.

12. What has been said is enough for the present to illustrate the pretended obscurity and unconceivableness of this Mystery. So that I have fully made good all the four parts of my Answer to that Objection that would have supplanted the force of my strongest Arguments for the Soul's Immortality; and have clearly proved, That though this sequel did necessarily result from them, That the Souls both of Men and Beasts did Præexist, yet to unprejudiced reason there is no Absurdity nor Inconvenience at all in the Opinion. And therefore this Obstacle being removed, I shall the more chearfully proceed to the demonstrating of the Soul's actual Separation from the Body.



1. What is meant by the Separation of the Soul, with a confutation of Regius, who would stop her in the dead Corps. 2. An Answer to those that profess themselves puzled how the Soul can get out of the Body. 3. That there is a threefold Vital Congruity to be found in three several Subjects. 4. That this triple Congruity is also competible to one Subject, viz. the Soul of Man. 5. That upon this Hypothesis it is very intelligible how the Soul may leave the Body. 6. That her Union with the Aereal Vehicle may be very suddain, and as it were in a moment. 7. That the Soul is actually separate from the Body, is to be proved either by History or Reason. Examples of the former kinde out of Pliny, Herodotus, Ficinus. 8. Whether the Ecstasie of Witches prove an actual separation of the Soul from the Body. 9. That this real separation of the Soul in Ecstasie is very possible. 10. How the Soul may be loosned and leave the Body, and yet return thither again. 11. That though Reason and Will cannot in this life release the Soul from the Body, yet Passion may; and yet so that she may return again. 12. The peculiar power of Desire for this purpose. 13. Of Cardan's Ecstasies, and the Ointment of Witches, and what truth there may be in their confessions.

1. COncerning the actual and local Separation of the Soul from the Body, it is manifest that it is to be understood of this Terrestrial Body. For to be in such a separate state, as to be where no Body or Matter is, is to be out of the World: the whole Universe being so thick set with Matter, or Body, that there is not to be found the least vacuity therein. The question therefore is only, whether upon death the Soul can pass from the Corps into some other place. Henricus Regius seems to arrest her there by that general law of Nature, termed the law of Immutability; whereby every thing is to continue in the same condition it once is in, till something else change it. But the application of this law is very grosly injust in this case. For as I have above intimated, the Union of the Soul with the Body is upon certain terms; neither is every piece of Matter fit for every Soul to unite with, as Aristotle of old has very solidly concluded. Wherefore that condition of the Matter being not kept, the Soul is no longer engaged to the Body. What he here says for the justifying of himself, is so arbitrarious, so childish and ridiculous, that, according to the merit thereof, I shall utterly neglect it, and pass it by, not vouchsafing of it any Answer.

2. Others are much puzled in their imagination, how the Soul can get out of the Body, being imprisoned and lockt up in so close a Castle. But these seem to forget both the Nature of the Soul, with the tenuity of her Vehicle, and also the Anatomy of the Body. For considering the nature of the Soul her self, and of Matter which is alike penetrable every where, the Soul can pass through solid Iron and Marble as well as through the soft Air and Æther; so that the thickness of the Body is no impediment to her. Besides, her Astral <123> Vehicle is of that tenuity, that it self can as easily pass the smallest pores of the Body as the Light does Glass, or the Lightning the Scabbard of a Sword without tearing or scorching of it. And lastly, whether we look upon that principal seat of the Plastick power of the Heart, or that of Perception, the Brain; when a man dies, the Soul may collect her self and the small residue of Spirits (that may haply serve her in the inchoation of her new Vehicle) either into the Heart, whence is an easy passage into the Lungs, and so out at the Mouth; or else into the Head, out of which there are more doors open then I will stand to number. These things are very easily imaginable, though as invisible as the Air, in whose element they are transacted.

3. But that they may still be more perfectly understood, I shall resume again the consideration of that Faculty in the Plastick part of the Soul, which we call Vital Congruity. Which, according to the number of Vehicles, we will define to be threefold, Terrestrial, Aereal, and Æthereal or Celestial. That these Vital Congruities are found, some in some kinde of Spirits and others in othersome, is very plain. For that the Terrestrial is in the Soul of Brutes and in our own is without controversie; as also that the Aereal in that kinde of Beings which the Ancients called Δαιμονες. and lastly, that the Heavenly and Æthereal in those Spirits that Antiquity more properly called Θεοὶ, as being Inhabitants of the Heavens. For that there are such Aereal and Æthereal Beings that are analogous to Terrestrial Animals; if we compare the nature of God with the Phænomena of the world, it cannot prove less then a Demonstration.

For this Earth that is replenisht with living Creatures, nay put in all the Planets too that are in the world, and fancy them inhabited, they all joyned together bear not so great a proportion to the rest of the liquid Matter of the Universe (that is in a nearer capacity of being the Vehicle of Life) as a single Cumin-seed to the Globe of the Earth. But how ridiculous a thing would it be, that all the Earth beside being neglected, onely one piece thereof, no better then the rest, nor bigger then the smallest seed, should be inhabited? The same may be said also of the compass of the Aire; and therefore it is necessary to enlarge their Territories, and confidently to pronounce there are Æthereal Animals, as well as Terrestrial and Aereal.

4. It is plain therefore that these three Congruities are to be found in several Subjects; but that which makes most to our purpose, is to finde them in one, and that in the Soul of Man. And there will be an easy intimation thereof, if we consider the vast difference of those Faculties that we are sure are in her Perceptive part, and how they occasionally emerge, and how upon the laying asleep of one, others will spring up. Neither can there be any greater difference betwixt the highest and lowest of these Vital congruities in the Plastick part, then there is betwixt the highest and lowest of those Faculties that result from the Perceptive. For some Perceptions are the very same with those of Beasts; others little inferiour to those that belong to Angels, as we ordinarily call them; some perfectly brutish, others purely divine: why therefore may there <124> not reside so great a Latitude of capacities in the Plastick part of the Soul, as that she may have in her all those three Vital Congruities, whereby she may be able livingly to unite as well with the Celestial and Aereal Body as with this Terrestrial one? Nay, our nature being so free and multifarious as it is, it would seem a reproach to Providence, to deny this capacity of living in these several Vehicles; because that Divine Nemesis which is supposed to rule in the world would seem defective without this contrivance.

But without controversy, Eternal Wisdome and Justice has forecast that which is the best: and, unless we will say nothing at all, we having nothing to judge by but our own Faculties, we must say that the Forecast is according to what we, upon our most accurate search, do conceive to be the best. For there being no Envy in the Deity, as Plato somewhere has noted, it is not to be thought but that He has framed our Faculties so, that when we have rightly prepared our selves for the use of them, they will have a right correspondency with those things that are offered to them to contemplate in the world.

And truly if we had here time to consider, I do not doubt but it might be made to appear a very rational thing, that there should be such an Amphibion as the Soul of man, that had a capacity (as some Creatures have to live either in the Water or on the Earth) to change her Element, and after her abode here in this Terrestrial Vehicle amongst Men and Beasts, to ascend into the company of the Aereal Genii, in a Vehicle answerable to their nature.

5. Supposing then this triple capacity of Vital Congruity in the Soul of Man, the manner how she may leave this Body is very intelligible. For the Bodies fitness of temper to retain the Soul being lost in Death, the lower Vital Congruity in the Soul looseth its Object, and consequently its Operation. And therefore as the letting goe one thought in the Perceptive part of the Soul is the bringing up another; so the ceasing of one Vital Congruity is the wakening of another, if there be an Object, or Subject, ready to entertain it; as certainly there is, partly in the Body, but mainly without it. For there is a vital Aire that pervades all this lower world, which is continued with the life of all things, and is the chiefest Principle thereof. Whence Theon in his Scholia upon Aratus interprets that Hemistich Τοῦ γὰρ καὶ γένος ἐσμὲν, in a secondary meaning as spoken of the Aire, which he calls τὸν Δία or τὸν Ζῆνα τὸν φυσικὸν, the natural Jupiter, in whom, in an inferiour sense, we may be said to live, and move, and have our Being: for without Aire, neither Fishes, Fowls, nor Beasts can subsist, it administring the most immediate matter of life unto them, by feeding & refreshing their Animal Spirits.

