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case of their refusal : which punishment (as is testified by Julius Cæsar*) they accounted the most grievous imagi. nable. And it needs not be said in what part of the world the same engine hath had the same power with men, even since they obtained to be called Christian. Which, while it hath been of such force with them, who, notwithstanding, persisted in courses of the most profligate wickedness; whence could their religion, such as it was, proceed, save only from a dread of divine revenge? What else could it design (though that most vainly) but the averting it, without even altering their own vile course ?
Now let this be the account and estimate of religion; only to propitiate the Deity towards flagitious men, still remaining so; and how monstrous a notion doth it give us of God, that he is one that by such things can ever be rendered favourable to such men! Let it not be so, (while you sever its true and proper end also,) how most despicably inept and foolish a thing doth it make religion! A compages and frame of merely scenical observances and actions, intended to no end at all.
In a word, their religion is nothing but foolery, which is not taken up and prosecuted with a sincere aim to the bettering their spirits; the making them holy, peaceful, meek, humble, merciful, studious of doing good, and the y composing them into temples, some way meet for the residence of the blessed God; with design and expectation to have his intimate, vital presence, settled and made permanent there.
The materials and preparation of which temple are no where entirely contained and directed, but in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: as, hereafter, we may with divine assistance labour to evince. The greater is the ignominy done to the temple of God, and the Christian name, by only titular and nick-named Christianity. Will they pretend themselves the temple of God, partakers in the high privilege and dignity of the Emmanuel, (in whom most eminently the Deity inhabiteth,) who are discernibly, to all that know them, as great strangers to God, and of a temper of spirit as disagreeing to him, of as worldly spirits, as unmortified passions, as proud, wrathful, vain-glorious, envious, morose, merciless, disinclined to do good, as any other men ? When God cleanses his house, and purges his floor, where will these be found ?
And for this temple itself, it is a structure whereto there is a concurrence of truth and holiness; the former letting in (it were otherwise a darksome, disorderly, uncomfortable house) a vital, directive, formative light, to a heavenly, calm, God-like frame of spirit, composed and made up of the latter.
It is this temple, my Lord, which I would invite you both to continue your respect unto in others, and, more and more, to prepare and beautify in yourself.
You will find little, in this part, offered to your view, more than only its vestibulum, or rather a very plain (if not rude) frontispiece; with the more principal pillars that must support the whole frame. Nor, whereas (by, way of introduction to the discourse of this temple, and as most fundamental to the being of it) the existence of the great Inhabitant is so largely insisted on, that I think that altogether a needless labour. Of all the sects and parties in the world, (though there are few that avow it, and fewer, if any, that are so, by any formed judgment, unshaken by a suspicion and dread of the contrary,) that of atheists we have reason enough to suppose the most numerous, as having diffused and spread itself through all the rest. And though, with the most, under disguise, yet uncovering, with too many, its ugly face: and scarce ever more than in our own days. Wherefore, though it hath never been in any age more strongly impugned; yet, because the opposition can never be too common, to so common an enemy, this additional endeavour may prove not wholly out of season. And the Epicurean atheist is chiefly designed against in this discourse; that being the atheism most in fashion.
Nor is any thing more pertinent to the design of the discourse intended concerning God's temple; which, importing worship to be done to him, requires, first, a belief that he is.
And surely the [E7] inscribed of old, as Plutarch tells us, on the Delphic Temple; signifying, (as, after divers other conjectures, he concludes it to do,) Thou dost exist, is an inscription much more fitly sei in view, at our entrance into the temple of the living God, whose name is, I AM.
Amidst the pleasant entertainments of which temple, (made more intimate to you than human discourse can make it,) may you spend many happy days in this world, as a preparative and introduction to a happier eternity in the other. Whereto he is under many and deep obligations, by any means, to contribute to his uttermost, who must (especially in the offices relating to this temple) profess himself,
My honoured Lord,
• Comment. lib. 6.
CONCERNING GOD'S EXISTENCE, AND HIS CONVERSABLENESS WITH MAN.
