Of the being of a Diuine power, or God; and of his Prouidence. LIB. I.
IN the first place here, I will recall to light the names of such of the ancient Authours who haue denyed a Deity, or a Diuine power, by the which the affaires of men are gouerned; and will produce the chiefest argumēts vsed by them heerein. Secondly, I will set downe the contrary sentence impugned by the former Men; and will fortify it with many conuin∣cing & vnanswerable arguments or demō∣strations. Thirdly, I will answere, and sa∣tisfy the Reasons vrged by the aduersaries party.
VVHO THET VVERE, THAT DENY∣ed a Deity: and what were the reasons perswa∣ding them therto. CHAP. I.
AMONG the Ancients, some are found, who denying all Diuine Power (by the which the world is gouerned) did take away al Diuinity. O∣thers though granting a heauēly & superna∣turall power, did neuertheles deny the pro∣uidēce of the said power in particuler things (and especially in actions proceeding from mans freewil) moued therto through a shew of some one or other weake reason, which themselues were not able to answeare. Those who absolutly denyed a Deity were but few, of whom the chiefe were Diagoras Milesius, & Protagoras Abderites (both being schollers of Democritus, & Theodorus cōmon∣ly called the Atheist (being a most impure & impudent Sophister). To these may be ad∣ioyned Bion Boristhenites (Scholler of Theo∣dorus) of whom we may read in Suidas in his Lexicon, and Laertius l. 2 & 9. de vitis Phi∣losophorum. With these former may be also marshalled Lucian the scorner of all diuine powers, and the bitter enemy of Christians, Page 3 who for his impiety was torne asūder with dogs, as Suidas witnesseth. Pliny also is to be ranged among the foresaid Atheists; who in his second book c. 7. doubteth, whether be∣sides the Sun (which he calleth the chiefest gouernour, & Numen of Nature) there were any other power, or any other God; for these are his words, Quisquis est Deus &c. VVhosoeuer that God is (if any such be) he is in euery part, whole sense, whole sight, whole hearing, whole soule, whole mind, & finally whole in himselfe: & after refuting the Gods of the Gentils, he further saith: Deus est &c. He is said to be a God, who helpeth others, and this is the way to purchase eter∣nal glory. This path the worthy and noble Romans did tread, and in this Vespasian•s Augustus, the most eminent gouernour in all ages, walked with his children, alwaies supporting the decaying state of men. And that such men should be ranged and marshalled in the number of Gods, was the most auncient manner of shewing thankefulnes & gratitude to men wel deseruing. And then after▪ the sayd Authour further writeth: It is to be laughed at, to say, That that cheife, and supreme power (whatsoeuer it is) hath any solicitude or care of humane things; for may we not then wel belieue, that then it followeth, that the sayd Numen, or Diuine power should be contaminated and defi∣led with so w•arisome, and so multiplicious a charge and negotiation?
Page 4Now Democritus, Heraclitus, Epicurus, and Lucretius acknowledging a Numen or diuini∣ty, denyed only all prouidence of the sayd power; since they maintained, that al things did happen either by force of Nature (as Lactantius sheweth l. 2. de ira Dei. c. 9. & 10.) or els by the casuall concourse & meeting of infinit Atomi, as is euidently gathered out of Lucretius: and according to the iudgment of some, Aristotle is auerred to be of the said o∣pinion, who in the 12. booke of his Metaphy∣sicks cap. 9. writeth, that it is an absurd thing, that prima Mens, the first mind (for so he calleth God) should haue a care of some thinges; & more •itting it were, that he should not see such thinges, as see them. Yet the contrary hereto he inti∣mateth in the tenth booke of his Ethicks cap. 8 in regard whereof I hould him rather to be freed from that imputation, then otherwise. Cicero → in his second booke de diuinatione, ta∣keth away all prescience and foreknowledg of thinges to come, especially of thinges de∣pending on the freedome of mans wil; & his reason is, in that he thinketh this foreknow∣ledge carryeth with it a necessity of the e∣uent of thinges: vpon which ground he also denyeth all diuination and prouidence. A∣mong men of later tymes many may be foūd denying the Diuinity it selfe, but few who deny only the foreknowledge of the said di∣uinity: Page 5 for the reason of Prouidence or fore∣knowledge is so inseparably ioyned with the diuinity, as that they cānot (in the eye of cleare iudgement) be deuided asunder; for how impotent and weake should that God be, who were ignorant of those thinges, which euen to vs are become cleare & eui∣dent? And how imperfect and narrow an vnderstanding should he haue, that could not attend to all thinges, which doe fall out in the world? Therfore it is wisely pro∣nounced by S. Austina in a certaine place against ← Cicero → : To confesse that there is a God, and withall to deny that he is prescious, or foreknowing of things to come, is extreme madnes. Therefore either preference and prouidence is to be ad∣mitted, or els all diuinity is to be reiected.
Although at this day there be many who deny in their secret iudgmentes all diuine power and Deity, yet are they not much knowne to the world; since the feare of the lawes doth impose silence to these kind of men, and only secretly among their famili∣ars they do vomit out their Atheisme. The er∣rours in Religion (since all such wicked do∣ctrines do finally propend & incline to A∣theisme) haue giuen great occasion hereof: for once departing from the true religion▪ mans vnderstanding findeth nothing, wher∣in it may firmely and securely rest; and then Page 6 the vnderstanding reflecting it selfe theron, instantly falleth to doubt of the whole my∣stery of all religion; as if it were a thing for∣ged only out of policy▪ that so vnder the te∣cture & pretext of a Diuine power, the people may the more easily be contained within the limits and boundes of their duties. And hence it proceedeth that among Heretickes, such as are of sharper wits doe inwardly doubt of all relig•on, and either deny, or at least rest vncertaine, whether there be any diuine and supernatural power at al▪ being thus prepared to entertaine any religion, so farre forth as it forteth to the augmentation & in∣crease of their temporal estates. These men be commonly called Polititians, in that they subiect all religion to policy, & consequent∣ly by how much the more any religion is conducing to the bettering of their political and temporall estate; by so much it is by thē more esteemed and practised. Among these men Nicholas Machiauel hath gained the chie∣fest place, as appeareth out of his books writ∣ten in the Italian tongue, and particulerly of that entituled de Principe, which at this day is read by many.
The chiefe reasons, whereupon this o∣pinion is grounded, are these following: If there were any Diuine power, by the which the world were gouerned, then would it Page 7 follow, that improbity, wickednes, & cru∣elty should not preuaile so much, as now it doth: neither should it haue so prosperous successe and euent, nor should it oppresse and betrample with wrong the vertuous & innocent, as we fynd that in all ages it hath done; seeing it belongeth, and is peculiarly incumbent to the office of a Gouernour, not to suffer the wicked to rule and sway much, but to chastice them with diuers punishmēts; therby not only to cause them to cease from afflicting the vertuous; but also by amen∣ding their manners, to affect and prosecute a vertuous life. And for example heereof, let vs suppose any one Citty, the which the worst & most wicked mē do daily gouerne, who without any feare of lawes cōmit ra∣pyne vpon the goodes of their neighbours, do violate and desile the beds of others, and without restraint do satisfy their lusts in all things; who would say that this Citty ēioy∣ed a Gouernour that is wise and prouident? Wherefore since in the whole world there is such disturbance of order that we can hardly conceaue a greater perturbation then it i•, to wit, the religious worshippers of God to be oppressed, to endure extreme want and other calamities, to liue in a despicable and contemned state of life, and finally most mi∣serably to dy; and on the contrary syde, the Page 8 wicked to gouerne & sway all, to liue afflu∣ently & abundantly in all riches, to insult o∣uer the vertuous, to wallow in sensuality, & lastly to haue a quyet end and death. Now who would here think (saith the Atheist) that Prouidence (by the which all thinges are dispensed, and giuen in an euen measure) should haue any presidency, or power in the vnequall disposall of these worldly af∣faires? For from this 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and want of order, and from this confusion of things, the former men did coniecture, that there was no supreme gouernour, which had any care in the dispensatiō of temporal busines. This argument is the chiefest for the strengthing of this most wicked assertion, which pre∣uailed much, not only with some of former auncient tymes, but also with diuers in our daies.
Secondly, they obiect, that it is euident euen by experience it selfe; that mens nego∣tiations & busines receaue their successe (for the most part) answerable to the industry & endeauours employed in them, & not accor∣ding to the right & equity of the mater; hēce (say they) it procedeth, that many waging most iniust wars haue obtained the victory, either because they were more numerous & powerful in souldiers•, or in that they were more industrious & painful in their design∣ments. Page 9 In like sort such men, as maintaine vnlawful suites, do oftentymes by periuryes and false witnesses purchase the sentence of the Iudge. Finally, we find, that mens owne industry and laboriousnes doth much more predominate and rule ouer all their mutuall commercements, then the prouidence or in∣fluence of any higher cause. Al which obser∣uations may seeme to intimate, that there is no superiour Diuyne Power, gouerning and moderating mens actiōs; but that euery one is lest to his owne particuler prouidence, and watchfullnes.
Thirdly, we see that things consisting of nature, do euer proceed after one & the same manner, keeping one immoueable course & order. Thus the Sunne euer ryseth & setteth & rūneth the same circles, occasioning with his approach, the Spring and Sūmer; with his departure, the Autume & Winter: in like sort things natural do grow and after decay or dye, still one thing begetting another without cessatiō or end, to the perpetuating of the same species or kind, which is a signe that all things are gouerned by the force of Nature, and that there is no other higher power, then Nature her selfe, by the which all these thinges are effected.
Fourthly, we obserue that man is first be∣gotten, formed in his mothers wōbe, borne, Page 10 increaseth, comes to his full groth or vigour, growes old and dyes after the same māner, as other more perfect liuing creatures do, and that he consisteth of the said members and organs; therfore there is the like end of mās life, as of other creatures; and as they do vt∣terly perish away after death, s also doth man.
Lastly, if there be any supreme spirit, or diuine nature, it is credible, that it doth not intermedle with mans affaires, nor busieth it selfe with things done among vs. First be∣cause, this seemeth vnworthy the maiesty of so great a Deity; for as a mighty Monarch doth not trouble himselfe with the particu∣ler actions of his Cittizens, workemen, or bond-slaues, litle regarding what they say, thinke, or do, as houlding the care of such small matters to be an indignity to his regall state: In lyke sort, Men scorne the labour & busines of Ants or flees, as not regarding their policy or course they hould. But now in re∣ference & comparison to that supreme power, we men are far lesse inferiour then the Ants. Furthermore, seing that Diuinity is perfectly blessed, containing all sufficiency within it selfe, and seeking nothing, that is extrinse∣call or externall; why then should it be sol∣licitous and carefull of our Actions? Finally the former point seemes true, in regard, that Page 11 by the meanes of humane things (howsoe∣uer they happen) there is neither any more neere approach or further distance from the sayd Deity. Other Arguments to proue the same (then are here alledged) I fynd none; and these former arguments are answered & solued in the fiue last Chapters of this first booke.
THAT THERE IS ONE SVPREME Power, by whose Prouidence all things are gouerned; is made euident by many rea∣sons. CHAP. II.
BVT the contrary sentence of this poynt is to be acknowledged and set downe, as an inexpugnable verity; to wit, that there is a supreme Diuyne Power, by whose proui∣dence and wisdome all things (both humane & others) are gouerned, and this power we cal God. Now this truth is not to be belieued only by force of diuine reuelation, but also is made most euident by many reasons and de∣monstrations, which are most obuious and familiar vnto vs, and are to be apprehended euen by our senses. For although a diuine na∣ture or diuinity, in respect of it selfe is altoge∣ther inuisible, notwithstāding there appeare so many perspicuous notes and prints thereof Page 12 in sensible thinges so many footsteps euery where; finally so many sparcles of this light or splendour are shining in euery thing, as that who will diligently insist in the cōtem∣plation of them, cannot possibly doubt ei∣ther of the being of a God, or of his Prouidence.
Fourteene or fifteene reasons do occurre to me, from which this truth receaueth its proofe, or rather demonstration, which I wil briefly here explicate, to wit: first, from the generall confession of all Countryes, and wisemen. 2. From the motions of the heauens. 3. From that, that thinges corporall and subiect to sight, cannot receaue their first being from themselues. 4. From the pul•hr••ude and beauty of things and from the structure and position of parts in respect of the whole. 5. From the structure of the parts of the world, in reference to their end. 6. From the structure and position of parts in liuing Creatures, and plants, in reference also to their ends. 7. From that, that the actions and operations of all things, most directly & orderly tend to their end. 8. From the great diuer∣sity of faces and countenances of men, and of their voyces; as also from the pouerty, and penury, wherin the greatest part of the world are borne. 9. From Miracles. 10. from the predictious and super∣naturall reuelations of things most hidden & secret. 11. From Spirits. 12. From the direction and go∣uerment of Manners and life. 13. From the immor∣tality of the soule. 14. From diuers examples of su∣pernaturallPage 13reuenge, and benignity, or fauour. 15. From the punishments suddainly, and visibly in∣flected vpon blasphemers, sacrilegious persons, and periurers.
THE FIRST REASON IS TAKEN from the Confession of all Countries, and of al wise men. CHAP. III.
AS much as we may be instructed by History, al Countries (whether barba∣rous or professing learning) haue in all ages maintayned a diuyne & supernatural power to be, which doth know and gouerne al our actiōs, which vndertaketh the charge of vs, to whom in dangers, pressures, and afflicti∣ons we are to haue recourse, and from whose hand rewards for welld•ing, and chastice∣ments or punishments for wicked actions are to be expected. So did the Iewes belieue, the Egiptians, Ethiopians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Gre∣cians, Romans, Germans, French, Indians, the people of China, Iaponians, Tartarians, and all others, not only after, but also before Christs comming. Of the truth of which poynt this is one manifest signe, to wit, in that all these had their religions, their ceremonies, their temples, and their Priests instituted for the Page 14 worshipping of a diuyne Power. To this Power also they made their prayers and vowes, of∣fered vp their sacrifices and guifts, and diuers wayes laboured to appease, and pacify the wrath of the said Deity. Therfore it follo∣weth, that they all ascribed to this Power, Prouidence; assuring themselues, that it tooke notice of their actions, that it was able to defend them, to free them from dangers, to imparte to them thinges which they de∣sired, and to take reuenge for iniuries: since otherwise they should pray, & offer vp sacri∣fices to it in vaine, if it knew not our estates nor intermingled it self with our estates, nor tooke care for vs. And hence it followeth, that this opinion of a Deity is not entertained only by force of Tradition, but is planted in the minds of al, euen by nature her selfe. For although all do not agree, whether the su∣pernaturall power be one or many; corporal and bodily, or incorporall; finite, or infinite and immense; yet all conspire in this poynt, that there was a certaine supreme intelligence, or Diuinity, which is to be adored and wor∣shipped, as euen ← Cicero (a) witnesseth, saying: Among men there is no country so barbarous, or of so iron and hard a disposition, which doth not acknow∣ledge, that there is a God, though they be ignorant, what this God should be. Which Oratour also in another (b) place speaking of the said poynt Page 15 saith, hoc omnibus est innatum & insculptum &c. This thing (to know that there is a God) is con∣naturall to all, and euen engrauen in their soules. Now if the acknowledging of this poynt be incident to all by nature, then it ineuitably followeth, that it cannot be false: for nature neuer planeth in the mynd any assent of fal∣shood, but only of truth (since otherwise she should be wicked, and should peruert the vnderstanding and reason) for Truth is the right state, and as it were the health of the vnderstanding; wheras falshood is a depra∣uation, and a bad or vicious distemperature of the same: but the Euill, and Vice of any thing proceedeth not from the inclination of nature (but euer against the naturall propen∣sion of it;) therefore an vniuersall assent in the vnderstanding of what is false, neuer ta∣keth it origin, and first being from nature.
I further add, if it should not be true, that there is a God; thē should it be not only false, but also altogether 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and impossible, as implying an irreconciliable contradiction; for if at this present there be not a God, or that he hath no prouidence of our estates, then is it altogether impossible, and inuolueth in it selfe a plaine contradiction, to say, that euer at any tyme he was, or that euer he had any Prouidence. For as Aristotle, and all Philoso∣phers teach: In diuinis idem est esse actu, & possePage 16esse; non esie actu, & esse impossibile. In things that are diuine, it is all one, the same actually to be, and to haue a power to be; as also actually not to be, or exist, and to be impossible to be. But how is it credible, that, that which is not only false, but also altogether impossible, should be so belieued among all nations, and should be so engrafted in the mynds of euery man, as that all men in all places should (without any ex∣ternall helpe of instruction therein) enter∣taine & belieue the same with a vnanimous and general consent and approbation? And heere is discouered the force of this verity, which is so potent, and hath such a secret a∣grement and sympathy with mans vnder∣standing, as that it is able euen to inuade and possesse (and this without any coaction or constraint) the myndes of all. And of this, heere is an euident signe, in that al countries in suddaine and vnexpected dangers (with∣out any deliberation at all) do recurre & fly to God, imploring his helpe and assistance, saying: O God succour me, O God helpe me, O God haue mercy on me &c. Againe, in that all nations belieue, that God knoweth al things, and is able to do any thing, they vpon this acknowledged ground, do pray for fauour for their friendes, and reuenge against their enemies, as Tertullian elegantly sheweth in his booke De Animae testimonio.
Page 17And although the truth of this doctrine be not in it selfe so acknowledged and eui∣dent to all, as none can contradict the ve∣rity, yet it is so agreable to the light of rea∣son, & so probable, as that the mind of mā is instantly ready to giue assent therto, & the tongue prepared to confesse the same; and all this through a secret instinct without a∣ny precedent deliberation: from whence it appeareth that hitherto neuer any man de∣nyed this verity, but only such, whose na∣turall iudgement, through some false and weake reason, or through the peruersenesse of his phantasy was mightily corrupted, & as it were darkened with the mist of an er∣roneous imagination; no otherwise, then sometimes it falls out, that some men haue denyed thinges, as were most euident to their senses: so Zeno denyed motion, and De∣mocritus, rest; this later maintaining, that nothnig was permanēt, but al things were in a continual flux and mutability, and that the world did daily grow, and daily decay. Thus we fynd, that nothing is so absurd, which may not to a depraued iudgment seeme consonant to Reason; and so were the faculties of those few Philosophers mynds infected, who denyed a Diuinity, or Prouidence, as aboue we said: Notwith∣standing it is not to be regarded, what some Page 18 one or other do teach herein, but their rea∣sons wherupon they ground so an absurd assertion, are to be weighed, which indeed are found to be most friuolous, weake, and inconsequent, as hereafter we will shew.
To the common iudgment of al Contriēs and nations herin, we may adioyne the like sentence and iudgment of all most learned Philosophers, who euer flourished in any place or tyme: Since al these most cōfidētly euer maintained a Deity and Prouidence, as Augustinus Eugubinus in his worke de perenni Philosophia, largely sheweth. Thus did the Patriarchs teach, the Prophets, and al the wise men among the Iewes; thus the Priests among the Egyptians, the Magi among the Chaldeans, the Gymnasophistae amōg the Indi∣ans the Druides among the French, and the chiefe sects of Philosophers among the Grecians; to wit, the Pithagoreans, the Plato∣nickes, the Stoicks, & (as Eugubinus proueth) the very Academians. I heere omit the most excellent sētences of this poynt, which are frequétly found in Trismegistus, Orpheus, Mu∣seus, Homer, Hesiod, Pindarus, Sophocles, Plato and the Platonicks, Seneca, Plutarch, & whō if any be desirous to see, let him peruse the foresaid mentioned Authour.
This opiniō therfore of cōfessing a Deity, & Prouidēce is fortified with the authorities Page 19 of al countries, al ages, all religions, all rites & ceremonyes of diuyne worship, al Priests al Prophets, al discipline of Magi and Wise men, and al the more remarkable Philoso∣phers of al nations; & finally it is warrāted by the force of nature which hath imprin∣ted this truth at his very birth in mās soule.
Therfore what madnes and blyndnes of mynd it is (for some few weake & sleighty reasons) to imbrace the contrary opinion? Since this is nothing els, but to prefer and aduance a mans owne priuate iudgment a∣boue the iudgment of the whole world & of all tymes, and to venditate himselfe for more wise (as enioying a more sear∣ching and penetrating braine) then any o∣ther man liuing. Therfore the Atheists do herin discouer their wonderfull folly, and insupportable pryde, which thus hath en∣chanted them.
THE SECOND REASON DRAVVNE FROM the motion of the heauenly Orbs. CHAP. IIII.
IN this next place I will alledge certaine Philosophical reasons or arguments, & such as are euidēt & cleare to the vnderstā∣ding; pretermitting the more obscure, which Page 20 be taken out of the Metaphisicks. First then we see the heanenly bodies to be carryed a∣bout in their Orbs with a most rapid and swift motiō. Now this motion cānot haue it beginning frō any force of nature impres∣sed in the heauens, neither from any corpo∣rall cause; therefore it procedeth from some intelligent and spirituall substance, & this substance is God. That it doth not ryse frō any naturall inclination of the heauens, is manifest; since things which are moued by a propension of nature, direct their motion vnto some one end, the which end once obtained, they cease from further motion, and then do rest, and are cōserued. Thus al sublunary bodyes enioy a power and force to moue, that if chance they be taken from their naturall place, they striue by motion to returne therto; and being returned do there rest, and quietly enioy their owne being. For all things, which stand obnoxi∣us & subiect to corruption are preserued in their owne naturall place; but being out of it, they perish, languishing (as it were) away and loosing their state of nature. And there is no body, which hath an inclination to motion, so, as it still moues without end, & neuer attaynes to its period, and desired place of rest: for as the Philosophers teach, Motus est quidda•••perfectum, ••pote via adPage 21terminum. Motion is a thing imperfect in it selfe, as being but only away or passage to an end, or rest. But there is nothing, which couereth to be euer in its way or iourney (as I may cal it) but all things desire to hasten to their termi∣nus, or end, and there to repose and rest. Wherfore we may necessarily conclude frō the premises, that seing the motion of the heauēly Orbs doth not tend, nor is directed to any terminus, or end, where it may find rest and quyet, that therefore this motion floweth not from any inclinatiō of nature, as the motion of all in animate things do, which we see in this world. This poynt is further confirmed from that, that euery na∣turall inclinatiō to motion is directed to the good of the subiect or body, which is mo∣ued: to wit, that the body may obtaine therby its perfection and conseruation, and is not directed to the good or benefit of o∣ther bodyes: for euery particuler thing hath therefore a force and propension to moue, that by such a mouing, it may obtayne that place, which is most agreable to its nature, and so may firmely place it selfe, and rest there, and not that by a motion it may be∣nefit other bodies. But now the motion of the heauenly Orbes bringeth no perfection at all to the Orbes, or to those other hea∣uenly bodies (for what doth that continual Page 22 rowling about of the Orbes profit, or ad∣uantage the Sunne, or the other stars?) but is only beneficiall to the inferiour bodyes, whiles by this motion it carryeth their ver∣tues and influences throughout the com∣passe of the whole Orbes; and so by distri∣buting them, causeth all things to receaue vegetation, life, increase, perfection, and conseruation. Therefore it is most euident, that this motion of the heauens proceedeth not from any secret inclination of nature in them: for those celestiall Orbes cannot ap∣prehend or conceaue their motiō to be pro∣fitable to this inferiour world; that out of such a charitable cogitation and thought (forsooth) they should thus incessantly moue and turne about: for so to apprehend and reflect vpon the profit of another, is peculiar to a mynd and intelligence endu∣ed with reason. From all which it is ne∣cessarily euicted and inferred, that there is some most powerful spirit or intelligence, which first conceaued this profit in its mynd, and by reason of the said profit first ordained & tempered this motion, of which spirit it e∣uer dependeth and is gouerned. Further∣more the great variety of the heauenly mo∣tions doth sufficiently demonstrate, that they proceed not from nature, whose in∣clination is euer simple and vniforme. For be∣sides Page 23 their motion from the East to the west vpon the Poles of the world (which is common to all the Orbes) seuerall Orbes of euery Planet enioy a proper motion frō the West to the East, vpon a different Axis, or Pole, a different way, and with diffe∣rent celerity. The Orbe of Saturne per∣fecteth its course almost in 30. yeares. The Orbe of Iupiter in 12 yeares, of Mars about 2. yeares, of the Sunue in one yeare, of Venus in one yeare, of Mercury almost in like space, of the Moone in 27. daies, and 6. houres. Behold heere the great diuersity. Neither is the poynt here lessened, if in place of the motion of the Planets to the West, we suppose their motiō to the East (though somewhat slower) according to the iudgement of some; because euen granting this supposal, yet the same variety is obserued, the same difference of motion, and the same sympathy, agreement, & pro∣portion.
Againe, the Planets sometymes are more neare to the earth, other tymes more remote and distant; now they are stationarij, then directi, and after retrogradi: to the demon∣stration of which poynts are inuented the Eccentrick Circles, and the Epicycles.
Furthermore many other obseruations in the Heauens most wonderfull and vn∣knowne Page 24 for somany ages to all antiquity▪ are lately discouered by the helpe of a Per∣spectiue glasse inuented by a certaine Batauiā. As for example, that the body of the moone is spongious, consisting of some matter re∣sembling little locks of woll; that the star of Venus doth increase and decrease in light like the moone, crooking it self into hornes, as the moone doth; and when it Orbe is full of light, it is not opposed diametrically to the Sunne, as the Moone is, but is in small distance from the Sunne: from which ob∣seruation it may seeme to be necessarily in∣ferred, that the starre of Venus is carryed in a huge Epicycle about the Sunne; so as it is sometimes far higher then the Sunne, other tymes much lower. In lyke sort by the for∣mer instrument there are obserued, about the starre of Iupiter 4▪ small stars, sometimes going before, sometimes following Iupiter: at one tyme they all appeare, at another tyme but some of them, and at a third tyme other some; from whence also we may ga∣ther that the said starres do moue in little Epicycles about the starre of Iupiter. Againe, in the body of the Sunne there appeare cer∣taine spots, which notwithstanding do not euer retaine one and the same place in the Sunne, but daily change their situation; and at one tyme they appeare more in number, Page 25 at another fewer. From which it is easily gathered, that these spots do not inhere in the body of the Sunne, but are little starres, which interpose themselues betweene the Sunne and our sight, and are moued in Epicycles about the body of the Sunne. I my selfe haue often obserued these varieties, with wonderfull admiration of the wise∣dome and power of God; who hath dispo∣sed the course of the starres with that stu∣pendious art and skill, as that they are in no sort subiect to the apprehension of mans vnderstāding. I here omit the infinite mul∣titude of Starres, which (being neuer dis∣couered to the Astronomers vntill this tyme) are by the helpe of the foresaid in∣strument most distinctly seene in the Hea∣uens.
To cōclude, in the eight Sphere (wher∣in the fixed Starres are) there is obserued a triple motion. The first from the Fast to the West, absoluing its whole course in 24. houres. The second from the West to the East, which is thought to go one degree in a hundred yeares. The third from the South to the North, and contrariwise; by force of which motion the beginning of Aries & Libra of the eight Sphere doth descrybe certaine small circles about the beginning of Aries and Libra of the ninth Sphere; Page 26 which course is perfected in 7000. yeares. Now, who will maintayne, that so multi∣plicious, and so various a locall motion should proceed from nature, and not from some one most Wise and Excellent an Vn∣derstanding or Power, thus gouerning all the heauēs for the benefit of the sublunary or earthly bodies, and particulerly of man, to whome the rest are subiect and seruicea∣ble? Neither conduceth it any thing against our scope, whether it be replyed, that these motions are performed by diuers trā∣sient pushes (euen as the rowling about of a potters wheele is occasioned by the Pot∣ter) or els by certaine stable, firme & per∣mament forces, impressed in the celestiall Orbes (as some do affirme) for by whether meanes soeuer it is caused, it necessarily proceedeth from some incorporeall cause indued with a mynd and vnderstanding, & not from any peculiar propension and incli∣nation of nature. Now this Cause (which with so powerfull a hand, and so many wayes turneth about the heauenly Orbes) we call God, who either worketh this im∣mediatly of himselfe (which is the more probable opinion) or els by the ministery and help of inferiour Spirits, and Intelli∣gences, as many do hould.
THE THIRD REASON, TAKEN FROM that, that Corporall substances, and such as are subiect to the eye and sight, cannot haue their being by Chance, or Fortune. CHAP. V.
IN the whole course of the nature of things, there must needes be some one cause, of which all therest, in respect of their substance, do depend: and that we call God. That there is such a cause is pro∣ued, in that corporeall and bodily things do proceed either from themselues, or ca∣sually from fortune, or from some incorpo∣reall cause endued with a mynd, vnderstan∣ding and reason. For neuer did any Philo∣sopher set downe any other efficient cause of the world, then some of these three; nei∣ther can any other cause differēt from these be suggested or imagined, except one will say, that this world is produced of another world, and that other of another, and so still infinitly; which assertion is in it selfe absurd, seing it implyeth an infinity & in∣terminable progresse and proceeding.
Now, it is manifest, that things haue their beginning neither from themselues, nor Page 28 from Chance or fortune; therfore it followeth necessarily, that they receaue their produ∣ction and being from some Mynd or Spirit endued with reason.
That they proceed not from Chance, to wit, from a casuall concourse of Atomies, or smal bodies, as Democritus, Epicurus, Lucretius and some other did teach, appeareth both from the structure and forme of all things in the world; as also from the great order and constancy▪ which is discouered in the mo∣tion of the heauens, and in the function & office of other things: for what man, that is endued with reason, will be perswaded, that those thinges, whose making are ac∣companied with the fulnes of all reason, & in that respect exceedeth the wit of all art and knowledge, should notwithstanding be produced of a meere casual concourse of Atomies without reason, and without art? Since to say thus, were as much as to defēd, that some one most faire, sumptuous, and stately pallace were not made at all by any artificer with art, but only by a suddaine mingling and meeting together of certaine peeces of stones into this curious and artifi∣ciall forme, fallen from some huge rocke of stone, shaken a sunder by an Earthquake: or that the Annales of Ennius, or Commenta∣ries of Liuy were not cōposed by any wry∣ter, Page 29 but by a strange and casuall concourse of letters: for if the parts of the world, and disposition of parts, and the bodyes of liuing Creatures, & plants (in the making wherof is found all reason, art & skil in the highest degree) can be produced only by a meere cōcourse of Atomies without art & without reason; then by the same reason, why can∣not Pallaces, Temples, Cittyes, vestmēts, bookes, epistles and the like (in all which is discouered much lesse art, skill, and wit then in the former) take also their making and being from Chance? Therefore, let that foolish absurd opinion of the concourse of Atomyes be abolished, which seemeth to be inuented to no other end, then that the maintainers thereof, should not be forced to acknowledge the world to be gouerned by diuyne Prouidence: against which Prouiden∣ce they had a mighty auersion; it selfe of necessity being most formidable and dread∣full* to a mynd wallowing in all wickednes & voluptuousnes, as is euidently gathered out of Lucretius and Pliny.
That the world and the parts thereof cannot receaue their being from themsel∣ues, is no lesse euident. First among sub∣blunary bodyes (as all those be, which are vnder the Moone) those which are most perfect (as Man & other liuing Creatures) Page 30 cannot be of themselues; for how can those things receaue their being frō themselues,* which need a preparation and concourse of so many causes, that they may be borne; and so many externall helpes and further∣rances, that they may liue? Or how can that be of it selfe, which is extinguished & peri∣shed with so great a facility? Here perhaps it may be replyed, that those bodies, which be Indiuidua, as particuler men▪ are not of themselues, but that the humane nature in generall (as being eternall, or for euer) is of it selfe: and that the like may be said of o∣ther Species, or kindes of things. But this is spoken ignorantly; seeing the Species of any creature, or body is not a thing separated from the Indiuidua (as certaine Platonickes dreamed) but doth exist in the Indiuidua; neither hath it any esse, or being, in rerum natura, but only by reason of the Indiuidua. Yea for exāple, species humana, or the whole kynd of men, is nothing els, but the whole multitude of particuler men, which haue beene, are, and may be, as they all beare a liknes of nature among themselues. Now then if Indiuiduall and particuler Men do depend of another cause, then must also the whole Species or kynd (which is not distin∣guished à parte rei (as the Philosophers speake) from the Indiuidua) depend also of Page 31 another cause. This point is further mani∣fested, in that the whole Species, or kynd may vtterly be extinguished or perishd. But what dependeth not of another, but hath it being only of it selfe, cannot be extingui∣shed: for what is of it selfe, did neuer begin, but had euer its existency; and therefore can∣not cease or desist to be. That it neuer be∣gun, is proued, in that what once did be∣gin, sometimes was not, and therefore it is produced (as the phrase is) à non esle, ad esse, from the not being of a thing, to the being of the thing it selfe. Now, a thing cannot produce or cause it selfe; and the reason is, because that which doth produce, ought to precede or go before, that therby it may draw that, which is to be produced à non esle, ad esse. Therefore whatsoeuer begin∣neth once to be, is produced of another, & consequently receaueth not it▪s being of it self; for to haue its being of it selfe, is to haue its essēce without the influxe of any other efficient cause. Therefore it is auident that what is of it selfe, did neuer begin, & the∣refore shall neuer end; and on the contrary syde, what did begin hath not its being from it selfe, but is necessarily produced of another.
Furthermore, euery thing compounded* of matter and forme, cannot be of it selfe, Page 32 but necessarily is produed of some efficient cause, which must dispose the matter, and produce the forme, and ioyne the forme to the matter; for the matter neither recea∣ueth those dispositions, nor the forme from its owne essence (since they may be sepa∣rated) therefore this vnion of the matter & the forme is occasioned by some extrinsecal cause. The same may be said of euery thing consisting of parts, for seing the parts are not through any necessity vnited among themselues, but may be mutually separa∣ted one from another, it must needes fol∣low, that this vnion proceedeth from some cause, which ioyned the parts togeather.
From these premises afore, it appeareth, that also the Elements, (as the earth, the water, the ayre, and the fire) are not of thē∣selues, but haue some efficient begining: for if those things, which are most perfect for their nature (among these sublunary bodyes) haue not their being from them∣selues, but from some other cause; then much more those bodies which are most imperfect (as the Elements are) must for their being depend of another: for to be of it selfe, and not to depend of another, is a signe of greatest perfection; seing, what is thus in nature, is to it selfe the origen and fountaine of all good, and standeth not in Page 33 need of any thing externall. Furthermore the Elements are not for themselues, but for others; I meane as they are parts of the world, and as they afford matter to com∣pounded bodyes, therfore they haue not their being from themselues; for that Axi∣ome in Philosophy is true, to wit: Quod habet causam finalem, ad quam ordinetur, habet etiam efficientem, à qua ordinetur. What hath a final cause, to the which it is directed and ordai∣ned, the same hath also an efficient cause, by the which it is so ordained; for nothing is of it selfe, to the end that it may serue another, but that it may enioy it selfe. Therefore euen in this respect, that any thing is, non propter se, sed propter aliud, not for it owne self, but that it may conduce and be seruiceable to some other thing; it followeth that the same thing is ordained by some one, which hath intended the good of another. Besides, in that the Elemēts do enioy this or that mag∣nitude or greatnes, this place or that place, in respect of the whole space and place in the world, they receaue not this from thē∣selues (seing their essence necessarily ex∣acteth none of these circumstances) there∣fore they take them from some extrinsecall cause, which appointeth to euery one of the Elements their measure or greatnes, & their place or situation. To conclude, the Page 34 Elements are subiect to so many mutations and changes, and to so great a need of ex∣trinsecall causes, as that in regard hereof how can it be possibly conceaued, that they should be of themselues, or be at their owne fredome and liberty, and in respect of their being not, to depend of another? These former reasons do conuince, that Materia pri∣ma* (whereof the Philosophers do teach, that all things were first made) hath not its being from it selfe, but from some other cause. For this Materia prima either is not distinguished from the Elements (as many auncient Philosophers did should, who taught that the Elements are mere simple bodies, without composition of matter or forme, and the last subiect of all former) or els if it be distinguished from thē (as Aristotle with his followers maintained) then is it far more imperfect then the Elements, as seruing but for their matter, whereof they are made. Therefore seing this Materia prima is most imperfect and next to Nothing, being subiect to all mutations, and (as it were) a seruant to all natural causes, and being of it owne nature depriued of all forme, wher∣with to be inuested, and borrowing all its perfection from other things, it therefore cannot haue its being of it selfe, & indepē∣dent of all other causes.
Page 35Now then from all this heretofore obser∣ued, it followeth demonstratiuely, that no Sublunary body hath its being and essence from it selfe, but that all things receaue their being from some efficient cause.
Now, that this cause is incorporeall and intelligent, or enioying Reason and Vn∣derstanding, appeareth seuerall waies: first because Materia prima could not be produ∣ced by any corporeall cause; seing that e∣uery action of a corporeall thing euer pre∣supposeth the subiect, into the which it is receaued (as Aristotle and all Philosophers do teach,) but before Materia Prima was, no subiect can be imagined, seing it was the first, and (as I may tearme it) the deepest, and most fundamentall subiect. Againe, if this Cause were corporeall, thē doubtlesly the heauēs should be this Cause, since there remaineth no other corporeal Cause, to the which it may be ascribed: But the heauens could not produce this Materia prima, both by reason that the Heauens worke not, but by the mediation of light & influence of the stars, both which qualities require a subiect into the which they may be recea∣ued; as also because before this production, the whole space, in which now the Ele∣ments are, was voyde, as being destitute of any corporeall body; and then it follo∣weth, Page 36 that the heauens should produce this Materia prima in vacuo, not hauing any pre∣cedent subiect matter to worke vpon, and therefore should create it of nothing; but this doth transcend the power and force of any corporall nature: Therefore in regard of this absurdity it followeth, that the cause of this Materia prima must be incorporall and most powerfull, as being able to giue it an essence and being, euen from nothing.
From which Collection it further follo∣weth, that this cause ought to be also intel∣ligent, as knowing what it doth or wor∣keth; both because euery incorporall sub∣stance is intelligent (as the Philosophers teach) as also in that it did not produce this Materia prima, after a blynd and ignorant manner, but with a certaine finall intenti∣on and determination, to wit, that of it all other things should be made, and that it should be the subiect of all formes. This poynt is made further euident, in that to a cause, which is so perfect, high and potent, the most perfect manner of working is to be giuen; but the most perfect manner is by the vnderstanding and the will. Againe the same is become more cleare, in that there ought to be contained in the cause all the perfections of the effect, and this magis emi∣••nter, more eminently then is in the effect; Page 37 I meane when the cause is of a different na∣ture from the effect. Wherefore seing Mans nature (which is endued with reason) and the diuers kynd of liuing Creatures (which enioy sense) are the effects of this incorpo∣reall or spirituall cause, it most consequen∣tly may be concluded, that all the perfe∣ction of these (to wit reason and sense) are after an eminent manner contayned in the said cause.
That the heauenly bodies haue not their* being from themselues, appeareth first from their motions; for if their motions do depēd of some other superiour Cause (and that spi∣rituall) as is afore proued, then can it be but acknowledged, that their substance and fi∣gure are produced of the same cause; for who is so voyd of consideratiō, as to thinke, that that Supreme cause should enter into the world (as into an ample and maisterles house, wherunto it can pretend no right or title) and should challenge to it selfe the gouernment thereof? Can it be thought to be so impotent, as not to be able to frame to it selfe (as it were) a proper house of its owne? If this house of the world belong not to this Cause, why then doth it assume the regiment thereof? Or why hath it sto∣red this our inferiour world with such o∣pulency & abundance of riches of al kynd▪ Page 38 as of metals, pretious stones, hearbs, trees, birds, fishes, earthly creatures, and all other variety of things whatsoeuer?
