MINVCIVS FELIX His dialogue called OCTAVIVS.

Containing a defence of Christian religion.

Translated by RICHARD IAMES of C. C. C. OXON.

OXFORD, Printed by LEONARD LICHFIELD, for Thomas Huggins. 1636.

TO MY LADY COTTON, Wife vnto Sr ROBERT COTTON of Conington.

MADAME I haue receiued many favours from you, and doe in thankfullnesse present [Page] vnto your Ladishippe this my translation of Minutius Felix his di­alogue which consists of three speakers, M. Mi­nucius Felix, Cecilius Natalis, and Octavius Ianuarius. The one is judge, the other produ­ces in a flourishing ora­tion all the arguments of the Gentiles against Christian religion, and the third makes vnto them such cleare an­sweare [Page] as I belieue it will reioyce a Christian reader to vnderstand. Wherefore as the better sort of Greekes, Romans, Italian, French and others haue taken a pleasure to render vnto their owne nation what they found worthy in other languages, I in this litle peece haue fol­lowed their example, an­necting vnto it some­thing of my owne, for [Page] nearenesse of subject, pray Madame let either haue your acceptance, and know me

Your faithfull servant RICHARD IAMES.

To the Reader.

WHosoeuer peruseth this litle booke or any other of aunci­ent times, it behooues him to vse sobriety in his vnderstanding, least hee miscarry either in do­ctrine or discipline. For exam­ple, Minutius saith, the primi­tiue Christians had no Tem­ples: you must not therefore collect, that wee ought to wor­ship God only in fields or pri­vate houses. They had not in­deed, Delubra, Temples of Jdo­latry: wherein the Gentiles vsed as Prudentius hath it deasci­ato supplicare stipiti to make their orizons to a peece of hewd timber, yet as it is appa­rant out of all antiquitie, they had according to the sufferance [Page] of times, [...] houses built to the honour of our Lord and Saviour, [...], Ca­thedrall Churches: [...], houses of prayer, oratories: [...] stately piles of buil­ding, in which they did meete to solemnize the dutyes of Chri­stianitie, and to heare the reli­gious instructions of their pre­lates: More for the present I haue not to say. Let all things be done decently and in good order. This is a necessary remembrance from the Apostle, and so I wish the health of body and minde.


