Front Page Titles (by Subject) PART IV.: of THE KINGDOM OF DARKNESS. - The English Works, vol. III (Leviathan)
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PART IV.: of THE KINGDOM OF DARKNESS. - Thomas Hobbes, The English Works, vol. III (Leviathan) 
The English Works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury; Now First Collected and Edited by Sir William Molesworth, Bart., (London: Bohn, 1839-45). 11 vols. Vol. 3.
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of THE KINGDOM OF DARKNESS.
of spiritual darkness, from misinterpretation of scripture.
The kingdom of Darkness, what.
Besides these sovereign powers, divine, and human, of which I have hitherto discoursed, there is mention in Scripture of another power, namely, (Eph. vi. 12) that of the rulers of the darkness of this world; (Matth. xii. 26) the kingdom of Satan; and (Matth. ix. 34) the principality of Beelzebub over demons, that is to say, over phantasms that appear in the air: for which cause Satan is also called, (Eph. ii.2) the prince of the power of the air; and, because he ruleth in the darkness of this world, (John xvi. 11) the prince of this world: and in consequence hereunto, they who are under his dominion, in opposition to the faithful, (who are the children of the light,) are called the children of darkness. For seeing Beelzebub is prince of phantasms, inhabitants of his dominion of air and darkness, the children of darkness, and these demons, phantasms, or spirits of illusion, signify allegorically the same thing. This considered, the kingdom of darkness, as it is set forth in these and other places of the Scripture, is nothing else but a confederacy of deceivers, that to obtain dominion over men in this present world, endeavour by dark and erroneous doctrines, to extinguish in them the light, both of nature, and of the gospel; and so to disprepare them for the kingdom of God to come.
The Church not yet fully freed of darkness.
As men that are utterly deprived from their nativity, of the light of the bodily eye, have no idea at all of any such light; and no man conceives in his imagination any greater light, than he hath at some time or other perceived by his outward senses: so also is it of the light of the gospel, and of the light of the understanding, that no man can conceive there is any greater degree of it, than that which he hath already attained unto. And from hence it comes to pass, that men have no other means to acknowledge their own darkness, but only by reasoning from the unforeseen mischances, that befall them in their ways. The darkest part of the kingdom of Satan, is that which is without the Church of God; that is to say, amongst them that believe not in Jesus Christ. But we cannot say, that therefore the Church enjoyeth, as the land of Goshen, all the light, which to the performance of the work enjoined us by God, is necessary. Whence comes it, that in Christendom there has been, almost from the time of the Apostles, such justling of one another out of their places, both by foreign and civil war; such stumbling at every little asperity of their own fortune, and every little eminence of that of other men; and such diversity of ways in running to the same mark, felicity, if it be not night amongst us, or at least a mist? We are therefore yet in the dark.
Four causes of spiritual darkness.
The enemy has been here in the night of our natural ignorance, and sown the tares of spiritual errors; and that, first, by abusing, and putting out the light of the Scriptures: for we err, not knowing the Scriptures. Secondly, by introducing the demonology of the heathen poets, that is to say, their fabulous doctrine concerning demons, which are but idols, or phantasms of the brain, without any real nature of their own, distinct from human fancy; such as are dead men’s ghosts, and fairies, and other matter of old wives’ tales. Thirdly, by mixing with the Scripture divers relics of the religion, and much of the vain and erroneous philosophy, of the Greeks, especially of Aristotle. Fourthly, by mingling with both these, false, or uncertain traditions, and feigned, or uncertain history. And so we come to err, by giving heed to seducing spirits, and the demonology of such as speak lies in hypocrisy; or as it is in the original, (1 Tim. iv. 1, 2) of those that play the part of liars, with a seared conscience, that is, contrary to their own knowledge. Concerning the first of these, which is the seducing of men by abuse of Scripture, I intend to speak briefly in this chapter.
Errors from misinterpreting the Scriptures, concerning the kingdom of God:
The greatest and main abuse of Scripture, and to which almost all the rest are either consequent or subservient, is the wresting of it, to prove that the kingdom of God, mentioned so often in the Scripture, is the present Church, or multitude of Christian men now living, or that being dead, are to rise again at the last day: whereas the kingdom of God was first instituted by the ministry of Moses, over the Jews only; who were therefore called his peculiar people; and ceased afterward, in the election of Saul, when they refused to be governed by God any more, and demanded a king after the manner of the nations; which God himself consented unto, as I have more at large proved before in chapter xxxv. After that time, there was no other kingdom of God in the world, by any pact, or otherwise, than he ever was, is, and shall be king of all men, and of all creatures, as governing according to his will, by his infinite power. Nevertheless, he promised by his prophets to restore this his government to them again, when the time he hath in his secret counsel appointed for it shall be fully come, and when they shall turn unto him by repentance and amendment of life. And not only so, but he invited the Gentiles to come in, and enjoy the happiness of his reign, on the same conditions of conversion and repentance; and he promised also to send his Son into the world, to expiate the sins of them all by his death, and to prepare them by his doctrine, to receive him at his second coming. Which second coming not yet being, the kingdom of God is not yet come, and we are not now under any other kings by pact, but our civil sovereigns; saving only, that Christian men are already in the kingdom of grace, in as much as they have already the promise of being received at his coming again.
As that the kingdom of God is the present Church
Consequent to this error, that the present Church is Christ’s kingdom, there ought to be some one man, or assembly, by whose mouth our Saviour, now in heaven, speaketh, giveth law, and which representeth his person to all Christians; or divers men, or divers assemblies that do the same to divers parts of Christendom. This power regal under Christ, being challenged, universally by the Pope, and in particular commonwealths by assemblies of the pastors of the place, (when the Scripture gives it to none but to civil sovereigns,) comes to be so passionately disputed, that it putteth out the light of nature, and causeth so great a darkness in men’s understanding, that they see not who it is to whom they have engaged their obedience.
And that the Pope is his vicar general:
Consequent to this claim of the Pope to be vicar-general of Christ in the present Church, (supposed to be that kingdom of his to which we are addressed in the gospel,) is the doctrine, that it is necessary for a Christian king to receive his crown by a bishop; as if it were from that ceremony, that he derives the clause of Dei gratia in his title; and that then only he is made king by the favour of God, when he is crowned by the authority of God’s universal vicegerent on earth; and that every bishop, whosoever be his sovereign, taketh at his consecration an oath of absolute obedience to the Pope. Consequent to the same, is the doctrine of the fourth Council of Lateran, held under Pope Innocent the Third, (chap. III. De Hereticis), that if a king at the Pope’s admonition, do not purge his kingdom of heresies, and being excommunicate for the same, do not give satisfaction within a year, his subjects are absolved of the bond of their obedience. Where, by heresies are understood all opinions which the Church of Rome hath forbidden to be maintained. And by this means, as often as there is any repugnancy between the political designs of the Pope, and other Christian princes, as there is very often, there ariseth such a mist amongst their subjects, that they know not a stranger that thrusteth himself into the throne of their lawful prince, from him whom they had themselves placed there; and in this darkness of mind, are made to fight one against another, without discerning their enemies from their friends, under the conduct of another man’s ambition.
And that the pastors are the clergy.
From the same opinion, that the present Church is the kingdom of God, it proceeds that pastors, deacons, and all other ministers of the Church, take the name to themselves of the clergy; giving to other Christians the name of laity, that is, simply people. For clergy signifies those, whose maintenance is that revenue, which God having reserved to himself during his reign over the Israelites, assigned to the tribe of Levi, (who were to be his public ministers, and had no portion of land set them out to live on, as their brethren,) to be their inheritance. The Pope therefore, pretending the present Church to be, as the realm of Israel, the kingdom of God, challenging to himself and his subordinate ministers, the like revenue, as the inheritance of God, the name of clergy was suitable to that claim. And thence it is, that tithes, and other tributes paid to the Levites, as God’s right, amongst the Israelites, have a long time been demanded, and taken of Christians, by ecclesiastics, jure divino, that is, in God’s right. By which means, the people every where were obliged to a double tribute; one to the state, another to the clergy; whereof, that to the clergy, being the tenth of their revenue, is double to that which a king of Athens, and esteemed a tyrant, exacted of his subjects for the defraying of all public charges: for he demanded no more but the twentieth part, and yet abundantly maintained therewith the commonwealth. And in the kingdom of the Jews, during the sacerdotal reign of God, the tithes and offerings were the whole public revenue.
From the same mistaking of the present Church for the kingdom of God, came in the distinction between the civil and the canon laws: the civil law being the acts of sovereigns in their own dominions, and the canon law being the acts of the Pope in the same dominion. Which canons, though they were but canons, that is, rules propounded, and but voluntarily received by Christian princes, till the translation of the empire to Charlemagne; yet afterwards, as the power of the Pope increased, became rules commanded, and the emperors themselves, to avoid greater mischiefs, which the people blinded might be led into, were forced to let them pass for laws.
From hence it is, that in all dominions where the Pope’s ecclesiastical power is entirely received, Jews, Turks, and Gentiles, are in the Roman Church tolerated in their religion, as far forth, as in the exercise and profession thereof they offend not against the civil power: whereas in a Christian, though a stranger, not to be of the Roman religion, is capital; because the Pope pretendeth, that all Christians, are his subjects. For otherwise it were as much against the law of nations, to persecute a Christian stranger, for professing the religion of his own country, as an infidel; or rather more, in as much as they that are not against Christ, are with him.
From the same it is, that in every Christian state there are certain men, that are exempt, by ecclesiastical liberty, from the tributes, and from the tribunals of the civil state; for so are the secular clergy, besides monks and friars, which in many places bear so great a proportion to the common people, as if need were, there might be raised out of them alone, an army, sufficient for any war the Church militant should employ them in, against their own, or other princes.
Error from mistaking consecration for conjuration.
A second general abuse of Scripture, is the turning of consecration into conjuration, or enchantment. To consecrate, is, in Scripture, to offer, give, or dedicate, in pious and decent language and gesture, a man, or any other thing to God, by separating of it from common use; that is to say, to sanctify, or make it God’s, and to be used only by those, whom God hath appointed to be his public ministers, (as I have already proved at large in the xxxvth chapter,) and thereby to change, not the thing consecrated, but only the use of it, from being profane and common, to be holy, and peculiar to God’s service. But when by such words, the nature or quality of the thing itself, is pretended to be changed, it is not consecration, but either an extraordinary work of God, or a vain and impious conjuration. But seeing, for the frequency of pretending the change of nature in their consecrations, it cannot be esteemed a work extraordinary, it is no other than a conjuration or incantation, whereby they would have men to believe an alteration of nature that is not, contrary to the testimony of man’s sight, and of all the rest of his senses. As for example, when the priest, instead of consecrating bread and wine to God’s peculiar service in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, (which is but a separation of it from the common use, to signify, that is, to put men in mind of their redemption, by the passion of Christ, whose body was broken, and blood shed upon the cross for our transgressions,) pretends, that by saying of the words of our Saviour, This is my body, and this is my blood, the nature of bread is no more there, but his very body; notwithstanding there appeareth not to the sight, or other sense of the receiver, any thing that appeared not before the consecration. The Egyptian conjurers, that are said to have turned their rods to serpents, and the water into blood, are thought but to have deluded the senses of the spectators, by a false show of things, yet are esteemed enchanters. But what should we have thought of them, if there had appeared in their rods nothing like a serpent, and in the water enchanted, nothing like blood, nor like any thing else but water, but that they had faced down the king, that they were serpents that looked like rods, and that it was blood that seemed water? That had been both enchantment, and lying. And yet in this daily act of the priest, they do the very same, by turning the holy words into the manner of a charm, which produceth nothing new to the sense; but they face us down, that it hath turned the bread into a man; nay more, into a God; and require men to worship it, as if it were our Saviour himself present God and man, and thereby to commit most gross idolatry. For if it be enough to excuse it of idolatry, to say it is no more bread, but God; why should not the same excuse serve the Egyptians, in case they had the faces to say, the leeks and onions they worshipped, were not very leeks and onions, but a divinity under their species, or likeness. The words, This is my body, are equivalent to these, this signifies, or represents my body; and it is an ordinary figure of speech: but to take it literally, is an abuse; nor though so taken, can it extend any further, than to the bread which Christ himself with his own hands consecrated. For he never said, that of what bread soever, any priest whatsoever, should say, This is my body, or, this is Christ’s body, the same should presently be transubstantiated. Nor did the Church of Rome ever establish this transubstantiation, till the time of Innocent the Third; which was not above 500 years ago, when the power of popes was at the highest, and the darkness of the time grown so great, as men discerned not the bread that was given them to eat, especially when it was stamped with the figure of Christ upon the cross, as if they would have men believe it were transubstantiated, not only into the body of Christ, but also into the wood of his cross, and that they did eat both together in the sacrament.
Incantation in the ceremonies of baptism:
The like incantation, instead of consecration, is used also in the sacrament of baptism: where the abuse of God’s name in each several person, and in the whole Trinity, with the sign of the cross at each name, maketh up the charm. As first, when they make the holy water, the priest saith, I conjure thee, thou creature of water, in the name of God the Father Almighty, and in the name of Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, and in virtue of the Holy Ghost, that thou become conjured water, to drive away all the powers of the enemy, and to eradicate, and supplant the enemy, &c. And the same in the benediction of the salt to be mingled with it: That thou become conjured salt, that all phantasms, and knavery of the devil’s fraud may fly and depart from the place wherein thou artsprinkled; and every unclean spirit be conjured by Him that shall come to judge the quick and the dead. The same in the benediction of the oil; That all the power of the enemy, all the host of the devil, all assaults and phantasms of Satan, may be driven away by this creature of oil. And for the infant that is to be baptized, he is subject to many charms: first, at the church door the priest blows thrice in the child’s face, and says: Go out of him unclean spirit, and give place to the Holy Ghost the comforter. As if all children, till blown on by the priest, were demoniacs. Again, before his entrance into the church, he saith as before, I conjure thee, &c. to go out, and depart from this servant of God. And again the same exorcism is repeated once more before he be baptized. These, and some other incantations, are those that are used instead of benedictions, and consecrations, in administration of the sacraments of baptism, and the Lord’s supper; wherein every thing that serveth to those holy uses, except the unhallowed spittle of the priest, hath some set form of exorcism.
And in marriage, in visitation of the sick, and in consecration of places.
Nor are the other rites, as of marriage, of extreme unction, of visitation of the sick, of consecrating churches and churchyards, and the like, exempt from charms; inasmuch as there is in them the use of enchanted oil and water, with the abuse of the cross, and of the holy word of David, asperges me Domine hyssopo, as things of efficacy to drive away phantasms, and imaginary spirits.
Errors from mistaking eternal life, and everlasting death:
Another general error, is from the misinterpretation of the words eternal life, everlasting death, and the second death. For though we read plainly in Holy Scripture, that God created Adam in an estate of living for ever, which was conditional, that is to say, if he disobeyed not his commandment; which was not essential to human nature, but consequent to the virtue of the tree of life; whereof he had liberty to eat, as long as he had not sinned; and that he was thrust out of Paradise after he had sinned, lest he should eat thereof, and live for ever; and that Christ’s Passion is a discharge of sin to all that believe on him; and by consequence, a restitution of eternal life to all the faithful, and to them only: yet the doctrine is now, and hath been a long time far otherwise; namely, that every man hath eternity of life by nature, inasmuch as his soul is immortal. So that the flaming sword at the entrance of Paradise, though it hinder a man from coming to the tree of life, hinders him not from the immortality which God took from him for his sin; nor makes him to need the sacrificing of Christ, for the recovering of the same; and consequently, not only the faithful and righteous, but also the wicked and the heathen, shall enjoy eternal life, without any death at all; much less a second, and everlasting death. To salve this, it is said, that by second, and everlasting death, is meant a second, and everlasting life, but in torments; a figure never used but in this very case.
