AN Anatomy of Atheisme: A POEM.

By a Person of Quality.


Geo. Royse.
August 24. 1693.

LONDON, Printed for Thomas Speed, at the Three Crowns, near the Royal Exchange in Cornhil; M DC XCIV.

[Page] To the Honourable Sir GEORGE DARCY, Bar.

Dear Sir,

THE great desire I have to see you happy both here and hereafter enga­geth me to do all that is in my po­wer for the promotion both of your Spiri­tual and Temporal Interest. It has pleased God to give you a fair Portion of Worldly Goods, and a very large share of Intelle­ctual Endowments, whereby you are put into a Capacity of providing for your self both in this World and that which is to come. Your onely care therefore must be to employ these good Gifts of God to his Glory, and the Salvation of your own Im­mortal Soul.

[Page] 'Tis Religion onely, Dear Sir, which can carry you safe through this Valley of Tears, and can at last advance you into that place where all Tears shall be wip'd from your Eyes. 'Tis this alone which will make you the love of Men and Angels, nay, and what is infinitely more valuable, of God himself. In fine, it is this alone which can make this present Lise easie and pleasant, and secure you from Eternal Mi­sery in a Life after this.

Let Religion therefore, Dear Sir, be your first and early care, that so you may be wise betimes, and avoid those Follies which too commonly attend the young Gentlemen of this Age. You are just now entring up­on that vast Stage the World, you have Good and Evil set before you, and the Eyes of all Men are upon you to see what manner of Choice you will make. Your present and future Happiness is at stake, and therefore it highly concerns you to [Page] make such a Choice as you may never here­after have cause to repent of.

You have had the advantage of a Sober and Religious Education from your very Gradle, and the Examples of as good Pa­rents as ever any Child was blest with. Your Deceas'd Father, whose Memory will live as long as Piety and Vertue are Sacred here on Earth, was an admirable Pattern of unblemish'd Goodness: And your Excel­lent Mother is still, God be thanked, a Li­ving Pattern of all that is Vertuous and Praise-worthy.

What then will you be able to say for your self if you degenerate from such Wor­thy Progenitors? What Excuses will you be able to make even to this World if you de­ceive their expectations by becoming the Un­worthy Son of Two such Incomparable Parents? But alass! There is still a Que­stion which is infinitely more weighty, and that is, What will you be able to plead for [Page] your self at the great Day of Judgment, if you have behav'd your self so wickedly here, that even your Father and Mother must rise up and condemn you?

But I am perswaded better things of you, and cannot give my self leave to think you will ever be a Disgrace to your Worthy Family. You have hitherto given us great hopes of seeing your Father again alive in you. I beseech God of his Infinite Mercy to preserve you in all Vertue and Goodness, and to make you a Great and Glorious In­strument of doing good here on Earth.

Having told you that Religion is the greatest wisedom, or, as the wise man speaks, the beginning of wisedom, I must now tell you that the beginning of all Religion is the acknowledgment of God, the owning of a Supreme Power who made us and every thing that has been made from the begin­ning of the World out of nothing.

[Page] This great and fundamental Truth must be necessarily well establish'd in us before we can come to any such thing as Religion. For as the Apostle tells us, He that cometh to God must believe that he is. You cannot there­fore better imploy your time than in reading such Treatises as serve to make out this weighty Truth. Such are the present Arch-Bishops Sermon concerning Atheisme, Dr. Barrows Sermons on the first Article of the Creed, and Grotius de Veritate Christianae Re­ligionis; any one of which Three will suffi­ciently satisfie any unprejudic'd Man who has not made his reason a Slave to his passions.

After having named these great Men, I know not how to advise you to read the following Poem of my own. I can only recommend it to your Reading when you are more inclin'd to read Verse than Prose. And I begg of you, if you find any thing in it that you think well said, not to attri­bute [Page] it to me but to those great Men whom I nam'd but now, whose Works I have on­ly transcrib'd to their Authors great disad­vantage.

