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HE Imposition of Oras is looked upon
by all thinking People to be analogous to the Imposition of fomething else ; and indeed, if the Traditions of Men are not to be admitted as a Standard of Faith, which no Pro teftant will allow, I do affirm, that we ought not to depend on the Decrees of Councils and Synods. The former has been condemned by our Szisar Chrift, and the latter cannot be deemed Orthodox, if we look into the Hiftory of the Councils of the Ancients; because each of them has censured and declared link, if nor all the Articles of their Predeceffors to be Heterodox.
From hence I would infer, that their Oy derda were not the Dictates of a Divina Spirit, because they contradiet and clath against each other ; but were rather the foeming Opinions of such as were biass'd by Interest or Policy. 1 do not say absolutely, that this is a true State of the Case, but to me it feems to carry a Face of Probability ; and as I will not pin my Faith upon the Assertion of any Body of Men whatever, so I shall leave every Man at Liberty to believe what, and as much as he judges requisite. Provided, nevertheless, that no Man, shall believe all, because he will not then leave a Share for his Neighbours ; and I must needs own I hate a Monopoly of any Kind; for which Reason I wish there were a Law to prevent ingroffing of
He that can read, and has a common Portion of Reafon, may find such plain and easy Directions in the New Testament, as will instruct him how to find the ready Way to Heaven ; by which he will avoid the tedious Ambages of a Mercenary Guide. I think that the Gentleman managed the Tack with Prudence, who resolving to travel to the Lands-End, contracted for the Journey : If he had hired a Guide by the Day, no Doubt but the Fellow would have conducted him the farthest Way about.
Happy the Man who swallows the Absurdities of the Popish Religion ; he need not be anxious of his Welfare hereafter ; and I could name another Religion, which has gained so much Ground, that it is thought 'twill come
with, if not overtake the former : They resemble the Bank and South-Sea Companies in vying with each other; and I wish that we may not at last discover a MISSISSIPI in both.
That the Bible is the Rule of Faith, abstracted from its Interpolations and erroneous Translations, dare not be denied by the most consummate Priest-craft; and therefore he who endeavours to persuade me that such Articles are necessary to Salvation, which are not made fundamental in Scripture, palms his own, or another's Suggestions upon me, and gives great Cause of Suspicion that there is some vile Roguery at the Bottom.
How pathetically does St. Paul speak ! how noble are his Thoughts ! how beautiful and how amiable his Description of CHARITY ! and he concludes with assuring us, that all Moral Virtues, that even Faith without Chasity availeth nothing. If therefore Charity is
so essential, what Opinion must we entertain of that Creed, in which Uncharitableness is placed in the most glaring Light, and made an Article of Faith! a Creed, whose Author, or Authors cannot be proved, nor its Tenets plainly made out from Scripture.
There is a Religion, which has Three Creeds, and yet properly speaking, they Three are but One. This is very Emblematical, and I love an out-of-the-way Fancy: 'Tis something New, and may be of great Emolument in this improving Age.
I could mention a Creed, which has its Title from some Men, who were as little concerned in the Composure of it, as the late King James's Queen : And there is one Article or two, which have been proved by a Gentleman now living, to be foisted upon us by some Zealous
*: This Gentleman is as well versed in the Divinity, as in the Laws of his Country, and if Merit may be allowed to take place, he ought not to give the Righthånd to any of the Long-petticoat Tribe, of what Denomination foever.
Sir Peter King, who wrote on the Apostle's Creed.
I have Reason to imagine, that there is not a Shop where Titery, Quorum, or Gin (call it by what Name you will) is sold, but what has its peculiar Devotees, and peculiar Sect of Faith. And if it be an undeniable Maxim, that Orthodoxy must surely be found where the Spirit is most predominant, then the Distiller can furnith us with Infallibility, either by Wholesale or Retail.
Faith has of late Years been bandied about like a Ball in a Tennis-Court; and every old Woman believes, as justly as any young Levite, that she has a right to dabble in POLITICS, find fault with the Administration, and meliorate our Constitution; and truly I think the one has as legal Pretensions as the other,
Sir Toby * is a very eminent Lawyer, and took the Oaths when tendered to him; declaring, that he defied any Parliament to frame an Oath, which he would refuse; for, says he, I will trust G-d with my Soul, before I will trust Man with my Estate. How Stupendous is some Men's Faith! no doubt but the Knight had
* He flourished about forty Years ago in Ireland.