• Beginning.
  • Height.
  • Fall.

In a Sermon preached at Pauls Crosse, Iune 4. 1624. Being the first Sunday in Trinitie Terme.

BY Humphry Sydenham Mr. of Arts, and Fellow of WADHAM Colledge in OXFORD.

LONDON, Printed for IOHN PARKER. 1626.

TO MY APPROVED WORTHY FRIEND Mr. Francis Crossing; This.


I Was neuer yet so pre­posterous in my re­spects, as to value the worth of him I serue, by the title, but the di­sposition; He is noble to me, that is so in his actions, not his des­cent; those high-swolne priuiledges of bloud and fortune are (for the most part) tympa­nies in greatnesse, pricke them, and they proue [Page] windes of honour, not substances. Had I beene ambitious of a high Patronage, this weake peece I send you might haue worne an honourable inscription, but I haue that with­in me which chides those insolencies, and tells me that the name of friend sounds better than of Lord, and hee is lesse mine that doth onely countenance me, than he that feeds me; He onely deserues to be a protector of my Labours which hath beene a cherisher of my fortunes; to you then this at once flies for Patronage, and acceptance, desiring you to receiue it as a mo­nument of his thankfulnesse, who euer deuotes himselfe

Your most-most respectiue HVM: SYDENHAM.


IOHN 8.58.

Before Abraham was, I am.

NEuer age afforded a perfection of that eminencie which was not exposed to enuie, or opposition, or both. Truth is the childe of vertue; and, as the inheritresse of all her glories; so, her suffe­rings. Now, vertue growes by vniust wounds, & so doth truth too; and like steele that is bent, springeth the other way. She shewes her best lustre vp­on encounter, and like the Sunne shines brightest be­twixt two clowds, malice, errour; both (here) con­spire to ouercast and darken the glory of those beames which enlighten euery man that comes into the world, [Page 2] the sunnes of righteousnesse. It hath euer beene the strata­gem and proiect of that Arch-enemy of man, for the ad­uancement and strengthening of his great title — The Fa­ther of lies —, either to strangle truth in the conception, or smother it in the birth. If he miscarry in his owne particular vndertakings, hee will suborne his Factors, Scrives and Pharisees; and these not onely to question, but to oppose a deity, fit agents put vpon such a damned designe, for it is theirs no lesse by debt, than parentage; — Ye are of your Father the Deuill, v. 44. He hath bequea­thed you a prodigious lie, and you would faine practise it on the Sauiour of the world, labouring to nullifie his acts, blemish his descent, imposture all his miracles. Where were they euer seconded, but by the finger of a God? or, where contradicted, but by the malice of a Iew? could the powers of the graue, and the shackles and bands of death be dissolued, and broken by the meere hand of Beelzebub? or a dead and stinking carkasse, enliued and quickened by a Samaritan and his deuill? could the king­dome of darknesse, and all those legions below, fetch a soule out of the bosome of your Abraham, and re-in­throne it in a body foure daies entombed? no, that — Magnus hiatus interte, & nos —, returnes the lie vpon all hellish power, and the prince thereof. — Between: you, and vs, there is a great gulfe fixed, Luke 16.26. Why then exclaime you on the iniustice and falshood of his te­stimonies? Opera quae ego facio —, the workes which I doe beare witnesse of me. Looke on them, and if they vnscale not your wilfull blindnesse, the axioms and principles of your owne law will conuince you. It is written in your Thalmud, — That the testimony of two men is true —. Be­hold then out of your own bloud, and Nation, two strong euidences against you, Iewes both, and both speake him a true God, — A virgin shall conceiue and bring forth a Sonne, and his name shall be called Emmanuell, God with vs, Isa. 7.14. This is our God, and there shall be none in [Page 3] comparison of him, Baruch 3.36. Why then are ye so start­led at his naming Abraham? or why doth your indig­nation swell, that he saies he is before him? Abraham reioyced to see my day, and saw it, and was glad, vers. 56. (My day of eternity, and my day of incarnation, with the eie of faith.) Why enquire you into the number of his yeeres? a whole age to him is as an houre, two thou­sand yeeres but as a minute, and all the wheeles and de­grees of time within his span, and as a nunc or instant; before Abraham was, before the world, before all time I am. Iew, take his word, it is orthodox, or if not, his as­seueration: and if that be too slight and single, loe, hee doubles it, Verily, verily, I say vnto you, before Abraham was, I am.

And now thou that sittest in the chaire of Moses, heare what S. Augustine tells thee, — Appende verba, & cog­nosce mysterium —, the words (indeed) are of a narrow circuit, yet they shrine and inuolue a mystery, and carry with them both maiesty and depth, like rich stones set in Ebonie, where though the ground be darke, yet it giues their lustre and beauty clearer; learne here then both propriety, and weight of language, and how to criticke between a God, and thy owne frailty. — Intellige, fieret, ad humanam facturam, sum verò, ad diuinam pertinere sub­stantiam? — Was, points onely to a humane constitution, — I am, to a diuine substance, and therefore the originall hath a — [...] — for Abraham, & an — [...] — for Christ. Diuinity is not cloistered or confined to time, either past, or future, but commands all as present; and there­fore not — I was, but — I am. Neither doe the Latines giue Abraham an — esset, but a — fieret, nor Christ a — fui, but a — sum. Hereupon the full tide of Expositors, besides Ego latius ex­tendo, Cal. in 8. lo. M. Caluine, and his Marlorate, (who though they a while diuide the streame, yet at length they meet in the same channell, and so make the current a little ful­ler) waue this way, and send vs to that — I am, of Exo­dus, [Page 4] in the 3. chap. 14. vers. where wee finde the roote with an — Ehich, Asher Ehich, which though the Chaldee renders, — Ero qui ero, I will be that I will be — (which in­deed is the genuine signification of the originall) yet the vulgar Edition giues it in the present, — I am that I am — and the Septuagint [...], — I am he that is — (it be­ing both frequent and necessary with the Hebrewes to place the future for the present) and by this they imply — Gods eternall and vnchangeable being in himselfe. The Thalmudists also (whose authority must passe for current, where there is no power to contradict, or scanne) allow this, — Ehich — as much as — Sam — Fisi — ero — the compre­hension of three times, past, present, and to come —. So the Rabbins in Elleshemoth Rabbi vpon this Text, reade, — I that haue beene, and I the same now, and I the same for time to come. Howeuer the Chaldee Paraphrast labours an indifferency, and hath charity enough to afford both interpretations, — He that was, and hereafter will be. — Ad denotandam aeternitatem eius (saith Ionathan) to shew the eternall being of him who alone can say — Sam, ero — I am, and I will be; for he is the very source and fountaine of all life and essence, In whom we liue, and moue, and haue our being —, and by reason of this triplicity of time, and power, Ʋatablus would deriue Ihehouah from this word — Ehich (though some of the Hebrew Doctors fetch the pedigree a little higher) from — Hauah, — He was, and tels vs that by the first letter is signified, he wil be, and by the second — Ho, — He is; & to this Rabbi Bechai seems to assent, in his 65. page vpon Exodus. But howeuer they war a little in the deriuation, they do not in the substance, proportioning both this triple priuiledg, & where there is such an immensity, we cānot but make a God, & where such a God, eternitie. All things besides him once were not, and being, are limited in their natures, neither could possibly persist, vnlesse God preserued them; many also haue lost or shall loose their proper essence, and whilst [Page 5] they remaine are obnoxious to daily fluctuarions; only God eternally — Is — without beginning, limitation, de­pendance, mutation, end, consisting onely of himselfe, and all other creatures of him, and therefore this — Ehich — I am — is a peculiar attribute of omnipotencie, not de­termining any other, but indeterminatlie signifying all manners of being, for so it imports — The very immensi­tie of Gods substance, — and to this with an vnanimous consent all interpreters subscribe, and the whole quire of Fathers. I haue now brought — Ehich — close up with Iehouah, this — I am — with him that is — First — and Last, so that we may here rather challenge than borrow that of the Apostle; Iesus Christ yesterday, and to day, and the same for ever. Where S. Chrysostome will put Christ vpō that triple prerogatiue to make him a compleat God, too. — A yesterday, for time past, — to day — present — for euer, to come, though I meet here (as I shall in euery cranny and passage of my discourse) a violent opposer, Eniedinus Samosatenianus, who limits the Apostles — Heri — and Hodie — ad Rem nuperam, & recentem —, so in Iob (he saies) men are called — Hesterni — by the Greekes, [...]yesterday — and to day — for their breuitie of life; but this interpretation is no lesse bold than desperate, and that [...] — which followes in the originall, will cut off all comment and glosse of transitorinesse — The same for euer — and therefore we find him cloathed with peculiar titles of the Almighty, and by Saint Iohn foure seuerall times fronted with an [...], — from him that was, and is, and is to come; — so that if any murmu­ring vnbeleeuer should recoile in the acknowledgement of Christs diuinitie, he beats on againe, a third & a fourth time, that if he can not pierce the stonie heart by a single perswasion, he will batter it by inculcation. Howeuer the malice or peruersenesse of most ages haue brought this truth not onely vpon termes of scruple, but opposition, so that now it is growne disputable, whether Christ suf­fered [Page 6] more in his body by the fury and violence of the hand, or in his diuinitie by the scourge and sting of ve­nomous and deprauing tongues? one would haue him, no God, another no man; this againe would haue him a meere man, and that denies him a true bodie; one strips him quite of flesh, another cloathes him with it, but makes it sinfull; this would haue him an Angell, that little better than a deuill, or at least that he vsed one. One, no bodie, ano­ther (I beleeue) nothing — Est illud mirabile (saith Atha­nasius) Cum omnes haereses inuicem pugnent; in falsitate omnes consentire —.