If this small piece shall contribute any thing towards the confirming you in the belief of a Godhead, I shall think my time vvell spent in Writing it. If not, I shall hovvever have this to comfort me, that I vvrote it vvith a sincere design to do you good, and to performe the Office that I ovve to you of

A most Faithful Friend and Obliged Humble Servant


WHEN I wrote this Poem I design'd to have put all the Articles of our Christian Faith into Verse, that so I might entice those Men to look upon a Book of Poetry, who have not fixedness and solidity enough to con­sider the many Excellent Treatises on this Subject in Prose. And therefore I did intend to make use of common and ob­vious Arguments, thereby to make each Article as clear and plain as possibly I could.

But considering with my self that this would be a work of time, and would require great Learning and Industry I began to despair of ever compassing it, and therefore resolved to let this Poem come out into the World by its self, and try its fortune.

I think I need not make any Apology for printing a Discourse on this Subject. For if ever any thing of this Nature was necessary, it is certainly so now, When Men [Page] are arriv'd to that pitch of Impudence and Prophaneness, that they think it a piece of Wit to deny the Being of a God, and to laugh at that which they cannot argue against: Or at least, when Men live at such a Licentious rate, that we may easily see they are like the Psalmists Fool, and say in their hearts, There is no God.

I am therefore well satisfy'd that I made choice of a ve­ry good Subject, I only wish the Poem may be found wor­thy of it, and strong enough to defend so Important a Truth.

Many Reasons I have for the publishing of it, which I think it may not be improper here to mention.

The first is this, that there are many Copies of it gone abroad which are in danger of being sent to the Press un­corrected.

The second is, because I know nothing of this Nature extant in our English Tongue, I mean no particular Poem purposely wrote on this Subject.

My last and main Reason is, because some judicious Men have thought it not altogether unfit to do some good in the World.

If it be well accepted of, and has its design'd effect I may perhaps be encourag'd to publish something else of the same Nature. In the mean while, till I see what Fortune it has.


AN Anatomy of Atheisme.

