DIGITUS DEI OR God appearing in his won­derfull Works.

For the Conuiction of Nullifidians.

Quare miramur? Quare non credimus? Deus est qui fecit. St. Aug. serm. 147. de Tempore.


YOV have here in the first place a faithfull Tran­slation of the eighth Chapt. of the 22. Book of the City of God, written by St. Augustine in his latter days, upon occasion, as himself tells us in his Book of Re­tractations, of the insolency of [Page] the Pagans, who attributed the loss and saeking of the City of Rome by the Goths under Fla­vius to the just judgment of their false Gods upon Christi­anity and the Professors thereof. This insolence of theirs, moved this zealous man to take greater pains then ordinary in 22. Books to vindicate the cause of Christ and his Church. 'Twere a happy thing if we had another St. Augustine who could and would oppose him­self as a wall for the house of God against so many insolencies as are practised now adays in defiance of it: but by none more freely than by those who [Page] are so farr from alleaging any thing of a hand of true or false God in what passes in the world, that they too too shame­fully presume publickly to own those blasphemies, which in good King David's time, some, who perchance had so little witt and grace as to be of their opinion in their hearts, yet were so wise and civill as to keep their thoughts to them­selves. Against such Poyson this whole Tract of St. Augus­tine is a most excellent An­tidote, But because the Dose possibly might seem too large, I have elected this one Chapter, which, for the brevity and [Page] variety of accidents therein con­tained, cannot chuse but be very easie and pleasant to take. And, in the second place, I have added some of the Vir­tues of it, chiefly against that desperate Epidemicall disease, which reignes, I fear, too fre­quently, and is the cause of many other dangerous and fear­full distempers. If what was intended for a private friend, prove any way beneficiall to the publick, so farr at least, as to work kindly with some one good person or other, and cause him to mind the great business for which we are come into this world, which [Page] is to believe in, and serve and obey our great and good God, I have my end, and to God be the Glory.

The 8th. Chap. of the 22th. Book of St. Augustine of the City of God.
Of miracles which have been wrought for introducing the Faith of Christ into the world, and do not vet cease to be wrought, in confirmation of the same faith al­ready introduced.

WHy say our adversaries, do not such miracles ap­pear in these our days, as you pretend have been done in former times? I might answer: that such miracles were necessary in these dayes, that the faith of Christ might be established in the world. Whosoever now requires miracles for his faith seemes himself a [Page 2] Prodigy, refusing to believe by the worlds generall example. But the truth is, they who alleage such things, have a design to introduce a dis belief even of such wonders as have formerly been done. How comes it then to pass, that Christ is so generally held and believed to have been taken in body into Heaven? How happned it, that in thase criticall times, when men made such scruples of admitting any thing which seemed to carry impossibility with it, they believed things notwithstanding, even without the vouching of miracles, which were extreamly incredible in them­selves? Will they, perchance, say, that they therefore believed them, because they were credible? why then do they themselves refuse to believe them.

Thus therfore I argue in brief: Either some things in themselves incredible and not seen, came to be believed upon the evidence and attestation of other things seemingly also incredible, which things, notwithstanding, were both done and seen to be done: or else those things were cre­dible in themselves, and stood in no need of miracles by way of further proof, and as such, are a convincing evidence against the incredulity of such Nullifidians. Thus [Page 3] much in order to the confuting of such vain sensless men. For it cannot be denyed, but that many miracles have been wrought for the attesting that one great health-giving Miracle of the bodily Resurrection and Ascension of Christ into Heaven. For in the same most infallible writings are delivered both the wonders themselves, and the faith intended to be established by them. These things were made known for the gaining belief, and, by that belief which they have gained, are come to be better and more clearly known. For they are read to the people that they may be believed, and yet they would not be read to the people, were they not believed. For even in our dayes miracles are wought in his name, some by his most holy Sacramenes, some by the prayers and reliques of his saints, but they are not set forth with so much fame, as to be spread about the world with the same glory which those others are. For it is the Books of Holy writ which were to be every where divulged, which makes them to be read and Fixt in the memories of all men. But these things are only known, where they happen to be done, and that scarce of a whole City, or the inhabitants of the plaee. Many hear no­thing [Page 4] of them, especially if they happen in some great Town: And now when things are carried from one to another, they bear not so great an authority as to be believed without doubt or difficulty, even although they be told by one Christian to another.

The miracle which happned at Millan, when I my self was upon the place, by which a blind man was restored to his sight, may indeed have been known by many, because both the City is great, and the Emperour himself was then there, and an infinity of People were witnesses of it, who were come thither to the bodies of the Martyrs Gervasius and Protasius. which bodies being wholly concealed and unknown to any one, were revealed to Ambrose the Bishop in his sleep, and were found by him; at which time and place the foresaid blind man recovered his sight.

But now (unless it be some very few) who ever heard of the Cure done upon one Innocentius? (who had born Office in those parts) at which my self was present, and beheld it with mine own eyes. For he being a very pious and religious person, was pleased to entertain me and my brother Alipius coming from beyond Seas, who [Page 5] although we were not yet in Orders, had already dedicated our selves to Gods holy service, and happened to be in his house when the thing fell out, of which I shall now give you the relation.

He was then under the Physicians hands for more then one very dangerous Fistula, which he had in the lower and hinder-part of his body. They had already made incision and were now perfecting the cure by other applications. In the incision he had suffered very great and tedious pains; But among the rest, one hollow turning there was which the Physicians had mist, and it was so hidden, that they never toucht it, which ought also to have been laid open. In conclusion having now healed up the other wound, that only place re­mained without remedy. He suspecting their delay, and very much fearing to be cut again (which indeed another Physician, who was of his houshold and could not be admitted by the others so much as to be present at his first cutting, that he might see how they went about their work, had foretold him, and for which he had turned him out of his house, and was hardly brought to receive him in again) burst out into passion and cryed out: what will [Page 6] you cut me again? I see I must come to what he told me, whom you would not permit to be present at your doings. They mockt at the poor mans want of skill; and comforted the Patient with all the good words and promises that might be. But many more dayes past, and nothing was done by all their endeavours; yet still the Physicians persisted in their promise that they would not cut him any more, but would cure that place with other applica­tions. To satisfie him, they called another grave and very famous man in the Art, one Ammonius then living, who viewing the place, promist him the Effect which the others with their art and diligence had assured him off. Vpon whose word, as if all went well, he now taking heart, began cheerfully to make sport with his domes­tique friend, who had told him so confi­dently of another incision. But at length, after many dayes spent to no purpose or effect, being now tyred out, with much confusion they were forct to confess, that with no incision no cure could be wrought. At this (vnexpected news) being extream­ly frighted, be started and grew pale. But being come again to himself, so soon as he was able to speak, he bad them all begon, [Page 7] and never more come neer him: And now there remained nothing for the poor man, tyred quite out with grief, to resolve upon in this sad condition, but to make use of a certain rare chirurgion one of Alexandria, that he might do that, which anger had made him resolve never to permit the others to do. But when he was come, and had behold their work with the eyes of an Artist, like an honest civil man, he perswaded the Patient to leave the finishing of the work, to those who had already taken such pains about him, to his great admiration: adding withall, that without incision there could be little or no hope at all of a perfect cure. For his part it was much against his custome and inclination, to deprive them of the honour they had de­served, by some small addition which was still to be made to that great Art and Industry which they had shewed in those other wounds, which he profest himself a great admirer of. By this he was some­thing reconciled to them again, and was contented (so he of Alexandria would be present and assisting) that the same men should lance the place, which they all agreed was incurable without it. The business was deferred untill the next day, [Page 8] but when they were gone, the whole family fell into such a passion of grief for the sad­ness of their Master, that it seemed a mourning at a funerall, and admitted very little comfort from our endeavours. In the mean time he was dayly visited by certain Godly men; by Saturninus of blessed memory, then Bishop of Valence, and Gelosus a Priest, and some of the Deacons of the Church of Carthage. A­mongst whom and who of all the rest is now only living, was Aurelius Bishop, whom I cannot mention but with much reverence and respect, with whom I have since often spoken of this subject, calling to mind the great wonders of God; and I found that he did very well remember what we are now relating. These men then, vi­siting him in the Evening, according to their custome, he beg'd of them with teares in his eyes, that they would Vouchsafe to be present the next morning as spectators, more likely, of his last passage, then of the torment he was to endure, For he was struck with such a horrour from the paines he had formerly indured, that he made no question but he should die under the Physi­cians hands. They, on the other side, en­deavoured to comfort him, and exhorted [Page 9] him to have a confidence in God, and to undergo couragiously what the will of God did inflict upon him. From thence we went in to prayers, where we Kneeling, according to custome, upon the ground, he cast himself down, as if he had been forct by some violent impulse, and began to pray▪ But in what manner, with what feeling, and motion of Spirit, with what abundance of tears, with what sighs and grones, even to the trembling of every joynt of his body, so as, almost, to take his very breath from him, is not for any man to express in words. Whether others did pray, and did not suffer the same distraction by so sad an object as my self did, I know not. For my own part I confess I was not able to pray at all. This only I remember I said in my heart. O Lord what prayers of thy poor servants wilt thou vouchsase to hearken unto, if thou dost not hear these. For it seemed to me that nothing could be added to the earnestness he made use of, unless he should even have expired with the force of praying. We stood up, and having re­ceived the Bishops blessing we departed from him, he begging again that they would not fail to be present with him the next morn­ing, and they exhorting him to courage and [Page 10] conformity. The day came he stood so much in fear of, and the servants of God failed not to come according to their word. The Physicians also came: all things were prepared which the time and occasion required: the instruments also were laid in a readiness, every one being in fear and expectation: those who were of greater power and authority stand neerest at hand to encourage him. He was now laid in his bedd, the bands were loosened, and the place laid open: The Physician, with with his lancet in his hand lookes careful­ly to find the place affected. He makes use both of his sight and feeling to discover it. In fine tryes all experiments, but finds nothing but the skar of a soare now per­fectly healed. Vpon this discovery, the joy which possest every ones heart, and burst forth with tears into thankes-giving to, and prayse of so mercifull and omnipotent a God, I shall leave to every ones thoughts to imagine, rather then presume to express in words.

In the same City of Carthage one Innocentia a most vertuous woman▪ and one of the chief of the Town had a Cancer in her brest, a disease for which Physici­ans allow no remedy. The ordinary prac­tise [Page 11] therefore is, that either the part affected be cut off, or, that a man may live a little the longer (for sooner or later nothing but death is to be expected from it) according to Hippocrates all means of cure are to be wholly laid aside. Thus much she had vnderstood from a skil­full Physician of her very familiar ac­quaintance: And therefore had now wholy betaken her self to begg assistance of Almighty God, when behold, Easter now drawing neere, she is admonisht in her sleep, that she should stand on that side of the Font appointed for the women, and should cause the first that came from Holy Baptisme to sign the place with the sign of the Cross of Christ, she did so and was immediatly cured. Now the Physician who had advised her to forbear all padling with it, if she intended to prolong her life, looking afterwards upon her breast, and finding her perfectly cured of the in­firmity, of which his own eyes had been witnesses, was extream earnest with her to know what meanes she had made use of, being very desirous, as neer as we can guess, to know that Receipt, which might prove Hyppocrates his assertion false. But when he had heard what had past, with a [Page 12] slighting kind of voice and countenance (so that the good woman began to fear least he should utter some unhandsome words in contempt of Christ) he is said to have re­plyed, by way of a religious kind of raillery; I thought said he, you would have told me some great mattter. And she being now in a great fear and apprehen­sion, be presently added what great matter was it for Christ to cure a Cancer, who raised to life one who had been four dayes dead? When I heard of this, I was very much troubled that so great a miracle wrought in such a City, and upon a person of such note, should be concealed, and thought fitt both to admonish and almost to chide her for it. And she making answer that she had not concealed it, I askt those Matrous her very familiar friends who happned then to be in her company, whether they knew any thing of it before. They assured me they never had heard word of it. You may see then, said I, whether you have not been too silent in the business, since even these your familiars never had notice of it; And then having desired her to make a short relation of the whole pas­sage, she did so in their hearing, adding every materiall circumstance, they much [Page 13] admiring and glorifying God there­fore.

