« 前へ次へ »
themselves from their childhood, if they had never enacted, practised, taught, or been taught, such things.
3. And as this exceeds. all the power of hell and devils, so is it more than ever. God Almighty has done since the foundation of the world: None of the 'miracles that he has shown or belief which he has required. to any thing that he has revealed, has ever contradicted the outward senses of any one man in the world, much less of all mankind together. For miracles being appeals to our outward senses, if they should overthrow the certainty of our outward senses, must destroy, with it, all their own certainty as to 'us ; since we have no other way to judge of a miracle exhibited to our senses, than upon the supposition of the certainty of our senses, upon which we give credit to a miracle that is shown to
4. This, by the way, is a yet unanswered argument against the miracle of transubstantiation, and shows the weakness of the defence which the church of Rome offers for it, (from whom the Socinians have licked it . up, and of late, have gloried much in it among us,) that the doctrines of the trinity or incarnation contain as great seeming absurdities as that of transubstantiation. For I would ask, which of our senses it is which the doctrines of the trinity or incarnation do contradict ? Is it. our seeing; hearing, feeling, taste, or smell ? : whereas transubstantiation does contradict all of these.. Therefore the comparison is exceeding short, and out of purpose.
But to return. . If the Christian religion be a cheat, and nothing else but the invention of priests, and carried on by their craft, it makes their power and wisdom greater than that of men, angels, or devils ; and more than God himself ever yet showed or expressed, to deceive and impose upon the senses of mankind, in such public and notorious matters of fact.
XIII. And this miracle, which the deists must run into to avoid these recorded of Moses and Christ, is
much greater, and more astonishing, than all the Scripțures tell of them.
So that these men who laugh at all miracles, are now 'obliged to account for the greatest of.ah, bow: the senses of mankind could be imposed upon in such public matters of fact..
And how, then; can they make the priests the most contemptible of all mankind, since they make them the sole, authors of this the.greatest of miracles?.
XIV. And since the deists (these men of sense and reason), have so vile aud mean an idea of the priests of all religions, why do they 'not recover the world out of the possession and governraent of such blockheads ? Why do they suffer kings and states to be led by them; to establish their deceits by laws, and inflict penalties: upon the opposers of them ?, Let the deists try their hands ; they have been trying, and are now busy, about it. And free liberty they have. Yet they have not prevailed, nor ever yet did prevail; in any civilized.or. generous nation. And though they have some inroads among the Hottentots, and some other the most brutal part of mankind, yet are they still exploded, and priests have and do prevail against them, among not only the greatest, but best part of the world, and the most glo-: rious for arts, learning, and war:
xy. For as the devil does ape God, in his institutions of religion, his feasts, and sacrifices, &c., so like: wise in his priests, without whom, no' religion, whether. true or false, can stand. False religion is but a corruption of the true. The true was before it, though it be followed close upon the heels.
The revelation made to Móses is older than any bis.tory extant in the heathen world. The heathens, in irnitation of him, pretended likewise to their revelations ; but I have given those marks which distinguish -them from the true ; none of them have those four marksbefore mentioned.
Now the deists think all revelations to be equally pretended and a cheat ; and the priests of all religions
to be the same contrivers -and jugglers, and therefore ·
they proclaim war equally against all, and are equally engaged to bear the brunt of all...
And if the contest be only between the deists and the priests, which of them are the men of the greatest parts and sense, let the effects determine it; and Jet the deists yield the victory to their conquerors, who, by their own confession, carry all the world before them.
XVI. If the deists say, that this is because all the world are blockheads, as well as those priests who govern them; that all are blockheads except the deists, who vote themselves only: to be .men of sense.; this .(besides the modesty of it) will spoil their great and beloved topic, in behalf of what they call natural reli.gion, against the revealed, viz. appealing to the common reason of mankind. This they set up against revelation; think this to be sufficient for all the usēs of men, here or hereafter, if there be any after state,) and therefore that there is no -ųse of revelation ; this. common reason théy advance as infallible, at least, as the surest guide, yet now cry out upon it, 'when it turns against them ; when this common reason runs after revelation, (as it always has- done;) then common reason is a beast,; and we must look for reason, not from the common sentiment of mankind, but only among the beaux, the deists.
XVII. Therefore if the deists would avoid the mortification (which would be very uneasy to them) to yield and submit to be subdued and hewed down before the priests, whom of all mankind they hate and despise ; if they would avoid this, let them consess, as the truth is, that religion is no invention of. priests, but of divine original; that priests were instituted by the same author of religion, and that their order is a perpétual and live ing monument of the matters of fact of their religion, instituted from the time that such matters of fact were said to be done, as the Levites from Moses ; the apostles, and succeeding clergy, from Christ, to this day. That no heathen priests can say the same; they were
not appointed by the gods whom they served, but by others in after ages ; they cannot stand the test of the four rules before mentioned, which the Christian priests can do, and they only. Now the Christian priesthood, as instituted by Christ 'himself, and continued by succession to this day, being as impregnable and flagrant a testimony to the truth of the matters of fact of Christ, as the sacraments, or any other public institutions ; besides that, if the priesthood were taken away, the sacraments, and other public institutions, which are administered by their hands, must fall with them ; therefore the devil has been most busy, and bent his greatest force, in all ages, against the priesthood, knowing, that if that goes down, all goes with it.
XVIII. And now, last of all, if one word of advice. would not be lost upon men who think so unmeasurably of themselves, as the deists, you may represent to them what a condition they are in, who spend that life and sense, which God has given them, in ridiculing the greatest of his blessings, his revelations of Christ, and by Christ, to redeem those from sin and misery, who shall believe in him and obey his laws. And that God, in his wonderful mercy. and wisdom, has so guarded his revelations, as that it is past the power of men or devils to counterfeit ; and that there is no denying of them, unless we will be so absurd, as to deny not only the reason, but the certainty of the outward senses, not only of one, or two, or three, but of mankind in genė
ral. . That this case is so very plain, that nothing but · want of thought can hinder any to discover it. That
they must yield it to be so plain, unless they can show some forgery, which has all the four marks before.set down. But, if they cannot do this, they must quit their cause, and yield a happy victory over themselves ; or èlse sit down under all that ignominy, with which they have loaded the priests, of being, not only the most pernicious, but (what will gall them more) the most inconsiderate, and inconsiderable of mankind.