Religious Melancholy. Its object God; what his beauty is; How it allures. The parts and parties affected.
That there is such a distinct species of love melancholy, no man hath ever yet doubted: but whether this subdivision of 6302Religious Melancholy be warrantable, it may be controverted.
6303Pergite Pieridies, medio nec calle vagantem
Linquite me, qua nulla pedum vestigia ducunt,
Nulla rotae currus testantur signa priores.
I have no pattern to follow as in some of the rest, no man to imitate. No physician hath as yet distinctly written of it as of the other; all acknowledge it a most notable symptom, some a cause, but few a species or kind. 6304Areteus, Alexander, Rhasis, Avicenna, and most of our late writers, as Gordonius, Fuchsius, Plater, Bruel, Montaltus, &c. repeat it as a symptom. 6305Some seem to be inspired of the Holy Ghost, some take upon them to be prophets, some are addicted to new opinions, some foretell strange things, de statu mundi et Antichristi, saith Gordonius. Some will prophesy of the end of the world to a day almost, and the fall of the Antichrist, as they have been addicted or brought up; for so melancholy works with them, as 6306Laurentius holds. If they have been precisely given, all their meditations tend that way, and in conclusion produce strange effects, the humour imprints symptoms according to their several inclinations and conditions, which makes 6307Guianerius and 6308Felix Plater put too much devotion, blind zeal, fear of eternal punishment, and that last judgment for a cause of those enthusiastics and desperate persons: but some do not obscurely make a distinct species of it, dividing love melancholy into that whose object is women; and into the other whose object is God. Plato, in Convivio, makes mention of two distinct furies; and amongst our neoterics, Hercules de Saxonia lib. 1. pract. med. cap. 16. cap. de Melanch. doth expressly treat of it in a distinct species. 6309 “Love melancholy” (saith he) “is twofold; the first is that (to which peradventure some will not vouchsafe this name or species of melancholy) affection of those which put God for their object, and are altogether about prayer, fasting, &c., the other about women.” Peter Forestus in his observations delivereth as much in the same words: and Felix Platerus de mentis alienat. cap. 3. frequentissima est ejus species, in qua curanda saepissime multum fui impeditus; 'tis a frequent disease; and they have a ground of what they say, forth of Areteus and Plato. 6310Areteus, an old author, in his third book cap. 6. doth so divide love melancholy, and derives this second from the first, which comes by inspiration or otherwise. 6311Plato in his Phaedrus hath these words, “Apollo's priests in Delphos, and at Dodona, in their fury do many pretty feats, and benefit the Greeks, but never in their right wits.” He makes them all mad, as well he might; and he that shall but consider that superstition of old, those prodigious effects of it (as in its place I will shew the several furies of our fatidici dii, pythonissas, sibyls, enthusiasts, pseudoprophets, heretics, and schismatics in these our latter ages) shall instantly confess, that all the world again cannot afford so much matter of madness, so many stupendous symptoms, as superstition, heresy, schism have brought out: that this species alone may be paralleled to all the former, has a greater latitude, and more miraculous effects; that it more besots and infatuates men, than any other above named whatsoever, does more harm, works more disquietness to mankind, and has more crucified the souls of mortal men (such hath been the devil's craft) than wars, plagues, sicknesses, dearth, famine, and all the rest.
Give me but a little leave, and I will set before your eyes in brief a stupendous, vast, infinite ocean of incredible madness and folly: a sea full of shelves and rocks, sands, gulfs, euripes and contrary tides, full of fearful monsters, uncouth shapes, roaring waves, tempests, and siren calms, halcyonian seas, unspeakable misery, such comedies and tragedies, such absurd and ridiculous, feral and lamentable fits, that I know not whether they are more to be pitied or derided, or may be believed, but that we daily see the same still practised in our days, fresh examples, nova novitia, fresh objects of misery and madness, in this kind that are still represented unto us, abroad, at home, in the midst of us, in our bosoms.
But before I can come to treat of these several errors and obliquities, their causes, symptoms, affections, &c., I must say something necessarily of the object of this love, God himself, what this love is, how it allureth, whence it proceeds, and (which is the cause of all our miseries) how we mistake, wander and swerve from it.
Amongst all those divine attributes that God doth vindicate to himself, eternity, omnipotency, immutability, wisdom, majesty, justice, mercy, &c., his 6312beauty is not the least, one thing, saith David, have I desired of the Lord, and that I will still desire, to behold the beauty of the Lord, Psal. xxvii. 4. And out of Sion, which is the perfection of beauty, hath God shined, Psal. 1. 2. All other creatures are fair, I confess, and many other objects do much enamour us, a fair house, a fair horse, a comely person. 6313“I am amazed,” saith Austin, “when 1 look up to heaven and behold the beauty of the stars, the beauty of angels, principalities, powers, who can express it? who can sufficiently commend, or set out this beauty which appears in us? so fair a body, so fair a face, eyes, nose, cheeks, chin, brows, all fair and lovely to behold; besides the beauty of the soul which cannot be discerned. If we so labour and be so much affected with the comeliness of creatures, how should we be ravished with that admirable lustre of God himself?” If ordinary beauty have such a prerogative and power, and what is amiable and fair, to draw the eyes and ears, hearts and affections of all spectators unto it, to move, win, entice, allure: how shall this divine form ravish our souls, which is the fountain and quintessence of all beauty? Coelum pulchrum, sed pulchrior coeli fabricator; if heaven be so fair, the sun so fair, how much fairer shall he be, that made them fair? “For by the greatness and beauty of the creatures, proportionally, the maker of them is seen,” Wisd. xiii. 5. If there be such pleasure in beholding a beautiful person alone, and as a plausible sermon, he so much affect us, what shall this beauty of God himself, that is infinitely fairer than all creatures, men, angels, &c. 6314 Omnis pulchritudo florem, hominum, angelorum, et rerum omnium pulcherrimarum ad Dei pulchritudinem collata, nox est et tenebrae, all other beauties are night itself, mere darkness to this our inexplicable, incomprehensible, unspeakable, eternal, infinite, admirable and divine beauty. This lustre, pulchritudo omnium pulcherrima. This beauty and 6315 “splendour of the divine Majesty,” is it that draws all creatures to it, to seek it, love, admire, and adore it; and those heathens, pagans, philosophers, out of those relics they have yet left of God's image, are so far forth incensed, as not only to acknowledge a God; but, though after their own inventions, to stand in admiration of his bounty, goodness, to adore and seek him; the magnificence and structure of the world itself, and beauty of all his creatures, his goodness, providence, protection, enforceth them to love him, seek him, fear him, though a wrong way to adore him: but for us that are Christians, regenerate, that are his adopted sons, illuminated by his word, having the eyes of our hearts and understandings opened; how fairly doth he offer and expose himself? Ambit nos Deus (Austin saith) donis et forma sua, he woos us by his beauty, gifts, promises, to come unto him; 6316“the whole Scripture is a message, an exhortation, a love letter to this purpose;” to incite us, and invite us, 6317God's epistle, as Gregory calls it, to his creatures. He sets out his son and his church in that epithalamium or mystical song of Solomon, to enamour us the more, comparing his head “to fine gold, his locks curled and black as a raven,” Cant. iv. 5. “his eyes like doves on rivers of waters, washed with milk, his lips as lilies, drooping down pure juice, his hands as rings of gold set with chrysolite: and his church to a vineyard, a garden enclosed, a fountain of living waters, an orchard of pomegranates, with sweet scents of saffron, spike, calamus and cinnamon, and all the trees of incense, as the chief spices, the fairest amongst women, no spot in her, 6318his sister, his spouse, undefiled, the only daughter of her mother, dear unto her, fair as the moon, pure as the sun, looking out as the morning;” that by these figures, that glass, these spiritual eyes of contemplation, we might perceive some resemblance of his beauty, the love between his church and him. And so in the xlv. Psalm this beauty of his church is compared to a “queen in a vesture of gold of Ophir, embroidered raiment of needlework, that the king might take pleasure in her beauty.” To incense us further yet, 6319John, in his apocalypse, makes a description of that heavenly Jerusalem, the beauty, of it, and in it the maker of it; “Likening it to a city of pure gold, like unto clear glass, shining and garnished with all manner of precious stones, having no need of sun or moon: for the lamb is the light of it, the glory of God doth illuminate it: to give us to understand the infinite glory, beauty and happiness of it.” Not that it is no fairer than these creatures to which it is compared, but that this vision of his, this lustre of his divine majesty, cannot otherwise be expressed to our apprehensions, “no tongue can tell, no heart can conceive it,” as Paul saith. Moses himself, Exod. xxxiii. 18. when he desired to see God in his glory, was answered that he might not endure it, no man could see his face and live. Sensibile forte destruit sensum, a strong object overcometh the sight, according to that axiom in philosophy: fulgorem solis ferre non potes, multo magis creatoris; if thou canst not endure the sunbeams, how canst thou endure that fulgor and brightness of him that made the sun? The sun itself and all that we can imagine, are but shadows of it, 'tis visio praecellens, as 6320Austin calls it, the quintessence of beauty this, “which far exceeds the beauty of heavens, sun and moon, stars, angels, gold and silver, woods, fair fields, and whatsoever is pleasant to behold.” All those other beauties fail, vary, are subject to corruption, to loathing; 6321“But this is an immortal vision, a divine beauty, an immortal love, an indefatigable love and beauty, with sight of which we shall never be tired nor wearied, but still the more we see the more we shall covet him.” 6322“For as one saith, where this vision is, there is absolute beauty; and where is that beauty, from the same fountain comes all pleasure and happiness; neither can beauty, pleasure, happiness, be separated from his vision or sight, or his vision, from beauty, pleasure, happiness.” In this life we have but a glimpse of this beauty and happiness: we shall hereafter, as John saith, see him as he is: thine eyes, as Isaiah promiseth, xxxiii. 17. “shall behold the king in his glory,” then shall we be perfectly enamoured, have a full fruition of it, desire, 6323behold and love him alone as the most amiable and fairest object, or summum bonum, or chiefest good.
This likewise should we now have done, had not our will been corrupted; and as we are enjoined to love God with all our heart, and all our soul: for to that end were we born, to love this object, as 6324Melancthon discourseth, and to enjoy it. “And him our will would have loved and sought alone as our summum bonum, or principal good, and all other good things for God's sake: and nature, as she proceeded from it, would have sought this fountain; but in this infirmity of human nature this order is disturbed, our love is corrupt:” and a man is like that monster in 6325Plato, composed of a Scylla, a lion and a man; we are carried away headlong with the torrent of our affections: the world, and that infinite variety of pleasing objects in it, do so allure and enamour us, that we cannot so much as look towards God, seek him, or think on him as we should: we cannot, saith Austin, Rempub. coelestem cogitare, we cannot contain ourselves from them, their sweetness is so pleasing to us. Marriage, saith 6326 Gualter, detains many; “a thing in itself laudable, good and necessary, but many, deceived and carried away with the blind love of it, have quite laid aside the love of God, and desire of his glory. Meat and drink hath overcome as many, whilst they rather strive to please, satisfy their guts and belly, than to serve God and nature.” Some are so busied about merchandise to get money, they lose their own souls, whilst covetously carried, and with an insatiable desire of gain, they forget God; as much we may say of honour, leagues, friendships, health, wealth, and all other profits or pleasures in this life whatsoever. 6327“In this world there be so many beautiful objects, splendours and brightness of gold, majesty of glory, assistance of friends, fair promises, smooth words, victories, triumphs, and such an infinite company of pleasing beauties to allure us, and draw us from God, that we cannot look after him.” And this is it which Christ himself, those prophets and apostles so much thundered against, 1 John, xvii. 15, dehort us from; “love not the world, nor the things that are in the world: if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him,” 16. “For all that is in the world, as lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and pride of life, is not of the Father, but of the world: and the world passeth away and the lust thereof; but he that fulfilleth the will of God abideth for ever. No man, saith our Saviour, can serve two masters, but he must love the one and hate the other,” &c., bonos vel malos mores, boni vel mali faciunt amores, Austin well infers: and this is that which all the fathers inculcate. He cannot (6328Austin admonisheth) be God's friend, that is delighted with the pleasures of the world: “make clean thine heart, purify thine heart; if thou wilt see this beauty, prepare thyself for it. It is the eye of contemplation by which we must behold it, the wing of meditation which lifts us up and rears our souls with the motion of our hearts, and sweetness of contemplation:” so saith Gregory cited by 6329Bonaventure. And as 6330Philo Judeus seconds him, “he that loves God, will soar aloft and take him wings; and leaving the earth fly up to heaven, wander with sun and moon, stars, and that heavenly troop, God himself being his guide.” If we desire to see him, we must lay aside all vain objects, which detain us and dazzle our eyes, and as 6331Ficinus adviseth us, “get us solar eyes, spectacles as they that look on the sun: to see this divine beauty, lay aside all material objects, all sense, and then thou shalt see him as he is.” Thou covetous wretch, as 6332Austin expostulates, “why dost thou stand gaping on this dross, muck-hills, filthy excrements? behold a far fairer object, God himself woos thee; behold him, enjoy him, he is sick for love.” Cant. v. he invites thee to his sight, to come into his fair garden, to eat and drink with him, to be merry with him, to enjoy his presence for ever. 6333Wisdom cries out in the streets besides the gates, in the top of high places, before the city, at the entry of the door, and bids them give ear to her instruction, which is better than gold or precious stones; no pleasures can be compared to it: leave all then and follow her, vos exhortor o amici et obsecro. In. 6334Ficinus's words, “I exhort and beseech you, that you would embrace and follow this divine love with all your hearts and abilities, by all offices and endeavours make this so loving God propitious unto you.” For whom alone, saith 6335Plotinus, “we must forsake the kingdoms and empires of the whole earth, sea, land, and air, if we desire to be engrafted into him, leave all and follow him.”
Now, forasmuch as this love of God is a habit infused of God, as 6336 Thomas holds, l. 2. quaest. 23. “by which a man is inclined to love God above all, and his neighbour as himself,” we must pray to God that he will open our eyes, make clear our hearts, that we may be capable of his glorious rays, and perform those duties that he requires of us, Deut. vi. and Josh. xxiii. “to love God above all, and our neighbour as ourself, to keep his commandments.” “In this we know,” saith John, c. v. 2, “we love the children of God, when we love God and keep his commandments.” “This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; he that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love,” cap. iv. 8, “and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him;” for love pre-supposeth knowledge, faith, hope, and unites us to God himself, as 6337Leon Hebreus delivereth unto us, and is accompanied with the fear of God, humility, meekness, patience, all those virtues, and charity itself. For if we love God, we shall love our neighbour, and perform the duties which are required at our hands, to which we are exhorted, 1 Cor. xv. 4, 5; Ephes. iv.; Colos. iii.; Rom. xii. We shall not be envious or puffed up, or boast, disdain, think evil, or be provoked to anger, “but suffer all things; endeavour to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.” Forbear one another, forgive one another, clothe the naked, visit the sick, and perform all those works of mercy, which 6338Clemens Alexandrinus calls amoris et amicitiae, impletionem et extentionem, the extent and complement of love; and that not for fear or worldly respects, but ordine ad Deum, for the love of God himself. This we shall do if we be truly enamoured; but we come short in both, we neither love God nor our neighbour as we should. Our love in spiritual things is too 6339defective, in worldly things too excessive, there is a jar in both. We love the world too much; God too little; our neighbour not at all, or for our own ends. Vulgus amicitias utilitate probat. “The chief thing we respect is our commodity;” and what we do is for fear of worldly punishment, for vainglory, praise of men, fashion, and such by respects, not for God's sake. We neither know God aright, nor seek, love or worship him as we should. And for these defects, we involve ourselves into a multitude of errors, we swerve from this true love and worship of God: which is a cause unto us of unspeakable miseries; running into both extremes, we become fools, madmen, without sense, as now in the next place 1 will show you.
The parties affected are innumerable almost, and scattered over the face of the earth, far and near, and so have been in all precedent ages, from the beginning of the world to these times, of all sorts and conditions. For method's sake I will reduce them to a twofold division, according to those two extremes of excess and defect, impiety and superstition, idolatry and atheism. Not that there is any excess of divine worship or love of God; that cannot be, we cannot love God too much, or do our duty as we ought, as Papists hold, or have any perfection in this life, much less supererogate: when we have all done, we are unprofitable servants. But because we do aliud agere, zealous without knowledge, and too solicitous about that which is not necessary, busying ourselves about impertinent, needless, idle, and vain ceremonies, populo ut placerent, as the Jews did about sacrifices, oblations, offerings, incense, new moons, feasts, &c., but Isaiah taxeth them, i. 12, “who required this at your hands?” We have too great opinion of our own worth, that we can satisfy the law: and do more than is required at our hands, by performing those evangelical counsels, and such works of supererogation, merit for others, which Bellarmine, Gregory de Valentia, all their Jesuits and champions defend, that if God should deal in rigour with them, some of their Franciscans and Dominicans are so pure, that nothing could be objected to them. Some of us again are too dear, as we think, more divine and sanctified than others, of a better mettle, greater gifts, and with that proud Pharisee, contemn others in respect of ourselves, we are better Christians, better learned, choice spirits, inspired, know more, have special revelation, perceive God's secrets, and thereupon presume, say and do that many times which is not befitting to be said or done. Of this number are all superstitious idolaters, ethnics, Mahometans, Jews, heretics, 6340enthusiasts, divinators, prophets, sectaries, and schismatics. Zanchius reduceth such infidels to four chief sects; but I will insist and follow mine own intended method: all which with many other curious persons, monks, hermits, &c., may be ranged in this extreme, and fight under this superstitious banner, with those rude idiots, and infinite swarms of people that are seduced by them. In the other extreme or in defect, march those impious epicures, libertines, atheists, hypocrites, infidels, worldly, secure, impenitent, unthankful, and carnal-minded men, that attribute all to natural causes, that will acknowledge no supreme power; that have cauterised consciences, or live in a reprobate sense; or such desperate persons as are too distrustful of his mercies. Of these there be many subdivisions, diverse degrees of madness and folly, some more than other, as shall be shown in the symptoms: and yet all miserably out, perplexed, doting, and beside themselves for religion's sake. For as 6341Zanchy well distinguished, and all the world knows religion is twofold, true or false; false is that vain superstition of idolaters, such as were of old, Greeks, Romans, present Mahometans, &c. Timorem deorum inanem, 6342Tully could term it; or as Zanchy defines it, Ubi falsi dii, aut falso cullu colitur Deus, when false gods, or that God is falsely worshipped. And 'tis a miserable plague, a torture of the soul, a mere madness, Religiosa insania, 6343Meteran calls it, or insanus error, as 6344Seneca, a frantic error; or as Austin, Insanus animi morbus, a furious disease of the soul; insania omnium insanissima, a quintessence of madness; 6345for he that is superstitious can never be quiet. 'Tis proper to man alone, uni superbia, avaritia, superstitio, saith Plin. lib. 7. cap. 1. atque etiam post saevit de futuro, which wrings his soul for the present, and to come: the greatest misery belongs to mankind, a perpetual servitude, a slavery, 6346Ex timore timor, a heavy yoke, the seal of damnation, an intolerable burden. They that are superstitious are still fearing, suspecting, vexing themselves with auguries, prodigies, false tales, dreams, idle, vain works, unprofitable labours, as 6347Boterus observes, cura mentis ancipite versantur: enemies to God and to themselves. In a word, as Seneca concludes, Religio Deum colit, superstitio destruit, superstition destroys, but true religion honours God. True religion, ubi verus Deus vere colitur, where the true God is truly worshipped, is the way to heaven, the mother of virtues, love, fear, devotion, obedience, knowledge, &c. It rears the dejected soul of man, and amidst so many cares, miseries, persecutions, which this world affords, it is a sole ease, an unspeakable comfort, a sweet reposal, Jugum suave, et leve, a light yoke, an anchor, and a haven. It adds courage, boldness, and begets generous spirits: although tyrants rage, persecute, and that bloody Lictor or sergeant be ready to martyr them, aut lita, aut morere, (as in those persecutions of the primitive Church, it was put in practice, as you may read in Eusebius and others) though enemies be now ready to invade, and all in an uproar, 6348Si fractus illabatur orbis, impavidos ferient ruinae, though heaven should fall on his head, he would not be dismayed. But as a good Christian prince once made answer to a menacing Turk, facile scelerata hominum arma contemnit, qui del praesidio tutus est: or as 6349 Phalaris writ to Alexander in a wrong cause, he nor any other enemy could terrify him, for that he trusted in God. Si Deus nobiscum, quis contra nos? In all calamities, persecutions whatsoever, as David did, 2 Sam. ii. 22, he will sing with him, “the Lord is my rock, my fortress, my strength, my refuge, the tower and horn of my salvation,” &c. In all troubles and adversities, Psal. xlvi. 1. “God is my hope and help, still ready to be found, I will not therefore fear,” &c., 'tis a fear expelling fear; he hath peace of conscience, and is full of hope, which is (saith 6350Austin) vita vitae mortalis, the life of this our mortal life, hope of immortality, the sole comfort of our misery: otherwise, as Paul saith, we of all others were most wretched, but this makes us happy, counterpoising our hearts in all miseries; superstition torments, and is from the devil, the author of lies; but this is from God himself, as Lucian, that Antiochian priest, made his divine confession in 6351Eusebius, Auctor nobis de Deo Deus est, God is the author of our religion himself, his word is our rule, a lantern to us, dictated by the Holy Ghost, he plays upon our hearts as many harpstrings, and we are his temples, he dwelleth in us, and we in him.
