De Cive/Chapter XV

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I. Wee have already in the foregoing Chapters, proved both by reason, and testimonies of holy Writ, that the estate of nature, that is to say, of absolute liberty, such as is theirs, who neither govern, nor are governed, is an Anarchy, or hostile state; that the precepts whereby to avoyd this state, are the Lawes of nature; that there can be no civill government without a Soveraigne; and that they who have gotten this Soveraigne command must be obey'd simply, that is to say, in all things which repugne not the Commandments of God: There is this one thing only wanting to the complete understanding of all civill duty, & that is, to know which are the Laws and Commandments of God. For else we cannot tell whether that which the civill power commands us, be against the Lawes of God, or not; whence it must necessarily happen, that either by too much obedience to the civill authority, we become stubborne against the divine Majesty; or for feare of sinning against God, we runne into disobedience against the civill power: To avoid both these rocks, its necessary to know the Divine Lawes. now because the knowledge of the Lawes, depends on the knowledge of the Kingdome, we must in what followes, speak somewhat concerning the Kingdome of God.

II. The Lord is King, the earth may be glad there of saith the Psalmist, Psal: 97 v. 1. And againe the same Psalmist, Psal. 99. v. 1. The Lord is King, be the People never so unpatient; he sitteth betweene the Cherubins, be the Earth never so unquiet; to wit, whether men will, or not, God is THE King over all the Earth, nor is he mov'd from his Throne, if there be any who deny either his existence, or his providence. Now although God governe all men so by his power, that none can doe any thing which he would not have done, yet this, to speake properly, and accurately, is not to reigne; for he is sayed to reigne, who rules not by acting, but speaking, that is to say, by precepts and threatnings. And therefore we account not inanimate, nor irrationall bodies, for Subjects in the Kingdome of God, although they be subordinate to the Divine power; because they understand not the commands, and threats of God; nor yet the Atheists, because they beleeve not that there is a God; nor yet those who beleeving there is a God, doe not yet beleeve that he rules these Inferiour things; for even these, although they be govern'd by the power of God, yet doe they not acknowledge any of his Commands, nor stand in awe of his threats. Those onely therefore are suppos'd to belong to Gods Kingdome, who acknowledge him to be the Governour of all things, and that he hath given his Commands to men, and appointed punishments for the transgressours; The rest, we must not call Subjects, but Enemies of God.

III. But none are said to governe by commands, but they who openly declare them to those who are govern'd by them; for the Commands of the Rulers are the Lawes of the Rul'd. But lawes they are not, if not perspicuously publisht, in so much as all excuse of Ignorance may be taken away. Men indeed publish their Lawes by word or voice, neither can they make their will universally knowne any other way; But Gods lawes are declar'd after a threefold manner: first, by the tacit dictates of Right reason: next, by immediate revelation, which is suppos'd to be done either by a supernaturall voice, or by a vision or dreame, or divine inspiration: Thirdly, by the voice of one man whom God recommends to the rest, as worthy of beliefe, by the working of true miracles. Now he whose voice God thus makes use of to signifie his will unto others, is called a PROPHET. These three manners may be term'd the threefold word of God, to wit the Rationall word, the sensible word, and the word of Prophecy: To which answer, the three manners whereby we are said to heare God, Right reasoning, sense, and faith. Gods sensible word hath come but to few; neither hath God spoken to men by Revelation except particularly to some, and to diverse diversely; neither have any Lawes of his Kingdome beene publisht on this manner unto any people.

IV. And according to the difference which is between the Rationall word and the word of Prophecy, we attribute a twofold Kingdome unto God: Naturall, in which he reignes by the dictates of right reason, and which is universall over all who acknowledge the Divine power, by reason of that rationall nature which is common to all; and Propheticall, in which he rules also by the word of Prophecy, which is peculiar, because he hath not given positive Lawes to all men, but to his peculiar people, and some certaine men elected by him.

