Religious Melancholy in defect; parties affected, Epicures, Atheists, Hypocrites, worldly secure, Carnalists; all impious persons, impenitent sinners, &c.
In that other extreme or defect of this love of God, knowledge, faith, fear, hope, &c. are such as err both in doctrine and manners, Sadducees, Herodians, libertines, politicians: all manner of atheists, epicures, infidels, that are secure, in a reprobate sense, fear not God at all, and such are too distrustful and timorous, as desperate persons be. That grand sin of atheism or impiety, 6617Melancthon calls it monstrosam melancholiam, monstrous melancholy; or venenatam melancholiam, poisoned melancholy. A company of Cyclops or giants, that war with the gods, as the poets feigned, antipodes to Christians, that scoff at all religion, at God himself, deny him and all his attributes, his wisdom, power, providence, his mercy and judgment.
6618Esse aliquos manes, et subterranea regna,
Et contum, et Stygio ranas in gurgite nigras,
Atque una transire vadum tot millia cymba,
Nec pueri credunt, nisi qui nondum aere lavantur.
That there is either heaven or hell, resurrection of the dead, pain, happiness, or world to come, credat Judaeus Apella; for their parts they esteem them as so many poet's tales, bugbears, Lucian's Alexander; Moses, Mahomet, and Christ are all as one in their creed. When those bloody wars in France for matters of religion (saith 6619Richard Dinoth) were so violently pursued between Huguenots and Papists, there was a company of good fellows laughed them all to scorn, for being such superstitious fools, to lose their wives and fortunes, accounting faith, religion, immortality of the soul, mere fopperies and illusions. Such loose 6620atheistical spirits are too predominant in all kingdoms. Let them contend, pray, tremble, trouble themselves that will, for their parts, they fear neither God nor devil; but with that Cyclops in Euripides,
Haud ulla numina expavescunt caelitum,
Sed victimas uni deorum maximo,
Ventri offerunt, deos ignorant caeteros.
They fear no God but one,
They sacrifice to none.
But belly, and him adore,
For gods they know no more.
“Their God is their belly,” as Paul saith, Sancta mater saturitas; — quibus in solo vivendi causa palato est. The idol, which they worship and adore, is their mistress; with him in Plautus, mallem haec mulier me amet quam dii, they had rather have her favour than the gods'. Satan is their guide, the flesh is their instructor, hypocrisy their counsellor, vanity their fellow-soldier, their will their law, ambition their captain, custom their rule; temerity, boldness, impudence their art, toys their trading, damnation their end. All their endeavours are to satisfy their lust and appetite, how to please their genius, and to be merry for the present, Ede, lude, bibe, post mortem nulla voluptas.6621“The same condition is of men and of beasts; as the one dieth, so dieth the other,” Eccles. iii. 19. The world goes round,
6622 ——— truditur dies die,
Novaeque pergunt interire Lunae:
6623They did eat and drink of old, marry, bury, bought, sold, planted, built, and will do still. 6624“Our life is short and tedious, and in the death of a man there is no recovery, neither was any man known that hath returned from the grave; for we are born at all adventure, and we shall be hereafter as though we had never been; for the breath is as smoke in our nostrils, &c., and the spirit vanisheth as the soft air.” 6625“Come let us enjoy the pleasures that are present, let us cheerfully use the creatures as in youth, let us fill ourselves with costly wine and ointments, let not the flower of our life pass by us, let us crown ourselves with rose-buds before they are withered,” &c. 6626Vivamus mea Lesbia et amemus, &c. 6627 “Come let us take our fill of love, and pleasure in dalliance, for this is our portion, this is our lot.”
Tempora labuntur, tacitisque senescimus annis.6628 For the rest of heaven and hell, let children and superstitious fools believe it: for their parts, they are so far from trembling at the dreadful day of judgment that they wish with Nero, Me vivo fiat, let it come in their times: so secure, so desperate, so immoderate in lust and pleasure, so prone to revenge that, as Paterculus said of some caitiffs in his time in Rome, Quod nequiter ausi, fortiter executi: it shall not be so wickedly attempted, but as desperately performed, whatever they take in hand. Were it not for God's restraining grace, fear and shame, temporal punishment, and their own infamy, they would. Lycaon-like exenterate, as so many cannibals eat up, or Cadmus' soldiers consume one another. These are most impious, and commonly professed atheists, that never use the name of God but to swear by it; that express nought else but epicurism in their carriage, or hypocrisy; with Pentheus they neglect and contemn these rites and religious ceremonies of the gods; they will be gods themselves, or at least socii deorum. Divisum imperium cum Jove Caesar habet. “Caesar divides the empire with Jove.” Aproyis, an Egyptian tyrant, grew, saith 6629Herodotus, to that height of pride, insolency of impiety, to that contempt of Gods and men, that he held his kingdom so sure, ut a nemine deorum aut hominum sibi eripi posset, neither God nor men could take it from him. 6630A certain blasphemous king of Spain (as 6631Lansius reports) made an edict, that no subject of his, for ten years' space, should believe in, call on, or worship any god. And as 6632Jovius relates of “Mahomet the Second, that sacked Constantinople, he so behaved himself, that he believed neither Christ nor Mahomet; and thence it came to pass, that he kept his word and promise no farther than for his advantage, neither did he care to commit any offence to satisfy his lust.” I could say the like of many princes, many private men (our stories are full of them) in times past, this present age, that love, fear, obey, and perform all civil duties as they shall find them expedient or behoveful to their own ends. Securi adversus Deos, securi adversus homines, votis non est opus, which 6633 Tacitus reports of some Germans, they need not pray, fear, hope, for they are secure, to their thinking, both from Gods and men. Bulco Opiliensis, sometime Duke of 6634Silesia, was such a one to a hair; he lived (saith 6635Aeneas Sylvius) at 6636Vratislavia, “and was so mad to satisfy his lust, that he believed neither heaven nor hell, or that the soul was immortal, but married wives, and turned them up as he thought fit, did murder and mischief, and what he list himself.” This duke hath too many followers in our days: say what you can, dehort, exhort, persuade to the contrary, they are no more moved — quam si dura, silex aut stet Marpesia cautes, than so many stocks, and stones; tell them of heaven and hell, 'tis to no purpose, laterem lavas, they answer as Ataliba that Indian prince did friar Vincent, 6637“when he brought him a book, and told him all the mysteries of salvation, heaven and hell, were contained in it: he looked upon it, and said he saw no such matter, asking withal, how he knew it:” they will but scoff at it, or wholly reject it. Petronius in Tacitus, when he was now by Nero's command bleeding to death, audiebat amicos nihil referentes de immortalitate animae, aut sapientum placitis, sed levia carmina et faciles versus; instead of good counsel and divine meditations, he made his friends sing him bawdy verses and scurrilous songs. Let them take heaven, paradise, and that future happiness that will, bonum est esse hic, it is good being here: there is no talking to such, no hope of their conversion, they are in a reprobate sense, mere carnalists, fleshly minded men, which howsoever they may be applauded in this life by some few parasites, and held for worldly wise men. 6638“They seem to me” (saith Melancthon) “to be as mad as Hercules was when he raved and killed his wife and children.” A milder sort of these atheistical spirits there are that profess religion, but timide et haesitanter, tempted thereunto out of that horrible consideration of diversity of religions, which are and have been in the world (which argument Campanella, Atheismi Triumphati, cap. 9. both urgeth and answers), besides the covetousness, imposture, and knavery of priests, quae faciunt (as 6639Postellus observes) ut rebus sacris minus faciant fidem; and those religions some of them so fantastical, exorbitant, so violently maintained with equal constancy and assurance; whence they infer, that if there be so many religious sects, and denied by the rest, why may they not be all false? or why should this or that be preferred before the rest? The sceptics urge this, and amongst others it is the conclusion of Sextus Empericus, lib. 3. advers. Mathematicos: after many philosophical arguments and reasons pro and con that there are gods, and again that there are no gods, he so concludes, cum tot inter se pugnent, &c. Una tantum potest esse vera, as Tully likewise disputes: Christians say, they alone worship the true God, pity all other sects, lament their case; and yet those old Greeks and Romans that worshipped the devil, as the Chinese now do, aut deos topicos, their own gods; as Julian the apostate, 6640Cecilius in Minutius, Celsus and Porphyrius the philosopher object: and as Machiavel contends, were much more noble, generous, victorious, had a more flourishing commonwealth, better cities, better soldiers, better scholars, better wits. Their gods overcame our gods, did as many miracles, &c. Saint Cyril, Arnobius, Minutius, with many other ancients of late, Lessius, Morneus, Grotius de Verit. Relig. Christianae, Savanarola de Verit. Fidei Christianae, well defend; but Zanchius, 6641Campanella, Marinus Marcennus, Bozius, and Gentillettus answer all these atheistical arguments at large. But this again troubles many as of old, wicked men generally thrive, professed atheists thrive,
6642Nullos esse Deos, inane coelum,
Affirmat Selius: probatque, quod se
Factum, dum negat haec, videt beatum.
There are no gods, heavens are toys,
Selius in public justifies;
Because that whilst he thus denies
Their deities, he better thrives.
This is a prime argument: and most part your most sincere, upright, honest, and 6643good men are depressed, “The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong” (Eccles. ix. 11.), “nor yet bread to the wise, favour nor riches to men of understanding, but time and chance comes to all.” There was a great plague in Athens (as Thucydides, lib. 2. relates), in which at last every man, with great licentiousness, did what he list, not caring at all for God's or men's laws. “Neither the fear of God nor laws of men” (saith he) “awed any man, because the plague swept all away alike, good and bad; they thence concluded it was alike to worship or not worship the gods, since they perished all alike.” Some cavil and make doubts of scripture itself: it cannot stand with God's mercy, that so many should be damned, so many bad, so few good, such have and hold about religions, all stiff on their side, factious alike, thrive alike, and yet bitterly persecuting and damning each other; “It cannot stand with God's goodness, protection, and providence” (as 6644Saint Chrysostom in the Dialect of such discontented persons) “to see and suffer one man to be lame, another mad, a third poor and miserable all the days of his life, a fourth grievously tormented with sickness and aches, to his last hour. Are these signs and works of God's providence, to let one man be deaf, another dumb? A poor honest fellow lives in disgrace, woe and want, wretched he is; when as a wicked caitiff abounds in superfluity of wealth, keeps whores, parasites, and what he will himself:” Audis Jupiter haec? Talia multa connectentes, longum reprehensionis sermonem erga Dei providentiam contexunt. 6645Thus they mutter and object (see the rest of their arguments in Marcennus in Genesin, and in Campanella, amply confuted), with many such vain cavils, well known, not worthy the recapitulation or answering: whatsoever they pretend, they are interim of little or no religion.
Cousin-germans to these men are many of our great philosophers and deists, who, though they be more temperate in this life, give many good moral precepts, honest, upright, and sober in their conversation, yet in effect they are the same (accounting no man a good scholar that is not an atheist), nimis altum sapiunt, too much learning makes them mad. Whilst they attribute all to natural causes, 6646contingence of all things, as Melancthon calls them, Pertinax hominum genus, a peevish generation of men, that misled by philosophy, and the devil's suggestion, their own innate blindness, deny God as much as the rest, hold all religion a fiction, opposite to reason and philosophy, though for fear of magistrates, saith 6647Vaninus, they durst not publicly profess it. Ask one of them of what religion he is, he scoffingly replies, a philosopher, a Galenist, an 6648Averroist, and with Rabelais a physician, a peripatetic, an epicure. In spiritual things God must demonstrate all to sense, leave a pawn with them, or else seek some other creditor. They will acknowledge Nature and Fortune, yet not God: though in effect they grant both: for as Scaliger defines, Nature signifies God's ordinary power; or, as Calvin writes, Nature is God's order, and so things extraordinary may be called unnatural: Fortune his unrevealed will; and so we call things changeable that are beside reason and expectation. To this purpose 6649Minutius in Octavio, and 6650 Seneca well discourseth with them, lib. 4. de beneficiis, cap. 5, 6, 7. “They do not understand what they say; what is Nature but God? call him what thou wilt, Nature, Jupiter, he hath as many names as offices: it comes all to one pass, God is the fountain of all, the first Giver and Preserver, from whom all things depend,” 6651a quo, et per quem omnia, Nam quocunque vides Deus est, quocunque moveris, “God is all in all, God is everywhere, in every place.” And yet this Seneca, that could confute and blame them, is all out as much to be blamed and confuted himself, as mad himself; for he holds fatum Stoicum, that inevitable Necessity in the other extreme, as those Chaldean astrologers of old did, against whom the prophet Jeremiah so often thunders, and those heathen mathematicians, Nigidius Figulus, magicians, and Priscilianists, whom St. Austin so eagerly confutes, those Arabian questionaries, Novem Judices, Albumazer, Dorotheus, &c., and our countryman 6652Estuidus, that take upon them to define out of those great conjunction of stars, with Ptolomeus, the periods of kingdoms, or religions, of all future accidents, wars, plagues, schisms, heresies, and what not? all from stars, and such things, saith Maginus, Quae sibi et intelligentiis suis reservavit Deus, which God hath reserved to himself and his angels, they will take upon them to foretell, as if stars were immediate, inevitable causes of all future accidents. Caesar Vaninus, in his book de admirandis naturae Arcanis, dial. 52. de oraculis, is more free, copious, and open, in this explication of this astrological tenet of Ptolemy, than any of our modern writers, Cardan excepted, a true disciple of his master Pomponatius; according to the doctrine of Peripatetics, he refers all apparitions, prodigies, miracles, oracles, accidents, alterations of religions, kingdoms, &c. (for which he is soundly lashed by Marinus Mercennus, as well he deserves), to natural causes (for spirits he will not acknowledge), to that light, motion, influences of heavens and stars, and to the intelligences that move the orbs. Intelligentia quae, movet orbem mediante coelo, &c. Intelligences do all: and after a long discourse of miracles done of old, si haec daemones possint, cur non et intelligentiae, coelorum motrices? And as these great conjunctions, aspects of planets, begin or end, vary, are vertical and predominant, so have religions, rites, ceremonies, and kingdoms their beginning, progress, periods, in urbibus, regibus, religionibus, ac in particularibus hominibus, haec vera ac manifesta, sunt, ut Aristoteles innuere videtur, et quotidiana docet experientia, ut historias perlegens videbit; quid olim in Gentili lege Jove sanctius et illustrius? quid nunc vile magis et execrandum? Ita coelestia corpora pro mortalium beneficio religiones aedificant, et cum cessat influxus, cessat lex,6653 &c. And because, according to their tenets, the world is eternal, intelligences eternal, influences of stars eternal, kingdoms, religions, alterations shall be likewise eternal, and run round after many ages; Atque iterum ad Troiam magnus mittetur Achilles; renascentur religiones, et ceremoniae, res humanae in idem recident, nihil nunc quod non olim fuit, et post saeculorum revolutiones alias est, erit,6654&c. idem specie, saith Vaninus, non individuo quod Plato significavit. These (saith mine 6655author), these are the decrees of Peripatetics, which though I recite, in obsequium Christianae fidei detestor, as I am a Christian I detest and hate. Thus Peripatetics and astrologians held in former times, and to this effect of old in Rome, saith Dionysius Halicarnassus, lib. 7, when those meteors and prodigies appeared in the air, after the banishment of Coriolanus, 6656 “Men were diversely affected: some said they were God's just judgments for the execution of that good man, some referred all to natural causes, some to stars, some thought they came by chance, some by necessity” decreed ab initio, and could not be altered. The two last opinions of necessity and chance were, it seems, of greater note than the rest.
6657Sunt qui in Fortunae jam casibus omnia ponunt,
Et mundum credunt nullo rectore moveri,
Natura, volvente vices, &c.
