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bably communicated to our First Parents by. Re: velation, and was transmitted by them to their posterity by Tradition ; this may well mean, that God made them and their posterity capable of discovering it by their rational faculties. Such is the Author's regard to truth and since rity; and such the key, which he gives us, to the real value of his Solemn Appeal to Heaven, already mentioned.

SECT. XX.

The Author's Treatment of the CLERGY, and

the Falsehood of his Charge against PRIESTS in general, considered.

O Writer for the cause of Deism or Infide

ļity omits to pay his compliments to the Clergy: And as our Author has at least kept pace with his Brethren in this particular, it seems absolutely necessary to take a short notice of what he has designedly made so conspicuous a part of his work. He fays,

« That charity should incline us to " think the best of every one, especially in re

ligious opinions Y:"And, " That we should 6 throw a veil over the faults of our fellowss creatures ? ; --- And “That unless we can speak

in their favour, they ought not to be the sub"ject of our conversation a. — But though thele are certainly the doctrines of Jesus, and he enforces them as such, he seems to think that the Laity are under, no fort of obligation to observe these rules in their behaviour towards the Clergy;

Y P. 24

2 P. 126.

a P. 148.

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whom

whom he always affects to stile Priests, as it should
seem, with the hopes of rendering them odious even -
by a name. He perpetually speaks of Them, as
the authors of almost all the mischiefs and errors
the world has ever known. Mankind, he tells us,
were perfectly well acquainted with all their du-
ties, and even disposed to fulfil them, till Priests
arose, and introduced darkness, and every thing
evil into Religion, for their own interest and
power. When one reads such tragical accounts
as these of the miseries which Priests have brought
upon the world, it is impossible to help asking,
whence they came, and what they were ? Whe-
ther these fame Priests were Men; or a particular
fpecies of Noxious Animals, created by lome Evil
Being, and sent into this goodly world to spoil
it? If Priesthood had been every-where, as in
some countries it has been, hereditary; a man of
our Author's extraordinary genius, and remark-
able antipathy to Priests, might perhaps have
adopted this opinion : But as in many countries,
the Priests have been made, as in our own, out
of Laymen; the supposition would be attended
with some difficulties. One cannot help enquir-
ing likewise, whether they came into the world
by degrees; or started up, like Cadmus's teeth
ready armed for mischief, every-where, all at ::
once? And if so, whether this was by chance, or
by fome strange concert, and how that concert
was brought about ? And cven passing over all
these difficulties; as well as how they should
come to conceive the seemingly hopeless design,
of changing the Noon-day of pure Morality
and true Religion, into the dark mid-night of
Superstition, and the worst sorts of it; how they
came actually to succeed ; and to succeed every
where, and even without resistance, as far as we
can learn?
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He says that Natural Religion was in every part perfectly clear and obvious, and that nothing else could be wanting: But that what Priests taught men was mysterious ; that is, in his ideas, absolutely unintelligible ; and, in the nature of the thing itself, impossible to be believed by any one man, or to have any good influence upon him, if believed.--Will the Author forgive us for asking, how it happened, that creatures fo full of good sense and real knowledge, could come to imagine, that they believed so many things which they could not believe ; and how they came to receive among them so much senseless Superstition? And since Sacrifices, for instance, appear to him so strange and unnatural an institution ; will he account for

proposing such a practice; or for mankind's coming into it, when proposed ? These facts are really as hard to be accounted for, upon our Author's representation of things, as the very Interpolation of the New Testament.

But perhaps it will be replied, we have not hiftories of the earliest times fufficient to acquaint us with the manner in which this was done. Do they then acquaint us, that it was done at all ? On the contrary, so far as we can learn, originally the Head of every family was the Priest of his family. And what interest could these Heads of families have in misleading their own children and servants? When many families entered into one Civil Society; which was not carly everywhere; most probably the Civil Magiftrate, or acknowledged Chief of the Society, took upon Him fo much of the office, as the whole Society was to join in. Particular Orders of men were not set apart for this function till afterwards, at different periods, in different places. And so far is it from being true, that Priests were the

original original introducers of Superftition; that it is felf-evident, froni the very nature of the thing, that the previous establishment of Superstition must have been the cause of the first introduction of Priests. Could a particular Order of men be instituted by the Civil Magistrate, before there was any cause for their institution ? Could a number of men be set apart in any Society to perform the ceremonies of the religious Worship of their Gods; till that Society had adopted some Gods, whom they chose to worship; and were at least determined to have a fixed Ceremonial to observe? Such a supposition would be manifestly absurd ; and not much unlike asserting, that the previous invention of human language, was the original cause of our desire to communicate our thoughts, instead of supposing, that the natural desire of communicating our thoughts, was the real cause of the invention of human language.

Some Deities must have been believed in, and must have had Public, as well as Private Wor fhip offered to them, before any distinct Order of men could have been set apart purposely for the performance of this service. The very naturę of the thing is sufficient to convince us, not only that Gods must have been worshipped, and some Ceremonial for that worship have been made use of; but further, most probably, that That Ceremonial was so far increased, as to require more time for the performance of it, than the Civil Magistrate could {pare from his other, avo cations; before any distinct Order of men was set apart to perform it. And accordingly, the concurrent voice of all History afsures us, that the priginalestablishment of the Religion of every Pugen

Nation was the work, not of Priests, but of the Civil Magistrate, before Priests existed among thein, Nay history assuręs us of much more. It

assures

affures us, that not only the original establishment of the Pagan Superstitions was the work of the Civil Magistrate, and not of the Priests; but that every subsequent addition to their National Su: perstitions; even after an Order of men was fét apart to perform the Rites attendant upon them; was always adopted by the Civil Magistracy though they might often be proposed by the Priests, as well as often by others; and never could be introduced by the Priests, without the concurrence and authority of the Supreme Civil Power.

Such was the case in Egypt, that fruitful Mother of Superstitions; where their ridiculous Heto worship, and their ftill more contemptible worship of Animals, was all introduced by their Princes, and committed to the care of the Nobles; who were the Priests; but could neither be increased, nor in any particular altered, without the Supreme Civil Authority of the State. Such likewife was the case in Greece ; whose Superftitions derived their origin from Egypt, through the hands of the Civil Magistrate ; were at first established by Him; were always under the Official care and inspection of the principal Officers of the State ; and could never be increased or altered by the Priests. And such again was the cafe in Rome : there likewise it is notorious, that both their Gods Themselves, and the Worship paid to them, were originally introduced by their Chief Magistrates instead of their Priests; and that neitherany New God, norany New Worship of an Oldone, could be introduced, but by the legal authority of the principal Civil Magistrate, instead of the Priests. And from these capital instances, as well as all the lights we have of others, it is beyond question evident, that it is so far from true, that Priests have been the Original Authors of all the wretched Superstitions, 5

which

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