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A Discourse demonstrating



Σῶμα γὰρ ἐκ γαίης ἔχομεν, καὶ πάντες ἐς ἀυτὴν.
Λυόμενοι κόνις ἐσμέν ἀὴρ δ᾽ἀνὰ πνεῦμα δέδεκται.

Epicharmus apud Clem. Alex. Strom. 4.

Εὐσεβὴς νῷ πεφυκὼς, οὐ πάθοις γ᾽οὐδὲν κακὸν κατθανών ἄνω το πνεῦμα διαμένει κατ᾽οὐρανόν..

Plotin. Ennead. 4. l. 4. c. 45.

Ὁ ἀγαθὸς οὗ δεῖ ἄπεισι, καὶ γινώσκει πρὶν ἀπιέναι, οὗ ἀνάγκη ἀυτῷ ἐλθόντι οἰκεῖν, καὶ εὔελπίς ἐστιν, ὡς μετὰ θεῶν ἔσοιτο..

Hierocl. in Pythag. aur. carm.

Οὐ βούλεται ὁ κακὸς ἀθάνατον εἶναι τὴν ἑαυτοῦ φυχην..


Immortality of the Soul.

Chap. I.

The First and main Principles of Religion, viz. 1. That God is. 2. That God is a rewarder of them that seek him: Wherein is included the Great Article of the Immortality of the Soul. These two Principles acknowledged by religious and serious persons in all Ages. 3. That God communicates himself to mankind by Christ. The Doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul discoursed of in the first place, and why?

HAving finish'd our two short Discourses concerning those two Anti-Deities, viz. Superstition and Atheism; we shall now proceed to discourse more largely concerning the maine Heads and Principles of Religion.

And here we are to take Notice of those two Cardinal points which the Author of the Epistle to the Hebrews makes the necessary Foundations of all Religion, viz. That God is, and That He is a rewarder of them that seek him. To which we should adde, The Immortality of the Reasonable Soul, but that that may seem included in the former: and indeed we can neither believe any Invisible reward of which he there speaks, <60> without a Prolepsis of the Soul's Immortality; neither can we entertain a serious belief of that, but the notions of Pœna and Præmium will naturally follow from it; we never meet with any who were perswaded of the former, that ever doubted of the latter: and therefore the former two have been usually taken alone for the First principles of Religion, and have been most insisted upon by the Platonists; and accordingly a novel Platonist writing a Summary of Plato's Divinity, intitles his book, De Deo & Immortalitate Animæ. And also the Stoical Philosophy requires a belief of these as the Prolepses of all Religion, of the one whereof[1] Epictetus himself assures us, ἴσθι ὅτι τὸ κυριώτατον, &c. Know that the main Foundation of Piety is this, to have ὀρθὰς ὑπολήψεις right opinions and apprehensions of God, viz. That he is, and that he governs all things καλῶς καὶ δικαίως. And the other is sufficiently insinuated in that Cardinal distinction of their τὰ ἐφ’ ἡμῖν, and τὰ μὴ ἐφ’ ἡμῖν, and is more fully express'd by Simplicius. For however the Stoicks may seem to lay some ground of suspicion, as if they were dubious in this point, yet I think that which Tully and others deliver concerning their opinion herein, may fully answer all scruples, viz. That as they made certain Vicissitudes of Conflagrations and Inundations whereby the World should perish in certain periods of time; so they thought the Souls of men should also be subject to these periodical revolutions; and therefore though they were of themselves immortal, should in these changes fall under the power of the common fate.

And indeed we scarce ever finde that any were deem'd Religious, that did not own these two Fundamentals. For the Sadducees, the Jewish Writers are wont commonly to reckon them among the Epicure <61> ans, because though they held a God, yet they denied the Immortality of mens Souls, which the New Testament seems to include, if not especially to aime at, in imputing to them a deniall of the Resurrection; which is therefore more fully explained in the Acts,[2] where it is added that they held there was neither Angel nor Spirit. And these two Principles are chiefly aimed at in those two Inscriptions upon the Temple at Delphos, the one, ΕΙ, referring to God, by which Title those that came in to worship were supposed to invoke him, acknowledging his Immutable and Eternal nature; the other, ΓΝΩΘΙ ΣΕΑΥΤΟΝ, as the admonition of the Deity again to all his worshippers, to take notice of the dignity and Immortality of their own Souls, as Plutarch and Tully, as also Clemens Alexandr. expound them.

But if we will have the Fundamental Articles of Christian Religion, we must adde to the former, The Communication of God to Mankind through Christ; which last the Scripture treats of at large, so far as concerns our practice, with that plainness and simplicity, that I cannot but think, that whosoever shall ingenuously and with humility of Spirit addressing himself to God, converse therewith, will see the bright beams of Divinity shining forth in it, and it may be find the Text it self much plainer then all those Glosses that have been put upon it; though it may be it is not so clear in matters of Speculation, as some Magisterial men are apt to think it is.

Now for these three Articles of Faith and Practice, I think if we duly consider the Scriptures, or the Reason of the thing it self, we shall easily find all Practical Religion to be referr'd to them, and built upon them: The Nature of God and of our own Immortal Souls both <62> shew us what our Religion should be, and also the Necessity of it; and the Doctrine of Free grace in Christ, the sweet and comfortable means of attaining to that perfection and Blessedness which the other Belief teaches us to aime at.

In pursuing of these we shall first begin with The Immortality of the Soul, which if it be once cleared, we can neither leave any room for Atheism (which those I doubt are not ordinarily very free from that have gross material notions of their own Souls) not be wholly ignorant what God is: for indeed the chief natural way whereby we can climbe up to the understanding of the Deity is by a Contemplation of our own Souls. We cannot think of him but according to the measure and model of our own Intellect, or frame any other Idea of him then what the impressions of our own Souls will permit us: and therefore the best Philosophers have alwaies taught us to inquire for God within our selves; Reason in us, as Tully tells us, being participata similitudo rationis internæ: and accordingly some good Expositours have interpreted that place in S. John's Gospel chap. 1. He is that true light which enlightens every man that cometh into the world; which if I were to gloss upon in the language of the Platonists, I should doe it thus, λόγος ἐστὶ φῶς ψυχῶν, the Eternal Word is the light of Souls, which the Vulgar Latine referr'd to in Signatum est supra nos lumen vultus tui, Domine,[3] as Aquinas observes. But we shall not search into the full nature of the Soul, but rather make our inquiry into the Immortality of it, and endeavour to demonstrate that.


Chap. II.

Some Considerations preparatory to the proof of the Soul's Immortality.

BUT before we fall more closely upon this, viz. the demonstrating the Soul's Immortality, we shall premise three things.

1. That the Immortality of the Soul doth not absolutely need any Demonstration to clear it by, but might be assumed rather as a Principle or Postulatum, seeing the notion of it is apt naturally to insinuate it self into the belief of the most vulgar sort of men. Mens understandings commonly lead them as readily to believe that their Souls are Immortal, as that they have any Existence at all. And though they be not all so wise and Logical, as to distinguish aright between their Souls and their Bodies, or tell what kind of thing that is that they commonly call their Soul; yet they are strongly inclined to believe that some part of them shall survive another, and that that Soul, which it may be they conceive by a gross Phantasm, shall live, when the other more visible part of them shall moulder into dust. And therefore all Nations have consented in this belief, which hath almost been as vulgarly received as the belief of a Deity; as a diligent converse with History will assure us, it having been never so much questioned by the Idiotical sort of men, as by some unskilful Philosophers, who have had Wit & Fancy enough to raise doubts, like Evil Spirits, but not Judgement enough to send them down again.

This Consensus Gentium Tully thinks enough to conclude a Law and Maxim of Nature by, which though <64> I should not universally grant, seeing sometimes Errour and Superstition may strongly plead this Argument; yet I think for those things that are the matter of our first belief, that Notion may not be refused. For we cannot easily conceive how any Prime notion that hath no dependency on any other antecedent to it, should be generally entertain'd; did not the common dictate of Nature or Reason acting alike in all men move them to conspire together in the embracing of it, though they knew not one anothers minds. And this it may be might first perswade Averroes to think of a Common Intellect, because of the uniform judgments of men in some things. But indeed in those Notions which we may call notiones ortæ, there a communis notitia is not so free from all suspicion; which may be cleared by taking an Instance from our present Argument. The notion of the Immortality of the Soul is such an one as is generally owned by all those that yet are not able to collect it by a long Series and concatenation of sensible observations, and by a Logical dependence of one thing upon another deduce it from sensible Experiments; a thing that it may be was scarce ever done by the wisest Philosophers, but is rather believed with a kind of repugnancy to Sense, which shews all things to be mortal, and which would have been too apt to have deluded the ruder sort of men, did not a more powerful impression upon their own Souls forcibly urge them to believe their own Immortality. Though indeed if the common notions of men were well examined, it may be some common notion adherent to this of the Immortality may be as generally received, which yet in it self is false; and that by reason of a common prejudice which the earthly and Sensual part of man will equally possesse all men with, untill they come to be well acquainted with <65> their own Souls; as namely a notion of the Souls Materiality, and it may be it's Traduction too, which seems to be as generally received by the vulgar sort as the former. But the reason of that is evident, for the Souls of men exercising themselves first of all κινήσει προβατικῇ, as the Greek Philosopher expresseth, meerly by a Progressive kind of motion, spending themselves about Bodily and Material acts, and conversing onely with Sensible things; they are apt to acquire such deep stamps of Material phantasms to themselves, that they cannot imagine their own Being to be any other then Material & Divisible, though of a fine AEthereal nature: which kind of conceit, though it be inconsistent with an Immortal and Incorruptible nature, yet hath had too much prevalencie in Philosophers themselves, their Minds not being sufficiently abstracted while they have contemplated the highest Being of all. And some think Aristotle himself cannot be excused in this point, who seems to have thought God himself to be nothing else but μέγα ζῶον, as he styles him. But such Common Notions as these are, arising from the deceptions and hallucinations of Sense, ought not to prejudice those which not Sense, but some Higher power begets in all men. And so we have done with that.

The second thing I should premise should be in place of a Postulatum to our following Demonstrations, or rather a Caution about them, which is, That, to a right conceiving the force of any such Arguments as may prove the Souls Immortality, there must be an antecedent Converse with our own Souls. It is no hard matter to convince any one by clear and evident principles, fetch'd from his own sense of himself, who hath ever well meditated the Powers and Operations of his own Soul, that it is Immaterial and Immortal.


But those very Arguments that to such will be Demonstrative, to others will lose something of the strength of Probability: For indeed it is not possible for us well to know what our Souls are, but onely by their κινήσεις κυκλικαὶ, their Circular and Reflex motions, and Converse with themselves, which onely can steal from them their own secrets. All those Discourses which have been written of the Soul's Heraldry, will not blazon it so well to us as it self will doe. When we turn our own eyes in upon it, it will soon tell us it's own royal pedigree and noble extraction, by those sacred Hieroglyphicks which it bears upon it self. We shall endeavour to interpret and unfold some of them in our following Discourse.

