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way, the times and seasons of the year blend themselves by disordered and confused mixture, the winds breathe out their last gasp, the clouds yield no rain, the earth bedefeated of heavenly influence, the fruits of the earth pine away, as children at the withered breasts of their mother, no longer able to yield them relief; what would become of man himself, whom these things do now all serve? See we not plainly, that obedience of creatures unto the law of nature is the stay of the whole world ? Notwithstanding, with nature it cometh sometimes to pass as with art. Let Phidias have rude and obstinate stuff to carve, though his art do that it should, his work will lack that beauty which otherwise in fitter matter it might have had. He that striketh an instrument with skill, may cause notwithstanding a very unpleasant sound, if the string whereupon he striketh

chance to be incapable of harmony. In the matter whereof Theophrast things natural consist, that of Theophrastus takes place, Holù in Metaph. o'x Étakovov oú dè dexóuevov TÒ EŬ. “ Much of it is often

times such, as will by no means yield to receive that impression which were best and most perfect.” Which defect in the matter of things natural, they who gave themselves unto the contemplation of nature amongst the heathen, observed often; but the true original cause thereof, Divine malediction, laid for the sin of man upon these creatures, which God d made for the use of man, this being an article of that saving truth which God hath revealed unto his church, was above the reach of their merely natural capacity and understanding. But however, these swervings are now and then incident into the course of nature; nevertheless so constantly the laws of nature are by natural agents observed, that no man denieth, but those things which nature worketh are wrought

either always, or for the most part, after one and the same Arist. Rhet. manner.

If here it be demanded, what this is which keepi. cap. 39.

eth nature in obedience to her own law, we must have recourse to the higher law, whereof we have already spoken; and because all other laws do thereon depend, from thence we must borrow so much as shall need for brief resolution in this point. Although we are not of opinion therefore, as some are, that nature in working hath before her certain exemplary draughts or patterns, which subsisting in the bosom of the Highest, and being thence discovered, she fixeth her eye upon them, as travellers by sea upon the pole-star of the world, and that according thereunto she guideth her hand to work by imitation : although we rather embrace the oracle of Hippocrates, a “That each thing, both in small and in great, fulfilleth the task which destiny hath set down;" and concerning the manner of executing and fulfilling the same, “what they do they know not, yet is it in show and appearance, as though they did know what they do ; and the truth is, they do not discern the things which they look on:" nevertheless, forasmuch as the works of nature are no less exact than if she did both behold and study how to express some absolute shape or mirror always present before her; yea, such her dexterity and skill appeareth, that no intellectual creature in the world were able by capacity to do that which nature doth without capacity and knowledge; it cannot be, but nature hath some director of infinite knowledge to guide her in all her ways. Who is the guide of nature, but only the God of nature? In him we live, move, and Acts are. Those things which nature is said to do, are by Divine art performed, using nature as an instrument; nor is there any such art or knowledge Divine in nature herself working, but in the guide of nature's work. Whereas therefore things natural, which are not in the number of voluntary agents (for of such only we now speak, and of no other), do so necessarily observe their certain laws, that as long as they keep those forms bwhich give them their being, they cannot possibly be apt or inclinable to do otherwise than they do ; seeing the kinds of their operations are both constantly and exactly framed, according to the several ends for which they serve, they themselves in the meanwhile, though doing that which is fit, yet knowing neither what they do, nor why; it followeth, that all which they do in this sort proceedeth originally from some such agent, as knoweth, appointeth, holdeth up, and even actually frameth, the same. The manner of this Divine efficiency being far above us, we are no more able to conceive by our reason, than creatures unreasonable by their sense, are able to apprehend after what manner wé dispose and order the course of our affairs. Only thus much is discerned, that the natural generation and process of all things receiveth order of proceeding from the settled stability of

xvii. 28.

Την πεπρωμένης μοίρης έκαστον εκπληρού, και επί το μείζον και επί το μείον. δ πράσσουσιν ουκ οίδασιν, και δε πράσσουσι, δοκέoυσιν ειδέναι, και 8 μεν δρώσι ου γινώσκουσι. b Form in other creatures is a thing proportionable unto the soul in living crea

Sensible it is not, nor otherwise discernible than only by effects. According to the diversity of inward forms, things of the world are distinguished into their



Divine understanding. This appointeth unto them their kinds of working; the disposition whereof, in the purity of God's own knowledge and will, is rightly termed by the name of Providence. The same being referred unto the things themselves, here disposed by it, was wont by the ancients to be called natural destiny. That law, the performance whereof we behold in things natural, is as it were an authentical, or an original draught, written in the bosom of God himself; whose Spirit being to execute the same, useth every particular nature, every mere natural agent, only as an instrument created at the beginning, and ever since the beginning used to work his own will and pleasure withal. Nature therefore is nothing else but God's instrument; in the course whereof, Dionysius perceiving some sudden disturbance, is said to have cried out, “Aut Deus naturæ patitur, aut mundi machina dissolvitur:” either God doth suffer impediment, and is by a greater than himself hindered; or if that be impossible, then hath he determined to make a present dissolution of the world; the execution of that law beginning now to stand still, without which the world cannot stand. This workman, whose servitor nature is, being in truth but only one, the heathens imagining to be more, gave him in the sky the name of Jupiter;

in the air the name of Juno; in the water the name of Neptune; in the earth the name of Vesta, and sometimes of Ceres; the name of Apollo in the sun; in the moon the name of Diana; the name of Æolus, and divers others, in the winds; and to conclude, even so many guides of nature they dreamed of, as they saw there were kinds of things natural in the world. These they honoured, as having power to work or cease accordingly as men deserved of them: but unto us, there is one only guide of all agents natural, and he both the Creator and the worker of all in all, alone to be blessed, adored, and honoured, by all for ever. That which hitherto hath been spoken, concerneth natural agents considered in themselves : but we must farther remember also (which thing to touch, in a word, shall suffice), that as in this respect they have their law, which law directeth them in the means whereby they tend to their own perfection; so likewise another law there is, which toucheth them as they are

a Vide Tho. in Compend. Theol. cap. 3. Omne quod movetar ab aliquo, est quasi instrumentum quoddam primi moventis. Ridiculum est autem, etiam apud indoctos, ponere, instrumentum moveri nou ab aliquo principali agente.