To conclude, if thou considerest the stu∣pendious power, which this cause sheweth in the motions of these celestial Orbs, thou canst not doubt, but that the same Cause is the authour of this whole worke. For al∣though the Sunne be incomparably greater then the vniuesal• Globe of the earth and water (as is euicted from the poynt of the shadow of the earth, which reacheth not to the Orbe of Mars) yea according to the iud∣ment of the Astronomers, the Sunne is an hundred sixty six tymes greater then the earth and water; notwithstanding the Sūne with its whole orbe is carryed about with such a velocity and swiftnes, that in com∣passe of one houre it goeth in its motion aboue ten hundred thousand myles; wher∣upon it is certaine that in the same space of tyme it equalleth the compasse of the earth in its course aboue fifty tymes. Among the fixed starres there are many which are 50. 70. 90. or 100. tymes greater then the whole earth, & (as the Astronomers teach) there is none of them, which is not 18. ty∣mes greater then the earth: and yet they are carryed about with their whole Orbe with such a swiftnes, as that such starres as are Page 39 neare to the equinoctiall lyne do moue e∣uery houre more then 40. millions of my∣les (euery million being ten hundred thou∣sand) and so in one houre moueth more, then comes to two thousand tymes the cō∣passe of the earth. Now who is he that will not here fall into an astonishing admiration of his boundles power, who turneth about such vast and immense bodyes, with so in∣comprehensible and impetuous a celerity? Or what greater prints, or intimations of Omnipotency can be, then these are? If any one of the starres should be carryed about neare vnto the earth with the like speed, presently all things would be dissipated & shiuered asunder: the mountaines would be shaken and pulled vp, as it were by the roots, and turned with the earth, and the sea into very dust. The swiftnes of a bullet shot out of a great peece of ordināce seemes great; and yet if one consider attentiuely, supposing the bullet to be carryed the space of a hundred houres with one & the same swiftnes, yet would it not go so far as once the compasse of the earth. For experience sheweth vs, that in one minute of an houre it is carryed scarce three myles, therefore in one houre 180. myles, in an hūdred houres 18. thousand myles▪ which wanteth of the compasse of the earth, its circūference (ac∣cording Page 40 to the more true iudgmēt of Astro∣nomers) being 19. thousand myles, and 80. Wherfore from this we gather, that the Sunne performeth a farre greater course in one houre, thē a bullet would do in fiue thousand houres. Now the celerity & speed of the fixed starres about the Equinoctiall is forty tymes greater, then the celerity of the Sunne. Therefore that incorporeal po∣wer and vertue, which doth so gouerne & sterne the celestiall Orbes, as that it is able to driue them about with such a facility, with such an incomprehensible velocity, and so long a tyme without any slacknes, or wearines, doth sufficiently discouer it selfe to be the maker and Lord of the said hea∣uens, to whose good pleasure they are so seruiceable and obedient; and thus it appe∣areth that from whence they receaue their most wonderfull motion, from the same cause also they take their nature and being. Doubtlesly no man who entreth into a se∣rious consideration hereof, can be other∣wise perswaded; seing there cannot be a greater argument and signe, that a body is not of it selfe, but dependeth of another, then to shew, that it enioyeth not it selfe, but is made seruiceable and obedient to an∣other.
The same poynt is also proued from the Page 41 consideration of the diuersity of the parts, wherof these Orbes do consist. For seing these are altogether distinct in themselues, and haue different qualities, they could ne∣uer meete altogether for the making vp of one and the same Orbe, except there were some higher power, which did vnyte the said parts, distributing to euery one of thē their place, their magnitude, their measure, proprieties, and influences. And this is fur∣ther confirmed, in that this different situa∣tion and disposition of parts, whereby (for example) this Sarre is in this place of the Orbe, that starre in another place &c. is not of the essence of them (nether doth it necessarily flow from their essence) there∣fore it proceedeth from some extrinsecall cause so disposing them.
THE FOVRTH REASON, FROM THE beauty of things, and the structure and com∣position of the parts, in respect of the whole. CHAP. VI.
THE very beauty of things, which consisteth in a due proportion of parts, both among themselues, and with referēce to the whole, manifestly she∣weth Page 42 that there is one most wise mynd or in∣telligence▪ which first conceaued, weighed, measured and conferred with himselfe all these proportions; and then after externally produced them out. When we see any mag∣nificent and sumptuous pallace, wherein a most precise proportion and symmetry of parts is obserued, so as nothing which be∣longeth to the exact skill of architecture is there wanting; no man doubteth, but that the same was builded by some one or other most artificiall architect. How then cā any one call into question, but that this world first had a most excellent and wise artificer and workeman? seeing the parts thereof are so perfect, and disposed, and conioyned together with such an exact proportion & sympathy, and whose beauty is such, as that it is therefore called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which signify∣eth adorning, beauty, or comlines.
The heauen being extended aboue, like vnto a vast and most large vault, couereth and imcompasseth all things, least they be seuered and dispersed; It is for greater ad∣miration, beauty, and ornament, distin∣guished with an infinite number of starres, as with so many Iewels: certainly a most faire and pretious vault or couerture of this worldly pallace. Now what is more plea∣sing to the eye of Man, then those blewish Page 43 and purple colours of the Heauens? What more pure, then those shining gems & pre∣tious stones? What more solide, then that adamantine firmnes of the heauēly Orbs; which being neuer worne, nor growing old, haue continued so many ages inuiola∣ble? What is more admirable, then the ra∣diant body of the Sunne, being the foun∣taine of light and heat? What Nature hath imparted to all these their forme, situation, splendour, and this celestial and vnchange∣able beauty & fairnes? They do not recea∣ue them from themselues (since they haue not their being from themselues) but from another. And if from some other thing they take their essence, then from the same they also take their beauty. But this other thing cannot be corporeall; since no corporeall thing can be more powerful and fayre, then those heauenly bodyes are. Therfore that, which doth impart to them all these quali∣ties, must needs be a certaine incorporeall or spirituall substance; whose infinite puis∣sance and incomprehensible fayrnes we are partly able to glasse and see (as it were by reflexion) in so great a worke.
The Earth also, though it be seated in the lowest place, seruing as the flore or pa∣uement of this princely and imperiall pal∣lace, or rather as a channell, wherinto the Page 44 excremēts of the elements are disburdened, yet what pulchritude and beauty hath it? What delight is discouered in the moūtai∣nes, and the vallies thereof, in the springs, floods, gardens, woods, fields of pasture and graine, orchards, and plaines, couered with all kind of colours. exceeding al tapi∣stry, or other such artificial hangings what∣soeuer, through its various and diuers vest∣ment of hearbs, flowers, and groues? Who can once dreame, that all things are thus disposed of a Nature voyd of reason and vnder∣standing;* seeing ▪that the soule or mynd of man is not able to excogitate or imagine to it selfe any thing more admirable, or beau∣tifull? Neither auayleth it any thing here to reply, that the Sunne and the starres seeme to be the cause of all these things. For al∣though without the heat and influence of the starres (wherby the generatiue and se∣minall power or vertue is stirred, and the vegetatiue humors are prepared) all these things cannot grow, increase, and come to their perfectiō; notwithstanding these bo∣dyes take not from the Sunne and starres their originall Cause, and reason of their particular structure, forming, and making; but from some intelligent mynd or spirit, which hath impressed in the seeds a cer∣taine power or vertue, being (as it were) Page 45 the image of its owne cōceit, by the which (as by its instrument) it disgesteth, dispo∣seth, and frameth the body, that it may be altogether answerable and sorting to the intended forme. For nether the Sunne nor the starres can know, of what kynd euery tree (for example) will be, or what tem∣perature, colour, tast, smell, or medicina∣ble vertue for diseases it will haue, or with what leaues it is to be couered, with what flowers to be adorned or beautifyed, and with what fruites to be enriched; finally what measure it ought to haue, what figure, extensions, diffusions, connexions, and in∣numerable other such obseruations; all which appeare in euery such particuler body with admirable artifice and wisdome: for there is in euery worke of nature (as their phrase it) so great cunning, skill, and subtility, as that no art can attaine to the thousand part thereof; nor any wit can cō∣prehend the same. Who then is so voyd of reason, that can be perswaded, that such bodies, in whose making so eminent reason and wisedome is discouered, could yet be made by any Cause that enioyeth not rea∣son?
The Sunne of its owne nature imparteth its light and heat, and in these two sorts, in one and the same vniforme manner it coo∣perateth Page 46 with all seedes, to wit in heating the earth, nourishing the seedes, stirring vp the seminall spirit or vertue, and in pre∣paring the humours: therefore this infinite diuersity of things, and this proportion & pulchritude, which is in them, cannot pro∣ceed from this Sunne, seing his operation and working is vniforme, and a like vpon al bodies; but it ought to be reduced to some principle or begining, which may contayne distinctly al these things in it selfe, through the force of a most working reason; which beginning can be no other, then some one most excellent spirit, which is the Inuen∣tour and workeman of all these things.
This poynt wilbe made more euident,* if we take into our consideration the body of liuing Creatures. Good God, how much art is in their structure and making, & how much wit? Each particular liuing Crea∣ture consists almost of innumerable parts, & yet these parts haue a most exact proportiō both among themselues, as also in relation to the whole, which consisteth of them: which proportion is precisely found in all creatures of the same kynd; except some deformity therin happen either out of the aboundance or defect of the matter, or by the interuention of some external cause. As for example, in mans body there is that pro∣portion, Page 47 as that the length of it with refe∣rence to the breadth is sixfold as much; to the thicknes (which is taken from the su∣perficies of the back in a right line to the su∣perficies of the breast) ten fould; to the Cu∣bit foure fould; to the stretching out of both the armes, equall; to the foot six times; to* the breadth of the hand, 24. tymes; to the breadth of the thumbe, 72; to the breadth of a finger, 96. times. The like proportion it beareth to the eyes, the nose, the fore∣head, the eares, to the seuerall ribs, to the seuerall internall parts, to the bones, the bowels, the sinewes, the arteryes, the veynes and the muscles. The like certaine proportions do all these parts beare among themselues; in so much that there are seue∣rall thousands of proportions in this kynd, which are to be cōsidered in the fabricke of mans body. For not only in longitude, but also in thicknes, in conformation, in distāce and vicinity, in strength, and in tempera∣ture there ought to be a due proportion in all parts; in this symmetry and proportion of parts among themselues, and in respect of the whole, consisteth all the comline• & beauty of the body; in so much, that •f but any one due proportion (among so ma•y) be here absent, then is there something wā∣ting to the concurrence and making vp of Page 48 that pulchritude and fairenes, which is na∣turally incident to mans body.
We may also fynd the like proportion in all other creatures, which consisteth in that structure and forme, which is most agreing to their natures; in so much, that the very flyes, the gnats, and the little wormes are not destitute thereof. For the making of euery one of these small creatures is accor∣ding to their owne kynd so perfect, so ad∣mirable, and so beautifull, as that if the wi∣sedome of all men liuing were contracted in one, and gathered together, it could not find any one part, which might be corrected or amended; and which is more, it were not able in its owne retyred thought and imagination to apprehend the reason, wise∣dome, and prouidence, which appeare in the structure in any of al these or other crea∣tures. Wherupon we may further infer, that supposing any one man were so po∣werfull and mighty, as that he were able instantly to make or produce outwardly, what he did conceaue inwardly in his mynd; yet could he not forme any one flye (bycause he could not comprehend the rea∣son of the outward and inward structure & composition of the said flye) much lesse could he animate it, or giue the vigour of sense and motion, or plant in it phantasy, Page 49 and naturall inclination; since what euery one of these are, cannot possibly be imagi∣ned or conceaued.
But to descend to Plants; what excee∣ding beauty is in all kynd of Plants? How* pleasingly do they apparell and cloath the earth? How wonderfully doth the earth thurst them out of her bosome, and yet de∣taynes them by their rootes, least they be torne a sunder with the violence of the wynds? How great variety is found amōg thē, of so many trees, so many yoūg sprouts, so many kinds of corne and graine, so many hearbs growing in orchards, fields, and mountaines, and to conclude so many fra∣grant flowers in gardens & orchards? And touching the vse of these plants, the com∣modity is manifold; some of them seruing for building and making of diuers instru∣ments, others for the nourishment of man and beasts, others againe, for the making of linnen cloath; as also to burne, and for o∣ther necessities of mans life.
Touching flowers, they do also delight vs with their seueral formes, colours, smels,* as that they deseruedly driue vs into admi∣ration of their maker. For there is not grea∣ter profusion and wast (as I may say) of prouidence and diuyne art in any body so base and instantly fading, then is in these. Page 50 For what diuersity of formes are found in them? They are continued together, diui∣ded, deepe, open or displayed, hollow, rising in forme of hayre, formed like little flocks of wooll, winged, hooked, horned, eared like corne, spherically bearing their leaues, enuironed thicke with leaues like clustered grapes, and many other such like different formes. In like sort they are of one leafe, three leaued, foure leaued, or of more leaues; which leaues bearing themselues in seuerall manners, do occasion infinite other formes of flowers.
Neither is their variety of colours lesse thē the variety of formes, as whyte, yellow, red, bloudy, purple, ceruleous or blewish, and finally all mingled colours whatsoe∣uer, which in regard of their seuerall mix∣tures are many in number, and therefore they al become grateful to the eye. To con∣clude, euery particular flower is wonder∣full fayre, and the seuerall parts of any one flower is disposed in such variety, for the greater beauty of their forme, according to their nature and the different tymes of their growth, as they cannot by any art possible be bettered or amended. Now who consi∣dering these things with a serious meditati∣on▪ will not acknowledge the infinite wi∣sedome of the artificer, and will not ad∣mire, Page 51 prayse, and reuerence the s•me?
Touching the odour and smel of the flo∣wers, there is also great variety, and the smell in most of thē is sweet; there is scarce any one flower which hath not a peculiar smell to it selfe, different more or lesse frō all others▪ In some, that are the fayrest to the eye (a poynt which may serue as a do∣cumēt to vs mē) the smell is lesse pleasing; and yet in some others there is an equall strife and contention, betwene the excel∣lency of their forme or shape, & their smel.
Now from all these obseruations we cō∣clude, that it is a truth more radiant, cleare and perspicuous, then the Sunne beames are; that all these things cannot haue their beginning from a nature, or cause voyd of reason; but from a most wise and most puis∣sant spirit, or Intelligence, which conceaued all these things afore in its mynd, & which also conferred & weighed together al these particulers, to wit the quantity or greatnes of euery plāte, their figures or formes, their proportions, temperatures, vertues, co∣lours, and smels.
Now then this Spirit impresseth all these in the seeds of things, (as the image of his conceite) and then worketh and frameth them according to the same. For the ver∣tue impressed in the seeds do not otherwise Page 52 worke, then if it enioyed reason; the cause hereof being, in that it is a footstep of a di∣uyne conception, and as it were a sealed impression thereof. Therefore from this su∣preme Intelligence, or Spirit (as being the first inuenting and informing cause) the beauty, proportion, and perfection of all things doth take its emanation, flowing, and pro∣ceeding.
Neither only this visible fayrnes, and all variety (which is subiect to the eye) is to be ascribed to this cause, but also all inuisi∣ble* beauty (which is inwardly hid in those visible things, & can be apprehended only by reason) is to be referred therto. For frō this inuisible pulchritude the externall and visible doth ryse: since what appeareth ex∣ternally in these corporall things, either in respect of forme, proportion, colour kynd &c. it cometh altogeather from the inter∣nall and inuisible substance; which substāce is so much the more fayre, and to be admi∣red, by how much, it containeth in it selfe more highly and simply the reason & cause of those externall perfections. In the vege∣tatiue soule, by the vertue whereof trees, hearbs, flowers and the like (according to their seuerall kynds) do lyue, the reason or cause of their structure, & whole forme or shape (which so much delighteth the Page 53 eye) is latent and vnseene. In like sort in the sensitiue soule (which animateth all li∣uing Creatures) the whole reason of the fa∣bricke or forme of the body lyes hidden & imperceptible by the eye; the same is also latent in the genitall vertue or power, by the which all these things are formed. The∣refore how great & bewitching is the pul∣chritud• and splendour of these soules, in whom all these perfections are secretly and simply included? And how stupendious & wonderfull are these soules in their owne nature, which after one vniforme man∣ner contayne in themselues so great mul∣titude* and variety of formes and figures.
Furthermore, in the sensitiue soule is not only comprehended the entyre reason of the structure of the body, but also of all the senses, the imagination, the sensitiue appetite, all naturall instincts and operati∣ons, euery one of which, in respect of the wonders discouered therin, transcends mās apprehension. For how great is the power of the senses? How far of doth the eye pe∣netrate in a moment, viewing all things & apprehending the formes of them, and ex∣pressing them in it selfe? How forcible is the power of smelling in dogs, Vultures, & many other such like? And as touching the imaginatiue faculty, it is neuer idle, still re∣uoluing Page 54 with it selfe, and variously com∣pounding the formes and shapes of things, which it receaueth by the ministery of the externall sense. The appetite draweth and inuiteth the soule to those things (which the Imagination afore conceaued) if they be conuenient; and auerteth it from them, if they be dangerous and hurtfull. To con∣clude the motiue power obeyeth the appe∣tite with incredible celerity and speed, as appeareth euen in the motion and flying of flees.
It were ouer laboursome to prosecute al things in this kynd. Euery power or faculty hath its obiect, instrument, operation, its peculiar māner of working▪ so occult, se∣cret, and wonderfull, as no man is able to apprehend it; and yet the reason of all these is contained inwardly in the soules of the said liuing creatures; so as whosoeuer could perfectly penetrate the nature and the mi∣steries of the soules, should fynd the reasons of all the rest more clearly. Wherfore I am fully perswaded, if one could attayne the perfect knowledge of one small flye, the pleasure of that knowledge would ouer∣ballance and weigh downe all riches, ho∣nours and dignities of Kings. For if Pythago∣ra• (as is written of him) at his finding out of a mathematicke demonstration did so im∣moderatly Page 55 reioyce, as for the tyme he per∣fectly enioyed not himselfe; then how much ioy & exultation of mynd will a cle∣are knowledge of so many and so great mi∣steries bring, which are in themselues dis∣couerable in the making euen of the least flye; they being such as yet the most emi∣nent Philosopher that euer was, could not apprehend them, and such as may serue to entertaine a most sweet and serious specu∣lation of thē, for the space of many yeares? Verily touching my owne priuate censu•e, I am of this former opinion (as I said) and I doubt not but all such, as attentiuely con∣sider the workes of God, would conspire and agree with me in iudgment herein.
But now to speake something of the rea∣sonable soule; it transcēdeth in beauty, worke and dignity the former by infinite degrees, in the which not only the reason of the stru∣cture or making of the body, and of all the senses, but also the faculty of vnderstāding, of recordation or remembring, and of im∣bracing or reiecting any thing freely (in the which is included true electiō & freedome of will) is contained. By the vnderstan∣ding, the soule cōceaueth the whole world, and frameth to it selfe certaine inuisible i∣mages or pictures (as it were) of al things. By the memory, it retaineth al those images Page 56 of things wrought by the vnderstanding, and when occasion is ministred, it maketh practise and vse of them. Now, how vast & spacious are those entrances, which are ca∣pable of so innumerable formes? By the will, the soule taketh fruition of all things, & disposeth of them according to its best li∣king, yea (and which is more) it maketh to it selfe election, or choyce of any course of life. Neither is the difference here much to be regarded, whether the soule perfor∣meth al these things immediatly by its sim∣ple substance, or by distinct faculties & po∣wers, seing the reason of all these are con∣tained in its simple essence. Therfore it ne∣cessarily followeth, that the reasonable Soule is of wonderfull pulchritude, splen∣dour, and perfection; in so much, that if it were to be knowne perfectly, as it is in it selfe, it would seeme to be a kynd of diui∣nity; in the contemplation whereof, the mind would be (as it were) absorpt and swallowed vp with an incredible pleasure & delight; seing the essence of it surpasseth by many degrees all corporeall things; as also the vegetatiue and sensitiue soules of Plants and liuing creatures, in worth and dignity.
Therefore out of the premises we may gather, that there are foure degrees of beau∣ty Page 57 of things in this world; The first (which is lowest) is of bodyes, which are seene by the ye; the secōd of the vegetatiue soule; the third of the sensitiue soule; the fourth of the Rationall, or reasonable soule. Therefore it is euident, that not only the first, but also the rest are formed by some most prudent and skilful intelligence or mind. For if the beauty, which is found in bodyes, be to be ascribed to some such spirit or diuine power, for the wonderful proportions appearing in them: then much more the glorious fayrenesse, which is in the seuerall kynds of soules, which comprehends in it selfe the reason and cause of the bodyes beauty, and which is much more admirable then it, ought to be refered to the same celestiall power.
Furthermore I would here demād, how it can possibly happen, that any cause not capable of reason, wisedome, and vnder∣standing, could forme and make in the be∣ginning, so many diuersities of vegetatiue and sensitiue soules; seing euery one of thē is so a•mirable, and is the Effect or worke of so great a wisedome, as that no humane wit is able to penetrate into the seuerall misteries of it, or beget in his mynd the true and proper conceit or image thereof. To conclude; All the pulchritude and perfe∣ction of an Effect, ought to be contained in Page 58 the cause; (for the cause cannot giue that to the Effect, which it selfe enioyeth not) wherupon it followeth, that all the perfe∣ction of liuing creatures, and all the vigour and naturall working of the senses, ought to be comprehended within that cause, by the which they were first framed: and this not after the same manner, as they are in the creatures, but after a more excellent & eminent sort, to wit, as the worke is contai∣ned in the mynd, or art of the workeman. This poynt is further confirmed, in that there is no cause (excepting a mynd or in∣telligence) in the which so great a diuer∣sity of things can rest; but in a mynd or in∣telligence it may well reside; euen as the forme of a house, and all the measures and proportions of it are said to be in the phan∣tasy or vnderstanding of the artificer.
Ad heereto for the greater accesse & in∣crease of reason herein, that himselfe who framed the soule of man, endewing it with reason, vnderstanding, and frewill, cannot possibly want reason, vnderstanding and frewill; but must haue them in more perfect and excellent manner. For how can he want reason, vnderstanding, and will, who first made and gaue reason, vnderstā∣ding and will? The Prophet therfore truly said, Qui plantauit aurem &c. He whichPage 59planted the eare, shall he not heare? Or he that*formed the eye, shall he not see? especially seing these are such perfections, as the hauing of them is not any impediment to the frui∣tion and enioying of greater perfections; since it is far better to be indued with vn∣derstanding and frewill, then to want thē, or to haue any thing which may be repug∣nant to them: from all these considerations then it is most euident, that there is a cer∣taine supreme Intelligence, or Spirit, which is the inuentour, authour, and architect of all these visible, and inuisible beautyes, in which spirit, as in its cause al pulchritude & splendour doth eminently exist, & this spi∣rit we call God, who be eternally blessed, praysed and adored.
THE FIFTH REASON DRAVVNE FROM the structure and disposition of the parts of the world, with reference to their ends. CHAP. VII.
EVEN as, not any of these things, which are subiect to our sight, ta∣keth its being from it selfe, but from some efficient cause; so nothing is made for it selfe, but with respect to some extrinsecal end, to the which end the whole structure Page 60 of the thing, as also al its parts, and faculties of its parts, are (after a wonderfull manner) disposed and framed. Therefore of necessity there must be some one most wise mynd or spirit, which aforehand conceaued in it selfe all those ends, and ordayned proportiona∣ble and fitting meanes to the said ends. For Nature, which is not capable of reason, nor endued therwith, as it cannot conceaue or comprehend the ends of things; so neither cā it dispose or set downe sutable meanes to the said ends; since this is a chiefe worke of* art and wisedome; we will make this ma∣nifest first in heauenly bodyes. The Sunne, excelling in fayrenesse all visible things, is not for it selfe (for it can not apprehend, or reflect vpon its owne beauty) but for the good & benefit of other things, to wit, that it may enlighten the world, and cherish al things with its heat; not much vnlike, as the hart is in man, and other liuing creatu∣res, which is not for it selfe, but for the good of the whole body; for as the heart is in the body endued with life, so the Sunne is in the whole body of the world, which wan∣teth life. This then being thus, the Sunne ought to haue a certaine proportionable measure of light, and quantity, as also a de∣terminate place in the world, least that the light being ouer radiant, shyning and great, Page 61 or it self in place ouer neere, it should burne the earth; or on the contrary side the light being too remisse & smal, or too far of from the earth, should not sufficiently lighten it, or heat it. Now, this disposition of a fit∣ting quantity, light, and place, cannot be assigned by any, but only by such a mynd or spirit, as is able to consider the end and the meanes, and of iudgment to set downe a sorting and conuenient proportion be∣tweene them.
But if the Sunne be made not for it selfe, but for some external end, then much more the same may be verifyed of the rest of the* starres, of the heauenly Orbes, and of all other corporeal natural bodyes. This poynt may be further fortifyed by this ensuing reason: That, which is for its owne selfe, ought to be of that excellency and perfection, as nothing can be more excellent, for the good whereof this other may be ordained; This is euident euen in reason, since otherwise it should not be for it self, but for that, for the benefit wher∣of it is disposed. Furthermore it ought to be of such a nature, as that it may conceaue & enioy its owne goodnes; for if it hath no sense & fee∣ling hereof, it is nothing aduantaged by such its excellency▪ For what can the domi∣nation and gouerment of the whole earth profit a mā, if he neither can take any plea∣sure Page 62 therby, nor knoweth that he hath such a principality, or rule belonging vnto him? Therefore it is an euident signe, that, what cā not perceaue its owne good, is not made for it selfe, but for some other thing, to the which it becomes profitable. But to apply this now; no corporeall nature is so excel∣lent, but it may be ordained to some other thing more excellent & more worthy; for the degree of a reasonable nature transcēds and exceeds much in worth the degree of a corporeall Nature, and this to the former for many vses becomes seruiceable. Againe a corporeal nature cannot haue any feeling of its owne good, but resteth only in being profitable and expedient for some other thing: Therefore it followeth, that not cor∣poreall or bodily nature is made for it selfe, but euen of its essence & being, is ordained to some other thing, to wit, to a reasonable nature, for whose behoofe and good it ex∣isteth. From which it may be gathered, that if there were no reasonable nature, then all the corporeall nature should exist, as in vayne & bootles▪ as not being able to bring any benefit to it selfe, or to any other thing; euen as the fruition of great riches should be altogeather vnprofitable, if the man posses∣sing them, should haue neither knowledge, vse, nor feeling of them.
Page 63The same poynt is further made euident* frō the motion of the celestiall Orbs, which motion bringeth no benefit to the heauens themselues, but is wholy applyed to the good and vtility of man, & of those things, which are commodious to the vse of man. For first the motion of them is so tempered, that all Countries of the earth (excepting some few, which are beyond 66. degrees neere to the Poles) enioy within the space of 24. houres both day and night; this be∣ing so directed to the most gratefull alte∣ration and change of day and night. Fur∣thermore the Sunne by his proper motion vnder the Eclyptick euēly cutting the equi∣noctiall lyne, and declining sometimes to the south, or at other tymes to the north,* more then 23. degrees, causeth the foure seuerall tēperatures of the yeares, (I meane Winter, Spring-tyme, Summer, and Autumne) all these being most accommodate and fit∣ting for the good of such things, as the Earth bringeth forth. For the winter so wor∣keth by its cold, that the spirit and heat (which is within the seeds and buds) be∣ing inwardly receaued, all things may be more strengthned with in, that so they may better gather humour and nourishment; that they may fasten their rootes in the earth and finally that all such things may Page 64 inwardly swell, therby to burst out in due tyme. The spring through its pleasing and tēpered heat calleth all things forth, draw∣ing out buds, leaues, grasse, flowers, and the like. The Summer with its greater heat consumeth the super abundāt humour, dis∣gesteth crude and raw things, extenuateth and refineth things grosse, openeth passages in the bodyes, diffuseth or powreth in the spirit, & bringeth fruites to their maturity and rypenes.
To conclude the Autumne with its, hu∣mour and moderate heat, tempereth a new all things, correcteth the drynes and heat of things, which the summer aforehād be∣stowed; it also disposeth the earth to new seedes and new grothes; lastly it repaireth the decayed states of liuing bodyes, through want of naturall heat; Now out of all these obseruations, who seeth not, that all this motion of the Sunne, and the heauenly bo∣dyes was first ordained & euer after is per∣petuated and continuated to the benefit of man, & to the grouth, increase and fuller aboundance of all liuing creatures, & other bodies, which may in any sort be seruicea∣ble to the vse of man? For no other benefit of it can be assigned thē this, nor any other cause can be alledged, why the motion of the Sunne, and the other celestiall Orbes Page 65 should be in any such, and such sort.*
Now if any enter into consideration of Wynds, raine, snow, and frosts, he shall easily discouer, that these are ordayned for the good, emolument, and benefit of liuing creatures, but chiefly of Man,
And first of Wynds; the vse of them is va∣rious and great, for they ventilate and fan the ayre, and so m•ke it more wholsome to be breathed in; which if it should conti∣nue* vnmoued and vnshaken, would putry∣xy, and being by this meanes affected with some pestilent quality would kil both men and beasts: For such close places (we may obserue) wherin the wynds blow not, are become most pestiferous and noysome. Se∣condly, the wynds serue to carry the clouds about through the ayre, and so to disperse and distribute them to seueral countryes & regions: for without the help of the wynds the mediterranean places, and such as are farre distant from the sea, would be euer destitute of cloudes and showers; and so would become ouer hoate, barren, and in∣habitable. For seing from coasts and places far remote from the sea, there cannot be drawne vp sufficiēt store of vapours, which may serue for clouds and raine, except they being eleuated frō other places, be thither carryed by force of the wynds, the said me∣diterraneanPage 66 countryes would be continually scorched with the sunne, and be depriued of all rigation and watering. For it is the sea, which chiefly ministreth matter for clouds, out of whose vast bosome (being directly and continually opposed to the Sunne) great abundance of vapours are at∣tracted vpwards, by the heat of the Sunne; which being after by force of the cold ga∣thered into Clouds, are lastly resolued into showers of raine; wherfore, except the wynds did carry these clouds vnto another place, all raine would fall into the sea, from whence the matter of it doth ryse; and the whole earth through want of watering would remaine barren and vnprofitable.
Neither this aboue would happen, but also all fountaines & riuers would in a short tyme be drawne dry: for these take their* begining and continuance from the srow, & showers, which fall vpon the mediterraneā and mountanous places. For the Snow, which during the winter falleth vpon the hils, melting by little and little through the Suns heat, and distilling into the hol∣lowes and concauityes of the hils, doth in the end cause springs or fountaines. In lyke sort the waters of showers, being receaued and drink vp into the higher places of the hils, and after many wyndings to and ••o Page 67 vnder the earth meeting together, do in the end, fynding an issue or passage, breake out into fountaines or springs. Now, of springs being mixed with other waters (whether proceeding of snow or of showers) & run∣ning into one common channel, are begot∣ten Riuers. And hence it followeth, that during the summer (when it but seldome raineth) riuers are greatly decreased, and except they be sed with snow water, they are sometymes dryed vp. So as if for the space of two or three yeares it should nei∣ther raine nor snow, it would follow▪ that all riuers and almost all fountaines would cease their rūning through want of matter. But these things are so disposed and gouer∣ned, that for certaine seasons so great store of raine and snow may fall, as that therby the springs and riuers may be continually maintayned and fed.
Furthermore the wynds are necessary to dry vp the vnprofitable humour of the earth to recreate and refresh the bodyes of liuing creatures, to rypen fruites, to the turning of mils, and such machines or workes and finally to the vse of Nauigation; for •••••••∣ting there were no wynds, all Nauigation would almost cease. But what great pro•• doth ryse by Nauigation to Man? For by this, what merchandize is in forraine coun∣tryes, Page 68 which conduceth either to the com∣modities of mans lyfe, or to the vse of phi∣sick, or to the delicacy of nature, the same is most easily transported throughout the whole world; and what is peculiar to few, is by this meanes communicated & impar∣ted to all mankynd.
Neither is the profit of the showers & raine inferiour to that of the wynds: for it cooleth the ayre, refresheth the bodyes of liuing* creatures, perpetuateth and continueth springs & riuers, ministers drinke to beasts, watereth the earth, and maketh it fruitful; for without showers of raine the earth would become dry, barren, depriued of all beauty & ornaments of trees, grasse, hearbs and flowers, and finally not fit and com∣modious for the habitatiō of man & beasts. Showers receaue their fecundity, and fruit∣fulnes from a double cause: first by the mix∣ture of a viscous and fat matter, which is exhaled and drawne vp with the vapours from the earth and the sea; for the sea being fertil, hath a certaine fatnes, with the which fishes are nourished. Therefore while the Sunne eleuateth vp the more thin parts of it (which are vapours) it withal attracteth a certaine oyle and fat matter; which being mingled with the vapours, & after throgh cold conden sd and thickned into rayne, Page 69 doth water the earth. The same thing also hapneth, when vapours and exhalations are drawne vp through the Suns heat from a fenny earth, frō gardēs, fields, & woods. Secondly, showers take their fruitfulnes from the spirit and heat included and im∣pressed in the cloud or shower by the bea∣mes of the Sunne: for this spirit or heat cau∣seth all things to grow and increase. And to the end, that the fall of showers should not ouerwhelme with an ouer great and impetuous force & weight, the tender buds and flowers, therefore the diuyne prouidence hath ordayned, that they do not fall ouer abundantly and precipitantly, but that frō a great height they should distil by little & little through a large tract of the ayre, wherby they being deuided into infinite most small drops, do be sprinkle the earth with a pleasing moisture and humidity. And to the end, that what is thus falen v∣pon the earth, should not by the heat of the Sunne be instantly dryed vp & consumed, before it could penetrate and descend to the roots of plants; therefore for the most part, certaine dry remnants of clouds do inter∣cept the beames of the Sunne, vntill the earth do drinke and suck vp the raine, and transmit it to the rootes, for the better nou∣rishing of the fruite which it bringeth Page 70 forth.
Also Snow (which is as it were the froth of clouds) is accompanied with no small benefit; for besides, that it affords matter for the continuance of springs and riuers,* descending from the highest mountaines, it doth couer the earth (as it were) with a fleece of wool, and by this meanes keeping the heat of the earth within, it hindreth, that frosts, penetrating ouer deeply the earth, do not extinguish the seminall ver∣tue resyding in rootes; and thus, Snow is one cause of the earths great fertility of plants. Snow also hath in it selfe a fecundi∣ty and fruitfulnes, in regard of the ayre in∣cluded in it, which shining with infinite bubles, giueth that extraordinary whitenes to the Snow.
Frost in like manner is most profitable to all things, for by a repercussion & beating backe, it keepeth within, the spirit & heat* of the earth, and of liuing creatures, not suffering it to euaporate and vanish away. And from this it cōmeth, that in colder coū∣tryes, and such as are subiect to frosts, men are of a more robustious & greater stature, and longer lyued, then in hoater regions.
Now these, to wit, Wynds, showers, snow, frosts, and the like come not promis∣••ously in any tyme of the yeare, but are so Page 71 distributed by certaine seasons thereof, as they most aptly agree and sort to the beget∣ting, growing, increasing, and perfecting of plants and liuing creatures, and to the perpetuating of their species and kynds, and further do serue most cōmodiously to Mens vses. From all which it is euen demonstra∣tiuely concluded, that all these are ordai∣ned and instituted by a most wise, and most powerfull mynd or spirit, for the good and s•r∣uice of liuing creatures, and chiefly of Man, to whom all the rest are subiect.
And that the Elements are for the same cause made, and do to that end enioy such* their peculiar situations, and their proper formes and figures, which now they haue, doth abundan•ly appeare from the consi∣deration of the earth and water. For if we consider precisely things, as they should be in their owne nature, the earth ought to be exactly round▪ and the water ought on e∣uery syde to couer & encompasse the earth; Seing all things, that are ponderous and heauy, ought to descend equally towards the Center of the earth; and by how much one body is more heauy then another; by so much it ought to be more neere to the center, and lower in place then the other. Therefore the earth ought to be vnder the waters, and the waters specially to be po∣wred Page 72 about it. But we see that these two Elements are far otherwise situated: for a huge portion of the earth, to wit, all that which is not couered with the sea, and all the immense weight and heape of moun∣taines, is far higher, and more remote from the Center, then the water is. For there rū∣neth a mighty vast channell through the middest of the earth of an infinite profundi∣ty, deuided into seuerall passages, which running diuers wayes and in some places of greater breadth, in others of lesser, do make Ilands. Into this channell all the Element of water is receaued (that only excepted, which being extenuated and made thin, turneth into vapours) that so the earth as free from being couered with water, might be made seruiceable for the habitation of men and other creatures, and for the groth and increase of things.
Furthermore, the Earth is so fashioned and brought into that forme, that from the sea towards the mediterranean places, it by* insensible degrees lifteth it selfe vp, & riseth higher, vntill it end into mountaines and rockes: in which poynt consisteth a most admirable art of the diuyne Prouidence. For first by this structure of the Earth, it is made free from all perillous inundations, which by little and little, and in long processe of Page 73 tyme by tne influence of the starres, or force of the wynds might endanger al the Earth. For we see by experience, that such borde∣ring parts of the earth, as are neere to the sea, and do not much exceed the Sea in height, are often vtterly ouerflowed with the deaths of the Inhabitants, and losse of all goods. Furthermore if this easy ascent & rysing of the Earth were not, there could not be any riuers: for if the superficies of the earth were equally distant from the Center, (as in a globe perfectly round) then would there be no fall of riuers; for the water can∣not flow, except it fynd places more low and neere to the Center: And if the Earth should suddenly be lifted vp into steepe heights, then would the fall of riuers be more impetuous and violent, then were requisite; neither could riuers being so pre∣cipitious and downfall be commodious to mans vse; neither could they runne conti∣nually through defect of matter. I here o∣mit the danger of inundations, which often do chance (to the great losse and detriment of the inhabitants) when abundance of raine aud melted snow being gathered to∣gether, do suddenly and precipitantly fall from some great height. Therfore the Earth ought to ryse in height by little and little, and by insensible increasings from the Page 74 mouthes of the riuers (where they runne and disgorge themselues into the sea) euen to their springs and to other mediterranean places. Now if we insist in the speculation* of mountaines, we shall fynd; that in nature there is no necessity of them, but only for the behoofe and benefit of man. For they first serue to breake the force of wynds, which might be very domageable to all creatures, if all coasts were plaine & euen, and no hinderance were interposed to slac∣ken their strength. Hence it proceedeth, that wynds are more impetuous and boy∣sterous in the open Sea, where all is plaine and eauen without any obstacle, then in the middle places of the Earth.
Secondly, Mountaynes & high hils serue for bounds of regions and kingdomes, for they are (as it were) the limits or closures of great kingdomes, by the which the am∣bition of men and desire of further enlar∣ging their Regality is bridled and restrai∣ned, least it should incessantly exercise it selfe in vexing and subduing their borde∣ring neighbours. Therefore the safety of kingdomes is much preserued, and the in∣finite miseries and pressures still attending vpō wares by the difficult & inaccessible, passages of the mountaines, are much hin∣dered. Great hils do furthermore suppedi∣tate Page 75 and mini••er matter for building, as stones, lyme, wood, tyle or slate, with many other things either necessary, or at least very commodious to mans life. For almost all metals and diuers kynds of preti∣ous stones are digged out of the bowels and veynes of mountaines. There also do grow vpon mountaines diuers rootes of great vertue, and infinite kynds of hearbs, as also most excellent wynes and oliues. Lastly they containe the origins, and beginnings of springs and riuers, and they perpetuate & stil continue them by feeding thē with matter and store of water.
Now let vs next descend to the quality of*the Earth and Sea; For this is not found to be such, as the nature of these Elements (being considered in it selfe) doth require, but such as may best sort to the preseruation of liuing Creatures and commodity of man. For if we precisely consider the nature of these bodyes, the Elements ought to be simple or without mixture of other bodies, vniforme and in euery place of the same vertue, ope∣ration & affectiō. For the earth in its owne nature is vehemently dry, and moderately cold; the water extremly cold and moyst; the ayre moyst and moderately hot; and all these are naturally depriued and voyd of al sapour or tast, colour, and odour or smell. Page 76 But this poynt is far otherwise; for there are many diuersities & differences of soyles of the earth; for they are hoat, cold, tempe∣rate, such as may be crūled away or brokē into small peeces, light, ponderous, fatty, vnctious, dry; In colours blackish, reddish, yellow, whyte, as also of seuerall tasts, •nd odours or smels, and fit and commodious for the bringing forth of seuerall things: ac∣cording to those verses.