For the first of chance, as 6658Sallust likewise informeth us, those old Romans generally received; “They supposed fortune alone gave kingdoms and empires, wealth, honours, offices: and that for two causes; first, because every wicked base unworthy wretch was preferred, rich, potent, &c.; secondly, because of their uncertainty, though never so good, scarce any one enjoyed them long: but after, they began upon better advice to think otherwise, that every man made his own fortune.” The last of Necessity was Seneca's tenet, that God was alligatus causis secundis, so tied to second causes, to that inexorable Necessity, that he could alter nothing of that which was once decreed; sic erat in fatis, it cannot be altered, semel jussit, semper paret Deus, nulla vis rumpit, nullae preces, nec ipsum fulmen, God hath once said it, and it must for ever stand good, no prayers, no threats, nor power, nor thunder itself can alter it. Zeno, Chrysippus, and those other Stoics, as you may read in Tully 2. de divinatione, Gellius, lib. 6. cap. 2. &c., maintained as much. In all ages, there have been such, that either deny God in all, or in part; some deride him, they could have made a better world, and ruled it more orderly themselves, blaspheme him, derogate at their pleasure from him. 'Twas so in 6659Plato's time, “Some say there be no gods, others that they care not for men, a middle sort grant both.” Si non sit Deus, unde mala? si sit Deus, unde mala? So Cotta argues in Tully, why made he not all good, or at least tenders not the welfare of such as are good? As the woman told Alexander, if he be not at leisure to hear causes, and redress them, why doth he reign? 6660Sextus Empericus hath many such arguments. Thus perverse men cavil. So it will ever be, some of all sorts, good, bad, indifferent, true, false, zealous, ambidexters, neutralists, lukewarm, libertines, atheists, &c. They will see these religious sectaries agree amongst themselves, be reconciled all, before they will participate with, or believe any: they think in the meantime (which 6661Celsus objects, and whom Origen confutes), “We Christians adore a person put to 6662death with no more reason than the barbarous Getes worshipped Zamolxis, the Cilicians Mopsus, the Thebans Amphiaraus, and the Lebadians Trophonius; one religion is as true as another, new fangled devices, all for human respects;” great-witted Aristotle's works are as much authentical to them as Scriptures, subtle Seneca's Epistles as canonical as St. Paul's, Pindarus' Odes as good as the Prophet David's Psalms, Epictetus' Enchiridion equivalent to wise Solomon's Proverbs. They do openly and boldly speak this and more, some of them, in all places and companies. 6663“Claudius the emperor was angry with Heaven, because it thundered, and challenged Jupiter into the field; with what madness! saith Seneca; he thought Jupiter could not hurt him, but he could hurt Jupiter.” Diagoras, Demonax, Epicurus, Pliny, Lucian, Lucretius — Contemptorque Deum Mezentius, “professed atheists all” in their times: though not simple atheists neither, as Cicogna proves, lib. 1. cap. 1. they scoffed only at those Pagan gods, their plurality, base and fictitious offices. Gilbertus Cognatus labours much, and so doth Erasmus, to vindicate Lucian from scandal, and there be those that apologise for Epicurus, but all in vain; Lucian scoffs at all, Epicurus he denies all, and Lucretius his scholar defends him in it:
6664Humana ante oculua foede cum vita jaceret
In terris oppressa gravi cum religione,
Quae caput a coeli regionibus ostendebat,
Horribili super aspectu mortalibus instans, &c.
When human kind was drench'd in superstition,
With ghastly looks aloft, which frighted mortal men, &c.
He alone, like another Hercules, did vindicate the world from that monster. Uncle 6665Pliny, lib. 2. cap. 7. nat. hist. and lib. 7. cap. 55, in express words denies the immortality of the soul. 6666Seneca doth little less, lib. 7. epist. 55. ad Lucilium, et lib. de consol. ad Martiam, or rather more. Some Greek Commentators would put as much upon Job, that he should deny resurrection, &c., whom Pineda copiously confutes in cap. 7. Job, vers. 9. Aristotle is hardly censured of some, both divines and philosophers. St. Justin in Peraenetica ad Gentes, Greg. Nazianzen. in disput. adversus Eun., Theodoret, lib. 5. de curat. graec. affec., Origen. lib. de principiis. Pomponatius justifies in his Tract (so styled at least) De immortalitate Animae, Scaliger (who would forswear himself at any time, saith Patritius, in defence of his great master Aristotle), and Dandinus, lib. 3. de anima, acknowledge as much. Averroes oppugns all spirits and supreme powers; of late Brunus (infelix Brunus, 6667Kepler calls him), Machiavel, Caesar Vaninus lately burned at Toulouse in France, and Pet. Aretine, have publicly maintained such atheistical paradoxes, 6668with that Italian Boccaccio with his fable of three rings, &c., ex quo infert haud posse internosci, quae sit verior religio, Judaica, Mahometana, an Christiana, quoniam eadem signa, &c., “from which he infers, that it cannot be distinguished which is the true religion, Judaism, Mahommedanism, or Christianity,” &c. 6669Marinus Mercennus suspects Cardan for his subtleties, Campanella, and Charron's Book of Wisdom, with some other Tracts, to savour of 6670atheism: but amongst the rest that pestilent book de tribus mundi impostoribus, quem sine horrore (inquit) non legas, et mundi Cymbalum dialogis quatuor contentum, anno 1538, auctore Peresio, Parisiis excusum, 6671&c. And as there have been in all ages such blasphemous spirits, so there have not been wanting their patrons, protectors, disciples and adherents. Never so many atheists in Italy and Germany, saith 6672Colerus, as in this age: the like complaint Mercennus makes in France, 50,000 in that one city of Paris. Frederic the Emperor, as 6673Matthew Paris records licet non sit recitabile (I use his own words) is reported to have said, Tres praestigiatores, Moses, Christus, et Mahomet, uti mundo dominarentur, totum populum sibi contemporaneum se duxisse. (Henry, the Landgrave of Hesse, heard him speak it,) Si principes imperii institutioni meae adhaererent, ego multo meliorem modum credendi et vivendi ordinarem.
To these professed atheists, we may well add that impious and carnal crew of worldly-minded men, impenitent sinners, that go to hell in a lethargy, or in a dream; who though they be professed Christians, yet they will nulla pallescere culpa, make a conscience of nothing they do, they have cauterised consciences, and are indeed in a reprobate sense, “past all feeling, have given themselves over to wantonness, to work all manner of uncleanness even with greediness,” Ephes. iv. 19. They do know there is a God, a day of judgment to come, and yet for all that, as Hugo saith, ita comedunt ac dormiunt, ac si diem judicii evasissent; ita ludunt ac rident, ac si in coelis cum Deo regnarent: they are as merry for all the sorrow, as if they had escaped all dangers, and were in heaven already:
6674 ——— Metus omnes, et inexorabile fatum
Subjecit pedibus, strepitumque Acherontis avari.
Those rude idiots and ignorant persons, that neglect and contemn the means of their salvation, may march on with these; but above all others, those Herodian temporizing statesmen, political Machiavellians and hypocrites, that make a show of religion, but in their hearts laugh at it. Simulata sanctitas duplex iniquitas; they are in a double fault, “that fashion themselves to this world,” which 6675Paul forbids, and like Mercury, the planet, are good with good, bad with bad. When they are at Rome, they do there as they see done, puritans with puritans, papists with papists; omnium horarum homines, formalists, ambidexters, lukewarm Laodiceans. 6676All their study is to please, and their god is their commodity, their labour to satisfy their lusts, and their endeavours to their own ends. Whatsoever they pretend, or in public seem to do, 6677“With the fool in their hearts, they say there is no God.” Heus tu — de Jove quid sentis? “Hulloa! what is your opinion about a Jupiter?” Their words are as soft as oil, but bitterness is in their hearts; like 6678Alexander VI. so cunning dissemblers, that what they think they never speak. Many of them are so close, you can hardly discern it, or take any just exceptions at them; they are not factious, oppressors as most are, no bribers, no simoniacal contractors, no such ambitious, lascivious persons as some others are, no drunkards, sobrii solem vident orientem, sobrii vident occidentem, they rise sober, and go sober to bed, plain dealing, upright, honest men, they do wrong to no man, and are so reputed in the world's esteem at least, very zealous in religion, very charitable, meek, humble, peace-makers, keep all duties, very devout, honest, well spoken of, beloved of all men: but he that knows better how to judge, he that examines the heart, saith they are hypocrites, Cor dolo plenum; sonant vitium percussa maligne, they are not sound within. As it is with writers 6679oftentimes, Plus sanctimoniae, in libello, quam libelli auctore, more holiness is in the book than in the author of it: so 'tis with them: many come to church with great Bibles, whom Cardan said he could not choose but laugh at, and will now and then dare operam Augustino, read Austin, frequent sermons, and yet professed usurers, mere gripes, tota vitae ratio epicurea est; all their life is epicurism and atheism, come to church all day, and lie with a courtesan at night. Qui curios simulant et Bacchanalia vivunt, they have Esau's hands, and Jacob's voice: yea, and many of those holy friars, sanctified men, Cappam, saith Hierom, et cilicium induunt, sed intus latronem tegunt. They are wolves in sheep's clothing, Introrsum turpes, speciosi pelle decora, “Fair without, and most foul within.” 6680Latet plerumque sub tristi amictu lascivia, et deformis horror vili veste tegitur; ofttimes under a mourning weed lies lust itself, and horrible vices under a poor coat. But who can examine all those kinds of hypocrites, or dive into their hearts? ]f we may guess at the tree by the fruit, never so many as in these days; show me a plain-dealing true honest man: Et pudor, et probitas, et timor omnis abest. He that shall but look into their lives, and see such enormous vices, men so immoderate in lust, unspeakable in malice, furious in their rage, flattering and dissembling (all for their own ends) will surely think they are not truly religious, but of an obdurate heart, most part in a reprobate sense, as in this age. But let them carry it as they will for the present, dissemble as they can, a time will come when they shall be called to an account, their melancholy is at hand, they pull a plague and curse upon their own heads, thesaurisant iram Dei. Besides all such as are in deos contumeliosi, blaspheme, contemn, neglect God, or scoff at him, as the poets feign of Salmoneus, that would in derision imitate Jupiter's thunder, he was precipitated for his pains, Jupiter intonuit contra, &c. so shall they certainly rue it in the end, (6681in se spuit, qui in coelum spuit), their doom's at hand, and hell is ready to receive them.
Some are of opinion, that it is in vain to dispute with such atheistical spirits in the meantime, 'tis not the best way to reclaim them. Atheism, idolatry, heresy, hypocrisy, though they have one common root, that is indulgence to corrupt affection, yet their growth is different, they have divers symptoms, occasions, and must have several cures and remedies. 'Tis true some deny there is any God, some confess, yet believe it not; a third sort confess and believe, but will not live after his laws, worship and obey him: others allow God and gods subordinate, but not one God, no such general God, non talem deum, but several topic gods for several places, and those not to persecute one another for any difference, as Socinus will, but rather love and cherish.
To describe them in particular, to produce their arguments and reasons, would require a just volume, I refer them therefore that expect a more ample satisfaction, to those subtle and elaborate treatises, devout and famous tracts of our learned divines (schoolmen amongst the rest, and casuists) that have abundance of reasons to prove there is a God, the immortality of the soul, &c., out of the strength of wit and philosophy bring irrefragable arguments to such as are ingenuous and well disposed; at the least, answer all cavils and objections to confute their folly and madness, and to reduce them, si fieri posset, ad sanam mentem, to a better mind, though to small purpose many times. Amongst others consult with Julius Caesar Lagalla, professor of philosophy in Rome, who hath written a large volume of late to confute atheists: of the immortality of the soul, Hierom. Montanus de immortalitate Animae: Lelius Vincentius of the same subject: Thomas Giaminus, and Franciscus Collius de Paganorum animabus post mortem, a famous doctor of the Ambrosian College in Milan. Bishop Fotherby in his Atheomastix, Doctor Dove, Doctor Jackson, Abernethy, Corderoy, have written well of this subject in our mother tongue: in Latin, Colerus, Zanchius, Palearius, Illyricus, 6682Philippus, Faber Faventinus, &c. But instar omnium, the most copious confuter of atheists is Marinus Mercennus in his Commentaries on Genesis: 6683with Campanella's Atheismus Triumphatus. He sets down at large the causes of this brutish passion, (seventeen in number I take it) answers all their arguments and sophisms, which he reduceth to twenty-six heads, proving withal his own assertion; “There is a God, such a God, the true and sole God,” by thirty-five reasons. His Colophon is how to resist and repress atheism, and to that purpose he adds four especial means or ways, which who so will may profitably peruse.
6617. De anima, c. de humoribus.
6618. Juvenal. “That there are many ghosts and subterranean realms, and a boat-pole, and black frogs in the Stygian gulf, and that so many thousands pass over in one boat, not even boys believe, unless those not as yet washed for money.”
6619. Lib. 5. Gal. hist, quamplurimi reperti sunt qui tot pericula subeuntes irridebant; et quae de fide, religione, &c. dicebant, ludibrio habebant, nihil eorum admittentes de futura vita.
6620. 50,000 atheists at this day in Paris, Mercennus thinks.
6621. “Eat, drink, be merry; there is no more pleasure after death.”
6622. Hor. l. 2. od. 13. “One day succeeds another, and new moons hasten to their wane.”
6623. Luke xvii.
6624. Wisd. ii. 2.
6625. Vers. 6, 7, 8.
6627. Prov. vii. 8.
6628. “Time glides away, and we grow old by years insensibly accumulating.”
6629. Lib. 1.
6630. M. Montan. lib. 1. cap. 4.
6631. Orat. Cont. Hispan. ne proximo decennio deum adorarent, &c.
6632. Talem se exhibuit, ut nec in Christum, nec Mahometan crederet, unde effectum ut promissa nisi quatenus in suum commodum cederent minime servaret, nec ullo scelere peccatum statueret, ut suis desideriis satisfaceret.
6633. Lib. de mor. Germ.
6634. Or Breslau.
6635. Usque adeo insanus, ut nec inferos, nec superos esse dicat, animasque cum corporibus interire credat, &c.
6636. Europae deser. cap. 24.
6637. Fratres a Bry Amer. par. 6. librum a Vincentio monacho datum abjecit, nihil se videre ibi hujusmodi dicens rogansque unde haec sciret, quum de coelo et Tartaro contineri ibi diceret.
6638. Non minus hi furunt quam Hercules, qui conjugem et liberos interfecit; habet haec aetas plura hujusmodi portentosa monstra.
6639. De orbis con. lib. 1. cap. 7.
6640. Nonne Romani sine Deo vestro regnant et fruuntur orbe toto, et vos et Deos vestros captivos tenent, &c. Minutius Octaviano.
6641. Comment. in Genesin copiosus in hoc subjecto.
6642. Ecce pars vestrum et major et melior alget, fame laborat, et deus patitur, dissimulat, non vult, non potest opitulari suis, et vel invalidus vel iniquus est. Cecilius in Minut. Dum rapiunt mala fata bonos, ignoscite fasso, Sollicitor nullos esse putare deos. Ovid. Vidi ego diis fretos, multos decipi. Plautus Casina act. 2. scen. 5.
6643. Martial. l. 4. epig. 21.
6644. Ser. 30. in 5. cap. ad Ephes. hic fractii est pedibus, alter furit, alius ad extremam senectam progressus omnem vitam paupertate peragit, ille morbis gravissimis: sunt haec Providentiae opera? hic surdus, ille mutus, &c.
6645. “Oh! Jupiter, do you hear those things? Collecting many such facts, they weave a tissue of reproaches against God's providence.”
6646. Omnia contingenter fieri volunt. Melancthon in praeceptum primum.
6647. Dial. 1. lib. 4. de admir. nat. Arcanis.
6648. Anima mea sit cum animis philosophorum.
6649. Deum unum multis designant nominibus, &c.
6650. Non intelligis te quum haec dicis, negare te ipsum nomen Dei: quid enim est aliud Natura quam Deus? &c. tot habet appellationes quot munera.
6652. Principio phaemer.
6653. “In cities, kings, religions, and in individual men, these things are true and obvious, as Aristotle appears to imply, and daily experience teaches to the reader of history: for what was more sacred and illustrious, by Gentile law, than Jupiter? what now more vile and execrable? In this way celestial objects suggest religions for worldly motives, and when the influx ceases, so does the law,” &c.
6654. “And again a great Achilles shall be sent against Troy: religions and their ceremonies shall be born again; however affairs relapse into the same track, there is nothing now that was not formerly and Will not be again,” &c.
6655. Vaninus dial. 52. de oraculis.
6656. Varie homines affecti, alii dei judicium ad tam pii exilium, alii ad naturam referebant, nec ab indignatione dei, sed humanis causis, &c. 12. Natural, quaest. 33. 39.
6657. Juv. Sat. 13. “There are those who ascribe everything to chance, and believe that the world is made without a director, nature influencing the vicissitudes,” &c.
6658. Epist. ad C. Caesar. Romani olim putabant fortunam regna et imperia dare: Credebant antea mortales fortunam solam opes et honores largiri, idque duabus de causis; primum quod indignus quisque dives honoratus, potens; alterum, vix quisquam perpetuo bonis iis frui visus. Postea prudentiores didicere fortunam suam quemque fingere.
6659. 10 de legib. Alii negant esse deos, alii deos non curare res humanas, alii utraque concedunt.
6660. Lib. 8. ad mathern.
6661. Origen. contra Celsum. l. 3. hos immerito nobiscum conferri fuse declarat.
6662. Crucifixum deum ignominiose Lucianus vita peregrin. Christum vocat.
6663. De ira, 16. 34. Iratus coelo quod obstreperet, ad pugnam vocans Jovem, quanta dementia? putavit sibi nocere non posse, et se nocere tamen Jovi posse.
