Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v2

BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 31. ists and epicureans will grant, who think that no atom in'the uni- verse is annihilated ; and we that see, not only the sun and heavens continued, but every grain of matter, and that compounds are changed by dissolution ofparts, and rarefaction, or migration, &c., and not by annihilation, have no reason to dream that God will annihilate one soul, (though he can do it, if he please, yea, and annihilate all the world:) it is a thing beyond a rational ex- pectation. 4. And a destruction by the dissolution of the parts of the soul, we need not fear. For, (1.) Either an intellectual spirit is divis- ible and partible, or not ifnot, we need not fear it : if it be, either it is a thing that nature .tendeth to, or not ; but that nature doth not tend to it, is evident. For there is naturally so strange and strong an inclination to unity, and averseness to separation in all things, that even earth and stones, that have no other (known) natural motion, have yet an aggregate motion in their gravitation : but if you will separate the parts from the rest, it must be by force. And water is yet more averse from partition without force, and more inclined to union than earth, and air than water, and fire than air; so he that will cut a sunbeam into pieces, and make many of one, must be an extraordinary agent. And, surely, spirits, even intellectual spirits, will be no less, averse from partition, and in- clined to keep their unity, than fire or a sunbeam is; so that nat- urally it is not a thing to be feared, that it should fall into pieces. (2.) And he that will say, that the God of nature will change, and overcome the nature that he hath made, must give us good proofs of it, or it is not to be feared. And if he should do it as a punishment, we must find such a punishment somewhere threaten- ed, either in his natural or supernatural law, which we do not, and therefore need not fear it. (3.) But if it were to be feared that souls were partible, and would be broken into parts, this would be no destruction of them, either as to their substance, powers, form, or action, but only a breaking of one soul into many; for, being not compounded of heterogeneal parts, but, as simple elements, of homogeneal only, as every atom of earth is earth, and every drop of water in the sea is water, and every particle of air and fire is air and fire, and have all the properties of earth, water, air, and fire ; so would it be with every particle of an intellectual spirit. But who can see cause to dreamof such a partition, never threatened by God ? 5. And that souls lose not their formal powers, or virtues, we have great reason to conceive; because they are their natural es- sence, not as mixed, but simple substances : and though some im- agine that the passive elements may, by attenuation or incrassation, be transmuted one into another, yet we see that earth is still earth,