3. There is one thing more to be considered, which may serve as a common Basis or Principle to our following Arguments; and it is this Hypothesis, That no Substantial and Indivisible thing ever perisheth. And this Epicurus and all of his Sect must needs grant, as indeed they doe, and much more then it is lawful to plead for; and therefore they make this one of the first Principles of their Atheistical Philosophy, Ex nihilo fieri nil, & in nihilum nil posse reverti. But we shall here be content with that sober Thesis of Plato in his Timæus, who attributes the Perpetuation of all Substances to the Benignity and Liberality of the Creatour, whom he therefore brings in thus speaking to the Angels, those νέοι θεοὶ, as he calls them, ὑμεῖς οὐκ ἐστὲ ἄθάνατοι οὐδὲ ἂλυτοι, &c. You are not of your selves immortal, nor indissoluble; but would relapse and slide back from that Being which I have given you, should I withdraw the influence of my own power from you: but yet you shall hold your Immortality by a Patent of meer grace from my self. But to return, Plato held that the <67> whole world, howsoever it might meet with many Periodicall mutations, should remain Eternally; which I think our Christian Divinity doth no where deny: and so Plotinus frames this general Axiom, οὐδὲν ἐκ τοῦ ὄντος ἀπολεῖται, that no Substance shall ever perish. And indeed if we collate all our own Observations & Experience with such as the History of former times hath delivered to us, we shall not find that ever any substance was quite lost; but though this Proteus-like Matter may perpetually change its shape, yet it will constantly appear under one Form or another, what art soever we use to destroy it: as it seems to have been set forth in that old Gryphe or Riddle of the Peripatetick School, Ælia Lælia Crispis, nec mas, nec fœmina, nec androgyna, nec casta, nec meretrix, nec pudica; sed omnia, &c. as Fortunius Licetus hath expounded it. Therfore it was never doubted whether ever any piece of Substance was lost, till of latter times some hot-brained Peripateticks, who could not bring their fiery and subtile fancies to any cool judgement, began rashly to determine that all Material Forms (as they are pleas'd to call them) were lost. For having once jumbled and crouded in a new kind of Being, never anciently heard of, between the parts of a Contradiction, that is Matter and Spirit, which they call Material Forms, because they could not well tell whence these new upstarts should arise, nor how to dispose of them when Matter began to shift herself into some new garb, they condemn'd them to utter destruction; and yet lest they should seem too rudely to controul all Sense and Reason, they found out this common tale which signifies nothing, that these Substantial Forms were educed ex potentia Materiæ, whenever Matter began to appeare in any new disguise, and afterwards again retur <68> ned in gremium Materiæ; & so they thought them not quite lost. But this Curiosity consisting onely of words fortuitously packt up together, being too subtile for any sober judgment to lay hold upon, and which they themselves could never yet tell how to define; we shall as carelesly lay it aside, as they boldly obtrude it upon us, and take the common distinction of all Substantiall Being for granted, viz. That it is either Body, and so Divisible, and of three Dimensions; or else it is something which is not properly a Body or Matter, & so hath no such Dimensions as that the Parts thereof should be crouding for place, and justling one with another, not being all able to couch together or run one into another: and this is nothing else but what is commonly called Spirit. Though yet we will not be too Critical in depriving every thing which is not grosly corporeal of all kind of Extension.

Chap. III.

The First Argument for the Immortality of the Soul. That the Soul of man is not Corporeal. The gross absurdities upon the Supposition that the Soul is a Complex of fluid Atomes, or that it is made up by a fortuitous Concourse of Atomes: which is Epicurus his Notion concerning Body. The Principles and Dogmata of the Epicurean Philosophy in opposition to the Immateriall and Incorporeal nature of the Soul, asserted by Lucretius; but discover'd to be false and insufficient. That Motion cannot arise from Body or Matter. Nor can the power of Sensation arise from Matter: Much less can Reason. That all Humane knowledge hath <69> not its rise from Sense. The proper function of Sense, and that it is never deceived. An Addition of Three Considerations for the enforcing of this first Argument, and further clearing the Immateriality of the Soul. That there is in man a Faculty which 1. controlls Sense: and 2. collects and unites all the Perceptions of our several Senses. 3. That Memory and Prevision are not explicable upon the supposition of Matter and Motion.

WE shall therefore now endeavour to prove That the Soul of man is something really distinct from his Body, of an Indivisible nature, and so cannot be divided into such Parts as should flit one from another; and consequently is apt of it's own Nature to remain to Eternity, and so will doe, except the Decrees of Heaven should abandon it from Being.

And first, we shall prove it ab absurdo, and here doe as the Mathematicians use to doe in such kind of Demonstrations: we will suppose that if the Reasonable Soul be not of such an Immaterial Nature, then it must be a Body, and so suppose it to be made up as all Bodies are: where because the Opinions of Philosophers differ, we shall only take one, viz. that of Epicurus, which supposeth it to be made up by a fortuitous Concourse of Atomes; and in that demonstrate against all the rest: (for indeed herein a particular Demonstration is an Universal, as it is in all Mathematical Demonstrations of this kind.) For if all that which is the Basis of our Reasons and Understandings, which we here call the Substance of the Soul, be nothing else but a meer Body, and therefore be infinitely divisible, as all Bodies are; it will be all one in effect whatsoever notion we have of the generation or production thereof. We may give it, if we please, finer words, and use more demure & smooth <70> language about it then Epicurus did, as some that, lest they should speak too rudely and rustically of it by calling it Matter, will name it Efflorescentia Materiæ; and yet lest that should not be enough, adde Aristotle's Quintessence to it too: they will be so trim and courtly in defining of it, that they will not call it by the name of Aer, Ignis, or Flamma, as some of the ancient vulgar Philosophers did, but Flos flammæ: and yet the Epicurean Poet could use as much Chymistry in exalting his fansy as these subtile Doctors doe; and when he would dress out the Notion of it more gaudily, he resembles it to[4] Flos Bacchi, and Spiritus unguenti suavis. But when we have taken away this disguise of wanton Wit, we shall find nothing better then meer Body, which will be recoiling back perpetually into it's own inert and sluggish Passiveness: though we may think we have quicken'd it never so much by this subtile artifice of Words and Phrases, a man's new-born Soul will for all this be but little better then his Body; and, as that is, be but a rasura corporis alieni, made up of some small and thin shavings pared off from the Bodies of the Parents by a continuall motion of the several parts of it; and must afterwards receive its augmentation from that food and nourishment which is taken in, as the Body doth. So that the very Grass we walk over in the fields, the Dust and Mire in the streets that we tread upon, may, according to the true meaning of this dull Philosophy, after many refinings, macerations and maturations, which Nature performs by the help of Motion, spring up into so many Rational Souls, and prove as wise as any Epicurean, and discourse as subtily of what it once was, when it lay drooping in a sensless Passiveness. This conceit is so gross, that one would think it wanted nothing but that witty <71> Sarcasm that Plutarch cast upon Nicocles the Epicurean, to confute it, ἡ μήτηρ ἀτόμους ἔσχεν ἐν αὑτῇ τοσαύτας, οἶαι συνελθοῦσαι σοφὸν ἂν ἐγέννησαν.

But because the heavy minds of men are so frequently sinking into this earthly fancy, we shall further search into the entralls of this Philosophy; and see how like that is to a Rational Soul, which it pretends to declare the production of. Lucretius first of all taking notice of the mighty swiftness and celerity of the Soul in all its operations, lest his Matter should be too soon tired and not able to keep pace with it, he first casts the Atomes prepared for this purpose into such perfect Sphærical & small figures as might be most capable of these swift impressions; for so he, lib. 3.

At, quod mobile tantopere est, constare rotundis
Perquam seminibus debet, perquámque minutis,
Momine uti parvo possint impulsa moveri.

But here before we goe any further, we might inquire what it should be that should move these small and insensible Globes of Matter. For Epicurus his two Principles, which he cals Plenum and Inane, will here by no means serve our turn to find out Motion by. For though our communes notitiæ assure us that whereever there is a Multiplicity of parts, (as there is in every Quantitative Being) there may be a Variety of application in those parts one to another, and so a Mobility; yet Motion it self will not so easily arise out of a Plenum, though we allow it an empty Space and room enough to play up and down in. For we may conceive a Body, which is his Plenum, onely as trinè dimensum, being longum, latum & profundum, without attributing any motion at all to it: and Aristotle in his De Cœlo doubts not herein to speak plainly, ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ σώματος κίνησις οὐκ ἐγγίνεται, that Motion cannot arise from a Body. For in <72> deed this Power of motion must needs argue some Efficient cause, as Tully hath well observed, if we suppose any Rest antecedent; or if any Body be once moving, it must also find some potent Efficient to stay it & settle it in Rest, as Simplicius hath somewhere in his Comment upon Epictetus wisely determin'd. So that if we will suppose either Motion or Rest to be contein'd originally in the nature of any Body; we must of necessity conclude some potent Efficient to produce the contrary, or else attribute this Power to Bodies themselves; which will at last grow unbounded and infinite, and indeed altogether inconsistent with the nature of a Body.

But yet though we should grant all this which Lucretius contends for, how shall we force up these particles of Matter into any true and real Perceptions, and make them perceive their own or others motions, which he calls Motus sensiferi? For he having first laid down his Principles of all Being, as he supposeth, (neither is he willing to leave his Deities themselves out of the number) he onely requires these Postulata to unfold the nature of all by, [5] Concursus, motus, ordo, positura, figuræ. But how any such thing as sensation, or much lesse Reason, should spring out of this barren soil, how well till'd soever, no composed mind can imagine. For indeed that infinite variety which is in the Magnitude of parts, their Positions, Figures and Motions, may easily, and indeed must needs, produce an infinite variety of Phænomena, which the Epicurean philosophy calls Eventa. And accordingly where there is a Sentient faculty, it may receive the greatest variety of Impressions from them, by which the Perceptions, which are the immediate result of a Knowing faculty, will be distinguish'd: Yet cannot the Power it self of Sensation arise from them, no more then Vision can rise out of a Glasse, <73> whereby it should be able to perceive these Idola that paint themseves upon it, though it were never so exactly polish'd, and they much finer then they are or can be.

Neither can those small corpuscula, which in themselves have no power of sense, ever produce it by any kind of Concourse or Motion; for so a Cause might in its production rise up above the height of its own nature and virtue; which I think every calm contemplator of Truth will judge impossible: for seeing whatsoever any Effect hath, it must needs derive from its Causes, and can receive no other tincture and impression then they can bestow upon it; that Signature must first be in the Cause it self, which is by it derived to the Effect. And therefore the wisest Philosophers amongst the Ancients universally concluded that there was some higher Principle then meer Matter, which was the Cause of all Life and Sense, and that to be Immortal: as the Platonists, who thought this reason sufficient to move them to assert a Mundane Soul. And Aristotle, though he talks much of Nature, yet he delivers his mind so cloudily, that all that he hath said of it may passe with that which himself said of his Acroatici Libri, or Physicks, that they were ἐκδεδομένοι καὶ μὴ ἐκδεδομένοι. Nor is it likely that he who was so little satisfied with his own notion of Nature as being the Cause of all Motion and Rest, as seemingly to desert it while he placeth so many Intelligences about the Heavens, could much please himself with such a gross conceit of meer Matter, that that should be the true Moving and Sentient Entelech of some other Matter; as it is manifest he did not.

But indeed Lucretius himself, though he could in a jolly fit of his over-flush'd and fiery fansy tell us,

Et ridere potest non ex ridentibu' factus,
Et sapere, & doctis rationem reddere dictis,
Non ex seminibus sapientibus, atque disertis:

yet in more cool thoughts he found his own common notions too sturdy to be so easily silenc'd; and therefore sets his wits a-work to find the most Quintessential particles of Matter that may be, that might doe that feat, which those smooth Spherical bodies, Calor, Aer and Ventus (for all come into this composition) could not doe: and this was of such a subtile and exalted nature, that his earthly fansy could not comprehend it, and therefore he confesses plainly he could not tell what name to give it, though for want of a better he calls it Mobilem vim, as neither his Master before him, who was pleased to compound the Soul (as Plutarch[7] relates) of four ingredients, ἐκ ποιοῦ πυρώδους, ἐκ ποιοῦ ἀερώδους, ἐκ ποιοῦ πνευματικοῦ, ἐκ τετάρτου τινὸς ἀκατονομάστου ὂ ἧν αὐτῷ αἰσθητικόν. But because this Giant-like Proteus found himself here bound with such strong cords, that notwithstanding all his struggling he could by no means break them off from him, we shall relate his own words the more largely. I find them lib. 3.