The part affected of superstition, is the brain, heart, will, understanding, soul itself, and all the faculties of it, totum compositum, all is mad and dotes: now for the extent, as I say, the world itself is the subject of it, (to omit that grand sin of atheism,) all times have been misaffected, past, present, “there is not one that doth good, no not one, from the prophet to the priest, &c.” A lamentable thing it is to consider, how many myriads of men this idolatry and superstition (for that comprehends all) hath infatuated in all ages, besotted by this blind zeal, which is religion's ape, religion's bastard, religion's shadow, false glass. For where God hath a temple, the devil will have a chapel: where God hath sacrifices, the devil will have his oblations: where God hath ceremonies, the devil will have his traditions: where there is any religion, the devil will plant superstition; and 'tis a pitiful sight to behold and read, what tortures, miseries, it hath procured, what slaughter of souls it hath made, how it rageth amongst those old Persians, Syrians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Tuscans, Gauls, Germans, Britons, &c. Britannia jam hodie celebrat tam attonite, saith 6352Pliny, tantis ceremoniis (speaking of superstition) ut dedisse Persis videri possit. The Britons are so stupendly superstitious in their ceremonies, that they go beyond those Persians. He that shall but read in Pausanias alone, those gods, temples, altars, idols, statues, so curiously made with such infinite cost and charge, amongst those old Greeks, such multitudes of them and frequent varieties, as 6353Gerbelius truly observes, may stand amazed, and never enough wonder at it; and thank God withal, that by the light of the Gospel, we are so happily freed from that slavish idolatry in these our days. But heretofore, almost in all countries, in all places, superstition hath blinded the hearts of men; in all ages what a small portion hath the true church ever been! Divisum imperium cum Jove Daemon habet. 6354The patriarchs and their families, the Israelites a handful in respect, Christ and his apostles, and not all of them, neither. Into what straits hath it been compinged, a little flock! how hath superstition on the other side dilated herself, error, ignorance, barbarism, folly, madness, deceived, triumphed, and insulted over the most wise discreet, and understanding man, philosophers, dynasts, monarchs, all were involved and overshadowed in this mist, in more than Cimmerian darkness. 6355Adeo ignara superstitio mentes hominum depravat, et nonnunquam sapientum animos transversos agit. At this present, quota pars! How small a part is truly religious! How little in respect! Divide the world into six parts, and one, or not so much, as Christians; idolaters and Mahometans possess almost Asia, Africa, America, Magellanica. The kings of China, great Cham, Siam, and Borneo, Pegu, Deccan, Narsinga, Japan, &c., are gentiles, idolaters, and many other petty princes in Asia, Monomotopa, Congo, and I know not how many Negro princes in Africa, all Terra Australis incognita most of America pagans, differing all in their several superstitions; and yet all idolaters. The Mahometans extend themselves over the great Turk's dominions in Europe, Africa, Asia, to the Xeriffes in Barbary, and its territories in Fez, Sus, Morocco, &c. The Tartar, the great Mogor, the Sophy of Persia, with most of their dominions and subjects, are at this day Mahometans. See how the devil rageth: those at odds, or differing among themselves, some for 6356Ali, some Enbocar, for Acmor, and Ozimen, those four doctors, Mahomet's successors, and are subdivided into seventy-two inferior sects, as 6357Leo Afer reports. The Jews, as a company of vagabonds, are scattered over all parts; whose story, present estate, progress from time to time, is fully set down by 6358Mr. Thomas Jackson, Doctor of Divinity, in his comment on the creed. A fifth part of the world, and hardly that, now professeth CHRIST, but so inlarded and interlaced with several superstitions, that there is scarce a sound part to be found, or any agreement amongst them. Presbyter John, in Africa, lord of those Abyssinians, or Ethiopians, is by his profession a Christian, but so different from us, with such new absurdities and ceremonies, such liberty, such a mixture of idolatry and paganism, 6359that they keep little more than a bare title of Christianity. They suffer polygamy, circumcision, stupend fastings, divorce as they will themselves, &c., and as the papists call on the Virgin Mary, so do they on Thomas Didymus before Christ. 6360The Greek or Eastern Church is rent from this of the West, and as they have four chief patriarchs, so have they four subdivisions, besides those Nestorians, Jacobins, Syrians, Armenians, Georgians, &c., scattered over Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt, &c., Greece, Walachia, Circassia, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Albania, Illyricum, Sclavonia, Croatia, Thrace, Servia, Rascia, and a sprinkling amongst the Tartars, the Russians, Muscovites, and most of that great duke's (czar's) subjects, are part of the Greek Church, and still Christians: but as 6361one saith, temporis successu multas illi addiderunt superstitiones. In process of time they have added so many superstitions, they be rather semi-Christians than otherwise. That which remains is the Western Church with us in Europe, but so eclipsed with several schisms, heresies and superstitions, that one knows not where to find it. The papists have Italy, Spain, Savoy, part of Germany, France, Poland, and a sprinkling in the rest of Europe. In America, they hold all that which Spaniards inhabit, Hispania Nova, Castella Aurea, Peru, &c. In the East Indies, the Philippines, some small holds about Goa, Malacca, Zelan, Ormus, &c., which the Portuguese got not long since, and those land-leaping Jesuits have essayed in China, Japan, as appears by their yearly letters; in Africa they have Melinda, Quiloa, Mombaze, &c., and some few towns, they drive out one superstition with another. Poland is a receptacle of all religions, where Samosetans, Socinians, Photinians (now protected in Transylvania and Poland), Arians, Anabaptists are to be found, as well as in some German cities. Scandia is Christian, but 6362Damianus A-Goes, the Portugal knight, complains, so mixed with magic, pagan rites and ceremonies, they may be as well counted idolaters: what Tacitus formerly said of a like nation, is verified in them, 6363“A people subject to superstition, contrary to religion.” And some of them as about Lapland and the Pilapians, the devil's possession to this day, Misera haec gens (saith mine 6364author) Satanae hactenus possessio — et quod maxime mirandum et dolendum, and which is to be admired and pitied; if any of them be baptised, which the kings of Sweden much labour, they die within seven or nine days after, and for that cause they will hardly be brought to Christianity, but worship still the devil, who daily appears to them. In their idolatrous courses, Gandentibus diis patriis, quos religiose colunt, &c. Yet are they very superstitious, like our wild Irish: though they of the better note, the kings of Denmark and Sweden themselves, that govern them, be Lutherans; the remnant are Calvinists, Lutherans, in Germany equally mixed. And yet the emperor himself, dukes of Lorraine, Bavaria, and the princes, electors, are most part professed papists. And though some part of France and Ireland, Great Britain, half the cantons in Switzerland, and the Low Countries, be Calvinists, more defecate than the rest, yet at odds amongst themselves, not free from superstition. And which 6365Brochard, the monk, in his description of the Holy Land, after he had censured the Greek church, and showed their errors, concluded at last, Faxit Deus ne Latinis multa irrepserint stultifies, I say God grant there be no fopperies in our church. As a dam of water stopped in one place breaks out into another, so doth superstition. I say nothing of Anabaptists, Socinians, Brownists, Familists, &c. There is superstition in our prayers, often in our hearing of sermons, bitter contentions, invectives, persecutions, strange conceits, besides diversity of opinions, schisms, factions, &c. But as the Lord (Job xlii. cap. 7. v.) said to Eliphaz, the Temanite, and his two friends, “his wrath was kindled against them, for they had not spoken of him things that were right:” we may justly of these schismatics and heretics, how wise soever in their own conceits, non recte loquuntur de Deo, they speak not, they think not, they write not well of God, and as they ought. And therefore, Quid quaeso mi Dorpi, as Erasmus concludes to Dorpius, hisce Theologis faciamus, aut quid preceris, nisi forte fidelem medicum, qui cerebro medeatur? What shall we wish them, but sanam mentem, and a good physician? But more of their differences, paradoxes, opinions, mad pranks, in the symptoms: I now hasten to the causes.
6302. Called religious because it is still conversant about religion and such divine objects.
6303. Grotius. “Proceed, ye muses, nor desert me in the middle of my journey, where no footsteps lead me, no wheeltracks indicate the transit of former chariots.”
6304. Lib. 1. cap. 16. nonnulli opinionibus addicti sunt, et futura se praedicere arbitrantur.
6305. Aliis videtur quod sunt prophetae et inspirati a Spiritu sancto, et incipiunt prophetare, et multa futura praedicunt.
6306. Cap. 6. de Melanch.
6307. Cap. 5, Tractat. multi ob timorem Dei sunt melancholici, et timorem gehennae. They are still troubled for their sins.
6308. Plater c. 13.
6309. Melancholia Erotica vel quae cum amore est, duplex est: prima quae ab aliis forsan non meretur nomen melancholiae, est affectio eorum quae pro objecto proponunt Deum et ideo nihil aliud curant aut cogitant quam Deum, jejunia, vigilias: altera ob mulieres.
6310. Alia reperitur furoris species a prima vel a secunda, deorum rogantium, vel afflatu numinum furor hic venit.
6311. Qui in Delphis futura praedicunt vates, et in Dodona sacerdotes furentes quidem multa jocunda Graecis deferunt, sani vero exigua am nulla.
6312. Deus bonus, Justus, pulcher, juxta Platonem.
6313. Miror et stupeo cum coelum aspicio et pulchritudinem siderum, angelorum, &c. et quis digne laudet quod an nobis viget, corpus tam pulchrum, frontem pulchram, nares, genas, oculos, in ellectum, omnia pulchra; si sic in creaturis laboramus; quid in ipso deo?
6314. Drexelius Nicet. lib. 2. cap. 11.
6315. Fulgor divinae majestatis. Aug.
6316. In Psal. lxiv. misit ad nos Epistolas et totam scripturam, quibus nobis faceret amandi desiderium.
6317. Epist. 48. l. 4. quid est tota scriptura nisi Epistola omnipotentis Dei ad creaturum suam?
6318. Cap. vi. 8.
6319. Cap. xxvii. 11.
6320. In Psal. lxxxv. omnes pulchritudines terrenas auri, argenti, nemorum et camporum pulchritudinem Solis et Lunae, stellarum, omnia pulchra superans.
6321. Immortalis haec visio immortalis amor, indefessus amor et visio.
6322. Osorius; ubicunque visio et pulchritudo divini aspectus, ibi voluptas ex eodem fonte omnisque beatitudo, nec ab ejus aspectu voluptas, nec ab illa voluptate aspectus separari potest.
6323. Leon Haebreus. Dubitatur an humana felicitas Deo cognoscendo an amando terminetur.
6324. Lib. de anima. Ad hoc objectum amandum et fruendum nati sumus; et hunc expetisset, unicum hunc amasset humana, voluntas, ut summum bonum, et caeteras res omnes eo ordine.
6325. 9. de Repub.
6326. Hom. 9. in epist. Johannis cap. 2. Multos conjugium decepit, res alioqui salutaris et necessaria, eo quod caeco ejus amore decepti, divini amoris et gloriae studium in universum abjecerunt; plurimos cibus et potus perdit.
6327. In mundo splendor opum gloriae majestas, amicitiarum praesidia, verborum blanditiae, voluptatum omnis generis illecebrae, victoriae, triumphi, et infinita alia ab amore dei nos abstrahunt, &c.
6328. In Psal. xxxii. Dei amicus esse non potest qui mundi studiis delectatur; ut hanc, formam videas munda cor, serena cor, &c.
6329. Contemplationis pluma nos sublevat, atque inde erigimur intentione cordis, dulcedine contemplationis distinct. 6. de 7. Itineribus.
6330. Lib. de victimis: amans Deum, sublimia petit, sumptis alis et in coelum recte volat, relicta terra, cupidus aberrandi cum sole, luna, stellarumque sacra militia, ipso Deo duce.
6331. In com. Plat. cap. 7. ut Solem videas oculis, fieri debes Solaris: ut divinam aspicias pulchritudinem, demitte materiam, demitte sensum, et Deum qualis sit videbis.
6332. Avare, quid inhias his, &c. pulchrior est qui te ambit ipsum visurus, ipsum habiturus.
6333. Prov. viii.
6334. Cap. 18. Rom. Amorem hunc divinum totis viribus amplexamini; Deum vobis omni officiorum genere propitium facite.
6335. Cap. 7. de pulchritudine regna et imperia totius terras et maris et coeli oportet abjicere si ad ipsum conversus veils inseri.
6336. Habitus a Deo infusus, per quem inclinatur homo ad diligendum Deum super omnia.
6337. Dial. 1. Omnia. convertit amor in ipsius pulchri naturam.
6338. Stromatum lib. 2.
6340. De primo praecepto.
6341. De relig. l. 2. Thes. 1.
6342. 2 De nat. deorum.
6343. Hist. Belgic. lib. 8.
6344. Superstitio error insanus est epist. 223.
6345. Nam qui superstitione imbutus est, quietus esse nunquam potest.
6347. Polit. lib. 1. cap. 13.
6349. Epist, Phalar.
6350. In Psal. iii.
6351. Lib. 9. cap. 6.
6352. Lib. 3.
6353. Lib. 6. descrip. Graec. nulla est via qua non innumeris idolis est referta. Tantum tunc temporis in miserrimos mortales potentiae et crudelis Tyrannidis Satan exercuit.
6354. “The devil divides the empire with Jupiter.”
6355. Alex. ab. Alex. lib. 6. cap. 26.
6356. Purchas Pilgrim. lib. 1. c. 3.
6357. Lib. 3.
6358. 2 Part. sect. 3. lib. 1. cap. et deinceps.
6359. Titelmannus. Maginus. Bredenbachius. Fr. Aluaresius Itin. de Abyssinis Herbis solum vescuntur votarii, aquis mento tenus dormiunt, &c.
6360. Bredenbactoius Jod. a Meggen.
6361. See Passevinus Herbastein, Magin. D. Fletcher, Jovius, Hacluit. Purchas, &c. of their errors.
6362. Deplorat. Gentis Lapp.
6363. Gens superstitioni obnoxia, religionibus adversa.
6364. Boissardus de Magia. Intra septimum aut nonum a baptismo diem moriuntur. Hinc fit, &c.
6365. Cap. de Incolis terrae sanctae.
Causes of Religious melancholy. From the Devil by miracles, apparitions, oracles. His instruments or factors, politicians, Priests, Impostors, Heretics, blind guides. In them simplicity, fear, blind zeal, ignorance, solitariness, curiosity, pride, vainglory, presumption, &c. his engines, fasting, solitariness, hope, fear, &c.
We are taught in Holy Scripture, that the “Devil rangeth abroad like a roaring lion, still seeking whom he may devour:” and as in several shapes, so by several engines and devices he goeth about to seduce us; sometimes he transforms himself into an angel of light; and is so cunning that he is able, if it were possible, to deceive the very elect. He will be worshipped as 6366God himself, and is so adored by the heathen, and esteemed. And in imitation of that divine power, as 6367Eusebius observes, 6368to abuse or emulate God's glory, as Dandinus adds, he will have all homage, sacrifices, oblations, and whatsoever else belongs to the worship of God, to be done likewise unto him, similis erit altissimo, and by this means infatuates the world, deludes, entraps, and destroys many a thousand souls. Sometimes by dreams, visions (as God to Moses by familiar conference), the devil in several shapes talks with them: in the 6369Indies it is common, and in China nothing so familiar as apparitions, inspirations, oracles, by terrifying them with false prodigies, counterfeit miracles, sending storms, tempests, diseases, plagues (as of old in Athens there was Apollo, Alexicacus, Apollo λόιμιος, pestifer et malorum depulsor), raising wars, seditions by spectrums, troubling their consciences, driving them to despair, terrors of mind, intolerable pains; by promises, rewards, benefits, and fair means, he raiseth such an opinion of his deity and greatness, that they dare not do otherwise than adore him, do as he will have them, they dare not offend him. And to compel them more to stand in awe of him, 6370“he sends and cures diseases, disquiets their spirits” (as Cyprian saith), “torments and terrifies their souls, to make them adore him: and all his study, all his endeavour is to divert them from true religion to superstition: and because he is damned himself, and in an error, he would have all the world participate of his errors, and be damned with him.” The primum mobile, therefore, and first mover of all superstition, is the devil, that great enemy of mankind, the principal agent, who in a thousand several, shapes, after diverse fashions, with several engines, illusions, and by several names hath deceived the inhabitants of the earth, in several places and countries, still rejoicing at their falls. “All the world over before Christ's time, he freely domineered, and held the souls of men in most slavish subjection” (saith 6371Eusebius) “in diverse forms, ceremonies, and sacrifices, till Christ's coming,” as if those devils of the air had shared the earth amongst them, which the Platonists held for gods (6372Ludus deorum sumus), and were our governors and keepers. In several places, they had several rites, orders, names, of which read Wierus de praestigiis daemonum, lib. 1. cap. 5. 6373Strozzius Cicogna, and others; Adonided amongst the Syrians; Adramalech amongst the Capernaites, Asiniae amongst the Emathites; Astartes with the Sidonians; Astaroth with the Palestines; Dagon with the Philistines; Tartary with the Hanaei; Melchonis amongst the Ammonites: Beli the Babylonians; Beelzebub and Baal with the Samaritans and Moabites; Apis, Isis, and Osiris amongst the Egyptians; Apollo Pythius at Delphos, Colophon, Ancyra, Cuma, Erythra; Jupiter in Crete, Venus at Cyprus, Juno at Carthage, Aesculapius at Epidaurus, Diana at Ephesus, Pallas at Athens, &c. And even in these our days, both in the East and West Indies, in Tartary, China, Japan, &c., what strange idols, in what prodigious forms, with what absurd ceremonies are they adored? What strange sacraments, like ours of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, what goodly temples, priests, sacrifices they had in America, when the Spaniards first landed there, let Acosta the Jesuit relate, lib. 5. cap. 1, 2, 3, 4, &c., and how the devil imitated the Ark and the children of Israel's coming out of Egypt; with many such. For as Lipsius well discourseth out of the doctrine of the Stoics, maxime cupiunt adorationem hominum, now and of old, they still and most especially desire to be adored by men. See but what Vertomannus, l. 5. c. 2. Marcus Polus, Lerius, Benzo, P. Martyr in his Ocean Decades, Acosta, and Mat. Riccius expedit. Christ. in Sinus, lib. 1. relate. 6374Eusebius wonders how that wise city of Athens, and flourishing kingdoms of Greece, should be so besotted; and we in our times, how. those witty Chinese, so perspicacious in all other things should be so gulled, so tortured with superstition, so blind as to worship stocks and stones. But it is no marvel, when we see all out as great effects amongst Christians themselves; how are those Anabaptists, Arians, and Papists above the rest, miserably infatuated! Mars, Jupiter, Apollo, and Aesculapius, have resigned their interest, names, and offices to Saint George.
St. Christopher, and a company of fictitious saints, Venus to the Lady of Loretto. And as those old Romans had several distinct gods, for divers offices, persons, places, so have they saints, as 6376Lavater well observes out of Lactantius, mutato nomine tantum, 'tis the same spirit or devil that deludes them still. The manner how, as I say, is by rewards, promises, terrors, affrights, punishments. In a word, fair and foul means, hope and fear. How often hath Jupiter, Apollo, Bacchus, and the rest, sent plagues in 6377Greece and Italy, because their sacrifices were neglected?
6378Dii multa neglecti dederunt
Hesperiae mala luctuosae,
to terrify them, to arouse them up, and the like: see but Livy, Dionysius Halicarnassaeus, Thucydides, Pausanius, Philostratus, 6379Polybius, before the battle of Cannae, prodigiis signis, ostentis, templa cuncta, privates etiam aedes scatebant. Oeneus reigned in Aetolia, and because he did not sacrifice to Diana with his other gods (see more in Labanius his Diana), she sent a wild boar, insolitae magnitudinis, qui terras et homines misere depascebatur, to spoil both men and country, which was afterwards killed by Meleager. So Plutarch in the Life of Lucullus relates, how Mithridates, king of Pontus, at the siege of Cizicum, with all his navy, was overthrown by Proserpina, for neglecting of her holy day. She appeared in a vision to Aristagoras in the night, Cras inquit tybicinem Lybicum cum tybicine pontico committam (“tomorrow I will cause a contest between a Libyan and a Pontic minstrel”), and the day following this enigma was understood; for with a great south wind which came from Libya, she quite overwhelmed Mithridates' army. What prodigies and miracles, dreams, visions, predictions, apparitions, oracles, have been of old at Delphos, Dodona, Trophonius' den, at Thebes, and Lebaudia, of Jupiter Ammon in Egypt, Amphiaraus in Attica, &c.; what strange cures performed by Apollo and Aesculapius? Juno's image and that of 6380Fortune spake, 6381Castor and Pollux fought in person for the Romans against Hannibal's army, as Pallas, Mars, Juno, Venus, for Greeks and Trojans, &c. Amongst our pseudo-Catholics nothing so familiar as such miracles; how many cures done by our lady of Loretto, at Sichem! of old at our St. Thomas's shrine, &c. 6382St. Sabine was seen to fight for Arnulphus, duke of Spoleto. 6383St. George fought in person for John the Bastard of Portugal, against the Castilians; St. James for the Spaniards in America. In the battle of Bannockburn, where Edward the Second, our English king, was foiled by the Scots, St. Philanus' arm was seen to fight (if 6384Hector Boethius doth not impose), that was before shut up in a silver cap-case; another time, in the same author, St. Magnus fought for them. Now for visions, revelations, miracles, not only out of the legend, out of purgatory, but everyday comes news from the Indies, and at home read the Jesuits' Letters, Ribadineira, Thurselinus, Acosta, Lippomanus, Xaverius, Ignatius' Lives, &c., and tell me what difference?
