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former times were not so blessed as to know, sacred and inspired Divinity, the sabbath and port of all men's labours and peregrinations.
THE prerogative of God extendeth as well to the reason as to the will of man; so that as we are to obey his law, though we find a reluctation in our will, so we are to believe his word, though we find a reluctation in our reason. For if we believe only that which is agreeable to our sense, we give consent to the matter, and not to the author; which is no more than we would do towards a suspected and discredited witness; but that faith which was accounted to Abraham for righteousness was of such a point as whereat Sarah laughed, who therein was an image of natural reason.
Howbeit, if we will truly consider it, more worthy it is to believe than to know as we now know. For in knowledge man's mind suffereth from sense; but in belief it suffereth from spirit, such one as it holdeth for more authorised than itself, and so suffereth from the worthier agent. Otherwise it is of the state of man glorified; for then faith shall cease, and we shall know as we are known.
Wherefore we conclude that sacred Theology, (which in our idiom we call Divinity,) is grounded only upon the word and oracle of God, and not upon the light of nature: for it is written, "Cœli "enarrant gloriam Dei;" but it is not written, "Cœli "enarrant voluntatem Dei:" but of that it is said, "Ad legem et testimonium: si non fecerint secun
"dum verbum istud, &c." This holdeth not only in those points of faith which concern the great mysteries of the Deity, of the creation, of the redemption, but likewise those which concern the law moral truly interpreted: Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: be like to your heavenly Father, that suffereth his rain to fall upon the just and unjust. To this it ought to be applauded, "Nec vox hominem sonat:" it is a voice beyond the light of nature. So we see the heathen poets, when they fall upon a libertine passion, do still expostulate with laws and moralities, as if they were opposite and malignant to nature: "Et quod natura remittit, "invida jura negant." So said Dendamis the Indian unto Alexander's messengers, "That he had heard "somewhat of Pythagoras, and some other of the "wise men of Græcia, and that he held them for "excellent men: but that they had a fault, which was, "that they had in too great reverence and veneration
a thing they called law and manners." So it must be confessed, that a great part of the law moral is of that perfection, whereunto the light of nature cannot aspire: how then is it that man is said to have, by the light and law of nature, some notions and conceits of virtue and vice, justice and wrong, good and evil? Thus, because the light of nature is used in two several senses; the one, that which springeth from reason, sense, induction, argument, according to the laws of heaven and earth; the other, that which is imprinted upon the spirit of man by an inward instinct, according to the law of
conscience, which is a sparkle of the purity of his first estate in which latter sense only he is participant of some light and discerning touching the perfection of the moral law: but how? sufficient to check the vice, but not to inform the duty. So then the doctrine of religion, as well moral as mystical, is not to be attained but by inspiration and revelation from God.
The use, notwithstanding, of reason in spiritual things, and the latitude thereof, is very great and general for it is not for nothing that the apostle calleth religion our reasonable service of God; insomuch as the very ceremonies and figures of the old law were full of reason and signification, much more than the ceremonies of idolatry and magic, that are full of non-significants and surd characters. But most especially the Christian Faith, as in all things, so in this deserveth to be highly magnified; holding and preserving the golden mediocrity in this point between the law of the heathen and the law of Mahomet, which have embraced the two extremes. For the religion of the heathen had no constant belief or confession, but left all to the liberty of argument; and the religion of Mahomet, on the other side, interdicteth argument altogether: the one having the very face of error, and the other of imposture whereas the faith doth both admit and reject disputation with difference.
The use of human reason in religion is of two sorts the former, in the conception and apprehension of the mysteries of God to us revealed; the
other, in the inferring and deriving of doctrine and direction thereupon. The former extendeth to the mysteries themselves; but how? by way of illustration, and not by way of argument: the latter consisteth indeed of probation and argument. In the former, we see, God vouchsafeth to descend to our capacity, in the expressing of his mysteries in sort as may be sensible unto us; and doth graft his revelations and holy doctrine upon the notions of our reason, and applieth his inspirations to open our understanding, as the form of the key to the ward of the lock: for the latter, there is allowed us an use of reason and argument, secondary and respetive, although not original and absolute. For after the articles and principles of religion are placed and exempted from examination of reason, it is then permitted unto us to make derivations and inferences from, and according to the analogy of them, for our better direction. In nature this holdeth not; for both the principles are examinable by induction, though not by a medium or syllogism; and besides, those principles or first positions have no discordance with that reason which draweth down and deduceth the inferiour positions. But yet it holdeth not in religion alone, but in many knowledges, both of greater and smaller nature, namely, wherein there are not only posita but placita ; for in such there can be no use of absolute reason: we see it familiarly in games of wit, as chess, or the like: the draughts and first laws of the game are positive, but how ? merely ad placitum, and not examinable by reason; but
then how to direct our play thereupon with best advantage to win the game, is artificial and rational. So in human laws, there be many grounds and maxims which are placita juris, positive upon authority, and not upon reason, and therefore not to be disputed: but what is most just, not absolutely but relatively, and according to those maxims, that affordeth a long field of disputation. Such therefore is that secondary reason, which hath place in divinity, which is grounded upon the placets of God.
Here therefore I note this deficiency, that there hath not been, to my understanding, sufficiently inquired and handled the true limits and use of reason in spiritual things, as a kind of divine dialectic: which for that it is not done, it seemeth to me a thing usual, by pretext of true conceiving that which is revealed, to search and mine into that which is not revealed; and by pretext of enucleating inferences and contradictories, to examine that which is positive: the one sort falling into the errour of Nicodemus, demanding to have things made more sensible than it pleaseth God to reveal them, " Quo" modo possit homo nasci cum sit senex?" the other sort into the errour of the disciples, which were scandalized at a show of contradiction, 66 Quid est hoc quod dicit nobis? Modicum, et non videbitis me; "et iterum, modicum, et videbitis me, &c."
Upon this I have insisted the more, in regard of the great and blessed use thereof; for this point, well laboured and defined of, would in my judgment