The Principles of the Most Ancient and Modern Philosophy. (London: 1692)
by Anne Finch, Viscountess of Conway [aka Anne Conway] (1631-1679).
God, Christ, and the Creatures, viz. of Spirit and Matter in general, whereby may be resolved all those Problems or Difficulties, which neither by the School nor Common Modern Philosophy, nor by the Cartesian, Hobbesian, or Spinosian, could be discussed.
A little Treatise published since the Author's Death, translated out of the English into Latin, with Annotations taken from the Ancient Philosophy of the Hebrews; and now again made English.
By J. C. Medicinæ Professor.
Printed in Latin at Amsterdam, by M. Brown, 1690. And reprinted at London, 1692.
Having the care of the Publication of this Piece committed to my Charge, I thought, for the Good of the Publick, to give them the knowledge of the following Elixir, &c.
THE Elixir Proprietatis (so highly commended by the Renowned Paracelsus and Helmont it resisteth all Putrefaction of the Blood, strengtheneth the Digestive Faculty. Its Excellent Virtues are prevalent in Curing of continual Fevers, Quotidian and Tertian Agues, Small Pox; and Measles, or Swine Pox, with other Pestilential Distempers; as also the Palsy, Apoplexy, Falling-Sickness, Asthma, Tabes, or Consumption of the Lungs. Its dose is from 10 to 20, 30, or 40 drops, in a Glass of Sack. This Noble Elixir is Philosophically Prepared, by John Spire, Chymico Medicus, at four Shillings the Ounce. Who hath, by his Labour and Study in the Chymical Art, attained unto several secret Arcanums, (not vulgarly known) particularly a Soveraign Remedy for the Gout. If anyone is desirous thereof, or the aforesaid Elixir Proprietatis, Let them apply themselves to my Friend, Mr. Dorman Newman, at the King's Arms in the Poultry, and the Author at his House in Horsly-down-Fair-Street, Southwark; or at his Country House, at the upper end of Twitnam, near the sign of the White-Hart, in Middlesex.
WE have (for thy sake) published this little Treatise, which was written not many Years ago, by a certain English Countess, a Woman learned beyond her Sex, being very well skill'd in the Latin and Greek Tongues, and excellently well vers'd in all kind of Philosophy; who when she had first taken in the Principles of Cartes, and seeing its defects, afterwards by reading certain Writings of very Ancient Philosophy, she observed so many things, that she wrote these few Chapters for her own use, but in a very dull and small Character; which being found after her Death is partly transcribed (for the rest could scarcely be read) and published in Latin, that thereby the whole World might be in some sort benefitted, and so the same become of Publick Good, to the end that whosoever he be that worthily Esteems the Author, may acknowledge true Philosophy, and so the more easily shun those Errors, which are now, alas! too common.
Quibus tu fruere & vale.
THOU may'st (peradventure) no less wonder at the strangeness of the Paradox, than at the publication hereof in an English Dialect, and the rather because it is no vulgar Theme, and consequently above the reach of vulgar Capacities, whom (lest it should be more apt to distract than instruct) I should rather advise to rest satisfied with what for the present they know, than either to covet or condemn more than they do, or are capable to apprehend: Yet, by the way, let me advise thee to suspend thy censures, (which at first view, 'tis probable, thou may'st be subject to entertain,) as supposing the Doctrine herein asserted more easily oppugnable than indeed it is) till thou hast passed a serious examination on all the particulars herein insisted upon: For Aliquando mens cogitat quæ ratio non probat. As to the Translation it self, as I hope none but envious Criticks will be offended thereat, so I shall endeavour, though briefly, yet fully, to satisfie every impartial and unprejudiced Reader, both as to the Circumstance, and principal Reason inducing me hereunto, which is as follows. Being some time since in Holland, and in Conference with the renowned F.M.B. van Helmont, than resident at Amsterdam, it so hapned that I demanded of the said Helmont, if he had published, or did intend to publish any new Books of his own, or others Works, who presently directed me where I might procure certain Books, published by his Order, which accordingly I did; two whereof were extant in Latin, the other in Nether-Dutch; this being the Works of an English Countess (after a brief perusal) I have endeavoured to render into an English Stile, as familiar as the Language would conveniently admit, without some abuse to the Author. One Reason that led me to it, was the earnest request of a Friend; the other was, that I did not doubt but this little Treatise might happen into the Hands of some ingenious and well-disposed Persons, who (though not furnished with those artificial Helps and Advantages that Learning usually affords; yet nevertheless being qualified by a natural pregnancy of parts, by many serious Studies and deliberate Thoughts of this or the like Nature) might be competent Judges of such Mysteries; or that it might fortunately light into the Hands of such whose eminency of Learning, and maturity of Judgment, might render them either willing to approve it, or able to refute it, and that too with a better Salvo of Divine Attributes than is done in this Treatise. Now, wishing thee the compleat enjoyment of all Temporal Blessings here, and the full fruition and possession of Eternal Happiness hereafter, I conclude this present Epistle, and subscribe my self
in all real Service,
The Principles of the most Ancient and Modern Philosophy: Concerning God, Christ, and the Creature; that is, concerning Spirit, and Matter in General.
§.1,2,3,4,5. Of God and his Divine Attributes. §.6,7. How a Trinity may be conceived to be in God, according to the Scriptures; and yet without Offence to Turks, Jews, or any other People; though we should omit the Terms of Three distinct Persons, which are neither built upon Scripture or sound Reason.
§.1. GOD is a Spirit, Light, and Life, infinitely Wise, Good, Just, Mighty, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Creator and Maker of all things visible and invisible. See Adumbratio Kabbalæ Christianæ, Chap. 2, §.2.---7. Kabbal. denud. Tom. 2. Part 3.
§.2. IN God there is neither Time nor Change, nor Composition, nor Division of Parts: He is wholly and universally one in himself, and of himself, without any manner of Variety or Mixture: He hath no manner of Darkness, or Corporiety in him, and so consequently no kind of Form or Figure whatsoever. See Philosoph. Kabbalistic. dissertatio. ch. 3. in Kabbal. denud. Tom. I, Part 3.
§.3. HE is also in a proper and real sence, a Substance or Essence distinct from his Creatures, although he is not divided, or separated from them; but most strictly and in the highest degree intimately present in them all; yet so as they are not parts of him, nor can be changed into him, nor he into them: He is also in a true and proper sence a Creator of all Things, who doth not only give them their Form and Figure, but also Being, Life, Body, and whatsoever else of Good they have. See Kabbal. denud. Tom. 1. Part 2. Pag. 30.332.
§.4. SEEING then that in him there is no Time, nor any Mutability, hence it is that in him there can exist no new Knowledge or Will, but his Knowledge and Will are Eternal, and without or above time. See Philosoph. Kabbalistic. Dissertatio. 3. Ch. 1. in Kabbal. denudat. Tom. I, Part. 3. & ibid. Ch. 6.
§.5. LIKEWISE in God there can exist no Passion, which to speak properly comes from his Creatures: For every Passion is something Temporal, and hath its Beginning, and end with Time.
§.6. IN God is an Idea, which is the Image of himself, or a Word existing within him; which in Substance or Essence is one and same with him, by which he knows not only himself, but all other things, and according to which, yea by which Idea or Word, all things were made and created.
§.7. BY the like Reason in God is a Spirit or Will which proceeds from him, and yet as to Substance or Essence is something one with him, by which Creatures receive their Being and Activity: For Creatures have their Being and Existence simply and alone from him, because God would have them to be, whose Will is according to Knowledge most infinite. And thus Wisdom and Will in God, are not a certain Substance or Being distinct from him; but only distinct Manners or Properties of one and the same Substance; and seeing this is that which some of the Wisest and most Judicious Christians understand by the Word Trinity. If now we should neglect that Phrase of Three distinct Persons, which is a Stone of Offence to Jews as well as Turks, and other People, and indeed in it self hath no sound Reason, nor can be any where found in Scripture; yet all would easily agree in this point: For they cannot deny that God hath Wisdom, and an Essential Idea, and such a Word in himself by which he knows all things; and when they grant he giveth all Things their Being, they will be necessarily forced to acknowledge that there is a Will in him, by which he can accomplish and bring that into Act which was hid in the Idea, that is, can produce it, and from thence make a distinct Essential Substance; and this alone is to create, viz. the Essence of a Creature: Nevertheless the Idea alone doth not give being to the Creature; but the Will join'd with the Idea, as when a Master-Builder conceives in his Mind the Idea of an House, he doth not build that House by the Idea alone, but the Will is joined with the Idea, and co-operates therewith.
Annotations on this first Chapter.
THE Ancient Hypothesis of the Hebrews, as to what pertains to the latter Contents of this Chapter, is this:
1. Seeing God was of all the most exceeding great and infinite Light, and yet the chiefest Good: For this Reason he would make Creatures to whom he might communicate himself: But these could in no wise bear the exceeding greatness of his Light: And hereunto belong those Scripture sayings, God dwelleth in an inapproachable Light. No Man hath seen God at any Time, &c.
2. He diminished therefore (for the sake of his Creatures) the highest Degree of his most intense Light, that there might be room for his Creatures, from whence Place immediately arose, as it were a certain Circular Vacuity or Space of Worlds.
3. This Vacuum was not a mere Privation or Non ens, but a certain real Position of Light, diminutively, which was the Soul of the Messias, called by the Hebrews, Adam Kadmon, which filled all that whole Space.
4. This Soul of the Messias was united with that whole Light of the Divinity, which remained within that Vacuum in a more mild degree, that could be born, and with it made up one Subject.
5. This Messias (called λόγο΄, or Word, or First Begotten Son of God,) having made a new Diminution of his Light, for the benefit of his Creatures, framed or made within himself the whole Series or Orders of all Creatures.
6. To whom he might farther communicate the Light or Rays of his Divine Nature, as the Objects of Contemplation and Love; which were the unitive Acts of the Creator and Creatures; in which Union the Happiness of the Creatures did consist.
7. Here therefore occurs the Trinity of Divine Representation: And the first Conception is, that God is infinite, to be considered without and above Production. Secondly, God is the same as in the Messias. Thirdly, That God is the same, as when with the Messias in the Creatures fitted by the least degree of Light to the perception of his Creatures. Hitherto belongs that Scripture, saying, No Man hath seen God at any time: the Son who is in the Bosom of the Father hath revealed him to us.
8. But it is common with the Hebrews to use the Term of Persons, yet so as that by it they do not mean a singular Suppositum, but a Conception only, or kind of Representation, or Method of Consideration. See Adumbratio Kabbal, Christian., Chap. 23.
§.1. Although Creatures are not Co-eternal with God; yet they had infinite Times from the Beginning. §.2. So that no Number of Years, no not the greatest that any created Intellect can conceive, can reach to their Beginning. §.3. Creatures were in one sence from Eternity, and in another sence not from Eternity. §.4. Infinity of Times is proved from the infinite Goodness of God. §.5. It is an Essential Attribute of God to be a Creator. §.6. What Time is, and how the same cannot be in God.
§.1. FORASMUCH as all Creatures are, and do exist simply, or alone from him; because God willed them to be, whose Will is infinitely powerful, and whose Commandment, without any Instrument or Instrumental Cause, is the only Efficient to give Being unto his Creatures: Hence it necessarily follows, seeing the Will of God is Eternal, or from Eternity, that Creation must immediately follow the said Will, without any Interposition of Time: And though it cannot be said, that Creatures considered in themselves, are Co-eternal with God; because after this rate Eternity and Time would be confounded together; yet nevertheless the Creatures, and that Will which created them, are so mutually present, and so immediately happen one after another; that nothing can be said to come in between; even as if two Circles should immediately touch each other: Neither can we assign any other Beginning to Creatures, but God himself, and his Eternal Will, which is according to his Eternal Idea or Wisdom. Hence it follows by Natural Consequence, that Times from the Creation are Infinite, and without all Number, which no created Intellect can conceive: How then can this be Finite or Measured, which had no other beginning but Eternity it self.
§.2. BUT if any one will say, times are Finite, then let us suppose the Measure of them from the Beginning, to be about 6000 Years (even as some do think that the whole Age of this World, from the Beginning, is of no greater Extent,) or with others (who think that before this World, there was another invisible World, from whence this visible World proceeded;) let us suppose the Duration of this World to be 600000 Years, or any other Number of Years, as great as can be by any Reason conceived: Now I demand whether it could be, that the World was created before this time? If they deny it, they limit the Power of God to a certain Number of years; if they affirm it, they allow Time to be before all time, which is a manifest Contradiction.
§.3. THESE things being premised it will be easie to Answer to that Question, wherewith Numbers have been so exceedingly perplexed: Whether Creation was made or could be made from Eternity, or from Everlasting? If by Eternity, and Everlasting, they mean an Infinite Number of Times; in this sence Creation was made from Everlasting: But if they mean such an Eternity, as God himself hath, so as to say, Creatures are Equal or Co-eternal with God, and to have no beginning of Time, this is false: For both Creatures and Times (which are nothing else but successive Motions and Operations of Created Beings) had a Beginning, which is God or the Eternal Will of God. And why should it seem strange to any one that Times in their whole Collection or Universality, may be said to be Infinite, when the least part of Time that can be conceived, contains in it self a kind of Infinity? For as there is no Time so great, that a greater cannot be conceived; so there is no time so small, but there may be a less; for the sixtieth part of a Minute may be divided into sixty other parts, and these again into others, and so ad infinitum.
§.4. BUT the Infiniteness of Times from the beginning of Creation may be likewise demonstrated from the Goodness of God; For God is definitely Good, Loving, and Bountiful; yea, Goodness and Charity it self; an infinite Fountain, and Father of Goodness, Charity, and Bounty. Now how can it be, that this Fountain shall not always plentifully flow, and send from it self Living Waters? And shall not this Ocean perpetually abound with its own Efflux to the Production of Creatures, and that with a certain continual Stream? For the Goodness of God in its own proper Nature is Communicative, and Multiplicative, and seeing in him nothing is wanting, neither can any thing be added unto him, by reason of his absolute fulness, and transcendent fertility: And also seeing by the same reason he cannot multiply himself, which would be all one, as if we should imagine there were more Gods than one, which is contradictory: Now it necessarily follows, that he did give Being to his Creatures from Everlasting, or Times without Number; or else this Communicative Goodness of God, which is his Essential Attribute, would be something Finite, and its Duration consist of a certain Number of Years, than which nothing is more absurd.
§.5. IT is an Essential Attribute of God, to be a Creator, and so by Consequence God ever was a Creator, and ever will be a Creator, because otherwise he would be changed. And therefore Creatures ever were, and ever will be; but the Eternity of Creatures is nothing else, but an Infinity of Times, in which they ever were, and ever will be without end: Neither is this Infiniteness of Times equal to the Infiniteness of God's Eternity; because the Eternity of God himself, hath no Times in it; nothing therein can be said to be past, or to come, but the whole is always present: He is indeed in Times; but not comprehended of them. Although the Hebrews seem to speak somewhat different from this (as appears in Kabbal. denud. Tom. 1. Part 2. pag. 29, 30. and Philosoph. Kabbal. dissertat. 3. Ch. 6, 7. in Kab. denud. Tom. 1. Part 3.) yet they do not contradict this Opinion, because they allow an indefinite Duration of Times. Confes. Adumbrat. Kabbal. Christian. Ch. 7. §. 4, 5, 7. in Kabbal. denud. Tom. 2. Tract. ult.
§.6. AND the reason hereof is manifest; because Time is nothing else but the successive Motion or Operation of Creatures; which Motion or Operation, if it should cease, Time would also cease, and the Creatures themselves would cease with Time: Wherefore such is the Nature of every Creature, that it is in Motion, or hath a certain Motion, by means of which it advances forward, and grows to a farther perfection. And seeing in God there is no successive Motion or Operation to a farther perfection; because he is most absolutely perfect. Hence there are no Times in God or his Eternity.
AND moreover, because there are no Parts in God, there are also no Times in him; for all Times have their Parts, and are indeed infinitely divisible, as before was said.
§.1. God is the most free Agent, and yet of all the most necessary. §.2. Indifferency of Will, which the School-men imagined to be in God, is a mere Fiction. §.3. God created the World, not for any external necessity, but out of the internal impulse of his Divine Goodness and Wisdom. §.4. Creatures were created Infinite, and there are Worlds Infinite. §.5. The least Creature that we can conceive hath within it Infinite Creatures. §.6. Yet that doth not make Creatures equal with God. §.7. A refutation of those imaginary Spaces, which the Schools did imagine to exist without the Creatures. §.8. Successive Motion hath no place in God. §.9. An Answer to the Objection. §.10. All Creatures are united after a certain manner.
§.1. MOREOVER, if the afore-mentioned Attributes of God be duly considered, and especially these two; to wit, his Wisdom and Goodness, that Indifferency of Will, which the Schoolmen, and Philosophers falsly so called, have imagined to be in God, will be utterly refuted, and wholly turned out of Doors; which also they have improperly called Free-Will; for although the Will of God be most free, so that whatsoever he doth in the behalf of his Creatures, he doth freely without any external Violence, Compulsion, or any Cause coming from them: Whatsoever he doth, he doth of his own accord: Yet that Indifference of acting, or not acting, can by no means be said to be in God; because this were an Imperfection, and would make God like corruptible Creatures; for this Indifference of Will is the Foundation of all Change, and Corruptibility in Creatures; so that there would be no evil in Creatures if they were not changeable. Therefore, if the same should be supposed to be in God, he must be supposed to be changeable, and so would be like corruptible Man, who often doth a thing out of his mere pleasure, not out of a true and solid Reason, or the guidance of Wisdom; in which he is like to those Cruel Tyrants which are in the World, who act many things out of their mere Will or Pleasure, relying on their Power, so that they can render no other Reason for what they do, than that it is their mere Pleasure; whereas any good Man of them that acts, or is about to act, can render a suitable reason for it; and that because he knows and understands that true Goodness and Wisdom hath required him to do it, wherefore he Wills that it be effected, because it is just, so that if he should not do it he would neglect his Duty.
§.2. FOR true Justice or Goodness hath in it self no Latitude or Indifference; but is like unto a certain right line, drawn from one point to another, where it cannot be said two or more Lines can be indifferently drawn between two Points, and yet all right Lines; because there can be but one that is a right Line, and the rest will be crooked or bending, and that more or less as they depart, or are distant from that one right Line, above-mentioned: Whence it is manifest, this Indifference of Will hath no place in God, by reason it is an Imperfection; who though he be the most free Agent, yet he is also above all the most necessary Agent; so that it is impossible that he should not do, whatsoever he doth in or for his Creatures; Seeing his Infinite Wisdom, Goodness, and Justice, is a Law unto him, which he cannot Transgress. Philosoph. Kabbal. dissertat. 3. Cap. 6, 7. in Kabbal. denud. Tom. 1. Part 3.
§.3. HENCE therefore it evidently follows, that it was not indifferent to God, whether he would give Being to his Creatures or no; but he made them out of a certain internal impulse of his Divine Wisdom and Goodness, and so he created the World or Creatures as soon as he could: For this is the Nature of a necessary Agent, to do whatsoever it can; therefore seeing he could create the World or Creatures in Infinite Times, before 6000 Years, or before 60000 Years, or 600000, &c. Hence it follows he hath done it; For God can entirely do that which implies no contradiction; but this doth not imply a contradiction, if the Worlds or Creatures be said to have been or existed in Infinite Times, before this Moment; even as they are Infinite Times after this Moment: If there be no contradiction in the latter, there is also no contradiction in the former.
