Truth tried: or, animadversions on a treatise published by the Right Honorable Robert Lord Brook, entituled, The Nature of Truth, its vnion and vnity with the soule. Which (saith he) is one in its essence, faculties, acts; one with truth. By I. W.

About this Item

Truth tried: or, animadversions on a treatise published by the Right Honorable Robert Lord Brook, entituled, The Nature of Truth, its vnion and vnity with the soule. Which (saith he) is one in its essence, faculties, acts; one with truth. By I. W.
Wallis, John, 1616-1703.
London :: Printed by Richard Bishop, for Samuel Gellibrand at the Signe of the Brazen Serpent in Pauls Church-yard,

To the extent possible under law, the Text Creation Partnership has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above, according to the terms of the CC0 1.0 Public Domain Dedication ( This waiver does not extend to any page images or other supplementary files associated with this work, which may be protected by copyright or other license restrictions. Please go to for more information.

Subject terms
Brooke, Robert Greville, -- Baron, 1607-1643. -- Nature of truth.
Truth -- Early works to 1800.
Cite this Item
"Truth tried: or, animadversions on a treatise published by the Right Honorable Robert Lord Brook, entituled, The Nature of Truth, its vnion and vnity with the soule. Which (saith he) is one in its essence, faculties, acts; one with truth. By I. W." In the digital collection Early English Books Online. University of Michigan Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 28, 2024.


CHAP. XII. Concerning Falshood in the Soules operations. Whether it cease to Bee, when it caseth to Act Truth.

IN the twelfth Chapter, he comes to another Objection If Actings of Truth, be Truth, (that is, if Rationall Operations be the Soule, the Soules Essence) then when the Soule Acteth not Truth, it ceaseth to Bee: and so when it entertaineth or pronounceth a False Position, the Soule is no more it selfe.

This Objection I conceive to have two branches; For the Soule may cease to act Truth, either by Not acting at all, or by acting Falsly. For whether it act Not, or act Falsly, it ceaseth to act Truth; and therefore (if acting of Truth be its Essence) it ceaseth to Bee.

His first Answer may be equally applied to both; That, granting the Soule when it acts upon Falshood, to be as when it acteth not, and so is not; Yet shall we advance nothing, till we prove the Succession of Moments to be Reall and not Imaginary. Where he presupposeth, that when it Acteth not, then it Is not; and, though the same be granted in a False acting, yet neither That, nor This, will prove of any force, since Suc∣cession of Moments is onely Imaginary.

The ground of this Reply, I conceive to be this; If there be not any Reall Succession, If there be no prius and posterius Indeed, but be onely supposed so to be by our Imagination; Then any One Act of the Soule, is able to give it a co-existence to all Eternity: (according to what he affirmed in the former Chapter.) For of this One Act, being Reall, it cannot be affirmed, That it Was but Is not, or it Is but hath not-been; but if it at all Be, it must Be alwayes; Because, if Succession be onely Ima∣ginary, then to Be and to Have been is all one; then there was not a time when it Was not, neither will there be a time when it Shall Not be.

But if the Issue of the Question depend upon this, Whether Successi∣on be Reall, or Imaginary; I doubt not but this might be soon de∣cided.

Therefore First, I ask, Whether there be not the same reason for Suc∣cession in Time, that is for Extension in Place? Whether there may be Pars extra Partem, Punctum extra Punctum, though not Momentum

Page 76

extra Momentum; or there be the same reason of Both, and Both be Imaginary? If there be in Both the same reason, (which I suppose he he will affirm;) Then must every Being have a Coexistence to all Places, as well as a Coexistence to all Times; It must have an Ʋbiquity as well as a Perpetuity. Then is it in vain to dispute Whether Christs Body be Really present in the Sacrament, Whether Peter were ever at Rome, &c. If every Body, every Thing▪ be every where. For if diffe∣rence of Place be nothing, then that which hath a reall existence in any place, hath a reall existence in all places; because This place and all o∣ther places have only an Imaginary Difference, and are indeed all one.

Secondly, If one action give the Soule a Coexistence to all ternity, then what doth the Second and Subsequent Acts produce? do they give it a new Being, a new Eternity?

Answ. You will say (I suppose) that there is not a Second Act, an Other Act, but all Acts are One Act: And this One act, which appears to our imagination to be First and Second, &c. gives the Soule One Essence, One Eternity.

