CHRISTIAN MODERATION. In two Books.
By JOS: EXON.
LONDON, Printed by MILES FLESHER, and are to be sold by NATHANIEL BUTTER. MDCXL.
Page [unnumbered]TO ALL CHRISTIAN PEOPLE WHERESOEVER: But especially to those of this WESTERNE DIOCESE: AND THEREIN To the Honorable NOBILITY, the Reverend and Learned CLERGY, the Worshipfull GENTRY, the honest and Faithfull COMMONALTY OF The Counties of Devon and Cornwall. J. Exon Wisheth the continuance, and increase of (that whereof hee treates) All CHRISTIAN MODERATION Both in Opinion, and Practice.
- THE FIRST BOOK. Moderation in Practice.
- §. 1.OF the use and necessity of Mo∣deration in generall.
- §. 2. Practicall Moderation in matter of pleasure.
Wherein first of the pleasures of the palate.
- 1. Of the excesse of them.
- 2. Of the other extremity of defect.
- §. 3. Of some extremities in other usages of the body.
- §. 4. Of the extreames in the cases of lust.
- §. 5. The liberty that God hath given us in Page [unnumbered] the use of his creatures, both for neces∣sity and lawfull delight.
- §. 6. The just bounds of Moderation in the liberall use of Gods creatures. And therein our limitation, in our respects to God.
- §. 7. The limitation of our liberty in respect of the pleasures themselves: first for the kind, then for the quantity, and quality of them.
- §. 8. The moderation of the pleasure of conjugall society.
- §. 9. The limitation of all our pleasures in the manner of using them.
- §. 10. Motives to Moderation in the use of all our pleasures.
- §. 11. Of the Moderation of our desires in mat∣ter of wealth, and honor, &c. Motives to that moderation.
- §. 12. Of the moderation of our Passions: and Page [unnumbered] therein first of our sorrow. The cautions requisite thereto. Of the kinds of sorrow: and first of worldly sorrow. The temperaments thereof.
- §. 13. Of spirituall sorrow; and the moderation thereof.
- §. 14. Of the moderation of the passion of Feare. The dangerous effects of that passion. Particularly of the feare of death. Strong motives for the remedy of it.
- §. 15. Of the moderation of the passion of Anger; The ill effects of it. The distinction of Zealous and vici∣ous anger. Arguments for the mitigation of our anger.
- Page [unnumbered]The second Book. Moderation in matter of Iudgement.
- §. 1.OF the danger of immodera∣tion in matter of judgment, and of the remedy in ge∣nerall.
- §. 2. Lukewarmnesse to be avoided in Reli∣gion.
- §. 3. Zeale required in the matters of God, but to be tempered with discretion and charity.
- §. 4. Rules for Moderation in Iudgement. Page [unnumbered]The first Rule: To distinguish of persons.
- §. 5. Second Rule: To distinguish of truths and errors.
- §. 6. Third Rule: The avoidance of curiosity in the disquisition of truths. Therein of the simplicity of former times, and the over-lashing of ours.
- §. 7. Fourth Rule: To rest in those Funda∣mentall Truths which are revealed clearly in the Scriptures.
- §. 8. Fifth Rule: To be remisse and facile in un-importing verities. First in our opinion.
- §. 9. And then also in our censure of the other∣wise minded.
- §. 10. Sixth Rule: Not to relie upon the trust of an Opposite in relating the state of an opinion, or person. Examples of the injurious practi∣ces this way.
- Page [unnumbered]§. 11. Seventh Rule: Not to judge of an ad∣versaries opinion by the Inferences pretended to follow upon it; which are commonly very hainously aggrava∣ted. The ingenuous proceedings of the Ancient Churches herein.
- §. 12. Eighth Rule: To keepe opinions within their owne bounds; not imputing pri∣vate mens conceits to whole Churches.
- §. 13. Ninth Rule: We may not draw the actions or manners of men to the preju∣dice of their cause.
- §. 14. Tenth Rule: That we must draw as neare as we safely may to Christian ad∣versaries in lesser differences. The cautions of complying with them.
- §. 15. Eleventh Rule: To refraine from all railing termes, and spightfull provo∣cations of each other in differences of Religion.
- Page [unnumbered]§. 16. Twelfth Rule: That however our judge∣ments differ in lesser verities, wee should compose our affections towards unity and peace.
REcensui dissertationem hanc de Moderatione Christiana, duabus partibus absolutam, quarum altera de Moribus agit, altera de Doctrina; utraque & bonis moribus, & doctrinae Ecclesiae Anglicanae consentanea.
Octob. 4. 1639.Imprimatur.
THE FIRST BOOK. Of Moderation in matter of Practice.
§. 1. Of the use and necessity of Moderati∣on, in generall.
I Cannot but second, & commend that great Clerk of Paris,* who (as our witty coun∣tryman Bromiard reports) when King Lewes of France required him to write down the best word that ever he had learnt, call'd for a Page 2 faire skin of parchment, and in the midst of it, wrote this one word, MEASURE, and sent it sealed up to the King: The King opening the sheet, and finding no other in∣scription, thought himself mocked by his Philosopher, and calling for him, expostulated the matter; but when it was shewed him that all vertues, and all religious and wor∣thy actions were regulated by this one word, and that without this, vertue it self turned vicious, he rest∣ed well satisfied: And so he well might; for it was a word well worthy of one of the seven Sages of Greece; from whom indeed it was borrowed,* and onely put in∣to a new coat. For, whiles he said of old (for his Motto) Nothing too much, hee meant no other but to Page 3 comprehend both extreames un∣der the mention of one: neither in his sense is it any paradox to say, that too little is too much; for as too much bounty is prodigality,* so too much sparing is niggardli∣nesse: so as in every defect there is an excesse; and both, are a trans∣gression of Measure. Neither could ought be spoken, of more use or excellency; For, what goodnesse can there be in the world without Moderation, whether in the use of Gods creatures, or in our own dis∣position and carriage? Without this, Justice is no other then cruell rigour; mercy, unjust remisnesse; pleasure, bruitish sensuality; love, frenzy; anger, fury; sorrow, despe∣rate mopishnesse; joy, distempered wildnesse; knowledge, saucy curi∣osity; Page 4 piety, superstition; care, wracking distraction; courage, mad rashnesse; Shortly, there can be nothing under heaven, with∣out it, but meere vice and confu∣sion: Like as in nature, if the ele∣ments should forget the temper of their due mixture, and incroach upon each other by excesse, what could follow but universall ruine? or what is it that shall put an end to this great frame of the world, but the predominancy of that last devouring fire? It is therefore Mo∣deration, by which this inferiour world stands: since that wise and great God, who hath ordained the continuance of it, hath decreed so to contemper all the parts there∣of, that none of them should ex∣ceed the bounds of their owne Page 5 proportion, and degree, to the pre∣judice of the other. Yea, what is the heaven it selfe, but (as Gerson compares it well) as a great clock regularly moving in an equall sway of all the Orbes, without difference of poyse, without varia∣tion of minutes, in a constant state of eviternall eavennesse, both of beeing and motion: Neither is it any other, by which this little world of ours, (whether of body or minde) is upheld in any safe, or tolerable estate; when humours passe their stint, the body sickens; when passions, the minde.
There is nothing therefore in the world more wholsome, or more necessary for us to learne, then this gracious lesson of mode∣ration: without which, in very Page 6 truth a man is so far from being a Christian, that he is not himselfe. This is the center, wherein all both divine, and morall philoso∣phy meet; the rule of life, the go∣vernesse of manners, the silken string that runs through the pearl∣chain of all vertues, the very Eclip∣tick line, under which reason and religion moves without any devi∣ation: and therefore most wor∣thy of our best thoughts, of our most carefull observance.
§. II. Practicall moderation in matter of the palate: And therein, first of the excesse: and then, of the other extremity in defect.
WHat then is there inci∣dent into the whole course of humane life, but matter of practice, or matter of speculation and judge∣ment? and both these are swayed and ordered by Moderation.
Practicall Moderation shall lead the way, as that which is most worthy; and whereto the speculative is for the most part, re∣duced; and whereby it is mainly governed. This, howsoever it Page 8 reacheth to the managing of all the inward dispositions of the soule, and all the outward carriages of life, and may therefore admit of so many severalties of discourse, as there are varieties of desires, incli∣nations, actions, passions of man: Yet shall, for the tractation of it, be confined to some few of those noted heads, which we meet with in every turne of this our earthly pilgrimage.
The chiefe imployment of Mo∣deration is in the matter of plea∣sure, which like an unruly and headstrong horse is ready to run away with the rider, if the strict curb of just moderation doe not hold it in; the indiscreet check whereof, also, may prove no lesse perilous to an unskilfull manager: Page 9 Pleasures, whether in matter of diet, and other appurtenances of life, or in matter of lust.
We begin with the first; where∣in the ex•reams of both kindes are palpable, and worthy both of our full consideration, and carefull ac∣cordance.
How prone we are to excesse in these pleasures of the palate, ap∣peares too well, in that this temp∣tation found place in paradise it selfe: the first motive that inclined our liquorous Grandmother Eve, was, that shee saw the tree was good for food; and then followes, that it was pleasant to the eyes; her appetite betraid her soul: and after,* when in that first world men be∣gan to be multiplyed, that Giant∣ly brood of men-eaters (if we may Page 10 beleeve Berosus) procured aborti∣ons,* to pamper their gluttony with tender morsells: Afterwards, even in the holy Seed, we finde an Isaac apt to misplace the blessing for a dish of Venison, and his son Esau selling his birth-right for a messe of broth.* We finde Israel temp∣ting God in the desart, and longing to be fed with flesh,* and cram∣ming it in till it came out of their nostrils. We finde too many un∣der the Gospell, whose belly is their God, and therein, their bane. By unsatiable greedinesse have ma∣ny been dead,* saith Ecclesiasticus; and how many doe we see daily that digge their graves with their teeth;* and doe therefore perish, because they doe not put their knife to their throat? And as for Page 11 immoderation in drinking, the first newes that we heare of wine, is in Noahs drunkennesse, he was the true Ianus, the inventer of the scruzing of the Grape to his cost; whom if the Heathens celebrated, we justly censure, as beginning this glory in shame: The next was in Lots incest and stupidity; and ever since, wine is a mocker,* as wise Solomon well styles it. The Heathen have made a God of it, and give it the title of Freedome;* Abuse hath made it a Divell and turned that liberty into licentious∣nesse;* whereupon some foolish hereticks have absurdly ascribed it to that hellish originall; wine, saith the Apostle, wherein is excesse; How many have our eyes beene witnesses of, whom their unruly Page 12 appetite, this way hath turned in∣to beasts, how many into mon∣sters of wickednesse? Certainly, a drunkard is, in, at all. Neither is there any vice under heaven, from which he can secure himselfe:* It is memorable that our Jewish Doctors tell us of a certaine Gen∣tile King, who lighting upon ele∣ven of their learned, and holy Rab∣bins, put them to their choyce, whether they would eate swines flesh, or drink of their Ethnick wine, or lie with harlots; swines flesh they hated, harlots they pro∣fessed to abhorre, wine they yeeld unto; but, by that time they had awhile plyed that bewitching li∣quor, all came alike to them, both the flesh of swine, and of harlots were easily admitted. Experience Page 13 yeelds us so wofull instances of the lamentable effects of drunken∣nesse, every day, that we need not dwell upon particulars.
The other extreame, is more rare, and though faulty enough, yet lesse bruitish: How many have all ages afforded who out of a feare of complying too much with their appetite, have not stuck to offer hard measure to nature; not thinking they could be godly enough, except they were cruell to themselves. It is hard to beleeve the reports of the rigorous auste∣rity of some of the ancient; One of whom, Macarius could professe to Euagrius that in twenty yeares he had not taken his fill of bread, or water, or sleep. Another,*Arse∣nius would not give himselfe so Page 14 much ease as to sit, or stand in ta∣king repast, but was still wont to eate walking: professing that he would not gratifie his body so much, as to yeeld it so much ease, and holding the time, but lost, which he bestowed in feeding. And for the quality of their suste∣nance; what shall we say to the diet of some votaries?* Amongst whom Laurence Bishop of Dublin was wont to eat no other bread, then that which was mixed with lie, in emulation of him that said, I have eaten ashes as bread.* Fryer Valentine went beyond him,* who for ten yeares together did eate no∣thing but only bread dipt in the juice of wormwood. I shall not need to presse any other instance of this kinde, then that which Page 15 St. Ierome gives of Paul the first hermite, who living in a cave, within the desart, was beholden to a Palme-tree both for his diet and cloathes; whereto he addes, Quod ne cui impossibile,*&c. which that it may not seeme impossible to any man, I take the Lord Iesus, and all his Angells to witnesse, that I have seene Monkes, whereof one shut up for thirty yeares together, that lived only with Barly bread, and muddy water. Thus he. Had not these men placed a kinde of holinesse in crossing their palate, they might have fared otherwise. When Francis of Assise was bidden to the great Cardinall Hostiensis to din∣ner, he poures downe upon that curious Damask cloth (spread for better viands) before them, all Page 16 those scraps of almes out of his sleeve, which his good Dames of the City had given him;* and could say, that if the Cardinalls cheare were better, yet his was holyer. Yet even these parcells might bee delicate (panis desideriorum) in comparison of Daniels pulse, or the Baptists locusts, or the Fuille∣tans salads. That which Eusebius casts upon St. Iames,* we see now practised by the Carthusians, and Minimes, abstinence from flesh: some antiquity of tradition hath dieted St. Peter with lupines, St. Matthew with berries, and herbs; howsoever, I know those Saints had fared better; the one feasted his Master at his owne house; the other fed on fish and hony-comb at his Masters last table, and saw Page 17 the sheet let dovvne with all varie∣ties of dainties; and heard, Arise Peter, kill and eate. And if we yeeld so much to Baronius as to grant that St. Paul was alvvaies abste∣mious, (though it follovves not, as Lorinus well, because for thirty dayes he complyed with Naza∣rites in the Temple) it is more then we ovve him; since it is not like he that prescribed wine to Timo∣thy, a younger man, would forbear it himselfe, upon the like or grea∣ter necessities. This we are sure of,* that this chosen vessell was carefull to beat dovvne his body; and that many of those ancient Worthies, the great patternes of mortification, stinted their flesh with the straitest.* Good Hilarion in stead of barly, could threaten to Page 18 feed this asse of his with chaffe:* and devout Bernard professes how much wrong hee had done to himselfe, by this well-meant ri∣gor, in disabling him for better services; complaining that he had by this meanes turned a vertue in∣to vice, and killed a subject, whiles hee meant to subdue an enemy:* And even their St. Francis himselfe at his death could confesse too late, that he had used his brother Body too hardly.*
A faint imitation of which se∣verity, we finde in those, who now adayes turne religious absti∣nence into change of diet; and therein place no little merit. For my part, I cannot yeeld there is more delicacy in flesh then in o∣ther dishes; I remember it was Page 19 the word of that wise States-man of Rome, that it was never well with them, since a fish was sold for more then an Oxe; and that famous glutton could say of old; That is the best flesh, which is no flesh; and all experience shewes that oyle, wine, shell-fishes, are more powerfull to stir and inflame na∣ture then other duller liquors; and viands of flesh, which are of more grosse, and heavy nourishment; neither was it for nothing that the Mythologists fained Venus to be bred of the Sea.* The ingenuity of Lindanus can confesse how little these kindes of fasts differ from the most exact gluttonies. Let the fond Ebionites, Encratites, Manichees, hate the very nature of some meates; I am sure they are all alike Page 20 to their maker;*There is one flesh of Fish, saith the holy Apostle: That which goes into the body defiles not the man, saith our Saviour. How ever therfore these differences are fit for civill considerations, and in that regard are in all due obedience to be strictly observed, yet in spiritu∣all respects they come not within any view, as those which the Cre∣ator of Sea and Land hath left both in themselves, and to him equally indifferent.
§. III. Of some extremities in other vsages of the body.
THe like austerity hath beene affected of old in other usages of the body, whether in ap∣parell, lodging,* restraint of recrea∣tions. It is well knowne how some over-devout amongst the seaven kindes of Pharisees, garded their fringes with thornes, and knockt their heads against the walls, till the blood issued forth.* And even amongst the Manichees•n St. Austins time, there were some more strict then their fellowes, which called themselves Mattarios,Page 22 who gloryed to lye upon hard mattes, not envying Faustus his Featherbeds.* It was a great com∣petition betwixt two pretended Saints, St. Francis and St. Clare, whether should have the rougher coate: Although all was one to that incurious Saint of Assise, for had his coat beene better, it had gone to the next begger; wherein I cannot but wonder at the diffe∣rence of humors in two that goe for their Saints:* It is spoken to the praise of Anthony the Hermite that he never saw himselfe naked; whereas to the wonder of the o∣thers mortification, it is said, that other forenamed Saint of theirs, stript himselfe stark naked, before the Bishop of Assise,* and in that forme (like a Mahumetan Dervis) Page 23 ran through the streets. Yet these are but small self-penances in com∣parison of some others:* Our story tells us that the Monke Acepsemas lay threescore yeares close hid in a blinde roome, where he never spake with any man,* never was seene of any man. But Didymus went yet beyond him who in his whole life of ninety yeares never conversed with any. Yet these might passe their time with ease, in comparison of an Hilarion,* who put himselfe into a little-ease; so penall a lodging that he could nei∣ther stand upright for the height, nor stretch out his legges for the length: or a Symeon Stylites, that chained himselfe to an hollow pillar of the like in capacity. Yet all this taske was tolerable, in re∣spect Page 24 of the cruell piety of those men, that stuck not to tew & lanci∣nate their bodies; like that Superi∣anus the Scholar of Lacharis, of whom Suidas speakes, that would scourge himself into learning; such were the famous whip-stocks in the time of Gregory the tenth,* which out of Italy passing into Germany, astonished the beholders with their bloody shoulders, affecting glory and merit in that selfe-mar∣tyrdome.
And though the dangerous o∣pinions which attended this pra∣ctice in the first authors, were condemned, as hereticall, yet the usage itselfe is continued in Spain, and some other parts; and, not without a secret kind of horrour, applauded by the multitude, as an Page 25 undoubted argument of serious and deep mortification: And what marvell, when that which is acted in the streets but once, by a few muffled penitents, is pretended to be done in cells and closets as in a set course of discipline, by the most of their strict votaries: But all these, and what ever acts of penance, must yeeld to that of Goderannus, (a souldier of Christ,* as our Capgrave styles him) who when the Host, given by his St. Hugh to a leprous man in the height of that loath∣somness, was rendred again, with the interest of some other odious ejections, did that, which in favour of the queasie stomack of my rea∣der, I must conceale: Onely this, that their Saint which beheld it, could say, that S. Laurence his Grid∣iron Page 26 was far more tolerable.* To shut up all, S. Martin would needs die in sackcloth and ashes. Such hard usages have some zealous self-enemies put upon their bo∣dies; no doubt in a mis-grounded conceit of greater holinesse, and higher acceptance at the hands of God; from whom they shall once heare that old question in the like case to the Jews, Who required this of you? As if God took pleasure in the misery of his best creature, and had so ordered it, that Grace could not consist with prosperity and contentment.
We have seene then both those extremities wherewith men are mis-carried in matter of the palate, and some outward usages of the body.
§. IV. Of the extreames in the cases of lust.
AS for the delight of the marriage-bed which some salacious spirits have thought fit in an eminence or propriety to call plea∣sure, how far it hath bewitched men it is too apparent. How ma∣ny are thus drunk with their own wine! spending their bodies to satisfy those sensuall desires wher∣with they are impotently trans∣ported;* like that bird of whom Suidas speaks, which dies in the very act of his feathering. Certain∣ly, there is no such Tyran in the world as lust, which, where it pre∣vailes Page 28 enslaveth the soule, and sen∣deth his best subjects, not to the mill with Sampson, or to the di∣staffe with Hercules, but to the chambers of death,* to the dunge∣on of hell.* The witty Athenians could enact a Law for Bigamie; and Socrates himself, who was by the Oracle named for the wisest man of his time, and the greatest master of his passions, could be content to practice that, wherein he was well punished; And how their famous Philosophers were affected, I had rather S. Ierome should speak then I: And the Turks at this day, whom their Al∣coran restraines from wine, yet are by their law let loose to this full scope of sensuality. What speak I of these, when the very Patri∣arks, Page 29 and Princes of Gods peculiar people were palpably exorbitant in this kinde;* The man after Gods own heart (in respect of the sin∣cerity of his soule) divided himself betwixt sixe partners of his bed;* the mistaking of which permissi∣on hath drawne the modern Jews into a false opinion of no lesse then eighteen wives allowed still to their Princes: But for his son So∣lomon (in other things the wisest under heaven) from whom the East•rne Potentates have borrow∣ed their Seraglio's, what stint was there of his bedfellowes? he could not so much as know all their fa∣ces. Neither was it for nothing that the all•wise God saw it fit in his royall law, to give us two Commandements against lust, Page 30 and but one onely against murder or theft; Doubtlesse (as Gerson well observes) because he saw us naturally more prone to these wanton desires, then to those vio∣lent.
Contrarily, there have not wan∣ted some, who out of a strong affe∣ctation of continency, & an over-valuation of the merit of virgini∣ty, have poured too much water upon the honest flames of their lawfull desires, and have offered a willing violence to nature; Not to speak of Origen, and some others that have voluntarily evirated themselves (a practice justly cryed downe by some Councels) such were Amnon the Heremite, and Pe∣lagius the Monk in the Ecclesiasti∣call history, who the first day of Page 31 their marriage took up a resoluti∣on of the continuance of a virgi∣nall chastity (a fashion which some improbable legends have have cast upon S. Iohn the beloved Disciple in his mis-imputed mar∣riage in Cana) and retired to an a∣greed solitarinesse. Many formall votaries have made profession of no lesse continency, but with what successe I take no pleasure to relate:* Let an indifferent man speak; Erasmus in an Epistle to his Grunnius: who tels us of store of Monasteries, such, as in compari∣son vvhereof the stews were more sober, more modest. Out of their owne ingenuous casuists, out of the vvofull complaints of their Alvarez, Pelagius, S. Brigit, Gerson, others, it were easie to tell shame∣full Page 32 tales if we made disgrace our ayme; it shall be enough to desire any reader to informe himselfe of the reason alledged in the Coun∣cel of Ments,* under Pope Stephen, of so strict an inhibition to their cler∣gie, not to admit of so much as their sister to come within their doors; and to take notice of that old by-word,*In Hispania preti &c. I take no joy to discover the mise∣rable nakednesse of Christians; Inordinate minds where is no re∣straint of Grace, are apt to run thus wilde, whether amongst them, or us; but there, so much more, as there is lesse allowance of lawfull remedies; A point, which some of the most ingenuous spirits of the Roman correspondence have se∣riously wisht to have recom∣mended Page 33 to wiser consideration, and redresse.
§. V. The liberty that God hath given us in the use of his creatures.
I Meant to dwell only so long in the extreams, as to make my passage to the meane, which is the sole drift of our indeavour. There is therefore betwixt excesse and defect, whereof we have spo∣ken, a lawfull and allowed lati∣tude of just pleasure, which the bounty of our good God hath al∣lowed to his dearest creature, man; whereof it is meet for us to take knowledge. To begin with the Page 34 Palate. He who is the author of appetite, hath provided, and allow∣ed meanes to satisfie it, not with asparing hand, as for meere neces∣sity; but sometimes also liberally, for delight. I have oft wondred to see how providently the great House-keeper of the world hath taken seasonable order for the maintenance of all his creatures; so as, their mouthes are not sooner ready then their meat. Whether in man or beast, conception is imme∣diately seconded with nourish∣ment, neither is the issue brought forth into the light of the world, before there be bottles of milk rea∣dy prepared for the sustenance.
The birds (except some dome∣stick) hatch not their young in the dead of winter, but when the Page 35 growing Spring hath yeelded a meet meanes of their food. In the very silk-worme I have observed, that the small, and scarce-sensible seed, which it casts, comes not to life and disclosure untill the mul∣bery (which is the slowest of all trees) yeelds her lease for its neces∣sary preservation: And the same God, who hath given the crea∣ture life, appetite, meat, hath by a secret instinct directed them to seeke it; so as the whelp, even be∣fore it can see, hunts for the teat; •nd those shell-fishes to which •ature hath denyed meanes of •ight or smelling, yet can follow, •nd purchase their food. And if •ll thy creatures, O God, vvait up∣on thee, that thou maist give them •heir meat in due season; if thou Page 36 openest thy hand, and they are filled vvith good; how much more magnificent art thou to that creature, for whom thou madest all the rest? Thou, vvho at the first broughtst him forth into a vvorld furnished before-hand vvith all varieties, hast beene gra∣ciously pleased to store him stil• vvith all things that might serve for the use of meat, medicine, deli∣cacy: Hadst thou only intended our meere preservation, a little had beene enough; Nature is neithe• vvanton nor insatiable.* We know vvhat those Brachmanni are repor∣ted to have said, to the great Con∣queror of the world, in shamin• his conquest by their owne: W• know vvhat the Romane com∣mander said to his Souldiers in •Page 37 just indignation at their nicenesse;* Ye have the river Nilus running by you, and doe you aske for vvine? and how he upbraided them vvith this scornfull taxation; Blush for shame, those that overcome •ou, drink water. We know vvhat •he vvise and just Socrates returned •o Archelaus, tempting his fidelity vvith large proffers: Goe, said he, •ell your Master, that foure gilles of floure are sold at Athens for an •alf-peny, & that our vvells yeeld •s vvater for nothing: But now, •ince our liberall Creator hath •hought good to furnish our Ta∣•les, vvith forty kindes at the least of beasts, and Foules; vvith two hundred (as they are computed) of fishes, besides the rich, and dainty provenues of our gardens, Page 38 and orchards, and the sweet juice of our Canes, and the Cells of our hives, what should this argue, but that he (vvho made nothing in vaine, and all for man) intended to provide, not for our necessity only, but for our just delight? The Fa∣ther of the faithfull, though he promised only to comfort the hearts of his great, and divine guests with a morsell of bread,* yet he entertaines them with a tender and fat calfe, with butter and milk, the delicates of those homelyer times. But this, in all likelihood,* was but small cheare in comparison of that which he prepared for the celebrity of his son Isaacs weaning, which is by Moses styled a great Feast:* After this, when his son Isaac feasted a Page 39 King, doe we not think there were all the choice services, the times would afford? Sampson,* though by Gods destination a Nazarite, yet kept his wedding Feast seaven daies long: Samuel, a Prophet of God, feasted thirty persons, and reserved a choyce bit for his best guest: What speak I of this?*When every new moone was wont to be celebrated with a solemne feast by Gods people: and David shelters himselfe under this excuse, for his absence from the Table of Saul. I might well have silenced all the rest, if I had only mentioned Great Solomons both practice,* and counsell. There is nothing better (saith he) for a man, then that hee should eat and drink; and that hee should make his soule enjoy good in his Page 40 labour; This also I saw that it was from the hand of God; for who can eat? or who can hasten hereunto more then I? Certainly this challenge is un∣answerable; Neither hath the Spi∣rit of God thought it unfit to give us a Bill-of-fare of that mighty King; and to record in those holy Archives, the particulars of his dai∣ly expences of Meale, floure, oxen, sheep, besides Harts, Roe-bucks, fallow-deere, and fatted fowles, which the Monarches of all ages may admire, none can emulate.