V. God in his naturall Kingdome hath a Right to rule, and to punish those who break his Lawes, from his sole irresistable power. For all Right over others is either from nature, or from Contract. How the Right of governing springs from Contract, we have already shewed in the 6. Chapter. And the same Right is derived from nature, in this very thing, that it is not by nature taken away. For when by nature all men had a Right over all things, every man had a Right of ruling over all as ancient as nature it selfe; but the reason why this was abolisht among men, was no other but mutuall fear; as hath been declared above in the second Chapter, the 3. art; reason namely dictating that they must foregoe that Right for the preservation of mankinde, because the equality of men among themselves according to their strength and naturall powers was necessarily accompanied with warre, and with warre joynes the destruction of mankinde. Now if any man had so farre exceeded the rest in power, that all of them with joyned forces could not have resisted him, there had been no cause why he should part with that Right which nature had given him; The Right therefore of Dominion over all the rest, would have remained with him, by reason of that excesse of power whereby he could have preserved both himselfe and them. They therefore whose power cannot be resisted, and by consequence God Almighty, derives his Right of Soveraignty from the Power it selfe. And as oft as God punisheth, or slayes a sinner, although he therefore punish him because he sinned, yet may we not say that he could not justly have punisht or killed him although he had not sinned. Neither, if the will of God in punishing, may perhaps have regard to some sin antecedent, doth it therefore follow, that the Right of afflicting, and killing, depends not on divine Power, but on mens sins.

VI. That question made famous by the disputations of the Antients, why evill things befell the good, and good things the evill, is the same with this of ours, by what Right God dispenseth good and evill things unto men. And with its difficulty, it not only staggers the faith of the vulgar concerning the divine providence, but also of Philosophers, and which is more, even of holy men. Psal. 73. v. 1, 2, 3. Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. but as for me, my feet were almost gone, my steps had well nigh slipt. And why? I was grieved at the wicked, I doe also see the ungodly in such prosperity. And how bitterly did Job expostulate with God, that being just, he should yet be afflicted with so many calamities? God himselfe with open voyce resolved this difficulty in the case of Job, and hath confirmed his Right by arguments drawn not from Jobs sinne, but from his own power. For Job and his friends had argued so among themselves, that they would needs make him guilty, because he was punisht; and he would reprove their accusation by arguments fetcht from his own innocence: But God when he had heard both him and them, refutes his expostulation, not by condemning him of injustice, or any sin, but by declaring his own power, Job. 38. v. 4. Where wast thou (sayes he) when I laid the foundation of the earth, &c. And for his friends, God pronounces himself angry against them, Job. 42. v. 7. Because they had not spoken of him the thing that is right, like his servant Job. Agreeable to this is that speech of our Saviours in the mans case who was born blind, when, his Disciples asking him whether he or his Parents had sinned, that he was born blind, he answered, John 9. v. 3. neither hath this man sinned, nor his Parents, but that the works of God should be manifest in him. For though it be said, Rom. 5. 12. That death entred into the world by sinne, it followes not, but that God by his Right might have made men subject to diseases, and death, although they had never sinned, even as he hath made the other animalls mortall, and sickly, although they cannot sinne.

VII. Now if God have the Right of Soveraignty from his power, it is manifest, that the obligation of yeelding him obedience lyes on men by reason of their weaknesse*; for that obligation which rises from Contract, of which we have spoken in the second Chapter, can have no place here, where the Right of Ruling (no Covenant passing between) rises only from nature. But there are two Species of naturall obligation, one when liberty is taken away by corporall impediments, according to which we say that heaven and earth, and all Creatures, doe obey the common Lawes of their Creation: The other when it is taken away by hope, or fear, according to which the weaker despairing of his own power to resist, cannot but yeeld to the stronger. From this last kinde of obligation, that is to say from fear, or conscience of our own weaknesse (in respect of the divine power) it comes to passe, that we are obliged to obey God in his naturall Kingdome; reason dictating to all, acknowledging the divine power and providence, that there is no kicking against the pricks.

  • [By reason of their weaknesse] If this shall seem hard to any man, I desire him with a silent thought to consider, if there were two Omnipotents, whether were bound to obey; I beleeve he will confesse that neither is bound: if this be true, then it is also true what I have set down, that men are subject unto God because they are not omnipotent. And truly our Saviour admonishing Paul (who at that time was an enemy to the Church) that he should not kick against the pricks, seems to require obedience from him for this cause, because he had not Power enough to resist.

