|Sir Thomas Browne Page||Religio Medici|
Mr. EDWARD BENLOWES,
O satisfie your desire, I have endevoured, so farre as the shortnesse of time, the distractions of my mind, and the want of Bookes would give mee leave, in this place of exile, to open the mysteries of this Treatise, so much cried up by those whose eyes pierce no deeper then the superficies; and their judgements, then the out-sides of things. Expect not here from mee Rhetoricall flourishes; I study matter, not words: Good wine needs no bush. Truth is so amiable of her selfe, that shee cares not for curious dressing: Where is most painting, there is least beauty. The Gentleman, who at last acknowledged himselfe to the the Authour of this Booke,1 tells us, that many things in it are not to be called unto the rigid test of reason, being delivered Rhetorically: but, as I suspect that friendship, which is set out in too many Verball Complements; so doe I that Religion, which is trimmed up with too many Tropicall pigments, and Rhetoricall dresses. If the gold be pure, why feares it the Touch-stone? The Physician will trie the Apothecaries drugges, ere hee make use of them for his Patients bodie; and shall wee not trie the ingredients of that Religion, which is accounted the Physick of our soules? I have no leasure nor mind here to expatiate of my selfe: a sparkle of the publike flame hath taken hold on my estate; my avocations are divers, my Bookes are farre from mee, and I am here
Omnibus exhaustus pene casibus,
Therefore accept these sudden and extemporary Animadversions, so earnestly desired by you, as a testimony of his service and love to you, who will alwaies be found
Your servant to command,
Dum res, & ætas, & Sororum
Fila trium patiuntur atra,
The Contents of the chiefe
things briefly handled here in
this Booke, are these:
1. If the Papists and we are of one faith.
2. If it be lawfull to joyne with them in prayers in their Churches.
3. If Crosses and Crucifixes are fit meanes to excite devotion.
4. If it be fit to weep at a Proceßion.
5. If we owe the Pope good language.
6. If we may dispute of Religion.
7. If the Church at all times is to be followed.
8. Of the soules immortality.
9. Of Origen's opinion concerning the damned.
10. Of prayer for the dead.
11. Of seeing Christ corporally.
12. If the soule can be called mans Angell, or Gods body.
13. Of Gods wisedome and knowledge.
14. How Nature is to be defined.
15. If Monsters are beautifull.
I6. If one may pray before a game at Tables.
17. Of judiciall Astrologie.
18. Of the brasen Serpent.
19. Of Eliah's miracle of fire. Of the fire of Sodome. Of Manna.
20. If there be Atheists.
21. If man hath a right side.
22. How America was peopled.
23. If Methusalem was longest lived.
24. If Judas hanged himselfe. of Babels Tower. Of Peters Angell.
25. If miracles be ceased.
26. If we may say, that God cannot doe some things.
27. If he denieth Spirits, who denieth Witches.
28. If the Angels know our thoughts.
29. If the light be a spirituall substance, or may be an Angell.
30. If the Heavens bee an immatereiall world.
31. If Gods presence be the habitation of Angels.
32. How they are ministring spirits to us.
33. If creation bee founded on contrarieties.
34. If the soule be ex traduce.
35. Of Monsters.
36. If the body be soules instrument.
37. If the seat of Reason can be found in the braine.
38. If there be in death any thing that may daunt us.
39. If the soule sleeps in the body after death.
40. If there shall be any judiciall proceeding in the last day.
41. If there shall be any signes of Christs coming.
42. If Antichrist be yet knowne.
43. If the naturall forme of a plant lost can be recovered.
44. If beyond the tenth Sphere there is a place of blisse.
45. Of Hell-fire, and ow it workes on the soule.
46. Of the locall place of Hell.
47. The soules of worthy Heathens where.
48. Of the Churches in Asia and Africa.
49. If wee an bee confident of our salvation.
The CONTENTS of the second part.
1. Of Physiognomie and Palmestry.
2. If friends should be loved before parents.
3. If one should love his friend, as hee doth his God.
4. If originall sin is not washed away in baptisme.
5. Of Pride.
6. If we should sue after knowledge.
7. If the act of coition be foolish.
8. Evil company to be avoided.
9. If the soule was before the elements.
The CONTENTS of the
1. If the condition of the soule cannot bee changed, without changing the essence.
2. How the light is actus perspicui.
3. If the first matter hath an actuall existence.
4. If matter, forme, essence, &c. be but notions.
5. Judiciall Astrologie impious, and repugnant to Divinity.
6. If the Angels know all at their creation.
7. If the light be a solid substance.
8. If the soule depends on the body.
9. If terrene soules appeare after death.
10. Departed soules carry not with them affections to the objects left behind.
11. If slaine bodies bleed at the sight of the murtherer.
12. How God is the cause of annihilation, and how the creature is capable of it.
13. If our dust and ashes shall be all gathered together in the last day.
14. If the same identicall bodies shall rise againe.
15. If the forme, or the matter gives numericall individuation.
16. If the matter, without forme, hath actuall being.
17. If identity belong to the matter.
18. If the body of a childe and of a man be the same.
19. Of some Similes, by which identicall resurrection seems to be weakned.
20. If grace be a quality, and how wee are justified by grace.
I Have perused these Animadversions, entitled, Medicus Medicatus; and those likewise of Sir Kenelme Digbie, themselves also animadverted on by the same Authour: and finding them learned, sound and solid, I allow them to bee printed and published that many others may receive the same satisfaction, content and delight in reading of them, which I professe my selfe to have enjoyed in their perusall.
Hough the Authour desires that his Rhetorick may not be brought to the test of reason, yet we must be bold to let him know, that our reason is not given to us in vaine: shall we suffer our selves to be wilfully blind-folded? shall we shut our eyes, that wee may not see the traps and snares laid in our waies? he would have us sleep securely, that the envious man may sowe tares among the good corne: latet anguis in herba; all is not gold that glisters; it were strange stupidity in us, to breake downe our walls, and let in the Grecian Horse, and not (with Laacon) trie what is within him.
Aut hoc inclusi ligno occultantur Achivi,
Aut hæc in nostros fabricata est machina muros.
But now to the matter: First [Hee tells us, that between us and the Church of Rome there is one faith] then belike he will have us beleeve with the Romanists, that there bee more Mediatours then Christ, that his body is not contained in Heaven, but every where is newly created of bread; that the Saints are the objects of our prayers, that the Popes traditions are of equall authority with Scripture, that Apocryphall bookes are Canonicall, that we may merit both of congruity and condignity, yea supererogate; that we may pray to and adore Images, and too many more of these dangerous positions wee must beleeve, if our faith be all one with that of Rome: this may be indeed religio Medici, the religion of the House of Medicis, not of the Church of England.
Secondly, [He is not scrupulous in defect of our Churches to enter Popish Churches, and pray with Papists; for though the Heathen temples polluted the Israelites, yet the Popish impieties are not such as pollute their temples, nor our prayers made in them] Observe here first, that his words imply a necessity of praying in Churches, whereas Christ bids us pray in our chambers; and the Apostle wills us to lift up pure hands in every place: Moses his prayer was heard as well on the red-sea shore, as Aarons was in the tabernacle; and Job was heard as well on the dung-hill, as Solomon in the Temple. God is not now tyed to Mount Sion or Garizim. Secondly, to pray with Papists, is a countenancing and a confirming of their Idolatry. Thirdly, it is a scandall to the weaker brethren, and woe to him by whom scandall cometh. Fourthly, it argues notorious dissimulation and hypocrisie; and we know what simulata sanctitas is. Fifthly, he that prays with them, must say what they say, Salve regina, and Ave crux, spes unica, &c. or else hee prayes not with them, though hee be with them. Sixthly, Popish Churches, being actually imployed about Idolatry, doe no lesse pollute and profane, then the Heathen Temples did; because Popish Idolatry is no lesse (if not more) hurtfull and impious, then Heathen; for it is grosser Idolatry to worship Images, the work of mens hands, then to adore the Sun and Moon, the work of Gods hands. I reade of foure sorts of Idolatry: 1. Hermeticall, which is the worship of Images: 2. Poeticall, the worship of deified men: 3. Physicall, the worship of the great Platonick animall, the world, or parts thereof: 4. Metaphysicall, the worship of Angels, or other created spirits: all these sorts of Idolatry are practised by the Papists, except the third.
Thirdly, [At the sight of a Crosse or Crucifix he can dispense with his hat, but scarce with the thought or memory of his Saviour.] I will not blame him to remember his Saviour as oft as hee can; but then I would have him remember, that our Saviour hath not instituted a painted or carved Crosse or Crucifix to bring us in remembrance of him; but hath left us his Word and Sacrament; other devices are but will-worship. Secondly, the sight of a Crucifix adored, should rather excite his indignation then his devotion. When Moses and Ezechia saw the golden Calfe and brasen Serpent abused, we reade not of their devotion, but of their just indignation: a wooden cross is but a wooden remembrancer of Christ; and silence at the sight of Idolatry, is a secret consent: and how can any be devout in that wherein God is dishonoured?
Fourthly, [At a Procession hee hath wept, when his consorts have laughed, blind with opposition and prejudice.] The difference only is, that they play'd the part of Democritus, but the physician that of Heraclitus: now which of these are most blind with prejudice? he that laughs at the folly of superstitious Processsions, or he that weeps out of a preposterous devotion? but why, Sir, do you weep at such a sight? Is it out of pity, to see such folly? if so, I commend your weeping; but that is not the cause of your sorrow, as appeares by your Book: Is it then, because you call to remembrance Christs sufferings? but as hee told the women of Jerusalem, so I tell you, Weep not for him, but for your selfe: weep that you have not the heart and Christian courage to reprove such Idolatry; for, by countenancing of it with your teares, and not reproving of it with your words, you make it your owne: amici vitia si feras, facis tua.
Fifthly, [You thinke it uncharitable to scoffe the Pope, whom, as a temporall Prince, we owe the duty of good language.] First, how came he to be a temporall Prince? Sure he, whose successor he claims himselfe to be, said, that his Kingdome was not of this world; and refuted a temporall Crowne when it was profer'd him, and told his Apostles, that they should not beare rule as the lords of the Nations did: Non monstrabunt, opinor, ubi quisquam Apostolorum judex sederit hominum, &c. Saint Bernard will tell you, that the Apostles never affected such principality. If you alledge Constantins donation, I will remit you to those who have sufficiently demonstrated the forgery of it. Secondly, wee give him no worse termes then Christ gave Herod and the Rabbies of his time; calling the one a Fox, the others hypocrites, painted tombes, wolves in sheeps clothing.Thirdly, those which you call popular scurrilities and opprobrious scoffes, are [Antichrist, man of sin, whore of Babylon:] but these are the termes which the Scripture gives him. Fourthly, I confesse [it is the method of charity to suffer without reaction] in particular wrongs, but not when Gods glory is in question. Christ prayed for those that persecuted him, but whipped them that dishonoured his Fathers House. To suffer God to be wronged, and not to be moved, is not charity, but luke-warmnesse or stupidity. Fifthly, we give the Pope no other language, then what he hath received of his owne party. Victor was checked by Irenæus for excommunicating the Eastern Churches. Arnulphus Bishop of Orleans, in the Councell of Rhemes, calls the Pope Antichrist: not to speak of Joachimus Abbas, the Waldenses, Wickliffe, and many more, who give him the same title. Sixthly, how many Popes have justly deserved these titles, if you look on their flagitious lives, and hereticall doctrine, that not without cause Ralph Urbin painted the two chiefe Apostles with red faces, as blushing at the foule lives of their successors. What duties of good language do we owe to Zepherinus a Montanist, to Marcellinus and Idolator, Liberius an Arian, Anastasius a Nestorian, Vigilius an Eutychian, Honorius a Monothelite, Sylvester a Necromantick, John the 23. that denied the resurrection, and others? What shall I speak of Sylvester the second, Benedict the ninth, John the 20. and 21. Gregory the seventh, &c. who gave themselves to Sathan and Witchcraft? I will say nothing of their Apostasies, Idolatries, Whoredomes, Blasphemies, Cruelties, Simonie, Tyrannie, &c.
1. [You have no Genius to disputes in Religion] neither had Mahomet to disputes in his Alchoran: it were well, if there were no occasion of dispute; but, without it, I see not how against our learned adversaries wee should maintaine the truth. If there had been no dsipute against Arius, Nestorius, Eutychus, Macedonius, and other Hereticks, how should the truth have been vindicated? Not to dispute against an Heretick, is not to fight against an enemy: Shall wee suffer the one to poyson our soules, and the other to kill our bodies, without resistance?
2. [In Divinity you love to keep the road] so did not Eliah in his time, nor Christ and his Apostles in theirs: If the road be infested with theeves, holes or precipices, you were better ride about; the broad way is not still the best way.
