Of superstition

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Of superstition
Hammond, Henry, 1605-1660.
London :: Printed by Henry Hall ...,

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"Of superstition." In the digital collection Early English Books Online Collections. https://name.umdl.umich.edu/A45429.0001.001. University of Michigan Library Digital Collections. Accessed July 14, 2024.


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SUPERSTITION being a crime so or∣dinarily charged on those whose Con∣sciences* 1.1 assure them that they are faire enough from the guilt of it, it will be an Act of double charity, first to the honest calumniated Protestant, Se∣condly to the contumelious unjust de∣famer of his best actions, to consider a while of this matter, and first to enquire what is the naturall importance of the word in Latine and Greeke, especially as we finde it in the New-Testament.

Superstition in Latine is most clearely according to the use and Origination of the word,* 1.2 Superstitum Cultus, The wor∣ship of some departed from this World, supposed yet to have life in another, This is observed and acknowledged amongst many others by Lactantius, and made probable even by the different conceipt of Cicero, who deduceth the word from the practice of those that used to pray whole daies together, ut sibi liberi superstites essent, that their children might outlive them∣selves; by that acknowledging the truth of the Etymologie from the word [Superstites] but disguising it into a ridiculous phansy, out of feare, saith St. Austin, to condemn the practice of the Romans, among whom he lived. These Superstites,* 1.3 whom

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the Heathens thus worshipped, were by them called Heroës, men of worth and excellency 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, assumed into the state of Gods, but among Christians the Soules of the Saints de∣parted, quae supersunt corporibus; which when their bodies are buried in peace, are imagined to live for evermore. And the wor∣shipping of these (as among the Papists 'tis most ordinary) is most properly called Superstition. And in that sence I con∣ceive it is, that in some authentique writings of our Church, the Idolatrie and Superstition of the Papists is censured; by I∣dolatrie meaning the worshippe of Images among them, and by Superstition the worshippe and prayers to Saints departed. A censure authorizable by that part of S. Austin's words, De Doct. Christi. l. 2. Superstitiosum est quicquid institutum est ad colendum, sicut Deum, Creaturam, partemve ullam creaturae. Superstition is the worshipping a Creature as God, or any part of a Creature. By the latter of which I know not what he should meane so probably, as those supposedly deified parts of Crea∣tures, the soules of dead-men.

The Greeke word parallel to this is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉,* 1.4 which literally is,* 1.5 as S. Austin defines the Latine Superstition, Daemo∣num Cultus, the worship of Daemones.

The full importance of which must be taken,* 1.6 1 from the various use of the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. 2 of the other word [〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉] ingredient in the composition.

〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 Signifies sometimes in a wider sence a God,* 1.7 as gene∣rally among the Poets, Juno and Apollo and Minerva, and all beside the supreme Jupiter, are numbred among Homer's 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. This Maximus Tyrius demonstrates at large, and adds 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉▪ that there are a great flock of those 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Somtimes 2. in a stricter sence the Angels, as 'tis used among the Philosophers, especially the Pythagoreans & Plato∣nicks; for so the description of them in Hierocles, & Maximus Tyrius, & Plotinus, & Proclus will evidence, particularly that every man's proper tutelary Angel the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, as Plotinus calls him. The cohabitant or domestick Daemon or Angel that is allotted us.

A thing so frequent among those Philosophers,* 1.8 that the

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word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Philosophy, Col. 2. 8. seemes to me to be di∣rectly all one with 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉; worshipping of Angels v. 18. And so those two exhortations in those two verses to be coincident, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in one (which we render recei∣ving of reward) being aequipollent to 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, spoyling in the other, only in diverse notions. The first referring to pri∣zes in the Olympick games, the other to spoyles in warre. the reasons of which conjecture it will not be seasonable here to insert.

And thirdly againe the departed worthies,* 1.9 which (besides the frequency of that acception among the Philosophers) may seeme to bee meant Apoc. 9. 20. where the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which are said to be worship't, are joyn'd with Idols of Gold, &c. and communicate with them in their effects and livelesnesse, that they neither see, nor heare, nor walke.

To these sences might be added that other most vulgar for evill spirits, agreeable to which, is that definition of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉,* 1.10 in the Etymologicum magnum, that 'tis 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a care & feare of evill spirits. And a fifth lesse frequent, yet to be found among the Philosophers, for wise men here in this life, which Hierocles describes at large under the Title of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 earthly spirits, or Dae∣mons.

Now the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 refers indifferently to the three first of these,* 1.11 and signifies the worshipping either of the many Poëticall Gods, or Angels, or Dead-men, or indeed any thing but the one supreme God. Thus is it said of the Gentiles, 1 Cor. 10. 20. That what they Sacrifice, they Sacri∣fice 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and not to God. i. e. not to the one true God. And in the booke of Baruch 4. 7. Offering 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and not to God. where (as also in many other places of holy writ) 'tis not proper to render it [Devils or Infernall Spirits] but (with Mr. Mead) Damons, meaning thereby eyther Angels or Dead men, or any thing else beside the true God. Which seemes to be express't Rom. 25. by worshipping the Creature 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, besides (not as we render more then) the Creator.

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Thus when S. Paul tells the Athenians Acts 17. 22. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉,* 1.12 I consider and behold you in all things (or in all that I see of you) as men that are more superstitions then any other. Hee meanes they worship't more Gods or Daemons then the Romans, or any other sort of Hea∣then people; or were more devout, more pious in the Hea∣then worships then any others; for so it followes 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, v. 23. Yee worship: and so indeede 'tis generally attested by the Greek writersa 1.13 Pausanias, Philostratus, Strabo, Max. Tyr. &c. That the Athenians were more religious then other people, at least were more hospitable to new and strange Deities, then the Romans, who (saith Dionysius Halicarnasseus) were so a∣verse from all forreigne Deities (unlesse some few that their ancestors had from the Grecians) that they might bee more truely said 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 to bee haters of such kinde of hospitalitie or admission of forreign Gods, then lovers of it.