Sic calor, atque aer, & venti cæca potestas Mista creant unam naturam, & mobilis illa Vis, initîum motus abs se quæ dividit ollis: Sensifer unde oritur primum per viscera motus. Nam penitus prorsum latet hæc natura, subéstque; Nec magis hac infra quidquam est in corpore nostro; Atque anima'st animæ proporrò totius ipsa. Quod genus in nostris membris & corpore toto Mista latens animi vis est, animæque potestas, Corporibus quia de parvis paucisque creata est. Sic tibi nominis hæc expers vis, facta minutis Corporibus, latet—


Thus we see how he found himself overmaster'd with difficulties, while he endeavoured to find the place of the Sensitive powers in Matter: & yet this is the highest that he dares aim at, namely to prove that Sensation might from thence derive its Original, as stiffly opposing any Higher power of Reason; which we shall in lucro ponere against another time.

But surely had not the Epicureans abandoned all Logick together with some other Sciences (as Tully and Laertius tell us they did) they would here have found themselves too much prest with this Argument, (which yet some will think to be but levis armaturæ in respect of some other) and have found it as little short of a Demonstration to prove the Soules Immortality as the Platonists themselves did: But herein how they dealt, [8]Plotinus hath well observed of them all who denied Lives and Souls to be immortal, which he asserts, and make them nothing but Bodies, that when they were pinch'd with the strength of any Argument fetch'd frō the φύσις δραστήριος of the Soul, it was usuall amongst them to call this Body πνεῦμα πῶς ἔχον, or Ventus certo quodam modo se habens; to which he well replies, τί τὸ πολυθρύλητον αὐτοῖς πῶς ἔχον, εἰς ὃ καταφεύγουσιν ἀναγκαζόμενοι τίθεσθαι ἂλλην παρὰ τὸ σῶμα φύσιν δραστήριον. Where by this φύσις δραστήριος seems to be nothing meant but that same thing which Lucretius called vim mobilem, and he would not allow it to be any thing else but a Body, though what kind of Body he could not tell: yet by it he understands not meerly an Active power of motion, but a more subtile Energie, whereby the force and nature of any motion is perceived and insinuated by its own strength in the bodies moved; as if these sorry Bodies by their impetuous justling together could awaken one another out of their drowsie Lethargie, and <76> make each other hear their mutuall impetuous knocks: which is as absurd as to think a Musical instrument should hear its own sounds, and take pleasure in those harmonious aires that are plai'd upon it. For that which we call Sensation, is not the Motion or Impression which one Body makes upon another, but a Recognition of that Motion; and therefore to attribute that to a Body, is to make a Body privy to its own acts and passions, to act upon itself, and to have a true and proper self-feeling virtue; which[9] Porphyrie hath elegantly expressed, ὅταν τὸ ζῶον αἰσθάνηται, ἔοικεν ἡ μὲν ψυχὴ ἁρμρονίᾳ χωριστῇ ἐξ ἑαυτῆς τὰς χορδὰς κινούσῃ ἡρμοσμένας. τῇ δὲ ἐν ταῖς χορδαῖς ἁρμονίᾳ άχωρίστῳ τὸ σῶμα, In the sensations of living creatures the Soul moves, as if unbodied Harmony her self should play upon an Instrument, and smartly touch the well-tuned strings: but the Body is like that Harmony which dwells inseparably in the strings themselves which have no perception of it.

Thus we should now leave this Topick of our Demonstration, onely we shall adde this as an Appendix to it, which will further manifest the Souls Incorporeal and Immaterial nature, that is, That there is a Higher Principle of knowledge in man then meer Sense, neither is that the sole Original of all that Science that breaks forth in the minds of men; which yet Lucretius maintains, as being afraid lest he should be awaken'd out of this pleasant dreame of his, should any Higher power rouse his sleepy Soul: and therefore he thus layes down the opinion of his Sect,[10]

Invenies primis ab sensibus esse creatam Notitiam veri, neque sensus posse refelli: Nam majore fide debet reperirier illud, Sponte sua veris quod possit vincere falsa.

But yet this goodly Champion doth but lay siege to <77> his own Reason, and endeavour to storm the main fort thereof, which but just before he defended against the Scepticks who maintained that opinion, That nothing could be known; to which he having replied by that vulgar Argument, That if nothing can be known, then neither doe we know this That we know nothing; he pursues them more closely with another, That neither could they know what it is to know, or what it is to be ignorant,

Quæram, quom in rebus veri nil viderit ante; Unde sciat, quid sit scire, & nescire vicissim: Notitiam veri quæ res falsíque crearit.

But yet if our Senses were the onely Judges of things, this Reflex knowledge whereby we know what it is to know, would be as impossible as he makes it for Sense to have Innate Idea's of its own, antecedent to those stamps which the Radiations of external Objects imprint upon it. For this knowledge must be antecedent to all that judgment which we pass upon any Sensatum, seeing except we first know what it is to know, we could not judge or determine aright upon the approach of any of these Idola to our Senses.

But our Author may perhaps yet seem to make a more full confession for us in these two points.

First, That no sense can judge another's objects, nor convince it of any mistake, Non possunt alios alii convincere sensus, Nec porrò poterunt ipsi reprehendere sese. If therefore there be any such thing within us as controlls our Senses, as all know there is; then must that be of an Higher nature then our Senses are.

But secondly, he grants further, That all our Sensation is nothing else but Perception, and therefore wheresoever there is any hallucination, that must arise from <78> something else within us besides the power of sense, —quoniam pars horum maxima fallit Propter opinatus animi, quos addimus ipsi, Pro visis ut sint, quæ non sunt sensibu' visa. In which words he hath very happily lighted upon the proper function of Sense, and the true reason of all those mistakes which we call the Deceptions of Sense, which indeed are not truely so, seeing they arise onely from a Higher Faculty, and consist not in Sensation it self, but in those deductions and Corollaries that our Judgments draw from it.

We shall here therefore grant that which the Epicurean philosophy, and the Peripatetick too, though not without much caution, pleads for universally, That our Senses are never deceived, whether they be sani or læsi, sound or distempered, or whatsoever proportion or distance the Object or medium bears to it: for if we well scan this business, we shall find that nothing of Judgment belongs to Sense, it consisting onely ἐν αἰσθητηρίῳ πάθει, in Perception; neither can it make any just observation of those Objects that are without, but onely discerns its own passions, and is nothing else but γνῶσις τῶν παθῶν, and tells how it finds it self affected, and not what is the true cause of those impressions which it finds within it self; (which seems to be the reason of that old Philosophical maxim recited by Aristotle l. 3. de Anima, cap. 2. οὔτε μέλαν εἶναι ἄνευ ὄψεως, οὐδὲ χυμὸν ἄνευ γεύσεως, that these Simulachra were onely in our Senses; which notion a late Author hath pursued:) and therefore when the Eye finds the Sun's circle represented within it self of no greater a bigness then a foot-diameter, it is not at all herein mistaken; nor a distempered Palate, when it tasts a bitterness in the sweetest honey, as Proclus a famous Mathematician and <79> Platonist hath well determined, in Plat. Tim. αἱ γὰρ αἰσθήσεις τὸ ἑαυτῶν ἀπαγγέλλουσι πάθημα, καὶ οὐ πάντη ψεύδονται, The Senses in all things of this nature doe but declare their own passions or perceptions, which are alwaies such as they seem to be, whether there be any such parallelum signaculum in the Object as bears a true analogie with them or not: and therefore in truth they are never deceived in the execution of their own functions. And so doth Aristotle l. 3 de Anima, c. 3. conclude, That errour is neither in Sense nor Phansy, οὐδενὶ ὑπάρχει ᾧ μὴ καὶ λόγος, it is in no Facultie but onely that in which is Reason. Though it be as true on the other side, that Epicurus & all his Sect were deceived, while they judged the Sun and Moon and all the Starrs to be no bigger then that Picture and Image which they found of them in their own Eyes; for which silly conceit though they had been for many Ages sufficiently laugh'd at by wise men, yet could not Lucretius tell how to enlarge his own fancy, but believes the Idolum in his own Visive organ to be adequate to the Sun it self, in despight of all Mathematicall demonstration; as indeed he must needs, if there were no Higher principle of knowledge then Sense is, which is the most indisciplinable thing that may be, and can never be taught that Truth which Reason and Understanding might attempt to force into it. αἴσθησις κᾂν μυριάκις ἀκούῃ τοῦ λόγου λέγοντος ὅτι μείζων ὁ ἥλιος τῆς γῆς, &c. Though Reason inculcates this notion ten thousand times over, That the Sun is bigger then the Earth, yet will not the Eye be taught to see it any bigger then a foot breadth: and therefore he rightly calls it, as all the Platonical and Stoical philosophie doth, ἄλογόν τι, and it may well be put among the rest of the Stoicks ἄλογα πάθη.

Thus I hope by this time we have found out κρείτ <80> τονά τινα τῆς αἰσθήσεως δύναμιν, some more noble Power in the Soul then that is by which it accommodates it self to the Body, and according to the measure and proportion thereof converseth with External Matter. And this is the true reason why we are so apt to be mistaken in Sensible objects, because our Souls sucking in the knowledge of external things thereby, and not minding the proportion that is between the Body and them, mindless of its own notions, collates their corporeal impressions with externall objects themselves, and judgeth of them one by another. But whensoever our Souls act in their own power and strength, untwisting themselves from all corporeal complications, they then can find confidence enough to judge of things in a seeming contradiction to all those other visa corporea.

And so I suppose this Argument will amount to no lesse then a Demonstration of the Soul's Immateriality, seeing to all sincere understanding it is necessary that it should thus abstract it self from all corporeal commerce, and return from thence nearer into it self.

Now what we have to this purpose more generally intimated, we shall further branch out in these two or three Particulars.

[11]First, That that Mental faculty and power whereby we judge and discern things, is so far from being a Body, that it must retract and withdraw it self from all Bodily operation whensoever it will nakedly discern Truth. For should our Souls alwaies mould their judgment of things according to those παθήματα and impressions which seem to be framed thereof in the Body, they must then doe nothing else but chain up Errours and Delusions one with another in stead of Truth: as should the judgments of our Understandings wholly depend upon the sight of our Eyes, we should then conclude <81> that our meer accesses and recesses from any Visible Object have such a Magical power to change the magnitudes of Visible Objects, and to transform them into all varieties of figures & fashions; and so attribute all that variety to them which we find in our corporeal perceptions. Or should we judge of Gustables by our Tast, we should attribute to one and the self-same thing all that variety wch we find in our own Palates. Which is an unquestionable Argument That that Power whereby we discern of things and make judgments of them different and sometimes contrary to those perceptions that are the necessary results of all Organical functions, is something distinct from the Body; and therefore though the Soul, as Plato hath well observed, be μεριστὴ περὶ τὰ σώματα, various and divisible accidentally in these Sensations and Motions wherein it extends and spreads it self as it were upon the Body, and so according to the nature and measure thereof perceives its impressions; yet it is ἐν ἑαυτῇ ἀμερίστη indivisible, returning into it self. Whensoever it will speculate Truth it self, it will not then listen to the several clamours and votes of these rude Senses which alwaies speak with divided tongues; but it consults some clearer Oracle within it self: and therefore Plotinus, Enn. 4. l. 3. hath well concluded concerning the Body, ἐμπόδιον τοῦτο, εἴ τις αὐτῷ ἐν ταῖς σκέψεσι προσχρῶτο, should a man make use of his Body in his Speculations, it will entangle his mind with so many contradictions, that it will be impossible to attain to any true knowledge of things. We shall conclude this therefore, as Tully doth his Contemplation of the Soules operations about the frame of Nature, the fabrick of the Heavens and motions of the Stars, Animus qui hæc intelligit, similis est ejus qui ea fabricatus in cœlo est.


