Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v2

BAXTER'S DYING THOIIGHTS. 147 thine ; and it is, to thee that I desire to live : therefore let me quietly die to thee, and wholly trust thee with my soul. II. And why should my want of formal conceptions of the fu- ture stateof separated souls, and my strangeness to the manner of their subsistence and operations, induce me to doubt of those gen- erals, which are evident, and beyond all rational doubting? That souls are substances, and not annihilated, and essentially the same, when they forsake the body, as before, I doubt not: Otherwise, neither the Christian's resurrection, nor the Pythagorean's transmi- gration, were a possible thing. For, if the soul cease to be, it cannot pass into anotherbody, nor can it reenter into this. If God raise this body, then it must be by another soul. For the same soul to be annihilated, and yet to begin again to be, is a contradic- tion ; for thesecond beginning would be by creation, which maketh a new soul, and not the same that was 'before. It is the invisible things that are excellent, active, operative, and permanent. The visible (excepting light, which maketh all things else visible) are of themselves but lifeless dross. It is the unseen part of plants and flowers which causeth all their growth and beauty, their fruit and sweetness. Passive matter is but moved up and down by the invisible active powers, as chess -men are moved from place to place by the gamester's hands. What a loathsome corpse were the world, without the invisible spirits and natures that animate, actuate, or move it. To doubt of the being or continuation of the most excellent, spiritual parts of the creation, when we live in a world that is actuated by them, and where every thing de- monstrates them, as their effects, is more ' foolish than to doubt of the being of,these gross materials which we see. How oft have I been convinced that there are good spirits with whom our souls have as certain communion, though not so sensi- ble, as our life hath with the sun, and we have with one another l And that there are evil and envious spirits that fight against our holiness and peace, as certain narratives of apparitions and witch- es, and too sad experience of temptations, do evince. And the marvelous diversity of creatures on earth, for kind and number; yea, the diversity of stars in heaven, as well as the diversities of angels and devils, do partly tell me, that though all be of one, and through one, and to one, yet absolute unity is the divine pre- rogative, and we must not presume to expect such perfection as to lose our specific or numerical diversity, by any union which shall befall our souls. Nor can I reasonably doubt that so noble and active a nature as souls dwelling above in the lucid regions, in communion with their like, and with their betters, shall be without the activity,the pleasureand felicity, which is suitable to their na- ture, their region, and their company. And my Savior bath en-