THE CREATVRES PRAYSING GOD: OR, THE RELIGION OF dumbe Creatures.

An Example and Argument, For the stirring vp of our deuotion, and For the confusion of Atheisme.

Benedicite omnia opera Domini Domino; laudate & super­exaltate eum in secula.

G. G.

LONDON, Printed by FELIK KINGSTON. 1622.

To the Reader.

GOod Reader, The Authour himselfe not vouch­safing his name, title, or preface to this his worke, and very vnwilling that it should be publisht, I thought fit to let thee vnderstand, that the booke it selfe containes no paradox, notwithstanding the title: for the naturall seruice of God in dumbe Creatures, when they obey God, in their owne kinde, and follow their owne naturall course, this is it, which he calls The Religion of dumbe Creatures: and as it is frequent, and vsuall, to make compari­sons in particular instances, so here in generall their seruice is com­pared to our Religion.

To commend the worke, seeing I am so farre ingaged, as that against the Authors will, it was my importunity to publish it, were in effect to commend mine owne iudgement, I will here onely ac­quaint you with the reasons that moued me;

First, to take away grose Atheisme, which denies any God, he vseth no Sophistry, no perswasion, not the testimonies either of God, or of men, but herein craues aide of the dumbe Creatures, and in ef­fect desires them to beare witnesse, who instantly acknowledge a God, and discouer many excellent, and admirable attributes in God, and this he calls their confession, or the naturall implicite faith of the Creatures, pag. 9.

Secondly, that this knowledge of God, which we learne from na­ture, is an imperfect knowledge, though otherwise, it was the sole knowledge of the ancient heathen Philosophers, he brands it with this imputation, that it is no more in effect then the religion of dumbe beasts; but as reason is aboue sence, so faith aboue reason: rea­son points out mysteries, faith discouers them; by vertue of which faith, we ioyne with the Angels in their seruice, as the dumbe beasts doe ioyne with vs in nature: and here he takes away all naturall ob­iections against the mysteries of religion, beating downe mans cu­riosity, pag. 16.

Thirdly, how the Creatures praise God in their voices and sounds, which in effect are their prayers; in their naturall law, which is their decalogue; in all their qualities and affections, both naturall, and as they are sometimes meanes and conduit-pipes of grace, whereby nature is sanctified, pag. 23.

Fourthly, how all naturall Sciences may be reduced to Theology, [Page] suppose the Metaphysicks, naturall Philosophy, morall Philosophy, which are indeed the branches of naturall Theology and are incor­porated into the body of our diuinity. And hence you may as well exclude the morall law, the decalogue, and the whole state of nature, as to exclude humane learning; which showing the perfections and excellencies of nature, doth therein show the praise and commenda­tions of the Maker. pag. 31.

Fifthly, this naturall religion not only comprehends in it selfe all naturall sciences, but it is further a supposed ground and foundation in all religions. Thus Iudaisme, [...], as well as Christianity, acknowledge God in nature; though the Iudiciall, and Ceremoniall law began with Moyses, the Gospell with Christ, yet the naturall law, together with the state of nature, began with Adam, not by any reuelation, but by ingrafted and inbred principles, and therefore is common to all nations, to all religions. Hence he ga­thers these two notes, first, that different and opposite religions may notwithstanding ioyne together in such things as are good, and alike approueable in both: for so we ioyne with dumbe Crea­tures in their naturall seruice, and that the bounds of the Church are not to be hedged in, according to mens priuate phansies and imaginations; or according to the Prouinces, and iurisdiction of Pre­lats, but according to the vnity and concent of faith. Secondly, that be the religions neuer so opposite and contrary, yet all agree in the naturall law, and therefore are bound to performe to each other, all naturall rights, suppose the discharging of trust, where it is reposed, to vse morall honesty in our actions, obedience to our superiours, allegiance to the Prince, and the like; thus may different religions liue quietly and peaceably vnder one iust gouernment. If this were obserued, surely it would cause much peace in the Christian world, so much distracted and disquieted at this day, with infinit and innu­merable sects and religions, pag. 34.

To conclude: What can be more glorious to God, then that his praise should be set forth by all his Creatures? what greater chari­ty, then to comprehend them, not within the walls of our Christian Church (though once they were contained in the Arke) yet within the compasse and circuit of religion? what greater deuotion, then by their example to stirre vp thy selfe? though the Angels be out of sight, and thou canst not heare their hymnes, yet the beasts may awaken thy dulnesse; what greater humility, then to stoope to the basest wormes, and together with them, to associate thy selfe in Gods seruice?

These reasons (I confesse) did moue me to publish it: and as I had no other intent, but Gods glory, so I beseech him to giue a blessing to thy reading hereof, that it may tend to the increase of thy deuotion.

THE CREATVRES PRAYSING GOD: OR, THE RELIGION OF dumbe Creatures.

PSAL. 148. 7, 8, 9, and 10, Verses.

7. Praise the Lord vpon earth, yee dragons and all deepes:

8. Fire and haile, snow and vapours, stormy winds, fulfilling his word:

9. Mountaines and all hilles, fruitfull trees and all Cedars,

10. Beasts and all cattell, wormes and feathered fowles.

TWo absurdities may here seeme to be committed at once, with one breath; either that man should speake and exhort such Auditors, who are without sence, and there­fore not capeable of exhortation, or that Creatures dumbe in them­selues, should be exhorted to praise God, which seemes to be a thing proper to Angels and men.

[Page 2] How God is praised.Both these are easily satisfied, if we rightly consider that the praises of God doe not necessarily imply the most exact and magnificent order and forme, such as might well beseeme the Maiestie of a Deitie (both men and Angels come short in that excellent seruice) but the praises of God require no more in effect, then the power and ability wherewith God hath first inabled the Creature: for he accepts our imperfect prayers, and descends to our weake­nesse. Thus the stocks and the stones in their silence, and in their naturall properties; the beasts in their sounds and their cries, in their sence and in their motions, all serue to praise him: for God requires no more then he hath first giuen, the right imployment of his gifts is indeed to praise him.

Now man exhorting them to this their bounden duty, ioynes with them in their seruice, and as it were seemes to congratulate their praises of God: notwithstanding his owne disobedience and sinne, yet he reioyceth in their seruice, and exhorts them still to continue their praises of God.

Dumbe Crea­tures speake, and Man is strucken dumbe.And though they seeme dumbe, yet in verity and truth they speake in their silence: for obiecting, or presenting themselues to our view, shewing their excellent nature, their rare and wonderfull properties, therein they speake their Maker. Man perceiuing and apprehending this, falls instantly to admiration, which is a kinde of naturall trance, wherein his speech failes him, as if he were for a time strucken dumbe together with the dumbe Creatures, to shew his fellow-feeling and symbolizing affection with them; at length he comes to himselfe, begins to breathe, then is he tied to his vtterance, as it were to comment vp­on their silence, or to be their interpreter; for as God re­quires no more then the ability of the Creature, so he will admit no lesse, but expect, the vttermost extent of our power: In the dumbe Creatures their silence did suffice: Man hauing the free vse of his tongue, is therefore tied to adde Speech to their silence, Reason to their sence, and [Page 3] perswading them not to any impossibility aboue their condition, as to beleeue the mysteries of Grace, and the like, but applauding them in their owne naturall course, therein he seemes to exhort them, and thus exhorting them, stirs vp himselfe, and magnifies the Diuine proui­dence, who first appointed the course: As God speaking the Word, all things were made: God speakes to nothing, and by vertue of his words, behold a Creation: so wee speaking to the dumbe Creatures, and in them approuing Gods workes, wee shew the conformitie of our wills to the Diuine institution.

For in our speech wee doe not alwaies respect others, but sometimes our selues.The end why man exhorteth beasts. The most learned Preacher speaking to the most iudicious Auditory, yet cannot pro­mise vnto himselfe happy successe; wee must looke to the discharge of our owne dutie, and not to the euent. Man speaking to the dumbe Creatures though they vnderstand him not, yet his owne bounden duty, together with the strength and vehemency of his affections, (that he can doe no lesse then speake in a cause which concernes Gods glory) this makes it no fruitlesse labour, and surely some profit thereby redounds: for whereas otherwise man were a stranger to beasts, and they seruing God in their owne kinde, their seruice should no way concerne him; yet now by vertue of his exhortation, he hath a part and portion in their obedience, and thus very cunningly, what is wanting in himselfe, he desires to supply it in them, to make their seruice seeme as his owne, as if forsooth they had beene rebellious, had it not beene for his perswasion; though himselfe be dissolute, yet it is he, that keepes all in good order: a pretty policy.