Therefore seuerall soyles & earth haue their peculiar fecundity & quality impres∣sed in them, by him who first created this Element. Neither can we ascribe all this diuersity to the Sunne and the starres; seing that vnder one and the same Climate there are some places more desert & barren, other most fertill; and such of these places as are fertill, do not bring forth the same kynds of plants & other liuing Creatures, though they receaue one and the same aspect & in∣fluence from the Sunne and the starres. In like sort, the earth doth not produce all kinds of metals and minerals in one and the same place, but diuers in diuers places. For •n one place it bringeth forth stones, in a∣nother, Page 77 chalke, red lead, in a third, brasse, tyn and lead, in others gold, siluer, & pre∣tious stones. Therefore the earth in diuers places receaueth diuers vertues, forces and operations, that therby it may minister to Man all kynd of riches, which not only cō∣duce to an absolute necessity of mans life; but also to a greater conueniency, delicacy and splendour thereof; which poynt doth turne to the greater honour, glory, & laud of so munificent a Creatour.
In lyke sort, the Sea hath its fruitfulnes altogether most admirable; & this diuers, according to the difference of places. For not in each part of the Sea all kynds of fi∣shes are found; for some kynds do breed in the North, others in the South seas; Some also only in the East, & others in the West seas.
Furthermore all the sea (meere contrary to the nature of that Element) is of a strāge*saltnes. Now from whence doth this come? Or what power & vertue gaue this saltnes to it, and to what end? The reason is ri∣diculous and absurd, which some Philoso∣phers haue inuented hereof, to wit, that this saltnes cometh by reason of the Sunne bea∣mes, by the which the bottome of the sea is scorched and burned; and that adustion and burning causeth saltnes (say they) is Page 78 proued from the experience in burnt ashes. That this reason is most insufficient, is eui∣dent: for how cā the bottome or the groūd vnder the sea (being couered with such an infinite store of waters, that in some places it is 500. or a thousand cubits deepe) be so burnt by the Sunne, as that from them all the whole sea should contract such a bryny saltnes? For the Sunne burneth not but only by reasō of its light, which light doth not penetrate in the water further then 15. cubits (as diuers Swimmers vnder water affirme) and the light is so faynt, that the heat thereof can hardly be felt, but a little vnder the water. Now, that saltnes should proceed of adustion, it is required, that the adustion be so great, as that it dissolueth the matter, & reduceth it to its beginning, as experience showeth. Neither doth adu∣stion and burning properly cause salt in o∣ther things, but rather openeth and disco∣uereth it; And therefore we see, that of se∣uerall bodyes the salt is seuerall, and taketh its seuerall vertues & operations from the bodyes so strayned & refyned, as the Chy∣mickes do experimentally proue. In like manner the spirit of euery thing (or the oyle which is extracted out of it by fyre) doth aforehand lye hidden in the thing it selfe. Furthermore if salsity or brynenes proceed Page 97 from this adustion, then ought the Sea to be dosy, more and more salt; wherupon it would •ollow, that the fishes as not ēduring that temperature, would in the end dye, as it hapneth in the Lake Asphaltites (which is called Mare mortuū) since the nature of fi∣shes requires a certaine temperature of the waters. To conclude the increase of this saltnes in the Sea would be noted at least in seuerall ages, but no such augmentation hath hitherto bene obserued. Of the lyke improbability is that sentence, of the first origin of mountaynes, which teacheth, that the first proceeded of Earthquakes, by rea∣son that the ayre, and other such spirituall substance, which being included in the bo∣wels of the earth, did aduance and lift vp the higher part therof. This opinion might with some probability be maintayned, if it were deliuered only of some certayne little hils. But it cannot with any show or colour of lykelyhood, be verifyed of that great multitude of most huge mountaines, pos∣sessing many mediterranean places, and ex∣tending in length 800. or 1000. myles. But omitting many other strong reasons, by the which this fiction is refuted, I conclude that the saltnes of the Sea was first giuen to it by the authour and maker of it, who as he im∣planted (contrary to the course of nature) a Page 80 fecundity in the earth for the bringing out and nourishing of plants, and liuing Crea∣tures, so the like the bestowed vpon the sea for the production, ingendring and feeding of fishes.
From all which speculatiōs it is most ne∣cessarily gathered and inferred, that al these things (aboue mentioned) were so dispo∣sed and ordained for the vse and benefit of Man▪ by some most wise and most powerfull Intelligence; since all things (euen besides their naturall condition) do serue, and be∣come obedient to the vse of mans life, and al do finally propend and are directed to this end; Neither can there be rendred any other reason, why they should be ordered in such sort, as they are, but only for the emolument, commodity, and seruice of Man.
Neither it is in any sort preiudicial to the being of a diuyne Prouidence, that by reason* and meanes of impetuous wynds, hayle, thunder, earthquakes, infection of the ayre, inundation of waters, drouthes, & the like, men do often suffer great calamities & mi∣series; since these things do more euidently demonstrate the being of the said proui∣dence. For as it is the property of a Proui∣dent and wise Prince, so to dispose his la∣wes, tribunals or Iustice seats, towers, pro∣uision Page 81 of warres &c. that they may be di∣rected to the good and security of his sub∣iects, as long as they liue in due allegiance and duty towards him; and the same things also to turne to their chastisings and punish∣ments, if after they should once endeauour to shake of the yoke of subiection: Euen so although that supreme Power or spirit hath fi∣nally created the heauens & the Elements for the seruice of man; yet hath he so tem∣pered these things, that withall they may serue, as scourges for the castigation of sin∣ners; which chasticement may neuertheles be beneficiall to such, who know to make true vse thereof, as hereafter we will shew.
Some here may obiect (contrary to our former doctrine) that such things, wherof we haue intreated before; haue not their euēt from any particuler end, to the which they are by any intelligent cause directed, but only by reason (as the Philosophers phrase & dialect here is) necessit•tis materiae, through the nature of the matter forcing or causing such effects: as for example it is na∣turall, that through the heat of the Sunne vapours and exhalations be attracted from the Earth & the Sea; the which being ele∣uated aboue, are repelled backe by the cold of the midle Region, & so do cause wynds, or els being gathered into clouds, do mini∣ster Page 82 matter for fayne, snow and haile, from which sp•ngs and flouds do after take their sou•ce and beginning.
I answere hereto and confesse, that some of those things may seeme to take such their euents from their matter, whereof they are made: But this discouereth a greater and worth ver disposall of the diuyne Prouidence, by the which the vniuersall cause of things (to wit the motion of the Sunne & staris) is •o ordayned and gouerned, as that with∣out ••e c•course of any other efficiēt cause, it can occasiō the foresaid things, as wynds, ••••e and the like, at such tymes and in such s••so•s, as are most conuenient for the pro∣ducing and nourishing of plants and liuing creatures, and for the benefit of man. And therefore these effects do thu• fall out, not only throgh the •••o••emēt of the matter, but withall through the various aspect and applicatiō of the vniuersal cause A•d herto for the greater fulnes of our answere herein that the disposition and placing of the Sea and the earth, the first beginning & large extension of mountaines, the channels of riuers &c cannot be referred to any neces∣sity of matter or force of nature, but are ne∣cessarily produced by art and Prouidence as is aboue shewed. And thus it falleth out that (for example (Egipt) being destitute Page 83 of raine) is in the summer tyme so watered with the inundation of Nilus, & therby so couered ouer with a fat & vnctious •ly me, as it becometh most fertill. In like sort one of the Iles of the Canaryes (ca•led Ferr•) wanting altogether sweet water, is supply∣ed heerein by diuyne Prouidence from a tree there growing; whose nature is such, as that it daily distilleth (like vnto a spring or foū∣taine) a certaine sweet humour, which serueth for drinke both to man, and beasts.
Now besides the heauenly and Elemen∣tary bodyes (of which we haue spoken a∣fore) there are found three perfect kynds of mixed bodies, to wit liuing Creatures, Plants, and all such things as are to be dig∣ged out of the bowels of the earth; al which no doubt were first created and made for the vse of Man; considering, that we see they are subiect to Man; he ruling ouer thē, and applying them at his pleasure to his owne vse and benefit.
From all which, this one true resultācy or conclusion may infallibly be gathered;* that all this aspectable world, with all the things, which it containeth, was first made for the cause of Man; and that it serues for the tyme, as a most ample and fayre house, furnished with all things seruing either for necessity, or pleasure and delicacy; in the Page 84 which man is placed, to the end, that he acknowledging a diuyne and supernaturall po∣wer to be the authour of this world, may loue, reuerence, and adore the said power; and that he may vse these things according to the true vse and prescript of Reason; whether they conduce to the maintenance and sustentation of his body, or solace and comfort of his mynd, or to the health and increase of knowledge.
For seing the ranke of things intelligi∣ble and endu•d with Reason, is the highest* and most worthy among al things created, it followeth, that man (as being an intelli∣gent and reasonable creature) is of a more eminent nature, degree, and order, then any other thing in the whole world. Ther∣fore man ought to be the end of all things in the world, and they to exist, and be for his vse. For man only considereth al things in the world, apprehendeth all things, and vseth and enioyeth all things. Man only also feeleth and discerneth the sweetnes & beauty of al things, who being (as it were) a certaine secondary Numen, or diuyne po∣wer, doth produce and create by the help of his vnderstanding al this corporal world in himselfe, after an incorporeall manner: for without man to apprehend them, in vaine were all this so great beauty and ar∣tifice Page 85 of all things, •• vayne so wonder∣full a disposall of them; •• vaine so stupen∣dious a structure and com•osition of all: fi∣nally in vayne were such variety of formes colours, smels, sapours, and temperamēts. For if man were not, then there were no∣thing left, which could discerne or appre∣hend these things, admire them, praise thē, vse them, or take any pleasure of them. For al other liuing creatures are se•uile & man∣cipated to the senses of tast and feeling, and do not apprehēd any thing vnder the shew and forme of good, but what is agreable & sorting to their belly, or venereous plea∣sure, & this also after a brutish māner. The∣refore as that house, wherin no man doth inhabit, and of which none is to make any vse or benefit, (though it be otherwise stored with all abundance of furniture and domesticall necessaries) is not to be prized, but to be reputed, as a needles Edifice or building; Euen so this world (though thus beautifyed (as it is) with such variety of ce∣lesticall and terrestriall bodyes, and al other things accompanyng the same) should but exist in vayne and fruitlesly, if there were no rationall and intelligent nature, to reside and dwell therein, who were able to ap∣prehend, obserue, and discerne the admi∣rable workes therein, and to take fruit and Page 86 pleasure of it, both in regard of temporall commodity, as also of speculation & know∣ledge.
Now then from al these Considerations it is most cleare, that this world was made for man; and consequently that there is a Prouidence, which did create the world to this particuler end. For it could not exist by it selfe to this end, neither could it re∣ceaue from it selfe al this disposition▪ by the which it is so wonderfully accommodated to the vse of Man (as is aboue shewed:) The∣refore the world hath its being, its forme, its disposition, its motion, and its forces & vertues from an intelligent nature, which we call God.
THE SIXT REASON, BORROVVED FROM the structure or making of liuing Creatures, and Plants, with reference to an end. CHAP. VIII.
THAT the Prouidence of this diuy∣ne and supreme Power, is not only in generall and confusedly; to wit, as it ordaineth the foresaid generall causes to the productiō of sublunary things; but also, that it is in particuler and most perfectly, as distinctly belonging to the least things, Page 87 is euidently conuin•ed from the structure and making of liuing cr•atures and plants. For the seuer•ll parts and members of them are framed with such exquisite artifice and skill, and with such a proportion, and so apt and fit to performe their functions and ends; as that no art or wisedome can add any thing therto, or correct or better the lest thing therein: which poynt is a most absolute demonstration, that al these things were first excogitated, inuented, & made by a most wise spirit, or mynd; and who fi•st distinctly and •epara•ly considered all par∣ticulers aforehand and then after most cu∣riously produced and b•ought them fo•th, through his admirable and stupe••dious art.
This we will make euident by some ex∣amples, & first we will a little insist in the speculation of Mans body. Well then: Man* could not consist of only one bone, because then he could not bend himselfe, nor vse his members to seuerall motions and functi∣ons; Therefore he is framed of many bones; some being greater, some lesse, and others most small, of all which euery one in par∣ticuler hath that mag••••de 〈…〉 and connexion,〈…〉* body, the facility 〈…〉 of the members requ•••th The bones of the head are in number eight, of the 〈…〉Page 88 twelue, of the lower, one. The teeth are thirty two, the ridge of spine of the backe consisteth of 32. Vertebres, or ioynts. The bone of the breast is cōposed of three bones. The ribs are 24. of which fourteene com∣ming from the backe bone, do arriue to, & touch the bone of the breast, and are im∣planted in the same bone for the more firme keeping of the Heart and the longs. The other ten do not proceed so far, to the end, that laxity and loosenes may be left to the stomack and belly. Euery seuerall fingar consisteth of 3 small bones, and the thumbe of two. The hands with the small bones of the wrest, by the which they are tyed to the bones of the cubit or arme, do consist of twenty small bones. In the feet there are no fewer bones, and these are connected together after a wonderfull manner. For some of them are in fixed & driuen in (like nailes (as the teeth of the iaw bone are:) Others are inserted, and as it were sowed in, as we see in the bones of the scull. Some againe are fastned in manner of a box, and are tyed with strong ligaments, as the bone of the thigh in the hollownes of the hip. Others do mutually enter & penetrate one another in for me of the hinge of a doore (which connection is called in Greeke 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉:) to conclude others are Page 89 knit togeather after other sorts, as is best fitting to the firmnes and motion of the mē∣ber. Further more with what most strange skill are those little bones (which are tear∣med Sesamina) interposed in certaine places for the more easy mouing of the ioynts? Briefly euery bone is made fit and apt to its end and function, that it cannot be concea∣ued, how it could be made more commo∣dious. For there is nothing in vaine, no∣thing redundant or superfluous, nothing deficiēt or wanting; finally nothing which is not most necessary and expedient to it• end, wherunto it is made.
In like sort, these bones could not be co∣uered with one continued and vndeuided masse of flesh; for so they would be vnfit to the vse and mouing of the members; and therefore they are fitted with seuerall par∣cels of flesh (which we cal Muscles) & with these parcels the bones are couered, and of* them the body is framed after a wonderfull manner. There an are in mans body more then six hundred muscles, as long muscles, short, broad, narrow, thicke, thin, straight, crooked, sharpe, obtuse, streit and round, plaine or eauen corned: they are also either of a simple figure and forme, or els of a mul∣tiplicious & diuerse shape. Againe they are placed either one vpon another, or neere Page 90 to another; As also either directly, oblique∣ly, or transuersly, & this most wōderfully; for by the meanes here of euery member ex∣erciseth its mouing. Galen wryteth, that in mans body there are more then two hun∣dred bones, and that euery bone hath more then forty scopi (as they are called) which may wel and deseruedly be obserued in the framing, disposing and connecting or knit∣ting together of the bones; therefore to the end, that the only bones of Mans body may be aptly framed and formed, there are more then eight thousand Scopi to be conside∣red.
Further more there being more then six hūdred nuscles, where of euery one hath tē scopi, & therefore only in the muscles there are six thousand, for thus writeth Galen; Eadem ars &c. The same art is to be seene a∣bout*all the bowels, & indeed about euery part, so as if one consider the scopi, which the structure of mans body hath, the multitude of them would rise vnto some myriades. And here upon Galene concludeth, that mans body is framed by some most wise and most puissant worke∣man.
It was not sufficient, that mans body* should consist of bones and muscles; but withall it was needfull that it should haue naturall heat, by the which it might liue; & Page 91bloud by which it might be nourished; & spirits, by the which it might moue and ex∣crcise its senses; for without this spirit the soule could neither vse any sense, nor the body moue it selfe; for seing the spirit is of a most attenuated and thin substance (as a thing betwene the most subtile soule and the grosse body) it is therefore the imme∣diate and next instrument or Organum of the soule, by meanes whereof the soule causeth in the body motion and sense, and without the which there can be no distribution of nourishment made through out the whole body.
Therefore the diuyne Prouidence hath fa∣bricated and made three principall parts in* mans body, by the which these operations may be performed, to wit, the Hart, the ••∣uar and the braine. The Hart is ordained for the vital heat, and spirits of the whole body; the Liuer for the sanguineous, bloody and naturall spirits; and the braine for the animal spirits. To these three other externall in∣struments & parts of the body are seruicea∣ble. To the Liuer belong the teeth, the Esophagus, and the stomacke to affoard the matter of blood, or a certaine concocted iuyce which is called Chylus. The Intestin•• or entrals do serue partly to trāsmit & send this Chylus through the Mesaraical veynes to Page 92 the Liuer, and partly to deonerate & dis∣burden the body of the excrementall part of meat and food. Furthermore to the Li∣uer belongs that vessel, called folliculus fellis, the receptacle of gall, that therby, after the Chylus is once turned into blood, it may draw to it selfe, & containe the more sharpe matter or substance of nourishment, which matter would be otherwise hurtfull to the body; The Liene, or Splene conduceth, that it may attract to it the more grosse and secu∣lent parts of blood. The Reynes, that they may sucke vp the raw, and redundant wheish matter, being mixt with blood, and after they do send it through the vessels of vryne to the bladder to be auoided in con∣uenient tyme. The Longs are seruiceable to the Hart, wherby the Hart is refrigerated and cooled, and the vitall spirits recreated and refreshed through the often attraction and expiration of new and fresh ayre.
Now, the spirits are engendred after this sort. The meate being once concocted, the best iuyce of it is transferred to the Liuer;* This transmission or sending it thither is made partly by the vitall compression or closing of the stomacke, and partly by the vertue of the veynes of the Intestine called Ieiunum, and other innumerable veynes, which being placed in the mesenterium, or in Page 93 the midle of the bowels, haue apower of sucking to them. The Liuer then receiuing the Chylus through a fistula or hollow pipe, turneth it (throgh its owne natural dispo∣sition) into blood; and after that, the more thin parts therof it chāgeth into a vapour, which commonly is called spiritus naturalis: this vapour distendeth, enlargeth, and ope∣neth the veynes and pores of the body. One part of this blood the liuer by meanes of vena caua (which proceedeth or ryseth from it selfe) sendeth to the heart; Then through the heate of the hart, this blood is wonder∣fully extenuated and refyned; first in the right ventricle of the Heart, and after in the left ventricle, & so a great part therof is con∣uerted into a most subtill and thin vapour; of which vapor one part is sent frō the He∣art to the brayne by a great Arterie; & there being elaborated againe, clarifyed & tem∣pered in that fould of small arteries (which is commonly called rete mirabile) it beco∣mes spiritus animalis: the Animall spirits do serue only to sense and motion, which are peculiar functions of a liuing Creature. The rest of these spirits (being mingled with most thin and pure blood) the Hart distributeth through out the whole body through the Arteries, conseruing and main∣taining herby the natural heat of the body: Page 94 and this spirit is vsually tearmed spiritus vi∣talis. And here now we are briefly to shew, how both kynds of these spirits and bloud is dispersed throughout the whole body; that therby we may the better apprehend by how admirable, and wonderfull a Wisedome all these things are thus disposed.
Our body consisteth of heat and moisture; The heat dayly consumeth and spendeth* the moisture, vapouring it away into ayre; as the like appeareth by water exposed to the Sunne, or to fyer, which by little and little vanisheth away. And thus all the mē∣bers and entrals of mans body would soone decay and dry away, if there were no in∣stauration and repairing thereof made by nourishment. The immediate & next nou∣rishment of the body is blood; and there∣fore it is requisite, that blood be distributed through the body, that all parts of it be nourished therewith. The Liuer is the shop (as it were) of bloud. Therefore from the Liuer there are drawne two great veynes, the one going vpwards, the other down∣wards* the body; both which do after brāch and diuyde themselues into seuerall lesser veynes; these againe into lesser and lesser, till they end in most small veynes, and to the eye scarce visible. These veynes go to∣wards▪ the bowels & to the muscles, & in Page 95 them they are terminated and implanted. Seing then that there are aboue six hundred muscles, and that for the most part many small veynes do run into euery muscle, it cōmeth to passe, that besides those inuisi∣sible veynes (which for their smalnes are called venae capillares, as resembling in quā∣tity the haires of a mans head) there are some thousands of veynes, or rather bran∣ches of veines, which do rise and take their beginning from the two former great vey∣nes.
Now by this meanes it is effected, that there is not the least part of the body, but there is nourishment brought to it. The making and vertue of the veynes is won∣derfull: for they consist of fibrae, or small strings, and these are direct, oblique, or transuerse▪ By the direct fibrae, they attract and suck blood; by the oblique they retaine and keep it; and by the transuerse they transmit it further to the muscles and other extreme parts. The same art and prouidēce is obserued in the concauityes & hollow∣nes of the intestina, or bowels: they haue the power of keeping bloud, which once bursting out of them, doth instantly putri∣fye, and ingendreth diseases as we may ob∣serue in Plurisyes, Contusions, and inflā∣mations. The wheish humour is mingled Page 96 with bloud, for the more easy distribution of it, which humour after is either dissipa∣ted into ayre through heat, or els is purged away through sweat. The blood is also mingled with a little gall for the more at∣tenuating and making it thin, lest other∣wise it should coagulate and thicken. Fi∣nally the bloud is in like sort mingled with that spirit, which is called spiritus naturalis, that it may open the pores, and let in the nourishmēt, for there is no part of the body which is destitute of Pores.
In bones, muscles, bowels, sinewes, veynes, arteryes, membranes, and grisles, there is vis assimulatrix, an assimulating po∣wer; by the which all these parts do con∣uert* the nourishmēt sent to them into their owne substance, nature, and kynd.
As the Liuer doth suppeditate and mi∣nister blood to all parts of the body, with the which it is nourished, as also naturall spirits; so the hart doth giue heat and vitall spirits, by the which the natiue heat is che∣rished, ventilated, and cooled: to which end there proceed from the hart two Arte∣ries, the one going vpward, the other dow∣neward; both which deuyde themselues into many branches, and these againe into other lesser, vntill they end in most small fibrae, iust after the manner of the veynes a∣boue Page 97 specifyed. The smallest branches of the Arteryes are implanted in all the Mus∣cles, and all the bowels, therby to bring to them heat and spirit.
Furthermore, as in those bodyes, which haue hoat bloud, the hart doth continually* beat it selfe with those two motiōs, which are called systole and diastole: By diastole or dilatation of it selfe, it drawes in new ayre to temper the heat, and refresh the spirits; by systole or compression of it selfe, it expels all fulignious vapours; so are all the Arte∣ryes throughout the whole body at the same instant moued with an incessant and continuall vicissitude, in dilating and con∣tracting themselues, euen for the foresaid ends. And this ventilation is of such mo∣ment, as if it be interrupted (as sometimes it is by an afflux of humours) then presen∣tly is a feuer inflamed, and set on fyer.
The brayne affordeth animall spirits which* is diffused throgh all parts by meanes of the nerues or sinewes; as bloud and naturall spi∣rits are by the veynes, and heat, and vitall spirits by the Arteryes. But because such store of sinewes, which were to be deriued to the bowels and all the Muscles, could not proceed from the brayne, which is con∣tained in the head; therefore the diuyne Prouidence (being the maker of Man) doth Page 98 extend and draw out the substance of the braine (enclosed in its owne membranes &* skins) from the head by the vertebre or ioynt of the necke, throughout the whole spine or ridgebone of the backe, so as the medulla spinalis, or the inward substance of the back∣bone is nothing els, then a certayne conti∣nuation and production of the braine. Now to the end, that these animall spirits should not be dryed vp or vanish away, & so man should suddenly dye; therfore the brayne is inuolued and couered with a double skin; the one being more thin, which is the more inward, and next to the brayne; the other more hard, which is the outward, & next to the bone of the Cranium or skull. In like sort & with the same skins the Medulla spi∣nalis is inclosed.
The sinewes proceed from the braine & from the spinal is medulla, & from the double* membrane of them. From the braine there are six paire of nerues or sinewes, wherof fyue are directed to the organs or instru∣ments of the fiue senses, the• by to deriue to them the animal spirit chiefly for sense, and secondarily for the mouing of the muscles of the head. The sixt paire o• sinewes is ex∣tended out of the head, to certaine Muscles of the necke, of the larinx of the breast, and the orifice or mouth of the stomacke, Page 99 which beareth a great sympathy with the 〈◊〉. From the spinalis Medulla and its mem∣b••nes, th•re •o rise thirty payre of syne∣•••; whereof euery payre being after de∣••ded* into many b•anches, are in the end •••••ted in the muscles, as the like afore we said of the veynes and arteryes. When they come vnto the muscles, they run into a sin newy matter, which they call •endo, and with maketh the head of the Muscle. Thus a•e the animall spirits transmitted and sent from the braine and spinalis medulla, through the concauities of the sinewes to the instru∣ments of sense, and to the Muscles: by the helpe of which spirits the soule moueth the muscles; and the muscles (being thus mo∣ued) do moue euery member, as also by the meanes of the said spirits (as by its in∣strument) the Soule performeth the ope∣rations of both the externall and internall senses.
The Composition of the sinewes is most admirable; for as the braine consisteth of* three things; to wit the medulla or marrow therein & the two skins, within the which it is inuolued; so in like sort doth euery sinew, proceeding from the braine: for the inward medulla or marrow of the braine, is like to the substance of the braine; & this medulla is couered ouer with two tunicles Page 100 or skins; so as the Sinewes seeme to be no∣thing els, then the production or continu∣ation of that medulla, and of these membra∣nes or skins, where of the braine consisteth. And by this meanes it is effected, that the braine is (after a manner) throughout the whole body, & in euery part therof, which hath sense and motion. For first it is placed in the head, wherin are all the organs and instruments of sense. From the head, it (be∣ing accompanied with the two foresaid skins) is extended through the spine of the backe; from the spina dorsi, or ridgbone of the backe, it goeth into the sinews, which being dispersed throughout the whole body, are implanted and inserted into all the muscles.
In like manner, the Hart by meanes of the Arteries, which imitate the nature of the hart; & the Liuer, through the veynes* which retaine the vertue and power of the Liuer, may be said to be diflused through out the whole body, & to exist in the least part of it. Therfore with what wonderful artifice and Prouidence are those three principall members, to wit the brayne, hart, and Liuer, (by the which sense, motion, the dilatation & compression of the hart of Arteryes, and Nutrition, are performed) extended throughout the whole body, & Page 101 do exist (after a certaine maner) in al parts thereof? I omit innumerable other poynts, which might be deliuered and set downe touching the structure, and vse of the parts of the body.
But I haue somewhat largly insisted in discoursing of the vse & end of these three principall members, in that the serious cō∣sideration of them hath seuerall tymes mo∣ued me to an admiration of the diuyne Po∣wer, who so strangly hath compacted and framed them. For let the wisedome of all men and al Angels meet together, & they are not able to excogitate or inuent any thing so wel disposed & directed to its end, and so sorting and agreable to the nature of the thing itselfe, as these things are.*
Neither only in Man, but in the Species or kynds of other liuing Creatures the ar∣tifice and skill of these three members are found: for seing all liuing Creatures enioy sense and motion; it is therefore needfull, that they haue animall spirits, and consequē¦tly a brayne sorting to its nature, which is the shop of those spirits; as also that they haue sinews deryued from the braine, by the which the spirits are deferred and car∣ryed to the Muscles. In like sort because al liuing Creatures are nourished, it is requi∣site, that they haue a Liuer, which prepa∣reth Page 102 and concocteth the nourishment, and veynes, by the help of which, the nourish∣ment is transferred to each part, as also naturall spirits, seeing by the benefit of these the aliment penetrateth all parts of the body.
Finally, because the foresaid Creatures are to be cherished with a certaine natiue heate of their owne; wherby they may liue, it is expedient, that they haue a hart, from the which the natiue heat and vitall spirits are dispersed; and arteryes, by the which they are so dispersed. Now these three principall mēbers are most apposit∣ly and aptly framed and disposed in liuing Creatures, not after one and the same ma∣ner, but after different sorts according to the different nature of the said Creatures, and therefore they are found in flies, gnats, fleas, and the least wormes. For these small creatures haue their braine, their Liuer, their sinews, arteryes, and veynes fabri∣cated and made with wonderfull subtility: their inward parts are not confounded in themselues, nor of one forme, but they haue seuerall perfect organs & vnmixte; they being of different temperature, diffe∣rent faculty, different vse, different forme, different connexion, and of different place or situation; yet made with such an invisi∣ble Page 103 tenuity and smalnes, as is incompre∣hensible to mans wit. And this poynt is fully manifested by the sharpnes of their senses, their swiftnes of motion, & their strange and great industry and sagacity.
Now, it we consider the externall and outward parts of liuing Creatures; how* wonderfu•ly is euery part appropriated to its peculiar v•e & end? How easy, expe∣dite, and quicke functions and motions haue they? And how great variety is there of them according to the variety of their kinds? Birds are made with small heads, & sharpe becks the more easily therby to cline and pie•ce the ayre; with crooked pounces, wherewith to hold fast the bou∣ghes of the trees, wherupon they sit; with* fethers growing backward, that their fly∣ing be not hindred; which feathers ly close to the body, whyle they fly, that the ayre may the lesse enter among them; their wings are most light, and so framed, as they may easily open and close for flying; being fitted with a soft hollownes to receaue ayre in while they flye, and to couer their body straitly and comely. Such of them as feed vpon flesh, haue most strong & hoo∣ked beckes to teare the flesh asunder, and sharpe and crooked tallants to apprehend and hould it. Such as feed vpon the wa∣ter, Page 104 haue log necks, that they may dyue in to the water the deeper with their head, To conclude, how many colours are there •n seuerall kynds of byrds? How pleasant is the beauty of their wings? How great is the difference of their sound and voyces? How sweet is the singng of some of them? And euen in some of those, which haue but a very small body, how shrill and pi∣ercing is the sound they make?
The making of forefooted beasts, because they go vpon the ground, is farre ••fferēt* from the former. Such as feed vpon flesh and liue vpon preying, haue the mem∣bers of their bodies fit and accommodated for prey: In their mouth they haue two teeth aboue, and two below, long and strong to hold, and teare a sunder; their clawes sharpe and faulked, or hooked to hold fast; which clawes, when they goe, they so beare, that they are not worne; & in catching their prey, they stretch them out, like fingars.
Those other beasts, as feed vpon hearbs, leaues, or fruits, haue their teeth and hoofs otherwise formed. For the order of their teeth are eauen and equall, one not being lōger then an other▪ of which the further∣most are sharpe to cut the grasse, or the new buds of trees & flowers; the inward∣most Page 105 are broad & blunt to grynd and make small the meat. Their hoofs are firme and plaine, that they may stand firmerly▪ & that their feet be not ouerpressed with the weight of their body. Their neck of that length, as stāding vprightly they may grase vpon the grasse: and so accordingly Camels by reason of the hugenes of their body, haue a very long necke; But in an Elephant it is otherwise, to whom a long necke would become deformed, and would haue made that huge weight of his body to be vnapt to the defence of himselfe. Therefore an Ele∣phant hath a most short necke, yet in liew therof a long snout with the which (as with a hand) it taketh any thing, and reacheth it to his mouth. Now, who seeth not, that all these things are thus purposely disposed and framed with wonderfull wisedome & con∣sideration?
And to come to •ihes: How fitly and pro∣portionatly are then bodies framed to lyue* in the Element of water? The head of most of them is narrow, the better therby to cut the water; the tayle broad and spread out, which serueth (as 〈◊〉) to guyde the fi∣shes motion with an extraordinary celerity and swiftnes. They haue also close to their belly certaine fins (wherof some haue two, others foure or more:) these stand insteed of Page 106 oares (as it were) by the helpe wherof they either moue in the water, or stay their mo∣uing: vpon their backe they haue a certaine finne like vnto a skin, which they stretch out, that they may swin with their bodies downeward, and that they may not easily be cast vpon their backs. Their gils, which they haue vpon the side of their chawes, de¦serue for the casting out of water; both of that which they daily draw in, to the refri∣geration of their hart, as also of that, which entreth into them, whyle they are in taking of their food and nourishment. And there∣fore such fishes as want these gils, haue in∣steed of them certaine holes, by the which they disburden themselues of this water. And without this help of auoydance, it is certaine, that they would be presently suf∣focated and choaked, as wanting all respi∣ration. Their Scales grow backward, to the end they may be no hinderance to their swiming▪ which, when the fishes are in mo∣tion, close neare together. Such fishes, as breath not much, want lungs or lights, and haue their hart thinly couered ouer, neere vnto their mouth, that it may be easily re∣frigerated and cooled by the attraction of water. Those of a strong respiration haue lungs (with which the hart is couered) and other instruments fitting to the same end. Page 107 To conclude the kynds of fishes and variety of their formes is almost innumerable; euery one of them hauing their outward and in∣ward parts and members most aptly framed to their vses and ends; so nothing is there to be found, which is not disposed with all reason, wisedome, & prouidence. Neither is this variety of formes & elegancy of stru∣cture to be found only in the bodies of fishes but also in shels, with the which the small fishes (though imperfect in nature) are co∣uered. Of these Shels, their beauty, and va∣riety is wonderfull, although they serue to no other vse, then to couer and arme the small bodies of their fishes. For there is no where greater shew of diuyne arte and skil, then in these, especially where there is pro∣duced such variety without any seed, and only out of a formed Element, as appeareth from the testimony of (a) Pliny himselfe. T•• ibi colorum differentiae &c. So many differences of colours in Shels, so many figures and formes▪ as plaine, hollow, long, horned as the moone, ga∣thered together in a round forme, smooth, rough, &c▪ with many other formes by him recy∣ted, & then after he further writeth: Nitor & puritas &c. The shining & purity is incredible in diuers of them, exceeding •ll mettals of gold and siluer, and not to be corrupted, but in a most long space & tyme.
Page 108This further is worthy of consideration in liuing Creatures. To wit, To man, in* that he is endued with reason, there is giuē at his birth, neither any thing to cloath his body, nor any weapon for his owne defēce, but in place of these; Hands are giuen him, with the which he may make to himselfe all kynd of vestmēts or weapons, to weare or lay by at his pleasure. But to beasts, be∣cause they cannot make and procure these things to themselues, they therefore receiue thē euen frō a most benigne and diuyne Prouidē∣ce, and they increase with the increasing of the beasts, neither do they allat any time need any repayring. For weapons, are giuen to some Hornes; to others Teeth; to others Clawes; to others strength in their feet; to others a sharpe dart in their tayles; to others a venemous poyson in their teeth or their hoofes, and this endangereth their Enemies either by touching or breathing. Of others; their safety doth lye in their speedines of fly∣ing away; or in their naturall craft and de∣ceipt, or in the hardnes of their shels, wher∣with they are couered, or in the pricks of their skins, which some of them can cast from them against their enemies. Insteed of Cloth (wherwith they are couered) some haue haire, others wool, fethers, scales, a sharpe & hard pil or rynd, shels, & a smooth Page 109 skin, yet of sufficient hardnes. Furthermore their is in euery liuing 〈◊〉 a vertue o• power, by the which all these veapons and vestments (as it were) are framed in conue∣nient places, formes, and colours; and this out of the earthly & gros•er part of the nou∣rishment or meat, otherwise improfitable, and but to be purged away. Therefore we may worthily admire Gods Prouidence here∣in, which turneth the matter (otherwise hurtfull for the nourishing of the body) into such necessary vses.
I heere pretermit the most diuers formes and shapes of those liuing creatures, which are commonly called Insecta; as flies, gnats, and the like; as also all little wormes, with the which the ayre, the earth, the fields, the riuers and standing waters do abound in the Summer time. Al parts or members in them are wonderfully fa•e, all most exactly fra∣med, and all most perfectly agreing and fit∣ting to the functions, for which they were made. Among so many kinds of which small liuing bodies, there is not one so base and vyle, which is not able to procure an asto∣nishing admiration in whom behold them attentiuely. Yea by how much the creature ie more base and abiect, by so much the more the art of diuyne Prouidence shineth in the fabricke and making of it.
Page 110The like Prouidence is shewed in the making of Plants, which comming out of the earth do remaine fixed to the earth; wherof* there are many kinds, & most diuers formes of the said kynds. Nothing is in thē, which is without the height and fulnes o• reason: All their parts most aptly sort to their ends▪ The rootes (whether it be a tree, a young bud, or an hearb) do serue to •asten the whole plant to the earth▪ and to sucke from thence humour for the nourishing of al its parts. The vertue of the rootes, is strange, seing the greatest trees that are, though ne∣uer so much diffused, and spred out into brā∣ches, are by their rootes •o affixed to the earth, that no force of wynds can leuell thē with the earth. The Barke or outward •ynd (seruing as a cloathing to them) defenc• them from cold and heat, and from the en∣counter of any other domageable thing. The Bowes and branches are directed for the greater increase of fruites. The leaues serue partly for ornament, and parly for the safty of the fruits, least they perish through heat and showers. The fruit serues for the continuance of the seed, and in most of them for food of men and other liuing creatures; and therefore they are more full of suck, and there is greater store of them, then the con∣tinuance of the seed requireth; as appeareth Page 111 in apples, peares, melions, and many other kynds of fruits. Plants do want Muscles▪ be∣cause they want motion, and do cleaue im∣moueably to the earth. All parts euen from the lowest peece of the roote to the highest of the leaues are ful of pores: they haue a po∣wer of sucking in, and what they sucke in, they do assimilate & make it the same with the substance of the tree. The leaues and fruyte do hang by a little stalke, which cō∣sisteth of many fibrae or smal strings, through the stalke all the iuyce passeth, which after is dispersed through the pores of the fibrae, into all parts of the leaues and fruites in a most strange manner. The stalkes do not ad∣here or cleaue to the boughes by any fibrae, which are continued to the boughes, but by such as are inserted in them, and glewed or ioyned together through the force of a cer∣taine humour; The which humour being once dryed, the fruyt and the leaues either freely of themselues, or with very small pulling do fall downe. In the Medulla or marrow of the Plant there is a genitall po∣wer or vertue, and therfore it is called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or in Latin Matrix; the which marrow be∣ing taken away, though the tree do beare fruite, yet is this fruite destitute of seed. Euen as the roote, the stocke of the tree, and the boughes or branches do consist of the Page 112 barke, the wood, and the marrow; so the fruite consisteth of the barke of that part which is commonly called Pulpa, and of the seed. The sucke and humours of the earth being attracted by the roote, and dispersed by the fibrae into the body and the boughes, and perfectly con•octed, the watery parts being improfitable to the tree, or to that woodden substance (whatsoeuer the plant be) and going to the furthest parts of the boughes, are turned into leaues; the very parts into flowers: that which is more grosse and better tempered is partly changed into the substance of the plant, and partly into fruite; and thus no superfluity remayneth which is to be purged away; though the cō∣trary fall out in liuing Creatures. Some of those plants (which ascending high are through their height weake) do either fold themselues about some other thing (as hope, Iuy, and many other such like plants) or els they haue certaine wynding twigs or stringes, wherwith (as with hands) they take hold of staues or such things, set purpo∣sely to support them, that they fall not; as Vynes, Pompions, and some others. But to be short, it were a labour infinite & endles to repeat and set downe all the miracles (as I may truly tearme them) which appeare in the structure and making of Plants.
