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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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gion, am in as comfortable a Way of Salvation, as e'er
a Gofpeller of you ail.

Cred, 1 think. Sir, you conclude a little too fafl", \^hen God mori
you fay, that you modern Theifts are in as good Hopes /^^''^''^ ^
of everlafting Happinefs, as the old Lleathen ; for I take x/^Jv'/?/,
your Cafes to be very different. They, poor People, ne- than anci^
ver were in a Capacity of receiving the glad Tidings of '^'-^ ^^^z
the Gofpel, or they were poffeffed with fuch invincible ^ ''^'^^*
Prejudices of Education under a fuperftitious Worfhip,
that they could not receive the blelfed Seed to Improve-
ment ; v/hich, without all Doubt, God will make great
Allowances for. But the Perfons of your Way, after
having received the Seed of God's Word, have trampled
upon it ; you have feen the Light of the Gofpel, and
ihut your Eyes upon it; you have turned Renegadoes to

youj



19^ ^ Conference

your bkffcd Redeemer, and perfidioufly deferred his Tn-
ftitution, which in your Baptifm you fwore to live and
die under. So that you are ftrangely miftaken, to think
that your Condition hereafter will be as good as the old
Pagans. Your Cafes are as wide, as thole of Foreigners
and Domeftick Rebels, in a Civil War ; their Obedience
was not expeded by Chriil:, but you have traiteroufly de-
ferted him, and fought againfl him, contrary to your
fworn Allegiance. So that whatever Mercy they may
find at God's Hand, you can exped nothing but the ut-
mole Severity.
Benthem And then as for the Cafe of the Heathens, which you
'ticl-m^'' ^vould Willingly skreen your felves under; tho' I cannot
be fo uncharitable as to think, that all they are concluded
under eternal Damnation, for not being of a Religion they
never heard of; yet I can fee no Grounds to believe they
fhall ever be Heirs of ourChrifrian Salvation, or that State
of Glory which Chriil: has promifed to his Followers^
To htfivcd^ or to partake of whatfoever Glories are com-
prehended under that Name, is the peculiar Privilege of
us Chriflians ; for the Scripture fays plainly, there is jto
ether Nvtme given under Heaven^ by which ive may cxpeEl
Salpation^ but onlj the Name of ottr Lord Jefm Chrtfi; that
VQ Man Cometh to the Father but by him ; that God added to
: the Chmxh fuch as fl^ould be fived, and the like. So that
a Heathen has no niore Title or Probability to he fivedy
than I have to be a Nobleman of Venice. Becaufe Sal-
ivation y as I obferved, is the peculiar Chriftian State of
Glory, that Place which our Saviour fays he is gone to pre-
pare fir tu^ John xiv. 3 . So that, tho' the Heathen may
probably have other Vkces^ or States of Glory, ours does
not belong to them. Nay, it is hardly reconcileable with
the diRnburive juftice of God, to advance unregenerate
Heathens to the* f?.mie State of Happinefs, as thofe that are
redeemed by the Blood of his Son, baptifed into his Crofs,
have partaken of his Sufferings, and have denied and
mortified the deareH of their Afic^riions in Obedience to
his Commafids.

But



JPart It. with ^ T H E i s 1^. ip^

But, however, , I doubt not but that God may in ano- tP^jat other
ther manner make Prbvidon for the honeil fober Pagans in P>-ovifion
another World ; for in that very Verfe^ in which our ^^f ^^"y
Saviour fays, He goes to prepare a Place for us Chriflians > X!^
iie tells us, That in his Father's Hottfe are many Manfions*
There are many glorious Places or Seats ih the Univerfe,
unto which thefe good People may be transferred, there to
enjoy a confiderable Happinefs, though very unequal to
the Joys of our Chriftian Paradife, Our Manflon or
State of Happinefs feems to be the choiceft of all the reft,
one of our Saviour's own choofing and taking up. Jn
my Father s Houfe are ?nany Manfions ; if it were not fo^ I
would have told jou \ I go to prepare a Place for yoti. It is a
Metaphor taken from a Harbinger's Office : And the
Senfe is this : Let not jour HeaYts be troubled^ ye believe in
Gody believe alfo in ?nc. In my Fathers Honfij 8cc, 1 would
not. have you difmayed upon my Sufferings, and be dif-
truftful about your future State, upon your being initiat-
ed into a hew Sed of Religion, as if you were not to
enjoy fo much Happinefs hereafter as the Jews, or other
Seds of religious Worfhip in the World fhall ; for in my
Father s Houfe are many Manfions ; thd'e jfhall be fome De-
grees of Happinefs, fqme Seat of Bleffedhefs for good Peo-
ple of all Sorts; But I go and prepare a Place for you^ I who
am the beloved of my Father, and the chiefeil: in his
Gloryi will obtain a Place of the moft extraordinary Hap-
pinefs for you to abide ins