All which doctrine is founded only on some of the obscurer places of the New Testament; which nevertheless, the whole scope of the Scripture considered, are clear enough in a different sense, and unnecessary to the Christian faith. For supposing that when a man dies, there remaineth nothing of him but his carcass; cannot God, that raised inanimated dust and clay into a living creature by his word, as easily raise a dead carcass to life again, and continue him alive for ever, or make him die again, by another word? The soul in Scripture, signifieth always, either the life, or the living creature; and the body and soul jointly, the body alive. In the fifth day of the creation, God said: Let the waters produce reptile animæ viventis, the creeping thing that hath in it a living soul; the English translate it, that hath life. And again, God created whales, et omnem animam viventem; which in the English is, every living creature. And likewise of man, God made him of the dust of the earth, and breathed in his face the breath of life, et factus est homo in animam viventem, that is, and man was made a living creature. And after Noah came out of the ark, God saith, he will no more smite omnem animam viventem, that is, every living creature. And (Deut. xii. 23), Eat not the blood, for the blood is the soul; that is, the life. From which places, if by soul were meant a substance incorporeal, with an existence separated from the body, it might as well be inferred of any other living creature as of man. But that the souls of the faithful, are not of their own nature, but by God’s special grace, to remain in their bodies, from the resurrection to all eternity, I have already, I think, sufficiently proved out of the Scriptures, in chapter XXXVIII. And for the places of the New Testament, where it is said that any man shall be cast body and soul into hell fire, it is no more than body and life; that is to say, they shall be cast alive into the perpetual fire of Gehenna.
As the doctrine of purgatory, and exorcisms, and invocation of saints.
This window it is, that gives entrance to the dark doctrine, first, of eternal torments; and afterwards of purgatory, and consequently of the walking abroad, especially in places consecrated, solitary, or dark, of the ghosts of men deceased; and thereby to the pretences of exorcism and conjuration of phantasms; as also of invocation of men dead; and to the doctrine of indulgences, that is to say, of exemption for a time, or for ever, from the fire of purgatory, wherein these incorporeal substances are pretended by burning to be cleansed, and made fit for heaven. For men being generally possessed before the time of our Saviour, by contagion of the demonology of the Greeks, of an opinion, that the souls of men were substances distinct from their bodies, and therefore that when the body was dead, the soul of every man, whether godly or wicked, must subsist somewhere by virtue of its own nature, without acknowledging therein any supernatural gift of God; the doctors of the Church doubted a long time, what was the place, which they were to abide in, till they should be reunited to their bodies in the resurrection; supposing for a while, they lay under the altars; but afterward the Church of Rome found it more profitable to build for them this place of purgatory; which by some other Churches in this latter age has been demolished.
The texts alleged for the doctrines aforementioned have been answered before.
Let us now consider what texts of Scripture seem most to confirm these three general errors, I have here touched. As for those which Cardinal Bellarmine hath alleged, for the present kingdom of God administered by the Pope, than which there are none that make a better show of proof; I have already answered them; and made it evident, that the kingdom of God, instituted by Moses, ended in the election of Saul; after which time the priest of his own authority never deposed any king. That which the high-priest did to Athaliah, was not done in his own right, but in the right of the young king Joash her son: but Solomon in his own right deposed the high-priest Abiathar, and set up another in his place. The most difficult place to answer, of all those that can be brought to prove the kingdom of God by Christ is already in this world, is alleged, not by Bellarmine, nor any other of the Church of Rome; but by Beza, that will have it to begin from the resurrection of Christ. But whether he intend thereby, to entitle the Presbytery to the supreme power ecclesiastical in the commonwealth of Geneva, and consequently to every presbytery in every other commonwealth, or to princes, and other civil sovereigns, I do not know. For the presbytery hath challenged the power to excommunicate their own kings, and to be the supreme moderators in religion, in the places where they have that form of Church-government, no less than the Pope challengeth it universally.
Answer to the text on which Beza inferreth that the kingdom of Christ began at the resurrection.
The words are (Mark ix. 1), Verily I say unto you, that there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. Which words if taken grammatically, make it certain, that either some of those men that stood by Christ at that time, are yet alive; or else, that the kingdom of God must be now in this present world. And then there is another place more difficult. For when the apostles, after our Saviour’s resurrection, and immediately before his ascension, asked our Saviour, saying, (Acts i. 6), Wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? he answered them, It is not for you to know the times and the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power; but ye shall receive power by the coming of the Holy Ghost upon you, and ye shall be my (martyrs) witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Which is as much as to say, My kingdom is not yet come, nor shall you foreknow when it shall come; for it shall come as a thief in the night; but I will send you the Holy Ghost, and by him you shall have power to bear witness to all the world, by your preaching, of my resurrection, and the works I have done, and the doctrine I have taught, that they may believe in me, and expect eternal life, at my coming again. How does this agree with the coming of Christ’s kingdom at the resurrection? And that which St. Paul says (1 Thess. i. 9, 10), That they turned from idols, to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven; where to wait for his Son from heaven, is to wait for his coming to be king in power; which were not necessary, if his kingdom had been then present. Again, if the kingdom of God began, as Beza on that place (Mark ix. 1) would have it, at the resurrection; what reason is there for Christians ever since the resurrection to say in their prayers, Let thy kingdom come? It is therefore manifest, that the words of St. Mark are not so to be interpreted. There be some of them that stand here, saith our Saviour, that shall not taste of death till they have seen the kingdom of God come in power. If then this kingdom were to come at the resurrection of Christ, why is it said, some of them, rather than all? For they all lived till after Christ was risen.
Explication of the place in Mark ix. 1.
But they that require an exact interpretation of this text, let them interpret first the like words of our Saviour to St. Peter, concerning St. John, (chap. xxi. 22), If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? upon which was grounded a report that he should not die. Nevertheless the truth of that report was neither confirmed, as well grounded; nor refuted, as ill grounded on those words; but left as a saying not understood. The same difficulty is also in the place of St. Mark. And if it be lawful to conjecture at their meaning, by that which immediately follows, both here, and in St. Luke, where the same is again repeated, it is not improbable, to say they have relation to the Transfiguration, which is described in the verses immediately following: where it is said, that after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John (not all, but some of his disciples), and leadeth them up into a high mountain apart by themselves, and was transfigured before them: and his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them: and there appeared unto them, Elias with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus, &c. So that they saw Christ in glory and majesty, as he is to come; insomuch as they were sore afraid. And thus the promise of our Saviour was accomplished by way of vision. For it was a vision, as may probably be inferred out of St. Luke, that reciteth the same story (chap. ix. 28, &c.), and saith, that Peter and they that were with him, were heavy with sleep: but most certainly out of Matth. xvii. 9, where the same is again related; for our Saviour charged them, saying, Tell no man the vision until the Son of Man be risen from the dead. Howsoever it be, yet there can from thence be taken no argument, to prove that the kingdom of God taketh beginning till the day of judgment.
Abuse of some other texts in defence of the power of the Pope.
As for some other texts, to prove the Pope’s power over civil sovereigns, (besides those of Bellarmine,) as that the two swords that christ and his apostles had amongst them, were the spiritual and the temporal sword, which they say St. Peter had given him by Christ: and, that of the two luminaries, the greater signifies the Pope, and the lesser the King; one might as well infer out of the first verse of the Bible, that by heaven is meant the Pope, and by earth the King. Which is not arguing from Scripture, but a wanton insulting over princes, that came in fashion after the time the Popes were grown so secure of their greatness, as to contemn all Christian kings; and treading on the necks of emperors, to mock both them and the Scripture, in the words of Psalm XCI. 13, Thou shalt tread upon the lion and the adder; the young lion and the dragon thou shalt trample under thy feet.
The manner of consecrations in the Scripture, was without exorcisms.
As for the rights of consecration, though they depend for the most part upon the discretion and judgment of the governors of the Church, and not upon the Scriptures; yet those governors are obliged to such direction, as the nature of the action itself requireth; as that the ceremonies, words, and gestures, be both decent and significant, or at least conformable to the action. When Moses consecrated the tabernacle, the altar, and the vessels belonging to them, (Exod. xl. 9), he anointed them with the oil which God had commanded to be made for that purpose: and they were holy: there was nothing exorcised, to drive away phantasms. The same Moses, the civil sovereign of Israel, when he consecrated Aaron, the high-priest, and his sons, did wash them with water, not exorcised water, put their garments upon them, and anointed them with oil; and they were sanctified, to minister unto the Lord in the priest’s office; which was a simple and decent cleansing, and adorning them, before he presented them to God, to be his servants. When king Solomon, the civil sovereign of Israel, consecrated the temple he had built, (1 Kings viii.), he stood before all the congregation of Israel; and having blessed them, he gave thanks to God, for putting into the heart of his father to build it; and for giving to himself the grace to accomplish the same; and then prayed unto him, first, to accept that house, though it were not suitable to his infinite greatness; and to hear the prayers of his servants that should pray therein, or, if they were absent, towards it; and lastly, he offered a sacrifice of peaceoffering, and the house was dedicated. Here was no procession; the king stood still in his first place; no exorcised water; no Asperges me, nor other impertinent application of words spoken upon another occasion; but a decent and rational speech, and such as in making to God a present of his new-built house, was most conformable to the occasion.
We read not that St. John did exorcise the water of Jordan; nor Philip the water of the river wherein he baptized the Eunuch; nor that any pastor in the time of the apostles, did take his spittle, and put it to the nose of the person to be baptized, and say, in odorem suavitatis, that is, for a sweet savour unto the Lord; wherein neither the ceremony of spittle, for the uncleanness; nor the application of that Scripture for the levity, can by any authority of man be justified.
The immortality of man’s soul, not proved by Scripture to be of nature, but of grace.
To prove that the soul separated from the body, liveth eternally, not only the souls of the elect, by especial grace, and restoration of the eternal life which Adam lost by sin, and our Saviour restored by the sacrifice of himself, to the faithful; but also the souls of reprobates, as a property naturally consequent to the essence of mankind, without other grace of God, but that which is universally given to all mankind; there are divers places, which at the first sight seem sufficiently to serve the turn: but such, as when I compare them with that which I have before (chapter XXXVIII) alleged out of the 14th of Job, seem to me much more subject to a diverse interpretation, than the words of Job.
And first there are the words of Solomon (Eccles. xii. 7), Then shall the dust return to dust, as it was, and the spirit shall return to God that gave it. Which may bear well enough, if there be no other text directly against it, this interpretation, that God only knows, but man not, what becomes of a man’s spirit, when he expireth; and the same Solomon, in the same book, (chapter iii. 20, 21) delivereth the same sentence in the same sense I have given it. His words are: All go, (man and beast), to the same place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again; who knoweth that the spirit of man goeth upward, and that the spirit of the beast goeth downward to the earth? That is, none knows but God; nor is it an unusual phrase to say of things we understand not, God knows what, and, God knows where. That of (Gen. v. 24) Enoch walked with God, and he was not; for God took him; which is expounded, (Heb. xi. 5), He was translated, that he should not die; and was not found, because God had translated him. For before his translation, he had this testimony, that he pleased God; making as much for the immortality of the body, as of the soul, proveth, that this his translation was peculiar to them that please God; not common to them with the wicked, and depending on grace, not on nature. But on the contrary, what interpretation shall we give besides the literal sense, of the words of Solomon (Eccles. iii. 19), That which befalleth the sons of men, befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them; as the one dieth, so doth the other; yea, they have all one breath, (one spirit); so that a man hath no pre-eminence above a beast, for all is vanity. By the literal sense, here is no natural immortality of the soul; nor yet any repugnancy with the life eternal, which the elect shall enjoy by grace. And (Eccles. chap. iv. 3.) Better is he that hath not yet been, than both they; that is, than they that live, or have lived; which, if the soul of all them that have lived, were immortal, were a hard saying; for then to have an immortal soul, were worse than to have no soul at all. And again, (chapter ix. 5), The livingknow they shall die, but the dead know not any thing; that is, naturally, and before the resurrection of the body.
Another place which seems to make for a natural immortality of the soul, is that, where our Saviour saith, that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, are living: but this is spoken of the promise of God, and of their certitude to rise again, not of a life then actual; and in the same sense that God said to Adam, that on the day he should eat of the forbidden fruit, he should certainly die; from that time forward he was a dead man by sentence; but not by execution, till almost a thousand years after. So Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were alive by promise, then, when Christ spake; but are not actually till the resurrection. And the history of Dives and Lazarus, makes nothing against this, if we take it, as it is, for a parable.
But there be other places of the New Testament, where an immortality seemeth to be directly attributed to the wicked. For it is evident that they shall all rise to judgment. And it is said besides in many places, that they shall go into everlasting fire, everlasting torments, everlasting punishments; and that the worm of conscience never dieth; and all this is comprehended in the word everlasting death, which is ordinarily interpreted everlasting life in torments. And yet I can find no where that any man shall live in torments everlastingly. Also, it seemeth hard, to say, that God who is the father of mercies; that doth in heaven and earth all that he will; that hath the hearts of all men in his disposing; that worketh in men both to do, and to will; and without whose free gift a man hath neither inclination to good, nor repentance of evil, should punish men’s transgressions without any end of time, and with all the extremity of torture, that men can imagine, and more. We are therefore to consider, what the meaning is, of everlasting fire, and other the like phrases of Scripture.
I have showed already, that the kingdom of God by Christ beginneth at the day of judgment: that in that day the faithful shall rise again, with glorious and spiritual bodies, and be his subjects in that his kingdom, which shall be eternal: that they shall neither marry nor be given in marriage, nor eat and drink, as they did in their natural bodies; but live for ever in their individual persons, without the specifical eternity of generation: and that the reprobates also shall rise again, to receive punishments for their sins: as also, that those of the elect, which shall be alive in their earthly bodies at that day, shall have their bodies suddenly changed, and made spiritual and immortal. But that the bodies of the reprobate, who make the kingdom of Satan, shall also be glorious, or spiritual bodies, or that they shall be as the angels of God, neither eating, nor drinking, nor engendering; or that their life shall be eternal in their individual persons, as the life of every faithful man is, or as the life of Adam had been if he had not sinned, there is no place of Scripture to prove it; save only these places concerning eternal torments; which may otherwise be interpreted.
From whence may be inferred, that as the elect after the resurrection shall be restored to the estate, wherein Adam was before he had sinned; so the reprobate shall be in the estate, that Adam and his posterity were in after the sin committed; saving that God promised a Redeemer to Adam, and such of his seed as should trust in him, and repent; but not to them that should die in their sins, as do the reprobate.
Eternal torments, what.
These things considered, the texts that mention eternal fire, eternal torments, or the worm that never dieth, contradict not the doctrine of a second, and everlasting death, in the proper and natural sense of the word death. The fire, or torments prepared for the wicked in Gehenna, Tophet, or in what place soever, may continue for ever; and there may never want wicked men to be tormented in them; though not every, nor any one eternally. For the wicked being left in the estate they were in after Adam’s sin, may at the resurrection live as they did, marry, and give in marriage, and have gross and corruptible bodies, as all mankind now have; and consequently may engender perpetually, after the resurrection, as they did before: for there is no place in Scripture to the contrary. For St. Paul, speaking of the resurrection (1 Cor. xv.) understandeth it only of the resurrection to life eternal; and not the resurrection to punishment. And of the first, he saith, that the body is sown in corruption, raised in incorruption; sown in dishonour, raised in honour; sown in weakness, raised in power; sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body. There is no such thing can be said of the bodies of them that rise to punishment. So also our Saviour, when he speaketh of the nature of man after the resurrection, meaneth the resurrection to life eternal, not to punishment. The text is, Luke xx. verses 34, 35, 36, a fertile text: The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage; but they that shall be countedworthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: neither can they die any more; for they are equal to the angels, and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. The children of this world, that are in the estate which Adam left them in, shall marry, and be given in marriage; that is, corrupt, and generate successively; which is an immortality of the kind, but not of the persons of men: they are not worthy to be counted amongst them that shall obtain the next world, and an absolute resurrection from the dead; but only a short time, as inmates of that world; and to the end only to receive condign punishment for their contumacy. The elect are the only children of the resurrection; that is to say, the sole heirs of eternal life: they only can die no more, it is they that are equal to the angels, and that are the children of God; and not the reprobate. To the reprobate there remaineth after the resurrection, a second and eternal death: between which resurrection, and their second and eternal death, is but a time of punishment and torment; and to last by succession of sinners thereunto, as long as the kind of man by propagation shall endure; which is eternally.
