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|Table of Contents|
|Start of eBook||1|
|To the Reverend||1|
|THE BOOKSELLER TO THE READER.||2|
|THE HISTORY OF HAI EBN YOKDHAN.||16|
Mr. Edward Pococke,
MINAL, in Wiltshire.
Hai Ebn Yokdhan returns to you again, in a Dress different from that which you sent him out in. Wherever he comes, he acknowledges you for his first and best Master; and confesses, that his being put in a Capacity to travel thro’ Europe, is owing to your Hand. I could not in Equity send him to any other Person, you being the sole Proprietor. And as your Learning enables you to do him Justice, so your Candor will incline you to pardon what is by me done amiss. Both which Qualifications you enjoy, as a Paternal Inheritance, descending from the Reverend and Learned Dr. Pococke,_ the Glory and Ornament of our Age and Nation. Whose Memory I much reverence, and how much I acknowledge my self indebted to him for his Learned Works, I thought I could no way express better, than by taking some Opportunity to pay my Respects to you, Sir, the worthy Son of so great a Father. And no fitter Bearer than_ Hai Ebn Yokdhan, with whose Character and Language you are so well acquainted, and to whom you have long ago shown so great a Respect, that I have no reason to fear but he will be welcome.
Your most humble Servant,
* * * * *
When Mr. Pococke first publish’d this Arabick Author with his accurate Latin Version, Anno 1671. Dr. Pococke his Father, that late eminent Professor of the Oriental Languages in the University of Oxford, prefix’d a Preface to it; in which he tells us, that he has good Reason to think, that this Author was contemporary with Averroes, who died very ancient in the Year of the Hegira 595, which is co-incident with the 1198th Year of our Lord; according to which Account, the Author liv’d something above five hundred Years ago.
He liv’d in Spain, as appears from one or two Passages in this Book. He wrote some other Pieces, which are not come to our Hands. This has been very well receiv’d in the East; one Argument of which is, that it has been translated by R. Moses Narbonensis into Hebrew, and illustrated with a large Commentary. The Design of the Author is to shew, how Human Capacity, unassisted by any External Help, may, by due Application, attain to the Knowledge of Natural Things, and so by Degrees find out its Dependance upon a Superior Being, the Immortality of the Soul, and all things necessary to Salvation.
How well he has succeeded in this Attempt, I leave to the Reader to judge. ’Tis certain, that he was a Man of Parts and very good Learning, considering the Age he liv’d in, and the way of studying in those Times. There are a great many lively Stroaks in it; and I doubt not but a judicious Reader will find his Account in the Perusal of it.
I was not willing (’though importun’d) to undertake the translating it into English, because I was inform’d that it had been done twice already; once by Dr. Ashwell, another time by the Quakers, who imagin’d that there was something in, it that favoured their Enthusiastick Notions. However, taking it for granted, that both these Translations we’re not made out of the Original Arabick, but out of the Latin; I did not question but they had mistaken the Sense of the Author in many places. Besides, observing that a great many of my friends whom I had a desire to oblige, and other Persons whom I would willingly incline to a more favourable Opinion of Arabick Learning, had not seen this Book; and withal, hoping that I might add something by way of Annotation or Appendix, which would not be altogether useless; I at last ventur’d to translate it a-new.
I have here and there added a Note, in which there is an account given of some, great Man, some Custom of the Mahometans explain’d, or something of that Nature, which I hope will not be unacceptable. And lest any Person should, through mistake, make any ill use of it, I have subjoin’d an Appendix, the Design of which the Reader may see in its proper place.
* * * * *
When I first undertook the Publication of this English Translation, I thought it would not be amiss to present the World with a Specimen of it first. But since the Introduction is such, that the Reader can no more by it give a Guess at what is contain’d in the Book itself, than a Man can judge of his Entertainment by seeing the Cloath laid; I have thought it necessary to give him a Bill of Fare.
The Design of the Author (who was a Mahometan Philosopher) is to shew how Humane Reason may, by Observation and Experience, arrive at the Knowledge of Natural Things, and from thence to Supernatural; particularly the Knowledge of God and a Future State. And in order to this, he supposes a Person brought up by himself where he was altogether destitute of any Instruction, but what he could get from his own Observation.
He lays the Scene in some Fortunate Island situate under the Equinoctial; where he supposes this Philosopher, either to have been bred (according to Avicen_’s Hypothesis, who conceiv’d a possibility of a Man’s being formed by the Influence of the Planets upon Matter rightly disposed) without either Father or Mother; or self-expos’d in his Infancy, and providentially suckled by a Roe. Not that our Author believ’d any such matter, but only having design’d to._
He lays the Scene in some Fortunate Island situate under the Equinoctial; where he supposes this Philosopher, either to have been bred (according to Avicen_’s Hypothesis, who conceiv’d a possibility of a Man’s being formed by the Influence of the Planets upon Matter rightly disposed) without either Father or Mother; or self-expos’d in his Infancy, and providentially suckled by a Roe. Not that our Author believ’d any such matter, but only having design’d to contrive a convenient place for his Philosopher, so as to leave him to Reason by himself, and make his Observations without any Guide. In which Relation, he proposes both these ways, without speaking one Word in favour of either_.
Then he shews by what Steps and Degrees he advanc’d in the Knowledge of Natural Things, till at last he perceiv’d the Necessity of acknowledging an Infinite, Eternal, Wise Creator, and also the Immateriality and Immortality of his own Soul, and that its Happiness consisted only in a continued Conjunction with this supream Being.
The Matter of this Book is curious, and full of useful Theorems; he makes most use of the Peripatetick Philosophy, which he seems to have well understood; it must be confess’d indeed, that when he comes to talk of the Union with God, &c. (as in the Introduction) there are some Enthusiastick Notions, which are particularly consider’d and refuted by the Editor in his Appendix.
Whose Design in publishing this Translation, was to give those who are as yet unacquainted with it, a Taste of the Acumen and Genius of the Arabian Philosophers, and to excite young Scholars to the reading of those Authors, which, through a groundless Conceit of their Impertinence and Ignorance, have been too long neglected.
And tho’ we do not pretend to any Discoveries in this Book, especially at this time of Day, when all parts of Learning are cultivated with so much Exactness; yet we hope that it will not be altogether unacceptable to the curious Reader to know what the state of Learning was among the Arabs, five hundred Years since. And if what we shall here communicate, shall seem little in respect of the Discoveries of this discerning Age; yet we are confident, that any European, who shall compare the Learning in this Book, with what was publish’d by any of his own Country-men at that time, will find himself obliged in Conscience to give our Author fair Quarter.
* * * * *
Abu Jaaphar Ebn Tophail’s
To the LIFE of
Hai Ebn Yokdhan.
In the Name of the most Merciful God.
Blessed be the Almighty and Eternal, the Infinitely Wise and Merciful God, who hath taught us the Use of the PEN, who out of his great Goodness to Mankind, has made him understand Things which he did not know. I praise him for his excellent Gifts, and give him thanks for his continued Benefits, and I testify that there is but One God, and that he has no Partner; and that MAHOMET is his Servant and Apostle, endu’d with an excellent Spirit, and Master of convincing Demonstration, and a victorious Sword: the Blessing of God be upon him, and his Companions, (Men of great Thoughts, and vast Understandings,) and upon all his Followers, to the End of the World.
You ask’d me, Dear Friend, (God preserve you for ever, and make you Partaker of everlasting Happiness) to communicate to you what I knew concerning the Mysteries of the Eastern Philosophy, mention’d by the Learned Avicenna: Now you must understand, that whoever designs to attain to a clear and distinct Knowledge, must be diligent in the search of it. Indeed your request gave me a noble turn of Thought, and brought me to the understanding of what I never knew before; nay, it advanc’d me to such an elevation, as no Tongue, how eloquent soever, is able to express; and the reason is, because ’tis of a quite different nature and kind from the Things of this World; only this there is in it, that whoever has attain’d to any degree of it, is so mightily affected with joy Pleasure, and Exultation, that ’tis impossible for him to conceal his sense of it, but he is forc’d to utter some general Expressions, since he cannot be particular. Now if a Man, who has not been polish’d by good Education, happens to attain to that state, he tuns out into strange Expressions, and speaks he knows not what; so that one of this sort of Men, when in that state, cry’d out, Praise to be me! How wonderful am I! Another said, I am Truth!. Another, That he was God.
Abu Hamed Algazali, when he had attain’d to it, express’d himself thus,
it was, ’tis not to be express’d;
Enquire no further, but conceive the best.
But he was a Man that had good Learning, and was well vers’d in the Sciences. What Avenpace says at the end of his Discourse concerning the UNION, is worth your Observing; There he, says That ’twill appear plainly to any one that understands the design of his Book, that that degree is not attainable by the means of those Sciences which were then in use; but that he attain’d to what he knew, by being altogether abstracted from any thing which he had been acquainted with before; and that he was furnish’d with other Notions altogether independent upon matter, and of too noble a nature to be any way attributed to the Natural Life, but were peculiar to the Blessed, and which upon that account we may call Divine Proprieties, which God (whose Name be prais’d) bestows upon such of his Servants as he pleases.
Now this degree which this Author mentions, is attainable by Speculative Knowledge,(nor is it to be doubted but that he had reach’d it himself;) but not that which we have just now mention’d, which notwithstanding is not so much different from it in kind as in degree: for in that which I mention’d there are no Discoveries made which contradict those which this Author means; but the difference consists in this, viz. that in our way there is a greater degree of Clearness and Perspicuity than there is in the other; for in this we apprehend things by the help of something, which we cannot properly call a Power; nor indeed will any of those words, which are either us’d in common discourse, or occur in the Writings of the Learned, serve to express That, by which this sort of Perception do’s apprehend.
This degree, which I have already mention’d, (and which perhaps I should never have had any taste of, if your request had not put me upon a farther search) is the very same thing which Avicenna means, where he says; Then when a Man’s desires are raised to a good pitch, and he is competently well exercised in that way, there will appear to him some small glimmerings of the Truth, as it were flashes of Lightning, very delightful, which just shine upon him, and then go out; Then the more he exercises himself, the oftner he’ll perceive ’em, till at last he’ll become so well acquainted with them, that they will occur to him spontaneously, without any exercise at all; and then, as soon as he perceives any thing, he applies himself to the Divine Essence, so as to retain some impression of it; then something occurs, to him on a sudden, whereby he begins to discern the Truth in every thing; till, through frequent exercise, he at last attains to a perfect Tranquility; and that which us’d to appear to him only by fits and starts, becomes habitual; and that which was only a glimmering before, a constant Light; and he obtains a constant and steady Knowledge. Thus far Avicenna. Besides, he has given an account of those several steps and degrees by which a Man is brought to this perfection; till his Soul is like a polish’d Looking-glass, in which he beholds the Truth: and then he swims in pleasure, and rejoyces exceedingly in his Mind, because of the impressions of Truth which he perceives in it, When he is once attain’d thus far, the next thing which employs him is, that he sometimes looks towards Truth, and sometimes towards himself; and thus he fluctuates between both, till he retires from himself wholly, and looks only to-ward the Divine Essence; and if he do’s at any time look towards his own Soul, the only reason is, because that looks to-wards God; and from thence arises a perfect Conjunction [with God.]
And, according to this manner which he has describ’d, he do’s by no means allow that this Taste is attain’d by way of Speculation or Deduction of Consequences. And that you may the more clearly apprehend the difference between the perception of these sort of Men, and those other; I shall propose you a familiar instance. Suppose a Man born Blind, but of quick Parts, and a good Capacity, a tenacious Memory, and solid Judgment, who had liv’d in the place of his Nativity, till he had by the help of the rest of his Senses, contracted an acquaintance with a great many in the Neighbourhood, and learn’d the several kinds of Animals, and Things inanimate, and the Streets and Houses of the Town, so as to go any where about it without a Guide, and to know such people as he met, and call them, by their names; and knew the names of Colours, and the difference of them by their descriptions and definitions; and after he had learn’d all this, should have his Eyes open’d: Why, this Man, when he walk’d about the Town, would find every thing to be exactly agreeable to those notions which he had before; and that Colours were such as he had before conceiv’d them to be, by those descriptions he had receiv’d: so that the difference between his apprehensions when blind, and those which he would have now his Eyes were opened, would consist only in these two great Things, one of which is a consequent of the other, viz., a greater Clearness, and extream Delight. From whence ’tis plain, that the condition of those Contemplators, who have not yet attain’d to the UNION [with GOD] is exactly like that of the Blind Man; and the Notion which a Blind Man has of Colours, by their description, answers to those things which Avenpace said were of too noble a nature to be any ways attributed, to the Natural Life, and, which God bestows upon such his Servants as he pleases. But the condition of those who have attain’d to the UNION, to whom God has given that which I told you could not be properly express’d by the word POWER, is that second State of the Blind-man cur’d. Take notice by the way, that our Similitude is not exactly applicable in every case; for there is very seldom any one found that is born with his Eyes open, that can attain to these things without any help of Contemplation.
Now (my Dear Friend) I do not here, when I speak of the Ideas of the Contemplative, mean what they learn from the Study of Physicks; nor by the notions of those who have attain’d to the UNION, what they learn from the Study of Metaphysicks (for these two ways of learning are vastly different, and must by no means be confounded.) But what I mean by the Ideas of the Contemplative is, what is attain’d by the Study of Metaphysicks, of which kind is that which Avenpace understood; and in the apprehension of these things, this condition is necessarily requir’d, viz. that it be manifestly and clearly true; and then there is a middle sort of Speculation, between that, and those who have attain’d to the UNION, who employ themselves in these things with greater perspicuity and delight.
Now Avenpace blames all those that make any mention of this pleasure which is enjoy’d in the UNION, before the Vulgar; besides he said, that it belonged to the imaginative Faculty; and promis’d to write a Book about it, in which he design’d to give an account of the whole matter, and describe the condition of those who were so happy as to attain it clearly and perspicuously; but we may answer him with the Old Proverb, viz. Don’t say a thing is sweet before you taste on’t; for he never was so good as his word, nor performed any thing like it. But ’tis probable that the reason why he did not, was either because he was streightn’d for Time, being taken up with his Journey to Wahran; or else, because he was sensible, that if he should undertake to give a description of that State, the Nature of such a kind of Discourse, would unavoidably have put him upon a necessity of speaking some things, which would manifestly have reproach’d his own manner of living, and contradicted those Principles which he himself had elsewhere laid down; in which he encourages Men to heap up Riches, and proposes several ways and means in order to the acquiring them.
We have in this Discourse (as necessity required) disgress’d something from the main Design of what you desir’d; it appears from what has been already said, that you must either mean, 1. That I should describe to you, what they see and taste, who are so happy as to enjoy the UNION,(which is impossible to be described as it really is; and when any one goes about to express it, either by Speech or Writing, he quite alters the thing, and sinks into the speculative way. For when you once come to cloath it with Letters and Words, it comes nearer to the corporeal World, and does by no means remain in the same State that it was in before; and the Significations of these Words, which are used in the explaining it, are quite alter’d; so that it occasions a great many real Mistakes to some, and makes others believe, that they are mistaken, when indeed they are not; and the reason of this is, because it is a thing of infinite Extent, comprehending all things in it self, but not comprehended by any.) 2. Or else the meaning of your Request must be this, that I should shew you after what manner they proceed, who give themselves to Contemplation. And this (my good Friend) is a thing which is capable of being express’d both by Speech, and Writing; but ’tis as scarce as old Gold, especially in this part of the World where we live; for ’tis so rare, that there’s hardly one of a thousand gets so much as a smattering of it; and of those few, scarce any, have communicated any thing of what they knew in that kind, but only by obscure Hints, and Innuendo’s. Indeed the Hanifitick Sect, and the Mahometan Religion, doe forbid Men to dive too far into this matter. Nor would I have you think that the Philosophy which we find in the Books of Aristotle, and Alpharabius, and in Avicenna’s
T’is hard the kinds of
Knowledge are but two,
The One erroneous, the Other true.
The former profits nothing when ’tis gain’d,
The other’s difficult to be attain’d.
After these came others, who still advanc’d further, and made nearer approaches to the Truth; among whom there was one that had a sharper Wit, or truer notions of things than Avenpace, but he was too much taken up with Worldly Business, and Died before he had time to open the Treasury of his Knowledge, so that most of those pieces of his which are extant, are imperfect; particularly his Book about the Soul) and his Tedbiro ’lmotawahhid, i.e. How a Man ought to manage himself that leads a Solitary Life So are his Logicks and Physicks. Those Pieces of his which are compleat, are only short Tracts and some occasional Letters. Nay, in his Epistle concerning the UNION, he himself confesses that he had wrote nothing compleat, where he says, That it would require a great deal of trouble and pains to express that clearly which he had undertaken to prove; and, that the method which he had made use of in explaining himself, was not in many places so exact as it might have been; and, that he design’d, if he had time, to alter it. So much for Avenpace, I for my part never saw him, and as for his Contemporaries, they were far inferiour to him, nor did I ever see any of their Works. Those who are now alive, are, either such as are still advancing forwards, or else such as have left off, without attaining to perfection; if there are any other, I know nothing of them.
As to those Works of Alpharabius which are
extant, they are most of them Logick.
There are a great many things very dubious in his
Philosophical Works; for in his Mellatolphadelah,
i.e. The most excellent Sect, he asserts
expressly, that the Souls of Wicked Men shall suffer
everlasting Punishment; and yet says as positively
in his Politicks that they shall be dissolv’d
and annihilated, and that the Souls of the Perfect
shall remain for ever. And then in his Ethicks,
speaking concerning the Happiness of Man, he says,
that it is only in this Life, and then adds,
that whatsoever People talk of besides, is meer
Whimsy and old Wives Fables. A principle,
which if believ’d would make all Men despair
of the Mercy of God, and puts the Good and Evil both
upon the same Level, in that it makes annihilation
the common end to them both. This is an Error
not to be pardon’d by any means, or made amends
for. Besides all this, he had a mean Opinion of
the Gift of Prophecy, and said that in his Judgment
it did belong to the faculty of Imagination,
and that he prefer’d Philosophy before it; with
a great many other things of the like nature, not
necessary to be mention’d here.
As for the Books of Aristotle, Avicenna’s Exposition of them in his Alshepha [i.e. Health] supplies their Room, for he trod in the same steps and was of the same Sect. In the beginning of that Book, says, that the Truth was in his opinion different from what he had there deliver’d, that he had written that Book according to the Philosophy of the Peripateticks; but those that would know the Truth clearly, and without Obscurity, he refers to his Book, Of the Eastern Philosophy. Now he that takes the pains to compare his Alshepha with what Aristotle has written, will find they agree in most things, tho’ in the Alshepha there are a great many things which are not extant in any of those pieces which we have of Aristotle. But if the Reader, take the literal Sense only, either of the Alshepha or Aristotle, with, out penetrating into the hidden Sense, he will never attain to perfection, as Avicenna himself observes in the Alshepha.
As for Algazali, he often contradicts himself, denying in one place what he affirm’d in another. He taxes the Philosophers with Heresy in his Book which he calls Altehaphol, i.e. Destruction, because they deny the Resurrection of the Body, and hold that Rewards and Punishments in a Future State belong to the Soul only. Then in the beginning of his Almizan, i.e. The Balance, he affirms positively, that this is the Doctrine of the Suphians, and that he was convinc’d of the truth of it, after a great deal of Study and Search. There are a great many such Contradictions as these interspers’d in his Works; which he himself begs Pardon for in the end of his Mizan Alamal [The Ballance of Mens Actions]; where he says, that there are Three sorts of Opinions; 1. Such as are common to the Vulgar, and agreeable to their Notions of things. 2. Such as we commonly make use of in answering Questions propos’d to us. 3. Such private as a Man has to himself, which none understand but those who think just as he does. And then he adds, that tho’ there were no more in what he had written than only this, viz. That it made a Man doubt of those things which he had imbib’d at first, and help’d him to remove the prejudices of Education, that even that were sufficient; because, he that never doubts will never weigh things aright, and he that does not do that will never see, hut remain in Blindness and Confusion.
Believe your Eyes,
but still suspect your Ears,
You’ll need no Star-light, when the day appears.
This is the account of his way of Philosophizing, the greatest part of which is enigmatical and full of obscurity, and for that reason of no use to any but such as thoroughly perceive and understand the matter before, and then afterwards hear it from him again, or at least such as are of an excellent Capacity, and can apprehend a thing from the least intimation. The same Author says in his Aljawahir [i.e. The Jewels] that he had Books not fit to be communicated, but to such only as were qualified to read them, and that in them he had laid down the Naked Truth; but none of them ever came into Spain that we know of: we have indeed had Books which some have imagin’d to be those incommunicable ones he speaks of, but ’tis a mistake, for those are Almaareph Alakliyah [Intellectual notices] and the Alnaphchi walteswiyal [Inflation and AEquation] and besides these, a Collection of several Questions. But as for these, tho’ there are some hints in them, yet they contain nothing of particular use to the clearing of things, but what you may meet with in his other Books. There are, ’tis true, in his Almeksad Alasna, some things which are more profound than what we meet with in the rest of his Books, but he expressly says, that that Book is not incommunicable; from whence it follows, those Books which are come to our hands are not those incommunicable ones which he means. Some have fancy’d that there were some great matters contain’d in that Discourse of his, which is at the end of his Meschal [i.e. Casement] (which Belief of theirs, has plung’d them into inextricable Difficulties) where speaking of the several sorts of those who are kept from nearer Approaches, by the Brightness of the radiation of the Divine light, and then of those who had attain’d to the UNION, he says of these later, That they apprehended such Attributes to belong to the Divine Essence as were destructive of its Unity; from, whence it appear’d to them that he believ’d a sort of Multiplicity in the Godhead, which is horrid Blasphemy. Now I make no Question but that the worthy Doctor Algazali was one of those which attain’d to the utmost degree of Happiness, and to those heights which are proper to those who enjoy the UNION; but as for his secret or incommunicable Books, which contain the manner of Revelation, they never came to my hands: and that pitch of knowledge which I have attain’d to, is owing to his other works and to Avicenna, which I read and compar’d with the Opinions of the present Philosophers, till at length I came to the Knowledge of the Truth. At first indeed, by way of Enquiry and Contemplation;but afterwards I came to have a perfect sense, and then I found that I could say something which I could call
[Footnote 1: In the Name, &c—This is the usual Form with which the Mahometans begin all their Writings, Books and Epistles. Every Chapter in the Alcoran begins so, and all their Authors have followed this way ever price. The Eastern Christians, to distinguish themselves from the Mahometans, begin their Writings with Bismi’labi Wa’libni, _&c_. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, One God:_and so do the_ AEthiopians. We here in England observe something like this in Wills, where the usual Form is, In the Name of God, Amen.]
[Footnote 2: These words,—Who hath taught us the Use of the Pen; who hath taught Man what he did not know, are taken out of the XCVI. Chapter of the Alcoran, according to those Editions of it which are now in use: but Joannes Andreas Maurus, (who was Alfaqui, or chief Doctor of the Moors in Sciatinia, in the kingdom of Valentia in Spain, and afterwards converted to the Christian Religion in the Year of our Lord 1487) says, that it is the first Chapter that was written of all the Alcoran. But be that how it will, we may from hence, and infinite other places, observe the strange way which these Eastern Writers have of Quoting the Alcoran; for they intermix those Expressions which they take out of it with their own words, without giving the Reader the least Notice or Hint whence they had them, or where to find them.]
