TRVE RELIGION EXPLAINED And defended against ye Archene­mies thereof in these times, In six. Bookes. Published by Authority for the cōmon good.

Buy the truth P [...]

LONDON Printed for Ri. Royston in Ivie lane. 1632

T C [...]ll sculp.

The minde of the frontisp [...], or title page.

1. Ieheuah at the top [...]eaching out [...] the old to the lew, and the new to the [...] former with a promise, [...] the latt [...] of the Gentle [...] in the Gospel without ex [...] [...]on of any, Hom. 1 [...].

2 Religion, the effects whereof the Apos [...] Iam. 1. 2 [...].

1 For her habit. she hath a [...] garment t [...] she regards not the transiently wealth and [...] ­ty of this world.

2 Shee holds the booke in her hand, where [...]n the law [...] God is written.

3 Her breast is ba [...], to shew her Can [...]on and [...]

4 She leaues upon the Crosse, because thereupon [...] finds rest and quiet repose.

5 Winged sheis to reach men to mount up al [...]

6 As it were shining by a radiant [...] that she dispels the mysty dark [...] [...] of the minde.

7 The bridle is hung upon the crosse to teach men how that they ought to curbe, bridle, and sub [...] the tri [...]le [...] passions of the minde.

8 She treads and examples upon death, because she [...] very haue and downfall of death.

3 The Christian kneeles upon the Crosse, which hee m [...] take up▪ Mat. 16. 24. having [...] glory shining upon him to re­present the brightnesse of the Gospell and t [...] Religion.

4 The Turke stands with his sword in his hand, by which he defends his Religion that sprang from Mah [...]met, a false Prophet, foretold in generall by Christ, Mat. 24. 5. 24. also a halfe Moone.

5 The lew kneeles, having the two tables of the law by which he hopes to bee saved, not as yet beleeving in Christ, because his eyes are blinded. Isaiah. 29. 10.

6 The Pagan hath the sun before him, which together with other creatures he is wont toworship: howbeit hope there is that all the heatheo shall become the subiects of Christs Kingdome, Psal. 72. 11.

A Recapitulation of the chiefe points, according to the se­verall sections of each Booke.
The Preface shewes the oc­casion of this worke.

The Contents of the first Booke.
  • SECT. I. IN the first section it is proved there is a God.
  • 2 That there is but one God.
  • 3 All perfection is in God.
  • 4 And that after an infinite manner
  • [Page] 5 God is eternall, omnipotent, omniscient, and absolutely good.
  • 6 God is the cause of all things.
  • 7 Answer to an objection con­cerning the cause of evill.
  • 8 Against them which imagine there are two principles, the one good and the other evill.
  • 9 The whole universe is gover­ned by God.
  • 10 So are all sublunary things, yea every particular and singular thing.
  • 11 Which is declared by the preservation of Empires.
  • 12 And by miracles.
  • 13 Especially such as were wrought amongst the Iewes, which are verified by the long continu­ance of their Religion.
  • 14 Also by the truth and anti­quity of Moses.
  • 15 And by the testimonies of strangers and aliens from the co­venans.
  • 16 The same likewise is con­firmed [Page] by predictions and other ar­guments.
  • 17 An objection answered for that no miracles are now to bee [...] as formerly hath beene.
  • 18 And that iniquity so great­ [...]nds in these dayes.
  • 19 In so much that good and go [...]dly men are oppressed, abused.
  • 20 But this is retorted to prove the immortality of soules after the death and [...]lution of bodies.
  • 21 Which truth is further con­firmed by tradition.
  • 22 Namely such, as no reason can be alleaged against it.
  • 23 But [...]ther many arguments make for it.
  • 24 Whence it followes that the end of man is his happinesse and welfare after this life.
  • 25 Which to obtaine, true Reli­gion must be sought for, the same being the onely way to eternity.
The Contents of the second Booke.
  • [Page]SECT. I. TO the end it may appeare that the title of true Religion, agrees to Christian Religion, the Author here proves first that Jesus once lived upon earth.
  • 2 And that hee suffered an ig­nominious and reproachfull death.
  • 3 Howbeit after his death, hee was worshipped and adored by wise men.
  • 4 The cause of which their worshipping him, could be no other then for the wonders and miracles that were wrought by him.
  • 5 And these miracles were not to bee attributed to any efficacy of rature, or to the power of the Devill: but proceeded onely from the power of God.
  • 6 The Author further shewes [Page] the truth of Iesus his resurrection by sufficient testimonies.
  • 7 He answers a doubt, for that the resurrection seemes impossible.
  • 8 This resurrection of Jesus being granted it serves to confirme the truth of his doctrine.
  • 9 Christian Religion excells all other Religions in the world.
  • 10 As is proved, first from the excellency of the reward which is promised and propounded there­unto.
  • 11 Whereupon by the way, an objection is answered, for that it seemes impossible for bodies once dissolved, to bee restored againe to their former integrity.
  • 12 Secondly, the former truth is confirmed by the exact holinesse of Christian precepts, touching the worship and service of God.
  • 13 Also from those courteous duties of humanity, which wee owe and ought to performe to our neigh­bours, though hurt or injured by them.
  • [Page] 14 Also from the union and love of man and wife.
  • 15 From the use of Temporall goods and commodities.
  • 16 From an Oath.
  • 17 And from other Christian Acts.
  • 18 Answer to an objection ta­ken from the controversies that are among Christians.
  • 19 The excellency of Christian Religion is further declared from the dignity of its author.
  • 20 From the wonderfull propa­gation thereof.
  • 21 Specially considering the weaknesse and simplicity of them which at the beginning taught the same.
  • 22 Together with the great impediments which might have with-held men from imbracing it, or deterred them from professing the same.
  • 23 Answer made to them that doe desire stronger arguments.
The Contents of the third Booke.
  • [Page]SECT. I. HEre is showne the authority of the bookes of the new co­venant.
  • 2 Such bookes as have names of authors are the same mens writings whose names they beare.
  • 3 Concerning such books as an­ciently were questioned the doubt taken away.
  • 4 Those bookes that have no name prefixed, have su [...]en [...] au­thority, as is proved from the qua­lity of the writings themselves.
  • 5 The holy pen men of these bookes writ nothing but truth, be­cause they had certaine notice thereof.
  • 6 And because they would not lye.
  • [Page] 7 This is also evident by the miracles they wrought:
  • 8 And likewise because the e­vents of many things therein re­corded, have made it appeare the same were divinely inspired.
  • 9 And lastly from the care God was to have, that counterfeit wri­tings might not be ob [...]ruded or for­ged in the Church.
  • 10 An objection answered that sundry of these bookes, were not re­served by all.
  • 11 A scruple taken away for that some impossibilities s [...]eme to be [...]:
  • 12 Or such things as are r [...] p [...] to reason.
  • 13 Another doubt answered, touching some diversity [...] ­rie [...], that seeme to be in those wri­tings.
  • 14 The consideration of for­raine testimonies; which indeed make more for these bookes that a­gainst them.
  • [Page] 15 Answer made to that obje­ction, concerning the adulterating or falsifying of scripture.
  • 16 Lastly, the authority of the bookes of the old Testament is ve­rified.
The Contents of the fourth Booke.
  • SECT. I. IN particular, such Religions as bee repugnant to Christianity are confuted.
  • 2 And first against Pa [...]nisme here is proved, that there is but one God: that created mindes are good or evill: The good are not to bee worshipped, but according to Gods prescript.
  • 3 The bad Spirits are worshipped by the Pagans, which is an odi­ous thing.
  • 4 Against the Pagans wor­shopping [Page] of [...]en deceased.
  • 5 Against the worshipping of starres and elements.
  • 6 Against the worshipping of bruit beasts.
  • 7 Lastly against the worship­ping of such things as are no sub­stances.
  • 8 Answer to the Pagans obje­ction taken from some miracles that were wrought among them.
  • 9 And from their Oracles.
  • 10 The Religion of the Pagans is thereby confuted, for that the same of it owne accord faded away as soone as humane helps failed.
  • 11 Answer to them that a­scribe the beginning and downefall of any Religion to the efficacy of the starres.
  • 12 Lastly, the chiefe points of Christian Religion were approved of by the wisest of the Pagans: and if any thing seeme incredible ther­in, the like may bee found amongst the Pagans.
The Contents of the fifth Booke.
  • [Page]SECT. I. IVdaisme is confuted.
  • 2 The Iewes ought to ac­count the miracles of Iesus for suf­ficient.
  • 3 Answer to that which they say, these miracles were done by the assistance of Devils.
  • 4 And by the power of words or syllables.
  • 5 That the miracles done by Iesus were divine, and that hee taught the worship of one God who is the maker of the world.
  • 6 Answer to an objection taken from the difference that is between the law of Moses and of Jesus: and that there might be a more perfect law given than that of Moses.
  • 7 The law of Moses was obser­ved [Page] by Iesus while hee lived upon earth: and no other precepts were afterward abolished, but sue [...] were not essen tally good.
  • 8 Such were the sacrifices which of themselves were nev [...] wel-pleasing unto God:
  • 9 Also the difference of me [...]
  • 10 And of dayes;
  • 11 And outward Circumcision.
  • 12 And yet, the Apostles of Ie­sus were gentle in the permission of toleration thereof.
  • 13 An argument against the Iewes, for that they grant t [...]er [...] was a worthy Messias promised.
  • 14 The same Messias came at the time appointed.
  • 15 Answer to that which they object concerning the deferring of his comming, for the sinnes of the people:
  • 16 Also from the present state of the Iewes, compared with those things which the Law promised.
  • [Page] 17 Iesus is proved to bee the Messias, by those things which were foretold concerning the Mes­sias.
  • 18 Answer to what is said of some things not yet fulfilled:
  • 19 Also to that which is ob­jected touching the m [...]e state, and miserable death of Iesus:
  • 20 As though they had beene honest men that put him to death.
  • 21 Answer to that objection of many Gods, which they say are worshipped by the Christians:
  • 22 Also that the humane nature is worshipped.
  • 23 A conclusion of this part, with prayer, and supplication to God for the Iewes.
The Contents of the sixth and last Booke.
  • [Page]SECT. I. MAhumetanisme con [...]uted the originall thereof [...] set downe.
  • 2 The ground of Mahumetism [...] overthrowne, chiefly for that the make it unlawfull for men the [...] enquire into their Religion.
  • 3 Proofes against the Mahu [...] ­ [...]ans out of the sacred w [...] of Hebrewes and Christians.
  • 4 Mahumet compared w [...] Christ in their persons.
  • 5 In their Acts.
  • 6 The first Professors of both Religions.
  • 7 The manner how both lawes were propagated and published.
  • 8 Lastly, the precepts of both compared.
  • [Page] 9 Answer to that which Ma­humetans object concerning the sonne of God.
  • 10 Sundry absurdities are [...]e­peated out of the bookes of the Ma­humetans.
  • 11 A conclusion of the whole worke directed to Christians, who are admonished of their duty by oc­casion of all that hath been said be­fore in the severall bookes.

A Christian prayer for the ad­versaries of true Religion.

MErciful God, who hast made all men, and hatest nothing that thou hast made, nor wouldest the death of a sinner, but rather that hee should bee converted and live, have mercy upon all lewes, Turkes, Infidels and Heretikes, and take from them all ignorance, hardnesse of heart, and contempt of thy word, and so fetch them home (blessed Lord) to thy flocke, that they may bee saved among the remnant of the true Israelites, and bee made one f [...]ld [...]nderone sleep­heard, Iesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.

OF THE TRVTH OF Christian Religion.
The Preface, shewing the occa­sion of this worke.

I Have eftsoones The occa­sion of the worke. beene deman­ded by a man, that hath de­served excel­lent well of his Country, and of learning, and of me also, what the argument of those bookes was, which were written by mee in my Countrey language, in the behalfe of Chri­stian [Page 2] Religion: Neither doe I wonder that hee should make such a question: For hee that with so good judgement did ap­ply himselfe to the reading of all things worthy to bee read, was not ignorant with what skill that matter hath beene handled by Raymond Sebund, after a subtile Philosophicall manner; by Iudovicus Ʋives, in divers Dialogues; but especi­ally with most learning and eloquence, by their famous Mornay. Wherefore the trans­lating of them into the vulgar tongue, was more for use, than for making any new worke: Whereof, what other men will judge, I know not, but this I am perswaded will satisfie him, if I tell him, how that reading, not onely those Authors above mentioned; but also the writings of the Iewes, for their old Iewish, and also of Christians, for our [Page 3] Christian Religion; I thought good withall to use my owne judgement, (such as it is) and give some f [...]eedome to my minde, which my body wanted when I writ that worke. For it seemed to mee most sitting to contend for the truth only with truth, and that also with such truth, as whereof I was perswa­ded fully in my owne minde. For I know it were but a vanity in mee to goe about to teach others to credit those things that I could not bee perswaded of my selfe: Therefore omit­ting such arguments as in my judgement were of lesse impor­tance, as also the authority of those bookes which either I cer­tainly knew, or justly suspected to be forged and counterfeit, I have made choice of such rea­sons both out of ancient & later writings, as may bee best ap­proved of. And as for those [Page 4] which pleased me best, the same I did both methodically di­spose, and also expounded as plainly as I could, distingui­shing them by certaine verses, whereby they might be the bet­ter committed to memory.

For my purpose was to bene­fit all my Countrey-men, but specially Sea-faring-men, that they might not (as too many doe) lose and mispend their time. Wherefore beginning with the commendation of our Countrey, which for skill and diligence in Navigation excels the iest, I exhorted them to use that art, not onely for their owne proper gaine and com­modity, but also for the propa­gation of true Christian Religi­on. For neither is there wanting matter for such their ende­vours, since that they might try their fortunes abroad in farre distant-forren Countries, and [Page 5] make incursions either upon the Pagans, such as live in Arabia and Guinea; or upon the Ma­humetans, as those under the do­minion of the Turke, the Persian, and Carthaginians; or lastly, upon the Iewes, and such as at this day are professed enemies of Christianity, which are disper­sed thorow the most parts of the world. Neither are there wanting such wicked men, as doe (secretly for feare) harbour the poyson of errour, and pub­lish the same unto the weaker sort, when they see fit oppor­tunity. Against which evils my desire is we may be well fortified with truth; And that such as are furnished with learning, would endevour according to their ability to confute errours: and in the meane while let others beware that they be not surpri­sed by those that are enemies of the truth. For which end, that [Page 6] I may make it appeare how that Religion is no vaine frivolous thing; in my first booke I doe beginne at the ground or foun­dation thereof, which is, That there is a God: This truth I thus proceed to prove, as followeth.

The first Booke. OF THE TRVNESSE OF Christian Religion.

SECT. I.

That there is a God.

THAT there are somethings [...]hich had a b [...]ginni [...]g, is cleare to com­mon sense, and by the confession of all: howbeit those things were not causes to themselves of their owne being. For that which is not cannot produce [Page 8] any thing, neither had it power to be before it was; therefore it followes, that the said things had their beginning from some other thing different from them­selves: Which may be averred not onely of such things as now we see, or ever have beheld, but of such also as gave originall un­to these, and so upward untill we come to some prime cause which never beganne to be, and which (as we say) hath its ex­istence by necessity, and not after any conting nt manner: And this, what ever it be, (whereof by and by wee shall speake) is that which is meant by divine power or Godhead.

Another reason to prove that there is some such divine Maje­stie, is taken from the most ma­nifest consent of all Nations, such I meane as have not the light of reason altogether eclip­sed or abolished by their savage [Page 9] cruelty, and wilde affections. For seeing that such things as proceed from mans will and ar­bitrement are not the same with all men, but often subject to mutability: yet this notion is eve­ry where admitted of, and ne­ver was denied by any, no not by Aristotle himselfe, a man not very credulous in this kinde. Therefore there must needs bee some agent that extends it selfe unto all mankinde: which can be no other than either the Ora­cle of God himselfe, or some tra­dition derived from the first pa­rents of mankinde: The former whereof if we admit, then wee have that which is in question; or if the later bee granted, yet there can no good reason bee given why we may thinke that those first parents should gull all posterity with any fulsity in a matter of the greatest moment.

Moreover, whether wee con­sider [Page 10] those parts of the world which were anciently knowne, or those that are lately found out, wheresoever there is (as we have said) any reliques of hu­manity, there certainly is this truth acknowledged, as well by such Heathens as have any inge­nuity and wisdome, as also by those that are of a more dull and stupid disposition: The former whereof questionlesse could not all bee deceived; neither is it likely that these later so si ly and simple should any way de­vise how to deceive one ano­ther.

Neither let any man here ob­ject, that in sundry ages there have beene some most common­ly, which either could not be­leeve, or else would not pro­fesse they beleeved that there was a God. For inasmuch as the number of such Atheists was but small, and in regard that [Page 11] straight way upon the discus­sing of their rersons, their opini­on generally was set at naught; thence it appeares, that this pro­ceeded, not from the use of right reason, which is common to men; but either from the af­fectation of singularity, such as was in him that would needs demonstrate the snow to bee blacke; or from a corrupt mind, like as when meats to a distem­pered palate doe taste otherwise than indeed they are. But especi­ally because both histories and other writings declare that by how much any man was the more honest, by so much the more diligently did he preserve and increase this knowledge in himselfe concerning God.

And further, that this conceit so opposite to the anciently received opinion, chiefly pro­ceeds from the bad disposition of those whom it would most of [Page 12] all profit or advantage if there were no God, that is, no judge of humane actions; 'tis evident in this respect, for that whatso­ever they conclude or deter­mine, whether it be concerning the succession of some l [...]age without beginning, or the con­fluence of Mores in the Sunne, or what other thing soever they say in this matter, the same hath in it no lesse, if not more dif­ficulties and absurdities; nei­ther can it be to any man, that doth but with indifferency pon­der the thing, more credible than that opinion which is al­ready received.

As touching that which some men pretend, because they can­not see God, therefore they can­not beleeve that he is; if they see any thing, they see enough to convince them; for if this were truth, what an indignitie were it for a man to beleeve hee [Page 13] hath a soule, which notwith­standing he never saw more than the divine essence of God; nei­ther ought we to deny that there is such a divine nature, when by our weake judgement we can­not comprehend the same; for this is common to every inferi­our creature, not to bee able to comprehend those things that be of a higher and more excellent nature. Thus the bruit beasts conceive not what man is, much lesse doe they know after what manner men doe ordaine and governe common wealths, mea­sure the course of the starres, or sayle upon the Ocean; for all these things are beyond and a­bove their reach. Forasmuch then as man hath obtained a more excellent nature than the beasts, and that not of himselfe, thence hee may conclude, that that same thing whereby hee is advanced above the condition [Page 14] of bruits, is as farre superiour to him, as those bruits are below himselfe; and therefore some more noble nature there is which transcends his apprehension.

SECT. II.

That there is ba [...] one God.

THis being manifest then that there is a God, it fol­lowes in the next place that we speake of some of his attributes; the first whereof is, that there is but one God, not many Gods. This truth may bee declared, first, because God (as was said before) is that same thing or es­sence which is most necessary, and of himselfe. A thing is said to be necessary or of it selfe, not considered in any other respect or notion, but truly as it is ac­cording to its owne nature and existence; now all particular [Page 15] things have such actuall existence and being. But if so bee thou suppose or grant there are many Gods, yet surely thou art not able to yeeld a reason why cach of them should of necessity have their being; neither why any man should beleeve that there are in number rather two Gods than three, or ten than five.

Besides, the multiplication of those particular things that are of the same nature, proceeds from the exuperancy and fruit­fulnesse of the causes whence such things more or lesse are ge­nerated: but of God there is neither beginning nor any cause.

Furthermore, in all particu­lar things, there are certaine spe­ciall and particular properties whereby the same things are severally distinguished: Now to make such a distinction in God, is altogether needlesse and impossible, since that he is most [Page 16] necessary and simple by nature; neither can any man perceive any signes or tokens of the plu­rality of Gods. For this universall Sphere or circumference which wee behold, makes up but one complete world, wherein there is one most beautifull and glori­ous part, the Sunne: Likewise in man, the little world, there is but one speciall governing part, to wit, his soule or mind. Againe, suppose there were two or three Gods, which being free and vo­luntary agents, had power to will contrary things; yet here­by one would be an obstacle or impediment to the other, so that they could not actuate and bring to passe their different or contrary desires; now to say that God, who is an omnipotent power, can be hindred, were a great dishonour to his Maje­stie. But let us proceed to some other of his attributes.

SECT. III.

That all perfection is in God.

THat all perfection and ac­complishment is in God may bee thus demonstrated. What perfection soever there is in all or any of the creatures, the same either had a beginning, or else it had no beginning: To have no beginning is the proper­ty of God alone; and whatsoever had beginning, the same must needs bee said to have something that gave to it such being. And further, seeing that amongst the creatures there is nothing that can be generated of nothing; it followes then that those perfe­ctions which appeare to bee in any effects, were the reason why the cause thereof could produce any thing accordingly, and so all are accomplisht in the first cause. Neither must it be here [Page 18] imagined, that the first cause can afterward bee deprived of it's perfection, either by some other thing different from it selfe, be­cause that which is eternall hath no dependance upon any other thing, neither can bee liable and subject unto their actions; or of it selfe, because every na­ture desires its owne perfection.

SECT. IV.

God is infinite.

ANd we may adde further, that these perfections which are in God, are in him after an eminent and infinite manner; for the nature of every thing is said to bee finite and limited, either for that the cause whence it proceeded hath communicated such a measure or degree of exi­stence, and no more thereunto, or for that the same nature was [Page 19] not capable of any further per­fection; Now there is no creature that doth communicate any thing unto God, neither is he ca­pable of ought that any other thing can impart, hee being (as before we said) altogether ab­solute, entire, and necessary of himselfe.

SECT. V.

That God is eternall, omnipotent [...]s [...], and absolutely good.

AGaine, forasmuch as all things that have life, are said to bee more perfect than those without life; and those which haue motion than those which want it; and those endued with understanding superiour to such creatures as lacke it; and those which are good better than those that come short in good­nesse; therefore from that which [Page 20] hath beene spoken it followes, that all those attributes are in God, and that after an infinite manner. Thus is he infinite in life, that is, eternall; infinite power, that is, omnipotent; So likewise is he om­niscient, and good beyond all compare

SECT. VI.

That God is the Author and cause of all things.

Furthermore it followes from that which hath bin spoken, that what things soever subsist, the same haue their originall and first being from God: for we haue proued that that which is neces­sary of it selfe, can bee but one; whence we collect that all other things besides this had their o­riginall from some what different from themselues.

Now such things as haue their [Page 21] beginning from another, we haue seene before how that either in themselues or in their causes, they proceeded from him which had no beginning, that is, from God.

Neither is this manifest by reason onely, but also after some sort by very sense: for if we con­sider the wonderfull frame and fashion of mans body, both with­in and without, and how that each part and parcell thereof hath its proper vse without the the care and helping hand of his parents; yea, and that with such a grace, as that the most excel­lent amongst Physicians and Phi­losophers, could never sufficient­ly admire the same; this verily shews the excellency of wisdome in the Author and workeman of nature: concerning which matter Galen hath written well, especi­ally where he speakes of the vse of the eye, and of the hand. Yea [Page 22] more, the very bodies of mute and bruit beasts doe testifie the same: for their parts are not fra­med & composed by the power and vertue of the matter where­of they consist, but by some su­periour and higher cause destina­ting them to a certaine end.

Neither is this plaine by man and beasts alone, but also by plants and herbs, as hath accu­rately beene observed by some Philosophers. This further is ex­cellently noted by Strabo, con­cerning the scituation of the wa­ters, which, if we consider the quality of their matter, ought to be placed in the middle be­tweene the earth and the ayre, whereas the same are now in­cluded and dispersed within the earth, to the end they might bee be no hinderance, either to the fruitfulnesse of the ground, or to the life of man. Now to propose that, or any other end, to any [Page 23] [...]ction, is the peculiar property of [...]n understanding nature. Neither are all things onely ordained for their proper ends, but also for the good and benefit of the whole Vniverse, as appeares particu­ [...]arly in the water but now mentioned, which against its owne proper nature is moved upward, that their should bee no gaping vacuity in the world; which world is so composed, that the parts thereof doe mutu­ally sustaine and uphold one another. Now it cannot possi­bly bee, that this common end should bee thus intended toge­ther with an inclination of things thereunto, but by the power and purpose of some in­teligent nature, whereunto the whole Vniverse is in subjection. Moreouer amongst the beasts there are certaine actions obser­ued to be so regular and orderly done, that it is manifest enough [Page 24] the same proceed from some kinde of reason, as is plaine in Pismires and Bees, and likewise in other creatures, which before they have experience doe natu­rally eschew such things that are hurtfull, and seeke after such things as are profitable for them. Now that this instinct or inclination of seeking and judg­ing things, is not in them by their owne power, it is cleare, for that they doe alwayes ope­rate after the same manner, nei­ther have they any vertue or ef­ficacie to doe any thing which is contrary, or aboue their ordi­nary course of operation: where­fore they must needs receive their power from some reasona­ble externall Agent, which di­rects them or imprints in them such efficacie as they have, and this reasonable and intelligent Agent, is no other than God himselfe.

[Page 25] In the next place consider we the Starres of heaven, and a­mongst the rest, as most emi­nent, the Sunne and the Moone, both which for the fruitfulnesse of the earth, and for the preser­vation of living creatures, doe so seasonably performe their course of motion, as that a man cannot devise any thing better. For though their motion tho­row the Aequator were much much more simple, yet wee see that they have another motion by an oblique Circle, to the end, the benefit of their favourable aspects might bee commu­nicated to more parts of the earth.

Now as the earth is ordained for the use and benefit of living creatures, so are all terrestriall things appointed for the service of man, who by his wit and rea­son can subdue the most rackle and impetuous creature among [Page 26] them; whence the very Stoicks did collect, that the world was made for mans sake.

Howbeit, since it exceeds the sphere of humane power, to bring the heavenly bodies in subiection to him; neither is it to bee imagined that they will ever submit themselves to man of their owne accord; it fol­lowes: therefore that there is some superior minde or spirit, by whose sole appointment those faire and glorious bodies doe service unto man, though he be placed farre below them; which same minde is no other than the framer of the starres, even the Maker of the whole world. Also the motions of these starres which are said to be Excentri­call and Epicycticall, doe plain­ly shew, that their establishment and being is from a free agent, not by the power of the matter in them.

[Page 27] Moreover, the most perfect forme and figure of this world, to wit its roundnesse, as also the parts thereof, shut up as it were in the bosome of the heavens, and disposed with a marvellous order, doe all expresly declare, that they were not tumbled to­gether, or conjoyned as they are, by chance, but wisely ordai­ned by such an understanding as is endued with super-eminent excellencie. For what Ninny is there so sottish, what man so foolish, as to imagine, that so compleat and exact a worke as this, came to passe by hap-ha­zard? he might aswel think that the stones and trees of any buil­ding were united into the forme of some house by chance, or scat­tered syllables and words be­came a Poem by meere fortune: A thing so unlikely, that even a few Geometricall figures espied on the Sea-shore, gave the be­holder [Page 28] just ground to argue, that some man had beene there; it being evident enough that such things could not proceed from meere chance.

Furthermore, that mankinds was not from all eternity, but at a certaine time had a common beginning, may be manifested by the course of Arts and Sciences, yea, by the very ground where­upon we tread, which was an­ciently rude and untill'd, but afterward became possessed with Iuhabitants; which also the language spoken in some Islands, derived from adjacent Countries, doth witnesse. The same is apparent by certaine or­dinances, so generally received amongst men, that the instituti­on thereof may not be thought to have proceeded from the in­stinct of nature, or evidence of reason, but from the perpetuall and constant tradition of the An­cients, [Page 29] which was scarce ever in­terrupted in any place, either by the malice or misery of man: such was that ordinance for the killing of beasts in sacrifice, used in former times, and such also are now the modesty and shamefastnesse about venereall things, the celebration of mar­riages, and the banishment of incestuous persons.

SECT. VII.

Answer to that objection concer­ning the cause of evill.