Thus as they were ordained for his naturall vse, for his food,The vse of the creatures. clothing, labour: so it should seeme, they were ap­pointed for his spirituall vse, to serue him in the nature of Chaplaines, that they should honour and praise God, while their master, sinfull and wretched man, dishonours him, yet their seruice might seeme to be done by his appointment.

[Page 4]Though I will not excuse our selues, yet suffer mee to speake in their behalfe, who being dumbe, cannot speake for themselues, I know not how powerfull and ef­fectuall mans words are, but surely in them I can doe no lesse then admire their obedience;The obe­dience of the Creatures is set foorth by a similitude. the most dumbe and senselesse Creatures, the very Rocks and the Caues, if we speake vnto them, and speake aloud; instantly they make a reuerberation of our breath, whereby our owne words are renewed, as if they vnderstood, and did answere vs in our owne speech and language; suppose I should stretch out my voice, and cry vnto them to praise God, instantly you should heare them answer, Praise God: or if they faile in this Eccho, yet sure they will not faile in their conformity; herein they are not so properly our schollers, as presidents and examples to vs of obedience.

A corporation of all Crea­tures.Then let vs conceiue that all the workes of God make one corporation, and are as members of one body, vnder one common gouernment. As then it appeares in man, that the heart giues direction to the dull hands, to be lifted vp in deuotion, and the dull hands knocke the sleepy heart, to awake her out of drowsinesse; And thus they doe mutually prouoke and stirre vp each other to ioyne in the seruice. As this befalls the parts of Man in respect of himselfe, so the like befalls Man and the Creatures in re­spect of the Vniuerse.

The religion of dumbe Creatures.And that it may no way seeme strange, that dumbe Creatures should bee said to praise God, to speake most properly and most exactly of the praises of God, which surely consist in a religious worship and seruice of God; if, then I should say, that in the stocks and in the stones, in the foure-footed beasts, and generally in all the dumbe Creatures, that there is some obscure shadow, or some re­semblance of religion, or rather indeed some proper kinde of religion: For there are diuers and seuerall kindes of religions, religions of all sorts, of all sizes, of all fashions (witnesse the diuersity of religions in these our daies) If then I should say that the dumbe Creatures haue likewise [Page 5] their proper kinde of religion as well as men, and that they are very deuout, godly, zealous, strict and most reli­gious in their owne kinde, euen farre aboue men; if I should say this; I would humbly craue your patience a while. Let mee bring my reasons and labour to proue it, that the naturall seruice of God in dumbe Creatures, how­soeuer wee may esteeme it, yet in verity and truth, it is a kinde of naturall religion.

Morall vertues we may suppose to be onely competent to man,The seruice of God in dumbe Crea­tures, is their religion. as being grounded in the reasonable soule, yet therein the dumbe Creatures instruct vs, Goe, sluggard, learne of the Pismire; religion wee may conceiue to be mans owne proper inheritance, yet behold, wee are stirred vp by the example of the dumbe beasts, The Oxe and the Asse acknowledge their Lord & Master. The Windes and the Seas obey him. It should seeme, that as there is a religion aboue man, the religion of Angels, so there may be a reli­gion beneath man, the religion of dumbe Creatures. For wheresoeuer there is a seruice of God, in effect it is a religi­on. Thus according to the seuerall degrees and difference of states, the state of nature, grace and glory, religion may likewise admit degrees, and difference.

Religion then,The parts of religion. if I doe not mistake, consists of these foure parts, A Creed for our beliefe, which is the obiect of our Faith; A set forme of prayer for our supplication, which is the anchor of our Hope: A decalogue or law for our practice, which is the rule of our Charity: Sacrifice and Sacra­ments for the vpshot and consummation of all, to season and sanctifie all. These are in effect the briefe heads of religion, as well appeares in our ordinary Catechisme, con­sisting of these foure parts, and therein is contained the summe of Religion. Now if all of these, or at least, if some of these can no way appeare in the Creatures, yet how great the similitude and analogy is betweene both, if you please to obserue with patience, and to condemne nothing vnheard, I doe well hope, that many things will be for our instruction, and all for our example and imitation.

[Page 6] How we come to know the Creatures.And first, of that knowledge which wee haue of the Creatures, how there should be such a mutuall intelligence or correspondency betweene vs, as that we should truely know them and their religion, as if wee vnderstood their language, & were thorowly acquainted with all the secrets and mysteries of their Church and State. The first notice then which wee haue of the Creatures, it is by an infor­mation of sence, wherein the Diuine prouidence hath so fitted and porportioned things each to other, suppose the faculty to the obiect, sence to things sensible, that wee instantly receiue them, not with any difficulty of learning, but by a naturall instinct: Thus it is betweene the sensi­ble man, and the visible world, being Creatures of like condition, we doe easily conceiue them.

Sence is the mother of Ido­latrie.Thus sence first serues to informe vs: but if wee should here rest onely in the information of sence, this were most dangerous: from hence grew our first error: whereas beauty was giuen to the Creatures, to point out the in­comparable beauty of God, many beholding them, haue so doted vpon them, and so farre enamoured with their beauty, that they could goe no farther, but haue taken the Creatures for God, supposing that God himselfe could not be more glorious.

The vnder­standing reacheth be­yond sence.Thus whereas a right vnderstanding would conclude, great is the beauty of Creatures, therefore how great and incomparable is the beauty of God! sence, as being of a lower straine, not able to aime at such a high pitch, rather inferres, Such is the beauty of Creatures, that our sence cannot possibly comprehend any greater beauty; there­fore the Creatures are God. Thus sence and sence alone, without other information, is indeed the mother and nurse of idolatry; and if wee should proceed to no further search and inquisition, then the Creatures might seeme to blaspheme, to make themselues Gods; being onely wit­nesses to the Deity, they might seeme to assume vnto themselues the right of the Deitie: yet herein let me ex­cuse them, they are innocent, they doe it not of themselues, [Page 7] but through our corruption some sensuall men haue as­cribed it: for being not able to conceiue greater perfecti­on, it is naturall to man to acknowledge God in the high­est. Thus some haue worshipped the Sunne, the Moone, the Starres, diuers and seuerall Creatures, and the like.

By the way giue me leaue to make some vse of their er­ror,The good vse of Idolatry. and here to crie out, O what an excellent workeman is God, that euen his owne common and meanest workes should be of that excellency, as that they should be taken for God! And thus Idolatry which seemes wholly to de­tract from God, and to ascribe all to the creatures, yet by an ouer-ruling prouidence of God, contrary to her owne intent, in so much magnifying the Creatures, doth in them and by them set foorth the supereminent greatnesse of God the Creator.

This were sufficient, if mans whole knowledge were plunged and puzzled in sence, and that hee had no other guide or direction saue onely sence;In reason we cannot consi­der the effects without their cause. but man hath further a reasonable soule, which taking information from sence, as it well beseemes his condition, vseth degrees of dis­course, and in this reasonable soule wee shall finde this in­grafted, as a first ground and principle, that in all our knowledge, we must first search out the cause of euery ef­fect; for euery effect naturally points out his cause: and there is no relation so necessary, as is that which is be­tweene the cause and the effect. As it is the truth of things, that nothing can subsist without a cause: so in our apprehension, that wee cannot conceiue the one without relation to the other: there is no knowledge without the knowledge of causes, and therefore we striue and ende­uour to discerne the cause in the effects, and the effects in the cause.

By vertue of this ingrafted principle,Reason as apt to discourse, so to search and enquire. wee cannot con­sider the creatures alone, and by themselues, but together with them and in them wee must search out their cause. Here then Reason would faine know, whether the Crea­tures be the effects of another, or causes of themselues? [Page 8] This is the first proposition, or Quare.

