A SERMON Preached before the KING AT NEW MARKET October 8. 1671.

By the Honourable JOHN NORTH Fellow of Jesus College in Cambridge.

Printed by his Majesties special Command.

CAMBRIDGE, Printed by John Hayes, Printer to the University, 1671. And are to be sold by Edw. Story Bookseller in Cambridge.

Psalm the 1. verse the 1. Blessed is the man that walketh not in the Counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.’

WE need not wonder that vice should engross a great par­cel of the world, if we con­sider that we are all endow­ed with a freedom of will, which may easily be perverted by the flat­tering enjoyment that an unlawful action does present. It has been already, and will always be the constant humour of every Ge­neration that passes, to complain of its own Times as the latter Dayes, as the dregs of an Iron Age which by a vast disproportion has outlasted the other three of a purer metal. [Page 2] But the more deplorable things are, the high­er care we should employ to keep our selves unspotted from the general stain; that we may neither be allured by pleasure, nor in­vited by an evil and numerous example; which as it is ever dangerous, so chiefly, when men are not content to be wicked, un­less they offer to justify it too. Heretofore, though they engaged in courses full as bad, yet they did not throw off all sence of Reli­gion: they retained still their esteem of goodness, confessed their infirmity, and sometimes intermingled fits of a severe Re­pentance; so that it might admit of a fa­vourable construction, to proceed rather from a strong and unreclaimed temper then a deliberate intent. But now many abroad embrace Immorality as a profession; trans­act it in the face of the world without the least remorse; study the highest provocati­on; boast of their horrid attempts; pro­claim as a matter of Glory, to what a stress of impiety, to what a Violence of sin, their mind does submit and their body will en­dure. [Page 3] 'Tis their Counsel, as the Psalmist calls it, that which they pursue upon the maturest thoughts: 'Tis their way, the path they are resolved to tread. Nor are they looser in their lives then in their Principles and Dis­course. They would hide a naughty pra­ctice by the unsettledness of their mind: They would vanquish fear altogether, that it might not steal in upon them, when their head is heavy or their spirits are exhausted: And so, they seat themselves in the Chair of the scornful: turn Religion into a jest: play with sacred things: use the inspired Vo­lume as a Topick, from whence they raise their unsavoury wit: They brandish some pitiful objections against Religion, which have been confuted a thousand times: they list themselves under some Champion or other, who has been reported to espouse their cause: his arguments they manage: his Phrases they cite, though they understand them not.

Now although the exposing of their rash­ness may seem a subject improper for an Au­ditory, [Page 4] that expresses so much devotion as to fill these sacred places; yet since 'tis the frailty of our nature to regard less the prof­fer of happiness then a representation of danger; I cannot better confirm the Vertu­ous in the excellent choice they have made, then by disparaging the contrary vices: this being the very manner our Psalmist takes of describing the godly. I shall therefore for the entertainment here, endeavour to shew the mischief to which that Counsel betrays, the dismal mansion to which that way does lead, and what a vain security the deceitful Chair of the scornful does afford; which for the clearer Method I shall distinguish into these two Parts, levelling the one against a dissolute, the other against a profane kind of life: And intending to demonstrate, how inconsistent they both are with the least pre­tence to Religion, how unsatisfactory in respect to an ordinary prudence, and how unable to promote the design for which they are followed.

