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Primus gradus est eorum, qui duo principia constituunt paria, ac inter se pugnantia et contraria, unum boni, alterum mali. Secundus gradus est eorum, quibus nimium læsa videtur majestas Dei, in constituendo adversus eum principio affirmativo et activo: quare exturbata tali audacia, nihilominus inducunt contra Deum principium negativum et privativum. Nam volunt esse opus ipsius materiæ et creaturæ internum et nativum et substantivum, ut ex se vergat et relabatur ad confusionem et ad nihilum; nescientes ejusdem esse omnipotentiæ ex aliquo nihil facere, cujus ex nihilo aliquid. Tertius gradus est eorum, qui arctant et restringunt opinionem priorem tantum ad actiones humanas, quæ participant ex peccato, quas volunt substantive, absque nexu aliquo causarum, ex interna voluntate et arbitrio humano pendere; statuuntque latiores terminos scientiæ Dei quam potestatis, vel potius ejus partis potestatis Dei (nam et ipsa scientia potestas est) qua scit, quam ejus qua movet et agit; ut præsciat quædam otiose, quæ non prædestinet et præordinet. Et non absimile est figmento quod Epicurus introduxit in Democritismum, ut fatum tolleret et fortunæ locum daret; declinationem videlicet atomi; quod semper a prudentioribus inanissimum commentum habitum est. Sed quidquid a Deo non pendet, ut authore et principio, per nexus et gradus subordinatos, id loco Dei erit, et novum principium, et deaster quidam. Quare merito illa opinio respuitur, ut læsio et diminutio majestatis et potestatis Dei. Et tamen admodum recte dicitur quod Deus non sit author mali, non quia non author, sed quia non mali.
DE ECCLESIA ET SCRIPTURIS.
Proteges eos in tabernaculo tuo a contradictione linguarum.
Contradictiones linguarum ubique occurrunt, extra tabernaculum Dei. Quare quocunque te verteris, exitum controversiarum non reperies nisi huc te receperis. Dices, verum est, nempe in unitatem ecclesiæ. Sed adverte. Erat in tabernaculo arca, et in arca testimonium vel tabulæ legis. Quid mihi narras corticem tabernaculi, sine nucleo testimonii? Tabernaculum ad custodiendum et tradendum testimonium erat ordinatum. Eodem modo et ecclesiæ custodia et traditio per manus scripturarum demandata est, sed anima tabernaculi est testimonium.
OF THE WORKS OF GOD AND THE WORKS OF MAN.
God saw all that he had made and behold it was very good: But man when he turned to look on the works that his hands had wrought, found that all was vanity and vexation of spirit.
Wherefore if thou labour in God's works, thy sweat shall be as a sweet ointment, and thy rest as the Sabbath of God: thou shalt labour in the sweat of a good conscience, and thou shalt take rest in the leisure of delightful contemplation. But if thou follow after the mighty things of men, thou shalt work in pain and distress, and thou shalt look back upon thy work with disgust and reproach. And justly doth it happen to thee, O man, that seeing thou thyself that art the work of God requitest him not with well pleasing, even so thine own works bear thee the like fruit of bitterness.
OF THE MIRACLES OF OUR SAVIOUR.
He hath done all things well.
A true applause. God, when he created all things, saw that each and all was exceeding good. God the
Word, in the miracles which he wrought (and every miracle is a new creation, and not according to the law of the first creation), would do nothing that was not altogether matter of grace and beneficence. Moses wrought miracles, and destroyed the Egyptians with many plagues: Elijah wrought miracles, and shut up heaven that no rain should fall upon the earth; and again called down fire from heaven to consume the captains and their fifties: Elisha wrought miracles, and brought she-bears out of the wood to tear the little children: Peter smote Ananias the sacrilegious hypocrite with death; Paul, Elymas the Sorcerer with blindness. But nothing of this kind was done by Jesus. Upon him the spirit descended in the form of a dove; whereof he said, ye know not of what spirit ye are. The spirit of Jesus was the spirit of the dove. Those servants of God were as God's oxen, treading out the corn and trampling the chaff under their feet; Jesus was the Lamb of God, without wrath or judgments. All his miracles were for the benefit of the human body, his doctrine for the benefit of the human soul. The body of man stands in need of nourishment, of defence from outward accidents, of medicine. He gathered the multitude of fishes into the nets, whereby to supply men with more plentiful food. He turned water into the worthier nourishment of wine, to glad man's heart. He caused the fig tree, because it failed of its appointed office (that of yielding food for man), to wither away. He multiplied the scanty store of loaves and fishes that the host of people might be fed. He rebuked the winds because they threatened danger to them that were in the ship. He restored motion to the lame, light to the blind, speech to the dumb, health
to the sick, cleanness to the lepers, sound mind to them that were possessed of devils, life to the dead. There was no miracle of judgment, but all of mercy, and all upon the human body. For with reference to riches, he deigned not to work any miracles; except that one about giving tribute to Cæsar.
OF THE INNOCENCY OF THE DOVE AND THE WISDOM OF THE SERPENT.
The fool receiveth not the word of wisdom, except thou discover to him what he hath in his heart.
To a man of perverse and corrupt judgment all instruction or persuasion is fruitless and contemptible which begins not with discovery and laying open of the distemper and ill complexion of the mind which is to be recured: as a plaster is unseasonably applied before the wound be searched. For men of corrupt understanding, that have lost all sound discerning of good and evil, come possessed with this prejudicate opinion, that they think all honesty and goodness proceedeth out of a simplicity of manners, and a kind of want of experience and unacquaintance with the affairs of the world. Therefore except they may perceive those things which are in their hearts, that is to say their own corrupt principles and the deepest reaches of their cunning and rottenness, to be throughly sounded and known to him that goes about to persuade with them, they make but a play of the words of wisdom. Therefore it behoveth him which aspireth to a goodness not retired or particular to himself, but a fructifying and begetting goodness, which should draw on others, to know those points which be called in the Revelation