Reasonlesnes of the dumbe beasts.Now you shall vnderstand, that euery search and in­quisition, when we know not things of our selues, but that wee take our information from others, wee seeke them from others, and learne them of others; this is a kinde of demand: of whom then should reason demand this? not of her selfe, then surely of none but the Creatures; or who should make answer to this demand? not reason to her selfe, then surely none but the Creatures Marke then the answer of the Creatures, to this demand of reason; their answer as giuing an account of their faith: faith is the ground and foundation of religion, and without faith, re­ligion cannot subsist. Marke then the faith of the Crea­tures in their answers: their answers, I say, not in expresse termes, for this is not necessary: men that are speechlesse and dumbe, may notwithstanding make a confession of their faith, Digitis nu [...] (que) loquuntur, so may the dumbe and speechlesse Creatures, they may likewise vse outward signes and tokens, to giue a confession of their faith; their answer is answerable to their nature, their silent nature, and their still properties giue this resolution, and make this answer, and that without any difficulty.

For their bounden nature must necessarily imply, that the limitation of their nature proceeds from another. Here is their answer: The answer of dumbe crea­tures vnto reason. their composition and dissolution must necessarily presuppose first a compounder: here is their answer: their seuerall times of rising and setting must argue, that there being a time, when they were not, needs they must want a cause first to subsist; being not by themselues, or for themselues alone, but carrying a mutuall respect each to other: suppose the heauens to the earth, the earth to the heauens, the faculty to the obiect, the ob­iect to the faculty: this must needs inforce, that they could not thus seuerally ordaine themselues, but that there was some other extrinsecall cause, which knowing both, and making both, appointed each for other. To conclude, that vnreasonable creatures should mooue, according to the [Page 9] rules of reason, and such as want vnderstanding, should be guided by the direction of an vnderstanding; this must needs argue that some intelligent cause did first ordaine them, which now preserues them in their naturall course.

This in briefe is their answer;The beasts ac­knowledge a God, and deny all fortune. for they intimate thus much, the Creatures acknowledge themselues to be no more then effects, they pointed out a cause, an intelli­gent cause. Here then we must exclude blind fortune, for that things by great chance should fall into such an excel­lent order, reason it selfe seemes to oppose it, which admits no fortune, but deemes it as a base-borne childe of igno­rance: which if wee should yeeld, it would rather prooue the cause of disorder and confusion, and it would vndoub­tedly imply a contradiction, to ascribe the workes of fore­sight and prouidence vnto a blind guide.

Thus then the Creatures being true, reall, positiue ef­fects, they seeme to confesse, or rather to challenge vnto themselues a true, reall, positiue efficient cause, which in effect is to acknowledge a God, & a Maker. And this their knowledgement of God, as it is fitly gathered from the Creatures,The naturall implicite faith of beasts. so it is in verity and in truth no lesse then a na­turall implicit faith of the Creatures: all of them testifying the same truth, doe in a sort make one common confession of their faith: Accedentem ad Deum oportet credere quod fit Deus; this is the first article of their Creed, that they acknowledge a God; thus they cannot be iustly taxed with infidelity.The beasts may teach the Atheists. Herein they farre exceed the Atheist, who de­nying his Maker, must therefore make himselfe liue of himselfe, and so consequently should preserue himselfe. Surely of all others he is the greatest and the most notable Impostor, denying the true God, he makes himselfe God, for he made himselfe. But I will as easily beleeue, that man either should not be borne, or being borne, that he should not decline in yeres, not be subiect to sorrow, griefe, or in­firmity, and that he should neuer taste of death or corrup­tion, as that he should first subsist without a Maker.

Thus then the Creatures agree that there is a God. [Page 10] Now let vs heare what other Testimony they giue of this God; and looke how many Testimonies they giue of God, in effect they rehearse so many Articles of their Creed; the first attribute of God is,The dumbe Creatures confesse one God. vt sit vnus, as God speakes of himselfe: Ego Deus vnus, non habebis Deos alienos, &c. Let vs then enquire of the Creatures, whether they ac­knowledge one God, or will admit a plurality of gods in their seruice. And heere vpon the first view and appea­rance, they seeme vnto me to cry and to testifie one God, one God, for all nature is directed to one end: whereas if there were many efficients, they would vndoubtedly in­tend their seuerall ends. The world is circular, which best resembleth the figure of one: all the streames are reduced to one head: all the degrees of things still tend to the high­est, there being in nature a priority and posteriority; Euery gouernment tends and ends in a Monarchie; Nature will not endure many competitors; order and decency require as much in effect: All heat is reduced to one first heat; all bodies to one first body. Philosophy beats vpon this Axiome, that nature desires to worke with the fewest in­struments, and therefore euery thing is to be reduced to the fewest principles. In the constitution of any thing, she requires but a couple; for the effecting of any thing, one will suffice; to admit of more, would rather hinder and distract the worke, then any way further or helpe the action.

The Creatures deny that there can be many gods.Thus to acknowledge one God: the workemanship and fabrike of the whole world will testifie as much, wherein the foot-steps and impression of one and the same God doe most eminently appeare, all of them giuing suf­ficient demonstration of one and the same wisdome and prouidence, which appeares alike in all, grounding all his workes, and all his actions, vpon the selfe-same principles and rules of his owne wisdome: there are not gods of the Mountaines, gods of the Valleys, gods of the Land, and gods of the Ocean: for the fishes of the sea, the birds of the ayre, the beasts of the field, haue a like fashion and [Page 11] forme for their outward feature, and a like inward instinct and prouidence for their course and direction, which simi­litude of nature must needs proceed from one and the same ground of wisdome; the voice and verdit of nature will likewise testifie as much, which being to admit some infinit power, transcending reason, and the course of all Creatures, will therefore tie it selfe to admit of the least inconuenience, rather of one then of a multitude.

Heere is the second Article of their faith;The Creatures point out God, as the first moouer. as they ac­knowledge a God, so they acknowledge but one God, and therefore they worship the true God. Thus the inui­sible God visibly appeares in the visible Creatures; their multitude altogether concurring to one end, betokens the vnity of their Maker, which Maker being the first and sole efficient cause, needs we must conceiue in him, whatsoeuer belongs to a first moouer; Now behold how many ex­cellent attributes of God doe issue out of this one ground, and are hence discouered, as wee consider God to be the first cause and moouer.

Suppose for his owne absolute necessity,Hence is im­plied Gods necessity, that being the first, he must subsist of himselfe, and can doe no lesse then subsist, and therefore subsist from eternity. And thus sub­sisting of himselfe,Immutability, he must be immutable and vnchangea­ble in himselfe,Eternity, that he may likewise hold out for eternity. Being thus the cause of himselfe, hee must haue the best and most absolute being; And this being must needs be infinit,Bonity, Infinity, since he is of himselfe, and cannot prescribe him­selfe bounds, nor cannot admit bounds from another, when as there is nought but himselfe; Being thus one, in­finit, and from eternity, he must be without mixture or composition,Simplicity, purus actus, most pure and simple in his owne nature: for heere were not diuers ingredients, which being first simple in themselues, might afterwards compound him; And as he is without composition, so he cannot ad­mit diuersity of parts,Without va­riety of parts. which doe indeed arise onely from a composition, which parts in respect of themselues should be more or lesse perfect, when as the whole Deity is in­finitly [Page 12] perfect, and cannot admit degrees of comparison.

Without di­uersity of fa­culties.Being thus without composition, or diuersity of parts, he cannot admit variety of faculties, which seeme to be tied and annexed to the diuersity of parts, and therefore those many seuerall perfections which appeare in the Creatures, they are but one absolute perfection in God. Thus the wisdome of God is the power of God, the power of God is the will of God, the will of God is the iustice of God, the iustice of God, is the mercy of God: all these attributes can admit no difference betweene themselues, and all these attributes are but one and the selfe-same God, though to vs, both for our apprehension, and in respect of Gods actions, they seeme to be diuers and distinct, yet are they linked, and together incorporated in that one and infinit nature of God, which cannot admit a variety. Thus farre of God in himselfe: and all this we must suppose in a first cause or moouer: and all this, it is no lesse in effect, then a naturall implicit faith of the Creatures, as they doe necessarily point out and demonstrate this first cause or moouer.