What speak I yet of this, when he that was greater then Solomon, sanctified feasting by his owne blessed example? He, the Lord of glory that took up wi•h a manger for his cradle, and (after the Car∣penters cottage) owned no house Page 41 but heaven, is invited to a Bridall feast, (the jolliest commonly of all meetings) carries his traine with him, helps on the cheere by turn∣ing water into the richest wine. Had he beene so sowre, as some sullen Hypochondriaques (who place holinesse in a dull austerity) would fancy him, it had been an easie answer, They want wine; all the better, water is more fit; this safe liquor wil send the guests home coolely tempered; but now, as one that would be known to be a favourer of honest and mode∣rate delight, he bids, Fill the water∣pots with (that which hee would make better) Wine. Neither was it any rare or strange matter for our Saviour to honour, and blesse other feasts with his presence; Mat∣thewPage 42 the Publican,* when he was called from his Tole-booth to a Discipleship, and was now to be matriculated into the family of Christ, entertained his new Master with a sumptuous banquet;* him∣selfe (now an Evangelist) speakes modestly of his own cheer, as if it had beene but common fare, but S. Luke tells us, It was a great feast. What should I speak of the Ta∣bles of Zacheus, of Simon the Pha∣risee, of Martha and Mary? so did our Saviour in a sweet sociable∣nesse of carriage, apply himselfe to a free conversation with men, in the cheerefull use of Gods good creatures, that his envious malig∣ners took occasion hereupon to slander him with the unjust and blasphemous imputation of (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) Page 43a wine-bibber, a friend to Pub∣licans and sinners. He that made the creatures, can best tell how to use them; his practice is more then all laws; Those men therefore are not more injurious to themselves, then to the divine beneficence, who in an opinion of greater san∣ctity, abridge themselves of a mo∣derate participation of those com∣fortable helps, God hath allowed them; and sit sullenly at a liberall board with their hat pulld over their eyes, not so much as remo∣ving their napkin from their tren∣cher, unjustly scrupling their con∣science with Touch not, taste not, handle not. There are times of absti∣nence; and not of a private fast on∣ly,* but much more of a Bannitum j•junium, as that Councel styled it; Page 44 solemne and sacred; There are out of civill grounds, wholsome laws for either forbearance, or change of diet; far be it from us to detrect our strict obedience to these. Sure∣ly, unlesse we will take up that lawlesse resolution of Disrumpa∣mus vincula, (Let us break their bonds, & cast their cords from us) we must be content to be tyed by the teeth;* and in these cases to determine with Frier Giles, that the best diet is to eate nothing; but where we are left open from all just restraint of divine and humane lawes, to pine our selves in an affectation of holinesse, and so partially to carve unto our selves, as if all things were not cleane unto the cleane: it is but a wayward and thank∣lesse austerity.
Page 45The like may be said for other usages of the body, in matter of at∣tire, sleep, lodging, recreation.*Socra∣tes the historian tells of Sisinnius the witty Bishop of the over∣strait-laced sect of the Novatians, a man of singular temperance, and moderation, yet somewhat more spruce, liberall, and costly in his ap∣parel, and more nice in his fre∣quent bathings, then ordinary; that being asked where hee found it written that a Priest for his daily array should be suted in white, answered, Yea, tell me first, where you find it written that a Bishop should be clothed in black; you cannot shew me this, I can shew you the other, for Solomon sayes, Let thy garments be white: How fit∣ly the Text is applyed, I labour not; Page 46 sure I am that no wise man need to be more nice then a Novatian; and that the Kingly Preacher in that liberall concession of his gives large scope to our lawfull liberty, in the use of Gods blessings; hee allowes (within the compasse of our callings) rich sutes to the back, sweet oyles for the head, comfor∣table drinks for the stomach: Nei∣ther ought we to be scant, where God meant to be bountifull. And, if he have made us the Lords of the world, why are we wilfull beggers? Wherefore hath he given the warme fleece to the sheep, the rich hides to the Bever and Ermin, the curious case to the silk-worm, the soft and faire feathers to the fowles of the aire, but, after their owne use, for ours? Wherefore Page 47 hath he clothed the trees with cot∣ton, or the fields with flaxe? wher∣fore hath hee enriched the earth with variety of sweet and delicate flowers, with precious metals, and with more precious stones, the sea with beautifull and costly pearles? why hath he treasured up such orient and pleasing colours in graines and fishes, if not for the use and behoofe of man? what o∣ther creature knows wherefore they serve? or, how can our bles∣sed Creator be any other then a greater loser by our either igno∣rance or willing neglect?
As for the comfort of conjugall society, what other did our good God intend in the making of that meet helper? He that made those creatures, could have made many Page 48 more, & having set this stint to his creation, he that made the woman of the man, could as well have made man of man, and could in the infinitenesse of his wisedome have appointed thousands of waies for the multiplication of mankinde; but now having thought meet to pitch upō the tra∣ducing of man, by this living rib of his owne, he hath holily ordai∣ned that they two shall be one flesh; not onely, as two bodies ani∣mated with one soule, but rather, as one body animated with two united spirits; so as it is equally lawfull for them to enjoy each o∣ther in a mutuall, and holy com∣munion, and to enjoy themselves in their single and personall con∣tentments. How safely then may Page 49 we take wise Solomons vvord, for this innocent and sweet conver∣sation: Let thy fountaine be blessed,*and rejoyce with the wife of thy youth; let her be as the loving hinde, and plea∣sant Roe, let her brests satisfie thee at all times, and be thou ravisht alwayes with her love: And when towards the latter end of his daies,* he had found more bitter then death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands; Yet even then, he renues this charge in the height of his mortification.*Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest, all the dayes of the life of thy va∣nity, which he hath given thee under the Sun all the dayes of thy vanity; for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the Sun.
§. VI. Together with our liberty, the just bounds of our moderation, in the liberall use of Gods creatures: and therein our limitation in respects to God.
SO then that God, who hath given us meat, drink, apparell, wife, children, recreations, and what ever other convenien∣ces of this life, intended no other, but that we should make our use, and have the fruition of these comforts; and if he meant not that we should take some plea∣sure in the fruition of them, wherefore are they given us as Page 51 blessings? or what place is there for our thankfulnesse?
If I may take no pleasure in one food above another, what use is there of my taste? what difference doe I make betwixt a course crust, and the finest of the wheat? why am I more bound to God for gi∣ving me wine then water, many dishes then one, better then worse? or how can I be more sensible of my obligation?
If I may not take contentment in the wife of my youth, where∣fore is she mine? what is left to me to counterpoyse those hous∣hold distractions, which doe un∣avoidably attend the state of ma∣trimony? If I may not joy in my children, what difference is there to me betwixt my owne, and o∣ther Page 52 mens, save that my care is more without hope of requitall? And if I may not take pleasure in my recreation, how is it such? what difference is there betwixt it and work? Yea, if I may not take pleasure in the works of my cal∣ling, what difference is there be∣twixt a slave and me?
But the same God who hath allowed us to take pleasure in all these hath also thought good to set bounds, and stints to our plea∣sure, which we may not exceed; he hath indulged to us a lawfull freedome, not a wilde licentious∣nesse: If wee passe our limits, we sin. Now because in our natu∣rall pronenesse to excesse there is nothing more difficult, then to keepe within due compasse, and Page 53 to be at once delighted and holy, it highly concernes us to take no∣tice of those just boundaries, with∣in which our freest pleasure must be ranged.
First then, we cannot offend in our delectations, if we be sure to take God with us; more plainly, we shall safely partake of our plea∣sures, if we receive them as from God, if we enjoy them in God, if we referre them to God: From God, as the author and giver of them; in God, as the allower and sanctifier of them; to God, as to the end, and scope of them: the least deviation from any of these, makes our delights vicious. Wee receive them as from God, when we know them to be allowed of him, and granted to us, by him: Page 54 Herein therefore lawfull pleasures differ from sinfull; we have his vvarrant for the one, for the other his inhibition. The act may be alike in both, but differs both in the subject, and ground of it; Gods institution justifies that act in a lawfull conjugall society, which he abhorres and condemnes in a stranger: Marriage is made in heaven, adultery is brewed in hell. The teeth kept the same pace un∣der the law in eating the cleane flesh, and the uncleane; and still doe, in the morsells of sufficiency, and surfet; The first draught of the wine, vvhich is for refreshing, goes downe the same vvay, vvith the lavish, and supern••erary ca∣rowses of drunkennesse: That ho∣ly God, whose will is the rule of Page 55 goodnesse, cannot give any appro∣bation of evill; If then I can bold∣ly present my pleasure in the face of God, and say, Lord, this is the de∣light thou hast allowed me, the liberty thou givest, I take; here is thy word, and my deed; my heart cannot but sit downe in a comfortable assu∣rance.
We enjoy them in God, whiles we can enjoy God in them, not suffering our selves so to be posses∣sed of them, as that we should let goe the sweet hold of the divine presence, and complacency: the very thought whereof must ne∣cessarily exclude all disorder, and excesse. It is the brand which St. Iude sets upon the sensuall false-tea∣chers of his time,*feeding without feare; and the Prophet Esay to the Page 56 same purpose,*The Harp and the Viole, the Tabret and the Pipe, and wine are in their feasts; but they re∣gard not the work of the Lord, neither consider the operation of his hands. If then we be so taken up with any earthly pleasures, that they doe either banish God from our hearts, or steale our hearts from God; our tables are made snares to us, and our wives in stead of ribs become thornes in our sides. For me, let me rather want de∣lights then be transported by them from better joyes; they shall not passe with me for pleasures, but for torments, that shall rob me of the fruition of my God.
We referre them to God, when we partake of them with an intu∣ition of the glory of him, from Page 57 whom we receive them, and in whom we enjoy them; not ma∣king any pleasure its owne end, wherein we shall rest, but the way to a better; Whether ye eate or drink, or whatsoever ye doe, (saith the Apostle) doe all to the glory of God. We doe well to look up to hea∣ven, and to say grace at our meales, but I have read of an holy man, that was wont to give thankes for every morsell that he put into his mouth; and I could envy his holy and free thoughts; but sooner could I take up the resolu∣tion of that votary, who profes∣sed that he did in every creature of God finde both edification, and matter of devotion; and when one shewed him a lewd, and debaucht ruffian, and askt Page 58 him what good he could pick out of such a prospect? Yes, said he, I can so farre enjoy his wickednesse, as to be thankfull to God, for giving me that grace which he wants. Shortly, let me never have any pleasure, upon which I cannot pray to God for a blessing, and for which I cannot returne my thanks-giving.
§. VII. The limitation of our liberty, in respect of the pleasures themselves, first for the kinde, then for the quantity, and quality of them.
OUr pleasures cannot be amisse, whiles they have these respects to God. There are also considerable limitations, which they have within themselves.
The first whereof must bee, that they be in their very kinde lawfull; for as there is no dish whereof we may warrantably surfet; so there are some whereof we may not taste:* for our first parents to but set their teeth in Page 60 the forbidden fruit, yea to touch it, was not free from evill: Any mor∣sell of an uncleane meat, under the law was no lesse sinfull, then the whole dish: The wholsomest of all foods, if taken in excesse, may destroy nature;* in so much as we finde one that dyed of strawberries, the most harmlesse fruit that the earth beareth; but the least measure of poyson is too much: Whereto we may also adde, that the same thing may be poison to one, vvhich to another is either meat or medicine, even as it is in bodily diets: A Turk eates in one day so much opium vvith pleasure, as vvould be the bane of many westerne Christians; and Erasmus professes that fish vvas death to him, vvhich to others is Page 61 both nourishing and delicate. For a Socrates to ride upon a stick, or to learne to fiddle, or dance in his old age, was a sight as uncouth, as it vvas in his boyes becomming, and commendable. It is said of Thales Milesius, one of the great sa∣ges of Greece, that he was pressed to death in a throng at their Gym∣nick sports; any vvise man would presently ask, vvhat that vvise man did there? To personate an histo∣ry on an Academicall theatre may be a mutuall delight to the actor, and beholders, but for a professed divine to doe it, can be no other then unmeet, and that which is justly forbidden in some Synodes. The vvilde Carnevalls abroad, however they may be tolerated in the young laity by their indulgent Page 62 Confessors, yet for persons that professe to be Clerks, or religious votaries (what pretences soever may be set upon it by favourable Casuists) cannot but be extreamly faulty.
The kinde yeelded to be law∣full, and meet, both in it selfe, and to the person using it, there must be due consideration had of the quality, quantity, manner, circum∣stances that are able to make even good things evill.
For the first, Both religion and right reason require, that we should not be wanton, and over∣delicate in our contentments; that our pleasures should be like our selves, masculine, and temperate. It was a check that fell seasonably from Vespasian, and recorded to Page 63 his great honor by Suetonius, that when a yong man came to him curiously perfumed, I had rather (said he) thou hadst smelt of garlick: and that praise is no meane one,* which Gerson the Chancelor of Paris gives to King Lewis the Saint, that he regarded not of how dainty composition his excre∣ment were made, neither meant to be a cooke for the wormes. Surely that curiosity of mixture, whereby not the eye and the pa∣late, but the sent also must be feasted, is more fit for Sybarites, then for Christians; Dissolved pearles are for the draught of Aesop the Tragedians son, or Anthonies great Mistris: Let a Vitellius or Heliogobalus hunt over Seas and Lands for the dainty bit of this Page 64 birds tongue, that fishes roe, or that beasts sweet bread; the Oy∣sters of this coast, the scollops of that other, this root, that fruit: What doe Christians with this vaine Apician like gluttony?* It was a fit rule for that monster of the gut (whom even the Romane luxury censured) that those dishes please best, which cost most. I have both heard and read, that when some of our English Mer∣chants in Germany, entertained Martin Luther with some other of his Dutch friends, at their table, when amongst other liberall di∣shes, he saw a Pastie at the first cut∣ting up, reeking upwards, and fil∣ling the roome with an hot and spicy steame, in stead of thanks, he frowned, and angerly said, Page 65 Now woe be to them that bring these delicacies into our Germany. It is not easie to set stints to the quality or price of diets: for that which to one nation, or person may passe for meane and course, may to another be costly and de∣licious. If we may beleeve relati∣ons,* in Angola dogges flesh is held for the daintiest meat, in so much as one mastive hath beene exchan∣ged there for twenty slaves, the price of 120▪ ducats; our Frogges, Snailes, Mushroms, would some∣where be accepted for a good ser∣vice: and we know what the Tartars are wont to esteeme of their Cosmo, whiles we make a face at the mention of it. Laercius tells us, that when Plato in a thrif∣ty discourse with rich AristippusPage 66 was saying, that an half-peny was enough to furnish a temperate mans dinner, well then, said he, and fifty drachma's are no more then so, to me. Custome of the place, care of health, regard to our ability, are fit moderators of eve∣ry mans palate; but the true Chri∣stian is governed by an higher law, giving only such way to his appe∣tite, as may well consist with due mortification.* It was the rule which Columbanus (of whom there are many monumēts in these Westerne parts) gave to his fol∣lowers; Let the diet of Monkes bee course, and late, so as it may sustaine, and not hurt. We are no Rechabites, no votaries, free from all yokes (of this kind) save the Almighties, which is no other then an holy Page 67 temperance: He hath allowed us the finest of the wheat, and wine that makes glad the heart, we are not tyed to Prodicus his sawce, which is the fire; nor to Bernards, which is salt and hunger;* we may with old Isaac call for savoury meat, such as we love.* Happy are vve, if vve know how to use our blessings, and have learned so to order our appetite, as that vve make it neither a slave nor a vvan∣ton.
For the quantity, Pleasure is hony; Eat not too much hony, saith Solomon; that is to be tasted on the top of the finger, not to be scoped up with the vvhole hand; we may be too great niggards to our selves this vvay, denying those helps to na∣ture vvhereby it may be more Page 68 cheerfully inabled unto good:*Ionathan complained justly that Sauls rash vow of not tasting any food, that day, had troubled the Land; See I pray you how mine eyes are enlightned, because I tasted a little hony;*how much more, if the people had eaten freely to day had they prevailed? It was the rule of a great p••terne of strict devotion, If abstinence goe beyond the bounds of a vertue, it turns vice: and our Alensis vvell, If our fast must be afflictive, yet with due mo∣deration; neither is it required that a man should fast his utmost, but so much as may well stand with the conservati∣on of nature in her meet vigour:* Nei∣ther are we tyed to the old mans dyet in Suidas, salt and two barly-cornes;* or to the liberall allow∣ance which Francis of Assise made Page 69 to his St. Clare, an ounce and halfe of bread in a day:* neither need vve be driven (as Socrates coun∣selled poore Eschines) to borrow of our selves: but on the other side, vve may not let loose the reines of our appetite, and as glut∣tons are vvont to doe, cram in so much to breakfast, that vve have no stomach to supper. Not in sur∣fetting and drunkennesse, saith the blessed Apostle. It seemed a strange thing to Anacharsis the Scythian, as Laertius observes, to see the Greeks drink in small cruzes at the begin∣ning of their feasts, and in large bowles at the latter end, (an order ill imitated by the lavish Healthists of our time) as if they intended not satisfaction, and refreshing of nature, but wilfull excesse. If the Page 70 bounty of God allow us to bee sometimes merry, in our mode∣rate feasts,* yet never mad; he is so far from crowning any man for drinking (as it is said Alexander the Great did his Promachus) that he hath passed a woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: Well may we say of our cups as was wont to be said of the Ionians, they are good servants, ill free-men, and masters. Too much oyle puts out the lamp; both reason and health are drowned in over-deep cups: Our body is as a well-set clock which keeps good time; if it be too much or indiscreetly tamper'd with, the larum runs out before the houre. The like care of avoi∣ding extremity must be had in all Page 71 other delights. The very Heathen Orator could say, He is not worthy of the name of a man, that would be a whole day in pleasure.* Sleep and re∣creations are as necessary as meat, but both must know their stint. If a Beare or a Dormouse grow fat with sleep, I am sure the minde of man is thus affamished: Sloth∣fulnesse, saith Solomon,*casteth into a deep sleep,*and an idle soule shall suffer hunger. It was a dead sleep where∣in Adam lost his rib, Ishbosheth his life, the Harlot her sonne, the foolish Virgins their entrance. How long then wilt thou sleep, O sl•ggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little fol∣ding of the hands to sleep; so shall thy poverty come as one that travaileth, and thy want as an armed man.
Page 72As for sports, when they take up so much time and labour as to turne trades, they have lost them∣selves, and perhaps marr'd their Masters. It was a just exception that Salustius tooke to Sempronia, not that she danced, but that she danced too well: and our story tells us, when rich Clisthenes would choose a fit match for his only daughter, and amongst other suitors the sonne of Terpander▪ the Athenian was most likely to speed, the young man to ingratiate him∣selfe the more, after dinner danced some Attick Jigges, with much cunning and activity; Well, well, said Clisthenes, Terpanders sonne, you have danced away your mar∣riage. If the Iron be blunt, the edge must be whetted, saith Solomon; but if Page 73 we shall weare away all the steele with too much whetting, the toole must needs be left unprofi∣table.
§. VIII. The limitation, and moderation of the pleasure of conjugall society.
BUt the greatest danger of immoderation is in matter of lust; an im∣petuous passion, and that which commonly beares downe reason before it; and too often even there,* where the stron∣gest resolutions, and most religi∣ous vowes have made head a∣gainst it: Insomuch as Alvarez Pelagius sticks not to confesse, that Page 74 there was scarce any of the holy sisters in his time sine devoto carnali; and Dominicus a Soto professes he cannot deny,* that their Clergy a∣bounds with concubinaries and adulterers. What should I menti∣on the toleration and yearly rent of publique stewes? these known Curtizans in Spaine, and Italy, pay to their great Land-lords for their lust; whereas amongst the Abas∣sines, wages are given them out of the common purse; Yea, even those, who are allowed lawfull remedies,* shall finde it taske e∣nough,* so to order their desires, as they may not offend in their ap∣plication. To deny the lawfulnesse of matrimoniall benevolence were to cast mire in the face of our Creator; yet there may be such de∣ordination Page 75 in the acts thereof, as may draw sin into the marriage-bed;* in so much as Gerson can tell us, there is lesse difficulty in for∣bearing these desires, then in curb∣ing, and moderating them once admitted: For pleasure ever, as both S. Ambrose and Hierome have observed, drawes on a strong ap∣petite of it selfe; and (as Chrysologus well) is like a dog, beat him off, he flees away, make much of him, he follows us the more.* The Jewes note that in foure places of the law they are admonished to in∣crease and multiply; and therefore hold, that after twenty yeares of age, who so finds (the Iezer) in himselfe, is bound under paine of sin to marry; Somewhat of kin to the divinity of that old Physician Page 76 at Basil,* of whom Erasmus speaks, who taught in his publique Le∣cture, that this (Increase and multi∣ply) was our Saviours last legacy to the world, which we had thought had been (Pacem meam do vobis) My peace I give to you, and that it were pitty that any fruitfull soile should lie fallow; positions wild∣ly licentious, and such as leave no place for a gracious Eunuchisme for the kingdome of heaven. Vir∣ginall chastity is a grace worthy of our fervent prayers, worthy of our best indeavors. I hear the great Apostle of the Gentiles say, He that gives his virgin in marriage doth well,*but he that gives her not in marriage doth better; And why should not every one (where there is a diffe∣rence of meliority) strive towards Page 77 the best? All may strive, but all can not attaine. He that is able to re∣ceive it, let him receive it, saith our Saviour. But he that cannot receive the blessing of single chastity, may receive the blessing of chaste mar∣riage: an institution, which if it had not been pure and innocent, had never been made in Paradise, by the all-holy Maker of Paradise, both in earth, and heaven. In the managing, and fruition vvhereof, we may not follow bruitish ap∣petite, and lawlesse sensuality; but must be over-ruled vvith right reason, Christian modesty, and due respects to the ends of that blessed ordinance.
Our strictest Casuists will grant, that for the conservation of man∣kind, even a votary may, yea must Page 78 marry, and we have in our times known those, who for the conti∣nuation of a lineall succession of some great families, have been fetcht from their cells to a Bride-chamber: As for the remedy of incontinency,* our Apostle hath passed a plaine (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) Come together againe.
As for the pleasure of conjugall society, I doe not find a more clear decision,* then that of the volumi∣nous Jesuite Salmeron. To a faith∣full man (saith he) unto whom Christ hath made all things cleane, that turpi∣tude, Page 79 and absorption (of reason) which commonly attends the act of matrimo∣niall knowledge is not a sin; for as the Apostle teacheth, All things are cleane unto the cleane, as Clemens in the third book of his Stromata worthily ex∣pounds it; Moreover, that pleasure or delectation which doth naturally follow the act of generation, which is by God naturally inbred in every living crea∣ture, and is not desired meerly for its owne sake, is no sin at all; even as the delight which accompanieth eating, & drinking, and sleeping, is not judged unlawfull: So therefore it is not onely to be granted that marriage is no sin; but he that is at liberty, and free from any vow, and hath not a will to contain himself, shall not acquit himselfe of a grievous sin, if he seek not a wife; for of such like S. Paul saith, If they doe not Page 80 containe, let them marry; for it is bet∣ter to marry then to burne: that is, as S. Ambrose interprets it,*to be over∣come of lust. Thus far Salmeron. And to the same purpose the learned Chancelor of Paris determines, that however those meetings which have no other intuition but meer pleasure, cannot be free from some veniall offence; yet that he who comes to the marriage-bed,* not without a certaine renitency and regret of minde that he cannot live without the use of matrimony, offends not. Shortly then, howsoever it be difficult, if not altogether impossible to pre∣scribe fixed limits to all ages and complexions; yet this we may un∣doubtedly resolve, that we must keepe within the bounds of just Page 81 sobriety, of the health, and conti∣nued vigour of nature, of our apti∣tude to Gods service, of our ala∣crity in our vocations; not ma∣king appetite our measure, but reason; hating that Messaline-like disposition, which may be wea∣ried, not satisfied; affecting to quench, not to solicit lust; using our pleasure as the traveller doth water, not as the drunkard, wine; whereby he is enflamed and en∣thirsted the more.
§. IX. Of the limitation of our pleasures in the manner of using them.
THus much for the just quantity of our lawfull delights; the manner of Page 82 our using them remaines; Whe∣ther those of the boord, or of the bed, or of the field; one uni∣versall rule serves for them all: we may not pursue them either over-eagerly, or indiscreetly. If wee may use them, we may not set our hearts upon them; and if wee give our selves leave to en∣joy them, yet wee may not let our selves loose to their fruiti∣on: Carelesnesse is here our best posture;*They that rejoyce, as if they rejoyced not; they that have wives, as if they had none; they that buy, as if they possessed not; they that use the world, as if they used it not, saith the blessed Apostle. Far be it from a Chri∣stian heart so to be affected with any earthly delight, as if his Page 83 felicity dwelt in it, his utter de∣jection and misery in the want of it: that as Phaltiel did his wife, he should follow it weeping.* It was a good charge that the holy man gave to his votary, that he should not totus comedere;* and the Spouse in the Divine Marriage-song can say, I slept, but my heart waketh: thus, whiles we shall take our pleasure, our pleasure shall not take us.
Discretion must be the second guide of our pleasure: as in other circumstances, so especially in the choice of meet places, and seasons.* It was a shamelesse word of that brutish Cynick, that hee would plantare hominem in foro; The Jews made it a matter of their 39. lashes,* for a man to lie with his owne Page 84 wife in the open field: and if it were notoriously filthy for Absa∣lom, to come neare to his Fathers Concubines in the darkest closet, surely to set up a tent upon the roofe of the house, and in the sight of the Sun, and all •srael to act that wickednesse, was no lesse then flagitious villany. The very love-feasts of the primitive Chri∣stians were therefore cryed downe, by the Apostle, be∣cause they were misplaced; Have yee not houses to eate and drink in?* and so were the vigils in the succeeding ages. If markets, if sports, be never so warrantable, yet in a Church, not without a foule profanation: So likewise there are times, which doe justly stave off even those carnall de∣lights, Page 85 which else would passe with allowance: The Priests un∣der the law whiles they did eate the holy bread, (which was in their severall courses twice in the yeare) must abstaine from the so∣ciety of their wives; the like charge doth the Apostle impose upon his Corinthians, Defraud not one ano∣ther,*except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give your selves to fasting and prayer. It was a com∣mendable resolution of good Vriah, The Ark of God, and Israel, and Iudah abide in tents,*and my Lord Ioab, and the servants of my Lord are encamped in the open fields, shall I then goe in to my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? As thou livest, and as thy soule liveth, I will not doe this Page 86 thing. When a solemne fast is in∣dicted, for a man to entertaine his friends with a feast, is no better then an high impiety and disobe∣dience; neither can it be worthy of lesse then a just mulct and cen∣sure in those, who cast their libe∣rallest invitations upon those daies which by the wholsome lawes both of Church and Common∣welth are designed to abstinence;* and it is a strange charge that Al∣fonsus de Vargas layes upon the Je∣suites,* that, upon a sleight pretence, made no bones of a fat capon on Good Friday: There is a time for all things, saith wise Solomon; there is a time to embrace, and a time to refraine from imbracing; A time to mourne, and a time to dance. If then our plea∣sure shall be rightly differenced, for Page 87 the kinde, and where that is al∣lowable, ordered aright for the measure, quality, manner of enjoy∣ing it, we shall be safely cheerfull, and our life holily comfortable.
