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Proof of Miracles, the great external Evidence CHAP
XVIII. of Christianity, Aets i. 3. ftiling such Appeals to Sense and Reason, infallible Proofs; and subverts likewise the Evidence of the Being of God, which supposes the common Reasoning it out from the infallible Certainty of seeing his Handy-works in the Frame of the World. And as soon as his Faich is strong enough to swallow that, without choaking Belief, it is presently set at nought, and (as well it might ) becomes weak and impotent, not able to save them ; but the Merit of Works steps up to do that Job: and if they are not inclinable to those Works themselves, there is Stock enough in the Church to be purchased ; and the greatest Rascal of them all, with the Priest's Absolution, and Extreme Unction, is sure of going to Heaven. Thus Faith in the Pope and his Church, with little or no Regard to any in Christ, without Sense, Reafon, 'or Gospel, becomes a Fool's Paradise upon Earth. 'And so their Faith is en:irely an buman Faith, resting, not upon God, or his Word, (being shut out from the Inspection of that) but on Man, upon a Cabal of Impostors, for the Salvation of their Souls. In the ruling Part of which Faith, the Spirit of the World wholly steers, and will steer the Mystery of Iniquity, that very gainful Absurdity, as long as thick Darkness and Ignorance, Slavery of Mind, and Extinction of Reason is contented to obey, and deceive itself with the Name of Christianity, Piety, and Catholick, without the Reality or Integrity of any one of them. For Ecclesiastical Christianity with them is quite a different Thing from the New Testament, real, pure Christianity; whilft truly
truly Clerical, Protestant, Evangelical Christianity agree in one, are all one and the fame;
CH A P.though in some places, perhaps intermixt with XVIII
. fome small Frailies of human Judgment.
Thus the disguised Papist in Protestant Countries, makes his Advantage of the other Extreme of Reason, in Excess, as, at home, he does of Reason in Defe&t. And that Church, and the Missionary from it, find their Interest and Account, in playing into the Hand of Atheism, Deism, and Scepticifm, with a Wink, Nily, but faithfully promoting them what they can : And these, overwitted by those Layers-in-wait, play into the others Hand unknowingly, and are in a true Dispofition to become Proselytes *.
None, in fact, are more credulous Bigots than modern Infidels; they ftrain at the Gnat of wholesom Religion the faving Gospel, and swallow a Camel, i. e. as great a Load of Absurdities as a Camel can carry. 'Take a Specimen from a few: They deny both the Interpofition, and the Vengeance of God; yet let them dig where they will in any Hill, or Vale upon Earth (if Tenerif fays nothing, it is because it is agreed upon the View, to be a Poft delavian Hill, sprung up from an Earthquake) undeniable Relicks, and Spoils of the prevailing Deluge stare them in the Face; in promiscuous Trees, Shells, Skelletons of Fish and Animals subsiding in Countries abfolutë Strangers to them. Yet they pleasantly maintain that none of the Punishments of God are final, but all for Correction of the Offender. Then, feeing the Memory and Monuments of a Flood over the highest Mountains (probably 15 Cubits according to Revelation cannot be buried, they grant you a partial Deluge, wise Philosophers as they are! and fo most absurdly believe, that Water can climb up Hill, and by Miracle be suspended in the Air, to make their partial Deluge: Whereas, by their own Concession, if it has covered the highest Mountain, it must by its own Nature, and without an interpofing Miracle, cover all Hills, and consequently all Habitations in the World." So ridiculously do they go about to evade one Miracle by believing a much greater,
They believe God has a World of Goodness in him, so far as to oblige him to confer upon them all the Happiness their Nature is capable of; they feel and confess the Imperfection
For the two Extremes having no regard to the CHAP. Medium, where the true Religion only lies, pro
XVIII. duce each other. Over-believing or Credulity in Popis Mysteries, contrary to all Rule and Reason of believing, when it perceives its Folly, naturally produces No-believing, which is equally contrary to the same Rule and Reason of believing: And No-believing, or Infidelity, when cired and fick of itself, for want of fome Rule to guide its Auctuating bewilder'd State, as naturally runs into the other Extreme, in order to compensate for its former Fault. How true in Fact is it, that Popery, in its warmest Neft in Italy, hatches plenty of Deists, some adorned with the red Hat, some with a Triple Crown * 56 It is certain, says Bilhop Burnet in his Travels, " that in Italy, Men of searching Understandsc ings, who have no other Idea of the Christian
Religion, but that which they see receivid
among them, are very naturally tempted to so disbelieve it quite ; for they believing it all " alike in gross, without Distinction, and find" ing such notorious Cheats as appear in many “ Parts of their Religion, are upon that induc'd
to disbelieve the Whole.” In the Vulgar ic generates little more than the old Deism of Europe in a new Edition of Tutelar Mediators; in
and Disorders of their present Nature ; yet they wont suffer him to interpose or reveal any Remedy, or prescribe the least Thing to mend their Condition; they would be well, but they will take nothing !