Now in respect of the Creatures, nothing can be wan­ting to God, which was necessarily required for the worke­manship. Suppose an infinit wisdome in contriuing the worke,Gods wis­dome. which otherwise would aske an infinit time of de­liberation, as I may so say, a world of consultation were requisit for the framing of this world, were it not supplied in an instant by the infinit wisdome of God, which wis­dome more especially and immediatly appeares in the comprehending and vnderstanding of himselfe. Secondly, hauing once laid downe the plot-forme, then succeeds a most absolute freewill in bounding and disposing his owne actions.Freewill. Thirdly, intending to create, and being re­solued of the manner,Power. then followes an infinit power to put all in execution. Fourthly, hauing once finished the worke, necessary it is, that there should be a continuance of the same infinit wisdome,Prouidence. will, and power, in his Prouidence, for the continuance and preseruation of his workes. [Page 13] The Creatures can no more preserue themselues, then at first subsist of themselues, and therefore they want a continuall concourse, and sweet influence of this first moo­uer: for as it is a property of God to be independent, so it is a property of Creatures to be alwaies dependent; and this serues as a bridle to curbe them, besides the ouer­ruling power and prerogatiue which God reserues in him­selfe, whereof I will not dispute.

See here how many excellent attributes of God are dis­couered by the information and instructions which wee haue from the Creatures;Whereas here are many grounds wherby we come to the know­ledge of God. these are the Articles of their faith, and all these arise out of this one ground (as the Schoole speakes) ratione, & necessitate causalitatis, as wee consider God to be the first cause and moouer. Alas, I should be infinit, if I would proceed in this subiect to speake of God, onely so farre forth as the Creatures doe testifie of God, which in effect is their faith; but I will passe this ouer: yet giue me leaue to passe my censure vpon it. Audita & approbata sunt omnia: vpon due exami­nation I finde them to be sound and Orthodoxall, I can­not taxe them with Atheisme or Heresie, but what they say or testifie of God, it is most true; onely with this de­fect, that they say not enough; nature cannot be raised aboue nature; the mysteries of grace fall not within the compasse of naturall bounds.Natures testi­mony of God is defectiue and insuffici­ent. Why, thus there are de­grees of faith amongst vs: we see but in part, wee know but in part, all cannot conceiue mysteries alike, and the most faithfull man may truly say, Lord, I beleeue, Lord, helpe my vnbeliefe. And thus it is with the Creatures, what they testifie of God, is most true, but they testifie not enough, yet what they testifie not, it is not out of frowardnesse, or that they are hard of beliefe, but it is for want of capa­city: here then they are sufficiently excused;

Excused I say, in respect of themselues, but whether any wrong or iniurie be done vnto vs, this is a question; for if the Creatures propose vnto vs this knowledge of God as a perfect rule of our faith, to which we should not adde, [Page 14] but that we should be tied to the stint of their beliefe: to haue no more faith then they,Whether this defect in Gods knowledge appeares by the testimony of nature. this were dangerous; for to admit this, were to oppose and contradict all the myste­ries in religion, which are not discouered by their light; this were in effect to seduce vs, to make vs of Christians, meere naturalls; Indeed they haue already too farre pre­uailed on our passions and on our affections, that we are almost growne sensuall and beastly, like vnto them, as if we were of their common-wealth; but if they shall presse further vpon vs, to worke vpon our soules, our conscien­ces, and our vnderstandings, to intice vs to be of their faith, of their Church, of their religion, to make vs meere naturals, like to themselues, this were most intolerable. So then the question remaines, whether the Creatures, or nature, I meane, in the Creatures, or that which is the same in effect, whether naturall reason proceeding vpon naturall grounds, whether these supposing their owne ability in the fulnesse of Gods knowledge, seeme to exclude grace, or otherwise in the weakenesse of their knowledge, shewing their owne insufficiency, seeme onely to make way, and serue as an introduction to grace? It is a question indeed, in my iudgement, of all others most worthy to be resolued: for in effect it implies the whole ground and foundation of all our mysteries,The ground of all the my­steries in Reli­gion. and it stands thus; whether by the light of our owne na­turall reason, we are to beleeue no more of God, then ap­peares in the Creatures; or whether the same light of our owne naturall reason will informe vs, that there are other greater mysteries to be receiued of God, more then those natural attributes, which are discerned by his works?

For your satisfaction herein, you may be pleased to vn­derstand, that what knowledge wee haue of God by the light of our naturall reason, it is not deriued immediatly from God himselfe, but by a reflection, onely so farre foorth as God is discerned in the glasse of his Creatures;Causes are not fully discer­ned by their effects. now this is a rule in all arts, that no causes can fully, exactly and totally appeare in their effects, as hauing first a pro­per [Page 15] nature allotted to themselues, before they were ordai­ned to action: first, they are in themselues, before they come to relation, so that for the knowledge of causes in them­selues, there must be some further search and inquisition, more then the effects demonstrate: this shall appeare, by considering the diuersity of causes, which I will suppose to be of three sorts.

First,Naturall causes. naturall causes: and these are not sufficiently dis­cerned by their owne naturall effects: (E. g.) by the nature and properties of a weed, you cannot discouer the whole nature, and properties of the Sunne or the earth; for the in­ward nature and the outward actions, are not alwaies of like extent, nor doe they agree in all accidents.

More especially this will appeare in voluntary causes,Voluntary causes. that they cannot totally be discerned by their workes, when as the limitation of the worke, and the diuersitie of the worke proceeds, not from the necessity of the nature, but depends vpon the free will of the Maker. Thus one and the same voluntary cause brings foorth various and different effects, and therefore cannot imprint her whole and perfect image in all. Thus if man were knowne by his workes, we should neuer make search for malefactors, but euery one should instantly appeare.

Now there are yet other causes,Supernaturall causes. and these are of a dif­ferent nature, and condition: suppose the Angelicall spirits, and the materiall world; God and the Creatures, a spiri­tuall Deity and a corporeall worke, haec differunt toto coelo, differunt plusquam genere: how is it possible then, that the one should fully and perfectly discouer the other? Thus in a word to make application of all,The applica­tion. God being a cause, a voluntary cause, a cause of another nature, surely the whole vertue, and power of the Deity cannot be discer­ned or laid open by the workes of the Deity.An instance. E. g. By the building of this house though the skill of the workeman sufficiently appeares, yet you cannot informe me of his age, his name, stature, strength, condition, complection, the place of his birth, the place of his dwelling, his means, [Page 16] his maintenance, and none of all these will euer appeare by the worke: and thus it befalls the Creatures in refe­rence to God, they set forth indeed many excellent at­tributes of God, yet they doe not intend to giue vs full sa­tisfaction in the knowledge of God;How nature directs vnto grace. but in humility seeme to confesse, that there is something in the Deity, which appeares not in the Creatures, and therefore in their owne want and defect, they referre vs to Gods owne reuelation of himselfe.

For in our knowledge of God, the Creatures are not our bounds, but serue onely to point out a Deitie, and then to cry, Plus vltra, plus vltra, and so to leaue to God himselfe,Nature will not trespasse beyond her owne bounds. sending vs from the outward shop of his workes, to the inward schoole of his words, from the theatre of the Creatures, to the sanctuary of his dwelling, there to learne a new lesson in the knowledge of God. Here is ano­ther article of their faith, another Testimony of God, in effect they confesse that God being incomprehensible, he cannot be comprehended in his workes: hence pro­ceeds their submission, considering their owne weake­nesse, and the infinit distance betweene God and them­selues, they will not dare or attempt to discouer the whole Deity, nor will they iustly be taxed with curiosity, but con­tent themselues with such a competent measure in the dis­couery of Gods knowledge, as their owne nature is capeable.

Thus then the Creatures not fully reuealing God, there is some place left for a further knowledge of God, and to this end there must be some further search and inquisition made after God;Reason giues way to myste­ries. here then is opened a gap to let in all the mysteries of our Christian faith and religion: suppose the eternall generation of the Sonne, the admirable procession of the Spirit, the glorious and indiuisible Trinity, the mi­raculous incarnation of the God-head, and the like. Na­ture indeed cannot reueale these mysteries,She neither reueales, nor impugnes them. and being once reuealed, nature cannot contradict them; she can neither propose nor oppose them; for as all contrarieties are in [Page 17] the same kinde suppose heat to coldnesse, moysture to drought, and the like (these are qualities of the same kind) so in our vnderstanding, all opposition must be betweene things of like nature; but if secrets and mysteries be of another kinde, of a different nature, of a different world, and therefore of a different speculation; then surely one and the same ground of reason which is fitted and pro­portioned to this our present state and condition, cannot equally suffice both, much lesse impugne and oppose things farre aboue and beyond her reach and capacity. So then, for the right vnderstanding of mysteries which are of a different kind,The necessity of faith. we must expect a reason of a different kinde, which in effect is a sanctifying grace, Gods holy Spirit to guide vs.

