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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.


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 History.



LONDON: Printed for C. HENDERSON, at the Royal Exchange; W. Nicoll, in * St. Paul's Church Yard; and J. Johnson, opposite the Monument.


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*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 En-

To obtain a Skill in the Sciences is, indeed, the
Business and Profession only of a few Men of distin-
guished 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 Rela-
tions to a Family, a Neighbourhood, or Govern-
ment, oblige all Persons to exercise their reasoning
Powers in a variety of Cases, before they can come

A 2


to a prudent discreet Determination, and avoid

those Errors which would naturally be attended

with unhappy. Consequences,

But every Man has a more important Concern

in the Affairs of a Life to come; and therefore it

is a Matter of the highest Moment for every one
* to understand, to reason, and to determine justly

about the Things of Religion: 'Tis in vain for Per-
sons in general to say, We have no Leisure or Time;
when the daily Intervals and Vacancies from neces
sary Labour, together with the One Day in Seven,
in the Christian World, allow a sufficient Time
for such Pursuits : And if Men would but apply
themselves hereto, with half as much Zeal and Di-
ligence as they do to the Trifles and Amusements of
this Life, it would turn to infinitely better Account.

But, besides the right Knowledge of those Princi-
ples and Duties which are of the greatest Concern-
ment, there are some Branches of Study, which
have a most apparent Tendency to entertain as well
as to improve ; and, of this Kind, some Subjects of
History will claim the Preference; and, perhaps,
there is no Part of History better received than
the Account of great Changes and Revolutions in
States and Governments.

Of all Changes, those in Religion which have

been sudden and signal, are enquired into with the

most eager Curiosity; and, where the Salvation of

Souls has been chiefly aimed at, and the Credit,

Honour and Interest of Churches promoted and

established, the more Pious and Judicious will find

their Satisfaction much more than compensate the

seeming Trouble of their Search into the Reality

and Circumstances thereof.


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 folemn 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


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