In that other extreme or defect of this love of God, knowledge, faith, fear, hope, &c. are such as err both in doctrine and manners, Sadducees, Herodians, libertines, politicians: all manner of atheists, epicures, infidels, that are secure, in a reprobate sense, fear not God at all, and such are too distrustful and timorous, as desperate persons be. That grand sin of atheism or impiety, Melancthon calls it monstrosam melancholiam, monstrous melancholy; or venenatam melancholiam, poisoned melancholy. A company of Cyclops or giants, that war with the gods, as the poets feigned, antipodes to Christians, that scoff at all religion, at God himself, deny him and all his attributes, his wisdom, power, providence, his mercy and judgment.
"Esse aliquos manes, et subterranea regna,
Et contum, et Stygio ranas in gurgite nigras,
Atque una transire vadum tot millia cymba,
Nec pueri credunt, nisi qui nondum ære lavantur."
(Juvenal. "That there are many ghosts and subterranean realms, and a boat-pole, and black frogs in the Stygian gulf, and that so many thousands pass over in one boat, not even boys believe, unless those not as yet washed for money.")
That there is either heaven or hell, resurrection of the dead, pain, happiness, or world to come, credat Judæus Apella; for their parts they esteem them as so many poet's tales, bugbears, Lucian's Alexander; Moses, Mahomet, and Christ are all as one in their creed. When those bloody wars in France for matters of religion (saith Richard Dinoth) were so violently pursued between Huguenots and Papists, there was a company of good fellows laughed them all to scorn, for being such superstitious fools, to lose their wives and fortunes, accounting faith, religion, immortality of the soul, mere fopperies and illusions. Such loose atheistical spirits are too predominant in all kingdoms. Let them contend, pray, tremble, trouble themselves that will, for their parts, they fear neither God nor devil; but with that Cyclops in Euripides,
"Haud ulla numina expavescunt cúlitum,
Sed victimas uni deorum maximo,
Ventri offerunt, deos ignorant cæteros."
"They fear no God but one,
They sacrifice to none.
But belly, and him adore,
For gods they know no more."
"Their God is their belly," as Paul saith, Sancta mater saturitas;-- quibus in solo vivendi causa palato est. The idol, which they worship and adore, is their mistress; with him in Plautus, mallem hæc mulier me amet quam dii, they had rather have her favour than the gods'. Satan is their guide, the flesh is their instructor, hypocrisy their counsellor, vanity their fellow-soldier, their will their law, ambition their captain, custom their rule; temerity, boldness, impudence their art, toys their trading, damnation their end. All their endeavours are to satisfy their lust and appetite, how to please their genius, and to be merry for the present, Ede, lude, bibe, post mortem nulla voluptas. ("Eat, drink, be merry; there is no more pleasure after death.") "The same condition is of men and of beasts; as the one dieth, so dieth the other," Eccles. iii. 19. The world goes round,
--"truditur dies die,
Novæque pergunt interire Lunæ:"
Hor. l. 2. od. 13. "One day succeeds another, and new moons hasten to their wane.")
They did eat and drink of old, marry, bury, bought, sold, planted, built, and will do still. "Our life is short and tedious, and in the death of a man there is no recovery, neither was any man known that hath returned from the grave; for we are born at all adventure, and we shall be hereafter as though we had never been; for the breath is as smoke in our nostrils, &c., and the spirit vanisheth as the soft air." "Come let us enjoy the pleasures that are present, let us cheerfully use the creatures as in youth, let us fill ourselves with costly wine and ointments, let not the flower of our life pass by us, let us crown ourselves with rose-buds before they are withered," &c. Vivamus mea Lesbia et amemus, &c. "Come let us take our fill of love, and pleasure in dalliance, for this is our portion, this is our lot."
