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have gloried much in it amongst 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 is it which the doctrines of the Trinity,or in: carnation, do contradict? Is it our seeing, hear, ing, feeling, taste, or smell? Whereas, tran: substantiation does contradict all of these Therefore, the comparison is exceedingly short, and out of purpose. But to return.
If the Christain 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 inen, angels, or devils ; and more than God himself ever yet shewed or expressed, to deceive and impose up. on the senses of mankind, in such public and notorious matters of fact.
XIV. And this miracle, which the Deists must run into, to avoid those recorded of Mo. ses, and Christ, is much greater, and more astonishing, than all the Scriptures tell of them.
So that these men, who laugh at all miracles, are now obliged to account for the greatest of all; how the senses of mankind could be impo. sed 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 ?
XV. And since the Deists (these men of sense and reason) have so vile and mean an idea of the priests of all religions, why do they not recover ihe world out of the possession and government
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 have they not prevailed, nor ever yet did prevail in any civilized or generous nation. And tho' they have made 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 glorious for arts, learning, and war.
XVI. For as the devil does ape God, in his institutions of religion, his feasts, sacrifices, &c. so likewise 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 followed close upon the heels.
The revelation made to Moses, is elder' than any history extant in the heathen world. The heathens, in imitation 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 marks before 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 betwixt the Deists and the priests, which of them are the men of the greatest parts and sense, let the effects determine it : and let the Deists yield the victory to their conquerors, who, by their own confession, carry all the world before them.
XVII. 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 mod, esty of it) will spoil their great and beloved topic, in behalf of what they call natural religion, against the revealed, viz, appealing to the common reason of mankind. This they set up a gainst revelation ; think this to be sufficient for all the uses of men, here or hereafter (if there be any after state) and therefore, that there is no use of revelation. This common reason they 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 sentiments of mankind, but only among the beaux, the Deists.
XVIII. Therefore, if the Dcists would avoid the mortification, (which will be very uneasy to thein) to yield, and submit to be subdued and hewed down before the priests (whoin, of all mankind, they hate and despise :) if they would avoid this, let them confess, as the truth is,
That religion is no invention of priests, but of divine original : that priests are instituted by the same author of religion ; and that their order is a perpetual and living 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 priest 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 be. fore 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; be. sides that, if the priesthood were taken away, the sacraments, and other public institutions, which are administered by thiir 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. * XIX. 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 ridicnling the greatest of his blessings,his revelations of Christ, and by Christ, to redeem those from eternal misery who shall
believe in him, and obey his laws ! and that God, in his wonderful mercy and wisdom, has so guarded liis 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 general : 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 shew some forgery, wbich 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 else, 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.
Therefore, let them not think it an under. valuing of their worthiness, that their whole cau.e is comprised within so narrow a compass, and no more time bestowed upon it than it is worth.
But let them rather reflect, how far they have been all this time from Christianity, whose rydi. ments they are yet to learn ; how far from the way of salvation : how far the race of their lives is run, before they have set one step in the road to heaven! and, therefore, how much diligence they ought to use, to redeem all that time ther" have lost, lest they lose themselves forever ; and be convinced by a dreadful experience, when it