His ordinary instruments or factors which he useth, as God himself, did good kings, lawful magistrates, patriarchs, prophets, to the establishing of his church, 6385are politicians, statesmen, priests, heretics, blind guides, impostors, pseudoprophets, to propagate his superstition. And first to begin of politicians, it hath ever been a principal axiom with them to maintain religion or superstition, which they determine of, alter and vary upon all occasions, as to them seems best, they make religion mere policy, a cloak, a human invention, nihil aeque valet ad regendos vulgi animos ac superstitio, as 6386Tacitus and 6387Tully hold. Austin, l. 4. de civitat. Dei. c. 9. censures Scaevola saying and acknowledging expedire civitates religione falli, that it was a fit thing cities should be deceived by religion, according to the diverb, Si mundus vult decipi, decipiatur, if the world will be gulled, let it be gulled, 'tis good howsoever to keep it in subjection. 'Tis that 6388Aristotle and 6389Plato inculcate in their politics, “Religion neglected, brings plague to the city, opens a gap to all naughtiness.” 'Tis that which all our late politicians ingeminate. Cromerus, l. 2. pol. hist. Boterus, l. 3. de incrementis urbium. Clapmarius, l. 2. c. 9. de Arcanis rerump. cap. 4. lib. 2. polit. Captain Machiavel will have a prince by all means to counterfeit religion, to be superstitious in show at least, to seem to be devout, frequent holy exercises, honour divines, love the church, affect priests, as Numa, Lycurgus, and such lawmakers were and did, non ut his fidem habeant, sed ut subditos religionis metu facilius in officio contineant, to keep people in obedience. 6390Nam naturaliter (as Cardan writes) lex Christiana lex est pietatis, justitiae, fidei, simplicitatis, &c. But this error of his, Innocentius Jentilettus, a French lawyer, theorem. 9. comment. 1. de Relig, and Thomas Bozius in his book de ruinis gentium et Regnorum have copiously confuted. Many politicians, I dare not deny, maintain religion as a true means, and sincerely speak of it without hypocrisy, are truly zealous and religious themselves. Justice and religion are the two chief props and supporters of a well-governed commonwealth: but most of them are but Machiavellians, counterfeits only for political ends; for solus rex (which Campanella, cap. 18. atheismi triumphali observes), as amongst our modern Turks, reipub. Finis, as knowing 6391magnus ejus in animos imperium; and that, as 6392Sabellicus delivers, “A man without religion, is like a horse without a bridle.” No way better to curb than superstition, to terrify men's consciences, and to keep them in awe: they make new laws, statutes, invent new religions, ceremonies, as so many stalking horses, to their ends. 6393Haec enim (religio) si falsa sit, dummodo vera credatur, animorum ferociam domat, libidines coercet, subditos principi obsequentes efficit. 6394Therefore (saith 6395Polybius of Lycurgus), “did he maintain ceremonies, not that he was superstitious himself, but that he had perceived mortal men more apt to embrace paradoxes than aught else, and durst attempt no evil things for fear of the gods.” This was Zamolcus's stratagem amongst the Thracians, Numa's plot, when he said he had conference with the nymph Aegeria, and that of Sertorius with a hart; to get more credit to their decrees, by deriving them from the gods; or else they did all by divine instinct, which Nicholas Damascen well observes of Lycurgus, Solon, and Minos, they had their laws dictated, monte sacro, by Jupiter himself. So Mahomet referred his new laws to the 6396angel Gabriel, by whose direction he gave out they were made. Caligula in Dion feigned himself to be familiar with Castor and Pollux, and many such, which kept those Romans under (who, as Machiavel proves, lib. 1. disput. cap. 11. et 12. were Religione maxime moti, most superstitious): and did curb the people more by this means, than by force of arms, or severity of human laws. Sola plebecula eam agnoscebat (saith Vaninus, dial. 1. lib. 4. de admirandis naturae arcanis) speaking of religion, que facile decipitur, magnates vero et philosophi nequaquam, your grandees and philosophers had no such conceit, sed ad imperii conformationem et amplificationem quam sine praetextu religionis tueri non poterant; and many thousands in all ages have ever held as much, Philosophers especially, animadvertebant hi semper haec esse fabellas, attamen ob metum publicae potestatis silere cogebantur they were still silent for fear of laws, &c. To this end that Syrian Phyresides, Pythagoras his master, broached in the East amongst the heathens, first the immortality of the soul, as Trismegistus did in Egypt, with a many of feigned gods. Those French and Briton Druids in the West first taught, saith 6397Caesar, non interire animas (that souls did not die), “but after death to go from one to another, that so they might encourage them to virtue.” 'Twas for a politic end, and to this purpose the old 6398poets feigned those elysian fields, their Aeacus, Minos, and Rhadamanthus, their infernal judges, and those Stygian lakes, fiery Phlegethons, Pluto's kingdom, and variety of torments after death. Those that had done well, went to the elysian fields, but evil doers to Cocytus, and to that burning lake of 6399hell with fire, and brimstone for ever to be tormented. 'Tis this which 6400Plato labours for in his Phaedon, et 9. de rep. The Turks in their Alcoran, when they set down rewards, and several punishments for every particular virtue and vice, 6401when they persuade men, that they that die in battle shall go directly to heaven, but wicked livers to eternal torment, and all of all sorts (much like our papistical purgatory), for a set time shall be tortured in their graves, as appears by that tract which John Baptista Alfaqui, that Mauritanian priest, now turned Christian, hath written in his confutation of the Alcoran. After a man's death two black angels, Nunquir and Nequir (so they call them) come to him to his grave and punish him for his precedent sins; if he lived well, they torture him the less; if ill, per indesinentes cruciatus ad diem fudicii, they incessantly punish him to the day of judgment, Nemo viventium qui ad horum mentionem non totus horret et contremiscit, the thought of this crucifies them all their lives long, and makes them spend their days in fasting and prayer, ne mala haec contingant, &c. A Tartar prince, saith Marcus Polus, lib. 1. cap. 23. called Senex de Montibus, the better to establish his government amongst his subjects, and to keep them in awe, found a convenient place in a pleasant valley, environed with hills, in 6402“which he made a delicious park full of odoriferous flowers and fruits, and a palace of all worldly contents,” that could possibly be devised, music, pictures, variety of meats, &c., and chose out a certain young man, whom with a 6403soporiferous potion he so benumbed, that he perceived nothing: “and so fast asleep as he was, caused him to be conveyed into this fair garden:” where after he had lived awhile in all such pleasures a sensual man could desire, 6404“He cast him into a sleep again, and brought him forth, that when he awaked he might tell others he had been in Paradise.” The like he did for hell, and by this means brought his people to subjection. Because heaven and hell are mentioned in the scriptures, and to be believed necessary by Christians: so cunningly can the devil and his ministers, in imitation of true religion, counterfeit and forge the like, to circumvent and delude his superstitious followers. Many such tricks and impostures are acted by politicians, in China especially, but with what effect I will discourse in the symptoms.
Next to politicians, if I may distinguish them, are some of our priests (who make religion policy), if not far beyond them, for they domineer over princes and statesmen themselves. Carnificinam exercent, one saith they tyrannise over men's consciences more than any other tormentors whatsoever, partly for their commodity and gain; Religionem enim omnium abusus (as 6405Postellus holds), quaestus scilicet sacrificum in causa est: for sovereignty, credit, to maintain their state and reputation, out of ambition and avarice, which are their chief supporters: what have they not made the common people believe? Impossibilities in nature, incredible things; what devices, traditions, ceremonies, have they not invented in all ages to keep men in obedience, to enrich themselves? Quibus quaestui sunt capti superstitione animi, as 6406Livy saith. Those Egyptian priests of old got all the sovereignty into their hands, and knowing, as 6407Curtius insinuates, nulla res efficacius multitudinem regit quam superstitio; melius vatibus quam ducibus parent, vana religione capti, etiam impotentes faeminae; the common people will sooner obey priests than captains, and nothing so forcible as superstition, or better than blind zeal to rule a multitude; have so terrified and gulled them, that it is incredible to relate. All nations almost have been besotted in this kind; amongst our Britons and old Gauls the Druids; magi in Persia; philosophers in Greece; Chaldeans amongst the Oriental; Brachmanni in India; Gymnosophists in Ethiopia; the Turditanes in Spain; Augurs in Rome, have insulted; Apollo's priests in Greece, Phaebades and Pythonissae, by their oracles and phantasms; Amphiaraus and his companions; now Mahometan and pagan priests, what can they not effect? How do they not infatuate the world? Adeo ubique (as 6408Scaliger writes of the Mahometan priests), tum gentium tum locorum, gens ista sacrorum ministra, vulgi secat spes, ad ea quae ipsi fingunt somnia, “so cunningly can they gull the commons in all places and countries.” But above all others, that high priest of Rome, the dam of that monstrous and superstitious brood, the bull-bellowing pope, which now rageth in the West, that three-headed Cerberus hath played his part. 6409 “Whose religion at this day is mere policy, a state wholly composed of superstition and wit, and needs nothing but wit and superstition to maintain it, that useth colleges and religious houses to as good purpose as forts and castles, and doth more at this day” by a company of scribbling parasites, fiery-spirited friars, zealous anchorites, hypocritical confessors, and those praetorian soldiers, his Janissary Jesuits, and that dissociable society, as 6410Languis terms it, postremus diaboli conatus et saeculi excrementum, that now stand in the fore front of the battle, will have a monopoly of, and engross all other learning, but domineer in divinity, 6411Excipiunt soli totius vulnera belli, and fight alone almost (for the rest are but his dromedaries and asses), than ever he could have done by garrisons and armies. What power of prince, or penal law, be it never so strict, could enforce men to do that which for conscience' sake they will voluntarily undergo? And as to fast from all flesh, abstain from marriage, rise to their prayers at midnight, whip themselves, with stupendous fasting and penance, abandon the world, wilful poverty, perform canonical and blind obedience, to prostrate their goods, fortunes, bodies, lives, and offer up themselves at their superior's feet, at his command? What so powerful an engine as superstition? which they right well perceiving, are of no religion at all themselves: Primum enim (as Calvin rightly suspects, the tenor and practice of their life proves), arcanae illius theologiae, quod apud eos regnat, caput est, nullum esse deum, they hold there is no God, as Leo X. did, Hildebrand the magician, Alexander VI., Julius II., mere atheists, and which the common proverb amongst them approves, 6412“The worst Christians of Italy are the Romans, of the Romans the priests are wildest, the lewdest priests are preferred to be cardinals, and the baddest men amongst the cardinals is chosen to be pope,” that is an epicure, as most part the popes are, infidels and Lucianists, for so they think and believe; and what is said of Christ to be fables and impostures, of heaven and hell, day of judgment, paradise, immortality of the soul, are all,
6413Rumores vacui, verbaque inania,
Et par sollicito fabula somnio.
“Dreams, toys, and old wives' tales.” Yet as so many 6414whetstones to make other tools cut, but cut not themselves, though they be of no religion at all, they will make others most devout and superstitious, by promises and threats, compel, enforce from, and lead them by the nose like so many bears in a line; when as their end is not to propagate the church, advance God's kingdom, seek His glory or common good, but to enrich themselves, to enlarge their territories, to domineer and compel them to stand in awe, to live in subjection to the See of Rome. For what otherwise care they? Si mundus vult decipi, decipiatur, “since the world wishes to be gulled, let it be gulled,” 'tis fit it should be so. And for which 6415Austin cites Varro to maintain his Roman religion, we may better apply to them: multa vera, quae vulgus scire non est utile; pleraque falsa, quae tamen uliter existimare populum expedit; some things are true, some false, which for their own ends they will not have the gullish commonalty take notice of. As well may witness their intolerable covetousness, strange forgeries, fopperies, fooleries, unrighteous subtleties, impostures, illusions, new doctrines, paradoxes, traditions, false miracles, which they have still forged, to enthral, circumvent and subjugate them, to maintain their own estates. 6416One while by bulls, pardons, indulgencies, and their doctrines of good works, that they be meritorious, hope of heaven, by that means they have so fleeced the commonalty, and spurred on this free superstitious horse, that he runs himself blind, and is an ass to carry burdens. They have so amplified Peter's patrimony, that from a poor bishop, he is become Rex Regum, Dominus dominantium, a demigod, as his canonists make him (Felinus and the rest), above God himself. And for his wealth and 6417 temporalities, is not inferior to many kings: 6418his cardinals, princes' companions; and in every kingdom almost, abbots, priors, monks, friars, &c., and his clergy, have engrossed a 6419third part, half, in some places all, into their hands. Three princes, electors in Germany, bishops; besides Magdeburg, Spire, Saltsburg, Breme, Bamberg, &c. In France, as Bodine lib. de repub. gives us to understand, their revenues are 12,300,000 livres; and of twelve parts of the revenues in France, the church possesseth seven. The Jesuits, a new sect, begun in this age, have, as 6420Middendorpius and 6421Pelargus reckon up, three or four hundred colleges in Europe, and more revenues than many princes. In France, as Arnoldus proves, in thirty years they have got bis centum librarum millia annua, 200,000l. I say nothing of the rest of their orders. We have had in England, as Armachanus demonstrates, above 30,000 friars at once, and as 6422Speed collects out of Leland and others, almost 600 religious houses, and near 200,000l. in revenues of the old rent belonging to them, besides images of gold, silver, plate, furniture, goods and ornaments, as 6423Weever calculates, and esteems them at the dissolution of abbeys, worth a million of gold. How many towns in every kingdom hath superstition enriched? What a deal of money by musty relics, images, idolatry, have their mass-priests engrossed, and what sums have they scraped by their other tricks! Loretto in Italy, Walsingham in England, in those days. Ubi omnia auro nitent, “where everything shines with gold,” saith Erasmus, St. Thomas's shrine, &c., may witness. 6424Delphos so renowned of old in Greece for Apollo's oracle, Delos commune conciliabulum et emporium sola religions manitum; Dodona, whose fame and wealth were sustained by religion, were not so rich, so famous. If they can get but a relic of some saint, the Virgin Mary's picture, idols or the like, that city is for ever made, it needs no other maintenance. Now if any of these their impostures or juggling tricks be controverted, or called in question: if a magnanimous or zealous Luther, an heroical Luther, as 6425Dithmarus Calls him, dare touch the monks' bellies, all is in a combustion, all is in an uproar: Demetrius and his associates are ready to pull him in pieces, to keep up their trades, 6426 “Great is Diana of the Ephesians:” with a mighty shout of two hours long they will roar and not be pacified.
Now for their authority, what by auricular confession, satisfaction, penance, Peter's keys, thunderings, excommunications, &c., roaring bulls, this high priest of Rome, shaking his Gorgon's head, hath so terrified the soul of many a silly man, insulted over majesty itself, and swaggered generally over all Europe for many ages, and still doth to some, holding them as yet in slavish subjection, as never tyrannising Spaniards did by their poor Negroes, or Turks by their galley-slaves. 6427“The bishop of Rome” (saith Stapleton, a parasite of his, de mag. Eccles. lib. 2. cap. 1.) “hath done that without arms, which those Roman emperors could never achieve with forty legions of soldiers,” deposed kings, and crowned them again with his foot, made friends, and corrected at his pleasure, &c. 6428 “'Tis a wonder,” saith Machiavel, Florentinae, his. lib. 1. “what slavery King Henry II. endured for the death of Thomas a Beckett, what things he was enjoined by the Pope, and how he submitted himself to do that which in our times a private man would not endure,” and all through superstition. 6429Henry IV. disposed of his empire, stood barefooted with his wife at the gates of Canossus. 6430Frederic the Emperor was trodden on by Alexander III., another held Adrian's stirrup, King John kissed the knees of Pandulphos the Pope's legate, See. What made so many thousand Christians travel from France, Britain, &c., into the Holy Land, spend such huge sums of money, go a pilgrimage so familiarly to Jerusalem, to creep and crouch, but slavish superstition? What makes them so freely venture their lives, to leave their native countries, to go seek martyrdom in the Indies, but superstition? to be assassins, to meet death, murder kings, but a false persuasion of merit, of canonical or blind obedience which they instil into them, and animate them by strange illusions, hope of being martyrs and saints: such pretty feats can the devil work by priests, and so well for their own advantage can they play their parts. And if it were not yet enough, by priests and politicians to delude mankind, and crucify the souls of men, he hath more actors in his tragedy, more irons in the fire, another scene of heretics, factious, ambitious wits, insolent spirits, schismatics, impostors, false prophets, blind guides, that out of pride, singularity, vainglory, blind zeal, cause much more madness yet, set all in an uproar by their new doctrines, paradoxes, figments, crotchets, make new divisions, subdivisions, new sects, oppose one superstition to another, one kingdom to another, commit prince and subjects, brother against brother, father against son, to the ruin and destruction of a commonwealth, to the disturbance of peace, and to make a general confusion of all estates. How did those Arians rage of old? how many did they circumvent? Those Pelagians, Manichees, &c., their names alone would make a just volume. How many silly souls have impostors still deluded, drawn away, and quite alienated from Christ! Lucian's Alexander Simon Magus, whose statue was to be seen and adored in Rome, saith Justin Martyr, Simoni deo sancto, &c., after his decease. 6431Apollonius Tianaeus, Cynops, Eumo, who by counterfeiting some new ceremonies and juggling tricks of that Dea Syria, by spitting fire, and the like, got an army together of 40,000 men, and did much harm: with Eudo de stellis, of whom Nubrigensis speaks, lib. 1. cap. 19. that in King Stephen's days imitated most of Christ's miracles, fed I know not how many people in the wilderness, and built castles in the air, &c., to the seducing of multitudes of poor souls. In Franconia, 1476, a base illiterate fellow took upon him to be a prophet, and preach, John Beheim by name, a neatherd at Nicholhausen, he seduced 30,000 persons, and was taken by the commonalty to be a most holy man, come from heaven. 6432 “Tradesmen left their shops, women their distaffs, servants ran from their masters, children from their parents, scholars left their tutors, all to hear him, some for novelty, some for zeal. He was burnt at last by the Bishop of Wartzburg, and so he and his heresy vanished together.” How many such impostors, false prophets, have lived in every king's reign? what chronicles will not afford such examples? that as so many ignes fatui, have led men out of the way, terrified some, deluded others, that are apt to be carried about by the blast of every wind, a rude inconstant multitude, a silly company of poor souls, that follow all, and are cluttered together like so many pebbles in a tide. What prodigious follies, madness, vexations, persecutions, absurdities, impossibilities, these impostors, heretics, &c., have thrust upon the world, what strange effects shall be shown in the symptoms.
Now the means by which, or advantages the devil and his infernal ministers take, so to delude and disquiet the world with such idle ceremonies, false doctrines, superstitious fopperies, are from themselves, innate fear, ignorance, simplicity, hope and fear, those two battering cannons and principal engines, with their objects, reward and punishment, purgatory, Limbus Patrum, &c. which now more than ever tyrannise; 6433“for what province is free from atheism, superstition, idolatry, schism, heresy, impiety, their factors and followers?” thence they proceed, and from that same decayed image of God, which is yet remaining in us.
6434Os homini sublime dedit, coelumque tueri
Our own conscience doth dictate so much unto us, we know there is a God and nature doth inform us; Nulla gens tam barbara (saith Tully) cui non insideat haec persuasio Deum esse; sed nec Scytha, nec Groecus, nec Persa, nec Hyperboreus dissentiet (as Maximus Tyrius the Platonist ser. 1. farther adds) nec continentis nec insularum habitator, let him dwell where he will, in what coast soever, there is no nation so barbarous that is not persuaded there is a God. It is a wonder to read of that infinite superstition amongst the Indians in this kind, of their tenets in America, pro suo quisque libitu varias res venerabantur superstitiose, plantas, animalia, montes, &c. omne quod amabant aut horrebant (some few places excepted as he grants, that had no God at all). So “the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament declares his handy work,” Psalm xix. “Every creature will evince it;” Praesentemque refert quaelibet herba deum. Nolentes sciunt, fatentur inviti, as the said Tyrius proceeds, will or nill, they must acknowledge it. The philosophers, Socrates, Plato, Plotinus, Pythagoras, Trismegistus, Seneca, Epictetus, those Magi, Druids, &c. went as far as they could by the light of nature; 6435multa praeclara, de natura Dei seripta reliquerunt, “writ many things well of the nature of God, but they had but a confused light, a glimpse,”
6436Quale per incertam lunam sub luce maligna
Est iter in sylvis ———
“as he that walks by moonshine in a wood,” they groped in the dark; they had a gross knowledge, as he in Euripides, O Deus quicquid es, sive coelum, sive terra, sive aliud quid, and that of Aristotle, Ens entium miserere mei. And so of the immortality of the soul, and future happiness. Immortalitatem animae (saith Hierom) Pythagoras somniavit, Democritus non credidit in consolalionem damnationis suae Socrates in carcere disputavit; Indus, Persa, Cothus, &c. Philosophantur. So some said this, some that, as they conceived themselves, which the devil perceiving, led them farther out (as 6437Lemnius observes) and made them worship him as their God with stocks and stones, and torture themselves to their own destruction, as he thought fit himself, inspired his priests and ministers with lies and fictions to prosecute the same, which they for their own ends were as willing to undergo, taking advantage of their simplicity, fear and ignorance. For the common people are as a flock of sheep, a rude, illiterate rout, void many times of common sense, a mere beast, bellua multorum capitum, will go whithersoever they are led: as you lead a ram over a gap by the horns, all the rest will follow, 6438Non qua eundum, sed qua itur, they will do as they see others do, and as their prince will have them, let him be of what religion he will, they are for him. Now for those idolaters, Maxentius and Licinius, then for Constantine a Christian. 6439Qui Christum negant male pereant, acclamatum est Decies, for two hours' space; qui Christum non colunt, Augusti inimici sunt, acclamatum est ter decies; and by and by idolaters again under that Apostate Julianus; all Arians under Constantius, good Catholics again under Jovinianus, “And little difference there is between the discretion of men and children in this case, especially of old folks and women,” as 6440 Cardan discourseth, “when, as they are tossed with fear and superstition, and with other men's folly and dishonesty.” So that I may say their ignorance is a cause of their superstition, a symptom, and madness itself: Supplicii causa est, sappliciumque sui. Their own fear, folly, stupidity, to be deplored lethargy, is that which gives occasion to the other, and pulls these miseries on their own heads. For in all these religions and superstitions, amongst our idolaters, you shall find that the parties first affected, are silly, rude, ignorant people, old folks, that are naturally prone to superstition, weak women, or some poor, rude, illiterate persons, that are apt to be wrought upon, and gulled in this kind, prone without either examination or due consideration (for they take up religion a trust, as at mercers' they do their wares) to believe anything. And the best means they have to broach first, or to maintain it when they have done, is to keep them still in ignorance: for “ignorance is the mother of devotion,” as all the world knows, and these times can amply witness. This hath been the devil's practice, and his infernal ministers in all ages; not as our Saviour by a few silly fishermen, to confound the wisdom of the world, to save publicans and sinners, but to make advantage of their ignorance, to convert them and their associates; and that they may better effect what they intend, they begin, as I say, with poor, 6441stupid, illiterate persons. So Mahomet did when he published his Alcoran, which is a piece of work (saith 6442Bredenbachius) “full of nonsense, barbarism, confusion, without rhyme, reason, or any good composition, first published to a company of rude rustics, hog-rubbers, that had no discretion, judgment, art, or understanding, and is so still maintained.” For it is a part of their policy to let no man comment, dare to dispute or call in question to this day any part of it, be it never so absurd, incredible, ridiculous, fabulous as it is, must be believed implicite, upon pain of death no man must dare to contradict it, “God and the emperor, &c.” What else do our papists, but by keeping the people in ignorance vent and broach all their new ceremonies and traditions, when they conceal the scripture, read it in Latin, and to some few alone, feeding the slavish people in the meantime with tales out of legends, and such like fabulous narrations? Whom do they begin with but collapsed ladies, some few tradesmen, superstitious old folks, illiterate persons, weak women, discontent, rude, silly companions, or sooner circumvent? So do all our schismatics and heretics. Marcus and Valentinian heretics, in 6443Irenaeus, seduced first I know not how many women, and made them believe they were prophets. 6444Friar Cornelius of Dort seduced a company of silly women. What are all our Anabaptists, Brownists, Barrowists, familists, but a company of rude, illiterate, capricious, base fellows? What are most of our papists, but stupid, ignorant and blind bayards? how should they otherwise be, when as they are brought up and kept still in darkness? 6445“If their pastors” (saith Lavater) “have done their duties, and instructed their flocks as they ought, in the principles of Christian religion, or had not forbidden them the reading of scriptures, they had not been as they are.” But being so misled all their lives in superstition, and carried hoodwinked like hawks, how can they prove otherwise than blind idiots, and superstitious asses? what else shall we expect at their hands? Neither is it sufficient to keep them blind, and in Cimmerian darkness, but withal, as a schoolmaster doth by his boys, to make them follow their books, sometimes by good hope, promises and encouragements, but most of all by fear, strict discipline, severity, threats and punishment, do they collogue and soothe up their silly auditors, and so bring them into a fools' paradise. Rex eris aiunt, si recte facies, do well, thou shalt be crowned; but for the most part by threats, terrors, and affrights, they tyrannise and terrify their distressed souls: knowing that fear alone is the sole and only means to keep men in obedience, according to that hemistichium of Petronius, primus in orbe deos fecit timor, the fear of some divine and supreme powers, keeps men in obedience, makes the people do their duties: they play upon their consciences; 6446which was practised of old in Egypt by their priests; when there was an eclipse, they made the people believe God was angry, great miseries were to come; they take all opportunities of natural causes, to delude the people's senses, and with fearful tales out of purgatory, feigned apparitions, earthquakes in Japonia or China, tragical examples of devils, possessions, obsessions, false miracles, counterfeit visions, &c. They do so insult over and restrain them, never hoby so dared a lark, that they will not 6447offend the least tradition, tread, or scarce look awry: Deus bone (6448Lavater exclaims) quot hoc commentum de purgatorio misere afflixit! good God, how many men have been miserably afflicted by this fiction of purgatory!