Euery head is frantike with a strange opinion, and that with some wilde fancie, which all meet in the same im­probabilitie and (which it euer breeds) falshood. Errour and infidelitie may blow on diuine truth, and shake it too, but not ouerthrow it; 'tis founded on such a Basis and sure ground-worke as is subiect neither to battery nor vndermining. The Rocke, Christ. The Iew and the Arrian lay on fiercely here, not onely to deface this goodly structure, but to demolish it, and ruine (if possi­ble) his diuinitie; but lend me a while your noble atten­tion, Ile shew you with what weaknesse they come off, what dishonour. In the trauersing of which giue mee leaue to make vse of that Apologie which in the same subject Saint Ambrose did to Gratian, — Nolo argumen­to credas (sancte Imperator [...]) & nostrae disputationi; scripturas interrogemus, interrogemus Apostolos, Prophetas, Christum. Leane not so much to my strength of Argu­ment and disputation, as to a sacred authoritie & proofe, Let vs aske the Scriptures, Patriarchs, Prophets, Euange­lists, Apostles, Christ; let me adde (for so both my taske and industrie require) Fathers, Councels, Rabbins, Schoolemen, Histories sacred and prophane, let's giue an­tiquitie her due, and not in a lazy thirst drinke of the streame, (which is either troubled or corrupt) when wee may haue our fill at a cleere fountaine; to traffique here [Page 7] at home with a few moderne Systeames, is no small sinne of the age onely, but our profession too, if we can fleyle downe the transgressions of the time in some few stolne Postellismus, and peece a sacred line with a worme-eaten Apophthegme, so it be done in a frequent and hasty zeale, we are the Sages and the Patriots of the time, and the lights no doubt of this vnder firmament; but our dis­course grouels not so low; we are here to tread a maze, and threed a Labyrinth, sometimes on hils of ice, where, if we slip in the least punctum, we tumble into haeresio; some­times with Peter in the deepe, that if the hand of Christ did not a little succour vs, we should sinke into infidelity. I will ball asse my discourse with as much cautelousnesse as I may, and where I meet with difficulties which are stony and vntrodden, if I cannot fairely master them, I will oppose them with my best strength, and if not finde a way smooth to satisfaction, dig on; I may perchance awaken haeresies, but I will lull them againe in their own slumber, I will onely pull aside the vaile and shew you their vglinesse, and shut them vp in their owne deformi­ties. I know I am to speake to an Auchtorie, as well sea­soned with faith, as vnderstanding, and yet (perchance) not without some mixture and touch of weaknesse. Here are shallowes then for Lambes to wade, and deepes for Elephants to swimme, passages which he leuell with humble capacities; others which will venture to stand vp with riper iudgments, if they stoop somtimes and seeme too low for these, and mount againe and proue too high for others, it was euer my desire to keepe a correspon­dence with the best, and so to make vse of that of Augu­stine, — Non fraudabo eos qui possunt capere, dum timeo su­perfluus esse auribus corum qui non possunt capere —. Yet come I not to fill those eares which are pickt and drest for accuratenesse I am so farre from labouring to please such, that I intend to vex them; if any charitable care bee prone to a soure discourse, pitch that attention heere one [Page 8] houre, and I shall make good my promise out of the words of the Text. ‘Before Abraham was, I am.’

And here we are first to enter lifts with that capitall and Arch-enemy of Christ, the vexation of the Fathers, and the incendiary and firebrand of the Eastern Church, the Arrian, who out of an enuious pride is at once boun­tifull and iniurious, willing to inuest Christ with the title [...], but disrobes him of that glorious, and his owne [...], granting him a like essence with the Father not the same: equall to him in power, not eternitie; but giue me leaue to strip one heriticke to cloath another, and put on ours what Tertullian did on Marcion — Quid di [...]idias mendacio Christum? why dost thou thus peece­meale and mince a deity, and halfe god (as it were) the Son of the Almighty? — Totus veritas, he is the spirit of truth, and oracle of his Father, the brightnesse of his glory, in whom are hid all the treasures of Wisedome, knowledge, by whom God made the world.

It were too bold a solecisme to ranke transitorinesse with what is sacred, or that which is fleeting with euer­lastingnesse, what below eternall dare we make compati­ble with omnipotencie?

An eternall Intellect, most perfect, and such is God, re­quires an obiect equally perfect, and eternall, which from God, holding a relation to God, can be nothing but God it selfe; and seeing that no Intellect can conceiue without the image of that obiect which it conceiues, it will follow of necessitie that God, since from all eternitie he knew himselfe most perfect, should conceiue and bring forth in himselfe a most perfect image of himselfe, his Sonne. There is no act of vnderstanding without imagination, which naturally presents an image, by so much the more perfect, by how much the obiect, whose [Page 9] image it is, is more diuinely excellent. And this is that the Apostle glanc't at, when he stiled Christ, — Characte­rem hypostasis patris — the expresse image of his Fathers person, a sonne so begotten of and in the substance of the Father, that there can be nothing from it, diuers, or re­pugning. Seeing then, in God to vnderstand and to be are not so much parallels, as equals. Intelligi autem sit ipsum filij esse — as the Schoole speakes — Keck. Syst. Theol. l. 1. ca. 2. strength of consequence will induce, that the substance of Father and Sonne, sound one both in power and euerlasting­nesse; in fine, for as much as the vnderstanding of God is from eternitie, actiue, nay, the very act eternall, and that vnderstanding cannot be without an Image, It followes that this Image which was conceiued, the Sonne, was equall to that which did conceiue, the Father, so that the eternitie of God the Sonne, and his equalitie with God the Father doth arise from that essentiall Identitie of both, for where two persons shall agree in the same essence, if the one be infinite, the other must riuall in the same eternitie.

