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.

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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,

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Subject terms
Brooke, Robert Greville, -- Baron, 1607-1643. -- Nature of truth.
Truth -- Early works to 1800.
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"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.


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A Postscript.


I Sent you (a while since) certain Animadversions upon my Lord Brook's Treatise concerning the Nature of Truth. Which (briefly) tend to this purpose.

By Truth, or Light, his Lordship understands, that Light whereby the Soule and Understanding is able to See or Understand: Which can be no other then the Light of Reason. Which he considereth first in It selfe, then in its Ope∣rations: that is Truth in the Fountain, this in the Streams; (that the Spring, this the Off-spring.)

Propositio 1. Arg. 1. Chap. 1.

Which Truth or Light (of Reason) he contends to be the same with the Understanding, Because the Understanding in Man is that Ray of the Divine Nature, enlivening the Creature, or making it Rationall, whereby it is conformed to the Creator, who is the Primitive Light, or Fountain of Knowledge. Now that which doth thus enform Animal Rationale, enlivening it, or making it Rationall, is Rea∣son; And therefore Reason (which he calls Truth) is the same with the Understanding.

But this (if I mistake not) none will deny; for Reason and the Un∣derstanding-faculty are all one, Ratio and facuitas Ratiocinandi is the same. 'Tis true, they say sometimes, that Reason is in the Understan∣ding, or that the Understanding is indued with Reason: But then by Ʋnderstanding, they doe not mean, the Understanding-Faculty, but the Soule it selfe quatenus intelligens. And so this proposition, Intel∣lectus est Subjectum Rationis, is the same with this Anima intelligens est Subjectum Intellectûs. Anima, Intellectus, and Ratio, are not Three.

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Arg. 2. Chap. 2, 3 4.

His second Argument to prove it is drawn from hence, That there is required to the constitution of every Being, an Essence received▪ a Foun∣tain imparting, and a Channel receiving. The which Channel or Recipi∣ent must be the same with the Essence received; because every thing is the Recipient of its own Essence; nothing can receive the Essence of a Stone, but by being a Stone, for to be Stone, and to have the Essence of a Stone, is all one. Therefore the Understanding being the Recipi∣ent of Truth, must needs be Truth, that is, Reason.

Propositio 2. Chap. 5.

Which Truth, or Reason, Whether it be in the Understanding, or be the Understanding; yet it cannot make the Soule to be Rationall, un∣lesse it be also in the Soule: For how can Reason make the Soule Reasonable, if it be not in t, but in somewhat else. And if it be in the Soule, then must i be the Soule: Because to be in the Soule, and to be the Soule i all one; every thing being its own Recipien. Thus Truth, or Light (of Reason) will be the same with the Un∣derstanding; And both That and This the same with the Soule.

But I hope his Lordship will not deny, but that there is another kind of Receiving▪ beside that Receiving that he speaks of. (They tell us in Logick of cto modi habendi; and there are as many manners of Re∣ceiving, as there are of Having.) To receive the Essence of a Man, and to be a Man, is all one; To have the Essence of Money, and to be Money, is all one; But yet, I hope, a Man may receive Money, without being coined, and made Money. To receive the Essence of Water, and to be made Water; to receive the Essence of a Vessell, and to be a Vessell, is all one; yet a Vessell may contein Water, without being made Water. Thus a Substance may receive an Accident, a Subject may receive a Form, without being made that Accident, that Form. Thus datur Animae esse Animam datur Rationi esse Rationem, (each being its own Recipient:) But withall datur Animae Habere Ra∣tionem, though the Soule be not Reason, nor Reason (in this sense) its own Recipient.

If there be any strength in this Argument, it lies in this, That if Rea∣son (or Truth) be only in the Soule as an Accident, and not the Soules Essence, then it cannot make an Essentiall Difference between the Ra∣tionall and Irrationall Soule.

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And to this we must answer, (if we maintain Reason, and the rest of the Faculties, to be distinct from he Soul) That it is not the Faculties, it is not Reason, that makes the Essentiall Difference; but the Substance or Essence of the Soule from whence these Faculties proceed as Essentiall Consequents. Like as it is not Heat, and Cold, and the rest of the primae Qualitates, which make the Essentiall difference be∣tween one Element and another; but that Essence or Form, from whence these Qualities doe proceed.

Corollarium. 1. Chap. 6.