Repl. If so, then what is the difference between an Act of Sinning, and a Course of Sinning? What is the difference between the Once committing of a sinful Act, and the Oft Reiterating of it? Between Da∣vids One Act of Adultery, and the lascivious persons Constant Practise? Why are we exhorted to Cease from evill; if every Act be Eternall, and whatsoever succeeds can be but the Same? He that stole, let him steal no more: To what end serves this counsell, if there be no other Act fea∣zible, but what Is already, and That to remain for ever?

Answ. 2. If you would say, That the same Act is again Reiterated▪ Rep. I ask, if the Iteration be somwhat more then the first Commission? If not, then to commit it Once, and to Iterate it often, is all One: If it be som∣what more, then is it either a Reall addition, or Imaginary: If Ima∣ginary, then are we where we were before; If it be Reall, then why may there not be a reall act distinct from the former, as well as a reall Commission (of the Same act) distinct from the former? Thus you see if Time be Nothing, If Succession be only Imaginary; then is it all one to commit Many sinnes, and to commit One Sinne.

Thirdly, if Succession and Difference of Moments be onely Imagi∣nary, if all Duration be Eternall, all Simultaneous; Then what is the difference between the long life of the Aged, and the few days of him that dyth in his Youth? For the Reall Existence of One as well as the Other is equally Eternall; Since the Length and the Shortnesse of Time

Page 77

is but Imaginary, all Duration being indeed Simultaneous. Thus the youngest Child (if he do but Think so) hath lived as long as the most Aged.

Again, 4. If Succession and Difference of Time be only imaginary; Then why do I not Nw know, that which I shall know To morrow? What hinders but that every man should be praescius futuri? I shall Know it to Morrow, because I shall See it; but why should I not Now both Know it and See it as well as to Morrow, since it is Now as really present as it will be Then? Why do we dispute concerning matters of Fact; as whether Peter were at Rome, and the like? Can we not see whether he be there or not? For if he were there, then he Is there: since Then and Now are all one: And if he Be there, why do not I see him there? For I am as really there as he is: For if I be any where, then am I There, since There and Here are al one; Time and Place making only an Imaginary (and not Reall) difference.

Ans. If you say, Things that seem to be Future, are even Now as really Present as they shall be Hereafter, but they appear not to be present, and therefore are not now Known and Seen, (like Colours in the dark;) But when they shall receive a new Luster, they shall both Appear to be, and be Seen to be.

Rep. I reply, If they shall appear, then they Doe appear; because Then and Now are all one. Again, If there be Apparet and Apparuit, why not Est and Erit? If there be a prius and posterius in Appearing why not in Being? Or 3 I ask, whether Appearing and not-Appea∣ring be a Reall or onely Imaginary difference? If a Reall diffe∣rence, then will there be somewhat Reall Then, which is not Now; and consequently all Reality will not be Simultaneous, there will be some∣what Reall afterwards which before was not: If Appearing, be onely Imaginary; what shall I have to help my knowledge Then, which I have not Now?

Ans. 2. If you say, Things Future are both now Present, & we Know them so to be, but do not Seem to know them, or Seem, not to Know them:

Repl. Then I reply as before, If we Shall Seem to know them, we Doe Seem to know them; because Then and Now are all one.

So that if Succession of Time be only Imaginary; Then do we al∣ready know, whatsoever we shall know, (whereas Christ himselfe In∣creased in wisdom, Luk. 2.) And the Fore-Knowledge of things to come, would not be such a 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, as might distinguish between the True and False Gods.

Page 78

And thus (if I mistake not) I have sufficiently shewed (though much more might have been added) that there is a Reall Succession, a Reall Priority of Duration, and not onely Imaginary. And therefore (not∣withstanding his first answer) the Soule must really cease to Be, when it ceaseth to Work, or to work Truth; if these Workings of truth be the Soules Essence: And the soule must be (during that Cessation, or Errour) as truly Non Ens, as before its first Production; for the pre∣cedent and subsequent workings cannot (Then) give it an Existence, as not (Then) being.

His second answer, to the Objection propounded in the beginning of this Chapter, toucheth not at all the first Branch of it, wherein it is objected, That if particular Actings of Truth, be Truth, or the Soules Essence, How is it that the Understanding should not cease to Be, when it ceaseth to Work; (for this in his first Answer he seemed to grant:) But it is applyed to the second Branch of it, viz. That If particular Actings of Truth be Truth, or the Soules Essence, then the Soule enter∣taining a False position should be no more it selfe. To which he answers, By denying that the Soule doth at all act upon Falshood: and that upon this ground, Because Falshood is not a Reall Being upon which the Soule can work. For its nature being Privative, and no Reall Being, how can the Soule or Truth work upon Nothing?