3. [You follow the great Wheele of the Church, by which you move:] but this Wheele is sometime out of order. Had you been a member of the Hebrew Church, when that worshipped the Calfe, I perceive you would have moved with her, and danced to her pipe: Was it not better to follow the private dictats of Christ and his Apostles, then to move with the great Wheele of the Jewish Church? When the whole world groaned and wondered, that shee was made Arian; was it not safer to steere ones course after the private pole of Athanasius his spirit, then to move with the great Wheele of the Arian Church? Had you lived at that time, when the Woman. who had the Eagles wings, was forced to flye unto the wildernesse, being pursued by a floud out of the Dragons mouth; had you (I say) then lived, would not you rather have followed her, then stay at home, and worship Christs Image with the same adoration of latrei/a nay, worship the Crosse with the same that Christ himselfe is worshipped? You cannot be ignorant how disordered the motion was of the great Wheele of the Jewish Church in the dayes of Elijah, Manasses, and Hosea. Christ tells us, that when hee comes againe, hee will scarce find faith upon the earth; how then will the Churches great Wheele move?
[Your greener studies, you say, were polluted with the Arabians heresie, that mens soules perished with their bodies, but should be raised againe. This opinion, you thinke, Philosophy hath not throughly disproved; and you dare not challenge the prerogative of immortality to your soule, because of the unworthinesse, or merits of your unworthy nature.] First,
Quo semel est imbuta recens, servabit odorem
Testa diu: —
your vessel retaines yet the sent of that liquor, with which at first it was seasoned. Secondly, if you have forgot, reade over againe Plato, and you shall find, that Philosophy can throughly prove the soules immortality: reade also Aristotle. Will you have reasons out of Philosophy? take these: 1. The soule is of an heavenly and quintessential nature, not of an elementary. 2. The soule is a simple substance, not compounded of any principles, therefore can be resolved unto none: Now, if it were compounded, it could not be actus, e)ntele/xeia, and principium. 3. As the soule hath neither matter nor forme in it, so neither are therein it any contrarieties: now all generation and corruption are by contraries. This is the reason why Philosophy denieth any generation or corruption in the Heavens, because they are void of contrarieties. 4. It is a Maxime in Philosophy, Quod secundum se alicui convenit, est ab eo inseparabile; therefore life is inseparable from the soule, becaus it lives by it selfe, not by another, as the body doth, or by accident, as the souls of beasts do. 5. Mens soules have subsistence by themselves, not by their composita, as accidents, and the formes of beasts have; which is the cause of their decay. 6. The soule hath a naturall desire to immortality, which if it should not enjoy, that desire were given to it from God in vaine: At Deus & Natura nihil faciunt frustra. 7. If the soule perish, it must be resolved to nothing; for it cannot be resolved unto any principles, as not being made of them: if some thing can be resolved unto nothing, then some thing was made of nothing; but Philosophy denies this; therefore it must needs deny that, or the corruption of the sooule, and consequently, it holds the soules immortality. I could alledge many testimonies of Heathens, to prove how they beleeved the immortality of the soule, but that I study brevity. Thirdly, let not the merits of our unworthy nature deterre us from challenging the soules immortality; for the evill Angels have merited worse than we, and yet they cease not for that to be immortall. Though by sin we have lost originall righteousnesse, or supernaturall grace; yet wee have not lost the essentiall properties of our natures: and, indeed, wicked men would be glad, that their soules were as mortall as their bodies; for they know, that the merits of their unworthy natures deserve torments, rather than sleep or rest: therefore this your Arabian opinion is not grounded upon Philosophy, but rather upon Pope John the 20. his heresie, for which hee was condemned by the Divines of Paris.
Your second errour was that of Origens [That God would after some time release the damned soules from torture.] S. Austin shewes how pernicious this opinion of Origens is; for it opens a gap to all profanenesse, it destroyes Gods justice, which cannot be satisfied without eternity of paine, being the person offended is eternall, and the will of the sinner in offending is eternall, if hee could live eternally: Voluissent reprobi, si potuissent, sine fine vivere, ut possent sine fine peccare; I take, these are the words of Gregory the Great: Besides, this opinion is quite repugnant to the Scripture, which tells us of a worme that never dies, of a fire that's never quenched; of the divell, beast, and false prophet, which shall be tormented for ever, night and day. Againe, if the wicked shall have an end of their torments, why may you not as well thinke, that the Saints shall have an end of their joyes? But it's good to be wise with sobriety, and not to make God more mercifull then the Scripture makes him: it's sufficient that God hath freed some of Adams race from eternall fire, whereas hee might have damned all; his mercy is to be regulated by his owne wisdome, not by our conceipts. If melancholy natures are apt to despaire, when they thinke of eternall fire, let them be comforted with the hopes of eternall blisse: therefore, as Austin or Origen, so may I say of all his followers, Tanto errant perversiùs, quanto videntur de Deo sentire clementiùs.
[Your third errour, whereunto you were enclined from some charitable inducements, was prayer for the dead.] If the dead, for whom you prayed, were in heaven, your prayers were needlesse; for there is fulnesse of joy and pleasures for evermore: but if these dead were in hell, your prayers were fruitlesse; for from thence is no redemption. Secondly, if you enclined to pray for the dead, you did necessarily encline to the opinion of Purgatory, for that depends on this; and so you were injurious to the bloud of Christ, which hath purged us from all sinne; to the merit and satisfaction of Christ, to the grace of God and justifying Faith. Thirdly, you had no ground in Scripture, or any warrant from the ancient Church in her purer times, to pray for the dead: there was indeed a commemoration of their names, and a meeting of Christians at the place where the Martyrs suffered; but there was no praying either to them, or for them, but onely a desire that other Christians might be like them; and their names were rehearsed, that they might not be obliterated by silence, and that posterity might know they were in blisse, and that thanks might be given to God for them; that the living might shew their charity to them, and might be excited to an holy emulation of their vertues; ei)s tw=n mello/ntwn a)/skhsin, kai\ e)toimasi/an, ad acuendam charitatem, & in illos quos imitari possumus, et in illum quo adjuvante possumus. This then was the better way, to be remembred by posterity, and not by praying to them, as afterward, when superstition crept by degrees into the Church.
You have a piece of Rhetorick, ill becoming a Christian physician, [You blesse your selfe, and are thankfull, that you never saw Christ nor his Disciples.] Was it because he or they, by curing all diseases freely, would have hindered your practice? I am sure, Saint Luke, a physician, was not of your mind, who was an inseparable companion of Saint Paul. Did not many Kings and Prophets desire to see that which you slight, and could not see it? It was one of Austins wishes, to see Christ in the flesh. Old Simeon was so over-joyed with that sight, that hee desires to depart in peace, with a song in his mouth. The three Wise-men were never so wise, as in undertaking so long a journey to see Christ. It seemes you would not have taken the paines with Zacheus, to climb up a Sycomore tree to see Christ; but hee lost nothing by it: for hee that desired to see Christ, was seen by him, and rewarded with savlation. The poore Hemoroisse got more good by one touch of Christs garment, then by all the physick she had received from those of your profession. [You would not be one of Christs patients in that nature, as you say, for feare your faith should be thrust upon you.] 'Tis well you are of so strong a faith, that you need no such helps; but presume not too much with Peter, to walk on the sea; without Christs help you'l sink: I will pray with the blind man, I beleeve, Lord, help my unbeliefe.
[You had as leive we tell you, that the soule is mans Angell, or the body of God, as e_ntele/xia that is, the first act and perfection of the body.] It seemes here by your owne confession, you love to humour your fancie; for otherwise you cannot deny the soule to be the first act and perfection of the body, whereas no man can conceive, that the soule should be an Angell, except you will follow Origens opinion, that soules and Angels are of the same species: which is absurd; seeing the one are made to subsist without bodies, so are not the other: the one are intellective, the other rationall substances. The Schooles will tell you, that the Angels differ specifically one from another, how then can they and the soules of men differ only numerically? But this will not relish with you, who loves allegoricall descriptions better than metaphysicall definitions. But tell us how you conceive the soule to be Gods body: Hath God a body? seeing hee is free from all composition, both of essence and existence, of nature and personalty, of gender and difference; in whom can be no corporiety, because no matter; without which a body can no more be, then a dreame without sleep, or bread without meat saith Scaliger. Now, if any matter were in God, then there must be in him a passive possibility, and quantity also, and distinction of parts, all which essentially follow the matter. Besides, God and our soules must make but one compound; and so God and the creature is but one compounded substance: And whereas the compound is posterior to the parts compounding, it must follow, that God must be after our soules, and must be subject to some cause; for every compound hath a cause of its composition. What a strange God doth your allegoricall description decypher to us? Werre you not better admit the metaphysicall definition of the soule, to wit, actus primus corporis naturalis organici potentia vitam habentis, then such a wild fancie, that anima est corpus Dei? You were as good speak out in plaine termes with Plato, and tell us, that the world is a great animal, whereof God is the soule.
[You say that God is wise, becaus he knoweth all things; and he knowes all things, because hee made them all.] But I say, that God knoweth all things, because he is wise; for his wisdome is not like ours: ours is got by knowledge and long experience, so is not Gods, whose wisdome and knowledge are co-eternall; but in priority of order, his wisdome precedes his knowledge. We know first the effects of things and confusions by discourse, and then come to the knowledge of the principles, which we call wisdome: but God knowes the principles and causes of things simplici intuitu, and immediatly, being all in himselfe; the effects and conclusions hee knowes in these causes and principles. Secondly, God knowes not all things, because hee made them all, but hee made them, because hee knew them; for hee knew them before hee made them: he knew them from eternity, he made them in time, and with time. Againe, is there nothing that God knowes, but what he made? Hee knowes himselfe, hee knowes all those notions of our minds which we call entia rationis, he knows non-entities, and he knowes evill; and yet these he never made, nor will make.
[You define not nature with the Schooles, the principle of motion and rest; but a straight and regular line, &c.] Indeed, this is not to define, but to overthrow a good definition the end of which is, to bring us to the knowledge of the things defined: therefore Aristotle in his Topicks wil have us to avoid Metaphors, which cast a mist upon the thing defined; every Metaphor being more obscure than the proper words. But I see you delight in such fancies; for you define light, to be the shadow of God: I think Empedocles his definition would please you well, who defines the sea to be the sweat of the earth; and Plato defines the Poles to be the little feet, on which the great animal of the world moves it selfe. Such definitions are good for women and children, who are delighted with toyes; wise men search into the causes and natures of things. But is not Nature a principle of motion and rest? No, say you: What then? [A straight line, a settled course, Gods hand an instrument.] Is not this obscurum per obscurius? Nature is not a line, for it is no quantity: nor is it like a line; for these are entities too remote to make any similitude between them. Nature is as like a line, as the ten Plagues of Egypt were like the ten Commandements; a ridiculous similitude. And why is Nature rather a straight, then a circular line? We see the world is round, the motions of the heavens and starres are circular, the generation and corruption of sublunary bodies is also circular; the corruption of one being still the generation of another: snow begets water, and water snow; the rivers returne to the sea, from when they flow:
——Redit labor actus in orbem.
And what say you to the circulation of bloud in our bodies? Is not Nature then a circular, rather then a straight line? Againe, Nature is not a settled course, but in the workes of Nature there is a settled and constant course; if you will speak properly, and like a Philosopher, which you love not to doe. And suppose wee admit, that metaphorically Nature is the hand of God, and an instrument; yet is it not such an instrument, as the hammer is to the house, which cannot move it selfe: but as the fire was to the Chaldeans, and the red sea to the Egyptians; for the one of it selfe burned, the other of it selfe drowned, and moved downwards to its own place, without an externall agent: Otherwise you must say, that God burned the Chaldeans, and God drowned the Egyptians, and so you will make God both fire and water. Nay, if Nature doth not worke, and produce its immediate effects, but God in Nature; then you may say, It is not the fire, but God that rosts your meat, and extracts your physicall spirits and quintessences: [ For you will not have Gods actions ascribed to Nature, lest the honour of the principall agent be devolved upon the instrument.] And what else is this, but with Plato, to make this world a great animal, whereof God is the soule:
Principio coelum ac terras, composque liquentes,
Lucentemque globum lunæ, titaniaque astra
Spiritus intu alit, totamque infusa per artus
Mens agitat molem, & magno se corpore miscet:
Inde hominum, pecudumque genus, vitæque volantum,
Et quæ marmoreo fert monstra sub æquore pontus,
Igneus est ollis vigor, &c.
Now, if Nature be not the principle of motion, what is that which moveth or altereth the water from cold to heat, when it is on fire? Is it not the nature of the fire? Againe, is not forme and matter the nature of things? but these are causes, and causes are principles of motion. Doe not you know, that the forme actuates the compositum, and restraines the extravagancie of the matter? Doth not the matter receive the forme, and sustaine it? but to actuate, restraine, receive and sustaine are motions, of which you see Nature is the principle, except you will deny the two internall causes of things; but you must deny generation and corrruption, composition and mixture in Nature, which (I thinke) you will not doe, as you are a Physician.
