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William Nicholls.

A Conference with a Theist : containing an answer to all the most usual objections of the infidels against the Christian religion ... (Volume 1) online

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are uncapable of any Tillage, and bring forth hardly any
Thing profitable to Mankind. Now this, which has
puzzled the Wit of all the Heathen Worlds is fairly ac-
counted



"With a T H E I S T.

counted for in Mofss's Hiflory; when he relates this as a
Piinifhment for the Difobedience of our firft Parents.
I could yet urge farther, in behalf of this Hiftory of the
Fall, the Slownefs of the Education of Children, and
their natural Imbecillity above all other Creatures, the
Subje
tution, which by his Baptifm and Communion he has de-*
clared the greateil Veneration for. And truly a Man may
as well pretend to bear a great Refpe6l to the Government,
when he is always e?:pofing and traducing the King and
his fubordinate Magiftrates, as to pretend an Efleem to
Chriftianity, and to be always railing at its Miniffers.
This is a Praclice fo fhameful among Chriffians, that
would render them an Opprobry to Infidels, in leeing
them fo disgracing the Difpenfers of thofe Dodrines and
Iviyileries they hope to be faved by. Nay, to fpeak more
particularly, neither will the known Faults of fome, or
many Clergy-men, excufe this Cuftom ; becaufe, tho*^
fome are faulty, there are others v/ho confcientioufly per-
form their Diuy in all Pvefpeds ; and therefore to involve
all undci" the fafne Imputation is iliameful Injuftice. But

befides.



Part II. isuith a Theist, ' ■ 15

befidesj the Faults of a Clergy-man are of fo tender a
Nature^ and are of fo nigh a Concern to Chriftianity,
that for the Credit of Religion all good Men will be very
cautious of divulging them ; and therefore where-ever we
find Men forward to pick up and relate Stories of this
Nature, 'tis a certain Sign they are no Friends to the efta-
bliihed Religion, and is ufually a Sign that they are no
good Likers of the common Chriftianity. And truly,
Philologtify I muft own that the Gentlemen of your Sen -
timents have taken very proper Methods by vilifying the
Clergy to propagate your Opinions^ for this one Reafbn j
becaufe it may eafily be obferved, that the greateft Num^
ber of Atheifts and Deifts, in this Nation, is made up of
fuch, as have formerly, before they declared for Infidelity,
been the greateft Railers againfl: their Parfons. I v/ill not
determine whether this comes to pafs by the Judgment of
God, or the natural Tendency of the Thing ; but this
is certain, as far as my Obfervation can reach, that the
chiefefl: of the Body of thefe Infidels is made out of the
Antimonarchical and Rebellious Party of the late Reigns,
and the Republicans ip this ; Men that are grown fowr and
peevifti at the Mifcafriage of their Defigns, and exafpera-
ted againft the Clergy for their Oppofition to their Pra^
^ices ; and fo have refolved at laft to be revenged upon
Religion in Spight to its Minifters. But I'll warrant you
by that Smile, PhilolGgHSj you imagine that the Compli-*-
ance of the Clergy with the laft Reigns, and at laft with
the prefent Government, is the trueReafon of the Growth
of Infidelity now. I fhall leave the Gentlemen of that
Order to juftify their own Aflions, who know their own
Confcience beft. But thus much I will fay, that if the
Clergy of the Church of Englcmd had not complied with
the Government, we had had, by this Time, fuch a Medly
and Confufion in Religion, as would have made a great
many Men have naufeated all. For nothing can be {^
great a Caufe of Infidelity as the unlimited Licenfe of fa-
natical Zeal and Enthufiafm ; and for one Atheift or Deift
we have now, we lliould have had twenty then. And
it piay be we had been in as bad a Corxlition, if the Clergy



A Conference

had not vigoroufly oppofed the rebellious Principles and
Praftices of tbofe dangerous Phanaticks, and their Abet«-
lors, who were going to overthrow a lawful Government,
and an orthodox Church. So that I am fo far from con-'
demning the Practice of the Clergy of the Church of
England in thefe lad Reigns, that I highly approve it, both
as being very uniform, and of a Piece with its felf, and
very confonant to Reafon and Law. For by the fame
Rcafon they comply with this Government which is efta-
blifhed by Law ; they refufed to comply with the illegal
Demands of King James^ who was afting againft Law ;
and yet to their utmofl oppofed the unlawful Seditions,
and at laft Rebellion of fadtious People, who were for ad^
vancing the Title of a lawlefs Heir, who had no Pretence
to the Crown by any Law in the World, in Oppofitioa
to tv/o fucceflive Princes, who had undoubted Right to,
and were in a



Online LibraryWilliam NichollsA Conference with a Theist : containing an answer to all the most usual objections of the infidels against the Christian religion ... (Volume 1) → online text (page 14 of 47)