I might answer here, That it is not requisite to the Soules Act, that its Object should have a Reall being: (As appears by the Soules appre∣hending Ens rationis; which Apprehension is a positive Act, and yet hath no Reall Object.) For the Object of Intellection, is not Reale, but Cognoscibile. And therefore, That Falshood wanteth a reall being, is not inough to shew, that the Understanding cannot work upon it.

And this (in effect) he granteth soon after. For, it being Objected, that the Soule while it pronounceth a False position, doth Really act, (verè agere; He replyes, That there are in this Action two things, a Think∣ing, and a So-thinking. To think is a positive Action, a good Action, But the formalis ratio of So-thinking lyeth in Thinking an Errour, which is Nothing; and so a Not-thinking. When (mistaking) a man catcheth at a shadow; In catching he doth truly Act; But to Catch a Shaddow, is to catch nothing; Now to catch nothing, and not to catch; to act nothing, and not to act, is all one. So to Think is Reall, but to Think Amisse is No∣thing, and all one with Not-thinking.

He grants therefore, that the Soule pronouncing or Understanding a False position, or thinking Amisse, doth really Think, really Act: Now I ask, while it doth really Think, What doth it think? What doth

Page 79

it Act? (or Ʋpon what rather?) Certainly it must either be Falshood▪ or Nohing: (For what else it should be, neither doth his Lordship shew, nor can I imagine) If it Act upon Falshood▪ the false position; then may Falshood be the Object of a Reall act; If it act upon Nothing, then what hinders, but that Falshood▪ although it be Nothing, may yet be the Object of this Act?

Object. But he will say, If the Soule do act upon Falshood, then must it become Falshood, that is, a Vanity, a Ly, a Nothing: For I conceive (aith he) the Agent it selfe, together with the Subject acted upon (the Ob∣ject) to be One in the Act.

Ans. But this supposition must I deny; For if so, Then when the Soule acteth upon God (by Knowing, Loving, &c) then doth it become God: And if so, why doth his Lordship (at the end of his Preamble) blame those for mounting too high, who, confounding the Creator with the Creature, make her to be God?

But for the better clearing of this whole discourse, concerning Fals∣hood and Errour in the Souls working; I shall desire you to take notice of a Distinction, which all Know, and yet but few Think of, when they have occasion to use it. The non attendency whereof, hath pro∣duced much Obscurity, much Errour, and inextricable perplexities con∣cerning this and the like Subjects. It is, to distinguish between Verum Metaphysicum▪ and Verum Logicum; between Bonum Metaphysicum, and Bonum Morale: To distinguish, I say, Metaphysicall Truth and Goodnesse, from Morall and Logicall Goodnesse and Truth: To di∣stinguish the Truth of Being from the Truth of a Proposition; the Good∣nesse of Being, from the Goodnesse of an Action.

Now this being premised, let us examine the truth of some Tenents which are allmost generally received by all.

1 The nature of Evill, say they, is Privative, not Positive; Evill is Nothing. And why? Because Ens & Bonum convertuntur, and there∣fore Malum must needs be Non-Ens; now Non-Ens is Nothing.

Be it so; Evill is Nothing. But what Evill do they mean? Evill in Metaphysicks▪ or Evill in Ethicks? Goodnesse, in Metaphysicks, is no other thn Entity, (for none ever acknowledged a greater distinction between Ens & Bonum then a distinction of Reason,) and therefore Ma∣lum (in Metaphysicks) must be Non Ens. But will they say that Mo∣rall Evill is so too? If they do, then must they say also, that bonum Mo∣rale is convertible with Ens; (otherwise their Argument will not hold:) that All Being is Honesty, or Morall Goodnesse; and all Morall Good∣nesse

Page 80

is Being or Entity. I ask therefore, whether morall Goodnesse, or Honesty, e the Essence, the Entity of a Stone? If not, then is not every Being, Bonum Morale▪ I ask again, Whether Silence be not Morally Good, at such a time as when a man ought to hold his peace? Yet to Silent, or not to speak, hath no Metaphysicall goodnesse, no goodnesse of Being, for it is a mee Negation. There may be therefore Morall good∣nesse, where there is no Metaphysicall goodnesse, no positive Being; and there may be Metaphysicall goodnesse, goodnesse of Being, without Morall goodnesse or Goodnesse of Honesty. Now if Malum Metaphy∣sicum, a Negation, a Non-Ens, may be Bonum Morale, what shall be the Malum Morale opposite to this Bonum? shall that be also a Non-En•••• If it be, then how can it be contrary to the other? Since that Nothing cannot be opposite to Nothing, but Something to Something, or Some∣thing to Nothing.

