The Improvement of Human Reason - Exhibited in the Life of Hai Ebn Yokdhan
by Ibn Tufail
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Sec. 35. Then he represented in his Mind, all the Several kinds of Animals, and perceiv'd that Sensation, and Nutrition, and the Power of moving freely where they pleas'd, was common to them all; which Actions he was assur'd before, were all very proper to the Animal Spirit, and that those lesser things in which they differ'd (notwithstanding their agreement in these greater,) were not so proper to that Spirit. From this consideration he concluded, that it was only One and the same Animal Spirit, which Actuated all living Creatures whatsoever, tho' there was in it a little difference, which each Species claim'd as peculiar to it self. For instance, suppose the same Water be pour'd out into different Vessels, that which is in this Vessel may possibly be something warmer than that which is in another, tho' 'tis the same Water still, and so every degree of Heat and Cold in this Water in the Several Vessels, will represent the Specifick difference which there is in Animals: And as that Water is all one and the same, so is that Animal Spirit One, tho' in some respect there is a sort of Multiplicity. And so under this Notion he look'd upon the whole Species of living Creatures, to be all One.

Sec. 36. Afterwards Contemplating the different Species of Plants, as he had done before of Animals, he perceiv'd that the Individuals of every Species were alike, both in their Boughs, Leaves, Flowers, Fruits, and manner of Growing. And comparing them with Animals, he found that there must needs be some one thing which they did all of them partake of, which was the same to them that the Animal Spirit was to the living Creature, and that in respect of That they were all One. Whereupon, taking a view of all the several kinds of Plants, he concluded that they were all One and the same, by reason of that Agreement which he found in their Actions, viz. their Nourishment and Growing.

Sec. 37. Then he Comprehended in one single Conception, the whole kinds of Animals and Plants together, and found that they were both alike in their Nutrition and Growing, only the Animals excell'd the Plants in Sensation and Apprehension; and yet he had sometimes observ'd something like it in Plants, viz. That some Flowers do turn themselves towards the Sun, and that the Plants extend their Roots, that way the Nourishment comes, and some other such like things, from whence it appear'd to him that Plants and Animals, were One and the same, in respect of that One thing which was Common to them both; which was indeed more perfect in the One, and more obstructed and restrained in the other; like Water that is partly running and partly frozen. So that he concluded that Plants and Animals were all One.

Sec. 38. He next consider'd those Bodies, which have neither Sense, Nutrition nor Growth, such as Stones, Earth, Air, and Flame, which he perceiv'd had all of them Three Dimensions, viz. Length, Breadth, and Thickness, and that their differences consisted only in this, that some of them were Colour'd, others not, some were Warm, others Cold, and the like. He observ'd that those Bodies which were Warm, grew Cold, and on the contrary, that those which were Cold grew Warm, He saw that Water was rarified into Vapours, and Vapours again Condens'd into Water; and that such things as were Burn't, were turn'd into Coals, Allies, Flame and Smoak, and if in its Ascent it were intercepted by an Arch of Stone or the like, it thickned there and was like other Gross, Earthly Substances. From whence it appear'd to him that, all things were in Reality, One, tho' multiplied and diversified in some certain respects, as the Plants and Animals were.

Sec. 39. Then considering with himself, what that common thing must be, in which the Sameness of the Animals and Plants did consist he saw that it must be some Body, like those Bodies, which had a Threefold Dimension, viz, Length, Breadth, and Thickness; and that whether it were Hot or Cold, it was like One of those other Bodies which have neither Sense nor Nutrition, and differ'd from them only in those Operations which arise from the Organical parts of Plants and Animals. And that, in, all likelihood, those Operations were not Essential, but deriv'd from something else. So that if those Operations were to be communicated to those other Bodies, they would be like this. Considering it therefore abstractedly, with regard to its Essence only, as stript of those Operations, which at first sight seem'd to flow from it, he perceiv'd that it was a Body, of the same kind, with those other Bodies; upon which Contemplation, it appear'd to him that all Bodies, as well those that had Life, as those that had not, as well those that mov'd, as those that rested in their Natural places were One; Only there were some Actions in some of them, which proceeded from their Organical Parts; concerning which Actions he could not yet determine whether they were Essential, or deriv'd from something without. Thus he continu'd, considering nothing but the Nature of Bodies, and by this means he perceiv'd, that whereas at first sight, Things had appear'd to him innumerable and not to be comprehended; Now, he discovered the whole Mass and Bulk of Creatures were in Reality only One.

Sec. 40. He continu'd in this Opinion a considerable time. Then he consider'd all sorts of Bodies, both Animate and Inanimate, which one while seem'd to him to be One; and another, a great many. And he found that all of them had a Tendency either upward, as Smoak, Flame, and Air, when detain'd under Water; or else downward, as Water, pieces of Earth, or Parts of Animals and Plants; and that none of these. Bodies were free from one or other of these Tendencies, or would ever lye still, unless hinder'd by some other Body, and interrupted in their course; as when, for instance, a Stone in its fall is stopp'd by the solidity and hardness of the Earth, when 'tis plain it would otherwise continue still descending; so Smoak still continues going upwards, and if it should be intercepted by a solid Arch, it would divide both to the right and left, and so soon as it was freed from the Arch, would still continue ascending; and pass through the Air, which is not solid enough to restrain it. So when a Leathern Bottle is fill'd with Air and stopp'd up close, if you hold it under Water; it will still strive to get up, till it returns to its place of Air; and then it rests, and its reluctancy and propensity to ascend, ceases.

Sec. 41. He then enquir'd whether or no he could find any Body that was at any time destitute of both these Motions, or a Tendency toward them, but he could find none such, among all Bodies which he had about him. The reason of this Enquiry was, because he was very desirous to know the Nature of Body; as such, abstracted from all manner of Qualities, from whence arises Multiplicity or Diversity of Kinds. But when he found this too difficult a Task for him, and he had examin'd those Bodies which had the fewest Qualities, and could find, none of them void of one of these two, viz. Heaviness or Lightness; he proceeded to consider the Nature of these two Properties, and to examin whether they did belong to Body quatenus Body, or else to some other Quality superadded to Body. Now it seem'd plain to him, that Gravity and Levity, did not belong to Body as such; for if so, then no Body could subsist without them both: whereas on the contrary, we find Heavy Bodies which are void of all Lightness, and also some Light Bodies which are void of all Heaviness, and yet without doubt they both are Bodies; in each of which there is something superadded to Corporeity, by which they are distinguish'd one from the other, and that makes the difference between them, otherwise they would be both one and the same thing, in every respect. From whence it appear'd plainly, that the Essence both of an Heavy, and Light Body was compos'd of two things; One, which was common to them both, viz. Corporeity, the other, by which they are distinguish'd one from the other, viz. Gravity in the one, and Levity in the other, which were superadded to the Essence of Corporeity.

Sec. 42. In like manner he consider'd either Bodies, both Animate and Inanimate, and found their Essence confined in Corporeity and in some, one thing, or more superadded to it. And thus he attain'd a Notion of the Forms of Bodies, according to their differences. These were the first things he found out, belonging to the Spiritual World; for these Forms are not the objects of Sense, but are apprehended by Intellectual Speculation. Now among other things of this kind which he discover'd, it appear'd to him that the Animal Spirit, which is Seal'd in the Heart (as we have mention'd before) must necessarily have some Quality superadded to its Corporeity, which rendred it capable of those wonderful Actions, different Sensations and Ways of apprehending Things, and various sorts of Motions; and that this Quality must be its Form, by which it is distinguish'd from other Bodies (which is the same that the Philosophers call the Sensitive Soul) and so in Plants, that which was in them the same that radical Moisture was in Beasts, was something proper to them, which, was their Form, which the Philosophers call the Vegetative Soul. And that there was also in inanimate things, (viz. all Bodies, besides Plants and Animals, which are in this sublunary World) something peculiar to them, by the Power of which, every one of them perform'd such Actions as were proper to it; namely, various sorts of Motion, and different kinds of sensible Qualities, and that thing was the Form of every one of them, and this is the same which the Philosophers call Nature.

Sec. 43. And when by this Contemplation it appear'd to him plainly, that the true Essence of that Animal Spirit, which he had been so intent, was compounded of Corporeity, and some other Quality superadded to that Corporeity, and that it had its Corporeity in common with other Bodies; but that this other Quality which was superadded, was peculiar to it self: Immediately he slighted and despis'd the Notion of Corporeity, and applied himself wholly to that other superadded Quality (which is the same that we call the Soul) the Nature of which he earnestly desired to know. Therefore he fix'd all his Thoughts upon it, and began his Contemplation with considering all Bodies, not as Bodies, but as endu'd with Forms, from whence necessarily flow these Properties, by which they are distinguish'd one from another.

Sec. 44. Now by following up this Notion, and comprehending it in his Mind, he perceiv'd that all Bodies had one Form in common, from whence one or more Actions did proceed. And that there were some of these, which tho' they agreed with all the rest in that one common Form, had another Form besides superadded to it, from whence some Actions proceeded. And further, that there was another sort, which agreeing with the rest in those two Forms which they had, was still distinguish'd from them by a third Form, superadded to those other two, from whence also proceeded some Actions. For instance, all Terrestrial Bodies, as Earth, Stones, Minerals, Plants, Animals, and all other heavy Bodies, do make up one in Number, which agree in the same Form, from whence flows the Property ofdescending continually, whilst there is nothing to hinder their Descent: And whensoever they are forc'd to move upwards, if they are left to themselves, they immediately, by the Power of their Form, tend downwards again. Now, some part of this Number, viz. Plants and Animals, tho' they do agree with all that Multitude before mention'd, in that Form; yet still have another Form superadded to it, from whence flow Nutrition and Accretion. Now the meaning of Nutrition is, when the Body that is nourish'd, substitutes in the room of that which is consum'd and wasted from it self, something of the like kind, which it draws to it self, and then converts into its own Substance. Accretion, or Growing, is a Motion according to the three Dimensions, viz. Length, Breadth, and Thickness, in a due Proportion. And these two Actions are common to Plants and Animals, and do without doubt spring from that Form which is common to them both, which is what we call the Vegetative Soul. Now part of this Multitude, viz. Animals, tho' they have the first and second Forms in common with the rest, have still a third Form superadded, from which arise Sensation and Local Motion, Besides, he perceiv'd that every particular Species of Animals, had some Property which, distinguish'd it, and made it quite different from the rest, and he knew that this Difference must arise from some Form peculiar to that Species, which was superadded to the Notion of that Form which it had in common with the rest of Animals. And the like he saw happen'd to the several kinds of Plants.