You say [that there is in monsters a kind of beauty, for that the irregular parts are so contrived, that they become more remarkable then the principall fabrick.] It is not their beauty, but their monstrosity and irregularity that makes them remarkable; for the eye is as soon drawn with strange and uncouth, as with beautifull objects; the one to admiration and stupiditie, the other to delight: A woman, as beautifull as Venus, will not draw so many eyes, as if she were borne with a dogs head, and a fishes taile.
['Tis not you say a ridiculous devotion to say a prayer before a game at Tables.] I think it is profanation, and taking of Gods Name in vaine: For, what doe you pray for? that God would prosper your game, to win your neighbours mony, to which you have no right? If Abraham durst scarce intercede to God for the preservation of five populous Cities, how dare you be so bold with him, as to solicite him to assist you in your idle, foolish and sinfull desires, and, in divers respects, unlawfull recreations?
[You will not have us labour to confute judiciall Astrologie; for, if there be a truth therein, it doth not injure Divinity.] That is as much as if you would say, Let us not labour to resist the Divell; for, if hee loves your salvation, hee doth not injure us. If there were truth in that Art, we would not confute it; but we see there is so much deceit, vanitie and impietie in it, that Councels, Canons, civill and municipall Lawes, and Gods Word condemne it: therefore wee confute it. You had better then in plaine termes said, that Mercury doth not dispose us to be witty, nor Jupiter to be wealthy, then to tell us, [that if Mercury disposeth us to be witty, and Jupiter to be wealthy, you will thanke God that hath ordered your nativity unto such benevolent aspects.] I know the Stars were made to be signes, to measure time, to warme and illuminate, but not to give wealth and wit; promotion comes neither from East nor West, but from the Lord. It's hee that gives and takes, saith Job: It's hee that filleth the hungry, and sends the rich empty away, saith the Virgin. His wisdome hath wealth and honour in her left hand. Solomon went not to Mercury, but to God for wisdome. Was Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and other rich men in Scripture, borne under Jupiter? How disposeth he us to be wealthy? Passively? that is, to be capable of wealth, or willing to take it, when it is profer'd us? then I think, the most men in the world are borne under Jupiter: For,
Quis nisi mentis inops ——
Who will refuse wealth, when profer'd, except very few? Or, disposeth hee us actively? that is, makes he us fit to raise our owne fortunes? Surely, whereas there be many waies to attaine wealth; wit in some, learning in others, industry in others, boldnesse, with hazzarding of their lives, and vigilancie and paines in others: Againe, oppression, robbery, theeving, lying, and many other waies there be of getting wealth, you must make Jupiter the cause of all these meanes; But if hee can make us rich, what need wee pray to our heavenly Father, for our daily bread? You were as good tell us of the goddesse Pecunia, of the god Æsculanus, and his son Argentarius, worshipped among the Romans, for being the authors of mony, brasse and silver, that if they dispose wealth on us, wee will thank the Supreme giver for it, not them, as to call Mercury and Jupiter benevolent aspects, because they dispose us to be wealthy and witty.
[You confesse, that the Divell would diswade your beliefe from the miracle of the brasen Serpent, and make you think, that wrought by sympathy, and was but an Egyptian trick.] It seemes he dealt otherwise with you then with the Ophit hereticks; hee perswaded them that this was a true miracle; and that therefore Serpents should be worshipped: hee would perswade you that this was no miracle, but an Egyptian trick. Secondly, he might have more easily perswaded you, that the Egyptians and other Nations, from the report of this miracle, learned their worshipping of Serpents, then that Moses learned this erecting of the Serpent from the Egyptians. Thirdly, here could be no sympathy either between the disease and matter of the Serpent, which was brasse (being there was brasse enough in the Tabernacle, with looking on which their stings might have been cured:) or between the figure of the Serpent and the wound; for the figure, being a quality and artificiall, could not be the subject of sympathy, which is a hid vertue, having alwaies a naturall substance for the subject of it: and seeing that sympathies and antipathies follow not the matter of things, and therefore are not elementary qualities, but the specificall forme, there could be no such qualitie in that Serpent, having no other essentiall forme but of brasse, which hath no such sympathy, as to cure an inflammation by the bare look on it afar off. Fourthly, where there is a sympathy between two bodies, there is a delight and an attraction of the one to the other. Rhabarb, by sympathy, drawes choler to it; but what delight or attractive vertue was there in an artificiall brasen Serpent, to draw out the venome of a wound? Fifthly, where cures are performed by sympathy, there is a touching of the thing curing, and the thing cured: as Rhodoendrum, which kills Asses, being eat by them; cures men of the bitings of Serpents, being applyed to them. Sixthy, had hee told you, that it was not the image of the Serpent, but the imagination of the beholder that cured him, hee had said somewhat; but yet hee had deceived you: for, though the imagination helps much to the curing of some diseases in one or two, perhaps among a thousand; yet it was never knowne, that so many people together, as the Israelites, should have each one of them such strong imaginations, as to be cured by them: It was not then either the image, or the imagination that cured them, but their faith in him that was lifted upon the Crosse, as the Serpent was erected by Moses in the desart.
These other perswasions of Sathan [to make you doubt of Elias his miracle, of the combusion of Sodome, of the Manna in the desart] are impious and ridiculous; for though Bitumen and Naphtha will suddenly, and at some distance catch fire; yet hence it will not follow, that Elias used such stuffe for the consuming of his sacrifice; for the stuffe, being a fat substance, gathered from the superficies of the water of Asphaltites lake, or the dead-sea neere Jericho, was as well knowne to Baals priests, as to Elias, being neighbours to that lake. Againe, the Text saith, that the fire of the Lord came downe, which consumed the sacrifice, and dried up the water; and how could Eliah so deceive such a multitude of people, being there present, as to kindle a fire in the water with Bitumen, and they not perceive it? And though this stuffe will burne in the water, yet water will never kindle it; for then it should burn continually in the lake from whence it comes. Lastly, the Text tells you of no other stuffe but of wood and water, and the fire that came downe from God. Secondly, whereas [Sathan would have told you, that there was a bituminous nature in the lake of Gomorrha, before the firing of that place; and therefore that Sodomes combustion was naturall,] hee shewed himselfe to be that lyar from the beginning; for there was no lake there, till these Cities were destroyed, as the Text sheweth: And it also plainly tels us, that the Lord rained fire from the Lord out of heaven. And if there had been a lake there before of an Asphaltick nature, how will it follow, that the combustion of Sodome was naturall? Was Sodome and the other Cities built in that lake? Who set the lake on fire? How is it, that ever since, that lake hath been full of Bitumen? that it never flamed since? if it did, shew us some history for it. Thirdly, though Manna was gathered plentifully in Arabia in Josephus his dayes, and then was no miracle; yet in the dayes of Moses, Manna in that same desart was miraculous; though not in respect of the matter, yet in regard of the circumstances; for then forty yeares together fell such abundance, that was able to feed that populous Nation, the like quantitie was never knowne to fall before or after. It was no miracle for Christ to feed people with bread and fish, but to feed so many thousands with five loaves and two fishes was the miracle. Again, it was miraculous that hee, who gathered most Manna, had not too much, and hee that gathered least, had no want. Besides, it was miraculous that what was reserved till the next day turned unto wormes, except upon the Sabbath day; and that it should fall six days of the week, and the seventh day none to be found, was not this miraculous? Mark also how long it was kept in the urne unputrefied.
[You could never be enclined to any position of Atheisme; for, these many yeares, you have been of opinion there never was any.] I wish you could make this good, and your opinion true; but if there have been no Atheists, how will you call those fooles, who have said in their heart, There is no God? Why did Saint Paul call the Ephesians before their conversion Atheists, or without God in the world? What was contemptor Deûm Mezentius in the Poet, who acknowledged no other god but his right hand, and his dart,
Dextra mihi deus, & telum quod missile libro?
And Nisus, who thought every mans desire to be his god,
——Sua cuiq; deus fit dira cupido?
The Athenians, and all others, are to blame, who made severe lawes against Atheists. I have read that Galen, the grand Dictator of your Art, was an Atheist, and too many more. Second, [You thinke Epicurus to be no Atheist, for denying Gods providence over the triviall actions of inferiour creatures.] But, I say, hee is no lesse an Atheist that denies Gods providence, or any other of his Attributes, then hee that denies his Essence. Though Epicurus and Democritus babbled something of a Deity, yet in holding the world to be casually and rashly agglomerated of small atomes, they were very Atheists. And so were Diagoras, Milesius, Theodorus, Cyrnensis, and many others. Reade Tully, and hee will tell you whether Epicurus were not an Atheist, who wrote against the gods; & that both he & Democritus were Atheists, for denying that the gods did either help or shew favour to men: And, that as Xerxes were an Atheist in his hands, by pulling downe the Temple of the gods; so was Epicurus in his tongue, who pulled them downe with his reasons. Hee shewes also that Protagoras, who doubted of the Gods, was an Atheist; and so are all those, who think Religion to be the invention of wise men, to keep people in awe. Did you never reade of Polyphemus in Homer, who confesses, he never sacrificed to any other god but to his belly,
o)/udeni qu/w phli/w e)moi\; ktl.
It is a certaine Maxime in Schoole-divinitie, That providence, which consisteth in the ordering of effects to their ends, hath as large an extension, as the causalitie of the first agent: but this gave being to all, even to the meanest things, and so his providence extends to all, even to the haires of our head, if you will beleeve the Truth it selfe: therefore he is doubtlesse an Atheist, that can say,
Non curare deûm credo mortalia quenquam.
Thirdly, [You say, that the fatall neceßity of the Stoicks, is nothing else but the immutable law of Gods will.] Then, belike, man sins by the immutable law of Gods will. Is this your Religion, to make God the authour of sin, and to take from man totally the liberty of his will? But this you doe, if you make the Stoicall necessity the same that the immutable law of Gods will is; for the Stoicks held, that what man did, whether it was good or evill, hee did it by an inevitable neceßity, to which not onely men, but even Jupiter himselfe was subject, moi=ran a)du/naton a)pofu/gein, kai\ qew=| therefore their fate is termed inevitabile, ineluctabile, inexsuperabile, inexorabile. This is the Religion of the Turkes at this day, if you will beleeve Busbequius: but I did not think it had been the Religion of a Christian Physician till now.
[You are not yet assured which is the right side of man.] The right side is that where the liver lyeth, which is the fountaine of bloud, wherein our life consisteth; therefore that side is stronger, and more active, and the limbs thereof bigger; as appeares by the right hand and right foot, which are bigger then the left. I hope you are not so simple as those children in Nineve, which knew not the right hand from the left: Nature hath made this distinction, therefore the right hand is honourable amongst all men, except amongst those who honour the sword, which (being tyed to the left side) gives it the preheminencie:2 but this honour is by accident. Endeavour to know Christs right hand from his left, that, in the last day, you may stand there with joy amongst his sheep.3
[You wonder how American should be peopled and inhabited by beasts of prey and noxious animals, and yet not a horse there.] If you will credit Geographers, you shall not need to wonder: for they tell us, there is but a narrow passage, called the Strait of Anion between Asia and America; so that, without admiration, men and beasts might be transported, and swim over thither; and that the people on both sides of the Strait resemble each other in features, manners, lawes and customes, and other circumstances, and have the same kinds of creatures. And is it more wonder for America to have those animals, which wee have not, then for Africa to have those which Europe wants, or Europe to have those which are not to be found in Asia?
— Non omnis fert omnia tellus.
It seemes that you are little versed in the Scripture, when you hold it [a paradox, that Methusalem should be longest lived of all Adams children, and that no man can prove it.] What need you any other proofe then the Text it selfe, which is so plaine, and the unanimous consent of the whole Church from the beginning? If you can manifest it be otherwise, as you brag, doe it;
— Et Phyllida solus habeto.
Secondly, [You make it doubtfull, if Judas hanged himselfe.] But the text is plaine,4 and the word a)ph/gcato there, is not doubtfull, as you say, but both by sacred and profane Writers is used for strangling and hanging: so in Homer,
strangling the young fawne: And in Thucidides, e)k tw=n de/ndrwn tine\j a)ph/xonto, some were hanged on, or from the trees. I doe not reade this word used in any other sense but for strangling, hanging, or binding the throat; and so the Church hath alwaies expounded it: and yet you will make it a doubtfull word. That other place, which you think overthrowes this, is that of the Acts: but indeed, it confirmes it: for prhnh\j, is fallen downe head-long, or flat: So in Homer,
a)/ra prhnh\j e)pi\ yai/h| kei=to.
