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heads with trifles, or worse than trifles, they were early taught what might be really useful, they would not then be so continually in pursuit of silly, ridiculous, expenfive, and many times criminal amusements; neither would their conversation be so infipid and impertinent, as it too often is. On the contrary, were their minds properly improved with knowledge, which it is certain they are exceedingly capable of, how much more agreeable would they be to themselves, and how much more improving and delightful to us? How truly charming does beauty appear, when adorned by good nature, good fense, and knowledge? And when beauty fades, as soon it must, there will then be those qualities and accomplishments remaining, which cannot fail to command great regard, esteem, and affection.
But to return to my subject. It has been taken notice of in the beginning of these Effays, that several paffions incident to human nature, when they proceed to the greated excess, frequently end in cruelty. There are none, of which this is more remarkably true; than pride and ambition: and there are no men in the world more generally, or to a greater degree infected with these vices, than the popish clergy. To which may be added, that as we see the barbarity of a large gang of banditti is usually more enormous than that of a few rogues, so the cruelty of Romiffs priests is greatly increased by their being sa numerous. And let us also add, that 229
many of these have been taken from the very dregs of the people.-Even one of the popes had been a beggar-boy about the streets of Malta!
True it is, that although pride and ambition do often excitę men ta cruelty, yet, without power they cannot practise it to near, the extent of their wishes, or seldom to any considerable degree. Unhappily for Christendom, as we have elsewhere observed, power has been bestowed
men; and this hath enabled them to fill the world with their abominations and their cruelties.
How much foever some persons may be inclined to cruelty, yet a fear of suffering in their reputations of offending the laws of God and man, and incurring present or future punishment, do undoubtedly restrain many from committing acts of barbarity. But when men are so far from being under these restraints, that they are abetted and encauráged by a numérous fraternity, and by human laws, to exercise the greatest cruelties; and also take it in their heads to fancy, or pretend, -- most impiously pretend, that Q2
they P Alexander V.
they are commanded by God to plague and torment their fellow-creatures, what inhuman monsters are such likely to become! and what diabolical acts of cruelty may not be expected from them!
Do not thefe several circumstances, when duly considered, in some measure account for Romijls ecclesiastics being more cruel, and exercising more horrid barbarities, than other persons of a civilized and learned education ?
SU PPL E M E N T
AVING in the last Effay mentioned
the ill consequences attending the veneration paid to the works of the fathers, especially by Roman Catholics who are designed for the service of the church; and that school divinity, in which great care is taken to instruct them, doth not only abound with vain and unprofitable, but ridiculous and indecent questions; and also that these mens being taught to read the romantic lives and lying legends of their saints with much devotion, frequently begets in them a belief of the moft improbable romances, and most notorious lyes and falsehoods, and causes them to mistake the rankest enthusiasm for the purest and most acceptable religion, and the highest Alights of madness for the truest devotion; I shall here, in proof of what is there alledged, give some specimens of these particulars : and first,
Of the erroneous doctrines, superstitious ceremonies, and belief of false miracles, inculcated by divers of the primitive fathers. To which will be added, the recital of three or four miracles from some of the most ancient church-historians, and a few extracts from the lives of saints.
SE C T I O N I.
BARBEYRAC, in his Traité de
la morale de peres de l'Eglife", plainly shews, that several of these fathers, by declaiming against marriage, and bestowing such extravagant encomiums upon celibacy, laid the foundation of the monastic life, and gave occasion for those unnatural vows, by which such multitudes of men and women oblige themselves to disobey that great command of God, Increase and multiply. This author occasionally, obferves, that the nuns are, by some of the fathers, frequently called the spouses of Chrift; and that St. Jerom gives Euftochium, a nun, the title of my lady, as being Christ's spouse, and to her mother that of God's mother-in-law'. Mr. Bar. beyrac further takes notice, that St. Cyrills
unintelligible ? Particularly in Ch. ii. 8. 7. C. iii. 9. 8. C. iv. 8. 37. C. xiii. §. 2.
I Ch, iv. §. 36.