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checks that which deviates from the fame, as CH A P. making a false Pretence to Right. For the Ob. XVII. ject of all true valuable religious Liberty is the aforesaid true and valuable Good in publick Worship; and that which would depart from it, is not Liberty, but Licentiousness, - tending to Confufion, and to all the Mischief that can arise from dangerous Mistakes, or at least, a dangerous opposing Zeal, in Things confessedly indifferent in their own Nature, where Moderation of Zeal should always keep its Station : But after they have gain'd the Stamp of publick Authority in any Country, the Scale of Indifferency certainly turns to the Side' of Authority, and should always fecure the greater Respect, if not an universal Compliance.
As to publick Worship of the Deity, I shall produce the Religion of Nature delin. “ A Man, " says that Author, may be consider'd as a “ Member of Society, and as such, he ought “ to worship God, (if he has the Opportunity “ of doing it: If there are proper Prayers used
publickly, which they may resort to; and his
Health, &c. permit.) Or the Society may 6 be consider'd as one Body that has common Śc Interests and Concerns, and as such is oblig'd “ to worship the Deity, and offer one common “ Prayer. Beside, there are many, who know
not of themselves how to pray, perhaps can“ not so much as read.' Thele too must be “ taken as they are, and consequently fome Time “ and Place, appointed, where they may have “ suitable Prayers read to them, and be guided " in their Devotions. And further, toward “ the keeping Mankind in order, it is necessary “ there should be some Religion profess’d, and
CHAP. “ even establish'd; which cannot be without XVII.
“ fome publick Worship. And were it not “ for that Sense of Virtue, which is principally “ preservd (so far as it is preserv’d) by na“ tional Forms and Habits of Religion, Men « would soon lose it all, run wild, prey upon
one another, and do what else the worst of
“ Savages do *.”
In regard of that Reproach and Contempt pour'd out so plentifully upon the Perfons, officiating in the publick Worship of these Nations, by the two Authors I have been animadverting upon, and others of their Stamp; instead of entring into a Defence of the Ministry, I congratulate them, upon the sensible Pleasure and Honour they continue to do us, by the abusive Persecution of their Tongues, and Pens. Elpecially because it is a genuine Sample so honourably and sincerely consistent with their boasted Principle of universal Benevolence t, which they constantly proclaim to be due to all Men, and yet as constantly shut out Ecclesiasticks of all Persuasions from any Benefit, or Title to it; as if they were worse than all Men in the Community, for taking an Employment upon them for the general Good. If Christianity in a Protestant Nation is a Trade, as some affirm, it is however a Trade between God and Man, of God's own
Religion of Nature delin. P: 124. + The Deists make the Whole of Religion to consist in Benevolence, or, as they vary the Phrase, in doing as we wou'd be done by; tho' it manifestly is no more than one Third of the Religion of the End. They designedly leave out of their System, Duty to God, and Ourselves; and by that Device would make Religion and Civil Government, this world and the next, to be one and the fame Thing.
erecting; ere&ting; and they who are Partners in that CHAP, Trade have all the Profits, whilst the Clerks XVII. have no more than writing Wages and Attendance under the polite Appellations of the black Tribe, &c. *
The grand Traducer certainly owes them a Shame; they would never else be so much ac his Service, as to lay aside all Respect to the Reader, and seek Occasion, and make it at every Turn, and almost in every Chapter, run out into Digression, in order to give us a Cast of their Benevolence; and by an egregious Imposition upon the Reader, constantly endeavouring to involve all Protestant Clergy under the Odium of Popis Priestcraft; from Instances of Misconduct only applicable to the latter : As if false, indiscriminate Accusation was neither Sin, nor Shame, nor any Seducement of the Judgment into Error and Infidelity,
The Religion of Nat. delin. will affure them
Among other Prejudices, there “ is one of a peculiar Nature, which you must " have observ’d to be one of the greatest Causes “ of modern Irreligion. Whilst some Opinions " and Rites are carried to such an immoderate
Height, as exposes the Absurdity of them to " the View of alınost every body but them who § raise them, not only Gentlemen of the belles “ Lettres, but even Men of common Sense,
many times see through them ; and then out “ of Indignation and an exceflive Renitence,
not separating that which is true from that " which is falsē, they come to deny both, and
* So the Author of the Characteristicks ftiles them.
C'H A P.“ fall back into the contrary Extreme, a Cona XVII.
tempt of all Religion in general;” p. 60, 61.
It is certainly our Honour, that such Men, resolving to continue what they are, count us their Enemies for the work sake, and express it so vehemently in Season and out of Season; because we are not for their turn, we are clean contrary to their doings; we upbraid them with their offending the law, we object to their infamy the transgressing the true Oracles of Reason, the sound certain Nature of Things, the Fountain of Truth and of Religion, and their perverse Usage of the Kindness of Heaven ; therefore they look on us, only with malevolent Eyes, they speak of us every where, they treat us at all times with despitefulness, Wisd. xi. 12, 19. It is most certain, that if we please such Men, we are not, what we ought to be, Servants of Christ, Gal. i. 1o. It is the strongest Proof that can be given, “ the Confession of an Enemy," that we retain Integrity to our Master Christ, and are useful and neceffary to the Support of his Religion; at the same time it is a ridiculous owning the Weakness of their own Objections against it, as often as they have secourse to such sorry Weapons.
Ht The sacred Office can never be hurt by as their
Sayings, if it is not first reproached by “ our Doings." So long as the Ends and Ure's of the Ministry duly observ’d, will assuredly establish and endear us to all Christians; fo long we' have nothing so much to disvalue, as the Calumny of these Haters of that Name; or to dread as their verbal, or written Praises : Their Commendation of Particulars means nothing
more than a Signal to Companions of their rea-CHAP. diness to betray his Cause, and go over to their XVII. Designs of subverting it. We know whom we have believed, and are well apprised of our Reward, when Men speak evil of us falsly for his fake ; therefore such Praise ought never to be counted of, because it can never proceed å laudato Viro : Consequently the Ministry have always the most valuable Effects, when we enjoy the Reverse of it. And, I really believe, nay, I prophesy, if they abate not of their Bigotry, they are so filly, as not to take care to disappoint us of that Encomium, of our Enemies being found Liars against us, and their Defamation our Merit ; whilst we severally have the Consolation of knowing, that the Reproaches of them that reproach Thee, O Chrift, are fallen upon ME! But let them know, the more they rage against us; the less they have to reply to our Arguments ; and so the Cause and we triumph together over them.
BESIDES, what Advantage, what Alteration for the better has not the true Christian Religion imported to these Realms with respect to its Clergy, above those of their Religion, the old natural Religion once establish'd in these Nations ? The Druids were invested with the Prerogative of adjudging Property, deciding all Controverfies, distributing Rewards and Punishments; and they who did not submit to their Determinations were excommunicated from all Honours and Privileges, deprived of the Benefit of the Laws, and held in Abhorrence. Cæsar's Comm. Lib. VI. They have, 'tis true, no Abuse of Holy Times, or Holy Offices to answer for, because they are so impious as to have neither Time, Person,