And who perchance hath heard of a cer­tain Physician in the same City, who was troubled with the Gout, who when he had given his name in order to Baptisme; the day before he was Christned, was for­bidd by certain black hairy boyes or negroes, who appeared to him in his sleep, and whom he perceived to be devils, to be baptized that year: and when he would not obey, was kickt by them upon his feet, so as to cause him a more grievous pain, then ever he had felt before in his life. But he persisting the more resolutely to overcome them by those regenerating waters, and being baptized according to the vow he had made; in the very receiv­ing that Holy Sacrament, was not only freed from that more then ordinary tor­ment, which he then endured, but was also quite freed from his Gout, nor did ever, during his whole life, which con­tinued many years after, feel the least pain in his feet more▪ We indeed knew this, and some of our brethren, who lived not farr from the place where it happened.

A certain man of the City called [Page 14] Curubis was freed by Baptism not only from a palsie, but also from an extream swelling in his genetories; and he was so freed, that immediately be appeared as if he had had no such infirmities before. And who, I pray, had notice of this, but only those of that Town, and some few others who by accident heard of it? But we having intelligence thereof, by the com­mand of the Holy Bishop Aurelius, pro­cured his coming to Carthage, although we had our informations before, from such, whose credit was out of all ques­tion.

Hesperius one of this place (a person of good quality) hath a farme called Zubed, in the territory of Fusselen; he having notice that his house there was haunted with evill spirits, to the great disturbance of his cattell and servants, my self happening to be absent, earnestly desired of our Priests, that some of them would be pleased to go thither, and drive the malignant spirits away by the force of their prayers. On of them went accord­ingly, [Obtulit ibi Sacrificium Corporis Christi.] offered there the Sacrifice of the Body of Christ, praving most earnest­ly for the cessation of that great affliction, [Page 15] by the mercy of God it presently ceased. Now Hesperius had received a present from a friend, a parcell of Holy-earth brought from Hierusalem, from the very place where Christ, having been buried, rose again the third day. This holy Earth he had hung up in his own chamber, as a preservatiue for his own person. But now when his house was freed from the foresaid molestation, he bethought himself how, with decency, to dispose of the holy earth, which, out of reverence, he thought not fitt to keep any longer in his chamber. It happened accidentally, that my self, and my then-companion Maximus Bishop of Synes were in a place not farr off. He intreated us to come unto him: which we refused not, and having made us the whole relation, he made it also his petition, that the holy earth should be layd in some decent place, which should be turned into a place of prayer, where Christians might meete for performance of their devotions. We could not refuse him; but did accord­ingly. And it fell out that a poor country­youth, who was struck with a palsy, hear­ing of it, beg'd of his parents that they would carry him to the holy place, where having done his devotions, he [Page 16] returned upon his own feete safe and sound.

There is a village called Victoriana some thirty miles distant from Hippo the Royall. There are Relickes of the Saints, Gervasius and Protasius who were of Millan. Thither vvas carried a certain yong man, vvho vvashing his horse, in the midst of Summer, in the River, the divell entred into him. In this place the poor creature lying neere dead, or at least, as if he had been dead, the Lady of the man­nour, as usually, came vvith her maids and some Religious women to say their evening prayers. At their beginning to sing their hymnes, the miserable creature, as one suddenly struck, started up, and vvith a hideous out-cry, daring not, or having not povver to stirr the altar he had laid hold on, he stood there as one fastned or bound to it, and vvith a most horrid noise begging that they vvould spare him, confest, where and vvhen and in vvhat manner he had entred into the body of the miserable young man. At length promising to go out, he named distinctly every part of his body, vvhich he threatned to cutt off in his departure. And uttering these vvords he vvent out indeed. But one of his eyes [Page 17] fell out, and hung upon his cheek fixt by a little string vvhich vvas fastned to the inner part of his eye, and all the black of the eye vvas covered vvith a vvhite film. Those vvho vvere present and savv it, (and novv many vvere come in, upon the fear­full voice he had made) fell all to their prayers for him? although they savv that he vvas novv perfectly come to himself: Yet being in great trouble about his eye, vvere of opinion that a Physician vvas to be sent for. Vpon this; his brother in-lavv, vvho had married his sister, and had con­veighed him thither, said, Certainly the same God, vvho, through the prayers of his blessed Saints, has been pleased to chase avvay the Divell, is able also to restore his eye unto him. And vvith that, putt the eye, vvhich vvas fallen out, into its place again, as vvell as his skill would serve him, [Orario, used for a stole by St▪ Hierome and others.] and bound it up vvith a stole, and so thought fitt to leave it for seaven dayes space. At the end of vvhich dayes opening his eye, he found it perfectly recovered. Other cures vvere vvrought in the same place, vvhich brevity makes me not to mention.

I my self knevv a yong maid of Hippo [Page 18] vvho vvas immediatly dispossest of the Divell by only anointing her self vvith the oyle, into vvhich some of the teares of a good Priest had fallen, vvhilst he vvas praying for her. I knovv also a Bishop vvho by his prayers for a young man, vvhom he never savv, delivered him from the povver of the Divell.

There vvas an ancient man of Hippo called Florentius▪ a very devout creature, but very poor, vvho vvas by trade a tailour. This poor vvretch happened to lose his coate, and had not in the vvorld vvhere­vvith all to buy him another. He makes his prayers to the twenty martyrs, vvhose memory is very famous in these parts, and beggs of them, vvith something a loud and earnest voice, that they would help him to a coat. Certain gybing young fellowes who by chance were present, and overheard him, followed him as he went away, scoffing at him for having beg'd fifty half-pence of the martyrs to buy him a garment. But he walking silently on, espyed a great fish lying paunting upon the shoare, which by the help of the young man he took and sold to one Carchoso an honest Christian Cook, for thirty pence, telling him vvithall vvhat had happened; and with this little money [Page 19] intending to buy vvool, for his vvife to make him a coat vvith, as vvell as she could, But the cook opening the fish, found of gold ring in the belly of it, and out of meer commiseration, and upon scruple of conscience restored it to the poor man, Say­ing: behold how the twenty martyrs have furnisht thee with a garment.

When Projectus Bishop brought the Reliques of the most glorious martyr St. Stephen to the Tibilitan waters, there was a great meeting and flocking of people to the place in honour and memory of the Saint. There it happened that a blind woman beg'd that she might be led to the Bishop as he was carrying the holy relicks: she gave him certain flowers which she carryed a long with her: they were again returned to her; she applyed them to her eyes, and immediatly she saw. All the company being in a mazement, she led the way alone, and now had no need of any body to lead her.

Lucillus Bishop of Synes happened to carry in procession a Relique of the same glorious Saint which is kept in a Castle of the same place, not farr from Hippo, the people, some going before, others following; vvhen, by the carrying of so holy a thing, [Page 20] he vvas suddenly cured of a fistula, vvhich had caused him much trouble for a long time, and vvas novv in expectation of the coming of a Physician his particular friend, for the lancing of the place, Certain it is that from that very time he could never discover any thing of it.

Eucharius a Priest, a Spaniard by nation, dvvelling at Calama, by the Relickes of the foresaid Saint, which the Bishop Possidius had brought thither, was cured of an habitual infirmity of the stone. The same Person aftervvards falling into another violent fitt of sickness, was so farr given for dead, that they began to tye his thumbs together, when his own gown which had been carryed to touch the Reliques of the forenamed Saint, being brought back again, and laid over his body, by the help of the glorious Saint he was restored to life and health.

There was a certain man, called Martialis, who was of prime note amongst those of his quality; he was now well in years, and had a great aversion from Christian Religion; he had indeed a daugh­ter who had embraced the faith, and a son-in-law, who had been baptized that very year. These, when they found him [Page 21] struck with a dangerous sickness, beg'd of him most earnestly, with many teares that he would become a Christian. But he would by no means hear of it, and putt them off with great indignation. His good son-in-law took upon him, to get to the place where the Reliks of Blessed St. Stephen were decently kept, there to pray for him, with all the earnestness he could, that God would be pleased to inspire him with his holy grace, that he might believe in Christ. He performed this with many sighs and teares, and with great fervour of devotion. Then returning he took with him some of the flowres which lay upon the Altar, and, at night, laid them under his pillow. He went to sleep: but before day he cryed out (with much earnestness) that they should make hast to the Bishop, who was then accidently with me at Hippo. But having understood that the Bishop was absent, he desired the Priests might come vnto him. They came, and he presently declared that he did believe; and to the great joy and astonishment of all, was immediatly baptized. And (which was strange▪ so long as he lived after, had these words perpetually in his mouth: Christ receive my soul: although [Page 22] he was wholy ignorant that these were the ve­ry last words which were uttered by the most blessed Martyr St. Stephen, when he was stoned to death. These were also the last words of this happy man, who lived not long after.

There were also cured, by the intercession of the same Martyrs, two who where sick of the Gout, the one a citizen, the other a stranger. But the citizen was absolutely cured without any more adoe: the stranger, as I understood, had by revelation what he was to apply when the fitt took him; So that upon application, his pain imme­diatly ceased.

At a place called Audituras, where there is a Church, and in it a Relique of St. Stephen, a certain little boy being at play in the court-yard, some resty oxen coming with a cart, runne the wheel over the child, who presently gasping, dyed. His Mother immediatly took him, carryed him to the holy Reliques, and he did not only recover, but seemed to have received no hurt at all.

A certain Nunn at a house called Castiniana not farr from the same place falling very sick, so as to be given over by all, They carryed her gown to the same [Page 23] Reliques, but before it was brought back again, she dyed. Notwithstanding her parents would needs lay the same gown over the dead corps, upon which she, re­covering life, became a sound woman.

At Hippo one Bassus a Syrian made his earnest prayers at the shrine of the afore­said Martyr for a daughter of his who lay very weak and in great danger, and he had brought with him one of her garments; when, behold, some of his servants came in great hast to tell him that his daughter vvas dead; but some of his friends meeting them, vvhilst he vvas at his devotions, forbad them to deliver their sad tydings, lest he should not have been able to conceale his grief from the notice of the world. But coming home, and finding all in lamen­tion, he cast his childs garment upon her, and she was immediatly restored to life.

Again in the same city of ours there dyed, of sickness, the son of one Ireneus a Collectour. And now when the dead Corps was laid out, and some were mourn­ing and lamenting, whilst they were pre­paring for the funerall, a friend of his amongst others who endeavoured to com­fort the afflicted father, suggested this [Page 24] advise; that they should annoint the body with the oyl of the holy martyr (I sup­pose which was burning in the Lamp before his holy Reliques.) They did so, and the young man came again to Life.

With us also, one Eleusinus, who had born the office of Tribune, layd his dead child upon the Reliques of the same Martyr, which are kept in his house neere the City, and there offering up his most earnest prayers, accompanyed with many teares, he received him again a live.