Here is the Rock then on which we build our Church, and the sure Basis where we foot and fasten our beleefe. — The Sonne is begotten of the essence of the Father, and alwayes begotten, — Non quòd quotidiè renouetur illa gene­ratio, sed quia semper est, — saith Origen, Tom. 2. hom. 6. in Ierem. not because it is dailie renouated, but because it euer — Is — or rather — Was. For Saint Gregory in the 29 of his Morals, the first Chapter, plaies as well the Criticke, as the Diuine, and is no lesse nice, than solid, — Dominus nester Iesus Christ us in eo quòd virtus & sapientia Dei est, de patre ante tempora natus est, vel potius quia nec coepit nasci, nec desift dicam verius, semper natus, non possumus, semper nascitur, nè im­perfectus esse videatur — Our Lord Iesus Christ in that he is the power and wisedome of God is said to be borne of the Father before all times, or rather because there was no beginning or end of his generation, we may speake more [Page 10] congruously, he was alwayes borne, not — Is —, for that pre­supposes some imperfection, and as the same Father prosecutes. Vt [...] de­signari [...], & perfectus, & semper [...] & natus, quate­nus, & natus ad perf [...]ctionem pert [...], & semper ad aeter­ [...]atem. That we may declare him both perfect and eter­nall, we allow him as well a — semper — as a — Natus — for as much as — Natus — hath reference to perfection, — semper —, to eternitie. Howeuer S. Augustine in his exposition of that of the Psalmist, — Ego hodie genui te — Thou art my Son, this day haue I begotten thee, Psal. 2. sayes that — Hodiè — praesen­tiam significat and in eternitie, neither is the time past any thing, as if it should cease to be, nor time to come, as if it were not yet, but onely the time present, Because whatsoeuer is eternall alwaies — Is — yet at length hee vn­derstands that place — de sempiterna generatione sapientiae D [...]i — And Lombard descants on it in his first booke ninth distinction, who would haue the Prophet to say — Genui — [...] putaretur, — hodiè — ne praeterita genera­tio videretur: I haue begotten thee, lest it should be thought new, to day, past, and thence out of the authoritie of the Text or the interpretation concludes a perpetuall gene­ration of the Sonne from the essence of the Father.

But here the Hereticke interposes, and thus subtilly beates at the gates of reason. A thing that is borre, can­not be said that it was ouer, for in this respect it is said to bee borne, that it might be. S. Hillarie, Lib. 12. de Trin. by a modest answer or confutation rather, limits his proposition to things meerely secular, which borne here in the course of nature, must necessarily call on time, and tell vs they sometimes were not, it is one thing then to be borne of that which alwayes is not, another of that which alwayes was, for that is temporary, this eternall.

If then it be proper to God the Father, alwayes to be Father, it must be to God the Sonne, alwaies to be Sonne, so the Euangelist. Ioh. 1. v. 1.In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and that word was God, and the same was from the beginning; erat, erat, erat, erat, en quater erat, vbi impius inuenit quod non erat? Saint Ambrose in [Page 11] his first to Gratian 5. c. & indeed it was not without a my­sterie when in that glorious transfiguration on Mount Tabor, Peter saw Christ with Moses, and Elias (when his face did shine as the Sunne, and his raiment was white as Snow) what did that vision portend? Ambros. vt su­pra. Nisi vt appareret nobis quod lex & Prophetae cum Euangelio congruentes sempiternum dei filium quem annunciauerant, reuelarent. But that it should appeare vnto vs that the Law and the Gospell going hand in hand with Euangelicall truth (for vnder Christ and Moses and Elias, Saint Augustine also shrines those three) Aug. in orat. ad Catech. cap. 6. should reveale vnto vs the euerlasting Sonne of God, whom they had both foretold and showne. And loe yet, as if these were not Oracles loude enough for the promulgation of such a Maiestie, the voice of the Almightie fils it vp with a — Hic est meus Dilectissimus — This is my beloued Sonne, My Sonne of eternitie, — Ego ex vtero ante Luciferum genui te —. Psal. 34. And a sonne of mine owne substance, — Ex ore Altissimi prodiui — Wis. 7. — primogenitus — before the day was, I am he, Esay 43.13. — Ʋnigenitus — A iust God, and a Sauiour, There is none beside me, Esay 45.21. A Sonne begotten, not created, not of grace, but nature, before, not in time.

Hereupon Christ taking his farewell of his Disciples, Iohn 20. shewes them this Interuallum and distance of generation and adoption: I goe to my Father, and your Father, and to my God and your, not to our Father, but to mine and yours. This separation implies a diuersitie, and shewes that God is his Father indeed, but our Creator; and therefore he addes. My God and your God; Mine by a priuiledge of nature, yours of grace; Mine out of the wombe (as it were) of euerlastingnesse; yours out of the iawes of time. Yet the Heretique would faine sell vs to vnbeleefe and errour, by cheating Christ of an eternall birth-right, tossing it on the tides of time, and so make him a creature, and no God.

Heere to dissent meerely were both perfunctory and [Page 12] dull, such a falshood merits rather defiance, than deniall, Amb. vt supra.Negamus? potius horremus vacem —. Errours that are so insolent are to be explos't, not disputed, and spit at rather than contrould. Confutation swayes not heere, but violence, and therefore the Apostle driues this blas­phemy to the head, Coloss. 1.15. Where we finde Christ stiled primogenitus vniuersae Creaturae. The first-borne of euery creature; not the first created, — Vt genitus pro Na­tura, & primus pro perpetuitate credatur —. saith Ambrose; borne presupposes diuine nature — First, perpetuitie, and therefore when the pen of the Holy Ghost sets him out in his full glory, he giues him this title Col. 1.haeredem om­nium —, — The heire of all things, by whom God made the world —, To make the world, and to be made in it, how contradictory? Amb. 1. de si. ad Grat. cap. 2. Quis Authorem inter opera sua deputet vt videatur esse quod fecit? saith the Father. Was there euer malice so shod with ignorance, which could not di­uide the Artificer from his worke, the Potter from his clay, the Creator from the thing created? heare him speak in whose mouth there was no guile. — Ego & pater vnum sumus, Ioh. 10. I and the Father are one. Ʋnum — to shew a consent both of power and eternitie. — Sumus — a perfe­ction of nature without confusion. Againe, — Vnum sumus — not — vnus sum — (so Augustine descants) Orat. ad Catech. cap. 5.Ʋnum — to con­fute the Arrian, — Sumus — the Sabellian, the one disioint­ing and seuering the times of Sonne and Father, the other confounding their persons. — Vnum — than, to shew their essence one, — Sumus — the persons diuers.

