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.


The Body of Man form'd with perfect design for Beauty and Usefulness. A short description of its parts. The fabrick of the Eye and Hand admi∣rably discovers the Wisdom of the Maker. The erect stature of the Body fitted for the rational Soul. Man by speech is fitted for society. How the affections are discovered in the Countenance. The distinction of Persons by the face how necessa∣ry. The reasonable Soul the image of a wise and voluntary Agent.

I Will now briefly consider Man, with respect to both the parts of his compounded nature, where∣in Page  35 are very clear evidences of a wise Maker.

The Body is the most artifi∣cial of all perishing things in the World. 'Tis justly called the store∣house of proportions. 'Tis equally impossible to add any thing but what is superfluous, or to take a∣away any thing but what is neces∣sary. How many internal parts diverse in their qualities and fi∣gures, are dispos'd with that pro∣vidence, that all operate accord∣ing to their proper Natures, and not one can be, I do not say bet∣ter, but tolerably in any other place, as well for its special as the common benefit? All are so just∣ly ordered, with that mutual de∣pendence as to their being and o∣perations, that none can be without the whole, nor the whole without it. So that if with attentive Eye Page  36 we consider this, it might seem that in making the Body the de∣sign was only respecting conveni∣ence and profit: But if we turn our thoughts from that which is within this unparallel'd Piece, and regard the various forms and stru∣cture of the outward parts, the graceful order that adorns them, we might imagine that the Maker only designed its regular visible beauty.* As Phavorinus compa∣ring the Writings of two famous Orators, observed, that if one word be taken from a sentence of Plato, you spoil'd the elegance, if from Lycias, the sense. So the taking away the least considerable part from the Body, spoils its comli∣ness, or usefulness. Two great Philosophers have left excellent Discourses of the parts of the Bo∣dy, justly esteemed among their Page  37 most noble works. Galen after an exquisit observation of the Sy∣metry of this Fabrick, challeng'd the Epicureans, to find but one of all the numerous parts that com∣pose it, the least Vein or Fibre, that was not serviceable for its proper end, or might be better if chang'd in its form, temperature or place, and he would embrace their opi∣nion, that Chance was the Au∣thour of it. And for this reason he says, that by describing the use of the parts, he compos'd a true Hymn in praise of the wise Ma∣ker.

What knowledg is requisit to describe all that is wonderful in it? the contempering the differing humours in just weight and mea∣sure, the inviolable correspon∣dence establisht between all the parts for the performance of na∣tural, Page  38 vital and animal operations? To touch upon a few things. The Stomach that by an unknown virtue prepares the nourishment, the Heart and Liver the two Seas of blood; the one more gross, the other more refin'd and spirituous; the Veins and Arteries their inse∣parable companions, that diffuse themselves into innumerable ri∣volets, and convey the blood and spirit of Life; the Nerves the se∣cret channels, that from the Brain derive the spirits of sense and mo∣tion; the Muscles that give it va∣rious motions; the fleshy parts of different substance and quality according to their various Offices; the Membrans in that diversity, some finer, some thicker weav'd according to the quality of the part they cover; the inward fat that preserves the warm Bowels Page  39 from drying up; the Marrow wherewith the instruments of mo∣tion are oiled and made nimble and expedite; the Bones that sup∣port the building of such different forms, proportions, qualities, and so fitly joyn'd: these are a full conviction that a Divine Mind contriv'd it, a Divine Hand made and fashion'd it.

I will more particularly consi∣der the curious fabrick of the Eye and Hand. The Eye is a work of such incomparable Artifice, that who ever understands it, hath a sufficient proof of his Skill that form'd it. This is most evi∣dent by dissecting it, and repre∣senting the parts separate one from another, and after reuniting them, and thereby discovering the Causes of the whole Composure, and of the Offices proper to every part.

Page  40 That that may be understood without seeing it, is that there is no member in the whole Body compos'd of more parts, nor more different, nor ordered with more exact wisdom between themselves in one frame. Their situation is so regular and necessary, that if any of them be never so little dis∣plac't, the Eye is no more an Eye. It includes three Humours that are transparant, and of different thickness, the one resembling Water, the other Glass, the other Chrystal, and from them borrow their names: to vary the place, the distance, the less or greater thickness, the figure that is peculiar to each of them would render the Eye altogether useless for seeing: for the refractions of the light that enters through the pupil would be disordered; and the rays not be Page  41 united in a point, to paint in the Retina, the images of visible ob∣jects, which is the last disposition from whence the act of seeing fol∣lows. Several tunicles involve it, one of which is perforated (as much as the little Circle in the middle that is called the pupil) to give open passage to the images flowing from their objects. The Muscles by their agency raise or cast down, turn or fix it. The Nerves fasten'd to the Brain, con∣vey a supply of spirits for the sight, and transmit the representation of all visible objects without confu∣sion to the internal senses.