What should I say, or do? The desire I have of drawing to an end of this my intended, Treatise, gives me not leave to mention all I Know of this Kind: and without doubt, most of my friends, who shall happen to read what I have here sett down, will resent my omitting so many other particulars which themselves are very well accquainted with as well as I. whose pardon I must begg; and desire them to reflect what paines and labour it would require to do that, which the work I have here vndertaken, will by no meanes allow me. For to omitt others, if I should now only sett down the miraculous healths restored to the sick by this Holy Martyr, [Page 25] (I mean the most glorious St. Stephen) as well in the Town of Calama, as also in our own, many books were to be written, neither could we possibly make a perfect collection of them all, but only of such as Memorials have been written of, to the end they might be read to the people. For it was our desire to have it done so, that since it pleased Almighty God to honour this our age with miracles not inferiour to those of former times, the Knowledge and memory of them might not be lost. It is not yet full two years since that Holy Relique was first plac't at Hippo the Royall; and although it be most certain, that many miraculous things have hap­pened, of which there have been no Me­morials given in, yet the number of such as have been in that manner attested, a­mounted to about threescore and ten, at at such time as I was writing this. But at Calama, where a Relique of the St. had been longer kept, and where the good custome of giving in Memorialls▪ was more used, there is an incomparably greater number. At Uzali also, which is not farr from Utica, we are assured of many strange things wrought by the same Holy martyr, there having been placed a Relique of [Page 26] the said Saint by the Bishop Evodius, a long time before we had any. But it is not the custome there to give in Memorials, or, as I may rather say, it has not been form­erly, though now, happily they have also brought in that good practice. For, we being lately there, a certain noble woman, called Petronia having been miraculously cured of a great and tedious sickness, for remedy whereof all the art of Physick had come short, we perswaded her, with the consent of the Bishop of the said place, to give up a Memorial which might be read to the people, and she most readily complyed with our desires. In which Relation she inserted also this particular, which I must not o­mitt, although I am obliged to make what hast I can towards a conclusion of this work. She tells us there how she was induced by a certain Jew to put a Ring upon a hair girdle, and to weare it next her body, vnder all her cloaths, which Ring was to have, vnder the other preci­ous stone, a stone found in the Reines of an oxe. Being thus girt, by way of natu­rall remedy, she came towards the Church of the Holy Martyr. But being come past Carthage, and having lodged at a farm of hers neer the river Bagrada, rising up [Page 27] to go on her Journey, she saw the Ring lying before her feet, and wondering, she viewed the hair girdle, which the Ring had been fastned upon, and finding it as fast and firm as ever, without any one knot being loosed, she imagined the Ring it self might be crackt or broken; but finding that also perfectly whole and entire, she presumed to take that strange accident for a happy presage and pledge of her future miraculous recovery, and untying the girdle, threw it with the said Ring, into the river. Those, haply, who do not believe our Lord Jesus to have been born without the least violation of the pure vir­ginity of his B. Mother, or to have come into the roome where his disciples were, the doores being shutt, will have much diffi­culty to believe what here is related. But let them, in the name of God, make farther inquiry into the matter, and if they find it to be true, let them hereby be induced to believe those other things. She is a Lady of great quality, nobly born, and nobly married, she is now dwelling at Carthage; So famous a City, so noted a Person, must needs afford their curiosity full Satisfaction. Most undoubtedly the Holy Martyr himself, by whose intercession she received health, did [Page 28] did believe in the son of an ever-pure Vir­gin; he did believe in him, who came in to his disciples, the doores remaining shut; And finally (the truth whereof is the scope and aim of whatever we have here rehersed) he believed in him who ascended into Heaven with the same flesh, with which he rose again from the dead. And therefore it is, that he worketh such great wonders, because for that faith it was, that he was so happy as to lay down his life. Many miracles then are wrought even in these our dayes; the same God working them by whom he pleases, and by what meanes he pleases, the same God who has wrought all these which we have read: But yet even these are not Known a like to all, neither is there that care taken that by often reading of them, the memory of them may not be for­gotten. For even in those places, in which (according to the custome now used by us) authentick Relations are given up, by those who have received speciall favours, to the end they may be read and notified to the people, those, indeed, who happen to be then present, hear the same read; but many more prove to be absent. So that even those who were present, do hardly remember, after some short time, what [Page 29] they heard, and scarcely is there one to be found, who takes the paines to give notice, of what they had heard, to others whom they know to be absent.

One thing there is which happened in our City, which though it be not greater in it self then some of those things which I have already related: yet it is so clear and so noted a miracle, that, I believe, there is no one person in all Hippo, who did not either see it with his own eyes, or has not been sufficiently informed of it, so as never to be forgotten by any. There were ten children, seven brothers and three Sisters, of good rank amongst the citizens of Cesarea in Cappadocia, who, by the curse of their mother, who had extreamly resented an injury done her by her chil­dren, upon the death of their father her husband, had so heavy a punishment in­flicted upon them by God, that they went about miserably trembling and shaking every joynt of their bodies. In which wretched condition being not able to endure the sight of their fellow Citizens, they went wandering over all the Roman dominions, as each one thought best. Of this number two of them came into our City, a brother and a Sister, Paul and Palladia, being now too [Page 30] much taken notice of in many other places by their own remarkable misery.

They arrived here about a fort-night be­fore Easter; they were every day at the Church, and particularly at the Shrine of the most glorious St. Stephen, they offered up their most fervent devotions, begging pardon and mercy of Almighty God, and humbly praying that they might, at length, be restored to their former condition. And now even there, and wheresoever they ap­peared, the eyes of the whole Town were upon them, Some, who had seen them in other parts, and had been informed of the cause of their trembling, gave notice there­of to others, as they were able. Easter was now come, and upon Sunday in the morning, when the people were in great number present, the young man who was holding by the railes of the chappel where the Reliques of the H. Martyr were kept, and praying most earnestly, upon a sudden fell down, and lay as if he had been asleep. At which sight some who were present were struck with admiration, Some were frighted, others compassionated the poor creature's condition. And now some would have lift­ed him up; others were against it, and thought it best to see what the event of [Page 31] the business would be, when, behold, he rose of himself, and trembled no more, be­ing now cured, and stood a sound man, looking upon them who gazed upon him. Who, think you, of all the company, could then contain himself from praising our great and good God? The whole Church was filled with the cryes and acclamations of the people. From thence they ran up to me, where I was sitting ready to go in procession. They crowd in upon me, one after another, every one as he came, telling the same thing as new, though we had heard it again and again from others before. And now when I was full of joy and rendering thanks unto Almighty God with­in my self, the young man himself came to me, accompanyed with many others, and fell down at my knees, whom I raised again with a kiss of peace. I went forward to the people, the Church was full, no­thing to be heard but loud expressions of joy, of praise and thanks-giving to God, no man being able to contain himself, but every one crying out on all sides. I spoke to the people, and they fell again to their acclamations louder and louder. At length having obtained silence amongst them, the lessons were read out of the Holy Scripture [Page 32] according to the Feast. But when the time was come for me to preach, I said but little, indeed, as the present solemnity, and the excess of joy in every one seemed to require; for I thought it better to leave them to pon­der the great power of God in his workes, then to trouble them with eloquence of words. The young man dined with us that day, related unto us exactly the whole passage of his mothers and his Brethrens calamities. The next day, after Sermon, he promised a narration of the whole matter to be read the day following unto the people, which being done accordingly on the Tues­day after Easter day, I caus'd them both, brother and sister, to stand upon the stepps of the pulpit, in which I was to preach, whilst the narration was reading. All the people saw them, one of each sex; him, indeed, they beheld now free from that sad passion of trembling: which they saw as yet his poor sister tormented with in every joynt of her body. And they who had not happened to see him before, saw in the sister what the great goodness of God had miraculously wrought in the Brother. They saw in him matter of joy and congra­tulation; in her they beheld a subject of commiseration, and what their fervent [Page 33] prayers were to be offered up for. In the mean time, their Relation having been read, I bad them retire from the throng, and began to frame a serious discourse con­cerning the whole business. when behold, whilst I was speaking, new exclamations of joy were heard from the chappel of the Martyr. Those who were hearkning to me, turned themselves immediatly, and began to run altogether towards the place. For the sister going from the stepps of the pulpit where she had stood, went immediatly to make her prayers to the H. Martyr; who, so soon as she arrived at the railes, fell down, in like manner, as in a sleep, and rose perfectly cured, Whilst then we were in­quiring what the matter was, and the cause of so great joy, they came with her into the body of the Church where we were, bring­ing her from the Chappel of the Martyr whole and sound But then there began such an out cry of admiration in all the people of both Sexes, that it seemed the noyse and their teares would never have an end, She vvas brought to the very place where she had stood shaking a little before. The people rejoyc'd to see her now become like unto her Brother, whom they lamented before for remaining so unlike unto him. And they [Page 34] found the goodness of God had accepted already of their good intentions, though they had not yet actually offered up their intended devotions for her. The noyse of joy, without any articulate expression of words, was so great, that we were scarce able to endure it: And now, what do you ima­gine vvas in the hearts of those vvho in this manner did rejoyce, but only the faith of Christ, for vvhich the Blessed St. Stephen had spent the last drop of his blood?

SOME FEW Reflexions upon the foregoing Relation, pre­sented to a Friend.


TO give you some testi­mony of my readiness to serve you in some weightier matter, I here send you what I have done in comply­ance with your late commands. You have here therefore a faithfull and almost verball Transla­tion of the 8th. Chapt. of the 22th. Book of St. Augustine of the City of God, into that language which the education of those you seem chiefly to desire it for, has made them best acquainted with. Had that Gentleman who many years ago undertook the whole work (which is long since extant in print) been as true to his task, as he was willing (ac­cording [Page 36] to the mode) to be favourable to his preresolv'd Principles, I might have spared this little pain, at least of translating, though not of setting down in paper those few reflexions, which you have formerly, upon occasion, heard me make upon this subject, which because they were pleasing to you (at least you were pleased to own them so) your farther request of having them read at your command, for memories sake, has obliged me not to spare my labour, which can never be unpleasant to me, when any satisfaction of yours can be hoped for. If sometimes you find me, as it were personally arguing the case with him or them whom I pretend to oppose, I hope you will not be offended at the method, which is not unusuall, in discourses of this nature.

First then I hope I shall not need to mind you that this whole Treatise of St. Aug. of the City of God is so uni­versally, both by ancient and modern Authours, owned to be the genuine of­spring of that great wit, that I cannot find any one so impudent (though it contain many points, which some per­chance would be willing enough [Page 37] to deny or conceale to have been this great Doctors opinions) who ever yet called this verity in question. Sure I am that St. Augustine himself in his 2. Book of Retractations owns it as such, al­leaging also the reason of his vndertaking the work, and making bold to call it Grande opus, as most certainly it is, in what acception soever you take it, ei­ther of laborious or learned.

Nay even those who seeme to have taken a resolution upon them to deny all things of this nature, and to have made it their business to pick up and cull out whatsoever may afford any possible mat­ter of exceptions; or be fitted, with their pleasant glosses, to make sport for a prophane Reader (such as possibly some one who would adventure to go a step or two farther, might make with some passages of H. Writ it self) and who, with great boldness have dared to lay Fanaticisme and fondness at the dores of the great St. Gregory, venerable Bede &c, whom the world hitherto had looked upon as worthy and creditable Persons: yet even these, I say, these daring men have thought fit to keep themselves within some bounds of mo­desty [Page 38] in relation to this account of miracles made by St. Austin: nor have they (so farr as hitherto they have made the world acquainted with their thoughts) presumed to blast him in this, or any other Relation of his of this kind, with fond credulitie, or proclaimed him a father of Legends &c.

Now that which I remember raised admiration in us both, upon the per­usall of this whole Chapter, was, how any man can think the invocating of Saints, the honouring their Relicks, the use of the sign of the Cross, the sacri­fice of the Body of Christ &c. to be no­velties, since they are here mentioned by this ancient Doctor of the Church as having been of use in his dayes; and that without the least contradiction of any Orthodox person then in being; but rather with the attestation of, and approbation by so many miraculous events from Heaven. The question is not here about doctrinall points, in which I know some are very ready, when it is to their purpose, to allot even to the Ancient Fathers themselves their errours and human failings, but about matter of fact, whither such things [Page 39] as are here related by this Holy and learned Saint, did really happen so or no. If they pretend misinformations, which this great Person might be subject to, as well as other men; let me first intreat them to have so much respect, at least for this great Doctor, as to suppose him no fool. And secondly let me desire them to remember, that he writ in a time when the eyes of many friends and enemies, Pelagians, Manicheans, Ha­thens &c. were upon him; which con­sideration certainly would not permit him to stuff his writings with old wives tales; but oblige him to make strict inquiry into the verity and certainty of such passages, as he was to make use of for the proof of such Points of Christianity as were then in contest a­mongst them. But thirdly, whatever his care was in the examination of the extrinsick attestations of the things re­lated by him, which in such a Person, and in such circumstances we cannot well (without forfeiting both our chari­ty and discretion) suspect to have been inferiour to the weight and importance of the matter; yet cannot I see how we can, with credit, refuse him our belief [Page 40] of such particulars, at least (and they are not a few) as his own eyes gave him evident information of; unless we can find in our hearts to give so great a man the downright lye. And yet, if all this, to some wilfull pre-oc­cupied person should prove uneffectuall, at least this cannot be denyed, but St. Aug. without controule of any in those dayes, which were above a thousand years ago, speakes here very positively and confidently of many practices, now stiled, by some, novelties and supersti­tions, with approbation, and miracu­lous attestation. So that I cannot but think it a very pregnant proof, or in­deed, demonstration, that they were esteemed no novelties nor superstitions, but lawfull and laudable practices, by him and all others in his dayes, so many years ago, as may well serve to vindicate them from the imputation of Novellisme. This, only in passing, for the Satisfaction of those who pretend a Zeal for purity of Religion, and are offended at such passages as are found in St. Augustin, and such illations as most connatural­ly flow from them, not so much because they have any thing against the saint [Page 41] himself (whom at other times they would willingly perswade the world to suppose to be of their Party) as because Prejudice and Education have gotten possession of their understandings, and are resolved to keep it in spite of Reason and most powerfull Authority.