THIS XOTION COMMON. AUTHORITIES NEEDLESS. INSIGNIFICANT WITH THE ATHEISTICAL, WHO HAVE MADE IT MORE NECESSARY
TO DEFEND RELIGION, AND A TEMPLE IN GENERAL, THAN THIS, OR THAT. BETTER DEFENDED AGAINST THEM BY PRACTICE AND
I. It is so well known that this notion hath long obtained | dulge themselves in a course, upon which they find the in the world, that we need not quote sayings to avouch it; apprehension of a God, interesting himself in human wherewith not the sacred writings only, but others, even of affairs, would have a very unfavourable and threatening pagans themselves, would plentifully furnish us.
aspect. But as authorities are, in a plain case, needless to un They are therefore constrained to take great pains with prejudiced minds; so will they be useless to the prejudiced, themselves, to discipline and chastise their minds and unbe the case never so plain. Nor is any prejudice deeper, or derstandings to that tameness and patience, as contentedly less vincible, than that of profane minds against religion. to suffer the rasing out of their most natural impressions With such, it would in the present argument signify little, and sentiments. And they reckon they have arrived to to tell them what hath been said or thought before by any a very heroical perfection, when they can pass a scoff others. Not because it is their general course to be so upon any thing, that carries the least signification with it very circumspect and wary, as never to approve or assent of the fear of God; and can be able to laugh at the weak to any thing, unless upon the clearest and most convinc- and squeamish folly of those softer and effeminate minds, ing demonstration : but from their peculiar dislike of those that will trouble themselves with any thoughts or cares, things only, that are of this special import and tendency: how to please and propitiate a Deity: and doubt not but Discourse to them what you will of a temple, and it will they have made all safe, and effectually done their busibe nauseous and unsavoury: not as being cross to their ness, when they have learned to put the ignominious titles reason, (which they are as little curious to gratify as any of frenzy, and folly, upon devotion, in whatsoever dress or other sort of men,) but to their ill humour, and the dis-garb; to cry canting, to any serious mention of the name affected temper of their mind; whence also (though they of God, and break a bold adventurous jest upon any the cannot soon or easily get that mastery over their under- most sacred mysteries, or decent and awful solemnities, of standings herein, yet because they would fain have it so) religion. they do what they can to believe religion nothing else but II. These content not themselves to encounter this or the effect of timorous fancy, and a temple, consequently, one that sect, but mankind ; and reckon it too mean and inof the most idle impertinences in the world.
glorious an achievement to overturn one sort of temple To these, the discussion of the notion we have proposed or another ; but would down with them all, even to the to consider, will be thought a beating the air, an endeavour ground. to give consistency to a shadow. And if their reason and And they are bound, in reason and justice, to pardon power could as well serve their purpose as their anger the emulation which they provoke, of vying with them as and scorn, they would soon tear up the holy ground on to the universality of their design; and not to regret it, if which a temple is set, and wholly subveri the sacred they find there be any that think 'it their duty to wave a frame.
while serving the temple of this or that party, as less conI speak of such as deny the existence of the ever-blessed siderable, to defend that one wherein all men have a comDeity; or (if they are not arrived to that express and formed mon interest and concernment; since matters are brought to misbelief) whose hearts are inclined, and ready to deter- that exigency and hazard, that it seems less necessary to mine, even against their misgiving and more suspicious contend about this or that mode of religion, as whether minds, there is no God: who, if they cannot as yet there ought to be any at all. What was said of a former believe, do wish there were none; and so strongly, as in age, could never betier agree to any, than our own, “that a greai degree to prepare them for that belief. That none was ever more fruitful of religions, and barren of would fain banish him not only out of all their thoughts, religion or true piety.” It concerns us to consider, whether but the world too; and to whom it is so far from being a the fertility of those many doth not as well cause as acgrateful sound, that the tabernacle of God is with men on company a barrenness in this one. And since the iniquity earth, that they grudge to allow him a place in heaven. of the world hath made that too suitable, which were At least, if they are willing to admit the existence of any otherwise unseemly in itself, to speak of a temple as a God at all, do say to him, Depart from us; and would fortified place, whose own sacredness ought ever to have have him so confined to heaven, that he and they may been its sufficient fortification, it is time to be aware lest have nothing to do with one another: and do therefore our forgetful heat and zeal in the defence of this or that rack their impious wits to serve their hypothesis either out-work, do expose (not to say betray) the main fortress. way; that under its protection they may securely in- to assault and danger. Whilst it hath long been,