I could wish that we were now at truce, but with these there is neither peace nor safety, but in victory; wee are still in the Front and violence of our Aduersary, who puts on here as Philip did to Christ, with a — Domine ostende nobis — Lord shew vs the Father, and it sufficeth vs, but obserue how the Lord replies, and in his reply con­troules, and in his controulement cure's? Haue I been so long time with thee, and hast thou not knowne me Philip? [Page 13] I came to reconcile thee to the Father, and wilt thou sepa­rate me? Why seekest thou another? he that hath seene me, hath seene my Father also — Audi Arriane quid Dominus? (saith Augustine) si errasti cum Apostolo, redi cum Apo­stolo▪ Hearke Arrius how the Lord rebukes him, and if thou hast digrest with an Apostle, returne with an Apo­stle, so his checke shall be thy conuersion. But whilst we thus shoulder with the Arrian, the Sabellian lies in am­bush, who now comes on like lightning and thunder, but goes off like smoake; for looking backe to those words of our Sauiour, he runnes on boldly to his owne paradox, and by this harmony of Sonne and Father would perswade vs to a confusion of their persons; but the Text beares it not, and one little particle shall redeeme it from such a preposterous interpretation; for it runnes not with a — Qui me videt, videt patrem, — He that sees me, sees my father, as if I were both father and sonne, but with a — Qui me videt, videt — & — patrem, — He that sees me, sees my fa­ther also. Vbi interpositio vnius sillabae, &, patrem descer­nit, & filium, teque demonstrat, neque patrem habere, ne­que filium, August. in his contra 5. host. genera cap. 6. It is a rare opinion that hath not something to hearten it either in truth or probability, otherwise it were no lesse erroneous, than desperate. But here there can be no co­lour or pretence for either, where both Diuinity and Arts breathe their defiance; that two natures should dis­solue into one person, religion contradicts; two persons into one nature, reason; but two persons into one person, both reason & religion. — Dixit Dominus Domino meo — saith the Psalmist, The Lord said vnto my Lord, sit at my right hand. Harke Sabellius, here is a Lord and a Lord two then, not one; where is now thy confusion of per­sons? Ego Deus solus, & non alius extra me, Deut. 32.12. I am God, and there is none beside me —. Arrius where is thy God of eternity, and thy God of power, thy God of time, and operation, and thy God from the beginning? [Page 14] Audi Israel, Dominus noster Deus vnus —, The Lord our God is God onely, no riuall, no sharer in his omnipotency, for if temporary, how a God? if a God, how not eternall? if eternall, how not one? Thou allowest him the power of God, but not the eternity, the operation, not the time; what prodigy of errour? what dearth of reason? what warre of contradiction? what is this but to be God, and no God? temporary, and yet euerlasting? Opinion once seeded in errour, shoots-out into heresie, and after some growth of time, blasphemy. Who (besides an Arri­an) could haue thus molded two Gods out of one? except a Tritheite, or a Maniche? Who (scarce so grosse­ly neither) denie them not an equality of time, but con­dition, coeternall, but this good, and that euill. Thus men ouer-borne with the strength of a selfe-conceit, are so precipitated and drawne on with the swindge of an vn­ruly fancy, that leauing the road and vsuall wayes of truth, they run into by-paths of errour, and so at length loose both their iudgement, and their faith. Some haue beene so busie with starres, that they haue forgotten him that giues them influence; and like curious Lapida­ries, dally so long with sparkling obiects, that they loose the light of that organ which giues life vnto their Art. Learning (indeed) in many is a disease, not a perfection, a meere surfeit, rather vomited, than emptied, nothing passeth but what is forced, and as sometimes with a fit of weaknesse, so of pitty. A greedy knowledge feeds not our vnderstanding, but oppresseth it, and like a rauenous appetite chewes more to poison, than to nourishment. Were I to drinke freely of what is sacred, I should desire that which flowes, not that which is pumped for, wa­ters that are troubled yeeld mud, and are oftentimes as­well the bane of the receiuer, as the comfort. A Pioner or bold myner which digs on too farre for his rich veine of Ore, meets with a dampe which choakes him; and we may finde some dispositions rather desperate than ven­turous, [Page 15] knowne more by a heady resolution, than a wise cautelousnesse, whom we may resemble to that silly and storme-tost Seaman, who diued so long for a piece of his shipwrackt treasure, that either want of aire, or ponde­rousnesse of water depriued him at once of life and for­tune. Arrius hath been so long conuersant in the schoole of Philosophy, that he forgets hee is a Priest, and now makes that the Mistresse of Diuinity, which was before the handmaid. S. Augustine therefore in his Oration ad Catechum. expostulates with the hereticke, and by way of Prosopopeta doth catechize him thus, — Credis in Deum patrem omnipotentem? Dost thou beleeue in God the father Almighty, & in his sonne Iesus Christ our Lord? I beleeue, thou sayest: here, then thou art mine against the Pagan, and the Mahometan. Dost thou beleeue that the God and man Christ Iesus was conceiued of the holy Ghost, and borne of the Virgin Mary? I beleeue; thou art yet with me against Photinus, and the Iew. Dost thou beleeue the father to be one person, and the sonne another, yet father and sonne but one God? and this also; here thou art mine too against the Sabellian. — Age si mecum es in omnibus, quare litigamus? saith the Father, if wee are one in all these, why contend we? Let there be no strife betweene thee and me, for we are brethren. But it will fall out here anon as betweene Lot and Abraham, by reason of our sub­stance we cannot dwell together, wee must part anon. Tell me then how is the sonne equall to the father, in operati­on or beginning, in power or eternity, or both? In operation and power, the heretique allowes, but not eternitie; for how can that which was begotten be equall to that which was not begotten? Yes, eternitie, and greatnesse, and power in God sound one, for he is not great in one thing, and God in another, but in this great, that hee is God, be cause his greatnesse is the same with his power, and his es­sence with his greatnesse. Seeing then the sonne is coequall in respect of power, he must be coeternall too in respect of [Page 16] euerlastingnesse. Here the Arrian is on fire, and nothing can allay or quench these flames but that which giues them an vntimely foment, Reason. To proue a princi­ple in nature is both troublesome and difficult, but in re­ligion without the assent of faith, impossible: In matters of reason, it is first discourse, then resolue, but in these of religion, first beleeue, and the effect will follow, whether for confession of the truth, or conuiction of errour, or both. The greatest miracles our Sauiour did in way of cure or restauration was with a — si credas —, and that to the liuing, and the dead, and betweene those, the sicke. To the Centurion for his seruant with a — sicut credis —, As thou beleeuest, so be it vnto thee, Matth. 8.5. To the Ru­ler of the Synagogue for his daughter, with a — Crede — too, — Feare not, but beleeue, Mar. 5.36. To all that are dumbe, or blinde, or lame in mysteries of Diuinity, as to those dumbe, or blinde, or lame in bodie, with a — Vtrum cre­ditis? Doe you beleeue these things? then your faith hath made you whole, Matth. 9.28. but if wee meet with vn­weildy dispositions, such as are not onely vntractable, but opposite to the waies of faith, we shall rather drag than inuite them to beliefe; howeuer the Father labours here by a powerfull perswasion, and where hee failes in the strength of proofe, he makes it out by way of allusion, which he illustrates by a similitude of fire & light, which are distinct things, one proceeds from another, neither can the one be possibly without the other, the father he resembles to the fire, the sonne to the light, and endea­uours to deriue it (though obliquely somewhat) from sacred storie in Deut. 4.24. God is called a fire, — Thy God is a consuming fire; in Psal. 8. Christ the light, Thy word is a light vnto my steps: With this double stone he batters the forehead both of the Sabellian, and the Arrian; first of the Sabellian, for here are two in one, fire and light, yet two still not one, why not so with Sonne, and Father? The Arrian next, for here also is one borne of another, [Page 17] yet the one not possibly to be borne without the other, neither of them first and last; fire and light coequall, Fa­ther and Sonne, so too. The similitude iarres onely in this, those are temporarie, and these eternall, — pater ergo & filius vnum sunt (saith the Father) — Sunt — dico, quia pater & filius, — vnum — quia Deus; dualitas in prole, vnitas in deitate, cum dico filius, alter est, cum dico Deus, vnus est. cont. 5. host. genera cap. 7. What more obuious and trod­den to the thinnest knowledge, than that there is here — alius and — alias, but not — aliud —, as in bels of equal magni­tude, and dimension (pardon the lownesse of the simili­tude) which though framed out of the same masse, and Art, where the substance and workmanship are one, yet the sound is diuers; for though of Sonne and Father the sub­stance be one as God, yet the appellation and sound is diuers, as Sonne and Father.