§.4. THESE Attributes duly considered, it follows, that Creatures were created in Infinite Numbers, or that there is an Infinity of Worlds or Creatures made of God: For seeing God is infinitely powerful, there can be no Number of Creatures so great, that he cannot always make more: And because, as is already proved, he doth whatsoever he can do; certainly his Will, Goodness, and Bounty, is as large and extensive as his Power; whence it manifestly follows, that Creatures are Infinite, and created in Infinite Manners; so that they cannot be limited or bounded with any Number or Measure: For Example; Let us suppose the whole Universality of Creatures to be a Circle, whose Semi-diameter shall contain so many Diameters of the Earth, as there are Grains of Dust, or Sand, in the whole Globe of the Earth; and if the same should be divided into Atomes, so small that 100000 of them could be contained in one grain of Poppy-seed: Now who can deny, but the Infinite Power of God, could have made this Number greater, and yet still greater, even to an Infinite Multiplication? Seeing it is more easie to this Infinite Power, to multiply the real Beings of Creatures, than for a skilful Arithmetician to make any Number greater and greater, which can never be so great, but that it may be (by Addition or Multiplication) encreased ad infinitum: And farther, seeing it is already demonstrated, that God is a necessary Agent, and doth whatsoever he can do: It must needs be, that he doth multiply, and yet still continues to multiply and augment the Essences of Creatures, ad infinitum: Concerning Infinity see Philosoph. Kabbal. Dissert. 1. Cap. 6. Dissert. 3. C. 1. in Kabbal. denud. Tom. 1. Part. 3. Whence Creatures are rather termed Indefinite than Infinite.
§.5. ALSO by the like Reason is proved, that not only the whole Body or System of Creatures considered together, is Infinite, or contains in it self a kind of Infinity; but also that every Creature, even the least that we can discern with our Eyes, or conceive in our Minds, hath therein such an Infinity of Parts, or rather entire Creatures, that they cannot be numbred; even as it cannot be denied, that God can place one Creature within another, so he can place two as well as one, and four as well as two, so also eight as well as four, so that he could multiply them without end, always placing the less within the greater. And seeing no Creature can be so small, that there cannot be always a less; so no Creature is so great that there cannot be always a greater: Now it follows that in the least Creature there may exist, or be comprehended Infinite Creatures, which may be all of them Bodies, and after a sort, in regard of themselves, impenetrable one of another. As to those Creatures which are Spirits, and can penetrate each other, in every created Spirit, there may be some Infinity of Spirits, all which Spirits may be of equal extension, as well with the aforesaid Spirit, as they are one with another; for in this case those Spirits are more Subtile and Æthereal, which penetrate the Gross and more Corporeal, whence here can be no want of Room, that one must be constrained to give place to another. Of the Nature of Bodies and Spirits, more shall be said in its proper place, this being sufficient to demonstrate, that in every Creature, whether the same be a Spirit or a Body, there is an Infinity of Creatures, each whereof contains an Infinity, and again each of these, and so ad infinitum.
§.6. ALL these do greatly extol and set forth the great Power and Goodness of God, for that his Eternity is clearly seen by the Works of his Hands; yea in every Creature that he hath made: Nor can it be objected, we make Creatures equal with God; for as one Infinite may be greater than another, so God is still Infinitely greater than all his Creatures, and that without any comparison. And thus indeed the Invisible Things of God are clearly seen, as they are understood by, or in those things, which are made; for by how much the greater and more Magnificent the Works are, by so much the more is the Greatness of the Workman seen: Therefore those who teach, that the whole Number of Creatures is Finite, and consists of so many Individuals as may be numbred; and that the whole Body of the Universe takes up just so many Acres or Miles, or Diameters of the Earth, according to Longitude, Latitude, and Profundity, consider so great Majesty with too low and unbeseeming a Conception; and so that God which they fansie to themselves, is not the true God, but an Idol of their own Imagination, whom they confine to so narrow an Habitation, as a few little Bees shut up within the limits of an Hive, containing the measure of a few Inches: for what else is that World, which they suppose, in respect of that truly great and Universal World above described?
§.7. BUT if they say, they do not shut up God within this Finite Universe, but do imagine him to exist in Infinite Imaginary Spaces, as well without as within it. To this may be answered, If those Spaces are merely imaginary; certainly then they are nothing but Foolish Fictions of the Brain; but if they are real Beings, what can they be but Creatures of God? Besides, either God Works in those Spaces, or he doth not: if he doth not, then God is not there; for wheresoever he is, there he worketh; seeing this is his Nature, that he must so act, as it is the Nature of Fire to burn, or of the Sun to shine: For so God perpetually worketh; and his Work is to Create, or give Being to Creatures, according to that Eternal Idea or Wisdom which is in him. According to the Hebrews, God is Infinite, whom they call Ænsoph; for that he is said to exist without the Space of the World, because the Creature could not contain the Immensity of his Light. See what is said in Annotations on the First Chapter. Neither is he said to exist in imaginary Spaces, because no place plainly agrees with God; but he may be said to operate there by his simple activity: But whatsoever is wrought in, and by the way of the Creatures, is done by the Messias, who is not so Immense as Ænsoph himself.
§.8. BUT this continual Action or Operation of God, as it is in him, or proceeds from him, or hath respect unto him, is one only continual Act or Command of his Will, neither hath Time or Succession in it; nor first; nor latter; but is together, and always present with God; so that nothing of him is either past or to come, because he hath not parts: But so far as he appears or terminates in Creatures, he hath Time and Succession of parts. And though this may seem very difficult to be comprehended, yet it can be sufficiently evinced by sound reason: And will not this plain and common Example following, a little help our Understanding herein? Suppose a great Circle or Wheel to be moved by a Centre, whereas the Centre always remains in one place, even as some do think the Sun after this manner to be moved about his Centre (by some Angel or Spirit remaining in the Centre) within the space of so many days. Now albeit the Centre moves the whole Wheel, and causes a great and continual Motion in the same; yet that always resteth, neither is it in the least moved: How much more then is the same in God, who is the First Mover in all his Creatures, according to all their true and appointed Motions, yet he is not moved of them? But that in him which hath an Analogy or Agreement with the Motions or Operations of Creatures, is the Government of his Will, which (to speak properly) is not Motion, because every Motion is successive, and cannot have place in God, as is above demonstrated.
§.9. BUT against what we have delivered (that the least Creature conceivable, hath in it Infinite Creatures; so that the least Particle of Body or Matter may be Infinite ways extended, and divided into parts less, and yet still lesser, and lesser) some may frame this following Objection. That which is actually divisible, so far as an actual division can any ways be made, is divisible into parts indiscerpible; but Matter or Body (to wit, that Matter that is entire or compound) is actually divisible so far as an actual division can any ways be made, therefore, &c. I Answer, this Argument labours under that fallacy which Logicians call Compositiones non Componendorum, which is a Conjunction of Words, or Terms, that imply a contradiction or absurdity, and that appears in this Term, actually divisible, which signifies one and the same thing to be divided, and not to be divided; for Actually denotes Division, and Divisible not Division, but only a capacity to be divided, which is as absurd and contradictory, as if one should say visibly blind, or sensibly insensible, or livingly dead; but if by the Terms Actually Divisible, they do not mean two, but only one thing, to wit, that it is either really divided, or only divisible, we shall easily discover the Fallacy: For, First, if by Actually Divisible, they mean nothing else but that which is divided, in this sence I grant the Major, to wit, that that which is really divided, so far as an actual division can any ways be made, is divisible into parts indiscerpible; but by the same reason the Minor is false, viz. that Matter is divided so far as an Actual Division can possibly be made. But, Secondly, if by that which they call Actually Divisible, they mean a thing only divisible, or in which there is a power or capacity to be so divided: Now I deny the Major, to wit, That that which is divisible, so far as division can be made, is divisible into parts indiscerpible; and besides in this sence, that proposition is merely Tautological, and a needless repetition of the same thing, just as this would be; whatsoever can be removed out of its place, in as much as it can be removed, may be removed to some certain distance; but London or Rome may be removed out of their place, in as much as they may be removed, Ergo, &c. By the same way of Argument may be proved, that the Soul of Man consists of a Finite Number of Years only, in which it doth exist, or hath a Being, and consequently that it is Mortal, and hath an end; to wit, thus, that whose Time or Duration is actually divisible, so far as an actual division can possibly be made, shall have an end, and is divisible into a Finite Number of Years; but the Time or Duration of the Soul is actually divisible, so far as an actual division can possibly be made, Ergo, &c. But if it be denied, that the Time of the Soul (if it should come to such a division of Years) shall then have an end; but that it is possible for it to re-assume another Time after this First, and so ad infinitum. Now, I say the same, which is, that Matter if it should come to such a division, may indeed have an end of that division; but yet may admit of another division after this First, and so ad infinitum. And here is to be noted, when I say the least Particle of Body, or Matter so called, may be always divided into parts, less, ad infinitum; so that no actual division can be made in any Matter, which is not always farther divisible, or capable to be divided into less parts, and that without end; yet I would not hereby determine, what the Absolute Power of God will or can do; as some do vainly and grosly dispute; but only hint what the Power of God probably may do, or will do, so far as he operates in and with his Creatures, to wit, in as much as in all Productions, and Generations, as also in all Resolutions and Divisions, in the Nature of Bodies, or the Creature, he never divides nor never can divide any Body into such small parts, that each of these is not always capable of a farther division; for the Body of no Creature can ever be reduced into its least parts; yea, into such that it cannot be reduced back again, either by the most subtile operation of any Creature, or created power: And this Answer may suffice to our present purpose: For God makes no division in any Body or Matter, but so far as he co-operates with the Creatures, and therefore he never reduces Creatures into their least parts; because then all Motion and Operation in Creatures would cease; (for it is the Nature of all Motion to wear and divide a thing into subtiler parts;) for to do this would be contrary to the Wisdom and Goodness of God; for if all Motion and Operation should cease in any particular Creature, that Creature would be altogether unprofitable and useless in the Creation, and so would be no better than if it were a mere non ens, or nothing. But as was said before, God cannot do that which is contrary to his Wisdom and Goodness, or any of his Attributes. [Mathematical Division of Things, is never made in Minima; but Things may be Physically divided into their least parts; as when Concrete Matter is so far divided that it departs into Physical Monades, as it was in the first State of its Materiality. Concerning the Production of Matter, see Kab. denud. Tom. 1. Part 2. pag. 310. following; and Tom. 2. the last Tract, pag. 28. Numb. 4, 5. then it is again fit to resume its Activity, and become a Spirit, as it happens in our Meats.]
§.10. MOREOVER the consideration of this Infinite Divisibility of every thing, into parts always less, is no unnecessary or unprofitable Theory, but a thing of very great moment; viz. that thereby may be understood the Reasons and Causes of Things; and how all Creatures from the highest to the lowest are inseparably united one with another, by means of Subtiler Parts interceding or coming in between, which are the Emanations of one Creature into another, by which also they act one upon another at the greatest distance; and this is the Foundation of all Sympathy and Antipathy which happens in Creatures: And if these things be well understood of any one, he may easily see into the most secret and hidden Causes of Things, which ignorant Men call occult Qualities.
§.1. Whether God Created all Creatures together, or in Succession of time. §.2. That in the Man Christ all things consist, and have their Being. §.3. That Christ according to his Humanity, is the First Born of all Creatures. §.4. But no Creature can ever reach so far as to be equal with him.
§.1. FROM what hath been already said, it is easie to Answer to that intricate Question, viz. Whether God Created all Creatures together, or one after another? If the Word Create hath respect to God himself, or the Internal Command of his Will, it is made altogether; but if unto Creatures that is done successively; for as it is the Nature, and Essential Attribute of God to be unchangeable, and without succession; so the Nature of Creatures is to be changeable and successive: But if the Word Create respects the Universals, Seeds, and Principles of all Things which (in subordination to God, who is the Principal Beginning of all Things) are, as it were Springs and Fountains from whence Creatures did flow in the order of their succession; so it may be said all Creatures were Created together, and especially if regard be had to the Messias, or Christ, who is the First Begotten of all Creatures, by whom all Things are said to be made; as John declares it, and Paul expressly affirms, that by Jesus Christ all Things were made, both visible and invisible.
§.2. JESUS CHRIST also signifies whole Christ, who is God and Man, as he is God, he is called λόγο΄ ουσιο΄ the Essential Word of the Father, as he is Man λόγο΄ προφορικός, the Word expressed or brought forth, the perfect, and substantial Image of that Word which is in God, and eternally, or for ever united with him; so that this is its Vehicle and Organ, as the Body is in respect of the Soul; of which Word brought forth, which is the Wisdom of God, mention is made in divers places as well of the New as of the Old Testament, as Prov. 8. 22. 31. and Prov. 3. 19. Psal. 33. 6. Psal. 22. 2. Psal. 110. p. 1. Joh. 11. 1, 2, 3, &c. Ephes. 3. 9. Col. 1. 15, 16, 17. Which place, viz. of Col. 1. 15, 16, 17. contains in it an Explication of the former, to wit, that by Son, by Word or Wisdom, or by any of his Attributes, God is not simply and nakedly understood: for how can any of his Attributes be called the invisible Image of God, seeing this is equally as invisible as himself, whence Image denotes something that is brought into visibility, and which after a peculiar manner reveals and represents the invisible God more than any Creature.
§.3. AND for the same reason he is called of Paul, in the place above-cited, the First Begotten of all Creatures; wherein is signified the relation he hath to Creatures, which were all in their Primitive State, as it were Sons of God; whereas he is the First Begotten of all those Sons, who (as I may so say) are as it were the Sons of this First Begotten Son of God. And therefore in him all Things are said to consist or have their Existence; for that they did arise from him as Branches from the Root; yet so as that they still remain in him after a certain manner.
§.4. NOT as though they were equal to him, or of the same Nature with him, because then none of them could ever have degenerated, and been changed from Good into Evil; wherefore, they are of a Nature far inferior, in respect of the First Begotten; so that, to speak properly, they can never be changed into him, nor he into the Father. The highest pitch they can reach unto is this, that is to become more like unto him, as the Scripture declares: Whence our Sonship (who are but mere Creatures) is called Adoption.
§.1. That the Ancient Cabbalists acknowledged such a First Begotten Son of God, whom they called the Heavenly Adam, the First Adam, and great Priest. §.2. That Christ is a Medium between God, and all Creatures. §.3. That there is such a middle Being, is as demonstrable from the Principles of sound reason, as that there is a God. §.4. That God is immediately present, as well in Christ, as in all Creatures. §.5. That Christ is unchangeable unto Evil, and changeable unto Good; and so partakes both of Divinity and Creaturality, and also of Eternity and Time. §.6. That neither Christ, nor those that are perfectly united with him, are Subject to the Laws of Time, inasmuch as it denotes the Destruction of Things. §.7. In what sence we are said to depart out of Time, and to climb above it into a higher Region.
ALTHOUGH we have already, in the aforegoing Chapter, spoken a few things concerning the Son of God, who is the First Begotten of all Creatures; yet more remains to be said of this matter, very necessary for the right understanding of what follows; to which purpose we have here designed a peculiar Chapter.
§.1. BY the Son of God, the First Begotten of all Creatures, whom we Christians do call by the name of Jesus Christ, according to the Scriptures, as is above declared, not only is meant his Divinity, but also his Humanity, in Eternal Union with the Divinity; that is, as his Heavenly Humanity was united with the Divinity before the World was, and so by consequence before he came in the Flesh. Of whom the Ancient Cabbalists have delivered many things, viz. concerning the Son of God, how he was created, and of his Existence in the Order of Nature, before all Creatures; also that all receive Benediction and Sanctification in him, and by him, whom also in their Writings they call the Heavenly Adam, Adam Kadmon, or First Man, the Great Priest, Husband, or Spouse of the Church, as Philo Judæus calls the First Begotten Son of God.
§.2. THIS Son of God, the First Begotten of all Creatures, to wit, this Heavenly Adam, and Great Priest, as the Jewish Doctors call him, is properly a Medium between God and the Creatures. And that there is such a Middle Being, is as demonstrable as that there is a God; where is meant such a Being, which in its own Nature is indeed less than God, and yet greater and more excellent than all other Creatures; whence also for his Excellency he is properly called the Son of God. Concerning this Son of God, who is called by the Jews, Adam Kadmon, more may be seen in Kabbal. denudat. Tom. 1. Part. 1. p. 28, 30. Part 2. p. 33. following, 37 following. Part 3. p. 31. unto the 64. p. 37,---78, &c. And Kabb. denud. Tom. 2. Part 2. p. 244. And Tract. ult. p. 6, 7---26.
§.3. IN order to this Demonstration we must first consider the Nature or Being of God, the chiefest Being; and then the Nature and Essence of Creatures, which are to be compared one with another, whence this middle Nature will immediately discover it self to us. The Nature and Essence of God, as is shown in the preceeding Chapters, is altogether unchangeable, which not only the Holy Scriptures, but also the Strength of Reason which God hath indued our Minds with, sufficiently declares; For if there should be any Mutability in God, it must needs tend to some higher degree or measure of Goodness, and then he would not be the Chiefest Good, which is contradictory; for if any thing advances to a greater degree of Goodness, this wholly comes to pass by reason of some greater Being, of whose Vertue and Influence it doth participate: But there is no greater Being than God, and so by consequence he is no way meliorated, nor can become better than he is, much less decrese, which would argue an Imperfection; therefore it is manifest that God, or the Chiefest Being, is altogether unchangeable. Now seeing the Nature of Creatures is really distinct from the Nature of God, so that there are some Attributes of God, which are incommunicable to Creatures, among which is reckoned Immutability: Hence it necessarily follows that Creatures are changeable, or else they would be God himself: Moreover also daily experience teaches us that Creatures are changeable, and do continually vary from one State unto another; But there is a two-fold Mutability, the one whereof hath a Power in it of changing it self either unto Good or Evil; and this is common to all Creatures, but not to the First Begotten of all Creatures; the other is only a Power to proceed from Goodness to Goodness. Here is therefore a threefold Classis or rank of Beings: The First whereof is that which is wholly unchangeable: The Second changeable only to Good; so that that which in its own Nature is Good, may become yet better: The Third is that which though it was in its own Nature indeed Good; yet could be indifferently changed, as well into Good, as from Good into Evil. The first and last of these are Extreams; and the second is a Natural Medium between them, by which the Extreams are united, and this Medium partakes of both Extreams, and therefore is the most convenient and proper Medium; for it partakes of the one Extream, viz. Mutability, to wit, from Good to a greater degree or measure of Goodness, and of the other Extream, viz. that it is altogether unchangeable from Good into Evil; and such a Medium was necessarily required in the very Nature of Things; for otherwise there would remain a Chasm or Gap, and one Extream would be united with another, without a Medium, which is impossible, and repugnant to the Nature of Things, as appears in the whole Course of the Universe. By the Immutability of the Messias, here we must understand that which is Moral, not that which is Natural. There be some who object, Christ was tempted in vain, if he was naturally unchangeable. See. Matth. 4. 3. 17, 18. Chap. 4. 15. There are also more Arguments, merely Philosophical; of which in Philosophia Kabbal. (Kabbal. denud. Tom. 1. Part. 3. Dissert. 2. Chap. 1.) 13. are urged to prove that from the First Beginning, there flowed forth only one thing begun and perfected, which is also confirmed by the Authority of Ancient and Modern Philosophers, together with an Answer to the Objections made on the contrary.