Judas then hanged himselfe, saith Saint Matthew; hee fell downe flat, saith Saint Luke, this being the sequell of his strangling or hanging: How then doth this overthrow the other? Thirdly, [You hold it improbable, that men should build the Tower of Babel in a plaine against the next deluge.] Where then would you have had them build it? On a mountaine? 'Tis likely they would have done so, had there been the same plenty of materials, and other conveniences on the hills, which they found in the plaine. Men must build where they can, not alwaies where they would. Fourthly, 'Tis not materiall, whether it was a messenger, or Peters tutelary Angell that was supposed to knock at the doore; for the word signifieth both: but the Church hath alwaies expounded that place of Peters Angell, and shee beleeves that Angels are ministring spirits: But I think you'l hardly find the word Angelus in the New Testament used for a messenger sent from man, but rather the word Apostolus, except Luke 7. where John's disciples are called Angels.
[You cannot prove, that miracles are ceased.] Cessante causa, cessat effectus; the end of miracles was the confirmation of the Gospel: Now the Gospel is confirmed; therefore you may conclude a cessation of miracles.5 Secondly, wee heare of no miracles that shall be in these later dayes, but of lying wonders. Thirdly, miracles are no essential note of the truth; for John Baptist wrought none, yet his doctrine was true. The Egyptian Sorcerers, Simon Magus, and others wrought some seeming miracles and wonders, yet their doctrine was false: but when you say [There is not one miracle greater then another]6 you are deceived; for though miracles be the extraordinary effects of Gods hand, to which all things are of an equall facility; yet these effects are different in themselves, and some greater, some lesser. The creation of the world is a greater miracle then the fabrick of mans body; and 'tis more admirable to feed five thousand people with foure loaves, then foure thousand with five.
You are so mannerly [that you dare not say, God cannot worke contradictions, and many things else.] But I thinke it good manners to say, God cannot work contradictions, because these have not a possibilitie in them to be made; and therefore are not the objects of his omnipotencie: but that is only the object, which is poßibile absolutum. So, I think, it is good manners to say, God cannot lie, or die, because it cannot agree with his active power to suffer, or to die: So he cannot sin, becauuse it agreeth not with right reason.In a word, Deus nequit facere, quod nequit fieri. I think then it were breach of good manners to say, that God could do any thing, which were repugnant either to his wisdome, goodnesse, or power. And though his power and will make but one God, yet they are different attributes ratione; for the will commands, and the power puts in execution.
You say [that they who deny witches, deny spirits also, and are a kind of Atheists.] A strange kind of Atheisme to deny witches! but is there such a strict relation between witches and spirits, that hee that denies the one, must needs deny the other? Sure, the existence of spirits depends not upon the witches invocation of, or paction with spirits. We reade that Zoroastres was the first witch in the world, and hee lived after the Floud; were there no spirits, I pray, till then? This is as much as if you would say, there were no divels among the Gadarens, till they entered into their swine.
[You thinke the Angels know a great part of our thoughts, because, by reflexion, they behold the thoughts of one another.] That the Angels know one another, is out of doubt; but how they know one anothers thoughts, is unknowne to mee. This I know, that none knowes the thoughts of man, but man himself, and God that made him; it being Gods prerogative to be kardiagnw/shj. If they know our thoughts, 'tis either by revelation from God, or by some outward signe and demonstration from our selves; for, whilest they are immanent, and in the Understanding, they are only knowne to God, because he only hath the command of our Wills, from which our thoughts depend.
The light, which wee stile a bare accident [you say is a spirituall substance, where it subsists alone, and may be an Angell.] Let us see where, and when it subsists alone, without a subject, and then wee will beleeve you, that it is a spirituall substance: And if your light may be an Angel, that must needs be an Angell of light. What a skipping Angell will ignis fatuus make? The Chandlers and Bakers trades are honourable; those can make lights, which may in time become Angels; these wafers, which in time become gods.8
This Section consists of divers errours: First, you call the Heavens [the immateriall world]: so you confound the celestiall world with the intellectuall, which only is immateriall, and had its being in the divine intellect, before it was made. Secondly, if the Heavens be immateriall, they are not movable; for matter is the subject of motion. Why then doe you call the great Sphere the first movable? Thirdly, an immateriall world cannot be the habitation of materiall substances; where then will the bodies of the Saints, after the resurrection, have their residence? Fourthly, if the Heavens have not matter, they have not quantity and parts. Fifthly, nor are they compounded substances of matter and forme, but simple, as spirits. Sixthly, though they have not such a matter, as the elementary world, yet immateriall they are not: they have a matter, the subject of quantity, though not of generation and corruption. Your second errour is [that you call Gods essence the habitation of Angels, and therefore they live every-where, where his essence is.] Divinitie tells us, that Angels are in a place definitivè;9 and that, as we all, live and move in him, as in our efficient, protecting, and sustaining cause, but not as in a place; for Angels move out of one place to another, and while they are on earth, they are not in heaven: but if Gods essence be their habitation, then they never change place; for his essence is everywhere, and so you make them partakers of Gods proper attribute, Ubiquity. Your third errour is [that God hath not subordinated the creation of Angels to ours, but, as ministring spirits, they are willing to fulfill God will in the affaires of man.] Then, belike, God made them not to be ministring spirits to the heires of salvation, but they are so of their owne accord: if so, wee are more beholding to them for their comfort, protection and instruction of us, then to God, who made them not for this end, but (as you say) for his owne glory: But if you were as good at Divinity, as at Physick, you will find, that Gods glory is not incompatible with their service to us; but in this is God glorified, that they comfort, instruct and protect us; for this charge hee hath given to his Angels over us: and so we are bound to them for their care, much more to him for his love, in creating them to this end. Your fourth errour is [that both generation and creation are founded on contrarieties.] If creation were a transmutation, which still presupposeth a subject, I would be of your opinion; but seeing it is not, and hath no subject, without which contrarieties cannot be in nature, I deny, that creation is founded on contrarieties; neither is non-entity contrary, but the totall privation of being, which God gave to the creature.
[You wonder at the multitude of heads that deny traduction, having no other argument of their beliefe but Austins words, Creando infuditur, &c.] But I wonder as much at you, who is not better acquainted with our Divinitie; for wee have many reasons to confirm us against traduction, besides Saint Austins authority: As first, that the soule is immateriall; therefore hath not quantitie, nor parts, nor is subject to division, as it must be, if it be suject to traduction or propagation. Secondly, the soule existeth in and by it selfe, depending from the bodie neither in its being nor operation, and by consequence, not in its production, nec in esse, nec in fieri, nec in operari. Thirdly, if the soule were educed out of the power of the matter, it were mortall, as the soules of beasts are; which, having their beginning and being from the matter, must faile when that failes. Fourthly, the effect is never nobler then the cause; but the soule, in regard of understanding, doth in excellencie far exceed the body. Fifthly, a body can no more produce a spirit, then an horse can beget a man, they being different species. Sixthly, if the soule were propagated in or by the seed, then this were a true enunciation, Semen est animal rationale, and so the seed should be man. Seventhly, if the soule of the son be propagated by the soule, or of the soule of the parent, then we must admit transmutation of soules, as we doe of bodies in generation. Eighthly, we have the Churches authoritie. Ninthly, and the testimony of Gentiles; for Aristotle acknowledgeth the Intellect to enter into the body from without: and Apuleius, in his mysticall description of Psyche, affirmes her to be the youngest daughter of the great King; intimating, that she is not infused, till the body be first framed. Many testimonies I could set downe here, if I were not in haste. Tenthly, the Scripture is for us, affirming, that the soules returne to God that gave them, but the bodie to the earth, from whence it came; therefore God keeps th same order in generation, that hee did in creation, first framing and articulating the body and its organs, and then infusing the soule.
[But the maine reason that enclines you to the opinion of traduction, is the monstrous productions of men with beasts; for in these, you say, there is an impreßion and tincture of reason.] So I may say, that Elephants are men, because in them is an impression and tincture of reason, more then in any such monstrous birth. Secondly, if I should grant, that in these equivocall productions there were more reason, then in other beasts, it will not prove the traduction of the reasonable soule; because the formative power of mans seed, or the vegetative faculty thereof, which is not the worke of the reasonable soule, being conveighed with the seed, makes organs semblable to these of men; and therefore somewhat fitter to exercise functions like those of men, in which you may see the shadow of reason, but not a reasonable soule, which is not conveighed by the seed, but infused into the body, when it is articulated. Thirdly, if mens soules,with the seed, be transfused into beasts, then these monstrous productions must be men, and so capable of salvation and damnation, of faith and the Sacraments, and the other mysteries of Religion.
[You will not have the body the instrument of the soule, but rather of sense, and this the hand of reason.] As if I would say, the axe is not the proper instrument of the Carpenter, but of his hand, and this of the Carpenter; Causa causæ est causa causati, what is subject to the sense, is also subject to the soule. But, if you will speake properly, the body is not the instrument of the sense, but the sense rather the bodies instrument; for, whether depends the body on the sense, or this on the body? the body can subsist without the sense, not the sense without the body. The whelp hath a body before the ninth day, but not the sight, because the corporeall organ of that sense is not till then fitted for sight; but to speak Philosophically, the sense is the instrument of the whole compositum.
[You cannot find in the braine the organ of the rationall soule, which wee terme the seat of reason.] There is no reason why you should, seeing you confesse, that this is a sensible argument of the soules inorganitie. Shew me the seats of the Intellect, and the Will, and I will shew you the seat of Reason. [Though you can discover no more in a mans brain, then in the cranie of a beast,] yet mans braine differs specifically from that of the beast. Now, why we call the braine the seat of reason is, because the rationall soule makes use of the senses and the phantasie, which have their being in, and their originall from the braine.
[You find nothing in death able to daunt the courage of a man; and you cannot highly love any that is afraid of it.] Then you would hardly love David, that prayed against it: and Ezechia, that wept so bitterly, when newes was brought to him of it. Sure, Christ, as man, was not quite exempt from the feare of it: Hee often avoided it, and wills his Disciples in persecution to flie from it. The Apostle shewes, that the Saints desire not to be unclothed, but to be clothed upon. There is something in it able to daunt the courage of man, as it dissolves his fabrick: of a wicked man, as it is an introduction to eternall death; of a Christian man, as it is the fruit of Adams sinne, and a part of that punishment laid on him and us all for sin: Nullum animal ad vitam prodit sine metu mortis, said hee, who feared death as little as you:10 And the greatest of all Philosophers not unfitly called it, the most terrible of all terrible things.
[The Philosophers Stone hath taught you, that your immortall spirit or soule may lye obscure, and sleep awhile within this house of flesh.] I am sure, the Scripture teacheth you another Divinity, to wit, that the soule returned to God that gave it. Christ did not tell the penitent Thiefe, that his soul should sleep in his house of flesh, but that it should be with him in Paradise. The soule of Lazarus was not left to sleep in that putrefied house of his flesh, but was carried by the Angels into Abrahams bosome. Saint Paul desired to be dissolved, not to sleep in the grave, but to be with Christ; who will not leave the soules of his sons in that hell, nor suffer them to see corruption; whose comfort is, that, when this earthly tabernacle of their house shall be dissolved, they have a building given them of God, made without hands, eternall in the Heavens. You see then what a bad Schoole-master the Philosophers Stone is, which hath taught so many to make shipwrack of their estates, and you of the soules immortalitie.
[You cannot dreame, that there should be at the last day any such judiciall proceeding, as the Scripture seemes to imply.] It seemes then, that, in your opinion, the Scripture speaks here mystically: but your bare word will not induce us to subscribe to your conceit, being the whole Church from the beginning, hath, to this day, beleeved, that Christ shall, in a judiciary way, come as a Judge, and call all flesh before him; and we shall stand all naked before his Tribunall, and receive the sentence of life or death. A mysticall and unknowne way of tryall, will not stand so much with the honour of Christ, as an open and visible, that all may see and witnesse the justice of the Judge: First then observe, we have the literall sense of the Scripture for our beliefe. Secondly, the consent of the Church. Thirdly, Reason; for, as the beginning of the world was, so shall its consummation be: that was not created in a mysterie, as some have thought, but really and visibly; neither shall it be dissolved, but after the same way it was created. Fourthly, it is fit that Christ, who was not mystically, but visibly and really judged by sinners, should be the visible Judge of those his Judges, and of all sinners: therefore, as the Apostles saw him ascend in glory, not mystically; so they shall see him with reall glory returne. Fifthly, this visible proceeding will be more satisfactory to the Saints, who shall see their desire upon their enemies, and vengeance really executed on those that afflicted them.11 Sixthly, and it will be more terrible to the wicked, who have persecuted Christ in himselfe and in his members, when they shall look on him whom they have pierced. Seventhly, if you thinke this last Judgement to be but mysticall, then you may as well say with Socinus, that eternall death, and eternall fire prepared for the wicked is only mysticall, and signifieth nothing else but the annihilation of the wicked for ever, without sensible paine; which is indeed to overthrow all Religion, and open a wide gap for impiety and security.