I say therefore, that Metaphysicall Evill, is meerly Privative, as be∣ing opposite to the Goodnesse of Being; and it is no other but Non-En∣tity▪ But Morall Evill is every way as Positive as is Morall Good.

For what is the nature of Morall Good, or Evill? is it not, a Confor∣mity, or a Difformity to a Morall Precept? Then the Goodnesse or Evill of it is not in the Being of the Action, but in the so Being; It lies not in the Positive or Absolute Entity of the Action, but in the Relative nature. Morall Goodnesse therefore, and Morall Evill, have not an Absolute Essence, but a Relative; An Agreeing, or Disagreeing; a Likenesse, or Unlikenesse, to its Rule. Now if Likenesse be a Reall Relation; why may not Ʋnlikenesse be also a relation Reall? If Simile be Reall, why not Dissimile? If the One be Positive, why not the Other?

Object. They will say perhaps, That the nature of Morall Evill, is not a Difformity but a non-Conformity, to its Rule; not to be (positively) Ʋnlike, but only Not to be Like.

Answ. If so, then not to be is a Sinne; for not to Bee, includes not to be Like, or not to be Obedient. If the blessed Angels had never been Crea∣ted, they had been eo ipso Sinfull: For if they had never Been, they must of necessity Not be Obedient; (though not Disobedient;) For how can they be Obedient, if not at all Being?

A Stone must then be Sinfull, when it doth not-understand the Nature of God, as a man doth and ought to do; For though it be not Disobe∣dient to the precept of Knowledge, (because this precept was not made to a Stone but to Man,) Yet you cannot say that it is Obedient, and ther∣fore

Page 81

must of necessity be not-Obdient, or not-be Obedient; wherefore if a bare not-obedience, or a not conformity to the command be a Sinne, then doth a Stone Sinne. Scire Deum is morally Good, and therefore (if morall Evill be only an Absence of Good) since there is not in a Stone this Scire Deum, how can it be but that a Stone must sinne?

God commanded Moses to go down into Egipt, &c. and Aaron to offer Sacrifice: Doe I Sinne therefore when I doe not-obey this com∣mand made to them? How is it possible that I can obey the command for Moses his Journey, or Aaron's sacrificing; for My going is not Moses his going, nor is my sacrificing, Aaron's Sacrificing; Yet doe I not sinne in not-obeying.

When Moses made the Brazen Serpent, he did not (in that) obey the precept of going into Egipt, (for to go into Egipt, and to make the Serpent, is not the same,) Yet was it not Sinfull to make the Brazen Serpent, though it were-not an Obedience to that Command, for neither was it a Disobedience; for that Precept, did neither injoyn nor forbid it.

Thus every Action, though never so Good, will be a Sinne; For there is in the most perfect Act, a not-Obeying of many precepts, (yea of all precepts, except that which injoyns this Action,) though there be not perhaps a Disobedience of any.

The nature of Sinne therefore, or Morall Evill, is not barely a Not-Obeying▪ but a Disobeying; It is not a Not-Conformity, but a Difformity, a Crossing or Thwarting of some Command. Therefore the Stone sins not, because there is no Disobedience in its not-Knowing, because it was not Commanded; Moses his making the brazen Serpent, was not a Breach of his former Injunction, although not an Obeying of it; for in his Commission to go into Egipt, his making the brazen Serpent was neither Forbidden nor Commanded. The Act of one Morall Virtue, is not an offence against the rest; for it is no Breach of their Rules, though it be not an Observance of them: It is Praeter, but not Contra.