So that at laft, though it itiould be granted, that you
Theifls, that have had a Chriftian Education^ ftiould be
admitted to the State of good Pagans in another World ;
yet you are a very narrow-foui'd People^ i:hat you will
afpire to no higher a Degree o^ Happinefs, when it lies ea-
(y before you, only by maintaining your Gofpel-Covc-
nant, which in your Baptifrn you have engaged to^

PhiL That is more. Credent ius, than I liave Faith to
believe yet ; 1 have a great rhany Rubs to gd over, before
I can come to that. But, however, I have no Abliorrerice
to your Chriftian Worfhip, I can go to your Churches
iipon Occqfiqn? hear a Sermon, and fay my Prayers with



i^4- ^ Conference

you, without any Check of Confcience at all. 1 nave n6
Reafon to think, but I might lawfully go to an Indian
Fagod, and worfhip the fupreme Deity, though under
the Pveprefentation of a horft-faced Imcige. I fhould ne-
ver flick out to pray to him among Alahomctam in a Turkr
iftj Mofque, orhearMafs in a Pof^:> Chapel; nay, lam of
Opinion, I might, as one expreifes it, Summi Entis vim-
adorare inflofculo ^5 adore the Power of the fupreme Be-
ing in a little Flower. For the principal Part of all Reli-
i^Lons is the fame, viz.-. Morality and a good Life, and
the common Notions of Good and Evil ; fo that I do
but laugh at all tlie little Squabbles of fo many angry Sedis
in the World ohe 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, fo that I have no Reafon to forbear Com-
munion v/ith the worfl: of them. Indeed mod of them
have added fome Superflrudures of their own to natural
Religion, which 1 do not approve ; but I can ftep over
a hundred Things of this Nature^ for the fake of Peace
and Ur jty. And to fpeak freely, I could never approve
your Chriilian Zeal and earneft Prayer, to have all the
World of the fame Chriftian Religion ; for, as the King
of Siam has cbferved, the Diverfity of religious Wor-
fhips is one of the great Beauties of the Univerfe. For
fays tr.at wife Prince to the Perfon who came to him in
the Name of an EmbafTador from the French King, and
propofed to him his turning Chriftian, Ijvondcrthat Prince
(Jjorddfo bufj h'mfclf in a Mater relating to God^ for which
'there is no Sign that God does fheiv any Concern himfelf as
IcAvimr it altogether to Mans Difiretion. For (fays he) the
true God who created FJeaven and Earthy and all the Crea-^
iures co?r*j>rehended therein, and who has endowed them "ivith
Natures and Inclmaiiom [0 various, had it plsafid him, when
he (rave Men Bodies and Souls alike, he could have infufed
into them, the fame Sentiments of the Rcllgicn they were topro-
fefsy and have united all Nations under one Laav, But 'tis
* vivioHS-i that Providence permits Fariet J of SeEis and Opini"

* /n F.piriicci a Dcir.- in PrizccviusV Vrorks, p. ^00.

onSy



Part 11. ipjith .1: T H E I s T. 195

v'ns^ hecdufe God takes as much Pleafure to he adored 7mh
different Forms of IVorpip and Ceremonies^ as to be glorified
hy the wonderful Diverftty of hps Great irresy whofe various
beauties fct forth his infinite Povjtr, So that, in fnort, Cre-
dentins^ I think it every Man's Duty to comply with the
Religion edabliilied in his Country, whatever his private
Thoughts may be concerning it ; and that God Almj'gh-
ty is fatisfied with the inward Worlliip of the Mind,
though for Peace Sake he complies with an erroneous out-
ward one. Buti however, I hold his Folly iiiexcufable,
that will expofe himfelf to Suffering and Contempt, ra-
ther than comply with a few fimple Niceties^ which
particular Seds and Nations are fond of; when all of them
own natural Religion for their Foundation. In a Word,
as fome have beaded themfglves to be Citizens, fo I am a
Church-man of the whole World ; and though you per-
haps may be offended at me for an extravagant Latitudina-
rian, yet lam fure 1 have more Reafon on my Side-, than
thofe narrow-iburd People, that are hedging in Salvation,
and keeping their Communion only withih the Bounds
of a little pakiy Se

I. What horrid Hypocrify and Didimulation it is, to 'Tis Uy^
communicate v/ith a Religion, that you do not believe "'^i^-
a Tittle of the Truth of There cannot be a greater
Falfity and Cheat in all the World than this is. To tell
.'4 Lie, or to ait a Hiuffiing Trick in bargaining, or the
hke, Icldom deceives but a very few; but fuch a wicked
Dillimuiationj in Matters of Reiiijions deceives a whole

O 2 Congre-



196



A CoNFEKENCE



Congregation j or it may be in a Man of Figure, a whoffi
Nation This is the bafeft Ad which any Man of Ho-
nour, or any Prete?ice to Virtue can condefcend to, foper-
fidioufly to deny the Truth, to make Ufe of fuch falfe
Art



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 18 of 47)