§. X. Motives to Moderation in the use of all our pleasures.
BUt, because it is no ea∣sie task to keep our hearts in so meet a temper, and to curb in our appetite from a lawlesse im∣moderation, it will be necessary for us seriously to consider, First, the shortnesse of them; They are like to that time, on whose wings they are carried, fugitive and tran∣sient; Page 88 gone whiles they come, and as the Apostle speaks, in their very use perishing. Lysimachus, when in his extremity of drought he had yeelded himselfe and his crowne to the Scythians, for a draught of water, Good God (saith he) how great a felicity haue I forgone for how short a pleasure? Who ever enjoy'd full de∣light a day? or if he could, what is he the better for it to morrow? He may be worse, but who ever is the better for his yesterdayes feast? Sweet meats, and fat mor∣sels glut the soonest; and that which was pleasant in the palate, is noysome in the maw, and gut. As for those bodily delights wherein luxurious men place their chief felicity, alas! what poore abortions they are, dead in the ve∣ry Page 89 co•ception, not lasting out their mention, what vanishing sha∣dows, what a short nothing? And how great a madnesse is it to place our contentment upon meere transitorinesse, to fall in love with that face which cannot stay to be saluted?
2 The unprofitablenes of them:* It is easie to name thousands that have mis-carried by the use of plea∣sures, who, with Vlysses his compa∣nions have been turned into swi∣nish beasts, by the cups of this Circe; but shew me the man that ever was the better for them: we have known want, like to the hard soil of Ithaca, breed good wits; but what can fulnesse yeeld, save fat guts, ill humours, dull braines? The observation is as true as old, Page 90 that the flesh is nourished with soft, but the minde with hard meats: The Falconer keeps his hawk sharp that would flye vvell; and the horses are breath'd, and dieted, that vvould vvin the bell, and the vvager. Sampson vvas not so strong, nor David so holy, nor Solomon so vvise, as not to be foyl∣ed vvith these assaults. It vvas one straine in Moses his song,*Iesurun is waxed fat and kicked; Thou didst drink of the pure blood of the grape: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatnesse: then he for∣sook God that made him, and lightly e∣steemed the rock of his salvation. How many brave hopes have vvee knovvn dashed vvith youthly ex∣cesse? how many high, and gal∣lant spirits effeminated? HannibalPage 91 could complaine that he brought men into Campania,* but carryed women out againe. Who ever knew any man that by the super∣fluity of earthly contentments grew more wise, more learned, more vertuous, more devout? Whereas it is no rare thing to finde those, whom a strait and hard hand hath improved in all these;*It is better to goe to the house of mourning, saith Solomon, then to goe to the house of feasting: Sorrow is better then laughter, for by the sad∣nesse of the countenance the heart is made better. If Iobs children do but meet at a kinde banquet, their fa∣ther is faine to expiate their feast with sacrifice; for seldome is ever jollity without excesse; where∣as in a sad austerity there is no Page 92 feare of over-lashing.
Thirdly, as there is no profit in the immoderation of these mo∣mentany pleasures, so no little pain in the loose: This hony-bagge hath ever a sting attending it; so as we are commonly plagued (as Bernard well) in that wherein we were mis-delighted. Fishes and fowles are well pleased with their baites, but when the hook or gin seizeth them, they are too late sen∣sible of their misery. I have known potions, that have been very plea∣sant in the mouth, which have wrought churlishly in the guttes; such are these pleasures: What fruit have you (saith the Apostle) in those things whereof ye are now asha∣med?* The world deales with too many (as our Bromiard observes) Page 93 like a bad neighbour, that makes a man drunk purposely, to defeat him of his purse or patrimony, when the liquor is evaporated, the man awakes, and findes himselfe a beggar: Could we foresee the issue of these sinfull delights, we durst not but fall off. Had any man be∣fore-hand said, Death is in the pot, which of the children of the Prophets durst have been so hardy as to put in his spoone? It vvas a good answer of a vvell mea∣ning novice, vvho vvhen he vvas told because that hee was ten∣der and delicate, he could never in∣dure the hardship of a strict pro∣fession, answered, Yes, I will there∣fore indure it the rather, for being so tender and delicate, much lesse shall I be able to indure the paines of hell.Page 94 Could vve then fore-consider the everlasting torments, vvhich at∣tend the momentany pleasures of sin; We vvould say to the best and most plausible of them, as Sir Tho∣mas is reported to have said to his vvife,*Gentle Eve I will none of your apple: and would be loth (as that Philosopher said in the like case) to buy repentance (yea torment) at so deare a rate.
§. XI. Of the mo•eration of our desires in matter of wealth and honour, &c.
NExt to the moderation of our pleasures is that of our desires, if not rather before it; for whereas there are three acts of our Page 95 sensitive appetite, in respect of good, loving, desiring, delight: Love makes way to our desires, and de∣light followes it; but because the desires we now speak of, are ra∣ther covetous, then love-some; of outward abilities, rather then bo∣dily pleasures, we cannot repent of this order of their tractation. And surely, of the two, our desires are much more insatiable and boundlesse then our delights.* A gluttons belly is much sooner fil∣led then his eye: For that only can quiet the appetite of an intel∣lectuall nature,* which is all and infinitely good; all other things doe rather whet then satiate our longings. All this sensible world (as Gerson well) is but as one little morsell to the stomach of the soul, Page 96 and if a thousand worlds could be let downe they cannot fill it;* for the minde is by receiving en∣larged to receive more; and still cryes like the daughters of the horse-leech, Give, Give. Every soule (as St. Austin wittily) is either Christs spouse,* or the Divels harlot: I adde, if Christs spouse, she takes up with him,*and accounts all things in the world but dung, yea but losse in compa∣rison of him: If the Divells harlot, she runs wilde after every gaudy pleasure, and profit; like the bar∣ren womb,* in Solomon, which ne∣ver saith, It is enough. So then the true Christian soule, as it can say with David,*whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is nothing in earth that I desire besides thee; so it can say Page 97 with St. Paul,*I have learned both to want and to abound, to be full and to be hungry, and in whatsoever estate to be therewith content. Our desires therefore are both the surest mea∣sures of our present estate, and the truest prognosticks of our future: Vpon those words of Solomon, As the tree falls so it shall lie, Bernard wittily, How the tree will fall thou shalt soone know by the store, and weight of the boughes; Our boughes are our desires, on which side soever they grow and sway most, so shall the soule fall. It was a word too good for him that sold his birth-right for a messe of pottage, I have enough my brother: Iacob himselfe could have said no more; this moderation ar∣gues a greater good then it selfe; for as nothing comes amisse to Page 98 that man who holds nothing e∣nough,* (since the love of mony is the root of all evill) so he that can stint his desires is canon-proofe against tentations; whence it is that the best and wisest men have still held themselves shortest: Even he that had more then enough, could say, Give me not over-much. Who knowes not the bare feet and pat∣ched cloaks of the famous Philo∣sophers amongst the heathen?*Plu∣tarch wonders at Cato, that being now old, and having passed both a Consul-ship and Triumph, he never wore any garment that ex∣ceeded the worth of an hundred pence. It was the wish of learned Erasmus, after the refused offers of great preferments, that he might so order his expences, that he Page 99 might make all eaven at his death; so as when he dyed, he might be out of every mans debt, and might have only so much mony left, as might serve to bring him honest∣ly to his grave: And it was little otherwise (it seemes) with the painfull and eminent Master Cal∣vin, who after all his power and prevalence in his place, was found at his death to be worth some forty pounds sterling; a summe which many a Master gives his groome for a few yeares service: Yea, in the very chaire of Rome,* (vvhere a man vvould least look to meet vvith moderation) vve finde Clement 4. vvhen he would place out his two daughters, gave to the one thirty pounds in a Nun∣nery, to the other three hundred Page 100 in her marriage;* And Alexander the 5. who was chosen Pope in the Councell of Pisa, had vvont to say he was a rich Bishop, a poore Cardinall,* and a beggarly Pope: The extreame lowlinesse of Cele∣stine the 5. who from an Anacho∣rets cell was fetcht into the Chaire, (and gave the name to that Order) was too much noted to hold long; he that would onely ride upon an asse; (whiles his successors mount on shoulders) soone walks on foot to his desert, and thence to his prison.* This man was of the diet of a brother of his, Pope Adrian, who caused it to be written on his grave, that nothing fell out to him in all his life more unhappily, then that hee was advanced to rule: These are, I confesse, meer Hetero∣clites Page 101 of the Papacy; the common rule is otherwise;* to let passe the report which the Archbishop of Lions made in the Councel of Ba∣sil of those many Millions,* which in the time of Pope Martin came to the Court of Rome out of France alone; and the yearely summes registred in our Acts, which out of this Iland flew thi∣ther, above the Kings revenues: we know in our time what mil∣lions of gold Sixtus 5. who chan∣ged a neat-heards cloak for a Fran∣ciscans cowle,* (and therefore by vertue of his order might touch no silver) raked together in five yeares space. The story is famous of the discourse betwixt Pope In∣nocent the 4. and Thomas Aquinas; When that great Clerk came to Page 102 Rome, and looked somewhat a∣mazedly upon the masse of Plate, and treasure which he there saw; Lo, said the Pope, you see, Thomas, we cannot say as S. Peter did of old, Silver and gold have I none; No, said Aquinas, neither can you com∣mand as he did, the lame man to arise and walk. There was not more difference in the wealth of the time,* then in the vertue. It was an heroicall word of S. Paul; As having all things, yet possessing nothing; and a resolution no lesse, that ra∣ther then he would be put down by the brag of the false-teachers a∣mong the Corinthians, he would lay his fingers to the stitching of skins for Tent-making. What speak I of these meannesses,* when he tells us of holy men, that wan∣dred Page 103 about in sheep-skins, and goats skins, in deserts, and moun∣tains, and caves of the earth? Yea what doe I fall into the mention of any of these, when I heare the Lord of life, the God of glory, who had the command of earth, and heaven, say, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the ayre haue nests, but the son of man hath not where to lay his head? It was a base and unworthy imputation, that hath been cast upon him by some ignorant fa∣vourers of wilfull poverty, that he lived upon pure almes. If our bles∣sed Saviour, and his train had not a common stock, wherefore was Iudas the purse-bearer? and why in that office did he repine at the costly oyntment bestowed upon his Master, as that which might Page 104 have been sold for 300, pence to the use of the poore, if himselfe had not wont to be a receiver of the like summes in a pretence of distribution? wherein had he been a thiefe, if he had not both wont, and meant to lurch out of the common Treasury? Certainly, he that said, It is better to giue then to re∣ceive, would not faile of the bet∣ter, and take up with the worse: and he who sent his Cators to Sichem to buy meat,* would not goe upon trust with Samaritans: Now, he that shall aske how this stock should arise, may easily think that he vvho commanded the fish to bring him tribute-mo∣ny, had a thousand vvayes to make his owne provision: Amongst vvhich, this is cleare and eminent; Page 105 His chosen vessel could say,*Even so the Lord hath ordained that they which preach the Gospell, should live of the Gospell. Lo this was Christs owne ordination, was it not there∣fore his practice? and if any man would rather cast it upon our Sa∣viours care for the provision of succeeding times, he may soone learne, that when the blessed Son of God sent his Disciples as Le∣gates from his own side, to preach the Gospell, without scrip, or mo∣ny, the word was, dignus est, The labourer is worthy of his wages: he saith not, The begger is vvorthy of his almes: This maintenance vvas not of beneficence, but duty: So as Salmeron observes well,* neither Christ nor his Apostles were in a∣ny vvant; they earned what they Page 106 had, and they had what was suffi∣cient: And if that gracious Messi∣ah beg'd water of the Samaritan woman, at Iacobs vvell, it vvas be∣cause he thirsted after the salvation of her, and her neighbours; and vvould take this occasion to be∣stow upon them the vvaters of life, vvhich they had not other∣vvise knowne, or desired; I heare vvhere he askt for vvater, a com∣mon element, and that for vvhich the giver vvas no whit the poorer, I vvould faine heare vvhere hee askt for bread, vvhere for meat: I find vvhere he gave bread more then once, to thousands, and fish to boot; but where ever did he ask a morsell, or finne? shortly then, he vvho could have commanded all the pomp and royalty of the Page 107 whole world, would appeare in the forme of a servant, that he might sanctifie a meane and moderate condition to us. It is true, there can bee no certaine proportion of our either having, or desiring; since the conditions of men are in a vast difference; for that coat which is too bigge for a dwarfe, will not so much as come upon a Giants sleeve: and it is but just and lawfull for every man to affect so much, as may bee sufficient, not only for the necessi∣ty of his person, but for the decen∣cy of his estate; the neglect where∣of may be sordid, and deservedly taxable. It is said of Gregory the great, that he sharply reproved Paschafius Bishop of Naples; for that he used to walk down to the Page 108 Sea-side, attended only with one or two of his Clergy, without that meet port which his place re∣quired. Surely, he that goeth be∣low himself, disparageth his voca∣tion, and whiles he would seeme humble, is no other then carelesse: But all things considered, he that can cut eavenest betweene want and excesse, is in the safest, easiest, happiest estate:* A truth, which if it were duely entertained, would quit mens hearts of a world of vexation, which now they doe willingly draw upon themselves; for he that resolves to be rich, and great, as he must needs fall into many snares of sin, so into mani∣fold distractions of cares. It was a true word of wise Bion, in La∣ertius, who when he was asked, Page 109 what man lived most unquietly, answered, He that in a great estate affects to be prosperous: In all ex∣perience, he that sets too high a pitch to his desires, lives upon the rack; neither can be loosed, till he remit of his great thoughts, and resolve to clip his wings and train, and to take up with the present. Very seasonable and witty was that answer, which Cyneas in the story gave to ambitious Pyrrhus, when that great Conqueror be∣gan speech of his designes: Well, said Cyneas, when thou hast van∣quished the Romans, vvhat vvilt thou then doe? I will then (said Pyrrhus) saile over to Sicily; And vvhat wilt thou doe, said Cyneas, vvhen that is vvon? then vvill vve said Pyrrhus, subdue Africk; Well, Page 110 and when that is effected, vvhat vvilt thou (said Cyneas) then doe? Why then, said Pyrrhus, we vvill sit downe and spend the rest of our time merrily, and contented∣ly: And vvhat hinders thee, said Cyneas, that vvithout all this la∣bour & perill, thou canst not now doe so before-hand? Certainly, nothing lies crosse the vvay of our contentation, but our owne thoughts; and those the all-wise God leaves there on purpose for the just torture of great hearts. It vvas a truly Apostolicall, and di∣vine counsell that the chosen ves∣sell gives to his Hebrewes;*Let your conversation be without covetous∣nesse; and be content with such things as ye have: vvhich unto his Timo∣thy he limits to food and rayment;*Page 111 and backs it irrefragably with a reason fetcht from our first and last estate;*For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certaine wee shall carry nothing out. Lo, wee begin and end vvith nothing;* and no lesse then all can sate us vvhile vve are: Oh the infinite avarice and ambition of men! the Sea hath both bottome, and bounds, the heart of man hath neither. There are those, as our Bromiard ob∣serves, who in a faire pretence of mor∣tification, like soaring Kites,*flie up from the earth, and cry, Fie, Fie, in their flight, as if they scorned these lower vanities, and yet when they have done, stoop upon the first carrion that comes in their eye: False Phari∣sees that under the colour of long prayers devoure widowes hou∣ses; Page 112 Pharisaicall votaries that un∣der colour of wilfull poverty,* sweep away vvhole Countries in∣to their Corban. Amongst the very Mahumetans under the name of sanctity, the Scirifii in Africk, in our very age, the sonnes of Scirifius Hascenus, desire no more patrimo∣ny from their father, but a drum, and an ensigne; and thus furni∣shed,* (religion being their sole pretext) they run away with the large kingdomes of Fez, and Mo∣rocco. And what other spirit pos∣sessed Fryer Campanella, a poore Dominican in our time, who durst think of changing his cowle for a crowne, ayming at no lesse in his secret treaty with the Turks, then the now divided Empire of Italy? How no lesse rise then insa∣tiable Page 113 are these desires of men? One plots for a Lordship, another for a Coronet. One hath swal∣lowed a crozier, another a Scep∣ter; a third a Monarchy, and a fourth all these: Of all the ambi∣tions that have come to my no∣tice,* I doe most wonder at that of Maximilian the first, who being Emperour affected also to be Pope; and for that purpose, in his letter written to the Baron of Lich∣tenstein, offered the summe of three hundred thousand Ducats, besides the pawne of foure rich and preci∣ously stuffed chests, together with the sumptuous pall of his Princely investiture; vvhereof (said he) af∣ter we are seized of the Papacy, vve shall have no further use: Though vvhy not (saith Ware∣mundus) Page 114 as vvell as Pope Boniface the eight,* vvho girded vvith his sword, and crowned vvith an Imperiall Diadem came abroad magnificently amongst the people and could openly professe, I am both Caesar and Pope. Vaine men! whi∣ther doe our restlesse desires carry us, unlesse grace and wiser thoughts pineon their wings? Which if vve doe seriously affect; there is a double remedy of this immoderation; The first is the due consideration of our owne condition, both in the shortnesse and ficklenesse of our life, and the length and vveight of our recko∣ning. Alas, if all the vvorld were mine, how long could I injoy it? Thou foole, this night shall they take away thy soule, as vvas said to the Page 115 rich projector in the parable, and then whose shall all these things bee? Were I the great King of Babylon, vvhen I see the hand writing my destiny upon the vvall, vvhat should I care for the massie bowls of my cupboord, or the golden roofe of my Palace? vvhat foole vvas ever fond of the orient co∣lours of a bubble? vvho ever vvas at the cost to gild a mud-vvall? or to embroyder that tent vvhich he must remove to morrow? Such is my condition here; I must al∣ter, it cannot. It is the best cere∣mony that I could note in all the pack of those Pontificall rites, that an herald burnes tovve before the nevv Pope in all the height of his pomp, and cryes Holy Father, thus passes the glory of the world: Thus, Page 116 even thus indeed, the glory passes; the account passes not so soon: It is a long reckoning that remaines to be made for great receipts: for vve are not the owners; vve are the baylifes or stewards of our vvhole estates: In the day of our great Au∣dit, there is not one peny but must be calculated; and vvhat can the greatnesse of the summe (passed through our hands) then availe us, other then to adde difficulty to the computation, and danger to the accountant? When Death shall come roughly to us in the style that Benedict did to Totilaes ser∣vant,*Lay downe that thou bearest, for it is not thine owne; and the great Master of the universall family of the world shall call us to a redde rationem, for all that we have recei∣ved; Page 117 Woe is me,* what pleasure shall it be to me that I had much? What is the poore horse the better for the carriage of a rich sumpter all day, when at night he shall lie downe with a galled back? I heare him that wished to live Croesus, wishing to die a beggarly Cynick, that was not worth his shroud: The cheare goes downe well, till it come to the shot; when that goes too deep, vve quarrell at our excesse. Oh our madnesse to doat upon our future repentance!
The second remedy, is the due consideration of the object of our desires: Alas, vvhat poore stuffe is this vvherewith vve are transpor∣ted? what is the most preciovs me∣tall of either colour, but thick clay,* as the maker himself calls it? What Page 118 is the largest territory but an insen∣sible spot of contemptible earth? what are the greatest commands, but a glorious servitude? what the highest offices, but golden fetters? vvhat the highest titles, but aire and sound? And if the fond minds of worldlings can set other glosses on these bewitching content∣ments, yet, as when a man that hath eaten saffron, breathes upon a painted face, he presently descryes and shames the false complexion; so when the truly rationall and ju∣dicious shall come to spend his thoughts upon the best, and all of these garish and glittering allure∣ments, he shall speedily detect their vanity, and bewray their dis∣sembled unworthinesse.
§. XII. The moderation of our passions: and therein first of our sorrow.
THe moderation of our passions challengeth the next roome; In the pursuit whereof (since their variety is great) it were easie to passe our bounds; but we shall moderate our discourse, and select some of the most impe∣tuous: As for love and joy, they have so much affinity with plea∣sure and delight whereof we have already treated, that we shall spare the labour of their further men∣tion.
Sorrow shall take the first Page 118〈1 page duplicate〉Page 119〈1 page duplicate〉Page 120 place; a passion that hath beene guilty of much blood. We have read and heard of some few, that have dyed of joy; as Chilon of Spar∣ta, when he imbraced his sonne returning with honour;* and Cli∣demus the Athenian, when he was crowned by the Players; these Tertullian instances in; So Pope Leo the tenth (if we beleeve Iovius) is said to dye for the joy of taking Millaine; so Senas the Generall of the Turkish gallies, dyed for the joy of the returne of that sonne, whom he had given for lost; It was with these, as with them, whom we have seene choaked with those cordiall waters, which they have received for the remedy of their qualmes: But our expe∣rience tells us of a thousand for Page 121 one, that have beene kill'd with griefe: Not perhaps in a sudden violence (which kinde of death Caesar esteemed more easie) but in a lingring, and languishing forme of murder;*for a broken spirit dry∣eth and bones, saith Solomon;*and by the sorrow of the heart, the spirit is bro∣ken. This is our childs part which was beset us in Paradise be∣fore we were: By the mothers side, In sorrow shalt thou bring forth; By the fathers, In sorrow shalt thou eat of it, all the dayes of thy life: Sor∣row in birth, sorrow in life, and in death sorrow. The shadow doth not more inseparably follow the body, then this doth our exi∣stence; so as he that meant to say Thrice miserable, mistooke not much, when he said, Thrice man.*Page 122 If we look upon those who have had the greatest share in Gods love, we shall finde them to have drunk deepest of this cup. The great mirrour of patience can say,*My bowels boyled and rested not; the dayes of affliction prevented me. I went mourning without the Sun; I am a brother to Dragons, and a companion to owles. And the sweet singer of Israel warbles out sad straines of complaint,* in this kinde; The sor∣rowes of death compassed me about,*and the paines of hell gat hold on me;* And againe,*My soule melts for very heavinesse.*Esay cryes out of his loynes;*Ieremy of his bowells; and good Ezekiah chatters like a Crane or Swallow, and mournes like a Dove. What speak I of these, when I hear the Lord of life and glory say, My Page 123 soule is exceeding heavy,*even to the death.
Now this sorrow is ever out of the sense of some evill: Evill, whe∣ther of sin, or of punishment; Of sinne, whether of others, or our owne. Punishment, as bodily sicknesse, death of friends, world∣ly losses; all these are just grounds of sorrow.*Rivers of waters run downe mine eyes, because they keep not thy law, saith holy David. And doe we not think he sorrowed more for his owne sinnes?*There is no rest in my bones, saith he, because of my sinne, And all the night long I make my bed to swim; I water my couch with my teares.
Punishment doth not more ne∣cessarily follow upon sinne, then sorrow followes punishment; Page 124Davids eye is consumed because of his griefe.*Ezekiah turnes him to the wall and weeps; And whiles St. Paul chargeth not to mourn immoderatly for the dead, he supposeth just teares due: Gar∣ments were allowed to be torne by Gods people at the death of friends; and at the Parents death, after thirty dayes wearing, it was their guise to lay downe those rent garments, never to be sowne up againe; wee pitty and grieve at the childishnesse of those inno∣cent babes, that can play at wink and hide about their Fathers hearse: And for afflictions, whe∣ther of body or estate, how are they such, if we feele them not? and how doe we feele them, if we sorrow not? The sense of paine Page 125 argues life, as St. Ambrose well.* It is ill taken by the Almighty from his people that he had striken them but they grieved not; this is (what lyes in us) to disappoint God of his purpose; and to put our selves into the posture of Solo∣mons drunkard;*They have striken me (doth he say) and I was not sick, they have beaten me, and I felt it not; we are wont to censure that child for stubborne and gracelesse, that sheds no teares when he is whip∣ped: It cannot be well with us, if vve sorrow not; Blessed are they that mourne. But there are certaine just conditions and cautions of our griefe, vvhich vve cannot ex∣ceed or neglect, vvithout offence both to God, and to our selves.*
Whereof the first shall be, that Page 126 the cause of our sorrow be just: not fancied, not insufficient; For vve have knowne some that have brew'd their owne griefe, vvho vvith Simeon Stylites have volunta∣rily chained up themselves in their owne pillar, vvhen they might have enjoyed free scope of com∣fortable liberty. How many me∣lancholique peeces have vvith meere imaginations made their lives miserable, and vvorne out their dayes in the bitternesse of their soule; only out of those conceits vvhich the by-standers have hooted at, as either impossi∣ble, or ridiculous? One thinkes himselfe loathsomly deformed, another disgraced and infamous; a third dying or dead: One thinks himselfe transmuted into some Page 127 beast: another possessed by some ill spirit. What forme cannot this humour put on? I leave these kind of complainants to good counsell and Ellebore. Others there are, who have indeed reall crosses, but farre below their sorrow, passio∣nately lamenting even small af∣flictions: so we have seene a child, when he hath taken a heedlesse and harmlesse fall, bewray his griefe with loud crying, and in a foolish anguish knocking his head against that ground, which he accuseth for his miscarriage: Thus we finde certain Armenians,* styled of old by the name of Cha∣zinzarii, who kept a yearely fast, called Arzibur, in the sad memory of the dogge of Sergius, their Mar∣tyr, (of that name) devoured by Page 128 a wolfe; which attendant of his, was wont to goe before his Ma∣ster, and by some dumb signes, call forth the disciples to their de∣votions: It was an affliction to Rachel that she had no children,* but she had no reason so to be affe∣cted with it, as to say, Give me chil∣dren, or else I dye: Ionah had cause to be sorry for the losse of his Gourd, but he had no reason to say, It is better for me to dye then to live: These dispositions are like unto a new cart, which screaks, and cryes, even whiles it hath no burden but his owne wheeles, whereas that which is long used, and well liquored, goes silently a∣way with an heavy load.