The antecedent signes of Christs coming [you thinke are not consistent with his secret coming as a thiefe in the night.] You must know, that the wars, and signes in the Sun, Moon and Stars, are partly meant of those signes, which were the fore-runnersr of Jerusalems last destruction. Secondly, if wee understand them of the signes of Christs second coming, they are meant of such wars and apparitions, as have not been knowne in the world since the beginning, in respect of the extent and number of them. Thirdly, though signes goe before his coming, yet men shall be so secure and hard-hearted, eating, drinking, and making merry, as in the dayes of Noah, that they will take no notice or warning thereby; then shall Christ come suddenly, as a thiefe in the night.12
[Hardly hath any man attained, you say, the perfect discovery of Antichrist.] These notes which are given by Christ, Saint John, and Saint Paul, doe most agree to the Pope, who sits in the Temple of God, as God, and exalts himself above all that's called God, in throning and dethroning of Kings, and disposing of their Kingdomes at his pleasure; in pardoning sins, in making of Saints, and dedicating temples and dayes unto them; in dispensing with, cancelling and making of lawes at his pleasure; in tying sanctitie, infallibilitie of judgement to his Chaire, and freedome from errour; in appointing new sacraments and lawes in the Church, and domineering over mens consciences; in dispensing with matrimony forbidden by Gods lawes, and the law of Nature; in assuming to himselfe those titles, which are due onely to God: These and many other notes have prevailed so far with Wickliffe, the Waldenses, Hus, Jerome, Luther, Calvin, Bucer, and other eminent men of our profession, that they thought they had attained the perfect discovery of Antichrist. If you know any other, to whom these notes doe more exactly agree, name him, and wee will free the Pope from being the man of sin, and childe of perdition.
[A plant, you say, consumed to ashes, retains its forme, being withdrawne into its incombustible part, where it lies secure from the fire; and so the plant from its ashes may againe revive.] Admiranda canis, sed non credenda: For, if the forme of the plant be there still, then it is not consumed. Secondly, then Philosophy deceives us, in telling us, that the matter is onely eternall, and the formes perishing. Thirdly, then Art and Nature is all one, both being able to introduce, or, rather, educe a substantiall forme. Fourthly, then the radicall moisture and naturall heat, without which the forme hath no subsistence in the plant, is not consumed by the fire, but in spight of all its heat, lurkes within the ashes:
— credat Judæus Apella.
Fifthly, then an Art, being an accident, can produce a substance; and so the effect is nobler then the cause. Sixthly, then from a totall privation to the habit (whose cause was taken away) there may be a naturall regresse. Seventhly, if the forme of the plant be the ashes still, then it actuates, distinguishes, denominates, defines, & perfects the matter (for the ashes are not the first, but the second matter) in which it is; and so it is a plant still, lurking under the accidents of ashes: as in the Masse, Christs bodie under the accidents of bread. So by your Doctrine, it is no hard worke to beleeve Transubstantiation, or the stories of the Phenix. Eighthly, if the forme of the plant be still in the ashes, then the forme is not in its matter, but in another; for so long as the ashes are ashes, they are not the matter of the plant, but of that substance we call ashes. Ninthly, by this also the appetite of the matter is taken away; for to what can it have an appetite, seeing it retaines the forme of the plant? But, I doubt mee, your revived plant will prove more artificiall then natural; and, like Xeuxes his grapes, deceive perhaps birds, but not men. So farre as I can perceive in Quercitan and others, who have written of Chymistry, this forme of the plant is nothing but an Idea, or a delusion of the eye through a glasse held over a flame, wherein you may see somewhat like a plant, a cloud in stead of Juno: A sallet of such plants may well tantalize you, they will never fill you.
Though it be true, that where Gods presence is, there is Heaven; yet wee must not therefore thinke, that there is not a peculiar ubi of blisse and happinesse beyond the tenth Sphere, wherein God doth more manifestly shew his glory and presence, then any where else, as you seeme to intimate, when you say [that to place Heaven in the Empyreall, or beyond the tenth Sphere, is to forget the worlds destruction, which when it is destroyed, all shall be here, as it is now there.] First, we deny, that this sensible world shall be destroyed in the substance thereof: its qualities shall be altered, the actions, motions, and influences of the Heavens shall cease; because then shall be no generation or corruption, and consequently, no transmutation of elements. Secondly, though this sensible world were to be destroyed, yet it will not follow, that therefore above the tenth Sphere there is not the Heaven of glory. Whither was it that Christ ascended? Is hee not said to ascend above all Heavens, and that the Heavens must containe him, till his second coming? Did not the Apostles see him ascend in a cloud? Doe not you acknowledge it an Article of your Creed? Was not Saint Paul caught up into the third Heaven? If you thinke there is no other Heaven meant in Scripture then Gods presence, it must follow, that Christs humanity is every-where, because hee is in Heaven, that is, in Gods presence, whichis everywhere; and so you are of the Ubiquitaries faith: therefore we beleeve, as the Church hath alwaies done, that Heaven is locall, or a place above this visible world, whither Christ is gone to prepare a place for us, which is called the Throne of God; here wee have an habitation made without hands, given us of God, eternall in the Heavens. Let us therefore seek the things (not which be every-where, but) which are above, where Christ is at the right hand of God. The Gentiles, as Tertullian witnesseth, were not ignorant of the place of blessed soules, quas in supernis mansionibus collocant, which they placed in these upper mansions of Heaven: Apud Platonem inætherem sublimantur, &.
[You cannot tell how to say, fire is the essence of Hell; nor can you conceive a flame that can prey upon the soule. Flames of sulphur in Scripture are (you thinke) to be understood not of this present Hell, but of that to come.] Though you cannot conceive how, yet you must beleeve, that the fire of Hell is corporall, and worketh on spirits: Perdidisti rationem, tene fidem, saith Austin. Yet the Schoolemen tell us, divers waies, how the soule may be affected and afflicted by that fire: First, as it shall be united to the fire, and shut up as it were in a prison there. Secondly, as it shall retaine the experimentall knowledge of those paines, which it suffered in the body. Thirdly, as it is the principium and originall of the senses, which shall remaine in the soules as in their root. Fourthly, as that fire shall be a representative signe or symbole of Gods indignation against them, and of their losse of his favour, and of so great happinesse, and that eternally, for so small, foolish and fading sinfull delights; these are the corporall waies, by which that fire shall torment the soule. And if you hold your Masters Tenent, Mores animi sequuntur temperamentum corporis, you will find no more impossibility for a corporall fire to worke upon a spirit, then for the materiall humours of the body to worke upon the soule.
As you thinke Hell and Hell-fire to be metaphoricall, and in mens consciences onely; so you seeme to doubt of the place under earth, where you say, [though wee place Hell under earth, the Divels walk about it]. But this is no argument to disswade us from beleeving Hell to be under earth, because the Divels are not yet confined thither. By the same reason you may say, the habitation of Angels is not above, because they are imployed here by God upon the earth. Wee beleeve Hell to be under earth, because it stands with reason and Gods justice, that the wicked should be removed as farre as might be from the presence of the Saints, and the place of joy, which is above. Secondly, as their delight and hopes were not in heaven, but on earth and earthly things, so it is fitting that their eternall habitation should be within the earth. Thirdly, the name שול in Hebrew, Ἅδης in Greek, Infernus in Latin, Hell in English, &c. doe shew, that the place of the damned is low, and in darknesse. Fourthly, the Scripture still speakes of Hell as a place under ground, and the inhabitants thereof are said to be under the earth, and the motion thither is called there a descending. Fifthly, the Gentiles were not ignorant of this, as Tertullian sheweth, Imum tartarum carcerem poenarum cum vultis affirmatis, &c. Juvenal calls Hell, subterranea regna. Virgil, Barathrum and infernas sedes,
——tum tartarus ipse
Bis petet in præceps tantum, & c.
Homer calls it a most deep gulfe under earth,
βάθιστον ὑπὸ χθονός ἐστι βέρεθρον.
[You thinke it hard to place the soules of those worth Heathens in Hell, whose worthy lives teach us vertue on earth.] If there be no salvation but in Christ; if there be no other name under Heaven, by which men can be saved, but by the name of Jesus; if it be life eternall to know God in him; if he only is the way, the life, and the truth; if there be no coming to the Father, but by him; I cannot thinke it hard, if those worthy Heathens have no place in Heaven, seeing they had no interest in him, who with his bloud hath purchased Heaven to us, and hath opened the gates of that Kingdome to all beleevers. And how specious soever their lives and actions were in the eyes of men, yet without Christ they were nothing else but splendida peccata, glorious enormities: onely in this I can solace them, that it will be easier for them, (as it will be for Sodome and Gomorrha, for Tyre and Sidon) in the last day, then for Jewes and Christians, who have knowne their Masters will, and have not done it: Fewer stripes remaine for Socrates a Heathen, then for Julian a Christian.
[We cannot deny, say you, the Church of God both in Asia and Africa, if wee forget not the peregrination of the Apostles, the death of Martyrs, &c. nor must a few differences excommunicate from Heaven one another.] First, wee deny not, but God hath many who bow not their knee to Baal in those countries, and that his Church is oftentimes invisible. Secondly, wee deny, that the presence of Apostles, death of Martyrs, sessions of lawfull Councels, can or have priviledged those places from Apostasie, Christs owne presence, and miracles, and doctrine in Judea, have not given stabilitie or permanencie to the Church there. What's become of the famous Churches of Corinth, Ephesus, Laodicea, Philadelphia, &c. planted by the Apostles themselves? Thirdly, it is not for a few or light differences, that we have separated our selves of the Church of Rome, and of those in Asia and Africa, if wee can call them Churches, which are rather Sceletons, then the body of Christ. The differences between the Church of Rome and us are not few, nor small, as you know: The differences betweene us and the Eastern Churches are greater; for most of them are either Nestorians, denying Mary to be the mother of God, and so in effect making two Christs, by making two persons; or else they are Eutychians or Monothelites, affirming but one nature and will in Christ, and therefore reject the Councell of Chalcedon: such are the Jacobites in Asia, if they be not lately converted, and those other Jacobites in Africk, under the King of the Abyßins. I will not speake of the Greek Church, which denieth the procession of the holy Ghost; Nor of the Cophti of Egypt, who are also Eutychians, and reject the observation of the Lords day, as superstitious, and marry in the second degree. The Georgians in Iberia baptise not their children till the eighth yeare of their age, and give them the Eucharist at seven. The Armenians are little better: As for the Christians out of Saint Thomas, and the Maronites in Mount Libanus, if they have forsaken their old heresies, they are fallen into those that are little better, by submitting themselves to the Religion and Jurisdiction of Rome.
[You are confident, and fully perswaded, yet dare not take your oath of your salvation; for you think it a kind of perjury to sweare, that Constantinople is such a City, because you have not seen it.] To be fully perswaded, and not dare to sweare, is a contradiction: and if you dare not sweare, but what you have seen, then you will in a manner perjure your selfe, if you should sweare, that Christ was the son of Mary, or that he was crucified on Mount Calvarie; for this you have not seen. What think you, if a blind man should sweare, that the Sun is a great light; for hee hath no infallible warrant from owne sense to confirm him in the certainty thereof? You have, I perceive, [so much humility, that you meet with many doubts.] But indeed, doubting is not the fruit of humilitie, but of infidelitie: you encline too much to the doubtings of the Church of Rome, which would rob us of the comforts wee reap in our afflictions, from the assurance of our salvation: For, if we doubt of our salvation, wee must doubt also of our election, and of the certainty of all Gods promises, and of the work of the holy Ghost, when he seales in our hearts, that wee are the sons of God. And so, to what serve the Sacraments, if they doe not confirme and seale unto us the love of God in saving us? Nay, our faith hath lost its forme and efficacie, if we be still doubting. Saint Paul was not of your mind, hee was perswaded, that nothing could separate him from the love of God in Christ. And no question but hee would have sworne this, if hee had been required. I deny not, but many of Gods servants have their doubtings; but this comforts them, that Christ prayeth for them, that their faith shall not faile, and this assures of them of their salvation: Though this fire of the Sanctuary be not alwaies flaming, it is not therefore extinguished; and though the eye is not alwaies seeing, it is not therefore blind:
— Nihil est ab omni parte beatum.
No perfection here: the fairest day hath its clouds, and the strongest faith its doubts: but to be still doubting, is a signe of a bad Christian; and, as Seneca will have it, of a bad man; maximum malæ mentis indicium fluctuatio.
The second part.