From hence he proceeds to a further Corollary, That not only the Soule, but All things else, are also the same with Truth. But why so? Because every thing is its own Recipient? If it be; it doth not follow that every thing is the Recipient of Truth. If every thing be the Reci∣pient of its own Essence, must therfore this Essence needs be Truth? If his Lordship had well considered, that Truth, as he hath formerly spoken of it, is but the same with that which others call Reason; he would scarce have made this Consequence, unlesse he could think to perswade us, that all things whatsoever are Reasonable Creatures▪ There is therefore too great an hiatus, to make this proposition, a Co∣rollary of the former.

But indeed his Lordship is by this time fallen off from his former acceptation of Truth. For having (as he supposeth) proved Reason to be the Soules Essence, the Soules Entity; he begins to take that word (which formerly signified Reason,) to signify Entity, or Being: So that Truth now, must be the same with Entitas. And the Emphasis of this last assertion lies in this, not that the Essence of all things is Truth, or Entity, (for that were no great news,) but that the Essence of all things is this One Truth: meaning, that all Entity is Homogeneall and of the same nature.

He was proving before, that Truth or Reason was the same thing with the Soule: He hence infers, not that all things are the same thing; (for I cannot understand him to speak so harshly, as that one drop of water were the same drop with another drop of water, though Homo∣geneall; that the Soule of Peter is the Soule of Judas, though of the same Species;) but that they are alike things, or things of the same nature.

The Consequence, (that all things must be of the same Species, be∣cause the Soule and its Faculties are the same Thing) will not hold.

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The thing it selfe, hath only this ground (so farre as I can discover,) Because all Being proceeding from God, who is in his actions Uni∣form, must therfore be Alike: For the same Agent, acting in the same Manner, cannot but produce like Effects. But this Uniformity in God' is Equivalent to an infinite Variety; and God can by one act in it selfe simple, produce effects variously distinct▪ And if his Lordship grant, that this Uniformity hinders not but that God may produce various Shapes, I see not why he may not produce various Species.

Corollarium. 2. Chap. 7.

But from hence he draws a further consequent. He is not contented to say, that the nature of all things is One, but that it is Ʋnity. And heer is as great an hiatus as the former. The Essence of all Soules is One and the same; but that this One Essence is Unity, I have not formerly heard, nor doe yet beleeve. And I am so farre from thinking that Ʋnity is the Essence of All things, that I esteeme it selfe to be Nothing. Unity, is but a Negative term, a Negation. Ʋnus indeed, as it is opposite to Nullus, is positive, and is the same with Nonnullus, or Aliquis: But Ʋnus, or Ʋnicus as it is opposed to Multitude, (and so we now take it) is Negative. Else, where is the fault in this Syllogisme? Quod est in Angliâ, est in Europâ; Sed Rex Ʋnicus est in Angliâ; Ergo Rex Ʋnicus (veltantùm Ʋnus) est in Europâ.

Propositio. 3. Chap. 8. 9▪

He returns next, to his former discourse; And what he had said of the Light of Reason, he saith also of the Light of Knowledge, both Ha∣bituall and Actuall. Hee allows not that Habits, either Infused or Acquisite, are any thing new brought into the Soule, but only former principles enlightened: And therefore rejecting Aristotle's rasatabula, he imbraceth Plato's Reminiscentia, Which may be thus expressed; He supposeth the Soule to be as a Table, wherein be many rare lineaments, and lively colours described, but hanging in the dark they appeare not till such time as they be illustrated by some advenient Light; which Light doth not bring with it any new colours, or more lineaments, but only illustrateth those that were formerly there but appeared not: Whereas Aristotle rightly supposeth it as a Table prepared, void of any, yet capable of all; Or rather as a Glasse, which having of it selfe none of those Colours, is yet fit to receive and reflect all those Rays or visi∣ble Species, which from the adjacent Objects fall upon it.

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And indeed, as for Historicall Knowledge, I suppose, his Lordship himselfe, if he well consider of it, will not affirm that to have any Idea's originally in the Soule: It being utterly impossible by discourse to find out a by-past History, without Historicall Relation. And if there may be new Idea's of Historicall truths imprinted in the Soule which were not there before, why not also of Discusive Knowledge.

But his Lordship stays not here, dissenting from us in the Nature of Habits, whether they be new Idea's, or the illustration of former Idea's▪ but in effect, he takes away all Habits wholly. Telling us, that we Seem only by frequent acts to help the Soule, and create new Ha∣bits, but that indeed all actings are but new discoveries.