*Our second caution therefore must be, that even our just sorrow Page 129 be moderate; for the quantity, not more then enough.* It was a rule of the Lycians (as St. Ambrose tells us) if a man would mourn above his stint, to put him into a womans habit;* we may mourne for the dead, but not as men without hope: David mournes, at least enough,* for his sick childe, but when hee perceives it once dead, he riseth up, and washeth, anointeth and refresheth himselfe, and changeth his apparell, and comes into the Lords house to worship. Hath good Melaina lost her husband,* and her children at once? her teares are just, but she dries them up at last with this resolution, that she shall now the more freely be∣take her selfe to her devotion. Have we lost our worldly goods? Page 130 they had not beene goods, if they vvere not vvorth our griefe for their miscarriage; if, as our riches have wings, they be flowne up to heaven, (being taken away by the same hand that gave them) it is good reason our sorrow should give way to our submission and obedience: and we should say vvith Iob, The Lord hath given, and the Lord hath taken, blessed bee the name of the Lord. As then on the one side we may not so obdure our selves, as to be like the Spartan boyes, vvhich would not so much as change a countenance at their beating; so on the other side, vve may not be like to those Anticks of stone, vvhich vve see carved out under the end of great beams in vast buildings, vvhich seeme Page 131 to make vvry and vvrencht faces, as if they vvere hard put to it, vvith the vveight, vvhen as indeed they beare little or nothing.
Our third Caution is, that the measure of this sorrow be propor∣tioned, vvhether it be more or lesse, according to the cause of the sorrow; for it may be so mode∣rate, as to be unproportionable. Griefe for crosses should be small, and impassionate; griefe for sin can hardly be too much: and as those crosses, and those sins differ in degree, so should the degrees of our sorrow; he therefore that grieves more for a crosse, then for his sinne; or grieves equally for a small crosse and a greater, offends in the undue proportion of his sorrow: Shortly then, there is a Page 132 worldly sorrow, and there is a spirituall; both which must know their just limits; right reason and true Philosophy teaches the one, the other Divinity.
I have lost my goods; were they mine first? perhaps I was but their keeper, or bearer, not their owner; I see the groom that keeps the horse is not much troubled to flea him; what doth he lose but his labour in tending him? What was the mule in Plutarch, after his lying down in the water, troubled with the melting of that burden of salt, which he carryed? or what paines is it to the silly asse, that the treasure which he bore is taken off, and laid up in his Masters chest?
I see many sweating in the mint Page 133 upon severall imployments, they have money enough under their hands, what are they the richer? or doe they greeve to see it carryed away in full sacks from their fin∣gering? My goods are lost; were they not only lent me for a time, till they should be called for? were they not delivered into my hands, only to be paid back upon account? if the owner require them at his day, what harme is done? so that my reckoning bee eaven, how can I complaine to be eased of a charge?
I have lost my goods by ship∣wrack; It is well that my selfe have escaped; how have I heard and read of Philosophers, who have voluntarily cast their gold into the Sea; the windes have Page 134 done that for me, which their hands did for themselves? per∣haps that very wealth had beene my undoing, which at least, can doe no harme where it is; why did I trust such friends as winde and water, if I did not looke to be disappointed?
I have lost my goods by casu∣alty of fire; even that casualty was not without a providence: He that sent that fire, meant to try me by it; he had not sent it, but that he knew there was drosse of worldlinesse and corruption to be thus purged out of me: It is a worse flame that I have deserved; and if by this lesser and momenta∣ny fire, the mercy of God hath meant to prevent that greater, and everlasting, I have reason (as the Page 135 Martyrs were wont) to embrace the flame.
I have lost my goods by robbe∣ry, cosenage, oppression; I would be loth to be in his case that hath thus found them: Let him mourn that hath thus purchased a curse: for me, I have but forceably trans∣ferred my charge, where it will be wofully audited for. It is all one to me whether it be fire, or water, or fraud, or violence that hath rob∣bed me; there is one and the same hand of God in all these events: let me kisse that hand which strikes me with these varieties of rods, and I shall say, It is good for me that I was afflicted.
My friend, my wife, my child is dead; say rather they are depar∣ted: I can scarce allow it to be a Page 136 death, where they decease well: prosectio est,*quam tu putas mortem, as Tertullian of old. It is a meere departure of those partners which must once meet, and from those friends which must soone follow and overtake us. Sorrow is so proper for a funerall that the Jews were wont to hire mourners, ra∣ther then they would want them: Even our blessed Saviour bestow∣ed teares upon the Exequies of him, whom he meant presently to raise: it is not for us to be too niggardly of this warme dew; but those teares which are shed at the decease of good soules, should be like those drops of raine which fall in a Sun-shine, mixed with rayes of comfort. Let them put no stint to their sorrow who Page 137 think there is no rest, no happi∣nesse after death: but for us,* who know death to be only the end of our life, not of our being; yea rather the change of a better life for worse; we have reason to dry up our teares, and in some sort to imitate the patterne of those nati∣ons, which were wont to mourne at the birth of their children, and rejoyce and feast at their death: a practise, which in part was taken up by the Jewes themselves,* who with their mourners mixed also musitians in their Funerall ban∣quets, and countenanced by great and wise Solomon, The day of death is better then ones birth day.
Shortly then, I have parted with a good child, but to a better Father, to a more glorious patri∣mony: Page 138 whether now is the childs gaine, or the Fathers losse greater? and what can it be but selfe-love that makes me more sensible of my owne losse,* then my childes glory? It is my weaknesse there∣fore, if I doe not either swallow, or stifle my sorrow.
I have lost my health and am seized with sicknesse and paine: This, this, next to death is the King of sorrowes; all earthly crosses vaile to it, and confesse themselves trifles in comparison:* what ease can I now find in good vvords more then Callicon found to his head in that chaffe, vvhere∣with he stuffed his earthen pitcher, vvhich he made his pillow? vvhiles the thorne is ranckling in my foot, vvhat ease can I finde in Page 139 a poultesse? Know, O weak man, there is that in a Christian heart vvhich is a more then sufficient cordiall against sicknesse, paines, death, and that can triumph over the vvorst extremities. This is the victory, vvhich overcomes a vvorld (of miseries) even our faith.*Not so only (saith the chosen vessell) but we glory or rejoyce in tri∣bulations: For, lo, our faith is it vvhich puts true constructions upon our paines. Health it self vvould not be vvelcome to us, if we did not know it good; and if vve could be perswaded that sick∣nesse were good, or better for us, vvhy should not that be equally vvelcome? It vvas a good speech of that Hermite, vvho vvhen he heard a man praying vehemently Page 140 for the removall of his disease, said, (Fili, rem tibi necessariam abjicere audes?) Alas, sonne, you goe about to be rid of a necessary commodity. The Christian heart knowes it is in the hands of him who could as easily avert evill, as send it; and whose love is no lesse, then his power; and therefore resolves, he could not suffer, if not for the better. The parent is indulgent to his child, were his love well impro∣ved; if he would not suffer his son to be let blood in a plurifie, whiles the Physitian knowes he dyes if he bleed not? An ignorant pesant hath digg'd up a lump of pretious Ore,* doe we not smile at him, if he be unwilling the finer should put it into the fire? The presse is prepared for the grapes and O∣lives, Page 141 and (as Austin well) neither of them will yeeld their comfor∣table and wholsome juyce with∣out an hard strayning; would not that fond Manichee make him∣selfe ridiculous, that should sor∣bid to gather, much more to wring them? Shortly then, am I visited with sicknesse? it is not for me (like a man that is over∣loaded with too heavy a burden) to make ill faces; but to stir up my Christian resolution, and to pos∣sesse my soule in patience, as well knowing that the vessell that would be fit for Gods cup-board, must be hammered with many stroakes; the corne for Gods table must passe under the sickle, the flayle, the mill; the spices for Gods perfume must be bruised and bea∣ten.
Page 142In •umme; worldly crosses cannot affect us with too deepe sorrow, if we have the grace and leasure to turne them round, and view them on all sides; for if we finde their face sowre, and grisly, their back is comely and beauti∣full: No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous,* but grie∣vous; neverthelesse, afterward it yeeldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousnesse unto them which are exercised thereby: wherefore lift up the hands which hang downe, and the feeble knees.
§. XIII. Of spirituall sorrow and the moderati∣on thereof.
NOt so rise, but more painfull is the spirituall sorrow, vvhether for the sense of sinnes, or the vvant of grace.* This is that which the Apostle styles (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) a godly sorrow, vvork∣ing repentance to salvation, not to be repented of: the tears vvhereof, the Almighty puts up in his bot∣tle, and keeps them for most preti∣ous, it is seldome vvhen this griefe exceeds; too many are so afraid of enough, that they are vvilling to learne of their confessors,* that a Page 144 meere velleity of sorrow is suffici∣ent to true repentance: But give me not an attrition, but a contriti∣on of heart; give me a drouping head, red eyes, blubbered cheeks, a macerated body met vvith a pen∣sive soule, give me sackcloth and ashes, fastings, watchings, prostra∣tions, ejulations, vvhen I have offended my God; and let me bee let loose to my free sorrow:*Let me be in bitternesse (as Zechariah expresses it) as one that is in bitter∣nesse for his only sonne. Not, but that it is possible to drink too deep of this bitter cup: We have known those, who have pined themselves away, in a continuall heavinesse, refusing all possible meanes of comfort, out of a sense of their sinnes, vvhose vvhole life hath Page 145 beene like a gloomy winters day, all over-cast vvith clouds, vvithout the least glimpse of a Sun shine; vve have seene them that have thus lived and dyed disconsolate, raving, despairing: Experience makes this so true, that we may well conclude, that even the best spirituall sorrow must be modera∣ted, the worst shunned; every sorrow for sinne is not good: there is a sorrow that lookes at the punishment through the sinne, not regarding the offence; but the smart of evill; this would not care for the frowne of God, if he vvould not strike, as that vvhich indeed feares not God; but hell; as that vvhich apprehends only lashes and torm•nts: this is inci∣dent even to divells, and damned Page 146 soules; all vvhich cannot but na∣turally abhorre paine and torture: What malefactor vvas ever in the vvorld, that vvas not troubled to thinke of his execution? There is a sorrow that lookes not at the punishment, but the sinne, regar∣ding, not so much the deserved smart, as the offence; that is more troubled with a Fathers frowne, then with the whip in a strangers hand; with the desertions of God, then with the feare of an hell: Under this sorrow, and some∣times perhaps under the mixture of both, doth God suffer his dea∣rest ones to dwell for a time, numbring all their teares, and sighes, recording all their knocks on their breasts, and stroakes on their thighes, and shakings of Page 147 their heads, and taking pleasure to view their profitable, and at last happy self-conflicts.
It is said of Anthony the holy Hermite, that having beene once in his desart, beaten and buffeted by Divells, he cryed out to his Saviour (O bone Iesu ubi eras?) O good Iesus where wert thou, whil•s I was thus handled? and received answer, Iuxta te, sed expectavi cer∣tamen tuum: I was by thee, but stayed to see how thou wouldest behave thy selfe in the combat. Surely, so doth our good God to all his:* he pas∣seth a (videndo vidi) upon all their sorrowes,*and will at last give an happy issue with the temptation; In the meane time it cannot but con∣cerne us, to temper this mixed sor∣row of ours with a meet modera∣tion: Page 148 Heare this then thou drou∣ping soul, thou are dismayed with the haynousnesse of thy sinnes, and the sense of Gods anger for them; dost thou know with whom thou hast to doe?* hast thou heard him proclaim his own style? The Lord, the Lord, mercifull and gratious, long suffering, and abun∣dant in goodnesse and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniqui∣ties and transgressions, and sinnes; and canst thou distrust that infi∣nite goodnesse? Lo, if there were no mercy in heaven, thou couldst not be otherwise affected; Looke up and see that glorious light that shines about thee;*With the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plen∣tious redemption. And is there plen∣tious redemption for all, and Page 149 none for thee? Because thou hast wronged God in his justice, wilt thou more wrong him in his mercy? and because thou hast wronged him in both, wilt thou wrong thy selfe in him? Know, O thou weak man,* in what hands thou art. He that said, Thy mercy O Lord is in the heavens, and thy faith∣fulnesse reacheth unto the clouds; said also,*Thy mercy is great above the heavens, and thy truth reacheth unto the clouds. It is a sure comfort to thee, that he cannot faile in his faithfulnesse and truth; thou art upon earth, and these reach above thee, to the clouds, but if thy sinnes could be so great and high, as to o∣ver-look the clouds, yet his mercy is beyond them, for it reacheth unto heaven; and if they could in Page 150 an hellish presumption reach so high as heaven, yet his mercy is great above the heavens; higher then this they cannot. If now thy hainous sinnes could sink thee to the bottome of hell, yet that mer∣cy which is above the heavens, can fetch thee up againe: Thou art a grievous sinner; we know one that said he was the chiefe of sinners, who is now one of the prime Saints in heaven: Looke upon those whom thou must confesse worse then thy selfe: Cast back thine eyes but upon Manasseh,* the lewd son of an holy Parent; See him rearing up Altars to Baal, worshipping all the host of heaven, building Altars for his new Gods, in the very courts of the house of the Lord▪ causing Page 151 his sonnes to passe through the fire, trading with witches, and wicked spirits, seducing Gods people to more then Amoritish wickednesse, filling the streets of Jerusalem with innocent bloud: say if thy sinne can be thus crim∣son; yet, behold this man a no lesse famous example of mercy then wickednesse: And what?**is the hand of God shortned that he can∣not now save? Or,*hath the Lord cast off for ever?*and will he be favourable no more?*Is his mercy cleane gone for ever?*hath God forgotten to be graci∣ous? hath he in anger shut up his ten∣der mercies? O man, say justly, on: This is mine infirmity; thine in∣firmity sure enough; and take heed, if thou persist to distrust, that it be not worse: These mis∣prisons Page 152 of God are dangerous; The honour of his mercy is justly deare to him; no marvell if he cannot indure it to be questioned; when the temptation is blowne over, heare what the same tongue sayes,*The Lord is mercifull and gra∣tious, slow to anger, and plentious in mercy. He will not alway chide, neither will he keep his anger for ever: He hath not dealt with us after our sinnes, nor rewarded us after our iniquities: For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy towards them that feare him. Oh then, lay hold on the large, and illimited mercy of thy God, and thou art safe: What cares the debtor for the length of a bill that is crossed? what cares the condemned person for the sentence of death, whiles Page 153 hee hath his pardon sealed in his bosome? Thou art an hai∣nous sinner: Wherefore came thy Saviour? wherefore suffe∣red he? If thy sinne remaine, wherefore serves his bloud? If thy debt bee still called for, wherefore was thine obligation cancelled? If thou be still captive to sin and death, wherefore was that deare ransome paid? why did he stretch forth his blessed hands upon the crosse, but to receive thee? why did he bow downe his head but to invite thee? why vvas his precious side opened, but that he might take thee into his heart? Thou despisest him, if thou trustest him not; Iudas and thou shall sin more in despairing, then in betraying him. Oh then, Page 154 gather heart to thy selfe, from the merits, from the mercies of thine All-sufficient Redeemer, against all thy sinfulnesse: For, who is it that shall be once thy Judge? be∣fore what Tribunall shalt thou appeare, to receive thy sentence? Is it not thy Saviour that sits there? He that dyed for thee, that he might rescue thee from death; shall he, can he doome thee to that death from which he came to save thee? Comfort thy self then with these words, and if thou wouldst keep thy soule in an e∣quall temper, as thou hast two eyes, fixe the one of them upon Gods justice to keep thee low and humble, and to quit thee from presumption: fixe the other upon his transcendent mercy, to keepe Page 155 thee from the depth of sorrow and desperation.
§. XIV. Of the moderation of the Passion of Feare.
SOrrow is for present and felt evils; Feare is onely of evils future: A passion so afflictive, that even the expectation of a doubtful mischief that may come, is more grievous to us sometimes, then the sense of that mischiefe, when it is come.* That which Tor∣quemade reports of a Spanish Lord in his knowledge, I could se∣cond with examples at home, of some, who have been thought Page 156 otherwise valiant, yet, if they had been but locked up in a chamber, would either break the doores, or offer to leap out of the windows; yet not knowing of any danger imminent: And if in an imagina∣ry, or possible evill, feare have these effects, what shall we expect from it in those which are reall and certaine? It is marvellous, and scarce credible, which both histo∣ries and eyes can witnesse in this kinde; Iames Osorius, a young Gen∣tleman of Spaine, born of a noble Family, one of the Courtiers of Charles the fift, being upon occasi∣on of a wicked designe of lust to an honourable Lady, emprisoned, with an intent of his execution the next day, was suddenly so chan∣ged with the feare of the arrest of Page 157 death, that in the morning when he was brought forth, none of the beholders knew him; his haire was turned so white, as if he had been fourescore years old: upon sight whereof, the Empe∣rour pardoned him, as having been enough punished with the fear of that which he should have suffered.*Levinus Lemnius a late Phi∣losopher (in whom my younger age took much delight) recounts the story, and discourses probably upon the naturall reasons of this alteration. The like report is made by Iulius Scaliger, of a Kinsman of Franciscus Gonzaga,* in his time im∣prisoned upon suspition of trea∣son, who with the feare of torture and death, was in one nights space thus changed. And Coelius Rodigi∣nusPage 158 tells us of a Falconer, who climbing up to a rocky hill for an hawks nest, was with the break∣ing of a rope (wherewith he was raised) so affrighted, that instantly his haire turned. What need we more instances? My selfe have seene one, to whom the same ac∣cident was said to have befalne, though now the colour were (up∣on the fall of that weak fleece) al∣tered. What speak we of this? Death it self hath followed some∣times, upon this very fear of death; so as some have dyed lest they should dye. Montague gives us an instance of a Gentleman, at the siege of S. Paul, who fell downe stark dead, in the breach, without any touch of stroke, save what his owne heart gave him: Yea, how Page 159 have we knowne some, that have dyed out of the feare of that, whereof they might have dyed; and yet have escaped? A passenger rideth by night over the narrow plank of an high and broken bridge, and in the morning dyes to see the horror of that fall hee might have had. There is no evill whether true or fancyed, but may be the subject of feare: There may be a Pisander so timorous,* that he is afraid to see his own breath:* and our Florilegus tels us of a Lewes King of France, so afraid of the sea, that he said it was more then an humane matter to crosse the water; and durst not passe be∣twixt Dover and VVhitsands, till he had implored the aid of St. Thomas of Canterbury: but all Page 160 these feares have a relation to that utmost of all terribles; and if other evils, as displeasure, shame, paine, danger, sicknesse, be the usuall sub∣jects of feare also, yet Death is the King of feare: I am of the mind of Lucretius therefore,* although to a better purpose, that if a man would see better dayes, he must free his heart from that slavish fear of death, wherewith it is com∣monly molested. In what a mise∣rable servitude are those men,* whereof Erasmus speaketh to his Grunnius, who so abhorre the thought of death, that they cannot abide the smell of Frankincense, because it is wont to bee used at funeralls? They who are ready to swound at the sight of a coffin; and (if they could otherwise Page 161 choose) could be content not to lie in a sheet, because it recalls the thought of that, wherein they shall be once wrapped? It con∣cerns a wise man to obdure him∣self against these weak feares, and to resolve to meet Death boldly, in the teeth: Nothing is more re∣markable in all the passages of our blessed Saviour, then that which S. Luke records of him,* that when he was to go up (his last) to Jeru∣salem, where he must die, (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) he stedfastly set his face to that fatall journey: The word implyes a resolution of courage against some evill to be conflicted with. Maldonate would have the Metaphor fetcht from the cu∣stome of Bulls, who when they must fight, are wont to fetch up a Page 162 kind of sprightly terrour into their countenance;* at least, it imports a firme purpose of an undaunted spirit to grapple with some fore∣expected evill: thus must wee learne to doe against our last e∣nemie.
Tell me then, thou weak man, thou fearest death: will it not come if thou feare it not? will it come the later for thy feare? Is not thy life thus made miserable be∣fore it come?
Is not this the condition, upon which thou receivedst life, to part with it when it should be called for? art thou discontent at thy be∣ing? dost thou murmur that thou art a man, because therein thou art mortall? Doth any thing befall thee different from the best, and all Page 163 of thy kind? Look back upon all that have been before thee, where are those innumerable numbers of men which peopled the earth but in the last century of yeares? see whether the great Monarches of the world speed any other∣wise: & couldst thou expect lesse, upon the many and sensible war∣nings of thy mortality? what lan∣guage have thy sicknesses, and de∣cayes of nature spoken to thee, but this (of a true harbingers) Death is comming? And how well shouldst thou be pleased with his approach? Say that thou were sen∣tenced to live some hundreds of yeares, with thine infirmities to boot, what a burden wouldst thou be to thy selfe? how more discontented wouldst thou be that Page 164 thou mightst not die? why art thou not as well displeased that thou must be old? And when wouldst thou part that thou mightst avoid it? Thou fearest death; How many heathens have undergone it with courage? Shall I see a bold Roman spurring his horse, to leap down into a dread∣full Gulfe, for the benefit of those from whom he cannot receive thanks? Shall I see a Cleombrotus, casting himselfe resolutely from the rock, to enjoy that separate life of the soule which Plato discour∣sed of? Shall I heare a Canius (of whom Seneca speaks) jeering his tyran, and his death together, and more regarding the victory of his game, then the losse of his life? shall I hear of some Indian wives, Page 165 that affect and glory to cast them∣selves into the fire with the car∣casses of their dead husbands? shall I see Turks filling up ditches with their wilfully-slaughtered bodies, for the fruition of their brutish paradise; And shall I bee cowardly, where Pagans are va∣liant?
Yea, how many have I known that have eagely sought for death and cannot finde it? how many, who upon frivolous occasions by self-dispatches have cast away that life, which they could not other∣wise be rid of? what conceit soe∣ver I have of the price of life, their undervaluation of it hath beene such, that they have parted with it for nothing; they have run to meet that death, which I flie from, Page 166 as formidable and ugly?
Thou fearest death: Look up∣on the examples of those holy men, who have tendered them∣selves to the painfullest martyr∣dome; see Ignatius resolving to challenge the Lions; see the ten∣der virgins, daring the worst cru∣elty of Tyrants, and embracing death in his worst formes; see sil∣ly Mothers, in an ambition of a crowne of life, running with their children in their armes, to over∣take death; see those resolute Saints that might have been loosed from their wheels, and racks, with proffers of life and honour, and scorned the exchange? Doe I pro∣fesse their faith, doe I looke for their glory, and shall I partake nothing of their courage?
Page 167Thou art afraid of death: what a slaughter dost thou make every houre of all other creatures? what meale passeth thee, wherein some of them doe not bleed for thee? yea, not for need, not for use, but for sport, for pleasure, dost thou kill them dayly, without pitty, without scruple: Alas, we made them not, they are our fellowes; he that made us, made them too: How much are we lesse to God, then they are to us? Doe we see so many thousands of them then dye for us, and shall we think much to returne our life to our Creator?
Thou art afraid of death: Thou mistakest him; thou thinkest him an enemy, he is a friend; If his vi∣sage be sowre, and hard, he is no Page 168 other then the grim porter of Para∣radise, which shall let thee into glory: Like unto Peters good Angell, he may smite thee on the side, but he shall lead thee out of thy prison, through the Iron gates into the City of God. Were there an absolute perition in our disso∣lution, we could not feare it too much; now that it doth but part us a while for our advantage, what doe we feare but our gaine? The stalk and eare arises from the graine, but it must rot first: Oh our foolishnesse, if we be unwil∣ling that one grain should putrifie for the increase of an hundred!
Thou art afraid of death: Hast thou well considered from how many evills it acquites thee? All the tumults of State, all the blou∣dy Page 169 cruelties of warre, all the vex∣ations of unquiet neighbours, all secret discontentments of minde, all the tormenting paines of body are hereby eased at once; thou shalt no more complaine of; rack∣ing convulsions, of thy wringing collicks, of the dreadfull quarry that is within thy reynes, and bladder, of thy belking goutes, of thy scalding feavers, of thy gal∣ling ulcers, of the threats of thine Imposthumes, the stoppings of thy strangury, the giddinesse of thy vertigo, or any other of those killing diseases, wherewith thy life was wont to be infested: here is a full Supersedea• for them all; what reason hast thou to be affraid of ease?
Lastly, thou fearest death; Is Page 170 it not that thy Saviour under∣went for thee? did thy blessed redeemer drink of this cup, and art thou no willing to pledge him? His was a bitter one in respect of thine; for it was besides, spieed with the wrath of his Father due to our sinnes; yet he drank it up to the very dregges for thee, and wilt thou shrink at an ordinary drought from his hand? And why did he yeeld to death, but to over∣come him? Why was death suffe∣red to seize upon that Lord of life, but that by dying he might pull out the sting of death?*The sting of death is sinne; So then, death hath lost his sting, now thou mayest carry it in thy bosome; it may coole thee, it cannot hurt thee. Temper then thy feare with these Page 171 thoughts; and that thou mayest not be too much troubled with the sight of death, acquaint thy selfe with him before-hand; pre∣sent him to thy thoughts, enter∣taine him in thy holy and resolute discourses: It was good counsell that Bernard gave to his novice, that he should put himselfe (for his meditations) into the place where the dead body• were wont to be wash•, and to settle himselfe upon the beare, whereon they were wont to be carryed forth: so feeling and frequent re∣membrances could not but make death familiar; and who can star∣tle at the sight of a familiar ac∣quaintance? at a stranger we doe; especially if he come upon us on a sudden; but if hee bee a dayly Page 172 and entire guest, he is at all houres welcome, without our dismay, or trouble.
§. XV. Of the moderation of the passion of anger.
OF all the passions that are incident to a man, there is none so impe∣tuous, or that produ∣ceth so terrible effects, as anger; for besides that intrinsecall mis∣chiefe, which it works upon a mans owne heart, (in regard whereof Hugo said well, Pride robs me of God, envy of my neigh∣bour, anger of my selfe) what bloudy Tragedies doth this pas∣sion Page 173 act every day in the world, making the whole earth nothing but either an Amphitheater for fights, or a shambles for slaughter? so much the more need is there, of an effectuall moderation of so turbulent an affection: Our schoole hath wont to distinguish it; there is a zealous anger,* and there is a vicious: The great Do∣ctor of the Gentiles, when hee sayes, Be angry, and sin not,* showes there may be a sin-lesse anger; He that knew no sinne was not free from this passion, when he whip∣ped the money-changers (twice) out of the Temple: Surely, if we be not thus angry, we shall sinne. If a man can be so coole, as with∣out any inward commotion to suffer Gods honour to be trod in Page 174 the dust, he shall finde God justly angry with him for his want of anger. I know not whether it vvere a praise that was given to Theodosius,* that never any man saw him angry; so as it may fall, an immunity from anger can bee no other then a dull stupidity: Moses was a meek man, as any upon earth; yet, vvas he not an∣gry vvhen he smote the Egyptian? vvas he not angry, vvhen upon the sight of Israels Idolatry, hee threw downe and brake the Ta∣bles of God, vvhich he had in his hand?