Page 113Now from all these foresaid speculations I conclude, that seing the parts of liuing cre∣aures and of Plants haue a double end; the one as they are parts, of which the forme & structure of the whole dependeth; the other as they are organs and instruments ordained for certaine functions necessary to the safety of the whole; and to both these ends they are made so apt and proportionable, as that it cannot be conceaued, how more exactly and wonderfully they could be framed; it is therefore euident, that all those parts were made by some one supreme and most wise spi∣rit or intelligence, who first conceaued in him∣selfe all these ends, and considered aforehād the meanes best sorting to the said ends. For it is altogether impossible and with true rea∣son incompatible, that there should be so wonderfull and admirable a proportion & conueniēcy of so many innumerable Media, or meanes, to so innumerable ends, except the meanes and the ends had bene aforehād most exactly weighed and compared toge∣ther.
This reason most perspicuously conuin∣ceth, that there is a most wyse, and diuyne Pro∣uidence, & that this Prouidence hath a care in the least things: seing that euen in Gnats, Myse, little wormes, and the least hearbes it hath framed innumerable parts, and innu∣merable Page 114 instruments to the complete & per∣fect forme of that little creature or smal plāt; as also it hath disposed all the functions and ends most agreing to its safety & health. For Prouidence is discouered in nothing more, then in an apt disposition and contriuing of meanes to their Ends; and this sorting of meanes cannot be performed without an absolute and perfect working of Reason. Wherfore seing this disposall is most perfect and admirable in the least Creatures, it fol∣loweth, that it is more cleare then the sunne beames, that a most distinct and remarkeable Prouidence had it sole hand busyed in the ma∣king and creating of the said small bodyes.
THE SEAVENTH REASON: THAT ALL things do worke most orderly to a certaine End. CHAP. IX.
VVE haue proued in the prece∣dent Chapters, that there is a diuyne Power, frō the nature and disposition of the parts of the world, & from the structure & making of liuing Cre∣atures and plants; Now, in this place we will demonstrate the same from this consi∣deration, that all things do worke for some one end or other. For there is nothing idle Page 115 in the world, all things tend & direct their operations and working to some end, and that to the benefit of the worker, or of some other. And they incline and bend to their ends so ordinatly, and with such conuenient wayes and passages, as that it cannot be bet∣tered by any art whatsoeuer. Wherfore se∣ing the things themselues can neither per∣ceiue the ends, wherunto they are directed, neither the meanes, nor the proportion of the meanes, by the which they are directed; it is therefore most certaine, that all things are directed by some superiour Power, who seeth and considereth both the meanes and the ends. For it is impossible, that a thing should particulerly & ordinatly in its owne operation ayme at one certaine end, except it either knoweth the end, and the meanes conducing to the said end, that so by this knowledge it may guyde its operation, or at least be directed by some other, which knoweth all these things. Thus (for exam∣ple) a Clocke, whose end is the distingui∣shing the houres of the day, because it nei∣ther knoweth this end, nor is of power to dispose it selfe to this end, is therfore neces∣sarily to be directed by some vnderstanding mynd, which knoweth these things, and can make distinction of houres.
That all things tend to some one end or Page 116 other, first it is euident in the motion of the Heauens, and in the illumination & influx of the stars, and in the fecundity and fruitful∣nes of the sea and earth (as is shewed afore.) Secondly in the parts and members of all li∣uing Creatures and Plants; ech part wher∣of we haue already made euident, to haue its peculiar vse and function, necessarily for the good of the whole. Thirdly, the same poynt is to be manifested in all seedes. Fourthly in the industry, and labour of liuing Creatures.
And first, this informing Vertue or Po∣wer, which is in seedes, doth most clearly worke for some end, to wit to frame and* forme the body of a liuing creature, or a Plant. Now, this it effecteth by so multipli∣cious and strange an art, and by so long and well disposed a worke, as it is impossible it should be wrought by any more wise a mā∣ner. And certainly if this seminall vertue were any Intelligence indued with reason and discourse, it could not proceed with greater order, artifice, and wit. Vpō which ground Hypocrates in his booke entituled 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, num 1. writeh, that this seminall vertue or naturall heat, by the which all things generable, are framed and made, is eternal, and indued with an vnderstanding, for thus he saith: Videtur sanè &c. That which we call (calidum) semeth to me to be immortall,Page 117and to vnderstand, see, heare, and know all things both present & to come. Of this opinion he was, because he thought, that those things could not be made without great art and vnder∣stāding, which were wrought by the force and vertue of the naturall heat.
First then, the more grosse part of the seed by force of this heat and spirit, is extended* into fibrae, or little strings, into the which fibrae this spirit entring doth partly hollow them into fistules or pypes; and partly cau∣seth them to be spongeous, in some places more thin, in others more solid and firme; and thus doth it forme the extreme parts, making them fit, and bynding them, as the necessity of the bones and members may seeme to require. From the other portion of seed and from bloud, it frameth the three principall members, to wit the Brayne, the Harte, and the Liuer; drawing out of the fibrae matter for the making of veynes, arte∣ries & sinewes. The spirit entring into thē doth hollow, dilate, extend, and deuyde them into seuerall branches; then it dedu∣ceth and draweth them through the whole body, that they may carry nourishment, as also vitall and animall spirits to all parts. In the meane ty me euery small portion or part of the body doth attract bloud, and conuert •t into its owne substance; the spirit still for∣ming Page 118 euery thing by little and little, and gi∣uing each part its due figure, measure, pro∣portion and connexion with other parts: so as from the seauenth day after the conceptiō the forme of the whole body and distinctiō of all parts euen of the fingers, doth appeare. Now how manifold and various is this la∣bour in framing of so many bones, veynes, arteryes, sinewes, and Muscles, in the apt distribution, deduction, or drawing out, & termination or ending of euery part, each of them keeping its due forme, temper, mea∣sure, place, ioyning together and incision? What mynd or vnderstanding can be intent to so many things at once? What Art may in the least part seeme to equall this? Who ther∣fore considering all these things, can doubt, but that there is some one most wise & most potent Mynd or Soule, by whome all this ope∣ration and working is directed, and to whō all this admirable artifice is to be ascribed? If an indigested & informed heape of stones, tyles, lyme and wood should begin to make to it selfe a house, directing it selfe in the do∣ing thereof, and framing all parts thereof, as the Art of Architecture requyreth, who would not affirme that a certaine Vnderstā∣ding, skilful of building, were inuisibly and latently in the said things, that they could so artificially dispose themselues? Or if a Page 119 pensill being imbued with diuerse colours, should moue it selfe, and first should but ru∣dely draw the lineaments of a mans face, & after should perfect euery part therof by fra∣ming the eyes, drawing the cheeks, figu∣ring the nose, mouth, eares, and the other parts (seruing in them all a due proportion, and fitting colours, as the exact science of painting requireth;) no man would doubt, but that this pensill were directed herein by an intelligent spirit. But now, in the fra∣ming of euery liuing Creature far greater art and wit is desired, then in any humane worke whatsoeuer; since the skill whereof transcendeth by many degrees all mans skill and artifice; for it arriueth to that height of perfection, as that the worke cannot in that kynd be possibly bettered; neither can the parts of it (whether internall or externall) haue a more pleasing proportion and conne∣xion. Therefore who is so voyd of Reason, that can enter into any dubious and vncer∣taine consideration with himselfe, whether all this molition and laboursome endeauour in framing a liuing Creature be directed by a power indued with reason & wisedome, or no?
Furthermore, there are three things here to be considered, among which there ought to be a great proportion; to wit the Soule of Page 120 the liuing Creature, the body, and the S••i∣nall*vertue. And first, the Soule ought to be most proportionable to the body. For such ought the small body of any little Creature to be, as the Anima or soule of the same doth require to performe its proper functions; wherfore how great the difference is of Soules, so great also the discrepancy is of bodyes, if we insist in the figure, the tem∣perature, and the conformation of the Or∣gans; therefore in the nature of euery soule the whole formall reason is contained, so as that if a man did perfectly know the nature of the soule, from it he might easily collect, what the habit, figure, and temperature of the body ought to bee. But who is ignorāt of the nature thereof, must consequently be ignorant of the other; for in some one par∣ticular or other he shall euer be wanting, and neuer attaine to the due proportion in knowledge thereof. As for example, if the question be touching the small body of a flye, how many feet it ought to haue, how many flexures or bendings in their legs, or thighes, what difference betwene euery flexure, what temperature, proportion & connexion; how many •inews in euery thigh, how many veines, what proportion to its little nayles; of which things many are for their smalnes not to bee discerned by the Page 121 eye: for in the small body of the flye, there may be found seuerall thousands of propor∣tions, as necessary, that its soule may rightly sort to the body; to all which no man can attaine, except the first doth penetrate and consider in his mynd the nature of the soule, in the which the reason of all these (as in the root) doth•y hidden and secret. Againe the Seminal power ought to haue most perfect proportion with the body, that it may pro∣duce such a body in al respects, as that soule doth require. Therefore, who first caused and made this seminall power, ought afore▪ hand to haue the whole structure of the body exactly knowne vnto him, that so he might sute and proportion this seminall seed to the body. For as in the soule (as in the finall cause) the whole reason of the fabrick of the body lyeth, and therefore the body ought in a perfect proportion to be accom∣modated, and made fit to the soule; In like sort the reason of the making of the same i• latent and hidden in the seminall vertue, o• power, as in the efficient cause. Wherupon• it followeth, that there ought to be as a• exact proportion betwene the structure o• the body and the seminall vertue, as is be∣twene the efficient cause & the adequate ef∣fect of the said Cause.
Now, from all these premisses it is mos•▪ Page 122 clearly demonstrated, that these three, to wit the Soule of euery liuing Creature, the structure of the body, and the seminall vertue, haue their source from one and the same be∣ginning; which beginning cannot be any nature depriued of reason & vnderstanding: seing a beginning voyd of reason could not among different things set downe▪ congru∣ous proportions; much lesse so exact and so infinite proportions, as are betweene the body and the soule, and the seminall vertue and the making or fabricke of the body. For to performe this, requireth a most perfect and distinct knowledge. Therefore it is concluded, that there is an intelligence or spirit both most wise and most powerfull, which through its wisedome is able to excogitate and inuent, & through its power is of might to performe all these things.
The reason, why this seminall vertue might seeme to be indued with a mynd or* vnderstanding▪ is, because this vertue is a certaine impression, and (as it were) a foot step of the diuyne art and skil; and therefore it worketh, as if it had a particuler art and knowledge in working. Euen as if a painter could impresse in his pensill a permanent power and vertue of his art, and that ther∣upon the pensill should moue it selfe, and draw the images, as if there were an art and Page 123 vnderstanding in the Pensill. Furthermore it may be here presumed, that this diuyue spi∣rit or Intelligence doth conserue this impressiō with his continuall influxe, and doth coo∣perate with it thus working with his gene∣rall concourse.
Euen as in liuing creatures these three, to wit the Soule, the body, and the seminall vertue do meet and conspire together in a wonderfull proportion; so do they a like in euery kind of Plant: for in the Anima and soule of euery plant the whole reasō of the structure of the body of the Plant, as also of the leaues, flowers, and fruite is con∣tained.
The like may be said of the seminall po∣wer. For the forme or soule of the Plant is a thing simple and vncompounded, & such also is the seminall vertue. For the whole difference, & the whole multitude of figu∣res, colours, smels, lynes and proportions, which is discerned, either externally in the body of the Plant, or in the leaues, flowers, fruits, rootes, barke, or iuyce and marrow, proceeds from the seminall vertue & from the forme or soule of the Plant: and there∣fore all these things are internally after a simple and inuifible māner most strangely contained in them both. If therefore flowers do appeare externally faire to the eye, and Page 124 admirable for their great variety of figures colours, and proportions; then how much more fayre and pleasing is the internall forme (to wit the soule) and the seminall vertue, from which all that visible beauty floweth, and in the which after a wonderfull parti∣culer and ineffable sort it is wholy contai∣ned?
Neither do only the seeds of things (which worketh after a naturall manner, &* without any reflexe, or knowledge of its owne working) tend to a certaine end in their working; but also liuing Creatures do the lyke, when they worke by their imagi∣nation. For all liuing Creatures are moued and inclined to their sense of gust & feeding, and to the act of generation; and these they performe, not thinking at all or conceauing the end, wherunto those functions do tend and are directed. For neither are they stir∣red vp to the act of generation through the desire of hauing young ones, neither do they eate with intention of producing their liues and conseruing themselues; but they appre∣hend the working of these two senses after a confused maner, vnder the forme of a de∣ctable thing, and in this apprehension they are stirred therto. And yet doubtlesly these actions haue a further intention and end. For neither eating, nor the act of generatiō Page 125 are ordained for pleasure; since this is to per∣petuate and continew the kynds of liuing creatures, and that to defend and maintaine the particuler life of euery one. Therefore it is needfull, that there be some one superi∣our Mynd or vnderstanding, which knowing and intending these ends, doth direct bruit beasts to the said ends, and which giueth to euery liuing creature (according to its natu∣re) fitting organs and instruments, by the which it may come to those ends.
To conclude, there appeareth in many irrationable creatures a certaine particuler* industry, by the which they either take their meat, build their nests, bring vp and defend their ofspring, and this in so indu∣strious and witty a manner, as that (if they were indued with reason) they could not performe the same actions better, & the end (for which they thus do, and to which all this is finally intended) they apprehend not, but rest absolutely ignorant of it.
The Spider (for example) weaueth her* web with wonderfull art, & (lyke a hūter) layeth her nets for the catching of flies; the threeds of her web are most fynely and cu∣riously wrought, and the further they are distant from the midle or center of the web, they alwaies by degrees do make greater Circles; and the connexions or insertions of Page 126 one threed with an other (still obseruing a precise distance) are most strange. She con∣ceaueth the aptnes of her web to hold fast with the fynenes of the threed? And when her web is wrought, she prouydeth her selfe of a little hole to lye in (lyke vnto the cu∣stome of fowlers) lest she should be espyed. When the flye falleth into the web, the spider instantly runneth therto, taking hold of her, and hindering the motion of her wings, lest she should fly away, then pre∣sently she killeth the flye, taketh it away & layeth it vp against tyme of hunger. Now supposing the spider were indued with rea∣son, could it do all these things with better art and order, and more fitly tending to her designed end?
The Bees worke their fyne hony-Combs, distinguished on each syde with little cells* or roomes of six corners, which they frame with their six little feete. And then they flying abroad, and lighting vpon flowers and hearbs, they gather from thence the sweet dew of heauen, and lay it vp in these small roomes, to serue for their prouision in the winter tyme. How they deuyde the la∣bour herein among themselues is most ad∣mirable▪ for some of them bring part of flo∣wers with their feete; others water with their mouthes; others againe serue to build, Page 127 worke, and frame their cels within, and do disburden such bees, as come loaden to the Hyue. When their Cels are full of matter, then do they couer them with a small mem∣brane or skin, least otherwise the liquour therin should slow away, when any part of their Combs is ready to fall, they support it with a partition wall (as it were) made of earth in forme of an Arch. All the Bees do rest together, they labour together, & con∣spire together to performe one generall worke; helping one another according to their facultyes & powers. I here omit what authours haue written of the strange policy and gouerment of Bees▪ obserued curiously by diuers.
If we come next to Emmets or Ants, what s•dulity and industry is found in them? And* how much care is taken for the tyme to come, and yet they want all knowledge of the tyme to come? They make their habi∣tation and dwelling places in little concaui∣tyes of the earth, themselues thus labouring the earth, which habitations for greater se∣curity & quietnes are ful of many wyndings and turnings. Here they bring forth their Eggs, and hither they bring in the sommer their winters prouision; they indifferently communicate in their labours, as bees do, & haue a kynd of politicall gouernment and Page 128 care: they do first knaw and byte the corne, lest it should take roote againe (see herein the wonderfull prouidence of God in these so vyle Creatures.) The corne being moy∣stened with rayne, they lay out to the Sūne, by which it is dryed, and after they hord it vp againe. They carry their burdens with the pinsers (as it were) of their mouths; It is also strange to obserue, how in so great a concu•se of them of many hundreds or thou∣sands, they meeting one another in a most straite way, are no hinderāce or let to their passages, and they only of all liuing Crea∣ture (excepting man) do bury one another.
The Silkwormes do worke out of their owne bowels, their graues or sepulchres,* the wolly fertility of their bellies ministring them matter therto; In this graue they being shut vp (as it were dead) at length appeare and come forth in another shape; imitating herein a second birth or generation through a stupendious metamorphosis and change: their forme is lyke to the garden worme commō∣ly called a Canker; they eate and feed al∣most continually, only they rest from fee∣ding, & attend the concoction of their meat two seuerall tymes, till they grow greater. Comming to a iust quantity or bignes, and their body being distented and stretched out with meat, they rest againe for better con∣coction. Page 129 Then they begin to weaue with a continuall paine and indefatigable labour, vntill they haue shut vp themselues within their worke. The fynenes and yet the firm∣nes of the threed thereof is strange. They draw out the threed with the small nayles of their feet; they wynd it into a partly roūd clue, but of an o•all figure, wherein they close themselues vp. Now how great indu∣stry and Prouidence is found in this worke? And from this their working commeth that so great aboundance of silke, wherein the world now offendeth so much in wast and luxury.
The Hedgh•g goeth vnder the Vyne tree, and by shaking the vyne casteth downe such grapes, as are ripe; when great store of thē are falne downe, he contracteth his body into a round compasse, & so tumbling him among the grapes, and they sticking vpon his pricks, he carryeth great store of them into his den to feed himself and his whelpes withall. The lyke he doth for the gathering of Apples. Neither is the industry small in Cats; for with what silence of pace, do they rush vpon birds, & with what obseruāt eye do they light vpon myce? And it is said, that their excrements they hyde and couer ouer with earth, lest otherwise they be discouerd and betrayed by the smell thereof.
Page 130In fishes also there is a great shew and out∣ward* appearance of reason and prouidence, yea euen in such as are thought to be most dull of nature, as appeareth in the fish called Polypus (as hauing many parts resembling feete, or armes) being accustomed to feed vpon shel▪ fishes. These fishes, after they perceaue, that his feete are within their shels, do presently shut and close them, and thus by this violent compression of the shels they cut of the feete of the said fish. Now this danger to preuent, the Polypus is vsed to cast within the shels a little stone; that so the shels not closing together, he may without any danger feed of the fishes within them.
The Whale (as diuers ancient authors do wryte) being of an imperfect eye sight hath* a little fishe, as his guyde, which goeth be∣fore him, least he should fall vpon any nar∣row rocke. Many fishes, which are more slow of their owne nature to seeke their prey and food, haue diuers little things hā∣ging about their chawes, in shape like to small wormes, that so the lesser fishes being allured thither vnder the shew of meat may be the more easily taken of other fishes. The fish Sepia, when she perceiueth her selfe to be touched, doth darken the water with a kind of humour and moysture; as blacke as •nke, that so hyding her selfe in the darknes Page 131 thereof she may better escape. The shelfish called Pinna•s euer ingendred in mudy wa∣ters, neuer goeth without his companion, which they call Pinnoter; This Pinnoter is a small shrimpe. The Pinna desirous of prey, and being altogether blynd, offereth (as it were) his body to little fishes to feed vpon. The fishes assaulting him in that number as is sufficient for his nourishment, and the Pin∣noter, or his companion giuing him notice thereof by a little touch, the Pinna doth kill all the fishes with a hard and violent com∣pression of them; so feeding himselfe after vpon them, and giuing part of them to his fellow. The fish Torpedo being immersed in mud and durt, hydeth himselfe, that the fi∣shes should not flye from him, the which then swimming ouer him, and being be∣numd through an inward quality procee∣ding from him, he after catcheth them▪ Other like relations of fishes are reported by Pliny, Plutarch Oppianus, and others.
And next to come to Birds, in whom there appeareth no lesse prouidence, then in the former creatures. And first, with how* much care, skil, and forcecast (as it were) do they build their nests, that they may be sitting for their rest in the night tyme, & for the nourishing and bringing vp of their young ones? They worke them for the most Page 132 part in trees, or thickets of brambles and qushes, therby to be far from the danger of men and beasts. The outward side of their nests are cōmonly but playne, as of bryars, twigs, or boughes. This matter they dispose •n forme of a hat turned vp side downe, and •asten one part therof with an other, with clay, so as it can hardly be dissolued; next they lyne the inward part therof with some soft matter, as mosse, hay, or the lyke, straitning by degrees the hollownes of it to∣wards the entrance; Lastly for the more softning of it, and for the greater heat, they strow it within with downe of feathers, small hayre and the lyke, so as the birds may lye therin with ease and heat. And although all birds do retaine this forme in generall for the disposall of the matter of their nests, yet euery kynd of them hath his owne pe∣culiar frame, and different manner of archi∣tecture (as I may call it;) as among vs we find seuerall kynds of building, to wit the Corinthian, Dorick, Tuscane, Gothick, and se∣uerall other sorts thereof.
There is besides in birds and many other liuing creatures, an extraordinary care of bringing vp and feeding their young ones; I meane of such Creatures, as being but new∣ly borne, cannot prouide for themselues: for they seeke out of euery place food fitting Page 133 for their brood, and bring it to their nests; yea diuers of them not finding sufficiēt store of meate for themselues, and their brood, are content to suffer hunger, therby to giue the greater quantity to the other. Next ob∣serue with what earnestnes of mynd they defend their ofspring from their enemies; for they presently raise thēselues, interpose their body, swell, rouse vp their fethers in terrour to their Enemy, & do oppose to him all their weapons, as their beackes, teeth, nayles, hornes, clawes, and what other in∣strument they are able to fight withall. And some of them, where they see their force cannot preuaile, do vse strange sleights for diuerting their enemy from their nests, som∣times with shew in suffering themselues to be taken, that so with short flights they may the better draw their aduersary from their nests, and if their nests be found, how much then lamentation doth appeare in many? With what do•efull cryes do they fill the ayre? And what incōsolable griefe doth afflict them for the tyme?
To conclude, there is in all liuing crea∣tures a strange industry for their owne pre∣seruation. Many haue their safety in their flight, others in their weapons, and some in deceipts. The Hare being in danger, and willing to stay securely in some one place, Page 134 will make his last bounces and leapes won∣derfull great, that therby the dogs by such his iumping may lose their sent of him. And for the same cause they sōtimes wil swimme ouer Riuers▪ because their smell stayeth not in the water. The like and greater cunning doth the Fox vse for sauing his lyfe.
In Aegipt there is great store of Serpents: for the better remedy of this inconuenience, there is by Prouidence of the highest a little creature called Ichneumon, lyke vnto a dor∣mouse; this (being the others natural enemy, and ready to fight with it) doth first roule & tumble himselfe in myre and durt, which after is dryed and hardned with the suns heat. The Ichneumon thus armed with the dryed myre (as with a breast plate) cōmeth to his denn, and prouoketh him to fight. The same little beast also entring into the chawes of the Crocodyle, (when he is a sleepe) and penetrating his body doth kill him by gnawing and eating away his bo∣wels.
In lyke sort irrationable creatures do know such kynd of meates, as are hurtfull* and dangerous to them, as also the remedy and cure of their diseases and wounds. Dogs when they haue surfetted with eating, do procure a vomit by eating of grasse, & so do purge their infectious humour.
Page 135The Ringdoue, the Chugh, the Vzell, & the Partridge do purge their yearly corrupt hu∣mours by eating of the leafe of a bay tree; Swallowes haue taught vs that the hearbe Celandine is medicinable forthe eye sight; for they do cure the sore eyes of their young ones by causing them to eate thereof. The Hart being wounded with an arrow yet sticking in him, doth cast it out by seeding vpon the hearbe Dictamnum; and being stroken by a Serpent, cures himselfe by eating of crabfishes. The Barbarians do hunt the Panther with a piece of flesh coloured with the iuyce of a venemous hearbe, but she perceauing her iawes to bee shut vp with the force of the poyson, seeketh to feed vpon the bowels of a dead man, which is to her the onely cure for this disease. I omit in∣numerable other things touching the custo∣mes of liuing creatures, which are made knowne to vs, partly by the diligent inqui∣sition & search of man, & partly by the oftē experience had of them: all which is relaed vnto vs by good and approued authours.
Now from all these obseruations it is eui∣dent that the operations and working of li∣uing Creatures (yea when they perfourme the same by the interuention and help of their imagination) do most ordinately and regularly tend to a certaine end. But if they Page 136 ayme to some such destinated end, then it necessarily followeth, that they are directed thither by some cause. But the beast it selfe cannot be this cause; in that irrationable Creatures do not know the ends of their owne operations, neither can they apprehēd or discourse with themselues; that this thing is profitable and conducing to that end; or that this is to be done for that respect, or the like. As for example, the Spyder knoweth not to what end his web so wouen is pro∣fitable, or with what order he is to proceed in making of it. Neither do the Bees know why their honycombs are made in such a forme, or what benefit and good they shall reape therby. Neither doth any other such liuing creature know, why he eateth or drinketh, or begetteth little ones, or feedeth and nourisheth them, or flyeth away from his enemy, or defendeth himselfe from him: finally he knoweth not the end or reason of any thing he doth; and yet he performeth his operations, in such an order, and with so great an industry and reason, as if he were indued with the true vse of Reason. In so much that some of the ancient Authours maintained, that all liuing Creatures had reason, though they were depriued of all speach or lāguage, which might be knowne to vs. And of this very point and subiect did Page 137Plutarch wryte a booke. But this opinion is most false, and ridiculous.
Therefore it is necessarily to be granted, that▪ there is a certaine Spirit or Intelligence presiding and ruling ouer bruite beasts, and gouerning their actions; which well know∣eth what is conuenient to the safety and de∣fence of their liues, and to the propagation of each one of their kynds, and by what meanes they are to attaine vnto the same. By which Intelligence all the actions of irra∣tionable creatures are directed to their pro∣per, seuerall, and distinct ends. For here is first needfull an exact and distinct knowled∣ge of all these ends, which agree to euery one of them according to their species and kynds, as also of the meanes conducing to the same ends▪ Secōdly it is requisit to know what proportion ought to be of euery mea∣ne to its end. Lastly what instinct is neces∣sary to seuerall functions, and to the many series or degrees of their functions. Now all this knowledge being presupposed & gran∣ted as necessary, it was easy for that supreme Architect, & Maker of all things to imprint in ech liuing Creature peculiar and accom∣modated instincts, to all these meanes and Ends.
Now, that beasts and al other irrationable Creatures by force of these instincts do so Page 138 proceed in their actions, as if they were in∣dued with an vnderstanding; the reason is, because these instincts are certaine impressi∣ons of the wisedome and reason of the diuyne prouidence, and hereupon those creatures do no otherwise direct their operations, then the diuyne Prouidence it selfe, if it were planted in them, or would vse them, as its instruments would direct them. For two* wayes may a thing be directed by reason & art in its working, & in tending its working to some end. One way immediatly, as the instrument is moued by the artificer: thus is the pensill moued by the paynter. A second way, by the mediation of some power or vertue impressed, which impression is a certaine printe or imitation of reason; And in this later manner are irrationable creatu∣res moued by the diuyne Prouidence. There∣fore these Creatures are guyded by reason in all their operations, yet not by reason in∣hering or really being in them; but by reasō inuisibly assisting and gouerning them; and not as bare and naked instruments immedi∣atly moued by the workeman, but by the meanes of a certaine impressed vertue, which vertue retaineth the forme of art in working. And in this sense the Philosophers were accustomed to say: Opus naturae est opus intelligenti•, because an intelligent spirit di∣recteth Page 139 nature in all things through a 〈◊〉 impressed vertue.
The like we fynd, that humane art 〈◊〉 and causeth in beasts; for we see that Dogs & Apes are taught by mans labour to dance with distinct paces to the pleasure of the beholders, and gaine of their maisters. This dancing is gouerned by Art▪ not that this art is inherent in the Dog or Ape, but that in a sort it doth gouerne them, & hath impressed in their phātasies a certaine print of it selfe through often practice; and many other things are dogs taught especially tou∣ching hunting. In like sort Birds and diuers other Creatures pleasingly performe many things, and yet they know not why they performe them, or why they do thus, ra∣ther then otherwise, or to what end they so doe, though all these he who thus taught them, well knew. Now if man can transfer a certaine imitation and shew of his art vpō irrationable creatures to effect certaine fun∣ctions, and for certaine ends & proiects; thē how much more easily may that most wise & most powerfull spirit and vnderstanding (which we call God) plant in all creatures a print of his Art and Prouidence, which extendeth it selfe to al things necessary to the conserua∣tion of their lyues, and future propagation of their kynds?
Page 140Man, in that he enioyeth reason and a certaine generall Prouidēce (by the which he gouerneth himselfe, setteth downe his owne end, and disposeth of fitting meanes for the same end) hath no need of these na∣turall instincts, which other creatures haue. And although diuers men in regard of their peculiar temperature of body, haue peculiar instincts both for the stirring vp of seuerall motions and passions of the mynd, as also for inclyning them to certaine artes; yet they are not to gouerne themselues by these in∣stincts, but by the guyde and force of reason, which is granted vnto them. But other Creatures (because they are depriued of rea∣son) cannot gouerne themselues, nor direct their particuler operations to sutable & cō∣uenient ends; therefore they stand in need of a certaine prudentiall instinct, by the which they are to be directed both in the performance of their working, as also in the directing and disposing of it to an end. Ther∣fore Man hath an vniuersal prudence or wi∣sedome, by the which he leuelleth all his actions to his end; But other Creatures haue (as it were) a certaine sparke of prudence, or rather a peculiar instinct lyke vnto prudēce, in certaine peculiar workes of their owne. This instinct, so far forth as it artificially performeth its worke, (as the web in the Page 141 Spider, and the hony combe in the Bee) is a certaine participation of diuine art, & this not vniuersally but particularly; to wit as it is considered in this or that worke. In like sort as it fittingly directeth its working to an end, it beareth the shew of diuyne Pro∣uidence.
Now this instinct in beasts cōsisteth chie∣fly in the disposition of the phantasy, by the which it is brought to passe, that it appre∣hendeth after a certaine manner a thing, as conuenient or hurtfull, according to tyme & place, and as occasion serueth. Secondly it consisteth in the inclinatiō of the Appetite, and in a certaine dexterity, or hability of working.
From all th•se considerations thē I hould it sufficiently demonstrated, that there is one Supreme Intelligence, Mynd, or Spirit▪ whose wisedom is equally paralelled with his power, by whom not only the princi∣pall parts of the world were framed, and disposed to their particuler ends; but also all the members, and least parts of all liuing Creatures and plants, as also the seed of all things, by whose sweet prouidence the o∣perations of al liuing Creatures are most cō∣gruently and orderly directed to their defig∣ned ends. Out of which poynt this resulta∣cy or collection also riseth, to wit, that his Page 142 prouidence extendeth it selfe to the least things; and that nothing is made without the same, seing nothing can haue its being or essence without its vertue or instinct cō∣municated and imparted by the foresaid In∣telligence, or Mynd.
But here it may seeme to be replyed, that granting, that Gods prouidence hath colla∣ted vertue & power to all things to worke, yet followeth not, that his prouidence ther∣fore stretcheth it selfe forth to all the opera∣tions and workings. Euen as he, who tea∣cheth a Dog to dance, or a Parret to speake Greeke, doth not (because he so taught thē) know all things, which after they may do by reason of their teaching. To this I an∣swere, and say that here is a great disparity and difference; for Man may be far remoued and distant from his worke, and then he knoweth not, what his worke performeth; But God cannot depart from his worke, but alwaies remaineth within the same; both because God is euery where, filling all pla∣ces whatsoeuer; as also in that he is to pre∣serue, support, & sustaine his owne worke; since otherwise it would instantly decay, vanishing away like a shadow. For though a Wright (for example) building a house, and after departing from it, the house remai∣neth by it selfe to be seene; yet neither the Page 143 world nor any thing of the world can haue its subsistēce & being, after God hath with∣drawne himselfe from it. And the reason of the difference here, is diuers; first because the Wright maketh his worke in a matter or sub∣stance, which he neither made, nor ought to conserue, but which God made & con∣serueth; the Wright doing nothing therin, but either by way of adding to, or taking* from, or placing all things in a certaine or∣der. But now God worketh in that matter, which himselfe only made, and he only can destroy or preserue it. Secondly, because God made all things of nothing, eleuating & aduancing euery thing to its essence and being; and therfore all things may againe reuert & turne to nothing; euen as a heauy body being by force lifted vp from the earth doth of it owne nature declyne towards the earth againe. Wherfore as this body is con∣tinually to be supported, that it doth not precipitate and fall headlong downewards; euen so all things being first created by di∣uyne power, need to be sustentated by the said power, that they be not reduced againe to nothing. And here I do not vnderstand by the word Nothing, any positiue inclina∣tion (such as the heauens or the earth is) but a defect of power or hability to retaine its owne being; because it hath no power pre∣seruing Page 144 it selfe but only from God. Thirdly, because all things haue their dependance of God after a perfect manner, as the light of the ayre depends vpon the Sunne, and the intentionall species or formes of Colours vpō their obiect, or as the shadow vpon the body exposed to the Sunne (as the ancient Philo∣sophers do teach and especially the Platoni∣cks:) for we are not to thinke, that there is lesser (but rather far greater) dependency of things created, vpon God, being the most vniuersall cause, then is of these effects vpō their particuler causes. Therefore all things do need a continual preseruation and a con∣tinual influxe; in so much that if God should but for a moment withdraw or diuert this substance-making beame (for so doth Diony∣si•s call it, terming it 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) then would all things instantly vanish away, & returne to nothing. I omit diuers other rea∣sons, which here might be alledged; Only it sufficeth here to shew, that God can in no sort be absent from his worke; from which poynt it necessarily may be concluded, that nothing can be concealed and hid from his Prouidence, seing that himselfe is most in∣trinsecally & inwardly present to al things.
THE EIGHT REASON FROM THE diuersity of Mens countenances and voices, and from the pouerty of Man. CHAP. X.
THESE two things (I meane the great diuersity of faces and voyces of Men, and the penury that Man is ordinarily borne vnto (may be no smal in∣ducements* (if they be rightly considered) to proue the care of the diuine Prouidence. And touching the first; The diuersity of faces is so multiplicious and almost so infinit in Man, as it affordeth no final argumēt therof; for without this variety neither could iusti∣ce be obserued, neither could any forme of a common wealth consist. For suppose Men to be in countenance alyke, as sheepe, cro∣wes, sparrowes, and many other liuing Creatures of the same nature are, then most ineuitable perturbation and tumults a∣mong Men would ensue; for neither could maryed Men discerne their owne wyues frō other women, neither the Parents their children, neither the creditours their deb∣tours, the friends their enemies, nor the magistrate the delinquents, nor the subiects their Princes; and therfore each Common Page 146 wealth would be extremely in•ested with adulteries, incests, frauds, proditions, mur∣thers, and all other wickednes whatsoeuer; since such lewd miscariages might then be perpetrated with all impunity & freedome from punishment; for euery one might through a resemblance of face giue himself for whom he would, neither could the mi∣staking be easily discouered. This poynt is most euident to any that seriously weigheth the same, and diuers examples of those men do witnes no lesse, who cofyding & resting vpon likenes of face and fauour, haue at∣tempted to inuade other mens beds, patri∣monies, kingdomes; sometime with good euent, at other tymes in vayne, but euer with great trouble and tumults. Therefore it is euident, that the difference of faces is most necessary, that the lawes of iustice and of the Commonwealth may not be trans∣gressed, and peace and tranquility obser∣ued.
If it be here replyed that this difference of faces commeth only by chance & casually, and not from any Prouidence so disposing the same: I answere, that it is absurd to af∣firme that to haue its euent by chance and fortune, which preuayleth so much in pre∣uenting of iniures, & in cōseruing of iustice among Men; since, otherwise it would fol∣low, Page 147 that all iustice and true policy which is found among Men, should be grounded only vpon chance; and that fortune should be the foundation of all Commonwealthes. Furthermore what proceedeth from chance is not perpetuall, but rarely hapneth; and is not found in all, but in few only, (as Aristotle and other Philosophers do teach.) As for example, that a man is borne with fiue fingers, cānot be said to come by chāce, but it may be so said of him, who is borne with six fingers. And answerably hereto, we fynd, that difference of countenances & faces is not a thing strange and rare, but very ordinary and common; which almost al∣waies, and in all places is incident to Men. Therefore it is not a thing to be ascribed to chance, but to Prouidence, which hath or∣dained the same, the better to preserue iu∣stice and ciuill life betweene Men, which without this variety of faces could most hardly be obserued. But on the other part, if the nature of Man and the propagation of him were so disposed, that Men should bee commonly borne lyke in faces, and that no dissimilitude should be betweene them, thē might this diuersity of faces well be attribu∣ted to chance, but the contrary we see, fal∣leth out; for dissimilitude and vnliknes is ordinary, and likenes and resemblance of Page 148 faces but rare; Therefore, that Men are like, is to be imputed to chance; that they are vn∣like, to Prouidence. And here I vnderstād by the word, Chance, a rare and extraordi∣nary concourse of causes, which notwith∣standing is gouerned by the mighty hād of Gods prouidence: for in respect of his proui∣dence (which incompasseth all things within the largenes of it owne Orbes) no∣thing can be said to be casuall; but only in regard of secondary causes, whose know∣ledge and power of working is limited.
In irrationable Creatures there is for the most part so great a parity and likenes of the indiuidua and particulers of one kynd, as that with difficulty any difference can be obser∣ued: For seing it importeth not much, whe∣ther they be like or vnlike, nature follow∣eth that which is more easy; and therefore maketh them like, so as to the eye there ap∣peareth no markable & notorious differēce or vnlikenes: for it is more facile and better sorting to the course of nature, that bodyes which internally are of one and the same nature and substance, should also be indued with the same externall qualities, thē with diuers and different; And when occasion requires, that among these creatures, one should be knowne from another (as in sheepe, goates, horses &c. it is an easy mat∣ter Page 149 to set on them a marke for their better di∣stinguishing.
Neither among Men is there only this va∣riety of faces (for their better discerning of one from another) but also of voyces; so as there is no lesse difference among them in sound of voyce, then in Countenance. For seing a precise and distinct knowledge ne∣cessarily conduceth to the preseruing of iu∣stice; therefore the diuyne Prouidence hath so disposed, that there should be a disparity & vnlikenes not only in faces, but also in voyces; that so by a double sense (to wit by sight & hearing) as by a double witnes, one man should be made knowne from another. For if but one of these disparities were, then per∣haps some mistaking might be; but where both of them do ioyntly concurre and meet, it is almost impossible, that men heerein should be in both deceaued. Only difference of Countenances were not sufficient, becau∣se matters are often menaged in darknes; as also some mens eye sights are so weake and imperfect, as that they cannot exactly dis∣cerne the lineaments and portrature of the face; besides among some men (though but seldome) there is a great resemblance of vi∣sages; so as in distinguishing of them the eye may be deceaued. And therefore this want is heere fully supplied with the like dispari∣ty Page 150 of mens voyces; to the end that such mē, which could not be knowne one frō ano∣ther by their faces, might neuertheles be ea∣sily distinguished by the sound of their ton∣gues.
But to proceed further in this generall subiect, it is euident, that the consideratiō* of Pouerty (wherwith the world laboureth) affordeth a strong argument of a diuyne Pro∣uidence; Since Pouerty is that, which pre∣serueth all entercourse among Men, as furni∣shing man withal ornaments and delicacyes of this life; as on the contrary side affluence and abundance of riches leadeth man to all dissolution and tutpitude of life. For suppo∣se, that all things, which are in any sort ne∣cessary to mans life, were fully and promis∣cuously giuen to al men without any labour and industry on their parts; then it is cleare, that two mayne inconueniences would in∣stantly follow: to wit, an ouerthrow and decay of all artes, and all other splendour now appearing in Mans life; and an vtter deprauation and corruption of manners & integrity of conuersation. For granting the former position, no man would learne any mechanicall arts, or learning would pra∣ctice them.
