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A02484 An apologie of the povver and prouidence of God in the gouernment of the world. Or An examination and censure of the common errour touching natures perpetuall and vniuersall decay diuided into foure bookes: whereof the first treates of this pretended decay in generall, together with some preparatiues thereunto. The second of the pretended decay of the heauens and elements, together with that of the elementary bodies, man only excepted. The third of the pretended decay of mankinde in regard of age and duration, of strength and stature, of arts and wits. The fourth of this pretended decay in matter of manners, together with a large proofe of the future consummation of the world from the testimony of the gentiles, and the vses which we are to draw from the consideration thereof. By G.H. D.D. Hakewill, George, 1578-1649. 1627 (1627) STC 12611; ESTC S120599 534,451 516

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in workes of heate but the sunne burneth the mountaines three tymes more breathing out fiery vapours Neither were there wanting some among the ancient Philosophers who maintained the same opinion as Plato and Plyny and generally the whole sect of Stoicks who held that the Sunne and Starres were fed with watery vapours which they drew vp for their nourishment and that when these vapours should cease and faile the whole world should be in daunger of combustion and many things are alleaged by Balbus in Ciceroes second booke of the nature of the Gods in favour of this opinion of the Stoicks But that the Sunne and Starres are not in truth and in their owne nature fieric and hot appeares by the ground already layd touching the matter of the heavens that it is of a nature incorruptible which cannot bee if it were fiery inasmuch as thereby it should become lyable to alteration and corruption by an opposite and professed enimie Besides all fiery bodies by a naturall inclination mount vpwards so that if the starres were the cause of heat as being hot in themselues it would consequently follow that their circular motion should not bee Naturall but violent Wherevnto I may adde that the noted starres being so many in number namely one thousand twenty and two besides the Planets and in magnitude so greate that every one of those which appeare fixed in the firmament are sayd to bee much bigger then the whole Globe of the water and earth and the Sunne againe so much to exceede both that globe and the biggest of them as it may iustly bee stiled by the sonne of Syrach instrumentum admirabile a wonderfull instrument which being so were they of fyre they would doubtlesse long ere this haue turned the world into ashes there being so infinite a disproportion betweene their flame and the little quantity of matter supposed to bee prepared for their Fewell That therefore they should bee fed with vapours Aristotle deservedly laughs at it as a childish and ridiculous device in as much as the vapours ascend no higher then the middle region of the ayre and from thence distill againe vpon the water and earth from whence they were drawne vp and those vapours being vncertaine the flames likewise feeding vpon them must needes be vncertaine and dayly vary from themselues both in quantity and figure according to the proportion of their fewell SECT 2. That the heate they breed springes from their light and consequently their light being not decayed neither is the warmth arising there from THe absurdity then of this opinion beeing so foule and grosse it remaines that the Sunne and Starres infuse a warmth into these Subcaelestiall bodies not as being hot in themlselues but only as beeing ordeined by God to breed heate in matter capable thereof as they impart life to some creatures and yet themselues remaine voyd of life like the braine which imparts Sense to every member of the body and yet is it selfe vtterly voyd of all Sense But here againe some there are which attribute this effect to the motion others to the light of these glorious bodies And true indeed it is that motion causes heat by the attenuation rarefaction of the ayre But by this reason should the Moone which is neerer the Earth warme more then the Sunne which is many thousand miles farther distant the higher Regions of the Aire should be alway hotter then the lower which notwithstanding if wee compare the second with with the lowest is vndoubtedly false Moreouer the motion of the coelestiall bodies being vniforme so should the heat deriued from them in reason likewise be the motion ceasing the heat should likewise cease yet I shall neuer beleeue that when the Sun stood still at the prayer of Iosua it then ceased to warme these inferiour Bodies And we find by experience that the Sun works more powerfully vpon a body which stands still then when it moues the reason seemes to be the same in the rest or motion of a body warming or warmed that receiueth or imparteth heat The motion being thus excluded from being the cause of this effect the light must of necessitie step in and challenge it to it selfe the light then it is which is vndoubtedly the cause of coelestiall heate in part by a direct beame but more vehemently by a reflexed for which very reason it is that the middle Region of the aire is alwaies colder then