duty towards God; whereof the reason is double, both because such works have a greater pomp and demonstration of holiness, and also because they do less cross their affections and desires; therefore the way to convict hypocrites, is to send them from the works of sacrifice to the works of mercy, whence cometh that saying:

"This is pure and immaculate religion with God "the Father, to visit orphans and widows in their "tribulations:" and that saying, "He that loveth

[ocr errors]

not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he "love God, whom he hath not seen."

Now there is another kind of deeper and more extravagant hypocrisy; for some, deceiving themselves, and thinking themselves worthy of a more near access and conversation with God, do neglect the duties of charity towards their neighbour, as inferior matters, which did not indeed cause originally the beginning of a monastical life (for the beginnings were good), but brought in that excess and abuse which are followed after; for it is truly said, "That "the office of praying is a great office in the church:" and it is for the good of the church that there be consorts of men freed from the cares of this world, who may with daily and devout supplications and observances solicit the divine Majesty for the causes of the church. But unto this ordinance, that other hypocrisy is a nigh neighbour; neither is the general institution to be blamed, but those spirits which exalt themselves too high to be refrained; for even Enoch, which was said to walk with God, did pro

phesy, as is delivered unto us by Jude, and did endow the church with the fruit of his prophesy which he left and John Baptist, unto whom they did refer as to the author of a monastical life, travelled and exercised much in the ministry both of prophesy and baptizing; for as to these others, who are so officious towards God, to them belongeth that question, "If thou do justly what is that to God, or "what profit doth he take by thy hands?" Wherefore the works of mercy are they which are the works of distinction, whereby to find out hypocrites. But with heretics it is contrary; for as hypocrites, with their dissembling holiness towards God, do palliate and cover their injuries towards men; so heretics, by their morality and honest carriage towards men, insinuate and make a way with their blasphemies against God.


"Whether we be transported in mind it is to Godward;
"Or whether we be sober it is to youward."

This is the true image and true temper of a man, and of him that is God's faithful workman; his carriage and conversation towards God is full of passion, of zeal, and of tramisses; thence proceed groans unspeakable, and exultings likewise in comfort, ravishment of spirit and agonies; but contrariwise, his carriage and conversation towards men is full of mildness, sobriety, and appliable demeanour. Hence is that saying, " I am become all things to all men," and such like. Contrary it is with hypocrites and

impostors, for they in the church, and before the people, set themselves on fire, and are carried as it were out of themselves, and becoming as men inspired with holy furies, they set heaven and earth together; but if a man did see their solitary and separate meditations and conversation whereunto God is only privy, he might, towards God, find them not only cold and without virtue, but also full of ill-nature and leaven; "Sober enough to God, " and transported only towards men.”

OF THE SEVERAL KINDS OF IMPOSTURE. "Avoid prophane strangeness of words, and oppositions of "knowledge falsely so called."

"Avoid fond and idle fables."

"Let no man deceive you by high speech."

There are three forms of speaking, which are as it were the style and phrase of imposture: the first kind is of them, who as soon as they have gotten any subject or matter do straight cast it into an art, inventing new terms of art, reducing all into divisions and distinctions; thence drawing assertions or positions, and so framing oppositions by questions and answers. Hence issueth the cobwebs and clatterings of the schoolmen.

The second kind is of them, who out of the vanity of their wit (as church poets) do make and devise all variety of tales, stories, and examples; whereby they may lead men's minds to a belief, from whence did grow the legends and infinite fabulous inventions and dreams of the ancient heretics.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

The third kind is of them who fill men's cares with mysteries, high parables, allegories, and illusions; which mystical and profound form many of the heretics also made choice of. By the first kind of these, the capacity and wit of man is fettered and entangled; by the second, it is trained on and inveigled by the third, it is astonished and enchanted; but by every of them the while it is seduced and abused.


"The fool hath said in his heart there is no God."

First, it is to be noted, that the Scripture saith,

"The fool hath said in his heart, and not thought "in his heart;" that is to say, he doth not so fully think it in judgment, as he hath a good will to be of that belief; for seeing it makes not for him that there should be a God, he doth seek by all means accordingly to persuade and resolve himself, and studies to affirm, prove, and verify it to himself as some theme or position: all which labour, notwithstanding that sparkle of our creation light, whereby men acknowlege a Deity burneth still within; and in vain doth he strive utterly to alienate it or put it out, so that it is out of the corruption of his heart and will, and not out of the natural apprehension of his brain and conceit, that he doth set down his opinion, as the comical poet saith," Then came my mind to be of mine opinion," as if himself and his mind had been two divers things; therefore the atheist hath rather said, and held it in his heart, than thought or believed in

his heart that there is no God; secondly, it is to be observed, that he hath said in his heart, and not spoken it with his mouth. But again you shall note, that this smothering of this persuasion within the heart cometh to pass for fear of government and of speech amongst men; for, as he saith, " To deny "God in a public argument were much, but in a "familiar conference were current enough:" for if this bridle were removed, there is no heresy which would contend more to spread and multiply, and disseminate itself abroad, than atheism : neither shall you see those men which are drenched in this frenzy of mind to breathe almost any thing else, or to inculcate even without occasion any thing more than speech tending to atheism, as may appear in Lucresias the epicure, who makes of his invectives against religion as it were a burthen or verse of return to all his other discourses; the reason seems to be, for that the atheist not relying sufficiently upon himself, floating in mind and unsatisfied, and enduring within many faintings, and as it were fails of his opinion, desires by other men's opinions agreeing with his, to be recovered and brought again; for it is a true saying, " Whoso laboureth earnestly to prove an opinion to another, himself distrusts it:" thirdly, it is a fool that hath so said in his heart, which is most true; not only in respect that he hath no taste in those things which are supernatural and divine; but in respect of human and civil wisdom : for first of all, if you mark the wits and dispositions which are inclined to atheism, you shall find them


« VorigeDoorgaan »