VIII. Because the word of God ruling by nature onely, is supposed to be nothing else but right reason, and the Laws of Kings can be known by their word only, its manifest that the Laws of God ruling by nature alone, are onely the naturall Lawes; namely those which we have set down in the second and third Chapters, and deduced from the dictates of reason, Humility, Equity, Justice, Mercy, and other Morall vertues befriending Peace, which pertain to the discharge of the duties of men one toward the other, and those which right reason shall dictate besides, concerning the honour and worship of the Divine Majesty. We need not repeat what those Naturall Laws, or Morall vertues are; but we must see what honours, and what divine worship, that is to say, what sacred Lawes, the same naturall reason doth dictate.

IX. Honour, to speak properly, is nothing else but an opinion of anothers Power joyned with goodnesse; and to honour a man, is the same with highly esteeming him, and so honour is not in the Party honoured, but in the honourer. Now three Passions do necessarily follow honour thus placed in opinion; Love, which referres to goodnesse; hope, and feare, which regard Power. And from these arise all outward actions, wherewith the powerfull are appeased, and become Propitious, and which are the effects, and therefore also the naturall signes of honour it selfe. But the word honour is transferred also to those outward effects of honour, in which sense, we are said to honour him, of whose power we testifie our selves, either in word, or deed, to have a very great respect; insomuch as honour is the same with worship. Now WORSHIP is an outward act, the sign of inward honour. and whom we endeavour by our homage to appease, if they be, angry or howsoever to make them favourable to us, we are said to worship.

X. All signes of the mind are either words or deeds, and therefore all worship consists either in words or deeds. Now both the one and the other are referred to three kindes; whereof the first is Praise, or publique declaration of goodnesse; The second, a publique declaration of Present Power, which is to magnify megalunois; The third, is a publique declaration of happinesse, or of Power, secure also for the future, which is called, makariomos. I say, that all kindes of honour may be discerned, not in words only, but in deeds too. But we then praise, and celebrate in words, when we doe it by way of Proposition, or Dogmatically, that is to say by Attributes, or Titles, which may be termed praysing, and celebrating, categorically, and plainly, as when we declare him whom we honour to be liberall, strong, wise; And then, in deeds, when it is done by consequence, or by hypothesis, or supposition, as by Thanksgiving, which supposeth goodnesse; or by Obedience, which supposeth Power. or by Congratulation, which supposeth happinesse;

XI. Now whether we desire to praise a man in words, or deeds, we shall find some things which signify honour with all men, such as among attributes, are the generall words of vertues and powers, which cannot be taken in ill sense, As Good, Faire, Strong, Just, and the like; and among actions, Obedience, Thanksgiving, Prayers, and others of that kinde, by which an acknowledgement of vertue and power is ever understood: Others, which signify honour, but with some, and scorne with others, or else neither; such as in Attributes, are those words which according to the diversity of opinions, are diversly referred to vertues or vices, to honest or dishonest things; As that a man slew his enemy, that he fled, that he is a Philosopher, or an Orator, and the like, which with some are had in honour, with others in contempt. In deeds, such as depend on the custome of the place, or prescriptions of civill Lawes, as in saluting to be bareheaded, to put off the shoes, to bend the body. to petition for any thing, and the like. Now standing, prostrate, kneeling, forms of ceremony, that worship which is alwayes, and by all men accounted honourable, may be called Naturall; the other, which followes places, and customes, Arbitrary.

XII. Furthermore, worship may be enjoyned, to wit by the command of him that is worshiped, and it may bee voluntary, namely such as seems good to the worshipper: If it be enjoyned, the actions expressing it, do not signify honour, as they signify actions, but as they are enjoyned: for they signify obedience immediately, obedience power; insomuch as worship enjoyned consists in obedience. Voluntary is honourable onely in the nature of the actions, which if they doe signify honour to the beholders, it is worship, if not, it is Reproach. Again worship may be either publique or private. But publique, respecting each single worshipper, may not be voluntary; respecting the City it may. For seeing that which is done voluntarily, depends on the will of the Doer, there would not one worship be given, but as many worships as worshippers, except the will of all men were united by the command, of one. But Private worship may be voluntary, if it be done secretly; for what is done openly is restrained, either by Lawes, or through modesty, which is contrary to the nature of a voluntary action.