§.4. THIS Middle Being is not to be understood in so gross a manner, as if it stood in a Middle Place, between two Extreams, as the Trunk of the Body is between the Head and Feet; but is a Medium in respect of its Nature, as Silver is Between Tinn and Gold, or Water between Air and Earth, which are but gross Comparisons in regard of the thing it self; neither can any one suppose the Son to be such a Medium between God and the Creatures, as though God was not immediately present in all his Creatures, and immediately filled all things; for he immediately operates in all things in a proper sence: But this is to be understood of that Union and Communion which Creatures have with God; so that although God immediately operates in all things, yet he uses this Medium as an Instrument, by which he co-operates in his Creatures; because it is, in regard of its Nature, more near unto them; and yet because he is more excellent than all other Productions, which we call Creatures, and that too in his own Nature. Hence it is, he is deservedly called the First Begotten of all Creatures, and the Son of God, rather than a Creature of God; and his Production is rather a Generation, or Emanation from God, than Creation, if the Word be taken in a strict sence; although, according to the larger sence and use of this Word, he may be said to be created or formed, as the Scripture somewhere speaketh of him: But if the thing it self be duly understood, 'tis needless to contend about Words: Yet nevertheless a Man's Son is rather said to be begotten of him, than made or created by him. Of an House, or a Ship, built or made by a Man, we do not say it is his Son, but his Work; because his Son is the Living Image and Similitude of himself, which cannot be said of an House or a Ship; So this first Production of God, ad extra, or, to without, is more fitly and properly term'd his Son than a Creature; because this is the Living Image of himself, and is greater, and more excellent than all Creatures. Now it follows that the Son himself must be immediately present in all these, that he may bless and benefit them. And seeing he is that true Medium, between God and the Creatures, he must needs exist within them, that so by his Operation he may stir them up to a Union with him: And seeing he is the most excellent Production of God, made ad extra, or to without, and the most perfect and express Image of him, he must needs be like unto God in all his Attributes, which without contradiction may be said to be communicated to him; and so by consequence he must necessarily be Omnipresent: Besides, if he were not present in all Creatures, there would wholly remain a Chasma, or wide Gap, between God, and the Creatures where he was not, which is absurd.
§.5. MOREOVER, as he is Partaker of the Immutability of God, and the Mutability of Creatures, and so a Medium between that, which is altogether unchangeable, and that which is altogether changeable, as partaking of both; so also he may be said to be a Partaker of Eternity (which is proper to God) and Time, (which is proper to Creatures;) and albeit it be said in the precedent Chapters, that nothing interceded between Eternity and Time, or between the Creatures, and the Will of God which created them. Time and Creatures are there to be taken in a larger sence, viz. with respect to all the Productions of God, made ad extra: So that this Middle Being is as well there comprehended as the rest: Neither can we conceive this Middle Being to be before Creatures in Time, but only in the order of Nature; so that indeed nothing of Time strictly taken hapned between the Creatures, and the All-Creating Power and Will of God that created them.
§.6. BUT if by Time, according to the common signification of the Word, we understand a succedaneous increase or decrease of Things, according to which they grow and increase unto a certain pitch or period, and then again fail from it, until they die or are changed into another State or Condition of Life; in this sence it may be positively affirmed, that neither this Middle Being, or any Creature perfectly united with the same, are subject to Time, or the Laws thereof; for the Laws of Time reach but unto a certain Period or Age; and when that Period is completed, then those things which are subject to Time decay and are consumed, and so die and are changed into quite another Species of Things, according to that old Saying of the Poet.
Tempus edax rerum, tuque invidiosa vetustasWhich may be thus Englished.
Thus Spiteful Age, and Time that eats up Things,
All Things consumes, and to Destruction brings.
And for this Reason Time is divided into Four Parts, according to the Age of a Man living in this World, which is Infancy, Youth, Manhood, and Old Age, even until Death; so that all things which are bounded with Time, are subject unto Death and Corruption, or are changed into another Species of things, as we see Water changed into Stones, Stones into Earth, and Earth into Trees, and Trees into Animals or Living Creatures: But in this most excellent Middle Being is neither Decay or Corruption; nor to speak properly hath Death any place in him: He is a most powerful and effectual Balsam, which can preserve all things from Death and Corruption, which are joined to him or united with him; so that here all things are perpetually new, springing up fresh and green; here is perpetual Youth without Old Age; and here is the Perfection of Old Age, to wit, great increase of Wisdom and Experience without any imperfection of Age. But when Christ came in the Flesh, and in that Body which he bare with him from Heaven; (for every created Spirit hath a certain Vehicle, either Terrestrial, Aereal, or Æthereal, as this was:) He took upon him somewhat of our Nature, and by consequence the Nature of all Things, (because the Nature of Man hath in it the Nature of all Creatures, whence also he is called the Microcosm;) which Nature having assumed in Flesh and Blood, he sanctified, that by that he might sanctifie all Things, and so was as that little Leaven that changed the whole Lump. He descended then within Time, and for a certain space or period, of his own accord subjected himself to the Laws of Time, so as to endure great Torments, even Death it self; but Death did not long detain him, for the Third Day he rose again, and this was the end of all his Sufferings, even of his Death and Burial, viz. that he might Heal, Cure, and Redeem his Creatures from Death and Corruption, which came upon them by the Fall, and so at length hereby put an end to Times, and elevate the Creatures above Times to himself, where he abideth, who is the same yesterday, today, henceforth, and for ever, without Decay, Death, or Corruption. In like manner, in his Spiritual and Internal Appearance in Man, whereby he purposeth to Save, Heal, and Redeem the Soul, he doth as it were, after a certain manner, subject himself to a kind of Death and Passion; and so for a certain space submits himself to the Laws of Time, that he might elevate the Souls of Men above Time, and Corruptibility to himself, wherein they receive Blessing, and grow from one degree of Goodness and Vertue unto another, in infinitum.
§.7. BY the same Reason, those who are come unto a perfect Union with Christ, are mounted up into a Region or Sphere of perfect Tranquility, where nothing is seen or perceived to move or compel; for although there exist the most swift and vehement Motions; yet nevertheless because the same do so uniformly, so equally, and harmoniously move without the least contrariety or disorder, they seem altogether to rest, whereof many Examples may be given in External Things: For indeed there are two kinds of Motion, which to our bodily sight seem to want Motion, viz. that which is exceeding quick and speedy, and that which is exceeding slow; so that the middle sort is only discernable by us. Now under Time, and the Laws, thereof, may be comprehended not only the Earth, and Earthly Things; but also the Sun, Moon, and Stars, and all the visible part of the World, together with more that is invisible: So that after a long Tract of Time, all those Things may be plainly changed into quite another Species of Things, and that by the same order and course of Divine Operation which God hath placed in all Creatures, as a Law or Justice, whereby in his Divine Wisdom he hath purposed to reward every Creature according to its Works: So now this may suffice to have been said concerning that most excellent Middle Being; of whom upon occasion farther mention may be made in the subsequent Pages.
§.1. That all Creatures in their own Nature are changeable. §.2. How far this Mutability may extend it self, whether unto the Beings of Things, or unto the manner of their Existence. §.3. That they are only Changeable in manner of Existence, and not in Essence. §.4. That there are but Three Kinds of Beings essentially distinct one from the other, viz. God the highest, Christ the medium, and the Creature the lowest. §.5. That this Distinction is very necessary, and keeps us from falling into Extreams on either Hand, whereof the one is Ranterism, and the other gross Ignorance, by which the Glory of the Divine Attributes is obscured and darkned. §.6. An example hereof. §.7. The Justice of God most gloriously appears in the Transmutation of Things out of one Species into another. §.8. That when the Spirit of a Man, through Impiety, shall change it self in to the Qualities and Conditions of a Beast, it is but Justice in God, that the said brutish Spirit should enter into the Body of a Beast, and there for a certain Time be punished. §.9. How many and diverse are the depraved and wicked Opinions concerning God, and how he is conceived to be in Men by those corrupt Opinions. §.10. Why the old World was destroyed by Water, and why this is to be destroyed by Fire, and that all Punishments are Medicinal. §.11. That every Creature is composed of Body and Spirit, and how every Creature hath in it more Bodies, and so likewise more Spirits, under one general governing Spirit, which hath the command over the rest.
§.1. THAT all Creatures in their own Nature are changeable, the distinction between God and Creatures, duly considered, evidently evinces, and the same is by daily experience confirmed. Now if any Creature be in its own Nature changeable, it hath this Mutability, as it is a Creature, and consequently all Creatures will have the same, according to that Rule: Whatsoever agrees to any thing as placed under this or that Species, agrees to all comprehended under the same Species; but Mutability agrees to a Creature (which is the most general name of that Species, under which all Creatures are comprehended,) and from thence it is manifest; for otherwise there would be no distinction between God and Creatures: For if any Creature were of it self, and in its own Nature unchangeable, that Creature would be God, because Immutability is one of his incommunicable Attributes.
§.2. NOW let us consider how far this Mutability may reach, or be extended; and, First, whether one Individual can be changed into another of the same or a different Species? This, I say, is impossible; for then the very Essences of Things would be changed, which would make a great confusion, not only in the Creatures, but in the Wisdom of God, which made all Things: As for Example: If this Man could be changed into that, viz. Paul into Judas, or Judas into Paul, then he that sinned would not be punished for his sin, but another in his stead, who was both Vertuous and Innocent; so then a Good Man would not receive the reward of his Vertue, but a Vicious Man in his stead: But if we suppose one good Man to be changed into another, as Paul into Peter, and Peter into Paul, Paul would not receive his own proper Reward, but Peter's nor Peter his, but Paul's, which would be a confusion, and unbecoming the Wisdom of God. Moreover, if the very individual Essences of Things could be changed one into another, it would follow, Creatures were not true in themselves; and so we could not be assured, nor have any certain knowledge of any thing; and then all the inbred Notions and Dictates of Truth, which Men generally find in themselves, would be false, and by consequence the Conclusions drawn from thence; for every true Science, or certainty of Knowledge, depends upon the Truth of the Objects, which are commonly called Veritates Objectivæ, or Objective Truths: If therefore these Objective Truths should be changed the one into the other, certainly the Truth of the Propositions depending thereon would be changed also; and so no Proposition could be unchangeably true, no not the most clear and obvious as these are; the whole is greater than its part, and two halves make a whole.
§.3. THE Second Thing to be considered, is, Whether one Species of Things can be changed into another? Where we must diligently observe after what manner the Species of Things are distinguished one from another; for there be many Species of Things, which are commonly so called, and yet in Substance or Essence differ not one from another, but in certain Manners or Properties, and when those Modes or Properties are changed, that thing is said to have changed its Species: Now whether or no this be not a certain manner of Existence, and not the Essence or Being of the Thing it self that is so changed? As when Water indeed is not changed, but remains the same, and cold coagulates it, which before was fluid: When Water is changed into a Stone, certainly there is no reason, why we should here suppose a greater change of its Substance, than in the former Example of Water turned into Ice. And again when a Stone is changed into soft and tender Earth, here is made no change of its Substance; and so in all other Mutations which we observe in Things, the Substance or Essence always remains the same, and there is only a change of Modus or Manner; so that when a Thing ceases to be after this manner, it then begins to be after another manner. And indeed the same Reasons do prove, that one Species essentially or substantially distinct from another, cannot be changed into another, even as one Individual cannot be changed into another: For the Species of Things are nothing else but Individuals digested, or comprehended, under one general Idea of the Mind, or common Term of speaking: As a Man, inasmuch as he is a Species, comprehends under him all the Individuals of Men; and a Horse is a Species, comprehending every individual Horse. Now if one Man cannot be changed into another, much less can this Man be changed into another Individual of a differing Species. For Example: If Alexander cannot be changed into Darius, he cannot be changed into his own Horse Bucephalus.
§.4. IN order to know how far the Mutations of Things can reach, we must examine how many Species of Things there be, which as to Substance or Essence are distinct one from another; and if we diligently inquire thereinto, we shall find only Three, as before was said, viz. God, Christ, and the Creatures, and that these Three in respect of Essence, are really distinct one from another, is already proved; but there can be no Reason alledged to prove, that there is any Fourth kind of Being distinct from the other Three; yea, a Fourth kind of Being seems wholly superfluous: And because all the Phænomena in the whole Universe may be sufficiently resolved into these Three before-mentioned, as into their proper and original Causes, there is no necessity to acknowledge any other, according to this Rule: (Which if rightly understood, it is most true and certain) Beings are not to be multiplied without necessity; for seeing the Three before-mentioned remove all the Specifical Differences in Substance, which possibly can be conceived in our Minds; and so by these alone is that vast and infinite possibility of Things filled up: How then can there be room or place found for a Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, or Seventh Being? And that it is performed by these Three is already before demonstrated; to wit, that whatsoever can be in any wise called a Being, the same is either wholly unchangeable, and such is God the Supreme Being, or is wholly changeable, viz. to good, or evil, and such is the creature or lowest being, or that which is partly unchangeable, viz. in respect of Evil, or partly changeable, to wit, in respect of Good; by which is understood Christ, the Son of God; that Middle Being between God and the Creatures; into what Classis or Rank therefore shall we bring a certain Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, or Seventh Being, &c. which is neither wholly changeable, nor wholly unchangeable; nor partly changeable, nor partly unchangeable: Besides, he that supposeth a certain Fourth Being, essentially or substantially distinct from the three before-mentioned, overthrows that most excellent Order we find in the universality of Things, to wit, that there is not only one Medium between God and the Creatures, but two, three, four, five, six, or as many as can be supposed between first and latter. Moreover, it is very consentaneous to sound Reason, and so also to the Order of Things, that as God is but One, neither hath he two, three, or more distinct Substances in him; and Christ but one Christ, neither hath in him more distinct Substances, inasmuch as he is the heavenly Man, and very First Adam; so likewise the Creature, or whole Creation, is but one only Substance or Essence in Specie, although it comprehends many Individuals placed in their subordinate Species, and indeed in Manner, but not in Substance or Essence distinct one from another. And so that which Paul speaketh concerning Man, may in like manner be understood of all Creatures, (who in their Original State were a certain Species of Man so called for their Excellencies, as hereafter shall be shown;) to wit, that God made all Nations, or Armies of Creatures, out of one Blood: And certainly here the reason of both is the same; for as God made all Nations out of one Blood, to the end they might love each other, and stand in a mutual Sympathy, and help each other; so hath he implanted a certain Universal Sympathy and mutual Love in Creatures, as being all Members of one Body, and (as I may so say) Brethren, having one common Father, to wit, God in Christ, or the Word made Flesh; and so also one Mother, viz. that Substance or Essence alone, out of which they proceeded, and whereof they are real Parts and Members; and albeit Sin hath in a wonderful Manner impaired this Love and Sympathy, yet it hath not destroyed it.
§.5. THOSE Three distinct Beings, before-mentioned, being granted, and no more, which are wholly inconvertible the one into the other, we shall tread in a secure path, in the mid-way of Truth, leaving those grand Errors and Confusions about Entity, both on the Right Hand and the Left: For, First, there are some, who teach, that there is but one Being of all Things, whereof the Creatures are real and proper Parts, and these confound God and the Creatures together, as though both were but one single Essence; so that Sin and Devils would be nothing else but Parts, or at least Modifications of that Divine Being, from whence do arise very dangerous Consequences. Although I would not have it mis-interpreted to those who are unwarily faln into this Opinion; yet I would warn the Reader, that he may the better consider whereunto such Principles tend, and avoid their absurdity. There are others again who allow only two Species of Things, viz. God the Supreme Being, wholly unchangeable; and the Creature the lowest Being, wholly changeable; but these do not duly consider that excellent Order by us above described, which is apparent in all Things; because else peradventure they would have taken notice, that besides these Two Extreams, there is a certain Medium, which is partaker of both, and this is Jesus that Christ, whom not only the wiser sort of the Jews, but also some among the Gentiles so called, have acknowledged, viz. maintaining that there is such a Medium, which they called by divers Names, as Logos, the Son of God, the First Begotten of God, Mind, Wisdom, Heavenly Adam &c. So that some also do call him the Eternal Medium: Which Things, if duly considered, may not a little conduce to the propagation and furthering of the true Faith, and Christian Religion, among the Jews, as well as Turks, and other Infidel Nations; that is to say, if it appears we are able to prove that there is a Mediator between God and Man; yea, between God and all Creatures, by as solid Reasons as those are, which prove God to be a Creator: And so they that believe on that, may be said truly to believe on Christ Jesus, though they should not as yet have known, or been convicted, that he came in the Flesh: For if they yield to the former, they will undoubtedly be forced (if ingenious) whether they will or no, to grant the latter. Others there are, who do as it were infinitely multiply the Specifical Beings of Things, in their distinct Essences and Essential Attributes; which wholly subverts that excellent Order of Things, and greatly obscures and darkens the Glory of the Divine Attributes, so that it cannot shine forth in its due Splendor and Brightness in the Creatures: For so every Creature is so exceeding straitly bounded, and strictly included and imprisoned within the narrow limits of its own Species, that the Mutability of Creatures is wholly taken away: Neither can any Creature variously exercise any greater participation of Divine Goodness, or be advanced or promoted to any farther perfection.