Wherefore upon the cessation of the lowest Vital Congruity, that Aereal capacity awakening into Act, and finding so fit Matter every where to employ her self upon, the Soul will not fail to leave the Body; either upon choice, by the power of her own Imagination and Will; or else (supposing the very worst that can happen) by a natural kinde of Attra <125> ction, or Transvection, she being her self, in that stound and confusion that accompanies Death, utterly unsensible of all things.

For the Aire without being more wholesome and vital then in the corrupt caverns of the dead Body, and yet there being a continuation thereof with that without; it is as easy to understand how (that Principle of joyning therewith in the Plastick part of the Soul being once excited) she will naturally glide out of the Body into the free Aire, as how the Fire will ascend upwards, or a Stone fall downwards: for neither are the motions of these merely Mechanical, but vital or Magical, that cannot be resolved into mere Matter, as I shall demonstrate in my Third Book.[63]

6. And being once recovered into this vast Ocean of Life, and sensible Spirit of the world, so full of enlivening Balsame; it will be no wonder if the Soul suddainly regain the use of her Perceptive faculty, being, as it were in a moment, regenerate into a natural power of Life and Motion, by so happy a concurse of rightly-prepared Matter for her Plastick part vitally to unite withall. For grosser generations are performed in almost as inconsiderable a space of time; if those Histories be true, of extemporary Sallads, sown and gathered not many hours before the meal they are eaten at: and of the suddain ingendring of Frogs upon the fall of rain, whole swarms whereof, that had no Being before, have appeared with perfect shape and liveliness in the space of half an houre, after some more unctuous droppings upon the dry ground; as I find not onely recited out of Fallopius, Scaliger, and others, but have been certainly my self informed of it by them that have been eye-witnesses thereof; as Vaninus also professes himself to have been by his friend Johannes Ginochius, who told him for a certain, that in the month of July he saw with his own eyes a drop of rain suddenly turned into a Frog. By such examples as these it is evident, that the reason why Life is so long a compleating in Terrestrial generations, is only the sluggishness of the Matter the Plastick power works upon. Wherefore a Soul once united with Aire, cannot miss of being able, in a manner in the twinckling of an eye, to exercise all Perceptive functions again, if there was ever any intercessation of them in the astonishments of Death.

7. How the Soul may live and act separate from the Body, may be easily understood out of what has been spoken. But that she does so de facto, there are but two waies to prove it; the one by the testimony of History, the other by Reason. That of History is either of persons perfectly dead, or of those that have been subject to Ecstasies, or rather to that height thereof which is more properly called ἀφαιρεσία, when the Soul does really leave the Body, and yet return again. Of this latter sort is that Example that Pliny recites of Hermotimus Clazomenius,[64] whose Soul would often quit her Body, and wander up and down; and after her return tell many true stories of what she had seen during the time of her disjunction. The same, Maximus Tyrius and[65] Herodotus report of Aristæus Proconnesius.[66] Marsilius Ficinus adjoyns to this rank that narration in Aulus Gellius,[67] concerning one Cornelius, a Priest, who in an Ecstasie saw the Battel fought betwixt Cæsar and Pompey in Thessalie, his Body being then at Padua; and yet could, after his return to himself, <126> punctually declare the Time, Order and Success of the Fight. That in Wierus, of the Weasel coming out of the Souldiers mouth when he was asleep, is a more plain example:[68] which, if it were true, would make Aristæus his Pigeon not so much suspected of fabulosity as[69] Pliny would have it. Several Relations there are in the world to this effect, that cannot but be loudly laughed at by them that think the Soul inseparable from the Body; and ordinarily they seem very ridiculous also to those that think it is separable, but as firmly believe that it is never, nor ever can be, separate but in Death.

8. Bodinus has a very great desire, notwithstanding it is so incredible to others, that the thing should be true; it being so evincing an argument for the Soul's Immortality. And he thinks this Truth is evident from innumerable examples of the Ecstasies of Witches: which we must confess with him not to be natural; but that they amount to a perfect ἀφαιρεσία or carrying away the Soul out of the Body, the lively sense of their meeting, and dancing, and adoring the Devil, and the mutual remembrance of the persons that meet one another there at such a time, will be no[70] infallible Demonstration that they were there indeed, while their Bodies lay at home in Bed. Conformity of their Confessions concerning the same Conventicle is onely a shrewd probability, if it once could be made good that this leaving their Bodies were a thing possible.

For when they are out of them, they are much-what in the same condition that other Spirits are, and can imitate what shape they please; so that many of these Transformations into Wolves and Cats, may be as likely of the Soul having left thus the Body, as by the Devils possessing the Body and transfiguring it himself. And what these aiery Cats or Wolves suffer, whether cuttings of their limbs, or breaking the Back, or any such like mischief, that the Witch in her Bed suffers the like, may very well arise from that Magick Sympathy that is seated in the Unity of the Spirit of the World, and the continuity of the subtile Matter dispersed throughout: the Universe in some sense being, as the Stoicks and Platonists define it, one vast entire Animal.

9. Now that this real Separation of the Soul may happen in some Ecstasies will be easily admitted, if we consider that the Soul in her own Nature is separable from the Body, as being a Substance really distinct therefrom; and that all Bodies are alike penetrable and passable to her, she being devoid of that corporeal property which they ordinarily call ἀντιτυπία, and therefore can freely slide through any Matter whatsoever, without any knocking or resistance; and lastly, that she does not so properly impart Heat and Motion to the Body, as Organization: and therefore when the Body is well organized, and there be that due temper of the Blood, the Heart and Pulse will in some measure beat, and the Brain will be replenish'd with Spirits, and therewith the whole Body, though the Soul were out of it. In which case (saving that the Spirit of Nature cannot be excluded thence) it would be perfectly Cartesius his Machina without Sense; though seemingly as much alive as any animate Creature in a deep sleep. Whence it appears, that if the Soul could leave the Body, that she might doe it for a certain time without any detriment <127> thereto, that is, so long as it might well live without Repast. Which fully answers their fears who conceit that if the Soul was but once out of the Body, perfect Death must necessarily ensue, and all possible return thither be precluded.

10. But all the difficulty is to understand how the Soul may be loosned from the Body, while the Body is in a fit condition to retain her. That is a very great Difficulty indeed, and in a manner impossible for any power but what is supernatural. But it is not hard to conceive that this vital fitness in the Body may be changed, either by way of natural Disease, or by Art. For why may not some certain Fermentation in the Body so alter the Blood and Spirits, that the powers of the Plastick part of the Soul may cease to operate, as well as sometimes the Perceptive faculties do, as in Catalepsies, Apoplexies, and the like? Wherefore this passing of the Soul out of the Body in Sleep, or Ecstasie, may be sometime a certain Disease, as well as that of the νυκτοβάται, those that walk in their sleep.

Now if it should happen that some such distemper should arise in the Body as would very much change the Vital Congruity thereof for a time, and in this Paroxysm that other Disease of the Noctambuli should surprise the party; his Imagination driving him to walk to this or that place, his Soul may very easily be conceived in this loosned condition it lies in, to be able to leave the Body, and pass in the Aire, as other Inhabitants of that Element doe, and act the part of separate Spirits, and exercise such Functions of the Perceptive faculty, as they do that are quite released from Terrestrial Matter. Onely here is the difference, That that damp in the Body that loosned the Union of the Soul being spent, the Soul, by that natural Magick I have more then once intimated, will certainly return to the Body, and unite with it again as firm as ever. But no man can when he pleases pass out of his Body thus, by the Imperium of his Will, no more then he can walk in his Sleep: For this capacity is pressed down more deep into the lower life of the Soul, whither neither the Liberty of Will nor free Imagination can reach.

11. Passion is more likely to take effect in this case then either of the other two Powers, the seat of Passions being originally in the Heart, which is the chief Fort of these lower Faculties; and therefore by their propinquity can more easily act upon the first Principles of Vital Union. The effect of these has been so great, that they have quite carried the Soul out of the Body, as appears in sundry Histories of that kinde. For both Sophocles and Dionysius the Sicilian Tyrant died suddainly upon the news of a Tragick Victory; as Polycrita also a Noble-Woman of the Isle of Naxus, the Poet Philippides, and Diagoras of Rhodes, upon the like excess of Joy. We might adde examples of sudden Fear and Grief, but it is needless.