NEither need we unsay that which hath beene spoken, because we see many evill things come to passe, the source and cause whereof being not from God, who (as before hath beene showne) is good, after the most perfect and absolute degree of Goodnes. For when we said that [Page 30] God was the author and cause of all things, we added withal that hee was the cause of such things as really doe subsist: And no ab­surdity (that I see) will follow, if wee assirme that those things which haue true and reall exi­stence, may bee the causes of some certaine accidents, as namely of actions, or the like. The Almighty (we know) crea­ted both man, and those more honourable spirits, the Angels, endued with liberty of action; which liberty in it selfe is not sin­full, yet by power thereof some sinnes may be committed: Now to make God the author of these sinnes, which are morally euill, is no better than blasphemy: how bee it there are other kinde of e­vils, so called because they af­flict some person with griefe or losse, and these we may affirme to bee inflicted by God for the re­formation and amendment of [Page 31] some sinner, or for the punish­ment of transgression; which to say is no impiety, since that such evils haue nothing in them con­trary to goodnesse, but rather they proceed from goodnesse it selfe like a bitter portion from a good Physitian.

SECT. VIII.

Against the occasion of two Prin­ciples or causes of things.

HEre by the way, it may be noted, that the opinion of those men is to bee abandoned and avoided, which make two efficient causes, the one good, and the other evill: for from two contraries, there may follow the ruine and destruction, but in no wise a well ordered composition of things. Neither is this to passe for truth, to wit, that as there is something good of it selfe, so [Page 32] likewise there must needs bee something absolutely evill in it selfe; seeing that evill is a cer­taine defect, which cannot be but in a thing that hath existence, which very hauing of existence, or being is good.

SECT. IX.

That God doth gouerne the whole world.

MOreover that this whole universe is governed by the prouidence of God, it is evi­dent, for that not onely men, which haue right reason and vn­derstanding, but also the fowles, and beasts both wilde and tame, haue in them some thing corre­spondent to reason, and doe beare a kinde of prouidence, or respectfull care over the issue which they bring forth. Which perfection, since it is a part of [Page 33] goodnesse, must needs bee attri­buted to God; and so much the rather, because he is both omni­scient and omnipotent, so that hee can no way bee ignorant of such things as are done, or to be done, but can easily direct and order the same as he pleaseth. Hereun­to also may that bee referred which wee haue spoken before concerning the mouing of things contrary to their proper nature for a common end.

SECT. X.

Yea sublunary things.

BVt those men are much out on't that include this provi­dence onely with in the compasse of Celestiall orbs, and will haue it to descend no lower than the Moone: for that it is extended vnto euery creature, it is plaine; both by thereason but now men­tioned; [Page 34] as also for that the cour­ses and motions of the starres; as the best Philosophers doe con­fesse, and experience it selfe a­bundantly testifies, are ordeined and appointed for the vse of man. Now it stands but with e­quity that that creature should be mor [...] regarded for whose sake another is ordeined, than that which is appointed for anothers vse.

Neither are they lesse erronc­ous that say this prouidence is ex­tended vnto universall things onely, and not to particulars; for if they will haue God to be igno­rant of particular things, as some of them haue prosessed, then ve­rily God could not vnderstand himselfe; neither should hee be infinite in knowledge, as wee haue proued him before to be, if the same were not extended vn­to euery thing. So then if God doe know these things, why can [Page 35] hee not also haue care of them; especially since that particulars, as they are particulars, are ap­pointed for some certaine end, as well in speciall as in generall: And the very entities or common essences of things, which by the confession of the said Authors are preserued by God, the same cannot subsist but in their singu­lars; So that if these singulars, being forsaken by divine provi­dence, may perish, then likewise may those generall essences also.

SECT. XI.

This is further proved by the pre­servation of Empires.

ANother forcihle argument of divine providence parti­cularly over humane affaires, both Philosophers and Histori­ans acknowledge to bee taken from the preservation of Common [Page 36] wealths: first in generall, for that wheresoeuer the course and or­der of ruling and obeying is once admitted, the same alwaies continues there: Then also, often­times in particular, it is evident by the long continuation of this or that very forme of govern­ment thorow many ages, as of a Monarchy with the Assyrians, Aegyptians, & France; of an Ari­stocracy with the Venetians, and the like. For although mans wis­dome and policy haue some stroke in point of govern­ment; yet notwithstanding if we consider the multitude of wic­ked men, and the harmes that may proceed from without, and what mutabilities are incident to humane affaires, it may seeme impossible for any State so long to subsist, vnlesse it were vpheld by a constant particular care, and by the power of a divine hand. Which is also further manifest [Page 37] where it pleaseth God to change the forme of government: for so it is, those men whom he vseth as instruments for the effecting of that matter, as being deter­mined for him, suppose they were like to Cyrus, or Alexander, or Caesar the Dictator, to them all things, even those which are above the reach of mans pru­dence, doe succeed more beyond their desires and wishes than the diversity of humane casualties ordinarily doth permit. The which so great correspondence of events and concurrence of things to a certaine end, is an ar­gument that there is an all-gui­ding providence: like as in game at dice, a man may happen some­times of a win [...]eing cast, but if hee throw the same cast a hundred times together, every one will say, this proceeds from some skill or cunning hee hath in the game: but to goe on.

SECT. XII.

And by miracles.

ANother most certaine proofe of Gods prouidence, may bee taken from those mira­cles and prophecies which are re­corded in histories: Where though many fabulous things bee related in that kinde, yet those things that were testified by sufficient witnesse living in the time when they, came to passe, such I meane as were impartiall both for judgement and creduli­ty, the same are not to be dispised as altogether impossible. For in as much as God is both omnipo­tent and omniscient, what can hinder him to demonstrate what he knowes or what hee pleaseth to doe, and that even beyond the common course of nature, which being made and ordeined by [Page 39] him, becomes subiect vnto him by the title of creation? Now if any doe obiect that such things might haue beene done by sub­ordinate powers and minds infe­riour to God: to them we answer, that so much may be granted in­deed: but yet this makes way that the same may the more ea­sily bee credited of God, who is to be thought either to work by the mediation of those Agents, or else out of his wisdome to permit them when they bring to passe any such thing: like as in well ordered kingdomes there is nothing done against the sta­tutes and common lawes but by by the arbitrement or permis­sion of the Supreme Gouer­nours.

SECT. XIII.

Specially among the Iewes, where­unto credit may bee giuen by reason of the long continuance of their Religion.

NOw that therehaue indeed beene some miracles seene, though the credit of other hi­stories bee questionable, yet it is manifest enough in the Iewish Religion: which albeit, it was destitute of all humane helpes, yea, exposed to contempt and seorne; yet for all that, it hath still continued almost in all the climates and parts of the world even unto this day; whereas all other Religions (sauing Christia­nity, which is the accomplish­ment of Iudaisme) haue either vanished away, together with the power and authority of them that governed, as it is in Paganisme; or else are yet up­held [Page 41] by the strength and might of authority, as it is with Tur­cisme. Now if it bee demanded why Iudaisme hath taken such deepe root in the hearts of the Hebrewes, as that it cannot thence bee eradicated? no better reason can be given or conceived than this; namely, that those Iewes that are now alive did from their parents, and againe those parents from their proge­nitors, and so upward untill the times of Moses and Ioshua, re­ceive those miracles mentioned in Scripture, by certaine and ap­proved tradition; which miracles were done chiefly at the depart­ing out of Aegypt, and in that iourney to Canaan, and in the entrance into that Holy Land, whereof their ancestors were then eye-witnesses. This in all probabilitie was the cause which moved that people, other whiles stiffe-necked enough, to [Page 42] take upon them the yoke of the Law, so combersome with rites and also that made wise men, in­stead of other notes of Religion which humane reason perhaps would haue thought more f [...] to admit of Circumcision, which could neither bee indured with­out much griefe, nor vsed with­out scorne by the Gentiles; ha­ving in it nothing commendab [...] save only divine institution.

SECT. XIIII.

Also by the truth and antiquity of Moses his story.

BEsides, The writings of Mo­ses, wherein those miracle [...] are recorded to posterity, doe gaine the greatest credit there­unto, not onely because it was alwayes a setled opinion and constant report amongst the He­brewes, that this same Moses [Page 43] [...]as commended by the oracle of [...]od to be a leader of the people, [...]t also because it is manifest e­ [...]ough, that hee neither affected [...]s owne glory, nor desired their [...]ches; forasmuch as himselfe [...]veals his owne faults and de­ [...]nquences, which hee might [...]v [...] concealed; and also hee as­ [...]gned the dignity of his king­dome and Priesthood vnto [...]rangers, whence his owne po­ [...]erity was brought to the com­ [...]on condition of Levites. By [...]ll which it appeares, that there was no cause in him why hee [...]hould forge untruths; Neither [...]oth hee vse any dissembling or [...]lluring language, such as com­monly colours over a lye, but [...]e speakes after a plaine ingeni­ous manner, according to the [...]quality of the thing he treats of.

Adde hereunto the undoubted [...]ntiquity of the books of Moses, to which no other writings are [Page 44] therein comparable: An argu­ment whereof is, for that the Grecians (from whom all kinds of learning were derived to o­ther heathens) doe confesse they received their very letters from others; which letters of theirs have no other order, or name, of ancient forme than that of the Syriack [...] or Hebrew tongue: a [...] also for that the most ancient Grecian lawes, whence the Ro­mans collected theirs, had their Originall from the Lawes of Moses.

SECT. XV.

And by the testimony of many Gentiles.

MOreover besides these, there are many testimo­nies of such as were aliens from the Iewish Religion, which de­clare what est [...]me the writings [Page 45] of Moses had for antiquity a­mongst all the Gentiles. Thus what things he related concern­ing the beginning of the world, [...]he same are found recorded in [...]he most ancient histories of the Syrians, which are collected by Sanchun, and translated by Philo Byblius; and partly also found amongst the Indians and Aegyp­tians: Hence it is that in Lin [...], H [...]siod, and many of the Grecians mention is made of a Chaos, which some have intimated by the name of an egge: also of the making of living creatures, and of man according to a divine I­ [...]ge; and of mans dominion o­ver other creatures; all which may be read in sundry Authors, specially in Ovid, who transcri­bed them out of the Greeke wri­ters. That all things were made by the word of God was confes­sed even by Epicharmus and the Platonicks, and before them by [Page 46] a most ancient writer, (note those hymnes, wch go under that name) but of those verses which antiquity called Orphean verses, and that not because they had Orphens for their author, but be­cause they summarily comprised his doctrine. Empedocles ac­knowledged that the Sunne was not the primitive light, but a fit receptacle of light. Arat [...] and Catullus thinke that above the sphere or orbe of the starres there is a divine habitation wherein blind Homer imagined there was petpetuall light.

That of all things God was the most ancient, because not be­gotten [...]; the world most beauti­full, because the worke of God and that darknesse was before the light, were all the doctrines of Thales: the last point where­of is found in Orpheus and Hesi­ [...]d; whereupon the Gentiles that are commonly superstitious in [Page 47] following old fashious and cu­stoms, do number their particu­lar times by nights, not by days. It was the opinion of Athenago­ [...] that all things were ordered and disposed by the highest in­ [...]lligence; of Aratus, that the starres were made by God; and [...]fter the Grecians, of Virgil, that [...]e was infused into things by [...]he Spirit of God: and that man was formed of clay seemed not [...]mprobable to Hesiod, Homer, [...]nd Callimachus: Lastly, Maxi­ [...]us Tyrius affirmes, that by the common consent of the Heathen, there is but one supreme God, which is the cause of all things. Thus also a celebration of the [...]i­nishing of the creation within the space of seven dayes, which is termed the Sabbath, was ob­served not onely amongst the Grecians and Italians (for of the Hebrowes it is cleare [...]ough,) but also by the ancient people [Page 48] of Spaine, France, a [...]dia, com­monly called the C [...]lta; who all had their seasons and times, di­stinguished into weekes, as is manifest out of Philostratus, Di­on, Cassius, Iustin Martyr, Clemens Alexandrinus, and by the most ancient appellations of the dayes in the weeke.

Moreover, the Aegyptian [...] taught that man at the begin­ning led his life in all simplicity, being naked in his body and not ashamed; whence came the Po­ets fiction of the golden age, which was famous even amongst the Iudians, as Strabo relates: and that the lives of those which li­ved at the beginning, and after­ward were protracted almost to the space of a thousand yeares, it witnessed by Berosus, Manethos, and others: which in deed seems the more probable, because it is recorded in the histories of ma­ny nations, that upon the open­ning [Page 49] of some Sepulchers, mens [...]od appeared to farre bigges in former times than now, they are. C [...] reports, and before him, very many Greeians, that [...]ly [...]ons appeared unto men before such time, as they by the multitude and [...]einousnesse of their crimes did deprive them­selves of that sa [...]d acquain­tance and conversation wish God, and his ministring Spirits. The wilde life of the Gyants which Moses mentions, may bee [...]ead almost every where in the Greeke, and in some Latine Au­thors. 'Tis to be noted of Noahs [...]od, that almost all the histories and records of the heathen are drowned in it, yea even of such nations as were unknowne till of late yeares: whereupon Varro called all the space before, the hid or unknowne time. As tou­ching those things which wee finde involved in the licentious [Page 50] fables of the Ports, the same, as farre as they accord with the true story of Moses, are recor­ded by most ancient writers, such are Boros [...]s of the Chaldees, A [...] ­bydentes of the Assyrians, who mentions the sending of a dove; as also Bluiarch of the Grecians; and Lucian, who saith, that as Hiaropolis in Syria, there is to hee seene a most ancient history both of Noahs Arke, and of those that were saved therin, both me [...] and beasts▪ the same is confirmed by Melon and Nich, Damasce [...]. In what part of the world men lived before the flood, that note in Pliny of the building of Ioppe before the same floud doth testi­fie. That the place whereon No­chs Arke rested after the flood was in the G [...]rdien Mountaines, it is manifest by the constant re­membrance thereof with the Armenians from all ages untill this time. Iuphet the father of [Page 51] the S [...], whence came Io [...], or [...]ne lently they pronounced the word Iavon of the Grecians, and Humme [...] of the Africans, and forth [...], are names which are found in Moses his writings, as by Iosephius in the appellations or desirations of people and Countreys, and also by others is observed. Which of the Poets doe not point a [...]he much-desi­red Path way to Heaven? The burning of Sed [...]ms is spoken of by Diedorus Siculus, Strabo, Tati [...], Pliny, and S [...]l [...]. The most ancient vse of Circumcision hath been related by Herodotus, Di [...]dor [...]s, Strabo, Phile Biblius; and now is rereined by the po­sterity of Abraham, to wit, not onely the Hebrewes, but also the Idumaans, Ismailites, & others. A certaine history of Abraham, Isaac, Iacob, and Ioseph, agreeing with that of Moses, was anci­ently extant in Phile Biblius out [Page 52] of Sanchuniath: in Berosus, He­cataeus, Damascenus, Atrapanus, Epolemus, Demetrius, and partly in that old Author of the afore­said Orphean verses; and now also there are some remainden thereof in Iustin, out of Trogus, Pompaeus: And almost in every one of these authors aforenamed, there is some mention made of Moses and his Acts: more parti­cularly, how he was taken out o [...] the waters, and preserved by Pharaohs daughter, and how the two Tables was given unto him of God, is plainly set downe in those Orphean verses aforesaid▪ Adde unto these the testimony of Polemon; also what some of the Egyptians themselves have recorded, to wit, Manethon, Li­simachus, and Chaerimen, concer­ning the departingout of Egypt.

Neither will it enter into the heart of any wise man to thinke that Moses, (having so many e­nemies [Page 53] both of the Aegyptians; and of other nations, as the Idu­maans, Arabians, and Syrians,) would dare to divulge ought concerning the beginning of the world, and other ancient things, which either could be confuced by other more anesent writings, or were repugnant to the com­mon-received opinion in those times; neither doubtlesse would hee publi [...]ny thing touching the affaires in that age, which could bee justly gain-said or dis­proved by the testimonies of a­ny then living. Of this Moses there is mention made by Dio­dorus [...], Strabo, and Pliny, by Tacitus also a and after all them by Dionysius Longintus in his book concerning subtilty of speech. Likewise Iamnes and Mambres that resisted Moses in Aegypt are mentioned by the Authors of the Talmud, by Pli­ny and Apulesus. Amongst o­thers [Page 54] the Pythagorians speaks much of the law which was gi­ven by Moses, and of the Legall rites. Both Strabo and Iustin out of Trogus give an excellent testi­mony of the anci [...]nt Iewish Re­ligion and Iustice; insomuch that here (me thinkes) 'tis need­lesse to produce any further te­stimony of such things as are found, or have anciently beene found consenting with the booke of the Hebrewes, touching [...] and others, seeing other whosoe­ver gives credit vnto Moses, (which to doe no man can with­out great impudency refuse,) the same must needs confesse, that there were indeed wonderfull miracles anciently wrought by God, which is the thing wee here chiefly goe about to de­clare.

As for the miracles of after a­ges, namely of Elius, Eliseus, and others, none may thinke them [Page 55] to be false or counterse it; because in those times when they [...] wrought, the Iewish Religion was more known to the neigh­bouring nations; by whom, for the diversity thereof from theirs, it was had in great hatred and disesteeme, so as if any untruth had been broached therein, they could have easily then cons [...]ted the same.

Iulian was an enemy as well to the Iewes as to the Christians: yet notwithstanding, the very evidence of history made him confesse, that such men lived a­mongst the Iewes as were [...]nspi­red with the holy Spirit of God; and [...] f [...]re [...] on de [...] from heaven, upon the sacrifices of Moses and [...] And verily 'tis well worth our observation, that amongst the Hebrewes there were not only grievous punish­ments appointed for such men as did falsly assume to them­selves [Page 56] the propheticall functiō, but also many Kings and great men, that might have by that office purchased authority to them­selves, and likewise very many learned men as was Esdras and others, that ever durst arrogate this dignity, nor any man else, for divers ages before the times of Iesus.

SECT. XVI.

The same is proved by perdictions.

BVt more vnlikely it is, that so many thousand people should bee deluded by the testi­mony of a continued publike wonder, to wit, the holy Oracle, which after a resplendent man­ner shined from the brestplate of the high Priest: The truth wher­of was so strongly beleeved by all the Iewes to have continued untill the destruction of the first [Page 57] Temple, that out of all doubt, their Aneestors had certaine knowledge concerning the same.

Like to this from miracles; there is another argument as for­cible and effectuall to prove Gods providence, taken from those predictiōs of future events; which among the Hebrewes were many and manifest. Such was that prophecie of calamity and desolation that should bes [...] him that did attempt to reedis [...]e [...] and that of the over­throw of the Temple at Bethel by a King, namely by I [...]siah, foretold above three hundred yeares before the thing came to passe. So like wise the very name and chiefe acts of Cyrus foretold by Esaiah: the event of Hier usa­lems siege by the Chald [...]ant, foreshowne by Iereuslah: So al­so Daniels prediction touching the removing of the Empire the [Page 58] Assyrians unto the Medes and Persians, then from them unto Alexander of Macedon, which afterward was quartered and divided unto Selencin and other Successors of Alexander. Like­wise what evils the Hebrew [...] should sustaine of each of these, but chiefly from that notorious tyrant Antiochus in all being so cleare prophecies that Pei phyr [...] himselfe, comparing here with such Grecian histories as were extant in his time, could no o­therwise tell how to shift then off, than by saying that those things which were fathered up on Daniel, were written after such time as they came to, passe which is all one, as if one should deny that that was written in the time of Augustus which hath beene punished in Virgils name, and was alwayes reputed for Virgils worke. For there was never any more scruple made of [Page 59] the former amongst the Helrews than of [...] letter amongst the Romans. For this purpose also wee might rehearse those many dreames that so exactly have ac­corded with the events, which to the dreamers were altogether unknowne, aswell in themselves as in their causes, so that, with­out immodesty they [...] said to proceed from [...] or from any naturall caus [...]. The like is said of certaine Ghosts. that have not onely appeared to the eye, but also, have vt [...] ­i [...] audible speeches, as is rela­ted by such historious [...] no way euil [...] of superstitious and dulity in that kinde.

SECT. XVII.

The obiection is answered why miracles are not new to bee seene.

NEither let any man here obiect that such miracles as we speak of, are but fabulous, because that there are not the like to bee seene in these dayes, neither the like predictions heard of; For 'tis a sufficient proose of divine providence, that such things did come to passe at any [...]ime: which being once granted, it will follow; that God may bee thought with asmuch providence and wisdome, now to cause them to surcease, as anciently hee vsed the same. Neither stands it▪ with equity, that those lawes, which were generally ordained and de­creed concerning the naturall course of things, and inconstan­cy of future events should be vi­olated [Page 61] alwayes, but only at such a time, when either there was a iust cause, as when the worship of the true God was almost ba­nished out of the world, residing onely in a little part thereof, to wit, in Ind [...], where it necessari­ly was to be (as it were) fortified with new aids against the impi­eries wherewith is was compas­sed about; or when Christian Religion (whereof by and by wee shall speake more particu­larly,) was by Gods decree to be published thorow out the whole world.

SECT. XVIII.

And that now there is such liber­ty in offending.

SOme men there are; who be­holding the multitudes of in­iquities which abound in the world, are thereby moved to [Page 62] doubt of the divine providenti [...] a chiefe act whereof (they thinke) if there were any such Divine Providence should should have beene to bridle and restraine the wickednesse that so abounds. But this is easily an­swered, considering that whe [...] God had created man with free­dome to doe good and evill, re­serving absolute and immutable goodnesse to himselfe, it had not beene equity to have thwarted that liberty, by putting a hinde­rance of cōmitting evill actions. Howbeit to keepe men from sin God useth every kind of meanes which is not repugnant to the liberty aforesaid. Such is the or­deining and publishing of the Law, together with inward and outward admonitions, both by threats and promises. Nor did e­ver, the wit of malice and wic­kednesse prevaile to far amongst men, that all kinde of govern­ment [Page 63] and knowledge of divine lawes: was utterly o [...]t inguished or a bolished: Neither may those delinquences which are permit­ted to be done amongst men, be thought altogether [...]fruitfull [...] Since that (as before wee [...] we toucht) they may be vsed either for the punishment of le [...]d [...]ssors themselves; or for the chastisment at of such as some­times wander from the way of vertue; or lastly to demonstrate some worthy parent of patience and c [...]cy, namely, in such as have made good, proficiency in the schoole of piety and ver­tue. Lastly, even they who for some season have seemed to cloake and bid [...] their faults, are met, with of [...] a while, and ac­ [...]ing to the will of God. whom they prouoked, by the wickednesse of [...]ons, re­ceive the due reward of punish­ment▪

SECT. XIX.

Insomuch that good men are op­pressed.

BVt, and if sometimes there seeme to bee no punishment at all inflicted upon prophane offendors, and even some good men (which may occasion the weake to bee offended) are sort oppressed by the insolencies of the wicked, who many times make them not onely to leader wear some and miserable life, but also to undergoe a disgrace­full death: howbeit for all this it cannot bee denied, that divine providence is extended unto hu­mane affaires as before we have proved by sufficient and evident reasons: but rather (as the wisest sort of men have thought) wee may conclude and argue thus.

SECT. XX.

The same argument is retorted to prove that the soule survives the body.

FOr asmuch as God hath an eye unto all mens actions, and in himselfe is most just, suffering such things to come to passe as we see they doe; therefore wee [...]ust expect that there will bee [...]e future judgement after this [...]e, to the end such notorious [...]s may not remaine [...]punished, nor well deserving [...] bee unrecompenced with due comfort and reward.

SECT. XXI.

Which is proved by tradition.

FVrther to confirme this truth it must necessarily bee ad­mitted that the soules of m [...]n doe [Page 66] survive their bodies, which be­ing a most ancient tradition, was derived from our very first pa­rents (for from whence else could it proceed:) almost unto all sorts, specially unto the more civill and tractable kind of pe [...] ­people, as is plaine by Homoverses; and by certaine Philosophers, not onely of the Grecian but likewise the Druides [...] France, and Brachmans in Ind [...] and by those relations also which many writers have publi­shed concerning the Aegyptians and Thracians, and Germans. [...] like manner touching Gods judg­ment to come after this life, ma­ny things were extant, as well a­mong the Grecians, as also a­mong the Egyptians and Indians as wee learne out of Strabo, Dio­genes, Laertius, and Plutarch, whereas to may bee added that old tradition of the consumption of the world by fire, which was [Page 67] anciently found in Hystastis and [...] Sybals, and now also in Qvid [...] Lucas. Yea, when the Ca [...] [...] America, and other forrain [...] were first discovered, this [...] opinion of the immortality [...] and the last iudge­ment was found among the inha­ [...] there.

SECT. XXII.

Against which no contrary reason [...] can be brought.

NEither can there any rea­son in nature [...]ee giuen [...] so▪ ancient and com­mon received [...]. For [...] [...]ything that wee can behold in this world comes to an end, ei­ther by corruption through the opposition of some more forcible contrary ag [...]nt▪ as coldnesse in a­ny subiect by reason of the more prevalent power and intension [Page 68] of heat; or through the perishing of that subject, where upon i [...] depends, as the quantity of the glasse, when the glasse is broke [...] or through the defect and de [...] liction of the efficient cause, [...] light by the Sun-setting. No [...] none of all these can bee said [...] happen unto the soule of man▪ Not the first, because there is no­thing that is contrary to the soule nay, it selfe is of such a peculi [...] nature, that it is apt to receiv [...] such things as are contrary be­tweene themselves, at the sam [...] time together; that is, after Spirituall and intellectuall man­ner. Not the second, for there is not any subiect whereon the na­ture of the soule hath any depen­dance: if there were, the same in all probability, should bee some humane body: but that this can­not be it is manifest, because the powers and abilities of the bodies are wearied in their operations; [Page 69] [...]ut the activity of the soule is ever subiect to wearinesse: like­wise the powers of the body are [...]paired and weakned by the [...]dundancy or excesse of the ob­ [...]ct, as the sense of seeing by the [...]ull splendor and bright face of [...]he Sunn [...]: but the more excel­ [...]ent objects that the Soule is con­ [...]ersant about, as about univer­sals and things abstracted from [...]ensible and corrupt matter, it [...]eceives thereby the more perfe­ [...]tion. Againe, the powers that de­ [...]end upon the body are only bu­sied about such things as are li­mited to particular time and [...]lace, according, to the nature and property of the body it selfe: but the minde hath a more noble object, and ascends to the con­templation of that which is infi­nite and eternall: wherefore then seeing that the soule depends not upon the body in it's operation, much lesse doth it in its essence: [Page 70] for wee danoor discorne the [...] ­ture of invisible things other wise than by their operatio [...] Neither is the third way of cor­ruption [...] incident to the s [...] there being no efficic̄o cause fr [...] which the soule can alwaies proceed: Thus wee cannot say t [...] par [...]nti [...]re, [...]in [...] that commo [...] their children out-live them, [...] if we will needs make some c [...] from which the soule proceed then wee can imagine no oth [...] save the universal cause of [...] things, which as in respect o [...] [...] power, is never deficient, so in re­spect of its will to bee defecti [...] that is, for the Almighty to [...] the ruine and destraction of t [...] soule, no man can ever be able [...] prove.

SECT. XXIII.

Many reasons may bee alleaged for it.

NAY there are many strong arguments for the contrary, [...]ly, the dominion given to [...]nto man over his own actions; [...]he naturall desire that is in him [...]o be immortall; the comfort o [...] [...]ood conscience for well done [...]eeds, though such were accom­ [...]anied with much difficulty; [...]nd on the contrary, the sting of [...]gnawing conscience at the re­ [...]embrance of ungodly and [...]icked actions, especially when [...]he houre of death approacheth [...]nto the wicked, who doe then [...]eeme more sensible of an immi­ [...]ent iudgement; and this gnawing [...]orme of conscience the most [...]rophane wretches and wicked [...]yrants in the world could never [...]tterly mortifi [...] and destroy in [Page 72] them, no not then when they most of all desired, as divers ex­amples doe testifie.

SECT. XXIIII.

Whence it followes that the e [...] of all shall bee mans happine [...] after this life.

SEeing then the soule is of [...] nature that in it selfe hath [...] ground or cause of its owne cor­ruption; and seeing also thi [...] God by many signes and token [...] hath declared, that it is his wi [...] the same soule should survi [...] the body; what more noble [...] can be propounded to man tha [...] the state of eternall happinesse▪ which in effect is the same that Plato, and the Pythagorea [...] spake of, saying, that it were goo [...] for man if hee could become mo [...] like unto God.

SECT. XXV.

[...]hich to obtaine men must get the true Religion.

NOw what this happinesse is, and how 'tis to be attaine [...] [...]en may finde out by probable [...]iectures: but if any thing co [...] ­cerning that matter bee revealed [...]y God in Scripture, the same [...]ust be held for a most certaine [...]nd undoubted truth: which [...]nce that Christian Religion [...]emes to pretend above others, [...] shall be examined in the next [...]ooke whether or no men ought [...]o give credit thereunto, and as­ [...]uredly build their faith theron.