means, a neglected, forsaken thing; and is more decayed | debauch, presently to lay it fast again. So that the very by vacancy and disuse, than it could ever have been by principle fails in this sort of men, whereto, in reasoning, the most forcible battery; so as even to promise the rude we should appeal, and apply ourselves. And it were alassailant an easy victory. Who fears to insult over an most the same thing, to offer arguments to the senseless empty, dispirited, dead religion ? which alive and shining images, or forsaken carcasses of men. It belongs to the in its native glory, (as that temple doth, which is compacted grandeur of religion to neglect the impotent assaults of y of lively stones unned to the living corner stone,) bears these men: as it is a piece of glory, and bespeaks a worthy with it a magnificence and state that would check a profane person's right understanding, and just value of himself, to look, and dazzle the presumptuous eye that durst venture disdain the combat with an incompetent or a foiled enemy, to glance at it obliquely, or with disrespect. The temple it is becoming and seemly, that the grand, ancient, and i' of the living God, manifestly animated by his vital presence, received truth, which tends to, and is the reason of, the would not only dismay opposition, but command veneration godly life, do sometimes keep state; and no more descend also; and be both its own ornament and defence. Nor to perpetual, repeated janglings with every scurrilous and can it be destitute of that presence, if we ourselves render impertinent triffer, than a great and redoubied prince would it not in hospitable, and make not its proper inhabitant be think it fit to dispute the rights of his crown with a come a stranger at home. If we preserve in ourselves a drunken, distracted fool, or a madman. capacity of the divine presence, and keep the temple of Men of atheistical persuasions having abandoned their God in a posture fit to receive him, he would then no reason, need what will more powerfully strike their sensemore forsake it, than the soul a sound and healthy body, storms and whirlwinds, flames and thunderbolts; things not violated in any vital part. But if he forsake it once, not so apt immediately to work upon their understanding, it then becomes an exposed and despised thing. And as as their fear, and that will astonish, that they may convince, the most impotent, inconsiderable enemy can securely that the great God makes himself known by the judgments trample on the dead body of the greatest hero, that alive which he executes. Stripes are for the back of fools (as carried awfulness and terror in his looks; so is the weak- they are justly styled, thai say in their hearts, There is no spirited atheist become as bold now, as he was willing be- God.) But if it may be hoped any gentler method may fore, to make rude attempts upon the temple of God, when prové effectual with any of them, we are rather to expect He hath been provoked to leave it, who is its life, strength, the good effect from the steady, uniform course of their and glory.
actions and conversation, who profess reverence and devoIII. Therefore as they who will not be treacherous to the tedness to an eternal Being; and the correspondence of interest of God and man, must own an obligation and ne- their way, to their avowed principle, that acts them on cessity to apply themselves to the serious endeavour of agreeably to itself, and may also incur the sense of the restoring the life and honour of religion; so will the case beholder, and gradually invite and draw his observation; itself be found to point out to us the proper course in order than from the most severe and necessitating argumentahereto. That is, that it must rather be endeavoured by tion that exacts a sudden assent. practice, than by disputation; by contending, every one V. At least, in a matter of so clear and commanding with himself, to excite the love of God in his own breast, evidence, reasoning many times looks like trifling; and rather than with the profane adversary to kindle his anger, out of a hearty concernedness and jealousy for the honour more aiming to foment and cherish the domestic, continual of religion, one would rather it should march on with an fire of God's temple and altar, than transmit a flame into heroical neglect of bold and malapert cavillers, and only the enemies' camp. For what can this signify? And it demonstrate and recommend itself by its own vigorous, seldom fails to be the event of disputing against prejudice, comely, coherent course, than make itself cheap by dis(especially of disputing for the sum of religion at once cussing at every turn its principles : as that philosopher against the prepossession of a sensual profane temper, and who thought it the fittest way to confute the sophisms a violent inclination and resolvedness to be wicked,) 10 against motion, only by walking.. beget more wrath than conviction, and sooner to incense But we have nothing so considerable objected against the impatient wretch than enlighten him. And by how practical religion, as well to deserve the name of a sophism ; much the more cogent and enforcing reasonings are used, at least, no sophism so perplexing in the case of religious, and the less is left the confounded, baffled creatures to say, as of natural, motion ; jeers and sarcasms are the most on behalf of a cause so equally deplorate and vile; the weighty, convincing arguments; and let the deplorate more he finds himself concerned to fortify his obstinate crew mock on. There are those in the world, that will will; and supply his want of reason with resolution; to think they have, however, reason enough to persist in the find out the most expedite ways of diverting, from what way of godliness; and that have already laid the foundahe hath no mind to consider; to entertain himself with tion of that reverence which they bear to a Deity, more the most stupifying pleasures, (that must serve the same strongly than to be shaken and beaten off from it by a jest; turn that opium is wont to do in the case of broken, un- and therefore will not think it necessary to have the princiquiet sleep,) or whatsoever may most effectually serve to ples of their religion vindicated afresh, every time they are mortify any divine principle, and destroy all sense of God called to the practice of it. For surely they would be reout of his soul.
