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. But, however, I doubt not but that God may in año. What other ther manner make Provision for the honest sober Pagans in Provision another World; for in that very Verse; in which our God may Saviour says, He goes to prepare a Place for us Christians ; hom
.. make for
So that at last, though it should be granted, that you
you, without any Check of Conscience at all. I have no Reason to think, but I might lawfully go to an Indian Pagod, and worship the supreme Deity, though under the Representation of a horse-faced Image. I should ne-. ver stick out to pray to him among Mahometans in a Turkish Mosque; or hear Mass in a Popish Chapel; nay, I am of Opinion, I might, as one expresses it, Sumni Entis vim adorare in flofculo *, adore the Power of the supreme Being in a little Flower. For the principal part of all Religions is the same, viz. Morality and a good Life, and the common Notions of Good and Evil; so that I do but laugh at all the little Squabbles of so many angry Sects in the World one with the other ;, for my Part I fall out with none of them, for they all agree with me as far as my Creed goes, so that I have no Reason to forbear Communion with the worst of them. Indeed most of them have added fome Superstructures of their own to natural Religion, which I do not approve ; but I can step over a hundred Things of this Nature, for the sake of Peace and Unity. And to speak freely, I could never approve your Christian Zeal and earnest Prayer, to have all the World of the fame Christian Religion ; fors as the King of Siam has observed, the Diversity of religious Worships is one of the great Beauties of the Universe. For fays that wise Prince to the Person who came to him in the Name of an Embassador from the French King, and proposed to him his turning Christian, I wonder that Prince Thould so busy himself in a Matter relating to God, for which there is no Sign that God does shew any Corcern himself, as leaving it altogether to Man's Discretion. For (says he) the true God who created Heaven and Earth, and all the Creatures comprehended therein, and who has endowed them with Natures and Inclinations fo various, had it pleased him, when be gave Men Bodies and Souls alike, he could have infused into thene the fame Sentiments of the Religion they were to profefs, and have unised all Nations under one Lav. But 'tis bô vious, that Providence permits Vuriety of Sects and Opinia
* in Epistic of a Deist in Prizcovius's Works, p. 600.
. ons, Pns, because God takes as much Pleasure to be adored with different - Forms of Worship and Ceremonies, as to be glorified by the wonderful Diversity of his Creatures, whose various Beauties set forth his infinite Pover. So that, in short, Credentiss, I think it every Man's Duty to comply with the Religion established in his Country, whatever his private
Thoughts may be concerning it ; and that God Almighty is fatisfied with the inward Worship of the Mind, though for Peace Sake he complies with an erroneous outward one. But, however, I hold his Folly inexcufable, that will expose himself to Suffering and Contempt, rather than comply with a few simple Niceties, which particular Sects and Nations are fond of; when all of them own natural Religion for their Foundation. In a Word, as fome have boasted themselves to be Citizens, so I am a Church-man of the whole World; and though you perhaps may be offended åt me for an extravagant Latitudinarian; yet I am sure I have more Reason on my Side, than those narrow-foul'd People, that are hedging in Salvation, and keeping their Communion only within the Bounds of a little paltry Sect. .
Cred. I thank you, Sir, for this great Freedom, for Nor indifby this Frankness you have laid open the very Soul of ferent, to Deism; but withal have given such a vile Character of it, Relicia as no honest Man would be very fond of embracing it.
