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The Scripture saith, “ The fool hath said in 6 his heart, there is no God;" it is not said, • The fool hath thought in his heart;" so as he rather saith it by rote to himself, as that he would have, than that he can thoroughly believe it, or be persuaded of it; for none deny there is a God, but those for whom it maketh that there were no God. It appeareth in nothing more, that atheism is rather in the lip than in the heart of man, than by this, that atheists will ever be talking of that their opinion, as if they fainted in it within themselves, and would be glad to be strengthened by the consent of others ; nay more, you shall have atheists strive to get disciples, as it fareth with other sects; and, which is most of all, you shall have of them that will suffer for atheism, and not recant; whereas, if they did truly think that there were no such thing as God, why should they trouble themselves ? Epicurus is charged, that he did not dissemble for his credit's sake, when he affirmed there were blessed natures, but such as enjoyed them-, selves without having respect to the government of the world ; wherein they say he did. temporise, though in secret he thought there:

was no God: but certainly he is traduced, for his words are noble and divine ; “ Non Deos “ vulgi negare profanum ; sed vulgi opiniones “ diis applicare profanum.” Plato could have said no more; and, although he had the confidence to deny the administration, he had not the power to deny the nature. The Indians of the west have names for their particular gods, though they have no name for God; as if the heathens should have had the names Jupiter, Apollo, Mars, &c. but not the word Deus, which shews, that even those barbarous people have the notion, though they have not the latitude and extent of it; so that against atheists the very savages take part with the very subtilest philosophers. The contemplative atheist is rare, a Diagoras, a Bion, a Lucian, perhaps, and some others; and yet they seem to be more than they are; for that all that impugn a received religion or superstition, are by the adverse part branded with the name of atheists; but the great atheists indeed are hypocrites, which are ever handling holy things, but without feeling ; so as they must needs be cauterized in the end. The causes of atheism are, divisions in religion, if there be many;

for any one main division addeth zeal to both sides, but many divisions introduce atheism : another is, scandal of priests, when it is come to that which St. Bernard saith, “ non est jam “ dicere, ut populus, sic sacerdos; quia nec “ sic populus, ut sacerdos :''a third is, a custom of profane scoffing in holy matters, which doth by little and little deface the reverence of religion ; and, lastly, learned times, especially with peace and prosperity; for troubles and adversities do more bow men's minds to religion. They that deny a God destroy man's nobility; for certainly man is of kin to the beasts by his body; and, if he be not of kin to God by his spirit, he is a base and ignoble creature. It destroys likewise magnanimity, and the raising human nature; for take an example of a dog, and mark what a generosity and courage he will put on when he finds himself maintained by a man, who to him is instead of a God, or “ melior natura ;" which courage is manifestly such as that creature, without that confidence of a better nature than his own, could never attain. So man, when he resteth and assureth himself upon divine protection and favour, gathereth a force

and faith which human nature in itself could not obtain ; therefore, as atheism is in all respects hateful, so in this, that it depriveth human nature of the means to exalt itself above human frailty. As it is in particular persons, so it is in nations ; never was there such a state for magnanimity as Rome; of this state hear what Cicero saith, “ Quam volu

mus, licet, patres conscripti, nos amemus, “ tamen nec numero Hispanos, nec robore “ Gallos, nec calliditate Penos, nec artibus Græcos, nec denique hoc ipso hujus gentis “ et terræ domestico nativoque sensu Italos “ ipsos et Latinos; sed pietate, ac religione,

atque hac una sapientia, quod deorum im“ mortalium numine omnia regi, gubernari

que perspeximus, omnes gentes nationesque superavimus."

OF SUPERSTITION.

IT were better to have no opinion of God at all, than such an opinion as is unworthy of him ; for the one is unbelief, the other is contumely; and certainly superstition is the re

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for any one main division addeth zeal to both sides, but many divisions introduce atheism : another is, scandal of priests, when it is come to that which St. Bernard saith, “non est jam “ dicere, ut populus, sic sacerdos; quia nec “ sic populus, ut sacerdos :”'a third is, a custom of profane scoffing in holy matters, which doth by little and little deface the reverence of religion ; and, lastly, learned times, especially with peace and prosperity; for troubles and adversities do more bow men's minds to religion. They that deny a God destroy man's nobility; for certainly man is of kin to the beasts by his body; and, if he be not of kin to God by his spirit, he is a base and ignoble creature. It destroys likewise magnanimity, and the raising human nature ; for take an example of a dog, and mark what a generosity and courage he will put on when he finds himself maintained by a man, who to him is instead of a God, or “ melior natura ;" which courage is manifestly such as that creature, without that confidence of a better nature than his own, could never attain. So man, when he resteth and assureth himself upon divine protection and favour, gathereth a force

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