I As for the former of these, I must in the first place offer to your serious Reflexi­on, that as sure as another state succeeds this here on earth, so certainly a debauched person will miscarry. Amongst the many subdivided Parties which discompose our Christian Profession, we shall find this ac­knowledged on every hand: what ever sort of Opiniators we admire, among whom­soever we enroll our Name, there prevails an obligation to a Virtuous life. Though we disagree in the means how it is attained; though we dispute how far it sufficeth, yet every side grants the Necessity, and that without it no entrance can be procured into Heaven. It is this, by which each novel Sect gains Proselytes: by which every sink­ing faction supports its credit, whilst by a strict observance of what is equally enforced by all, they draw the simple into their re­mote and more dangerous Tenets. If we travel beyond Christendome and search in­to the customes of those who do either now or have of old pretended to another Reve­lation; [Page 6] as many countries as we survey, so many concurring suffrages we may gather up. None ever exercised a Religion, who did not place in sobriety the most proper Service: None ever owned a life hereafter, who did not by that determine the happy or miserable condition there. Nay though a foolish suspicion should arise within our breast concerning the truth of a particular Dispensation; yet this other engagement we could never remove, as that which Na­ture her self has implanted in us, as that which constitutes a part of our Reason as much as any Notice or Axiome in specula­tive Learning. We frame as evident a con­ception of good and evil, as of like or unlike, simple or compound; and are as fully perswa­ded that we must avoid the one and pursue the other, as that the whole does exceed the part: both advanced beyond further proof. And since none but the Founder of the Universe can have imbued us with such intimations, we must esteem them as his eternal Law; to which if the recompence always annexed [Page 7] be not evenly distributed here, it must wait for us in another place. Nor as to these du­ties of our Natural light, can any plead the least colour of an excuse. They are not in­volved in a forreign tongue, not purchased from beyond the seas, or transmitted by an uncertain Tradition: but what he reads in a large and lively Character within himself; by which alone it pleased God to govern far the greatest part of the Earth till our Savi­ours time: and when he did impart a new discovery, it seemed chiefly to aim at the re­newal of this Image, which superstition had defaced. For though he imposed those minute Ceremonies with so severe a charge upon the Jews; yet when not offered up to­gether with a moral Virtue, he throws them back with the greatest disdain, as if he had ne­ver enjoyned them.

To urge then the inference: How stupen­dious a piece of folly does the Dissolute commit, who neglects what is commended by an Universal consent? who stifly adheres to a certain sect of Opinions, who fondly [Page 8] observes the little Punctilio's that discrimi­nate his Party, and still omits what is al­lowed by all. If we should perchance err in other things, so as it flowes not from a peevish and contradicting spirit, or is con­tracted by an almost invincible Ignorance, we know not how far the throne of Heaven may dispence: But what tolerable evasion can he invent, who lives directly opposite to what his reason prescribes, to what all Re­velation adds a fresh command, and which has been the onely point preserved entire from the least dispute? He is not onely in­volved in the fortune of his own Sect, not onely in danger from the falseness of his own Religion: but whatever proves true, if there be at all any judgement hereafter, the sentence of Condemnation must pass upon him. So that we may justly conclude, such Desperadoes as these do it out of a confi­dence that there is no Religion; to whom in the second place I address my self.

II They hope to avoid the Censure for their debauchery by casting it on their Prin­ciples; [Page 9] because men, they think, will not so much condemn their lives as the source from whence it rises, their horrid unbelief: for which they rather assume a pride, as if they had a greater sagacity then their neigh­bours, that they are not deluded with the common Imposture, which has so long a­bused the world. But may we not suspect they proceed in a more preposterous way? Do they not first rashly overwhelm them­selves in vice, and then allay their fears by such a perswasion? do they not first discard a good Conscience, and then make shipwrack concerning the Faith, in Saint Paul's language? then shake off Religion when 'tis their In­terest there should be none? lest any relent­ing thoughts should disturb their sober and melancholly intervals, whilst their body weakned by a former sin recovers strength enough to perpetrate another. What clear­er argument can we have of this then when we see young Boys lost in wickedness be­fore they attain to years of discretion: who give the first instance of their apprehension [Page 10] in naughtiness, and by a corruption of mind imbibed through the example of others, draw on a Maturity sooner then Nature ever in­tended. And really we may in the general observe, that most tainted with this infidelity have consumed their earlier years in luxury: so that they entred on it before their judge­ment was ripe, and have not spared any lei­sure since from their enjoyments. And can we imagine these have fully discussed the merits of the cause? or are they indeed fit to decide the question concerning Religion? Can they have weighed every demonstrati­on? or examined each consequence? If we would presume to debate it, we must first furnish our heads with all parts of Learn­ing; A huge acuteness in Philosophy, a vast reading in History and Philology must con­spire in such an enterprise, the preparing of which would take up the largest portion of our time.