6664. Lib. 1. 1.
6665. Idem status post mortem, ac fuit antequam nasceremur, et Seneca. Idem erit post me quod ante me fuit.
6666. Lucernae eadem conditio quum extinguitur, ac fuit antequam accenderetur; ita et hominis.
6667. Dissert, cum nunc sider.
6668. Campanella, cap. 18. Atheism, triumphat.
6669. Comment. in Gen. cap. 7.
6670. So that a man may meet an atheist as soon in his study as in the street.
6671. Simonis religio incerto auctore Cracoviae edit. 1588, conclusio libri est, Ede itaque, bibe, lude, &c. jam Deus figmentum est.
6672. Lib. de immortal. animae.
6673. Pag. 645. an. 1238. ad finem Henrici tertii. Idem Pisterius, pag. 743. in compilat. sua.
6674. Virg. “They place fear, fate, and the sound of craving Acheron under their feet.”
6675. Rom. xii. 2.
6676. Omnis Aristippum decuit color, et status, et res.
6677. Psal. xiii. 1.
6681. Senec. consol. ad Polyb. ca. 21.
6682. Disput. 4. Philosophiae adver. Atheos. Venetiis 1627, quarto.
6683. Edit. Romae, fol. 1631.
Despair. Despairs, Equivocations, Definitions, Parties and Parts affected.
There be many kinds of desperation, whereof some be holy, some unholy, as 6684one distinguisheth; that unholy he defines out of Tully to be Aegritudinem animi sine ulla rerum expectatione meliore, a sickness of the soul without any hope or expectation of amendment; which commonly succeeds fear; for whilst evil is expected, we fear: but when it is certain, we despair. According to Thomas 2. 2ae. distinct. 40. art. 4. it is Recessus a re desiderata, propter impossibilitatem existimatam, a restraint from the thing desired, for some impossibility supposed. Because they cannot obtain what they would, they become desperate, and many times either yield to the passion by death itself, or else attempt impossibilities, not to be performed by men. In some cases, this desperate humour is not much to be discommended, as in wars it is a cause many times of extraordinary valour; as Joseph, lib. 1. de bello Jud. cap. 14. L. Danaeus in Aphoris. polit. pag. 226. and many politicians hold. It makes them improve their worth beyond itself, and of a forlorn impotent company become conquerors in a moment. Una salus victis nullam sperare salutem, “the only hope for the conquered is despair.” In such courses when they see no remedy, but that they must either kill or be killed, they take courage, and oftentimes, praeter spem, beyond all hope vindicate themselves. Fifteen thousand Locrenses fought against a hundred thousand Crotonienses, and seeing now no way but one, they must all die, 6685thought they would not depart unrevenged, and thereupon desperately giving an assault, conquered their enemies. Nec alia causa victoriae, (saith Justin mine author) quam quod desperaverant. William the Conqueror, when he first landed in England, sent back his ships, that his soldiers might have no hope of retiring back. 6686Bodine excuseth his countrymen's overthrow at that famous battle at Agincourt, in Henry the Fifth his time, (cui simile, saith Froissard, tota historia producere non possit, which no history can parallel almost, wherein one handful of Englishmen overthrew a royal army of Frenchmen) with this refuge of despair, pauci desperati, a few desperate fellows being compassed in by their enemies, past all hope of life, fought like so many devils; and gives a caution, that no soldiers hereafter set upon desperate persons, which 6687after Frontinus and Vigetius, Guicciardini likewise admonisheth, Hypomnes. part. 2. pag. 25. not to stop an enemy that is going his way. Many such kinds there are of desperation, when men are past hope of obtaining any suit, or in despair of better fortune; Desperatio facit monachum, as the saying is, and desperation causeth death itself; how many thousands in such distress have made away themselves, and many others? For he that cares not for his own, is master of another man's life. A Tuscan soothsayer, as 6688Paterculus tells the story, perceiving himself and Fulvius Flaccus his dear friend, now both carried to prison by Opimius, and in despair of pardon, seeing the young man weep, quin tu potius hoc inquit facis, do as I do; and with that knocked out his brains against the door-cheek, as he was entering into prison, protinusque illiso capite in capite in carceris januam effuso cerebro expiravit, and so desperate died. But these are equivocal, improper. “When I speak of despair,” saith 6689Zanchie, “I speak not of every kind, but of that alone which concerns God. It is opposite to hope, and a most pernicious sin, wherewith the devil seeks to entrap men.” Musculus makes four kinds of desperation, of God, ourselves, our neighbour, or anything to be done; but this division of his may be reduced easily to the former: all kinds are opposite to hope, that sweet moderator of passions, as Simonides calls it; I do not mean that vain hope which fantastical fellows feign to themselves, which according to Aristotle is insomnium vigilantium, a waking dream; but this divine hope which proceeds from confidence, and is an anchor to a floating soul; spes alit agricolas, even in our temporal affairs, hope revives us, but in spiritual it farther animateth; and were it not for hope, “we of all others were the most miserable,” as Paul saith, in this life; were it not for hope, the heart would break; “for though they be punished in the sight of men,” (Wisdom iii. 4.) yet is “their hope full of immortality:” yet doth it not so rear, as despair doth deject; this violent and sour passion of despair, is of all perturbations most grievous, as 6690Patritius holds. Some divide it into final and temporal; 6691final is incurable, which befalleth reprobates; temporal is a rejection of hope and comfort for a time, which may befall the best of God's children, and it commonly proceeds 6692“from weakness of faith,” as in David when he was oppressed he cried out, “O Lord, thou hast forsaken me,” but this for a time. This ebbs and flows with hope and fear; it is a grievous sin howsoever: although some kind of despair be not amiss, when, saith Zanchius, we despair of our own means, and rely wholly upon God: but that species is not here meant. This pernicious kind of desperation is the subject of our discourse, homicida animae, the murderer of the soul, as Austin terms it, a fearful passion, wherein the party oppressed thinks he can get no ease but by death, and is fully resolved to offer violence unto himself; so sensible of his burthen, and impatient of his cross, that he hopes by death alone to be freed of his calamity (though it prove otherwise), and chooseth with Job vi. 8. 9. xvii. 5. “Rather to be strangled and die, than to be in his bonds.” 6693The part affected is the whole soul, and all the faculties of it; there is a privation of joy, hope, trust, confidence, of present and future good, and in their place succeed fear, sorrow, &c. as in the symptoms shall be shown. The heart is grieved, the conscience wounded, the mind eclipsed with black fumes arising from those perpetual terrors.
6684. Abernethy, c. 24. of his Physic of the Soul.
6685. Omissa spe victoriae in destinatam mortem conspirant, tantusque ardor singulos cepit, ut victores se putarent si non inulti morerentur. Justin. l. 20.
6686. Method. hist. cap. 5.
6687. Hosti abire volenti iter minime interscindas, &c.
6688. Poster volum.
6689. Super praeceptum primum de Relig. et partibus ejus. Non loquor de omni desperatione, sed tantum de ea qua desperare solent homines de Deo; opponitur spei, et est peccatum gravissimum, &c.
6690. Lib. 5. lit. 21. de regis institut. Omnium pertubationum deterrima.
6691. Reprobi usque ad finem pertinaciter persistunt. Zanchius.
6692. Vitium ab infidelitate proficiscens.
Causes of Despair, the Devil, Melancholy, Meditation, Distrust, Weakness of Faith, Rigid Ministers, Misunderstanding Scriptures, Guilty Consciences, &c.
The principal agent and procurer of this mischief is the devil; those whom God forsakes, the devil by his permission lays hold on. Sometimes he persecutes them with that worm of conscience, as he did Judas, 6694Saul, and others. The poets call it Nemesis, but it is indeed God's just judgment, sero sed serio, he strikes home at last, and setteth upon them “as a thief in the night,” 1 Thes. ii. 6695This temporary passion made David cry out, “Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thine heavy displeasure; for thine arrows have light upon me, &c. there is nothing sound in my flesh, because of thine anger.” Again, I roar for the very grief of my heart: and Psalm xxii. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me, and art so far from my health, and the words of my crying? I am like to water poured out, my bones are out of joint, mine heart is like wax, that is molten in the midst of my bowels.” So Psalm lxxxviii. 15 and 16 vers. and Psalm cii. “I am in misery at the point of death, from my youth I suffer thy terrors, doubting for my life; thine indignations have gone over me, and thy fear hath cut me off.” Job doth often complain in this kind; and those God doth not assist, the devil is ready to try and torment, “still seeking whom he may devour.” If he find them merry, saith Gregory, “he tempts them forthwith to some dissolute act; if pensive and sad, to a desperate end.” Aut suadendo blanditur, aut minando terret, sometimes by fair means, sometimes again by foul, as he perceives men severally inclined. His ordinary engine by which he produceth this effect, is the melancholy humour itself, which is balneum diaboli, the devil's bath; and as in Saul, those evil spirits get in 6696as it were, and take possession of us. Black choler is a shoeing-horn, a bait to allure them, insomuch that many writers make melancholy an ordinary cause, and a symptom of despair, for that such men are most apt, by reason of their ill-disposed temper, to distrust, fear, grief, mistake, and amplify whatsoever they preposterously conceive, or falsely apprehend. Conscientia scrupulosa nascitur ex vitio naturali, complexione melancholica (saith Navarrus cap. 27. num. 282. tom. 2. cas. conscien.) The body works upon the mind, by obfuscating the spirits and corrupted instruments, which 6697Perkins illustrates by simile of an artificer, that hath a bad tool, his skill is good, ability correspondent, by reason of ill tools his work must needs be lame and imperfect. But melancholy and despair, though often, do not always concur; there is much difference: melancholy fears without a cause, this upon great occasion; melancholy is caused by fear and grief, but this torment procures them and all extremity of bitterness; much melancholy is without affliction of conscience, as 6698Bright and Perkins illustrate by four reasons; and yet melancholy alone may be sometimes a sufficient cause of this terror of conscience. 6699Felix Plater so found it in his observations, e melancholicis alii damnatos se putant, Deo curae, non sunt, nec praedestinati, &c. “They think they are not predestinate, God hath forsaken them;” and yet otherwise very zealous and religious; and 'tis common to be seen, “melancholy for fear of God's judgment and hell-fire, drives men to desperation; fear and sorrow, if they be immoderate, end often with it.” Intolerable pain and anguish, long sickness, captivity, misery, loss of goods, loss of friends, and those lesser griefs, do sometimes effect it, or such dismal accidents. Si non statim relevantur, 6700Mercennus, dubitant an sit Deus, if they be not eased forthwith, they doubt whether there be any God, they rave, curse, “and are desperately mad because good men are oppressed, wicked men flourish, they have not as they think to their desert,” and through impatience of calamities are so misaffected. Democritus put out his eyes, ne malorum civium prosperos videret successus, because he could not abide to see wicked men prosper, and was therefore ready to make away himself, as 6701Agellius writes of him. Felix Plater hath a memorable example in this kind, of a painter's wife in Basil, that was melancholy for her son's death, and for melancholy became desperate; she thought God would not pardon her sins, 6702“and for four months still raved, that she was in hell-fire, already damned.” When the humour is stirred up, every small object aggravates and incenseth it, as the parties are addicted. 6703The same author hath an example of a merchant man, that for the loss of a little wheat, which he had over long kept, was troubled in conscience, for that he had not sold it sooner, or given it to the poor, yet a good scholar and a great divine; no persuasion would serve to the contrary, but that for this fact he was damned: in other matters Very judicious and discreet. Solitariness, much fasting, divine meditation, and contemplations of God's judgments, most part accompany this melancholy, and are main causes, as 6704Navarrus holds; to converse with such kinds of persons so troubled, is sufficient occasion of trouble to some men. Nonnulli ob longas inedias, studia et meditationes coelestes, de rebus sacris et religione semper agitant, &c. Many, (saith P. Forestus) through long fasting, serious meditations of heavenly things, fall into such fits; and as Lemnius adds, lib. 4. cap. 21, 6705“If they be solitary given, superstitious, precise, or very devout: seldom shall you find a merchant, a soldier, an innkeeper, a bawd, a host, a usurer, so troubled in mind, they have cheverel consciences that will stretch, they are seldom moved in this kind or molested: young men and middle age are more wild and less apprehensive; but old folks, most part, such as are timorous and religiously given.” Pet. Forestus observat. lib. 10. cap. 12. de morbis cerebri, hath a fearful example of a minister, that through precise fasting in Lent, and overmuch meditation, contracted this mischief, and in the end became desperate, thought he saw devils in his chamber, and that he could not be saved; he smelled nothing, as he said, but fire and brimstone, was already in hell, and would ask them, still, if they did not 6706smell as much. I told him he was melancholy, but he laughed me to scorn, and replied that he saw devils, talked with them in good earnest, Would spit in my face, and ask me if 1 did not smell brimstone, but at last he was by him cured. Such another story I find in Plater observat. lib. 1. A poor fellow had done some foul offence, and for fourteen days would eat no meat, in the end became desperate, the divines about him could not ease him, 6707but so he died. Continual meditation of God's judgments troubles many, Multi ob timorem futuri judicii, saith Guatinerius cap. 5. tract. 15. et suspicionem desperabundi sunt. David himself complains that God's judgments terrified his soul, Psalm cxix. part. 16. vers. 8. “My flesh trembleth for fear of thee, and I am afraid of thy judgments.” Quoties diem illum cogito (saith 6708Hierome) toto corpore contremisco, I tremble as often as I think of it. The terrible meditation of hell-fire and eternal punishment much torments a sinful silly soul. What's a thousand years to eternity? Ubi moeror, ubi fletus, ubi dolor sempiternus. Mors sine morte, finis sine fine; a finger burnt by chance we may not endure, the pain is so grievous, we may not abide an hour, a night is intolerable; and what shall this unspeakable fire then be that burns for ever, innumerable infinite millions of years, in omne aevum in aeternum. O eternity!
6709Aeternitas est illa vox,
Vox illa fulminatrix,
Aeternitas est illa vox,
— meta carens et orta, &c.
Tormenta nulla territant,
Quae finiuntur annis;
Versat coquilque pectus.
Auget haec poenas indies,
Centuplicatque flammas, &c.
This meditation terrifies these poor distressed souls, especially if their bodies be predisposed by melancholy, they religiously given, and have tender consciences, every small object affrights them, the very inconsiderate reading of Scripture itself, and misinterpretation of some places of it; as, “Many are called, few are chosen. Not every one that saith Lord. Fear not little flock. He that stands, let him take heed lest he fall. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, That night two shall be in a bed, one received, the other left. Strait is the way that leads to heaven, and few there are that enter therein.” The parable of the seed and of the sower, “some fell on barren ground, some was choked. Whom he hath predestinated he hath chosen. He will have mercy on whom he will have mercy.” Non est volentis nec currentis, sed miserentis Dei. These and the like places terrify the souls of many; election, predestination, reprobation, preposterously conceived, offend divers, with a deal of foolish presumption, curiosity, needless speculation, contemplation, solicitude, wherein they trouble and puzzle themselves about those questions of grace, free will, perseverance, God's secrets; they will know more than is revealed of God in his word, human capacity, or ignorance can apprehend, and too importunate inquiry after that which is revealed; mysteries, ceremonies, observation of Sabbaths, laws, duties, &c., with many such which the casuists discuss, and schoolmen broach, which divers mistake, misconstrue, misapply to themselves, to their own undoing, and so fall into this gulf. “They doubt of their election, how they shall know, it, by what signs. And so far forth,” saith Luther, “with such nice points, torture and crucify themselves, that they are almost mad, and all they get by it is this, they lay open a gap to the devil by desperation to carry them to hell;” but the greatest harm of all proceeds from those thundering ministers, a most frequent cause they are of this malady: 6710“and do more harm in the church” (saith Erasmus) “than they that flatter; great danger on both sides, the one lulls them asleep in carnal security, the other drives them to despair.” Whereas, 6711St. Bernard well adviseth, “We should not meddle with the one without the other, nor speak of judgment without mercy; the one alone brings desperation, the other security.” But these men are wholly for judgment; of a rigid disposition themselves, there is no mercy with them, no salvation, no balsam for their diseased souls, they can speak of nothing but reprobation, hell-fire, and damnation; as they did Luke xi. 46. lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, which they themselves touch not with a finger. 'Tis familiar with our papists to terrify men's souls with purgatory, tales, visions, apparitions, to daunt even the most generous spirits, “to 6712require charity,” as Brentius observes, “of others, bounty, meekness, love, patience, when they themselves breathe nought but lust, envy, covetousness.” They teach others to fast, give alms, do penance, and crucify their mind with superstitious observations, bread and water, hair clothes, whips, and the like, when they themselves have all the dainties the world can afford, lie on a down-bed with a courtesan in their arms: Heu quantum patimur pro Christo, as 6713he said, what a cruel tyranny is this, so to insult over and terrify men's souls! Our indiscreet pastors many of them come not far behind, whilst in their ordinary sermons they speak so much of election, predestination, reprobation, ab aeterno, subtraction of grace, preterition, voluntary permission, &c., by what signs and tokens they shall discern and try themselves, whether they be God's true children elect, an sint reprobi, praedestinati, &c., with such scrupulous points, they still aggravate sin, thunder out God's judgments without respect, intempestively rail at and pronounce them damned in all auditories, for giving so much to sports and honest recreations, making every small fault and thing indifferent an irremissible offence, they so rent, tear and wound men's consciences, that they are almost mad, and at their wits' end.