To these advantages of hope and fear, ignorance and simplicity, he hath several engines, traps, devices, to batter and enthral, omitting no opportunities, according to men's several inclinations, abilities, to circumvent and humour them, to maintain his superstitions, sometimes to stupefy, besot them: sometimes again by oppositions, factions, to set all at odds and in an uproar; sometimes he infects one man, and makes him a principal agent; sometimes whole cities, countries. If of meaner sort, by stupidity, canonical obedience, blind zeal, &c. If of better note, by pride, ambition, popularity, vainglory. If of the clergy and more eminent, of better parts than the rest, more learned, eloquent, he puffs them up with a vain conceit of their own worth, scientia inflati, they begin to swell, and scorn all the world in respect of themselves, and thereupon turn heretics, schismatics, broach new doctrines, frame new crotchets and the like; or else out of too much learning become mad, or out of curiosity they will search into God's secrets, and eat of the forbidden fruit; or out of presumption of their holiness and good gifts, inspirations, become prophets, enthusiasts, and what not? Or else if they be displeased, discontent, and have not (as they suppose) preferment to their worth, have some disgrace, repulse, neglected, or not esteemed as they fondly value themselves, or out of emulation, they begin presently to rage and rave, coelum terrae, miscent, they become so impatient in an instant, that a whole kingdom cannot contain them, they will set all in a combustion, all at variance, to be revenged of their adversaries. 6449Donatus, when he saw Cecilianus preferred before him in the bishopric of Carthage, turned heretic, and so did Arian, because Alexander was advanced: we have examples at home, and too many experiments of such persons. If they be laymen of better note, the same engines of pride, ambition, emulation and jealousy, take place, they will be gods themselves: 6450Alexander in India, after his victories, became so insolent, he would be adored for a god: and those Roman emperors came to that height of madness, they must have temples built to them, sacrifices to their deities, Divus Augustus, D. Claudius, D. Adrianus: 6451Heliogabalus, “put out that vestal fire at Rome, expelled the virgins, and banished all other religions all over the world, and would be the sole God himself.” Our Turks, China kings, great Chams, and Mogors do little less, assuming divine and bombast titles to themselves; the meaner sort are too credulous, and led with blind zeal, blind obedience, to prosecute and maintain whatsoever their sottish leaders shall propose, what they in pride and singularity, revenge, vainglory, ambition, spleen, for gain, shall rashly maintain and broach, their disciples make a matter of conscience, of hell and damnation, if they do it not, and will rather forsake wives, children, house and home, lands, goods, fortunes, life itself, than omit or abjure the least tittle of it, and to advance the common cause, undergo any miseries, turn traitors, assassins, pseudomartyrs, with full assurance and hope of reward in that other world, that they shall certainly merit by it, win heaven, be canonised for saints.
Now when they are truly possessed with blind zeal, and misled with superstition, he hath many other baits to inveigle and infatuate them farther yet, to make them quite mortified and mad, and that under colour of perfection, to merit by penance, going woolward, whipping, alms, fastings, &c. An. 1320. there was a sect of 6452whippers in Germany, that, to the astonishment of the beholders, lashed, and cruelly tortured themselves. I could give many other instances of each particular. But these works so done are meritorious, ex opere operato, ex condigno, for themselves and others, to make them macerate and consume their bodies, specie virtutis et umbra, those evangelical counsels are propounded, as our pseudo-Catholics call them, canonical obedience, wilful poverty, 6453vows of chastity, monkery, and a solitary life, which extend almost to all religions and superstitions, to Turks, Chinese, Gentiles, Abyssinians, Greeks, Latins, and all countries. Amongst the rest, fasting, contemplation, solitariness, are as it were certain rams by which the devil doth batter and work upon the strongest constitutions. Nonnulli (saith Peter Forestus) ob longas inedias, studia et meditationes coelestes, de rebus sacris et religione semper agitant, by fasting overmuch, and divine meditations, are overcome. Not that fasting is a thing of itself to be discommended, for it is an excellent means to keep the body in subjection, a preparative to devotion, the physic of the soul, by which chaste thoughts are engendered, true zeal, a divine spirit, whence wholesome counsels do proceed, concupiscence is restrained, vicious and predominant lusts and humours are expelled. The fathers are very much in commendation of it, and, as Calvin notes, “sometimes immoderate. 6454The mother of health, key of heaven, a spiritual wing to arear us, the chariot of the Holy Ghost, banner of faith,” &c. And 'tis true they say of it, if it be moderately and seasonably used, by such parties as Moses, Elias, Daniel, Christ, and his 6455apostles made use of it; but when by this means they will supererogate, and as 6456Erasmus well taxeth, Coelum non sufficere putant suis meritis. Heaven is too small a reward for it; they make choice of times and meats, buy and sell their merits, attribute more to them than to the ten Commandments, and count it a greater sin to eat meat in Lent, than to kill a man, and as one sayeth, Plus respiciunt assum piscem, quam Christum crucifixum, plus salmonem quam Solomonem, quibus in ore Christus, Epicurus in corde, “pay more respect to a broiled fish than to Christ crucified, more regard to salmon than to Solomon, have Christ on their lips, but Epicurus in their hearts,” when some counterfeit, and some attribute more to such works of theirs than to Christ's death and passion; the devil sets in a foot, strangely deludes them, and by that means makes them to overthrow the temperature of their bodies, and hazard their souls. Never any strange illusions of devils amongst hermits, anchorites, never any visions, phantasms, apparitions, enthusiasms, prophets, any revelations, but immoderate fasting, bad diet, sickness, melancholy, solitariness, or some such things, were the precedent causes, the forerunners or concomitants of them. The best opportunity and sole occasion the devil takes to delude them. Marcilius Cognatus, lib. 1. cont. cap. 7. hath many stories to this purpose, of such as after long fasting have been seduced by devils; and 6457“'tis a miraculous thing to relate” (as Cardan writes) “what strange accidents proceed from fasting; dreams, superstition, contempt of torments, desire of death, prophecies, paradoxes, madness; fasting naturally prepares men to these things.” Monks, anchorites, and the like, after much emptiness, become melancholy, vertiginous, they think they hear strange noises, confer with hobgoblins, devils, rivel up their bodies, et dum hostem insequimur, saith Gregory, civem quem diligimus, trucidamus, they become bare skeletons, skin and bones; Carnibus abstinentes proprias carnes devorant, ut nil praeter cutem et ossa sit reliquum. Hilarion, as 6458Hierome reports in his life, and Athanasius of Antonius, was so bare with fasting, “that the skin did scarce stick to the bones; for want of vapours he could not sleep, and for want of sleep became idleheaded, heard every night infants cry, oxen low, wolves howl, lions roar” (as he thought), “clattering of chains, strange voices, and the like illusions of devils.” Such symptoms are common to those that fast long, are solitary, given to contemplation, overmuch solitariness and meditation. Not that these things (as I said of fasting) are to be discommended of themselves, but very behoveful in some cases and good: sobriety and contemplation join our souls to God, as that heathen 6459Porphyry can tell us. 6460“Ecstasy is a taste of future happiness, by which we are united unto God, a divine melancholy, a spiritual wing,” Bonaventure terms it, to lift us up to heaven; but as it is abused, a mere dotage, madness, a cause and symptom of religious melancholy. 6461“If you shall at any time see” (saith Guianerius) “a religious person over-superstitious, too solitary, or much given to fasting, that man will certainly be melancholy, thou mayst boldly say it, he will be so.” P. Forestus hath almost the same words, and 6462Cardan subtil, lib. 18. et cap. 40. lib. 8. de rerum varietate, “solitariness, fasting, and that melancholy humour, are the causes of all hermits' illusions.” Lavater, de spect. cap. 19. part. 1. and part. 1. cap. 10. puts solitariness a main cause of such spectrums and apparitions; none, saith he, so melancholy as monks and hermits, the devil's hath melancholy; 6463“none so subject to visions and dotage in this kind, as such as live solitary lives, they hear and act strange things in their dotage.” 6464Polydore Virgil, lib. 2. prodigiis, “holds that those prophecies and monks' revelations? nuns, dreams, which they suppose come from God, to proceed wholly ab instinctu daemonum, by the devil's means;” and so those enthusiasts, Anabaptists, pseudoprophets from the same cause. 6465Fracastorius, lib. 2. de intellect, will have all your pythonesses, sibyls, and pseudoprophets to be mere melancholy, so doth Wierus prove, lib. 1. cap. 8. et l. 3. cap. 7. and Arculanus in 9 Rhasis, that melancholy is a sole cause, and the devil together, with fasting and solitariness, of such sibylline prophecies, if there were ever such, which with 6466Casaubon and others I justly except at; for it is not likely that the Spirit of God should ever reveal such manifest revelations and predictions of Christ, to those Pythonissae witches, Apollo's priests, the devil's ministers, (they were no better) and conceal them from his own prophets; for these sibyls set down all particular circumstances of Christ's coming, and many other future accidents far more perspicuous and plain than ever any prophet did. But, howsoever, there be no Phaebades or sibyls, I am assured there be other enthusiasts, prophets, dii Fatidici, Magi, (of which read Jo. Boissardus, who hath laboriously collected them into a great 6467volume of late, with elegant pictures, and epitomised their lives) &c., ever have been in all ages, and still proceeding from those causes, 6468qui visiones suas enarrant, somniant futura, prophetisant, et ejusmodi deliriis agitati, Spiritum Sanctum sibi communicari putant. That which is written of Saint Francis' five wounds, and other such monastical effects, of him and others, may justly be referred to this our melancholy; and that which Matthew Paris relates of the 6469monk of Evesham, who saw heaven and hell in a vision; of 6470Sir Owen, that went down into Saint Patrick's purgatory in King Stephen's days, and saw as much; Walsingham of him that showed as much by Saint Julian. Beda, lib. 5. cap. 13. 14. 15. et 20. reports of King Sebba, lib. 4. cap. 11. eccles. hist. that saw strange 6471visions; and Stumphius Helvet Cornic, a cobbler of Basle, that beheld rare apparitions at Augsburg, 6472in Germany. Alexander ab Alexandro, gen. dier. lib. 6. cap. 21. of an enthusiastical prisoner, (all out as probable as that of Eris Armenius, in Plato's tenth dialogue de Repub. that revived again ten days after he was killed in a battle, and told strange wonders, like those tales Ulysses related to Alcinous in Homer, or Lucian's vera historia itself) was still after much solitariness, fasting, or long sickness, when their brains were addled, and their bellies as empty of meat as their heads of wit. Florilegus hath many such examples, fol. 191. one of Saint Gultlake of Crowald that fought with devils, but still after long fasting, overmuch solitariness, 6473the devil persuaded him therefore to fast, as Moses and Elias did, the better to delude him. 6474In the same author is recorded Carolus Magnus vision an. 185. or ecstasies, wherein he saw heaven and hell after much fasting and meditation. So did the devil of old with Apollo's priests. Amphiaraus and his fellows, those Egyptians, still enjoin long fasting before he would give any oracles, triduum a cibo et vino abstinerent, 6475before they gave any answers, as Volateran lib. 13. cap. 4. records, and Strabo Geog. lib. 14. describes Charon's den, in the way between Tralles and Nissum, whither the priests led sick and fanatic men: but nothing performed without long fasting, no good to be done. That scoffing 6476Lucian conducts his Menippus to hell by the directions of that Chaldean Mithrobarzanes, but after long fasting, and such like idle preparation. Which the Jesuits right well perceiving of what force this fasting and solitary meditation is, to alter men's minds, when they would make a man mad, ravish him, improve him beyond himself, to undertake some great business of moment, to kill a king, or the like, 6477they bring him into a melancholy dark chamber, where he shall see no light for many days together, no company, little meat, ghastly pictures of devils all about him, and leave him to lie as he will himself, on the bare floor in this chamber of meditation, as they call it, on his back, side, belly, till by this strange usage they make him quite mad and beside himself. And then after some ten days, as they find him animated and resolved, they make use of him. The devil hath many such factors, many such engines, which what effect they produce, you shall hear in the following symptoms.
6366. Plato in Crit. Daemones custodes sunt hominum et eorum domini, ut nos animalium; nec hominibus, sed et regionibus imperant, vaticiniis, auguriis, nos regunt. Idem fere Max. Tyrius ser. 1. et 26. 27. medios vult daemones inter Deos et homines deorum ministros, praesides hominum, a coelo ad homines descendentes.
6367. Depraeparat. Evangel.
6368. Vel in abusum Dei vel in aemulationem. Dandinus com. in lib. 2. Arist. de An. Text. 29.
6369. Daemones consulunt, et familiares habent daemones plerique sacerdotes. Riccius lib. 1. cap. 10. expedit Sinar.
6370. Vitam turbant, somnos inquietant, irrepentes etiam in corpora merites terrent, valetudinem frangunt, morbos lacessant, ut ad cultum sui cogant, nec aliud his studium, quam ut a vera religione, ad superstitionem vertant: cum sint ipsi poenales, quaerunt sibi adpoenas comites, ut habeant erroris participes.
6371. Lib. 4. praeparat. Evangel, c. Tantamque victoriam amentia hominum consequuti sunt, ut si colligere in unum velis, universum orbem istis scelestibus spiritibus subjectum fuisse invenies: Usque ad Salvaloris adventum hominum caede perniciosissimos daemones placabant, &c.
6373. Strozzius Cicogna omnif. mag. lib. 3. cap. 7. Ezek. viii. 4.; Reg. 11. 4.; Reg. 3. et 17. 14; Jer. xlix.; Num. xi. 3.; Reg. 13.
6374. Lib. 4. cap. 8. praepar.
6375. Bapt. Mant. 4. Fast, de Sancto Georgio. “O great master of war, whom our youths worship as if he were Mars self.”
6376. Part. 1. cap. 1. et lib. 2. cap. 9.
6377. Polyd. Virg. lib. 1. de prodig.
6378. Hor. l. 3. od. 6.
6379. Lib. 3. hist.
6380. Orata lege me dicastis mulieres Dion. Halicarn.
6381. Tully de nat. deorum lib. 2. Aequa Venus Teucris Pallas iniqua fuit.
6382. Jo. Molanus lib. 3. cap. 59.
6383. Pet. Oliver. de Johanne primo Portugalliae Rege strenue pugnans, et diversae partis ictus clypeo excipiens.
6384. L. 14. Loculos sponte aperuisse et pro iis pugnasse.
6385. Religion, as they hold, is policy, invented alone to keep men in awe.
6387. Omnes religione moventur. 5. in Verrem.
6388. Zeleuchus, praefat. legis qui urbem aut regionem inhabitant, persuasos esse oportet esse Deos.
6389. 10. de legibus. Religio neglecta maximam pestem in civitatem infert, omnium scelerum fenestram aperit.
6390. Cardarius Com. in Ptolomeum quadripart.
6391. Lipsius l. 1. c. 3.
6392. Homo sine religione, sicut equus sine fraeno.
6393. Vaninus dial. 52. de oraculis.
6394. “If a religion be false, only let it be supposed to be true, and it will tame mental ferocity, restrain lusts, and make loyal subjects.”
6395. Lib. 10. Ideo Lycurgus, &c. non quod ipse superstitiosus, sed quod videret mortales paradoxa facilius amplecti, nec res graves audere sine periculo deorum.
6396. Cleonardus epist. 1. Novas leges suas ad Angelum Gabrielem referebat, pro monitore mentiebatur omnia se gerere.
6397. Lib. 16. belli Gallici. Ut metu mortis neglecto, ad virtutem incitarent.
6398. De his lege Luciatium de luctu tom. 1. Homer. Odyss. 11. Virg. Aen. 6.
6399. Baratheo sulfure et flamma stagnante sternum demergebantur.
6400. Et 3. de repub. omnis institutio adolescentum eo referenda ut de deo bene sentiant ob commune bonum.
6402. Citra aquam, viridarium plantavit maximum et pulcherrimum, floribus odoriferis et suavibus plenum, &c.
6403. Potum quendam dedit quo inescatus, et gravi sopore oppressus, in viridarium interim ducebatur, &c.
6404. Atque iterum memoratum potum bibendum exhibuit, et sic extra Paradisum reduxit, ut cum evigilaret, sopore soluto, &c.
6405. Lib. 1. de orb. Concord. cap. 7.
6406. Lib. 4.
6407. Lib. 4.
6408. Exerc. 228.
6409. S. Ed. Sands.
6410. In consult. de princ. inter provinc. Europ.
6411. Lucian. “By themselves sustain the brunt of every battle.”
6412. S. Ed. Sands in his Relation.
6414. Vice cotis, acutum Reddere quae ferrum valet, exors ipsa secandi.
6415. De civ. Dei lib. 4. cap. 31.
6416. Seeking their own, saith Paul, not Christ's.
6417. He hath the Duchy of Spoleto in Italy, the Marquisate of Ancona, beside Rome, and the territories adjacent, Bologna, Ferrara, &c. Avignon in France, &c.
6418. Estote fratres mei, et principes hujus mundi.
6419. The Laity suspect their greatness, witness those statutes of mortmain.
6420. Lib. 8. de Academ.
6421. Praefat. lib. de paradox. Jesuit-Rom. provincia habet Col. 36. Neapol. 23. Veneta 13. Lucit. 15. India, orient. 17. Brazil. 20, &c.
6422. In his Chronic. vit. Hen. 8.
6423. 15. cap. of his funeral monuments.
6424. Pausanias in Laconicis lib. 3. Idem de Achaicas lib. 7. cujus summae opes, et valde inclyta fama.
6425. Exercit. Eth. Colleg. 3. disp. 3.
6426. Act. xix. 28.
6427. Pontifex Romanus prorsus inermis regibus terrae jura dat, ad regna evehit ad pacem cogit, et peccantes castigat, &c. quod imperatores Romani 40. legionibus armati non effecerunt.
6428. Mirum quanta passus sit H. 2. quomodo se submisit, ea se facturum pollicitus, quorum hodie ne privatus quidem partem faceret.
6429. Sigonius 9. hist. Ital.
6430. Curio lib. 4. Fox Martyrol.
6431. Hierocles contends Apollonius to have been as great a prophet as Christ, whom Eusebius confutes.
6432. Munster Cosmog. l. 3. c. 37. Artifices ex officinis, arator e stiva, foeminae e colo, &c. quasi numine quodam rapti, nesciis parentibus et dominis recta adeunt, &c. Combustus demum ab Herbipolensi Episcopo; haeresis evanuit.
6433. Nulla non provincia haeresibus, Atheismis, &c, plena. Nullus orbis angulus ab hisce belluis immunis.
6434. Lib. 1. de nat. Deorum. “He gave to man an upward gaze, commanding him to fix his eyes on heaven.”
6436. Virg. 6. Aen.
6437. Superstitio ex ignorantia divinitatis emersit, ex vitiosa aemulatione et daemonis illecebris, inconstans, timens, fluctuans, et cui se addicat nesciens, quem imploret, cui se committat, a daemone facile decepta. Lemnius, lib. 3. c. 8.
6439. Vide Baronium 3 Annalium ad annum 324. vit. Constantin.
6440. De rerum varietate, l. 3. c. 38. Parum vero distat sapientia virorum a puerili, multo minus senum et mulierum, cum metu et superstitione et aliena stultitia et improbitate simplices agitantur.