[12] Secondly, We also find such a Faculty within our own Souls as collects and unites all the Perceptions of our several Senses, and is able to compare them together; something in which they all meet as in one Centre: which[13] Plotinus hath well expressed, δεῖ τοῦτο ὥσπερ κέντρον εἶναι, γραμμὰς δὲ συλλαβούσας ἐκ περιφερείας κύκλου, τὰς πανταχόθεν αἰσθήσεις πρὸς τοῦτο περαίνειν, καὶ τοιοῦτον τὸ ἀντιλαμβανόμενον εἶναι, ἓν ὄντως, That in which all those several Sensations meet as so many Lines drawn from several points in the Circumference, and which comprehends them all, must needs be One. For should that be various and consisting of several parts, which thus receives all these various impressions, then must the sentence and judgment passed upon them be various too. Aristotle in his de Anima, Δεῖ τὸ ἓν λέγειν ὅ, τι ἕτερον, That must be one that judgeth things to be diverse; and that must judge too ἐν ἀχωρίστῳ χρόνῳ, setting all before it at once. Besides we could not conceive how such an immense variety of impressions could be made upon any piece of Matter, which should not obliterate and deface one another. And therefore Plotinus hath well disputed against them who make all Sensation τυπώτεις καὶ ἐνσφραγίσεις ἐν ψυχῇ. which brings me to the Third.

[14]Thirdly, That Knowledge which the Soul retains in it self of things past, and in some sort Prevision of things to come, whereby many grow so sagacious in fore-seeing future Events, that they know how to deliberate and dispose of present affairs, so as to be ready furnished and prepared for such Emergencies as they see in a train and Series of Causes which sometimes work but contingently: I cannot think Epicurus himself could in his cool thoughts be so unreasonable as to perswade himself, that all the shuffling & cutting of Atomes could produce such a Divine piece of Wisdome as this is. <83> What Matter can thus bind up Past, Present and Future time together? which while the Soul of man doth, it seems to imitate (as far as its own finite nature will permit it to strive after an imitation of) God's eternity: and grasping and gathering together a long Series of duration into it self, makes an essay to free it self from the rigid laws of it, and to purchase to it self the freedome of a true Eternity. And as by its χρονικοὶ πρόοδοι (as the Platonists are wont to speak) its Chronical and successive operations, it unravels and unfolds the contexture of its own indefinite intellectual powers by degrees; so by this Memory and Prevision it recollects and twists them up all together again into it self. And though it seems to be continually sliding from it self in those several vicissitudes and changes which it runs through in the constant variety of its own Effluxes and Emanations; yet is it alwaies returning back again to its first Original by a swift remembrance of all those motions and multiplicity of operations which have begot in it the first sense of this constant flux. As if we should see a Sun-beam perpetually flowing forth from the bright body of the Sun, and yet ever returning back to it again; it never loseth any part of its Being, because it never forgets what it self was: and though it may number out never so vast a length of its duration, yet it never comes nearer to its old age, but carrieth a lively sense of its youth and infancy, which it can at pleasure lay a fast hold on, along with it.

But if our Souls were nothing else but a Complex of fluid Atomes, how should we be continually roving and sliding from our selves, and soon forget what we once were? The new Matter that would come in to fill up that Vacuity which the Old had made by its departure, would never know what the Old were, nor what that <84> should be that would succeed that: ὥσπερ ξένη φυχὴ ἅυτη ἐν ἀγνοίᾳ ἔσται, ὦν ἡ ἑτέρα οἶδε, καὶ ὥσπερ ὁ ἄλλος ὄγκος ἡμῶν, that new pilgrim and stranger-like Soul would alwaies be ignorant of what the other before it knew, and we should be wholly some other bulk of Being then we were before, as Plotinus hath excellently observed Enn. 4. l. 7. c. 5. It was a famous speech of wise Heraclitus, εἰς τὸν αὐτὸν ποταμὸν δὶς οὐκ ἂν ἐμβαίης, a man cannot enter twice into the same River: by which he was wont symbolically to express the constant flux of Matter, which is the most unstable thing that may be. And if Epicurus his Philosophy could free this Heap of refined Atomes, which it makes the Soul to be, from this inconstant and flitting nature, and teach us how it could be μόνιμον τὶ some stable and immutable thing, alwaies resting entire while it is in the Body; though we would thank him for such a goodly conceit as this is, yet we would make no doubt but it might as well be able to preserve it self from dissolution and dissipation out of this gross Body, as in it: seeing it is no more secured from the constant impulses of that more gross Matter which is restlesly moving up and down in the Body, then it is out of it: and yet for all that we should take the leave to ask Tully's question with his sober disdain; Quid, obsecro, terrâne tibi aut hoc nebuloso & caliginoso cœno aut sata aut concreta videtur tanta vis memoriæ? Such a jewel as this is too precious to be found in a dunghill: meer Matter could never thus stretch forth its feeble force, & spread it self over all its own former præexistencies. We may as well suppose this dull and heavy Earth we tread upon to know how long it hath dwelt in this part of the Universe that now it doth, and what variety of Creatures have in all past Ages sprung forth from it, and all those occurrences & events which have all this time happened upon it.


Chap. IV.

The second Argument for the Immortality of the Soul. Actions either Automatical or Spontaneous. That Spontaneous and Elicite Actions evidence the Distinction of the Soul from the Body. Lucretius his Evasion very slight and weak. That the Liberty of the Will is inconsistent with the Epicurean principles. That the Conflict of Reason against the Sensitive Appetite argues a Being in us superiour to Matter.

WE have done with that which we intended for the First part of our Discourse of the Soul's Immortality: we have hitherto look'd at it rather in Concreto then in Abstracto, rather as a Thing complicated with and united to the Body; and therefore considered it in those Operations, which as they are not proper to the Body, so neither are they altogether independent upon it, but are rather of a mixt nature.

We shall now take notice of it in those Properties, in the exercise whereof it hath less commerce with the Body, and more plainly declares its own high descent to us, That it is able to subsist and act without the aid and assistance of this Matter which it informes.

And here we shall take that course that Aristotle did in his Books de Anima, and first of all inquire, Whether it hath ἴδιον τὶ, some kind of Action so proper and peculiar to it self; as not to depend upon the Body. And this soon offers it self in the first place to us in those Elicite motions of it, as the Moralists are wont to name them, which though they may end in those they call Im <86> perate acts, yet have their first Emanation from nothing else but the Soul it self.

For this purpose we shall take notice of Two sorts of Actions which are obvious to the experience of every one that observes himself, according to a double Source & emanation of them, which a late Philosopher hath very happily suggested to us. The first are those Actions which arise up within us without any Animadversion; the other are those that are consequent to it.

[15]For we find frequently such Motions within our selves which first are, before we take notice of them, and which by their own turbulency and impetuousness force us to an Advertency: as those Fiery spirits and that inflamed Blood which sometimes fly up into the head; or those gross and Earthly Fumes that disturb our brains; the stirring of many other Humours which beget within us Grief, Melancholy, Anger, or Mirth, or other Passions; which have their rise from such Causes as we were not aware of, nor gave no consent to create this trouble to us. Besides all those Passions and Perceptions which are begotten within us by some externall motions which derive themselves through our Senses, and fiercely knocking at the door of our Minds and Understandings force them sometimes from their deepest debates & musings of some other thing, to open to them and give them an audience.

Now as to such Motions as these are, it being necessary for the preservation of our Bodies that our Souls should be acquainted with them, a mans Body was so contrived and his Soul so united to it, that they might have a speedy access to the Soul. Indeed some ancient Philosophers thought that the Soul descending more deeply into the Body, as they expresse it, first begot these corporeal motions unbeknown to it self by reason <87> of its more deep immersion, which afterwards by their impetuousness excited its advertency. But whatsoever truth there is in that Assertion, we clearly find from the relation of our own Souls themselves, that our Soul disowns them, and acknowledgeth no such Motions to have been so busy by her commission; neither knows what they are, from whence they arise, or whither they tend, untill she hath duly examined them. But these Corporeal motions as they seem to arise from nothing else but meerly from the Machina of the Body it self; so they could not at all be sensated but by the Soul.

Neither indeed are all our own Corporeal actions perceived by us, but only those that may serve to maintain a good correspondence & intelligence between the Soul and Body, and so foment & cherish that Sympathy between them which is necessary for the subsistence and well-being of the whole man in this mundane state. And therefore there is very little of that which is commonly done in our Body, which our Souls are informed at all of. The constant Circulation of Blood through all our Veins and Arteries; the common motions of our Animal spirits in our Nerves; the maceration of Food within our Stomachs, and the distribution of Chyle and nourishment to every part that wants the relief of it; the constant flux and reflux of more sedate Humours within us; the dissipations of our corporeal Matter by insensible Transpiration, and the accesses of new in the room of it; all this we are little acquainted with by any vital energie which ariseth from the union of Soul and Body: and therefore when we would acquaint our selves with the Anatomy and vital functions of our own Bodies, we are fain to use the same course and method that we would to find out the same things in any other <88> kind of Animal, as if our Souls had as little to doe with any of these in our own Bodies, as they have in the Bodies of any other Brute creature.

[16]But on the other side, we know as well, that many things that are done by us, are done at the dictate and by the commission of our own Wills; and therefore all such Actions as these are, we know, without any great store of Discoursive inquiry, to attribute to their own proper causes, as seeing the efflux and propagation of them. We doe not by a naked speculation know our Bodies first to have need of nourishment, and then by the Edict of our Wills injoyn our Spirits and Humours to put themselves into an hungry and craving posture within us by corroding the Tunicles of the Stomach; but we first find our own Souls sollicited by these motions, which yet we are able to gainsay, and to deny those petitions which they offer up to us. We know we commonly meditate and discourse of such Arguments as we our selves please: we mould designs, and draw up a plot of means answerable thereto, according as the free vote of our own Souls determines; and use our own Bodies many times, notwithstanding all the reluctancies of their nature, onely as our Instruments to serve the will and pleasure of our Souls. All which as they evidently manifest a true Distinction between the Soul and the Body, so they doe as evidently prove the Supremacy and dominion which the Soul hath over the Body. Our Moralists frequently dispute what kind of government that is whereby the Soul, or rather Will, rules over the Sensitive Appetite, which they ordinarily resolve to be Imperium politicum; though I should rather say, that all good men have rather a true despotical power over their Sensitive faculties, and over the whole Body, though they use it <89> onely according to the laws of Reason and Discretion. And therefore the Platonists and Stoicks thought the Soul of man to be absolutely freed from all the power of Astral Necessity, and uncontroulable impressions arising from the subordination and mutual Sympathie and Dependance of all mundane causes, which is their proper notion of Fate. Neither ever durst that bold Astrologie which presumes to tell the Fortunes of all corporeal Essences, attempt to enter into the secrets of man's Soul, or predict the destinies thereof. And indeed whatever the destinies thereof may be that are contained in the vast volume of an Infinite and Almighty Mind, yet we evidently find a τὸ ἐφ’ ἡμῖν, an ἀυτεξούσιον, a liberty of Will within our selves, maugre the stubborn malice of all Second Causes. And Aristotle, who seems to have disputed so much against that αὐτοκινησία of Souls which his Master before him had soberly maintained, does indeed but quarrel with that common sense and Experience which we have of our Souls; this αὐτοκινησία of the Soul being nothing else but that Innate force and power which it hath within it, to stir up such thoughts and motions within it self as it finds it self most free to. And therefore when we reflect upon the productions of our own Souls, we are soon able to find out the first Efficient cause of them. And though the subtilty of some Wits may have made it difficult to find out whether the Understanding or the Will or some other Facultie of the Soul be the First Mover, whence the motus primò primus (as they please to call it) proceeds; yet we know it is originally the Soul it self whose vital acts they all are: and although it be not ἀυτόθεν πρώτη the First Cause as deriving all its virtue from it self, as Simplicius distinguisheth in 1. de An. cap. 1. yet it is ἐν τοῖς πρώτοις φυσικὴ, vitally <90> co-working with the First Causes of all: But on the other side, when we come to examine those Motions which arise from the Body, this stream runs so far under ground, that we know not how to trace it to the head of it; but we are fain to analyse the whole artifice, looking from the Spirits to the Blood, from that to the Heart, viewing all along the Mechanical contrivance of Veins and Arteries: neither know we after all our search whether there be any Perpetuum mobile in our own Bodies, or whether all the motions thereof be onely by the redundancy of some external motions without us; nor how to find the First mover in nature; though could we find out that, yet we know that there is a Fatal determination which sits in all the wheels of meer Corporeal motion; neither can they exercise any such noble freedome as we constantly find in the Wills of men, which are as large and unbounded in all their Elections as Reason it self can represent Being it self to be.