The Heretique either impatient of this truth, or ig­norant, once more makes reason his vmpire, but how sinisterly, how iniuriously? that which should be the mistresse of our sence, and the Sterne and arbitresse of all our actions, must now be a promotresse and baud to error. It is bold expostulation that runnes vs on these shelues of danger, and hath been the often wracke of many a blooming and hopefull truth. There are errours besides these desperate, of will, of vnderstanding, which some­times are rather voluntary, than deliberatiue, and balla­ced more by the suggestions of a weake fancy, than any strength of iudgement; If our thoughts still lie at Hull in those shallowes of nature, where we coast daily about sence and reason, how can we but dash against vntimely errours? but if we keepe aloofe in principles of Religi­on, where those winds of doubt and distrust swell and bluster not, faith will be at last our wafter vnto truth. Let's not then any longer root our meditations in vallies vnder vs, but looke vp to those hills from whence our sal­uation commeth. Let's conuerse a little with Prophets [Page 18] and Euangelists, and those other Registers and Secreta­ries of the Almightie. — In te est Deus, & non est Deus praeter te, Esay 45.5. Infidell, either deny a diuinity of Father, or Sonne, or confesse an vnitie of both; for one thou must doe; of the Sonne thou canst not, for there is a God in him, the Father, Pater qui in me manet ipse loqui­tur, the Father that is in me he speaketh, and the works which I doe be doth Ioh. 10. of the Father thou dar'st not, there is a God in him the Sonne, — I am in the Father, and the Father in me, Ioh. 14. Here then is both a proprietie of na­ture, and vnitie of consent. God in God, yet not two, but one, fulnesse of diuinitie in the Father, fulnesse in the Son, yet the Godhead not diuers, but the same, so that now there is no lesse a singlenesse of name than operation. And therefore those words of the Apostle, though in the first encounter and suruay, they offer a shew of contradiction, yet searched to the quicke and kernell, are not without a mysterious weight, Rom. 8.32. It is said of the Father, — Filio proprio non pepercit, sed pro nobis tradidit —. He spared not his owne Sonne but gaue him for vs all to death; yet E­phes. 5. It is said of the Sonne, — Tradidit semetcipsum pro nobis —, — He gaue himselfe for vs —, Heere is a double — Tradidit — an a — pronobis —, and a — sepronobis —, if he was giuen of the Father, and yet gaue himselfe, how can it follow, but that there must be both a simpathy of nature and operation? And indeed it were a meere sacri­ledge and robbery of their honour, to depriue them of this so sacred a correspondence. We allow to all belee­uers but one soule and one heart, Acts 4 to all those that cleaue to God one spirit. 1 Cor. 16. to husband and wife one flesh, to all men in respect of nature, but one substance; If in sublunary matters (where there is no alliance or reference with those more sacred) Scriptures approue many to be one, shall we riffle the Father and the Sonne of the like Iurisdiction, and deny them to be eternally one, where there is no iarre of will, or substance? Heare how the Apostle doth chalke out a way to our beleefe, by the [Page 19] rules of diuine truth, 1 Cor. 8.6. There is one God which is the Father, of whom are all things, and we of him, and one Lord Iesus Christ by whom are all things, and wee by him. Here is — Deus — and — Dominus —, a God and a Lord, and yet no pluralitie of Godhead, and an — ex quo — and a — per quem, — of whom and by whom, yet a vnitie of power, for as in that he sayes one Lord Iesus Christ, he denied not the Fa­ther to be Lord, so by saying one God the Father, he de­nied not the Sonne to be God. — In te igitur est Deus per vnitatem naturae, & non est Deus praeter te propter proprie­tatem substantiae. Ambros. lib. 1. de fide ad Gratian 2. cap. With what sacred inscriptions do we find him blazoned, the ingrauen forme of his Father, the image of his goodnesse, the brightnesse of his glory? and with these three of an Apostle, Esay 9.6. a Prophet rankes other three not subordinate in maiestie, or truth; as if the same inspiration had dictated both matter and forme. Counsellor, the Almighty God, the euerlasting Father, the euerlasting Father in a double sence, either as he is author of it, as Iuball was said to be the Father of Musicke when he was but the Author or inuentor, or in respect of his affection, because hee loues with an euerlasting loue; yet some leaning on the word of the Greeke Interpreter [...], which the vulgar renders, — Pater futuri seculi — would restraine it onely to the life to come, but Caluine extends it to a perpetuity of time and continued Series of all ages; In cap. 9. Esay. And the Chaldee translation (which with the Hebrew is most authen­tique) seemes not onely to assent to it, but applaud it too. — Nomen eius ab ante mirabilis consilio, Deus fortis, perma­nens in saecula saculorum —. Howeuer the Septuagint (ter­rified with the maiestie of so great a name) giue it vs by — Magni confilij Angelus —; which words though they haue no footing in the originall, yet both Augustire and Tertullian approue the sence, taking — Angelus — for — Nancius —, so that Christ tooke not vpon him the na­ture of an Angell (as some would iniuriously foize upon [Page 20] Origens opinion) but the office, by which as a Legate or mediator, rather he appeared to those Patriarches of old, Abraham and the rest, Gen. 18.3.

I haue once more brought Christ as farre as Iacob and Abraham, but the Text tells me a little farther, and so doth my aduersary too, till I haue verified in Christ the strength of that voice, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Iacob. We may not leaue him here with the bare title of an Angell, we must goe higher, to that of the Sonne of God, where we shall meet our implacable Arrian in his violent opposition. If there be a Sonne, hee must be borne, if borne, there was a time when there was no Sonne, for to be borne, presupposes a beginning, and that time. Saint Augustine diuided (as it seemes) betweene pity and indignation, answeres. Qui hoc dicit non intelligit etiam natum esse, deo sempiternum esse —. To be borne with God, is to be eternall with God, and he opens himselfe by his old similitude, Sicut splendor qui gignitur ab igni, as light which is begotten of fire, and diffused, is coequall with the fire, and would be coeternall too if fire were eter­nall, so the Sonne with the Father, this being before all time, the other must kisse in the same euerlastingnesse. The Father thinking his reason built too slenderly doth buttresse (as it were) and backe it with the authoritie of an Apostle, 1 Cor. [...] such an Apostle as was sometimes a persecu­tor, and therefore his authoritie most potent against a persecutor, where he stiles Christ, the power and wisedome of God. If the Sonne of God be the power and wisdome of God, and that God was neuer without power and wise­dome, how can we scant the Sonne of a coeternitie with the Father? For either we must grant that there was al­wayes a Sonne, or that God had sometimes no wisedome, and impudence or madnesse were neuer at such a growth of blasphemie as to belch the latter. If the reuerend alle­gation of a learned Prelate, or those more sacred of an A­postle, cannot bung vp the mouth of a malicious Here­tique, [Page 21] heare the voice of a Prophet, & a Father warbling vpon that too. Before me there was no other God, and af­ter me there shall be none, Esay. 43.10. Quis hoc dicit, pa­ter, an filius? (saith Ambrose) who is here the speaker, the Father or the Sonne (he comes ouer him with a sub­till Dilemma:) if the Sonne, thus he saith, — before mee there was no other God, if the Father, — After me (saith he) there shall be none, for both the Father in the Sonne, and the Sonne in the Father must be knowne, when thou namest a Father, thou hast also designed a Sonne, because no man is a Father to himselfe; when thou namest a Sonne, thou confessest also a Father, for no man is sonne to himselfe, the Sonne therefore can neither subsist with­out the Father, nor the Father without the Sonne, the one being from euerlasting, we may not depose the o­ther from the like omnipotency. If truth thus twisted in a triple authoritie of Prophets, Apostles, Fathers, cannot allay the turbulency of a contagious heretique, heare the voyce of him who spake as neuer man spake; neuer Father, Apostle, Prophet, (if at length such an authoritie be passable with an Arrian) the Lambe of God; O Father glorifie me with thine owne selfe, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was, Ioh. 17.5. Hearest thou In­fidell? a Sonne, and glorified, with the Father before the world? what chinke now, what by-path for euasion where thou art compassed with such a cloud of witnesses?