No man would vndertake any labori∣ous and painfull taske, nor be seruiceable to Page 151 any other; since no man would performe these things, were he not forced therunto through want & penury. And so we should want all rich attyre all fayre and stately e∣difices, all costly furniture for houses, all magnificent temples and Churches, all Cit∣tyes, Towers, Castels, and other such forti∣fications. In like sort, then would cease all agriculture and tilling, all nauigation, fi∣shing, fowling, & all trafficke for merchā∣dize; againe there would be no nobie and potent men, as being destitute of all seruāts and followers. Moreouer, all differences of degrees and orders (which are necessary in euery common wealth) would be taken a∣way, and consequently all reuerence and obedience•. Therefore whatsoeuer in the whole course of mans life is faire, gorgeous, magnificent, and to be desired, all the same would be wanting, if men were not poore: and nothing would remayne but rudenes, barbarisme, and sauagenesse.
To this former inconuenience may be ad∣ioyned another of greater importance, to wit, an extreme corruption of manners and an opening the sluce to all disorder & disso∣lution of life. For it is obserued, that such lasciuious courses do commonly accompany idlenes and abundance of wealth; an exam∣ple of this we may borrow from the men li∣uing. Page 152 before the deluge, (whom lasinesse, opulency and fulnes of temporalities did o∣uerthrow) as also from the inhabitantes of Brasile, who (by reason that the country af∣forded them abundantly without labour, through the natural temperature of the Cli∣mate, all things necessary) are altogeter be∣come mancipated and slaues to Epicurisme, lust, and all vicious sensuality.
Two things then there are, which chie∣fly hurt, & depraue all conuersation of life; to wit idlenes, and affluence of riches. This later ministreth matter to all vices; the first giueth opportunity and tyme for the practi∣zing of thē. But both these are taken away by pouerty, the one (to wit abundance) imme∣diatly, seing want is nothing els then the want and not hauing of riches; the other (I meane idlenes) in that whiles penury affli∣cteth and presseth men, they are (for the further preuenting thereof) willing to vn∣dergo any labour and paines. Therfore pe∣nury serueth to man, as a spur, wherby a flothfull nature is pricked and stirred vp to industry and toyle; which while it is who∣lely imployed▪ bent, and intent vpon its de∣signed worke and taske, is freed from dan∣gerous and vicious cogitations, and conse∣quently hath not leasure▪ and tyme, to spend the tyme in sensuality. From this then it is Page 153 euident, how healthfull and medicinable Pouerty is to mankynd; since it extinguisheth and cutteth away the nourisher of all vices, possesseth and forestalleth the mynd with hurtles thoughts, and filleth the world with all ornaments and commodityes. For what in humane things is to be accounted as fayre excellent, and to bee admyred, is the handy worke of pouerty, and is chiefly to be as∣cribed to it. Therefore it was truly said of one authour, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 that is, Pe∣nury and want begetteth wisedome. This argu∣ment is handled copiously by Aristopahnes in Pluto; and we do euidently discouer in it Gods prouidence, by the which he so sweetly and moderatly gouerneth mankynd.
THE NYNTH REASON, IS FROM Miracles. CHAP. XI.
TO the former argument we may ad∣ioyne this next, which is drawne from miracles, which do irrefragably demonstrate a diuine power: for if euents haue, and do hap∣pen, which cannot be ascribed to any cor∣porall cause; then is it euident, that there is some one inuisible & greater vertue or power, from whom all such stupendious actions do Page 154 proceed; and this power we call God. Now, that there are, and haue bene many such, which transcend the limits and bounds of nature, is most cleare from reason it selfe, from the frequent testimonyes of most ap∣proued histories, and from the ioynt confes∣sion• and acknowledgment of al countryes. Among which great number I will heere insist in the most remarkable and notori∣ous of those, which haue bene effected ei∣ther before or since our Sauiours Incarnatiō. First then may be the creating of the world of nothing; for seing this cannot be made of it self (as is proued aboue in the third & fourth reason) then must it necessarily be made by some other agent; but it is an incomprehē∣sible miracle, to wit, the producing of so huge a worke out of nothing, and such as could be accomplished only by that power & wisedome, which is most infinite and illimi∣table.
The second may be the framing and making of so many liuing Creatures and Plants, and the first institution of so many seuerall seedes, by the which they are propagated & increased; as also that great fecundity of the earth and the sea, by the cooperation whereof, one Creature or seede is multiplyed in a short tyme into seuerall thousands.
The third. The most swift motion of the hea∣uens,Page 155 and the gouernement and disposall of this inferious world by meanes of this rota∣tion and speedy turning about of the said ce∣lestiall bodies. For by this is occasioned the most pleasing and gratefull alteration and change of day and night, with the secret and stealing increase and decrease of them in length. By this also are effected the seue∣rall tymes of the yeare; so as all creatures & plants are by this meanes brought forth & after become mature, rype, and perfect in their due tymes. In like manner by this mo∣tion of the heauenly Orbes, the fieldes are beautifyed and enriched with flowers, the pastures with grasse, the woods with trees and leaues, and the trees with fruit: finally by the mediation of the foresaid▪ motion is wrought the flux and reflux of the sea, the blowing of wynds, the darcknesse of the clouds, the conueniency of showers, the benefit of snow, the first rising of springs, the current of riuers, the wholsomnes & se∣renity of the ayre, and the benefit procee∣ding from thunder, & diuers other Meteors.
To these may be addressed the deluge and inundation of the whole world, the safety of men and beasts by the Arke, the cloud or burning Sulphur with the which the▪ Citty Pentapolis was consumed, the plagues of Aegipt, the diuision of the sea, the submer∣sion Page 156 & drowning of the Egiptians, the pillar of the cloud and fyre, the heauenly meate or Manna giuen to the people of israel for forty yeares space, the wels springing out of ro∣ckes through the striking of thē with a Rod; the infinite multitude of quailes sēt into the Camps; so many apparitions of God euident to all men; so great castigations and punish∣ment of rebellious, incredulous, and misbe∣leeuing people, destroyed sōtymes through the opening of the earth, other tymes through fyre, or touch of serpents; so many admirable and vnexpected victories. To these in lyke sort, are to be adioyned, the staying of the Sune in the midle of its course for the space of ten howres; the retrograde or going back of it diuers degrees; the force and burning of the fyre suspended and re∣strayned, and the preseruation of the seruāts of God put into a burning fornace; the fury of Lyons suppressed that they hurt not the true worshippers of God, the dead recald & raised to life, and the wicked and impious by the peculiar hand of God, wonderfully chastised.
From all which it is a most cleare and il∣lustrious truth, that there is a certaine super∣naturall and diuyne power, which seeth all things, gouerneth all things, and weigheth all things in an euen ballance of iustice and Page 157 Reason; & which seuerly punisheth the per∣petrators and workers of iniquity, & vnder∣taketh a particuler charge and defence of the vertuous, often effecting for their good and safety many things, aboue the ordinary and setled course of nature.
Neither in these miracles can there be cō∣ceaued the least suspition of any imposture or deceit; first, because the authour, which wrot all these (some few excepted) was in∣dued with extraordinary wisedome, and grauity, and was accounted the greatest Prophet that euer liued in any age among those, who either florished for sanctity of life, or praise of wisedome. Secondly, because there were many predictions set downe by him in his works, as in Genesis 12. & 49. the Numbers 24. Deutron. 32. and 33. all which seing we fynd by the euent to be most true, we may rest assured, that he was most fai∣thfull in his relation of other things Thirdly, in that euery one of the things recyted a∣boue, are so particularized with all their circūstances of tymes, places, persons, names occasions, effects, with such an order and so sorting to the nature of things, with such a consequence of matters, and so agreeably to piety and probity of Manners, as that euen an eye witnes of the same passages & occur∣rents could not deliuer them with greater Page 158 exactnes. Now who forgetn things, auoy∣deth (for the most part) many circumstāces; or if he addeth them, then is the fiction ea∣sily discouered by them: for what he wry∣teth, is either not agreable to the tyme, place, nature of things themselues, or other more certaine and approued historyes, or els some contradiction is found in the matter it selfe, as falleth out in the fabulous historyes of Homer, Nonnus, Virgil, Ouid, Amadu, & many other such like. Fourthly in most of the things aboue related, the authour (to wit Moyses) was not only present at the perfor∣mance of them; but was the chiefe man in the action, performing the same, as the in∣strument of the holy Ghost, and therefore had best reason to know them most precise∣ly. Fiftly, if he had written differently from the truth (especially touching the plagues of Aegipt, the deuyding of the Sea, and the actions performed in the wildernes) he might easily haue bene conuinced of fal∣shood by many hundred thousands of wit∣nesses, who were also then present with him. For all these things were red openly before the whole multitude, & were also to be read ouer againe euery seuenth yeare in the presence of the people, as appeareth out of the 31. chapter of Deuteronomy. Sixtly, all the former things, as then being best Page 159 knowne throughout all the East, were re∣corded in Hebrew verse by Dauid, who was a King and a Prophet, and who was later in tyme then Moyses, more then 450. yea∣res; which verses euen from that tyme to this very day, are continually sung in the publicke prayers, almost throughout the whole world by the Iewes, where they enioy the vse of their religion, and by Chri∣stians for the space of 1600. yeares. Yea af∣ter the dayes of Moyses there did almost in e∣uery age rise vp among the people of Israell certaine Prophets and venerable Men who being guyded by the assistance of the holy Ghost, did gouerne, teach, and reduce the erring people to the law of Moyses; which men, did euer worship Moyses, as a diuy∣ne Prophet and worshipper of the highest God.
All which, as beinge worthy and pious Men, and in what credit & estimation they were had, may appeare from the considera∣tion both of their actions and writings. For their actions were such, as exceeded al hu∣mane forces, and necessarily required the ayde of the Almighty: such were those acts performed by Iosua, Debora, Gedeon, Sāpson, Samuel, Dauid, Nathan, Salomon, Ahias Si∣lonites, Elias, Elizaus, Esay, Ieremy, Daniel, Ionas, Iudith, Esther, the Machabees, and by Page 160 diuers others. And their writings were re∣plenished with diuers predictions and Pro∣phesyes of things to come, which through long succession of many ages, had their an∣swerable accomplishments and fulfillings: a poynt so worthy of obseruation, as that the lyke cannot be found in any history or wri∣tings of other nations. Seauenthly euen du∣ring the law of the Iewes from the tymes of Moyses, there was euery yeare an acknow∣ledgment of the effecting of these former wonders celebrated by diuers ceremonyes, festiuall dayes, sacrifices, and other rytes, least the memory of them should in tract of tyme perish and be abolished: for the feast of the Passouer, and the Sacrifice or the Pascall Lambe was performed in thankesgiuing for the peoples deliuery out of Aegipt, and for the preseruation of those Iewes who during their stay in Aegipt, were saued from the slaughter, which was made vpon the first borne of the Iewes. And for the same cause was offered vnto God all the first borne of things. The feast of Pentecost was in memo∣ry of the law giuen vpon the fiftith day af∣ter their deliuery. The feast of the Taberna∣cles was celebrated, in recordation that the people liued forty yeares in the desart in Tabernacles. Furthermore the Arke of the Couenant was kept and preserued, the which Page 161 Moyses by the commandement and directi∣on of God made, and in the which the Rod of Aaron which blossomed, and the vessell of the Manna, and the Law written in two ta∣bles of stone by the hand of God, and deli∣uered by Moyses, were safely laid vp; all which benefits of God and his wonderfull workes were celebrated with the singing of diuers Canticles and songs. To conclude the very bookes themselues of the testamēt were with great diligence and publick au∣thority in a holy, publick, and most secure place (as diuyne Oracles) preserued, least otherwise they might by any deceit be cor∣rupted and depraued.
Eightly, for the greater accession of Rea∣sons to the former, it may be added, that those wrytings of the old testament are full of wisedome, piety, and grauity; in which are found no vanity or improfitable curiosi∣ty; For all things there are set downe most seriously and most aptly for the informing and rectifying the mynd with vertue and piety, for deterring it from all wickednes, and for it voluntary imbracing of godlines, iustice, benignity, mansuetude, patience & temperance; and all this with wonderfull documents and examples of most excellent men alledged to this end: a course far con∣trary to that, which is taken in the wrytings Page 162 of Philosophers, in the which many vayne curious and improfitable passages are found, as also sometymes many wicked, prophane and impure instructions are to be read. For they in their bookes, by reason of the then commō vse, do permit the worship of Idols, though they were perswaded that there was but one supreme diuyne Power. In like manner they permit •ullination, repyning and secret hate against ones Enemy; as also fornications, filthy lusts, a vayne desire of glory, and other internall vicious affections of the mynd. And though sometymes in their wrytings they commend vertue & re∣prehend vyce, yet do they not bring any mouing and forcing reason, therby to deter¦men from vyce, and perswade and moue them to the practice of a vertuous lyfe. For the splendour and inward beauty of vertue, as also the turpitude and vglines of vice (which two sole points are vsually aledged by Philosophers) are but weake incytemēts to the mynd; therefore that Man may haue an absolute dominion ouer himselfe and his passions there is need of more vehemēt per∣swasions. And hence it is obserued, that very few men haue bettered their mynds (so far forth I meane as concernes piety) by rea∣ding of their labours, though many by that meanes haue arriued to a great pryde and e∣lation Page 163 of spirit; but it is certaine, that from the wrytings and doctrine of Moyses & from the other sacred bookes of Scripture innu∣merable men haue come to wonderfull ho∣lines, and haue enioyed great familiarity with God himselfe; so as they were most il∣lustrious and celebrious for the admirable workes performed by them.
To conclude this poynt, if any one will seriously contemplate and confer together the mysteries of the Iudaicall and Christian religiō, he shall clearly see, that such things as were done by the Iewes, did serue but to adumbrate and shadow the mysteries of our Christian fayth, according to the words of the Apostle 1. Cor. 10 •a• omnia in figura &c. All these things chanced to them in figure: but they are written to our correction, vpon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherfore we are able euen from those poynts, which Chri∣stians do daily professe and practise, to proue that the Iewish discipline and doctrine was agreable to the truth. From all which pre∣mises it is most cleare, that credit and fideli∣ty is to be giuen to the bookes of Moyses (& not in that degree only, as is exhibited to the Commentaryes of Cesar, the History of Liuy, or any other prophane authours) but as to certaine most vndoubted Oracles, writtē by the speciall concurrency and assistance of Page 164 the holy Ghost. The like may be auerred of other holy bookes of Scripture (whether they be historicall or propheticall) seing the same reasons and arguments, which are al∣ledged for the writings of Moyses, are also preuailing for them.
Now let vs descend next to the miracle• of the new testament: good God, how many and notorious did our Lord here liuing in flesh, performe? He clensed the ••prous, he raised vp the paralitick, he cast our deuils in the possessed, he cured all languors and diseases, he restored sight to the blynd, hea∣ring to the deafe, speach to the dumbe, go∣ing to the lame, and life to the dead. He also commanded the wynds, restrayned tempests, walked vpon the waters, and fi∣nally fed diuers thousands of men by a sud∣den multiplication of a small quantity of bread. He wrought all these not in priuate, but openly in the sight of the whole world; so as all Iud•a tooke notice thereof: neither could such as were emulo•s and maligning of his glory contradict the same.
He also did them, not with much en∣deauour, or with any long preparation afo∣rehand; but only either by his word, or by the gentle touch of his hand. To proceed fur∣ther, we know, that in his death the Sūne was obscured, the earth trembled, rocks & Page 165 stones broke asunder, the veyle of the tēple did cleaue in two, and the dead did rise out of their graues; many thousands of mē were witnesses hereof, which might (& would no doubt) charge the Euangelists writing these things in seuerall tymes and places, with sacriledge, if they had diuulged fictiōs and forgeries: since to lye in poynt of Re∣ligion is s•c••ledge in the highest degree.
But to omit all other things, how stupē∣dious a miracle was it, that our Sauiour cō∣uerted the world by the meanes of twelue men, and these ignoble, poore, despicable, and ignorant fishers, (notwithstanding the gainsaying of the power, wisedome, and eloquence of the whole world, as also the great reluctation to flesh and blood, mans corrupt nature, and an inuetera•e and wic∣ked custome?) For his doctrine was not to perswade men to an easy religion, and such as was indulgent to sense, but to a pro∣fessiō most hard, seuere and repugnant both to mans vnderstanding and his manners: for it taught, that he, who was nayled vpon the Crosse was God; that riches, honours, pleasures, and what els is to be prized in this world, ought to be contemned; that we ought to •ame our flesh, bridle our de∣sires, beare our Crosses, loue our enemies, render good for euill▪ spend our blood and Page 166 life for Christs sake, and finally pray for all such, as do in any sort persecute or wrong vs.
How difficult a labour was it, to persw∣ade the world (blynded afore with Idola∣try, and placing all its felicity in riches, ho∣nours, and pleasures) to the imbracing of these matters; and this against the custome and authority of their forefathers, against the vse of all Countries, against the common iudgment of all mankind, against the sentē∣ces of the Philosophers, against the edicts, comminations, and threatnings of Princes, with a resolute neglect of all commodities or discommodities of this life, of honour or contumely, of wordly allurements or tor∣ments, how great soeuer? And yet Christ performed all these great affayres by his A∣postles, being but poore and ignoble men, reducing by their meanes the whole power & wisedome of the world vnder his yoake and gouerment. Now the Apostles were a∣fore most rude, fearfull, pusillanimous, ig∣norant of heauenly misteryes, ignorant of the tongues, and indeed altogeather vnapt, for so high an enterprise. But behold, after the Holy ghost once descended downe, they instantly became most wise, fearles, mag∣nanimous, skilfull in all the tongues, hauing the courage to vndertake so great an ex∣ployt, Page 167 and after performing the same most gloriously and happily. These things are of such an infallible truth, as that no man had the forehead to deny them, all ancient Hi∣storyes recording thē; for the whole world proclaimes and witnesseth, that it was first conuerted to Christianity by certaine fishers & that no torments (how exquisite soeuer) of Tyrants (by the which themselues and infinite othe• were consumed) could hinder the beginning, progresse, & increase of so worthy and heroicall a busines. Neuer did the like happen in another country. Which miracle being deeply weighed, is not only of force to the iustifying of the being of Gods prouidence, but also of the diuinity of Christ, & of the truth of Christian religion. Further∣more the Apostles had the guilt of working miracles, which in some sort was most necessary; since the world could hardly haue bene induced to entertaine so strange and displeasing a doctrine, except in were waranted therunto by some most wonder∣ful signes & prodigyes. Therfore they gaue sight to the blynd, strengthned the Paraly∣tickes, raysed the lame, cured all kynds of diseases, restored the dead to life, & effected many other such supernaturall things, as ap∣peareth from the acts of the Apostles. From the Apostles tymes euer after, there passed not Page 168 ouer any one age, which was d•stitute of miracles, if we do belieue Ecclesiastical hi∣storyes.
Now nothing can be answerable hereto to take away the authority of these miracles, but that they were not true, but only for∣ged;* or if true, performed by the helpe of the deuill. But with what colour or shew of truth, can it be said, that they were meere forgeryes, seing this answere is not war∣tanted with any reason? For from whence is it knowne, that they are forged? belyke because they are miracles, and being mira∣cles they seeme impossible to be wrought. But here the Atheist is to proue, that they are impossible, (which he cānot) since the performance of them implyeth no true and reall contradiction. That they are not ac∣complished by the force and power of natu∣re, we all grant, and from thence do proue, that there is a diuyne and inuisible power, more potent then nature, by the h•nd whe•of all these are wrought. Furthermore to say, that they are feigned, is implicitly to take away all credit of histories, all memory of anti∣quity, and all knowledge of former ages: since by this answere all ancyent historyes whatsoeuer shall be said to be forged, and to be reiected as mere fables; seing no historyes are written more accurately, diligently, & Page 169 with greater inuestigation & search of truth then are the miracles aboue recyted, espe∣cially since the Church hath bene euer most sollicitous and carefull, that false miracles should not be ventilated, and giuen out for true; for here we speake only of those mira∣cles, which the Church acknowledgeth for certaine & euident. Thirdly who condemne all these miracles for fictions, do charge all Christian Princes, magistrates, and all the Christian world of madnes, and extreme simplicity, in suffering innumerable fictiōs & lyes to be obtruded vpon thē for so many truthes; they not hauing so much perspica∣city and clearnes of iudgment, as to be able to discouer the deceit. They also no lesse do charge all Ecclesiasticall Prelates, gene∣rall Councels, all Deuynes, & all wise men of sacrilegious imposture, in that they do commēd such commentitious & lying nar∣rations for true miracles, they by this mea∣nes most egregiously deluding the whole world.
Fourthly, diuers of these miracles are re∣corded, by so graue authours indued with learning and sanctity, and with so many particuler circumstances, as that all possibi∣lity of fraud is taken away. In things, that are forged, the forgers are accustomed pur∣posely to declyne and auoyde the circum∣stances Page 170 of names, and especially of tymes and places, for the better concealing of their ly∣ing. Fiftly, there was presented no iust and vrgent cause, why these should be falsly in∣uented. For why should the authours wil∣lingly stand obnoxious to so great a sacri∣ledge? Or with what hope or reward should they vndergo the aspersion of so foule a ble∣mish? No man doth any thing, but there is some reason which induceth him so to do. What then was the motiue, that incyted so many Authors, (to wit, Eusebius, Socrates, S•∣zomene, Ruffi•••, Gregory Nissene, Basil, Ierome, Austin, Sulpitius, Gregorius Turonensis, Opta∣tus, Theodoret, Damasus, Gregory the great, & many others, who haue written of miracles) to perpetrate so heinous a wickednes? Cer∣tainly no true cause hereof can be alligned: for what graue and religious man had not rather suffer death, then deliberately to wryte one lye, especially in these things, which belong to religion? since thus doing he doth not only purchase an eternal infamy among men, but also is most wicked, hateful and abhominable in the sight of God.
Sixtly, if the foresaid miracles were but inuented▪ then might the authours of them be easily conuinced of forgery by the men then liuing in that age, since the lyues and a••iōs of Saints were for the most part diuul∣ged Page 171 throughout the whole world, at that tyme, when they were wrought; for the radiant splendour and light of such extraor∣dinary vertues cannot be obscured, much lesse wholy eclipsed; But there can be al∣ledged not any one Man, who either in the dayes of those Saintes, or in the tymes im∣mediatly ensuing, durst charge the wryters of the said miracles with any fiction therein. Seauently, Mans nature is of it selfe incredu∣lous and full of suspicion, when it questio∣neth of any new miracles; and hereupon it examineth all things concerning the same most precisely and particularly, least there be some imposture latent & hidden therein. Besides there are neuer wanting mē which are emuious of the glory and honour of o∣thers, who prying into each particuler, do euer labour (as much as in them lyes) either wholy to call in question such miracles, or at least to depresse and lessen the worth the∣reof.
Now to come to the second branch of the former answere. If it be said, that they are performed by the worke of the deuils, then in thus answering, it followeth, that there are spirits, or incorporeall substances, which are more excellēt, then these visible things; and consequently it is to be granted, that there is one suprem• Spirit, excelling all the Page 172 rest in power and wisedome, & this we call God, as hereafter shall be proued. But to pro∣ceed further against this second part of this Answeare, I say; that these stupendious workes cannot with any shew or protext of reason, be referred to the power of the de∣uils; for to restore sight to the blynd, going to the lame, to cure the paralitcks only with their word, and to raise the dead to life, do far transcend and exceed the power of the* deuils, who cure diseases only by the medi∣ation of naturall causes; to wit, by applying the vertue of hearbs and other medicinable things, as philosophers & deuynes do teach. Furthermore those holy men, by the mini∣stery of whō these miracles are performed, were euer in most deadly hatred with de∣uils, and they were so far from vsing them as a meanes, as that they proclaimed open war against the Deuils; for they ordinarily dispossessed mens bodyes of them, ouer∣threw their worship, discouered their de∣ceites, confuted their doctrines, scorned & contemned all their prestigious artes, and fi∣nally destroyed their kingdome and gouer∣ment. Such were in the beginning all the Apostles, and their successours, and infinit others. For against these and such others no power of Deuils, no Arts magicke, no ma∣chinations, and endeauours of wicked spi∣rits, Page 173 nor any prestigyes, or sleights could preuayle. Besides how can we with any probability thinke, that so many learned Doctours, so many Prelates, so many Prin∣ces, finally so many wise and prudent men were become so stupid and blockish, as not to be able to discerne true miracles from a∣dulterate and forged wonders, and the illu∣sions of the deuill from the hand and worke of God? Belyke only the Pharisyes, the heathen persecutours, & prophane Atheists haue this guift of distinguishing miracles from the prestigyes and deceites of the de∣uill; and all other men are blynd, foolish, and in this poynt depryued of all sound and perfect iudgment.
This indeed was long since the calumny of the Pharisies against our Lord, & of the Heathens against Martyrs; who when they were clearely conuinced with supernatural signes and miracles (as plainly seeing them daily wrought) and being then conscious of their owne inward wickednes, did burst forth into horrible blasphemyes; attributing those things to the deuill and art magick, which were effected only by the mighty* hand of God. Now the Reason, why God vouchsafeth to worke miracles in diuers places is manifold. First, he doth this, that hereby he may manifest his presence & pro∣uidence Page 174 to al men. For if during the space of many ages whatsoeuer was wrought, was encompassed within the limits of Nature, then might men (perhaps) be induced to thinke, that there were no diuine Power, who had a care of humane affaires, & vpon whome the charge of them were property incumbent; but that all things had their e∣uent by a secret impulse and force of nature. For although this is euidently disproued by many reasons, as from the motion of the starres, from the fabricke and making of bodyes, from the innate direction of euery particuler thing to its certain end (as is she∣wed aboue) yet many do not sufficiently & seriously penetrate these matters, but are (as it were) blynded here in through the daily and continuall seeing of them; for how ad∣mirable a thing is it, that from some few graines of corne so great an increase should rise? From a formeles seed, so fayre and so seuerall kynds of bodyes both of liuing Cre∣atures and of Plants should be framed? From a small roote so huge trees should grow? And yet few there are, who do admyre these things; and few who do acknowledge Gods wonderfull power and prouidence in them. Therefore it was necessary, that some workes might be effected, which should transgresse the bounds of nature, least other∣wise Page 175 men might thinke, that there were no power aboue the nature and condition of corporall things: for by reason of the ex∣orbitancy and the vnaccustomednes of such stupendious euents, men are often stirred vp to thinke of the Authour of them, and to prosecute him with true religion, reuerēce, and honour. Secondly, Miracles are effected to the end, that men may be confirmed in other poynts of religion, giuing a full assent therto without any hesitation or doubtful∣nes, and making vse of them with all due reuerence. Thirdly, that the doctrine and ly∣ues of those who worke miracles, may he∣reby be fully warranted, and so with grea∣ter certainty of truth may be commended to vs. For miracles are certaine diuyne testi∣monyes both of the infallibility of doctryne, and of sanctity of life; especially where the life is conformable to the doctrine. Fourthly, that by this meanes the seruants of God may be honoured: for there is nothing, which maketh holy men more celebrious and fa∣mous throughout the whole world, and which more incyteth the mynds of others to loue, worship, and imitate thē then the exhibiting of miracles. For as God wil haue himselfe belieued of Men aboue all things, and our neighbours not aboue al things, but euery one in his degree: so doth he expect Page 176 himselfe to be worshiped aboue all things; to wit as the first efficient, & last final cause of all things; and his seruants not to be ho∣noured after this supreme manner, but in their peculiar degree, and in that respect, which they beare towards God; that is, as they are his adoptiue sonnes, partakers of his kingdome, and his most deare friends. Thus from hence it appeareth, that there is no feare of Idolatry in honouring here Gods Saints; for where there is Idolatry commit∣ted, there is supreme honour giuen, by the which a Creature is worshipped, as the Creatour and first beginning, but no wor∣ship is ascribed to the Saints in this sort.
Fiftly, Miracles are wrought, that men through occasion of corporall benefits obtai∣ned therby, may the sooner be stirred vp to repentance & amendment of life: for where miracles are wrought, there is to that place (for the most part) a great confluence and concourse of many thousāds of grieuous sin∣ners, who being afore contaminated with al¦kynds of vices, and hauing conceaued a re∣morse of their former licentious lyues, do vndertake an amendment & change of their former courses; and thus by this meanes it hapneth, that the soules of many thousands are saued, which otherwise had perished e∣uerlastingly. To conclude this poynt, by mi∣racles Page 177 all men are stirred vp to reuerence & praise of God to the giuing of thankes, & spirituall ioy and exultation, and the minds of all are raised vp to a confident & erected hope, as conceauing the expectation of the like help in their future calamityes and af∣flictions.
THE TENTH REASON TAKEN FROM Prophesyes. CHAP. XII.
I Heere call prophesying, a prediction of things to come, which do depend of the liberty of mans free will. This predi∣ctiō is a manifest signe of a Deity or Diuinity; for that Mynd, which through its owne strength & power knoweth things future, must also (a •ortio••) know all things present and past; and consequently must k••w all things absolutly; I meane all those things, which are intelligible and may be vnder∣stood. Now that Mynd, which knoweth omnia intelligibilia, knoweth also omnia po•••∣••lia, all things which are poshb•e; & theru∣pon must be omniscient (o• know al things) and omnipotent▪ 〈…〉 knowledge, Idea, or Notion of things is the cause of things, therfore what of it •e•• hath al know∣ledge, Page 178 must •e •as be omnipotent. For who is prescient and knoweth thinges to come, doth herein far exceed the faculty of al mor∣tall men according to that saying of Pindarus:〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that is, Humane mindes are blind in thinges to come. Therfore there is an inuisible intelligence far more noble and worthy, then mans mynd, to which euer through its owne proper force this prenotion and fore knowledge agreeth; and this is God. Which poynt is the more true, seeing this prenotion is so sublime, high, and difficult, as that it seemeth to exact an infinite power of vnderstanding: for things future do neither exist, or terminate in thē∣selues, nor in their causes, neither is there any reason, from whence it may be certain∣ly gathered, that they rather are to be, then that they are not to be. How then is that Intelligence of Mind able determinatly and certainly to foresee what is to come, and what is not; but that its ••tuitiue power & •ight is so perfect, & the efficacy of its light so great, as that it is able to extend it selfe to all things future, as they shalbe in them∣selues in their due tyme; & this as certainly as if they did now really exist, or had exi∣sted from all eternity?
Now it is r•o•isite, that this power be infinite, both because there cannot be ima∣gined Page 179 a gre•• & worthy•• manner of see∣ing; as alsoin that it stretcheth itselfe •orth to all future things (seing there is the same reason, manner, and height of knowing all things. From which it followeth, that euen in this respect, that if an Intelligence by its owne peculiar force knoweth one thing to come•• kn•weth all things. Ther∣fore this prenotion and fortelling of •uture things is an euident signe of a Diuinity, and for that cause this kynd of prediction is cal∣led Diuination; as if to tell what euents are to happen, were a proper signe of a Diuinity or deity: and therefore vpon this ground the Gods of the Gentils are refuted by Isay, in that they had not the ability to fore tell fu∣ture euēts; for thus he saith. Annunciate quae vētura sunt &c. Shew the things, that are •come hereafter, that we may know that you are Gods.
That there is a prenotion of future things is clearly proued from innumerable predi∣ctions, which from their euents are found to be most true, for prediction or foretel∣ling euer presupposeth prenotion and fore∣knowledge. This prenotion the Prophets had not from themselues, and from their owne industry or perspicacity and clearnes of iudgment (since prenotion far transcen∣deth mans capacity) but they receaued it from some superiour power, which hath it Page 180 by its owne vertue, from it selfe, and not from another. Now many of these predicti∣ons are 〈◊〉 in the holy Scripture; out of the which I will alledge some, which to haue bene accomplished, is most euident.
First the•Genesis 3. it is foretold, that the seed▪ mea•ing the of springe of the woman, should c•ush the head of the Ser∣pent that is shall ouerthrow the power domination, and rule of the Diuell; which 〈◊〉 is accomplished partly already by Christ, abolishing in most places the wor∣ship of Diuels, wherin the world afore did lye plunged; and partly •esteth to be further 〈◊〉 by Christ at the day of iudgment; w••• the power and sway of the Diuell & the 〈◊〉 vtterly extinguished. In Genes〈…〉. 18. and 22 it is prophesyed, that a •hold shalbe borne to •bra••m by the benifit of whom all nations shall obtaine benedictiō and solicity, which is euidently performed in Christ, throgn whom the world is with∣drawne from idolatry and pernicious er∣rours, to the worship & knowledge of the true God, and shall by him obtayne the hope of eternall saluation. Againe in the 40 chapter of the said booke, there is a wō∣d〈…〉 prediction of Ioseph, which was to be 〈◊〉 within three dayes; as also in interpretation of certaine most obscure dre∣ames Page 181 touching three stocks of a vyne, and three baskets; and c. 41. an exposition of Pharoes dreame, touching the twyce seauen beasts, & twice seauen ears of corne. Where we are to consider how expedite•y, and with what cōfidence are expounded all the particulers of the according to their euents. Now those d••ame• being pre•ages and •ig∣nes of things to co•ne, cannot proceed, but only from a diuine Power, from whose pro∣uidence all 〈◊〉 matters 〈…〉 disposall▪ neither can the 〈◊〉 & construction of them 〈…〉, but only by reuela•ion of 〈◊〉diuyne Power A∣gaine c. 49. Iacob the Patriarch 〈…〉 before his death, did prophesy to euery 〈…〉 of his sonnes, what should happen to them posterity; especially so far forth, as con•er∣ned their ofspring, their riches, and the di¦uision of the land of Promise; which all par∣ticulers were after a long deuolutiō of Yea∣res fulfilled as appeareth out of the sacred Scripture. But among other things, that is very memorable and notorious which is there said. Non au•e•e•ur sceptrum de •uda &c. The scepter shall not depart from Iuda, nor a Lawgiuer from betweene his seete, till he come who is to be sent, and he shalbe the expectation of the Gentils. In which words three things are fore•ould. First that regall principality Page 182 shalbe in the tribe of Iuda; which was accō∣plished when it was translated vpon Dauid, in whose family and race it continued 520. yeares. Secondly that this Soueraingty should continue in the 〈…〉 till the 〈◊〉 of Christ,〈…〉 was also accomplished, 〈…〉 that tribe 〈…〉 vpon Herod Ascalonites (who was •o ••w) in the tyme of whose Reigne Christ was borne. Thirdly, that Christ was to be reiected by the Iewes, & receaued by the Gentils; who for that res∣pect is there called Expectatio gentium, the expectation of the Gentils. In the 24. of the booke of Numbers, Balaam being possessed with a diuyne fury, foretelleth many things and among the rest, these three. First, that the King at Israel was to be taken away by reason of agag King of Amalec; where we s•e, that the name of that King is expressed, who was to be borne some fo•re ages after, and for whose cause Saul was to be depri∣ued of his kingdome, which is fulfilled in the first booke of the Kings c. 15. Secondly that a King should rise out of Israel who (like a glorious star) was to enlighten the 〈◊〉 world, and to haue dominion ouer all men, which was performed in Christ. Thirdly, that the Romanes were to come 〈◊〉 their gallies, and should ouercome the Page 183 Iewes: ••d t•is was effected vnder Titus & Vespasian, more then a thousand, eares after the 〈◊〉 prediction.
In the 18. of Deuteronomy, Moyses prophe∣syeth, that ••od would •aise out of the Ie∣wes, a Prophet l••• to himselfe; whom all ought to heare, & such •s would not, were to be seuerely punished by God, where in expresse words he prophesyet• of the com∣ming of Christ, and doth intimate his fun∣ction, the incredulity of the Iewes, & their ouerthrow. Now Christ was like to Moyses, as the body is to the shadow, the 〈…〉 to the figure, and the Exemplar, of Samp•e to the image, in that Morses was a typ• and fi∣gure of Christ,•••Moyses〈…〉 pe∣ople from the seruitude of 〈◊〉 Christ the world from the 〈…〉Moyses brought 〈…〉, the Egiptians being the•e drowned; Christ saued his Belieuers through 〈◊〉 (which deriueth al its vertue frō the 〈◊〉 of Christ) with the submersion and drow∣ning of all their sinnes Moyses gaue to them the old law, Christ giueth to the world the new and Euangelicall law. Moyses•ed the people in the desert with Manna from hea∣uen and gaue them to drinke of the rock. Christ feedeth his seruants in the Church with his owne celestiall body and bloud; Page 184 for he is the bread, that descended from hea∣uen, and the hidden Manna; he is the Rock of eternall saluation, which giueth drinke. The people by the endeauour of Moyses ouer∣came their enemyes, comming at the length to the 〈◊〉 of Promise▪•ee by the mediatiō of Christ vanquish our soules aduersaries, & are brought to heauen. Thus by reason of these and other such comparisons, Christ is called a Prophet like vnto Moyses.
In the 28. 29. 30. 31. and 32. of Deute∣ronomy the Idolatry of the Iewes, their sins and diuers calamityes, which were to fall vpon them for the same cause, are prophe∣•••d: and in the 33. of Deuteronomy Moyses••••telleth the particuler lot to euery try be, and diuers euents, which Iacob had not ex∣pressed in his benediction.
In like •ort, that Prediction which is related in the th••• booke of the Kings •. ••. is most wonderfull, where when Iero∣boam incensed frankinsence to the Idols, a certaine Prophet thus exclaymed forth, Altare, Altare, &c. O Altar, Altar, thus •••th the lord, behold a child shalbe borne vnto the house of Dauid▪ Iosias by name, & vpon thee shal •e sacrifice the Priests of the high places, that burnt ••••nse vpon thee, and they shall burne bones vpon thee. All which things were accomplished ••ter, as appeareth out of the fourth of the Page 185 Kings c. 23. 〈◊〉•ome 3••. yeares af∣ter; for as Iosephus wryteth in the tenth booke of his Antiquities c. •. so many yeares passed betwene that prediction, and the ac∣complishment of •.
In the 45. chapter of Isay, the kingdome of Cyrus (who was to be b••ne some two hundred yeares after) is prophesyed, his name being expresly set downe, as also his power, warres, victories, spoyles, riches, and his beneficence towards the Iewes are in sinuated; which very place of Scripture, when the Iewes had shewed to Cyrus, he wonderfully admyred the diuination of the Prophet; and being incensed with the de∣sire of performing such things, as he had there read, conferred great benefits vpon the Iewes, as Iosephus recordeth in his ele∣uenth booke of Antiquities c. 1. I omit innu∣merable other prophesyes, which are to be found of Isay.
In Daniel we fynd, many stupendious predictions, and interpretations of most dif∣ficult things. In the second chapter, wheras a certaine strange dreame was shewed to the King of the Chaldeans; and the King for∣getting the same, Daniel distinctly opened the vision to him; to wit, that there appea∣red to the King in his sleepe a great & ter∣rible statua or Image, whose head was Page 186 made of gold, his breast and armes of sil∣uer, his belly and thighes of brasse, his legs of Iron, ending in •eet which were partly of clay, and partly of iron. Further∣more he told the King, that he saw a stone cut out of a mountaine without hands; and that it did strike the statua vpon the feete; which being broken and shiuered asunder, the statua fell downe, and was turned into dust: and that the sto•e ••d increase into a great mountaine, which filled the whole earth. This being thus expressed, Daniel further gau••he interpretation thereof; to wit, that by the statua were figured foure Monarchies, of the which the first was thē in being, the other three should succeed one after other in their due reuolution of tymes. For the head of gold did signify the Empyre of the Chaldeans, which thē was most ample opulent, and rich. The breast of siluer de∣signed the monarchy of the Persians and the Medes, which succeeded the former, consi∣sting of two kingdomes, as of two legs. The belly and thighes of brasse did specify the monarchy of the Grecians: the legs of I∣ron did prefigure the most powerfull mo∣narcy of the Romanes, diuided into the Em∣pire of the East and the west. The feete be∣ing made partly of clay, and partly of Iron, did signify the monarchy of the Romanes to Page 187 be partly strong, and partly weake. The stone cut out of the mountaine without the help of handes, did demonstrate Christ our Lord, who without any endeauour of man was borne of the most holy, pure, and im∣maculate Virgin, and proceeded from the prog•ny of Abraham; & who increased into a great mountaine; in that his kingdome was to replenish & possesse the whole earth & who in the end of the world was to de∣stroy all other kingdomes, himselfe only possessing an eternall kingdome. Now in shewing and interpreting of this dreame, the power, wisedome and prouidence of God so clearly shyned, that the proud King prostrated himselfe vpon his face before Daniel his seruant, and worshipped him, and openly confessed the maiesty & power of God.