How silly a rashness does it then import to fix an hasty Conclusion; which one would avoid even where no other mischief [Page 11] could follow but a bare mistake? And how much more to build on so weak a Founda­tion, a resolution of life, on which depends an Eternal concern? It is therefore the hope of a freedome from Rule, of a security from a troubled Conscience that diminishes the Faith. Experience attests how much in bu­siness of lesser moment, our advantage go­verns our Belief; how readily we fancy, what we desire should be. And besides, in our present case vve lie more open to an easy abuse, vvhen vve have abated the vigour of our Parts by a continual distemper. Let them shevv by a sober deportment, that they hugg not those desperate maximes for their profit; and then I question not, they vvill rellish sounder things.

Hovvever all this study to cheat our selves vvill avail nothing; perhaps the heat of youth, the briskness of spirit, and constant diversion of our mind by some disorder or other may stifle, may lull asleep our Reason, may induce a kind of stupidity: But vvhen either sickness shall interrupt or age quite a­bolish [Page 12] our pleasures, how then shall we se­cure our amazing thoughts? The advan­tage which beguiled us before, will cease, and our judgement return to its former quickness: we shall see the inconvenience of a precipitated sentence: we shall sadly perceive upon how prejudiced a ground we proceeded before: we shall understand the certainty of that, which with such confidence we lately derided; and to that sence will be joyned the affrighting horrour of a mis­pended life. This has been the fate of all the associates, the Copartners in unbelief, if they have ever reached the Plato does thus incomparably bespeak the young Atheist, [...] years of a declining age, or did not expire their last in a Duel or a drunken fit. Though they dared heaven before, though they invented affronts to Religion, and thought themselves [Page 13] fortified against the strongest impression, yet upon a languishing bed or the appre­hension of an imminent danger, they have altered their mind, revoked their sentiments, and declared their change to the whole world. I need not heap up instances with which all History Bion the Atheist falling sick, [...]. And therefore Laertius prettily plays upon him with his Poetry. does abound; but rather press we would not buy consternation and repentance at so dear a rate: that we would not nourish an incredulous humour, till at last it recedes of its self, and leaves behind the piercing sence of our unavoidable ruine.

But that I may beat them out of their ut­most Refuge; Suppose we should for once and in a frollick allow them as strong an evidence as they desire: suppose we should grant ten nay an hundred to one on their side against Religion, which is more then their boldest patrons ever assumed, who could never drive it higher then an even ballance, [Page 14] or a faint possibility there might perhaps be none. Notwithstanding these unreason­able odds, the lying under an Eternal tor­ment is of so hideous a Nature, as a pru­dent man would not venture it, though pla­ced in the remotest degree of chance. What though an hundred things may happen as soon? yet since we are utterly undone for ever if it should fall out: since we must be wrapt up in immortal flames, who would foolishly run the hazard. Espe­cially considering how little is lost; though we should cleanse our hands in vain: though we should restrain our exor­bitant passions for nothing: or to no pur­pose pass over the few years of our race in a Vertuous carriage. And then having beha­ved our selves well, with what chearsulness shall we resign our breath at last in that say­ing of Socrates, which indeed he spoke not so much out of distrust, as an affectation of [...]. Plat. Phoed. [Page 15] doubting every thing, If there be another state after this; I have a title to Happiness: If none, I cannot be Miserable. [...], &c. Platon. Apol.

