Considerations of the existence of God and of the immortality of the soul, with the recompences of the future state for the cure of infidelity, the hectick evil of the times
Bates, William, 1625-1699.

CHAP. IX.*

The acts of the Will consider'd. Its choice of things distastful to Sense, and sometimes destructive to the Body, argue it to be a spiritual prin∣ciple. The difference between Man and Brutes amplified. The Spiri∣tual operations of the Soul may be perform'd by it self in a separate state. This is a strong proof God will continue it. The Platonick argumeut that man unites the two orders of Natures intelligent and sensible, Immortal and perishing.

2. THe acts of the Will that imperial faculty, prove it to be of a higher order of sub∣stance Page  171 than the sensitive Soul. The Brutes are acted by pure ne∣cessity; their powers are moved and determined by the external application of objects. 'Tis visible that all kinds of sensitive Crea∣tures in all times, are carried in the same manner by the potent sway of Nature towards things sutable to their corporeal facul∣ties. But the rational Will is a principle of free election, that controuls the lower appetite, by restraining from the most plea∣sant and powerful allurements, and choosing sometimes the most distastful things to sense. Now from whence arises this contenti∣on? If the rational Will be not of a higher nature than the sensual appetite, why does it not consent with its inclinations? How comes the Soul to mortifie the most ve∣hement Page  172 desires of the body, a part so near in Nature, so dear by Affection, and so apt to resent an injury? And since 'tis most evi∣dent that sensitive Creatures al∣ways with the utmost of their force defend their Beings, from whence is it that the rational Soul in some cases against the strongest recoile and reluctance of Nature, exposes the body to Death? If it depended on the body for subsist∣ence it would use all means to pre∣serve it. Upon the sight of con∣trary motions in an engine we conclude they are caused by di∣verse springs, and can such oppo∣site desires in Man proceed from the same principle?

If the rational Soul be not of a sublimer order than the sensitive, it follows that Men are Beasts, and Beasts are Men. Now 'tis as Page  173 impossible to be what they are not, as not to be what they are. But do the Beasts reverence a Di∣vine Power, and at stated times perform acts of solemn Worship? Is Conscience the immediate rule of their Actions? will Lectures of temperance, chastity, justice arrest them in the eager pursute of sen∣sual satisfactions? Do they feel re∣morse in doing ill, and pleasure in doing well? Do they exercise the Mind in the search of Truth? have they desires of a sublime in∣tellectual good that the low sen∣sual part cannot partake of? have they a capacity of such an im∣mense Blessedness, that no finite Object in its qualities and durati∣on can satisfy? Ask the Beasts, and they will tell you. Their acti∣ons declare the contrary. But the humane Soul has awful ap∣prehensions Page  174 of the Deity, distin∣guishes of things by their agree∣ment or disconformity to his Laws: Its best and quickest Plea∣sures, and most piercing wound∣ing Troubles are from Moral Causes. What colour, what taste has Vertue? yet the purified Soul is inflam'd by the views of its most amiable thô not sensible beauty, and delighted in its sweetness. How often is it so ravish'd in con∣templation of God, the great Ob∣ject of the rational Powers, as to lose the desire and memory of all carnal things? What stronger Ar∣gument and clearer Proof can there be of its affinity with God, than that Divine things are most sutable to it? for if the rational Soul were of the same order with the sensitive, as it could not possi∣bly conceive any being more ex∣cellent Page  175 than what is corporeal, so it could only relish gross things wherein Sense is conversant.

The Sum of what has been dis∣courst of, is this, that by consider∣ing the different operations of Man and of Brutes, we may clear∣ly discern the different powers of acting, wherewith the rational Soul is endowed in the one, and the sensitive in the other. The Soul in Beasts performs no opera∣tions independent on the Body that serves it either as an instru∣ment, or matter of their producti∣on: such are the use of the Sen∣ses, Nutrition, Generation, all the internal work, and the preparing the Phantasms, without which they would be far less serviceable to Man. 'Tis not strange there∣fore that it perishes with the Bo∣dy, there being no reason for its Page  176 duration in a separate state, since 'tis fit only to act by the ministry of the Body. But the Soul of Man, besides the operations that proceed from it as the form of the body it animates, such are all com∣mon to man with Plants and Ani∣mals, understands, discourses, reflects on it self, that are acts proper to its nature, and includ∣ed in its true conception, where∣by 'tis distinguished from that of Brutes. Indeed the exercise of sensitive operations depends so absolutely on its union with the body, that they cannot be per∣form'd, nor conceived as possible without its presence, and the use of corporeal organs. But the more excellent operations that proceed from the higher faculties, wherewith 'tis indowed not as the form of a material Being, but as Page  177 a spiritual substance, such as sub∣sist for ever without any commu∣nion with Bodies, so entirely be∣long to it by the condition of Na∣ture, that for their production 'tis sufficient of it self. The Under∣standing and Will are Angelical Powers, and to know and will, and to be variously moved with pleasure or greif according to the qualities of objects sutable or dis∣agreeing, are proper to those Na∣tures that have no alliance with Bodies. It follows therefore the Soul, in its separate state, may con∣template, and delightfully injoy intellectual objects, or torment it self with reflection on things contrary to its will: Nay, it un∣derstands more clearly, and is affected more strongly than be∣fore. For these operations during its conjunction are not common Page  178 to the Body, but produc'd by it in the quality of a mind, and are then most vigorous and expedite, most noble and worthy of it, when the Soul withdraws from all sensible things into it self, and is most rais'd above the manner of working that is proper and pro∣portion'd to the body. And from hence 'tis reasonable to conclude that it survives the Body, not losing with it the most noble fa∣culty, the mind, that is peculiar to it, nor the necessary instrument of using it. For as the universal Pro∣vidence of God supports the lo∣wer rank of Creatures in their natural Life, so long as their fa∣culties are qualified for actions proper to that life, we may strong∣ly argue that his conservative In∣fluence will not be withdrawn from the humane Soul that is apt Page  179 and capable in its own nature to exist, and act in a separate state. In short, the understanding and elective powers declare its descent from the Father of Spirits, whose image is ingraven in its nature, not as in brittle glass, but an in∣corruptible Diamond.

I shall add to the natural argu∣ments an observation of the Pla∣tonists, that of all other Philoso∣phers approach nearest the truth in their discourses of God and the Soul, of the Majesty of the one and the excellence of the other. They observe that the unity of the World is so closely combin'd in all its parts, the several beings that compose it, that between the superiour and inferiour species there are middle Natures, where∣in they meet, that no vacuum may interpose in the series of things. Page  180 This is evident by considering that between inanimate bodies and living, insensible and sensible, there are some beings that partake of the extremes, and link them to∣gether, that the order of things not being interrupted, the mind by continual easie degrees may as∣cend from the lowest to the high∣est in perfection. And from this just and harmonious proportion that is proper to essences, the intel∣ligible beauty and musick of the World arises, that is so pleasing to the considering mind. Now what band is there to joyn the two ranks of Beings, intelligent and sensible, but Man, that partakes of Sense, common with the Beasts, and Un∣derstanding to the Angels. For this reason they give him the my∣sterious name of Horizon, the ending and union of the two He∣mispheres, Page  181 the superiour and in∣feriour, the two orders of Na∣tures, immortal, and that shall pe∣rish.