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contracted in a bile or inflammation, which indeed is more felt than the equally diffused blood, but it is as the pain of a disease; and so when our fires go out, they are but like a healed, scattered inflammation, and the same substance is more naturally and equally diffused. And if the individuation of souls were only by corporeal matter, and the union thus as great at their departure, it would not diminish, if it did not too much increase, their perfection and felicity; for there would be no diminution of any substance, or power, or activity, or perfection what
Sect. 50. And this would confute their fond opinion, who think that separated souls sleep in nudá potentiá, for want of an organized body to operate in ; for no doubt, but if all holy souls were one, this world, either in heaven or earth, hath a common body, enough for such a soul to operate in. Even those stoics that think departed souls are one, do think that that one soul hath a nobler operation than ours, in our narrow bodies, and that when our souls cease animating this body, they have the nobler and sweeter work, in part, of animating the whole world; and those that thought several orbs had their several souls, of which the particular wights participated, said the like of separated souls, as animating the bodies of their globes and orbs. And though all these men trouble their heads with their own vain imaginations, yet this much the nature of the matter tells us, which is considerable, that whereas the utmost fear of the infidel is, that souls departed lose their individuation or activity, and are resolved into one common soul, or continue in a sleepy potentiality, for want of a body to operate in, they do but contradict themselves, seeing it is a notorious truth, 1. That if all holy souls were one, no one would be a loser by the union, but it would be a greater gain than we must hope for ; for a part of one is as much and as noble, and as active a substance, as if it were a separated person (and annihilation, or loss of specific powers, is not to be rationally feared). 2. And that one soul is now either self-subsisting without a body, or animateth a suitable body (as some ancients thought the angels stars). If that one soul can act without a body, so may ours, whether as parts of it, or not; if that one soul animate a suitable body, ours, were they united parts of it, would have part of that employment; so that hereby they confute themselves. Sect. 51. Obj. But this would equalize the good and bad, or
at least, those that were good in several degrees; and where then were the reward and punishment?
Anisw. It would not equal them at all, any more than distinct personality would do: for, 1. The souls of all holy persons may be so united, as that the souls of the wicked shall have no part in that union. Whether the souls of the wicked shall be united in one sinful, miserable soul, or rather but in one sinful society, or be greatlier separate, disunited, contrary to each other, and militant, as part of their sin and misery, is nothing to this case. 2. Yet natural and moral union must be differenced. God is the root of nature to the worst, and however in one sense it is said, that there is nothing in God but God, yet it is true, that in him all live, and move, and have their being ; but yet the wicked's in-being in God doth afford them no sanctifying or beatifying communion with him, as experience showeth us in this life; which yet holy souls have, as being made capable recipients of it. As I said, different plants, briars, and cedars, the stinking and the sweet, are implanted parts (or accidents) of the same world or earth. 3. And the godly themselves may have as different a share of happiness in öne common soul, as they have now of holiness, and so as different rewards (even as roses and rosemary, and other herbs, differ in the same garden, and several fruits in the same orchard, or on the same tree). For if souls are unible, and so partible substances, they have neither more nor less of substanceor holiness for their union; and so will each have his proper
As a tun of water cast into the sea will there still be the same, and more than a spoonful cast into it.
Sect. 52. Obj. But spirits are not as bodies extensive and quantitative, and so not partible or divisible, and therefore your supposition is vain.
Answ. 1. My supposition is but the objectors': for if they confess that spirits are substances, (as cannot with reason be denied ; for they that specify their operations by motion only, yet suppose a pure proper substance to be the subject or thing moved,) then when they talk of many souls becoming one, it must be by conjunction and increase of the substance of that one : or when they say, that they were always one, they will
ufess withal that they now differ in number, as individuale in the body. And who will say, that millions of millions are no more than one of all those millions ? Number is a sort of
quantity; and all souls in the world are more than Cain's or Abel's only; one feeleth not what another feeleth; one knoweth not what another knoweth. And indeed, though souls have not snch corporeal extension, as passive, gross, bodily matter hath, yet, as they are more noble, they have a more noble sort of extension, quantity, or degrees, according to which all mankind conceive of all the spiritual substance of the universe ; yea, all the angels, or all the souls on earth, as being more, and having more substance than one man's soul alone. 2. And the fathers, for the most part, especially the Greeks, (yea, and the second council of Nice,) thought that spirits created, had a purer sort of material being, which Tertullian called a body; and doubtless, all created spirits have somewhat of passiveness ; for they do recipere vel pati from the divine influx; only God is wholly impassive. We are moved when we move, and acted when we act; and it is hard to conceive, that (when matter is commonly called passive) that which is passive should have no sort of matter in a large sense taken; and if it have any parts distinguishable, they are by God divisible. 3. But if the contrary be supposed, that all souls are no more than one, and so that there is no place for uniting or partition, there is no place then for the objection of all souls becoming one, and of losing individuation, unless they mean by annihilation.
