Page images

Precept, then the Cry of breaking the Peace of the Church, is an empty knavish Cry.

INDIFFERENT Things in Religion there are none; and therefore the pretended Power of the Ecclefiaftics to impose them, is wicked and ridiculous. If they be indifferent in their own Eyes, why are they imposed? And if they were indifferent in the Eyes of others, nobodywould refuse them. But if I dislike them, they are no longer indifferent to me; and if you lay any Stress upon them, they are no longer indifferent to you. But to opprefs, imprison, and ruin People for Things allowed to be indifferent, is fuch a Piece of Impudence, and wanton Cruel-ty, as cannot be described.

To call any thing indifferent in Religion, is to own, that it has nothing to do with Religion. Now, can any Reason be given, why Religion fhould be interested in that, in which Religion> has no Intereft? Sure these Men mock us, and would seem to be in Jeft, did not their Proceedings, when they have Power, fhew them to. be terribly in Earnest.

IF I neglect a Ceremony, or a Cringe, which I think a Reproach to Religion and Reason; do I break the Peace of the Church, for thus doing Honour to Religion and Reason? Or is it not rather an Infult upon Both, and a manifest Breach of Charity, to ufe me ill for acting up


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

on fuch righteous and laudable Motives? Do I break the Peace of the Church, in worshipping God after a Manner that I am verily perfuaded he will accept? Or do I not rather difhonour him, in ufing that as Worship, which my Mind tells me is no Worship, though it should be cftablished by Law?

IN Popib and Mahometan Countries, you fee neither true Religion, nor the Practice of it, and yet the Peace of the Church there is wonderfully well fecured by great Armies, and capital Penalties. Fire and Sword, Halters and Dungeons, are all employed to protect the Peace of the Church. And in every Nation under the Sun, where the Church enjoys the most profound Peaces the People enjoy the most profound Mifery, Ignorance and Slavery. Civil and Religious Liberty are certain Signs of each other, and live and die together; but I believe I may lay it down fora Maxim, that in any Country where there is ne'er a Separatist from the Church, there is ne'er a Freeman in the State. To which Maxim I may venture to add another, namely, that, in the Ecclefiaftical State, the PEACE OF THE CHURCH is but another Phrafe for the POWER OF THE PRIESTS.




Wednesday, September 28. 1720.

The Enmity of the High Clergy to the BIBLE.

E can never fufficiently admire and adore the infinite Goodness of God to Mankind, in giving him a perfect Rule or Law for his Direction and Conduct; and delivering it in Books and Scriptures, which are plain and eafy in all things neceffary to be known to every one, who shall make a proper Use of his natural Faculties, and not weakly truít a Pope, or fomebody like a Pope, for their Interpretation, who will ever have ambitious or other worldly Purposes to ferve, by impofing falfe and wicked Meanings on thofe facred Writings.

How ought we then to value our Bibles, daily to read them, and fearch ourselves for thofe Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge!


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

And how jealous fhould we be of trusting our temporal and eternal Happiness to the Judgment and Conduct of others, who, for the most part, from imbibed Prejudices, or worfe Designs, represent the most ridiculous, chimerical, abfurd, contradictory and immoral Opinions, to be fundamental Articles of Chriftianity!

NOTWITHSTANDING, fuch is the Power and crafty Malice of the Popish and Popishlyaffected Clergy, that in moft Countries they have either taken the Bible (even on the Pretence of Religion itself) out of the People's Hands, or have made it useless there; and fuch is the fenfelefs Stupidity of the gaping Herd, that they obferve not the Injury done them, and not only fuffer this worst Sort of Robbery, Violence, and Injustice, but kiss the Rod, and esteem themselves to be kindly and religiously dealt with.

IN all Popish Countries, before the Refor mation, the Bible was locked up in the learned Languages; which effectually hindered the People from being acquainted with that Holy Book; the Priest saying, and the poor ignorant Laity believing, That it was heretical, and the very Foundation of all Herefy and Schifm, for the People to read the Bible. Indeed, after the


Reformation, fome Tranflations were made of it into the Vulgar Languages of particular Popifh Countries, but were the People ever the better for it? No fuch Matter, I can affure you; for no one was fuffered to read thofe Tranflations without a fpecial Licence, which was dangerous to ask for, and rendered a Man fufpected of heretical Pravity; and the Prieft never granted it but to thofe, who either would not or could not make any Use of it; that is, to fuch as he well knew were preengaged by ftrong Prejudices, or ftronger Interefts, to favour the Sacerdotal Power, and who durft not understand the Word of God differently from the Clergy, who called themselves the Church.

BUT in other Popish Countries, and particularly in Spain, the Bible is not extant in the vulgar Tongue, and confequently must be unknown altogether to the People, who are incapable of reading it even by Licence; which can scarcely be called a Privilege loft, confidering how few durft ask, or can get Licences, who they are that can obtain them, and what Danger they would incur in making a right Ufe of them.

ESPECIAL Care is taken to prevent the Importation of any Tranflation of the Bible in


« PreviousContinue »