[Footnote 3: And I testify, &c.—After be testified the Unity of the Godhead, be immediately adds La Sharica Leho, That he has no Partner. These words frequently occur in the Alcoran, and are particularly levell’d against the Christians, which Mahomet frequently will Mushricoun, i.e.. Associantes, Joyning Partners with God, because they acknowledge the Divinity of our Blessed Saviour.]
[Footnote 4: The whole Mahometan Creed consists only of these two Articles, 1. There is no God but God, [i.e. There is but One God] and 2. Mahomet is his Apostle. A very short Creed, but their Explications of it, make amends for its shortness. The Reader may see a Paraphrase of it out of Algazali, in Dr. Pocock’s Specimen Historiae Arabum, p. 174.]
[Footnote 5: The Learned Avicenna—This
great Man was born in Bochara, a City famous
for the Birth of a great many very Learned Men; it
lyes in 96 Degrees, and 50 Minutes of Longitude reckoning
from the Fortunate-Islands, and 39 Degrees and 50 Minutes
of Northern Latitude. A pleasant place, and full
of good Buildings, having without the City a great
many Fields and Gardens, round about which there is
a great Wall of XII Parasangae, or 36 Miles long,
which encompasses both the Fields and the City
Abulphed. Golius ’s Notes upon Alferganus.
Thus much concerning the Place of his Nativity;
he was born in the Year of the Hegira 370, which
is about the 980 Year of Christ. He was indeed
a prodigious Scholar; he had learn’d the
Alcoran, and was well initiated into Human Learning
before he was Ten years old; then he studied Logick
and Arithmetick, and read over Euclid without any
help, only his Master show’d him how to demonstrate
the first five or six Propositions; Then he read
Ptolemy’s Almagest, and afterwards a great
many Medicinal Books; and all this before be was sixteen
years old. He was not only a great Philosopher
and Physician, but an excellent Philologer and Poet.
Amongst other of his Learned Works, he wrote an Arabick
Lexicon; but it is lost. Besides all this, he
was a Vizier, and met with a great many Troubles,
which nevertheless did not abate his indefatigable
Industry. The Soldiers once mutiny’d, and
broke open his House, and carry’d him to Prison,
and would fain have persuaded the Sultan Shemfoddaulah
to have put him to Death, which he refusing, was
forc’d to Banish him. After a Life spent
in Study and Troubles, having written more Learned
Books than he liv’d Years, he died, Aged 58
[Footnote 6: Subhheni—Praise be to me. Which is an expression never us’d but when they speak of God.]
[Footnote 7: I am Truth—or, I am the True God. For the Arabick word Albakko signifies both, and is very often us’d for one of the Names or Attributes of God. Kamus. Dr. Pocock, Specimen pag. 168.]
[Footnote 8: Abu Hamed Algazali—What Abu Hamed Algazali thought concerning those Men who were so wild and Enthusiastick as to use such extravagant expressions, appears plainly from those words of his quoted by Dr. Pocock in his Specimen. p. 167, where he says, “People ran on to such a degree, (of madness you may be sure) as to pretend to an Union with God, and a fight of him without the interposition of any Veil, and familiarly discourse with him. And a little after, which sort of Speeches have occasion’d great mischiefs among the common People; so that some Country Fellows laying aside their Husbandry, have pretended to the same things: for Men are naturally pleas’d with such discourses, as give them a liberty to neglect their business, and withal promise them purity of Mind, and the attainment of strange degrees and proprieties. Now the most stupid Wretches in Nature may pretend to this, and have in their Mouths such false and deceitful expressions. And if any one denies what they say, they immediately tell you, that this Unbelief of yours proceeds from Learning and Logick: and that Learning is a Veil, and Logick labour of the brain, but that these things which they affirm, are discovered only inwardly then by the Light of the TRUTH. And this which they affirm, has spread it self through a great many Countries, and produc’d a great deal of Mischief.” Thus far Algazali. How exactly this answers the wild extravagancies of our Enthusiasts, let themselves judge. And withal I would have them from hence learn the Modesty not to pretend to be the first after the Apostles who had endeavour’d to turn Men from Darkness to LIGHT, since they see so many worthy Persons among the Mahometans gone before them.]
[Footnote 9: Avenpace—This Author is oftentimes quoted by the Name of Ebn’olfayeg; he was accounted a Philosopher. of great Ingenuity and Judgment. Maimonides, in his Epistle to R. Samuel Aben Tybbon, gives him a great Character. Abu’l Hasen Ali, who collected all his Works, and reduced them into One Volume, prefers him before all the Mahometan Philosophers whatsoever. He was famous for his Poetry as well as Philosophy; he died young, being prison’d at Fez, in the Year of the Hegira 533. i.e. of Christ, 1138, or 39, others in the Year 525, which answers to 1131. Most of his Works are imperfect. See Dr. Pocock’s Elenchus Scriptorum prefix’d to the Arabick Edition of this Book.]
[Footnote 10: Tho’ this instance will serve to explain the meaning of the Author, yet ’tis very improper, because ’tis utterly impossible to give a Man that is born Blind, the least notion or idea of Light or Colours.]
[Footnote 11: The Hanifitick Sect, and the Mahometan Religion,—That is, not only the Hanifitick Sect, but even the Mahometan Religion too, of which that Sect is a Branch, does forbid the over curious enquiring into these abstruse Matters. This Sect was very early among the Mahometans, for it had its Name from Abu Hanifah Al Nooman, who was born,in the 80 year of Hegira, or according to others in the 70. I must confer, that it seems something odd, that he should mention that Sect first, and then the Mahometan Religion which includes it, and if it had not been for the word Asshariyato, which, if I mistake not, is never us’d to express any particular Sect, but signifies a Religion, or Law of God, I should have understood those Words of the Sect of Mahomet Ebn Edris Asshaphiensis. See Dr. Pocock ’s Specimen p. 295. Or else the Hanifitick Sect and the Mahometan Religion may signifie the same thing, because Abraham, (whose Religion the Mahometans pretend to follow) is called in the Alcoran Hanif. Dr. Sike.]
[Footnote 12: Alpharabius,—Without
Exception, the greatest of all the Mahometan Philosophers,
reckon’d by some very near equal to Aristotle
himself. Maimonides, in the Epistle
which I just now mention’d, commends him highly;
and tho’ he allows Avicenna a great share
of Learning, and Acumen; yet be prefers
Alpharabius before him. Nay, Avicenna himself
confesses, that when he had read over Aristotle’s
Metaphysicks forty times, and gotten them by heart;
that he never understood them till he happened upon
Alpharabius_’s Exposition of them. He wrote
Books of Rhetorick, Musick, Logick, and all parts
of Philosophy; and his Writings have been much esteemed;
not only by_ Mahometans but Jews and
Christians too. He was a Person of singular
Abstinence and Continence,and Despiser of the things
of this World. He is call’d Alpharabius
from Farab, the place of bis Birth, which
according to Abulpheda (who reckons his Longitude
not from the Fortunate Islands, but from the extremity
of the Western Continent of Africa) bar88
deg. 30 min. of Longitude and 44 deg. of
Northern Latitude. He died at Damascus the
Year of the Hegira 339, that is, about the
Year of Christ 950, when he was about fourscore Years
[Footnote 13: The Spanish Philosophers.—This is not to be understood of any Christians in Spain, but Mahometans; for the Moors Conquer’d a great part of Spain in the Ninety Fifth Year of the Hegira, which answers partly to the Year of our Lord 710. Afterwards, as Learning grew up amongst the Eastern Mahometans, it increased proportionally among the Western too, and they had a great many Learned Men in Toledo and other Places. The Author of this Book was a, Spaniard, as appears from an Expression towards the end of this Preface.]
[Footnote 14: Algazali.—He was an Eminent Philosopher, Born at Thus a Famous City of Chorafan, in the Year of the Hegira 450, of Christ 1058. He died in the Year of the Hegira 505, of Christ 1111-2. Dr. Pocock’s Elenchus Scriptor.]
[Footnote 15: Heresy.—In Arabick the Word Kafara, signifies to be an Infidel, but they use it commonly as we do the word Heresy, viz. when a Person holds any thing erroneous in Fundamentals, tho’ Orthodox in other points.]
[Footnote 16: The Doctrine of the Suphians—The Suphians are an Enthusiastick Sect amongst the Mahometans, something like Quietists and Quakers; these set up a stricter sort of Discipline, and pretended to great abstinence and Contempt of the World, and also to a greater Familiarity and stricter Union with God than other Sects; they used a great many strange and extravagant actions and utter Blasphemous Expressions. Al Hosain Al Hallagi was eminent amongst them about the Year of the Hegira 300. ’Twas he that wrote in one of his Epistles, Blessed is he that possesses the shining light, _&c. and pretended that God dwelt in him. The Learned among the_ Arabians are not agreed, about the derivation of the Word, Sufi, Suphian. It seems not to be known among them till about the 200 Year of the Hegira. The most probable Interpretation of it is from the Arabick word Suph, which signifies Wool, because those that followed this Sect refused to wear Silk, and Cloathed themselves only with Wool. Dr. Pocock and Golius follow this Interpretation; tho’ the latter in his Lexicon seems to doubt whether it is deriv’d from the [Greek: sophos] or from the Arabick Suph. The Sultan of Persia is often call’d the Sophy, because Ismael the first Sultan of that Family now in Persia who began to Reign in the 605 Year of the Hegira, that is of our Lord the 1554/5 was of this Sect. viz, Sufi, a Suphian.]
[Footnote 17: The word which I have here rendred Starlight, is Zohal in Arabick which signifies Saturn. ’Tis a common way with the Arabian Authors, when they intend to shew a vast disproportion between things, to compare the greater to the Sun and the lesser to Saturn. The meaning of this Distich, is that there is as much difference between what a Man knows by hearsay, or what notions he imbibes in his Education, and what he knows when he comes to examin things to the bottom, and know them experimentally, as there is between Twilight and Noonday.]
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Sec. 1. Our Ancestors, of Happy Memory, tell us, that there is an Island in the Indian Ocean, situate under the Equinoctial, where Men come into the world spontaneously without the help of Father and Mother. This Island it seems, is blest with such a due Influence of the Sun, as to be the most temperate and perfect of all places in the Creation; tho’ it must be confess’d that such an Assertion is contrary to the Opinion of the most celebrated Philosophers and Physicians, who affirm that the fourth Climate is the most Temperate. Now if the reason which they give for this Assertion, viz. That these parts situate under the Equinoctial are not habitable; were drawn, from any Impediment from the Earth, ’tis allow’d that it would appear more probable; but if the reason be, because of the intense Heat (which is that which most of ’em assign) ’tis absolutely false, and the contrary is prov’d by undeniable demonstration. For ’tis demonstrated in Natural Philosophy, that there is no other cause of Heat than Motion, or else the Contact and Light of Hot Bodies. ’Tis also prov’d that the Sun, in it self, is not hot, nor partakes of any mix’d Quality: ’tis prov’d moreover, that the thickest and smoothest Bodies receive Light in the greatest degree of perfection; and next to them, the thicker which are not smooth, and those which are very thin receive no Light at all. (This was first demonstrated by Avicenna, never mention’d before by any of the Ancients.) From these Premises, this Consequence will necessarily follow, viz. That the Sun do’s not Communicate his Heat to the Earth, after the same manner as hot Bodies heat those other Bodies which are near them because the Sun is not hot in it self. Nor can it be said that the Earth is heated by Motion, because it stands still, and remains in the same posture, both when the Sun shines upon it, and when it does not, and yet ’tis evident to Sense, that there is a vast difference in it, in respect of Heat and Cold, at those several times. Nor does the Sun first heat the Air, and so the Earth; because we may observe in hot weather, that the Air which is nearest the Earth, is hotter by much than that which is higher and more remote. It remains
Sec. 2. Now that is the Center of the Circle of Light, where the Sun is Vertical to the Inhabitants, and then in that place, the Heat is most extreamly intense; and so those Countries are the coldest, where the Sun is farthest from being Vertical. And if there were any such place where the Sun was always Vertical, it must needs be extream hot. Now ’tis demonstrated in Astronomy, that the Sun is Vertical twice a Year only, to those which live under the Equinoctial, viz. when he enters into Aries and Libra; and all the rest of the Year he declines from them, six months Northward, and six months Southward; and for that reason they are neither too hot nor too cold, but of a Moderate Temper between both. There’s much more to be said about this Argument, in order to the explaining it fully, but it is not suitable to our purpose; I have only hinted it to you, because it helps the Story a little, and makes it something more probable that a Man may be form’d without the help of Father and Mother; and there are some which affirm positively that Hai Ebn Yokdhan was so, others deny it, and tell the Story thus:
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* * * * *
Sec. 3. They say, that there lay, not far from this our Island, another Great Island very fertile and well peopled; which was then govern’d by a Prince of a Proud and Jealous Disposition: he had a Sister of exquisite Beauty, which he confin’d and restrain’d from Marriage, because he could not match her to one suitable to her quality He had a near Relation whose Name was Yokdhan, that courted this Princess, and Married her privately, according to the Rites of Matrimony then in use among them; it was not long before she prov’d with Child, and was brought to Bed of a Son; and being afraid that it should be discovered, she took him in the Evening, and when she had Suckled him she put him into a little Ark which she closed up fast, and so Conveys him to the Sea shore, with some of her Servants
Sec.4. Then she set him afloat, and that very Night the Tide carried him ashore on that Island we just now mention’d; it fortun’d that the Water being high, carried the Ark a great way on shore, farther than it would have done at another time, (for it rises so high but once a Year) and cast the Ark into a little shady Grove, thick set with Trees, a pleasant place, where he was secured both from Wind and Sun; when the Tide ebb’d, the Ark was left there, and the Wind rising blew an heap of Sand together between the Ark and the Sea, sufficient to secure him from any future danger of such another Flood.
Sec. 5. The Violence of the Waves had loosned the Joints of the Ark; the Boy was Hungry and Cry’d. It happen’d fortunately at that Juncture of time, that a Roe wandring about the Island in search of her Fawn, which straying was devoured by an Eagle, heard the Boy cry, and following the voice (imagining it to have been her Fawn) came up to the Ark, which she immediately attack’d, and what with her beating it with her hoofs without, and the Boy’s struggling within, at last between ’em both they loosned a board: as soon as she saw him she shew’d the same natural Affection to him as if he had been her own, Suckled him and took care of him. This is the account which they give, who are not willing to believe that a Man can be produced without Father or Mother.
Sec. 6. On the other hand, those who affirm that Hai Ebn Yokdhan was produced in that Island without Father and Mother, tell us, that in that island, in a piece of Low ground, it chanc’d that a certain Mass of Earth was so fermented in some period of Years, that the four qualities, viz. Hot, Cold, Dry, Moist, were so equally mix’d, that none of ’em prevail’d over the other; and that this Mass was of a very great Bulk, in which, some parts were better and more equally Temper’d than others,and consequently fitter for Generation; the middle part especially, which came nearest to the Temper of Man’s Body. This Matter being in a fermentation, there arose some Bubbles by reason of its viscousness, and it chanc’d that in the midst of it there was a viscous Substance with a very little bubble in it, which was divided into two with a thin partition, full of Spirituous and Aerial Substance, and of the most exact Temperature imaginable. That the Matter being thus dispos’d, there was, by the Command of God, a Spirit infus’d into it; which was join’d so closely to it, that
Sec. 7. Now, when this Form prevails to such a degree that all others are nothing before it, but it remains alone, so as to consume, with the glory of its Light, whatsoever stands; in it’s way; then it is properly compared to those Glasses, which reflect Light upon themselves, and burn every thing else; But this is a degree which is peculiar to the Prophets.
Sec. 8. But to return, and speak something more fully concerning the Opinion of those who account for this kind of generation; They tell us, that as soon as this Spirit was join’d to the Receptacle, all the other powers immediately, by the Command of God, submitted themselves to it. Now, opposite to this Receptacle, there arose another Bubble divided into three Receptacles by thin membranes, with passages from one to the other, which were fill’d with an aerial substance, not much unlike that which was in the first Receptacle, only the first was something finer; and in each of these three Ventricles,which were all taken out of one, were plac’d some of those Faculties, which were subject to this governing Spirit, and were appointed to take care of their respective Stations, and to communicate every thing, both great and small, to that Spirit, which we told you before was plac’d in the first Receptacle. Right against this Receptacle, opposite to the second, there arose another third Bubble, fill’d with an aerial substance, which was grosser than that which was in the other two; this was made for the Entertainment and preservation of some other of the inferior Faculties.
Sec. 9. Thus these three Receptacles were made in the same order which we have describ’d, and these were the first part of that great Mass which was form’d; now they stood in need of one another’s assistance; the first wanted the other two as Servants, and they again the assistance and guidance of the first, as their Master and Director; but both these Receptacles, tho’ inferior to the first, were nevertheless superior to all those Members which were form’d afterwards. The first Receptacle, by the power of that Spirit which was joyn’d to it and its continual flaming Heat, was form’d into a Conical figure, like that of Fire, and by this means that thick Body, which was about it, became of the same figure, being solid Flesh cover’d with a thick Membrane. This is what we call the Heart. Now considering the great expence of Moisture, which must needs be where there is so much Heat, ’twas absolutely necessary, that there should be some part form’d, whose Office it should be continually to supply this defect; Otherwise it would have been impossible to have subsisted long. ’Twas also necessary that [this forming Spirit] should have a Sense both of what was convenient for him, and what was hurtful, and accordingly attract the one and repel the other. For these Services there were two parts form’d, with their respective Faculties, viz. the Brain and the Liver: the first of these presided over all things relating to Sense, the latter over such things as belong’d to Nutrition: both of these depended upon the Heart for a supply of Heat, and the recruiting of their proper Faculties. To establish a good Correspondence between all these, there were Ducts and Passages interwoven, some bigger, some lesser, according as necessity requir’d; and these are the Arteries and Veins.
Thus much for a Taste; they that tell the Story go on farther, and give you a particular account of the Formation of all the parts, as the Physicians do of the Formation of the Foetus in the Womb, omitting nothing till he was compleatly form’d, and just like an Embryo ready for the Birth. In this account they are forc’d to be beholding to this vast Mass of Earth, which you are to suppose was of a most exact mixture, and contain’d in it all manner of materials proper for the making Man’s Body, and those Skins, _&c._ which cover it; till at last, when he was Compleat in all his parts, as if the Mass had been in labour, those Coverings, which he was wrapp’d up in, burst asunder, and the rest of the Dirt dry-d and crack’d in pieces. The Infant being thus brought into the World, and finding his Nourishment fail him, cry’d for want of Victuals, till the Roe which had lost her Fawn heard him. Now, both those who are of the other Opinion and those who are for this kind of generation, agree in all the other particulars of his Education: and what they tell us is this.
Sec. 10. They say that this Roe liv’d in good Pasture so that she was fat, and had, such plenty of Milk, that she was very well able to maintain the Child; she took great care of him, and never left him, but when hunger forc’d her: and he grew so well acquainted with her, that if at any time she staid away from him a little longer than ordinary, he’d cry pitifully, and she, as soon as she heard him, came running instantly; besides all this, he enjoy’d this happiness, that there was no Beast of prey in the whole Island.
Sec. 11. Thus he went on, Living only upon what he Suck’d till he was Two Years Old, and then he began to step a little and Breed his Teeth. He always followed the Roe and she shew’d all the tenderness to him imaginable; and us’d to carry him to places where Fruit Trees grew, and fed him with the Ripest and Sweetest Fruits which fell from the Trees; and for Nuts or such like, she us’d to break the Shell with her Teeth, and give him the Kernel; still Suckling him, as often as he pleas’d, and when he was thirsty she shew’d him the way to the water. If the Sun shin’d too hot and scorch’d him, she shaded him; if he was cold she cherish’d him and kept him warm; and when Night came she brought him home to his old Place, and covered him partly with her own Body, and partly with some Feathers which were left in the Ark, which had been put in with him when he was first expos’d. Now, when they went out in the Morning, and when they came home again at Night, there always went with them an Herd of Deer, which lay in the same place where they did; so that the Boy being always amongst them learn’d their voice by degrees, and imitated it so exactly that there was scarce any sensible difference; nay, when he heard the voice of any Bird or Beast, he’d come very near it, being of a most excellent Apprehension. But of all the voices which he imitated, he made most use of the Deers, which he was Master of, and could express himself as they do, either when they want help, call their Mates, when they would have them come nearer, or go farther off. (For you must know that the Brute Beasts have different Sounds to express these different things.) Thus he contracted such an Acquaintance with the Wild Beasts, that they were not afraid of him, nor he of them.
Sec. 12. By this time he began to have the Ideas of a great many things fix’d in his mind, so as to have a desire to some, and an aversion to others, even when they were absent. In the mean while he consider’d all the several sorts of Animals, and saw that they were all clothed either with Hair, Wool, or several sorts of Feathers: he consider’d their great Swiftness and Strength, and that they were all arm’d with Weapons defensive, as Horns, Teeth, Hoofs, Spurs, Nails, and the like. But that he himself was Naked and Defenceless, Slow and Weak, in respect of them. For whenever there happened any Controversy about gathering of such ripe Fruits as fell from the Trees; he always came off by the worst, for they could both keep their own, and take away his, and he could neither beat them, off, nor run away from them.
Sec. 13. He observ’d besides that his Fellow-Fawns, tho’ their Fore-heads were smooth at first, yet afterwards had Horns bud out, and tho’ they were feeble at first, yet afterwards grew very Vigorous and Swift. All these things he perceived in them, which were not in himself; and when he had consider’d the Matter, he could not imagine what should be the reason of this Difference; then he consider’d such Animals as had any Defect or Natural Imperfection, but amongst them all he could find none like himself. He took Notice that the Passages of the Excrements were cover’d in all other Creatures besides himself: that by which they voided their grosser Excrements, with a Tail; and that which serv’d for the voiding of their Urine, with Hair or some such like thing. Besides, he observ’d that their Privy parts, were more concealed than his own were.
Sec. 14. All these things were matter of great Grief to him, and when he had perplex’d himself very much with the thoughts of them, and was now near seven Years Old, he despair’d utterly of having those things grow upon him, the want of which made him so uneasy. He therefore resolv’d to help himself, and thereupon gets him some Broad Leaves of Trees, of which he made two Coverings, one to wear behind, the other before; and made a Girdle of Palm-Trees and Rushes Twisted together, to Hang his coverings upon, and Ty’d it about his waste, and so wore it. But alas it would not last long, for the Leaves wither’d and dropt away; so that he was forc’d to get more, which he doubled and put together as well as he could, Plaiting the Leaves one upon another, which made it a little more durable, but not much. Then having broke a Bough from a Tree and fitted the Ends of it to his Mind, he stript off the Twigs and made it smooth; with this he began to attack the Wild Beasts, assaulting the weaker, and defending himself against the stronger. By this means he began a little to know his own Strength, and perceiv’d that his Hands were better than their Feet; because by the help of them, he had provided wherewithal to cover his Nakedness, and also gotten him a Defensive Weapon, so that now he had no need of a Tail, nor of those Natural Weapons which he had so wish’d for at first.