But there is another sort of men whom I think equally, if not more neerly concern'd in this Relation; I mean your pretended great Masters of wit, who, I fear, many times make not that use of so precious a treasure, as it is truly capable of, relying so much upon that which they call Reason, that they wholly lose their way to Religion; and whilst they please their fancies with some pret­ty nice speculatious, become themselves meer scepticks, and, too too often, down­right Atheists. They are not altogether behind hand with that great ambitious Spirit, who not being able to reduce to known naturall principles, or compre­hend the cause of the ebbing and flow­ing of the; sea, is said to have cast himself as a very rash Sacrifice into it. For these men finding the nature of God (as it must needs be supposed, if we suppose him to be) above the reach of their capa­city; [Page 42] to make short work, think it their readiest course to cast him quite off; or, at least, make him so pittifull an one, according to the model of things which their slender sense and experience has made them acquainted with, that he must have no care or providence of things of this world which are extrin­secall to his own being, lest he put him­self into a condition of perpetuall trouble and disquiet. Others, whom I think all their kind ought to be highly offen­ded at, do so degrade, and even un-man themselves, and all their race, that they make them, as to their beginning and ending, little (if at all) superiour to the meanest of those creatures which enjoy a sensible Being, and have a feeling of those pleasures they are naturally capable of, placing in them all their present, and renouncing all expectation of any other future felicity. And so are not at all to be wondered at, if having taken up such Principles, either upon trust or design, they first look upon themselves as the chief, if not the only thing they are to observe and gratify, and then, as is too frequently seen, become in their lives and pursuit's like unto those brutes, [Page 43] whom they are by a very wise man right­ly compared unto (sicut equus et mulus, quibus non est intellectus) without un­derstanding or reason, wholly drowned in sensuality, and absorp't in bestiality. And yet, which is not only strange, but mon­strous also, whil'st they thus become meer brutes in conversation, pretend still to be the only masters of refined rea­son, and speculation; making it one great part of their witty and agreeable divertisements to devide, and laugh at all those, who having espoused better and nobler principles, endeavour to devest themselves indeed of the Man, not by degenerating into the Nature of beasts, but by raising themselves to the condi­tion of Angels, with whom they one day hope and expect to enjoy those pure delights which they know very well are not to be comprehended by poor mortalls here in banishment, but believe they are prepared for those faithfull servants of the great God, in whose power and will it is to provide for them never-fa­ding, yet always satiating delights, when those their mortal bodies shall have put on Immortality.

And now to come close to what I [Page 44] would be at upon this account, I would fain know of any indifferent person who has not quite abandoned his reason, whether those great pretenders to, and Monopolizers of wit be not at a great loss, in case these things prove true, which you have here seen related by the great St. Augustine? whether here does not manifestly appear (so far as effects can manifest a cause) first that there is some thing in the world above, or beyond nature: secondly that this some thing has a providence and kindness for mankiud: and thirdly, that there is some thing remaining after death in those blessed Saints, whose prayers and intercessions obtain of the living God such miraculous favours for those, who humbly address themselves unto them? Against the Verity, or certainty of these things thus circumstanced by the person relating, the witnesses attesting, all succeeding Ages unquestionably accept­ing, it will be worth the seeing what the dissenting party, with some pretense of reason do usually object.

For I take them for men of greater parts, and knowledge of the constitu­tion of the world in these dayes, then, [Page 45] by their peremtory denying the whole story, to pretend to oblige mankind to a tame subscription and Acquiescence to their Ipse-Dixit's: themselves hav­ing already banisht out of the world all Implicite faith of this nature at least: for in an other kind, I presume, when the health of their dear bodies is con­cern'd, they will still think it necessary to advise with, and rely upon their Physician in his art, though themselves dive not into the reasons, nor can give any just account of his proceedings. I presume also they will not apprehend that they have forfeited any share of their reason, when they give credit to, and rely upon their Councel in point of law, though themselves, perchance, never read so much as Littleton, or under­stand not the full import of all those great hard words those learned men in­sert into Conveyances &c. In these and the like cases the Great St. Augustine Confesses l. 6. Confess c. 5. that after many doubts and perplexities, which himself, as well as some others in his days had been subject to, he found it absolutely necessary to have recourse to Faith even in human, proceedings, much [Page 46] more was he convinced of the necessity of it in things supernaturall, which, as such, are ex terminis concluded to be above the reach and capacity of our weak-sighted Understandings. In things therefore of this high nature we may confide (though we penetrate not into the intrinsick Principles of the things proposed) that we proceed rationally, and as becomes prudent men, if, having discovered sufficient motives of the credibility of the things offered to be believed, we submit, and yeild assent, regulating our judgments and behavi­ours accordingly. Thus much a good Christian knowes to be his duty when ever things appear vested with Gods revelation. But that only, which in our present case (concerning things in them­selves immediatly of an inferiour degree) I think reasonable to demand, and ne­cessary for the persons we are arguing with to grant, is, not to deny human or historicall faith, at least to matters of fact proposed with so many circum­stances of Unquestionable credibility, that peremptorily to deny them, with­out positive and clear evidence against them, would make the world believe [Page 47] their whole soules were turn'd fancy, or will, and that they had renounced all right to the noblest part of man, Reason and Vnderstanding. Their only course then, if they purpose to main­tain their pretentions to Rationality, must be to argue closely with convin­cing proofs, both in matter and forme, with undeniable Premises, and fairely deduced Conclusions. One thing let me begg of them by the way, that they will please to be mindfull, that it is highly against Reason, and the Rules of reasoning, first to resolve upon and fix the Conclusion, and then come lamely in with the Premises. Thus may you have heard many a good woman prove her child to be the fairest, because he is. Thus may you see many a cause menaged with great earnestness at the Barr, though the Councell be not half so confident of his cause, as he is pleased at the liberality of his Client. Affe­ction, Willfullness, and Interest, are the true Premises and Proofs in such Causes and conclusions. Many an odd argument is alleaged, not so much proving the thing in question, as evi­dencing our good will for it. But I [Page 48] expect better things from rationall men, and pretended lovers of truth.

First then, they may perchance say, St. Augustine was a man, and might consequently both deceive, and be deceived. That he was a man, and no Angel, is without question: but withall you may take notice that he is held by the whole world to have been an honest, and a holy man, therefore he did not go about to deceive: he was ever esteemed a learn­ed and a discreet man; he had the testimo­nies of unsuspected, disinteressed per­sons, of whole Communities, of whole Cities; nay of his own eyes in many remarkable particulars: Ergo he was not deceived. If this be not a better con­sequence then any your Might be can afford to your purpose, I must needs confess we are to seek for new Principles of arguing. For to affirm positively up­on so remote a possibility, that he was either deceiv'd, or design'd to deceive, would be a ready way indeed, but it must needs be a very rash one

For never was a meer Possibility yet admitted amongst rational men for a positive proof of either side of a con­tradiction, which does admit of a con­tingency: [Page 49] Much less can it have place indifferently, where one side is fortify­ed with such proofs, as greater cannot be required by any unbiassed judgement, to a determination in the subject mat­ter of inquiry. And if this be not al­low'd as exactly rational, then cannot I imagine upon what Principles we can be induced to apositive crediting any thing of this nature, in any age of the world before us.

For they all being Contingencies, and the positive and negative not being possible to coexist, no Might be, or May be can determine the judgement any further then to a meer suspension: which is not only prudent, but necessary, where proofs come equal on both sides. And as this is necessary, upon equality, so certainly is it most rational to incline to some one side upon the prevalency of motives, or even absolutely to assent, where they arrive to that degree, that no wise man can find, or hope to find greater in matters of this nature. De­monstratiuely, no May be, or Might be can be thought to be upon equall terms with it.

But that which I suspect may make [Page 50] you so backward in giving assent to this Relation of St. Augustine, may be the generall prejudice you have against all things of this nature. And this, haply, has been bred, and nourish't in you by your aversion from those many Le­gends stuff't up, as you imagin, with such kind of old-wives tales, which to you appear not only improbable by their number, but also very lyable to excep­tions, by reason of Circumstances. what if I should freely grant (as I shall not make much difficulty to do) what you seem here resolved to suppose: that there have been mistakes, and per­chance abuses in this kind? what if I frankly own, that some ignorant per­son has taken that for a miracle, which some more understanding man knowes very well to be within the compass of nature; or some strong-fancied creature has taken her devout dream for a Vision? Will your inference hold, Ergo all are such; Ergo these related by St. Augustine are such? Is there no true gold, because some, upon the touch, has been found false? Are there no true Diamonds, because the skillfull eye of a Lapidary, or the wheel has discovered some to be [Page 51] counterfeit? Then I pray call to mind whom you deal with, whose reputation you so severely call in question. It is that of St. Agustine, out of whom I did pur­posely select these passages, not that I doubt but there are a thousand as un­questionable things of this nature, in other grave Authors; but because I did suppose (and I imagined I had reason for it) that the great esteeme and respect the world generally has for this great man, would gain him some credit with you also. 'Tis He that tells you here of many cures (such as whole Consults of Physicians esteemed incurable) wrought suddenly and permanently. 'Tis He that tells you of Devills cast out by the force of Prayer and Exor­cismes. 'Tis He that tells you of many dead persons rays'd suddenly to life and health. 'Tis he that tells you he saw many of these things when they happen­ed with his own eyes.

'Tis he, that tells you of the Testi­monies of whole Communities, whole Towns and Cities, in proof of many particulars. 'Tis he that tells you of Memorialls given in, and read pub­liquely, and kept carefully, that they [Page 52] might be confirmed, or contradicted, if any thing occurr to any one of those thousands, who saw, or heard them. 'Tis he, that tells you that there were so many other Miracles wrought in the places he mentions, and known by his brethren then living, to have been wrought, that he thought himself obliged to put down his excuse, for not specifying them also, as well as others, which he happens to mention. 'Tis he, who writ these Things in a time, when he could not but know, that there were enemies enough, both at home and a­broad, (Heathens and Heretiques, Mani­cheans and Pelagians, &c.) who would have been very glad of the op­portunity of diminishing his credit, and authority, by disproving what he had writt with so much advantage to his own cause, and so much prejudice of theirs. This certainly must needs have obliged so discreet, and sober a person, to have used more care then ordinary, in the examination of those Things, which he intended for publique view, in proof of those great mysteries of our faith, The Resurrection, and glorious Ascension of Christ, our Saviour, in Body [Page 53] into heaven. And here by the way give me leave to tell you, that this ever has been, and to this hour is, the con­stant endeavour of Prelates in the Church, (and it is their high obligation) that nothing of this kind be taken, or di­vulged, as miraculous, but upon very strict examination, authentique proofs, and depositions of sworn witnesses, &c. So that, it cannot in reason be thought other, then willfull rashness in any man, positively to deny them all, upon no better ground, then meere prejudice, or suspicion. I pray taken notice of what I said last, to deny them all. For, to come a little home to you, I must take the liberty to tell you, that if any one of these hundred Miracles, related here by Saint Augustine, or any one of those thousands related, examined, and at­tested by others, proves true, your business is done, You will be compelled to own something beyond the reach of your eyes, or perchance, understandings which has a beeing, and a power, above the force of nature, manifesting it self abundantly in such admirable, and Supernaturall operations.

But, I pray, Sir, do you not find it [Page 54] smart? Have I not touch'd the Apple of your eye? For, whatsoever is pretend­ed (as becomes a man indeed) of reason, and rationallity, is not sense (id est, Sensation;) your Cheifest engine; by which you would overthrow what the believing world submits unto. Some, I confess, I have heard own it; and I fear there are too many, who have it in their hearts, that it is great folly to be­lieve any thing, of which their eyes, or some other of their material senses does not inform them. This indeed is plain English; and such as makes them under­stood. It has enough of the ingenuity, though little enough of the pretended Rationality. Yet such as it is, it is the very language, (as there is reason e­nough to imagine) which most of that Cabal would speak, if they durst permit their tongues to be true to their thoughts; and their reputation were not at Stake upon another pretended score. But let the whole Rationall world judge, whether this be not the most desperate, and the most abject spirit of levelling that ever was; to leave man, the noblest creature of this our sublunary world, upon equall [Page 55] termes, with the meanest of those others which enjoy the benefit of Sense: nay amongst which many (some in one, some in another) so far surpass man, that unless he were enabled to challenge a superiority upon the score of his Rea­son, and Vnderstanding, he would be forc'd, in other respects, to yield pre­cedency.