It is a known and granted Truth, that Passion has so much power over the vital temper of the Body as to make it an unfit mansion for the Soul; from whence will necessarily follow her disunion from it. Now if Passion will so utterly change the Harmony of the Blood and Spirits, as quite to release the Soul from the Body by a perfect Death; why may it not <128> sometime act on this side that degree, and only bring a present intemperies, out of which the Body may recover, and consequently regain the Soul back again, by virtue of that Mundane Sympathy I have so often spoke of?

12. Now of all Passions whatever, excess of Desire is fittest for this more harmless and momentany ablegation of the Soul from the Body; because the great strength thereof is so closely assisted with the imagination of departing to the place where the party would be, that upon disunion not amounting to perfect Death, the power of Fancy may carry the Soul to the place intended; and being satisfied and returned, may re-kindle life in the Body to the same degree it had before it was infested by this excess of Desire. This is that, if any thing, that has made dying men visit their friends before their departure, at many miles distance, their Bodies still keeping their sick bed; and those that have been well, give a visit to their sick friends, of whose health they have been over-desirous and solicitous. For this Ecstasie is really of the Soul, and not of the Blood or Animal Spirits; neither of which have any Sense or Perception in them at all. And therefore into this Principle is to be resolved that Story which Martinus Del-Rio reports of a Lad who, through the strength of Imagination and Desire of seeing his Father, fell into an Ecstasie; and after he came to himself, confidently affirmed he had seen him, and told infallible circumstances of his being present with him.

13. That Cardan and others could fall into an Ecstasie when they pleased, by force of Imagination and Desire to fall into it, is recorded and believed by very grave and sober Writers: but whether they could ever doe it to a compleat ἀφαιρεσία, or local disjunction of the Soul from the Body, I know none that dare affirm; such events being rather the chances of Nature and Complexion, as in the Noctambuli, then the effects of our Will. But we cannot assuredly conclude but that Art may bring into our own power and ordering that which natural causes put upon us sometimes without our leaves. But whether those Oyntments of Witches have any such effect, or whether those unclean Spirits they deal with, by their immediate presence in their Bodies, cannot for a time so suppress or alter their Vital fitness to such a degree as will loosen the Soul, I leave to more curious Inquisitors to search after. It is sufficient that I have demonstrated a very intelligible possibility of this actual separation without Death properly so called.

From whence the peremptory Confessions of Witches, and the agreement of the story which they tell in several, as well those that are there bodily, as they that leave their Bodies behinde them, especially when at their return they bring something home with them, as a permanent sign of their being at the place, is (though it may be all the delusion of their Familiars) no contemptible probability of their being there indeed where they declare they have been. For these are the greatest evidences that can be had in humane affairs: And nothing, so much as the supposed Impossibility thereof, has deterred men from believing the thing to be true.



1. That Souls departed communicate Dreams. 2. Examples of Apparitions of Souls deceased. 3. Of Apparitions in fields where pitcht Battels have been fought; as also of those in Churchyards, and other vaporous places. 4. That the Spissitude of the Air may well contribute to the easiness of the appearing of Ghosts and Spectres. 5. A further proof thereof from sundry examples. 6. Of Marsilius Ficinus his appearing after death. 7. With what sort of people such Examples as these avail little. 8. Reasons to perswade the unprejudiced that ordinarily those Apparitions that bear the shape and person of the deceased, are indeed the Souls of them.

1. THE Examples of the other sort, viz. of the appearing of the Ghosts of men after death, are so numerous and frequent in all mens mouths, that it may seem superfluous to particularize in any. This appearing is either by Dreams, or open Vision. In Dreams, as that which hapned to Avenzoar Albumaron an Arabian Physician,[71] to whom his lately-deceased friend suggested in his sleep a very soverain Medicine for his sore Eyes. Like to this is that in[72] Diodorus concerning Isis Queen of Ægypt, whom he reports to have communicated remedies to the Ægyptians in their sleep after her death, as well as she did when she was alive. Of this kind is also that memorable story of[73] Posidonius the Stoick, concerning two young men of Arcadia, who being come to Megara, and lying the one at a Victualle'rs {sic}, the other in an Inne; he in the Inne while he was asleep dream'd that his Fellow-traveller earnestly desired him to come and help him, as being assaulted by the Victualler, and in danger to be killed by him: But he, after he was perfectly awake, finding it but a Dream, neglected it. But faln asleep again, his murdered friend appeared to him the second time, beseeching him, that though he did not help him alive, yet he would see his Death revenged; telling him how the Victualler had cast his Body into a Dung-cart, and that if he would get up timely in the morning, and watch at the Town-gate, he might thereby discover the murder: which he did accordingly, and so saw Justice done on the Murderer. Nor does the first Dream make the second impertinent to our purpose: For as that might be from the strength of Imagination, and desire of help in the distressed Arcadian, impressed on the Spirit of the World, and so transmitted to his friend asleep (a condition fittest for such communications;) so it is plain that this after his Death must fail, if his Soul did either cease to be or to act. And therefore it is manifest that she both was and did act, and suggested this Dream in revenge of the Murder. Of which kinde there be infinite Examples, I mean of Murders discovered by Dreams, the Soul of the person murdered seeming to appear to some or other asleep, and to make his complaint to them.

But I will content my self onely to adde an Example of Gratitude to this of Revenge: As that of Simonides,[74] who lighting by chance on a dead <130> Body by the Sea side, and out of the sense of Humanity bestowing Burial upon it, was requited with a Dream that saved his life. For he was admonisht to desist from his Voiage he intended by Sea, which the Soul of the deceased told him would be so perillous, that it would hazard the lives of the Passengers. He believed the Vision, and abstaining, was safe; those others that went suffered Shipwreck.

2. We will adjoyn onely an Example or two of that other kind of Visions, which are ordinarily called the Apparitions of the dead. And such is that which Pliny relates at large in his Epistle to Sura, of an house haunted at Athens, and freed by Athenodorus the Philosopher, after the Body of that person that appeared to him was digged up, and interred with due solemnity. It is not a thing unlikely, that most houses that are haunted, are so chiefly from the Souls of the deceased; who have either been murdered, or some way injured, or have some hid treasure to discover, or the like. And persons are haunted for the like causes, as well as houses; as Nero was after the murdering of his Mother; Otho pull'd out of his bed in the night by the Ghost of Galba. Such instances are infinite: as also those wherein the Soul of ones friend, suppose Father, Mother, or Husband, have appeared to give them good counsel, and to instruct them of the Event of the greatest affairs of their life. The Ghosts also of deceased Lovers have been reported to adhere to their Paramours after they had left their Bodies; taking all opportunities to meet them in Solitude, whether by day or by night.

3. There be also other more fortuitous occursions of these deceased Spirits; of which one can give no account, unless it be, because they find themselves in a more easy capacity to appear. As haply it may be in Fields after great slaughters of Armies, and in publick Burial-places. Though some would ridiculously put off these Apparitions, by making them nothing but the reek or vapour of the Bodies of the dead, which they fancy will fall into the like stature and shape with the man it comes from: Which yet Cardan playes the fool in as well as Vaninus and[75] others; as he does also in his account of those Spectra that appear so ordinarily in[76] Iseland, where the Inhabitants meet their deceased friends in so lively an Image, that they salute them and embrace them for the same persons; not knowing of their death, unless by their suddain disappearing, or by after-information that they were then dead. This he imputes partly to the Thickness of the Aire, and partly to the foule food and gross spirits of the Iselanders; and yet implies, that their fancies are so strong, as to convert the thick vaporous Aire into the compleat shape of their absent and deceased acquaintance, and so perswade themselves that they see them, and talk with them; whenas it is nothing else but an Aiery Image made by the power of their own Fancy from the ragged rudiments of these thick flying vapours, as men fancy shapes in the broken clouds. But certainly it had been better flatly to have denied the Narration, then to give so slight and unprobable reason of the Phænomenon. For neither do such visible vaporous consistences near humane stature move near the Earth; nor, if they did, could men be mistaken in an object so nigh at hand.