Sec. 15. He was now above Seven Years Old, and because the repairing of his Covering of Leaves so often, was very troublesome to him, he had a design of taking the Tail of some Dead Beast, and wearing it himself; but when he perceiv’d that all Beasts did constantly avoid those which were Dead of the same kind, it made him doubt whether it might be safe or not; at last, by chance he found a Dead Eagle, and observing that none of the Beasts shew’d any aversion to that Carcass, he concluded that this would suit his purpose: and in the first place, he cuts off the Wings, and the Tail whole, and spreads the Feathers open; then he drew off the Skin,and divided it into two equal parts, one of which he wore upon his Back, with the other he covered his Navel and Secrets:
Sec. 16. Notwithstanding this she grew lean and weak, and continu’d a while in a languishing Condition, till at last she Dyed, and then all her Motions and Actions ceas’d. When the Boy perceiv’d her in this Condition, he was ready to dye for Grief. He call’d her with the same voice which she us’d to answer to, and made what Noise he could, but there was no Motion, no Alteration. Then he began to peep into her Eyes and Ears, but could perceive no visible defect in either; in like manner he examin’d all the parts of her Body, and found nothing amiss, but every thing as it should be. He had a vehement desire to find, if possible, that part were the defect was, that he might remove it, and she return to her former State, of Life and Vigour. But he was altogether at a loss, how to compass his design, nor could he possibly bring it about.
Sec. 17. That which put him upon this search, was what he observ’d in himself. He took Notice that when he shut his Eyes, or held any thing before them, he could see nothing at all, till that Obstacle was removed; and so when he put his Fingers into his Ears, that he could not hear, till he took ’em out again; and when he closed his Nostrils together, he smelt nothing till they were open’d; from whence he concluded, that all his Senses and Actions were liable to Obstacles and Impediments, upon the removal of which, the same Operations return’d to their former course. Therefore, when he had examined every External Part of her, and found no visible defect, and yet at the same time perceiv’d an Universal Cessation of Motion in the whole Body, not peculiar to one Member, but common to them all, he began to imagine that the hurt was in some part, which was most remote from the sight, and hidden in the inward part of the Body; and that this Part was of such nature and use, that without its help, none of the other External Parts could exercise their proper Functions; and that if this Part suffer any hurt, the damage was Universal, and a Cessation of the whole ensu’d,
Sec. 18. This made him very desirous to find that part if possible, that he might remove the defect from it, that so it might be as it us’d to be, and the whole Body might enjoy the Benefit of it, and the same course of Actions follow as before. He had before observ’d, in the Bodies of Wild Beasts and other Animals, that all their Members were solid, and that there were only three Cavities, viz. The Skull, the Breast, and the Belly; he imagined
Sec. 19. Having, by this way of reasoning, assur’d himself that the disaffected Part lay in the Breast; he was resolv’d to make a search, in order to find it out; that whatsoever the Impediment was, he might remove it if possible; but then again, he was afraid on the other side, lest his Undertaking should be worse than the Disease, and prove prejudicial. He began to consider next, whether or no he had ever remembred any Beasts, or other Animals, which he had seen in that condition, recover again, and return to the same State which they were in before: but he could call to Mind no such Instance; from whence he concluded, that if she was let alone there would be no hopes at all, but if he should be so fortunate as to find that Part, and find the Impediment, there might be some hope. Upon this he resolv’d to open her Breast and make enquiry; in order to which he provides himself with sharp Flints, and Splinters of dry Cane almost like Knives, with which he made an incision between the Ribs, and cutting through the Flesh, came to the Diaphragma; which he finding very Tough and not easily broken, assur’d himself, that such a Covering must needs belong to that part which he lookt for, and that if he could once get through that, he should find it. He met with some difficulty in his Work, because his Instruments were none of the best, for he had none but such as were made either of Flint or Cane.
Sec. 20. However, he sharpned ’em again and renewed his Attempt with all the Skill he was Master of. At last he broke through, and the first part he met with was the Lungs, which he at first sight mistook, for that part which he search’d for, and turn’d ’em about this way and that way, to see if he could find in them the cause of the Disease. He first happen’d upon that Lobe which lay next the side [which he had open’d] and when he perceiv’d that it did lean sideways, he was satisfy’d that it was not the part he look’d for, because he was fully perswaded, that that must needs be in the midst of the Body, as well in regard of Latitude as Longitude. He proceeded
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Sec. 21. Therefore he first Attacks the Pericardium, which, after a long tryal and a great deal of pains, he made shift to tear; and when he had laid the Heart bare, and perceiv’d that it was solid on every side, he began to examin it, to see if he could find any hurt in it; but finding none, he squeez’d it with his Hands, and perceiv’d that it was hollow. He began than to think that what he look’d for, might possibly be contain’d in that Cavity. When he came to open it, he found in it two Cavities, one on the right side, the other on the left. That on the right side was full of clotted Blood, that on the left quite empty. “Then (says he,) without all doubt, one of those two Cavites must needs be the Receptacle of what I I look for; as for that on this side there’s nothing in it but congealed Blood, which was not so, be sure, till the whole Body was in that condition in. which it now is” (for he had observ’d that all Blood congeals when it flows from the Body, and that this Blood did not differ in the least from any other,) “and therefore what I look for, cannot by any means, be such a matter as this; for that which I mean, is something which is peculiar to this place, which I find I could not subsist without, so much as the Twinkling of an Eye. And this is that which I look’d for at first. For as for this Blood, how often have I lost a great deal of it in my Skirmishes with the Wild Beasts, and yet it never did me any considerable harm, nor rendred me incapable of performing any Action of Life, and therefore what I look for is not in this Cavity. Now as for the Cavity on the left side, I find ’tis altogether empty, and I have no reason in the World to think that it was made in vain, because I find every part appointed for such and such particular Functions. How then can this Ventricle of the Heart, which I see is of so excellent a Frame, serve for no use at all? I cannot think but that the same thing which I am in search of, once dwelt here, but has now deserted his Habitation and left
Sec. 22. Upon this the whole Body seem’d to him a very inconsiderable thing, and worth nothing in respect of that Being, he believed once inhabited, and now had left it. Therefore he applied himself wholly to the consideration of that Being. What it was? and how it subsisted? what joyn’d it to the Body? Whether it went, and by what passage, when it left the Body? What was the Cause of its Departure, whether it were forc’d to leave its Mansion, or left the Body of its own accord? and in case it went away Voluntarily, what it was that rendred the Body so disagreeable to it, as to make it forsake it? And whilst his Mind was perplext with such variety of Thoughts, he laid aside all concern for the Carcass, and threw it away; for now he perceiv’d that his Mother, which had Nurs’d him so Tenderly and had Suckled him, was that something which was departed: and from it proceeded all those Actions by which she shew’d her Care of him, and Affection, to him, and not from this unactive Body; but that the Body was to it only as an Instrument or Tool, like his Cudgel which he had made for himself, with which he used to Fight with the Wild Beasts. So that now, all his regard to the Body was remov’d, and transferr’d to that by which the Body is governed, and by whose Power it moves. Nor had he any other desire but to make enquiry after that.
Sec. 23. In the mean, time the Carcass of the Roe began to putrifie, and emit Noisome Vapours, which still increas’d his aversion to it, so that he did not care to see it. ’Twas not long after that he chanc’d to see two Ravens engag’d so furiously; that one of them struck down the other Stark Dead; and when he had done, he began to scrape with his Claws till he had digg’d a Pit, in which he Buried the Carcass of his Adversary. Our Philosopher observing this, said to himself, How well has this Raven done in Burying the Body of his Companion, tho’ he did ill in Killing him? How much greater reason was there for me to have been forward in performing this Office to my Mother? Upon this he makes a Grave, and lays his Mother into it, and Buries her. He proceeded in his Enquiry concerning what that should be by which the Body was govern’d, but could not Apprehend what it was; when he look’d upon the rest of the Roes, and perceiv’d that they were of the same form and figure with his Mother, he believ’d that there was in every one of them something which govern’d and actuated them, like that which had actuated and govern’d his Mother: formerly: and
Sec. 23. It happen’d that by Collision a Fire was kindled among a parcel of Reeds or Canes; which fear’d him at first, as being a Sight which he was altogether a Stranger to; so that he stood at a distance a good while, strangely surpriz’d, at last he came nearer and nearer by degrees, still observing the Brightness of its Light and marvellous Efficacy in consuming every thing it touch’d, and changing it into its own Nature; till at last, his Admiration of it, and that innate Boldness and Fortitude, which God had implanted in his Nature prompted him on, that he ventur’d to come near it, and stretch’d out his Hand to take some of it. But when it burnt his Fingers and he found there was no dealing with it that way, he endeavour’d to take a stick, which the Fire had not as yet wholly seiz’d upon; so taking hold on that part which was untouch’d he easily gain’d his purpose, and carried it Home to his Lodging (for he had contriv’d for himself a convenient place) there he kept this Fire and added Fuel to it, admir’d it wonderfully, and tended it night and day; at night especially, because its Light and Heat supply’d the absence of the Sun; so that he was extreamly delighted with it, and reckon’d it the most excellent of all those things which he had about him. And when he observ’d that it always mov’d upwards, he perswaded himself that, it was one of those Celestial Substances which he saw shining in the Firmament, and he was continually trying of its power, by throwing things into it, which he perceiv’d it operated upon and consum’d, sometimes sooner, sometimes slower, according as the Bodies which he put into it were more or less combustible.
Sec. 25. Amongst other things which he put in to try its strength, he once flung in some Fish which had been thrown a-shore by the Water, and as soon as e’re he smelt the Steam, it rais’d his Appetite, so that he had a Mind to Taste of them; which he did, and found ’em very agreeable and from that time he began to use himself to the Eating of Flesh, and applied himself to Fishing and Hunting till he understood those sports very well: upon this account he admir’d his Fire more and more, because it help’d him to several sorts of Provision which he was altogether unacquainted with before.
Sec. 26. And now when his Affection towards it was increas’d to the highest degree, both upon the account of its Beneficial Effects, and its Extraordinary Power; he began to think that the Substance which was departed from the Heart of his Mother the Roe, was, if not the very same with it, yet at least of a Nature very much like it. He was confirm’d in his Opinion, because he had observ’d in all Animals, that as long as they liv’d, they were constantly warm without any Intermission, and as constantly Cold after Death, Besides he found in himself, that there was a greater degree of Heat by much in his Breast, near that place where he had made the Incision in the Roe. This made him think that if he could dissect any Animal alive, and look into that Ventricle which he had found empty when he dissected his Dam the Roe, he might possibly find it full of that Substance which inhabited it, and so inform himself whether it were of the Substance with the Fire, and whether it had any Light or Heat in it or not. In order to this he took a Wild Beast and ty’d him down, so that he could not stir, and dissected him after the same manner he had dissected the Roe, till he came to the Heart; and Essaying the left Ventricle first, and opening it, he perceiv’d it was full of an Airy Vapour, which look’d like a little Mist or white Cloud, and putting in his Finger, he found it hotter than he could well endure it, and immediately the Creature Dyed. From whence he assuredly concluded, that it was that Moist Vapour which communicated Motion to that Animal, and that there was accordingly in every Animal of what kind soever, something like it upon the departure of which Death follow’d.
Sec. 27. He had then a great desire to enquire into the other parts of Animals, to find out their Order and Situation, their Quantity and the manner of there Connexion one with another, and by what means of Communication they enjoy the Benefit of that Moist Vapour, so as to live by it. How that Vapour is continu’d the time it remains, from whence it has its Supplies, and by what Means its Heat is preserv’d. The way which he us’d in this Enquiry was the Dissection of all sorts of Animals, as well Living as Dead, neither did he leave off to make an accurate Enquiry into them, till at length he arrived to the highest degree of Knowledge in this kind which the most Learned Naturalists ever attain’d to.
Sec. 28. And now he Apprehended plainly that every particular Animal, tho’ it had a great many Limbs, and variety of Senses and Motions, was nevertheless One in respect of that Spirit, whose Original was from one firm Mansion, viz. the Heart, from whence, its Influence was diffus’d among all the Members. And that all the Members were subservient to it, or inform’d and supported by it, and that this Spirit made use of those Members, in the same manner as a Soldier do’s of his Weapons, or an Huntsman or Fisherman of his Tackling,
Sec. 29. Thus he perceiv’d that there was all this while but One Animal Spirit, whose Action when he made use of the Eye, was Sight; when of the Ear, Hearing; when of the Nose, Smelling; when of the Tongue, Tasting; and when of the Skin and Flesh, Feeling. When it employ’d any Limb, then its Operation was Motion; and when it made use of the Liver, Nutrition and Concoction. And that, tho’ there were Members fitted to every one of these uses, yet none of them could perform their respective Offices, without having Correspondence with that Spirit, by means of the Nerves; and that if at any time it chanc’d that their passages were either broken off or obstructed, such a Member would be altogether useless. Now these; Nerves derive this Spirit from the Brain, which has it from the Heart (and contains abundance of Spirit, because it is divided into a great many partitions) and by what means soever any limb is depriv’d of his Spirit, it’s Action ceases, and ’tis like a cast off Tool, not fit for use. And if this Spirit depart wholly from the Body, or is consum’d or dissolv’d by any means whatsoever, then the whole Body is depriv’d of Motion all at once, and reduced to a State of Death.
Sec. 30. Thus far had his Observations brought him about the end of the Third Seventh Year of his Age, viz. when he was One and Twenty Years Old. In which time, he had made abundance of pretty Contrivances. He made himself both Cloaths and Shoes of the Skins of such Wild Beasts as he had dissected. His thread was made of Hair, and of the Bark of the Stalks of Althaea, Mallows or any other Plants, which afforded such Strings as were fit for that purpose. He learn’d the making of these threads from the use which he had made of the Rushes before. He made Awls of sharp Thorns, and Splinters of Cane, sharpned with Flints. He learn’d the Art of Building, from the Observations he made upon the Swallows Nests. He Builds himself a Store-house and a Pantry, to lay up the remainder of his Provision in: and made a Door to it of Canes twisted together, to prevent any of the Beasts getting in, during his absence. He took Birds of prey and brought them up for Hawking; and kept tame
Poultry for their Eggs and Chickens. He took the tips of the Buffalo’s Horns and fastned them upon the strongest Canes he could get, and Staves of the Tree Alzan and Others; and so, partly by the help of the Fire, and partly of sharp edg’d Stones, he so fitted them that they serv’d him instead of so many Spears. He made him a shield of Hides folded together. All this pains he took to furnish himself with Artificial Weapons, because he found himself destitute of Natural ones.
Sec. 31. Now when he perceiv’d that his Hand supplied all these defects very well, and that none of all the various kinds of Wild Beasts durst stand against him, but ran away from him, and were too Nimble for him. He began to contrive how to be even with them, and thought there would be no way so proper as to chuse out some of the strongest and swiftest Beasts of the Island, and bring ’em up tame, and feed them with proper Food, till they would let him back them and then he might persue the other kinds of Wild Beasts. There were in that Island both Wild Horses and Asses; he chose of both sorts, such as seem’d fittest for his purpose, and by exercise he made them so gentle and tractable that he was compleat Master of his Wishes. And when, he had made out of the Skins of Beasts, such things as serv’d him competently well, in the Room of Bridles and Saddles, he could very easily then overtake such Beasts, as he could scarce ever have been able to have catch’d any other manner of way. He made all these discoveries whilst he was employed in the Study of Anatomy, and the searching out of the Properties, peculiar to each Part, and the difference between them; and all this about that time I speak of, viz. of the Age of 21 Years.
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Sec. 32. He then proceeded further to examin the Nature of Bodies in this Sublunary World, viz. The different kinds of Animal, Plants, Minerals, and several sorts of Stones, Earth, Water, Exhalations, Ice, Snow, Hail, Smoak, Hoar, Frost, Flame, and Heat. In which he observ’d different Qualities, and different Actions, and that their Motions agreed in some respects, and differ’d in others: and considering these things with great Application, he perceiv’d that their Qualities also agreed in some things, and differ’d in others; and that so far as they agreed, they were One; but when consider’d with Relation to their differences, a great many: so that when he came to consider the Properties of things by which they were distinguish’d one from another,he found that they Multiplied so fast upon him, that ’twas impossible for him, to Comprehend them. Nay, when he consider’d the difference of his own Limbs, which he perceiv’d were all distinct from one another, by some Property and Action peculiar to each, it seem’d to him that there was a Plurality in his Own Essence. And when he look’d upon any one Member it self, he found that it might be divided into a great many parts, from whence he concluded, that there must needs be a Plurality in his own Essence, and not only in his own but in every other also.
Sec. 33. Then he enter’d upon another sort of Speculation of the second kind, by which he perceiv’d that tho’ the parts of his Body were many, yet they were Conjoyned and Compacted together so as to make one Body, and that what difference there was between them consisted only in the difference of their Actions, which diversity proceeded from that Animal Spirit, the Nature of which he had before search’d into, and found out. Now he knew that his Spirit was One in Essence, and was really the Substance of his Being, and that all the rest of the Members serve that Spirit as Instruments, and in this Respect he perceiv’d his own Essence, to be One.
Sec.. 34. He proceeded from hence to the consideration of all the Species of Animals and found that every Individual of them was One. Next he consider’d them with regard to their different Species, viz. as Roes, Horses, Asses and all sorts of Birds according to their kinds, and he perceiv’d that all the Individuals of every Species were exactly like one another, in the shape of their Parts, both within and without, that their Apprehensions, Motions, and Inclinations were alike, and that those little differences which where visible amongst them, were inconsiderable in respect of those many things in which they agreed. From whence he concluded, that the Spirit which actuated any Species was one and the same; only distributed among so many Hearts, as there were Individuals in that Species, so that if it were possible for all that Spirit, which is so divided among so many Hearts, to be Collected into one Receptacle, it would be all the same thing, just as if any one Liquor should be pour’d out into several Dishes and afterwards put all together again in one Vessel; this Liquor would still be the same, as well when it was divided, as when it was altogether, only in respect of that division it may be said in some sort to be Multiplied. By this way of Contemplation he perceiv’d that a whole Species was One and the same thing, and that the Multiplicity of Individuals in the same Species is like the Multiplicity of Parts in the same Person, which indeed are not many [i.e. are only One.]
Sec. 35. Then he represented in his Mind, all the Several kinds of Animals, and perceiv’d that Sensation, and Nutrition, and the Power of moving freely where they pleas’d, was common to them all; which Actions he was assur’d before, were all very proper to the Animal Spirit, and that those lesser things in which they differ’d (notwithstanding their agreement in these greater,) were not so proper to that Spirit. From this consideration he concluded, that it was only One and the same Animal Spirit, which Actuated all living Creatures whatsoever, tho’ there was in it a little difference, which each Species claim’d as peculiar to it self. For instance, suppose the same Water be pour’d out into different Vessels, that which is in this Vessel may possibly be something warmer than that which is in another, tho’ ’tis the same Water still, and so every degree of Heat and Cold in this Water in the Several Vessels, will represent the Specifick difference which there is in Animals: And as that Water is all one and the same, so is that Animal Spirit One, tho’ in some respect there is a sort of Multiplicity. And so under this Notion he look’d upon the whole Species of living Creatures, to be all One.
Sec. 36. Afterwards Contemplating the different Species of Plants, as he had done before of Animals, he perceiv’d that the Individuals of every Species were alike, both in their Boughs, Leaves, Flowers, Fruits, and manner of Growing. And comparing them with Animals, he found that there must needs be some one thing which they did all of them partake of, which was the same to them that the Animal Spirit was to the living Creature, and that in respect of That they were all One. Whereupon, taking a view of all the several kinds of Plants, he concluded that they were all One and the same, by reason of that Agreement which he found in their Actions, viz. their Nourishment and Growing.
Sec. 37. Then he Comprehended in one single Conception, the whole kinds of Animals and Plants together, and found that they were both alike in their Nutrition and Growing, only the Animals excell’d the Plants in Sensation and Apprehension; and yet he had sometimes observ’d something like it in Plants, viz. That some Flowers do turn themselves towards the Sun, and that the Plants extend their Roots, that way the Nourishment comes, and some other such like things, from whence it appear’d to him that Plants and Animals, were One and the same, in respect of that One thing which was Common to them both; which was indeed more perfect in the One, and more obstructed and restrained in the other; like Water that is partly running and partly frozen. So that he concluded that Plants and Animals were all One.
Sec. 38. He next consider’d those Bodies, which have neither Sense, Nutrition nor Growth, such as Stones, Earth, Air, and Flame, which he perceiv’d had all of them Three Dimensions, viz. Length, Breadth, and Thickness, and that their differences consisted only in this, that some of them were Colour’d, others not, some were Warm, others Cold, and the like. He observ’d that those Bodies which were Warm, grew Cold, and on the contrary, that those which were Cold grew Warm, He saw that Water was rarified into Vapours, and Vapours again Condens’d into Water; and that such things as were Burn’t, were turn’d into Coals, Allies, Flame and Smoak, and if in its Ascent it were intercepted by an Arch of Stone or the like, it thickned there and was like other Gross, Earthly Substances. From whence it appear’d to him that, all things were in Reality, One, tho’ multiplied and diversified in some certain respects, as the Plants and Animals were.
Sec. 39. Then considering with himself, what that common thing must be, in which the Sameness of the Animals and Plants did consist he saw that it must be some Body, like those Bodies, which had a Threefold Dimension, viz, Length, Breadth, and Thickness; and that whether it were Hot or Cold, it was like One of those other Bodies which have neither Sense nor Nutrition, and differ’d from them only in those Operations which arise from the Organical
Sec. 40. He continu’d in this Opinion a considerable time. Then he consider’d all sorts of Bodies, both Animate and Inanimate, which one while seem’d to him to be One; and another, a great many. And he found that all of them had a Tendency either upward, as Smoak, Flame, and Air, when detain’d under Water; or else downward, as Water, pieces of Earth, or Parts of Animals and Plants; and that none of these. Bodies were free from one or other of these Tendencies, or would ever lye still, unless hinder’d by some other Body, and interrupted in their course; as when, for instance, a Stone in its fall is stopp’d by the solidity and hardness of the Earth, when ’tis plain it would otherwise continue still descending; so Smoak still continues going upwards, and if it should be intercepted by a solid Arch, it would divide both to the right and left, and so soon as it was freed from the Arch, would still continue ascending; and pass through the Air, which is not solid enough to restrain it. So when a Leathern Bottle is fill’d with Air and stopp’d up close, if you hold it under Water; it will still strive to get up, till it returns to its place of Air; and then it rests, and its reluctancy and propensity to ascend, ceases.
Sec. 41. He then enquir’d whether or no he could find any Body that was at any time destitute of both these Motions, or a Tendency toward them, but he could find none such, among all Bodies which he had about him. The reason of this Enquiry was, because he was very desirous to know the Nature of Body; as such, abstracted from all manner of Qualities, from whence arises Multiplicity or Diversity of Kinds. But when he found this too difficult a Task for him, and he had examin’d those Bodies which had the fewest Qualities, and could find, none of them void
Sec. 42. In like manner he consider’d either Bodies, both Animate and Inanimate, and found their Essence confined in Corporeity and in some, one thing, or more superadded to it. And thus he attain’d a Notion of the Forms of Bodies, according to their differences. These were the first things he found out, belonging to the Spiritual World; for these Forms are not the objects of Sense, but are apprehended by Intellectual Speculation. Now among other things of this kind which he discover’d, it appear’d to him that the Animal Spirit, which is Seal’d in the Heart (as we have mention’d before) must necessarily have some Quality superadded to its Corporeity, which rendred it capable of those wonderful Actions, different Sensations and Ways of apprehending Things, and various sorts of Motions; and that this Quality must be its Form, by which it is distinguish’d from other Bodies (which is the same that the Philosophers call the Sensitive Soul) and so in Plants, that which was in them the same that radical Moisture was in Beasts, was something proper to them, which, was their Form, which the Philosophers call the Vegetative Soul. And that there was also in inanimate things, (viz. all Bodies, besides Plants and Animals, which are in this sublunary World) something peculiar to them, by the Power of which, every one of them perform’d such Actions as were proper to it; namely, various sorts of Motion, and different kinds of sensible Qualities, and that thing was the Form of every one of them, and this is the same which the Philosophers call Nature.