“These bitter potions” (saith 6714Erasmus) “are still in their mouths, nothing but gall and horror, and a mad noise, they make all their auditors desperate:” many are wounded by this means, and they commonly that are most devout and precise, have been formerly presumptuous, and certain of their salvation; they that have tender consciences, that follow sermons, frequent lectures, that have indeed least cause, they are most apt to mistake, and fall into these miseries. I have heard some complain of Parson's Resolution, and other books of like nature (good otherwise), they are too tragical, too much dejecting men, aggravating offences: great care and choice, much discretion is required in this kind.
The last and greatest cause of this malady, is our own conscience, sense of our sins, and God's anger justly deserved, a guilty conscience for some foul offence formerly committed — 6715O miser Oreste, quid morbi te perdit? Or: Conscientia, Sum enim mihi conscius de malis perpetratis.6716 “A good conscience is a continual feast,” but a galled conscience is as great a torment as can possibly happen, a still baking oven, (so Pierius in his Hieroglyph, compares it) another hell. Our conscience, which is a great ledger book, wherein are written all our offences, a register to lay them up, (which those 6717Egyptians in their hieroglyphics expressed by a mill, as well for the continuance, as for the torture of it) grinds our souls with the remembrance of some precedent sins, makes us reflect upon, accuse and condemn our own selves. 6718“Sin lies at door,” &c. I know there be many other causes assigned by Zanchius, 6719Musculus, and the rest; as incredulity, infidelity, presumption, ignorance, blindness, ingratitude, discontent, those five grand miseries in Aristotle, ignominy, need, sickness, enmity, death, &c.; but this of conscience is the greatest, 6720Instar ulceris corpus jugiter percellens: The scrupulous conscience (as 6721Peter Forestus calls it) which tortures so many, that either out of a deep apprehension of their unworthiness, and consideration of their own dissolute life, “accuse themselves and aggravate every small offence, when there is no such cause, misdoubting in the meantime God's mercies, they fall into these inconveniences.” The poet calls them 6722furies dire, but it is the conscience alone which is a thousand witnesses to accuse us, 6723 Nocte dieque suum gestant in pectore testem. A continual tester to give in evidence, to empanel a jury to examine us, to cry guilty, a persecutor with hue and cry to follow, an apparitor to summon us, a bailiff to carry us, a serjeant to arrest, an attorney to plead against us, a gaoler to torment, a judge to condemn, still accusing, denouncing, torturing and molesting. And as the statue of Juno in that holy city near Euphrates in 6724Assyria will look still towards you, sit where you will in her temple, she stares full upon you, if you go by, she follows with her eye, in all sites, places, conventicles, actions, our conscience will be still ready to accuse us. After many pleasant days, and fortunate adventures, merry tides, this conscience at last doth arrest us. Well he may escape temporal punishment, 6725bribe a corrupt judge, and avoid the censure of law, and flourish for a time; “for 6726who ever saw” (saith Chrysostom) “a covetous man troubled in mind when he is telling of his money, an adulterer mourn with his mistress in his arms? we are then drunk with pleasure, and perceive nothing:” yet as the prodigal son had dainty fare, sweet music at first, merry company, jovial entertainment, but a cruel reckoning in the end, as bitter as wormwood, a fearful visitation commonly follows. And the devil that then told thee that it was a light sin, or no sin at all, now aggravates on the other side, and telleth thee, that it is a most irremissible offence, as he did by Cain and Judas, to bring them to despair; every small circumstance before neglected and contemned, will now amplify itself, rise up in judgment, and accuse the dust of their shoes, dumb creatures, as to Lucian's tyrant, lectus et candela, the bed and candle did bear witness, to torment their souls for their sins past. Tragical examples in this kind are too familiar and common: Adrian, Galba, Nero, Otho, Vitellius, Caracalla, were in such horror of conscience for their offences committed, murders, rapes, extortions, injuries, that they were weary of their lives, and could get nobody to kill them. 6727Kennetus, King of Scotland, when he had murdered his nephew Malcom, King Duffe's son, Prince of Cumberland, and with counterfeit tears and protestations dissembled the matter a long time, 6728“at last his conscience accused him, his unquiet soul could not rest day or night, he was terrified with fearful dreams, visions, and so miserably tormented all his life.” It is strange to read what 6729Cominaeus hath written of Louis XI. that French King; of Charles VIII.; of Alphonsus, King of Naples; in the fury of his passion how he came into Sicily, and what pranks he played. Guicciardini, a man most unapt to believe lies, relates how that Ferdinand his father's ghost who before had died for grief, came and told him, that he could not resist the French King, he thought every man cried France, France; the reason of it (saith Cominseus) was because he was a vile tyrant, a murderer, an oppressor of his subjects, he bought up all commodities, and sold them at his own price, sold abbeys to Jews and Falkoners; both Ferdinand his father, and he himself never made conscience of any committed sin; and to conclude, saith he, it was impossible to do worse than they did. Why was Pausanias the Spartan tyrant, Nero, Otho, Galba, so persecuted with spirits in every house they came, but for their murders which they had committed? 6730Why doth the devil haunt many men's houses after their deaths, appear to them living, and take possession of their habitations, as it were, of their palaces, but because of their several villainies? Why had Richard the Third such fearful dreams, saith Polydore, but for his frequent murders? Why was Herod so tortured in his mind? because he had made away Mariamne his wife. Why was Theodoric, the King of the Goths, so suspicious, and so affrighted with a fish head alone, but that he had murdered Symmachus, and Boethius his son-in-law, those worthy Romans? Caelius, lib. 27. cap. 22. See more in Plutarch, in his tract De his qui sero a Numine puniuntur, and in his book De tranquillitate animi, &c. Yea, and sometimes GOD himself hath a hand in it, to show his power, humiliate, exercise, and to try their faith, (divine temptation, Perkins calls it, Cas. cons. lib. 1. cap. 8. sect. 1.) to punish them for their sins. God the avenger, as 6731David terms him, ultor a tergo Deus, his wrath is apprehended of a guilty, soul, as by Saul and Judas, which the poets expressed by Adrastia, or Nemesis:
6732Assequitur Nemesique virum vestigia servat,
Ne male quid facias. ———
And she is, as 6733Ammianus, lib. 14. describes her, “the queen of causes, and moderator of things,” now she pulls down the proud, now she rears and encourageth those that are good; he gives instance in his Eusebius; Nicephorus, lib. 10. cap. 35. eccles. hist. in Maximinus and Julian. Fearful examples of God's just judgment, wrath and vengeance, are to be found in all histories, of some that have been eaten to death with rats and mice, as 6734Popelius, the second King of Poland, ann. 830, his wife and children; the like story is of Hatto, Archbishop of Mentz, ann. 969, so devoured by these vermin, which howsoever Serrarius the Jesuit Mogunt. rerum lib. 4. cap. 5. impugn by twenty-two arguments, Tritemius, 6735Munster, Magdeburgenses, and many others relate for a truth. Such another example I find in Geraldus Cambrensis Itin. Cam. lib. 2. cap. 2. and where not?
And yet for all these terrors of conscience, affrighting punishments which are so frequent, or whatsoever else may cause or aggravate this fearful malady in other religions, I see no reason at all why a papist at any time should despair, or be troubled for his sins; for let him be never so dissolute a caitiff so notorious a villain, so monstrous a sinner, out of that treasure of indulgences and merits of which the pope is dispensator, he may have free pardon and plenary remission of all his sins. There be so many general pardons for ages to come, forty thousand years to come, so many jubilees, so frequent gaol-deliveries out of purgatory for all souls, now living, or after dissolution of the body, so many particular masses daily said in several churches, so many altars consecrated to this purpose, that if a man have either money or friends, or will take any pains to come to such an altar, hear a mass, say so many paternosters, undergo such and such penance, he cannot do amiss, it is impossible his mind should be troubled, or he have any scruple to molest him. Besides that Taxa Camerae Apostolicae, which was first published to get money in the days of Leo Decimus, that sharking pope, and since divulged to the same ends, sets down such easy rates and dispensations for all offences, for perjury, murder, incest, adultery, &c., for so many grosses or dollars (able to invite any man to sin, and provoke him to offend, methinks, that otherwise would not) such comfortable remission, so gentle and parable a pardon, so ready at hand, with so small cost and suit obtained, that I cannot see how he that hath any friends amongst them (as I say) or money in his purse, or will at least to ease himself, can any way miscarry or be misaffected, how he should be desperate, in danger of damnation, or troubled in mind. Their ghostly fathers can so readily apply remedies, so cunningly string and unstring, wind and unwind their devotions, play upon their consciences with plausible speeches and terrible threats, for their best advantage settle and remove, erect with such facility and deject, let in and out, that I cannot perceive how any man amongst them should much or often labour of this disease, or finally miscarry. The causes above named must more frequently therefore take hold in others.
6694. 1 Sam. ii. 16.
6695. Psal. xxxviii. vers. 9. 14.
6696. Immiscent se mali genii, Lem. lib. 1. cap. 16.
6697. Cases of conscience, l. 1. 16.
6698. Tract. Melan. capp. 33 et 34.
6699. Cap. 3. de mentis alien. Deo minus se curae esse, nec ad salutem praedestinatos esse. Ad desperationem saepe ducit haec melancholia, et est frequentissima ob supplicii metum aeternumque judicium; meror et metus in desperationem plerumque desinunt.
6700. Comment. in 1. cap. gen. artic. 3. quia impii florent boni opprimuntur, &c. alius ex consideratione hujus seria desperabundus.
6701. Lib. 20. c. 17.
6702. Damnatam se putavit, et quatuor menses Gehennae poenam sentire.
6703. 1566. ob triticum diutius servatum conscientiae stimulis agitatur, &c.
6704. Tom. 2. c. 27. num. 282. conversatio cum scrupulosis, vigiliae, jejunia.
6705. Solitarios et superstitiosos plerumque exagitat conscientia, non mercatores, lenones, caupones, foeneratore?, &c. largiorem hi nacti sunt conscientiam. Juvenes plerumque conscientiam negligunt, senes autem, &c.
6706. Annon sentis sulphur inquit?
6707. Desperabundus misere periit.
6708. In 17. Johannis. Non pauci se cruciant, et excarnificant in tantum, ut non parum absint ab insania; neque tamen aliud hac mentis anxietate efficiunt, quam ut diabolo potestatem faciant ipsos per desperationem ad infernos producendi.
6709. Drexelius Nicet. lib. 2. cap. 11. “Eternity, that word, that tremendous word, more threatening than thunders and the artillery of heaven — Eternity, that word, without end or origin. No torments affright us which are limited to years: Eternity, eternity, occupies and inflames the heart — this it is that daily augments our sufferings, and multiplies our heart-burnings a hundredfold.”
6710. Ecclesiast. 1. 1. Haud scio an majus discrimen ab his qui blandiuntur, an ab his qui territant; ingens utrinque periculum: alii ad securitatem ducunt, alii afflictionum magnitudine mentem absorbent, et in desperationem trahunt.
6711. Bern. sup. 16. cant. 1. alterum sine altero proferre non expedit; recordatio solius judicii in desperationem praecipitat, et misericordis; fallax ostentatio pessimam generat securitatem.
6712. In Luc. hom. 103. exigunt ab aliis charitatem, beneficentiam, cum ipsi nil spectent praeter libidinem, invidiam, avaritiam.
6713. Leo Decimus.
6714. Deo futuro judicio, de damnatione horrendum crepunt, et amaras illas potationes in ore semper habent, ut multos inde in desperationem cogant.
6715. Euripides. “O wretched Orestes, what malady consumes you?”
6716. “Conscience, for I am conscious of evil.”
6718. Gen. iv.
6719. 9 causes Musculus makes.
6721. Alios misere castigat plena scrupulis conscientia, nodum in scirpo quaerunt, et ubi nulla causa subest, misericordiae divinae diffidentes, se Oreo destinant.
6722. Coelius, lib. 6.
6723. Juvenal. “Night and day they carry their witnesses in the breast.”
6724. Lucian. de dea Syria. Si adstiteris, te aspicit; si transeas, visu te sequitur.
6725. Prima haec est ultio, quod se judice nemo nocens absolvitur, improba quamvis gratia fallacis praetoris vicerit urnam. Juvenal.
6726. Quis unquam vidit avarum ringi, dum lucrum adest, adulterum dum potitur voto, lugere in perpetrando scelere? voluptate sumus ebrii, proinde non sentimus, &c.
6727. Buchanan, lib. 6. Hist. Scot.
6728. Animus conscientia sceleris inquietus, nullum admisit gaudium, sed semper vexatus noctu et interdiu per somnum visis horrore plenis putremefactus, &c.
6729. De bello Neapol.
6730. Thirens de locis infestis, part. 1. cap. 2. Nero's mother was still in his eyes.
6731. Psal. xliv. 1.
6732. “And Nemesis pursues and notices the steps of men, lest you commit any evil.”
6733. Regina causarum et arbitra rerum, nunc erectas cervices opprimit, &c.
6734. Alex. Gaguinus catal. reg. Pol.
6735. Cosmog. Munster, et Magde.
Symptoms of Despair, Fear, Sorrow, Suspicion, Anxiety, Horror of Conscience, Fearful Dreams and Visions.
As shoemakers do when they bring home shoes, still cry leather is dearer and dearer, may I justly say of those melancholy symptoms: these of despair are most violent, tragical, and grievous, far beyond the rest, not to be expressed but negatively, as it is privation of all happiness, not to be endured; “for a wounded spirit who can bear it?” Prov. xviii. 19. What, therefore, 6736Timanthes did in his picture of Iphigenia, now ready to be sacrificed, when he had painted Chalcas mourning, Ulysses sad, but most sorrowful Menelaus; and showed all his art in expressing a variety of affections, he covered the maid's father Agamemnon's head with a veil, and left it to every spectator to conceive what he would himself; for that true passion and sorrow in summo gradu, such as his was, could not by any art be deciphered. What he did in his picture, I will do in describing the symptoms of despair; imagine what thou canst, fear, sorrow, furies, grief, pain, terror, anger, dismal, ghastly, tedious, irksome, &c. it is not sufficient, it comes far short, no tongue can tell, no heart conceive it. 'Tis an epitome of hell, an extract, a quintessence, a compound, a mixture of all feral maladies, tyrannical tortures, plagues, and perplexities. There is no sickness almost but physic provideth a remedy for it; to every sore chirurgery will provide a slave; friendship helps poverty; hope of liberty easeth imprisonment; suit and favour revoke banishment; authority and time wear away reproach: but what physic, what chirurgery, what wealth, favour, authority can relieve, bear out, assuage, or expel a troubled conscience? A quiet mind cureth all them, but all they cannot comfort a distressed soul: who can put to silence the voice of desperation? All that is single in other melancholy, Horribile, dirum, pestilens, atrox, ferum, concur in this, it is more than melancholy in the highest degree; a burning fever of the soul; so mad, saith 6737Jacchinus, by this misery; fear, sorrow, and despair, he puts for ordinary symptoms of melancholy. They are in great pain and horror of mind, distraction of soul, restless, full of continual fears, cares, torments, anxieties, they can neither eat, drink, nor sleep for them, take no rest,
6738Perpetua impietas, nec mensae tempore cessat,
Exagitat vesana quies, somnique furentes.
Neither at bed, nor yet at board,
Will any rest despair afford.
