The Improvement of Human Reason eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 166 pages of information about The Improvement of Human Reason.

Blessed be the Almighty and Eternal, the Infinitely Wise and Merciful God, who hath taught us the Use of the PEN[2], 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[3]; and that MAHOMET is his Servant and Apostle[4], 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[5]:  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![6] Another said, I am Truth![7].  Another, That he was God.

Abu Hamed Algazali[8], when he had attain’d to it, express’d himself thus,

     ’Twas what 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[9] 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.

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The Improvement of Human Reason from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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