the lowest and the lowest hotter in Summer then in Winter and at noone then in the morning and evening the beames being then more perpendicular and consequently in their reflexion more narrowly vnited by which reflexion and vnion they grow sometimes to that fervencie of heate that fire springs out from them as wee see in burning glasses and by this artificiall device it was that Archimedes as Galen reports it in his third booke de Temperamentis set on fire the Enemies Gallyes and Proclus a famous Mathematician practised the like at Constantinople as witnesseth Zonaras in the life of Anastasius the Emperour And very reasonable me thinkes it is that light the most Divine affection of the Coelelestiall Bodies should be the cause of warmth the most noble actiue and excellent quality of the Subcoelestiall These two like Hippocrates twinnes simul oriuntur moriuntur they are borne and dye together they increase and decrease both together the greater the light is the greater the heate and therefore the Sun as much exceedes the other starres in heate as it doth in light To driue the argument home then to our present purpose since the light of the Sun is no way diminished and the heate depends vpon the light the consequence to me seemes marvailous faire and strong which is that neither the heate arising from the light should haue suffered any decay or diminution at all SECT 3. Two obiections answered the one drawne from the present habitablenes of the Torrid Zone the other from a supposed approach of the Sun neerer the earth then in former ages NOtwithstanding the evidence of which trueth some haue not doubted to attribute the present habitablenesse of the Torride Zone to the weaknesse and old age of the Heauens in regard of former ages But they might haue remembred that the Cold Zones should thereby haue become more inhabitable by cold as also that holding as they doe an vniversall decay in all the parts of Nature men according to their opinion decaying in strength as well as the Heauens they should now in reason be as ill able to indure the present heate as the men of former ages were to indure that of the same times wherein they liued the proportion being alike betweene the weaknes as between the strength of the one and the other But this I onely touch in passing hauing a fitter occasion to consider more fully of it hereafter when we come to compare the wits and inventions of the Ancients with those of the present times That which touches
rejected though commonly received Sect. 1 In Divinitie pag. 1. Sect 2 In Philosophie p. 4. Sect. 3 In Historie Ecclesiasticall p. 5. Sect. 4 In Historie Civill or Nationall p. 7. Sect. 5 In Naturall Historie p. 8. Sect. 6 With an application thereof to the present purpose p. 11. CAP. 2. Of the Reasons inducing the Authour to the writing and publishing of this discourse Sect. 1 Whereof the first is the redeeming of a captivated truth pag. 12. Sect. 2 The second is the vindicating of the Creators honour p. 14. Sect. 3 The third is for that the contrary opinion quailes the hopes and blunts the edge of vertuous endeavours p. 15. Sect. 4 The fourth is for that it makes men more carelesse both in regard of their present fortunes and in providing for posterity p. 19. Sect. 5 The fifth and last is the weake grounds which the contrary opinion is founded vpon as the fictions of Poets the morosity of old men the over-valuing of Antiquity and disesteeming of the present times p. 22. CAP. 3. The Controversie touching the worlds decay stated and the Methode held thorow this ensuing treatise proposed Sect. 1 Touching the pretended decay of the mixt bodies pag. 27. Sect. 2 Of the Elements in regard of their quantity and dimensions p. 28. Sect. 3 In regard of their qualities p. 31. Sect. 4 Of mankind in regard of Manners and the Arts. p. 32. Sect. 5 In regard of the duration of their liues their strength and stature p. 35. Sect. 6. The precedents of the Chapter summarily recollected and the Methode observed in the ensuing Treatise proposed p. 37. CAP. 4. Touching the worlds decay in generall Sect. 1 The first generall Reason that it decayes not is drawne from the power of that Spirit that quickens and supports it the second and third from the consideration of the severall parts whereof it consists pag. 38. Sect. 2 The fourth for that such a decay as is suppposed would in time point out the very date of the worlds expiration and consequently of the second comming of Christ. p. 42. Sect. 3 The fifth for that vpon the supposition of such a decay as is pretended the vigor and strength of the parts thereof must of necessity long since haue bin vtterly exhausted and worne out p. 44. Sect. 4 The sixth argument is drawne from the Authority of Salomon and his reason taken from the Circulation and running about of all things as it were in a ring p. 45. CAP. 5. Generall arguments made for the worlds decay refuted Sect. 1 The first generall objection drawne from reason answered which is that the Creature the neerer it approaches to the first mould the more perfect it is and according to the degrees of its remoueall and distance from thence it incurres the more imperfection and weakenesse p. 47. Sect. 2 The second answered which is that the severall parts of the world decay which should argue a lingering consumption