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there is something eternal, I say, I can thus by reasoning demonstrate. Either there is something eternal, that had no beginning, or else it will necessarily follow, that there was a time or space (let it be never so many millions of ages ago, it matters not) when nothing existed. "If every being whatsoever had a beginning, before which it was not, then there was a space or time (I may have leave to call it so, for want of a fitter word) when no being at all was. He is a man of a desperately lost understanding, that doth not clearly perceive the evidence of this consequence. Now if ever there was a time when nothing at all was, then nothing ever could have been; for by nothing, nothing could be produced. But we are sure that we ourselves exist, and many other beings; therefore there is an eternal Being, that had no beginning of existence, and by which all other beings that are not eternal do exist. After the same manner we can demonstrate divers other propositions, which are beyond the comprehension of our imagination. We have therefore a faculty or power within us superior to imagination ; and of this we affirm, that it shall still remain, act, and operate, even when this grosser imagination of ours ceaseth, and is extinguished.

If it be inquired, in what way the soul perceives, when out of the body, whether by the help of some new subtiler organs and instruments fitted to its present state, which either by its own native power given in its creation it forms to itself, or by a special act of the divine power it is supplied with, or whether without them; I must answer with St. Paul in a like case, 2 Cor. xii. 2. I cannot tell; God knowetha.

* Ουκ οίδα, ο Θεός οίδεν.

And if any man shall laugh at this ingenuous confession of our ignorance, his laughter will but betray his own ignorance and folly. For even now we can scarce explain how we see or hear, how we think or understand, how we remember least of all; though we have continual experience of all these operations in ourselves. And must it be thought strange, that we cannot tell how our souls shall understand and operate, when out of our bodies, that being a state of which we never yet had any experience ? Indeed whilst our souls are wrapped in this flesh, we can no more imagine how they shall act when divested of it, than a child in the womb (even though we should suppose it to have the actual understanding of an adult person) can conceive, what kind of life or world that is, into which it is afterward to be born. Or (to use another similitude) we can now no more conceive the manner of the souls operation, when absent from the body, than a man born blind, that never saw the light, can understand a discourse of colours, or comprehend all the wonders and mysteries of the optic science. But the thing itself, that the soul in the state of separation hath a perception of things, and by that perception is either happy or miserable, is ascertained to us by divine revelation, of which we have all reasonable evidence, that it is indeed divine, and without the guidance of which, all our best philosophy in this matter is precarious and uncertain.

It was an assertion of the great Verulam”, that all inquiries about the nature of the reasonable soul

b Advanc. of Learn. IV. 3.

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“must be bound over at last unto religion, there to “ be determined and defined; for otherwise they still “ lie open to many errors and illusions of sense. For

seeing that the substance of the soul was not de“ duced and extracted in her creation from the mass “ of heaven and earth, but immediately inspired from

God; and seeing the laws of heaven and earth are “the proper subjects of philosophy; how can the “ knowledge of the substance of the reasonable soul “ be derived or fetched from philosophy? But it “ must be drawn from the same inspiration from 6 whence the substance thereof first flowed.” Let us therefore hear what the divinely inspired writers, especially of the New Testament, and the doctors of the primitive church, by tradition from them, have taught us in this matter. And here most of those texts, which we have alleged for the proof of the former proposition, will also serve for the confirmation of this second. We have heard our Saviour himself; but lest we should be thought to have misunderstood him, let us next hear his apostles in this question.

St. Paul, who had been caught up into the third heaven, and also into paradise, which the Scriptures tell us is the receptacle of the spirits of good men, separated from their bodies, and therefore was best able to give us an account of the state of souls dwelling there: he assures us, that those souls live and operate, and have a perception of excellent things. Nay, in the very same text where he speaks of that rapture of his, viz, 2 Cor. xii. 2, 3, 4. he plainly enough confirms this hypothesis. For first, when he there declares himself uncertain, whether he received those admirable visions he speaks of in or out of the

body, he manifestly supposeth it possible for the soul, when out of the body, not only to subsist, but also to perceive and know, and even things beyond the natural apprehension of mortal men. And then when he tells us that he received in paradise visions and revelations, and heard there aponta pñuata, unspeakable words, not lawful (or rather not possible) for man to utterc; he directly teacheth, that paradise is so far from being a place of darkness and obscurity, silence and oblivion, where the good spirits, its proper inhabitants, are all in a profound sleep, like bats in their dark winter quarters; (as some have vainly imagined;) that on the contrary it is a most glorious place, full of light and ravishing vision, a place where mysteries may be heard and learnt far surpassing the reach of frail mortals. Lastly, the glories of the third heaven, and of paradise too, seem to be by an extraordinary revelation opened and discovered to St. Paul, not only for his own support under the heavy pressure of his afflictions, but also that he might be able to speak of them with greater assurance to others. And the order is observable. First he had represented to him the most perfect joys of the third, or highest heaven, of which we hope to be partakers after the resurrection; and then, lest so long an expectation should discourage us, he saw also the intermediate joys of paradise, wherewith the souls of the faithful are refreshed until the resurrection; and for our comfort he tells us, that even these also are inexpressible.

The same blessed apostle, when in the flesh, tells us, that he desired to depart, and to be with Jesus

< So says Origen, (or rather Rufinus,) de Princip. II. 7. $.4. non licet pro non potest.]

Christ, which is far better, Phil. i. 23. Where if any man shall doubt what is meant by dvadīcai, which we translate to depart, the phrase is clearly explained by the following opposition, ver. 24. Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful

for you d. Whence it is plain, that ávadīvai, to depart, is to depart from the flesh, that is, this mortal body, that is, to die. Now how could the apostle think it better for him (yea by far the bettere) to depart from the body, than to remain in it, if when he should depart from the body, he should be deprived of all sense, and sink into a lethargy, and utter oblivion of things? Is it not better to have the use of our reasoning faculty, than to be deprived of it? Is it not better to praise God in the land of the living, than to be in a state, wherein we can have no knowledge of God at all, nor be in any capacity of praising him? Besides, the apostle doth not desire to depart from the flesh, or to die, merely that he might be at rest, and freed from the labours and persecutions attending his apostolic office; which is the frigid and dull gloss of some interpreters on the text, but chiefly in order to this end, that he might be with Christ. Now certainly we are more with Christ whilst we abide in the flesh, than when we depart from it, if when we are departed, we have no sense at all of Christ, or of any thing else.

Let us hear the same apostle again, 2 Cor. v. 6, 7, 8. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home (or rather conversant) in the body, we are absent

from the Lord: (for we walk by faith, not by sight:) we are confident, I say, and

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