They deny the positive, judicial Distribution of future Re. wards and Punishments, incredible monstrous Persuafion! yet confess the Providence of God ruling over this unequal Scene of Things.
Can Tranfubftantiation be more infufferable than these Beliefs, of betray more Credulity? Quantum profuit nobis hæc Fabula Chrifti!
CHA P. the better sort, modern Deism. And how easily XVIII. is the East * and West India Deism turn'd into
Popery, having so near a Resemblance to one another?
AND after the true Religion for another World and the Favour of God is rejected by them, which is the true Medium of believing, and also the Protestant System ; some publick Religion must exist, and a worldly Religion, that of Papists, presenting itself, they are, when the proper Turn comes, and the Infection has generally spread itself, ripe for it: for indeed such a Religion exactly fits them ; the. Diests can ftill retain what they set their Heart upon, the Love of their Sins, which they know in their Conscience was the sole Reason of difliking the Religion of Protestants: both these they retain with a good Grace; Popish Faith even countenancing and difpenfing with them in it, by eafy Pardops and Indulgences : and in running down the Protestant Way of Salvation by depretiating the Holy Scriptures as a Rule of Life and Salvation, the Papifts vie, and concur with them. A boundless Licentiousness of Practice, such as
* Vid. Varen. descript. Reg. Japon. pag. 200. As to the West Indies, the Similitude of Inhumanity is notoriously confessed by the best Writers of their own Travels. The Inhabitants of Mexico and Peru offer'd up incredible Multitudes of human Sacrifices in the most bloody Manner, to their Gods and Mediators; and the Spaniards, no less bloody, facrificed Millions of those Innocents to their Saints and false Mediators ; whilst the true Mediator forbad it with the utmost Abomination. Cortes the Conqueror of Mexico, according to Purchas's Collection, pag. 990, pulld down the Images of their Saints, and in their Room set up, that of the Virgin Mary. Where you may find a Parallel between the Mexican Pagan Fryars, Nuns, &c. and the modern Popilla Superstitions of that fort.
the Deifts glory in, whenever it becomes Natio-CH A P. nal , is moreover naturally and methodically XVIII
. disposed (supposing Abbey-Lands out of the Question) to seek its ease, in exchanging that publick Religion which gives no Quarter, or the least Indulgence to their Vices, for that flattering Public Superftition which commutes for them at an easy Price, and continues the Hopes of Heaven.
So fatal to our Publick, and to every Individual of it, is unbounded Liberty in Principle, and Practice! So perpetually seasonable, and profitable is the Controul of Scripture, and Reason !
How jealous then in common Policy, should Protestant Powers be of the spreading, or in the least countenancing such lewd, unreasonable, unfociable Diffolutions, and Contradictions of their own true Faith of Christ ? Since they are in undeniable Danger of losing the Heart and Conscience of every Subject converted to the other Religion. Though the Supremacy of the Pope is denied in Temporals, yet it is universally acknowledged by all of that Persuasion in Spirituals, for the Extirpation of Hereticks, i, e. Proteftants. Their Heart and Aversion will ever be the same, and nothing but the Want of Power, and the presiding Favour of God and Christ disappoints them of it; and every sincere Protestant should moreover endeavour to prevent it, by the mild Ways and Reasons of his Religion, for the sake of Christ, and the Prosperity of his Kingdom ; because every such Convert is a Subject likewise lost to his mediatorial Kingdom.