You say, there are mystically in our faces characters which carry in them the Motto of our soules, wherein one may reade our natures, &c. besides these, certaine mysticall figures in our hands, which you dare not call meere dashes, strokes, or at randome] Fronti nulla fides; how many are deceived by the face and hand? therefore Christ will not have us judge secundum faciem, according to the face or appearance, but judge righteous judgement. I deny not, but sometimes the face proves index animi; and by the face, and other outward signes in Julians bodie, as his weak legs, unstable feet, wandring and furious eyes, wanton laughters, inordinate speeches, &c. Nazianzen conjectured of the pravitie of his mind, and wicked inclination. And it was no difficult matter, to collect the roughnesse of Esau's disposition, by the roughnesse of his hands. Wee may also by the face and hand judge of the temper and distemper of the body, bloud, and other humours; but peremptorily to determine the future events of things that befal us, or the disposition of the soule, by Physiognomie or Chiromancy, by the face and hand, is such a superstitious folly, that the Poet laughs at it, and at him,
Qui frontemque manumque Praebebit vati.
For first, many lineaments, yea oftentimes deviations and inordinate conformities, are in our bodies rather by accident, then by nature. Secondly, Philosophy, good counsell, and education doe much alter the nature of men; therefore Philemon that famous Physiognomer was deceived in Socrates his face, thinking that he was a man of a riotous and wicked disposition, whereas his nature, by the study of Philosophy, was quite altered, being eminent for his continencie, fidelitie, and other vertues. Thirdly, man, by reason of his will, is master of his owne morall actions; therefore it is in his power to alter his owne inclinations. Fourthly, a supernaturall grace doth quite transforme nature, and can turne a Wolfe into a Lamb, a Saul into a Paul, a Persecutour into a Preacher. Fifthly, how vain and ridiculous is Chiromancie, in placing the seven Planets in each palme of the hands, and confining within certaine lines and bounds the power and operation of their Stars; so that Jupiter must containe himselfe within his owne line, and not encroach upon the line of Venus or Mercury. If men would be more carefull to know and follow him, who hath only the seven Stars in his right hand, they would not so superstitiously dote upon such a ridiculous toy as Palmestry; or, by the lineaments of the hands or face, peremptorily conclude of mens soules, and of their future actions and events.
[You hope you doe not break the fifth Commandement, if you conceive that you may love your friend before your parents.] The God of love hath ordained an order in our love, that wee are to love those most, to whom wee owe most; but to our carnall parents, under God, wee owe our being, to our spirituall parents our well being: therefore they are to have a greater share of our love then our friends, to whom we are not tied in such obligations. Secondly, whereas God is the measure, perfection, and chiefe object of our love, wee are to love those most, who come neerest to him by representation; but these are our parents, who are to us in stead of God, especially, if they bestow not only being, but also well being and education on us. But what needs the urging of this duty, which is grounded on the principles of Nature?
Your phrase is dangerous, as your love is preposterous, if it be as you say [that you love your friend, as you do your God:] For, by this, you take away the distinction which God hath made between the two Tables: the one commanding us to love God above all; the other, to love our neighbours as our selves. Nature will teach you, that him you ought to love most. to whom you owe most; but you owe all to God, even that you live, and move, and have your being. Secondly, an universall good is to be loved afore a particular: A man will venture the losse of his hand or arme, to save the body. A good Citizen will venture his life to save his country, because hee loves the whole better then a part; but God is the universall good, our friends are only particular. Thirdly, wee must love our friend as our selfe, because our selfe-love is the rule by which wee square our friends love; but we must love God better then our selves, because it is by him that we are our selves.
[For your originall sinne, you hold it to be washed away in your baptisme; for your actuall sins you reckon with God, and you are not terrified with the sins of your youth.] Originall sin is washed away, in respect of its guilt, not of its being;14 the curse, not the sin; the dominion, not the habitation is done away: For whilst this root is in us, it will be budding: the leprosie, with which this house of ours is infected, will never be totally abolished, till the house be demolished. Wee must not look to be from these Jebusites, whilst we are here: Subjugari possunt, exterminari non possunt; the old man is not totally cast off, nor the old leaven totally cast out: For, if there were not in us concupiscence, there could be no actuall sin; and if wee say, We sin not, we deceive our selves. Saint Paul acknowledgeth a body of death, and you had need to pray with David, Cleanse me from my secret sins: And againe, Remember not the first sins of my youth, with which you say, you are not terrified: but though you know nothing by your selfe, yet are you not thereby justified; The heart of man is deceitfull above all things: And though your heart cleares you, God is greater then your heart. The salt-sea can never lose its saltnesse, the Blackamoore cannot change his skin, nor the Leopard his spots. Againe, wee must not thinke, that in baptisme sin is washed away, by vertue of the water. What water can cleanse the soule, but that which flowed from our Saviours pierced heart? God in Christ hath done away our sins; the baptism of his bloud hath purged us from all sinne, which is sealed unto us by the baptisme of his Spirit, and represented by the baptisme of water.15
[You thank God, you have escaped pride, the mortall enemy to charity.] So did the Pharisee thank God, that hee was no extortioner; yet hee went home unjustified. Pride is a more subtle sin then you conceive; it thrusts it selfe upon our best actions: as praying, fasting, almes-giving. As Saul, amongst the Prophets, and Sathan amongst the sons of God; so pride intrudes it selfe amongst our best workes: And have you not prie, in thinking you have no pride? Bernard makes twelve degrees of pride, of which, bragging is one. And Gregory tells us, that ex summis virtutibus sæpe intumescimus; even accidentally goodnesse occasioneth pride, which (like the scales that fell from Sauls eyes) hinders the sight of our selves, till they be removed: Nulla alia pestis plura ingenia abrupit, quam confidentia & æstimatio sui.
['Tis vanity, you thinke, to waste our dayes in the pursuit of knowledge; which, if we attend a little longer, we shall enjoy by infusion, which wee endeavour here by labour and inquisition: better is a modest ignorance, then uncertaine knowledge.] Would you bring in againe ignorance, the supposed mother of Devotion, but indeed, the true mother of Confusion? I cannot be of your mind; you will not have us trouble our selves with knowledge here, because wee shall have it hereafter: But I will so much the rather labour for knowledge here, because I shall have it hereafter. For the Saints beatitude shall for the most part consist in knowledge; therefore I desire to be initiated, and to have a taste of that happinesse here, that I may be the more in love with it. Shall the Israelites refuse to taste, and look upon the grapes which the Spies brought from Canaan, because they were to enjoy all the Wineyards there? By the knowledge of the creature, we come to know the Creator; and by the effects, we know the supreme cause, whom to know in Christ, is life eternall. For want of knowledge the people perish: it were madnesse in mee not to make use of a candle in the darke, because, when the Sun is up, hee will bring a greater light with him. By knowledge we come neere to the Angelicall nature, who are from their great knowledge called Dæmones, and Intelligentiæ. Shall I not strive to know God at all, because I cannot know him here perfectly? God hath made nothing in vaine: but in vaine had hee given to man a desire of knowledge, for Omnes homines naturâ scire desiderant: In vaine had hee given to him understanding, apprehension, judgement, if hee were not to exercise them in the search of knowledge; which, though it be uncertaine here in some things, vel ex parte cogniti, vel ex parte cognoscentis, yet all knowledge is not uncertaine. The Christians, by their knowledge in Philosophy, and other humane studies, did more hurt to Gentilisme, then all the opposition and strength of men could doe: which Julian the Apostate knew well, when he caused to shut up all Schooles of learning, purposely to blind-fold men, that they might not discerne truth from errour. And though modest ignorance is better then uncertaine knowledge, yet you will not hence inferre, that ignorance is better than knowledge, except you will conclude, that blindnesse is beter then sight, because blind Democritus was to be preferred to a quick-sighted kite.
[The perpetuating of this world by coition, you call the foolishest act of a wise man, and an unworthy piece of folly.] You let your pen run too much at randome: the way in which Wisdome it selfe hath appointed to multiply mankind, and propagate the Church, cannot be foolish; if it be in your esteem, remember that the foolishnesse of God is wiser then the wisdome of man: for, as great folly as you think coition to be, without it you could not have been; and surely, there had been no other way in Paradise to propagate man, but this foolish way.16 There is nothing foolish, but what is sinfull; but that cannot be sinfull, which God hath appointed. There is sometime foolishnesse in the circumstances, but not in the act it selfe, then the which nothing is more naturall. As it is not folly to eate, drinke and sleep, for the preservation of the individuum; neither is coition folly, by which we preserve the species, and immortalize our kind.
[You feare the corruption within you, not the contagion of commerce without you.] You must feare both, and shun both: Our corruption within is often irritated by outward commerce: perhaps our inward tinder would lye dead, it it were not incensed by the sparkles of commerce without. He that handleth p itch shall be defiled; 'tis dangerous to converse with leprous and plaguie people. The Israelites are forbid commerce with the Canaanites; and we are commanded to depart out of Babel, lest we be partakers of her sins:
—— Grex totus in agris
Unius scabie cadit, & porrigine perci,
Uvaque conspecta livorem ducit ab uva.
If you were like the Sun, you might freely commerce with all; for hee shines upon infected places without infection, which you cannot doe: and therefore, to use your owne phrase [your conversation must not be, like the Suns, with all men,] except it be in causing your light to shine before them.
[There is something, you say, within us, that was before the elements.] That something must be the soule: which, though Plato and Origen thought was before the body, yet we know the contrary: for God first made the body, and then inspired it with a soule. To give existence to the soule before the body, can stand neither [with] the perfection of Gods workes in the creation, nor with the dignity and quality of the soule: Not with the first; for all that God made was perfect: but the soule, without the body, had been an imperfect piece, seeing it was made to be a part of man. Not with the second: for the soule being the forme, it was not to exist without its master, the body: nor was it fit, that so noble a guest should be brought into the world, before a convenient lodging was fitted for her. It is true, that the soule can, and doth subsist without the body after death; but then it is necessitated, because the body failes it, and the house becomes inhabitable: and it is a part of its punishment, & of the bodies also, for sin, to be separated for a while.
Thus have I briefly pointed at your aberrations, having snatched some few houres from my other occasions (for study I cannot in these distracted times:) 'tis not out of an humour of contradiction or vain-glory, nor of any intention I have to bring you or your Booke into obloquie, that I have marked out its obliquities; but only to satisfie the desire of my friends (for whome we are partly borne) who have laid this charge on me; and to let green heads and inconsiderate young Gentlemen see that there is some danger in reading your Book, without the spectacles of judgement: for, whilst they are taken with the gilding of your phrase, they may swallow unawares such pills, as may rather kill then cure them. I have passed by divers slips of lesse danger and consequence, because I want time, and would not seem too Eagle-sighted in other mens failings, whereas I have enough to doe with mine owne, Respicere id manticæ quod in tergo est. I acknowledge there is much worth and good language in your Book; and, because you are so ingenuous and modest, as to disclaime these opinions, if they square not with maturer judgements, I have, with as great modesty and gentlenesse as I could, refelled them; having neither dipt my pen in gall, nor mingled my inke with vinegar. The God of truth direct all our hearts into the way of truth. Amen.
Having done with the Physician, was counselled by my friends to view that noble and ingenuous Knights Observations, who hastily running over Religio Medici, and having let fall some phrases from his pen, which have or may startle the Reader; I thought good, upon the solicitation of my said friends, to point at them by a few Animadversions. It is no wonder that he hath phrased some things amisse; for the best have their failings,
—quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus.
And S. Bernard, wee say, saw not all; and what are spoken or written hastily, are not spoken and written warily; Canis festinans cæcos parit catulos.
1. [I find Sir Kenelme to be of opinion, that the changing of the condition of a damned soule from paine to happinesse could not be effected, without God had made that soule another creature then what it was: as, to make fire cease from being hot, requireth to have it become another thing then fire.] I doe not see any reason, why the essence of the soule must be changed, upon the change of its condition from paine to happinesse; for these are accidents, which may be present or absent, without the destruction of the subject in which they are. Wee are all by nature the sons of wrath, by grace & regeneration we are made the sons of God; not by changing of our natures and essences, as Illyricus thought: for, though Paul changed his condition and name, hee changed not his nature; for he was the same man, being a vessell of mercy, which he was, being a vessell of wrath. [If hee saith, that in Eternity there is no change;] I answer, that that continued duration, which wee call Eternitie, is unchangeable; yet in the things themselves, which are eternall, there is a passive power or possibilitie of change, or else wee cannot say, that unchangeablenesse is a property in God, but communicable to the creature, which cannot be. As for the fire, it may doubtlesse for a while cease to be hot, and yet not cease to be fire: as that fire in the Babylonish furnace, which did not touch the three Children, and yet burned the Chaldeans; this it could not have done, had it not been fire.
2. [Aristotle defines light to be actus perspicui, which Sir Kenelme likes not, because hee knowes not the meaning.] The meaning is plaine, that light is the active qualitie of the aire or water, by which they are made perspicuous, or fit mediums, through which wee see visible objects; for in darknesse, though the aire be a bodie still, yet it is not the medium of our sight, but onely potentially; let the light come, then it is perspicuous, that is, through which wee may see the objects actually, and so it is actus perspicui: For in Philosophy, that is called the act, which giveth a being to a thing, whether that being be accidentall or essentiall; so the light, giving an accidentall being to the aire, in making it perspicuous, is fitly defined by the Philosopher, Actus perspicui quâ perspicuum: therefore here are no naked termes obtruded in the Schooles upon easie minds, as Sir Kenelme thinketh.