ligious upon very uncertain terms, that will think themAnd how grateful herein, and meritorious often, are the selves concerned to suspend or discontinue their course as assistant railleries of servile, and it may be mercenary, oft as they are encouniered in it with a wry mouth or a wits! How highly shall he oblige them, that can furnish distorted look; or that are apt to be put out of conceit out a libel against religion, and help them with more arti- with their religion by the laughter of a fool; or by their ficial spite to blaspheme what they cannot disprove! And cavils and taunts against the rules and principles of it, now shall the scurrilous pasquil and a few bottles, work a whom only their own sensual temper, and impatience or more effectual confutation of religion, than all the reason serious thoughts, have made willing to have them false. and argument in the world shall be able to countervail. That any indeed should commence religious, and persist This proves too often the unhappy issue of misapplying with blind zeal in this or that discriminating profession, what is most excellent in its own kind and place, to im- without ever considering why they should do so, is unproper and incapable subjects.
manly and absurd; especially when a gross ignorance of IV. And who sees not this to be the case with the the true reasons and grounds of religion shall be shadowed modern atheist, who hath been pursued with that strength over with a pretended awe and scrupulousness to inquire and vigour of argument, even in our own days, that would about things so sacred. And an inquisitive temper shall have baffled persons of any other temper than their own, have an ill character put upon it, as if rational and profane into shame and silence ? And so as no other support hath were words of the same signification. Or, as if reason been left to irreligion, than a senseless stupidity, an obstinate and judgment were utterly execrated, and an unaccountresolvedness not to consider, a faculty to stifle an argument able, enthusiastic fury, baptized and hallowed, the only with a jest, to charm their reason by sensual softnesses principle of religion. But when the matter hath uninto a dead sleep; with a strict and circumspect care that dergone already a severe inqạisition, and been searchit may never awake into any exercise above the condition ed to the bottom; principles have been examined; the of dozed and half-witted persons; or if it do, by the next I strength and firmness hath been tried of its deepest and
most fundamental grounds, and an approving judgment Yea, and may have laid this for one of its main grounds, been past in the case, and a resolution thereupon taken up, that no exercise of reason may have any place about it. of a suitable and correspondent practice; after all this, it Or perhaps having never tried, they apprehend a greater were a vain and unwarrantable curiosity, to be perpetu- difficulty in coming to a clear and certain resolution herein, ally perplexing one's easy path with new and suspicious than indeed there is. Now such need to be excited to set researches into the most acknowledged things. Nor their own thoughts a-work this way, and to be assisted were this course a little prejudicial to the design and end herein. They should therefore consider who gave them of religion, (if we will allow it any at all,) the refining the understandings which they fear to use. And can they of our minds, and the fitting us for a happy eternity: For use them to better purpose, or with more gratitude to him when shall that building be finished, the foundations who made them intelligent, and not brute creatures, than whereof must be every day toru up anew, upon pretence in labouring to know, that they may also by a reasonable of further caution, and for more diligent search? Or when service worship and adore their Maker? Åre they not to will he reach his journey's end, that is continually vexed use their very senses about the matters of religion ? For (and often occasioned to go back from whence he came) the invisible things of God, even his eternal power and by causeless anxieties about his way; and whether ever godhead, are clearly seen, &c. And their faith comes by he began a right course, yea or no ?