So Acts 25. 19. Festus or Saint Luke in his story saith, That the Jewes had certaine 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Quaestions, or Accusations against Paul 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, concerning his owne Re∣ligion, or Superstition, or worship, peculiar to him from them, and (as it followes to explaine what they meant by the word) 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Of one Jesus that was dead, puting him under the vulgar notion of a 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or dead Heros, and so mea∣ning the worship of him by 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.

Beside this method of examining the sence of this word, another I mentioned by observing the force of the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the former part in its composition, which though it signifies simply to feare, (and therefore the word is rendred by Hesy∣chius 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, fearing God, or Religion in generall; by others 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, The feare of God & Daemons) yet perhaps may be set somtimes to import a cowardly trembling feare; and so may have an influence on the word in some Authors. Thus the Etymologist, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the superstitious man is religious and cowardly,* 1.14 Feares the Gods,* 1.15 and is afraid of them; and Clemens 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉,* 1.16 Superstition is a passion, being a feare

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of the Daemons; and Theophrastus 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 'tis a cowardly feare of the Daemon. Thus Maximus Tyrius having compared a pious man to a freind,* 1.17 a su∣perstitious to a flatterer, [〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉] he explaines the meaning in the words following, the pious man comes to God 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 without feare, the superstiti∣stitious 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 with much feare, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, &c. dreading the Gods as so many Ty∣rants. according to which notion of the Greeke word, Saint Austin is affirmed to say, Deum a religioso vereri, a superstitio∣so timeri. The Religious man reveres God. the superstitious is afraid of him; and consequently to that, Religio Deum colit, su∣perstitio violat. Religion is the worshiping of God, Superstition the wronging and violation of him. So againe Plutarch. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. The Atheist thinks there are no Gods,* 1.18 but the superstitious wishes there were none, but in spight of his Teeth beleeves that there are. An argument where∣of is, that he is unwilling to dye. Where the beleeving of any punishment after this life is the maine peice of Superstition.

I conceive my selfe able to give the reader some light in this matter,* 1.19 by what I have gathered out of some scattered 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 of Epicurus's Philosophy,* 1.20 and it is this: Epicurus, we know,* 1.21 was willing to rid God of the trouble of a providence or care of humane affaires, resolved that all things were done naturalibus ponderibus, & motibus, by naturall weights and motions, and consequently that men were to revere and adore God for his greatnesse, and excellency, and be atitude, and immor∣tality, and transcendent beauty; but not to feare, or dread, or be affraid of him. Of those therefore that differed from him in judgement, as they which thought there was no God at all, were the downe-right 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and for that by him censured; so those that beleived a providence, and consequent to that, re∣wards and punishments, he rejected also, as the other extreme, under the title of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, or Superstitious, or fearers of a deity. This appeares by severall passages in Cicero and other of the ancients out of him, and by what we finde in the lives of the Epicureans in Laërtius. In Cicero l. 2. de nat. de. ut Su∣perstitione

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liberatem, &c. to be freed from Superstition, is ex∣plicated by metum omnem Deorum pulsum esse, to have all feare of the Gods banished from us.* 1.22 And againe having described the wiseman to be such as can sine metu vivere, live without feare, he repeates it againe in these other words, Omnium re∣rum naturâ cognitâ levamur Superstitione, liberamur mortis me∣tu, the knowledge of the nature of all things (and among them of God himselfe) frees men and releases them from Superstition and the feare of death. This in the same booke he calls metum religionis,* 1.23 feare of Religion, or such a feare as the beleiving Gods providence was apt to beget in men, (especially in those which did what they ought not) viz. terrors and expectations of evill from God, which they which tooke it to be an errour in di∣vinity (as Epicurus did,) must needes count a very uneasie, un∣pleasant errour, and so as much dislike Superstition, i. e. a re∣ligion that brings so much affliction to their lives, as any man now adayes doth under the most odious notion of it.

Agreeable to this is that of Aristippus and the Cyrenaici in Laërtius, which upon the same principles resolve that it is the part of a wiseman neither to be moved with envy, nor to be su∣perstitious, and afterwards explained the [〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉] being without Superstition by 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, put∣ting off all feare of death, and as a foundation or consequent of that fearelessenesse, a resolution that nothing is by nature just or unjust, but only 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, by positive law or custome, and from thence never doing any (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) unbecoming thing, never admit∣ing any unfashionable peice of Piety on contemplation of any Mulct or danger.

Whereupon it is, that Lucretius an Epicurean Philosopher speaking of the eternity of Torments threarned in another world, confesseth that, if that were true, there would be no way of resisting the religions and threats of the Divines. Nam si nullum finem esse putarent Aerumnarum homines, nullâ ratio∣ne valerent Religionibus atque minis obsistere vatum.* 1.24 Make∣ing that beleife of the infinite Torments in another life,* 1.25 and the menaces of the Preists attending it, to be the Religion or Super∣stition, that was to be confuted and banisht out of the world.

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And I wish 'twere now uncharitable to suspect, (what the a∣ctions of many makes too visible) that the abhorring of Su∣perstition (which men we boast of, and by which they so dis∣criminate themselves from other men) hath at least brought them to this piece of Epicurean faith, To discarde all feare of a∣nother life as a relicke of superstition, & to resolve with him in Plutarch, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Vnbeleife and contempt of all that is Divine is a shrewd fault indeed but on the other side Superstition is a shrewd fault too, the shrewder of the twaine, and meant by superstition what you had even now from the same Author. The feare of death, or any ill thing after it. But this by the way.

