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their secret intentions; for as for large discourses, they are flat things, and not so much noted.
Lastly, let princes against all events, not be without some great person, one or rather more, of military valour, near unto them, for the repressing of seditions in their beginnings ; for without that there useth to be more trepidation in court upon the first breaking out of troubles, than were fit; and the state'runneth the danger of that which Tacitus saith,
atque is habitus animorum fuit, ut pessimum “ facinus auderent pauci, plures vellent, omnes “ paterentur :" but let such military persons be assured and well reputed of, rather than factious and popular; holding also good correspondence with the other great men in the state, or else the remedy is worse than the disease.
I HAD rather believe all the fables in the legend, and the Talmud, and the Alcoran than that this universal frame is without a mind : and, therefore, God never wrought miracles to convince atheism, because his ordinary works convince it. It is true that a little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism ; but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion; for while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them and go no farther ; but when it beholdeth the chain of them confederate and linked together, it must needs fly to providence and Deity: nay, even that school which is most accused of atheism, doth most demonstrate religion ; that is, the school of Leucippus, and Democritus, and Epicurus: for it is a thousand times more credible, that four mutable elements and one immutable fifth essence, duly and eternally placed, need no God, than that an army of infinite small portions, or seeds unplaced, should have produced this order and beauty without a divine marshal.
The scripture saith, “ The fool hath said in « his heart, there is no God :" it is not said, “ The fool hath thought in his heart;" so as he rather saith it by rote to himself, as that he would have, than that he can thoroughly believe it, or be persuaded of it; for none deny there is a God, but those for whom it maketh that there were no God. It appeareth in nothing more, that atheism is rather in the lip than in the heart of man, than by this, that atheists will ever be talking of that their opinion, as if they fainted in it within themselves, and would be glad to be strengthened by the consent of others: nay more, you shall have atheists strive to get disciples, as it fareth with other sects; and, which is most of all, you shall have of them that will suffer for atheism, 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 dissemble for his credit's sake when he affirmed there were blessed 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 subtilest 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 calises 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 saith, “ non est jam “ dicere, ut populus, sic sacerdos ; quia nec sic
populus, ut sacerdos:" a third is, a 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 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 naturas" which courage is manifestly such as that creature, without that confidence of a better naturer than his own, could never attain. when he resteth and assureth himself upon divine protection and favour, gathereth a force