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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 believe 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
a Buckler; under which I conceive a wary combatant may lye invulnerable. Since I was, of understanding to know we knew nothing, my
p. 85. reason hath been more pliable to the will of Faith; I am now content to understand a mystery (!! without a rigid definition, in an easie and Platonick description. That allegorical description of Hermes pleaseth me beyond all the Meta- See below, physical definitions of Divines.. Where I cannot satisfy my reason, I love to humour my fancy: I had as live you tell me that anima est angelus bonis hominis, est Corpus Dei, as Entelechia ;-Lux mains nemaz is an obscurity too deep for our Reason, 'tis good to sit down with a description, periphrasis, or adumbration; for by acquainting our Reason how unable it is to display the visible and obvious effects of Nature, it becomes more humble and submissive unto the subtleties of Faith ; and thus I teach my haggard and unreclaimed Reason to stoop unto the lure of Faith. I believe there was already a tree whose fruit our unhappy Parents tasted, though, in the same Chapter when God forbids it, 'tis positively said, the plants of the field were not yet grown, for God had not caus'd it to rain upon Gen. ii. 5. the earth. I believe that the Serpent, (if we shall literally understand it,) from his proper form and figure, made his motion on his belly Gen. iii. 14. before the curse. I find the tryal of the Pucellage and virginity of Women, which God ordained Deut. xxii. the Jews, is very fallible. Experience and History informs me, that not onely inany particular
PART 1. Women, but likewise whole Nations, have escaped Gen. iii. 16. the curse of Childbirth, which GOD seems to pro
nounce upon the whole Sex. Yet do I believe that all this is true, which indeed my Reason would perswade me to be false; and this I think
is no vulgar part of Faith, to believe a thing not --- only above but contrary to Reason, and against
the Arguments of our proper Senses.
(neque enim cum porticus aut me
Lectulus accepit, desum mihi,)
I remember I am not alone, and therefore forget See below, not to contemplate Him and His Attributes Who
is ever with me, especially those two mighty ones, His Wisdom and Eternity. With the one I recreate, with the other I' confound, my under
standing; for who can speak of Eternity without 1. The Eter- a solæcism, or think thereof without an Extasie? nity of God. Time we may comprehend ; 'tis but five days
elder then our selves, and hath the same Horoscope with the World ; but to retire so far back as to apprehend a beginning, to give such an infinite start forwards as to conceive an end, in an essence that we affirm hath neither the one nor the other, it puts my Reason to St. Paul's Sanctuary. My Philosophy. dares not say the Angels can do it. God hath noc made a Creature
that can comprehend Him ; 'tis a privilege of Exod. iii. 14 His own nature. I AM THAT I AM, was His own
definition unto Moses ; and 'twas a short one, to confound mortality, that durst question God, or ask Him what He was. Indeed, He onely is;
there is no distinction of Tenses; and therefore PART I. that terrible term Predestination, which hath troubled so many weak heads to conceive, and the wisest to explain, is in respect to God no prescious determination of our Estates to come, but a definitive blast of His Will already ful
len filled, and at the instant that He first decreed it; for to His Eternity, which is indivisible and all together, the last Trump is already sounded, the reprobates in the flame, and the blessed in St. Luke xvi. Abraham's bosome. St. Peter speaks modestly, 2 St Pet. when he saith, a thousand years to God are but iii. 8. as one day; for, to speak like a Philosopher, those continued instances of time which flow into a thousand
make not to Him one moment : what to us is to come, to His Eternity is present, His whole duration being but one permanent point, without Succession, Parts, Flux, or Division. There is no Attribute that adds more dif- Sect. x11.
Of the Holy ficulty to the mystery of the Trinity, where, Trinity. though in a relative way of Father and Son, we
De Calo, i. must deny a priority. I wonder how Aristotle could conceive the World eternal, or how he See below, could make good two Eternities. His similitude P. 57. of a Triangle comprehended in a square doth ne Animâ, somewhat illustrate the Trinity of our Souls, and that the Triple Unity of GOD; for there is in us not three, but a Trinity of Souls; because there is in us, if not three distinct Souls, yet differing faculties, that can and do subsist apart in different Subjects, and yet in us are so united as to
ii. 3. 5.
were so perfect as to inform three distinct Bodies, that were a petty Trinity: conceive the distinct number of three, not divided nor separated by the intellect, but actually comprehended in its Unity, and that is a perfect Trinity. I have often admired the mystical way of Pythagoras, and the secret Magick of numbers. Beware of Philosophy, is a precept not to be received in too large a sense; for in this Mass of Nature there is a set of things that carry in their Front (though not in Capital Letters, yet in Stenography and short Characters,) something of Divinity, which to wiser Reasons serve as Luminaries in the Abyss of Knowledge, and to judicious beliefs as Scales and Roundles to mount the Pinacles and highest pieces of Divinity. The severe Schools
shall never laugh me out of the Philosophy World a pic- of Hermes, that this visible World is but a Pic
ture of the invisible, wherein, as in a Pourtraict, things are not truely, but in equivocal shapes, and as they counterfeit some more real substance in that invisible fabrick.
That other Attribute wherewith I recreate 2. The Wis my devotion, is His Wisdom, in which I am
happy; and for the contemplation of this only, do not repent me that I was bred in the way of Study : the advantage I have of the vulgar, with the content and happiness I conceive therein, is an ample recompence for all my endeavours, in what part of knowledge soever.
Wisdom is His most beauteous Attribute; no 1 Kings iii. man can attain unto it, yet Solomon pleased
ture of the invisible.
dom of God.