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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 cauterised 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 S. Bernard saith, non est jam dicere, ut populus, sic sacerdos : quia nec sic 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, especially with peace and prosperity; for troubles and adversities do more bow men's minds to religion. They that deny a God destroy man's nobility: for certainly man is of kin to the beasts by his body; and if he be not of kin to God by his spirit, he is a base and ignoble creature. It destroys likewise magnanimity, and the raising 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 instead of a God, or melior natura : which courage is manifestly such, as that creature, without that confidence of a better nature than his own, could never attain. So man, when he resteth and assureth himself upon divine protection and favour, gathereth a force and faith, which human nature in itself could not obtain: therefore as atheism is in all respects hateful, so in this, that it depriveth human nature of the means to exalt itself above human frailty. As it is in particular persons, so it is in nations: never was there such a state for magnanimity as Rome; of this state hear what Cicero saith: quam volumus, licet, paires conscripti, nos amemus, tamen nec numero Hispanos, nec robore Gallos, mec calliditate Paenos, nec artibus Graecos, nec denique hoc ipso hujus gentis et terrae domestico nativoque sensu Italos ipsos et Latinos ; sed pietate, ac religione, atque hac una sapientia, quod deorum immortalium numine omnia regi gubernarique perspearinzes, omnes gentes nationesque superavimus.
L. OF STUDIEs.
Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Their chief use for delight is in privateness and retiring; for ornament, is in discourse; and for ability, is in the judgment and disposition of business. For expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars, one by one; but the general counsels, and the plots and marshalling of affairs, come best from those that are learned. To spend too much time in studies, is sloth ; to use them too much for ornament, is affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules, is the humour of a scholar. They perfect nature, and are perfected by experience: for natural abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning by study; and studies themselves do give forth directions too much at large, except they be bounded in by experience Crafty men contemn studies; simple men admire them ; and wise men use them: for they teach not their own use; but that is a wisdom without them, and above them, won by observation. Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted ; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested : that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others; but that would be only in the less important arguments, and the meaner sort of books: else distilled books are like common distilled waters, flashy things. Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man. And therefore if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, he had need have a pre
sent wit ; and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know that he doth not. Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtile; natural philosophy, deep ; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend : Abeunt studia in mores. Nay, there is no stond or impediment in the wit, but may be wrought out by fit studies; like as diseases of the body may have appropriate exercises: bowling is good for the stone and reins; shooting for the lungs and breast; gentle walking for the stomach; riding for the head; and the like. So if a man's wit be wandering, let him study the mathematics; for in demonstrations, if his wit be called away never so little, he must begin again: if his wit be not apt to distinguish or find differences, let him study the schoolmen; for they are cymini sectores: if he be not apt to beat over matters, and to call up one thing to prove and illustrate another, let him study the lawyers cases: so every defect of the mind may have a special receipt.
BISHOP OF NORWICH,
SERMON, JOHN xix. 30.
Preached at St. Paul's Cross, on Good Friday, 1609.
The bitter and yet victorious passion of the Son of God, Right Honourable and beloved Christians, as it was the strangest thing that ever befel the earth; so is both of most sovereign use, and looks for the most frequent and careful meditation, It is one of those things, which was once done, that it might be thought of for ever. Every day, therefore, must be the Good Friday of a christian: who, with that great Doctor of the Gentiles, must desire to know nothing but Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
There is no branch or circumstance in this wonderful business, which yields not infinite matter of discourse. According to the solemnity of this time and place, I have chosen to commend unto your christian attention, our Saviour's farewell to nature, for his reviving was above it, in his last word, in his last act. His last word, “ It is finished;" his last act, “He gave up the ghost.” That which he said, he did. If there be any theme that may challenge and command our ears and hearts, this is it: for behold, the sweetest word that ever Christ spake, and the most meritorious act that ever he did, are met together in this his last breath. In the one ye shall see him triumphing ; yielding in the other, yet so as he overcomes. Imagine therefore, that you saw Christ Jesus, in this day of his passion, who is every day here crucified before your eyes, advanced upon the chariot of his cross; and now, after a weary conflict, cheerfully overlooking the despight and shame of men, the wrath of his Father, the law, sin, death, hell; which all lie gasping at his foot: and then you shall conceive with what spirit he saith, Consummatum est, “ It is finished.” What is finished ? Shortly; all the prophecies that were of him ; all legal observations, that prefigured him; his own sufferings ; our salvation: The prophecies are accomplished, the ceremonies abolished, his sufferings ended, our salvation wrought: these four heads shall limit this first part of my speech, only let them find and leave you attentive.
All his life was but a perpetual Passion. In that he became man, he suffered more than we can do, either while we are men, or when we cease to be men; “he humbled,” yea, “he emptied himself.” We, when we cease to be here, “are clothed upon,” 2 Cor. 5. We both win by our being, and gain by our loss; he lost, by taking our more or less to himself, that is, manhood. For, though ever as God, “I and my Father are one :" yet as man, “My Father is greater than I.” That man should be turned into a beast, into a worm, into dust, into nothing ; is not so great a disparagement, as that God should become man: and yet it is not finished ; it is but begun. But what man ? If, as the absolute monarch of the world, he had commanded the vassalage of all emperors and princes, and had trod on nothing but crowns and sceptres, and the necks of kings, and bidden all the potentates of the earth to attend his train ; this had carried some port with it; suitable to the heroical majesty of God's son. No such matter : here is neither form nor beauty; unless perhaps Mopondolo, the form of a servant : "you have made me to serve with your sins.” Behold, he is a man to God; a servant to man; and, be it spoken with holy reverence, a drudge to his servants. “He is despised and rejected of men;" yea, as himself of himself, "a worm and no man, the shame of men and contempt of the people.” “Who is the King of glory ? the Lord of Hosts, he is the King of glory.” Set these two together; the King of glory; the shame of men : the more honour, the more abasement. Look back to his cradle : there you find him rejected of the Bethlemites ; born and laid, alas, how homely, how unworthily ; sought for by Herod, exiled to Egypt, obscurely brought up in the cottage of a poor foster-father, transported and tempted by Satan, derided of his kindred, blasphemously traduced by the Jews, pinched with hunger, restless, harbourless, sorrowful, persecuted by the elders and pharisees, sold by his own servant, apprehended, arraigned, scourged, condemned, and yet it is not finished. Let us, with that disciple, follow him afar off; and passing over all his contemptuous usage in the way, see him brought to the cross. Still, the farther we look, the more wonder : every thing adds to this ignominy of suffering, and triumph of overcoming. Where was it? Not in a corner, as Paul saith to Festus, but in Jerusalem, the eye, the heart of the world. Obscurity abateth shame : public notice heightens it : “Before all Israel and before this sun," saith God to David, when he would throughly shame him : In Jerusalem, which he had honoured with his presence, taught with his preachings, astonished with his miracles, bewailed with his tears ; “O Jerusalem, Jeru