Sec. 43. And when by this Contemplation it appear’d to him plainly, that the true Essence of that Animal Spirit, which he had been so intent, was compounded of Corporeity, and some other Quality superadded to that Corporeity, and that it had its Corporeity in common with other Bodies; but that this other Quality which was superadded, was peculiar to it self: Immediately he slighted and despis’d the Notion of Corporeity, and applied himself wholly to that other superadded Quality (which is the same that we call the Soul) the Nature of which he earnestly desired to know. Therefore he fix’d all his Thoughts upon it, and began his Contemplation with considering all Bodies, not as Bodies, but as endu’d with Forms, from whence necessarily flow these Properties, by which they are distinguish’d one from another.
Sec. 44. Now by following up this Notion, and comprehending it in his Mind, he perceiv’d that all Bodies had one Form in common, from whence one or more Actions did proceed. And that there were some of these, which tho’ they agreed with all the rest in that one common Form, had another Form besides superadded to it, from whence some Actions proceeded. And further, that there was another sort, which agreeing with the rest in those two Forms which they had, was still distinguish’d from them by a third Form, superadded to those other two, from whence also proceeded some Actions. For instance, all Terrestrial Bodies, as Earth, Stones, Minerals, Plants, Animals, and all other heavy Bodies, do make up one in Number, which agree in the same Form, from whence flows the Property of_descending_ continually, whilst there is nothing to hinder their Descent: And whensoever they are forc’d to move upwards, if they are left to themselves, they immediately, by the Power of their Form, tend downwards again. Now, some part of this Number, viz. Plants and Animals, tho’ they do agree with all that Multitude before mention’d, in that Form; yet still have another Form superadded to it, from whence flow Nutrition and Accretion. Now the meaning of Nutrition is, when the Body that is nourish’d, substitutes in the room of that which is consum’d and wasted from it self, something of the like kind, which it draws to it self, and then converts into its own Substance. Accretion, or Growing, is a Motion according to the three Dimensions, viz. Length, Breadth, and Thickness, in a due Proportion. And these two Actions are common to Plants and Animals, and do without doubt spring from that Form which is common to them both, which is what we call the Vegetative Soul. Now part of this Multitude, viz. Animals, tho’ they have the first and second Forms in common with the rest, have still a third Form superadded, from which arise Sensation and Local Motion, Besides, he perceiv’d that every particular Species of Animals, had some Property which, distinguish’d it, and made it quite different from the rest, and he knew that this Difference must arise from some Form peculiar to that Species, which was superadded to the Notion of that Form which it had in common with the rest of Animals. And the like he saw happen’d to the several kinds of Plants.
Sec. 45. And it was evident to him, that the Essences of those sensible Bodies, which are in this sublunary World, had some of them more Qualities superadded to their Corporeity, and others, fewer. Now he knew that the Understanding of the fewer, must needs be more easie to him, than the Understanding of those which were more in number. And therefore, he endeavour’d to get a true Notion of the Form of some one thing, whose Essence was the most simple and uncompounded. Now he perceiv’d that the Essence of Animals and Plants consisted of a great many Properties, because of the great variety of their Operations; for which reason, he deferr’d the enquiring into their Forms. As for the Parts of the Earth, he saw that some of them were more simple than others, and therefore resolv’d to begin his Enquiry with the most simple of all. So he perceiv’d that Water, was a thing, whose Essence was not compounded of many Qualities, which appear’d from the Paucity of those Actions which arise from its Form. The same he likewise observ’d in the Fire, and Air.
Sec. 46. Now he had a Notion before, that all these four might be chang’d one into another; and therefore there must be some one thing which they jointly participated of, and that this thing was Corporeity. Now ’twas necessary, that this one thing which was common them all, should be altogether free from those Qualities, by which these four were distinguish’d one from the other; and be neither heavy nor light; hot nor cold; moist nor dry; because none of these Qualities were common to all Bodies, and therefore could not appertain to Body as such. And that if it were possible to find any such Body, in which there was no other Form superadded to Corporeity, it would have none, of these Qualities, nor indeed any other but what were common to all Bodies, with what Form soever endu’d. He consider’d therefore with himself, to see if he could find any one Adjunct or Property which was common to all Bodies, both animate and inanimate; but he found nothing of that Nature, but only the Notion of Extension, and that he perceiv’d was common to all Bodies, viz. That they had all of them length, breadth, and thickness. Whence he gather’d, that this Property belong’d to Body, as Body. However, his Sense could not represent to him any Body existent in Nature, which had this only Adjunct, and was void of all other Forms: For he saw that every one of them had some other Quality superadded to the said Extension.
Sec. 47. Then he consider’d further, whether this Three-fold Extension, was the very Essence of Body or not; and quickly found, that besides this Extension, there was another, in which this Extension did exist, and that this Extension could not subsist by it self, as also the Body which was extended, could not subsist by it self without Extension. This he experimented in some of those sensible Bodies which are endu’d with Forms; for Example, in Clay: Which he perceiv’d, when moulded into any Figure, (Spherical suppose) had in it a certain Proportion, Length, Breadth, and Thickness. But then if you took that very same Ball, and reduc’d it into a Cubical or Oval Figure, the Dimensions were chang’d, and did not retain the same Proportion which they had before, and yet the Clay still remain’d the same, without any Change, only that it was necessary for it to be extended into Length, Breadth, and Thickness, in some Proportion or other, and not be depriv’d of its Dimensions: Yet it was plain to him from the successive Alterations of them in the same Body, that they were distinct from the Clay itself; as also, that because the Clay could not be altogether without them, it appear’d to him that it belong’d to its Essence. And thus from this Experiment it appear’d to him, that Body consider’d as Body, was compounded of two Properties: The one of which represents the Clay, of which the Sphere was made; The other, the Threefold Expression of it, when form’d into a Sphere, Cube, or what other Figure soever. Nor was it possible to conceive Body, but as consisting of these two Properties, neither of which could subsist without the other. But that one (namely, that of Extension) which was liable to Change, and could successively put on different Figures, did represent the Form in all those Bodies which had Forms. And that other which still abode in the same State, (which was the Clay, in our last Instance) did represent Corporeity, which is in all Bodies, of what Forms soever. Now that which we call Clay in the foregoing Instance, is the same which the Philosophers call Materia prima [the first Matter] and [Greek: Hyle], which is wholly destitute of all manner of Forms.
Sec.. 48. When his Contemplation had proceeded thus far, and he was got to some distance from sensible Objects, and was now just upon the Confines of the intellectual World, he dissident, and inclin’d rather to the sensible World, which he was more used to. Therefore he retir’d from the Consideration of abstracted Body,(since he found that his Senses could by no means reach it, neither could he comprehend it) and applied himself to the Consideration of the most simple sensible Bodies he could find, which were those four, about which he had been exercis’d. And first of all he consider’d the Water, which he found, if let alone in that Condition which its Form requir’d, had these two things in it,
Sec. 49. Now he knew that every thing that was produc’d anew, must needs have some Producer. And from this Contemplation, there arose in his Mind a sort of Impression of the Maker of that Form, tho’ his Notion of him as yet was general and indistinct. Then he paus’d on the examining of these Forms which he knew before, one by one, and found that they were produc’d anew, and that they must of necessity be beholden to some efficient Cause. Then he consider’d the Essences of Forms, and found that they were nothing else, but only a Disposition of Body to produce such or such Actions. For instance, Water, when very much heated, is dispos’d to rise upwards, and that Disposition is its Form. For there is nothing present in this Motion, but Body, and some things which are observ’d to arise from it, which were not in it before (such as Qualities and Motions) and the Efficients which produce them. Now the fitness of Body for one Motion rather than another, is its Disposition and Form. The same he concluded of all other Forms, and it appear’d to him, that those Actions which arose from them, were not in reality owing to them, but to the efficient Cause, who made use of these Forms to produce those Actions which are attributed to them, [i.e, the Forms]. Which Notion of his is exactly the same with what God’s Apostle [Mahomet] says; I am his Hearing by which he hears, and his Seeing by which he sees. And in the Alcoran; You did not kill them, but God kill’d them; when thou threwest the Darts, it was not thou that threwest them, but God.
Sec. 50. Now, when he had attain’d thus far, so as to have a general and indistinct Motion of this Agent, he had a most earnest Desire to know him distinctly. And because he had not as yet withdrawn himself from the sensible World, he began to look for this voluntary Agent among sensible Things; nor did he as yet know, whether it was one Agent or many. Therefore he enquir’d strictly into all such Bodies as he had about him, viz. those which he had been employ’d
Sec. 51. Now he knew very well, that the Heavens, and all the Luminaries in them, were Bodies, because they were all extended according to the three Dimensions Length, Breadth and Thickness, without any exception; and that every thing that was so extended, was Body; ergo, they were all Bodies. Then, he consider’d next, whether they were extended infinitely, as to stretch themselves to an endless Length, Breadth and Thickness; or, whether they were circumscrib’d by any Limits, and terminated by some certain Bounds, beyond which there could be no Extension. But here he stopp’d a while, as in a kind of Amazement.
Sec. 52. At last, by the strength of his Apprehension,
and Sagacity of his Understanding, he perceiv’d
that the Notion of infinite Body was absurd and impossible,
and a Notion wholly intelligible. He confirm’d
himself in this Judgment of his, by a great many Arguments
which occurr’d to him, when he thus argued with
himself. That this heavenly Body is terminated
on this side which is next to me, is evident to my
sight: And that it cannot be infinitely extended
on that opposite side, which rais’d this Scruple
in me; I prove thus: Suppose two Lines drawn from
the Extremity of this Heavenly Body, on that terminated
Side which is next to me, which Lines should be produc’d
quite through this Body, in infinitum, according
to the Extension of the Body; then suppose a long
part of one of these Lines, cut off at this End which
is next to me; then take the Remainder of what was
cut off, and draw down that end of it where it was
cut off; And lay it even with the end of the other
Line from which there was nothing cut off; and let
that Line which was shortned, lye parallel with the
other; then suppose them through this Body, till you
come to that side which we suppos’d to be infinite:
Either you will find both these Lines infinitely extended,
and then one of them cannot be shorter than the other,
but that which had a part of it cut off, will be as
long as that which was not, which is absurd: Or
else the Line which was cut will not be so long as
that other, and consequently finite: Therefore
if you add that part to it which was cut off from
it at first, which was finite, the whole will be finite;
and then it will be no longer or shorter than that
Line which had nothing cut off from it, therefore
equal to it; But this is finite, therefore the other
is finite. Therefore the Body in which such Lines
are drawn is finite; And all Bodies in which such
Lines may be drawn, are finite: But such Lines
may be drawn in all Bodies. Therefore if we suppose
an infinite Body, we suppose an Absurdity and Impossibility.
* * * * *
* * * * *
Sec. 52b. When by the singular strength of his Genius, (which he exerted in the finding out such a Demonstration) he had satisfied himself that the Body of Heaven was finite; he desired, in the next place, to know what Figure it was of, and how it was limited by the circumambient Superficies. And first he observ’d the Sun, Moon and Stars, and saw that they all rose in the East, and set in the West; and those which went right over his Head describ’d a great Circle, but those at at greater distance from the Vertical Point, either Northward or Southward, describ’d a lesser Circle. So that the least Circles which were describ’d by any of the Stars, were those two which went round the two Poles, the one North, the other South; the last of which is the Circle of Sohail or Canopus; the first, the Circle of those two Stars which are called in Arabick Alpherkadani. Now because he liv’d under the Equinoctial Line, (as we shew’d before) all those Circles did cut the Horizon at right Angles, and both North and South were alike to him, and he could see both the Pole-Stars: He observ’d, that if a Star arose at any time in a great Circle, and another Star at the same in a lesser Circle, yet nevertheless, as they rose together, so they set together: and he observ’d it of all the Stars, and at all times. From whence he concluded, that the Heaven was of a Spherical Figure; in which Opinion he was confirm’d, by observing the Return of the Sun, Moon and Stars to the East, after their Setting; and also, because they always appear’d to him of the same bigness, both when they rose, and when they were in the midst of Heaven, and at the time of their Setting; whereas, if their Motions had not been Circular, they must have been nearer to sight, at some times than others; and consequently their Dimensions would have appear’d proportionably greater or lesser; but since there was no such Appearance, he concluded that their Motions were Circular. Then he consider’d the Motion of the Moon and the Planets from West to East, till at last he understood a great part of Astronomy. Besides, he apprehended that their Motions were in different Spheres, all which were comprehended in another which was above them all, and which turn’d about all the rest in the space of a Day and a Night. But it were too tedious to explain particularly how he advanc’d in this Science; besides, ’tis taught in other Books; and what we have already said, is as much as is requisite for our present purpose.
Sec. 53. When he had attain’d to this degree of Knowledge, he found that the whole Orb of the Heavens, and whatsoever was contained in it, was as one Thing compacted and join’d together; and that all those Bodies which he us’d to consider before as Earth, Water, Air, Plants, Animals and the like, were all of them so contain’d in it, as never to go out of its Bounds: And that the whole was like One Animal, in which the Luminaries represented the Senses; The Spheres so join’d and compacted together, answer’d to the Limbs; and the Sublunary World, to the Belly, in which the Excrements and Humors are contain’d, and which oftentimes breeds Animals, as the Greater World.
Sec. 54. Now when it appear’d to him, that the whole World was only One Substance, depending upon a Voluntary Agent, and he had united all the Parts of it, by the same way of thinking which he had before made use of in considering the Sublunary World; he proposed to his Consideration the World in General, and debated with himself, whether it did exist in Time,after it had been; and came to Be, out of nothing; or whether it had been from Eternity, without any Privation preceeding it. Concerning this Matter, he had very many and great Doubts; so that neither of these two Opinions did prevail over the other. For when he propos’d to himself the Belief of its Eternity, there arose a great many Objections in his Mind; because he thought that the Notion of Infinite Existence was press’d with no less Difficulties, than that of Infinite Extension: And that such a Being as was not free from Accidents produc’d anew, must also it self be produc’d anew, because it cannot be said to be more ancient than those Accidents: And that which cannot exist before Accidents produc’d in Time, must needs itself be produc’d in Time. Then on the other hand, when he propos’d to himself the Belief of its being produc’d a-new, other Objections occur’d to him; for he perceiv’d that it was impossible to conceive any Notion of its being produc’d a-new, unless it was suppos’d that there was Time before it; whereas Time was one of those things which belong’d to the World, and was inseparable from it; and therefore the World could not be suppos’d to be later than Time. Then he consider’d, that a Thing Created must needs have a Creator: And if so, Why did this Creator make the World now, and not as well before? Was it because of any new Chance which happen’d to him? That could not be; for there was nothing existent besides himself. Was it then upon the Account of any Change in his own Nature? But what should cause that Change? Thus he continued for several Years, arguing pro and con about this Matter; and a great many Arguments offer’d themselves on both sides, so that neither of these two Opinions in his Judgment over-balanc’d the other.
Sec. 55. This put him to a great deal of trouble, which made him begin to consider with himself, what were the Consequences which did follow from each of these Opinions, and that perhaps they might be both alike. And he perceiv’d, that if he held that the World was created in Time, and existed after a total Privation, it would necessarily follow from thence, that it could not exist of it self, without the help of some Agent to produce it. And that this Agent must needs be such an one as cannot be apprehended by our Senses; for if he should be the Object of Sense, he must: be Body, and if Body, then a Part of the World, and consequently a Created Being; such an one, as would have stood in need of some other Cause to create him: and if that second Creator was Body, he would depend upon a, third, and that third upon upon a fourth, and so ad infinitum, which is absurd. Since therefore the World stands in need of an incorporeal Creator: And since the Creator thereof is really incorporeal, ’tis impossible for us to apprehend him by any of our Senses; for we perceive nothing by the help of them, but Body, or such Accidents as adhere to Bodies: And because he cannot be perceiv’d by the Senses, it is impossible he should be apprehended by the Imagination; for the Imagination does only represent to us the Forms of things in their absence, which we have before learn’d by our Senses. And since he is not Body, we must not attribute to him any of the Properties of Body; the first of which is Extension, from which he is free, as also from all those Properties of Bodies which flow from it. And seeing that he is the Maker of the World, doubtless he has the Sovereign Command over it. Shall not he know it, that created it? He is wise, Omniscient!
Sec. 56. On the other side, he saw that if he held the Eternity of the World, and that it always was as it now is, without any Privation before it; then it would follow, that its Motion must be Eternal too; because there could be no Rest before it, from whence it might commence its Motion. Now all Motion necessarily requires a Mover; and this Mover must be either a Power diffus’d through the Body mov’d, or else through some other Body without it, or else a certain Power, not diffus’d or dispers’d through any Body at all. Now every Power which passeth, or is diffus’d, through any Body, is divided or doubled. For Instance; The Gravity in a Stone, by which it tends downwards, if you divide the Stone into two parts, is divided into two parts also; and if you add to it another like it, the Gravity is doubled. And if it were possible to add Stones in infinitum, the Gravity would increase in infinitum too. And if it were possible, that that Stone should grow still bigger, till it reach’d to an infinite Extension, the Weight would increase also in the same proportion; and if on the other side, a Stone should grow to a
Sec. 57. Thus his Contemplation this Way, brought him to the same Conclusion it did the other Way. So that doubting concerning the Eternity of the World, and its Existence de novo, did him no harm at all. For it was plain to him both ways, that there was a Being, which was not Body, nor join’d to Body, nor separated from it; nor within it, nor without it; because Conjunction and Separation, and being within any thing, or without it, are all properties of Body, from which that Being is altogether abstracted. And because all Bodies stand in need of a Form to be added to their Matter, as not being able to subsist without it, nor exist really; and the Form it self cannot exist, but by this Voluntary Agent, it appear’d to him that all things ow’d their Existence to this Agent; and that none of them could subsist, but through him: and consequently, that he was the Cause, and they the Effects, (whether they were newly created after a Privation, or whether they had no Beginning, in respect of him, ’twas all one) and Creatures whose Existence depended upon that Being; and that without his Continuance they could not continue, nor exist without his Existing, nor have been eternal without his being Eternal; but that he was essentially independent of them, and free from them. And how should it be otherwise, when it is demonstrated, that his Power and Might are infinite, and that all Bodies, and whatsoever belongs to them are finite? Consequently, that the whole World, and whatsoever
Sec. 58. And when he perceiv’d that all things which did exist were his Workmanship, he look’d them over again, considering attentively the Power of the Efficient, and admiring the Wonderfulness of the Workmanship, and such accurate Wisdom, and subtil Knowledge. And there appear’d to him in the most minute Creatures (much more in the greater) such Footsteps of Wisdom, and Wonders of the Work of Creation, that he was swallow’d up with Admiration, and fully assur’d that these things could not proceed from any other, than a Voluntary Agent of infinite Perfection, nay, that was above all Perfection; such an one, to whom the Weight of the least Atom was not unknown, whether in Heaven or Earth; no, nor any other thing, whether lesser or greater than it.
Sec.. 59. Then he consider’d all the kinds of Animals, and how this Agent had given such a Fabrick of Body to every one of them, and then taught them how to use it. For if he had not directed them to apply those Limbs which he had given them, to those respective Uses for which they were design’d, they would have been so far from being of any Service that they would rather have been a Burden. From whence he knew, that the Creator of the World was supereminently Bountiful, and exceedingly Gracious. And then when he perceiv’d among the Creatures, any that had Beauty, Perfection, Strength, or Excellency of any kind whatever, he consider’d with himself, and knew that it all flow’d from that Voluntary Agent, (whose Name be praised) and from his Essence and Operation. And he knew, that what the Agent had in his own Nature, was greater than that, [which he saw in the Creatures,] more perfect and compleat, more beautiful and glorious, and more lasting; and that there was no proportion between the one and the other. Neither did he cease to prosecute this Search, till he had run through all the Attributes of Perfection, and found that they were all in this Agent, and all flow’d from him; and that he was most worthy to have them all ascrib’d to him, above all the Creatures which were describ’d by them.
Sec. 60. In like manner he enquir’d into all the Attributes of Imperfection, and perceiv’d that the Maker of the World was free from them all: And how was it possible for him to be otherwise, since the Notion of Imperfection is nothing but mere Privation, or what depends upon it? And how can he any way partake of Privation, who is very Essence, and cannot but exist; who gives Being to every thing that exists, and besides whom there is no Existence? But HE is the Being, HE is the Absoluteness, HE the Beauty, HE the Glory, HE the Power, HE the Knowledge, HE is HE, and besides Him all things are subject to perishing.
Sec. 61. Thus far his Knowledge had brought him towards the end of the fifth Septenary from his Birth, viz. when he was 35 Years old. And the Consideration of this Supream Agent was then so rooted in his Heart, that it diverted him from thinking upon any thing else: and he so far forgot the Consideration of the Creatures, and the Enquiring into their Natures, that as soon as e’er he cast his Eyes upon any thing of what kind soever, he immediately perceiv’d in it the Footsteps of this Agent; and in an instant his Thoughts were taken off from the Creature, and and transferred to the Creator. So that he was inflam’d with the desire of him, and his Heart was altogether withdrawn from thinking upon this inferior World, which contains the Objects of Sense, and wholly taken up with the Contemplation of the upper, Intellectual World.
Sec. 62. Having now attain’d to the Knowledge of this Supream Being, of Permanent Existence, which has no Cause of his own Existence, but is the Cause why all things else exist; he was desirous to know by what Means he had attain’d this Knowledge, and by which of his Faculties he had apprehended this Being. And first he examin’d all his Senses, viz. his Hearing, Sight, Smelling, Tasting and Feeling, and perceiv’d that all these apprehended nothing but Body, or what was in Body. For the Hearing apprehended nothing but Sounds, and these came from the Undulation of the Air, when Bodies are struck one against another. The Sight, apprehends Colours. The Smelling, Odours. The Taste, Savours. And the Touch, the Temperatures and Dispositions of Bodies, such as Hardness Softness, Roughness ad Smoothness. Nor does the Imagination apprehend any thing, but as it has Length, Breadth and Thickness. Now all these things which are thus apprehended, are the Adjuncts of Bodies; nor can these Senses apprehend any thing else, because they are Faculties diffus’d through Bodies, and divided according to the division of Bodies, and for that reason cannot apprehend any thing else but divisible Body. For since this Faculty is diffus’d through the visible Body, ’tis impossible, but that when it apprehends any thing whatsoever, that thing so apprehended, must be divided as the Faculty is divided. For which Reason, no Faculty which is seated in Body, can apprehend any thing but what is Body, or in it. Now we have already demonstrated, that this necessarily Existent Being is free in every respect from all Properties of Body; and consequently not to be apprehended, but by something which is neither Body, nor any Faculty inherent in Body, nor has any manner of dependance upon it, nor is either within it, or without it, nor join’d to it, nor separated from it. From whence it appear’d to him, that he had apprehended this Being by that which was his Essence, and gain’d a certain Knowledge of him. And from hence he concluded, that this Essence was Incorporeal, and free from all the Properties of Body. And that all his External Part which he saw, was not in reality his Essence; by that his true Essence was That, by which he apprehended that Absolute Being of necessary Existence.