But I pray, had not Saint Augustine eyes, as well as you? were all the In­habitant's of Hippo, Carthage, Millan, and other Towns, and Cities, blind? To Suppose that, would he very strange indeed, and beyond the spirit of an only-illuminated Fanatique. To say they all conspired to cheat you, and that no body of those, whose concern was so deeply engag'd, should discover the cheat, is a thing beyond wonder. And yet one of these you are necessarily reduc'd to; unless you have stubbornly resolved, that this alone must be your rule, to believe nothing, but what your own eyes are witnesses of. And if so, then I pray, First, Suppose that yon are subject to be dealt with in your own kind, and to be trusted, or relied upon, no further, then men can measure you, [Page 56] and your actions by their eyes. Second­ly, you are obliged never to mention Rome, or Constantinople, &c. unless you have taken the paines to travel to see them. Thirdly, never talk to us of your Aristotles, Epicurus's &c. for we take them from you as meer Chimaeras. And fourthly, let us entreat you, to do the rest of mankind so much right, as to renounce hereafter your unjust pretensions to both use, and substance of Reason. This I apprehend ought to be done in good consequence; and I think you may be oblig'd to it by deduction, in as good form, as any Logick is capable of. But that I may not appear too rigorous, and may have some hopes to enter again into your favour, I will deal plainly with you, and tell you my apprehension; which is, that you are not all so black, as you are painted, whatever the world may be apt to think of you, grounding themselves▪ upon the extravagant sal­lies of some desperado's of your Partie. For, I make no question, but if some of you were men of Trading, and had a design of improving your estates, you would either send, or go, up on like­lyhood [Page 57] of advantage, to Aleppo, Scanderoon, or Mexico, &c. though you had never seen those hopefull places, but by other mens eyes. You would be ready to do your King, or Country, service, as Ambassadours, or Agents, either at Ve­nice, or Constantinople, though you had hitherto never set foot out of little England, to assure your selves of the existence of such places, or of the Prin­ces, or States resident therein.

Be but consequent to your selves, and I hope we may be good friends again. You will send to Aleppo, &c. by way of Trading: you will go to Constanti­nople, &c. in Embassy: But where is your assurance all this while, that there are any such places in the world, as men here talk to you of? And here I might alleadge all those seeming possiblities of being mistaken, or deceived, which are wont to be made use of, (and is imagined with great applause) in mat­ters now indispute, much, or altogether, of the same nature. For, how do you know, but your factour, (far enough out of your sight) has a mind to dispose of your goods, for his own advantage, in some other place, better known to [Page 58] him, then Aleppo is to you? what cer­tain ground have you for your confi­dence, that your Prince has not a mind to be rid of you, and so sends you to some Utopia, or other? Is this possible, or not?

You will, perchance, tell me, you are so morally certain in these your undertakings, as to the existence of place &c. all the world affirming it, no sober man questioning it, that it were a spice of madness, to entertain the least doubt concerning it. Morally cer­tain! I pray, Sir, what mean you by that? I suppose, you never saw the places with your own eyes. If you had, that would have produced something more, then Moral Certainty, and would cut off all manner of doubt, and appre­hension of doubt indeed. But I do not find, that your Moral Certainty, is al­waies (if ever) of that efficacy. For, though I am morally certain, I saw such a man in the market-place, whom I discovered by his stature, complexion, cloaths, &c. and am emboldened there­by to affirm, that I saw him, though, perchance, but in passing, and afarr off; yet I will not venture my credit [Page 59] upon it. For one man may in stature, complexion, cloaths, be like another, and I may at a distance be mistaken. I hold such a man to be my friend, and an honest man, and am morally cer­tain he will not break his word with me upon loane of a hundred pounds; but will pay it again exactly at the day appointed: but yet for all that I will not venture my money, without some better security, then his bare word. This, I fear, is not the Moral Certainty you would be at.

But now, suppose a question started, (in which your inheritance were con­cerned) whether such an one were your Father, or (to put it on the surer side) such an one (so ever reputed by your self, and all others generally) were your Mother? Here, I think, you would make out such a Moral certainty, (for I suppose, Physicall certainty you could have none, either from self-evident principles, or perceptibility of sensation) that you would venture your life, and fortunes upon it. Here would be a cer­tainty, which might send you to Scan­deroon or Mexico, to the Emperour, or grand Signior, rather then lose an in­heritance [Page 60] descended to you by so sure a title. And you could not faile of the applause of all wise men for so doing. No man would censure you for it, unless as full of malice and peevishness, as he must needs be of rashness, and ignor­ance.

By this time then, I suppose, you may have discovered severall sizes, or degrees of Assurance, in that you call Morall Certainty: of which though some is so weak, as to admit, both in specu­lation and practice, some fear and dubi­tancy; yet others come to such a height, that albeit some detain them still within the limits of Moral Certainty, (others allowing them something at least of a reductively Physical certainty) yet such an one, most assuredly, it is, as leaves the subject of its inhesion, in no more doubt, or perplexity, concerning the verity, or certainty, of its objects Existency, and consequently, as pru­dently determined to act accordingly, as if Cognizance thereof had been taken by the very eyes, or senses.

This I apprehend to be the very case, in respect of this relation of the great Saint Augustin; who affirms many of [Page 61] the things are here related, upon the testimony of his own eyes, (which to him was a Physical Certainty) and that of others, whole Citties and townes, no man of that age, or many Subsequent ones, contradicting, or raising any doubt thereof: which to us is a most pru­dential ground, of as much, and as great Moral Certainty, as things acted in former times are capable to derive unto following ages. And now I hope no man will undertake such a folly, as to go about to make any materiall di­sparity between Time and Place. For certainly both are subject to the same exceptions, where sense has not actually its operation; and both equally to be assented unto, when they come attend­ed with the same strength, and weight of probation. Unquestionably all Nega­tive arguments, of not seeing, &c. must be cast out of doores, as of no force, or consideration imaginable; unless you can think it reasonable, upon the same kind of proof, or motive, to deny the being of a Caesar, or a Pompey, or of a William the Conqueror, or even of a Henry the Seventh, or Eighth, &c.

But now, to deal candidly, and not [Page 62] slubber over any thing, which may seem to have the least shadow of a probable disparity, I imagin this may be one thing, which by some may be reflected upon; that though some former ages, descend­ing from St. Augustines daies, did not at all question these things, but allowed them as currant, yet have there not been wanting some in these latter times, (and those, in profession at least, not at all of the party in this present discourse look'd upon) who refuse to give cre­dit to the things here related; which by consequence become failing in a very materiall circumstance, which those o­ther mentioned instances are invested with; that they are by some questioned, and opposed. I know very well, there are some whose concern is so to do: But upon what grounds, besides what have already been mentioned, and I hope, to the satisfaction of any ration­all man, disproved, I cannot imagine, (supposing this to be the genuine work of Saint Agustin; which I have not yet found any, even of these dissenters to disallow) unless it be this one; that this relation containes severall things, and practices, contrary to their supposed Ortho­dox [Page 63] faith, or Reformation: wherefore there must be, and is, deceipt, and mistakes in it. But I pray give me leave to mind such objectors of the caution I gave about the beginning of this discourse, concerning setling the Inference or con­clusion, before the Premises or proofs came under consideration; which is an exact kind of [...] which, me thinks, is worth the reflecting upon, and is here punctually put in practice. whereas I apprehend, the argument may, and ought to be inverted, and retorted thus.

The great Saint Augustin writes these things, relates these practices confirmed by miracles done in his own sight, attested by thousands of eye witnesses; no man, in those dayes, disproving the matters of fact: Therefore these things are not con­trary to Orthodox faith, or true Reforma­tion. If this be not a more rationall deduction, then the former grounded upon meere conjectures, or a supposall of the Question, let any impartiall man judge.

There is yet one Reserve; and that seemes to have divided it self into two wings. The one is, that these things [Page 64] my possibly have been effected by the occult power of nature: the other, that he, who knowes the art of applying Actives to Passives, (the devil, God bless us) had a hand in them. The one savours strong of the Physitian; the other smells rank of the Pharisee. But we must make as good a stand against them, as we are able. And first, me thinks, this is just the proceeding of that peevish, or ignorant boy; who being bidd by his master to spell Hugh (a proper name of a man, in Latin Hugo) first, fell upon that which was most obvious, H. V. Hu; then Hew: But being told that he was quite out, and that there was a G. in it, presently it was Hug; then Huge: any thing, but the right Hugh; though this would have cost him as little breath as any, or some at least, of the rest. But, for the love of God, Gentlemen, ('Tis that I wish you, as the noblest exercise of your wills, and which will much facilitate your understandings) if we must needs fly to occult meanes, or qua­lities, (of which we can give but a very slender account, and can by such meanes only pretend to cloak our ignorance [Page 65] under certain pretty insignificant words; Such occult meanes or qualities, being things, we only guess at, and which are as remote from our sense, and understanding, as any thing we are press'd to) why should we not rather betake our selves to him, whose Om­nipotency once owned, makes all things clear? where as now we grope only in the dark, and are apt to stumble at a thousand blocks, before we are aware of them. Is not this one great one, I pray, that a body once dead, that is, which had lost the principle of life, should live again, contrary to the experience, which we our selves have noted in thousands? nay, as contrary to the inclination, and necessary tendency of nature to corrup­tion, as it would be for fire to cool, or ice to warm? But, which is more remarkable in our case, that this should be effected, by only laying a gown, or garment, upon the Shrine, or Reliques, of a deceased Saint, (with invocation of God by his intercession) and then apply­ing the said garment unto the party deceased, that he, or she should imme­diately recover not only life, but per­fect health, is so unheard-of an effect, [Page 66] by way of any power, or vertue, which can be appropriated to pure nature, that I think, they must be desperately resolved, who dare allow it so much. as a probability, or indeed possibility. Add to this the strange cures of those other diseases, the Gout, Palsy, Canker, Fistula, &c. whereof some were held absolutely incurable by the meanes of any naturall applications, according to the Aphorismes of the great masters in the art of Physick: to others, all remedies, though applied by very skilfull hands, proved very unsuccessfull: yet these were cured setledly, and permanently, and which was most to be wondred at, sud­denly: And that by such meanes, as could not possibly be imagined, to carry any natural proportion with such un­expected effects; viz. by earnest pray­er, by the water of Baptisme, by flowers, which had only touch't the Bodies of holy men, by the sign of the Cross, &c.

You will say, perchance, that phan­sie can do much. Surely, we need not go farr to prove it, if you can phansie, that such things as these were done by phancy. I confess, I have hitherto [Page 67] taken fancy rather for a disease it­self, then a cure for any. I have heard of some indeed, who have fancied them­selves Kings, and Queens, &c. but I never yet heard of any reall Crowns they got by that their fancy; unless it were crack't ones in Bedlam. I have been told of others, who have brought upon themselves very malig­nant diseases, as the small pox, &c. by apprehension, or fancy: which I imagin very feasable, by an oppression of the spirits, weakening the resistance, which otherwise might have been made against the infectious Atomes; or through consent of parts, disordering the humours of the body, so as to prepare it for any distemper, which the aire was apt to infuse. But I never yet read, or heard, of a Gout, Canker, or fistula, &c. which was either got, or lost, by the force of fan­cy; especially in an instant: much less can it enter into any sober mans fancy, how a dead man should rise from death to life, and perfect health, by that, which he was immediately before, as uncapable off, as a stone is of smelling, or understanding. Certainly, if such [Page 68] Philosophy, or Divinity rather, (for there must needs be something more then human in it) be once held forth as current, our new sect of Fanaticks need not doubt of a large encrease of proselytes. Great-bellyed women will fancy strongly for cherries in December, and not lose their longing. No man will want wealth, health, or content, if fancy can prove so omnipotent. But I am apt to take this, (for I cannot be­lieve it is intended for any other, though some of the party make great flourishes upon it) for a meer shift, or subter­fuge or as a dark corner, wherein they would faine hide their nakedness, that they may not be discovered; or rather that they may not be forced to discover him, who has put boundaries to Nature universally, as well as to the Sea, and who has reserved unto himself the power of working such wonders.