SInce some with bare-fac'd Impudence deny
The Self-Existence of a Deity
Who is and was from all Eternity;
Three sorts of Atheists
Others more civilly a God dispute
Till by disputing they themselves confute;
A Third sort own they do a God believe,
But at such random Rates and Methods live,
That by their Practice they a God defye
And by their Actions give their Tongues the lye.
Since these, I say, so numerous are grown
And fill the Court, the Country, and the Town,
[Page 4] My pious Muse inspir'd with Holy Rage
These dreadful Monsters singly shall engage,
And, as of old the little Son of Jesse
A mighty Gyant did in fight suppress,
Strengthen'd by God whose Armour then he wore,
And whose just cause upon his Sword he bore,
So, by the help of that Divinity
Whom I assert, they foolishly deny,
Their Errors I so fully shall refute
That I shall leave them answerless and mute.
The fu st sort con­fused. The frame of the world, proof of a God.
And, first, for him that rashly does disown
The being of the bless't Eternal one,
Let him but tell me whence the World began,
Who made that Lovely, Lordly Creature Man,
Let him around him gently cast his Eyes,
And guess who made the Earth, the Seas, and Skys.
The world not made by chance.
If he be one of that misguided Tribe
Which to blind chance does all these works ascribe,
[Page 5] Let him the beauty of a Plant survey,
The just vicissitudes of Night and Day,
The constant motions of the Moon and Sun
Which in just order doe their Races run,
Let him consider his own wondrous make
And, for a time, himself to pieces take,
Then see how ev'ry Fibre, Vein and Nerve
Does to it's proper ends and uses serve,
How all we eat, and drink, and take for food
Dissolves to Chyle and mingles with the blood.
If all this Lesson still shall prove in vain,
And he his first dull Maxim will maintain,
That Atoms moving in a heedless dance
Leap't into this Harmonious form by chance,
Then let him say a beauteous Edifice
From Bricks and Stones will of it self arise,
That Letters in abagg together shook
Will make an Uniform, Ingenious Book,
Or that bare Brass and Steel will jump into a Clock.
The Works of Chance are of another kind,
And like their cause irregular and blind,
Without intention and without design,
And far from being beautiful or fine.
Since then the Workmanship we plainly see,
We must infer there must a Workman be,
Thus by the Art the Artist we descry,
And by the Creature find the Deity.
And since the World at first was made too fair,
Too Curious, Excellent and Regular
To be the Work of blind Contingency,
To what new Covert must the Atheist fly?
The World not eter­nal.
The World's Eternity he next must take
For his last Refuge and his surest Stake,
And by denying that the World was made,
Or that by Art it was in Order laid,
He thinks to ward off the necessity
Of introducing here a Deity,
[Page 7] Whose boundless pow'r and all-contriving thought
This lovely Fabrick to perfection brought.
But here, instead of wiping off the Score,
He's plung'd in deeper than he was before;
For, far from owning its Eternity,
Wee'l show the World in its first infancy,
And as through various turns and windings led
We trace the River to the Fountain-head,
So going backwards still from Man to Man,
Wee'l find a time when we at first began.
Vide Bishop Pearson on the Creed, page 58, 59.
Most People own it not Six Thousand year
Since first this beauteous Fabrick did appear;
Aegyptian Priests held a much longer Date,
And reckon'd at a very diff'rent Rate,
But they alass! were full of Forgeryes,
And fam'd for nought but Impudence and Lyes;
Vide the same place.
Chaldaeans too made their unjust account
Beyond the number of our Cent'ries mount,
[Page 8] But told such gross Improbabilities,
That wisest Men them and their Cheats despise.
Moses alone the Sacred Truth did tell,
And the World's age with faithfulness reveal,
Believ'd by all but such as want of Sense,
Or obstinate and hard'ned Impudence
Has blinded with so thick a mist of Night,
That they shall never more behold the light.
On his account, however I rely,
As an Exact, Impartial History,
Because Tradition does it's Faith assure
And with one common voice proclaims it pure.
Here may each Man, as in a Mirrour, see
His first Extraction, and his Pedigree,
And find his wish'd for Genealogy.
Thus then we come to our Original,
And to the God and Father of us all.
But, since the Atheist does this Book disown,
He must have other proof, or he has none.
And though our reason makes it clear and plain
This Book does nothing but the Truth contain,
Wrote by a Man, whose just Integrity
Forbids us to suspect he'd write a lye,
Or tell those things, with Confidence, as true
Which he perhaps might fancy, never knew,
Yet against Moses he will still exclaim