III Thirdly, a disordered life must fall under the greatest imprudence without any respect to Religion at all. For though we had a demonstrative assurance, though none had ever dreamed of such a thing as Devotion: yet debauchery cannot correspond with an ordinary policy. For if this life onely sup­ports us in a being, if no better Part sur­vives, but all sinks into the dust together vvith the body; vve should certainly apply the most sedulous care for the preservance of this Frame. Nature has ingrafted into our very contexture an indelible desire of continuance; so that if vve renounce all other hopes, it should prompt us to a more passionate solicitude for prolonging our Re­sidence here. Novv I appeal to the mean­est [Page 16] judgement, vvhether the various sorts of intemperance do not corrupt the habit of our Health, accelerate our decay, and hasten our dissolution. For if they bring not a raging Feaver at present, or a vvorse Conta­gion, they treasure up matter for the grovvth of more lasting Diseases hereafter. The greater violence vve expose our bodies to, must by the Lavvs of Philosophy be reven­ged upon us in a shorter duration. Not to mention the dangerous quarrels, vvhich a distempered brain or an amorous heat may engage us in: or hovv vve spoil the Race of manking, vvhilst vve convey dovvn to our unfortunate posterity a crazy and infected constitution.

Religion it self proposes the contrary Vertues upon this score alone as necessa­ry to the sustaining of our bodies. The Eternal and immutable reason is, that vve are bound to preserve our selves in that state of Beings vvherein vve are placed, till it pleases God to dismiss us: a notion vvhich flourished among the Gentiles. [Page 17] Now the particular management requisite to this self­preservation, depends on the peculiar Frame with which every order of Beings is clothed, and so may varie accord­ing to the several Classes of them: But to the fabrick of our humane Nature conduces most sobriety, temperance and the rest; which carry no Essential goodness in them­selves, because not consisting even amongst us in the same minute proportion; but one­ly as they advance in us the Universal end, which all Beings according to their several capacities must promote.

Nay further, Epicurus the grand Master of irreligion stands on our side. He turned the gods out of his infinite worlds, excluded their providence, and acknowledged nothing higher or finer then Matter; so that we have all the Reason to believe he would onely consult his own Interest. He indeed roundly proclaims it our best and noblest design to gratifie our sence, and thought the most sot­tish and beastly pleasure agreeable enough in its self to that purpose: But then holding, [Page 18] that we must severely weigh all Circum­stances, and embrace onely those delights which betray not to a further inconveni­ence; and even admit that horrid thing pain when it opens the passage to a clearer happi­ness; he at last [...]. pronounces thatEpic. Epist. ad Pythoc. the onely entire, un­mixed [...] and compleat pleasure lies in theIbid. Rules which we call by the name of Vertue. And to this he exactly composed his life, whence Cicero sayes of him, we question not EpicurusItaque, ut saepe dixi, de acumine ejus agi­tur non de inoribus: quamvis spernat volup­tates eas quas modò laudavit. Tus. Quaes. l. 3. his manners, but his un­derstanding; because he Epictetus apud Ar [...]ia [...]. l. 3. c. 7. declines those very plea­sures he praises so much. So that there is no ground imaginable left for Luxury.

But if any one sensible of this, does after that example lead a life strict enough, and yet harbours infidelity in his heart; I would represent to him, that seeing it is the same pains to follow Vertue out of a politick con­sideration [Page 19] as it is upon a more generous ac­count, what a huge and monstrous folly must it be to disclaim the hopes or venture the success in another world. The trouble is the same in practice: the difference lies in the choice of the End, which is onely a bare perswasion.

I descend now to the other Branch of my discourse which strikes against profaneness. And this I must accuse first, I as the most re­pugnant in the world to the Genius, the most contrary to the spirit which the least grain of goodness or sence of Religion does induce. For when we consider a supreme Being placed above us, adorned with all excellency, and invested with a compleat happiness, there springs naturally within our mind an honour for him; which consi­deration alone Epicurus thought Argument strong enough for a Divine worship. But then further recollecting that he raised the stately fabrick of the Universe, that he im­parted to us our existence and can with [Page 20] the same breath recall it again, or, which is worse, continue it in an everlasting misery; as well our gratitude as our fear must ex­cite in us the highest degree of Reverence. This is the primary notion of Religion, upon which all other sacred Offices are founded.