§.6. ALL which we shall demonstrate by one or two Examples: And First, let us take an Horse, which is a Creature indued with divers degrees of perfection by his Creator, as not only strength of Body, but (as I may so say) a certain kind of knowledge, how he ought to serve his Master, and moreover also Love, Fear, Courage, Memory, and divers other Qualities which are in Man: which also we may observe in a Dog, and many other Animals: Seeing therefore the Divine Power, Goodness, and Wisdom, hath created every Creature good; and indeed so, that it might by continual augmentations (in its Mutability) be advanced to a greater degree of Goodness, ad infinitum, whereby the Glory of those Attributes do more and more shine forth: And seeing such is the Nature of every Creature, that it is always in Motion or Operation, which doth most certainly tend unto an higher degree of Goodness, as the Reward and Fruit of its Labour; unless the Creatures hinder that good by a voluntary Transgression, and abuse of that indifferency of Will which God placed in them in their Creation. Now I demand, unto what higher perfection and degree of Goodness, the Being or Essence of an Horse doth or may attain after he hath done good service for his Master, and so performed his Duty, and what is proper for such a Creature? Is a Horse then a mere Fabrick or dead Matter? or hath he a Spirit in him, having Knowlege, Sence, and Love, and divers other Faculties and Properties of a Spirit? if he hath, which cannot be denied, what becomes of this Spirit when the Horse dies? if it be said it passeth into Life, and takes upon it another Body of an Horse, so that it becomes a Horse as before, which Horse may be stronger and fairer, and of a more excellent Spirit than before. Very well! But if he shall die, two, three, or four times, &c. shall he always remain a Horse, though he be still better, and more excellent, by how much the oftner his Spirit revolves. Now I demand, whether the Spirit of an Horse hath in it such infinite perfection, that a Horse may always become better and better ad infinitum, and yet so as to remain a Horse? For as the common received Opinion is, this visible Earth shall not always remain in the same State, which may be confirmed by undeniable Reasons: Now it necessarily follows, that the continual Generation of Animals in these gross Bodies shall cease also; for if the Earth shall take on it another Form, neither any longer bring forth Grass, Horses and other Animals shall cease to be such as they were before: And seeing they want their proper Aliment, they cannot remain in the same Species; yet nevertheless they are not annihilated, as may be easily conceived; for how can any thing be annihilated, seeing the Goodness of God towards his Creatures always remains the same; and the conservation or continuation of Creatures is a continued Creation, as is generally granted, and already before demonstrated, that God is a perpetual Creator; and as he is the most free, so also the most necessary Agent: But if it be denied, that the Earth is unchangeable, as before was said, then it will come to pass that Horses and other Animals, according to their proportion, will be in like manner changed with the Earth, and the Earth according to the same proportion, will again produce or yield them Aliment or Food agreeable to their changed condition; then I demand, Whether they shall always remain in the same Species under such a change? Or, whether there will not be some difference between that State and this? As for Example: There is between a Cow and a Horse, which is commonly granted to be Specifical. Again, I ask whether the Species of Creatures do so infinitely one excel another, that an Individual of one particular Species may still go forward in perfection, and approach nearer unto another Species, but yet never reach so far as to be changed into that Species? As for instance: An Horse in divers Qualities and Perfections draws near unto the Nature and Species of a Man, and that more than many other Creatures; Is therefore the nature of a Man distant from the Nature of an Horse, by Infinite Degrees, or by Finite only? If by Finite, then certainly a Horse may in length of Time be in some measure changed into a Man, (I mean his Spirit; as for his Body that is a thing evident:) If infinitely distant; then unto any Man, even one of the vilest and basest Nature and Disposition, may be attributed a certain Infinite Excellence in Act, such as only agrees to God and Christ, but to no Creature; for the highest Excellence of a Creature is to be Infinite only, in potentia, not in actu; that is, to be still in a possibility of attaining a greater Perfection and Excellence, ad infinitum, though it can never reach this Infinite; for how far soever any Finite Being may proceed, yet that is still Finite, although there be no limits to its progression: As for Example: If we could ever come to the least Minute of Eternity, or the like part of Infinite Duration, that would not be Infinite, but Finite: Neither do we herein contradict what is delivered in the Third Chapter, of the Infiniteness of Creatures; for it is not meant of their Infinite Goodness and Excellence, but in respect only of Multitude and Magnitude; so that the one cannot be numbred, nor the other measured, by the comprehension of any created Intellect: Yet the Individuals of Creatures, are always but Finitely good, and Finitely distant, quoad Species, or as to Species; and only potentially Infinite; that is, always capable of farther perfection without end. As if there should be supposed a certain Ladder, which should be infinitely long, containing Infinite Steps, yet those Steps are not infinitely distant one from another, otherwise there could be no ascension nor descension made thereon; for Steps (in this Example) signifie the various Species of Things, which cannot be infinitely distant one from another, or from those which are next unto them; yea daily experience teaches us, that the Species of divers Things are changed, one into another, as Earth into Water, and Water into Air, and Air into Fire or Æther; and the contrary, as Fire into Air, and Air into Water, &c. which yet are distinct Species of Things; and so also Stones are changed into Metals, and one Metal into another; but least some should say these are only naked Bodies and have no Spirit, we shall observe the same not only in Vegetables, but also in Animals, like as Barly and Wheat are convertible the one into the other, and are in very deed often so changed, which is well enough known to House-keepers in many Provinces, and especially in Hungary, where if Barley be sown Wheat springs up instead thereof; but in other places more barren, and especially in Rocky Places, such as are found in Germany, if Wheat be sown, Barley cometh up, and Barley in other places becomes mere Grass: And in Animals, Worms are changed into Flies, and Beasts, and Fishes that feed on Beasts, and Fishes of a different kind, do change them into their own Nature, and Species: And doth not also a corrupted Nature, or the Body of Earth and Water, produce Animals without any previous Seed of those Animals? And in the Creation of this World, did not the Waters at the Command of God, produce Birds and Fishes? And did not the Earth also at the same Command bring forth Beasts and Creeping Things; which for that Cause were real and proper Parts of the Earth and Waters? And as they had their Bodies from the Earth, so likewise they had their Spirits or Souls from the same; for the Earth brought forth Living Souls, as the Hebrew Text speaketh, but not mere Corporeal Figures, wanting Life and Soul; wherefore there is a very remarkable difference between Humane Creatures and Brutes: Of Man it is said, God made him after his own Image, and breathed into him the Breath of Life, and he became a Living Soul; so that from hence Man received his Life, that principal part of him, (by which he is become a Man,) which is really distinct from that Divine Soul or Spirit which God breathed into him.
And seeing the Body of Man was made out of the Earth, which (as is proved) had therein divers Spirits, and gave Spirits to all Brute Beasts; then unto Man, no doubt, she committed the best and most excellent Spirits whom he was to contain; but all these Spirits were of a far inferiour Species, in regard of the Spirit of Man, which he received from above, and not from the Earth: And the Spirit of Man ought to have Dominion over these Spirits, (which were all but Earthly,) so as to subdue them to himself, and exalt them to an higher degree, (viz.) into his own proper Nature, and that would have been his true Increase and Multiplication; for all this he suffered the Earthly Spirits existing within him, to get Dominion over him, and so became like them; wherefore it is said, Earth thou art, and unto Earth thou shalt return, which hath no less a Spiritual than a Literal Signification.
§.7. NOW we see how gloriously the Justice of God appears in this Transmutation of Things out of one Species into another; and that there is a certain Justice which operates not only in Men and Angels, but in all Creatures, is most certain; and he that doth not observe the same may be said to be utterly Blind: For this Justice appears as well in the Ascension of Creatures, as in their Descension; that is, when they are changed into the better, and when into the worse; when into the better, this Justice distributes to them the Reward and Fruit of their Good Deeds; when into the worse, the same punishes them with due Punishments, according to the Nature and Degree of the Transgression. And the same Justice hath given a Law to all Creatures, and written the same on their Natures; and every Creature whatsoever, that transgresseth this Law, is punished for it: But that Creature that observes and keeps it, hath this Reward, viz., to become better. So under the Law which God gave to the Jews, if a Beast killed a Man, that Beast was to be slain; and the Life of Man is said to be required at the Hand of every Beast, Gen. 9. 5. And if any one had to do with a Beast, not only the Man, but the Beast, was to be slain; so not only the Woman and her Husband did receive Sentence and Punishment from God after their Transgression, but the Serpent also, which was the brutish part in Man, which he took from the Earth. God hath also put the same instinct of Justice in Man, towards Beasts and Trees of the Field; for whosoever he be that is a good and just Man, the same loves his Beasts that serve him, and taketh care of them that they have their Food and Rest, and what else is wanting to them; and this he doth not do only for his own profit, but out of a Principle of true Justice; for should he be so cruel to them as to require their Labour, and yet deny them their necessary Food, then certainly he transgresseth that Law which God hath written on his Heart; and if he kills any of them, only to fulfil his own pleasure, he acts unjustly, and the same measure will again be measured unto him; so likewise a Man that hath a certain Fruitful Tree in his Orchard, that prospereth well, he dungs and cleanses the same, that it may wax better and better; but if it be barren, and incumbers the ground, then he heweth it down with an Ax, and burns it with Fire. And so here is a certain Justice in all these, as in all the Transmutation of Things from one Species into another, whether it be by ascending from the Ignobler or Baser unto the Nobler, or by descending into the contrary, there may be found the same Justice: For Example: Is it not just and equitable, if a Man on Earth liveth a pure and Holy Life, like unto the Heavenly Angels, that he should be exalted to an Angelical Dignity after Death, and be like unto them, over whom also the Angels rejoice? But if a Man here on Earth lives so wickedly and perversly, that he is more like a Devil raised from Hell than any other Creature, if he dies in such a State without Repentance, Shall not the same Justice tumble him down to Hell? and shall not such deservedly become like Devils, even as those who led an Angelical Life are made equal with the Angels? But if a Man hath neither lived an Angelical or Diabolical, but a Brutish, or at least-wise an Animal or Sensual Life on Earth; so that his Spirit is more like the Spirit of a Beast than any other thing: Shall not the same Justice most justly cause, that as he is become a Brute, as to his Spirit; whilst he hath left the Dominion of his more excellent Part, to that Brutish Part and Spirit within him, that he also (at least, as to his External Form, in bodily Figure) should be changed into that Species of Beasts, to whom he was inwardly most like, in Qualities and Conditions of Mind? And seeing this Brutal Spirit is now become Superior and Predominant in him, and holds the other Captive, is it not very probable, when such a Man dies, that the very same Brutish Spirit shall still have Dominion in him, and carry the Human Soul with it whithersoever it pleaseth, and compel it to be subservient unto it? And when the said Brutish Spirit returns again into some Body, and hath now Dominion over that Body, so that its Plastick Faculty hath the Liberty of forming a body, after its own Idea and Inclination, (which before, in the Humane Body, it had not;) it necessarily follows, that the Body, which this Vital Spirit forms, will be Brutal, and not Humane; for the Brutal Spirit cannot produce and form any other Figure: Because its Plastick Faculty is governed of its Imagination, which it doth most strongly imagine to its self, or conceive its own proper Image; which therefore the External Body is necessarily forced to assume.
§.8. HEREIN the Justice of God marvellously appears, whilst he assigns to every Kind and Degree of Transgression its due and proper Punishment; neither doth he sentence every Sin and Transgression to Hell-Fire, and the Punishment due unto Devils; for Christ hath taught the contrary, in that Parable, where he sheweth the Third Degree only is Doom'd to Infernal Punishment, (viz.) if one say to his Brother: Thou Fool!
What can be here objected against the Justice of God? If it be said it doth too much lessen and disparage the Dignity and Nobility of Humane Nature, to suppose the same with respect to Body and Soul, convertible into the Nature of a Brute. To this I Answer, according to the common Maxim, Corruptio optimi fit pessima, The best Things by Corruption become the worst: For seeing Man by his voluntary Transgression hath so exceedingly polluted and brought down his own Nature (which was so Noble) into a far worse State and Condition, that the same could wax as vile and base in Spirit as the most unclean Beast or Animal; so that he is become as subject to Earthly Concupiscences and Desires, as any Beast; yea, is become worse than any Beast: What Injustice will this be, if God should also compel him to bear that Image outwardly in his Body, into the which he hath inwardly transformed himself? Or, which thinkest thou is the worst Degeneration, to bear the Image of a Beast in Spirit, or in Body? Certainly, every one will say, to be like a Beast in Spirit is far the greatest Degeneration; and there is not one, who is indued with true Nobility of Mind, who will not confess, that, to be like a Beast inwardly, is worse than to be like the same outwardly; for to be one with him in Spirit, is far worse than to be one with him in External Form and Figure of Body: But if any one shall say this Punishment is too little for such a Man, who hath lived all his Days a Brutish Life, if after Death he shall only return to the State or Condition of some Beast; let such know, that the most just Creator and Maker of all Things is wiser than he, and knows best what Punishment is due unto every particular Sin; who hath also so most justly and wisely disposed all Things, that no Man that lives carnally, and after the manner of Beasts, can enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; and so also the Doctrine of Christ expressly informs us, that all Sins are not to be punished with the pains of Hell: And that where the Treasure is, there is the Heart also, and the Spirit of Man: Also if a Man is joyn'd or united with any Thing, that then he becomes unum quid, or one with the same; and that he that cleaves to the Lord is one with him in Spirit; and he that cleaves to a Harlot is one Flesh with her. Why then doth not he that cleaves to a Beast, by the same reason, become one with a Beast? And so in all other cases: For to whom any one yields himself in obedience, the same is his Master, so far as he obeys him; as the Scripture saith. Moreover also it is said, With what measure soever ye mete, the same shall be meted unto you: As if it should have said, All Kinds and Degrees of Sin, have their proper Punishments, and all these Punishments tend to the Creatures Advantage; so that Grace prevails over Judgment, and Judgment is turned into Victory to the Salvation and Restoration of the Creature: For seeing the Grace of God is extended over all his Works, Why should we think God a more severe and rigid Master to his Creatures than indeed he is? Seeing this doth wonderfully obscure and darken the Glory of the Divine Attributes; neither doth it beget a Love towards God, and an Admiration of his Goodness and Justice in the Hearts of Men, as it ought to be; but the plain contrary.
§.9. FOR that common Notion of the Justice of God, that every Sin, how small soever it be, shall be punished with Hell Fire, and that without all end, begets in Men an horrible Idea or Conception concerning God; to wit, as though he were a cruel Tyrant towards all his Creatures rather than a Gracious Father: But if the lovely Image of God was more known unto Men, such as indeed he is, and manifesteth himself in all his Dispensations to his Creatures; and if our Souls could inwardly feel and tast him, viz. as he is Charity and Goodness it self, and as he inwardly reveals himself, by the Light and Spirit of Christ Jesus our Lord, in the Hearts of Men; then indeed, and not till then, would Men come to Love God above all things, and acknowledge him to be, beyond all, the most Lovely, Just, and Merciful, who may not punish all Sinners with an equal Punishment.
§.10. AND moreover also, Why did he drown the old World with Water, and hath proposed to destroy this with Fire? Such as was that of Sodom: but that he would show, that for divers kinds of Sin, divers sorts of Punishment are to be inflicted: And that the old World was indeed wicked, but that which is to be destroyed with fire is worse, which for that reason will have the greater Judgment.
But the different nature of these transgressions, for which those different punishments are prepared, seem to consist in this; that the sins of the old World were more brutish and carnal, as the word of God doth seem to point out, when he saith, My Spirit shall not always strive with Man; because he is become Flesh; that is, he is become perfectly Brutish or Bestial, by obeying the desires of the Flesh: So that unless this Generation had been cut off, all Mankind (except Noah and his Family) in the succeeding Generation, would have become Bestial, which Evil God would prevent, by drowning them with the Waters, that by this Punishment they might be reduced from the Brutish Nature to the nature of Men: But the Sins of this World, which like !<-- So- dom --> Sodom is to be destroyed with Fire, seem in their own Nature, to be more like the Sins of Devils, than any thing else, (viz.) by reason of Craft, Deceit, Malice, Hostility, and Cruelty; and therefore their proper Punishment is Fire, which also is the Original Principle of those Noble Spirits so greatly degenerated; and so they ought deservedly by the same to be restored and regenerated: For what is Fire, but a certain kind of imperfect Æthereal Substance shut up in combustible Bodies? as we observe the same still to mount upwards, and by reason of its notable thinness immediately to vanish: From which Æthereal Substance, as well Angels as Men, have their Original, quoad Spiritus, or, as to their Spirits; as the Brutal Nature hath its Original from Water. But as all the Punishments, God inflicts on his Creatures, have some proportion with their Sins; so all these Punishments (the worst not excepted) do tend to their Good and Restoration, and so are Medicinal, that by them these diseased Creatures may be cured and restored to a better condition than before they enjoyed.
§.11. NOW therefore let us examine, how every Creature is composed, and how the parts of its composition may be converted the one into the other; for that they have originally one and the same Essence, or Being.
In every visible Creature there is a Body and a Spirit, or Principium magis Activum, & magis Passivum, or, more Active and more Passive Principle, which may fitly be termed Male and Female, by reason of that Analogy a Husband hath with his Wife. For as the ordinary Generation of Men requires a Conjunction and Co-operation of Male and Female; so also all Generations and Productions whatsoever they be, require an Union, and conformable Operation of those Two Principles, to wit, Spirit and Body; but the Spirit is an Eye or Light beholding its own proper Image, and the Body is a Tenebrosity or Darkness receiving that Image, when the Spirit looks thereinto, as when one sees himself in a Looking-Glass; for certainly he cannot so behold himself in the Transparent Air, nor in any Diaphanous Body, because the reflexion of an Image requires a certain opacity or darkness, which we call a Body: Yet to be a Body is not an Essential Property of any Thing; as neither is it a Property of any Thing to be dark; for nothing is so dark that it cannot be made Light; yea, the Darkness it self may become Light, as the Light which is created may be turned into Darkness, as the Words of Christ do fully evince, when he saith, If the Light which is in thee be darkness, &c. where he means the Eye or Spirit which is in the Body, which beholdeth the Image of any Thing: Therefore as every Spirit hath need of a Body, that it may receive and reflect its Image, so also it requires a Body to retain the same; for every Body hath this retentive Nature, either more or less in it self; and by how much the perfecter a Body is, that is, more perfectly mix'd, so much the more retentive is it, and so Water is more retentive than Air, and Earth of some Things is more retentive than Water.
But the Seed of a Female Creature, by reason of its so perfect mixture; for that it is the purest Extraction of the whole Body, hath in it a noble retention: And in this Seed, as a Body, the Male Seed, which is the Image and Spirit of the Male, is received and retained, together with other Spirits which are in the Female; and therefore whatsoever Spirit is then strongest, and hath the strongest Image or Idea in the Seed, whether it be the Masculine or the Feminine, or any other Spirit from either of these received from without, that Spirit is predominant in the Seed, and forms the Body, as near as may be, after its own Image, and so every Creature receives his External Form. And after the same manner also, the Internal Productions of the Mind, viz. Thoughts are generated, which according to their Kind are true Creatures, and have a true Substance, proper to themselves, being all our Internal Children, and all of them Male and Female, that is, they have Body and Spirit; for if they had not a Body, they could not be retained, nor could we reflect on our own proper Thoughts; for every reflection is made by a certain Tenebrosity or Darkness, and this is a Body; so the Memory requires a Body, to retain the Spirit of the Thing thought on, otherwise it would vanish as the Image in a Glass, which presently vanishes, the Object being removed. And so likewise, when we remember any Body, we see his Image in us, which is a Spirit that proceeded from him, whilst we beheld him from without; which Image or Spirit is retained in Some Body, which is the Seed of our Brain, and thence is made a certain Spiritual Generation in us: And so every Spirit hath its Body, and every Body its Spirit; and as the Body, sc. of a Man or Beast, is nothing else but an innumerable multitude of Bodies, compacted together into one, and disposed into a certain order; so likewise the Spirit of a Man, or Beast, is a certain innumerable multitude of Spirits united together in the said Body, which have their Order and Government so, that there is one Captain, or Chief Governor, another a Lieutenant, and another hath a certain kind of Government under him, and so through the whole, as it is wont to be in an Army of Soldiers; wherefore the Creatures are called Armies, and God the God of Hosts, as the Devil which possessed the Man was called Legion, because there were many of them; so that every Man; yea, every Creature, consists of many Spirits and Bodies; (many of these Spirits which exist in Man) are called by the Hebrews, Nizzuzoth, or Sparks. See in Kabbal. denud. Tom. 2. Part 2. Tract. de revolutionibus animarum, Cap. 2. & seq. p. 256, 268, &c.) And indeed every Body is a Spirit, and nothing else, neither differs any thing from a Spirit, but in that it is more dark; therefore by how much the thicker and grosser it is become, so much the more remote is it from the degree of a Spirit, so that this distinction is only modal and gradual, not essential or substantial.