Sec. 45. And it was evident to him, that the Essences of those sensible Bodies, which are in this sublunary World, had some of them more Qualities superadded to their Corporeity, and others, fewer. Now he knew that the Understanding of the fewer, must needs be more easie to him, than the Understanding of those which were more in number. And therefore, he endeavour'd to get a true Notion of the Form of some one thing, whose Essence was the most simple and uncompounded. Now he perceiv'd that the Essence of Animals and Plants consisted of a great many Properties, because of the great variety of their Operations; for which reason, he deferr'd the enquiring into their Forms. As for the Parts of the Earth, he saw that some of them were more simple than others, and therefore resolv'd to begin his Enquiry with the most simple of all. So he perceiv'd that Water, was a thing, whose Essence was not compounded of many Qualities, which appear'd from the Paucity of those Actions which arise from its Form. The same he likewise observ'd in the Fire, and Air.

Sec. 46. Now he had a Notion before, that all these four might be chang'd one into another; and therefore there must be some one thing which they jointly participated of, and that this thing was Corporeity. Now 'twas necessary, that this one thing which was common them all, should be altogether free from those Qualities, by which these four were distinguish'd one from the other; and be neither heavy nor light; hot nor cold; moist nor dry; because none of these Qualities were common to all Bodies, and therefore could not appertain to Body as such. And that if it were possible to find any such Body, in which there was no other Form superadded to Corporeity, it would have none, of these Qualities, nor indeed any other but what were common to all Bodies, with what Form soever endu'd. He consider'd therefore with himself, to see if he could find any one Adjunct or Property which was common to all Bodies, both animate and inanimate; but he found nothing of that Nature, but only the Notion of Extension, and that he perceiv'd was common to all Bodies, viz. That they had all of them length, breadth, and thickness. Whence he gather'd, that this Property belong'd to Body, as Body. However, his Sense could not represent to him any Body existent in Nature, which had this only Adjunct, and was void of all other Forms: For he saw that every one of them had some other Quality superadded to the said Extension.

Sec. 47. Then he consider'd further, whether this Three-fold Extension, was the very Essence of Body or not; and quickly found, that besides this Extension, there was another, in which this Extension did exist, and that this Extension could not subsist by it self, as also the Body which was extended, could not subsist by it self without Extension. This he experimented in some of those sensible Bodies which are endu'd with Forms; for Example, in Clay: Which he perceiv'd, when moulded into any Figure, (Spherical suppose) had in it a certain Proportion, Length, Breadth, and Thickness. But then if you took that very same Ball, and reduc'd it into a Cubical or Oval Figure, the Dimensions were chang'd, and did not retain the same Proportion which they had before, and yet the Clay still remain'd the same, without any Change, only that it was necessary for it to be extended into Length, Breadth, and Thickness, in some Proportion or other, and not be depriv'd of its Dimensions: Yet it was plain to him from the successive Alterations of them in the same Body, that they were distinct from the Clay itself; as also, that because the Clay could not be altogether without them, it appear'd to him that it belong'd to its Essence. And thus from this Experiment it appear'd to him, that Body consider'd as Body, was compounded of two Properties: The one of which represents the Clay, of which the Sphere was made; The other, the Threefold Expression of it, when form'd into a Sphere, Cube, or what other Figure soever. Nor was it possible to conceive Body, but as consisting of these two Properties, neither of which could subsist without the other. But that one (namely, that of Extension) which was liable to Change, and could successively put on different Figures, did represent the Form in all those Bodies which had Forms. And that other which still abode in the same State, (which was the Clay, in our last Instance) did represent Corporeity, which is in all Bodies, of what Forms soever. Now that which we call Clay in the foregoing Instance, is the same which the Philosophers call Materia prima [the first Matter] and [Greek: Hyle], which is wholly destitute of all manner of Forms.

Sec.. 48. When his Contemplation had proceeded thus far, and he was got to some distance from sensible Objects, and was now just upon the Confines of the intellectual World, he dissident, and inclin'd rather to the sensible World, which he was more used to. Therefore he retir'd from the Consideration of abstracted Body,(since he found that his Senses could by no means reach it, neither could he comprehend it) and applied himself to the Consideration of the most simple sensible Bodies he could find, which were those four, about which he had been exercis'd. And first of all he consider'd the Water, which he found, if let alone in that Condition which its Form requir'd, had these two things in it, viz. Sensible Cold, and a Propension to move downwards; But if heated by the Fire or the Sun, its Coldness was remov'd, but its Propension to move downwards still remain'd: But afterwards, when it came to be more vehemently heated, it lost its tendency downwards, and mounted upwards; and so it was wholly depriv'd of both those Properties which us'd constantly to proceed from it, and from its Form: Nor did he know any thing more of its Form, but only that these two Actions proceeded from thence; and when these two ceas'd, the Nature of the Form was alter'd, and the watry Form was remov'd from that Body, since there appear'd in it Actions, which must needs owe their Origin to another Form. Therefore it must have receiv'd another Form which had not been there before,from which arose those Actions, which never us'd to appear in it whilst it had the other Form.

Sec. 49. Now he knew that every thing that was produc'd anew, must needs have some Producer. And from this Contemplation, there arose in his Mind a sort of Impression of the Maker of that Form, tho' his Notion of him as yet was general and indistinct. Then he paus'd on the examining of these Forms which he knew before, one by one, and found that they were produc'd anew, and that they must of necessity be beholden to some efficient Cause. Then he consider'd the Essences of Forms, and found that they were nothing else, but only a Disposition of Body to produce such or such Actions. For instance, Water, when very much heated, is dispos'd to rise upwards, and that Disposition is its Form. For there is nothing present in this Motion, but Body, and some things which are observ'd to arise from it, which were not in it before (such as Qualities and Motions) and the Efficients which produce them. Now the fitness of Body for one Motion rather than another, is its Disposition and Form. The same he concluded of all other Forms, and it appear'd to him, that those Actions which arose from them, were not in reality owing to them, but to the efficient Cause, who made use of these Forms to produce those Actions which are attributed to them, [i.e, the Forms]. Which Notion of his is exactly the same with what God's Apostle [Mahomet] says; I am his Hearing by which he hears, and his Seeing by which he sees. And in the Alcoran; You did not kill them, but God kill'd them; when thou threwest the Darts, it was not thou that threwest them, but God.

Sec. 50. Now, when he had attain'd thus far, so as to have a general and indistinct Motion of this Agent, he had a most earnest Desire to know him distinctly. And because he had not as yet withdrawn himself from the sensible World, he began to look for this voluntary Agent among sensible Things; nor did he as yet know, whether it was one Agent or many. Therefore he enquir'd strictly into all such Bodies as he had about him, viz. those which he had been employ'd about all along, and he found that they were all liable to Generation and Corruption: And if there were any which did not suffer a total Corruption, yet they were liable to a partial one, as Water and Earth, the parts of which are consum'd by Fire. Likewise he perceiv'd, that the Air was by extremity of Cold chang'd into Snow, and then again into Water; and among all the rest of the Bodies which he was conversant with, he could find none which had not its Existence anew, and required some voluntary Agent to give it a Being. Upon which account he laid them all aside, and transferr'd his Thoughts to the Consideration of the Heavenly Bodies. And thus far he reach'd in his Contemplations, about the end of the fourth Septenary of his Age, viz. when he now eight and twenty Years old.

Sec. 51. Now he knew very well, that the Heavens, and all the Luminaries in them, were Bodies, because they were all extended according to the three Dimensions Length, Breadth and Thickness, without any exception; and that every thing that was so extended, was Body; ergo, they were all Bodies. Then, he consider'd next, whether they were extended infinitely, as to stretch themselves to an endless Length, Breadth and Thickness; or, whether they were circumscrib'd by any Limits, and terminated by some certain Bounds, beyond which there could be no Extension. But here he stopp'd a while, as in a kind of Amazement.

Sec. 52. At last, by the strength of his Apprehension, and Sagacity of his Understanding, he perceiv'd that the Notion of infinite Body was absurd and impossible, and a Notion wholly intelligible. He confirm'd himself in this Judgment of his, by a great many Arguments which occurr'd to him, when he thus argued with himself. That this heavenly Body is terminated on this side which is next to me, is evident to my sight: And that it cannot be infinitely extended on that opposite side, which rais'd this Scruple in me; I prove thus: Suppose two Lines drawn from the Extremity of this Heavenly Body, on that terminated Side which is next to me, which Lines should be produc'd quite through this Body, in infinitum, according to the Extension of the Body; then suppose a long part of one of these Lines, cut off at this End which is next to me; then take the Remainder of what was cut off, and draw down that end of it where it was cut off; And lay it even with the end of the other Line from which there was nothing cut off; and let that Line which was shortned, lye parallel with the other; then suppose them through this Body, till you come to that side which we suppos'd to be infinite: Either you will find both these Lines infinitely extended, and then one of them cannot be shorter than the other, but that which had a part of it cut off, will be as long as that which was not, which is absurd: Or else the Line which was cut will not be so long as that other, and consequently finite: Therefore if you add that part to it which was cut off from it at first, which was finite, the whole will be finite; and then it will be no longer or shorter than that Line which had nothing cut off from it, therefore equal to it; But this is finite, therefore the other is finite. Therefore the Body in which such Lines are drawn is finite; And all Bodies in which such Lines may be drawn, are finite: But such Lines may be drawn in all Bodies. Therefore if we suppose an infinite Body, we suppose an Absurdity and Impossibility.