Now Honour and Reverence consist onely in a separation from vulgar usage, in setting a greater value upon, in retaining more ve­neration for one then we commonly do for others. And when applied to a Person, we express the signs of it by a serious mentioning his name with some adjunct of praise, by putting a restraint upon our selves in his presence, by keeping our distance, by ad­dressing to him in a solemn manner: all which are different from our ordinary beha­viour among those of our own quality. When ascribed to a thing, we shew our re­spect by a removal from a Trivial use, by de­dicating it wholly to some peculiar service; which indeed we do for the relation it bears to the Person we honour: for as we testifie [Page 21] our esteem of a Grandee by making a pre­sent; so we offer to God himself what we re­serve onely for an Holy employment.

What then shall we think of the profane who lays these enclosures open? who di­stinguishes not between Sacred and Com­mon? A wicked life may disgrace Religion, an Athiest may slyly suggest there is none; but then we really, then we actually abro­gate it, when we disanul those signs, in which the publick Profession of it is seat­ed. Nothing more free, more careless then our usual talk; nothing more idle then the discourse we spend over our cups: How much then do we undervalue our Eternal Creator, when we mix his Name with such impertinent trifling? How can we debase or prostitute it more, then when we sea­son our Phrase with it, when we rudely interpose it almost between every word, when it slips so often out of our mouths as we discern it not our selves? But how much higher does the scorner fly, who is not con­tent to cast off his respect, unless he derides [Page 22] what he should adore? who will put an in­dignity upon God himself, rather then loose a jest? whom the innumerable ldiotisms and Proverbs of our tongue, suffice not to dash one against the other in his little pretences to wit, unless he plays with and upon the ho­ly Scripture?

I would fain imprint upon our mind a just horrour of thisnotorious Sin. Let us recall therefore into our memory, what a seriousness possesses us in the Royal presence: what a guard we set upon our thoughts: what a silence we impose upon our tongue, or else with what care we deliver e­very syllable; let us consider with what modesty we appear in the company of a great Personage: with what troublesome formality we demean our selves. In our converse we are familiar with none but whom we esteem no better then our selves: at least we reckon we are then acquainted, then intimate with our friends when we dare speak any thing before them; especi­ally we venture to break our conceits, onely [Page 23] on the inferiours to our own rank: some Phi­losophers have imagined, all laughter springs from contempt; and that is the main design of abusive wit. None will offer to do it but towards them they despise: None will endure it but people of a poor, little and sla­vish temper, whom rich men and haughty entertain among their dependants for the same purpose. The profane then presu­ming so far with God Almighty, do invade Heaven and seat themselves by his Throne; 'tis as much as if they declared themselves as Good as he: vvhen they treat him like one of their Dear Companions 'tis a sign they ac­knowledge as little distance. Nay what I tremble to speak, they aspire to a degree a­bove him, while they make him and what is appropriated to his Service the subject of their abominable mirth.

And how do we expect God should resent this, vvho has alvvays seemed most jealous of his honour, and vvhenever he takes upon him a Title of severity, 'tis for a just vindi­cation of that. One of the bitterest circum­stances [Page 24] that attended our Saviours passion lay in the mockery vvhich the Souldiers heap­ed upon Him; and therefore omitted by none of the Evangelists. They dressed him up in Royal robes that they might make the better sport: they covered his Sacred eyes, that he might by Inspiration tell 'em vvho had presumed to strike him. Among these Cursed vvretches must the profane be numbred, and vvill at last be joyned in the same extremity of torture. God has been alvvays observed to resist the proud, and sure he vvill vvith greater fury oppose those that vvould raise themselves by a depression of Him; so that if Hell contains any place hotter then other: if Lucifers apartment be more intolerable then the rest, these vvill be lodged there, vvho certainly have arrived to the very height of vvick­edness.

