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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 other, 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 only one 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.
WE admire the goodness of God in nature, when we consider how he hath provided that things most needful to preserve this life should be most prompt and easy for all living creatures to come by. Is it not as evident a sign of his wonderful providence over us, when that food of eternal life, upon the utter want whereof our endless death and destruction necessarily ensueth, is prepared and always set in such readiness, that those very means, than which nothing is more easy, may suffice to procure the same ?
Religion's lustre is by native innocence
ALTHOUGH religion and the truth thereof be in every man's mouth, yea, in the discourse of every woman, who for the greatest number are but idols of vanity; what is it other than an universal dissimulation? We profess that we know God, but by works we deny him; for beatitude doth not consist in the knowledge of divine things, but in a divine life: for the devils know them better than men.
SIR WALTER RALEG#.
THE vanities of men beguile their vain contrivers, and the prosperity of the wicked is the very leading to their destruction; yea, this broad and headlong passage to hell, is not so delightful as it seemeth at the first entrance, but hath growing in it, besides the poisons which infest the soul, many cruel thorns deeply wounding the body; all which, if any few escape, they have only this miserable advantage of others, that their descent was the more swift and expedite. But the service of God is the path guiding us to perfect happiness, and hath in it a true, though not complete felicity, yielding such abundance of joy to the conscience as doth easily countervail all afflictions whatsoever: though indeed those brambles, that sometimes tear the skin of such as walk in this blessed way, do commonly lay hold upon them at such time as they sit down to take their ease, and make them wish themselves at their journey's end, in presence of their Lord, whom they faithfully serve, in whose presence is the fulness of joy, and at whose right hand are pleasures for evermore,
SIR WALTER RALEGA,
TRUE religion is the root of all true virtues, and the stay of all well-ordered commonweals. Pure and unstained religion ought to be the highest of all cares appertaining to public regimen, as well in regard of that aid and protection wbich they, who faithfully serve God, confess they receive at his merciful hands, as also for the force which religion hath to qualify all sorts of men, and to make them in public affairs the more serviceable: governors, the apter to rule with conscience; inferiors, for conscience sake the willinger to obey. It is no peculiar conceit, but a matter of sound consequence, that all duties are by so much the better performed, by how much the men are more religious, from whose abilities the same proceed. For if the course of politic affairs cannot,
in any good sort, go forward without fit instruments, and that which fitteth them be their virtues; let polity acknowledge itself indebted to religion; godliness being the chiefest top and well-spring of all true virtues, even as God is of all good things.
SO worthy a part of divine service we should greatly wrong, if we did not esteem preaching as the blessed ordinance of God, sermons as keys to the kingdom of heaven, as wings to the soul, as spurs to the good affections of man; unto the sound and healthy as food, as physic unto diseased minds.
HEATHENS were ignorant of true religion, yet such as that little was which they knew, it much impaired or bettered always their worldly affairs, as their love and zeal towards it did wane or grow. Of the Jews, did not even their most malicious and mortal adversaries all acknowledge, that to strive against them, it was in vain, as long as their amity with God continued, that nothing could weaken them but apostasy? In the whole course of their own proceedings did they ever find it otherwise, but that, during their faith and fidelity towards God, every man of them was in war, as a thousand strong, and as much as a grand senate for counsel in peaceable deliberations ? Contrariwise, that if they swerved, as they often did, their wonted courage and magnanimity forsook them utterly, their soldiers and military men trembled at the sight of the naked sword; when they entered into mutual conference, and sat in counsel, for their own good, that which children might have seen, their gravest senators could not discern; their prophets saw darkness instead of visions; the wise and prudent were as men bewitched, even that which they knew (being such as might stand them in stead) they had not the grace to utter; or if any thing were well proposed, it took no place, it entered not into the minds of the rest to approve and follow it; but as men confounded with strange aud unusual amazenients of spirit, they attempted tumultuously, they saw not what; and, by the issues of all attempts, they found no certain conclusion but this, God and Heaven are strong against us in all we do.
PIETY will make you prosperous, at least it will keep you from being miserable; nor is he much a loser, that loseth all, yet saveth his own soul at last.
WE talk, indeed, of loving God above all, and of the great value we set upon our souls, and everlasting life, and of self-denial, and against loving of the world, and how vain and contemptible a thing the world is; but, for the most part, they