The foresaid foure Monarchyes (which were to succeed in order) and the conditi∣ons, states, and proprieties of euery one of them were fore shewed to Daniel by another wonderful vision in the seauenth Chapter, vnder the forme and shew of foure beasts; & then after was signifyed to him the king∣dome of the Saints, which (after all the kingdomes of the world were extingui∣shed) should continue and florish eternally. For thus doth the Angell interprete this Page 188 vision vnto Daniel. He quatuor be••iae &c. These foure great beasts are foure Kingdomes, which shall arise ou of the earth, and they shall take the kingdom of the Saints of the most highest, and they shall possesse the kingdome for euer, euen for euer and euer, that is, for all eternity. And now seing we haue obserued by experience all those things to be accomplished concer∣ning the foure Monarchyes, which were shewed to Daniel in the former vision; we therefore ought to assure our selues, and not to fluctuate in any vncertainty of beliefe, but such things, as there were prophesyed to him of the kingdome, of the Saints, shal also be fulfilled in their due tyme.
Againe in the eight Chapter, as yet the monarchy of the Chaldeans florishing, that other monarchyes should succed to the for∣mer, was also foreshewed to the said Daniel: to wit the monarchy of the Medes and Persiās vnder the forme of a R•m with two hor∣nes; the monarchy of the Grecians also, of a g•a• with one horne; as also was foreshew∣ed the manner, how the first Monarch was to be destroyed by this other; and that this, after the first king thereof, should be deuided among foure kings; out of the po∣sterity of which kings one shall come (to wit Antiochus Epiphanes) who (from a small state becoming great) shall after persecute Page 189 and afflict the Iewes, shall profane the sanctuary, shal take away the daily sacrifice, and shall force al vnto Idolatry for the space of 23000. dayes, which is for six yeares, three moneths, and twenty dayes; & who in the end (without any machination or endeauour of Man) shall, euen by Gods re∣uenge only, be extinguished. All which particulers to be fulfilled in the persecutiō of Antiochus is euidēt euen out of the bookes of the Machabees, at least 400 and eight yea∣res after this prediction of Daniel, as Iosephus Antiquit. c. 11. relateth, who in his ••. booke c. 8. further sheweth, that this prophecy of Daniel (touching the King of the Grecians, ouerthrowing the Empire of the Persians) was related by the Prophets to Alexander then be••g in Ierusalem; and that Alexander reioyced much therat, as interpreting this was to be performed by himselfe; to wit, that he was that Grecian King (as indeed he was) who should arryue to the Empyre of the Persians.
In the eleuenth chapter of Daniel many things are in like sort prophesyed, first the progresse and good successe of the Persian Empire. Secondly the expedition of Xe•xe• against the Grecians. Thirdly, that the em∣pyre of Alexander the great should succed the Persian empyre: fourthly the diuision of the Page 190 Grecian Empyre into foure kingdomes. Fiftly, that most bloudly warres should fal out betwene two successours of Alexander; to wit betwene the kings of Syria and Egipt, during which violent conflict, I•••a (as being seated betwene them both) should be most miserably afflicted. Moreouer in the foresaid chapter are foreshewed the a∣mityes, mariages, deceites, proditions, and diuers other euents, which were to happē betwene the said kings; in so much that it seemeth to the reader rather a history then a prop•••y. Sixtly, the persecution of Antio∣chus Epiphanes against the Iewes. Seuently, through occasion of this persecution, he pas∣seth ouer to the persecutiō of Antichrist pre∣figured by that of Antiochus. Now that all these (the last only excepted, which is to receaue its performance in the end of the world) are already accomplished, appeareth out of the wrytinges of the Heathens, out of Iosephus, & out of the Machabees. Doubt∣lesly so exact, particular, and various a prophe•y of things to come was most admi∣rable and stupendious. But it were an infi∣nite labour to prosecute all things of this nature; seing all the bookes of the Prophets are euen fraughted and stored with such predictions▪ only now I will touch such, as concerne Christ our Lord and are rehearsed Page 191 & acknowledged by the Euāgelists, which very particulerly many ages before, were foreseene and prophesyed.
And first, it is ••••nuated in diuers places of Scripture, but especially in the 3. of Ba∣ruch that God was to conuerse with men in an humane shape; Hic est Deus noster &c. This is our Lord, and there shal none other be compared vnto him▪ he hath found out the way of knowledge, & hath giuen it vnto Iacob his seruant & to Israel his beloued, afterwards he was seene vpō the earth and dwelt among men; as also in the thirty fiue of Isay, of which place see heereafter.
2. That he was to be borne of a virgin, appeareth in Isay c. 7. Ecce virgo concipiet &c. Behold▪ a Virgin shal beare a sonne, and she shal cal his▪ name Emanuel. By which name it is in∣sinuated, that he shalbe both God and man; for the word Emanuel signifyeth as much, as nobiscum Deus, or, God with vs.
3. That he was to be borne in Bethleē, Micheas c. 7. sayth: Et tu Bethleem &c. And thou Bethleem Ephrathah art litle to be among the thousands of Iuda; yet out of thee shal come forth a Captaine that shalbe the ruler in Israel, whose goings forth haue been from the beginning and from euerlasting. In which wordes his diuinity is also implyed.
4 The time wherin he was to come▪ was foretold by Iacob in the 49. of Genesis: NonPage 192auferetur sceptrum &c. The scepter shal not be taken from Iuda &c til he come who is to he sēt, and he shal be the expectation of the Gentils. And more distinctly in Daniel c. 9. of which place we shal hereafter speake.
5. That he should haue a precursour, who should prepare the mynds of the peo∣ple to receaue him, was prophesyed in the third of Malachy: Ecce ego m••to Angelum &c. Behold I wil send my messenger, & he shal prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seeke shal speedily come to his temple, the euen messēger of the Couenant, whom you desire: which very text our Lord him selfe in Matth. 11. and Luke 7 did teach to be vnderstood of S. Iohn Baptist the precursour. Againe his precursour is also foretold in the 40▪ of Isay; Vox cla∣mantis &c a voyce cryeth in the wildernes, pre∣pare ye the way of our Lord, make straight in the desert a path for our Lord Of which place see the third of Matthew, as also the 4. of Luke.
6. The preaching of our Lord in Isay 61. Spirit us Domini. &c The spirit of the Lord is vpon me, therfore the Lord hath annointed me, he hath sent me to preach good tydings to the poore, to bynd vp the broken harted to preach liberty to the captiues, and to them that are bound the opening of the prisō, to preach the acceptable yeare of our Lord and the day of vengance of our God, to comfort al that mourne. Which prophesy our Lord tea∣cheth Page 193 to be accōplished in himselfe, in Luke c. 4.
7. Of the miracles of Christ in Isay 35. Dicite pusillammes &c. Say vnto them that are fearfull bee you strong, feare not behold our God cōmeth with vengeāce, euen God wil come & saue you: then shal the eyes of the blynd be lightned, and the •ares of the deafe be opened; then shal the lame man leape, as a Hart, and the •u••• mans tongue shal sing &c. Which wordes our Lord she weth also to be vnderstood of himself, in Mathew c. 11. Where he saith: Ite & renun∣ciate &c. Goe & shew Iohn what thing•••• haue heard and scene, the blind receaue sigh• and he halt goe: the leapers are cleansed, and the deafe heare, the dead are raised vp, and the poore receaue the Ghospell.
8. The entrance of Christ in Ierusalem in Zachary c. 9. Exulta satis fil•a Sion &c Re∣ioyce greatly O daughter Sion shout for •oy, O daughter Ierusalem; behold thy king cōmeth vnto thee he is iust poore and ryding vpon an Asse, and vpon a colt the fol• of an asse▪ That this was ful∣filled is euident ou• of Mathew c. 21.
9. The prodition & betraying by his own disciple, in Psal. 41. Etenim homo pacis &c. For the familiar friend whō I trusted which did ear of my bread, hath lifted vp the heel against me. Which very place Christ himself did interprere in the 23. of Iohn, of Iudas who betrayed him.
Page 19410. That he was to be sold for thirty pieces of siluer, is in Zachary. 11. Appēderunt mercedem &c. They weighed for my wages thirty pieces of siluer, and the Lord said vnto me, cast it vnto the potter; a goodly price, that I was valued at of them And I tooke the thirty pence of siluer, & cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord. Heere it is clearly prophecyed, that Christ should be valued at thirty pieces of siluer; and that those thirty pieces were to be cast into the Tēple, & that a field of an image∣maker of earth, or Potter was to be bought therwith. All which things we fynd to be fulfilled in Mathew 27.
11. The flight of his Disciples, in Zachary, 13. Percutiam pastorem &c. I will smite the shee pheard, & the sheep shal be scattered. Which place our Sauiour interpreted in the ap∣proach of his Passion. Mathew 26.
12. That he should suffer diuers kinds of paines and dolours by reasō of his stripes, his Coronation, and Crosse, is in like maner foretold in Isay 53. Non est species ei &c. He hath neither forme, nor beauty; and we saw him despised and reiected of men▪ he is a man ful of sor∣rowes, & hath experience of infirmities &c.
13. That he was to suffer for our sakes al these pressures and afflictions with won∣derful modesty, gentlenes and patience, in Isay 53. Vere lāguores nostros &c. Surely he hathPage 195borne our •••ies, & hath caryed our sorrowes, yet ••• did iu•• him as plagued & smitten of God and humbled ••• he was wounded for our trans∣gressions he was broken for our iniquities▪ the cha∣stisement of our peace was vpon him and with his stripes we are healed. Al we like sheepe haue gone astray, we haue turned euery one to his owne way and the Lord hath laid vpon him the iniquity of vs al. He was oppressed, he was afflicted yet▪ did he not opē his mouth •• is brought as a sheep to the slaugh¦ter, and as a sheepe before the shearer is dumbe, so he opeeed not his mouth &c. Al which particu∣lers, that they were most euidently fulfilled in Christ, appeareth out of the Euangelists.
14. His Crucifixiō is recorded in Psalm 22. Foderun manus &c They pierced my hands and my feet &c. The same was prefigured in the b•asen serpent being hanged a height at the beholding wherof al such as were bittē by serpents were cured. Numer. 21. as our Lord himselfe declareth, Iohn. 3.
15. That the was crucifyed betweene two theeues, and that he was to pray to his Father for his persecutours, is foretold in Isay. 53. Ideo dispertiam &c. Therfore I wil giue him a portion with the great, and he shall deuide the spoile with the strong, because he hath powred out his soule vnto death; and he was coūted with the transgressours, and he bare the sinnes of many, and prayed for his trespassers.
Page 19616. The irisions & blasphemyes of the Iewes against Christ hanging vpon the Crosse, in Psalm. 21. Ego sum vermis &c. I am a worme, and not a man, a shame of men, & contempt of the people. All they that see me, haue me in d•rision, & make a mowe, and nod the head saying he trusted in the Lord, let him deliuer him, let him saue him, seeing he loued him. Where we find almost the same words in part, in Mathew 27.
17. The diuision of his garments and casting lots for the same. in psalm. 21. Diui∣serunt &c. They parted my garments amōg them, & did cast lots vpon my vesture. For, one vest∣mēt they diuided into foure parts; & for the other (because it was not to be deuided) they did cast lots. Iohn. 19.
18. That being vpō the Crosse, he drūke gall and vinegar, psalm. 68. Dederūt in escam &c. They gaue me gall in my meat, & in my thirst they gaue me vinegar to drinke.
19. That his bones were not to be bro∣ken. Exod. 12. and Num. 9. Os illius &c. You shal not breake a bone thereof. That his syde was to be thrust through with a speare appea∣reth in Zachary 12. Aspiciunt &c. They shal looke vpon me, whome they haue pierced, both which places are expounded of Christ by S. Iohn the Euangelist. c. 19.
20. His Resurrection is prophesyed in Page 197 Psal. 15. Non derelinques animā &c. Thou wilt not leaue my soule in hel, neither wilt thou suffer thine holy one to see corruption. &c. which pas∣sage of Scripture S. Peter (instantly after he had receaued the holy Ghost, and of a rude & ignorāt fisher, became a most wise Doctour of the whole world) interpreted of the Resurrection of our Lord. Act. 2.
21. That he was to rise from death the third day, Osee. c. 6 Viuificabis nos &c. After two daies will be reuiue vs, and the third day wil be raise vs vp, and we shall liue in his sight. Of which verity Ionas, who was three dayes in the whales belly, & the third day came out aliue, Ionas c. 2. was (according to our Sauiours explication) a type and figure.
22. His Ascension into heauen in Psal. 14. Aperite &c. Lift vp your heads you gates, and be you lifted vp you euerlasting doores, & the King of glory shall come in. And Psal. 67. Ascendisti &c. Thou art gone on high, thou hast led captiuity captiue, and receaued guifts for men. Which place in the fourth to the Ephesians, the A∣postle doth thus interprete.
23. The sending of the holy Ghost in Ioel. 2. Effundam Spirtum meum &c. I wil power out my spirit vpon al flesh, and your sonnes, & your daughters shal prophesy, your old men shal dreame dreames, and your young men shal see visions: Which prophesy was fulfilled in Page 198 the second of the Acts, eue according to the exposition of S. Peter.
24. The destruction of the Iewes for the death of Christ, was prophesyed in Psalm. 69. Fiat mensa &c. Let their table be a snare before thē & their prosperity their ruine, Let their eyes be blinded, that they see not. and make their loynes alwaies to tremble. powre out thine anger vpon them, and let thy wrathful dis∣pleasure take them •et their inhabitans be voyd, & let no•e dwel in their •ents; for they persecuted him whom thou hast smitten &c.
25. The tyme wherin al these things are to happen is exactly described by Daniel being taught herein by an Euāgelical reue∣lation, for thus the Angel speaketh c. 9. Tu animaduer•e sermonem &c. Vnaerstand the matter, and consider the vision: Seauenty weekes are determined vpon the people & vpon thine holy Citty, to finish the wickednes, and to seale vp the v•sion and prophesy, and to annoynt the most holy. The s••••e of which place is, that God ap∣pointed the space of 490. yeares (for so many yeares do seauenty Hebdomadaes, or weekes of yeares containe) within which compas•e of tyme (to wit towards the end therof) the Messias was to come, who being the authour of al holines, shal blot away the sinne of mankind; shal recōcile man to God; shal bring into the world eternal iustice; & Page 199 at whose comming the visions & predictios of the Prophets shal be fulfilled. And then he declareth, where these Hebdomadaes are to begin, and where to end. Scito ergo & ani∣maduerte ab exitu sermonis &c. Know therfore and vnderstand, that from the going forth of the commandement, and to build Ierusalem againe, vnto the Messias the prince, shalbe seauen weeks, and threescore, and two weekes, and that is 69. weekes, or 483. yeares.
Now this Exitus sermonis (that is the ful∣filling of the kings cōmandement touching the building of Ierusalem, to wit, when the Citty was finished & dedicated, as the lear∣ned do interprete and proue) is made in the 23. yeare of Artaxerxes, or as Iosephus wryteth in his 11. Booke of Antiquities c. 5. in the 28. yeare, reckoning frō the begin∣ning of the reigne of Xerxes; that is, in the third yeare of the 80. Olimpiade, which was the seauenth yeare of Artaxerxes then gouerning priuately. Furthermore from the third yeare of the 80. Olimpiade to the baptisme of Christ, when Christ was de∣clared by his Father to be Dux Populi, and that he begun so to shew himselfe in doc∣trine & miracles, are precisely 483. yeares.* And where in the same chapter it is said; 1And the street shall be built againe, and the wall in a troublesome tyme. This was often attemp∣ted, Page 200 but 〈◊〉〈◊〉, & at the last perfe∣cted; from the twentith yeare of Artaxer∣xes, til the 23. yeare▪ being in ••e 80. Olimpi∣ade: And (2) after threscore & two weeks (which sh•••odow after the seauen first weekes) the Mess••s shal be slaine; that is, after 483. yeares or ••••e 70. weeke: And it shal not be his people which shal deny him &c. that is, the people of the Iewes shal not be accoūted any longer as the people of God. (3) And the prince shal come, and shal destroy the •i•y and the sanctuary &c. that is, the Roman army with Titus and V•spasian. (4) And the end therof shal be with a •lo•d and vnto the end of the battel it shal be des∣trored by desolations &c. To wit, which God 〈◊〉 and foretold. (5) And he shal cōfirme the couenānt with many in one weeke; that is, Christ being the captaine shal confirme his Euangelical law by many miracles and many wayes in the last week (to wit the 70. Weeke) for Christ after his baptisme pre∣ched three yeares and some months. (6) And in the weeke, he shal cause the sacrifice & the obla∣tion to cease &c. For Christ suffering death in the m••dest of the last wèeke, the reason of al the old sacrifices shal cease, which were instituted to prefigure the sacrifice of the Cro••e. (7) And there shal be in the Temple the ab•ominatiō of desolation &c. In which wordes is m•nuated the detestable faction of the Page 201Zelotyts, which was the cause of the whole desolation & ouerthrow, as •os•phus she∣weth, Lib. 6. de bello •udaic▪ cap. 16. &c. 4. l 7. Or otherwise, it is signified hereby, that the army of the Gentils causing the desolation, & vastity, shal not only pos•es•e & destroy the citty, but also the T•ple. (8) And the deso∣tion shal continue vntil the consumation and end of the world &c. Al which things (the last only excepted) we see fulfilled; and therfore we are not to doubt, but this last also shal be performed▪ seeing that the desolation & dis∣persion of the fewes haue already cōtinued almost 16. ages.
26. The conuersion of the Gentils to the faith of Christ is prophesyed in Gen••. 18. In semine tuo &c. In thy seed all nations shall be blessed▪ And in Psal. 22. Reminiscetur &c. Al the ends of the world shal remember, and turne to the Lord, and al the kinreds of the nations shall worship before thee, for the kingdome is the Lords, and he ruleth ouer nations▪ &c. The same is pro∣phesyed also in Isay▪ 49. Parum est &c. It is a smal thing▪ that thou shouldest be my seruant to raise vp the tribes of Iacob, and to restore the desolatiōs of Israel, I wil giue thee for a light of the Gentils, that thou maist be my health vnto the end of the world. And in c. 66. I will send those, that haue escaped of them, vnto the nations of Af∣fricke, Lydia, Italy, and Greece, and vnto thePage 202Isles a far of, that haue not heard my fame, nor haue seene my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentils, and from all nations they shall bring an offering vnto God.
These and many other were foretold of our Lord by the Prophets many yeares be∣fore his incarnation, which we fynd to be already accomplished. But our Lord him∣selfe, as prescious, and foreknowing of all things, deliuered also wonderfull predicti∣ons, in which he manifested his diuinity, of which I will relate some. For he fore∣told most particularly, and in order all the seuerall passages of his Passion; as in Matth. 20. Ecce Ascendimus &c. Behold we goe vp to Ierusalem, and the sonne of man shalbe deliuered vnto the chiefe Priests, and vnto the Scribes; and they shall condemne him vnto death, and shall de∣liuer him vnto the Gentils to be mocked, and to be scourged, and the third day he shall rise againe. Which is oftē els where insinuated in Math. c. 16. 17. and 26. Marke. 9. Luke. 10. Iohn. 3.
2. The abnegation and denyall of Pe∣ter, in Marke 14. For thus saith our Lord to him. Amen dico ti•i &c. Amen I say vnto thee, this day, euen in this night, before the Cock crow twace, thou shalt deny me thrice. Doubtlesly this so particular and precise a prediction was most strange, especially seing that at Page 203 the speaking of these words Peter seemed most constant and firme, and that the tyme of this euen was so short, and that his pre∣monition might haue bene a sufficient fore∣warning vnto Peter. From which former words of Christ, we may not only gather, that he knew this thing so to come to passe, but also knew, that telling Peter afore hand of it, should not in any sort hinder & pre∣uent the euent.
3. His prodition or betraying of Iudas, and the flight of his disciples in Math. 26. Marke 14. Luke 22. Iohn. 13.
4. The meeting of the man carrying a vessell of water was prophecyed, in Marke 14. and Luke 22. Mittit duos &c. He sent two of his d•s••ples and sa•d vnto them. Goe into the 〈◊〉, and ibere shall a man mee •e you bearing a pitcher of water▪ Follow him, and whither soeuer he goeth•m say to the Maister of the house: Our maister saith: where is the resectory, where I shal eate the Pasche with my disciples? And he shal shew you a great chamber adorned, there prepare for vs. So his disciples went forth, and came to the citty, and found as he had said vnto them.
5. The like prediction of the •oale of the Asse is in Luke 19. and Math. 12. tou∣ching the coyne of siluer in the mouth of the fish▪ which was first to be taken, we haue it foretold in Math. 17. Vt autem non scanda∣lizemusPage 204eos &c. And that we may not scandalize them, goe to the sea, and cast in a hooke, and take the first fish that commeth vp; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt fynd a peece of twenty pence; that take, and giue it to them for me, and thee. In which words he sheweth himselfe not only to foreknow things to come, but also to be the Lord both of the sea and fishes, as hauing in his power all things, though they be absent & far distant from him.
6. Lastly, touching the euersion and finall destruction of the Iewes, we read it foreshewed in Math. c. 24. Videtis haec omnia? Do you see all these things? Amen I say vnto you; there shall not be •eere left a stone vpon a stone, which shall not be destroyed. As also in Luke c. 19. Videns ciuit at•m fleuit &c. He beheld the Citty, and wept vpon it, saying: Because if thou hadst knowne, and that in this thy day, the things which appertaine to thy peace; but now are they hid from thine eyes; for the daies shall come vpon thee, that thine enemies shall compasse thee with a tr•••h, and enclose thee about, and straiten thee on euery side, and •all beat thee flat to the groūd, and thy children which are in thee; and they shall not leaue in thee a stone vpon a stone, because thou hast not knowne the tyme of thy visitation. The same matter is also related, as prophecyed by Christ in 21. of Luke. Cùm videritis cir∣cumdariPage 205&c. When you shall see Ierusalem com∣passed about with an army, then know that the desolation thereof is at hand. Then let them which are in Iudaea, flie to the mountaines; and let them which are in the middest thereof, depart out, and let not them, which are in the Country enter into it▪ for these are the daies of vengeance, that all things may be fulfilled, that are written &c. they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shalbe led captiue into all nations &c. All which, that it is already accomplished, is euidēt out of the history of Iosephus the Iew. I omit many o∣ther predictious of our Lord, as of the prea∣ching and miracles of the Apostles, of their persecution, of the crucifixion of Peter, of the stay of Iohn, of the conuersions of the Gentils, of the preaching of the Gospell throughout the whole earth, of the conti∣nuance of the Church till the end of the world, and the like. I omit in like sort the innumerable predictiōs of al the holy men, which haue liued in the ages since Christ, & being assisted with the holy Ghost, haue foretold future euents, and haue reuealed many matters kept afore in great secret.
Now out of all these things, which are here said, we may gather three poynts, as most true and infallible. First, that there is a diuyne Power, who is priuy to all future euents, and to the secretest things that are, Page 206 and by whome all humane matters are go∣uerned; and that he reuealeth to diuers of such, which truly serue and worship him, those future euents, whereof there are no determinate causes. Secondly, that Christ is the true and only Sauiour of the world; since all his actions and doings were foretold by his Prophets so many ages before, and since himselfe was so eminent and admirable for his birth, works, predictions, doctrine, life, end, and resurrection Thirdly, that the faith of Christ is necessary to saluation; for no man can with any shew of reason call these three poynts into question, who hath with iudgment and maturity of discourse expended and waighed the forerehearsed predictions, and Prophesyes.
THE ELEAVENTH REASON, TAKEN from the being of Spirits. CHAP. XIII.
IT is euident euen by infinite example and long experience, that there are Spi∣rits▪ that is, certaine inuisible substances indued with an vnderstanding, and pene∣trating all things through their subtility of nature, and which do far transcend, and exceed all humane power, wisedome, and industry.
Page 207This is manifest, first from Oracles and answeres, which were accustomed to be giuen by Idols in all countryes, to such as came to take counsell from them. For those statuaes or images (wanting altogether life and sense) could not returne any answere, but it was spirits or deuils entring into the said statuaes, which so answered. In some places these answeres were giuē by Idola∣trous Pri•st•; who with certaine Ceremo∣nies ••alling vpō the Diuel, were so posses∣sed by them, as if they had been stirred vp by some diuine power; these powred out Oracles and answeres, the Diuel speaking through their mouths, or belly, or Nauill, or some other part of their body. Herupon some were called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, or ventriloqui; to wit, speaking through their belly. These things may not only be proued from the sa∣cred Scripture, but also from prophane hi∣story: for the Oracle of Apollo at Delphos, and of Iupiter of Ammon, and diuers others were most famous for many ages. The Diuels (se∣conded by this imposture and deceit) did propagate and spread Idolatry, procuring themselues by this meanes to be worshiped as Gods, or diuyne powers in their images throughout the whole world, for diuers ages together. And euen at this day they are so honoured in India, China, Iapon, Ta•∣tarr,Page 208Brasil, Perù, & seuerall other countries. So as we see, it was truly said of the Pro∣phet Psalm. 95 Quoniam omnes dij &c. For al the Gods of the Gentils are Idols, but the Lord made the heauens. Secondly, the same is made demonstrable from the doctrine and prac∣tise of Nigromanticks, and Magi, or Wisards, which are found in all places For these through certaine ceremonies and verses are able to call vp the Diuels, & do cause, that they not only shew strange effects (which necessarily imply their presence) but also make them to appeare in a visible forme, and to conuerse familiarly and talke with men. The forme of this raising vp of spirits is described by (1) Homer, where Vlisses cal∣leth vp Tiresias, and the spirits of Orcus, que∣stioning of them touching his returne. The like Negromantical euocatiō to be made by Scipio, is read in Siluius, by Tiresias in Statius, by Oeson in Flaccus, by Canidia in Horace, & by Ericthon in Lucane: from all which it is most cleare, that this thing was much vsed in those former times; yea that it is most ancyent, appeareth from Gods sacred writ, which speaketh of the Wisemē (2) of Pharao. and of the Pythonissa; and the same is made most plaine euen in this our age (I meane touching the commerse, association, and confederacy of sorcerers and witches with Page 209 the Diue•l) 〈◊〉 the iudiciall censures a∣gainst such persons, and the great and daily experience had herein. Thirdly this verity is further confirmed by those, which are ob∣sessed, which are called Energument: for two things appeareth in them, which are aboue humane power. One, that such as are pos∣sessed, do speake strange tongs, which thē∣selues neither vnderstand, nor euer did le∣arne. The other, that they discouer things secret, or do relate things done in great di∣stance of place, as if they saw them openly. Both these two things afford an euident de∣monstration of a certaine superiour inuisible nature, by the power wherof they are per∣formed. To conclude this point of the bee∣ing of spirits, is euicted from the many ap∣paritions of spirits, which are affirmed to haue beene from the testimony of diuers most probable histories.
From all these proofs then it may be con∣cluded, that there are in the world spirits, and that in a wonderfull great number. Since in all places, and from all antiquīty they haue most oftē manifested themselues. In so much as there is no kingdome, no pro∣uince, no citty, no village, but there re∣maineth some memory of their apparitions. Pythagoras was of opinion (as Laertius wry∣teth) that all the ayre was full of spirits or Page 210 soules; And this also was the iudgement of many of other ancients, who taught, that euery one had his genius, or spirit assigned by God. Thus did Hesiode, Homer, Menander, Trismegistus, Plato, and the Stoickes affirme. Now i• there be many spirits, then it ine∣uitably may be concluded, that there is one supreme spirit, to the which all the rest are subiect, and at whose command they are gouerned: for euery multitude of things (except there be a dependency and subor∣dination to one most high) begetteth disor∣der and confusion. And hence it is, that euen among bodies, there is a superiority and predominācy of one aboue all the rest, at whose command all the others do moue or rest quyet. Now then by force of this reasō, there ought much more to be the like order among spirits, so as all are (in regard of so∣ueraignty ouer them) to be reduced to one supreme spirit: for by how much any thing is more excellent, by so much it ought to enioy a more perfect order in the world: but spirits are far more worthy in nature, then corporall things; therefore among thē there ought to be the perfectest order, to wit, of subiection and domination. For it were most absurd to grant an 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and confusion in the noblest ranke of Creatures; seeing we fynd the lowest and most inferi∣our Page 211 degree of things, to be so orderly dispo∣sed and distributed.
This poynt is further confirmed from the most dangerous and imminent inconueni∣ences accompanying the contrary doctrine; for if among spirits there were no order, & that the rest should not be subiect vnto one, at the command wherof the power of them were to be restrained; then might euery one of them trouble and afflict the world at its owne pleasure, might take away mens goods, burne and destroy all things, might infest mens bodyes with griefes, diseases & death, to be briefe might destroy and ouer∣throw all mankynd; neither could any re∣dresse be found to the contrary, seing there were no supreme spirit, to the which this other did stand subiect, and so the world could not in any sort long consist. For how prone wicked spirits are to hurt and afflict men, appeareth both frō the history of Iob, (all whose substance the Diuell destroyed, killed his sonnes and daughters, infected his body with most grieuous vlcers) as also frō the innumerable sacrifices of the heathens, in the which the malignant spirits commā∣ded that mens bodyes should be sacrificed vnto thē; still making choyce of that, which was most deare to the sacrificer, as his sonne, his daughter, or one who was in great esti∣mation Page 212 in the Common wealth; finally frō the warres and tumults, to the which the Diuels vnder the shew of diuyne and ce∣lestiall powers, haue stirred men. Now if they are thus cruell and merciles towards men, God but giuing them in some sort the bridle for the offences of men, what would they not do, & with what calamities would they not afflict men, and what honours & worships would they not extort at our hands, if they were at their owne power and liberty, receauing from no superiour spirit any restraint or inhibition? Yea amōg themselues, warres, emulations & dissētiōs would grow, if there were not one, that could impose a command ouer them. For as among Princes, who acknowledge no su∣periour, oftētimes wars are stirred vp (with the which the world is miserably afflicted) because there is none, to whose souerainty they stand subiect, and who is of power to compose the rising controuersies among them; Euen so among spirits there would grow repinings, contentions & wars, (with the which the world would be vtterly ex∣tinguished) if they stood not in subiection to some one supreme power: for euery one of them would seeke to aduance himselfe, and labour to draw all things to his owne pleasure and desire: wherfore Homer most Page 213 truly did leaue it registred: 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉: that is, It is not good, that there be many Princes in one kingdome: let one Prince, one King be. And answerably hereto Aristotle (as borrowing it out of Ho∣mer) thus writeth in the twelth booke of his Metaphisickes c. vlt. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 that is, Things in nature do not couet to be gouerned in an euill sort and manner.
To conclude, seeing there are many spirits (as is shewed aboue) I would here demand, from whence this multitude had its begining? Or who brought thē into the world? They proceed not from bodies, in that they are of a more excellent and emi∣nent nature, then bodyes are; as also in that bodyes do bring forth only bodies. Neither is one of them ingendred of another (as we see liuing creatures are propagated) seeing this kind of generation is peculiar to things, which are subiect to corruptiō, to wit, that by this meanes, the species & kinds of things may be perpetuated, whiles the nature, being extinct in the parent, is conserued in the issue. Neither can it be said, that euery one of these spirits haue their being from themselues, so as they depend of no other cause, granting, that any thing receaueth its existence and being from it selfe, it is far more probable, that this so taking it existēce Page 214 should be but one, not many. For it is much more fitting, that there should be one certaine Nature independent of any, in the which the whole fulnes of beeing resteth eminenter, and vnitedly; & from which one nature, the beeing of all things is deriued, according to the degree of euery such thing thē to maintaine, that there are many Na∣tures, which depend not of one supreme na∣ture. For where there is a multitude of se∣uerall species, or Indiuidua, and particuler things, there is also a limitation and imper∣fection; seeing those many things are alto∣gither distinct and seuerall; neither do one comprehend the perfection and vertue of another. And hence it ryseth, that none of those is for it selfe, but for another, and all together conspyre and meet in one, and are (as it were) parts of one entyre whole, which riseth out of them. Thus do many bodies make the world, many men a Common wealth, many spirits one kingdome or cō∣mon wealth of spirits; but what is of it self, ought to be altogether perfect, and sufficiēt to it selfe, needing not the support & help of any other thing. And what may be the reason thereof? Euen this, that what is of it selfe, is also for it selfe, according to that: Quod caret principio effectiué, caret etiam fine. What wanteth an efficient cause, wanteth also aPage 215finall cause; and therefore it selfe becomes the end to it selfe, not seeking out of it selfe any ayde, light, truth, ioy or beatitude; but hauing all these things in it selfe, and from it selfe. Therefore that, which is of it selfe, and independent of another, must needes be but one, not many; to wit a primordiall or illimitable essence, sufficient by it selfe, being the fountaine of euery thing, and of each limitable nature. We may ad hereto, that to grant a being of many spirits inde∣pendent of any, is to introduce a 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or confused company of Gods, and many first beginnings, as blynd Gentility was accustomed to do, assigning proper and pe∣culiar Gods to euery particuler busines & affaires of man; who should be the authours directours, and vpon whome that kind of particuler negotiation should be peculiarly incumbēt. So they made Venus the goddesse of loue and lust, Diana of hunting, Ceres of fruyte, Mercury of negotiation, Esculapius of curing diseases, Mars of warre, Pallas of wi∣sedome, Apollo and the Muses of Poetry, Fortune, of casuall euents, and the like in di∣uers other things, but all this with a strāge blindnes of iudgment; as if one supreme & diuine power were not able to vndertake the charge of so great a multitude of affaires, or had not sufficient power and wisedome Page 216 to direct and moderate them all, without any tedious molestatiō, saying herein with Pliny: Fraile and laborious mortality hath diuided*all these thinges into parts, being conscious to it self of its owne weaknes▪ that euery one should attend to that, which chiefly is needfull.
Now from all this it is (I hope) suffi∣ciently demonstrated, that there is one su∣preme spirit, to the which all other spirits are sub•ect, and at whose command they rest obedyent, and of whome they are all pro∣created and made, and this supreme spirit we call God.
THE TVVELFTH REASON, TAKEN FROM the absurdities rising from the contrary doctrine. CHAP. XIIII.
IF there were no diuine Power, nor any Prouidence, by the which mens affaires and negotiations are to be gouerned, thē many absurdities and irremediable incon∣ueniences, and such as do mainly crosse all true iudgment and reason, would follow, which points do euidently conuince the fal∣sity of this supposed doctrine.
And first (supposing that there is no celestiall power or Prouidence) it would Page 217 from hence follow, that the first & supreme truth (to wit, that there is no such Proui∣dence) should open the sluce to men to all impurity of life, to all wickednes, iniustice, pryde, arrogancy, tyranny, and briefly to all perfidy, periury, sacriledge, and any other villany whatsoeuer. For nothing is so facinorous, hemous, or wicked, which (taking away all feare of diuine power) mā would not vndertake and do, according to that of the psalmist: fDixit insipiens &c. The foole said in his hart, there is no God: they are corrupted, and haue done abhominable wickednes &c.
See heere the fruite and successe of this doctrine and perswasion, to wit, all turpi∣tude & abhominable eno•mity of wicked∣nes. That this is true, is most euident: for, as granting that there is a diuine power, then the first and supreme truth is this, That there is a God, who gouerneth the world; so one the contrary part, supposing that there is no such power, the first & chiefest verity is, that there is not a God▪ which gouerneth the world. For that must be acknowledged for a truth, which is apprehended and taken by all mē for the first highest principle of all things. Now this truth (supposing it for such) would extinguish and cancel in mens minds all feare and reuerence. Which reuerence Page 218 and feare being lost, the way lyes open to all wickednes. But what can be said or cō∣ceaued, more absurd, then that the primi∣tiue and supreme Truth, and the chiefest se∣cret & mistery of all (being acknowledged and apprehended of all men) should giue* passage to all nefarious and wicked courses whatsoeuer, making men to exceed in all vice and impurity? Secondly, it followeth, that, that which is in it selfe false, impossible and a mere Chimera or imagination, should be the cause of all religion, p•ety, iustice, tem∣perance, modesty, benignity, patience, & briefly of all vertue and honesty, as also of all tranquillity in a Common wealth, & of all goodnes in mankynd.
For a perswasion, that there is a God, & a loue & feare of him produceth all these effects, and by how much this perswasion and feare is greater and more vehement, by so much it worketh more eminent and re∣markable effects of vertue and goodnes in the soules of men, and in a politicall state. And hence it riseth, that there was neuer common wealth well and peaceably go∣uerned, in the which Religion, and a per∣swasion of a diuine Prouidence was not well and soundly planted in the minds of men; and the more that any one was priuatly de∣noted to Religion, and to the reuerencing Page 219 of a diuine Spirit, the more illustrious and famous he became in all innocency & pro∣bity of life: as also on the contrary, how much the more any one became irreligious, by so much he also became more wicked & detestable in conuersation, as appeareth frō the testimonies of all sacred and prophane histories. Now what madnes were it to be∣lieue, that there should be in a false & im∣possible fiction or imagination, so great a power to the procuring of all vertue; and in a solid and vndoubted truth, so great an incytement and prouocation to the perpe∣trating and performing of al flagitious out∣rages, and wicked attempts?
Thirdly, it followeth, that the chiefest and most true Wisedome extinguisheth all* vertue, and maketh men most vicious: & that on the contrary part, the chiefest Er∣rour stirreth them to vertue, and causeth them to become holy men. For if there be no diuine power or deity, then the greatest er∣rour that can be, is to belieue, that there is a deity or Prouidence; and the greatest wise∣dome to thinke that there is no such celesti∣all power at all; but all what is deliuered thereof, is but the fictions and figments of men. In like sort it followeth from the said ground, that truth and wisedome are to be concealed, as being that, which impoyso∣neth Page 221 mens mynds, and euery common we∣alth; but Errour is to be aduanced by all meanes, as the fountaine of all vertue and goodnes; finally that the chiefest light of the vnderstanding, begetteth the greatest darknes in the mynd, and will, touching maners; & the chiefest darkenes of the vn∣derstanding ingendreth the greatest light, splendour, and beauty of vertue in the wil and mind; all which to affirme and main∣taine were no lesse, then incredible mad∣nes.
Fourthly it followeth, that all those, who haue bene eminent and remarkable* for wisedome, sanctity of life, prophetiall spirit, and working of miracles, haue bene deceaued in the chiefest matter of all, as not belieuing aright touching the being, or not being of a God; since they al acknowledged a deity & a prouidence, and honoured the same: but such as euer were most infamous for impiety & turpitude of life & all other wickednes, haue only apprehended truly this mystery & secret; for al such haue bene euer contemners of God, and his Proui∣dence, therefore from this principle it may be inferred, that the wisest men of all haue bene for manners the worst men of all; & the most simple, ignorant, and erroneous Page 121 haue bene the best, and the most vertu∣ous.
