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Hift. Pref. So it shews us that we are coming off apace from the gross Divinity of Dr. South's younger Days, to express our selves more agreeably to Scripture and Antiquity : God grant that we may all in his due time be fully instructed in his Mind and Will thro' Christ 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 discern by that cursory View I have only as yet been able to give them, that there is surprizing 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 Protestant Synod's, not thinking these Things worth their moft mature Deliberation, especially before they ventur'd to perfecute you for proposing them. As to the Constitutions it appears to be a Book of a very admirable Nature, and I have such a regard for it, that I heartily wish it may be prov'd genuine, because to me it would be more satisfactory to live by luch a sacred Rule than without one.
However, 'tis my earnest Request and daily Prayer to God, that the Governors of this Church would examin these Points with that Zeal and Impartiality, as a Matter of such great Importance does require. I have great Reason to defire this, because I am not without doubts in respect of my own Pradice, and shall be more doubtful still, if they go on to, persecute without Examination, or indeed without a full and particular Answer.
July 12. 1712.
Travels of PETER.
In Ten Books.
BOOK T. 1.
Clement, who was born in the City of Rome, was from my Childhood studious of Chastity; while the Eagerness of my Mind was a Bond up
on me, and held me in captivity to Care and Heaviness: For I found in my self a
Book I. Thoughtfulness (tho whence it was deriv'd I
did not know) which frequently brought to my Mind the State of Mortality, and did also occasion an Enquiry within me, whether I was to enjoy any sort 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 ensue, after I was dead, a perfect Forgetfulness as to the present Life ? and so an immense Eternity would hide all things in Oblivion and Silence, so far as that we should not only have no Being, but become insensible whether we had ever had a Being or not. Besides, 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 seem'd plain, that if it were made, it was certainly to be dissolv'd; and if it were disolv’d, what would then exist was a great question; unless perhaps Oblivion and Silence would cover all things, or possibly somewhat would exist whereof the Mind of Man can at present have no Notion.
II. While I continually revolv'd these and the like things in my Mind, I wore away after an incredible manner, with overmuch Heaviness; and, what is worse, if at any time I thought to lay aside these Cares as unprofitable things, more impetuous Billows of Sollicitude arose within me : For there was still within me an excellent Companion, which would not suffer me to rest, the Desire of Immortality. For, as the Event afterwards discover'd, and the Grace of Almighty God shew'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 those whom before, in my Ignorance, I Book I. esteem's Happy.
III. Whereas therefore I was from my Child. hood in such a perplexity of Mind, and desirous of learning somewhat, I frequented the Schools of the Philosophers; where I saw nothing else but Disputations on one side and on the other: I saw Contentions prevailing without end, and that fly Propofitions were manag’d by the Art of Syllogisms and Conclusions. •And if at any time the Allertion, that the Soul was Immortal, prevaild in the Dispute, I was glad; but if at any time it was run down, and the Soul seem'd to have been prov'd Mortal, I went away disconfolate: while still neither the Afirmative nor the Negative feem'd to my Mind, to have any sure foundation of Truth. This only was I fatisfy'd in, that these Opinions and Determinations about . things appear'd false or true, not according to their own Nature, and the reality of Causes; but according to the Abilities of the Disputants. Which Confideration ftill gave me a greater uneasiness of Soul, that I could neither acquiesce in any thing that was said, as really solid; nor yet cast off the desire of enquiring: But the more I endeavour'd to disregard and light these Thoughts, the more ardently, as I said above, did they, tho privily, and not without a certain Pleasure, creep upon me, and polless my very Mind and Soul.
IV. While I was in this anxiety about the Invention of Truth, I said within my felf, Why do we labour to no purpose? when the Event of Things is plain : for if I am not to exist after Death, 'tis idle to torment my self about it now; but if I am to live after I am dead, let us reserve 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 suffer should there befal me unless m I live piously and soberly; and leit, as has been
the Opinion of some of the Philosophers, I be incompassed by the black River of Phlegethon, or be sent to the Regions of Torment with Sisypbus and Tityus, or indeed with Ixion and Tantalus be consign'd over to the eternal Punishments of Hell. Yet did I reply to my self, Certainly these are but Fables: However, if they be uncertain, 'tis the safest way, in doubtful Cases, to live piously. But then I again consider'd with my self, how I should be able to restrain my self from sinful Inclinations, while I looked on the Reward of Righteousness as uncertain ; especially while it is to me not certain, what is that Righteousness which will be accepted by God: While also I am dissatisfy'd whether the Soul be Immortal, and of such 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 rest from such Thoughts.
V. What then shall 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 sacred Recefles : 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 woald enquire about some particular Affair. But my inquiry shall be this, whether the Soul be Immortal? Now the proof for this Immortality of the Soul shall by me be esteemed certain, not from the Ghost's saying so, and my hearing him say it, but from my seeing this Soul it self; 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