Lucretius, that he might avoid the dint of this Argument, according to the Genius of his Sect feigns this Liberty to arise from a Motion of declination, whereby his Atomes alwaies moving downwards by their own weight towards the Centre of the World, are carried a little obliquely, as if they tended toward some point different from it, which he calls clinamen principiorum. Which riddle though it be as good as any else which they, who held the Materiality and Mortality of Souls in their own nature, can frame to salve this difficulty; yet is of such a private interpretation, that I believe no Oedipus is able to expound it. But yet by what we may guesse at it, we shall easily find that this insolent conceit (and all else of this nature) destroys the Freedome of Will, more then any Fate which the severest cen <91> sours thereof, whom he sometimes taxeth, ever set over it. For how can any thing be made subject to a free and impartial debate of Reason, or fall under the Level of Free-will, if all things be the meer result either of a Fortuitous or Fatal motion of Bodies, which can have no power or dominion over themselves? and why should he or his great Master find so much fault with the Superstition of the world, and condemn the Opinions of other men when they compare them with that transcendent sagacity they believe themselves to be the Lords of, if all was nothing else but the meer issue of Material motions; seeing that necessity which would arise from a different concourse and motion of several particles of Matter begetting that diversity of Opinions and Wills, would excuse them all from any blame?

Therefore to conclude this Argument, Whatsoever Essence finds this Freedome within it self, whereby it is absolved from the rigid laws of Matter, may know it self also to be Immaterial; and having dominion over its own actions, it will never desert it self: and because it finds it self non vi alienâ sed suâ moveri, as Tully argues, it feels it self able to preserve it self from the forrein force of Matter, and can say of all those assaults which are at any time made against those sorry mud-walls which in this life inclose it, οὐδὲν πρὸς ἐμὲ, as the Stoick did, all this is nothing to me, who am yet free and can command within, when this feeble Carkass is able no longer to obey me; and when that is shattered and broken down, I can live any where else without it; for I was not That, but had onely a command over It, while I dwelt in it.

But before we wholly desert this Head, we may adde some further strength to it, from the Observation of that Conflict which the Reasons and Understan <92> dings of men maintain against the Sensitive appetite: and wheresoever the Higher powers of Reason in a man's Soul prevail not, but are vanquish'd by the impetuousness of their Sensual affections through their own neglect of themselves; yet are they never so broken, but they may strengthen themselves again: and where they subdue not men's inordinate Passions and Affections, yet even there will they condemn them for them. Whereas were a Man all of one piece, and made up of nothing else but Matter; these Corporeal motions could never check or controul themselves, these Material dimensions could not struggle with themselves, or by their own strength render themselves any thing else then what they are. But this αὐτεξούσιος ζωὴ, as the Greeks call it, this Self-potent Life which is in the Soul of man, acting upon it self and drawing forth its own latent Energie, finds it self able to tame the outward man, and bring under those rebellious motions that arise from the meer Animal powers, and to tame and appease all those seditions and mutinies that it finds there. And if any can conceive all this to be nothing but a meer fighting of the male-contented pieces of Matter one against another, each striving for superiority and preeminence; I should not think it worth the while to teach such an one any higher learning, as looking upon him to be indued with no higher a Soul then that which moves in Beasts or Plants.


Chap. V.

The third Argument for the Immortality of the Soul. That Mathematical Notions argue the Soul to be of a true Spiritual and Immaterial Nature.

WE shall now consider the Soul awhile in a further degree of Abstraction, and look at it in those Actions which depend not at all upon the Body, wherein it doth τὴν ἑαυτοῦ συνουσίαν ἀσπάζεσθαι, as the Greeks speak, and converseth onely with its own Being. Which we shall first consider in those λόγοι μαθηματικοὶ or Mathematical notions which it conteins in it self, and sends forth from within it self; which as they are in themselves Indivisible, and of such a perfect nature as cannot be received or immersed into Matter; so they argue that Subject in which they are seated to be of a true Spiritual and Immaterial nature. Such as a pure Point, Linea ἀπλατὴς, Latitude abstracted from all Profundity, the Perfection of Figures, Æquality, Proportion, Symmetry and Asymmetry of Magnitudes, the Rise and propagation of Dimensions, Infinite divisibility, and many such like things; which every ingenuous Son of that Art cannot but acknowledge to be the true characters of some Immaterial Being, seeing they were never buried in Matter, nor extracted out of it: and yet these are transcendently more certain and infallible Principles of Demonstration then any Sensible thing can be. There is no Geometrician but will acknowledge Angular sections, or the cutting of an Arch into any number of parts required, to be most <94> exact without any diminution of the whole; but yet no Mechanical art can possibly so perform either, but that the place of section will detract something from the whole. If any one should endeavour to double a Cube, as the Delian Oracle once commanded the Athenians, requiring them to duplicate the dimensions of Apollo's Altar, by any Mechanicall subtilty; he would find it as impossible as they did, and be as much laugh'd at for his pains as some of their Mechanicks were. If therefore no Matter be capable of any Geometrical effections, and the Apodictical precepts of Geometry be altogether unimitable in the purest Matter that Phansie can imagine; then must they needs depend upon something infinitly more pure then Matter, which hath all that Stability and Certainty within it self which it gives to those infallible Demonstrations.

We need not here dispute with Empedocles, Γαίῃ μὲν γὰρ γαῖαν ὀπώπαμεν, ὔδατι δ’ ὕδωρ, &c. We know earth by earth, fire by fire, and water by water, that is, by the Archetypal Idea's of all things in our own Souls; though it may be it were no hard matter to prove that, as in this case S. Austin did, when in his Book de Quant. animæ, he would prove the Immortality of the Soul from these notions of Quantity, which come not by any possible Sense or Experience which we can make of bodily Being, and therefore concludes they must needs be immediately ingraven upon an Immaterial Soul. For though we could suppose our Senses to be the School-Dames that first taught us the Alphabet of this learning; yet nothing else but a true Mental Essence could be capable of it, or so much improve it as to unbody it all, and strip it naked of any Sensible garment, and then onely, when it hath done <95> it, embrace it as its own, and commence a true and perfect understanding of it. And as we all hold it impossible to shrink up any Material Quality, which will perpetually spread it self commensurably to the Matter it is in, into a Mathematical point: so is it much more impossible to extend and stretch forth any Immaterial and unbodied Quality or notion according to the dimensions of Matter, and yet to preserve the integrity of its own nature.

Besides, in these Geometricall speculations we find that our Souls will not consult with our Bodies, or ask any leave of our Fansies how or how far they shall distribute their own notions by a continued progress of Invention; but spending upon their own stock, are most free and liberal, and make Fansie onely to serve their own purpose in painting out not what Matter will afford a copie of, but what they themselves will dictate to it; and if that should be too busie, silence and controul it by their own Imperial laws. They so little care for Matter in this kind of work, that they banish it as far as may be from themselves, or else chastise and tame the unruly and refractory nature of it, that it should yield it self pliable to their soveraign commands. These Embodied Bodies (for so this present Argument will allow me to call them) which our Senses converse with, are perpetually justling together, contending so irresistably each for its own room and space to be in, and will not admit of any other into it, preserving their own intervals: but when they are once in their Unbodied nature entertained into the Mind, they can easily penetrate one another ὅλα δι᾽ ὅλα. The Soul can easily pyle the vastest number up together in her self, and by her own force sustain them all, and make them all couch together in the same space: <96> she can easily pitch up all those Five Regular Bodies together in her own Imagination, and inscribe them one in another, and then entring into the very heart and centre of them, discern all their Properties and several Respects one to another; and thus easily find her self freed from all Material or Corporeal confinement; shewing how all that which we call Body, rather issued forth by an infinite projection from some Mind, then that it should exalt it self into the nature of any Mental Being; and, as the Platonists and Pythagoreans have long since well observed, how our Bodies should rather be in our Souls, then our Souls in them. And so I have done with that Particular.

Chap. VI.

The Fourth Argument for the Immortality of the Soul. That those clear and stable Ideas of Truth which are in Man's Mind evince an Immortal and Immaterial Substance residing in us, distinct from the Body. The Soul more knowable then the Body. Some passages out of Plotinus and Proclus for the further confirming of this Argument.

AND now we have traced the Immortality of the Soul, before we were aware, through those Three Relations or σχέσεις, or (if you will) Degrees of knowledge, which Proclus in his Comment upon Plato's Timæus hath attributed to it, which he calls τῶν γνωστικῶν δυνάμεων σειράν. The First is αἲσθησις ἅλογος, a naked perception of Sensible impressions, without any work of Reason. The Second, δόξα μετὰ λόγου, a Miscella <97> neous kind of knowledge arising of a collation of its Sensations with its own more obscure and dark Idea's. The Third, διάνοια καὶ λόγος, Discourse and Reason, which the Platonists describe Mathematical knowledge by, which, because it spins out its own notions by a constant series of Deduction, knitting up Consequences one upon another by Demonstrations, is by him call'd νόησις μεταβατικὴ, a Progressive kind of knowledge; to which he addes a Fourth, which we shall now make use of for a further Proof of the Immortality of the Soul. There is therefore Fourthly νόησις ἀμεταβάτως, which is a naked Intuition of Eternal Truth which is alwaies the same, which never rises nor sets, but alwaies stands still in its Vertical, and fills the whole Horizon of the Soul with a mild and gentle light. There are such calm and serene Idea's of Truth, that shine onely in pacate Souls, and cannot be discerned by any troubled or fluid Fancy, that necessarily prove a μόνιμον καὶ στάσιμόν τι, some Permanent & Stable Essence in the Soul of man, which (as Simplicius on Epictet well observes) ariseth onely ἀπὸ ἀκινήτου τινὸς, καὶ κατὰ πάντα τρόπον ἀμεταβλήτου αἰτίας, τῆς ἀεὶ κατὰ τὰ ἀυτὰ καὶ ὡσαύτως ἐχούσης, from some immoveable and unchangeable Cause which is alwaies the same. For these Operations about Truth we now speak of, are not χρονικαὶ ἐνέργειαι any Chronical Energies, as he further expresses it, but the true badges of an Eternal nature, and speak a ταυτότης and στάσις (as Plato is wont to phrase it) in man's Soul. Such are the Archetypall Idea's of Justice, Wisdome, Goodness, Truth, Eternity, Omnipotency, and all those either Morall, Physicall, or Metaphysical notions, which are either the First Principles of Science, or the Ultimate complement and final perfection of it. These we alwaies find to be the same, and <98> know that no Exorcisms of Material mutations have any power over them: though we our selves are but of yesterday, and mutable every moment, yet these are Eternall, and depend not upon any mundane vicissitudes; neither could we ever gather them from our observation of any Material thing where they were never sown.