4. That the Spissitude of the Aire in that place may contribute something to the frequency of these Spectra, is rational enough. For it being more thick, it is the more easily reduced to a visible consistency: but must be shaped, not by the fancy of the Spectatour, (for that were a monstrous power) but by the Imagination of the Spirit that actuates its own Vehicle of that gross Aire. For the same reason also in other places these Apparitions haply appear oftner in the Night then in the Day, the Aire being more clammy and thick after the Sun has been some while down then before. To which also that custome of the Lappians, a people of Scandia, seems something to agree; who, as Caspar Peucerus relates, are very much haunted with Apparitions of their deceased friends. For which trouble they have no remedy but burying them under their Hearth. Which Ceremony can have no naturall influence upon these Lemures, unless they should hereby be engaged to keep in a warmer aire, and consequently more rarefied, then if they were interred elsewhere. Or rather because their Bodies will sooner putrefy by the warmth of the hearth; whenas otherwise the coldness of that Clime would permit them to be sound a longer time, and consequently be fit for the Souls of the deceased to have recourse to, and replenish their Vehicle with such a Cambium or gluish moisture, as will make it far easier to be commanded into a visible consistence.

5. That this facilitates their condition of appearing, is evident from that known recourse these infestant Spirits have to their dead Bodies. As is notorious in the History of Cuntius, which I have set down at large in my Antidote,[77] as also in that of the Silesian Shoo-maker and his Maid. To which you may adde what[78] Agrippa writes out of the Cretian Annals, How there the Catechanes, that is the Spirits of the deceased Husbands, would be very troublesome to their Wives, and endeavour to lie with them, while they could have any recourse to their dead Bodies. Which mischief therefore was prevented by a Law, that if any Woman was thus infested, the Body of her Husband should be burnt, and his Heart struck through with a stake. Which also put a speedy end to those stirs and tragedies the Ghost of Cuntius and those others caused at Pentsch and Breslaw in Silesia.

The like disquietnesses are reported to have hapned in the year 1567. at Trawtenaw a city of Bohemia, by one Stephanus Hubener,[79] who was to admiration grown rich, as Cuntius of Pentsch, and when he died, did as much mischief to his fellow-Citizens. For he would ordinarily appear in the very shape he was when he was alive, and such as he met, would salute them with so close embraces, that he caused many to fall sick and several to die by the unkind huggs he gave them. But burning his Body rid the Town of the perilous occursations of this malicious Goblin.

All which Instances do prove not onely the appearing of Souls after they have left this life, but also that some thickning Matter, (such as may be got either from Bodies alive, or lately dead, or as fresh as those that are but newly dead (as the Body of this Hubener was, though it had lyen 20 weeks in the Grave,) or lastly from thick vaporous Air,) may facilitate much their appearing, and so invite them to play tricks, <132> when they can doe it at so cheap a rate; though they have little or no end in doing them, but the pleasing of their own, either ludicrous, or boisterous and domineering, humour.

6. But of any private person that ever appeared upon design after his death, there is none did upon a more noble one then that eximious Platonist Marsilius Ficinus; who, after a warm dispute of the Immortality of the Soul, having (as Baronius relates) made a solemn vow with his fellow-Platonist Michael Mercatus, that whether of them two died first should appear to his friend, and give him certain information of that Truth; (it being his fate to die first, and indeed not long after this mutual resolution) was mindful of his promise when he had left the Body. For Michael Mercatus being very intent at his Studies betimes on a morning, heard an horse riding by with all speed, and observed that he stopped at his window; and therewith heard the voice of his friend Ficinus crying out aloud, O Michael, Michael, vera, vera sunt illa. Whereupon he suddenly opened the window, and espying Marsilius on a white Steed, called after him; but he vanish'd in his sight. He sent therefore presently to Florence to know how Marsilius did; and understood that he died about that hour he called at his window, to assure him of his own and other mens Immortalities.

7. The Examples I have produced of the appearing of the Souls of men after death, considering how clearly I have demonstrated the separability of them from the Body, and their capacity of Vital Union with an Aiery Vehicle, cannot but have their due weight of Argument with them that are unprejudiced. But as for those that have their minds enveloped in the dark mist of Atheism, that lazy and Melancholick saying which has dropt from the careless pen of that uncertain Writer Cardan, Orbis magnus est, & ævum longum, & error ac timor multum in hominibus possunt, will prevail more with them then all the Stories the same Authour writes of Apparitions, or whatever any one else can adde unto them. And others that doe admit of these things, preconceptions from Education, That the Soul when she departs this life is suddenly either twitched up into the Cœlum Empyreum, or hurried down headlong towards the Centre of the Earth, makes the Apparitions of the Ghosts of men altogether incredible to them; they alwaies substituting in their place some Angel or Devil which must represent their persons, themselves being not at leisure to act any such part.

8. But Misconceit and Prejudice, though it may hinder the force of an Argument with those that are in that manner entangled, yet Reason cannot but take place with them that are free. To whom I dare appeal whether (considering the Aëreal Vehicles of Souls which are common to them with other Genii, so that whatever they are fancied to doe in their stead, they may perform themselves; as also how congruous it is, that those persons that are most concerned, when it is in their power, should act in their own affairs, as in detecting the Murtherer, in disposing their estate, in rebuking injurious Executors, in visiting and counselling their Wives and Children, in forewarning them of such and such courses, with other matters of like sort; to which you may adde the profession of the <133> Spirit thus appearing, of being the Soul of such an one, as also the similitude of person; and that all this adoe is in things very just and serious, unfit for a Devil with that care and kindness to promote, and as unfit for a good Genius, it being below so noble a nature to tell a Lie, especially when the affair may be as effectually transacted without it;) I say, I dare appeal to any one, whether all these things put together and rightly weighed, the violence of prejudice not pulling down the balance, it will not be certainly carried for the present Cause; and whether any indifferent Judge ought not to conclude, if these Stories that are so frequent every where and in all Ages concerning the Ghosts of men appearing be but true, that it is true also that it is their Ghosts, and that therefore the Souls of men subsist and act after they have left these Earthly Bodies.


1. The preeminence of Arguments drawn from Reason above those from Story. 2. The first step toward a Demonstration of Reason that the Soul acts out of her Body, for that she is an Immaterial Substance separable there-from. 3. The second, That the immediate Instruments for Sense, Motion, and Organization of the Body, are certain subtile and tenuious Spirits. 4. A comparison betwixt the Soul in the Body and the Aêreal Genii. 5. Of the nature of Dæmons from the account of Marcus the Eremite, and how the Soul is presently such, having once left this Body. 6. An Objection concerning the Souls of Brutes: to which is answered, First, by way of concession; 7. Secondly, by confuting the Arguments for the former concession. 8. That there is no rational doubt at all of the Humane Soul acting after death. 9. A further Argument of her activity out of this Body, from her conflicts with it while she is in it. 10. As also from the general hope and belief of all Nations, that they shall live after death.

1. BUT we proceed now to what is less subject to the evasions and misinterpretations of either the Profane or Superstitious. For none but such as will profess themselves mere Brutes can cast off the Decrees and Conclusions of Philosophy and Reason; though they think that in things of this nature they may, with a great deal of applause and credit, refuse the testimony of other mens Senses, if not of their own: all Apparitions being with them nothing but the strong surprisals of Melancholy and Imagination. But they cannot with that ease nor credit silence the Deductions of Reason, by saying it is but a Fallacy, unlesse they can shew the Sophisme; which they cannot doe, where it is not.

2. To carry on therefore our present Argument in a rational way, and by degrees; we are first to consider, That (according as already has been clearly[80] demonstrated) there is a Substance in us which is ordinarily called the Soul, really distinct from the Body, (for otherwise how can it <134> be a Substance?) And therefore it is really and locally separable from the Body. Which is a very considerable step towards what we aim at.

3. In the next place we are to take notice, That the immediate Instrument of the Soul are those tenuious and Aëreal particles which they ordinarily call the[81] Spirits; that these are they by which the Soul hears, sees, feels, imagines, remembers, reasons, and by moving which, or at least directing their motion, she moves likewise the Body; and by using them, or some subtile Matter like them, she either compleats, or at least contributes to, the Bodie's Organization. For that the Soul should be the Vital Architect of her own house, that close connexion and sure possession she is to have of it, distinct and secure from the invasion of any other particular Soul, seems no slight Argument. And yet that while she is exercising that Faculty she may have a more then ordinary Union or Implication with the Spirit of Nature, or the Soul of the World, so far forth as it is Plastick, seems not unreasonable: and therefore is asserted by Plotinus; & may justly be suspected to be true, if we attend to the prodigious effects of the Mother's Imagination derived upon the Infant, which sometimes are so very great, that, unless she raised the Spirit of Nature into consent, they might well seem to exceed the power of any Cause. I shall abstain from producing any Examples till the proper place: in the mean time I hope I may be excused from any rashness in this assignation of the Cause of those many and various Signatures found in Nature, so plainly pointing at such a Principle in the World as I have intimated[82] before.