This generally is the notion of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉,* 1.26 Superstition. (and the same of Religion too) among the Antient heathen writers when either Epicureans or Atheists speake of any Re∣ligion, or those who are neither speake of some kinde of Religi∣on which they do not like. For in both these cases whatsoe∣ver they see men of other perswasions doe, which they like not, or thinke them not bound to, they call it straight their Su∣perstition or Religion.

Thus in Plutarch's Tract 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉,* 1.27 it goes indefinite∣ly for Religion, but particularly for some fearefull apprehensi∣ons of the Gods, which he makes to be contrary to Atheisme, and to offend as ill in the other extreame; a being awed with some frightfull Doctrines to do some things which he thought not men obliged to, an Astonishment of soule, looking on the Gods as so many 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, furies or sprights, conceiving them to be cruell, bloudy minded, and other such things, which rather then he would beleive, he professeth he would wish there had beene never a man in the world, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and that Plutarch himselfe had no being. All which are but odious ex∣pressions fastened on those practises of Religion which he did not approve of, and the very same that Epicurus before him had laid upon Religion or beleife of Providence.

Among these he mentions keeping of Sabbaths,* 1.28 and casting on the face, or Prostrations, particularly that so strict observati∣on of the Sabbath among the Jewes, that when they were In∣vaded

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by the Enemy they would not rise from their seates 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, tyed and bound by their Religi∣on or Superstition as with a Net, that they could not move. And then adds the killing and sacrificing of children which by the description one would thinke referred to the custome in the valley of Hinnom, or Tophet mentioned in the scripture.

* 1.29 And so have we passed through the second part of our de∣signed course or method to finde out the meaning of the word.

* 1.30 From whence it appeares that the word in Greeke and La∣tine both in the classicall Authors and the scripture use is set to signifie one or more of these severalls.

* 1.31 In generall Religion or worship of God without any cen∣sure or marke set upon it of true or false; agreeable to which is that of the old Greeke and Latine Lexicon found at the end of some of Cyrills workes 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Superstitio, Religio, ren∣dring it, indifferently by those two words. And what Ste∣phanus observes of Cicero that he renders 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 Religio, and that in Athenaeus 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is religione teneri, (and thereupon Budaeus, hath so rendred it) and an ancient glossary, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. To which purpose a considera∣ble place there is in Polybius a grave and an excellent heathen writer who speaking of the Romans l. 16. p. 497. and giving his opinion of their government that it excelled other com∣monwealths extremely 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in the opinion and apprehension they had of the Gods, expresses what it was, he so commends in them, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, I meane saith he, their Superstition, which 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, was raised so tragically, or to so high a pitch, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 &c. was so farre taken in both to their private and publique affaires 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 that it was no lesse then an excesse. Where al∣though (that I disguise not any part of his words) it be by him affirmed, that this was 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, made matter of reproach to the Romans among other men, as indeed every thing in Religion is spoken ill of by those who are of o∣ther perswasions and practises) yet 1 that which those others are said to reproach in the Romans is their 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or excesse,

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or that which others counted to be so, and not 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 it selfe, and secondly Polybius himselfe doth not only commend and extoll extremely (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) both the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and the excesse of it, but attributes much of the good government of that nation to it, and that it doth 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, keepe their affaires in good order and compasse. If any doubt be made of this importance of this place, I shall then, instead of farther asserting it, adde one other to it which seemes to beyond all exception to demonstrate the word to be used in a good sence, it is in Diodorus Siculus bibl. l. 5. p. 305. Where speaking of the ancient soules he taketh notice of one speciall thing in them in their behaviour toward the temples of the Gods, Their lies (saith he in their Temples) a great deale of gold consecrated to the Gods, which yet no one of the natives toucheth 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 through their superstition or Reverence they beare their Gods, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 although these country me hare extremely covetous. Which words must needes set a good notion on 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 to any that do not count sacriledge a good quality, and absteining from that a vice or scrupulosity. The onely thing I can foresee possible to be objected to it is, that the not touching of the gold may be such a scrupulosity, but that will be soone answered by puting the reader in minde that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 to touch signifies to take away, and that it doth so in this place appeares by the addition of the mention of their covet∣ousnesse which surely would not put them upon the desire of touching only, but also of taking it away.

Secondly the worship of the deified dead men and Angels which the Heathens tooke to be true Gods,* 1.32 but the Christi∣stians do not, and therefore saith the Etymologist, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. The word among the Heathens is taken for a good thing, but among Christians for impiety.

Thirdly, any part of Divine worship,* 1.33 which in obedience to his God, or for feare of vengeance from him, any worshiper doth performe to him. A thing which every sect or sort of people liking in themselves, but disliking in others of a distant

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worship, do either honour or defame with the Title (as of Su∣perstition, so) of Religion also.

Fourthly,* 1.34 A trembling feare of Gods punishment due for every sinne, which the Epicureans were willing to scoffe out of the world, lest every man being a sinner, every man should be left to terrors and astonishments of Conscience, and so loose that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that tranquillity and ease of life, which they proposed to themselves as the cheifest good.