If we reflect but upon our own Souls, how manifestly doe the Species of Reason, Freedome, Perception, and the like, offer themselves to us, whereby we may know a thousand times more distinctly what our Souls are then what our Bodies are? For the former we know by an immediate converse with our selves, and a distinct sense of their Operations; whereas all our knowledge of the Body is little better then meerly Historicall, which we gather up by scraps and piecemeals from more doubtfull and uncertain experiments which we make of them: but the notions which we have of a Mind, i. e. something within us that thinks, apprehends, reasons, and discourses, are so clear and distinct from all those notions which we can fasten upon a Body, that we can easily conceive that if all Body-Being in the world were destroyed, yet we might then as well subsist as now we doe. For whensoever we take notice of those Immediate motions of our own Minds whereby they make themselves known to us, we find no such thing in them as Extension or Divisibility, which are contained in every Corporeal essence: and having no such thing discovered to us from our nearest familiarity with our own Souls, we could never so easily know whether they had any such things as Bodies joyned to them or not, did not those extrinsecal impressions that their turbulent motions make upon them admonish them thereof.


But as the more we reflect upon our own Minds, we find all Intelligible things more clear, (as when we look up to the Heavens, we see all things more bright and radiant, then when we look down upon this dark Earth when the Sun-beams are drawn away from it:) so when we see all Intelligible Being concentring together in a greater Oneness, and all kind of Multiplicity running more and more into the strictest Unity, till at last we find all Variety and Division suck'd up into a perfect Simplicity, where all happily conspire together in the most undivided peace and friendship; we then easily perceive that the reason of all Diversity and Distinction is (that I may use Plotinus his words not much differently from his meaning) μετάβασις ἀπὸ νοῦ εἰς λογισμόν. For though in our contentious pursuits after Science, we cast Wisdome, Power, Eternity, Goodness and the like into several formalities, that so we may trace down Science in a constant chain of Deductions; yet in our naked Intuitions and visions of them, we clearly discern that Goodness and Wisdome lodge together, Justice and Mercy kiss each other: and all these and whatsoever pieces else the crack'd glasses of our Reasons may sometime break Divine and Intelligible Being into, are fast knit up together in the invincible bonds of Eternity. And in this sense is that notion of Proclus descanting upon Plato's riddle of the Soul, [ὡς γεννητὴ καὶ ἀγέννητος, as if it were generated & yet not generated] to be understood; χρόνος ἅμα καὶ αἰὼν περὶ τὴν ψυχὴν, the Soul partaking of Time in its broken and particular conceptions and apprehensions, and of Eternity in its comprehensive and stable contemplations. I need not say that when the Soul is once got up to the top of this bright Olympus, it will then no more doubt of its own Immortality, or fear any Dissipation, or doubt <100> whether any drowsie Sleep shall hereafter seize upon it: no, it will then feel it self grasping fast and safely its own Immortality, and view it self in the Horizon of Eternity. In such sober kind of Ecstasies did Plotinus find his own Soul separated from his Body, as if it had divorc'd it for a time from it self: πολλάκις ἐγειρόμενος εἰς ἐμαυτὸν ἐκ τοῦ σώματος, καὶ γενόμενος τῶν μὲν ἄλλων ἔξω, ἐμαυτοῦ δὲ εἲσω, θαυμαστὸν ἠλίκον ὀρῶν κάλλος, &c. I being often awakened into a sense of my self, and being sequestred from my body, and betaking my self from all things else into my self; what admirable beauty did I then behold, &c. as he himself tells us, En. 4. l. 8. c. 1. Thus is that Intelligence begotten which Proclus l. 2. in Plat. Tim. calls a Correction of Science: his notion is worth our taking notice of, and gives us in a manner a brief recapitulation of our former discourse, shewing how the higher we ascend in the contemplation of the Soul, the higher still we rise above this low sphear of Sense and Matter. His words are these, Αὐτὴ ἡ ἐπιστήμη ὡς μὲν ἐν ψυχαῖς ἀνέλεγκτός ἐστιν, ἐλέγχεται δ’ ἀπὸ νοῦ, &c. that is, Science as it is in the Soul (by which he means the Discoursive power of it) is blameless, but yet is corrected by the Mind; as resolving that which is Indivisible, and dividing Simple Being as if it were Compounded: as Fansy corrects Sense for discerning with passion and material mixture, from which that purifies its object; Opinion corrects Fansie, because it apprehends things by forms and phantasms, which it self is above; and Science corrects Opinion, because it knows without discerning of causes; and the Mind (as was insinuated) or the Intuitive faculty corrects the Scientifical, because by a Progressive kind of Analysis it divides the Intelligible Object, where it self knows and sees things together in their undivided essence: wherefore this onely is Immoveable, <101> moveable, and Science or Scientifical reason is inferiour to it in the knowledge of true Being. Thus he.

But here we must use some caution, lest we should arrogate too much to the power of our own Souls, which indeed cannot raise up themselves into that pure and steddy contemplation of true Being; but will rather act with some Multiplicity or ἑτερότης (as they speak) attending it. But thus much of its high original may appear to us, that it can (as our Author told us) correct it self, for dividing and disjoyning therein, as knowing all to be every way One most entire and simple: though yet all men cannot easily improve their own Understandings to this High degree of Comprehension; and therefore all ancient Philosophers and Aristotle himself made it the peculiar priviledge of some men more abstracted from themselves and all corporeall commerce.

Chap. VII.

What it is that, beyond the Highest and most subtile Speculations whatsoever, does clear and evidence to a Good man the Immortality of his Soul. That True Goodness and Vertue begets the most raised Sense of this Immortality. Plotinus his excellent Discourse to this purpose.

AND now that we may conclude the Argument in hand, we shall adde but this one thing further to clear the Soul's Immortality, and it is indeed that which breeds a true sense of it, viz. True and reall goodness. Our highest speculations of the Soul may beget a suffi <102> cient conviction thereof within us, but yet it is onely True Goodness and Vertue in the Souls of men that can make them both know and love, believe and delight themselves in their own Immortality. Though every good man is not so Logically subtile as to be able by fit mediums to demonstrate his own Immortality, yet he sees it in a higher light: His Soul being purged and enlightned by true Sanctity is more capable of those Divine irradiations, whereby it feels it self in conjunction with God, and by a συνάυγεια (as the Greeks speak) the Light of divine goodness mixing it self with the light of its own Reason, sees more clearly not onely that it may, if it please the supreme Deity, of its own nature exist eternally, but also that it shall doe so: it knows it shall never be deserted of that free Goodness that alwaies embraceth it: it knows that Almighty Love, which it lives by, to be stronger then death, and more powerful then the grave; it will not suffer those holy ones that are partakers of it to lie in hell, or their Souls to see corruption; and though worms may devour their flesh, and putrefaction enter into those bones that fence it, yet it knows that its Redeemer lives, and that it shall at last see him with a pure Intellectual eye, which will then be clear and bright, when all that earthly dust, which converse with this mortal body filled it with, shall be wiped out: It knows that God will never forsake his own life which he hath quickned in it; he will never deny those ardent desires of a blissfull fruition of himself, which the lively sense of his own Goodness hath excited within it: those breathings and gaspings after an eternal participation of him are but the Energy of his own breath within us; if he had had any mind to destroy it, he would never have shewn it such things as he hath done; he would <103> not raise it up to such Mounts of Vision, to shew it all the glory of that heavenly Canaan flowing with eternal and unbounded pleasures, and then tumble it down again into that deep and darkest Abyss of Death and Non-entity. Divine goodness cannot, it will not, be so cruel to holy souls that are such ambitious suitors for his love. The more they contemplate the blissfull Effluxes of his divine love upon themselves, the more they find themselves strengthned with an undaunted confidence in him; and look not upon themselves in these poor bodily relations and dependences, but in their eternal alliances, ὡς κόσμιοι, ὡς υἱοὶ τοῦ θεοῦ, (as Arrianus sometimes speaks) as the Sons of God who is the Father of Souls, Souls that are able to live any where in this spacious Universe, and better out of this dark and lonesome Cell of Bodily matter, which is alwaies checking and clogging them in their noble motions, then in it: as knowing that when they leave this Body, they shall then be received into everlasting habitations, and converse freely and familiarly with that Source of Life and Spirit which they conversed with in this life in a poor disturbed and streightned manner. It is indeed nothing else that makes men question the Immortality of their Souls, so much as their own base and earthly loves, which first makes them wish their Souls were not immortal, and then to think they are not: which Plotinus hath well observed, and accordingly hath soberly pursued this argument.

I cannot omit a large recital of his Discourse, which tends so much to disparage that flat and dull Philosophy which these later Ages have brought forth; as also those heavy-spirited Christians that find so little divine life and activity in their own Souls, as to imagine them to fall into such a dead sleep as soon as they <104> leave this earthly tabernacle, that they cannot be awakened again, till that last Trumpet and the voice of an Archangel shall rouse them up. Our Authors discourse is this, Enn. 4. lib. 7. c. 10. having first premised this Principle, That every Divine thing is immortall, λὰβωμεν δὲ ψυχὴν, μὴ τὴν ἐν τῷ σώματι, &c. Let us now consider a Soul (saith he) not such an one as is immerst into the Body, having contracted unreasonable Concupiscence and Anger (ἐπιθυμίαν καὶ θυμὸν, according to which they were wont to distinguish between the Irascible and Concupiscible faculty) and other Passions; but such a one as hath cast away these, and as little as may be communicates with the Body: such a one as this will sufficiently manifest that all Vice is unnaturall to the Soul, and something acquired onely from abroad; and that the best Wisdome and all other Vertues lodge in a purged Soul, as being allyed to it. If therefore such a Soul shall reflect upon it self, how shall it not appear to it self to be of such a kind of nature as Divine and Eternall Essences are? For Wisdome and true Vertue being Divine Effluxes can never enter into any unhallowed and mortall thing: it must therefore needs be Divine, seeing it is fill'd with a Divine nature διὰ συγγένειαν καὶ τὸ ὁμοούσιον by its kindred and consanguinity therewith. Whoever therefore amongst us is such a one, differs but little in his Soul from Angelicall essences; and that little is the present inhabitation in the Body, in which he is inferiour to them. And if every man were of this raised temper, or any considerable number had but such holy Souls, there would be no such Infidels as would in any sort disbelieve the Soul's Immortality. But now the vulgar sort of men beholding the Souls of the generality so mutilated and deform'd with Vice and Wickedness, they cannot think of the Soul as of any Divine and Immortall Being; though <105> indeed they ought to judge of things as they are in their own naked essences, and not with respect to that which extraessentially adheres to them; which is the great prejudice of knowledge. Contemplate therefore the Soul of man, denuding it of all that which it self is not, or let him that does this view his own Soul; then he will believe it to be Immortall, when he shall behold it ἐν τῷ νοητῷ καὶ ἐν τῷ καθαρῷ, fixt in an Intelligible and pure nature; he shall then behold his own Intellect contemplating not any Sensible thing, but Eternall things, with that which is Eternall, that is, with it self, looking into the Intellectuall world, being it self made all Lucid, Intellectuall, and shining with the Sun-beams of eternall Truth, borrowed from the First Good, which perpetually rayeth forth his Truth upon all Intellectuall Beings. One thus qualified may seem without any arrogance to take up that saying of Empedocles, Χαίρετ’, ἐγὼ δ’ ὑμῖν θεὸς ἄμβροτος.—Farewell all earthly allies, I am henceforth no mortall wight, but an Immortall Angel, ascending up into Divinity, and reflecting upon that likeness of it which I find in my self. When true Sanctity and Purity shall ground him in the knowledge of divine things, then shall the inward Sciences, that arise from the bottome of his own Soul, display themselves; which indeed are the onely true Sciences: for the Soul runs not out of it self to behold Temperance and Justice abroad, but its own light sees them in the contemplation of its own Being, and that divine essence which was before enshrined within it self.

I might after all this adde many more Reasons for a further confirmation of this present Thesis, which are as numerous as the Soul's relations & productions themselves are; but to every one who is willing to doe his own Soul right, this Evidence we have already brought in is more then sufficient.


Chap. VIII.

An Appendix containing an Enquiry into the Sense and Opinion of Aristotle concerning the Immortality of the Soul. That according to him the Rational Soul is separable from the Body and Immortall. The true meaning of his Intellectus Agens and Patiens.