Tempora labuntur, tacitisque senescimus annis. ("Time glides away, and we grow old by years insensibly accumulating.") For the rest of heaven and hell, let children and superstitious fools believe it: for their parts, they are so far from trembling at the dreadful day of judgment that they wish with Nero, Me vivo fiat, let it come in their times: so secure, so desperate, so immoderate in lust and pleasure, so prone to revenge that, as Paterculus said of some caitiffs in his time in Rome, Quod nequiter ausi, fortiter executi: it shall not be so wickedly attempted, but as desperately performed, whatever they take in hand. Were it not for God's restraining grace, fear and shame, temporal punishment, and their own infamy, they would. Lycaon-like exenterate, as so many cannibals eat up, or Cadmus' soldiers consume one another. These are most impious, and commonly professed atheists, that never use the name of God but to swear by it; that express nought else but epicurism in their carriage, or hypocrisy; with Pentheus they neglect and contemn these rites and religious ceremonies of the gods; they will be gods themselves, or at least socii deorum. Divisum imperium cum Jove Cæsar habet. "Cæsar divides the empire with Jove." Aproyis, an Egyptian tyrant, grew, saith Herodotus, to that height of pride, insolency of impiety, to that contempt of Gods and men, that he held his kingdom so sure, ut a nemine deorum aut hominum sibi eripi posset, neither God nor men could take it from him. A certain blasphemous king of Spain (as Lansius reports) made an edict, that no subject of his, for ten years' space, should believe in, call on, or worship any god. And as Jovius relates of "Mahomet the Second, that sacked Constantinople, he so behaved himself, that he believed neither Christ nor Mahomet; and thence it came to pass, that he kept his word and promise no farther than for his advantage, neither did he care to commit any offence to satisfy his lust." I could say the like of many princes, many private men (our stories are full of them) in times past, this present age, that love, fear, obey, and perform all civil duties as they shall find them expedient or behoveful to their own ends. Securi adversus Deos, securi adversus homines, votis non est opus, which Tacitus reports of some Germans, they need not pray, fear, hope, for they are secure, to their thinking, both from Gods and men. Bulco Opiliensis, sometime Duke of Silesia, was such a one to a hair; he lived (saith Æneas Sylvius) at Vratislavia, "and was so mad to satisfy his lust, that he believed neither heaven nor hell, or that the soul was immortal, but married wives, and turned them up as he thought fit, did murder and mischief, and what he list himself." This duke hath too many followers in our days: say what you can, dehort, exhort, persuade to the contrary, they are no more moved,-- quam si dura, silex aut stet Marpesia cautes, than so many stocks, and stones; tell them of heaven and hell, 'tis to no purpose, laterem lavas, they answer as Ataliba that Indian prince did friar Vincent, "when he brought him a book, and told him all the mysteries of salvation, heaven and hell, were contained in it: he looked upon it, and said he saw no such matter, asking withal, how he knew it:" they will but scoff at it, or wholly reject it. Petronius in Tacitus, when he was now by Nero's command bleeding to death, audiebat amicos nihil referentes de immortalitate animæ, aut sapientum placitis, sed levia carmina et faciles versus; instead of good counsel and divine meditations, he made his friends sing him bawdy verses and scurrilous songs. Let them take heaven, paradise, and that future happiness that will, bonum est esse hic, it is good being here: there is no talking to such, no hope of their conversion, they are in a reprobate sense, mere carnalists, fleshly minded men, which howsoever they may be applauded in this life by some few parasites, and held for worldly wise men. "They seem to me" (saith Melancthon) "to be as mad as Hercules was when he raved and killed his wife and children." A milder sort of these atheistical spirits there are that profess religion, but timide et hæsitanter, tempted thereunto out of that horrible consideration of diversity of religions, which are and have been in the world (which argument Campanella, Atheismi Triumphati, cap. 9. both urgeth and answers) , besides the covetousness, imposture, and knavery of priests, quæ faciunt (as Postellus observes) ut rebus sacris minus faciant fidem; and those religions some of them so fantastical, exorbitant, so violently maintained with equal constancy and assurance; whence they infer, that if there be so many religious sects, and denied by the rest, why may they not be all false? or why should this or that be preferred before the rest? The sceptics urge this, and amongst others it is the conclusion of Sextus Empericus, lib. 3. advers. Mathematicos: after many philosophical arguments and reasons pro and con that there are gods, and again that there are no gods, he so concludes, cum tot inter se pugnent, &c. Una tantum potest esse vera, as Tully likewise disputes: Christians say, they alone worship the true God, pity all other sects, lament their case; and yet those old Greeks and Romans that worshipped the devil, as the Chinese now do, aut deos topicos, their own gods; as Julian the apostate, Cecilius in Minutius, Celsus and Porphyrius the philosopher object: and as Machiavel contends, were much more noble, generous, victorious, had a more flourishing commonwealth, better cities, better soldiers, better scholars, better wits. Their gods overcame our gods, did as many miracles, &c. Saint Cyril, Arnobius, Minutius, with many other ancients of late, Lessius, Morneus, Grotius de Verit. Relig. Christianæ, Savanarola de Verit. Fidei Christianæ, well defend; but Zanchius, Campanella, Marinus Marcennus, Bozius, and Gentillettus answer all these atheistical arguments at large. But this again troubles many as of old, wicked men generally thrive, professed atheists thrive,
"Nullos esse Deos, inane coelum,
Affirmat Selius: probatque, quod se
Factum, dum negat hæc, videt beatum."