There is so little need of quenching this holy fire, that there is more need of a bellowes to blow it up, that it might flame up to that perfect height, of the Page 175 Psalmist,*My zeale hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgot∣ten thy words: Oh the truly hea∣venly fire that burnt in that sacred bosome! he doth not say, my zeale hath warmed me, but hath consumed me; as if it were his highest perfection to be thus sacri∣ficed and burnt to ashes; neither doth he say, because my friends have forgotten thy words, but, Because my enemies: Every man can be troubled with a friends miscarriage, but to be so deeply affected for an enemy, must needs be transcendently gracious. It is the vicious anger we must oppose in our selves: In it selfe that passi∣on is neither good nor evill: it is either, as it is used: Like as we are wont to say of the planet Mercury,Page 176 that the influences are either good or evill, according to his conjun∣ction with starres of either opera∣tion; our anger then proves vici∣ous, when it offends, either in the cause, or the quantity; when the cause is unjust, or the quantity ex∣cessive: The cause is unjust, when we are angry with a man for a thing that is good, for an indiffe∣rent thing, for a thing that is trivi∣all: Kain is angry, because his bro∣thers sacrifice is accepted; Pharaoh was angry with Israel, because they vvould be devout, and goe serve God in the wildernesse: vvhen the man of God reproves Ieroboam and his Altar, he in a rage stretches forth his hand for a re∣venge;*Iehoiakim when he heares some lines of Ieremia•s scroll, cuts Page 177 it vvith a pen-knife and casts it in∣to the fire in a fury; and Ahab professes to hate Michaiah because he never prophesied good to him; whiles he should have hated him∣selfe, that would not deserve any newes but evill: So that Tyran Cambyses, because Praxaspes re∣proved him for his drunkennesse, shoots his son to the heart, and sayes,* See what a steddy hand I have when I am drunk! this we feele every day; Let a man never so discreetly reprove a swearer, or drunkard, or uncleane person, or any other enormious sinner, hee straight flyes out into a raging an∣ger, and verifies the old word, ve∣ritas odium: Am I become your enemy,*because I told you the truth? saith S. Paul to the Galathians: It may Page 178 be possible (which wise Solomon observes) that he who rebukes a man, afterwards, may finde more favour, then he that flattereth: but in the meane time whiles the blood is up, that anger which a man should turne inward upon himselfe for his sin, he spends outwardly upon his reprover: To be angry for good, is devilish; to be angry for that which is neither good nor evill, or that which is sleight and frivolous, is idle and absurd: for whereas anger is a kindling of the blood about the heart, how unfit is it that it should be set on fire with every straw? and wherefore serves our reason, if not to discern of those objects, wherewith it is, or is not, meet for us to be affected? Thus the Jewish Doctors tell us, Page 179 that Pharaoh was angry with his baker and butler, for no other cause, but for that there was a fly in his cup, and a little grain of gra∣vell in his bread: It is our Saviours word upon the Mount,*He that is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the Iudgement: the well governed heart must be like a strong oake, which is not moved but with a blustering winde; not like an aspen leafe, that shakes with the least stirring of the ayre. Now, even where the cause is just, yet the quantity may offend: And the quantity shall offend, if it be either too long, or too vehement.* Those leaden an∣gers can never be but sinfull, which lye heavy, and goe slowly away. What shall be done to thee, Page 178〈1 page duplicate〉Page 179〈1 page duplicate〉Page 180 thou false tongue?* saith the Psalmist: even sharp arrowes of the mighty, with codes of Iuniper: And why of Ju∣niper? S. Ierome tells us, that of all wood, that keeps fire the longest; in so much that the coales raked up in ashes, will (as he saith) hold fire for a whole yeare: those there∣fore which were formerly turned (carbones desolatorii) are now tran∣slated justly, coals of Iuniper. It must be onely a lying, false, slanderous tongue that is a fit subject for coals of Juniper; even the same that is no lesse fit for the fire of hel: what should these Juniper fires doe in Christian hearts, against offending brethren? I find in Suidas, certain fishes that are called (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) which carry their coler in their heads: such should Christians be, Page 181 not letting it settle in their hearts, but venting it at their tongues. The charge of the Apostle is, that we should not let the Sun goe down up∣on our anger; much lesse may we let it rise againe: nightly anger is like the Serene in other countryes, unwholsome, if not deadly; but to yeare and day our wrath, is more then brutish, and partakes too much of him that is a man∣slayer from the beginning.
And as our anger may not be too long, so not too intense, & ve∣hement, whiles it lasts: it is not for a Christians wrath to be like the Dog-star, which when it rises, scorches the earth, and burnes up the fruits; or like a Comet, that still portends war and death: but rather, like unto one of those gli∣ding Page 182 starres, that we see in a win∣ters night, which, as it is, blazes not long, and hurts nothing, so ends in a coole, and not unwhol∣some moisture. Our anger there∣fore must be tempered with mer∣cy, and charity, otherwise, it is like to a fire under an empty ket∣tle, which burnes the vessell to no purpose:*Such wrath is cruell, such anger outragious. Now, for the moderation of this dangerous passion, it is not for me to prescribe Athenodorus his Alphabet, that re∣medy is so poore, that the very prescription is enough to move anger; rather let me commend that of Bernards, Consideration; and that not so much when wee are once provoked, for that is too late; and the assaults of this passi∣on Page 183 are too sudden: but as wise Princes are wont in the midst of peace, to provide for warre; so must we in the calmest state of our mindes, prepare against this in∣ward turbulency.
Art thou therefore subject to choler? Look upon that passion with sober eyes; see whether it be any other but a short fit of mad∣nesse: Look upon the person of a man thus transported, see his eies red, glaring, sparkling; his cheekes now pale as ashes, then fiery and swolne up as with a poyson; his head and hands shaking, his lips quivering, his mouth foaming, his tongue doubling, his feet uncon∣stantly shifting, and the whole man (which Hippocrates notes as the effect of a most desperate dis∣ease) Page 184 become utterly unlike him∣selfe: See in another, how well this forme doth become thy selfe; Look upon thy selfe, be sensible of thine owne distemper, thou shalt finde anger justly fetcht from angor, vexation: thou shalt finde it (it is Austins comparison) like to vinegar, vvhich discolours the vessell it stands in; thou shalt finde thou canst not take up a coale to throw at another, but thou shalt burne thy owne fingers; thou shalt finde that, while thou stin∣gest others, thou shalt make a drone of thy selfe; and that of So∣lomon shall bee verified of thee, Anger resteth in the bosome of fooles.*
Look to the effects of it, thou shalt finde it utterly disables thee from good;*The wrath of man do•h Page 185 not work the righteousnesse of God, as St. Iames: Thou shalt finde it ex∣poses thee to all mischief;*for he that hath no rule over his owne spirit, is like a City that is broken downe, and without walls, saith Solomon. What enemy may not rush into such a City at pleasure? Just such advan∣tage doth thine anger give to thy spirituall enemies; and therefore St. Paul,* when he charges us not to suffer the Sun to goe downe up∣on our anger; addes, Give no place to the Divell; as if this continuing passion did open the gates of the heart, for Satans entrance and free possession.
Thou shalt finde this the great make-bate of the world, the be∣ginner of all quarrells;*For as the churning of the milke bringeth forth Page 186 butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood, so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife, saith wise Solomon. Wrath then brings forth quarrels, and quarrels blood∣shed, manslaughter, murders: What is it that hath so drowned Christendome in bloud, but the anger of discordant Princes? what but this is guilty of so many bru∣tish duells, so many bloody mas∣sacres? And where thine anger shall stay when it is once broke loose, it is not in thy power to determine; I am sure if it staies not the sooner,* it ends in a curse. Cursed bee their anger for it was fierce, and their wrath for it was cruell.
Look but upon the the temper of well governed Heathens, and Page 187 be ashamed to heare an Archtyas say to his Bayly, I had punisht thee if I had not been angry; or that Phi∣losopher say to Xenocrates, whip this boy, for I am angry: or to see a greater Philosopher then hee, who when he had discoursed a∣gainst anger, and shewed how unfit the passion is for a wise man; one of his auditors purposely spit in his face, from whom he recei∣ved no other answer, but this, I am not angry, but I doubt whether I should not be so: or to see a Pisi∣stratus not more troubled with rayling words of an adversary, then if an hood-winkt man had reeled upon him heedlesly in his way: or to heare a Socrates pro∣fesse himselfe no more affected with the scolding of his Xantippe,Page 188 then with the creaking of a Cart▪ wheele; and when he was unci∣villy washed from her chamber, to say only, After such thunder, I lookt for raine: or to heare a Cato say, that he could and did pardon all offenders but himselfe: and when Lentulus spat in his face, to heare no other language fall from him, then, I will now say those men are deceived, that deny Lentulus to have a mouth: or to heare a Clean∣thes, when one called him asse, to say only, he should be then fit to carry Zenoes budget: or to see a Crates, when Nicodromus struck him with his fist, onely to put a board before his forehead with a jeering inscription. It were easie to weary a reader with instances of this kind: And shall meer Pa∣gans Page 189 that were without God in the world, have such rule over their passions, and shall a Christi∣an, who professeth a more divine philosophie, and whose first les∣son is to deny himself, & to mor∣tifie all evil and corrupt affections, give the reyns to the wild and un∣ruly eruptions of his rage? how shall these heathens in profession, justly condemn us professed Chri∣stians, who are in practice hea∣thenish?
Lastly, look but upon the termes wherein thou standest with God; how grievously dost thou pro∣voke him every day to his face? one of thy offences against that in∣finite Majesty, is more then thou canst be capable to receive from all thine enemies upon earth: yet, Page 190 how silently doth he passe over all thy hainous affronts, and bids his sun to shine, and his raine to fall, as well upon thy ground, as the holiest owners? how graciously doth he still invite thee to repentance? how sweetly doth he labour to win thee with new mercies? and dost thou call thy self the son of that Father, whom thou wilt not imitate? Dost thou pray daily to him to forgive thee, as thou forgivest others, whiles thou resolvest to forgive none, whom thou canst plague with revenge? Looke upon thy deare Redeemer, and heare him, whiles his cruell executioners were rack∣ing out his hands and feet, and nailing them to the tree of shame and curse, crying, Father forgive Page 191 them, for they know not what they do; and canst thou give thy self out for a disciple to this Saviour, if for eve∣ry offence of thy brother, thou break forth into raging impreca∣tions, railing speeches, furious acti∣ons? Lay all these seriously to thy heart in the middest of thy greatest tranquillity, and have them ready before thine eyes, for the next on∣set of thy passion; and withall, plie thy God with thy prayers, that hee who moulded thy heart at first, would be pleased to temper it aright; to coole these sinfull in∣flamations by the power of his grace,* that so he may make good in thee that happy word of the Psalmist; Surely, the wrath of man shall praise thee; the remainder of wrath shalt thou restraine. Amen.
The second Booke. Of Moderation in mat∣ter of Iudgement.
§. I. Of the danger of immoderation in matter of Iudgement, and of the remedy in generall.
AS it would be an hard competition betwixt intellectuall errors, and practicall, whe∣ther are the more hainous; so would it be no lesse difficult to determine, whether modera∣tion in matter of judgement, or Page 2 of practise be more necessary; and whethers neglect be more dangerous; For surely, if the want of moderation in practise doe most distract every man in his owne particular, the want of moderation in judge∣ment distracts the whole world from it selfe; whence it is, that we finde so miserable divisions all the earth over; but especial∣ly, so wofull schismes and brea∣ches in the Christian world; wherein we see one Nation is thus d•vided from another,* and each one nation no lesse divided from it selfe. For it cannot be, since every man hath a minde of his owne not lesse different from others, then his face, that all should jump in the same opi∣nion; Page 3 neither can it stand with that naturall selfe-love, where∣with every one is possessed, ea∣sily to forsake the childe of his owne brayne, and to preferre another mans conceit to his owne; hereupon, therefore, it comes to passe, that whiles each man is ingaged to that opinion, which either his owne election, or his education hath feoffed him in, new quarrels arise, and controversies are infinitly mul∣tiplyed; to the great prejudice of Gods truth,* and to the la∣mentable violation of the com∣mon peace; would to God we could as well redresse, as be∣wayle this misery, wherewith Christendome is universally in∣fested; howsoever it shall not Page 4 be utterly thankelesse to indea∣vour it; The remedy must goe in the same pace with the dis∣ease; Whereas therefore there are two things which are guil∣ty of this mischiefe, Error in doctrine, and Distemper in af∣fection; the former I must leave to the conviction of those Pole∣micall discourses, which have beene so learnedly written of the severall points of difference, as, I suppose, no humane wit or industry can give any further addition thereto; Onely I shall touch some such generall sym∣ptomes, as are commonly inci∣dent into these controversies of religion; My maine drift is to dwell upon the latter; and to labour the reducing of mens Page 5 to a wise and Christian Modera∣tion concerning differences in judg∣ment.
§. II. Luke-warmenesse to be avoyded in Religion.
FArre be it from us to allow luke-warme∣nesse in the matters of God; a disposi∣tion, which the Almighty professeth so much to hate, that he could rather be content the Angell of the Church of Laodi∣cea should be quite cold, then in such a mambling of profes∣sion; And indeed, what tem∣per Page 6 is so offensive to the sto∣mach as this meane? fit onely for a medicinall potion (whose end is ejection) not for nou∣rishment; Those, whose devo∣tion is onely fashionable, shall in vayne hope to be accepted; It is a true word of Saint Austen,* There is no love where there is no zeale; and what cares God for heartlesse followers, that are led only by example and forme? such there are, that yawne not out of any inward cause, but because they see others gape before them; As they say in the Abassine Chur∣ches,* if one man neese, all the rest do, and must follow. Men like unto mosse, which takes still the property of the barke, Page 7 it growes upon; if upon the Oke, it cooles and bindes, if up∣on the Pine and Firre, it digests and softens; or like unto the Herborists Dodder, which is no simple in it selfe, but takes both his name, and temper from the herbe out of which it arises; if out of Time, it is Epithimium: if out of the Nettle, it is Epiur∣tîca; That great Lawgiver of old would have a punishment for neuters; and well are they worthy, when the division is maine and essentiall; such men are meerely for themselves, which have the truth of God in respect of persons; not caring so much what is professed as by whom; Suidas tels us of Muso∣nius, so well reputed of;* that no Page 8 further question was made of any man, if it appeared he was Musonius his friend; too many affect no other worth in them∣selves, then a dependance upon others, holding it enough that they are the clients of this fa∣mous Doctor, of that great Saint: such men like as we have heard of some Apothecaryes, which onely by taking the va∣por of some drugge in the stam∣ping of it, have beene wrought upon, hold it sufficient for them to have received in, the very ayre, and empty titles of disci∣ples, without respect to the grounds, and substance of the Doctrine.
The rule which the blessed Apostle gave for our settlement Page 9 in some cases is wont by a com∣mon misconstruction to be so expressed, as if it gave way to a loose indifferency;* The vulgar reads it, Let every one abound in his owne sense, as leaving each man to his owne liberty, in those things of middle na∣ture; whereas his words, in their originall, run contrary; Let every one be fully perswaded in his owne minde; requiring a plerophory of assurance, and not allowing an unsettled hesi∣tation in what we doe; and if thus, in matters of the least im∣portance, how much more in the great affaires of Re∣ligion?* Here it holds well (which is the charge of the Apostle) It is good to be zea∣lously Page 10 affected in a good thing alwayes▪ Nothing is more easie to observe, then that, as •t uses to be with stuffes, that in their first making, they are strongly wrought, afterwards, in pro∣cesse of time they grow to be slight, both in matter and work, so it falls out in religious professions; In the first break∣ing out of a reformation, there appeares much heate and for∣wardnes, which in time abates, and cooleth, so as the profes∣sor growes to the temper of our Baldwin, Archbishop of Can∣terbury, whom Pope Vrban of old, greets in the style of a fer∣vent Monkea,* warme Abbot, a luke warme Bishop, a Key-cold Arch-bishop, or like unto those Page 11 kites, of whom our writers say,* that in their first yeares they dare prey upon greater Foules,* afterwards they sieze upon les∣ser birds, and the third yeere fall upon flyes. Whence it is that Melancthon could fore-guesse, that the time should come wherein men should bee tainted with this errour, that either re∣ligion is a matter of nothing, or that the differences in religions are meerely verball; Farre bee it from us thus to degenerate from our holy Ancestors, whose zeale made them true Holo∣causts to God, and sent up their soules in the smoake of that their acceptable sacrifice, into heaven, that, those truths which they held worthy bleeding for, Page 12 wee should sleight as not worth pleading for.* Wee cannot easi∣ly forgive that wrong which our late SPALATENSIS did to our freshbleeding martyrs, whom even before by revolt, hee bla∣med of lavishnesse, as if they might well have spared that ex∣pence of blood; although wee may well suppose hee redeemed his errour by dying, for the same truthes, for which they fryed alive, as hee dead, Wee know what Saint BASILL answered to that great man, who would have perswaded him to let fall his holy quar∣rell: Those saith hee, that are trayned up in the Scriptures,* will rather dye then abate a syl∣lable of Divine Truth. It is Page 13 said of VALENTINIAN,* that when the rude SCYTHI∣ANS made •n incursion into the territories of the Romane Empire, hee, so ore-strayned his Lungs, in calling upon his troupes, that hee presently dy∣ed; so vehement must wee bee, when any maine thing is in Question, neither voyce nor life must bee spared, in the cause of the Almighty. The glosse that is put upon the act of Innocent, the 4. in the Councell of LYONS,* who graced the Dignity of Cardinall-Shippe with a redde Hatte, is that it was done with an intention (as MARTINVS POLONVS construes it) to signify they should bee ready to shed their Page 14 blood for Christ, and his Gos∣pell, might well fitte every Christian, perhaps somewhat better, then those delicate mates of Princes; whom should wee imitate, but him, whose name wee beare,* who fulfil∣led that of the Psalmist his type, The zeale of thine house hath even eaten me up?
§. III. Zeale required in the matters of GOD; but to bee tempered with discretion and charity.
WE must bee zealous, we must not bee fu∣rious: It is in matter of religion, as with the tending of a still; if we put in too much fire, it burnes; if too little, it workes not; a mid∣dle temper must bee kept, an heat there must bee, but a mo∣derate one; we may not be in our profession, like a drowzy Iudge upon a Grecian Bench, Page 16 who is fayne to bite upon beanes, to keepe himselfe from sleeping;* neither may we bee like that Gre∣cian player, who acted mad Ajax, upon the stage; but wee must bee soberly fervent, and discreetly a∣ctive; S. Paules spirit was stir∣red within him, at Athens, to see the Idol-altars amongst those learned Philosophers; & it breaks out of his mouth, in a grave re∣proofe; I doe not see him put his hand furiously to demolish them, and if a Iuventius and Maximinian in the heat of zeale,* shall rayle on wicked Iulian at a feast, hee justly casts their death not upon their religion, but their petulancy: It was a wel-made de∣cree in the Councell of Eliberis,* that if any man did take upon Page 17 him to breake downe the idols of the heathen,* and were slaine in the place, hee should not be rec∣koned amongst the Martyrs. There must be then, two mode∣rators of our zeale; Discretion, and charity, without either, and both of which, it is no other then a wilde distemper; and, with them, it is no lesse then the very life blood of a Christian, or the spirits of that blood; From the common acts of both these, joyned together, shall result these following maximes, as so many usefull rules of our Christian mo∣deration.
§. IIII. Rules for Moderation in Iudge∣ment.
THe first is,* that wee must necessarily di∣stinguish betwixt persons that are guil∣ty of errors;* for, as Saint Au∣sten well, it is one thing to bean heretick, another thing to be mis∣led by an heretick; and, I may well adde, (according to our constru∣ction) it is one thing to be an he∣reticke, another thing to be an Haeresiarch: these three degrees there are, even in the most dange∣rous Page 19 errors of doctrine. There is a broacher, and deviser of that wicked opinion; There are abet∣tors and maintainers of it once broached; There are followers of it so abetted; and all these, as they are in severall degrees of mischiefe, so they must all under∣goe an answerable, whether ag∣gravation, or mitigation of our censure; Those, who by false tea∣chers are betrayed into that error, wherein now, either by bree∣ding, or by misinformation they are settled, are worthy of as much pitty, as dislike. Those, who out of stiffenesse of resolution, and stomach of side-taking, shall up∣hold, and diffuse a knowne error, are worthy of hatred and punish¦ment; But those, who out of am∣bition, Page 20 or other sinister respects, shall invent, and devise pernici∣ous doctrines, and thereby pervert others, for their owne advan∣tages, are worthy of a Maranatha; and the lowest hell; we doe easily observe it thus, in all reall offen∣ces of an high nature; Absalom contrives the conspiracy against his father; the Captaines second, and abet it; the common-people follow both of them in acting it; he should be an ill judge of men and actions; who should but equally condemne the author of the treason, and those, that fol∣low Absalom with an honest and simple heart; neither is it other∣wise in the practise of all those Princes, who would hold up the reputation of mercy and justice; Page 21 whiles the heads of a sedition are hang'd up, the multitude is dis∣missed with a generall pardon: And, if in all good and commen∣dable things, the first inventor of them is held worthy of a statue, or record, when as the follow∣ing practisers are forgotten, why should there not be the like diffe∣rence in evill? Those poore soules therefore, who doe zealously walke in a wrong way, wherein they are set by ill guides, may not be put into the same rank with their wicked mis-leaders: As we have reason to hope God will be mercifull to the well-meant errors of those filly ones, so must we en∣large the bowels of our compas∣sion to their miscarriage; whiles in the meane time, we may well Page 22 pray with the Psalmist, that God would not be mercifull to those that offend of malicious wicked∣nesse.
§. V. The second Rule for Moderation,
SEcondly,* wee must distinguish betweene truthes necessary, and truthes additionall or accessory, truthes essentiall, and accidentall truthes, truthes funda∣mentall, and truthes superedified; and in them truthes weighty and important, and truthes slight and meerely scholasticall; for these are worthy of a farre-different consi∣deration; Page 23 Those truthes which are of the foundation, and essence of religion are necessarily to be knowne, beleeved, imbraced of all men, and the obstinate oppo∣sers of them are worthy of our carefull avoydance, and hardest censure: Truthes important (though not fundamentall) are worthy of our serious disquisition and know∣ledge. All other truthes are com∣mendable, and may be of good use in their kinds and places, but so, as that hee who is either igno∣rant of them, or otherwise mind∣ed, concerning them, hath his owne freedome; and must not, (so he trouble not the common peace) forfair our charitable opi∣nion. We see it is thus in the bo∣dy; there are some vitall parts; Page 24 a wound received in them, is no lesse then mortall, there are other which, though usefull and ser∣viceable, and such as make up the integrity of the body; yet such as wherein the mayne fort of life doth not consist; these cannot be hurt without payne, but may be hurt without much perill; there are yet besides these, certaine appendances to the out∣ward fabrick of the body, which serve both for decency and con∣venience; the losse whereof may be with lesse danger, but not with lesse smart then of some limme; to teare off the hayre, or to beat out a tooth is farre from man-slaughter, yet an act of violence; and a breach of peace: it is no otherwise in the body of religion; Page 25 a limme may be maymed,* or a joynt displaced, yet the heart whole, some appendance may be violated, and yet the body whole; It is a true word that of Columba∣nus of old, that necessary truthes are but few: Not many stones need to make up the foundation of Christian faith, twelve will serve; whereas many quarreis, perhaps may be laid in the super∣structure. There are some things (saith Gerson) which are De ne∣cessitate fidei; whereof wee may not doubt, other things are De pietate, vel devotione fidei, where∣in there is more scope of beleefe; that which he speakes of histori∣call verities, is no lesse true in do∣ctrinall; I know no booke so ne∣cessary for these times, as that De Page 26 paucitate credendorum; nor any one Article of our beleefe more needfull, then that we need not beleeve more then the Apostles; Other points may be the care of Schollers, need not be of Chri∣stians. It was the observation of wise and learned Erasmus, which hath runne oftentimes in my thoughts; The Doctrine of the Church,* saith he, which at the first was free from quarrels, began to de∣pend upon the aydes, and defences of Philosophy; this was the first de∣gree of the Churches declination, to the worse, wealth began to come up∣on her, and power grew with it; the authority of Emperours, taking up∣on them to intermeddle in the af∣faires of religion, did not much helpe to further the sincerity of the faith; Page 27 At last, it came to sophisticall conten∣tions; thousands of new Articles brake forth; From thence it grew to terrors and threats; and since to blowes; Lo, the miserable degrees of the Churches disturbance; we have almost lost religion and peace in the multiplicity of opinions; It is worth observing, by what de∣grees it pleased God to communi∣cate to us men, his will and our duty; At the first, we heare of no charge given to our first parents, but of refrayning from the tree of knowledge: Afterwards, (as the Iewish Doctors teach) there were sixe only precepts imposed on Adam, and his seed; The first, against Idolatry, that hee should worship no other Gods: The se∣cond, of his veneration of the Page 28 only true God: The third against blood-shed: The fourth against wild and incestuous lusts: The fifth, against stealth: The sixth, concerning due administration of Iustice. After these, one yet more was added to Noah, and his sonnes of not eating flesh alive, viz. in the blood of it; yet after this, one more was given to Abraham,* concerning Circumci∣sion; At last the complete Law is given, in Ten words, to Moses in Horeb; The judicials are for commentaries upon those morall statutes.
With these Gods people con∣tented themselves; till traditions began to be obtruded upon them, by presumptuous teachers; these, our Saviour cryes downe, as in∣tolerable, Page 29 insolent depravations of the Law; The Messiah is come: with how few charges doth hee load his people? That they should beleeve, repent, deny themselves, constantly professe him, search the Scriptures; follow peace, love one another, and Communicate in his remembrance. And his Apostles with only, Go, teach and baptize; and strive who shall serve best. After his glorious As∣cension into heaven, the Apo∣stles assembled in their Councell at Hierusalem, lay no other new weight upon the Gentile-Con∣verts, but to abstaine from pollu∣tions of Idols, from fornication, things strangled, and blood; When the Church was well en∣larged, and setled, what did the Page 30 foure Generals Councels offer to the world,* but the condemna∣tion of those foure heresies, which then infested the Church? Time and busie heads drew on these varieties of conclusions, and deductions, which have bred this grievous danger, and vexation to Gods people; in so much, as, it is now come to that passe, that as he said of old, it is better to live in a Common-wealth where no∣thing is lawfull, then where every thing; so, it may no lesse justly be said, that it is safer to live where is no faith professed, then where eve∣ry thing is made matter of faith; The remedy must be, that our judgements revert to that first simplicity of the Gospell, from which, the busie and quarrel∣some Page 31 spirits of men have drawne us; and that wee fixe and rest there.
§. VI. The third rule of Moderation, viz. The avoydance of curiosity.
