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CONTAINING A succinct and genuine Account of their original and present
CONSTITUTION, Discipline, Doctrines, WORSHIP, and CEREMONIES : With a general Account of the various Sectaries of
lefs Note, since the first Establishment of Christianity. Including a general History of the REFORMATION, and so much of
Civil and Ecclefiaftical History as is connected with, or necessary to explain and illustrate the Work.
TO WHICH IS ADDED, A DICTIONARY of the principal Religious ORDERS, OFFICES, DAYS,
Rites, Customs, Habits, and CHARACTERS ; the most important TRANSACTIONS of Ecclefiaftical COUNCILS, SYNODS, &c. explaining all such ambiguous Words and Phrases as have a proper Connexion with the Subjects of this Hiftory.
By an IMPARTIAL HAND.
T HE SECOND EDITIO N.o
LONDON: Printed for C. HENDERSON, at the Royal Exchange; W. NIcoll, in St. Paul's Church Yard; and J. JOHNSON, opposite the Monument.
*O improve the Understanding in any
Branch of useful Knowledge, has ever been esteemed a laudable Pur
suit; and every Attempt to facilitate
* the Propagation of Knowledge, in Proportion to the Nature and Importance of the Subject, and the Propriety of the Method, will, it is presumed, meet with Approbation and Encouragement,
To obtain a Skill in the Sciences is, indeed, the Business and Profession only of a few Men of distinguished Abilities; but there are many who have Capacity and Leisure to improve and enrich their Minds in various Branches of Knowledge ; even the lower Order of Men have particular Callings and Concerns in Life, in which it behoves them to employ their Reason in the Use of proper Helps for their Improvement.
The common Duties and Benefits of Society, which interest every Man living, as he is a social Creature ; even our particular and necessary Relations to a Family, a Neighbourhood, or Government, oblige all Persons to exercise their reasoning Powers in a Variety of Cases, before they can come
to a prudent discreet Determination, and avoid
But every Man has a more important Concern
is a Matter of the highest Moment for every one
about the Things of Religion: 'Tis in vain for Per-
But, besides the right Knowledgeof those Princi-
Of all Changes, those in Religion which have
The Alteration that has been made in the established Religion of this Nation for little more than the two last Centuries, has produced such Effects every where, that it is no Wonder if all Persons defire to see a clear Account of the several Steps by which it advanced; of the Councils that directed it, and the Motives, both religious and political, that inclined Men of all Conditions to concur in it.
To lay before the Public a particular and impartial Account of the Constitution and Doctrine of the several Denominations of Christians, is the principal Intent of this Undertaking; and, upon the most mature Enquiry I have been able to make, I find the Doctrines and Tenets of all Denominations to have varied greatly from their original Constitution, and distinguishing Character.
This Observation will appear to be true, even with respect to the Roman Catholic Church, which has been most of all solicitous to preserve the Catholic Faith, as they call it, pure and uncorrupt. The wiser Part disclaim fome of their most absurd Doctrines, and discard and despise many of their ridiculous Ceremonies : Some Reformation has been made in these Respects by Churches of that Persuasion in different Nations of Europe ; and it is more than probable that many of the most serious and judicious Papists would be glad to see a greater Reformation even in the Fundamentals of their Religion,
Picart, under the Article of adoring the Cross, says, “ This Ceremony gives.great Scandal to Hereticsy who look upon this solemn Adoration on Good Friday as manifest Idolatry--would it not be better to decline fome Ceremonies which Catbolics are reduced to Shifts, Disguises, and Evasions