To which I need only adde a fifth not yet tourcht upon,* 1.35 The use of magicall Spells, Ligatures, Characters, &c. (of auspicious and ominous dayes the not observing of which Hesiod makes to be impiety,* 1.36 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 (that whole booke being a direction to that purpose) 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 ) & all the observa∣tions and bookes of the Augures and Aruspices, a Catalogue of all which Clemens Alexan: (Strom. 3. p. 312.) tells us, was to be seene in a Comedy of Maenanders called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in which he scoffes at those that make every Accident almost 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 a presage, or signe of something, divining by the flight of birds (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in Homer,) by the feeding of chickens, as in that famous story of Valens which cost so ma∣ny men their lives for having names which began with those letters which the chicken peckt at on the table: to which you may adde the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 by striking a stafle against the ground; to which tis thought the Prophet referred, Hos. 4. 12. and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and a many more collected by learned men out of their bookes, and the rest of the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 auspicious signes, such as 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, lightning on the right side in Homer Id. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. The like with more ease you shall finde in Saint Austin de Doctr. Christiana l. 2. under the Title of Significatio∣nes superstitiosae, superstitious significations, which saith he Epist. 73. ad serviendum Daemonibus adhibentur, are used to serve the Devils, and thence it seemes are called Superstitious, and they that use them 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in Suidas, superstiti∣ous observers of signes.

All which being thus premised,* 1.37 three things there are in our moderne customary use of this word among men, that

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will appeare very inconsequent and improper at least. First that Superstition simply and abstractly taken should be resolv∣ed in all Authors to signifie somewhat which is evill; That sinne particularly of False-worship. Whereas first those that use the word to expresse their owne worship either of God or Angels, or Saints, conceive that to be a creditable word, or else would not call it by that name, and the Etymologists even now affirmed that among the heathen 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 'Tis tak∣en for a good thing, and for religion in generall. And secondly When Saint Pauls Religion, or Christianity it selfe is called by that name by Festus an heathen Acts 25. 19. it appeares not that he did use that word as an accusation, or in an ill sence, but only in generall to signifie Pauls Religion, or somewhat in that different from the Religion of the Jewes, and no whit lesse fa∣voured by him then the Jewes Religion. For he that reades the story, shall see that he rather favoured Saint Paul's part a∣gainst the Jewes, or at most doubted whose side to judge on, so farre is he from prejudgeing Saint Paul's cause, or his Re∣ligion in comparison of theirs, or expressing that by this word. Thirdly Saint Paul himselfe Act. 17. 23. saith, they do 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 worship the true God, though ignorantly, taking him for a 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, as the rest of their many Gods were) whom he had called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Fourthly he calls them 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, more religious then other men, not in relation to any vitious rite or performance, where in they exceeded others, but in relation to their worshiping the unknowne God, which others worshipt not, which saith he was the true God of heaven whom he preached,* 1.38 though the truth is they knew him not.

A second inconsequence is, that the use of Ceremonies or Rites in the worship of the true God, if they be not distinct∣ly prescribed either by the example or precept of Christ, should 1 be called superstition, then without farther matter of accusa∣tion be condemned only for deserving that Title. Whereas first there is no example in the Scripture, nor ancient Authour nor ground in the nature of either Greeke or Latine word to affix that Title to that matter (Superstition to unprescribed Rites) or if there were, yet secondly no Authority to defame

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that Title, being so applyed; or to conclude every thing evill that were called by it, unlesse it might appeare to be in it selfe evill, abstracted from the Odium of that Title.

The Third Inconsequent thing is,* 1.39 that men on pretence & in the name of Piety should abstaine from some observances (in themselves and their owne nature acknowledged to be indif∣ferent) as superstitious, either because they are commanded by lawfull authority, or at most, because they are or have been used by Papists; And yet themselves not expect to be accompted superstitious in hating and detesting and not daring to practice any one of them (and that sometimes for no other crime but because they are by lawfull authority commanded to practice them) but as strictly obligeing themselves to do the contrary sometimes that which Anabaptists, and other Persons (1 not in authority, secondly as much or as well condemned by our Church both for doctrine and manner of worship as the Pa∣pists) are wont to doe; Whereas in things indifferent, first it is certainely as criminons, and Superstitious to place piety in the Negative, as the affirmative, in not kneeling, as in kneel∣ing; in absteining scrupulously from Ceremonies, as in using them as scrupulously, And secondly 'tis as dangerous a kinde of dogmatizing to teach the necessity of abstinence from law∣full unprohibited Ceremonies, as from lawfull unprohibited meates, Col. 2. And thirdly it is not imaginable that the in∣tervening of a command on one side and not on the other, should leave the Superstition only on that side, where the command lies, for then the Superstition must consist in obeying lawfull magistrates, or else the magistrates themselves be the only Su∣perstitious Persons in commanding. Either of which acts (ei∣ther of giving or obeying commands in things indifferent) if it were acknowledged a fault, might sure be Adultery, or Witch∣craft, as well as Superstition.

If to all which hath beene said in this matter,* 1.40 it be still ob∣jected, that superstition may and doth in some authenticke wri∣ters either sacred or profane signifie a nimiety or excesse in Reli∣gion, I shall breifely make this returne.

1.* 1.41 That the word Superstitious may indeed denote such ex∣cesse

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from the force of the termination [osus] and so also (saith Agellius out of Nigidius Figulus) the word Religiosus denotes; but then, first, by that Grammaticall observation I might con∣clude, that Superstitio denotes this no more then Religio doth; Nay secondly, that 'tis Agellius his animadversion upon Nigidi∣us Figulus, that all such excesses are not culpable, nor conse∣quently all words of that termination to be taken in ill sences.

But then Secondly,* 1.42 granting the word to be thus used by some Authors, I must first say, That some, and those not of the mea∣nest of the ancient Heathens (as appeares by what we produced out of Cicero) did it on that ground of Epicurean Divinity, Gods no providence, no punishments in another life, to which it was but consonant to condemn all superstition (because all feare of God) for a Nimiety in opinion first, and then in practice. 2ly. that for other later christian writers the use of a word in this or that sence in some Authors, is so slight and casuall a thing, that it must not be thought sufficient to fasten an ill character on any thing, to which those Authors have applyed it, unlesse that thing be first proved to be ill by some other Topick. Thirdly, that those Authors which come home to the point in hand, are so few or so moderne & of so small authority, that they would scarce be worth producing. Fourthly, that this supposed Nimiety, or ex∣cesse in matters of Religion may be reduced to these two sorts, as consisting either in the degree, or in the number of Actions; ei∣ther in the quality or quantity: in the intension or extension.