in the whole p. 50 Sect. 3 The third answered which is taken from the authority of Saint Cyprian p. 50. Sec. 4 The same authority of Saint Cyprian farther answered by opposing against it the authority of Arnobius supported with ponderous pressing reasons p. 55. Sec. 5. The fourth answered which is borrowed from the authority of Esdras p. 60. Sec. 6 The rest answered pretended to be taken frō authority of holy Scriptures p. 62. LIB 2. Of the pretended decay in the Heavens and Elements together with that of the Elementary bodies man only excepted CAP. 1. Touching the pretended decay of the heavenly bodies in regard of their substance Sect. 1 Of their working vpon this inferiour world and the dependance of it vpon them pag. 64. Sec. 2 Their pretended decay in their substance refuted by reason p. 67. Sec. 3 An objection drawne from Iob answered p. 69. Sec. 4 Another taken from Psal. 102. answered p. 71. Sec. 5 A third taken from the apparition of New starres answered p. 74. Sec. 6 The last drawen from the Eclypses of the Sunne and Moone answered p. 75. CAP. 2 Touching the pretended decay of the heavenly bodies in regard of their motions Sec. 1 The first reason drawne from the causes of that Motion p. 78. Sec. 2 The second from the certainety of demonstrations vpon the Celestiall Globe The third from a particular view of the proper motions of the Planets which are observed to be the same at this day as in former ages without any variation The fourth from the infallible and exact prediction of their Oppositions Conjunctions and Eclypses for many ages to come The fifth from the testimony of sundry graue Authors averring the perpetuall constancy immutability of their motions p. 80. Sec. 3 The same truth farther proved from the testimony of Lactantius Plutarch p. 84. Sec. 4 An objection of du Moulins touching the motion of the polar star answered p. 85. CAP. 3. Touching the pretended decay in the light of the heavenly bodies Sect. 1 The first reason taken from the nature of the heavenly light those things wherevnto it is resembled p. 86. Sec. 2 The second for that it ha●…h nothing contrary vnto it and heere Pareus and Mollerus are censured for holding that the light of heaven 〈◊〉 impaired p. 87. Sec. 3 Herevnto other Reasons are added and the testimony of Eugubinus vouched p. 88. CAP. 4. Touching the pretended decay in the warmth of the heavenlie bodies Sect. 1 That the starres are not of a fierie nature or hot in themselues p. 90. Sec. 2 That the heate they breed springs from their light and consequently their light being not decayed neither is the warmth arising therefrō p. 91. Sec. 3 Two objections answered the one drawne from the present habitablenes of the torride Zone the other from a supposed approach of the Sun neerer the earth ●…hen in former ages p. 93. Sec. 4 A third objection answered taken from a supposed remoueall of the Sunne more Southerly from vs then in former ages p. 94. CAP. 5. Touching the pretended decay of the heavenly bodies in regard of their influences Sect. 1. Of the first kind of influence from the highest immoueable heaven called by Divines Coelum Empyreum p. 97. Sec. 2 Of th' second kind derived from the Planets and fixed starres p. 98. Sec. 3 That the efficacy of these influences cannot be fully comprehended by vs. p. 99. Sec. 4 That neither of them is decayed in their benigne and favourable effects but that curious inquisition into them is to be forborne p. 100. CAP. 6. Touching the pretended decay of the Elements in generall Sect. 1 That the Elements are still in number foure p. 102. Sec. 2 That the Elements still retaine the same properties that anciently they did and by mutuall interchange and compensation the same bounds dimentions p. 106. Sec. 3 An objection drawne from the continuall mixture of the Elements each with other answered p. 109. CAP. 7. Touching the pretended decay of t●… Aire in regard of
the temper thereof Sect. 1 Of excessiue drouth and cold in former ages and that in forraine Countryes pag. 110. Sect. 2 Of excessiue cold raine in former ages heere a●…tome and of the common complaint of vnseasonable weather in all ages together with the reason thereof p. 112. Sect. 3 Of contagious diseases and specially the plague both here at home 〈◊〉 abroad in former ages p. 113. Sect. 4 Of Earth-quakes in former ages and their terrible effects elegantly described by Seneca p. 116. Sect. 5 Of dreadfull burnings in the bowels of Aetna Vesuvius and the rising of a new Iland out of the Sea with hideous roring neere Putzol in Italy p. 117. Sect. 6. Of the nature of Comets and the vncertainety of predictions from them as also that the number of those which haue appeared of late yeares is lesse then hath vsually beene observed in former ages and of other fiery and watery meteors p. 119. Sect. 7 Of strange and impetuous windes and lightnings in former ages aboue those of the present p. 121. CAP. 8. Touching the pretended decay of the waters the fish the inhabiters thereof Sect. 1 That the Sea Rivers and Bathes are the same at this present as they were for many ages past or what they lose in one place and time they recover in another by the testimony of Strabo Ovid and Pontanus p. 123. Sect. 2 That fishes are not decayed in regard of their store dimensions or duration p. 125. CAP. 9. Touching the pretended decay of the earth together with the plants beasts minerals Sect. 1 The divine meditation of Seneca and Pliny vpon the globe of the earth An objection out of Aelian touching the decrease of mountaines answered That all ●…hings which spring from the earth returne thither againe and consequently it cannot decay in regard of the fruitfulnes in the whole Other objections of lesse consequence answered p. 128. Sect. 2 Another obiection touching the decay of the fruitfulnes of the holy Land fully answered p. 131 Sect 3 The testimonies of Columella Pliny produced that the earth in it selfe is as fruitfull as in former ages if it be well made and manured together with the reason why so good and so great store of wine is not now made in this kingdome as formerly hath bin p. 133. Sect. 4 An argument drawne from the present state of husband-men and another from the many and miserable dearths in former ages together with an objection taken from the inhauncing of the prizes of victuals in latter times answered p. 136. Sect. 5 That there is no decrease in the fruitfulnesse the quantities or vertues of plants and simp●… nor in the store and goodnesse of mettals mineralls as neither in the bignesse or life of beasts together with an objection touching the Elephant mentioned in the first of Macchabes answered p. 139. Sect. 6 A●…ection taken from the Eclypses of the planets answered p. 142. LIB 3. Of the pretended decay of mankind in regard of age duration of strength and stature of arts and wits CAP. 1. Touching the pretended decay of Men in regard of their age and first by way of comparison betweene the ages of the Ancients and those of latter times Sect. 1 Of the short life of man in regard of the duration of many other Creatures and that he was created mortall but had he not fallen should haue beene preserved to immortalitie pag. 144. Sect. 2 Of the long liues of the Patriarches and of the manner of computing their yeares and that Almighty God drew out the lines of their liues to that length for reasons proper to those first times p. 145. Sect. 3 That since Moses his time the length of mans age is nothing abated as appeares by the testimony of Moses himselfe and other graue Authours compared with the experience of these times p. 147. Sect. 4 The same confirmed by the testimony of other ancient and learned writers p. 149. Sect. 5 That in all times and nations some haue beene found who haue exceeded that number of yeares which the wisest of the ancients accounted the vtmost period of mans life and that often those of latter ages haue exceeded the former in number of yeares as is made to appeare aswell from sacred as prophane story p. 150. Sect. 6 The same assertion farther proved inlarged by many instances both at home abroad specially in the Indyes p. 153. Sect. 7 That if our liues be shortned in regard of our Ancestours we should rather lay the burden of the fault vpon our selues our owne intemperance then vpon a decay in nature p. 156. CAP. 2. Farther Reasons alleadged that the age of man for these last thousand or two thousand of yeares is little or nothing abated Sect. 1 The first reason taken from the severall stops pawses of nature in the course of mans life as the time of birth after our conception our infancie childhood youth mans estate old age being assigned to the same compasse of yeares as they were by the Ancients which could not possiblely be were there an vniversall decay in mankinde in regard of age and the like reason there is in making the same Clymactericall yeares the same danger in them p. 159. Sect. 2 The second is drawne from the age of Matrim ony and generation which among the Ancients was as forward as ours now is if not more timely p. 163. Sect. 3 The third is borrowed from the age which the Ancients assigned for charge and imployment in publique affaires Ecclesiasticall Civill Militarie they were therevnto both sooner admitted therefrom sooner discharged then men now a dayes vsually are which should in reason argue that they likewise vsually finished the course of their life sooner p. 167. CAP. 3. Contayning a comparison betwixt the Gyants mentioned in Scripture both among themselues and with those of latter ages Sect. 1 Of the admirable composition of mans bodie that it cannot bee sufficiently proved that Adam as he was the first so he was likewise the tallest of men which in reason should be were there in truth any such perpetuall decrease in mans stature as is pretended p. 171. Sect. 2 What those Gyants were which are mentioned in the sixth of Genesis and that succeeding ages vntill Davids time afforded the like p. 173. Sect. 3 That latter times haue also afforded the like both at home abroad specially in the Indies where they liue more according to nature p. 175. CAP. 4. More pressing Reasons to proue that for these last two or three thousand yeares the stature of the Anciēts was little or nothing different from that of the present times Sect. 1 The first reason taken from the measures of the Ancients which were proportioned to the parts of mans body in the view of them wee are first to know that they were standards that is for publique contracts certaine constant consequently if the graines of our barley corne the first
