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Ambition is at distance

A goodly prospect, tempting to the view;
The height delights us, and the mountain-top
Looks beautiful, because 't is nigh to Heav'n.
But we ne'er think how sandy's the foundation,
What storms will batter, and what tempests shake us.

Ambition 's like a circle on the water,

Which never ceases to enlarge itself,
Till by broad spreading it disperse to nought.



ALL other passions and affections, by which the souls of men are tormented, are by their contraries, oftentimes resisted or qualified: but ambition, which begetteth every vice, and is itself the child and darling of Satan, looketh only towards the ends, by itself set down, forgetting nothing, however fearful and inhuman soever which may serve it, remembering nothing whatsoever, justice, piety, right, or religion can offer and allege on the contrary. It ascribeth the lamentable effects of like attempts, to the error or weakness of the undertakers, and rather praiseth the adventure, than feareth the like success. It was the first sin that the world had, and began in angels; for which they were cast into hell, without hope of redemption. It was more ancient than man, and therefore no part of his natural corruption. The punishment also preceded his creation, yet hath

the devil, which felt the smart thereof, taught him to forget the one as out of date, and to practise the other as befitting every age, and man's condition.



All under various names adore and love
One power immense, which ever rules above.


THEY of whom God is altogether unapprehended, are but few in number, and for grossness of wit such, that they hardly and scarcely seem to hold the place of human being. These we should judge to be of all others most miserable, but that a wretcheder sort there are, on whom whereas nature hath bestowed riper capacity, their evil disposition seriously goeth about therewith to apprehend God, as being not god. Where by it cometh to pass that of these two sorts of men, both godless, the one having utterly no knowledge of God, the other study how to persuade themselves that there is no such thing to be known. The fountain and well-spring of which impiety, is a resolved purpose of mind to reap in this world, what sensual profit or pleasure soever the

world yieldeth, and not to be barred from any, whatsoever means available thereunto. And that this is the very radical cause of their atheism, no man, I think, will doubt, which considereth what pains they take to destroy those principal spurs and motives unto all virtue, the creation of the world, the providence of God, the resurrection of the dead, the joys of the kingdom of Heaven, and the endless pains of the wicked, yea, above all things, the authority of the scripture, because on these points it evermore beateth, and the soul's immortality, which granted, draweth easily after it the rest as a voluntary train.

Is it not wonderful that base desires should so extinguish in men the sense of their own excellency, as to make them willing that their souls should be like the souls of beasts, mortal and corruptible with their bodies; till some admirable or unusual accident happen* (as it hath in some) to work the beginning of a better alteration in their minds? Disputation about the knowledge of God with such kind of persons, commonly prevaileth little, for how should the brightness of wisdom shine where the windows of the soul are of very set purpose closed? True religion hath many things in it, the only mention whereof galleth and troubleth their minds, being therefore loth

*It is said, that Galen, the celebrated physician of antiquity, being an atheist, was converted to the belief of a God on finding a human skeleton: this he considered too curious a machine to have been the production of chance.

that inquiry into such matters should breed a persuasion in the end, contrary unto that they embrace, it is their endeavour to banish as much as in them lieth, quite and clean from their cogitation whatsoever may sound that way.


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 miracle 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.



THE Scripture saith, The foo! 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

It is not unlikely that Pope had an eye to this passage when he penned the well-known lines:

A little learning is a dangerous thing,

Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring;
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,

And drinking largely sobers us again,

that he can thoroughly believe it, for none deny that 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?


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 these 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.


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

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