The second Booke OF THE TRVNESSE OF Christian Religion.

SECT. I.

To prove the truth of Christian Religion.

IT is not our purpose in this second booke to handle all the points of Christianitie; out after our hearty prayers made to Christ the King of Hea­ven, that hee would grant us the [Page 76] assistance of his holy Spirit, whereby we may be enabled for such a worke, we shall endevour to make it appeare that Christian Religion is the most true and certaine Religion of all the rest, namely as followeth.

SECT. II.

Here is showen that Iesus lived.

IT is a truth most sted fastly professed by all the Christian [...] that breath upon the face of the whole earth, that Iesus of Naz­reth then lived in Iudea whe [...] Tiberius was Emperour of the Romans: which is acknowled­ged not onely by Christians, but also by all the Iewes that ever li­ved heretofore, or yet survive. Nay the very Pagan writers, th [...] is, such as are neither of the Iew­ish nor Christian Religion, name­ly, Suetonises, Tacitus, pliny the [Page 77] younger and many more after them, doe testifie the same.

SECT. III.

And was put to an ig [...]ious death.

MOreover all bee it such a kinde of death might bee thought inglorious and dishono­rable to their Lord and Master, yet all Christians doe confesse that this same Iesis was crucifi­ed by Pontius Pilate governour of Iudea. The Iewes also doe the [...]ike, though they cannot bee ig­norant how that they become most odious to those Christians [...]n whose dominions they live, because of this murder commit­ted by Pilate, whereof their an­cestors were the chiefe authors; as the heathenish writers have also recorded the same. Yea these acts of Pilate were extant a long [Page 78] time after, whereunto the Chri­stians did sometimes make their appeale. And further, neither did Iulian himselfe, nor any other adversaries of Christianity ever make doubt hereof: So that hence it appeares, that there was never any more true and certaine story than this; which (wee see) may be confirmed, not onely by the testimonies of some few men but also by the approbation of severall nations otherwise disa­greeing and jarring among themselves.

SECT. IV.

Yet afterward was worshipped by by prudent and godly men.

ALL which though it was most true of Christs igno­minious death, yet wee see ho [...] that thorowout the remo [...] parts of the world hee is wor­shipped [Page 79] as Lord; and that not in our dayes onely, but ever since the time that this was done, to wit, ever since the reigne of Ne­ro the Emperour, when many people that professed this wor­ship of Christ, and Christian Re­ligion were for that cause tortu­red and put to death, as Tacitus and others doe witnesse.

SECT. V

The cause whereof was, for that in his life time there were mira­cles done by him.

NOw among such as profes­sed Christianity there were many judicious & learned men: For (to say nothing now of the Iewes) there was Sergius gover­nour of Cyprus, Dionysius Areo­pagita, Polycarpus, Iustinus, Ire­naeus, Athenagoras, Origen, Ter­tullian, Clemens Alexandrinus, [Page 80] with divers others; who almost all being broughtup in other re­ligions, neither could have any hopes of wealth or preferment in Christianity, yet became wor­shippers of this man that died so ignominious a death, and exhi­bited due honour to him as God: no other reason whereof can bee given than this that moved them so to doe; namely, because they like prudent men in a matter of greatest moment, by diligent in­quiry found the truth and ground of that same which was bruted abroad concerning the miracles wrought by Christ; as the healing of many that were sore diseased with his word one­ly, the restoring of sight to him that was borne blinde, the feeding of many thousands with some few Loaves of bread, the resto­ring of some to life againe that were dead, and many other such like wonderfull workes: The truth [Page 81] whereof neither Celsus nor Iuli­an when they writ against Chri­stians durst dare to deny: but it was confessed both by them, and also most plainly by the Hebrew doctors that were Authors of the Talmnd.

SECT. VI.

Which miracles were not wrought either by the helpe of nature, or assistance of the devill; but meerely by the divine power of God.

THat theft wondrous works were not wrought by any naturall power it is manifest, be­cause they were called wonders and miracles. For it is not possi­ble in nature that any grievous diseases and infirmities should bee cured meerely by a mans voice, or by the vertue of a touch, and that even upon a suddaine. [Page 82] And it is likely if such works had beene done by the power of na­ture onely, then the same would have beene made knowne and revealed, either by those that were professed enemies of Christ while he lived upon earth, or by those that have beene adversaries of his Gospell since his death.

By the same argument wee may prove that such workes came not to passe through the power and deceit of Sata [...], or by any diabolicall enchantments, because they were done openly in the sight of all the people: a­mongst whom divers of the lear­ned sort did maligne and [...]ear [...] ill will unto Christ, not without envy, observing all that hee did. Adde further, that the same workes were often iterated, and the effects thereof were not tran­sitory but permaneant and dura­ble. All which being duly pon­dered, it must needs follow (as [Page 83] the Iewes have confessed) that these workes proceeded from a more than naturall or humane power, that is, from some good or evill Spirit. That they procee­ded not from any evill Spirit may be proved, because that the doctrine of Christ, (for the con­firmation whereof these workes were wrought,) was quite oppo­site and contrary to bad Spirits. For it prohibits the worship­ping of evill Angels, and dis­swades men from all unclear­nesse of affections and manners, wherein such Spirits are much delighted. And this is also plain, for that wheresoever the do­ctrine of the Gospell is received and established, there followes the ruine and downfall of Idols, the contempt and detestation of magicall arts, together with a serious hatred of all diabolicall worship, as being a thing con­trary and repugnant to the wor­ship [Page 84] of the onely, true GOD.

Neither is it, to bee thought that any wicked Spirit is so ig­norant and foolish, as to effect and often bring to passe things that are causes of its owne hurt and disgrace, and no way conducing to its honour or bene­fit. Besides it stands no way with the wisdome or goodnesse of God himselfe to suffer so harme­lesse and innocent men, such as feared him, to bee deceived by the delusion of devils: and such were the first followers of Christ, as is plaine by their innocent life, and by the many calamities which they endured for conser­ence sake.

But on the other side, if thou affirme that those workes of Christ proceeded from some good Spirits which are inferiour to God; in so saying thou dost confesse that the same workes were well pleasing unto God, and [Page 85] did tend to the honour of his name; forasmuch as good Spirits doe nothing but what is accep­table and glorious unto God. To say no more then, some of Christs works there were so miraculous, that they might seeme to have God himselfe for the author of them, and could not have beene done but by the immediate fin­ger of an omnipotent power, as specially, the restoring divers persons from death unto life a­gaine.

Now God doth not produce any miracle, nor suffer any such wonders to bee wrought with­out just cause: For it becomes not a wise Law giver to forsake and depart from his owne lawes, unlesse upon some good and weighty reason. Now no other cause of these things can bee gi­ven than that which was allea­ged by Christ himselfe, namely, that hereby his doctrine might [Page 86] be verified and confirmed. And doubtlesse they that were spe­ctators of his workes, could con­ceive no other reason thereof: For since amongst those specta­tors and beholders of his mira­cles, there were (as was said) ma­ny godly men, piou [...]ly and de­voutly affected, it is horrible im­piety to imagine, that God did worke these things onely to de­lude and deceive them. And this was one or the onely cause why very many of the Iewes who li­ved about the time of Iesus, even such as could not be perswaded to relinquish or omit one jot of Moses his Law, did acknow­ledge that this Iesus was a Do­ctour or Master sent from heaven.

SECT. VII.

Christs resurrection proved by credible reasons.

BEsides the miracles that Christ wrought to confirme his doctrine, another argument may be taken from his wonder­full resurrection to life againe, after that he was crucified, dead, and buried;

For the Christians of all ages and Countries alleage the same, not onely for a truth, but also as the most strong sortresse and chiefest foundation of their faith; which could not be, unlesse those that first taught Christia­nity, did perswade their auditors that the thing was so for certain; And yet they could not induce any wise man to the beleefe hereof, unlesse they could verily affirme, that themselves were eye-witnesses of this matter. For [Page 88] without such an ocular testimo­ny no man of wisdome and judgment would willingly give credit thereunto; specially in such perillous and dangerous times as then were. But that this was their constant assertion, both their owne bookes, and other writings doe testifie. For out of their bookes it appeares, that they appealed unto five hundred witnesses that had beheld Iesus after he was risen from the dead. Now it is not the fashion of ly­ars and dissemblers to appeale to so great a number of witnesses: Neither could it possibly so fall out that so many men should a­gree and conspire together to beare false witnesse. Or suppose there had beene no other wit­nesses, save those twelve knowne Apostles, the first publishers of Christian doctrine, yet this had beene sufficient. No man is a lea­sing-munger for God-a-mercy. [Page 89] Any honour for their lying they could not expect, in regard that all kind of dignities and promo­tions did then belong unto the Pagans or Jewes, from whom they received nothing but re­proach and ignominy. Neither could they hope for any wealth and commodity, because this profession was oftentimes puni­shed with the losse of goods and possessions: or if it was not; yet the Gospell could not bee taught by them sincerely, unlesse they omitted or neglected all sollici­tous and anxious care for tempo­rall commodity. Neither could the hope of any other worldly profit move them to fit or utter un­truths; seeing that the very preaching of the Gospell did ex­pose them to labours, hunger, thirst, stripes, and imprisonments.

To get credit and reputation onely among their owne Coun­try men was not so much worth [Page 90] that they poore innocent men, (being such as in their life and doctrine abhorred losty min­dednesse,) should therefore run upon so great inconveniences. Neither againe could they have any hope for the propagation of their doctrine, w [...] was opposed, both by corupt covetous nature, & by the greatnesse of them that were in authority, vnlesse they had beene some way animated and incouraged by the divine promise of God.

And further, this fame or repu­tation, whatsoever it was, was not likely to continue for ever; they could not promise to them­selves that it would be perpetual, seeing that God (purposely con­cealing his counsell concerning the end and destruction of the world) hath left the time there­of doubtfull, as being alwayes imminent at hand, which the writings of the Christians that [Page 91] lived in those times, and of those that succeeded thē do most plain­ [...]y witnesse. It remaines therfore, [...]f they lied that they had for the defence of their Religion: how be­ [...]t this cannot justly bee laid a­gainst them, if the thing be right­ly considered. For either they [...]did sincerely beleeve that this Religion which they professed was the true Religion, or else they were of a contrary minde. If they did not beleeve it to bee true; nay if they thought not that it was absolutely the best, they would never have made choice hereof, and refused other Religions farre more safe and cōmodious. Nay further, though they conceived it to bee most true, yet they would not have professed it, unlesse they had beene fully perswaded, that the profession there of was necessary; specially, for that they might have easily foreseene, and partly [Page 90] they could tell by experience what troopes of men were ex­posed to death for this profession which without just cause to oc­casion was no better than plaine robbery or murder.

But if wee say, they beleeved that this Religion was most true and the very best, and altogether to be professed, and that after the death of their Lord and Master: why surely, that could no way bee so, if their Masters promise concerning his resurrection had deceived them and not proved true. For that had beene enough to have un-faith't a sound Chri­stian, and made the foundation of his hope to have tottered.

Moreover, all sorts of Religion, specially Christianity, altogether prohibits lying and bearing of false witnesse in divine things: wherefore they could not for the love of Religion, principally such a religion, be induced to tell [Page 91] untruths. Besides these men were of an upright conversation; their life was spotlesse and unblame­able even in the judgement of their adversaries; and nothing could be objected against them, save their honest simplicity, which verely is not wont to use lying and dissimulation. Nay, there were none among these primitive Christians (whereof wee speake,) who did not suffer grievous torments for professing that Iesus was risen: and many of them were put unto most exqui­site paines of death for bearing testimony of the same. Now in­deed it is possible for some man out of a wilfull pre-conceived o­pinion, to endure such misery; but it is utterly incredible and unlikely that any one, much lesse so many should bee willing to suffer so great calamity for be­leeving an untruth; and that which they knew to bee such an [Page 94] untruth as the beleefe thereof could in no wise doe them any good.

Besides, that these were not mad men both their conversati­on and their writings doe abun­dantly testifie. Likewise what is spoken of them, may also be said of Paul, who openly taught that hee saw Christ sitting in heaven: who also was not inferiour to a­ny in the Iewish Religion; nor might he have wanted dignities and preferments if hee would have followed the footsteps of his Fathers:

Whereas on the contrary, by taking upon him the profession of Christianity, hee became liable to the hatred and malignity of his kins-folkes, and thereupon was to undertake hard labours, dangerous and toilsome travels, and last of all to undergoe a dis­gracefull death and torment.

SECT. VIII.

Answer to the objection that the resurrection seemes impossible.

SVch and such testimonies no man can disprove or gainsay, unlesse some will reply, saying, [...]ch a thing perhaps might be, [...]ut it seemes improbable or im­ [...]ossible: and this (as they say) [...]mplyes a contradiction. How­beit that cannot bee affirmed of his matter. It might indeed, if [...]ne could say that one and the [...]lfe same man lived and died at [...]e selfe same time: But that a [...]an may be restored from death [...] life, namely, by the power and vertue of him who first gave life and being unto man, I see no reason why it should be accoun­ [...]ed for a thing impossible.

Neither hath it beene thought impossible by wise men; Hence wee finde in Plato, that the same [Page 94] thing happened to Eris an Ar­menian; The like is related of a certaine woman by Heraclide [...] a Philosopher of Pontus, of Ari­stoeus by Herodotus; and of ano­ther by Plutarch: all which, (whether true or false) doe shew that in the opinion of learned and wise men the thing was con­ceived to be possible.

SECT. IX.

The resurrection of Iesus being granted, the truth of his do­ctrine is confirmed.

SInce then, as hath beene showen, it is not to bee thought a thing impossible for Christ to have beene restored to life againe: seeing also that this very Christ, (as both his Coun­trimen and others doe confesse) did publish and preach a new do­ctrine warranted by divine au| [...] [Page 97] it followes therefore, that this [...]me doctrine must bee true, and [...]ertaine. For it stands not with divine justice and wisdome to beautifie and adorne him after [...]o excellent a manner, who should utter an untruth in so [...]ighty abusinesse: Specially, considering that Christ a little before his death did foretell un­to his Countrymen what death [...]ee should dye, and how hee should bee revived againe; ad­ [...]ing further, that all these things should come to passe for the e­stablishing and confirming the Truth of his doctrine.

Thus farre touching those ar­guments which are taken from [...]or of fact: in the next place [...]et us descend to such as are ta­ken from the nature or quality of his doctrine.

SECT. X.

Christian Religion preferred be­fore all others.

IT is a most certaine truth, that either all kinde of divine wor­ship whatsoever must be rejected and utterly banished from a­mong men, (which impiety will never enter into the heart of any one that can beleeve there is a God that governes all things; and with all considers how man is endued with excellency of un­derstanding, and liberty to chuse what is morally good or evill; as also how that in himself there is matter both of reward and punishment;) or else this Religi­on is to bee admitted and appro­ved of for the very best: not on­ly in regard of the outward te­stimonies of workes and miracles aforesaid; but also in considera­tion of such inward and essential [Page 99] properties as are agreeing there­unto: namely, because there is not, neither ever was there any other Religion in the whole world, that can bee imagined more honourable for excellency of reward, more absolute and perfect for precepts, or more ad­mirable for the manner accord­ding to which it was comman­ded to bee propagated and di­vulged.

SECT. XI.

For excellency of reward.

FOr to begin with the reward that is at the end propoun­ded to man, which though it bee the last in f [...]tion & execution, yet is it the first in his intention: If wee consider the institution of the Iewish Religion by the hand of Moses, and the plaine or ex­presse covenant of the Law, wee [Page 100] shall finde nothing there promi­sed save the welfare and happi­nesse of this life: as namely, a fruitful land, abundance of corne and victuall, victory over their enemies, soundnesse of body, length of daies, the comfortable blessing of a hopefull issue, and surviving posterity, and the like. For if there were any thing be­sides, it was involved in darke shadowes, requiring a leare & wise understanding for the right manifestation and discreet ap­prehension thereof: Which in­deed was the cause why many (in particular the Sadduces, who professed themselves to bee fol­lowers and observers of Moses his law,) had no hope of enjoy­ing any happinesse after this life.

As for the Grecians, such as received their learning from the Chaldeans and Aegyptians, what conceit or opinion soever they [Page 101] had of future w [...]l-f [...]rt and f [...]l ci­ty, yet they spake thereof onely after a doubtfull and ambiguous manner, as appeares by the dis­putations of Socrates in Tusties workes, in Seneca, and others. And the arguments they pro­duce for them are grounded vp­on uncertainties, proving no more the happines of a ma [...] than of a beast: Which while s [...] of them observed, it was no wonder if they imagined, that soules were translated and con­veyed from ment [...] beast [...], and againe from beasts into men.

But because this opinion was not confirmed by any testimo­nies, or grounded upon cer­taine reason, (it being unde­niable that there is some [...]nd proposed to mans actions,) therefore others were induced to thinke, that vertue was the end or reward of mens ende­vours▪ and that a wise man were [Page 102] happy enough, even though hee were put into that tormenting brasen Bull made by Phalaris. Howbeit this fancy was justly distastefull and improbable to a­nother sort, who saw well enough that mans happinesse and chiefest welfare could not con­sist in any thing that included or was accompanied with perils, troubles, torment and death (un­lesse wee had rather follow the sound of words than the sense of things:) Wherefore they placed mans chiefest happinesse in such things as were delightfull and pleasing to sense. But yet this o­pinion also was disproved and sufficiently confuted by many, as being prejudiciall to all hone­sty, the seeds whereof are rooted in our hearts by nature: as also because it makes man, (who is borne to contemplate heaven and heavenly matters,) to be no better, if not worse than a beast, [Page 103] that pores onely upon earthly things.

With these and such like un­certainties and doubtings was mankinde distracted at that time when Christ brought in the true knowledge of the right end: who promised unto his followers not only eternity without all sorrow and tribulation, but also such a life hereafter, as shall be accom­plished with endlesse joy and happinesse: and that not of one part of man alone, to wit, of his soule, (the felicity whereof after this life, partly by probable con­jecture, and partly from traditi­on, was hoped for before) but also of his whole body and soule together. For as the body by di­vine appointment becomes sub­ject and liable to grievances, hurt, calamity, and vexation be­ing united with the soule; [...]o like­wise ought it to bee made jo ynt partaker of the recompence of [Page 104] reward. Now the reward and promised joyes are not to bee thought of small value or little worth, like to the meat, or good cheere and dainty fare where­with the carnall Iewes seed their gaping hopes; or like to the slesh­ly voluptuousnes of carnal copu­lation, which the Turkes expect to enjoy after death: for both these sensualities are proper to this fraile life, at the bell being but helpes or remedies of mor­tality, the former whereof con­ducing after some sort for the preservation of every particular man or beast in present being: and the latter for the continua­tion of the same creatures by succession in their kinde. But by the happinesse aforesaid our bo­dies shalbe indued with constant vigour, agility, strength, and more than a starlike beauty. In the soule there shalbe an under­standing without errour, a be­holding [Page 105] of God himselfe and his divine providence, or whatsoe­ver is now hid from us. The will shalbe freed from all turbulency of passions, busied about nothing but the sight, the admiring and praising of the Almighty. In a word there shal be joy and tran­quillity, and all things, excellent beyond compare, such as we can­not possibly conceive or appre­hend in this mortall life.

SECT. XII.

Answer to an objection, that bodies once dead cannot bee re­vived againe.

BEsides the doubt but lately answered, there is another difficulty objected against this doctrine of the resurrection: namely, how can it bee possible for humane bodies once dissolved into dust and corruption ever to [Page 106] bee united and jointed againe? For answer wee say, that this is not impossible: for seeing it is granted by the most part of Philosophers, that the same sub­stance or matter of things, howe­ver diversly changed or altered, doth remaine still capable of di­vers formes; who can say then that the divers parts of that mat­ter whereof humane bodies con­sisted, though the same bee fan [...] and wide a sunder, are unknowne to God; or that he hath not pow­er to recollect & joyne them to­gether againe; or that he cannot doe in this his world, like Chy­micks in their furnaces and ve [...] sels, gather into one, and r [...]i [...] things of the same nature? Be­sides, we see in plants and living creatures, though the [...]ormes seeme to bee changed, and the subject be resolved into seed, its principle; yet the vertue there­of remaines, and the same subject [Page 107] afterward revives againe. Nei­ther is it a hard matter to vntye that knot, and answer [...]ho doubt concerning humane bodies which after corruption and transmutation become food for beasts and cattell; then againe the same beasts afterward be­come food for men: for wee must know, that the greatest portion of such things as wee eate is not converted into integrall parts of our bodies; but either the same is turned into excrements, or be­comes additions and humours of the body, as Fleame and Choller; yea much of that which becomes our nourishment is wasted away either by diseases, or by inward naturall heat, or by the aire a­bout us. All which being so; he that so carefully regards all kinds of bruit beasts that none of them perish, the same God with a more speciall providence can also provide for humane bodyes, [Page 108] that though by tra [...]ta­tion they become me [...]t for other men, yet they shall no more bee converted into the substance of those that eat them, than a [...]e poiso [...]s or physicall po [...]ions into the nature of such as receive them: And the rather, because it seemes unnaturall for man to feed upon humane flesh. Or suppose this which wee say were false, and that something were added to the body, which must needs after­ward be diminished; yet thence it will not follow that the same body doth not remaine, seeing that in this life there happen greater mutations than so. Thus the Butterfly may be in a worme, and the substance of herbs or wine in some small diminitive thing, whence they may bee re-restored to their former just magnitude and existence. Wher­fore since all these things, and such like are possible, there is no [Page 109] cause why any should thinke it impossible for humane bodies after death to be revived againe: forasmuch also as divers learned men, to wit, Zoroaster among the Chaldeans, Theopompus a­mong the Peripatetik [...]s, and al­most all the Stoicks did not one­ly grant the possibility hereof, but were assuredly perswaded it would come to passe indeed.

SECT. XIII.

The excellency of [...] precepts given for the worship of God.

THe second thing wherein Christian Religion excels all others that are, or ever were, or can be invented, is the great ho­linesse of lawes and precepts, as well in matters pertaining to the worship of God, as likewise in things concerning our neigh­bour.

[Page 110] The Pagans in their divine service are given to more confi­dence and credulity than truth, as Porphyry shewes at large, and some late navigations have dis­covered. For with them it is a common received opinion, that the Gods may be appeased by the sacrificing of mans bloud; which in humane custome was not abo­lished, either by the great learn­ing of the Grecians, or by the lawes of the Romans, as appeares by those oblations offered unto Bacchus and Iupiter. The hidden and most holy mysteries of the Goddesse Ceres, and of Father. Bacchus, being once lookt into & revealed, were found to be full of all kinde of wantonnesse and uncleannesse, as Clemens Alex. & others have showne at large. Those Festivall dayes consecra­ted to the honour of the Gods, were celebrated with such so­lemnity of Pageants, and wan­ton [Page 111] shewes, that grave Ca [...]o was a shamed to bee present at them. But in the Iewish Religion there was nothing unseemely, nothing dishonest or unlawfull. Howbeit to the end the people that were prone to Idolatry might not decline or fall backe from the same true religion, it was loaded and burdened with many precepts, e­ven concerning such things as in themselves were neither good nor evill; such were the sacrifi­cing of beasts, the Circumcision, an exact rest from labour upon the Sabbath, and the prohibition of eating some kinde of meats; come of which customes the Turkes have borrowed from them; adding further a prohibi­tion for drinking wine.

But the Christian Religion teacheth, that as God is a most pure Spirit, So is hee to be wor­shipped with purenesse of minde and Spirit, together with such [Page 112] workes a [...] their owne nature without a precept are most lau­dible and honest. Thus the pro­fessors thereof are not to circum­cise the flesh, but their carnall lusts and desires: they are not to keep holi-day and refraine from all kinde of worke whatsoever, but onely from that which is unlawfull. Nor are wee to offe [...] unto God the bloud and fat of beasts; but if need bee, even our owne blood for the testimony of the truth. And what bounty or liberality soever wee bestow upon poore and necessito [...]s per­sons, the same wee must thinke is given to God himselfe. Wee need not now abstaine from any kind of meat or drinke, but may and ought to use them both with moderation, so that our health bee not thereby impaired; some­times notwithstanding subduing our bodies to our mindes by fa­sting, that the same thereby may [Page 113] be the better fitted and prepared for more cheerefull devotion. But the chiefe point of this Religion consists in a holy confidence, whereby wee doe wholly yeeld our selves in obedience unto God, and rely upon his promises by a stedfast and lively faith, whence ariseth both hope and true love of God and our neigh­bour. And hereupon it is that we doe observe his Commande­ments, not after a servile manner for feare of punishment; but that wee may please him, and that hee may out of his goodnesse be unto us a loving father and gra­cious rewarder.

Moreover wee are taught to pray, not for riches or honours, or such things as doe little good to any that wish for them: but in our prayers wee must first and and chiefely crave that which tends to Gods glory; then such necessaries for our selves as are [Page 114] requisite to the sustaining of na­ture, resting upon Gods provi­dence for temporall affaires, be­ing not too much solicitous how the same shall fall out, but very carefull and desirous of such things as lead us to eternall life; and that by petitioning pardon for sinnes by-past, together with the assistance of Gods holy Spirit, that we may be preserved here­after in the way of godlinesse a­gainst all perils and temptations whatsoever.

This is the true worship of God in Christian religion, than the which nothing can be invented more honourable for the Al­mighty.

SECT. XIIII.

Concerning the offices of huma­nity which wee owe unto our neighbour.

LIke to these are the duties we owe unto our neigh­bour. As for Mahumets Religion, it was hatcht in wars, it breaths nothing but warres, it is propa­gated by warres, and hostility. Aristotle condemnes the lawes & statutes of the Lace demonians, which were so much applauded among the Grecians, even by the Oracle of Apollo: Yet the same Aristotle allowes and approves of warre against the Barbarians for a thing naturall, whereas in­deed the contrary rather is true, namely, that by nature there ought friendship and amity to be established in all societies of men. For what is more cruell than to delight in murder, or in a [Page 116] bravery to vaunt and triumph in the slaughter of Nations, as in some glorious exploit? Yet such was the custome anciently a­mongst the Romanes, that none was dignified with the title of a­ny honour, unlesse they had de­served and purchased the same in warres, which notwithstand­ing were apparantly unjust, as themselves confesse of the wars against Sardinia and Ciprus. And indeed generally amongst the heathen it was accounted no disgrace, no crime or offence to pilfer and spoile those that were not within their owne domini­ons, as wee finde it recorded by worthy Historians. Aristotle and Cicero made the desire of reven­ging a part of vertue. It was a fine sport and publike recreation for Pagans to behold sword­players slash and wound one a­nother: and to expose their chil­dren was an ordinary thing with [Page 117] them: But the Hebrewes had better lawes and more holy di­scipline, though notwithstand­ing they bare a mortall hatred a­against all those that differed from them in opinion, as at this day appeares by their prayers that they make against us Chri­stians.

And yet againe, their law suf­fered them to render like for like, and to have equall recom­pence for any hurt offered: and thereby any man was permitted in his owne person to kill, or bee revenged upon him that had slaine any one of his kindred. But the Commandement and law of Christ forbids us to revenge any kinde of injury whatsoever, whether it be offered in word or deed: that so we may not seeme to allow that wickednesse in our selves, which we condemne in o­thers. Nay wee ought to bee so farre from malice, that on the [...] [Page 118] [...] [Page 119] [Page 118] contrary wee must be kinde and well-affectioned unto all: not onely (though chiefly) to good men, but also to the very wicked, like to God our heavenly father, who makes the Sun and Starres, the aire and winds, the raine and other common benefits to descend upon all sorts of men, good and bad.

SECT. XV.

Of the bond of Wedlocke.

THe bond or unity of man & wife, whereby mankind is propagated is a thing most holy and honorable by our law; which being neglected by the Pagan; is no marvell if they talkt of the whoredomes and adulteries of those Gods they worshipped, by whose examples they thought it not unlawfull for one man to have the filthy use of another, as [Page 119] [...] is reported of Ganymed and Antinous: which filthinesse at this day is ordinarily practised among the Turkes, the Sinanses and other Gentiles as a thing with them not unlawfull.

