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Summum bonum, or principall good, and all other good things for God's sake: and nature, as she proceeded from it, would have sought this fountain ; but in this infirmity of humane nature this order is disturbed, our love is currupt :" and a man is like that monster in * Plato composed of a Scylla a lyon, and a man ; we are carried away headlong with the torrent of our affeca tions: the world, and that infinite variety of pleasing ojects in it, do so allure and enamour us, that we cannot so much as look towards God, seek him, or think on him as we should : we cannot, saith Austin, Rempub. cælestem cogitare, we cannot contain our selves from them, their sweetness is so pleasing to us. Marriage, saith y Gualter, detains many; " a thing in it self laudable, good and necessary, but many, deceived and carried away with the blind love of it, have quite laid aside the love of God, and desire of his glory. Meat and drink hath overcome as many, whilest they rather strive to please, satisfie their guts and belly, then to serve God and nature.” Some are so busied about merchandise to get mony, they loose their own souls, whilest covetously carried, and with an unsatiable desire of gain, they forget God; as much we may say of honour, leagues, friendships, health, wealth, and all other profits or plea. sures in this life, whatsoever. «? In this world there be so many beautiful objects, splendors and brightness of gold, majesty of glory, assistance of friends, fair promises, smooth words, victories, triumphs, and such an infinite company of pleasing beauties to 'allure us, and draw us from God, that we cannot look after himn.” And this is it which Christ himself, those Prophets and Apostles so much thundred against, 1 John 17. 15. dehort us from ; “ Love not the world, nor the things that are in the world : if any inan love the world, the love of the father is not in him, 16. For all that is in the World, as lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and pride of life, is nut of the Father, but of the world: and the world passeth away and the lust thereof; but he that fulfilled the will of God abideth for ever. No man, saith our Saviour, can serve two masters, but he must love the one and hate the other, &c." bonos vel malos mores, boni vil mali faciunt amores, Austin well infers : and this is that which all the fatherz inculcate. He cannot (e Austin adinonisheth) bee God's friend, that is delighted with the pleasures of the world: “ make clean thine heart, purifie thine
* 9. de Repub. Hom. 9. in epist. Johannis cap. 2. Multos conjugium decepit, res alioqui salutaris & necessaria, co quod cæco ejus amorc decepti, divini amoris & gloriæ studium in universum abjccerunt ; plurimos cibus & poius perdit. : In mundo splendor opum, gloriæ majestas, amicitiarum præsidia, verborum blanditiæ, voluptatum omnis generis illecebræ, victoria, triumphi, & infinita alia ab amore dei nos abstrabunt, &c. In Psal. 32. Dei amicus esse non potest qui mundi studiis delectatur ; ut hanc, formam videa mwnda cor, serena cor, &c.
heart; if thou wilt see this beauty, prepare thy self for it. It is the eye of contemplation by which we must behold it, the wing of meditation which lifts us up and rears our souls with the motion of our hearts, and sweetness of contemplation :” so saith Gregory cited by Bonaventure. And as · Philo Judæus seconds hiin," He that loves God, will soare aloft and take him wings; and leaving the earth fye up to Heaven, wander with Suu and Moon, Stars, and that heavenly troop, God himself being his guide.” If we desire to see him, we must lay aside all vain objects, which detain us and dazel our eyes, and as • Ficinus adviseth us, “ get us solar eyes, spectacles as they that look on the Sun: to see this divine beauty, lay aside all materia al objects, all sense, and then thou shall see him as he is.” Thou covetous wretch, as · Austin expostulates, “Why dost thou stand gaping on this dross, muck-hils, filthy excrements ? behold a far fairer object, God himself wooes thee ; behold him, enjoy hiin, he is sick for love." Cant. 5. He invites thee to his sight, to come into his fair Garden, to eat and drink with him, to be merry with himn, to enjoy his presence for ever. * Wisdome cryés out in the streets besides the gates, in the top of high places, before the city, at the entry of the door, and bids thein give ear to her instruction, which is better then gold or precious stones; no pleasures can be compared to it: leave all then and follow her, vos exhortor ő amici & obsecro. In * Ficinus' words, I exhort and beseech you, “ that you would embrace and follow this divine love with all your hearts and abilities, by all offices and endeavours make this so loving God propitious unto you." For whom alone, saith. Plotinus, “We must forsake the Kingdomes and Empires of the whole earth, Sea, Land, and Aire, if we desire to be ingrafted into hiin, leave all and follow him.