§.1. That every Body may be turned into a Spirit, and a Spirit into a Body; because the distinction between Body and Spirit is only in Modo, not in Essentia: The reason hereof is taken, first, from the Order of Things abovesaid, which consists only in Three. And that the worst of Creatures; yea, the most cursed Devils, after many and long-continued Torments, shall at length return to a State of Goodness. Moreover, that all this hardness and grossness of Bodies, came from a certain Fall, which therefore shall in time return to a state of softness and subtility. §.2. The Second Reason is drawn from the Divine Attributes, whereof some are communicable to his Creatures. §.3. The Third Reason, is drawn from the love which the Spirits have to their Bodies. §.4. That to be penetrable and indiscerpible is as truly attributed to Bodies, as to Spirits; and to be impenetrable and discerpible agrees as well to Spirits as to Bodies; for that the difference is Gradual and not Essential; And that no Creature, or Created Spirit, can be intimately present in any Creature, because Intrinsick Presence only pertains to God and Christ; and therefore that Philosophical Penetration of Created Spirits, in regard of Bodies, is a mere Scholastick Fiction.
NOW that I may more clearly demonstrate, that every Body is a certain Spirit or Life in its own Nature, and that the same is a certain intelligent Principle, having Knowledge, Sense, Love, Desire, Joy, and Grief; as it is this or that way affected; and by consequence hath Activity and Motion, per se; so that it can remove it self whithersoever it desires to be: I say, in its own Nature, wherein it was originally created, and as it shall be again, when it shall be reduced to its primitive State, and delivered from that Confusion and Vanity, to which it is subject by reason of Sin. I shall produce these following Reasons. (Of the Nature of Matter and Spirit, more may be seen in Kabbal. denud. Tom. 1. Part 2. p. 308. unto. p. 312. and Tom. 2. Treatise ult. pag. 6. 28, 29, 32.)
§.1. THE first hereof shall be from the Order of Things, before-mentioned, which I have already proved to be but Three; to wit, God the Supreme or Chiefest, Christ the Medium or Middle, and the Creature the lowest in Order; which Creature is but one Essence or Substance, as to Nature or Essence, as is above demonstrated, so that it only differs secundum modos existendi; or, according to the manners of existence; among which one is Corporiety; whereof also there are many degrees; so that a Thing may more or less approach to, or recede from the State and Condition of a body or a Spirit; but because a Spirit (between these two) is more excellent in the Natural Order of Things, and by how much the more a Creature is a Spirit, (if at least wise it doth not any otherwise degenerate) so much the nearer it approaches to God, who is the chiefest Spirit. Hence a Body may always be more and more Spiritual, ad infinitum; because God who is the First and Supreme Spirit is Infinite, and doth not nor cannot partake of the least Corporiety; whence such is the Nature of a Creature, unless it degenerates, that it always draws nearer and nearer unto God in likeness: But because there is no Being, which is every way contrary to God, (viz. there is no Being, which is infinitely and unchangeably Evil, as God is infinitely and unchangeably Good; nothing infinitely Dark, as God is infinitely Light; nor any thing infinitely a Body, having nothing of Spirit, as God is infinitely a Spirit, having nothing of Body;) hence it is manifest that no Creature can become more and more a Body, ad infinitum, although the same may become more and more a Spirit, ad infinitum, and nothing can become infinitely more dark, though it may become infinitely more light: By the same reason nothing can be Evil ad infinitum, although it may become more and more Good ad infinitum: And so indeed, in the very Nature of Things, there are limits or bounds to Evil; but none unto Good. And after the same manner, every degree of Sin or Evil hath its Punishment, Grief, and Chastisement annexed to it, in the very Nature of the Thing, by which the Evil is again changed into Good; which Punishment or Correction, though it be not presently perceived of the Creature, when it Sins, yet is reserved in those very Sins which the same committeth, and in its due time will appear; and then every Sin will have its Punishment, and so the Pain and Chastisement will be felt of the Creature, and by that the Creature will be again restored unto its former State of Goodness, in which it was created, and from which it cannot fall or slide any more; because by its great Chastisement it hath acquired a greater Strength and Perfection; and so is ascended so far above that indifferency of Will, which before it had to Good or Evil, that it Wills only that which is Good, neither is any more capable to Will any Evil. See Kabbal. denud. Tom. 2. Tract. ult. p. 61, §. 9. p. 69., §. 21. and 70., §. 5. & ibid. Tract. 2. p. 157.
And hence may be inferred, that all the Creatures of God, which heretofore degenerated and fell from their primitive Goodness, must after certain periods be converted and restored, not only to as good, but unto a better State than that was in which they were created: For Divine Operation cannot cease: And hence it is the Nature of every Creature to be still in Motion, and always to change either from Good to Good, or from Good into Evil, or from Evil again into Good; and because it cannot proceed infinitely to Evil, for that there is no Infinite Example thereof, hence it must necessarily return or slide into Eternal Silence, which is contrary to the Nature of it. But if it be said, it goes into Eternal Torments, I Answer, If by Eternal thou meanest an Infiniteness of Ages, which shall never cease, that is impossible; because every Pain and Torment excites or stirs up an operating Spirit and Life in every thing which suffers; as we observe by continued Experience, and Reason teacheth us, that of necessity it must be so; because through Pain, and the enduring thereof, every kind of crassitude or grossness in Spirit or Body contracted is attenuated, and so the Spirit captivated or detained in that grossness or crassitude is set at Liberty, and made more Spiritual, and consequently more Active and Operative, through suffering. Now seeing a Creature cannot proceed infinitely to Evil, nor slide down into Inactivity or Silence, nor yet also into mere Eternal Passion, it uncontestably follows, that it must at length return unto Good; and by how much the greater its Sufferings are, so much the sooner shall it return and be restored. And so we see how a Thing (the same Substance still remaining) may be marvellously changed in respect of the manners of its Existence; so that a certain Holy and Blessed Spirit, or Angel of Light, could by his voluntary Action, become a Wicked and Cursed Spirit of Darkness; which Change, or Metamorphosis, certainly is as great as if a Spirit were changed into a Body. And if it be here demanded, Whether those Spirits became more Corporeal by their Transgression, than they were in their Primitive State before they fell? I answer, Yes; but because, as I have already shown, that a Spirit is capable of Corporiety, Secundum majus & minus, or more and less; although not infinitely, yet in many degrees. Hence it is, they could remain for many Ages, and have nothing of such a Corporeal Crassitude, as Things in this visible World have, such as are hard Stones, or Metals, or the Bodies of Men and Women: For certainly the Bodies of the worst Spirits have not such a Crassitude as any visible body, and yet all that grossness of visible Bodies came from the Fall of Spirits from their First State: And so the Spirits after long and various periods, could contract this grossness to themselves, although they could not together, and at one and the same time fall into a universal grossness, so that the whole Body of any fallen Spirit should be in all its parts equally gross; but some parts become grosser and grosser, and the other Corporeal parts of this Spirit (which are its immediate Vehicle, and wherewith it is most intimately united) retain a certain Tenuity or Subtility, without which the Spirit could not be so moveable and active as otherwise it would; and with these subtiler and more tenuious Parts of the Body, the principal Spirit (together with its ministring Spirits, so many of them as it can possibly gather together) departs out of those thicker Parts of the Body, which it leaves as so many cadaverous Bodies, which are no longer fit to serve the said Spirits in those Operations which they exercise in their present State.
And we may observe this departure of the subtiler and stronger Spirits, out of the harder and grosser parts of the Body, into the more soft and tenuious, in a certain Spirituous Liquor, which is congealed with great cold, where the stronger Spirits (forsaking the harder Parts which are outward, and chiefly exposed to the cold) do gather themselves into the middle Part of the Body, which is always subtile and thin, so that one only drop of that Liquor (which is not congealed, but remaineth still liquid in the innermost Part of the congealed Body) hath in it the augmented force of all those Parts which are congealed; so that here is a two fold grossness and hardness of Bodies, the one palpable and visible to our External Senses; the other invisible and impalpable, which nevertheless is as gross as the other, yea, often grosser and harder, which may be truly perceived by the Internal Senses, although the External Senses may be insensible thereof; for the invisible and impalpable grossness or hardness is that which is proper to those Bodies, which are so small, that our External Senses cannot perceive them, when nevertheless they are really exceeding hard, yea, harder than any Flint or Metal, which we can handle with our Hands. And out of these hard and small Bodies, visible Waters are for the most part composed, although they appear to us very soft, fluid, and tenuious, by reason of the great Plenty of certain other subtile Bodies which continually agitate, and move the said hard Particles; so that Water seems to our gross Senses to be one thing Homogeneal, Simple, and Uniform, although it consisteth of many Heterogeneous and Dissimilar or differing Parts, more than many other Bodies; and many of these Parts are exceeding hard and stony, whence proceeds Gravel, bubbling forth, and all other little Sands and Stones, which have their Original and Birth from the Waters springing from the bottom of the Earth; and when those little Stones, or stony Particles of Water, grow into visible Sand and Stones, the same after some time do again lose this hardness, and become more soft and tenuious, than when they belonged to the Waters; for Stones do rot, and are converted into soft Earth, and out of this proceed Animals; so also Stones putrifying, do often become Water again; but this Water is of another Species than the former, for one is petrefying, the other mollifying; as it is observed that from one Mountain in Helvetia two Kinds of Water flow, one whereof being drunken breeds the Stone, and the other is a proper remedy against it; so that one Water is changed into a Stone, and the other Water proceeds from that Stone, whilst it is in Corruption, and so it alters and loseth its former hardness: And so from what hath been said may the better be understood, how the Heart and Spirit of a Wicked Man may be said to be hard and stony; because indeed his Spirit hath in it a real hardness, such as is found in those little stony Particles of certain Waters; when on the contrary the Spirits of good Men are soft and tender; which internal softness and hardness of Spirits, we may also really feel, and every Good Man doth as sensibly perceive the same, as the external hardness of gross Bodies is discerned by the outward touch; but such who are dead in their Sins, have not this sense of the hardness or softness of Good or Evil Spirits; and therefore they call these only Metaphorical Speeches, when indeed the Things are really so in a proper sence, and that without any Figure.
§.2. THE Second Reason, that created Spirits are convertible into Bodies, and Bodies into Spirits, I shall deduce from a serious and due consideration of the Divine Attributes; from which, as from a Treasury of Instructions, may be manifested the Truth of all Things: For seeing God is infinitely Good, and communicates his Goodness infinite ways to his Creatures; so that there is no Creature which doth not receive something of his Goodness, and that very largely: And seeing the Goodness of God is a living Goodness, which hath Life, Power, Love, and Knowledge in it, which he communicates to his Creatures, How can it be, that any dead Thing should proceed from him, or be created by Him, such as is mere Body or Matter, according to their Hypothesis, who affirm, that the same is wholly inconvertible, to any degree of Life or Knowledge? It is truly said of one that God made not Death, and it is as true, that he made no dead Thing: For how can a dead Thing depend of him, who is infinitely Life and Charity? Or how can any Creature receive so vile and diminutive an Essence from him, (who is so infinitely Liberal and Good,) that should partake nothing of Life or Knowledge, nor ever be able to aspire to it, no not in the least degree? Hath not God created all his Creatures for this end, that in him they might be Blessed, and enjoy his Divine Goodness, in their several States and Conditions? But how can this be without Life or sense? Or how can any Thing, that wanteth Life, enjoy Divine Goodness? But we shall urge this Argument a little farther, The Divine Attributes are commonly and rightly distinguished, into communicable, and incommunicable; the incommunicable are, that God is a Being, subsisting by himself, Independent, Unchangeable, absolutely Infinite, and most Perfect: The communicable are, that he is a Spirit, Life, and Light, that he is Good, Holy, Just, Wise, &c. But now there are none of these communicable Attributes, which are not living, yea Life it self: And because every Creature hath a Communication with God in some of his Attributes, now I demand, In what Attribute dead Matter hath it, or a Body that is uncapable of Life and Sense for ever? If it be said, It agrees with God in Entity, or that it is an Essence, I Answer, In God there is no dead Being, whereof he is or can be Partaker: Whence, therefore, shall this have its dead Essence? Moreover the Entity or Being of a Thing is not properly an Attribute thereof; but an Attribute is properly, tale quid, or something that is predicated or affirmed of that Being: Now what Attributes or Perfections can be attributed to dead Matter, which do analogically Answer to those which are in God? If we diligently enquire thereinto, we shall find none at all; for all his Attributes are living; yea, Life it self. Moreover, seeing the Creatures of God, so far as they are Creatures, ought necessarily in some things to resemble their Creator; now I demand, in what dead Matter is like unto God? If they say again in naked Entity, I Answer, There is none such in God or his Creatures: And so it is a mere non ens, or nothing.
But as touching the other Attributes of Matter, viz., Impenetrability, Figurability, and Mobility; certainly none of these have any place in God, and so are not of his communicable Attributes; but rather Essential Differences or Attributes of Diversity, whereby the Creature, as such, is distinguished from God; as also Mutability is of the Number of those differential Attributes, whence it cannot be said that Mutability is of the communicable Attributes of God: And in like manner, Impenetrability, Figurability, and Mobility, do not pertain unto the communicable Attributes of God; but to those only in which the Creatures differ from him. And seeing dead Matter doth not partake of any of the communicable Attributes of God, we must certainly conclude, that the same is a mere non ens, or nothing, a false Fiction or Chimæra, and so a thing impossible. If they say, it hath a metaphysical Goodness and Truth, even as every Being is Good and True: Again; I demand What is that Goodness and Truth? For if it hath no participation with any of the communicable Attributes of God, it will be neither Good nor True, and so a mere Fiction, as before was said. Moreover, seeing it cannot be said, wherein dead Matter doth any way partake of Divine Goodness, much less can it be shown, how it may be capable always to acquire a greater Perfection, ad infinitum, which is the nature of all Creatures, viz. to increase, and infinitely advance towards a farther Perfection as is before demonstrated. But what farther progress in Goodness or Perfection hath a dead Matter? Because after it hath suffered Infinite Changes of Motion and Figure it is constrained always to remain dead, as before; and if Motion and Figure contribute nothing to the receiving of Life, then certainly this is made never the better; nay, is not in the least degree promoted in Goodness: For suppose this dead Matter had undergone all Forms, and been transmuted into all Kinds of Figures, even the most regular and exact: What doth this profit this Matter or Body, because it wants all Life and Sense? So let us suppose the same to have undergone Infinite Kinds of Motion, from slowness to swiftness; Wherein, therefore, is it better, by the way of its Intrinsecal Melioration? For the Argument speaketh of Intrinsecal Melioration, which is such a Melioration as the Nature of the Thing it self requireth, and which is performed thereby; but a mere dead Body, or Matter, requires no kind of Motion or Figure; nor, in it self, is perfected more by one Motion, or Figure, than by another: for it is alike indifferent to all Motions and Figures whatsoever, and by consequence is not perfected or bettered by any of them. And then what advantage will it have from all these helps, if it always remain a dead and impassible Thing.
§.3. MY Third Reason is drawn from the great Love and Desire that the Spirits or Souls have towards Bodies, and especially towards those with which they are united, and in which they have their Habitation: But now the Foundation of all Love or Desire, whereby one Thing is carried unto another, stands in this, That either they are of the same Nature and Substance with them, or like unto them, or both; or that one hath its Being from the other, whereof we have an Example in all living Creatures which bring forth their young; and in like manner also in Men, how they love that which is born of them: For so also even Wicked Men and Women (if they are not extremely perverse, and void of Parental Love) do Love their Children, and cherish them with a Natural Affection, the cause whereof certainly is this, That their Children are of the same Nature and Substance, viz. as though they were Parts of them; and if they are like them, either in Body, Spirit, or Manners, hereby their Love is the more increased: So also we observe that Animals of one Species love one another more than those that are of a different Species; whence also Cattle of one Kind feed together; Birds of a Kind flock together; and Fishes of a Kind swim together; and so Men rather converse with Men, than with any other Creatures: But besides this particular Love, there remains yet something of Universal Love in all Creatures, one towards another, setting aside that great confusion which hath fallen out since, by reason of Transgression; which certainly must proceed from the same Foundation, viz. in regard of their First Substance and Essence, they were all one and the same Thing, and as it were Parts and Members of one Body. Moreover, in every Species of Animals, we see how the Male and Female Love one another, and in all their Propagations (which are not Monstrous, and contrary to Nature) they respect each other; and that proceeds not only from the unity of Nature, but also by reason of a certain eminent similitude or likeness between them. And both these Foundations of Love between a Man and a Woman, are expresly mentioned in Genesis; but that which Adam spoke concerning his Wife, This is Bone of my Bone, and Flesh of my Flesh, &c. pertains unto the Unity of Nature; for she was taken out of him, and was a part of him, and therefore he loved her. Moreover also, concerning Similitude, it is said, there was no Help found for him, or before his Face, as it is in the Hebrew (i.e.) among all Creatures he saw not his like, with whom he would converse, until Eve was made for him. But there is yet another cause of Love, when Beings, that love each other, are not one Substance, but one gave Being to the other, and is the proper and real cause thereof. And so it is in the case between God and Creatures; for he gave to all, Being, Life, and Motion; and therefore he loves all Creatures; neither can he not love them; yea, at the same time when he seems to hate and be angry with them, this his Anger, and what proceeds therefrom, viz. Punishments and Judgments, turns to their Good, because he perceiveth they have need of them. So, on the contrary, the Creatures which have not wholly degenerated, and lost all sense of God, do love him; and this is a certain Divine Law, and Instinct, which he put in all rational Creatures, that they might love him, which is the fulfilling of the whole Law: But those Creatures which draw most near unto God in similitude or likeness, do love him the more, and are the more loved of him. But if it be thought there is another principal cause of Love, to wit, Goodness, which is the most vehement or powerful Magnet thereof, whence also God is above all the most to be loved; because he is the best; which Goodness is in some measure in Creatures, either really or apparently; wherefore such are loved of their Fellow-Creatures: I Answer: It must be granted indeed, that Goodness is a great, yea the greatest Cause of Love, and the proper Object of it; but this Goodness is not a distinct Cause from those before laid down, but is comprehended in them. Wherefore do we call a Thing Good? But because it either really or apparently pleases us, for the unity it hath with us, or which we have with it: Hence it comes to pass, that Good Men love Good Men, and not otherwise; for Good Men cannot love Evil, nor Evil Men Good Men as such; for there is no greater similitude than between Good and Good: For the reason why we call or esteem a Thing Good, is this, that it benefits us, and that we are made Partakers of its Goodness, and so here the First Cause of Similitude is still Militant: So likewise, when one Thing gives being to another, as when God and Christ give Being to Creatures (as from whom have every true Essence proceeded,) here is in like manner a certain Similitude; for it is impossible that the Creatures should not in some Things be like their Creator, and agree with him in some Attributes or Perfections.
