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Fabricks, they generally conceive a deep, Reverence and Devotion for the Buildings themfelves, and for every Thing that is said in them, as well as a great Opinion of the Wisdom and Sanctity of the Teachers, who preside there, and dictate ex Cathedra : They esteem them as Persons sent by God himself, to deliver a Mefsage from his own Mouth; for which also they have often the Word of the Preacher-No small Reafonto the many for the believing of it!
So that here is an uncontroulable Prepoffeffion in favour of every Doctrine, or every Dream, which corrupt Priests shall think fit to deliver. And indeed, the High-Church Clergy have never failed to make their Advantage of this superstitious Awe and Credulity of their Hearers; and to sanctify every Falfhood, and every Whimsey and Impiety uttered by them, with a misapplied or perverted Text of Scripture; and so prostituted and prophaned the high and holy Name of God, to patronize their Impostures. I shall give some Instances.
WHEN they have had a mind to flatter a cruel or a foolish Prince, in order to make him serve their Purposes, and do their Drudgery; they have instantly entitled him God's Vice-gerent, though he acted at the same time by the Instigation of his Lust or of Satan. And, because David and Saul, being appointed by God himself, by Word of Mouth, were called the Lord's Anointed; therefore every Tyrant, who was not appointed by God himself, but
seized a Crown by Violence or Surprize, became also the Lord's Anointed. And because Adam was the Father of his own Son, therefore he was the King of his own Son; and therefore all such Kings, who had not Adam for their Father, were nevertheless, in Right of Adam, Kings and Fathers of their Subjects, who yer were not their Children, but for all that owed them the Duty of Children, whilst they were plundering and ruining them; and all the Rapine and Murthers which they were prompted to commit, by their Anger or their Avarice, were called the Ordinance of God, and were to be submitted to, with Christian Stupidity, on pain of Damnation : that is, it was made Damnation to resist Actions and Cruelties which deserved Damnation. And as you were to submit to Law and Justice, on pain of Damnation, so ought you to submit to the overturning of all Law, and all Justice, on pain of Damnation also. And, because when we have any Matter of Complaint, we are bid to acquaint the Church with it; therefore the People, who are the Church, are, in every Case to be determined by the Parson of the Parish, who is not the Church. And; because we are to confess our Sins one to another; therefore we are to do it to a Priest, which is not doing it to another. And because Abraham
gave the Tenth of his Plunder to Melchisedeck, who was not a Priest of our Church by Law Established; therefore our Established Priests, who have nothing to do with Melchisedeck, nor know any thing of him, have a Divine Right to the
Tenth Part of every Man's Estate and Industry. And, as the Tribe of Levi had a Righe to Tythes, though they and their Tythes are long since abolished; fo ought our Parsons to have the fame Tythes by the Gospel, without being in the least a-kin to Aaron's Person, or Heirs to his Estate, or Succeflors to his Institution. And, though our Saviour's Kingdom is not of this World; yet the Kingdom of the High Clergy, who, if you will take their Words for it, are his Representatives, is, and ought to be, of this World. And, because the reprobate and gluttonous Monks had, by endless Rogueries, and diabolical
Lyes, plundered the deluded Laity of their possessions, and engrossed to themselves most of the Lands of England; therefore our Modern High Priests have a natural and bereditary Right to enjoy the fame: And, though they have, upon Oath, renounced all Power, and all Pretence to Power, but what the Law vouchsafes to grant them; yet they have a Power independent on the Law, and Principles independent on these very Oaths, though renounced by these very Oaths.
ALL these, and many more Absurdities, equally vile and impudent, have been blasphemously fathered upon Scripture, and the Author of Scripture; though they all contradict the Scripture, as well as they do common Sense and common Honesty. But as the Vulgar do always take that to be the highest Point of Religion, about which their Teachers make the most Noise, for the Time being, whether it be Tythe,
Dr. Sacheverel, or the Pretender, or the late Duke of Ormond, or King Charles the First; fo vicious and corrupted Clergymen, on their part, have always tacked the Name of God, or, which is much more powerful with the Mob, the Name of the Church, to any Assertion, or any Claim, or any Invention of theirs, be it ever so monstrous or mischievous; and instantly it becomes, with weak People, an Article of Faith, upon which Salvation it self depends. For, as it is their first Care, to force a Testimony from Heaven for every Whim, or Forgery of theirs ; so their next Concern is, to make every Contradiction and Opposition to it, dainnable.
HENCE it comes to pass, that the same Virtues are not of the fame Importance at all Times ; but Virtues are made Vices, and Vice is made Virtue, just as the present Temper, or the present Views prevail ; and, by corrupt Priests, Things are often taught under the Name of Christianity, which are opposite to the Nature of Christianity : Religion is pretended, and Power meant. In consequence of this, Duty is converted into Sin, and Sin into Duty. Thus, the worshipping of God according to one's Conscience, without which there can be no Worship, is made by the HighChurch Priests a damnable Sin; and the not worshipping a Table in the Chancel
, though in Opposition to one's Conscience, is as bad. Sometimes
the resisting of unlawful Power, is certain Damnation; and sometimes the not rebelling against the most lawful Power, has the same
terrible Penalty annexed to it. To doubt or deny their uncharitable, unintelligible Explications of Mystery, which cannot be explained, is the most heinous Atheism; and to whip a seditious, forsworn Priest, is crying Infidelity, and a Wound to Christ, through the sides of his Embassador.
At one time, Predestination is of high Consequence, and made an Article of Faith, and all Free-Willers should be banished the Land, or locked up in Dungeons, like wild Beasts; which was the Judgment of the Bishops in King James the First's Days, concerning the Arminians. At a different Season, when Preferments run high on the other side, as in King Charles the First's Reign, and ever since; Arminianism not only recovers Credit, but grows modish, and consequently Orthodox; while Predestination becomes an old-fashioned Piece of Faith, and a fure Sign of Fanaticism: And yet it continues one of the 39 Arrticles, and yet it must not be believed, and yet it must be signed and assented to with a fincere Affent.
In all these Marches and Counter-marches, the Passions of too many of the People keep pace with those of the High Priests; and they are constantly disposed to be Slaves or Rebels, Free-Willers, or no Willers, Believers of this, or Believers of that, just as Almighty HighChurch commands them.