Of the Rational Soul.

Of the Rational Soul.

IN the precedent subsections I have anatomized those inferior faculties of the soul; the rational remaineth, "a pleasant but a doubtful subject" (as one terms it), and with the like brevity to be discussed. Many erroneous opinions are about the essence and original of it; whether it be fire, as Zeno held; harmony, as Aristoxenus; number, as Xenocrates; whether it be organical, or inorganical; seated in the brain, heart or blood; mortal or immortal; how it comes into the body. Some hold that it is ex traduce, as Phil. 1. de Anima, Tertullian, Lactantius de opific. Dei, cap. 19. Hugo, lib. de Spiritu et Anima, Vincentius Bellavic. spec. natural. lib. 23. cap. 2. et 11. Hippocrates, Avicenna, and many late writers; that one man begets another, body and soul; or as a candle from a candle, to be produced from the seed: otherwise, say they, a man begets but half a man, and is worse than a beast that begets both matter and form; and besides the three faculties of the soul must be together infused, which is most absurd as they hold, because in beasts they are begot, the two inferior I mean, and may not be well separated in men. Galen supposeth the soul crasin esse, to be the temperature itself; Trismegistus, Museus, Orpheus, Homer, Pindarus, Phærecides Syrus, Epicetetus, with the Chaldees and Ægyptians, affirmed the soul to be immortal, as did those British Druids of old. The Pythagoreans defend Metempsychosis; and Palingenesia, that souls go from one body to another, epota prius Lethes unda, as men into wolves, bears, dogs, hogs, as they were inclined in their lives, or participated in conditions.

--- "inque ferinas
Possumus ire domus, pecudumque in corpora condi."

(Ovid. Met. 15. "We, who may take up our abode in wild beasts, or be lodged in the breasts of cattle")

Lucian's cock was first Euphorbus a captain:

"Ille ego (nam memini) Trojani tempore belli
Panthoides Euphorbus eram."

A horse, a man, a sponge. Julian the Apostate thought Alexander's soul was descended into his body: Plato in Timæo, and in his Phaædon (for aught I can perceive), differs not much from this opinion, that it was from God at first, and knew all, but being inclosed in the body, it forgets, and learns anew, which he calls reminiscentia, or recalling, and that it was put into the body for a punishment; and thence it goes into a beast's, or man's, as appears by his pleasant fiction de sortitione animarum, Lib. 10. de rep. and after ten thousand years is to return into the former body again.

--- "Post Varios annos, per mille figuras,
Rursus ad humanæ fertur primordia vitæ,"

Others deny the immortality of it, which Pomponatus of Padua decided out of Aristotle not long since, Plinius Avunculus, cap. 1. lib. 2. et lib. 7. cap. 55; Seneca, lib. 7. epist. ad Lucilium epist 55; Dicearchus in Tull. Tusc. Epicurus, Aratus, Hippocrates, Galen, Lucretius, lib. 1.

"(Præterea gigni pariter cum corpore, et una
Crescere sentimus, pariterque senescrer mentem)"

("Besides, we observe that the mind is born with the body, grows with it, and decays with it.")

Averroes, and I know not how many Neoterics. "This question of the immortality of the soul, is diversely and wonderfully impugned and disputed, especially among the Italians of late," saith Jab. Colerus, lib. de immort. animæ, cap. 1. The popes themselves have doubted of it: Leo Decimus, that Epicurean pope, as some record of him, caused this question to be dis cussed pro and con before him, and concluded at last, as a prophane and atheistical moderator, with that verse of Cornelius Gallus, Et redit in nihilum, quod fuit ante nihil. It began of nothing, and in nothing it ends. Zeno and his Stoics, as Austin quotes him, supposed the soul so long to continue, till the body was fully putrefied, and resolved into materia prima: but after that, in fumos evanescere, to be extinguished and vanished; and in the mean time, whilst the body was consuming, it wandered all abroad, et e longinquo multa annunciare, and (as that Clazomenian Hermotimus averred) saw pretty visions, and suffered I know not what. Errant exangues sine corpore et ossibus umbræ. (Ovid. 4 Met. The bloodless shades without either body or bones wander.) Others grant the immortality thereof but they make many fabulous fictions in the meantime of it, after the departure from the body: like Plato's Elysian fields, and that Turkey paradise. The souls of good men they deified; the bad (saith Austin) became devils as they supposed; with many such absurd tenets, which he hath confuted. Hierome, Austin, and other Fathers of the church, hold that the soul is immortal, created of nothing, and so infused into the child or embryo in his mother's womb, six months after the conception; not as those of brutes, which are ex traduce, and dying with them vanish into nothing. To whose divine treatises, and to the Scriptures themselves, I rejourn all such atheistical spirits, as Tully did Atticus, doubting of this point, to Plato's Phaædon. Or if they desire philosophical proofs and demonstrations, I refer them to Niphus, Nic. Faventinus' tracts of this subject. To Fran. and John Picus in digress: sup. 3. de Anima, Tholosanus, Eugubinus, to Soto, Canas, Thomas, Peresius, Dandinus, Colerus, to that elaborate tract in Zanchius, to Tolet's Sixty Reasons, and Lessius' Twenty-two Arguments, to prove the immortality of the soul. Campanella lib. de sensu rerum, is large in the same discourse, Albertinus the Schoolman, Jacob. Nactantus, tom. 2. op. handleth it in four questions. Antony Brunus, Aonius Palearius, Marinus Marcennus, with many others. This reasonable soul, which Austin calls a spiritual substance moving itself is defined by philosophers to be "the first substantial act of a natural, humane, organical body, by which a man lives, perceives, and understands, freely doing all things, and with election." Out of which definition we may gather, that this rational soul includes the powers, and performs the duties of the two other, which are contained in it, and all three faculties make one soul, which is inorganical of itself although it be in all parts, and incorporeal, using their organs, and working by them. It is divided into two chief parts, differing in office only, not in essence. The understanding, which is the rational power apprehending; the will, which is the rational power moving: to which two, all the other rational powers are subject and reduced.

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