If it be supposed in the first kinde onely,* 1.43 then I shall without scruple deny, that there is any such thing as Nimiety or excesse in Religion. There is no possibility of being Religious in too high a Degree, of praying too fervently, or too often. For though the Messalians or Euchitae were condemn'd in this mat∣ter, yet 'tis cleare, that that which was their crime, was not that excessive practice, but the laying that obligation upon themselves and all others, to be allwayes a praying, upon autho∣rity of that Text [Pray continually] which being by the Apo∣stle delivered in reference and in analogie to the continuall i. e. dayly Sacrifices, was by them misinterpreted and applyed to uninterrupted, incessant powring out of Prayers. And againe

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though 'tis possible also, that in too frequent or intense a practice of holy Duties some incident fault there may be, as for example, if by so doing a man neglect the Duties of Charity or of his owne particular calling, yet then also 'tis cleare that this fault is the neg∣lecting of those Duties, and not the Excesse of Devotion (to which this neglect is but extrinsecall and accidentall, and so not fit to deprave the nature of that devotion it selfe) which you will discerne by this, that if that supposed excesse might be se∣parated from those adherent Neglects or Omissions, it would then never be accounted criminous, no man that discharges all his o∣ther Duties will ever be said to be too zealous, or to pray too of∣ten; and that he doth not discharge those Duties, though a fault it is, and an argument of partiall hypocriticall obedience in him that is wilfully guilty of it, yet sure not properly the sinne of su∣perstition. For 'tis Saint Austin's argument against Cicero (who thought that the praying day and night, ut filii essent Superstites, was superstition) de Civi. l. 4. c. 30. Si Superstites dicti, qui dies totas precabantur & immolabant, nunquid non & illi qui institue∣runt deorū simulachra? If 'twere Superstition to pray and sacrifice whole daies together, then sure they were superstitious also that set up those Images of the Gods to which they so Prayed and Sacrificed, intimating his opinion that the frequency of Prayer could not be Superstitious, unlesse the worship and institution it selfe were Su∣perstitious: that is the Gods or Images to whom they thus pray'd, false Gods.

* 1.44 But if this excesse be supposed to be in the extension, i. e. the ta∣king in too many things, to wit too many Rites and Ceremonies, &c. into the service of God, I shall then say. First, that by this it seemes to be granted, that the Rites and Ceremonies themselves are not superstitious, but only the multitude of them. I make such hast to assume this as granted, because I conceive it such a reaso∣nable postulation, that I would perswade my selfe no pretender to rationall discourse would deny it me; it being demonstra∣tively as impossible to devest Religion of all Rites and Ceremo∣nies wholly, as to performe the duty of Prayer in a humane bo∣dy, and yet to doe it at no time, in no place, with no gesture.

* 1.45 Or if our opposite Brethren will distinguish betwixt Circum∣stances and significant Ceremonies, and onely disclaime the

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latter; Then first they must fall out with their freinds who generally use elevation of the hand in taking of Oathes, and that is a significant Ceremony. And some of them assert the ne∣cessity of sitting at the Sacrament as significative of their assu∣rance of their Familiarity with Christ on Earth at his second comming. And secondly, they must affirme it to be a fault too in a Ceremony, that it is significative, which seemes very un∣reasonable also.

For the significancy of a Ceremonie may be of three sorts.* 1.46 First, when it naturally signifies the thing which I am about, and properly floweth from it; as the lifting up the eyes to Heaven floweth from zeale in Prayer, and signifies or expresseth it; and no sober man would ever thinke fit to quarrell with that for being significative, or to prescribe limits to the use of such kind of Ceremonies. Secondly, When by the custome of the place it becomes in like manner also significative of the Action in hand. As, among us, kneeling signifies humility, &c. and to blame such a significancie againe, or such a Ceremonie, because it is significative, were as irrationall, 'Twill not be fault in any thus to use it privately himselfe, or being a Magistrate to prescribe others (for decency and uniformity) the use of it. Thirdly, when it is set to signifie something else, whether that which it signifies be matter of Christian Doctrine; as in the Antient Church, the custome of standing in the Church betweene Ea∣ster and Whitsuntide, was design'd to signifie the Resurrection of Christ; or whether it be matter of promise, as the Types in the old law were of Christ to come; or whether matter of fact & Story, &c. and then also to quarrell with the significancy of them, and dislike them more then if they were empty and unsignificant, is First, very irrationall againe (for it will not bee more fault to have some profit in them, then to have none.)

Secondly, it will lay a censure upon the Types of the Law appointed by God himselfe,* 1.47 for they were such; And though those particulars are now out-dated by the comming of Christ whom they signified, yet since others that are now still seaso∣nable by signifying and commemorating somewhat past, or

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prefiguring somwhat yet future, will by that Analogie and proportion which they hold with those which were then law∣full, be evidenced to be lawfull too.