TO which end it shall be requisite, thirdly, to avoyd curiosity in the search, or deter∣mination of immateriall, and su∣perfluous truthes. I know not whether the minde of man be more unsatiable in the desire of knowledge, or more unweariable in the pursuit of it; which we are all apt to affect upon severall Page 32 grounds;* for, as Bernard well, some would know that they might be knowne, this is vanity; others, that they might sell their knowledge, this is basenesse; some, that they may edifie others, this is Charity; some that they may be edified, this is wisedome; and some, lastly, would know only that they may know, this is fond curiosity; a vicious disposi∣tion of the soule, which doth not more shew it selfe in the end, then in the object of our know∣ledge; for surely, to seek after the knowl•dge of those things, which are necessary or usefull,* can be no other then praise-wor∣thy; There are (saith Saint Au∣sten) two kinds of persons very commendable in religion: the Page 33 former, those who have found the truth, the latter, those who do studiously inquire for it: It is most true of those truthes which are important, and essentiall;* but to spend our se•ves in the search of those truthes, which are either unrevealed, or unprofita∣ble, it is no other then a labour ill lost; yet alas, these are they which commonly take up the thoughts of men;* How busily have some disputed whether Adam if hee had continued in his inocence, should have sl•pt, or no; or whether hee would have needed that repose? Others,* whe∣ther if Adam in his innocency had known his wife, after she was con∣ceived of child, he had in this sin∣ned; or no: Others,* if he had be∣gotten Page 34 children in the state of in∣nocence,* whether they should immediatly upon their birth, have had the use of their limmes, and members, for their present provision, as other creatures have? Others; whether in that first estate there should have been more males or females, borne? Others what space there was betwixt the Creation of Angels and man,* and their fall? Thus a Peter Lombard is devising a distinction betwixt mo•o quodam, and quodam modo; and a Io: Maior disputed whether a man may equitare fine equo;* and Matreas (as Suidas hath it) in a Poeme that he frames of Aristo∣tles doubts; makes this one, How the Sunne should in his setting go downe into the Ocean, Page 35 and not swim. Thus an over∣leasured Italian hath made a long discourse;* how a man may walke all day through the streets of Rome in the shade: Thus, a Li∣centiate of Paris takes upon him to defend, That there is something God really, which is not formal∣ly God; Another, that there are other priorities and posterio∣rities in the divine Persons, be∣sides those of their origination; Another, that the divine Persons are distinguisht per absoluta: An∣other,* as our Bradwardine and Io. Maior and Vasquez, that God is in vacuo: And, in our dayes, Hurtado de Mendoza, a Spaniard, straines his wit to prove the possibility of an infinity of magnitude; and what subtile Page 36 disq•isitions, and long volumes are spent upon a certaine middle knowledge in God, betweene his knowledge of simple intelli∣gence,* (which is of what may be or is fit to be) and that of vi∣sion (which is his knowledge of what shall be) Betwixt which two some have placed a third, a mid-knowledge of future-conditio∣nate-Contingents. And lastly, what a world of worke is on foot, betwixt the Scotists on the one side, and the Thomists and Domi∣nicans on the other, concerning Gods foreknowledge of Evill; and concerning the reall existence of future things in eternity, and other the like sut•leties. Good Lord! where will the minde of man take up? how restlesse, how Page 37 boundlesse, are the brayn•s of cu∣rious men? and especially in this last age; for, surely, it is a true word of Gerson,*Mundus senescens patitur phantasias; the world now in his old age is full of fancies; It is with it, as it is with u•; the sleepe of the aged must needs be so much fuller of imaginations, as they have lived to see more ob∣j•cts to furnish them;* justly may wee take up that complaint of Alvarez Pelag•us: He is nobo∣dy for knowledge now a dayes that devises not s•me novelty: Festus sclandered Saint Paul, when he said, too much learning had made him mad: certainly, it is no sclaunder to say of too many, that too much learning (as it is used) hath made them Page 38 foolish and wanton in their spe∣culations;* there cannot be a truer sentence then that of the Grecians (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) Wisdome consists not in the knowledge of ma∣ny things,* but of things profita∣ble; Our fore-fathers, as they came short of us in knowledge, so they went beyond us in piety, and peace; The Iewish Doctors say of Father Abraham, that hee had no master but his owne reynes; those (holy David said) were his teachers also;* and de∣vout Bernard tells his friend Mur∣dach, with an Experto crede, that he shall find more in the woods, then in his bookes; the trees and stones (saith he) shall teach thee that, which thou canst not heare from thy masters, thinkst thou not, Page 39 thou maist suck hon•e from the rock, and oyle out of the hardest stone? Marvelous is the im∣provement both of the meanes and measure of knowledge, in these last dayes, in comparison of the former;* Of old (saith Eras∣mus) there were no schooles of Divinity, and Augustine was held an invincible Logician, for that he had read Aristotles Catego∣ries; At last, Divinity came to the height, if not beyond it; the sa∣cred Scriptures, with the ancient authors, were layd aside, &c. The time was, when Synodes were faine to enact, that none should be promoted to Ecclesiasticall Be∣nefices,* but those which could competently read, and sing; Nor to Canon-ships in Cathedrals but Page 40 those which could read,* sing, and competenly construe; Not to holy Ord•rs, but those that could Literaliter loqui. The world is w•ll mended with us, since our King Alured translated Gregories Pastorale, out of La∣tin, into Saxon; that it might be understood of the Bishops, and Priests;* and in his Preface to it, writes thus: Knowledge was so utterly lost from among the English Nation, that there were very few on this side of Hum¦ber, that could so much, as un∣derstand their owne common prayers, in the Engl•sh tongue; or transl•te any writing out of Latin in•o English; surely there were so •ew, that I do not re∣member one on the South-part Page 41 of Thames, when •••gan to raigne. Thus Alured:* Before whose time, W•••redus King of Kent was faine to su•signe his Characters,* wi•h a Cros•e, pro∣fessing to doe it pro•gror•ntia lite∣rarum; And the 〈…〉 wa•, A ••shop that is i•••ran• of his Grammar is to b• d•p••••. Now (blessed be G•d) k••w••dge abounds every 〈◊〉▪ The Pr•sse hath help•〈…〉 it all the world over; whi•• whiles it was only tran•m•tted by the labour of a single penne, must needs be more sparingly imp•r∣ted; and as it uses to b• in other cas•s) plenty hath bred wantonnes, & prodigall expence of w••; wher∣by we are growne to such excesse, •hat it were happy (except men Page 42 had more rule of their 〈…〉 there vvere lesse 〈…〉 the vvorld, and 〈…〉: vve have reason in this re∣gard to envy the safe and quiet simplicity of our fore-fathers, vvho contented themselves vvith the honest plaine-song of that, vvhereof vve affect to run upon infinit descant;* It is vvell observed by Gerson, that it falls out oftentimes, there is more fer∣vour of devotion, where there is lesse naturall knowledge; whence we finde great praise of sanctity given to some eminent persons, who came short even of ordina∣ry skill:*Bernard saith of his de∣vout brother Gerard, that he had no learning at all; but that he had a cleare understanding, and an Page 43 illuminated spirit: and Sozomen,* when hee speakes of Antony the Hermite, says, he neither had any skill in learning, neither did great∣ly esteeme it; but cared only to have a pure and holy minde, as that which was more ancient, and more worthy then any lear∣ning in the world; And Paul the simple, a man famous both for sanctimony, and miracles, had so little knowledge, as that (which I have stood amazed to read) hee askt whether the Pro∣phets were before Christ, and his Apostles, or after: The truth is,* religion (as the Chancelor of Paris well) is not a schoole of Learning, but a discipline of li∣ving, and he is much more accep∣table to God, that hath so much Page 44 knowledge as doth inable him to worship and serve that Di•ine Majesty devoutly,* and to live •o∣lily, then he who with Bere•g•t•u• could dispute of Omne scibt•e,〈◊〉, with Salomon, could d•scou••• of all things from the moss•〈◊〉 the wall, to the highest Cedar; Gregory s•id truly, nothing can be offered to God more rich and precious then a good will: and Phocyons law is magnified for a divine one; Let vertue and good∣nesse take place, and let all other things passe for trifles.
That therefore which was wont to be said of Pythagoras, that h•e reduced the speculative Philosophy to use, and, that which was said of the Cynicks, that without regard of Logicke, Page 45 and naturall Philosophy,* they were all for Morality; I could be apt to wish in our divine Philo∣sophy; It were happy for the Church of God, if laying aside all curious disquisitions of im∣pertinent truthes, wee would ap∣ply our selves wholly to the knowledge and maintenance of those only points, which are ne∣cessary to salvation; and to the zealous practise of those things which we assuredly know; Lea∣ving the rest to those Schoole-di∣vines, who have both faculty, and leasure to discusse them.
§. VII. The fourth rule of Moderation; to rest in those fundamentall truthes which are revealed clearely in the Scriptures.
NOw that we be not left upon uncertaine∣ties in this quest of saving truth, it will be requisite for us to know, and resolve, fourthly, that all these fundamentall verities, necessary to salvation, are clearely layd be∣fore us, in the sacred monuments of divine Scriptures: in them is the full, and easie direction of a Christians both beleefe, and Page 47 practice;* It is the question ap∣pointed by our Church to be pro∣posed to every Candidate of holy Orders, whether he beleeve this truth; and his ingagement there∣upon punctually followes; and if here be enough to make the man of God perfect, much more an ordinary Christian; There are indeed unfadomable depths in that Ocean, wherin we shall vainly hope to pitch our anchor; but all necessary truthes need not much line: In those things which are clearely layd downe in Scripture,* (saith Saint Austen) are found all those points which containe faith, and rules of living, viz. Hope and Charity; And need we care for more then these? Let me be∣leeve well, & live well, let who list Page 48 take thought for more: what a madnesse were it to forsake the li∣ving waters, and to dig for our selves Cisternes that will hold no water? what a disease in our appe∣tite, when wee have wholesome provision laid before us, to nau∣seate all good dishes, and to long for mushromes, whereof some are venemous, all unwholesome? It was the Iustice of Lacedaemon,* that when Terpander the Musi∣tian added one string more to his Harpe then ordinary,* banisht him the Citty; The great Doctor of the Gentiles could say; If wee or an Angell from heaven preach any other Gospell to you, let him be accursed; hee doth not say a contrary Gospell, but another; such as that Evangelium aeternumPage 49 of the Friers, such as that Sym∣bole of the twelve new Articles, in Pius his profession;* It had some colour that Tannerus the Ie∣suite held in the publique dispu∣tation with Hunnius; who stoutly defended it to be a matter of faith that Tobye had a Dog; because it rested upon the authority of that, which hee supposed Canonicall scripture, the indubitate truth whereof, is the first principle of Christianity; how ever some par∣ticular clauses, in themselves considered, may carry no such weight; but to obtrude a necessi∣ty of new and traditionall truthes, besides those which God hath revealed, what is it but to make our selves more wise and carefull then our Maker? Wo be to Page 50 those men, on whose heads lyes so much innocent blood of Or∣thodox Christians, which hath beene shed for those causes, which God never owned; Wo be to those Anathemaes which are spent upon true-beleeving soules:* such as can say in since∣rity of heart and clearenesse of judgement with Erasmus, Either acquit me with the Apostle, or condemne the Apostle with me.
§. VIII: The fifth rule of moderation, To be remisse and facile in unimporting verities, both in our opinion and censure.
NOw, as we cannot be too stiffe and zealous for the maintenance of those truths, which are necessary and pure De fide, as Gerson stiles them; so fiftly, it is required to Christian Moderation, that in all collaterall,* and unim∣portant verities, wee should be remisse, and easie both in our opinion, and censure; Not too peremptorily resolving, not too eagerly pressing, not too sharpely judging: In maine matters it is Page 52 good to take up that resolution of Gregory,* commended by Ger∣son, that it is more profitable to indure a scandall (through breach of peace) then an abandoning of truth; and that honour of Ro∣terdam, I had rather be torne in peeces by the furious abettors of both sides, then be safe and quiet on the wrong part; but in points of a baser alloy, Saint Austens rule is not more wise then mo∣dest; I may thinke one thing, another man may thinke another, I doe neither prescribe to him nor he to me; Learned and wise Eras∣mus observed well;* there are ma∣ny things which doe no harme, while they are neglected, but when they are once stirred, raise up grievous Tragedies in the Page 53 world; Even in the poorest mat∣ters, what broyles are raised by contradiction? what fearefull blood-sheds hath this Iland yeelded,* for but the carrying of a Crosse? what stirs have beene in the whole Christian Church for the difference of an Easter day? what broyles for a few poore harmelesse Ceremonies?* As for the Sacramentarian quar∣rels, Lord, how bitter have they beene, how frequent, how long, in six severall successions of lear∣ned conflicts?* As if wee Chri∣stians meant to imitate those Heathens which dwelt about the Marshes of Triton, the Auses and Machlyes, amongst whom the manner was, when they kept their anniversary feast to the Page 54 honour of Minerva, that their Virgins divided themselves in∣to troopes, and intertained each other, with stones and clubs; and if any of them received a deaths-wound, in the fray, shee was straight cry'd downe, as no mayd; In these cases, the very victory is miserable, and such (as Pirrhus said of his) as is enough to undoe the Conquerer; As good Physitians then, when they desire to recover their patient, la∣bour to make peace amongst the humours, so must wee doe in a sicke Church; and, if we cannot compose them by a discreet mo∣deration;* yet, at least, it will be fit to hold off from a passionate side-taking, It is noted by Suidas, that Heber was not amongst the Page 55 builders of Babels Tower, and therefore his language was not altered; and it is worth observing,* that Corahs sonnes perished not in the common destruction of their parents, and kinsfolkes; for that they fled from the conspirators, to Moses; If we would find favour as Storkes, we must not consort with Cranes.
Now that wee may be capable of this peaceable temper we must be free from these two vices, pride and pertinacy; whereof the one, forestals the heart with an over-weening of our selves, and our opinions; not induring a contradiction; the other obdures it against any meanes of re∣formation; resolving to hold the conclusion in spight of Page 56 the premises; For the first; only by pride commeth contention,* saith wise Salomon; this is it, that makes a man scorne the com∣mon tracke; and lifts him up with the conceite of his owne abilities, and of the validity of his owne grounds; not without a contemptuous undervaluing of all others; wee finde it thus in all experience; for my part, I never met with any (as worthy Ma∣ster Green-ham hath noted be∣fore me) if but a schismaticall spirit, whom I have not sensibly discerned thus tainted; take but a separist, a blew-aporn'd man, that never knew any better schoole then his shop-bord; if he doe not thinke himselfe more truly learned, then the deepest Page 57 Doctor, and a better interpreter of Scripture, then the greatest Divine, I am no lesse mistaken, then he; hence it is, that they affect a singularity, and keepe aloofe from others, both in pra∣ctise and opinion; Wherein a proud man is like unto oyle, which will ever swim aloft, and will by no meanes mixe with water; Contrarily, the only dis∣position that fits the heart for peace, (indeed all other graces) is humility: That cloth which the Fuller would perfectly whi∣ten, yeelds it selfe to be trampled upon; They are low pits, where∣in the starres may be seen by day; They are the valleyes, and not the shelving hills that soke in the waters of heaven: The Iewish Page 58 Doctors say well,* that in a true disciple of Abraham, there must be three things; a good eye, a meeke spirit, an humble soule, the first frees him from envy, the second from impatience, and the third from pride; these two last will teach him to acknow∣ledge, and admire other mens better faculties, and to abase his owne, to be ready to submit to clearer reason, and irrefragable authority;* and modestly to dis∣trust his owne. It was a word worthily commended in Potho a good Bishop neare 500 yeares agoe. Are we more learned, and more devout then the Fathers? or doe wee presume proudly to determine of those things, which their wisedome thought meet to Page 59 be praetermitted? Surely, hee that beares this minde cannot easily erre, cannot erre dangerously:*•t is possible I confesse to goe too farre, in our relyance upon others judgements; I cannot like that of Erasmus, who professeth to his Bilibadus, that hee ascribed so much to the authority of the Church, that if she had thought meet to have allowed the opini∣on of Arius, or Pelagius, hee should have assented thereunto; This is too much servility; In these manifest and maine truthes, we have no reason to make flesh our arme. If all the world should face me downe, that the Sunne shines not, I would be pardoned to beleeve my eyes: And if all the Philosophers under heaven Page 60 should with Zeno defend, that there is no motion, I would with Diogenes,* confute them by walking; But in all those verities which are disputable, and free for discourse, let me ever be swayed by the sacred authority of that Orthodoxe Church wherein I live.
Pertinacy is the next, which indeed is the onely thing that makes an hereticke; Let the er∣ror be haynous, yet if there be not a perverse stiffenesse in the maintenance of it, it amounts not to the crime of heresie: much lesse is it so in case of a relenting schisme;* It was a good speech of Erasmus: I cannot be an hereticke unlesse I will; and since I neither am, nor will be Page 61 so, I will endeavour to use the matter so, as that I may not be thought to be one. The course is preposterous, and unnatu∣rall, that is taken up by quar∣relsome spirits; f•rst, they pitch their conclusion, and then, hunt about for premises to make it good, this method is for men that seeke for victory, not for truth; for men, that seeke not God, but themselves: whereas the well-disposed heart, being first, upon sure grounds, con∣vinced of the truth which it must necessarily hold, cares on∣ly in essentiall verities, to guard it selfe against erronious sugge∣stions; and in the rest is rea∣dy to yeeld unto better reason; Hee is not fit to be a gamester, Page 62 that cannot be equally content to lose and winne; and in vaine shall hee professe mora∣lity,* that cannot with Socrates set the same face upon all events, whether good, or evill: In all besides necessary truthes, give me the man that can as well yeeld as fight; in matters of this nature, I cannot like the spirits of those Lacedemo∣nian Dames which gave the shields to their sonnes, with the peremptory condition of (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉;*) surely, hee is better accepted of God, that in these frayes of indifferency doth peaceably lay downe the Bucklers, then hee, that layes about him with the greatest ostentation of skill, and valour: Page 63 In things of this kinde, meek∣nesse may doe God more ser∣vice then courage; They say milke quenches wild-fire bet∣ter then any other liquor: and wee finde in all experience, that the pores are better opened with a gentle heat, then with a violent. The great Apostle was content to become all things to all, that hee might winne some: How was hee all to all if hee did not sometimes remit of his right to some;* He that resisteth Peter, the Prime Apostle, to his face, in the case of a perillous temporizing, yet gave way to Iames, and the other bre∣thren, to purifie himselfe, with the foure votaries in the Temple:* shortly then as he is a wise man Page 64 that knowes when it is time to yeeld,* so is hee a peaceable sonne of the Church, that yeelds when hee sees it time, and by this meanes provides for his owne comfortable dis∣charge, and the publique tranquillity: that can be in necessaries truthes an Oake, and a Reed in truthes indiffe∣rent.
§. IX. Remissenesse in matter of Censure.
IN matters of this na∣ture, whereof wee treat, true moderation requires the peaceable Chri∣stian to be not more yeelding in his Opinion, then favourable in his Censures of the contrary-minded: for it is a fearefull violation both of Charitie and justice, to brand an adversarie in matter of slight Opinions, with the odious note of Sect, or Heresie; and no lesse Pre∣sumption, Page 66 to shut that man out of Heaven, whom God hath en∣rolled in the Booke of Life.* In all other things (sayth the Chancelour of Paris) besides those which are meerely mat∣ters of Faith, the Church may either deceive, or be deceived, and yet hold Charitie still:* And as it is a good rule that is given to Visitors, that they should be sparing in making Decrees, lest the multitude of them should bring them into contempt; so it is a rule no lesse profitable to spirituall Governours,* which Erasmus relates out of Gerson, that they should not rashly throw about the thunder-bolts of their Cen∣sures. We cannot be too severe Page 67 in the maine matters of Religi∣on (though not without that wise Item of Cicero,* that no∣thing that is cruell can be pro∣fitable) the remissenesse where∣in may be no other, then an in∣jurious mercie; but in things of slighter condition, we must be wiser then to draw a Sword to kill Flyes; neither is it for us to call for Scorpions, where a Rod is too much.
It is remarkable, that of Ga∣lienus, who when his Wife had complained to him of a Chea∣ter, that had sold Glasse-pearles to her for true, made as if hee would have cast him to the Li∣ons; the Offender looking for those fierce beasts, was onely turn'd loose to a Cock. In some Page 68 cases, shame and scorne may be a fitter punishment then ex∣treme violence. Wee may not make the Tent too bigge for the Wound, nor the Playster too broad for the Sore.*
It was grave counsell that S. Austin gave to his Alipius, that heed must be taken, lest whiles wee goe about to amend a doubtfull complaint, wee make the breach wider. And that rule was too good for the Au∣thour,*Iohn 22. that in a case uncertaine, wee should rather determine within the bounds, then exceede them. Even in plaine convictions, violence must be the last remedie; as in outward bodily extremities (by Hippocrates his prescrip∣tion) Page 69Ignis and Ferrum must be last tryed;* for generous spirits (as Erasmus well) desire to be taught, abide not to be forced; it is for Tyrants to compell, for Asses to be com∣pelled; and as Seneca observes, a good natur'd Horse will be govern'd by the shadow of the Wand, whereas a sullen restie Iade will not be ordered by the Spurre.
S. Paul puts it to the choyse of his Corinthians; Will ye that I come to you with a Rod, or with the spirit of meekenesse? as loth to use the Rod, unlesse he were constrained by their wilfull dis∣obedience. Much have they therefore to answer for, be∣fore the Tribunall of Heaven, Page 70 who are apt to damne Christi∣ans better then themselves; sen∣ding all the Clyents of the North-westerne Grecian, Russian, Armenian, Ethiopick Churches, downe to Hell, without re∣demption, for varying from them, in those Opinions, which onely themselves have made fundamentall. And herein are wee happy, that wee suffer for our Charitie, rather chusing to incurre the danger of a false Censure from uncharitable men, then to passe a bloudie and presumptuous Censure up∣on those, who (how faultily soever) professe the deare name of our common Saviour. Let them, if they please, affect the glory of a Turkish Iustice, in Page 71 killing two Innocents,* rather then sparing one Guiltie; let us rather chuse to answer for Mercie, and sooner take then offer an unjust or doubtfull Violence.
§. X. The sixt rule of Moderation: Not to beleeve an opposite, in the state of a Tenet, or person.
SIxtly, to a man of Peace, nothing is more requisite then a charitable distrust, viz. That wee should not take an adversaries word for the state of his opposite.
Page 72They were,* amongst the rest, two necessarie charges that E∣rasmus gave to his Goclenius, To be sober, and incredulous: For as there is nothing that rayses so deadly hostilitie as Religi∣on, so no Criminations are ei∣ther so rife, or so haynous, as those which are mutually cast upon the abettors of contrarie opinions: Wee need not goe farre to seeke for lamentable instances; Let a man beleeve Andrew Iurgivicius, hee will thinke the Protestants hold no one Article of the Apostles Creed; Let him beleeve Cam∣pian, hee shall thinke wee hold God to be the Authour of Sinne; That the Mediator be∣tweene God and man (JESUS) Page 73 dyed the second death; That all sinnes are equall; and many more of the same Bran. If hee shall beleeve Cardinall Bellar∣mine, he shall condemne Erasmus as a Patron of Arrians; Luther as an enemie to the holy Tri∣nitie, and to the Consubstantia∣litie of the Sonne of God; Melanctbon and Scheckius, as Fautors of the Tri-theists; Cal∣vin, as an advocate of Samosa∣tenians; Bullinger of Arrianisme, Beza of Nestorianisme: If hee will beleeve our Countrey∣man Gifford, hee shall thinke Calvins doctrine in no thing better, in many things worse then the Alcoran; If hee will beleeve I. Gualterius, a Iesuite Divine, hee shall thinke never Page 74 any Heresie hath, since the first noyse of the Gospel, arisen in the Church of God, whereof the Reformed part is not guil∣ty; here hee shall suppose to finde Symon Magus, falsly pre∣tending the Churches refor∣mation; Cerinthus destroying the use and utilitie of Bap∣tisme; Ebion impugning the in∣tegritie of the blessed Virgin; In beastly licentiousnesse, Ni∣cholaitans; In mutilation of Scripture, Saturnians; In the vaine jactation of Scripture, Basilides; in the contempt of the divine Law, Carpocrates; in con∣demning of fastings, Gnosticks; in maintaining the impossibili∣ty of keeping the Law, Ptolo∣meus; Secundian hereticks, in al∣lowing Page 75 uncleannesses; Marco∣sian heretickes, in a proud boast of perfection; Montanists in dissolving the bonds of wed∣locke, and corrupting Bap∣tisme: what should I blurre too mu•h paper, with the abridgement of so uncharita¦ble a discourse; shortly he shall beleeve that all our learned Di¦vines have done nothing, but patcht together all those old ragges of obsolete Errors, which they have raked up out of the dunghils of antiently damned hereticks; and to make up his mouth,* shall goe away with an opinion of an hundred severall foule errors in Iohn Gal∣vin; and seventy eight no lesse haynous in Martin Luther.Page 76 Should a stranger come now, to take up this Booke, which hee supposes penned by a Chri∣stian Divine (and one there∣fore, which should not dare to lye) how can hee conceive other, then that the Reformed Doctrine is nothing but a Chi∣mericall Monster, composed of divellish Lyes and hellish He∣resies? To looke neerer home; what tearmes and imputations some rigid followers of Luther have (in imitation of their over-blunt and passionate Ma∣ster) cast upon their opposers, I doe purposely forbeare to specifie, as willing rather to lay my hand upon these scarres, then to blazon the shame of Brethren. Now as it will be∣come Page 77 every man (according to S. Hierome's counsell) to be impatient in the suspition of Heresie, if any of the parties accused shall be called forth, and charged with these prodi∣gious Crimes of Opinion, hee is streight readie to flye in the face of the Slanderer, and calls Heaven and Earth to be wit∣nesse of his utter detestation of those Errors, which are mali∣ciously affained to him;* and is readie to say as our learned Whitakers sayd in the same case to Campian; Nisi omnem, &c. unlesse thou hadst utterly cast off all, both Religion to God, and Reverence to men, and hadst long since made ship∣wracke of thy Conscience, and Page 78 had'st put off even all humani∣ty it selfe, thou would'st ne∣ve suffer thy selfe to be guilty of such horrible wickednesse, as to upbrayd such monstrous opinions to us. It is a true word of Gerson,* That in a penny-worth of strife there is not an halfe-penny-worth of love; And we say truly, Ill will never say'd well; God forbid that the same man should be in the same cause, accuser, witnesse, and judge; what would become of innocence, where malice and power should be met? How short a cut is that, which the spightfull authour of the warre of the fifth Gospell takes, •o convince all gainesayers: West∣phalus, saith he, calls CalvinPage 79 hereticke, Calvin calls West∣phalus hereticke, therefore they are both heretickes. Schlusselbur∣gius brands the Calvines for Sa∣cramentarian heretickes; the Calvinists brand Schlusselburgius for an Vbiquitarian hereticke, therefore both are heretickes: And may not any Mahumetan thus refell the whole profes∣sion of Christianity? Those that style themselves Catho∣licks, call the Reformed here∣ticks; The Reformed call them hereticks; therefore both are heretickes: The Roman Christians brand the Greeke Church with heresie, the Gre∣cians equally cen•ure the Ro∣man, therefore they are all he∣reticks; And cannot wee as Page 80 easily pay him againe in his owne Coyne: The Turkish Ma∣humetan calls the Persian here∣ticke, the Persian calls the Tur∣kish so; therefore both are in their owne Religion, here∣ticks: God forbid, that a man should be ever such, as an ene∣mie would have him seeme to be: Would wee thinke it faire and just, to be so dealt with be∣fore the awfull Tribunall of Heaven? Would wee have the Arch-Enemie of Mankind be∣leeved in all his suggestions against our innocence? Why should wee then admit of this wrong in each other? At a con∣tentious Barre, where wrangling fomentors of quarrels are wont to aggravate all advantages, this Page 81 liberty (I know not how justly) hath been given, that they com∣monly frame large bills of com∣plaint, and suggest wrongs that were never done: but for Di∣vines in the causes of God, who pretend to plead for truth, be∣fore God and his Angels, to be thus lavish in their Criminations,* it is an high violation of Chri∣stian charity, and justice. Sure∣ly this practice is no more •e•, then justifiable; should I fetch it so farre as from the times of our blessed Saviour, whose divine perfection could not free him from the imputation of a Con∣jurer; of a wine-bibber and glut∣ton; of a friend to Publicans and sinners, of an enemy to Cesar; should I follow the times, and Page 82 deduce it to his Proto-martyr, Saint Steven? we shall finde him loaded with the accusation of blasphemy against God and Mo∣ses, against the Law and the Temple. After him we shall find the chosen vessell, Saint Paul, charged by Tertullus,* for a pesti∣lent fellow, and a mover of se∣dition; And even among the Christians themselves,* what foule charges of libertine doctrine are layd upon them by false teachers; As for the succeeding ages of the Primitive Church, had we either leisure, or will, to swell up our discourse with an abridgement of Ecclesiasticall History, wee might easily weary the Reader with wofull varieties in this kinde: Who knowes not the Page 83 impossible crimes that were cast upon the Primitive Christians, of promiscuous lust, of worship∣ing an Asses head, and such ab∣surd calumniations. Amongst Christians themselves, to let goe all the rest, it is memorable what quarrels there were in the Synode of Ephesus, betwixt Cyrill Bishop of Alexandria, and Iohn of An∣tioch: the Churches subject to these eminent Pastors, stuck not to strike each other with mutu∣all Anathemaes; Theodoret, some∣thing unhappily, thrusts his Sic∣kle into the harvest of Antioch; against whom (by the instiga∣tion of Euoptius) Cyrill bitter∣ly inveighes; Theodoret accuses Cyrill of Apollinarisme: Cyrill ac∣cuses Theodoret of Nestorianisme; Page 84 this broyle drew the Easterne world into parts; so as afterwards when Theodoret would have en∣tred into the Synode of Chalcedon, the Egyptian Bishops and other reverend Prelates, cryed out, we eject Cyrill, if we admit Theodo∣ret; The Canons disclaime him, God opposes him. The same vio∣lence was againe renued in the eighth Action; the Bishops loud∣ly crying out, he is an hereticke, he is a Nestorian; away with the heretick: but at the last, when the matter was throughly scanned, and it was found that the good Bishop had subscribed both to the Orthodoxe Creeds, and to Leo's Epistle; with one unanimous consent they received him in▪ with this acclamation, Theodo∣ret Page 85 is worthy of his place in the Church; Let the Church receive her Orthodoxe Bishop.
