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Alexand. p.

Tranfi. &

236,- 237.

AND indeed, the Fathers have fo turn'd, and twisted the Scripture, with a pious Intention to make it fpeak nothing but what they thought agreeable to Reason; that they have render'd it like Ariftotle's Materia prima; nec quid, nec qual, nec qantum, nec aliquid eorum de quibus ens denominatur: For by making the Scripture, in fo many Places, fay one Thing, and mean another, they have deftroy'd its Certainty; fince as Le Clerc obferves, "If, according to this Life of Clem, "Method, the facred Writers had faid quite another Thing 54.55 Engl "than what they said, Or, if you will the quite contrary, Bibl. Univer yet One might find as good Sence in them; as thofe To. 10. p. "that will try it will presently observe. -Therefore the Chriftians, and the Jews wou'd have done much better to keep close to the Letter, than to use fo uncertain a Me"thod, to defend the holy Scripture against the Pagens.. B. ALL the Fathers do not allegorife like Origen; Justin. Martyr, for Inftance, afferts, that the Threatning, that In Dialo. cum the Day thou eateft thereof thou shalt furely dye, was lite-Typh. p. 89... rally fulfill'd, in that Adam did not live out a thousand Years; which, with God, is but one Day: But to go no: further than the Story of Abraham's proftituting his Wife; St. Ambrofe, to justify Abraham's Conduct, roundly afferts, Lib. 1, de Adultery to be no Crime before the giving of the Law c. 4. See Daille by Mofes. And St. Auflin makes Adultery ftill lawful, p. 271, 272. Husband and Wife confent. St. Jerom, indeed, runs into 16. c 25. the other Extream, and approves the Conduct who kill'd themselves, to preferve their Chaftity. most eloquent St. Chryfoftom enlarges very much mendation of Abraham and Sarah, and fays, thing gives a Husband more Uneafinefs, than to imagine his Wife has to do with another; yet this juft Man "did what he cou'd, even to accomplish the Act of AdulCC. ters

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Deufu Patr.

De civit. Dei. 1.

To. 6. p. 150.

of thofe, Cem, on Jon. But the pin Com-Hɔm, 32, in "Tho' no- Gen.


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tery. And adds, that Sarah too, (whom he fets as "a Pattern for all Marry'd Women) accepted the Propofal very couragiously; and then crys out, Who can enough admire this Readiness to obey her Husband? Who can fufficiently celebrate the Praifes of Sarah, who, after fo "long Continence, and at her great Age, readily confented to this Act of Adultery, and to let the Barbarian have the "Ufe of her Body, to fave her Husband?


A. MIGHT not thofe Fathers as well have allegoris'd, as talk'd thus abfurdly? 'Tis chiefly owing to the Papifts taking fome Words in a literal Senfe, relating to the eating the Flesh, and drinking the Blood of the Son of Man, that makes them to be of a different Religion from the Proteftants; and tho' two Parties may agree, in taking the fame Words in an allegorical Senfe; yet by allegorifing them differently, they may be of different Religions: By allegorifing fome Texts, the Jews have made the Meffiah a Temporal Prince; the Chriftians a Spiritual One. Lee Supplem. Mr. Whiston must think there are no Words fo plain, but to his Efay, are capable of being allegoris'd; fince, he fupposes the

b initio.

Vol. 2. p. 467.

Catholick Church has all along allegorifed plain LoveSongs, between Solomon and one of his Miftreffes, into fpiritual Hymns between Chrift and his Spouse, the Church. And what Dr. South muft have thought of the Revelations, I kave you to judge, when he does not fcruple to Tomb's Serm. call it a mysterious, extraordinary Book; which, perhaps, the more tis fudy'd, the lefs 'tis underflood; as generally finding a Man crack'd, or making him fo. And had not the Mahometan Divines had the Knack of allegorifing Nontence, Fools, and frantick Perfons wou'd not have been at's pref. had in fuch Honour and Reverence among the Musselmen, State of the only because their Revelations and Enthufiafns transported

Ottom. Emp.

B3, C4


them out of the ordinary Temper of Humanity. Therefore, upon the whole, I muft needs fay, Happy is the Man, who is fo far, at least, directed by the Law of Reason, and the Religion of Nature, as to fuffer no Myfteries, or unintelligible Propofitions, no Allegorics, no Hyperboles, no Metaphors, Types, Parables, or Phrafes of an uncertain Signification, to confound his Understanding. And certainly, the common Parent of Mankind is too good and gracious, to put the Happiness of All his Children on any other Doctrines, than fuch as plainly fhew themselves to be the Will of God, even to the ignorant and illiterate; if they have but Courage and Honefty to make use of their Reason Otherwife the Scripture wou'd not be plain in all neceffary Things; even to Babes and Sucklings.

B. You fuppofe then, that the Bulk of Mankind are taught by God himself, to know what Religion comes from him; even tho' they want Letters, to make 'em capable of understanding thofe external Proofs, on which all traditional Religions do, and must depend,




The Bulk of Mankind, by their Reason, must be able to distinguish between Religion and Superftition; otherwife they can never extricate themfelves from that Superftition they chance to be educated in.



ELIGION either does not concern the Majority, as being incapable of forming a Judgment about it; or it must carry fuch internal Marks of its Truth, as Men of mean Capacity are able to discover; or elfe notwithstanding the infinite Variety of Religions, All who do not understand the Original Languages their traditional Religions are written in, which is all Mankind, a very few excepted, are alike bound in all Places to pin their Faith on their Priefts, and believe in Men, who have an Intereft to deceive them; and who have feldom fail'd to do fo, when Occafion ferves.

CAN People, if incapable by their Reafon to diftinguifh Truth from Falfhood, have any Thing more to plead for the Truth of their Religion, than that they believe it to be


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the True Religion; because their Priests, who are hir'd to maintain it, tell them it was a dong While ago reveal'd to certain Perfons, who, as they, on their Priestly Words, affure them, were too wife to be impos'd on themfelves; and too honeft to impofe on others: And that no Change cou'd have been made in their Religion in After-times; the Care Men have of their own Souls, as well as their natural Af fections for Pofterity, obliging them from Generation to Generation, to hand down their Religion just as they receiv'd it: And that it was morally impoffible, Innovations fhou'd creep in, fince it wou'd be the highest Folly in any to attempt to introduce new Doctrines, as a Tradition receiv'd from their Ancestors; when all must know they had receiv'd no fuch Tradition. As This is all, the Bulk of Mankind, if they are not capable of judging from the Doctrines themselves of their Truth, can fay for their Religion; fo they, in all Places, make ufe of this Argument; and with equal Confidence aver, That, tho' all other traditionary Religions are full of grofs Falfhoods, and moft abfurd Notions, which their Priests impudently impofe on them as divine Truths; yet our own Priefts are fuch faithful Representers of Things, that One may as well queftion the Truth of all History, as the Truth of Things believ'd on their Authority. Priefts of other Religions, we know will lie for Intereft, and confcious that their traditional Religion will not bear Examination, guard it with penal Laws; but we can never fufpect, that our own Priests, tho' they take the fame Methods, act on the fame Motives.

THIS boafted Argument, in which Men of all Religions fo much triumph, if it proves any Thing, wou'd prove there never was, nor cou'd be any falfe Religion,



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