6441. In all superstition wise men follow fools. Bacon's Essays.
6442. Peregrin, Hieros. ca. 5. totum scriptum confusum sine ordine vel colore, absque sensu et ratione ad rusticissimos, idem dedit, rudissimos, et prorsus agrestes, qui nullius erant discretionis, ut dijudicare possent.
6443. Lib. 1. cap. 9. Valent. haeres. 9.
6444. Meteranus li. 8. hist. Belg.
6445. Si doctores suum fecissent officium, et plebem fidei commissam recte instituissent de doctrirnae christianae, capitib. nec sacris scripturis interdixissent, de multis proculdubio recte sensissent.
6446. Curtius li. 4.
6447. See more in Kemnisius' Examen Concil. Trident. de Purgatorio.
6448. Part 1. c. 16, part 3. cap. 18. et 14.
6450. Curtius, lib. 8.
6451. Lampridius vitae ejus. Virgines vestales, et sacrum ignem Romae extinxit, et omnes ubique per orbem terrae religiones, unum hoc studens ut solus deus coleretur.
6452. Flagellatorum secta. Munster. lib. 3. Cosmog. cap. 19.
6453. Votum coelibatus, monachatus.
6454. Mater sanitatis, clavis coelorum, ala animae quae leves pennas producat, ut in sublime ferat; currus spiritus sancti, vexilium fidei, porta paradisi, vita angelorum, &c.
6455. Castigo corpus meum.
6456. Mor. necom.
6457. Lib. 8. cap. 10. de rerum varietate: admiratione digna sunt quae per jejunium hoc modo contingunt: somnia, superstitio, contemptus tormentorum, mortis desiderium obstinata opinio, insania: jejunium naturaliter preparat ad haec omnia.
6458. Epist. i. 3. Ita attenuatus fuit jejunio et vigiliis, in tantum exeso corpora ut ossibus vix haerebat, undo nocte infantum vagitus, balatus pecorum, mugitus boum, voces et ludibria daemonum, &c.
6459. Lib. de abstinentia, Sobrietas et continentia mentem deo conjungunt.
6460. Extasis nihil est aliud quam gustus futurae beatitudinis. Erasmus epist. ad Dorpium in qua toti absorbemur in Deum.
6461. Si religiosum nimis jejunia videris observantem, audaciter melancholicum pronunciabis. Tract. 5. cap. 5.
6462. Solitudo ipsa, mens aegra laboribus anxiis et jejuniis, tum temperatura cibis mutata agrestibus, et humor melancholicus Heremitis illusionum causa sunt.
6463. Solitudo est causa apparitionum; nulli visionibus et hinc delirio magis obnoxii sunt quam qui collegis et eremo vivunt monachi: tales plerumque melancholici ob victum, solitudinem.
6464. Monachi sese putant prophetare ex Deo, et qui solitariam agunt vitam, quum sit instinctu daemonum; et sic falluntur fatidicae; a malo genio habent, quas putant a Deo, et sic enthusiastae.
6465. Sibylla, Pythii, et prophetae qui divinare solent, omnes fanatici sunt melancholici.
6466. Exercit. c. 1.
6467. De divinatione et magicis praestigiis.
6469. Post. 15 dierum preces et jejunia, mirabiles videbat visiones.
6470. Fol. 84. vita Stephani, et fol. 177. post trium mensium inediam et languorem per 9 dies nihil comedens aut bibens.
6471. After contemplation in an ecstasy; so Hierom was whipped for reading Tully; see millions of examples in our annals.
6472. Bede, Gregory, Jacobus de Voragine, Lippomanus, Hieronymus, John Major de vitiis patrum, &c.
6473. Fol. 199. post abstinentiae curas miras illusiones daemonum audivit.
6474. Fol. 155. post seriam meditationem in vigila dici dominicae visionem habuit de purgatorio.
6475. Ubi multos dies manent jejuni consilio sacerdotum auxilia invocantes.
6476. In Necromant. Et cibus quidem glandes erant, potus aqua, lectus sub divo, &c.
6477. John Everardus Britanno. Romanus lib. edit. 1611 describes all the manner of it.
Symptoms general, love to their own sect, hate of all other religions, obstinacy, peevishness, ready to undergo any danger or cross for it; Martyrs, blind zeal, blind obedience, fastings, vows, belief of incredibilities, impossibilities: Particular of Gentiles, Mahometans, Jews, Christians; and in them, heretics old, and new, schismatics, schoolmen, prophets, enthusiasts, &c.
Fleat Heraclitus, an rideat Democritus? in attempting to speak of these symptoms, shall I laugh with Democritus, or weep with Heraclitus? they are so ridiculous and absurd on the one side, so lamentable and tragical on the other: a mixed scene offers itself, so full of errors and a promiscuous variety of objects, that I know not in what strain to represent it. When I think of the Turkish paradise, those Jewish fables, and pontifical rites, those pagan superstitions, their sacrifices, and ceremonies, as to make images of all matter, and adore them when they have done, to see them, kiss the pyx, creep to the cross, &c. I cannot choose but laugh with Democritus: but when I see them whip and torture themselves, grind their souls for toys and trifles, desperate, and now ready to die, I cannot but weep with Heraclitus. When I see a priest say mass, with all those apish gestures, murmurings, &c. read the customs of the Jews' synagogue, or Mahometa Meschites, I must needs 6478laugh at their folly, risum teneatis amici? but when I see them make matters of conscience of such toys and trifles, to adore the devil, to endanger their souls, to offer their children to their idols, &c. I must needs condole their misery. When I see two superstitious orders contend pro aris et focis, with such have and hold, de lana, caprina, some write such great volumes to no purpose, take so much pains to so small effect, their satires, invectives, apologies, dull and gross fictions; when I see grave learned men rail and scold like butter-women, methinks 'tis pretty sport, and fit 6479for Calphurnius and Democritus to laugh at. But when I see so much blood spilt, so many murders and massacres, so many cruel battles fought, &c. 'tis a fitter subject for Heraclitus to lament. 6480As Merlin when he sat by the lake side with Vortigern, and had seen the white and red dragon fight, before he began to interpret or to speak, in fletum prorupit, fell a weeping, and then proceeded to declare to the king what it meant. I should first pity and bewail this misery of human kind with some passionate preface, wishing mine eyes a fountain of tears, as Jeremiah did, and then to my task. For it is that great torture, that infernal plague of mortal men, omnium pestium pestilentissima superstitio, and able of itself alone to stand in opposition to all other plagues, miseries and calamities whatsoever; far more cruel, more pestiferous, more grievous, more general, more violent, of a greater extent. Other fears and sorrows, grievances of body and mind, are troublesome for the time; but this is for ever, eternal damnation, hell itself, a plague, a fire: an inundation hurts one province alone, and the loss may be recovered; but this superstition involves all the world almost, and can never be remedied. Sickness and sorrows come and go, but a superstitious soul hath no rest; 6481superstitione imbutus animus nunquam quietus esse potest, no peace, no quietness. True religion and superstition are quite opposite, longe diversa carnificina et pietas, as Lactantius describes, the one erects, the other dejects; illorum pietas, mera impietus; the one is an easy yoke, the other an intolerable burden, an absolute tyranny; the one a sure anchor, a haven; the other a tempestuous ocean; the one makes, the other mars; the one is wisdom, the other is folly, madness, indiscretion; the one unfeigned, the other a counterfeit; the one a diligent observer, the other an ape; one leads to heaven, the other to hell. But these differences will more evidently appear by their particular symptoms. What religion is, and of what parts it doth consist, every catechism will tell you, what symptoms it hath, and what effects it produceth: but for their superstitions, no tongue can tell them, no pen express, they are so many, so diverse, so uncertain, so inconstant, and so different from themselves. Tot mundi superstitiones quot coelo stellae, one saith, there be as many superstitions in the world, as there be stars in heaven, or devils themselves that are the first founders of them: with such ridiculous, absurd symptoms and signs, so many several rites, ceremonies, torments and vexations accompanying, as may well express and beseem the devil to be the author and maintainer of them. I will only point at some of them, ex ungue leonem guess at the rest, and those of the chief kinds of superstition, which beside us Christians now domineer and crucify the world, Gentiles, Mahometans, Jews, &c.
Of these symptoms some be general, some particular to each private sect: general to all, are, an extraordinary love and affection they bear and show to such as are of their own sect, and more than Vatinian hate to such as are opposite in religion, as they call it, or disagree from them in their superstitious rites, blind zeal, (which is as much a symptom as a cause,) vain fears, blind obedience, needless works, incredibilities, impossibilities, monstrous rites and ceremonies, wilfulness, blindness, obstinacy, &c. For the first, which is love and hate, as 6482Montanus saith, nulla firmior amicitia quam quae contrahitur hinc; nulla discordia major, quam quae a religione fit; no greater concord, no greater discord than that which proceeds from religion, it is incredible to relate, did not our daily experience evince it, what factions, quam teterrimae factiones, (as 6483Rich. Dinoth writes) have been of late for matters of religion in France, and what hurlyburlies all over Europe for these many years. Nihil est quod tam impotentur rapiat homines, quam suscepta de salute opinio; siquidem pro ea omnes gentes corpora et animas devovere solent, et arctissimo necessitudinis vinculo se invicem colligare. We are all brethren in Christ, servants of one Lord, members of one body, and therefore are or should be at least dearly beloved, inseparably allied in the greatest bond of love and familiarity, united partakers not only of the same cross, but coadjutors, comforters, helpers, at all times, upon all occasions: as they did in the primitive church, Acts the 5. they sold their patrimonies, and laid them at the apostles' feet, and many such memorable examples of mutual love we have had under the ten general persecutions, many since. Examples on the other side of discord none like, as our Saviour saith, he came therefore into the world to set father against son, &c. In imitation of whom the devil belike (6484nam superstitio irrepsit verae religionis imitatrix, superstition is still religion's ape, as in all other things, so in this) doth so combine and glue together his superstitious followers in love and affection, that they will live and die together: and what an innate hatred hath he still inspired to any other superstition opposite? How those old Romans were affected, those ten persecutions may be a witness, and that cruel executioner in Eusebius, aut lita aut morere, sacrifice or die. No greater hate, more continuate, bitter faction, wars, persecution in all ages, than for matters of religion, no such feral opposition, father against son, mother against daughter, husband against wife, city against city, kingdom against kingdom: as of old at Tentira and Combos:
6485Immortale odium, et nunquam sanabile vulnus,
Inde furor vulgo, quod numina vicinorum
Odit uterque locus, quum solos credit habendos
Esse deos quos ipse colat. ———
Immortal hate it breeds, a wound past cure,
And fury to the commons still to endure:
Because one city t' other's gods as vain
Deride, and his alone as good maintain.
The Turks at this day count no better of us than of dogs, so they commonly call us giaours, infidels, miscreants, make that their main quarrel and cause of Christian persecution. If he will turn Turk, he shall be entertained as a brother, and had in good esteem, a Mussulman or a believer, which is a greater tie to them than any affinity or consanguinity. The Jews stick together like so many burrs; but as for the rest, whom they call Gentiles, they do hate and abhor, they cannot endure their Messiah should be a common saviour to us all, and rather, as 6486Luther writes, “than they that now scoff at them, curse them, persecute and revile them, shall be coheirs and brethren with them, or have any part or fellowship with their Messiah, they would crucify their Messiah ten times over, and God himself, his angels, and all his creatures, if it were possible, though they endure a thousand hells for it.” Such is their malice towards us. Now for Papists, what in a common cause, for the advancement of their religion they will endure, our traitors and pseudo-Catholics will declare unto us; and how bitter on the other side to their adversaries, how violently bent, let those Marian times record, as those miserable slaughters at Merindol and Cabriers, the Spanish inquisition, the Duke of Alva's tyranny in the Low Countries, the French massacres and civil wars. 6487Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum. “Such wickedness did religion persuade.” Not there only, but all over Europe, we read of bloody battles, racks and wheels, seditions, factions, oppositions.
6488 ——— obvia signis
Signa, pares aquilas, et pila minantia pilis,
Invectives and contentions. They had rather shake hands with a Jew, Turk, or, as the Spaniards do, suffer Moors to live amongst them, and Jews, than Protestants; “my name” (saith 6489Luther) “is more odious to them than any thief or murderer.” So it is with all heretics and schismatics whatsoever: and none so passionate, violent in their tenets, opinions, obstinate, wilful, refractory, peevish, factious, singular and stiff in defence of them; they do not only persecute and hate, but pity all other religions, account them damned, blind, as if they alone were the true church, they are the true heirs, have the fee-simple of heaven by a peculiar donation, 'tis entailed on them and their posterities, their doctrine sound, per funem aureum de coelo delapsa doctrinci, “let down from, heaven by a golden rope,” they alone are to be saved, The Jews at this day are so incomprehensibly proud and churlish, saith 6490Luther, that soli salvari, soli domini terrarum salutari volunt. And as 6491Buxtorfius adds, “so ignorant and self-willed withal, that amongst their most understanding Rabbins you shall find nought but gross dotage, horrible hardness of heart, and stupendous obstinacy, in all their actions, opinions, conversations: and yet so zealous with all, that no man living can be more, and vindicate themselves for the elect people of GOD.” 'Tis so with all other superstitious sects, Mahometans, Gentiles in China, and Tartary: our ignorant Papists, Anabaptists, Separatists, and peculiar churches of Amsterdam, they alone, and none but they can be saved. 6492“Zealous” (as Paul saith, Rom. x. 2.) “without knowledge,” they will endure any misery, any trouble, suffer and do that which the sunbeams will not endure to see, Religionis acti Furiis, all extremities, losses and dangers, take any pains, fast, pray, vow chastity, wilful poverty, forsake all and follow their idols, die a thousand deaths as some Jews did to Pilate's soldiers, in like case, exertos praebentes jugulos, et manifeste prae se ferentes, (as Josephus hath it) cariorem esse rita sibi legis patriae observationem, rather than abjure, or deny the least particle of that religion which their fathers profess, and they themselves have been brought up in, be it never so absurd, ridiculous, they will embrace it, and without farther inquiry or examination of the truth, though it be prodigiously false, they will believe it; they will take much more pains to go to hell, than we shall do to heaven. Single out the most ignorant of them, convince his understanding, show him his errors, grossness, and absurdities of his sect. Non persuadebis etiamsi persuaseris, he will not be persuaded. As those pagans told the Jesuits in Japona, 6493they would do as their forefathers have done: and with Ratholde the Frisian Prince, go to hell for company, if most of their friends went thither: they will not be moved, no persuasion, no torture can stir them. So that papists cannot brag of their vows, poverty, obedience, orders, merits, martyrdoms, fastings, alms, good works, pilgrimages: much and more than all this, I shall show you, is, and hath been done by these superstitious Gentiles, Pagans, Idolaters and Jews: their blind zeal and idolatrous superstition in all kinds is much at one; little or no difference, and it is hard to say which is the greatest, which is the grossest. For if a man shall duly consider those superstitious rites amongst the Ethnics in Japan, the Bannians in Gusart, the Chinese idolaters, 6494Americans of old, in Mexico especially, Mahometan priests, he shall find the same government almost, the same orders and ceremonies, or so like, that they may seem all apparently to be derived from some heathen spirit, and the Roman hierarchy no better than the rest. In a word, this is common to all superstition, there is nothing so mad and absurd, so ridiculous, impossible, incredible, which they will not believe, observe, and diligently perform, as much as in them lies; nothing so monstrous to conceive, or intolerable to put in practice, so cruel to suffer, which they will not willingly undertake. So powerful a thing is superstition. 6495“O Egypt” (as Trismegistus exclaims) “thy religion is fables, and such as posterity will not believe.” I know that in true religion itself, many mysteries are so apprehended alone by faith, as that of the Trinity, which Turks especially deride, Christ's incarnation, resurrection of the body at the last day, quod ideo credendum (saith Tertullian) quod incredible, &c. many miracles not to be controverted or disputed of. Mirari non rimari sapientia vera est, saith 6496Gerhardus; et in divinis (as a good father informs us) quaedam credenda, quaedam admiranda, &c. some things are to be believed, embraced, followed with all submission and obedience, some again admired. Though Julian the apostate scoff at Christians in this point, quod captivemus intellectum in obsequium fidei, saying, that the Christian creed is like the Pythagorean Ipse dixit, we make our will and understanding too slavishly subject to our faith, without farther examination of the truth; yet as Saint Gregory truly answers, our creed is altioris praestantiae, and much more divine; and as Thomas will, pie consideranti semper suppetunt rationes, ostendentes credibilitatem in mysteriis supernaturalibus, we do absolutely believe it, and upon good reasons, for as Gregory well informeth us; Fides non habet meritum, ubi humana ratio quaerit experimentum; that faith hath no merit, is not worth the name of faith, that will not apprehend without a certain demonstration: we must and will believe God's word; and if we be mistaken or err in our general belief, as 6497Richardus de Sancto Victore, vows he will say to Christ himself at the day of judgment; “Lord, if we be deceived, thou alone hast deceived us:” thus we plead. But for the rest I will not justify that pontificial consubstantiation, that which 6498Mahometans and Jews justly except at, as Campanella confesseth, Atheismi triumphat. cap. 12. fol. 125, difficillimum dogma esse, nec aliud subjectum magis haereticorum blasphemiis, et stultis irrisionibus politicorum reperiri. They hold it impossible, Deum in pane manducari; and besides they scoff at it, vide gentem comedentem Deum suum, inquit quidam Maurus. 6499Hunc Deum muscae et vermes irrident, quum ipsum polluunt et devorant, subditus est igni, aquae, et latrones furantur, pixidem auream humi prosternunt, et se tamen non defendit hic Deus. Qui fieri potest, ut sit integer in singulis hostiae particulis, idem corpus numero, tam multis locis, caelo, terra, &c. But he that shall read the 6500Turks' Alcoran, the Jews' Talmud, and papists' golden legend, in the mean time will swear that such gross fictions, fables, vain traditions, prodigious paradoxes and ceremonies, could never proceed from any other spirit, than that of the devil himself, which is the author of confusion and lies; and wonder withal how such wise men as have been of the Jews, such learned understanding men as Averroes, Avicenna, or those heathen philosophers, could ever be persuaded to believe, or to subscribe to the least part of them: aut fraudem non detegere: but that as 6501Vanninus answers, ob publicae, potestatis formidinem allatrare philosophi non audebant, they durst not speak for fear of the law. But I will descend to particulars: read their several symptoms and then guess.
Of such symptoms as properly belong to superstition, or that irreligious religion, I may say as of the rest, some are ridiculous, some again feral to relate. Of those ridiculous, there can be no better testimony than the multitude of their gods, those absurd names, actions, offices they put upon them, their feasts, holy days, sacrifices, adorations, and the like. The Egyptians that pretended so great antiquity, 300 kings before Amasis: and as Mela writes, 13,000 years from the beginning of their chronicles, that bragged so much of their knowledge of old, for they invented arithmetic, astronomy, geometry: of their wealth and power, that vaunted of 20,000 cities: yet at the same time their idolatry and superstition was most gross: they worshipped, as Diodorus Siculus records, sun and moon under the name of Isis and Osiris, and after, such men as were beneficial to them, or any creature that did them good. In the city of Bubasti they adored a cat, saith Herodotus. Ibis and storks, an ox: (saith Pliny) 6502leeks and onions, Macrobius,
6503Porrum et caepe deos imponere nubibus ausi,
Hos tu Nile deos colis. ———
Scoffing 6504Lucian in his vera Historia: which, as he confesseth himself, was not persuasively written as a truth, but in comical fashion to glance at the monstrous fictions and gross absurdities of writers and nations, to deride without doubt this prodigious Egyptian idolatry, feigns this story of himself: that when he had seen the Elysian fields, and was now coming away, Rhadamanthus gave him a mallow root, and bade him pray to that when he was in any peril or extremity; which he did accordingly; for when he came to Hydamordia in the island of treacherous women, he made his prayers to his root, and was instantly delivered. The Syrians, Chaldeans, had as many proper gods of their own invention; see the said Lucian de dea Syria. Morney cap. 22. de veritat. relig. Guliel. Stuckius 6505Sacrorum Sacrificiorumque Gentil. descript. Peter Faber Semester, l. 3. c. 1, 2, 3. Selden de diis Syris, Purchas' pilgrimage, 6506 Rosinus of the Romans, and Lilius Giraldus of the Greeks. The Romans borrowed from all, besides their own gods, which were majorum and minorum gentium, as Varro holds, certain and uncertain; some celestial, select, and great ones, others indigenous and Semi-dei, Lares, Lemures, Dioscuri, Soteres, and Parastatae, dii tutelares amongst the Greeks: gods of all sorts, for all functions; some for the land, some for sea; some for heaven, some for hell; some for passions, diseases, some for birth, some for weddings, husbandry, woods, waters, gardens, orchards, &c. All actions and offices, Pax-Quies, Salus, Libertas, Felicitas, Strenua, Stimula, Horta, Pan, Sylvanus, Priapus, Flora, Cloacina, Stercutius, Febris, Pallor, Invidia, Protervia, Risus, Angerona, Volupia, Vacuna, Viriplaca, Veneranda, Pales, Neptunia, Doris, kings, emperors, valiant men that had done any good offices for them, they did likewise canonise and adore for gods, and it was usually done, usitatum apud antiquos, as 6507Jac. Boissardus well observes, deificare homines qui beneficiis mortales juvarent, and the devil was still ready to second their intents, statim se ingessit illorum sepulchris, statuis, templis, aris, &c. he crept into their temples, statues, tombs, altars, and was ready to give oracles, cure diseases, do miracles, &c. as by Jupiter, Aesculapius, Tiresias, Apollo, Mopsus, Amphiaraus, &c. dii et Semi-dii. For so they were Semi-dii, demigods, some medii inter Deos et homines, as Max. 6508Tyrius, the Platonist, ser. 26. et 27, maintains and justifies in many words. “When a good man dies, his body is buried, but his soul, ex homine daemon evadit, becomes forthwith a demigod, nothing disparaged with malignity of air, or variety of forms, rejoiceth, exults and sees that perfect beauty with his eyes. Now being deified, in commiseration he helps his poor friends here on earth, his kindred and allies, informs, succours, &c. punisheth those that are bad and do amiss, as a good genius to protect and govern mortal men appointed by the gods, so they will have it, ordaining some for provinces, some for private men, some for one office, some for another. Hector and Achilles assist soldiers to this day; Aesculapius all sick men, the Dioscuri seafaring men, &c. and sometimes upon occasion they show themselves. The Dioscuri, Hercules and Aesculapius, he saw himself (or the devil in his likeness) non somnians sed vigilans ipse vidi:” So far Tyrius. And not good men only do they thus adore, but tyrants, monsters, devils, (as 6509 Stuckius inveighs) Neros, Domitians, Heliogables, beastly women, and arrant whores amongst the rest. “For all intents, places, creatures, they assign gods;”
Et domibus, tectis, thermis, et equis soleatis
Assignare solent genios ———
saith Prudentius. Cuna for cradles, Diverra for sweeping houses, Nodina knots, Prema, Pramunda, Hymen, Hymeneus, for weddings; Comus the god of good fellows, gods of silence, of comfort, Hebe goddess of youth, Mena menstruarum, &c. male and female gods, of all ages, sexes and dimensions, with beards, without beards, married, unmarried, begot, not born at all, but, as Minerva, start out of Jupiter's head. Hesiod reckons up at least 30,000 gods, Varro 300 Jupiters. As Jeremy told them, their gods were to the multitude of cities;
Quicquid humus, pelagus, coelum miserabile gignit
Id dixere deos, colles, freta, flumina, flammas.