And to this end consider how absurd were it, that man should haue no other teachers, or instructors in the know­ledge of God,Dumbe Creatures cannot be the sole teachers of man concer­ning God. but only the dumbe Creatures, which must be admitted, in case we had no other knowledge of God, but onely of such attributes, as are discerned by his works; how improbable is it, that reason should haue no other information, but onely from sence and sensible obiects, euen concerning such things, which infinitly transcend and are aboue all reason, and all sence, as if a man should stoope downe to lay hold on such things, which are indeed aboue him, and beyond his reach?

Thus in humility the Creatures acknowledge their owne bounds; as bounds in their substance, bounds in their power; so bounds in their knowledge; they will not trespasse beyond their bounds, they will not incroach vpon mysteries, which standing a farre off, belonging to another world,Faith is a kinde of reason ele­uated aboue a naturall con­dition. and therefore farre remote from the view of nature. We want a sanctifying grace, like a prospectiue glasse to discerne them. Thus it falls out in nature, euen in respect of naturall things; the sunne and the starres must first send downe a light, and without their owne light, they cannot be discerned; so God himselfe must first giue a testimony of himselfe, and then inlighten our hearts, for [Page 18] receiuing this testimony, and without this his owne testi­mony, he cannot be reuealed.

Thus to conclude, though the Creatures, or nature I meane in the Creatures,Naturall rea­son acknow­ledgeth my­steries in ge­nerall. or that which is the same in effect, though naturall reason proceeding vpon naturall grounds, though these doe not discouer our mysteries in particular, yet in generall they seeme to imply that mysteries there are, nature seemes to confesse that there is a power aboue nature, and this power did then appeare in the first insti­tution of nature; reason seemes to acknowledge that all faculties hauing their owne proper bounds, she her selfe cannot be without bounds, and therefore many things there may be and are beyond the comprehension of reason. Thus much in generall.

Supernaturall workes con­firme superna­turall words.Now for proofe and confirmation of our mysteries in particular, we doe not require their testimony, for we haue other greater proofes then theirs, and therefore we will ease them of that labour: they haue the workes of nature to testifie the God of nature. We haue workes aboue na­ture, miracles beyond all naturall causes, to testifie our mysteries aboue nature: they haue a Creation for their be­ing; a prouidence for their preseruation, &c. we haue an eternall prescience, an immutable decree, prophecies and predictions, fore-telling future euents, together with the full accomplishing of these prophesies; in a word, they haue the voice of nature; we haue the testimony of the God of nature.

This I speake, looking to the generall nature, yet it can­not be denied, but by a particular charge, as it were a spe­ciall Commission,Reason discer­ning the open miracles, can­not gaine say the secret my­steries. some Creatures may likewise be truely and properly said to giue a testimony, and to confirme our mysteries of grace; for the same God is God both of na­ture and grace, he hath laid the foundation of grace in the ground-worke of nature: as grace doth sanctifie na­ture, so nature supports grace; as grace workes by nature, so nature may beare witnesse to the working of grace. Thus all miracles, what did they argue, but that the Crea­tures [Page 19] changing their owne nature, did therein shew their obedientiall power to be at his command and direction, who first appointed their nature, who can change and alter their nature, and now workes aboue and beyond nature; these workes surmounting nature, his words may likewise surpasse nature. Thus mysteries aboue naturall apprehen­sion, are no more incredible then workes aboue naturall power; both carry the same stampe, and are of the same mint, they giue credit and testimony to each other. Mira­cles we discerne by sence, we acknowledge in reason, to be such as indeed they are, miracles beyond all naturall power. Then presently our faith not carried with a vaine credulity, not seduced with sophistry, but being truly in­formed of the workes, presently she stoopes in humility and hearkens to the words, and therein she acknowledgeth mysteries, mysteries beyond mans reason and compre­hension.

Thus it should seeme,Reason, that some Giantlike Deity, by his workes, by his words hath made knowne vnto the world, that his power and his wisdome surpasseth all naturall bounds, while the Creatures shewing in themselues the effects of his power, doe likewise point out the depth of his wisdome, and hereby conclude an infinit power, an infinit wisdome, both which cannot admit mans weake opposition or disputation,Admiration, Faith. but rather should worke in vs admiration, astonishment and silence.

For as in miracles,Miracles proue myste­ries. the dumbe Creatures, notwithstanding their naturall inclination, yet are they ouer-ruled by Gods power: so in mysteries, man, notwithstanding his naturall wrangling, and contentious wit, and the scrupulous curio­sity of his owne minde, yet must he submit himselfe to Gods words. Thus the power manifested, serues as a seale to the will reuealed: miracles prooue the truth of myste­ries; the one our naturall reason may easily see, and discerne; and these being discerned, doe prooue the infallible truth of the other.

This by way of digression: for this is extraordinary vn­usuall, [Page 20] and therefore onely incident to some few of them, according to times, place, and occasions. Come we then to their generall faith, which I call the naturall faith of the Creatures, which faith implies the whole knowledge of God, whereof the Creatures informe vs, how farre by their direction wee may proceed in Gods knowledge, and where we must desist. This knowledge of God being fitly gathered from the Creatures,The naturall implicite faith of the Crea­tures. can be no lesse then a natu­rall implicit faith of the Creatures; all of them testifying the same truth, doe in a sort make one common confession of their faith, they say their Creed together, as we doe; this is enough, to saue and excuse them from the imputation of infidelity: for children doe no more in their baptisme, whom notwithstanding we know to be in the number of Gods faithfull people.

The seuerall kindes of faith.Faith doth not alwaies imply the actuall surrendring vp of our wills and consents, but sometimes an habit or forme; neither is euery faith, a iustifying faith: but there is a testifying faith, an historicall faith, yea, sometimes an imputatiue faith; and there being so many kindes and de­grees of faith, I pray be not so vncharitable, as to make the poore dumbe Creatures infidels.

Dumbe Crea­tures may as well be said to haue faith as knowledge.For there is a wisdome of nature, there is a knowledge in dumbe beasts, they know their times and their seasons, their manner of working, and what is fit and agreeable to the state of their bodies; and why may there not be a na­turall faith in them, as well as a naturall wisdome and knowledge? for these seeme to be as proper to man as his faith; yet these we ascribe to dumbe beasts, though they want a reasonable discourse: and why may we not as well yeeld vnto them a faith, not a sanctifying, but a naturall faith? for I will not exceed the bounds of nature in them: their faith is an historicall faith, or a testifying faith; for this their naturall faith serues onely to giue testimony to the God of nature.

Surely they haue a faith, and what is more, they preach this faith vnto vs, together with many morall instructions, [Page 21] and many good admonitions,The dumbe Creatures preach their faith vnto vs: they are, I confesse, very lear­ned preachers, and doe exceedingly edifie, for they were able to strike the very heathen (who were without the knowledge of the true God) with wonder and amaze­ment: the most dumbe and sencelesse Creatures beare witnesse and testifie of God, The heauens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handyworke: one day telleth another, and one night certifieth another. Thus they instruct vs, while they catechize each other; and as we ex­hort them to praise God, so they exhort vs, that what is wanting in them, they may supply it in vs: (here is their cunning:) they are dumbe, therefore they make vs their Aduocates, their instruments and spokesmen, they vse our tongues to set forth Gods praise,And exhorting vs, they praise God by vs. giuing vs occasion, and stirring vs vp to praise him, our praise becomes theirs, and their praise is made ours; wee are their God-fathers to make the confession of their faith; they are our remem­brancers, & serue as the seales of our truth. And thus there is not onely a communion of Saints, but a communion of Creatures, which ioyne together in one naturall seruice of God; as we partake with them in substance, so we may ioyne with them, or rather learne of them, the commen­dations of God.