Fiftly it followeth, that to loue God, to feare reuenge, to honour the supreme* power with due praises & la•des, to keepe an oath, and the like, are not in themselues good, but vaine, foolish, wicked, and ad∣uerse to true reason; that to do these things are indeed but to loue, feare, worship and adore a mere Chimera, or a plaine fiction of mans braine; for if all Diuinity be but a fi∣ction (as a Chimera is) thē is it manifest, that we ought to beare no more reuerence and respect to it, then to a Chimera. Sixtly it followeth, that to be wicked, sacrilegious blasphemous, and a contemner of all di∣uine and supernaturall power, is not euil in it selfe, nor repugnant to the true vse of rea∣son; but that these things are good & praise worthy, as being agreable to the ••ue doctrine of the being, and not being of a Deity. For if there be no supreme o• celesti∣all power, then all these acts, by the which he is contemned and ignominiously trea∣ted, are good; both because they are cer∣taine protestations of an infallible and se∣cret truth; as also in that they fitly serue & are of force to take away from mens mynds the false perswasion of the being of a God, and his Prouidence: no otherwise then, as Page 222 Contumelyes and disgraces committed a∣gainst the Idols of the Gentils are laudable and good, because by those actions, we testify no true diuinity to be in those Idols, for nothing is more cōtemptible, then that which neither is, nor cannot be. Seauenthly, it might seeme to follow, that the world were, as a ship floating on the sea without any Mast or Pylot; or as a mighty Com∣monwealth consisting of all kynds of men, in the which there is no lawes, no Iudge, no gouernour, nor any Procurer of tran∣quillity, peace and common good. And if it be so, how then can the world continue, especially seing it consisteth of so different, contrary and repugnant things? For as a ship without a directour is violently tossed to and fro, till it fall vpon some Rock, or sands, or be ouerwhelmed with flouds; or as a Commonwealth wanting a magistrate and ruler, wasteth it selfe away with in∣testine, seditious, murthers, and other ca∣lamities; so must the world be most exor∣bitantly and inordinatly menaged, and in the end be dissolued through a colluctation and fight of contraries, if there be no po∣wer, which is to sterne the same, and to procure a simpathy and accord amōg those contraries.
Eightly it followeth, that all this vni∣uerse,Page 223 and disposition, and framing of the parts thereof existeth thus by chance. For if there be no diuyne power, which framed the parts of it, digesting them into this forme, which now we see, then is it necessarily to be acknowledged, that it hath its being by chance, according to the opinion of Democri∣tus, who maintained, that all things were first framed of a casual force & concourse of Atomi, or smal indiuisible bodyes. But what is this, but mere doting madnes, and want of reasō? for how can it be, that that, whose frame and making existeth with so great reason, prouidence and iudgement, should haue its being by chance? One seeth a most sumptuous building, framed withall art & skill; all Architects admire the structure of it; question being asked, who made this curious edifice? It is answeared, that it is made by no body; but that there was long since a mountaine in the same place, stored with trees, & that it falling a sūder through an Earth quake, the parts of this mountaine being thus shiuered, did through meanes of this collision and fall, cast and frame thē∣selues casually into this curious forme of a pallace. Now who is so simple, that would belieue this? And yet such is the like case in the stupēdious fabrick of the whole world, maintayned not to be made by the hand of Page 224 any diuine Power.
These, and many other like absurdi∣ties, incongruences and impossibilities do rise and result from the foresaid deniall of a Deity, & a Prouidence; all which how ad∣uerse they are to all shew of truth, how re∣pugnant to the very light of reason; & how fearefull and dreadfull to be but spoken in words, who seeth not? Wherefore it follo∣weth, that that principle, which is the fountaine of such pudled aud stinking wa∣ters, must of necessity be most far distant & estranged from all truth. But heere some may reply, that euen a false perswasion in matters of religion conduceth much to the deterring and withdrawing man from wi∣ckednes; and to the perswading and inui∣ting them to probity, iustice, and other ver∣tues. For the Heathens, who belieued di∣uers Gods▪ to be according to the multitude and diuersity of humane affaires, and that their negotiations & businesses were guy∣ded by the prouidence of the said Gods, & that they rewarded and chastised men ac∣cording to their different deserts (al which things were false and impossible) did not∣withstanding from this strong & setled cō∣ceyt of theirs, abstaine from many iniuries, offences, and enormities; as thinking the Gods to be offended therewith, and that Page 225 themselues should be punished by them for the same, either in this world, or in the world to come. I answere hereto and say, that this perswasion of the heathens was false in particuler (to wit in thinking, that there was such a multiplicity of Gods, as also in thinking that such, and, such were Gods, as Iupiter, Saturne, Pallas &c. & the like) and that they had the charge of mens affaires; but their persuasion was true in generall, that is in thinking that there was a diuyne power, that mens affaires were subiect to his prouidence, and that he ex∣acted an account of them.
Wherefore when the Heathens either abstained from euill, or did good through feare of offending their Gods, or desire of pleasing them, they were moued thereto, not through any perswasion, as it was false in respect of such a God, but as it was true in generall. Only they did •rte in the Obiect, to wit, in ascribing a diuinity and Prouidence to those▪ to whome they ought not, and in worshipping it in them. There∣fore they did not take away, or deny the true and formall reason of a deity and of Pro∣uidence; but they affirmed and maintayned it, and therefore retayned after a certaine manner the true foundation of Politicall iustice. But if there were no diuine Power,Page 226 nor any Prouidence, then were this foun∣dation of theirs most fictious and false, euen in generall; and consequently it could haue no force towards vertue and probity of mā∣ners; or if it hath any (as by experience we find it to haue) then followeth it euidētly, that it is not a thing forged and inuented, but most true and vndoubted.
THE 13 REASON▪ DRAVVNE FROM the Immortality of the Soule. CHAP. XV.
IF it be so ordayned, that the reasonable soule shall not be extinguished with the body, but after the death of the body it shall liue and be immortall; then there can be no reason pretented for the denying of a diuine power, & a Prouidence: for if the lowest spirit be incorporeall, intelligent, and im∣mortall, why should not then there be a supreme spirit, endued with the same pro∣prietyes? Since, where there are seuerall degrees of natures, it is as necessary, that there be found one supreme degree, as well as the lowest and midle degrees. Now it is shewed aboue, that there are certaine degrees of spirits far more excellent then mans soule, but vnder the soule of man •Page 227 there is no lower degree, for it selfe is the lowest; seing that it is manifest, that the soules of beasts do dye with their bodies. Furthermore, if mans soule be immortall, then can we not doubt, but there must be after this life a retribution of deeds & acti∣ons; to wit, reward for vertue and punish∣ment for vyce: for it is most absurd to affir∣me, that those Soules, which while they were here inuested with their bodies, did liue wickedly in al affluence and abundāce of riches and pleasures, and in committing of wrongs, and which (before their depar∣ture from hence) made no recompence for the same, should after this life be equall in state to those, who wrongfully haue suf∣fred many tribulations, and yet liued very vertuously; and that there is to be had no account for things committed here; there∣fore it followeth, that there ought to be a Prouidence, which is to giue a retributiō an∣swerable to euery ones deserts. And hence it is, that all Philosophers and all religions (who maintayned the soule to liue after the body) did withall maintaine, that there were future rewards and punishments, and did confesse a Prouidence of a supreme spirit, by the which these rewards & punishmēts are iustly dispensed. S. Chrysostome in his fourth sermon de Prouidentia, handleth this Page 228 point elegantly in these wordes. If nothing be to follow after this life, then is there no God; for granting that there is a God, that God must needs be iust, and if he be iust, then doth he recompence euery one according to his deseruings; And if no∣thing be after this life, then where shall euery one be rewarded according to his deserts? Many wi∣cked men do liue here in all pleasure and honour, a• also many vertuous suffer great pressures and af∣flictions. If therefore nothing be to follow hereaf∣ter, the iust shall finally depart, remaining still wronged, and the vniust with vndeserued felicity. If then this should be so, where is iustice? For if Man do not receaue retaliation for such things, as he hath done, then is God not iust; and if not iust, then he is not God &c. But that there is a God, all Creatures do preach it; therefore it followeth that that God is iust: and if he be iust, then dispen∣seth he iustice to euery one. And if he giueth what is iust to euery man, then followeth it, that there must be a tyme after this life, in the which al shal receaue, answerably to their liues and actions. Thus far this Father. Therefore once grā∣ting the immortality of the Soule, it neces∣sarily is to be inferred, that there is a God, and that he exerciseth his prouidence vpon all mens affaires: as also on the other side taking away and denying the Soules im∣mortality, then is all Iustice and Prouidēce of God, yea God himselfe is taken away, & Page 229 flatly denyed to be. Therfore it resteth v∣pon to proue and demonstrate the immor∣tality of it; but because this point requireth a more long and prolixe discourse, it shalbe handled largely in the second booke here following seposed, and appointed only to that end.
THE 14. REASON TAKEN FROM DI∣uers examples of diuine reuenge, and benig∣nity. CHAP. XVI.
ALTHOVGH the chiefest pu∣nishmēt of sinne be reserued to bee inflicted in the world to come, when there shalbe made to all a iust recom∣pensation for their demerits; neuertheles euen in this world oftē tymes there are she∣wed diuers examples, to put men in mind, that God doth not sleepe, but that he wat∣cheth and obserueth mens actions; and to intimate vnto them, how seuere punish∣ments do attend wicked men after this life. Therefore though the bridle and liberty of liuing according to ech mans will and mind be giuen in this life; and that diuers things may be thoght to be carried so trou∣blesomly & confusedly; as that for the time Page 230 no Prouidence of any diuyne power may seeme to be in mens affaires, the wicked doing all things according to their sensua∣lity, and the vertuous being miserably op∣pressed and afflicted; Notwithstanding, if Man will take into his consideratiō the pas∣sages of all tymes, he shall see, that Gods prouidence is not so quyet, still, and silent, but for the most part after some tyme passed (the measure of the sins being once com∣plete and filled vp in any one Country) it discouereth & bewrayeth it selfe by taking reuenge of the said coūtry with some heauy and notable punishment; of which point there are many examples extant both in the sacred Scripture, as also in prophane Au∣thours; the store whereof being so great, we will insist in some of the most remarka∣ble of them.
The first then may be the generall deluge, in the which al mankind (except eight per∣sons) was vtterly extinguished for their e∣normous liues. The great Prophet Moyses hath discribed most elegantly this heauy punishment with al its due circumstances in the 6. 7. and 8. of Genesis, in the procedure whereof, the diuine Prouidence▪ hath seuerall wayes displayed it selfe. First in decreeing the abolishment and death of mankind in reuenge of their sinnes, and in foretelling Page 231 it to Noe a hundred and twenty yeares be∣fore it came to passe. Secondly, in that God for a new increase of the world, caused an Arke to be made in that prescribed forme & measure, which might contayne the kinds of all liuing Creatures both vpon earth, & such as did fly, and might reserue thē from destruction; to wit, it being 300. cubits in length, fifty in breadth, & thirty in height: which measure and largenes, that it was sufficient for the receite not only of all li∣uing Creatures, but also for meat for them for one yeare, may easily be demonstrated, and hath already bene made euident by le∣arned men: so as it is cleare that this propor∣tion or quantity was appointed not by mās aduise, but through the speciall direction of the diuine Wisedome.
Thirdly, because it proceeded from the foresaid Prouidence of God, that at the beginning of the deluge euery kind of li∣uing Creature should resort to the Arke, & take its fitting mansion. Fourthly, in that the globe of the water with the increase of the raine, which fell continually for the space of forty daies and forty nights, was so great, as that it exceeded in height the hi∣ghest hils fifteene cubits. Now that so much raine could cause so great an inundation & ouerflowing of water, may be made iusti∣fyable Page 232 partly by reason, and partly by ex∣perience. Fiftly, the prouidence of God was further manifested, in that both so much water could fall vpon the earth, and yet after could be exhaled vp in vapours and clouds, & all this in the space of one yeate; for at the end of forty dayes the floud was come to its height, and so continued during a hundred and fifty dayes, the rest of that yeare (to wit 175. dayes) it was so wasted away & dissipated & dissolued into clouds that the last day of the yeare, the earth be∣ing become dry, Noe with his whole fa∣mily and the liuing Creatures came out of the Arke: therefore he continued in the Arke a whole yeare measured by the course of the Sunne (that is 365. dayes) for he en∣tred into the Arke, the six hundreth yeare of his life, in the second moneth, & 17. day; and he came ou• in the 601. yeare, the se∣cond moneth, and 27. day; so as he conti∣nued therein twelue moneths of the moone and eleuen dayes, which make precisely one solare yeare. Sixtly, in giuing to those miserable men space of repentance through the length and •lownes of their punishmēt, for it cannot be doubted, but that innume∣rable persons (feeling the dreadfull hand of God in so horrible a castigation) had true penitency and remorse of their Sinnes, and Page 233 obtayned mercy and pardon for the same: As the like is accustomed to fal out in dāgers of shipwrack, where many most wicked men flie to God with great shew of piety; who conceauing a deepe remorse of their former iniquities, and promising an amēd∣ment, do purchase their soules saluation, by the losse of their bodyes. All heathen historiographers make mentiō of this floud and the Arke, as witnesseth Iosephus in his first booke of Antiquities, c. 4. where he ad∣deth, that euen in his tyme the remnants and broken peeces of the Arke were ac∣customed to be shewed amongst the Arme∣nians.
The second example of diuine reuenge may be the ouerthrow of Sodome, and those other adioining cittyes, when God destroy∣ed all that region with their inhabitants for their abhominable wickednes with a sho∣wer of brimstone sent from heauen. This inexplicable calamity Moyses thus descry∣beth, Genes. 19. Sol egressus est &c. The Sunne did rise vpō the earth, whē I o• entred into Zoar, then the Lord rayned vpon Sodome, and vpon Go∣morrha brimstone, and fyar from the Lord out of heauen, and ouerthrew those Citties, and all the plaine, and all the inhabitants of the Cittyes, and that, that grew vpon the earth. There had scarcely passed foure hundred yeares from Page 234 the flouds, whē this hapned, by the which they were made lesse excusable; who not∣withstanding the late and fresh memory of so great a chastisment, would ingurgitate themselues into all kind of wickednes, & chiefly into most filthy and beastly lusts, which was indeed the chiefest cause of the foresaid inundation. Certainly both the mercy & iustice of God did shine most wō∣derfully in this worke; His mercy in that God (at the praiers of Abrahā) shewed him∣selfe most ready to spare Sodome, if therein could be found, but ten iust persons. Now what greater benignity and fauour can be conceaued, then to spare ten thousands wi∣cked persons for the sakes often holy men liuing among them? So preciable and esti∣mable is the life of vertuous men in the eye of God. His iustice in like sort appeared, seeing that so vnexpectedly, as not fearing any such matter, and in so short a tyme of repentance, God oppressed them with so cruell and dreadfull a torment: for what is more terrible, then an impetuous precipatiō and falling downe from heauen of burning sulphur or brimstone in so great abundāce▪ The waters all round about became so bit∣ter hereby that no liuing thing remained in them; yea the neighbour places also by reason of the filthy stench thereof were Page 235 made sterill and barren; so as euen to this day, they bring forth nothing, but certaine aples full of a stinking dust, seruing only as signes and remembrance of Gods ire & in∣dignation. For God was willing by this example to manifest vnto sinners, what they were to expect after this life, to wit, sulphureous fyer, and eternall vastity, or destruction.
The third example may be that mani∣fold* castigation of Pharao, and the Egiptians for not dismissing and setting at liberty the people of God. Moyses describeth this most euidently, who was not only present a∣mong them, but also an arbitratour or go∣uernour, whome God vsed as his instrumēt both in inflicting, continuing, and ceasing those punishments. First, God conuerted all the waters in Egipt (whether riuers, la∣kes, or welsprings) into bloud, & this thus continued for the space of seauen dayes. Se∣condly, he brought into Egipt such an a∣bundance of frogs, as that they filled all the houses of the Egiptians, infecting all things with a loathsome smell. Thirdly, next after the frogs, the Cimises succeeded; all the dust in Egipt being suddenly conuerted into thē. These Cimises were a small kind of Gnats armed with a very sharpe sting in the for∣head, pricking the skin of a mās body with Page 236 payne, and sucking bloud; though Iosephus l. 2. c. 5. is of opinion, that they were lyce breading among so great a multitude of the Egiptians, & feeding vpon their flesh. Four∣thly, all these seuerall plagues ceasing at the earnest prayer of Moyses, and Pharao not∣withstanding persisting in his former con∣tumacy, God did send whole swarmes of flies, with the which the Egiptians were wonderfully molested. Fiftly, after the flies, came a general infection of the beasts, by meanes whereof all the Horses, Asses•, Camels, sheep, Oxen and Kyne through∣out all Egipt, (those only preserued, which belōged to the children of Israel) did perish. Sixtly, after this plague presently followed the scab or scuruy extremely exulcerating and afflicting the bodies of men and beasts yet remaining. Seuenthly, ensued a most cruell haile, mixted with thunder (the like whereto was neuer seene in Egipt before) through the impetuous violence whereof all liuing Creatures (which were abroad in the fields) were killed, as also all groues, and vndergroaths, and the like were pulled vp, and ouerthrowne. Eightly, followed a huge number of Lo∣custs, these deuoured euery thing, that the hayle and thunder had spared; in like sort they wonderfully afflicted mens bodyes Page 237 with their by •ings, sharp nayles, beating of their winges, filthy excrements & smel. Ninthly, this chastisement at the interces∣sion of Moyses also ceased: but when as Pharao would not stand to his promises, suc∣ceeded most horrible darknes throughout all Aegypt (that place where the Israclites inhabited, only excepted:) this continued three dayes, it being such, that no man could see āother, neither durst any through feare moue out of the place, wherein afore they were. Tenthly, after the light was restored, and the King continuing stil ob∣stinate, there fell out a great destruction, to wit, in the midest of night in the compasse of one houre, there were slayne by an An∣gell all the first borne of men, and beasts; so as no house or family was without griefe and lamentation, as being depriued of that, which was most worthy and deare to thē. This plague hapned in the fourtēth moone of the first moneth. The memory of this is yet so markable amōg the Iewes, that they euen to this day do celebrate it with pecu∣liar ceremonies, to wit, with the sacrifice of the Pascall Lambe, the vse of their Azimes, and the oblation of their first borne of any thing.
The Egiptians being consumed and wasted with such diuersity of calamities, at Page 238 length gaue liberty to the Israelites to de∣part away; but a little after repenting thē∣selues of their former graunt, they follow∣ed the Israelites with a mighty army there∣by to bring them backe againe into their seruitude; but they being almost ouerta∣ken by the other betweene the sea, and the mountaines, and when there was no hope to escape; God suddenly opened the sea, so as a very broad dry way (and great inough for the swift passage of an army) was made in the channel from one shore to the other on the contrary side, through which the Israelites securely passed ouer: but the Ae∣gyptians pursuing them in hast, and being all in the middest of the sayd dry chānel, God loosed his hand, and Moyses at his com∣mand stricking the water, all those huge hills (as it were) of waters, which being thus restrained, and serued as wals on both sides, fell downe with a frightfull noyse, & running into their wonted chanel, so ouer whelmed the Aegyptiās with their horses, chariots, and other prouision, as that not one of them escaped. These calamities of the Aegyptians (persecuting the people of God) are (as it were) a certaine type and a∣dumbration of the tormentes, wherewith the wicked after the end of the world (whē God shall free and deliuer his seruants from Page 239 the tyranny of the reprobate) shalbe puni∣shed. For after he shall send to them diuers afflictions, thereby that they may reclaym• themselues frō their enormities and sinnes; and if notwithstanding they will persist in their former courses, then shall they all in the end (the whole world being in a ge∣nerall conflagration of feare) be vtterly & eternally extinguished.
Fourthly, there do occurre diuers ex∣amples of the diuyne prouidence (especially of Gods benignity and seuerity) shewed to the Israelites, whyles they were in the de∣sart. For when as he had brought into a vast desart so many of them, as amounted to twenty hundred thousand persons; and that the meates, which they had caryed with them from Egipt, were spent; then af∣ter a new and vnheard manner he proui∣ded sustenance for them: for euery day (the Sabbaoth only excepted) there did rayne downe from heauen vpon them 1Manna, being a substance like vnto a small hayle, wherwith for the space of forty yeares they were nourished. 2 Next, when the wa∣ters were salty and bitter, God presently made them sweet and potable.
3. The fiftith day from their depar∣ture out of Egipt, he gaue a law in the sight and hearing of thē all, making himselfe in Page 240 a sort visible to all their eyes, in the hieght of the mountaine Sinay, in the shew of a mighty fyar, and a darke cloud, with the sound of trumpets and great thunder; the earth it selfe trembling, & the mountaine somewhat mouing and leaping.
4. For the space 3 of forty yeares, he exhibited his presence to them continually in the day tyme, by defending their campes or tents from the heat of the sunne, in the forme of a great cloudy pillar; by night, by lightning their tents with the said pillar in forme of fyre; when the Camps were to be remoued from place to place, this pillar did lift it selfe high in the ayre, going before them, with a slow pace, that they might know, what way they were to goe, and staying when, & where, they were to rest; in so much that all the profection, or going, and staying of their camps depended only vpon the prouidence of the highest power.
5. Moyses (by 4 the commandement of God) did build in the first yeare of his egresse out of Egipt a Tabernacle, and in the second yeare, the first moneth and first day therof, erected it in the middest of the cāpe, the which was no sooner set vp, but that instātly the foresaid pillar cōtinually stood ouer the tabernacle, as it were couering it; excepting the tabernacle were to remoue, Page 241 and then the pillar aduancing it selfe on high, went afore (as is sayd) to shew whi∣ther they were to goe, and when to stay. When 5Moyses entred into the tabernacle to pray vnto God, then God in the sight of all the people descended downe vpon the Tabernacle vnder that cloud, & the prayer being ended, the cloud ascended vp againe into his accustomed place.
6. When the people of Israel 6 were afflicted with the extremity of thirst in the eleuenth mansion in Raphidim, Moyses by di∣uine commandement did strike with his rod a dry Rocke, out of which presently gushed great store of water; the same also was done in their thirtith three stay in Ca∣des. At which place Moyses somewhat doub∣ted (in regard of the Israelites incredulity) whether God would giue them water or no, and was therefore chastised with this punishment from God, to wit, Thou shalt not bring the people into the Land of pro∣mise; for thou shalt dye before that tyme.
7. When the children of Israel desired to feed vpon flesh, and for that cause, coueting after the pots of Egipt, murmured against Moyses; God (though offended therewith) promised them flesh, and therupon the day after did send into their camps such a multi∣tude of quayles, as that they serued them all Page 242 for a whole moneth after. It might be pro∣bably thought, that there were scarce to be found in the whole world so great abū∣dance of this kynd of birds. But God 7 presently punished this their inordinate desire of eating flesh, with the death of many of them, and thereupon the place, where they were buryed was called, Se∣pulchra Concupiscentiae.
8. The spyes being returned (which were sent by the Isralites abroad) and ex∣tolling the strength of their Enemies, and calūniating & debasing the land of promi∣se, the people through feare shewed great diffidence in Gods promises; in so much, that they disclaymed from al interest in the land of Promise, & desyred to returne into Egipt; For which cause our Lord being an∣gry, condemned to death all those, who were twenty yeares of age or aboue (which number came to 63. thousands of Men, and fiue hundred) two only excepted, to wit, Caleb and Iosue, which trusting in the as∣sistance of God, much animated the people; for he decreed, that none of them should enter into the land of Promise, but that they all (as being murmurers against his diuine prouidence) should dye in the wildernes, for which cause he detained them fourty yeares in the desart, leading them now hi∣ther, Page 243 now thither vntill they were all con∣sumed and wasted away. Yet their chil∣dren, 8 which arriued not to the years of twenty, were reserued aliue, & substitu∣ted in their parents places. Whereupon it followed, that although in the fortith yeare (when the land of Promise was to be pos∣sessed by them) all the murmurers were dead, yet in regard of the many thousands proceeding from their children, and those of the tribe of Leui (which amounted to 23. thousand) there were then more to enter into the land of Promise, then were in the first yeare.
9. Core, Dathan, and Abiron being the chiefest men among the Israelites (secon∣ded by two hundred & fifty of the noblest among them) raysed a sedition against Moy∣ses and Aaron; and thus the mindes of the people were auerted from performing their* obedience, as if Moyses and Aaron had ambi∣tiously sought the Principality and Ponti∣ficality, and did not vndertake it at the cō∣mandement of God. Therefore for the in∣dignity of the matter, Moyses appealed to the iudgment of God heerein, who decy∣ded the cause by inflicting a most horrible chastisement vpon them, in the eye of all the rest; for Moyses had fearce made an end of his cōminations and threats, but the earth Page 244 vnderneath them began to tremble, and (as a Sea) to floate to and fro. And then gaping with a vast opennes, & mighty fra∣gour and noyse, it did absorpe and swal∣low downe Core, Dathan, and Abiron, with all their tabernacles and goodes, and after closed it selfe togeather, not leauing any print or shew of its former opening; and as touching the other two hundred and fifty, being their associates in rebelling, a huge fire from heauen rushed vpon them, & cō∣sumed them, so as no parcels of their bodies remayned. The day after, when as the people began another insurrection against Moyses and Aaron, as esteming them the au∣thours of the former destruction, and that God (for their sakes) punished with death (as they thought) innocent men, at which God was so highly offended, that he sent a fyar among them, with the which four∣teene thousand and seauen hundred were instantly burned to death.
10. Another tyme in like sort, the people (through the tedious wearisomnes of their iourney) murmuring against God, he againe sent a fyar among them, which deuoured 9 and consumed the vttermost parts of their camps, and tents; & had wa∣sted further therein, if Moyses had not prayed to the contrary; at whose prayers the earth Page 245 opening, the fyar descended downewards, and so ceased.
11. Not long after this, the people a∣gaine murmuring against the diuine Ma∣iesty, by reason of the length of their tra∣uell, God sent among them certaine fiery 10 serpetns, at whose stingings and by▪tings, many of the people submitted them∣selues to Moyses, with acknowledgment of their sinne. Thereupon Moyses (by the cō∣mandement of God) erected the brazen ser∣pent, hanging it vpon a high Pole, or forke, at the beholding only whereof, all those were cured, that were afore wounded by the foresaid dangerous serpents. This 11 was a most illustrious and cleare type or fi∣gure of Christ our Lord hanging vpon the Crosse, in the beliefe and faith of whome alone, the wounds of the old serpent are cured, and eternall saluation is purchased.
12. To conclude, during those forty yeares of the Israelites stay in the wildernes neither their clothes, nor their shoes be∣came worse, or old with wearing; Gods good prouidence so preseruing them, in that they had not there conuenient meanes of procuring of new. Add to all these former, so many helpes and furtherances in their warrs, so many famous victories obtained through Gods particuler assistance, so many Page 246 of their enemies slaine either with no losse or with very small on the Israelites side; we read that the Army 12 of Amalec was ouercome by the Israelites, through the prayers of Moyses; for during all that tyme that Moyses was lifting vp his hands to God, Israell ouercame, and when he suffered his hands to fall downe, Amalec vanquished: which point no doubt serued, as a great mistery. The riuer of 13Iordan did de∣uide it selfe in the presence of the Arke, to wit, the higher part of it swelling, as a mountaine, and the lower part altogether dry, and gaue passages to all the people. The 14 walles of Iericbo being most strōg, fell downe to the ground only at the sound of the trumpets, & voice or clamour of the •••ple. Many of the army of the fiue kings of the 15Amorrheans being discomfited by the Israelites, and flying away, were in their flight killed by haile stones sent from heauen. The Sunne and the Moone at the commandement of Iosue (God yealding to his petition) for the space of ten or twelue houres stayed their motions, vntill he had vanquished his enemyes. I omit many o∣ther fauours granted to the people of Israel for their obtaining of the land of Promise; all which do euidently demonstrate the pe∣culiar prouidence & assistance of God. Now Page 247 all these euents serued, but as figures and types of such things, as should happen in the Church during the tyme of the new testament; also they are of force to secure vs now in tyme of grace, of Gods prouidence (besides in freeing his seruantes from the bondage of the Diuel) for our entrance into the heauenly country.
Fiftly, those things are to be considered, which chanced to the Israelites, when they were gouerned by Iudges, and after they entred into the land of Promise; for as oftē as (after the custome of other countries) they fell to the worship of Idols, they were most grieuously afflicted by God, as being brought vnder the yoke and seruitude of their enemyes, but when soeuer they grew truly penitent of such their Idolatry, retur∣ning vnto God with a contrite and sincere mind, then God (being at hand ready to commiserate the distressed) raised vnto thē a Captaine or leader, which did vindicate and free them from their thraldome and oppression, and did reduce thē to their for∣mer liberty. For seauen seuerall tymes (a thing most strange and wonderfull) while they were gouerned by captaines this hap∣ned; for as often they relapsed into Idola∣try, so often they were deliuered into the hands of their enemies; and so often, flying Page 248 with true penitency vnto God, they were succoured. And first Iosue and others of the more ancient, being dead, (who were behoulders of the wonderfull workes of God, and contained the people in the true religion) they left God, 16 mancipating and subiecting themselues to the worship∣ping of the Idols of Baalim and Astaroth. For which sinne God deliuered them into the hands of Chusan Rathasa•m King of Mesopota∣mia, whome they serued eight yeares. Now this subiection seeming in the end very heauy vnto them, and they (through the admonition of holy men) acknowledging it to be inflicted by God for their sinne of •∣dolatry, & being penitent for it, earnestly beseeched mercy and helpe; therefore our Lord taking mercy of them sent them Otho∣niell, who gathering forces, ouerthrew the King of Mesopotamia, and freed the people from their bondage. After the death of O∣thoniell, the people againe (forgetful of Gods benefits and commandements, & led with the custome of other countries) returned to Idolatry; for the punishment of which their sinne, our Lord stirred vp Eglon King of Moab, with the Amalites and Amalacites, by whome they 17 were badly intreated for the space of eighteene yeares; but they after loathing their former sinnes, and flying Page 249 vnto God for pardon, God sent them Aod, who with the death of the King and de∣struction of the army of the Moabites, set the people at liberty. Aod being dead, they re∣turned againe to 18 Idolatry, in reuenge of which wickednes, our Lord deliuered them vp vnto the power of Iabin King of Chanaan, who afflicted them twenty yea∣res together; but tribulation giuing them againe vnderstāding, they grieued for their sinnes, and supplicated Gods mercy, who moued there with raysed vp Debora a pro∣phetesse, & Barac a man of armes, who ga∣thering an army, vanquished the forces of the King of Iabin, with the death of Sisara his captaine, by the hands of a woman cal∣led Iahel.
The people of Israel enioying peace, and quiet, fell againe to idolatry, and be∣came therefore subiect to the 19Madianits, by whome during seauen yeares they were grieuously oppressed. But they being in this calamity, repented and prayed help frō God, whereupon they were first sharply rebuked by a Prophet, because they being so often deliuered out of the handes of their enemies by God, and hauing receaued so many benefits from his diuine bounty, did neuertheles so often depart from his seruice and worship. But when they were most Page 250 importunate and instant with God in their prayers for their deliuery, he raysed Gedeon, to whome an Angell was sent in mans for∣me, encouraging him to so great a worke; who when he was assured by pregnant si∣gnes from heauen of the victory, he alone with three hundred vnarmed men, furni∣shed only with a trumpet, and a vessell of earth containing in it a firebrand, vnder∣tooke so great an enterprise. These soun∣ding the trumpet in three places of the ar∣my, there instantly did ryse so great a tu∣mult amōg the enemies, as that they being stroken with a sudden fury, partly by kil∣ling one another with their owne swords, and partly by being slaine in the pursuit, there were dead of them more then a hun∣dred thousand. Gedeon being dead, they re∣lapsed againe to Idolatry 20 for which cause our Lord deliuered thē to the power of the Philistians and the Ammonites, from whose hands they receaued great afflictiōs and pressures, during the tyme of eighteene yeares: they returning againe to our Lord, & asking pardon of him, obtained for their captaine Iephte, who being prouided of an army fought with the enemies, and got at one tyme twenty of the Ammonites citties, restoring the Israelites to their former li∣berty.
Page 251Scarcely had fiue and twenty yeares passed from the death of Iepthe, but the I∣sraelites returned againe to their old vomit by abandoning of God (of whose benefites they had before so often tasted) plunging themselues a new into Idolatry, the chiefe cause of all their miseries, and therfore they were made againe subiect vnder the yoke of the 21Philistians during the space of for∣ty yeares; but in the end God being moued with mercy, sent them Sampson, whose strength of body was such (seconded with the peculiar force of God) as nothing was able to withstand him, for he toare a sunder with his handes a Lyon, that came fiercely vpon him, and carryed vpon his shoulders the gate doores of the citty Gaza, within which, being besieged by his enemyes, he was shut; in like sort, he being vnarmed, inuaded the whole army of many armed souldiers ōly with the Iaw bone of an Asse, wherewith he killed a thousand, & droue the rest into flight. Againe he ouer threw the house of Dagon, two of the chiefe pillars therof, being shaken downe by the strength of his arme; many thousandes of the Phili∣stiās (who were present) being killed with the fall. Which afflictions gaue to the I∣sraelites some breathing tyme of ease and rest: but they againe enioying a long peace Page 250〈1 page duplicate〉Page 251〈1 page duplicate〉Page 252 and increasing the mount of their former sinnes, with the accesse of more, they were once more cast into the handes of Philisti∣ans, by whome there were slaine 34. thou∣sand Israelites: besides the Arke was taken, & the keepers of it (to wit Ophni & Phinees, two principall Priests) were killed, as God fore•ould by Samuel, that the same should come to passe. This calamity happened in the fortith yeare of Heli. Yet heere were the Israelites (though ouercome) so puni∣shed, as that the Philistians (though con∣querours) were afflicted with farre more grieuous miseries; for when they offered the Arke of God to their Idol (as a spoyle to to the Victour) God in reuénge of so great an indignity, punished them seueral waies: for the Idol did not only fall twice downe before the Arke, the head and handes of it being maymed and broken; but also the bodies of the Philistians throughout all the citties were stroken with a most loathsome disease, to wit, their hindermost intestine or gut became putrifyed, & stood farre out, so as innumerable dyed thereof. Besides al their fruite, of the earth & their yeares pro∣uision aforehand were eaten & consumed with abundance of myce, comming out of the fieldes and villages. Doubtlesly these tribulations were farre more heauy, then Page 253 if they had beene brought vnder the yoake of the Israelites. Therefore the Philistians were in the end enforced to confesse the power of God of Israel, and honourably to send backe the Arke, with all its dowryes, and guifts, euen by those men, who were witnesses of the calamities inflicted by God vpon them. All this is at large set downe in the bookes of the Iudges.
1. Sixthly, those thinges are to be ta∣ken in our consideration, which chanced to the Israelits being vnder the gouerment of the Kinges. First (22) Saul after a wonder∣full manner, and by the speciall fauour of God (to wit by diuine election, and also by lot) was aduanced to the kingdome, who when he would not obey Gods command∣ments, was with all his posterity depriued by God of all regall authority, and in the end his army being vanquished, and the kingdome transferred vpon Dauid, himself with his eldest sonne was slaine in the warre.
2. Dauid (although a great worshipper of God) had his sinnes (to wit the one of his adultery, and the other of his homicide) most seuerely punished of God euen after his repentance: for his Sonne (to his great griefe) was depriued of life, and the fairest of his daughters was violated, and defaced Page 254 with an infamous incest by his eldest son, and the sayd sonne was afterwardes trea∣cherously slaine by his owne brother, and Dauid himselfe was contume••ously cast out of the Kingdome by his owne sonne, and his wiues were constuprated & abused by his sonne. All which aduersities, that they should fall to him in punishment of his a∣dultery & homicide, were foretold by Na∣than the Prophet.
3. Againe, when Dauid sinned through elation (24) & pride of mind, in numbring the people, God in punishment there of, by his Prophet Gad, sent to him, gaue him choyce of one of these three chastisements, to wit, whether his kingdome should be afflicted with famine for seauen yeares; or himselfe should be ouercome by his ene∣mies for three moneths; or should be infe∣cted with pestilence for three dayes. Wher∣upon Dauid seing himselfe brought into these straights, thus answered: Coarctor ni∣mis &c. I am straitned ouermuch, but it is better, that I fall into the hands of God (for many are his mercyes) then iuto the hands of men. And ans∣werably hereto, he made choyce of pesti∣lence, with the which being suddenly sent from God, there dyed seauenty thousand men in three dayes; but after sacrifice being offered vp for the appeasing of Gods iustice, Page 255 the plague instantly ceased.
4. Salomon succeeded Dauid, who being indued from God with a greater measure of wisdome, then any other man, and en∣ioying more riches, honour, glory, and a longer peace, then any of the former Kings of that people, at length being giuen ouer to the loue of women, was so absorpt with the pleasure of them, as that for their sakes he was content to worship Idols: In reuēge of which so great an offence, God presently after his death diuided & shared his King∣dome, ten trybes wherof were transferred vpon Ierobam; and the other two only left to the sonne of Salomon; with which point Salomon in his life tyme was threatned cer∣tainly. The prouidence of God appeared wō∣derfully in the execution of this diuision, as is to be seene in the third book of the Kings, cap. 11. and 12.
5. Ieroboam aduanced from a meane es∣tate to the Kingdome, was mainly bent to fortify & settle himselfe by al meanes what∣soeuer; he fearing then, that if the People went yearely to Ierusalem, to sacrifice in the Temple of the Lord, that his Kingdome might be lost, the people turning thēselues to Roboam King of Iuda; therefore for the better preuention hereof, he caused two golden calues to be erected vp as Gods, and Page 256 diuulged an Edict, whereby the people were commanded not to go to Ierusalem, but to sacrifice to those two Idols. This proceeding might (perhaps) seeme much conducing to the preseruation of his poli∣ticke state; and yet in a mature considera∣tion of the matter, nothing could be inuen∣ted more sorting & fitting to the vtter sub∣uersion thereof; for it is said in the third of the Kings cap. 13. For this cause the house of Ieroboam is ouerthrowne, and blotted out of the roundnes of the earth. He raigned 22. yeares, not without great troubles and molestati∣ons; who being dead, his sonne Nadab suc∣ceeded; but he scarce gouerned two yeares, being depriued both of his life and King∣dome by his seruant Baasa, who instantly so extinguished the race and family of Iero∣boam, as that there was not left one thereof. And this very thing was threatned to him by the Prophet. But such (for the most part) are the Counsels and proiects of polititians (of whome this Ieroboam may serue for an example) who make religion to be subiect and seruiceable to policy, & who imbrace that profession of faith, which best sorteth eyther to the obtayning, or keeping, or en∣creasing of their States, and other such hu∣mane respects: for although their subtle ma∣chinations and plots seeme at the first to be Page 257 specious, fayre, and conuenient; yet in pro∣cesse of tyme they commonly inuolue and intangle the Actours, with great difficul∣ties, & such as in the end do occasion their destruction; all which proceedeth from the disposall of the diuine Prouidence, which euer hath a predominancy and ouerruling ouer mens actions and determinations.
6. After the death of Ieroboam and his sonne, the Empyre of the Israelites, was houlden by Baasa, whose indiscretion and madnes was wonderfull: for though he knew, that Ieroboam with his whole family was vtterly extinct for committing of Ido∣latry, notwithstanding himselfe did not for∣sake it, wherefore the like finall destruction was denounced against him by the Prophet Ie•u; the execution whereof was not long delayed. For when he had raigned two & twenty yeares (as Ieroboam did) & that his sonne Ela succeeded him, euen in the secōd yeare of Ela, one of his Captaines by name Zamri, did ryse vp against him, who being killed, Zamri inuaded the kingdome, and presently by death did extirpate all the fa∣mily of Baasa.
Some few yeares after, the same for∣tune happened to King Achab, and to his impious wife Iesabel; for Achab himselfe af∣ter he had tasted of many calamities, was Page 258 slaine in warre against the Syrians, and af∣ter his death Iehu (appointed by God cap∣taine or leader of the warre) killed Ochozias the sonne of Achab, and successour of the Kingdome, as also all his progeny; and cau∣sed Iesabel the Queen to be cast frō a height headlong downe, to be deuoured of dogs. Al which miseries God by his Prophets did foretell to fall vnto them, by reason of their idolatry, and their other sinnes.