It is worthy of immortall me∣mory, that wee finde reported of Athanasius: There was a great quarrell betwixt the Easterne, & Westerne Churches, about the Persons and subsistences in the Deity; each upbraided other with heresie: The Westerne would professe three Persons in the bles∣sed Trinity; but would not en∣dure to heare of three Subsisten∣ces; and were thereupon by the Easterne Churches, censured for suspition of Sabellianisme: Con∣trarily, the Easterne would yeeld three subsistences, but would not abide three Persons, and were therefore accused by the Page 86 Westerne Churches of Arianisme: The breach was fearefull, till wise and holy Athanasius found a way to let them see they were good friends, and knew not of it. And if we should goe about to instance in particular men, the Catalogue would be endlesse. How Chrysostome and Epiphanius, Ierome and Ruffinus, blurr'd each other, all the world knowes: Saint Austen, besides all his other wrongs, complaines that sixteene Articles were sclan∣derously imposed upon him, by the Pelagians, on purpose to draw envy upon the doctrine of divine Praedestination: what foule and grosse opinions were by adversary pennes cast upon the Waldenses, and Albigenses; and Page 87 our Wicklef, and his followers, is shamefully apparent in too ma∣ny Histories. And still as Satan is ever himselfe in these last times, (wherein by how much the more Charity freezeth, malice burnes so much the more) how familiar it is, even for Christian adversa∣ries, to speake nothing of each other, but sclanders:*Erasmus reckons up amongst many false imputations cast upon him by some spightfull Fryers, this for one, that hee had said, All the miracles our Saviour did, upon earth, were done by Magicke; And that (which yet Bellarmine seriously charges him withall) he held all warre whatsoever ab∣solutely unlawfull; a slander which himselfe punctually re∣futes. Page 88 How trivially common it is,* that Luther was the sonne of an Incubus, the Disciple of the Divell, and that hee who had beene his Master, proved his executioner▪ That Calvin was stig∣matiz'd for a buggerer; Beza (up∣on occasion of some yong Poems for meere tryall of wit) a pro∣fligate lover of his Andibertus; and, at last (which hee lived to confute) a revolter from his profession. Did I list to rake in the sinkes of Staphilus, Surius, Bolseck, Gualterius; I could both weary, and amaze my Reader with nasty heaps of, as tedious, as false criminations of this kind.
Amongst our owne: How doe the Opposites in the five Bel∣gick Page 89 Articles, cast inke in each others faces, while the one part, upbrayds the other with Mani∣cheisme, and Stoicisme, the other them againe with Pela∣gianisme, and Socinianisme: within our owne territories; one objects Arianisme per∣haps too justly on some hands) to the opini•n of p•rity; another (too wildly) Antichristian•sme, to the only ancient and true go∣vernment of the Church. Now God forbid, that either Church, or man should be tryed, and judged by his adversary: This were no other then that the ar∣raigned innocent should be sen∣tenced by the executioner. And if in a civill judicature there be required sworne and able Page 90 Iudges, just Lawes, cleare evi∣•en•e, select jurors, recorded proceedings; how much more ought this to be expected in those pleas of Religion, which con∣cerne the eternall state of the soule, the safety of the Church, and the glory of our Creator and Redeemer.
It is the rule of the Apostle, that Charity thinkes not evill: if there∣fore an ingenuous adversary shall out of an inward selfe convi∣ction, acquit his Opposite of an unjust charge, wee have reason to take it for a granted truth; and to make our advantage of it: If then, an Erasmus shall say, that it cannot be denyed, that Luther hath intimated monitions of di∣vers things, which it were happy Page 91 for the Christian world to have reformed, and which, indeed, were not longer to be indured; as he doth to his Laurinus: If hee shall say, that many things passe currant in the ancient Fathers, which in Luther are condem∣ned as Errors, as in his Epistle to
If hee shall say, that those things which Luther urges, if they be moderatly handled, come nearer to the vigour of Evangelicall prescriptions, as hee doth to his Iodocus Iulius. If a Ferus, or Cassander; if a Cusanus, or Conta∣renus; if a Caietan or Montanus, or Cudsemius, or Franciscus a San∣cta Clara, or any other tempe∣rate adversary, shall set favoura∣ble states to our Controversies, Page 92 and give ju•tly-charicable testi∣monies to our personall innocen∣ces, we have no lesse cause to ac∣cept their suffrages, then their partners have to credit them: still waters represent any object in their bottome, clearely; those that are either troubled, or agi∣tated, dimly and imperfectly. But as for matter of crimination, surely, an enemies tongue is no sclander; And if a cruell Inqui∣sitor shall send a Martyr to his stake, ugly dressed, & painted over with Divels; a wise and charitable spectator thinks never the worse of the man, for a forced disguise, but sees in that hereticke a Saint, and in those Divels, beautifull Angels of God; As wee may not beleeve an adversary in reports, Page 93 so not in the pretended conse∣quences of opinion.
§. XI. The seventh rule of Moderation, Not to judge of an adversaries opinion by the inferences preten∣ded to follow upon it.
SEventhly therfore, there cannot be a more use∣full rule for our mode∣ration in judgement, then this, That we may not take that for a mans Opinion, which an adversary will say, doth by necessary inference follow upon it; but only that, which himselfe Page 94 professes to maintaine: It is that which, with worthy and mode∣rate Bucer, the learned Bishop of Sarisbury hath also intimated in his grave advise concerning the Lutheran differences; And the like occurrences in the judge∣ment o• the foure learned French Divines, concerning the peace with the Lutheran Churches, and meet to be througly considered. For the force of Consecutions is many times very deceitfull, and such, as may easily betray our discourse. There are indeed such Consequences as are plainely ne∣cessary, and those which in their first sight, carry in them no lesse certainty then the principles from which they were immediat∣ly derived: Of this nature are they Page 95 which are Reciprocally deduced from their certaine, and intrinse∣call causes, to their effects; such as, The Sunne is risen, it is there∣fore day: He is God, therefore Omnipotent, Omniscient. There are others, which may perhaps seeme to us no lesse necessary, as following upon some premisses by an undoubted force of reason; which yet, another thinks hee can by some cleanly distinction, commodiously evade, and yet hold that ground which we layd for that ratiocination; such is that of Gualterius the Iesuite: Theodore Beza denyes that the body of Christ can be substan∣tially in many places at once; Therefore he denies Gods Omni∣potence. The Protestant ascribes Page 96 to God more then a meere per∣mission of evill, therefore hee makes him the Author of sinne. Contrarily, no meane one of ours, inferres a Papist makes Christ a creature, therefore hee is an Arrian; Makes Christ of meale, therefore not of the bles∣sed Virgin, therefore an Apolli∣narist. Consequences, which the disputant thinks to make good, but the accused, on either part detests. Thus the honest and ingenuous Christian is drawne from a com∣mendable search of necessary truthes, into a wild chase of en∣vious inferences: And now the quarrell is, indeed, fallen off from Divinity, and is removed to the Schooles of Logique, naturall Philosophy, Metaphysicks; and Page 97 not hee that hath the most truth must carry it, but he that can bring the most skilfull Sophistry. What is it, that distracts the Reformed Churches of Christendome, but this injurious conceit of incon∣sequent inferences? The huma∣nity of Christ, saith one part, is omnipresent, therefore saith the other, no humanity at all, sith this is onely proper to the Deity. The ubiquity of Christs humane nature is denyed, saith the other; therefore the personall union is destroyed. Away with these ri∣gid illations, when wee have to doe with brethren; Each hol∣deth his owne;* both disclayme the inferences, and in their sence may. For as learned Bucer grave∣ly; It is our part to see not what Page 98 doth of it selfe follow, upon any Opinion, but what followes in the conscience of those, who hold that opinion, which wee thinke contrary to a fundamen∣tall Article. Were this rule held, how happy were the Church, how certaine our peace? when we have done our best, there will be errours enow in the Church; wee need not to make them more. This was not the fashion in the plaine dealing world of the first ages of Chri∣stianity; No heresie was then feof∣fed upon any man, but upon open and acknowledged conviction; and if he cleared himselfe from the maine crimination, hee was pronounced innocent. Looke in∣to the records of times. The Page 99 contagion of Arrius, beginning at the obscure Church of Bauca∣lis, soone reach't to Alexandria, and there instantly infected sea∣ven hundred virgins, twelve Dea∣cons, seaven Priests, and offered to diffuse it selfe into the very Episcopall Throane; at last by Miletus his relation, the Archbi∣shop Alexander is made acquain∣ted with the rumor of that here∣sie; he presently sends for Arrius, and charges him with the crime; That impudent mouth sticks not to confesse his wicked error, but there openly casts up the poyson of his damnable doctrine before his Governour. The holy Bi∣shop, no lesse openly reproves him; urges and aggravates the sacrilegious impiety of his opi∣nion; Page 100 And finding him to se∣cond his error with contumacies, expels him from his Church, followes him (as was meet) with seventy letters of caution to other Churches; yet still the mischiefe spreds: The godly Em∣perour Constantine is informed of the danger; hee calls a Synode; Arrius with his all wicked Pam∣phlets, is there cryed downe, and condemn'd to banishment. I doe not finde those holy fathers nibling at consequences, strain'd out of his Thalia, or some other of his abhominable papers, but charging him with the right∣downe positions of heresie; such as these blasphemies, concerning Christ; Time was, when hee was not; Hee was made of things that Page 101 were not; He was not begotten of the Substance of the Father; In time, not from Eternity; not true God of God, but created of nothing. Here were no tricks of inferences, no quirkes of Sophismes, no vio∣lent deduction of unyeelded se∣quels; the heresie proclaymed it selfe, and was accordingly sen∣tenced. Such were the procee∣dings with the Apollinarists, in the third Councell of Rome; and in the first Generall Councell of Constantinople, with the Mace∣donians; and where not in the cases of heresie? And if (for all the rest) we would see a modell of the old Theologicall simplici∣ty, in the censures of this nature, we need but to cast our eye upon that profession of faith, and Ana∣themat•me, Page 102 which Damasus in∣geniously wrote to Paulinus, whether Bishop of Thessalonica, as Theodoret would have it, or, as others,* of Antioch; wee pro∣nounce Anathema, saith he, to those who doe not with full liberty proclaime the Holy Ghost to be of one power, and substance with the Father, and the Sonne. We pro∣nounce Anathema to them who fol∣low the error of Sabellius, saying, That the Father is one and the same person with the Son. Wee pronounce Anathema to Arrius, and Euno∣mius, who with a like impiety, but in a forme of words unlike, affirme the Sunne and the holy Spirit to be creatures. We pronounce Anathema to the Macedonians, who comming from the stocke of Arrius, have not Page 103 varyed from his impiety, but from his name. We pronounce Anathema to Photinus, who renuing the he∣resie of Ebion, confesses our Lord Iesus Christ made only of the Vir∣gin Mary. Wee pronounce Anathe∣ma to those, that maintaine two Sonnes, one before all worlds, the other after the assuming of flesh from the Virgin: Thus he. Is there any man here condemned for an heretick, but hee who dirctly af∣firmes, confesses, maintaines opi∣nions truly damnable? Nei∣ther indeed is it just or equall, that a man should, by the ma∣lice of an enemy, be made guilty of those crimes, which himselfe abhorres: What I will owne, is mine; what is cast upon me, is my adversaries; Page 104 And if I be by deductions fetch't into such errour, the fault is not in my faith, but in my Logick; my braine may erre, my heart doth not. Away then, ye cruell Tortors of Opinions, Dilaters of Errours, Delators of your bre∣thren, Incendiaries of the Church, haters of peace, Away with this unjust violence; Let no man beare more then his owne bur∣den; Presse an ••ring brother (if ye please) in way of Argument, with such odious Consecta∣ries, as may make him weary of his Opinion; but hate to charge him with it as his owne; frame not imaginary mon∣sters of error with whom you may contend: Hee that makes any man worse then hee is, Page 105 makes himselfe worse then hee.
§. XII. The eighth rule of Moderation, To keepe opinions within their owne bounds, not imputing private mens conceits to whole Churches.
EIghtly, it will be re∣quisite to a peaceable moderation,* that we should give to every opinion his owne due extent, not casting private mens conceits upon publicke Churches, not fathering single fancies upon a Community; All men cannot Page 106 accord in the same thoughts, there was never any Church under heaven, in which there was not some Ahimaaz, that would run alone. In all waters, lightly, there are some sorts of fish that love to swim against the streame, there is no reason that the blame of one, or few should be diffused unto all. If a Pope John the 22 shall maintaine that the soules of the blessed shall sleep till the resurrection; If a Dominicus a Soto shall hold, that the whole Christian faith shall be extinguished in the persecuti∣ons of Antichrist; shall wee im∣pute these opinions to the See, or Church? If an Alphonsus a Castro shall hold hereticks and Apo∣states, after they are once bap∣tiz'd, Page 107 to be true members of the Catholicke Church; Or a Catha∣rinus, or Vasquez shall teach the Commandement that for∣bids worshipping of Images, to be meerely temporary; If a Du∣rant shall revive Pelagianisme, in denying that there is any need of the divine ayde, either of generall or speciall concourse in humane actions; If a Richardus Armacha∣nus shall second the Novatians, in teaching that there is no par∣don to be obtained by the peni∣tent, for some haynous sinnes; If an Occham shall teach that the visible signes are not of the Es∣sence of a Sacrament; Or a Iohan∣nes Parisiensis, or Cornelius a La∣pide (little differing from the condemned error of Rupertus Page 108 Tuitiensis) shall teach, that the Sacramentall bread is hypostati∣cally assumed by the word. Is there any so unjust Arbiter of things, as to upbrayd these Para∣doxes to the Roman Church, who professeth their dislike? Thus if a Knox, or Buchanan, or Goodman, shall broach exorbitant and dan∣gerous opinions, concerning the Successions and rights of Kings, and lawlesse power of subjects; Why should this be layd in our dish, more then a Suarez, or Ma∣riana in theirs? If a Flaccius Illiri∣cus shall uphold a singular error concerning Grace, and Originall sinne; If some ill-advised follow∣ers of Zuinglius shall hold the Sa∣cramentall elements to be onely bare signes, serving meerely for Page 109 memory, and representation; If some Divines of ours shall defend the rigid opinions concerning Predestination; If some phanta∣sticall heads shall crye downe all decent Ceremonies, and all set formes of devotion; why should the Church suffer double in those things which it bewayles? Surely, as the Church is a collective bo∣dy, so it hath a tongue of her owne speaking by the common voyce of her Synodes; in her pu∣blicke Confessions, Articles, Constitutions, Catechismes, Liturgies; what she sayes in these, must passe for her owne: but if any single person shall take upon him (unauthorised) to be the mouth of the Church, his inso∣lence is justly censurable; And if Page 110 an adversary shall charge that pri∣vate opinion upon the Church, he shall be intolerably injurious: Indeed, as it is the best harmony where no part, or Instrument, is heard alone, but a sweet compo∣sition; and equall mixture of all, so is it the best state of the Church, where no dissenting voyce is heard above, or besides his fellowes; but all agree in one common sound of wholesome doctrine. But (such as mans na∣turall selfe-love is) this is more fit to be expected in a Platonicall speculation, then in a true reality of existence: for whiles every man is apt to have a good conceit of his owne deeper insight, and thinkes the prayse, and use of his knowledge lost, unlesse he im∣part Page 111 it; 〈◊〉 commeth to passe, that not contayning themselves within their owne privacies, they vent their thoughts to the world, and hold it a great glory to be the Authours of some more then common-piece of skill; And to say truth, the freedome and •ase of the Presse hath much advanced this itching, and disturbing humour of men whiles only the penne was imployed, bookes were rare; neither was it so easie for a man either to know anothers opinion, or to diffuse his owne; now, one onely day is enough to fill the world with a Pamphlet, and sud∣dainly to scatter whatsoever con∣ceit, beyond all possibility of re∣vocation. So much the more need there is, for those that sit at Page 112 the helme,* whether of Church, or State, to carry a vigilant eye, and hard hand over these Com∣mon tel-tales of the world, and so to restraine them (if it were pos∣sible) that nothing might passe their stampe, which should be prejudiciall to the common peace, or varying from the re∣ceived judgement of the Church. But if this task be little lesse then impossible, since by this meanes every man may have ten thou∣sand severall tongues at pleasure; how much more happy were it, that the sonnes of the Church could obtaine of themselves so much good nature, & submissive reverence, as to speake none but their mothers tongue? The forme of tongues in the first descent Page 113 of the Holy Ghost, was fiery and cloven; and that was the fittest for the state of the first plantation of the Gospell, in∣timating that fervour, and va∣riety, which was then both gi∣ven, and requisite: Now, in the enlarged and setled estate of his Evangelicall Church, the same spirit descends, and dwels in tongues, coole and undivided, Cor unum, via una, One heart, one way, was the Motto of the Prophet, when he foretels the future coaliti∣on of Gods people: And one mind, one mouth was the Apo∣stles to his Romanes.* Let us walke by the same Rule. Let us mind the same thing;* is his charge to his Philippi∣ans. Page 114 But if any wrangler af∣fect to bee singular, and will needes have a minde of his owne, let him stand but for what hee is, let him goe only for a single figure, let him not, by a misprision, take up the place of thousands.
§. XIII. The ninth rule of Moderation: The actions and manners of men must not regulate our judge∣ments concerning the cause.
NInthly, neither doth it a little conduce to Moderation, to know, that the facts and manners of men may not be drawne to the prejudice of the cause: for,* howsoever it commonly holds, that impious opinions and loose life goe still together; yet it is no trusting to this rule, as if it did not ad∣mit Page 116 of exceptions. There have been those, whose errours have beene foule, and yet their con∣versation faultlesse.* I remem∣ber what Bernard said of Peter Abailardus, that hee was Iohn without, and Herod within: And of Arnoldus of Brixia,*Would God his doctrine were so sound, as his life is strict:* And elsewhere; Whose conversation is Honey, his opinion Poyson; whose head is a Doves, his tayle a Scorpions. Epi∣phanius, when he speakes of the hereticke Hierax (an hereticke with a witnesse, who denyed the resurrection of the flesh,* which he granted to the soule) could say, He was a man truly admirable for his exercise in pietie, and such an one, as be∣sides Page 117 the governance of his owne, could draw other mens soules to the practise of God∣linesse. And Augustine spea∣king somewhere of Pelagius and some others of his Sect (I re∣member) acknowledgeth, that the carriage of their life was faire, and unblamable: And those that are the bitterest ene∣mies to the Waldenses, or poore men of Lyons, give great testi∣monie to the integritie and in∣offensivenesse of their conver∣sation.
So on the contrarie, there are many whose Religion is sound, but their life impure. As Caesar said of old, Wee have enow of these Birds at home. Such, as like Ants, follow the track of their Page 118 fellowes to their common hil∣locke; going on those right wayes of Opinion, whereinto example & education have put them, yet stayning their profes∣sion by leud behaviour. I have read, that a rich Iew being askt why hee turn'd Christian,* laid the cause upon the vertue of our Faith. And being askt, how hee did so well know the vertue of such faith; because (said hee) the nation of Christi∣ans could not possibly hold out so long, by vertue of their workes, for they are starke naught; therfore it must needs be by the power of their Faith. Certainely it were woe with us, if lives should decide the truth of Religion, betwixt us Page 119 and unbelievers, betwixt us and our ignorant fore-fathers: These are not therefore fit um∣pires betwixt Christians com∣petitioning for the truth. The Iew was the sounder for religi∣on, yet the Samaritan was more charitable, than either the Le∣vice, or Priest. It were strange, if in the corruptest Church, there were not some consciona∣ble; and no lesse, if in the ho∣lyest,* there bee not some law∣lesse and inordinate; there is no Pomgranate wherein there is not some graines rotten. The sanctity of some few cannot boulster out falsehood in the common beleefe; neyther can the disorder of Ortho∣dox beleevers, disparage that Page 120 soundnesse of doctrine, which their life b•lyes. And if our Sa∣viour give us this rule for dis∣cerning of false Prophets; By their fruits you shall know them;* doubtlesse, that fruit was in∣tended chiefely for their do∣ct•ine; their lives were fayre, their carriage innocent; (for they came in sheepes cloathing.) What was that other then ho∣nest simplicity? yet their fruits were evill:* but withall, as a good and holy life is (as hee said well) a good Commentarie to the sacred Volume of God; so their out-breaking iniquities were a good Commentarie up∣on their vicious doctrines; both wayes were their fruits evill. And if meere outward carriage Page 121 should be the sole rule of our tryall, nothing could be more uncertaine then our determina∣tion: How many Dunghills have wee seene, which whiles they have beene covered with Snow, could not be discerned from the best Gardens? How many sowre Crabs, which for beautie have surpassed the best Fruit in our Orchard? As in matter of reason, experience tells us, that some falsehoods are more probable then some truths; so is it also in matter of practice; no face seemes so purely faire as the painted. Truth of Doctrine is the Test whither wee must bring our profession for matter of tryall; and the sacred Oracles of God Page 122 are the Test, whereby wee must trie the truth of Do∣ctrine.
§. XIIII. The tenth rule of Moderation: That wee must draw as neere as wee safely may, to Christian adversaries, in cases of lesser differences.
IT will perhaps seeme a Paradox to some, vvhich I must lay downe for a tenth rule of Mo∣deration, viz. That wee must endeavour to draw as neere as wee may to Christian adversa∣ries, in the differences of Reli∣gion: Page 123 For some men, whose zeale •• carryes them beyond knowledge, are all for extremi∣ties, and thinke there can never bee distance enough betwixt themselves and those that op∣pose them in the controversies of doctrine, or discipline. For the righting of our conceits in this point, we shall need a dou∣ble d•stinction; one of the Per∣sons, the other of the limits of our approach, or remotenesse. Of the Persons first; for there are Hostes, and there are Ini∣mici. The former are they, who professe open hostilitie to the whole cause of Christianitie; as Iewes, and Turkes: The latter are Adversaries within the Bosome of the Church; Page 124 such as, according with us in the maine essentiall Truths, maintaine stiffe differences in matters of great consequence, both in the judgement and practice of Religion. To the first of these, wee doe justly professe publique and univer∣sall defiance; hating all com∣munion with them, save that of civill commerce, which is not unlawfull with the most savage Infidels. And in this name, doe wee deservedly crie downe those favours, which these avowed enemies of Christ receive at Rome, even from the hands of him, who pretends to succeed the most fervent Apostle, that once said, Lord, thou knowest I love thee: Be∣sides Page 125 the benefit of a favou∣rable entertainment, wee know the Pope on his Coronation day vouchsafes to receive a Present from their hands;* no lesse then that holy Booke of God, which their cursed im∣pietie prophaneth, and which, in requitall, condemneth their impietie; whiles those that professe the same Creed more sincerely then himselfe,* are ri∣gorously expelled, and cruelly martyr'd. Our stomach doth not so farre exceed our Chari∣tie, but wee can pray for those miscreant Iewes: they once for all cursed themselves, His bloud be upon us and our children; wee are so mercifull to them, that wee can blesse them, in pray∣ing Page 126 that his bloud may be up∣on them for their Redempti∣on.*
And as wee can pray for their Conversion, so wee can∣not but commend the Order, which is held in some parts of Italy, that, by the care of the Ordinarie,* Sermons are made on their Sabbaths in those places, where the Iewes are suffered to dwell for their Conviction; but whiles wee wish well to their soules, wee hate their societie.*
I like well that piece of just prohibition, That Chri∣stian women should not bee Nurses to the Children of Iewes, in their Houses; but I cannot brooke the Libertie Page 127 following, that out of their Houses, by Licence from the Ordinarie, they may: My reason is but just, because their proud detestation goes so high, as to an absolute for∣biddance of any office of re∣spect from theirs to us, and yet allowes the same from ours to them. So, by their Law,* a Iewish woman may not be either Midwife, or Nurse to one of ours; yet giving way to our Women, to doe these services to theirs.* Not to speake of the same fashion of Garments (which how∣ever forbidden by the Law, they have now learned for their own advantage, to dispence with) what a curiositie of hatred it is,*Page 128 that if one of us Gentiles should make a Iewes fire on their Sab∣bath, it is not lawfull for them to sit by it: And why should wee bee lesse averse from that odious generation? They have done violence to the Lord of Life, our blessed Redeemer; what have wee done unto them? Bloud lyes still upon them; nothing upon us, but undue mercie.