Thus much of their faith: wherein if I haue beene some­what obscure, I pray remember the nature of faith, which is of things inuisible, and so from their faith and testimo­nies of God, come we then to their praiers, and praises of God.As Angels, so dumbe Crea­tures continu­ally praise God. It is not onely proper to Angels to be continually busied in praising and magnifying of God, singing their Halleluiah, &c. but euen the most dumbe Creatures par­take in this seruice, and beare their part in this song, though not in such an excellent manner. This is natures daily taske and imployment: for what is naturall to things in generall, therein nature cannot be wanting to her selfe, but must first know and acknowledge her owne proper­ties, within her selfe; artificem collaudat opus, that the worke should praise and commend the workeman, I take [Page 22] it to be a seruice imposed, or an homage done to the Lord. Thus wheresoeuer ye discerne the worke, you can­not exclude the workeman, both are of like extent, since to be, and to be the effects of his power, both are alike in­separable from the Creatures; who vpon the first view and appearance doe plainly shew, that what they are in themselues, this they haue from their Maker; their per­fection speakes his excellency; their continuance, his eter­nity; if they haue ought praise worthy in themselues, this makes for his praise, who is most worthy of all praise, though we most vnworthy to set forth this praise.

Consider then in the Creatures in generall: First, their proper and bounded nature, together with so great va­riety and perfection in their owne kinde.The perfecti­on of the Creatures. Secondly, in this nature, such excellent properties, affections, and acci­dents which doe so well agree with the nature. Thirdly, from this nature, such strange and wonderfull apparitions and effects. Fourthly, by this nature such an excellent order, and proportion both in themselues, and to the whole Vniuerse. Fifthly, through this nature, such a constancy and perseuerance in keeping their due course; in perfor­ming their duty, seruice and ministry to man.

How Crea­tures praise their Maker.O excellent Artist, that could so sweetly tune nature to make such a melody, where there is such a concent and agreement on euery side; the parts to the whole, the whole to the parts, each to it selfe, all to the Maker! O excellent melody! here is neither found, nor voice to the eare, yet a most sweet and delectable harmony, a musicke of nature. Doe not then harken with your eares, but listen with your mindes, and in stead of notes, conceiue this ditty: We sing the praise of our Maker.

The temple of the Creatures and their Lei­turgie.This praise and seruice of God seemes to resemble our mentall prayer: for it is inward, secret, and consists only in Meditation. Come we then to their vocall prayers, which in effect is our Leiturgy or Church-seruice: and first, be­hold the magnificence of their Temple, which is the ma­teriall world, the naturall Temple of God, a Temple made [Page 23] by God for himselfe, and by himselfe consecrated to his owne vse, where the heauens are the roofe, the earth is the footstoole, and wherein nothing is wanting, which may serue for beauty and ornament: here all the Creatures dayly attend, and are euer conuersant in this Temple: For the Sparrow hath found her a house, and the Swallow a nest, where she may lay her young ones, euen thine Altars, O Lord God of Hostes, my King and my God: Blessed are all they that dwell in thy Courts, for they will euer be praysing thee, Psal. 84.3, 4.

Decent and comely ceremonies, which serue to stirre vp our dulnesse, and to set forth Gods magnificence, and therefore are most commendable in vs,They vse no ceremony, but substance. yet they haue none; for they want none: in stead of them, they haue a truth and syncerity in their seruice, without hypocrisie or dissi­mulation: they are not troubled or disquieted in their owne thoughts (as we are) that they should be admoni­shed by outward ceremonies: but they are like the Angels in heauen, wholly intent to their seruice. I would I could say as much for our selues.

Now listen a while to their prayers: here euery creature hath his sound & his voice,The prayers of the Crea­tures. Vox naturae inclamautis Domi­num naturae, The voice of nature calling vpon the God of na­ture. Nature is no foole, that she should babble and talke to her selfe, nor is there any other nature, with whom she might haue conference; she is no more idle and super­fluous in her words, then in her workes: Natura mhilfecit frustrà, natura nihil dicet frustrà. Then vndoubtedly in these cries, she offers vp her prayers to her Maker.

Now would you know the meaning and sence of these prayers?The generall intent of prayers. Surely I conceiue them to be to this or the like purpose. Venite, iubilemus Deo nostro, quifecit nos, exultemus & laetemur in ipso: (the very beginning of our Morning Ser­uice) O all yee workes of the Lord, praise ye the Lord, blesse him, and magnifie him for euer. Doe you yet require some more particular notice, what they request in their prayers? Truely they pray in a strange tongue, I neuer learnt their [Page 24] language; yet this I can say for a truth, in mine owne ex­perience:

The diuersity of their prayers.That according to the diuersity of occasions, you shall finde a difference in their prayers: in their ioy and mirth, you may discerne their pleasant notes of thankfulnesse: in their griefe and heauinesse, you shall heare their sorrow­full sighes, and groanes of complaints. Then it should seeme, nature becomes a petitioner: and to whom should she petition, but to that higher power which sits aboue nature? Though the dumbe Creatures haue neither speech nor language among them, yet their sound is gone out into all quarters: though their cries be inarticulate, and vnsignificant to vs, yet are they vnderstood of their Maker; he that sees the secrets of our hearts, can much more easily discerne the intent of their prayers.

But in this their seruice, or prayers, doe they vse no meanes of deuotion? haue they no respect to Gods mag­nificence? but confusedly doe mumble vp, or bellow out their prayers, as if with their crying, and roaring, God could be praised? which were indeed more to dishonour God in the manner, then to honour him in the seruice. Herein,They praise God in the best manner. to giue you full satisfaction, I say, that euery thing, according to the vttermost extent of his own ability, doth offer vp his seruice to God in the most excellent manner. To instance only in their Quier, or in their Church-musick, here you haue a full,The Church-musicke of the Creatures. perfect, and compleate Quier; suffici­ent variety of voices; the little chirping birds, the Wren and the Robin, they sing a treble; the Gold-finch, the Nightingale, they ioyne in the meane; the Black-bird, the Thrush, they beare the tenour, while the foure-footed beasts, with their bleating and bellowing, they sing a base: how other birds sing in their order, I referre you to the skilfull Musicians: here is diuersity of musicke, some haue their seuerall notes, as if they sung verses alone, and did pawse and keepe time like Queristers, while others vse their continued songs, that all might please with variety.

These songs are fitted for euery season, as if they had [Page 25] some proper seruice,Their variety of Anthems and Collects. some collects appointed for the time; Thus they alter and varie according to the quarters of the yere, the houres of the day, the coasts of the world; and as if they were in some solemne procession, and did purpose to compasse and circuit the whole earth, with their An­themes and Letanies: some sing while they are flying, others make choice of the woods for their standing, some in the groues, some in the meddowes, some in the plaines, some on the house toppe: here are their voyces. Now for their instruments; me thinkes the rockes, the caues, and the woods, with a hollownesse of their sound, like a mu­sicall instrument, send forth an Eccho, and seeme to vnite their songs, together with the pleasant noyse in the fall, and gliding of waters; the pretty, sharpe whistling of the winde, which serues as a ground to their musicke.

And what is more,Their canoni­call houres. beleeue it, they obserue their cano­nicall houres, as if they were some religious order, they haue their lauds, their Mattens, their Vespers, in effect, they haue their Morning prayer, and their Euening song, for these are the speciall and the appointed times for their deuotion; neither will I conceale that which I haue so often obserued; sometimes one bird prouokes another to sing, then me thinkes I heare the Churches Antiphona's, one side of the Quier answering another, a custome which hath anciently beene brought into the Church, according to the patterne and president of the Seraphims, Isa. 6. Et clamabant alter ad alterum, & dicebant; Sanctus, sanctus, Dominus Deus exercituum.

To conclude,How powerful their prayers are. how effectuall, and acceptable their prayers are, I will not demand of them, they may chance to be foolish and partiall in their owne behalfe; herein take rather the testimony of God himselfe, and that to the poorest bird, which of all others we might suppose to be most neglected, for it is a night-bird, melancholy, ill presaging it hath a harsh note, and it feeds vpon carrion, and yet notwithstanding the Psalmist can testifie, Psal. 147.9. Escam dat pullis coruorum inuocantibus eum, as if [Page 26] God kept a watch ouer the nest, and did teach the young Rauens to call vpon him, and in effect to say grace, and to giue him thankes before the receiuing of their food.