XIII. Now that we may know what the scope and end of worshipping others is, we must consider the cause why men delight in worship: And we must grant what we have shewed elsewhere, that Joy consists in this, that a man contemplate vertue, strength, science, beauty, friends, or any Power whatsoever, as being, or as though it were his own; and it is nothing else but a Glory, or Triumph of the mind conceiving it selfe honoured, that is to say, lov'd and fear'd, that is to say, having the services and assistances of men in readinesse. Now because men beleeve him to be powerfull whom they see honoured (that is to say) esteemed powerfull by others, it falls out that honour is increased by worship; and by the opinion of power, true power is acquired. His end therefore who either commands, or suffers himself to be worshipt, is, that by this means he may acquire as many as he can, either through love, or fear, to be obedient unto him.

XIV. But that we may understand what manner of Worship of God naturall reason doth assigne us, let us begin from his Attributes: where, first it is manifest, that existence is to be allowed him; for there can be no will to honour him, who, we think, hath no being. Next, those Philosophers who said, that God was the World, or the worlds Soul, (that is to say, a part of it) spake unworthily of God, for they attribute nothing to him, but wholly deny his being. For by the word God we understand the Worlds cause; but in saying that the World is God, they say, that it hath no cause, that is as much, as there is no God. In like manner, they who maintain the world not to be created, but eternall; because there can be no cause of an eternall thing, In denying the world to have a Cause, they deny also that there is a God. They also have a wretched apprehension of God, who imputing idlenesse to him, doe take from him the Government of the world, and of mankind. For say they should acknowledge him omnipotent, yet if he minde not these inferiour things, that same thred-bare Sentence will take place with them, Quod supra nos, nihil ad nos; What is above us, doth not concern us. And seeing there is nothing for which they should either love, or fear him, truly he will be to them as though he were not at all. Moreover in Attributes which signifie Greatnesse, or Power, those which signifie some finite, or limited thing, are not signes at all of an honouring mind. For we honour not God worthily if we ascribe lesse Power, or greatnesse to him then possibly we can; but every finite thing is lesse then we can, for most easily we may alwayes assigne and attribute more to a finite thing; No shape therefore must be assigned to God, for all shape is finite; nor must he be said to be conceived, or comprehended by imagination, or any other faculty of our soul; for whatsoever we conceive is finite: And although this word Infinite signifie a conception of the mind, yet it followes not, that we have any conception of an infinite thing: For when we say that a thing is infinite, we signifie nothing really, but the impotency in our owne mind, as if we should say we know not whether, or where it is limited: Neither speak they honourably enough of God, who say we have an Idea of him in our mind; for an Idea is our conception, but conception we have none, except of a finite thing: Nor they, who say that he hath Parts, or that he is some certaine intire thing; which are also attributes of finite things: Nor that he is in any place; for nothing can be said to be in a place, but what hath bounds and limits of its greatnesse on all sides: Nor that he is moved, or is at rest; for either of them suppose a being in some place: Nor that there are more Gods; because not more infinites. Farthermore concerning attributes of happinesse, those are unworthy of God which signify sorrow (unlesse they be taken not for any Passion, but by a Metonomy for the effect) such as Repentance, anger, Pity: Or Want, as Appetite, Hope, Concupiscence, and that love which is also called lust, for they are signes of Poverty, since it cannot be understood, that a man should desire, hope, and wish for ought, but what he wants and stands in need. of. Or any Passive faculty; for suffering belongs to a limited power, and which depends upon another. When we therefore attribute a will to God, it is not to be conceived like unto ours, which is called a rationall desire; for if God desires, he wants, which for any man to say, is a contumelie; but we must suppose some resemblance which we cannot conceive. In like manner when wee attribute sight and other acts of the senses to him, or knowledge, or understanding, which in us are nothing else but a tumult of the minde raised from outward objects pressing the Organes, wee must not think that any such thing befalls the Deity; for it is a signe of power depending upon some other, which is not the most blessed thing. He therefore who would not ascribe any other titles to God, then what reason commands, must use such as are either Negative, as infinite, eternall, incomprehensible, &c. or superlative, as most good, most great, most powerfull, &c. or Indefinite, as good, just, strong, Creatour, King, and the like; in such sense, as not desiring to declare what he is (which were to circumscribe him within the narrow limits of our phantasie), but to confesse our own admiration, and obedience, which is the property of humility, and of a minde yeelding all the honour it possibly can doe. For Reason dictates one name alone, which doth signify the nature of God (i.e.) Existent, or simply, that he is; and one in order to, and in relation to us, namely God, under which is contained both King, and Lord, and Father.

