Page images


Yet it is


pretended it was an Emblem of that great God that had brought them out of Egypt. They served Baalim, the Gods of Arangers, 'tis true; but this was in associating them with the true God, whose worship they never did reject. If ever there was a time of corruption, it was that of Ahab, who to the sin of feroboam added all the abominations of the Tyrians, which his wife lezabel taught him. Nevertheless at that very time, Elias confesses, that the nation halted between

worshipped God and Baal at the same time.

It appears therefore that the Idolatry of the defcribed Heathens, who worshipped none but falte Gods,

was more criminal ; however, the Holy Spirit speaks against the Idolatry of Israel, with a thousand times more violence and vehemence than against that of the Heathens. The Prophets deIcribe the heathen Idolaters as fools, as brutish persons, that had lost their senses who of the lame log of wood made a God and a foot-stool. But when they speak of the Idolatry of Israel, they do it in such terms as make persons ofany modesty to blush. For there are no odious Ideas in the most infamous prostitution, which the H. Spirit doth not bring in in his description of them. We need but consult the 16th Ch. of Ezech. and many more places of the other Prophets, where the Idolairous Iewish Church is represented as a woman void of shame, that prostitutes her self to every comer, that fits in the cross ways, that offers her self, that opens her bosom, that speaks such words as modesty can't hear and doth abominable actions.

The reason of this difference is plain, 'tis because the Idolatry of the Heathens is considerd



[ocr errors]

only as a simple fornication, and the Idolatry of The IdoIsrael as adultery. Every one knows the diffe- Church is rence between simple Fornication and Adultery. moft criAlmost all nations have punish'd adultery with why. death. But the Heathen's did scarce think that fornication was a sin; the fews themselvescounted it as a trivial matter. A man sees the worst of crimes committed upon a woman that belongs not to him, without being much moved at it; but the least debauches of his own wife ftir up his jealousie, and kindle his anger. He can't speak of them without vehemence, and in terms that signify the greatness of his grief

. And ʼtis not an unreasonable resentment. A woman with whom he hath made no treaty, that hath not plighted her troth to him, nor he his to her, doth him no wrong, there is no shame redounds to him thereby; whereas the crimes of his wife cover him' with infamy, 'Tis the same with God; the Idolatry of the Heathens in his opinion is but a simple fornication, he hath made no treaty with them who are without the covenant; no shame dishonour is reflected on him from their debaucheries. But he hath treated with the Church, The is his Spouse; he calls her so ; 'tis a figurative exprellion that he every where uses. We need not therefore wonder, if he be more sensible of those wrongs, that are done him on her part. Although the Idolatries of the Heathens were greater, considering them precisely in themselves, than the Idolatries of the Church; yet however, God would not be so much offended by them. A Husband is more offended by the light debaucheries of his Spouse , than by the greatest crimes of one that is only his Kinswoman, It signifies nothing, that this woman doth not



O 3

deny her Husband her favours; ifshe suffer others to share with him, her crime is not the less. It signifies nothing also, that the Church doth not refuse to give adoration to the true God; if she suffer the creatures to be sharers with him, the is not less criminal; she is still an Adulteress, and her crime is an abomination.

It is easy to apply all this to the Christian Church; the bands of the sacred marriage that ünite her to her God are much more noble, glorious and strait than those that united God to the Synagogue. So her adulteries also are much more worthy to be condemned. It sig. hifies nothing, that she cammits them with those that are called the friends of God. A King is not the less offended by the disorders of his Spouse , that prostitutes her self to his favourites , than if she prostituted' her self to strangers. And thus , I think, enough hath been said to justify this, that the Papism is a true Apostacy, and that that term, and others, though higher, are not too big ro signify the abominations of the Antichristian Empire.





The deceiving Spirits which St. Paul speaks of,

are Evil Spirits, The Do&trine of Dæmons
is that Doctrine , that hath Dæmons for its
objects, and not that which hath Dæmons
for its Authors.

There is a perfe&t confor-
mity between the Theology and the Religion
of the Heathens about Dæmons, and that
of the Papism about Saints and Angels., me-

diatory Spirits. S

Aint Paul, continuing to describe the future Evil spirits

Antichristian Empire, faith , that this Apo- Authors of ftacy shall be joined with the spirit of seduction: this Popista They shall give up themselves to deceiving spirits. 'Tis very indifferent whether by these deceiving Spirits , or spirits of errour, as some copies have

we understand men or spirits separated from matter ; for both the one and the other yield a true sense. It is true, that the Antichris, stian Apostacy was formed by the deceit of certain deceiving spirits, who being mad upon a false . devotion , seduced others both by their examples. and also by their bad arguments. Yet I rather encline to believe, that by deceiving spirits we are to understand evil spirits , which were the first Authors, in the first place, of the worthip of Reliques, afterwards of the invocation of Saints, and at last of the adoration of their Images. This was the way whereby superstition began to be establisht, viz. the vifions, by which Reliques


it ,

[ocr errors]


Confer. 1. 9. c.7.

father of

were discover'd. We learn from Saint Auftine, that the bodies of the Martyrs Gervais and Proe tais were found out by St. Ambrose by the help of a dream. The same time God revealed to this holy Bishop in a dream, where lay the bodies of the Martys Gervais and Protais, who many years were kept in the secret of God, and preserv'd free from corruption, to the end they might be discover'd, to

stop the fury of a woman that was Empress , and The visions mother of the Emperour. I will not wrong Saint Reliques Ambrose so far, as to accuse him of feigning this per carrear vision to deceive the people , to work falle mie from the racles, that he might make the party that were

for the word consubstantial , to triumph over Arianism. But this is certain , it was a deceiving spirit that did abuse St. Ambrose , and did discover these Reliques to him to make Idols of them, because then the Reliques of the Saints began to be abused. The Miracles that were wrought by Retiques', either are fabulous stories of Impostors, or the productions of him, who is the father of lies. Saint Austin faith, that those who were poffeßi'd were deliver'd by them. Befides that, the greatest part of those that were possessed in those ages , were melancholy persons; it is not hard to conceive, that the Devil would play these pranks to establish Idolatry, that was then receiving its birth. He could do no lessthan go out of a body, feigning to be forced to it by the vertue of Reliques, and merit of a Saint. Ablind man received his fight by putting a cloth to his eyes,

that had touched the Coffin of the Martyrs.

he people by their credulity make such sort of The Mira Miracles every day. St. Austin had a good falic ones.

share of this credulity. But though it were true; the Devil might do things much harder than this,


[ocr errors]

çles were

« PreviousContinue »