HAving done with the several Proofs of the Soul's Immortality (that great Principle of Naturall Theology, which if it be not entertain'd as a Communis Notitia, as I doubt not but that it is by the Vulgar sort of men, or as an Axiome, or, if you will, a Theoreme of free and impartial Reason, all endeavours in Religion will be very cool and languid) it may not be amiss to enquire a little concerning His opinion whom so many take for the great Intelligencer of Nature and Omniscient Oracle of Truth; though it be too manifest that he hath so defaced the sacred Monuments of the ancient Metaphysical Theology by his profane hands, that it is hard to see that lovely face of Truth which was once engraven upon them (as some of his own Interpreters have long agoe observed) and so blurr'd those fair Copies of divine learning which he received from his Predecessours, that his late Interpreters (who make him their All) are as little sometime acquainted with his meaning and design, as they are with that Elder philosophy which he so corrupts: which indeed is the true reason they are so ambiguous in determining his Opinion of the Soul's immortality; which yet he often asserts and demonstrates in his <107> Three Books de Anima. We shall not here traverse this Notion through them all, but onely briefly take notice of that which hath made his Expositours stumble so much in this point; the main whereof is that Definition which he gives of the Soul, wherein he seems to make it nothing else for the Genus of it, but an Entelechia or Informative thing, which spends all its virtue upon that Matter which it informs, and cannot act any other way then meerly by information; being indeed nothing else but some Material εἶδος, like an impression in wax which cannot subsist without it, or else the result of it: whence it is that he calls onely either Material Forms, or the Functions and Operations of those Forms, by this name. But indeed he intended not this for a general Definition of the Soul of man, and therefore after he had lai'd down this particular Definition of the Soul, lib. 2. cap. 1. he tells us expresly, That that which we call the Rational Soul is χωριστὴ or separable from the Body, διὰ τὸ μηδενὸς εἶναι σώματος ἐντελέχειαν, because it is not the Entelech of any Body. Which he laies down the demonstration of in several places of all those Three books, by enquiring εἰ ἔστι τὶ τῶν τῆς ψυχῆς ἔργων ἢ παθημάτων ἴδιον, as he speaks, lib. 1. cap. 1. whether the Soul hath any proper function or operation of its own, or whether all be compounded and result from the Soul and Body together: and in this inquirie finding that all Sensations and Passions arise as well from the Body as from the Soul, and spring out of the conjunction of both of them (which he therefore calls ἔνυλοι λόγοι, as being begotten by the Soul upon the Body) he concludes that all this savours of nothing else but a Mateterial {sic} nature, inseparable from the Body. But then finding acts of Mind and Understanding, which cannot be propagated from Matter, or causally depend upon the <108> Body, he resolves the Principles from whence they flow to be Immortal; which he thus sets down lib. 2. cap. 2. περὶ δὲ τοῦ νοῦ καὶ τῆς θεωρητικῆς δυνάμεως, οὐδέπω φανερὸν, ἀλλ’ ἔοικε ψυχῆς γένος ἕτερον εἶναι, &c. that is, Now as for the Mind and Theoreticall power, it appears not, viz. that they belong to that Soul which in the former Chapter was defined by ἐντελέχεια, but it seems to be another kind of Soul, and that onely is separable from the Body, as that which is Eternal and Immortal from that which is Corruptible. But the other Powers or Parts of the Soul (viz. the Vegetative and Sensitive) are not separable, καθάπερ φασί τινες, as some think. Where by these [τινὲς some] which he here refutes, he manifestly means the Platonists and Pythagoreans, who held that all kinds of Souls were immortal, as well the Souls of beasts as of men; whereas he upon that former enquirie concluded that nothing was immortal, but that which is the Seat of Reason and Understanding: and so his meaning is, that this Rational Soul is altogether a distinct Essence from those other; or else that glory which he makes account he reaps from his supposed victory over the other Sects of Philosophers will be much eclipsed, seeing they themselves did not so much contend for that which he decries, viz. an exercise of any such Informative faculties in a state of Separation, neither doe we find them much more to reject one part of that complex Axiome of[17] his, τὸ μὲν αἰσθητικὸν οὐκ ἄνευ σώματος, ὁ δὲ νοῦς χωριστὸς, That which is sensitive is not without the Body, but the Intellect or Mind is separable, then they doe the other.

The other difficulty which Aristotle's opinion seems to be clogg'd withall is that Conclusion which he laies down lib. 3. c. 5. ὁ δὲ παθητικὸς νοῦς, φθαρτὸς, which is commonly thus expounded, Intellectus patiens est cor <109> ruptibilis. But all this difficulty will soon be cleared, if once it may appear how ridiculous their conceit is, that from that Chapter fetch that idle distinction of Intellectus Agens & Patiens; meaning by the Agens, that which prepares phantasmes, and exalts them into the nature of intelligible species; and then propounds them to the Patiens to judge thereof: whereas indeed he means nothing else by his νοῦς παθητικὸς, but onely the Understanding in potentia, and by his νοῦς ποιητικὸς, the same in actu or in habitu, as the Schoolmen are wont to phrase it; and accordingly thus laies down his meaning and method of this notion. In the preceding Chapter of that Book, he disputes against Plato's Connate species, as being afraid, lest if the Soul should be prejudiced by any home-born notions, it would not be indifferent to the entertaining of any other Truth. Where, by the way, we may observe how unreasonable his Argument is: for if the Soul hath no such stock of principles to trade with, nor any proper notions of its own that might be a κριτήριον of all Opinions, it would be so indifferent to any, that the foulest Errour might be as easily entertained by it as the fairest Truth; neither could it ever know what guest it receives, whether Truth, or Falshood. But yet our Author found himself able to swallow down this absurdity, though when he had done he could not well digest it. For he could not but take notice of that which was obvious for any one to reply, That πᾶς νοῦς ἐστι νοητὸς, and so reflecting upon it self, may find matter within to work upon; and so laies down this scruple in a way not much different from his Masters, καὶ αὐτὸς δὲ νοητός ἐστι, ὥσπερ τὰ νοητὰ, &c. but the Soul it self is also intelligible, as well as all other intelligible natures are; and in those Beings which are purely abstracted from Matter, <110> that which understands is the same with that which is understood. Thus he. But not being Master of this notion, he finds it a little too unruly for him, and falls to enquire why the Soul should not then alwaies be in actu; quitting himself of the whole difficulty at once by telling us, that our souls are here clogg'd with a Hyle or Matter that cleaves to them, and so all the matter of their knowledge is contained in sensible objects, which they must extract out of them, being themselves onely ἐν δυνάμει or in potentia ad intelligendum. Just as in a like argument (Chap. 8.) he would needs perswade us, That the Understanding beholds all things in the glass of Phansie; and then questioning how our πρῶτα νοήματα or First principles of knowledge should be Phantasmes, he grants that they are not indeed phantasmes, ἀλλ’ οὐκ ἄνευ φαντασμάτων, but yet they are not without phantasmes; which he thinks is enough to say, and so by his meer dictate without any further discussion to solve that knot: whereas in all Reflex acts, whereby the Soul reviews its own opinions, and finds out the nature of them, it makes neither use of Sense or Phantasmes; but acting immediately by its own power, finds it self ἀσώματον καὶ χωριστὴν σωμάτων, as Simplicius observes.

But to return, This Hyle or Matter which our Author supposeth to hinder a free & uninterrupted exercise of Understanding, is indeed nothing else but the Souls potentiality; and not any kind of divisible or extended nature. And therefore when he thus distinguisheth between his Intellectus Agens and Patiens, he seems to mean almost nothing else but what our ordinary Metaphysitians doe in their distinction of Actus and Potentia, (as Simplicius hath truly observed) when they tell us, that the finest created nature is made up of <111> of these two compounded together. For we must know that the genius of his Philosophy led him to fancy an ὑποκείμενόν τι, a certain subject or obediential power in every thing that fell within the compass of Physical speculation, or that had any relation to any natural body; and some other power which was εἰδοποιοῦν, that was of an active and operating nature: and consequently that both these Principles were in the Soul it self, which as it was capable of receiving impressions & species from the Phansie, and in a posse to understand, so it was Passive; but as it doth actually understand, so it is ποιητικὸς or Active. And with this Notion he begins his 5. Chap. Ἐπεὶ δὲ ὥσπερ ἐν ἁπάσῃ τῇ φύσει ἐστί τι, τὸ μὲν ὕλη ἑκάστῳ γένει, &c. that is, Seeing that in every nature there is something which as a First subject is all things potentially, and some Active principle which produceth all things, as Art doth in Matter; it is necessary that the Soul also partake of these differences. And this he illustrates by Light & Colours; resembling the Passive power of the Intellect to Colours, the Active or Energetical to Light: and therefore he saies, it is χωριστὸς, καὶ ἀμιγὴς, καὶ ἀπαθὴς, separable, unmixt, and impassible; and so at last concludes, χωριστεὶς δέ ἐστι μόνον τοῦθ’ ὅπερ ἐστὶ, in the state of Separation this Intellect is alwaies that which it is (that is, it is alwaies Active and Energetical, as he had told us before, τῆ οὐσίᾳ ὢν ἐνέργεια, the essence of it being activity) καὶ τοῦτο μόνον ἀθάνατον καὶ ἀΐδιον, οὐ μνημονεύομεν δὲ ὅτι τοῦτο μὲν ἀπαθὲς, and this onely is immortal and eternal, but we doe not remember because it is impassible. In which last words he seems to disprove Plato's Reminiscentia, because the Soul in a state of Separation being alwaies in act, the Passive power of it, which then first begins to appear when it is embodied, could not represent or contain any such <112> Traditionall species as the Energeticall faculty acted upon before; seeing there was then no Phansie to retain them in, as Simplicius expounds it, διὀ ἐν τῇ περὶ τῶν μνημονευτῶν νοήσει, δεόμεθα πάντως τοῦ μέχρι φαντασίας προïόντος λόγου, because in all remembrance we must reflect upon our Phansie. And this our Author seems to glance at, it being indeed never out of his eye, in these words we have endeavoured to give an account of, ὁ δὲ παθητικὸς νοῦς φθαρτὸς, καὶ ἄνευ τούτου οὐθὲν νοεῖ, But the Passive intellect is corruptible, and without this we can understand nothing in this life. And thus our fore-named Commentator doubts not to glosse on them.

Chap. IX.

A main Difficulty concerning the Immortality of the Soul [viz. The strong Sympathy of the Soul with the Body] answered. An Answer to another Enquiry, viz. Under what account Impressions deriv'd from the Body do fall in Morality.

WE have now done with the Confirmation of this Point, which is the main Basis of all Religion, and shall not at present trouble our selves with those difficulties that may seem to incumber it; which indeed are onely such as beg for a Solution, but doe not, if they be impartially considered, proudly contest with it: and such of them which depend upon any hypothesis which we may apprehend to be lai'd down in Scripture, I cannot think them to be of any such moment, but that any one who deals freely and ingenuously with this piece of God's truth, may from thence <113> find a far better ansa of answering, then he can of moving of any scruples against the Souls Immortality, which that most strongly every where supposes, & does not so positively & ῥητῶς lay down, as presume that we have an antecedent knowledge of it, & therefore principally teaches us the right Way & Method of providing in this life for our happy subsistence in that eternal estate. And as for what pretends to Reason or Experience, I think it may not be amiss briefly to search into one main difficulty concerning the Soul's Immortality: and that is, That strange kind of dependency which it seems to have on the Body, whereby it seems constantly to comply and sympathize therewith, and to assume to it self the frailties and infirmities thereof, to laugh and languish as it were together with that: and so when the Body is compos'd to rest, our Soul seems to sleep together with it; and as the Spring of bodily Motion seated in our Brains is more clear or muddy, so the conceptions of our Minds are more distinct or disturbed.