4. But to return, and cast our eye upon the Subject in hand. It appears from the two precedent Conclusions, That the Soul considered as invested immediately with this tenuious Matter we speak of, which is her inward Vehicle, has very little more difference from the Aëreal Genii, then a man in a Prison from one that is free. The one can onely see, and suck air through the Grates of the Prison, and must be annoyed with all the stench and unwholsome fumes of that sad habitation; whenas the other may walk and take the fresh air, where he finds it most commodious and agreeable.

This difference there is betwixt the Genii and an incorporated Soul. The Soul, as a man faln into a deep pit, (who can have no better Water, nor Air, nor no longer enjoyment of the Sun, and his chearful light and warmth, then the measure and quality of the pit will permit him) so she once immured in the Body cannot enjoy any better Spirits (in which all her life and comfort consists) then the constitution of the Body after such circuits of concoction can administer to her. But those Genii of the Aire, who possess their Vehicles upon no such hard terms, if themselves be not in fault, may by the power of their minds accommodate themselves with more pure and impolluted Matter, and such as will more easily conspire with the noblest and divinest functions of their Spirit.

In brief therefore, if we consider things aright, we cannot abstain from strongly surmising, that there is no more difference betwixt a Soule and an aëreal Genius,[83] then there is betwixt a Sword in the scabbard and one out of it: and that a Soul is but a Genius in the Body, and a Genius a Soul out of the Body; as the Ancients also have defined, giving the same name, <135> as well as nature, promiscuously to them both, by calling them both Δαίμονες, as I have elsewhere noted.

5. This is very consonant to what[84] Michael Psellus sets down, from the singular knowledge and experience of Marcus the Eremite, in these matters; who describes the nature of these Δαιμονες, as being throughout Spirit and Aire; whence they hear and see and feel in every part of their Body. Which he makes good by this reason, and wonders at the ignorance of men that do not take notice of it, viz. τὸ μὴ ἐπί τινος ὀστοῦν τι νεῦρον ἐιναι τὸ αἰσθανόμενον, ἀλλὰ τὸ ἐν τούτοις ἐνυπάρχον πνεῦμα, that it is neither Bones, nor Nerves, nor any gross or visible part of the Body, or of any Organ thereof, whereby the Soul immediately exercises the functions of Sense; but that it is the Spirits that are her nearest and inmost instrument of these operations: Of which when the Body is deprived, there is found no Sense in it, though the gross Organs and parts are in their usual consistency, as we see in Syncopes and Apoplexies. Which plainly shews, that the immediate Vehicle of Life are the Spirits, and that the Soul's connexion with the Body is by these; as the most learned Physicians do conclude with one consent. Whence it will follow, that this Vinculum being broke, the Soul will be free from the Body, and will as naturally be carried out of the corrupt carkass that now has no harmony with the Soul, into that Element that is more congenerous to her, the vital Aire, as the Fire will mount upwards; as I have[85] already noted. And so Principles of Life being fully kindled in this thinner Vehicle, she becomes as compleat for Sense and Action as any other Inhabitants of these Aiery regions.

6. There is onely one perverse Objection against this so easy and natural Conclusion, which is this; That by this manner of reasoning, the Souls of Brutes, especially those of the perfecter sort, will also not onely subsist, (for that difficulty is concocted pretty well already) but also live and enjoy themselves after death. To which I dare boldly answer, That it is a thousand times more reasonable that they do, then that the Souls of Men do not. Yet I will not confidently assert that they do, or do not; but will lightly examine each Hypothesis. And first, by way of feigned concession, we will say, They do; and take notice of the Reasons that may induce one to think so. Amongst which two prime ones are those involved in the Objection, That they doe subsist after death; and, That the immediate instrument of their Vital Functions is their Spirits, as well as in Man. To which we may adde, That for the present we are fellow-inhabitants of one and the same Element, the Earth, subject to the same fate of Fire, Deluges and Earthquakes. That it is improbable, that the vast space of Aire and Æther, that must be inhabited by living creatures, should have none but of one sort, that is the Angels or Genii, good or bad. For it would seem as great a solitude as if Men alone were the Inhabitants of the Earth, or Mermaids of the Sea. That the periods of Vital Congruity, wound up in the Nature of their Souls by that eternal Wisdome that is the Creatress of all things, may be shorter or longer, according as the property of their essence and relation to the Universe requires; and that so their Descents and Returns <136> may be accordingly swifter or slower. That it is more conformable to the Divine goodness to be so then otherwise, if their natures will permit it: And that their existence would be in vain, while they were deprived of vital operation when they may conveniently have it. That they would be no more capable of Salvation in the other state, then they are here of Conversion. That the intellectual Inhabitants of the Aire having also external and corporeal Sense, variety of Objects would doe as well there, as here amongst us on Earth. Besides that Histories seem to imply, as if there were such kind of Aëreal Animals amongst them, as Dogs, Horses, and the like. And therefore to be short, that the Souls of Brutes cease to be alive after they are separate from this Body, can have no other reason, then Immorality the Mother of Ignorance, (that is, nothing but narrowness of spirit, out of over-much self-love, and contempt of other Creatures) to embolden us so confidently to adhere to so groundless a Conclusion.

7. This Position makes indeed a plausible shew, insomuch that if the Objection drove one to acknowledge it for Truth, he might seem to have very little reason to be ashamed of it. But this Controversy is not so easily decided. For though it be plain that the Souls of Beasts be Substances really separable from their Bodies; yet if they have but one Vital congruity, namely the Terrestrial one, they cannot recover life in the Aire. But their having one or two, or more Vital congruities, wholy depends upon his wisdome and counsel that has made all things. Besides, the Souls of Brutes seem to have a more passive nature then to be able to manage or enjoy this escape of Death, that free & commanding Imagination belonging onely to us, as also Reminiscency. But Brutes have onely a passive Imagination, and bare Memory; which failing them in all likelihood in the shipwreck of their Body, if they could live in the Aire, they would begin the World perfectly on a new score, which is little better then Death: so that they might in this sense be rightly deemed mortall. Our being Co-inhabitants of the same element, the Earth, proves nothing: for by the same reason, Worms and Fleas should live out of their Bodies, and Fishes should not, who notwithstanding, their shape, it may be, a little changed (for there is no necessity that these creatures in their Aiery Vehicles should be exactly like themselves in their Terrestrial ones) might act and live in the more moist tracts of the Aire.

As for the supposed solitude that would be in the Aire, it reaches not this matter. For in the lower Regions thereof, the various Objects of the Earth and Sea will serve the turn. The winding up of those several circuits of Vital Congruity may indeed pass for an ingenious invention, as of a thing possible in the Souls of Brutes: but, as the Schools say well, A posse ad esse non valet consequentia. As for that Argument from Divine Goodness, it not excluding his Wisdom, which attempers it self to the natures of things, and we not knowing the nature of the Souls of Brutes so perfectly as we do our own, we cannot so easily be assured from thence what will be in this case. A Musician strikes not all strings at once; neither is it to be expected that every thing in Nature at every time should act: but when it is its turn, then touched upon it will give its sound; in <137> Chap. XVII. the interim it lies silent. And so it may be with the Souls of Brutes for a time, especially when the vital temper of Earth and Aire and Sea shall fail; yea and at other times too, if none but Intellectual Spirits be fit to manage Aëreal Vehicles.

I confess indeed, that Salvation can no more belong to the Souls of Brutes then Conversion; but that is as true of the Souls of Plants, (if they have any distinct from the Universal Spirit of Nature) but yet it does not prove that the Souls of Vegetables shall live and act in Aiery Vehicles, after an Herb or Tree is dead and rotten here. To that of conveniency of variety of Objects for the Aiery Inhabitants I have answered already. And for the Apparitions of Horses, Doggs and the like, they may be the transformation of the Aërial Genii into these shapes: Which though it be a sign that they would not abhor from the use and society of such Aërial Animals, if they had them; yet they may the better want them, they being able so well themselves to supply their places.

