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two or three:
PART I. move, not reserving any proper Poles or motion
from the Epicycle of my own brain. By this means I leave no gap for Heresies, Schismes, or Errors, of which at present I hope I shall not in
jure Truth to say I have no taint or tincture. I whereof our must confess my greener studies have been polPhysician confesseth
luted with two or three ; not any begotten in the to have had latter Centuries, but old and obsolete, such as
could never have been revived, but by such extravagant and irregular heads as mine : for indeed Heresies perish not with their Authors, but, like the river Arethusa, though they lose their currents in one place, they rise up again in another. One General Council is not able to extirpate one single Heresie : it may be cancell'd for the present; but revolution of time, and the like aspects from Heaven, will restore it, when it will flourish till it be condemned again. For as though there were a Metempsuchosis, and the soul of one man passed into another, Opinions do find, after certain Revolutions, men and minds like those that first begat them. To see our selves again, we need not look for Plato's year : every man is not only himself; there hath been many
Diogenes, and as many Timons, though but See below, few of that name: men are liv'd over again,
the world is now as it was in Ages past; ther" was none then, but there hath been some one since that parallels him, and is, as it were, his revived self.
Now the first of mine was that of the Araist. that the bians, That the Souls of men perished with their in some sort, Bodies, but should yet be raised again at the
last day. Not that I did absolutely conceive PART I, a mortality of the Soul ; but if that were, (which
rise again Faith, not Philosophy, hath yet throughly dis- with the
body; proved,) and that both entred the grave together, yet I held the same conceit thereof that we all do of the body, that it should rise again. Surely it is but the merits of our unworthy Natures, if we sleep in darkness until the last Alarum. A serious reflex upon my own unworthiness did make me backward from challenging this prerogative of my Soul: so that I might enjoy my Saviour at the last, I could with patience be nothing almost unto Eternity.
The second was that of Origen, That GOD 2d. that all would not persist in His vengeance for ever, but men should after a definite time of His wrath, He would re- saved ; lease the damned Souls from torture. Which error I fell into upon a serious contemplation of the great Attribute of GOD, His Mercy; and did a little cherish it in my self, because I found therein no malice, and a ready weight to sway me from the other extream of despair, whereunto Melancholy and Contemplative Natures are too easily disposed.
A third there is, which I did never positively 34. that we maintain or practise, but have often wished it might pray
. had been consonant to Truth, and not offensive to my Religion, and that is, the Prayer for the Dead ; whereunto I was inclin'd from some charitable inducements, whereby I could scarce con- See below, tain my Prayers for a friend at the ringing of a p. 105. Bell, or behold his Corps without an Orison for his Soul. 'Twas a good way, methought, to be
But these he
remembred by posterity, and far more noble than an History
These opinions I never maintained with persuffered not tinacy, or endeavoured to enveagle any mans to grow into Heresies. belief unto mine, nor so much as ever revealed
or disputed them with my dearest friends ; by which means I neither propagated them in others, nor confirmed them in my self; but suffering them to flame upon their own substance, without addition of new fuel, they went out insensibly of themselves. Therefore these Opinions, though condemned by lawful Councels, were not Heresies in me, but bare Errors, and single Lapses of my understanding, without a joynt depravity of my will. Those have not onely depraved understandings, but diseased affections, which cannot enjoy a singularity without an Heresie, or be the Author of an Opinion without they be of a Sect also. This was the villany of the first Schism of Lucifer, who was not content to err alone, but drew into his Faction many Legions of Spirits; and upon this experience he tempted only Eve, as well understanding the Communicable nature of Sin, and that to deceive but one, was tacitely and upon consequence to delude them both.
That Heresies should arise, we have the Pro
phesie of Christ ; but that old ones should be xxiv. 5, &c.
abolished, we hold no prediction. That there 1 Cor. xi. 19. must be Heresies, is true, not only in our Church, Of the mani- but also in any other : even in doctrines herefold nature tical, there will be super-heresies; and Arians
not only divided from their Church, but also
SECT. VIII. St. Matth.
among themselves. For heads that are disposed PART I. unto Schism and complexionally propense to in- ever multinovation, are naturally indisposed for a commu- plying itself. nity, nor will be ever confined unto the order or economy of one body; and therefore, when they separate from others, they knit but loosely among themselves; nor contented with a general breach or dichotomy with their Church do subdivide and mince themselves almost into Atoms. 'Tis true, that men of singular parts and humours have not been free from singular opinions and conceits in all Agès ; retaining something, not only beside the opinion of his own Church or any other, but also any particular Author ; which, notwithstanding, a sober Judgment may do without offence or heresie ; for there is yet, after all the Decrees of Councils and the niceties of the Schools, many things untouch’d, unimagin’d, wherein the liberty of an honest reason may play and expatiate with security, and far without the circle of an Heresie. As for those wingy Mysteries in Divinity,
Mysteries and airy subtleties in Religion, which have un- in Divinity hing'd the brains of better heads, they never only to be
approached stretched the Pia Mater of mine. Methinks there in Faith. be not impossibilities enough in Religion for an active faith; the deepest Mysteries ours contains have not only been illustrated, but maintained, by Syllogism and the rule of Reason. I love to lose my self in a mystery, to pursue my
Rom. xi. 33, Reason to an O altitudo! 'Tis my solitary recreation to pose my apprehension with those involved Ænigmas and riddles of the Trinity, with
PART 1. Incarnation, and Resurrection. I can answer
all the Objections of Satan and my rebellious
reason with that odd resolution I learned of Christi, c. 5. Tertullian, Certum est, quia impossibile est. I de
sire to exercise my faith in the difficultest point ; See below, for to credit ordinary and visible objects is not
faith, but perswasion. Some believe the better for seeing CHRIST'S Sepulchre; and, when they have seen the Red Sea, doubt not of the Miracle. Now, contrarily, I bless my self and am thankful that I lived not in the days of Miracles, that I never saw Christ nor His Disciples. I would not have been one of those Israelites that pass'd the Red Sea, nor one of CHRIST'S patients on whom He wrought His wonders ; then had my
faith been thrust upon me, nor should I enjoy St. John xx. that greater blessing pronounced to all that be
lieve and saw not. 'Tis an easie and necessary belief, to credit what our eye and sense hath examined. I believe He was dead, and buried, and rose again; and desire to see Him in His glory, rather than to contemplate Him in His Cenotaphe or Sepulchre. Nor is this much to believe; as we have reason, we owe this faith unto History: they only had the advantage of a bold and noble Faith, who lived before His coming, who upon obscure prophesies and mystical Types could raise a belief, and expect apparent impossibilities.
'Tis true, there is an edge in all firm beThe armour lief, and with an easie Metaphor we may say,
the Sword of Faith ; but in these obscurities I Eph. vi. 16. rather use it in the adjunct the Apostle gives it,