"There are no gods, heavens are toys,
Selius in public justifies;
Because that whilst he thus denies
Their deities, he better thrives."
This is a prime argument: and most part your most sincere, upright, honest, and good men are depressed, "The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong" (Eccles. ix. 11.) , "nor yet bread to the wise, favour nor riches to men of understanding, but time and chance comes to all." There was a great plague in Athens (as Thucydides, lib. 2. relates) , in which at last every man, with great licentiousness, did what he list, not caring at all for God's or men's laws. "Neither the fear of God nor laws of men" (saith he) "awed any man, because the plague swept all away alike, good and bad; they thence concluded it was alike to worship or not worship the gods, since they perished all alike." Some cavil and make doubts of scripture itself: it cannot stand with God's mercy, that so many should be damned, so many bad, so few good, such have and hold about religions, all stiff on their side, factious alike, thrive alike, and yet bitterly persecuting and damning each other; "It cannot stand with God's goodness, protection, and providence" (as Saint Chrysostom in the Dialect of such discontented persons) "to see and suffer one man to be lame, another mad, a third poor and miserable all the days of his life, a fourth grievously tormented with sickness and aches, to his last hour. Are these signs and works of God's providence, to let one man be deaf, another dumb? A poor honest fellow lives in disgrace, woe and want, wretched he is; when as a wicked caitiff abounds in superfluity of wealth, keeps whores, parasites, and what he will himself:" Audis Jupiter hæc? Talia multa connectentes, longum reprehensionis sermonem erga Dei providentiam contexunt. ( "Oh! Jupiter, do you hear those things? Collecting many such facts, they weave a tissue of reproaches against God's providence.") Thus they mutter and object (see the rest of their arguments in Marcennus in Genesin, and in Campanella, amply confuted) , with many such vain cavils, well known, not worthy the recapitulation or answering: whatsoever they pretend, they are interim of little or no religion.
Cousin-germans to these men are many of our great philosophers and deists, who, though they be more temperate in this life, give many good moral precepts, honest, upright, and sober in their conversation, yet in effect they are the same (accounting no man a good scholar that is not an atheist) , nimis altum sapiunt, too much learning makes them mad. Whilst they attribute all to natural causes, contingence of all things, as Melancthon calls them, Pertinax hominum genus, a peevish generation of men, that misled by philosophy, and the devil's suggestion, their own innate blindness, deny God as much as the rest, hold all religion a fiction, opposite to reason and philosophy, though for fear of magistrates, saith Vaninus, they durst not publicly profess it. Ask one of them of what religion he is, he scoffingly replies, a philosopher, a Galenist, an Averroist, and with Rabelais a physician, a peripatetic, an epicure. In spiritual things God must demonstrate all to sense, leave a pawn with them, or else seek some other creditor. They will acknowledge Nature and Fortune, yet not God: though in effect they grant both: for as Scaliger defines, Nature signifies God's ordinary power; or, as Calvin writes, Nature is God's order, and so things extraordinary may be called unnatural: Fortune his unrevealed will; and so we call things changeable that are beside reason and expectation. To this purpose Minutius in Octavio, and Seneca well discourseth with them, lib. 4. de beneficiis, cap. 5, 6, 7. "They do not understand what they say; what is Nature but God? call him what thou wilt, Nature, Jupiter, he hath as many names as offices: it comes all to one pass, God is the fountain of all, the first Giver and Preserver, from whom all things depend," a quo, et per quem omnia, Nam quocunque vides Deus est, quocunque moveris, "God is all in all, God is everywhere, in every place." And yet this Seneca, that could confute and blame them, is all out as much to be blamed and confuted himself, as mad himself; for he holds fatum Stoicum, that inevitable Necessity in the other extreme, as