Now, as for the Pharisees daemonium habet, I beseech those, who pretend to Christianity, and the use of prayer, and some Sacraments at least, to re­flect, that these were not fit meanes, or instruments, for the sworn enemy [Page 69] of them, and the implacable hater of mankind to make use of, in order to so much good, as the restoring health to the sick, and confirming them, and all the spectators, in the faith of him, who took flesh upon him, for the de­struction of him and all his works. This carries high improbability with it, if not impossibility. 'Twas never yet heard, he intended so much, even temperall good, to any of our kind, whatever his knowledge may possibly be of Actives and Passives. Besides, that in some of these passages, he must have acted directly against himself, putting himself out of possession: And we know who tells us, upon the like occasion, Luke. 11. 18. that his kingdome, so divided, could not stand long: which certainly his intention, and most mali­cious endeavours ever were, and are, to encrease, not destroy. Again, the restor­ing the dead to life must needs be a thing, as remote from his sphere of Activity, as it is improper for his malice. For thou, O Lord, art he, in whom does reside the power of life, and death. Sap. 16. 13. Thou art true, and sole Authour of life. Acts. 3. 15. who wer't pleased to offer up [Page 70] thine own precious life upon the Cross, to free us from the tyranny of this Prince of darkness, and purchase for us a life free from all danger of ever dying.

But this little has been but too much concerning this point, in relation to those, who own Christianity, and have any respect for the great servant of God, Saint Augustin: who certainly never intended to set forth to the world any thing, which either did belong, or could▪ with the least shadow of just suspicion, be ascribed to, or esteemed the work, of that inveterate enemy of God, and his whole Party.

But now as to those others, who are yet to seek Religion, and perchance a God too, I could heartily wish to hear an ob­jection of, this nature made by them. I should then hope, they were something on their way towards the discovering something else about him, if their eyes, or fancies, could once permit them to suppose a being of him, whom this ob­jection necessarily involves. But though an hundred publique Exorcismes, a thou­sand convictions of witchcrafts at pub­lique Assizes, and other trials, have long since made this evident enough, yet I [Page 71] fear, they will try an hundred Experi­ments more, before they will own his per­son, what ever kindness they may have for his works. Men of these very principles I imagine they were, who came, not ma­ny years since, unto a worthy, learned Gentleman, (from whom I had the re­lation) and told him plainly, that they were now satisfied, that there was no such thing, as a devil, either on earth, or in hell. For certainly if there had been, they should have heard some newes of him. For they had tryed all the tricks, charms, conjurations, &c. that ever they could hear, or read of, in all the books, that ever they could light upon, (and they were not a few) which had treated of that black art. But the devil of de­vil could they either see, or hear of. O Gentle­men (replyed this discreet person) I thought you had had more witt, then to imagin the devil such a foole, as to make his appearance at your Summons; (which no power of yours could oblige him to obey) that you might be induced thereby, (for it seems they had ex­pressed themselves so farr, concerning their intentions) to believe, or be confirmed in your belief of a God. I hope, you have already found, or may (I am sure) find bet­ter motives to ground your belief upon, then [Page 72] any that father of lies can, or will, afford you. His discourse certainly was very con­gruous; and such as I presume, gave those gentlemen a much more pleasing satisfaction, then if their bold curiosity had been complyed with in some false assumed shape; which was all could possibly be expected from him; who is a pure spirit, and who, by consequence, is (of himself, and in his own nature) no more the object of our corporal eyes, then colour is of our ears, or sound of our tast. But indeed, in those circumstances, they had little reason, (whatever Pact, or Compact they might pretend) to expect even so much from that false seducer, when something was to be feared, or suspected, which might be in any way, beneficiall, or advantageous to those, whom he hates so mortally. Farr then be it from us to imagin, that Fiends could have any hand, or finger, in such health and life-giving wonders, as are here related by the holy Saint Augustine, in confirmation of Christianity.

One exception more I find made, and much insisted upon by some, by which (up­on a supposition of the present) they would fain make the world believe, they have [Page 73] some reason to deny, or, at least, question things so long ago pass't. For why (say they) if the same power be still in being, are not the same, or the like miraculous events, heard of, or seen in these our daies, as did appear in the time of St. Augustin, and other former ages? This must needs be confess't a bold undertaking, thus to demand an account of him, whose will is his Essence, and whose actions ad ertra (that is, in relation to creatures) are all as free, as his great Intrinsecall Attributes of Wisdome, Goodness, Omnipotency, &c. are necessary, and essentiall to his inde­pendent being. But it is noe improper re­sult of that liberty these men assume unto themselves, or of the libertinisme they profess, and are such adorers of, to oblige even God himself, under pain of being denyed, or disavowed by them, to shew himself to their eyes, their corporal eyes I mean; (for to their intellectual he does sufficiently manifest himself, if they did not wilfully shut them) when, and where their humour thinks fit to demand it of him.

You may remember, that this was the very Heathenish question, which was put to St. Augustin himself, as he mentions it [Page 74] in the beginning of this his eighth Chap­ter; and which he answers, First with putting the prodigy upon them, who now demand miracles for their belief, having had sufficient testimonies of former miracles; which have already setled the world (for the most, and wisest part) in a state of credulity. You know also, that the several relation of miracles, wrought in those very times, when this question was put to him, and are in this chapter summed up together, were ex abundante alleadged by this great Doctour, to shew, that the hand of the same omnipotent God was not abbreviated. And all men, that have heard any thing of the passages of these our daies, and are not preresolved to be­lieve nothing but their own eyes, may, if they please to take notice of them, or the design I have in hand, (which was only to set down my reflexions upon this one chapter of St. Agustine) would permit me to mention them, be abundantly sa­tisfied, that such supernaturall works have been in all ages, and are still wrought by the same hand, and by the same meanes, as may serve to convince any im­partial sober man of the truth we are pleading for.

[Page 75] And that I may not seem to say this meerly gratis; as also, that I may, in some measure, comply with that method, which the great St. Augustine made use of, though with some small encrease of un­expected paines, (which may also engage you to an additionall of Patience) I will make bold to touch upon some few re­marqueable passages, (amongst many) in which either the undoubted authority, or unquestionable impartiality of the writers, or the things themselves so fresh in memory, as even to admit of living witnesses, (some of them at least) may justify me.

But here, I suppose, I shall not be al­lowed to mention the miracles recorded by St. Gregory the great, in his Dialogues, and other works, nor those of his Zealous, missionaries, sent for the Conversion of, or establishing Religion in our Country, although Mr. Fox himself, in his Acts and Monuments, printed in the year 1576. pag. 117. saith of St. Austin, and those who accompanied him in that great en­terprise, that the King was moved with the miracles, wrought through Gods hand by them &c. and although the same are attested by many of the same age, and [Page 76] particularly by our venerable Country­man, Bede, in the age following, who adds many more, of his own knowledge some, others of unquestionable authority. Those recorded by St. Hierom, St Am­brose, St. Chrisostome, St. Athanasius, Pal­ladius, Theodoret, Lactantius, Epiphanius, St. Cyprian, Eusebius, Evagrius, &c. all men of great prudence, and integrity; although many of the particulars written by them, are owned by Osiander and the Centurists, &c. (no friends of such won­ders, which both in substance, and man­ner, make highly against them, and their up-start tenets) would, I fear, be subject to the same exception, as being of too stale a date. And those of St. Malachy, written by his samiliar friend, St. Bernard; as also those of St. Bernard himself, written by his contemporary, and scholar, Godefri­dus: as also those wrought by the two great founders of Religious life, and Or­ders, St. Francis, and St. Dominick, and many others, though not many ages since, yet because something at least out of ours, and our fathers memories, will hardly be admitted as current. But why those mi­racles wrought almost in our own daies, at the conversion of Congo, a region of [Page 77] Afrique, which are recorded by Mr. Abraham Hartwell, in his book dedicated to the Archbishop, Anno 1597. and done by Gods omnipotency in the presence of a whole Army; (lib. 2. cap. 3.) and the same mentioned, and acknowledged by Mr. John Porey, not long since of Gonvil and Cajus Colledge in Cambridge, in his Geo­graphicall description of Africa, published in the year 1610. pag. 410. 413. where he approves of, and commends Mr. Hart­well for publishing his foresaid Treatise; why these, I say, and the like, should now be disputed, I see no ground, or reason, if there be any thing of credit, or belief, left in the world. Again, those many miraculous passages, which have happen­ed at Lorett [...], at our Ladies of Sichem &c. are so witnessed, and owned, by the whole Christian world, as evident super­natural works of the omnipotent hand of God, that of him, who should now go about to contradict them, we might with all the reason in the world say, what the great Justus Lipsius has, in the preface of his Diva Sichemensis, or Aspricollis, printed at Antwerp, in the year 1605. Quid enim de hominibus dicam, &c. For what shall I say of such men who should go about to deny, [Page 78] or so much as doubt of these so evident things, but that they are not men? or, that they wilfully shut their eyes, that they may not see so clear a sun-shine of truth? For, most of these things have been evident to our very senses. And again, in the beginning of his fifth chapter; Behold, these things were done in our very sight, and hearing. They were celebrated with the concourse, applause, and spiritual profit of nations. what credit can be given to human things, if it be here denyed? I cannot omit to put you in mind of that one particular passage, which you may have met with in this Author, ‘chap. 45. concerning one John Clement, native of Bruxelles, who was of so de­formed a shape, his thighs and his feet being contracted and turn'd upwards towards the fore-part of his breast, so as his knees did grow, and stick thereto, his body round, or sphericall, unfit to stand, lie, or go; and had been so, and known to be so, by the whole town of Bruxelles, for twenty years; that was, from his nativity, or rather from the time of his being cut out of his mothers womb, after she was dead in labour of so monstrous a creature. This poor man then, as Justus Lipsius relates [Page 79] in his foresaid book, and fourty fifth chapter, in the year of our Lord 1603. and moneth of July, being moved in his mind to go to our Ladies Chappel at Sichem in Brabant, where he had heard of many miraculous cures report­ed to have been done, was carried thi­ther in a wagon, and having done his devotions with much fervour, and con­fidence, in conclusion he felt his con­tracted, and bound up thighs and feet to be loosed, and stretched forth, so as presently he stood on his feet, to the great amazement both of himself and the beholders, who had seen in what a sad condition he had entred into the holy place that very day. Lipsius professeth, that he himself examined the ablest physicians he could meet with, about this accident, and they all con­fessed, (though some of them, saies he, not at all credulous of things of this nature) that this was certainly an effect of the powerfull hand of God. And the thing was made so publique by the discourse of all, that sundry gentlemen, attendants of the Earle of Hartford, then Ambassadour in those parts made it their business to be satisfied of the truth [Page 80] of things, as well by seeing, and inter­rogating the party himself, as by other publick, and authentique testimonies of the fact, and could not discover any thing with reason to except against. This is fresh, as I may say; having happened in the very age we live in.’

I might also think it very reasonable, to exact some credit to be given to those strange things done in the other world, I mean in the Indies, by the meanes, and intercession of the great Apostle of those parts, St. Francis Xaverius, in the times neighbouring close to our age also: The particulars whereof were examined with very great strictness, by the express command of the king of Portugall, and attested by the oaths of so many persons of worth, and reputation, that the Au­thor of the book called Rerum in Oriente gestarum Commentarius, may well be al­lowed to say, as he does pag. 8. and be believed, that upon execution of the said King of Portugalls commission to his Vice­roy, for examining the said miracles &c. and Certificate thereupon being made, it did appear, that Xaverius, in testimony and proof of the Christian faith, by him then preached, and taught, cured miraculously [Page 81] the dumb, the lame, the deaf, and with his word healed the sick: and (fol. 9.) raised sundry dead persons to life; and that after his death; (as is there related, fol. 14) Anno 1552. the grave being opened wherein his dead body for a time had lain buried in lime to the end his naked bones might be carried from thence to Goa (fol. 15.) they found his body not only uncon­sum'd, but also yeilding forth fragrant smells; although in the severe triall, and search, made by command of some great-ones, it was found, that he was neither embalm­ed, nor bowelled. His body is still kept at Goa; Where to this day (sayes the Com­mentary) it remaineth free from corruption: witness whereof (saith the said Treatise) are all the Inhabitants of that City, and travellers, that repaire thither.