Fear takes away their content, and dries the blood, wasteth the marrow, alters their countenance, “even in their greatest delights, singing, dancing, dalliance, they are still” (saith 6739Lemnius) “tortured in their souls.” It consumes them to nought, “I am like a pelican in the wilderness (saith David of himself, temporally afflicted), an owl, because of thine indignation,” Psalm cii. 8, 10, and Psalm lv. 4. “My heart trembleth within me, and the terrors of death have come upon me; fear and trembling are come upon me, &c. at death's door,” Psalm cvii. 18. “Their soul abhors all manner of meats.” Their 6740sleep is (if it be any) unquiet, subject to fearful dreams and terrors. Peter in his bonds slept secure, for he knew God protected him; and Tully makes it an argument of Roscius Amerinus' innocency, that he killed not his father, because he so securely slept. Those martyrs in the primitive church were most 6741cheerful and merry in the midst of their persecutions; but it is far otherwise with these men, tossed in a sea, and that continually without rest or intermission, they can think of nought that is pleasant, 6742“their conscience will not let them be quiet,” in perpetual fear, anxiety, if they be not yet apprehended, they are in doubt still they shall be ready to betray themselves, as Cain did, he thinks every man will kill him; “and roar for the grief of heart,” Psalm xxxviii. 8, as David did; as Job did, xx. 3, 21, 22, &c., “Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life to them that have heavy hearts? which long for death, and if it come not, search it more than treasures, and rejoice when they can find the grave.” They are generally weary of their lives, a trembling heart they have, a sorrowful mind, and little or no rest. Terror ubique tremor, timor undique et undique terror. “Fears, terrors, and affrights in all places, at all times and seasons.” Cibum et potum pertinaciter aversantur multi, nodum in scirpo quaeritantes, et culpam imaginantes ubi nulla est, as Wierus writes de Lamiis lib. 3. c. 7. “they refuse many of them meat and drink, cannot rest, aggravating still and supposing grievous offences where there are none.” God's heavy wrath is kindled in their souls, and notwithstanding their continual prayers and supplications to Christ Jesus, they have no release or ease at all, but a most intolerable torment, and insufferable anguish of conscience, and that makes them, through impatience, to murmur against God many times, to rave, to blaspheme, turn atheists, and seek to offer violence to themselves. Deut. xxviii. 65, 68. “In the morning they wish for evening, and for morning in the evening, for the sight of their eyes which they see, and fear of hearts.” 6743Marinus Mercennus, in his comment on Genesis, makes mention of a desperate friend of his, whom, amongst others, he came to visit, and exhort to patience, that broke out into most blasphemous atheistical speeches, too fearful to relate, when they wished him to trust in God, Quis est ille Deus (inquit) ut serviam illi, quid proderit si oraverim; si praesens est, cur non succurrit? cur non me carcere, inertia, squalore confectum liberat? quid ego feci? &c. absit a me hujusmodi Deus. Another of his acquaintance broke out into like atheistical blasphemies, upon his wife's death raved, cursed, said and did he cared not what. And so for the most part it is with them all, many of them, in their extremity, think they hear and see visions, outcries, confer with devils, that they are tormented, possessed, and in hell-fire, already damned, quite forsaken of God, they have no sense or feeling of mercy, or grace, hope of salvation, their sentence of condemnation is already past, and not to be revoked, the devil will certainly have them. Never was any living creature in such torment before, in such a miserable estate, in such distress of mind, no hope, no faith, past cure, reprobate, continually tempted to make away themselves. Something talks with them, they spit fire and brimstone, they cannot but blaspheme, they cannot repent, believe or think a good thought, so far carried; ut cogantur ad impia cogitandum etiam contra voluntatem, said 6744Felix Plater, ad blasphemiam erga deum, ad multa horrenda perpetranda, ad manus violentas sibi inferendas, &c., and in their distracted fits and desperate humours, to offer violence to others, their familiar and dear friends sometimes, or to mere strangers, upon very small or no occasion; for he that cares not for his own, is master of another man's life. They think evil against their wills; that which they abhor themselves, they must needs think, do, and speak. He gives instance in a patient of his, that when he would pray, had such evil thoughts still suggested to him, and wicked 6745meditations. Another instance he hath of a woman that was often tempted to curse God, to blaspheme and kill herself. Sometimes the devil (as they say) stands without and talks with them, sometimes he is within them, as they think, and there speaks and talks as to such as are possessed: so Apollodorus, in Plutarch, thought his heart spake within him. There is a most memorable example of 6746Francis Spira, an advocate of Padua, Ann. 1545, that being desperate, by no counsel of learned men could be comforted: he felt (as he said) the pains of hell in his soul; in all other things he discoursed aright, but in this most mad. Frismelica, Bullovat, and some other excellent physicians, could neither make him eat, drink, or sleep, no persuasion could ease him. Never pleaded any man so well for himself, as this man did against himself, and so he desperately died. Springer, a lawyer, hath written his life. Cardinal Crescence died so likewise desperate at Verona, still he thought a black dog followed him to his death-bed, no man could drive the dog away, Sleiden. com. 23. cap. lib. 3. Whilst I was writing this Treatise, saith Montaltus, cap. 2. de mel. 6747“A nun came to me for help, well for all other matters, but troubled in conscience for five years last past; she is almost mad, and not able to resist, thinks she hath offended God, and is certainly damned.” Felix Plater hath store of instances of such as thought themselves damned, 6748 forsaken of God, &c. One amongst the rest, that durst not go to church, or come near the Rhine, for fear to make away himself, because then he was most especially tempted. These and such like symptoms are intended and remitted, as the malady itself is more or less; some will hear good counsel, some will not; some desire help, some reject all, and will not be eased.
6736. Plinius, cap. 10. l. 35. Consumptis affectibus, Agamemnonis caput velavit, ut omnes quem possent, maximum moerorem in virginis patre cogitarent.
6737. Cap. 15. in 9. Rhasis.
6738. Juv. Sat. 13.
6739. Mentem eripit timor hic; vultum, totumque corporis habitum immutat, etiam in deliciis, in tripudiis, in symposiis, in amplexu conjugis carnificinam exercet, lib. 4. cap. 21.
6740. Non sinit conscientia tales homines recta verba proferre, aut rectis quenquam oculis aspicere, ab omni hominum coetu eosdem exterminat, et dormientes perterrefacit. Philost. lib. 1. de vita Apollonii.
6741. Eusebius, Nicephorus eccles. hist. lib. 4. c. 17.
6742. Seneca, lib. 18. epist. 106. Conscientia aliud agere non patitur, perturbatam vitam agunt, nunquam vacant, &c.
6743. Artic. 3. ca. 1. fol. 230. quod horrendum dictu, desperabundus quidam me presente cum ad patientiam hortaretur, &c.
6744. Lib. 1. obser. cap. 3.
6745. Ad maledicendum Deo.
6747. Dum haec scribo, implorat opem meam monacha, in reliquis sana, et judicio recta, per. 5. annos melancholica; damnatum se dicit, conscientiae stimultis oppressa, &c.
6748. Alios conquerentes audivi se esse ex damnatorum numero. Deo non esse curae aliaque infinita quae proferre non audebant, vel abhorrebant.
Prognostics of Despair, Atheism, Blasphemy, violent death, &c.
Most part these kind of persons make 6749away themselves, some are mad, blaspheme, curse, deny God, but most offer violence to their own persons, and sometimes to others. “A wounded spirit who can bear?” Prov. xviii. 14. As Cain, Saul, Achitophel, Judas, blasphemed and died. Bede saith, Pilate died desperate eight years after Christ. 6750Felix Plater hath collected many examples. 6751A merchant's wife that was long troubled with such temptations, in the night rose from her bed, and out of the window broke her neck into the street: another drowned himself desperate as he was in the Rhine: some cut their throats, many hang themselves. But this needs no illustration. It is controverted by some, whether a man so offering violence to himself, dying desperate, may be saved, ay or no? If they die so obstinately and suddenly, that they cannot so much as wish for mercy, the worst is to be suspected, because they die impenitent. 6752If their death had been a little more lingering, wherein they might have some leisure in their hearts to cry for mercy, charity may judge the best; divers have been recovered out of the very act of hanging and drowning themselves, and so brought ad sanam mentem, they have been very penitent, much abhorred their former act, confessed that they have repented in an instant, and cried for mercy in their hearts. If a man put desperate hands upon himself, by occasion of madness or melancholy, if he have given testimony before of his regeneration, in regard he doth this not so much out of his will, as ex vi morbi, we must make the best construction of it, as 6753Turks do, that think all fools and madmen go directly to heaven.
6749. Musculus, Patritius, ad vim sibi inferendam cogit homines.
6750. De mentis alienat. observ. lib. 1.
6751. Uxor Mercatoris diu vexationibus tentata, &c.
Cure of Despair by Physic, Good Counsel, Comforts, &c.
Experience teacheth us, that though many die obstinate and wilful in this malady, yet multitudes again are able to resist and overcome, seek for help and find comfort, are taken e faucibus Erebi, from the chops of hell, and out of the devil's paws, though they have by 6754obligation, given themselves to him. Some out of their own strength, and God's assistance, “Though He kill me,” (saith Job,) “yet will I trust in Him,” out of good counsel, advice and physic. 6755Bellovacus cured a monk by altering his habit, and course of life: Plater many by physic alone. But for the most part they must concur; and they take a wrong course that think to overcome this feral passion by sole physic; and they are as much out, that think to work this effect by good service alone, though both be forcible in themselves, yet vis unita fortior, “they must go hand in hand to this disease:” — alterius sic altera poscit opem. For physic the like course is to be taken with this as in other melancholy: diet, air, exercise, all those passions and perturbations of the mind, &c. are to be rectified by the same means. They must not be left solitary, or to themselves, never idle, never out of company. Counsel, good comfort is to be applied, as they shall see the parties inclined, or to the causes, whether it be loss, fear, be grief, discontent, or some such feral accident, a guilty conscience, or otherwise by frequent meditation, too grievous an apprehension, and consideration of his former life; by hearing, reading of Scriptures, good divines, good advice and conference, applying God's word to their distressed souls, it must be corrected and counterpoised. Many excellent exhortations, phraenetical discourses, are extant to this purpose, for such as are any way troubled in mind: Perkins, Greenham, Hayward, Bright, Abernethy, Bolton, Culmannus, Helmingius, Caelius Secundus, Nicholas Laurentius, are copious on this subject: Azorius, Navarrus, Sayrus, &c., and such as have written cases of conscience amongst our pontifical writers. But because these men's works are not to all parties at hand, so parable at all times, I will for the benefit and ease of such as are afflicted, at the request of some 6756friends, recollect out of their voluminous treatises, some few such comfortable speeches, exhortations, arguments, advice, tending to this subject, and out of God's word, knowing, as Culmannus saith upon the like occasion, 6757“how unavailable and vain men's councils are to comfort an afflicted conscience, except God's word concur and be annexed, from which comes life, ease, repentance,” &c. Presupposing first that which Beza, Greenham, Perkins, Bolton, give in charge, the parties to whom counsel is given be sufficiently prepared, humbled for their sins, fit for comfort, confessed, tried how they are more or less afflicted, how they stand affected, or capable of good advice, before any remedies be applied: to such therefore as are so thoroughly searched and examined, I address this following discourse.
Two main antidotes, 6758Hemmingius observes, opposite to despair, good hope out of God's word, to be embraced; perverse security and presumption from the devil's treachery, to be rejected; Illa solus animae, haec pestis; one saves, the other kills, occidit animam, saith Austin, and doth as much harm as despair itself, 6759Navarrus the casuist reckons up ten special cures out of Anton. 1. part. Tit. 3. cap. 10. 1. God. 2. Physic. 3. 6760Avoiding such objects as have caused it. 4. Submission of himself to other men's judgments. 5. Answer of all objections, &c. All which Cajetan, Gerson, lib. de vit. spirit. Sayrus, lib. 1. cons. cap. 14. repeat and approve out of Emanuel Roderiques, cap. 51 et 52. Greenham prescribes six special rules, Culmannus seven. First, to acknowledge all help come from God. 2. That the cause of their present misery is sin. 3. To repent and be heartily sorry for their sins. 4. To pray earnestly to God they may be eased. 5. To expect and implore the prayers of the church, and good men's advice. 6. Physic. 7. To commend themselves to God, and rely upon His mercy: others, otherwise, but all to this effect. But forasmuch as most men in this malady are spiritually sick, void of reason almost, overborne by their miseries, and too deep an apprehension of their sins, they cannot apply themselves to good counsel, pray, believe, repent, we must, as much as in us lies, occur and help their peculiar infirmities, according to their several causes and symptoms, as we shall find them distressed and complain.