Sec. 63. Having thus learn’d, that this Essence was not that Corporeal Mass which he perceiv’d with his Senses, and was cloath’d with his Skin, he began to entertain mean Thoughts of his Body, and set himself to contemplate that Noble Being, by which he had reach’d the Knowledge of that Superexcellent, and Necessarily existent Being; and began to consider with himself, by means of that Noble Essence of his, whether this Noble Essence of his could possibly be dissolv’d, or dye, or be annihilated; or whether it were of perpetual duration. Now he knew that Corruption and Dissolution were Properties of Body, and consisted in the putting off one Form, and putting on another. As for Instance: when Water is chang’d into Air, and Air into Water; or when Plants are turn’d into Earth or Ashes, and Earth again into Plants; (for this is the true Notion of Corruption.) But an Incorporeal Being, which has no dependance upon Body, but is altogether free from the Accidents proper to Body, cannot be suppos’d to be liable to Corruption.
Sec. 64. Having thus secur’d himself in this Belief, that his Real Essence could not be dissolv’d, he had a mind to know what Condition it should be in, when he had laid aside the Body, and was separated from it; which he persuaded himself would not be, till the Body ceas’d to continue a fit Instrument for its use. Therefore he consider’d all his Apprehensive Faculties, and perceiv’d that every one of them did sometimes apprehend Potentially, and sometimes Actually; as the Eye when it is shut, or turn’d away from the Object, sees Potentially.(For the meaning of apprehending Potentially is, when it does not apprehend now, yet can do it for the time to come.) And when the Eye is open, and turn’d toward the Object, it sees Actually (for that is call’d Actual, which, is present,) and so every one of these Faculties is some times in Power, and sometimes in Act: And if any of them did never actually apprehend its Proper Object, so long as it remains in Power, it has no desire to any Particular Object; because it knows nothing of any, (as a Man that is born blind.) But if it did ever actually Apprehend, and then be reduc’d to the Power only: so long as it remains in that condition, it will desire to apprehend in Act; because it has been acquainted with the Object, and is intent upon it, and lingers after it; as a Man who could once see, and after is blind, continually desires Visible Objects: And according as the Object which he has seen, is more perfect, and glorious, and beautiful, his Desire towards it is proportionably increased, and his Grief for the Loss of it so much the greater. Hence it is that the Grief of him who is depriv’d of that Sight he once had, is greater than his who is depriv’d of Smelling; because she Objects of Sight are more perfect and beautiful than those of Smelling. And if there be any thing of boundless Perfection, infinite Beauty, Glory and Splendor, that is above
Sec. 65. Now it had been already made plain to him, that all the Attributes of Perfection belonged to that Being which did necessarily self-exist, and that he was far from all manner of Imperfection. He was certain withal, that the Faculty by which he attain’d to the Apprehension of this Being, was not like to Bodies, nor subject to Corruption, as they are. And from hence it appear’d to him, that whosoever had such an Essence as was capable of apprehending this Noble Being, must, when he put off the Body at the time of his Death, have been formerly, during his Conversation in the Body, first, either one who was not acquainted with this necessarily self-existent Essence, nor ever was join’d to him, nor ever heard any thing of him; and so would, at the separating with the Body, never to be join’d to him, nor to be concern’d at the want of him. Because all the Corporeal Faculties cease when the Body dies, nor do they any longer desire or linger after their proper Objects; nor are in any trouble or pain for their absence; (which is the Condition of all Brutes, of what shape soever they are.) Or else, secondly, such an one, who while he continu’d in the Body, did converse with this Being, and had a sense of his Perfection, Greatness, Dominion, and Power; but afterwards declin’d from him, and follow’d his vicious Inclinations, till at length Death overtook him whilst in this State; he shall be depriv’d of that Vision, and yet be afflicted with the Desire of Enjoying it, and so remain in lasting Punishment and inexpressible Torture; whether he be to be delivered from his Misery after a long time, and enjoy that Vision which he so earnestly desires; or, everlastingly to abide in the same Torments, according as he was fitted and dispos’d for either of these two, during his continuance in the Body. Or lastly, were such an one, who convers’d with this necessarily self-existent Being, and apply’d himself to it, with the utmost of his Ability, and has all his Thoughts continually intent upon his Glory, Beauty, and Splendor, and never turns from him, nor forsakes him, till Death seizes him in the Act of Contemplation and Intuition: Such a Man as this shall, when separated from Body, remain in everlasting Pleasure, and Delight, and Joy and Gladness, by reason of the uninterrupted Vision of that self-existent Being, and its intire freedom from all Impurity and Mixture; and because all those Sensible Things shall be remov’d from him, which are the proper Objects of the Corporeal Faculties, and which, in regard of his present State, are no better than Torments, Evils and Hinderances.
Sec. 66. Being thus satisfied, that the Perfection and Happiness of his own Being consisted in the actually beholding that necessarily self-existent Being perpetually, so as not to be diverted from it so much as the twinkling of an Eye, that Death might find him actually employ’d in that Vision, and so his Pleasure might be continu’d, without being interrupted by any Pain; (which Ab-Jonaid a Doctor, and Imaam, of the Sect of the Suphians, alluded to; when at the point of Death he said to his Friends about him, This is the Time when Men ought to Glorify GOD, and be instant in their Prayers,) he began to consider with himself, by what Means this Vision might actually be continu’d, without Interruption. So he was very intent for a time upon that Being; but he could not stay there long, before some sensible Object or other would present itself, either the Voice of some wild Beast would reach his Ears, or some Phantasy affected his Imagination; or he was touch’d with some Pain in some Part or other; or he was hungry, or dry, or too cold, or too hot, or was forc’d to rise to ease Nature. So that his Contemplation was interrupted, and he remov’d from that State of Mind: And then he could not, without a great deal of difficulty, recover himself to that State he was in before; and he was afraid that Death should overtake him at such a Time as his Thoughts were diverted from the Vision, and so should fall into everlasting Misery, and the Pain of Separation.
Sec. 67. This put him into a great deal of Anxiety, and when he could find no Remedy, he began to consider all the several Sorts of Animals, and observe their Actions, and what they were employ’d about; in hopes of finding some of them that might possibly have a Notion of this Being, and endeavour after him; that so he might learn of them which way to be sav’d. But he was altogether disappointed in his Search; for he found that they were all wholly taken up in getting their Provision, and satisfying their Desires of Eating, and Drinking, and Copulation, and chusing the shady places in hot Weather, and the sunny ones in cold: And that all their life-time, both day and night, till they died, was spent after this manner, without any variation, or minding any thing else at any time. From whence it appear’d to him, that they knew nothing of this Being, nor had any desire towards it, nor became acquainted with it by any Means whatsoever; and that they all went into a State of Privation, or something very near a-kin to it. Having pass’d this Judgment upon the Animals, he knew that it was much more reasonable to conclude so of Vegetables, which had but few of those Apprehensions which the Animals had; and if that whose Apprehension was more perfect did not attain to this Knowledge, much less could it be expected from that whose Apprehension was less perfect; especially when he saw that all the Actions of Plants reach’d no farther than Nutrition and Generation.
Sec. 68. He next consider’d the Stars and Spheres, and saw, that they had all regular Motions, and went round in a due Order; and that they were pellucid and shining, and remote from any approach to Change or Dissolution: which made him have a strong suspicion, that they had Essences distinct from their Bodies, which were acquainted with this necessarily self-existent Essence. And that these understanding Essences,were like his understanding Essence. And why might it not be suppos’d that they might have incorporeal Essences, when he himself had, notwithstanding his Weakness and extream want of sensible Things? That he consisted of a corruptible Body, and yet nevertheless, all these Defects did not hinder him from having an incorporeal incorruptible Essence: From whence he concluded, that the Celestial Bodies were much more likely to have it; and he perceived that they had a Knowledge of the necessarily self-existent Being, and did actually behold it at all times; because they were not at all incumbred with those Hinderances, arising from the Intervention of sensible Things, which debarr’d him from enjoying the Vision, without Interruption.
Sec. 69. Then he began to consider with himself, what should be the reason why he alone, above all the rest of living Creatures, should be endu’d with such an Essence, as made him like the Heavenly Bodies. Now he understood before the Nature of the Elements, and how one of them us’d to be chang’d into another, and that there was nothing upon the Face of the Earth, which always remain’d in the same Form, but that Generation and Corruption follow’d one another perpetually in a mutual Succession; and that the greatest part of these Bodies were mix’d and compounded of contrary Things, and were for that reason the more dispos’d to Dissolution: And that there could not be found among them all, any thing pure and free from Mixture, but that such Bodies as came nearest to it, and had least mixture, as Gold and Jacinth are of longest Duration, and less subject to Dissolution; and that the Heavenly Bodies were most simple and pure, and for that reason more free from Dissolution, and not subject to a Succession of Forms. And here it appear’d to him, that the real Essence of those Bodies, which are in this sublunary World, consisted in some, of one simple Notion added to Corporeity, as the four Elements; in others of more, as Animals and Plants. And that those, whose Essence consisted of the fewest Forms, had fewest Actions, and were farther distant from Life. And that if there were any body to be found, that was destitute of all Form, it was impossible that it should live, but was next to nothing at all; also that those things which were endu’d with most Forms, had the most Operations, and had more ready and easie entrance to the State of Life. And if this Form were so dispos’d, that there were no way of separating it from the Matter to which it properly belong’d, then the life of it, would
Sec. 70. On the contrary, if there were any of these compounded Bodies, in which the Nature of one Element did not prevail over the rest, but they were all equally mix’d, and a match one for the other; then one of them would not abate the Force of the other, any more than its own Force is abated by it, but they would work upon one another with equal Power, and the Operation of any one of them would not be more conspicuous than that of the rest; and this Body would be far from being like to any one of the Elements, but would be as if it had nothing contrary to its Form, and consequently the more dispos’d for Life; and the greater this Equality of Temperature was, and by how much the more perfect, and further distant from inclining oneway or other, by so much the farther it is distant from having any contrary to it, and its Life is the more perfect. Now since that Animal Spirit which is seated in the Heart is of a most exact Temperature, as being finer than Earth and Water, and grosser than Fire and Air, it has the Nature of a Mean between them all, and which has no manifest Opposition to any of the Elements, and by this means is fitted to become that Form which constitutes an Animal. And he saw that it follow’d from hence, that those Animal Spirits which were of the most even Temperature, were the best dispos’d for the most perfect Life in this World, of Generation and Corruption, and that this Spirit was very near having no opposite to its Forms, and did in this respect resemble the Heavenly Bodies which have no opposite to their Forms; and was therefore the Spirit of the Animal, because it was a Mean between all the Elements, and had no absolute Tendency, either upwards or downwards; but that, if it were possible it should be plac’d
Sec. 71. And when he had consider’d the Properties of Animals, and could not see any one among them, concerning which he could in the least suspect that it had any Knowledge of this necessarily self-existent Being; but he knew that his own Essence had the Knowledge of it: He concluded from hence that he was an Animal, endu’d with a Spirit of an equal Temperature, as all the Heavenly Bodies are, and that he was of a distinct Species from the rest of Animals, and that he was created for another end, and design’d for something greater than what they were capable of. And this was enough to satisfie him of the Nobility of his Nature; namely, that his viler Part, i.e. the Corporeal, was most like of all to the Heavenly Substances, which are without this World of Generation and Corruption, and free from all accidents that cause any Defect, Change or Alteration: And that his noble Part, viz., that by which he attain’d the Knowledge of the necessarily self-existent Being, was something Heroical and Divine, not subject to Change or Dissolution, nor capable of being describ’d by any of the Properties or Attributes of Bodies: Not to be apprehended by any of the Senses, or by the Imagination; nor to be known by the means of any other Instrument but it self alone, and that it attains the Knowledge of it self by it self, and was at once the Knower the Knowledge, and the Thing known, the Faculty and the Object. Neither was there any difference between any of these because Diversity and Separation are Properties and Adjuncts of Bodies; but Body was no way concern’d here, nor any Property or Adjunct of Body.
Sec. 72. Having apprehended the manner by which the being like the Heavenly Bodies, was peculiar to him above all other kinds of Animals whatever; he perceiv’d that it was a Duty necessarily incumbent upon him to resemble them, and imitate their Actions, and endeavour to the utmost to become like them: He perceiv’d also that in respect: of his nobler Part, by which he had attain’d the Knowledge of that necessarily self existent Being, he did in some measure resemble it, because he was separated from the Attributes of Bodies, as the necessarily self-existent Being is separated from them. He saw also that it was his Duty to endeavour to make himself Master of the Properties of that Being by all possible means, and put on his Qualities, and imitate his Actions, and labour in the doing his Will, and resign himself wholly to him, and submit to his Dispensations heartily and unfeignedly, so as to rejoice in him, tho’ he should lay Afflictions upon his Body, and hurt, or totally destroy it.
Sec. 73. He also perceiv’d that he resembled the Beasts in his viler part, which belong’d to this Generable and Corruptible World, viz. this dark, gross Body, which sollicited him with the Desire of Variety of sensible Objects, and excited him to eating, drinking, and Copulation; and he knew that his Body was not created and join’d to him in vain, but that he was oblig’d to preserve it and take care of it, which he saw could not be done without some of those Actions which are common to the rest of the Animals. Thus it was plain to him, that there were three sorts of Actions which he was obliged to, viz. 1. Either those by which he resembled the Irrational Animals. Or, 2. Those by which he resembled the Heavenly Bodies. Or, 3. Those by which he resembled the necessarily self-existent Being: And that he was oblig’d to the first, as having a gross Body, consisting of several Parts, and different Faculties, and variety of Motions. To the second, as having an Animal Spirit, which had its Seat in the Heart, and was the first beginning of the Body and all its Faculties. To the third, as he was what he was, viz. as he was that Being, by which he knew the necessarily self-existent Being. And he was very well assur’d before, that his Happiness and Freedom from Misery, consisted in the perpetual Vision of that necessarily self-existent Being, without being averted from it so much as the twinkling of an Eye.
Sec. 74. Then he weigh’d with himself, by what means a Continuation of this Vision might be attain’d, and the Result of his Contemplation was this, viz. That he was obliged to keep himself constantly exercis’d in these three kinds of Resemblance. Not that the first of them did any way contribute to the helping him to the Vision(but was rather an Impediment and Hindrance, because it was concern’d only in sensible Objects, which are all of them a sort of Veil or Curtain interpos’d between us and it;) but because it was necessary for the Preservation of the Animal Spirit, whereby the second Resemblance, which he had with the Heavenly Bodies was acquir’d, and was for this reason necessary, though incumbred with Hindrances and Inconveniences. But as to the second Conformity, he saw indeed that a great share of that continu’d Vision was attain’d by it, but that it was not without Mixture; because, whatsoever contemplates the Vision after this manner continually, does, together with it, have regard to, and call a Look upon his own Essence, as shall be shewn hereafter. But that the third Conformity was that by which he obtain’d the pure and entire Vision, so as to be wholly taken up with it, without being diverted from it one way or other, by any means whatsoever, but being still intent upon that necessarily self-existent Being; which whosoever enjoys, has no regard to any thing else, and his own Essence is altogether neglected, and vanish’d out of fight, and become as nothing; and so are all other Essences both great and small, except only the Essence of that One, True, Necessarily Self-existent, High and Powerful Being.
Sec. 75. Now when he was assur’d that the utmost Bound of all his Desires consisted in this third Conformity, and that it was not to be attain’d, without being a long time exercis’d in the second; and that there was no continuing so long as was necessary for that Purpose, but by means of the first; (which, how necessary soever, he knew was an Hindrance in itself, and an Help only by Accident.) He resolved to allow himself no more of that first Conformity than needs must, which was only just so much as would keep the Animal Spirit alive. Now, in order to this, he found there were two Things necessary; The former, to help it inwardly, and supply the Defect of that Nourishment which was wasted; The latter, to preserve it from without, against the Extremities of Heat and Cold, Rain and Sun, hurtful Animals, and such like; and he perceiv’d, that if he should allow himself to use these things, though necessary, unadvisedly and at Adventure, it might chance to expose him to Excess, and by that means he might do ’himself an Injury unawares; whereupon he concluded it the safest way to set Bounds to himself, which he resolv’d not to pass; both as to the Kind of Meat which he was to eat, and the Quantity and Quality of it, and the Times of returning to it.
Sec. 76. And first he consider’d the several Kinds of those things which were fit to eat; and found that there were three sorts, viz. either such Plants as were not yet come to their full Growth, nor attained to Perfection, such as are several sorts of green Herbs which are fit to eat: Or secondly, the Fruits of Trees which were fully ripe, and had Seed fit for the Production of more of the same Kind (and such were the kinds of Fruits that were newly gathered and dry): Or lastly, Living Creatures, both Fish and Flesh. Now he knew very well, that all these things were created by that necessarily self-existent Being, in approaching to whom he was assur’d that his Happiness did consist, and in desiring to resemble him. Now the eating of these things must needs hinder their attaining to their Perfection, and deprive them of that End for which they were design’d; and this would be an Opposition to the working of the Supream Agent, and such an Opposition would hinder that Nearness and Conformity to him, which he so much desir’d. Upon this he thought it the best way to abstain from eating altogether, if possible; but when he saw that this would not do, and that such an Abstinence tended to the Dissolution of his Body, which was so much a greater Opposition to the Agent than the former, by how much he was of a more excellent Nature than those things, whose Destruction was the Cause of his Preservation: Of two Evils he resolved to chuse the least, and do that which contain’d in it the least Opposition to the Creator; and resolved to partake of any of these sorts, if those he had most mind to were not at hand, in such quantity as he should
Sec. 77. These were the Rules which he prescrib’d to himself, as to the Kinds of his Provision; as to the Quantity, his Rule was to eat no more than just what would satisfie his Hunger; and as for the time of his Meals, he design’d, when he was once satisfied, not to eat any more till he found some Disability in himself which hindred his Exercise in the second Conformity, (of which we are now going to speak;) and as for those things which necessity requir’d of him towards the Conservation of his Animal Spirit, in regard of defending it from external Injuries, he was not much troubled about them, for he was cloath’d with Skins, and had a House sufficient to secure him from those Inconveniences from without, which was enough for him; and he thought it superfluous to take any further Care about those things; and as for his Diet, he observ’d those Rules which he had prescrib’d to himself, namely, those which we have just now set down.
Sec. 78. After this he apply’d himself to the second Operation, viz. the Imitation of the Heavenly Bodies, and expressing their proper Qualities in himself; which when he had consider’d, he found to be of three sorts. The first were such as had relation to those inferior Bodies, which, are plac’d in this World of Generation and Corruption, as Heat, which they impart to those of their own Nature, and Cold by accident, Illumination, Rarefaction, and Condensation, and all those other things, by which they influence these inferior Bodies, whereby they are dispos’d for the Reception of Spiritual Forms from the necessarily self-existent Agent. The second sort of Properties which they had, were such as concern’d their own Being, as that they were clear, bright and pure, free from all manner of feculent Matter, and whatsoever
Sec. 79. And as for his first Conformity, his Imitation of them consisted in removing all things that were hurtful, either from Animals or Plants if they could be remov’d: So that if he saw any Plant which was depriv’d of the Benefit of the Sun, by the Interposition of any other Body; or that its growth was hindred by its being twisted with, or standing too near any other Plant, he would remove that which hindred it if possible, yet so as not to hurt either; or if it was in danger of dying for want of Moisture, he took what care he could to water it constantly. Or if he saw any Creature pursu’d by any wild Beast, or entangled in a Snare, or prick’d with Thorns, or that had gotten any thing hurtful fallen into its Eyes or Ears, or was hungry or thirsty, he took all possible care to relieve it. And when he saw any Water-course stopp’d by any Stone, or any thing brought down by the Stream, so that any Plant or Animal was hindred of it, he took care to remove it. And thus he continu’d in this first kind of Imitation of the Heavenly Bodies, till he had attain’d it to the very heighth of Perfection.
Sec. 80. The second sort of Imitation consisted in his continually obliging himself to keep himself clean from all manner of Dirt and Nastiness, and washing himself often, keeping his Nails and his Teeth clean, and the secret Parts of his Body, which he used to rub sometimes with sweet Herbs and Perfume with Odors. He used frequently to make clean his Cloaths; and perfume them, so that he was all over extreamly clean and fragrant. Besides this, he us’d a great many sorts of Circular Motion, sometimes walking round the Island, compassing the Shore, and going round the utmost Bounds of it; sometimes walking or running a great many times round about his House or some Stone, at other times turning himself round so often that he was dizzy.
Sec. 81. His Imitation of the third sort of Attributes, consisted in confining his Thoughts to the Contemplation of the necessarily self-existent Being. And in order to this, he remov’d all his Affections from sensible Things, shut his Eyes, stopp’d his Ears, and refrain’d himself as much as possible from following his Imagination, endeavouring to the utmost to think of nothing besides him; nor to admit together with him any other Object of Contemplation. And he us’d to help himself in this by violently turning himself round, in which
Sec. 82. Then he began to seek after this third Assimulation, and took pains in the attaining it. And first he consider’d the Attributes of the necessarily self-existent Being. Now it had appear’d to him, during the time of his Theoretical Speculation, before he enter’d upon the Practical Part; that there were two Sorts of them, viz. Affirmative, as Knowledge, Power and Wisdom &c. and Negative, as Immateriality; not only such as consisted in the not being Body; but in being altogether remov’d from any thing that had the least Relation to Body, though at never so great a Distance. And that this was a Condition, not only requir’d in the Negative Attributes, but in the Affirmative too, viz. that they should be free from all Properties of Body, of which, Multiplicity is one. Now the Divine Essence is not multiplied by these Affirmative Attributes, but all of ’em together are one and the same thing, viz. his real Essence. Then he began to consider how he might imitate him in both these Kinds; and as for the Affirmative Attributes, when he consider’d that they were nothing else but his real Essence, and that by no means it could be said of them that they are many(because Multiplicity is a Property of Body) and that the Knowledge of his own Essence was not a Notion superadded to his Essence, but that his Essence was the Knowledge of his Essence; and so vice versa, it appear’d to him, that if he would know his Being, this Knowledge, by which he knew his Being would not be a Notion superadded to his Being, but be the very Being itself. And he perceived that his way to make himself like to him, as to what concern’d his Affirmative Attributes, would be to know him alone, abstracted wholly from all Properties of Body.
Sec. 83. This he apply’d himself to; and as for the Negative Attributes, they all consisted in Separation from Bodily Things. He began therefore to strip himself of all Bodily Properties, which he had made some Progress in before, during the time of the former Exercise, when he was employ’d in the Imitation of the Heavenly Bodies; but there still remained a great many Relicks, as his Circular Motion (Motion being one of the more proper Attributes of Body), and his care of Animals and Plants, Compassion upon them, and Industry in removing whatever inconvenienc’d them. Now all these things belong to Corporeal Attributes, for he could not see these things at first, but by Corporeal Faculties; and he was oblig’d to make use of the same Faculties in preserving them. Therefore he began to reject and remove all those things from himself, as being in no wise consistent with that State which he was now in search of. So he continu’d, confining himself to rest in the Bottom of his Cave, with his Head bow’d down, and his Eyes shut, and turning himself altogether from all sensible Things and the Corporeal Faculties, and bending all his Thoughts and Meditations upon the necessarily self-existent Being, without admitting any thing else besides him; and if any other Object presented itself to his Imagination, he rejected it with his utmost Force; and exercis’d himself in this, and persisted in it to that Degree, that sometimes he did neither eat nor stir for a great many Days together. And whilst he was thus earnestly taken up in Contemplation, sometimes all manner of Beings whatsoever would be quite out of his Mind and Thoughts, except his own Being only.
