Page images
PDF
EPUB

"

"that fits in Heaven, and has the Earth for "his Footstool; that at the fame Time has "all Things in his View which can happen; "that has Thousands and Thousands of Mi"nifters to attend him, all ready to obey and execute his Commands; that has great Love "and Favour for fuch as diligently obey his "Orders, and is in a Rage and Fury against "the Disobedient: Could any one doubt but "he, who in the Simplicity of his Heart should "believe these Things as literally represented, "would be faved by virtue of that Belief; or

that he would not have Motives ftrong "enough to oblige him to love, honour, and "worship God? The Imperfections of such "Representations will never be imputed to us "as a Fault, provided we do not wilfully dif

honour him by unworthy Notions, and our "Conceptions of him be fuch as may fuffi"ciently oblige us to perform the Duties he

«

requires at our Hands." The like may be faid of a Man who has miftaken Notions of the Trinity in Unity, and of the Perfon of Christ; provided he do not wilfully dishonour God and Chrift by his Notions, and do conceive Chrift to be a Legislator, and a Ruler fent from God, than which Conception, nothing can more ob

lige us to perform the Duties, that both God and Chrift require of us.

3. THIRDLY, There is no Crime, but what has, at Times, and on certain Occafions, the Support and Encouragement of the Popish Prieft; as there is no Virtue which he does not at Times, and on certain Occafions, discourage. Let a Man be Whoremafter, or Drunkard, or Lyar, or Slanderer, or Paffionate, or Revengeful, or Cheat; and he may meet with fair Quarter from the High Priest, be feldom or never reproved by him, have his Efteem and Countenance, and the Character of a good Churchman from him, and be fure of priestly Abfolution at laft; provided he heartily espouse the Intereft of the Priest, that is, contend for his Power and Wealth. On the other Side, let a Man have ever fo many virtuous Qualities, and let him alfo be a fincere Believer in Jefus Chrift; but without the Quality of efpoufing the High Popish Prieft's Intereft; and he will never ftand fo fair in the Priest's Eyes as the aforefaid Profligate-Good-Churchman. This Conduct of the Priefts has a mighty Influence on the Actions of Men, and tends to make them as bad as their Inclinations and Temper difpofe them to be; inasmuch as the general Efteem and good Name of moft F 6

Men

Men will depend on the Characters given of them by the Priefts, who are the general Goffips, and are reverenced every-where for their inward Sanctity, their external long Gowns, and broad-brimmed Hats, the latter fufficiently manifefting the former. I will not deny, but that the Priests had much rather, that their Followers were virtuous than otherwife; fince they must well know, that Credit is to be got by having fuch Men among them, and that the best Harveft is to be made of the Weaknefs and Superftition of virtuous Men. But the Bulk of Men being vicious, and the virtuous Man of Senfe being in the Intereft of Religion, and against Prieftcraft; the aforefaid High Priefts are reduced to the Neceffity of counenancing the Vicious, to carry on their own Intereft with a fufficient Party.

4. FOURTHLY, High-Church Priests, by the Weakness of all Popish States, (except the Commonwealths of Venice and Norica) and of moft of the Proteftant States, are let into too great a Share of the Civil Governments of Europe; and thus, by becoming acting Politicians, confound all national, public, and political Morality. For, as the late Bishop of Sarum obferved, "The Priests have a Secret to make

the Natives of a Country miferable, in Spite

"of any Abundance with which Nature has "furnished them. They have not Souls big "enough, and tender enough, for Govern«ment: They have both a Narrowness of "Spirit, and a Sourness of Mind, that does not ce agree with the Principles of human Soci« ety. Nor have they thofe Compaffions for ❝ the Miserable, with which wife Governors "ought to temper all their Counfels; for a "stern Sournefs of Temper, and an unrelent"ing Hardness of Heart, feem to belong to

that Sort of Men."

C.

NUMBER

NUMBER XLVI.

Wednesday, November 30. 1720.,

S

Of High-Church ATHEISM. Part s.

PECULATIVE Atheists exift but in few Places, and have never been numerous any-where; even though all those be accounted fuch, upon whom Atheism has ever been charged. But where they do exift, they seem to me to owe their Rife principally to Superftition and Prieftcraft; and the higher the Church and Priests have been, the more numerous have been the Atheists: Nay, there seems to me more just Cause to fufpect the High-Church Priests of Atheism, than any other Men.

I. WHOEVER reasons himself into Atheism, undoubtedly reasons very wrong, and either proceeds on falfe Principles, or makes wrong Conclufions from true ones. But among the feveral falfe Arguments, by which the Atheists and

« PreviousContinue »