It is not many years since that Com­mentary was written; which speaks in this manner of that holy Saints body, remaining incorrupt to that very day. And to our comfort the same wonder still continues even in our daies, as very late information assures us, especially from the mouth of a worthy grave person, whose care it was, for five years toge­ther, to see it decently kept; and who [Page 82] was a daily Eye-witness, during that time, of the miracle.

Neither has Almighty God been back­ward in his favours to Europe also, by the meanes of the same great Apostle; as might be evidenced by most authen­tique proofs, had I not transgress'd too farr in this point already. And yet in this (I hope no very unpleasant) subject, I must beg your leave to insist a little longer; at least till I have minded you of that famous miracle, wrought upon the per­son of Marcello Mastrilli in Naples, in the year 1584. on the third of Jan. in some of our memories, I am sure of it. You may see it more at large in Bartoli, or in the late learned Treatise of Reason and Religion, written by E. W. with the proofs, and unquestionable testimonies thereof. There are those yet living, (as you may easily guess) who were wit­nesses of the wonder, and saw with their eyes a man despaired of by all the Phy­sicians, and surgeons; who having layn most dangerously sick of a violent feavour, caused by a terrible wound received in his head, twenty-four-dayes together, withall the symptoms imaginable of death upon him, insomuch that all things [Page 83] necessary for his buriall were put in a readiness, upon a sudden, and almost in a moment as I may say, by a visible ap­parition of that great Apostle, St. Fran­cis Xaverius, and by the application only of certain holy relicks, according to the direction of the said Saint, so perfectly restored to health, that he, who for ma­ny daies before had not been able to turn, or stirr himself in his bed, immediately rose nimbly out of it, threw off the lin­nen, with which the wound of his head was bound up, cast himself down upon his knees, to give God thanks for his miraculous restauration, by the inter­cession of his holy patron; and then re­freshed himself with eating some thing, whereas he had not been able for many dayes before, to swallow so much as a drop of water. That very night he writ the whole relation, of what had pass't with him and the blessed Saint, with his own hand, said mass in the Church the next morning, and that very day, for many hours together, was obliged to be present at the juridicall examination of the fact, before the Cardinall, Archbishop of the place: And all this after such ex­tremity of weakness, both from his long [Page 84] sickness, and almost continuall fits of Convulsion, without the least difficulty, or decay of spirits. Not long after, hav­ing first assisted the Lady, his mother, in her last sickness, he prepared himself for the performance of the vow he had made, during the time of his danger, (and which the blessed Saint, who appeared to him, caused him to renew in his pre­sence) of dedicating himself to the as­sistance of poor soules in the Indies, where (as now at the time of his cure foretold him by the H. Saint) he, some few years after, suffer'd martyrdome for the faith of Christ: which also was not without miracle. for, having by the pow­er of God, escaped the ordinary cruel torture of water, used by those Barbari­ans, and which none use to pass with­out certain death, he was at length be­headed, after the executioner had sever­al times endeavoured to do his office, but without effect; his strength failing him, till the holy man himself gave him leave, or commission, for it. And of this pro­phesie concerning his dying for Christ, (which could not be, but from the all-seeing providence of God) there are many yet living, and among others my [Page 85] unworthy self, who can declare upon oath, that they had notice of it, some years before it came to pass. In so much, that as I have been informed from a very good hand, the late Lord of Caernarvan, that valiant and worthy person, who afterwards testified his loyalty to his prince by the loss of his life, happening to be in the court of Spain, when Ma­strilli pass't by Madrid in his way to take shipping for the Indies, and in the pre­sence, and by the command of the king of Spain, was obliged to make relation of the whole passage of his miraculous cure, the said Lord of Caernarvan was heard to say, that if the man did go into the Indies, and there lose his life, as he had said was foretold him, he would believe all he said for scripture. I would to God some of our Nullifidians could be perswaded to be­lieve it, at least as farr, as human faith seems to oblige them. I should hope, it would be a step, or disposition toward their believing something, in which they are more nearly concerned.

But against much of this I hear there is a certain English Doctour, (who not­withstanding would gladly see some of these things with his own eyes; and then [Page 86] he would tell us more of his mind) who for once is contented to enter into league with a Roman Doctour; though other­wise he seems to hate (as bad as Hell does Holy-water) any thing, that has relation to that superstitious place; and he tells us from his Roman Dr.Dr. Stillingfleet, in his 2. discourse, in vindica­tion of the Protestant grounds of faith: pag. 685. and pag. 617. that it is so ordinary an effect of nature to preserve bodies a long time from corruption, by the use of lime, &c. that it is meere ignorance to take the late mentioned incor­ruption of the body of St. Francis Xavier, (which the rest of the world so much admires, as an effect of the divine good­ness to that Apostolical man) for any thing extraordinary, and praeternatural. But with this Doctours good leave, the general perswasion of the world, (a­mongst whom we find some Doctours al­so) grounded upon experience, and the corroding, or rather Caustick, quality, and force of unsleck't lime, (not so pro­perly, perchance, expressed by the Roman Doctours single word Calx) with which the body of St. Xaverius was twice co­vered, [Page 87] is contrary. But then we would gladly know, from this learned empirick, how this dead body of the Saint came to be preserv'd entire, fresh, moist, and sweet, (more then ordinary living bo­dies) many moneths, nay years, after that natural preserver of his was taken from it: or whether he has any thing in his own, or his Roman Doctours experience, which tells him, that bodies once covered with lime, do afterwards preserve themselves, or are preserved by some relict quality, from the lime for moneths and years. This, I am sure, would be new, and worth so great an English Doctours in­vention. For his Roman Doctour does here absolutely desert him; who in the same place, and number cited by our English Doctour, concludes it to be mira­culous, where there are found such cir­cumstances, as were discovered by many curious Inspectours into the incorrupt body of St. Francis Xavier. But any thing must pass, rather then God should seem to have any regard to the honour of his Saints, or any miraculous thing be done by them, or at their intercession.

And yet I am half of opinion, that this good Gentleman, (whether before [Page 88] he was well awars or no, I cannot well tell) had some more respect then ordi­nary, for this great Apostle of the Indies; seeing he is pleas'd to own,Dr. Stilling­fleet, ibid. pag. 615. that if it were at any time reason­able to expect a power of miracles, it would be for the conversion of Infidels; and Xaverius, and his com­panions (poor Romish Priests and Jesuits) going upon so generous a design, might be favoured in it by some extraordinary effects of divine power. Only he (the good Do­ctour) would willingly have appointed God, what miracles he should have em­powered them to work, in this, and the like occasions. Vtinam saperet, & intelli­geret, &c.

But now the scene is altered again. For as to all those miracles, whose relation we have from the Jesuits, Dr. Stilling­fleet, ibid. pag. 617. we are (saies he) to consider, what credit their testimony deserves with us. For, if they are men, who think it lawful to lie for a good cause, (as no doubt the honour of their society is such with them) how can we with any toler­able discretion relie upon their words? Thus [Page 89] this severe Doctour is pleased to pre­ingage his Reader. What credit they may have with such pre-resolv'd Gentlemen, as himself, and his like, I know not: But we have a very ill account of things abroad, if very many (who think them­selves no fools neither, and who have had some reason to be better acquainted with these mens principles, and proceed­ings, then he, who (for all that we know) never saw, or convers'd with any of them in his life,) have not another opinion of them, then the character here bestowed upon them seemes to allow. And yet I perceive the man is something wary too, and ushers in this pretty piece of Civili­ty of his with an If. If they are men, who think it lawfull to lye for a good cause, &c. It would be something satisfactory, to see in what Authour of theirs (and it is ten to one, he has seen more then one of them, in the libraries of the univer­sities, or perchance in his own closet) he finds this supposed doctrin of theirs, that it is lawfull to lie for a good cause. Thus much I promise him, that if he can prove this to be their doctrin, I will joyn with him, and proclaim them not only knaves, but very fools also: (and that is [Page 90] not the Character the world generally gives them:) For though a lie may take for once, when 'tis handsomely told, and may bring some advantage with it; yet to make a trade, and open profession of it, (which they must needs be supposed to do, who hold it lawfull &c.) and hope to thrive by it, were to take the rest of the world to be of very weak capacities, and to go about to impose upon all mankind, which were in effect to declare themselves, utterly void of all wit, and unfit for human conversation. It is true, Omnis homo mendax. Every man, one time or other, by the common corruption of nature, is subject to be false to his principles; and to offend against some known verity: neither do I find, that Black coates are excepted in the general clause. But to do it, and hold it law­full to lie, for a good, or bad cause, is a thing, for which I am pretty sure, none of their Authors can be quoted, whom the Doctour is so civilly pleased to father it upon. I confess, it is a pretty odd passage (especially with those pleasant Comments upon it) which the Doctour, upon the back of this his [Page 91] unexpected Caution, fetches as farr as Persia. But, I find the Doctour him­self is pleased to furnish Hierom Xavier with several Authors, (good or bad, I am not now in humour to dispute; for so much as his talent of inventing untruths is concern'd) for part of which this one (very possibly indiscreet) Jesuit did utter; the Doctour himself mak­ing up the rest of the story with several interpolations from others, whom we take to be none of Xavier's tribe. But yet we do not find, that he was either so impious as to promulge this by way of a new Gospel, or so insolent, as to insert many things, taking them even from the Doctours own relation, (which notwithstanding I begg his leave, with time and opportunity to examin a little further, before I enter it into my Creed) so maliciously false, as to ground so general a supposal, that those of his calling think it lawfull to lie for a good cause. But it is remarkably the fortune of this great Doctour, to be alwaies undertaking, and endea­vouring at great and extraordinary things: such as indeed many have so­berly questioned, whether himself did [Page 92] in reality hold to be such Truths, as he seems to set them out for.

Sure we are, most, or many of his own pretended Party do not think themselves obliged to maintain or be­lieve them as such. Qui nimium probat, nihil probat, is an Axiome, which every fresh man is soon acquainted with, and knowes, by the very light of nature, what such Proofs amount to.

But now, as to this particular, of the Jesuits holding it lawfull to lie for a good cause, the thing appearing to me to be matter of Fact, to be made good either out of their Books, Lessons, Sermons, &c. or notorious general practice, me thinks I have reason to expect something more home, and positive, then has hitherto been al­leaged, or brought to light. Till this be effectually done, I must believe, I am obliged to confirm my judgment to that of the generality of knowing men; who have heard them so often teach much better things in their Schools and Pulpits; and who have found them more civil in their con­versation, then either to practise any such thing themselves, or brand a [Page 93] large community with it: in which there be many, who by their quality in the world, as Gentlemen, deserve more civil treatment, from those, who know, what Breeding is.

Amongst others of them I find the forementioned Marcello Mastrilli; up­on whom was wrought that remar­kable cure, described so lately, and which happened so few years ago. This good man was, and is, owned by the chief nobility of Naples, to have been a near relation of theirs; and one, who by his actions brought no stain upon his family: And yet he also must fall under the general cen­sure of our kind Doctour, and be reckoned among those, who make no scruple to lie for a good cause, &c. But could the Doctour make this a­ction good, of his being a lier, I should not stick to enter that other, of his being a fool. For, that a man should stretch a little too farr, in hopes of some profit, or preferment, is that, which perchance may pass for wit, as the world goes now a dayes. But that a man should invent a story, which should oblige him to leave his native [Page 94] country, where he was in good esteem, both for his birth, and parts; which in probability had been attended with a fortune answerable, before he aban­doned it, (as many more are known to have done) upon better motives, as may well be imagined, then to take up a trade of lying. That he should (I say) in this manner oblige himself to quit all these advantages, and ex­pose his person to a long and danger­ous Journey, and to the cruelty of a savage people, from whom he could expect nothing, but what he found, barbarous usage, and a cruel death, is beyond any maxims of modern wit, or discretion. But the piercing Doctour will (perhaps) tell us, that the honour of his society was the good cause, which put him upon the contrivance, and ob­liged him to the execution according­ly. If this could be made out, I should confess, it were something to be admired indeed, that a man in this age, for such meer human respects, should become so great a self denier: But I doubt, would hardly be imitated by any, but some of his own party; who by his example have been moved to [Page 95] abandon likewise their native coun­tries, and comforts, and venture their lives through sea and land, upon the only score of relieving the spiritual ne­cessities of those poor desolate Nations. Could we once see an example of this kind in some of those, who pre­tend so much Zeale for the Gospel, we might, perchance, be moved to think better of their Principles. But though their merchants, and factours, venture indeeed yearly into those East­ern, and Western parts, to fetch us home gold and silver, and silks, and spices, and Jewels, &c. Yet I never heard of any of the good Doctours Partizans, who ventur'd (without, or with a Viaticum) to go to those remote parts upon the bare hopes of encreasing the flock of Christ, and im­proving their stock no otherwise, then by suffering all manner of evil usages, dangers, wants, and many times death it self.