XV. Concerning the Outward actions wherewith God is to be worshipped (as also concerning his Titles) its a most generall command of Reason, that they be signes of a mind yeelding honour; under which are contained in the first place, Prayers;

Qui fingit sacros auro, vel marmore vultus,

Non facit ille Deos, qui rogat, ille facit.

For Prayers are the signes of hope, and hope is an acknowledgement of the divine Power, or goodnesse.

In the second place, Thanksgiving; which is a signe of the same affection, but that prayers goe before the benefit, and thanks follow it.

In the third, Guifts, that is to say oblations and sacrifices, for these are thanksgivings.

In the fourth, not to sweare by any other. For a mans Oath is an, Imprecation of his wrath against him if he deceive, who both knowes whether he doe, or not, and can punish him if he doe, though he be never so powerfull; which only belongs to God: for if there were any man from whom his subjects malice could not lye hid, and whom no humane power could resist, plighted faith would suffice without swearing, which, broken, might be punisht by that Man; and for this very reason there would be no need of an Oath.

In the fifth place, To speak warily of God; for that is a sign of fear, and feare is an acknowledgement of Power. It followes from this precept: That we may not take the name of God in vain, or use it rashly; for either are inconsiderate. That wee must not swear where there is no need; for that is in vain; but need there is none, unlesse it be between Cities to avoyd or take away contention by force, which necessarily must arise, where there is no faith kept in promises, or in a City, for the better certainty of Judicature. Also, That we must not dispute of the Divine nature: For it is supposed that all things in the naturall Kingdom of God are enquired into by reason only, that is to say, out of the Principles of naturall Science; but we are so far off by these to attain to the knowledge of the nature of God, that we cannot so much as reach to the full understanding of all the qualities of our own bodies, or of any other Creatures. Wherefore there comes nothing from these disputes, but a rash imposition of names to the divine Majesty, according to the small measure of our conceptions. It followes also (which belongs to the Right of Gods Kingdome) that their speech is inconsiderate, and rash, who say, That this, or that, doth not stand with divine justice; for even men count it an affront that their children should dispute their Right, or measure their justice otherwise then by the rule of their Commands.

In the sixth. Whatsoever is offered up in Prayers, thanksgivings, and sacrifices, must in its kind be the best, and most betokening honour; namely, Prayers must not be rash, or light, or vulgar, but beautifull, and well composed. For though it were absurd in the Heathen to worship God in animage, yet was it not against reason to use Poetry, and Musick, in their Churches. Also Oblations must be clean, and Presents sumptuous, and such as are significative either of submission, or gratitude, or commemorative of benefits received; for all these proceed from a desire of honouring.

In the seventh. That God must be worshipt not privately onely, but openly, and publiquely in the sight of all men; because that worship is so much more acceptable, by how much it begets honour, and esteem in others (as hath been declared before in the 13. art.). Unlesse others therefore see it, that which is most pleasing in our worship, vanisheth.

In the last place. That we use our best endeavour to keep the Lawes of Nature. For the undervaluing of our Masters command, exceeds all other affronts whatsoever; as on the other side, Obedience is more acceptable then all other sacrifices. And these are principally the naturall Lawes concerning the worship of God, those I mean which Reason dictates to every Man; but to whole Cities, every one whereof is one Person, the same naturall Reason farther commands an uniformity of publique worship. For the actions done by particular Persons, according to their private Reasons, are not the Cities actions, and therefore not the Cities worship; but what is done by the City, is understood to be done by the command of him, or them who have the Soveraignty, wherefore also together with the consent of all the subjects, that is to say, Uniformly.