hearing. But what ? are these more sacred and divine, Many go securely on in a course most ignominiously and more akin to religion, than their reason and judgment, wicked and vile, without ever debating the matter with without which also their sense can be of no use to them themselves, or inquiring if there be any rational principle herein ? Or is it the best way of making use of what to justify or bear them out. Much more may they, with God has revealed of himself, by whatsoever means, not a cheerful confidence, persist in their well-chosen way, to understand what he hath revealed ? It is most true inthat have once settled their resolutions about it upon firm deed, that when we once come clearly to be informed that and assured grounds and principles, without running over God hath revealed this or that thing, we are then readily the same course of reasonings with themselves in reference to subject (and not oppose) our feeble reasonings to his to each single, devotional act; or thinking it necessary plain revelation. And it were a most insolent and unevery time they are to pray, to have it proved to them, creaturely arrogance, to contend or not yield him the cause, there is a God. And because yet many of these do need though things have to us seemed otherwise. But it were excitation; and though they are not destitute of pious sen as inexcusable negligence, not to make use of our undertiments and inclinations, and have somewhat in them of standings to the best advantage; that we may both know the ancient foundations and frame of a temple, have yet, that such a revelation is divine, and what it signifies, after by neglect, suffered it to grow into decay. It is therefore we know whence it is. And any one that considers, will the principal intendment of this discourse, not to assert the soon see it were very unseasonable, at least, 10 allege the principles of religion against those with whom they have written, divine revelation, as the ground of his religion, till no place, but to propound what may some way tend to rein- he have gone lower, and fore-known some things (by and force and strengthen them, where they visibly languish; by to be insisted on) as preparatory and fundamental to and awaken such as profess a devotedness to God, to the the knowledge of this. speedy and vigorous endeavour of repairing the ruins of And because it is obvious to suppose how great an inhis temple in their own breasts; that they may thence hold crease of strength and vigour pious minds may receive forth a visible representation of an indwelling Deity, in hence, how much it may animate them to the service of effects and actions of life worthy of such a presence, and the temple and contribute to their more cheerful progress render his enshrined glory transparent to the view and in a religious course; it will therefore not be besides our conviction of the irreligious and profane. Which hath present purpose, but very pursuant to it, to consider more of hope in it, and is likely to be to better purpose, awhile, not in the contentious way of brawling and capthan disputing with them that more know how to jest, than tious disputation, (the noise whereof is as unsuitable to the reason; and better understand the relishes of meat and temple, as that of axes and hammers,) but of calm and drink, than the strength of an argument.
sober discourse, the more principal and lowermost grounds VI. But though it would be both an ungrateful and in- upon which the frame of religion rests, and to the supposal significant labour, and as talking to the wind, to discourse whereof, the notion and use of any such thing as a temple of religion with persons that have abjured all serionsness, in the world, do owe themselves. and that cannot endure to think; and would be like fighting with a storm, 10 contend against the blasphemy and outrage of insolent mockers at whatever is sacred and divine; and were too much a debasing of religion, to retort sarcasms with men not capable of being talked with in any other than such (that is, their own) language: yet it wants
CHAPTER II. neither its use nor pleasure, lo the most composed minds, The two more principal grounds which a temple supposes. 1. The existence and that are most exempt from wavering herein, to view of God. 2 His conversableness with men: both argued from common the frame of their religion, as it aptly and even naturally
consent. The former doubtful if ever wholly denied in former days. The
latter also implied in the known general practice of some or other relirises and grows up from its very foundations; and to con gion. Evidenced in that some, no strangers to the world, have thought it template its first principles, which they may in the mean the difterence of man. The immodesty and rashness of the persons from time find no present cause or inclination to dispute. They
whom any opposition can be expected. These two grounds proposed to be
more strictly considered apart. And, first. The existence of God, where will know how to consider its most fundamental grounds, first the notion of God is assigned. The parts whereof are proposed to be
evinced severally of some existent being. 1. Etemity. 2. Self-origination. not with doubt or suspicion, but with admiration and de
3. Independency; 4. Necessity of cxistence. 5. Self-activity. (The impos light; and can with a calm and silent pleasure enjoy the sibility this world should be this necessary self-active being. The inconsistrepose and rest of a quiet and well-assured mind, rejoicing
ency of necessary alterable matter, more largely deduced in a marginal di
gression.) 6. Life. 7. Vast and mighty power. A corollary. and contented to know to themselves, (when others refuse to partake with them in this joy,) and feel all firm and stable 1. Now the grounds more necessary to be laid down, under them, whereupon either the practice or the hopes of and which are supposed in the most general notion of a ibeir religion do depend.
