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" method to be the only proper one, "s for the advantage of their cause, " which had been the enemy and o destroyer of it: then, it was the

autority of christians, which, by “ degrees, not only laid waste che " honor of christianity, but well 4 nigh extinguish'd it from amongst "men. It was autority, which * brought in all that merciless heap * of useless and burchensome foppe“ ries; prayers in an unknown " congue; prayers to multitudes of " beings; and the whole load of " absurdities and depravations of the " religion, under which the christi“ an people were in captivity, till " they became gross and weighty “ enough at last, to break the props

that supported them. It was autority, which would have prevented “ all reformation, where it is; and “ which has put a barrier against it, “ where-ever it is not. It was besman autority in religion, which a** lone set up itself against the begin

“ nings

* nings of this Church of England "itlelf; and which alone now con

tests with it the foundation upon

which it ftands. This autority: “ was at first exercis'd in little by " those, who were so far from pre“ tending to such enormities, as it * afterwards arriv'd at, that they « would have detested and abhorr'd " the thought of them. And to it “ will be, for ever, and every where. " The calling in the, Assistance of mere autority, even against errors, " or trifles in religious matters, ar“ first, will by insenlible degrees come “ to the very same issue, that it has “ been ever hitherto seen to end in. o And how, indeed, can it be exs pected, that the same thing, which “ has in all ages, and in all coun“ tries, been hurtful to truth and true religion, among men, should " in any age, or in any country, be“ come a friend and guardian of " them ; unless it can be shewn that “ the nature of mere autority, or the


6 nature of man, or both, are intire." “ ly alter'd from what they have « hitherto been. For it is not in " religion, as it is in the civil con«. cerns of human life. The end of “ human society is answer'd by outward behaviour, and actions; which " therefore, ought to be restrain'd

and govern'd by civil autority. But " the end of religion, and of the chri"stian religion, in particular, is destroy'd, just in proportion to the

influence of great names; and to " the effect of worldly motives, and “ mere autority of men, separated " from the arguments of reason, and " the motives and maxims of the gospel itself."


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