This being supposed a Touch-stone, we shall now return to our subject matter, (i.e.) to examine, whether Spirits and Bodies are of one Nature and Substance, and so convertible one into another? Therefore, I demand, What is the reason, That the Spirit or Soul so loveth the Body wherewith it is united, and so unwillingly departs out of it, that it has been manifestly notorious, the Souls of some have attended on, and been subject to their Bodies, after the Body was dead, until it was corrupted, and dissolved into dust. That the Spirit or Soul gave a distinct Being to the Body, or the Body to the Spirit, cannot be the reason of this Love; for that were Creation in a strict sence; but this (viz.) to give Being unto Things agrees only to God and Christ; therefore that necessarily comes to pass by reason of that similitude they have one with another, or some Affinity in their Natures: Or, if it be said, there is a certain Goodness in the Body, which moves the Spirit to love it, certainly this Goodness must necessarily answer to something in the Soul which is like it, otherwise it could not be carried unto it; yea, let them inform us what that Goodness in the Body is, for which the Soul doth so fervently love it? or in what Attributes or Perfections a Body is like a Spirit; if a Body is nothing but a dead Trunk, and a certain Mass which is altogether uncapable of any degree of Life, and Perfection? if they say a Body agrees with a Spirit Ratione entis, or in respect of Being; that is to say; as this hath Being so that hath the same; this is already refuted in the former Argument; for if this Being hath no Attributes or Perfections wherein it may agree with the Being of a Spirit, then it is only a mere Fiction; for God created no Naked Ens, or Being, which should be a mere Being, and have no Attributes that may be predicated of it; besides also, Ens is only a Logical Notion or Term, which Logicians do call Genus generalissimum, or the most General Kind, which in the naked and abstracted Notion of it, is not in the Things themselves, but only in the Conception or Humane Intellect. And therefore every true Being is a certain single Nature, whereof may be affirmed such and such Attributes: Now what are those Attributes of Body, wherein it resembles a Spirit? Let us examine the principal Attributes of Body, as distinct from a Spirit, according to their Opinion, who so much dispute, that Body and Spirit are so infinitely distant in Nature, that one can never become the other: The Attributes are these, That a Body is impenetrable of all other Bodies, so that the parts thereof cannot penetrate each other; but there is another Attribute of Body, viz. to be discerpible or divisible into parts: But the Attributes of Spirit (as they define it) are penetrability and indiscerpibility, so that one Spirit can penetrate another; also, that a thousand Spirits can stand together one within another, and yet possess no more Space than one Spirit. Moreover, that a Spirit is so simple, and one in it self, that it cannot be rent asunder, or actually divided into separate parts. If now the Attributes of Body and Spirit are compared together, they are so far from being like one another, or having any Analogy of Nature (in which nevertheless the true Foundation of Love and Unity doth consist, as before was said,) that they are plainly contrary; yea, nothing in the whole World can be conceived so contrary to any Thing, as Body and Spirit, in the opinion of these Men. For here is a pure and absolute contrariety in all their Attributes; because Penetrability and Impenetrability are more contrary one to another than black and white, or hot and cold: For that which is black may become white, and that which is hot may become cold: But (as they say) that which is impenetrable cannot be made penetrable; yea, God and Creatures do not so infinitely differ in Essence one from another; as these Doctors make Body to differ from Spirit: For there are many Attributes, in which God and the Creatures agree together; but we can find none, wherein a Body can any way agree with a Spirit, and by consequence, nor with God, who is the chiefest and purest of Spirits; wherefore it can be no Creature, but a mere Non-entity or Fiction: But as Body and Spirit are contrary in the Attributes of Penetrability and Impenetrability; so are they no less contrary in Discerpibility and Indiscerpibility: But if they alledge, that Body and Spirit do agree in some Attributes, as Extension, Mobility, and Figurability; so that Spirit hath Extension, and can reach from one place to another, and also can move it self from place to place, and form it self into whatsoever Figure it pleaseth, in which cases it agrees with a Body, and a Body with it: To this I Answer: Supposing the first, that a Spirit can be extended (which yet many of them deny, yea most, who teach that Body and Spirit are essentially distinct) yet the Extension of Body and Spirit, as they understand it, do wonderfully differ; for the Extension of Body is always impenetrable; yea, to be extended, and impenetrable, as pertaining to Body, is only one real Attribute proposed in two Mental and Logical Notions, or ways of speaking; for what is Extension, unless the Body (wheresoever it is) be impenetrable of its own proper parts? But remove this Attribute of Impenetrability from a Body, and it cannot be conceived any longer, as extended. Moreover also, the Extension of Body and Spirit, according to their Notion, infinitely differ; for whatsoever Extension a Body hath, the same is so necessary and essential to it, that it is impossible for it to be more or less extended; when nevertheless a Spirit may be more or less extended; as they affirm; and seeing to be moveable and figurable, are only consequential Attributes of Extension, (for that a Spirit is far otherwise moveable and figurable than a Body, because a Spirit can move and form it self as a Body cannot:) The same Reason which is good against the one is good against the other also.
§.4. BUT, Secondly, How can they prove Impenetrability is an Essential Attribute of Body; or that Penetrability is an Essential Attribute of Spirit? Why may not Body be more or less impenetrable, and Spirit more or less penetrable, as it may, and indeed doth happen in all other Attributes? For ex. gr. some Body may be more or less heavy or light, condensed or rarefied, solid or liquid, hot or cold; then why may it not also be more or less penetrable, or impenetrable? If it be said, that in all those other Mutations we always observe, that a Body remains impenetrable, as Iron when it is heat red-hot, yet remains still impenetrable: I Answer, I grant it may remain impenetrable of any other Body of equal thickness; yet may, and is entirely penetrated of a more subtile Body, sc. of the Fire which hath entred into it, and penetrated all its parts, whereby 'tis made so soft; and if the Fire be stronger, begins wholly to melt. But if, against this, they Object, that the ingress of Fire into the Iron, is not penetration in a Philosophical Sence, nor as they understand it, viz. as though the Fire and Iron did possess but one place, and so the one could be intrinsecally present in the other; because it is manifest to the contrary, that Iron (if it be made candent or glowing hot) it swelleth and acquireth a greater Bulk, than when it is cold; and as it waxeth cold again, it returneth to its former dimension. To this I Answer: If they mean such a Penetration, which we call Intrinseck Presence, viz. that one Homogeneal Substance should enter into another, both being of equal Dimensions, and yet the bulk or quantity not increased, that seems wholly irrational: And it would be a mere impossibility and contradiction to grant such an intimate Presence in Creatures, which only agrees unto God and Christ as Creators, whose Prerogative it is to be intrinsecally present in Creatures; whereas no Creature can have that Intrinseck Presence in its Fellow Creature, because then it would cease to be a Creature and obtain one of the incommunicable Attributes of God and Christ, which is Intrinseck Presence. This (I say) is primarily to be attributed to God, and secondarily to Christ, in as much as he is Medium quid, or a certain Medium between God and Creatures, and who as he is Partaker of Mutability and Immutability, of Eternity and Time; so he may be said to be Partaker of Body and Spirit, and consequently of Place and Extension: For, in as much as his Body is of another Substance than the Bodies of all other Creatures, (as of whom he is the nearest Beginning to God,) it may be truly said, he is intrinsecally present in them, and yet not so as to be confounded with them. For to suppose one Creature intrinsecally present in another, so as to be mingled and most perfectly united with it, and yet its Quantity or Extension not increased, that confounds the Creatures, and maketh two or more to be but one: Yea, according to this Hypothesis, it may be said the whole Creation is reducible into the quantity of the least Grain or Dust, because every part would be supposed to penetrate another, and no greater extension follow than of one Part. But if it be said, that only proves that Spirits may be reduced into so small a space but not Bodies: Because Bodies are Impenetrable. I Answer, This is but a begging of the question, because they have not yet proved that Body and Spirit are distinct Substances; which, unless they are, it follows that one Nature is not more penetrable than the other, according to their sense. And indeed it seems very consentaneous to Reason, that as Times are each of them so extended into their due Measures and Extensions, that they cannot exceed those Bounds, and so cannot be intrinsecally present one with another; as (ex. gr.) the First Day of the Week cannot be present with the Second Day of the same Week; nor the First Hour of the Day with the Second; neither is the First Minute of an Hour present with the Second Minute thereof; because such is the Nature and Essence of Time, that it is successive, and hath partes extra partes, or parts, one without another. When nevertheless God is really and intrinsecally present in all Times, and is not changed, which cannot be said of the Creature, sc. that that is present in all or more Times, and not changed; for the Creature is perpetually changed with Times, seeing Times are nothing else but the Motion or Change of the Creature from one State or Condition into another. And as it is in the case of Time, and Creatures which are in Time, so also in the case of Place, Bulk, or Quantity; for as in God there is no Time, so also in him there is no Bulk or Corporeal Quantity; but in Creatures there is both Time and Corporeal Quantity; because otherwise they would be either God, or Nothing, which is impossible. For whatsoever Quantity, Bulk, or Extension any Creature hath, it retains the same, as something which is of its own Essence; as it is the Essence of Time to consist of more parts, and those again of more, and so ad infinitum: For it may be easily conceived how a less Time is in a greater, ex. gr. how so many Minutes are in an Hour, and so many Hours in a Day; and one Hour doth immediately touch the next, but cannot be present in it, the same is to be understood of the Creatures, in regard of their Quantity or Bulk; for indeed one Creature may immediately touch another, but cannot be present in all its parts, but only a less may be in a greater, and a subtiler in a grosser; and this is more properly Penetration which agrees to Bodies as well as Spirits; as some Body, that is less gross may penetrate another that is more gross; but two Bodies of an equal thickness cannot penetrate each other: The same may be said of Spirits which have their degrees of more or less grossness, as Bodies have: Neither is there any other difference between Body and Spirit, (if Body be not taken in their sence, who teach that it is a Thing merely Dead, and void of Life, or a Capacity thereof; but in a proper sence: sc. that it is an excellent Creature having Life and Sense, which either actually or potentially agrees to it) but this that a Body is the grosser part of a thing, and Spirit the subtiler, whence also Spirit hath its name from the Air, which is the most subtile Nature in this visible World. In Kabbal. denud. Tom. 2. Tract. ult. p. 6., §. 13. Spirit is rather defined, a central Nature, having a Faculty to send forth a Sphere full of Light and to inlarge or contract the same, which properly seems to be Aristotle's έντελέχεια, and ibid. p. 28., §. 4. Matter is defined: A naked Centre, or a Point wanting Eradiation, which Aristotle understood by Privation: Whence we must conclude, that the Impenetrability of these Creatures is to be understood of their Centres: For the Hebrew Word, חור, which signifies a Spirit, signifies also Air; and because Air hath a very Swift Motion, all swiftness of Motion is imputed to the Spirit in the moved Body: Hence out of Popular Ignorance, when in certain Bodies they perceived no Motion, they termed them Dead, wanting both Life and Spirit: But indeed there is no where any such Body that hath not Motion, and by consequence Life and Spirit. Therefore every creature hath its due Quantity or Extension, which it cannot exceed, and wherein also it cannot be diminished.
Neither doth this hinder, that we observe, how some very small Body may be extended into a Space a Thousand times greater than it had; even as Gun-Powder, if it be set on Fire doth marvellously extend it self; for all this Extension is made by Division of Parts into Parts, still less and less, which indeed do not fill all that Space so great as it seems, when in the mean while each part hath neither greater nor lesser Extension than it had before. Supposing this, it must be concluded that all Creatural Spirits, which are present in Bodies, are either in the Pores of the said Bodies, or in certain Concavities made there, as Moles make in the Earth; or else they cause the said Bodies to be puffed up, and acquire a greater Extension; as when Fire copiously enters Iron, it notably puffs up and extends the same: And although this Turgescency, or puffing up of Bodies, cannot be always observed by our External Senses; yet it cannot therefore be denied: For 'tis possible, that a certain Body may considerably grow or increase in its dimensions, and become intirely greater, and yet this increase of Magnitude may shun all outward Observation; yea, it may be so subtile that it cannot be expressed by Numbers; ex. gr. let us suppose some Body, whose Solidity or Cube may contain 64 Parts, and another whose Solidity contains 100, where the root of the former Body whose Cube is 64 is 4; so that the side of the Body contains four Longitudes of the Parts so divided; but the side or root of the other Body, whose Cube is 100, can be expressed by no Number; for it is greater than 4, and less than 5, and no Fraction can determine the same: Therefore Bodies (as was said) may be considerably swoln or puffed up, (if more Spirits or subtiler Bodies enter into them,) and yet so as that our gross Senses may judge them not at all greater. Now that we may come to the other Attribute, which is said to be of Body but not of Spirit, viz. Discerpibility; if they understand it so; that one only Body, even the least that can be conceived (if any such Body can be conceived) may be divided; that is certainly impossible; for it is a contradiction in terms, and supposes every the least Body to be discerpible into lesser Parts. But if Body be taken individually only for one single Body, that is indiscerpible; and that which we call the Discerpibility of Body means only this, sc. that we may divide one Body from another, by placing some Third Body between them; and according to this sence Spirits are no less discerpible than Bodies; for although one single Spirit cannot become two or more Spirits, yet more Spirits co-existing in one Body, are no less separable one from another than Bodies; for however Bodies or Spirits may be divided or separated one from another in the whole Universe, yet they still remain united in this separation; seeing the whole Creation is still but one Substance or Entity, neither is there a Vacuum in it; How then can any thing be separated from it self? I mean, from that which is its proper Nature, as considered Originally, or in its Beginning, or First Being? But as there is a General Unity of all Creatures one with another, so that none can be separated from his Fellow-Creatures; so there is a more special and particular Unity between the Parts of one particular Species: As when the Body is divided, or torn asunder, and the Members removed one from another unto a certain distance, so long as these Members are not corrupted, and changed into another Species, they still send certain subtile Particles one to another, and to the Body from whence they came, and the Body sends the like unto them, (which we call Spirits, and Bodies, or Spirits, for they are either,) by means whereof the Parts and Members so apparently separated, still retain a certain real Unity and Sympathy, as is manifest from sundry Examples; and especially the two following: The First of which is this: A certain Man wanting a Nose, ordered one to be made for him out of the Flesh of another Man, which being vitally agglutinated, (as a Scion or Graft is united with the Trunk of the Tree into which it is put;) when the other Man died, and his Body corrupted, this Nose was likewise corrupted, and fell from the Body of this living Man. The Second Example is of a Man whose Leg was cut off; which Leg being removed some considerable distance from the rest of the Body, when a certain Chirurgeon cut it, this Man complained of Pains, and showed in what part the said Leg was wounded, which manifestly proves that there is a certain Union of Parts, though separated at a great distance one from another: And so also Individuals of one Species, or such who have a singular Affinity in Specie, have a Union one with another, although locally distant, which is yet more manifest in Humane Kind: For if two Men intirely love one another, they are by this love so united, that no distance of place can divide or separate them; for they are present (one with another) in Spirit; so that there passeth a continual Efflux, or Emanation of Spirits, from the one to the other, whereby they are bound together, and united as with Chains: And so whatsoever a Man loves, whether it be Man or Beast, whether a Tree, or whether Silver or Gold, he is united with the same, and his Spirit passeth into that very Thing; and here is to be observed, that though the Spirit of Man is commonly spoken in the Singular, as though it were but one Thing; yet the said Spirit is a certain composition of more, yea innumberable Spirits; as the Body is a composition of more Bodies, and hath a certain Order and Government in all its Parts, much more the Spirit which is a great Army of Spirits, wherein there are distinct Offices under one governing Spirit. And so from hence it appears that Impenetrability and Indiscerpibility, are not more Essential Attributes of Body, than of Spirit; because in one sence they agree unto either, in another sence unto neither.
But against this Infiniteness of Spirits in every Spirit, and Infiniteness of Bodies in every Body, may be objected that Saying: God made all Things in Number, Weight, and Measure; wherefore there cannot be an infinite multitude of Spirits in one Man, nor an innumerable multitude of Bodies in one Body? But I Answer that the infiniteness or innumerability of Spirits, and Bodies is only to be understood in respect of the Creatures understanding, so that they cannot be numbred, nor the outward Extension of Body and Spirit (that may happen in them) be measured by the knowledge of any Creature. But that God hath perfectly known the Number and Measure of all Creatures is freely granted. And if God made all Things in Number, Weight, and Measure; then certainly every Creature will have its Number, Weight, and Measure; and by consequence we cannot say of any Creature, that it is but one single Thing, because it is a Number, and Number is a multitude, or more than one; and indeed the Nature of a Creature is such, that the same cannot be merely one single Thing, in case it ought to act or do something, and so enjoy that Goodness which is prepared for it by its Creator: For (ex. gr.) let us suppose but one Atom to be separated from its Fellow-Creatures, What can that do to perfect it self, or make it self greater or better? What can it see, hear, taste, or feel, either from within or without? It cannot have internal Motion; because every Motion hath at least two Terms or Extreams, viz. Terminus à quo, and Terminus ad quem; or, the Term from which, and the Term to which: And seeing this is but one Atom or Centre, certainly it cannot have any Motion within it self, è Termino à quo, & ad quem; and consequently, seeing it cannot hear, see, taste, or feel, ab intra, or, from within, it cannot have it from other Creatures, ab extra, or, from without; for if it ought to see, hear, feel, or taste any other Creature, it is required to receive the Image of this Creature within it self, which it cannot do, because it is an Atom, and an Atom is so small that it can receive nothing within it: For as the Organs of the external Senses are composed of more parts; so also are the Organs of the internal, and consequently all Knowledge requires variety or multitude, which is the Subject or Receptacle of it: I mean all Creatural Knowledge, where Knowledge is received or excited from known Things or Objects, (whereas the Knowledge of God is not received or excited by Creatures, but is originally in and from himself.) Seeing, therefore, the Objects of our Knowledge are various, and every Object sends its Image into us, and that Image is a real Being, it follows we have many Images in us, which cannot be all received in an Atom, but have need of their distinct Places in us, in their distinct Forms and Figures; otherwise there would not only follow a confusion, but many Things would be present one with another without any Extension, which is repugnant to the Nature of a Creature. And although the Objects of our Knowledge are many, as for Example, I am manifold, who receive so many Images from those Objects; yet from thence it doth not follow, because I who know something am manifold, that therefore I ought to behold one Object as if it was many, so that seeing one Man I should see many; for when many Men see one Man they do not behold him as many Men, but as one Man only: So when I look up and behold something with both my Eyes (unless peradventure there be any confusion in my sight) they do not seem to me as two, but one; and if I could behold something with ten thousand Eyes, as I do with two, certainly that Thing, whether an Horse or a Man, would not seem otherwise to me than one alone. Hence appears to us a great distinction between God and Creatures; for he is One, and this is his Perfection, that he hath need of nothing without him: But a Creature, because it needs the assistance of its Fellow-Creatures, ought to be manifold, that it may receive this assistance: for that which receives something is nourished by the same, and so becomes a part of it, and therefore it is no more one but many, and so many indeed as there are Things received, and yet of a greater multiplicity; therefore there is a certain Society or Fellowship among Creatures in giving and receiving, whereby they mutually subsist one by another, so that one cannot live without another; for what Creature in the whole World can be found that hath no need of its Fellow-Creature? Certainly none; therefore by consequence every Creature which hath Life, Sense, or Motion, ought to be a number, or a Multiplicity; yea, a Number without Number, or Infinite in respect of any created Intellect. But if it be said, ought not the Central or governing Spirit to be but one only Atom; for otherwise how can it be called a Centre, and the chief Spirit, having Dominion over the rest? I Answer in the Negative: For this Centre it self, or chief, and governing Spirit, is manifold, for the Reasons before alledged; but it is called a Centre, because all the other Spirits concur to it, as Lines from all parts of the Circumference do meet at the Centre, and do again depart out or proceed therefrom; and indeed the unity of the Spirits that compose or make up this Centre, or governing Spirit, is more firm and tenacious, than that of all the other Spirits; which are, as it were, the Angels or Ministring Spirits of their Prince or Captain; yea, in Man this Unity is so great, that nothing can dissolve it, (although the Unity of the greatest Plenty of Ministring Spirits, which belong not to the composition of this Centre) may be dissolved: Hence it comes to pass that the Soul of every Man shall remain an entire everlasting Soul, or be of endless duration, that it may receive the proper Fruit of its labour, and that the Universal Law of Justice (which is written on every Thing) doth require, which is as a most strong and indissolvable Band to preserve this Unity: For what is more congruous with this Infinite Justice and Wisdom than this, That they who have joined together, and consented to work either Good or Evil, shall together receive their due Reward and Punishment, which cannot be if they should be dissipated or separated one from another; and the same reason doth prove, that the Central Spirits of all other Creatures remain indissolvable; and that although new Central Spirits are continually form'd in the Production of Things; yet no Central Spirit is dissolved, but farther promoted, or at least diminished, according to the present dignity or indignity, capacity or incapacity thereof.
