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pafsion, or any thing else besides impartial examination, can never recommend a man to God. For those ways have no merit in them, and are the worst a man can take to obtain truth; and therefore may be objects of forgiveness, but never of reward, from God.
Let not therefore any man deny Mr. WHISTON the liberty of profefsing and proposing his opinions on account of the dangerousness of error to his soul ; who, as far as we can judge, seems, by his conduct, both to do his best endeavours to obtain truth and to recommend himself to God, and to decline the worst methods of obtaining truth, and the most unacceptable to God.
17. If the question of the reasonableness of the open profession and det! fence of what men take to be the truth, in opposition to prevailing opinions, was to be determin'd by autority, I think Mr. WhistoN may lay claim
to the best autority, and has only the ¡ worst against him. C4 He
He has the autority of JESUS CHRIST, who oppos'd the false traditions receiv'd' in the Jewish church of his time; of the apostles, who travell’d throughout the world, preaching down the receiv'd notions both of Jews and Gentiles; of the fathers of the church before the empire became christian, who in their famous apologies written to emperors and senates, and in their other writings in behalf of christianity, have with the utmost freedom attack'd all that the heathens esteem'd sacred ; of thę nable army of martyrs in all ages, of the several christian countries, that send missionaries abroad to convert Heathens, Jews, Hereticks, and Mahometans, and of those coun. tries, that hospitably receive the said millionaries ; of all countries, that allow toleration ; of all true christi. ans and protestants; of our first re, formers from popery; of the greatest philosophers and wifest men of all times, who have either openly pro
fess’d their sentiments, or else have by their moderation and temper, or by their opposing persecution, or by their arts of concealment, sufficiently shown, what liberty they would have been glad to have taken themlelves, and would have allow'd to others; of all men, who judge for themselves ; and in fine, of all bigots, imposers, persecutors, and enemies of liberty themselves; for, as TILLOTSON (b) says, there is one seaSon and nick of time, wherein they will allow any of the people to examine and inquire into matters of religion, and that is when they would gain à man to their religion.
And who have been or are the men, that make up the autority on the other side ? The interested, the politicians, the hypocrites, the bigots, the enthusiasts,and the ignorant; who,all wanting reason to support their opinions, either make decisions themselves, or are govern'd by the decisions of others.
18. I (b) Tillotson's Serm, Vol. 13.Þ. 333.
18. I will conclude this apology for Mr. WHISTON with the pallage of a great prelate of our church.
« Autority is the greatest and most of irreconcileable enemy to truth,and “ argument, that this world ever fur“ nilh'd out, since it was in being.
All the sophistry, all the color of “ plausibility, all the artifice and cun, " ning of the subtilest disputer in the “ world, may be laid open,and turn'd " to the advantage of truth, which us they are design'd to hide, or to “ depress. But against autority there " is no defense. It is autority a" lone which keeps up the grosselt “ errors in the countries around us. " And where truth happens to be
receiv'd for the sake of autority, " there is just so much diminish'd " from the love of truth, and the “ glory of reason, and the acceptau bleness of men to God, as there is
attributed to autority.
.“ It was autority, which crush'd “ the noble sentiments of SOCRATES, " and others, in the heathen world; " and prevented the reception of " them among men. It was autority “ which hinder’d the voice of the " son of God himself from being os heard ; and which alone stood in “ opposition to his powerful argue “ ments, and his divine doctrine ; " whilft it was a more moving que“ ftion, among the people, to ask, 6 Do any of the Pharisees, or Doctors “ of the Mosaick Law believe in him? “ than to ask, whether ever man (pake « or liv’d, or work'd wonders like him; " and whilst excommunication, or be“ ing put out of the synagogue, was o the mark set upon those who “ should embrace his religion. It « was autority among heathens, " which afterwards put all the stop " to Christ's profession, which this “ world could put. And when " christians were increas'd into a ma“ jority; and came to think the same