Page images
PDF
EPUB

And yet this first true cause, and last good end,
She cannot here so well and truly see;
For this perfection she must yet attend,
Till to her Maker she espoused be.

As a king's daughter, being in person sought Of divers princes, who do neighbour near, On none of them can fix a constant thought, Though she to all do lend a gentle ear:

Yet she can love a foreign emperor,
Whom of great worth and pow'r she hears to be,
If she be woo'd but by ambassador,

Or but his letters or his pictures see:

For well she knows, that when she shall be brought Into the kingdom where her spouse doth reign; Her eyes shall see what she conceiv'd in thought, Himself, his state, his glory, and his train.

So while the virgin soul on Earth doth stay,
She woo'd and tempted in ten thousand ways,
By these great pow'rs, which on the Earth bear

sway;

The wisdom of the world, wealth, pleasure, praise:

With these sometimes she doth her time beguile,
These do by fits her fantasy possess;
But she distastes them all within awhile,
And in the sweetest finds a tediousness.

But if upon the world's Almighty King,

She once doth fix her humble loving thought, Who by his picture drawn in ev'ry thing,

And sacred messages, her love hath sought;

Of him she thinks she cannot think too much;
This honey tasted still is ever sweet;
The pleasure of her ravish'd thought is such,
As almost here she with her bliss doth meet:

But when in Heav'n she shall his essence see,

This is her sov'reign good, and perfect bliss; Her longing, wishings, hopes, all finish'd be ; Her joys are full, her motions rest in this:

There is she crown'd with garlands of content;

There doth she manna eat, and nectar drink: That presence doth such high delights present, As never tongue could speak, nor heart could think.

REASON III.

From contempt of death in the better sort of spirits. For this, the better souls do oft despise

The body's death, and do it oft desire; For when on ground the burthen'd balance lies, The empty part is lifted up the higher:

If then by death the soul were quenched quite,

She could not thus against her nature run; Since ev'ry senseless thing, by Nature's light, Doth preservation seek, destruction shun.

But if the body's death the soul should kill, Then death must needs against her nature be; And were it so, all souls would fly it still,

For nature hates and shuns her contrary.

For all things else, which Nature makes to be, Their being to preserve, are chiefly taught; And though some things desire a change to see, Yet never thing did long to turn to naught.

Nor could the world's best spirits so much err,

If Death took all, that they should all agree, Before this life their honour to prefer:

For what is praise to things that nothing be ?,

Again, if by the body's prop she stand;

If on the body's life, her life depend, As Meleager's on the fatal brand,

The body's good she only would intend:

We should not find her half so brave and bold,

To lead it to the wars, and to the seas, To make it suffer watchings, hunger, cold, When it might feed with plenty, rest with ease.

Doubtless, all souls have a surviving thought,
Therefore of death we think with quiet mind;
But if we think of being turn'd to naught,
A trembling horrour in our souls we find.

REASON IV.

From the fear of death in the wicked souls.

AND as the better spirit, when she doth bear

A scorn of death, doth show she cannot die; So when the wicked soul Death's face doth fear, E'en then she proves her own eternity.

For when Death's form appears, she feareth not
An utter quenching or extinguishment;
She would be glad to meet with such a lot,
That so she might all future ill prevent:

But she doth doubt what after may befall;

For Nature's law accuseth her within, And saith," "T is true what is affirm'd by all, That after death there is a pain for sin."

Then she who hath been hoodwink'd from her birth,
Doth first herself within Death's mirror see;
And when her body doth return to earth,

She first takes care, how she alone shall be.

Who ever sees these irreligious men,

With burthen of a sickness weak and faint, But hears them talking of religion then,

And vowing of their souls to ev'ry saint?

When was there ever cursed atheist brought

Unto the gibbet, but he did adore That blessed pow'r, which he had set at naught, Scorn'd and blasphem'd all his life before?

These light vain persons still are drunk and mad,

With surfeitings and pleasures of their youth; But at their death they are fresh, sober, sad;

Then they discern, and then they speak the truth.

If then all souls, both good and bad, do teach,

With gen'ral voice, that souls can never die; 'T is not man's flatt'ring gloss, but Nature's speech, Which, like God's oracles, can never lie.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Heav'n waxeth old, and all the spheres above

Shall one day faint, and their swift motion stay; And time itself, in time shall cease to move; Only the soul survives, and lives for ay.

"Our bodies, ev'ry footstep that they make, March towards death, until at last they die: Whether we work or play, or sleep or wake, Our life doth pass, and with Time's wings doth fly:"

But to the soul, time doth perfection give,
And adds fresh lustre to her beauty still;
And makes her in eternal youth to live,
Like her which nectar to the gods doth fill.

The more she lives, the more she feeds on truth; The more she feeds, her strength doth more in

crease :

And what is strength, but an effect of youth, Which if time nurse, how can it ever cease?

SECTION XXXII.

OBJECTIONS AGAINST THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL, WITH THEIR RESPECTIVE ANSWERS.

BUT now these Epicures begin to smile,

And say, my doctrine is more safe than true; And that I fondly do myself beguile,

While these receiv'd opinions I ensue.

OBJECTION

For, what, say they? doth not the soul wax old?
How comes it then that aged men do dote;
And that their brains grow sottish, dull and cold,
Which were in youth the only spirits of note?
What? are not souls within themselves corrupted?
How can the idiots then by nature be?
How is it that some wits are interrupted,
That now they dazzled are, now clearly see?

ANSWER.

These questions make a subtil argument

To such as think both sense and reason one; To whom nor agent, from the instrument,

Nor pow'r of working, from the work is known.

But they that know that wit can show no skill,

But when she things in sense's glass doth view, Do know, if accident this glass do spill,

It nothing sees, or sees the false for true.

For, if that region of the tender brain,

Where th' inward sense of fantasy should sit, And th' outward senses, gath'rings should retain ; By nature, or by chance, become unfit:

Either at first uncapable it is,

And so few things, or none at all receives; Or marr'd by accident, which haps amiss:

And so amiss it ev'ry thing perceives.

Then, as a cunning prince that useth spies,

If they return no news, doth nothing know; But if they make advertisement of lies,

The prince's counsels all awry do go: VOL. V.

Ev'n so the soul to such a body knit,

Whose inward senses undisposed be; And to receive the forms of things unfit, Where nothing is brought in, can nothing see.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »