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sons, each of which has the nature and all eflential attributes and perfections of the one only true God, and are all equal in power and wisdom; and call this horrible invention unsearchable mystery: That these priests and creed-makers should farther dare to add to this doctrine of a trinity, the doctrines of original Sin, infinite Satisfaction, and eternal punishments; the doctrines of adoration of images, praying to a dead woman, angels, and saints, purgatory, seven sacraments, tranfubJlantiation, adoration of the sacramental bread, auricular confesjion, and the supremacy of a pope j and so far pervert the principal end of the gospel, (which was solely to induce men to the practice of solid virtue and inward holiness,) as instead thereof to substitute innumerable commutations of penances, pilgrimages, indulgencies, and such outward bodily exercises, as have quite outdone the Jewish rites, and translated the religion of Christ from the inward to the outward man, from the spirit
to the flesti, from the soul to the body j
This is a surprizing incident, we must confess. With amazement we fee the doctors depart from the written word to tradition and fancy, and follow giddy imagination into the wood of errors and superstitions. We must own they have brought the worship of God to nothing. They teach for doctrines the commandments of men.
S 2 Nor Nor is' this the whole of the fad affair. 'We must allow Christianity is fb greatly debased, that if any of us resolve to trust in the Lord, and Will not lean to the understanding of the priests; will not bow down to their pride, nor subscribe to their ungoverned devices; will t>nly serve Almighty God, and act up tothe propriety of reason and nature; rejecting the worship of Mary and saints, the wafer and posts, and the mysterys which have cost them so much care and pains; and making it our single aim to improve in divine knowledge and true goodness, and become perfect in holiness, by faithful watchfulness and constant efforts; then they proceed upon bloody principles, and, contrary to the rules of the gospel, doom u« to the most dreadful inflictions by their decrees of councils, which are more binding than the divine law, according to the doctrine of the Romish church. This is a frightful picture of christian religion. How can we account for the thing?
The reason is, noble Znlima, that true religion had still the some adversarys to encounter with, the devil and paffions of men. They introduced idolatry, polytheism, and cruelty, into Christianity. The mystery of iniquity began to work even in the days of she apostles, and in process of time perverted the truth. In the place of faith in one supremeover-ruh'tig spirit, and one mediator or substitute, the glorifyed Je/us, in the place of laws for the perfecting of the saints, and all the sacred institutions of christianity, peperi brought in tricks and charms, and forms and ceremonys, mediators innumerable, a queen of heaven, and a trinity in unity. The devil and the popish priests in conjunction destroyed very early that proper, spiritual, true devotion, which is worthy the supreme Being, and becoming. the relation we bear to him; destroyed primitive order, and the sober beautys of holyness; and instead of them, introduced the Romish mass, and rites the most ridiculous and burthensome; successors of the pagan gods in officiary dignity, relics, bulls, plenary indulgences, notes to St. Peter, privileged altars, and papal securitys: In short, such invented pietys, forgerys, and fables as are worthy of laughter and of tears; of laughter, for their improbability and absurdity; and worthy of tears, as those wicked men have imposed them on the world for christian religion.
It was impossible for popery at once to arrive at this height of audaciousness and impiety, and therefore, her infernal spirit by degrees formed the apostacy we have at present. Till the state became christian, in the reign of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great, about 312 years after Christ, the papal tyranny could make no appearance, nor
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give disturbance to the world for want of civil power. Its theologers only speculated. They could not act. But when this emperor turned christian, built beautiful churches, gave them rich plate, and endowed them with lands to support the ministers of religion, then pride and ambition began to rule in the breasts of the bishops of Rome, and to corrupt the whole clergy. And as the successors of Constantine continued the same favors to the ecclesiastical state, the secular and spiritual powers were soon blended, and the vilest disorders ensued, both in theory and practice. The popes became absolute princes in the year 756, and appeared one after another mere monsters of men. And the prelates frequented the courts of kings j were of their councils, and as feudatorys commanded armies. They medled in the government and consultations of state, and the fame persons were bishops, counts and dukes. The very monasterys te- • gan to acquire fiefs and baronys. Riches and power engrossed the souls of the priests, and the sacred spiritual office was intirely disregarded. Then corruption, like a wasting flood, overspread the christian world, and the religion of the holy Jesus was almost lost in the new abominable religion of Rome. The merciless spirit of popery now raged. Idolatry every where prevailed. The spirit
tuality, purity, and reasonableness of the christian worship were intirely destroyed by the execrable priests. Religion had lost its life and power.
But notwithstanding this deplorable corruption of the holy religion, and that the church had abandoned herself to a reprobat state , had lost her beautiful simplicity, and appeared with the ornaments of gold and pretious stones: that the popes became unmindful of the divine commands, and the salvation of souls, and applyed their minds wholly. to mundane greatness, — to secure that worldly grandeur they had acquired by forgery and villany: that the clergy in general were no longer the dispensers of divine things —- no longer regarded sanctity of life, the advancement of truth, and love towards God and man; but most audaciously and shamefully abandoned themselves to ambition, covetousness, and the most abominable licentiousness: And that the catholic, apostolic, and primitive doctrines were by them changed into direct impietys, and things destructive of christian society: Yet still, the eternal truths which Christ and his apostles taught, were preserved in the sacred records of our divine religion, and resided in the purity of the hearts of the faithful few. Some pious and true christians there were in all the nations of christendom, who abhorred the
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