Answer of the texts alleged for purgatory.
Upon this doctrine of the natural eternity of separated souls, is founded, as I said, the doctrine of purgatory. For supposing eternal life by grace only, there is no life but the life of the body; and no immortality till the resurrection. The texts for purgatory alleged by Bellarmine out of the canonical Scripture of the Old Testament, are, first, the fasting of David for Saul and Jonathan, mentioned 2 Sam. i. 12, and again, 2 Sam. iii. 35, for the death of Abner. This fasting of David, he saith, was for the obtaining of something for them at God’s hands, after their death: because after he had fasted to procure the recovery of his own child, as soon as he knew it was dead, he called for meat. Seeing then the soul hath an existence separate from the body, and nothing can be obtained by men’s fasting for the souls that are already either in heaven, or hell, it followeth that there be some souls of dead men, that are neither in heaven, nor in hell; and therefore they must be in some third place, which must be purgatory. And thus with hard straining, he has wrested those places to the proof of a purgatory: whereas it is manifest, that the ceremonies of mourning, and fasting, when they are used for the death of men, whose life was not profitable to the mourners, they are used for honour’s sake to their persons; and when it is done for the death of them by whose life the mourners had benefit, it proceeds from their particular damage. And so David honoured Saul and Abner, with his fasting; and in the death of his own child, recomforted himself, by receiving his ordinary food.
In the other places, which he allegeth out of the Old Testament, there is not so much as any show, or colour of proof. He brings in every text wherein there is the word anger, or fire, or burning, or purging, or cleansing, in case any of the fathers have but in a sermon rhetorically applied it to the doctrine of purgatory, already believed. The first verse of Psalm xxxvii; O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath, nor chasten me in thy hot displeasure: what were this to purgatory, if Augustine had not applied the wrath to the fire of hell, and the displeasure to that of purgatory? And what is it to purgatory, that of Psalm lxvi. 12, We went through fire and water, and thou broughtest us to a moist place; and other the like texts, with which the doctors of those times intended to adorn, or extend their sermons, or commentaries, haled to their purposes by force of wit?
Places of the New Testament for purgatory answered.
But he allegeth other places of the New Testament, that are not so easy to be answered. And first that of Matth. xii. 32: Whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him neither in this world, nor in the world to come: where he will have purgatory to be the world to come, wherein some sins may be forgiven, which in this world were not forgiven: notwithstanding that it is manifest, there are but three worlds; one from the creation to the flood, which was destroyed by water, and is called in Scripture the old world; another from the flood, to the day of judgment, which is the present world, and shall be destroyed by fire; and the third, which shall be from the day of judgment forward, everlasting, which is called the world to come; and in which it is agreed by all, there shall be no purgatory: and therefore the world to come, and purgatory, are inconsistent. But what then can be the meaning of those our Saviour’s words? I confess they are very hardly to be reconciled with all the doctrines now unanimously received: nor is it any shame, to confess the profoundness of the Scripture to be too great to be sounded by the shortness of human understanding. Nevertheless, I may propound such things to the consideration of more learned divines, as the text itself suggesteth. And first, seeing to speak against the Holy Ghost, as being the third person of the Trinity, is to speak against the Church, in which the Holy Ghost resideth; it seemeth the comparison is made, between the easiness of our Saviour, in bearing with offences done to him while he himself taught the world, that is, when he was on earth, and the severity of the pastors after him, against those which should deny their authority, which was from the Holy Ghost. As if he should say, you that deny my power; nay you that shall crucify me, shall be pardoned by me, as often as you turn unto me by repentance: but if you deny the power of them that teach you hereafter, by virtue of the Holy Ghost, they shall be inexorable, and shall not forgive you, but persecute you in this world, and leave you without absolution, (though you turn to me, unless you turn also to them), to the punishments, as much as lies in them, of the world to come. And so the words may be taken as a prophecy, or prediction concerning the times, as they have along been in the Christian Church. Or if this be not the meaning, (for I am not peremptory in such difficult places), perhaps there may be places left after the resurrection, for the repentance of some sinners. And there is also another place, that seemeth to agree therewith. For considering the words of St. Paul (1 Cor. xv. 29), What shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why also are they baptized for the dead? a man may probably infer, as some have done, that in St. Paul’s time, there was a custom, by receiving baptism for the dead, (as men that now believe, are sureties and undertakers for the faith of infants, that are not capable of believing), to undertake for the persons of their deceased friends, that they should be ready to obey, and receive our Saviour for their king, at his coming again; and then the forgiveness of sins in the world to come, has no need of a purgatory. But in both these interpretations, there is so much of paradox, that I trust not to them; but propound them to those that are thoroughly versed in the Scripture, to inquire if there be no clearer place that contradicts them. Only of thus much, I see evident Scripture, to persuade me, that there is neither the word, nor the thing of purgatory, neither in this, nor any other text; nor any thing that can prove a necessity of a place for the soul without the body; neither for the soul of Lazarus during the four days he was dead; nor for the souls of them which the Roman Church pretend to be tormented now in purgatory. For God, that could give a life to a piece of clay, hath the same power to give life again to a dead man, and renew his inanimate, and rotten carcase, into a glorious, spiritual, and immortal body.
Another place is that of 1 Cor. iii., where it is said, that they which build stubble, hay, &c. on the true foundation, their work shall perish; but they themselves shall be saved, but as through fire: this fire, he will have to be the fire of purgatory. The words, as I have said before, are an allusion to those of Zech. xiii. 9, where he saith, I will bring the third part through the fire, and refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: which is spoken of the coming of the Messiah in power and glory; that is, at the day of judgment, and conflagration of the present world wherein the elect shall not be consumed, but be refined; that is, depose their erroneous doctrines and traditions, and have them as it were singed off; and shall afterwards call upon the name of the true God. In like manner, the apostle saith of them, that holding this foundation, Jesus is the Christ, shall build thereon some other doctrines that be erroneous, that they shall not be consumed in that fire which reneweth the world, but shall pass through it to salvation; but so as to see, and relinquish their former errors. The builders, are the pastors; the foundation, that Jesus is the Christ; the stubble and hay, false consequences drawn from it through ignorance, or frailty; the gold, silver, and precious stones, are their true doctrines; and their refining or purging, the relinquishing of their errors. In all which there is no colour at all for the burning of incorporeal, that is to say, impatible souls.
Baptism for the dead, how understood.
A third place is that of 1 Cor. xv. 29, before mentioned, concerning baptism for the dead: out of which he concludeth, first, that prayers for the dead are not unprofitable; and out of that, that there is a fire of purgatory: but neither of them rightly. For of many interpretations of the word baptism, he approveth this in the first place, that by baptism is meant, metaphorically, a baptism of penance; and that men are in this sense baptized, when they fast, and pray, and give alms: and so, baptism for the dead, and prayer for the dead, is the same thing. But this is a metaphor, of which there is no example, neither in the Scripture, nor in any other use of language; and which is also discordant to the harmony, and scope of the Scripture. The word baptism is used (Mark x. 38, and Luke xii. 50), for being dipped in one’s own blood, as Christ was upon the cross, and as most of the apostles were, for giving testimony of him. But it is hard to say, that prayer, fasting, and alms, have any similitude with dipping. The same is used also Matth. iii. 11 (which seemeth to make somewhat for purgatory) for a purging with fire. But it is evident the fire and purging here mentioned, is the same whereof the prophet Zechariah speaketh (chapter xiii. 9) I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them, &c. And St. Peter after him (1 Epistle i. 7), That the trial of your faith, which is much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise, and honour, and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ; and St. Paul (1 Cor. iii. 13), The fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. But St. Peter and St. Paul speak of the fire that shall be at the second appearing of Christ; and the prophet Zechariah of the day of judgment. And therefore this place of St. Matthew may be interpreted of the same; and then there will be no necessity of the fire of purgatory.
Another interpretation of baptism for the dead, is that which I have before mentioned, which he preferreth to the second place of probability: and thence also he inferreth the utility of prayer for the dead. For if after the resurrection, such as have not heard of Christ, or not believed in him, may be received into Christ’s kingdom; it is not in vain, after their death, that their friends should pray for them, till they should be risen. But granting that God, at the prayers of the faithful, may convert unto him some of those that have not heard Christ preached, and consequently cannot have rejected Christ, and that the charity of men in that point cannot be blamed; yet this concludeth nothing for purgatory; because to rise from death to life, is one thing; to rise from purgatory to life is another; as being a rising from life to life, from a life in torments to a life in joy.
A fourth place is that of Matth. v. 25, 26: Agree with thine adversary quickly, whilst thou art in the way with him, lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison: verily I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing. In which allegory, the offender is the sinner; both the adversary and the judge is God; the way is this life; the prison is the grave; the officer, death; from which, the sinner shall not rise again to life eternal, but to a second death, till he have paid the utmost farthing, or Christ pay it for him by his passion, which is a full ransom for all manner of sins, as well lesser sins, as greater crimes; both being made by the passion of Christ equally venial.
The fifth place, is that of Matth. v. 22: Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be guilty in judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be guilty in the council: but whosoever shall say, thou fool, shall be guilty to hell fire. From which words he inferreth three sorts of sins, and three sorts of punishments; and that none of those sins, but the last, shall be punished with hell fire; and consequently, that after this life, there is punishment of lesser sins in purgatory. Of which inference, there is no colour in any interpretation that hath yet been given of them. Shall there be a distinction after this life of courts of justice, as there was amongst the Jews in our Saviour’s time, to hear, and determine divers sorts of crimes, as the judges, and the council? Shall not all judicature appertain to Christ and his apostles? To understand therefore this text, we are not to consider it solitarily, but jointly with the words precedent, and subsequent. Our Saviour in this chapter interpreteth the law of Moses; which the Jews thought was then fulfilled, when they had not transgressed the grammatical sense thereof, howsoever they had transgressed against the sentence, or meaning of the legislator. Therefore whereas they thought the sixth commandment was not broken, but by killing a man: nor the seventh, but when a man lay with a woman, not his wife; our Saviour tells them the inward anger of a man against his brother, if it be without just cause, is homicide. You have heard, saith he, the Law of Moses, Thou shalt not kill, and that Whosoever shall kill, shall be condemned before the judges, or before the session of the Seventy: but I say unto you, to be angry with one’s brother without cause, or to say unto him Raca, or Fool, is homicide, and shall be punished at the day of judgment, and session of Christ, and his apostles, with hell fire. So that those words were not used to distinguish between divers crimes, and divers courts of justice, and divers punishments; but to tax the distinction between sin and sin, which the Jews drew not from the difference of the will in obeying God, but from the difference of their temporal courts of justice; and to show them that he that had the will to hurt his brother, though the effect appear but in reviling, or not at all, shall be cast into hell fire, by the judges, and by the session, which shall be the same, not different, courts at the day of judgment. This considered, what can be drawn from this text, to maintain purgatory, I cannot imagine.
The sixth place is Luke xvi. 9: Make ye friends of the unrighteous Mammon; that when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting tabernacles. This he alleges to prove invocation of saints departed. But the sense is plain, that we should make friends with our riches, of the poor; and thereby obtain their prayers whilst they live. He that giveth to the poor, lendeth to the Lord.
The seventh is Luke xxiii. 42: Lord, remember me, when thou comest into thy kingdom. Therefore, saith he, there is remission of sins after this life. But the consequence is not good. Our Saviour then forgave him; and at his coming again in glory, will remember to raise him again to life eternal.
The eighth is Acts ii. 24, where St. Peter saith of Christ, that God had raised him up, and loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible he should be holden of it: which he interprets to be a descent of Christ into purgatory, to loose some souls there from their torments: whereas it is manifest, that it was Christ that was loosed; it was he that could not be holden of death, or the grave; and not the souls in purgatory. But if that which Beza says, in his notes on this place, be well observed, there is none that will not see, that instead of pains, it should be bands; and then there is no further cause to seek for purgatory in this text.
of demonology, and other relics of the religion of the gentiles.
The original of demonology.
The impression made on the organs of sight by lucid bodies, either in one direct line, or in many lines, reflected from opaque, or refracted in the passage through diaphanous bodies, produceth in living creatures, in whom God hath placed such organs, an imagination of the object, from whence the impression proceedeth; which imagination is called sight; and seemeth not to be a mere imagination, but the body itself without us; in the same manner, as when a man violently presseth his eye, there appears to him a light without, and before him, which no man perceiveth but himself; because there is indeed no such thing without him, but only a motion in the interior organs, pressing by resistance outward, that makes him think so. And the motion made by this pressure, continuing after the object which caused it is removed, is that we call imagination and memory; and, in sleep, and sometimes in great distemper of the organs by sickness or violence, a dream; of which things I have already spoken briefly, in the second and third chapters.
This nature of sight having never been discovered by the ancient pretenders to natural knowledge; much less by those that consider not things so remote, as that knowledge is, from their present use; it was hard for men to conceive of those images in the fancy and in the sense, otherwise, than of things really without us: which some, because they vanish away, they know not whither nor how, will have to be absolutely incorporeal, that is to say immaterial, or forms without matter; colour and figure, without any coloured or figured body; and that they can put on airy bodies, as a garment, to make them visible when they will to our bodily eyes; and others say, are bodies and living creatures, but made of air, or other more subtle and ethereal matter, which is, then, when they will be seen, condensed. But both of them agree on one general appellation of them, Demons. As if the dead of whom they dreamed, were not inhabitants of their own brain, but of the air, or of heaven, or hell; not phantasms, but ghosts; with just as much reason as if one should say, he saw his own ghost in a looking-glass, or the ghosts of the stars in a river; or call the ordinary apparition of the sun, of the quantity of about a foot, the demon, or ghost of that great sun that enlighteneth the whole visible world: and by that means have feared them, as things of an unknown, that is, of an unlimited power to do them good or harm; and consequently, given occasion to the governors of the heathen commonwealths to regulate this their fear, by establishing that demonology, (in which the poets, as principal priests of the heathen religion, were specially employed or reverenced,) to the public peace, and to the obedience of subjects necessary thereunto; and to make some of them good demons, and others evil; the one as a spur to the observance, the other as reins to withhold them from violation of the laws.
What were the demons of the ancients.
What kind of things they were, to whom they attributed the name of demons, appeareth partly in the genealogy of their gods, written by Hesiod, one of the most ancient poets of the Grecians; and partly in other histories; of which I have observed some few before, in the twelfth chapter of this discourse.
How that doctrine was spread.How far received by the Jews.
