« AnteriorContinuar »
and, as they imagine, "receive Instruction in Moral and Evangelical Duties, in these stately Fabrics, they generally conceive a deep Reverence and Devotion for the Buildings themselves, 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 Perfons sent by God himself, to deliver a Message from his own Mouth; for which also they have often the Word of the Preacher---No small Reason 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 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 fan&tify every Falfhood, and every Whimsy and Impiety uttered by them, with a 'misapplied or perverted Text of Scripture; and so prostituted and profaned the high and holy Name of God, to patronize their lmpoftures. I shall give some Instances.
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 instantly intituled him God's Vice
gerent, tho' he acted at the same aime 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 Lords 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, whilst 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 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 overcurning 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 Parifa, 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 noc doing it to one another. And, because Abraham gave the Tenth of his Plunder to Melchisedek, who was not a Priest of our Church by Law Established; therefore our Established Priests, who have no. thing to do with Melchisedek, nor know any thing of him, have a Divine Right to the Tenth-part of every Man's Eftate and Industry, And, as the Tribe of Levi had a Right to Tythes, though they and their Tythes are long since abolished ; so 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 Eftate, 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 bis Representatives, is, and ought to be, of this world. And, because the reprobate and glutronous Monks had, by endless Rcgueries, and diabolical Lyes, plunder'd the deluded Laiky of their Poffeffions, and engrossed to themselves most of the Lands of England; therefore our Modern High Priests have a natural and hereditary Right to enjoy the same: 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 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 First; 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 Churcb, to any Affertion, or any Claim, or any invention of theirs, be it ever fo monstrous, or mischievous ; 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 Testimony from Heaven for every Whim.or Forgery of theirs.; fo their next Concern is to make every Contradi&tion and Opposition to it damnable.
HENCE it comes to pass, that the same Virtues are not of the same Importance at all Times; but Virtues are made Vices, and Vice is made Virtue, just as the present Tempera 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 Dury. Thus, the worshipping of God according to one's Conscience, without which there can be po 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 cer• tain 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 feditious, forfworn Priest, is crying Infidelity,