Whatever heavens, sea, and land begat,
Hills, seas, and rivers, God was this and that.
And which was most absurd, they made gods upon such ridiculous occasions; “As children make babies” (so saith 6510Morneus), “their poets make gods,” et quos adorant in templis, ludunt in Theatris, as Lactantius scoffs. Saturn, a man, gelded himself, did eat his own children, a cruel tyrant driven out of his kingdom by his son Jupiter, as good a god as himself, a wicked lascivious paltry king of Crete, of whose rapes, lusts, murders, villainies, a whole volume is too little to relate. Venus, a notorious strumpet, as common as a barber's chair, Mars, Adonis, Anchises' whore, is a great she-goddess, as well as the rest, as much renowned by their poets, with many such; and these gods so fabulously and foolishly made, ceremoniis, hymnis, et canticis celebrunt; their errors, luctus et gaudia, amores, iras, nuptias et liberorum procreationes (6511as Eusebius well taxeth), weddings, mirth and mournings, loves, angers, and quarrelling they did celebrate in hymns, and sing of in their ordinary songs, as it were publishing their villainies. But see more of their originals. When Romulus was made away by the sedition of the senators, to pacify the people, 6512Julius Proculus gave out that Romulus was taken up by Jupiter into heaven, and therefore to be ever after adored for a god amongst the Romans. Syrophanes of Egypt had one only son, whom he dearly loved; he erected his statue in his house, which his servants did adorn with garlands, to pacify their master's wrath when he was angry, so by little and little he was adored for a god. This did Semiramis for her husband Belus, and Adrian the emperor by his minion Antinous. Flora was a rich harlot in Rome, and for that she made the commonwealth her heir, her birthday was solemnised long after; and to make it a more plausible holiday, they made her goddess of flowers, and sacrificed to her amongst the rest. The matrons of Rome, as Dionysius Halicarnassaeus relates, because at their entreaty Coriolanus desisted from his wars, consecrated a church Fortunes muliebri; and 6513Venus Barbata had a temple erected, for that somewhat was amiss about hair, and so the rest. The citizens 6514of Alabanda, a small town in Asia Minor, to curry favour with the Romans (who then warred in Greece with Perseus of Macedon, and were formidable to these parts), consecrated a temple to the City of Rome, and made her a goddess, with annual games and sacrifices; so a town of houses was deified, with shameful flattery of the one side to give, and intolerable arrogance on the other to accept, upon so vile and absurd an occasion. Tully writes to Atticus, that his daughter Tulliola might be made a goddess, and adored as Juno and Minerva, and as well she deserved it. Their holy days and adorations were all out as ridiculous; those Lupercals of Pan, Florales of Flora, Bona dea, Anna Perenna, Saturnals, &c., as how they were celebrated, with what lascivious and wanton gestures, bald ceremonies, 6515by what bawdy priests, how they hang their noses over the smoke of sacrifices, saith 6516Lucian, and lick blood like flies that was spilled about the altars. Their carved idols, gilt images of wood, iron, ivory, silver, brass, stone, olim truncus eram, &c., were most absurd, as being their own workmanship; for as Seneca notes, adorant ligneos deos, et fabros interim qui fecerunt, contemnunt, they adore work, contemn the workman; and as Tertullian follows it, Si homines non essent diis propitii, non essent dii, had it not been for men, they had never been gods, but blocks, and stupid statues in which mice, swallows, birds make their nests, spiders their webs, and in their very mouths laid their excrements. Those images, I say, were all out as gross as the shapes in which they did represent them: Jupiter with a ram's head, Mercury a dog's, Pan like a goat, Heccate with three heads, one with a beard, another without; see more in Carterius and 6517Verdurius of their monstrous forms and ugly pictures: and, which was absurder yet, they told them these images came from heaven, as that of Minerva in her temple at Athens, quod e coelo cecidisse credebant accolae, saith Pausanias. They formed some like storks, apes, bulls, and yet seriously believed: and that which was impious and abominable, they made their gods notorious whoremasters, incestuous Sodomites (as commonly they were all, as well as Jupiter, Mars, Apollo, Mercury, Neptune, &c.), thieves, slaves, drudges (for Apollo and Neptune made tiles in Phrygia), kept sheep, Hercules emptied stables, Vulcan a blacksmith, unfit to dwell upon the earth for their villainies, much less in heaven, as 6518Mornay well saith, and yet they gave them out to be such; so weak and brutish, some to whine, lament, and roar, as Isis for her son and Cenocephalus, as also all her weeping priests; Mars in Homer to be wounded, vexed; Venus ran away crying, and the like; than which what can be more ridiculous? Nonne ridiculum lugere quod colas, vel colere quod lugeas? (which 6519Minutius objects) Si dii, cur plangitis? si mortui, cur adoratis? that it is no marvel if 6520Lucian, that adamantine persecutor of superstition, and Pliny could so scoff at them and their horrible idolatry as they did; if Diagoras took Hercules' image, and put it under his pot to seethe his pottage, which was, as he said, his 13th labour. But see more of their fopperies in Cypr. 4. tract, de Idol. varietat. Chrysostom advers. Gentil. Arnobius adv. Gentes. Austin, de civ. dei. Theodoret. de curat. Graec. affect. Clemens Alexandrinus, Minutius Felix, Eusebius, Lactantius, Stuckius, &c. Lamentable, tragical, and fearful those symptoms are, that they should be so far forth affrighted with their fictitious gods, as to spend the goods, lives, fortunes, precious time, best days in their honour, to 6521sacrifice unto them, to their inestimable loss, such hecatombs, so many thousand sheep, oxen with gilded horns, goats, as 6522Croesus, king of Lydia, 6523 Marcus Julianus, surnamed ob crebras hostias Victimarius, et Tauricremus, and the rest of the Roman emperors usually did with such labour and cost; and not emperors only and great ones, pro communi bono, were at this charge, but private men for their ordinary occasions. Pythagoras offered a hundred oxen for the invention of a geometrical problem, and it was an ordinary thing to sacrifice in 6524Lucian's time, “a heifer for their good health, four oxen for wealth, a hundred for a kingdom, nine bulls for their safe return from Troja to Pylus,” &c. Every god almost had a peculiar sacrifice — the Sun horses, Vulcan fire, Diana a white hart, Venus a turtle, Ceres a hog, Proserpine a black lamb, Neptune a bull (read more in 6525 Stuckius at large), besides sheep, cocks, corals, frankincense, to their undoings, as if their gods were affected with blood or smoke. “And surely” (6526saith he) “if one should but repeat the fopperies of mortal men, in their sacrifices, feasts, worshipping their gods, their rites and ceremonies, what they think of them, of their diet, houses, orders, &c., what prayers and vows they make; if one should but observe their absurdity and madness, he would burst out a laughing, and pity their folly.” For what can be more absurd than their ordinary prayers, petitions, 6527requests, sacrifices, oracles, devotions? of which we have a taste in Maximus Tyrius, serm. 1. Plato's Alcibiades Secundus, Persius Sat. 2. Juvenal. Sat. 10. there likewise exploded, Mactant opimas et pingues hostias deo quasi esurienti, profundunt vina tanquam sitienti, lumina accendunt velut in tenebris agenti (Lactantius, lib. 2. cap. 6). As if their gods were hungry, athirst, in the dark, they light candles, offer meat and drink. And what so base as to reveal their counsels and give oracles, e viscerum sterquiliniis, out of the bowels and excremental parts of beasts? sordidos deos Varro truly calls them therefore, and well he might. I say nothing of their magnificent and sumptuous temples, those majestical structures: to the roof of Apollo Didymeus' temple, ad branchidas, as 6528Strabo writes, a thousand oaks did not suffice. Who can relate the glorious splendour, and stupend magnificence, the sumptuous building of Diana at Ephesus, Jupiter Ammon's temple in Africa, the Pantheon at Rome, the Capitol, the Sarapium at Alexandria, Apollo's temple at Daphne in the suburbs of Antioch. The great temple at Mexico so richly adorned, and so capacious (for 10,000 men might stand in it at once), that fair Pantheon of Cusco, described by Acosta in his Indian History, which eclipses both Jews and Christians. There were in old Jerusalem, as some write, 408 synagogues; but new Cairo reckons up (if 6529Radzivilus may be believed) 6800 mosques; Fez 400, whereof 50 are most magnificent, like St. Paul's in London. Helena built 300 fair churches in the Holy Land, but one Bassa hath built 400 mosques. The Mahometans have 1000 monks in a monastery; the like saith Acosta of Americans; Riccius of the Chinese, for men and women, fairly built; and more richly endowed some of them, than Arras in Artois, Fulda in Germany, or St. Edmund's-Bury in England with us: who can describe those curious and costly statues, idols, images, so frequently mentioned in Pausanias? I conceal their donaries, pendants, other offerings, presents, to these their fictitious gods daily consecrated. 6530Alexander, the son of Amyntas, king of Macedonia, sent two statues of pure gold to Apollo at Delphos. 6531Croesus, king of Lydia dedicated a hundred golden tiles in the same place with a golden altar: no man came empty-handed to their shrines. But these are base offerings in respect; they offered men themselves alive. The Leucadians, as Strabo writes, sacrificed every year a man, averruncandae, deorum irae, causa, to pacify their gods, de montis praecipitio dejecerent, &c. and they did voluntarily undergo it. The Decii did so sacrifice, Diis manibus; Curtius did leap into the gulf. Were they not all strangely deluded to go so far to their oracles, to be so gulled by them, both in war and peace, as Polybius relates (which their argurs, priests, vestal virgins can witness), to be so superstitious, that they would rather lose goods and lives than omit any ceremonies, or offend their heathen gods? Nicias, that generous and valiant captain of the Greeks, overthrew the Athenian navy, by reason of his too much superstition, 6532 because the augurs told him it was ominous to set sail from the haven of Syracuse whilst the moon was eclipsed; he tarried so long till his enemies besieged him, he and all his army were overthrown. The 6533Parthians of old were so sottish in this kind, they would rather lose a victory, nay lose their own lives, than fight in the night, 'twas against their religion. The Jews would make no resistance on the Sabbath, when Pompeius besieged Jerusalem; and some Jewish Christians in Africa, set upon by the Goths, suffered themselves upon the same occasion to be utterly vanquished. The superstition of the Dibrenses, a bordering town in Epirus, besieged by the Turks, is miraculous almost to report. Because a dead dog was flung into the only fountain which the city had, they would die of thirst all, rather than drink of that 6534unclean water, and yield up the city upon any conditions. Though the praetor and chief citizens began to drink first, using all good persuasions, their superstition was such, no saying would serve, they must all forthwith die or yield up the city. Vix ausum ipse credere (saith 6535Barletius) tantam superstitionem, vel affirmare levissimam hanc causam tantae rei vel magis ridiculam, quum non dubitem risum potius quum admirationem posteris excitaturam. The story was too ridiculous, he was ashamed to report it, because he thought nobody would believe it. It is stupend to relate what strange effects this idolatry and superstition hath brought forth of the latter years in the Indies and those bordering parts: 6536in what feral shapes the 6537devil is adored, ne quid mali intentent, as they say; for in the mountains betwixt Scanderoon and Aleppo, at this day, there are dwelling a certain kind of people called Coords, coming of the race of the ancient Parthians, who worship the devil, and allege this reason in so doing: God is a good man and will do no harm, but the devil is bad and must be pleased, lest he hurt them. It is wonderful to tell how the devil deludes them, how he terrifies them, how they offer men and women sacrifices unto him, a hundred at once, as they did infants in Crete to Saturn of old, the finest children, like Agamemnon's Iphigenia, &c. At 6538Mexico, when the Spaniards first overcame them, they daily sacrificed viva hominum corda e viventium corporibus extracta, the hearts of men yet living, 20,000 in a year (Acosta lib. 5. cap. 20) to their idols made of flour and men's blood, and every year 6000 infants of both sexes: and as prodigious to relate, 6539how they bury their wives with husbands deceased, 'tis fearful to report, and harder to believe,
6540Nam certamen habent laethi quae viva sequatur
Conjugium, pudor, est non licuisse mori,
and burn them alive, best goods, servants, horses, when a grandee dies, 6541twelve thousand at once amongst the Tartar's, when a great Cham departs, or an emperor in America: how they plague themselves, which abstain from all that hath life, like those old Pythagoreans, with immoderate fastings, 6542as the Bannians about Surat, they of China, that for superstition's sake never eat flesh nor fish all their lives, never marry, but live in deserts and by-places, and some pray to their idols twenty-four hours together without any intermission, biting of their tongues when they have done, for devotion's sake. Some again are brought to that madness by their superstitious priests (that tell them such vain stories of immortality, and the joys of heaven in that other life), 6543 that many thousands voluntarily break their own necks, as Cleombrotus Amborciatus, auditors of old, precipitate themselves, that they may participate of that unspeakable happiness in the other world. One poisons, another strangles himself, and the King of China had done as much, deluded with the vain hope, had he not been detained by his servant. But who can sufficiently tell of their several superstitions, vexations, follies, torments? I may conclude with 6544Possevinus, Religifacit asperos mites, homines e feris; superstitio ex hominibus feras, religion makes wild beasts civil, superstition makes wise men beasts and fools; and the discreetest that are, if they give way to it, are no better than dizzards; nay more, if that of Plotinus be true, is unus religionis scopus, ut ei quem colimus similes fiamus, that is the drift of religion to make us like him whom we worship: what shall be the end of idolaters, but to degenerate into stocks and stones? of such as worship these heathen gods, for dii gentium daemonia, 6545but to become devils themselves? 'Tis therefore exitiosus error, et maxime periculosus, a most perilous and dangerous error of all others, as 6546Plutarch holds, turbulenta passio hominem consternans, a pestilent, a troublesome passion, that utterly undoeth men. Unhappy superstition, 6547Pliny calls it, morte non finitur, death takes away life, but not superstition. Impious and ignorant are far more happy than they which are superstitious, no torture like to it, none so continuate, so general, so destructive, so violent.
In this superstitious row, Jews for antiquity may go next to Gentiles: what of old they have done, what idolatries they have committed in their groves and high places, what their Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes, Essei, and such sectaries have maintained, I will not so much as mention: for the present, I presume no nation under heaven can be more sottish, ignorant, blind, superstitious, wilful, obstinate, and peevish, tiring themselves with vain ceremonies to no purpose; he that shall but read their Rabbins' ridiculous comments, their strange interpretation of scriptures, their absurd ceremonies, fables, childish tales, which they steadfastly believe, will think they be scarce rational creatures; their foolish 6548customs, when they rise in the morning, and how they prepare themselves to prayer, to meat, with what superstitious washings, how to their Sabbath, to their other feasts, weddings, burials, &c. Last of all, the expectation of their Messiah, and those figments, miracles, vain pomp that shall attend him, as how he shall terrify the Gentiles, and overcome them by new diseases; how Michael the archangel shall sound his trumpet, how he shall gather all the scattered Jews in the Holy Land, and there make them a great banquet, 6549 “Wherein shall be all the birds, beasts, fishes, that ever God made, a cup of wine that grew in Paradise, and that hath been kept in Adam's cellar ever since.” At the first course shall be served in that great ox in Job iv. 10., “that every day feeds on a thousand hills,” Psal. 1. 10., that great Leviathan, and a great bird, that laid an egg so big, 6550“that by chance tumbling out of the nest, it knocked down three hundred tall cedars, and breaking as it fell, drowned one hundred and sixty villages:” this bird stood up to the knees in the sea, and the sea was so deep, that a hatchet would not fall to the bottom in seven years: of their Messiah's 6551wives and children; Adam and Eve, &c., and that one stupend fiction amongst the rest: when a Roman prince asked of rabbi Jehosua ben Hanania, why the Jews' God was compared to a lion; he made answer, he compared himself to no ordinary lion, but to one in the wood Ela, which, when he desired to see, the rabbin prayed to God he might, and forthwith the lion set forward. 6552 “But when he was four hundred miles from Rome he so roared that all the great-bellied women in Rome made abortions, the city walls fell down, and when he came a hundred miles nearer, and roared the second time, their teeth fell out of their heads, the emperor himself fell down dead, and so the lion went back.” With an infinite number of such lies and forgeries, which they verily believe, feed themselves with vain hope, and in the mean time will by no persuasions be diverted, but still crucify their souls with a company of idle ceremonies, live like slaves and vagabonds, will not be relieved or reconciled.
Mahometans are a compound of Gentiles, Jews, and Christians, and so absurd in their ceremonies, as if they had taken that which is most sottish out of every one of them, full of idle fables in their superstitious law, their Alcoran itself a gallimaufry of lies, tales, ceremonies, traditions, precepts, stolen from other sects, and confusedly heaped up to delude a company of rude and barbarous clowns. As how birds, beasts, stones, saluted Mahomet when he came from Mecca, the moon came down from heaven to visit him, 6553how God sent for him, spake to him, &c., with a company of stupend figments of the angels, sun, moon, and stars, &c. Of the day of judgment, and three sounds to prepare to it, which must last fifty thousand years of Paradise, which wholly consists in coeundi et comedendi voluptate, and pecorinis hominibus scriptum, bestialis beatitudo, is so ridiculous, that Virgil, Dante, Lucian, nor any poet can be more fabulous. Their rites and ceremonies are most vain and superstitious, wine and swine's flesh are utterly forbidden by their law, 6554they must pray five times a day; and still towards the south, wash before and after all their bodies over, with many such. For fasting, vows, religious orders, peregrinations, they go far beyond any papists, 6555they fast a month together many times, and must not eat a bit till sun be set. Their kalendars, dervises, and torlachers, &c. are more 6556abstemious some of them, than Carthusians, Franciscans, Anchorites, forsake all, live solitary, fare hard, go naked, &c. 6557Their pilgrimages are as far as to the river 6558Ganges (which the Gentiles of those tracts likewise do), to wash themselves, for that river as they hold hath a sovereign virtue to purge them of all sins, and no man can be saved that hath not been washed in it. For which reason they come far and near from the Indies; Maximus gentium omnium confluxus est; and infinite numbers yearly resort to it. Others go as far as Mecca to Mahomet's tomb, which journey is both miraculous and meritorious. The ceremonies of flinging stones to stone the devil, of eating a camel at Cairo by the way; their fastings, their running till they sweat, their long prayers, Mahomet's temple, tomb, and building of it, would ask a whole volume to dilate: and for their pains taken in this holy pilgrimage, all their sins are forgiven, and they reputed for so many saints. And diverse of them with hot bricks, when they return, will put out their eyes, 6559“that they never after see any profane thing, bite out their tongues,” &c. They look for their prophet Mahomet as Jews do for their Messiah. Read more of their customs, rites, ceremonies, in Lonicerus Turcic. hist. tom. 1. from the tenth to the twenty-fourth chapter. Bredenbachius, cap. 4, 5, 6. Leo Afer, lib. 1. Busbequius Sabellicus, Purchas, lib. 3. cap. 3, et 4, 5. Theodorus Bibliander, &c. Many foolish ceremonies you shall find in them; and which is most to be lamented, the people are generally so curious in observing of them, that if the least circumstance be omitted, they think they shall be damned, 'tis an irremissible offence, and can hardly be forgiven. I kept in my house amongst my followers (saith Busbequius, sometime the Turk's orator in Constantinople) a Turkey boy, that by chance did eat shellfish, a meat forbidden by their law, but the next day when he knew what he had done, he was not only sick to cast and vomit, but very much troubled in mind, would weep and 6560grieve many days after, torment himself for his foul offence. Another Turk being to drink a cup of wine in his cellar, first made a huge noise and filthy faces, 6561“to warn his soul, as he said, that it should not be guilty of that foul fact which he was to commit.” With such toys as these are men kept in awe, and so cowed, that they dare not resist, or offend the least circumstance of their law, for conscience' sake misled by superstition, which no human edict otherwise, no force of arms, could have enforced.