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Sec. 52b. When by the singular strength of his Genius, (which he exerted in the finding out such a Demonstration) he had satisfied himself that the Body of Heaven was finite; he desired, in the next place, to know what Figure it was of, and how it was limited by the circumambient Superficies. And first he observ'd the Sun, Moon and Stars, and saw that they all rose in the East, and set in the West; and those which went right over his Head describ'd a great Circle, but those at at greater distance from the Vertical Point, either Northward or Southward, describ'd a lesser Circle. So that the least Circles which were describ'd by any of the Stars, were those two which went round the two Poles, the one North, the other South; the last of which is the Circle of Sohail or Canopus; the first, the Circle of those two Stars which are called in Arabick Alpherkadani. Now because he liv'd under the Equinoctial Line, (as we shew'd before) all those Circles did cut the Horizon at right Angles, and both North and South were alike to him, and he could see both the Pole-Stars: He observ'd, that if a Star arose at any time in a great Circle, and another Star at the same in a lesser Circle, yet nevertheless, as they rose together, so they set together: and he observ'd it of all the Stars, and at all times. From whence he concluded, that the Heaven was of a Spherical Figure; in which Opinion he was confirm'd, by observing the Return of the Sun, Moon and Stars to the East, after their Setting; and also, because they always appear'd to him of the same bigness, both when they rose, and when they were in the midst of Heaven, and at the time of their Setting; whereas, if their Motions had not been Circular, they must have been nearer to sight, at some times than others; and consequently their Dimensions would have appear'd proportionably greater or lesser; but since there was no such Appearance, he concluded that their Motions were Circular. Then he consider'd the Motion of the Moon and the Planets from West to East, till at last he understood a great part of Astronomy. Besides, he apprehended that their Motions were in different Spheres, all which were comprehended in another which was above them all, and which turn'd about all the rest in the space of a Day and a Night. But it were too tedious to explain particularly how he advanc'd in this Science; besides, 'tis taught in other Books; and what we have already said, is as much as is requisite for our present purpose.

Sec. 53. When he had attain'd to this degree of Knowledge, he found that the whole Orb of the Heavens, and whatsoever was contained in it, was as one Thing compacted and join'd together; and that all those Bodies which he us'd to consider before as Earth, Water, Air, Plants, Animals and the like, were all of them so contain'd in it, as never to go out of its Bounds: And that the whole was like One Animal, in which the Luminaries represented the Senses; The Spheres so join'd and compacted together, answer'd to the Limbs; and the Sublunary World, to the Belly, in which the Excrements and Humors are contain'd, and which oftentimes breeds Animals, as the Greater World.

Sec. 54. Now when it appear'd to him, that the whole World was only One Substance, depending upon a Voluntary Agent, and he had united all the Parts of it, by the same way of thinking which he had before made use of in considering the Sublunary World; he proposed to his Consideration the World in General, and debated with himself, whether it did exist in Time,after it had been; and came to Be, out of nothing; or whether it had been from Eternity, without any Privation preceeding it. Concerning this Matter, he had very many and great Doubts; so that neither of these two Opinions did prevail over the other. For when he propos'd to himself the Belief of its Eternity, there arose a great many Objections in his Mind; because he thought that the Notion of Infinite Existence was press'd with no less Difficulties, than that of Infinite Extension: And that such a Being as was not free from Accidents produc'd anew, must also it self be produc'd anew, because it cannot be said to be more ancient than those Accidents: And that which cannot exist before Accidents produc'd in Time, must needs itself be produc'd in Time. Then on the other hand, when he propos'd to himself the Belief of its being produc'd a-new, other Objections occur'd to him; for he perceiv'd that it was impossible to conceive any Notion of its being produc'd a-new, unless it was suppos'd that there was Time before it; whereas Time was one of those things which belong'd to the World, and was inseparable from it; and therefore the World could not be suppos'd to be later than Time. Then he consider'd, that a Thing Created must needs have a Creator: And if so, Why did this Creator make the World now, and not as well before? Was it because of any new Chance which happen'd to him? That could not be; for there was nothing existent besides himself. Was it then upon the Account of any Change in his own Nature? But what should cause that Change? Thus he continued for several Years, arguing pro and con about this Matter; and a great many Arguments offer'd themselves on both sides, so that neither of these two Opinions in his Judgment over-balanc'd the other.

Sec. 55. This put him to a great deal of trouble, which made him begin to consider with himself, what were the Consequences which did follow from each of these Opinions, and that perhaps they might be both alike. And he perceiv'd, that if he held that the World was created in Time, and existed after a total Privation, it would necessarily follow from thence, that it could not exist of it self, without the help of some Agent to produce it. And that this Agent must needs be such an one as cannot be apprehended by our Senses; for if he should be the Object of Sense, he must: be Body, and if Body, then a Part of the World, and consequently a Created Being; such an one, as would have stood in need of some other Cause to create him: and if that second Creator was Body, he would depend upon a, third, and that third upon upon a fourth, and so ad infinitum, which is absurd. Since therefore the World stands in need of an incorporeal Creator: And since the Creator thereof is really incorporeal, 'tis impossible for us to apprehend him by any of our Senses; for we perceive nothing by the help of them, but Body, or such Accidents as adhere to Bodies: And because he cannot be perceiv'd by the Senses, it is impossible he should be apprehended by the Imagination; for the Imagination does only represent to us the Forms of things in their absence, which we have before learn'd by our Senses. And since he is not Body, we must not attribute to him any of the Properties of Body; the first of which is Extension, from which he is free, as also from all those Properties of Bodies which flow from it. And seeing that he is the Maker of the World, doubtless he has the Sovereign Command over it. Shall not he know it, that created it? He is wise, Omniscient!

Sec. 56. On the other side, he saw that if he held the Eternity of the World, and that it always was as it now is, without any Privation before it; then it would follow, that its Motion must be Eternal too; because there could be no Rest before it, from whence it might commence its Motion. Now all Motion necessarily requires a Mover; and this Mover must be either a Power diffus'd through the Body mov'd, or else through some other Body without it, or else a certain Power, not diffus'd or dispers'd through any Body at all. Now every Power which passeth, or is diffus'd, through any Body, is divided or doubled. For Instance; The Gravity in a Stone, by which it tends downwards, if you divide the Stone into two parts, is divided into two parts also; and if you add to it another like it, the Gravity is doubled. And if it were possible to add Stones in infinitum, the Gravity would increase in infinitum too. And if it were possible, that that Stone should grow still bigger, till it reach'd to an infinite Extension, the Weight would increase also in the same proportion; and if on the other side, a Stone should grow to a certain size, and stop there, the Gravity would also increase to such a pitch, and no farther. Now it is demonstrated, that all Body must necessarily be finite; and consequently, that Power which is in Body is finite too. If therefore we can find any Power, which produces an Infinite Effect, 'tis plain that it is not in Body. Now we find, that the Heav'n is mov'd about with a Perpetual Motion, without any Cessation. Therefore if we affirm the Eternity of the World, it necessarily follows that the Power which moves it, is not in its own Body, nor in the other Exterior Body; but proceeds from something altogether abstracted from Body, and which cannot be describ'd by Corporeal Adjuncts or Properties. Now he had learn'd from his first Contemplation of the Sublunary World, that the true Essence of Body consisted in its Form, which is its Disposition to several sorts of Motion; but that Part of its Essence which consisted in Matter was very mean, and scarce possible to be conceiv'd; therefore the Existence of the whole World consists in its Disposition to be mov'd by this Mover, who is free from Matter, and the Properties of Body; abstracted from every thing which we can either perceive by our Senses, or reach by our Imagination. And since he is the Efficient Cause of the Motions of the Heavens, in which (notwithstanding their several kinds) there is no difference, no Confusion, no Cessation; without doubt he has a Power over it, and a perfect Knowledge of it.

Sec. 57. Thus his Contemplation this Way, brought him to the same Conclusion it did the other Way. So that doubting concerning the Eternity of the World, and its Existence de novo, did him no harm at all. For it was plain to him both ways, that there was a Being, which was not Body, nor join'd to Body, nor separated from it; nor within it, nor without it; because Conjunction and Separation, and being within any thing, or without it, are all properties of Body, from which that Being is altogether abstracted. And because all Bodies stand in need of a Form to be added to their Matter, as not being able to subsist without it, nor exist really; and the Form it self cannot exist, but by this Voluntary Agent, it appear'd to him that all things ow'd their Existence to this Agent; and that none of them could subsist, but through him: and consequently, that he was the Cause, and they the Effects, (whether they were newly created after a Privation, or whether they had no Beginning, in respect of him, 'twas all one) and Creatures whose Existence depended upon that Being; and that without his Continuance they could not continue, nor exist without his Existing, nor have been eternal without his being Eternal; but that he was essentially independent of them, and free from them. And how should it be otherwise, when it is demonstrated, that his Power and Might are infinite, and that all Bodies, and whatsoever belongs to them are finite? Consequently, that the whole World, and whatsoever was in it, the Heavens, the Earth, the Stars, and whatsoever was between them above them, or beneath them, was all his Work and Creation, and posterior to him in Nature, if not in Time. As, if you take any Body whatsoever in your Hand, and then move your Hand, the Body will without doubt follow the Motion of your Hand, with such a Motion as shall be posterior to it in Nature, tho' not in Time, because they both began together: So all this World is caus'd and created by this Agent out of Time, Whose Command is, when he would have any thing done, BE, and it is.

Sec. 58. And when he perceiv'd that all things which did exist were his Workmanship, he look'd them over again, considering attentively the Power of the Efficient, and admiring the Wonderfulness of the Workmanship, and such accurate Wisdom, and subtil Knowledge. And there appear'd to him in the most minute Creatures (much more in the greater) such Footsteps of Wisdom, and Wonders of the Work of Creation, that he was swallow'd up with Admiration, and fully assur'd that these things could not proceed from any other, than a Voluntary Agent of infinite Perfection, nay, that was above all Perfection; such an one, to whom the Weight of the least Atom was not unknown, whether in Heaven or Earth; no, nor any other thing, whether lesser or greater than it.