The main matter which terrifies and torments most that are troubled in mind, is the enormity of their offences, the intolerable burthen of their sins, God's heavy wrath and displeasure so deeply apprehended, that they account themselves reprobates, quite forsaken of God, already damned, past all hope of grace, incapable of mercy, diaboli mancipia, slaves of sin, and their offences so great they cannot be forgiven. But these men must know there is no sin so heinous which is not pardonable in itself, no crime so great but by God's mercy it may be forgiven. “Where sin aboundeth, grace aboundeth much more,” Rom. v. 20. And what the Lord said unto Paul in his extremity, 2 Cor. xi. 9. “My grace is sufficient for thee, for my power is made perfect through weakness:” concerns every man in like case. His promises are made indefinite to all believers, generally spoken to all touching remission of sins that are truly penitent, grieved for their offences, and desire to be reconciled, Matt. ix. 12, 13, “I came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance,” that is, such as are truly touched in conscience for their sins. Again, Matt. xi. 28, “Come unto me all ye that are heavy laden, and I will ease you.” Ezek. xviii. 27, “At what time soever a sinner shall repent him of his sins from the bottom of his heart, I will blot out all his wickedness out of my remembrance saith the Lord.” Isaiah xliii. 25, “I, even I, am He that put away thine iniquity for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” “As a father” (saith David Psal. ciii. 13) “hath compassion on his children, so hath the Lord compassion on them that fear him.” And will receive them again as the prodigal son was entertained, Luke xv., if they shall so come with tears in their eyes, and a penitent heart. Peccator agnoscat, Deus ignoscit. “The Lord is full of compassion and mercy, slow to anger, of great kindness,” Psal. ciii. 8. “He will not always chide, neither keep His anger for ever,” 9. “As high as the heaven is above the earth, so great is His mercy towards them that fear Him,” 11. “As far as the East is from the West, so far hath He removed our sins from us,” 12. Though Cain cry out in the anguish of his soul, my punishment is greater than I can bear, 'tis not so; thou liest, Cain (saith Austin), “God's mercy is greater than thy sins. His mercy is above all His works,” Psal. cxlv. 9, able to satisfy for all men's sins, antilutron, 1 Tim. ii. 6. His mercy is a panacea, a balsam for an afflicted soul, a sovereign medicine, an alexipharmacum for all sins, a charm for the devil; his mercy was great to Solomon, to Manasseh, to Peter, great to all offenders, and whosoever thou art, it may be so to thee. For why should God bid us pray (as Austin infers) “Deliver us from all evil,” nisi ipse misericors perseveraret, if He did not intend to help us? He therefore that 6761doubts of the remission of his sins, denies God's mercy, and doth Him injury, saith Austin. Yea, but thou repliest, I am a notorious sinner, mine offences are not so great as infinite. Hear Fulgentius, 6762“God's invincible goodness cannot be overcome by sin, His infinite mercy cannot be terminated by any: the multitude of His mercy is equivalent to His magnitude.” Hear 6763Chrysostom, “Thy malice may be measured, but God's mercy cannot be defined; thy malice is circumscribed, His mercies infinite.” As a drop of water is to the sea, so are thy misdeeds to His mercy: nay, there is no such proportion to be given; for the sea, though great, yet may be measured, but God's mercy cannot be circumscribed. Whatsoever thy sins be then in quantity or quality, multitude or magnitude, fear them not, distrust not. I speak not this, saith 6764Chrysostom, “to make thee secure and negligent, but to cheer thee up.” Yea but, thou urgest again, I have little comfort of this which is said, it concerns me not: Inanis poenitentia quam sequens culpa coinquinat, 'tis to no purpose for me to repent, and to do worse than ever I did before, to persevere in sin, and to return to my lusts as a dog to his vomit, or a swine to the mire: 6765to what end is it to ask forgiveness of my sins, and yet daily to sin again and again, to do evil out of a habit? I daily and hourly offend in thought, word, and deed, in a relapse by mine own weakness and wilfulness: my bonus genius, my good protecting angel is gone, I am fallen from that I was or would be, worse and worse, “my latter end is worse than my beginning:” Si quotidiae peccas, quotidie, saith Chrysostom, poenitentiam age, if thou daily offend, daily repent: 6766“if twice, thrice, a hundred, a hundred thousand times, twice, thrice, a hundred thousand times repent.” As they do by an old house that is out of repair, still mend some part or other; so do by thy soul, still reform some vice, repair it by repentance, call to Him for grace, and thou shalt have it; “For we are freely justified by His grace,” Rom. iii. 24. If thine enemy repent, as our Saviour enjoined Peter, forgive him seventy-seven times; and why shouldst thou think God will not forgive thee? Why should the enormity of thy sins trouble thee? God can do it, he will do it. “My conscience” (saith 6767Anselm) “dictates to me that I deserve damnation, my repentance will not suffice for satisfaction: but thy mercy, O Lord, quite overcometh all my transgressions.” The gods once (as the poets feign) with a gold chain would pull Jupiter out of heaven, but all they together could not stir him, and yet he could draw and turn them as he would himself; maugre all the force and fury of these infernal fiends, and crying sins, “His grace is sufficient.” Confer the debt and the payment; Christ and Adam; sin, and the cure of it; the disease and the medicine; confer the sick man to his physician, and thou shalt soon perceive that his power is infinitely beyond it. God is better able, as 6768Bernard informeth us, “to help, than sin to do us hurt; Christ is better able to save, than the devil to destroy.” 6769If he be a skilful Physician, as Fulgentius adds, “he can cure all diseases; if merciful, he will.” Non est perfecta bonitas a qua non omnis malitia vincitur, His goodness is not absolute and perfect, if it be not able to overcome all malice. Submit thyself unto Him, as St. Austin adviseth, 6770“He knoweth best what he doth; and be not so much pleased when he sustains thee, as patient when he corrects thee; he is omnipotent, and can cure all diseases when he sees his own time.” He looks down from heaven upon earth, that he may hear the “mourning of prisoners, and deliver the children of death,” Psal. cii. 19. 20. “And though our sins be as red as scarlet, He can make them as white as snow,” Isai. i. 18. Doubt not of this, or ask how it shall be done: He is all-sufficient that promiseth; qui fecit mundum de immundo, saith Chrysostom, he that made a fair world of nought, can do this and much more for his part: do thou only believe, trust in him, rely on him, be penitent and heartily sorry for thy sins. Repentance is a sovereign remedy for all sins, a spiritual wing to rear us, a charm for our miseries, a protecting amulet to expel sin's venom, an attractive loadstone to draw God's mercy and graces unto us. 6771Peccatum vulnus, poenitentia medicinam: sin made the breach, repentance must help it; howsoever thine offence came, by error, sloth, obstinacy, ignorance, exitur per poenitentiam, this is the sole means to be relieved. 6772Hence comes our hope of safety, by this alone sinners are saved, God is provoked to mercy. “This unlooseth all that is bound, enlighteneth darkness, mends that is broken, puts life to that which was desperately dying:” makes no respect of offences, or of persons. 6773“This doth not repel a fornicator, reject a drunkard, resist a proud fellow, turn away an idolater, but entertains all, communicates itself to all.” Who persecuted the church more than Paul, offended more than Peter? and yet by repentance (saith Curysologus) they got both Magisterium et ministerium sanctitatis, the Magistery of holiness. The prodigal son went far, but by repentance he came home at last. 6774“This alone will turn a wolf into a sheep, make a publican a preacher, turn a thorn into an olive, make a debauched fellow religious,” a blasphemer sing halleluja, make Alexander the coppersmith truly devout, make a devil a saint. 6775“And him that polluted his mouth with calumnies, lying, swearing, and filthy tunes and tones, to purge his throat with divine Psalms.” Repentance will effect prodigious cures, make a stupend metamorphosis. “A hawk came into the ark, and went out again a hawk; a lion came in, went out a lion; a bear, a bear; a wolf, a wolf; but if a hawk came into this sacred temple of repentance, he will go forth a dove” (saith 6776Chrysostom), “a wolf go out a sheep, a lion a lamb. 6777This gives sight to the blind, legs to the lame, cures all diseases, confers grace, expels vice, inserts virtue, comforts and fortifies the soul.” Shall I say, let thy sin be what it will, do but repent, it is sufficient. 6778Quem poenitet peccasse pene est innocens. 'Tis true indeed and all-sufficient this, they do confess, if they could repent; but they are obdurate, they have cauterised consciences, they are in a reprobate sense, they cannot think a good thought, they cannot hope for grace, pray, believe, repent, or be sorry for their sins, they find no grief for sin in themselves, but rather a delight, no groaning of spirit, but are carried headlong to their own destruction, “heaping wrath to themselves against the day of wrath,” Rom. ii. 5. 'Tis a grievous case this I do yield, and yet not to be despaired; God of his bounty and mercy calls all to repentance, Rom. ii. 4, thou mayst be called at length, restored, taken to His grace, as the thief upon the cross, at the last hour, as Mary Magdalene and many other sinners have been, that were buried in sin. “God” (saith 6779Fulgentius) “is delighted in the conversion of a sinner, he sets no time;” prolixitas temporis Deo non praejudicat, aut gravitas peccati, deferring of time or grievousness of sin, do not prejudicate his grace, things past and to come are all one to Him, as present: 'tis never too late to repent. 6780“This heaven of repentance is still open for all distressed souls;” and howsoever as yet no signs appear, thou mayst repent in good time. Hear a comfortable speech of St. Austin, 6781“Whatsoever thou shall do, how great a sinner soever, thou art yet living; if God would not help thee, he would surely take thee away; but in sparing thy life, he gives thee leisure, and invites thee to repentance.” Howsoever as yet, I say, thou perceivest no fruit, no feeling, findest no likelihood of it in thyself, patiently abide the Lord's good leisure, despair not, or think thou art a reprobate; He came to call sinners to repentance, Luke v. 32, of which number thou art one; He came to call thee, and in his time will surely call thee. And although as yet thou hast no inclination to pray, to repent, thy faith be cold and dead, and thou wholly averse from all Divine functions, yet it may revive, as trees are dead in winter, but flourish in the spring! these virtues may lie hid in thee for the present, yet hereafter show themselves, and peradventure already bud, howsoever thou dost not perceive. 'Tis Satan's policy to plead against, suppress and aggravate, to conceal those sparks of faith in thee. Thou dost not believe, thou sayest, yet thou wouldst believe if thou couldst, 'tis thy desire to believe; then pray, 6782“Lord help mine unbelief:” and hereafter thou shall certainly believe: 6783Dabitur sitienti, it shall be given to him that thirsteth. Thou canst not yet repent, hereafter thou shall; a black cloud of sin as yet obnubilates thy soul, terrifies thy conscience, but this cloud may conceive a rainbow at the last, and be quite dissipated by repentance. Be of good cheer; a child is rational in power, not in act; and so art thou penitent in affection, though not yet in action. 'Tis thy desire to please God, to be heartily sorry; comfort thyself, no time is overpast, 'tis never too late. A desire to repent is repentance itself, though not in nature, yet in God's acceptance; a willing mind is sufficient. “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness,” Matt. v. 6. He that is destitute of God's grace, and wisheth for it, shall have it. “The Lord” (saith David, Psal. x. 17) “will hear the desire of the poor,” that is, such as are in distress of body and mind. 'Tis true thou canst not as yet grieve for thy sin, thou hast no feeling of faith, I yield; yet canst thou grieve thou dost not grieve? It troubles thee, I am sure, thine heart should be so impenitent and hard, thou wouldst have it otherwise; 'tis thy desire to grieve, to repent, and to believe. Thou lovest God's children and saints in the meantime, hatest them not, persecutest them not, but rather wishest thyself a true professor, to be as they are, as thou thyself hast been heretofore; which is an evident token thou art in no such desperate case. 'Tis a good sign of thy conversion, thy sins are pardonable, thou art, or shalt surely be reconciled. “The Lord is near them that are of a contrite heart,” Luke iv. 18. 6784A true desire of mercy in the want of mercy, is mercy itself; a desire of grace in the want of grace, is grace itself; a constant and earnest desire to believe, repent, and to be reconciled to God, if it be in a touched heart, is an acceptation of God, a reconciliation, faith and repentance itself. For it is not thy faith and repentance, as 6785Chrysostom truly teacheth, that is available, but God's mercy that is annexed to it, He accepts the will for the deed: so that I conclude, to feel in ourselves the want of grace, and to be grieved for it, is grace itself. I am troubled with fear my sins are not forgiven, Careless objects: but Bradford answers they are; “For God hath given thee a penitent and believing heart, that is, a heart which desireth to repent and believe; for such an one is taken of him (he accepting the will for the deed) for a truly penitent and believing heart.”
All this is true thou repliest, but yet it concerns not thee, 'tis verified in ordinary offenders, in common sins, but thine are of a higher strain, even against the Holy Ghost himself, irremissible sins, sins of the first magnitude, written with a pen of iron, engraven with a point of a diamond. Thou art worse than a pagan, infidel, Jew, or Turk, for thou art an apostate and more, thou hast voluntarily blasphemed, renounced God and all religion, thou art worse than Judas himself, or they that crucified Christ: for they did offend out of ignorance, but thou hast thought in thine heart there is no God. Thou hast given thy soul to the devil, as witches and conjurors do, explicite and implicite, by compact, band and obligation (a desperate, a fearful case) to satisfy thy lust, or to be revenged of thine enemies, thou didst never pray, come to church, hear, read, or do any divine duties with any devotion, but for formality and fashion's sake, with a kind of reluctance, 'twas troublesome and painful to thee to perform any such thing, praeter voluntatem, against thy will. Thou never mad'st any conscience of lying, swearing, bearing false witness, murder, adultery, bribery, oppression, theft, drunkenness, idolatry, but hast ever done all duties for fear of punishment, as they were most advantageous, and to thine own ends, and committed all such notorious sins, with an extraordinary delight, hating that thou shouldst love, and loving that thou shouldst hate. Instead of faith, fear and love of God, repentance, &c., blasphemous thoughts have been ever harboured in his mind, even against God himself, the blessed Trinity; the 6786Scripture false, rude, harsh, immethodical: heaven, hell, resurrection, mere toys and fables, 6787incredible, impossible, absurd, vain, ill contrived; religion, policy, and human invention, to keep men in obedience, or for profit, invented by priests and lawgivers to that purpose. If there be any such supreme power, he takes no notice of our doings, hears not our prayers, regardeth them not, will not, cannot help, or else he is partial, an excepter of persons, author of sin, a cruel, a destructive God, to create our souls, and destinate them to eternal damnation, to make us worse than our dogs and horses, why doth he not govern things better, protect good men, root out wicked livers? why do they prosper and flourish? as she raved in the 6788tragedy — pellices caelum tenent, there they shine, Suasque Perseus aureas stellas habet, where is his providence? how appears it?
6789Marmoreo Licinus tumulo jacet, at Cato parvo,
Pomponius nullo, quis putet esse Deos.
Why doth he suffer Turks to overcome Christians, the enemy to triumph over his church, paganism to domineer in all places as it doth, heresies to multiply, such enormities to be committed, and so many such bloody wars, murders, massacres, plagues, feral diseases! why doth he not make us all good, able, sound? why makes he 6790venomous creatures, rocks, sands, deserts, this earth itself the muck-hill of the world, a prison, a house of correction? 6791Mentimur regnare Jovem, &c., with many such horrible and execrable conceits, not fit to be uttered; Terribilia de fide, horribilia de Divinitate. They cannot some of them but think evil, they are compelled volentes nolentes, to blaspheme, especially when they come to church and pray, read, &c., such foul and prodigious suggestions come into their hearts.
These are abominable, unspeakable offences, and most opposite to God, tentationes foedae, et impiae, yet in this case, he or they that shall be tempted and so affected, must know, that no man living is free from such thoughts in part, or at some times, the most divine spirits have been so tempted in some sort, evil custom, omission of holy exercises, ill company, idleness, solitariness, melancholy, or depraved nature, and the devil is still ready to corrupt, trouble, and divert our souls, to suggest such blasphemous thoughts into our fantasies, ungodly, profane, monstrous and wicked conceits: If they come from Satan, they are more speedy, fearful and violent, the parties cannot avoid them: they are more frequent, I say, and monstrous when they come; for the devil he is a spirit, and hath means and opportunities to mingle himself with our spirits, and sometimes more slyly, sometimes more abruptly and openly, to suggest such devilish thoughts into our hearts; he insults and domineers in melancholy distempered fantasies and persons especially; melancholy is balneum, diaboli, as Serapio holds, the devil's bath, and invites him to come to it. As a sick man frets, raves in his fits, speaks and doth he knows not what, the devil violently compels such crazed souls to think such damned thoughts against their wills, they cannot but do it; sometimes more continuate, or by fits, he takes his advantage, as the subject is less able to resist, he aggravates, extenuates, affirms, denies, damns, confounds the spirits, troubles heart, brain, humours, organs, senses, and wholly domineers in their imaginations. If they proceed from themselves, such thoughts, they are remiss and moderate, not so violent and monstrous, not so frequent. The devil commonly suggests things opposite to nature, opposite to God and his word, impious, absurd, such as a man would never of himself, or could not conceive, they strike terror and horror into the parties' own hearts. For if he or they be asked whether they do approve of such like thoughts or no, they answer (and their own souls truly dictate as much) they abhor them as much as hell and the devil himself, they would fain think otherwise if they could; he hath thought otherwise, and with all his soul desires so to think again; he doth resist, and hath some good motions intermixed now and then: so that such blasphemous, impious, unclean thoughts, are not his own, but the devil's; they proceed not from him, but from a crazed phantasy, distempered humours, black fumes which offend his brain: 6792they are thy crosses, the devil's sins, and he shall answer for them, he doth enforce thee to do that which thou dost abhor, and didst never give consent to: and although he hath sometimes so slyly set upon thee, and so far prevailed, as to make thee in some sort to assent to such wicked thoughts, to delight in, yet they have not proceeded from a confirmed will in thee, but are of that nature which thou dost afterwards reject and abhor. Therefore be not overmuch troubled and dismayed with such kind of suggestions, at least if they please thee not, because they are not thy personal sins, for which thou shalt incur the wrath of God, or his displeasure: contemn, neglect them, let them go as they come, strive not too violently, or trouble thyself too much, but as our Saviour said to Satan in like case, say thou, avoid Satan, I detest thee and them. Satanae est mala ingerere (saith Austin) nostrum non consentire: as Satan labours to suggest, so must we strive not to give consent, and it will be sufficient: the more anxious and solicitous thou art, the more perplexed, the more thou shalt otherwise be troubled and entangled. Besides, they must know this, all so molested and distempered, that although these be most execrable and grievous sins, they are pardonable yet, through God's mercy and goodness, they may be forgiven, if they be penitent and sorry for them. Paul himself confesseth, Rom. xvii. 19. “He did not the good he would do, but the evil which he would not do; 'tis not I, but sin that dwelleth in me.” 'Tis not thou, but Satan's suggestions, his craft and subtlety, his malice: comfort thyself then if thou be penitent and grieved, or desirous to be so, these heinous sins shall not be laid to thy charge; God's mercy is above all sins, which if thou do not finally contemn, without doubt thou shalt be saved. 6793“No man sins against the Holy Ghost, but he that wilfully and finally renounceth Christ, and contemneth him and his word to the last, without which there is no salvation, from which grievous sin, God of his infinite mercy deliver us.” Take hold of this to be thy comfort, and meditate withal on God's word, labour to pray, to repent, to be renewed in mind, “keep thine heart with all diligence.” Prov. iv. 13, resist the devil, and he will fly from thee, pour out thy soul unto the Lord with sorrowful Hannah, “pray continually,” as Paul enjoins, and as David did, Psalm i. “meditate on his law day and night.”