We will briefly therefore conclude, that from the mere light of Reason it cannot be infallibly demonstrated, That the Souls of Brutes do not live after death, nor that it is any Incongruity in Nature to say they do. Which is sufficient to enervate the present Objection.

8. But for the life and activity of the Souls of Men out of this Body, all things goe on hand-smooth for it, without any check or stop. For we finding the Aërial Genii so exceeding near-a-kin to us in their Faculties, we being both intellectual Creatures, and both using the same immediate Instrument of Sense and Perception, to wit, Aërial Spirits, insomuch that we can scarce discover any other difference betwixt us then there is betwixt a man that is naked and one clad in gross thick cloathing; it is the most easy and natural inference that can be, to conclude, that when we are separate from the Body, and are invested only in Aire, that we shall be just like them, and have the same life and activity they have. For though a Brute fall short of this Priviledge, it ought to be no disheartning to us, because there is a greater cognation betwixt the Intellectual Faculties and the Aiery or Æthereal Vehicle, then there is betwixt such Vehicles and those more low and sensual powers common to us with Beasts. And we finde, in taking the fresh aire, that the more fine and pure our Spirits are, our thoughts become the more noble and divine, and the more purely intellectual.

Nor is the step greater upwards then downwards: For seeing that what in us is so Divine and Angelical may be united with the body of a Brute, (for such is this Earthly cloathing) why may not the Soul, notwithstanding her Terrestrial Congruity of life, (which upon new occasions may be easily conceived to surcease from acting) be united with the Vehicle of an Angel? So that there is no puzzle at all concerning the Soul of Man, but that immediately upon Death she may associate her self with those Aërial Inhabitants, the Genii or Angels.

9. Which we may still be the better assured of, if we consider how we have such Faculties in us as the Soul finds entangled and fettered, clouded and obscured by her fatal residence in this prison of the Body. Insomuch that, so far as it is lawful, she falls out with it for those incommoda <138> tions that the most confirmed brutish health brings usually upon her. How her Will tuggs against the impurity of the Spirits that stir up bestial Passions, (that are notwithstanding the height and flower of other Creatures enjoyments) and how many times her whole life upon Earth is nothing else but a perpetual warfare against the results of her union with this lump of Earth that is so much like to other terrestrial Animals. Whence it is plain she finds her self in a wrong condition, and that she was created for a better and purer state; which she could not attain to, unless she lived out of the Body: which she does in some sort in divine Ecstasies and Dreams; in which case she making no use of the Bodies Organs, but of the purer Spirits in the fourth Ventricle of the Brain, she acts as it were by her self, and performs some preludious Exercises, conformable to those in her Aiery Vehicle.

10. Adde unto all this, that the Immortality of the Soul is the common, and therefore natural, hope and expectation of all Nations; there being very few so barbarous as not to hold it for a Truth: though, it may be, as in other things, they may be something ridiculous in the manner of expressing themselves about it; as that they shall retire after Death to such a Grove or Wood, or beyond such a Hill, or unto such an Island, such as was Δρόμος Ἀχιλλέως, the Island where Achilles Ghost was conceived to wander, or the Insulæ Fortunatæ, the noted Elysium of the Ancients. And yet, it may be, if we should tell these of the Cœlum Empyreum, and compute the height of it, and distance from the Earth, and how many solid Orbs must be glided through before a Soul can come thither; these simple Barbarians would think as odly of the Scholastick Opinion as we do of theirs: and it may be some more judicious and sagacious Wit will laugh at us both alike.

It is sufficient, that in the main all Nations in a manner are agreed that there is an Immortality to be expected, as well as that there is a Deity to be worshipped; though ignorance of circumstances makes Religion vary, even to Monstrosity, in many parts of the world. But both Religion, and the belief of the Reward of it, which is a blessed state after Death, being so generally acknowledged by all the Inhabitants of the Earth; it is a plain Argument that it is true according to the Light of Nature. And not onely because they believe so, but because they do so seriously either desire it, or are so horribly afraid of it, if they offend much against their Consciences: which Properties would not be in men so universally, if there were no Objects in Nature answering to these Faculties, as I have elsewhere argued in the like case.[86]



1. That the Faculties of our Souls, and the nature of the immediate Instrument of them, the Spirits, do so nearly symbolize with those of Dæmons, that it seems reasonable, if God did not on purpose hinder it, that they would not fail to act out of this earthly Body. 2. Or if they would, his Power and Wisdome could easily implant in their essence a double or triple Vital Congruity, to make all sure. 3. A further demonstration of the present Truth from the Veracity of God. 4. An Answer to an Objection against the foregoing Argument. 5. Another Demonstration from His Justice. 6. An Answer to an Objection. 7. An Answer to another Objection. 8. Another Argument from the Justice of God. 9. An Objection answered. 10. An invincible Demonstration of the Soul's Immortality from the Divine Goodness. 11. A more particular enforcement of that Argument, and who they are upon whom it will work least. 12. That the Noblest and most Vertuous Spirit is the most assurable of the Souls Immortality.

1. BUT finally, to make all sure, let us contemplate the Nature of God, who is the Author and Maker of all things, according to whose Goodness, Wisdome and Power all things were created, and are ever ordered; and let us take special notice how many steps towards this Immortality we now treat of are impressed upon the very nature of the Soul already; and then seriously consider, if it be possible that the Sovereign Deity should stop there, and goe no further, when there are so great reasons, if we understand any thing, that He perfect our expectations. For we have already clearly demonstrated, That the Soul of man is a Substance actually[87] separable from the Body, and that all her Operations and Functions are immediately performed, not by those parts of the Body that are of an earthly and gross consistency, but by what is more Aërial or Æthereal, the Vital and[88] Animal Spirits; which are very congenerous to the Vehicles of the Angels or Genii. Insomuch that if the Divine power did but leave Nature to work of it self, it might seem very strange, considering those Divine and Intellectual Faculties in us, (as conformable to the essences or Souls of Angels as our Animal Spirits are to their Vehicles) if it would not be an immediate sequel of this Priviledge, that our Souls once separate from the Body should act and inform the Air they are in with like facility that other Genii do, there being so very little difference betwixt both their natures.

2. Or if one single Plastick power, in a Subject so near a-kin to these Aërial people, will not necessarily suffice for both states, certainly it must be a very little addition that will help out: and how easy is it for that Eternal Wisdome to contrive a double or triple Vital Congruity, to wit, Aêrial and Æthereal, as well as Terrestrial, in such an Essence, whose Faculties and Properties do so plainly symbolize with those purer Inhabitants of both the Æther and Air?


3. But this is not all we have to say. For if there be one thing more precious in the Deity then another, we shall have it all as a sure and infallible pledge of this present Truth, That our Souls will not fail to prove Immortal. And for my own part, I know nothing more precious in the Godhead then his Veracity, Justice and Goodness; and all these Three will assure us and secure us, that we shall sustain no loss or damage by our departure out of these Earthly Bodies, in either Life or Essence. For it were a very high reproach to that Attribute of God which we call his Veracity, he so plainly and universally promising to all the Nations of the World, where there is any Religion at all, a happy state after this life; if there should in reality be no such thing to be expected. For he does not onely connive it the Errour, if it be one, by not declaring himself against it, (as any upright person would, if another should take upon him, in his presence or hearing, to tell others that he intended to bestow such and such gifts and revenues upon them, when there was no such matter:) but he has, as a man may say, on set purpose indued men with extraordinary parts and powers, to set this Opinion on foot in the Earth; all Prophets and Workers of Miracles that have appeared in the world, having one way or other assured to Man-kind this so weighty Truth. And the most Noble and Vertuous Spirits in all Ages have been the most prone to believe it. And this not onely out of a sense of their own Interest; but any one that ever had the happiness to experience these things may observe, That that Clearness and Purity of temper that most consists with the Love and admiration of God and Vertue, and all those divine Accomplishments that even those that never could attain to them give their highest approbation of, I say, that this more refined temper of Mind does of it self beget a wonderful proneness, if not a necessity, of presuming of the Truth of this Opinion we plead for. And therefore if it be not true, God has laid a train in Nature, that the most Vertuous and Pious men shall be the most sure to be deceived: Which is a contradiction to his Attribute of Veracity.