Sec.. 59. Then he consider'd all the kinds of Animals, and how this Agent had given such a Fabrick of Body to every one of them, and then taught them how to use it. For if he had not directed them to apply those Limbs which he had given them, to those respective Uses for which they were design'd, they would have been so far from being of any Service that they would rather have been a Burden. From whence he knew, that the Creator of the World was supereminently Bountiful, and exceedingly Gracious. And then when he perceiv'd among the Creatures, any that had Beauty, Perfection, Strength, or Excellency of any kind whatever, he consider'd with himself, and knew that it all flow'd from that Voluntary Agent, (whose Name be praised) and from his Essence and Operation. And he knew, that what the Agent had in his own Nature, was greater than that, [which he saw in the Creatures,] more perfect and compleat, more beautiful and glorious, and more lasting; and that there was no proportion between the one and the other. Neither did he cease to prosecute this Search, till he had run through all the Attributes of Perfection, and found that they were all in this Agent, and all flow'd from him; and that he was most worthy to have them all ascrib'd to him, above all the Creatures which were describ'd by them.

Sec. 60. In like manner he enquir'd into all the Attributes of Imperfection, and perceiv'd that the Maker of the World was free from them all: And how was it possible for him to be otherwise, since the Notion of Imperfection is nothing but mere Privation, or what depends upon it? And how can he any way partake of Privation, who is very Essence, and cannot but exist; who gives Being to every thing that exists, and besides whom there is no Existence? But HE is the Being, HE is the Absoluteness, HE the Beauty, HE the Glory, HE the Power, HE the Knowledge, HE is HE, and besides Him all things are subject to perishing[19].

Sec. 61. Thus far his Knowledge had brought him towards the end of the fifth Septenary from his Birth, viz. when he was 35 Years old. And the Consideration of this Supream Agent was then so rooted in his Heart, that it diverted him from thinking upon any thing else: and he so far forgot the Consideration of the Creatures, and the Enquiring into their Natures, that as soon as e'er he cast his Eyes upon any thing of what kind soever, he immediately perceiv'd in it the Footsteps of this Agent; and in an instant his Thoughts were taken off from the Creature, and and transferred to the Creator. So that he was inflam'd with the desire of him, and his Heart was altogether withdrawn from thinking upon this inferior World, which contains the Objects of Sense, and wholly taken up with the Contemplation of the upper, Intellectual World.

Sec. 62. Having now attain'd to the Knowledge of this Supream Being, of Permanent Existence, which has no Cause of his own Existence, but is the Cause why all things else exist; he was desirous to know by what Means he had attain'd this Knowledge, and by which of his Faculties he had apprehended this Being. And first he examin'd all his Senses, viz. his Hearing, Sight, Smelling, Tasting and Feeling, and perceiv'd that all these apprehended nothing but Body, or what was in Body. For the Hearing apprehended nothing but Sounds, and these came from the Undulation of the Air, when Bodies are struck one against another. The Sight, apprehends Colours. The Smelling, Odours. The Taste, Savours. And the Touch, the Temperatures and Dispositions of Bodies, such as Hardness Softness, Roughness ad Smoothness. Nor does the Imagination apprehend any thing, but as it has Length, Breadth and Thickness. Now all these things which are thus apprehended, are the Adjuncts of Bodies; nor can these Senses apprehend any thing else, because they are Faculties diffus'd through Bodies, and divided according to the division of Bodies, and for that reason cannot apprehend any thing else but divisible Body. For since this Faculty is diffus'd through the visible Body, 'tis impossible, but that when it apprehends any thing whatsoever, that thing so apprehended, must be divided as the Faculty is divided. For which Reason, no Faculty which is seated in Body, can apprehend any thing but what is Body, or in it. Now we have already demonstrated, that this necessarily Existent Being is free in every respect from all Properties of Body; and consequently not to be apprehended, but by something which is neither Body, nor any Faculty inherent in Body, nor has any manner of dependance upon it, nor is either within it, or without it, nor join'd to it, nor separated from it. From whence it appear'd to him, that he had apprehended this Being by that which was his Essence, and gain'd a certain Knowledge of him. And from hence he concluded, that this Essence was Incorporeal, and free from all the Properties of Body. And that all his External Part which he saw, was not in reality his Essence; by that his true Essence was That, by which he apprehended that Absolute Being of necessary Existence.

Sec. 63. Having thus learn'd, that this Essence was not that Corporeal Mass which he perceiv'd with his Senses, and was cloath'd with his Skin, he began to entertain mean Thoughts of his Body, and set himself to contemplate that Noble Being, by which he had reach'd the Knowledge of that Superexcellent, and Necessarily existent Being; and began to consider with himself, by means of that Noble Essence of his, whether this Noble Essence of his could possibly be dissolv'd, or dye, or be annihilated; or whether it were of perpetual duration. Now he knew that Corruption and Dissolution were Properties of Body, and consisted in the putting off one Form, and putting on another. As for Instance: when Water is chang'd into Air, and Air into Water; or when Plants are turn'd into Earth or Ashes, and Earth again into Plants; (for this is the true Notion of Corruption.) But an Incorporeal Being, which has no dependance upon Body, but is altogether free from the Accidents proper to Body, cannot be suppos'd to be liable to Corruption.

Sec. 64. Having thus secur'd himself in this Belief, that his Real Essence could not be dissolv'd, he had a mind to know what Condition it should be in, when he had laid aside the Body, and was separated from it; which he persuaded himself would not be, till the Body ceas'd to continue a fit Instrument for its use. Therefore he consider'd all his Apprehensive Faculties, and perceiv'd that every one of them did sometimes apprehend Potentially, and sometimes Actually; as the Eye when it is shut, or turn'd away from the Object, sees Potentially.(For the meaning of apprehending Potentially is, when it does not apprehend now, yet can do it for the time to come.) And when the Eye is open, and turn'd toward the Object, it sees Actually (for that is call'd Actual, which, is present,) and so every one of these Faculties is some times in Power, and sometimes in Act: And if any of them did never actually apprehend its Proper Object, so long as it remains in Power, it has no desire to any Particular Object; because it knows nothing of any, (as a Man that is born blind.) But if it did ever actually Apprehend, and then be reduc'd to the Power only: so long as it remains in that condition, it will desire to apprehend in Act; because it has been acquainted with the Object, and is intent upon it, and lingers after it; as a Man who could once see, and after is blind, continually desires Visible Objects: And according as the Object which he has seen, is more perfect, and glorious, and beautiful, his Desire towards it is proportionably increased, and his Grief for the Loss of it so much the greater. Hence it is that the Grief of him who is depriv'd of that Sight he once had, is greater than his who is depriv'd of Smelling; because she Objects of Sight are more perfect and beautiful than those of Smelling. And if there be any thing of boundless Perfection, infinite Beauty, Glory and Splendor, that is above all Splendor and Beauty; so that there is no Perfection, Beauty, Brightness, or Comliness, but flows from it. Then certainly he that shall be depriv'd of the Sight and Knowledge of that Thing, after he has once been acquainted with it, must necessarily, so long as he continues in that State, suffer inexpressible Anguish; as on the contrary, he that continually has it present to him, must needs enjoy uninterrupted Delight, perpetual Felicity, and infinite Joy and Gladness.

Sec. 65. Now it had been already made plain to him, that all the Attributes of Perfection belonged to that Being which did necessarily self-exist, and that he was far from all manner of Imperfection. He was certain withal, that the Faculty by which he attain'd to the Apprehension of this Being, was not like to Bodies, nor subject to Corruption, as they are. And from hence it appear'd to him, that whosoever had such an Essence as was capable of apprehending this Noble Being, must, when he put off the Body at the time of his Death, have been formerly, during his Conversation in the Body, first, either one who was not acquainted with this necessarily self-existent Essence, nor ever was join'd to him, nor ever heard any thing of him; and so would, at the separating with the Body, never to be join'd to him, nor to be concern'd at the want of him. Because all the Corporeal Faculties cease when the Body dies, nor do they any longer desire or linger after their proper Objects; nor are in any trouble or pain for their absence; (which is the Condition of all Brutes, of what shape soever they are.) Or else, secondly, such an one, who while he continu'd in the Body, did converse with this Being, and had a sense of his Perfection, Greatness, Dominion, and Power; but afterwards declin'd from him, and follow'd his vicious Inclinations, till at length Death overtook him whilst in this State; he shall be depriv'd of that Vision, and yet be afflicted with the Desire of Enjoying it, and so remain in lasting Punishment and inexpressible Torture; whether he be to be delivered from his Misery after a long time, and enjoy that Vision which he so earnestly desires; or, everlastingly to abide in the same Torments, according as he was fitted and dispos'd for either of these two, during his continuance in the Body. Or lastly, were such an one, who convers'd with this necessarily self-existent Being, and apply'd himself to it, with the utmost of his Ability, and has all his Thoughts continually intent upon his Glory, Beauty, and Splendor, and never turns from him, nor forsakes him, till Death seizes him in the Act of Contemplation and Intuition: Such a Man as this shall, when separated from Body, remain in everlasting Pleasure, and Delight, and Joy and Gladness, by reason of the uninterrupted Vision of that self-existent Being, and its intire freedom from all Impurity and Mixture; and because all those Sensible Things shall be remov'd from him, which are the proper Objects of the Corporeal Faculties, and which, in regard of his present State, are no better than Torments, Evils and Hinderances.

Sec. 66. Being thus satisfied, that the Perfection and Happiness of his own Being consisted in the actually beholding that necessarily self-existent Being perpetually, so as not to be diverted from it so much as the twinkling of an Eye, that Death might find him actually employ'd in that Vision, and so his Pleasure might be continu'd, without being interrupted by any Pain; (which Ab-Jonaid a Doctor, and Imaam, of the Sect of the Suphians, alluded to; when at the point of Death he said to his Friends about him, This is the Time when Men ought to Glorify GOD, and be instant in their Prayers,) he began to consider with himself, by what Means this Vision might actually be continu'd, without Interruption. So he was very intent for a time upon that Being; but he could not stay there long, before some sensible Object or other would present itself, either the Voice of some wild Beast would reach his Ears, or some Phantasy affected his Imagination; or he was touch'd with some Pain in some Part or other; or he was hungry, or dry, or too cold, or too hot, or was forc'd to rise to ease Nature. So that his Contemplation was interrupted, and he remov'd from that State of Mind: And then he could not, without a great deal of difficulty, recover himself to that State he was in before; and he was afraid that Death should overtake him at such a Time as his Thoughts were diverted from the Vision, and so should fall into everlasting Misery, and the Pain of Separation.