we may

sociable parts united into one body: a law which bindeth
them each to serve unto others' good, and all to prefer the
good of the whole, before whatsoever their own particular,
as we plainly see they do, when things natural in that regard,
forget their ordinary natural wont : that which is heavy,
mounting sometimes upwards of its own accord, and for-
saking the centre of the earth which to itself is most natural,
even as if it did hear itself commanded to let go the good it
privately wisheth, and to relieve the present distress of na-
ture in common.
4. But now that

up our eyes (as it were) from The law

which anthe footstool to the throne of God, and leaving these natural consider a little the state of heavenly and Divine creatures: work by. touching angels, which are spirits immaterial and intellectual, the glorious inhabitants of those sacred palaces, where no- Ephes. thing but light and blessed immortality, no shadow of iii. 10. matter for tears, discontentments, griefs, and uncomfortable passions, to work upon, but all joy, tranquillity, and peace, even for ever and ever, doth dwell; as in number and order Dan. they are huge, mighty, and royal armies, so likewise in per- Matt. fection of obedience unto that law, which the Highest, whom xxvi. 53. they adore, love, and imitate, hath imposed upon them. Such ii.22. observants they are thereof, that our Saviour himself being Luke to set down the perfect idea of that which we are to pray and wish for on earth, did not teach to pray or wish for more, than only that here it might be with us, as with them it is in Matt. heaven. God, which moveth mere natural agents as an efficient only, doth otherwise move intellectual creatures, and especially his holy angels : for beholding the face of God, in ad- xviii. 10. miration of so great excellency, they all adore him; and being rapt with the love of his beauty, they cleave inseparably for ever unto him. Desire to resemble him in goodness, maketh Psalm xci. them unweariable and even unsatiable in their longing, to do Lake by all means all manner of good unto all the creatures of God, but especially unto the children of men. In the countenance of i. 14. whose nature looking downward, they behold themselves beneath themselves; even as upward in God, beneath whom Dan. themselves are, they see that character which is no where ix. 23. but in themselves and us resembled. Thus far even the pai- xviii. 10. nims have approached; thus far have they seen into the Dan. doings of the angels of God; Orpheus confessing, that the fiery throne of God is attended on by those most industrious

gels do

Ps. civ.4.
Heb. i. 7

vii. 10.

ii. 13.

vi. 10.

11, 12.



X. 3.


iv. 10.



Psal. exlviii. 2.

Isa. vi.3.

angels, careful how all things are performed amongst men ; a and the mirror of human wisdom plainly teaching, that God moveth angels, even as that thing doth stir man's heart,

which is thereunto presented amiable. Angelical actions Xxxvii. 7.

may therefore be reduced unto these three general kinds : xviii. 10. First, most delectable love arising from the visible apprehen

sion of the purity, glory, and beauty of God invisible, savHeb. i. 6. ing only unto spirits that are pure : Secondly, adoration

grounded upon the evidence of the greatness of God, on whom they see how all things depend : Thirdly, imitation, bred by the presence of his exemplary goodness, who ceaseth not before them daily to fill heaven and earth with the rich treasures of most free and undeserved grace. Of angels, we are not to consider only what they are and do, in regard of their own being, but that also which concerneth them as they are linked into a kind of corporation amongst themselves, and of society or fellowship with men.

Consider angels, each of them severally in himself, and their law is that Psal. which the prophet David mentioneth, "all ye his angels cxlviii. 2. praise him.” Consider the angels of God associated; and

their law is that which disposeth them as an army, one in

order and degree above another. Consider finally the anHeb. xii. gels as having with us that communion which the Apostle

to the Hebrews noteth ; and in regard whereof, angels have Apoc.

not disdained to profess themselves our fellow-servants ; from hence there springeth up a third law, which bindeth them

to works of ministerial employment. Every of which their 2 Pet. ii. 4. several functions are by them performed with joy. A part

of the angels of God notwithstanding (we know) have fallen, and that their fall hath been through the voluntary breach of that law, which did require at their hands continuance in the exercise of their high and admirable virtue. Impossible it was, that ever their will should change or incline to remit any part of their duty, without some object having force to avert their conceit from God, and to draw it another way; and that before they attained that high perfection of bliss, wherein now the elect: angels are, without possibility of falling. Of any thing more than of God, they could not by any means like, as long as whatsoever they knew besides

8 Τώ δε θρόνω πυρόεντι παραστάσιν πολυμόχθοι

*Αγγελοι, οίσι μέμηλε, βροτοίς ως πάντα τελείται. Αrist. Metaph. xii. cap. 7. b This is intimated wheresoever we find them termed“ the sons of God," as Job i. 6. and xxxviii, 7.

. 13. Malt. xxvi. 53.


xxii. 9.

Jude 6.

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