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ism, and not recant; whereas, if they did truly think, that there were no such Thing as God, why should they trouble themselves ? Epicurus is charged, that he did but diffemble, for his credit's fake, when he affirmed; There were Blesed Natures, but such as enjoyed themselves, without having respect to the Government of the World. Wherein, they say, he did temporize; though, in secret, he thought there was no God. But certainly, he is traduced ; for his Words are Noble and Divine: Non Deos vulgi negare profanum ; sed vulgi Opiniones Diis applicare profanum. Plato could have said no more. And although he had the Confidence to deny the Administration, he had not the Power to deny the Nature. The Indians of the West have Names for their particular Gods, though they have no name for God: as if the Heathens should have had the Names Jupiter, Apollo, Mars, &c. but not the Word Deus : which shews, that even those barbarous People have the Notion, though they have not the Latitude, and Extent of it. So that against Atheists, the very Savages take part with the very subtlest Philosophers. The Contemplative Atheist is rare; a Diagoras, a Bion, a Lucian perhaps, and some others; and yet they seem to be more than they are; for that all that Impugn a received Religion, or Superstition, are, by the adverse Part, branded with the Name of Atheists : but the great Atheists, indeed, are Hypocrites; which are ever handling Holy Things, but without Feeling. So as they must needs be cauterized in the End. The Causes of Atheism are ; Divisions
in Religion, if they be many; for any one main Division addeth Zeal to both Sides; but many Divisions introduce Atheism. Another is, Scandal of Priests; when it is come to that, which St. Bernard faith; Non eft jam dicere, ut Populus, fic Sacerdos : quia nec fic Populus ut Sacerdos. A third is, Custom of Profane Scoffing in Holy Matters; which doth, by little and little, deface the Reverence of Religion. And lastly, Learned Times, specially with Peace and Prosperity: for Troubles and Adversities do more bow Men's Minds to Religion. They that deny a God, destroy Man's Nobility: for certainly Man is of Kin to the Beasts, by his Body; and if he be not of Kin to God by his Spirit, he is a base and ignoble Creature. It destroys likewise Magnanimity, and the raising of Human Nature : for take an Example of a Dog, and mark what a Generosity, and Courage he will put on, when he finds himself maintained by a Man ; who to him is in stead of a God, or Melior Natura : which courage is manifestly such, as that Creature, without that Confidence, of a better Nature than his own, could never attain. So Man, when he resteth and assureth himself, upon divine Protection and Favour, gathereth a Force and Faith, which Human Nature, in itself, could not obtain. Therefore, as Atheism is in all respects hateful, so in this, that it depriveth human Nature of the Means to exalt itself, above Human Frailty. As it is in particular Persons, so it is in Nations : never was there such a State, for Magnanimity, as Rome. Of this State hear what Cicero faith; Quam volumus, licet, Patres Confcripti, nos amemus, tamen nec Numero Hispanos, nec Robore Gallos, nec Calliditate Pænos, nec artibus Græcos, nec denique hoc ipso hujus Gentis & Terræ domestico nativoque sensu Italos ipsos & Latinos ; sed Pietate, ac Religione, atque hâc unâ Sapientiâ, quod Deorum Immortalium Numine omnia regi, gubernarique perspeximus, omnes Gentes, Nationes que superavimus.
xvii. Of Superstition.
T were better to have no Opinion of
God at all, than such an Opinion as is unworthy of him : for the one is Un
belief, the other is Contumely. And certainly Superstition is the Reproach of the Deity. Plutarch faith well to that purpose : Surely, saith he, I had rather, a great deal, Men should fay, there was no such Man at all as Plutarch; than that they should say, that there was one Plutarch, that would eat his Children, as soon as they were born, as the Poets speak of Saturn. And as the Contumely is greater towards God, fo the Danger is greater towards Men. Atheism leaves a Man to Sense; to Philofophy; to Natural Piety; to Laws; to Reputation; all which may be Guides to an outward Moral Virtue, though Religion were not ; but Superftition dismounts all these, and erecteth an absolute Monarchy in the Minds of Men. Therefore Atheism did never perturb States; for it makes Men wary of themselves, as looking no further : and we see the times inclined to Atheism (as the Time of Auguftus Cæfar) were civil Times. But Superftition hath been the Confusion of many States; and bringeth in a new Primum Mobile, that ravisheth all the Spheres of Government. The Master of Superstition is the People; and in all Superftition, Wise Men follow Fools; and Arguments are fitted to practice, in a reversed Order. It was gravely said, by some of the Prelates, in the Council of Trent, where the doctrine of the Schoolmen bare great sway; That the Schoolmen were like Astronomers, which did feign Eccentrics and Epicycles, and such Engines of Orbs, to save the Phenomena ; though they knew, there were no such Things : and, in like manner, that the Schoolmen had framed a Number of subtle and intricate Axioms, and Theorems, to save the practice of the Church. The Causes of Superstition are : Pleasing and sensual Rites and Ceremonies : Excess of Outward and Pharifaical Holiness; Overgreat Reverence of Traditions, which cannot but load the Church; the Stratagems of Prelates for their own Ambition and Lucre : the Favouring too much of good Intentions, which openeth the Gate to Conceits and Novelties; the taking an Aim at divine Matters by Human, which cannot but breed mixture of Imaginations; and lastly, Barbarous Times, especially joined with Calamities and Disasters. Superstition, without a veil, is a deformed Thing; for, as it addeth deformity to an Ape, to be so like a Man; so the Similitude of Superstition to Religion, makes it the more deformed. And as wholesome Meat corrupteth to little Worms; so good Forms and Orders corrupt into a Number of petty Observances. There is a Superstition, in avoiding Superstition; when men think to do beft, if they go furtheft from the Superftition formerly received: therefore, Care would be had, that (as it fareth in ill Purgings) the Good be not taken away with the Bad ; which commonly is done, when the People is the Reformer,
XVIII. Of Travel.
RAVEL, in the younger Sort, is a
Part of Education ; in the Elder, a
into a Country, before he hath some Entrance into the Language, goeth to School, and not to Travel. That Young Men travel under some Tutor, or grave Servant, I allow well ; so that he be such a one that hath the Language, and hath been in the Country before; whereby he may be able to tell them, what Things are worthy to be seen in the Country where they go; what Acquaintances they are to seek; what Exercises or Discipline the Place yieldeth. For else young Men shall go hooded, and look abroad little. It is a strange Thing, that in Sea voyages, where there is nothing to be seen, but Sky and Sea, Men should make Diaries; but in Land-Travel, wherein