Sec. 67. This put him into a great deal of Anxiety, and when he could find no Remedy, he began to consider all the several Sorts of Animals, and observe their Actions, and what they were employ'd about; in hopes of finding some of them that might possibly have a Notion of this Being, and endeavour after him; that so he might learn of them which way to be sav'd. But he was altogether disappointed in his Search; for he found that they were all wholly taken up in getting their Provision, and satisfying their Desires of Eating, and Drinking, and Copulation, and chusing the shady places in hot Weather, and the sunny ones in cold: And that all their life-time, both day and night, till they died, was spent after this manner, without any variation, or minding any thing else at any time. From whence it appear'd to him, that they knew nothing of this Being, nor had any desire towards it, nor became acquainted with it by any Means whatsoever; and that they all went into a State of Privation, or something very near a-kin to it. Having pass'd this Judgment upon the Animals, he knew that it was much more reasonable to conclude so of Vegetables, which had but few of those Apprehensions which the Animals had; and if that whose Apprehension was more perfect did not attain to this Knowledge, much less could it be expected from that whose Apprehension was less perfect; especially when he saw that all the Actions of Plants reach'd no farther than Nutrition and Generation.

Sec. 68. He next consider'd the Stars and Spheres, and saw, that they had all regular Motions, and went round in a due Order; and that they were pellucid and shining, and remote from any approach to Change or Dissolution: which made him have a strong suspicion, that they had Essences distinct from their Bodies, which were acquainted with this necessarily self-existent Essence. And that these understanding Essences,were like his understanding Essence. And why might it not be suppos'd that they might have incorporeal Essences, when he himself had, notwithstanding his Weakness and extream want of sensible Things? That he consisted of a corruptible Body, and yet nevertheless, all these Defects did not hinder him from having an incorporeal incorruptible Essence: From whence he concluded, that the Celestial Bodies were much more likely to have it; and he perceived that they had a Knowledge of the necessarily self-existent Being, and did actually behold it at all times; because they were not at all incumbred with those Hinderances, arising from the Intervention of sensible Things, which debarr'd him from enjoying the Vision, without Interruption.

Sec. 69. Then he began to consider with himself, what should be the reason why he alone, above all the rest of living Creatures, should be endu'd with such an Essence, as made him like the Heavenly Bodies. Now he understood before the Nature of the Elements, and how one of them us'd to be chang'd into another, and that there was nothing upon the Face of the Earth, which always remain'd in the same Form, but that Generation and Corruption follow'd one another perpetually in a mutual Succession; and that the greatest part of these Bodies were mix'd and compounded of contrary Things, and were for that reason the more dispos'd to Dissolution: And that there could not be found among them all, any thing pure and free from Mixture, but that such Bodies as came nearest to it, and had least mixture, as Gold and Jacinth are of longest Duration, and less subject to Dissolution; and that the Heavenly Bodies were most simple and pure, and for that reason more free from Dissolution, and not subject to a Succession of Forms. And here it appear'd to him, that the real Essence of those Bodies, which are in this sublunary World, consisted in some, of one simple Notion added to Corporeity, as the four Elements; in others of more, as Animals and Plants. And that those, whose Essence consisted of the fewest Forms, had fewest Actions, and were farther distant from Life. And that if there were any body to be found, that was destitute of all Form, it was impossible that it should live, but was next to nothing at all; also that those things which were endu'd with most Forms, had the most Operations, and had more ready and easie entrance to the State of Life. And if this Form were so dispos'd, that there were no way of separating it from the Matter to which it properly belong'd, then the life of it, would be manifest, permanent and vigorous to the utmost degree. But on the contrary, whatsoever Body was altogether destitute of a Form, was [Greek: Hyle], Matter without Life, and near a-kin to nothing. And that the four Elements subsisted with one single Form only, and are of the first Rank of Beings in the sublunary World, out of which, other things endu'd with more Forms are compounded: And that the Life of these Elements is very weak, both because they have no variety of Motion, but always tend the same way; and because every one of them has an Adversary which manifestly opposes the Tendency of its Nature, and endeavours to deprive it of its Form; and therefore its Essence is of short Continuance, and its Life weak: But that Plants had a stronger Life, and Animals a Life more manifest than the Plants. The reason of which is, because that whenever it happen'd, that in any of these compound Bodies, the Nature of one Element prevail'd, that predominant Element would overcome the Natures of the rest, and destroy their Power; so that the compounded Body would be of the same Nature with that prevailing Element, and consequently partake but of a small Portion of Life, because the Element it self does so.

Sec. 70. On the contrary, if there were any of these compounded Bodies, in which the Nature of one Element did not prevail over the rest, but they were all equally mix'd, and a match one for the other; then one of them would not abate the Force of the other, any more than its own Force is abated by it, but they would work upon one another with equal Power, and the Operation of any one of them would not be more conspicuous than that of the rest; and this Body would be far from being like to any one of the Elements, but would be as if it had nothing contrary to its Form, and consequently the more dispos'd for Life; and the greater this Equality of Temperature was, and by how much the more perfect, and further distant from inclining oneway or other, by so much the farther it is distant from having any contrary to it, and its Life is the more perfect. Now since that Animal Spirit which is seated in the Heart is of a most exact Temperature, as being finer than Earth and Water, and grosser than Fire and Air, it has the Nature of a Mean between them all, and which has no manifest Opposition to any of the Elements, and by this means is fitted to become that Form which constitutes an Animal. And he saw that it follow'd from hence, that those Animal Spirits which were of the most even Temperature, were the best dispos'd for the most perfect Life in this World, of Generation and Corruption, and that this Spirit was very near having no opposite to its Forms, and did in this respect resemble the Heavenly Bodies which have no opposite to their Forms; and was therefore the Spirit of the Animal, because it was a Mean between all the Elements, and had no absolute Tendency, either upwards or downwards; but that, if it were possible it should be plac'd in the middle Space, between the Center and the highest Bounds of the Region of Fire, and not be destroy'd, it would continue in the same place, and move neither upwards nor downwards; but if it should be locally mov'd, it would move in a round, as the Heavenly Bodies do, and if it mov'd in its place, it would be round its own Center, and that it was impossible for it to be of any other Figure but Spherical, and for that reason it is very much like to the Heavenly Bodies.

Sec. 71. And when he had consider'd the Properties of Animals, and could not see any one among them, concerning which he could in the least suspect that it had any Knowledge of this necessarily self-existent Being; but he knew that his own Essence had the Knowledge of it: He concluded from hence that he was an Animal, endu'd with a Spirit of an equal Temperature, as all the Heavenly Bodies are, and that he was of a distinct Species from the rest of Animals, and that he was created for another end, and design'd for something greater than what they were capable of. And this was enough to satisfie him of the Nobility of his Nature; namely, that his viler Part, i.e. the Corporeal, was most like of all to the Heavenly Substances, which are without this World of Generation and Corruption, and free from all accidents that cause any Defect, Change or Alteration: And that his noble Part, viz., that by which he attain'd the Knowledge of the necessarily self-existent Being, was something Heroical and Divine, not subject to Change or Dissolution, nor capable of being describ'd by any of the Properties or Attributes of Bodies: Not to be apprehended by any of the Senses, or by the Imagination; nor to be known by the means of any other Instrument but it self alone, and that it attains the Knowledge of it self by it self, and was at once the Knower the Knowledge, and the Thing known, the Faculty and the Object. Neither was there any difference between any of these because Diversity and Separation are Properties and Adjuncts of Bodies; but Body was no way concern'd here, nor any Property or Adjunct of Body.

Sec. 72. Having apprehended the manner by which the being like the Heavenly Bodies, was peculiar to him above all other kinds of Animals whatever; he perceiv'd that it was a Duty necessarily incumbent upon him to resemble them, and imitate their Actions, and endeavour to the utmost to become like them: He perceiv'd also that in respect: of his nobler Part, by which he had attain'd the Knowledge of that necessarily self existent Being, he did in some measure resemble it, because he was separated from the Attributes of Bodies, as the necessarily self-existent Being is separated from them. He saw also that it was his Duty to endeavour to make himself Master of the Properties of that Being by all possible means, and put on his Qualities, and imitate his Actions, and labour in the doing his Will, and resign himself wholly to him, and submit to his Dispensations heartily and unfeignedly, so as to rejoice in him, tho' he should lay Afflictions upon his Body, and hurt, or totally destroy it.

Sec. 73. He also perceiv'd that he resembled the Beasts in his viler part, which belong'd to this Generable and Corruptible World, viz. this dark, gross Body, which sollicited him with the Desire of Variety of sensible Objects, and excited him to eating, drinking, and Copulation; and he knew that his Body was not created and join'd to him in vain, but that he was oblig'd to preserve it and take care of it, which he saw could not be done without some of those Actions which are common to the rest of the Animals. Thus it was plain to him, that there were three sorts of Actions which he was obliged to, viz. 1. Either those by which he resembled the Irrational Animals. Or, 2. Those by which he resembled the Heavenly Bodies. Or, 3. Those by which he resembled the necessarily self-existent Being: And that he was oblig'd to the first, as having a gross Body, consisting of several Parts, and different Faculties, and variety of Motions. To the second, as having an Animal Spirit, which had its Seat in the Heart, and was the first beginning of the Body and all its Faculties. To the third, as he was what he was, viz. as he was that Being, by which he knew the necessarily self-existent Being. And he was very well assur'd before, that his Happiness and Freedom from Misery, consisted in the perpetual Vision of that necessarily self-existent Being, without being averted from it so much as the twinkling of an Eye.