II Secondly, Profaneness must be account­ed a vanity vvhich setting aside Religion is the heaviest charge vve can alledge. They may vvell excuse themselves by their infide­lity [Page 25] vvhich if compared vvith this, sinks into a lesser crime. But then to vvhat pur­pose do they so often repeat the Holy Name if it signifies nothing? if it denote onely a fiction, vvhy do they fill their mouths vvith an empty vvord? They may as vvell clap any incoherent syllables together, and fashion one no Language ever ovvned, and rattle it out twice or thrice between every sentence. If the sound onely pleases, I fan­cy they might coin another of a more grace­ful noise. They make the same use of Oaths and imprecations that others do, whilst they confirm every promise, back each asseveration, enforce every threat, with three or four of them. If then there be no Religion, why do they beat the Air with what implies nothing? None gives a­ny more credit to them, though they damn themselves a thousand times, then as if they had rapt out so much Arabick. And what valour is it to scoff at the Religion they have already disclaimed? They may as well vent their wit against Jupiter [Page 26] and Juno and the rest of the heathen The­ology.

III Thirdly, to be profane is an instance of the greatest rudeness that can be committed in a civil converse. And we may justly complain that men espouse an ill sort of ir­religion, and upon such base Principles, as destroy all good Nature and affection, which even Atheism naked in its self does not extinguish. For those of old pervert­ed have still maintained an Universal love, an obliging way of demeanour, a Moral honesty, if not upon better grounds yet at least in respect to the necessity of Govern­ment: so that the age under Augustus which some remark as most infected with this dis­ease, enjoyed a more calm and sedate time then commonly happens. But now men are led into an Apostacy by believing that we are all born mortal enemies one to the other: that each has a design of usurping a Power over the rest: that its onely a little policy that cements us together, which may without blame be broken upon a prospect [Page 27] of our Emolument: that there is no tie of gratitude: and that success gives a right to whatever we attempt.

The mischief of all which is that it teaches men to be so indeed: And therefore we may be confident the greatest pleasure the profane take, is to vex and grieve the spirits of sober people; for commonly they run out the more before them whose Vertue or Profession obliges to be most offended at it. And what savours more an inhumane rustick and clownish temper? What, though any of them are so unhappy as to think Religion ridiculous and to make it so by their foolery? yet since so many thousands among whom they live, have the tenderest regard for it, in civility they ought to ab­stain. Is it good manners to inveigh against any Person in the presence of one whom we know to be his entire friend and much con­cerned for his repute? or breeding to fall up­on a discourse, which we find unpleasant to one of the company? If therefore the re­verence we owe to God exceed the strongest [Page 28] passion we can cherish for the dearest rela­tion here on earth, what a barbarous thing must it be to mock at anothers devotion? which as often as we undervalue, so many arrows we strike into his soul. And one part of the trouble which a good man re­ceives in this case, is upon our account in charity to us, while he laments the conditi­tion vve are in, vvhile he deplores the terri­ble punishment vve must one day undergo. They were wont formerly to shew their di­state of a profane speech by rending their clothes; which if one should do now as often as he hears any such thing, we might sometimes carry nothing but rags with us to bed. When therefore no other consi­deration will prevail; if we pretend to un­derstand the laws of Honour or the rules of con­versation, in which we seem to delight so much: if we challenge a better breeding then meaner folks, or a more gentle nature; we must forbear this unhallovved kind of raillery vvhich offends as many ears as it pe­netrates.

[Page 29]Thus have I discharged what I propound­ed for my Subject: where if I have some­times argued from places less suitable to the assurance we may well demand for our Faith, it has been onely in compliance to them I would reclaim. I waved it for the present onely that I might expose the mis­chiefs of those vices taken barely in them­selves for the sake of which they reject Re­ligion; hoping that if the ends of a world­ly policy could bring them off, they might afterwards do it of their own accord upon a more noble Principle.