Tell me deuill (for hereticke is to cheape and low an attribute, when thou art growne to such a maturity and height of prophanation) was there a time when omni­potent God the Father was not, and yet was there a God? Gird now vp thy loynes, and answer if thou canst, for if he began to be a Father, then he was first a God, and after made a Father, how is God then immutable, how the same one, when by accesse of generation he shall suf­fer change? Grant mee then a God eternall, and thou must a Father, and if a Father, a sonne too, they are rela­tiues, [Page 22] and cannot digest a separation either in respect of time, or power. And this thou didst once subscribe to (and I know not what deuillish suggestion wrought thy reuolt) in an Epistle to Eusebius, if the authority of Bren­tius will passe for classicall, where thou couldst afford him the stile of [...], plenus Deus, vnigenitus — and a little before that he had his beginning, [...]ante tempora, ante saecula, why shouldst thou now then rip vp the wombe of Deity, and enquire how he was begotten? how borne? and when? as if thou labouredst to bastard his descent, and make it [...]em­porary. Doe not, doe not out of the custome of humane generation tie eternity to time, or manner, and so at once vomit errour and blasphemy. Heare the voice of the Lord thundring vnto thee, Cui me similem existimas? who is like vnto mee, or to whom is the arme of the Lord re­uealed? Me ante montes generauit Dominus, before the mountaines were setled, or the hills raised, I was brought forth. Ambros. 1. de fi­de, cap. 5. Habeat ergo generationis inusitatae gloriam, qui ha­bet potestatis inusitatae gratiam. He that hath an vnwon­ted Iurisdiction in respect of power, it were a derogation too capitall to lessen his prerogatiue in way of birth; ob­serue what pompe he carrieth of antiquity, what descent, how deriued? by Heraulds of no meane ranke, a King, & a Prophet, and a Prophet that's a King, I was set vp of old, from euerlasting, Prou. 8.24. His goings forth haue beene from euerlasti [...]g, Mich. 5.2. Thy throne is established of old, thou art from euerlasting, Psal. 93.2. Harke, from euer­lasting, from euerlasting, from euerlasting, one ecchoing to another, as if the s [...]me pen had beene as well the dire­ctrix of the languages, as the truth. If thou shalt then hereafter ball an eternity with a — quande, or a — quomodo natus? Amb. vt supra. I goe one with the Father still, Quid te ista quae­stionum tormenta delectant? Audis Dei filium, aut dele nomen, aut agnosce naturā? — Quaeres that are to nice ra­ther torment the vnderstanding, than informe it, and are [Page 23] more apt to puzzle our Iudgement, than to rectifie it. Subtilty of questions (I know not whether) it hath more conuinced, or begotten errour, or improued vs in our knowledge, or staggered vs. And hence I suppose was the substance of the Apostles aduice to the Romanes, He that is weake in faith receiue you; but not to doubtfull disputations, Cap. 14.1. Curiosities of question haue euer beene the engines and stales to heresie, and therfore some of the Fathers haue nicke-named Philosophers with an — Haereticorum PatriarchaeTertull. It is no lesse a pollicy than right in sadder learning to giue Diuinity the chaire, for if Arts with their subtle retinue once inuade it, sence and reason will hisse faith out of doores. And therefore we finde the same Apostle vehement in his — Cauete ne vos seducat, Beware lest any man spoile you through Philoso­phy and vaine deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ, Coloss. 2.4. In matters of faith he that plaies either the Philosopher, or the criticke displaies neither his Iudgement, nor his Religion, for the kingdome of God is not in word, but in power, 1 Cor. 4.20. Considera (saith Augustine) quod voceris fidelis non rationalis, Faith, not reason, is our an­chor in this depth, and beleefe, not scruple is our steers­man to our port. Wisdome, I meane that which is worldly and feathered (as it were) with transtorinesse, must now stoope to simplicity, strength to weaknesse. How doth the Apostle iumpe with vs? Hee hath chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise, and the weake things the mighty, 1 Cor. 1.27. Hence it is that the kingdome of heauen belongs vnto children, Matth. 19.13. And God hath hid it from the prudent, and reuea­led it to babes, Matth. 11.25. And therefore S. Augu­stine makes a proud knowledge strike saile to a modest ignorance in his 188. Serm. de Temp. — Meum est pie ig­norantiam confiteri, quam temere mihi scientiam vendica­re. In sacred matters your nimble Cryticismes are as ob­noxious [Page 24] to desperatnesse, as danger; to be curious (here) is to be quaintly madde, and thus to thrust into the bed­chamber of the Almighty is a franticke sawcinesse. Who can vnlocke those Coffers of omnipotency, Esay 45.2. but he that breakes in peeces the gates of Brasse, and cuts in sunder the barres of Iron? Who those Cabinets of abstruser know­ledge? Jdem, ibid. but he that giues thee the treasure of darknesse, and hidden riches of secret places? How can our low built ap­prehensions but flag in the expression of such a birth, when we finde a Prophet so transported with contem­plation of it, that he dares the world with an Interrogati­on, — Generationem eius quis enarrabit? Who shall de­clare his generation, Esay 53. Yet we haue met with some supercilious and daring wits, which venture here to vn­twist this mysterie of generation, as if they would calcu­late an eternall birthright, leaning vpon the authority of S. Hierom in his Commentaries vpon Eccl. 1. where he asseuers, that in sacred Scriptures — Quis oftentimes is not put for an impossibility, but a difficulty. And hee in­stances in this — Quis — of Esay, Generationem eius quis enarrabit? Lib 1. dist. 19. But Lumbard doth both vindicate and inter­pret the Father, thus, — Non dicit quod generatio filij ae­terna. — He saies not that this eternall generation of the sonne of God can descend to any mortall capacity in an absolute and full knowledge; but in some measure and degree, for so the Apostle doth peece-out our perfection here, We are happy in part, and know onely in part, not a haire, not a feather as we should. Dic mihi (saith Augu­stine) Orat. contra Arrianos. altitudinem Coeli, profundum Abyssi, &c. Shew me the height of Heauen, and the depth of Hell, number (if thou canst) the sands of the Sea, the drops of raine, or the haires of thine owne head. Plane mee out by some per­fect demonstration the truth of those things which gro­uell here below, and I will beleeue thy knowledge may aspire to those which are aboue; but thou hast no power of compassing the one, nor possibility in the atchieue­ment [Page 25] of the other. For when all thy faculties of vnderstan­ding, will, haue fluttered so high as the wings of nature can eleuate and mount them to, yet thou wilt at last make vp the storie of Icarus, and finde that these are but waxen plumes, and will melt at the presence of those glorious beames, and so thy fall will be as dishonourable as thy at­tempt was peremptory; for if the great Doctour of the Gentiles (rapt vp into the third Heauen) said that hee heard words vnexpressable, which no tongue dated to vtter, how canst thou dissolue and vntie — Paternae ge­nerationis Arcana — (as Ambrose stiles them) those knots and Riddles of eternall generation, which can neuer bore a humane intellect, nor lie within the verge of mor­tall apprehension? Mihi enim impossibile est generatio­nis scire secretum (saith the Father) mens deficit, vox silet, non meae tantum, sed & Angelorum, supra potestates, & sepra Cherubin, & supra Seraphin, & supra omnem sen­sum, in his 1. de fide ad Gratian. c. 4. It is not then so much ambition in our desire, as madnesse, to attempt the know­ledge of that where there is an impossibility of reuelati­on. Those enterprizes are temerarious and ouer-head­strong, which put on where there is not onely danger, but a despaire of conquest. How can reasonable man but lie buried vnder the weight of such a mysterie, at which those grand pillars of the Church haue not onely shooke but shrunke? How must wee be strucke dumbe when the tongues of Saints and Angels stutter? How our mindes entranced, when the glorious hoast of Heauen, and all those feathered Hierarchies shal clap their [...]ings? All reasons tongue-tied, all apprehension non plust, all vnderstanding darkened; so that I may now speake of this metaphoricall depth, as Iob did of that other naturall, — Thou hast made a cloud the garment thereof, and thicke darknesse a swadling band.

Mysteries carry with them such an awe and Maiestie, as if they would be obeyed, not disputed, and assented to, [Page 26] not controuerst. In secrets without bottome (such as carry the stampe of sacred) except faith holds vs vp like children we swimme without bladders, and must either dabble to the shore, or sinke, reason hath not an hand to lend vs. Faith and reason in respect of mysterie, are as a wheele and a bucket at a deepe well; faith hath both the power and safetie of descent, and nimbly fathoms it, whilst reason wheele's, and rounds it, and is strangely giddied in a distracted Gyre. And indeed who durst laue such an Ocean, Esay 44 7. but he that sayes to the deepes be drie? Iob 38.8. or can shut vp the seas with doores, that they breake not out, and say, hither shalt thou come, no farther, there shall thy proud waues stay? What eye that lookes on the Sunne, and dazels not, Ecclus 10.19. but he that sees from euerlasting to euerla­sting? & sends out lightning that they may come and goe, and say, here we are? The star-gazer and bold figure flinger are at a stand here, why lookest thou vp thou proud A­strologer? you men of Galilee, why gaze you into heauen? Thus saith the Lord of hoasts, he that form'd thee from the wombe: Esay 44.24,25. I am the Lord that maketh all things, that stretcheth out the heauens alone, that frustrateth the tokens of lyars, and maketh diuiners mad, that turneth wisemen backwards, and maketh their knowledge foolishnesse. Thou, O Lord, shalt haue them in derision, thou shalt laugh the heathen to scorne, for the sinne of their mouth, and the words of their lips they shall be taken in their pride, as the dust (O Lord) shalt thou driue and scatter them, and in thy wrath thou shalt consume them, that they may know, that it is God that ruleth in Iaacob, and to the end of the world.