The Philosophers of Greece seeme to be a little more modest [...]n labouring to give an honest [...]ame to so lewd a crime; and in­deed but a little: for what else is that which the best of them commends touching the com­munity of women, but even to make one common stewes or baw­dy-house of the whole com­mon-wealth? To avoid which [...]urpitude and confusion, there is, [...]s it were, a kinde of wedlocke among the bruit beasts. How much more requisite is this league or bond for man so holy a creature, to the end there may not be a mingle mangle of issues, or the naturall and mutuall love of parents and children be utter­ly extinguished? [Page 120] The law of the Hebrewes prohi­bits all kind of uncleannesse, yet tolerates a man to have many wives, and in some cases licen­seth the husband to put away his wife: which the Mahumi­tans at this day use to doe; like to the old Grecians and Lacine [...], (yea, Cato himselfe,) who were wont to lend their wives one to another for a season.

But the most perfect Law of Christ strikes at the very root of this sinne, that lies lurking in the heart of men; accounting him that onely casts a want on eye up­on a woman, to be guilty of com­mitting adultery with her, at least in thought, namely, before him that sees and judges the hearts of al men. And because all true friendship is and ought to bee constant and indissoluble, therefore by this law it is ap­pointed that husband and wise be yoke-fellowes in a cohabita­tion [Page 121] and union of bodies and minds; which doubtlesse will be more convenient and behoofe­full for the education of their children. The Germans, Romans, and some other people among the heathen were content with one wife onely. The Christians also follow this custome, to the end that loving affection be­tweene man and wife may bee mutually preserued, together with a good successe of affaires in domesticall government vn­der one head, that so many wives cause not strife and contention amongst their severall children.

SECT. XVI.

Touching the use of tēporal things.

IN the next place let us come to the use of goods and tempo­rall commodities, concerning which wee finde, that amongst some heathenish Gentiles, to wit, [Page 122] the Aegyptians and Lacedemoni­ans, men were permitted to filch and steale. And herein they see­med not unlike the Romans of old for robbings and deprecati­ons, of whom their Orator spake; saying, that if euery man had his owne, there were many that might lodge in poore cotages.

Now the Hebrewes had no such custome; yet their Law, that it might seeme more easie, permitted them to take usury of strangers; amongst other things promising the reward of riches [...]o them that observed the same law.

But the Law of Christianity forbids not onely all kinde of in­justice, but also it prohibits us to take any carking and excessive care for these transitory things, because our minde is not able di­ligently and duly to attend vnto two severall matters, either of which were enough to take vp a whole man, and oftentimes [Page 123] drives us into contrary thoughts and odde quandaries. Besides, the excessive care both for getting and keeping riches is accompa­nied with a kind of bondage and anxiety, which blunts all the pleasure and comfort that might arise from a moderate desire and hope of commodity: And such things as nature requires are not many or hard to be obtained, for nature is content with a little: yet if God bestow any over­plus upon us, so that wee have some what to spare, wee are not commanded to cast the same in­to the Sea, as some Philosophers unadvised have done; neither must we keepe any thing unpro­fitably, or lavish it out wastful­ly; bur rather therewith wee ought to supply the wants and [...]xigences of other men, either by giving, or by lending to them that would borrow: For thus it becomes us to thinke that we are [Page 124] not Lords and Masters of the things we enjoy, but as stewards and Dispensers under God Al­mighty, the Father and Master of all: knowing also that a bene­fit well bestowed is a treasureful of good hope, which neither the wickednesse of theeves, nor any casualty can diminish.

A rare example of this true and unfained liberality we finde in the primitive Christians, who sent releefe out of Macedonia and Achaiah to succour them that lived in Palestine, as if the whole world had beene but one family. And here in the Law of Christ it is provided, that no hope of recompence or honour should blemish and disgrace our bounty, which would bee little set by in Gods sight, if it were not wholly referred to his glory.

And that no man may cloake his covetousnesse (as many use to doe,) by fearing they shall have [Page 125] need of wealth when they are old, or that some mischance may fall out which will drive them into poverty, therefore the Law promiseth a speciall care for such as keepe the commandements: And that they may be the more animated and encouraged, they are put in minde of Gods provi­dence in feeding the wild beasts and cattell, in preserving the grasse & flowers of the field. Now it were a shame for us, & disho­nourable to so good & powerfull a God, not to beleeve more than wee see or have a pawne for.

SECT. XVII.

Of swearing.

THere are some lawes that forbid perjury, but this law of Christ will have us to refraine from all kind of swearing, unlesse we be lawfully called thereunto upon necessity. Nay such faith­fulnesse [Page 126] and truth should alwaies be in our words and actions, that there never needed any oath be exacted of us.

SECT. XVIII.

Of other matters.

MOreover there can no­thing bee found commen­dable and praise-worthy, either in the Philosophicall writings of the Grecians, or in the sayings of the Hebrewes and other nations, which is not either expresly or vertually contained in the pre­cepts of Christianity, being esta­blished by divine authority: as namely concerning modesty, temperance, goodnesse, honesty, prudence, the office of Magi­strates and subjects, Parents and children, Masters and servants, man and wife betweene them­selves; and chiefly the eschew­ing [Page 127] those vices which among many of the Grecians and Ro­mans went vnder the name and colour of honesty; such were the desires of honors and glory. And to be short, admirable is the sub­stantiall brevity of these precepts, namely comprehended in these few word, that we ought to love God above all things, and our neighbours as our selves, that is, wee must doe as wee would bee done unto.

SECT. XIX.

Answer to an objection touching the controversies abounding a­mong Christians.

BVt here peradventure some will object against this which we speake concerning the excellency of Christianity, and tell us of the great diversity of opi­nions amongst Christians, wher­upon [Page 128] there have sprung so many sects and factions as doe now a­bound in the Church.

For answer whereunto, wee may observe that the like diver­sity of opinions happens almost in all kinde of Arts and sciences, to wit, partly through the weak­nesse of humane apprehension, and partly because mans judge­ment is hindred and intangled with many imployments. How­beit this variety of opinions is contained within certain bounds and limits: for there are some common principles whereof it is agreed upon by all, and where­upon they ground their doubts. Thus in Mathematicks 'tis que­stioned, whether a circle may bee made quadrangular; but not whether after the taking away of equal parts from equal, the re­sidue wil not remaine equal. The same may bee seene in natura [...] Philosophy, also in the art of Phy­sicke, [Page 129] and in other disciplines. In like manner the difference of o­pinions that is amongst Christi­ans doth not hinder the common consent and agreement in those fundamentall principles, for which chiefly wee have commended Christian Religion; the certainty whereof appeares in this, namely that those which out of mutuall and deadly hatred sought all the occasion and matter of contenti­on they could, durst not for all that proceed so farre, as to deny that these precepts were commanded by Christ: no not even those that refuse to frame their lives and actions according to that rule.

Howbeit if there be any such as will contradict this that wee say, the same may bee likened to those Philosophers that denied the snow to be white: For as these are confuted by sense, so are those convinced by the unanimous [Page 130] consent of all Christian nations, also by the many bookes that the first professors of Christian Religion, and they which followed, and divers succeeding Doctors have written: as also by the te­stimony of them that have wit­nessed their faith in Christ by their death. For in the opinion of any indifferent Iudge the same must needs bee reputed the true doctrine of Christ, which so many haue successively acknow­ledged and professed, like as wee are perswaded the same was the doctrine of Socrates which wee read in Plato and Xe­nophon; as also that of Zene the Philosopher, which we find held by the Stoi ks.

SECT. XX.

The excellency of Christian Re­ligion is further proved from the dignity of the author.

THe third thing wherein wee said Christian Religion ex­celled all others that are, or can be thought of, was the manner whereby it was delivered and di­vulged. Where first wee shall speake of the Author.

They that were authors of the wisdome among the Grecians, confessed that they could not al­leage almost any certainties in their doctrine, because (quoth they) truth lyes hid in a deepe pit; and our minds are no lesse daze­led in the contemptation of di­vine things, than the eyes of an owle in beholding the bright shining of the Sunne: Besides, there was none among them but was guilty of some vice: For some [Page 132] were flatterers of Princes, others addicted to bawdery, and wan­tonnesse, & a third sort to mala­part boldnesse. A great argument of a generall envy among them was their contention about words and matters of small or no mo­ment. In their devotions they were cold and heartlesse: For those that did beleeve there was one God, neglected his honour, and worshipped such things as they knew were no Gods; ma­king that onely the rule of their Religion which was commonly received and practised in pub­like. Touching the reward of god­linesse they determined nothing for certaine, as appeares by the last (farewell) disputation of So­crates at his death.

Mahumet, another Author of another Religion farre dispersed in these times, throughout his whole life was inclined to lust, and sensuality, as his owne fol­lowers [Page 133] cannot deny: neither did hee leave any testimony or assu­rance whereby his promise of such a reward as consisted in the free vse of junkets and venery, can appeare to bee true after his re­turne; since that his body is not yet revived, but remaines at Me­dina untill this day.

But Moses, the author of the Hebrew Law, was an excellent man; though not without his faults, as namely, when with some discontent and grumbling he so hardly tooke upon him the Ambassage which God com­manded him touching the King of Egypt; conceiving also some distrust of Gods promise for brin­ging water out of the rocke, as the Hebrews themselves confesse: yet did he scarce partake of any one of those promises which by the law he made unto the people, but was perplexed with conti­nuall mut [...]ies and seditions in [Page 134] the wildernesse; neither was hee permitted to enter into that bles­sed and pleasant land, so much desired.

But above all these, Christ is most honourable; in that neither his countrey-men, nor any other could ever convince him of sinne. For whatsoever hee commanded others to observe, the same did he observe and performe himselfe, and the Commandements that God gave him, he faithfully ful­filled, leading a most pure and up­right course of life; being also most patient in suffering wrongs and abuses, as was manifest at his death upon the crosse; yea so af­fectionate was hee towards his very enemies, that he prayed God to pardon even those that put him to death.

As for the reward which hee promised unto his Disciples, wee verily beleeve that himselfe is made partaker therof after a most [Page 135] eminent and excellent manner. For after hee was risen from the lead there were many that be­held, and heard, and saw him: who also ascended up into heauen in the sight of his twelve disciples; where he obtained all power, as was evident in that according to his promise made at his departure hee endued them that were his followers with the gift of tongues and other admirable vertues: all which may be a sure warrant for us not to doubt either of the truth or possibility of the reward which hee hath promised. And thus wee have showne how that this Religion is more excellent than others in regard that Christ the author of it hath himselfe per­formed what hee commanded; as also in his owne person obtained, and already enioyeth the happi­nesse that he promised.

SECT. XXI.

Also from the wonderfull spread­ing of this Religion.

LEt us in the next place de­scend to the effects of this doctrine aforesaid, which doubt­lesse being well weighed, are such as plainely declare this doctrine to bee sacred and divine, if so bee that God have any regard of hu­mane affaires. For as it argueda divine providence to cause thi [...] thing which should be best of all to bee of most large and ample extent; so hath it happened to Christian Religion, which wee see is published and taught thorow­out all Europe, not excepting the Northerne parts thereof, so like­wise thorowout Asia, together with the Islands in the Ocea [...] thorowout Aegypt also, [...]iopia, and some other parts of Africa [...] And lastly, in America. Thus is [...] [Page 137] [...]ow, and thus was it anciently, as is witnessed by the histories of all times, by the bookes of Chri­stians, the acts of Synods, and by [...]hat old tradition at this day held [...]mong the Barbarians concerning [...]he travels or pilgrimages of Thomas, Andrew, and other Apo­ [...]les, Clemens, Tertullian, and some [...]ncients besides, have noted how [...]ar the name of Christ was known amongst the Brittaines, Germanes, and other remote nations in their times. And certainly at this day there is no other Religion compa­rable hereunto for ample and [...]arge extent. Paganisme indeed is a large name, but cannot bee said to bee one Religion, since that it is not agreed upon by the Professors therof what one thing they should worship; but some adore the stars, others the elements, and a third sort reverence their Catell, or such things as have no subsistence: Neither have they the same cu­stomes, [Page 138] or any common Lord of all.

The Iewes on the other side are dispersed and scattered up and downe, yet remaine one people. Howbeit their Religion had never any great growth or increase af­ter Christs ascension: and the [...] Law was not so much propagated by them, as by Christians.

Then for Mahumetanisme, it is possessed of land enough, but 'tis not alone: for Christian Religi [...] hath a greater number of Profes­sors in some places where Turkes domineere: And againe there are many Christians in most quatters where Turkes or Mahum [...] have no footing.

SECT. XXII.

Considering the meeknesse and simplicity of them that first taught this Religion.

IT followes that wee consider by what meanes this Christian [...]eligion had its augmentation [...]nd increase, that therein it may [...]e comparable, and preferred be­ [...]re others. We see it commonly [...]ue of most men, that they will [...]llow the examples of Kings and [...]otentates what way soever they [...]oe; specially if law or necessity [...]ompell them to it. Hereby were [...]he Religions of the Pagans, and of Mahumet much augmented. But [...]las they that first taught the Christian Religion not onely wan­ [...]d all civil power and authority, [...]ut were of meane condition, no better than poore Fishermen, weavers, and the like. Yet by such mens paines and industry, that do­ctrine, [Page 140] within the space of thirty yeeres, or thereabouts, was pub­lished not onely thorowout all the parts of the Roman Empire, but also among the Parthians and remote Indians.

After this beginning, almost for three severall ages together this same Religion was so promo­ted by the studious endevours of some private men, (not with any threatnings or alluring promises, but even in spite of them that were in authority,) that the grea­ter part of the Roman world was Christian before that Constantine professed Christianity.

Amongst the Grecians that taught morality, divers there were very commendable in other arts and disciplines; as the Pla [...] ­nicks for the study of Geometry, the Peripateticks for the history of plants and other living creatures, the Stoicks for Logicall subtilty, the Pythagoreans for knowledge [Page 141] of numbers and harmony: many also were admirable for eloquence, [...]s Xenophon, Plato, and Theophra­ [...]us. But the first Doctors and tea­chers of Christianity were endued with no such art, but used plaine [...]anguage without inticing words; onely after a bare manner or na­ [...]ed forme of speech pronouncing their precepts, promises, and [...]hreatnings. Which seeing they had no such efficacy in themselves for the propagation of this truth, wee must needs thereupon thinke that there was either a miracle, or Gods secret power assisting the businesse, or both together.

SECT. XXIII.

What great impediments there were that might terrifie men from the embracing or the pro­fessing hereof.

HEreunto may be added ano­ther thing considerable, [Page 142] namely, how they who receive [...] Christianity by the ministery of the said men, had their minde [...] prepossessed with another forme o [...] Religion; and therefore lesse do­cile or capable of this doctrine, af­ter that they had learned either the Pagans service and ceremo­nies, or the Law of Mahumet, be­ing thereby no way prepared and fitted for the receiving of this in­struction, as the Hebrewes were for the receiving of Moses his Law by their circumcision, and the knowledge of one God. Ha [...]ng their mindes thus filled with pre­concerned opinions concerning hea­thenish and Jewish rites, where­unto they were habituated by cu­stome which is a second nature, it was strange that they entertained any new ordinances and instructi­ons, specially such as these were, contrary to the lawes wherin they had beene educated, and confir­med by their parents authority.

[Page 143] Besides this there was another [...], to wit, the great ad­versity they were to undergoe, and the most grievous miseries which they suffered or stood in [...]eare of for professing Christianity. for seeing that humane nature [...]bhorres such evils, it must needs [...]ollow that the causes of such [...]ils cannot bee admitted of with­out much difficulty. A long time [...]ere the Christians deprived of [...]ll honours and dignities, being much afflicted with divers penal­ties, with confiscation of goods [...]nd banishments: which not­withstanding were all but flea-bi­ [...]ings in comparison of the cruell [...] they endured when they were put into hot scalding metals, and tormented with the most grievous punishments that could be devised.

Neither did this happen to a few onely; but such multitudes of them were thus tortured to death, [...] [Page 144] [...] [Page 145] [Page 144] that there was never in one age before so many men swept away and devoured, either by famine, o [...] pestilence, or warre, as the writers of those times doe testifie. Their manner and kinde of death also was not ordinary, but some were burned quicke, others nailed upon crosses, and racked; most of them put to such grievous torments as cannot bee read or conceived without horrour and wonder. And this savage cruelty against Christi­ans, which continued in the Ro­man world and else where, (scarce with any intermission,) untill the time of Constantine, did not so de­populate the Church, but that out of the seed thereof, (the blood of the Martyrs,) there sprang up e­ver a new supply of Professors.

Now if herein wee compare Christianity with other Religious, wee shall finde that amongst the Grecians and other Pagans, though they were wont to mag­nifie [Page 145] their owne Worthies above measure, yet is there but a short Catalogue of such as suffered death for the testimony of their doctrine: onely we reade of cer­taine Philosophers in India, of So­crates also and some few more: who no doubt, being the most e­minent men in those times, had a desire to perpetuate their fame to posterity. But amongst those Christians that suffered martyr­dom [...] for their faith, there were very many of meane ranke, being of the common sort of people, such as were scarce ever taken notice of or knowne to their neighbours that lived hard by. There were women also, wives, virgins, and young men; such as (it is probable), never covered or hoped for any renowne in their sufferings: wherupon in the books of martyrs we finde the names but of a few in cōparison of the whole number of those that were put to [Page 146] death, and the rest onely registred in grosse.

Adde further that the heathen for the most part under any slight pretence, as the casting of some frankincense upon the Altar, could free themselves from the paine of such a death and so couzen the world, but this can in no wise be said of those, who (whatever they thought in their hearts) dealt plainly in their deeds and accom­modated themselves to the nature and condition of the vulgar. And such were the Iewes and Christi­ans, who alone can be said to have undergone death for the honour of God. Neither can wee attribute this praise and commendation to any Iewes after the times of Christ who also before Christ came short of that great number of Christians that in one onely Province were persecuted for the Gospell of Christ the greatest suf­fering of the Iewes being onely [Page 147] during the times of Manasses and Anti [...]chus.

Wherefore seeing that Christi­anity so farre excels all other Re­ligions in this particular, it may justly thereupon be preferred be­fore all others. And seeing likewise that so great a multitude of men of every ranke and degree, tho­rowout all ages and places have not feared to suffer death for this Religion, wee must needs con­ceive there was some notable ground or cause of such their constancy, which could bee no­thing save the plaine evidence of truth together with the holy Spirit of God.

SECT. XXIIII.

Answer to them that require more forcible reasons.

FInally if any yet be not satisfied with these arguments a­bovesaid, [Page 148] but desire more forcible reasons for confirmation of the ex­cellency of Christian Religion; let such know that as there are varie­ty of things which be true, so are there divers wayes of proving or manifesting the truth. Thus is there one way in Mathematicks, another in Physicks, a third in E­thicks, and lastly another kinde when a mater of fact is in questio [...] wherein verily wee must rest con­tent with such testimonies as are free from all suspition of untruth; otherwise downe goes all the frame and use of history, and a great part of the art of Physicke together with all dutifulnesse that ought to be betweene parents and children: for matters of practic [...] can no way else be knowne but by such testimonies. Now it is the plea­sure of Almighty God that those things which he would haue us to beleeve (so that the very beleefe thereof may bee imputed to us for [Page 149] obedience) should not so evidently appeare, as those things which are apprehended by sense and plaine demonstration but only be so farre forth revealed as may beget faith, and a perswasion thereof in the hearts and minds of such as are not obstinate: That so the Gospell may be as a touchstine for triall of mens judgements, whether they be sound or unsound. For seeing these argu­ments, whereof wee have spoken, have induced so many honest, god­ly, and wise men to approve of this Religion, it is thereby plaine e­nough that the fault of other mens infidelity is not for want of sufficient testimony, but because they would not have that to bee had and em­braced for truth which is contrary to their wilfull desires; it being a hard matter for them to relinquish their honours, and set at naught o­ther commodities; which thing they know they ought to doe, if they admit of Christs doctrine and obey [Page 150] what hee hath commanded. And this is the rather to bee noted of them, for that many other histori­call narrations are approved by them to bee true, which notwith­standing are onely manifest by authority, and not by any such strong proofes, and perswasions, or tokens, as doe declare the hi­story of Christ to bee true: which are evident partly by the con­fession of those Iowes that are yet alive; and partly in those companies and congregations of Christians which are any where to bee found; whereof doubtlesse there was some cause.

Lastly, seeing the long du­ration or continuance of Chri­stian Religion, and the large oxtent thereof can bee ascribed to no humane power, therefore the same must bee attributed to miracles: or if any deny that it came to passe through a miraculous manner; this ve­ry [Page 151] getting so great strength and power without a miracle, may bee thought to surpasse any miracle.

The third Booke OF THE TRVNESSE OF Christian Religion.

SECT. I.

To prove the authority of the books of the new covenant.

AFter that a man is once perswaded by the reasons a­bovesaid, or is in­duced by any o­ther arguments to beleeve that this same Religion which Christians professe is the truest, and absolutely the best; [Page 154] if hee desire more distinctly to know the parts thereof, then must hee have recourse unto the most ancient writings that con­taine the same Religion, and which commonly wee call the bookes of the new Testament or new covenant.

This truth no man can justly deny: for as every sect, bee they good or bad, should be beleeved when they tell us truly in what booke or writing their opinions are comprised: thus wee credit the Turkes who affirme that the Religion of Mahumet is contai­ned in the Alcoran; So it must be granted that the doctrine of Chri­stianity is contained in the said bookes of the new covenant, since the same is generally agreed up­on, and constantly ave red by all Christians.

Forasmuch then as wee have before proved that this Religion is most true; if there were no o­ther [Page 155] ground, yet this alone were sufficient to prove and avouch the authority of those bookes a­foresaid, wherein the same Reli­gion is contained.

Which truth to demonstrate more particularly, let us in the first place take for granted by all indifferent men that he who goes about to disprove the authority of any booke or writing which hath bin a long time received and allowed of, must use such argu­ments as doe derogate from the truth of that booke: Otherwise the authority thereof is no whit diminished, but may still bee de­fended and maintained.

SECT. II.

Here is showne that such bookes were written by the Authors whose names they have pre­fixed.

WEE say then that those bookes which are not in question amongst Christians, but have certaine titles, are the very workes of those authors whose names they beare; to wit, because those primitive fathers, Iustin, I­raeneus, Clemens, and others doe commend those bookes under the same Authors names; as also be cause Tertullian witnesseth that there were Orignall copies of those bookes extant in his time And besides all the Churches re­ceived those bookes for authenti­call before there were any com­mon publike meetings. Neither did ever the Pagans or Iews make doubt thereof, but Iudian him­selfe [Page 157] plainly confesseth that those were the writing of Peter and Paul, Matthew, Marke, and Luke which Christians under those names have read and received. For as no man can doubt that those writings which goe under the names of Homer and Virgill are truly theirs, because the one hath beene so long time received among the Latins, and the other among the Greeke authors: in like manner, it were more absurd to bring the authors of those bookes in question which are granted almost by all the nations in the world.

SECT. III.

Some bookes were anciently doub­ted of.

IN the volume of the new Co­venant, there are some bookes now received, which were not so [Page 158] received from the beginning, as namely the one Epistle of Peter, that of Iames and Iude, two of Iohn the Presbiter, the Revelation and the Epistle to the Hebrewes; which, though not in all, yet were still allowed by most Churches, as is very probable, in that the ancient Christians did alleage di­vers testimonies out of them as being sacred and holy. And it is likely too that such Churches as from the beginning had not those bookes, either were ignorant of them or doubtfull. Yet after­ward when they were better in­formed touching the same, they admitted them into the Canen (as we now see) according to the ex­ample of other Churches.

Neither can any good reason be given why wee should thinke them to be supposititious and coun­terfeit writings; for there is no­thing comprised in them, neither can ought thence bee collected [Page 159] which is not abundantly ex­pressed in other Bookes unque­stioned.

SECT. IIII.

The authority of such bookes as have no titles is proved from the quality of the writers.

ANd here let no man mi­strust the verity of the Epi­stle to the Hebrewes, because the writer of it is unknowne; nor doubt of the two Epistles of Iohn and the Revelation, be­cause some men doe question, whether the author of them was Iohn the Apostle, or some other of that name? For the name is not so much to bee regarded as the quality or condition of the writers Hence it is that we receive many bookes of history, whose authors are to us unknowne; As that concerning the Alexandrian war [Page 160] by Cesar: because wee may per­ceive that he whosoever writ the same, lived in those times, ad was present when the things were done. In like manner it ought to suffice us that whosoever wrote the bookes wee speake of, both li­ved in the primitive age and were endued with Apostolicall gifts. For he speakes very improbably that saith, these qualities were but counterfeit, and that other writings might beare the names of these authors; who every where pressing truth and prety cannot bee thought to play the [...]ning Sophisters and be guilty of falshood, a thing not onely odious among all good men, but by the Roman lawes was to bee punished with death.

SECT. V.

These pen-men writ the truth, be­cause they had certaine know­ledge of what they writ.

THus it being plaine that the bookes of the new covenant were written by those authors, whose names they beare, or by such as beare witnesse of them­selves; if wee adde further that they know well the matters where of they wrote to be true, and had no purpose to lye or dissemble, it wil follow that the things which they committed to writing were both certaine and true, because e­very untruth proceeds either from ignorance, or from a wicked desire to deceive.

As touching Matthew, Iohn, Peter and Iohu, they were all of the society and fellowship of those twelve whom Iesus did chuse to bee witnesses of his life and do­ctrine; [Page 162] so that they could not be ignorant of those things which they did relate. The same may be said of Iames, who was either an Apostle, or as some thinke, the next a kin to Iesus, and by the Apostles consecrated Bishop of Hierusalem. Paul also could not erre through lacke of knowledge, either about those points which hee professeth were revealed to him by Iesus himselfe triumph­ing in heaven; orabout the things that were done by him, having Luke a follow companion with him in his journeyes. This Luke might easily know the certainty of those things which hee writ concerning the life and death of Iesus: For hee was borne and bred in the places next adjoining to Palestina; through which countrey when he travelled, hee saith hee speake with such persons as were eyewitnesses of the things that were done. For doubt­lesse [Page 163] besides the Apostles with whom hee had familiarity, there lived many others at that time who had beene cured by Iesus, whom they saw both before his death and after his resurrection.

If wee will give credit to Ta­citus and Suetoni [...] in those things which happened a long time before they were borne, be­cause we are confident that they diligently enquired into the truth thereof; how much more ought wee to beleeve this writer, who saith that hee reeived all the things which hee relates from them that had seene the same.

It is credibly reported of Mark that hee was a daily companion with Peter, so that whatsoever he writ may bee thought as sug­gested or witnessed by Peter, who could not bee ignorant thereof. Besides, the same things that hee writes are almost all extant in the Acts of the Apostles. Neither [Page 164] could the author of the apocalyps bee deceived or deluded in those visions, which hee saith were re­vealed to him from heaven. No more could he that writ the Epi­stle to the Hebrewes erre in those things which hee professeth, ei­ther to bee inspired into him by the Spirit of God, or else taught him by the Apostles.

SECT. VI.

As also because they would not lye.

THe other reason we spake of to prove the truth of the said holy writers, was because they had no will or desire to tell an un­truth: And this hath beene toucht before in generall, when wee pro­ved the truth of Christian Religi­on, and of the history of the resur­rection of Christ.

Those that will accuse any witnesses for the pravity of their [Page 165] will, must produce such proofes and evidences as may probably make it appeare why the will should be diverted from uttering the truth: but this cannot bee a­verred of the said authors. For if any doe object and say that they spake for their owne advantage, upon enquiry it will appeare that they sought after no such by-end, having neither hope of getting commodity, or of eschewing any danger; but rather by their profes­sion they were more likely to lose all their commodities and be lia­ble unto all sorts of perils. If they aimed at any advantage, it was onely to gaine honour unto God, which doubtlesse cannot bee compatible with lying and dis­sembling, specially in such a busi­nesse as whereon depends the e­verlasting salvation of mankinde: Farre be it then from any man to thinke that they were guilty of so great impiety, their doctrine be­ing [Page 166] ful of all sanctity, and their lift exemplary for innocency and in­tegrity, free from the accusation of their greatest adversaries; who onely condemned them for lacke of knowledge, a fault unlikely to be the mother of falshood. No, if they had beene guilty of never so little fraud or deceit in that kind, surely they would not have re­corded to posterity their owne trespasses, as namely, their for­saking of Christ when hee was in danger, and Poters deniall of him three times.

SECT. VII.

A confirmation of the sidelity of these authors from the miracles which they wrought.

ON the other side God him­selfe gave testimony of their fidelity by working wonders which both they and their Disci­ples [Page 167] with great boldnesse pub­likely avouched, adding also the names of the persons; places and other circumstan [...]es: So that the truth or falshood of their assertion might easily have beene discove­red by the inquisition of the Ma­gistrate.