The not observing of which matter,* 1.48 and of the sole reason why the old Jewish Ceremonies, Circumcision, &c. are inter∣dicted us Christians (not because significative Ceremonies are toto genere unlawfull, but because the observing of those parti∣cularly which foreshewed Christ, and teaching the necessity of observing them, would bee interpretative the denying of Christ; or that the Messias was come) is conceive, that which hath given occasion of the mistakes of thinking signifi∣cative Ceremonies to be now unlawfull; which errour if up∣on this advertisement it may now be reformed, and this so reasonable a postulation for the lawfulnesse of Ceremonies sig∣nificative be thus granted, the greater part of this present Controversie will be at an end; for I shall not then bee Advo∣cate for the multitude or aboundance of that last sort of signifi∣cative Ceremonies, but rather give my full vote to the confir∣ming of the old rule concerning them, that they bee paucae & salubres, few, & wholsome; and particularly few for these Reasons.

First,* 1.49 because there are really not many such wholsome Ce∣remonies to be found; Secondly, because those that by Lawe are received into the Church, are but very moderate for num∣ber; which with me hath no small Authority. Thirdly, be∣cause 'tis not impossible that the number may encumber the Soule, by busying it about many things, and so diverting it from the One great Necessary. Fourthly, because the multi∣tude of such was counted a Burden to the Jewes. Fifthly, be∣cause it seemes sometimes to bee an ill symptome of some in∣ward neglect, to spend overmuch Care and Time in the Ou∣ter-washings; as in the Pharisees it is noted to have beene; And as Aristotle observes of the insectile Animalls, that the want of blood was the cause that they ran out into so many leggs.

But then Secondly,* 1.50 I must add by way of caution, that in this matter men are sometimes mistaken (as Misers are in

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judging of excessive expenses, or sluggards of excessive la∣bour) thinke, they or others exceede, when they doe not.

To which purpose you may please first to take this directi∣on,* 1.51 that though the premised caution concerning Ceremo∣nies in a Church be very good, that they be paucae & salubres, few and wholsome, yet if they be wholsome, not only negatively, but positively, not only harmlesse but tending to edification (for so salubrity, or wholsomnesse imports) then there will be little reason to accuse them of excesse; for if they be salubrious, they will then more probably helpe the inner devotion, then encumber it.

Secondly, you must distinguish of such Acts,* 1.52 wherein that excesse is supposed to be, that they either are ordinable, fit, &c. proper to that end, the service of God, to which they are an∣nex't; and then againe being used in their kinde, they are salu∣brious, and no danger of excesse; or Secondly, they are inordi∣nable, unfit, improper, of which nature there are great store noted in the Church of Rome; and in this case though any one may be a nimiety, and that nimiety a fault, yet still this not the fault of Superstition, but rather of folly and vanity, or what e∣ver other guilt, the using things in the worship of God, which doe no whit tend to that end (but are aliene from it) may a∣mount to. And these vanities, or this fault, I desire to alow no favour or patronage or countenance to, but have as full dislikes to them as any charitable man hath, though as yet I am not sa∣tisfied, that they are to be called Superstition.

And yet concerning a word I shall not conend neither,* 1.53 but rather grant them lyable to that title also, on condition that I may but evince and be granted this one thing, that it is a circle of injustice, and a noxious fallacy, first to apply the title of Superstition to such trifles or faults as these, then to extend it farther to those things which have no such fault to bee char∣ged on them, and then to condemne those also, as faults and crimes, because they are Superstitious; just like the old hea∣then Tyrants dealing with the primitive Christians, first to entertain themselves with the bloody spectacles of bayting of wilde-beasts, then to take off those wilde-beasts skins, and put

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them upon Christians, then to bring forth those Christians to be baited and devoured in those shapes, The injustice of which is the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the prime thing which this paper was de∣signed to demonstrate.

* 1.54 And it still it be urg'd and pressed that Superstition is a Ni∣miety and Excesse in the use of good Authors, and demand be made wherein, or what is that Nimiety, that may properly be called Superstition? I answere, that if we will needes take Su∣perstition in that nature, then the most proper matter of it will be.

First,* 1.55 The placing more virtue in some things then either na∣turally, or by the rule of Gods word, or in the aestimation of purer ages of the Church of Christ may be thought to belong to them; as the placing virtue or force in the signe of the Crosse, and the womens parvula Evangelia in S. Jerom on Mat. Cap. 23. The Opus operatum of the Sacrament, and other Christian performances. (parallel to the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or amulets among the Heathen, to the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 the Phylacteries among the Jewes (having their audi Israel Deut. 5. fastned to their wrists and foreheads) to drive away Devills, and to the precatiunculae the little Prayers that the Turke carries about with him, as a defensative against all dangers, The doing of which is eyther utterly groundlesse, and then it is folly; or else it fastens some promise on Christ which he hath not made in the Gospell, or some doctrine on the antient Church, of which that is not guilty neither, and so is a Nimiety: or else,

Secondly,* 1.56 (That to which the literall importance of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 referr's) An excesse of feare, or 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, be∣ing afraid of God, when we neede not, thinking our selves bound (or obligeing others) as from God, when God immediat∣ly neither commands nor forbids, nor the lawfull power un∣der which we live (which would be mediatly the command of God also) of this kind is the doing or absteining religiously (i. e. upon pretence of divine praecept or prohibition) from those things which the word and the lawe of Christ doth nei∣ther immediatly, nor by consequence of commanding obedi∣ence to the higher powers, command nor interdict us. I say