teach Wherein that of Vadianus in his Epistle of Paradice is and euer will be verified Magnos errores magnorum virorum authoritate persuasi transmittimus We deliuer ouer as it were by tradition from hand to hand great errours being thereunto induced by the authority of great men Whiles we are young our judgment is raw and greene and when we are old it is forestalled by which meanes it comes often to passe that inter iuvenile iudicium senile preiudicium veritas corrumpitur betweene the precipitancie rashnes of youth to take whatsoeuer is offered and the obstinate stiffenes of age in refusing what it hath not formerly beene acquainted with truth is lost The evidencing of which assertion is the proper subject of this Chapter wherein I hope I shall make it appeare that many opinions are commonly receiued both in ordinary speech in the writings of learned men which notwithstanding are by others either manifestly convinced or at leastwise justly suspected of falshood and errour and this aswell in Divinity as in Philosophy and History First then in Divinity not to meddle with doctrinall points in controversie at this day it is commonly receiued and beleeued that Iu●…as among the other Apostles receiued the blessed Sacrament at our Lords hands of which notwithstanding saith the learned Zanchius Etsi multi magni viri hoc docuerint scripserint ego tamen nullo modo concedo aut concedere possum quia apertè pugnat cum historia Iohannis Evangelistae Though many great Clarks haue taught and written it yet my selfe neither doe nor can by any meanes grant it in asmuch as it plainely contradicts the History of Iohn the Evangelist That Melchizedek spoken of in the Epistle to the Hebrewes was Sem the sonne of Noah Yet Pererius in his Commentarie on the 14 of Genesis endeauours to ouerthrow it by many weighty reasons drawne from the Text. That our first Parents stood but one day in Paradice of which opinion the same Author affirmes Pervulgata est eademque ut m●…ltorum sic imprimis nobilium illustrium Authorum firmata consensu it is commonly receiued and strengthned by the consent of many worthy and famous Authors yet labours he to disproue it in as much as so many and so different acts are by Moses recorded to haue passed betweene their Creation and Ejection as could not well be dispatched within the compasse of one day And Tostatus though he were first of the common opinion yet afterward vpon better advice he changed it That the Prophecie of old Iacob The Scepter shall not depart from Iudah vntill Shiloh come was fulfilled in Herods raigne at the birth of CHRIST by the continuance of the gouernment in the Tribe of Iudah till the raigne of Herod reputed the first stranger that tooke vpon him the Kingly office among the Iewes but Causabon in his Exercitations prooues that neither the kingly government was continued in that Tribe in as much as it was often interrupted and at length ended in Zedechiah nor that Herod was a stranger in as much as himselfe his father and his Grandfather were all circumcised and yet he confesses of the cōmō opinion haec sententia ab insignibus pietate doctrina viris profecta vbi semel est admissa sine vlla controversia aut examine apud omnium aetatum eruditos praeter admodum paucos semper deinceps obtinuit this opinion first set on foot by men of singular pietie and learning and being once generally embraced without any question or examination of it afterward prevailed with the learned of all ages some few onely excepted That Iephtah flew his daughter and sacrificed her to the Lord but Iunius in his annotations on that place thinkes he only consecrated her by vowing her virginity which may well stand with the nature of the originall word and the contrarie cannot well stand either with Iephtahs faith or Gods acceptance That the Ark rested vpon the hils of Armenia wheras Sir Walter Rawleigh is cōfidēt that therin most writers were vtterly mistaken Neither was he led so to thinke as he professeth out of humour or singularitie but therein groundeth himselfe vpon the originall and first truth which is the word of God and after vpon reason and the most probable circūstances thervpon depending And in truth he that shall consider that the sonnes of Noah cōming out of the Arke trauelled from the East into the land of Shinar where they built the tower of Babell and that Armenia lies to the Northwest of that plaine will easily conceiue that it could not well bee that the Arke should rest vpon those hils but the chiefe occasion of the mistake seemes to be in the vulgar translation which hath rendred Armenia instead of Ararat That of the three sonnes of Noah Sem Cham and Iaphet Sem was the eldest C ham the second and Iaphet the yongest whereas Iunius is of opinion that Iaphet was the eldest grounding himselfe vpon the text Genesis 10. 21. C ham the youngest which he proues from Genesis 9. 