In the last place are pseudo-Christians, in describing of whose superstitious symptoms, as a mixture of the rest, I may say that which St. Benedict once saw in a vision, one devil in the marketplace, but ten in a monastery, because there was more work; in populous cities they would swear and forswear, lie, falsify, deceive fast enough of themselves, one devil could circumvent a thousand; but in their religious houses a thousand devils could scarce tempt one silly monk. All the principal devils, I think, busy themselves in subverting Christians; Jews, Gentiles, and Mahometans, are extra caulem, out of the fold, and need no such attendance, they make no resistance, 6562eos enim pulsare negligit, quos quieto jure possidere se sentit, they are his own already: but Christians have that shield of faith, sword of the Spirit to resist, and must have a great deal of battery before they can be overcome. That the devil is most busy amongst us that are of the true church, appears by those several oppositions, heresies, schisms, which in all ages he hath raised to subvert it, and in that of Rome especially, wherein Antichrist himself now sits and plays his prize. This mystery of iniquity began to work even in the Apostles' time, many Antichrists and heretics' were abroad, many sprung up since, many now present, and will be to the world's end, to dementate men's minds, to seduce and captivate their souls. Their symptoms I know not how better to express, than in that twofold division, of such as lead, and are led. Such as lead are heretics, schismatics, false prophets, impostors, and their ministers: they have some common symptoms, some peculiar. Common, as madness, folly, pride, insolency, arrogancy, singularity, peevishness, obstinacy, impudence, scorn and contempt of all other sects: Nullius addicti jurare in verba magistri; 6563they will approve of nought but what they first invent themselves, no interpretation good but what their infallible spirit dictates: none shall be in secundis, no not in tertiis, they are only wise, only learned in the truth, all damned but they and their followers, caedem scripturarum faciunt ad materiam suam, saith Tertullian, they make a slaughter of Scriptures, and turn it as a nose of wax to their own ends. So irrefragable, in the mean time, that what they have once said, they must and will maintain, in whole tomes, duplications, triplications, never yield to death, so self-conceited, say what you can. As 6564Bernard (erroneously some say) speaks of P. Aliardus, omnes patres sic, atque ego sic. Though all the Fathers, Councils, the whole world contradict it, they care not, they are all one: and as 6565 Gregory well notes “of such as are vertiginous, they think all turns round and moves, all err: when as the error is wholly in their own brains.” Magallianus, the Jesuit, in his Comment on 1 Tim. xvi. 20, and Alphonsus de castro lib. 1. adversus haereses, gives two more eminent notes or probable conjectures to know such men by, (they might have taken themselves by the noses when they said it) 6566“First they affect novelties and toys, and prefer falsehood before truth; 6567secondly, they care not what they say, that which rashness and folly hath brought out, pride afterward, peevishness and contumacy shall maintain to the last gasp.” Peculiar symptoms are prodigious paradoxes, new doctrines, vain phantasms, which are many and diverse as they themselves. 6568Nicholaites of old, would have wives in common: Montanists will not marry at all, nor Tatians, forbidding all flesh, Severians wine; Adamians go naked, 6569because Adam did so in Paradise; and some 6570barefoot all their lives, because God, Exod. iii. and Joshua v. bid Moses so to do; and Isaiah xx. was bid put off his shoes; Manichees hold that Pythagorean transmigration of souls from men to beasts; 6571“the Circumcellions in Africa, with a mad cruelty made away themselves, some by fire, water, breaking their necks, and seduced others to do the like, threatening some if they did not,” with a thousand such; as you may read in 6572Austin (for there were fourscore and eleven heresies in his times, besides schisms and smaller factions) Epiphanius, Alphonsus de Castro, Danaeus, Gab, Prateolus, &c. Of prophets, enthusiasts and impostors, our Ecclesiastical stories afford many examples; of Elias and Christs, as our 6573Eudo de stellis, a Briton in King Stephen's time, that went invisible, translated himself from one to another in a moment, fed thousands with good cheer in the wilderness, and many such; nothing so common as miracles, visions, revelations, prophecies. Now what these brain-sick heretics once broach, and impostors set on foot, be it never so absurd, false, and prodigious, the common people will follow and believe. It will run along like murrain in cattle, scab in sheep. Nulla scabies, as 6574he said, superstitione scabiosior; as he that is bitten with a mad dog bites others, and all in the end become mad; either out of affection of novelty, simplicity, blind zeal, hope and fear, the giddy-headed multitude will embrace it, and without further examination approve it.
Sed vetera querimur, these are old, haec prius fuere. In our days we have a new scene of superstitious impostors and heretics. A new company of actors, of Antichrists, that great Antichrist himself: a rope of hopes, that by their greatness and authority bear down all before them: who from that time they proclaimed themselves universal bishops, to establish their own kingdom, sovereignty, greatness, and to enrich themselves, brought in such a company of human traditions, purgatory, Limbus Patrum, Infantum, and all that subterranean geography, mass, adoration of saints, alms, fastings, bulls, indulgences, orders, friars, images, shrines, musty relics, excommunications, confessions, satisfactions, blind obediences, vows, pilgrimages, peregrinations, with many such curious toys, intricate subtleties, gross errors, obscure questions, to vindicate the better and set a gloss upon them, that the light of the Gospel was quite eclipsed, darkness over all, the Scriptures concealed, legends brought in, religion banished, hypocritical superstition exalted, and the Church itself 6575 obscured and persecuted: Christ and his members crucified more, saith Benzo, by a few necromantical, atheistical popes, than ever it was by 6576 Julian the Apostate, Porphyrius the Platonist, Celsus the physician, Libanius the Sophister; by those heathen emperors, Huns, Goths, and Vandals. What each of them did, by what means, at what times, quibus auxiliis, superstition climbed to this height, tradition increased, and Antichrist himself came to his estate, let Magdeburgenses, Kemnisius, Osiander, Bale, Mornay, Fox, Usher, and many others relate. In the mean time, he that shall but see their profane rites and foolish customs, how superstitiously kept, how strictly observed, their multitude of saints, images, that rabble of Romish deities, for trades, professions, diseases, persons, offices, countries, places; St. George for England; St. Denis for France, Patrick, Ireland; Andrew, Scotland; Jago, Spain; &c. Gregory for students; Luke for painters; Cosmus and Damian for philosophers; Crispin, shoemakers; Katherine, spinners; &c. Anthony for pigs; Gallus, geese; Wenceslaus, sheep; Pelagius, oxen; Sebastian, the plague; Valentine, falling sickness; Apollonia, toothache; Petronella for agues; and the Virgin Mary for sea and land, for all parties, offices: he that shall observe these things, their shrines, images, oblations, pendants, adorations, pilgrimages they make to them, what creeping to crosses, our Lady of Loretto's rich 6577gowns, her donaries, the cost bestowed on images, and number of suitors; St. Nicholas Burge in France; our St. Thomas's shrine of old at Canterbury; those relics at Rome, Jerusalem, Genoa, Lyons, Pratum, St. Denis; and how many thousands come yearly to offer to them, with what cost, trouble, anxiety, superstition (for forty several masses are daily said in some of their 6578churches, and they rise at all hours of the night to mass, come barefoot, &c.), how they spend themselves, times, goods, lives, fortunes, in such ridiculous observations; their tales and figments, false miracles, buying and selling of pardons, indulgences for 40,000 years to come, their processions on set days, their strict fastings, monks, anchorites, friar mendicants, Franciscans, Carthusians, &c. Their vigils and fasts, their ceremonies at Christmas, Shrovetide, Candlemas, Palm Sunday, Blaise, St. Martin, St. Nicholas' day; their adorations, exorcisms, &c., will think all those Grecian, Pagan, Mahometan superstitions, gods, idols, and ceremonies, the name, time and place, habit only altered, to have degenerated into Christians. Whilst they prefer traditions before Scriptures; those Evangelical Councils, poverty, obedience, vows, alms, fasting, supererogations, before God's Commandments; their own ordinances instead of his precepts, and keep them in ignorance, blindness, they have brought the common people into such a case by their cunning conveyances, strict discipline, and servile education, that upon pain of damnation they dare not break the least ceremony, tradition, edict; hold it a greater sin to eat a bit of meat in Lent, than kill a man: their consciences are so terrified, that they are ready to despair if a small ceremony be omitted; and will accuse their own father, mother, brother, sister, nearest and dearest friends of heresy, if they do not as they do, will be their chief executioners, and help first to bring a faggot to burn them. What mulct, what penance soever is enjoined, they dare not but do it, tumble with St. Francis in the mire amongst hogs, if they be appointed, go woolward, whip themselves, build hospitals, abbeys, &c., go to the East or West Indies, kill a king, or run upon a sword point: they perform all, without any muttering or hesitation, believe all.
6579Ut pueri infantes credunt signa omnia ahena
Vivere, et esse homines, et sic isti omnia ficta
Vera putant, credunt signis cor inesse ahenis.
As children think their babies live to be,
Do they these brazen images they see.
And whilst the ruder sort are so carried headlong with blind zeal, are so gulled and tortured by their superstitions, their own too credulous simplicity and ignorance, their epicurean popes and hypocritical cardinals laugh in their sleeves, and are merry in their chambers with their punks, they do indulgere genio, and make much of themselves. The middle sort, some for private gain, hope of ecclesiastical preferment, (quis expedivit psittaco suum χαίρε) popularity, base flattery, must and will believe all their paradoxes and absurd tenets, without exception, and as obstinately maintain and put in practice all their traditions and idolatrous ceremonies (for their religion is half a trade) to the death; they will defend all, the golden legend itself, with all the lies and tales in it: as that of St. George, St. Christopher, St. Winifred, St. Denis, &c. It is a wonder to see how Nic. Harpsfield, that Pharisaical impostor, amongst the rest, Ecclesiast. Hist. cap. 22. saec prim, sex., puzzles himself to vindicate that ridiculous fable of St. Ursula and the eleven thousand virgins, as when they live,6580how they came to Cologne, by whom martyred, &c., though he can say nothing for it, yet he must and will approve it: nobilitavit (inquit) hoc saeculum Ursula cum comitibus, cujus historia utinam tam mihi esset expedita et certa, quam in animo meo certum ac expeditum est, eam esse cum sodalibus beatam in coelis virginem. They must and will (I say) either out of blind zeal believe, vary their compass with the rest, as the latitude of religion varies, apply themselves to the times, and seasons, and for fear and flattery are content to subscribe and to do all that in them lies to maintain and defend their present government and slavish religious schoolmen, canonists, Jesuits, friars, priests, orators, sophisters, who either for that they had nothing else to do, luxuriant wits knew not otherwise how to busy themselves in those idle times, for the Church then had few or no open adversaries, or better to defend their lies, fictions, miracles, transubstantiations, traditions, pope's pardons, purgatories, masses, impossibilities, &c. with glorious shows, fair pretences, big words, and plausible wits, have coined a thousand idle questions, nice distinctions, subtleties, Obs and Sols, such tropological, allegorical expositions, to salve all appearances, objections, such quirks and quiddities, quodlibetaries, as Bale saith of Ferribrigge and Strode, instances, ampliations, decrees, glosses, canons, that instead of sound commentaries, good preachers, are come in a company of mad sophisters, primo secundo secundarii, sectaries, Canonists, Sorbonists, Minorites, with a rabble of idle controversies and questions, 6581an Papa sit Deus, an quasi Deus? An participet utramque Christi naturam? Whether it be as possible for God to be a humble bee or a gourd, as a man? Whether he can produce respect without a foundation or term, make a whore a virgin? fetch Trajan's soul from hell, and how? with a rabble of questions about hell-fire: whether it be a greater sin to kill a man, or to clout shoes upon a Sunday? whether God can make another God like unto himself? Such, saith Kemnisius, are most of your schoolmen, (mere alchemists) 200 commentators on Peter Lambard; (Pitsius catal. scriptorum Anglic. reckons up 180 English commentators alone, on the matter of the sentences), Scotists, Thomists, Reals, Nominals, &c., and so perhaps that of St. 6582Austin may be verified. Indocti rapiunt coelum, docti interim descendunt ad infernum. Thus they continued in such error, blindness, decrees, sophisms, superstitions; idle ceremonies and traditions were the sum of their new-coined holiness and religion, and by these knaveries and stratagems they were able to involve multitudes, to deceive the most sanctified souls, and, if it were possible, the very elect. In the mean time the true Church, as wine and water mixed, lay hid and obscure to speak of, till Luther's time, who began upon a sudden to defecate, and as another sun to drive away those foggy mists of superstition, to restore it to that purity of the primitive Church. And after him many good and godly men, divine spirits, have done their endeavours, and still do.
6583And what their ignorance esteem'd so holy,
Our wiser ages do account as folly.
But see the devil, that will never suffer the Church to be quiet or at rest: no garden so well tilled but some noxious weeds grow up in it, no wheat but it hath some tares: we have a mad giddy company of precisians, schismatics, and some heretics, even, in our own bosoms in another extreme. 6584Dum vitant stulti vitia in contraria currunt; that out of too much zeal in opposition to Antichrist, human traditions, those Romish rites and superstitions, will quite demolish all, they will admit of no ceremonies at all, no fasting days, no cross in baptism, kneeling at communion, no church music, &c., no bishops' courts, no church government, rail at all our church discipline, will not hold their tongues, and all for the peace of thee, O Sion! No, not so much as degrees some of them will tolerate, or universities, all human learning, ('tis cloaca diaboli) hoods, habits, cap and surplice, such as are things indifferent in themselves, and wholly for ornament, decency, or distinction's sake, they abhor, hate, and snuff at, as a stone-horse when he meets a bear: they make matters of conscience of them, and will rather forsake their livings than subscribe to them. They will admit of no holidays, or honest recreations, as of hawking, hunting, &c., no churches, no bells some of them, because papists use them; no discipline, no ceremonies but what they invent themselves; no interpretations of 'scriptures, no comments of fathers, no councils, but such as their own fantastical spirits dictate, or recta ratio, as Socinians, by which spirit misled, many times they broach as prodigious paradoxes as papists themselves. Some of them turn prophets, have secret revelations, will be of privy council with God himself, and know all his secrets, 6585 Per capillos spiritum sanctum tenent, et omnia sciunt cum sint asini omnium obstinatissimi, a company of giddy heads will take upon them to define how many shall be saved and who damned in a parish, where they shall sit in heaven, interpret Apocalypses, (Commentatores praecipites et vertiginosos, one calls them, as well he might) and those hidden mysteries to private persons, times, places, as their own spirit informs them, private revelations shall suggest, and precisely set down when the world shall come to an end, what year, what month, what day. Some of them again have such strong faith, so presumptuous, they will go into infected houses, expel devils, and fast forty days, as Christ himself did; some call God and his attributes into question, as Vorstius and Socinus; some princes, civil magistrates, and their authorities, as Anabaptists, will do all their own private spirit dictates, and nothing else. Brownists, Barrowists, Familists, and those Amsterdamian sects and sectaries, are led all by so many private spirits. It is a wonder to reveal what passages Sleidan relates in his Commentaries, of Cretinck, Knipperdoling, and their associates, those madmen of Munster in Germany; what strange enthusiasms, sottish revelations they had, how absurdly they carried themselves, deluded others; and as profane Machiavel in his political disputations holds of Christian religion, in general it doth enervate, debilitate, take away men's spirits and courage from them, simpliciores reddit homines, breeds nothing so courageous soldiers as that Roman: we may say of these peculiar sects, their religion takes away not spirits only, but wit and judgment, and deprives them of their understanding; for some of them are so far gone with their private enthusiasms and revelations, that they are quite mad, out of their wits. What greater madness can there be, than for a man to take upon him to be a God, as some do? to be the Holy Ghost, Elias, and what not? In 6586Poland, 1518, in the reign of King Sigismund, one said he was Christ, and got him twelve apostles, came to judge the world, and strangely deluded the commons. 6587One David George, an illiterate painter, not many years since, did as much in Holland, took upon him to be the Messiah, and had many followers. Benedictus Victorinus Faventinus, consil. 15, writes as much of one Honorius, that thought he was not only inspired as a prophet, but that he was a God himself, and had 6588familiar conference with God and his angels. Lavat. de spect. c. 2. part. 8. hath a story of one John Sartorious, that thought he was the prophet Elias, and cap. 7. of diverse others that had conference with angels, were saints, prophets. Wierus, lib. 3. de Lamiis c. 7. makes mention of a prophet of Groning that said he was God the Father; of an Italian and Spanish prophet that held as much. We need not rove so far abroad, we have familiar examples at home: Hackett that said he was Christ; Coppinger and Arthington his disciples; 6589Burchet and Hovatus, burned at Norwich. We are never likely seven years together without some such new prophets that have several inspirations, some to convert the Jews, some fast forty days, go with Daniel to the lion's den; some foretell strange things, some for one thing, some for another. Great precisians of mean conditions and very illiterate, most part by a preposterous zeal, fasting, meditation, melancholy, are brought into those gross errors and inconveniences. Of those men I may conclude generally, that howsoever they may seem to be discreet, and men of understanding in other matters, discourse well, laesam habent imaginationem, they are like comets, round in all places but where they blaze, caetera sani, they have impregnable wits many of them, and discreet otherwise, but in this their madness and folly breaks out beyond measure, in infinitum erumpit stultitia. They are certainly far gone with melancholy, if not quite mad, and have more need of physic than many a man that keeps his bed, more need of hellebore than those that are in Bedlam.
6478. Varius mappa componere risum vix poterat.
6479. Pleno ridet Catphurnius ore. Hor.
6480. Alanus de Insulis.
6481. Cicero 1. de finibus.
6482. In Micah comment.
6483. Gall. hist. lib. 1.
6485. Juv. Sat. 15.
6486. Comment in Micah. Ferre non possunt ut illorum Messias communis servator sit, nostrum gaudium, &c. Messias vel decem decies crucifixuri essent, ipsumque Deum si id fieri posset, una cum angelis et creaturis omnibus, nec absterretur ab hoc facto et si mille interna subeunda forent.
6489. Ad Galat. comment. Nomen odiosius meum quam ullus homicida aut fur.
6490. In comment. Micah. Adeo incomprehensibilis et aspera eorum superbia, &c.
6491. Synagog. Judaeorum, ca. 1. Inter eorum intelligentissimos Rabbinos nil praeter ignorantiam et insipientiam grandem invenies, horrendam indurationem, et obsti nationem, &c.
6492. Great is Diana of the Ephesians, Act. xv.
6493. Malunt cum illis insanire, quam cum aliis bene sentire.
6494. Acosta, l. 5.
6495. O Aegypte, religionis tuae solae supersunt fabulae eaeque incredibiles posteris tuis.
6496. Meditat. 19. de coena domin.
6497. Lib. 1. de trin. cap. 2. si decepti sumus, &c.
6498. Vide Samsatis Isphocanis objectiones in monachum Milesium.
6499. Lege Hossman. Mus exenteratus.
6500. As true as Homer's Iliad, Ovid's Metamorphoses, Aesop's Fables.
6501. Dial. 52. de oraculis.
6502. O sanctas gentes quibus haec nascuntur in horto Numina! Juven. Sat. 15.
6503. Prudentius. “Having proceeded to deify leeks and onions, you, oh Egypt, worship such gods.”
6504. Praefat. ver. hist.
6505. Tiguri. fol. 1494.
6506. Rosin, antiq. Rom. l. 2. c. 1. et deinceps.
6507. Lib. de divinatione et magicis praestigiis in Mopso.
6508. Cosmo Paccio Interpret. nihil ab aeris caligine aut figurarum varietate impeditus meram pulchritudinem meruit, exultans et misericordia motus, cognatos amicos qui adhuc morantur in terra tuetur, errantibus succurrit, &c. Deus hoc jussit ut essent genii dii tutelares hominibus, bonos juvantes, males punientes, &c.
6509. Sacrorum gent. descript. non bene meritos solum, sed et tyrannos pro diis colunt, qui genus humanum horrendum in modum portentosa immanitate divexarunt, &c. foedas meretrices, &c.
6510. Cap. 22. de ver. rel. Deos finxerunt eorum poetae, ut infiantium puppas.
6511. Proem, lib. Contra, philos.
6512. Livius, lib. 1. Deus vobis in posterum propitius, Quirites.
6513. Anth. Verdure Imag. deorum.
6514. Mulieris candido splendentes ainicimine varioque laetentes gestimine, verno florentes conamine, solum sternentes. &c. Apuleius, lib. 11. de Asino aureo.
6515. Magna religione quaeritur quae possit adultoria plura numerare Minut.
6516. Lib. de sacrificiis, Fumo inhiantes. et muscarum in morem sanguinem exugentes circum aras effusum.
6517. Imagines Deorum lib. sic. inscript.
6518. De ver. relig. cap. 22. Indigni qui terram calcent, &c.
6520. Jupiter Tragoedus, de sacrificiis, et passim alias.
6521. 666 several kinds of sacrifices in Egypt Major reckons up, tom. 2. coll. of which read more in cap. 1. of Laurentius Pignorius his Egypt characters, a cause of which Sanubiua gives subcis. lib. 3. cap. 1.
6522. Herod. Clio. Immolavit lecta pecora ter mille Delphis, una cum lectis phialis tribus.
6523. Superstitiosus Julianus innumeras sine parsirnonia pecudes mactavit. Amianus 25. Boves albi. M. Caesari salutem, si tu viceris perimus; lib. 3. Romara observantissimi sunt ceremoniarum, bello praesertim.
6524. De sacrificiis: nuculam pro bona valetudine, boves quatuor pro divitiis, centum tauros pro sospite a Trojae reditu, &c.
6525. De sacris Gentil. et sacrific. Tyg. 1596.
6526. Enimvero si quis recenseret quae stulti mortales in festis, sacrificiis, diis adorandis, &c. quae vota faciant, quid de iis statuant, &c. haud scio an risurus, &c.
6527. Max. Tyrius ser. 1. Croesus regum omnium stultissimus de lebete consulit, alius de numero arenarum, dimensione maris, &c.
6528. Lib. 4.
6529. Perigr. Hierosol.
6532. Boterus polit. lib. 2. cap. 16.
6533. Plutarch vit. Crassi.
6534. They were of the Greek church.
6535. Lib. 5. de gestis Scanderbegis.
6536. In templis immania Idolorum monstra conspiciuntur, marmorea, lignea, lutea, &c. Riccius.
6537. Deum enim placare non est opus, quia non nocet; sed daemonem sacrifices placant, &c.
6538. Fer. Cortesius.
6539. M. Polas. Lod. Vertomannus navig. lib. 6. cap. 9. P. Martyr. Ocean, dec.
6540. Propertius lib. 3. eleg. 12. “There is a contest amongst the living wives as to which shall follow the husband, and not be allowed to die for him is accounted a disgrace.”
6541. Matthias a Michou.
6542. Epist. Jesuit. anno. 1549. a Xaverto et socus. Idemque Riccius expedid. ad Sinas l. 1. per totum Jejunatores apud eos toto die carnibus abstinent et piscibus ob religionem, nocte et die Idola colentes; nusquam egredientes.