The Grecians, by their colonies and conquests, communicated their language and writings into Asia, Egypt, and Italy; and therein, by necessary consequence their demonology, or, as St. Paul calls it, (1 Tim. iv. 1) their doctrines of devils. And by that means the contagion was derived also to the Jews, both of Judea and Alexandria, and other parts, whereinto they were dispersed. But the name of demon they did not, as the Grecians, attribute to spirits both good and evil; but to the evil only: and to the good demons they gave the name of the spirit of God; and esteemed those into whose bodies they entered to be prophets. In sum, all singularity, if good, they attributed to the spirit of God; and if evil, to some demon, but a κακοδάιμων, an evil demon, that is a devil. And therefore, they called demoniacs, that is possessed by the devil, such as we call madmen or lunatics; or such as had the falling sickness, or that spoke any thing which they, for want of understanding, thought absurd. As also of an unclean person in a notorious degree, they used to say he had an unclean spirit; of a dumb man, that he had a dumb devil; and of John the Baptist (Matt. xi. 18), for the singularity of his fasting, that he had a devil; and of our Saviour, because he said, he that keepeth his sayings should not see death in æternum,(John viii. 52), Now we know thou hast a devil; Abraham is dead, and theprophets are dead: and again, because he said (John vii. 20), They went about to kill him, the people answered, Thou hast a devil; who goeth about to kill thee? Whereby it is manifest, that the Jews had the same opinions concerning phantasms, namely, that they were not phantasms, that is, idols of the brain, but things real, and independant on the fancy.
Why our Saviour controlled it not.
Which doctrine, if it be not true, why, may some say, did not our Saviour contradict it, and teach the contrary? Nay, why does he use on divers occasions such forms of speech as seem to confirm it? To this I answer, that first, where Christ saith, (Luke xxiv.39) A spirit hath not flesh and bone, though he show that there be spirits, yet he denies not that they are bodies. And where St. Paul says,(1 Cor. xv. 44) we shall rise spiritual bodies,he acknowledgeth the nature of spirits, but that they are bodily spirits; which is not difficult to understand. For air and many other things are bodies, though not flesh and bone, or any other gross body to be discerned by the eye. But when our Saviour speaketh to the devil, and commandeth him to go out of a man, if by the devil, he meant a disease, as phrensy, or lunacy, or a corporeal spirit, is not the speech improper? Can diseases hear? Or can there be a corporeal spirit in a body of flesh and bone, full already of vital and animal spirits? Are there not, therefore spirits, that neither have bodies, nor are mere imaginations? To the first I answer, that the addressing of our Saviour’s command to the madness, or lunacy he cureth, is no more improper than was his rebuking of the fever, or of the wind and sea; for neither do these hear; or than was the command of God, to the light, to the firmament, to the sun, and stars, when he commanded them to be; for they could not hear before they had a being. But those speeches are not improper, because they signify the power of God’s word; no more therefore is it improper, to command madness, or lunacy, under the appellation of devils by which they were then commonly understood, to depart out of a man’s body. To the second, concerning their being incorporeal, I have not yet observed any place of Scripture, from whence it can be gathered, that any man was ever possessed with any other corporeal spirit, but that of his own, by which his body is naturally moved.
The Scriptures do not teach that spirits are incorporeal.
Our Saviour, immediately after the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove, is said by St. Matthew (chapter iv. 1), to have been led up by the Spirit into the wilderness; and the same is recited (Luke iv. 1) in these words, Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost, was led in the Spirit into the wilderness; whereby it is evident that by spirit there, is meant the Holy Ghost. This cannot be interpreted for a possession; for Christ, and the Holy Ghost, are but one and the same substance; which is no possession of one substance, or body, by another. And whereas in the verses following he is said to have been taken up by the devil into the holy city, and set upon a pinnacle of the temple, shall we conclude thence that he was possessed of the devil, or carried thither by violence? And again, carried thence by the devil into an exceeding high mountain, who showed him thence all the kingdoms of the world: wherein we are not to believe he was either possessed, or forced by the devil; nor that any mountain is high enough, according to the literal sense, to show him one whole hemisphere. What then can be the meaning of this place, other than that he went of himself into the wilderness; and that this carrying of him up and down from the wilderness to the city, and from thence into a mountain, was a vision? Conformable whereunto, is also the phrase of St. Luke, that he was led into the wilderness, not by, but in, the Spirit; whereas, concerning his being taken up into the mountain, and unto the pinnacle of the temple, he speaketh as St. Matthew doth: which suiteth with the nature of a vision.
Again, where St. Luke (chap. xxii. 3, 4) says of Judas Iscariot, that Satan entered into him, and thereupon that he went and communed with the chief priests, and captains, how he might betray Christ unto them; it may be answered, that by the entering of Satan, that is the enemy, into him, is meant, the hostile and traitorous intention of selling his Lord and Master. For as by the Holy Ghost, is frequently in Scripture understood, the graces and good inclinations given by the Holy Ghost; so by the entering of Satan may be understood the wicked cogitations, and designs of the adversaries of Christ, and his disciples. For as it is hard to say, that the devil was entered into Judas, before he had any such hostile design; so it is impertinent to say, he was first Christ’s enemy in his heart, and that the devil entered into him afterwards. Therefore the entering of Satan, and his wicked purpose, was one and the same thing.
But if there be no immaterial spirit, or any possession of men’s bodies by any spirit corporeal, it may again be asked, why our Saviour and his apostles did not teach the people so; and in such clear words, as they might no more doubt thereof. But such questions as these, are more curious, than necessary for a Christian man’s salvation. Men may as well ask why Christ, that could have given to all men faith, piety, and all manner of moral virtues, gave it to some only, and not to all: and why he left the search of natural causes, and sciences, to the natural reason and industry of men, and did not reveal it to all, or any man supernaturally; and many other such questions. Of which nevertheless there may be alleged probable and pious reasons. For as God, when he brought the Israelites into the land of Promise, did not secure them therein, by subduing all the nations round about them; but left many of them, as thorns in their sides, to awaken from time to time their piety and industry: so our Saviour, in conducting us toward his heavenly kingdom, did not destroy all the difficulties of natural questions; but left them to exercise our industry, and reason; the scope of his preaching, being only to show us this plain and direct way to salvation, namely, the belief of this article, that he was the Christ, the Son of the living God, sent into the world to sacrifice himself for our sins, and at his coming again, gloriously to reign over his elect, and to save them from their enemies eternally. To which, the opinion of possession by spirits, or phantasms, is no impediment in the way; though it be to some an occasion of going out of the way, and to follow their own inventions. If we require of the Scripture an account of all questions, which may be raised to trouble us in the performance of God’s commands, we may as well complain of Moses for not having set down the time of the creation of such spirits, as well as of the creation of the earth and sea, and of men and beasts. To conclude; I find in Scripture that there be angels, and spirits, good and evil; but not that they are incorporeal, as are the apparitions men see in the dark, or in a dream, or vision; which the Latins call spectra, and took for demons. And I find that there are spirits corporeal, though subtle and invisible; but not that any man’s body was possessed or inhabited by them; and that the bodies of the saints shall be such, namely, spiritual bodies, as St. Paul calls them.
The power of casting out devils, not the same it was in the primitive church.
Nevertheless, the contrary doctrine, namely, that there be incorporeal spirits, hath hitherto so prevailed in the Church, that the use of exorcism, that is to say, of ejection of devils by conjuration, is thereupon built; and, though rarely and faintly practised, is not yet totally given over. That there were many demoniacs in the primitive Church, and few madmen, and other such singular diseases; whereas in these times we hear of, and see many madmen, and few demoniacs, proceeds not from the change of nature, but of names. But how it comes to pass that whereas heretofore the apostles, and after them for a time, the pastors of the Church, did cure those singular diseases, which now they are not seen to do; as likewise, why it is not in the power of every true believer now, to do all that the faithful did then, that is to say, as we read (Mark xvi. 17, 18), in Christ’s name to cast out devils, to speak with new tongues, to take up serpents, to drink deadly poison without harm-taking, and to cure the sick by the laying on of their hands, and all this without other words, but in the name of Jesus, is another question. And it is probable that those extraordinary gifts were given to the Church, for no longer a time, than men trusted wholly to Christ, and looked for their felicity only in his kingdom to come; and consequently, that when they sought authority, and riches, and trusted to their own subtlety for a kingdom of this world, these supernatural gifts of God were again taken from them.
Another relic of Gentilism, worshipping of images, left in the Church, not brought into it.
Another relic of Gentilism is, the worship of images, neither instituted by Moses in the Old, nor by Christ in the New Testament; nor yet brought in from the Gentiles; but left amongst them after they had given their names to Christ. Before our Saviour preached, it was the general religion of the Gentiles to worship for gods those apparences that remain in the brain from the impression of external bodies upon the organs of their senses, which are commonly called ideas, idols, phantasms, conceits, as being representations of those external bodies which cause them, and have nothing in them of reality, no more than there is in the things that seem to stand before us in a dream. And this is the reason why St. Paul says, (1 Cor. viii, 4) we know that an idol is nothing; not that he thought that an image of metal, stone, or wood, was nothing; but that the thing which they honoured, or feared in the image, and held for a god, was a mere figment, without place, habitation, motion, or existence, but in the motions of the brain. And the worship of these with divine honour, is that which is in the Scripture called idolatry, and rebellion against God. For God being King of the Jews, and his lieutenant being first Moses, and afterward the high-priest; if the people had been permitted to worship, and pray to images, which are representations of their own fancies, they had had no further dependance on the true God, of whom there can be no similitude; nor on his prime-ministers, Moses and the high-priests; but every man had governed himself according to his own appetite, to the utter eversion of the commonwealth, and their own destruction for want of union. And therefore the first law of God was, they should not take for gods,Alienos Deos, that is, the gods of other nations, but that only true God, who vouchsafed to commune with Moses, and by him to give them laws and directions, for their peace, and for their salvation from their enemies. And the second was, that they should not make to themselves any image to worship, of their own invention. For it is the same deposing of a king, to submit to another king, whether he be set up by a neighbour nation, or by ourselves.
Answer to certain seeming texts for images.
The places of Scripture pretended to countenance the setting up of images, to worship them; or to set them up at all in the places where God is worshipped, are first, two examples; one of the cherubims over the ark of God; the other of the brazen serpent. Secondly, some texts whereby we are commanded to worship certain creatures for their relation to God; as to worship his footstool. And lastly, some other texts, by which is authorized a religious honouring of holy things. But before I examine the force of those places, to prove that which is pretended, I must first explain what is to be understood by worshipping, and what by images and idols.
What is worship.
I have already shown in the xxth chapter of this discourse, that to honour, is to value highly the power of any person: and that such value is measured, by our comparing him with others. But because there is nothing to be compared with God in power; we honour him not, but dishonour him by any value less than infinite. And thus honour is properly of its own nature, secret, and internal in the heart. But the inward thoughts of men, which appear outwardly in their words and actions, are the signs of our honouring, and these go by the name of worship; in Latin, cultus. Therefore, to pray to, to swear by, to obey, to be diligent and officious in serving: in sum, all words and actions that betoken fear to offend, or desire to please, is worship, whether those words and actions be sincere, or feigned: and because they appear as signs of honouring, are ordinarily also called honour.
Distinction between divine and civil worship.
The worship we exhibit to those we esteem to be but men, as to kings, and men in authority, is civil worship: but the worship we exhibit to that which we think to be God, whatsoever the words, ceremonies, gestures or other actions be, is divine worship. To fall prostrate before a king, in him that thinks him but a man, is but civil worship: and he that putteth off his hat in the church, for this cause, that he thinketh it the house of God, worshippeth with divine worship. They that seek the distinction of divine and civil worship, not in the intention of the worshipper, but in the words δουλεία and λατρεία, deceive themselves. For whereas there be two sorts of servants: that sort, which is of those that are absolutely in the power of their masters, as slaves taken in war, and their issue, whose bodies are not in their own power, (their lives depending on the will of their masters, in such manner as to forfeit them upon the least disobedience), and that are bought and sold as beasts, were called δουλοι, that is, properly slaves, and their service δουλεία: the other, which is of those that serve (for hire, or in hope of benefit from their masters) voluntarily, are called θῆτεϛ; that is, domestic servants, to whose service the masters have no further right, than is contained in the covenants made betwixt them. These two kinds of servants have thus much common to them both, that their labour is appointed them by another: and the word λάτριϛ, is the general name of both, signifying him that worketh for another, whether as a slave, or a voluntary servant. So that λατρ̧εία signifieth generally all service; but δουλεία the service of bondmen only, and the condition of slavery: and both are used in Scripture, (to signify our service of God) promiscuously; δουλεία, because we are God’s slaves; λατρεία, because we serve him. And in all kinds of service is contained, not only obedience, but also worship; that is, such actions, gestures, and words, as signify honour.
An image, what.Phantasms.
An image, in the most strict signification of the word, is the resemblance of something visible: in which sense the phantastical forms, apparitions, or seemings of visible bodies to the sight, are only images; such as are the show of a man, or other thing in the water, by reflection, or refraction; or of the sun, or stars by direct vision in the air; which are nothing real in the things seen, nor in the place where they seem to be; nor are their magnitudes and figures the same with that of the object; but changeable, by the variation of the organs of sight, or by glasses, and are present oftentimes in our imagination, and in our dreams, when the object is absent; or changed into other colours and shapes, as things that depend only upon the fancy. And these are the images, which are originally and most properly called ideas, and idols, and derived from the language of the Grecians, with whom the word εἴδω signifieth to see. They also are called phantasms, which is in the same language, apparitions. And from these images it is, that one of the faculties of man’s nature, is called the imagination. And from hence it is manifest, that there neither is, nor can be, any image made of a thing invisible.
It is also evident, that there can be, no image of a thing infinite: for all the images, and phantasms that are made by the impression of things visible, are figured; but figure is a quantity every way determined. And therefore there can be no image of God; nor of the soul of man; nor of spirits; but only of bodies visible; that is, bodies that have light in themselves, or are by such enlightened.
And whereas a man can fancy shapes he never saw; making up a figure out of the parts of divers creatures; as the poets make their centaurs, chimeras, and other monsters never seen: so can he also give matter to those shapes, and make them in wood, clay, or metal. And these are also called images, not for the resemblance of any corporeal thing, but for the resemblance of some phantastical inhabitants of the brain of the maker. But in these idols, as they are originally in the brain, and as they are painted, carved, moulded, or moulten in matter, there is a similitude of the one to the other, for which the material body made by art, may be said to be the image of the fantastical idol made by nature.
But in a larger use of the word image, is contained also, any representation of one thing by another. So an earthly sovereign may be called the image of God: and an inferior magistrate, the image of an earthly sovereign. And many times in the idolatry of the Gentiles there was little regard to the similitude of their material idol to the idol in their fancy, and yet it was called the image of it. For a stone unhewn has been set up for Neptune, and divers other shapes far different from the shapes they conceived of their gods. And at this day we see many images of the Virgin Mary, and other saints, unlike one another, and without correspondence to any one man’s fancy; and yet serve well enough for the purpose they were erected for; which was no more but by the names only, to represent the persons mentioned in the history; to which every man applieth a mental image of his own making, or none at all. And thus an image in the largest sense, is either the resemblance, or the representation of some thing visible; or both together, as it happeneth for the most part.
But the name of idol is extended yet further in Scripture, to signify also the sun, or a star, or any other creature, visible or invisible, when they are worshipped for gods.
Having shown what is worship, and what an image; I will now put them together, and examine what that idolatry is, which is forbidden in the second commandment, and other places of the Scripture.
To worship an image, is voluntarily to do those external acts, which are signs of honouring either the matter of the image, which is wood, stone, metal, or some other visible creature; or the phantasm of the brain, for the resemblance, or representation whereof, the matter was formed and figured; or both together, as one animate body, composed of the matter and the phantasm, as of a body and soul.
To be uncovered, before a man of power and authority, or before the throne of a prince, or in such other places as he ordaineth to that purpose in his absence, is to worship that man, or prince with civil worship; as being a sign, not of honouring the stool or place, but the person; and is not idolatry. But if he that doth it, should suppose the soul of the prince to be in the stool, or should present a petition to the stool, it were divine worship, and idolatry.
