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tnon Sentiments of Mankind, but only among the Beaux the Deists.
XVIII. Therefore, if the Deists would avoid the "Mortification (which will be very uneasy to them) to yield, and submit to be subdued and hevoed down before the Priests, whom 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 were instituted by the same Author of Religion; and that their Order is a perpetual and living Monument of the Matters of Fali of their Religion, instituted from the Time that such Matters of Fa3 were said to be done; as the tevites from Moses; the Apostles, and succeeding Clergy, fiOinChrist, to this Day; that no Heathen Priests can say the fame: 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 Successton to this Day, being as impregnable and flagrant a Testimony to the Truth of the Matters ef Fact of Christ, as the Sacraments, or any other publick Institutions; befides that, if the Priesthood Were taken away, the Sacraments, and other publick Institutions, which are administered by their Hands, must sall with them; therefore the Devil has been most busy, and bent his greatest Force, in all Ages, against the Priesthood, knowing that if that go down, all goes with it.
XIX. With the Deists, in this Cause, are joih'd the Quakers, and other of our Dissenters, who throw oft" the Succession of our Priesthood (by which only it can be demonstrated), together with the Sacraments and publick Festivals. And if the Devil could have prevailed to have these dropt, the Christian Religion would lose the most undeniable and demonstrative Proof for the Truth Of the Matters of Fae? of our Saviour, upon which the Truth of his Doctrine does depend. Therefore We" may fee the Artifice and Malice of the Devil in all these Attempts: tempts: And let those wretched Instruments, whom he ignorant/y (and some by a misguided Zeal) has deluded, thus to undermine Christianity, now at last look back, and see the Snare in which they have been taken! For if they had prevailed, or ever should, Christianity dies with them; at least, it will be rendered precarious, as a Thing of which no certain Proof can be given. Therefore let those of them, who have any Zeal for the Truth, bless God that they have not prevailed; and quickly leave them; and let all others be aware of them.
And let us confider and honour the Priesthood, Sacraments, and other publick Institutions of Christ, not only as Means of Grace, and Helps to Devotion, but as the great Evidences of the Christian Religion.
Such Evidences as no pretended Revelation ever had, or can have: Such as do plainly distinguish it from all foolish Legends and Impostures w hatsoever.
XX. And now, last of all, if one Word of Advice would not be lost upon Men who think so immeasurably of themselves as the Deists, you may represent to them, what a Condition they are in, who spend that Life and Sense which God hath given them, in ridiculeing the greatest of his Westings, 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 his Revelations, as that it is past the Power of Men or Devils to counterseit; 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, ox three, butofMaakind 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 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 else fit down under all that Ignominy with which they have loaded the Priests, of being
not not only the most pernicious, but (what will gall them more) the most inconfiderate, and inconfiderable, of Mankind.
Therefore let them not think it an undervaluing of their Worthiness, that their whole Cause is comprised within so narrow a Compass, and no more Time bestowed upon it than it is worth. But let them rather reflect, how sar they have been all this time from Christianity, whose Rudiments they are yet to learn; how far from the Way of Salvation; how sar 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 they have lost, lest they lose themselves for ever; and be convinced, by a dreadful Experience, when it is too late, that the Gospel is a Truth, and of the last Consequence.
Truth of Christianity
I N A
Christian and a Deist.
Wherein the Case of the Jews is likewise considered.
(i) Christian. TfT is strange you should stand it out so against your own Happiness, and employ your whole •Wit and Skill to work in yourself a Disbelief of any future Rewards or Purishments, only that you may live enfy (as you think) in this World, and enjoy your Pleasures. Which yet yon cannot enjoy free and undisturbed from the Fear of those Things that are to come; the Event of which you pretend not to be sure of; and therefore are sure of a Life that admits not of any Consolation, and of a miserable and wretched Death, according to the utmost that you yourself propose!
Deist. How can you say that? When I propose to live without any Fear of those Things. I sear not Hell; and I have discarded the Expectation of Heaven, because I believe neither.
Chr. Areyousurc there are no such Things?
De. Thatii ^Negative, and I pretend not to provt
Chr. Then you must remain in a Doubt of it. And what a Condition is it to die in this Doubt, when the Issue is eternal Misery! And this is the utmost, by your own Consession, that you can propose to yourself. Therefore I called yours a Dijbelief, rather than a Belief of any-thing. It is we Christians who believe; you Dei/Is only disbelieve.
And if the Event should prove as you would have it, and that we mould all be annihilated at our Death, we should be in as good a Condition as you. But, on the other Side, if the Event should prove as we expect it, then you are eternally miserable, and we eternally happy. Therefore one would think it the wisest Part to take our Side of the.Question.
Especially confidering, that those poor Pleasures, for the sake of which you determine yourselves against us, are but mere Amusements, and no real Enjoyments. Nay, we had better be without them than have them, even as to this Lise itself. Is not Temperance, and a healthful Constitution, more pleasant than those Pains and Mhes, fick Head and Stomach, that are the inseparable Companions of Debauchery and Excess; befides the clouding our Reason, and tumingsotti/h in our Undersanding?
De. We take Pleasure in them for the Time; and
mind not the Consequences. But however, a Man
cannot believe as he pleases: And therefore, notwithstanding all the glorious and all the terrible Things you speak of, it makes nothing to me, unless you can evi. dently prove them to be so. And you must still leave me to judge for myself, after you have done all you can.