temple, are especially these two ? The existence of God, And there may be also many others of good and pious and his conversableness with men. For no potion of a inclinations, that have never yet applied themselves to temple can more easily occur to any one's thoughts, or consider the principal and most fundamental grounds of is more agreeable to common acceptation, than that it religion, so as to be able to give or discern any tolerable is a habitation wherein God is pleased to dwell among reason of them. For either the sluggishness of their own temper may have indisposed them to any more painful and Therefore to the designation and use of it, or (which is laborious exercise of their minds, and made ihem to be all one) to the intention and exercise of religion, the belief content with the easier course of taking every thing upon or persuasion is necessary of those two things, (the same trast, and imitating the example of others; or they have which we find made necessary on the same account,) been unhappily misinformed, that it consists not with the “That God is, and that he is a rewarder of them that dili severence due to religion, to search into the grounds of it. I gently seek him ;" Heb. xi. 6. as will appear when the
manner and design of that his abode with men shall be | own eyes and ears deceive them, and who are maimed in considered.
their very soul, an irrational and steril sort, as monstrous These are the grounds upon which the sacred frame of creatures, as a lion without courage, an ox without horns, a temple ought to stand, and without which it must be ac or a bird without wings; yet, out of those, you shall knowledged an unsupported, airy fabric. And since it understand somewhat of God; for they know and confess were vain to discourse what a temple is, or whereto the him, whether they will or no." notion of it may be applied, unless it be well resolved that III. Yea, and the use of a temple, and the exercise of there is, or ought to be, any such thing; the strength and religion, (which suppose the second ground also, as well firmness of this its double ground should be tried and as the first,) have been so very common, (though not searched, and of its pretensions thereto.
altogether equally common with the former,) that it is II. And though it be not necessary in a matter that is so the observation of that famed moralist,1 " That if one plain, and wherein so much is to be said otherwise; yet it travel the world, it is possible to find cities without walls
, will not be impertinent to consider, first, what prescription without letters, without kings, without wealth, without (which in clearing of titles is not wont to signify nothing) coin, without schools and theatres. Bat a city without a will signify in the present case. And,
temple, or that useth no worship, prayers, &c. no one ever First, For the existence of God, we need not labour saw.” And he believes a city may more easily be builtm much to show how constantly and generally it hath been without a foundation, or ground to set it on, than any acknowledged through the whole world; it being so diffi- community of men have or keep a consistency without cult to produce an uncontroverted instance, of any that religion. ever denied it in more ancient times. For as for them IV. And it is no mean argument of the commonness whose names have been infamous amongsta men here- of religion, that there have been some in the world, and tofore upon that account, there hath been that said, that at those no idiots neither, that have accounted it the most least wants not probability for the clearing them of so foul constituent and distinguishing thing in human nature. So an imputation. That is
, that they were maliciously re- that Platonic Jewn judgeth invocation "of God, with hope presented as having denied the existence of a Deity, be towards him, to be, if we will speak the truth, the only cause they impugned and derided the vulgar conceits and genuine property of man, and saith that only he who is poetical fictions of those days, concerning the multitude acted by such a hope, is a 'man, and he that is destitute of and the ridiculous attributes of their imaginary deities. this hope, is no man;"• preferring this account to the Of which sort Cicerob mentions not a few; their being common definition, (which he says is only of the concrete inflamed with anger, and mad with lust; their wars, fights, of man,) that he is a reasonable, and mortal, living creawounds; their hatreds, discords; their births and deaths, ture. And yet he extends not reason further, that is, to &c.: who though he speak less favourably of some of these the inferior creatures; for he had expressly said above, men, and mentions onec as doubting whether there were “That they who have no hope towards God, have no part any gods or no, (for which cause his book in the beginning or share in the rational nature.” And a noble person of whereof he had intimated that doubt, (as Cotta is brought