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and, as they imagine, receive Inftruction in Moral and Evangelical Duties, in thefe ftately Fabrics, they generally conceive a deep Reverence and Devotion for the Buildings themfelves, and for every thing that is faid in them, as well as a great Opinion of the Wisdom and Sanctity of the Teachers, who prefide there, and dictate ex Cathedra: They efteem them as Perfons fent by God himself, to deliver a Meffage from his own Mouth; for which alfo they have often the Word of the Preacher--- No fmall Reafon to the Many for the believing of it!
So that here is an unaccountable Prepoffeffion in favour of every Doctrine, or every Dream, which corrupt Priefts fhall think fit to deliver. And indeed, the High-Church Clergy have never failed to make their Advantage of this fuperftitious Awe and Credulity of their Hearers; and to fanctify every Falfhood, and every Whimfy and Impiety uttered by them, with a mifapplied or perverted Text of Scri pture; and so prostituted and profaned the high and holy Name of God, to patronize their Impoftures. I fhall give fome Inftances.
WHEN they have had a mind to flatter a cruel or a foolish Prince, in order to make him ferve their Purposes, and do their Drudgery: they have inftantly intituled him God's Vicegerent,
gerent, tho' he acted at the fame aime by the Inftigation of his Luft, or of Satan. And, because David and Saul, being appointed by God himself, by Word of Mouth, were called the Lor'ds 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 fuch Kings, who had not Adam for their Father, were nevertheless, in Right of Adam, Kings and Fathers of their Subjects, who yet were not their Children, but for all that owed them the Duty of Children, whilft they were plundering and ruining them; and all the Rapine and Murders which they were prompted to commit, by their Anger or their Avarice, were called the Ordinance of God, and were to be fubmitted to with Chriftian Stupidity, on Pain of Damnation; that is, it was made Damnation. to refift Actions and Cruelties which deferved Damnation. And as you were to submit to Law, and Justice, on Pain of Damnation, fo ought you to fubmit to the overturning of all Law, and all Juftice, on Pain of Damnation alfo. And, because, when we have any Matter of Complaint, we are bid to acquaint the A 3 Church
Church with it; therefore the People, who are the Church, are, in every Cafe, to be determined by the Parfon 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 one another. And, because Abraham gave the Tenth of his Plunder to Melchifedek, who was not a Priest of our Church by Law Established; therefore our Eftablished Priefts, who have no. thing to do with Melchifedek, 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 Right to Tythes, though they and their Tythes are long fince abolished; so ought our Parsons to have the fame Tythes by the Gospel, without being in the leaft a kin to Aaron's Perfon, or Heirs to his Estate, or Succeffors 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 Rcgueries, and diabolical Lyes, plunder'd the deluded Laity of their Poffeffions, and engroffed to themfelves most of the Lands of England; therefore
fore 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 vouchfafes 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 thefe, and many more Abfurdities, equally vile and impudent, have been blafphemously fathered upon Scripture, and the Author of Scripture; though they all contradict the Scripture, as well as they do common Senfe, and common Honesty, But as the Vulgar do always take that to be the highest Point of Religion, about which their Teachers make the moft Noife, for the Time being, whether it be Tythe, or Dr. Sacheverel, or the Pretender, or the late Duke of Ormond, or King Charles the Firft; fo vicious and corrupt 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 Affertion, or any Claim, or any Invention of theirs, be it ever so monstrous, or mifchievous; and inftantly it becomes, with weak People, an Article of Faith, upon which Salvation itself depends. For, as it is their first Care to force A 4
a Testimony from Heaven for every Whim.or Forgery of theirs; fo their next Cencern is to make every Contradiction and Oppofition to it damnable.
HENCE it comes to pafs, that the fame Virtues are not of the fame Importance at all Times; but Virtues are made Vices, and Vice is made Virtue, juft as the present Temper, or the prefent Views prevail; and, by corrupt Priests, Things are often taught under the Name of Chriftianity, which are oppofite to the Nature of Christianity: Religion is pretended, and Power meant. In confequence of this, Duty is converted into Sin, and Sin into Duty. Thus, the worshipping of God according to one's Confcience, 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 Oppofition to one's Conscience, is as bad. Sometimes the refifting of unlawful Power, is cer tain Damnation; and fometimes the not rebelling against the moft lawful Power, has the fame 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 feditious, forfworn Prieft, is crying Infidelity,