COnsidering and cal­ling to mind the memorie of my good & most faith­full companion Octavius, I was possest with so great a sweetnesse and affection of the man, that I euen seemed to returne vnto times past, and not only to recollect our con­versation [Page 2] by way of remem­brance; the contemplation of him being not so much with­drawen from my eyes, as it is enfolded in my breast, and in­most senses. And certainly the worth of that excellent holy man was such, as it must of ne­cessity leaue with me an infi­nite desire of him. He had a flagrancie of loue towards me, our wits bore consort as well for recreation as businesse, and we ever will'd and [...], the same things. You would haue thought us one soule divided into two bodies. He was alone private of my loues, and com­panion of my errors; and when, the mist breaking out of pro­found darknesse, I did rise vn­to the light of wisdome, and [Page 3] truth, so farre he was from for­saking my societie, as to his greater glory, he did runne be­fore, to direct me the way. And when my thoughts had runne over all the age of our familiar acquaintance, the in­tention of my minde did more especially abide vpon that dis­course of his, by which, in a most graue disputation, he did reforme vnto true religion Cecilius then adhering to su­perstitious vanities. For cause of businesse, and to see me, he had taken a iourney to Rome, leauing his house, wife and children, and that which is in children most louely, their yet [...]nnocent yeares, when they striue at halfe wordes, in a lan­guage more pleasing, by the [Page 4] pretty breach of their tripping tongues. I cannot with words expresse vnto you, how this ar­rivall of his did rauish me into an excesse of gladnesse, especi­ally the vnexspected presence of a most deare friend: Then after a day or two, when fre­quent vsance had taken off the impatience of our desire, when wee had learned from mutuall relation what wee knew not of each other in time of absence, we did agree to view Ostia, a most pleasant Cittie, because for drying vp the humours of my body a faire and apposite cure it is, to walke by the waues of the Sea. It was vacation from all judiciall cares, by reason of the Vintage; and the approach­ing [Page 5] of Autumne, did some­what temper the aire from e­stival heat. So then vpon break of day, when we went forth to pace vpon the shoare, the aire gently breathing vege­tation to our members, and the soft sand with a fine plea­sure somewhat yeelded to the impression of our feet, Cecili­us spying the image of Sera­pis, as superstitious people are wont to doe, lifting his hands vnto his mouth, made them kisse his lips. Then spake Octa­vius. Tis not the part of a good man, brother Marke, so to neglect him who is alwaies both at home and abroad euer by your side; as that you should suffer him through vulgar blindnesse, in cleare day to [Page 6] stumble at stones, howsoeuer they bee shaped into image, smoothed with oile, and crow­ned with flowers; when you know that the infamie of such errour, doth no lesse fall on you then him. And with such dis­course of his, hauing passed o­ver halfe the space of the Cit­tie, we had now gotten vpon the open shoare, where the gentle waue, as if it tooke plea­sure to strow vs a faire walke, did levell the outward sands: The Sea when the winds are all laid, is neuerthelesse rest­lesse in it selfe, and although it came not on, with white foaming billowes, yet had they a curl'd wallowing course. There wandering vp and downe, wee did much solace [Page 7] our selues, and did endanger the ouerflowing of our feete, in the brinck of the Sea, which would play vp her waues, and againe [...]lyding back, receiue them into her owne bosome. So in a stealing quiet pace ma­king forward, we forgot our way with discourse, along the easie bending of the shoare; and this discourse was, a nar­ration of Octavius, opening the course of navigation. But when we had thus talked out a sufficient journie, turning our steps, wee did againe pace ouer the same way. And when we came vnto the place where little boates drawne vp from the water lay on rowlers, to preserue them from occasion of rotting, wee saw Children [Page 8] sportfully contending who should skeere shells farthest vpon the top of the Sea. The sport is to gather vp from the shoare a round shell, smoothen. with the beating of the wanes, and taking of it flat in their fingers to make long circling ejaculations vpon the water, the shell razing, gliding, or leaping there, so long as it hath force of motion; and that child beares the victorie whose shell doth glide farthest, or leape more often. When therefore all of vs were taken with the pleasure of this spe­ctacle, Cecilius only intended nothing, neither would hee laugh to see this contention of the children, but by silence anxietie and by-walking, also [Page 9] in his very visage hee seem'd afflicted with something which wee knew not. Then quoth I, what is this matter? why doe we not find in Ceci­lius his wonted alacritie? why doe we not see that cheerefull countenance which hee vseth to preserue in times of greater residue? Then hee replied, I haue indeed beene a good while bitterly vexed, and bit­ten with our Octavius his words, when invectiuely hee reproued you of negligence, that he might more cunningly put on me the greater scorne of ignorance. Therefore I will goe farther. I haue to doe with Octavius vpon the whole sub­ject, if he be willing to dispute it with me, who am a man of [Page 10] that sect which hee so much vnder values. Surely he will quickly know how farre more easie it is to prate amongst Gossips, then to trie his wise­dome with a man of an oppo­site vnderstanding. Then on this terrace of rocks, made to defend the incursion of the sea from the bathes, let vs sit downe, that we may both rest from our journey, and the bet­ter intend our disputation. He had no sooner spoken the word, but we sate downe. I in the middest, ambitiously protected with them on ei­ther side, not by way of obse­quiousnesse, order, or honour, (since freindship doth finde or make equality amongst men) but as an Vmpire, the better [Page 11] to heare both, and to keepe two earnest disputants asun­der. Then Cecilius thus began. Although brother Marcus those things of which we shall make enquirie, seeme not to you ambiguous, who having beene diligently conversant in both kinds of life, haue refu­sed the one, and approued the other, neuerthelesse for the present, you are so to order your minde, that you like an equall iudge, hold the skales, propensive unto neither side, least the sētence you shal passe, rather proceede from your owne apprehension then the force of our arguments. Wherefore if you sit here as a stranger, and ignorant of either partie, it will be no businesse [Page 12] to shew, that all thinges a­mongst men are doubtfull, vn­certaine, pendulous, and rather probable then true, to the lesse wonder of many, who wearie in the cleere search of truth, rather quickly yeeld to any o­pinion, then persevere in a pertinacious diligence, to find it out. Wherefore with indig­nation or pitie we ought to looke on some; who vnstudied, illiterate, vncunning in all arts but sordid, dare peremptorily decree maximes of Divine Maiestie, wherein Philosophie it selfe, through so many ages and variety of sects can but yet deliberate: And not with­out cause; since humane me­diocrity, is so farre from reach­ing Divine things, as those [Page 13] things which are aboue vs in heauen suspended and subli­mated, or hid in the profundi­ty of the earth beneath vs, no abilitie haue we to know, tis not permitted to search, nei­ther religious to question. And enough happy, and enough prudent, we may deservedly be accounted, if according to the old Oracle of wisedome, we be familiar in the know­ledge of our selues. But since ouer indulgent to a madde vaine curiositie, we will needs wander beyond the limits of our meane condition, and tran­scend with a bold desire euen heaven and the starres them­selues, let vs see whether we may a little stay this error with an earnest and vndaunted [Page 14] disquisition. If the seeds of the elements doe naturally come together, and condensa [...] themselues, why must God be here an author? If by casuall concursion, the members of the vniuerse doe ioyne, are dige­sted, and formed, why must Divinitie contriue the worke? If fire kindle the starres, and the celestiall matter sublime it selfe, if the earth haue foun­dation in his owne weight, and the sea flow out of moi­sture, why is this religion, this feare, this superstition? Man and every creature that is borne, hath his being from breath and nourishment; this is the voluntary concretion of the elements into which man and every creature else is di­vided, [Page 15] dissolued, and scattered. So all things returne into the fountaine of themselues, with a naturall revolution, without artificer, judge, or author. So we euery day see new Sunnes, from the elementarie seeds of fire collected together, new cloudes, growing from the ex­haled vapours of the earth; these rise, thicken, and coagu­late in the aire, then with their owne weight fall downe into flux of raine, blast of wind, and storme of haile, or in colli­sion make rowling claps of thunder, flashes of lightning; and if boults fly out, they fall any where, rush on moun­taines, beare downe trees, touch Temples no lesse then profane houses, strike impious [Page 16] men, and often the most reli­gious. What shall I speake of tempests alike various and vn­certaine, without order, with­out examination, hurling im­petuously where they light. In shipwrack alike destiny mix­eth the good with the bad, and confounds their merits; fire discernes not the innocent from the guiltie, and when any tract of heauen is in­fected with pestilent contagi­on, all die without difference. When the furie of warre ra­geth, the best people fall soo­nest, also in peace many times wickednesse is not only equa­liz'd but exalted aboue ver­tue, and in many wicked, a man knowes not whether he should more hate their impietie, or [Page 17] blesse their fortune. But if the world were govern'd by Di­vine providence and authori­ty, neuer should Phalaris and Dionysius merit a kingdome, Rutilius and Camilius bee re­warded with banishment, and Socrates with poyson. Behold the trees laden with fruite, the fieldes white unto the harvest, these and the full-growne vin­tage are corrupted with show­ers, or beaten downe with haile. So is truth either hidden and kept to vs vncertaine, or, that which is most credible from these divers lubricities of chance, fortune free from all lawes doth seignorize the world. When therefore either fortune is certaine, or nature vncertaine, how much better [Page 18] is it, and more venerable, to receiue the discipline of our Auncestors for tradition of truth, obserue the religions left vs by them, to adore those Gods, which thy Parents haue from thy youth familiarly taught thee to feare and know, then to sit in judgment vpon the Gods. Let vs beleeue our first Parents, who ye [...] in the simple infancie of the world, did deserue to haue the Gods, or their Princes more favou­rable vnto them. And by this meanes through all Empires, Provinces, Citties, we see them haue their severall nati­onall sacred rites, and to wor­ship their municipall Gods the Eleusinians C [...]es, the Phrygians, the great Mother, [Page 19] the Epidaurians Aesculapius, the Chaldeans Belus, the Sy­rians Astarte, the Tauricians Diana, the Gaules Mercurie, the Romans all. So hath their power and authoritie subdued the circumference of the whole world, propagated their Empire beyond the course of the Sunne, and limits of the Ocean; Whilest with their armes they exercise a religi­ous vertue; whilest they forti­tifie the cittie with sacred re­ligions, chast Virgins, many honours and titles of Priest­hood: whilest beseiged, and all taken but the Capitoll, they stil worship those Gods, which some would in anger haue dispised, & through the troups of the Gaules, wondering at [Page 20] their bold superstition, they passe naked of weapons, but armed with a worship of reli­gion: whilest now captiue in their owne hostile walls, and victory pursuing execution on them, they still reverence their conquer'd Deities; whil'st from euery quarter they seeke forraine Gods, and make them their owne: whilest they set vp altars to vnknowne Gods, and spirits, and doe en­tertaine the sacred ceremo­nies of all nations, they de­serued their Empire. This perpetuall course of religion hath hitherto remained, not broken with antiquitie but in­creased. For age vseth to giue to ceremonies and temples so much more sanctity, as they [Page 21] haue augmentation of yeares. Neither yet, (for I dare here yeeld to make the search, and so erre with more authority) did our ancestors in searching entralls, ordaining rites, or de­dicating temples, rashly spend their labour. View the memory of bookes, and you shall quickly finde, that they did initiate themselues into the rites of all religions, either to gratifie divine favour, to di­vert imminent anger of the Gods, or to asswage it being in full rage, and fury. Witnesse the Jdean mother, which at her arrivall approu'd the chastity of a Matrone, and did free the citty from hostile feare. Wit­nesse the consecrate statues of Castor, and Pollux, as they [Page 22] shewed themselues in the lake, their horses all in a heate panting and foming, when they reported our victory ouer Perses, the same day he was o­vercome. Witnesse the itera­tion of the great playes in the Circus, to reconcile the offence of Iupiter, according to the dreame of a vulgar Citizen. Witnes the ratified devotion of the Docians; and witnesse Curtius, who with leaping himselfe downe on horseback, into the swallow of a prodi­gious deepe gulfe, made it a­gaine fill vp. And more often then wee would, our con­tempts of augurie, haue made manifest the presence of the Gods. Thence is the name of Allia dismall, thence did Clau­dius, [Page 23] and Iunins, in their sea- [...]ight with the Carthaginians, suffer a cruell shipwrack. And to make the river Thrasymene [...]un high and discoloured with our blood, Flaminius contem­ [...]ned the prediction of the [...]irdes: and to make vs new worke for the recovering our Ensignes from the Parthians, Crassus did scorne, and de­serue the Priests holy impreca­ [...]ions. I omitte many antique memories, of the birthes, gifts, and munificence of the Gods, I neglect the Poets songs, I passe ouer many destinies fore­told by Oracles, least antiqui­ [...]ie may seeme vnto you ouer-fabulous. Behold the Temples, [...]nd statuary houses of the Gods, with which the Cittie [Page 24] of Rome is protected, and beautified: they are more glo­rious and rich in dressing and gifts, then venerable with thei [...] Deities, dwelling, abiding, and euer ready for present helpe in them. From thence Pro­phets full of God, and partici­pating the divine nature, ga­ther predictions of things to come, forewarne evile, giue cures for diseases, hope to the afflicted, solace in calamities case in labours: also in our steep there, we see the Gods, wee heare them, we acknowledge their presence: how soon o [...] in the day we denie, violate thee honours, and forsweare b [...] them. Therefore when in all nations there remaines a firme confession of the immortal [...] [Page 25] Gods, although their cause and originall be vncertaine, I can brooke no man, who puft vp with I knowe not what bold irreligious wisedome, dare attempt to dissolue and elevate this religion of ours so old, so vsefull, so preserving humane societie. Away with Theodore of Cyrene, and with Diagoras Melius before him, vpon whom antiquitie puts the name of Atheist, both which in their doctrine of no Gods, tooke away all the re­verent feare and awfulnesse, [...]y which mankind is gover­ned. These men in their disci­pline of impietie, although [...]hey dissemble Philosophie, [...]hall neuer be reputed with [...]e. When the Athenians did [Page 26] banish out of their territories, Protagoras of Abdera, who dis­puted rather indiscreetly then prophanely of Divinitie, & did in their assembly burne his wri­tings; (you will suffer me to prosecute my vndertaken a­ction with a free zeale) must not we mourne to behold men, men I say of an incurable, ille­gall, and desperate faction, so to forrage vpon the Gods? who with a collection of peo­ple drawen from vtter base­nesse, and with credulous woe­men easily falling in the im­becillitie of their sexe, insti­tute a route and profane con­spiracie, which in their no­cturnall congregations, by so­lemne fasts, and inhumane feasts, things not of Sacramen [...] [Page 27] but expiation doe league to­gether, a lurking and light a­voyding nation, full of prate in Corners, and dumbe in faire assemblies. They dispise our Temples as graues, they spit vpon the Gods, and deride our sacred Ceremonies. If a man may speake it, these mise­rable creatures with pittie be­hold the honours of our Priests, and halfe naked scorne our Purple. O their wonderfull and incredible bold foolerie. In feare of vncertaine future torments they dispise all pre­sent, and here they feare not to die, for feare of dying after death. So doth feare and false hope flatter them into a com­fort of living againe. And now as euill things grow in greatest [Page 28] abundance, pernicious man­ners creeping in, these men haue gained every where in the worlde terrible assemblies of their impious combination, a combination accursed and to bee plucked vp by the very rootes. They know themselues by secret markes and tokens, they are in loue almost before they know one another, and promiscuous lust is with them a kind of religion, for they are all brothers and sisters, so that by intercession of so holy a name, common fornication must of necessity be with them incest. So doth this vaine mad superstition glory in being cri­minall. Neither would wise discerning common fame, (if there were no subsistencie of [Page 29] truth) report these horrid things of them, things not to be vttered without a preface of honour to the hearers. I heare that amongst all filthy beasts, from what perswasion I know not, they worship an Asses head, like worship like manners. Others report that they worship their Prelates and Priests privie members, adoring the nature of their spi­rituall Parents. Peradventure this suspition may bee false, yet it well agrees with a secret nocturnall solemnitie. But those which say their worship to bee a man put to death for criminall demerit, and that they worship the horrid simi­litudes of his crosse, these fit those wicked lost people with [Page 30] alters in a good congruitie, making them adore that which they deserue. Now of recei­ving new commers into their sect, the report is not so detes­table as notorious. An Infant is covered ouer in meale to deceiue the Novice, and set before him, then is he provo­ked as it were with harmelesse strokes to stab into the meale, and so by concealed woundes the Infant is kil'd. O horrid­nesse! this Infants blood they lick vp, and divide his mem­bers amongst them; with this sacrifice they are imbrued in­to a league, and by the guilt of murder giue pledge vnto mu­tuall secrecie. If this be sacred, what is sacrilegious? And the manner of their feasting is [Page 31] well knowne, all men every where report it, and it is fa­mous in the Oration of our Certensian Fronto, vpon a so­lemne day they come together to feast, with all their children, sisters, mothers, people of all sexes, and all ages. There after much gluttonie, when the banquet is warme, and the fer­vencie of incestuous lust is set on fire with wine, a dogge tied to the candlestick, is by scraps cast beyond the length of the line wherewith he is bound, provoked to leap impetuously forth, & then the discovering light being ouerturn'd and ex­tinguished, each takes his for­tune in the impudent darke­nesse, wherewith to satiate their abhominable appetite, [Page 32] and so are they all if not in deed, yet inconscience alike incestuous, all desiring that which is by any acted. Advi­sedly I passe by many things, since what already is related is more then should bee, true in all, or the greatest part, as a man will easily belieue from the obscuritie of this impious religion. For why should they otherwise striue with all dili­gence, to hide and keepe secret that whatsoeuer it be which they worship. Sinnes reserue themselues, and things honest reioyce in the publique view of men. Why haue they no al­tars, no temples, no knowen images of their worship? Why dare they not speake openly, and make their Congregati­ons [Page 33] freely, except that which they worship and conceale so narrowly were either a matter of punishment or shame. Or from whence, who, or where is he, their onely solitarie and destitute Deitie, whom no free nation, no Empires, no Roman superstition euer heard of? The miserable tribes of the Iewes, they indeed, and they alone worship one God, but they doe it openly with temples, altars, sacrifices, ceremonies; whose vigour notwithstanding and power is so nothing, that the Roman Gods haue taken him captiue with all his nation. And what monsters, what pro­digies doe the Christiās faine? That God whom they can neither shew nor see, they [Page 34] make inquisitiue into all the manners of men, all the deeds, yea even into the very words and secret thoughts of all, posting every where, and eve­ry where present. They will haue him troublesome, vn­quiet and impudently curious, standing by at all actes, inter­errant in all places, when no sufficiency straind with a vni­versall care can intend the service of every particular, nor distracted with particulars can suffice for an vniversall preseruation. Why, and to the whole earth, even to the Heavens also and the Starres they threaten a combustion, and prepare a ruine, as if the eternall order of nature ap­pointed by Divine lawes [Page 35] might ever bee troubled, or the league of all the Elements broken, and the heavenly frame divided, all this all in whose continent and embra­cing circle wee haue our be­ing, should bee subverted. Nor contented with this fu­rious opinion they hang and knit vnto it other olde wiues fables; how they shall bee borne anew after death, when they are ashes and cinders; and I know not with what beliefe they assure them­selues in their lyes; to heare all, you would thinke they were all ready in a resurrecti­on. A pernitious evill fansie, and a double madnesse! they denounce vtter confusion to the Heavens and Starres, [Page 36] which wee leaue as we finde, and to themselues dead and extinct, for as wee are borne wee dye, they againe pro­mise eternity. And for this reason they hold funerall fires in sepulture a damnable execration; as if our bodies although saved from flames, should not with yeares and ages bee dissolued into earth; as if it were a thing materiall, whether the beasts of the For­rests did teare, or the fishes of the sea consume, or the earth cover, or the fire sub­due our dead carcasses; when any sepulture, if we did feele, were still a punishment, and if wee feele nothing, then must a flaming buriall bee in her celerity the best cure of [Page 37] rottennesse. So deceiued with this errour, to themselues good men when they are dead they promise perpetu­ity of life, and to others as im­pious, sempiternall torments. Much here might bee added; but I will hasten my discourse, having allready sufficiently declared that even they themselues are the most vn­righteous people. Nay if wee should also grant them the title of righteousnesse, you or the greatest part of you agree in sentence, that innocencie of life or guiltinesse ought to bee imposed vpon a kinde of destiny. For whatsoeuer wee doe, as some addict the cause to destiny, you lay it vpon God, and vse to say, that your [Page 38] sect receiues not voluntarie but the elect? Wherefor [...] you must needs haue an vniust Iudge, which doth punish in men not their will, bu [...] fortune. Yet I would fain [...] learne of you, whether we [...] must come to this your resurrection without our bodye or with our bodyes, and wit [...] what bodyes, the same, o [...] with some innovation o [...] them? If without the bodyes, for all that I know, out of a bodye, there is neither minde, nor soule, nor life: if with the bodye, is not that allready moultered away? With ano­ther bodye? Then is there a new man borne, and the for­mer not repaired: and yet in the fluxe and course of so ma­ny [Page 39] hundred yeares and ages, what one with the earnest fortune of Protesilaus hath re­turned from any infernall treasuries of death, with per­mission of some few houres new liuely-hood, that wee might belieue resurrection by example. All these figments of braine-sicke opinion, and these foolish comforts, spor­ted out by deceitfull Poets in a sweetnesse of verse, you in an over-credulity haue taken vp a new, and skervily impo­sed them vpon your owne God. Neither will you learne experience from your owne present sufferings: In them you might see with what vaine hope these promises feed their belieuers, and you [Page 40] might deeme by the misery of your life what were more probable after death. Be­hold the greatest part of you and the better as you say are cold and hungry, you haue no wealth, you pine with want and famine; and doth God suffer this, doth hee dissem­ble, or will hee not, or can hee not helpe his good peo­ple? Hee is then disable, or vniust. Thou which doest dreame of an immortality af­ter thou art layed in the graue, when with danger thou art shaken into a cold feare, when thou doest burne in a feaver, when thou art tormen­ted with paine, doest thou not then feele thine owne condition, doest thou not ac­knowledge [Page 41] thy fragility? Alas poore miserable man, infirmi­ty thus convincing thee a­gainst thy will, yet no con­fession! But these are com­mon miseries. See terrours vpon you, executions, tor­tures, and now you must vn­dergoe the Crosse, not wor­ship it, you must also bee burnt vp in fire, which you foretell and feare. Where is the God, who will helpe you to liue againe, can hee not saue you aliue? Doe not the Romanes without your God sway their Empire, command and enioy the whole world, and domineere over you? You in the meane while pensiue and sorrowfull, abstaine from honest pleasures, you come not [Page 42] to any spectacles, are not pre­sent at our pompes and tri­umphes, our