Ans. 2. But if I should say on the contrary, That the nature of Morall Good, were not a Conformity, or positive Likenesse; but only a not-Difformity, a not-Disagreeing, or not crossing its Rule; Might not this be said with as good probability as the other? You would think it strange perhaps, that Evill should be Positive, and Good Negative: But (if I mstake not) there is more truth in this, then is in the other. For a bare not-agreeing doth not make an action Sinfull, but a not-disagreeing dth make it Lawfull, and so Morally Good; For where there is no

Page 82

Law, there is no Sinne. If I walk for my refreshing in one part of the Garden to day, and in another to morrow; or in that other to day, & in this to morrow; I sinne not in either: Not because I have a Command to walk in this first, or in the other part first: But because neither is Forbidden, therefore is neither Ʋnlawfull. I ask therfore, whether the Lawfullnesse of this Action, in walking first in this part of the garden and not in the other part, doe depend upon its Conformity to some Rule, or its not-disagreeing from any? Now, what is the Lawfullnesse of an Action, but its Morall Goodnesse?

Ans. 3 Yet Thirdly, I affirm not the nature of morall Good or Evill to be Negative, but both equally Positive; If by Good, you understand, That which Ought to be, not, That which May be. And therefore I make three sorts of Morall Beings; Bonum, Malum, Indifferens▪ Good, which must be done; Indifferent, which may be done; Evill, which may-not be done. The first, Commanded; the last, Forbidden; the other, of a midle nature, neither Commanded, nor Forbidden; which being Indifferent, is often called Good, but never Evill. The first consists, in a Conformity to its Rule; the last, in a Difformity; the other in a bare not∣disagreeing. The first and last are of a Positive nature; the other of a Negative. (And yet sometimes this Positivenesse, whether in Good or Evill, is rather Positivum Logicum (the Praedicat of a Positive or Affir∣mative Proposition,) then Positivum Reale. For an Omission, Negatio acts, may be Good or Evill: which having in it selfe no reall Being, cannot be the Subject of a reall Relation.)

Yet doth not this contradict their Opinion who affirm, That non da∣tur actio Indifferens in individuo. For by Good and Evill, they mean Licitum & Illicitum, Lawfull and Unlawfull; including under the name of Good, or Lawfull, not only that which Ought to be done, but whatsoever May be done; as when (in civill matters) we say, it is Law∣full for me to give such a portion of my Estate to such a Man, not be∣cause the Law of the Kingdom Injoins me so to doe; but because it doth not Inhibite me. And thus Licitum will be a Negative term, and Illi∣citum a Positive, (though by the Grammaticall Notation it might seem contrary;) for Illicitum affirms, that there is a Law to the Contrary; Licitum denies only that there is such a Law to Forbid it, but whether there be any to Command it, it affirms not.

And thus much concerning the nature of Evill. (Wherein if I may seem prolix, it being but a Digression in this place: Yet because I was called to it in the former chapter, where his Lordship gave me occasion

Page 83

to handle it; I thought it more fit to referre the discussing of it to this place, where I meet with more questions of the like nature.)

2. Now, as it is in Good and Evil, so also in Truth and Falshood. Falshood, saith he, is a Vanity, a Lye, a Nothing And why so? Because Ens & Verum convertuntur, and therefore Falsum must be non-Ens.

To this I say, as to the former; Truth of Being, or Metaphysicall Truth, is Positive, and of the same extent or latitude with Entity, or Being. And this Truth I have formerly said to be Cognoscibility, ma∣king Verum in this Metaphysicall acceptation to be all one with In∣telligibile.

I affirm also, that Ens & Verum (or Intelligibile) convertuntur. And (consequently) according to the manner of Being, must be the manner of Intellection. That which hath a reall Being (as Ens Reale) may be Known to Be; that which hath an apparent, or supposed Being, may be Supposed to Be.

I affirm likewise, that Falshood in this sense cannot be understood, or that the Soule cannot act upon (Metaphysicall) Falshood: For how can that be Known, which is not Cognoscible; or Understood, which is not Intelligible?

But, When I affirm, that Verum and Ens are Convertible; I restrain it not to Reall Entity; For there may be Esse Cognitum, where there is not Esse Reale: But I proportion its Cognoscibility to its Being; and therefore if it have not a Reall Being, but only Imaginary; it may be Supposed, but cannot be Known, to be.

Neither yet doe I So proportion the reality of Intellection, to the re∣ality of the Object, as if when there is no Reall Object, there could be no Reall Act: For it is Cognoscibile that is convertible with Ens, and hath its reality proportionable to the reality of Being; not Cognositi∣vum. The Understanding, whether it Know to be, or Suppose to be, doth yet Really Act; And his Lordship also granteth, that when the Un∣derstanding doth act Amisse, it doth yet Really Act; The Opining, or Thinking, (saith he) is a good Act. But where the Object is not Reall, there the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 Cognosc, cannot be Reall; for how can a reall Relation be founded in a Non-Entity? Yet the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 Cognoscere is Reall; for the Re∣ality of t, depends not upon the reality of the Object, but upon the reality of the Act. That therefore which is so understood, is the Sup∣posed Object of a Reall Act.