Arrius is now in his pompe and height of glory, and flourisheth like a greene bay-tree, anone looke after him, and hee is no where to bee found. Hee is vp yet, but it is with the proud man in the Psalmes, in slip­pery places, and (anone) with him, how suddenly de­stroyed, perished, and brought to a fearefull end? The whole Easterne Church is now in a strange combusti­on, [Page 27] and he must kindle it, by and by those flames shall light him to his owne ruine. Heresie may root and bud, and branch, and grow to a goodly height, but the hand of vengeance houers ouer it, and when it strikes, it fels it at a blow, and it comes downe like a pine from a steepe mountaine, which in the fall shatters both the branch, and bodie. It is heere, as with mists and fogges which we see first rise as in a thin smoake from a low Fen or Valley, but gathering strength climbe the moun­taine, and at last so thicken in one body of vapours that they seeme to dare the Earth with a second night, till the Sunne (recouering height and power) by the vertue and subtiltie of his beames doth dissipate and open them, and they are seene no more.

Will you haue a president? we find Arrius at first a meane Priest of Alexandria in Aegypt, a man keene and subtill, as well in wit as learning, Specie, & forma magis, quàm virtute religiosus, sed gloria, & nouitatis improbè cupidus, (saith Ruffinus) Lib. 1. In vertue not so much refined as in the deportment of the outward man, which pro­mised a set grauity, though no truth of Religion, in a thirst and pursuit of honour and noueltie, strangely vio­lent, — Dulcis erat incollequio, persuadens animas, & blan­diens. In his discourse no lesse sweet, than powerfull, and where he gaines no conquest by perswasion, he mines by flattery; Thus by the sorceries and enchantments of a voluble tong, simplicity is betrayed, and vnder a pretext of truth, silly women (who are euer most affected with leuity and change) are first led captiue; and these for the enhancement & propagation of their new doctrine, commerce with their allies, and these tickled with new fancies, applaud the designe, entertaine the noueltie, conuenticles are both consulted on, and summoned, and in a short time, — Septingentas virginitatē professas in vnam contraxit — So Epiphanius —. Aduers. Haeres. Their Religion is yet in the blade, and greene onely in a few she disciples, anone [Page 28] it growes by their league with others, Amb. 1. de fide cap 4. Eudoxius, Eunomi­us, Aetius and Demophilus, plura nomina, sed vna perfidia —; Coheires though not to the same title, the same villany; so that those dangerous tumults in the body of the Church could not but now startle the head and gouernour. Con­stantine is informed of those pernicious and desperate proceedings, who calls a Councell of 318 Bishops for the condemnation of the heretique. Some conuersant in subtiltie of question (as there was neuer opinion so de­formed, but found a Champion to propugne it) fauoured Arrius; but at length most of them decreed with one mouth Christ to be [...], 17 a while sticke fast to the opinion of the Heretique, 11 whereof by the menacing of the Emperour subscribed, Manu solum, non mente, and the other 6 are now with Arrius vpon termes of ex­ile; they betake themselues to Palestina, where partly by strength of Argument, partly by the insinuations of a smooth tongue, they gaine other Bishops to their opini­on; Anon, Constantius, and Valens Emperours; some they seduce by subtilty, some by gifts, some by power, some by cruelty; those that affied constantly to the profession of Christs diuinity, they inuade by persecutiō, & all the wit­ty tortures that malice or tyranny could deuise, are now put in practise, for the torment of those professors; inso­much that the hearts of their very enemies, could nor but thaw into pitty to heare the cries, but constancy of little children vnder the barbarous hands of their mercilesse tormentors. Christianus sum. Christum verum Deum, credo, & adoro, as the author in his historia tripartita de persequutione. Ʋandalorum.

This heresie now is full blowne, and at the growth; one Act more makes it ripe, and ready for the sickle. Alexandria is yet infected, and foule dregs of Arria­nisme reigne not onely here, but in the neighbour Pro­uinces; Insomuch that Alexander (then Bishop) daily pestered with those damned innouations, on a Sunday, [Page 29] (for so my Antiquary tels me) Epiphanius. earnestly prayed that God would either take him away lest he should be defiled with the like contagion, or that he would shew some miracle, either for the conuersion or confusion of the Heretique. Not long after the desires of the holy man were ac­complished, and in such a way of iudgement, that the re­lation would sute better with a ring of Scauengers than a noble throng, his bowels burst, as sometimes Iu­das did, Et sic finem adeptus est, in loco immundo & graue­olenti, — his death was equally odious with his life, and that with the place he died in, no sad retinue or pompe of exequy to embalme him, no hearse or winding sheet, but his owne intrailes, and grau'd vp with excrements, insteed of earth, an end as odious, as vntimely, as if it proceeded from the hand of vengeance, and not Fate.

And so Saint Ambrose dilates on it 1 de fide cap. 5.Non est fortuita mors vbi in sacrilegio pari, poenae parile pregessit exemplum, vt idem subirent suppliciū, qui eundem Dominum negaue­runt & eundem Dominum prodiderunt —. It is no casuall, but a destinated end, that in a like sactiledge, there should be a like example of punishment, and so both meet in one way of ruine which had denied and betrayed their Ma­ster.

I haue now brought this heresie to her graue, but the funerall of this is the resurrection of another, and the re-intertainment of that of a third. No part of Christ (either in respect of his diuinitie, or manhood) but is the mint of a new heresie, which (if I should indeuour (heere) either to confute or open) would proue an vndertaking fitter for a volume, than a discourse, and for a Library, than a volume. It cost the houres of an intire age, and the sweat and elaboratenesse of all the Fathers. Those few sands which are now in their constant course will be runne out in the very nomination of Marcionites, Valen­tinians, Hebionites, Apollinarians, and the residue of that cursed rabble, and so I shall be cast vpon your censures, [Page 30] if not as I haue been weake, yet as I haue beene tedious. I will then open the mouthes of very heathens, and they shall both speake, and confirme this truth, and no lesse appose our aduersaries, than conuince them, an authority I know not how vnsauory or vnseasonable to a diuided Auditory, where a prophane quotation sounds some­times as heathenish as a tradition, which in the very name is cri'de downe as apocryphall, and Romanish; but I must put that vpon the hazard, not esteeming the froth either of popular censure or approbation.

Heathens indeed are little aboue the condition of beasts, if that onely actuate a man which animates a Christian, the soule of faith; yet if God please to cast his pearles before these swine, wherefore hath hee made vs Lords ouer them, but to vindicate those hallowed and pretious things from the hands of vniust possessors? Prae­clara Ethnicorum dicta Theologica ab ijs, tanquàm iniustis possessoribus, in vsum nostrum transferenda. It is Augu­stines in his second booke De doctrina Christiana 4. chap. Diuine truth in Heathen mouthes is like the Iewels in Egyptian hands, their wants no Alchimist to refine the mettle, onely some discreeter Israelite to transferre the vse; he that was brought vp at the feet of Gamaliel prea­ching to the ignorant Idolaters of Athens, concludes against them from the mouth of their owne Poets, — [...], as some of your owne Poets haue said, Acts 17.28. Text enough to gaine, I say, not autho­ritie, but applause to his discourse, and to conuince the Heathens shame, if not their faith. Diue with me a little farther into their secrets, and we shall find amongst much Hay and Stubble, some Gold and Pretious stones, doctrines which want no truth to make them sound, onely diuine authoritie to make them authentique. It was not impos­sible that the true light which shines on euery man that commeth into the world, should glimpse into those that sate in darknesse, and in the shadow of death; For old [Page 31] Simplicianus in S. Augustines Confessions 8. Booke 2. Chapter, giues incouragement to a particular enquiry, and concludes in certaine books of the Platonists — De­um insinuari, & cius verbum —. And of this God, and the Word, the very Philosophers were not ignorant, for wee meet with a Hermes, and a — Zenon, stiling the maker & orderer of the Vniuerse — [...]The Word — which they inlarge with other attributes of — Fate, necessity, God — & what sauours a little of a heathenish relique — Animū Iouis — taking — Iupiter — in the sence that they doe God, as Lactantius in his 4. booke de vera Sapient. cap. 9.