XVI. The naturall Lawes set down in the foregoing Article concerning the divine worship, only command the giving of naturall signes of honour; but we must consider that there are two kindes of signes, the one naturall, the other done upon agreement, or by expresse, or tacite composition. Now because in every language, the use of words, and names, come by appointment, it may also by appointment be altered; for that which depends on, and derives its force from the will of men, can by the will of the same men agreeing be changed again, or abolisht. Such names therefore as are attributed to God by the appointment of men, can by the same appointment be taken away; now what can be done by the appointment of men, that the City may doe; The City therefore by Right (that is to say, they who have the power of the whole City) shall judge what names or appellations are more, what lesse honourable for God, that is to say, what doctrines are to be held and profest concerning the nature of God, and his operations. Now actions doe signify not by mens appointment, but naturally, even as the effects are signes of their causes; whereof some are alwayes signes of Scorn to them before whom they are committed, as those, whereby the bodies uncleannesse is discovered, and whatsoever men are ashamed to doe before those whom they respect; Others are alwayes signes of honour, as to draw near, and discourse decently and humbly, to give way, or to yeeld in any matter of private benefit: In these actions the City can alter nothing. But there are infinite others, which, as much as belongs to honour, or reproach, are indifferent; now these, by the institution of the City, may both be made signes of honour, and being made so, doe in very deed become so. From whence we may understand, that we must obey the City in whatsoever it shall command to be used for a sign of honouring God, that is to say, for Worship; provided it can be instituted for a sign of honour, because that is a sign of honour, which by the Cities command is us'd for such.

XVII. We have already declared which were the Laws of God, as wel sacred as secular, in his government by the way of Nature onely. Now because there is no man but may be deceived in reasoning, and that it so falls out, that men are of different opinions concerning the most actions, it may be demanded farther, whom God would have to be the Interpreter of right Reason, that is to say, of his Lawes. And as for the Secular Lawes, I mean those which concern justice, and the carriage of men towards men; by what hath been said before of the constitution of a City, we have demonstratively shewed it agreeable to reason, that all Judicature belongs to the City, and that Judicature is nothing else but an Interpretation of the Laws, and by consequence, that everywhere Cities, that is to say, those who have the Soveraign power, are the Interpreters of the Lawes. As for the Sacred Lawes, we must consider what hath been before demonstrated in the fifth Chap. the 13. art. that every Subject hath transferr'd as much right as he could on him, or them, who had the supreme authority, but he could have transferred his right of judging the manner how God is to be honoured, and therefore also he hath done it; That he could, it appeares hence, that the manner of honouring God before the constitution of a City was to be fetcht from every mans private Reason; but every man can subject his private Reason to the Reason of the whole. City Moreover, if each Man should follow his own reason in the worshipping of God, in so great a diversity of worshippers, one would be apt to judge anothers worship uncomely, or impious; neither would the one seem to the other to honour God: Even that therefore which were most consonant to reason, would not be a worship, because that the nature of worship consists in this, that it be the sign of inward honour; but there is no sign but whereby somewhat becomes known to others, and therefore is there no sign of honour but what seems so to others. Again, that's a true sign which by the consent of men becomes a sign; therefore also that is honourable, which by the consent of men, that is to say, by the command of the City, becomes a sign of honour. It is not therefore against the will of God, declared by the way of reason onely, to give him such signs of honour as the City shall command. Wherefore Subjects can transferre their Right of judging the manner of Gods worship on him or them who have the Soveraign power. Nay, they must doe it, for else all manner of absurd opinions, concerning the nature of God, and all ridiculous ceremonies which have been used by any Nations, will bee seen at once in the same, City. whence it will fall out, that every man will beleeve that all the rest doe offer God an affront; so that it cannot be truly said of any that he worships God; for no man worships God, that is to say, honours him outwardly, but he who doth those things, whereby hee appeares to others for to honour him. It may therefore bee concluded, that the Interpretation of all Lawes, as well Sacred, as Secular, (God ruling by the way of nature only) depends on the authority of the City, that is to say, that man, or councell, to whom the Soveraign power is committed; and that whatsoever God commands, he commands by his voyce. And on the other side, that whatsoever is commanded by them, both concerning the manner of honouring God, and concerning secular affaires, is commanded by God himselfe.