There remains onely an humble advice in the Name of God, that we would con­tinue to beware the splitting upon these two Rocks, Debauchery and Profaneness: which we ought more carefully to decline at this time; for since there are so many addicted to them out of irreligion, we shall be in­terpreted to do so too: by which we sacri­fice our own credit and unhappily confirm [Page 30] them in their desperate way; for they will think there are so many suffrages the more added to their side. They have been noted to gather Proselytes as much as any Party whatever: and to dive into the mind of o­thers by discourse whether they are not of the same bold opinion with themselves; where­by it appears, they support their timorous hearts more by their company, by their fellows in iniquity then any strength in their Cause.

And that we may be the better armed let us novv vvhilst this solemn Exercise has composed our thoughts: vvhilst no tempta­tion hovers before our eyes duly perpend these things; and if satisfied in the truth of them as surely we must, let us use the same Method the Mathematicians do: who ha­ving once proved a proposition do not ex­amine it again as often as they have occasi­on to apply it, but ever after take it for a Maxime and build other Theoremes upon it. So here also being already convinced [Page 31] let us set an unmoveable Rule for our whole life. Let not any cajoling pleasure reduce us to an uncertainty, or to dispute the case again: for then vve are sure to be over­throvvn. If once vve be so easie as to ad­mit any sin to plead for it self, by its plausible and fawning excuses it vvill in­fallibly overcome. There is a great deal of Mechanism in the body; vvhen a pleasant object is presented, there arises a tumult vvithin us vvhether vve vvill or no: the unruly spirits flie in pursuance of it and op­press vvith their numbers the seat of the Understanding; so that vve cannot then fairly deliberate or frame an exact scrutiny, but must move upon some judgement vve have formerly made. We have all experi­ence hovv much a fit of anger does trans­port us beyond the limits of discretion: each strong inclination is as truly a passion and does debauch our reason as much, though the same violence does not outvvard­ly break forth. Let us therefore at any un­lawful opportunity not parly but command. [Page 32] Let us not be ruled by the thoughts which are then suggested to us, but summon into our mind the apprehensions we have had in such a place and at such a time as this.

In a word, let us remember the Scripture almost always denotes Religion by the fear of the Lord, by the fearing of his Name, which is for that cause stiled the beginning of Wis­dome; and that Reverence here is like mo­desty in manners, which if we once discard, no bounds will ever after contain us.

Now to Almighty God, the Father, Son, and holy Spirit, be ascribed all Honour and Praise for ever and ever. Amen.

I cannot forbear by way of Appendix to subjoyn the translation of that most excel­lent passage cited in Greek, p. 12. out of Plato de leg. where he thus accosts the young hectoring Atheist.

My son, you are yet but a young man: In process of time you will come to change for the quite contrary many of those Opinions you now espouse. Stay therefore till then, before you determine of great affairs; and the greatest of all, which perhaps you imagine not, is the framing of a right Notion con­cerning the gods, because on this depends the choice of a Wicked or a Vertuous life. Now I'le discover one thing to you which I may truly enough affirm: And it is this; You and your Camerades are not the first nor the onely persons which have had this desperate Sentiment concerning the gods. There have been always more or less, those that have fallen into this disease. But I may tell you what has happened to most of them; [Page] Never did any take up in his youth the denial of the Existence of a God, that carried the same mind with him to his declining age.

Those Verses of Laertius, cited p. 13. up­on Bion the Atheist, who falling sick in his old age applied himself in Prayers and Sa­crifices to the gods, whom he had always be­fore derided; may thus be rendred.

A Fool, to think th' Existence of the gods
Could for a price be bought or sold:
As if forsooth they onely then should Be
When Bion pleased so to hold.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. Searching, reading, printing, or downloading EEBO-TCP texts is reserved for the authorized users of these project partner institutions. Permission must be granted for subsequent distribution, in print or electronically, of this EEBO-TCP Phase II text, in whole or in part.