More particularly, among the wonders that they wrought, wee may note (as most sensible and certain) the use of tongues among so many thousands which never learned them; and their curing the diseases of the body upon a suddaine in the sight of the peo­ple. Neither were they any whit dismaied with feare either of the Iewish Magistrates of those times whom they knew to bee most maliciously set against them; or of the Romans, who dealt very unjustly with them, omitting no fit occasion that might bee matter for traducing or accusing them as inventors of a new Religion: [Page 168] Nay, the very Iewes or Pagans, in the times immediately follow­ing, durst never deny, that won­ders were wrought by those men For so much is confessed of Pe­ters miracles by Phlegon in his Annals, who lived under Adrian the Emperour. Moreover the Christians themselves in those bookes that contained a reason of their faith, which they exhibi­ted to the Emperours, to the Se­nate, and to the governours, doe relate these things as most mani­fest and unquestionable truths, yea they openly report that there continued a wonderful ver­tue of working strange effects at their Sepulchers for certaine ages after their death; which if it had beene false, they knew that to their shame and punishment the Magistrates could have confu­ted the same: and this that wee have spoken may suffice concern­ing the authors.

SECT. VIII.

The truth of the writings connir­med by the events that have come to passe accordingly as they were revealed.

THere are other reasons to prove the truth and sidelity of these authors writings. For ma­ny things are therein f [...]re old should after ward happen, which notwithstanding were impossible for men by their owne power and ingeny to know or bring to passe: yet we see the truth there­of confirmed by the event which have come to passe accordingly.

For so it was foretold that this Religion should upon a sudden have a large and ample increase; that it should continue for ever; & thought it were rejected by most of the Iewes, yet should it be im­braced by the Gentiles that were strangers to it. Thus likewise was [Page 170] foretold what hatred & spight the Iewes would beare against them that professed this religion, & what grievous persecutions the profes­sors thereof should undergoe: Also what a great siege and de­struction there should be both of Hierusalem that great City, and of the Temple, together with a miserable calamity among the Iewes.

SECT. IX.

As also from Gods care in pre­serving his people from false writings.

BEsides this, if it bee granted that God out of his provi­dence carefully respects and go­vernes humane affaires, specially such as belong to his honour and worship; then it cannot bee that he should suffer so great a multi­tude to bee cheated and deceived with lying bookes; those men I [Page 171] meane, whose full intent and pur­pose was to worship God after a holy manner. And forasmuch as among so many sects that have sprung up in Christianity there hath not beene one that received not either all or the most of those bookes, excepting some few that containe no singular matter a­bove the rest; this mee thinkes may be a great argument that no materiall thing could bee obje­cted against these writings; spe­cially since the said sects were so partiall and spitefully bent against another, that what one approved of, another common­ly would bee displeased there­with, even because the same was liked of by others.

SECT. X.

Answer to the objection that di­vers bookes were not received by all.

INdeed there were some that desired to be Christians, who notwithstanding refused to ad­mit of such bookes as they did perceive contained any thing that made against their doctrine. And these were either such as out of hatred against the Iewes spake ill of their law, and rev [...]led the God of the Iewes who was the makes and framer of the whole world; or else they were such as feared the great afflictions and persecu­tions that Christians suffered; And thereupon thought it the safest way to [...]urke under the name of Iewes, who had free li­berty for the exercise of their Re­ligion. Howbeit these lurkers were rejected and forsaken by all [Page 173] the open professed Christians that lived in those times, when as all that any way disagreed in opinion (if they kept unity of affection and piety) might have beene suf­fered with great patience accor­ding to the Apostles commande­ment. As for the former kinde of these bastard or counterfeit Chri­stians, I thinke they have beene sufficiently confuted both by that which wee have said before when wee proved that there was but one only true God, the sole fra­mer of the whole world: As also by those very bookes, which that they might have some semblance of Christians they did admit of, specially the Gospell of Luke; wherein is evidently showne that the same God whom Moses and the Hebrewes worshipped was preached by Christ. And the other sort we shall more fitly con­fute when we speak against those that both are and would bee cal­led [Page 174] Iewes. For the present onely this I say, that it is great impuden­cy in them to fleight and extenu­ate the authority of Paul, seeing verily there was not one of all the Apostles, that expounded and taught more Charches than hee did: who was reported at that time to have wrought many mi­racles, when (as ere while wee said) there might easily have been triall, and inquiry made of the truth of the matter. If then it bee true that hee wrought wenders, why may wee not beleeve him concerning his heavenly visions and instruction received from Christ himselfe, to whom since he was so deately beloved, it can­not be that hee should teach any thing inglorious or ingratefull unto Christ, as falsities or untruths would have beene. And as touch­ing that particular whereof they accuse him, namely his doctrine of the liberty and freedome [Page 175] which was purchased for the Hebrewes from those rites and ceremonies that were formerly commanded them by Moses there was not any cause in regard of himselfe why he should speak any thing but truth therein: For both hee was circumcised and of his owne accord hee did observe the most part of the law: But for Christian Religions sake, he was both to doe and suffer more diffi­cult matters, than either was commanded by the law, or could happen by occasion of the Law. He taught also that his Disciples should doe and suffer the like: whence it appeares that hee utte­red no flattering or enricing spee­ches unto his auditors; who were taught in stead of the Sabbeth, to keepe every day holy for divine worship, and in stead of the little expences which the law required to suffer the losse of all their goods, and in stead of the bloud [Page 176] beasts to consecrate their owne blood unto God. And further Paul himselfe plainly affirmes that Pe­ter, Iohn, and Iames, in token of their consent with him, gave him the right hands of fellowship: which hee never durst have spo­ken, if it had not beene true, be­cause the same men being then a­live might have convicted him for a lyar.

But to leave these men that searce deserve the name of Chri­stians, besides this which we have now said concerning the miracles, wrought by the sacred pen men aforesaid, and concerning the sin­gular providence of God about affaires of this kinde; the mani­fest consent and agreement of all other Christian congregations in the receiving of these bookes may induce any inidifferent men to give credit thereunto: specially considering that they are wont commonly to credit other books [Page 177] of history, without any such testi­monies, unlesse they see some plaine reason to the contrary, which cannot bee said of any of those bookes whereof wee have spoken.

SECT. XI.

Answer to an objection that these bookes seeme to containe things impossible.

FOr if any doe object saying that divers things are there in related which seeme to be impos­sible ever to have come to passe: wee answer as before hath beene intimated that there are some things impossible for man to doe, which not withstanding are possi­ble unto God, such as include in them no contradiction or contra­riety. And of this sort are those wonderfull effects which wee most of all admire, as the raising [Page 178] of the dead unto life againe, and therefore that objection is of no force.

SECT. XII.

Or things contrary to reason.

NEither are they to be regar­ded and assented unto who say that some doctrines are com­prised in these bookes which are disagreeing to right reason: For such are confuted first by the pra­ctice of so many learned, grave, judicious and wise nien as have allowed and admitted of these bookes for authenticall ever since the primitive times: Then by that which wee have before declared in the first booke to be consonant to right reason; as namely, that there is a God, who alone is abso­lutely perfect and infinite in ver­tue, life, wisdome, and goodnesse, of whom all things that have any [Page 179] being were made: whose care and providence reacheth over all his workes, especially unto men; and who can after this life boun­tifully reward all them that obey him.

Besides there is showne how that all the lusts of the flesh are to be bridled and subdued: that amongst men there is kinred and alliance, and therfore they ought to love one another with sincere affection: All which are most plainely set downe in the said bookes of the new covenant. Now we know how unsafe it is for any to affirme any thing beside this, peremptorily to be true, either concerning the nature of God or his will; specially if it bee groun­ded onely upon humane reason: And further we may guesle how uncertaine it would bee both by the jarring opinions of the school­men among themselves, as also by the contrary conclusions of the Philosophers. [Page 180] And it is no marvell: for if men doe so farte disagree in their opi­nions touching their owne soule, then they must needs much more dissent when they goe about to determine any thing not revealed concerning the highest mind, and the most supreme Spirit which so farre transcends our weak appie­hension. Or if (as prudent men do think) the inquiry into the Coun­cels of Kings bee dangerous and not to, bee attempted or attained by us; who then is there so wise and prudent that hopes hee shall ever bee able to understand the will of God concerning those things which he hath reserved in his owne freedome and secret councell: Wherefore Plato said very well, that none of these hid­den mysteries could bee knowne without an Oracle. Now there can no Oracle be proved to be an Oracle indeed by any clearer te­stimonies than those that are con­tained [Page 181] in the said bookes of the new covenant. Contrary to which bookes it is neither proved, nor so much as affirmed by any that God ever published any thing concerning his nature and essence Neither is there extant any letter Revelation or other signification of his will that can bee beleeved for true. For if there were any thing otherwise commanded or permitted before Christs time, which in it selfe was indifferent, that is neither due nor dishonest, yet the same is not repugnant to the said writings fince that in such matters of indifferency the last law or commandement that is given doth abolish and annull the former.

SECT. XIII.

Answer to an objection that some of these bookes are repugnant to the other.

SOme doe further object that in these bookes there is some diversity of senses and interpreta­tions. But for answer whosoever will but duly ponder this matter he shall finde the same to be ano­ther argument besides the some to justifie the authority of the said bookes, namely because they doe most manifestly and apparently agree about such things as con­cerne any point of doctrine or hi­story: Which consent and accord cannot else-where bee found a­mong any other writers that are of one and the same sect or profes­sion, whether wee consider the Iewes or the Greeke Philosophess, the Physitians or the Roman Law­yers. All which doe not only dif­fer [Page 183] much among themselves, yea even those that are of the same sect as Plato and Xenophon; but oftentimes one shal find the same writer to affirme now one thing, then another, as if he were forget­ful of himselfe, or knew not what to resolve upon. But these other writers, to wit, the holy penmen, of whom wee speake, doe incul­cate and expresse the same points of faith: they deliver the same commandements; and as for their narration of the life, and death, and resurrection of Christ, the Summe and substance in them all is the very same.

As touching some particular circumstances, such as are of smal or no moment, happily they might be well reconciled, though perhaps the manner how bee un­knowne; namely, because of the similitude of things that were done at divers times, or for the doubtfull signification of some [Page 184] words, or by reason of the seve­rall names and appellations of this man or that place and the like. Nay this (me thinkes) may bees motive to vindicate and free these writers from all suspicion of false­hood, it being usuall with those that would have lyes and un­truths credited, to relate all cir­cumstances so streight and trimly as there shal not appeare any co­lour or shew of difference. Or if it be so, that for any smal difference which cannot easily bee reconci­led a whole booke shall lose its credit; then I trow wee must be­leeve no bookes at all, specially those os history: yet wee see that Polibius, Halicarnassensis, Levy and Plutarch, for the substance o [...] them are esteemed authenticall and true, though in some circum­stances they seeme to bee faulty: Therefore it were unequall that sacred writers should lose then credit for one or two seeming [Page 185] slips, (if there were any in their writings) who so seriously desi­red and earnestly indevoured to expresse both truth and piety therein.

SECT. XIIII.

Answer to an objection taken from outward testimonies, which make more for these bookes.

ANother way of confirming what wee have said; Some thinke may bee by alleaging the contrary testimonies of those that were strangers to the covenant of promise.

But I dare boldly say that there are no such testimonies to be found, unlesse a man wil produce the sayings of them that were borne a long time after, who did openly prosesse emnity against Christianity, and therefore could be no fit witnesses for this matter.

[Page 186] Nay, on the contrary, if need were, we could alleage many te­stimonies to confirme divers parts of the history which is delivered in the said bookes. Thus both He­brewes and Pagans report that Iesus was crucified, and that sun­dry miracles were done by him and his Disciples. Those knowne bookes of Iosephus, which were written about forty yeeres after Christs ascension, doe make men­tion of Herod, Pilat, Festus, Felix, Iohn the Baptist, Gamliel, and of the destruction of Hierusalem at large. Herewith all agree that which the Authors of the Tal­mud have recorded concerning those times. Tacitus relates how cruelly Nero used the Christians. And anciently there were certain bookes extant, not only of private men, as of Phlegon and others; but also some publike Acts, wher­unto the Christians appealed, namely, for that in them there [Page 187] was mention made of the star that appeared at Christs birth and manifested his nativity unto the wise [...]én, also of the Earthquake and Eclipse of the Sunne, when it was full Moone at the time of Christs passion upon the Crosse.

SECT. XV.

Answer to the objection that the scriptures were changed.

NOw what can be said more against these bookes? Surely I see nothing that can bee obje­cted, unlesse it bee said that they remained not altogether the same that they were from the begin­ning. And indeed it may be gran­ted that what is common to other bookes might happen to those, namely that by the carelesnesse or corupt dealing of the transcri­bers, some letters, sillables or words might bee changed, left [Page 188] out o [...] added. But it is an unjust thing to bring in question the truth of such a booke or evidence onely because in so many ages there could [...]e but he great vari­ety of Copies, since both custome and reason tels us that what is agreed upon by the greater num­ber and most ancient copies, the same is to be preferre before the contrary. Now that all the copies of these bookes were corrupted by guile or otherwise, either in points of doctrine or matter of history it will never bee proved, there being no evidences or testi­monies of former times ever to e­vince the same. But if (as we said before) there be any thing urged by those that bare so great hatred against the writers or followers and maintainers of these bookes the same is to bee held for a re­proach or calumny, and not for a­ny good proofe or sufficient testi­mony against them. And this [Page 189] which we have said might suffice in answer to those that tell us the scripture hath beene changed; which whosoever affirme, ought to make good their assertion a­gainst the scripture so long time received in the Church.

But that the vanity of this ob­jection may more plainely ap­peare, wee will shew that what they imagine to bee true, neither did nor ever could co [...]e to passe. We have proved before that the books which have any titles were written by the Authors whose names they beare, which being granted, it will follow that one booke was not forged or put into the place of another: neither is there any notable or noted part changed therein.

For in such a mutation there would have beene some ayme or intent whereby that part might have easily beene distinguished from other parts and bookes not changed or altered, which cannot [Page 190] now any where bee discerued Nay (as wee said) there is every where a consent and harmony of the sease and meaning herein, as it admirable to consider.

Againe no doubt so soone at any thing by or concerning the Apostles or apostolicall men was published, [...]ghtway the Chri­stians with great diligence (is it was meet.) and o [...]t of a zealous desire to preserue and propagate pitty and truth unto posterity did get themselves many copies thereof, which they dispersed through all places in Europe, A­sia, and Aegypt where Christ ani­ty was spred and the Greeke tongue spoken: Yea (as before we shewed) there were some Origi­nall Copies kept for the space of two hundred yeares after Christ, 'Tis not then possible or proba­ble that those bookes received any such forgery, they being so well knowne and carefully preserved [Page 191] not onely by particular men, but by the comon care and diligence of whole Churches. Adde further that these bookes in the following [...]ges were translated into the Sy­ [...]cke, Ethiopicke, Arabicke, and Latine tongues: which translati­ons are yet extant; and doe not differ in ought to speake of from the Greeke Copies themselves.

Besides wee have the writings of those men who were taught by the Apostles themselves, or by their Disciples, wherein many places of scripture are cited out of these bookes to the same sense & meaning, which now we read thē. Neither was there any in the Church of so great authority at those times who could have bin suffered to falsifie or change any thing if he would, as is plaine by the open dissent of Iraeneus, Ter­tullian, and Cyprian from those that were most eminent in the Church. After these times there [Page] succeeded many [...] men, of great learning and judgement, who having first made diligent inquiry thereof, received these bookes as retaining their originall purity. Hitherto also may be re­ferred what but now wee said of divers sects of Cr [...]s; all which at least such as acknowledged God to be the maker of the world and Christ to be the author of the new covenant, did receive and use these bookes accordingly as wee doe the same. And if any had at­tempted to alter or p [...] any part thereof they should have beene accused by the rest for forgery and false-dealing men therein. Neither was there ever any sect that had the liberty at their plea­sure alter any of these bookes for their owne turns, in asmuch as it is manifest that all of them did ground and assume arguments one against another out of the same. And as for that which wee [Page 193] touched concerning divine pro­vidence, the same belongs no lesse unto the chiefest parts than unto the whole bookes; namely, that it cannot conveniently be said that God would suffer so many men which sincerely desired to bee godly and earnestly sought after eternall life, to bee led head long into that error which they could no way avoyd. And thus much shall suffice to bee spoken for the authority of the bookes of the new covenant, whence alone if there were no other helps, wee might be sufficiently instructed concer­ning the true Religion.

SECT. XVI.

For the authority of the bookes of the old Testament.

NOw forasmuch as it hath pleased God to leave us the writings and evidences of the Iew­ish [Page 194] Religion, which was anciently the truest, and affoards divers te­stimontes for Christianity; There­fore it will not be amisse, in the next place, to justifie the authority of the same. First then that these bookes were written by the same men, whose names they beare is manifest in like manner as wee have proved of ours before, of the new covenant.

These authors were either Pro­phets, or other very faithfull and credible men, such as was Esdras, who compiled the bookes of the old Testament into one volume, during the life time of the Pro­phet Haggai, Malachy, and Za­chary. I will not here repeat a­gaine what is said before in the commendation of Moses. Both that part of history which at first was delivered by him, as wee have showne in the first booke: and that also which was collected af­ter his time is witnessed even by [Page 195] many of the heathen. Thus the Annals of the Ph [...]nitian's have re­corded the names of David and Salomon and their leagues with the men of [...]yre. Aswell Berosus as the Hebrew writers, makes mention of Nabuchadonosor and of other Chaldean Kings. Hee whom Ieremy cals Vaphres King of Aegypt, is termed Apries by Herodotus. In like manner the bookes of the Grecians are reple­nished with narrations concern­ing Cyrus and his successors until the times of Darius. And many o­ther things concerning the na [...]on of the Iewes are related by Iose­phus in his books against Appio [...]: whereunto wee may adde what before wee have touched out of Strabo and Trogus. But as for us Christians we are not to question the truth of those bookes, out of which we borow many testimo­nies. Neither doe wee finde when Christ reprehended many things [Page 196] in the Doctors of the Law and Pharisies of his time that ever he accused them of falshood com­mitted against the writings of Moses or the Prophets; or that they had altered or used any for­ged bookes.

Then after Christs time, it can­not be proved, neither is it credi­ble that the scripture was corrup­ted in matters of any moment; specially if wee consider that the same books were preserved safely by the Iewes, which people was dispersed farre and wide over the face of the earth. For first of all the ten tribes were led a way captive by the Assyrians into Media then afterward the two other tribes: And after that Cyrus gran­ted thē leave to returne, many of them went and dwelt in forraine Countries. The Macedoni [...]s in­vited them with great promises to come into Alexandria. The cru­elty of Antiochus, the civill wars [Page 197] of the Asmonaans, together with those of Po [...]pey and Sossius from without, did stragle and scatter abroad many of them. Cyrenaica a part of Africa was full of the Iewes: so were the Cities of Asia Macedonia, Licaonia; and like­wise the Isles of Cypr [...], Crete, and others. Also what a number of them there was at Rome, may be learned out of Horace, Iuvenal and Mar [...]al. Now it is not pos­sible that such multitudes so far distant one from another, should be cozened in this kinde; neither could they ever accord all in the coining of an untruth. Adde more­over that almost three hundred yeeres before Christ at the ap­pointment and care of the Kings of Egypt, those bookes of the Hebrewes were translated into the Greeke tongue by those that are called the Seventy interpreters So as then the Grecians had the sense and substance of them, [Page 198] though in another language; whereby it appeares to be more unlikely that they were any where changed. Nay more these bookes were translated both into the Chalde [...] tongue, as also into the language spoken by them of Hierusalem, to wit, a little before and a little after the time of Christ Other Greeke translations after­ward there were, as namely by Aquila, Symachus and Theodo i on; all which Origen compared with that of the seventy In [...]erpre­ters; and after him others also, who could finde no diversity of history, or of any matter worth speaking of.

Phil [...] lived in the raigne of Ca­ligula, and Iosephi [...] survived the times of both the vespas [...]ans: which two writers alleage out of the Hebrew bookes the same things that we read at this day.

Then began Christian Religi­on to bee more and more propa­gated, [Page 199] being professed by many of the Hebrewes, and by sundry persons that had learned the He­brew tongue; who if the Iewes had used any Legerdemaine in a­ny notable part, could thereupon quickly discover the same by comparing more ancient Copies▪ and so have made it publikely knowne. But they are so farre from doing this that on the other side they alleage many testimo­nies out of the old covenant to the same sense and meaning that they are used by the Hebrewes: which Hebrewes may sooner bee accused of any other fault, then falshood or negligence about these bookes, which they have so reli­giously and exactly described and compared that they know how often any one letter is sound therein.

The last though not the least argument to prove that the Iewes did not purposely corrupt or alter [Page 100] the scripture, may be because the Christians out of the very bookes which are read by the Iewes doe evince, and as they imagine, strongly prove, that their Lord and Master, Iesus is that same ve­ry Messias which was anciently promised to the Iewes their fore­fathers: which doubtlesse they would have beene carefull might not have beene done; specially when the controversie arose be­tweene them and the Christians, if ever it had been in their power to have changed what they li­sted.

The fourth Booke OF THE TRVNESSE OF Christian Religion.

SECT. I.

A particular confutation of the Religions opposite to Christi­anity.

MAny men there are, who beholding the great perill and jeo­perdy that other people are in, doe much joy and hug themselves if they bee out of gun-shot and free from all such danger.

[Page 102] But Christianity teacheth ano­ther lesson, specially in points of doctrine; and therefore in this fourth booke it shall appeare, that one chiefe duty of a Christi­an in this life is, not onely to re­joyce and content himselfe with the finding out of truth; but also to lend his helping hand to others that wander in the labyrinths of errors, and make them partakers of so good a benefit. This after some sort we have indevoured to doe in the former bookes; for the demonstration of truth implies the confutation of errour. Yet in regard all kinds of Religions that are opposite to Christianity, to wit, Paganisme, Iudaisme, and Mahumeta [...]isme, besides their common consent have their pro­per errors, and certaine peculiar arg [...]me is which are wont to be objected against us. Therefore it is our purpose particularly to di­spute against each of these, first, [Page 103] desiring our readers to purge their minds from partiality and all impediments of judging aright that so they may the better con­ceive the truth we are to speake.

SECT. II.

And first of Paganisme, that there is but one God. Created Spirits are good or bad: the good not to be honoured, but in reference to God.

TO begin then against Pagans If they say that there are di­vers eternall and coequall Gods, wee haue consuted this opinion before in the first booke, where wee taught that there is but onely one God, who is the cause of all things. Or if they by the name of Gods, doe understand the created Spirits which are superior to men they then either meane the good or the bad: if they say the good, [Page 104] first they ought to bee well assu­red that such are so indeed, o­therwise they commit a dange­rous ertor in receiving enemies instead of friends and traitors for Ambassadors. Then it were but reason they put an evident dif­ference betweene the worship of God and these Spirits: As like­wise to know what hierarchy and order there is among them; what benefit may be expected from a­ny of them; and what honour by Gods permission or appointment is to bee exhibited to them. All which, since they have not posi­tively set downe in their Religion it is plaine how uncertaine the same Religion is, and how it were a safer course for them to betake themselves to the worship of one Almighty God, which even Plat [...] confessed was the duty of every wise man, specially for that to whomsoever God is propitious and favourable, to them these [Page 105] Angels must bee serviceable and gracious, being indeed ministring Spirits of the Almighty.

SECT. III.

Evi [...] Spirits adored by Pagans, and how impious a thing it is.

BVt it was the bad not the good Spirits which the Pagans did worship, as may bee pro­ved by sundry reasons: first be­cause these adored Angels did not referre their worshippers unto the service of the true God, but as much as in them lay they labou­red to abolish the same, or at least in every respect they required e­quall honour with the Almighty. Secondly, because they wrought all the harme they could against the worshippers of the true God by provoking both Magistrates and people to molest them. For when it was lawfull for Poets to sing of [Page 106] the murders and adulteries com­mitted by the Gods, and for the Epicures to take away all divine Providence, and for any other Religion (though never so differ­ent in ceremonies) to be allowed as was the Egyptian, the Phrygian the Grecian, and the Thuscan at Rome; Even then generally the Iewes were only made ridiculous as appeares by Satyrs and Epi­grames written upon them; who sometimes also suffered hanish­ment. And as for Christians they were afflicted with most bitter punishments: no other cause whereof can bee given than that both these sects did worship one true God, whose honour was im­peached by the multitude of such Gods as the heathen adored.

Thirdly, this was manifest by the maner of their worship, which no way escemed any good and honest ghost; namely by humane bloud, by the running of naked [Page 107] men in the Temples, by games and dancing sull of uncleanenesse such as may bee seene at this day among some people of America and Africa, who yet sit in the darknesse of gentilisme.

Nay, which is more, both an­ciently there were and now there are some people that know and professe▪ that these are wicked ghosts whom they worship. Thus the Persians adored Pluto, the Grecians honoured devils, the Romans worshipped a hurtfull God that hee might doe them no harme: divers of the Ethiopians and Indians doe the like; then the which nothing can be inven­ted more impious and abomina­ble. For what is true religious worship but a testimony of an infi­nite goodnesse, that a man doth acknowledge to be in him whom he worshippeth? which if it bee exhibited unto a bad Spirit, it is false and counter feit, implying in [Page 108] it no lesse crime than high treason for asmuch as the honour due un­to the King is not onely de [...]oga­ted from him, but is conferd up­on his enemy, a traiterous rebell. Moreover, vaine is that perswasi on which they conceive of God, that he is good, and therefore will not punish this offence, because they thinke so to doe were con­trary to his goodnesse. For mercy or clemency that it may bee just, is bounded with limit: and where wickednesse abounds there justice doth as it were necessarily re­quire the infliction of punishment Neither are they excused for say­ing they are induced to obey such wicked Spirits out of a cer­taine feare or awe of them, see­ing that God, as hee is the chiefe good, so is he communicative and imparts his goodnesse in the production of other natures: which if it bee true, then i [...] fol­lowes that hee hath absolute [Page 109] power and dominion over all those other creatures as over his workmanship, so that nothing can bee, done by any of them, which he hath a desire to hinder. All which being granted, (as it is most certaine,) then we may easily collect that whosoever is in the speciall favour of God can bee subject to no further harme by e­vill Spirits, then the Almighty will suffer shall turne to his good.

And lastly there can nothing be obtained of bad Angels which is worth the accepting of, but ra­ther worthy to be abhorred and despised: For when a devill dis­sembles and playes the hypocrite, then is hee the worst of all; and the gifts of an enemy are usually nothing but crafty fetches and meere deceit.

SECT. IIII.

Against the worship which in Paganisme is exhibited to men after their death.

MOreover there were diver among the Pagans, and there are yet some of them tha [...] tell us, they give honour and wor­ship to the soules of men departed But first they should make some manifest distinction betweene this honour and that which is due unto God: Then againe, all pray­ers made to them are but vaine and [...]ruitlesse, unlesse those Spirits were able some way to reward or requite them which none of these worshippers can confidently sar or certainly prove they are. But an­ther thing is worst of all, to wit, that many of them to whom such glory is given by the heathen in their life time were notorious­ly wicked and addicted to one fil­thy [Page 111] vice or other: Thus Bacchus was a drunkard, and Hercules ef­feminate; Romulus proved a very [...]illaine to his brother, and Iupi­ter a traitor to his owne father. So that the praise and honour gi­ [...]en to such mortal impious men­gods redounds to the disgrace of the true God and of honesty it selfe since it addes the commendation of Religion to vices that are flat­tering and alluring enough of themselves.

SECT. V.

Against worshipping of starres and elements.

OF more antiquity than this was the worshipping of starres and of the elements, as fire water, ayre, and earth; wherein great ignorance and folly was committed. For prayers are the greatest part of religious worship, [Page 112] which cannot without folly be directed to any object save [...] intelligent natures: but sense te [...] us that the elements are no such things. And as for the starres, if a­ny affirme the contrary, yet he will never bee able to prove it since that no such matter can be collected from their operations and influences which demonstrate their nature; but rather wee may gather the contrary by their m [...] ­tion, which is not variable like [...] that in things indued with liber­ty of will, but constant and unalte­rable. Besides wee have showne before that the course and moti­on of the starres is appointed for the use of men, whence man ought to acknowledge himselfe to bee the more like unto God in his better part, as also more deare unto him: And therefore much injury should he doe to his owne worth and dignity, if hee did in­slave and submit himselfe to such [Page 113] things as God hath given to bee [...]viceable unto him: whereas [...] the contrary hee ought rather [...]render thankes for them which cannot doe so much for them­ [...]lves.