24. and that Iaphet was the eldest is not his opinion alone but of Lyranus Tostatus Genebrard and the Hebrew doctors That the fruit of the tree of knowledg of good and evill was an apple wheras the text specifies no such matter and it should seeme by the circumstances thereof that it was rather som other kind of fruit more pleasant both to the tast and sight That the waters of the red sea were of colour red whereas travellers into those parts by sight find the contrary it rather borrowing that name from the red bankes and clifts about it as both Castro and Barros are of opinion or from the Coasts of Idumaea by which it passeth as Scaliger first observed and after him Fuller To these may be added that it is commonly belieued that Moses had hornes when he came downe from the mountaine because they read in the vulgar Latine Ignorabat quòd cornuta esset facies sua He knew not that his face was horned wheras the sense is he knew not that his face shined the same word in the Hebrew signifying both an horne and a shining beame That our Saviour wore his haire long because we read he was a Nazarite whereas the truth is that he was a Nazarite or rather a Nazarene as with Beza our last translatours read it by education not by profession and institution in regard of the place in which he was nursed and conuersed not any vow wherevnto he was bound And lastly that Absolon was hung by the haire of the head whereas the text sayes in plaine tearmes his head caught hould of the oke in like manner it seemes as Henry Grand-child to the Conquerour is sayd to haue ended his dayes in the new forrest SECTIO 2. In Philosophy SEcondly in Philosophy it is commonly receiued that the heart is the seate and shopp of the principall faculties of the
he tooke it vp vpon trust without bringing it to the touchstone to prooue men to be but reedes now a dayes as he termeth them in comparison of the Cedars of former ages giues vs an instance drawne from the times and practise of Galen in comparison of ours telling vs that Galen did ordinarily let bloud six pound weight whereas wee saith hee for the most part stop at six ounces The truth of his allegation touching Galens practise I shall heereafter haue ●…itter occasion to examine in the chapter purposely dedicated to the consideration of mens decay in strength at this time I will only touch the matter of proportion There is some doubt among Chronologers of the precise time wherein Galen liued as appeares by Gesner in his life but in this they all agree that he practised at least two hu●…dred yeares since Christ so that taking our leuell from thence we may safely affirme that hee flourished about fourteene hundred yeares since in the compasse of which time men haue lost by that account about a pound of bloud for euery Centenary which proportion of losse if wee should obserue in the like distances of time before Galen from the Creation it were not possible that so much as a drop of bloud should be left in any mans body at this day From these particulars wee may guesse at the rest as retaylers doe of the whole peece by taking a view of the ends thereof or as Pythagoras drew out the measure of Hercules whole body from the S●…antling of his foote SECT 4. Sixth argument taken from the authority of Solomon and his reason drawne from the Circulation of all things as it were in a ring TO these reasons may be added the weighty authority of the wisest man that euer liued of a meere man how often doth he beat vpon the circulation and running round of all things as it were in a ring how earnestly and eloquently doth hee presse it and expresse it as it were in liuely colours in that most divine booke of the Preacher The Sunne saith hee ariseth and the Sunne goeth downe and hasteth to the place where he arose Which Boetius discoursing vpon the same Theme hath elegantly set forth Cadit Hesperias Phoebus in vndas Sed secreto tramite rursus Cursum solitos vertit ad ortus The sunne doth set in Westerne maine But yet returnes by secret wayes Vnto his wonted rise againe But the Preacher stayes not there The winde goeth toward the South and turneth about toward the North it whirleth about continually and returneth againe according to his circuites All the rivers runne into the Sea yet the sea is not full Vnto the place from whence the rivers come thither they returne againe Wherevpon hee inferres the thing that hath beene it is that that shall bee and that which is done is that which shall bee done and there is no new thing vnder the sunne Is there any thing whereof it may bee sayd behold this is new it hath beene already of old time before vs againe that which hath beene is now and that which is to bee hath already beene and God requireth that which is past Now this wheeling about of all things in their seasons and courses and their supposed perpetuall decrease are in my vnderstanding incompatible they cannot possiblely stand together nor be truly affirmed of the same subject For if they returne againe to their times and turnes to the state from which they declined as Boetius speakes of a bowed twigge Validis quondam viribus acta Pronum flectit virga cacumen Hanc si curuans dextra remisit Recto spectat vertice coelum The tender plant by force and might Constran'd its top doth downeward bend Romoue the hand which bowed it And straight to heaven-wards will it tend If I say they thus returne to their former condition as hath bin more at large proved by Lodovicus Regius a French man in a booke which hee purposely intitles De La Vicissitude des choses and dedicates it to Henry the third King of France then can it not bee they should alway grow worse and worse as on the other side if they alway degenerate and grow worse and worse it cannot be they should haue such returnes as Solomon speakes of wise and learned men