publique feasts are without your company, our meates and drinkes offe­red at the Altars you abhorre, and all our sacred sportes, and so seeme to feare those Gods you deny. You weaue no wreathes of flowres for your heads, you honour not your body with sweete perfumes, but reserue their vnction for funeralls, which neverthe­lesse you refuse to adorne with garlands; pale chivie people, and deseruing pitty, but the pitty of our Gods. Miserable men, you doe not yet rise a­gaine to life, and in the meane while you liue not. Where­fore if you haue in you any [Page 43] wisdome or shame, leaue of searching the regions of Hea­vens with their fatalities and secrets. Tis enough for you to looke before your feete, e­specially being vnlearned, vn­polisht, rude and rusticke. They to whome is not given power of vnderstanding civill things, must of necessity bee farther disable for disquirie of things Divine. Also if any of you lust after Philosophy, the best of you may if he can, i­mitate Socrates the very Prince of wisdome, whose knowne answeare it is when hee was at any time deman­ded of celestiall matters, that which is aboue vs is to vs no­thing, and therefore worthily did hee from the Oracle re­ceiue [Page 44] the testimony of singular wisdome, which he befor [...] aprehended of himselfe, tha [...] hee was therefore preferred before all others, not because hee had comprehended al [...] things, but because hee had learned that hee knew no­thing. So is chiefe wisedome the confession of our owne vnskilfullnesse. And from this fountaine did flow the se­cure ambiguity of Arcesilas, Carneades much after him, and of the greatest sort of the Aca­demickes in questions of high nature, and in this kind the vnlearned may safely, and the learned gloriously play the Philosophers. The slownesse also of the Melian Simonides is it not admirable and wor­thy [Page 45] to bee followed? Who when hee was asked by the Tirant Hieron of what essence [...]nd quality hee supposed the Gods to bee, required first a [...]ay of deliberation, the next [...]ay following gotte a proroga­ [...]ion of two dayes more, and a­gaine a like addition to that, [...]nd then when at last the Ti­ [...]ant enquired the causes of so great delay, made answeare, [...]he more time hee spent in the [...]nquisition, the more obscure did this truth appeare vnto him. And in my opinion things doubtfull are to bee left as we finde them; neither in a deli­beration of so many, and so great persons, may wee without empeachment of te­merity and boldnesse bring [Page 46] in our iudgement on either side, for feare least we either destroy all religion, or induce for worship old wiues super­stitions. Thus spake Cecilius, & then smiling, (for the fluxe of a long oration had allayed the tumour of his disdaine) to these things said hee, what re­ply dares Octavius, a man of Plautus like progenie, of ba­kers the first, and the last of Philosophers? I sayd, forbeare to sport on him, for you doe not worthily to triumph in concinnity of speech, before hee hath fully ended his de­claration on the other side, e­specially when your enquiry aymes not at praise but truth. And allthough your oration hath wonderfully delighted [Page 47] me with the subtile variety of it, yet I consider deepely not only for this action, but for the whole kinde and manner of disputation, that many times, by the ability and power of the disputants eloquence, e­ven things of cleare truth seeme to change their condi­tion. This is well knowne to happen by the easinesse of the hearers, who seduced with a delicacy of words are taken off from an intention of the things, assenting without ex­amination to all that is spoken; not discerning false things from right, and vnwitting, that truth may bee in that which seemes incredible, and falsehood in the greatest ap­pearance of truth. Therefore [Page 48] the more often they belieue earnest assertions, more fre­quently are they againe con­vinced by skilfull men, and dayly beguild through their owne rashnesse, transferre the fault of iudgement into a com­plaint of vncertainty, and at last condemning all things, had rather suspect any thing, then put themselues to the difficulty of iudging, whe­ther things bee false or no. Wherefore wee must haue a provident care least with such wee runne into a hatred of all enquiries, and at last breake forth as doe many of the more simple sort, into an execration and hate of men also. For these vnheedfull credulous people when they are circumuented [Page 49] by those whom they esteemed good men, for feare of a like errour now suspecting all things, distrust those as wicked also, whom otherwise they could approue for persons of excellent goodnesse. Since then in every matter there be who dispute on both sides, and truth is most often obscure on the best, on the other lurkes wonderfull subtilty, which of­ten with a copiousnesse of elo­quence doth imitate the cer­tainty of plaine evidence, it behooues vs to ponder all with diligence, so as we may giue subtile argumentation her due praise, yet make choice of those things which are right, them onely approue and entertaine. You depart [Page 50] saith Cecilius, from the office of a faire iudge. For it is very iniurious for you to infringe the force of my action with interposing so graue a disputa­tion, when Octavius is yet en­tire and vnblemisht in what hee shall reply. If that, say I, which you haue in your decla­mation made so foule can bee refuted, then is this remem­brance of mine brought in briefly for the common good of vs all, that wee may deliuer our iudgement from an exact examination, not swayed with blastes of eloquence, but with the solidity of the things themselues. Neither will I a­ny longer stay our intention as you complaine, since if you please to giue a faire silence, [Page 51] you may soone heare the an­sweare of our Ianuarius, who seemes with ioye to prepare himselfe. And then Octauius: I will, saith he, speake accor­ding to my ability, and vse all my strength, yet must you en­deavour with me to wash of with a flood of true wordes his most bitter aspersion of contu­melious reproches. And with­out dissimulation first of all I must say, that my Natalis hath not deliuered his opini­on with constancy, it hath erred, it hath flowen out, bin ready many times to slippe from it selfe. For hee varies sometimes in a beliefe of the Gods, sometimes in a delibe­ration, peraduenture to the end that by the vncertainty [Page 52] of his proposition, the intenti­on of our reply might with the lesse certainty come home vnto him. But I will haue no craft in my Natalis, I doe not belieue it, cunning trade wit is farre from his simplicity. How then? As he that knowes not the right way, when hee comes where the way parts into divers turnings, he stands doubtfull, dares not chuse any, nor approue all; so hee who hath no stable iudgement of truth, dissipates and scatters his doubtfull minde with infi­delity of suspitions. No mira­cle therefore if Cecilius bee also tossed, tided, and waved vp and downe, in so many re­pugnant contrarieties. From which to set him safe I will [Page 53] convince and reproue all his diversenesse with a discourse that shall accept no proofe or confirmation but from truth only, hee shall no more doubt, no more wander. And because my brother broke forth to say, how ill hee tooke it, how hee did stomack, disdaine and grieue, that illiterate poore ig­naroes should dispute of ce­lestiall things, let him know that all men of what age soe­uer, sexe or dignity, are begot­ten capable, and able of reason and sense, and haue not by for­tune, but nature an endow­ment of wisdome: and that Philosophers themselues or whosoeuer by invention of arts hate attained famous me­mory, before by the solerti­ousnesse [Page 54] of their minde they got this glory, were in appea­rance illiterate, halfe-naked Plebeians; that wealthy men even staked vnto their riches, doe rather consider gold then Heaven: and that these our poore men haue found out wisdome, & deliuered all dis­cipline to posterity. Whence it appeareth, that wit is not an escheat of wealth, not compassed by study, but proceeding from the very information of the minde. Nor are we therefore to chafe or greiue, if any man whosoe­ver he be, doe search after di­vine things, conceiue, and o­pen his sentence: when not the authority of him that ar­gues, but still the truth of the [Page 55] disputation is to be required: and by how much the speech is the more vnskilfull, so much more illustrious is the reason, not varnisht with a pompe and grace of eloquence, but sustai­ned as it ought to be, by the rule of right. Neither doe I refuse that which Cecilius la­bours to obtaine, that a man ought to know himselfe, and roundly consider, what he is, whence he is, why he is, whe­ther concrete of elements, compact of attomes, or rather made, fashioned and animated by God; which we cannot try and make evident without an inquisition of the whole vni­verse; when things here are so coherent, knit and chained to­gether, as if you doe not dili­gently [Page 56] examine the reasons of of divinity, we cannot kindly learne the condition of hu­mane nature, neither may a man fairely handle civill af­faires, except hee know the common city of the world in which all haue fellowship: e­specially, because from wilde and tame beastes we only dif­fer in this, that they groveling and turning to the earth, are borne to looke after nothing but their food; wee to whom an erect countenance, and an aspect for the view of hea­ven is given, besides speech and reason, by which wee ac­knowledge God, we feele & resemble him, must not here haue leaue of ignorance? when also a celestiall brightnesse is [Page 57] every where obvious to our eyes and senses, and it seemes to me a crime no lesse then the greatest sacrilege, to seeke on earth that which wee ought to finde in heaven. What minde, sense, eyes can we sup­pose in them, who will haue the beauty of this world not perfected by divine provi­dence, but transformed into a globe by an infinity of pee­ces casually tumbling toge­ther. For what can bee so o­pen, so credible, so cleare, when thou liftest thy eyes to heaven, and dost consider the glories of that high circum­ference, as that there must needs be some Deity of most excellent spirit, by which all nature hath her inspiration, [Page 58] motion, nutrition, and govern­ment? See heaven it selfe, how farre it is extended, how swiftly tis rowled about, see the night diaperd with starres, see the day made illu­strious with the Sunne. Is not here a miraculous divine li­bration of the great Master? Looke vpon the yeare how it is made by the Sunnes circling progresse, looke on the Moone how it wheeles about the month in an encrease, waine, and last quarter: what shall wee say to the interchanging vicissitude of darknesse and light, to make vs an eternall reparation of worke and rest? And to Astrologers we must leaue a more ample contem­plation of the starres, how [Page 59] they governe the course of na­vigation, or direct the seasons of plowing and harvest. All which things doe not only re­quire a perfect wisdome and great artificer, for their crea­tion, being, order, but also a mighty power of wit and in­dustry, to conceiue, discouer, and vnderstand them. The or­der of times distinguished with a constant variety of fruites, doth not this testify the authour and parent of it? The spring with his flowers, the summer with his harvest, the welcome maturity of au­tumne, and the oliue shaking winter are all of equall neces­sity. Which order would easi­ly bee confounded, if it did not consist in greate wisdome. [Page 60] And it is also great provi­dence, that winter alone doth not burne with her frost, or summer alone doth not scortch with heate, to insert a midle temperament of autumne and spring; that the changes of the yeare returning in her owne trace, may slide about in a se­cret inoffensiue revolution. Goe to the sea, the law of the shoare bounds it. View all the trees that be, they haue their vegetation from the bowells of the earth, behold the Oce­an, there is reciprocall estua­tion of her floods, see the fountaines, they spring from everlasting veines, looke vnto the rivers, they glide along their wonted bankes. What shall I say of the steepe moun­taines, [Page 61] the windeing hills, and the broad fields, how aptly they are disposed. What shall I tell you the divers sorts of defence which creatures haue one against another? some ar­med with hornes, other with teeth, vnderlayd with hoofes, and ear'd with sharpe bristles: or free in the swiftnesse of feete, and flight of wings. But most of all doth the beauty of our shape shew God to bee the artificer, a straight stan­ding, an erect countenance, eyes placed aboue, as in a watch towre, and all the o­ther senses ranged as it were for the guarde of a castle. Tis long to goe through every part: there is no one member of a man which is not as well [Page 62] for cause of fairenesse, as ne­cessity. And that which is more wonderfull, though we haue all the same figure, yet is there in singular persons such a deflexion of the lineaments, that wee appeare all alike, and all disalike compared one with another. The condition of our birth, the desire of pro­creation, is not this from the will of God, Who makes brests in the maturation of the infant to fill with milke, with whose plenty the tender youngling may bee fosterd vp? Neither doth God only take care for the whole world, but also for every part. Britany something defectiue in the Sunne, is refresh't with the warmth of the sea, flowing [Page 63] round about it. Nilus tempers the drought of Egypt, Euphra­tes husbands Mesopotamia, In­dus is reported to sowe & wa­ter the East. If you come into a house, and see the excellent culture, order, and ornaments of it; you cannot but thinke some Master rules there much better then all the furniture. So in this house of the world, when you see the heavens and the earth, their provi­dence, order, and law; belieue there is a Lord of this vniuerse, and a Father more excellent then the Starres, and all the parts of it. Except peraduen­ture, because there is no que­stion of providence, you will thinke it a matter of enquiry, whether the celestiall king­dome [Page 64] be governed by the Em­pire of one, or the will and pleasure of many; which thing tis not much labour to open vnto a man, who will conceiue the nature of Em­pires on earth, which likely haue their example from hea­ven. When did society of Em­pire here either beginne with faith, or end without blood? I omit the Persians inaugura­ting principality by the neigh­ing of horses, and I passe over the almost forgotten fable of the Theban brothers. The sto­ry and contention of Romulus and Remus for a kingdome of sheepeheards, and a cottage, is well knowne. The warres of the Father and Sonne in law, are spoken of through the [Page 65] whole world, and the fortune of so great an Empire, could not satisfie these two. See the rest. There is one King of the Bees, one leader among the flockes, one chiefe in the heardes: and can you thinke the great principality of hea­ven to bee divided, and the whole power of the true di­vine Empire, to be cut in sun­der? when tis apparant that God the parent of all things hath neither beginning nor ending: which giues natiuity to all, perpetuity to himselfe: which was before the world a world of contemplation to himselfe, who by his word commandes a being to all things that are, by an infinite reason, and vertue disposes [Page 66] and perfects the vniuerse. He cannot bee seene, for our eyes cannot endure his brightnesse; he cannot bee comprehended, hee is too pure for our feel­ing; hee cannot bee brought into estimation, hee is greater then our senses; infinite, im­mense, and only to himselfe so great, as he only knowes. our breast is too narrow to vn­derstand him: and therefore wee can only deeme worthi­ly of him when we say hee is inestimable. I will speake what I thinke. Who weenes to know the greatnesse of God, doth diminish it, he that will not diminish it, must confesse himselfe ignorant of it. Neither aske you the name of God, God is the name. [Page 67] There words of appellation are vsefull, where a multitude is to bee severally knowne one from another, by their proper Heraldrie. To God who is alone, the whole title is God: whome if I shall call Father, you may thinke him earthly: if King, you may sus­pect him carnall: if Lord, you may also apprehend him mor­tall. Take away these acci­dents of names, and you shall better see his glory. All mens consent is of him. I heare the people when they lift vp their hands to Heaven, say nothing but, God: and God is great, and God is true, and if God permit; is this the speach of an ordinary Plebeian, or the pray­er of a Christian confessing his [Page 68] beliefe? And they who wil [...] haue Iupiter Prince of heaven they are deceiued in the name but they agree vpon the vnity of power. Also I heare th [...] Poets preaching one Fathe [...] of Gods and men: and making the mindes of all mortall men such only, as it pleaseth God the Father of all things to in­fuse. Whence the Mantuan Maro plainely, neerely and truely, where hee saith,— First Heaven and earth and e­very part beside—Are with an inward spirit fed—and an infused minde—doth stirre them vp, with every kinde of creatures. The same in another place doth call this minde and spirit God. — For the God­head is — diffused through [Page 69] [...]arth through seas and lofty kyes, — From hence all beasts and men, all showres [...]nd fires. And what other thing doe wee preach God to bee, but a minde, a reason, a spirit? Let vs rehearse if you please the learning of the Phi­losophers. You shall find them although in a diverse way, conspiring to deliuer the same doctrine. I omit those of an­tique ruder times, who for their sayings were reputed wise men. Let Thales Mile­sius bee the first who disputed of things celestiall. Hee said that water was the beginning of things, and God that minde which formed all things out of water, a minde too high and sublime for humane appre­hension, [Page 70] proceeding from God. See the principall Phi­losophers opinion altogether consonant with ours. A naxi­menes afterwards, and then the Apollonian Diogenes make the aire God, infinite and without measure, here is also their consent of divinity. In Anax­agoras his description, a kind of infinite minde is called God. To Pythagoras God is a spirit passing and intentiue through the whole nature of things, from which the life of all cre­atures is taken. Xenophanes will haue God to be a minde, and all besides that is infinite. Antisthenes hath many popu­lar Gods, but for a naturall chiefe God he knowes one only. Spousippus will haue [Page 71] God to be a naturall, anima­ting vigor, by which all things are governed. And Democri­tus although he be the first inventor of atomes, yet v­sually he cals God, that na­ture and intelligence which doth powre forth so many i­mages of it selfe. Straton al­so deifies nature. And that Epicurus who faines the Gods either idle or none, yet giues he a supremacy to nature. A­ristotle is various, yet he de­signes one power; sometimes he sayes the minde is God, on while the world, and a­gaine he makes God ouerseer of the world. Also the Pontick Heraclides ascribes vnto God a divine minde though di­versly. Theophrastus, Zenon, [Page 72] Crysippus and Cleanthes, they be also divers, yet they all a­gree vpon a vnity of proui­dence. In Cleanthes disputa­tion, sometimes the minde, sometimes the spirit, some­times the ethereall part is God. Zenon his master will haue a naturall diuine lawe, or that ethereall part, and sometimes reason, to be the beginning of all things. The same man interpreting Iuno to be the aire, Iupiter the hea­vens, Neptune the sea, Vulcan the fire, & likewise shewing the other Gods of the people, to bee the Elements, doth shrewdly convince & reproue the publique error. Chrysippus almost after the same manner belieues a divine virtue, a ra­tional [Page 73] nature, the world some­times, and sometimes a fatall necessity, to be God: and hee followes Zenon, in a naturall interpretation vpon the Po­ems of Hesiod, Homer, and Orpheus. The Babilonian Di­ogenes also hath a way of ex­pounding and shewing that the birth of Iupiter, the rising of Minerua, import things and not Deities. For the Socrati­call Xenophon denies that the forme of the true God can be seene, and therefore ought not to be sought after. Aristo of Chios sayes, he cannot be comprehended. Both these conceiued a divine Maiesty by their dispaire of vnderstan­ding it. Platoes discourse of God is more cleare, both for [Page 74] things and names, and it were indeed all heavenly, but that hee doth sometimes debase it with mixture of a civill poli­ticke perswasion. Wherefore in his dialogue of Timaeus, God is to him vnder that name the parent of the world, the ma­ker of the soule, the builder of all things both in Heaven and in earth; and he tels vs in his preface, that it is hard to finde him, by reason of his in­finite incredible power, and when hee is found, no lesse impossible to make a publique declaration of him. These are almost the same things with ours: For we acknowledge a God, call him the parent of all things, and except wee bee demanded, wee vse not to [Page 75] make any vulgar speach of him. I haue opened the opini­ons of the most famous Philo­sophers, all agreeing for one God, although vnder divers names: so as many would deeme, either the Christians to bee now Philosophers, or the Philosophers to haue been then Christians. Wherefore if the world bee so ruled by providence, and governed by the pleasure of one God, the antiquity of ignorant people delighted and taken with their owne fables, ought not draw vs to a publique consent of errour, refuted by the iudge­ment of their owne Philoso­phers, who haue on their side both reason and the authority of more auncient times. For [Page 76] our Ancestors did so easily giue credence vnto lyes, as they did without examinati­on take vp into their beliefe many other prodigious mira­cles, the divers shap'd mon­sters of Scilla and Chimera, a Hidra happy to renew his heads by cutting off, Centau­res, that is, Horses bearing vp­ward the shapes of men: and whatsoever fame pleased to fansie, they delighted to heare. What shall I speake of those Grandame tales, men turned into birds, wilde beasts into men, men into trees and flowers? which things if they were done, those things were done which are impossible and therefore were they ne­ver acted. And in like man­ner [Page 77] our Ancestors with an im­prouident credulity, and rude simplicity did take Gods into their beliefe, whilest religi­ously they worship their Kings, when after their death they desire to see them in i­mage, when they reioice to detaine their memories in sta­tue, these solaces did in time grow to a holy solemnity. And every where before the world was open to commerce, when nations had not yet mingled their customes, every pro­vince, did worship their founder, or renowned Cap­taine, or chaste Queene va­liant aboue her sexe, or any o­thers, who had found out be­nefit, or art, as citizens wor­thy of remembrance. So the [Page 78] dead had a reward and the li­ving an example. Read the writings of Historians, you will then confesse with me Gods created for merit of vir­tue or invention. Euhemerus pursues and numbers their birthes countries and sepul­chers, and hee shewes all of them through severall provin­ces, the Dictean Iupiter, A­pollo of Delphos, the Pharian Isis, and Eleusinian Ceres: hee tels how they were assum'd into a reputation of Deity, who wandring through the earth did finde out new fruits for the better maintaining the life and liuely-hood of men. Perseus plaies the Phi­losopher to the same purpose, rehearses the fruits which [Page 79] were found and by whom vnder the same names; whence the Comedian sporte­fully saies, that Ʋenus with­out Bacchus and Ceres will take colde. Alexander the great Macedonian writes in a famous letter to his Mother, that a Priest did for feare be­tray vnto him the secret of the Gods being men only: hee makes Vulcan the chiefe of them all, and after him the race of Iupiter. Looke well vpon the history of Isis, her transmutation into a swallow, her rattle, the scattered mem­bers of thy Serapis or Osiris, and his empty tombe, obserue those sacred rites and mi­steries, you shall finde tragicall endings, deaths and funeralls, [Page 80] mourning and lamentation of miserable Gods. Isis with her dogge-headed Anubis, and her bald Priests, doth with mournefull lamentation make enquiry for her lost Sonne, and her wretched Priests beat their brests and imitate the griefe of the vnhappy Mother. By and by they seeme to finde the litle infant, the Priests leap for ioy, her dogge-headed retriuer glories in his inven­tion: neither doe they omit every yeare, eyther to loose that which they finde, or finde that which they loose. Is it not ridiculous to mourne that which you worship or to worship that for which you haue cause of mourning? Ne­verthelesse such aunciently [Page 81] were the sacred ceremonies of the Egyptians, and the Ro­mans now vse them. Ceres with burning torches, and girt about with Serpents, in much anxiety and sorrow hunts af­ter her daughter deflour'd and ravished as she was wandring in the fields. These are the E­leusinian rites. And what bee Jupiters? A goate is the nurse, and the infant is stolne away from his greedy Father, least hee devoure him, and the Co­ribant Priests make a great tinkling with bells, that the Father may not heare the squealing of the litle childe. I am ashamed to speake of the Dindimene Cybele, who being difformed and very old, as the Mother of many Gods, be­cause [Page 82] she could not entice the vnhappily beautifull Atis vn­to adultery, did cut out his stones, and make him an Eu­nuch God. For memory of this fable the Galli her capon Priests vnman themselues and worship her with the tor­ment of their body. Why, this is not sanctimony but tor­ture. And what are the formes and habits of your Gods, is there not ridiculous scorne and disgrace in them? Vulcan is a lame maimd God. Apollo through so many ages is still a smooth chind God. Aescula­pius hath beard inough, al­though he be the Sonne of the ever youthfull Apollo. Tis the blu-ey'd Neptune, the gray-ey­ed Minerva, & the goodly cow [Page 83] eyes of Iuno. Mercury