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not, the simple doing and abstayning (for that may be simply lawfull) nor the doing & abstayning upon ground of command or prohibition from our lawfull superiours, (for if there be a∣ny such, we are bound by the word of God to such obedience, and the not paying thereof is as truly, I will add, as immediatly a breach of Gods Lawe and sinne against God, as any act of theft or adultery, or sinne against the second table: for though the commands of the Magistrate, are but mediatly the cōmands of God, yet the disobeying of those commands is an immediat disobedience to God, in the fifth Commandement which com∣mands to honour, i. e. to obey him, and then to be most exact and praecise in caution never to sinne against that obedience, cannot be superstition, or fault, though perhaps by being in a man that makes little Conscience of greater disobedience, it be an ill Symptome of that Hypocrisy which consists in strayning at Gnats and swallowing Camels) but the doing or absteyning re∣ligiously (which is in effect dogmatizing Col. 2. 20. laying bur∣dens upon our selves, and others as from Christ) where Christ hath wholly left us free. As if a private man should thinke himselfe obliged by (or a Magistrate presse upon others by vir∣tue of the Mosaicall praecept, the obligation of) the Iewish Lawe long since abrogated by Christ, or any other outdated or not-yet-given command; This might be called Superstition, under this Notion of Nimiety, because that man add's to the Commands of Christ (as the former to the Promises) annexed to the Christian Religion, to the Gospell Rule, those things which belong not to it, and so is an exceeder in the feare and service of God, doth things in obedience to God, which hee neither immediatly nor mediatly commands, and so walkes 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 Ephes. 5. 15. Circumspectly, but as a foole, fearing where no feare is, doing some things servilly (that is, fea∣ring damnation if he should not doe them) wherein Christ hath left him free, and no authority of the Church or lawfull Magi∣strate restrain'd that Liberty.

And this is a culpable or criminous Excesse,* 1.57 not in doeing what God commands not (for that may be innocent enough) but in affirming (as a false Teacher) God to command when he

Page 20

doth not command, or to forbid when hee doth not forbid; and so inthralling himselfe or others, whom God hath freed. Which way of dogmatizing, or imposing as necessary such things as the lawe of Christ hath not made necessary (no, nor so much as the higher powers authorized by Christ, nor the Primitive or universall Church of Christ, which will have au∣thority amongst all sober men) and so proceeding to make such things marks and characters to condemn others and illustrate themselves by, is the speciall kinde of Superstition, which I have reason to beleeve any kinde of Protestants to be guilty of. Yea and

The only one,* 1.58 unlesse it be that ridiculous one of making groundlesse observations of ominous things, inauspicious e∣vents, unlucky daies, and such like old-wives divinations, to which one part of Theophrastus his character of Superstition, and of Agellius his notion of it, and of S. Austins also referrs; which yet is rather beleeving firmly what we have no ground to beleeve, and so an excesse of credulity, then doing what we are not bound to do, & so an excesse of Religion; or if you wil, a ci¦vill Superstition (being not in any order to the worship of God) in an affected retayning or embracing of some old Heathen traditions, taken up by the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, first foolish in them, and then of evill report for us to continue from them, being so much better instructed then they were; and if taken up upon their authority, and continued under that notion, then also pos∣sibly matter of scandall (as the eating of the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 Things offered to Idols, was 1 Cor. 10. 29.) But then still th is is rather an effect of naturall magick, or Heathenish perswasions, then an Excesse of the Christian Religion; and not at all the thing which is now a daies prest with that odious title of Superstiti∣on, and therefore it may suffice to have named this without farther enlarging on it.

As for those other things which are so ordinarily brended under this name,* 1.59 by many that are now ill pleased with the le∣gall state of things in our Church, though I shall not descend to the particular consideration of them, and vindication of each, yet this it will not be unseasonable to have advertised

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in this place, that that maine proofe and common way of e∣videncing the superstitiousnesse of some observances or perfor∣mances among us▪ only because either wee doe place (or o∣thers have placed) holynesse in them, is, (whatsoever may be said of it in thesi) in hypothesi or application to the particular ca∣ses generally very false, or impertinent.

For, whensoever in any such particular I shall be thus accu∣sed,* 1.60 I shall first aske what is meant by holynesse? any reall in∣herent virtue? or only (according to the* 1.61 Hebrew, and so Scripture notation of the word) separation from common u∣ses? For the first of these, that reall inhaerent holynesse, no Pro∣testant that I have heard of, affirmes it of any created thing, but only of persons, as God, in the high degree, and Saints of his, in a lower and imperfect degree, by way of communication from him. Either therefore the charge must be false, or else by holynesse must be meant that second kinde of it, separation to holy, from common uses; and thus times, & things, and acti∣ons, &c. may be truly called holy, and if we place no more of this holinesse in them, then thus truly belongs to them, then sure we offend not againe, nor are to be defamed (for Superstitious in so doing.

In this case the only thing behinde for inquiry will be,* 1.62 by whom and how farre this thing what ever it is, is thus separa∣ted, and that I shall suppose will be found to be done either by Christ or the Apostles, or the universall Church in the purest a∣ges, or the particular Church (and rulers thereof) wherein we live; or if by none of these, then (being left free and at our owne disposing) by our owne voluntary act, or that confir∣med with a resolution, or vow perhaps in some cases. Now if these or any of these be the authors of the separating any thing, then to discerne whether we exceede in any of these, and whe∣ther we place more holynesse then is due to them; it will not be very difficult: For, if that; which is thus separated by Christ, I shall count holy in that degree, and conceive my selfe obliged to it virtute praecepti divini, by virtue of divine praecept, I surely offend not. And so in the second, If I count my selfe obliged by the Apostolick pracept, or in the third by the example or

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praecept of the primitive universall, or in the fourth, of the par∣ticular Church, (each of which ought to have their authority with us, though that in different degrees) all this while I of∣fend not, because the holinesse which I place in them is still proportioned to the ground of it, the authority of him that thus separated them.

And so againe,* 1.63 if my voluntary oblation I performe as a vo∣luntary oblation, and only expect that God that hath promi∣sed to accept such, will, if it be as it ought, accept this; and in case of resolution and vow, add that respect in my perfor∣mance, which is due to such, all this while I am not blame∣worthy.