Sec. 84. But he found that his own Being was not excluded by his Thoughts, no not at such times when he was most deeply immers’d in the Contemplation of the first, true, necessarily self-existent Being. Which concern’d him very much, for he knew that even this was a Mixture in this simple Vision, and the Admission of an extraneous Object in that Contemplation. Upon which he endeavour’d to disappear from himself, and be wholly taken up in the Vision of that true Being; till at last he attain’d it; and then both the Heavens and the Earth, and whatsoever is between them, and all Spiritual Forms, and Corporeal Faculties; and all those Powers which are separate from Matter, and are those Beings which know the necessarily self-existent Being, all disappear’d and vanish’d, and were as if they had never been, and amongst these his own Being disappear’d too, and there remain’d nothing but this ONE, TRUE, Perpetually Self-existent Being, who spoke thus in that Saying of his (which is not a Notion superadded to his Essence.) To whom now belongs the Kingdom? To this One, Almighty God. Which Words of his Hai Ebn Yokdhan understood, and heard his Voice; nor was his being unacquainted with Words, and not being able to speak, any Hindrance at all to the understanding him. Wherefore he deeply immers’d himself into this State, and witness’d that which neither Eye hath seen, nor Ear heard; nor hath it ever enter’d into the Heart of Man to conceive.
Sec. 85. And now, don’t expect that I should give thee a Description of that, which the Heart of Man cannot conceive. For if a great many of thole things which we do conceive are nevertheless hard to be explain’d, how much more difficult must those be which cannot be conceiv’d by the Heart, nor are circumscrib’d in the Limits of that World in which it converses. Now, when I say the Heart, I don’t mean the Substance of it, nor that Spirit which is contain’d in the Cavity of it; but I mean by it, the Form of that Spirit which is diffus’d by its Faculties through the whole Body of Man. Now every one of these three is sometimes call’d the Heart, but ’tis impossible that this thing which I mean should be comprehended by any of these three, neither can we express any thing by Words, which is not first conceiv’d in the Heart. And whosoever asks to have it explain’d, asks an Impossibility; for ’tis just as if a Man should have a mind to taste Colours, quatenas Colours, and desire, that black should be either sweet or sowre. However, I shall not dismiss you without some Limits, whereby I shall point out to you in some Measure, what wonderful things he saw when in this Condition, but all figuratively, and by way of Parable; not pretending to give a literal Description of that, which is impossible to be known, but by coming thither. Attend therefore with the Ears of thy Heart, and look sharply with the Eyes of thy Understanding, upon that which I shall shew thee; it may be thou may’st find so much in it, as may serve to lead thee into the right way. But I make this Bargain, that thou shalt not at present require any further Explication of it by Word of Mouth; but rest thy self contented with what I shall commit to these Papers. For ’tis a narrow Field, and ’tis dangerous to attempt the explaining of that with Words, the Nature of which admits no Explication.
Sec. 86. I say then, when he had abstracted himself from his own and all other Essences, and beheld nothing in Nature, but only that One, Living and Permanent Being: When he saw what he saw, and then afterwards return’d to the beholding of other Things: Upon his Coming to himself from that State (which was like Drunkenness) he began to think that his own Essence did not at all differ from the Essence of that TRUE Being, but that they were both one and the same thing; and that the thing which he had taken before for his own Essence, distinct from that true Essence was in reality nothing at all, and that there was nothing in him but this true Essence. And that this was like the Light of the Sun, which, when it falls upon solid Bodies, shines there; and though it be attributed, or may seem to belong to that Body upon which it appears, yet it is nothing else in reality, but the Light of the Sun. And if that Body be remov’d, its Light also is remov’d; but the Light of the Sun remains still after the same manner, and is neither increas’d by the Presence of that Body, nor diminish’d by its Absence. Now when there happens to be a Body which is fitted for such a Reception of Light, it receives it; if such a Body be absent, then there is no such Reception, and it signifies nothing at all.
Sec. 87. He was the more confirm’d in this Opinion, because it appeared to him before, that this TRUE Powerful and Glorious Being, was not by any means capable of Multiplicity, and that his Knowledge of his Essence, was his very Essence, from whence he argued thus:
He that has the Knowledge
of this Essence has the Essence itself;
hut I have the knowledge of this Essence. Ergo, I have the
Now this Essence can be present no where but with itself, and its very Presence is Essence; and therefore he concluded that he was that very Essence. And to all other Essences which were separate from Matter, which had the Knowledge of that true Essence, though before he had looked upon them as many, by this way of thinking, appear’d to him to be only one thing. And this misgrounded Conceit of his, had like to have firmly rooted itself in his Mind, unless God had pursu’d him with his Mercy, and directed him by his gracious Guidance; and then he perceiv’d that it arose from the Relicks of that Obscurity which is natural to Body, and the Dregs of sensible Objects. Because that Much and Little, Unity and Multiplicity, Collection and Separation, are all of them Properties of Body. But we cannot say of these separate Essences, which know this TRUE Being (whose Name be prais’d) that they are many or one, because they are immaterial. Now, Multiplicity is because of the Difference of one Being from another, and there can be no Unity but by Conjunction, and none of these can be understood without Compound Notions which are mix’d with Matter. Besides, that the Explication of Things in this place is very straight and difficult; because if you go about to express what belongs to these separate Essences, by way of Multitude, or in the Plural, according to our way of speaking, this insinuates a Notion of Multiplicity, whereas they are far from being many; and if you speak of them by way of Separation, or in the Singular, this insinuates a Notion of Unity, whereas they are far from being one.
Sec. 88. And here methinks I fee one of those Batts, whose Eyes the Sun dazzles, moving himself in the Chain of his Folly, and saying, This Subtilty of yours exceeds all Bounds, for you have withdrawn your self from the State and Condition of understanding Men, and indeed thrown away the Nature of Intelligible Things, for this is a certain Axiom, that a thing must be either one, or more than one. Soft and fair; let that Gentleman be pleas’d to consider with himself, and contemplate this vile, sensible World, after the same manner which Hai Ebn Yokdhan did, who, when he consider’d it one way, sound such a Multiplicity in it, as was incomprehensible; and then again considering it another way, perceiv’d that it was only one thing; and thus he continu’d
Sec. 89. And as for his saying, That I have withdrawn myself from the State and Condition of understanding Men, and thrown away the Nature of Intelligible Things: I grant it, and leave him to his Understanding, and his understanding Men he speaks of. For that Understanding which he, and such as he, mean, is nothing else but that Rational Faculty which examines the Individuals of Sensible Things, and from thence gets an Universal Notion; and those understanding Men he means, are those which make use of this sort of Separation. But that kind, which we are now speaking of, is above all this; and therefore let every one that knows nothing but Sensible Things and their Universals, shut his Ears, and pack away to his Company, who know the outside of the Things of this World, but take no care of the next. But if thou art one of them to whom these Limits and Signs by which we describe the Divine World are sufficient, and dost not put that Sense upon my Words in which they are commonly us’d, I shall give thee some farther Account of what Hai Ebn Yokdhan saw, when he was in the State of those who have attain’d to the Truth, of which we have made Mention before, and it is thus;
Sec. 90. After he was wholly immers’d in the Speculation of these things, and perfectly abstracted from all other Objects, and in the nearest Approach; he saw in the highest Sphere, beyond which there is no Body, a Being free from Matter, which was not the Being of that ONE, TRUE ONE, nor the Sphere itself, nor yet any thing different from them both; but was like the Image of the Sun which appears in a well-polish’d Looking-glass, which is neither the Sun nor the Looking-glass, and yet not distinct from them. And he saw in the Essence of that separate Sphere, such Perfection, Splendor and Beauty, as is too great to be express’d by any Tongue, and too subtil to be cloath’d in Words; and he perceiv’d that it was in the utmost Perfection of Delight and Joy, Exultation and Gladness, by reason of its beholding that TRUE Essence, whose Glory be exalted,
Sec. 91. He saw also that the next Sphere to it, which is that of the Fixed Stars, had an immaterial Essence, which was not the Essence of that TRUE ONE, nor the Essence of that highest, separated Sphere, nor the Sphere itself, and yet not different from these; but is like the Image of the Sun which is reflected upon a Looking glass, from another Glass placed opposite to the Sun; and he observ’d in this Essence also the like Splendor, Beauty, Loveliness and Pleasure, which he had observ’d in the Essence of the other highest Sphere. He saw likewise that the next Sphere, which is the Sphere of Saturn, had an immaterial Essence, which was none of those Essences he had seen before, nor yet different from them; but was like the Image of the Sun, which appears in a Glass, upon which it is reflected from a Glass which receiv’d that Reflection from another Glass plac’d opposite to the Sun. And he saw in this Essence too, the same Splendor and Delight which he had observ’d in the former. And so in all the Spheres he observ’d distinct, immaterial Essences, every one of which was not any of those which went before it, not yet different from them; but was like the Image of the Sun reflected from one Glass to another, according to the Order of the Spheres. And he saw in every one of these Essences, such Beauty, Splendor, Pleasure and Joy, as Eye hath not seen, nor Ear heard, nor hath it enter’d into the Heart of Man to conceive; and so downwards, till he came to the lower World, subject to Generation and Corruption, which comprehends all that which is contained within the Sphere of the Moon.
Sec. 92. Which he perceiv’d had an immaterial Essence, as well as the rest; not the same with any of those which he had seen before, nor different from them; and that this Essence had seventy thousand Faces, and every Face seventy thousand Mouths, and every Mouth seventy thousand Tongues, with which it praised, sanctified and glorified incessantly the Essence of that ONE, TRUE BEING. And he saw that this Essence (which he had suppos’d to be many, tho’ it was not) had the same Perfection and Pleasure, which he had seen in the other; and that this Essence was like the Image of the Sun, which appears in fluctuating Water, which has that Image reflected upon it from the last and lowermost of those Glasses, to which the Reflection came, according to the foremention’d Order, from the first Glass which was set opposite to the Sun. Then he perceiv’d that he himself had a separate Essence, which one might call a part of that Essence which had seventy thousand Faces, if that Essence had been capable of Division; and if that Essence had not been created in time, one might say it was the very same; and had it not been join’d to the Body so soon as it was created, we should have thought that it had not been created. And in this Order he saw other Essences also, like his own which had necessarily been heretofore, then were dissolv’d, and afterwards necessarily existed
Sec. 93. Then he saw a great many other immaterial Essences, which resembled rusty Looking-glasses, cover’d over with Filth, and besides, turn’d their Backs upon, and had their Faces averted from those polish’d Looking-glasses that had the Image of the Sun imprinted upon them; and he saw that these Essences had so much Filthiness adhering to them, and such manifold Defects as he could not have conceived. And he saw that they were afflicted with infinite Pains, which caused incessant Sighs and Groans; and that they were compass’d about with Torments, as those who lie in a Bed are with Curtains; and that they were scorch’d with the fiery Veil of Separation. But after a very little while his Senses return’d to him again, and he came to himself out of this State, as out of an Extasie; and his Foot sliding out of this place, he came within sight of this sensible World, and lost the sight of the Divine World, for there is no joining them both together in the same State. For this World in which we live, and that other are like two Wives belonging to the same Husband; if you please one, you displease the other.
Sec. 94. Now, if you should object, that it appears from what I have said concerning this Vision, that those separated Essences, if they chance to be in Bodies of perpetual Duration, as the Heavenly Bodies are, shall also remain perpetually, but if they be in a Body which is liable to Corruption (such an one as belongs to us reasonable Creatures) that then they must perish too, and vanish away, as appears from the Similitude of the Looking-glasses which I have us’d to explain it; because the Image there has no Duration of itself, but what depends upon the Duration of the Looking-glass; and if you break the Glass, the Image is most certainly destroy’d and vanishes. In answer to this I must tell you, that you have soon forgot the Bargain I made with you. For did not I tell you before that it was a narrow Field, and that we had but little room for Explication; and that Words however us’d, would most certainly occasion Men to think otherwise of the thing than really it was? Now that which has made you imagine this, is, because you thought that the Similitude must answer the thing represented in every respect. But that will not hold in any common Discourse; how much less in this, where the Sun and its Light, and its Image, and the Representation of it, and the Glasses, and the Forms which appear in them, are all of them things which are inseparable from Body, and which cannot subsist but by it and in it, and therefore the very Essences of them depend upon Body, and they perish together with it.
Sec. 95. But as for the Divine Essences and Heroick Spirits, they are all free from Body and all its Adherents, and remov’d from them at the utmost distance, nor have they any Connection, or Dependance upon them. And the existing or not existing of Body is all one to them, for their sole Connection and Dependance is upon that ONE TRUE NECESSARY SELF-EXISTENT BEING, who is the first of them, and the Beginning of them, and the Cause of their Existence, and he perpetuates them and continues them for ever; nor do they want the Bodies, but the Bodies want them; for if they should perish, the Bodies would perish, because these Essences are the Principles of these Bodies. In like manner, as if a Privation of that ONE TRUE BEING could be suppos’d (far be it from him, for there is no God but him) all these Essences would be remov’d together with him, and the Bodies too, and all the sensible World, because all these have a mutual Connection.
Sec. 96. Now, tho’ the Sensible World follows the Divine World, as a Shadow does the Body, and the Divine World stands in no need of it, but is free from it, and independent of it, yet notwithstanding this, it is absurd to suppose a Possibility of its being annihilated, because it follows the Divine World: But the Corruption of this World consists in its being chang’d, not annihilated. And that glorious Book spake, where there is no mention made of Moving the Mountains, and making them like the World, and Men like Fire-flyes, and darkning the Sun and Moon; and Eruption of the Sea, in that day when the Earth shall be chang’d into another Earth, and the Heavens likewise. And this is the Substance of what I can hint to you at present, concerning what Hai Ebn Yokdhan saw, when in that glorious State. Don’t expect that I should explain it any farther with Words, for that is even impossible.
Sec. 97. But as for what concerns the finishing his History, that I shall tell you, God willing. After his return to the sensible World, when he had been where we have told you, he loath’d this present Life, and most earnestly long’d for the Life to come; and he endeavour’d to return to the same State, by the same means he had sought it at first, till he attain’d to it with less trouble than he did at first, and continu’d in it the second time longer than at the first. Then he return’d to the Sensible World; and then again endeavour’d to recover his Station, which he found easier than at the first and second time, and that he continu’d in it longer; and thus it grew easier and easier, and his Continuance in it longer and longer, time after, time, till at last he could attain it when he pleas’d, and stay in it as long as he pleas’d. In this State he firmly kept himself, and never retir’d from it, but when the Necessities of his Body requir’d it, which he had brought into as narrow a Compass as was possible. And whilst he was thus exercis’d, he us’d to with that it would please God to
Sec. 98. They say that there was an Island not far from that where Hai Ebn Yokdhan was born (no matter according to which of those two different Accounts they give of his Birth) into which one of those good Sects, which had some one of the ancient Prophets (of pious Memory) for its Author, had retir’d. A Sect which us’d to discourse of all things in Nature, by way of Parable and Similitude, and by that means represent the Images of them to the Imagination, and fix the Impressions of them in Men’s Minds, as is customary in such Discourses as are made to the Vulgar. This Sect so spread it self in this Island, and prevail’d and grew so eminent, that at last the King not only embrac’d it himself, but oblig’d his Subjects to do so too.
Sec. 99. Now there were born in this Island, two Men of extraordinary Endowments, and Lovers of that which is Good; the Name of the one was Asal, and the other Salaman, who meeting with this Sect, embrac’d it heartily, and oblig’d themselves to the punctual Observance of all its Ordinances, and the daily Exercise of what was practis’d in it; and to this end they enter’d into a League of Friendship with each other. Now among other Passages contain’d in the Law of that Sect, they sometimes made enquiry into these Words, wherein it treats of the Description of the most High and Glorious God, and. his Angels, and the Resurrection, and the Rewards and Punishments of a future State. Now Asal us’d to make a deeper Search into the inside of Things, and was more inclin’d to study Mystical Meanings and Interpretations. But as for his Friend Salaman, he kept close to the literal Sense, and never troubled himself with such Interpretations, but refrain’d from such curious Examination and Speculation of things. However, notwithstanding this Difference, they both were constant in performing those Ceremonies requir’d, and in calling themselves to an account, and in opposing their Affections.
Sec. 100. Now there were in this Law some Passages which seem’d to exhort Men to Retirement and a solitary Life, intimating that Happiness and Salvation were to be attain’d by it; and others which seem’d to encourage Men to Conversation, and the embracing Human Society. Asal gave himself up wholly to Retirement, and those Expressions which favour’d it were of most weight with him, because he was naturally
Sec. 101. Now Asal had heard of that Island, in which we have told you that Hai Ebn Yokdhan had his Breeding. He knew also its Fertility and Conveniences, and the healthful Temper of the Air, so that it would afford him such a commodious Retirement as he had in his Wishes. Thither he resolv’d to go, and withdraw himself from all manner of Conversation, the remaining part of his Days. So he took what Substance he had, and with part of it he hir’d a Ship to convey him thither, the rest he distributed among the poor people, and took his leave of his Friend Salaman, and went aboard. The Mariners transported him to the Island, and set him a-shore and left him. There he continu’d serving God, and magnifying him, and fancifying him, and meditating upon his glorious Names and Attributes, without any Interruption or Disturbance. And when he was hungry, he took what he had occasion for to satisfie his Hunger, of such Fruits as the Island afforded, or what he could hunt. And in this State he continu’d a while, in the mean time enjoying the greatest Pleasure imaginable, and the most entire Tranquillity of Mind, arising from the Converse and Communication which he had with his Lord; and every Day experiencing his Benefits and precious Gifts, and his bringing easily to his hand such things as he wanted, and were necessary for his Support, which confirm’d his Belief in him, and was a great Refreshment to him.
Sec. 102. Hai Ebn Yokdhan, in the mean time, was wholly immers’d in his sublime Speculations, and never stirr’d out of his Cell but once a Week, to take such Provision as first came to hand. So that Asal did not light upon him at first, but walk’d round the Island, and compass’d the Extremities of it, without seeing any Man, or so much as the Footsteps of any: Upon which account his Joy was increas’d, and his Mind exceedingly pleas’d, in regard of his comparing that which he had propos’d to himself, namely, to lead the most retired Life that was possible.
Sec. 103. At last it happen’d, one time that Hai Ebn Yokdhan coming out to look for Provision in the the same place whither Asal was retired, they spy’d one another. Asal, for his part, did not question but that it was some religious Person, who for the sake of a solitary Life, had retir’d into that Island, as he had done himself, and was afraid, lest if he should come up to him, and make himself known, it might spoil his Meditation, and hinder his attaining what he hop’d for. Hai Ebn Yokdhan on the other side could not imagine what it was, for of all the Creatures he had ever beheld in his whole Life, he had never seen any thing like it. Now Asal had a black Coat on, made with Hair and Wool, which Hai Ebn Yokdhan fancied was natural, and stood wondring at it a long time. Asal ran away as hard as he could, for fear he should disturb his Meditation; Hai Ebn Yokdhan ran after him, out of an innate desire he had to know the Truth of Things. But when he perceiv’d Asal make so much haste, he retir’d a little and hid himself from him; so that Asal thought he had been quite gone off, and then he fell to his Prayers, and Reading, and Invocation, and Weeping; and Supplication, and Complaining, till he was altogether taken up, so as to mind nothing else.
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Sec. 104. In the mean time Hai Ebn Yokdhan stole upon him by degrees, and Asal took no notice of him, till he came so near as to hear him read and praise God, and observ’d his humble Behaviour, and his Weeping, and heard a pleasant Voice and distinct Words, such as he had never observ’d before in any kind of Animals; Then he look’d upon his Shape and Lineaments, and perceiv’d that he was of the same Form with himself, and was satisfied that the Coat he had on, was not a natural Skin, but an artificial Habit like his own. And when he observ’d the Decency of his humble Behaviour, and his Supplication and Weeping, he did not at all question but that he was one of those Essences which had the Knowledge of the TRUE ONE; and for that Reason he had a Desire to be acquainted with him, and to know what was the matter with him, and what caus’d this Weeping and Supplication. Whereupon he drew nearer to him, till Asal perceiving it, betook himself to his Heels again, and Hai Ebn Yokdhan(answerably to his Vigour and Power both of Knowledge and Body, which God had bestow’d upon him) pursu’d him with all his Might, till at last he overtook him and seiz’d on him, and held him fast, so that he could not get away.
Sec. 105. When Asal look’d upon him, and saw him cloath’d with the Skins of wild Beasts with the Hair on, and his own Hair so long as to cover a great part of his Body, and observ’d his great Swiftness and Strength, he was very much afraid of him, and began to pacifie him with stroaking him, and entreating him, but Hai Ebn Yokdhan did not understand one word he said, nor knew any thing of his meaning, only he perceiv’d that he was afraid, and endeavour’d to allay his Fear with such Voices as he had learn’d of some of the Beasts, and stroak’d his Head, and both Sides of his Neck, and shew’d Kindness to him, and express’d a great deal of Gladness and Joy; till at last Asal’s Fear was laid aside, and he knew that he meant him no harm.
Sec. 106. Now Asal long before, out of his earnest Desire of searching into the meaning of Things, had studied most Languages, and was well skill’d in them. So he began to speak to Hai Ebn Yokdhan in all the Languages which he understood, and ask him Questions concerning his way of Life, and took pains to make him understand him; but all in vain, for Hai Ebn Yokdhan stood all the while wondring at what he heard, and did not know what was the meaning of it, only he perceiv’d that Asal was pleas’d, and well-affected towards him. And thus they stood wondring one at another.
Sec. 107. Now Asal had by him some Remainder of the Provision which he had brought along with him, from the inhabited Island from whence he came; and he offer’d it to Hai Ebn Yokdhan, who did not know what to make on’t, for he had never seen any such before. Then Asal eat some of it himself, and invited Hai Ebn Yokdhan by Signs to eat too. But Hai Ebn Yokdhan bethought himself of those Rules which he had prescrib’d to himself, as to matter of Diet; and not knowing the Nature of that which he offer’d him, nor whether it was lawful for him to partake of it or not, he refus’d it. Asal still continu’d urgent, and invited him kindly: Now Hai Ebn Yokdhan had a great Desire to be acquainted with him, and was afraid that his continuing too stiff in his Refusal, might alienate his Affections from him; so he ventured upon it, and eat some. And when he had tasted of it, and lik’d it, he perceiv’d that he had done amiss, in breaking those Promises which he had made to himself concerning Diet. And he repented himself of what he had done, and had Thoughts of withdrawing himself from Asal, and retreating to his former State of Contemplation.