If we consider the Hand by the most exact rule of proportion, 'tis evident that its substance and shape are most conducive to beau∣ty and service. If the Fingers were not divided, and separately Page  42 moveable, but joyn'd together with one continued skin, how un∣comely, how unuseful would it be? Of an hundred effects ninety would be lost. All that require variety of motion, subtilty of art, or strength could not be per∣form'd. But the Fingers being disjoyn'd, 'tis fit to do whatever the mind designs, or necessity re∣quires. It works intirely, or in parts, it brandishes a Sword, or manages a Pen,* strikes on the An∣vil with a Hammer, or uses a de∣licate File, rows in the Water, or touches a Lute. Tis fit for all things, adapting it self to the great∣est and least, all which advantages the Philosopher expresses with admirable brevity, In divisione ma∣nus componendi facultas est, in Compo∣sitione dividendi non esset. Suppose the Fingers were of equal length Page  43 and bigness, great inconveniencies would follow. And in this the Divine Wisdom is eminent, that what at first sight seems to be of no consequence, yet is absolutely necessary, not only for all the re∣gular, but for most works of the Hand. If the Fingers were extend∣ed to the same measure, it were able to do nothing but what the four longest can. And how un∣comely would such a figur'd hand appear? when that beauty is lost, that springs from variety in things alike. Besides, how unprofitable a part were the Hand if the Fingers had within one intire bone, not flexible to grasp as occasion re∣quires? Or if a fleshy substance only, how weak and unapt for service? what strength or firmness for labour? even the Nails are not superfluous; besides their Page  44 gracefulness, they give force and sense to the points of the Fingers. If one be lost, the feeling in that extream part is very much les∣sen'd, that is so necessary for the discerning of things.

To these I shall add two other considerations that discover per∣fect wisdom in the framing the humane Body.

1. Its structure is very different from that of Brutes, whereby 'tis a fit instrument of the rational Soul. The Brutes being meerly terrestrial Animals, are perpe∣tually groveling and poring downwards, seeking no more than their food. They have no com∣merce with the Heavens, but so far as it serves them for the Earth, as being only born for their Bel∣lies. But in Man the posture of his Body interprets that of his Page  45 Soul. The stature is streight and rais'd, expressive of his dominion over the Creatures made for his use. The Head is over all the less noble parts, and the Eyes so plac't that the mind may look out at those windows to discover the World in its various parts, to contemplate the Heavens its na∣tive Seat, and be instructed and excited to admire and love the divine Maker.

2. If we consider Man com∣plexly as joyn'd with society, to which he is naturally inclin'd, he is so form'd as to give or receive assistance for his preservation and comfort. The Tongue his peculiar glory, the interpreter of the Thoughts, and reconciler of the Affections, maintains this happy commerce. Besides, the Face makes known our inward moti∣ons Page  46 to others. Love, hatred, desire, dislike, joy, greif, confidence, dispair, courage, cowardice, admi∣ration, contempt, pride, modesty, cruelty, compassion, and all the rest of the Affections are disco∣ver'd by their proper Aspects. By a sudden change of the counte∣nance are manifested the deepest sorrow, the highest joy. As the face of the Heavens vail'd with Clouds by the breaking forth of the Sun is presently cleard up. And (which is above the imi∣tation of Art) different affections are represented in a more or less expressive appearance according to their stronger or remisser de∣grees. Timanthes the famous Pain∣ter, wisely drew a vail over Aga∣memnons Face present at the sacri∣fice of his innocent Daughter; despairing to express and accord Page  47 his several Passions, the tenderness of a Father, with the Majesty of a King and the generosity of the Leader of an Army. This way of discovery has a more universal use then words. The ministry of the Tongue is only useful to those that understand our Language, but the Face, though silent, speaks to the Eye. The Countenance is a Crystal wherein the thoughts and affections otherwise invisible appear, and is a natural sign known to all. For this manner of expression is not by the common agreement of Men as Signs abso∣lutely free or mixt, but from the institution of Nature, that always chuses what is most proper to its end, being guided by a superiour directour according to the rules of perfect Wisdom. Moreover, the innumerable different chara∣cters Page  46〈1 page duplicate〉Page  47〈1 page duplicate〉Page  48 in the Faces of Men to dis∣cern every one, is the counsel of most wise Providence for the universal benefit of the World. For take away this distinction, and all the bands of Laws, of Com∣merce, of Friendship are dis∣solv'd. If we could not by singular inseparable lineaments distinguish the innocent from the guilty, a Brother from a Stranger, the worthy from the unworthy, all truth in Judgments, sincerity in Relations, distinction of Merits, security in Trade would be de∣stroyed. In short, humane societies cannot be preserved without uni∣on and distinction? the one pre∣vents division, the other confusi∣on. Union is maintain'd by speech and other signs of the inward dispositions of the Heart; distin∣ction is caus'd by the variety of Page  49 countenances. And 'tis consider∣able that so few parts composing it, and in so small a compass, and always in the same situation, yet there is such a diversity of figures as of faces in the World.*Seneca propounds this as a spectacle wor∣thy of admiration, though the Stoical pride, falsely esteem'd greatness of mind, would scarce admire Miracles.

And as the frame of Mans Bo∣dy, so much more the rational Soul, his eminent prerogative a∣bove all sensible beings, discovers the Deity. The superior faculties, the Understanding and Will, whereby he makes a judgment and choice of things in order to his happiness, declare it to be the living image and glory of a most Wise and voluntary Agent. The admirable composition of two Page  50 things so disproportion'd, a spiri∣tual and material substance in the humane nature, is an argument of his omnipotent skil who united them in a manner inconceiveable to us. But the nature, qualities, and operations of the Soul, shall be more distinctly considered af∣terwards. And by this short ac∣count of some parts of the World, we may sufficiently discover the perfections of the Maker. We must pluck out our Eyes, and ex∣stinguish common sense, not to see infinite Wisdom, Power and Goodness shining in them, the proper marks of the Deity.