8. At the length, seeing the Kings of Israel, and the people would neuer cease from sinning, and particulerly from wor∣shipping of Idols (notwithstanding so ma∣ny comminations and threats, so many ad∣monitions and increpations, and so many chastisements inflicted by God for this their offence) they were in the end depriued of their Kingdome, Citties, houses, grounds, possessions, and liberty, themselues being carryed away into Assyria to liue in perpe∣tuall bondage and slauery. Iust after this manner, the prouidence of God carryed it¦selfe towardes the Kinges of Iuda, and that people; for as often as they yielded to the committing of Idolatry, they were worne out with diuers warres and calamities, till they became penitēt of their former sinnes; but when they worshipped God truly and religiously, then they enioyed great pros∣perity, Page 259 and were honoured with many vi∣ctoryes, as also flowed in all opulency and wealth, as it falled out in Abia, Asa, Iosaphaet, and Ezechias. For against Abia (25) King of Iuda, Ieroboam came with fourescore thou∣sand men: but Abia finding himselfe much inferiour in forces, put his sole confidence in his prayers to God, beseeching his help and ayde; whereupon God sending a ter∣rour into the army of Ieroboam, forced it to flight, the which Abia following, killed fifty thousand of his men, and tooke many of his citties. But Asa (26) had a farre more famous victory; for Zara the Ethiopian, with a huge army consisting often hundred thousand armed men, made warre vpon Asa, who though farre inferiour in force, yet putting his trust in our Lord, met him in the field, and vpon his humble prayers made to him, the Ethiopians were suddenly affrighted and dismayed, and thereupon began to fly, but Asa following them, killed most of the army, and returned enriched with in finite spoiles of the enemy.
Neither was lesse wonderfull that vi∣ctory of (27) Iosaphat, who only with his prayers, vertue, and assured hope of Gods assistance, without any weapons at all o∣uercame a mighty army, which was gathe∣red of three very populous nations, to wit, Page 260 the Ammonites, Moabites, and the Idumeans. For his small forces being drawne out a∣gainst the enemy, he commanded his Qui∣risters, who did sing diuine seruice & lau∣des, to go before his souldiers, singing; at which sight the Enemies were by Gods speciall prouidence possessed with such a fury, as that they killed one another, lea∣uing a great valew of spoyles to the Ie∣wes.
To the former may worthily be adioined the victory of (28) Ezechias, who as being brought to great extremities by the Assy∣rians, made his recourse to God by prayer, who hearing him, sent an Angell to assist him, who in one night killed one hundred sourscore and fiue thousand Assiryans.
I omit the captiuity of Babilon, the histo∣ry of Esther, the history of Iudith, the history of •obias, the warres of the Machabees, the besieging of the Romans, and the vtter ouer∣throw of the Iewes; in all which the pro∣uidence of God hath wonderfully appeared▪ It were an infinite labour to set downe all those examples, in which the Diuine Pro∣uidence hath helped, succoured and extolled the godly and vertuous; and on the other side hath depressed, humbled, chastised, & punished the impious and wicked. For in∣deed the chiefest subiect of the holy Scrip∣ture Page 261 is this; seeing all their narrations doe tend to this end, to wit, to instruct men, that prosperity and aduersity do depend of the prouidence of God; and that both these seuerall fortunes are allotted vnto men, ac∣cording to the quality of their workes; nei∣ther can any one decline & auoid the pow∣er of the sayd Prouidence. In which point the sacred Write of God differeth from all prophane histories; for that being written by the peculiar incumbency and direction of the holy Ghost, relateth humane matters as they are gouerned by diuine prouidence. Whereas these other, as penned by a human spirit, make narration of them, •• they pro∣ceed only from mans prudence and indu∣stry. Therfore that forme• teacheth diuine wisedome, by the which, man with a god∣ly worship of him, adhereth vnto God: these later humane wisdome, and certaine small trifling cautions and obseruations in∣uented, through the wit and industry of man; which for the most part are but of little power, yet often are accompanyed with danger and destruction. Wherefore it may be iustly concluded, that nothing is more agreable to the education & framing of Princes, then the reading of sacred and diuine histories; especially of the bookes of the Kinges; for there they shalbe instru∣cted, Page 262 that the foundation & ground-worke of a kingdome and of true policy, is seated in true religion and iustice, without which any Christian state cannot expect any fir∣menes or tranquility. This very point was most profitable to Charles the fift, vnto whō Adrianus his Schoolemaster did read the bookes of the Kings, from whence he tooke those principles, misteries, and documents of gouernemet, which made him not only vertuous, but also a most great, potent, and fortunate prince. Now that these bookes are to be altogether credited, as being writ∣ten by the concurrency and direction of the holy ghost, is aboue made most cleare and euident.
THE 15. REASON TAKEN FROM THE secret punishing of Blasphemy, Periury, and Sacriledge. CHAP. XVII.
THESE sinnes of blasphemy, periury and sacriledge are directly against the reuerence of a Deity and diuine power; wherefore seing it is euident from the ex∣perience and obseruation of diuers exāples, that these are more seuerely punished by Gods inuisible hand, then other sinnes are, Page 263 we therefore may infallibly conclude, that there is a Deity and a diuine Power, which hath a sense and feeling of these iniuries & indignities cōmitted against it. For if there were no diuine power, then were these for∣mer actions no sinnes, as it is no sinne to speake cōtemptuously of a chimera, or ima∣ginary thing, or to sweare by it, or to cō∣culcate, & with disgrace to tread the signe of it vnder our feete. Againe if these for∣mer things be no sinnes, thē is there due to them no castigation or punishment; But the contrary to this is euident by many ex∣amples. Pharao (the King of Egipt) when he misprised God, and spake of him with contempt in those words: (1) Quis est Do∣minus &c. VVho is the Lord, that I should heare his voice, and let Israell goe? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel goe: was for such his offence afflicted with many Calamityes, & in the end vtterly ouerthrowne with his whole army. (2) Sennacherib the King of the Assirians, inuading Iudea with a power∣full army, commanded it to be related by his captaines to Ezechias the King, that in vaine he reposed his trust in any diuine po∣wer; for seeing (said he) the Gods of other nations were not able to defend their wor∣shippers against the puissance and might of the King of the Assyrians; therefore neither Page 264 could the God of Israel. For which horri∣ble blasphemy God in one night destroyed almost his whole army, there being a hun∣dred eighty fiue thousand armed men slaine by an Angell. And the King himselfe after his returne into Niniuy his citty, and sacrifi∣cing to his Gods (who could not defend him) was murthered by his owne sonnes. (3) Nabuchodonos•r (King of Chaldaea) when in his fury he cast the three chil∣dren into the burning Furnace, for that they refused to adore a Statua erected by him, and further blasphemed against God, in preferring his owne power before the power of God, in these words: Quis est Deus? VVho is God, that can take you out of my hāds? did immediatly after acknowledge the contrary, and confessed a Deity through the sight of that stupendious miracle, by the which the children being in the middest of the flames remained vnhurt & not burned. But after when he had forgot the same, and bare himselfe with his former elation and pryde of mind, maintayning, that his power and glory stood obnoxious or subiect to none, he was suddenly punished by God; a voyce from heauen rushing vpon him, and speaking thus: Tibi (4) dicitur Nabuchodono∣sor rex &c. O King Nabuchodonosor, to thee be it spoken: thy Kingdome shall departe from thee. AndPage 265they shall driue thee from men, and thy dwelling shalbe with the beasts of the field; They shall make thee to eate grasse, as the oxen; And seauen tymes shall passe ouer thee, till thou knowest, that the most high •eareth rule ouer •he Kingdome of men, and giueth it vnto whomesoeuer he will. Which voyce being ended, he was present∣ly depriued of reason & grew madd. Wher∣vpon being driuen from all mens society, he begun to liue in the woods among beasts, and during seauen yeares liued after the manner of beasts. Which period of tyme be∣ing ended, he was restored to his wits and senses, and presently thereupon most excel∣lently confessed a diuine power. That this was to happen vnto him, God foreshewed it a yeare before in a vision, which he had, while he dreamed; which vision Daniel did interpret.
Agripp• (5) the elder being in Cesaraea, and cloathed with sumptuous apparell▪ and sit∣ting in a high and regall seat, began to make a speach to the people; but some of his flat∣tters cryed out, that it was the voice of some God, and not of man; which words being gratefull vnto him, (who could be willing to assume diuine honour to himselfe) he was suddenly stroken with an Angell, and so his flesh and bowels putrifying, he was con∣sumed with lice.
Page 266The (6) Syrians being ouercome in warre by the Israelites in certaine mounta∣nous places, ascribed their ouerthrow to the Gods of the mountaines, who (they sayd) did fauour the Israelites; Therefore they would fight with the Israelites in the val∣lies, where they thought the God of Israel was not interessed; vpon which cause, God by his Prophet thus spake to the King of Is∣rael; Quia dixerunt Syri &c. Because the Syri∣ans sayd, the Lord is God of the mountaines, and not God of the vallies, I will giue all this great mul∣titude in thy hand, and you shall know, that I am the Lord. And thereupon both their armyes ioyning battel after, the Israelites (though but few in number) killed in one day a hun∣dred thousand footmen: And there remai∣ned in a neere place twenty seauen thou∣sand Syrians, who flying into the citty, were killed with the fall of the citty wals: doubtlesly this was a manifest reuenge and punishment of the former blasphemy.
Nicanor (7) being leader of the army of Demetrius the King, & intending to inuade the Iewes vpon the Sabaoth, was admo∣nished that in honour and reuerence to God (who seeth all things) he shoud forbeare that sacred day: to the which aduise he thus answered: Estne potens quispiam in caelo &c. Is there a Lord in heauen, that commandeth the Sa∣bothPage 267day to be kept? to whom when it was answe∣red. Est dominus viuus &c. There is a liuing Lord, which ruleth in heauen, who commanded the sea∣uenth day to be kept: he replyed; Et ego potens &c. And I am mighty vpon earth to command them, for to arme themselues, and to performe the Kings busines. Vpon which occasion the day of warre being begun, though Nica∣nor had a most powerfull army, furnished with all kind of munition and armour; yet was he ouerthrowne by very few, with the losse of thirty fiue thousand men. His blasphemous tongue likewise was cut of, and by small peeces cast vnto birds; and his hands, which he lifted vp against the Tē∣ple, were set vp in an opposite place to the Temple.
In the 24. of Leuiticus, the Lord com∣manded, that the sonne of an Israelite wo∣man, who had blasphemed against God, should be stoned to death; and euen in that place this law of stoning is established, and two seueral tymes repeated in these words: (8) Qui blasphemauerit &c. He that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall bee put to death; al the congregation shall stone him to death, aswell the stranger, as he that is borne in the land: VVhen he blasphemeth the name of the Lord let him be slaine Certainly this repetition doth intimate & insinuate the firme and resolute will and Page 268 mind of the law giuer herein.
All what tyme Achior (9) cōmended the power of the God of heauen, and auerred, that the Iewes were secure and safe, in that they worshiphed God religiously, at which words Holofernes in great indignation thus answered: Quoniam prophetasti &c. Because thou hast prophecyed among vs to day, that the pe∣ople of Israel is defended by their God, I will shew thee, that there is no other God, but Nabuchodo∣nosor &c. For which blasphemy pa••d deare, for his owne head was cut of by the hand of a woman (10) and his army being driuen to flight, a great part therof was put to the sword by the Iewes.
Antiochus (11) for his pryde and blasphe∣my, was stroken from God with an inui∣sible and incurable disease; for first sudden∣ly a violent payne of his bowels inuaded him; and then quickly after he fell out of his charriot, wounding himselfe dāgerous∣ly; lastly his body putrifying with a filthy consumption, and breathing out a most loathsome smell was consumed aliue with wormes.
The Philistians (12) were oppressed with most heauy afflictions from God, in that they handled the Arke of the Lord vn∣worthily; and except they had sent it backe againe within a short tyme, perhaps they all Page 269 had then perished: but within seauen moneths they restored it with honour and reuerence, vpon which their so doing, the plague afore among them instantly ceased.
When the Bethsamites (13) behoulded the Arke of the Lord curiously & with smal reuerence (contrary to the diuine precept in that behalfe, expressed in the fourth booke of Numbers) there were slaine of the chiefest among them seauenty men, and of the common multitude fifty thousand: thus did the Diuine Prouidence of God punish with death that curious and irreligious sight of theirs.
Balthazar (14) (King of the Chaldeans) when he commāded the holy vessels to be brought to him (which were taken out of the temple of the Lord at Ierusalem) and did drinke in them with his noble men and his Concubines; for such his prophaning of thē did presently feele Gods iust reuenge, for in the middest of the banquet and iollity with his guests, it is said, apparuerunt digiti &c. There appeared fingers of a mans hand, which wrote ouer against the candlesticke vpon the plai∣ster of the wall of the Kings pallace. And this appeared in the sight of all men, and with great consternation of mind and feare to the King himselfe. The words there writtē were these three: Mans, Thecel, Phares. Of Page 270 which words (according to the interpreta∣tion of Daniel) this was the meaning: Mane, that is, God hath numbred thy Kingdome, and hath finished it: Thecel: thou art weighed in the ballance, & art found too light. Phares; thy King∣dome is diuided, and giuen to the Medes and Per∣sians. To conclude, that very night the Cit∣ty▪ was taken, and the King with infinite multitude of men, & with the greatest part of his nobility was •laine. Now three ob∣seruations we collect from this one fact: first, that there is a certaine period of tyme giuen by God to all Kingdomes; the which being once expired, the Kingdomes are changed, and the Souerainty of them trans∣ferred to others. Secondly, that the workes of euery Prince and King are to be expen∣ded and weighed, and that for the most part the tyme of their gouerment is appointed by God. Thirdly, that the beginning of principalities and Kingdomes, their destru∣ctions, their continuance, and translations are disposed by the Prouidence of the Al∣mighty.
3. When Heliodorus (15) endeauoured to rob the sacred Treasury by prophaning the sanctuary of the temple; the Iewes pray∣ing deuoutly to God for the preuenting hereof, he was not only restrained by God of his purpose; but was greatly punished Page 271 with stripes for such his sacrilegious at∣tempt; and his souldiers, which he brought with him to that end, were possessed with a great feare and dismayednes. For there appeared vnto him a horseman of a terrible aspect, and rich in apparell, whose horse comming violently vpon Heliodorus with his former feet, did greatly hurt him; & then there were seene two yong men of excellēt strength and beauty, who on each side in∣uading Heliodorus, did so whip him, as that he dispayred of his life. But sacrifice being offered vp for his recouery, he was present∣ly cured. And thus much of these examples▪ which are taken out of the holy Scriptures: for if we should insist in all other examples of this subiect, which do occurre in pro∣phane Histories, and other Ecclesiasticall wryters, we should find almost infinite of them: for there is no Nation, no Prouince, no citty, no village, where blasphemyes, sa∣criledges and periuries haue not very often beene most dreadfully punished by Gods owne hand; In so much that the very ter∣rour and feare of his chastisements heere in hath beene sufficient to deterre many men from the perpetrating of so heinous sinnes. It may perhaps seeme strange to some, that we do often read those, who were contem∣ners not only of one true and supreme di∣uine Page 272 power, but also euen of false Gods, to haue been punished most strangely. Ans∣werably hereto we find, that the souldiers of Zerxes, who through hope of spoyle en∣tred into the temple of the Cabiri in Thebes (wherein Ceres was worshipped) became al presently madd; some of them casting thē∣selues into the sea, others of them hurling themselues precipitately downe from the top of high rocks, as Pausanias in his Beotici• relateth. Againe, when Alexander the Mace∣don did take by force Miletum, a most strong citty in Ionia, and that some of the souldiers burst into the temple for the spoyling of it; suddenly a flame of fyre burned and blinded the eyes of them all, as Lactantius wryteth lib. 2. cap. 8. and Valerius Maximas lib. 1. c. 2. Appius Claudius the Censour for taking a∣way of sacred things of the false Gods, was stroken blind. Fuluius the Censour, in that he tooke certaine marble tyles or plate out of the temple of Iuno Lascinia, with the which he couered the building which he made at Rome, called Aedes Fortunae Equestris, became madd, and in the end dyed through griefe, conceaued for the losse of his two sonnes in the warrs in Greece. Pirrhus (King of the Epirots) for robbing the treasury of Proserpina Locrensis, suffred shipwracke vpon the shores neerest to that Goddesse, where Page 273 there was after nothing to be found safe, but the siluer, which he had taken afore. These things are related out of ancient wryters by Lactantius lib. 2. cap. 8. and diuers other ap∣prooued authours make mention of the like euents in this kind. For answere hereto, it is to be said, that these punishments do not proceed from the true God; but from the Diuells, who are emulous of diuinity; who that they may be accounted Gods, and that they may the more easily extort diuine ho∣nours, endeauour to imitate the custome & proceeding of the true God. And from hence it riseth, that there are so many visions, ap∣paritions, and Oracles; so many false and a∣dulterate miracles perfourmed by them; so many benefits seeming to be bestowed by them vpon their worshippers; and so many punishments inflicted vpon such, as seeme more negligent in their honours: for by their prestigious sleights and endeauours it was brought to passe, that a statua or Image of Iuno Veiensis spoke to a souldier, that it in∣tended to go to Rome; that the Goddesse Fortune was accustomed to denounce perill & danger in a Womans forme or show; that a ship (drawne with a string) did follow the hand of Claudia; that Rome should be freed of the plague, if a serpent were sent from Epidaurus; that Ceres Theb•n•, Ceres Mi∣lesia,Page 274Proserpina Locrensis, and Iuno Lascinia did Ireuenge themselues vpon those, who bore themselues sacrilegiously towards them: fi∣nally, that for the same matter Hercules tooke punishment of Appius, Iupiter of Atinius, and Apollo of a souldier of Scipio. But of this point see more in Lactantius l. 2. c. 17.
God suffered these euents both for the sinnes of those men, who deserued to liue vnder the tiranny of the Diuells; as also be∣cause the Heathens in committing indigni∣ties against their false Gods, did either sinne against their conscience, which perswaded them, that there was a kind of diuinity in them; or otherwise committed these dis∣graces with contempt, not only of false Gods but also of all diuine and supernatu∣rall power whatsoeuer. For seeing, they were ignorant of the true God, the creatour of all things, and with all did know by the light of reason, that those vulgar powers, which were worshipped of the common sort were no Gods, they might more easily be induced to thinke, that there was no di∣uine power at all, by the which the world is gouerned; but that all things had their be∣ing and euent by a fatall necessity, or by∣temerity and rashnes of fortune. And from this ground it is, that among the Iaponians & thē of China, such as are ignorāt, are ey∣ther Page 275 Atheists, and open contemners of all diuinity; or at least, do greatly fluctuate & stagger in their iudgments therein.
Therfore when the Heathens (as in the examples aboue related) do commit any sacrilegious act against their false Gods, ei∣ther they sinne against their conscience, in the which they belieue, that there is a cer∣taine diuinity in those Gods; or els they sinne through a generall contempt of all di∣uine power; wherfore (whatsoeuer the rea∣son is) it is not strange, if the Heathens suf∣fer punishments for such their actions. Nei∣ther is it any preiudice to what is deliuered in this Chapter, that among blasphemous, sacrilegious, and periured men, there is a far greater number of those, who are not punished in this life; then of those who are punished; Seing this is no signe or argument of any defect or want of Prouidence, but only of the delaying of the punishment. For it doth not necessarily belong to the nature of prouidence, to punish all sinnes in this world; but to suffer actions and things for the tyme to be carryed according (for the most part) to the forces of the worker; the chiefest punishment being reserued for the tyme to come; Since otherwise, mankind would shortly be extinguished, and the of∣fices or operations of vertue would rather Page 276 seeme to be seruilely coacted and enforced, then free, or proceeding from any ingenu∣ous or generous lyking of vertue. It is cer∣taine, that Prouidence manifesteth it selfe suf∣ficiently, if it taketh punishment of some particular men in this world after an vnac∣customed manner; and this in the eye of the world, with admiration and astonishment of all; as acknowledging the secret hand of Gods power, and omnipotency therein.
THE ARGVMENTS ANSVVERED, which are brought against the being of a Prouidence, and a Deity. CHAP. XVIII.
THE first argument against a diuine Prouidence may be this: Yf the world be gouerned by the Prouidence of some su∣pernatural power, then would not impiety & wickednes so much preuaile and predo∣minate, nor haue such prosperous euents against vertue and innocency: for it may seeme chiefly to belong to the prouidence of a gouernour, not to giue the bridle of li∣uing loosely to the wicked, but to curbe them, and force them to better courses; and on the other side to defend and cherish the pious, and to aduance them to honours Page 277 and riches. Yf in any great Citty the most li∣centious and prophane persons should con∣tinually gouerne and sterne all matters, wronging with all impunity others; and the vertuous should euer rest thus afflicted; who would say, that this Citty were go∣uerned by a prouident & iust Ruler? Wher∣fore seeing in the world we may obserue such a perturbation of Order, as that a grea∣ter can hardly be conceaued; to wit, the wicked ruling and doing euery thing to their owne sensuality, and the vertuous miserably afflicted & oppressed; all which may seeme to impugne, that the world is gouerned by one supreme Prouidence, which iustly disposeth and measureth all things.
I answere hereto, and say, that the pro∣phane Athists do chiefly ground themselues vpon this argument; as also that the faithful are sometimes troubled and distracted ther∣with, as the Prophet Dauid in his Psalme 72. insinuateth himselfe to haue bene mo∣ued herein. But the answere hereto, is ob∣uious, facile, and easy. For as there is a double end; the one belonging to this tem∣poral life, to wit, the tranquillity and peace of the common wealth; the other to the life to come, and this is the eternal glory in heauen: euen so we are to consider a double Prouidence, wherof the one disposeth the Page 278 meanes for the obtaining of the temporal end; the other of the eternal end. The first is humane and political, as resting vpon mans wisdome, and tending to a political and temporal good; this other is diuyne, as be∣ing grounded vpon diuyne wisdome, and directed to an eternal good or benefit.
Therfore where it is said, that it belon∣geth to Prouidence to bridle the wicked, not to suffer them to afflict the vertuous with∣out controule, and the like; this is true, if we speake of politicall prouidence, and of temporall coercion and constraint; for seing this Prouidence is ordained to obtaine tem∣porall peace and rest, the function of it is to hinder (what in it lyeth) all wickednes and sinnes, wherby the temporall peace may be disturbed. Wherfore it may be truly gran∣ted, that in what Commonwealth soeuer outrages are committed without any feare of punishment; the same either wanteth a gouernour, or at least the magistrate thereof is vniust, partiall, and tyrannous.
But if we speake of that Supreme Proui∣dence (afore mentioned) then is it false to affirme, that it belongeth to its functiō, not to suffer the impious to gouerne and rule temporally; since indeed the contrary ra∣ther appertaineth to it, to wit, to suffer all things (as they are heere furnished with Page 279 their owne faculties and abilities) for the tyme to take and enioy their proceedings and desires; and this for many causes.
First, that we may spontaneously and voluntarily be carryed to the exercise of* vertue, & not be compelled thereto through any necessity: for vertue coacted and forced, is not vertue, but rather a bondage of the mind; since true vertue exerciseth it selfe not through any seruile feare of punishmēt, but through loue of honesty: therfore to the end, that true vertue and perfect desert may haue their due place, it was necessary, that the Diuine Prouidence should not constraine men thereto, but should leaue euery man to his free choice and liberty herein.
Secondly, because the dignity and worth of eternall reward is so great, that if it be duely considered, it is abundantly sufficient to inflame our desires to the loue of it, and to excite vs to all vertue and sanctity; ther∣fore it should much impugne the excellency of so inestimable a felicity, if men through compulsion were driuen to the seeking of it.
Thirdly, if eternall punishments be ma∣turely expended and considered, they are fully preuailing to deterre men from all fla∣gitious and impious attempts. Wherupon if God should not chastice men in this world, Page 280 yet were they not destitute of his Proui∣dence; for it is sufficient, that he promiseth rewards, & threatneth punishments for the tyme to come.
Fourthly, if by Gods disposall & his pro∣uidence, wickednes should euer receaue its retaliation and recompence in this world (as we see, politicall Prouidence inflicteth the same) then would the world be in a short tyme extinguished and ended; wheru∣pon it would follow, that there should be few imbracers of vertue, and the meanes for the wicked to their saluation should be re∣cluded and shut vp.
Fiftly, the malignity of the wicked is not in vaine permitted by God, seeing by reason therof the vertue of the iust is often more stirred vp and exercised, and appea∣reth more worthily; as also there is giuen them thereby an occasion of a greater me∣rit, and a more glorious crowne. For take away the seuerity of tyrants, and then there shalbe no glory of Martyrs; take away the wrongs proferred by euill men, and there shall not appeare the patience or longani∣mity of the iust and vertuous; briefly, the world would be depriued of an infinite seed of goodnes, if God should euer restraine and curbe the wicked in this world. The same malignity serueth to punish as wel Page 281 the sinnes of the iust, as of the impious (as is euident out of the holy Scripture.) So God diuers tymes vsed the malice and ambition of the Assyrians, Chaldeans, Persians, Egiptians, & Romanes, as a meanes, wherwith to cha∣stice the Israelites & other nations; suffering them according to a limited proportion of tymes, places, persons, calamities, and pu∣nishments, to afflict and molest the people of God, and otheer countries; and this order God hath obserued in all ages, and will ob∣serue it till the consummation of the world.
Sixtly, we are furthermore instructed from this Prouidence, that temporall bene∣fits are not much to be esteemed; since both the vertuous, and the vicious do promiscu∣ously participate of them; and in the which the wicked do commonly more increase, then the pious and the iust. Which point be∣ing so, then how great are those benefits, which God hath promised and prepared for his seruants? For if he doth not giue these temporall commodities (so much prized) to such as daily dishonour him with their bad liues, then what, and how great are those rewards, which he hath reserued only for such, as do truly feare and serue him? To be briefe, this temperature of Gods prruidence doth greatly commend and magnify the wonderfull benignity & clemency of God, Page 282 which while it slowly proceedeth to re∣uenge, it daily expecteth the conuersion of sinners. And yet it proceedeth in such sort, as that it is not altogeather voyde of iustice & seuerity; because often by vnaccustomed meanes euen in this life, it punisheth sinnes, to show that God doth not sleepe, but that he will in due tyme exact an account of all men. From all which, it appeareth, that this Prouidence, which suffereth so great a per∣turbation in humane and temporall things, is perfect and grounded vpon most forcible reason; since the wrong of the vertuous is temporall & momentary, and is to be chan∣ged hereafter for eternall rest and beatitude. He that diligently weigheth this point, wil not only, not be scandalized at the vneuen dispensation of these humane things; but will greatly admire & prayse the Proui∣dence of God, who vpon so iust motiues permitteth the same.
THE SECOND ARGVMENT AGAINST the diuine Prouidence, answered. CHAP. XIX.
EXPERIENCE instructeth vs, that mens negotiations and busines haue (for the most part) euents and Page 283 successe, answerable to the industry & care vsed by them therein, and not according to the right or equity of the cause; wherupon it often falleth out, that who maintaineth the most in iust causes, doth preuaile in thē; which consideration may seeme to insinu∣ate, that each man is to be left to his owne Prouidence, without disquisition or search of any other Prouidence. Accordingly he∣reto it is to be remembred, that a great Ge∣nerall or Leader in the warres (who had gotten diuers worthy victoryes, and had taken a Prince prisoner) discoursing with him of the Prouidence of God, in matters of warres, & laying his hand vpon his sword, said, That (& no other) was the Prouidēce, wherupon he was to rest and depend.
I answere, that the solution of this ar∣gument much relyeth vpon the former; for Mens affayres for the most part do succeed according to their labour, care and solici∣tude vsed therein, in that the diuine and su∣preme Prouidence hath decreed to suffer, that matters (during the season and tyme of this world) shalbe carryed according to their owne peculiar motions and forces, the reynes of working thus, or not thus, being freely granted to mans nature. Therefore where greater industry or power is found (though lesse iustice or equity) there it is Page 284 commonly accōpanyed with more happy and fortunate euents. The reasons of Gods permission here in are aboue set downe and vnfoulded. Ad hereto, that though the en∣deauours of the wicked may (for the tyme) be ouer preuailing, yet there is no perpe∣tuity or continuance thereof; for this pro∣sperity is for the most part tempered, or ra∣ther ouer ballanced with many aduersities and afflictions. Seing many there are, who either in their first beginnings, or in their progresse (at what tyme they hould them∣selues most free from all sudden conuulsiōs of misery and infelicity) are vtterly ouer∣throwne. This appeareth first in the most celebrious & famous Monarchies that euer haue flourished: for we read, that the Mo∣narchy of the Assyrians was ouerthrowne by the Chaldeans; that of the Chaldeans by the Persians and the Medes; this of the Persi∣ans by the Grecians; & the monarchy of the Grecians by the Romans, which is at this presēt much obscured of its former honour, and brought to great straits. Againe the same point is also made cleare in the persōs of the Monarchs themselues, if we but cō∣sider the calamityes and miseryes, which the most powerfull and most formidable a∣mong them haue sustained. For Nabuchodo∣nozor being placed vpon the highest pinacle Page 285 of prosperity, and after the ouerthrow of so many Countries and nations, was suddēly stroken with a sentence from heauen, and compelled to liue in desart places after the manner of beasts. Baltasar (nephew to the former) being deuoted and giuen to epicu∣risme and sensuality, was flame in that very night, when his Citty was taken. Cyrus, when he had obtained the honour of so many victories, was (with the losle of his army) pittifully massacred by the Scithians. Xerxes, with his forces, consisting of three hundred thousand fighting men, was sha∣fully ouercome by the Grecians, & almost extinguished. Alexander the great after the dissolution of the Persian Empire, and sub∣iugation of diuers other kingdomes to his command, dyed without any heires, and left his kingdomes to be shared by his Generals and Leaders, who after through mutuall and inward afflictions so weakned and impouerished themselues, as that in the end they were brought vnder the yo•ke of the Romans. Now for the Romans, with what sweating, paynes, and labours did they rise and grow dreadfull? With what calamityes were they often worne out and wearyed? With what intestine and ciuill warres were they afflicted? What exorbi∣tant and vnaccustomed crueltyes suffered Page 286 they of their Generals and Emperours? Fi∣nally how many of their Generals and Em∣perours after their incessant and indefatiga∣ble paines vndertakēfor the honour of their countries, were ignominiously and basely handled, and in the end cruelly butchered? Certainly it were an infinite labour to in∣sist in all the particulars of this kind. For if a man will but peruse either the ancient, or moderne, and later historyes, he shall find many in euery age, whose vnlawfull at∣tempts and labours (though they were ex∣traordinarily furnished and enabled with power & forces) had most vnfortunate and deplorable successes: the Prouidence of God interposing it selfe, and disturbing al their wicked motions & endeauours, according to that of the Psalme 32. Dominus dissipat cō∣silia gentium &c.
THE THIRD ARGVMENT. CHAP. XX.
VVE see, that all naturall things do euer proceed after one and the same manner, and do retayne one course and order. As the Sunne (for exāple) we obserue to ryse, to set, to runne, or renew his circles, and Page 287 to make with his approach and departure the accustomed seasons of the yeare. In like sort all sublunary bodyes to grow & decay and one to be procreated and generated of another (without end) to the perpetuity or continuance of it species or kind. Now all this procedure and carriage of things riseth from the force of nature, which is accusto∣med to hold so perfect & constant an order. And therefore (saith the Atheist) no other Prouidence or Deity (besides nature) is to be sought after, neither any rewards or pu∣nishments are to be expected. I answere; & first say, that the Atheists of these dayes do chiefly support themselues with this argu∣ment, as S. Peter prophecyed in his second epistle c. 7. Venient in nouissimis diebus &c.
To the which point himselfe doth an∣swere: to wit, that the promises of God by the which he hath promised his eternall kingdome, are not to be accoūted as vaine, because they seeme to be deferred, for a lōg tyme; since what is long in tyme to vs, is most short to God: for a thousand yeares to him (who comprehendeth Eternity it selfe) is but as one day, or rather as a moment of tyme. Againe all that procrastination and delay proceedeth frō the benignity of God by the which he expecteth each mans sal∣uation. Furthermore, they erre, who affir∣me Page 288 the world euer to continue in one, & the same state; for long since it was ouer∣flowed with water, and hereafter it shalbe consumed with fyar, & then there shalbe created new heauens and a new earth. Be∣sides, all such things, as may seeme to pro∣ceed by force of nature, are indeed the workes of an intelligent mynd and of Pro∣uidence; for these two do not impugne the one the other; for the motion of the hea∣uens, the situation of the stars, the disposal of the earth, mountaines, riuers, and seas, the formes of liuing Creatures and plants, as also their beginnings, increase, & pro∣pagation are the works of Prouidence (as a∣boue we haue fully demonstrated.) Neither is the constancy of things incompatible or repugnant to Prouidence, seing this constācy is assigned to things by an intellectuall Pro∣uidence, that they may the more commodi∣ously serue mankind, vntill the end of this world, appointed and determined by God, be come.
THE FOVRTH ARGVMENT. CHAP. XXI.
THE fourth argument is taken from the similitude of being borne, of growing, Page 289 increasing, waxing old, and dying (which is indifferenly common to men with beasts) as also from the conformity of corporeall members in them both. From which consi∣deration the Atheist argueth, that men are absolutely & vtterly extinguished by death, as well as vnreasonable creatures. I ans∣were, that this illation is most inconsequēt, for although man, in respect of his affecti∣ons or passions of the mind, be like to beasts; yet with referēce to the nature of his soule, he is infinitly more excellent, then they are. In which consideration man approacheth more neere to God and incorporeall spirits, then to beasts; And therefore it is no won∣der, if the body being corrupted, the soule remayneth immortall. But this argument rather belōgeth to the second booke, wher∣of the subiect is, touching the Immortality of the soule; though secondarily and by way of consequence only, it impugneth the na∣ture of Prouidence.
THE FIFTH ARGVMENT. CHAP. XXII.
IF there be a Diuine Power, it is credible, that it doth not intermeddle with hu∣mane affaires; but being happy and blessed Page 290 in it selfe, is content to enioy its owne Eterni∣ty, and to be freed from the cares of men. This may be probably coniectured, both because it may seeme vnworthy of such a maiesty to descend to so base and vile mat∣ters; as also in that he being blessed in him∣selfe, seeth nothing out of it selfe; and lastly because the vndertaking the charge of any such matters cannot be aduantageous or be∣neficiall vnto him.
I answere, that in this sort, Epicurus, Lucretius, Pliny, and some others of the an∣cients did dispute, who measured God by the narrow straits of their owne vnderstan∣dings. And certainly, if the Supreme Intelli∣gence, or God were a limited and bounded nature, and had not an infinit power of vn∣derstanding, this former teason might seeme probable. For then it would follow, that it were better for God not to attend to hu∣mane affaires; both because he could not without molestation and distraction per∣forme the charge, tam multiplicis & tristis mi∣nistery, (as Pliny saith) of so multiplicious, and vngratefull a ministery, or function; as also in that this labour would call him from better and more pleasing busines: but this conceite of God is ouer grosse and dull; and vnworthy of him: for as the Diuine Essence is infinite, in whome euery thing is contay∣ned Page 291eminenter, after an eminent and pecu∣liar manner; so his vnderstanding is infi∣nite, extending it selfe to euery intelligible thing, and this without labour, or paine, but only by the necessity of his owne na∣ture. Neither doth the multiplicity of busi∣nes hinder his attention to particulars; for he as perfectly considereth euery particular thing, as if it only were proposed vnto him; seing to euery such particular he sendeth forth an infinite beame or light of vnder∣standing. The holy Scripture insinuateth this point most excellently in many places, and especially in the 23. of Ecclesiasticus in these words: Oculi domini decies millies &c. The eyes of the Lord are 10000. tymes brighter, then the Sunne, behoulding all the wayes of men, and considering the most secret parts. That is, all things whatsoeuer which lye hid & latent in the most secret corners of the Heart.
Therefore this consideration or care of small things is not vnworthy the Diuine Ma∣iesty, but very worthy, or rather it is neces∣sary; since otherwise it would follow, that God should be ignorant of many things. And though such things, and diuers of mans actions be but base, sordid, and vyle, yet the vnderstanding and iudgment of them is not base and vyle, neither is the reason or na∣ture of Iustice vile, by the which a fitting Page 292 retribution or reward is allotted vnto them.
Neither is it preiudiciall, that God is in himselfe most fully blessed; since this only proueth, that he taketh not the care of things to the end, that he might become more blessed or happy thereby, or that he might reape some benefit by such his doing; but it proueth not absolutly, that he endeauou∣reth nothing out of himselfe. For because he is Summum bonum, and the fulnes of all goodnes, as containing in himselfe eminenter all goodnes whatsoeuer; it was most con∣uenient, that he should not keepe this foun∣taine of goodnes shut vp within himselfe; but should suffer it to flow into his crea∣tures, according to the seuerall degrees & kinds of things, and the measure of the ca∣pacity of euery one, by creating, framing, conseruing, and directing ech thing to its peculiar end. For that saying is most true: Bonum est sui diffusiuum. Goodnes is of a sprea∣ding and dilating nature. Therefore no want, nor expectation of any priuate benefit, in∣uited God to create and preserue things, but only Gods owne supereminent goodnes: to wit, that his goodnes might be diffused in∣to things created, according to the nature of euery one of them, and might be communi∣cated with them. To conclude this point, it is fully and copiously proued aboue, that, Page 293 God hath a knowledge and care of the least creatures that are, as of mice, gnats, wormes and the like; then with how much more reason is he to shroud man vnder the wings of his Prouidence, who in regard of his Soule beareth a great conformity & resem∣blance with God?
It may be heere replyed, That God knoweth (indeed) what men do, thinke, or say, but yet he taketh no care of these things; Like vnto potent and mighty Princes, who in regard of the security of their state, little respect, what the Communalty speake of them. But in answere hereof, I say, this is most absurdly spoken: for seeing man is the worke of God, in whose soule he hath im∣planted the lawes of Iustice, and of all ver∣tue, it is a charge (euen in reason) peculiar∣ly incumbent and belonging to him, to see, that man liueth according to those lawes; for the workeman ought euer to be most so∣licitous and carefull, that his worke be per∣fect; the Law giuer, that the lawes prescri∣bed may be obserued by his subiects; And finally, the Parents, how the children do beare and carry themselues. Now, God is the parent and Father of all.
No man will commend that architect, who leaueth a pallace builded by himselfe vnfinished and neglected, so as it cannot be Page 494 seruiceable for dwelling: Neither is that Law giuer to be praysed, who (though he hath set downe many wholesome lawes) is carelesse of the execution of them, permit∣ting all things at the freedome and liberty of the subiects. Finally, that father is much to be reprehended, who taketh no care for the education and bringing vp of his children. How much lesse then are the proceedings of that God to be approued, who should shew a dereliction, and open neglect of so worthy a worke made by himselfe, and should free himselfe of al care of humane af∣faires; especially seing with great facility, & without any labour he could gouerne and sterne them? To conclude, what Prince is he, who is indifferēt how his subiects beare themselues in his sight and presence, what they speake, or what they do, whether they obserue or violate his lawes, whether they affect him with honour or contumely, with praises or conuitious and railing inuectiues? Yea what priuate man is so rude and brutish who is not sensible of honours & disgraces? But now God is euery where present, hea∣reth all things, seeth all things, penetrateth into all the secrets of the heart; for all things whatsoeuer are done in his eye sight & pre∣sence. Therfore it is madnes to thinke, that God is not touched, offended, and deligh∣ted Page 295 with the words, deedes, & thoughts of men: for by how much his maiesty, wis∣dome, and power is greater, and how much more worthy are his benefits bestowed v∣pon vs; so much the more sharpely and fee∣lingly he considereth all iniuryes and trans∣gressions of his lawes, and will in due time take iust reuenge for the same.
Thus farre I haue disputed of the Proui∣dence of a supreme and diuine power, and of the being of the said power. And heere this first booke shall end. The second followeth, which is of the Immortality of the Soule.