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Sanctity to certain Times, Places, Per-Ch. 6.
separate Places at Church,
95. This is the true Origin and Pro,
Sect. 3. 96. It is visible then that Ceremo,
i nies perplex instead of explaining; but
supposing they made things neafier, then that would be the best Religion which had most of them, for they are generally, and may all be made, equally significative. A Candle put into the Hands of the Baptized, to denote the Light of the Gospel, is every whit as good a Ceremony as to make the Sign of the Cross upon their Fore-heads, in token of owning Christ for their Master and Sayiour. Wine, Milk, and Honey signify spiritual Nourishment, Strength, and Gladness, as well as standing at the Gospel betokens Our Readiness to hear or profess it.
97. In short, there's no degree of Enthusiasm higher than placing Religion in such Fooleries; nor any thing so base as by these fraudulent Arts to make the Gospel of no effect, unless as far as it serves a Perty. But I shall have a better Occasion of exhausting the Subject of Ceremonies elsewhere, I treat of 'em here only as they made up the Gentile Mysteries, and were afterwards brought in to constitute those of the Christians. But as the
vaft multitudes of the latter quickly
ren- Ch.6. der'd all secret Rites almoft impossible, so to preserve the Mystery, things were purposely made downright unintelligible, or very perplex'd. In this point our pretended Christians outdid all the Mysteries of the Heathens ; for the Honour of these might be destroy'd by Discovery, or the babling Tongue of any initiated Person : But the new Mysteries were thus securely placed above the Reach of all Sense and Reason. Nay, so jealous were the CLERGY of their own Order, left any of 'em should irreligiously unfold those sublime Mysteries to the profanely inquisitive L'AITY, that they thought fit to put it as much out of the Power of the Holy Tribe it self, as out of ours, to understand them; and so it continues, in a great measurę, to this day,
HUS I have endeavour'd to shew others, what I'm fully
convinc'd of my self, that there is no MYSTERY in C HRISTIANITY, or the most perfect Religion, and that by Consequence nothing contradictory or inconceivable, however made an Article of Faith, can be contain'd in the Gospel, if it be really the Word of God : for I have hitherto argu'd only upon this Supposition, for the Reasons to be seen towards the end of the Preface.
Notwithstanding all Pretances that may be made to the contrary, it is evident that no particular Instances or Doctrines of any sort can serve for a proper Answer to this DISCOURSE; for, as long as the Reasons of it hold good, whatever Instance can be alledg'd must either be found not mysterious, or, if it prove a
MYSTERY, not divinely reveal'd.
have cited for my Assertion, are either I reconcild to such as any would bring
against me, or prov'd not to be understood by me; when my Arguments against all inconceivable Mysteries, and the absurdity of God's revealing any fuch Mysteries, are confuted, 'tis time enough then for others to produce ExAmples, or for me to consider 'em. And tho by convincing People that all the Parts of their RELIGION
muft not only be in themselves, but to them also must appear, found and intelligible, I might juftly leave every one to discover to himself the Reasonableness or Unreasonableness of his Religion (which is no difficult Business, when once Men are perfwaded that they have a right to do it; ) yet the Duties
I ow GOĎ and the World oblige me to proceed further according as I en joy Health or Leisure, without limiting my self as to any time, that being a thing in no Man's Power to command at his Pleasure.