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Sanctity to certain Times, Places, Per-Ch. 6.
fons, or Actions. They seem'd almost u
a different and more divine Species
of Creatures,diftinguishingthemselves
from other Men in their Garb, in their
manner of living by Tithes and Dona-
tions in their

separate Places at Church,
and several other ways.
means the Clergy were able to do any
thing; they engross’d at length the
sole Right of interpreting Scripture,
and with it claim’d Infallibility, to their
Body.

95. This is the true Origin and Pro,
gress of the Christian Mysteries; and we
may observe how great a share of their
Establishment is owing to Ceremonies.
There never fail to take off the Mind
from the Substance of Religion, and
lead Men into dangerous Mistakes :
for Ceremonies being easily observ'd,
every one thinks himself religious e-
nough that exactly performs them.
But there is nothing so naturally oppo-
site as CEREMONY and CHRISTIA:
NITY. The latter discovers Religion
naked to all the World, and the former
deliversit under mysticalRepresentati-
ons of a meerly arbitrary Signification.

M 4

96. It

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

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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,

The

170

Tbe CONCLUSION.

T

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

MY.

MYSTERY, not divinely reveal'd.
There is no middle way, that I can see,
When chofe Paffages of Scripture I

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.

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