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the general vitiousness and debauchery of their priests and monks, will be over-forward to believe, that all those who debar themselves of lawful marriage, do abstain from those unlawful pleasures.
$ 6. But nothing can be more impudent than what he adds, that “if we look into histories for experience of “ what hath passed in the world since the first planting " of Christianity, we shall find far more particulars failing “ in propagating their kind than their faith.” Do any histories confirm it to have been the experience of the world, that the, far greatest part of the world did in any age give over propagating their kind? But histories do confirm, that the far greatest part of the Christian world did fall off to Arianism and Pelagianism, and consequently, as he supposeth, did desert and renounce tradition, Did ever whole nations and vast territories of the world either wholly, or for the far greatest part of them, take up an humour against propagating mankind ? and yet both history, and the experience of the present age, assures us, that a great part of Asia and of Africk, where the most flourishing churches in the world once were, are fallen off from Christianity, and become either Mahome. tans or Heathens. In Africk almost all those valt regions which Christianity had gained from Heathenism, Mahométanism hath regained from Christianity. All the North part of Africk, lying along the Mediterránean, where Christianity flourished onceas much as ever it didat Rome; is at this time utterly void of Christians, excepting a few towns in the hands of the European princes. And, not to mention all particular places, the large region of Nubia, which had, as is thought, from the Apostles time professed the Christian faith, hath, within thefe 150 years, for want of ministers, (as Alvarez, Hift. Æthiop. tells us), quitted Christianity; and is partly revolted to Heathenism, partly fallen off to Mahometanism. So that it seems, that, notwithstanding the argument of hope and fear, the very teachers of tradition may fail in a largely extended church. As for Asia, in the Easterly parts of it, there is not now one Christian to four of what there were 500 years ago : and, in the more Southerly parts of it, where Christianity had taken the deepest root, the Christians are far inferior in number to the
idolaters and Mahometans, and do daily decrease. What thinks Mr. S. of all this? Have those Christian nations which are turned Mahometans and Pagans, failed in their faith or not? If they have, I expect from him clear inItances of more that have failed in propagating their kind.
67. But besides those who have totally apoftatized from Christianity, hath not the whole Greek church, with the Jacobites and Neltorians, and all those other sects which agree with and depend upon these, and which, taken together, are manifoldly greater than the Roman church
; I say, have not all these renounced tradition for several ages? And here, in Europe, hath not a great part of Poland, Hungary, both Germanies, France, and Switzerland; have not the kingdoms of Great Britain, Denmark, Sweden, and a considerable part of Ireland, in Mr. S.'s opinion, deserted tradition? If I should unce see a whole nation fail, because no body would marry, and contribute to the propagating of mankind, and should find this sullen humour to prevail in several nations, and to overspread vast parts of the world, I should then in good earnest think it possible for mankind to fail; unless I could shew it impossible for other nations to do that which I see some to have done, who were every whit as unlikely to have done it. So that whatever cause he assigns of heresy, as pride, ambition, lust, (p.67.), or any other vice or interest, if these can také place in whole nations, and make them renounce tradition, then where is the “ efficacy of the causes to pre“ serve faith indeficiently entire in any ?” for the denionstration holds as strongly for all Christians as for any.
$ 8. Secondly, From these grounds it would follow, that no Christian can live wickedly; because the end of flith being a good life, the arguments of hope and fear must in all reason be as powerful and cfficacious causes of a good life, as of a true belief.. And that his demonstration proves the one as much as the other, will be e. vident from his own reasoning: for he argues in this manner, p. 62. “Good is the proper object of the will. “ Good proposed makes the will to desire that good, and
consequently the known means to obtain it. Now, " infinite goods and harms sufficiently proposed, are of " their own nature incomparably more powerful causes VOL. III.
