¶How the soule is of Philoso∣phers described. Chap. 4.
BUT what thing a Soule is, it is vnknowen to many men. For in this matter wée reade, that olde Phi∣losophers gaue diuerse, and as it were contrarie determinations. In liber de Anima, Aristotle rehearseth the Pla∣to sayde, that a soule is a béeing mouing it selfe. And Zeno sayth, that a soule is a number that moueth it selfe. Pytha∣goras calleth the soule Harmonie, a con∣cord of melodie. Paphinons calleth it Idea, a manner example. And Asole∣pides calleth it a manner of corde, that setteth the fiue wittes a worke. Hipo∣cras calleth it a subtile spirite spread through all the bodie. Eraclius the Phi∣losopher, calleth the soule a lyght, or a sparcle of béeing. Democritus cal∣leth it an vncerteine spirits Atho∣mis, a little thing, as it were of the meates in the Sunne beame, and so hée sayth, that all the bodye of the soule is such a lyttle thing. Permenides saith, that it is made of earth and of fire. Epicurus sayth, that the soule is a man∣ner kinde of fire and ayre. Ipertus saith, the soule is a firye strength. Iuxta il∣lud: Igneus est illis vigor et coele∣stis origo. Sith that wise men haue spoken so many wayes, and so diuerse∣ly of the soule: at this time onelye this shall suffice that is sayde of holy men. That the soule is a manner of spiritual and reasonable substaunce, that GOD maketh of naught for to giue lyfe and perfection to mans body. And because it is a substaunce that maye receyue contraryes: It receiueth vnderstan∣ding, Page [unnumbered] and yet is subiect to forgetting, vertue and mallice without chaunging or léesing of his substaunce. And be∣cause it is bodilesse, it is not spread in length neither in breadth in the bodily wits. Inasmuch as it is simple in kinde, therfore it may grow and ware, neither more neyther lesse one time then at an other. And therefore in the greater bo∣dye it is no greater, nor in the lesser bo∣die lesser, as sayeth Austen. Also though it bée simple and not chaunge∣able in his substaunce, yet it hath ma∣ny sundry mights and vertue. For mul∣titude in might and vertue, maketh him neither more ne lesse in kinde, but the multitude of might and vertue be∣longeth to the dooinges and effects. And so hée is not more in thrée vertues then in one, neither lesse in one then in thrée: And thus it is known, that ye soule hath many propertyes and definitions, tou∣ching what thing the Soule is, and the condition of the Soule shall bée more cléerelye knowne by the setting of the name.