puzzle and entangle men with words, and to breed disputation, which must at last be ended in the determination of the Church of Rome. And yet in the doctrine of Aristotle, they made use of many points; as, first, the doctrine of Separated Essences.
B. What are Separated Essences?
A. Separated beings.
B. Separated from what?
A. From every thing that is.
B. I cannot understand the being of any thing, which I understand not to be. But what can they make of that?
A. Very much, in questions concerning the nature of God, and concerning the estate of man’s soul after death, in heaven, hell, and purgatory; by which you and every man know, how great obedience, and how much money they gain from the common people.—Whereas Aristotle holdeth the soul of man to be the first giver of motion to the body, and consequently to itself; they make use of that in the doctrine of free will. What, and how they gain by that, I will not say.—He holdeth further, that there be many things that come to pass in this world from no necessity of causes, but mere contingency, casuality, and fortune.
B. Methinks, in this they make God stand idle, and to be a mere spectator of the games of Fortune. For what God is the cause of, must needs come to pass, and (in my opinion) nothing else. But, because there must be some ground for the justice of the eternal torment of the damned; perhaps it is this, that men’s wills and propensions are not (they think) in the hands of God, but of themselves; and in this also I see somewhat conducing to the authority of the Church.
A. This is not much; nor was Aristotle of such credit with them, but that when his opinion was against theirs, they could slight him. Whatsoever he says is impossible in nature, they can prove well enough to be possible, from the Almighty power of God, who can make many bodies to be in one and the self-same place, and one body to be in many