And call his Story a Phantastick Dream.
If then there was a World, as some contend,
Which never did begin, and ne're will end,
Let them the Records of this World unfold,
In which it's mighty actions are enroll'd,
And show, before the time of our Creation,
One Kingdom, Empire, Common-wealth or Nation,
One Language, Science, Art or Mystery,
Whose first Original we can't descry.
But here the Atheist leaves us at a stand,
And bids us seek for an unheard of Land,
Without a Guide to tell the certain way,
And keep false lights from leading us astray.
Doubtless, faith he, there were in times of yor'e
Of Histories and Records plenteous store,
But these to Earthquakes, Floods, and Deluges
More frequent Fires, and sad Contingencyes,
Became a dire inevitable prey,
And with their Author's they were snatcht away.
Was there then ever such a Fire or Flood,
So swift and fierce as not to be withstood?
So gen'ral, and so full of Cruelty
As to leave none to write its History,
If so, the World was to begin again,
And that's the same as it had never been;
If not, 'tis strange Tradition should not tell
Those Wonders which our Ancestours befell.
[Page 11] They who surviv'd these sad Catastrophe's
Told them, no doubt, to their Posterities,
And thus the History at first begun
Must through the Line of long Succession run.
Supposing then what Story did relate
In careful Writing, subject was to fate,
Oral Tradition sure could hardly fail
Unless it had been stop't by Miracle,
Some glimm'rings sure we of this World should see
Thro' the dark Vale of long Antiquity,
Some tidings of that World we needs must have
Which fell almost at once into its Grave,
At least some Rite or Custom would remain
To prove that Men have before Adam been,
Since all these things are wanting, let's conclude
That Adam is our Sire, and we his brood.
And on his Person we with ease shall see
The plain Impressions of a Deity.
Vide l. 5. De rerum naturâ.
Besides, as wise Lucretius well observes,
The Atheist to his own Conviction serves,
For all his Earthquakes, Floods, and Deluges
Prove onely that the World corruptive is,
And since it is decay'd, and wasts so fast,
This plainly shows it has not long to last.
Immortal things Immortal Beauty hold,
Unchang'd, and sure of never growing old,
Whereas the World does almost ev'ry day
Give us fresh Instances of it's decay,
Unhappy Naples more than half o'rethrown
This dismal Truth unwillingly must own.
And Aetna's flames show by their constant rage
The World is come into her latest Age.
Nothing from ruine can her Fabrick save,
But nodding now she bends tow'rds her Eternal Grave
Thus does the World most evidently prove
The Being of that God who sits above.
[Page 13] For since from various reason's we infer
The World's Nativity as plain and clear,
By reason cast the Atheists quit the Field,
And that the World is not Eternal yield.
If not Eternal, then it once was made,
If made, it certainly a Maker had.
Now all Men this must for an axiom take
That nothing can it self produce or make,
For that this contradiction would implye
At the same time to be and not to be.
Some outward cause we therefore must explore,
Either of Chance, or an Eternal Pow'r.
The World's too well proportion'd and design'd
To be the Work of Chance, ill-shap'd, and blind.
God for her Maker she alone will own
And throws her self at his Allmighty Throne.
Mira­cles ano­ther proof of a God.
Nor does the World and its harmonious frame
The being of a God alone proclaim,
[Page 14] But Moses by his wonder-working Rod
Gives us another proof there is a God,
And each effect surpassing Natures Laws
Bids us look out for a superiour Cause;
In vain Philosophers their Wisdom try,
And stretch poor Nature to Extremity,
To make her solve each wond'rous Mystery;
To Nature's Master they must often go
If of Effects they would the Causes know.
How strangely must the Atheist look to see
The fire renounce its burning quality?
And things which nat'rally increase it's rage
Clam its fierce scorchings and it's heat asswage.
See Dan. chap. 3.
Yet thus it's Nature did the fire foregoe,
For Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,
In vain the Tyrant did their Ruine threat,
And sev'n times o're his stubborn Furnace heat,
Safe in the midst o'the flames the Brethren stood,
And cool as Summer Breezes from the Wood.
[Page 15]
See Exod. chap. 7.
What pow'r of Nature can transform a flood
Of Chrystal Waters into Scarlet Blood?
See Exod. ch. 14.
Or make the Sea without its Motion stand
And in a moment turn to Solid Land?
Yet thus in Antient Days did Moses show
The pow'r of God above by Miracles below.
What strength of Art can quicken and restore
A Man when dead to what he was before?
Infuse new Life into his Frozen Veins
And a new Soul to his forsaken Brains?