Now this is not to establish Plato's Reminiscentia; but to take away all Memory whatsoever. How can we be said to remember? how is one said to be learned, another ignorant? what is the benefit of study, and of experience? if former acts doe not at all help future acts, but only seem so to doe▪ How comes it to passe, that wee are able out of our own me∣mories to furnish our selves with Historicall truths formerly heard or read, without a second relation, which at the first wee could not doe? if our former acts doe not at all help latter acts, but all things be new discoveries.

Proposition. 4. Chap. 10.

And what hath been said of Naturall and Habituall light of Reason and Habituall Knowledge, he now affirms of Actuall Knowledge. The severall Operations of the Soule, in apprehensions, affirmations, nega∣tions, &c. the severall Actings of Truth, are also the Souls Essence. And why? but because the Soule is Actus primus, and therefore its Essence must be Action; This Action likewise must Exist; which what else can it be but Rationall workings? and so the same with Actus Se∣cundus.

But his Lordship is much mistaken to think that actus primus is La∣tine for Action. Actus is of as large an extent as Potentia: Now there is potentia ad Esse, and potentia ad Formam, as well as potentia ad O∣perari. When Ens in potentiâ becoms Ens Actu, when that which was possible, is actually produced; its own Essence o Being is that Actus, which makes it Ens Actu, which was before Ens in Potentiâ: and this we call actus Entitativus, and it is better translated Actuality, then ei∣ther Action, or Activity. Again the Matter is capable of this or that Form, which we call potentia ad Formam (substantialem;) whereby it

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is potentiâ tale (in genere substanti;) as materia putris is in potentiâ ad formam vermis: Now when this Form whereof it is capable is actual∣ly introduced, that which was before potentià tale, becoms now actu tale (in genere substantiae;) and this Form is called actus Substantialis▪ (but not Actio Substantialis,) or actus primus; and (thus) the Soule is Actus. Again, a Substance of this or that Species, constituted by this or that form, is capable of this or that Accident, and is therefore potentiâ talis, accidentaliter; or in potentiâ ad hanc formam acidentalem; as Water is potentiâ calida, when Heat is produced, it becoms Actu ca∣lida, and the Heat is this Actus whereby it is actu talis; and it is actus primus accidentalis, (though perhaps some would call it actus secundus: Yet none call it Actio) This actus acciden alis, or forma accidentalis, if it be Operative, stands in a double relation; to its Subject, and so it is actus informans; and to its Operation, and so it is actus operativus (but not Operatio) and belongs either to the first, or the second species of Quality, it is either a Habit or a Faculty; this, if you please, you may call Activity, though not Action▪ Now a Subject indued with this actus operativus is in potentiâ ad operandum: When this power is reduced into act, it is actu operans; and this actus whereby it doth actu operari, is properly Actus secundus, Actio, or Operatio, and belongs to the Praedi∣cament of Action. But such an Actus the Soule is not, and therefore its Operations cannot be its Essence.

Objectio. 1. Chap. 11.

But now least by making the Soules Operations to be the Soules Es∣sence, he should make so many Soules as there be Acts; (which is in∣deed a good Consequence;) he is put upon another invention, to make all these operations to be but One; the second action is but the same with the former: (So that with him, one sinfull Act is all one with a continued Course of sinning.) And therefore tells us, that actions per∣formed in distinct Times and Places are not therefore distinct actions, because Time and Place are Nothing, but meerly imaginary.

But this paister is not large enough to cover the sore; For, it is true indeed, different actions may receive an externall denomination from difference in Time and Place, but they receive not their difference from hence, but from themselves: Time and Place can neither make diffe∣rent things to be the same, nor the same to be different. A man is the same to day that he was yesterday, the same at London that he was at York▪ yet both Time and Place be different: Againe, two Angels be∣ing

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at the same time coexistent in the same place are not therefore the same Angel. So that whether time and place be any thing or nothing, yet this Man is not the other Man, this Action is not the other Action.

But if difference of Time and Place be only imaginary; then why do we deny to the Papists, that Christs Body is corporeally present in the Sacrament? since if it be any where, it must be every where, all places being indeed the same, admitting onely of an imaginary diffe∣rence. Why doe we cry down the Lutheran Consubstantiation, as ab∣surd? for if severall bodies may be in severall places, then may they be in the same place, if difference of Place be only imaginary: If the same body may be at severall times in severall places, why not at the same time? since difference of Time is only imaginary.

Object. 2. Chap. 12.