those Chaldean astrologers of old did, against whom the prophet Jeremiah so often thunders, and those heathen mathematicians, Nigidius Figulus, magicians, and Priscilianists, whom St. Austin so eagerly confutes, those Arabian questionaries, Novem Judices, Albumazer, Dorotheus, &c., and our countryman Estuidus, that take upon them to define out of those great conjunction of stars, with Ptolomeus, the periods of kingdoms, or religions, of all future accidents, wars, plagues, schisms, heresies, and what not? all from stars, and such things, saith Maginus, Quæ sibi et intelligentiis suis reservavit Deus, which God hath reserved to himself and his angels, they will take upon them to foretell, as if stars were immediate, inevitable causes of all future accidents. Cæsar Vaninus, in his book de admirandis naturæ Arcanis, dial. 52. de oraculis, is more free, copious, and open, in this explication of this astrological tenet of Ptolemy, than any of our modern writers, Cardan excepted, a true disciple of his master Pomponatius; according to the doctrine of Peripatetics, he refers all apparitions, prodigies, miracles, oracles, accidents, alterations of religions, kingdoms, &c. (for which he is soundly lashed by Marinus Mercennus, as well he deserves) , to natural causes (for spirits he will not acknowledge) , to that light, motion, influences of heavens and stars, and to the intelligences that move the orbs. Intelligentia quæ, movet orbem mediante cúlo, &c. Intelligences do all: and after a long discourse of miracles done of old, si hæc dæmones possint, cur non et intelligentiæ, cúlorum motrices? And as these great conjunctions, aspects of planets, begin or end, vary, are vertical and predominant, so have religions, rites, ceremonies, and kingdoms their beginning, progress, periods, in urbibus, regibus, religionibus, ac in particularibus hominibus, hæc vera ac manifesta, sunt, ut Aristoteles innuere videtur, et quotidiana docet experientia, ut historias perlegens videbit; quid olim in Gentili lege Jove sanctius et illustrius? quid nunc vile magis et execrandum? Ita cúlestia corpora pro mortalium beneficio religiones ædificant, et cum cessat influxus, cessat lex, ("In cities, kings, religions, and in individual men, these things are true and obvious, as Aristotle appears to imply, and daily experience teaches to the reader of history: for what was more sacred and illustrious, by Gentile law, than Jupiter? what now more vile and execrable? In this way celestial objects suggest religions for worldly motives, and when the influx ceases, so does the law,") &c. And because, according to their tenets, the world is eternal, intelligences eternal, influences of stars eternal, kingdoms, religions, alterations shall be likewise eternal, and run round after many ages; Atque iterum ad Troiam magnus mittetur Achilles; renascentur religiones, et ceremoniæ, res humanæ in idem recident, nihil nunc quod non olim fuit, et post sæculorum revolutiones alias est, erit, ("And again a great Achilles shall be sent against Troy: religions and their ceremonies shall be born again; however affairs relapse into the same track, there is nothing now that was not formerly and Will not be again,") &c. idem specie, saith Vaninus, non individuo quod Plato significavit. These (saith mine author) , these are the decrees of Peripatetics, which though I recite, in obsequium Christianæ fidei detestor, as I am a Christian I detest and hate. Thus Peripatetics and astrologians held in former times, and to this effect of old in Rome, saith Dionysius Halicarnassus, lib. 7, when those meteors and prodigies appeared in the air, after the banishment of Coriolanus, "Men were diversely affected: some said they were God's just judgments for the execution of that good man, some referred all to natural causes, some to stars, some thought they came by chance, some by necessity" decreed ab initio, and could not be altered. The two last opinions of necessity and chance were, it seems, of greater note than the rest.
"Sunt qui in Fortunæ jam casibus omnia ponunt,
Et mundum credunt nullo rectore moveri,
Natura, volvente vices," &c.
( Juv. Sat. 13. "There are those who ascribe everything to chance, and believe that the world is made without a director, nature influencing the vicissitudes," &c.)