hath wings on his feete, Pan hoofes and Saturne fetters, Ianus hath two faces as if hee went contrary waies. The huntresse Diana is high girt, and armed with jauelins, Diana at Ephe­sus hath many breasts, and Di­ana of the high waies hath three heads, and makes a hor­rible shew with a multitude of hands. And for your Jupiter, sometimes his statue is beard­lesse, sometimes he is set vp with a huge beard: when hee is called Hammon, then hee weares hornes, when Capito­linus, his right arme beares a thunderbolt, when Latiall, hee is all embrued in blood, and when Feretrius, come not neare him. And not to [Page 84] dwell longer vpon these ma­ny sorts of Iupiters, there bee so many monsters of him, as names. Erigone is hung vp in a halter, to make the burning constellation of the Virgin amongst the Starres. Castor and Pollux haue made a bar­gaine to liue and dye by turns every second day. Aesculapius that he may rise vnto divini­ty, is struck with thunder. Hercules that hee may put of his mortality, is burnt into a­shes vpon mount Oeta. These fables and errours wee learne of our vndiscerning parents, (and which is more grievous) they are our laborious study and discipline in the songs of the Poets; and it is a great wonder to see how much they [Page 85] haue blemish truth with their authority. Wherefore Plato in his institution of a common­wealth hath even banisht Homer that renowned prai­sed and ever laureal Poet, from the number of his citi­zens. For this chiefe of Poets, in his Troian warre, makes a mocke of the Gods, and brings them every where into the actions and affaires of men. Hee sets them together by the eares, wounds Ʋenus, bindes Mars, hurts and driues him out of the battaile. Hee tels how Iupiter is reskued by Briareus, when the other Gods conspired to binde him, and how hee wept showres of blood, because hee could not deliuer his Sonne Sarpe­don [Page 86] from death: and makes him bed his wife Iuno, through the helpe of Ʋenus girdle, more luxuriously, then ever he had laine with any of his wenches. Otherwhere Hercu­les hath the employment to ridde a stable of dung, and A­pollo is heardsman to Adme­tus; Neptune builds the wals of Troy for Laomedon, and vn­happy workeman hee cannot get his hire. There Vulcan vp­on his anvile beates out thun­der for Iupiter and armour for Aeneas: when heaven and thunder and lightning were long before ever Iupiter was borne in Creete; such as that one-eyed Vulcan could never imitate, and Iupiter himselfe must ever feare. What shall [Page 87] I speake of Mars and Venus taken in adultery? and the rape of Jupiter vpon Ganimed [...] consecrated in heaven. All which things seeme to bee produced, that men may haue authority for their vices. With such like inventions and swee­ter lyes the dispositions of youth are corrupted, on these fables they stay, and grow vp to a perfect age, and in these opinions they miserably dye; when truth is more easily found, but of those who seeke it. For all the writers of aun­cient times both Greeke and Latin haue deliuered that this Saturne Prince of all the fa­bulous genealogie was a man. Nepos and Cassius in their hi­story know this, and Thallus [Page 88] and Diodorus speake it. Hee for feare of his Sonnes rage fled from Creete, and came into Jtaly, and being hospital­ly entertained by Ianus, taught many things to those ignorant country people, as being a pretty polisht Greeke, to write by Alphabet, to coyne mony, to make many sorts of instruments. And be­cause he had here safely lurkt, hee pleased to call this hiding place Latium. He gaue them a city called Saturnia, by his owne name, and Ianus left them his Ianiculum, for which they are both re­membred with posterity. Therefore, when he so fled and lurkt out of the way, sure­ly he was both the father of a [Page 89] man and a mans sonne: and a­mongst the Jtalians cald a sonne of heauen and of earth, because he was to them of vn­knowne parents; as at this day when we see people suddenly come, and we know not from whence, we say they come from heauen, or obscure igno­ble commers we doe terme sonnes of the earth. This Sa­turnes sonne hauing drouen his father out of Creete, raignd there, died there, and had children there: Iupiters caue is there yet to be seene, and they shew his sepulcher, and many of their holy rites con­vince his mortality. Tis idle to goe through all the singu­larity and rablement of these Deities in a like narration; [Page 90] when mortality proovd vp­on their first parents must of necessity fall on the rest by or­der of succession, except per­chance you will faine them to be Gods after their death, as Romulus is a God by the per­iurie of Proculus, and tis the kind pleasure of the Moores to haue Iuba be a God: and other Kings are Gods, which are consecrated into Deitie, not because the people belieued so, but to dismisse them with honour from their office of kings craft. And many times these are made Gods against their will, they would rather stay in a mortality, they are afeard to be made Gods, and although they be never so old they would never willingly [Page 91] be such Gods, therfore of those that die none be Gods, be­cause God cannot dye, and no Gods are borne, because eve­ry thing must die that is borne, and that only is divine, which hath neither birth nor death, And if there were gods borne, why are not some borne in out dayes, except Iupiter be now waxed old, and Iuno hath left off teeming. And can Minerva grow gray headed before she hath had children? Or is all this generation of Gods passed and gone, because people no longer assent vnto their fables? But if Gods could be borne and not die, we should haue more Gods then men, the heauens would not now bee large enough [Page 92] to containe them, the ayre could not receiue, nor the earth beare their multitudes. Whence it is manifest, that they were men, whose births we read, and whose deaths we know. When therefore the common people doe pray vnto their consecrate images, and worshippe them, who doubts but that ignorant opini­on is here deceiud with the beauty of the worke, dazeld with the bright glittering lustre of gold and siluer, and besotted on the faire whitenes of the Iron; But if a man con­ceiue in his minde with what torments and engines euerie image is formd, he will shame to feare that matter, which is so misusd by the artificer, before [Page 93] he can make it a God. For the wodden God, a peice per­chance of some vnhappy poste or fireblocke, is hung vp, cut, squard, and hewed; the brazen or siluer God, (as it was often done by the Aegiptian king) is made out of some vncleane vessell, knockt with hammers, brought into figure vpon the anvill: and the God of stone, is againe hewed, scrapd and made smooth by some impure vicious man. These feele not the iniury of their natiuity, nor the honour of your wor­shippe. Or perchance this stone, this wood, this siluer, is not yet a God. When then shall they be? They are now cemented, set together, set vp; is there yet no God? They [Page 94] haue their ornament, their consecration, they are praied too. So at last a God is made when any man pleases to giue these statues a dedication. Dumbe creatures, how much more truely doe they by na­ture esteeme of your Gods? Mice, Swallowes, Kites, they know these Gods haue no fee­ling, they nibble them, get on top, & set on them: & if you driue them not away, they make nests in the very mouth of your God. Spiders weaue cobwebbes about their face, they hang this worke on their heades: you wipe, cleanse, and rubbe all of. And these Gods which you make, you protect and feare; whilest none of you will consider that you [Page 95] ought to know God before you worship him, whilest men reioyce to obey their pa­rents vnreasonably, whilest they had rather follow a com­mon errour then belieue themselues, whilest they know nothing of that they feare. So hath covetousnesse a consecration in gold and sil­ver, so come idle statues to finde their forme with you, so growes the Romane super­stition, whose rights if you runne through, how many things are there of laughter, and more of pitty? In the cold shriveling winter some course vp and downe naked, some goe capt after a strange man­ner, carrying about on their shoulders targets, on [Page 96] some slash their skins, and from streete to streete leade their Gods a begging. You may not see some temples but once in the yeare, some not at all, some are not permitted to men, & some are sacred from women. Some holy ceremo­nies must be solemnized and crowned by a woman that knowes but one man, some by a common woman, & she is with great religious enquiry sought for, which can number the most adulteries. Why, hee who makes libation with his owne blood, and supplicates with wounds, might he not be better prophane then religi­ous in such manner? And hee that cuts off his virilities with a shard, were hee not better [Page 97] violate the Gods then so please them? When if God would haue Eunuchs, hee should not need your making, but might finde out a way of procreation for them. Who doth not by this vnderstand, that if men were well in their wits, if they were sound and entire of their senses, they would not thus delude them­selues. But common errour giues herein mutuall patro­nage. The multitude of mad­ding people is a Topick place of defence. Yet this supersti­tion gaue Empire to the Ro­mans, it encreased them, it laid them a foundation of fu­ture greatnesse, raisd not so much by vertue as by this re­ligion and piety? See if you [Page 98] please what kind of noble fa­mous righteousnesse the Ro­mans had in the beginning and cradle of their empire. In their first rising were they not a select band of wicked men, fortifiing and encreasing themselues with terror of their immanity? Their first company was collected by e­recting a place of sanctuary for rogues; whither resorted the desperate, the criminal, the in­cestuous, brothers of the blade, and traitors. And Romulus their generall and com­mander, that he might also be chiefe in villany, murdered his owne brother. These are the first sacraments of a religi­ous city, and then to get them wiues against all civill cu­stome, they ravish, violate, [Page 99] delude neighbour virgins, al­ready betrothd or promised, and take many woemen from their bed of matrimony, with the parents and kindred of these they ioyne battell, and make effusion of their blood. What is more irreligious, more bold, more presuming of safety then a confidence of wickednesse? Now they be­gin to driue out neighbours from their possessions, to over­turne bordering cities, with their Temples and Altars: force the inhabitants to ioyne with them; by other mens harmes and their owne villa­nies they get vp. And this discipline of Romulus, hath beene to their succeeding Kings and Captaines a com­mon patterne of example. [Page 100] All that the Romans hold, that they possesse, and all their co­lonies they owe to their shameles rapin. All their Tem­ples are built from the spoiles of warre, the ruines of cities, the destruction of the Gods, and the slaughters of Priests. Is it not illusion, and insulting vpon the Gods, to obserue those religions which they haue beaten, and to haue them in adoration after they haue beene lead captiue in victory? For to worship that which you would subdue, is to consecrate sacriledge not Deities. There­fore haue the Romans beene as often impious as victorious, and they haue made so many spoiles of the Gods as they haue erected trophies over [Page 101] nations. Neither are the Ro­mans growne to greatnes with religion, but by being safely sacrilegious. For how should they obtaine from the Gods helpe in their warres, against whom they tooke armes, whom they droue out of their habitations, howsoeuer after they had lead them in triumph, they began to wor­ship them. Or what could these Gods doe for the Ro­mans, who had not power to preserue against their armies the people amongst whom they were aunciently wor­shipped? And wee are not ig­norant what manner of natio­nall Gods the Romans had. There was Romulus, Picus, Tiberinus, and Consus, and [Page 102] Pilumnus, and Picumnus. Ta­tius both found out and did worship the privy Ladye Clo­acina. Hostilius found out feare and palenesse: then I know not by whom, the feaver had his dedication: such was the superstition which was nourished in that city as they did worship diseases and indispositions of health. And indeed Acca Laurentia, and Flora, prostitute shamelesse queanes must also be compu­ted into the number both of their diseases and Deities. And is it likely that such Gods as these should in dispight of other Gods amongst the nati­ons dilate the Roman empire? (For indeed they, the Thraci­an Mars, Iupiter of Creete, Iuno of Argos, of Samos, of Car­thage, [Page 103] or Diana of Tauris, or the Idean Mother, or those Egyptian rather prodi­gies then Deities could not defend their owne people a­gainst the Roman forces.) Ex­cept peraduenture amongst the Romans, the chastity of their Virgins was greater, and the religion of their Priests more holy, when frequently, many of their Virgins hauing easily made a fault with men without Vestaes notice, haue had a civill revenge executed vpon their incest, and the rest were more happy in wanto­nesse then safe in chastity. And where doe your Priests more often hire fornications, treat Veneries, contriue adulteries, then at the altars, and images of the Gods. And no common [Page 104] resorts of whoererie doe so fre­quently supply the businesse of lust, as the cells of those, who are officers and guardians of the Temples. And yet, be­fore these your Priests and Vir­gins were heard of in the world, at Gods pleasure the Assyrians had the Em­pire, the Medes, the Persians, the Greekes, the Egyptians, when as yet they had none of your pontificall rites, no bro­therhood of Priests to sancti­fy the fields, no dauncing Priests in honour of Mars, no Virgins to attend the Godesse Vesta and her fire, no Priests of angurie, to keepe birds in coopes, to divine the successe of things by their feeding or refusall of meate. For now [Page 105] I am come to their examinati­on which you say haue beene collected with great labour, not omitted without repen­tance, and ever obserued with happy successe. Will you say that Clodius, Flaminius and Jurius therefore lost their ar­mies, because they would not stay to know whether the barly falling on the ground did make an ominous leaping: yet Regulus obserued this ce­remony, and was taken by the enemies. Mancinus kept this religion, and yet was forct to yeelde to a base submission and captiuity. The chic­ken did eate for Paulus, and yet at the battaile of Cannae, both he and the grea­test part of his army was cut [Page 106] downe. Caius Caesar in spight of this divination forbidding him to saile into Affricke with his fleete before winter, put forth, and had a faire passage with victory. As for your ora­cles, how shall I pursue their history? Amphiaraus after his death makes answeares con­cerning things to come, and yet was he ignorantly betray­ed to death by his wife for the loue of a gold chaine. Blinde Tiresias must see things future, who could not discerne any thing before him. Old Ennius faines answeares of the Pithi­an Apollo for King Pirrhus, when Apollo had long before left of to bee a poeticall Pro­phet. Whose wary doubtfull oracle quickly ceas'd, when [Page 107] men began to bee more civill and lesse credulous. And De­mosthenes knowing the impo­sture of such answeares, did complaine that the Pythian Virgin Prophetesse, was cor­rupted by King Philip. But you will say that these auguries and these oracles did some­times hit on the truth. Al­though indeed chance may sometimes seeme in many lyes to speake as it were to purpose, yet I will trie to dis­cover this fountaine of errour and wickednesse, to shew whence all this disguise hath risen, I will even open the very foundations, and lay them to a manifest view. There bee false spirits wandring vp and downe since with terrestriall [Page 108] corruptions and desires they lost their celestiall vertue. These spirits haue fore­gone the puritie of their sub­stance with a burden and de­luge of vices, and to comfort their calamitie, being ruin'd themselues they neuer leaue to attempt the distruction of others, to infuse a depravation of errour, by inducing evill religions to alienate with themselues so many as they can from the true service of God. The Poets acknowledge these to bee cunning spirits, Philosophers dispute of them, Socrates was not ignorant of them, who at the direction and will of one still present with him, did decline or vn­dertake businesse. The Magi­cians [Page 109] also doe not only know them, but act all the sport of miracles by their helpe. By their inspiration and infusion they worke impostures, mak­ing those things appeare which are not, and those things not apeare which are. Of these Magicians Hostanes the chiefest both for speech and deed, doth attribute vnto the true God his deserued maiesty, and makes honourable mention of his angells, that is his messen­gers, who tremble at his word and countenance, he also makes mention of those other cunning wandring terrestiall spirits enemies to mankind. And Plato who thought it so great a businesse to finde out God, doth easily discouer both [Page 110] these vnto vs, and in his feasting dialogue striues to ex­presse their nature. He will haue them to be a middle sub­stance betwixt soule and bo­dy, halfe mortall, halfe im­mortall, compounded with a mixture of terrestiall heaui­nesse, and celestiall lightnesse. He will haue them cause in us the first incentiue sparkes of loue, to informe and slide into mens brests, to mooue their senses, fashion their affections, and then powre in a fiery heate of lust. Wherefore these vncleane spirits (as the Magi­cians, the Philosophers, and Plato shew) lurke vnder con­secrat statues and images, and by an inspiration doe gaine with people authority to be [Page 111] reputed Gods, whiles they sometimes seeme to possesse their prophets, to abide in temples, to animate the liuers of the sacrifice, to gouerne the flights of birds, rule lotte­ries, and deliuer oracles in­volu'd with much falshood. For they are deceiud and doe deceiue, as not knowing truth sincerely, nor confessing that which they know, to their owne perdition. So doe they draw vs from heauen, and call us from the true God vnto these materiall things: They disorder our life, trouble our dreames, creepe secretly into our bodies, as being thinne spirits, forge diseases, terrify mindes, distort members, that they may force us to a wor­ship [Page 112] of them, when after a sacrifice of beasts, and feasting at their altars, they seeme to be appeased, and release, and cure those whom they had affli­cted. These are also the causes of those mad men whom you see breake forth into the streetes. Their owne Pro­phets also are sometimes pos­sest when they are forth the temple, they roule their heads and rage. These spirits incite both, although to a di­verse purpose. And from them proceede those things of which you haue before spo­ken, when Iupiter causd a new celebration of sports accor­ding to a dreame, when the little ship did follow the matrones girdle, when the Ca­stors [Page 113] were seene with their [...]orses. The most of you doe know, that these spirits con­fesse so much of themselues, as often, as by vs with tor­ments of wordes and fire of praiers they are driuen out of bodies. Saturne himselfe and Serapis and Iupiter, and all the the rest of your Gods whom you worship, are with griefe commanded to speake what they are plainly. Neither would they lye to there owne disgrace, especially when ma­ny of you are present. When they doe thus confesse truth of themselues, then belieue from there owne witnesse that they are euill spirits. when we coniure them by the only true God, they hardly [Page 114] stay in possest bodyes, and ei­ther presently leape forth [...] vanish by degrees, as the fair [...] of the patient helps, or th [...] grace of Gods minister pre­vailes, So doe they shunne the presence of Christians, whom a farre of they prouoke in your rioting assemblies. And there­fore insinuating themselues into the affections of vndiscer­ning people, they dare but pri­vily incite you to a hatred of vs through feare. For tis naturall to hate whom we feare, and to doe all the mischiefe wee can vpon those, of whom we seeme to stand in danger. So doe they forestall your mindes and shut vp your breasts from right vnderstanding, that men vndertake to hate vs before [Page 115] they know what we are, least knowing, they should either follow our example, or leaue off to pursue our condemnati­on. But how great a crime it is to passe sentence vpon men vnknowne, vntried, which you doe, belieue our earnest re­pentance. For wee were as you are, and in a blinde stu­pidnesse wee thought as you: that Christians did worship monsters, devoure Infants, make incestuous banquets; neither would wee vnder­stand, that these fables were still talkt of, but never searcht vnto proofe, when never a­ny was found to giue evidence herein, although he was sure to haue pardon for the fact, and favour for the inditement. [Page 116] And surely this crime impu­ted to the Christians was so nothing, as any of them brought in question of his faith, did neither blush at it, nor feare, only repenting that hee had not beene a Christian sooner. Yet wee who did vn­dertake to defend and pre­serue in iudgement, persons sacrilegious, incestuous, and even Parricides, were of minde that these Christians ought not to bee heard speake for themselues. And many times as it were out of pitty did vse on them ragefull cru­elty, to force a deniall of their beliefe, that they might not dye; vsing in these things a most perverse triall, not to cleare truth but to extort [Page 117] falshood, when if any did de­ny himselfe a Christian through infirmity, overprest and vanquished with tor­ment, wee did favour him presently, as if such deniall and abiuring had made suffi­cient expiation for all his faults. Doe you not see your owne thoughts and actions in vs? When if reason had beene iudge, and not the in­stigation of those evill spirits, these men should rather haue beene vrged to confesse their incests, adulteries, impious ceremonies, and immolation of Infants, then to vnsay their Christianity. For with those fables haue your spirits filled the eares of ignorant people to raise in them a horrible exe­cration [Page 118] of vs: But no wonder if you doe not here vrge the question, since fame which is nourished by dispersion of lies perisheth at the declaration of truth. Such is the businesse of your spirits: they did sow, they did foment this most false rumour; and from thence it is that you heare, our divine secrecie should bee an Asses head. Who would bee so foo­lish as to worship this? Or who is not more foole to haue this imagination of vs, but that you doe all-over conse­crate your selues for Asses, by worshipping the Lady Epona in your stable, and sacrificing the same Asses religiously, to your Goddesse Isis? Oxe heads also and the heads of [Page 119] weathers you both sacrifice and worship. You dedicate Gods in shape halfe goates and halfe men, halfe Lions and halfe dogges; and doe you not with the Egyptians both wor­ship and feede the heyfer A­pis? Neither doe you con­demne their other religious rites appointed to serpents crocodiles, beasts, birds, and fishes; and if any kill a God of these, hee must by the law suffer death. The same Egypti­ans with many of your selues, doe not feare Is [...]s more, then you also feare the acrimony of Oignions, nor more trem­ble at Serapis, then a crack sent forth at our neither hole. Also hee who tales it forth, that wee worship the vir [...]li­ties [Page 120] of our Priest, doth but la­bour to put on vs their owne brutish behauiour. For these may well bee their sacred ce­remonies, with whom all fil­thinesse is called vrbanity: who envie the licentiousnesse of the stewes, who licke mens privities, and with a libidi­nous mouth muzzle in shame­full parts. Whose tongues are nought in silence, who are sooner weary then ashamed of their immodesty. O the horrible sinne! they admit that voluntary filthinesse in themselues, which younger age cannot brook, nor the ba­sest slaue bee forced vnto. These like ordurs, it is not law­full for vs to heare, & many of vs dare not be of counsell with [Page 121] such offenders. And you faine these vnworshipfull thinges of our chaster modestye, which we could neuer be­lieue possible amongst men, except you did proue them vpon your selues. Also where­as you ascribe vnto our adora­tion a man criminall and his crosse, in a nearenes and borde­ring of truth you loose your selues farre away to thinke, that with vs a criminall per­son might deserve, or a mor­tall man might obtaine to bee esteemed a Deity. For cer­taine, hee is a man most mi­serable, whose hope leanes vpon mortality, and whose helpe must needs perish in a mans death. Indeed the Ae­gyptians somewhere make [Page 122] choice of a man whom they may worship, him alone they make propitious, him they consul [...]e, to him they offer sacrifice; yet hee who is thus a God to others, feeles him­selfe a man, whether hee will or no: neither can hee in de­luding the conscience of o­thers, deceiue his owne. Al­so vnto Princes and Kings, not as to great and choice men (for this is lawfull) but as vn­to Gods, your flattery doth shamefully giue adoration; when to a right worthy man, honour more truly, and to an excellent good man, loue more sweetly is due. So they call on their Deity, suppli­cate their statues, implore his Genius, that is, his spirit: and [Page 123] safer it is with you to fore­sweare by Iupiter then the Genius of a King. Crosses we neither worship nor pray vn­to. But clearely, you who consecrate Gods of wood, doe peraduenture adore woo­den crosses, as parts of your Gods. For your ensignes, and your Eagle [...], and banners of the armies, what are they but guilded and adorned crosses? Your victorious trophies haue not only the similitude of a simple crosse, but they imi­tate the very person of a cru­cified man. Indeed naturally we see in a shippe the signe of a crosse, when she is carri­ed vnder full sayles, or when she glides along with an ex­pansion of oares, and when [Page 124] the tongue of a waine or the sweape of a coatch is erect­ed, there is the signe of the