SECT. VI.

Against worshipping of bruit beasts.

BVt of all other it is the grea­test al surdur for men to wor­ship the bruit beasts, as doe the E­gyptians. For although these crea­tures seem to have some shadow o [...] semblance of reason or under­standing, yet it is nothing incom­ [...]arison of man, seeing they can­not expresse any inward thoughts either by words or writing; nei­ther can they doe any action but of the same kinde and after the same manner: much lesse can they ever attaine to the knowledge of [Page 114] numbers, dimensions or heavenly motions. On the other side man by his i [...]geny understands the na­ture of the most puissant beasts wilde or tame; of fish, fowle, and the like: all which after a sort he hath under his dominion; whe­ther they be Elephants, lions, hor­ses, or Oxen: yea those beasts which are most hurtfull hee can make some benefit of, as of ser­pents for medicines.

And this generall use hee may make of them all, which is un­knowne to them, namely to ob­serve the proportion of the bo­dies and the situation of their parts, comparing also their forms and severall kindes; whence hee may learne his owne excellency, and bee instructed how faire the frame of humane bodies surpas­seth other creatures for perfection and nobility: which if any one rightly consider, he will be so far from worshipping these beastly [Page 115] [...]ds that hee will rather thinke [...]mselfe to bee a kinde of God or [...]roy placed over them by [...] Supreme God of all.

SECT. VII.

Against worshipping of things that are no substances.

WE find among the Greci­ans, Romans, and others [...]t some there were who did [...]t worship any substances, but [...]rtaine accidents.

For to omit those uncouth dei­ [...]s, the Fever, dame Impudence [...]d the like, let us name the bet­ [...]r sort, such were health, which [...] nothing but a right tempera­ [...]ure of the parts of the body: [...]od fortune, being the fitnesse of [...]n event that is correspondent to [...] mans desire: The affections also [...]s love, feare, anger, hope and the [...]est, which proceed from the [Page 116] consideration of some thing that is good or evill, easie or difficult; and these are certaine motions o [...] passions in that part of the minde which is united to the body by blood, not having any absolute power of themselves, but are sub­ordinate handmaids to the com­mands of the well, their Mistresse at least in their continuance and direction. Then for vertues they have divers names, as prudence consisting in the election or choice of that which is honestly profitable: For itude in attempt­ing fearefull dangers: Iustice in righting them that are injured: Temperance in the moderation of sensuall pleasures; and so of the rest, all being certaine inclinati­ons and propensions unto that which is honest and right, be got in the mind by long custome and exercise; which as they may bee increased, so by negligence they may bee diminished, and quite a­bolished. [Page 217] Next succeeds honour whereunto some Temples were dedicated, and this is nothing but a good opinion of some men con­cerning such persons as they ima­gine are endued with vertue: And herein men may easily erre in ho­nouring bad men in stead of good. Since then none of all these are substances, and consequently not comparable to the dignity of such things as have subsistence, neither can they bee said to have any notice of our prayers or wor­ship; therefore to reverence them for Gods is a thing most absurd and unreasonable, seeing that for these things he is to be worship­ped who can both give and pre­serve the same.

SECT. VIII.

Answer to the argument of the Gentiles taken from miracles done among them.

THe Pagans for the commen­dation of their Religion are wont to alleage miracles, but such onely as in many things may bee excepted against.

For divers of them were reje­cted by the wiser sort of the hea­then themselves as counterfeit and fabulous. Some of their mar­vels are said to have beene done in secret, in the night, in the pre­sence of one or two, whose eyes might easily bee deluded by the jugling of the Pr [...]ests. Other things were wonders onely to those that were ignorant of natu­ral causes, specially of occult qua­lities: as when a man could draw yron with a load-stone in the pre­sence of such as knew not the [Page 219] property of that stone. In such [...]eats Simon and Apollonius Tya­ [...]us were skilful, as it is recorded by many. I deny not but that greater things than these might be seen, which though they tran­scended naturall causes, and mans power and ability, yet needed they not any divine omnipotent hand▪ but the Spirits placed be­tweene God and man might suf­fice for the production thereof: Which Spirits by their agility and subtilty might easily convey from one place to another, things dispersed, and worke such strange effects upon them, as would affect men with astonishment and won­der. But the ghosts whereby any such matter is effected, are no good Spirits, and consequently this Religion cannot be good, as is manifest by that which hath beene said before, and likewise in that which they tell us of certain charmes and inchanting verses, [Page 220] whereby they are compelled thereunto where as not withstan­ding the wiser sort of the heathen themselves coufesse that there can be no such efficacy in the bare words; which have onely some power of perswasion, and that no otherwise than by way of signi­fication. Besides this is a signe of their wickednes, that by some vain promise or villanous act, they did undertake to intice one contrari­ly affected to love and like ano­ther, which thing is prohibited by humane lawes as being a kind of sorcery. Neither need any man wonder why God suffered some marvels to bee wrought by evill Spirits among the Gentiles, seeing they deserved to be cheated with such illusions, which so long time had forsaken the worship of the true God.

Moreover this is an argument of their weaknesse and impotency that their workes were never ac­companied [Page 221] with any good thing: For if any were seene or seemed to bee revived, yet they did not continue alive, neither could they exercise the functions of living creatures. Or if it happened that any thing proceeding happily from a divine power, did appeare to the Pagans; yet the same was not fore told should come to passe for the confirmation of their Re­ligion, and therefore there might be other causes, best knowne to God, of the event thereof. As for example, if it was true that Vespa­sian restored sight to one blinde; this was done that he being ther­by made more honourable, might the more easily obtaine the Ro­mane Empire. For he was appoin­ted by God to be a Minister of his judgements in the behalfe of the Iewes: more such like causes there may bee of other wonders, which had no relation at all to their Re­ligion.

SECT. IX.

And from Oracles.

THe very same likewise in a manner may serve for an­swer to that which they object concerning Oracles, particularly wee may re-say, that these men did worthily deserve to be delu­ded for contempt of that know­ledge which reason or ancient tra­dition suggested to each of them Then againe the words of the O­racles for the most part were am­biguous, and according to divers events might admit of divers in­terpretations. Or if there was any thing more expresly foretold by them, yet it is not necessary that the same should proceed from an all-knowing minde: For it was ei­ther such a thing as might bee foreseene by naturall causes then existing, as Physitians can fore­tell some future diseases: or else [Page 223] some probable and true conje­cture might bee made by that which commonly fals out and u­sually comes to passe, as we reade of some persons we [...]-sk [...]d [...] civil­affaires, that can have a notable guesse of future events. Againe suppose that amongst the Pagans God sometimes used the ministery of some Prophets to foretell those things which could have no cer­taine cause besides the will of God: yet this did not approve or confirme their heathen [...]sh Religi­on, but rather overthrew it: As namely that prophecy in the fourth Eclogu [...] of Virg [...], taken out of the Sibyls verses; where unwit­tingly the Poet sets out unto us the comming of Christ and his benefits. So in the same Sibyls it is said that he was to be acknow­ledged for a King, who should be our King indeed, and should come out of the East, and have domini­on over all. Wee read in Porphyry [Page 224] of the Oracle of Apollo, which saith that other Gods are onely Aery Spirits, but the God of the Hebrewes is only to be worship­ped: which saying if the worship­pers of Apollo had obeyed, then they had left off being his Disci­ples: If they did not, then they made their God a lyar. Adde fur­ther, if those Spirits had respe­cted or intended the good of man-kinde, above all they would have prescribed some course of life to bee observed, and also promi­sed some assurance of reward to them that live accordingly; nei­ther of which was ever done by them.

On the other side oftentimes in their verses wee finde some Kings commonded which were wicked men, some champions extold and dignified with divine honour, others allured to immodest and unlawfull love, or to the recei­ving of filthy lucre, and commit­ting [Page 225] of murder, as might bee shewne by many examples.

SECT. X.

Paganisme decayed of its owne ac­cord so soone as humane aid ceased.

BEsides all that hath hitherto beene said, Paganisme it selfe ministers to us a notable argu­ment against it selfe; namely be­cause that wheresoever the same becomes destitute of humane help, there straight way it comes to ruine, as if the foundation thereof were quite overthrowne. For if wee behold all the Kingdomes and states that are among Chri­stians or Mahumetans, wee shall finde no mention of Paganisme, but in bookes. Nay the histories of former times do shew that when the Emperours went about to up­hold their Religion either by vi­olence [Page 226] and persecution, as did the first of them; or by learning and subtilty, as did Iulian; yet not­withstanding it decayed daily, not by any violent opposition, nor by the brightnesse and splen­dor of Christianity, (for Jesus was accounted by the common sort onely a Carpenters sonne;) nor by the flourish of learning, which they that taught the law of Christ used not; nor by gifts & rewards, for they were poore; nor by any soothing and slatter­ing speeches, for on the contrary they taught that all worldly cō ­modity must be despised, & that all kind of adversity must be un­dergone for the Gospels sake. See then how weake and impotent Paganisme was, which by such meanes came to ruine.

Neither did the doctrine of Christ onely make the credulity of the Gentils to vanish, but even bad Spirits came out of divers [Page 227] bodies at the name of Christ: they became dumbe also, and be­ing demanded the reason of their silence, they were compelled to say, that they were able to do no­thing where the name of Christ was called upon.

SECT. XI.

Answer to the opinion of some that thinke the beginning and decay of Religions depend upon the efficacy of the starres.

THere were some Philoso­phers that did ascribe the be­ginning and decay of every Reli­gion unto the starres: But that which they professe themselves to know there in is taught with such variety and diversity in their Star-gazing science, that a man can collect nothing from thence for certainty, but onely this that there is no certainty at all therein.

[Page 228] I doe not here speake of such effects as have a necessary depen­dance upon naturall causes, but of those that proceed from the will of man, which of it selfe hath such liberty and freedome that no necessity or violence can be incident thereunto from with­out. For if the assent or consent of the will did necessarily follow a­ny outward impression, then the power in our soule which wee may perceive it hath to consult and deliberate, were given in vain: Also the equity of all lawes, of all rewards and punishments would be abolished, seeing there can bee neither fault nor merit in that which is altogether necessa­ry and inevitable.

Againe, there are divers evill acts or effects of the will, which if they proceeded of any necessity from the heavens, then the same heavens and celestiall bodies must needs receive such efficacy [Page 229] from God, & so it would follow, that God, who is most perfectly good, were the prime cause of that which is morally evill; And seeing that in his law he prosesseth him­selfe to abhor wickednesse, which if hee implanted in the things themselves by such inevi [...]able power, then hee might bee said to will two contraries, to wit, that the same thing should bee done and not bee done: also a man should offend in any action hee did, by divine instigation.

They speake more probably that say the influences of the stars doe first affect the ayre, then our bodies, with such qualities as of­ten times doe excite and stirre up in the minde some desires or af­fections answerable thereunto: and the will being allured or inti­ced by these motions doth often­times yeeld thereunto: which though it be granted, as it is cre­dible, for truth, yet it makes no­thing [Page 230] for the question wee havein hand. For seeing that Christian Religion most of all with drawes men from those things which are pleasing unto the body, it cannot therfore have its beginning from the assections of the body, and consequently not from the in­fluence of the starres; which (as but now we said) have no power over the minde, otherwise than by the med [...]ation of those affecti­ons. The most prudent among A­strologers doe grant that wi [...]e and upright men are not under the do­minion of the starres: And such verily were they that first profes­sed Christianity, as their lives doe shew. Or if there be any efficacy in learning and knowledge a­gainst the infection of the body, even among Christians there were ever some that were excel­lent in this particular.

Besides, as the most learned do confesse, the effects of the S [...]arres [Page 231] appertaine to certaine Climates of the world, and are onely for a season, but this Religion hath now continued above the space of one thousand six hundred yeares, and that not in one part onely, but in the most remote places of the whole world, such as are of a far different situation in respect of the starres.

SECT. XII.

The chiefe po [...]nts of Christianity are approved of by the heathen: and if there hee any thing h [...]t scarce seemes crediblos herein, the like or worse is found among the Pagans.

LAstly, this is an evidence which makes much against the Pagans, so that they have lit­tle or nothing to object against Christian Religion: namely, be­cause all the parts thereof are of [Page 232] such honesty and integrity, that by their plainenesse and perspicuity they doe as it were convince the minds of the heathens themselves, among whom divers did teach the same truths which generally our Religion admits of for sound and orthodox: As to give some instances; true Religion con­sists not in rites and cere­monies, but in the worship of the minde and Spirit: hee is an adulterer that hath but onely a desire to commit adultery: wee ought not to revenge injuries: A man may bee the husband of one wife onely: And the league or bond of Matri­mony ought to bee constant and perpetuall: man is bound to doe good unto all, specially to them that are in want: we must refraine from Swearing as much as may bee: And as for our food and apparell wee ought to content our [Page 233] selves with so much as will suffice nature, and the like. Or if happily there bee some points in Christianity not alto­gether so credible, yet the like also is found amongst the wi­sest of the heathen themselves, as before wee have shewne concerning the immortality of soules, and of the resurrection of bodies. Thus Plate as hee learned from the Chaldeans, distinguished the divine na­ture into the Father, and the minde of the Father; which hee cals both the Councell and branch of God, who is the maker of the world; as al­so the Soule or Spirit which preserveth all things.

I [...]lian so great an enemy of Christians, thought that the assumption of humane na­ture was possible for God, as hee gave instance in Aescu­lapius, whom hee imagined [Page 234] to have descended from hea­ven, to the end hee might teach men the art of Physicke. The Crosse of Christ offend­eth many: yet is there not worse related by the heathen writers concerning their God [...], who tell us that some of them were attendants unto Kings and Princes, others slaine with lightening, others cut in sun­der. And the wisest of them say that any honest thing is the more joyous and delight­some, by how much it cost them the dearer.

To conclude, Plato in the se­cond book of his common wealth as if hee had beene a Prophet, saith for a man to become tru­ly just and upright, it is requi­site that his vertue bee berea­ved of all outward ornaments, and that hee be by others ac­counted a wicked wretch, and scoffed at, and last of all han­ged. [Page 235] And indeed that Christ might be the patterne of greatest patience, it could no otherwise come to passe.

The fifth Booke OF THE TRVNESSE OF Christian Religion.

SECT. I.

A refutation of the Iewes, begin­ning with a speech unto them or prayer for them.

AS those that come out of a darke dungeon by little & little perceive some brightnesse and glimmering betweene light and darke­nesse: [Page 238] So having done with the thinke mist of Paganisme, and entring upō Iudaisme, we behold some beames and light of truth: wherfore I request the Iews that they would heare us patiently.

Wee are not ignorant how that they are the of spring of ho­ly men, whom God was wont to visit both by his holy Prophets, and blessed Angels. Of this nati­on sprang our Messias, and the first Doctors of Christianity: they are the tree wherinto we are in­graffed: they are the keepers of Gods Oracles, which we doe reve­rēce asmuch as they, even making sighs unto God for them, & pray­ing that the day may quickly come, when the vaile being taken away which hangs over their fa­ces, they with us shall see the fulfilling of the law; And when (as it is in their Prophecies) eve­ry one of us shal lay hold on the Cloake of the Hebrew man, desi­ring [Page 239] that we may together with a holy consent worship the onely true God, who is the God of A­braham, Isaac and Iacob.

SECT. II.

The Iewes ought to account the miracles of Christ sufficiently proved.

FIrst of all then, wee must in­tre at them not to think that to bee unjust in another mans [...]ase, which they judge to be just and equitable in their owne. If any Pagan demand of them why they belceve that miracles were wrought by Moses, they can give no other answer save that there was alwayes so con­stant a report thereof among their nation, that it could not but proceed from the testimony of such as had seene the same.

Thus that the widowes oyle [Page 240] was increased by Elisaus: that Naam [...]d the Syrian was sudden­ly cured of the leprosie: that the hostesses daughter was restored to life, and other such like, are beleeved by the Iewes for no o­ther reason than because witnesses of good credit have recorded to posterity that such things were done. And they beleeve Elias hi [...] taking up into heaven onely for the testimony of Elizaeus, a man beyond all exception. But wee can produce twelve witnesses o [...] honest report to testifie that Christ ascended up into heaven after hee had beene seene upon earth after his death by many more persons. Which things i [...] they bee true, then necessarily Christs doctrine is true also; and indeed nothing at all can bee al­leaged by the Iewes for them­selves, which by equall right or more just title belongs not unto us. But to omit further testimo­nies, [Page 241] it is the confession of the authors of the Talmud, and other Iewes themselves, that strange unders were wrought by Christ, which may suffice for this par­ticular. Neither could God any way more effectually gaine au­thority unto his doctrine which was published by man, than by the working of miracles.

SECT. III.

And not beleeve that they were done by the helpe of Devils.

THese miracles of Christ, some say, were done by the helpe of Devils. But this calumny hath beene confuted before, when we shewed that wheresoever the doctrine of Christ was taught and knowne, there all power of the Devils vanished away. O­thers reply that Iesus learned Magicke arts in Egypt: but this [Page 242] slander hath no more, nay not so much colour of truth then the like accusation by the Pagans framed against Moses, whereof wee reade in Pliny and Apuleius.

For, that ever Iesus was in E­gypt cannot be proved save only out of the writings of his Disci­ples: who adde further that he was an Infant when he returned thence. But it is certain by other proofes that Moses lived the most part of his youth in Aegypt. Howbeit the law aswell of Mo­ses, as of Christ frees them both from this crime, plainly forbid­ding such arts as being abomi­nable in the sight of God. And without all question, if in the time of Christ and his Disciples, there had beene either in Egypt, or any where else any such Ma­gicall art, whereby men might have beene enabled to doe the like marvels as are related of Christ; to wit, the curing of the [Page 243] speechlesse, the healing of the lame, the giving sight to the blind, then would Tyberius, Nero, and other Emperors have had notice therof, who spared no costs and charges in the inquiry after such like things.

Nay, if it were true which the Iewes relate, how that the Se­ [...] of the great Councell were child in Magicke arts that they might convince them that were guilty of that iniquity; then sure­ly, they being so mightily incensed against Iesus, as they were, and envying the honour and re­spect which hee obtained by his miracles, would either them­selves have done the like workes by the same art, or by sufficient reasons would have made it ap­peare, that the workes of Christ proceeded from no other cause.

SECT. IIII.

Or by the power of words and sil­lables.

MOreover that is but a meere fable or impuden [...] lye, which certaine of the Iewes have invented concerning the miracles done by Christ, namely in that they ascribe the same un­to a mysticall unknowne name, which (as they say) being placed in the Temple by Salomon, was to be preserved safe by two lions, during the space of one thousand yeares and more, afterward was stolne away by Iesus. For there is no mention made of those lyons either in the books of Kings and Chronicles, or by Iosephus: nor was there any such thing found by the Romans, who accompany­ing Pompey, entred into that Tem­ple, before the times of Iesus.

SECT. V.

The miracles of Iesus were divine, because hee taught the worship of one God the maker of the world.

IT being then granted as the Iewes cannot deny, that won­ders were wrought by Christ, by the very law of Moses it will fol­low that he must be beleeved. F [...]r God saith, Deuteron 18. that [...] Prophets after the time of Moses [...]hould bee raised up of God, to whom the people should be obe­dient, or otherwise become liable to grievous punishments. Now miracles are the most infallible markes of the Prophets, than the which, more certaine notes cannot be imagined. But in Deuteron. 13. it is said, that if any professing himselfe to be a Prophet and doth worke wonders, yet the same must not be beleeved if hee goe about [Page 246] to entice the people to a new worship of the Gods. For, though such miracles bee done by him, yet this is onely by Gods permis­sion for triall, whether the people would persist constantly in the worship of the true God. From which places compared together the Hebrew interpreters do right­ly collect that every one must be beleeved that worketh miracles, unlesse thereby hee intice men from the worship of the true God; and in that case only miracles are not to bee credited, though in shew most glorious. Now Iesus did not onely prohibit the wor­shipping of false Gods, but also ex­presly condemned it as a most grievous crime, and taught us to reverence the writings both of Moses and the Prophets that suc­ceeded him. Wherefore there is nothing that can bee objected a­gainst the miracles that were wrought by Christ.

SECT. VI.

Answer to the objection taken from the difference betweene the Law of Moses and of Christ, where is showne that a more perfect law than that of Moses might be given.

AS touching that which some alleage concerning the dif­ference betweene the law of Mo­ses and the law of Christ, it seemes but of small moment. For the He­brew Doctors themselves make this rule, namely, that by the au­thority of a Prophet who worketh miracles, any precept whatsoever may bee violated and transgressed, except that onely which concernes the worship of the true God. And surely that power of making lawes, which belonged unto God when hee gave the commande­ments by the hand of Moses, went not from him: Neither can [Page 248] any man that of his owne power makes lawes bee thereby hundred from making the contrary.

That which they object of Gods immutability is nothing: for wee speake not here of Gods na­ture and essence, but of his works. Light is changed into darknesse, youth into old age, summer into winter, and all by the worke of God. This God at the beginning gave Adam leave in Paradise to eat of other apples, but he for­bad him to eat of the fruit of one tree: Why? even because it so pleased him. Generally hee prohi­bited men to commit murder, yet he commanded Abraham to kill his sonne. One while hee forbad to offer sacrifices apart from the Tabernacle, another while he ad­mitted of them. Neither will it follow, because the Law which was given by Moses was good, therefore no better could bee gi­ven. Parents are wont to babble [Page 249] and prattle with infants, to wink at the vices of their childhood, and entice them to learne with an apple or a butter-lep: But so soone as they come to riper age, their speech is amended, the pre­cepts of vertue are taught them by degrees, and they learne what is the goodnesse and benefit of honesty. Now it is plaine that the precepts of that law of Moses were not exactly perfect, because many▪ holy men of those times, lod a more holy life than thos comman­dements required. Thus Moses who suffered the revenge of a wrong to bee exacted partly by blowes, and partly by sentence, himselfe being vexed with most bitter injuries, became an inter­cessor for his enemies. So David willing to have his rebellious Sonne to be spared, did patiently endure reproachfull speeches cast upon himselfe. We finde not that any good men left their wives, [Page 250] which notwithstanding was per­mitted by the law. The reason of all this chiefly is, because those lawes were accommodated to the greater part of that people: there­fore in the state and condition they were in, it was meet some­thing should bee kept had and re­served, which afterward might be perfected, when God by a grea­ter efficacy of the Spirit was to chuse unto himselfe a peculiar peo­ple out of all nations. Yea, all the rewards which are expresly pro­mised by the law of Moses, be­long onely to this mortall life: wherefore it must bee granted, that there might some better law be given, whereby the reward of eternall happinesse should be pro­mised, not under any shadowes, but in plaine and expresse termes: which we see is done by the law of Christ.

SECT. VII.

The law of Moses was observed by Iesus, who abolished [...]o comman­dements that were essentially good.

ANd here by the way, for the conviction of the Iewes it must be noted, that those Iewes who lived in Christs time, used him most basely, and punished him most severely; when as yet there could no just accusation bee laid against him for transgressing the law. He was circumcised; hee used the same food and apparell that the Iews used: those that were healed of lepers hee sent unto the Priests: The Passeover and other festivall dayes he religiously ob­served: Though he did cure some upon the Sabbath day: yet hee shewed both by the law and by the common received opinions that such works were not unlaw­full to be done upon the Sabbath [Page 252] day; And then chiefly began he to publish the abrogation of some lawes, when after his triumpho­ver death he ascēded into heaven, adorning his Disciples upon earth with gracious gifts of the holy Spi­rit, whereby he made it evident that hee had obtained a regall power, wch includes the authority of making a law: And that accor­ding to Daniels prophecie, ch. 3. & 7. compared with chap. 8. & 11. where he foretold, how that a little after the destruction of the Kingdomes of Syria and Aegypt (the latter whereof happened in the raigne of Augustus,) God would give the kingdome to a man, which should seem but simple and necessitous, to a people cho­sen out of all nations and languages, which Kingdome should ne­ver have an end.

Now that part of the law, the necessity whereof was taken away by, Christ, contained nothing that [Page 253] was honest in [...]s owne nature: but consisted of things that were in­different in themselves, and con­sequently not immutable. For i [...] the same things had had in them any necessary ground why they should have beene done; then would God have prescribed them not to one, but to all the people; and not after that man-kinde had lived above the space of two thousand yeares, but even from the beginning of all. Neither A­bel, Enoch, Noah, Me'ch [...]sedeck Iob, Abxuham, Isaac, or Iacob, (though all of them were godly men, and dearly be loved of God) knew this part of the Law, but were altogether ignorant or ve­ry little acquainted there with; yet notwithstanding for all that, they received the testimony of their confidence in God, and of Gods love unto them. Besides, nei­ther did Moses exhort Iethro his father in law to the receiving of [Page 254] these rites, nor did Ionah, the Ni­nivites, neither did any other Pro­phets reprehend the Chaldeans, Aegyptians, Sydonians, Tyrians, Idumeans, & M [...]abites, for not ad­mitting those ceremonies, though when they writ unto them, they reckoned up their sinnes exactly enough. These then were peculiar precepts given either for the es­chewing of some evill, which the Iewes were prone unto, or for the triall of their obedience, or for the signification of some future things.

Wherefore it is no more to be wondred that these are abolished, than if any King should abrogate some Municipall statutes, to the end hee might establish one law within his dominions. Neither can there any reason be alleaged, to prove that God did so binde himselfe, as that he would change nothing of the same.

For if it be said, that these pre­cepts are perpetuall, the same word [Page 255] men oftentimes use, when they would signifie that that which they command is not yearely or for a certaine time, suppose in the time of warre, peace or famine. Yet they are not thereby hindred from making new constitutions of the same things, specially when the publike good requires the same. Thus in like manner some lawes given to the Hebrews were onely temporary, during the peo­ples abode in the wildernesse: o­thers were proper and peculiarly appointed for their habitation in the land of Canaan: therefore for distinction sake of these from the other, he cals them perpetuall, whereby may bee understood, that they ought not any where to be changed, or ever intermitted, unlesse God signifie that it is his will so to bee. Which manner of speaking, since it is commonly u­sed by all people, they ought not to wonder at; considering that [Page 256] in their law the same is called a perpetuall statute, and a perpetuall bondage, which continues onely from one Iubily to another: And the comming of the Messias is called the accomplishment of the Iubily, or the greatest Iubily of all. Thus in the Hebrew Prophets there was anciently a promise of making a new covenant, as in Ie­rem. 31. where God promiseth that hee will make a new covenant which shall bee put into their in­ward parts, and written in their hearts; neither shall men have an­noed that one shall learne Religion of another for the same shall be manifest unto all, and they shall all know. Yea further t [...]e Lord will forgive them their former iniqui­ties, and will remember their [...]in [...]t no more: which is as if a King af­ter great enmity and discord had amongst his citizens & subjects, should for the establishment of peace and tranquillity among [Page 257] them, abolish divers lawes, and make a perfect [...] [...], common to them all, promising forgivenes of faults by-past, if afterwards they doeamend. And this which hath beene said might suffice to bee spoken for the abrogation of the law, the parts whereof wee will i [...] the next place shew were nei­ther such as in themselves could bee well pleasing unto God, nor ought they to continue for ever.

SECT. VIII.

As the sacrifices which of them­selves were never wel-pleasing unto God.

THe first and chiefe thing to be considered, are the sacrifi­ces, which many of the Hebrewes thinke were invented by man, before that they were comman­ded by God. And true it is indeed, the Hebrewes, were desirous of [Page 158] many rites and ceremonies, which might bee the reason why God enjoyned them so many; Or else because hee would not have them returne unto the worship of fulse Gods, by the remembrance of their sojourning in Egypt.

Howbeit when their posterity made so great reckoning of them, as though of themselves they had beene acceptable unto God, and a part of true piety; then did the Prophets reprehend them for it: I will not reprove thee, saith God by David, in the fiftieth Psalme, for thy sacrifices, or thy burnt offerings to have beene con­tinually before mee. I will take no bullocke out of thy house, nor hee goats out of thy folds.

For every beast of the forest is mine, and so are the cattell upon a thousand hils. I know all the fowles of the mountaines: and the wilde beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee, [Page 259] for the world is mine and the ful­nesse there of: thinkest thou that I [...]ill [...]t the flesh of Buls, or drinke the bloud of goats? Offer unto God thankesgiving, and pay thy vowes unto the most high.