XVIII. Against this, some Man may demand, first, Whether it doth not follow, that the City must be obeyed if it command us directly to affront God, or forbid us to worship him? I say, it does not follow, neither must we obey. For to affront, or not to worship at all, cannot by any Man be understood for a manner of worshipping; neither also had any one, before the constitution of a City, of those who acknowledge God to rule, a Right to deny him the honour which was then due unto him; nor could he therefore transfer a Right on the City of commanding any such things. Next, if it be demanded whether the City must be obeyed if it command somewhat to be said, or done, which is not a disgrace to God directly, but from whence by reasoning disgracefull consequences may be derived: as for example, if it were commanded to worship God in an image, before those who account that honourable? Truly it is to be done*. For Worship is instituted in signe of Honour; but to Worship him thus, is a signe of honour, and increaseth Gods Honour among those who do so account of it. Or if it be commanded to call God by a name which we know not what it signifies, or how it can agree with this word, God? That also must be done; for what we do for Honours sake, (and we know no better), if it be taken for a signe of Honour, it is a signe of Honour; and therefore if we refuse to doe it, we refuse the enlarging of Gods Honour. The same judgement must be had of all the Attributes and Actions about the meerly rationall Worship of God which may be controverted, and disputed; for though these kind of commands may be sometimes contrary to right reason, and therefore sins in them who command them, yet are they not against right reason, nor sins in Subjects, whose right reason in points of Controversie is that, which submits its selfe to the reason of the City. Lastly, if that Man, or Councell, who hath the Supreme Power, command himselfe to be Worshipt with the same Attributes, and Actions, wherewith God is to be Worshipt, the question is, whether we must obey? There are many things which may be commonly attributed both to God, and Men; for even Men may be Praised, and Magnified; and there are many actions whereby God, and Men, may be Worshipt. But the significations of the Attributes, and Actions, are onely to be regarded: Those Attributes therefore, whereby we signify our selves to be of an opinion, that there is any man endued with a Soveraignty independent from God, or that he is immortall, or of infinite power, and the like, though commanded by Princes, yet must they be abstained from. As also from those Actions signifying the same, as Prayer to the absent; to aske those things which God alone can give, as Rain, and Fair weather; to offer him what God can onely accept, as Oblations, Holocausts; or to give a Worship, then which a greater cannot be given, as Sacrifice. For these things seeme to tend to this end, that God may not be thought to rule, contrary to what was supposed from the beginning. But genuflection, prostration, or any other act of the body whatsoever, may be lawfully used even in civill Worship. for they may signifie an acknowledgment of the civill power onely. For Divine Worship is distinguisht from civill, not by the motion, placing, habit, or gesture of the Body, but by the declaration of our opinion of him whom we doe Worship; as if we cast down our selves before any man, with intention of declaring by that Signe that we esteeme him as God, it is Divine Worship; if we doe the same thing as a Signe of our acknowledgment of the civill Power, it is civill Worship. Neither is the Divine Worship distinguished from Civill by any action usually understood by the words latreia and douleia, whereof the former marking out the Duty of Servants, the latter their Destiny, they are words of the same action in degree.

  • [Truly it is to be done] We said in the 14. Article of this Chapter, That they who attributed limits to God, transgrest the naturall Law concerning Gods Worship. Now they who worship him in an Image, assigne him limits; wherefore they doe that which they ought not to doe, and this place seemes to contradict the former. We must therefore know first, that they who are constrained by Authority, doe not set God any bounds, but they who command them; for they who worship unwillingly, doe worship in very deed, but they either stand or fall there, where they are commanded to stand or fall by a lawfull Soveraign. Secondly, I say it must be done, not at all times, and every where, but on supposition that there is no other rule of worshipping God beside the dictates of humane reason; for then the will of the City stands for Reason. But in the Kingdome of God by way of Covenant, whether old, or new, where idolatry is expressely forbid, though the City commands us to worship thus, yet must we not do it. Which, if he shall consider, who conceived some repugnancy between this, and the 14. Article, will surely cease to think so any longer.

XIX. From what hath been said may be gathered, that God reigning by the way of naturall reason onely, Subjects doe sinne, First, if they break the morall Laws, which are unfolded in the second and third Chapters. Secondly, if they break the Lawes, or commands of the City in those things which pertain to Justice. Thirdly, if they worship not God, kata ta nomika. Fourthly, if they confesse not before men, both in words, and deeds, that there is one God most good, most great, most blessed, the Supreme King of the World, and of all worldly Kings; that is to say, if they doe not worship God. This fourth sinne in the naturall Kingdome of God, by what hath been said in the foregoing Chapter, in the second Article, is the sinne of Treason against the Divine Majesty; for it is a denying of the Divine Power, or Atheisme. For sinnes proceed here, just as if we should suppose some man to be the Soveraign King, who being himselfe absent, should rule by his Vice-Roy; against whom sure they would transgresse who should not obey his Vice-Roy in all things, except he usurpt the Kingdome to himself, or would give it to some other; but they who should so absolutely obey him, as not to admit of this exception, might be said to be guilty of Treason.