Sec. 108. But the Vision did not easily appear to him at first, upon which he resolv’d to continue with Asal in the sensible World, till he had thoroughly satisfied himself concerning him, that so when he had no further Desire towards him, he might apply himself to his former Contemplations without any Interruption. Wherefore he applyed himself to the Society of Asal, who perceiving
Sec. 109. Then Asal began to enquire of him concerning his way of Living, and from whence he came into that Island? And Hai Ebn Yokdhan told him, that he knew nothing of his own Original, nor any Father or Mother that he had, but only that Roe which brought him up. Then he describ’d to him his manner of Living, from first to last, and by what degrees he advanc’d in Knowledge, till he attain’d the Union with God. When Asal heard him give an Account of those Truths, and those Essences which are separate from the Sensible World, and which have the Knowledge of that TRUE ONE, (whose Name be prais’d); and heard him give an account of the Essence of that TRUE ONE, and describe, as far as was possible, what he witness’d (when he had attain’d to that Union) of the Joys of those who are near united to God, and the Torments of those who are separated from him. He made no doubt but that all those things which are contain’d in the Law of God [i.e. the Alcoran] concerning his Command, his Angels, Books and Messengers, the Day of Judgment, Paradise and Hell, were Resemblances of what Hai Ebn Yokdhan had seen; and the Eyes of his Understanding were open’d, and he found that the Original and the Copy did exactly agree together. And the ways of Mystical Interpretation became easie to him, and there appeared nothing difficult to him in those Precepts which he had receiv’d, but all was clear; nor any thing shut up, but all was open; nor any thing profound, but all was plain. By this means his intellectual Faculty grew strong and vigorous, and he look’d upon Hai Ebn Yokdhan with Admiration and Respect, and assur’d himself that he was one of the Saints of God, which have no Fear upon them, neither shall they suffer Pain. Upon which he address’d himself to wait upon him, and imitate him, and to follow his Direction in the Performance of such Works as he had occasion to make use of; namely, those legal ones which he had formerly learn’d from his own Sect.
Sec. 110. Then Hai Ebn Yokdhan began to enquire of him concerning his Condition and manner of living, and Asal gave him an account of the Island from whence he came, and what manner of People inhabited it, and what sort of Life they led before that religious Sect, which we mention’d, came among them, and how it was now, since the coming of that Sect. He also gave him an Account of what was deliver’d in the Law [i.e. Alcoran] relating to the Description of the Divine World, Paradise and Hell, and the Awakening and Resurrection of Mankind, and their gathering together to Judgment, and the Balance and the Way. All which things Hai Ebn Yokdhan understood very well, and did not find any of them disagreeable to what he had seen, when in that noble Station; and he knew that he that had described these Things, and given an account of them, had given a true Account, and was a Messenger sent from his Lord; and he believ’d him, and affirm’d his Veracity, and bore Witness to his Message.
Sec. 111. Then he began to ask him concerning the Precepts which the Messenger of God had deliver’d, and the Rites of Worship which he had ordain’d. And Asal told him of Prayer, Alms, Fasting and Pilgrimage, and such other External Observances, which he receiv’d and practis’d, and took upon himself, in Obedience to his Command, of whose Veracity he was very well allured. Only there were two things stuck in his Mind, which he wonder’d at, and could not comprehend wherein the Wisdom of them did consist. The one was, why this Messenger of God, in describing most things which relate to the Divine World, us’d to express them to Men by Parables or Similitudes, and wav’d a perspicuous Explication of them; by which occasion’d Men in a great Measure to fall into that Error of asserting a Corporeity in God, and believing Things of that TRUE Being, from which he is absolutely free; and so in like manner, concerning, those Things which relate to the Rewards and Punishments of a Future State. The other was, why he went no farther than these Precepts and Rites of Worship, but gave Men leave to gather Riches, and allow’d them a Liberty as to matter of Food; by which means they employed themselves about vain Things, and turn’d away from the Truth, Whereas his Judgment was, that no Body ought to eat any thing, but only just to keep him alive; and as for Riches, He had no Opinion of them at all. And when he saw what was set down and prescrib’d in the Law, with Relation to Wealth, as Alms, and the Distribution of them, and Trading and Usury, Mulcts and Punishments; these things seem’d all very odd to him, and he judg’d them superfluous; and said, that if Men understood Things aright, they would lay aside all these vain Things, and follow the Truth, and content themselves without any thing of all this; and that no Man would challenge such a Propriety in Riches, as to have Alms ask’d of him, or to cause his Hands to be cut off, who privily stole them; or their lives to be taken away, who had openly robb’d him.
Sec. 112. Now that which prompted him to this Persuasion, was this, that he thought all Men were indu’d with an ingenuous Temper, and penetrating Understanding, and a Mind constant to itself; and was not aware how blockish and stupid they were, how ill-advis’d, and inconstant in their Resolutions; insomuch, that they are like Brute Beasts, nay, more apt to wander out of the way. Since therefore he was greatly affected with Pity towards Mankind, and desir’d that he might be an Instrument of their Salvation; a Resolution came into his Mind of going over to them, to declare and lay before them the Truth. This Intention of his he communicated to his Friend Asal and ask’d him if there could possibly be any way contriv’d to come at them.
Sec. 113. But Asal told him what sort of People they were, and how far from an ingenuous Temper, and how averse from obeying the Commands of God; but he had no Notion of that, but still his Mind was intent upon that which he hop’d to compass: And Asal desir’d that it would please God, by his means, to direct some of his Acquaintance which were of a more pliable Temper than the rest, and had more Sincerity in them, into the right way. So then he was ready to further the Design and Endeavour of Hai Ebn Yokdhan. Upon which they resolved to keep close to the Sea Shore, without stirring from it either Day or Night, till God should please to afford them an Opportunity of crossing the Sea. And all the while they were intent upon this, they continu’d praying to God to direct them in this their Business, and bring it to an happy Issue.
Sec. 114. At last, as God (whose Name be prais’d) would have it, it happen’d, that a Ship which had lost her Course, was driven by the Wind and Water upon the Shore of that Island; and as it drew nearer to Land, they who were in it, seeing two Men upon the Shore, made towards them. Then Asal spoke to them, and desir’d them to carry him and his Companion along with them in the Ship; to which they contented, and took them into the Ship, and it pleas’d God to send them a fair Wind, which, in a short time, carried them to the Isle which they desir’d. There they landed, and went into the City; and Asal’s Friends came all about him, and he gave ’em an account of Hai Ebn Yokdhan, and his manner of living; so that People flock’d to him from every side, and admir’d and reverenc’d him. Then Asal told him that this Sect was superiour to all other sorts of Men in Knowledge and Sagacity; and that if he could not work upon them, there were much lesser Hopes of doing any Good upon the Vulgar.
Sec. 115. Now Salaman (Asal’s Friend, who we told you chose Conversation, rather than Solitude and Retirement, which he judg’d unlawful) was Prince and Sovereign of this Island. So Hai Ebn Yokdhan began to teach them, and explain the Mysteries of Wisdom to them; but so soon as e’er he began to raise his Discourse above External Things a little, and to inculcate that, the contrary whereof had been settled, and deeply rooted in their Minds; they began to withdraw themselves from him, and their Minds had an Abhorrence for what he spake. And though they carried themselves civilly to him, both because he was a Stranger, and out of the Observance which they thought due to their Friend Asal, yet they were angry with him inwardly in their Hearts. However, he continu’d reasoning with them mildly Night and Day, and teaching them the TRUTH, both in Private and Publick, which only increas’d their Hatred towards him, and made them avoid his Company, though otherwise they were Lovers of Goodness, and desirous of Truth. However, through the Defect of their Nature, they did not search for it after the right manner, nor apprehend it as they should do; but sought the Knowledge of it after the common way, like the rest of the World. So that he despaired of doing any Good upon them, and all his Hopes of amending them were defeated, because they were not willing to receive what he taught them.
Sec. 116. And afterwards, taking a View of the several Ranks and Orders of Men, he perceiv’d that every sort of them plac’d their Delight in those Things which they possess’d at present, and that their Appetites were their God, and that they lost themselves in gathering up the little Things of this World; and that the Desire of getting more, kept them employ’d till they came to their Graves; and that all good Counsel was lost upon them; and that disputing with them had only this Effect, that it made them the more obstinate. And as for Wisdom, there was no way for them to attain it, neither had they any Share in it. For Folly has over-whelmed them, and, what they have sought after, has covered their Hearts like Raft; God has sealed up their Hearts and their Ears, and their Eyes are dim, and they shall have sore Punishment.
Sec. 117. When therefore he saw them compass’d about with the Curtains of Punishment, and cover’d with the Darkness of the Veil; and that all of them (a few only excepted) minded their Religion no otherwise, but with regard to this present World; and cast the Observance of religious Performances behind their Backs, notwithstanding the Easiness of them, and sold them for a small Price; and that their Merchandize and Trading diverted them from thinking upon God, so that they had no fear of that Day in which both their Hearts and Eyes shall be turn’d round; he was fully satisfied, that it was to no purpose to speak to them plainly, neither that it was expedient any Works should be enjoin’d them beyond this
Sec. 118. And when he understood the Condition of Mankind, and that the greatest part of them were like Brute Beasts, he knew that all Wisdom, Direction and good Success, consisted in what the Messengers of God had spoken, and the Law deliver’d; and that there was no other way besides this, and that there could be nothing added to it; and that there were Men appointed to every Work, and that every one was best capable of doing that unto which he was appointed by Nature. That this was God’s way of dealing with those which were gone before, and that there is no Change in his way. Whereupon returning to Salaman and his Friends, he begg’d their Pardon for what he had said to them, and desir’d to be excus’d, and told them that he was of the same Opinion with them, and went on in the same way, and persuaded them to stick firmly to their Resolution of keeping within the Bounds of the Law, and the Performance of the External Rites, and that they should not much dive into the Things that did not concern them: and that in doubtful Things they should give Credit, and yield their Assent readily; and that they should abstain from novel Opinions, and from their Appetites, and follow the Examples of their pious Ancestors, and forsake Novelties, and that they should avoid that neglect of religious Performances which was seen in the vulgar sort of Men, and the Love of the World, which he principally caution’d them against. For both he and his Friend Asal knew that this tractable, but defective sort of Men, had no other way in the World to escape, but only by this means; and that if they should be rais’d above this
Sec. 119. So they took their leave and left them, and sought for an Opportunity of returning to their Island, till it pleas’d God to help them to a Convenience of passing. And Hal Ebn Yokdhan endeavour’d to attain to his lofty Station, by the same means he had sought it at first, till he recover’d it; and Asal followed his Steps, till he came near him, or wanted but very little of it; and thus they continued serving God in this Island till they died.
Sec. 120. And this is that (God assist thee and us by his Spirit) which we have receiv’d of the History of Hai Ebn Yokdhan, Asal and Salaman; which comprehends such Choice of Words, as are not found in any other Book, nor heard in common Discourse. And it is a piece of hidden Knowledge which none can receive, but those which have the Knowledge of God, nor can any be ignorant of it, but those which have not. Now we have taken a contrary Method to our pious Ancestors, as to their Reservedness in this Matter, and Sparingness of Speech. And the Reason which did the more easily persuade me to divulge this Secret, and tear the Veil, was, because of the corrupt Notions which some Pretenders to Philosophy in our Age have broach’d and scatter’d, so that they are diffus’d through several Countries, and the Mischief which arises from thence is become Epidemical. Fearing therefore lest those weak ones, who reject the Tradition of the Prophets (of Blessed Memory) and make choice of that which is delivered them by Fools, should imagine that these Opinions are that Secret, which ought to be with-held from those who are not worthy or capable of it, and so their Desire and Study of these Opinions should be increas’d. I have thought good to give them a Glimpse of this Secret of Secrets, that I might draw them into the right Way, and avert them from this other. Nevertheless, I have not so delivered the Secrets which are comprehended in these few Leaves, as to leave them without a thin Veil or Cover over them, which will be easily rent by those who are worthy of it; but will be so thick to him, that is unworthy to pass beyond it, that he shall not be able to get through it. And I desire of those my Brethren who shall see this Discourse, that they would excuse me for being so easily induc’d to explain it, and so free in the Description of it; seeing I had not done so, if I had not been elevated to such Heights, as transcend the Reach of Humane Sight. And I was willing to express it in easie Terms, that I might dispose Men, and raise a Desire in them to enter into the right Way. And I beg of God Pardon and Forgiveness, and that he would please to bring us to the true and certain Knowledge of himself, for he is gracious and liberal of his Favours. Peace be to thee, my Brother, whose Promotion is decreed, and, the Mercy find Blessing of God be upon thee,
Praise, be to God alone.
[Footnote 18: p .14. Sect. 6. Those who affirm that Hai Ebn Yokdhan was produced in that Island without Father or Mother—The having our Philosopher hatch’d after this manner, is a contrivance of Avicen’s, who wrote this Story first, and from whom our Author has taken a great part of it. He was of Opinion that such a Formation was possible; tho’ there having never been any such thing, is a sufficient Demonstration of the Impossibility of it; for since the Creation of the World the Celestial Bodies have had time enough to exert the utmost of their Power, and shed their Influence in order to such a Production, which they having never so much as attempted yet, amongst all the variety of their Operations, plainly shew us that it is not in their power. But we must give Philosophers leave sometimes to go beyond Demonstration. ’Tis observable, that our Author says nothing of the matter, but leaves it as he found it.]
[Footnote 19: God made Man after his own Image—These Words are quoted by our Author for the Words of Mahomet, though they do indeed Belong to Moses, but we must know that Mahomet was well acquainted with the Jews from whom he learned not only some Expressions us’d in the Bible, but a great part of the History of it; which he has mangled and crowded, after a confus’d manner, into his Alcoran.]
[Footnote 20: Alcoran, Chap. Alkesas.]
[Footnote 21: Our Philosophers imitating the
Heavenly Bodies in their Circular Motion, would seem
indeed extreamly ridiculous, but that we are to consider
that the Mahometans have a superstitious Custom of
going several times round the Cave of Meccah,
when they go thither on Pilgrimage, and look upon
it as a very necessary part of their Duty. Now
our Author having resolved to bring his Philosopher
as far at least as was possible for one in his Circumstances,
in the Knowledge and Practice of all those things
which the Mahometans account necessary, would not
let him be ignorant of this Practice of moving round;
but has brought it under this second sort of Imitation
of the Heavenly Bodies. Now tho’ our Philosopher
may be excus’d for not going to the Temple at
Meccah, yet so great stress is laid upon it by
the Mahometans, that Alhosain Al Hallagi Ben Mansour,
was, in the 309th Year of the Hegira (of
Christ921) condemn’d to dye by the
Vizier Alhumed, who pronounc’d Sentence upon
him, having first advis’d with the Imaums and
Doctors, for having asserted, that in case a Man had
A Desire to go on Pilgrimage to Meccah, and
could not; it would be sufficient, if he set apart
any clean Room of his House for that purpose, and
went round about it, and perform’d in it at
the same time when the Pilgrims are at Meccah,
the same things which they do there, and then fed
and cloath’d 30 Orphans, and gave to
each of them seven pieces of Silver. For which
Heterodox Position he receiv’d a thousand Stripes,
without so much as sighing or groaning, and had first
one Hand cut off, and then both his Feet, and then
the other Hand, then he was kill’d and burnt,
and his Ashes thrown into the River Tigris, and
his Head set upon a Pole in the City of Bagdad.
See Abulpharagius. p. 287.]
[Footnote 22: Alcoran.]
[Footnote 23: Because Words borrowed from and us’d about sensible and material Things, would lead Men into Mistakes, when us’d to explain things Spiritual, if they be taken in a literal Sense. See Sec. 85.]
[Footnote 24: The Author means, the nearest Approach to God.]
[Footnote 25: As the Author his in the three foregoing Sections describ’d the Condition of those glorified Spirits, who continually enjoy the Beatifick Vision; so in this he describes the miserable State of those who are deprived of it, i.e. the Damn’d.]
[Footnote 26: I have omitted the following Passage, because I could not well tell how to make it intelligible; the meaning of it in gross, is still to express the miserable Condition, and horrible Confusion of those Spirits which are separated from the Vision of God. However, I shall set it down in Latin out of Mr. Pocock’s Translation. Et ferris discindi inter repellendum & attrabendum; vidit etiam hic alias Essentias, praeter istas, quae cruciabantur, quae apparebant & deinde evanescebant, & connexae erant & cum dissolvebantur; & hic se cohibuit illasque bene perpendit & vidit ingentes terrores, & negotia magna, & turbam occupatam, & operationem, efficacem, & complanationem, & inflationem, & productionem, & destructionem. The particulars of this Passage, would be best explain’d by the Commentators upon the Alcoran, which I have no Opportunity of consulting.]
[Footnote 27: Alcoran, Chap. 81, and 101.]
[Footnote 28: The Arabick Words, Watathabaka indaho’ ’Imekoul w’almenkoul signify, And that which was understood agreed with that which was copied. But because that way of expressing it is obscure, I have chose rather to leave the Arabick Word, and express the Sense, which is this. Hai Ebn Yokdhan, having no Advantages of Education, had acquir’d all his Knowledge by singular Industry and Application, till at last he attain’d to the Vision of God himself, by which means he saw all things relating to a future State, viz. by beholding in God the Architypal Ideas, of which all things created, and whatsoever is reveal’d to us, are suppos’d to be Copies. Now Asal, by conversing with him, found, that the Mekoul, i.e. what Hai Ebn Yokdhan saw by this sort of Speculation; and the Menkoul, i.e. what Asal had learn’d out of the Alcoran, and the Tradition of the Prophets, did exactly answer one the other, as a Copy does its Original.]
[Footnote 29: Mahomet.]
[Footnote 30: Alcoran, Chap. 2 and 83.]
[Footnote 31: This is an Expression taken out of the Alcoran, and is design’d to express the Confusion which the Wicked shall be in at the Day of Judgment.]
[Footnote 32: Alcoran, Chap. 24 and 19.]
* * * * *
In which the
AUTHOR’S NOTION concerning the Possibility of a Man’s attaining to the true Knowledge of GOD, and Things necessary to Salvation, without the Use of external Means, is briefly consider’d.
By SIMON OCKLEY, M.A. Vicar of Swanesey in Cambridgshire.
LONDON, Printed in the Year, 1708.
* * * * *
* * * * *
Sec. 1, 2. The Occasion and Design of this Discourse. Sec. 3, 4, 5. God’s way of teaching his People was by Prophets. Sec. 6, 7. Prophecy not attain’d by any Applicatian or Industry, but depended upon the positive Will of God. Sec. 8. And, consequently the Vision of God, or beholding the Divine Being, which is superior to Prophesying, cannot be so attain’d. Sec. 9. That it was never mention’d as attainable, nor the Search of it recommended by the Prophet Moses, Sec. 10. Nor any other Prophets that succeeded him. Sec. 11. What was not enjoyed in the early Times of Christianity, when the Gifts of the Spirit were more plentifully poured out, cannot be expected now. Sec. 12. But such A Power, whereby a Man might (without external Helps) attain to the true Knowledge of God, and Things necessary to Salvation, was no where promis’d by our Saviour. Sec. 13. Nor enjoyed by devout Persons in the first times of the Gospel; which is prov’d from the Example of the Eunuch. Sec. 14. And Cornelius. Sec. 15. The whole Tenour of the Apostles Doctrine forbids us to expect the Vision of God in this Life. Sec. 16. From all which is inferr’d, that those Scriptures, which speak of the plentiful Effusion of the Spirit in the Gospel Times, are misunderstood by Enthusiasts. Sec. 17. Why we are not to expect Prophets now. Sec. 18. If these things be denied to Christians, they are not to be found amongst Heathens or Mahometans. Sec. 19, 20, 21, The Enthusiasm of our Author and others censured Sec. 23. Conclusion.
* * * * *
Sec. 1. Tho’ the preceeding History, upon the account of the lively Image and Representation which it gives of unspotted Virtue, unfeigned Love of God, and Contempt of the Things of this Life, does very well deserve to be read: So, as it contains several things co-incident with the Errors of some Enthusiasts of these present Times, it deserves to be consider’d. Upon which Account, I had no sooner suffer’d my self to be perswaded to undertake the Translation of this Book, than I determin’d to subjoin some Reflections upon such part of it as seem’d to me most worthy of Consideration. Lest otherwise, that Book, which was by me design’d for the Innocent, and not altogether unprofitable Diversion of the Reader, might accidentally prove a means of leading some into Error, who are not capable of judging aright; and of confirming others in their Mistakes, who, through their own Weakness, or the Prejudice of a bad Education, have the Misfortune to be led out of the way. And I was the more willing to do it, because there has been a bad Use made of this Book before.
Sec. 2. There are a great many Errors both in his Philosophy and Divinity: And it was impossible it should be otherwise, the one being altogether Aristotelian, the other Mahometan. I shall pass over the greatest part of them, as not being likely to do any harm; and confine my self chiefly to the Examination of this Fundamental Error of my Author, viz, That God has given such a Power or Faculty to Man, whereby he may, without any external Means, attain to the Knowledge of all things necessary to Salvation, and even to the Beatifick Vision it self, whilst in this State: In doing which I shall still have regard to the Errors receiv’d concerning these things in the present Age.
Sec. 3. In order to this I shall examine the Ways and Means by which the People of God in all Ages, came to the Understanding of his Will. Now ’tis evident, from the absurd Notions which the ancient Heathens had of the Deity, and their Idolatry, that Mankind was so far degenerated and deprav’d, that they had lost the true Knowledge of God, and of his Attributes, and consequently were ignorant of their Duty towards him; for which reason, God was pleas’d, out of his infinite Love and Mercy towards Mankind, to send at sundry times Prophets; that is, Men who were inspir’d by the Holy Spirit, and had the Will of God immediately reveal’d to them; to the end that they might instruct others how to serve him (the ancient Tradition receiv’d from our first Parents, and those good Men which succeeded them, being now almost worn out, and over-grown by the increasing Wickedness of the World) and thereby avoid those Judgments which would otherwise infallibly overtake them, if they continu’d in Impenitence and Disobedience.
Sec. 4. This was the Means which the Generality of the People of God had to know his Will. They receiv’d it from the Prophets, who had it immediately from God. So that the Difference of their Knowledge consisted in the Manner of their receiving of it, not in the Things receiv’d, which were the same both to the Prophets and the People. Only the Prophets receiv’d it immediately, but not the People: for then consequently they would all have been Prophets, which it is plain they were not.
Sec. 5. And when it had pleas’d God to give a clearer and fuller Revelation of his Will to the Prophet Moses; what was deliver’d to him, was committed to the Care of the Priests, of whom both King and People were oblig’d to learn their Duty. Deut. xvii. 18. And it shall be when he sitteth upon the Throne of his Kingdom, that he shall write him a Copy of this Law in a Book, out of that which is before the Priests the Levites, and it shall be with him, and, he shall read therein all the Days of his Life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the Words of this Law, and these Statutes, to do them. And Malachi xi. 7. The Priests Lips should preserve Knowledge, and they should seek the Law at his Mouth, for he is the Messenger of the Lord of Hosts. So that they were not to seek after any other more perfect manner of Worship, than what was deliver’d in that Book, nor to expect that those Truths or Precepts which were contained in it, should be reveal’d to them anew, either by any Prophet living in their time, or by immediate Revelation; but to draw all their Instructions from the aforesaid Helps. And accordingly we never find any of the Prophets making any Alteration in the Law, or calling the people to a more perfect way of Worship. From whence ’tis plain that they were well assur’d of its Sufficiency, till the Messias, who was to compleat it should come; and their never bidding the People to look for any other way of teaching than what was to be had from that Book, and the Mouth of the Priests, proves evidently that they knew those means to be sufficient.