To pray to a king for such things, as he is able to do for us, though we prostrate ourselves before him, is but civil worship; because we acknowledge no other power in him, but human: but voluntarily to pray unto him for fair weather, or for any thing which God only can do for us, is divine worship, and idolatry. On the other side, if a king compel a man to it by the terror of death, or other great corporal punishment, it is not idolatry: for the worship which the sovereign commandeth to be done unto himself by the terror of his laws, is not a sign that he that obeyeth him, does inwardly honour him as a God, but that he is desirous to save himself from death, or from a miserable life; and that which is not a sign of internal honour, is no worship; and therefore no idolatry. Neither can it be said, that he that does it, scandalizeth, or layeth any stumbling block before his brother; because how wise, or learned soever he be that worshippeth in that manner, another man cannot from thence argue, that he approveth it; but that he doth it for fear; and that it is not his act, but the act of his sovereign.
To worship God, in some peculiar place, or turning a man’s face towards an image, or determinate place, is not to worship, or honour the place, or image; but to acknowledge it holy, that is to say, to acknowledge the image, or the place to be set apart from common use. For that is the meaning of the word holy; which implies no new quality in the place or image, but only a new relation by appropriation to God; and therefore is not idolatry; no more than it was idolatry to worship God before the brazen serpent; or for the Jews, when they were out of their own country, to turn their faces, when they prayed, towards the temple of Jerusalem; or for Moses to put off his shoes when he was before the flaming bush, the ground appertaining to Mount Sinai, which place God had chosen to appear in, and to give his laws to the people of Israel, and was therefore holy ground, not by inherent sanctity, but by separation to God’s use; or for Christians to worship in the churches, which are once solemnly dedicated to God for that purpose, by the authority of the king, or other true representant of the Church. But to worship God, as inanimating, or inhabiting such image, or place; that is to say, in infinite substance in a finite place, is idolatry: for such finite gods, are but idols of the brain, nothing real; and are commonly called in the Scripture by the names of vanity, and lies, and nothing. Also to worship God, not as inanimating, or present in the place, or image; but to the end to be put in mind of him, or of some works of his, in case the place, or image be dedicated, or set up by private authority, and not by the authority of them that are our sovereign pastors, is idolatry. For the commandment is, thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image. God commanded Moses to set up the brazen serpent; he did not make it to himself; it was not therefore against the commandment. But the making of the golden calf by Aaron, and the people, as being done without authority from God, was idolatry; not only because they held it for God, but also because they made it for a religious use, without warrant either from God their sovereign, or from Moses, that was his lieutenant.
The Gentiles worshipped for gods, Jupiter and others; that living, were men perhaps that had done great and glorious acts: and for the children of God, divers men and women, supposing them gotten between an immortal deity, and a mortal man. This was idolatry, because they made them so to themselves, having no authority from God, neither in his eternal law of reason, nor in his positive and revealed will. But though our Saviour was a man, whom we also believe to be God immortal, and the Son of God, yet this is no idolatry; because we build not that belief upon our own fancy, or judgment, but upon the Word of God revealed in the Scriptures. And for the adoration of the Eucharist, if the words of Christ, this is my body, signify, that he himself, and the seeming bread in his hand, and not only so, but that all the seeming morsels of bread that have ever since been, and any time hereafter shall be consecrated by priests, be so many Christ’s bodies, and yet all of them but one body; then is that no idolatry, because it is authorized by our Saviour: but if that text do not signify that, (for there is no other that can be alleged for it) then, because it is a worship of human institution, it is idolatry. For it is not enough to say, God can transubstantiate the bread into Christ’s body: for the Gentiles also held God to be omnipotent, and might upon that ground no less excuse their idolatry, by pretending, as well as others, a transubstantiation of their wood, and stone into God Almighty.
Whereas there be, that pretend divine inspiration to be the supernatural entering of the Holy Ghost into a man, and not an acquisition of God’s graces, by doctrine, and study; I think they are in a very dangerous dilemma. For if they worship not the man whom they believe to be so inspired, they fall into impiety; as not adoring God’s supernatural presence. And again, if they worship him, they commit idolatry; for the apostles would never permit themselves to be so worshipped. Therefore the safest way is to believe, that by the descending of the dove upon the apostles; and by Christ’s breathing on them, when he gave them the Holy Ghost; and by the giving of it by imposition of hands, are understood the signs which God has been pleased to use, or ordain to be used, of his promise to assist those persons in their study to preach his kingdom, and in their conversation, that it might not be scandalous, but edifying to others.
Scandalous worship of images.
Besides the idolatrous worship of images, there is also a scandalous worship of them; which is also a sin, but not idolatry. For idolatry is to worship by signs of an internal, and real honour: but scandalous worship, is but seeming worship, and may sometimes be joined with an inward, and hearty detestation, both of the image, and of the phantastical demon, or idol, to which it is dedicated; and proceed only from the fear of death, or other grievous punishment; and is nevertheless a sin in them that so worship, in case they be men whose actions are looked at by others, as lights to guide them by; because following their ways, they cannot but stumble, and fall in the way of religion: whereas the example of those we regard not, works not on us at all, but leaves us to our own diligence and caution; and consequently are no causes of our falling.
If therefore a pastor lawfully called to teach and direct others, or any other, of whose knowledge there is a great opinion, do external honour to an idol for fear; unless he make his fear and unwillingness to it, as evident as the worship; he scandalizeth his brother, by seeming to approve idolatry. For his brother arguing from the action of his teacher, or of him whose knowledge he esteemeth great, concludes it to be lawful in itself. And this scandal is sin, and a scandal given. But if one being no pastor, nor of eminent reputation for knowledge in Christian doctrine, do the same, and another follow him; this is no scandal given; for he had no cause to follow such example: but is a pretence of scandal, which he taketh of himself for an excuse before men. For an unlearned man, that is in the power of an idolatrous king, or state, if commanded on pain of death to worship before an idol, he detesteth the idol in his heart, he doth well; though if he had the fortitude to suffer death, rather than worship it, he should do better. But if a pastor, who as Christ’s messenger, has undertaken to teach Christ’s doctrine to all nations, should do the same, it were not only a sinful scandal, in respect of other Christian men’s consciences, but a perfidious forsaking of his charge.
The sum of that which I have said hitherto, concerning the worship of images, is this, that he that worshippeth in an image, or any creature, either the matter thereof, or any fancy of his own, which he thinketh to dwell in it; or both together; or believeth that such things hear his prayers, or see his devotions, without ears or eyes, committeth idolatry: and he that counterfeiteth such worship for fear of punishment, if he be a man whose example hath power amongst his brethren, committeth a sin. But he that worshippeth the Creator of the world before such an image, or in such a place as he hath not made, or chosen of himself, but taken from the commandment of God’s word, as the Jews did in worshipping God before the cherubims, and before the brazen serpent for a time, and in, or towards the Temple of Jerusalem, which was also but for a time, committeth not idolatry.
Now for the worship of saints, and images, and relics, and other things at this day practised in the Church of Rome, I say they are not allowed by the Word of God, nor brought into the Church of Rome, from the doctrine there taught; but partly left in it at the first conversion of the Gentiles; and afterwards countenanced, and confirmed, and augmented by the bishops of Rome.
Answer to the argument from the cherubims, and brazen serpent.
As for the proofs alleged out of Scripture, namely, those examples of images appointed by God to be set up; they were not set up for the people, or any man to worship, but that they should worship God himself before them; as before the cherubims over the ark, and the brazen serpent. For we read not, that the priest, or any other did worship the cherubims; but contrarily we read (2 Kings xviii. 4) that Hezekiah brake in pieces the brazen serpent which Moses had set up, because the people burnt incense to it. Besides, those examples are not put for our imitation, that we also should set up images, under pretence of worshipping God before them; because the words of the second commandment, thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image, &c. distinguish between the images that God commanded to be set up, and those which we set up to ourselves. And therefore from the cherubims or brazen serpent, to the images of man’s devising; and from the worship commanded by God, to the will-worship of men, the argument is not good. This also is to be considered, that as Hezekiah brake in pieces the brazen serpent, because the Jews did worship it, to the end they should do so no more; so also Christian sovereigns ought to break down the images which their subjects have been accustomed to worship, that there be no more occasion of such idolatry. For at this day, the ignorant people, where images are worshipped, do really believe there is a divine power in the images; and are told by their pastors, that some of them have spoken; and have bled; and that miracles have been done by them; which they apprehend as done by the saint, which they think either is the image itself, or in it. The Israelites, when they worshipped the calf, did think they worshipped the God that brought them out of Egypt; and yet it was idolatry, because they thought the calf either was that God, or had him in his belly. And though some man may think it impossible for people to be so stupid, as to think the image to be God, or a saint; or to worship it in that notion; yet it is manifest in Scripture to the contrary; where when the golden calf was made, the people said, (Exod. xxxii. 4) These are thy gods, O Israel; and where the images of Laban (Gen. xxxi. 30) are called his gods. And we see daily by experience in all sorts of people, that such men as study nothing but their food and ease, are content to believe any absurdity, rather than to trouble themselves to examine it; holding their faith as it were by entail unalienable, except by an express and new law.
Painting of fancies no idolatry; but abusing them to religious worship is.
But they infer from some other places, that it is lawful to paint angels, and also God himself: as from God’s walking in the garden; from Jacob’s seeing God at the top of the ladder; and from other visions, and dreams. But visions, and dreams, whether natural, or supernatural, are but phantasms: and he that painteth an image of any of them, maketh not an image of God, but of his own phantasm, which is making of an idol. I say not, that to draw a picture after a fancy, is a sin; but when it is drawn, to hold it for a representation of God, is against the second commandment; and can be of no use, but to worship. And the same may be said of the images of angels, and of men dead; unless as monuments of friends, or of men worthy remembrance. For such use of an image, is not worship of the image; but a civil honouring of the person, not that is, but that was. But when it is done to the image which we make of a saint, for no other reason, but that we think he heareth our prayers, and is pleased with the honour we do him, when dead, and without sense, we attribute to him more than human power; and therefore it is idolatry.
Seeing therefore there is no authority, neither in the law of Moses, nor in the Gospel, for the religious worship of images, or other representations of God, which men set up to themselves; or for the worship of the image of any creature in heaven or earth, or under the earth: and whereas Christian kings, who are living representants of God, are not to be worshipped by their subjects, by any act that signifieth a greater esteem of his power, than the nature of mortal man is capable of; it cannot be imagined, that the religious worship now in use, was brought into the Church by misunderstanding of the Scripture. It resteth therefore, that it was left in it, by not destroying the images themselves, in the conversion of the Gentiles that worshipped them.
How idolatry was left in the Church.
The cause whereof, was the immoderate esteem, and prices set upon the workmanship of them, which made the owners, though converted from worshipping them as they had done religiously for demons, to retain them still in their houses, upon pretence of doing it in the honour of Christ, of the Virgin Mary, and of the Apostles, and other the pastors of the primitive Church; as being easy, by giving them new names, to make that an image of the Virgin Mary, and of her son our Saviour, which before perhaps was called the image of Venus, and Cupid; and so of a Jupiter to make a Barnabas, and of Mercury a Paul, and the like. And as worldly ambition creeping by degrees into the pastors, drew them to an endeavour of pleasing the new-made Christians; and also to a liking of this kind of honour, which they also might hope for after their decease, as well as those that had already gained it: so the worshipping of the images of Christ and his apostles, grew more and more idolatrous; save that somewhat after the time of Constantine, divers emperors, and bishops, and general councils, observed and opposed the unlawfulness thereof; but too late, or too weakly.
Canonizing of saints.
The canonizing of saints, is another relic of Gentilism: it is neither a misunderstanding of Scripture, nor a new invention of the Roman Church, but a custom as ancient as the commonwealth of Rome itself. The first that ever was canonized at Rome, was Romulus, and that upon the narration of Julius Proculus, that swore before the senate, he spake with him after his death, and was assured by him, he dwelt in heaven, and was there called Quirinus, and would be propitious to the state of their new city: and thereupon the senate gave public testimony of his sanctity. Julius Cæsar, and other emperors after him, had the like testimony; that is, were canonized for saints; for by such testimony is canonization now defined; and is the same with the ἀποθέωσιϛ of the heathen.
The name of Pontifex.
It is also from the Roman Heathen, that the Popes have received the name, and power of pontifexmaximus. This was the name of him that in the ancient commonwealth of Rome, had the supreme authority under the senate and people, of regulating all ceremonies and doctrines concerning their religion: and when Augustus Cæsar changed the state into a monarchy, he took to himself no more but this office, and that of tribune of the people, that is to say, the supreme power both in state, and religion; and the succeeding emperors enjoyed the same. But when the emperor Constantine lived, who was the first that professed and authorized Christian religion, it was consonant to his profession, to cause religion to be regulated, under his authority, by the Bishop of Rome: though it do not appear they had so soon the name of Pontifex; but rather, that the succeeding bishops took it of themselves, to countenance the power they exercised over the bishops of the Roman provinces. For it is not any privilege of St. Peter, but the privilege of the city of Rome, which the emperors were always willing to uphold, that gave them such authority over other bishops; as may be evidently seen by that, that the bishop of Constantinople, when the emperor made that city the seat of the empire, pretended to be equal to the bishop of Rome; though at last, not without contention, the Pope carried it, and became the Pontifex Maximus; but in right only of the emperor; and not without the bounds of the empire; nor any where, after the emperor had lost his power in Rome; though it were the Pope himself that took his power from him. From whence we may by the way observe, that there is no place for the superiority of the Pope over other bishops, except in the territories whereof he is himself the civil sovereign, and where the emperor having sovereign power civil, hath expressly chosen the Pope for the chief pastor under himself, of his Christian subjects.
Procession of images.
The carrying about of images in procession, is another relic of the religion of the Greeks, and Romans. For they also carried their idols from place to place, in a kind of chariot, which was peculiarly dedicated to that use, which the Latins called thensa, and vehiculum Deorum; and the image was placed in a frame, or shrine, which they called ferculum: and that which they called pompa, is the same that now is named procession. According whereunto, amongst the divine honours which were given to Julius Cæsar by the senate, this was one, that in the pomp, or procession, at the Circæan games, he should have thensam et ferculum, a sacred chariot and a shrine; which was as much, as to be carried up and down as a god: just as at this day the Popes are carried by Switzers under a canopy.
Wax candles, and torches lighted.
To these processions also belonged the bearing of burning torches, and candles, before the images of the gods, both amongst the Greeks, and Romans. For afterwards the emperors of Rome received the same honour; as we read of Caligula, that at his reception to the empire, he was carried from Misenum to Rome, in the midst of a throng of people, the ways beset with altars, and beasts for sacrifice, and burning torches: and of Caracalla, that was received into Alexandria with incense, and with casting of flowers, and δαδοῦχίαιϛ, that is, with torches; for δαδοῦχοι were they that amongst the Greeks carried torches lighted in the processions of their gods. And in process of time, the devout, but ignorant people, did many times honour their bishops with the like pomp of wax candles, and the images of our Saviour, and the saints, constantly, in the church itself. And thus came in the use of wax candles; and was also established by some of the ancient Councils.
The heathens had also their aqua lustralis, that is to say, holy water. The Church of Rome imitates them also in their holy days. They had their bacchanalia; and we have our wakes, answering to them: they their saturnalia, and we our carnivals, and Shrove-Tuesday’s liberty of servants: they their procession of Priapus; we our fetching in, erection, and dancing about May-poles; and dancing is one kind of worship: they had their procession called Ambarvalia; and we our procession about the fields in the Rogation-week. Nor do I think that these are all the ceremonies that have been left in the Church, from the first conversion of the Gentiles; but they are all that I can for the present call to mind; and if a man would well observe that which is delivered in the histories, concerning the religious rites of the Greeks and Romans, I doubt not but he might find many more of these old empty bottles of Gentilism, which the doctors of the Roman Church, either by negligence or ambition, have filled up again with the new wine of Christianity, that will not fail in time to break them.
of darkness from vain philosophy, and fabulous traditions.
