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Hift. Praf. So it fhews us that we are coming off apace from the grofs Divinity of Dr. South's younger Days, to express our felves more agreeably to Scripture and Antiquity: God grant that we may all in his due time be fully inftructed in his Mind and Will thro' Chrift Jesus!
The Account of the other is more brief, and is as follows.
I have not yet had time to peruse your Books with that Care, and Caution as I intend to do; but already difcern by that curfory View I have only as yet been able to give them, that there is furprizing Evidence both for the Genuinels of the Conftitutions, and for your Account of the Primitive Faith Nor can I help being in the highest Degree amaz'd at a Proteftant Synod's, not thinking thefe Things worth their most mature Deliberation, especially before they ventur'd to perfecute you for propofing them. As to the Conftitutions it appears to be a Book of a very admirable Nature, and I have fuch a regard for it, that I heartily with it may be prov'd genuine, because to me it would be more fatisfactory to live by fuch a facred Rule than without one.
However, 'tis my earneft Requeft and daily Prayer to God, that the Governors of this Church would examin thefe Points with that Zeal and Impartiality, as a Matter of fuch great Importance does require. I have great Reason to defire this, because I am not without doubts in refpect of my own Pra&tice, and fhall be more doubtful ftill, if they go on to perfecute without Examination, or indeed without a full and particular Answer.
July 12. 1712.
Travels of PETER.
Clement, who was born in the City of Rome, was from my Childhood ftudious of Chastity; while the Eagerness of my Mind was a Bond upon me, and held me in captivity to Care and Heavinefs: For I found in my felf a
In Ten Books.
Book I. Thoughtfulnefs (tho whence it was deriv'd I did not know) which frequently brought to my Mind the State of Mortality, and did alfo occafion an Enquiry within me, whether I was to enjoy any fort of Life after Death? or whether I was then to be intirely nothing? . Whether I had not pre-existed before I was born? or whether there would not enfue, after I was dead, a perfect Forgetfulness as to the present Life? and fo an immenfe Eternity would hide all things in Oblivion and Silence, fo far as that we should not only have no Being, but become infenfible whether we had ever had a Being or not. Befides, another thing could not be gotten out of my Mind, at what time the World was made? or whether it were made at all? or what it was before it was made? or whether it had always been? For it feem'd plain, that if it were made, it was certainly to be diffolv'd; and if it were diffolv'd, what would then exift was a great question; unless perhaps Oblivion and Silence would cover all things, or poffibly fomewhat would exift whereof the Mind of Man can at prefent have no Notion.
II. While I continually revolv'd thefe and the like things in my Mind, I wore away after an incredible manner, with overmuch Heavinefs; and, what is worfe, if at any time I thought to lay afide thefe Cares as unprofitable things, more impetuous Billows of Sollicitude arofe within me: For there was ftill within me an excellent Companion, which would not fuffer me to reft, the Defire of Immortality. For, as the Event afterwards difcover'd, and the Grace of Almighty God fhew'd, this Eagerness of my Mind drew me to the Enquiry after Truth, and to the Acknowledgment of the true Light. Whence it came to pass, that I afterwards lamented
mented those whom before, in my Ignorance, I Book I. efteem'd Happy.
III. Whereas therefore I was from my Childhood in fuch a perplexity of Mind, and defirous of learning fomewhat, I frequented the Schools of the Philofophers, where I faw nothing elfe but Difputations on one fide and on the other: I faw Contentions prevailing without end, and that fly Propofitions were manag'd by the Art of Syllogifms and Conclufions. And if at any time the Affertion, that the Soul was Immortal, prevail'd in the Difpute, I was glad; but if at any time it was run down, and the Soul feem'd to have been prov'd Mortal, I went away difconfolate: while ftill neither the Affirmative nor the Negative feem'd to my Mind, to have any fure foundation of Truth. This only was I fatisfy'd in, that thefe Opinions and Determinations about things appear'd falfe or true, not according to their own Nature, and the reality of Caufes; but according to the Abilities of the Difputants. Which Confideration ftill gave me a greater uneafinefs of Soul, that I could neither acquiefce in
any thing that was faid, as really folid; nor yet caft off the defire of enquiring: But the more I endeavour'd to difregard and flight thefe Thoughts, the more ardently, as I faid above, did they, tho privily, and not without a certain Pleafure, creep upon me, and posless my very Mind and Soul.
IV. While I was in this anxiety about the Invention of Truth, I faid within my felf, Why do we labour to no purpofe? when the Event of Things is plain: for if I am not to exift after Death, 'tis idle to torment my felf about it now; but if I am to live after I am dead, let us referve the Affairs of that State of Life to it felf. Only I am concern'd left fomewhat more doleful
Book I. than what I now fuffer fhould there befal me,unless I live pioufly and foberly; and left, as has been the Opinion of fome of the Philofophers, I be incompassed by the black River of Phlegethon, or be fent to the Regions of Torment with Sifyphus and Tityus, or indeed with Ixion and Tantalus be confign'd over to the eternal Punishments of Hell. Yet did I reply to my felf, Certainly these are but Fables: However, if they be uncertain, 'tis the safest way, in doubtful Cafes, to live piously. But then I again confider'd with my felf, how I fhould be able to restrain my self from finful Inclinations, while I looked on the Reward of Righteoufnefs as uncertain; efpecially while it is to me not certain, what is that Righteousness which will be accepted by God: While also I am diffatisfy'd whether the Soul be Immortal, and of fuch a Nature as may have Expectations hereafter or not, nor do I know what is to come for certain; nor yet can I be at reft from fuch Thoughts.
V. What then fhall I do? This I will do, I will go to Egypt, and there will I enter into familiarity with the Hierophante or Prophets, who are the Presidents of the facred Receffes: and when for Money they have procur'd me a Magician, I will intreat him to bring me up a Soul from the infernal Regions, by the Art of Necromancy, as they call it; as tho I would enquire about fome particular Affair. But my inquiry fhall be this, Whether the Soul be Immortal? Now the proof for this Immortality of the Soul fhall by me be efteemed certain, not from the Ghoft's faying fo, and my hearing him fay it, but from my feeing this Soul it felf; that beholding it with my own Eyes, I may ever afterwards entertain an undoubted Belief of its Immortality: For after that, the fallacy of Words