To answer this difficulty, it might be enough perhaps to say, That the Sympathy of things is no sufficient Argument to prove the Identity of their essences by, as I think all will grant; yet we shall endeavour more fully to solve it.

And for that purpose we must take notice, that though our Souls be of an Incorporeal nature, as we have already demonstrated, yet they are united to our Bodies, not as Assisting forms or Intelligences, as some have thought, but in some more immediate way; though we cannot tell what that is, it being the great arcanum in Man's nature, that which troubled Plotinus so much, when he had contemplated the Immortality of it, that, as he speaks of himself, Enn. 4. lib. 8. c. 1. εἰς <114> λογισμὸν ἀπὸ νοῦ καταβὰς, ἀπορῶ πῶς ποτε καὶ νοῦν καταβαἰνω, καὶ ὅπως ποτέ μοι ἔνδον ἡ ψυχὴ γεγένηται τοῦ σώματος, τοῦτο οὖσα οἱον ἐφάνη καθ̓ ἑαυτὴν, καίπερ οὖσα ἐν σώματι. But indeed to make such a Complex thing as Man is, it was necessary that the Soul should be so united to the Body, as to share in its passions and infirmities so far as they are void of sinfulness. And as the Body alone could not perform any act of Sensation or Reason, and so it self become a ζῶον πολιτικὸν, so neither would the Soul be capable of providing for the necessities of the Body, without some way whereby a feeling and sense of them might be conveyed to it; neither could it take sufficient care of this corporeal life, as nothing pertaining to it, were it not sollicited to a natural compunction and compassion by the indigencies of our Bodies. It cannot be a meer Mental Speculation that would be so sensibly affected with hunger or cold or other griefs that our Bodies necessarily partake of, to move our Souls to take care for their relief: and were there not such a commerce between our Souls and Bodies, as that our Souls also might be made acquainted by a pleasurable and delightful sense of those things that most gratifie our Bodies, and tend most to the support of their Crasis and temperament; the Soul would be apt wholly to neglect the Body, and commit it wholly to all changes and casualties. Neither would it be any thing more to us then the body of a Plant or Star, which we contemplate sometimes with as much contentment as we do our own bodies, having as much of the Theory of the one as of the other. And the relation that our Souls bear to such peculiar bodies as they inhabite, is one and the same in point of notion and speculation with that which they have to any other body: and therefore that which determines the Soul <115> to this Body more then that, must be some subtile vinculum that knits and unites it to it in a more Physical way, which therefore Proclus sometimes calls πνευματικὸν ὄχημα τῆς ψυχῆς, a spiritual kind of vehicle, whereby corporeal impressions are transferr'd to the Mind, and the dictates and decrees of that are carried back again into the Body to act and move it. Heraclitus wittily glancing at these mutual aspects and entercourses, calls them[18] ἀμοιβὰς ἀναγκαἰας ἐκ τῶν ἐναντὶων, the Responsals or Antiphons wherein each of them catcheth at the others part & keeps time with it; and so he tells us that there is ὁδὸς ἄνω καὶ κάτω, a way that leads upwards and downwards between the Soul and Body, whereby their affairs are made known to one another. For as the Soul could not have a sufficient relation of the state and condition of our Bodies, except it received some impressions from them; so neither could our Souls make use of our Bodies, or derive their own virtue into them as they doe, without some intermediate motions. For as some motions may seem to have their beginning in our Bodies, or in some external mover, which are not known by our Souls till their advertency be awakened by the impetuousness of them: so some other motions are derived by our own Wills into our Bodies, but yet in such a way as they cannot be into any other body; for we cannot by the meer Magical virtue of our Wills move any thing else without our selves, nor follow any such virtue by a concurrent sense of those mutations that are made by it, as we doe in our own Bodies.

And as this Conjugal affection and sympathy between Soul and Body are thus necessary to the Being of Mankind; so we may further take notice of some peculiar part within us where all this first begins: which <116> a late fagacious Philosopher hath happily observed to be in that part of the Brain from whence all those Nerves that conduct the Animal spirits up and down the Body take their first Original; seeing we find all Motions that first arise in our Bodies, to direct their course straight up to that, as continually respecting it, and there onely to be sensated, and all the imperate motions of our Wills issuing forth from the same consistory. Therefore the Animal spirits, by reason of their constant mobility and swift motion, ascending to the place of our Nerves origination, move the Soul, which there sits enthron'd, in some mysterious way; and descending at the beck of our Wills from thence, move all the Muscles and joynts in such sort as they are guided and directed by the Soul. And if we observe the subtile Mechanicks of our own Bodies, we may easily conceive how the least motion in these Animal Spirits will, by their relaxing or distending the Nerves, Membranes and Muscles, according to their different quantity or the celerity and quality of their motions, beget all kind of motions likewise in the Organical part of our Bodies. And therefore that our Souls may the better inform our Bodies, they must perceive all their varieties; and because they have such an immediate proximity to these Spirits, therefore also all the Motions of our Souls in the highest way of Reason and Understanding are apt to stir these quick and nimble spirits alwaies attending upon them, or else fix them too much. And thus we may easily see that should our Souls be alwaies acting and working within us, our Bodies could never take that rest and repose which is requisite for the conservation of Nature. As we may easily perceive in all our studies and meditations that are most serious, our Spirits are the more <117> fix'd, attending the beck of our Minds. And except this knot whereby our Souls are wedded to our Bodies were unloosed that our Souls were loose from them, they could not act, but presently some Motion or other would be imprest upon our Bodies: as every Motion in our Bodies that is extraordinary, when our Nerves are distended with the Animal spirits, by a continual communication of it self in these Nerves like so many intended Chords to their original, moves our Souls; and so though we alwaies perceive that one of them is primarily affected, yet we also find the other presently by consent to be affected too.

And because the Soul hath all Corporeal passions and impressions thus conveyed to it, without which it could not expresse a due benevolence to that Body which peculiarly belongs to it; therefore as the Motions of these Animal Spirits are more or less either disorderly and confus'd, or gentle and compos'd, so those Souls especially who have not by the exercise of true Vertue got the dominion over them, are also more or less affected proportionably in their operations. And therefore indeed to question whether the Soul, that is of an Immortal nature, should entertain these corporeal passions, is to doubt whether God could make a Man or not, and to question that which we find by experience in our selves; for we find both that it doth thus, and yet that the Original of these is sometimes from Bodies, and sometimes again by the force of our Wills they are impress'd upon our Bodies.

Here by the way we may consider in a moral way what to judge of those Impressions that are derived from our Bodies to our Souls, which the Stoicks call ἄλογα πάθη. not because they are repugnant to Reason, or are aberrations from it; but because they derive not <118> their original from Reason, but from the Body, which is ἄλογόν τι. and are by Aristotle, more agreeably to the ancient Dialect, called ἔνυλοι λόγοι material or corporeal Idea's or impressions. And these we may safely reckon, I think, amongst our Adiaphora in Morality, as being in themselves neither good nor evil, (as all the antient Writers have done) but onely are form'd into either by that stamp that the Soul prints upon them, when they come to be entertain'd into it. And therefore whereas some are apt in the most severe way to censure τὰς πρώτας κατὰ φύσιν ὁρμὰς, all those Commotions and Passions that first affect our Souls; they might doe well more cautelously to distinguish between such of these motions as have their origination in our Bodies, and such as immediately arise from our Souls: else may we not too hastily displace the antient termini, and remove the land-marks of Vertue and Vice? For seeing the Soul could not descend into any corporeal act, as it must doe while it is more present to one body then another, except it could partake of the griefs and pleasures of the Body; can it be any more sinful for it to sensate this, then it is for it to be united to the Body? If our Soul could not know what it is to eat or drink, but onely by a meer ratiocination, collecting by a drie syllogisticall discourse [That meats and drinks preserve the health and fabrick of the Body, repairing what daily exhales from it] without sensating any kind of grief in the want, or refreshment in the use, of them; it would soon suffer the Body to languish and decay. And therefore as these Bodily infirmities and passions are not evil in themselves; so neither are they evil as they first affect our Souls. When our Animal Spirits, begot of fine and good blood, gently and nimbly play up and down in our Brains, and swiftly <119> flie up and down our whole Bodies, we presently find our Phansies raised with mirth and chearfulness: and as when our Phansies are thus exalted, we may not call this the Energy of Grace; so if our Spleen or Hypochondria, swelling with terrene and sluggish Vapours, send up such Melancholick fumes into our heads as move us to sadness and timorousness, we cannot justly call that Vice; nor when the Gall does degurgitate its bitter juyce into our Liver, which mingling it self with the blood, begets fiery Spirits that presently fly up into our Brain, and there beget impressions of Anger within us. The like we may say of those Corporeal passions which are not bred first of all by any Peccant humours or distemperatures in our own bodies, but are excited in us by any External objects which by those idola and images that they present to our Senses, or rather those Motions they make in them, may presently raise such commotions in our Spirits: For our Body maintains not onely a conspiration and consent of all its own parts, but also it bears a like relation to other mundane bodies with which it is conversant, as being a part of the whole Universe. But when our Soul, once mov'd by the undisciplin'd petulancy of our Animal spirits, shall foment and cherish that Irrational Grief, Fear, Anger, Love, or any other such like Passions contrary to the dictates of Reason; it then sets the stamp of sinfulness upon them. It is the consent of our own Wills that by brooding of them brings forth those hatefull Serpents. For though our Souls be espoused to these Earthly Bodies, and cannot but in some measure sympathize with them, yet hath the Soul a true dominion of its own acts. It is not the meer passion, if we take it in a Physicall sense, but rather some inordinate action of our own Wills that entertain it: and <120> these passions cannot force our Wills, but we may be able to chastise and allay all the inordinacy of them by the power of our Wills and Reasons: and therefore God hath not made us under the necessity of sin, by making us men subject to such infirmities as these are which are meerly ζωαὶ σωμάτων, as the Greek Philosopher hath well called them, the blossomings and shootings forth of bodily life within us; which is but τὸ ἀνθρώπινον or Humanity.

And, if I mistake not, our Divinity is wont sometimes to acknowledge some such thing in our Saviour himself, who was in all things made like to us, our sinfulness excepted. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with griefs, as the Prophet Esay speaks of him: and when he was in bodily agonies and horrours, the powerfull assaults thereof upon his Soul moved him to petition his Father, that Cup might pass from him; and the sense of death so much afflicted him, that it bred in him the sad griefs which S. Peter expresseth by ὠδῖνας τοῦ θανάτο Act. 2. the pangs or throes of death, and that fear that extorted a desire to be freed from it, as it is insinuated by that in Heb. 5. 7. he was delivered from what he feared; for so the words, being nothing else but an Hebraism, are to be rendred, εἰσακουσθεις ἀπο τῆς ἐυλαβείας. And we are wont to call this the language and dictate of Nature which lawfully endeavours to preserve it self, though presently an higher principle must bring all these under a subjection to God, and a free submission to his good pleasure: as it was with our Saviour, who moderated all these passions by a ready resignment of himself and his own Will up to the Will of God; and though his Humanity crav'd for ease and relaxation, yet that Divine Nature that was within him would not have it with any repugnancy to the supreme Will of God.

[1] Cap. 38.

[2] Chap. 23. 8.

[3] Psal. 4. 7.

[4] Lucret. lib. 3.

[5] Lib. 1.

[6] Lib. 2.

[7] Lib. 4. de placitis Philosophorum.

[8] Enn. 4. l. 7. c. 4.

[9] in his Tract, Αφορμαὶ πρὸς τὰ νοητά.

[10] Lib. 4.

[11] I.

[12] 2.

[13] Enn. 4. l. 7. c. 6.

[14] 3.

[15] 1.

[16] 2.

[17] Lib. 3. c. 4.

[18] Plotin. Enn. 4. l. 8. c. 1.

Cite as: John Smith, ‘A Discourse demonstrating the Immortality of the Soul’, from Select Discourses (1660), pp. 57-120,, accessed 2023-12-01.