What philosophy is.
By Philosophy is understood the knowledge acquired by reasoning, from the manner of the generation of any thing, to the properties: or from the properties, to some possible way of generation of the same; to the end to be able to produce, as far as matter, and human force permit, such effects, as human life requireth. So the geometrician, from the construction of figures, findeth out many properties thereof; and from the properties, new ways of their construction, by reasoning; to the end to be able to measure land, and water; and for infinite other uses. So the astronomer, from the rising, setting, and moving of the sun, and stars, in divers parts of the heavens, findeth out the causes of day, and night, and of the different seasons of the year; whereby he keepeth an account of time; and the like of other sciences.
Prudence no part of philosophy.
By which definition it is evident, that we are not to account as any part thereof, that original knowledge called experience, in which consisteth prudence: because it is not attained by reasoning, but found as well in brute beasts, as in man; and is but a memory of successions of events in times past, wherein the omission of every little circumstance altering the effect, frustrateth the expectation of the most prudent: whereas nothing is produced by reasoning aright, but general, eternal, and immutable truth.
No false doctrine is part of philosophy.
Nor are we therefore to give that name to any false conclusions: for he that reasoneth aright in words he understandeth, can never conclude an error:
No more is revelation supernatural.
Nor to that which any man knows by supernatural revelation; because it is not acquired by reasoning:
Nor learning taken upon credit of authors.
Nor that which is gotten by reasoning from the authority of books; because it is not by reasoning from the cause to the effect, nor from the effect to the cause; and is not knowledge but faith.
Of the beginnings and progress of philosophy.
The faculty of reasoning being consequent to the use of speech, it was not possible, but that there should have been some general truths found out by reasoning, as ancient almost as language itself. The savages of America, are not without some good moral sentences; also they have a little arithmetic, to add, and divide in numbers not too great: but they are not, therefore, philosophers. For as there were plants of corn and wine in small quantity dispersed in the fields and woods, before men knew their virtue, or made use of them for their nourishment, or planted them apart in fields and vineyards; in which time they fed on acorns, and drank water: so also there have been divers true, general, and profitable speculations from the beginning; as being the natural plants of human reason. But they were at first but few in number; men lived upon gross experience; there was no method; that is to say, no sowing, nor planting of knowledge by itself, apart from the weeds, and common plants of error and conjecture. And the cause of it being the want of leisure from procuring the necessities of life, and defending themselves against their neighbours, it was impossible, till the erecting of great commonwealths, it should be otherwise. Leisure is the mother of philosophy; and Commonwealth, the mother of peace and leisure. Where first were great and flourishing cities, there was first the study of philosophy. The Gymnosophists of India, the Magi of Persia, and the Priests of Chaldea and Egypt, are counted the most ancient philosophers; and those countries were the most ancient of kingdoms. Philosophy was not risen to the Grecians, and other people of the west, whose commonwealths, no greater perhaps than Lucca or Geneva, had never peace, but when their fears of one another were equal; nor the leisure to observe anything but one another. At length, when war had united many of these Grecian lesser cities, into fewer, and greater; then began seven men, of several parts of Greece, to get the reputation of being wise; some of them for moral and politic sentences; and others for the learning of the Chaldeans and Egyptians, which was astronomy, and geometry. But we hear not yet of any schools of philosophy.
Of the schools of philosophy amongst the Athenians.
After the Athenians, by the overthrow of the Persian armies, had gotten the dominion of the sea; and thereby, of all the islands, and maritime cities of the Archipelago, as well of Asia as Europe; and were grown wealthy; they that had no employment, neither at home nor abroad, had little else to employ themselves in, but either (as St. Luke says, Acts xvii. 21), in telling and hearing news, or in discoursing of philosophy publicly to the youth of the city. Every master took some place for that purpose. Plato, in certain public walks called Academia, from one Academus: Aristotle in the walk of the temple of Pan, called Lyceum: others in the Stoa, or covered walk, wherein the merchants’ goods were brought to land: others in other places; where they spent the time of their leisure, in teaching or in disputing of their opinions: and some in any place, where they could get the youth of the city together to hear them talk. And this was it which Carneades also did at Rome, when he was ambassador: which caused Cato to advise the senate to dispatch him quickly, for fear of corrupting the manners of the young men, that delighted to hear him speak, as they thought, fine things.
From this it was, that the place where any of them taught, and disputed, was called schola, which in their tongue signifieth leisure; and their disputations, diatribæ, that is to say, passing of the time. Also the philosophers themselves had the name of their sects, some of them from these their Schools: for they that followed Plato’s doctrine, were called Academics; the followers of Aristotle Peripatetics, from the walk he taught in; and those that Zeno taught Stoics, from the Stoa; as if we should denominate men from Moor-fields, from Paul’s Church, and from the Exchange, because they meet there often, to prate and loiter.
Nevertheless, men were so much taken with this custom, that in time it spread itself over all Europe, and the best part of Afric; so as there were schools publicly erected and maintained, for lectures and disputations, almost in every commonwealth.
Of the schools of the Jews.
There were also schools, anciently, both before and after the time of our Saviour, amongst the Jews; but they were schools of their law. For though they were called synagogues, that is to say, congregations of the people; yet, inasmuch as the law was every sabbath-day read, expounded, and disputed in them, they differed not in nature, but in name only, from public schools; and were not only in Jerusalem, but in every city of the Gentiles, where the Jews inhabited. There was such a school at Damascus, whereinto Paul entered, to persecute. There were others at Antioch, Iconium, and Thessalonica, whereinto he entered to dispute: and such was the synagogue of the Libertines, Cyrenians, Alexandrians, Cilicians, and those of Asia; that is to say, the school of Libertines, and of Jews that were strangers in Jerusalem; and of this school they were that disputed (Acts vi. 9) with St. Stephen.
The schools of the Grecians unprofitable.
But what has been the utility of those schools? What science is there at this day acquired by their readings and disputings? That we have of geometry, which is the mother of all natural science, we are not indebted for it to the schools. Plato, that was the best philosopher of the Greeks, forbad entrance into his school to all that were not already in some measure geometricians. There were many that studied that science to the great advantage of mankind: but there is no mention of their schools; nor was there any sect of geometricians; nor did they then pass under the name of philosophers. The natural philosophy of those schools was rather a dream than science, and set forth in senseless and insignificant language; which cannot be avoided by those that will teach philosophy, without having first attained great knowledge in geometry. For nature worketh by motion; the ways and degrees whereof cannot be known, without the knowledge of the proportions and properties of lines and figures. Their moral philosophy is but a description of their own passions. For the rule of manners, without civil government, is the law of nature; and in it, the law civil, that determineth what is honest and dishonest, what is just and unjust, and generally what is good and evil. Whereas they make the rules of good and bad, by their own liking and disliking: by which means, in so great diversity of taste, there is nothing generally agreed on; but every one doth, as far as he dares, whatsoever seemeth good in his own eyes, to the subversion of commonwealth. Their logic, which should be the method of reasoning, is nothing else but captions of words, and inventions how to puzzle such as should go about to pose them. To conclude, there is nothing so absurd, that the old philosophers, as Cicero saith, (who was one of them,) have not some of them maintained. And I believe that scarce anything can be more absurdly said in natural philosophy, than that which now is called Aristotle’s Metaphysics; nor more repugnant to government, than much of that he hath said in his Politics; nor more ignorantly, than a great part of his Ethics.
The schools of the Jews unprofitable.
The school of the Jews was originally a school of the law of Moses; who commanded (Deut. xxxi. 10) that at the end of every seventh year, at the Feast of the Tabernacles, it should be read to all the people, that they might hear and learn it. Therefore the reading of the law, which was in use after the captivity, every Sabbath day, ought to have had no other end, but the acquainting of the people with the Commandments which they were to obey, and to expound unto them the writings of the prophets. But it is manifest, by the many reprehensions of them by our Saviour, that they corrupted the text of the law with their false commentaries, and vain traditions; and so little understood the prophets, that they did neither acknowledge Christ, nor the works he did, of which the prophets prophesied. So that by their lectures and disputations in their synagogues, they turned the doctrine of their law into a fantastical kind of philosophy, concerning the incomprehensible nature of God, and of spirits; which they compounded of the vain philosophy and theology of the Grecians, mingled with their own fancies, drawn from the obscurer places of the Scripture, and which might most easily be wrested to their purpose; and from the fabulous traditions of their ancestors.
University, what it is.
That which is now called an University, is a joining together, and an incorporation under one government, of many public schools, in one and the same town or city. In which, the principal schools were ordained for the three professions, that is to say, of the Roman religion, of the Roman law, and of the art of medicine. And for the study of philosophy, it hath no otherwise place, than as a handmaid to the Roman religion: and since the authority of Aristotle is only current there, that study is not properly philosophy, (the nature whereof dependeth not on authors,) but Aristotelity. And for geometry, till of very late times it had no place at all; as being subservient to nothing but rigid truth. And if any man by the ingenuity of his own nature, had attained to any degree of perfection therein, he was commonly thought a magician, and his art diabolical.
Errors brought into religion from Aristotle’s metaphysics.
Now to descend to the particular tenets of vain philosophy, derived to the Universities, and thence into the Church, partly from Aristotle, partly from blindness of understanding; I shall first consider their principles. There is a certain philosophia prima, on which all other philosophy ought to depend; and consisteth principally, in right limiting of the significations of such appellations, or names, as are of all others the most universal; which limitations serve to avoid ambiguity and equivocation in reasoning; and are commonly called definitions; such as are the definitions of body, time, place, matter, form, essence, subject, substance, accident, power, act, finite, infinite, quantity, quality, motion, action, passion, and divers others, necessary to the explaining of a man’s conceptions concerning the nature and generation of bodies. The explication, that is, the settling of the meaning, of which, and the like terms, is commonly in the Schools called metaphysics; as being a part of the philosophy of Aristotle, which hath that for title. But it is in another sense; for there it signifieth as much as books written or placed after his natural philosophy: but the schools take them for books of supernatural philosophy: for the word metaphysics will bear both these senses. And indeed that which is there written, is for the most part so far from the possibility of being understood, and so repugnant to natural reason, that whosoever thinketh there is any thing to be understood by it, must needs think it supernatural.
Errors concerning abstract essences.
From these metaphysics, which are mingled with the Scripture to make school divinity, we are told, there be in the world certain essences separated from bodies, which they call abstract essences, and substantial forms. For the interpreting of which jargon, there is need of somewhat more than ordinary attention in this place. Also I ask pardon of those that are not used to this kind of discourse, for applying myself to those that are. The world, (I mean not the earth only, that denominates the lovers of it worldly men, but the universe, that is, the whole mass of all things that are), is corporeal, that is to say, body; and hath the dimensions of magnitude, namely, length, breadth, and depth: also every part of body, is likewise body, and hath the like dimensions; and consequently every part of the universe, is body, and that which is not body, is no part of the universe: and because the universe is all, that which is no part of it, is nothing; and consequently no where. Nor does it follow from hence, that spirits are nothing: for they have dimensions, and are therefore really bodies; though that name in common speech be given to such bodies only, as are visible, or palpable; that is, that have some degree of opacity. But for spirits, they call them incorporeal; which is a name of more honour, and may therefore with more piety be attributed to God himself; in whom we consider not what attribute expresseth best his nature, which is incomprehensible; but what best expresseth our desire to honour Him.
To know now upon what grounds they say there be essences abstract, or substantial forms, we are to consider what those words do properly signify. The use of words, is to register to ourselves, and make manifest to others the thoughts and conceptions of our minds. Of which words, some are the names of the things conceived; as the names of all sorts of bodies, that work upon the senses, and leave an impression in the imagination. Others are the names of the imaginations themselves; that is to say, of those ideas, or mental images we have of all things we see, or remember. And others again are names of names; or of different sorts of speech: as universal, plural, singular, are the names of names; and definition, affirmation, negation, true, false, syllogism, interrogation, promise, covenant, are the names of certain forms of speech. Others serve to show the consequence, or repugnance of one name to another; as when one saith, a man is a body, he intendeth that the name of body is necessarily consequent to the name of man; as being but several names of the same thing, man; which consequence is signified by coupling them together with the word is. And as we use the verb is, so the Latins use their verb est, and the Greeks their Ἔστι through all its declinations. Whether all other nations of the world have in their several languages a word that answereth to it, or not, I cannot tell; but I am sure they have not need of it. For the placing of two names in order may serve to signify their consequence, if it were the custom, (for custom is it, that gives words their force,) as well as the words is, or be, or are, and the like.
And if it were so, that there were a language without any verb answerable to est, or is, or be; yet the men that used it would be not a jot the less capable of inferring, concluding, and of all kind of reasoning, than were the Greeks, and Latins. But what then would become of these terms, of entity, essence, essential, essentiality, that are derived from it, and of many more than depend on these, applied as most commonly they are? They are therefore no names of things; but signs, by which we make known, that we conceive the consequence of one name or attribute to another: as when we say, a man is a living body, we mean not that the man is one thing, the living body another, and the is, or being a third; but that the man, and the living body, is the same thing; because the consequence, if he be a man, he is a living body, is a true consequence, signified by that word is. Therefore, to be a body, to walk, to be speaking, to live, to see, and the like infinitives; also corporeity, walking, speaking, life, sight, and the like, that signify just the same, are the names of nothing; as I have elsewhere more amply expressed.
But to what purpose, may some man say, is such subtlety in a work of this nature, where I pretend to nothing but what is necessary to the doctrine of government and obedience? It is to this purpose, that men may no longer suffer themselves to be abused, by them, that by this doctrine of separated essences, built on the vain philosophy of Aristotle, would fright them from obeying the laws of their country, with empty names; as men fright birds from the corn with an empty doublet, a hat, and a crooked stick. For it is upon this ground, that when a man is dead and buried, they say his soul, that is his life, can walk separated from his body, and is seen by night amongst the graves. Upon the same ground they say, that the figure, and colour, and taste of a piece of bread, has a being, there, where they say there is no bread. And upon the same ground they say, that faith, and wisdom, and other virtues, are sometimes poured into a man, sometimes blown into him from Heaven, as if the virtuous and their virtues could be asunder; and a great many other things that serve to lessen the dependance of subjects on the sovereign power of their country. For who will endeavour to obey the laws, if he expect obedience to be poured or blown into him? Or who will not obey a priest, that can make God, rather than his sovereign, nay than God himself? Or who, that is in fear of ghosts, will not bear great respect to those that can make the holy water, that drives them from him? And this shall suffice for an example of the errors, which are brought into the Church, from the entities and essences of Aristotle: which it may be he knew to be false philosophy; but writ it as a thing consonant to, and corroborative of their religion; and fearing the fate of Socrates.
Being once fallen into this error of separated essences, they are thereby necessarily involved in many other absurdities that follow it. For seeing they will have these forms to be real, they are obliged to assign them some place. But because they hold them incorporeal, without all dimension of quantity, and all men know that place is dimension, and not to be filled, but by that which is corporeal; they are driven to uphold their credit with a distinction, that they are not indeed anywhere circumscriptivè, but definitivè; which terms being mere words, and in this occasion insignificant, pass only in Latin, that the vanity of them may be concealed. For the circumscription of a thing, is nothing else but the determination, or defining of its place; and so both the terms of the distinction are the same. And in particular, of the essence of a man, which, they say, is his soul, they affirm it, to be all of it in his little finger, and all of it in every other part, how small soever, of his body; and yet no more soul in the whole body, than in any one of those parts. Can any man think that God is served with such absurdities? And yet all this is necessary to believe, to those that will believe the existence of an incorporeal soul, separated from the body.