For the first of chance, as Sallust likewise informeth us, those old Romans generally received; "They supposed fortune alone gave kingdoms and empires, wealth, honours, offices: and that for two causes; first, because every wicked base unworthy wretch was preferred, rich, potent, &c.; secondly, because of their uncertainty, though never so good, scarce any one enjoyed them long: but after, they began upon better advice to think otherwise, that every man made his own fortune." The last of Necessity was Seneca's tenet, that God was alligatus causis secundis, so tied to second causes, to that inexorable Necessity, that he could alter nothing of that which was once decreed; sic erat in fatis, it cannot be altered, semel jussit, semper paret Deus, nulla vis rumpit, nullæ preces, nec ipsum fulmen, God hath once said it, and it must for ever stand good, no prayers, no threats, nor power, nor thunder itself can alter it. Zeno, Chrysippus, and those other Stoics, as you may read in Tully 2. de divinatione, Gellius, lib. 6. cap. 2. &c., maintained as much. In all ages, there have been such, that either deny God in all, or in part; some deride him, they could have made a better world, and ruled it more orderly themselves, blaspheme him, derogate at their pleasure from him. 'Twas so in Plato's time, "Some say there be no gods, others that they care not for men, a middle sort grant both." Si non sit Deus, unde mala? si sit Deus, unde mala? So Cotta argues in Tully, why made he not all good, or at least tenders not the welfare of such as are good? As the woman told Alexander, if he be not at leisure to hear causes, and redress them, why doth he reign? Sextus Empericus hath many such arguments. Thus perverse men cavil. So it will ever be, some of all sorts, good, bad, indifferent, true, false, zealous, ambidexters, neutralists, lukewarm, libertines, atheists, &c. They will see these religious sectaries agree amongst themselves, be reconciled all, before they will participate with, or believe any: they think in the meantime (which Celsus objects, and whom Origen confutes) , "We Christians adore a person put to death with no more reason than the barbarous Getes worshipped Zamolxis, the Cilicians Mopsus, the Thebans Amphiaraus, and the Lebadians Trophonius; one religion is as true as another, new fangled devices, all for human respects;" great-witted Aristotle's works are as much authentical to them as Scriptures, subtle Seneca's Epistles as canonical as St. Paul's, Pindarus' Odes as good as the Prophet David's Psalms, Epictetus' Enchiridion equivalent to wise Solomon's Proverbs. They do openly and boldly speak this and more, some of them, in all places and companies. "Claudius the emperor was angry with Heaven, because it thundered, and challenged Jupiter into the field; with what madness! saith Seneca; he thought Jupiter could not hurt him, but he could hurt Jupiter." Diagoras, Demonax, Epicurus, Pliny, Lucian, Lucretius,-- Contemptorque Deum Mezentius, "professed atheists all" in their times: though not simple atheists neither, as Cicogna proves, lib. 1. cap. 1. they scoffed only at those Pagan gods, their plurality, base and fictitious offices. Gilbertus Cognatus labours much, and so doth Erasmus, to vindicate Lucian from scandal, and there be those that apologise for Epicurus, but all in vain; Lucian scoffs at all, Epicurus he denies all, and Lucretius his scholar defends him in it:
"Humana ante oculua foede cum vita jaceret
In terris oppressa gravi cum religione,
Quæ caput a cúli regionibus ostendebat,
Horribili super aspectu mortalibus instans," &c.
"When human kind was drench'd in superstition,
With ghastly looks aloft, which frighted mortal men," &c.