Yet this did our all-pow'rful Master do,
Who rais'd from Death himself and others too.
Can Nature say, awake ye Dead, arise,
Shake off your Sleep, lift up your drowsie Eyes?
I will again once more your Corps inspire,
Kindle your Breath with my enliv'ning fire,
And give your Soul back to it's Antient Friend,
Your Soul, which when I please I take or lend;
[Page 16] No, she with Modesty withdraws her head,
And Challeng'es no pow'r to raise the dead;
But owns she has a Lord whose awful sway
She must not, cannot, dares not disobey,
When he commands she leaves her wonted way.
He makes the Water, Earth, and Air, and Fire,
When he sees fit, against themselves conspire.
See Dan. ch. 6.
Makes Lyons, though by Nature fierce and wild,
Fearful and gentle as a new-born-Child,
He makes the tender Lambs securely sleep,
Whilst hungry Tygers do the Sheep-folds keep.
Let him but speak, and Nature stops her course,
Abates her pace, and slackens all her force.
See Joshua ch. 10.
At his command the Sun and Moon stand still,
And give his Servants light their Foes to kill.
See 1 Kings ch. 18.
A word from him makes the Clouds cease to rain,
Another Word makes them distil again.
[Page 17]
As in our Sa­viours Passion.
Tho' Nature saith our Noons are always bright
Yet let him speak, and there shall be no light,
But Day it self shall be transform'd to Night.
Thus does each Miracle in Letters plain
And at a mighty distance to be seen,
Show the great name of Nature's Sacred Lord
By us with Love and Reverence ador'd.
To him the Atheist must his Tribute give
From whom alone he borrows leave to live.
His being sure he can no more deny
Of which so many Wonders testifie.
The Miracles stand fix'd in History,
Stamp'd by Traditional Authority,
To which no Man of sense will give the lie.
The Credit of the World is much too strong
To be beat down by any single Tongue.
The facts he therefore cannot well disown,
Unless he has resolv'd to Credit none
But what he sees, to believe nothing told,
Or think no Truth but what his Eyes behold.
[Page 18] If not the Facts, we take our strength from thence
And thus we argue for our Consequence.
If Works are done which Natures pow'r exceed
We in some higher pow'r these wond'rous works must read
Gifts of Prophe­cy ano­ther proof of a God.
The Gifts of Prophecy as plainly show
There must be one to whom those Gifts we owe.
Man's knowledge is too shallow to foresee
What shall to Morrow or the next day be,
Much more to tell a Thousand years events
Which all depend on future accidents,
And lay those things before us, bright and clear,
And just as if they were already here,
Which shall not come to pass, till the next Age
Shifts Scenes, and brings a new one on the Stage.
See Gen 15. 13.
Yet thus of old did Abraham foretell
That his poor Off-spring should in Aegypt dwell,
And for the space of many a tedious year
The toilsome Yoak of cruel Pharaoh bear.
[Page 19] Exactly did the sad Event agree
With what had been foretold in Prophecy.
1 Kings 13. 2.
Thus was Josiah's Birth and Reign of old
Some hundred years before they came foretold.
Isaiah 44. 45.
And thus Isaiah told, as he foresaw,
That Cyrus to the Persians should give Law,
That by his Mighty Arm the Jews should rise,
And, tho' then Slaves, subdue their Enemies.
And, that the matter might be free from doubt
By Name he mark'd this Glorious Monarch out.
Thus all the Prophets did praesig nifie
The Blessed Jesus his Nativity,
And laid each Circumstance so nicely down,
That by the Character the God was known.
If all these Prophecies are not fulfill'd
We are content with shame to quit the field,
But if they are, as justly we believe,
The Atheist must be damn'd beyond reprieve,
[Page 20] For they who shut their Eyes, and will not see
The pow'r of an all-knowing Deity
Who looks with ease into futurity,
No Mercy must expect, or Pity pray
When the Great God shall keep his Judgment-Day.
Man they confess is of too short a sight
To fee things future, sown in depth of Night.
Some nobler pow'r they then of course must grant
Which does no measure of fore-knowledge want.
This pow'r is God; whom rashaly they deny,
They know not upon what account, or why.
But some perhaps will call for Instances
Out of Prophance and Common Histories;
Tho' without reason they this favour ask,
Yet I most willingly accept the Task.
And here the Antient Oracles afford
A Thousand Prophecy's which word for word
Exactly were accomplish'd and reveal'd
So clearly that they must not be conceal'd.
[Page 21] Some were indeed told in a doubtful way
But other's clear as Sun-shine at Mid-Day,
Such was that Prophecy which did declare
Vide Herod l. 1. Vide Herod l. 7.
That Cyrus should the Lydians beat in War,
Such that which told it should the fortune be
Of Xerxes's Navy to be beat at Sea