Sec. 74. Then he weigh'd with himself, by what means a Continuation of this Vision might be attain'd, and the Result of his Contemplation was this, viz. That he was obliged to keep himself constantly exercis'd in these three kinds of Resemblance. Not that the first of them did any way contribute to the helping him to the Vision(but was rather an Impediment and Hindrance, because it was concern'd only in sensible Objects, which are all of them a sort of Veil or Curtain interpos'd between us and it;) but because it was necessary for the Preservation of the Animal Spirit, whereby the second Resemblance, which he had with the Heavenly Bodies was acquir'd, and was for this reason necessary, though incumbred with Hindrances and Inconveniences. But as to the second Conformity, he saw indeed that a great share of that continu'd Vision was attain'd by it, but that it was not without Mixture; because, whatsoever contemplates the Vision after this manner continually, does, together with it, have regard to, and call a Look upon his own Essence, as shall be shewn hereafter. But that the third Conformity was that by which he obtain'd the pure and entire Vision, so as to be wholly taken up with it, without being diverted from it one way or other, by any means whatsoever, but being still intent upon that necessarily self-existent Being; which whosoever enjoys, has no regard to any thing else, and his own Essence is altogether neglected, and vanish'd out of fight, and become as nothing; and so are all other Essences both great and small, except only the Essence of that One, True, Necessarily Self-existent, High and Powerful Being.

Sec. 75. Now when he was assur'd that the utmost Bound of all his Desires consisted in this third Conformity, and that it was not to be attain'd, without being a long time exercis'd in the second; and that there was no continuing so long as was necessary for that Purpose, but by means of the first; (which, how necessary soever, he knew was an Hindrance in itself, and an Help only by Accident.) He resolved to allow himself no more of that first Conformity than needs must, which was only just so much as would keep the Animal Spirit alive. Now, in order to this, he found there were two Things necessary; The former, to help it inwardly, and supply the Defect of that Nourishment which was wasted; The latter, to preserve it from without, against the Extremities of Heat and Cold, Rain and Sun, hurtful Animals, and such like; and he perceiv'd, that if he should allow himself to use these things, though necessary, unadvisedly and at Adventure, it might chance to expose him to Excess, and by that means he might do 'himself an Injury unawares; whereupon he concluded it the safest way to set Bounds to himself, which he resolv'd not to pass; both as to the Kind of Meat which he was to eat, and the Quantity and Quality of it, and the Times of returning to it.

Sec. 76. And first he consider'd the several Kinds of those things which were fit to eat; and found that there were three sorts, viz. either such Plants as were not yet come to their full Growth, nor attained to Perfection, such as are several sorts of green Herbs which are fit to eat: Or secondly, the Fruits of Trees which were fully ripe, and had Seed fit for the Production of more of the same Kind (and such were the kinds of Fruits that were newly gathered and dry): Or lastly, Living Creatures, both Fish and Flesh. Now he knew very well, that all these things were created by that necessarily self-existent Being, in approaching to whom he was assur'd that his Happiness did consist, and in desiring to resemble him. Now the eating of these things must needs hinder their attaining to their Perfection, and deprive them of that End for which they were design'd; and this would be an Opposition to the working of the Supream Agent, and such an Opposition would hinder that Nearness and Conformity to him, which he so much desir'd. Upon this he thought it the best way to abstain from eating altogether, if possible; but when he saw that this would not do, and that such an Abstinence tended to the Dissolution of his Body, which was so much a greater Opposition to the Agent than the former, by how much he was of a more excellent Nature than those things, whose Destruction was the Cause of his Preservation: Of two Evils he resolved to chuse the least, and do that which contain'd in it the least Opposition to the Creator; and resolved to partake of any of these sorts, if those he had most mind to were not at hand, in such quantity as he should conclude upon hereafter; and if it so happen'd that he had them all at hand, then he would consider with himself, and chuse that, in the partaking of which there would be the least Opposition to the Work of the Creator: Such as the pulp of those Fruits which were full ripe, and had Seeds in them fit to produce others of the like kind, always taking care to preserve the Seeds, and neither cut them, nor spoil them, nor throw them in such places as were not fit for Plants to grow in, as smooth Stones, salt Earth, and the like. And if such pulpy Fruits, as Apples, Pears, Plumbs, &c. could not easily be come at, he would then take such as had nothing in them fit to eat but only the Seed, as Almonds and Chesnuts, or such green Herbs as were young and tender; always observing this Rule, that let him take of which sort he would, he still chose those that there was greatest Plenty of, and which increased fastest, but so as to pull up nothing by the Roots, nor spoil the Seed: And if none of these things could be had, he would then take some living Creature, or eat Eggs; but when he took any Animal, he chose that sort of which there was the greatest Plenty, so as not totally to destroy any Species.

Sec. 77. These were the Rules which he prescrib'd to himself, as to the Kinds of his Provision; as to the Quantity, his Rule was to eat no more than just what would satisfie his Hunger; and as for the time of his Meals, he design'd, when he was once satisfied, not to eat any more till he found some Disability in himself which hindred his Exercise in the second Conformity, (of which we are now going to speak;) and as for those things which necessity requir'd of him towards the Conservation of his Animal Spirit, in regard of defending it from external Injuries, he was not much troubled about them, for he was cloath'd with Skins, and had a House sufficient to secure him from those Inconveniences from without, which was enough for him; and he thought it superfluous to take any further Care about those things; and as for his Diet, he observ'd those Rules which he had prescrib'd to himself, namely, those which we have just now set down.

Sec. 78. After this he apply'd himself to the second Operation, viz. the Imitation of the Heavenly Bodies, and expressing their proper Qualities in himself; which when he had consider'd, he found to be of three sorts. The first were such as had relation to those inferior Bodies, which, are plac'd in this World of Generation and Corruption, as Heat, which they impart to those of their own Nature, and Cold by accident, Illumination, Rarefaction, and Condensation, and all those other things, by which they influence these inferior Bodies, whereby they are dispos'd for the Reception of Spiritual Forms from the necessarily self-existent Agent. The second sort of Properties which they had, were such as concern'd their own Being, as that they were clear, bright and pure, free from all manner of feculent Matter, and whatsoever kinds of Impurity: That their Motion was circular, some of them moving round their own Center, and some again round the Center of other Planets. The third kind of their Properties, were such as had relation to the necessarily self-existent Agent, as their continually beholding him without any Interruption, and having a Desire towards him, being busied in his Service, and moving agreeable to his Will, and not otherwise, but as he pleased, and by his Power. So he began to resemble them in every one of these three kinds, to the utmost of his Power.

Sec. 79. And as for his first Conformity, his Imitation of them consisted in removing all things that were hurtful, either from Animals or Plants if they could be remov'd: So that if he saw any Plant which was depriv'd of the Benefit of the Sun, by the Interposition of any other Body; or that its growth was hindred by its being twisted with, or standing too near any other Plant, he would remove that which hindred it if possible, yet so as not to hurt either; or if it was in danger of dying for want of Moisture, he took what care he could to water it constantly. Or if he saw any Creature pursu'd by any wild Beast, or entangled in a Snare, or prick'd with Thorns, or that had gotten any thing hurtful fallen into its Eyes or Ears, or was hungry or thirsty, he took all possible care to relieve it. And when he saw any Water-course stopp'd by any Stone, or any thing brought down by the Stream, so that any Plant or Animal was hindred of it, he took care to remove it. And thus he continu'd in this first kind of Imitation of the Heavenly Bodies, till he had attain'd it to the very heighth of Perfection.

Sec. 80. The second sort of Imitation consisted in his continually obliging himself to keep himself clean from all manner of Dirt and Nastiness, and washing himself often, keeping his Nails and his Teeth clean, and the secret Parts of his Body, which he used to rub sometimes with sweet Herbs and Perfume with Odors. He used frequently to make clean his Cloaths; and perfume them, so that he was all over extreamly clean and fragrant. Besides this, he us'd a great many sorts of Circular Motion[21], sometimes walking round the Island, compassing the Shore, and going round the utmost Bounds of it; sometimes walking or running a great many times round about his House or some Stone, at other times turning himself round so often that he was dizzy.

Sec. 81. His Imitation of the third sort of Attributes, consisted in confining his Thoughts to the Contemplation of the necessarily self-existent Being. And in order to this, he remov'd all his Affections from sensible Things, shut his Eyes, stopp'd his Ears, and refrain'd himself as much as possible from following his Imagination, endeavouring to the utmost to think of nothing besides him; nor to admit together with him any other Object of Contemplation. And he us'd to help himself in this by violently turning himself round, in which when he was very violently exercis'd, all manner of sensible Objects vanish'd out of his sight, and the Imagination, and all the other Faculties which make any use of the Organs of the Body grew Weak; and on the other side, the Operations of his Essence, which depended not on the Body, grew strong, so that at sometimes his Meditation was pure and free from any Mixture, and he beheld by it the necessarily self-existent Being: But then again the Corporeal Faculties would return upon him, and spoil his Contemplation, and bring him down to the lowest Degree where he was before. Now, when he had any Infirmity upon him which interrupted his Design, he took some kind of Meat, but still according to the aforemention'd Rules; and then remov'd again to that State of Imitation of the Heavenly Bodies, in these three Respects which we have mention'd; and thus he continued for some time opposing his Corporeal Faculties, and they opposing him, and mutually struggling one against another, and at such times as he got the better of them; and his Thoughts were free from Mixture; he did apprehend something of the Condition of those, who have attained to the third Resemblance.