Sect. 53. But that God who (as is said) delighteth both in the union, and yet in the wonderful multiplicity of creatures, and will not make all stars to be only one; though fire have a most uniting or aggregative inclination, hath further given experimental notice that there is individuation in the other world as well as here, even innumerable angels and devils, and not one only: as apparitions and witches, and many other evidences prove, of which more anon. So that, all things considered, there is no reason to fear that the souls shall lose their individuation or activity, (though they change their manner of action,) any more than their lieing or formal power : and so it is naturally certain that they are immortal.
Sect. 54. And if holy souls are so far immortal, I need not prove that they will be immortally happy; for their holiness will infer it; and few will ever dream that it shall there go ill with them that are good, and that the most just and holy God will not use those well whom he maketh holy.
Sect. 1. II. That holy souls shall be hereafter happy, seemeth to be one of the common notices of nature planted in the consciences of mankind; and it is therefore acknowledged by the generality of the world that freely use their understandings. Most, yea almost all the heathen nations at this day believe it, besides the Mahometans; and it is the most barbarous cannibals and Brazilians that do not, whose understandings have had the least improvement, and who have rather an inconsiderate nescience of it, than a denying opposition. And though some philosophers denied it, they were a small and contemned party: and though many of the rest were somewhat dubious, it was only a certainty which they professed to want, and not a probability or opinion that it was true; and both the vulgar and the deep-studied men believed it, and those that questioned it were the half-studied philosophers, who, not resting in the natural notice, nor yet reaching full intellectual evidence of it by discourse, had found out matter of difficulty to puzzle them, and came not to that degree of wisdom as would have resolved them.
Sect. 2. And even among apostates from Christianity, most, or many, still acknowledge the soul's immortality, and the felicity and reward of holy souls, to be of the common notices, known by nature to mankind. Julian was so much persuaded of it, that, on that account, he exhorteth his priests and subjects to great strictness and holiness of life, and to see that the Christians did not exceed them : and, among us, the Lord Herbert de Veritate, and many others that seem not to believe our supernatural revelations of Christianity, do fully acknowledge it. Besides, those philosophers who most opposed Christianity, as Porphyrius, Maximus, Tyrius, and such others.
Sect. 3. And we find that this notice hath so deep a root in nature, that few of those that study and labour themselves into bestiality (or sadducisin) are able to excuse the fears of future misery, but conscience overcometh, or troubleth them much at least, when they have done the worst they can against it. And whence should all this be in man and not in beasts, if man had no further reason of hopes and fears than they? Are a few Sadducees wiser by their forced or crude conceits, than all the world that are taught by nature itself.
Sect. 1. III. If the God of nature have made it every man's certain duty to make it his chief care and work in this life, to seek for happiness hereafter, then such a happiness there is for them that truly seek it. But the antecedent is certain, as I have elsewhere proved. Ergo, &c.
Sect. 2. As to the antecedent. The world is made up of three sorts of men, as to the belief of future retribution, 1. Such as take it for a certain truth; such are Christians, Mahometans, and most heathens. 2. Such as take it for uncertain, but most probable or likeliest to be true. 3. Such as take it for uncertain, but rather think it untrue. For as none can be certain that it is false, which indeed is true, so I never yet met with one that would say he was certain it was false : so that I need not trouble you with the mention of any other party or opinion ; but if any should say so, it is easy to prove that he speaketh falsely of himself.
Sect. 3. And that it is the duty of all these, but especially of the two former sorts, to make it their chief care and work to seek their happiness in the life to come, is easily proved thus : natural reason requireth every man to seek that which is best for himself, with the greatest diligence; but natural reason saith that a probability or possibility of the future everlasting happiness is better and more worthy to be sought, than any thing attainable in this present life (which doth not suppose it). Ergo, &c.
Sect. 4. The major is past doubt. Good and felicity being necessarily desired by the will of man, that which is best, and known so to he, must be most desired.
And the minor should be as far past doubt to men that use not their sense against their reason. For, 1. In this life there is nothing certain to be continued one hour. 2. It is certain that all will quickly end, and that the longest life is short. 3. It is certain that time and pleasure past are nothing, properly nothing; and so no better to us than if they had never been. 4. And it is certain that, while we possess them, they are poor, unsatisfactory things, the pleasure of the flesh being no sweeter to a man than to a beast, and the trouble that accompanieth it much more. Beasts have not the cares, fears, and sorrows, upon foresight, which man hath. They fear not death upon the foreknowledge of it, nor fear any misery after death, nor are put upon any labour, sufferings, or trials, to obtain a future happiness, or avoid a future misery. All which considered, he speaketh not by reason, who saith this vain, vexatious life is better than the possibility or probability of the everlasting glory.
Sect. 5. Now, as to the consequence, or major, of the first argument, it is evident of itself, from God's perfection, and the nature of his works. God maketh it not man's natural duty