I am afraid there are too great a Number of Men in the s e : World of these Sentiments, and by whom Religion suffers more than by avow'd Atheists; for those are open and ge- '. nerous Enemies, whilst the other are striking at the Virals of the Church, as they lie foster'd in her Bofom. But that you may understand how unreasonable and wicked this Opinion is, be pleased with me a little to consider,
1. What horrid Hypocrisy and Diffimulation it is, to 'Tis Hypoa communicate with a Religion, that you do not believe crisy. a Tittle of the Truth of. There cannot be a greater Falsity and Cheat in all the World than this is. To tell a Lie, or to act a shuffling Trick in bargaining, or the like, seldom deceives but a very few; but such a wicked Dillimulation, in Matters of Religion, deceives a whole
ngregation, or it may be in a Man of Figure, a whole : Nation This is the basest Act which any Man of How nour, or any Pretence to Virtue can condescend to, so perfidiously to deny the Truth, to make Use of such false · Arts, and such little creeping Tricks, to persue an Ado vantage. But what is worst of all, it is the most intolerable Affront toʻGod Almighty that can be imagined, to offer to pay a Worship to him, which we are conscious, that neither he nor our selves do approve, and to join in
Prayers and Devotions, which we know must be an Abo• mination to him. Which must, Sometimeslo 2. Be more wicked, when the Worship you join with Idoiatry. is downright idolatrous. : What Excuse can you make
for worshiping or falling down before a Popis Host, which you believe to be only a Wafer, and you pay to it the - Worship due to the supreme God? How can you with· out Horror think of worshiping an Indian Idol, with * Pretence it is but a Symbol of the Deity, when ʼtis gene
rally but the Representation of some horrid Figure the Devil uses to appear to them in? You may talk what you please of the Extensiveness of your Communion; but I protest, I amh fcar'd at such a Religion as you pretend to, and I think you had better, with the Atheists, openly
bid Farewel to all, and lay Claim to none. Morality. 3. As to what you aflert, that the Morality of all Re1.0t the ligions is the same, and is the principal part of them; I Lime in all think, that is a great Mistake. For many Religions are Religioks.. fo made up of ceremonious Foppery, that Morality is
: little taken Notice of in them; and some retain such dan
gerous Errors and Faults in their Doctrine and Worship, · that there is no Communion with them, without Violati
on of moral Honesty, or intrenching upon the Dictates of natural Religion. As when the Worship is idolatrous,
u hen wrong and injurious Notions are entertain'd of God's · Nature, when dead Men, Devils, or Images have divine Ho: pours paid them; when Indulgences are granted to Sin, and • Crimes are pretended to be pardoned without Repentance; : whena good Intention 1:all be allow'd to justify evil Adions, and the like. So that there is no communicating with
such Religions, without committing an Offence goain the ordinary Rules, even of natural Religion, and focus
matically and perfidiously deserting that true Religia - we have been educated in. . . : osc?. 3 ;!. · 4. As to what you say concerning every Man's being vest ainsiya obliged to be of the established Religion of his Country's 50........
? Religion and to profess (to speak in the usual Way) all the Tales which the supreme Magistrate shall think fit to allow; Iiry. look upon this to be the wildest of all Hobbs's filly Para. doxes. For if the Magistrate be the publick Conscience by which all Men are to be governed, as he afferts, why did God give every Mana Conscience of his own, which natural Religion informs us, every one is to be governed and judged by ? There are very few Men can quier their own Consciences,after the Commission of a grievous Crimé, only because their Prince might allow it ; or believe a Ballad to be Holy Scripture, though there was an Act of Parliament to call it so. But if we must be of the Religion, which the Magistrate enjoins, we must make the Magistrate, God Almighty; for no one has Authority to command any religious Doctrine to be believed, but God.' Besides, this Opinion would make Religion the most trilling and inconstant Thing in the World; a Min might change his Religion as often as he does his Cloaths; and the poor Men of the Frontiers in Flanders should be Papists, Calvinists, or Lutherans, three different Religions, in so many Moons. This would be to render contempoible the noblest Thing we are capable of doing, the Ser, vice we owe to Almighty God, and to make it the Sport and May-game of prophane and acheistical Men, ..
5. But whereas you assert, That God Almighty will sin outbe satisfied with the inward good Intention and Worship w.urilly to of the Mind, whilst you outwardly comply with the complys: most false and erroneous Worship : This Opinion will open a Gate to all the Deceit and Villany in the World. ion. Upon this Principle, Men may murder and steal, for the Glory of God; and cut Men's Throats, to live their Souls. There would be no tying any Man by Oath or £ompa; lingua jurari, mentem injuratam gero, would
u with a