crosse; likewise, when a man spreading out his hands to heaven doth with pure minde beseech Gods mercy so are your reasonable occasions, or your religions formed with the crosses signe. Now I would willingly meete with that man, who either saies or belieues that we are initi­ated with the slaughter or blood of an infant. Doe you thinke it possible, that our hearts should bee so hard as to wound mortally such tender litle members? Can any man be so savage as to strike, powre out, and exhauste the halfe blood of a young tender child, [Page 125] that is scarce yet mankinde? No man can belieue this but such a one as dares doe it. For I see you expose vnto beasts and birds, children begotten by your selues, sometimes with a lamentable sort of death strangle the litle chil­dren. There bee Mothers a­mongst you who in their own bowels doe with potions ex­tinguish the hope of chil­dren, and make a Parricide before they haue brought it forth, & these things are from the discipline of your Gods. For Saturne did not expose, but devoure his Sonnes: wherefore in some parts of Affrick, children are to him sacrificed by their parents, kissing and colling the Infants [Page 126] sportfully, that the sacrifice may not be with lamentation. It was a custome with the Pontick Taurians and the E­gyptian Busiris to kill strangers in sacrifice, and with the Gaules to make humane or ra­ther inhumane oblations. The Romans did interre in the earth a liue sacrifice of a Grae­cian man and woman, with Gaules likewise, and at this day the latiall Iupiter is wor­shiped with homicide: And that which well enough be­seemes the sonne of Saturne, a wicked and criminall man, he is glutted with blood. Peraduenture hee taught Ca­tyline to league his coniurati­on in blood, to imbrue with mans blood the Goddesse [Page 127] Bellona: and with the blood of a man to heale the falling sicknesse seemes his prescrip­tion, a cure greater then the disease. Nor are they much lesse barbarous, who from the publique sand taking beastes bedaubd and infected with the blood, garbidge and mem­bers of men, haue the stomack to devoure them. Tis not law­full for vs to see homicide, nor heare it, and wee are so afeard of humane blood, that even our tables know no ser­vice made with the blood of beastes. And that fable of an incestuous banquet is certain­ly a lie forgd at a consultation of your spirits, to maculate the glory of our chaste life with an aversion of such dif­formed [Page 128] infamy; with the ter­rour of it to keepe men off from enquiring the truth. And your Fronto delivers not this as a witnesse but as an oratour, to raise vpon vs a contumelious aspersion. These are things more properly be­longing to your owne super­stition: it is amongst the Per­sians sufferable by law for children to mingle with their Mothers; with the Egyptians and Athenians, brothers and sisters marrie legally. Your Annalls and tragedies glorie in incests, which you willing­ly read and heare: and so you worship incestuous Gods, who haue laine with Mother, daughter, and sister. Incest is therefore often deprehended [Page 129] amongst you, and ever com­mitted: also many times you may vnwillingly rush vpon these horrors, whilest you scat­ter your Venery promiscuously, whilst you every where sowe children: whilest also those who are borne at home, you doe frequently expose to the mercy of strangers, it is not possible but your lust must of­ten light vpon your owne children. So hauing your selues no conscience of incest, you doe the more easily tie the fable of incest vpon our backs. But wee make our chastity good not only in shew but in minde also. We willingly containe our selues in the tye of one marriage. We haue a desire of procreation only, or [Page 130] no desire at all, we keepe our banquets not only modest but sober. For we giue not our selues ouer to feasting nor protract it with strong drinke, we temper our mirth with gravity, with honest dis­course, and greater chastity of our bodyes: many doe rather enioy themselues in the per­petuall virginity of an invi­olate body, then glory in it. In conclusion wee are so farre from incestuous lust, as many doe even blush at a modest coniunction. Neither are wee presently the raffe of people, if we refuse your honours and purples: neither are wee squeamish in all things, if wee all be of one good minde, and and come together in our con­gregations [Page 131] with a quiet pri­vacy: nor doe wee prate in corners, although you either shame or feare to heare vs in a publique assembly. And that our number doth every day encrease, it is no criminall imputatiom of errour, but a praise-worthy evidence of our truth. For a faire kinde of living doth both retaine vs, and invite others. Wee dis­cerne not one another by markes of body as you thinke, but by apparance of innocent and modest life. And that which grieues you to see, we liue in mutuall loue, because wee know not how to hate: and so, to your envy, wee call one another brothers, as be­ing servants of one God our [Page 132] Father, consorts of faith, and coheires of hope; when you proudly doe disdaine to ac­knowledge others, and rage with mutuall hatred, neither owne any for brothers but by Parricide. But doe you ima­gine wee hide our worship, because wee haue no Tem­ples, no Altars? what image then would you haue vs frame for God, when if you rightly consider, man himselfe is Gods image? what Temple shall I build vnto him, when this whole world his worke cannot containe him? and and when I that am but a man reioice to liue more freely, shall I include the power of so great maiesty in a small shrine? Is hee not much bet­ter [Page 133] in a dedication of our minde, in a consecration of our inmost breast? What great or lesse sacrifice of beastes shall I offer to God, which he hath created for my vse? This cannot bee a thing of gratefull acceptance; but the more winning oblation must bee a good intention, a pure minde and a sincere consci­ence. Hee who loues inno­cency, doth supplicate vnto God, hee that loues iustice, doth him libation, he that ab­staines from deceipt, makes God propitious, and whoe­ver rescues a man from dan­ger, makes the most glorious sacrifice. These are our sacri­fices, these are holy things with God: so hee with vs is [Page 134] most religious that is most iust. But wee doe not shew the God wee worship, nor doe wee see him? Nay there­fore wee belieue him to be a God, because wee can per­ceiue him, though wee see him not. For in his workes and in all the motions of the world wee ever behold the presence of his power: when hee thunders, when he sends forth lightning, when he strikes with thunder, when he cleares the aire. Neither ought you to wonder if you doe not see God. All things are driuen, hurld, and shaken with blasts of winde, yet the wind, the blasts, come not vn­der our sight. Hardly can wee endure to see the sun which is cause of sight to al, for his rayes [Page 135] keepe off our sight and dimme the eyes of the beholder: and if you gaze on it any long while, it exstinguisheth the sight. How then may you sustaine the creator of the sunne, the very fountaine of light; when from his light­ning and thunder you hide your felues? you will see God with your carnall eyes, when you cannot see your owne soule by which you liue and speake. But God knowes not mens actions and being seated in heauen, either he surveyes not all, or he is ignorant in many particulars? O man thou dost erre and art deceiued. How can God be farre off, when all things in heauen and earth, and things beyond this [Page 136] province of the world are all full of God? he is euery where not only neere but in­fusd into vs. Looke againe v­pon the sunne he is fixt to hea­uen, yet he sparkles himselfe through all the earth, he is alike present euery where, and he is mingled with all things; for his clearenesse is never violated. How much more then must God the au­thour of all things, and over­seer of all things, from whom there can be nothing secret, bee present in any darknesse, even in the greater darknesse of our thoughts. Wee doe not only liue vnder him, but as I had almost said, we liue with him. Neither toye we an ar­gument from the great multi­tude [Page 137] of our selues: to our selues wee seeme many, but to him wee are but few. We distinguish kindreds and nati­ons: all this world is but one house to God. Kings know the affaires of their state by the ministry of officers, God needs no intimation; we liue not only in his eyes but in his bosome: if you say that it no­thing profitted the Jewes to worship this one God in the greatest height of superstition with Altars and Temples, you erre out of ignorance, vnwit­ting their ancient glory, and only minding their later cala­mities. For as long as they worshipped our God (who is the God of all) chastly, inno­cently, religiously, as long as [Page 138] they obeyed his wholesome precepts; of a few they were made innumerable, of poore rich, of slaues Kings; a few of them vnarmd, did pusue great flying armies and beare them downe, the very Ele­ments at Gods command fighting for them. Read over their stories, or if you are more pleasd with the Romans rela­tion, to passe by the more aun­cient, see Flavius Iosephus or Antonius Iulianus concer­ning the Iewes: you shall then finde that they deserued their evill fortune by their wick­ednesse: and that nothing happened vnto them which was not foretold, if they should perseuere in their re­bellion. You shall perceiue [Page 139] that they did first forsake God, before he forsook them; and that they were not as you impiously deliver, taken cap­tiue with their Gods but by him yeelded vp, as men for­saking his discipline. As for the conflagration of the world, that fire shall fall on a suddaine; or to belieue this thing possible, it is the com­mon receiued opinion. And for the wiser sort of men, who of them doubts, who is igno­rant, that all things which haue a beginning must haue an end, and all that is made must likewise perish, and that hea­ven with all things contained in it must end as it beganne. Tis the constant opinion of the Stoicks, that the heavens [Page 140] are nourished with the exha­lation of fresh and salt waters, and must passe away with a violence of fire, when all this world in a consumption of the moisture shall burne with flames. And for the conflagra­tion of the Elements and the ruine of the world, the Epicu­reans are of the same minde. Plato saies the parts of the world are sometimes drow­ned with waters, sometimes burnt with fire, and when hee saies, that the world was made perpetuall and never to bee dissolued, yet he addes, that to Gods power it is both mor­tall and perishing. So then it is no wonder, if this great heape of things bee destroyed by him who pleasd to make [Page 141] it; & Philosophers dispute the same things with vs; not that we follow their steps; but that they from the divine predi­ctions of the Prophets haue intermingled a shadow of truth in their writings. So also the chiefe of your wise men, first Pithagoras and especially Plato deliuered though in a corrupt skant manner the condition of our liuing againe. For after a dissolution of our bodies, they will haue our soules remaine perpetually, and make a diuers transmigra­tion into new bodies; and to distort the truth they adde, that the soules of men must returne into tame beastes, in­to wilde beastes and birds. Certainly this their opinion [Page 142] is not worthy the serious stu­dy of a Phlosopher, but resem­bles the contumelious jesting of a stage. But for our purpose tis enough that wise men doe in this also somewhat agree with vs. And can any bee so foolish or brutish, that he dare deny it as easie for God to reforme men anew, as to frame them in the beginning? Are they nothing after their death? So were they nothing before their being; as they were borne out of nothing, why may not they out of no­thing be repaired? Moreouer it must needs seeme more dif­ficult to beginne that which was not, then to reiterate that which was. Doe you thinke that things perish to God, be­cause [Page 143] they are withdrawne from the view of our eyes, every body whether hee bee dried into dust, or dissolued into water, or clodded into ashes, or extenuated into va­pour, is taken indeed from vs, but may still bee reserued vn­to God the keeper of the Ele­ments. Neither doe wee as you thinke feare any losse in a sepulture of fire, but wee frequent rather the more aun­cient and better custome of interring, out of a civil conside­ration. See how nature every where doth as it were for our comfort point out a future re­surrection. The Sun drownes it selfe in the waues, and rises againe, the starres slide away, and returne, the flowers dye [Page 144] and spring againe. The bushes cast their leaues, and againe grow greene, and seedes if they doe not rotte cannot re­ceiue a new growth: so our bodies like trees in the win­ter they hide their greenesse in a drie disguise. Why doe you make such hast, will you haue trees renew their green­nesse in the depth of winter? So must our bodies expect their spring. And I am not ig­norant that many out of a con­science of their ill deseruings, doe rather wish to bee no­thing after death then belieue it: for they had rather bee vt­terly extinguisht, then returne to a reparation of torments. These mens errour is in­creasd by the licentiousnesse [Page 145] Of the world and the great patience of God, whose iudg­ment the more slowe it is, the more iust it will be▪ yet are they put in remembrance by the books of the most learned men, and the poets verses, of a fierce floud and the often circling heate of the Stigian lake prepared for eternall punishments, as the tradition is from their spirits owne no­tice, and the oracles of the prophets. And therefore king Iupiter himselfe he sweares religiously by those fierce tor­rents and the blacke gulfe, at which ordained for the pu­nishment of him and his wor­shippers he trembles before hand, seeing these torments haue neither measure nor en­ding. [Page 146] There the wise fire burnes the body & restores it, it rends and repares: as the flames of lightning blast the body and not consume it, as the fires of Aetna and Vesu­uius, and other burning earths, still flame and spend not: so that penall fire is not fed with the empairing of those that are burnt, but nourisht with the everlasting torture of their bodies. And that they are thus worthily tormented for impious and vniust, who doe not know God, none but a profane man can call in que­stion; when it is no lesse sinne not to know, then to offend the Father and Lord of all things. And although not knowing God bee sufficient [Page 147] cause for punishment, as the knowing him may availe for pardon, yet if wee Christians for point of life bee compared with you, howsoeuer your discipline in many things is beyond ours, wee shall bee found assuredly the better men. For you forbid adulte­ries and doe them: wee only in this kind are knowne men by our wiues. You punish crimes committed, with vs thoughts are guilty. You feare others that are conscious of your sinnes, we feare our own conscience, without whose peace wee cannot enioy our selues. In briefe the prisons are fild with your numbers; there is no Christian but whom you make guilty of his [Page 148] religion, or who hath depar­ted from this. Nor let any man seeke comfort or excuse for his sinnes in destiny. For if there were a God of destiny as you enshrine him, yet the minde is free, and the action not the person of a man must suffer iudgement. And what is destiny but that which God hath forespoken of vs? Who when he might foreknow our conditions, hath determined of every one of vs, according to our merits & quality. So is not our natiuity condemned, but punishment is appoin­ted for the ill nature of our disposition. And thus in few words enough of destiny, of which I haue more largely and truly disputed in another [Page 149] place. Then whereas you say the greatest part of vs are poore, this is not our infamy but glory: for as the minde growes dissolute in abun­dance, so it is confirmed with frugality. Yet who can be accounted poore who doth not want, who gapes not after the goods of other men, who is rich towards God? He is the most poore, who when he hath much de­sires more. And I will speake as I thinke: no man can bee so poore as hee is borne. The birds liue without a patrimo­ny, the beastes looke but for their daily food: yet these are made for vs, and if wee covet not at all these things, wee possesse them. Therefore as [Page 150] he that travailes a iourny, goes best that goes lightest, so in this waifaring life he is more happy that easily beares his po­verty, then he which pantes with the burden of riches. And yet if we deemed riches vsefull, we might aske them of God, and hee may out of indulgency bestow something on vs. But we had rather de­spise riches then be their jea­lous keepers. We rather de­sire innnocency, and earnestly begge patience of him, wee had rather be good then pro­digall: and if wee feele and suffer in our bodies the casual­ties of mankinde, this is not a punishment, but an excer­cise. For valour is hardened with infirmities, and calami­ty [Page 151] is often the Mother of ver­tue. And in briefe the strength both of body and minde doth languish without laborious excercise, and all your valiant men whom you praise for ex­ample, they haue most flou­risht in memory for the fa­mous bearing of their mise­ries. God therefore who is the ruler of all, and who dear­ly loues those that bee his, doth not despise vs, and hee is able to giue present helpe, although hee seeme to for­beare. For in adversities hee searches and tries our resolu­tion, in dangers hee weighs our dispositions, even to the last hazard of death he questi­ons the wills of men, being secure that nothing can perish [Page 152] from him, and as gold with fire, so are we approued by hard encounters. What a faire spectacle it is for God, when a Christian enters the lists with griefe, composes an endurance against threates, punishments, and torments? When with laughter hee in­sultes vpon the hurrie of death and horrour of execution, when he erects his liberty a­gainst Kings and Princes, yeelds only to God, to whom he belongs? When like a tri­umphant victor he glories o­ver the iudge that pronoun­ces his sentence: and victory it is, when a man hath atchie­ved that he sought for. What souldier will not more boldly provoke danger vnder the [Page 153] eyes of the Generall? For none can haue rewardes be­fore hee hath given experi­ment of himselfe: and yet a Generall cannot giue that which he hath not; he cannot prolong life, though hee can honour a souldiers worth. But the souldier of God, is neither forsaken in his paine, nor endes his life in death, and may bee thought but never found miserable. You your selues doe praise calamitous men vnto the heavens, a­mongst others, Mutius Scae­vola who when he had mista­ken his attempt vpon the King, had died amongst his enemies if he had not showne vnto them such an example of courage in the burning of [Page 154] his right hand. And how ma­ny of our men haue endured without out-cries the burning vnto ashes not of their right hand only but their whole bo­dy, when it was in their pow­er by deniall of their beliefe to be let goe, and liue freely? Doe I compare the men of ours with Mucius, with A­quilius, with R [...]gulus? The very Children and woemen among vs by an inspired pati­ence of griefe, doe despise and laugh at your crosses, y [...] torments, your wilde beastes, and all your contemptible terrours of punishment. And you miserably will not vn­derstand that no man would, either without great reason vndergoe, or could without [Page 155] Gods aide abide such tor­ments. Except that deceiue you, because men not know­ing God doe flow in riches, flourish in honours, and ex­cell in power. Vnhappy men, these are raisd high, that their fall may bee greater: like sa­crifices they are fatted vnto punishment, and like beastes are crownd for slaughter. Some of them are for this lifted vp vnto Empires and domina­tions that they may sell the dispositions of their wicked soules vnto all licentiousnesse of free power. For without the knowledge of God what solid felicity can there be; which passes like a dreame, and slides away almost before it is possest. Art thou a King? [Page 156] Thou dost feare as thou art feared: and although thou bee guarded with great retinue, yet art thou but one man ob­noxious to infinite dangers. Art thou rich? But fortune is deceitfull of trust, and with great provision the short jour­ney of life is rather burdened then instructed. Dost thou glory in thy purples and en­signes of dignity? Tis a vaine errour of men, and an empty pompe to shine in purple, and be sordid in the minde. Art thou descended from aunci­ent nobility? Thou dost here­in but praise thy parents: yet are wee all borne of equall condition, and in truth only distinguished by vertue. We therefore who make our esti­mation [Page 157] only by manners and modest behauiour, abstaine willingly from your evill pleasures, your evill pompes, and spectacles: the beginnings of which wee know to bee vnholy, and the continuance full of damnable allurements. For in your racing sports with chariots, who would not de­test the mad contestation of your peoples part taking? In your fencers, who doth not abhorre a discipline of mur­der? In your stage sports there is no lesse fury, and more ob­scenity, for now the actor doth either dilate adulteries or present them, now in a wanton manner faining loue he puts the spectators into earnest lust: and then disho­nours [Page 158] your Gods by persona­ting their adulteries, their lamentations, their hatreds, then with dissembled griefes, vaine gestures and feares hee provokes your teares. So in a lye you bewaile the deathes of men and loue to behold them in a true execution. And if wee share not the reliques of your sacrificing feastes, and the goblets which are first powrd forth vnto your idols, this is no confession of feare, but an assertion of true liberty. For although every thing that growes as being the inviola­ble gift of God cannot by your missusance bee condem­ned: yet we abstaine, least a­ny should thinke we did by this yeelde our selues subiect [Page 159] vnto your spirits, or that wee were something ashamed of our owne religion. And who is he that doubts whether we doe refresh our selues with the flowres of the spring, when wee take the rose and the lilly, and whatsoeuer else in flowres hath fairenesse of smell and colour; with these loose and soft wee strowe our houses, and with some bound vp wee fill our bosomes. In­deed you must pardon vs if wee crowne not our heads with them. For we vse to draw the ayre of a sweete flower with our nostrills, not with our haire and hinder parte of our head. Neither do we put garlands vpon the dead. Rather in this wee [Page 160] wonder at you, why you should giue vnto the dead who feele nothing, your torches and your coronets of f [...]owres, when if he be happy he now wantes them not, and misery cannot reioice in flow­ers. But we prepare our buri­alls in the same tranquility with which wee liue. Wee put not on them a fading crowne, but wee expect for them a crowne ever fresh with eternall flowres: wee vse the liberality of our God with moderation, and secure in the hope of future felicity, we are encouragd in confi­dence of his Maiesty ever present with vs. So wee rise againe to happinesse, and wee in a pleasing contemplation [Page 161] of what we shall be. Where­fore let Socrates your gibing Athenian looke to it, who hu­mourd himselfe in a confessi­on of knowing nothing, how­soeuer hee be glorious in the iudgement of a most false spi­rit. Let Arcesilas, Carneades, and Pyrrho, and all the Aca­demick multitude perpetual­ly deliberate, let also Simo­nides still put off his resoluti­on; we contemne the browes of the Philosophers, whom we know to haue beene cor­rupters of youth, and adulte­rous, and Tyrants, and ever e­loquent against their owne vices. Wee who pretend not wisdome by a strange habit, but an integrity of minde, doe not speake but liue in a great [Page 162] manner: wee glory to haue found that which they sought with great ambition & could not obtaine. Why are we in­gratefull? Why are we envi­ous to our selues, if the true knowledge of divinity hath come to be ripely apprehen­ded in our age? Let vs enioy our blessing, & let vs be tempe­rate in a right vnderstanding: Let superstition be restraind, impiety be expiated, true reli­gion be preserud. When Octa­vius had ended his oration, for a while wee in an amazd si­lence did fixe our eyes vpon him; and as for my selfe, I almost knew not where I was through an excesse of admi­ration, whereas hee had with arguments, examples, and [Page 163] authorities of reading beauti­fully deliuered those things, which it is easier to think then expresse: & that he had beaten downe our maleuolent adver­saries with their own armor of Philosophy and had shewed truth to be not only easie but favourable. Whilest I did in silence runne over these things with my selfe, Cecilius broke forth and spake after this manner. I thanke octauius for the tranquility in which we are now like to liue, and I repute my selfe happy not expecting the deliuery of your sentence. We haue all over­come, and I am forward to v­surpe the victory. For as he hath overcome me, so haue I made a triumhpe of errour, [Page 164] Therefore to the maine part of the question I come in and say. That I acknowledge pro­vidence, belieue in God, and consent to the sincerity of our sect. Something yet remaines, not quarrelsome against truth but necessary for a perfect in­stitution; of which (because the sunne is now neare his declination) I shall to mor­row more conveniently and readily bee informed by you. Then said [...], tis to me great ioy in all respects; Octavius hath done me a pleasure in his victory, when hee hath so taken from me, the envy of being a judge, neither can I recompense his desert with a verball praise. The acclama­tion of one man is but a weake [Page 165] testimony. God reward his owne gift; by him he was in­spired to speake, and with his helpe he hath obtained this happy victory. After this we joyfully and merrily de­parted. Cecilius because hee now belieued, Octavius be­cause hee had overcome, and I because they both were so well pleasd in their beliefe and victory.