Sec. 82. Then he began to seek after this third Assimulation, and took pains in the attaining it. And first he consider'd the Attributes of the necessarily self-existent Being. Now it had appear'd to him, during the time of his Theoretical Speculation, before he enter'd upon the Practical Part; that there were two Sorts of them, viz. Affirmative, as Knowledge, Power and Wisdom &c. and Negative, as Immateriality; not only such as consisted in the not being Body; but in being altogether remov'd from any thing that had the least Relation to Body, though at never so great a Distance. And that this was a Condition, not only requir'd in the Negative Attributes, but in the Affirmative too, viz. that they should be free from all Properties of Body, of which, Multiplicity is one. Now the Divine Essence is not multiplied by these Affirmative Attributes, but all of 'em together are one and the same thing, viz. his real Essence. Then he began to consider how he might imitate him in both these Kinds; and as for the Affirmative Attributes, when he consider'd that they were nothing else but his real Essence, and that by no means it could be said of them that they are many(because Multiplicity is a Property of Body) and that the Knowledge of his own Essence was not a Notion superadded to his Essence, but that his Essence was the Knowledge of his Essence; and so vice versa, it appear'd to him, that if he would know his Being, this Knowledge, by which he knew his Being would not be a Notion superadded to his Being, but be the very Being itself. And he perceived that his way to make himself like to him, as to what concern'd his Affirmative Attributes, would be to know him alone, abstracted wholly from all Properties of Body.

Sec. 83. This he apply'd himself to; and as for the Negative Attributes, they all consisted in Separation from Bodily Things. He began therefore to strip himself of all Bodily Properties, which he had made some Progress in before, during the time of the former Exercise, when he was employ'd in the Imitation of the Heavenly Bodies; but there still remained a great many Relicks, as his Circular Motion (Motion being one of the more proper Attributes of Body), and his care of Animals and Plants, Compassion upon them, and Industry in removing whatever inconvenienc'd them. Now all these things belong to Corporeal Attributes, for he could not see these things at first, but by Corporeal Faculties; and he was oblig'd to make use of the same Faculties in preserving them. Therefore he began to reject and remove all those things from himself, as being in no wise consistent with that State which he was now in search of. So he continu'd, confining himself to rest in the Bottom of his Cave, with his Head bow'd down, and his Eyes shut, and turning himself altogether from all sensible Things and the Corporeal Faculties, and bending all his Thoughts and Meditations upon the necessarily self-existent Being, without admitting any thing else besides him; and if any other Object presented itself to his Imagination, he rejected it with his utmost Force; and exercis'd himself in this, and persisted in it to that Degree, that sometimes he did neither eat nor stir for a great many Days together. And whilst he was thus earnestly taken up in Contemplation, sometimes all manner of Beings whatsoever would be quite out of his Mind and Thoughts, except his own Being only.

Sec. 84. But he found that his own Being was not excluded by his Thoughts, no not at such times when he was most deeply immers'd in the Contemplation of the first, true, necessarily self-existent Being. Which concern'd him very much, for he knew that even this was a Mixture in this simple Vision, and the Admission of an extraneous Object in that Contemplation. Upon which he endeavour'd to disappear from himself, and be wholly taken up in the Vision of that true Being; till at last he attain'd it; and then both the Heavens and the Earth, and whatsoever is between them, and all Spiritual Forms, and Corporeal Faculties; and all those Powers which are separate from Matter, and are those Beings which know the necessarily self-existent Being, all disappear'd and vanish'd, and were as if they had never been, and amongst these his own Being disappear'd too, and there remain'd nothing but this ONE, TRUE, Perpetually Self-existent Being, who spoke thus in that Saying of his (which is not a Notion superadded to his Essence.) To whom now belongs the Kingdom? To this One, Almighty God.[22] Which Words of his Hai Ebn Yokdhan understood, and heard his Voice; nor was his being unacquainted with Words, and not being able to speak, any Hindrance at all to the understanding him. Wherefore he deeply immers'd himself into this State, and witness'd that which neither Eye hath seen, nor Ear heard; nor hath it ever enter'd into the Heart of Man to conceive.

Sec. 85. And now, don't expect that I should give thee a Description of that, which the Heart of Man cannot conceive. For if a great many of thole things which we do conceive are nevertheless hard to be explain'd, how much more difficult must those be which cannot be conceiv'd by the Heart, nor are circumscrib'd in the Limits of that World in which it converses. Now, when I say the Heart, I don't mean the Substance of it, nor that Spirit which is contain'd in the Cavity of it; but I mean by it, the Form of that Spirit which is diffus'd by its Faculties through the whole Body of Man. Now every one of these three is sometimes call'd the Heart, but 'tis impossible that this thing which I mean should be comprehended by any of these three, neither can we express any thing by Words, which is not first conceiv'd in the Heart. And whosoever asks to have it explain'd, asks an Impossibility; for 'tis just as if a Man should have a mind to taste Colours, quatenas Colours, and desire, that black should be either sweet or sowre. However, I shall not dismiss you without some Limits, whereby I shall point out to you in some Measure, what wonderful things he saw when in this Condition, but all figuratively, and by way of Parable; not pretending to give a literal Description of that, which is impossible to be known, but by coming thither. Attend therefore with the Ears of thy Heart, and look sharply with the Eyes of thy Understanding, upon that which I shall shew thee; it may be thou may'st find so much in it, as may serve to lead thee into the right way. But I make this Bargain, that thou shalt not at present require any further Explication of it by Word of Mouth; but rest thy self contented with what I shall commit to these Papers. For 'tis a narrow Field, and 'tis dangerous to attempt the explaining of that with Words, the Nature of which admits no Explication.

Sec. 86. I say then, when he had abstracted himself from his own and all other Essences, and beheld nothing in Nature, but only that One, Living and Permanent Being: When he saw what he saw, and then afterwards return'd to the beholding of other Things: Upon his Coming to himself from that State (which was like Drunkenness) he began to think that his own Essence did not at all differ from the Essence of that TRUE Being, but that they were both one and the same thing; and that the thing which he had taken before for his own Essence, distinct from that true Essence was in reality nothing at all, and that there was nothing in him but this true Essence. And that this was like the Light of the Sun, which, when it falls upon solid Bodies, shines there; and though it be attributed, or may seem to belong to that Body upon which it appears, yet it is nothing else in reality, but the Light of the Sun. And if that Body be remov'd, its Light also is remov'd; but the Light of the Sun remains still after the same manner, and is neither increas'd by the Presence of that Body, nor diminish'd by its Absence. Now when there happens to be a Body which is fitted for such a Reception of Light, it receives it; if such a Body be absent, then there is no such Reception, and it signifies nothing at all.

Sec. 87. He was the more confirm'd in this Opinion, because it appeared to him before, that this TRUE Powerful and Glorious Being, was not by any means capable of Multiplicity, and that his Knowledge of his Essence, was his very Essence, from whence he argued thus:

He that has the Knowledge of this Essence has the Essence itself; hut I have the knowledge of this Essence. Ergo, I have the Essence itself.

Now this Essence can be present no where but with itself, and its very Presence is Essence; and therefore he concluded that he was that very Essence. And to all other Essences which were separate from Matter, which had the Knowledge of that true Essence, though before he had looked upon them as many, by this way of thinking, appear'd to him to be only one thing. And this misgrounded Conceit of his, had like to have firmly rooted itself in his Mind, unless God had pursu'd him with his Mercy, and directed him by his gracious Guidance; and then he perceiv'd that it arose from the Relicks of that Obscurity which is natural to Body, and the Dregs of sensible Objects. Because that Much and Little, Unity and Multiplicity, Collection and Separation, are all of them Properties of Body. But we cannot say of these separate Essences, which know this TRUE Being (whose Name be prais'd) that they are many or one, because they are immaterial. Now, Multiplicity is because of the Difference of one Being from another, and there can be no Unity but by Conjunction, and none of these can be understood without Compound Notions which are mix'd with Matter. Besides, that the Explication of Things in this place is very straight and difficult; because if you go about to express what belongs to these separate Essences, by way of Multitude, or in the Plural, according to our way of speaking, this insinuates a Notion of Multiplicity, whereas they are far from being many; and if you speak of them by way of Separation, or in the Singular, this insinuates a Notion of Unity, whereas they are far from being one.

Sec. 88. And here methinks I fee one of those Batts, whose Eyes the Sun dazzles, moving himself in the Chain of his Folly, and saying, This Subtilty of yours exceeds all Bounds, for you have withdrawn your self from the State and Condition of understanding Men, and indeed thrown away the Nature of Intelligible Things, for this is a certain Axiom, that a thing must be either one, or more than one. Soft and fair; let that Gentleman be pleas'd to consider with himself, and contemplate this vile, sensible World, after the same manner which Hai Ebn Yokdhan did, who, when he consider'd it one way, sound such a Multiplicity in it, as was incomprehensible; and then again considering it another way, perceiv'd that it was only one thing; and thus he continu'd fluctuating, and could not determine on one side more than another. Now if it were so in this sensible World, which is the proper place of Multiplicity and Singularity, and the place where the true Nature of them is understood, and in which are Separation and Union, Division into Parts, and Distinction, Agreement and Difference, what would he think of the Divine World, in, or concerning which we cannot justly say, all nor some, nor express any thing belonging to it by such Words as our Ears are us'd to, without insinuating some Notion which is contrary to the Truth of the thing, which no Man knows but he that has seen it, nor understands; but he that has attain'd to it.