And when they come to give account how an incorporeal substance can be capable of pain, and be tormented in the fire of hell or purgatory, they have nothing at all to answer, but that it cannot be known how fire can burn souls.
Again, whereas motion is change of place, and incorporeal substances are not capable of place, they are troubled to make it seem possible, how a soul can go hence, without the body, to heaven, hell, or purgatory; and how the ghosts of men, and I may add of their clothes which they appear in, can walk by night in churches, churchyards, and other places of sepulture. To which I know not what they can answer, unless they will say, they walk definitivè, not circumscriptivè, or spiritually, not temporally: for such egregious distinctions are equally applicable to any difficulty whatsoever.
For the meaning of eternity, they will not have it to be an endless succession of time; for then they should not be able to render a reason how God’s will, and preordaining of things to come, should not be before his prescience of the same, as the efficient cause before the effect, or agent before the action; nor of many other their bold opinions concerning the incomprehensible nature of God. But they will teach us, that eternity is the standing still of the present time, a nunc-stans, as the Schools call it; which neither they, nor any else understand, no more than they would a hic-stans for an infinite greatness of place.
One body in many places, and many bodies in one place at once.
And whereas men divide a body in their thought, by numbering parts of it, and, in numbering those parts, number also the parts of the place it filled; it cannot be, but in making many parts, we make also many places of those parts; whereby there cannot be conceived in the mind of any man, more, or fewer parts, than there are places for: yet they will have us believe, that by the Almighty power of God, one body may be at one and the same time in many places; and many bodies at one and the same time in one place: as if it were an acknowledgment of the Divine Power to say, that which is, is not; or that which has been, has not been. And these are but a small part of the incongruities they are forced to, from their disputing philosophically, instead of admiring, and adoring of the divine and incomprehensible nature; whose attributes cannot signify what he is, but ought to signify our desire to honour him, with the best appellations we can think on. But they that venture to reason of his nature, from these attributes of honour, losing their understanding in the very first attempt, fall from one inconvenience into another, without end, and without number; in the same manner, as when a man ignorant of the ceremonies of court, coming into the presence of a greater person than he is used to speak to, and stumbling at his entrance, to save himself from falling, lets slip his cloak; to recover his cloak, lets fall his hat; and with one disorder after another, discovers his astonishment and rusticity.
Absurdities in natural philosophy, as gravity the cause of heaviness.
Then for physics, that is, the knowledge of the subordinate and secondary causes of natural events; they render none at all, but empty words. If you desire to know why some kind of bodies sink naturally downwards toward the earth, and others go naturally from it; the Schools will tell you out of Aristotle, that the bodies that sink downwards, are heavy; and that this heaviness is it that causes them to descend. But if you ask what they mean by heaviness, they will define it to be an endeavour to go to the centre of the earth. So that the cause why things sink downward, is an endeavour to be below: which is as much as to say, that bodies descend, or ascend, because they do. Or they will tell you the centre of the earth is the place of rest, and conservation for heavy things; and therefore they endeavour to be there: as if stones and metals had a desire, or could discern the place they would be at, as man does; or loved rest, as man does not; or that a piece of glass were less safe in the window, than falling into the street.
Quantity put into body already made.
If we would know why the same body seems greater, without adding to it, one time, than another; they say, when it seems less, it is condensed; when greater, rarified. What is that condensed, and rarified? Condensed, is when there is in the very same matter, less quantity than before; and rarified, when more. As if there could be matter, that had not some determined quantity; when quantity is nothing else but the determination of matter; that is to say, of body, by which we say, one body is greater or lesser than another, by thus, or thus much. Or as if a body were made without any quantity at all, and that afterwards more or less were put into it, according as it is intended the body should be more or less dense.
Pouring in of souls.
For the cause of the soul of man, they say, creatur infundendo, and creando infunditur: that is, it is created by pouring it in, and poured in by creation.
Ubiquity of apparition.
For the cause of sense, an ubiquity of species; that is, of the shows or apparitions of objects; which when they be apparitions to the eye, is sight; when to the ear, hearing; to the palate, taste; to the nostril, smelling; and to the rest of the body, feeling.
Will, the cause of willing.
For cause of the will, to do any particular action, which is called volitio, they assign the faculty, that is to say, the capacity in general, that men have, to will sometimes one thing, sometimes another, which is called voluntas; making the power the cause of the act. As if one should assign for cause of the good or evil acts of men, their ability to do them.
Ignorance an occult cause.
And in many occasions they put for cause of natural events, their own ignorance; but disguised in other words: as when they say, fortune is the cause of things contingent; that is, of things whereof they know no cause: and as when they attribute many effects to occult qualities; that is, qualities not known to them; and therefore also, as they think, to no man else. And to sympathy, antipathy, antiperistasis, specifical qualities, and other like terms, which signify neither the agent that produceth them, nor the operation by which they are produced.
If such metaphysics, and physics as this, be not vain philosophy, there was never any; nor needed St. Paul to give us warning to avoid it.
One makes the things incongruent, another the incongruity
And for their moral, and civil philosophy, it hath the same, or greater absurdities. If a man do an action of injustice, that is to say, an action contrary to the law, God they say is the prime cause of the law, and also the prime cause of that, and all other actions; but no cause at all of the injustice; which is the inconformity of the action to the law. This is vain philosophy. A man might as well say, that one man maketh both a straight line, and a crooked, and another maketh their incongruity. And such is the philosophy of all men that resolve of their conclusions, before they know their premises; pretending to comprehend, that which is incomprehensible; and of attributes of honour to make attributes of nature; as this dictinction was made to maintain the doctrine of free-will, that is, of a will of man, not subject to the will of God.
Private appetite the rule of public good.
Aristotle, and other heathen philosophers, define good and evil, by the appetite of men; and well enough, as long as we consider them governed every one by his own law; for in the condition of men that have no other law but their own appetites, there can be no general rule of good, and evil actions. But in a commonwealth this measure is false: not the appetite of private men, but the law, which is the will and appetite of the state, is the measure. And yet is this doctrine still practised; and men judge the goodness or wickedness of their own, and of other men’s actions, and of the actions of the commonwealth itself, by their own passions; and no man calleth good or evil, but that which is so in his own eyes, without any regard at all to the public laws; except only monks, and friars, that are bound by vow to that simple obedience to their superior, to which every subject ought to think himself bound by the law of nature to the civil sovereign. And this private measure of good, is a doctrine, not only vain, but also pernicious to the public state.
And that lawful marriage is unchastity.
It is also vain and false philosophy, to say the work of marriage is repugnant to chastity, or continence, and by consequence to make them moral vices; as they do, that pretend chastity, and continence, for the ground of denying marriage to the clergy. For they confess it is no more, but a constitution of the Church, that requireth in those holy orders that continually attend the altar and administration of the eucharist, a continual abstinence from women, under the name of continual chastity, continence, and purity. Therefore they call the lawful use of wives, want of chastity and continence; and so make marriage a sin, or at least a thing so impure, and unclean, as to render a man unfit for the altar. If the law were made because the use of wives is incontinence, and contrary to chastity, then all marriage is vice: if because it is a thing too impure, and unclean, for a man consecrated to God; much more should other natural, necessary, and daily works which all men do, render men unworthy to be priests, because they are more unclean.
But the secret foundation of this prohibition of marriage of priests, is not likely to have been laid so slightly, as upon such errors in moral philosophy; nor yet upon the preference of single life, to the estate of matrimony; which proceeded from the wisdom of St. Paul, who perceived how inconvenient a thing it was, for those that in those times of persecution were preachers of the gospel, and forced to fly from one country to another, to be clogged with the care of wife and children; but upon the design of the Popes, and priests of after times, to make themselves the clergy, that is to say, sole heirs of the kingdom of God in this world; to which it was necessary to take from them the use of marriage; because our Saviour saith, that at the coming of his kingdom the children of God shall neither marry, nor be given in marriage, but shall be as the angels in heaven; that is to say, spiritual. Seeing then they had taken on them the name of spiritual, to have allowed themselves, when there was no need, the propriety of wives, had been an incongruity.
And that all government but popular is tyranny.
From Aristotle’s civil philosophy, they have learned, to call all manner of commonwealths but the popular, (such as was at that time the state of Athens), tyranny. All kings they called tyrants; and the aristocracy of the thirty governors set up there by the Lacedemonians that subdued them, the thirty tyrants. As also to call the condition of the people under the democracy, liberty. A tyrant originally signified no more simply, but a monarch. But when afterwards in most part of Greece that kind of government was abolished, the name began to signify, not only the thing it did before, but with it, the hatred which the popular states bare towards it. As also the name of king became odious after the deposing of the kings in Rome, as being a thing natural to all men, to conceive some great fault to be signified in any attribute, that is given in despite, and to a great enemy. And when the same men shall be displeased with those that have the administration of the democracy, or aristocracy, they are not to seek for disgraceful names to express their anger in; but call readily the one anarchy, and the other oligarchy, or the tyranny of a few. And that which offendeth the people, is no other thing, but that they are governed, not as every one of them would himself, but as the public representant, be it one man, or an assembly of men, thinks fit; that is, by an arbitrary government: for which they give evil names to their superiors; never knowing, till perhaps a little after a civil war, that without such arbitrary government, such war must be perpetual; and that it is men, and arms, not words and promises, that make the force and power of the laws.
That not men, but law governs.
And therefore this is another error of Aristotle’s politics, that in a well-ordered commonwealth, not men should govern, but the laws. What man, that has his natural senses, though he can neither write nor read, does not find himself governed by them he fears, and believes can kill or hurt him when he obeyeth not? Or that believes the law can hurt him; that is, words and paper, without the hands and swords of men? And this is of the number of pernicious errors: for they induce men, as oft as they like not their governors, to adhere to those that call them tyrants, and to think it lawful to raise war against them: and yet they are many times cherished from the pulpit, by the clergy.
Laws over the conscience.
There is another error in their civil philosophy, which they never learned of Aristotle, nor Cicero, nor any other of the heathen, to extend the power of the law, which is the rule of actions only, to the very thoughts and consciences of men, by examination, and inquisition of what they hold, notwithstanding the conformity of their speech and actions. By which, men are either punished for answering the truth of their thoughts, or constrained to answer an untruth for fear of punishment. It is true, that the civil magistrate, intending to employ a minister in the charge of teaching, may enquire of him, if he be content to preach such and such doctrines; and in case of refusal, may deny him the employment. But to force him to accuse himself of opinions, when his actions are not by law forbidden, is against the law of nature; and especially in them, who teach, that a man shall be damned to eternal and extreme torments, if he die in a false opinion concerning an article of the Christian faith. For who is there, that knowing there is so great danger in an error, whom the natural care of himself, compelleth not to hazard his soul upon his own judgment, rather than that of any other man that is unconcerned in his damnation?
Private interpretation of law.
For a private man, without the authority of the commonwealth, that is to say, without permission from the representant thereof, to interpret the law by his own spirit, is another error in the politics: but not drawn from Aristotle, nor from any other of the heathen philosophers. For none of them deny, but that in the power of making laws, is comprehended also the power of explaining them when there is need. And are not the Scriptures, in all places where they are law, made law by the authority of the commonwealth, and consequently, a part of the civil law?
Of the same kind it is also, when any but the sovereign restraineth in any man that power which the commonwealth hath not restrained; as they do, that impropriate the preaching of the gospel to one certain order of men, where the laws have left it free. If the state give me leave to preach, or teach; that is, if it forbid me not, no man can forbid me. If I find myself amongst the idolaters of America, shall I that am a Christian, though not in orders, think it a sin to preach Jesus Christ, till I have received orders from Rome? Or when I have preached, shall not I answer their doubts, and expound the Scriptures to them; that is, shall I not teach? But for this may some say, as also for administering to them the sacraments, the necessity shall be esteemed for a sufficient mission; which is true: but this is true also, that for whatsoever, a dispensation is due for the necessity, for the same there needs no dispensation, when there is no law that forbids it. Therefore to deny these functions to those, to whom the civil sovereign hath not denied them, is a taking away of a lawful liberty, which is contrary to the doctrine of civil government.
Language of School divines
More examples of vain philosophy, brought into religion by the doctors of School-divinity, might be produced; but other men may if they please observe them of themselves. I shall only add this, that the writings of School-divines, are nothing else for the most part, but insignificant trains of strange and barbarous words, or words otherwise used, than in the common use of the Latin tongue; such as would pose Cicero, and Varro, and all the grammarians of ancient Rome. Which if any man would see proved, let him, as I have said once before, see whether he can translate any School-divine into any of the modern tongues, as French, English, or any other copious language: for that which cannot in most of these be made intelligible, is not intelligible in the Latin. Which insignificancy of language, though I cannot note it for false philosophy; yet it hath a quality, not only to hide the truth, but also to make men think they have it, and desist from further search.
Errors from tradition.
Lastly, for the errors brought in from false, or uncertain history, what is all the legend of fictitious miracles, in the lives of the saints; and all the histories of apparitions, and ghosts, alleged by the doctors of the Roman Church, to make good their doctrines of hell, and purgatory, the power of exorcism, and other doctrines which have no warrant, neither in reason, nor Scripture; as also all those traditions which they call the unwritten word of God: but old wives’ fables? Whereof, though they find dispersed somewhat in the writings of the ancient fathers; yet those fathers were men, that might too easily believe false reports; and the producing of their opinions for testimony of the truth of what they believed, hath no other force with them that, according to the counsel of St. John (1 Epist. iv. 1), examine spirits, than in all things that concern the power of the Roman Church, (the abuse whereof either they suspected not, or had benefit by it), to discredit their testimony, in respect of too rash belief of reports; which the most sincere men, without great knowledge of natural causes, such as the fathers were, are commonly the most subject to. For naturally, the best men are the least suspicious of fraudulent purposes. Gregory the Pope, and St. Bernard have somewhat of apparitions of ghosts, that said they were in purgatory; and so has our Bede: but no where, I believe, but by report from others. But if they, or any other, relate any such stories of their own knowledge, they shall not thereby confirm the more such vain reports; but discover their own infirmity, or fraud.
Suppression of reason.
With the introduction of false, we may join also the suppression of true philosophy, by such men, as neither by lawful authority, nor sufficient study, are competent judges of the truth. Our own navigations make manifest, and all men learned in human sciences, now acknowledge there are antipodes: and every day it appeareth more and more, that years and days are determined by motions of the earth. Nevertheless, men that have in their writings but supposed such doctrine, as an occasion to lay open the reasons for, and against it, have been punished for it by authority ecclesiastical. But what reason is there for it? Is it because such opinions are contrary to true religion? That cannot be, if they be true. Let therefore the truth be first examined by competent judges, or confuted by them that pretend to know the contrary. Is it because they be contrary to the religion established? Let them be silenced by the laws of those, to whom the teachers of them are subject; that is, by the laws civil. For disobedience may lawfully be punished in them, that against the laws teach even true philosophy. Is it because they tend to disorder in government, as countenancing rebellion, or sedition? Then let them be silenced, and the teachers punished by virtue of his power to whom the care of the public quiet is committed; which is the authority civil. For whatsoever power ecclesiastics take upon themselves, (in any place where they are subject to the state), in their own right, though they call it God’s right, is but usurpation.
of the benefit that proceedeth from such darkness, and to whom it accrueth.