4. Nor can the strength of this Argument be evaded by replying, That God may deceive men for their good, as Parents do their Children; and therefore His Wisdome may contrive such a naturall Errour as this, to be serviceable for States and Polities, to keep the people in awe, and so render them more faithfull and governable. I must confess that there does result from this divine Truth such an Usefulness, by the by, for the better holding together of Commonweals: But to think that this is the main use thereof, and that there is nothing more in it then so, is as Idiotical and Childish, as to conclude, that because the Stars, those vast lights, doe some small offices for us by Night, that therefore that is all the meaning of them, and that they serve for nothing else.

Besides, there is no Father would tell a Lye to his Child, if he were furnisht with Truth as effectual for his purpose; and if he told any thing really good as well as desirable to his Child, to induce him to Obedience, if it lay in his power, he would be sure to perform his promise. But it is in the power of God to make good whatever he has propounded for reward; nor need he make use of any falshood in this matter. <141> Wherefore if he do, he has less Veracity then an ordinary honest man; which is blasphemous, and contradictious to the nature of the Deity.

5. Again upon point of Justice, God was engaged to contrive the Nature and Order of things so, that the Souls of Men may live after death, and that they may fare according to their behaviour here upon earth. For the Godhead, as the Philosopher calls him, is Νόμος ἰσοκλινὴς, and does immutably and inevitably distribute Justice, both Reward & Punishment, in the world. But how difficult a thing it is to be good and to live according to Vertue, the common practice and complaint of all men doe confess with one consent; and that it is exceeding hard to perswade any one to doe that violence to their own natures, as to endeavour after a due degree and right sense of Vertue (for Craft and Policy are easy enough, and other things there are that, set against the contrary Vices, look like Vertues, but are not:) But to perswade to those that truly are, is, I say, exceeding hard, if not impossible, without the inculcation of this grand concernment, the State of the Soul after Death, and the Reward that will then follow a Vertuous life. Of which hopes if we be frustrated by the Soul's Mortality, we are defrauded of our Reward, and God of the honour of Justice.

6. Nor can the force of this Argument be enervated by either that high pretension of Stoicism, That Vertue to it self is a sufficient reward; or that the very hopes of this Immortality, it being accompanied with so much joy, tranquillity and contentment, will countervail all the pain and trouble of either acquiring, or keeping close to Vertue once acquired. For as for the first, It is one thing to talk high, and another thing to practise. And for my own part, I think in the main, that Epicurus, who placed the chiefest good in Pleasure, philosophized more solidly then the paradoxical Stoicks. For questionless that is that which all men ought to drive at, if they had the true notion of it, and knew wherein to place it, or could arrive to the purest and most warrantable sense of it. But there can be no Pleasure, (without a perfect Miracle) while our Spirits are disturbed and vitiated by sordid and contemptible Poverty, by Imprisonments, Sicknesses, Tortures, ill Diet, and a number of such Adversities, that those that are the most exactly Vertuous have been in all Ages most lyable to. Besides the care and sollicitude of perpetually standing upon their guard, the stings of Calumny and Defamation, and a continual vexation to see the baseness and vileness of mens tempers, and ugly oblique transactions of affairs in the world. Which inquietudes cannot be avoided by any other remedy but what is as ill as the disease, or worse, (it being altogether incompetible to a true Heroical tenour of mind,) I mean their Stoical Apathy; of which the best that can be said is, that it is a kind of constant and safe piece of sullenness, stating us onely in the condition of those that are said to have neither wonne nor lost: So poor a reward is persecuted and distressed Vertue of it self, without the hope of future Happiness.

7. But to say, the Hope thereof without Enjoyment is a sufficient compensation, is like that mockery Plutarch records of Dionysius towards a Fidler, whom he caused to play before him, promising him a reward; <142> but when he demanded it of him for his pains, denied it him, or rather said it was paid already, putting him off with this jest, Ὅσον χρόνον εὔφραινες ᾄδων, τοσοῦτον ἔχαιρες ἐλπίξων, i. e. So long as you pleased me with playing, so long you rejoyced your self with hoping after the reward; so that you are sufficiently paid already. Which piece of injurious mirth may be passable in a ludicrous matter, and from a Tyrant, where height of Fortune makes proud and forgetful Mortality contemn their inferiours: But in a thing of this nature, that concerns not onely this transient life, but the sempiternal duration of the Soul, Injustice there is unspeakably grievous; and so much the more harsh and uncomely, if we consider that it is supposed to be committed, not by a frail earthly Potentate, (the height of whose Honours may make him regardless of smaller affairs and meaner persons,) but by the God of Heaven, who can with the like ease attend all things as he can any one thing; and who is perfectly and immutably just, not doing nor omitting any thing by changeable humours, as it happens in vain Men, but ever acting according to the transcendent Excellency and Holiness of his own Nature.

8. Neither is Divine Justice engaged onely to reward, but also to punish; which cannot be, unless the Souls of men subsist after Death. For there are questionless many thousands that have committed most enormous Villanies, persecuted the Good, taking away their possessions, liberties, or lives, adding sometimes most barbarous tortures and reproachful abuses; and in all this highly gratified their covetousness, ambition and revenge; nay, it may be the bestial ferocity of their own spirits, that have pleased themselves exceedingly to bring the truly religious into disgrace, and have laughed at all vertuous actions as the fruits of Ignorance and Folly; and yet for all this have died in peace on their beds, after their Lives have been as thick set with all sensual enjoyments of Honour, Riches and Pleasure, as their Story is with Frauds, Rapines, Murders, Sacriledges, and whatever crimes the impious boldness of lawless persons will venture on.

9. Such things as these happen proportionably through all the ranks and orders of men. Nor is it sufficient to reply that their own Consciences, as so many Furies, do lash them and scorch them in this life: For we speak of inveterate and successful wickedness, where that Principle is utterly laid asleep; or if it at any time wake and cry, the noise of the affairs of the world, and hurry of business, and continual visits of friends and flatterers, false instructions of covetous Priests or mercenary Philosophers (who for gain will impudently corrupt and pervert both the Light of Nature and Sense of Religion,) the sound and clatter of these, I say, will so possess the ear of the prosperously wicked, that the voice of Conscience can be no more heard in this continual tumult, then the vagient cries of the Infant Jupiter amidst the rude shuffles and dancings of the Cretick Corybantes, and the tinckling and clashing of their brazen Targets. And therefore if there be no Life hereafter, the worst of men have the greatest share of happiness, their passions and affections being so continually gratified, and that to the height, in those things that are so agreeable, and, rightly circumstantiated, allowable to humane Na <143> ture: such as are the sweet reflexion on the success of our political management of the affairs of the World; the general tribute of Honour and respect for our Policy and Wit, and that ample testimony thereof, our acquisitions of Power or Riches; that great satisfaction of foiling and bearing down our Enemies, and obliging and making sure our more serviceable Friends; to which finally you may adde all the variety of Mirth and Pastime that flesh and blood can entertain it self with, from either Musick, Wine, or Women.

10. Thirdly and lastly, the Mortality of the Soul is not onely inconsistent with the Veracity and Justice of God, but also with his Goodness, the most soveraign and sacred Attribute in the Deity, and which alone is enough to demonstrate, That the Soul of man cannot perish in Death. For suppose that God had made no promise to us, either by any extraordinary Prophet, or by the suggestion of our own natural Faculties, that we shall be Immortal, and that there was neither Merit nor Demerit in this life, so that all plea from either the Divine Veracity or Justice were quite cut off; his Goodness alone (especially if we consider how capable the Soul is of after-subsistence) is a sufficient assurance that we shall not fail to live after Death. For how can that soveraign Goodness, assisted by an Omnipotent Knowledge, fail to contrive it so; it being so infinitely more conformable to His Transcendent Bounty to ordain thus then otherwise? that is to say, so soon as he created the World, to make it so compleat, as at once to bring into Being not onely all Corporeal Substance (according as all men confess he did) but also all Substances Immaterial or Incorporeal, and as many of them as can partake of Life, and of enjoyment of themselves and the Universe, to set them upon living and working in all places and Elements that their Nature is able to operate in; and therefore amongst other Beings of the Intellectual Order, to ordain that the Souls of men also, whereever they were, or ever should be, especially if it were not long of themselves, should have a power of Life and Motion, and that no other Nemesis should follow them then what they themselves lay the trains of; nor this to utter annihilation, but by way of chastisement or punishment: and that they being of so multifarious a nature, as to have such Faculties as are nearly a-kin to Brutes, as well as such as have so close an affinity with those of the Aëreal Genii and Celestial Angels, their Vital Congruity should be as multifarious, and themselves made capable of a living Union with either Celestial, Aërial, or Terrestrial Vehicles; and that the leaving of one should be but the taking up of another, so long as the Elements continue in their natural temper, and as soon as the Laws of Generation will permit.