§.1. That Spirit and Body, as they are Creatures, differ not essentially, is farther proved by three other Reasons: And a Fourth is drawn from that intimate Bond or Union between Body and Spirit. §.2. That would be altogether an unfit comparison, to go about to illustrate the manner how the Soul moves the Body by an Example of God moving his Creatures. §.3. The Union and Sympathy of Soul and Body may be easily demonstrated; as also how the Soul moves the Body from the aforesaid Principle; that Spirit is Body, and Body Spirit. §.4. A Fifth Argument is taken from Earth and Water, which continually produces Animals of divers Kinds out of putrified or corrupted Matter. §.5. How a gross Body may be changed into Spirit, and become as it were the Mother of Spirits; where an Example is laid down of our Corporal Aliment, which by various Transmutations in the Body is changed into Animal Spirits, and from these into Subtiler, and more Spiritual. §.6. Of the good or bad Angels of Men, which are properly the Angels of a Man, and proceed from him as Branches from the Root. §.7. A sixth and last Argument is drawn from certain places of Scripture.
§.1. TO prove that Spirit and Body differ not essentially, but gradually, I shall deduce my Fourth Argument from the intimate Band or Union, which intercedes between Bodies and Spirits, by means whereof the Spirits have Dominion over the Bodies with which they are united, that they move them from one place to another, and use them as Instruments in their various Operations. For if Spirit and Body are so contrary one to another, so that a Spirit is only Life, or a living and sensible Substance, but a Body a certain Mass merely dead; a Spirit penetrable and indiscerpible, but a Body impenetrable and discerpible, which are all contrary Attributes: What (I pray you) is that which doth so join or unite them together? Or, what are those Links or Chains, whereby they have so firm a connexion, and that for so long a space of Time? Moreover also, when the Spirit or Soul is separated from the Body, so that it hath no longer Dominion or Power over it to move it as it had before, What is the cause of this separation? If it be said, that the vital agreement, the Soul hath to the Body, is the cause of the said Union, and that the Body being corrupted that vital Agreement ceaseth. I Answer, We must first enquire, in what this vital Agreement doth consist; for if they cannot tell us wherein it doth consist, they only trifle with empty Words, which give a sound but want a signification: For certainly in that sence which they take Body and Spirit in, there is no Agreement at all between them; for a Body is always a dead Thing, void of Life and sense, no less when the Spirit is in it, than when it is gone out of it: Hence there is no Agreement at all between them; and if there is any Agreement, that certainly will remain the same, both when the Body is sound, and when it is corrupted. If they deny this, because a Spirit requires an organized Body, by means whereof it performs its vital Acts of the external Senses; moves and transports the Body from place to place; which Organical Action ceases when the Body is corrupted. Certainly by this the difficulty is never the better solved. For why doth the Spirit require such an organized Body? ex. gr. Why doth it require a Corporeal Eye so wonderfully formed and organized, that I can see by it? Why doth it need a Corporeal Light, to see Corporeal Objects? Or, why is it requisite, that the Image of the Object should be sent to it, through the Eye, that it may see it? If the same were entirely nothing but a Spirit, and no way Corporeal, Why doth it need so many several Corporeal Organs, so far different from the Nature of it? Furthermore, how can a Spirit move its Body, or any of its Members, if a Spirit (as they affirm) is of such a Nature, that no part of its Body can in the least resist it, even as one Body is wont to resist another, when 'tis moved by it, by reason of its Impenetrability? For if a Spirit could so easily penetrate all Bodies, Wherefore doth it not leave the Body behind it, when it is moved from place to place, seeing it can so easily pass out without the least resistance? For certainly this is the cause of all Motions which we see in the World, where one Thing moves another, viz. because both are impenetrable in the sence aforesaid: For were it not for this Impenetrability one Creature could not move another, because this would not oppose that; nor at all resist it; an Example whereof we have in the Sails of a Ship, by which the Wind drives the Ship, and that so much the more vehemently, by how much the fewer holes, vents and passages, the same finds in the Sails against which it drives: When on the contrary, if instead of Sails Nets were expanded, through which the Wind would have a freer passage; certainly by these the Ship would be but little moved, although it blew with great violence: Hence we see how this Impenetrability causes resistance, and this makes Motion. But if there were no Impenetrability, as in the case of Body and Spirit, then there could be no resistance, and by consequence the Spirit could make no motion in the Body.
§.2. AND if it be objected, That God is altogether incorporeal and intrinsecally present in all Bodies, and yet doth move Bodies whethersoever he pleaseth, and is the First Mover of all Things, and yet nothing is impenetrable to him: I Answer, This Motion by which God moves a Body, doth wonderfully differ from that manner by which the Soul moves the Body; for the Will of God which gave Being to Bodies, gave them Motion also, so that Motion it self is of God, by whose Will all Motion happens: For as a Creature cannot give Being to it self, so neither can it move it self; for in him we Live, Move, and have our Being; so that Motion and Essence come from the same cause, sc. God the Creator, who remains immoveable in himself; neither is he carried from place to place, because he is equally present every where, and gives Being to Creatures: But the case is far different, when the Soul moves the Body; for the Soul is not the Author of Motion, but only determines it to this or that particular Thing: And the Soul it self is moved, together with the Body, from place to place; and if the Body be imprisoned, or held in Chains, it cannot free or deliver it self out of Prison or out of Chains: Wherefore it would be a very unfit comparison, if one should go about to illustrate that Motion the Soul makes in the Body, by an Example of God moving his Creatures; yea, so great is the difference, as if a Man should go to demonstrate how a Carpenter builds a Ship, or an House, by an Example of God creating the first Matter or Substance, wherein certainly there is as great a disparity or disproportion; for God gave Being to Creatures, but a Carpenter doth not give Being to the Wood whereof he builds a Ship.
But no Man can think, because I have said, All Motion of Creatures is of God, that therefore he is, or can be the Author, or Cause of Sin: For although the moving Power be of God, yet Sin is not in the least of God, but of the Creature, who hath abused this Power, and determined to some other end that it ought: So that Sin is άταξία, or an inordinate determination of Motion, or the power of moving from its due place, state, or condition unto some other, as, v. g. a Ship is moved by the Wind, but governed by the Mariner, that it goes to this or that Place; where the Mariner is not the Author or Cause of the Wind; but the Wind blowing, he makes either a good or a bad use of the same, whereby he either brings the Ship to the place intended, and so is commended; or else so manages her that she suffers Shipwrack, for which he is blamed, and worthy of Punishment.
Moreover, Why is the Spirit or Soul so passible in corporal Pains? For if when it is united with the Body, it hath nothing of Corporeity, or a bodily Nature, Why is it grieved or wounded when the Body is wounded, which is quite of a different Nature? For seeing the Soul can so easily penetrate the Body, How can any Corporeal Thing hurt it? If it be said, the Body only feels the pain, but not the Soul; this is contrary to their own Principles, because they affirm, that the Body hath neither Life nor Sense: But if it be granted, that the Soul is of one Nature and Substance with the Body, although it is many degrees more excellent in regard of Life and Spirituality, as also in swiftness of Motion, and Penetrability, and divers other Perfections; then all the aforesaid difficulties will vanish, and it will be easily conceived, how the Body and Soul are united together, and how the Soul moves the Body, and suffers by it or with it. What the Opinion of the Hebrews is appears from a place in Kabbal. denud. Tom. 1. Part. 3. Dissert. 8. Cap. 13. p. 171. seq.
§.3. FOR we may easily understand how one Body is united with another, by that true agreement that one hath with another in its own Nature; and so the most subtile and Spiritual Body may be united with a Body that is very gross and thick, sc. by means of certain Bodies, partaking of subtility and grossness, according to divers degrees, consisting between two Extreams, and these middle Bodies are indeed the Links and Chains, by which the Soul, which is so subtile and Spiritual, is conjoined with a Body so gross; which middle Spirits (if they cease, or are absent) the Union is broken or dissolved; so from the same Foundation we may easily understand, how the Soul moves the Body, viz. as one subtile Body can move another gross and thick Body: And seeing Body it self is a sensible Life, or an intellectual Substance, it is no less clearly conspicuous, how one Body can wound, or grieve, or gratifie, or please another; because Things of one, or alike Nature, can easily affect each other: And to this Argument may be reduced the like difficulties, viz. how Spirits move Spirits; and how some Spirits strive and contend with other Spirits; also concerning the Unity, Concord, and Friendship, which good Spirits reverence among themselves; for if all Spirits could be intrinsically present one with another, How could they dispute or contend about place? And how can one expel or drive out another? and yet that there is such an expulsion and conflict of Spirits, and especially of the Good against the Evil, some few who have been acquainted with their own Hearts have experimentally known. If it be said, the Spirit of God and Christ are intrinsecally present in all Things, contends with, and makes War against the Devil, and his Spirit, in the Heart of Man. I Answer, That this is also a very unfit similitude, (viz.) when God and Creatures are compared in their operations: For his Ways are infinitely Superiour to ours; yet nevertheless in this case also here remains a strong Objection. For the Spirits of God and Christ, when they strive against the Devil, and the Evil Spirits in the Heart of Man, do unite themselves with certain good Spirits, whom they have sanctified and prepared for this Union; and by these, as a Vehicle, or Triumphant Chariot, they contend against and encounter those Malignant and Wicked Spirits: And in as much as these Evil Spirits contend against those Good Spirits in the Heart of Man, they contend against God and Christ; and these Good Spirits are the Spirits of this faithful and pious Man, who is become Good, when as before he was Evil: For God and Christ do help every pious Man to prevail over the Evil Spirits in this Conflict, but suffers the Wicked and Unfaithful to be captivated and overcome; for God helps none but those that fear, love, and obey him, and trust in his Power, Goodness, and Truth; for with such he is united, and the good Spirits of such Men are as so many Swords and Darts, whereby those dark and unclean Spirits are wounded and repulsed. But if it be demanded how the Soul of Man can be united with God, though it were in a State of the highest Purity; because he is a mere Spirit; but the Soul even in its greatest Purity always partakes of Corporeity? I Answer, It is done by Jesus Christ, who is the true and proper Medium between both; for Christ and the Soul may be united without a Medium, by reason of that great Affinity and Similitude between them, which those Doctors cannot demonstrate between Spirit and Body, who say they are of a Nature so contrary one to another.
§.4. I shall draw a Fifth Argument from what we observe in all visible Bodies, as in Earth, Water, Stones, Wood, &c. What abundance of Spirits is in all these things? For Earth and Water continually produce Animals, as they hath done from the beginning; so that a Pool fill'd with Water may produce Fishes, though none were ever put there to increase or breed; and seeing that all other Things do more originally proceed from Earth and Water, it necessarily follows, that the Spirits of all Animals were in the Water; and therefore it is said in Genesis, that the Spirit of God moved upon the Face of the Waters, viz. that from hence he might produce whatsoever was afterwards created.
§.5. BUT if it be said, this Argument doth not prove that all Spirits are Bodies, but that all Bodies have in them the Spirits of all Animals, so that every Body hath a Spirit in it, and likewise a Spirit and Body; and although they are thus united, yet they still remain different in Nature one from another, and so cannot be changed one into another. To this I Answer, if every Body, even the least, hath in it the Spirits of all Animals, and other Things; even as matter is said to have in it all Forms: Now I demand, Whether a Body hath actually all those Spirits in it, or potentially only? If actually, How is it possible that so many Spirits essentially distinct from Body, can actually exist in their distinct Essences in so small a Body, (even in the least that can be conceived,) unless it be by intrinseck Presence, which is not communicable to any Creature, as is already proved: For if all kinds of Spirits are in any, even the least Body, How comes it to pass, that such an Animal is produced of this Body, and not another? Yea, how comes it to pass that all kind of Animals are not immediately produced out of one and the same Body? which experience denies; for we see that Nature keeps her order in all her Operations; whence one Animal is formed of another, and one Species proceeds from another; as well when it ascends to a farther Perfection, as when it descends to a viler State and Condition: But if they say, all Spirits are contained in any Body, not actually in their distinct Essences, but only potentially as they term it; then it must be granted, that the Body and all those Spirits are one and the same thing; that is, that a Body may be turned into them; as when we say Wood is potentially Fire, that is, can be turned into Fire; Water is potentially Air, that is, may be changed into Air.
Moreover, if Spirits and Bodies are so inseparably united, that no Body can be without a Spirit, yea, not without many Spirits; this is certainly a great Argument, that they are of one Original Nature and Substance, otherwise we could not conceive, why in so various and wonderful dissolutions, and separation of Things, they should not at length be separated one from another, as we see the subtiler Things may be separated from the grosser? But whence is it, that when a Body is at length corrupted, out of this Corruption another Species of Things is generated? So out of Earth and Water corrupted, proceed Animals; yea, Stones if they putrefie or rot, pass into Animals: So Dung, or other putrefied Matter, generates Animals, all which have Spirits: But how doth Corruption or Dissolution of Body tend to a new Generation, and that indeed of Animals? If it be said the Spirits of those Animals are as it were loosed from their Bonds, and set at Liberty by this dissolution, and that then they can form or fashion to themselves a new Body, out of the aforesaid Matter, by virtue of their Plastick Faculty: Unto this I reply, How did the Primitive Body so hold it Captive? Was it because it was so hard and thick? If so, it will be manifest that those Spirits are nothing else but subtile Bodies, because hardness and density of Body could imprison them, that they could not pass out; for if a Spirit could as easily penetrate the hardest Body, as the softest and most fluid, it could as easily pass out of the one as the other, nor would there be need of Death and Corruption to a new Life or Generation; therefore this kind of Captivity of Spirits in some kind of hard Bodies, and their deliverance therefrom, when the Bodies become soft, affords us a manifest Argument, that Spirit and Body are originally of one Nature and Substance, and that a Body is nothing but a fixed and condensed Spirit, and a Spirit nothing but a subtile and volatile Body.
And here is to be noted, that in all hard Bodies, as in Stones, whether common or precious; and so also in Metals, Herbs, Trees, and Animals; yea, in all Humane Bodies, there don't only exist many Spirits (which are as it were imprisoned in those gross Bodies, and united with them, and therefore cannot flow forth, or fly out into other Bodies, until they have passed Death or Dissolution;) but also many other very subtile Spirits, which continually flow from them, and which by reason of their subtilty, the hardness of the Body (in which they lay hid) cannot detain; and these Spirits are the more subtile Productions, or the Sutures of the grosser Spirits detained in the Body; for although these are detained therein, yet they are not idle in their Prison, but their Bodies are as it were Shops for them to work out those subtiler Spirits, which afterwards flow out in colours, sounds, odours, tastes, and divers other Powers and Vertues; whence the gross Body, and the Spirits therein contained, are as it were the Mother of those subtiler Spirits, who take the place of Children; for Nature still works to a farther perfection of subtilty and spirituality; even as this is the most natural Property of all Motion and Operation: For all Motion wears and divides, and so renders a Thing subtile and spiritual. Even thus in Man's Body, the Meat and Drink is first changed into Chyle, then into Blood, afterwards into Spirits, which are nothing else but Blood brought to perfection; and these Spirits, whether good or bad, still advance to a greater subtilty or spirituality, and by these Spirits which come from the Blood, we see, hear, smell, taste, feel, and think, yea meditate, love, hate, and do all things whatsoever we do; and from hence also cometh the Seed, by which Humane Kind is propagated; and hence especially proceeds the Voice and Speech of Man, which is full of Spirits (form'd in the Heart) either Good or Evil, as Christ hath taught; That out of the Plenty of the Heart the Mouth speaketh, and that a Good man out of the Good Treasure of his Heart bringeth forth Good Things, &c. Also that which goeth into a Man doth not defile him, but that which proceeds out of him; for in like manner as they proceed from him, so shall they again return into him.
§.6. AND these are the proper Angels, or Ministring Spirits of a Man, (although there are other Angels also, as well Good as Evil, which come unto Men:) Of which Angels Christ speaketh, where he speaketh of those little Ones that believe on him: Their Angels (saith he) always behold the Face of my Heavenly Father. Which are the Angels of those Believers, who become, as it were, like little Infants.
§.7. MY sixth and last Argument I shall deduce from certain Texts of Scripture, as well of the Old as New Testament, which do prove in plain and express Words, that all Things have Life, and do really live in some degree or measure. Acts 17. 27. It is said, He giveth Life to all Things. Again, I. Tim. 6. 13. of God it is said, That he quickens all Things. And Luk. 20. 38. he is not called, The God of the Dead, but of the Living, (which though principally meant of Men, yet it is generally to be understood of all other Creatures,) viz. he is the God of all those Things which have their Regeneration and Resurrection in their kind, no less than Man hath in his Kind: For Death is not the Annihilation of these Things; but a change from one kind and degree of Life to another; wherefore also the Apostle proves, and illustrates the Resurrection of the Dead by a Grain of Wheat, which being faln into the ground, dies, and riseth again exceeding fruitful.
§.1. The Philosophers (so called) of all Sects, have generally laid an ill Foundation to their Philosophy; and therefore the whole Structure must needs fall. §.2. The Philosophy here treated on is not Cartesian. §.3. Nor the Philosophy of Hobbs and Spinosa, (falsely so feigned,) but diametrically opposite to them. §.4. That they who have attempted to refute Hobbs and Spinosa, have given them too much advantage. §.5. This Philosophy is the strongest to refute Hobbs and Spinosa, but after another method. §.6. We understand here quite another thing by Body and Matter, than Hobbs understood; and which Hobbs, and Spinosa, never saw, otherwise than in a Dream. §.7. Life is as really and properly an Attribute of Body, as Figure. §.8. Figure and Life are distinct, but not contrary Attributes of one and the same thing. §.9. Mechanical Motion and Action or Perfection of Life, distinguishes Things.
§.1. FROM what hath been lately said, and from divers Reasons alledged, That Spirit and Body are originally in their first Substance but one and the same thing, it evidently appears that the Philosophers (so called) which have taught otherwise, whether Ancient or Modern, have generally erred and laid an ill Foundation in the very beginning, whence the whole House and Superstructure is so feeble, and indeed so unprofitable, that the whole Edifice and Building must in time decay, from which absurd Foundation have arose very many gross and dangerous Errours, not only in Philosophy, but also in Divinity (so called) to the great damage of Mankind, hindrance of true Piety, and contempt of God's most Glorious Name, as will easily appear, as well from what hath been already said, as from what shall be said in this Chapter.