But not to wrong the good Doct­our, nor put more incivility upon him, then some, perchance may apprehend he deserves, I must own, that I find him sometimes inclined (as pag. 684. [Page 96] of his Second discourse) to suppose this passage of Mastrilli's miraculous cure to have something of truth in it: and I am apt to think he has some reason for it; there being such irrefragable testimonies of many, who were not Jesuits, for the positive verity of it; and so little to be said for the negative. For which notwithstanding, could it have been done, I believe, he might have found some curious wel-willers of the Jesuits, who would have been industrious and ready enough to have furnished materials.

But then he comes off again with E. W. And asks him, what this, or the like, would make to the proof of Pope Pius the fourth's Creed? As to that I shall leave him to E. W. and others; who, I make no question, will do him reason. But I must entreat him in the mean time, that out of his animosity against E. W. he will not deprive us of such grounds, as make against Atheism for Christianity; the supporting of which was my only de­sign, whilest I mention this, and some few other late passages: some of which I hope, the kind Doctour will [Page 97] not be two earnest against, but think well of, and allow; at least of those mentioned by Saint Augustine: And then I have my end in substance: though these others, alleaged (as I said) ex abundante, should fall under stronger exceptions, then I find as yet brought by any body against them.

Having made so good a return, as I hope, out of these forreign parts, I must needs ingage your patience once more, whilest I touch upon that, which happened so lately in Spain, in the year 1640. to one Michael Pellicer, who had his leg restored by the inter­cession of our blessed Lady, after it had been cut off, some four fingers below the knee, and buried in the ground, above two whole years before. The particulars you may find also more at large, in the forecited Reason and Religion, pag. 328. Certain it is, that there were many grave persons, as you may there read, who had the Examination of the business, many, who knew the young man, whilest he was lame by the loss of his leg. (the Surgeon also well known, who cut it off) as [Page 98] also when he went perfectly, and sound afterwards, upon both his legs; the one being suddenly restored to him, by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin. Certainly if this was so, it does de­monstrate a power more then human, and above nature. That it was so, after the testimonies of so many eye-witnes­ses, and the strict examination made, and subscribed by so many grave per­sons, I cannot imagin, how any man in reason, or prudence, can call in question. I know, there have been those, who being very loath, (God knowes, upon what motives; they must one day give him a very severe account of them) to own any thing of this nature; and having nothing, ei­ther of authority, or reason, but only their own fancy, and prejudice, to object against it, have (according to their custome in things of difficulty, or evidence brought against them) endea­voured to avoid the force of it by a pretty piece of drollery, saying, That it is an easie thing for a stump to grow a leg, in its passage from Spain hither. Such Raillery, I confess, might have been expected from a man of mirth [Page 99] upon the stage, or in a tavern, where it is not unusual for such slippery­tong'd blades to make bold with the most serious, and the most sacred things, if they chance to come in their way, and afford them any subject of diver­tisement, or exercise of wit. But, that a grave Doctour, in so serious a matter should have no other shift, and should dare to make use of so slight an one, or imagin any sober understanding man should be satisfied with it, is very strange, and indeed something prodi­gious. But I leave him to make his best of it: Though I cannot but heartily wish, that both he and others would make that use of these, and many other events of the same, or like kind, (which might have been alleaged) for which they were intended by the Omnipotent worker of them; which certainly was, to raise in us a lively faith of the great­ness and power of God above nature; and consequently a resolution to observe the will, and commands of this our great, and good God, though it were necessary for this end, to renounce those inclinations of flesh, and blood, and sense, which are (as is to be fear­ed) [Page 100] the real grounds, and motives of our denying, or waving such other principles, as do much more become the dignity, and worth of those Ra­tional soules, with which he has en­dowed us.

But here I must make a discovery, and speak plainly my sense, which is, That, that which ought to be our cure, is the ground of our disease. The consideration of these extraordinary, Supernatural works of God ought in reason to move us to reverence, and adore his greatness; as also to check our unruly natures, in obedience to him, and his commands, who is the Authour of nature. But on the con­trary it falls out too too often, that discovering him, by these great works of his, to stand in our way, though our understandings (at first at least) cannot chuse but think it reasonable, to comply with the duty we owe to so great a God, his positive laws, and that of nature, obliging us to it; yet the love we have of our own wills, and the extraordinary kindness we have for the sensual inclinations of flesh and blood, work so powerfully, by [Page 101] little and little, upon us, that we begin to be willing to deny him, not only a due subjection, but even a common being amongst, and providence over his creatures. For I take it to be as great a truth, as any in morality, that Atheism seldome, or never, begins in the understanding; but that it is bred, and born in the will; and that when men are once resolved to abandon them­selves to liberty, and sense, then they cast about, how to rid themselves of any thing, which may check them in this their pleasant course. And then away with reason, away with honour, away with conscience, away with God himself. And when they are once come thus farr, and feel something of that, which they call sweet Liberty, what wonder, if they please them­selves with it, as farr as it will go, and as long as it is capable of pleasing them; and laugh at, and make sport with those, who take a more sober, and serious course.

I shall never forget that pleasant passage between Sir Thomas Moor's Ca­vilier, and his honest Frier. I pray pardon me for troubling you with a [Page 102] story, (or tale, if you please to call it so) which is so well known; I wish only, the import of it were as com­monly reflected upon. ‘The good Frier, going one day abroad into the country, either to beg relief for his Convent, or about some Chari­table employment, for the spiritual assistance of his neighbour, was met accidentally by a Gentleman, well mounted, and well and warmly clad, as the season of the year re­quired. The poor Frier was fain to make use of his own legs, and had but his single garment; which, though course enough, yet was too thin to guard him sufficiently from the cold weather: his legs and feet bare, only saved harmless from the stones by a paire of woodden clogs &c.

The frolick Gentleman thought this a fit subject for his drollery, and so accosted him with the usual salute, of well met, Father: how do you do? The good Frier had nothing to com­plain of; and thanking God, and his worship, told him he was very well. Ay, but father, replyed the Gentle­man, are you not a little cold, and some­thing [Page 103] wet too? Me thinks that gar­ment were fitter for warmer weather. And besides, your stockings (I doubt) do not bear out the wet and dirt, no more then the upper part of your shoes; (his feet were bare, the clogs being only made fast with a strap, which came over his foot) which seemes to be made of Calves leather. I can but thank you, kind Sir, for the calfe you so charitably bestow upon me, replyed the Frier: But as for the wet and cold I meet with, it is no more, then may very well be en­dured for Gods sake. Heaven, Sir, is worth this, and a great deal more. Ay, marry, replies the Gentleman; now you say something indeed. But what if there be neither God, nor Heaven; where are you then? The good, zea­lous Frier was quick to this, saying, Ay but, my dear Sir, If there be a God, and a Heaven, and a Hell, where's your worship then? My good Gentle­man had no more to reply, but march't fairly off, rubbing his hands, as if he had met with a nettle.

Will you give me leave to insist a little upon this Zealous Reparty of the good Frier? You are, perchance, a [Page 104] pleasant-humour'd Gentleman, of a plentifull Fortune, of a handsome fea­ture, and healthy constitution, in the heat of your youth, in the prime of your age: You are unwilling to let any field, or place, or opportunity pass, without tasting, or taking your fill of all the pleasures they afford you right or wrong, with the allowance, or against the express command, and or­der of the living God. And for your greater encouragement in this, which you use to call enjoying your self, you say (perchance) in your heart, why not? whom am I to please, but my self? It may be, there is no such thing, as simple, or fearfull men talk of a Hea­ven, for those, who live otherwise then I do; or a Hell for those, who think well of, and follow my pleasant practice: nay, perchance not so much as a God, who takes notice of these my waies, and intends to dispose of me hereafter accord­ingly. But now, I pray, Sir, what if there be? what if there be an eternity of restraint, and torment, reserved for those, who take the liberty you do? what if there be endless joys and de­lights, prepared for those, who volun­tarily [Page 105] abandon these fleeting, momentary pleasures, you so earnestly, (not to say childishly) pursue? what [...] there be an all-seeing eye over you which takes cognizance of each thoug [...] word, and deed? and whose Just [...] essentially obliges him to deal with y [...] accordingly? and you know not, [...] all your wealth, and your health, a [...] your mirth, and your Jollity, h [...] soon you are to come to an unavoidab [...] tryal of it? Are you sure this is [...] true? Is there any friend of you [...] who pretends a demonstration, or [...] much as a sober, solid, argument [...] gainst it? All your wilful sophist [...] and weaker Perhaps, will then lit [...] availe you. For the love of God th [...] or (if you will needs have it so) [...] the love of your dear self, be a lit [...] serious, and circumsp [...]ct. I shou [...] willingly wish you a man of so mu [...] prudence, that if you were told by [...] sober wel-wisher, that the Infecti [...] were in such a house, you should [...] venture into it without better securi [...] then your Perhaps, it is not so: or you were told from a good hand o [...] Jewel of enestimable value, intend [...] [Page 106] you for the going for, I hope you would in prudence leave your game at Tennis, or what other pastime you please, though you loved the sport ne­ver so well, rather then forego the hopes of being made for ever. Again if you were told, you were the son of a great King, and that that King, though ne­ver yet seen by you, had alwaies had a [...]are of you, had given charge of you [...]o his trusty servants, and that by this [...]eanes you came to be so well provided [...] present; and that he also intended [...]ou a considerable part in his kingdome [...]terwards: would you, upon some [...]ght, groundless suspicion, of a cheat [...]tended to be put upon you in some [...]mall trifle, renounce your father, or [...] your inheritance for a mess of pot­ [...]ge? I cannot take you for one, who [...]ve your self so meanly, or have so [...]tle regard to your own interest. You [...]ould certainly, even in ordinary pru­ [...]nce, take better resolves in a matter [...] so great concern; although you had [...] notice of your danger, or hopes, [...] from some one ordinary person: [...] although you might possibly have [...] ground to suspect, that he might [Page 107] have his little ends in it also. But now our case in all things, both substance and circumstance, is infinitely different, in­finitely more considerable. Our danger, or hopes, are of no less, then eternal consequence. The happiness or mis­fortune, excessive, and beyond all ima­gination: and this depending upon his decree, or doome, by whom all things have their being, and who is essentially, eternally, infinitely, his own never-begun, and never-ending being.

Our intelligence of these great things is not from one Sceptick, or other, who talks only of possibilities, or probabilities; but from the consent of all Nations, from this great Fabrick of the uni­verse, which none, but an Omnipo­tent hand could have fram'd, and de­signed with such order, and oeconomie, as even our very Reason, well and closely managed, must needs convince us: whatsoever Chance, or Atomes, (things ten thousand times harder to conceive) some silly Philosophers may have dream't of. And in conclusion, those several supernatural wonders, at­tested by innumerable, sober, under­standing persons, and particularly (which [Page 108] was my chief design from the begin­ning) these miraculous events here alleaged by the great St. Augustin; which no sober man can, with any sh [...]w of reason, call in question, evidence, and demonstrate, that there is a superiour Power to all that nature is acquainted with, and that he hath a paternall care, and providence over his creatures; as also a special kind­ness, and respect for his servants, now stated with him in eternal bliss: at whose intercession, and by whose meanes, he has been pleased to bestow such extraordinary favours upon some needfull mortals.

To him be all Glory and Praise both now and ever-more. Amen.

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