There is another Objection as strong as this former: If Acting Truth be the Soules Essence, then what becomes of the Soule when it doth either not Act, or act Falsely?

To the first he applyes his former remedy; Any one act is able to give the Soule a Being at all times; for succession of moments being onely imaginary, that which at all is, must be alwayes, and whatsoe∣ver hath at all a Being, is indeed coexistent to all Eternity; succession, beginning, and ending being onely imaginary: (So that a Childe that is new born, had lived as long as the most aged, if he could but think so.

And as for the other, he denyes that the Soul can at all act Falshood, because Falshood is onely Privative, it is Nothing▪ now to act no∣thing and not to act is all one.

Which he affirms likewise of Evill, and of Pain; And tells us, with Dr. Twisse, that it is better to be Miserable, then not to be: Which is grounded upon this, that Evill is only a privation of Good, and there∣fore to have the goodnesse Being without the goodnesse of Happinesse, is better then to want both the one and the other.

But withall I wish them to consider, whether the same Argument do not prove, that it was better for David to commit adultery, then not to commit it; For the substance of the act, in its Physicall Essence, was positive, and therefore Good; the fault was only the want of a further good, to wit, the goodnesse of conformity to Gods will; now to pro∣duce

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the goodnesse of an Act, without the goodnesse of Conformity, is better then to produce neither the one nor the other.

Corollaria. Chap. 13. &c.

This is his Lordships Opinion. Which he commends to us as usefull to make our Christian life more cheerefull both in the Theoreticall and Practick part. For if we knew, that All things are one, what need we feare either difficulty or danger? knowing, That Misery is nothing and cannot hurt us, and hath no Being but only in the the Brain; That whatsoever is, is Good, and good to Me, Because both I and It are Be∣ings, and so Good; And these two Goods falling under no other dif∣ference but of degrees, Good and Good must needs agree, that which is Good is Good to Me. Yea, how void of Envy at anothers good, and thoughts of Revenging injuries? since that I have a Propriety, a Possession, in that which is anothers, hee and I being One: Injuries are nothing and cannot hurt; Good things, though anothers, doe serve me.

But to this Good Consequent of his Lordships Tenet, I can op∣pose another every way as Bad: For as it would make us not afraid of Misery, so withall, not afraid to Sinne. It proposeth such an Impu∣nity to Sinning, as that it makes the Devils as happy as the blessed An∣gels. For thus we might argue; The Devils are Beings, and therefore Good, because Ens & Bonum convertuntur: Every thing that is, is Good, and Good to hem; for both They and It being good, and Good admitting of no other difference but of degrees, Good and Good must needs agree, and so be good to them: The happinesse of the An∣gels doth serve Them, since (as his Lordship speaks) it is not onely 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 but 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, They have a propriety in it; all things being One. Their own Misery and Torment is nothing▪ and cannot hurt: And (which is the only difference can be imagined) if they Think other∣wise, (I use still his Lordships expression) this must be a Lye, and can∣not hurt. And if this be Hell, who will be afraid to Sinne?

My judgement cannot assent, to make the Torments of the damned only Imaginary, to make Hell a Fancy; yea, to affirm, that it is good to Sinne, because the act of sinne is really Good, and the Evill of it is on∣ly Imaginary, a Vanity, a Nothing, and cannot hurt.

As for the Theoreticall part; it is confessed, that there be many doubts in Naturall Philosophy, concerning the Being, the Nature, the

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Causes of things; There be doubts also in Morall Philosophy, in Meta∣physicks, in Mathematicks, in Divinity: But in telling us this, his Lordship advanceth nothing for the commendation of his new inven∣tion; except he could shew us how this Tenet will resolve them.

And thus Sir, I have given you a short account of the chief things in his Lordships Treatise, and my Reply, so farre as concerns the state of the main Question controverted: Wherein you may take a briefe Survey of what is there more largely prosecuted. Which may give some Light for the better discovering the principall intent of his Lord∣ships Tenet; and may be a guide in your peusing the larger Discourse that you loose not your selfe in the prolixity of the prosecution, and the variety of digressions. When I first undertook the Taske, I intended no more in all, then some such briefe notes as these, to satisfie your de∣sire: But being once entred I have not alwayes the command of my own pen; variety of matter carrying me beyond my intended bounds. The faults if you will be pleased to pardon, and to accept the rest, I shall commit the whole to be as I am, that is

Yours to command,
J. W.

Aprill. 10. 1641.
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