Sec. 6. Thus we have seen which way the generality of the People of God were taught; let us now examine by what means the Prophets attain’d their Faculty of Prophesying and wherein it did consist. Now it is most certain that the Faculty of Prophesying cannot be attain’d by any Application or Improvement of our Abilities whatsoever, but depends wholly and entirely upon the positive Will of God, who upon important and weighty Occasions, in his own due time, and to such Persons as seem best in his infinite Wisdom, does send such as he is pleas’d to set apart and qualifie for that Service, by the Inspiration of his Holy Spirit. For Prophecy came not in old time by the Will of Man; but holy Men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. It must not denyed, but that a sober, righteous and godly Life, a Heavenly Conversation, and the keeping our selves pure both in Body and Spirit, are excellent Means to invite the Holy Spirit to dwell in and abide with us. And this is agreeable to right Notions of the Purity of God, and his Love of that which is Good, and Abhorrence of that which is Evil: It is confirmed by right Reason, the Testimony of ancient Churches and Holy Scripture it self. But then the Question is, How does God dwell in those that are his? Certainly, not so as to make Prophets of them, but to strengthen them in their Holy Resolutions, and enable them to perform such Things as tend most to his Glory, and their own Salvation. And upon a due Examination, we shall find that this is all which the greatest number by far of Godly Men ever attain’d; who notwithstanding must by no means be accus’d of Slothfulness in not approving their Talent, nor of being wanting in their Endeavours to make the nearest Approaches to God that they were capable of.
Sec. 7. This will appear further, if we consider that those means which were us’d by Holy Persons of Old, in order to the Improvement of themselves or others, in the Exercise of Piety and Religion, cannot upon any account be reckon’d as means of their becoming Prophets. Tho’ Samuel was dedicated to the Service of God from his Birth, and it pleas’d God to chuse him for a Prophet; yet there is no question to be made, but that there were several others so dedicated, which did never prophesy.
Tho’ Daniel was heard from the first day that he did set his Heart to understand, and to chasten himself before God, and had an Angel sent to him with a Revelation, yet cannot that disciplining of himself be in any wise accounted a Cause of that Revelation; for if it were, the same Method would produce the same Effect in another Man. And tho’ there were particular Advantages in being a Member of the College of Prophets; as the Prophet Amos intimates, where he says, I was no Prophet, nor A Prophet’s Son (which must be interpreted The Scholar of a Prophet, for the Scholars of the Prophets are always call’d Sons of the Prophets in Scripture) yet none of these Means were sufficient to help Men to the Gift of Prophecy. The pious Parents thought it a very good way of improving their Children in the Fear and Love of God, and the Knowledge of his Will, to have them brought up under those Holy and Exemplary Men the Prophets; and accordingly they waited upon them, went on Errands and did their Service; at the same time enjoying the great Advantage of their Example and Discourse. And according to their Example, even after Prophesy was ceas’d among the Jews, the eminent Men and chief Doctors of the Law had their Scholars and Disciples, more or fewer, according to the Credit and Esteem of the Matter. So that our Blessed Saviour’s chusing his twelve Disciples, was no new thing among the Jews, but had been practis’d all along, since those Schools of the Prophets. But never did any one imagine, that these means of Discipline, or any other, were Steps to the attaining the Gift of Prophecy, which always depended, not upon Mens Acquirements or Improvements in that which is good, but upon the positive Will of God.
Sec. 8. Now, if, as appears from what is already said, God has not afforded to Man, any Means whereby he can attain to the more inferior Degree of Prophecy, which consists in having only some part of his Will reveal’d; and that not constantly or habitually, but as occasion serves: How vain and fond is it then for any one to imagine that he has given him a Capacity of enjoying his Presence as he is, and of seeing all things in him? Which is as much above the Attainments of the greatest Prophets, as theirs is above the weakest of Men. For if we consider we shall find that the Prophets Business consisted in delivering a particular Message to one or more; the Contents of which sometimes they receiv’d
Sec. 9. It must needs be acknowledg’d by us Christians, as well as by the Jews, that Moses was, without Controversie, the the greatest Prophet that ever appear’d upon Earth before our Saviour’s time, and had the most frequent and greatest Revelations of the Divine Will. For tho’ it was a singular Favour which God vouchsafed the other Prophets, in communicating to them some of the Secrets of his Purposes; yet Moses was the Man whom God chose to be the Instrument of the Deliverance of his People Israel, by such convincing Signs and Wonders, as were undeniable Evidences of the Divine Power by which they were wrought, and who was not only to be God’s Messenger to his People in some few Particulars, but the immediate Receiver of that Law, and all the Oeconomy, both Ecclesiastical and Civil, by which God’s People were to be governed without any Addition or Diminution, so many hundred Years, till the Coming of the promised Messias. God himself bears Witness to this, Numb. xii. 6. If there be a Prophet among you, I the Lord will make my self known unto him in a Vision, and will speak unto him in a Dream. My Servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine House. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark Speeches, and the Similitude of the Lord shall he behold. Now Moses had not been faithful in God’s House, if he had not reveal’d
Sec. 10. Nor did any of the Prophets, which came after him, ever advance any such refin’d way of Worship; but constantly blam’d the People for not observing the Law of Moses, and neglecting the Statutes and Ordinances which he had left them. And the Sum of their Prophecies consists, either in Exhorting, Reproving, Promising or Threatning, and some Hints of the Messias. But not one Syllable concerning any such abstracted Worship, nor any Mention made of Mens attaining the Beatifick Vision. Notwithstanding which, there have been, and still are, a great many deluded Souls, who imagine that the warm Conceptions of distemper’d Brains, are a great Measure of that Holy Spirit by which the old Prophets spake; and pretend to such a Familiarity and intimate Conversation with God; such an entire Communication and Intercourse, that they might, if what they said were true, seem to be glorified Spirits, rather than Prophets, subject to the like Infirmities with other Men; and to have left the Church Militant to take their place in the Triumphant. Not considering, that all this is only a pleasing sort of an Amusement, a Fool’s Paradise, and grounded upon no better Reason or Foundation, than the Man that was distracted had to fancy himself an Emperor, and all that came about him his Subjects. These Men do not consider that we live in such an Age of the World, as we are not to expect such extraordinary Effusions of the Spirit: All that we can reasonably expect, or that God has promis’d, is, to give his Holy Spirit to those that ask it of him; that is, so to guide them by his gracious Assistance, as that they may overcome their Spiritual Enemies, and be crown’d hereafter with Glory and Immortality; which certainly ought to content any reasonable Man, without aspiring to Immediate Revelation, Prophecy, obtaining the Vision of God, and such like Things,which God has deny’d to us, whilst in this State.
Sec. 11. Indeed, if it were in Religion, as in Arts and Sciences, it might with a great deal more Reason have been expected; that considering the vast Distance of Time since the first planting of the Christian Religion to this present Age, we might have been improved to a Degree of Prophecy. For Arts and Sciences receive their Beginnings from very small Hints at first, and are afterwards improved proportionally to the Industry and Capacity of those who cultivate them; and therefore we may reasonably expect, that the longer they continue, the more they will be advanc’d. But the case is vastly different in Religion, which is always best and purest at its first setting out. And there is a very good Reason to be given, why it should be so; for after the first Covenant made by God with Mankind in the Person of Adam: every other Dispensation has found Men under a State of Corruption, and in the actual Possession of Errors, diametrically opposite to those Truths which it came to instruct them in; and therefore it was requisite that the means to remove these at first, should bear Proportion with the Difficulties they were to encounter. Upon which account, at the Beginning of any new Dispensation, those Persons whom God was pleas’d to employ to publish it to Mankind, have been endu’d with more Zeal and greater Abilities, than the Professors of the same Religion in after Ages. And as no Person can doubt, but that the Jewish Religion was much more perfect in the Days of Moses, and those which immediately succeeded him, than in after Times, when it was obscur’d and mudded by Pharisaical Inventions and Traditions: So must it also be confess’d, that the Christian Religion was much more perfect in the Days of the Apostles, and the Ages immediately succeeding them, than since it has been obscur’d by the Interest of the Designing on the one hand, and the Prejudice and Ignorance of the Unlearned on the other. And this is what is plainly confess’d by the Practice of most contending Parties amongst the Professors of Christianity; who constantly make their Appeals to the earliest Writers of the Primitive Christian Church, and use all means to bring them over to their own Side; which is an evident Concession that they value their Authority, and look upon them as the most competent Judges of their Controversies. Now, if I shall make it appear, that there was no such thing as is contended for by our Enthusiasts, in those early Times, when the Holy Spirit must be confess’d on all hands to be more plentifully pour’d out than in the succeeding Ages; I hope it will appear evidently to any unprejudic’d Person, that it is not at all to be expected under the Christian Dispensation.
Sec. 12. To begin therefore with our Blessed Saviour himself. It is evident that he never recommended any such way of worshipping God, as is contended for by the Mysticks, nor promised to reward the most sincere of his Followers with the Vision of God whilst in this State. As for his own Life, which is certainly the most perfect Pattern, it was Active to the greatest Degree; and bating some times of Retirement, to pray or the like, was wholly spent in Conversation, and doing Good to others. Then as to the Substance of his Doctrine, it consisted in acquainting the Jews that he himself was the Messias, whose Coming was so long ago, and so often foretold by the Ancient Prophets. He also acquainted them with the Nature of his Office and Mediatorship, and shew’d them how mightily they were mistaken in their Interpretations of the Prophets concerning him. He let them know, that, contrary to their Expectation, his Kingdom was not of this World; but that his Business was to bring Men out of Darkness to Light, and from the Bondage and Slavery of Sin, to the Liberty of the Sons of God. He taught them to abandon all ungodly Lusts, and to set their Hearts upon Things above; assuring them, that if they continu’d in his Love, they should be rewarded with everlasting Happiness. And lest his Disciples,and those Churches which should be planted by their Ministry, should be destitute of necessary Encouragement and Assistance, he assures them, in most endearing Terms, of his Love towards and Care over them, and promises speedily to send them the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, which should not only assure them of his own, and the Father’s Love towards them, but also enable them to work such Miracles as should be sufficient to confirm the Truth of their Mission. But no where promises the Enjoyment of the Beatifick Vision here; but bid them to expect their Reward hereafter; assuring them, that whither he went they could not follow him now, but should follow him afterwards, and that he went to prepare a place for them. Nor did he even mention his having purchas’d for Mankind such a Privilege, as that they might, by diligently improving what was given them, come to God without any other Means, but rather the quite contrary: For he says, No Man cometh to the father but by me; now certainly the way to come to Christ, is to believe in him; which, according to the Apostle S. Paul, presupposes, hearing him preach’d.
Sec. 13, And as our Blessed Saviour did never promise to reward the Endeavours of sincere Persons, with such a Power whereby they might attain, without any External Means, all Things necessary to Salvation, much less the Intuition, or beholding the Divine Presence whilst in this Life; so neither do we find that they either expected or enjoy’d it. The Method of God in teaching his People, was still the same as it ever had been, viz. by revealing his Will
Sec. 14. Which is still further confirmed by the Example of Cornelius(Acts x.) who being a devout Man, and one that fear’d God with all his House, and gave much Alms to the People, and pray’d to God always, was so far accepted by God, that he was graciously pleas’d to provide Means for his further Instruction in his Duty, and sent Peter to instruct him. Whereby he has plainly pointed out to us the way by which he would have us seek for the Knowledge of him, viz. by applying our selves to such as he has appointed to teach his People. Accordingly we find that Cornelius’s Alms and Devotions, and incessant waiting upon God, did neither advance him to the Beatifick Vision, nor so far as to have those Truths presented to him by way of Object, immediately, which were necessary to be believ’d by him in order to his Salvation; neither is he at all encourag’d to look for or depend upon Vision or Intuition, but is sent to a Man like himself, to hear with his outward Ears, those things which concern’d his Eternal Welfare. Whereas, if God had ever granted to Mankind a Power whereby he might, by due Application and Attention, attain to a sufficient Knowledge of God, and Things necessary to Salvation; or, if such a Privilege, though deny’d before, had been purchas’d by Jesus Christ; there is no question, but Persons so extraordinarily well qualified as these two good Men, Cornelius and the Eunuch, were, would have enjoy’d the Benefit of it; and then the Event would have been, that by their constant attending upon God, and unwearied Diligence in meditating and practising good Things, they would have increas’d in Spiritual Knowledge, and made nearer Approaches to God, till they had attain’d to Perfection. But we find nothing like this, but that on the contrary they were oblig’d to be instructed by the same means which God had appointed for other Men.
Sec. 15. And then as to matter of Vision, the whole Tenor of the Apostle’s Doctrine runs counter to it. S. Paul tells us, that all those noble Actions which were perform’d by the Ancient Worthies (Heb. xi.) were done thro’ Faith; which as himself defines, is (v.i.) is, The Substance of Things hoped for, the Evidence of Things not seen. It is an Assent which we give to Things as true, which we can neither apprehend by our Senses, nor demonstrate by our Reasoning; so that the only Objects of our Faith are such Things as we receive upon the Credit of another; which, how far it is from Vision, is evident to common Sense. And the same Apostle tells us, that now we see through A Glass darkly; and that we know in part, and prophesie in part.
Sec. 16. Hence it is plain, that all those Texts which speak of the plentiful Effusion of the Spirit in the times of the Gospel, are quite misunderstood by all those, who interpret them after such a manner, as if God had given such a Measure of it to all Mankind, that upon a due Improvement of it, they might attain to the Knowledge of him, and of all Things necessary to Salvation. Whereas it appears, that even in the earliest Times of the Gospel, there was no such thing; but then all the Churches were planted by the Ministry of the Apostles, who ordain’d others to succeed them in their Office. If therefore in those Times it was not granted, it is a ridiculous Absurdity to expect it in this Age; and no small Degree, either of Impudence or Madness to pretend to it.
Sec. 17. Since it is not foreign to the Matter
in hand, the Reader will, I hope, pardon me if I digress
a little, to shew why we cannot reasonably expect
Prophets now. And it seems to me, that there are
several Reasons to be given why there should be Prophets
during the time of the Mosaical Dispensation, rather
than after the Gospel had taken Root. For, the
Promises made to the Jews having Relation to
their possessing the Land of Canaan, God was
pleas’d to send them Prophets to quicken their
Memories, and keep them in mind of their Duty, that
thereby his Judgments might be averted from them;
(and especially, because of the prevailing Idolatry
of those Times; for after they were well fix’d
in the Practice of the True Religion, and out of that
Danger, we find no Prophets;) and we find that most
of the Ancient Prophecies tend that way. But
now we are quite upon another Bottom; we are taught,
that we have here no continuing City; that,
when these Tabernacles shall be dissolv’d,
we have a Habitation not made with Hands, eternal in
the Heavens. That we are to set our Minds
on Things above, not on Things on the Earth; that
we are to deny our selves, and take up our Cross
and follow Christ; that, through many Tribulations
we must enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, and
many Passages to the same Effect. So that to
have Prophets foretelling future Events, relating to
the Welfare and Preservation of our Temporals, or
the contrary, seems not so proper for a People, whose
very Profession supposes them to have laid aside all
Solicitude concerning them. Again, before the
Coming of Christ, God’s Will was but imperfectly
reveal’d; and it was necessary that there should
be Fore-runners to prepare the way against his Coming,
and raise the Expectation of him in the People, that
they might be the better prepar’d to receive
him. But after he was once come, who was to compleat
and fulfil all; after God, who at sundry times,
and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the
fathers by the Prophets, had, in these
last days, spoken unto us by his Son, whom he has appointed
Heir of all things, &c. who was the Brightness
of his Glory, and the express Image of his person,
&c. I say, after God had, by this glorious Person,
manifested and reveal’d his whole Will to us,
and declared whatsoever he requir’d to be believ’d
and done by us, whilst in these Mortal Bodies; there
was no longer need of Revelation to those who had received
the most perfect one that could be deliver’d.
So that all those Reasons being remov’d, which
were to be given for a Succession of immediately inspired
Prophets before the Coming of Christ; it is altogether
groundless, to say no worse of it, to expect any now
he is come. What Methods God will use, when his
time is come, to bring in the Fulness of the Gentiles,
and to convert the Jews; or what Endowments he will
bestow upon those Persons whom he shall please to
make use of as his Instruments to compleat that great
Work, will then be best known when it is come to pass.
There is no Question but that he will use sufficient
means. All that I contend for is, that those which
he has already afforded, are abundantly sufficient
for those who have the Happiness to be baptized, and
brought up in the Profession of the Christian Faith;
and consequently, that it is unreasonable to expect
any other Assistances, or to seek any other means
of serving God, than what are deliver’d in his
Holy Word, and made use of in his Church.
Sec. 18. To return to our Argument. If these things, contended for by Enthusiasts, were not granted either under the Jewish or Christian Dispensation, as I hope has been sufficiently prov’d; it follows, a majori, that those who are depriv’d of those Advantages, which both Jews and Christians enjoy’d cannot have them: And therefore in vain do we search for Persons so endow’d amongst Mahometans or Heathens. For without any Breach of Charity, in respect to those Persons, who never were so happy as to have the Gospel preach’d to them; we may assure our selves, that they do not enjoy equal Privileges with us, who by our Baptism have a foederal Right to all those Assistances of the Holy Spirit promis’d to the Church in the Holy Scriptures. And yet there would not be much difference, if by their diligently adhering to any Principle or Light, which God has bestow’d upon Mankind in general, they might attain to true saving Knowledge. And for this Reason, our Author, who was himself a Mahometan, seems as little to have consulted the Honour of his Prophet Mahomet, and the necessity of believing his Doctrine, in feigning a Person brought up by himself, to have by his Application and Industry attain’d to the Knowledge of all things reveal’d to that suppos’d Prophet, as our Enthusiasts do value the Means which God has always us’d to convey his Will to Mankind. Whilst out of a groundless Charity, they do in a manner put all Men upon the Level, as to the Means of Salvation. Which Opinion of theirs, however plausible at first sight, upon the account of that specious Shew of Universal Charity to Mankind, does most certainly tend to the undervaluing and lessening those inestimable Benefits which our Blessed Saviour has purchas’d for, and promis’d to his Church; and ought no more to be receiv’d, than that charitable Opinion of Origen’s who believ’d that after a certain time of Punishment, not only the wickedest of Men, but also the Devils themselves should be laved.
Sec. 19. I have now shewn that what is here held by our Author, and too many others in our times, has no manner of Foundation. That it was never promis’d nor expected, either under the Mosaical or Christian Dispensation; from whence I have inferr’d, that it cannot be expected any where else, and consequently that there is no such thing at all. If I have not spoken all the while particularly to my Author, the reason is, because I write to Christians, and chiefly have regard to those Errors, held by some of that Denomination, which are common with those of our Author. Besides, if that were requisite, ’tis only allowing for Argument sake, that the Alcoran was written by Inspiration, and that Mahomet was a Prophet, and then the same way of Arguing proves the Enthusiasm of our Author, who being a profess’d Mahometan, and they being oblig’d to believe that Mahomet is the Catimo’l anbyai, i.e. The Seal of the Prophets, and that theirs is the last Dispensation, which Mankind shall ever receive from God, has ventured to suppose the Possibility of a Man’s attaining to the true Knowledge of God, and Things necessary to Salvation, and all other Things, both Spiritual and Natural, belonging either to this World, or that to come, without the Help of any outward Instruction.
Sec. 20. I need not insist upon this any longer; I shall only remark, that as true Piety is the same in all Ages and Climates, and good solid Sense too, so also is Enthusiasm. And I have sometimes wonder’d, when I have read the Whimsies and Conceits of the Arab Enthusiasts (whose numerous Sects equal those Heresies mention’d by Epiphanius, or even that plentiful Crop which the Devil has sow’d of them in our times) to find such a Harmony between them and ours at present. Such a perfect Agreement in their wild Notions, and these express’d in the very self-same Cant, may easily convince any one, that the Instruments of both were strung and tun’d by the same Hand. Another thing observable is this; Let the Enthusiast have never such great Abilities, there is always something or other which proves his Pretensions to Revelation to be false; and as they tell us, that, let the Devil change himself into what Shape he will he can never conceal his Cloven Foot; so neither can the Enthusiast make himself pass for Inspired, with any Person of tolerable discerning; but there will appear some very considerable Flaw, which shall manifestly prove him a Deceiver, or at least a Person deceiv’d. This is the Fate of them, and our Author could not avoid it. He has indeed carried his Philosopher beyond the Orb of Saturn, but he might as well have sav’d him that Trouble; for he brought nothing down with him, but what he himself was able to furnish him withal before he went; viz. Mahometan Divinity, and Aristotelian Philosophy. As to the former of these I shall not need to say any thing; but I am well assur’d, that when he talk’d of those Discoveries in the latter, made by him when in that glorious State, he never dream’d in the least of those more certain Discoveries which should be made afterwards, by the Sagacity of our Astronomers and Philosophers; and that the contrary of what he believ’d; as to those things, should be prov’d by undeniable Demonstration.
Sec. 21. Nor does it succeed better with such Pretenders in our Age; who, taught by woful Experience, have of late grown more wary, and rarely pretended to Inspirations, except in such Matters as they might be well assur’d of by other means. The safest way for them,I confess, tho’ at the same time extreamly absurd and ridiculous. For if a Man pretends to know a thing by Divine Inspiration, when there are other Means of attaining it: I have much more reason to think, either that he is an Impostor and Deceiver,or else, that through warmth of Conceit, or the Delusion of the Devil, he imagines himself to be divinely inspired when he is not; rather than to believe that God, who does nothing but for most wise and excellent Ends and Purposes, should reveal a thing to any Person immediately, when he had before afforded him sufficient Means of knowing it otherwise.
Sec. 22. It remains that we beg of God to give us his Grace, and the Assistance of his Holy Spirit, that we may sincerely and heartily apply our selves to the diligent Use of those Means which he has appointed for our Instruction, in his Church. That we seek for the Knowledge of him in his holy Word, and approach to him in his Ordinances, and by a holy pious Conversation. These are the Ways which he has chalk’d out for us; and if any Persons will not be content with these Means, but will walk in By-Paths, and follow every Ignis fatuus that presents it self; if they be are the last convinc’d of their fatal Mistake when it is too late, they must blame themselves. God of his infinite Mercy lead them out of their Errors, and guide both them and us through this imperfect State, till at last we attain to the perfect Vision, and full Enjoyment of himself; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
[Footnote 33: See Sect. 84, 85, &c.]
[Footnote 34: 2 Pet. 1. 21.]
[Footnote 35: Dan. x. 12.]
[Footnote 36: Amos vii. 14.]
[Footnote 37: By seeing all things in God, I have no regard to Mr. Malebranch_’s Notion, but only to that of our Author._ See Sect. 90, _&c_.]
[Footnote 38: Maimonides in Pocockii Porta Mosis, p. 171.]
[Footnote 39: See the letter concerning, the Quietists, printed with the B. of Sarum_’s Letters_.]
[Footnote 40: John Chap. xiv, xv, xvi, xvii.]
[Footnote 41: John xiii, 36. xiv, 2.]
[Footnote 42: John xiv, 7. Rom. x, 17, 18.]
[Footnote 43: Cor. xiii, 12, 9.]
[Footnote 44: Heb. i, 1.]
[Footnote 45: See Sect. 109.]
[Footnote 46: See Sect. 90.]
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