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considerable certainty and consistency to this day, except in the few rudiments, or common principles that all are agreed in. Insomuch that those do now take themselves to be the chief or only wits, who are pulling down that which through so many ages, from the beginning of the world, hath with so great wit and study been concluded on before ; and are now themselves no higher than new experimenters, who are beginning all anew again, to try whether they can retrieve the errors of mankind, and make any thing of that which they think the world hath been so long unacquainted with : and they are yet but beginning at the skin or superfices of the world, and are got no further with all their wit, than matter and motion, with figure, site, contexture, &c. But if they could live as long as Methuselah, it is hoped they might come to know that besides matter and motion, there are essential virtues called substantial forms, or active natures, and that there is a 'vis motiva,' which is the cause of motion, and a virtus intellectiva,' and wisdom, which is the cause of the order of motion, and a vital will and love, which is the perfection and end of all : in a word, they may live to know that there is such a thing in the world as life, and such a thing as active nature, and such a thing as sense and soul, besides corporeal matter and motion, and consequently that man is indeed man. But, alas ! they must die sooner, perhaps before they attain so far, and their successors must begin all again, as if none of all these great attempts had been made by their predecessors, and so, by their method, we shall never reach deeper than the surface, nor learn more than our A B C. And would we have such a task made necessary to the common salvation, even for all the poor and vulgar, which is so much too hard for our most subtle students ?
2. And Christianity is as suitable to us, in the benefit and sweetness of it. What a happy religion is it that employeth men in nothing but receiving good to themselves, and in doing good to themselves and others. Whose work is only the receiving and improving of God's mercies, and loving and delighting in all that is good, rejoicing in the foretaste of God's love on earth, and in the hopes of perfect felicity, love and joy for ever. Is not this sweeter than tedious, unprofitable speculations ?
O then, how inexcusable are our contemners of religion, that live in wilful ignorance and ungodliness, and think this easy and sweet religion to be a tedious and intolerable thing ! What impudent calumniators and blasphemers are they of Christ and holiness, who deride and revile this sweet and easy way to life, as if it were a slavery and an irksome toil, unnecessary to our salvation, and unfit for a freeman, or at least a gentleman, (or a servant of the flesh and world) to practise. If Christ had set you such a task as Aristotle or Plato did to their disciples ; so many notions, and so many curiosities to learn : if he had written for you as many books as Chrysippus did ; if he had made necessary to your salvation, all the arbitrary notions of Lullius, and all the fanatic conceits of Campanella, and all the dreaming hypotheses of Cartesius, and all the astronomical and cosmographical difficulties of Ptolomy, Tycho-Brache, Copernicus and Gali. læus, and all the chronological difficulties handled by Eusebius, Scaliger, Functius, Capellus, Petavius, &c. And all the curiosities in philosophy and theology of Cajetan, Scotus, Ockam, Gabriel, &c. Then you might have had some excuse for your aversion : but to accuse and refuse, and reproach so compendious, so easy, so sweet, so necessary a doctrine and religion, as that which is brought and taught by Christ; this is an ingratitude that hath no excuse, unless sensuality and malignant enmity may pass for such.
Doth Christ deliver you from the maze of imaginary curiosities, and from the burdens of worldly wisdom, called philosophy, and of Pharisaical traditions, and Jewish ceremonies, and make you a light burden, an easy yoke, and commandments that are not grievous; and after all this, must he be requited with rejection and reproach, and your burdens and snares be taken for more tolerable than your deliverance ? You make a double forfeiture of salvation, who are so unwilling to be saved.
Be thankful, O Christians, to your heavenly Master, for tracing you out so plain and sweet a way.
Be thankful that he hath cut short those tiresome studies, by which your taskmasters would confound you, under pretence of making you like gods, in some more subtle and sublime speculations than vulgar wits can reach. Now all that are willing may be religious, and be saved : it is not confined to men of learning. The way is so sweet, as sheweth it suitable to the end. It is but to believe God's love and promises
of salvation by Christ, till you are filled with love and its delights, and live in the pleasures of grati. tude and holiness, and in the joyful hopes of endless glory ! and is not this an easy yoke? Saith our heavenly poet, Mr. G. Herbert, in his poem called “ Divinity.” As men for fear the stars should sleep and nod,
And trip at night, have spheres supply'd;j As if a star were duller than a clod,
Which knows his way without a guide ;
Divinity's transcendent sky,
Reason triumphs, and faith lies by,
Was clear as heav'n from whence it came; At least those beams of truth which only save,
Surpass in brightness any flame:
Do as you would be done unto.
Who can these Gordian knots undo?
MEN HAVE TO BE PROUD OF THEIR LEARNING,
WHATSOEVER. As the ancient Gnostics, being puffed up with their corrupt Platonic speculations, looked down with contempt upon ordinary Christians, as silly ignorants in comparison of themselves and yet had not wisdom enough to preserve them from the lusts and pollutions of the world ; even so is it with abundance of the worldly clergy and ungodly scholars in this age. They think their learning setteth them many degrees above the vulgar, and giveth them right to be reverenced as the oracles or rabbies of the world ; when yet, poor souls ! they have not learned, by all their reading, studies and disputings to love God and holiness better than the riches and preferments of the world. And some of them not better than a cup of strong drink, or than the brutish pleasures of sense and flesh. It is a pitiful thing to see the pulpit made a stage for the ostentation of this self-shaming, self-condemning pride and folly : for a man under pretence of serving God, and helping other men to heaven, to make it his errand to tell the hearers, that he is a very wise and learned man, who hath not wit enough to choose a holy, humble life, nor to make sure of heaven, or to save his soul; nor perhaps to keep out of the tavern or alehouse the next week, nor the same day to forbear the venting of his worldly, carnal mind : What is such learning but a game of imagination, in which the fantasy sports itself with names and notions; or worse, the materials which are used in the service of sin, the fuel of pride, the blinder and deceiver of such as were too ignorant before, being a mere, shadow and name of knowledge ? What good will it do a man tormented with the gout, or stone, or by miserable poverty, to know the names of various herbs, or to read the titles of the apothecaries' boxes, or to read on a signpost, * Here is a good ordinary.' And what good will it do a carnal, unsanctified soul that must be in hell for ever, to know the Hebrew roots or points, or to discourse of " Cartesius's Materia Subtilis," and Globuli Ætherei,” &c. Or of “ Epicurus and Gassendus' Atoms,” or to look on the planets in Galileus' glasses, while he