He alone, like another Hercules, did vindicate the world from that monster. Uncle Pliny, lib. 2. cap. 7. nat. hist. and lib. 7. cap. 55, in express words denies the immortality of the soul. Seneca doth little less, lib. 7. epist. 55. ad Lucilium, et lib. de consol. ad Martiam, or rather more. Some Greek Commentators would put as much upon Job, that he should deny resurrection, &c., whom Pineda copiously confutes in cap. 7. Job, vers. 9. Aristotle is hardly censured of some, both divines and philosophers. St. Justin in Perænetica ad Gentes, Greg. Nazianzen. in disput. adversus Eun., Theodoret, lib. 5. de curat. græc. affec., Origen. lib. de principiis. Pomponatius justifies in his Tract (so styled at least) De immortalitate Animæ, Scaliger (who would forswear himself at any time, saith Patritius, in defence of his great master Aristotle) , and Dandinus, lib. 3. de anima, acknowledge as much. Averroes oppugns all spirits and supreme powers; of late Brunus (infelix Brunus, Kepler calls him) , Machiavel, Cæsar Vaninus lately burned at Toulouse in France, and Pet. Aretine, have publicly maintained such atheistical paradoxes, with that Italian Boccaccio with his fable of three rings, &c., ex quo infert haud posse internosci, quæ sit verior religio, Judaica, Mahometana, an Christiana, quoniam eadem signa, &c., "from which he infers, that it cannot be distinguished which is the true religion, Judaism, Mahommedanism, or Christianity," &c. Marinus Mercennus suspects Cardan for his subtleties, Campanella, and Charron's Book of Wisdom, with some other Tracts, to savour of atheism: but amongst the rest that pestilent book de tribus mundi impostoribus, quem sine horrore (inquit) non legas, et mundi Cymbalum dialogis quatuor contentum, anno 1538, auctore Peresio, Parisiis excusum, &c. And as there have been in all ages such blasphemous spirits, so there have not been wanting their patrons, protectors, disciples and adherents. Never so many atheists in Italy and Germany, saith Colerus, as in this age: the like complaint Mercennus makes in France, 50,000 in that one city of Paris. Frederic the Emperor, as Matthew Paris records licet non sit recitabile (I use his own words) is reported to have said, Tres præstigiatores, Moses, Christus, et Mahomet, uti mundo dominarentur, totum populum sibi contemporaneum se duxisse. (Henry, the Landgrave of Hesse, heard him speak it,) Si principes imperii institutioni meæ adhærerent, ego multo meliorem modum credendi et vivendi ordinarem.
To these professed atheists, we may well add that impious and carnal crew of worldly-minded men, impenitent sinners, that go to hell in a lethargy, or in a dream; who though they be professed Christians, yet they will nulla pallescere culpa, make a conscience of nothing they do, they have cauterised consciences, and are indeed in a reprobate sense, "past all feeling, have given themselves over to wantonness, to work all manner of uncleanness even with greediness," Ephes. iv. 19. They do know there is a God, a day of judgment to come, and yet for all that, as Hugo saith, ita comedunt ac dormiunt, ac si diem judicii evasissent; ita ludunt ac rident, ac si in cúlis cum Deo regnarent: they are as merry for all the sorrow, as if they had escaped all dangers, and were in heaven already:
--"Metus omnes, et inexorabile fatum
Subjecit pedibus, strepitumque Acherontis avari."
Virg. "They place fear, fate, and the sound of craving Acheron under their feet."
Those rude idiots and ignorant persons, that neglect and contemn the means of their salvation, may march on with these; but above all others, those Herodian temporizing statesmen, political Machiavellians and hypocrites, that make a show of religion, but in their hearts laugh at it. Simulata sanctitas duplex iniquitas; they are in a double fault, "that fashion themselves to this world," which Paul forbids, and like Mercury, the planet, are good with good, bad with bad. When they are at Rome, they do there as they see done, puritans with puritans, papists with papists; omnium horarum homines, formalists, ambidexters, lukewarm Laodiceans. All their study is to please, and their god is their commodity, their labour to satisfy their lusts, and their endeavours to their own ends. Whatsoever they pretend, or in public seem to do, "With the fool in their hearts, they say there is no God." Heus tu -- de Jove quid sentis? "Hulloa! what is your opinion about a Jupiter?" Their words are as soft as oil, but bitterness is in their hearts; like Alexander VI. so cunning dissemblers, that what they think they never speak. Many of them are so close, you can hardly discern it, or take any just exceptions at them; they are not factious, oppressors as most are, no bribers, no simoniacal contractors, no such ambitious, lascivious persons as some others are, no drunkards, sobrii solem vident orientem, sobrii vident occidentem, they rise sober, and go sober to bed, plain dealing, upright, honest men, they do wrong to no man, and are so reputed in the world's esteem at least, very zealous in religion, very