Yea, but this meditation is that mars all, and mistaken makes many men far worse, misconceiving all they read or hear, to their own overthrow; the more they search and read Scriptures, or divine treatises, the more they puzzle themselves, as a bird in a net, the more they are entangled and precipitated into this preposterous gulf: “Many are called, but few are chosen,” Matt. xx. 16. and xxii. 14. with such like places of Scripture misinterpreted strike them with horror, they doubt presently whether they be of this number or no: God's eternal decree of predestination, absolute reprobation, and such fatal tables, they form to their own ruin, and impinge upon this rock of despair. How shall they be assured of their salvation, by what signs? “If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and sinners appear?” 1 Pet. iv. 18. Who knows, saith Solomon, whether he be elect? This grinds their souls, how shall they discern they are not reprobates? But I say again, how shall they discern they are? From the devil can be no certainty, for he is a liar from the beginning; if he suggests any such thing, as too frequently he doth, reject him as a deceiver, an enemy of human kind, dispute not with him, give no credit to him, obstinately refuse him, as St. Anthony did in the wilderness, whom the devil set upon in several shapes, or as the collier did, so do thou by him. For when the devil tempted him with the weakness of his faith, and told him he could not be saved, as being ignorant in the principles of religion, and urged him moreover to know what he believed, what he thought of such and such points and mysteries: the collier told him, he believed as the church did; but what (said the devil again) doth the church believe? as I do (said the collier); and what's that thou believest? as the church doth, &c., when the devil could get no other answer, he left him. If Satan summon thee to answer, send him to Christ: he is thy liberty, thy protector against cruel death, raging sin, that roaring lion, he is thy righteousness, thy Saviour, and thy life. Though he say, thou art not of the number of the elect, a reprobate, forsaken of God, hold thine own still, hic murus aheneus esto, let this be as a bulwark, a brazen wall to defend thee, stay thyself in that certainty of faith; let that be thy comfort, Christ will protect thee, vindicate thee, thou art one of his flock, he will triumph over the law, vanquish death, overcome the devil, and destroy hell. If he say thou art none of the elect, no believer, reject him, defy him, thou hast thought otherwise, and mayst so be resolved again; comfort thyself; this persuasion cannot come from the devil, and much less can it be grounded from thyself? men are liars, and why shouldst thou distrust? A denying Peter, a persecuting Paul, an adulterous cruel David, have been received; an apostate Solomon may be converted; no sin at all but impenitency, can give testimony of final reprobation. Why shouldst thou then distrust, misdoubt thyself, upon what ground, what suspicion? This opinion alone of particularity? Against that, and for the certainty of election and salvation on the other side, see God's good will toward men, hear how generally his grace is proposed to him, and him, and them, each man in particular, and to all. 1 Tim. ii. 4. “God will that all men be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth.” 'Tis a universal promise, “God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world, but that through him the world might be saved.” John iii. 17. “He that acknowledged himself a man in the world, must likewise acknowledge he is of that number that is to be saved.” Ezek. xxxiii. 11, “I will not the death of a sinner, but that he repent and live:” But thou art a sinner; therefore he will not thy death. “This is the will of him that sent me, that every man that believeth in the Son, should have everlasting life.” John vi. 40. “He would have no man perish, but all come to repentance,” 2 Pet. iii. 9. Besides, remission of sins is to be preached, not to a few, but universally to all men, “Go therefore and tell all nations, baptising them,” &c. Matt. xxviii. 19. “Go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature,” Mark xvi. 15. Now there cannot be contradictory wills in God, he will have all saved, and not all, how can this stand together? be secure then, believe, trust in him, hope well and be saved. Yea, that's the main matter, how shall I believe or discern my security from carnal presumption? my faith is weak and faint, I want those signs and fruits of sanctification, 6794sorrow for sin, thirsting for grace, groanings of the spirit, love of Christians as Christians, avoiding occasion of sin, endeavour of new obedience, charity, love of God, perseverance. Though these signs be languishing in thee, and not seated in thine heart, thou must not therefore be dejected or terrified; the effects of the faith and spirit are not yet so fully felt in thee; conclude not therefore thou art a reprobate, or doubt of thine election, because the elect themselves are without them, before their conversion. Thou mayst in the Lord's good time be converted; some are called at the eleventh hour. Use, I say, the means of thy conversion, expect the Lord's leisure, if not yet called, pray thou mayst be, or at least wish and desire thou. mayst be.
Notwithstanding all this which might be said to this effect, to ease their afflicted minds, what comfort our best divines can afford in this case, Zanchius, Beza, &c. This furious curiosity, needless speculation, fruitless meditation about election, reprobation, free will, grace, such places of Scripture preposterously conceived, torment still, and crucify the souls of too many, and set all the world together by the ears. To avoid which inconveniences, and to settle their distressed minds, to mitigate those divine aphorisms, (though in another extreme some) our late Arminians have revived that plausible doctrine of universal grace, which many fathers, our late Lutheran and modern papists do still maintain, that we have free will of ourselves, and that grace is common to all that will believe. Some again, though less orthodoxal, will have a far greater part saved than shall be damned, (as 6795Caelius Secundus stiffly maintains in his book, De amplitudine regni coelestis, or some impostor under his name) beatorum numerus multo major quam damnatorum. 6796He calls that other tenet of special 6797“election and reprobation, a prejudicate, envious and malicious opinion, apt to draw all men to desperation. Many are called, few chosen,” &c. He opposeth some opposite parts of Scripture to it, “Christ came into the world to save sinners,” &c. And four especial arguments he produceth, one from God's power. If more be damned than saved, he erroneously concludes, 6798the devil hath the greater sovereignty! for what is power but to protect? and majesty consists in multitude. “If the devil have the greater part, where is his mercy, where is his power? how is he Deus Optimus Maximus, misericors? &c., where is his greatness, where his goodness?” He proceeds, 6799“We account him a murderer that is accessory only, or doth not help when he can; which may not be supposed of God without great offence, because he may do what he will, and is otherwise accessory, and the author of sin. The nature of good is to be communicated, God is good, and will not then be contracted in his goodness: for how is he the father of mercy and comfort, if his good concern but a few? O envious and unthankful men to think otherwise! 6800Why should we pray to God that are Gentiles, and thank him for his mercies and benefits, that hath damned us all innocuous for Adam's offence, one man's offence, one small offence, eating of an apple? why should we acknowledge him for our governor that hath wholly neglected the salvation of our souls, contemned us, and sent no prophets or instructors to teach us, as he hath done to the Hebrews?” So Julian the apostate objects. Why should these Christians (Caelius urgeth) reject us and appropriate God unto themselves, Deum illum suum unicum, &c. But to return to our forged Caelius. At last he comes to that, he will have those saved that never heard of, or believed in Christ, ex puris naturalibus, with the Pelagians, and proves it out of Origen and others. “They” (saith 6801Origen) “that never heard God's word, are to be excused for their ignorance; we may not think God will be so hard, angry, cruel or unjust as to condemn any man indicta causa.” They alone (he holds) are in the state of damnation that refuse Christ's mercy and grace, when it is offered. Many worthy Greeks and Romans, good moral honest men, that kept the law of nature, did to others as they would be done to themselves, as certainly saved, he concludes, as they were that lived uprightly before the law of Moses. They were acceptable in. God's sight, as Job was, the Magi, the queen of Sheba, Darius of Persia, Socrates, Aristides, Cato, Curius, Tully, Seneca, and many other philosophers, upright livers, no matter of what religion, as Cornelius, out of any nation, so that he live honestly, call on God, trust in him, fear him, he shall be saved. This opinion was formerly maintained by the Valentinian and Basiledian heretics, revived of late in 6802Turkey, of what sect Rustan Bassa was patron, defended by 6803Galeatius 6804Erasmus, by Zuinglius in exposit. fidei ad Regem Galliae, whose tenet Bullinger vindicates, and Gualter approves in a just apology with many arguments. There be many Jesuits that follow these Calvinists in this behalf, Franciscus Buchsius Moguntinus, Andradius Consil. Trident, many schoolmen that out of the 1 Rom. v. 18. 19. are verily persuaded that those good works of the Gentiles did so far please God, that they might vitam aeternam promereri, and be saved in the end. Sesellius, and Benedictus Justinianus in his comment on the first of the Romans, Mathias Ditmarsh the politician, with many others, hold a mediocrity, they may be salute non indigni but they will not absolutely decree it. Hofmannus, a Lutheran professor of Helmstad, and many of his followers, with most of our church, and papists, are stiff against it. Franciscus Collius hath fully censured all opinions in his Five Books, de Paganorum animabus post mortem, and amply dilated this question, which whoso will may peruse. But to return to my author, his conclusion is, that not only wicked livers, blasphemers, reprobates, and such as reject God's grace, “but that the devils themselves shall be saved at last,” as 6805Origen himself long since delivered in his works, and our late 6806Socinians defend, Ostorodius, cap. 41. institut. Smaltius, &c. Those terms of all and for ever in Scripture, are not eternal, but only denote a longer time, which by many examples they prove. The world shall end like a comedy, and we shall meet at last in heaven, and live in bliss altogether, or else in conclusion, in nihil evanescere. For how can he be merciful that shall condemn any creature to eternal unspeakable punishment, for one small temporary fault, all posterity, so many myriads for one and another man's offence, quid meruistis oves? But these absurd paradoxes are exploded by our church, we teach otherwise. That this vocation, predestination, election, reprobation, non ex corrupta massa, praeviso, fide, as our Arminians, or ex praevisis operibus, as our papists, non ex praeteritione, but God's absolute decree ante mundum creatum, (as many of our church hold) was from the beginning, before the foundation of the world was laid, or homo conditus, (or from Adam's fall, as others will, homo lapsus objectum est reprobationis) with perseverantia sanctorum, we must be certain of our salvation, we may fall but not finally, which our Arminians will not admit. According to his immutable, eternal, just decree and counsel of saving men and angels, God calls all, and would have all to be saved according to the efficacy of vocation: all are invited, but only the elect apprehended: the rest that are unbelieving, impenitent, whom God in his just judgment leaves to be punished for their sins, are in a reprobate sense; yet we must not determine who are such, condemn ourselves or others, because we have a universal invitation; all are commanded to believe, and we know not how soon or how late our end may be received. I might have said more of this subject; but forasmuch as it is a forbidden question, and in the preface or declaration to the articles of the church, printed 1633, to avoid factions and altercations, we that are university divines especially, are prohibited “all curious search, to print or preach, or draw the article aside by our own sense and comments upon pain of ecclesiastical censure.” I will surcease, and conclude with 6807Erasmus of such controversies: Pugnet qui volet, ego censeo leges majorum reverenter suscipiendas, et religiose observandas, velut a Deo profectas; nec esse tutum, nec esse pium, de potestate publica sinistram concipere aut serere suspicionem. Et siquid est tyrannidis, quod tamen non cogat ad impietatem, satius est ferre, quam seditiose reluctari.
But to my former task. The last main torture and trouble of a distressed mind, is not so much this doubt of election, and that the promises of grace are smothered and extinct in them, nay quite blotted out, as they suppose, but withal God's heavy wrath, a most intolerable pain and grief of heart seizeth on them: to their thinking they are already damned, they suffer the pains of hell, and more than possibly can be expressed, they smell brimstone, talk familiarly with devils, hear and see chimeras, prodigious, uncouth shapes, bears, owls, antiques, black dogs, fiends, hideous outcries, fearful noises, shrieks, lamentable complaints, they are possessed, 6808and through impatience they roar and howl, curse, blaspheme, deny God, call his power in question, abjure religion, and are still ready to offer violence unto themselves, by hanging, drowning, &c. Never any miserable wretch from the beginning of the world was in such a woeful case. To such persons I oppose God's mercy and his justice; Judicia Dei occulta, non injusta: his secret counsel and just judgment, by which he spares some, and sore afflicts others again in this life; his judgment is to be adored, trembled at, not to be searched or inquired after by mortal men: he hath reasons reserved to himself, which our frailty cannot apprehend. He may punish all if he will, and that justly for sin; in that he doth it in some, is to make a way for his mercy that they repent and be saved, to heal them, to try them, exercise their patience, and make them call upon him, to confess their sins and pray unto him, as David did, Psalm cxix. 137. “Righteous art thou, O Lord, and just are thy judgments.” As the poor publican, Luke xviii. 13. “Lord have mercy upon me a miserable sinner.” To put confidence and have an assured hope in him, as Job had, xiii. 15. “Though he kill me I will trust In him:” Ure, seca, occide O Domine, (saith Austin) modo serves animam, kill, cut in pieces, burn my body (O Lord) to save my soul. A small sickness; one lash of affliction, a little misery, many times will more humiliate a man, sooner convert, bring him home to know himself, than all those paraenetical discourses, the whole theory of philosophy, law, physic, and divinity, or a world of instances and examples. So that this, which they take to be such an insupportable plague, is an evident sign of God's mercy and justice, of His love and goodness: periissent nisi periissent, had they not thus been undone, they had finally been undone. Many a carnal man is lulled asleep in perverse security, foolish presumption, is stupefied in his sins, and hath no feeling at all of them: “I have sinned” (he saith) “and what evil shall come unto me,” Eccles. v. 4, and “Tush, how shall God know it?” and so in a reprobate sense goes down to hell. But here, Cynthius aurem vellit, God pulls them by the ear, by affliction, he will bring them to heaven and happiness; “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted,” Matt. v. 4, a blessed and a happy state, if considered aright, it is, to be so troubled. “It is good for me that I have been afflicted,” Psal. cxix. “before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Thy word.” “Tribulation works patience, patience hope,” Rom. v. 4, and by such like crosses and calamities we are driven from the stake of security. So that affliction is a school or academy, wherein the best scholars are prepared to the commencements of the Deity. And though it be most troublesome and grievous for the time, yet know this, it comes by God's permission and providence; He is a spectator of thy groans and tears, still present with thee, the very hairs of thy head are numbered, not one of them can fall to the ground without the express will of God: he will not suffer thee to be tempted above measure, he corrects us all, 6809numero, pondere, et mensura, the Lord will not quench the smoking flax, or break the bruised reed, Tentat (saith Austin) non ut obruat, sed ut coronet he suffers thee to be tempted for thy good. And as a mother doth handle her child sick and weak, not reject it, but with all tenderness observe and keep it, so doth God by us, not forsake us in our miseries, or relinquish us for our imperfections, but with all pity and compassion support and receive us; whom he loves, he loves to the end. Rom. viii. “Whom He hath elected, those He hath called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.” Think not then thou hast lost the Spirit, that thou art forsaken of God, be not overcome with heaviness of heart, but as David said, “I will not fear though I walk in the shadows of death.” We must all go, non a deliciis ad delicias, 6810but from the cross to the crown, by hell to heaven, as the old Romans put Virtue's temple in the way to that of Honour; we must endure sorrow and misery in this life. 'Tis no new thing this, God's best servants and dearest children have been so visited and tried. Christ in the garden cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” His son by nature, as thou art by adoption and grace. Job, in his anguish, said, “The arrows of the Almighty God were in him,” Job vi. 4. “His terrors fought against him, the venom drank up his spirit,” cap. xiii. 26. He saith, “God was his enemy, writ bitter things against him” (xvi. 9.) “hated him.” His heavy wrath had so seized on his soul. David complains, “his eyes were eaten up, sunk into his head,” Ps. vi. 7, “his moisture became as the drought in summer, his flesh was consumed, his bones vexed:” yet neither Job nor David did finally despair. Job would not leave his hold, but still trust in Him, acknowledging Him to be his good God. “The Lord gives, the Lord takes, blessed be the name of the Lord,” Job. i. 21. “Behold I am vile, I abhor myself, repent in dust and ashes,” Job xxxix. 37. David humbled himself, Psal. xxxi. and upon his confession received mercy. Faith, hope, repentance, are the sovereign cures and remedies, the sole comforts in this case; confess, humble thyself, repent, it is sufficient. Quod purpura non potest, saccus potest, saith Chrysostom; the king of Nineveh's sackcloth and ashes “did that which his purple robes and crown could not effect;” Quod diadema non potuit, cinis perfecit. Turn to Him, he will turn to thee; the Lord is near those that are of a contrite heart, and will save such as be afflicted in spirit, Ps. xxxiv. 18. “He came to the lost sheep of Israel,” Matt. xv. 14. Si cadentem intuetur, clementiae manum protendit, He is at all times ready to assist. Nunquam spernit Deus Poenitentiam si sincere et simpliciter offeratur, He never rejects a penitent sinner, though he have come to the full height of iniquity, wallowed and delighted in sin; yet if he will forsake his former ways, libenter amplexatur, He will receive him. Parcam huic homini, saith 6811Austin, (ex persona Dei) quia sibi ipsi non pepercit; ignoscam quia peccatum agnovit. I will spare him because he hath not spared himself; I will pardon him because he doth acknowledge his offence: let it be never so enormous a sin, “His grace is sufficient,” 2 Cor. xii. 9. Despair not then, faint not at all, be not dejected, but rely on God, call on him an thy trouble, and he will hear thee, he will assist, help, and deliver thee: “Draw near to Him, he will draw near to thee,” James iv. 8. Lazarus was poor and full of boils, and yet still he relied upon God, Abraham did hope beyond hope.