3. When Sir Kenelme thinkes [that the first matter hath not an actuall existence, without the forme,] he must know, that the first matter is a substance, and hath a reall actualitie, or that which is called Actus entitativus in the Schooles, without the forme; else it could not be the principle, or cause of things: for, how can there proceed any effect from that which hath no being? but when the forme comes, it receives formall actuality, without which it is but in possibilitie, which being compared to this act, it is a kind of non-entitie.
4. [The notions of matter, form, act, power, existence, &c. have in the understanding a distinct entity, but in nature are no-where by themselves. Againe, these words are but artificiall termes, not reall things.] Notions have their being only in the mind: 'tis true; but these are not notions: for then, all things that are made of matter and forme, are made of notions; and so notions are the first principles and causes of all things. So likewise the objects of the two nobles Sciences, to with, Physick and Metaphysick, are onely notions and artificiall termes, not reall things, which cannot be.
5. [He doth not conceive, that wise men reject Astrologie so much, for being repugnant to Divinity, &c. To relie too much upon that vain art, he judgeth to be rather folly then impiety.] I know not who hee meanes by wise men; but the Church and Fathers have rejected this art, as repugnant to Divinity, and impious. Aquila Ponticus, a translatour of the Bible, was thrust out of the Church of Christ for his study in this art. And how can this art be excused from impiety, which overthrowes the liberty of mans will, makes the soule of man mortall and materiall, by subjecting it to the power of the Stars, makes God the authour of sinne, makes men carelesse of doing good, or avoiding evill, which ascribes the coming of Christ, the working of his miracles, the Prophets predictions, the Apostles labours, the patience, sufferings and faith of the Saints, to the influence of the Stars? And so in a word overthrowes all religion and prayer: Orandi causas auferre conantur, saith S. Austin; and therefore this art will rather lay the fault of mans misery upon God, the mover of the Stars, then upon mans owne wickednesse, saith the same Father, Aug. de Gen. ad lit. c. 17. Who in another place, to wit, in his Commentarie on the Psalmes, sheweth, that the Converts of S. Paul, Act. 19. had been Astrologers; and therefore the books which they burned were of Astrologie. But is not Astrologie repugnant to Divinity, and impious, when it robs God of his honour? which it doth, by undertaking to fore-tell future contingencies, and such secrets as are onely knowne to God, this being his true property alone. By this Esay, ch. 41. distinguisheth him from false gods, Declare what will come to passe, and wee shall know you to be gods. And hee mockes these Diviners, ch. 47 and so doth Jeremy, ch. 10. and Solomon, Eccles. chap. 8. and 10. sheweth the knowledge of future things to be hid from man; of which the Poet was not ignorant, when he saith,
Nescia mens hominum fati sortisque futuræ:
Therefore both the Astrologer, and he that consults with him, dishonours God in a high nature, by giving credit to, or having commerce with, those excommunicate and apostate Angels, and so endanger their owne soules: Is it because there is no God in Israel, that you consult with the god of Ekron? Now, that Astrologers have commerce with evill spirits, besides the testimony of Austin, de civit. Dei, lib. 5 cap. 7. and lib. 2. de Gen. ad lit. c. 17. and other ancient Fathers, the proofes of divers witnesses, and their owne confessions, upon examination, doe make it apparent: Not to speake of their flagitious lives, and their impious and atheisticall Tenents; for this cause Astrologers are condemned by Councels and Decrees of the Church, Conc. Bracar. I. c. 9. & in Tolet. I. sec. part. decret. c. 26.
6. [The Angels, in the very instant of their creation, actually knew all that they were capable of knowing, and are acquainted with all free thoughts, past, present, and to come.] They knew not so much then as they doe now; because now they have the experimentall knowledge of almost six thousand yeares, and many things revealed to them since their creation. Secondly, they know not our free thoughts, even because they are free, and variable at our pleasure, not at theirs: it's onely Gods property to know the heart; yet some thing they may know by outward signes, or by revelation. Thirdly, they know not things future; for first, they know not the day of Judgement: secondly, they know not future contingencies: thirdly, they know not infallibly naturall effects that are to come, though they know their causes; because all naturall causes are subordinate to God, who, when hee pleaseth, can stay their operations. What Angel could fore-know (if God did not reveale it) that the Sun should stand at the prayer of Josua; that the fire should not burne the three Children; or the Lions devoure Daniel? Fourthly, as they know not future contingencies, because they have not certaine and determinate causes: so they know not mans resolutions, which depend upon his will, because the will is onely subject to God, as being the principall object and end of it; and he onely can encline it as hee pleaseth: therefore as Esay of the Gentile Idols, so say I of Angels, Let us know what is to come, to wit, infallibly of your selves, and all, and wee shall know that you are gods.
7. [Sir Kenelme sayes, he hath proved sufficiently light to be a solid substance and body]. These proofes I have not seen, therefore I can say nothing to them; but this I know, that if light be a body, when the aire is illuminated, two bodies must be in one place, and there must be penetration. Secondly, the motion of a body must be in an instant from the one end of the world to the other: both which are impossible. Thirdly, what becomes of this body, when the Sun goeth downe? Doth it putrefie, or corrupt, or vanish to nothing? all these are absurd: Or doth it follow the body of the Sun? then, when the light is contracted into a lesser space, it must be the greater: but wee find no such thing. And if light be a body, it must be every day generated and corrupted: why should not darkenesse be a body too? But of this subject I have spoken else where; therefore I will say no more till I see Sir Kenelme's proofes.
8. [The soule hath a strange kind of neere dependance of the body, which is (as it were) Gods instrument to create by.] This phrase I understand not: I have already proved, that the soule hath no dependance on the bodie, neither in its creation, essence, or operation; it hath no other dependance on the bodie, but as it is the forme thereof, to animate and informe it. So you may say, the Sun depends upon the earth, to warme and illuminate it. The body is the soules instrument, by which it produceth those actions, which are called organicall onely; but that God used the body, as it were an instrument, to create the soule by, is a new phrase, unheard of hitherto in Divinitie. God immediately createth and infuseth the soule into the body; hee used no other instrument in the workes of creation, but dixit, mandavit.
9. [Sir Kenelme thinkes, that terrene soules appeare oftnest in Cemeteries, because they linger perpetually after that life, which united them to their bodies, their deare consorts.] I know not one soule more terrene then another in its essence, though one soule may be more affected to earthly things then another. Secondly, that life, which united the soule to the body, is not lost to the soule, because it still remaines in it; as light remaines still in the Sun, when our Horison is deprived of it. Thirdly, if soules after death appear, it must be either in their owne, or in other bodies; for else they must be invisible: if in their own, then they must passe through the grave, and enter into their cold and inorganicall bodies, and adde more strength to them then ever they had, to get out from under such a load of earth and rubbish: if in other bodies, then the end of creation is overthrowne; for it was made to informe its owne bodie, to which onely it hath relation, and to no other; and so we must acknowledge a Pythagoricall transanimation. Fourthly, such apparitions are delusions of Sathan, and Monkish tricks, to confirme superstition.
10. [Soules, he sayes, goe out of their bodies with affections to those objects they leave behind them.] Affections, saith Aristotle, are ἐν τῷ ἀλόγῳ in that unreasonable part of the soule or rather, of the whole compositum; for the soule hath no parts: and though whilst in the body it receiveth, by meanes of its immediate union with the spirits, some impressions, which we call affections; yet, being separated, is free from such, and carrieth nothing with it, but the unreasonable and inorganicall faculties of the Intellect and Will. And, to speak properly, affections are motions of the heart, stirred up by the knowledge and apprehension of the object, good or bad; the one by prosecution, the other by avoiding: so that where the heart is not, nor the externall senses to conveigh the object to the phantasie, nor the animal spirits to carry the species of the object from the phantasie to the heart, there can be no affection; but such is the estate of the soule separated; it hath no commerce at all with the body, or bodily affections. And of this the Poets were not ignorant, when they made the departed soules to drink
Securos latices, & long oblivia —
of the river Lethe, which is toi=j dustuxou=sin Amuklai/a qeoj, the wished for goddesse by those that are in misery.
11. [He thinkes, that when the slaine body suddenly bleedeth, at the approach of the murderer, that this motion of the bloud is caused by the soule.] But this cannot be; for the soule, when it is in the body, cannot make it bleed when it would; if it could, we should not need Chirurgions to phlebotomise and scarifie us: much lesse then can it, being separated from the body. Secondly, in a cold body the bloud is congealed, how shall it grow fluid againe without heat? or how hot without the animall and vitall spirits? and how can they worke without the soule? and how can this operate without union to the body? If then any such bleeding be, as I beleeve that sometimes there hath been, and may be so againe, I thinke it the effect rather of a miracle, to manifest the murtherer, then any natural cause: for I have read, that a mans arme which was kept two years, did, at the sight of the murtherer, drop with bloud; which could not be naturally, seeing it could not but be withered and dry after so long time: Yet I deny not but, before the body be cold, or the spirits quitegone, it may bleed; some impressions of revenge and anger being left in the spirits remaining, which may move the bloud: but the safest way is, to attribute such motions of the bloud to the prayers of these soules under the Altar, saying, Quousque, Domine?
12. [No annihilation can proceed from God: it is more impoßible, that not-being should flow from him, then that cold should flow immediately from fire.] 'Tis true, that God is not an efficient cause of annihlation (for of a non-entity there can be no cause) yet we may safely say, that hee is the deficient cause: for, as the creatures had both their creation, and have still their conservation, by the influx of Gods Almighty power, who, as the Apostle saith, sustaines all things by the word of his power: so if he should suspend or withdraw this influx, all things must returne to nothing, as they were made of nothing. There is then in the creature both a passive possibilitie of annihilation, and in God an active possibilitie to withdraw his assistance: and why should we be afraid to affirm such a power in God? Before the world was made there was annihilation, and yet God was still the same, both before and since, without any alteration in him: So, if the world were annihilated, God should lose nothing, being in himselfe all things. Againe, as God suspended his worke of creation the seventh day, without any diminution of his power and goodnesse; so hee may suspend, if hee please, the work of conservation, which is a continuated production. Besides, as God created not the world by necessity of his nature, but by his free will; so by that same freedome of will, hee sustaines what hee hath created, and not by any necessity: and therefore not only corruptible bodies, but even spirits and angels, have in them a possibility of annihilation, if God should withdraw from them his conservative influence. Jeremy was not ignorant of his owne and his peoples annihilation, if God should correct them in fury, Jerem. 10. But, though there be a possibility in the creatures (if God withdraw his power) of annihlation, yet wee must not think, that this possibility in them flowes from the principles of their owne nature; for in materiall substances there is no such possibility, seeing the matter is eternall: and much lesse can it be in immateriall substances, in which there is neither physicall composition, nor contrariety. As the Sun then is the cause of darknesse, and the Pilot the cause of shipwrack: the one, by withdrawing his light; the other, by denying his assistance: so may God be the cause of annihilation, by suspending or subtracting his influence.
13. [He thinkes it a grosse conception to think, that every atome of the body, or every graine of ashes of the cadaver burned and scattered by the wind, should be raked together, and made up anew into the same body it was.] But this is no grosse conceit, if he consider the power of the Almighty, who can with as great facility re-unite these dispersed atomes, as he could at first create them; utpote idoneus est reficere qui fecit. The Gentiles objected the same unto the Christians, as a grosse conceit of theirs, as Cyril sheweth, to whom Tertullian returnes this answer, That it is as easie to collect the dispersed ashes of thy body, as to make them of nothing, Ubicunque resolutus fueris, quæcunque te materia destruxerit, hauserit, aboleverit, in nihil prodegerit, reddet te, ejus est nihilum ipsum cujus est totum.