After their prayers followes in the next place, their de­calogue or law: and truly, for the practice of their religion in their liues and conuersations, which appeares in the keeping and fulfilling of this decalogue or naturall law,The deca­logue of the Creatures. I cannot but greatly admire them. They are still carried with the same course, which God first appointed; the Sunne keepes his iust houre of rising, the Moone obserues her certaine reuolutions, so all the dumbe Creatures, and all the beasts of the field doe the like: you may assoone abolish their nature, as accuse them for the breach of the law of nature; they are led by their owne instinct, they haue no liberty of will to oppose, they cannot be re­fractory, but are like the Angels in heauen, sealed and con­firmed in their state and condition. Here is their confor­mity to Gods naturall law; as farre forth as God hath gi­uen them a law, they are surely led by the law, and the most sanctified man can doe no more, but according to the measure of grace that is giuen him. Alas! I should shame our selues, if I should speake of our disobedience, in respect of theirs.

The morall vertues of dumbe beasts.Heare then how all those naturall vertues appeare in them, how they are rooted and grounded in them, suppose temperance, iustice, sobriety, industry, naturall affection and the like; I will forbeare to speake, being verily per­swaded that nature hath proposed them vnto vs, as pre­sidents of each vertue, that hauing giuen vs a rule, some in­clination in our selues to morall vertues, she might annexe some example to that rule, the example of dumbe Crea­tures; that if we our selues, through the malignity of our wills, should practise to abolish the law in our hearts (for so the custome of sinne takes away the sence of sinne) yet still the law might be reserued whole and entire, to­gether with the exact patterne and practice of the law, as I may so say, bookes of reports in the Creatures; and to [Page 27] this purpose I had made a long discourse, but to enter vpon it, I should proue tedious: therefore I will forbeare to make any further mention of this, which indeed is so euident and palpable, as that it cannot admit a contradiction.

From their law,The sacrifice of dumbe Creatures. come we then to their sacrifice, which truely is as naturall as is their law: for sacrifice is a pledge of our thankfulnesse, which thankfulnesse is a branch of common iustice, this iustice is naturally ingrafted in all Creatures, that receiuing our selues from God, we should offer vp our selues vnto God, or at least, something in lieu of our selues, some quit-rent or fine in the acknowledge­ment of our Tenure, that we hold our selues from God, and therefore we are not at our owne disposing, but must surrender vp our selues vnto God; so that you might as well exclude from nature, a naturall law, as to deny a sacri­fice. Thus in generall, all things being ordained to Gods glory, they are likewise ordained for his seruice, here is their sacrifice. More particularly: Nothing in it selfe, con­taines in it selfe the vse and end of it selfe; but hath some reference beyond it selfe (E. g.) Doth not euery thing eua­porate, and impart some part of it selfe, suppose the flowers of the field in their sweet smels; many Creatures with their incense and odoriferous perfumes: and what are these indeed but natures sacrifices?

Shall we yet come neerer, and shew how they partake in a true sacrifice? What are the stones in the Temple, but indeed offered vp in sacrifice?Their various and different sacrifices. For it is not necessary, that all should consecrate, who attend at the Altar: all cannot be principals; if the materiall temple will not suf­fice, come we then to mans body, which is the Temple of Gods Spirit: and surely things ordained for the vse of this Temple, and the vse consisting in their owne slaughter, they are indeed consecrated and become a sacrifice.

If hitherto you dislike the metaphoricall or large signi­fication, come we then to the strictest sence. What were the sacrifices of the Iewes,The truth of their sacrifices. but indeed the offering vp of dumbe Creatures? Then surely, these dumbe Creatures [Page 28] were no small part in the sacrifice, they cannot be exclu­ded; but these were only types and shadowes of a true Sa­crifice; Come we then to that one and only true Sacrifice, the sacrifice of Christ: As we partake in his sacrifice, in re­gard of our nature, the manhood of Christ, so all the Crea­tures cannot be excluded in regard of one common mat­ter, or substance, in the body of Christ; so that in him, in him alone, the whole world, the great world in the little world, becomes a true and reall sacrifice.

How the Creatures concurre in the Sacra­ments.And for Sacraments: Are not all the Creatures sancti­fied for mans vse? And what is this in effect, but to be the visible signes of inuisible grace? Suppose the foure Ele­ments. The fire, when as God appeared like fire in a bramble-bush, and the Holy descended in fiery tongues; The aire, when as Christ together with his owne breath, breathed out his Spirit: The water, in our baptism; The earth, in her fruits; Bread and wine in the Eucharist. Thus they share in our Sacraments, according to the capacity of their nature: we actiuely, they passiuely, all concurre in the Sacraments.

And to proceed yet further: Lest they might seeme to faile in the end,The hope of the Creatures. and scope of religion, I say, they are not altogether without hope; for what may they not hope and expect from God, who is so bountifull and magnifi­cent in his rewards? though their seruice be a naturall seruice, a seruice necessarily imposed, and that they can doe no lesse then serue him in their owne kinde, yet it stands with Gods bounty to reward their seruice. I say then, that they are not altogether without hope; for there is a na­turall hope, as Iob speaks, Iob 14.7. Lignum si praecisum fue­rit, habet spem quod reuirescet: so if I should extend this na­turall hope, as an earnest, or as an implicite hope, to a reno­uation of nature; this were no inconuenience. For cer­taine it is of all the dumbe Creatures, that at the generall day of our Resurrection, they likewise, though not in themselues, yet in their owne elements and principles, shalbe renewed. For there shall be a new heauen and a [Page 29] new earth, that then they may be fitted for our vse, as now in the time and state of corruption, they serue our present turnes and occasions.

If this seeme a strange doctrine then,What be­comes of the Creatures af­ter our resur­rection. let this reason con­firme it: Creatures were first created in Paradise. Then sure­ly they were not so much ordained for slaughter, and mans vse, as for the setting forth of Gods glory. Now since our fall, they groane and trauell in paine together with vs vnder the burthen of our sinnes, and our miseries, the pu­nishments of sinne, Rom. 8.22. yet still they continue inno­cent in themselues, they are often imployed in Gods ser­uice, alwaies praysing God in their owne kinde, and ne­uer incurre the breach of his law, but are patient, notwith­standing our immoderate and inordinat abuse. Then surely by a course of iustice, according to their manner, and the capacity of their owne nature, though not in themselues, (that is) in the fiercenesse, malignity and corruption of their nature, yet in their owne first elements and principles, or as they haue now entred into mans body, and are become parts of mans flesh, all the Creatures in generall shall par­take with vs, in our future intended renouation.

Thus then we will say with Ioshuah, 24.15. I and my house will serue the Lord: we and whatsoeuer is ours, either inwardly in our selues,Their religion is according to their power. or outwardly in our substance, we are all at his seruice, euery one according to his power and ability doth praise God, and hath his religion, if a defectiue religion. Then looke to the power, and you shall finde it likewise defectiue, for both are fitted and proportioned to each other: in nature, there is a faith of nature, there is a law of nature; and where the naturall creature is capeable of grace, there are the mysteries of grace, the precepts and counsels of grace.

And thus without any figure or metaphore,Euery thing must haue a religion. the Crea­tures may truly be said to praise God, in a kinde of reli­gious worship and seruice; for whatsoeuer proceeds from God, tends to his glory: heere is the end. Now the way must be agreeable to this end: and therefore what tends [Page 30] to his glory, must needs runne in the course of his seruice, whether nature or grace. If ye say, that religion be pro­perly tied to a state of grace; Non est litigandum de verbis, vbi in re conuenimus, yet I am not of that opinion, for I thinke it no absurdity to say, a natural religion. Thus all na­tions are said to haue their religion,There is a na­turall religion. and yet we know, that most of them haue no more then sence, reason, and nature; and yet notwithstanding, they haue a religion: then surely they haue onely a naturall religion, which in effect is no more, then the religion of dumbe beasts, for nature ap­peares alike in them as in vs: that which giues mans re­ligion a speciall dignity and prerogatiue aboue the reli­gion of dumbe beasts, is onely this, that mans religion is not meerely naturall,Proper to beasts, not to man. and onely naturall, but there is an earnest of grace to sanctifie the corruption of nature, my­steries of grace beyond the apprehension of nature, and a certainty of hope beyond the expectation of nature.

And thus in generall, as there is a seruice of nature, so in generall,A naturall re­ligion hath naturall bounds. we may well say that there is a kinde of natu­rall religion; which notwithstanding proceeding onely from nature, it cannot be raysed aboue nature, but must againe returne and end in nature, and being by the neces­sity of their nature, it is therefore a seruice which requires no further reward, but onely serues as a motiue and ex­ample to vs.