Some there are among the He­brewes, who thinke that this is spoken because they that offered those sacrifices, were of an impure mind, and dishonest conversati­on. But the words now alleaged shew another matter, to wit, that the thing in it selfe was no whit receptable unto God. For if wee consider the whole s [...]ries and or­der of the Psalme, wee shall finde that God in these words speakes unto the godly: for hee had said, Gather my Saints together unto mee, and heare my people: which are the words of a teacher and one that instructeth. Then having ended the saying unto the godly, as his manner is, he speakes unto the wicked: But unto the wicked [Page 260] God saith. To the same sense wee may cite other places, as in the 51. Psal. Thou desirest not sacrifice, else would I give it thee, but thou delightest not in burnt offerings. The sacrifice of God is a brokē Spi­rit: a broken and contrite heart O God thou wilt not despise. So like­wise in the fortieth Psalme; Sacri­fice and offering thou didst not de­fire, mine eares hast thou opened; burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, loe, I come: In the volume of the book it is written of me: I delight to doe thy will, O my God: yea thy law is within my heart. I have preached righteousnesse in the great congre­gation: Loe, I have not refrained my lips O Lord, thou knowest. I have not hid thy righteousnesse within my heart, I have declared thy faithfulnesse and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy loving kindnesse, and thy truth from the great congregation. The like wee [Page 261] reade in the Prophet Isaiah, chap. [...]. To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me, saith the Lord? I am full of the burnt offe­rings of rammes, and the sat of sed beasts, and I delight not in the bloud of bullockes, or of lambs, or of begoats. When yee come to appeare before me, who hath required this at your hand to tread my courts? Answerable to this place is that in Ier. [...]. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh: For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will bee your God, and ye shall be my people: and walke yee in all the wayes that I have commanded you, that it may bee well unto you. Agreeing with this is that in Hosea. 6. I desired [Page 262] mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. Lastly, in the sixth o [...] Micah when the question wa [...] made, how a man might recon­cile God unto himselfe best? whe­ther by comming before him with a great number of rammes or with a great quantity of oyle or with calves of a yeare old? to this God answers and saith, I wil [...] tell thee what is truly good and ac­ceptable unto mee; namely, to do [...] justly, and to love mercy, and t [...] walke humbly with thy God.

By all which places seeing i [...] is evident that sacrifices are no [...] put in the number of such things▪ as God primarily and chiefly re­quires, but that the people by little and little, as commonly they doe, out of a wicked supersti­tion placed the greatest part o [...] godlinesse therein; what wonder is it then if at length God tooke away that which being indiffe­rent [Page 263] in its owne nature, yet by [...] was abused, like as when [...]ing Hezekiah demolished the [...] serpent which was set up by Moses, when the people be­gan to worship the same with re­ [...]igious worship.

Moreover there are divers Prophecies, that foretold these sa­ [...]rifices, whereof we speak, should come to an end: which any one may easily conceive, considering [...]hat according to the law of Mo­ses, onely the posterity of Aa­ [...] was to doe sacrifice, and that onely in their fathers countrey. Thus in the 110 Psalme there is a King promised, whose dominion should be most ample, the begin­ning whereof should bee out of Si­ [...] and this same King was to be [...] Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedeck. So Isai [...] saith, [...]hap. 19. That there shall be an al­ [...]ar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, where not only the [Page 264] Egyptians, but the Assyrians also, and the Israelites shall worship God. And in the [...]6. chapter, he [...] saith that the people of all nati­ons and languages which are farre and widely distant, shall come as well as the Israelites, and offer gifts unto God, and of them also there shall be ordained Priests and Levites: All which could not come to passe so long as the law of Moses remained in force▪ Adde unto these that which in the first of Malachy God foretel­leth of the Hebrewes, saying, I have no pleasure in you, ne [...]her will I accept an offering at your hand. For from the rising of the Sunne even unto the going downe of the same, my name shall bee great among the Gentiles, and in every place in [...]e [...]se shall bee offered unto my name, and a pure offering, for my name shall be great among the hea­then, saith the Lord of hosts.

Lastly, Daniel in his 9. chap­ter [Page 265] rehearsing the Prophecie of the Angel Gabriel concerning Christ, [...]ith that hee shall cause the sacri­fice and the oblation to cease. And [...]ot by words only, but really and indeed God plainely shewes that hee likes not of those sacrifices which were prescribed by Moses, seeing that hee hath suffered the lewes for the space of one thou­sand six hundred years and more to bee without Temple, without Altar, and without any certaine distinction of their Tribes or ly­ [...]age; whence it might appeare who they were that should law­fully offer sacrifice.

SECT. IX.

The difference of meats.

NOw what we have declared concerning the law of sacri­fices, the same may bee proved of that law which forbids the use of some kinds of meats. For it is plain [Page 266] that after Noahs great flood God gave licence unto his posterity to use any sort of victuall: This law or licence passed not only to Iaphet and Cham, but also un­to Sem and his posterity, to wit, Abraham, Isaac, and Iacob. But afterward when the people being in Egypt were addicted to vaine superstitions of that Coun­trey; then began God to forbid them the eating of some kinde of living creatures; either because the Egyptians offered the same creatures unto their Gods and made d [...]vination by them; or be­cause in that ceremoniall law men, sundry [...]es were shadow­ed out by divers kinde of living creatures.

Againe that these precepts were not universall it is manifest by that stature which was made touching the flesh of a beast that [...]ied of it selfe, Deut. 14. which to [...]t was not lawfull for the Israe­lites, [Page 267] but it was lawfull for the [...]rangers unto whom the Iewes by divine command were to per­forme all offices of courtesie, as being inhabitants after a sort commended by God. Likewise the ancient Hebrew Doctors doe plainely teach that in the time of the Messias, the law concerning forbidden meats should cease: when the Sow should be as clean and pure as the Oxe. And verily in as much as God out of all nati­ons would collect unto himselfe [...]e Church, it was more just and equitable to have a common liber­ty than a bondage in such things.

SECT. X.

And of dayes.

IT followes that we consider of festivall dayes: all which were instituted and ordained in re­membrance of that benefit recei­ved of God, to wit, when they [Page 268] were freed from Egyptian calamity, and afterward brought into the promised land. Now the Prophet Ieremy in the 16. and 2 [...] chapters saith, that the time wou [...] come when more new and great [...] benefits should so obscure there membrance of that benefit, as th [...] afterward there should scarce b [...] any mention thereof. Besides, tha [...] which but now was said concerning sacrifices is true also of festivall dayes, the people began to put confidence in them, thinking that if they kept and observe [...] them well, it were no matte [...] though they transgressed in other matters: whereupon in the fir [...] chapter of Isaiah, God saith that his soule hated their new Moone and appointed feasts, and that they were such a trouble unto him [...] that he was weary to beare them▪ More particularly it is objected concerning the Sabbath, that the law thereof is universall and per­petuall [Page 269] because it was not given [...] one peculiar people onely, but [...] Adam the Parent of all man­ [...] at the very beginning of the world. I answer with the most learned of the Hebrewes, that there is a two fold precept concer­ning the Sabbath, the first is a precept for commemoration, Exod. [...]0. 8. and the second is a precept for observation, Exod. 31. 31. The former is fulfilled by a holy re­membrance of the worlds creati­on: and the latter consists in [...] exact refraining from all kinds of worke-a-day labour. The for­mer was giv [...] [...] gi [...]ning, which d [...] godly men before the law did o­bey, to wit, Enoch, Noah, Abra­ham, Isaac, and Iacob: during the time of the many travels which these last performed, we read [...] any where that they ceased or intermitted their journey for the Sabbath, which after they [...] [Page 270] out of Egypt thou shalt alwayes finde. For after that the people were brought out of Aegypt, and had happily passed over the red Sea, the first day was celebrated a Sabbath of rest and safety; wher­in they sang a Song of triumph and rejoicing: from which time that exact rest upon the Sabbath was commanded, which is first mentioned upon occasion of ga­thering the Manna, Exod. 16. 23. Exod. 35. 2. Levit. 23. 3. And in this sense the deliverance from Aegypt is rendred to be a reason for the law of the Sabbath, Deut. 5. 15. By which law it was pro­vided also for servants against the severity of those masters that would not permit them to coase from daily labour, as may be seene in the places aforesaid. It is true indeed, strangers were bound to observe this law because it was meet there should bee one forme of rest among all the people, but [Page 271] this law of so exact resting upon the Sabbath was not given to o­ther people, as may appeare for that in many places it is called a s [...]g [...]e, and a speciall covenant be­tweene God and the Israelites, as in Exod. 31. 13. & 16. Now wee have proved before by the pro­mise of farre greater benefits that the ordinances which were insti­tuted for a memoriall of the com­ming out from Aegypt were not such as ought never to cease. Adde moreover, if the law concerning the rest upon the Sabbath had beene given from the beginning, and in that sense that it never might be abolished; then surely the same had overswayed in co­ping with other lawes; which now makes against it. For it is e­vident that infant, may be right­ly circumcised upon the Sabbath; like as during the time that the Temple stood there were beasts killed for sacrifice aswell upon [Page 272] the Sabbath as upon other daies. Yea the Hebrew Masters them­selves shew the mutability of this law, when they say, that by the Prophets appointment and command a worke may be right­ly done upon the Sabbath day: And this they prove by the ta­king of Ierico upon the Sabbath according to the comman­dement of Ioshuah. And some of them not unfitly shew that the distinction of dayes shall bee taken away in the time of the Messias, namely from that place in Isaiah, chap. 66. [...] it is [...], it shall c [...]me to passe that from one new Moone to another, from one Sab­bath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before the Lord.

SECT. XI.

Also of outward Circumcision.

IN the next place let us come to circumcision, which certain­ly is Elder than Moses: For it was given in command to Abra­ham and his posterity.

Howbeit the commandement thereof was the introduction o [...] beginning of the covenant publi­shed by Moses: For thus we read that God spake unto Abraham▪ Gen. 17. saying, I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an ever­lasting possession, and I will be their God. And God said unto, Abra­ham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou and thy seed after thee: every man-child among you shall be circumcise [...]. But now we know by what hath bin already said, that in the place of this [Page 274] covenant, a new covenant was to succeed which should bee com­mon to all people: Wherefore the necessity therof, which is the note of distinction, ought to cease. Be­sides, in the precept of circumcision there was a mysticall and more excellent significations contained, which the Prophets doe plainely shew in that they command the circumcision of the heart, which all the commandements of Iesus aime at.

Wherefore the promises anne­xed to the circumcision are in like manner to bee referred to some greater thing; As namely that of earthly possessions is referred to the possession of eteruity in the hea­vens; which was never made more manifest than by Iesus: So that promise of making Abra­ham a father of many nations, hath reference to that time, when not a few onely but an infinite num­ber of people dispersed thorow­out [Page 275] the whole world should imitate Abrahams faith and con­fidence in God, which is so often mentioned in seripture; and this can onely bee in the time of [...]e Gospell. Now it, is no marvell if the shadowes of an intended mat­ter be taken away, when the mat­ter it selfe is accomplishe. Lastly, that the grace of God was not tyed to this signe wee may casily discerne, because not onely the ancients, but Abraham himselfe having not as yet received cir­cumcision, pleased God: The He­brewes also dining all the time of their journey through the desarts of Arabia, omitted circumcision, and yet God found no fault with them for it.

SECT. XII.

And yet the Apostles of Iesus were gentle in the toleration of these things.

NO doubt but the Hebrewes had cause to yeeld many thankes to Iesus and his disciples or Ambassadors, for that by Christ they might bee freed from that heavy yoke of ceremonies, and should bee assured of this their freedome both by gifts and mi­racles, such as were not inferiour to those that were wrought by Moses aforesaid.

Neither did the first publishers of our Christian doctrine exact so much of them as to acknowledge this their happinesse: But if they would admit of the Commande­ments of Christ, which were full of all, honesty; they freely and▪ willingly suffered them to fol­low what course of life they [Page 277] pleased in matters of indifferency. Thus neither were the strangers (to whom this law of rites was never given) bound of necessity to observe the same. Which one thing is sufficiēt to make it plain­ly appeare that the Iewes doe un­justly reject the doctrine of Christ under that pretence of the cere­moniall law. Having then answe­red this objection which chiefly is alleaged against the miracles of Iesus: we will now come to other arguments, which may fitly serve for the consutation of the Iewes.

SECT. XIII.

A proofe against the Iewes from, the promised Messias.

IT is agreed upon betweene us and the Iewes about the pre­dictions of the Prophets, that a­mongst the many authors and do­nors of great good things to the [Page 278] Hebrewes, there was one man promised farre more excellent than the rest, whom by a com­mon name they call a Messias; which appellation is proper un­to him after a singular manner. This Messias we say is come long agoe, but they expect him as yet for to come. It remaines then that that we enquire the truth hereof out of those bookes, the authority whereof wee both doe joyntly acknowledge.

SECT. XIIII.

Who is proved to bee already come, by the limitted time of his com­ming which was fore told.

THe Prophet Daniel, whose singular piety is commen­ded by Ezekiel, neither would willingly deceive us, nor was hee himselfe deceived by the Angell Gabriel: yet being taught by the [Page 279] same Angell, in the ninth chap­ter of his Prophecie hee hath left it recorded, that before the space of five hundred yeares should be expired, after the promulgation of the de [...]ree touching the resto­ring of the City Hierusalem, the Messias should come. But now since that time above two thou­sand yeeres have passed; and yet he, whom the Iewes expect, is not come; neither can t [...]ey name any other person to whom that space or time can bee rightly applyed; which notwithstanding agrees so fitly unto Iesus as that Neh [...] ­mias, a Rabbi Doctor, who lived about fifty yeares before Christ, plainly said then, that the time of the Messias foretold by Da­niel could not bee protracted be­yond those fifty yeeres then next ensuing. And with this note of time, agrees another note which wee have toucht before, to wit, concerning the dominion over all [Page 280] nations by divine power, after that the posterity of Seleueus and Lagu [...] had ceased to reigne; the latter whereof ended in Cleopa­tra, a little before Iesus was borne. The third note is set downe in the foresaid Chapter of Dani­el; namely, that after the com­ming of the Messias, the City of Hierusalem should bee over­throwne: which Prophecie of the cities destruction Iosephus him­selfe referreth unto his time; whence it followes that the time appointed for the comming of the Messias, was then already past. Hereunto likewise belongs that in the second chapter of the Prophet Haggai, where God by the Prophet incourageth Zerub­babel the son of Shealtiel governour of Iudah, and Ioshuah the sonne of Iosedech the high Priest, comfor­ting them with this promise, that the glory of the latter house should be greater than the former: which [Page 281] certainly can neither bee meant of the greatnesse of the work, nor of the matter of the building, nor of the fabrick and artificiall stru­cture, nor of the beauty of that Temple, as may appeare by the history of those times both in the holy scriptures and in Iosephus, compared with that of the Tem­ple of Salomon. But God shewes wherein the latter Temple should excell the former, when hee pro­miseth (as it were by a certaine covenant) to establish his peace, that is, his mercy and loving kind­nesse in that Temple: whereof th [...] Prophet Malachy speakes more fully in his third Chapter, Behold I will send my Messenger and he shall prepare the way before me; (now Malachy lived when the latter Temple was built,) And the Lord whom yee seeke shall sud­denly come to his Temple: even the Messenger of the covenant whom yee delight in. Wherefore [Page 282] the Messias ought to come while the second Temple stood, which as the Hebrewes note, was during the space betweene Zerubbabel and Vespasian: for in the time of Herod the great the Temple was not reedified out of its old r [...]ines, but by little and little it was re­paired, bearing still the name of the same Temple. And indeed there was so firme an opinion a­mongst the Hebrewes and the neighbouring people that the Messias was surely to come in those times, that many tooke Herod, others Iudas Gaulonites, and a third sort some that lived about the times of Iesus to be the Messias.

SECT. XV.

Answer to that which some conceive touching the deforring of his cōming for the sins of the people.

SOme of the Iewes perceiving themselves to bee hard put to it by these arguments concerning the comming of the Messias, doe goe about to shift off the same by telling us that their fins were the cause why hee did not come at the promised time. But for an­swer, to omit what is shewne in the Prophecies aforesaid touching the determination of the decree without all exception or uncer­tainty, how is it possible that this comming should be deferred by reason of their sinnes, seeing also it was foretold that because of the many and hainous trans­gressions of the people, the great City should be laid waste a little after the times of the Messias? [Page 284] Moreover the reason why the Messias should come was, that he might both administer a medi­cine to the wicked world, and procure pardon for offences, with­all giving good rules for refor­mation of life. Whereupon in the thirteenth chapter of Zachary, it is meant of his times when it is said that there shall be a fountaine opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Hierusalem, for sinne and for uncleannesse. And it is affirmed by the Hebrewes themselves shall bee called Ish Copher, that is, a reconciler or peacemaker. But it is against all reason to say that any thing was deferred for that disease, to which it was precisely destinated and appointed.

SECT. XVI.

Also from the present state of the Iewes compared with those things which the Law promi­seth.

TOuching this which we af­firme of the comming of the Messias long since into the world, the Iewes are convinced by very sense. God made a covenant with Moses, and promised to them the happy possession of the land of Pa­lestina, so long as they should lead their life according to the commandements of the law: But contrarily hee threatned banish­ment and such like calamity to come upon them if they did grie­vously transgresse the same. Yet if at any time they were afflicted with miseries, and repenting of their sinnes returned unto obedi­ence; then would he be moved to have mercy upon the people, and [Page 286] cause that though they were scattered to the uttermost parts of the earth, yet should they re­turne againe into their owne countrey [...] as wee may reade in Deut. 30 & Nehem. 1. and else-where. But now for the space of one thousand five hundred yeares and more, the Iewes have wanted a Countrey and a Temple, which when they would have built a­new, they were alwayes hindered by some empediment or other. When this people in times past had defiled themselves with abo­minable wickednesses, every where sacrificing even their chil­dren unto Saturne, accounting a­dultery to be no sinne, oppressing and spoiling the fatherlesse and widows, and shedding the inno­cent bloud in great abundance, all which the Prophets did up­braid them with; then did they sufferexile, yet only for the space of seventy yeares, during which [Page 287] time God did not neglect to speak unto them by his Prophets and to comfort them with the hope of a returne, pointing also at the very time thereof. But now ever since they were expelled out of their Countrey, they continue banished and contemptible: No Prophet comes unto them: there is no signe or token of their returne. Their Masters and ring- [...]ers (as if they were blasted with the spirit of giddinesse [...]) are fallen a­way to filthy fables and doctrines very ridiculous, where with the bookes of the Talmud do abound: which they are bold to call the law given by word of mouth, and are wont to equall or preferre the same to that which was delive­red by Moses. For such things as are therein to be read concerning Gods weeping and lamenting be­cause hee had suffered the city to bee destroyed; of his daily care and diligence in reading the law; [Page 288] of Behemoth and Leviathan, and many other matters, are so ab­surd that it would be tedious and irksome to repeat them. Howbeit the Iewes in all this time have neither turned to the worship of false Gods, as they did in times past; neither have they defiled themselves with cruelty, nor are they accused of fornication and a­dultery: But by prayers and fa­stings they labour to appease Gods wrath, and yet are not heard. Which things being so, one of these two must needs bee granted, namely, that either the covenant that was given by Mo­ses is quite abolished; or the Iewes are guilty of some notorious crime, which hath continued for so many ages together: which what it is let themselves speake: or if they cannot tell, then let them beleeve us that this sinne is no other but the contempt of the Messias, who was come be­fore [Page 289] that these evils began to fall upon them.

SECT. XVII.

Iesus is proved to be the Messias by those Prophecies which were foretold concerning the Messias.

BY this which hath been spo­ken it is manifest that the Messias came many ages agoe: wee adde further that the same is no other but Iesus. For what o­ther persons soever either were or would have been accounted the Messias, the same left no sect be­hind them to uphold & maintain that opinion. There are not any at this day that professe them­selves to bee followers either of Herod, or of Iudas Gaulonita, or of that great impostor Barchoche­bas, who living in the times of A­drian said that he was the Messi­as, and deceived some even of the [Page 290] more learned. But those that pro­fesse the name of Iesus, have con­tinued from the time that hee li­ved upon earth, even untill this day being not a few onely in this or that countrey, but very many dispersed as farre as the world extendeth. I could alleage many other testimonies anciently fore­told concerning the Messias, which wee beleeve were accom­plished in Ies [...], since they cannot bee affirmed of any other: as namely that he came of the poste­rity of David, and was borne of a Virgin; which was divinely re­vealed to him that married that Virgin; whom hee would have put away, supposing shee had been got with child by another; Also that this Messias was borne at Bethlehem, and began first to publish his doctrine in Galilee, healing all kindes of diseases, gi­ving sight to the blinde, and ma­king the lame to walke: but this [Page 291] one may suffice for many, that his doctrine continues entire unto this day. It is most manifest by the Prophecies of David, Isaiah, Zachariah, and Hosea, that the Messias was to bee an instructor not onely of the Iewes but also of the Gentile: by whom all worship­pings of false Gods should come to ruine, and a huge multitude of aliens and strangers should bee brought to the worship of the on­ly true God. Before this Iesus his comming almost the whole world was confounded with false worships and religions: which afterward by little and little be­gan to vanish away, and many men both of the common sort and of higher ranke, as Kings and Princes were converted unto the worship and service of one God. This was no grammercy to the Iewish Rabbins; but to the Disci­ples of Iesus and their successors. Thus they were made the people [Page 292] of God, that before were not the people of God; and the saying o [...] old Iacob, Gen. 49. was fulfilled▪ The scopter shall not depart from Iuda untill Sh [...]lo come. Which words the Chaldee and other in­terpreters expound of the Messi­as, to whom the forraine nations should be obedient.

SECT. XVIII.

Answer to that which is objected of some things that are not ful­filled.

THe Iewes usually object that same things were foretold concerning the times of the Mes­sias, which are not yet fulfilled. But for answer, those matters which they alleage are obscure and admit of divers significations: wherefore they are not to be re­ceived before such things as are more manifest; as namely the holinesse [Page 293] of the commandements of Iesus; the excellency of the re­ward, and the perspicuous lan­guage, wherein it is propounded: to which if we adde the testimo­ny of his miracles, there need no other motive for inducement to the receiving of his doctrine. As for those Prophecies which g [...] under the name of a sh [...] o [...] [...]s­ped book, oftentimes for the right understanding thereof, there is requisite some divine helpes and assistance; which they are worthi­ly deprived of, that neglect manifest truths. The place, of scripture which they alleage are divers [...]y expounded, as themselves cannot deny. And if any man please to compare either the an­cient interpreters which lived when the people were led cap­tive into Babylon, or such as lived about Christs time, with those that writ after that Christianity began to bee hatefull and odious [Page 294] unto the Iewes, hee shall finde no expositions purposely invented, to crosse those former that well agreed with Christian interpreta­tions. They know well enough that there are many things in the holy scriptures which must bee understood by a trope, and not in property of speech; as when God is said to have descended; and to have a mouth, eares, eyes and no­strils. And why may not we like­wise expound divers things that are spoken of the times of the Messias after the same manner; as that the wolfe shall dwell with the lambe, and the Leopard shall lye downe with the k [...]d, and the c [...]lfe and the young lion, and the failing together; and the sucking childe shall play with the Ser­pents: and the mountaine of gold shall bee exalted above other mountaines, whither strangers shall come and worship.

There are some things promi­sed [Page 295] which by antecedent and consequent words, or by the ve­ry sense imply a secret condition in them. Thus God promised ma­ny things unto the Hebrewes up­on condition they would receive the Messias that was sent, and o­bey him: which same things if they come not to passe accord­ingly, then may they blame themselves that are the cause thereof.

Againe, other matters were promised expresly and wi [...]hout all condition, which if they bee not already accomplished, yet may bee hoped for hereafter. For it is [...]vident even among the Iewes, that the time or Kingdome of the Messias must endure unto the end of the world.

SECT. XIX.

And to that which is objected of the meane condition and death of Iesus.

MAny doe take exception at the meeke and meane con­dition of Iesus: but unjustly, be­cause in sacred writ it is often said that God will exalt the humble and meeke, but cast downe the proud. Iacob when bee passed over Ior­dan carried nothing with him save his staffe only; and yet was enriched with a great slocke of sheepe.

Moses was a poore exile, and feeding the slockes, when God appeared to him in the bush, and gave him commission for the conduct of his people. David al­so was called to his Kingdome when hee was feeding [...], and with many other such like exam­ples doth the sacred story a­bound. [Page 297] Now concerning the Messias, we reade, that he should bee a gladsome Messenger unto the poore, that hee should make no noise in publike, or use any strife and contention, but deale gently, forbearing to breake the shaken reed, and unwilling to quench the smoaking [...]l [...]x.

Neither can any of his afflicti­ons, no not his ig [...] death, make him desp [...]cable to any. For God oftentimes suffereth the god­ly, not onely to be vexed and dis­quieted by the wicked, as righte­ous Lot was by the citizens of Sodome: but also even to bee de­stroyed and slaine, as is plaine by the example of Abel who was cruelly murdered; of Isa [...] who was saw [...]n in peeces; and of the saven brethren in the Machabees, who together with their mother were miserably [...]o [...]mented and put to death. The very Iewes themselves sing the Se [...]h [Page 298] Psalme, wherein are these words, The dead bodies of thy servants have they given to bee mea [...] unto the fowles of the heaven: the flesh of thy Saints unto the beasts of the earth. Their blood have they shed like water round about Ierusalem: and there was none to [...] them. And whosoever considers the words of Isaiah in the 53. chap­ter, cannot deny that the Messias himselfe ought to have passed thorow much aff [...]ion and death, to come into his Kingdome, and obtain power to adorne his hous­hold or Church with excellent gifts.

The words in the Prophet are these; Who hath beleeved our re­port, and to whom is the arme of the Lord revealed. For he shal grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of the dry ground: Hee hath no forme or comelinesse, and when wee shall see him, there is no beauty that wee should desire him. [Page 299] He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrowes, and acquain­ted with griefes: And we hide as it were our faces from him. He was despised, and wee esteemed him not. Surely hee hath borne our griefes, and carried our sorrowes, yet wee did esteeme him striken, s [...]itten of God and afflicted. But hee was wounded for our tr [...]s hee was bruised for our [...]quities: the [...]hastifement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes wee are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his owne way: And the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of [...]ll. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted; yet he opened not his mouth. He is brought as a lambe to the slaugh­ter, and as a sheeps before [...]shea­rers is dumbe, so he openeth not his mouth. He [...] was taken from pris [...], and from judgement, and who shall declare his generation. For he was out off out of the land of the living; [Page 300] for the transgression of my people he was striken; and he made his grav­with the wicked, and with the rich in his death: because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet i [...] hath pl [...]sed the Lord to bruise him: [...]ee [...]ath put him to griefe. When thou [...] make his soyle an offering for [...] he shall see his seed, he shall pr [...] his dayes; and the pleasure of [...]e Lord shall prosper in his hand; Her shall [...]ee of the travell of his soyle, and shall be satisfied: by his know­ledge shall my righteous servant iustifie many. For hee shall beare their iniquities, therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the [...] with the strong: because hee hath powred out his soule unto death. And hee was numbred with the transgressors, and he bare the sinne of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. Who is there ei­ther among the Kings or Pro­phets, [Page 301] to whom these things can be applyed? Surely none. As tou­ching that shift which some later Iewes have invented, telling us that the Prophet speakes here of the Hebrewes dispersed thorow all nations, that by his owne ex­ample and manner of speech hee might every where gaine the more Proselytes; this sense first of all is repugnant to many testimo­nies of holy writ which say, that no harme is befalne the Iewes, which they by their evill deeds have not deserved, and a great deale more. Then againe the very forme of the Propheticall speech beares not that interpretation For either the Prophet, (which seemes more proper to that place) or God saith: This evill happened unto him for the iniquities of my people. Now the people of Isaiah, or the peculiar people of God, are the people of the Hebrewes, there­fore hee who is said by Isaiah to [Page 302] have suffred for grievous things, cannot be that people.

But the ancient Doctors of the Hebrewes more inge [...]iously confesse that these things were spoken of the Messias; whereup­on some later among them have fained two Messiases; the one they call the sonne of Ioseph, who was to suffer many miseries and a bloody death: the other is the sonne of David, to whom all things should succeed prospe­rously. Howbeit better it were, and more consonant with the writings of the Prophets, to ac­knowledge but one Messias, who was to passe unto his Kingdome through many difficulties and death it selfe, which we beleeve of Iesus, as the matter it selfe de­clares to be most true.

SECT. XX.

As though they were honest men that put him to death.