6543. Ad immortalitatem morte aspirant summi magistrates, &c. Et multi mortales hac insania, et praepostero immortalitatis studio laborant, et misere pereunt: rex ipse clam venenum hausisset, nisi a servo fuisset detentus.
6544. Cantione in lib. 10. Bonini de repub. fol. 111.
6545. Quin ipsius diaboli ut nequitiam referant.
6546. Lib. de superstit.
6547. Hominibus vitas finis mors, non autem superstitionis, profert haec suos terminos ultra vitae finem.
6548. Buxtorfius Synagog. Jud. c. 4. Inter precandum nemo pediculos attingat, vel pulicem, aut per guttur inferius ventum emittas, &c. Id. c. 5. et. seq. cap. 36.
6549. Illic omnia animalia, pisces, aves, quos Deus unquam creavit mactabuntur, et vinum generosum, &c.
6550. Cujus lapsu cedri altissimi 300 dejecti sunt, quumque e lapsu ovum fuerat confractum, pagi 160 inde submersi, et alluvione inundati.
6551. Every king of the world shall send him one of his daughters to be his wife, because it is written, Ps. xlv. 10. “Kings' daughters shall attend on him,” &c.
6552. Quum quadringentis adhuc milliaribus ab imperatore Leo hic abesset, tam fortiter rugiebat, ut mulieres Romanae abortierint omnes, mutique, &c.
6553. Strozzius Cicogna omnif. mag. lib. 1. c. 1. putida multa recenset ex Alcorano, de coelo, stellis, Angelis, Lonicerus c. 21, 22. l. 1.
6554. Quinquies in die orare Turcae tenentur ad meridiem. Bredenbachius cap. 5.
6555. In quolibet anno mensem integrum jejunant interdiu, nec comedentes nec bibentes, &c.
6556. Nullis unquam multi per totam aetatem carnibus vescuntur. Leo Afer.
6557. Lonicerus to. 1. cap. 17. 18.
6558. Gotardus Arthus ca. 33. hist. orient. Indiae; opinio est expiatorium esse Gangem; et nec mundum ab omni peccato nec salvum fieri posse, qui non hoc flumine se abluat: quam ob causam ex tota India, &c.
6559. Quia nil volunt deinceps videre.
6560. Nullum se conflictandi finem facit.
6561. Ut in aliquem angulum se reciperet, ne reus fieret ejus delicti quod ipse erat admissurus.
6562. Gregor. Hom.
6563. “Bound to the dictates of no master.”
6564. Epist. 190.
6565. Orat. 8. ut vertigine correptis videntur omnia moveri, omnia iis falsa sunt, quum error in ipsorum cerebro sit.
6566. Res novas affectant et inutiles, falsa veris praeferunt. 2. quod temeritas effutierit, id superbia post modum tuebitur et contumaciae, &c.
6567. See more in Vincent. Lyrin.
6568. Aust. de haeres. usus mulierum indifferens.
6569. Quod ante peccavit Adam, nudus erat.
6570. Alii nudis pedibus semper ambulant.
6571. Insana feritate sibi non parcunt nam per mortes varias praecipitiorum aquarum et ignium. seipsos necant, et in istum furorem alios cogunt, mortem minantes ni faciant.
6572. Elench. haeret. ab orbe condito.
6573. Nubrigensis. lib. cap. 19.
6574. Jovian. Pont. Ant. Dial.
6575. Cum per Paganos nomen ejus persequi non poterat, sub specie religionis fraudulenter subvertere disponebat.
6576. That writ de professo against Christians, et palestinum deum (ut Socrates lib. 3. cap. 19.) scripturam nugis plenam, &c. vide Cyrillum in Julianum, Originem in Celsum, &c.
6577. One image had one gown worth 400 crowns and more.
6578. As at our lady's church at Bergamo in Italy.
6579. Lucilius lib. 1. cap. 22. de falsa relig.
6580. An. 441.
6581. Hospinian Osiander. An haec propositio Deus sit cucurbita vel scarabeus, sit aeque possibilis ac Deus et homo? An possit respectum producere sine fundamento et termino. An levius sit hominem jugulare quam die dominico calceum consuere?
6582. De doct. Christian.
6584. “Whilst these fools avoid one vice they run into another of an opposite character.”
6585. Agrip. ep. 29.
6586. Alex. Gaguin. 22. Discipulis ascitis mirum in modum populum decepit.
6587. Guicciard. descrip. Belg. com. plures habuit asseclas ab iisdem honoratus.
6588. Hen. Nicholas at Leiden 1580. such a one.
6589. See Camden's Annals fo. 242. et 285.
Prognostics of Religious Melancholy.
You may guess at the prognostics by the symptoms. What can these signs fore tell otherwise than folly, dotage, madness, gross ignorance, despair, obstinacy, a reprobate sense, 6590a bad end? What else can superstition, heresy produce, but wars, tumults, uproars, torture of souls, and despair, a desolate land, as Jeremy teacheth, cap. vii. 34. when they commit idolatry, and walk after their own ways? how should it be otherwise with them? what can they expect but “blasting, famine, dearth,” and all the plagues of Egypt, as Amos denounceth, cap. iv. vers. 9. 10. to be led into captivity? If our hopes be frustrate, “we sow much and bring in little, eat and have not enough, drink and are not filled, clothe and be not warm,” &c. Haggai i. 6. “we look for much and it comes to little, whence is it? His house was waste, they came to their own houses,” vers. 9. “therefore the heaven stayed his dew, the earth his fruit.” Because we are superstitious, irreligious, we do not serve God as we ought, all these plagues and miseries come upon us; what can we look for else but mutual wars, slaughters, fearful ends in this life, and in the life to come eternal damnation? What is it that hath caused so many feral battles to be fought, so much Christian blood shed, but superstition! That Spanish inquisition, racks, wheels, tortures, torments, whence do they proceed? from superstition. Bodine the Frenchman, in his 6591method. hist. accounts Englishmen barbarians, for their civil wars: but let him read those Pharsalian fields 6592fought of late in France for their religion, their massacres, wherein by their own relations in twenty-four years, I know not how many millions have been consumed, whole families and cities, and he shall find ours to be but velitations to theirs. But it hath ever been the custom of heretics and idolaters, when they are plagued for their sins, and God's just judgments come upon them, not to acknowledge any fault in themselves, but still impute it unto others. In Cyprian's time it was much controverted between him and Demetrius an idolater, who should be the cause of those present calamities. Demetrius laid all the fault on Christians, (and so they did ever in the primitive church, as appears by the first book of 6593Arnobius), 6594“that there were not such ordinary showers in winter, the ripening heat in summer, so seasonable springs, fruitful autumns, no marble mines in the mountains, less gold and silver than of old; that husbandmen, seamen, soldiers, all were scanted, justice, friendship, skill in arts, all was decayed,” and that through Christians' default, and all their other miseries from them, quod dii nostri a vobis non colantur, because they did not worship their gods. But Cyprian retorts all upon him again, as appears by his tract against him. 'Tis true the world is miserably tormented and shaken with wars, dearth, famine, fire, inundations, plagues, and many feral diseases rage amongst us, sed non ut tu quereris ista accidunt quod dii vestri a nobis non colantur, sed quod a vobis non colatur Deus, a quibus nec quaeritur, nec timetur, not as thou complainest, that we do not worship your Gods, but because you are idolaters, and do not serve the true God, neither seek him, nor fear him as you ought. Our papists object as much to us, and account us heretics, we them; the Turks esteem of both as infidels, and we them as a company of pagans, Jews against all; when indeed there is a general fault in us all, and something in the very best, which may justly deserve God's wrath, and pull these miseries upon our heads. I will say nothing here of those vain cares, torments, needless works, penance, pilgrimages, pseudomartyrdom, &c. We heap upon ourselves unnecessary troubles, observations; we punish our bodies, as in Turkey (saith 6595Busbequius leg. Turcic. ep. 3.) “one did, that was much affected with music, and to hear boys sing, but very superstitious; an old sibyl coming to his house, or a holy woman,” (as that place yields many) “took him down for it, and told him, that in that other world he should suffer for it; thereupon he flung his rich and costly instruments which he had bedecked with jewels, all at once into the fire. He was served in silver plate, and had goodly household stuff: a little after, another religious man reprehended him in like sort, and from thenceforth he was served in earthen vessels, last of all a decree came forth, because Turks might not drink wine themselves, that neither Jew nor Christian then living in Constantinople, might drink any wine at all.” In like sort amongst papists, fasting at first was generally proposed as a good thing; after, from such meats at set times, and then last of all so rigorously proposed, to bind the consciences upon pain of damnation. “First Friday,” saith Erasmus, “then Saturday,” et nunc periclitatur dies Mercurii) and Wednesday now is in danger of a fast. 6596“And for such like toys, some so miserably afflict themselves, to despair, and death itself, rather than offend, and think themselves good Christians in it, when as indeed they are superstitious Jews.” So saith Leonardus Fuchsius, a great physician in his time. 6597“We are tortured in Germany with these popish edicts, our bodies so taken down, our goods so diminished, that if God had not sent Luther, a worthy man, in time, to redress these mischiefs, we should have eaten hay with our horses before this.” 6598As in fasting, so in all other superstitious edicts, we crucify one another without a cause, barring ourselves of many good and lawful things, honest disports, pleasures and recreations; for wherefore did God create them but for our use? Feasts, mirth, music, hawking, hunting, singing, dancing, &c. non tam necessitatibus nostris Deus inservit, sed in delicias amamur, as Seneca notes, God would have it so. And as Plato 2. de legibus gives out, Deos laboriosam hominum vitam miseratos, the gods in commiseration of human estate sent Apollo, Bacchus, and the Muses, qui cum voluptate tripudia et soltationes nobis ducant, to be merry with mortals, to sing and dance with us. So that he that will not rejoice and enjoy himself, making good use of such things as are lawfully permitted, non est temperatus, as he will, sed superstitiosus. “There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour,” Eccles. ii. 24. And as 6599one said of hawking and hunting, tot solatia in hac aegri orbis calamitate, mortalibus taediis deus objecit, I say of all honest recreations, God hath therefore indulged them to refresh, ease, solace and comfort us. But we are some of us too stern, too rigid, too precise, too grossly superstitious, and whilst we make a conscience of every toy, with touch not, taste not, &c., as those Pythagoreans of old, and some Indians now, that will eat no flesh, or suffer any living creature to be killed, the Bannians about Guzzerat; we tyrannise over our brother's soul, lose the right use of many good gifts; honest 6600sports, games and pleasant recreations, 6601punish ourselves without a cause, lose our liberties, and sometimes our lives. Anno 1270, at 6602Magdeburg in Germany, a Jew fell into a privy upon a Saturday, and without help could not possibly get out; he called to his fellows for succour, but they denied it, because it was their Sabbath, non licebat opus manuum exercere; the bishop hearing of it, the next day forbade him to be pulled out, because it was our Sunday. In the mean time the wretch died before Monday. We have myriads of examples in this kind amongst those rigid Sabbatarians, and therefore not without good cause, 6603Intolerabilem pertubationem Seneca calls it, as well he might, an intolerable perturbation, that causeth such dire events, folly, madness, sickness, despair, death of body and soul, and hell itself.
6590. Arius his bowels burst; Montanus hanged himself, &c. Eudo de stellis, his disciples, ardere potius quam ad vitam corrigi maluerunt; tanta vis infixi semel erroris, they died blaspheming. Nubrigensis c. 9. lib. 1. Jer. vii. 23. Amos. v. 5.
6591. 5. Cap.
6592. Poplinerius Lerius praef. hist. Rich. Dinoth.
6593. Advers. gerites lib. 1. postquam in mundo Christiana gens coepit, terrarum orbem periise, et multis malis affectum esse genus humanum videmus.
6594. Quod nec hyeme, nec aestate tanta imbrium copia, nec frugibus torrendis solita flagrantia, nec vernali temperie sata tam laeta sint, nec arboreis foetibus autumni foecundi, minus de montibus marmor ernatur, minus aurum, &c.
6595. Solitus erat oblectare se fidibus, et voce musica canentium; sed hoc omne sublatum Sybillae cujusdam interventu, &c. Inde quicquid erat instrumentorum Symphoniacorum, aura gemmisque egregio opere distinctorum comminuit, et in ignem injecit, &c.
6596. Ob id genus observatiunculas videmus homines misere affligi, et denique mori, et sibi ipsis Christianos videri quum revera sint Judaei.
6597. Ita in corpora nostra fortunasque decretis suis saeviit ut parum obfuerat nisi Deus Lutherum virum perpetua memoria dignissimum excitasset, quin nobis faeno mox communi cum jumentis cibo utendum fuisset.
6598. The Gentiles in India will eat no sensible creatures, or aught that hath blood in it.
6599. Vandormilius de Aucupio. cap. 27.
6600. Some explode all human authors, arts, and sciences, poets, histories, &c., so precise, their zeal overruns their wits; and so stupid, they oppose all human learning, because they are ignorant themselves and illiterate, nothing must be read but Scriptures; but these men deserve to be pitied, rather than confuted. Others are so strict they will admit of no honest game and pleasure, no dancing, singing, other plays, recreations and games, hawking, hunting, cock-fighting, bear-baiting, &c., because to see one beast kill another is the fruit of our rebellion against God, &c.
6601. Nuda ac tremebunda cruentis Irrepet genibus si candida jusserit Ino. Juvenalis. Sect. 6.
6602. Munster Cosmog. lib. 3. cap. 444. Incidit in cloacam, unde se non possit eximere, implorat opem sociorum, sed illi negant, &c.
6603. De benefic. 7. 2.
Cure of Religious Melancholy.
To purge the world of idolatry and superstition, will require some monster-taming Hercules, a divine Aesculapius, or Christ himself to come in his own person, to reign a thousand years on earth before the end, as the Millenaries will have him. They are generally so refractory, self-conceited, obstinate, so firmly addicted to that religion in which they have been bred and brought up, that no persuasion, no terror, no persecution, can divert them. The consideration of which, hath induced many commonwealths to suffer them to enjoy their consciences as they will themselves: a toleration of Jews is in most provinces of Europe. In Asia they have their synagogues: Spaniards permit Moors to live amongst them: the Mogullians, Gentiles: the Turks all religions. In Europe, Poland and Amsterdam are the common sanctuaries. Some are of opinion, that no man ought to be compelled for conscience' sake, but let him be of what religion he will, he may be saved, as Cornelius was formerly accepted, Jew, Turks, Anabaptists, &c. If he be an honest man, live soberly, and civilly in his profession, (Volkelius, Crellius, and the rest of the Socinians, that now nestle themselves about Krakow and Rakow in Poland, have renewed this opinion) serve his own God, with that fear and reverence as he ought. Sua cuique civitati (Laeli) religio sit, nostra nobis, Tully thought fit every city should be free in this behalf, adore their own Custodes et Topicos Deos, tutelar and local gods, as Symmachus calls them. Isocrates adviseth Demonicus, “when he came to a strange city, to 6604worship by all means the gods of the place,” et unumquemque, Topicum deum sic coli oportere, quomodo ipse praeceperit: which Cecilius in 6605Minutius labours, and would have every nation sacrorum ritus gentiles habere et deos colere municipes, keep their own ceremonies, worship their peculiar gods, which Pomponius Mela reports of the Africans, Deos suos patrio more venerantur, they worship their own gods according to their own ordination. For why should any one nation, as he there pleads, challenge that universality of God, Deum suum quem nec ostendunt, nec vident, discurrantem silicet et ubique praesentem, in omnium mores, actus, et occultas, cogitationes inquirentem, &c., as Christians do: let every province enjoy their liberty in this behalf, worship one God, or all as they will, and are informed. The Romans built altars Diis Asiae, Europae, Lybiae, diis ignotis et peregrinis: others otherwise, &c. Plinius Secundus, as appears by his Epistle to Trajan, would not have the Christians so persecuted, and in some time of the reign of Maximinus, as we find it registered in Eusebius lib. 9. cap. 9. there was a decree made to this purpose, Nullus cogatur invitus ad hunc vel illum deorum cultum, “let no one be compelled against his will to worship any particular deity,” and by Constantine in the 19th year of his reign as 6606Baronius informeth us, Nemo alteri exhibeat molestiam, quod cujusque animus vult, hoc quisque transigat, new gods, new lawgivers, new priests, will have new ceremonies, customs and religions, to which every wise man as a good formalist should accommodate himself.
6607Saturnus periit, perierunt et sua jura,
Sub Jove nunc mundus, jussa sequare Jovis.
The said Constantine the emperor, as Eusebius writes, flung down and demolished all the heathen gods, silver, gold statues, altars, images and temples, and turned them all to Christian churches, infestus gentilium monumentis ludibrio exposuit; the Turk now converts them again to Mahometan mosques. The like edict came forth in the reign of Arcadius and Honorius. 6608Symmachus the orator in his days, to procure a general toleration, used this argument, 6609“Because God is immense and infinite, and his nature cannot perfectly be known, it is convenient he should be as diversely worshipped, as every man shall perceive or understand.” It was impossible, he thought, for one religion to be universal: you see that one small province can hardly be ruled by one law, civil or spiritual; and “how shall so many distinct and vast empires of the world be united into one? It never was, never will be” Besides, if there be infinite planetary and firmamental worlds, as 6610some will, there be infinite genii or commanding spirits belonging to each of them; and so, per consequens (for they will be all adored), infinite religions. And therefore let every territory keep their proper rites and ceremonies, as their dii tutelares will, so Tyrius calls them, “and according to the quarter they hold,” their own institutions, revelations, orders, oracles, which they dictate from time to time, or teach their own priests or ministers. This tenet was stiffly maintained in Turkey not long since, as you may read in the third epistle of Busbequius, 6611“that all those should participate of eternal happiness, that lived a holy and innocent life, what religion soever they professed.” Rustan Bassa was a great patron of it; though Mahomet himself was sent virtute gladdi, to enforce all, as he writes in his Alcoran, to follow him. Some again will approve of this for Jews, Gentiles, infidels, that are out of the fold, they can be content to give them all respect and favour, but by no means to such as are within the precincts of our own church, and called Christians, to no heretics, schismatics, or the like; let the Spanish inquisition, that fourth fury, speak of some of them, the civil wars and massacres in France, our Marian times. 6612Magillianus the Jesuit will not admit of conference with a heretic, but severity and rigour to be used, non illis verba reddere, sed furcas, figere oportet; and Theodosius is commended in Nicephorus, lib. 12. cap. 15. 6613“That he put all heretics to silence.” Bernard. Epist. 180, will have club law, fire and sword for heretics, 6614“compel them, stop their mouths not with disputations, or refute them with reasons, but with fists;” and this is their ordinary practice. Another company are as mild on the other side; to avoid all heart-burning, and contentious wars and uproars, they would have a general toleration in every kingdom, no mulct at all, no man for religion or conscience be put to death, which 6615Thuanus the French historian much favours; our late Socinians defend; Vaticanus against Calvin in a large Treatise in behalf of Servetus, vindicates; Castilio, &c., Martin Ballius and his companions, maintained this opinion not long since in France, whose error is confuted by Beza in a just volume. The medium is best, and that which Paul prescribes, Gal. i. “If any man shall fall by occasion, to restore such a one with the spirit of meekness, by all fair means, gentle admonitions;” but if that will not take place, Post unam et alteram admonitionem haereticum devita, he must be excommunicate, as Paul did by Hymenaeus, delivered over to Satan. Immedicabile vulnus ense recidendum est. As Hippocrates said in physic, I may well say in divinity, Quae ferro non curantur, ignis curat. For the vulgar, restrain them by laws, mulcts, burn their books, forbid their conventicles; for when the cause is taken away, the effect will soon cease. Now for prophets, dreamers, and such rude silly fellows, that through fasting, too much meditation, preciseness, or by melancholy, are distempered: the best means to reduce them ad sanam mentem, is to alter their course of life, and with conference, threats, promises, persuasions, to intermix physic. Hercules de Saxonia, had such a prophet committed to his charge in Venice, that thought he was Elias, and would fast as he did; he dressed a fellow in angel's attire, that said he came from heaven to bring him divine food, and by that means stayed his fast, administered his physic; so by the meditation of this forged angel he was cured. 6616Rhasis an Arabian, cont. lib. 1. cap. 9, speaks of a fellow that in like case complained to him, and desired his help: “I asked him” (saith he) “what the matter was; he replied, I am continually meditating of heaven and hell, and methinks I see and talk with fiery spirits, and smell brimstone, &c., and am so carried away with these conceits, that I can neither eat, nor sleep, nor go about my business: I cured him” (saith Rhasis) “partly by persuasion, partly by physic, and so have I done by many others.” We have frequently such prophets and dreamers amongst us, whom we persecute with fire and faggot: I think the most compendious cure, for some of them at least, had been in Bedlam. Sed de his satis.
6604. Numen venerare praesertim quod civitas colit.
6605. Octavio dial.
6606. Annal. tom. 3. ad annum 324. 1.
6607. Ovid. “Saturn is dead, his laws died with him; now that Jupiter rules the world, let us obey his laws.”
6608. In epist. Sym.
6609. Quia deus immensum quiddam est, et infinitum cujus natura perfecte cognosci non potest, aequum ergo est, ut diversa ratione colatur prout quisque aliquid de Deo percipit aut intelligit.
6610. Campanella Calcaginus, and others.
6611. Aeternae beatitudinis consortes fore, qui sancte innocenterque hanc vitam traduxerint, quamcunque illi religionem sequuti sunt.
6612. Comment. in C. Tim. 6. ver. 20. et 21. severitate cum agendum, et non aliter.
6613. Quod silentium haereticis indixerit.
6614. Igne et fuste potius agendum cum haereticis quam cum disputationibus; os alia loquens, &c.
6615. Praefat. Hist.
6616. Quidam conquestus est mihi de hoc morbo, et deprecatus est ut ego illum curarem; ego quaesivi ab eo quid sentiret; respondit, semper imaginor et cogito de Deo et angelis, &c. et ita demersus sum hac imaginatione, ut nec edam nec dormiam, nec negotiis, &c. Ego curavi medicine et persuasione; et sic plures alios.
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