And thus far of the naturall seruice of God in dumbe Creatures, which I call the Religion of dumbe Creatures; now briefely to conclude, three things there are wherein I doe much desire to giue you contentment. First, whether this meditation may be thought vaine and needlesse. Secondly, how farre it may seeme strange or a Paradoxe. Thirdly, what good vse may be made of it: for the first, whether this be a vaine meditation, I pray trace it by de­grees: the faith of the Creatures, I did suppose to be that knowledge of God, which is gathered from the Crea­tures, as much in effect, as the naturall or reasonable man can know of God.The Metaphy­sicks. Now whereas of all sciences, the [Page 31] Metaphysicks haue euer beene held the most excellent, this very subiect is the principall part of the Metaphysicks; by consideration hereof, the heathen Philosophers haue beene strangely transported, and rauished, and haue burst foorth into these or the like exclamations and inuocations of God: Eus [...]tium, primus motor, prima intelligentia, naturans natura, immensa infinitas, principium sine princi­pio, &c.

Secondly,Naturall Phi­losophy. after their faith; how the dumbe Creatures doe praise God in their owne nature, in their passions, in their affections; or if these be secret and hidden from man, then according to the imitation of man, how they praise God in their voyces, in their sounds, which are the out­ward signes, and symptoms of their owne inward nature. This belongs to the Physickes, and is in effect, the whole scope and intent of all naturall Philosophy.

Thirdly,Morall Phi­losophy. for their law which serues as a guide to direct them; which law is written in their hearts, practised in their actions, in so much that in them, we may easily read the characters of this law, the very pure text of the law of nature without any corrupt glosse: this is in effect the whole ground and foundation of all morall Philosophy.

Fourthly,Theology. for the sacrifice and Sacraments of Creatures, when we consider how the dumbe Creatures are sancti­fied, and prooue to be Sacramentalia, fit to enter into the Holiest of Holies, to be vnto vs as meanes and conduit­pipes of grace, which seeme to imply, that nature and grace being now incorporated, there was surely some Dei­ty incarnate, by vertue wherof, the whole materiall nature is combined to the Spirituall nature; not by consangui­nity, but by alliance, by the nuptials of those two natures in his one person, who was both perfect God and perfect Man; this is a most deepe and profound mysterie in Theology,How all scien­ces may be reduced to this naturall reli­gion. and thus you cannot condemne this Meditation as vaine and needlesse.

Neither can it seeme so strange, or a paradox: for take the bookes of Philosophers, and such as haue written of the [Page 32] Creatures in generall, and suffer me to prefixe these words in the frontispice, A Ioue principium, or In Dei nomine; which are the same in effect. Then giue me leaue to turne ouer the leaues, and to the last lines, in stead of Finis, or Ex­plicit, to adioyne these words, as a labell or codicill to the worke, Ad Dei gloriā: & both these nature implies: for first there must be a workeman, then the worke must be di­rected to some end. Now besides the worke it selfe, no other end appeares but the workeman: things must then runne in a circle, from God, to God; God in the forefront, God in the vpshot. And thus if you consider the Creatures, betweene God and God, in stead of a naturall discourse, here you haue a religion of nature.

Thus in Christian Religion, if our ceremonies were first inuented by Pagans, if our prayers were first composed by Heathen,How this na­turall reli­gion and Iudaisme is re­duced to Chri­stianity. yet still we may lawfully vse them: for when we prefixe, In nomine Patris, & Filij, & Spiritus sancti, or when we shut vp our prayers with Per Christum Dominum no­strum, then wee giue them the tincture of Christianity. Thus with Dauids Psalmes, which are indeed the Psalmes of the Iewes, when we cloze them vp with this period, Gloria patri & Filio & Spiritui sancto, then we make them ours, and properly ours; in effect, we Christen them. And thus to consider the Creatures barely in themselues, with­out reference to God, were a most imperfect knowledge; but shew them their discent and originall, from whence they proceed, shew them their right vse, and the end of their progresse, and here in effect you haue composed a na­turall religion.

Thirdly, for the vse which we may make vnto our selues of this Religion of dumbe Creatures, in a word it is this:

The Crea­tures make man ashamed.First, it serues to make vs ashamed of our selues, that while all other Creatures doe strictly serue God in their owne kinde, yet wee, though more bound vnto God for the many blessings receiued, then they; though more espe­cially intended for Gods seruice, seeing all other Crea­tures serue man, and man alone is immediatly ordained for [Page 33] Gods seruice; yet the poore dumbe Creatures should strictly serue God in their owne kinde, while we, and we alone, and we onely are the transgressors.

Secondly,The large ex­tent of Gods Church. it sets forth the large extent of Gods Church, and the vntouchable height of his glory, though our sinnes haue made a separation betweene God and vs, though our blasphemies be such and so great, as that faine they would obscure and eclipse Gods glory: yet maugre our at­tempts, and in despight of our malice, God shall be glo­rified, as of the Angels aboue, so of the dumbe Creatures beneath: if men shall cease to sing their Hosannah, the stones will cry, Luke 19.40.

Then in the last place let their seruice be some encou­ragement and motiue to ours,The example of Creatures, is an exhorta­tion to vs. if we cannot attaine to the perfections of Angels to offer vp our selues as a whole burnt sacrifice to God; if we cannot approue our selues, as members of one Catholike Church, to serue God in the vnity of one faith, but that as the East hath formerly beene separated from the West, so is now the South from the North, as if with sects and schismes, we were to quarter out religion according to the coasts of the world, and to diuide Christs seamelesse garment among vs, hauing first crucified the Lord of life: If in the course of Christianity, we cannot agree in the very fundamentall points of reli­gion, but are wholly separated, so that neither one mother Church beneath, nor yet one heauen aboue can containe vs. Suppose that Christianity should cease, then let vs come to the tearmes of humanity, and desire to exceed all other Creatures, as well in vertue and dignity, as in na­ture and condition.By our nature we are tied to a naturall re­ligion. But if all faile, if all faile (as I feare they doe in some) then in the last place I pray let me recom­mend vnto them the religion of dumbe Creatures: surely we can doe no lesse then ioyne with them in their religion: for they are sensuall and beastly, like to our selues: then let not those most excellent attributes of God, which are dis­couered by them, be contradicted by vs: here we shall auoide Atheisme in our prayers, deuotions, and seruice [Page 34] of God, let vs not be inferiour to them.

But aboue all, let me recommend this one thing to our practice,There is but one and the same morall law to all re­ligions. that the Creatures may not out-strip vs, in the strict obseruing of the naturall Law, which to vs, in effect, is, in moral honesty. This I doe the rather wish, because the morall law was neuer abrogated, notwithstanding the change of Priest-hood, the change of Ceremonies, the change of Religion, which was translated from the Syna­gogue of the Iewes, to the Church or congregation of the Gentiles; yet still one and the same morall law was conti­nued. So at this day, notwithstanding our diuersity of Sects, Schismes and Religions; yet it were to be wished, that our actions might be squared out by one morall law, which law appeares in the Creatures, and is common to man and the Creatures; and is as naturall to man, as is his owne nature, and should no more be separated from man, then his owne nature: for want then of religious piety and godlinesse, let this morall law be our guide. Thus man shall know his dutie to man.

No differen­ces in religion should take away morall duties.But how miserable were our condition? what a world of mischiefe would follow? if we should neglect morall du­ties, vnder cloake and pretence of religion, as if religion did abolish nature, as if the morall law were abrogated toge­ther with the ceremoniall; Yet this is the practice and ini­quity of these our most vnhappy times, that all factions, seditions and trecheries must be forsooth rooted and grounded in religion, as if religion were the sole mother, and nurse of all treasons; as if heauen could not subsist with the earth; as if the Tower of Babel could not be built, but with Church stones. This is the bane and the shame of Re­ligion. God knowes, I cannot speake of it with patience, or without my great hearts griefe: and therefore I will here end abruptly; beseeching the Almighty God to reforme it; beseeching the Almighty God reforme it.

Sancte & indiuiduae Trinitati sit honor & gloria.

SOme faults haue escaped the Presse, either in omitting letters, as page 4. line 21. for awake read awaken; or omitting words, as p. 25. l. 17. this word Sanctus should be thrice repeated, as implying a mystery: or mistaking some words, as pag. 22. lin. 17. for apparitions, read operations, yet the faults are such and so few, as that thou thy selfe maist easily correct them.

(E. g.) signifies exempli gratia, as for example.

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