When all things promis'd the quite contrary.
Before the Bar then let the Atheist kneel,
And take Conviction from his own appeal.
No more Evasions can he hope to find,
But he must see, or must confess hee's blind.
For, as when Light won't enter through the Eyes
We strait conclude the Organ's are amiss,
So, if our Atheist still will persevere,
And neither Truth nor solid Reason hear,
We must conclude his Soul so full of sin
That she can't let her proper object in.
Once more I'le try if like a sensless Rock
Fixt, and unmov'd hee'l stand another shock,
[Page 22]
Ʋniver­sal con­sent our last proof of a God.
I'le ply him but with one more Argument,
From Universal Judgment and Consent,
And if this fails to work upon his Soul
It is because his faculties are foul.
Let us survey the Universe around,
And search each Nook where Men are to be found.
No Nation shall we meet in all our Tour
That does not some Divinity adore.
Of this Divinity, which all believe,
Too few there are that do aright conceive.
Yet with one voice they all agree in this
God is, altho' they know not what he is.
Some attribute a God-head to the Sun,
Others with equal Honours crown the Moon,
Some to a Monkey with Devotion bow,
Others Religiously adore a Cow,
And by their misplac'd Zeal show they agree
I'th gen'ral Notion of a Deity.
Great part oth' World believes more Gods than one
But no part ever yet profess'd that there were none.
See then our Atheists all the World oppose,
And, like Drawcansir, make all Men his Foes,
See with what Sawey Pride he does pretend
His wiser Father's Notions to amend,
Huffs Plutarch, Plato, Pliny, Seneca,
And bids ev'n Cicero himself give way,
Tells all the World they follow a false light
And he alone of all Mankind is right.
Thus, like a Madman who when all alone
Thinks himself King, and ev'ry Chair a Throne,
Drunk with Conceit and foolish Impudence
He prides himself in his abounding Sense.
But soon this Pride would to the Ground be brought
If hee'd allow himself a moments thought.
For let him but consider well within
From whence this gen'ral Notion did begin,
Who was it's Authour, from what hint it came
And our conceited Bully will grow tame.
This Notion then was either first embrac't
Because by Nature on our hearts impress't,
Or else because a Nat'ral Tendency
Perswades us to believe a Deity,
So that whenever any Man we hear
The Being of an all-wise God averr,
This Truth with as much eagerness we own,
As soon as first discover'd and made known,
As do the Eyes, whose Organs are aright,
Suck in the beams of the clear shining light.
Or, Thirdly, we from Reason's Sacred Law
This inference most evidently draw,
And, with St. Paul, from things Created prove
The Being of that God who sits above.
Or, lastly, this was from Tradition brought
And by our Fathers to their Children taught.
If, in our search, we shall by Nature find
This principle ingrafted on the mind,
It's truth of Consequence we must allow,
For Natures Principles are always true,
[Page 25] Her steady light can never go astray
But leads us to one right and constant way.
Or if the Soul is by its Nature bent,
At the first sight, to give its free assent
To this assertion, that a God must be
And ha's been always from Eternity,
The self-same evidence will still remain
To make the matter beyond Question plain.
Man's Soul is fram'd by Nat'ral Appetite,
In Truth and Reason's Dictates to delight.
If then our Souls unpraejudic'd and free
Do of themselves to this great Truth agree,
With reason argue and confess we must
Their Judgments equal, and their Verdicts just.
But if our Reason does this Truth evince,
The Atheist never more must make pretence
Ev'n to the lowest pitch of common sense.
Men's Company he must of course forsake
And sensless Brutes for his dear Comrades take.
If from Tradition we this Truth receiv'd,
Which all our wisest Ancestors believ'd,
Into the same Dispute again we fall
About its rise and first Original.
How came it first to him who did begin
To broach it to the World, and let it in.
Nothing but an all-powr'ful, ruling hand
Mens Hearts and Mouths can equally command.
To Adam first God did himself unfold,
He to his Children all his knowledge told
Thus Faith by reason strength'ned does obtain
And through the World without resistance Reign.
See then a Cloud of Witnesses appear!
For the whole World bears Testimony here.
See how all Nations in full Consort crowd
And with one voice cry out A God aloud.
Before these let the Atheist show his head,
And hear his dismal Accusation read,
His fatal Crime is of the deepest dye
'Tis Treason 'gainst the highest Majesty.
[Page 27] His Lord and Maker he denyes to own
And rudely kicks against his Sovereigns Throne,
Through all the bonds of right and nature breaks,
Nay, his own reason and himself forsakes.