But now Logicall Truth, the Truth of a Proposition, which is oppo∣sed to Falshood, o Errour, hath nothing to do with the Reality either of

Page 84

the Object or of the Act; For a True Proposition may be framed con∣cerning an Imaginary Object (as when we affirm a Chimaera to be Ens Rationis, or only Imaginary▪) And an Act Metaphysically True (a Reall act) may be Logically False.

Logicall Truth and Falshood (like as Morall Good and Evill) have not an Absolute Being, but Relative. They consist not in the Being or Not-Being of the Act; (For when the Understanding doth act Falsly it doth verè Agere, though not agere Verè; it is verè Actus, though not Verus Actus:) but in the Agreeing, or Disagreeing with the Ob∣ject. For when the Intellect doth Understand, it frames an Idea, a pi∣cture, or representation of the Thing understood▪ which Picture, or Idea, is a Reall Picture, (it hath the Truth of Being) whether it have the Truth of Representation or not; that is, whether it be Like or Un∣like, whether it Agree or Disagree, with the copy or object which it represents. A Picture in a Painters Shop is truly a Picture, it hath reall Colours and Lineaments; But perhaps it is a False Picture, it represents not that Visage by which it was drawn. When the Understanding conceives an Ens rationis, the Idea or Conceptus is not this Imaginary Being, (for this Conception is as Reall as the Conception of a Reall Ens,) But the supposed Object of this Conception; there being indeed no such thing as this Conceptus doth represent. When a Painter describes in a Table some Antick Shapes or strange Chimaera's; his Description, his Draught, is not a Fiction, but as Reall as the true Pourtraicture of a living Man: But that which by this description is represented, that is the Fiction, there being no such Antick Forms, no such Chimaera's, as he expresseth. When the Understanding draws a Reall Picture, a reall I∣dea or Conceptus, without a Copy, without a Pattern; it is Ens rationis: When, indeavouring to imitate a Copy, to represent the nature of things, the Truth of Being; it yet misseth of it, not making its Picture agreeable to its Pattern; this is a False Apprehension. And this is the difference between Ens rationis, and Error Intellectûs: Both in the mean time being reall Acts.

The Logicall Truth and Falshood of a Conception or Proposition, are but Relations of Likenesse or Unlikenesse, Conformity or Diffor∣mity, in the Act to its Object; and are both founded in the Reality of the Action, or its Truth of Being: And are both equally Reall, equally Positive▪ For Falshood is not a meer not-Conformity, or not-expressing of things existent; But a Difformity, a Crossing or Thwarting of them. For else, when a man ceaseth to Think or Speak of this or that Truth, he

Page 85

there by Erres, and Lyes: For when he Thinks not at all, he cannot think Conformably; when he Speaks not at all, he cannot speak Con∣formally, either to the Existence of Things, or to his own Opinion of them. Yea every Proposition, every Thought will have so many Fals∣hoods in it, as there be other Truths which it doth not expresse: For if the not-expressing of a Truth, be Falshood: then to affirm that the Sunne shines, is a Falshood, because it doth not expresse the Fires hea, or the Charcoals burning: And thus that proposition which expres∣seth not every Truth, is a False Proposition; yea contains Infinite Falshoods, opposite to the Infinit number of True Propositions possible.

Object. If you say (to avoid this) that it is not the not-expressing of One Truth, the not-conformity to One Existence, that makes a Propo∣sition False; but the not-expressing of Any Truth: whereas the Con∣formity to, and the Expressing of any Truth, makes the Proposition or Conception True:

Ans. I answer first, that this is contrary to the generall Propositi∣on, which affirms, that Perfectio oritur ex Integris, Imperfectio verò ex Particulari defectu: Which is applyed to severall kinds of Imperfecti∣on; That Action is Good, whose every Circumstance is rightly or∣dered; That Proposition True▪ whose every Branch doth agree with the Thing, &c. Wheras One Bad circumstance, One false branch makes the Action bad, the Proposition False. The contrary to which must have been affirmed, if the expressing of One Truth, make the Proposition True; and the concurrent not-expressing, or not-Conformity to All Truths be requisite to make it False.