Deo soli gracia.

A good Friday thought.

I Thinke how Christ in his great pleasure tooke
A humane likenesse often in the booke
Of mans creation, learning as it were,
How in times fullnesse Deity could beare
The earnest of our flesh, in it be borne,
Grow vp to three and thirty, then be torne
With scourges and the crosse, be crownd with thornes,
Surprizd by treason and revild with scorns,
Bee buffetted, bee spit on to re­store
Those cruell actors to his loue and lore,
From which both they and wee by serpents wile
[Page]In our first parents fall vntill this while
For eating some forbidden fa­tall fruit,
Figge, Peare, or Apple, which, I not dispute,
Astonisht with the wonder of Gods playe,
Amongst the sonns of men, from whence well may
We name our Gospell. He who framed all
With one word, might without a funerall
And passion of himselfe so all repaire
With one new pleasing breath and gratefull aire.
But since for humane ransome he would die,
I thus thinke on the sacred history,
[Page]As from the holy Moore I learne. Behold
the price of mans redemption, and be bold,
To blesse all nations, Christ his bloud pourd forth,
What ransome may be equall to such worth?
What but all tribes of men? In­gratefull they
Or very proud, who dare or thinke, or say,
Themselues so great, or this so small, that none,
Should be by such price savd but they alone.