11. These, and a long series of other things consonant to these, represent themselves to their view that have the favour of beholding the more hidden treasures of the Divine Benignity. But they being more then the present occasion requires, I shall content my self with what precisely touches the matter in hand, which is, That the Soul of Man being capable to act after this life in an Aërial Vehicle, as well as here in an Earthly; and it being better that she do live and act, then that she be idle and silent in death; and it depending meerly upon the Will of God whether she <144> shall or no; He ordering the natures of things infallibly according to what is best, must of necessity ordain that the Souls of men live and act after death. This is an unavoidable Deduction of Reason to those that acknowledge the Being of God, and rightly relish that transcendent Attribute in the Divine Nature. For those that have a true sense thereof, can as hardly deny this Conclusion as the Existence of the Deity. Nor can they ever be perswaded, that He who is so perfectly Good in himself, and to whom they have so long adhered in faithful obedience and amorous devotion, has made them of such a nature, that when they hope most to enjoy him, they shall not be able to enjoy him at all, nor any thing else; as not being in a capacity to act but in an Earthly Body. But to those that be of a mere animal temper, that relish no love but that of themselves and their own interest, nor care for any but those that are serviceable to them, and make for their profit, these being prone to judge of God according to the vileness of their own Spirit, will easily conceit, that God's care of us and tenderness over us is onely proportionable to the fruit he reaps by us; which is just none at all.

12. And therefore this Argument especially, and also the Two former, though they be undeniable Demonstrations in themselves, yet they requiring a due resentment of Morality, that is of Veracity, Justice and Goodness, in him that is to be perswaded by them; it will follow, that those whose Mindes are most blinded and debased by Vice, will feel least the force of them; and the Noblest and most generous Spirit will be the most firmly assured of the Immortality of the Soul.

[1] * Chap. 25. Artic. 2.

[2] * Chap. 6. Sect. 4, 5, 6.

[3] * See Book 4. chap. 11. sect. 8.

[4] * See Preface sect. 5.

[5] * Book 2. ch. 2. sect. 8.

[6] Book 1. ch. 6.

[7] * Cap. 8. Artic. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

[8] * Part. 1. Artic. 37.

[9] See his Elements of Philosophy, chap. 25. Artic. 5.

[10] * Chap. 25. Artic. 7, 8.

[11] * But why it may not be, something is suggested in the foregoing chapter, sect. 3.

[12] * See chap. 1. sect. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. and chap. 2. sect. 3, 4, 5, 6.

[13] See Book 1. ch. 11. sect. 5, 6, 7.

[14] Philosoph. Natural. lib. 5. cap. 1.

[15] Dioptr. cap. 5. Artic. 13. and De Passion. Part. 1. Artic. 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16.

[16] Cartes. De Passion. Part. 1. Artic. 32.

[17] Part. 1. Art. 35.

[18] See the Appendix to my Antidote chap. 10. sect. 6.

[19] * Philos. Natural. lib. 4. cap. 16.

[20] * Part. 1. Artic. 11.

[21] See Cartes. De Passion. Part. 1. Artic. 43.

[22] Chap. 2. sect. 8.

[23] Cartes. De Passion. Part. 1. Artic. 19, 20.

[24] * De Passion. Part. 1. Artic. 21.

[25] Cartes. Dissert. De Methodo, Passion. Part. 1. Artic. 16.

[26] * Chap. 2. sect. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, &c.

[27] * Helmont de Sede Animæ.

[28] De Passion. Part. 1. Artic. 33.

[29] Elements of Philosophy, Part 4. ch 25. Artic 4.

[30] * Aristot. de Juventute & Senectute, cap. 3.

[31] Galen. de. Placitis Hippocratis & Platonis, lib. 2.

[32] * In his Elements of Philosophy, Part 4. ch. 25. Artic. 4.

[33] Histor. Anatom. lib. 4. quæst. 7.

[34] Wharton. Adenograph. cap. 23.

[35] See chap. 11. sect. 4, 5.

[36] * Chap. 5. sect. 3, 4, 5, 6.

[37] Adenograph. Cap. 23.

[38] * See chap. 6. Sect. 9.

[39] Institution. Anatom. lib. 3. cap. 4.

[40] Philos. Natural. lib. 5. cap. 1.

[41] * See my Antidote, Book 2. chap. 12. sect. 2, 3, 4, &c.

[42] * Plotinus calls them προυπογραφὴν, and προδρόμους ἐλλάμψεις εἰς ὕλην. Ennead. 6. lib. 7. cap. 7.

[43] Enthus. Triumph. sect. 3, 4, 5.

[44] * Des-Cartes De Pasionibus, Part. 1. Artic. 36.

[45] * De Passion. Part. 1. Artic. 13.

[46] * See Book 3. chap. 6. sect. 7, 8, 9.

[47] * Ἡ ἀληθενὴ μαγεία η ἐν τῷ παντὶ φιλίλία καὶ τὸ νῶκος αἶ. καὶ ὁ γόης ὁ πρῶτες καὶ ὁ φαρμακεὶς οὗτός ἐστιν. Plotin. Ennead. 4. lib. 4. cap. 40.

[48] * Book 3. chap. 12, & 13.

[49] * See chap. 6. sect. 9.

[50] Ch. 6. sect. 9.

[51] * See Chap. 5. sect. 7. also ch. 2. sect. 7, 8.

[52] Institution. Medicin. lib. 2. part. 3. sect. 2. cap. 4.

[53] Ch. 10. sect. 7.

[54] * lib. 2. cap. 4.

[55] * De {illeg} pag. 235, 236, 237, &c. usque ad 239.

[56] Lib. 1. cap. 3.

[57] De {illeg} pag. 237.

[58] Lib. 3. cap. 11.

[59] De Generatione Animal. lib. 2. cap. 3.

[60] De Natura rerum lib. 6.

[61] Lib. 2. cap. 3.

[62] * In this 2. Book, chap. 8.

[62] * Book 3. ch. 13. sect. 9.

[63] Chap. 13. sect. 6.

[64] Histor. Natural. lib. 7 cap. 52.

[65] * Historiar. lib. 4.

[66] * Theolog. Platonic. lib. 13. cap. 2.

[67] A. Gell. Noct. Attic. lib. 15. cap. 18.

[68] See my Antidote, Book 3. chap. 11. sect. 7.

[69] * Hist. Natural. lib. 7. cap. 52.

[70] * See Enthus. Triumphat. sect. 5. ad 28.

[71] See Marsil. Ficin. Theolog. Platon. lib. 16. cap. 5.

[72] * Biblioth. Historic. lib. 1. pag. 15.

[73] * Marsil. Ficin. Theolog. Platon. lib. 16. cap. 5.

[74] Marsil. Ficin. Theolog. Platon. lib. 16. cap. 5.

[75] * Gassarel, his unheard of Curios. part. 2. chap. 5. See my Antidote, Book 3. chap. 16. sect. 2, 3.

[76] See Cardan De Subtilitate, lib. 18.

[77] Book 3. chap. 8. and 9.

[78] * De occulta Philosoph. l. 3. cap. 41.

[79] See Magica de Spectris, Henning. Grosii; lib. 1. sect. 184.

[80] * Chap. 2, 4, 5, 6.

[81] * Chap. 8, 9.

[82] * Chap. 10. sect. 7.

[83] See Chap. 8. sect 13.

[84] * See his περι ἐνεργείας δαιμόνων.

[85] * Chap. 15. sect. 5.

[86] Antidote, Book 1. ch. 10. sect. 9.

[87] * Chap. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

[88] * Chap. 8, 9.

Cite as: Henry More, The Immortality of the Soul, 2nd ed., from A Collection of Several Philosophical Writings (1662), pp. 58-144,, accessed 2024-05-24.