§.2. AND none can Object, That all this Philosophy is no other than that of des Cartes, or Hobbs under a new Mask. For, First, as touching the Cartesian Philosophy, this saith that every Body is a mere dead Mass, not only void of all kind of Life and Sense, but utterly uncapable thereof to all Eternity; this grand Errour also is to be imputed to all those who affirm Body and Spirit to be contrary Things, and inconvertible one into another, so as to deny a Body all Life and Sense; which is quite contrary to the grounds of this our Philosophy. Wherefore it is so far from being a Cartesian Principle, under a new Mask, that it may be truly said it is Anti-Cartesian, in regard of their Fundamental Principles; although it cannot be denied that Cartes taught many excellent and ingenious Things concerning the Mechanical part of Natural Operations, and how all Natural Motions proceed according to Rules and Laws Mechanical, even as indeed Nature her self, i.e. the Creature, hath an excellent Mechanical Skill and Wisdom in it self, (given it from God, who is the Fountain of all Wisdom,) by which it operates: But yet in Nature, and her Operations, they are far more than merely Mechanical; and the same is not a mere Organical Body, like a Clock, wherein there is not a vital Principle of Motion; but a living Body, having Life and Sense, which Body is far more sublime than a mere Mechanism, or Mechanical Motion.
§.3. BUT, Secondly, as to what pertains to Hobbs's Opinion, this is yet more contrary to this our Philosophy, than that of Cartes; for Cartes acknowledged God to be plainly Immaterial, and an Incorporeal Spirit. Hobbs affirms God himself to be Material and Corporeal; yea, nothing else but Matter and Body, and so confounds God and the Creatures in their Essences, and denies that there is any Essential Distinction between them. These and many more the worst of Consequences are the Dictates of Hobbs's Philosophy; to which may be added that of Spinosa; for this Spinosa also confounds God and the Creatures together, and makes but one Being of both; all which are diametrically opposite to the Philosophy here delivered by us.
§.4. BUT the false and feeble Principles of some who have undertaken to refute the Philosophy of Hobbs and Spinosa, so called, have given them a greater advantage against themselves; so that they have not only in effect, not refuted them, but more exposed themselves to Contempt and Laughter.
But if it be Objected, That this our Philosophy seems, at least, very like that of Hobbs, because he taught that all Creatures were originally one Substance, from the lowest and most ignoble, to the highest and noblest; from the smallest Worm, Insect, or Fly, unto the most Glorious Angel; yea, from the least Dust or Sand, unto the most excellent of all Creatures; and then this, that every Creature is Material and Corporeal; yea, Matter and Body it self; and by consequence the most Noble Actions thereof, are either Material and Corporeal, or after a certain Corporeal manner. Now I Answer to the First, I grant that all Creatures are originally one Substance, from the lowest to the highest, and consequently convertible or changeable, from one of their Natures into another; and although Hobbs saith the same, yet that is no prejudice to the Truth of it, as neither are other parts of that Philosophy where Hobbs affirms something that is true, therefore an Hobbism, or an Opinion of Hobbs alone.
§.5. MOREOVER, this Principle is so far from defending them in their Errours, that nothing is so strong to refute them, ex. gr. The Hobbists argue, all Things are one, because we see that all visible Things may be changed one into another; yea, that all visible Things may be changed into invisible, as when Water is made Air, and Wood being burnt (for the greatest part) is changed into a certain invisible Substance, which is so subtile, that it escapes all observation of our Senses; add to which, that all invisible Things may become visible, as when Water proceeds from Air, &c. and hence he concludes, nothing is so low that it cannot attain to sublimity.
But now that we may Answer to this Argument, his Adversaries generally deny the Antecedent, and on the contrary affirm that no Species of Things is convertible into another: And when Wood is burnt, many say that the Wood is composed of two Substances; to wit, Matter and Form, and that the Matter remains the same, but the Form of the Wood is destroyed or annihilated, and a new Form of Fire is produced in this Matter; so that according to them, there is a continual Annihilation of real Substances and Productions of new Ones in this World: But this is so frivolous, that many others deny that, in the case of Wood, changed into Fire, and afterwards into Smoak and Ashes; yet they still persist in the same Errour in other Transmutations, as when Wood is changed into an Animal, as we often see that of rotten Wood; yea, Dung also, living Creatures are generated: But if they deny here, that the Wood is changed into an Animal, and say that Wood is nothing but Matter; but Matter hath not Life, nor a capacity to Life or Sense; and therefore this Animal which hath Life and Sense, ought to have the same from elsewhere, and must have a Spirit or Soul in it, that is not a part of its Body, neither doth proceed from it, but is sent thither.
But if it be demanded of them, from whence this Spirit is sent, and who sendeth it? Also why a Spirit of this Species is sent, and not of another; here they are at a stand, and yield themselves to their Adversaries.
Therefore this our Philosophy before laid down, more strongly conduces to the refutation of the Hobbesian and Spinosian Philosophy, viz. that all Kinds of Creatures may be changed one into another, that the lowest may become the highest, and the highest (as considered originally in its own proper Nature) may become the lowest, sc. according to that Course and Succession which Divine Wisdom hath ordained, that one Change may succeed another in a certain order; so that A must be first turned into B, before it can be turned into C, which must be turned into C, before it can be changed into D, &c.
But we deny the Consequence, viz. that God and Creatures are one Substance.
For in all Transmutations of Creatures from one Species into another, as from a Stone into Earth, and from Earth into Grass, and from Grass to a Sheep, and from a Sheep into Humane Flesh, and from Humane Flesh into the most servile Spirits of Man, and from these into his noblest Spirits; but there can never be a Progression or Ascension made unto God, who is the chiefest of all Beings, and whose Nature still infinitely excels a Creature placed in his highest Perfection; for the Nature of God is every way unchangeable, so that it doth not admit of the least Shadow of a Change: But the Nature of a Creature is to be changeable.
§.6. SECONDLY, If it be said, by way of Objection, that according to this Philosophy, every Creature is Material and Corporeal; yea, Body and Matter it self, as Hobbs teacheth. Now I Answer, That by Material and Corporeal, as also by Matter and Body, here the thing is far otherwise understood, than Hobbs understood it, and which was never discovered to Hobbs or Cartes, otherwise than in a Dream: For what do they understand by Matter and Body? Or, What Attributes do they ascribe to them? None, certainly, but these following as are Extension and Impenetrability, which nevertheless are but one Attribute; to which also may be referred Figurability and Mobility. But, suppose, those are distinct Attributes, certainly this profits nothing, nor will ever help us to understand what that excellent Substance is, which they call Body and Matter; for they have never proceeded beyond the Husk or Shell, nor ever reached the Kernel, they only touch the Superficies, never discerning the Centre, they were plainly ignorant of the noblest and most excellent Attributes of that Substance which they call Body and Matter, and understood nothing of them. But if it be demanded, what are those more excellent Attributes? I Answer, these following, Spirit, or Life, and Light, under which I comprehend a capacity of all kind of Feeling, Sense, and Knowledge, Love, Joy, and Fruition, and all kind of Power and Virtue, which the noblest Creatures have or can have; so that even the vilest and most contemptible Creature; yea, Dust and Sand, may be capable of all those Perfections, sc. through various and succedaneous Transmutations from the one into the other; which according to the Natural Order of Things, require long Periods of Time for their Consummation, although the Absolute Power of God (if it had pleased him) could have accelerated or hastened all Things, and effected it in one moment: But this Wisdom of God saw it to be more expedient, that all Things should proceed in their Natural Order and Course; so that after this manner, that Fertility or Fruitfulness, which he hath endued every Being with, may appear, and the Creatures have Time by Working still to promote themselves to a greater Perfection, as the Instruments of Divine Wisdom, Goodness and Power, which operates in, and with them; for therein the Creature hath the greater Joy, when it possesseth what it hath, as the Fruit of its own labour.
But this capacity of the afore-mentioned Perfections is quite a distinct Attribute from Life, and Understanding, or Knowledge, quite distinct from the former, viz. Extension and Figure; and so also a Vital Action is plainly distinct from Local, or Mechanical Motion, although it is not nor cannot be separated from it, but still useth the same at least, as its Instrument, in all its concourse with the Creatures.
§.7. I SAY, Life and Figure are distinct Attributes of one Substance, and as one and the same Body may be transmuted into all Kinds of Figures; and as the perfecter Figure comprehends that which is more imperfect; so one and the same Body may be transmuted from one degree of Life to another more perfect, which always comprehends in it the inferior. We have an Example of Figure in a Triangular Prisme, which is the first Figure of all right lined solid Bodies, whereinto a Body is convertible; and from this into a Cube, which is a perfecter Figure, and comprehends in it a Prisme; from a Cube it may be turned into a more perfect Figure, which comes nearer to a Globe, and from this into another, which is yet nearer; and so it ascends from one Figure, more imperfect, to another more perfect, ad infinitum; for here are no bounds; nor can it be said, this Body cannot be changed into a perfecter Figure: But the meaning is, that that Body consists of plain right lines; and this is always changeable into a perfecter Figure, and yet can never reach to the perfection of a Globe, although it always approaches nearer unto it; the case is the same in divers degrees of Life, which have indeed a beginning, but no end; so that the Creature is always capable of a farther and perfecter degree of Life, ad infinitum, and yet can never attain to be equal with God; for he is still infinitely more perfect than a Creature, in its highest Elevation or Perfection, even as a Globe is the most perfect of all other Figures, unto which none can approach.
§.8. AND thus Life and Figure are distinct, but not contrary Attributes of one and the same Substance, and Figure serves the Operations of Life, as we see in the Body of Man or Beast, how the Figure of the Eye serves the Sight; the Figure of the Ear, the Hearing; the Figure of the Mouth, Teeth, Lips, and Tongue, serve the Speech; the Figure of the Hands and Fingers serve to Work; the Figure of the Feet to Walk; and so the Figures of all the other Members have their use, and very much conduce to the Vital Operations, which the Spirit performs in these Members; Yea the Figure of the whole Body is more commodious for the proper Operations of Human Life, than any other Figure whatsoever is, or could be made; So that Life and Figure consist very well together in one Body, or Substance, where Figure is an Instrument of Life, without which no Vital Operation can be performed.
§.9. LIKEWISE, Local and Mechanical Motion (i.e.) the carrying of Body from place to place, is a Manner or Operation distinct from Action or Vital Operation, altho' they are inseparable, so that a Vital Action can in no wise be without all Local Motion, because this is the Instrument thereof. So the Eye cannot see, unless Light enter it, which is a Motion, and stirs up a Vital Action in the Eye, which is Seeing; and so in all other Vital Operations in the whole Body. But an Action of Life is a far Nobler and Diviner manner of Operation than Local Motion; and yet both agree to one Substance, and consist well together; for as the Eye receives the Light into it self, from the Object which it seeth from without; so also it sends the same Light to the Object, and in this Spirit and Life is a Vital Action, uniting the Object and Sight together.
Wherefore Hobbs, and all others who side with him, grievously erre, whilst they teach that Sense and Knowledge is no other than a reaction of Corporeal Particles one upon another, where, by reaction, he means no other than Local and Mechanical Motion. But indeed Sense and Knowledge is a Thing far more Noble and Divine, than any Local or Mechanical Motion of any Particles whatsoever; for it is the Motion or Action of Life, which uses the other as its Instrument, whose Service consists herein; that is, to stir up a Vital Action in the Subject or Percipient; and can like Local Motion be transmitted through divers Bodies, although very far distant asunder, which therefore are united, and that without any new Transition of Body or Matter, ex. gr. a Beam of Wood of an exceeding great length, is moved by one Extream from the North to the South, the other Extream will necessarily be moved also; and the Action is transmitted through the whole Beam, without any Particles of Matter sent hither to promote Motion, from one Extream to the other; because the Beam it self is sufficient to transmit the said Motion: After the same manner also, a Vital Action can proceed together with Local Motion from one thing to another, and that too at a great distance, where there is an apt and fit Medium to transmit it, and here we may observe a kind of Divine Spirituality or Subtilty in every Motion, and so in every Action of Life, which no created Body or Substance is capable of, viz. by Intrinsecal Presence, which (as before is proved) agrees to no created Substance; and yet agrees to every Motion or Action whatsoever: For Motion or Action is not a certain Matter or Substance, but only a manner of its Being; and therefore is intrinsecally present in the Subject, whereof there is a Modus, or Manner, and can pass from Body to Body, at a great distance, if it finds a fit Medium to transmit it; and by how much the stronger the Motion is, so much the farther it reacheth; so when a Stone is cast into standing Waters, it causes a Motion every way from the Centre to the Circumference, forming Circles still greater and greater at a great distance, by how much longer the time is, till at length it vanishes from our sight; and then without doubt, it makes yet more invisible Circles for a longer space of Time, which our dull Senses cannot apprehend, and this Motion is transmitted from the Centre to the Circumference, not conveighed thither by any Body or Substance, carrying this Motion with it from the Stone. And as the External Light also, seeing it is an Action or Motion stirred up by some illuminate Body, may be transmitted through Glass, Chrystal, or any other transparent Body, without any Substance, Body, or Matter, conveighed from that illuminate Body from whence the said Action proceeded, not that I would deny that abundance of subtile Matter continually flows from all illuminate Bodies, so that the whole Substance of a burning Candle is spent in such Emanations: And this hath in it that Motion or Action, which we call Light; but this Motion or Action may be increased, v. g. by Chrystal, where those subtile Emanations of Bodies may be restrained, that they cannot pass out at least in such abundance, as may be sufficient to communicate the whole Light: But seeing Chrystal (which doth so easily transmit the Light) is so hard and solid, How can it receive so many Bodies, and transmit them so easily through it, when other Bodies, neither so hard nor solid, do let or resist it? for Wood is neither so hard nor solid as Chrystal, and yet Chrystal is transparent, but Wood not; and certainly Wood is more Porous than Chrystal, because it is less solid, and consequently the Light doth not enter by the Pores of the Chrystal, but through the very Substance of it; and yet so as not to adhere to it, or make any turgescency or increase of Quantity, but by a certain intrinseck presence, because it is not a Body or Substance, but a mere Action or Motion. Now Chrystal is a fitter Medium to receive this Motion, which we call Light, than Wood is; and hence it is, that it pervades or passeth through that and not this; and as there is a great diversity of the Motion and Operation of Bodies, so every Motion requires its proper Medium to transmit the same. Therefore 'tis manifest, that Motion may be transmitted through diverse Bodies, by another kind of penetration, than any Body or Matter (how subtile soever it be) is able to make; to wit, by intrinseck Presence. And if mere Local or Mechanical Motion can do that, then certainly a Vital Action (which is a nobler kind of Motion) can do the same; and if it can penetrate those Bodies, it passeth through by intrinseck Presence, then it may in one moment be transmitted from one Body to another, or rather require no time at all, I mean Motion or Action it self requires not the least time for its transmission, although 'tis impossible but that the Body, wherein the Motion is carried from place to place, ought to have some time, either greater or lesser, according to the quality of Body and vehemency of Motion which carries it.
And therefore we see how every Motion and Action, considered in the Abstract, hath a wonderful subtility or spirituality in it, beyond all created Substances whatsoever, so that neither Time nor Place can limit the same; and yet they are nothing else but Modes or Manners of created Substances, viz. their Strength, Power and Virtue, whereby they are extendible into great Substances, beyond what the Substance it self can make. And so we may distinguish Extension into Material and Virtual, which two-fold Extension every Creature hath; Material Extension is that which Matter, Body, or Substance hath, as considered without all Motion or Action; and this Extension (to speak properly) is neither greater or lesser, because it would still remain the same. A Virtual Extension is a Motion or Action which a Creature hath, whether immediately given from God, or immediately received from its Fellow Creature. That which is immediately given of God (from whom also it hath its Being,) and which is the natural and proper effect of its Essence, is in a more proper way of speaking, a proper Motion of the Creature, proceeding from the innermost parts thereof; and therefore may be called Internal Motion, as distinguished from External, which is only from another; and therefore in respect thereof may be called Foreign; and when the said External motion endeavours to carry a Body, or any Thing, to a place whereunto it hath properly no natural inclination, then it is preternatural and violent; as when a Stone is thrown up into the Air, which Motion being preternatural and violent, is plainly Local and Mechanical, and no way vital, because it doth not proceed from the Life of the Thing so moved: But every Motion, proceeding from the proper Life and Will of the Creature, is vital; and this I call a Motion of Life, which is not plainly Local and Mechanical as the other, but hath in it a Life, and Vital Virtue, and this is the Virtual Extension of a Creature, which is either greater or lesser, according to that kind or degree of Life wherewith the Creature is endued, for when a Creature arrives at a Nobler Kind and Degree of Life, then doth it receive the greater Power and Virtue to move it self, and transmit its vital Motions to the greatest distance.
But how Motion or Action may be transmitted from one Body to another, is with many a matter of great debate; because it is not a Body or Substance; and if it be only Motion of Body, how Motion can pass properly with its own subject into another, because the very being of Modus, or Manner, consist herein, viz. to exist or be inherent in its own Body: The Answer to this Objection, which seemeth to me best, is this, That Motion is not propagated from one Body to another by Local Motion, because Motion it self is not moved, but only moves the Body in which it is; for if Motion could be propagated by Local Motion, this Motion would be propagated of another, and this again of another, and so ad infinitum, which is absurd. Therefore the manner of the said propagation is (as it were) by real Production or Creation; so that as God and Christ can only create the Substance of a Thing, when as no Creature can Create or give Being to any Substance, no not as an Instrument; so a Creature, not of it self, but in subordination to God, as his Instrument may give existence to Motion and vital Action, and so the Motion in one Creature may produce Motion in another: And this is all a Creature can do towards the moving it self or its Fellow Creatures, as being the Instrument of God, by which Motions a new Substance is not created, but only new Species of Things, so that Creatures may be multiplied in their Kinds, whilst one acts upon, and moves another; and this is the whole Work of the Creature, or Creation, as the Instrument of God; but if it moves against his Will, whose Instrument it is, then it Sins, and is punished for it: But God (as before was said) is not the cause of Sin; for when a Creature Sins, he abuseth the Power God hath granted him; and so the Creature is culpable, and God intirely free from every spot or blemish hereof. If therefore we apply those things which have been already spoken, concerning the Attributes of a Body, viz. that it hath not only Quantity and Figure, but Life also; and is not only locally and mechanically but vitally moveable, and can transmit its vital Action whithersoever it pleaseth, provided it hath a Medium aptly disposed, and if it hath none it can extend it self by the subtile Emanation of its parts, which is the fittest and most proper Medium of it, to receive and transmit its vital Action. Hereby it will be easie to Answer to all the Arguments; whereby some endeavour to prove that a Body is altogether uncapable of Sense and Knowledge; and it may be easily demonstrated, after what manner some certain Body may gradually advance to that Perfection, as not only to be capable of such Sense and Knowledge as Brutes have, but of any kind of Perfection whatsoever may happen in any Man or Angel; and so we may be able to understand the Words of Christ, that of Stones God is able to raise up Children to Abraham, without flying to some strained Metaphor; and if any one should deny this Omnipotence of God, viz. that God is able of Stones to raise up Children to Abraham; that certainly would be the greatest Presumption.
|Greek or Hebrew:
|Greek: "logos ousios"
|the Essential Word of the Father
|Greek: "logos prophorikos"
|the Word Expressed or brought forth
|complete reality or perfection of a thing (Aristotle)
|"breath" or "wind"; soul
|an inordinate determination of motion; disorder of movement
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