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Side of our Vanity, with Compliments of, I know not what, felf-fufficient Virtues in ourfelves, to bring ourselves near to God) have at length yielded their Heads to be fhorn and defpoil'd, of that wherein their great, and, indeed, only Strength and Virtue lay; I mean, the fpirituality of our holy Religion; in place whereof they have fet up their own weak and beggarly Morality, which (to use our Poets Words) hath now
Set them to Grind, Eyelefs, with Slaves at Gaza.
Such is the Succefs thefe Undertakers have had, and these the Thanks they deserve of their deluded Country-Men, for lowering down to Nothing the great and lofty Things of Chriftianity by their perverted and groveling Accounts! I pray God (if it may be) in Time to turn and pardon them.
CHA P. III.
Of the Condition of Man from his Restoration in Hope, till his actual Redemption by Jefus Chrift.
Ankind, under their Restoration to a Second Choice, and, therewith, to Moral and Spiritual Liberty, to the degree and effects above fet forth, did almost universally Apoftatize again: The Ante-diluvian World, all but one Family And, of the Poft-diluvian, the Nations, in general, from the Affair at Babel and downward; and the greater part of the Ifraelites, in particular, during their stay in
Egypt and in the Wilderness. And, on this occafion, because of the abounding of Transgreffions, the Mofaic Law was given, and all thofe Nations in grofs, with the bulk of the Ifraelites, who, from Time to Time revolted, and fell away; all, in fhort, who were not found within the Sept of the Aaronic Tabernacle, were again Excommunicated, Alienated, and Infav'd. Only the Divine Promife was ftill kept open to a Body of Reserve, which (from God's Fore-knowing their adherence to him by Faith, and his concluding the reft in their Unbelief) was call'd a Remnant; and, the Elect. And, here,
. As there are a World of pernicious Errors gone Abroad, concerning the State of Men under this Apoftacy; feveral Perfons of great Note, even among Chriftian Divines, of late Years, nay, of late Days, having writ Volumes to perfuade us, that Revolters of almost all Denominations, within this Period, have ftill believ'd and worshipp'd ONE SUPREAM NUMEN, the fame that Believers in all Ages have done: Not confidering, that, in afferting this, they do at once contradict the Holy Scriptures of both the Old and New Teftament, which were chiefly written to teach the difference betwixt the true God of Believers and the falfe God, or Gods, of the Apoftates; and, to warn Men every where to turn from the Adoration of thefe Vanities, to the Faith and Worship of that one only living, and true God, I fay, as fuch
fuch fcandalous and pernicious Errors on this Subject are gone out, Errors plainly tending to make Men look upon all Religions as the fame, and to fettle them on the Lees of that flat' Indifference to True and Falfe, Sacred and Profane, which is the Grief and Shame of our Times; it wou'd be expedient, in this Place, to confider and fhew at large, the Rife and Pro grefs of Idolatry, thro' its feveral chiefeft Stages, viz. From the Affair at Babel, to the Time of Orpheus; from the Time of Orpheus, to the Magians and Philofophers; from the Magians and Philofophers, to the coming of our Saviour and, from our Saviour, to Julian the Apoftate; with the Original, in particular, of the Fabu lous or Poetic Scheme; as alfo the Refinements, or, rather, Subterfuges and Evafions, of the Magians and Philofophers, after fome Account of the Writings of the Prophets was gone a broad among the Gentiles; by Means whereof, these came to know, what Abfurdities and Abominations were from thence charged upon themselves and their Brother Idolaters in Ifrael, by Believers; and, fo, learned to manage the Game they had to play, accordingly: To which fhou'd be added an Account alfo of the State and Conduct of the later Pagans and Philofophers, fince the Time of our Saviour, with the more fubtle Farce they had to act, after the Scriptures and Writings of the Chrif tian Fathers were publifhed to the World. For, it might eafily be made appear, that they
were hereby put upon a Thousand Tricks and Shifts, to difguife and falve the abominable Abfurdities of their real Opinions and Tenets; all which later Chriftians not confidering, do often cite their Writings very injudicioufly, and much to the Prejudice of their own Caufe: While, taking Accounts of Paganism, in their Simplicity, from thefe Jugglers; they are often impos'd on to put true, and fpurious, Paganifm in the Place of one another; do mistake the State of the Controverfy betwixt the Heathen and Chriftian Writers of those Times; and, fo, are often at a loss to distinguish what Paganism and Chriftianity properly was, and is, or what Doctrines ftrictly do belong to each: As I cou'd fhew by multitudes of Examples. But,
This wou'd take up a large Treatise: And, therefore, I can here only just point at what is wanting, and muft referve this Task (if it please God) for a future Work, which I may perhaps fome time draw up; unless fome more able Hands prevent me: For which they shall have mine, and, I truft, will have the Thanks of all ferious and fincere Chriftians. I come, now, to
The Fourth and Laft CHAPTER. Of the Condition of Mankind from the actual Redemption by Christ, until now.
HE Redemption by Jefus Chrift was the Price once paid for the Ranfom of all Mankind, either as taken Captive by the
Devil in their firft Father Adam; or, as revolted and fallen away by any new Apoftacy, fince. And fufficient is this Redemption for the faving of all, howfoever there be ftill many to the faving of whom, the fame, thro' their own default, does not extend.
I obferv'd above, that Elect, was a name for Believers under the former Difpenfation of the Law: And the fame has been, and is, continued to Believers likewise under this laft Call to Reftoration by Chrift thro' the Gospel: Even because, with refpect of this Call, many Perfons and Nations appear now to have made a third Forfeiture: By Reafon whereof, the Gospel (which was once preach'd from our Britifb Ilands to the extream Indies) again is, by the Apoftacy of many Perfons and Nations and the Refufal of more, fhut up within a certain Pale, from Time to Time, known and allowed by God. This appears to be that State of the Christian Church which in the Apocalypfe is call'd, the Flight of the Woman into the Wilderness, in which the alfo must continue, till she comes to the promis'd Land and City, of the Heavenly Canaan, and Jerufalem which is above. Mean while, Men, here again, have other very different Degrees of Liberty; either as they are, or have put themfelves, out of the Evangelical Call; or, as they do remain within it: As they are, by any refusal or Apoftacy of their own, unregenerated;