He that receiveth benefit by a fact, is presumed to be the author
Cicero maketh honourable mention of one of the Cassii, a severe judge amongst the Romans, for a custom he had, in criminal causes, when the testimony of the witnesses was not sufficient, to ask the accusers, cui bono; that is to say, what profit, honour, or other contentment, the accused obtained, or expected by the fact. For amongst presumptions, there is none that so evidently declareth the author, as doth the benefit of the action. By the same rule I intend in this place to examine, who they may be that have possessed the people so long in this part of Christendom, with these doctrines, contrary to the peaceable societies of mankind.
That the Church militant is the kingdom of God, was first taught by the Churcn of Rome:
And first, to this error, that the present Church now militant on earth, is the kingdom of God, (that is, the kingdom of glory, or the land of promise; not the kingdom of grace, which is but a promise of the land), are annexed these worldly benefits; first, that the pastors and teachers of the Church, are entitled thereby, as God’s public ministers, to a right of governing the Church; and consequently, because the Church and commonwealth are the same persons, to be rectors, and governors of the commonwealth. By this title it is, that the Pope prevailed with the subjects of all Christian princes, to believe, that to disobey him, was to disobey Christ himself; and in all differences between him and other princes, (charmed with the word power spiritual), to abandon their lawful sovereigns; which is in effect an universal monarchy over all Christendom. For though they were first invested in the right of being supreme teachers of Christian doctrine, by and under Christian emperors, within the limits of the Roman empire, as is acknowledged by themselves, by the title of Pontifex Maximus, who was an officer subject to the civil state; yet after the empire was divided, and dissolved, it was not hard to obtrude upon the people already subjected to them, another title, namely, the right of St. Peter; not only to save entire their pretended power; but also to extend the same over the same Christian provinces, though no more united in the empire of Rome. This benefit of an universal monarchy, (considering the desire of men to bear rule), is a sufficient presumption, that the Popes that pretended to it, and for a long time enjoyed it, were the authors of the doctrine, by which it was obtained; namely, that the Church now on earth, is the kingdom of Christ. For that granted, it must be understood, that Christ hath some lieutenant amongst us, by whom we are to be told what are his commandments.
After that certain Churches had renounced this universal power of the Pope, one would expect in reason, that the civil sovereigns in all those Churches, should have recovered so much of it, as before they had unadvisedly let it go, was their own right, and in their own hands. And in England it was so in effect; saving that they, by whom the kings administered the government of religion, by maintaining their employment to be in God’s right, seemed to usurp, if not a supremacy, yet an independency on the civil power: and they but seemed to usurp it, inasmuch as they acknowledged a right in the king, to deprive them of the exercise of their functions at his pleasure.
And maintained also by the Presbytery.
But in those places where the presbytery took that office, though many other doctrines of the Church of Rome were forbidden to be taught; yet this doctrine, that the kingdom of Christ is already come, and that it began at the resurrection of our Saviour, was still retained. But cui bono? What profit did they expect from it? The same which the Popes expected: to have a sovereign power over the people. For what is it for men to excommunicate their lawful king, but to keep him from all places of God’s public service in his own kingdom; and with force to resist him, when he with force endeavoureth to correct them? Or what is it, without authority from the civil sovereign, to excommunicate any person, but to take from him his lawful liberty, that is, to usurp an unlawful power over their brethren? The authors therefore of this darkness in religion, are the Roman, and the presbyterian clergy.
To this head, I refer also all those doctrines, that serve them to keep the possession of this spiritual sovereignty after it is gotten, As first, that the Pope in his public capacity cannot err. For who is there, that believing this to be true, will not readily obey him in whatsoever he commands?
Subjection of bishops.
Secondly, that all other bishops, in what commonwealth soever, have not their right, neither immediately from God, nor mediately from their civil sovereigns, but from the Pope, is a doctrine, by which there comes to be in every Christian commonwealth many potent men, (for so are bishops), that have their dependance on the Pope, and owe obedience to him, though he be a foreign prince; by which means he is able, as he hath done many times, to raise a civil war against the state that submits not itself to be governed accordingly to his pleasure and interest.
Exemptions of the clergy.
Thirdly, the exemption of these, and of all other priests, and of all monks, and friars, from the power of the civil laws. For by this means, there is a great part of every commonwealth, that enjoy the benefit of the laws, and are protected by the power of the civil state, which nevertheless pay no part of the public expense; nor are liable to the penalties, as other subjects, due to their crimes; and consequently, stand not in fear of any man, but the Pope; and adhere to him only, to uphold his universal monarchy.
The names of sacerdotes, and sacrificers.
Fourthly, the giving to their priests, which is no more in the New Testament but presbyters, that is, elders, the name of sacerdotes, that is, sacrificers, which was the title of the civil sovereign, and his public ministers, amongst the Jews, whilst God was their king. Also, the making the Lord’s Supper a sacrifice, serveth to make the people believe the Pope hath the same power over all Christians, that Moses and Aaron had over the Jews; that is to say, all power, both civil and ecclesiastical, as the high-priest then had.
The sacramentation of marriage.
Fifthly, the teaching that matrimony is a sacrament, giveth to the clergy the judging of the lawfulness of marriages; and thereby, of what children are legitimate; and consequently, of the right of succession to hereditary kingdoms.
The single life of priests.
Sixthly, the denial of marriage to priests, serveth to assure this power of the Pope over kings. For if a king be a priest, he cannot marry, and transmit his kingdom to his posterity; if he be not a priest, then the Pope pretendeth this authority ecclesiastical over him, and over his people.
Seventhly, from auricular confession, they obtain, for the assurance of their power, better intelligence of the designs of princes, and great persons in the civil state, than these can have of the designs of the state ecclesiastical.
Canonization of saints, and declaring of martyrs.
Eighthly, by the canonization of saints, and declaring who are martyrs, they assure their power, in that they induce simple men into an obstinacy against the laws and commands of their civil sovereigns even to death, if by the Pope’s excommunication, they be declared heretics or enemies to the Church; that is, as they interpret it, to the Pope.
Transubstantiation, penance, absolution.
Ninthly, they assure the same, by the power they ascribe to every priest, of making Christ; and by the power of ordaining penance; and of remitting, and retaining of sins.
Purgatory, indulgences, external works.
Tenthly, by the doctrine of purgatory, of justification by external works, and of indulgences, the clergy is enriched.
Demonology and exorcism.
Eleventhly, by their demonology, and the use of exorcism, and other things appertaining thereto, they keep, or think they keep, the people more in awe of their power.
Lastly, the metaphysics, ethics, and politics of Aristotle, the frivolous distinctions, barbarous terms, and obscure language of the Schoolmen, taught in the universities, which have been all erected and regulated by the Pope’s authority, serve them to keep these errors from being detected, and to make men mistake the ignis fatuus of vain philosophy, for the light of the Gospel.
The authors of spiritual darkness, who they be.
To these, if they sufficed not, might be added other of their dark doctrines, the profit whereof redoundeth manifestly, to the setting up of an unlawful power over the lawful sovereigns of Christian people; or for the sustaining of the same, when it is set up; or to the worldly riches, honour, and authority of those that sustain it. And therefore by the aforesaid rule, of cui bono, we may justly pronounce for the authors of all this spiritual darkness, the Pope, and Roman clergy, and all those besides that endeavour to settle in the minds of men this erroneous doctrine, that the Church now on earth, is that kingdom of God mentioned in the Old and New Testament.
But the emperors, and other Christian sovereigns, under whose government these errors, and the like encroachments of ecclesiastics upon their office, at first crept in, to the disturbance of their possessions, and of the tranquillity of their subjects, though they suffered the same for want of foresight of the sequel, and of insight into the designs of their teachers, may nevertheless be esteemed accessories to their own, and the public damage. For without their authority there could at first no seditious doctrine have been publicly preached. I say they might have hindered the same in the beginning: but when the people were once possessed by those spiritual men, there was no human remedy to be applied, that any man could invent. And for the remedies that God should provide, who never faileth in his good time to destroy all the machinations of men against the truth, we are to attend his good pleasure, that suffereth many times the prosperity of his enemies, together with their ambition, to grow to such a height, as the violence thereof openeth the eyes, which the wariness of their predecessors had before sealed up, and makes men by too much grasping let go all, as Peter’s net was broken, by the struggling of too great a multitude of fishes; whereas the impatience of those, that strive to resist such encroachment, before their subjects’ eyes were opened, did but increase the power they resisted. I do not therefore blame the emperor Frederick for holding the stirrup to our countryman Pope Adrian; for such was the disposition of his subjects then, as if he had not done it, he was not likely to have succeeded in the empire. But I blame those, that in the beginning, when their power was entire, by suffering such doctrines to be forged in the universities of their own dominions, have holden the stirrup to all the succeeding Popes, whilst they mounted into the thrones of all Christian sovereigns, to ride, and tire, both them, and their people at their pleasure.
But as the inventions of men are woven, so also are they ravelled out; the way is the same, but the order is inverted. The web begins at the first elements of power, which are wisdom, humility, sincerity, and other virtues of the Apostles, whom the people, converted, obeyed out of reverence, not by obligation. Their consciences were free, and their words and actions subject to none but the civil power. Afterwards the presbyters, as the flocks of Christ increased, assembling to consider what they should teach, and thereby obliging themselves to teach nothing against the decrees of their assemblies, made it to be thought the people were thereby obliged to follow their doctrine, and when they refused, refused to keep them company, (that was then called excommunication), not as being infidels, but as being disobedient: and this was the first knot upon their liberty. And the number of presbyters increasing, the presbyters of the chief city or province, got themselves an authority over the parochial presbyters, and appropriated to themselves the names of bishops: and this was a second knot on Christian liberty. Lastly, the bishop of Rome, in regard of the imperial city, took upon him an authority, (partly by the wills of the emperors themselves, and by the title of Pontifex Maximus, and at last when the emperors were grown weak, by the privileges of St. Peter), over all other bishops of the empire: which was the third and last knot, and the whole synthesis and construction, of the pontificial power.
And therefore the analysis, or resolution, is by the same way; but beginneth with the knot that was last tied; as we may see in the dissolution of the præterpolitical Church government in England. First, the power of the Popes was dissolved totally by Queen Elizabeth; and the bishops, who before exercised their functions in right of the Pope, did afterwards exercise the same in right of the Queen and her successors; though by retaining the phrase of jure divino, they were thought to demand it by immediate right from God: and so was untied the third knot. After this, the presbyterians lately in England obtained the putting down of episcopacy: and so was the second knot dissolved. And almost at the same time, the power was taken also from the presbyterians: and so we are reduced to the independancy of the primitive Christians, to follow Paul, or Cephas, or Apollos, every man as he liketh best: which, if it be without contention, and without measuring the doctrine of Christ, by our affection to the person of his minister, (the fault which the apostle reprehended in the Corinthians), is perhaps the best. First, because there ought to be no power over the consciences of men, but of the Word itself, working faith in every one, not always according to the purpose of them that plant and water, but of God himself, that giveth the increase. And secondly, because it is unreasonable in them, who teach there is such danger in every little error, to require of a man endued with reason of his own, to follow the reason of any other man, or of the most voices of any other men, which is little better than to venture his salvation at cross and pile. Nor ought those teachers to be displeased with this loss of their ancient authority. For there is none should know better than they, that power is preserved by the same virtues by which it is acquired; that is to say, by wisdom, humility, clearness of doctrine, and sincerity of conversation; and not by suppression of the natural sciences, and of the morality of natural reason; nor by obscure language; nor by arrogating to themselves more knowledge than they make appear; nor by pious frauds; nor by such other faults, as in the pastors of God’s Church are not only faults, but also scandals, apt to make men stumble one time or other upon the suppression of their authority.
Comparison of the papacy with the kingdom of fairies.
But after this doctrine, that the Church now militant, is the kingdom of God spoken of in the Old and New Testament, was received in the world; the ambition, and canvassing for the offices that belong thereunto, and especially for that great office of being Christ’s lieutenant, and the pomp of them that obtained therein the principal public charges, became by degrees so evident, that they lost the inward reverence due to the pastoral function: insomuch as the wisest men, of them that had any power in the civil state, needed nothing but the authority of their princes, to deny them any further obedience. For, from the time that the Bishop of Rome had gotten to be acknowledged for bishop universal, by pretence of succession to St. Peter, their whole hierarchy, or kingdom of darkness, may be compared not unfitly to the kingdom of fairies; that is, to the old wives’ fables in England, concerning ghosts and spirits, and the feats they play in the night. And if a man consider the original of this great ecclesiastical dominion, he will easily perceive, that the Papacy is no other than the ghost of the deceased Roman empire, sitting crowned upon the grave thereof. For so did the Papacy start up on a sudden out of the ruins of that heathen power.
The language also, which they use, both in the churches, and in their public acts, being Latin, which is not commonly used by any nation now in the world, what is it but the ghost of the old Roman language?
The fairies in what nation soever they converse, have but one universal king, which some poets of ours call King Oberon; but the Scripture calls Beelzebub, prince of demons. The ecclesiastics likewise, in whose dominions soever they be found, acknowledge but one universal king, the Pope.
The ecclesiastics are spiritual men, and ghostly fathers. The fairies are spirits, and ghosts. Fairies and ghosts inhabit darkness, solitudes, and graves. The ecclesiastics walk in obscurity of doctrine, in monasteries, churches, and church-yards.
The ecclesiastics have their cathedral churches, which, in what town soever they be erected, by virtue of holy water, and certain charms called exorcisms, have the power to make those towns, cities, that is to say, seats of empire. The fairies also have their enchanted castles, and certain gigantic ghosts, that domineer over the regions round about them.
The fairies are not to be seized on; and brought to answer for the hurt they do. So also the ecclesiastics vanish away from the tribunals of civil justice.
The ecclesiastics take from young men the use of reason, by certain charms compounded of metaphysics, and miracles, and traditions, and abused Scripture, whereby they are good for nothing else, but to execute what they command them. The fairies likewise are said to take young children out of their cradles, and to change them into natural fools, which common people do therefore call elves, and are apt to mischief.
In what shop, or operatory the fairies make their enchantment, the old wives have not determined. But the operatories of the clergy are well enough known to be the universities, that received their discipline from authority pontificial.
When the fairies are displeased with any body, they are said to send their elves, to pinch them. The ecclesiastics, when they are displeased with any civil state, make also their elves, that is, superstitious, enchanted subjects, to pinch their princes, by preaching sedition; or one prince enchanted with promises, to pinch another.
The fairies marry not; but there be amongst them incubi, that have copulation with flesh and blood. The priests also marry not.
The ecclesiastics take the cream of the land, by donations of ignorant men, that stand in awe of them, and by tithes. So also it is in the fable of fairies, that they enter into the dairies, and feast upon the cream, which they skim from the milk.
What kind of money is current in the kingdom of fairies, is not recorded in the story. But the ecclesiastics in their receipts accept of the same money that we do; though when they are to make any payment, it is in canonizations, indulgencies, and masses.
To this, and such like resemblances between the papacy, and the kingdom of fairies, may be added this, that as the fairies have no existence, but in the fancies of ignorant people, rising from the traditions of old wives, or old poets: so the spiritual power of the Pope, without the bounds of his own civil dominion, consisteth only in the fear that seduced people stand in, of their excommunications; upon hearing of false miracles, false traditions, and false interpretations of the Scripture.
It was not therefore a very difficult matter, for Henry VIII by his exorcism; nor for queen Elizabeth by hers, to cast them out. But who knows that this spirit of Rome, now gone out, and walking by missions through the dry places of China, Japan, and the Indies, that yield him little fruit, may not return, or rather an assembly of spirits worse than he, enter, and inhabit this clean swept house, and make the end thereof worse than the beginning? For it is not the Roman clergy only, that pretends the kingdom of God to be of this world, and thereby to have a power therein, distinct from that of the civil state. And this is all I had a design to say, concerning the doctrine of the politics. Which when I have reviewed, I shall willingly expose it to the censure of my country.