charitable, meek, humble, peace-makers, keep all duties, very devout, honest, well spoken of, beloved of all men: but he that knows better how to judge, he that examines the heart, saith they are hypocrites, Cor dolo plenum; sonant vitium percussa maligne, they are not sound within. As it is with writers oftentimes, Plus sanctimoniæ, in libello, quam libelli auctore, more holiness is in the book than in the author of it: so 'tis with them: many come to church with great Bibles, whom Cardan said he could not choose but laugh at, and will now and then dare operam Augustino, read Austin, frequent sermons, and yet professed usurers, mere gripes, tota vitæ ratio epicurea est; all their life is epicurism and atheism, come to church all day, and lie with a courtesan at night. Qui curios simulant et Bacchanalia vivunt, they have Esau's hands, and Jacob's voice: yea, and many of those holy friars, sanctified men, Cappam, saith Hierom, et cilicium induunt, sed intus latronem tegunt. They are wolves in sheep's clothing, Introrsum turpes, speciosi pelle decora, "Fair without, and most foul within." Latet plerumque sub tristi amictu lascivia, et deformis horror vili veste tegitur; ofttimes under a mourning weed lies lust itself, and horrible vices under a poor coat. But who can examine all those kinds of hypocrites, or dive into their hearts? ]f we may guess at the tree by the fruit, never so many as in these days; show me a plain-dealing true honest man: Et pudor, et probitas, et timor omnis abest. He that shall but look into their lives, and see such enormous vices, men so immoderate in lust, unspeakable in malice, furious in their rage, flattering and dissembling (all for their own ends) will surely think they are not truly religious, but of an obdurate heart, most part in a reprobate sense, as in this age. But let them carry it as they will for the present, dissemble as they can, a time will come when they shall be called to an account, their melancholy is at hand, they pull a plague and curse upon their own heads, thesaurisant iram Dei. Besides all such as are in deos contumeliosi, blaspheme, contemn, neglect God, or scoff at him, as the poets feign of Salmoneus, that would in derision imitate Jupiter's thunder, he was precipitated for his pains, Jupiter intonuit contra, &c. so shall they certainly rue it in the end, ( in se spuit, qui in cúlum spuit) , their doom's at hand, and hell is ready to receive them.
Some are of opinion, that it is in vain to dispute with such atheistical spirits in the meantime, 'tis not the best way to reclaim them. Atheism, idolatry, heresy, hypocrisy, though they have one common root, that is indulgence to corrupt affection, yet their growth is different, they have divers symptoms, occasions, and must have several cures and remedies. 'Tis true some deny there is any God, some confess, yet believe it not; a third sort confess and believe, but will not live after his laws, worship and obey him: others allow God and gods subordinate, but not one God, no such general God, non talem deum, but several topic gods for several places, and those not to persecute one another for any difference, as Socinus will, but rather love and cherish.
To describe them in particular, to produce their arguments and reasons, would require a just volume, I refer them therefore that expect a more ample satisfaction, to those subtle and elaborate treatises, devout and famous tracts of our learned divines (schoolmen amongst the rest, and casuists) that have abundance of reasons to prove there is a God, the immortality of the soul, &c., out of the strength of wit and philosophy bring irrefragable arguments to such as are ingenuous and well disposed; at the least, answer all cavils and objections to confute their folly and madness, and to reduce them, si fieri posset, ad sanam mentem, to a better mind, though to small purpose many times. Amongst others consult with Julius Cæsar Lagalla, professor of philosophy in Rome, who hath written a large volume of late to confute atheists: of the immortality of the soul, Hierom. Montanus de immortalitate Animæ: Lelius Vincentius of the same subject: Thomas Giaminus, and Franciscus Collius de Paganorum animabus post mortem, a famous doctor of the Ambrosian College in Milan. Bishop Fotherby in his Atheomastix, Doctor Dove, Doctor Jackson, Abernethy, Corderoy, have written well of this subject in our mother tongue: in Latin, Colerus, Zanchius, Palearius, Illyricus, Philippus, Faber Faventinus, &c. But instar omnium, the most copious confuter of atheists is Marinus Mercennus in his Commentaries on Genesis: with Campanella's Atheismus Triumphatus. He sets down at large the causes of this brutish passion, (seventeen in number I take it) answers all their arguments and sophisms, which he reduceth to twenty-six heads, proving withal his own assertion; "There is a God, such a God, the true and sole God," by thirty-five reasons. His Colophon is how to resist and repress atheism, and to that purpose he adds four especial means or ways, which who so will may profitably peruse.