Billeder på siden

Crafty, (whò govern the two former) doj most of all men, conceal their religious fena timents from the world, which, if they happen in confidence to discover to him, he without scruple publishes (c) in print : facrificing his understanding to the obedience of faith, and believing mysteries į and not rejecting even the Athanafian creed it felf (tho’ in his opinion contradictory in it felf, and to reason) but only as not grounded ón scripture and antiquity : following fome practises how rigid and seemingly ridiculous Toever, and how remote soever from the praAtises of the age and country, wherein he lives; which he thinks requir'd by CHRIST and his apostles (which has made fome people wonder, that he continues, as in the time of his darkness; to have his beard; contrarý to the express declaration of the (d) Åpo. ftolick conftitutions) finding out and seeing clearly the revolutions of all the following ages, both past and to come, in the writings of the prophets; and in the Reven lation of St. John: taking up with all manner of false proofs in behalf of christianity, such as forg'd books, forg'd passages, preca rious suppolitions, tales, and sham-miracles, as well as with the most fubftantial proofs : : .. T 2


(6) See bis Hiftor. Pref. and Allix's Remarks on Whio ftön's Papers. ..

(d) Aböjtöl, Comftit. 1. do ..

Endeavouring (e) to explain fcripture diffculties ; wherein, tho? 'he, like others, who have meddled with the fame fubje&t, has riot fuccceded, as Dr. HARE says, yet he has shown his zeal : holding (f) a fociety in his own house of honest and inquisitive men of all parties and notions among christians, in order to search after, and find out, genuine and original christianity; and in fine, as much in earnest, as some others seem to be in jest. * He is the very reverse of many most eminent divines. He thinks himself oblig'd in conscience to be dutiful, fubmissive, and loyal to his Majesty, to whom he has sworn allegiance; and it is not a church point with him to akt one way and pray and swear another, or not to be in earnest in those two most serious and folemn actions. He speaks what he thinks, and is not guilty of the contradiction of making the christian religion a matter of great importance, and yet concealing his thoughts about the particulars of that religion ; any more than he is of prafefsing a religion which he does not believe. He pays no regard to fashionable doctrines ; nor to fashionable diyines, who, in obedience

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

(e) Hare's Diffic. and Discourage. p. 7. See Whiffon's Dedication to his Chron. p. 4. ...

(f) Whiston's Pref. to Letter to the Earl of Nottingham, P:?:

to one another and in harmony, vary, change, and regulate the faith of the vulgar. He will not be bound by articles which he has fubfcrib’d, but renounce them, when he judges them erroneous; nor will he subscribe arti; cles, which he does not believe true,, or subscribe them in senses contrary to those design'd by the imposers. He renounces all prer ferments, and will not so much as receive money from (s) infidel hands. And he thinks himself oblig'd to imitate the apostles in their low eftate ; and he believes it no less inconsistent with christianity, to aim at and contend for, and to possess that worldly greatness and wealth, which their pretended successors of the Romish church enjoy and contend for as due to them by the gospel, than to contradict the apostles in other respects.

He is a zealous member (1) of the church of England, as by law establish'd: keeping to that church i tho several parts of the worship therein perform'd be, in his opinion, blafphemy and contradiction ; tho’ he knows he hears daily thę most absurd, sophistical, declamatory, and factious discourses from the pulpit; tho' he be attack'd and abus'd on most sundays from that high place to the understanding of the auditory, who on such


(9) Second Append. to Hift. Pref. p. 58.

(b) Papers relating to Mr. Whilton's Canse, p. 108– 171.

occasions turn their eyes upon him ; tho'hé be refus'd to partake of the blessed facra ment; which (1) goes péar his heart, and thoʻ he bę forbid coming to church by the rector of his parish, who has endeavour'd to set the mob upon him.. * But his judgment does not seem to be equal to his fagacity, learning, zeal, and integrity:

For, either thro' thë prejudices of education, ' which he still retains, or thro' fome fuper

stition, which, notwithstanding his examination, sticks by him, he feems still qualify'd to admit the most precarious fuppositions, and to receive many things without the leaft foundation. The warmth of his temper difpofes him to receive any sudden thoughts, any thing that strikes his imagination, when favourable to his preconceiv'd scheme of things, or to any new schemes of things, that serve; in his opinion, a religious purpose. And his imagination is so strong and lively on these occasions, that he sometimes even supposes facts, and builds upon those facts. Thus, for example, he acted in the (k) case of an Arabick manuscript (whereof he understood not one word) which he hoped was or took to have been a translation of an ancient book (1) of scripture, belonging to the New Te


(i) Poffcript to his Hift. Pref. p. 72. Papers relating to his Cause, p. 156, &c. (k) Advertis. before Prini, Christ, Vol. I, p. t.

(1) Reply to Allix, p. 33,

ftament, and written by the apostles, styl'd, the doctrine of the apostles, and propos'd to publish it as such. But when it came to be read by men skilful in the Arabick tongue, it prov'da translation of another book before extant in print in its original language. And thus, tho' he be a lover of truth, yet by his warmth of temper, he is drawn in and engag'd so far in the belief and defence of many things, as gives a turn to his understanding, and there by makes his conviction of mistakes in some cases difficult, and in others, perhaps, impofsible.

He did, soon after his conviction of the errors of his education, in a proper manner, both by discourses and writings, declare openly his religious sentiments, which as an honest man he could not conceal. And he most submissively address’d (m) himself, in particular, to both the archbishops, and to several of the bithops, and other learned divines, and to the convocation, and to both the universities, offering to lay before them papers for their examination, which have been since publish'd; wherein he pretended to discover the true, old, original christianity, from which all christians had for many ages before the reformation departed, when, according to him, a part only of primitive christianity was reviv’d.But this


(m) See his Historical Preface.

« ForrigeFortsæt »