Thou exceptest, these were chief men, divine spirits, Deo cari, beloved of God, especially respected; but I am a contemptible and forlorn wretch, forsaken of God, and left to the merciless fury of evil spirits. I cannot hope, pray, repent, &c. How often shall I say it? thou mayst perform all those duties, Christian offices, and be restored in good time. A sick man loseth his appetite, strength and ability, his disease prevaileth so far, that all his faculties are spent, hand and foot perform not their duties, his eyes are dim, hearing dull, tongue distastes things of pleasant relish, yet nature lies hid, recovereth again, and expelleth all those feculent matters by vomit, sweat, or some such like evacuations. Thou art spiritually sick, thine heart is heavy, thy mind distressed, thou mayst happily recover again, expel those dismal passions of fear and grief; God did not suffer thee to be tempted above measure; whom he loves (I say) he loves to the end; hope the best. David in his misery prayed to the Lord, remembering how he had formerly dealt with him; and with that meditation of God's mercy confirmed his faith, and pacified his own tumultuous heart in his greatest agony. “O my soul, why art thou so disquieted within me,” &c. Thy soul is eclipsed for a time, I yield, as the sun is shadowed by a cloud; no doubt but those gracious beams of God's mercy will shine upon thee again, as they have formerly done: those embers of faith, hope and repentance, now buried in ashes, will flame out afresh, and be fully revived. Want of faith, no feeling of grace for the present, are not fit directions; we must live by faith, not by feeling; 'tis the beginning of grace to wish for grace: we must expect and tarry. David, a man after God's own heart, was so troubled himself; “Awake, why sleepest thou? O Lord, arise, cast me not off; wherefore hidest thou thy face, and forgettest mine affliction and oppression? My soul is bowed down to the dust. Arise, redeem us,” &c., Ps. xliv. 22. He prayed long before he was heard, expectans expectavit; endured much before he was relieved. Psal. lxix. 3, he complains, “I am weary of crying, and my throat is dry, mine eyes fail, whilst I wait on the Lord;” and yet he perseveres. Be not dismayed, thou shalt be respected at last. God often works by contrarieties, he first kills and then makes alive, he woundeth first and then healeth, he makes man sow in tears that he may reap in joy; 'tis God's method: he that is so visited, must with patience endure and rest satisfied for the present. The paschal lamb was eaten with sour herbs; we shall feel no sweetness of His blood, till we first feel the smart of our sins. Thy pains are great, intolerable for the time; thou art destitute of grace and comfort, stay the Lord's leisure, he will not (I say) suffer thee to be tempted above that thou art able to bear, 1 Cor. x. 13. but will give an issue to temptation. He works all for the best to them that love God, Rom. viii. 28. Doubt not of thine election, it is an immutable decree; a mark never to be defaced: you have been otherwise, you may and shall be. And for your present affliction, hope the best, it will shortly end. “He is present with his servants in their affliction,” Ps. xci. 15. “Great are the troubles of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth them out of all,” Ps. xxxiv. 19. “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh in us an eternal weight of glory,” 2. Cor. iv. 18. “Not answerable to that glory which is to come; though now in heaviness,” saith 1 Pet. i. 6, “you shall rejoice.”
Now last of all to those external impediments, terrible objects, which they hear and see many times, devils, bugbears, and mormeluches, noisome smells, &c. These may come, as I have formerly declared in my precedent discourse of the Symptoms of Melancholy, from inward causes; as a concave glass reflects solid bodies, a troubled brain for want of sleep, nutriment, and by reason of that agitation of spirits to which Hercules de Saxonia attributes all symptoms almost, may reflect and show prodigious shapes, as our vain fear and crazed phantasy shall suggest and feign, as many silly weak women and children in the dark, sick folks, and frantic for want of repast and sleep, suppose they see that they see not: many times such terriculaments may proceed from natural causes, and all other senses may be deluded. Besides, as I have said, this humour is balneum diaboli, the devil's bath, by reason of the distemper of humours, and infirm organs in us: he may so possess us inwardly to molest us, as he did Saul and others, by God's permission: he is prince of the air, and can transform himself into several shapes, delude all our senses for a time, but his power is determined, he may terrify us, but not hurt; God hath given “His angels charge over us, He is a wall round about his people,” Psal. xci. 11, 12. There be those that prescribe physic in such cases, 'tis God's instrument and not unfit. The devil works by mediation of humours, and mixed diseases must have mixed remedies. Levinus Lemnius cap. 57 & 58, exhort. ad vit. ep. instit. is very copious on this subject, besides that chief remedy of confidence in God, prayer, hearty repentance, &c., of which for your comfort and instruction, read Lavater de spectris part. 3. cap. 5. and 6. Wierus de praestigiis daemonum lib. 5. to Philip Melancthon, and others, and that Christian armour which Paul prescribes; he sets down certain amulets, herbs, and precious stones, which have marvellous virtues all, profligandis daemonibus, to drive away devils and their illusions. Sapphires, chrysolites, carbuncles, &c. Quae mira virtute pollent ad lemures, stryges, incubos, genios aereos arcendos, si veterum monumentis habenda fides. Of herbs, he reckons us pennyroyal, rue, mint, angelica, peony: Rich. Argentine de praestigiis daemonum, cap. 20, adds, hypericon or St. John's wort, perforata herba, which by a divine virtue drives away devils, and is therefore fuga daemonum: all which rightly used by their suffitus, Daemonum vexationibus obsistunt, afflictas mentes a daemonibus relevant, et venenatis Jiimis, expel devils themselves, and all devilish illusions. Anthony Musa, the Emperor Augustus, his physician, cap. 6, de Betonia, approves of betony to this purpose; 6812the ancients used therefore to plant it in churchyards, because it was held to be an holy herb and good against fearful visions, did secure such places as it grew in, and sanctified those persons that carried it about them. Idem fere Mathiolus in dioscoridem. Others commend accurate music, so Saul was helped by David's harp. Fires to be made in such rooms where spirits haunt, good store of lights to be set up, odours, perfumes, and suffumigations, as the angel taught Tobias, of brimstone and bitumen, thus, myrrh, briony root, with many such simples which Wecker hath collected, lib. 15, de secretis, cap. 15. ♃ sulphuris drachmam unam, recoquatur in vitis albae, aqua, ut dilutius sit sulphur; detur aegro: nam daemones sunt morbi (saith Rich. Argentine, lib. de praestigiis daemonum, cap. ult.) Vigetus hath a far larger receipt to this purpose, which the said Wecker cites out of Wierus, ♃ sulphuris, vini, bituminis, opoponacis, galbani, castorei, &c. Why sweet perfumes, fires and so many lights should be used in such places, Ernestus Burgravius Lucerna vitae, et mortis, and Fortunius Lycetus assigns this cause, quod his boni genii provocentur, mali arceaniur; “because good spirits are well pleased with, but evil abhor them!” And therefore those old Gentiles, present Mahometans, and Papists have continual lamps burning in their churches all day and all night, lights at funerals and in their graves; lucernae ardentes ex auro liquefacto for many ages to endure (saith Lazius), ne daemones corpus laedant; lights ever burning as those vestal virgins. Pythonissae maintained heretofore, with many such, of which read Tostatus in 2 Reg. cap. 6. quaest. 43, Thyreus, cap. 57, 58, 62, &c. de locis infestis, Pictorius Isagog. de daemonibus, &c., see more in them. Cardan would have the party affected wink altogether in such a case, if he see aught that offends him, or cut the air with a sword in such places they walk and abide; gladiis enim et lanceis terrentur, shoot a pistol at them, for being aerial bodies (as Caelius Rhodiginus, lib. 1. cap. 29. Tertullian, Origen, Psellas, and many hold), if stroken, they feel pain. Papists commonly enjoin and apply crosses, holy water, sanctified beads, amulets, music, ringing of bells, for to that end are they consecrated, and by them baptised, characters, counterfeit relics, so many masses, peregrinations, oblations, adjurations, and what not? Alexander Albertinus a, Rocha, Petrus Thyreus, and Hieronymus Mengus, with many other pontificial writers, prescribe and set down several forms of exorcisms, as well to houses possessed with devils, as to demoniacal persons; but I am of 6813Lemnius's mind, 'tis but damnosa adjuratio, aut potius ludificatio, a mere mockery, a counterfeit charm, to no purpose, they are fopperies and fictions, as that absurd 6814story is amongst the rest, of a penitent woman seduced by a magician in France, at St. Bawne, exorcised by Domphius, Michaelis, and a company of circumventing friars. If any man (saith Lemnius) will attempt such a thing, without all those juggling circumstances, astrological elections of time, place, prodigious habits, fustian, big, sesquipedal words, spells, crosses, characters, which exorcists ordinarily use, let him follow the example of Peter and John, that without any ambitious swelling terms, cured a lame man. Acts iii. “In the name of Christ Jesus rise and walk.” His name alone is the best and only charm against all such diabolical illusions, so doth Origen advise: and so Chrysostom, Haec erit tibi baculus, haec turris inexpugnabilis, haec armatura. Nos quid ad haec dicemus, plures fortasse expectabunt, saith St. Austin. Many men will desire my counsel and opinion what is to be done in this behalf; I can say no more, quam ut vera fide, quae per dilectionem operatur, ad Deum unum fugiamus, let them fly to God alone for help. Athanasius in his book, De variis quaest. prescribes as a present charm against devils, the beginning of the lxvii. Psalm. Exurgat Deus, dissipentur inimici, &c. But the best remedy is to fly to God, to call on him, hope, pray, trust, rely on him, to commit ourselves wholly to him. What the practice of the primitive church was in this behalf, Et quis daemonia ejiciendi modus, read Wierus at large, lib. 5. de Cura. Lam. meles. cap. 38. et deinceps.
Last of all: if the party affected shall certainly know this malady to have proceeded from too much fasting, meditation, precise life, contemplation of God's judgments (for the devil deceives many by such means), in that other extreme he circumvents melancholy itself, reading some books, treatises, hearing rigid preachers, &c. If he shall perceive that it hath begun first from some great loss, grievous accident, disaster, seeing others in like case, or any such terrible object, let him speedily remove the cause, which to the cure of this disease Navarras so much commends, 6815avertat cogitationem a re scrupulosa, by all opposite means, art, and industry, let him laxare animum, by all honest recreations, “refresh and recreate his distressed soul;” let him direct his thoughts, by himself and other of his friends. Let him read no more such tracts or subjects, hear no more such fearful tones, avoid such companies, and by all means open himself, submit himself to the advice of good physicians and divines, which is contraventio scrupulorum, as 6816he calls it, hear them speak to whom the Lord hath given the tongue of the learned, to be able to minister a word to him that is weary, 6817whose words are as flagons of wine. Let him not be obstinate, headstrong, peevish, wilful, self-conceited (as in this malady they are), but give ear to good advice, be ruled and persuaded; and no doubt but such good counsel may prove as preposterous to his soul, as the angel was to Peter, that opened the iron gates, loosed his bands, brought him out of prison, and delivered him from bodily thraldom; they may ease his afflicted mind, relieve his wounded soul, and take him out of the jaws of hell itself. I can say no more, or give better advice to such as are any way distressed in this kind, than what I have given and said. Only take this for a corollary and conclusion, as thou tenderest thine own welfare in this, and all other melancholy, thy good health of body and mind, observe this short precept, give not way to solitariness and idleness. “Be not solitary, be not idle.”
SPERATE MISERI— UNHAPPY HOPE.
CAVETE FELICES— HAPPY BE CAUTIOUS.
Vis a dubio liberari? vis quod incertum est evadere? Age poenitentiam dum sanus es; sic agens, dico tibi quod securus es, quod poenitentiam egisti eo tempore quo peccare potuisti. Austin. “Do you wish to be freed from doubts? do you desire to escape uncertainty? Be penitent whilst rational: by so doing I assert that you are safe, because you have devoted that time to penitence in which you might have been guilty of sin.”
6754. John Major vitis patrum: quidam negavit Christum, per Chirographum post restitutus.
6755. Trincavelius lib. 3.
6756. My brother, George Burton, M. James Whitehall, rector of Checkley, in Staffordshire, my quondam chamber-fellow, and late fellow student in Christ Church, Oxon.
6757. Scio quam vana sit et inefficax humanorum verborum penes afflictos consolatio, nisi verbum Dei audiatur, a quo vita, refrigeratio, solatium, poenitentia.
6758. Antid. adversus desperationem.
6759. Tom. 2. c. 27. num. 282.
6760. Aversio cogitationis a re scrupulosa, contraventio scrupulorum.
6761. Magnam injuriam Deo facit qui diffidit de ejus misericordia.
6762. Bonitas invicti non vincitur; infiniti misericordia non finitur.
6763. Hom. 3. De poenitentia: Tua quidem malitia mensuram habet. Dei autem misericordia mensuram non habet. Tua malitia circumscripta est, &c. Pelagus etsi magnum mensuram habet; dei autem, &c.
6764. Non ut desidiores vos faciam, sed ut alacriores reddam.
6765. Pro peccatis veniam poscere, et mala de novo iterare.
6766. Si bis, si ter, si centies, si centies millies, toties poenitentiam age.
6767. Conscientia mea meruit damnationem, poenitentia non sufficit ad satisfactionem: sed tua misericordia superat omnem offensionem.
6768. Multo efficacior Christi mors in bonum, quam peccata nostra in malum. Christus potentior ad salvandum, quam daemon ad perdendum.
6769. Peritus medicus potest omnes infirmitates sanare; si misericors, vult.
6770. Omnipotenti medico nullus languor insanabilis occurrit: tu tantum doceri te sine, manum ejus ne repelle: novit quid agat; non tantum delecteris cum fovet, sed toleres quum secat.
6771. Chrys. hom. 3. de poenit.
6772. Spes salutis per quam peccatores salvantur, Deus ad misericordiam provocatur. Isidor. omnia ligata tu solvis, contrita sanas, confusa lucidas, desperata animas.
6773. Chrys. hom 5. non fornicatorem abnuit, non ebrium avertit, non superbum repellit, non aversatur Idololatram, non adulterum, sed omnes suscipit, omnibus communicat.
6774. Chrys. hom. 5.
6775. Qui turpibus cantilenis aliquando inquinavit os, divinis hymnis animum purgabit.
6776. Hom. 5. Introivit hic quis accipiter, columba exit; introivit lupus, ovis egreditur, &c.
6777. Omnes languores sanat, caecis visum, claudis gressum, gratiam confert, &c.
6778. Seneca. “He who repents of his sins is well nigh innocent.”
6779. Delectatur Deus conversione peccatoris; omne tempus vitae conversioni deputatur; pro praesentibus habentur tam praeterita quam futura.
6780. Austin. Semper poenitentiae portus apertus est ne desperemus.
6781. Quicquid feceris, quantumcunque peccaveris, adhuc in vita es, unde te omnino si sanare te nollet Deus, auferret; parcendo clamat ut redeas, &c.
6782. Matt. vi. 23.
6783. Rev. xxi. 6.
6784. Abernethy, Perkins.
6785. Non est poenitentia, sed Dei misericordia annexa.
6786. Caecilius Minutio, Omnia ista figmenta mala sanae religionis, et inepta solatia a poetis inventa, vel ab aliis ob commodum, superstitiosa misteria, &c.
6787. These temptations and objections are well answered in John Downam's Christian Warfare.
6789. “Licinus lies in a marble tomb, but Cato in a mean one; Pomponius has none, who can think therefore that there are Gods?”
6790. Vid. Campanella cap. 6. Atheis. triumphal, et c. 2. ad argumentum 12. ubi plura. Si Deus bonus unde colum, &c.
6791. Lucan. “It can't be true that Just Jove reigns.”
6793. Hemingius. Nemo peccat in spiritum sanctum nisi qui finaliter et voluntarie renunciat Christum, eumque et ejus verbum extreme contemnit, sine qua nulla salus; a quo peccato liberet nos Dominus Jesus Christus. Amen.
6795. See whole books of these arguments.
6796. Lib. 3. fol. 122. Praejudicata opinio, invida, maligna, et apta ad impellendos animos in desperationem.
6797. See the Antidote in Chamier's tom. 3. lib. 7. Downam's Christian Warfare, &c.
6798. Potentior est Deo diabolus et mundi princeps, et in multitudine hominum sita est majestas.
6799. Homicida qui non subvenit quum potest; hoc de Deo sine scelere cogitari non potest, utpote quum quod vult licet. Boni natura communicari. Bonus Deus, quomodo misericordiae, pater, &c.
6800. Vide Cyrillum lib. 4. adversus Julianum, qui poterimus illi gratias agere qui nobis non misit Mosen et prophetas, et contempsit boni amimarum nostrarum.
6801. Venia danda est iis qui non audiunt ob ignoratiam. Non est tam iniquus Judex Deus: ut quenquam indicia causa damnare velit. Ii solum damnantur, qui oblatam Christi gratium rejiciunt.
6802. Busbequius Lonicerus, Tur. hist. To. 1 l. 2.
6803. Olem. Alex.
6804. Paulus Jovius Elog. vir. Illust.
6805. Non homines sed et ipsi daemones aliquando servandi.
6806. Vid Pelsii Harmoniam art. 22. p. 2.
6807. Epist. Erasmi de utilitate colloquior. ad lectorem. — Let whoever wishes dispute, I think the laws of our forefathers should be received with reverence, and religiously observed, as coming from God; neither is it safe or pious to conceive, or contrive, an injurious suspicion of the public authority; and should any tyranny, likely to drive men into the commission of wickedness, exist, it is better to endure it than to resist it by sedition.
6808. Vastata conscientia sequitur sensus irae divinae. (Hemingius) fremitus cordis, ingens animae cruciatus, &c.
6810. “Not from pleasures to pleasures.”
6811. Super Psal. lii. Convertar ad liberandum eum, quia conversus est ad peccatum suum puniendum.
6812. Antiqui soliti sunt hanc herbam ponere in coemiteriis ideo quod, &c.
6813. Non desunt nostra aetate sacrificuli, qui tale quid attentant, sed a cacodaemone irrisi pudore suffecti sunt et re infecta abicrunt.
6814. Done into English by W. B., 1613.
6815. Tom. 2. cap. 27, num. 282. “Let him avert his thoughts from the painful object.”
6817. Is. l. 4.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:48