Sec. 89. And as for his saying, That I have withdrawn myself from the State and Condition of understanding Men, and thrown away the Nature of Intelligible Things: I grant it, and leave him to his Understanding, and his understanding Men he speaks of. For that Understanding which he, and such as he, mean, is nothing else but that Rational Faculty which examines the Individuals of Sensible Things, and from thence gets an Universal Notion; and those understanding Men he means, are those which make use of this sort of Separation. But that kind, which we are now speaking of, is above all this; and therefore let every one that knows nothing but Sensible Things and their Universals, shut his Ears, and pack away to his Company, who know the outside of the Things of this World, but take no care of the next. But if thou art one of them to whom these Limits and Signs by which we describe the Divine World are sufficient, and dost not put that Sense upon my Words in which they are commonly us'd[23], I shall give thee some farther Account of what Hai Ebn Yokdhan saw, when he was in the State of those who have attain'd to the Truth, of which we have made Mention before, and it is thus;

Sec. 90. After he was wholly immers'd in the Speculation of these things, and perfectly abstracted from all other Objects, and in the nearest Approach[24]; he saw in the highest Sphere, beyond which there is no Body, a Being free from Matter, which was not the Being of that ONE, TRUE ONE, nor the Sphere itself, nor yet any thing different from them both; but was like the Image of the Sun which appears in a well-polish'd Looking-glass, which is neither the Sun nor the Looking-glass, and yet not distinct from them. And he saw in the Essence of that separate Sphere, such Perfection, Splendor and Beauty, as is too great to be express'd by any Tongue, and too subtil to be cloath'd in Words; and he perceiv'd that it was in the utmost Perfection of Delight and Joy, Exultation and Gladness, by reason of its beholding that TRUE Essence, whose Glory be exalted,

Sec. 91. He saw also that the next Sphere to it, which is that of the Fixed Stars, had an immaterial Essence, which was not the Essence of that TRUE ONE, nor the Essence of that highest, separated Sphere, nor the Sphere itself, and yet not different from these; but is like the Image of the Sun which is reflected upon a Looking glass, from another Glass placed opposite to the Sun; and he observ'd in this Essence also the like Splendor, Beauty, Loveliness and Pleasure, which he had observ'd in the Essence of the other highest Sphere. He saw likewise that the next Sphere, which is the Sphere of Saturn, had an immaterial Essence, which was none of those Essences he had seen before, nor yet different from them; but was like the Image of the Sun, which appears in a Glass, upon which it is reflected from a Glass which receiv'd that Reflection from another Glass plac'd opposite to the Sun. And he saw in this Essence too, the same Splendor and Delight which he had observ'd in the former. And so in all the Spheres he observ'd distinct, immaterial Essences, every one of which was not any of those which went before it, not yet different from them; but was like the Image of the Sun reflected from one Glass to another, according to the Order of the Spheres. And he saw in every one of these Essences, such Beauty, Splendor, Pleasure and Joy, as Eye hath not seen, nor Ear heard, nor hath it enter'd into the Heart of Man to conceive; and so downwards, till he came to the lower World, subject to Generation and Corruption, which comprehends all that which is contained within the Sphere of the Moon.

Sec. 92. Which he perceiv'd had an immaterial Essence, as well as the rest; not the same with any of those which he had seen before, nor different from them; and that this Essence had seventy thousand Faces, and every Face seventy thousand Mouths, and every Mouth seventy thousand Tongues, with which it praised, sanctified and glorified incessantly the Essence of that ONE, TRUE BEING. And he saw that this Essence (which he had suppos'd to be many, tho' it was not) had the same Perfection and Pleasure, which he had seen in the other; and that this Essence was like the Image of the Sun, which appears in fluctuating Water, which has that Image reflected upon it from the last and lowermost of those Glasses, to which the Reflection came, according to the foremention'd Order, from the first Glass which was set opposite to the Sun. Then he perceiv'd that he himself had a separate Essence, which one might call a part of that Essence which had seventy thousand Faces, if that Essence had been capable of Division; and if that Essence had not been created in time, one might say it was the very same; and had it not been join'd to the Body so soon as it was created, we should have thought that it had not been created. And in this Order he saw other Essences also, like his own which had necessarily been heretofore, then were dissolv'd, and afterwards necessarily existed together with himself; and that they were so many as could not he number'd, if we might call them many; or that they were all one, if we might call them one. And he perceiv'd both in his own Essence, and in those other Essences which were in the same Rank with him, infinite Beauty, Brightness and Pleasure, such as neither Eye hath seen, nor Ear heard, nor hath it enter'd into the Heart of Man; and which none can describe nor understand, but those which have attain'd to it, and experimentally know it.

Sec. 93. Then he saw a great many other immaterial Essences[25], which resembled rusty Looking-glasses, cover'd over with Filth, and besides, turn'd their Backs upon, and had their Faces averted from those polish'd Looking-glasses that had the Image of the Sun imprinted upon them; and he saw that these Essences had so much Filthiness adhering to them, and such manifold Defects as he could not have conceived. And he saw that they were afflicted with infinite Pains, which caused incessant Sighs and Groans; and that they were compass'd about with Torments, as those who lie in a Bed are with Curtains; and that they were scorch'd with the fiery Veil of Separation[26]. But after a very little while his Senses return'd to him again, and he came to himself out of this State, as out of an Extasie; and his Foot sliding out of this place, he came within sight of this sensible World, and lost the sight of the Divine World, for there is no joining them both together in the same State. For this World in which we live, and that other are like two Wives belonging to the same Husband; if you please one, you displease the other.

Sec. 94. Now, if you should object, that it appears from what I have said concerning this Vision, that those separated Essences, if they chance to be in Bodies of perpetual Duration, as the Heavenly Bodies are, shall also remain perpetually, but if they be in a Body which is liable to Corruption (such an one as belongs to us reasonable Creatures) that then they must perish too, and vanish away, as appears from the Similitude of the Looking-glasses which I have us'd to explain it; because the Image there has no Duration of itself, but what depends upon the Duration of the Looking-glass; and if you break the Glass, the Image is most certainly destroy'd and vanishes. In answer to this I must tell you, that you have soon forgot the Bargain I made with you. For did not I tell you before that it was a narrow Field, and that we had but little room for Explication; and that Words however us'd, would most certainly occasion Men to think otherwise of the thing than really it was? Now that which has made you imagine this, is, because you thought that the Similitude must answer the thing represented in every respect. But that will not hold in any common Discourse; how much less in this, where the Sun and its Light, and its Image, and the Representation of it, and the Glasses, and the Forms which appear in them, are all of them things which are inseparable from Body, and which cannot subsist but by it and in it, and therefore the very Essences of them depend upon Body, and they perish together with it.

Sec. 95. But as for the Divine Essences and Heroick Spirits, they are all free from Body and all its Adherents, and remov'd from them at the utmost distance, nor have they any Connection, or Dependance upon them. And the existing or not existing of Body is all one to them, for their sole Connection and Dependance is upon that ONE TRUE NECESSARY SELF-EXISTENT BEING, who is the first of them, and the Beginning of them, and the Cause of their Existence, and he perpetuates them and continues them for ever; nor do they want the Bodies, but the Bodies want them; for if they should perish, the Bodies would perish, because these Essences are the Principles of these Bodies. In like manner, as if a Privation of that ONE TRUE BEING could be suppos'd (far be it from him, for there is no God but him) all these Essences would be remov'd together with him, and the Bodies too, and all the sensible World, because all these have a mutual Connection.

Sec. 96. Now, tho' the Sensible World follows the Divine World, as a Shadow does the Body, and the Divine World stands in no need of it, but is free from it, and independent of it, yet notwithstanding this, it is absurd to suppose a Possibility of its being annihilated, because it follows the Divine World: But the Corruption of this World consists in its being chang'd, not annihilated. And that glorious Book[27] spake, where there is no mention made of Moving the Mountains, and making them like the World, and Men like Fire-flyes, and darkning the Sun and Moon; and Eruption of the Sea, in that day when the Earth shall be chang'd into another Earth, and the Heavens likewise. And this is the Substance of what I can hint to you at present, concerning what Hai Ebn Yokdhan saw, when in that glorious State. Don't expect that I should explain it any farther with Words, for that is even impossible.

Sec. 97. But as for what concerns the finishing his History, that I shall tell you, God willing. After his return to the sensible World, when he had been where we have told you, he loath'd this present Life, and most earnestly long'd for the Life to come; and he endeavour'd to return to the same State, by the same means he had sought it at first, till he attain'd to it with less trouble than he did at first, and continu'd in it the second time longer than at the first. Then he return'd to the Sensible World; and then again endeavour'd to recover his Station, which he found easier than at the first and second time, and that he continu'd in it longer; and thus it grew easier and easier, and his Continuance in it longer and longer, time after, time, till at last he could attain it when he pleas'd, and stay in it as long as he pleas'd. In this State he firmly kept himself, and never retir'd from it, but when the Necessities of his Body requir'd it, which he had brought into as narrow a Compass as was possible. And whilst he was thus exercis'd, he us'd to with that it would please God to deliver him altogether from this Body of his, which detain'd him from that State; that he might have nothing to do but to give himself up wholly to his Delight, and be freed from all that Torment with which he was afflicted, as often as he was forc'd to avert his Mind from that State, by attending on the Necessities of Nature. And thus he continu'd, till he was past the seventh Septenary of his Age; that is, till he was about fifty Years of Age, and then he happen'd to be acquainted with Asal. The Narrative of which meeting of theirs, we shall now (God willing) relate.

Sec. 98. They say that there was an Island not far from that where Hai Ebn Yokdhan was born (no matter according to which of those two different Accounts they give of his Birth) into which one of those good Sects, which had some one of the ancient Prophets (of pious Memory) for its Author, had retir'd. A Sect which us'd to discourse of all things in Nature, by way of Parable and Similitude, and by that means represent the Images of them to the Imagination, and fix the Impressions of them in Men's Minds, as is customary in such Discourses as are made to the Vulgar. This Sect so spread it self in this Island, and prevail'd and grew so eminent, that at last the King not only embrac'd it himself, but oblig'd his Subjects to do so too.

Sec. 99. Now there were born in this Island, two Men of extraordinary Endowments, and Lovers of that which is Good; the Name of the one was Asal, and the other Salaman, who meeting with this Sect, embrac'd it heartily, and oblig'd themselves to the punctual Observance of all its Ordinances, and the daily Exercise of what was practis'd in it; and to this end they enter'd into a League of Friendship with each other. Now among other Passages contain'd in the Law of that Sect, they sometimes made enquiry into these Words, wherein it treats of the Description of the most High and Glorious God, and. his Angels, and the Resurrection, and the Rewards and Punishments of a future State. Now Asal us'd to make a deeper Search into the inside of Things, and was more inclin'd to study Mystical Meanings and Interpretations. But as for his Friend Salaman, he kept close to the literal Sense, and never troubled himself with such Interpretations, but refrain'd from such curious Examination and Speculation of things. However, notwithstanding this Difference, they both were constant in performing those Ceremonies requir'd, and in calling themselves to an account, and in opposing their Affections.

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