A Christmasse Caroll.

Since now the jolly season's by
That giues and takes in curt [...] ­sy,
I than haue nought to giue will sing
A caroll to our infant king,
The Prince of peace, the migh­ty Lord,
who all created with a word.
And might so haue mankind redeemd,
Had not another way [...] seemd,
Which I adore not daring prie
Jn secrets of Divinity.
Haile blessed Virgin, mother milde,
Which at this time didst beare a childe,
Who in the booke of Genesis
Doth bruise the head of ser­pents hisse,
[Page]And so as in allegorie
Would their embleme Grand­sire worie.
His cradle was a manger, fed
Where be the serpents, and doe bed
In lothsome ordure neare, else place
Should by Mariamnes grace
In Herods softest downe haue beene
For a fairer Ʋirgin Queene.
Whose burden puzling natures eye.
Made a new brightnesse shine in skye,
To guide three wise men rap't in sense,
With gold, with mirrhe, with frankomsense,
From their Starre-gazing Ea­sterne stage
To Bethlem in holy pilgri­mage.
[Page]When round about poore [...] swaynes
Grazing their sheepe on neigh­bour plaines,
Gods glory first by night did show,
And from an Angell let them know
Tidings of ioy to all mankind,
Which they in Davids towne should finde.
A swadling childe amongst beastes stor'd,
A Saviour which is Christ the Lord,
Borne King of Iewes and Gen­tiles all,
Who in full time vnited shall
Humbly vnto him bend, and praise,
His triumphe with eternall layes.
Of many proofes which make beliefe
[Page]In Christ so borne, this one is chiefe.
The Iewes who scornd his low [...]y birth,
Are skattered over all the earth,
In false Christs oft by thousand lost,
From on land to another tost.
Their Priest [...], Scribes, all Ie­rusalem,
Which troubled were at birth of him,
Haue lost their Tribes, their Temple, state,
A people, outcast, runnagate.
Now for one thousand thirtie one
And full six hundred yeares vndone.
Blest infant, sacred Deitie
So shrouded in humanitie,
Preserue this new yeare to my friends
[Page]From thoughts ill ravelld into ends.
Vouchsafe mee and my slender rimes,
Not fawning on these faining times.
Then shall I on thine Altarly
In Antheme of Ascending day,
As erst J haue at Easter done,
Thy Threnothriambeuticon.