Now forasmuch as this love of God, is an habit infused of God, as Thomas holds, 1. 2. quæst. 23. “ by which a man is inclined to love God above all, and his neighbour as himself,” We must pray to God that he will open our eyes,
Contemplationis pluma nos sublevat, atque inde erigimur intentione cordis,. dulcedine contemplationis distinct. 6. de 7. Itineribus. c Lib. de victimis : amans Deum, sublimia petit, sumplis alis & in cælum rectè volat, relicta terra, cupidus aberrandi cum sole, luna, stellarumque sacra militia, ipso Deo duce. In com. Plat. cap. 7. ut Solem videas oculis, fieri debes solaris : ut divinam aspicias pulchritudinem, demitte materiam, demitte sensum, & Deum qualis sit videbis. • Avare, quid inhias his, &c. pulchrior est qui tc ambit ipsum visurus, ipsum habiturus. * Prov, 8. i Cap 18. Rom. Amorem hunc divinuin totis viribus amplexamini; Deum vobis omni officiorum genere propitium facite. Cap. 7. de pulchritudine regna et imperia totius terræ & maris & cæli oportet abjicere si ad ipsum conversus velis inseri.
Habitus à Deo ipfusus, per quem inclinatur homo ad diligendum Deum super omnia,
make clear our hearts, that we may be capable of his glorious rayes, and performe those duties that he requires of us, Deut, 6. and Jos. 23. “ To love God above all, and our neighbour as our self, to keep his commandments. In this we know, saith John, c. 5, 2. we love the children of God, when we love God and keep his commandments.” This is the love of God that we keep his commandinents; he that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love, cap. 4. 8. and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him ;" for love presupposeth knowledge, faith, hope, and unites us to God himself, as i Leon Hebreus delivereth unto us, and is accompanied with the fear of God, humility, meekness, patience, all those vertues, and charity it self. For if we love God, we shall love our neighbour, and performe the duties which are required at our hands, to which we are exhorted, 1 Cor. 15. 4. 5. Ephes. 4. Coloss. 3. Rom. 12. We shall not be envious or puffed up, or boast, disdain, think evil, or be provoked to anger, but suffer all things ; " Endeavour to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.” Forbear one another, forgive one another, cloath the naked, visit the sick, and perform all those works of mercy, which * Clemens Alexandrinus cals amoris & amicitiæ impletionem & extentionem, the extent and conplement of Love; and that not for fear or worldly respects, but ordine ad Deum, for the love of God himself. This we shall do if we be truly enamoured ; but we come short in both, we neither love God nor our neighbour as we should. Our love in spiritual things is too “ ' defective, in worldly things too excessive, there is a jarre in both. We love the world too much; God too little ; our neighbour not at all, or for own ends.
: Vulgus amicitias utilitate probat." The cheif thing we respect is our commodity: and what we do is for fear of worldly punishment, for vain glory, praise of men, fashion, and such by-respects, not for God's sake. We neither know God aright, nor seek, love or worship him as we should. And for these defects, we involve our selves, into a multitude of errours, we swerve from this true love and wore ship of God: which is a cause unto us of unspeakable miseries; running into both extremes, we become fools, madmen, without sense, as now in the next place I will shew you.