Puff'd up with Pride and Sawcy Impudence
He denyes things most evident to Sence.
And, as old Zeno motion did dispute
And by his walking did himself confute,
So he, although he ev'ry where descryes
Things made, a Maker foolishly denyes.
The Accusation read, the Tryal's done
His guilt's as plain as is the Noon-day Sun.
There's not one Man in Court but 's heard to Cry
The Treason's clear, oh let the Traytor dye!
To Sentence then we justly may proceed,
And make the obstinate Rebellious bleed.
In lakes of brimstone must our Atheist dwell
Plung'd to the bottom of the hottest Hell,
Where no Day enters, where no Sun appears,
And the sad place with its bright presence cheers,
[Page 28] There he to all Eternity must lye
In pangs of Death, but yet must never dye,
Doom'd by that pow'r, whom he too late will know
To never-ceasing pains and Everlasting woe.
The Se­cond sort of Atheists confuted
Nor will their guilt or punishment be less
Who Scepticks in the case themselves profess,
Who think the Case some scruples may admit
And so suspend their Faith and Thoughts of it.
We have no medium left for doubting fools,
No Castles in the Air for faithless Souls.
Wing'd with belief of a Divinity
Our happy Souls shall to his Mansion fly
But Disbelief, and Scepticism is so,
Will Soul and Body into Ruine throw.
Besides in doubtful cases we deride
That Man who will not chuse the surest side,
Prudence commands us with a cautious care
Against the worst can happen to prepare
And names those Men alone discreet and wise
Who chuse their Road where certain safety lyes.
For once then, let the case for doubtfull go
Whether there be a Deity or no,
Till after Death the point must needs remain
Unsolv'd, and Death alone can make it plain.
A wise Man therefore would believe it here
That after Death he may no Danger fear.
Our Faith is purchas'st at no mighty cost,
And we shall sleep securely if 'tis lost.
But if the sad event shall prove a God
Then will the Disbeliever feel his rod.
Why then will Men their wisedom thus betray
And by their folly cast themselves away?
In things of lesser moment and concern
They can with ease the safest way discern,
But when th' Immortal Soul is made the stake
With what contentedness the Fools mistake?
If we on Roads of War and Danger go,
And are not sure but we may meet our Foe,
Wisely we arm against the worst event,
Least made his Slaves we should too late repent,
[Page 30] This differs from our case in Terms and Name,
But in reality is just the same.
Belief of God our Souls securely arms,
And makes them proof against all future harms.
But if unarm'd we venture to appear,
And find a God, 'twill cost us very dear.
Darkness and Horrour, Pain and Misery
Will be our doom to all Eternity.
Belief like Weapons we about us bear
To guard our selves from danger and from fear.
Thus arm'd we hope to find a God at last,
After a life in peace and quiet past,
If we succeed, as there's no doubt we shall,
We save our Ruine and Eternal fall,
If not the worst event that we can have
Is to lye sensless in the silent Grave.
The Third sort of Atheists confuted
For the third sort, who by their lives dethrone
That God, whom they for fashions sake will own,
These do more mischief in the World than those
Who do with open force a God oppose.
[Page 31] 'Tis much the better, and the wiser way
To disallow a God, than disobey,
Better to own no Lord, than this our Lord betray.
Some Men with fatal prejudices blind
Seek for a Deity they cannot find;
And this is some, though but a bad excuse,
And no way fit for Men of sense to use.
But they, who in their sinful courses live
And yet protest they do a God believe,
Speak contradictions, and must either think
That God will at their sin and lewdness wink,
(Which plainly shows their thoughts are much amiss
And that they had as good not own God is)
Or else they only play the Hypocrite
And only say they do believe aright,
But in their hearts they sawcily defye
The Pow'r and Justice of a Deity.
Of all the three, then, our last spark is worst,
And consequently will be most accur'st,
[Page 32] For him the flames of Hell, if it can be,
Shall still be rais'd to a more quick degree,
As a reward for his Hypocrisie.
Thus have the Atheists been distinctly try'd,
The first for rashness, Impudence and Pride,
For his abuse of Natures Sacred Laws,
And holding off when Reason prov'd the Cause.
The second for his want of Wit to chuse
The safest way, the dangerous refuse.
The Third, for his prophane Hypocrisie
And boldly telling a Religious lye.
The Tryal done, I have no more to say,
Their next Appeal is on the Judgment-Day,
When to their shame God will his pow'r exert,
And in their ruine will himself assert.

Glory be to God.

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