* 1.64 But if I straine either of these any degree above its ranke, elevate an Ecclesiasticall or humane Constitution into a divine Praecept, &c. then I shall acknowledge this a fault, and that fault perhaps capable of the title of Superstition: which yet must not be extended thus farre, that the giving of the like o∣bedience to one as the other, is this fault, (for obedience being due to both Divine and Humane lawes (keeping their termes of subordination) I am alike bound by Christ to obey both, and I must not make any difference in that Obedience, but do both for Conscience sake) but that the confounding the grounds or foundations of my obedience, which ought to be distinguished, is in it selfe an error, and that which may prove of ill impor∣tance, by making me equall them, when perhaps they come in competition with (and so thwart) one another; in which case the inferiour ought to give place to the superiour.

If to this it be replyed,* 1.65 that though I doe not elevate this a∣bove its pitch, do not thus attribute more holynesse to this or that then it deserves, yet Papists or other Superstitious per∣sons have done so, and therefore the thing is become Super∣stitious, and consequently must be forborne by me also. To this I answere First, That the ill use of any will not, corrupt a thing in it selfe either commanded, or but laudable, or only inno∣cent before; and consequently though the Papists be supersti∣tious, yet will not every thing from them be sufficiently pro∣ved to be superstitious unlesse it have some other crime beside

Page 23

their using it, for otherwise, not only the Creede and Pa∣ter-noster, but even the Scripture it selfe must be superstiti∣ous also.

This inconsequence being acknowledged,* 1.66 I ad, Secondly, that there is nothing which can obliege me to abstein frō that which they have used superstitiously, unlesse either the danger that I be thought to doe so too, to be as Superstitious as they, or the possibility that others following me in doing it, may follow them in doing it superstitiously, and either of these dangers be∣ing supposed, will not yet come home to prove it Superstitious, (which is the only thing we have now to consider) the most that they can doe, is to make it scandalous, and (beside that this belongs to another matter and is abundantly handled in an∣other Discourse on that Subject) I shall add one thing more that this consideration of the danger or possibility, is not so much a religious as a prudentiall one (for an act of prudence it is to weigh and ponder whether this be a probable danger or no) and so belongs to the higher powers to consider of (not to eve∣ry private man) who if they thinke fit by lawe to forbid it, I must not then venter on it; if (non obstante this appearance of danger) to command it, though 'tis possible they may doe amisse in so doing, yet I (having nothing to doe in that act of theirs, unlesse I am of Counsell advised with in it) may be innocent enough in so obeying, and if they have thought fit neither to command nor forbid, then am I left free in my owne particu∣lar, and may doe either, so I doe it with those cautions, that in the tract of Scandall are set downe.

To which if it be replyed, that though this bee true in thesi,* 1.67 yet in hypothesi 'twill not be pertinent in this kingdome. The lawes of this kingdome have taken away all Ceremo∣nies used in the Roman Church, save those that are named in those Lawes, and so have left no man any such liberty. I an∣swere, They have taken away the obliegingnesse, but not law∣fulnesse of them, unlesse of those which eyther our Church or some higher principle hath pronounced unlawfull; my mea∣ning is, that whatsoever laudable performance was taken up by the Papists, and by them commanded, now though that

Page 24

command be taken away, and so we free from the oblieging∣nesse or burthen of it, yet 'tis not therfore made unlawfull or prohibited to us (for that were to restraine our liberty also, and only to exchange one burthen for another) or if it were, I should then thinke my selfe oblieged to absteine also.

The Conclusion from all this discourse will be,* 1.68 that if some men, as they will abide no Rites, so they would avow no quar∣rels but what Scripture will give them particular directions or commands for, and consequently if they would not judge or damn their brethren, when neither Christ and his writ, nor the authority of the primitive universall Church, nor the orders of the particular within which they live, nor the indecency of the thing it selfe (of which yet every private man must not bee a∣lowed a competent judge) condemns them, it might be hoped that truth and peace and justice and charity that have taken their joynt flight from this earth together, might together returne to it againe, which till it be done it must be still expected that they who have learn't one of the Divels attributes, that of Sa∣tan, Adversary, or 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 enemy Man, will also advance to another, that of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 calumniator, and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 accuser (as of the brethren. i. e. true beleevers soe) of every christian or innocent action of theirs, and that if there bee no known playne sinne to be charged on them with any probabi∣lity, then some unknowne, obscure, misunderstood name shall supply that place, and as once Aerodius observed that there was a Lawe made that no crime should bee capitall but treason, but then every the least misbehaviour, or even in∣nocent harmlesse action, in such whom they had a minde to punish, was brought in under the title of Treason; and so eve∣ry thing became capitall by that meanes, so now it being by some men resolved (if the testimony of the rest of their lives may be beleeved) that there is no capitall damning sinne, worth heeding, or abstaining from but Superstition, every rite or ge∣sture or motion in them whom they please to quarrell with, shall be accused and arraigned and sentenced under that title.

* 1.69 It were to be wish't that the paines that is taken in defaming all bodily worship, under the morma of Super∣stition,

Page 25

were more profitably employed, either in finding out meanes to encrease our inward attention and fervor in perfor∣ming that great duty of prayer (to which purpose (I am con∣fident) fasting, and humility of bodily gestures, those two maine branches of the moderne Superstition, will not bee found un∣profitable) or else in the search of that spirituall pride and un∣charitablenesse and contention, that filthinesse of the Spirit, which is apt to steale into and defile the best mens hearts, and if it may please, of one reall, blasting, damning, and yet (as if out-dated) little considered sinne, you may take your option, eyther that of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 Sacriledge. Ro. 2. 22. or that other of irreverence and prophanenesse.

Take heede that no man deceive you with vaine words.



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