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with those in that great Father securely interpret the work of the first day, fiat lux, to the creation of angels, (2) though I confess there is not any creature that hath so near a glimpse of their nature, as light in the sun and elements. We style it a bare accident, but where it subsists alone it is a spiritual substance, and may be an angel: in brief, conceive light invisible, and that is a spirit.
These are certainly the magisterial and masterpieces of the Creator, the flower, or (as we may say) the best part of nothing, actually existing, what we are but in hopes, and probability; we are only that amphibious piece between a corporeal and spiritual essence, that middle form that links those two together, and makes good the method of God and nature, that jumps not from extremes, but unites the incompatible distances by some middle and participating natures. That we are the breath and similitude of God, it is indisputable, and upon record of holy Scripture; but to call ourselves a microcosm, or little world, (83) I thought it only
(82) "Let there be light-and the light was:" an expression very judiciously enumerated by Longinus among the most sublime in literature.-ED.
(65) We have here a dogma of the stoics, which, from its striking character became current in the ancient world. Philo Judæus relates it as a common saying: Βραχὺν μὲν κόσμον τὸν ἄνθρωπον, μεγαν δε ἄνθρωπον τὸν κόσμον εἶναι. (Quis Divin. Action. Hæres.) Macrobius (II. In Somn. Scipion, c. 12.) makes use of nearly the same words : Physici mundum magnum hominem dixerunt; et hominem brevem mundum.” And what, as Lipsius observes, was the reason of this opinion? It was thisthat as the universe is animated by the Spirit of God,
"All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body nature is, and God the soul;"
so man's body is animated by his intellectual soul. Again,
a pleasant trope of rhetoric, till my near judgment and second thoughts told me there was a real truth therein: for first we are a rude mass, and in the rank of creatures, which only are, and have a dull kind of being not yet privileged with life, or preferred to sense or reason; next we live the life of plants, the life of animals, the life of men, and at last the life of spirits, running in one mysterious nature those five kinds of existences, which comprehend the creatures not only of the world, but of the universe; thus is man that great and true amphibium, whose nature is disposed to live not only like other creatures in divers elements, but in divided and distinguished worlds: for though there be but one to sense, there are two to reason; the one visible, the other invisible, whereof Moses seems to have left description, and of the other so obscurely, that some parts thereof are yet in controversy. And truly for the first chapters of Genesis, I must confess a great deal of obscurity; though divines have to the power of human reason endeavoured to make go in a literal meaning, yet all those allegorical interpretations are also probable, and perhaps the mystical method of Moses, bred up in the hieroglyphical schools of the Egyptians. (84)
nearly every part of the world has its representative in the human frame; for the head is as heaven, of which the eyes are the stars; we consist of the four elements; in the womb we are curled up into a ball; and, when we stretch out our arms, a line drawn around us would be a circle. For the remainder of the parallel, vid. Physiol. Stoicor. III. 2. 967.-F.d.
(84) Lipsius, whose learning nourished the philosophy of Mon
Now, for that immaterial world, methinks we need not wander so far as beyond the first moveable; for even in this material fabric the spirits walk as freely exempt from the, affection of time, place, and motion, as beyond the extremest circumference. Do but extract from the corpulency of bodies, or resolve things beyond their first matter, and you discover the habitation of angels; which if I call the ubiquitary and omnipresent essence of God, I hope I shall not offend divinity: for before the creation of the world God was really all things. For the angels he created no new world, or determinate mansion, and therefore they are everywhere where is his essence, and do live at a distance even in himself. That God made all things for man, is in some sense true, yet not so far as to subordinate the creation of those purer creatures unto ours, though as ministering spirits they do, and are willing to fulfil the will of God in these lower and sublunary affairs of man. God made all things for himself, and it is impossible he should make them for any other end than his own glory; it is all he can receive, and all that is without himself: for honour being an external adjunct, and in the honourer rather than in the person honoured, it was necessary to make a creature from
taigne, remarks, that the Egyptians were already celebrated in the remotest antiquity for the learning and piety of their priests. This the sacred Scriptures themselves testify, where they relate that Moses was instructed in all the learning of the Egyptians; nor would they thus have spoken of their acquirements, but they considered them in some degree meritorious. Manuduct. ad Stoic. Philos. I. 5. 636.-ED.
whom he might receive his homage, and that is, in the other world, angels; in this, man: which when we neglect, we forget the very end of our creation, and may justly provoke God, not only to repent that he hath made the world, but that he hath sworn he would not destroy it. That there is but one world is a conclusion of faith. Aristotle, with all his philosophy, hath not been able to prove it, and, as weakly, that the world was eternal. (5) That dispute much troubled the pen of the philosophers, but Moses decided that question, and all is salved with the new term of a creation, that is, a production of something out of nothing; and what is that? Whatsoever is opposite to something; or more exactly, that which is truly contrary unto God. For he only is, all others have an existence with dependency, and are sometime but by a distinction; and herein is Divinity conformant unto philosophy, and generation not only founded on contrarieties, but also creation; God
(85) That Sir Thomas Browne was intimately acquainted with the philosophy of Aristotle I have some doubt. He appears to have taken for his the tract De Mundo, now well known to be by a more modern writer; and generally, where he mentions the philosopher, dwells on some obvious tenet of the Peripatetic school, with which very moderate reading might have made him familiar. With respect to the eternity of matter we have nothing positive delivered in Scripture, where the previous existence of a chaos appears to be implied:-" And the earth was without form and void :”—and in this sense Milton understood it, speaking of chaos as
"The womb of nature,
And perhaps her grave !"
Conf. Lips. Physiol. Stoicor. II. 20. 950, ff.-ED.
being all things, is contrary unto nothing, out of which were made all things, and so nothing became something, and omneity informed nullity into an essence. (86)
The whole creation is a mystery, and particularly that of man. At the blast of His mouth were the rest of the creatures made, and at His bare word they started out of nothing: but in the frame of man (as the text describes it,) he played the sensible operator, and seemed not so much to create, as make him. When he had separated the materials of other creatures, there consequently resulted a form and soul; but having raised the walls of man, he was driven to a second and harder creation of a substance like himself, an incorruptible and immortal soul. For these two affections we have the philosophy and opinion of the heathens, the flat affirmative of Plato, and not a negative from Aristotle. There is another scruple cast in by Divinity (concerning its production) much disputed in the German auditories, and with that indifferency and equality of arguments, as leave the controversy undetermined. I am not of Paracelsus's mind, that boldly delivers a receipt to make a man without conjunction; (7) yet cannot but wonder at the mul
(86) A ludicrous example of philosophical jargon, not uncommon in Sir Thomas Browne.-ED.
(87) Upon the hint here dropped, or on the original passage in Paracelsus, the novel of "Frankenstein," I presume, was constructed. Arrogance such as this mad German's would surprise us, if, in such speculators, any degree of arrogance could. should have been required to reduce his theory to practice. The undertaking would have been somewhat more difficult than