14. But Sir Kenelme in his subsequent discourse, to salve this grosse conception, as hee calls it, of collecting the dispersed ashes of the burned body, [tells us, that the same body shall rise that fell; but it shall be the same in forme onely, not in matter; which he proves by some reasons: First, that it is the forme, not the matter that gives numericall individuation to the body. Secondly, that the matter, without forme, hath no actuall being. Thirdly, that identity belongeth not to the matter by it selfe. Fourthly, that the body of a man is not the same it was, when it was the body of a childe. Fifthly, he illustrates this by some Similies: As, that a ship is still the same, though it be all new timbered: The Thames is still the same river, though the water is not the same this day that flowed heretofore: That a glasse full of water, taken out of the sea, is distinguished from the rest of the water; but being returned backe againe, becomes the same with the other stocke: and the glasse, being againe filled with the sea-water, though not out of the same place, yet it is the same glasse full of water that it was before: That, if the soule of a newly dead man should be united to another body, taken from some hill in America, this body is the same identicall body hee lived with before his death.] This is the summe of Sir Kenelme's Philosophy and Divinity concerning the resurrection; In which are these mistakes: First, the resurrection, by this opinion, is overthrowne; a surrection wee may call it of a body, but not the resurrection of the same body. This is no new opinion, but the heresie of the Marcionites, Basilidians, and Valentinians, whom Tertullian calls Partianos sententiæ Sadducæorum, as acknowledging but halfe a resurrection: Resurrectio dici non potest, ubi non resurgit quo cecidit, saith Gregory. Secondly, Christ is said metasxhmati/zein, to transfigure or transforme our vile bodies in the resurrection; but if the same numericall body rise not, our resurrection will be a forming of a new body, not a transforming of the old: Or, an assumption of a body rather, then a resurrection: Or, if you please, a Pythagoricall transanimation. Thirdly, the end why man was made, or why his body was united to his soule, was, that both might enjoy God, the chief beatitude; but man should be frustrated of his end, if the same body did not rise that was given him in the creation. Fourthly, if the essentiall forme of mans body was totally lost, as the formes of other creatures are by corruption, wee might have some reason to thinke, that the body should not rise the same numerically which fell: but mans soule, which is his essentiall forme, remains still the same; therefore the body shall returne the same. Fifthly, though the childe begotten be not numerically the same with the parent begetting, because the whole matter of the parent is not transfused into the childe; yet, in the resurrection, the same numericall body shall returne that felll, because the whole matter of it remaines. Sixthly, though the union of the body to the soule in the resurrection be not numerically the same action that was in generation, yet the body shall be the same; because the entity and unity of the body is not hindered by the multiplication or iteration of accidents, such as union is. Seventhly, our resurrection shall bee conformable to Christs; but he raised up the same numericall temple of his body which was destroyed; as the same numericall body of Jonas was disgorged, which was swallowed by the Whale. Eighthly, if in artificiall things the introduction of a new forme makes not the matter to be identically different from what it was, much lesse can mans body be any other then what it was, by introducting the same essentiall forme, which was never lost, though for a while separated. Ninthly, it stands with Gods justice and mans comfort, that the same body which was the soules companion in tribulation, should be also companion with it in glorie; that the same body, which was to the soule the ogan of iniquity, should be also the organ of paine and misery; the same soules and bodies that run together in the same race, let them weare the same crown, and reigne together in the same glory. Let the Baptist have the same head he lost, and Bartholomew the same skin he parted with. This was Job's comfort on the dung-hill, that though wormes destroy his body, yet hee should see God in his flesh, whom I my selfe (saith he) shall see, and mine eyes shall behold, and none other for mee, though my reines are consumed within me.
His second mistake is, [That the forme, not the matter, gives numericall individuation to the body.] Is the dead body of an Ethiopian numerically the same with the dead bodie of a Scythian? he will not say so; then they are different bodies: but by what? the forme is gone: is not then the difference in respect of the matter and accidents, which remaine in the carkasse? 'Tis true, that the chief cause of individuation is the forme in men, yet not as it gives essence; for so it makes the specificall union by which all men are one; but as it gives existence to the matter, which it terminates with quantitie, and invests with other accidents, which matter and accidents are the secondary cause of individuation: but in dead bodies, the forme of man being gone, there remaines nothing but the form of a carkasse, or the form of mixtion, which determinating the matter of the carkasse with its accidents, makes up the numericall individuation, by which one carkasse is distinguished from another.
His third mistake, [That the matter, without forme, hath no actuall being.] The matter, as it is a substance, and hath entity, as it is the other principle of generation, and as it is the cause of motion, it must needs have an actuall being, or else it can be none of these: it must be all one with privation, if it have no actuall being. 'Tis true, it hath not that measure of actuall being, which it receives from the forme, till the union; and yet I see not how the matter is at any time without forme, seeing it is never without privation, which presupposeth a forme in the matter, which is to be expelled for introduction of another.
His fourth mistake, [That identitie belongs not to the matter by it selfe.] So he may as well say, that entity belongs not to the matter by it selfe; for identity followes the entity, as unity doth, which is in a maner the same that identity: he should have said, that matter gives not identity to things, neither genericall , specificall, nor numericall, for such proceeds from the forme; yet there can be neither of these identities, without the matter: for the conjunction of the forme with the matter makes identity; and yet before the forme be united, the particular parts of the matter have their particular identities and inclinations to such and such formes: as, mans seed to the forme of a man, not of an horse; an egge to the forme of a chick, not of a man; so after the soule is gone, that identity remaines in the matter which was before, to wit, an inclination to that forme which once it had, rather then to any other; or, rather then any other part of the matter can have to this forme.
His fifth mistake, [That the body of a man is not the same it was.] Philosophers say, that the matter remaines after the forme is gone; so that a dead body, in respect of its matter, is the same it was whilst the soule was in it: If then the absence or change of the forme takes not away the identity of the matter, much lesse can that identity of the body be gone, whilst the soule remaines in it. They that bring markes and spots in their skins, as Seleucus and Augustus did, retaine them still untill their skin be consumed; which shewes, that the body is the same in infancie and old age. If Ulysses had not brought home, after his twenty years travell, the same body he carried out, his Nurse had not knowne him by his foot; nor had his dogge fawned on him. I know the common opinion is, that the body is the same in respect of continuation, and because it hath the same essentiall forme; otherwise there is a continuall deperdition and reparation of the matter by nutrition and auction: but I cannot find, that there is any deperdition of the solid parts, or any alteration of the heterogeneall, but onely in the bloud and spirits, or such fluid parts: And doubtlesse, the primogeneall or radicall humour, which wee bring with us, wee retaine still in us, till it be quite wasted, and then there is no reparation; so that the body is still the same, whilst the soule is in it, both in respect first, of continuation; secondly, of the forme of man; thirdly, of the forme of mixtion; fourthly, of the solid homogeneall parts; fifthly, of all the heterogeneall; sixthly, of the radicall moisture and naturall heat: so that if there be any deperdition, it is in respect of the fluid parts only, and that so slowly and insensibly, that there is no reason why wee should thinke, the body of an old man to be any other then what it was in child-hood; and if it were not the same, it could not be the fit subject of generation and corruption, nutrition, augmentation and alteration.
Lastly, for his Similies, they will not hold: for, a ship which is all new timbered, though it be called the same in vulgar speech, yet indeed is not the same; for the forme which remaines, is onely artificiall and accidentall, which ought not to carry away the name of identity or diversity from the materialls, which are substantiall. Secondly, the Thames is the same river now that heretofore, not in respect of the water, which is still flowing, but in respect of the same springs that feed it, the same channell that contains it, and the same bankes that restraine it; so that the Thames is still the same, but the water without these other makes not the Thames: neither is there any consequence from a fluid to a solid body. Thirdly, a glasse full of seawater, is the same glasse when it's full and empty; but the water is not the same which is taken out of divers parts of the sea: I meane not the same individuall water, though it be the same specificall, to wit, of the same sea; no more then two branches lopt off from a tree are the same, though the tree be the same. Fourthly, the soule of a newly dead man, united to another body, will not make it the same identicall body he lived with before his death; for, if the soule of Dives had entered into the scabby body of Job or Lazarus, had that been his identicall body which hee left? then that tongue of Job or Lazarus which was, must be tormented in flames, and that tongue of Dives which was, shall escape: is this justice? If the soule of Lazarus, when it was foure dayes absent from the body, had not returned to that body that was his, and which Christ raised, but to the body of some other, that had been doubtlesse no resurrection of Lazarus his body, but a transmigration of Lazarus his soule.
In the Postscript [Sir Kenelme doth not conceive grace to be a quality infused by God into the soule, but a concatenation rather or complex of motives, that encline a man to piety, and set on foot by Gods grace and favour.] 'Tis true, wee are not justified by any inherent or infused quality in us, which the Romanists call gratia gratis data; for when the Scripture speakes of our justification, it speakes of that grace, which is set in opposition to workes; not only such as may be done by a naturall man out of the light of reason, but such as are called the gifts of Gods Spirit: for Abraham was justified not by his workes, but by faith; and wee are justified by faith, not by the workes of the Law. If of grace, then not of workes, otherwise grace were not grace. Faith there, is not taken for a quality, but for the object apprehended by faith, which is Christ; so grace in the matter of Justification is taken for the free acceptation, mercy and goodnesse of God in Christ. By this grace we are saved, and this was given us before the world was made; therefore this grace can signifie nothing inherent in us: But if wee take the word Grace in a larger extent, then it signifieth every thing freely given; for gratia is from gratis, & so Nature it self, & the gifts of Nature are graces, for we deserved them not: Ex gratia nos fecit Deus, & ex gratia refecit. So in a stricter sense, those spirituall gifts of God, which more neerly concerne our salvation, are called xari/smata graces, in Scripture: faith, hope, charity, and other Christian vertues, are called graces, & yet they are qualities: the gifts of prophecying, teaching, or evangelizing, are qualities, and yet are graces: For to every one of us is given grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Eloquence is that grace, which was diffused in Christs lips. The Gospel is that grace, under which wee are, not under the Law: therefore though the grace, by which we are justified, is not quality inherent in us; yet wee must not deny, but those graces, by which wee are sanctified, are qualities. But to say with Sir Kenelme, [that the accidents of misfortune, the gentlenessse and softnesse of nature, the impremeditated chance of hearing a Sermon, should make up that which we call justifying grace] (for of this he speaketh) is a harsh and dangerous phrase, and contradictory to his owne position; for, what is the gentlenesse and softnesse of nature, but qualities? and yet hee will have them to make up that grace, by which man is converted, and so he will have our conversion or justification to depend on our selves.
And thus have I briefly pointed at the mistakes of this noble and learned Knight, whose worth and ingenuity is such, that hee will not take it amisse in mee, to vindicate the truth, which is the thing I onely aime at. The Moone hath her spots, and the greatest men have their failings. No man is free from errour in this life. Truth could never yet be monopolized; the great Merchants of spirituall Babylon have not ingrossed it to themselves, nor was it ever tyed to the Popes Keyes, for all their brags: The God of truth send us a time wherein mercy and truth may meet together, righteousnesse and peace may kisse each other. Amen.
1. In his preface. [I shall not reproduce the remainder of Ross's marginalia, which give the location in Religio Medici for the passages he's talking about, and occasionally give sources for quotations and near-quotations. The value of the work is probably too slight to warrant annotation, so I have restrained myself. It should not be thought that Ross's opinions as expressed here and in his other works, however, are far from the mainstream. He is solidly within the 17th century equivalent of New York Times intellectualism. On the other hand, when we consider all the things that Ross knows about God -- the nature of God's "body", the essence of His soul, the nature of His desire for our prayers, the priority of co-eternal properties, to mention a few -- perhaps we should listen to him and ignore me.]
2. This presumably refers to heraldry, although somewhat wrong-headedly.
3. Ross seems to be saying that one gets there merely by knowing the right from the left, which makes one wonder why the tirades about all the other tenets of faith.
4. This is a quibble; the text can be plain, and the meaning doubtful. Among other things, most of us think of strangling and hanging as different processes; Ross apparently does not. For a more reasonable discussion of this, see Pseudodoxia Epidemica. [The peculiar practice of quoting Homer to illustrate meanings of Greek words in Scripture is common to divines of Ross' day. It is as though we were to quote Chaucer to elucidate a text by Billy Graham. Well, not quite, for historical and cultural reasons, but just about.]
5. Petitio principii! [As are many of Ross's arguments. This entire passage is a particularly fine example.]
6. En tel cas, ce n'est que le premier pas qui coûte.
8. It is odd how often it happens that when Ross has some real, if minor, point to make, he lapses into impious and vulgar-minded twaddle.
9. More accurately, it tells us that of each individual Angel.
10. Seneca, Ross's match in many respects. It's perhaps unnecessary to note that there is a wide gulf between fear of death and the attitudes of which Ross speaks, with the possible exception of David.
11. Most of us would find the spectacle of the saints slavering for vengeance unthinkable, or at least unseemly, but this is Ross.
12. Or, to carry Ross's explanation into full execution, more like a burglar to a dinner party.
14. This does not accord exactly with orthodox teaching on the subject (as represented by St. Thomas and by the Council of Trent), and in its spirit is nearly diametrically opposed.
15. A bit of cheap and modish Socinianism for our entertainment. (Well, it was modish in the 17th century, anyway. Like marijuana and socialism and one-payer health plans and other bees people get in their bonnets.)
16. There is one act of propagation recorded in Paradise, and it is not by coition. That's not to say that there wasn't any other propagation. But we don't know about it. The remainder of Ross's "argument", consisting simply of a contradiction of the statement, need not be dealt with, of course. It's just a case of he said, he said, so to speak.
This page is by James Eason.