MAny of the Iewes are kept backe from the discipline and profession of Iesus by a cer­tain preconceived opinion of the vertue and honesty of their ance­stors, and specially of the Priests, who out of prejudice condem­ned Iesus and rejected his do­ctrine. But concerning the quali­ty of their Ancestors, (that they may see I doe them no wrong) let them heare the words of their owne law and Prophets, wherein they are often called uncircumci­s [...]d in heart and eares, a people that honoured God with their lips, and with the garnish of ceremo­nies; but their hearts were farre from him. It was their Ancestors that went about and were very neare to have kild their brother [Page 304] Ioseph; and in very deed sold him into bondage. It was their ance­stors that by their continuall mu­tinies and seditions made Moses weary of his life, who was their leader and redeemer, to whom the earth, the sea, and the A [...]e obey­ed. These were they that loathed the bread that was sent from hea­ven; complaining as though they had beene in greatest want and scarcity, even when they belched up againe the fowle and food that they had eaten. It was their Ancestors that forsaking David so excellent and good a King, fol­lowed Absolon his rebellious sonne. It was their Ancesters that slew Zachariah the sonne of [...]e­h [...]iada in the most holy place, so making their Priest himselfe an oblation of their cruelty in the very Court of the house of the Lord. Now concerning the Priests, they were such as conspi­red the death of Ieremy by a false [Page 305] accusation, and had kild him in­deed, unlesse they had been hin­dered by the authority of the go­vernors: notwithstanding which, they prevailed so farre as to have him imprisoned untill the very moment that the City was taken. If any man imagine those were any thing better that lived in the times of Iesus, then Iosephus will shew him his error, who describes their villanous acts and grievous torments, the like were never heard of, and yet as hee thinkes, below desert. Neither may wee conceive more favourably of their great Councellor Senate; spe­cially because at that time the Senators were not chosen after the old custome by laying on of hands, but by the favour, becke, or sway of great men. Neither were the Priests elected for terme of life, but obtained the dignity of Priest-hood onely from yeare to yeare, and that oftentimes for [Page 306] money. We need not then wonder if men that were puffed up with pride, being boundlesse in their ambition and covetousnesse, did breake out into fury and mad­nesse, when they beheld a man that by his holy precepts and up­right behaviour, reproved their farre different life and vitious con­versation. Neither did it happen otherwise to him in point of re­proach and mis-usage, than to the best of the Prophets that lived long before. Thus that Micaiah, that lived in the time of Iehosa­phat, was cast into prison, because he boldly spake the truth against the opinion and sentence of foure hundred lying Prophets. Ahab up­braided Eli [...]ah, just as the Priests did Iesus, saying, that he was the man that troubled the peace of Is­rael. So likewise Ieremy was ac­cused as well as Iesus for prophe­sying against the Temple. Adde moreover what the ancient Do­ctors [Page 307] of the Hebrewes foretold, namely how that in the times of the Messias, there should bee men like to bruit beasts in their cur­ [...]ish churlish dispositions, in their asse-like stubbornnesse and inhu­mane cruelty. God himselfe, fore­seeing long before how most of the Iewes would stand affected in the time of the Messias, said it would come to passe that they should become his people, who were not his people; and of all the Cities and Townes of the Iewes scarce one or two would goe to the holy mountaine: Howbeit that which was defective in their number should bee supplyed by strangers: Also that the Messias should bee a downfall to the He­brewes: and this stone which the builders refused, should bee put in the chiefe place for the accom­plishment of the worke.

SECT. XXI.

Answer to the objection, that ma­ny Gods are worshipped by the Christians.

THere remaine yet two obje­ctions to bee answered which the Iewes alleage both against our Christian doctrine and worship. The first is in that they say wee Christians doe worship many Gods.

But we answer that this is no­thing but a forced exposition of anothers opinion out of hatred. For why should this be more ob­jected against us Christians, than against Philo the Iew, who often­times makes three powers or ver­tues to bee in God, and cals the reason or the word of God, the name of God, the maker of the wo [...]ld; neither uncreate as is God the father of all, nor so begotten as other men are. Or against the [Page 309] Cabalists, who distinguish God into three lights, by the same names that Christians doe; to wit, of the Father, of the Sonne or the word, and of the holy Ghost. And not to omit what is agreed upon by all the Hebrewes, the same Spirit wherewith the Prophets were moved and inspired is not any created thing, and yet it is distinguished from the sender thereof: as also that which they commonly call schecina: others the name of God, as Philo; and o­thers his visage or countenance: Moses the sonne of Nehema [...]s, as also Philo cals it the Arch­angell or chiefe Ambassador that regards the world, and some­times God. Now many of the He­brewes have taught that that di­vine power which they terme wisdome, shall dwell in the Mes­sias; whence by the Chaldee Pa­raphrast the Messias is called the word of God: So like wise the [Page 310] Messias by David, Isaiah, and others is stiled by those renowned names of God and Lord.

SECT. XXII.

And that a humane nature is wor­shipped.

WIth like facility may we answer the other objecti­on which they alleage against us, saying that we exhibit unto the creature that worship and honour, which is due unto God the crea­tor. For wee say that no other ho­nour or worship is given by us un­to the Messias than is required by the eleventh and the hundred and tenth Psalmes. The former whereof after a sort was fulfilled in David, but after a more ex­cellent manner belongs unto the Messias, as David Kimhi him­selfe a great adversary of Chri­stians doth acknowledge. And [Page 311] the latter can bee expounded of no other but of the Messias. For that which some later Iewes have fained and imagined of Abra­ham, David, and Hezekiah, is but vaine and [...]ous. [...]he said Psalme is Davids, as the Hebrew [...]scription doth shew: That then which David saith, The Lord said unto my Lord, can neither be applyed to David himselfe, nor to Hezekiah, who amongst Da­vids posterity did excell David in nothing. And Abraham had no singular Priesthood, but was blessed of Melchisedeck, as the lesse of the greater. Likewise that which followes concerning the scepter that should goe out of Sion and come to the uttermost coasts, doth plainely appertaine unto the Messias, as is manifest by other like places which doubtlesse are meant of the Mes­sias; being no otherwise received by the more ancient Hebrewes [Page 312] and Paraphrasts. Now I may as well beleeve that it is Iesus of Nazareth in whom properly these things are fulfilled, being induced thereunto by the singu­lar integrity and honesty of his Disciples, who constantly affirme the same; as the Iewes beleeve Moses in those matters which without any other witnesse, him­selfe affirmed were delivered to him of God. But besides this there are many forcible argumen [...]s of that most excellent power, which wee say Iesus hath obtained; As namely in that hee was seene of many after he was risen from the dead: And many beheld him when he was taken up into hea­ven: Devils also were cast out, and diseases were cured onely by his name. So were the gift of tongues given to his Disciples, which Iesus himselfe promised should bee signes of his King­dome. [Page 313] Adde unto these, that his Scepter, that is, the word of the Gospell is gone out of Sion, being spread a­broad to the utmost parts of the earth, not by mans might, but on­ly by divine power: The nations also and Kings are subdued unto him, as the said Psalmes did plainly foretell. The Iewish Caba­lists place a certaine sonne of [...]ch, as a Mediator between God and men; yet with no token or e­vident marke of such power: how much more reason have wee to horor him, that gave such proofe and demonstration of his power and might?

Neither doth this tend to les­sen or diminish the dignity of God the Father, from whom this power of Iesus doth proceed, to whom also it must returne, and to whose honour the same doth appertaine.

SECT. XXIII.

The conclusion of this part with prayer for the Iewes.

BVt it is not our purpose in this worke to make any fur­ther curions inquiry into these matters: neither had wee spoken hereof, but onely to shew that there is no wicked of absurd point in our Christian doctrine, which any one can pretend why he may not embrace our Religion, which is beautified and confir­med with so many wonders, ha­ving so many honest and holy c [...]andements, and promising such excellent reward. For he that hath once received and embra­ced the same, must for further in­struction in speciall and particular qu [...]stions, reade and meditate those bookes wherein, as we have formerly declared, the points of Christian Religion are contained; [Page 315] which that it may come to passe, we beseech the Almighty to illu­minate the hearts and mindes of the Iewes with the brightnesse of his truth, and to make those prayers effectuall which Christ himselfe uttered for them, even while hee was hanging upon the Crosse.

The sixth Booke OF THE TRVNESSE OF Christian Religion.

SECT. 1.

A confutation of Mahumeta­nisme: the beginning of it.

IN this sixth book made for consutation of Turks, by way of preface the consideratiō of the judgements of God against Christians, leads us to the very beginning of Mahumetanism [...] [Page 318] namely, how that true and sin­cere godlinesse, which flourished even amongst the Christians that were grievously tormented and oppressed, afterward began by little and little to wax cold, to wit, from that time that by the meanes of Constantine and other Emperours, the same profession be­came not onely safe, but also ho­nourable, the world being as it were thrust into the Church. For first of all when Christian Prin­ces might have enjoyed peace and quietnesse, then would they needs bee fighting and still up in armes.

Amongst the Bishops also there was hot and bitter contention a­bout the chiefest Sees: And as at the beginning very much hurt ensued upon the preferring of the tree of knowledge before the [...]re [...] of life, so did there great harme follow in these times when curiosity of knowledge was more regarded [Page 319] than a godly life, when piety and Religion was made a deceitfull or cunning art. For af­terward so it happened, as to them that built the Tower of Ba­bylon, the indiscreet affectation of high matters above their reach, bred nothing but jarring and confused speeches, together with disagreement in opinion: which the common sort observing, they were driven into a quandary, of­ten doubting what to thinke or which way to turne themselves, laying all the blame upon the holy scriptures, and began to es­chew them as hurtfull and dan­gerous.

Then began Religion, (as if Iudaisme had beene revived a­gain,) generally to consist more in [...]ites and ceremonies than in the purity and sanctity of the minde: rather in bodily services than spi­rituall devotions: some siding one way, and some another; still [Page 320] obstinately persisting in that opi­nion which they had once em­braced, till at length it came to that passe, that in each place there were many Christians by name, but really and indeed very few.

God did not winke at these transgressions of his people: but from the utmost parts of S [...]ythia and Germany powred out like a flood, and dispersed great troupes into the Christian world; which made great slaughter among the Christians.

Howbeit this judgement of God upon them prevailed not to worke those Christians that sur­vived to amendment; whereup­on by his just permission, Mahu­met began to plant a new Religion in Arabia, such as was manifest­ly opposite to Christian Religion: yet after a sort in words it did ex­presse the life of a great part of Christians.

This Religion was first recei­ved [Page] by the Saracens, who revol­ted from Heraclius the Empe­rour, and in a short space by their martiall enterprises won Arabia, Syria, Palestina, Egypt, Persia, A­frica and Spaine. But the power and might of [...]hefe-Saracens was asswaged, chiefly among others by the Turkes, a people very li [...]i­gious: who after long wars held against the said Saracens, being, invited to peace, did easily enter­taine their Religion, which suited well with their conditions; and transferred the Majesty of the Empire unto themselves. Then having taken the cities of Asia and Greece, with successe in their Martiall attempts, they entred upon Hangary and the borders of Germany.

SECT. II.

The overthrow of the foundation of Mahumetanisme in denying inquiry into Religion.

THis Religion being fully framed for the shedding of blood, abounds with rites and ceremonies, and must bee belee­ved without all liberty of enqui­ry there into; whence the vulgar are prohibited to reade the books that are accounted holy. Which thing seemes a manifest argu­ment of the iniquity thereof; For justly may that Merchandise bee suspected, which is vendible onely upon condition it may not be seene.

It is true indeed, there is not in all men a like capacity or knowledge, and quicke in-sight into all things; many being led into errour by pride; others by inordinate passion or affection; [Page 323] and some by custome. But the divine goodnesse forbids us to thinke that those men may not know and finde the way to eter­nall salvation, who seek the same, not for any by-respect of profit or honour, but with submission of themselves and all they have un­to God, imploring his assistance for the obtaining of the same. And since that God hath implan­ted in the mind of man the power and faculty of understanding, there is no part of truth that bet­ter deserves the imployment thereof than that which cannot bee unknowne without the dan­ger of losing eternall salvation.

SECT. III.

A proofe against the Mahume­tanes taken out of the bookes of the Hebrewes and Christians which are not corrupted.

IT is granted by Mahumet and his followers, that Mo­ses was sent of Gods So like wise was Iesus and those holy men which first of all published the doctri [...] of Iesus. But in the Alcoran, which is Mahumets law, many things are recorded plaine contrary to what was taught by Moses and by the Di­sciples of Iesus. Thu [...] to give one example for many, all the Apo­stles and Disciples of Christ with one consent doe testifie that Iesus was crucified; that the third day he was restored to life again, and after that was seene of many. But Mahumet teacheth quite con­trary▪ [...] namely, that Iesus was [Page 325] privily taken up into heaven: not himselfe, but some thing in his likenesse was nailed to the Crosse; and consequently; he did not die; but the sight of the Iewes was deluded and deceived.

This objection cannot bee put off, unlesse Mahumet say, (as he doth) that the bookes of Moses and of Christs disciples have not remained as they were at first; but have beene corrupted. How­beit wee have-confuted this fi­ction before in the third booke.

Certes, if any man should say that the Alchoran is corrupted, the Mahumetans would deny it; and that were enough to say for an answer sufficient to those that could not prove the contrary. But they, for the integrity of their booke, cannot alleage such argu­ments, as we doe produce, concer­ning the severall copies that were in a short space dispersed tho­rowout the world, and that, not [Page 326] as the Alchoran, in one language; which copies were preserved by the faithfull dealing of so many sects, that varied much about o­ther matters.

The Mahumetans are per­swaded that in the fourteenth chapter of Iohn, where mention is made of sending the comforter, there had beene something re­gistred concerning Mahumet, which the Christians have razed out. But here let me aske of them, whether they thinke this depra­vation of scripture was commit­ted since the time of Mahumet, or before.

That it happened not after the comming of Mahumet is plaine, because ever since that time there have been in the world very ma­ny Copies, not only in the Greeke language, but in the Syriacke, A­rabicke, Ethiopicke and Latine tongues of divers translations: all which doe so agree in that same [Page 327] place, as there cannot be showen any diversity at all. Next before the time of Mahumet there was no cause of alteration: For no man could know before his com­ming what Mahumet would teach. Yea, if the doctrine o [...] Ma­humet had contained nothing contrary to the doctrine of Iesus, the Christians would have made no more a-doe to receive his books than they did to receive the bookes of Moses and the Hebrew Prophets. Or suppose there was nothing written either of the do­ctrine of Iesus or of Mahumet, yet it is but equity that that should bee received for the do­ctrine of Iesus which all Christi­ans generally agree upon; and that for the doctrine of Mahumet which all Mahumetans doe al­low of.

SECT. IIII.

By comparing Mahumet with Christ in their persons.

IN the next place let us com­pare the adjuncts and quality of both their doctrines, to the end wee may see whether of the two is to bee preferred before the o­ther: And first wee may consider the dignity and worth of the au­thors. As for Iesus, Mahumet himselfe confesseth, that hee was the Messias, which was promised in the law and in the Prophets; whom the same Mahumet cal, the word, the minde and the wis­dome of God; saying also that hee had no father by mankind.

But Mahumet (as his owne followers beleeve) was genera­ted and begot according to the ordinary course of nature. The life of Iesus was altogether unblame­able, there being no crime that [Page 329] could bee objected against him: But Mahumet a long time was a rob [...]er, and alwayes eff [...]inate. Iesus ascended into heaven as Mahumet confesseth; but Ma­humet lies yet in [...]ombed in his s [...]pulchre. Who then sees not whether of them is to bee fol­lowed?

SECT. V.

And in their deeds.

NExt the dignity of their per­sons consider we their acts. Iesus gave sight to the blinde, health to them that were sicke, and made the lame to walke; yea by Mahumets owne confession, hee raised some from the dead. But Mahumet-saith of himselfe that hee was sent, not with mira­cles, but with feats and instru­ments of warre. Howbeit some of his followers grace him with mi­racles: [Page 330] But what kind I pray? On­ly such as may bee done by hu­mane are; as that of a Dove that came flying to his eare: or such as had no eye-witnesses, as that of a Camel, which is said to have had some conference with him by night: or lastly such as for their absurdity are incredible, and so need no further confutation; as that a great part of the Moone fell into his lap, or into his sleeve; and he, to preserve the roundnesse of that star, threw the same part up agoine. Now who will not say that in a doubtfull case wee must yeeld rather to that law, which hath the more certaine testimonies of divine approba­tion▪

SECT. VI.

Also such as first embraced both Religions.

NExt, let us see who and what manner of persons they were that first received these severall lawes. They that first embraced the law of Iesus, were such as feared God, men of an innocent life: Now it stands not with the goodnesse of God to suffer such men to bee guld and [...]hea [...]d, either through the de­ [...] of cu [...]ing speeches, or by a­ny other imposture. But those that first professed Mahumetanisme were starke theeves and robbers, estranged from all humanity and godlinesse.

SECT. VII.

The manner how both their lawes were propagated.

IN the next place followes the manner how both their several Religions were propagated and spread abroad. As for Christianity we have showne before by what meanes it was inlarged and am­plified, to wit, by the miracles, not onely of Christ, but also of his Disciples, and those that succee­ded them: as like wise by the ve­ry patient enduring of the tor­ment, and punishments that Christians suffered. But the Do­ctors of Mahumetisme wrought no miracles at all: neither did they suffer any grievous persecu­tions, or bitter kinds of death for their profession: But as their Re­ligion was bred, so hath it beene maintained by warre; they having no better argument for the truth [Page 333] thereof, than their good successe in their martiall enterprises, and the largenesse of their Empire; than the which nothing in this point is more deceitfull and un­certaine.

They condemne the worship and services of the Pagan: and yet we know what great victo­ries the Pagans have had, as is plaine of the Persians, Maced [...]ni­ [...]s and Romans; and how ample their dominions were. Neither have the Mahumetans them­selves had alwayes good successe with their armies. The slaughters and great overthrowes that they have received in many places both by Sea and by Land, are not unknowne. They are now ba­nished quite out of all Spaine.

There is nothing that suffers such alterations and changing, nothing that may bee common both to good and bad, which can bee a certaine note of true Religi­on: [Page 334] much lesse can their warrings, which are so unjust that often­times they quarrell and contend with some people that doe not a­ny way molest or offend them, and they are wont to set upon such as offer them no injury at all; in so much that all the pre­tence they have for contending, is onely the cause of Religion, which is a most ungodly thing.

For there is no true worship of God, but what proceeds from a willing minde. And the will may bee well wrought upon by good instruction and gentle perswasion, but not so well by rigorous threats or violence. Hee that is compelled to beleeve, doth not beleeve at all, but playes the hy­pocrite, and faines himselfe to be­leeve that hee may escape and a­void some danger or punishment. And hee that by awe or sense of punishment will force another mans assent, gives just occasion [Page 335] thereby to suspect that hee di­strusts his other arguments. A­gaine they destroy the very pre­tence of their Religion, in that they suffer any people that live under their dominion, to use what Religion they please: yea, and sometimes they will openly ac­knowledge, that Christians may bee saved by their owne law.

SECT. VIII.

The precepts of both Religions compared.

FVrthermore let us compare the severall commandements of both Religions: the one wher­of commandeth patience, yea and love even to them that are hate­full: But in the other revenge is allowed of. In the one the bond of matrimony is kept firme and inviolable betweene the married parties, by a mutuall bearing with [Page 336] one anothers conditions: But in the other there is licence granted to depart and be divorced. Here the Husband performes himselfe what he requires of his wife, and by his owne example teacheth her to fallen her affection upon him alone: But there they may have wives after wives, there be­ing still new incentives and fresh provocations to lust. Here, Religi­on is planted within, and rooted in the very heart and soule, to the end the same may bring forth fruit profitable for mankind: but there Religion consists for the most part in Circumcision, and in some other things that of them­selves are neither good nor bad. Finally here, in Christianity a moderate use of meats and wine is allowed of: but there in Ma­humetisme men are forbidden to eat swines flesh and to drink wine: which notwithstanding is a great gift of God, beneficiall both [Page 337] for body and minde, if it bee so­berly taken.

And it is no wonder if some childish rudiments were taught before so perfect a law as that of Christ is: But after the promulga­tion thereof, to returne againe to types and figures were preposte­tous. Neither can any just reason be given why after Christian Re­ligion, which is clearely the best, there should any other bee pro­pounded and taught.

SECT. IX.

Answer to the Mahumetans obje­ction concerning the Son of God.

THE Mahumetans tell us they are not a little displea­sed with us for saying that God hath a sonne, seeing he useth not a wife: As though the word sonne could not have a more divine signification in God. But Mahu­met [Page 338] himselfe attributes many things as dishonorable and ill-be­seeming God, as if he should be said to have a wife:

Thus hee saith that God had a cold hand, which himselfe knew by experience: that God was car­ried in a chaire and the like.

Howbeit when wee say that Iesus is the sonne of God, we doe but signifie the same thing that he meanes when hee cals him the word of God: For the word is af­ter a sort generated of the minde. Adde further that hee was borne of a Virgin onely by the operati­on of God, supplying the vertue or esticacy of a Father: that by the power of God, hee was carried up into heaven; all which being confessed even by Mahumet himselfe, doe shew that Iesus by a singular pre [...]ogative and pe­culiar right may and ought to be called the sonne of God.

SECT. X.

Many absurd things in the bookes of Mahumetans.

BVt on the other side it would be long to relate how many things there are, contrary to the truth of history; and many things very ridiculous in the wri­tings of the Mahumetans. Such is that fable of a faire and beautiful woman that learned a solemne thar [...]e or enchanting verse of some Angels that were merry with wine, whereby shee was wont to ascend into the sky, and likewise descend againe; and a­scending once a great height into heaven, shee was caught of God and there made fast; and so was called the starre of Venus.

Like to this is that of a mouse in Noahs Arke that was bred of an Elephants dung: and a cat of the breath of a lion.

[Page 340] More specially the most notori­ous fiction of all is that concerning death which should bee changed into a Ramme that must remaine in the middle space betweene heaven and hell. Such also is the fable of their delicate meats, which they say shall bee purged out by sweat in the other life which is to come: When likewise (they imagine) there shall bee whole troupes of women assigned to every man for pleasure of car­nall copulation. All which are so very egregious absurdities that whosoever beleeves them, de­serves to bee stupified and given over to a reprobate sense for his iniquity; specially such a one as lives where the light of the Go­spell shineth.

SECT. XI.

A conclusion directed unto Chri­stians, admonishing them of their duty upon their occasion of what hath formerly beene handled.

ANd thus having ended this last disputation against the Mahumetans, there remaines on­ly a conclusion or exhortation, not to aliens or strangers, but to all sorts of Christians of what name, nation, or quality soever they be: Wherein wee shall very briefly shew the use or applicati­on of what hath hitherto beene delivered, to the end those things may be followed and sought af­ter which are good; and on the contrary the evill eschewed.

First of all then let Christians bee exhorted to lift up prire hands and hearts unto that God which of nothing made all visible and [Page 342] invisible things; having sure con­fidence in him, that his providence and care watcheth over us; seeing that without his permission, not so much as a Sparrow fals to the ground. And let them not feare those which can only ki [...]l the bo­dy, but rather let then feare him that hath like power both over soule and body. And let them not onely trust in God the Father, but also in Iesus Christ his sonne, since there is no other name upon earth by which we can be saved: And this they may rightly doe if they can bee verily perswaded that eternall life is prepared, not for such as in word onely call God their Father, and Iesus their Lord, but for such as frame their life according to the will of Iesus, and their Father which is in hea­ven.

Furthermore Christians may hereby be admonished faithful­ly and with due care to preserve [Page 343] the doctrine of Christ as a most precious treasure: And for this cause let them often read and me­ditate the bookes of the holy scripture, whereby no man can be deceived, unlesse first hee deceive himselfe. For the authors and penmen of those writings were more just and full of divine inspi­ration, than that they would cozen us of necessary truthes, or cover and conceale the same with any clouds.

Howbeit for the right under­standing hereof, wee must bring humble mindes, together with o­bedient hearts and wils: which if wee doe, then nothing shall bee hid from us which ought to bee beleeved, hoped for, or done by us: And by this meanes that holy Spirit may bee cherished and ex­cited in us, which is given us for a pledge of our future happi­nesse.

Moreover let Christians here­by [Page 344] learn not to immitate the cu­stomes of the Pagans, specially in their worship of false Gods, which are nothing but idle names that the damned spirits doe use, to alienate our mindes and affe­ctions from the worship of the true God. Wherefore wee cannot possibly participate with them in their services, and expect to re­ceive benefit by the sacrifice of Christ. Secondly, neither may Christians imitate the heathen in their licentious and dissolute manner os life; having no other law than what is suggested by lust and prompted by concupi­scence. For it is requisite and meet that in holy conversation they should not onely farre excell the vitious and prophane Pagans, but likewise the lawyers and Pha­risies among the Iewes; whose righteousnesse consisting onely in some outward performances, could never bring them to the [Page 345] heavenly Kingdome. Circumcisi­on that is made with hands is now nothing worth, but it is the inward Circumcision of the heart, the keeping of Gods commande­ments, the new creature, faith that is perfected in love, which make men knowne to be true Israelites and mysticall Iewes, that is, prai­sers of God, and commendable in his sight. The distinction of meats, the Sabbathes and feast­dayes were but types and sha­dowes of things in Christ and in Christians.

In like manner, by occasion of Mahumetisme wee may bee ad­monished of that which our Lord Iesus foretold, namely that after his time there should arise false Christs and false Prophets. which should lye, and say they were sent of God. But suppose that an Angell should come from heaven, yet wee may not receive or entertaine any other doctrine [Page 346] than that which Christ hath left us, confirmed by so many testimo­nies. For God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake unto the godly that lived in times past, hath in these last dayes spoken unto us by his sonne, whom hee hath appointed heire of all things, who is the brightnesse of his Fa­thers glory, and the expresse i­mage of his substance, by whom all things are created that ever were or shall be, who upholdeth and governeth all things by his power, and having purged our sins, is now set at the right hand of God, being made so much better than the Angels, as hee hath by inheritance obtained a more ex­cellent name than they, there be­ing now no hope of any thing more noble and glorious than this law-giver.

Upon the same occasion Chri­stians may remember that the weapons of Christ and of their [Page 347] Christian warfare, are not such as Mahumet used, but spirituall, able to cast downe strong holds, and e­very thing that exasteth it selfe against the knowledge of God. For our bukler, we have the shield of faith, whereby wee may with­stand the fiery darts of the devill: For a brest-plate wee must have righteousnesse or integrity of life: The hope of eternall salvation is a helmet, which may cover the weakest part: And the word of God is a sword, that pierceth into the most inward parts of the soule.

After all this followes the ex­hortation to mutuall concord, which Christ at his departure so solemnly, and with such earnest­nesse commended unto his Disci­ples. There ought not to be many Masters and Doctors amongst us, but we must have one Master, e­ven Iesus Christ. All Christians are baptized unto one name, wherefore it is expedient that [Page 348] there bee no se [...]ls or divisions a­mong them: for the cure and re­medy of which evils, if any such arise, wee have divers Apostolicall sayings worthy to bee observed and practised; as, let no man thinke more highly of himselfe than hee ought to thinke; but let men be wise with sobriety, accor­ding as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. If any doe not so well conceive and rightly understand all things as they ought, then their weak [...]esse must be born with, that so with out all jarring asperi [...]y they may be united and knit together with us after a most sweet, calme and milde manner. If any doe excell the rest in understanding; it is but meet also that they surpasse them in love, in holy affection and good endevours. And as for those that in some points are of different o­pinion from such as hold the truth, Gods leasure must bee wai­ted [Page 349] for, untill it please him to re­veale the same truth, that yet lies hid from them: and in the meane while those things which are a­greed upon, must be stedfastly kept and duly practised.

We know now in part onely, but the time shall come when all things shall be known most plain­ly and after a perspicuous man­ner. For the present let every one be intreated and perswaded unto this; namely, that they doe not unprofitably occupy or hoord up the talent comitted to them upon trust, but that they endevour by all meanes possible to win others unto Christ. For wch purpose we must not onely use good langua­ges and wholesome speeches, but also the example of good life; that so the goodnesse of our master may appeare by us his servants, and the integrity of the law by our laudable actions,

Lastly, our speech returning [Page 350] unto valgar readers, intreateth them, that if hereby they reape any good, they would give thanks to God for it. But if otherwise a­ny thing seeme distastefull, let them impute it partly to the common infirmity of mans nature, that is prone to errour; and part­ly to the time and place wherein this worke was rather hastily composed than diligently plyed.

FINIS.

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