Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v2

ii 82 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. and, water is water, and air is air; and their conceit hath no proof; and, were it proved, it would but prove that noneof these are a first or proper element : but what should an intellectual spirit be chang- ed into? how should it lose its formal power? Not by nature ; for its nature bath nothing that tendeth to deterioration, or decay, or self-destruction. The sun doth not decay by its wonderful motion, light, and heat ;'and whyshould spirits? Not by God's destroy- ing them, or changing their nature ; for, though all things are in constant motion, or revolution, he continueth the, natures of, the simple beings, and showeth us, that he delighteth in a constancy of operations, insomuch that, hence; Aristotle thought the world eternal. And God hath made no law that , do it as a penalty. Therefore, to dream that intellectual spirits shall be turned into other things, and lose their essential, formal powers, which specify them, is without and against all sober reason. Let them first but prove that the sun loseth motion, light and heat, and is turned into air, or water, or earth. Such changes are beyond a rational fear. 6. But some men dream that souls shall sleep; and cease their acts, though they lose not their powers. But this is more unrea- sonable than the former.. For it must be remembered that it is not a mere obediential, passive power that we speak of, but an active power, consisting in as great an inclination to act, as pas- sive natures have to forbear action. So that if such a nature act not, it must be because its natural inclination is hindered by a stronger: and who shall hinder it? (1.) God would not continue an active power, force, and in- clination in nature, and forcibly hinder the operation of thatnature which he himself continueth ; unless penally, for some special cause, which he never gave us any notice of by any threatening, but the contrary. (2,) Objects will not be wanting, for all the world will be still at hand, and God above all. It is, therefore, an unreasonable conceit to think that God will continue an active, vital, intellective, volitivenature, form, power, force, inclination, in anoble substance, which shall use none of these for many hundred or thousand years, and so continue them in vain. Nay, (3.) It is rather to be thought that some action is their constant state, without which, the cessation of their very form would be inferred. But all that can be said; with reason, is, that separated souls, and' souls hereafter in spiritual bodies, will have actionsof another mode, and very different from these that we now perceive 'in flesh : and be it so. They will yet be, radically, of the same kind, and they will be, formally or eminently, such as we now call vitality, intel-