in all ages haue observed and experience daily confirmes The Poets faine that Saturne was wont to devou●…e his sonnes and then to vomite them vp againe which fiction of theirs saith Rodogin the wiser sort vnderstand to be referred to time shadowed vnder the name of Saturne à quo vicibus cuncta gignantur absumantur quae renascantur denuò because as all things spring from time and by it are consumed so in it they are renewed and restored againe And by this meanes the world for the intire is still preserved safe and sound Exutae variant faciem per secula gentes At manet incolumis mundus suaque omnia servat Quae nec long a dies auget minuitve senectus Nec motus puncto currit cursuve fatigat Idem semper erit quoniam semper fuit idem Non alium videre patres aliumve nepotes Aspicient The people chang'd at times the face doth vary The world stands sound and alwaies holds its owne Nor by long daies encreas'd nor age lesse growne Runnes round yet moues not nor by running's weary Was still the same and still the same shall bee That which our gransirs saw our sonnes shall see CAP. 5. Generall arguments making for the worlds decay refuted SECT 1. The first generall objection drawne from reason answered HOwbeit as the great Patriarch of Philosophers hath taught vs that Verum est index sui obliqui Truth may serue as a square or rule both for it selfe and falshood as a right line discovers the obliquity of a crooked yet because Qui statuit aliquid parte inaudita altera Aequum licet statuerit haud aequus fuit Who but one party heares yet doth decree Iust is he not though iust his sentence bee Let vs see what the Adverse part can say for themselues Their generall arguments then for the worlds decay are drawne partly from reason and partly from authority The maine argument drawne from reason vpon which all the rest in a manner depend so as I may call it the Pole-deede of their evidence is this That the Creature the neerer it approaches to the first mould the more perfect it is and according to the degrees of its remouall and distance from thence it incurres the more imperfection and weakenes as streames of a fountaine the farther they runne thorow vncleane passages the more they contract corruption For the loosing of which knot I shall craue pardon if I inlarge myselfe and make a full answere therevnto considering that in the striking off of this head the body of the opposite reasons fall to the ground and at the shaking of this foundation the whole building totters First
old age and the well-spring which formerly flowed abundantly with full streames being dryed vp through age hardly distils a drop of moisture This sentence is passed vpon the World this is the Law which God hath set it that all things that are borne should die all that increase should decrease that strong things should be weakned and great lessened and being thus weakned and lessened they should at last be vtterly dissolued This discourse of Cyprian and the excellent flowres of Rhetorique in it shew him to haue beene both a sweet and powerfull Oratour of a great wit a flowing eloquence but whether in this he shew himselfe so deepe a Philosopher or sound Divine I leaue that to the Reader to judge and referre his judgment to the future examination of the particulars only by the way it shall not be amisse to remember that the Christians of those times happily by reason aswell of the bloody persecutions which pressed them sore as the frequent passages both in the Gospell and Epistles which speake of the second comming of Christ as if it had beene then hard at hand stood in continuall allarums and expectation of the day of Iudgment and the end of the World as evidently appeares by the very words of Cyprian himselfe in this discourse their thoughts still running therevpon all things seemed sutable thereunto and to draw towards that end It cannot be denied but those times wherein Cyprian liued were indeed very bitter and miserable in regard of f●…mine and warre mortality yet about forty yeares after it pleased Almighty God to pacifie those stormes and dispell those cloudes by the conversion of the renowned Constantine to the Christian Religion as it had beene by the breaking forth of the Sun beames so as they who sowed in teares reaped in joy at which time had Cyprian liued no doubt he would haue changed his note his pen would haue as much triumphed in the tranquillity and flourishing estate of the Church vnder that noble Emperour as it deplored the torne state of the World in the time wherein himselfe liued The former famine and warre and mortality being then by Gods gratious blessing happily turned into health and peace and plenty He would then haue told you that whereas before showres of their blood were powred out for Christs sake now it pleased God to open the windowes of Heauen for the moistning and nourishing of their seedes that as Christ the Sonne of Righteousnesse was acknowledged as the Saviour of the World and the shining beames of the Gospell displayed themselues so the Sunne in the firmament had recovered its warmth and strength for the ripening of their corne that as the outward face of the Church was become beautifull and glorious so the very fieldes seemed to smile and to receiue contēt therin by their fresh and pleasant hue that as men brought forth