The parties affected are innumerable almost, and scattered over the face of the earth, far and neer, and so have been in all
" Dial. s. Omnia convertit amor in ipsius pulchri naturam. lib. 2. Greenham
precedent precedent ages, from the beginning of the world to these times, of all sorts and conditions. For method's sake I will reduce them to a twofold division, according to those too extreams of Excess and Defect, Impiety and Superstition, Idolatry and Atheisme. Not that there is any excess of divine worship or love of God; that cannot be, we cannot love God too much, or do our duty as we ought, as Papists hold, or have any perfection in this life, much less supererogate; when we have all done, we are unprofitable servants. But because we do aliud agere, zealous without knowledge, and too solicitous about that which is not necessary, busying our selves about impertinent, needless, idle, and vain ceremonies, populo ut placerent, as the Jews did about sacrifices, oblations, offerings, incense, new Moons, feasts, &c. but Isay taxeth them 1, 12. “ Who required this at your hands ?” We have too great opinion of our own worth, that we can satisfie the Law; and do more then is required at our hands, by performing those Evangelical Counsels, and such works of supererogation, merit for others, which Bellarmine, Gregory de Valentia, all their Jesuites and champions defend, that if God should deal in rigour with them, some of their Franciscans and Dominicans are so pure, that no. thing could be objected to them. Some of us again are too dear, as we think, more divine and sanctified then others, of a better mettle, greater gifts, and with that proud Pharisee contemn others in respect of our selves, we are better Christians, better learned, choice spirits, inspired, know more, have special revelation, perceive God's secrets, and thereupon presume, say and do that many times which is not befitting to be said or done. Of this number are all superstitious Idolaters, Ethnicks, Ma. hometans, Jews, Heretiques, m Enthusiasts, Divinators, Prophets,.. Sectaries, and Scismatiques. Zanchius reduceth such Infidels to four chief sects; but I will insist and follow mine own intended method : all which with inany other curious persons, Monks, Heremits, &c. may be ranged in this extream, and fight under this superstitious banner, with those rude Idiots, and infinite swarins of people that are seduced by them. In the other extream or in defect, march those impious Epicures, Libertines, Atheists, Hypocrites, Infidels, worldly, secure, impenitent, unthankful, and carnal minded inen, that attribute all to natural causes, that will acknowledge no supream power; that have cauterized consciences, or live in a reprobate sense; or such desperate persons as are too distrustful of his mercies, Of these there be many subdivisions, divers degrees of madness
and folly, some more than other, as shall be shewed in the Symptomes : And yet all miserably out, perplexed, deting, and besides themselves for religion's sake. For as a Zanchy well distinguished, and all the world knows, Religion is twofold, true or false; False is that vain superstition of Idolaters, such as were of old, Greeks, Romans, present Mahometans, &c. Timorem deorum inanem, • Tully could terme it ; or as Zanchy defines it, Ubi falsi dii, aui falso cultu colitur Deus, when false gods, or that God is falsely worshipped. And 'tis a miserable plague, a torture of the Soul, a meer madness, Religiosa insania, P Meteran cals it, or insanus error, as 9 Seneca, a frantick error; or as Austin, Insanus animi morbus, a furious disease of the Soul; insania omnium insanissima, a quintessence of madness ; * for he that is superstitious, can never be quiet. 'Tis proper to man alone, uni superbia, avaritia, superstitio, saith Plin. lib. 7. cap. 1. atq; etiam post sævit de futuro, which wrings his soul for the present, and to come: the greatest miserie belongs to mankinde, a perpetual servitude, a slavery, 'Ex timore timor, an heavie yoak, the seal of damnation, an intolerable burthen. They that are superstitious, are still fearing, suspecting, vexing themselves with auguries, prodigies, false tales, dreams, idle, vain works, unprofitable labours, as - Boterus observes, curá mentis ancipite versantur: Enemies to God and to themselves. In a word, as Seneca concludes, Religio Deum colit, superstitio destruit, superstition destroyes, but true Religion honours God. True Religion, ubi verus Deus verè colitur, where the true God is truely worshipped, is the way to Heaven, the mother of vertues, Love, Fear, Devotion, Obedience, Knowledge, &c. It rears the dejected Soul of man, and anidst so many cares, miseries, persecutions, which this worldaffords, it is a sole ease, an unspeakable comfort, a sweet reposal, Jugur suave, & leve, a light yoke, an anchor, and an Haven. It addes courage, boldness, and begets generous spirits : although tyrants rage, persecute, and that bloudy Dictor or Serjeant be ready to martyr them, aut lita, aut morere, (as in those perse. cutions of the primitive Church, it was put in practise, as you may read in Eusebius and others) though enemies be now ready to invade, and all in an uproare, Si fractus illabatur orbis, impavidos ferient ruinæ, though heaven should fall on his head, he would not be dismaid. But as a good Christian prince once made answer to a menacing Turke, facilè scele.
De relig. 1. 2. Thes. 1. • 2 De nat, deorum. Hist. Belgic. lib. 8. Superstitio error insanus est. epist. 223. * Nam qui superstitione imbutus est, quietus esse nunquam potest. Greg. • Polic. lib. 1. cap. 13. Hor.