But as to the latter kind of Adversaries, wee must be ad∣vised to better tearmes; if any of them who call themselves Christians, have gone so farre, as directly and wilfully to raze the foundation of our most holy Faith;* and being selfe-condemned, through the cleare Page 129 evidence of truth, shall rebel∣liously persist in his heresie; Into the secret of such men, let not my soule come, my glory be thou not joyned to their assem∣bly.* I know no reason to make more of such a one, then of a Iew or Turke in a Christians skin. I cannot blame that holy man, who durst not endure to be in the Bath with such a monster;* or those of Samosata, who in imi∣tation of this fact of Saint Iohn, let forth all the water of that pub∣like Bath, wherein Eunomius had washed, and caused new to be put therein.* I cannot blame Theodosius a Bishop of Phrygia, (however Socrates pleaseth to censure him) that hee drove the Macedonian hereticks, not out of Page 130 the Citty onely, but out of the Country too.* I cannot blame Gratianus the Emperour, that hee interdicted all assemblies to the Manichees, Photinians, Euno∣mians; And if he had extended his Banne against those other forenamed hereticks, it had beene yet better for the Church.*Hie∣rom's word is a good one; It is not cruelty that wee thus doe for Gods cause, but Piety. But if there be any, who with full con∣sent embrace all the Articles of Christian Belee•e, and yet erre (not contumaciously) in some such dangerous consequences, as doe in mine understanding (though not their owne) threa∣ten ruine to the foundation by them yeelded; as I dare not Page 131 exclude them from the Church of God, so I dare not professe to abhorre their Communion. God forbid wee should shut up Christian brother-hood in so nar∣row a compasse, as to barre all misbeleevers of this kind, out of the family of God. Doe but turne over that charitable and irrefra∣gable discourse of Christianogra∣phy. Let your eyes but walke over those ample territories and large regions, which in most of the parts of the habitable world (but especially in Europe, Africa, and Asia) professe the blessed name of God, our Re∣deemer, and looke to be saved by his blood; and then aske your heart, if you dare entertaine so uncharitable a thought, as to Page 132 exclude so many millions of weake, but true beleevers, out of the Church below, or out of heaven above: you shall there see Grecians, Russians, Georgians, Armenians, Iacobites, Abassines; and many other sects serving the same God, acknowledging the same Scriptures, beleeving in the same Saviour, professing the same faith in all fundamentall points, aspiring to the same Heaven; and like Bees, though flying severall wayes, and wor∣king upon severall meadowes, or gardens, yet in the evening, meeting together in the same hive.
Now, if I liv'd in the commu∣nity of any of these diverse sects of Christians, I should hold it my Page 133 duty to comply with them in all (not unlawfull) things; and if any of them should live in the community of our Church, I should labour by all good meanes to reclaime him from his erro∣neous opinion, or superstitious practice; & when I had wrought upon him my utmost, rather then let goe my hopes and inter∣est in him, I would goe as farre to meet him (without any anga∣riation, save that of charity) as the line of a good conscience would permit me; herein fol∣lowing the sure patterne of our blessed Apostle,* whose profession it is, Though I be free from all men, yet have I made my selfe servant unto all, that I might gaine the more: unto the Iewes I became as a Iew, Page 134 that I might gaine the Iewes; And to them under the Law, as under the Law, that I might gaine them that are under the Law; To them that are without Law, as without Law, (being not without Law to God, but under the Law to Christ) that I might gaine them that are without Law. To the weake, I became weake, that I might gaine the weake. I am made all things, to all men, that I might by all meanes save some.
I doe much feare the Church of Rome hath a hard answere to make one day, in this particular; Who imperiously, and unjustly challenging unto it selfe the title of the Church Catholike, shutteth all other Christian professions out of doores, refusing all Com∣munion Page 135 with them, and so neg∣lecting them, as if they had no soules; or those soules cost no∣thing; Amongst the rest, I shall give but two instances.*
The great Prince of the Abas∣sine Christians having heard of the fame of the Europaean Chur∣ches, sends some of his nation, of whom he had a great opinion, to Rome, to be informed of the substance and rites of Religion there professed; Zago Zaba was one of the number; they with great labour and hazard arrived there, made knowne their great errand; but were so farre slighted, that they were not so much as admitted to Christian society, and after many yeares vayne hope, were turn'd home disre∣gardfully, Page 136 not much wiser then they came, without any other newes, save of the scorne and in∣solence of those, who should have instructed them. A carriage much sutable to that, which they still beare to the Greeke Church; a Church which, as for extent, it may compare with theirs; so for purity of doctrine, I dare say (if that be her voyce, which her last Patriarch Cirill of Constantinople hath acquainted the world with all (as I was also confidently assured, by the late learned Bishop of Saribaris) as far exceeding the Roman Church, as the Roman doth the Russian, or Ethiopick, which it most contem∣neth: Let any the most curious eye trave•l over that learned con∣fession Page 137 of faith,* which after all de∣vises, and illusions is proved sufficiently to be the genuine act of that worthy Patriarch, and by him published in the name of the whole Greeke Church, and let him tell me what one blemish, or mole hee can finde in that faire body; save onely that one clause, concerning the third person of the blessed Trinity; The holy Spi∣rit proceeding from the Father by the Sonne; wherein there can be no danger, whiles he addes, in the next words, Being of the same substance with the Father and the Sonne; and concludes; These three Persons in one Essence we call the most holy Trinity, ever to be blessed, glorified and adored of every creature. This errour of his GreekPage 138 Church, as it is now minced, is rather a Problem of Scholasticall Divinity, then an heresie in the Christian faith. In all the rest, shew me any the most able, and sincere Divine in the whole Chri∣stian world, that can make a more cleare, and absolute decla∣ration of his faith, then that Greeke Church hath done, by the hand of her worthy, and re∣nouned Prelate; yet how uncha∣ritably is she barred out of doores by her unkinde sister of Rome? How unjustly branded with he∣resie? in so much, as it is abso∣lutely forbidden to the Grecian Priests to celebrate their Masses,* and divine Services, in the Roman fashion: Neither may the Ro∣mans officiate in the Grecian man∣ner, Page 139 under the payne of perpe∣tuall suspension; And if a wo∣man of the Latine Church be gi∣ven in marriage to a Greeke,* shee may not be suffered to live after the Grecian fashion; A solaecisme, much like to that of the Russian Churches, who admit none to their Communion (be hee nver so good a Christian) if he doe not submit himselfe to their matricu∣lation, by a new Baptisme. Sure, those Christians that thus carry themselves towards their deare brethren (dearer perhaps to God then they) have either no bowels, or no braynes, and shall once finde by the difference of the smart, whether ignorance, or hard-heartednesse, were guilty of this injurious measure.
Page 140Next to the persons, the li∣mits of this approach or remote∣nesse are considerable, which must be proportioned according to the condition of them with whom we have to deale. If they be professed enemies to the Chri∣stian name,*Beware of dogs, beware of the concision, saith the Apostle of the Gentiles. Iustly must wee spit at these blasphemers, who say they are Iewes and are not, but are the Synagogue of Satan.* If they be coloured friends, but true hereticks; such as doe de∣stroy, directly, and pertinacious∣ly, the foundation of Christian religion; the Apostles charge is expresse,*Haereticum hominem de∣vita, A man that is an hereticke, af∣ter the first and second admonition Page 141 avoyd and reject; and such an one as he may be, that addes blasphe∣my to heresie, it might be no reall mistaking (though a ver∣ball) of that wise and learned Pontifician, who misreading the vulgar, made two words of one, and turned the Verbe into a Noune, De vita; Supple, Tolle: put an hereticke to death: A pra∣ctise so rise in the Roman Church, against those Saints, who,* in the way, which they call heresie, worship the Lord God of their Fathers, beleeving all things which are written in the Law, in the Prophets, in the Apostles, that all the world takes notice of it; seeming, with the rap't Evange∣list, to heare the soules, from un∣der the Altar, crying aloud,*How Page 142 long Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood, on them that dwell upon the earth? Surely were wee such as their uncharitable 〈◊〉 mis-construction would make us, their cruelty were not excusable before God, or men: but now, as our inno∣cence shall aggravate their con∣demnation before the just Tri∣bunal in heaven; so our exam∣ple shall condemne them, in the judgement of all impartiall Ar∣biters here on earth: For what Client of Rome was ever senten∣ced to death by the reformed Church, meerely for matter of religion? what are wee other to them, then they are to us? the cause is mutually the same; only our charity is more, our cruelty Page 143 lesse. Neither is this any small testimony of our sincere inno∣cence; It is a good rule of Saint Chrysostome, if wee would know a Wolfe from a Sheep (since their clothing (as they use the matter) will not difference them) looke to their fangs, if those be bloo∣dy; their kinde is enough be∣wrayd; for who ever saw the lips of a Sheep besmear'd with blood? It is possible to see a Campian at Tiburne, or a Garnets head upon a pole; Treasonable practises, not meere Religion, are guilty of these executions: But how∣ever, our Church is thus favou∣rable in the case of those heresies, which are either simple, or se∣condary, and consequentiall; yet in the cases of hereticall blas∣phemy, Page 144 her holy zeale hath not fear'd to shed blood: witnesse the flames of Ket, and Legat, and some other Arrians in our me∣mory; And the zealous prosecu∣tion of that Spanish Cistertian, whom wee heard and saw (not long since) belching out his blas∣phemous contumelies against the Sonne of God, who after hee was given over to the secular power for execution, was by the Spanish Embassadour Master Gondemor, carryed, backe into Spaine by leave from King Iames, of blessed memory: in which kind also Master Calvin did well approve himselfe to Gods Church, in bringing Servetus to the stake at Geneva; As for those which are heretickes onely by conse∣quence, Page 145 and interpretation, heedlesly undermining that foun∣dation which they would pre∣tend to establish, as we may not, in regard of their Opinions in themselves, utterly blot them out of the Catalogue of brethren, so we must heartily indeavour all good meanes for their reclama∣tion; strive to convince their er∣rours; labour with God for them in our prayers, trye to win them with all loving offices, nei∣ther need we doubt to joyne with them in holy duties, un∣till their obdurednesse and wil∣full pertinacy shall have made them uncapable of all good coun∣sell; and have drawne them to a turbulent opposition of the truth: for, as it is in actuall of∣fences, Page 146 that not our sinne, but our unrepentance damnes us; so it is in these matters of opinion, not the errour, but the obstinacy incurres a just condemnation. So long therefore, as there is hope of reformation, wee may, wee must comply with this kind of er∣ring Christians; but not without good cautions. First, that it be only in things good or indifferent. Secondly, That it be with a true desire to win them to the truth. Thirdly, that we finde our selves so throughly grounded, as that there be no danger of our infe∣ction: for we have knowne it fall out with some, as with that no∣ble Grecian of whom Xenophon speakes, who whiles hee would be offering to stay a Barbarian,Page 147 from casting himselfe down from the rock, was drawne down with him for company, from that pre∣cipice. Saint Austen professes that this was one thing, that hardned him in his old Manicheisme; That hee found himselfe victo∣rious in his disputations, with weake adversaries, such men in stead of convincing, yeeld; and make themselves miserable, and their opposites foolishly proud, and mis-confident. Fourthly, that we doe not so farre conde∣scend to complying with them, as for their sakes to betray the least parcell of divine Truth. I• they be our friends, it must be only, usque ad aras, there we must leave them. That which wee must be content to purchase Page 148 with our blood, we may not for∣goe for favour, even of the dearest. Fiftly, that we doe not so far yield to them, as to humour them in their errour, as to obfirme them in evill; as to scandalize others. And lastly, if wee finde them ut∣terly incorrigible, that wee take off our hand and leave them un∣to just censure.
As for differences of an infe∣riour nature;* if but (De venis ca∣pillaribus & minutioribus theologi∣carum quaestionum spinetis, as Sta∣philus would have theirs:) or, if of matters rituall, and such as con∣cerne rather the Decoration, then the health of Religion; it is fit they should be valued according∣ly; neither peace, nor friendship should be crazed for these, in them∣selves Page 149 considered. But if it fall out through the peevishnes and selfe-conceit of some crosse dispositions, that even those things, which are in their nature indifferent, (after the lawfull command of Authori∣ty) are blazon'd for sinfull, and haynous, and are made an occa∣sion of the breach of the common peace, certainly it may prove that some schisme (even for triviall matters) may be found no lesse pernicious, then some heresie. If my coat be rent in peeces, it is all one to me whether it be done by a Bryer or a nayle, or by a knife. If my vessell sinke, it is all one whether it were with a shot, or a leake: The lesse the matter is, the greater is the disobedience, and the disturbance so much the Page 150 more sinfull. No man can be so foolish, as to thinke the value of the Apple, was that which cast away man-kinde; but the viola∣tion of a Divine Interdiction.* It is fit therefore that men should learne to submit themselves to every Ordinance of man for the Lords sake: But if they shall bee wilfully refractary, they must be put in minde, that Korahs mu∣tiny was more fearefully reven∣ged, then the most grievous ido∣latry.
§. XV. The eleventh rule of Moderation; To refrayne from all rayling termes, and spightfull provoca∣tions in differences of Religion.
IT shall be our ele∣venth rule for Mode∣ration, that wee re∣fraine from all ray∣ling termes, and spightfull provocations of each other in the differences of Religi∣on. A charge too requisite for these times; wherein it is rare to finde any writer, whose inke is not tempered with gall, and vine∣ger, any speaker, whose mouth Page 152 is not a quiver of sharpe, and bit∣ter words.* It is here, as it is in that rule of Law; The breach of peace is begun by menacing, increased by menacing, but finished by this battery of the tongue.* Where∣in wee are like those Egyptians of whom the Historian speakes; who having begun their devoti∣on with a fast, whiles the Sacri∣fice was burning, fell upon each others with blowes, which having liberally dealt on all hands, at last they sat downe to their feast: thus doe we; after profes∣sions of an holy zeale,* wee doe mercilesly wound each other with reproaches, and then sit downe, and enjoy the content∣ment of our supposed victory. Every provocation sets us on, Page 153 and then (as it useth to be with scolds) every bitter word heigh∣tens the quarrell; Men doe, as we use to say of Vipers, when they are whipt, spit out all their poyson.* These uncharitable ex∣pressions, what can they bewray, but a distempered heart, from which they proceed, as the smoake and sparkes flying up show the house to be on fire; or as a corrupt Spittle showes exul∣cerate lungs: By this meanes it falls out that the truth of the cause is neglected, whiles men are ta∣ken up with an idle, yet busie, prosecution of words; Like as in thrashing the straw flyes about our eares, but the corne is hid. And it hath beene an old obser∣vation, that when a man falls to Page 154 personall rayling, it argues him drawne utterly dry of matter, and despayring of any farther defence; as we see and find that the dogge which running back, falls to bau∣ling, and barking hath done fight∣ing any more.* I have both heard and read that this practice is not rare amongst the Iewes, to brawl in their publike Synagogues, and to bang each other with their holy Candlesticks and censers; in so much that this scandall hath indangered the setting off some of theirs to Mahometisme: And I would to God it were only pro∣per unto them, and not incident unto too many of those, who pro∣fesse to be of the number of them, to whom the Prince of Peace said, My peace I leave with you. It Page 155 is the caveat which the blessed Apostle gives to his Galathians, and in them to us; If yee bite, and devoure one another,*take heed yee be not consumed one of another. Lo here, it is the tongue that bites; and so bites, as that (after the fa∣shion of a mad dogges teeth) both rage and death followes. And if any man thinke it a prayse (with the Lacedaemonian in Plu∣tarch) to bite like a Lion, let him take that glory to himselfe, and be as he would seeme,* like a Lion that is greedy of his prey, and as a young Lion, that lurketh in se∣cret places: But withall let him expect that just doome of the God of Peace, Thou shalt tread upon the Lion and the Adder,*the young Lion and the Dragon shalt thou Page 156 trample under feet. Certainely it is in vaine for us to expect any other measure from the exaspera∣ted, and unruly mindes of hostile brethren,* whose hatred is com∣monly so much greater, as their interest is more: They whose fires would not meet after death, are apt in life to consume one another.
This is the stale and knowne Machination of him, whose true title is, The accuser of the brethren. That old Dragon, when he saw the woman flying to the wilder∣nesse to avoyde his rage;* what doth hee? Hee casts out of his mouth water, as a flood after the woman, that hee might cause her to be carryed away of the flood: what are these waters Page 157 which he casts out of his mouth, but sclanderous accusations, ly∣ings, detractions, cruell persecu∣tions of the tongue? And shall wee that professe the deare name of one common Saviour, so farre second the great enemy of man∣kinde, as to derive some cursed Channels from those Hellish floods of his, for the drenching of the flourishing valleyes of Gods Church? Shall wee rather imitate him then the blessed Archangell of God, who con∣tending with the Divell, and disputing about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a rayling accusation,* but sayd, The Lord rebuke thee: Nay, shall wee dare to doe that to Brethren, which the An∣gell Page 158 durst not doe to the Di∣vell?
When we heare and see feare∣full thundring, and lightning, and tempest, we are commonly wont to say, that ill spirits are abroad; neither doubt I but that many times (as well as in Iobs case) God permits them to rayse these dreadfull blustrings in the ayre, right so when wee see these flashes, and heare these hideous noyses of contention in Gods Church, wee have reason to thinke that there is an hand of Satan in their raysing, and con∣tinuance. For, as for God, we know his courses are otherwise.* When it pleased him to make his presence knowne to Elijah; first there passed a great and Page 159 strong wind, which rent the Mountaines, and brake the Rockes in peeces, but the Lord was not in the Winde. After that Winde, came an Earthquake, but the Lord was not in the Earthquake: Af∣ter the Earthquake a Fire, but the Lord was not in the Fire; but after the Fire, came a still small Voyce, and therein was the Almightie pleased to ex∣presse himselfe; Loe,* as Saint Ambrose observes well, the Di∣vell is for noyse, Christ for silence. Hee that is the Lyon of the Tribe of Iuda, delights in the style of the Lambe of God; and is so tearmed, both by Iohn the Baptist, his fore∣runner, in the dayes of his Page 158〈1 page duplicate〉Page 159〈1 page duplicate〉Page 160 flesh, and by Iohn the Evan∣gelist, his Apostle, in the state of his glory: Neither was the holy Spirit pleased to appeare in the forme of a Falcon, or Eagle, or any other bird of Prey, but of a Dove; the meek∣nesse and innocence where∣of, our Saviour recommen∣ded for a Patterne to all his fol∣lowers:*
If there be any therefore, who delight to have their Beakes or Tallons imbrued in blood, let them consider of what spirit they are; sure I am, they are not of his, whose so zealous charge it is;*Put on (as the Elect of God, holy and beloved) bowels of mercy, kind∣nesse, humblenesse of mind, meek∣nesse, Page 161 long-suffering;*Forbearing one another, forgiving one ano∣ther; if any man have a quar∣rell against any, even as Christ forgave you, even so also doe yee:*And above all things put on Charitie, which is the bond of perfectnesse;*And let the Peace of God rule in your hearts.
§. XVI. The twelfth rule of Moderation: That how-ever our judgements differ, wee should compose our affections towards Vnitie and Peace.
WHich divine counsell of the blessed A∣postle leades me to the twelfth and last rule of Moderation, viz. That if wee cannot bring our judge∣ments to conspire in the same truth with others, yet wee should compose our affections to all peace, to all tender re∣spects Page 163 and kind offices to our dissenting Brethren.* What if our braines be divers? yet let our hearts be one. I cannot but commend the exemplarie dis∣position of the Christians of Constantinople, in the dayes of Constantius; when the famous Church of the Resurrection was there to be erected; the Novatians, men, women, chil∣dren, (though a Sect diversly affected) brought Stones and Mortar to the building of it; joyning with the Orthodox Christians, against the Arrians; communicating with them in three other Churches; and were upon the point of a full unitie and concord, had not some few wrangling spirits, of the Nova∣tianPage 164 partie put in a Claw, and cross'd so faire hopes. Had the matter been so slight as he con∣ceived, it was good counsell which the Emperour gave to Bishop Alexander,*Ac tametsi &c. Although you, saith he, differ from each other in a point of small moment (as wee cannot all be of one minde in every thing) yet it may be so orde∣red by you, that there may be a sincere concord betwixt you; and that there be a mu∣tuall communion and consoci∣ation betwixt all your people. And the same temper hath beene laudably observed and professed by diverse late Wor∣thies in the Church. Concer∣ning the administration of the Page 165 Sacrament to the sick in case of extremitie, Calvin in an Epistle to Olevianus, gives rea∣sons of that practice, but withall addes; Scis, frater,*ali∣um esse apud nos morem; You know, brother, the fashion is otherwise with us; I beare with it, because it is not a∣vaileable for us to contend. Luther, though a man of a hot and stiffe spirit, yet writing to the Cities and Churches of Helvetia, hath thus;*Insuper ut dilectio & amicabilis concordia, &c. Moreover, that there may be a perfect and friendly love and concord betwixt us, wee shall not fayle to doe whatsoever lyes in our pow∣er, especially I, for my part, Page 166 will utterly blot out of my thoughts, all the offence that I had conceived, and will promise all love and fidelitie to you: And shuts up with a fervent prayer; that God, by the grace of his holy Spirit, would glew their hearts together, through Christian love; and purge out of them all the drosse and dregs of humane diffidence, and divel∣lish malice and suspition, to the glory of his holy Name, the sal∣vation of many Soules, to the despight of the Devill,* of the Pope, and all his adherents. And before that time, in the Conference of the Divines on both parts at Marpurge, Oct. 3. 1529. passing through all the points wherein there seemed Page 167 any difference, and sticking one∣ly at the last, concerning the Sacrament, they shut up thus, Quanquam verò, &c. And al∣though wee could not at this time agree, whether the true Body and Bloud of Christ be in the Bread and Wine corporally, yet each part shall hold and maintaine (so farre as his Con∣science will allow) true Chri∣stian love with other, and both parts shall continually pray un∣to Almightie God, that he will by his Spirit confirme us in the true sense and understanding thereof: To which were sub∣scribed the names of those ten eminent Divines following; Luther, Melanchton, Iustus Ionas, Osiander, Brentius, Agricola, Oeco∣lampadius, Page 168 Zuinglius, Bucer, Hedio. Thus, Thus it should be a∣mongst Divines, amongst Chri∣stians, who hope to meet in one Heaven. If it must be with us, as with the Sava and Danuby, two famous Rivers in the East, that they run three∣score miles together in one Channell, with their waters divided in very colour, from each other; yet let it be (as it is in them) without noyse, without violence. If wee be children, as wee pretend, of our Father Abraham, let us take up his peaceable sug∣gestion to his Nephew;*Let there be no strife, I pray thee, betwixt thee and mee, betwixt thy Heard-men and my Heard-men, Page 169 for wee are brethren. Ma∣carius was, in his time, ac∣counted a very holy man; yet I reade, that after hee had ma∣cerated himselfe with long de∣votion, hee had an answer from God, of the acceptance of his Prayers; but withall an inti∣mation, that after all his en∣deavours, hee came short of the merit of two Women in the Citie, which were two Wives of two Brethren, which had lived fifteene yeeres toge∣ther in one house, without the least discord.
This sweet and peaceable disposition cannot but be gra∣ciously accepted of God, be∣twixt us that are Brethren, in the wide House of his Church. Page 170 It is not for Christians to be like unto Thistles, or Tazels, which a man cannot touch, without pricking his fingers; but rather to Pitosella, or Mouse∣eare in our Herball, which is soft and silken in the handling, although if it be hard strained, it yeelds a juice that can harden Metalls to cut Iron. But if wee meet with a kind of men, who are disposed to be quarrelsome, like to that Cercyon in Suidas,* who would needs wrestle with every man he met; the best way is to doe as some have advised, when we are provoked to fight with women, to runne away. Shun prophane and vaine babling,* (saith the Apostle) as for peace, if it flye from us, wee must run Page 171 after it; Follow peace with all men, as he to his Hebrewes:* But if af∣ter all our quickest paces, it will not be overtaken; if we still fall upon those, who are enemies to peace; rabid children, who love to heare themselves crie; Sala∣manders, who love the fire of contention; muddie Eeles, who delight most in troubled wa∣ters, be they such as are under our power, wherefore are Cen∣sures, but for such spirits? Even he that could say, Shall I come to you with a Rod, or with the spirit of meekenesse? said also,*I would they were even cut off that trouble you. It is well commended by the Historian in Proclus, Bishop of Constantinople,* that hee shewed himselfe mild and gentle to all, Page 172 and by this meanes woon more then others did by roughnesse and severitie; and it is a sure rule,* that it is an easier ac∣count that shall be given for mercie, then for crueltie: And certainely, this course is first to be taken; The Chirurgian stroakes the arme, before hee open's the Veine: But where lenitie prevailes not, wee are cruell to the Church, if wee strike not home; when sing∣ing will not still the Childe, the Rod must: If they bee such as are without the reach of our Authoritie, wee must first doe our best, to make them sensible of the wounds they give to our common Mo∣ther, and those Rubs which Page 173 they lay in the way of the Gos∣pel; since it cannot be other∣wise now, then the Historian noteth in those first Ages of the Church,* that the diffe∣rence of Opinions, whereof one arose out of another, was a great hinderance to many, in pitching upon our holy Pro∣fession: And as Optatus, of old, betwixt our Licet and their Non licet, Christian soules cannot chuse but stagger, and be distracted; And withall, to minde them of the palpable Wrongs wee doe to our selves, and the Advantages wee give to common enemies. It was a worthie and just intimati∣on, which Saint Gregorie Na∣zianzene gives, to this purpose, Page 174 unto the Synod of Constantinople; What can be more absurd (saith he) then whiles we decline the enemies fight, to betake our selves to mutuall assaults of each other, and by this meanes to waste and weaken our owne forces? Or what can be a grea∣ter pleasure to our adversaries, then to see us thus bickering with our selves? But if neither the respect to the Glory of the God of Peace, nor to the peace and welfare of the deare Church and Spouse of Christ, nor of themselves, can prevaile any thing; what remaines, but to mourne in silence for the irre∣parable breaches of the sacred Walls of Ierusalem, and toge∣ther with our zealous prayers Page 175 for the opposed peace of Sion, to appeale to the justice of that holy and righteous Lord God of Israel, with
Rebuke, O Lord, the beasts of the Reed, and scatter the people that delight in Warre. Amen.