the fruites of Christianity in greater abundance so their trees were more plentifully loaden with fruites that as the rich mines of Gods word were farther searched into so new veines of marble and gold and silver were discovered that Christian religion hauing now gotten the vpper hand had made the Husbandman and Artificer more carefull industrious in their callings had opened the Schooles for Professours in all kind of learning had restored wholsome discipline in manners faithfullnesse in friendship Finally he would haue told you that the world with the Eagle had now cast her worne bill and sick feathers and vpon the entertainement of Christ and his Gospell was growne young againe Which I am the rather induced to beleeue for that Cyprian himselfe in the same discourse against Demetrianus in another place referres the disasters of those times to the obstinacie of the world in not receiuing the truth of Christianity and submitting itselfe to the yoake of Christ Iesus A more likely and certaine cause doubtlesse then that other of the worlds imaginary old age and decay His words are these Indignatur ecce Dominus irascitur quod ad eum non convertamini comminatur tu miraris et quereris in hac obstinatione contemptu vestro si rara desuper pluvia descendat si terra situ pulueris Squalleat si vix jejunas pallidas herbas sterilis gleba producat c. Behold the Lord is angry and threatens because you turne not vnto him and dost thou wonder or complaine if in this your obstinacie contempt the raine seldome fall the earth be deformed with dust the land bring forth hungry starved grasse if the haile falling do spill the vine if the ouerturning whirlewind do marre the Oliue if drought dry vp the springes if pestilent dampes do corrupt the ayre if diseases consume men when all these things come by sinnes provoking God is the more offended since such and so great things do no good at all And the same reason is vpon the like occasiō yeelded by Lactantius Discite igitur si quid vobis reliquae mentis est homines ideo malos iniustos esse quia dij coluntur ideo mala omnia rebus humanis quotidie ingravescere quia Deus mundi hujus effector gubernator der●…lictus est quia susceptae sunt contra quam fas est impiae religiones postremo quia ne vel a pau●…is quidem coli deum sinitis Learne thus much then if you haue any vnderstanding left that men are therefore wicked vnjust because such Gods are worshipped and that such mischeefes dayly befall thē because god the Creator and Governour of the world is forsaken by them because impious religions against all right are entertained of them finally because you will not permit the worship of the true God so much as to a few Heere then was the true cause of their bloudy warres that they shed the innocēt bloud of Christians trāpled vnder foote the pretious bloud of Christ as their warres together with the vnkindly season were the cause of dearth and famine and both famine and warre of pestilence and mortalitie how frequently and fervently doth the Scripture beate vpon this cause God every where promising to reward the obedience of his people with plenty and peace and kindly seasons their rebellion with scarcitie sicknes the sword But that these scourges of the world were at any time caused by or imputed to the old age or decay therof to my remembrance we no where read As then the referring of these plagues with Demetrianus and the Gentiles to the curse of God vpon Christian religion was a blasphemous wrong to Gods truth So with Cyprian to referre them to the old age and naturall decay of the world be it spoken with all due reverence to so great a light in the church of God is in my judgment an aspersion vpon the Power and providence and justice of God And Pammelius in his annotations to excuse Cyprian herein conceiuing beelike that he was not in the right tells vs that
tempus eam debilitavit Dost not thou see the heavens how faire how spacious they are how bee-spangled with diverse constellations how long now haue they lasted fiue thousand yeares or more are past and yet this long duration of time hath brought no old age vpon them But as a body new and fresh flourisheth in youth So the heavens still retaine their beauty which at first they had neither hath time any thing abated it Some errour or mistake doubtlesse there is in Chrisostomes computation in as much as he lived aboue 1200 yeares since yet tels vs that the world had then lasted aboue 5000 yeares but for the trueth of the matter he is therein seconded by all the schoole divines and among those of the reformed churches none hath written in this point more clearely and fully then Alstedius in his preface to his naturall divinity Tanta est hujus palatij diuturnitas atque firmitas vt ad hodiernum vsque diem supra annos quinquies mille sexcentos ita perstet vt in eo nihil immutatum dimin●…tum aut vetustate diuturnitate temporis vitiatum conspiciamus Such saith hee and so lasting is the duration and immoveable stability of this palace that being created aboue 5600 yeares agoe yet it so continues to this day that wee can espie nothing in it changed or wasted or disordered by age and tract of time SECT 4. Another obiection taken from Psalme the 102 answered ANother text is commmonly and hotly vrged by the Adverse part to like purpose as the former an