2. Again, If there be requisite a not-expressing of Any Truth to make it False; then must this (and the like propositions) be True, if I affirm Virgil & Homer to be Greek Poets, If I affirm a Stone to be a Reasonable Creature: For it expresseth One Truth, viz▪ that it is a Creature although it be not Reasonable, (as likewise the One was a Grek Poet, though not the other:) and the not-expressing of a further Truth, doth not hin∣der its expressing of This. Then must that Action be Good whose One Circumstance is Good; If the Intention be right, though the Formality of the Action be never so unlawfull, yet will not the Act be Blamable.

Logicall Falshood therfore is as positive, as Logicall Truth; the one consisting in a positive Conformity, the other in a positive Difformity to the Things. Yea, of the two, the nature of Truth is rather Negative, thē the nature of Falshood; For a not-conformity makes not a Proposition False; but the not-difformity makes it True. For that is a True proposition that is not Opposite to Any Truth▪ though it do not Expresse All Truths.

Page 86

Neither can there be a Medium between Truth and Falshood, as there is between Good and Evill; For though there may be an Indifferent Action, which is neither Good (positively) nor Evill; yet is there not an Indifferent Proposition which is neither True nor False. Truth and Falshood in Propositions, are opposed as Lawfulnesse and Ʋnlawfulnesse in Actions, (whereof Lawfulnesse, as I have said, is Negative;) rather then as Good and Evill, Laudabile & Vituperabile.

Yet if we desire a Medium, I can shew you one; But then it must not be Actus, but Negatio Actûs. And that is, in Abstraction; when the Understanding conceives of one Thing, without considering of a∣nother▪ for then it doth neither Affirm, nor Deny, and so that Concep∣tion is (thus farre) neither True nor False; as likewise the Proposition expressing this Thought. When I conceive of the Ayr, not regarding whether it be Light or Dark; of a Man not considering whether he be Learned or Ignorant: This Abstracting, or considering the Ayr without considering Light in it; considering Aristotle to have been a Man, not considering withall that he was Learned; is neither True nor False: According to that, Abstrahentis non est Mendacium: wher∣as if I affirm the Ayr (in the day time) to be without Light, or Ari∣stotle without Learning; the proposition is False.

Falshood and Truth therefore being Relations, equally Reall, equally Positive▪ the Understanding may be said as well to Act Falshood, as to act Truth, while it produceth that Absolute Act, in which these Rela∣tions are founded. Otherwise▪ what will be the difference between Ig∣norance and Errour, between Silence and a Lye?

3. There is yet another Question, to which by his Lor. I am invited; The same (saith he) may be said of Pain; which he conceiveth cannot act upon the Soule, nor the Soule upon it; because it is but a bare Privation. And therefore subscribes to the Opinion of Dr. TWISSE, (whom if Anagrams may be credited, you may stile WISEST;) that it is better to be in perpetuall Pain, then not to be at all; Because if Pain be a bare Privation, then is Any Being more desirable, then for fear of a Pri∣vation (a Nothing) to become no Being. His ground you may easily perceive; Because if Misery be but a Privation of Happinesse; then is it better to have the Goodnesse of Being, without the Goodnesse of Happinesse, then to want both the one and the other.

But I cannot with his Lordship (saving always the deserved respect due to that Reverend Divine) subscribe to the Opinion of Dr. Twisse in this particular. For (beside that thus Paena Damni, and paena Sensus

Page 87

will be all One) I conceive Pain to be as reall as Pleasure. Motion hath been accounted by all (if I mistake not) to be Positive, and Rest (quies) to be only Privative, Negatio Motûs. Now in my Opinion, Ease, and Pain or Torment, are opposite in the same manner that Rest and Motion. And so I conceive Pain or Torment (whether you speak of dolor Corporis, or dolor Animi; the Griefe of mind, or bodily Pain) to be Reall; the Negation whereof is called Ease; and its Contrary, Pleasure or Delight.

Neither doth it at all trouble me, that Ens & Bonum convertuntur; that all reall Entity, hath a reall Goodnesse, or the goodnesse of Being: For nothing hinders but that Bonum Metaphysicum, may be Malum Physicum▪ that which is Reall may notwithstanding be Inconvenient; that which is, in se Bonum, may not-be Bonum huic, whether you speak of bonum Jucundum or bonum Ʋtile.