A Hymne on Christs ascension.

TO thy passion and thy birth
Blest Lord I haue two anthemes sung,
Once more to sing in holy mirth
Thy ascending glory loose my tongue,
[Page]That I with wonder and with praise,
May sett forth all thy holy daies
Borne lowly, then on shamefull Crosse
By Iewes and Romans iudgd to dye,
Jn birth or death not any losse,
Empeacht thy immortalitye.
Like Phebus after cloudes of raine,
Thy God-head lustred forth a­gaine.
Ascending thou to men didst giue,
To meanest men such guifts of grace,
As whether they did dye or liue,
They forct all hearts in highest place,
To prostrate scepter, sword and crowne
[Page]With worship to thy chiefe re­nowne.
Poore fishermen of lakes that were
Ʋnapt to sway with eloquence,
That knew not how to menace speare,
Or blandish words that ravish sense,
Even these poore Heralds voyce did tame
And winne all nations to thy name.
When I am lifted vp saith he
In holy Gospell of saint John,
Then all men will J draw to me
That is to his confession.
To heauen from cratch and crosse he went,
With men and Angells merri­ment.
Triumphant lord no tongue, no thought,
Can reach the wonder of thy wayes,
But we must say as Paul hath taught,
Ʋnto thy euerlasting praise,
The mysterie of godlinesse
Is such as no tongue can ex­presse.
God in the flesh made manifest
Jn the spirit iustified.
Seene of the angells euer blest,
To the Gentles verified.
Believd on in the world his story,
Was vp receiued into glory.

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