our own says, “That upon accurate search, religion and in, informing us,) was publicly burnt at Athens, and him. faith appear the only ultimate differences of man; whereof self banished his country,) and two othersd as expressly neither divine perfection is capable, nor brutal'imperfecdenying them; yet the more generally decried patrone of tion ;" reason, in his account, descending low among the atheism (as he has been accounted) he makes Velleius inferior creatures. But these agreeing more peculiarly to highly vindicate from this imputation, and say of him, man, and so universally, that he affirms, “ There is no man that he was the first that took notice that even nature itself well and entirely in his wits, that doth not worship some had impressed the notion of God upon the minds of all deity." Who therefore accounted it a less absurdity to men : who also gives us these as his words; “What admit such a thing as a rational beast, than an irreligious nation is there or sort of men that hath not, without teach- man. Now if these have taken notice of any instances ing, a certain anticipation of the gods, which he calls a that seemed to claim an exemption from this notion of prolepsis, a certain preventive, or fore-conceived informa- man, they have rather thought fit to let them pass as an tion of a thing in the mind, without which nothing can be anomalous sort of creatures, reducible to no certain rank understood, or sought, or disputed of ?" Unto which pur- or order in the creation, than that any should be admitted pose the same authorf (as is commonly observed) else- into the account, or be acknowledged of the society of where speaks; that there is no nation so barbarous, no one men, that were found destitute of an inclination to worship of all men so savage, as that some apprehension of the the common Author of our beings. And according to gods hath not tinctured his mind; that many do think in- this opinion, by whatsoever steps any should advance deed corruptly of them, which is (saith he) the effect of in the denial of a Deity, they should proceed by the vicious custom; but all do believe there is a divine power same, to the abandoning their own humanity; and by and nature. Nor (as he there proceeds) hath men's talk- saying there is no God, should proclaim themselves RO ing and agreeing together effected this. It is not an opi- men. nion settled in men's minds by public constitutions and However, it discovers (which is all that is at present insanctions; but in every matter the consent of all nations tended by it) the commonness, not to say absolute uniis to be reckoned a law of nature.
versality, of religion, in the observation of these persons, And whatever the apprehensions of those few (and some whom we must suppose no strangers to the world, in their others that are wont to be mentioned under the same vile own and former times. And if it afford any less ground character) were in this matter, yet so inconsiderable hath for such an observation in our present time, we only see the dissent been, that as another most ingenious pagan that as the world grows older it grows worse, and sinks authors writes, " In so great a contention and variety of into a deeper oblivion of its original, as it recedes further opinions, (that is, concerning what God is,) herein you from it. shall see theh law and reason of every country to be And (notwithstanding) this so common a consent is yet harmonious and one; that there is one God, the King and not without its weight and significancy to our present purFather of all; that the many are but the servants andi pose; if we consider how impossible it is to give or ima. -co-rulers unto God; that herein the Greek and the bar- gine any tolerable account of its original, if we do not barian say the same thing, the islander and the inhabitant confess it natural, and refer it to that common Author of of the continent, the wise and the foolish : go to the all nature whom we are inquiring about: of which so much utmost bounds of the ocean, and you find God there. is said by divers others, that nothing more needs here to But if (says he) in all times, there have been iwo or be said about it. three,k an atheistical, vile, senseless sort of persons, whose V. And at least so much is gained by it to a temple, b De Natura Deorum, lib. 1. Maxim. Tyr. diss. I.
Η ομοφωνον νομον και λογον.
και αθεον και ταπεινον, και αναισθες γενος. Diagoras and Theodorus Cyrenaicus, who (as Diogenes Laertius, in Aris i Plutarch adversus Colotem.
m εδαφους χωρις. . tip. reports) was sumamed afcos, alerwards Acos.
n Philo. libr. de eo quod deterius potiori insid. e Epicurus, whom also his own Epistle to Meneceus in Diogenes Laertius ο μονος ευελπις, ανθρωπος ο δυσελπις ουκ ανθρωπος. acquits of atheism, but not of irreligion ; as hereafter may be observed. f Cicero Tuscul. Quæst 1. i.
See Cicero in sundry places. Grotius de Veritate Christiana Religi.
a Parker Tentam.
Η συνάρχοντες θεωι.
p Herbert de Verit.