“ to carry the will, than temporal ones. Since, then, “ when two causes are counterpoised, the lesser, when “ it comes to execution, is no cause as to the subfi“ Itence of that effect; it follows, that there is no cause “ to move the wills of a world of believers to be willing “ to do that which they judge would lose themselves " and their posterity infinite goods, and bring them in“ finite harms, Sc. in case a sufficient proposal or appli" cation be not wanting :” which he tells us, p. 65. is not wanting ; because “ Christianity urged to execution, “ gives its followers a new life and a new nature; than “ which a nearer application cannot be imagined.” Doth not this argument extend to the lives of Christians as well as their belief? So that we may as well infer from these grounds, that it is impoflible that those who profess Christianity should live contrary to it, as that they should fail to deliver down the doctrine of Christ; because whatever can be an inducement and temptation to any man to contradict this doctrine by his practice, may equally prevail upon him to fallify it. For why should men make any more fcruple of damning themselves and their posterity, by teaching them falfe doctrines, than by living wicked lives? which are equally pernicious with heretical doctrines, not only upon account of the bad influence which such examples of fathers and teachers are like to have upon their scholars; but likewise they are one of the strongest arguments in the world to persuade them, that their teachers do not themselves believe that religion which they teach ; for, if they did, they would live according to it. Why should any man think, that those arguments of hope and fear which will not prevail upon the generality of Christians to make them live holy lives, should be so necessarily efficacious to make them fo much concerned for the preserving of a right belief? Nay, we have great reason to believe, that such persons will endeavour, as much as may be, to bend and accommodate their belief to their lives. And this is the true source of those innovations in faith for which we challenge the church of Rome ; which any man may easily discern, who will but consider how all their new doctrines are fitted to a fecular intereft, and the gratifying of that inordinate appetite af
ter riches and dominion which reigns in the court of Rome, and in the upper part of the clergy of that church.
SECT. IV. The second answer to his demonstration. $1. SEcondly, The main grounds of his demonstration
are apparently false. For, 1/1, This demonstration supposeth, that the generality of Christian parents, in all ages, perfectly understood the doctrine of Christ, and did not mistake any part of it; that they remembered it perfectly, and that they were faithful and diligent to instruct their children in it: which is as contrary to experience, as that the generality of Christians are knowing and honest. It supposeth likewise, that this doctrine, and every substantial part of it, was received and remembered by the generality of children as it was taught, and was understood perfectly by them without the least material mistake. So he tells us, p53. that “the substance of faith comes “ clad in such plain matters of fact, that the most stu“ pid man living cannot possibly be ignorant of it.” But whether this be reasonable to be supposed or no, may easily be determined, not only from every man's own experience of the world, but from a more advantageous instance of the experience of the first age of Christianity. Was there ever a more knowing and diligent teacher of this doctrine than our Saviour ? and yet his disciples fell into many mistakes concerning it : so that, in order to the certain propagating of it, the wisdom of God thought it requisite to endue even those who had learned this doctrine from himself, with an infallible spirit, by which they might be led into all truth, and fecured from error and mistake; which had been unnecerfary, had it been impossible for them to mistake this doctrine. The Apostles, who taught the world by an infallible spirit, and with infinitely more advantage than ordinary parents can teach their children ; yet in all the churches which they planted, they found Christians very apt to mistake and pervert their doctrine, as appears by their frequent complaints in most of their epistles. Nay, the Apostle chargeth the generality of the Hebrews with such a degree of dulness and stupidity, that after fitting Ff.2
time and means of instruction, they were still ignorant of the very principles of Christianity. So he tells them, chap. v. 11. 12. that when for the time they ought to be teachers of others, they had need that one should teach them ag ain which be the first principles of the oracles of God. And St. Hierom (advers. Lucifer.) tells us, that “the pri
mitive churches were tainted with many grofs errors, “ whillt the Apostles were alive, and the blood of “ Chriit yet warm in Judea.” But it may be there have been better teachers since, and children are more apt to learn now than men were then. Who knows how the world may be changed?
§ 2. 2dly, This demonstration supposeth the hopes and fears which Christian religion applies to mens minds, to be certain and necessary causes of actual will in men, to adhere to the doctrine of Christ; and confequently, that they must necessarily adhere to it. That he fuppofeth them to be necessary, I have his own word for it; for he tells us, p. 75. that “ he hath endeavoured tó “ denionstrate the indefe&tibleness of tradition, as the
proper and necessary effect of those causes which pre“ serve and continue traditiớni on foot; and what those causes are, he told us before, p.6o. that they " are hopes and fears strongly applicd.” But I hope, that the indefectibleness of tradition cannot be a neces. fary effect of the strong application of those hopes and fears, unless those hopes and fears be a neceffary cause of that effect. And indeed this is sufficiently implied in his saying, that “they are the causes of actual will in Chri“ ftians to adhere to tradition.” For if these causes of acłual will be constant, (as he must fuppofe), then they are certain, and necessary, and infallible causes of adhering to this doctrine : for whatever is in act, is ne. cessary while it is so; and if it be constantly in act, the effect is always necessary. But what a wild fuppofition is this, that moral motives and arguments working upon a free principle, the will of man, do necessarily produce their effect? Is it necessary, that the hopes of heaven and the fears of hell should keep Christians constant to the doctrine of Christ ? and is it not as necessary, that these arguments should prevail upon them to the practice of it? It is in vain to go about to demon