Goodnesse of Being (Metaphysicall goodnesse) is but a common Sub∣ject capable either of (Physicall) Good or Evill; (like as the same Reall Action may be Morally Good or Evill.) And according as the Physi∣call Good, or Evill (annexed to Being Metaphysically Good) doth ex∣ceed, so is that Being Desirable, or not Desirable. Otherwise, How could it be better for that man (which betrayed our Saviour) that he had ne∣ver been born?

I urge not the judgement of Sense in this particular; because his Lord∣ship appeals from Sense to Reason: I shall therefore examine what Rea∣son can alledge, why credit should not be given to the judgement of Sense. For, having a Judgement confessed in the Court of Sense; I must suppose▪ it to be in force, till such time as I see it revoked by Rea∣son: And when Reason hath reversed it, I will grant the former Sen∣tence to be Voyd.

Object. You will say Being, though Miserable, hath some Good∣nesse: whereas Not-Being hath none: and therefore Being, though with Misery, is more desirable.

Ans. I reply, Misery hath much Evill, not-Being hath none: Ther∣fore Misery is more to be Shunned then not to Be.

But if this satisfie not; I desire to know whether there be not the same strength of Reason in This Argument, that is in Theirs. viz: A Sinfull Act hath in it the Goodnesse of Being; and its Sinfullnesse i only a Pri∣vation of further Goodnesse, the goodnesse of Conformity to Gods Law. Therefore, it is better to Sinne then not to Act; to commit a Sinne then not to commit it: For if I Sinne, I produce ome Good; because

Page 88

it is a reall Action, and so hath the Goodnesse of Being; But in not∣acting, not-committing, I produce no Goodnesse at all. Therefore it is better to Sinne, then not to Sinne: because Acting, though Sinfull, hath Some good, but Not-acting hath None.

Now if this Argument do not hold good to prove it Better to Sinne (be the Sinne as great as can be possible) then not to Act, not to Sinne: Then must I needs think that their Argument, being exactly in the same form, is of as little force, to prove Misery (though never so great) to be better then not-Being.

But let us heare his Lordship plead at Reasons Barre, for the revoking that Sentence which hath past in the Court of Sense. Reason telleth us (saith he) that Paine must be Somthing, or Nothing: If Nothing, then it is but a Privation; f Something, then must it be Good or Evill; If Good, it cannot hurt us; If Evill, it is either a Nominall Evill, or Reall▪ If Na∣med an Evill and is not, it will not be disputed; but if it be a Reall Evill, then is it Nothing▪ for Evill is only a Privation of Good.

I answer to this discourse; That Paine is Somthing, It is Evill, It is a Reall Evill, (Malum Physicum.) And this Reall Evill is also Posive, and not a bare Privation of Good: For I conceive not a Stone to be in Pain, though it have not Pleasure, (bonum Jucundum;) nor to be Greived, though it do not Rejoyce.

There is one great rubbe that yet remains against what I have said, concerning these three last mentioned Questions; which I have refer∣red to the End, that so once mentioning might suffice, without parti∣cular repetition in the discussing of each Question. And it is this.

If Falshood and Evill, whether Morall or Physicall, have a Being, (if it be Reall) then must we with the Manichees make two Sources of Being; or else God must be the Author of it, which none will affirm.

For answer to this, I intend not ex professo to handle at large that question, Whether, and In what Sense, God may be called the Author of Sinne, of Evill, of Falshood. For, if I durst to encounter that difficul∣ty, which hath troubled able Divines; yet would it be too tedious to insert here, especially when I have allready transgrest with over much prolixity. Only thus.

All Relations, you know, have their Originall, not from any peculiar Act whereby they are produced, distinct from that Act by which is produced that in which they are grounded; But arise and flow from that Absolute Being, upon which they depend, per nudam Resultatiam, by a Resultation from it, without a new intermediate Act. The Father

Page 89

doth not by One act beget his Sonne, and by Another act (He, or his Sonne) produce Filiation: But the terminirelationis being once produ∣ced, the Relation doth unavoidably follow: Two white things being produced, it is impossible (etiam per divinam potentiam) but that they must (in this) be Like.

Now Falshood and Truth, Good and Evill, being (as I have said) Relations; and consequently having no other Production, but their Resultance from their Foundation; I leave it to others to judge, How farre God doth concurre with the operation of the Creature in produ∣cing that Act, which is Good or Evill, True or False; and How farre the Efficient of this Act may be affirmed the Cause of that Relation which doth result from it.

Do you have questions about this content? Need to report a problem? Please contact us.