But why doe we rob them of their maiden honour, and take their sayings vpon Tradition meerly? let them speake themselues in their peculiar and mother-tongue. Numenius, a famous Pythagorian (one, who twixt Plato and Moses, put no difference but of Language, calling Plato — Mosen, Attica Lingua Loquentem, — Moses spea­king the Atticke Dialect) Deus primus (saith he) in scip­so quidem existens, est simplex, propterea quòd secum sem­per est, nunquam diuisus; Secundus, & tertius est vnus: The first God is alwaies existent in himselfe, simple, in­diuisible, the second and third one; and a little after, he calls this first God — Creautis Dei patrem, — The father of the creating God. Had they all adored what he here ac­knowledged, a Trinity in vnity (so to be worshipped) I should then propose their precept not onely to be em­braced, but their practice to be imitated. Search on, and loe that rich mine of Truth is not yet at her drosse, or bottome, for Heraclitus next, one who was wont to call S. Iohn, Barbarian, that Euangelist to whom belonged the Eagle, as well for sublimity of Stile, as Contemplation; he — censet verbum Dei in ordine Principij, atque digni­tate constitutum, apud Deum esse, & Deum esse, in quo quicquid factum sit, fuerit viuens, & vita, & ens, tum in corpora Lapsum, carnemque indutum, hominem apparuisse, ostendens etiam tunc naturae suae magnitudinem: Harke [Page 32] how the Frog chaunts like the Nightingale, (It is Maxi­milians, Ethnici audiendi, non tanquam Philomelae, sed Ranae) and curiously counterfeits her in euery straine? How closely this obscure Heathen followes not onely the Gospels truth, but the phrase too? In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and was God, all things were made by him, euery liuing Creature, life, and thing, then this Word was made flesh, and appeared man, & euen then shewed the glory of his nature. How sweetly he warbles with his Barbarian, as if by an easie labour of Translation hee had bereft him both of Truth and Elo­quence? I maruaile not now at that Testimony of Basil the Great, vpon those words, In principio erat verbum — Hoc ego noui, multos etiam extra veritatis rationem positos — I haue knowne many (saith he) and those put without the pale and list of diuine Truth, men meerely secular, aduancing and magnifying this peece of Scrip­ture, and at length bold to mixe it with their owne de­crees and writings. And S. Augustine seconds it with an instance, — Quidam Platonicus, — A certaine Platonist was wont to say that the beginning of S. Iohns Gospell was worthy to be written in letters of gold, and preached in the most eminent Churches and Congregations, in his 10 book de Ciuitate Dei, c. 29. O the diuine raptures and infusions, that God doth sometimes betroth to his very enemies▪ who can but conceiue that as the very worst of men haue knowledge enough to make them inexcusable; so the best of Heathen had enough to make them Saints, were their faith that he should be their Sauiour, as great as their knowledge, that he was the Sonne of God. With what rich Epithites they bedecke and crowne him. — Mentis Germen, Verbum Lucens, Dei Filius, (it is his saying, who (I know not by what search) found out almost all Truth, Mercurius Trismegistus) the mindes blossome, the word that gaue light, the sonne of God. What else did S. Iohn adde, but that the word was light? And S. Augustine [Page 33] giues this farther testimony of that heathen, that he spake many things of Christ in a propheticke manner — eadem veritate, licet non eodem Animi affectu — with the same truth the Prophets did, but not with the same affection — pronunciabat illa Hermes. Dolendo, pronunciabat hac Propheta, Gaudendo — in his 8. booke de Ciuitate Dei, 23. chapter. And why should we batre some of their Philo­sophers of a propheticke knowledge, when a Poet shall fill his cheekes with a — Chara Deum Soboles, Magnum Iouis incrementum —? And if wee looke backe to those Oracles of old, the Sybills sacred Raptures, we shall finde them more like a Christians Comment, than a Heathens Prediction.

Tunc ad mortales veniet, mortalibus ipsis
In terris similis, natus Patris omnipotentis
Corpore vestitus —

Whereof if we enquire a little into the originall, Saint Augustine In oration. contra Arrian. will tell vs that the Greeke coppies giue vs [...]Iesus Christ, the Sonne of God, the Sauiour; and it is not onely probable, but euident, that the Gentiles had a knowledge of Christ as he was the Word, [...], & it appeareth by that of Serapis vnto Thulis, King of Egypt. And it is strangely remarkeable: what wonder­full Titles, and inscriptions, the Platonists dedicate to his name and memory, with which as (with a wreath and Lawrell) they girt & beautifie his Temples, — Dei verbum, Mundi Opifex, Idaea boni, Mundi Archetypum, moderat or Distributor, Imago primi entis, rationalis Creaturae exem­plar, Pastor, Sacerdos, vlna humens, Lux, Sol, coelumque candens, mentis germen Diuinae, verbum Lucidum, filius primogenitus, primi dei semper viuentis vmbra, vita, splen­dor, virtus, candor lucis, character substantiae cius, and the like, which could not but flow from a heart diuinely toucht, and a tongue swolne with inspiration, as Rosselus [Page 34] tels vs in his Trismegisti Pimandrum, 1 booke, 107 page. For these and the like sayings, some of the ancient Fa­thers haue coniectured that Plato either read part of di­uine story, or whilst he trauelled in Egypt, had a taste of sacred truth, out of the sayings of the Hebrewes by an Amanuensis, or interpreter; For then many of the He­brewes (the Persians reigning) wandered in Egypt.

Moreouer, Aristobulus the Iew who flourished in the time of the Machabees, writing to Ptolomy Philometora, King of Egypt, reports that the Pentateuch before the Empire of Alexander the Great, and the Persian Monar­chie was Translated out of Hebrew, into Greeke, part whereof came to the hands of Plato and Pythagoras; and he is after peremptory, that the Peripateticks out of the bookes of Moses, and the writings of the Prophets drew the greatest part of their Philosophy, and it may seeme strange what the Iewish Antiquary traditions of Clear­chus (the most noble of that Sect) who in his first — De somno — brings in his Master Aristotle relating that he met with a certaine Iew, a reuerent and a wise man, with whom he had much conference concerning matters both naturall & diuine, and receiued from him such a hint and specialty of choicer learning wch did much improue him in his after knowledge, especially in that of God, as Iose­phus lib. 1. contra Appionem, & Eusebius in his 11 de praepa­rat, Euangelica c. 6. Clement Alexandrin, 5. Stromaton —.

And thus I haue at length (though with some blood and difficultie) trauersed the opinions of the ancient, and shewed you the errours of primitiue Times in their fou­lest shapes. I haue opened the wiles and stratagems of the aduersary, and how defeated by the chariots of Israel, and the horsemen thereof; what Bulwarkes and Ram­pires the Fathers raised for propugning of Christs diui­nitie, and how besieged by cursed herefies, with what successe, what ruine.

Let vs now returne where we began, and place Christ [Page 35] where we found him, before Abraham, before the world, where (me thinkes) he now stands like a well rooted tree in rough storme, where though winds blow on him so furiously, that he is sometimes forced to the earth (as if he were meerely humane) yet he bends againe, and nods towards heauen (to shew that hee is diuine, and but a plant taken thence grafted in our Eden here) where though tost vp and downe with blasts of Infidelity, yet when the enuy of their breath is spent (as we see a good­ly Cedar after a tempest) he stands strait, vn-rent, as if he scorned the shocke of his late churlish encounter, and dared his blustring Aduersary to a second opposition.

Gloria in excelfis Deo.

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